Battery offers new hope to renewables

By Tim Radford - Climate News Network reposted from an original story

It sounds like a seminal step towards unlocking the potential of renewables - a research team has high hopes it has found a cheap and effective way of storing huge amounts of energy.

LONDON, 10 January - Scientists in the US think they may be on the track of a new kind of battery technology that could store huge reserves of energy.

One of the great problems of renewable energy generators such as photovoltaic cells and wind turbines is that they can’t respond to demand.

India innovating with solar PV, poised to become a global solar leader

India is building solar canals: Image meme by GreenpeaceIndia is building solar canals: Image meme by GreenpeaceYesterday I saw an image shared on my Facebook timeline. It was of solar PV panels installed over an irrigation canal in India. This has the obvious advantage of a double impact for sustainability. Low carbon power is generated by the panels feeding into the transmission grid, and the panels shade the water in the irrigation canal reducing evaporation loss thus saving a scarce resource used for drinking and agriculture.

I googled for more information and posted the image in a tweet. This has become one of my most popular tweets to date, obviously striking a responsive nerve.

More efficient biofuel process converting algae to oil

By Tim Radford. US scientists have succeeded in producing crude oil from algae in under an hour - a technical triumph, but one that's still a long way from commercial exploitation.

Importance of Mangroves, nature's shield against typhoons and tsunami

MangrovesMangrovesBy Lindsay Stringer, University of Leeds and Steven Orchard, University of Leeds

Following typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines’ Department for Environment and Natural Resources has earmarked around US$8m to fund efforts to replant much of the affected coastal zone with mangrove forests. Reforesting these coasts with 19m trees, particularly the extensively damaged islands of Leyte and Samar, is a key part of bolstering the first line of defence against future storms. Reports suggest up to 80% of the money is likely to be channelled to residents to engage them in tree planting activities as part of the country’s cash-for-work programme.

IEA: Four measures to limit carbon emissions and Global Warming to 2 degrees Celsius

Faith Birol of IEA at the report LaunchFaith Birol of IEA at the report LaunchThe International Energy Agency warned of the danger of exceeding the 2 °C of global warming unless governments take swift action to reign in emissions. The latest World Energy Outlook special report launched on the 10 June 2013 estimates global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2012 achieved a 1.4% increase, reaching a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt).

Over the last few years the International Energy Agency has consistently warned we need a Bold change of direction globally to meet climate commitments. Scientific studies show that we need to peak emissions this decade to meet 2 °C temperature goal.

U.S.: Mayor Bloomberg launches $20 billion climate adaptation strategy for New York

New York Major Michael Bloomberg launching major $20 billion Climate Adaptation plan for New York CityNew York Major Michael Bloomberg launching major $20 billion Climate Adaptation plan for New York CityIn a bold statement on June 11, 2013 from a former Naval Yard on Staten Island that was flood damaged by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Sandy, Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, launched a plan of climate adaptation and resilience for the city.

Much of the adaptive defences being planned are to prevent damage from future storms, rising seas and storm surge projected for the next century.

Flood resistance and resilience of buildings and essential services was also emphasised, including measures elevating or protecting critical building equipment, fire protection systems, electrical equipment, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

But more than preparing for the next super storm, Bloomberg emphasised the importance of building resilience and preparedness for a range of climate related extreme weather disasters from "droughts, heavy downpours like we had last week, and heat waves, which may be longer, and more intense, in the years to come."

Indeed. Cities like New York will get much hotter as heatwaves amplify the Urban Heat Island Effect. With rising temperatures, heatwaves are likely to substantially increase temperature related deaths in the city, according to a study by public health and climate reserachers at Columbia University in New York.

WWF calls for major investment in clean and renewable energy with launch of new global campaign

Media Release 05 June 2013:
With a global call to action urging governments and financial institutions worldwide to increase investment in renewable energy by at least US$40 billion over the next 12 months, WWF today launched its new international campaign under the slogan Seize Your Power.

Australia: Soil Carbon sequestration limited in mitigating fossil fuel emissions say scientists

UNEP Global Soil Degradation map. Source: UNEPUNEP Global Soil Degradation map. Source: UNEPRebuilding soils through carbon sequestration and mitigating fossil fuel emissions sounds like a win-win solution all around. A reason the Liberal and National Parties in Australia, presently in opposition federally, adopted it as a major part of their 2010 Direct Action climate change policy. But a new international study by Australian and UK scientists said soil carbon programs while important, have many limitations, and provide too much false hope in mitigating emissions from fossil fuels.

"The capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to store carbon is finite and the current sequestration potential primarily reflects depletion due to past land use. Avoiding emissions from land carbon stocks and refilling depleted stocks reduces atmospheric CO2 concentration, but the maximum amount of this reduction is equivalent to only a small fraction of potential fossil fuel emissions." (Untangling the confusion around land carbon science and climate change mitigation policy, Brendan Mackey et al, 2013)

Renewable energy - breakthrough in chemical storage technology

Researchers at the University of Calgary have made a breakthrough in cheap and efficient catalysts for converting electricity into chemical storage through electrolysis. This could have a major impact in efficient use and regulation of power from renewable energy sources like wind farms and large scale solar energy power stations.

"This breakthrough offers a relatively cheaper method of storing and reusing electricity produced by wind turbines and solar panels," says Curtis Berlinguette, one of the study authors and associate professor of chemistry and Canada Research Chair in Energy Conversion.

Geoengineering the Ocean off Haida Gwaii: A False Solution to Real Problems

A Greenpeace blog post by Eduardo Sousa - November 5, 2012 - Original post at Greenpeace Canada

What a difference a month can make. In early October we received notice that a large-scale iron fertilization project had been undertaken in the ocean off the coast of Haida Gwaii – apparently in international waters. At that point, the project as developed and spearheaded by the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) and dumped 120 metric tonnes of iron sulfate in July, had largely gone unnoticed nationally and internationally. Hardly anyone had heard of Russ George or ocean fertilization using iron as a means of geo-engineering a solution to wild salmon depletion and climate change.

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