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(Environment) Greenhouse Gases
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:48 pm    Post subject: (Environment) Greenhouse Gases Reply with quote






Reuters recently reported the following:

China to lead greenhouse gas emissions surge: IEA Mon Nov 7, 6:10 AM ET

PARIS (Reuters) - China and other developing countries will emerge as the world's biggest polluters over the next 25 years, driving a sharp increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday.

Emissions of CO2, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming and climate change, will climb 52 percent by 2030 if the world's energy use keeps growing as expected, the Paris-based IEA said in its World Energy Outlook 2005.

"The increase in emissions from China alone will exceed the increase in all the OECD countries and Russia combined," said the IEA, advisor on energy to 26 industrialized countries.

China will account for nearly three quarters of the projected increase in CO2, as developing countries' output of greenhouse gases overtakes that of OECD nations.

Emissions from power stations will account for about half the IEA's projected increase.

China is building hundreds of coal-fired power plants as it tries to keep pace with explosive growth in energy demand from the booming economy, challenging international efforts to tackle climate change.

The IEA said China would produce 19 percent of world CO2 emissions by 2030, up from 16 percent in 2003.

India, another rapidly growing economy, would raise its share of world CO2 emissions to six percent from four percent over the period.

Developing countries would account for 49 percent of global CO2 emissions by 2030, up from 37 percent in 2003 and above the 42 percent share expected to come from OECD countries, said the IEA.

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After reading the above news article, one can explore further the following topics, asking questions and using the internet to find answers and explanations:

What are greenhouse gases?

http://www.google.com/search?h.....nhouse+gas

What is global warming?

http://www.google.com/search?h.....al+warming

What are percentages?

http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~jenolive/percent1.html

What is OECD?

http://www.oecd.org/about/0,23....._1,00.html

Who are the members of OECD?

http://www.oecd.org/countriesl....._1,00.html

What is IEA?

http://www.iea.org/Textbase/about/index.htm

Who are the members of IEA?

http://www.iea.org/Textbase/ab.....ntries.asp

GAMES

http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_...../index.cfm
http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_...../index.cfm
http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_...../index.cfm
http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_...../index.cfm

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear teachers;

You have the power at your fingertips to explore so much resources out there. You could bring into your classrooms issues that are so relevant to our world right now. Please use the internet to enrich the learning in our classrooms.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:35 pm    Post subject: Greenhouse Plants? Vegetation may produce methane Reply with quote

Science News Online
Week of Jan. 14, 2006; Vol. 169, No. 2

Greenhouse Plants? Vegetation may produce methane
Sid Perkins

Lab tests suggest that a wide variety of plants may routinely do something that scientists had previously thought impossible—produce methane in significant quantities.

Methane, like carbon dioxide, traps heat in Earth's atmosphere. Scientists have been studying natural sources of methane for decades but hadn't pegged plants as a producer, notes Frank Keppler, a geochemist at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Previously recognized sources of methane include bacterial action in the digestive systems of ruminants such as cows and in the saturated soils of swamps and rice paddies.

Now, Keppler and his colleagues find that plants, from grasses to trees, may also be sources of the greenhouse gas. "This is really surprising," Keppler says, because most scientists assumed that methane production requires an oxygenfree environment.

In its experiments, Keppler's team scrutinized the gaseous emissions of a variety of plants and their debris at normal atmospheric oxygen concentrations. A gram of dried plant material, such as fallen leaves, released up to 3 nanograms of methane per hour when the temperature was about 30°C. Each 10°C rise above that temperature, up to 70°C, caused the emission rate to approximately double.

Living plants growing at their normal temperatures generated even larger quantities of methane, as much as 370 ng per gram of plant tissue per hour. Methane emission more than tripled when the plants, either living or dead, were exposed to sunlight.

The team's experiments took place in sealed chambers with a well-oxygenated atmosphere, so it's unlikely that bacteria that thrive without oxygen generated the methane, says Keppler. Experiments on plants that were grown in water rather than in soil also resulted in methane emissions, another strong sign that the gas came from the plants and not soil microbes.

