Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Canadian Senate kills climate change bill


Richard Lindzen on Climategate.tv


Monday, November 22, 2010

IPCC Official: “Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World’s Wealth”

Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated. Ottmar Edenhofer

For those who may not know, Ottmar Edenhofer is the co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III.
....The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.

That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.
That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.
Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves in the soil under our feet – and we must emit only 400 gigatons in the atmosphere if we want to keep the 2-degree target. 11 000 to 400 – there is no getting around the fact that most of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil.
De facto, this means an expropriation of the countries with natural resources. This leads to a very different development from that which has been triggered by development policy.
First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole..... Read full interview here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cost-effective ways to address climate change

By Bjorn Lomborg
One of the scarier predictions about global warming is the suggestion that melting glaciers and ice caps could cause sea levels to rise as much as 15 to 20 feet over the next century. Set aside the fact that the best research we have - from the United Nations climate panel - says that global sea levels are not likely to rise more than about 20 inches by 2100. Rather, let's imagine that over the next 80 or 90 years, a giant port city - say, Tokyo - found itself engulfed by a sea-level rise of about 15 feet. Millions of inhabitants would be imperiled, along with trillions of dollars' worth of infrastructure. Without a vast global effort, could we cope with such a terrifying catastrophe?

Well, we already have. In fact, we're doing it right now.
Since 1930, excessive groundwater withdrawal has caused Tokyo to subside by as much as 15 feet. Similar subsidence has occurred over the past century in numerous cities, including Tianjin, Shanghai, Osaka, Bangkok and Jakarta. And in each case, the city has managed to protect itself from such large relative sea-level rises without much difficulty.
The process is called adaptation, and it's something we humans are very good at. That isn't surprising, since we've been doing it for millennia. As climate economist Richard Tol notes, our ability to adapt to widely varying climates explains how people live happily at both the equator and the poles. In the debate over global warming, in which some have argued that civilization as we know it is at stake, this is an important point. Humankind is not completely at the mercy of nature. To the contrary, when it comes to dealing with the impact of climate change, we've compiled a pretty impressive track record. While this doesn't mean we can afford to ignore climate change, it provides a powerful reason not to panic about it either.
There is no better example of how human ingenuity can literally keep our heads above water than the Netherlands. Although a fifth of their country lies below sea level - and fully half is less than three feet above it - the Dutch maintain an enormously productive economy and enjoy one of the world's highest standards of living. The secret is a centuries-old system of dikes, supplemented in recent decades by an elaborate network of floodgates and other barriers. All this adaptation is not only effective but also amazingly inexpensive. Keeping Holland protected from any future sea-level rises for the next century will cost only about one-tenth of 1 percent of the country's gross domestic product.
Coping with rising sea levels is hardly the only place where low-cost, high-impact adaptation strategies can make a huge difference. One of the most pernicious impacts of global warming is the extent to which it exacerbates the phenomenon known as the urban "heat island effect" - the fact that because they lack greenery and are chockablock with heat-absorbing black surfaces such as tar roofs and asphalt roads, urban areas tend to be much warmer than the surrounding countryside. Ultimately, we're not going to solve any of these problems until we figure out a way to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Read more here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lives Saved per Life Lost Due to Global Warming

From CO2 Science

The authors write that "the IPCC AR4 states with very high confidence that climate change contributes to the global burden of disease and to increased mortality," citing the contribution of Confalonieri et al. (2007) to that document.
What was done
In an effort handsomely suited to evaluate this very-high-confidence contention of the IPCC, Christidis et al. extracted the numbers of daily deaths from all causes from death registration data supplied by the UK Office of National Statistics for men and women fifty years of age or older in England and Wales for the period 1976-2005, which they divided by daily estimates of population "obtained by fitting a fifth order polynomial to mid-year population estimates, to give mortality as deaths per million people," after which they compared the death results with surface air temperature data that showed a warming trend during the same three-decade period of 0.47°C per decade. In addition, they employed a technique called optimal detection, which they describe as "a formal statistical methodology" that can be used to estimate the role played by human adaptation in the temperature-related changes in mortality they observed.
What was learned
As expected, during the hottest portion of the year, warming led to increases in death rates, while during the coldest portion of the year it lead to decreases in death rates. More specifically, the three scientists report that if no adaptation had taken place, there would have been 1.6 additional deaths per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year over the period 1976-2005, but there would have been 47 fewer deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 29.4, which represents a huge net benefit of the warming experienced in England and Wales over the three-decade period of warming. And when adaptation was included in the analysis, as was the case in the data they analyzed, they found there were only 0.7 death per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year, but a decrease of fully 85 deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a phenomenal lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 121.4.
What it means
Clearly, the IPCC's "very-high-confidence" conclusion is woefully wrong. Warming is highly beneficial to human health, even without any overt adaptation to it. And when adaptations are made, warming is incredibly beneficial in terms of lengthening human life span. Read more here.

