Tagged with 'climate change'

How trees could help to save the climate

Around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human- made carbon emissions. The Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich has published a study in the journal Science that shows this can be a powerful tool for drawing carbon from the atmosphere.

Reforestation would be the most effective method to combat climate change. (Image: Vershinin- M / iStock)

The Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich investigates nature- based solutions to climate change. In their latest study the researchers showed for the first time where in the world new trees could grow and how much carbon they would store. Study lead author and postdoc at the Crowther Lab Jean- François Bastin explains: “One aspect was of particular importance to us as we did the calculations: we excluded cities or agricultural areas from the total restoration potential as these areas are needed for human life.”

The researchers calculated that under the current climate conditions, Earth’s land could support 4.4 billion hectares of continuous tree cover. That is 1.6 billion more than the currently existing 2.8 billion hectares. Of these 1.6 billion hectares, 0.9 billion hectares fulfill the criterion of not being used by humans. This means that there is currently an area of the size of the US available for tree restoration. Once mature, these new forests could store 205 billion tonnes of carbon: about two thirds of the 300 billion tonnes of carbon that has been released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity since the Industrial Revolution.

According to Prof. Thomas Crowther, co- author of the study and founder of the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich: “We all knew that restoring forests could play a part in tackling climate change, but we didn’t really know how big the impact would be. Our study shows that tree restoration can be a powerful tool for drawing carbon from the atmosphere.* But we must act quickly, as new forests will take decades to mature and achieve their full potential as a source of natural carbon storage.”

Total land available that can support trees across the globe (total of current forested areas and forest cover potential available for restoration). (Image: Crowther Lab / ETH Zurich)

 

The study also shows which parts of the world are most suited to forest restoration. The greatest potential can be found in just six countries: Russia (151 million hectares); the US (103 million hectares); Canada (78.4 million hectares); Australia (58 million hectares); Brazil (49.7 million hectares); and China (40.2 million hectares).

Many current climate models are wrong in expecting climate change to increase global tree cover, the study warns. It finds that there is likely to be an increase in the area of northern boreal forests in regions such as Siberia, but tree cover there averages only 30 to 40 percent. These gains would be outweighed by the losses suffered in dense tropical forests, which typically have 90 to 100 percent tree cover.

Land available for forest restoration (excluding deserts, agricultural and urban areas; current forestland not shown). (Image: Crowther Lab / ETH Zurich)

*In the initial version of the media release, afforestation was described as "the best climate change solution available today" and the title as "could trees could save the climate". This statement and the titel was clarified on 17.10.2019.

The study by the Crowther Lab on the potential that reforestation offers to reduce CO2 published in the journal Science (5 July 2019) prompted four scientific comments and three letters which were published in the October 18th edition, together with two responses of the scientists in the Crowther Lab. The authors have since amended a statement in the abstract of their original publication.

Source: ETH Zürich

French insurance giant phase-out coal

Just like their banking colleagues at BNP Paribas, AXA is also to phase out coal from business activities by 2030 in OECD states and by 2040 around the world, the insurance giant announced yesterday.

 

AXA is a French multinational insurance firm  that engages in global insuranceinvestment management, and other financial services, and their new climate strategy is launched as a 'new global benchmark for best practice'

The AXA Group operates primarily in Western Europe, North America, the Asia Pacific region, and the Middle East, with a presence also in Africa. 

In a move hailed by climate campaigners as setting "a new global benchmark for best practice", AXA said it will encourage coal companies to produce a coal phase-out plan by 2021 and use its position as a shareholder to accelerate the shutdown of existing coal plants. 

It also promised to stop selling insurance contracts - bar those covering employee benefits - to clients developing new coal projects larger than 300MW.

The moves are all part of AXA's plan to align its business with a 1.5C warming trajectory, the stretch target in the Paris Agreement.

AXA said its current investments have 3.1C of 'warming potential', well above its target of 1.5C by 2050 which would put it in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement.

As such it yesterday promised to double its green investments to €24bn by 2023 in an effort to accelerate the decarbonisation of its portfolio.

"Today we are launching a new phase in our climate strategy to accelerate our contribution to the transition towards a low-carbon and resilient economy, notably by focusing our sustainable finance efforts towards the energy transition of major industries," said CEO Thomas Buberl. "We are convinced that it is an absolute priority if we want to reach the objectives of the Paris Agreement."

Young Republicans think their party is on the wrong side of the climate debate

Establishment Republicans will probably never authorize sweeping action on climate change. The Fox News crowd is twice as likely as other Republicans to say climate change isn’t caused by humans.

 

But that’s not true for young Republicans (as well as most of the GOP under the age of 38). Pew Research Center recently polled to gauge their opinion on climate change, and the results show a generational divide in the GOP getting wider with every generation.

