92% of the world's population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution
September 29, 2016 07:18 AM - World Health Organization
A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together.
It May Not Cost You More To Drive Home In A Climate-Friendly Car
September 27, 2016 02:34 PM - NPR
It has been a common belief that low-emissions vehicles, like hybrids and electric cars, are more expensive than other choices. But a new study finds that when operating and maintenance costs are included in a vehicle's price, cleaner cars may actually be a better bet.
Could California's gridlock generate electricity for the grid?
September 27, 2016 02:05 PM - Yale Environment 360
California is testing whether its heavy traffic can produce not just emissions and air pollution, but electricity. The state’s Energy Commission says it will spend $2 million to examine the potential of using piezoelectric crystals embedded under asphalt as a way to send the energy created by moving cars to the grid.
Soil modeling to help curb climate change
September 26, 2016 05:40 PM - Natural Resources Institute Finland via ScienceDaily
Soil is a major carbon pool, whose impact on climate change is still not fully understood. According to a recent study, however, soil carbon stocks and could be modelled more accurately by factoring in the impacts of both soil nutrient status and soil composition. Determining the volume of carbon dioxide efflux from soil is important to enabling better choices in forest management with respect to curbing climate change. Knowledge of the extent and regional variation of soil carbon stocks is vital. Current soil carbon stock predictions are unreliable and it is difficult to estimate the volume of carbon dioxide efflux that is emitted from soil as a result of climate change.
Acidity in atmosphere minimized to preindustrial levels
September 26, 2016 10:30 AM - University of Copenhagen via ScienceDaily
New research shows that human pollution of the atmosphere with acid is now almost back to the level that it was before the pollution started with industrialization in the 1930s. The results come from studies of the Greenland ice sheet and are published in the scientific journal, Environmental Science and Technology.
The Greenland ice sheet is a unique archive of the climate and atmospheric composition far back in time. The ice sheet is made up of snow that falls and never melts, but rather remains year after year and is gradually compressed into ice. By drilling ice cores down through the kilometre-thick ice sheet, the researchers can analyse every single annual layer, which can tell us about past climate change and concentration of greenhouse gases and pollutants in the atmosphere.
Stronger turbine blades with molybdenum silicides
September 23, 2016 04:24 PM - National Institute for Materials Science via ScienceDaily
Researchers at Kyoto University have found that molybdenum silicides can improve the efficiency of turbine blades in ultrahigh-temperature combustion systems.
Gas turbines are the engines that generate electricity in power plants. The operating temperatures of their combustion systems can exceed 1600 °C. The nickel-based turbine blades used in these systems melt at temperatures 200 °C lower and thus require air-cooling to function. Turbine blades made out of materials with higher melting temperatures would require less fuel consumption and lead to lower CO2 emissions.
Virgin Atlantic: Emissions from Steel Mills Could Fuel Airplanes
September 16, 2016 01:32 PM - by Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
After five years of research and development, Virgin Atlantic and one of its clean-technology partners, Illinois-based LanzaTech, developed a source of jet fuel made of waste gases from steel mills. According to the companies, this new source of jet fuel passed extensive tests that both delivered on performance and promise to result in carbon emissions savings of 65 percent compared to conventional jet fuel.
This discovery comes at a time when airlines, seeking to mitigate what is a carbon-intensive business, have long dabbled with jet fuel blended with algae and other biofuels. The Dutch carrier KLM experimented with algae fuel blends, has flown transatlantic flights using blends of kerosene and cooking oil, and is still apparently committed to sourcing these fuels when available. Alaska Airlines also considered using recycled cooking oil to reduce its carbon emissions. Earlier this year, United kicked off flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles using a biofuel-conventional blend. Aviation fuel using feedstock from Brazilian sugarcane is also touted as an option.
Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels
September 16, 2016 11:00 AM - Alex Kirby, Ecologist
A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel.
The cheapest way of generating energy today is to use renewable fuels - and the authors of a new analysis predict that renewables are set to enjoy even more of an advantage within a few years.
The study by the Carbon Tracker Initiative says renewable power generation costs are already lower on average worldwide than those of fossil fuels.
Air Pollution: The Billion Dollar Industry
September 13, 2016 07:21 AM - Steve Williams, Care2
The World Bank has released a new report highlighting the fact that air pollution costs world governments billions upon billions every year and ranks among the leading causes of death worldwide.
The estimates — drawn from a number of sources, including the World Health Organization’s most recently completed data sets compiled in 2013 — can for the first time begin to examine the overall welfare cost of air pollution.
Healthcare costs for infections linked to bacteria in water supply systems are rising
September 12, 2016 10:38 AM - Tufts University via EurekAlert!
A new analysis of 100 million Medicare records from U.S. adults aged 65 and older reveals rising healthcare costs for infections associated with opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens--disease-causing bacteria, such as Legionella--which can live inside drinking water distribution systems, including household and hospital water pipes.
A team led by researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and Tufts University School of Medicine found that between 1991 and 2006, more than 617,000 hospitalizations related to three common plumbing pathogens resulted in around $9 billion in Medicare payments--an average of $600 million a year. The costs may now exceed $2 billion for 80,000 cases per year, write the study authors. Antibiotic resistance, which can be exacerbated by aging public water infrastructure, was present in between one and two percent of hospitalizations and increased the cost per case by between 10 to 40 percent.