Global Warming Loses Public Interest and Scientific Confidence

From Canada Free Press
In their ‘Essential Science Indicators (Research Fronts 2004-09),’ Reuters proved that the IPCC uses only 13 peer-reviewed papers to justify blaming human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) for global warming; thus disproving the so-called "consensus" of world scientists that ABC’s Lewandowsky and others would have us think.

Indeed, the IPPC stands very much apart from most scientists in predicting climate catastrophes. In their 2007 ‘Summary for Policymakers’ the IPPC use the word ‘catastrophe’ or its conjugated derivatives no less than 338 times despite the word never appearing in any of the scientific literature.
Moreover, so scant was IPCC regard for expert opinion about the role of the sun that they entrusted its analysis to just one expert. But worse, that sole IPCC scientist referred only to her own studies - a clear conflict of interest that no mainstream media outlet has ever addressed.
Mainstream journalism has been so lax leaving the public largely unaware that a further 534 important studies unquestioningly put their trust in the narrowly focused IPCC findings.
So poor was the examination of the role of the sun that the issue of cosmic rays was ignored completely even though it is considered a key climate factor by most scientists and a world leading theorist on this issue, Henrik Svensmark. Read more here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Super-catalyst found to purify hydrogen

Production of hydrogen through the water-gas shift reaction after dispersing gold (Au), copper (Cu), and platinum (Pt) on T1O2 (110) and the group’s “super-catalyst,” CeOx/T1o2(110). Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Hydrogen—the lightest and most abundant element on the periodic table—is also a potential powerhouse. Today, we use pure hydrogen in a range of chemical processes, including the synthesis of ammonia for fertilizers. Some scientists believe that hydrogen could power everything from electronics to buildings to cars in a model referred to as the hydrogen economy. In order to achieve such feats, however, scientists need to produce pure hydrogen.

Chemists can obtain pure hydrogen through the water-gas shift reaction, in which carbon monoxide and water yield carbon dioxide and pure hydrogen molecules. Four years ago, Brookhaven chemist Jose Rodriguez and his colleagues began to investigate a highly effective catalyst for this reaction, which combined gold and ceria (CeO2). Their main objective was to understand exactly how each component of the catalyst behaved.
“You need to understand the role of each element in the reaction: what is the metal doing, what is the oxide doing?” Rodriguez said. “Only then can you figure out how to optimize the catalyst.”
Beginning with this first catalyst, and gradually tweaking one variable after another, Rodriguez and his colleagues set out to find even better catalytic combinations. Using characterization techniques like photoemission, time-resolved x-ray diffraction and x-ray absorption spectroscopy at NSLS beamlines U7A, U12, X7B, and X19A, they studied details of the structural and electronic properties of the gold-ceria catalyst.
“Specifically, what the NSLS allows us to do is to perform an in-situ characterization of the catalyst,” Rodriguez said. This means that Rodriguez and his colleagues examine the catalyst while the reaction is taking place, rather than characterizing the catalyst and products before and after the reaction.
With in-situ characterization, Rodriguez and his colleagues can determine two key factors: precisely when the active phase for the reaction appears on the catalyst and how it affects the reaction mechanism.

