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Hydrogen breakthrough could be a game-changer for the future of car fuels ("cheap fuel in horizon?")

Hydrogen breakthrough could be a game-changer for the future of car fuels ("cheap fuel in horizon?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
UK researchers today announced what they believe to be a game changer in the use of hydrogen as a 'green' fuel.

When the components of ammonia are separated (a technique known as cracking) they form one part nitrogen and three parts hydrogen. Many catalysts can effectively crack ammonia to release the hydrogen, but the best ones are very expensive precious metals. This new method is different and involves two simultaneous chemical processes rather than using a catalyst, and can achieve the same result at a fraction of the cost.

Ammonia can be stored on-board in vehicles at low pressures in conformable plastic tanks. Meanwhile on the forecourts, the infrastructure technology for ammonia is as straightforward as that for liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

Professor Bill David, who led the STFC research team at the ISIS Neutron Source, said "Our approach is as effective as the best current catalysts but the active material, sodium amide, costs pennies to produce. We can produce hydrogen from ammonia 'on demand' effectively and affordably.
Few people think of ammonia as a fuel but we believe that it is the natural alternative to fossil fuels. For cars, we don't even need to go to the complications of a fuel-cell vehicle. A small amount of hydrogen mixed with ammonia is sufficient to provide combustion in a conventional car engine. While our process is not yet optimised, we estimate that an ammonia decomposition reactor no bigger than a 2-litre bottle will provide enough hydrogen to run a mid-range family car."

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Extracting hydrogen fuel from ammonia using a cheap process to produce fuel is near completion. Indeed, cheap fuel from air will change the economics of the world and result in cleaner air.

"A new discovery by scientists at the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), offers a viable solution to the challenges of storage and cost by using ammonia as a clean and secure hydrogen-containing energy source to produce hydrogen on-demand in situ."

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Sweden Opens World's First Electric Highway ("another step closer to zero-emission transport")

Sweden Opens World's First Electric Highway ("another step closer to zero-emission transport") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A 22 kilometer stretch of the E16 road in Sweden is fitted with power lines overhead, developed by Siemens, providing electricity to hybrid trucks.

A 22 kilometer (or roughly 13 miles) stretch of the E16 road—which connects Oslo, Norway, to Gävle, Sweden—is fitted with power lines overhead, developed by Siemens, providing electricity to hybrid trucks. The system works like a tram system. A current collector on the trucks will transfer energy from the power lines to the trucks’ hybrid electric motors, Sputnik News reported. The electric lines help trucks operate longer between recharges. 

“Electric roads will bring us one step closer to fossil fuel-free transports, and has the potential to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions,” Lena Erixon, director general of transport authority Trafikverket, said. “This is one way of developing environmentally smart transports in the existing road network. It could be a good supplement to todays road and rail network.”

When the trucks, provided by Scania, are not on the electric stretch of road, they will operate as hybrid vehicles running on biofuel. Electric-powered trucks are expected to cut 80 to 90 percent of fossil fuel emissions. The opening of this stretch of road is another step toward Sweden’s goal of operating a fossil fuel-free fleet by 2030, Inhabitat reported. 

“Electric roads are one more piece of the puzzle in the transport system of the future, especially for making the heavy transport section fossil fuel-free over the long term,” Erik Brandsma, director general of the Swedish Energy Agency, said. “This project also shows the importance of all the actors in the field cooperating.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Another novel approach to emission-free transport, but I wonder if this is practical for the Philippines.

"The system works like a tram system. A current collector on the trucks will transfer energy from the power lines to the trucks’ hybrid electric motors, Sputnik News reported. The electric lines help trucks operate longer between recharges.
“Electric roads will bring us one step closer to fossil fuel-free transports, and has the potential to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions,” Lena Erixon, director general of transport authority Trafikverket, said. “This is one way of developing environmentally smart transports in the existing road network. It could be a good supplement to todays road and rail network.”
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Seven climate records set so far in 2016 ("we can no longer ignore the obvious warming of planet")

Seven climate records set so far in 2016 ("we can no longer ignore the obvious warming of planet") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

From soaring temperatures in Alaska and India to Arctic sea ice melting and CO2 concentrations rising, this year is smashing records around the world

1) Arctic sea ice is melting at a rate that by September could see it beat the record low set in 2012. The maximum extent of sea ice in winter was at a record low, and the extent in May was the lowest for that month ever, by more than 500,000 sq km.

2) Every month this year has been the hottest on record globally for that month. May, data published this week by Nasa revealed, was no exception. Nasa’s dataset, one of three main global surface temperature records, shows February recorded the highest anomaly against long term average temperatures.

3) India recorded its hottest day ever on 19 May. The mercury in Phalodi, in the desert state of Rajasthan, rose to 51C, as a nationwide drought that has affected more than 300 million people marched on, leaving armed guards at dams, and reservoirs well below their usual levels.

4) Alaska, along with the rest of the Arctic, has experienced record-breaking heat. Spring was the warmest on record in the state, with an average temperature of 0C, and the average year-to-date temperature has been 5.5C above the long term average.

5) Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been breaking records every year for decades, but the size of the margin by which the record is forecast to break the annual record in 2016 is striking and itself a record. The increase for 2016 is expected to be 3.1 parts per million, up from an annual average of 2.1.

6) Australia, no stranger to record-breaking heat, just clocked up its hottest autumn yet.

