Posts tagged ‘global warming’

March 9, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Anthropocene: The Age of Man (& Woman)

This postulation has been around for a number of years already but this Time Magazine article came to my attention and perked my interest once again. It does present a intriguing question. Given our spread across the planet, into virtually every ecosystem and our subsequent alteration of the environment, could the human race bring about change of such significance that this time in Earth’s history could be credibly referred to as the Anthropocene?  

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February 29, 2012

Romney’s Ongoing Dilemma

Once more Mitt Romney regained his “front-runner” status with his wins in Arizona and Michigan last night. The pressure was assuredly on him to take the top spot in his home state of Michigan but in the end his slim victory only highlighted his tenuous hold on the party’s leadership position.

While the inevitability of Mitt’s nomination is continually questioned, especially given the fluidity of the GOP’s voters and their difficulty resigning themselves to the former Massachusetts governor.

February 26, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Better-educated Republicans doubt climate change; believe Obama’s Muslim

I can still remember when I first realized how naïve I was in thinking—hoping—that laying out the “facts” would suffice to change politicized minds, and especially Republican ones. It was a typically wonkish, liberal revelation: One based on statistics and data. Only this time, the data were showing, rather awkwardly, that people ignore data and evidence—and often, knowledge and education only make the problem worse.

Someone had sent me a 2008 Pew report documenting the intense partisan divide in the U.S. over the reality of global warming.. It’s a divide that, maddeningly for scientists, has shown a paradoxical tendency to widen even as the basic facts about global warming have become more firmly established.
Read more…

January 31, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Obama’s energy plan: The winners, and winners

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — President Obama’s half dozen energy proposals will, by and large, benefit nearly all players in the energy space and result in lower prices for consumers, analysts say.

  • Analysts say the combination of Obama’s plans truly represent an “all-of-the-above” approach.
  • Natural gas, out off all the different energy players, natural gas seems to have won the most.
  • The oil industry, Obama offered new leases in the Gulf of Mexico and pledged to open 75% of the country’s resources for drilling, which reflects a prior commitment made by the President.
  • Oil and natural gas production has jumped 14% and 10% respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration.j
  • For renewables technologies like wind and solar, Obama called for extending tax credits that basically give these firms a 30% subsidy.
  • Electricity from solar and wind has risen three-fold since Obama took office, according to those industries’ trade associations.
  • Coal and nuclear are the only two fuels that didn’t garner an outright mention but the bipartisan Policy Center’s Bledsoe said the administration is on track to give the final OK on an $8 billion loan guarantee for a new nuclear plant in Georgia sometime in the next few weeks.
  • The consumer: While prices for oil, which trades globally, remain relatively high, natural gas prices have plummeted, largely as a result of production increases.
  • EIA estimates the country’s oil production will grow another 20% by 2020 & due to that and higher fuel efficiency standards the United States will go from importing 49% of its oil in 2010 to 38% by 2020.
  • “Ultimately, consumers will be the beneficiaries of these policies,” said Mayer Brown’s Valera. “And when the consumer at large wins, businesses of all type win.”

The President has restated previous commitments and offered new policy plans that appeal to both political parties. These policies can be reached if professionalism prevails to take advantage of this out-stretched hand for long  awaited compromise.  While many of us with ever-present environmental concerns for continued oil & gas development this balanced approach to the country’s overall energy policy is the pragmatic solution.
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January 28, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Microbubbles Cut Cost of Algae-Derived Biofuel

Some positve news on the biofuel front.

Algae naturally produce oil. When it’s processed, that oil can be turned into biofuel, an alternative energy source. There’s just one snag—harvesting the oil from algae-filled water is prohibitively expensive. But researchers have come up with an effervescent solution: bubbles smaller than the width of a human hair can help reduce the costs of collecting algae oil.

So-called microbubbles are already used for water purification—they surround contaminants and float them out of the liquid. Similarly, in water containing algae, bubbles can float the algae to the surface for easy collection and processing.

The research builds on previous work that used microbubbles to grow algae more densely and thus increase production. This time, however, the researchers produced the fizziness with a new method that uses far less energy, and is cheaper to install. The study is in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering. [James Hanotu, HC Hemaka Bandulasena and William B Zimmerman, Microflotation performance for algal separation]

Although microbubbles improve algae harvesting in the lab, they still have to work at larger scales. The researchers are planning a pilot program for an algae biofuel plant, in the hope of making really green energy.
60-Second Science from Scientific American

Partha Das Sharma Weblog

From Partha Das Sharma Weblog

January 24, 2012

Graphic Content: Correlation Or Coincidence?

Originally posted on Brucetheeconomist's Blog:

 

A number of people have sent me this, so in case you haven’t seen the latest in the treasure trove of funny correlation does not imply causation graphs, here it is. From Businessweek:

(Click to see the full-size graphic on the original site, of course.) Most of these examples are absurd enough that people wouldn’t be likely to wrongly infer causality from them, but this might not be the case if the comparisons were more reasonable…or if people, as I do, believe that both Facebook and mountains are causing the downfall of Western civilization.

I was originally going to make a point about spurious correlation, but I am told that spurious correlation, rather than being random, occurs when events appear to be linked because they share a common cause. Raging narcissism of bankers aside, I can’t imagine that, for example, the rise of Facebook and the Greek…

View original 86 more words

January 23, 2012

The Daily Scoop: Fracked: The Debate Over Shale Gas Deepens

Is shale gas good for us or not? Most of that argument has been over the  potential risks that hydrofracking for shale gas might pose to water  supplies—risks that were highlighted again this week when the Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) came to Dimock, PA, to test groundwater in the area. You  might know Dimock from the anti-fracking film Gasland—a group of  residents have claimed for years that fracking poisoned their water supply, and  federal involvement indicates there may be more at stake.
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January 20, 2012

One More Time, Why Do We Need Keystone?

Morphing into a political and economic lightning rod, the current Keystone pipeline plan’s fate was decided this week…Permit DENIED.  The decision was met with scathing criticisms from  Republicans and praise from the President’s supporters. While much of the debate bounded between the two dominant issues; job creation and environmental concerns, few have asked, “Why?” Why do we need another pipeline for Canadian crude?

January 14, 2012

The Daily Scoop: EPA map lets you find out who’s polluting in your town

As the EPA has slowly been crafting its new rules to regulate global-warming emissions, one of the crucial first steps has involved getting a basic sense of where the pollution’s actually coming from.

Back in 2009, the agency required all large greenhouse-gas emitters — any power plant, refinery, or other facility that puts out more than 25,000 metric tons per year — to report their emissions. And today the EPA has unveiled a interactive online map that lets people check out the major polluters in their area (the emissions data are all from 2010).
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January 12, 2012

Climate Change 101: Climate vs Weather

One consistant observation noted when climate change debates break out is the use of weather by the opposition, (or deniers)  as “evidence” that global warming (more accurately climate change) is not real. This usually comes in the form of “the coldest winter on record” or “the most snowfall in a decade”. But therein lies the inherent misunderstand of what climate change actually is. Below is a simply visual by Ole Christoffer Haga which illustrates the difference between these two terms often used interchangeably albeit inaccurately.

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