From their data, the researchers estimate that the world's plants generate more than 150 million metric tons of methane each year, or about 20 percent of what typically enters the atmosphere. They report their findings in the Jan. 12 Nature.

"This is some pretty strange chemistry," says David C. Lowe, an atmospheric chemist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Wellington, New Zealand. One reason that scientists hadn't considered plants as a source of the gas is that the laws of thermodynamics don't favor methane production in an oxygen-rich environment. However, Lowe notes, many plants produce volatile hydrocarbons that contribute to haze and smog (SN: 12/7/02, p. 360: Available to subscribers at http://www.sciencenews.org/art.....7/bob8.asp).

The new finding is an "interesting observation," says Jennifer Y. King, a biogeochemist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Because some types of soil microbes consume methane, they may prevent plant-produced methane from reaching the atmosphere. Field tests will be needed to assess the plants' influence, she notes.

The Keppler team's results may partially explain the large methane plumes recently observed over some tropical forests by Earth-orbiting satellites, says John B. Miller, an atmospheric scientist at the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. Although such plumes are unsurprising during the rainy season, when methane-producing soil microbes are most active, they also appeared during the dry season.

The new findings will probably spur researchers to revise their models of where and how methane is generated as well as their interpretations of the gas' concentrations measured in ancient ice cores. "This is a big deal if it's real," says Stanley C. Tyler, an atmospheric chemist at the University of California, Irvine.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject: For Plants, Size Doesn't Matter When It Comes To Metabolism Reply with quote

Source: National Science Foundation
Date: 2006-01-27
URL: http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....191418.htm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For Plants, Size Doesn't Matter When It Comes To Metabolism

Scientists have found a universal rule that regulates the metabolism of plants of all kinds and sizes, and that may also offer a key to calculating their carbon dioxide emissions. That number must be known precisely to construct valid models of global carbon dioxide cycling.

In a report published in the Jan. 26 issue of the journal Nature, biologist Peter Reich of the University of Minnesota and his colleagues found that the rate of plant metabolism, or respiration--and its related emissions of carbon dioxide--can be deduced from the nitrogen content of any plant.

Plants carry out respiration during the dark hours when they, like animals, take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. During daylight, plants carry out photosynthesis, in which the process is reversed.

Researchers have estimated that plant respiration releases five to 10 times as much carbon dioxide as fossil fuel burning. It's crucial, they say, to know the amount of plant emissions more accurately. Yet, "the amount of carbon dioxide given off by plants is one of the weak spots in models of global carbon cycling," Reich said.

Theory has held that the rate of metabolism in plants, also as in animals, is higher in smaller plants and lower in larger ones. So to calculate how much metabolic byproduct the plants were giving off, researchers had to adjust their numbers to account for the plants' size.

But when Reich studied 500 plants in 43 species, he found that a plant's weight and its respiration rate are directly related: the heavier the plant, the more it respired. The key to metabolism rate, he found, was the element nitrogen. The more nitrogen a plant contained, the more it respired, and the more carbon dioxide the plant emitted. And, plants containing the same amount of nitrogen respired the same, regardless of their sizes.

"In revealing nitrogen content as the key to plant metabolic rates, the work uncovered a fundamental difference between plants and animals," said Martyn Caldwell, program director in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology. "Linking plant metabolism to nitrogen can also assist efforts to measure the global carbon cycle."

"If all the carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel burning were to stay in the atmosphere, its rate of accumulation in the atmosphere would be two-and-a-half times faster than it actually is, and climate would change two-and-a-half times faster," said Reich. "Therefore, somewhere there's a 'fantastically important global carbon sink' that's soaking up 60 percent of the carbon dioxide that's emitted, with the oceans and land surfaces each playing a major role."

