Archive for the ‘climate change’ category

Pledge Your Support – Install a CFL!

April 20, 2007

19 April 2007 – Have you seen the new mini-twist helical CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) that replaces a standard light bulb?

They use 75% less energy!

A 60-Watt equivalent CFL only uses 13 Watts and in summer will reduce your air conditioning load as well.

Over it’s life, it will save you about 15 to 20 times it’s cost.

If your home or business has plans to use these or any other “Energy Star” light or lamp, please add your support to millions of others who have pledged their support!  It only takes a second!

A friend of mine who works at the world’s largest recycler – Nucor – emailed me the pledge URL.

Thank you for pledging to be “green” this year in your personal life,

Lars

Greenhouse Gases – What you Don’t Know, Part 2

March 26, 2007

26 Mar 2007 – Significant GHG’s include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane.  Scientific data shows methane in our atmosphere has increased 149% over the past 250 years while CO2 increased 31%.  The methane is a direct result of human activity on our planet, emitting from landfills, feedlots, livestock manure, human and animal waste treatment facilities.  Efforts are underway to tap these significant sources of methane emission – for fuel.  Increased atmospheric concentrations of the GHG methane have paralleled but lagged the following human population explosion of the past 250 years.

Year vs. Human Population
1000  –  10 million
1800  –  1 Billion
1927  –  2 Billion
1960  –  3 Billion
1974  –  4 Billion
1987  –  5 Billion
1999  –  6 Billion
2010  –  ?

(It took millions of years to reach 3 Billion inhabitants; 39 years to get the second 3 Billion)

It is clear where CO2 emissions come from and what influences them, but most of us are unaware that we influence methane and water vapor emissions as well.  In a “GHG contributers” pie, CO2 is but one slice.

If severe greenhouse effects cause severe global warming, wouldn’t an intelligent solution involve reduction of ALL GHG’s, not just CO2?

For example, we can irrigate deserts.  The question is “should we?” – especially since more appropriate places exist where crops are not currently being cultivated.  Localized greenhouse effects due to increased water vapor levels in these normally arid zones contribute to planet heat gain.

In some cases, suggested solutions may not meet our scrutiny.

What percentage of the carbon in ethanol and other biofuels is pulled out of the atmosphere by plants, and what percentage is “mined” by them from the carbon-rich layers of the soil?  What percentage of additional CO2 emissions results from the fermentation process of ethanol?  How much water is “mined” from the ground to produce ethanol?  How much energy is consumed to pump and process the water?  How much fossil fuel is required to cook the plant material when making ethanol?  What additional percentage of CO2 comes from this source?  Is this sustainable, or could we actually reduce overall CO2 emissions by fueling with natural gas instead of ethanol?

For this reason, ethanol may only be a “Bandaid”, but yet help transition us to a multi-faceted, sustainable energy solution such as solar-produced hydrogen.

The effects of our human populations weigh heavily on our environment.  Elimination and reduction of unnecessary and wasteful consumption of resources and products are ways we, as individuals, can address the interconnected issues of environmental sustainability.  As long as we are willing to make the effort.  I will; will you?

Looking out for the planet,

– Lars

Read Part 1 of the article

Greenhouse Gases – What You Don’t Know

March 2, 2007

2 Mar 2007 – How much do you really know about greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide?!  When supporting a particular approach or decision affecting our environment, one must back up their position with knowledge.  Test your knowledge on these three questions about greenhouse gases!

Which greenhouse gas is trapping more heat on Earth than all the others?  If you said “carbon dioxide” you would be wrong.  The correct answer is “water vapor”.  Water vapor contributes about double that from carbon dioxide!

Okay, second question:  Which greenhouse gas traps heat more effectively, methane or carbon dioxide?  If you said “methane” you would be correct.  In the atmosphere, methane traps heat over 20 times more effectively than carbon dioxide!

Well, let’s try a third, perhaps an easier one:  Which greenhouse gas has increased in Earth’s atmosphere more significantly over the past 250 years:  water vapor, carbon dioxide, or methane?  Let me give you a hint.  It’s not carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide only increased 31% while methane increased 149%.  As for water vapor, there is much debate as to the amount of accumulation.

Why then, are we so afraid of carbon dioxide?!  Well, here’s an inconvenient truth, a piece of the pie not yet served:  We are wasteful; and the world is running out of oil to power our motor vehicles; and what quicker way to transform our chosen energy paradigm, than to frighten us… AND (before you get entirely upset) carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere IS increasing the greenhouse effect (our Earth is warming)… but remember:  accumulations of methane, water vapor, and others are also contributing significantly!!!

