March 28, 2012
By Paul Joseph Watson
Barack Obama’s 2008 promise to “bankrupt” the coal industry is now coming to fruition with the EPA’s announcement of crippling CO2 emission limits on new plants that will effectively block the building of any new coal plants in the United States, accelerating the move towards total deindustrialization.
“The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday the first ever standards to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, a move likely to be hotly contested by Republicans and industry in an election year,” reports Reuters.
The enforcement of the new measures, which will force new plants to cut CO2 emissions by 50 per cent and also mandate investment in unaffordable technologies to bury carbon emissions underground, marks the realization of Obama’s 2008 promise to “bankrupt” the coal industry.
During an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008 when he was still a Senator, Obama stated, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”
Since Congress successfully defeated Obama’s disastrous climate bill in 2010, which would have imposed similar measures, the EPA has simply declared CO2, the life-giving gas that plants breathe, to be a deadly poison, and will impose the limits by dictatorial fiat.
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September 21, 2010
By: Jeff Mason
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce on Tuesday a U.S. contribution of more than $50 million toward providing clean cooking stoves in developing countries to reduce deaths from smoke inhalation and fight climate change.
The U.S. funding, which will be spread over five years, is part of a Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves being started to combat a problem officials equate with malaria and unclean water in terms of their health impact worldwide.
Some 1.9 million premature deaths, mostly among women and young children, occur every year due to smoke inhalation from rudimentary stoves, which in many cases consist of a few stones and an open fire inside or outside a shelter, officials said.
Smoke from such cooking methods can lead to childhood pneumonia, lung cancer, bronchitis and cardiovascular disease while contributing to climate change through emissions of carbon dioxide and methane — two major greenhouse gases — and black carbon.
The new alliance to combat the issue groups U.S. government agencies with the United Nations Foundation, Germany, Peru, Norway, the World Health Organization and corporate backers including Morgan Stanley and Shell, among others.
“This is something that touches on climate, on health, on women’s empowerment, on deforestation and on poverty,” Reid Detchon, vice president for energy and climate at the United Nations Foundation, said in an interview.
He said the group would seek to create a market for cleaner, less-polluting stoves and fuels to supply some 500 million households worldwide now using inefficient and dangerous cooking methods.
India, south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa were areas in which the problem was most acute.
“You’re not going to solve this problem with aid alone,” he said. “You’re going to have to create a thriving cookstove industry that can supply both stoves and fuels that people want and need.”
Better technology is available at affordable prices. More efficient stoves can be purchased for $10 to $100, according to one senior U.S. administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Clinton’s funding announcement.
Doing away with subsidies and focusing on a market-based approach was part of a focused development strategy the alliance hoped would prove more effective than previous attempts to address the problem in the past, he said.
August 13, 2010
By: S.L. Baker
It sounds like a futuristic sci fi idea: a non-toxic, earth friendly packing material that grows itself and, after it’s used, makes a great garden compost. But this isn’t fiction — it’s mushrooms.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), two former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute undergraduates, Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer, came up with the idea to make a composite of mushroom roots that could be used as a packing foam substitute. Their product, which they dubbed Mycobond, is now hitting the market and, according to a NSF press statement, has several advantages for the environment.
First of all, the manufacture of Mycobond requires just one eighth the energy and one tenth the carbon dioxide of traditional foam packing material. In fact, most of the manufacturing process is virtually energy-free with the mycelia (the vegetative parts of the mushrooms which consist of masses of branching, thread-like hyphae) simply growing by digesting agricultural starter material (mostly cotton seed or wood fiber) in a dark, room temperature environment.
The growth take place within a molded plastic structure which can be customized for whatever needs to be packed with the mushroom material. That means no energy at all is required for shaping the products. “We don’t manufacture materials, we grow them,” McIntyre explained in a statement to the media. “We’re converting agricultural byproducts into a higher-value product.”
The material has another economic benefit as well, he added, because the cost of mushroom packing material isn’t tied to the price fluctuations of synthetic materials that are derived from sources like petroleum. “All of our raw materials are inherently renewable and they are literally waste streams,” McIntyre said. “It’s an open system based on biological materials.”
Once fully formed, each Mycobond piece is heat-treated to stop the growth process and then delivered to the customer. Bayer and McIntyre, whose business is called Ecovative, are working to turn the entire process into a packaged kit that will eventually allow shipping facilities, and even homeowners, to grow their own Mycobond materials.
With support from NSF, McIntyre and Bayer are also developing an even less energy-intensive method to sterilize the agricultural waste starter material they use. Sterilization is a necessary step for enabling the mycelia to grow because it kills any spores that would compete with the growing-for-packing-material mushrooms. McIntyre and Bayer have been using a steam-heat sterilization process but they’ve now come up with a treatment made from cinnamon-bark oil, thyme oil, oregano oil and lemongrass oil that will allow the Mycobond mushroom product to grow in the open air, instead of their current clean-room environment.
