The thing on the left is a snail, and it’s called abalone. Aside the fact that it’s edible, the abalone taught Angela Belcher, from MIT, how to turn carbon dioxide into rock-solid construction materials and thus sequester the gas for hundreds of thousands of years, instead of burying it underground, which is not as safe and as useful.
Ten years ago, a report based on measurements taken at a hydroelectric plant in Brasil said that the gas (CO2 and methane) emissions of hydroelectric power (HEP) reservoirs account for 1 to 28% of the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by man. The report said that the CO2 and the methane came from the rotting organisms contained in the HEP reservoirs.
There are scientists who are optimistic about the chances we have to heal the planet and reduce its warming, scientists who are definitely rejecting anything related to global warming, saying it doesn’t exist, and scientists who are butt-kickers and telling the world what works and what doesn’t. Martin Hoffert, from the University of New York, is one of the third kind, in my opinion.
A sugar-resembling substance that can absorb carbon dioxide within itself has been developed by a team led by Andrew Cooper, from the University of Liverpool, in the UK. The substance is called “dry water”, because it’s made of water and because it’s dry, containing silica.
Black carbons are emitted from diesel exhausts and burned biomass and are considered an environmental and health hazard all over the world. Besides the fact that they favor global dimming, black carbons also attract heat.
Capturing the carbon dioxide that a coal-powered plant produces and sequestering it is not an easy task, and until now it rose the costs of the electricity produced by 80 percent. Due to researchers at Codexis, a Redwood, CA, company, genetically modified enzymes can make carbon dioxide capture much cheaper, increasing the cost of electricity by less than a third.
Soot is considered one of the most important threats to the environment, along with carbon dioxide. Princeton University researchers have described the contribution of soot (“carbonaceous aerosols”) to phenomena of global warming and global dimming. Soot is born by incomplete combustion and comes mostly from diesel engines and coal burning.
Among the dozen of bad news that keep filling our mailboxes daily, we once in a while read something worth smiling at: the global greenhouse emissions generated by energy use dropped for the first time since 1998, by 1.1 percent. Through this, the economic crisis has its good actions, because it reduced the industrial production and fossil fuel consumption worldwide.
Climate change is one of the most controversial subjects of the century, because it is changing our planet in an non-imaginable way. Scientists have developed different ways (more or less efficient) to capture the CO2 excess resulted from human activity.
A 10-year prediction made by Bethan Owen and her colleagues from the UK’s CATE (Center for Air Traffic and the Environment) says that aircraft emissions will become the a significant source of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and will double or triple by 2050.
We have been talking about global warming lately, and implicitly of carbon dioxide as being one of the gases associated with it. We have also been talking about carbon dioxide’s indirect effect on warming through the modification it brings to trees, but never has the carbon dioxide been associated with crop plants’ nutritional values before, which affect us, humans, directly.
Trees and green plants, generally, are used by the planet as a way to keep itself cool. A regular tree can evaporate as much as ten gallons of water a day, acting as a natural air conditioner for its surroundings. So trees are important for their CO2-sequestration capabilities and keeping things cool(er).
The Australian Antarctic Division performed a research in this area, and found out that the whale poo is very rich in iron – about some 10 million times richer than sea water, as Steve Nicol, one of the scientists, said: “The plants love it and it actually becomes a way of taking carbon out of the atmosphere.”
Russell Seitz, a physicist at the Harvard University, has thought of an ingenious way to fight global warming by cooling the planet by parts. The ingenious way Seitz wants to do this is by pumping vast swarms of tiny bubbles into the sea to increase its reflectivity.
Aminosilicones are regularly used in hair-conditioning shampoos and fabric softeners, but recently they show usefulness in fighting global warming by filtering carbon dioxide out of flue gases from coal plants.
Researchers concluded that the release of just a fraction of the methane held in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf sediments could lead to a sudden warming of the climate.