MISCELLANEOUS

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CO2 emissions

Carbon Footprint Calculator

Carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere spike World Meteorological Organisation; YubaNet; 10 Mar 2016

The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Decoupling of global emissions and economic growth confirmed IEA; 16 Mar 2016

IEA analysis shows energy-related emissions of CO2 stalled for the second year in a row as renewable energy surged

CO2 emissions per capita Economist (video)

Energy use and Conservation

Jevons paradox

Energy Use in Buildings *

Desalination

Scaling Shock Electrodialysis for Desalination NextBigFuture

Shocking new way to get the salt out - MIT team invents efficient shockwave-based process for desalination of water

Drought stricken California county looks to nuclear plant desalination plant

Solar water still

Transport *

IT

By 2040, computers will need more electricity than the world can generate Richard Chirgwin; The Register; 25 Jul 2016

Berkeley Lab: It Takes 70 Billion Kilowatt Hours A Year To Run The Internet Christopher Helman; Forbes; 28 Jun 2016

America’s myriad server farms and data centers operate 100 million drives that hold 350 million terabytes of data — everything from your decade-old emails to lolcat videos and the collected offerings of Netflix. A new report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory figures that those data centers use an enormous amount of energy — some 70 billion kilowatt hours per year. That amounts to 1.8% of total American electricity consumption. At an average cost of 10 cents per kwh, the annual cost of all that juice is on the order of $7 billion.

Efficiency

Energy Efficiency: Shaping the United States Energy System James Sweeney ( director of the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University); 30 Nov 2015 Video of Energy Seminar

Ever since the oil embargo of 1973-74, private and public U.S. energy discussions have centered on energy impacts to three complex and crucial systems: the economy, the environment, and national and international security. Policy debates have deadlocked trying to balance tradeoffs among these essential systems. Energy efficiency, on the other hand, is good for the economy and the environment, while enhancing security. It should be no surprise that since the oil embargo of 1973-74, individuals, corporations, and other organizations have found ways of economically reducing energy use. Nor should it be a surprise that federal, state, and local governments have enacted laws and regulations to promote energy efficiency.
However, many will find the remarkably large energy efficiency results surprising. Since the energy crisis of 1973-74, U.S. energy efficiency has done more to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce net energy imports than have increases in domestic production of oil, gas, coal, geothermal energy, nuclear power, solar power, wind power, and biofuels – all taken together

Futures

self-sufficiency

What happened to the self-sufficient people of the 1970s? Claire Bates; BBC News Magazine; 12 Apr 2016

Forty years ago a new book offered city dwellers a way to escape the rat-race and go back to the land. The author of the "bible" of self-sufficiency, John Seymour, convinced thousands to change their lives.

Environmentalism

Inconvenient truths for the environmental movement Joshua S. Goldstein and Steven Pinker; Boston Globe; 23 Nov 2015

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS MAKE an easy target for their denial of climate change... Environmentalists deserve enormous credit for calling the world’s attention to the threat to humanity posed by climate change. But precisely because this challenge is so stupendous, we need an uncompromisingly focused plan to solve it. Instead of offering such a solution, traditional greens have been distracted by their signature causes, and in doing so have themselves denied some inconvenient truths.
The first is that, until now, fossil fuels have been good for humanity. The industrial revolution doubled life expectancy in developed countries while multiplying prosperity twentyfold. As industrialization spreads to the developing world, billions of people are rising out of poverty in their turn — affording more food, living longer and healthier lives, becoming better educated, and having fewer babies — thanks to cheap fossil fuels...
That brings us to the second inconvenient truth: Nuclear power is the world’s most abundant and scalable carbon-free energy source. In today’s world, every nuclear plant that is not built is a fossil-fuel plant that does get built, which in most of the world means coal. Yet the use of nuclear power has been stagnant or even contracting.

The Education of an Environmentalist Robert Stone; Scientific American; 21 Apr 2016

How an award-winning filmmaker who created the definitive Earth Day documentary learned to love nuclear power in an age of global warming

EcoModernism

An Ecomodernist Manifesto

We offer this statement in the belief that both human prosperity and an ecologically vibrant planet are not only possible, but also inseparable. By committing to the real processes, already underway, that have begun to decouple human well-being from environmental destruction, we believe that such a future might be achieved. As such, we embrace an optimistic view toward human capacities and the future.

