Download to laptop, find sunshine, read (or take a nap)

April 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

It looks like some good weekend weather is headed our way. Here are some news stories about the environment … but first, I attended both of the climate-related events this week at PSU (Gary Braasch and The Scientific Case for Human Influence) and both were terrific. One of the questions that was launched at the Scientific Case panel was, “can CO2 emissions prevent the next Ice Age?” Snappy answer, “the next Ice Age isn’t going to happen for another 20,000 years and there won’t be any fossil fuels left.” Which leads to our first news story:

  • Case Closed: CO2 Helped End Last Ice Age (Science, 6 Apr 2012, p. 18 News of the Week). Ice core records from Antarctica had showed CO2 rising after post-Ice Age warming was in full swing, but that data comes from a single location. A new study of 80 paleo-temperature records from around the globe shows that the global warming that ended the last Ice Age followed a rise in CO2 by a couple of centuries. Which leads to the next question? What were they driving?
  • Exploring Energy Choices (NY Times, 12 Apr 2012, Dot Earth blog) A special online forum can be found at Dot Earth. Watch videos of Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu and other experts. There are also links to videos of panel discussions of natural gas.
  • Fuel to Burn. Now what? (NY Times, 10 Apr 2012, Business Day: Energy & Environment) In the last 10 years energy debates have moved from “how do we obtain cheap oil and gas?” (go to war in Iraq!) to “what do we do with all of cheap natural gas, oil tar sands, and coal under our feet?” (burn it! export it!) New choices face us as we discover that (certain) fossil fuels might be cheaper and more available than we thought.
  • Oysters Die When CO2 Levels Rise (NY Times, 12 Apr 2012, Science: Environment: Green blog) An Oregon oyster hatchery reported in 2009 that oyster production had declined by 80% in recent years. Scientists now believe they can tie falling NW oyster populations to rising CO2 levels.
  • Green Cement (Living on Earth, 27 Jan 2012, mp3 podcast or transcript) Cement is one of the world’s most important construction materials and huge amounts of greenhouse gases are released during its manufacture. Portland cement, the best kind, gets manufactured in a kiln that must be heated to 1500C. Then the chemical reaction that converts wet cement into dry concrete releases additional CO2. Living on Earth interviewed Prof. Alex Moseson at Drexel University who is developing an energy-saving alternative.
  • Green Chemistry Funding Flip-Flop? (C&E News, 12 Apr 2012, Latest News) Earlier this week I received an urgent email from a colleague in green chemistry. He was telling me about an EPA decision to cut research funding for an important green chemistry program. Later in the week, another email came. Follow what’s going on at this link.
  • Green Cosmetics at L’Oreal (Green Chemistry 2012, 14, 952-956, published on web 13 Feb 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2GC16341A ) Scientists at the L’Oreal cosmetics company describe their efforts to introduce green chemistry practices into the development and manufacture of cosmetics. Their article is titled, “Industrial commitment to green and sustainable chemistry: using renewable materials & developing eco-friendly processes and ingredients in cosmetics”
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Entry filed under: In the News.

Climate Change Coming to a Century Near You Reading Week Blues?

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