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Thread: Green

  1. #1

    Green

    EU Plan to Burn Wood Instead of Coal Threatens Forests

    It’s the rave in Europe: Instead of burning coal and fossil fuels to generate heat and electricity, wood chips and pellets are being fed into Europe’s boilers

    So-called “biomass energy” is also becoming more popular in Japan and Korea, and some in the United States are pushing for greater reliance on wood-burning.

    But many scientists and environmentalists say this is backward thinking that will accelerate the disastrous felling of forests and loss of biodiversity.

    Power plants in Europe are increasing the burning of wood pellets from the United States, Canada and Eastern Europe. Environmentalists warn that old forests in those places are being chopped up and left to regrow, or in some cases replaced by forest plantations.

    But it’s not only the loss of old forests that worries scientists. Studies have shown that wood-burning power plants emit more carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced than plants burning fossil fuels.

    Even taking forest regrowth into account, scientists warn that over decades and centuries burning wood adds more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than producing energy the old-fashioned way by burning coal and fossil fuels does.

    The EU’s wood-burning policy is the subject of a legal challenge filed by environmental groups and individuals in Europe and the United States seeking to end the EU’s support for wood burning.

    The lawsuit was brought by groups and individuals in Romania, Ireland, Slovakia, France, Estonia and the United States who say their homelands are threatened and being damaged by heavy logging, and in the case of a plaintiff in Ireland, furthering the loss of peat in bogs.

    The suit was filed in March at the European General Court in Luxembourg, which handles cases involving EU institutions. Named as defendants are the European Commission, the EU’s executive and lawmaking power, and the European Council, which is made up of the EU’s heads of state.

    Many scientists — including some of the EU’s own scientific advisers — say the assumption that burning wood is a renewable source of energy is seriously flawed on many levels.

    First of all, critics say cutting down trees to use them for energy releases carbon that would otherwise stay locked up in forests. Also, forests suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

    Burning wood is a very inefficient way of producing energy, critics say. Studies have shown that burning wood emits far more carbon than burning fossil fuels for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced.

    Another problem with the EU’s rules is that they assume forests will grow back or be replanted. But even if forests are replanted, they will take a long time to grow back and in the meantime their ability to suck carbon out of the air is reduced.



    http://eubiomasscase.org/
    https://www.courthousenews.com/eu-pl...atens-forests/

  2. #2
    Heaps of Possibility: Innovation in U.S. Recycling

    In January 2018, China began a policy called “National Sword,” which banned many scrap materials from being imported and prohibited other countries’ recyclable waste unless it meets a strict contamination level of only .05 percent trash mixed with recyclables (the U.S. average is around 25 percent). Up until this, 40 percent of U.S. recycling was sent to China, but high contamination levels were contributing to pollution issues and rising labor costs, leading the Chinese government to crack down on these imports.

    In response, many U.S. Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), the plants that receive and separate recyclable materials for their use in new products, have been scrambling to find new international markets with enough capacity for U.S. scrap—and have come up short. As a result, massive quantities of recyclable content is piling up in U.S. solid waste and recycling facilities.

    But some U.S. companies and municipalities are turning this situation to their advantage, developing innovative solutions to America’s recycling challenges and making use of this glut of recycled materials.

    These examples show the vast opportunities that exist in what some consider waste. Companies and cities like those highlighted above are leading the way in diverting materials from landfills and giving them a second life as recycled products. Doing so not only reduces the waste being sent to the trash heap and its resulting greenhouse gas emissions, but also means relying less on the unnecessary extraction of virgin raw materials to create throw-away products.

    https://www.nrdc.org/experts/shelley...n-us-recycling

  3. #3
    We Have Room to Add 35% More Trees Globally to Store 160 Billion Tons of CO2

    There is enough room to plant another 1.2 trillion trees on Earth. If we plant 1.2 trillion trees this could cancel out the last 10 years of CO2 emissions and sequester 160 billion tons of CO2.

    “There is 400 gigatons now, in the 3 trillion trees, and if you were to scale that up by another trillion trees that’s in the order of hundreds of gigatons captured from the atmosphere – at least 10 years of anthropogenic emissions completely wiped out,” Crowther said.

    They using machine learning and AI to analyze an enormous data set which allowed the researchers to predict the number of trees that could feasibly be planted in empty patches around the world.