Co-authors of the paper are Mark Tjoelker of Texas A&M University, Jose-Luis Machado of Swarthmore College and Jacek Oleksyn of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Wilderness Research Foundation.
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 7:29 am    Post subject: Pollution, Greenhouse Gases and Climate Clash in South Asia Reply with quote

For Release: May 11, 2006
Scripps Institute of Oceanography

Pollution, Greenhouse Gases and Climate Clash in South Asia, Scripps Study Shows

For the complete article and illustrations:

http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/ar.....le_num=731

Pollution clouds in region appear to 'mask' aspects of South Asian climate, leading to drought and other impacts

A new analysis by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has produced surprising results showing how air pollution, global warming-producing greenhouse gases and natural fluctuations in the climate may have a range of significant consequences on the world's most populous region.
In a study published in the May 15 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, Chul Eddy Chung and V. Ramanathan of Scripps Oceanography describe their analysis of sea-surface temperatures and a range of other data from the Indian Ocean region. In the analysis, they found that cooler-than-normal temperatures in the northern part of the ocean have weakened the natural climate circulation and monsoon conditions in the region, resulting in reduced rainfall over India and increased rainfall over the Sahel area south of the Sahara in Africa.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:48 pm    Post subject: Siberian lakes burp “time-bomb” greenhouse gas Reply with quote

Siberian lakes burp “time-bomb” greenhouse gas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Institute of Arctic Biology
7 September 2006

FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- Frozen bubbles in Siberian lakes are releasing methane, a greenhouse gas, at rates that appear to be “... five times higher than previously estimated” and acting as a positive feedback to climate warming, said Katey Walter, in a paper published today in the journal Nature.

Walter’s project is the first time this type of bubbling has been accurately quantified. “We realized that our previous estimates were missing a very large and important component of lake emissions - in these bubbles were the dominant source of methane from lakes,” said Walter, an International Polar Year post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

According to Walter, her team’s calculations increase the present estimate of methane emissions from northern wetlands by between 10 and 63 percent.

Water studied a unique type of permafrost in Siberia, called yedoma, which contains an estimated 500 gigatons of carbon, largely in the form of ancient dead plant material. “This material has been locked up in permafrost since the end of the last ice age,” Walter said. “Now it is being released into the bottom of lakes, providing microbes a banquet from which they burp out methane as a byproduct of decomposition.”

“Permafrost models predict significant thaw of permafrost during this century, which means that yedoma permafrost is like a time bomb waiting to go off - as it continues to thaw, tens of thousands of teragrams of methane can be released to the atmosphere enhancing climate warming,” Walters said. “This newly recognized source of methane is so far not included in climate models.”

Using remote sensing, aerial surveys and year-round, continuous measurements Walter and colleagues developed a new method of measuring ebullition (bubbling) point sources and used it to quantify methane emissions from two thaw lakes in North Siberia.

As they walked across the frozen lakes they mapped locations and types of discrete methane bubbling trapped in the ice. By placing bubble traps over these spots and under the water the researchers could get daily measurements of the volume of methane released by the bubbles.

Walter will continue her work on methane for her UAF International Polar Year post-doctoral project which will provide the first circumpolar estimate of methane emissions for arctic lakes, linking process-based field surveys with remote sensing analysis.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:39 am    Post subject: Scientists map air pollution using corn grown in U.S. fields Reply with quote

Scientists map air pollution using corn grown in U.S. fields

UC Irvine
New method uses plants to monitor carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuels

Irvine, Calif., January 22, 2007
Scientists at UC Irvine have mapped fossil fuel air pollution in the United States by analyzing corn collected from nearly 70 locations nationwide.

This novel way to measure carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, oil and natural gas will help atmospheric scientists better understand where pollution is located and how it mixes and moves in the air. Tracking fossil-fuel-emitted carbon dioxide will be important as countries throughout the world adhere to the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement among nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The United States signed the protocol, but the treaty has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate.

“Many nations are facing increasing pressure to monitor and regulate the release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel sources to limit greenhouse gas warming,” said James Randerson, associate professor of Earth system science at UCI and co-author of the study. “This method can help determine how much fossil fuel carbon dioxide is coming from different regions.”

The study appears Jan. 23 in Geophysical Research Letters.