7) The Great Barrier Reef, a natural wonder and world heritage site, experienced its worst ever coral bleaching event, as a blob of warm water made its way around the world.

Bert Guevara's insight:
From soaring temperatures in Alaska and India to Arctic sea ice melting and CO2 concentrations rising, this year is smashing records around the world.
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Tom Schueneman's curator insight, June 24, 8:59 PM
If we don't begin to feel the required sense of urgency now, we never wlll
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Green Microcycle Plus: The world's first electric bike that doubles as a pedal generator ("cool!")

Green Microcycle Plus: The world's first electric bike that doubles as a pedal generator ("cool!") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

File this under "It's about time."

Adam Boesel, the creator of the Green Microgym and the Green Microcycle bike generators, which are being used in a "Green Read & Ride" program, hasn't just spinning his wheels, as his latest product is an electric bike that does double duty as a home electricity generator. 

The Green Microcycle Plus (a 26" cruiser e-bike) and the Green Microcycle Plus/Minus (a 20" folding e-bike) can be cycled just like any other e-bike, with a 350W rear hub motor for pedal-assist or throttle-based electric riding, a removable 36V 10 Ah lithium-ion battery, a top speed of 20 mph, and a range of 20-30 miles per charge, but they also come with a heavy duty stand that allows the bikes to be used as pedal-powered generators. These bikes can produce anywhere between 30 and 100 watts, depending on the rider, which can go directly back into the home via a standard wall outlet. Granted, this isn't nearly enough power to take your home off of the grid, by any means, but it is a way to cleanly charge or offset the electricity of a number of small electronics devices.

The Green Microcycles can also be used as a standalone (off-grid) charger for 12V batteries, when used in conjunction with a charge controller, which means that they could serve as an emergency power source or simply as a way to charge backup batteries or power packs.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Nice to have this bike when you want to get off the grid.

"Ride this e-bike around town, and then park it in your living room and generate clean electricity."
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Future summers could regularly be hotter than the hottest on record ("warmer for the next 50 years")

Future summers could regularly be hotter than the hottest on record ("warmer for the next 50 years") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
In 50 years, summers across most of the globe could regularly be hotter than any summer experienced so far by people alive today, according to a study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). 
If climate change continues on its current trajectory, the probability that any summer between 2061 and 2080 will be warmer than the hottest on record is 80 percent across the world's land areas, excluding Antarctica, which was not studied. 
If greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, however, that probability drops to 41 percent, according to the study. 
"Extremely hot summers always pose a challenge to society," said NCAR scientist Flavio Lehner, lead author of the study. "They can increase the risk for health issues, but can also damage crops and deepen droughts. Such summers are a true test of our adaptability to rising temperatures." 
The study, which is available online, is part of an upcoming special issue of the journal Climatic Change that will focus on quantifying the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The research was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Do you want unbearably warm summers?

"If climate change continues on its current trajectory, the probability that any summer between 2061 and 2080 will be warmer than the hottest on record is 80 percent across the world's land areas, according to a new study. If greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, however, that probability drops to 41 percent, according to the study."
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Researchers Turn CO2 to Stone in Climate Change Breakthrough ("safe, quick but wasteful water use")

Researchers Turn CO2 to Stone in Climate Change Breakthrough ("safe, quick but wasteful water use") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Researchers in Iceland found a new way of tackling climate change by pumping carbon dioxide underground and turning it into stone

Researchers in Iceland found a new way of tackling climate change by pumping carbon dioxide underground and turning it into stone. 

Other carbon capture and storage (CCS) methods store CO2 as a gas, but problems include a high cost and concern about leakage. This new method of burying CO2 and turning it into stone is cheaper and more secure, the Guardian reports. 

To turn C02 to stone, researchers with the Carbfix project pumped the gas into volcanic rock and sped up the natural process in which basalts react with gas and form carbonate minerals. The gas turned into solid in just two years—much faster than the hundreds or thousands of years researchers had predicted. 

The research took place at Iceland’s Hellisheidi power plant, the largest geothermal facility in the world. Already, the project in Iceland has been increased in scale to bury 10,000 tons of CO2 each year.

One potential difficulty is that for each ton of CO2 buried, the technique requires 25 tons of water. However, Juerg Matter of the University of Southampton in the U.K., who led the research, said seawater could be used.

Bert Guevara's insight:
After polluting the air and the ground, man now wants to pollute the underground.

"Scientists and engineers working at a major power plant in Iceland have shown for the first time that carbon dioxide emissions can be pumped into the earth and changed chemically to a solid within months—radically faster than anyone had predicted. The finding may help address a fear that so far has plagued the idea of capturing and storing CO2 underground: that emissions could seep back into the air or even explode out."
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Satellites ​help​ track down sulfur dioxide we didn’t know existed ("evil coal by-product in the air")

Satellites ​help​ track down sulfur dioxide we didn’t know existed ("evil coal by-product in the air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The pollutant comes from fossil fuels, and can cause serious harm to the planet and human health.

Emissions of sulfur dioxide — a toxic gas with a nasty smell — are regulated and monitored in the U.S., but they can easily go underreported in other countries. In fact, a team of researchers recently found that as much as 12 percent of human-created sulfur dioxide emissions, or 14 million metric tons of the stuff, comes from sources that were previously unreported. The findings, which were based on satellite data and wind patterns, were published in Nature Geoscience last week. 