Majorities of Americans say the federal government is doing too little for key aspects of the environment, from protecting water or air quality to reducing the effects of climate change. And most believe the United States should focus on developing alternative sources of energy over expansion of fossil fuel sources, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

While only 31% of boomers (1946-64) say the federal government does too little to reduce the effects of climate change, 52% of millennials (born after 1980) say the same thing. Overall, two-thirds of US adults (67%) agree the US government does too little. And don’t expect change anytime soon. The average age of the Congress is among the highest in American history: 57.8 years old for House members, and 61.8 for senators.

While it’s unlikely enough GOP incumbents (or older conservative voters) will change their mind on climate to break a congressional stalemate, movement is unlikely to depend on convincing opponents of climate policy.

As German physicist Max Planck once said about progress in science, it advances one funeral (or retirement) at a time. “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it,” he wrote in his 1968 autobiography. When it comes the politics of climate change, the axiom may apply to Congress as well.

Wind speeds have increased

Research led by a team at Princeton University shows that wind speeds in northern mid-latitude regions have increased by roughly 7% since 2010.

 

The team examined the potential causes underlying global terrestrial stilling and its reversal. While changes in urbanization and vegetation have been proposed as contributors to global terrestrial stilling, these trends have not reversed since 2010, said Zhenzhong Zeng, who led the study as a postdoctoral researcher working with Eric Wood, Princeton’s Susan Dod Brown Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Emeritus.

The analysis showed that in each region of the globe, specific large-scale ocean-atmosphere oscillations, which are driven by many factors including the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface in different regions, were likely explanations for the observed trends in wind speeds.

Extending their findings to wind power generation, the researchers calculated that a typical wind turbine receiving the global average wind would have produced about 17% more energy in 2017 than in 2010. And using climate indices to project future wind speeds, they predicted a 37% increase by 2024.

“We predict that the increasing wind speed trend will continue for 10 years, but we also show that because this is caused by ocean-atmosphere oscillations, maybe a decade later it will reverse again,” he said. And since the lifespan of a wind turbine is usually 20 years at most, having reliable projections of wind speeds at particular locations could be crucial to making smart investments in wind power and increasing the global share of renewable energy.

The research, which looked only at regional averages, did not examine how the uptick in wind speeds might affect the severity of storms, which also has been increasing.

Power One will invest in smart wind

Wind power is a renewable source of electricity. Traditionally, it has required steady and steady wind to be effective. The old "propeller spins" with horizontal shaft cannot withstand turbulent winds, although it can contain as much energy. The so-called vertical wind turbines have not previously reached the same efficiency as the propeller-driven, but have now been updated with more shafts and thus a whole new ability to take advantage of turbulent winds. They are also effective on a smaller scale and Power One has now decided to use these instead of the traditional ones.

Traditional propeller-type windmills use the “horizontal axis x propeller type” method, but the horizontal axis is difficult to respond to changes in wind direction, and the propeller type has a risk of runaway velocity due to strong winds. A horizontal axis propeller type windmill can generate power with high efficiency when the wind direction and wind speed are bothstable, but it is difficult to cope with sudden changes in wind speed and direction. The wind direction of the tropics is not stable, and under such circumstances, the vertical axis Magnus wind turbine can achieve stable operation and achieve a higher capacity utilization rate.

The "vertical axis Magnus type" system is compatible with wind in all directions because of the vertical axis, and by using the Magnus type, the rotational speed of the wind turbine can be kept constant according to the wind speed by controlling the rotation of the cylindrical blades. can. By controlling the rotation speed of the windmill, stable power generation is possible without runaway even in sudden strong winds. The wind environment in the tropics is very harsh for windmills that are subject to drastic changes in wind direction and speed and among them, the vertical axis Magnus wind turbine can generate power stably, and it can be expected to dramatically improve the operating rate of the wind turbine. In addition, by using a cylindrical blade instead of a propeller, the manufacturing cost can be greatly reduced, so it is possible to supply inexpensive power using renewable energy. 

Tanganyika is a fantastic lake. It is huge not only to the surface but also to the depth. It is also pure and undisturbed with one of the world's largest biodiversity. Because of its surface, the winds get a smoother flow and do not become as turbulent. Therefore, the shores of the lake are suitable for the traditional propeller-driven wind turbines. However, these are both costly and difficult to maintain. They also have a great aesthetic influence. Since the modern vertical wind turbines do not require proximity to the lake's steady flow, they can be placed a little anywhere, preferably up in the mountains.

Power One will therefore invest in a larger number of these vertical small power plants up in the mountains instead of a large propeller-driven power plant at the lake.

Europe publishes green investment guidelines to stop global warming

European Union flags waving outside parliament in Brussels

To increase environmentally friendly investments, the EU issued the European Commission guidelines in a step towards battling climate change. The European Union has already agreed on reducing carbon emissions by 2030 with the goal of cutting them to zero by 2050. In order to reach the 2030 goal, economical sectors in Europe need additional investments of 180 billion euros. These new guidelines will hopefully streamline the process of deciding whether or not an investment is green.

View source

Shall we send you a message when we have discounts available?

Remind me later

Thank you! Please check your email inbox to confirm.

Oops! Notifications are disabled.