NATURE UNBOUND - DECOUPLING FOR CONSERVATION Linus Blomqvist, Ted Nordhaus, Michael Shellenberger; The Breakthrough Institute; Sep 2015


A New Breed of American Environmentalists Challenges the Stale Dogma of the Left

Why energy transitions are the key to environmental progress (MICHAEL SHELLENBERGER & RACHEL PRITZKER)

particularly about India

Monbiot's criticism

Third Way

Third Way Tries to Revive Nuclear William Tucker; 20 Nov 2015

Third Way, the Washington think tank, has taken upon itself the unenviable task of trying to convince liberal Democrats that nuclear energy is an important part of the battle against global warming.
Third Way occupies the position once held by centrist Democrats. Granted there are only a few of them left and the position seems to be completely missing in the Democratic Presidential debates. Scoop Jackson was the premier representative of the position but there are no Scoop Jacksons on the horizon. Third Way lists Democratic Senators Tom Carper, Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Chris Coons and Jean Shaheen among its supporters. Jim Webb, the former Democratic Senator from Virginia, also might have filled the bill but he only lasted one round of the debates.
Third Way likes to pride itself in being practical and pragmatic. It says that both sides often have a point on critical issues and that “If people cannot compromise they should not be in politics.” It has staked out a middle ground on issues as diverse as education, health care and financial regulation. But where it is making a name for itself – and where it is likely to have the most impact – is in its support of nuclear power.

musings

It's not climate change - it's everything change Margaret Atwood

Bill Gates

Gates: Renewable energy can't do the job. Gov should switch green subsidies into R&D

World's Richest Man Picks Energy Miracles David Biello, Scientific American, 29 Feb 2016

Q&A: Bill Gates Jason Pontin; MIT Technology Review; 25 Apr 2016

Microsoft’s cofounder vows to change the “supply side” for breakthrough energy technologies by investing billions of his and his friends’ dollars.

grids / integration

Electricity Transmission Systems World Nuclear Association; Nov 2015

  • National and regional grid systems connecting generators with wholesale customers are generally just as important as electrical power generation.
  • Investment in these is often on a similar scale to generation capacity.
  • New technology is enabling transmission at high voltages over long distances without great losses.
  • Transmission system operators have responsibility for the quality of power supply.
Countries with well-developed electricity infrastructure have established grids run by transmission system operators (TSO) to convey power to distribution systems where it is needed. Where generating plants can be located close to load centres, these are less important than where the plants are remote, as with many hydro-electric plants and wind farms. Lower voltage can be used. At higher voltages, eg 500kV and above, transmission losses over hundreds of kilometres are much reduced. At ultra-high voltages (UHV) eg 1000 kV AC or 800 kV DC, losses are further reduced (eg to 5% over 1000 km) but capital requirements are greater. In Germany consideration is being given to converting some existing AC lines to DC to increase their capacity. In the USA it is estimated that transmission losses amount to about 6%, or 250 TWh per year, worth some $20 billion. In India transmission losses in 2011 were 222 TWh (21%).

Smart energy could save £8bn a year, say advisers Roger Harrabin; BBC; 4 Mar 2016

Ofgem challenges power grid companies to connect more renewables

Ofgem is challenging local electricity grid owners to follow Western Power Distribution’s lead by squeezing more capacity out of their grids to connect renewables.
There is huge growth in renewable generation in Great Britain. By December 2015 8.6GW of solar capacity had been installed 15 years ahead of forecasts.* Official projections made in 2012 suggested that around 6.5GW of solar panel capacity would be connected by 2030.
In some regions including the South West, there is little spare network capacity meaning costs and timescales for connection can be extremely high. So Ofgem is calling on electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) to speed up connections, firstly by finding new ways to link more generators to the existing network.

Managing Flexibility Whilst Decarbonising the GB Electricity System Andy Boston, Helen K Thomas; Energy Research Partnership UK; Aug 2015

Science for Energy Scenarios

3rd Science and Energy Seminar at Ecole de Physique des Houches, March 6th-11th 2016
presentations on EROI, power-gas-power, intermmittency, grids, etc

Global Supergrid Funding To Reach $10.2 Billion By 2025 Joshua S Hill ; Clean Technica; 7 Oct 2016

Navigant Research published its new report this week, Supergrids, analyzing the potential market for supergrids — large-scale, high-voltage transmission systems spanning countries, continents, and possibly even the globe one day. Such grids would allow multiple electricity generation technologies to input into one grid, creating a more reliable grid whilst simultaneously allowing the bulk integration of renewable energy.
For example, a supergrid spanning the Middle East and North Africa, with links into Europe, would be able to utilize the plentiful solar resources of the MENA region and the North European wind energy resources, and mitigate variability with the sheer availability of renewable energy resources across such a large swath of the area, including the varying climate conditions.

