Search Results for Tag: Emissions
Volcanos, the “No-fly”- ban and the climate
None of the experts were keen to give an interview at this stage about a possible link between a warming planet and increased volcanic activity, although some certainly say it’s worth looking into. But as we know, these things take a long, long time and we humans tend to want results “now” – and certainly in our lifetimes. Felicity Liggins,a climate consultant with the UK met office.
Met Office Climate Change Guide
did answer my enquiry, explaining that there is some evidence from the geological record of a potential link between changes in climate and volcanic activity through changes in land ice. But the data and the level of scientific understanding of all this is still very limited, she says, so that it’s not possible to draw any firm conclusions about whether we could expect more things like this to happen as a result of human-induced climate change.
She refers us to the papers I mentioned in the last post, which look at the impact of climate-induced ice unloading on volcanic activity. The authors use examples from Iceland.
Now of course the huge impact and publicity caused by the volcanic eruption make it a fine time to draw the attention of a wider public to research like this, which might otherwise only interest a very small minority. I certainly find the topic worthy of note and would be happy if the Icelandic eruption and associated publicity leads to some more research into this.
Another “positive” thing to come out of the flying ban is the amount of CO2 emissions we saved, although given the current frenzy to make up for it, the question is how high the reduction will really be overall.
I interviewed Jan Burck from Germanwatch about this.
You can see from the picture in the background that the organisation is concerned with “North-South” dialogue and creating a fairer world.
Jan took the emissions from European airtraffic per day, which amounts to an estimated one million tonnes of CO2. Taken over a whole week, he says those cancelled flights would have saved approxiamately one percent of Germany’s annual emissions, or as much as a whole country the size of Latvia emits in a year. That is a lot of CO2.
Maybe this whole crisis has made a lot of people think twice about flying, the form of transport most harmful to the climate. Estimates by Germanwatch and others say travelling just 3,000 km by air emits one tonne of CO2. By car, you could cover 7,000 km, by train between 15 and 20,000 km before producing the same amount. (Of course there are very complex calculations behind all this).
Jan Burck hopes big companies might re-think their travel policy, encouraging staff to use the train inside Europe, for instance. He also made the point to me that being “grounded” can give us a feel for distance and the size of the planet that a lot of people have lost, because air travel takes us across such big distances so quickly. Nice point Jan, good food for thought.
DateApril 22, 2010 | 8:06 am
Climate and Volcanic Activity
I have been trying to pin down some elusive scientists this morning after reading a short article entitled “Research call to study climate link” on a double-page spread in the Guardian newspaper entitled “Volcano chaos”.
It quotes scientists in a series of papers published by the Royal Society calling for wide-ranging research into whether rising global temperatures could trigger more volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes or tsunamis.
Guardian online article The article says experts say global warming could affect these kinds of geological developments because it can move large amounts of mass on the planet’s surface. It seems logical that melting glaciers and rising sea levls would shift the distribution of huge quantities of water and that that could change pressure on the ground, possibly influencing ruptures or seismic shifts.
The paper quotes “research from Germany” as suggesting the earths crust could sometimes be close to moving so that quakes could be triggered by even tiny changes in surface pressure, e.g. from heavy rain. So far, my attempts to locate these German researchers this morning have been in vain. Ideas welcome.
Of course there are those who would say some of us are just obsessed by climate change and trying to relate it to everything. But if some scientists who have been looking into the distant past and think they can discern some evidence of significant warming being linked to geological activity then, it would seem foolhardy not to consider the possibility and feed the info into models for the future.
Meanwhile, that Icelandic volcano could be doing something for the climate by stopping all those planes from flying. I’m trying to get some figures on that. If I do, I’ll keep you posted.
DateApril 19, 2010 | 11:49 am
Alarming rise in Arctic methane emissions
Sound familiar? Ice-blog readers will remember methane is more than 20 times as powerful as CO2 as a greenhouse gas, and that scientists in the Arctic are measuring the extent of methane emissions from melting permafrost.