    Additionally, we are now starting to understand an even bigger carbon pool in the soil. As the global temperatures rise and the soil warms, a predicted 55 gigatons of carbon stored in the Earth’s soil could be emitted into the atmosphere – roughly the equivalent carbon emission of the U.S. per year. With no soil restoration activities, like planting cover crops, this will accelerate the rate of climate change by up to 17%.

    Using this combination of above ground and below ground data they can identify regions of high priority for biodiversity conservation. Additionally, we can finally start to understand the feedbacks that determine atmospheric carbon concentrations over the rest of the century. We now understand that, as the soil warms, carbon emissions from the soil will increase, particularly in the high-latitude arctic and sub-arctic regions.



    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/0...ns-of-co2.html

  4. #4
    A shared future for our blue planet

    Pollution, biodiversity loss, piracy, whale hunting ... The blue planet of Earth is under threat.

    Alarmed, the world has scrambled to improve maritime governance, and many have found inspiration in China's call for building a maritime community with a shared future.

    "The blue planet humans inhabit is not divided into islands by the oceans, but is connected by the oceans to form a community with a shared future, where people of all countries share weal and woe," Chinese President Xi Jinping said in April during a group meeting with foreign naval dignitaries.

    In that spirit, China cherishes the cradle of life, and has delivered on its commitment to seeking sustainable marine development, promoting a "blue economy" based on shared benefits and helping maintain maritime security.

    In face of the various grave problems threatening the oceans, China has charted the most viable course for humankind to preserve the blue planet, and has acted on it.

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/201..._138126939.htm

  5. #5
    After 40 Years of Searching, Scientists Identify The Key Flaw in Solar Panel Efficiency

    Solar panels are fantastic pieces of technology, but we need to work out how to make them even more efficient – and scientists just solved a 40-year-old mystery around one of the key obstacles to increased efficiency.

    A new study outlines a material defect in silicon used to produce solar cells that has previously gone undetected. It could be responsible for the 2 percent efficiency drop that solar cells can see in the first hours of use: Light Induced Degradation (LID).

    Multiplied by the increasing number of panels installed at solar farms around the world, that drop equals a significant cost in gigawatts that non-renewable energy sources have to make up for.

    In fact, the estimated loss in efficiency worldwide from LID is estimated to equate to more energy than can be generated by the UK's 15 nuclear power plants. The new discovery could help scientists make up some of that shortfall.

    To find what 270 research papers across four decades had previously been unable to determine, the latest study used an electrical and optical technique called deep-level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) to find weaknesses in the silicon.

    Here's what the DLTS analysis found: As the electronic charge in the solar cells gets transformed from sunlight, the flow of electrons gets trapped; in turn, that reduces the level of electrical power that can be produced.

    This defect lies dormant until the solar panel gets heated, the team found.

    "We've proved the defect exists, it's now an engineering fix that is needed," says one of the researchers, Iain Crowe from the University of Manchester.

    The researchers also found that higher quality silicon had charge carriers (electrons which carry the photon energy) with a longer 'lifetime', which backs up the idea that these traps are linked to the efficiency degradation.

    What's more, heating the material in the dark, a process often used to remove traps from silicon, seems to reverse the degradation.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/scienti...s-of-searching

  6. #6
    Trillion Tree Campaign

    Individuals, companies and schools can join the platform to create a beautiful personal tree-counter. Accumulate trees by either registering trees you planted yourself or by donating to tree-planting organisations all across the world. Follow your friends or companies, challenge them to plant trees or join a planting competition.

    Through satellite photos and videos, you can explore where planting projects plant their trees and support your favourite ones by donating to them directly through the app. You can join communities and help reach their tree-target by planting trees in your garden or donating for new trees.

    Tree-planting organisations can sign up to showcase their projects and receive donations from the users. Free of charge.

    Companies, can use this platform to showcase their dedicated efforts in compensating their carbon emissions by planting trees.



    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/tr...n/9p1sz1k6bd0b

  7. #7
    Dedicated Bicycle Lanes Reduce Injuries & Fatalities

    “Bicycling seems inherently dangerous on its own,” says co-author Wesley Marshall, an assistant professor at the College of Engineering, Design and Computing at CU Denver. “So it would seem that a city with a lot of bicycling is more dangerous, but the opposite is true. Building safe facilities for cyclists turned out to be one of the biggest factors in road safety for everyone.”