UK - Norway interconnect

National Grid plans world's longest underwater power cable between Britain and Norway Rowena Mason; Telegraph; 6 Oct 2009

National Grid, the UK's network operator, yesterday made an agreement with its Norwegian equivalent, Statnett, to draw up proposals for a link-up that is likely to cost around £1bn.
Part of the plan involves locating wind turbines along the route to provide top-up power and connecting to oil and gas platforms to provide electricity.
The two countries are a good energy match, because Norway's gets most of its electricity from hydropower stations and the UK is planning to build more wind farms.
A cable link-up could help solve the problem of wind power intermittency, where Norwegian hydropower could act as back-up for the UK in return for electricity on windy days.

Ofgem approves a 354-mile power cable from UK to Norway Jillian Ambrose; Telegraph; 21 JUN 2016

consortium that plans to build a 345-mile power cable to bring renewable hydro power into Britain.
NorthConnect aims to transport Norway’s abundant hydro-power reserves in the south west of the country through a high voltage 1.4GW subsea cable to a substation at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. Under current plans the project will begin powering homes by 2022.
There are currently four interconnectors to mainland UK, from France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Northern Ireland, with a combined capacity of 4GW. But ministers have said they would support a further 9GW of new interconnectors to help to improve security of supply by giving the UK access to power generated elsewhere.


World's longest subsea power link to generate at least £1.3bn income for National Grid Emily Gosden; Telegraph; 18 OCT 2016

National Grid is to be guaranteed a minimum of £1.3bn income for building the world's longest subsea power cable to import electricity from Norway. Energy regulator Ofgem on Tuesday announced plans for consumers to guarantee the utility giant at least £53m annual revenues for 25 years in return for its 50pc investment in the £1.4bn North Sea Link interconnector. The 450-mile cable from Blyth in Northumberland to Kvilldal in Norway is due to be built by 2021 and will be the first electricity link between the two countries. It will be able to import or export up to 1.4 gigawatts (GW) of electricity - enough to power about three quarters of a million UK homes.

power line bird mortalities

Refining Estimates of Bird Collision and Electrocution Mortality at Power Lines in the United States Scott R. Loss,1,*¤ Tom Will,2 and Peter P. Marra1; PLOS One; 3 Jul 2014

Collisions and electrocutions at power lines are thought to kill large numbers of birds in the United States annually. However, existing estimates of mortality are either speculative (for electrocution) or based on extrapolation of results from one study to all U.S. power lines (for collision).

Energy conversion & chemical fuels *

Fossil fuels

Natural Gas / Methane *

Fracking *

Coal

Ultra Super Critical Boilers Clean coal technology

Greenwash / snake oil

Fuel economy devices

The Ultimate Cell

Claims: "The Ultimatecell is powered by direct fused current from the vehicles 12v battery. The UltimateCell powers itself on-and-off and only creates minute-quantities of hydrogen gases On-Demand-when the engine is running. This technology, unlike others, does not rely on the large storage of fuel.
“When the engine starts, the UltimateCell initiates an electrolysis process that is electronically controlled. This results in the safe chemical separation of the Hydrogen molecules from the Water that will be fed into the engines air intake”
"The hydrogen produced within the vehicle works as a catalyst inside the engine head. This allows a faster and more complete combustion of the fuel. The result is an engine with optimum performance– always. This results in a cleaner, greener, smoother running engine. Power band torque is optimised resulting in easier, quicker driving through the gears. It would be found easier to remain in a higher gear for longer periods of time, thus resulting in less fuel been used and also reduced harmful tailpipe emissions. This saves you money and it is much greener to our environment."

Hydrogen from Urine

Debunked: Beneath the Lies, Nigerian "Pee Generator" Is Still Pissing Into the Wind Jason Mick; Daily Tech; 19 Oct 2015

Microbial Fuel Cell and Nigerian "urine-powered" generator

other

population

Global population growth, box by box Hans Rosling; TED@Cannes; Jun 2010

The world's population will grow to 9 billion over the next 50 years — and only by raising the living standards of the poorest can we check population growth.

