Tag Archives: fossil fuel

How Politics Stands in the Way of Real Energy Solutions

– By David Spence, Professor of Business, Government and Society; Professor of Law

In energy policy, political polarization often gets in the way of commonsense solutions to problems.

General Electric recently announced a technological advance that would allow pipeline companies to use drone-mounted cameras to inspect their lines for corrosion and leaks. This is the kind of development that could, with the right regulatory support, make huge strides toward preventing costly and harmful spills and solving other important problems afflicting America’s aging pipeline infrastructure.  (more…)

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Burning remaining fossil fuel could cause 60-meter sea level rise

Washington, DC—New work from an international team including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira demonstrates that the planet’s remaining fossil fuel resources would be sufficient to melt nearly all of Antarctica if burned, leading to a 50- or 60-meter (160- to 200-foot) rise in sea level. Because so many major cities are at or near sea level, this would put many highly populated areas where more than a billion people live under water, including New York City and Washington, DC. It is published in Science Advances. (more…)

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Creating fuel from sunlight

Turning fossil fuel into energy is easy: You just burn it. And live with the carbon dioxide byproduct. What if we could reverse the process and turn water and carbon dioxide back into fuel?

A dream solution, but it may seem like trying to put the genie back in the bottle. (more…)

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Interview with Prof. Richard Rood: ‘The Saga of Climate Change’

Richard Rood, is a professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the University of Michigan. He loves discussing the intersections of weather and climate, and climate and society. One of his current projects involves studying trends in extreme heat events. Rood is a blogger at Weather Underground and teaches a class on climate change problem solving.

As climate change is a favourite topic of Prof. Rood, so here we go. We have questions for him.

Q: How would you define ‘climate change?’

Richard Rood: As a basic definition, climate change would be an increase or decrease in the mean of the fundamental parameters we use to measure the Earth’s environment. This requires definition of several items: the parameters, what part of the environment, the amount of time used to calculate the mean, the spatial extent over which the parameters span, etc. Important amounts of time for our discussions of climate change are human, for example, the life span of the infrastructure in our cities. A common definition would be changes in the global average, surface air temperature, where the baseline is defined as a 30-year average. This is a weather- and atmosphere- based definition. (more…)

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Geothermal Energy Keeps Turkeys Comfortable and Saves Farmers’ Money; Prototype Designed by MU Engineer

COLUMBIA, Mo. — While Americans prepare to cook millions of turkeys for Thanksgiving, a geothermal energy system developed by a University of Missouri engineer will be keeping live turkeys toasty during the chilly autumn weather. In a prototype facility, designed by a University of Missouri engineer, environmentally and economically friendly geothermal energy is keeping turkeys comfortable during both cold and hot weather. The system is designed to reduce utility costs while improving the air quality for the birds.

“This is our first prototype of a geothermal system in a commercial livestock operation,” said Yun-Sheng Xu, associate research professor in civil and environmental engineering. “Our first set of performance data suggests that farmers could cut their heating costs in half at current propane prices. Currently, two units are installed at the test farm. Other farmers could begin installing units on their turkey farms as soon as next year, for use by next winter.” (more…)

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Keep on Truckin’?

Friends may help reduce package delivery costs

Every day trucks ply the neighborhoods of America, driving “the last mile” of the delivery chain for goods ordered through Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers.

But this last mile produces about half the fossil fuel consumption and emissions of the total retail system, according to studies.

What if somebody designed a system of drop-off points where people who regularly pass nearby could pick up packages for friends? (more…)

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More Potent than Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide Levels in California May be Nearly Three Times Higher Than Previously Thought

Berkeley Lab researchers devise a new method to estimate state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Using a new method for estimating greenhouse gases that combines atmospheric measurements with model predictions, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have found that the level of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, in California may be 2.5 to 3 times greater than the current inventory.

At that level, total N2O emissions—which are believed to come primarily from nitrogen fertilizers used in agricultural production—would account for about 8 percent of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The findings were recently published in a paper titled “Seasonal variations in N2O emissions from central California” in Geophysical Research Letters. Earlier this year, using the same methodology, the researchers found that levels of methane, another potent greenhouse gas, in California may be up to 1.8 times greater than previous estimates. (more…)

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UA Climate Scientists Put Predictions to the Test

A new study has found that climate-prediction models are good at predicting long-term climate patterns on a global scale but lose their edge when applied to time frames shorter than three decades and on sub-continental scales.

Climate-prediction models show skills in forecasting climate trends over time spans of greater than 30 years and at the geographical scale of continents, but they deteriorate when applied to shorter time frames and smaller geographical regions, a new study has found.

Published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, the study is one of the first to systematically address a longstanding, fundamental question asked not only by climate scientists and weather forecasters, but the public as well: How good are Earth system models at predicting the surface air temperature trend at different geographical and time scales? (more…)

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