Sulfur dioxide is a byproduct of coal-fired power plants and other production in the oil and gas sector, and its consequences can be deadly. Aside from contributing to acid rain, which harms forests and waterways, it also poses serious health risks, like asthma and lung cancer. While sulfur dioxide doesn’t contribute to climate change, it is a side-effect of our dirtiest energy habits and its presence remains a matter of life and death for the people who are exposed to it. 

NASA satellite data helped pinpoint the 39 unreported sources of sulfur dioxide emissions, which are in what researchers call the developing world (the bulk of them are in the Persian Gulf). Having an improved international inventory of these emissions is crucial for determining health outcomes and for shaping environmental policy.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Do you still believe in "clean coal"? What about sulfur dioxide?

"Sulfur dioxide is a byproduct of coal-fired power plants and other production in the oil and gas sector, and its consequences can be deadly. Aside from contributing to acid rain, which harms forests and waterways, it also poses serious health risks, like asthma and lung cancer. While sulfur dioxide doesn’t contribute to climate change, it is a side-effect of our dirtiest energy habits and its presence remains a matter of life and death for the people who are exposed to it. ...
"There is a glimmer of hope through all those clouds of noxious gas, though: Overall, sulfur dioxide emissions are decreasing globally. But toxic hot spots persist — indicating that not everyone is benefiting equally from the general reduction."
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Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free ("this is a problem many like to have")

Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free ("this is a problem many like to have") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Chile’s solar industry has expanded so quickly that it’s giving electricity away for free.

Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days through April, a number that’s on track to beat last year’s total of 192 days, according to Chile’s central grid operator. While that may be good for consumers, it’s bad news for companies that own power plants struggling to generate revenue and developers seeking financing for new facilities. 

Chile’s increasing energy demand, pushed by booming mining production and economic growth, has helped spur development of 29 solar farms supplying the central grid, with another 15 planned. Further north, in the heart of the mining district, even more have been built. Now, economic growth is slowing as copper output stagnates amid a global glut, energy prices are slumping and those power plants are oversupplying regions that lack transmission lines to distribute the electricity elsewhere. 

“Investors are losing money,” said Rafael Mateo, chief executive officer of Acciona SA’s energy unit, which is investing $343 million in a 247-megawatt project in the region that will be one of Latin America’s largest. “Growth was disordered. You can’t have so many developers in the same place.”

A key issue is that Chile has two main power networks, the central grid and the northern grid, which aren’t connected to each other. There are also areas within the grids that lack adequate transmission capacity.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Having excess power is better than having a shortage. More industries can build on this problem.

"Bernabei, however, is adamant that change is needed. “The rapid development of renewables was a surprise and now we have to react quickly,” he said. 
"Until this is resolved, low prices will plague companies that own power plants, according to Jose Ignacio Escobar, general manager for Acciona’s Chile unit."
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World's most polluted city by air is in ... Nigeria ("another template of progress with filthy air")

World's most polluted city by air is in ... Nigeria ("another template of progress with filthy air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The word "Africa" conjures up an romantic scenes: elephants crossing the Kalahari, crashing water at Victoria Falls, panoramic views from Table Mountain.

Four of the worst cities in the world for air pollution are in Nigeria, according to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO). Onitsha -- a city few outside Nigeria will have heard of -- has the undignified honor of being labeled the world's most polluted city for air quality, when measuring small particulate matter concentration (PM10).

A booming port city in southern Nigeria, Onitsha recorded 30 times more than the WHO's recommended levels of PM10.

Last year, the World Bank reported that 94% of the population in Nigeria is exposed to air pollution levels that exceed WHO guidelines (compared to 72% on average in Sub-Saharan Africa in general) and air pollution damage costs about 1% post of Gross National Income. 

The WHO study tracked the growth in the two different sizes of particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5, per cubic meter of air. 

PM2.5 particles are fine, with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (µm) to more than 40 micrometers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

PM10 particles are less than or equal to 10 micrometers in diameter. 

Nigeria did not feature in the top 10 for PM2.5 levels.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Cities who are racing for progress, with little regard for the environment, often end up with the dirtiest air. 

"The contributing factors to pollution are a reliance on using solid fuels for cooking, burning waste and traffic pollution from very old cars," ...
"At home, due to unreliable electricity supplies, many Nigerians rely on generators, which spew out noxious fumes often in unventilated areas. 
"On the street, car emissions go unregulated. 
"Neira adds: "In Africa, unfortunately, the levels of pollution are increasing because of rapid economic development and industry without the right technology."
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Temperatures in India reach a terrifying 123 degrees ("daytime cooking is banned; shoes melting!")

Temperatures in India reach a terrifying 123 degrees ("daytime cooking is banned; shoes melting!") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

It's so hot that roads are melting shoes.

India is reeling from a heatwave so high that shoes are melting to roads, cities are banning cooking during the day, and hundreds have died. Nowhere is as hot as the northern city of Phalodi, where temperatures reached a staggering 123 degrees Fahrenheit last week, breaking the previous record set in 1956.

India is no stranger to high temperatures and large disasters: 2015 was an especially devastating year for the country, with heat, drought, and floods killing hundreds of citizens. All of these disasters have been linked to climate change, which especially affects developing nations like India, where over 20 percent of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day and 300 million lack electricity.


Bert Guevara's insight:
Can you survive a 50.5 deg C actual temperature? This is how it will feel when global warming goes full blast a few years from now, if we don't get into action.

