The surprisingly low-tech solution to big cities’ climate woes: Triple-pane windows | Grist
Climate scientists have estimated that, in order to avoid runaway global warming, the world would need to cut its carbon emissions roughly in half by 2050. Since emissions in developing countries like China and India are still rising fast, meeting this target would require developed nations to aim for a figure more like 80 percent. When you consider that the United States, the largest polluter in the developed world, has no real strategy in place to achieve that — and that no binding international agreements appear to be on the horizon — the goal can start to sound nigh impossible.
The task is so intimidating that even serious people are starting to entertain extreme-sounding geoengineering ideas like flying business jets into the stratosphere and spraying sulfuric acid all over the place to try to deflect sunlight before it reaches the Earth. Others reckon it’s already too late to prevent catastrophic warming — we’ll have to build sea walls and hope for the best. President Obama alluded to a possible cap-and-trade system in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, but few believe such a sweeping policy would pass Congress.
Yet in a report released on Thursday, the nonprofit Urban Green Council makes the case that the country’s largest population centers needn’t rely on a federal breakthrough. Specifically, the 51-page report, titled “90 by 50,” finds that New York City could slash its emissions by a whopping 90 percent by 2050 without any radical new technologies, without cutting back on creature comforts, and maybe even without breaking its budget.

The surprisingly low-tech solution to big cities’ climate woes: Triple-pane windows | Grist

Climate scientists have estimated that, in order to avoid runaway global warming, the world would need to cut its carbon emissions roughly in half by 2050. Since emissions in developing countries like China and India are still rising fast, meeting this target would require developed nations to aim for a figure more like 80 percent. When you consider that the United States, the largest polluter in the developed world, has no real strategy in place to achieve that — and that no binding international agreements appear to be on the horizon — the goal can start to sound nigh impossible.

The task is so intimidating that even serious people are starting to entertain extreme-sounding geoengineering ideas like flying business jets into the stratosphere and spraying sulfuric acid all over the place to try to deflect sunlight before it reaches the Earth. Others reckon it’s already too late to prevent catastrophic warming — we’ll have to build sea walls and hope for the best. President Obama alluded to a possible cap-and-trade system in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, but few believe such a sweeping policy would pass Congress.

Yet in a report released on Thursday, the nonprofit Urban Green Council makes the case that the country’s largest population centers needn’t rely on a federal breakthrough. Specifically, the 51-page report, titled “90 by 50,” finds that New York City could slash its emissions by a whopping 90 percent by 2050 without any radical new technologies, without cutting back on creature comforts, and maybe even without breaking its budget.

smartercities:

Transport infrastructure is one of the main contributors to the increase of carbon emissions. But decarbonising the industry is likely to be challenging given that transport demand has continued to rise. In the OECD, passenger transport volumes in 2050 are expected to be 10% to 50% higher than in 2010. Freight transport is expected to grow by 50% to 130%.

How will these twin challenges play out? In this video, the Economist Intelligence Unit investigates how to make transport more sustainable.

Visualizing Every Single Carbon Emission In Your City | Co.Exist
Hestia is a new project that lets you see the whole picture of emissions, from that SUV idling at a red light to the power plant down the block.
We know, in the aggregate, that highways and buildings produce a lot of carbon. All those cars and trucks, and all those office towers and shopping malls—with their heating systems, and lighting, and appliances: It all adds up. No doubt. But that highway and that building and that airport? And how they compare? You can’t really appreciate it until you have good data, and, even more important, a good way of visualizing it.

Visualizing Every Single Carbon Emission In Your City | Co.Exist

Hestia is a new project that lets you see the whole picture of emissions, from that SUV idling at a red light to the power plant down the block.

We know, in the aggregate, that highways and buildings produce a lot of carbon. All those cars and trucks, and all those office towers and shopping malls—with their heating systems, and lighting, and appliances: It all adds up. No doubt. But that highway and that building and that airport? And how they compare? You can’t really appreciate it until you have good data, and, even more important, a good way of visualizing it.

Green fuel is possible with artificial ecosystems | Phys.org


For algae to power our cars and planes, production needs to be low carbon and cost effective, which means working with natural processes, not against them, say scientists.

Algae could become an important source of sustainable biofuel, as production doesn’t compete with  for land. But we may need to change the way we grow from closed systems to open ponds if it is to be low-carbon and cost-effective.

This is because current algae production in closed systems – usually for cosmetic ingredients – uses too much energy keeping the ecosystem isolated from the surrounding environment.

To overcome this issue, scientists from the University of Cambridge suggest that when grown in open ponds, algae should be supplemented with multiple species that help support the algae in some way. This would make the system less vulnerable to outside influences such as predators.


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A Visualization of March’s Record-Breaking Heat: 15,000 Records in the U.S.

March 2012 goes down as the warmest on record. NOAA data showed 7,755 daytime and 7,517 nighttime temperature records in the month of March. This visualization shows them in sequence.

