We Can Fix The Problem of greenhouse gas emissions but first we have to fix the U.S. Congress so it can make the difficult decisions needed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. We can make Congress work by taking away the influence of money on our Representatives. And that is way easier than you think. Just go to www.fixourcongress.org and sign the Petition for your State. That’s right: we are going to do this one State at a time. The Petition spells out exactly how we will do it. Why no one thought to do this before is beyond me; this will change everything.
The title says it all, provided you know the story. If you don’t it goes like this. The emperor was fooled into buying a suit of clothes that were invisible. Obviously when he wore invisible clothes he appeared naked. Unfortunately he was constantly surrounded by his loyal subjects, all of which were afraid to be the first to say what they actually saw, so the Emperor went about his daily chores completely naked. One day while riding down the street in an open carriage the Emperor passed a little boy standing by the side of the road. The little boy saw the naked Emperor and said, “Mommy, why is the Emperor naked?” And then suddenly all the people standing within ear shot of the little boy began to scream and shout, “The Emperor is naked, the Emperor is naked.” Well that is what has been happening with the state of our planet. And therefore I must be the little boy standing by the side of the road because it seems I am one of the first to publicly say we can NOT stop climate change at this point. Why? Because the half life of carbon is 100 years and there is already enough carbon in the air to melt both ice caps and virtually every glacier on the planet. And the more ice that melts the warmer the planet gets, and the warmer the planet gets, ya da, ya da, ya da. Does that mean we should stop trying? Hell no. This means we need to redouble our efforts today and put the brakes on the decimation of our civilization. This is exactly why we need a people to people program like PLANET EARTH SHIP. www.earth-ship.com. Join the movement to stop the madness.
Thankfully the mood of this country seems to be changing. Some people are getting a little nervous, and rightfully so. I still think we need to do more and we need to move faster. I know it is difficult to react to something when it is not slapping you in the face every day, but the ultimate consequences of climate change so severe that they are to contemplate. So why take the chance. Paul Krugman of the New York Times wrote a piece on Sunday 11 April that explained while the new green economy will not be completely painless, it is clearly the only viable alternative we have at this point. While I think Mr. Krugman is right in his assessment, I still think we need a Vietnam War-era type of movement. Young people need to wake up to the problems they face. They have the most to lose so they are the ones who should do something. Now, not later.
Who started the Russian Revolution? It wasn’t the Czar and it wasn’t the Government. It was the people; the Bolshevists. They changed Russia forever. Who started the movement to decrease cigarettes use? It wasn’t the US Government and it wasn’t corporations. It was the people of Alabama who sued the tobacco companies and won. Smoking has been on the decline ever since. And who stopped the Vietnam War? It wasn’t the US Government; they couldn’t figure out how to win the war and they didn’t want to lose it. It was 700,000 angry and unhappy students marching on the Mall in Washington DC. Students started the movement that stopped the Vietnam War. Make no mistake about that. Furthermore, in the view of this author, students today can start a movement to promote sustainability. So why not go to our web site and join the movement. We will keep you posted about rallies that will be staged all over the country. Let’s start the movement to stop the madness.
We are unlikely to stop climate change at this point based on the very simple observation that both ice caps, and virtually every glacier on earth, are melting and decreasing in size. Furthermore, the tundra has warmed sufficiently to begin to release methane. The more ice that melts in the Arctic, the more sea that is uncovered. The more sea that is uncovered, the more the oceans warms and the faster the remaining ice melts, anon. Same for the methane; the more that is released the warmer the atmosphere becomes and the warmer the atmosphere becomes, ya da ya da ya da. So if we parked every car on earth, and shut off every fossil fuel burning generating plant on earth TODAY, the earth would continue to warm for many decades since the half-life of the carbon in CO2, I’m told, is about 100 years. This tells me we need another strategy to combat climate change; something besides improving the MPG for SUVs.
In the wake of Gustav, three more tropical storms are lining up to pummel U.S. coasts. The increased frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms this season has stirred up the debate about whether global warming causes violent weather. Many scientists and climatologists believe that global warming is not only creating more storms, but more destructive storms.
“It contributes to bigger storms and more intense storms,” said Kevin Trenberth, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Global warming causes an increase in ocean surface temperatures, increasing evaporation which releases additional heat energy into the atmosphere increasing the strength and duration of tropical storms, Trenberth explained, noting it was unusual to see four storms in the Atlantic simultaneously.
“It’s rare, perhaps, but it’s not unprecedented,” countered climatologist Jay Hobgood of Ohio State University. Hobgood and others believe the Earth is in the middle of a normal 40-year weather cycle that periodically produces more hurricanes. “The hurricane season peaks in the first two weeks of September. This is when you would expect it to be most active.”