"India is reeling from a heatwave so high that shoes are melting to roads, cities are banning cooking during the day, and hundreds have died. Nowhere is as hot as the northern city of Phalodi, where temperatures reached a staggering 123 degrees Fahrenheit last week, breaking the previous record set in 1956."
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Why Mexico City's bad air can't be ignored — or easily fixed ("cosmetic fixes no longer effective")

Why Mexico City's bad air can't be ignored — or easily fixed ("cosmetic fixes no longer effective") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The Mexican capital worked hard to shed its image as one of the world's most polluted cities. Are those efforts now backsliding?

Since then, officials have pushed out big refineries, banned leaded gas, and built more public transportation. It all made a difference, for a while. But now things seem to be backsliding. By this time last year, 75 percent of the days had been considered bad air days. So far this year, it’s more than 80 percent.

Yet despite those improvements, Mexico City’s population continues to grow, up roughly 10 percent over the last decade, to more than 21 million. Most new residents live on the outskirts, and Alarcón says more sprawl, means “longer trips with more people driving cars.”

About 200,000 more cars are on the road every year here, according to the city. Many are new and cleaner (Mexico is a major car-making country and dealers offer consumers a raft of attractive financing options). But plenty of cars are still dirty, and smog checks can be avoided with bribes.

She says a lot of people agree on what’s needed: “The best bet is to increase the quality and quantity of public transportation,” she says.

However, where there is cleaner and better public transportation, people pack in to use it, and the system is overwhelmed. Yet plans for new buses and subways in Mexico City are lagging. For now, the city is doubling down on a program that takes cars off the road once a week. (The ban does not apply to certain vehicles, including electric and hybrid cars, of which there are still very few in Mexico). Alarcón says that plan, known as Hoy No Circula (“No Driving Today”) is just a Band-Aid, and what’s really needed is more money and stronger political leadership.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The old problem of dirty air returns to Mexico City as current cosmetic solutions are no longer working. Now is the time for long-term solutions.

"Grutter says ozone pollution can be very dangerous, but what he worries about most is something else: “The smaller particles, like benzene,” which can be carcinogenic, he says. Small particles, or particulates, are a complex group of air pollutants that share a key feature. “They are sufficiently small that they reach our lungs and can be inserted into the blood stream,” Grutter says. ...
"Long-term exposure to small particles can make asthma worse, hurt kids’ cognitive and emotional development, even cause premature death. But Grutter also says Mexico City’s new air pollution crisis has an upside. He has noticed that public consciousness is up."
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An Inconvenient Truth Then and Now: What’s Changed for Our Climate Since 2006? | Climate Reality

An Inconvenient Truth Then and Now: What’s Changed for Our Climate Since 2006? | Climate Reality | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Carbon emissions account for between 65–76 percent of the greenhouse gases from human activity, causing the Earth's temperature to rise at its fastest rate in millions of years. While natural variance in the Earth’s carbon cycle leads to some fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, overall, we can see a clear connection between fossil fuels and these levels, which have increased about 40 percent since pre-industrial times. But what’s scary is that in the last 10 years alone, CO2 levels have increased 5.5 percent, jumping from 382 parts-per-million (PPM) in July 2006 to 404 PPM in April 2016. Which means more heat trapped in our atmosphere.
It’s no secret that 14 of the 15 hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2001. Last year was the hottest year on record, and 2016 is on pace to be even warmer. 
These record-breaking temperatures become crystal clear when they're displayed visually. The chart below shows how global surface temperatures have varied from the long-term averages since 1880. Look at the trend beginning around 1950 and you’ll see temperature changes steadily increasing throughout the second half of the twentieth century. And within the past decade alone, global temperatures have deviated from the long-term average by 0.63 degrees Celsius (33.14 degrees Fahrenheit) in 2006 to 0.87 degrees Celsius (33.57 degrees Fahrenheit) in 2015. All of this to say our planet is warming like never before in recent history – and it’s only getting hotter.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Carbon emissions account for between 65–76 percent of the greenhouse gases from human activity, causing the Earth's temperature to rise at its fastest rate in millions of years. While natural variance in the Earth’s carbon cycle leads to some fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, overall, we can see a clear connection between fossil fuels and these levels, which have increased about 40 percent since pre-industrial times. But what’s scary is that in the last 10 years alone, CO2 levels have increased 5.5 percent, jumping from 382 parts-per-million (PPM) in July 2006 to 404 PPM in April 2016. Which means more heat trapped in our atmosphere.
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Climate pendulum is swinging rapidly from El Niño to La Niña ("this is example of weather extreme") 

Climate pendulum is swinging rapidly from El Niño to La Niña ("this is example of weather extreme")  | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Tropical Pacific Ocean waters are cooling rapidly after record warmth during much of 2015 and 2016 so far, signaling an impending shift.

La Niña conditions during the height of the hurricane season, from July through September, at 65 percent. 

La Niña was present during the deadly 2011 tornado season, when tornadoes killed 553 people, mostly in the south central states. 

Such events also tend to damper global average surface temperatures somewhat, and may put an end to the record-long string of warmest months on record. Through March, that stood at 11 months, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Bert Guevara's insight:
From destructive drought to destructive flooding, such is the expected shift in extreme weather in the Pacific region. The Philippines is part of the vulnerable countries.
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Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity

Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

On Sunday, May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. Thanks to a sunny and windy day, at one point around 1pm the country's solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%. Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%.