These key factors allow scientists to refine the reaction, exchanging and adjusting its components. Each adjustment can make a difference in the efficiency of the total process.
Last fall, Rodriguez and his colleagues tested a new catalyst that combines ceria in a mixed metal oxide, building upon the findings of their previous research. They found that this surface combination with a dispersion of gold, copper, or platinum nanoparticles revealed high catalytic properties. Their characterization of the catalyst’s powerful properties first appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
More recently, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they compared catalytic effects with a dispersion of gold, copper, and platinum nanoparticles. While platinum showed the highest catalytic activity, meaning it produced the most hydrogen for a fixed amount of ceria, copper was a close second and has the advantage of being a much less expensive metal.
“These papers were a breakthrough for us because they show that our catalyst works,” Rodriguez said. “This is a super-catalyst, the next generation catalyst for the water-gas shift reaction.”
This initial characterization is a victory for Rodriguez and his colleagues but is by no means the end of their quest. The new catalyst involves a more complex reaction mechanism than the gold-ceria catalyst that began Rodriguez’ studies. Studying this next-generation catalyst could reveal more discoveries and can lead to an even more potent super-catalyst.
Other scientists involved in this research include Joon B. Park, Dario Stacchiola, Sanjaya D. Senanayake, Laura Barrio, Xiaquin Wang, Jon Hanson, Ping Liu, and Jan Hrbek (Brookhaven); Jesus Graciani and Javier Fdez. Sanz (University of Seville); and Jaime Evans (Central University of Venezuela).
Their research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Read more here.

New low temp hydrogen solid storage

The hydrogen catch-and-release, a.k.a. dehydrogenation and hydrogenation, in this LiBH4 and MgH2 fuel cell system operates coolly and reversibly.

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Connecticut have developed a new solid hydrogen storage material using lithium borohydride (LiBH4) with a dash of additive magnesium hydride (MgH2).

The specific new invention is a new type of ball-milling technique, which the researchers describe as something similar to "rock tumbling" - where rough stones are rotated inside a barrel with a selection of harder grit stone, until the rough edges have all been removed.
By putting the materials through this milling technique, they can subsequently be charged with hydrogen and discharge hydrogen at higher speed and without high temperatures.
The materials were analysed at molecular level using a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR) and other similar resources.
The research has pointed to new avenues of study using different additives and mechanical manipulation techniques, the researchers say. Read more here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hydrogen highway gets new stop in Surrey

By Jeff Nagel - Surrey North Delta Leader

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts prepares to pump hydrogen into a car at the city's new hydrogen fueling station.

A new hydrogen fueling station now open in Surrey is powering up hopes the alternative fuel may run everything from cars to trains down the road.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said the new station, in the city's operations works yard at 66 Avenue and 148 Street, lays the groundwork for greater use of hydrogen fuel in the future and will help the municipality meet its commitment to cut greenhouse as emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
"As we move away from fossil fuels, we have to look at other alternatives for clean energy," Watts said. "We'll be testing the technology."
Surrey is using two of just a handful of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell cars in use in the Lower Mainland but could get more through a partnership with PowerTech Labs.
The city aims to add 21 alternative fuel vehicles to its municipal fleet over the next year.
The station is the first in Canada to be run by a municipality, although there is one other hydrogen fuel station already in Surrey at Powertech (88th Avenue and 123 Street) and five others in Burnaby (Ballard Fuel), North Vancouver, UBC, Whistler and Vancouver Airport.
The two Surrey stations reinforce the city's position as a leader in the technology, Watts said.
Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association consultant Ron Harmer said significant numbers of hydrogen-powered cars will start to hit the consumer market by 2015.
Adding another fueling station is important, he said, because car companies like Nissan, Daimler and Toyota that will roll out more hydrogen vehicles will look first to cities and regions with adequate infrastructure.
The hydrogen for the new Surrey station comes from Powertech's existing Surrey plant, where the B.C. Hydro subsidiary electrolyzes water into hydrogen.
Because the hydrogen is made in Surrey, it's counted as cleaner than the hydrogen powering Whistler's fleet of hydrogen buses, which has to be trucked in from Quebec because of the larger volumes required.
A much bigger and greener local source of the fuel could come on stream.
Large amounts of hydrogen created as an industrial byproduct at a chemical plant in North Vancouver and now vented into the air may be trapped and collected in the future.
"There's enough hydrogen there to fuel something like 20,000 vehicles per year," Harmer said.
"If we're actually producing it ourselves locally from a waste stream, this is a very cost-effective and clean energy source," added Surrey transportation advocate Peter Holt. "It's not pie in the sky any more."
Holt, a director of the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society, thinks hydrogen pumped from the Surrey stations could even fuel the heritage train the society plans to launch on the former Interurban rail route next year.
The demonstration project will test a route from Cloverdale to Sullivan (152 Street and 64 Avenue) but Holt said the restored Interurban rail car to be used can run beyond Surrey, on any rail track in the region.
"We can go anywhere there's a track," he said. Read more here.