    The study was published recently in the Journal of Transport & Health. One of its key findings is that bike facilities act as “calming” mechanisms on traffic, slowing cars and reducing fatalities.

    Originally, researchers believed that more bike lanes and an increase in the number of cyclists would lead to a “safety-in-numbers” effect — the more cyclists on the road, the more likely drivers would slow down and be aware of their surroundings.

    Instead, they found that safer cities aren’t due to the increase in cyclists, but due to the infrastructure built for them — specifically, separated and protected bike lanes. They found that such dedicated bicycling infrastructure, which separates motor vehicle and bicycle traffic, is associated with fewer fatalities and better road-safety outcomes.



    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/09...es-fatalities/

  8. #8
    Many plant species at risk of extinction – and we’re blind to danger this poses to life on Earth

    Up to a million species may go extinct due to human activity according to a recent report, some within decades. We all know the mammals in trouble – polar bears, giant pandas and snow leopards – but how many of us could name an endangered plant? A 2019 report assessed 28,000 plant species and concluded that about half of them were threatened with extinction.

    This failure to notice and appreciate plants has been termed “plant blindness”, and it’s particularly worrying because there are significantly more plant species at risk than mammals, despite the latter hogging most of our attention.

    https://theconversation.com/many-pla...n-earth-118208

  9. #9
    Solar panels all over the Sahara desert?

    You may have seen a variant of this meme before. A map of North Africa is shown, with a surprisingly small box somewhere in Libya or Algeria shaded in. An area of the Sahara this size, the caption will say, could power the entire world through solar energy:


    The Imagine newsletter aims to tackle these big “what if” questions, so we asked a number of academics to weigh in on the challenges of exploiting the cheapest form of electricity from perhaps the cheapest and best spot on Earth.

    https://theconversation.com/solar-pa...etter-2-116320

  10. #10
    Paris loses patience with e-scooters

    More than 20,000 e-scooters, or trottinettes electriques, grace the streets of Paris and the number is expected to almost double by the end of the year.

    In order to cope with the surge in supply, Hidalgo announced on Thursday (6 June) that new measures will be imposed, which will ban riders from leaving them on pavements or in parks.

    Locals in Paris, as well as in other capitals like Brussels and Madrid, have complained about scooter users who abandon the machines in the middle of walkways or in piles outside offices and shops.



    https://www.euractiv.com/section/roa...th-e-scooters/

  11. #11
    P2P Energy Trading Platforms — The Renewables Ally

    There are many consumers who would like to have the ability to consume renewable energy, but unfortunately cannot afford buying production assets. Rather than requiring electricity consumers to set up a solar roof, consumers should have the option to purchase renewable energy from their solar-powered neighbors who have surpluses.

    The current system unfortunately requires the public utility to play the role of middleman, i.e., third party intermediary, between prosumers and consumers who want renewable energy.

    The blockchain makes it possible for distributed energy resource owners (more specifically — producers) to transact in a P2P fashion with consumers. At SunContract for example, we welcome all producers of renewable energy to tap into our marketplace of electricity consumers, producers and prosumers — enabling them to transact with each other directly.

    https://hackernoon.com/p2p-energy-tr...y-7eaa1085838f

  12. #12
    Green New Deal Policy Forum

    The Green New Deal is a resolution introduced by Representative Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey to mobilize the entire economy—energy, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, education, and health care—over 10 years to ultimately reach net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050.

    It declares that it is “the duty of the Federal Government” to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions; create jobs and economic security for every American; invest in infrastructure; secure clean air and water, community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment; and to end oppression.

    Though aspirational, the Green New Deal or iterations of it are costly, not just in terms of financial resources but also to principles of representative government and free society.

    Regardless of one’s opinion of the nature of global warming, the Green New Deal will have negligible impact on global temperatures, and amounts to little more than a stimulus package for renewable energy technologies.

    https://www.heritage.org/testimony/g...l-policy-forum

  13. #13
    A NEW STUDY CALCULATES BITCOIN'S MASSIVE CARBON FOOTPRINT

    Creating the cryptocurrency requires an enormous amount of energy.

    You can probably guess which human activities emit the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; they include transportation and agriculture, of course, plus all the energy we use to power our homes and offices.

    New research points to another, less-obvious contributor to climate change: cryptocurrency.