“We have a greater share of renewable energy every year,” said Christoph Podewils of Agora. “The power system adapted to this quite nicely. This day shows again that a system with large amounts of renewable energy works fine.” 

Critics have argued that because of the daily peaks and troughs of renewable energy—as the sun goes in and out and winds rise and fall—it will always have only a niche role in supplying power to major economies. But that’s looking less and less likely. Germany plans to hit 100% renewable energy by 2050, and Denmark’s wind turbines already at some points generate more electricity than the country consumes, exporting the surplus to Germany, Norway and Sweden. 

Germany’s power surplus on Sunday wasn’t all good news. The system is still too rigid for power suppliers and consumers to respond quickly to price signals. Though gas power plants were taken offline, nuclear and coal plants can’t be quickly shut down, so they went on running and had to pay to sell power into the grid for several hours, while industrial customers such as refineries and foundries earned money by consuming electricity.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is how renewable energy has gone a long way! 

"Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity."
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A major climate landmark has been crossed – for the first time in 4 million years ("can't be a cycle")

A major climate landmark has been crossed – for the first time in 4 million years ("can't be a cycle") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

An observatory at the South Pole has recorded a reading for carbon dioxide of 400 parts per million – the last station to do so.

Carbon dioxide levels in the Antarctic just hit 400 parts per million (ppm) – making the polar region the final place on Earth to cross this climate threshold. 

The South Pole Observatory breached 400 ppm for the first time on 23rd May, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The organization says this is the first time in 4 million years this level has been reached. 

“The far southern hemisphere was the last place on Earth where CO2 had not yet reached this mark,” explained Pieter Tans, lead scientist at NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. “Global CO2 levels will not return to values below 400 ppm in our lifetimes, and almost certainly for much longer.”

The remote location of the Antarctic observatory means it was the last place on Earth to register a 400ppm reading. As this chart from the NOAA shows, levels have been increasing year on year. Indeed, since observations began in 1958, there has been an increase every year in the global yearly average.

2015 was also the fourth consecutive year that the NOAA have recorded a rise of above 2ppm – with the global average reaching 399ppm last year, it looks set to be over 400ppm this year. 

“Since emissions from fossil fuel burning have been at a record high during the last several years, the rate of CO2 increase has also been at a record high,” said Tans. “We know some of it will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
CO2 stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Once released, it won't just blow away tomorrow, or next week, or next year!

"2015 was also the fourth consecutive year that the NOAA have recorded a rise of above 2ppm – with the global average reaching 399ppm last year, it looks set to be over 400ppm this year. 
“Since emissions from fossil fuel burning have been at a record high during the last several years, the rate of CO2 increase has also been at a record high,” said Tans. “We know some of it will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.”
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All new cars in Germany must be emissions-free after 2030 ("bold move for clean air starting w/ cars")

All new cars in Germany must be emissions-free after 2030 ("bold move for clean air starting w/ cars") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A senior government official says Germany will only register electric, emissions-free cars after 2030.

Many European nations are working to reduce carbon emissions, through a combination of initiatives related to boosting renewable energy production and curbing emissions from transportation. Now, Germany is taking a stand to cut back on emissions produced on its roadways, with a declaration that all new cars registered in the country will have to meet a zero-emissions requirement by 2030. This new rule is part of Germany’s broader goal to slash up to 95 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Deputy Economy Minister Rainer Baake thinks it’s high time that Germany gets serious about reducing emissions from transportation. “Fact is, there’s been no reduction at all in CO2 emissions by transport since 1990,” he said. “We don’t have any answers to cut truck emissions right now but we do have answers for cars.” The emissions-free requirement will help, but Germany’s government is making it a little easier to achieve with a previously announced cash incentive program to encourage sales of electric cars. The program translates into $4,500 on purchases of all-electric cars and $3,400 on hybrid vehicles, totaling a whopping $1.1 billion nationwide.

The Environment Ministry estimates the incentive program would help put 500,000 more electric cars on the road by 2020 which is, incidentally, the self-imposed deadline for cutting the nation’s emissions by 40 percent. Currently, there are just 130,000 hybrids and 25,000 full-electric cars registered in Germany (as of January 2016) and some 30 million gasoline cars and 14.5 million diesels. All things considered, boosting electric car sales may help put a dent in the nation’s transportation emissions, but Germany has a long road ahead to its 2050 goal.“Fact is, there’s been no reduction at all in CO2 emissions by transport since 1990,” he said. “We don’t have any answers to cut truck emissions right now but we do have answers for cars.” The emissions-free requirement will help, but Germany’s government is making it a little easier to achieve with a previously announced cash incentive program to encourage sales of electric cars.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The fight for clean air starts with political will.

“Fact is, there’s been no reduction at all in CO2 emissions by transport since 1990,” he said. “We don’t have any answers to cut truck emissions right now but we do have answers for cars.” The emissions-free requirement will help, but Germany’s government is making it a little easier to achieve with a previously announced cash incentive program to encourage sales of electric cars.
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Is this the most important chart in global energy? ("can't dispute graph of declining cost of solar")

Is this the most important chart in global energy? ("can't dispute graph of declining cost of solar") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

“It describes a pattern so consistent, and so powerful, that industries set their clocks by it."

At first glance, the progress made is significant, but look a little closer and it’s even more incredible. The chart is on a logarithmic scale, emphasizing the progress made towards making solar power more affordable. 

As the bubble on the chart highlights, the fall in module costs has been dramatic. For every doubling in the number of solar panels, costs fall by 26%. This cost is known as solar’s ‘learning rate’. 