For the full article:

http://today.uci.edu/news/rele.....p?key=1564
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:13 am    Post subject: Regardless of global warming, rising CO2 levels threaten mar Reply with quote

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
8 March 2007

Regardless of global warming, rising CO2 levels threaten marine life

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Like a piece of chalk dissolving in vinegar, marine life with hard shells is in danger of being dissolved by increasing acidity in the oceans.

Ocean acidity is rising as sea water absorbs more carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from power plants and automobiles. The higher acidity threatens marine life, including corals and shellfish, which may become extinct later this century from the chemical effects of carbon dioxide, even if the planet warms less than expected.

A new study by University of Illinois atmospheric scientist Atul Jain, graduate student Long Cao and Carnegie Institution scientist Ken Caldeira suggests that future changes in ocean acidification are largely independent of climate change. The researchers report their findings in a paper accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, and posted on its Web site.

"Before our study, there was speculation in the academic community that climate change would have a big impact on ocean acidity," Jain said. "We found no such impact."

In previous studies, increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere led to a reduction in ocean pH and carbonate ions, both of which damage marine ecosystems. What had not been studied before was how climate change, in concert with higher concentrations of carbon dioxide, would affect ocean chemistry and biology.

To investigate changes in ocean chemistry that could result from higher temperatures and carbon-dioxide concentrations, the researchers used an Earth-system model called the Integrated Science Assessment Model. Developed by Jain and his graduate students, the model includes complex physical and chemical interactions among carbon-dioxide emissions, climate change, and carbon-dioxide uptake by oceans and terrestrial ecosystems.

The ocean-surface pH has been reduced by about 0.1 during the past two centuries. Using ISAM, the researchers found ocean pH would decline a total of 0.31 by the end of this century, if carbon-dioxide emissions continue on a trajectory to ultimately stabilize at 1,000 parts per million.

During the last 200 years, the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide increased from about 275 parts per million to about 380 parts per million. Unchecked, it could surpass 550 parts per million by mid-century.

"As the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, ocean water will become more acidic; which is bad news for marine life," Cao said. "Fortunately, the effects of climate change will not further increase this acidity."

There are a number of effects and feedback mechanisms built into the ocean-climate system, Jain said. "Warmer water, for example, directly reduces the ocean pH due to temperature effect on the reaction rate in the carbonate system. At the same time, warmer water also absorbs less carbon dioxide, which makes the ocean less acidic. These two climate effects balance each other, which results in negligible net climate effect on ocean pH."

The addition of carbon dioxide into the oceans also affects the carbonate mineral system by decreasing the availability of carbonate ions. Calcium carbonate is used in forming shells. With less carbonate ions available, the growth of corals and shellfish could be significantly reduced.

"In our study, the increase in ocean acidity and decrease in carbonate ions occurred regardless of the degree of temperature change associated with global warming," Jain said. "This indicates that future changes in ocean acidity caused by atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations are largely independent of climate change."

That’s good news. The researchers’ findings, however, call into question a number of engineering schemes proposed as mitigation strategies for global warming, such as lofting reflective balloons into the stratosphere or erecting huge parasols in orbit. By blocking some of the sunlight, these devices would create a cooling effect to offset the warming caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases.

"Even if we could engineer our way out of the climate problem, we will be stuck with the ocean acidification problem," Caldeira said. "Coral reefs will go the way of the dodo unless we quickly cut carbon-dioxide emissions."

Over the next few decades, we may make the oceans more acidic than they have been for tens of millions of years, Caldeira said. And that’s bad news.

###
The work was funded by the National Science Foundation
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:23 am    Post subject: First greenhouse gas animations produced using Envisat SCIAM Reply with quote

First greenhouse gas animations produced using Envisat SCIAMACHY data

ESA

20 March 2007

Based on three years of observations from the SCIAMACHY instrument aboard ESA’s Envisat, scientists have produced the first movies showing the global distribution of the most important greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide and methane – that contribute to global warming.