“The biological disinfection process simply emulates nature in that it uses compounds that plants have evolved over centuries to inhibit microbial growth,” McIntyre said in a press statement. “The unintended result is that our production floor smells like a pizza shop.”
August 10, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
A recent report issued by the European Union has revealed that biofuels, or fuel made from living, renewable sources, is not really all that beneficial to the environment. Rather than reduce the net carbon footprint as intended, biofuels can produce four times more carbon dioxide pollution than conventional fossil fuels do.
Common biofuels like corn ethanol, which has become a popular additive in gasoline, and soy biodiesel, which is being used in commercial trucks and other diesel-fueled vehicles, are often considered to be environmentally-friendly because they are renewable. But in order to grow enough of these crops to use for both food and fuel, large swaths of land around the world are being converted into crop fields for growing biofuels.
In other words, millions of acres of lush rainforests are becoming corn and soy fields in order to provide enough of these resources for their new uses. The net carbon footprint of growing crops for fuel is far higher than what is emitted from simple fossil fuel usage.
According to the report, American soybeans have an indirect carbon footprint of 340kg of CO2 per gigajoule (GJ), while conventional diesel and gasoline create only 85kg/GJ. Similarly, the European rapeseed, a plant similar to the North American canola, indirectly produces 150kg/GJ because additional land in other nations has been converted to grow rapeseed for food in order to replace the native crops that are now being grown for fuel.
Ironically, the amount of direct and indirect resources used to grow food for fuel is quite high compared to that of conventional fossil fuels. Biofuels also do not burn as efficiently and can be rough on the engines they fuel. Ethanol-enriched gasoline can also reduce gas mileage efficiency by upwards of 25 percent, depending on the vehicle.
Growing food for fuel ends up increasing the price of food for consumers. It also puts additional strain on families, many of whom are already having difficulties making ends meet in current economic conditions.
When all is said and done, biofuels seem to be a whole lot of hype with not a lot of benefit. Environmentally, fiscally and practically, biofuels are a disaster. Fossil fuels may not be an ideal form of clean energy, but at this point in time, they make a lot more sense than biofuels.
July 14, 2010
By: David Gutierrez
The refrigerators that supermarkets use to keep products fresh for extended periods of time pose a major threat to the global environment, the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has warned.
When concern over the depletion of the ozone layer entered the mainstream in the 1990s, supermarkets widely phased out the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), replacing them with ozone-neutral hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The problem is, HFCs have 3,900 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide, and they inevitably leak from fridges as a normal part of everyday use and maintenance.
A single ton of HFCs produces a warming effect equivalent to one billion car trips to the supermarket.
According to the EIA’s Fionnuala Walravens, the group has had trouble raising awareness about the issue, particularly in comparison with recent widespread moves to get consumers to start using reusable shopping bags.
“Fridges are not sexy,” Walravens said. “The environmental impact of supermarket refrigeration is a big issue but little understood … it is a hell of a lot bigger than free plastic bags.”
Refrigerator emissions are responsible for 30 percent of an average supermarket’s direct climate footprint.
For two years in a row, the EIA has produced a report ranking supermarkets for their efforts to address the problem. To date, only 0.5 percent of U.K. stores have switched to less damaging refrigerant gases, such as ammonia, hydrocarbons or carbon dioxide.
“Though some supermarkets have made a good effort over the last year, the survey results are disappointing,” Walravens said.
Lowest ranking of all British supermarket chains was the “ethical” Co-operative Group, which recently refitted stores with new HFC refrigerators and shows “heavy reliance” on HFC fridges at its distribution centers. Although megachain Tesco ranked in at number two, as the United Kingdom’s largest grocery chain it is still also its largest HFC polluter.
The EIA is calling on all stores to phase out HFC fridges by 2015.
July 9, 2010
By: Allan Hall
It could hardly be said to be the most dignified of send-offs.
Undertakers in Belgium plan to eschew traditional burials and cremations and start dissolving corpses instead. The move is intended to tackle a lack of burial space and environmental concerns as 573lbs of carbon dioxide are released by each cremated corpse.
Under the process, known as resomation, bodies are treated in a steel chamber with potassium hydroxide at high pressure and a temperature of 180c (350f).
The raised pressure and temperature means the body reaches a similar end point as in standard cremation — just bones left to be crushed up — in two to three hours.
Six states in America have passed legislation to allow resomation and the Scottish company behind the technology says it is in talks to allow the process in the UK.
Although the ashes can be recycled in waste systems, the residue from the process can also be put in urns and handed over to relatives of the dead like normal ashes from crematorium farewells.
Resomation Ltd was formed in east Glasgow in 2007 and has been in talks with the UK government about using the technology in Britain.
The company says on its website: ‘The process needs to be approved in each country and/or state before resomation can take place.