Bloomberg offers a simple explanation for this trend. Efficiency increases and costs fall as time progresses because solar is a technology, not a fuel. As they emphasize: “This is the formula that’s driving the energy revolution.”

The benefits are already being seen across the world. Consider Morocco’s giant new solar power plant – the Noor-Ouarzazate complex, which is set to power over a million homes. Partly funded with a loan from the World Bank, the scale of the project is a key indication of the progress in solar infrastructure. 

Solar isn’t only for places with year-round sun either. Germany has the capacity to generate over a third of its electricity from solar – this in a country hardly noted for endless, sun-filled days.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Don't be the last to know.

"Increasing use of solar also reduces the use of coal and gas power plants. As they’re used less, costs increase. This will make renewables seem ever more attractive. 
"It’s fair to say that solar looks set to stay – and the best thing is, the further the technology advances, the cheaper it gets."
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Fighting Climate Change with Movies ("using movies can redefine values & culture; role of humans")

Fighting Climate Change with Movies ("using movies can redefine values & culture; role of humans") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

“It’s going to change in some of the most difficult and dangerous ways that we can imagine. When you really encounter that head on, it causes an incredible crisis. I think you go deep into some kind of despair and I think you ping-pong back and forth between that despair and, and denial” -- Josh Fox

“How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change” is the latest movie from filmmaker and climate activist Josh Fox. 

The movie is the third film in a three-part series about climate change. 

In 2010, America’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated Fox’s documentary “Gasland” for its highest award -- an Oscar. “Gasland” explored “fracking,” the hotly debated process of removing natural gas from the ground. He examined the subject again in “Gasland II,” the second film in his climate change series. 

Fox was in Washington, D.C. recently to present his third film. He was arrested during a protest against a new fuel pipeline. The arrest was evidence of his opposition to traditional fossil fuels and support of renewable energy. 

In the film, Fox says pollution from fossil fuels must be reduced. Without limits, he says, there will be more extreme weather, like severe storms and dry weather, rising sea levels and shortages of food and water. 

“It’s going to change in some of the most difficult and dangerous ways that we can imagine. When you really encounter that head on, it causes an incredible crisis. I think you go deep into some kind of despair and I think you ping-pong back and forth between that despair and, and denial.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Using the power of movies to shape opinion on climate change...

Fox notes there are some things that climate cannot change. “And those are the things that are inside of us. Those are our value structure and that is what the film starts to define. If we start to really emphasize building community, building human rights, building democracy and the things that are inside -- courage, love, generosity, innovation, creativity. And I think those are some of the hallmarks or the pillars of what we talk about when we talk about activism, when we talk about a response to climate change.”
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Scientists Seek a New Measure for Methane. Here’s Why.

Scientists Seek a New Measure for Methane. Here’s Why. | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

An Oxford University study suggests there is a problem with the way scientists account for methane's effect on the climate.

Methane and carbon dioxide have two things in common: They’re both composed of carbon, and they both heat the atmosphere. The difference? Carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere and stays there indefinitely. Methane does not. 

Emitting methane into the atmosphere is something like throwing kerosene on a fire. It warms the atmosphere a lot over a very short period of time — years to decades — but then it dissipates and its ability to heat the atmosphere dies down. 

That’s why methane, along with black carbon and a few other chemicals, are called “short-lived climate pollutants.” They don’t stay in the atmosphere very long, but they may do a lot of damage in the near future, such as speeding the melting of ice sheets, which contributes to sea level rise, and polluting the air with ozone. 

Carbon dioxide, by contrast, accumulates over centuries, warming the earth more and more as it mounts up. That means cutting carbon dioxide has a much greater effect on long-term climate change than cutting methane pollution.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Although short-lived compared to carbon dioxide, methane nonetheless increases global warming. The correct appreciation of methane will compel mitigation efforts.

"Scientists say that methane over the span of 20 years is 86 times more potent as carbon dioxide to warm the atmosphere, and 35 times as potent as carbon dioxide over the span of a century.
"Steffen Kallbekken, research director at the Center for International Climate and Energy Policy in Norway, said comparing methane and carbon dioxide masks how long it will take emissions cuts to make a difference in the climate. 
"Scientists worry that a strong focus on cutting methane could be used to justify less focus on cutting carbon dioxide, which will keep the atmosphere baking indefinitely, he said."
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Tom Schueneman's curator insight, June 10, 2:04 PM
Finding better ways to account for the climate impacts of Methane, a more potent than CO2 but relatively short-lived in the atmosphere (years to decades)
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Norway 'to completely ban' petrol powered cars by 2025 ("good news for ecology; worrisome for opec")

Norway 'to completely ban' petrol powered cars by 2025 ("good news for ecology; worrisome for opec") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Norway will ban the sale of all fossil fuel-based cars in the next decade, continuing its trend towards becoming one of the most ecologically progressive countries on the planet, according to reports.

Norway will ban the sale of all fossil fuel-based cars in the next decade, continuing its trend towards becoming one of the most ecologically progressive countries on the planet, according to reports. 

Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have reportedly reached some concrete conclusions about 100 per cent of Norwegian cars running on green energy by 2025. 

According to Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv, "FRP will remove all gasoline cars", a headline which makes reference to the populist right-wing Framstegspartiet, or Progress Party.

The report also follows the announcement that Norway will become the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation. 

