Alphabet of Climate Change from A to Z, Now ”V” for Vehicles

by admin on January 22, 2023

The term “tipping point” is applied here to Archimedes lever in contrast to tipping points in which ice melting accelerates beyond expectations

Current Climate: Tipping Points To Net Zero, Smarter Train Tracks And Greenland’s Accelerating Melt

>>> From the Forbes Article by Alex Knapp & Alan Ohnsman, January 21, 2023

[This information is from the “Current Climate” from Forbes, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.]

Ancient Greek mathematician and engineer Archimedes is said to have once said, “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world” – highlighting the power of simple machines to magnify effort. This principle is limited to ancient Greece.

This week, a report presented to the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos argues that there are points like this that can accelerate the world’s transition to an economy that’s built around more sustainable principles in order to slow climate change. The researchers behind the report identified three potential “tipping points” that can be pushed in order to accelerate some of these changes.

1. The first is the transition to electric vehicles, as “government policies and better infrastructure increasingly [are] making electric vehicles more attractive than petrol and diesel cars,” according to a press release around the report.

2. A second tipping point is swapping out methods of producing ammonia for fertilizers in a manner that’s more sustainable, which the researchers say could have a side benefit of bringing down the costs of green hydrogen.

3. The third tipping point is moving towards more alternatives to animal-based proteins, which could help reduce emissions from livestock farming and slow down rates of deforestation. All of these areas, the report argues, can produce ripple effects that reach further into the economy in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This non-linear way of thinking about the climate problem gives plausible grounds for hope,” the report’s lead author aid in a statement. “The more that gets invested in socioeconomic transformation, the faster it will unfold – getting the world to ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions sooner.”

The Big Read ~ Greenland Ice Sheet Warmest In At Least 1,000 Years As Scientists Warn Melting Ice Will Accelerate Sea-Level Rise

Recent temperatures in Greenland’s ice sheet—one of the primary culprits behind rising seas—were the warmest they’ve been in at least 1,000 years, according to a new report, as scientists warn the melting of Greenland’s ice could threaten coastal communities around the world.

Read more here.

More Concerns for Our Earth

Human-caused light pollution has made the night sky nearly 10% brighter each year, according to new research, obscuring astronomical observations and posing a threat to migrating birds that rely on the position of stars and the moon to travel.

Nearly two-thirds of coral reef shark and ray species worldwide are threatened with extinction, reports a new study.

Sustainability Deals Of The Week ~ ~ ~

Durable Batteries: California-based Noon Energy has raised a $28 million series A round, which is geared towards growing its team and accelerating the commercialization of its carbon-oxygen battery for long-term energy storage.

Carbon Removal: Financial services firm Rothschild & Co has entered into a multi-year agreement with French startup NetZero to purchase carbon credits for NetZero’s biochar, which sequesters carbon by being mixed with topsoil, which also reduces the need for fertilizers in agriculture.

Electrification: The city of San Jose has entered into a $489,000 contract with BlocPower to electrify 250 residential buildings.

On The Horizon, Ugggh!

Last week, areas of Northern California featured days worth of rainfall and high winds, causing large amounts of damage to the area. And if sea levels continue to rise, it’s likely that more storms are in the works for the region, according to new research published this week.

Green Transportation Update

When it comes to moving people and goods, even all-electric vehicles can’t match the environmental benefits of trains. And when you think “advanced rail technology,” bullet trains or magnetic-levitation systems might come to mind. But what about the steel rails freight and passenger trains run on? It turns out that machine learning, big data collection and voice-recognition tools that have transformed manufacturing, cars, retail and social media are also being leveraged to make vital rail operations safer and much more efficient.

The Big Transportation Story ~ Cheap, Utilitarian Electric Cars Would Trigger Big Sales Without Subsidies

Dozens of new electric vehicles models are rolling out but most of them are still too pricey for most carbuyers. What if automakers slashed EV prices, weight and battery size and concentrated on the short-range applications electric cars do best?

Read more here.

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Dee Fulton January 22, 2023 at 1:35 pm

When scientists tagged a curious seal, he led them to signs of a potential climate disaster

By Chris Mooney and Simon Ducroquet, Washington Post, Updated January 21, 2023

This is a story about a curious seal, a wayward robot and a gigantic climate change disaster that may be waiting to happen.