For the full article and animation:

http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM1DUQ08ZE_planet_0.html
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 7:04 am    Post subject: Charge: Carbon Dioxide Hogs Global Warming Stage Reply with quote

Charge: Carbon Dioxide Hogs Global Warming Stage

By Andrea Thompson
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 29 March 2007
02:02 pm ET

Carbon dioxide hogs the spotlight on the stage of chemical culprits causing global warming, but other greenhouse gases deserve some blame, scientists say.

“People need to be aware that it isn’t just CO2 that’s the problem,” said Keith Shine of the University of Reading in England, co-author of an article in the March 30 issue of the journal Science discussing the many unknowns about the complex mixture of greenhouse gases emitted into Earth’s atmosphere.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/env.....n_co2.html
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:46 pm    Post subject: Plants do not emit methane Reply with quote

Plants do not emit methane
Blackwell Publishing
April 2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scientists disprove a recent study that suggests plants emit the potent greenhouse gas methane


A recent study in Nature1 suggested that terrestrial plants may be a global source of the potent greenhouse gas methane, making plants substantial contributors to the annual global methane budget. This controversial finding and the resulting commotion triggered a consortium2 of Dutch scientists to re-examine this in an independent study. Reporting in New Phytologist, Tom Dueck and colleagues present their results and conclude that methane emissions from plants are negligible and do not contribute to global climate change.


The consortium brings together a unique combination of expertise and facilities enabling the design and execution of a novel experiment. Plants were grown in a facility containing atmospheric carbon dioxide almost exclusively with a heavy form of carbon (13C). This makes the carbon released from the plants relatively easy to detect. Thus, if plants are able to emit methane, it will contain the heavy carbon isotope and can be detected against the background of lighter carbon molecules in the air.


Six plant species were grown in a 13C-carbon dioxide atmosphere, saturating the plants with heavy carbon. 13C-Methane emission was measured under controlled, but natural conditions with a photo-acoustic laser technique. This technique is so sensitive that the scientists are able to measure the carbon dioxide in the breath of small insects like ants. Even with this state-of-the-art technique, the measured emission rates were so close to the detection limit that they did not statistically differ from zero. To our knowledge this is the first independent test which has been published since the controversy last year.


Conscious of the fact that a small amount of plant material might only result in small amounts of methane, the researchers sampled the ‘heavy’ methane in the air in which a large amount of plants were growing. Again, the measured methane emissions were neglible. Thus these plant specialists conclude that there is no reason to reassess the mitigation potential of plants. The researchers stress that questions still remain and that the gap in the global methane budget needs to be properly addressed.


1’Methane emissons from terrestrial plants under aerobic conditions’ by Keppler F, Hamilton JTG, Braβ M, Rockmann T. Nature 439: 187–191


2The Dutch consortium includes scientists from Plant Research International, IsoLife and Plant Dynamics in Wageningen, Utrecht University, and the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:26 am    Post subject: Seeking new ways of using carbon dioxide in fuels and other Reply with quote

Seeking new ways of using carbon dioxide in fuels and other products
30 April 2007
Chemical & Engineering News

New research aimed at finding ways to use carbon dioxide to make fuels, plastics, and other products and materials could easily triple the amount of this key greenhouse gas put to practical use, rather than released into the atmosphere or simply captured and buried underground, according to an article scheduled for the April 30 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS's weekly newsmagazine.

In the article C&EN senior editor Stephen K. Ritter points out that the global chemical industry already uses about 115 million tons of CO2 annually as a chemical feedstock, that is, as a raw material to manufacture other chemicals and products. Products routinely produced from CO2 range from aspirin to fertilizer. Even a major scale-up in the industrial use of CO2 would hardly put a dent in the emissions and buildup of this greenhouse gas, however. Since global CO2 emissions (mainly from coal-fired electric power plants) total an estimated 24 billion tons, technology for capturing and storing the gas still are essential in a battle against global warming, the article explains.