Speaking about the possible 2025 ban on non-electric cars, Elon Musk, chief executive of US electric car company Tesla Motors, lauded the announcement. "

Just heard that Norway will ban new sales of fuel cars in 2025," he wrote.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"Norway will ban the sale of all fossil fuel-based cars in the next decade, continuing its trend towards becoming one of the most ecologically progressive countries on the planet, according to reports. 
"Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have reportedly reached some concrete conclusions about 100 per cent of Norwegian cars running on green energy by 2025. 
"According to Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv, "FRP will remove all gasoline cars", a headline which makes reference to the populist right-wing Framstegspartiet, or Progress Party."
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The world is about to install 700 million air conditioners. Here’s what that means for the climate

The world is about to install 700 million air conditioners. Here’s what that means for the climate | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, it could be like adding several countries to the planet.

“We expect that the demand for cooling as economies improve, particularly in hot climates, is going to be an incredible driver of electricity requirements,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in an interview. 

In most ways, of course, this is a very good thing: Protecting people from intense heat — a town in India this month saw temperatures exceed 123 degrees Fahrenheit — is essential for their health and well-being. It’s just that it’s going to come with a huge energy demand, and potentially huge carbon emissions to boot. 

Overall, the Berkeley report projects that the world is poised to install 700 million air conditioners by 2030, and 1.6 billion of them by 2050. In terms of electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions, that’s like adding several new countries to the world.

Zaelke and Moniz said that the real impact for the planetary greenhouse will be if the world can combine a restriction on emissions of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, the global treaty originally adopted in 1987 to address ozone depleting substances like CFCs, with greater air conditioner efficiency overall. The Protocol “has never failed to do its job once it has gotten its assignment,” Zaelke said. 

The Berkeley Laboratory study found that if the world can shift toward 30 percent more efficient air conditioners, and phase out HFCs at the same time, that could effectively offset the construction of as many as 1,550 peak power plants.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Global warming? Turn on the air conditioners!

“We expect that the demand for cooling as economies improve, particularly in hot climates, is going to be an incredible driver of electricity requirements,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in an interview.
"Overall, the Berkeley report projects that the world is poised to install 700 million air conditioners by 2030, and 1.6 billion of them by 2050. In terms of electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions, that’s like adding several new countries to the world."
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Tom Schueneman's curator insight, June 3, 1:49 PM
Indicative of the general issue of sustainable development
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The west country cheddar maker powered by solar and cow dung ("this is smart, eco-friendly business")

The west country cheddar maker powered by solar and cow dung ("this is smart, eco-friendly business") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Wyke Farms saves £100,000 a year on energy bills thanks to green initiatives. And that’s just the start

The dairy business in southwest England, which exports 14,000 tonnes of cheddar a year to more than 160 countries, has been building an energy generation and water recycling operation over the past five years to reduce its environmental impact and save money. According to Clothier, it’s been able to lower its energy bills by nearly £100,000 per month as a result. 

Aside from solar panels, Wyke generates electricity and heat from cow dung. Using microbes, the dung is broken down to produce biogas, which the farm burns to generate electricity and heat. Since dung naturally releases methane during decomposition, the process of producing biogas helps the farm cut the amount of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – reaching the atmosphere. 

In addition, the cheese maker converts some of the biogas into biomethane, the majority of which it sells to businesses – including the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s – via a local utility’s pipelines.

Wyke’s reliance on solar and biogas isn’t unusual for an agricultural business. What sets Wyke’s plan apart is its scale and complexity. The company is putting in place software to monitor energy generation and wastewater recycling, which can figure out the business’s needs and adjust the energy generation accordingly.

Bert Guevara's insight:
“My grandparents used to tell me that if you look after nature, then nature will look after you,” says Richard Clothier, managing director of Wyke Farms, which generates electricity, gas and heat from renewable sources. “It’s nice to go to work in the morning and know you are doing the right thing.”

"Wyke Farms saves £100,000 a year on energy bills thanks to green initiatives. And that’s just the start ...
"Aside from solar panels, Wyke generates electricity and heat from cow dung. Using microbes, the dung is broken down to produce biogas, which the farm burns to generate electricity and heat. Since dung naturally releases methane during decomposition, the process of producing biogas helps the farm cut the amount of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – reaching the atmosphere."
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PH to revise UN climate pledges to align with 1.5-degree target ("setting an example for others")

PH to revise UN climate pledges to align with 1.5-degree target ("setting an example for others") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The Philippines current commitments include 70% carbon mitigation by 2030. All of these commitments, however, are conditional.

The Philippines announced on Wednesday, May 18, during the third day of climate negotiations that it will review and revise its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to align better with the 1.5-degree target. 

The Philippines, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, called for more radical action from other countries to ensure that the world does not warm higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, citing its efforts in revising its commitments as an example which other countries should follow. 

“We would like to submit a new NDC which is more substantive in terms of mitigation options, with more inputs from the major sectors like energy, transportation, industry, waste, agriculture, forestry, etc,” said Emmanuel de Guzman, lead negotiator for the Philippines and commissioner of the Climate Change Commission. 

He said that the revised commitments will remain ambitious and that this time, they are consulting local government units and local communities.

“Before it was only the sectors at the national level, but now we would like to consult also the LGUs, small and medium enterprises, private business in the communities because eventually they will have to be involved in climate action at the local level. So they have to be aware of the Paris agreement, the requirements of the agreement, and they will have to also revisit their business models and how they can support a low carbon development pathway,” he added.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Is the Philippines sending a good signal to the Climate Vulnerable Forum, being the chair? Let's be firm, whether there is foreign funding or not.

