Posts filed under ‘Carbon_Emissions’

One of the biggest criticisms against wind and solar energy has been quashed

A worker inspects solar panels at a solar Dunhuang, 950km (590 miles) northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province September 16, 2013. China is pumping investment into wind power, which is more cost-competitive than solar energy and partly able to compete with coal and gas. China is the world's biggest producer of CO2 emissions, but is also the world's leading generator of renewable electricity. Environmental issues will be under the spotlight during a working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will meet in Stockholm from September 23-26. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (CHINA - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT) - RTX13UEF

One of the biggest criticisms of the renewable-energy industry is that it has been propped up by government subsidies. There is no doubt that without government help, it would have been much harder for the nascent technology to mature. But what’s more important is whether there has been a decent return on taxpayers’ investment.

A new analysis in Nature Energy gives renewable-energy subsidies the thumbs-up. Dev Millstein of Lawerence Berkeley National Laboratory and his colleagues find that the fossil fuels not burnt because of wind and solar energy helped avoid between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths in the US between 2007 and 2015. Fossil fuels produce large amounts of pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, which are responsible for ill-health and negative climate effects.

The researchers found that the US saved between $35 billion and $220 billion in that period because of avoided deaths, fewer sick days, and climate-change mitigation.

Read One of the biggest criticisms against wind and solar energy has been quashed by Akshat Rathi at Quartz.

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August 21, 2017 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

We’re Teaching Kids the Wrong Ways to Fight Climate Change

Illustration courtesy of Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas, 2017, Environmental Research Letters

When Seth Wynes was teaching high school science in Canada, there was one question his students asked him that he had trouble answering: What can I do to stop climate change? The existence of climate change was an unpleasant surprise for many of them—they had grown up hearing adults talk about things like peak oil in doom-laden tones, so the news that humans would trash the atmosphere before they even reached peak oil filled them with alarm. They wanted to do something.

Then Wynes began comparing their resesarch to climate-related documents aimed at teenagers and adults in the three most high-emitting countries on the list: Canada, Australia, and the United States. He wanted to know—were the actions on his list the same as the actions these documents recommended?

They were not, as Wynes and Nicholas reveal in a paper that was published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The most high-impact actions on his list, like living without a car, avoiding transatlantic flights, and eating a plant-based diet were often ignored entirely in educational climate change materials, which favored less-effective actions like recycling and using more energy-efficient lightbulbs.

Read the full article We’re Teaching Kids the Wrong Ways to Fight Climate Change by Heather Smith at Sierra Club.

August 9, 2017 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Central Canada pounded by ‘severe hardships’ as flooding continues

 A new report shows high water levels and floods are still pounding Central Canada and causing “severe hardships” to residents and business owners, almost three months after a joint Canada-United States body warned of “major coastal flooding.”

Water is rushing into Lake Ontario at “close to record-high values for this time of year,” the board has said, complicating an effort it began in June to drain the lake at “unprecedented” rates.

The extended period of high water is in line with warnings from both politicians and Canadian scientists, who have anticipated that climate change will increase the “frequency and severity of extreme weather events” such as floods, heat waves and droughts.

Read the full article Central Canada pounded by ‘severe hardships’ as flooding continues by Carl Meyer at the National Observer.

August 7, 2017 at 10:50 am Leave a comment

The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich

carbon inequality

One of the perennial debates around global warming has to do with the role of individual choices. What responsibilities do individuals have to fight climate change? Are people who advocate for political action on climate change hypocrites if they drive to work, fly to climate conferences, or have three children?

Discussing the role of individual choices in climate change without discussing income inequality is a mug’s game. It smears the responsibility evenly over everyone, when the responsibility ought to be concentrated where the emissions are concentrated: among the wealthy. And the only way to get at the individual consumptive choices of the wealthy, in any meaningful way, is through policy.

So if you’re rich, quit flying so much. But if you’re not, the best thing you can do to reduce carbon emissions is to get involved in politics and policymaking. That’s the only frame for climate mitigation that makes sense.

Read the full article: The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich by Dave Roberts at Vox.

July 17, 2017 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

Canada’s tree-mendous discovery: Forests limit harmful ozone gas

Darker environments like forests make less ozone gas, as the inorganic molecule is produced from a chemical reaction activated by ultraviolet light from sunshine. There is also less wind in forests because trees reduce turbulence, so there is a smaller chance of ozone gas getting whipped up from fresh air.

What that meant is that deforestation just took on a whole new importance.

Not only do forests suck carbon dioxide from the air, helping to counteract the greenhouse effect that is furthering dangerous and destructive climate change, they also help lower smog and make healthier air to breathe by lessening ozone, a key air pollutant.

Read the full article  Canada’s tree-mendous discovery: Forests limit harmful ozone gas by Karl Meyer at the National Observer.

 

June 28, 2017 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Energy East pipeline review may look at broader climate impacts

Image result for sunset lake ontario

The National Energy Board’s review of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline has had more than a few hiccups along the way. Take, for example, the revelation of secret closed-door industry meetings and the allegations of bias that led to the entire National Energy Board’s panel reviewing the project stepping down last September. In January, the newly appointed panel voided all prior decisions, sending the process back to square one and appointing a new panel.

With that black mark behind it, the board recently announced it would be taking public input on the issues it should consider as part of its review. It’s especially interested in hearing about the issue of the pipeline’s broader environmental effects, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Read Energy East pipeline review may look at broader climate impacts by Charles Hatt and Dyna Tuytel at Ecojustice.

June 21, 2017 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

Ontario earmarks $200M from cap and trade to make schools greener

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announced on Tuesday that $200 million from the province’s cap and trade program will go towards making schools in the province more energy efficient.

The amount is part of the $1.4 billion that has been earmarked in the 2017-18 fiscal year for school renewal and repairs, Wynne and Hunter said at a news conference at a northwest Toronto school.

Wynne said the money from what is known as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) will enable schools to install such energy-efficient features as new windows, lights and furnaces. Funded by Ontario’s cap and trade auctions, the GGRF supports retrofit projects designed to reduce energy use in schools.

Read Ontario earmarks $200M from cap and trade to make schools greener by Muriel Draaisma at CBC News.

June 19, 2017 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

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