There are billions of tonnes of methane captured in the Arctic soil. As temperatures rise and the permafrost melts, more methane is released. It increases the greenhouse effect further, resulting in a “feedback loop”, with the increased warming melting more permafrost and releasing even more methane.
Zackenberg station in Greenland, which I visited this year, is one of the Arctic stations measuring methane. If you haven’t heard the programme I made including interviews with Prof. Morten Rasch, who heads the Greenland environment monitoring programme, it’s available under the “climate” banner on the right of DW’s environment page. There’s also a photo gallery with brief texts if you don’t have the time to listen to the full feature.
Climate Monitoring in Arctic Greenland
Now a study presented in the journal Nature reports a massive rise in the amount of methane being released from the Arctic permafrost.
See also today’s edition of the Guardian.
Guardian’s David Adam on rise in Arctic methane emissions
Although only 2% of global methane comes from the Arctic, the increase is highest in the Arctic, which is warming much faster than the rest of the planet.
The Guardian quotes Prof. Paul Palmer from Edinburgh University as saying the study “does not show the Arctic has passed a tipping point, but it should open people’s eyes. it shows there is a positive feedback and that higher temperatures bring higher emissions and faster warming”.
Edinburgh Climate Expert Paul Palmer
DateJanuary 15, 2010 | 8:57 am
“4 degrees and beyond?”
Forget the 2 degree C. target. Experts meeting at Oxford University at the moment are discussing what the consequences of a 4 degree rise in temperature would be. Given that emissions growth since 2000 has been at the upper end of the IPCC scenarios, they are saying drastic emissions reductions have to happen or we will be heading for a 4° rise.
While the UNFCCC conference in Bangkok is trying to hammer out the details of an agreement for Copenhagen, the scientists and other experts in Oxford are looking at the consequences if Copenhagen fails to agree major carbon emissions cuts. Professor John Schellnhuber from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Resaerch, one of the world’s leading climate experts, has expressed grave doubt that the USA will agree to a substantial Copenhagen agreement. He described the US as “climate illiterate”.
The 4 degrees and beyond conference website
DateSeptember 29, 2009 | 8:25 am
US Voters for Climate Protection
What an amazing election result.
Change was the slogan, and there is so much that needs to be changed, especially with regard to climate policy.
If Barack Obama succeeds with his vision of ending US dependency on fossil fuels, it will change the world.
Of couse China has now overtaken the US on emissions, but the US could set a precedent.
I was very happy to hear the news, but also worried about whether the new President will be able to fulfill all the expectations directed at him. In fact, I’m sure he can’t. But if he can turn US policy on the climate around, he will be helping safeguard the future of everybody.
And with the Democrats apparently in control of all houses,the new administration should really be empowered to take action. And the Arctic Wildlife Refuge will have a reprieve.
Jodi wrote in that climate policy was blended into the candidates’ entire world view and policy package.She makes the point that you can’t see it in isolation, but only as part of the candidates’ world view. Your’re right Jodi. And, as you say, we can be happy the debate has moved on to tackling climate change, not questioning it. You also say the make up of Congress will be decisive. So I wonder how you interpret the outcome now?
Cara share’s Jodi’s relief about the overall change of attitude to climate change in the US. Cara, I agree with what you say about Al Gore’s key role in bringing Climate Change to the forefront of U.S. politics. You need celebrities and charismatic personalities to get these things across.
Cara says environmental policy was a huge decision-making factor in her vote, and she can’t wait to see what positive changes “our new president makes to improve the health of our planet!” She wrote that before the result was known. Obviously her optimism was well-founded.
Andy T. writes in that there was no other option for him but Obama. But he stresses that he can’t work miracles. Too true Andy, and time is marching on all too fast. Barack has a colossal task ahead of him. As you also mention, the global financial crisis has diverted a lot of people’s attention away from the climate issue. “They don’t realize that new technologies to combat climate change can be money-spinners or that it will cost us much more if we don’t take action to curb global warming now.”
It’s time the Stern Report came back into the headlines Andy.
The Economics of Climate Change
DateNovember 5, 2008 | 7:44 am