Scientists tagged a southern elephant seal on the island of Kerguelen, an extraordinarily remote spot in the far southern Indian Ocean, in 2011. The seal was a male close to 11 feet long weighing nearly 1,800 pounds, and they fitted his head with an ocean sensor, a device that these massive seals barely notice but that have proved vital to scientific research.

Elephant seals like this one swim more than 1,500 miles south from Kerguelen to Antarctica, where they often forage on the seafloor, diving to depths that can exceed a mile below the surface. As summer in the Southern Hemisphere peaked, the seal made a standard Antarctic journey, but then went in an unusual direction.

In March 2011, he appeared just offshore from a vast oceanfront glacier called Denman, where elephant seals are not generally known to go. He dived into a deep trough in the ocean bed, roughly half a mile below the surface. And that is when something striking happened: He provided an early bit of evidence that Denman Glacier could be a major threat to global coastlines.

The seal swam through unusually warm water, just below the freezing point, but in the Antarctic, that is warm. Given its salt content and the extreme depths and pressures involved — in some regions Denman Glacier rests on a seafloor that is over a mile deep — such warm water can destroy large amounts of ice. And it certainly could have been doing so at Denman.

Yet scientists do not appear to have seen the significance of the seal data. Back then, Denman had not received much scientific attention. It did not help that the glacier is extraordinarily difficult to study directly. It lies between the two Antarctic research bases of Australia. The logistics are challenging for a voyage from either side, especially as the glacier is often locked in by extensive sea ice.

Researchers had already observed that the glacier was losing some of its mass, which is a worrying sign. They also knew something else: Denman serves as a potential doorway into a region of extremely deep and thick ice, even for Antarctica.

With Denman and several other neighboring glaciers in place, the doorway remains closed. Opening it would allow warmer ocean water to start eating away at this thick ice, leading to gradual melt and eventually, a massive influx of new water into the ocean. That would have the potential to unleash over 15 feet of sea level rise, remaking every coastline in the world. So the scientists flew a few planes over Denman and watched with their satellites. And they waited.

… enter the robot …. see the full article …



Elizabeth Kolbert January 22, 2023 at 6:31 pm

“V” for Vast as the Alphabet Rules Climate Change from A to Z

>>> From Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker Magazine, November 28, 2022

Climate surprises keep popping up. Starting in 2007, for example, methane levels in the atmosphere took an unexpected jump.

Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, so scientists were alarmed. They eventually !gured out, on the basis of the methane’s isotopic composition, that the source of the increase couldn’t be fossil-fuel production, even though oil and gas wells often leak methane into the air. Instead, the culprit must be microbes, either the sort that live in a marsh or the sort that live in a cow’s gut.

Recent research suggests that the bulk of the extra methane is coming from the Sudd, a huge wetland in South Sudan, and that warming itself is responsible for the uptick in microbial activity. If that’s the case, then a spiral is likely to ensue: more methane will produce more warming, which will produce yet more methane, and so on. (Like a tipping point?)

How many positive feedback loops like this have already been —or are about to be— initiated? Despite the best efforts of climate modellers, no one can say. Several enormous Antarctic glaciers rest on bedrock that’s below sea level; as these glaciers retreat, water is starting to seep underneath and to melt them from the bottom up.

This, in turn, is leading to more retreat and still more melting. One retreating glacier, formally known as Thwaites, has informally become known as the Doomsday Glacier. A recent paper in Science observed that the “eventual collapse” of Thwaites, which is the size of Florida, “may already be inevitable.”

Even after global emissions reach net zero— whenever that is— ice sheets will continue to melt and sea levels to rise for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years.

All the way back in 1965, the authors of one of the first reports on global warming, which was not yet known as global warming, warned that humanity was “unwittingly conducting a vast geophysical experiment.” As Marcia Bjornerud, a geologist at Lawrence University, has written, the irony of our oversized impact on the Earth is that we have “put Nature firmly back in charge, with a still-unpublished set of rules we will simply have to guess at.”


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