NOAA statistics show a marked increase in the annual number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the last 20 years. Veteran hurricane expert, Hugh Willoughby of Florida International University said, “What we’re getting now, I think, is a double whammy of a slow global warming trend and a natural cycle for hurricanes.” The retired National Hurricane Center specialist said within a year or two scientists should be able to separate the effects of global warming from natural storm patterns and determine the true effect of human-produced carbon dioxide on weather.
The X Prize Foundation will host a discussion of alternative energy ideas at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Wednesday, September 10, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EDT. Some of the world’s most renowned leaders in alternative energy and the environment will share their views. Video of the event will be distributed to both presidential campaigns and will be available for viewing on YouTube (www.youtube.com/xprize).
“Seeking Radical Breakthroughs in Alternative Energy — What I Would Advise the Next President” is the focus of the event. Speakers will include futurist Dr. Ray Kurzweil, biologist Dr. George Church, inventor Dr. Saul Griffith, and X Prize Foundation Chairman and CEO Dr. Peter Diamandis, among others.
This is the kind of thought-provoking program the Earth-Ship movement plans to sponsor in the near future. Once launched, the Earth Ships will become floating auditoriums dedicated to promoting worldwide awareness of the environmental impact of global warming and climate change. They will serve as demonstration labs for alternative energy innovations. They will bring together people and ideas from around the world for spirited discussions and problem-solving forums focused on global warming, climate change and the protection of our environment.
To find out more about the Earth-Ship program and how you can help, visit the Earth-Ship website.
There’s an environmental time bomb ticking beneath the Arctic soil. Scientists warn that global warming could release huge stores of carbon dioxide trapped in Arctic soils, immediately accelerating climate change and disastrously impacting the environment.
Scientists have long known that organic carbon frozen in the world’s permafrost, which blankets one-fifth of Earth’s land mass, will release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when thawed. But they had no idea how much carbon was actually frozen in the icy tundra. University of Alaska researchers evaluated 117 meter deep soil samples to accurately gauge the volume of this “carbon pool.” Previous estimates were based on limited sampling at shallow depths.
The study found the North American carbon pool to be 60% greater than previously estimated and equivalent to about one-sixth of the atmosphere’s total carbon content. Researchers believe the tundra of Europe and Russia may contain similarly large carbon pools. Frozen temperatures are all that keep this material from thawing and flooding the atmosphere with greenhouse gases.
“Releasing even a portion of this carbon into the atmosphere, in the form of methane or carbon dioxide, would have a significant impact on Earth’s climate,” warns Christian Beer of Germany’s Max Planck Institute. With scientists predicting a 10.8 degree (Fahrenheit) increase in Arctic temperatures before the end of the century, the potential for disaster is immense.
Global warming is melting Arctic ice and opening up new navigable ocean in the extreme Arctic north. The day is soon coming when Arctic Ocean waters the size of the United States will be ice-free and navigable for most of the summer.
In anticipation of coming commercial traffic, the U.S. Coast Guard has opened two temporary stations on Alaska’s far north coast. The Coast Guard is preparing for oil tankers, fishing vessels and even cruise ships to venture into waters that have been the sole domain of indigenous hunters, seals and polar bears. “We have to prepare for the world coming to the Arctic,” said Rear Admiral Gene Brooks, commander of the Coast Guard’s Alaska district.
Each year global warming has melted an increasing amount of polar sea ice. The summer ice cap is now only half the size it was in the 1960s. Last year Arctic ice thawed to a record low. The receding ice makes ocean travel along Alaska’s inhospitable northern coast tempting; however, shifting ice can easily trap ships.
After several rescues last year, the Coast Guard opened temporary stations at Borrow and Prudhoe Bay to provide new refueling, reprovisioning and rescue services. However, the Guard is concerned that increased ship traffic will increase the risk of oil spills, wayward boaters and other problems in what is one of the world’s last remaining pristine wilderness areas.
The world just got one step closer to affordable, clean hydrogen fuel. Scientists at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio have developed an efficient way to convert ethanol and other biofuels into hydrogen. The new catalyst uses ethanol to make hydrogen, producing a 90% yield. Even better, the process uses inexpensive ingredients and produces hydrogen at a workable temperature.
Unlike other hydrogen processes under development around the world, the OSU process does not use precious metals like platinum or rhodium, making it considerably less expensive than its competitors. “Rhodium is used most often for this kind of catalyst and it costs around $9,000 dollars an ounce,” said Umit Ozkan, OSU professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “Our catalyst costs around $9 a kilogram.”
Ozkan believes the OSU-developed catalyst could make the use of hydrogen-powered cars a practical reality in the future. She noted, “Our research lends itself to what’s called a ‘distributed production’ strategy. Instead of making hydrogen from biofuel at a centralized facility and transporting it to gas stations, we could use our catalyst inside reactors that are actually located at the gas stations. So we wouldn’t have to transport or store the hydrogen. We could store the biofuel and make hydrogen on the spot.”