Even with that proviso, Ritter points out that increased chemical industry use of CO2 could be an important part of a multi-faceted program to control global warming. The article describes a wide range of research projects underway in academia and industry to find practical uses for CO2. One process under investigation in the United Kingdom, for instance, focuses on converting CO2 into formic acid, which could be used to power fuel cells for electric vehicles and a raw material to make other fuels. Another promising process, among many being developed in the United States, involves making polycarbonate plastics that contain up to 50 percent CO2 by weight.

ARTICLE #5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, April 30, 2007 "What Can We Do With CO2?"

This story will be available on April 30 at: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/covers.....cover.html
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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 8:14 am    Post subject: New Device Vacuums Away Carbon Dioxide Reply with quote

New Device Vacuums Away Carbon Dioxide

By Andrea Thompson
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 01 May 2007
01:09 pm ET

A new device placed in say, Iceland, could suck up atmospheric carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles as far away as Tokyo, making it a potentially useful tool in battling ever-rising levels of this greenhouse gas.

Carbon dioxide molecules trap heat emanating from the Earth’s surface and send it back downward, warming up the atmosphere. Scientists think that steadily rising levels of this and other greenhouse gases will bring about potentially disastrous changes in Earth’s climate.

Scientists have proposed many possible ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air: emissions could be reduced by using alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power or alternative fuels, like ethanol or natural gas; and scrubbers could be placed on power plants to remove carbon dioxide and other gases from their exhaust.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/tec.....pture.html
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 8:16 am    Post subject: Plants Don't Produce Greenhouse Gas, New Study Finds Reply with quote

Plants Don't Produce Greenhouse Gas, New Study Finds
By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 08 May 2007 08:00 am ET


Plants are not a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, according to new research that casts doubt on the results of an earlier study.

Like carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, methane acts like a blanket to trap the heat that Earth radiates away.

The biggest recognized sources of methane are emissions from wetlands and rice paddies, where bacteria in the mud break down organic matter in the absence of oxygen to produce methane, and the belching of cows and other animals.


For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/env.....thane.html
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 7:30 am    Post subject: Climate swings have brought great CO2 pulses up from the dee Reply with quote

The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Climate swings have brought great CO2 pulses up from the deep sea

May 10, 2007, The Earth Institute at Columbia University—A study released today provides some of the first solid evidence that warming-induced changes in ocean circulation at the end of the last Ice Age caused vast quantities of ancient carbon dioxide to belch from the deep sea into the atmosphere. Scientists believe the carbon dioxide (CO2) releases helped propel the world into further warming. The study, done by researchers at the University of Colorado, Kent State University and Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, appears in the May 10 advance online version of the leading journal Science.

Atmospheric CO2, also produced by burning of fossil fuels, is thought to be largely responsible for current warming. However, scientists have known for some time that the gas also goes through natural cycles. By far most of the world's mobile carbon is stored in the oceans—40 trillion metric tons, or 15 times more than in air, soil and water combined. But how this vast marine reservoir interacts with the atmosphere has been a subject of debate for the last 25 years. The study indicates what many scientists have long suspected, but could not prove: sometimes the oceans can release massive amounts of CO2 into the air as they overturn. "The lesson is that abrupt changes in ocean circulation in the past have affected the oceans' ability to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere," said geologist Thomas Marchitto of the University of Colorado, a co-lead author. "This could help us understand how that ability might be affected by future global warming."

The researchers found the evidence in a core of Pacific Ocean sediment brought up from 705 meters--about 2,300 feet—off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. The core held the remains of bottom-dwelling protozoa called foraminifera, which take up carbon from surrounding water and use it to build their shells. The isotope carbon 14—normally used to date organic remains such as wood and bones—can also be used to date the water in which the foraminifera grew. Going back through layers built up over the past 38,000 years, the researchers found the shells contained expected levels of C14 in all but two brief periods, beginning roughly 18,000 years and 13,000 years ago. That meant the protozoa were using older sources of carbon, long isolated from the atmosphere. The carbon could come from only one place: upwelling of the deep sea, from depths of 3 kilometers (nearly two miles) or more. The researchers believe the water came not from the Pacific, but from the faraway Antarctic Ocean--the only part of the world where great upwelling can occur, due to the bottom topography and wind patterns. Most of the rising C02 probably poured out into the air in southern latitudes, but some carbon-rich water traveled on currents at intermediate depths to the north, where the foraminifera recorded its C14 signature.

