Climate

Chevrolet Carbon Story 4 Rockingham County Landfill
December 7, 2011 02:12 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Americans create over 200 million tons of trash each year. As garbage in landfills decomposes, it creates a gas that is half methane (the primary component of natural gas), which has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Instead of letting the gas escape into the air, landfill gas projects collect the gas and destroy it through either flaring, or using the gas to power electric generators or boilers. Thus garbage is turned into energy. As part of its Carbon Initiative Program, Chevrolet is supporting the Rockingham County (Virginia) Landfill’s methane capture and use program. Rockingham County Landfill collects the methane from the landfill and pipes it to Rockingham (Virginia) Memorial Hospital (RMH) where it will fuel boilers that produce steam, heat and electricity for the Hospital’s use. RMH is a LEED certified facility and one of the first hospitals to utilize landfill gas for the vast majority of their fuel needs. Destroying landfill gasses helps to reduce odors and other hazards associated with Landfill Gas emissions, and it helps prevent methane from migrating into the atmosphere and contributing to local smog and global climate change. Over the next few years, Chevrolet will be investing in projects that will help reduce up to 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Every carbon-reducing project Chevrolet invests in will be based in the United States, and each will be focused in one of three areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency programs, and forestry (including conservation). Chevrolet has chosen projects they believe will make a lasting difference in communities across the country. Progress is already underway, and Chevrolet estimates it will take up to five years to achieve the initial goal. There's still a lot of work to be done, but every project is a step in the right direction.

Climate and Global Radiation Balance
December 7, 2011 10:33 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Scientists at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton have developed an important new insight into climate sensitivity – the sensitivity of global temperature to changes in the Earth’s radiation balance – over the last half million years. Climate sensitivity is a key parameter for understanding past natural climate changes as well as potential future climate change. In a study in Journal of Climate, the researchers reconstructed, for the first time, climate sensitivity over five ice-age cycles based on a global records of sea surface and polar temperature change. These were compared with a new reconstruction of changes in the Earth’s radiation balance caused by changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, in surface reflectivity, and those due to slow changes in the Earth-Sun orbital configuration.

CO2 from the Air
December 6, 2011 01:09 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

What seems to be directly correlated to global warming is CO2 in the air. So why not take it directly out of the air? Since most of the world’s governments have not yet enacted regulations to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, some experts have advocated the development of technologies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air. But a new MIT study shows that, at least for the foreseeable future, such proposals are not realistic because their costs would vastly exceed those of blocking emissions right at the source, such as at the power plants that burn fossil fuels.

At least 74 percent of current warming caused by us
December 6, 2011 07:56 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

A new methodology to tease out how much current climate change is linked to human activities has added to the consensus that behind global warming is us. The study, published in Nature Geoscience found that humans have caused at least three-quarters (74 percent) of current warming, while also determining that warming has actually been slowed down by atmospheric aerosols, including some pollutants, which reflect sunlight back into space.

European Automakers Meet in Brussels
December 5, 2011 09:41 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Last Friday, there was a gathering of the European Union's car manufacturers to discuss future cuts in CO2 emissions. In 2009, the EU set legally binding fuel efficiency standards for automobile CO2 emissions at 120 grams per kilometer (g/km). A binding emissions cap will be imposed in 2012 at 130 g/km. By 2020, the European Commission has the objective of reaching 95 g/km. This ambitious objective was supposed to be supported and confirmed at last Friday's meeting. But automakers could not reach a common position, and the issue has been left on the table.

The Beginning of the Last Ice Age Melt
December 5, 2011 09:26 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The end of the last ice age and the processes that led to the melting of the northern and southern ice sheets supply information on changes in our climate. Although the maximum size of the ice sheet in the northern hemisphere during the last ice age is relatively well known, there is little reliable data on the dimensions of the Antarctic ice sheet. A publication appearing in the journal Science on 1 December now furnishes indications that the two hemispheres attained their maximum ice sheet size at nearly the same time and started melting 19,000 years ago.

Global Carbon Emissions Reach Record 10 Billion Tons, Threatening 2 Degree Target
December 5, 2011 08:47 AM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2011) — Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased by 49 per cent in the last two decades, according to the latest figures by an international team, including researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia. Published December 4 in the journal Nature Climate Change, the new analysis by the Global Carbon Project shows fossil fuel emissions increased by 5.9 per cent in 2010 and by 49 per cent since 1990 -- the reference year for the Kyoto protocol.

Whales win, walruses lose in warmer Arctic
December 2, 2011 05:39 AM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters, WASHINGTON

The Arctic zone has moved into a warmer, greener "new normal" phase, which means less habitat for polar bears and more access for development, an international scientific team reported on Thursday. Arctic air temperatures were higher - about 2.5 degrees F (1.5 degrees C) higher in 2011 than the baseline number for the previous 30 years - and there was a dramatic loss of sea ice and glacier mass, the scientists said in a telephone briefing. With less bright ice to reflect sunlight, and more dark open water to absorb it, the Arctic's changed characteristics are likely to feed on each other and accelerate, specialists from 14 countries said in an annual assessment called the Arctic Report Card. (here) "We've got a new normal," said Don Perovich, an expert on sea ice at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory in New Hampshire.

The Durban Climate Talks
December 1, 2011 09:59 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Global climate discussions have moved from Cancun to Copenhagen, and now to Durban, South Africa. They began last Monday in the hopes of finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the global mandate that set targets for cutting carbon emissions. Kyoto was never ratified by the United States, the world's leading carbon emitter, and did not apply to the large growing Asian economies of China and India. Durban began amid downplayed expectations that a worldwide agreement would take place, especially following the disappointing climate talks in Copenhagen. This may be a blessing in disguise in that it will force climate activists to pursue a different strategy. Rather than a top-down approach, some are now calling for local policies that would create incremental change.

Ladybugs Changed Color in Response to Climate Change
November 30, 2011 05:22 PM - Sara Reardon, Science AAAS

Thirty years ago, if you were walking along the coast of the Netherlands and picked a two-spot ladybug off the leaf of a European lime tree, chances were that the bug would be red with black spots. If you were farther inland, you'd have had a good chance of finding a bug that was black with red spots. In the past 3 decades, however, researchers have been finding more red bugs inland. The reason, they believe, is that a warming climate and fewer sunny days might be driving a shift in ladybug color.

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