(via The Atlantic)

via jtotheizzoe:

Solar thermal process produces cement with no carbon dioxide emissions | physorg.com
While the largest contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is the power industry, the second largest is the more often overlooked cement industry, which accounts for 5-6% of all anthropogenic CO2emissions. For every 10 kg of cement produced, the cement industry releases a full 9 kg of CO2. Since the world consumes about 3 trillion kg of cement annually, this sector has one of the highest potentials for CO2 emission reductions. But while processes are being explored to sequester the CO2 from cement production, so far no process can completely eliminate it.

Solar thermal process produces cement with no carbon dioxide emissions | physorg.com

While the largest contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is the power industry, the second largest is the more often overlooked cement industry, which accounts for 5-6% of all anthropogenic CO2emissions. For every 10 kg of cement produced, the cement industry releases a full 9 kg of CO2. Since the world consumes about 3 trillion kg of cement annually, this sector has one of the highest potentials for CO2 emission reductions. But while processes are being explored to sequester the CO2 from cement production, so far no process can completely eliminate it.

Could a carbon tax fix the deficit and the environment?
“Most carbon tax proposals envision an initial tax rate of $15 per ton of carbon dioxide. The carbon tax is meant not to raise revenue but to change behavior: The ultimate goal is to have polluters avoid paying the tax by shifting to renewables. Nonetheless, Tufts economist Gilbert Metcalf, in a 2007 paper, calculated that a $15 carbon tax would raise about $82.5 billion per year, which would easily cover the $70 billion cost of extending the payroll tax cut through 2013. To maintain pressure on polluters to keep reducing carbon emissions, the carbon tax would have to rise steadily. Inglis and Flake’s bill would raise it to $53 in its twentieth year, which is about what’s envisioned in a report by Robert Shapiro, Nam Pham, and Arun Malik of the private U.S. Climate Task Force. The task force calculated that the revenues could keep the Social Security tax a little below its current lowered rate and still leave 10 percent of the money to pay for other programs to fight climate change. Alternatively, you could use this money to provide even greater payroll tax relief for people at lower incomes.”
-Timothy Noah, “The Best Way to Fix the Deficit—and the Environment”
Photo courtesy of the New York Times
via thenewrepublic:

Could a carbon tax fix the deficit and the environment?

“Most carbon tax proposals envision an initial tax rate of $15 per ton of carbon dioxide. The carbon tax is meant not to raise revenue but to change behavior: The ultimate goal is to have polluters avoid paying the tax by shifting to renewables. Nonetheless, Tufts economist Gilbert Metcalf, in a 2007 paper, calculated that a $15 carbon tax would raise about $82.5 billion per year, which would easily cover the $70 billion cost of extending the payroll tax cut through 2013. To maintain pressure on polluters to keep reducing carbon emissions, the carbon tax would have to rise steadily. Inglis and Flake’s bill would raise it to $53 in its twentieth year, which is about what’s envisioned in a report by Robert Shapiro, Nam Pham, and Arun Malik of the private U.S. Climate Task Force. The task force calculated that the revenues could keep the Social Security tax a little below its current lowered rate and still leave 10 percent of the money to pay for other programs to fight climate change. Alternatively, you could use this money to provide even greater payroll tax relief for people at lower incomes.”

-Timothy Noah, “The Best Way to Fix the Deficit—and the Environment

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

via thenewrepublic:

Making Cement The Way Coral Does It: Out Of Thin Air | Fast Company
Biomineralization expert Brent Constantz of Stanford University got  inspiration from the way corals build reefs to make a new type of cement  for buildings. The process of making this cement actually removes  carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas, thought to cause global warming—from  the air. The company Constantz founded, called Calera,  has a demonstration plant on California’s Monterrey Bay that takes  waste CO2 gas from a local power plant and dissolves it into seawater to  form carbonate, which mixes with calcium in the seawater and creates a  solid. It’s how corals form their skeletons, and how Constantz creates  cement.

Making Cement The Way Coral Does It: Out Of Thin Air | Fast Company

Biomineralization expert Brent Constantz of Stanford University got inspiration from the way corals build reefs to make a new type of cement for buildings. The process of making this cement actually removes carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas, thought to cause global warming—from the air. The company Constantz founded, called Calera, has a demonstration plant on California’s Monterrey Bay that takes waste CO2 gas from a local power plant and dissolves it into seawater to form carbonate, which mixes with calcium in the seawater and creates a solid. It’s how corals form their skeletons, and how Constantz creates cement.

German Physicists: Historic Low Arctic Ice is a “Consequence of Man-Made Global Warming with Global Consequences” @ Climate Progress
Arctic Sea Ice Sets New Record Low in 2011 @ TreeHugger
environment editor John Vidal @ Guardian ~ Arctic sea ice is melting at its fastest pace in almost 40 years: The Northwest Passage was, again, free of ice this summer and the polar region could be unfrozen in just 30 years
via saveplanetearth:

German Physicists: Historic Low Arctic Ice is a “Consequence of Man-Made Global Warming with Global Consequences” @ Climate Progress

Arctic Sea Ice Sets New Record Low in 2011 @ TreeHugger

environment editor John Vidal @ Guardian ~ Arctic sea ice is melting at its fastest pace in almost 40 years: The Northwest Passage was, again, free of ice this summer and the polar region could be unfrozen in just 30 years

via saveplanetearth: