2018/09/13: If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world.
Cement use is set to rise as global urbanisation and economic development increases demand for new buildings and infrastructure. Along with other parts of the global economy, the cement industry will need to dramatically cut its emissions to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. However, only limited progress has been made so far.
cement emissions depend largely on the proportion of clinker used in each tonne of cement. The type of fuel and efficiency of equipment used during clinker production also have an impact.
There are several reasons low-clinker or novel cements have so far failed to reach widespread use.
These technologies are less tried-and-tested than Portland cement, which has been used in construction for centuries. This leads to resistance from cement consumers, particularly in a sector which – for obvious reasons – tends to put safety as a high priority. Many of these new technologies are also not mature enough to reach wide-scale use.
Alternatives also tend to have more limited applications, meaning there may be no single replacement for Portland cement. Their use would, therefore, mean a move away from prescriptive standards.
2018/09/22: Permafrost thawing could indeed release ancient fossil fuels in areas where they intersect.
So now, in the Arctic’s August warmth, she had come back to this isolated spot with a small research team, along with her husband and two young sons, to see what secrets Esieh Lake might yield. Was it simply a bizarre anomaly? Or was it a sign that the thawing Arctic had begun to release an ancient source of methane that could worsen climate change?
When the scientists examined samples of the gases, they found the chemical signature of a “geologic” origin. In other words, the methane venting from the lake seemed to be emerging not from the direct thawing of frozen Arctic soil, or permafrost, but rather from a reservoir of far older fossil fuels.
If that were happening all over the Arctic, Walter Anthony figured — if fossil fuels that had been buried for millennia were now being exposed to the atmosphere — the planet could be in even deeper peril.
Scientists know the permafrost contains an enormous amount of carbon — enough to catastrophically warm the planet if it were all released into the atmosphere. But they don’t know how fast it can come out and whether changes will be gradual or rapid.
the continuing growth of thermokarst lakes — many of which have already formed in the tundra — could more than double the greenhouse gas emissions coming from the Arctic’s soils by 2100. That’s despite the fact that the lakes would cover less than 6 percent of the total Arctic land surface.
2018/08/14: none of this is inevitable, and one of the main barriers between us and a stable planet - one that isn’t actively hostile to human civilization over the long term - our economic system.
dramatically reimagine sectors like transportation and agriculture “at very fast rates.”
humans have to create their own negative feedback mechanisms so the Earth can maintain a stable level of carbon in the atmosphere. That means expanding and repairing the Earth’s natural “carbon sinks,” like big forests that can effectively suck emissions out of the atmosphere and store them naturally.
For high-emitting countries like the U.S., Steffen says the first step to avoiding planetary apocalypse is basically self-evident: “absolutely no new fossil fuel developments. None. That means no new coal mines, no new oil wells, no new gas fields, no new unconventional gas fracking. Nothing new. Second, you need to have a rapid phase-out plan for existing fossil fuels,” starting with coal
2018/08/20: Nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere's landmass sits above permafrost. Trapped in this frozen soil and vegetation is more than twice the carbon found in the atmosphere.
New data from two Arctic sites suggest some surface layers are no longer freezing. If that continues, greenhouse gases from permafrost could accelerate climate change.
in a region where temperatures can dip to 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, the Zimovs say unusually high snowfall this year worked like a blanket, trapping excess heat in the ground. They found sections 30 inches deep—soils that typically freeze before Christmas—that had stayed damp and mushy all winter. For the first time in memory, ground that insulates deep Arctic permafrost simply did not freeze in winter.
Could a thaw of permafrost begin decades sooner than many people expect in some of the Arctic's coldest, most carbon-rich regions, releasing trapped greenhouse gases that could accelerate human-caused climate change?
2018/09/11: The future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with agriculture.
one recent study estimates that elevated carbon dioxide (co2) could cause an additional 33.6 million in sub-Saharan Africa to become zinc deficient and another 16 million protein deficient by 2050 if levels continue to increase unabated. Today, an estimated 60 million African children under 5 years old are stunted due to inadequate nutrition.
Africa contributes little to global greenhouse gas emissions, but is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change due to its weak ability to adapt to related weather impacts, as well as its dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
A range of actions across sectors is needed to ensure the sustainability of Africa’s food and land use systems - and the health and well-being of millions of children.
A deadly positive feedback from melting permafrost is extremely bad news - and it will not even be noticed by most of the political class.
An international team of U.S. and German researchers found that abrupt thawing more than doubles previous estimates of permafrost-derived greenhouse warming. Even in the scenario where humans reduced their global carbon emissions, large methane releases from abrupt thawing are still likely to occur.
Calculating the chaos and the changed climate.
If you want to beat carbon, it's the only way to do it unless you change the chemical charts." So says Jack Robertson about the prospects f...
For years, everyone from Michael Pollan to Alice Waters has been talking about the "true cost of food." The reasoning is pretty straightforward: Consumers don't pay the real cost of food because many of the harms done to the environment or public health as a result of industrial farming practices are currently not included in
It's us! Turns out temperatures would be higher if not for a 1987 pact to slash CFCs.
Rising temperatures are linked to a decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption by tropical forests, according to a 50-year
A new report says New York City could slash its emissions by a whopping 90 percent by 2050 simply by making its buildings more energy efficient.
A new study indicates soot, known as black carbon, plays a far greater role in global warming than previously believed and is second only to CO2 in the amount of heat it traps in the atmosphere. Reducing some forms of soot emissions - such as from diesel fuel and coal burning - could prove effective in slowing down the planet's warming.
It's no surprise when pro-industrial agricultural organizations fight to keep the status quo. Yet, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) capitulated in July to trade organizations like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and their political representatives, retracting an endorsement of Meatless Mondays, a controversy began. The Meatless Mondays debate however isn't the only
Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture
The world's data centers are projected to surpass the airline industry as a greenhouse gas polluter by 2020, according to a new study by McKinsey & Company.
More evidence that bursts of methane from Arctic shallows do not herald some great climate unraveling.
(This is a long piece, but I'm putting it all on the front page because it's a massive issue.)