New insights on poverty Hans Rosling; TED2007; Mar 2007

Researcher Hans Rosling uses his cool data tools to show how countries are pulling themselves out of poverty. He demos Dollar Street, comparing households of varying income levels worldwide.

There is no population explosion on this planet Robert Newman; Guardian opinion; 22 Sep 2013

Our population problem isn't too many humans on the planet, but too few owning too much of it

World Fertility Patterns 2009 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division

World Fertility Patterns 2009 presents the data available to assess the change in fertility taking place in countries of the world. For the 224 countries or areas for which data are available, it displays unadjusted data on total fertility, age-specific fertility and the mean age at childbearing for two points in time: the first as close as possible to 1970 and the second showing the latest available data.

pollution

Denmark accused of keeping quiet over "environmental disaster" that saw fertiliser and oil pour into the sea during fire Lizzie Dearden; Independent; 28 Feb 2016

Several thousand tonnes of liquid fertiliser burst out of a silo in Frederica Harbour on 3 March, causing palm oil to leak from a neighbouring vat and catch on fire, starting a huge blaze. But a Danish newspaper has accused local authorities of failing to announce the impact of the accident for several weeks, amid fears that huge amounts of toxic substances flowed into the sea and could kill countless fish.

human welfare / social change

working hours

Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data for 603 838 individuals Mika Kivimäki et al; The Lancet; 31 Oct 2015

Employees who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours; the association with coronary heart disease is weaker. These findings suggest that more attention should be paid to the management of vascular risk factors in individuals who work long hours.

Working long hours is linked to a significantly higher risk of stroke PETER DOCKRILL; Science Alert; 21 AUG 2015

According to researchers in the UK, those who work longer hours during the week significantly increase their chances of having a stroke. In the largest research project of its kind, researchers from University College London reviewed 25 studies involving more than 600,000 men and women from across Europe, the US, and Australia. Looking at the data, they found that those working 55 hours or more per week had a 33 percent greater risk of stroke than those working a more balanced 35–40 hour work week. Working the longer set of hours also brings with it a 13 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Sweden

Sweden introduces six-hour work day Hardeep Matharu @Hardeep_Matharu; Independent; May? 2016

Employers across the country including retirement homes, hospitals and car centres, are implementing the change

Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day BEC CREW; Science Alert; 30 SEP 2015

effective altruism

RESEARCHERS MAY HAVE FOUND THE BEST WAY OF ENDING EXTREME POVERTY, AND IT’S EMBARRASSINGLY SIMPLE MATT HERSHBERGER; Matador Network; 18 Apr 2016

Utah homelessness, Pete Singer, GiveDirectly, cash transfers,

OTHER RESOURCES

NASA Global Climate Change

Ensia

"a magazine showcasing environmental solutions in action. Our mission is to share stories and spark conversations that motivate and empower people to create a more sustainable future."

Tyndall Centre for climate change research

We bring together scientists, economists, engineers and social scientists who are working to develop sustainable responses to climate change. We work not just within the research community, but also with business leaders, policy advisors, the media and the public in general.

Energy Research Partnership UK

The Energy Research Partnership is a high-level forum bringing together key stakeholders and funders of energy research, development, demonstration and deployment in Government, industry and academia, plus other interested bodies, to identify and work together towards shared goals. The Partnership has been designed to give strategic direction to UK energy innovation, seeking to influence the development of new technologies and enabling timely, focussed investments to be made. It does this by (i) influencing members in their respective individual roles and capacities and (ii) communicating views more widely to other stakeholders and decision makers as appropriate. ERP’s remit covers the whole energy system, including supply (nuclear, fossil fuels, renewables), infrastructure, and the demand side (built environment, energy efficiency, transport). The ERP is co-chaired by Professor John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Dr Keith MacLean (formerly Director of Policy & Research at Scottish and Southern Energy). A small in-house team provides independent and rigorous analysis to underpin the ERP’s work. The ERP is supported through members’ contributions.

ALL REPORTS AND POLICY STATEMENTS IMechE

Soil Quality website

Contributors
  • The University of Western Australia
  • Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia
  • Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management is the regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) group for the Avon River Basin and administers investment for on ground projects that will result in positive NRM outcomes for the environment, economy and community.
  • Grains Research & Development Corporation is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations
  • South Coast Natural Resource Management is an incorporated non-profit association owned and directed by the people of the South Coast Region of Western Australia.
  • Grower Group Alliance is a network of grower groups, research providers and grains industry representatives located throughout Western Australia.