Today there are 416.4 parts of CO2 per million molecules of the earth’s atmosphere. Way too high! Mankind’s annual emission of greenhouse gasses, including CO2, is 52,000 metric tons per year. And in December of 2020, the average global temperature had increased by .78 degrees Celsius versus that of the 1900s.
Faced with these facts, climate scientists working for the United Nations announced that we must shift our focus from simply reducing CO2 emissions to actively removing CO2 and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. This was the real takeaway from the report released just a few days ago by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Of course, they did not actually say we should give up on reducing CO2 emissions. But, they did say that in order to stay below absolutely catastrophic levels of global warming, we will need to actively extract from the atmosphere much of the CO2 and other greenhouse gasses we have already released! The process is referred to as negative emissions. And, it is far easier said than done, especially in the quantities that are required.
The Intergovernmental panel wrote about negative emissions in a report in 2018. But the latest report has shifted negative emissions from a nice-to-do activity to a must-do priority. And, they suggest we do it quickly.
Today, most negative emissions solutions focus on capturing CO2 and storing it at its source, the large industrial smokestacks. There, carbon in high concentrations can be captured and stored underground. But the process is still essentially emission reduction, not actual negative emissions, because the carbon has not really made its way into the atmosphere.
The next steps will require the actual extraction of CO2 and other greenhouse gases directly out of the air. The report estimates that to maintain a “livable planet,” we will have to remove between 100 billion and a trillion tons of carbon by the end of this century. These numbers are beginning to sound like a Federal Budget!
There are a number of technologies to do active capture directly from the atmosphere. At this time, most have not been used on an industrial scale. It is estimated that we can take out about 5,000 tons of carbon a year through direct capture, according to Julio Friedmann, a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. Most of the technologies to do direct capture are still being developed and refined, with the exception of one - planting vast numbers of trees, which we know works quite well at capturing CO2 from the air.
Before you throw your hands up in despair, you should recognize that everyone does not agree with the findings of the IPCC. Some environmental groups are even carbon capture non-believers! I think we can all give examples of our poor ability to forecast the future accurately.
But climate change concerns have managed to find their way into the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that the Senate passed this week. The bill set aside $9 billion for carbon capture. The plan consists of four regional direct air carbon capture hubs and a transportation system, including a pipeline to transport and store the captured CO2. It is quite an expensive process at present.
As a true Capitalist by nature, I think it might be a great idea to shift the creative aspects of developing carbon capture technology and storage to businesses from the government.
We have identified a problem, and plenty of people would be willing to put their creativity into solving it if they could make some money in the process. The government could recognize companies who successfully captured and stored (or converted?) CO2 by giving them Carbon Credits for the tons they captured. Those companies could, in turn, sell to other companies whose products or processes were still emitting carbon into the atmosphere. A system something like this currently exists for positive emissions but not for negative emissions.
I am sure that Elon Musk and people like him would love the challenge and opportunity. And, it might even help make the world a truly better place!
U.S. troops are arriving in Afghanistan to help diplomatic staff and others leave, as many countries scramble to evacuate workers and citizens amid a rapid Taliban advance.
Militants captured Pul-e-Alam, capital of Loghar province, 50 miles from the capital Kabul.
The Taliban seized the country's second-largest city Kandahar and the nearby city of Lashkar Gah and Herat in the west. They now control about a third of Afghanistan's provincial capitals.
The UN chief said the situation was spinning out of control with devastating consequences for civilians.
Most of the 3,000 troops being sent to help evacuate U.S. diplomatic staff will arrive by the end of the weekend. The U.S. intends to airlift thousands of people a day out of Kabul.
One expert says that the People's Defense Force militias will need to develop a strategy for protracted guerrilla conflict over the coming year, denying the Tatmadaw the consolidation of its coup.
Tatmadaw is the official name of the armed forces of Myanmar.
The NUG's Defense Ministry said that more than 350 civilians were killed and nearly 140 wounded during the same period, adding that government losses occurred during armed clashes and in targeted assassinations of military informants and others working for the junta.
Fighting is likely to intensify over the next few months, said Khun Thomas, a spokesperson for the Karenni National Defense Force (KNDF), which is waging a war against government troops in eastern Myanmar's Kayah state.
Writing in the Asia Times last week, Myanmar analyst Anthony Davis noted that PDFs have risen from beginnings as a few "ill-organized groups."
Andrey Dmitriev, a challenger to President Alexander Lukashenko in the Aug 9, 2020 election, was among those temporarily detained for interrogation. It is unclear if he faces any charges.
Ihar Lyashchenya, the former Belarusian ambassador to Slovenia, was arrested on charges of "organizing mass disturbances," accusations that carry a prison sentence of up to eight years. When the post-election protests erupted, Lyashchenya publicly criticized the crackdown on demonstrators and was stripped of his rank by Lukashenko.
The Viasna Human Rights Centre listed 24 arrests in the past couple of days, including lawyers, political and environmental activists who were part of the Skhod (Assembly) civic initiative intended to encourage a national dialogue.
Thousands of hectares of restored Mangroves are changing the lives of local fishing communities in Senegal and helping them tackle climate change.
Mangroves are essential for preventing soil erosion, holding back rising sea levels, and promoting marine ecosystems.
Africa has lost nearly 500,000 hectares of its mangroves due to drought, deforestation, and construction in the last 25 years, according to the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development.
In Senegal, one local project invests in mangrove reforestation and local communities to help preserve local villages and help them tackle and adapt to the changing climate.
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