British Columbia, Hydrogen Highway

British Columbia, Canada is building a hydrogen highway system to coincide with the 2010 Winter Olympics. The BC hydrogen highway is planned to run between the cities of Vancouver and Whistler with several other cities in-between and will showcase zero-emissions hydrogen technology.

Hydrogen refueling stations will also be built in the cities of Richmond, Surrey, Victoria and Squamish. As of late 2006, hydrogen fueling stations have been built in Victoria, Vancouver and Surrey. The province of British Columbia and BC Transit have committed $10 million towards the first phase of development of hydrogen buses to be used as transport along the hydrogen highway during the Olympics.

Ford has also been testing five of its Focus FCV cars along the hydrogen corridor gathering information about operating hydrogen cars in cold weather conditions. The Ford Focus FCV uses BC-built Ballard Mark 902 fuel cells.
Besides the British Columbia Hydrogen Highway Initiative, Canada also has put $5 million towards three other hydrogen initiatives as well. The Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Project, Hydrogen-Powered Delivery Van Project and the Hydrogen High-Pressure Valve Development Project are part of the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance's goal of moving Canada towards expanded use of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
A hydrogen fueling station has been constructed near Victoria at BC Transit's Langford facility. The station was a collaboration between BOC and BC Hydro and uses a three tier system of low, medium and high pressure hydrogen storage.
In Vancouver, on the University of British Columbia campus, another hydrogen fueling station has been constructed. The building of the station was a collaboration between National Research Council Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation, BOC Canada and General Hydrogen.
In Surrey, British Columbia, a hydrogen refueling station was opened in March 2002. The station was built and is operated by PowerTech Labs, which is a subsidiary of BC Hydro. In November 2002, the hydrogen filling station was upgraded to deliver pressures up to 10,000 psi to accomodate vehicles with greater capacity and range.
In order to generate hydrogen for the BC Hydrogen Highway and as a long term goal as well, the Integrated Waste Hydrogen Utilization Project (IWHUP) in Vancouver has been implemented. In this project, hydrogen as a byproduct, such as that generated in the sodium chlorate manufacturing process will be used to fuel hydrogen vehicles. Read more here.

Algae firm claims PV-like efficiency for hydrogen production

OriginOil Extracts Oil from Algae Timelapse from OriginOil on Vimeo.

Algae technology developer OriginOil, Inc., has claimed it can now produce hydrogen from solar energy and algae with a similar energy conversion efficiency to solar photovoltaic panels.
The company based in Los Angeles said the “breakthrough” could lead to a renewable source of hydrogen suitable to scale up to commercial production levels.

It said a pared-down version of its “Hydrogen Harvester” system had achieved a solar energy conversion efficiency of about 12% continuously for several hours, on a partially clouded day.
Although this efficiency level does not compare favorably with the best solar photovoltaic technology on the market, OriginOil said it compared withavailable PV technology that can range in efficiency from 6% up to 20%.
Brian Goodall, OriginOil’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “Our experiments clearly demonstrate that this technology can generate renewable hydrogen at rates that matter to the global economy. These early rates compare well with those of the more mature solar cell industry, with the added benefit that the fuel, hydrogen, is readily storable. This is the first renewable source for today’s $39 billion hydrogen market.”
OriginOil cited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as suggesting that efficient hydrogen production from photoelectrichemical systems was the “holy grail” of the hydrogen economy.
The company said in the field, its Hydrogen Harvester may achieve lower efficiencies than the 12% level, but added that counterbalancing efficiency losses in scaling up the technology, the algae could store up energy during the day and continue generating hydrogen through the night.
Algae could offer industrial sources of hydrogen without relying on petroleum sources, OriginOil believes, while also acting as a sequestration option to absorb carbon dioxide emissions. Read more here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hydrogen Economy – Iceland

Oct 2003 As oil reserves around the globe dry up, Iceland is getting ready to become the world’s first hydrogeneconomy. Produced by ABC Australia Distributed by Journeyman Pictures
Canada also has access to clean hydro-electricity that could be harnessed from the great rivers that flow into Hudson Bay.