‘In the UK discussions have already been held with the relevant Ministers and departments within Whitehall in order to progress the use of resomation in the UK.
‘Elsewhere across the globe this is a work in progress.’
Sandy Sullivan, founder of The Resomation Company said: ‘Resomation offers a new, innovative approach which uses less energy and emits significantly less greenhouse gasses than cremation.
‘I am getting a lot of requests from families and we hope it will become legal in Scotland within the year.
‘Burial space is running out and I have had lots of people contact me whose loved ones have chosen resomation.
‘It’s a highly sensitive subject but I think the public are ready for it.’
The name ‘Resomation’ comes from the Greek word ‘Resoma’ meaning rebirth of the human body.
Members of the EU Commission must rule on the Belgian proposal as there are concerns that residual waste could be flushed into the drainage system.
Belgian undertakers hope to have the greenlight within three months.
In resomation the body is placed in a silk bag, itself placed within a metal cage frame. This is then loaded into a Resomator.
The machine is filled with a mixture of water and potassium hydroxide.
The end result is a small quantity of green-brown tinted liquid containing amino acids, peptides, sugars and salts and soft, porous white bone remains which are easily crushed.
The white ash can then be returned to the next of kin of the deceased.
The liquid can be recycled back to the ecosystem by being applied to a memorial garden or forest or simply put into the sewerage system.
April 15, 2010
By: Deborah Zebarenko
Climate change could push the cost of U.S. allergies and asthma beyond the current $32 billion annual price tag, conservation and health groups reported on Wednesday.
A warming planet makes for longer growing seasons that would produce more allergy-provoking pollen in much of the heavily populated eastern two-thirds of the United States, the National Wildlife Federation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America said in their report.
The cost of coping with allergies and allergen-driven asthma in the United States is at $32 billion in direct medical costs, lost work days and lower productivity, the report said.
“Climate change could allow highly allergenic trees like oaks and hickories to start replacing pines, spruces and firs that generally don’t cause allergies, exposing many more people to springtime allergy triggers,” said Amanda Staudt, a climate scientist at the wildlife federation.
Spring-like conditions are already arriving 14 days earlier than 20 years ago, Staudt said.
In the fall, ragweed plants will grow larger and more loaded with pollen over a longer growing season, Staudt said in a telephone interview. There is also evidence that ragweed, the biggest U.S. allergy trigger, grows faster as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that spurs climate change, is emitted by human-made sources like fossil-fueled vehicles and coal-fired power plants as well as natural sources including human breath.
CARBON DIOXIDE CONNECTION
“With more carbon dioxide, each ragweed plant can produce more pollen and can even produce more allergenic pollen, so fall allergies are going to get a pretty big hit,” Staudt said.
The average global temperature last year tied for the second highest year on record and the decade from 2000-2009 was the hottest on record, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
This means agricultural and natural growing zones are shifting northward, allowing pollen-bearing trees to survive over a wider range than they have historically, the report said.
About 10 million U.S. residents have so-called allergic asthma, in which asthma attacks are triggered by pollen or other airborne allergens. These attacks are likely to increase as global warming causes these allergens to become more widespread, numerous and potent, the report said.
Poison ivy, one of the top 10 medically problematic plants in the United States with more than 350,000 cases of contact dermatitis reported annually, would become more toxic and more widespread as the climate changes. When exposed to more carbon dioxide, poison ivy plants produce a more allergenic form of urushiol, the substance that makes skin itch.
March 30, 2010
By Gerald Warner
It is becoming difficult to keep pace with the speed at which the global warming scam is now unravelling. The latest reversal of scientific “consensus” is on livestock and the meat trade as a major cause of global warming – one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to eco-vegetarian cranks. Now a scientific report delivered to the American Chemical Society says it is nonsense. The Washington Times has called it “Cowgate”.
The cow-burp hysteria reached a crescendo in 2006 when a United Nations report ominously entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” claimed: “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport.” This led to demands in America for a “cow tax” and a campaign in Europe at the time of the Copenhagen car crash last December called Less Meat=Less Heat.
Now a report to the American Chemical Society by Frank Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California at Davis, has denounced such scare-mongering as “scientifically inaccurate”. He reveals that the UN report lumped together digestive emissions from livestock, gases produced by growing animal feed and meat and milk processing, to get the highest possible result, whereas the traffic comparison only covered fossil fuel emissions from cars. The true ratio, he concludes, is just 3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in America are attributable to rearing of cattle and pigs, compared with 26 per cent from transport.
Mitloehner also makes the deadly serious point: “Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries.” Precisely. The demonising of cows and pigs is just another example of global warmists’ callous indifference to starvation in the developing world, as in the case of the unbelievably immoral and reckless drive for biofuels – pouring Third World resources for subsistence into Western liberals’ fuel tanks – and, notoriously, carbon trading.