    A new study reports that the annual carbon emissions associated with the creation of Bitcoins are equivalent to those of Kansas City, Missouri—or a small nation. Add in the other cryptocurrencies, and the emissions level more than doubles.








    https://psmag.com/environment/bitcoi...to-a-new-study

  14. #14
    NEW ROBOTS CAN SAFELY DECOMMISSION NUCLEAR REACTORS

    A new semi-autonomous robot is capable of traveling into a decommissioned nuclear reactor and safely dismantling it, piece by piece.

    https://futurism.com/the-byte/robots...clear-reactors

  15. #15
    Two hours a week is key dose of nature for health and wellbeing

    People who spend at least 2 hours in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing, according to a new large-scale study (n = 19,806), which found that it didn’t matter whether this was achieved in a single visit or over several shorter visits.

    https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/ne...720059_en.html

  16. #16
    Everything you need to know about the Green New Deal

    From its historic inspiration, to how AOC introduced the term to the mainstream and its main policy prescriptions

    https://www.salon.com/2019/06/15/eve...reen-new-deal/

  17. #17
    Multifunctional renewable energy

    European researchers are developing a device that stores and uses solar energy to provide both hot water and mechanical ventilation for multifamily houses. Moreover, an app linked to the machine monitors the users’ energy consumption.

    A solution may come from a device developed by the EU project BuildHeat, which is testing new technologies for the energy retrofit of multifamily houses. It is a “storage tank with a mechanical ventilation unit integrated on top.” Engineer Roberto Fedrizzi, who coordinates the international research team, explains how it works.

    The middle part of the structure stores thermal solar energy. It contains enough hot water to cover a family of four in their daily use. The bottom part of the unit is equipped with a computerised system that decides autonomously when it is the best time to store solar energy and distributes clean hot water in the apartment.

    The upper part of the device uses the same solar energy to operate the fans of a mechanical ventilation system, which introduces fresh filtered outdoor air into the apartment. It is a double flow ventilation. Depending on the season, these units can preheat or refresh the external air before blowing it inside.

    The hot water tank and the ventilation system are mounted on the same metallic frame. Since the unit is assembled in the factory, installation is simple: it is fast and does require minor masonry work. Moreover, industrialisation means that devices are produced with a very limited thickness – around 25 centimetres – that can be fixed on a wall in a closet or on a balcony in mild climates.



    https://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/131395/en
    http://www.buildheat.eu/

  18. #18
    Pope Francis declares 'climate emergency' and urges action

    “Future generations stand to inherit a greatly spoiled world. Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the cost of our generation’s irresponsibility,” he said, in his strongest and most direct intervention yet on the climate crisis. “Indeed, as is becoming increasingly clear, young people are calling for a change.”

    The Pope’s impassioned plea came as he met the leaders of some of the world’s biggest multinational oil companies in the Vatican on Friday to impress upon them the urgency and scale of the challenge, and their central role in tackling the emissions crisis.

    In two statements, which came at the end of a two-day meeting in the Vatican that was addressed by the pope and led by senior Vatican churchmen, the signatories called for a “combination of policies and carbon pricing mechanisms … designed in a way that simultaneously delivers innovation and investment in low-carbon solutions while assisting those least able to pay”.



    https://www.theguardian.com/environm...d-urges-action

  19. #19
    Beijing Opens New Bicycle Expressway

    China’s capitol city of Beijing has opened a new bicycle expressway that connects the residential neighborhoods of Huilongguan in Changping District with the rapidly developing high tech industrial zone in the Haidian district just 6.5 kilometers away, according to China Plus. About 16% of Huilongguan residents work in Changping.

    The new bicycle highway is three lanes wide and features traffic lights that allow managers to switch the direction of the center lane as the volume of traffic changes between the morning and the evening commute. It is elevated in several areas so that it crosses over and above existing vehicle highways. A speed limit of 20 km/h is specified.



    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/17...le-expressway/

  20. #20
    Eco-Friendly Travel: 13 Ways To Make Your Travel Green

    Did you know you leave a carbon footprint every time you take a flight or do something as simple as eating food in a hotel? Vacation or staycation, the ripple effect of your little escapade is quite huge than you might think.



    From planning the entire trip to actually going on it, here are some insightful tips that will guide you at every step to pull off an eco-friendly excursion.

    https://www.everythingbagsinc.com/bl...e-travel-green

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