What can we blame for this global warming?  How about fossil fuels?  Okay.  So let’s eliminate all fossil fuels in 5 years.  That will fix the problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, right?  Well, no.  Renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel have carbon in them.  What?!  Yes.  Very much so!  In fact, our old buddy “natural gas” is a lower emitter of carbon dioxide than ethanol.

And hydrogen won’t be ready to take over by then.  Besides, what also happens if we ban all fossil fuel in 5 years?  How will you feed yourself or your family when lights go out or businesses and industries shut down?  What happens to the world economy when money stops changing hands?  What happens to individuals?  (For time sake, this argument leaves a lot out.)  Saving the planet, only to lose human civilization by another method – is not a good option!

Let’s join in bringing about the eventual end of human-initiated greenhouse gas emissions that have increased the global warming.  And let’s do it in a controlled, multi-faceted fashion with parallel solutions that will not create a different problem – that brings about the destruction of human society!

I have a saying that is appropriate.

“Believe half of what you see, and None of what you hear.”

Check out these facts for yourself.  Be responsible.  Make additional comments that help clarify.

Reduce, reuse, recycle, and switch to a new energy source… and be good,

– Lars

18seconds

February 23, 2007

22 Feb 2007 – It does not matter if you believe in global warming or just in energy reduction or conservation – if you have replaced incandescent lightbulbs in your home with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) – pay a visit to the website entitled 18seconds .  It is named after the amount of time it takes to change out a lightbulb.

Each CFL eliminates 450 pounds or 200 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions over its life!

Thanks for reducing your energy intensity – Lars.

Cheating with Carbon Credits

February 14, 2007

China is a member of Kyoto, but exempt from meeting greenhouse gas limits.  And China is selling carbon credits to European countries who cannot meet Kyoto!  Let the games begin!

What’s the big deal?  According to the Inter Press Service News Agency, by the end of this year China will have built an additional 200,000 MegaWatts of new power-generating capacity.  And 80% of it will be coal-fired!  This will contribute an additional 1.17 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2010 and eat up a large portion of the Kyoto targeted reductions of 5.5 billion tons – over the same period!  And yet nearly half of the carbon credits on the market are going to China.  Is that a big deal for you?  It is for me.

How about this analogy?

The world’s speed limit is 65 mph, but China is exempt, so they go 85 mph.  However, China has decided to go 75 mph and sell the 10 mph credit to others so they can go 75 mph.

– Kurt A. Boggner

Smoke and mirrors?  You bet.

Chinese environmental laws are less strict, so Chinese projects are easier to get registered at the UN.  According to Business Line, China has locked up 43% of the United Nations CER (certified emission reduction) “carbon credits”.  Three billion USD in carbon credits were traded in the first 9 months of 2006.  That’s a lot of green.  And the word out of China is, “Thank you EDF; keep that “renewable” money coming – while we continue to use our own money installing coal-fired power generation!”  How’s that for a funny joke on the planet?

How about this brillant idea for carbon credits:  invest money in your local utility for local renewable energy sourcing, and let’s all do our job at home – instead of playing games and supporting countries who choose to be the world’s largest polluters and greenhouse offenders.

-Lars

The Japan Institute of Energy Economics has some interesting info and data.

“Greenest” Vehicle runs on Natural Gas

February 11, 2007

According to www.greenercars.com the greenest vehicle for 2007 is the CNG (compressed natural gas) Honda Civic GX 1.8 liter, 4 cyl.  Edging out the Toyota Prius by two points, the CNG Honda Civic GX surpassed 3 hybrids to earn the top spot.  The new subcompact Toyota Yaris earned the fifth place ranking with 40 mpg highway and 34 mpg in the city.

Coal –> Cola

January 30, 2007

What to do with all that carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by the coal power-generating facilities?  Soda pop is made from CO2.  With a sleight of hand, can’t we just turn coal into cola?  Voila’.  It certainly would make a lot of Pepsi, wouldn’t it?

Actually, carbon sequestration seems like a bandaid to a problem, unless it’s done properly and permanently.  Something tells me that storage in underground water is bad, ditto for permeable layers of rock; and the ocean seems to already be doing it’s fair share of storage.

http://cdiac2.esd.ornl.gov/index.html

Wouldn’t it be better to create carbon dioxide “farms” and let natural photosynthesis tie the carbon up – by growing some of the fastest CO2-converting plants?  Oh wait, someone is doing that already…

http://www.nucor.com/enviropages/articles/01-FerroGusaCarajasProject.htm