"The Philippines' current commitments include 70% carbon mitigation by 2030. All of these commitments are conditional, which means that it is hinged largely on finance that will be given by other countries. 
"Environmentalists have criticized this commitment, saying that the country must commit to mitigation whether or not financial assistance will be given."
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The global air pollution 'blindspot' affecting 1 billion people ("killing them softly w/ filthy air")

The global air pollution 'blindspot' affecting 1 billion people ("killing them softly w/ filthy air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

More than 100 of the world’s poorest and most poorly governed countries have no or limited monitoring of the polluted air their citizens are breathing.

More than 1 billion people live in countries that do not monitor the air they breathe, according to data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Guardian analysis has revealed a great air pollution blindspot stretching the length of Africa, across large parts of the former Soviet Union, south-east Asia and the Caribbean. In 92 countries the monitoring equipment and staff needed to measure one of the world’s most deadly pollutants - particulate matter (PM) - are simply not available. 

A further 33 countries, including Indonesia, Egypt and Russia monitor just one or two cities. 

Outdoor air pollution kills 3.3 million people each year and it is getting worse. Globally, pollution levels have risen by 8% in five years. But there are signs that it can be brought under control. According to the WHO, pollution is falling in many places where monitoring occurs, including a third of cities in low- and middle-income countries. 

Setting up stations to record pollution was the first step, said a WHO spokeswoman: “The cities which have invested in the capacity to regularly monitor and report the local air quality measurements have already demonstrated a commitment to starting to address air quality issues and public health.”

In those countries with no checks, citizens’ lungs remain the only place where pollution is recorded. People may be acutely aware of the corrupted air, but without the evidence that global or national standards have been breached, there is little imperative for governments to act.

Bert Guevara's insight:
It is not only in extreme weather that there is social inequality, but the social divide also exists in air pollution monitoring. 3.3M citizens are killed yearly by outdoor air pollution, most of them are poor.

"The WHO data, made public last week, showed air pollution was a hallmark of global inequality. Where it is monitored, denizens of poor cities are almost twice as likely as the rich to be breathing bad air."
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Spiraling global warming - ImaGeo ("the animation shows a glimpse of how hot the planet has become")

Spiraling global warming - ImaGeo ("the animation shows a glimpse of how hot the planet has become") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Clear, simple and compelling: a visualization of global warming like none other

I spotted this animated visualization over at the Washington Post’s awesome Capital Weather Gang site today, and I found it so compelling that I had to share it here at ImaGeo. Click on the graphic above to watch the animation on Twitter. 

Credit goes to Jason Samenow at WashPo for jumping on this. Check out his article here. Climate scientist Ed Hawkins posted the visualization itself to Twitter yesterday. 

We start in 1850, the beginning of the HadCRUT4 climate record used by Hawkins, with a circle representing how the Earth’s average surface temperature compared that year to the overall mean of 1850-1900. 

As the visualization progresses, one circle builds on another — each one a different color representing a single year. The expansion of the circles represents the warming of the Earth over time. But it doesn’t happen steadily. In some years, the circle contracts a bit, representing a bit of cooling. In others, the expansion is notably significant, representing an acceleration of warming. 

That’s particularly evident in where the visualization winds up: March of 2016. Trace the line back to July of last year. Notice how warming has taken off?

Bert Guevara's insight:
This animated graph will show you how hot the planet has become since 1850.
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Air pollution rising at an 'alarming rate' in world's cities ("small victories, but global failure")

Air pollution rising at an 'alarming rate' in world's cities ("small victories, but global failure") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Outdoor pollution has risen 8% in five years with fast-growing cities in the developing world worst affected, WHO data shows

According to the new WHO database, levels of ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5s) are highest in India, which has 16 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities. China, which has been plagued by air pollution, has improved its air quality since 2011 and now has only five cities in the top 30. Nine other countries, including Pakistan and Iran, have one city each in the worst 30.

For the larger, but slightly less dangerous PM10 particles, India has eight cities in the world’s top 30. Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan each have two cities in the top 10. The true figure for the growth in global air pollution is likely to be worse because only a handful of African cities monitor their levels. 

The most polluted city in the world, according to the WHO data, is Onitsha, a fast-growing port and transit city in south-eastern Nigeria that recorded levels of nearly 600 micrograms per cubic metre of PM10s - around 30 times the WHO recommended level of 20 micrograms per cubic metre.

“We have a public health emergency in many countries. Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. It’s dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with terrible future costs to society,” said Dr Maria Neira, director of public health at the WHO in Geneva. 

“The cost for countries is enormous. Air pollution affects economies and people’s quality of life. It leads to major chronic diseases and to people ultimately dying,” she said.


Bert Guevara's insight:
This air pollution development concerns us in the Philippines. Our people are being "killed slowly."

"While all regions are affected, fast-growing cities in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the western Pacific are the most impacted with many showing pollution levels at five to 10 times above WHO recommended levels.
“We have a public health emergency in many countries. Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. It’s dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with terrible future costs to society,” said Dr Maria Neira, director of public health at the WHO in Geneva. 
“The cost for countries is enormous. Air pollution affects economies and people’s quality of life. It leads to major chronic diseases and to people ultimately dying,” she said.
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