The upwelling and release of this carbon dioxide matches well with rapid warming and rises in atmospheric CO2 shown in glacial ice cores from Antarctica and other far-flung records. The researchers believe that largely as a result of these episodes, CO2 in the atmosphere went from 190 parts per million (ppm) during glacial times to about 270 ppm, and remained at that level until recently. A similar but much more rapid rise, to 380 ppm, has taken place since the Industrial Revolution—most of it in the last few decades. Both rises almost certainly stoked climate warming.

Exactly what caused the upwelling is not clear, but many scientists believe the world was already undergoing a natural warming cycle, possibly due to a slight periodic change in earth's orbit. This suddenly ended the last Ice Age, in turn changing ocean currents and wind patterns. The hypothesis favored by paper's authors is that sudden disintegration of northern ice sheets during this initial warming slowed or halted deep Atlantic Ocean circulation. This in turn warmed the Antarctic, causing massive retreats of sea ice and allowing deep Antarctic waters to surface. Thus, it is possible that the signal detected in the Pacific ultimately originated on the other side of the world.

"Once the CO2 started rising, it probably helped the warming process along—but exactly how much, we can't say," said Robert Anderson, a Lamont-Doherty expert in ocean circulation who was not involved in the study. "And there is still huge uncertainty as to how the oceans will respond to current warming." Anderson says the study should be a wake-up call to the scientific community to expand studies of the oceans' relationship to climate change.


###
Lamont-Doherty senior researcher Alexander van Geen, a coauthor of the paper, was chief scientist on the cruise that collected the cores, and has coordinated much research on them since. The other authors are paleoclimatologists Scott Lehman and Jacqueline Flueckiger at the University of Colorado, and geochemist Joseph Ortiz of Kent State University.

The paper, "Marine radiocarbon evidence for the mechanism of deglacial atmospheric CO2 rise," is posted at http://www.sciencemag.org/sciencexpress/recent.dtl

Background information on current thinking about ocean circulation and climate is contained in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html



About The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a member of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, is one of the world's leading research centers seeking fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world. More than 300 research scientists study the planet from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean. From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, nonrenewable resources, environmental hazards and beyond, Observatory scientists provide a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humankind in the planet's stewardship.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 8:27 pm    Post subject: Surprise Increase in Global Carbon Dioxide Output Reply with quote

Surprise Increase in Global Carbon Dioxide Output
By LiveScience Staff

posted: 21 May 2007 08:37 pm ET

Carbon dioxide emissions have accelerated globally at a greater rate than expected in recent years, scientists announced today.

The average growth rate of the emissions increased from 1.1 percent a year in the 1990s to 3 percent increase per year since 2000, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas that serves like a blanket, trapping heat and warming the atmosphere.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/env.....oxide.html
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:32 am    Post subject: Researchers examine carbon capture and storage to combat glo Reply with quote

Stanford University
11 June 2007

Researchers examine carbon capture and storage to combat global warming

While solar power and hybrid cars have become popular symbols of green technology, Stanford researchers are exploring another path for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas that causes global warming.

Carbon capture and storage, also called carbon sequestration, traps carbon dioxide after it is produced and injects it underground. The gas never enters the atmosphere. The practice could transform heavy carbon spewers, such as coal power plants, into relatively clean machines with regard to global warming.

''The notion is that the sooner we wean ourselves off fossil fuels, the sooner we'll be able to tackle the climate problem,'' said Sally Benson, executive director of the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) and professor of energy resources engineering. ''But the idea that we can take fossil fuels out of the mix very quickly is unrealistic. We're reliant on fossil fuels, and a good pathway is to find ways to use them that don't create a problem for the climate.''

Carbon capture has the potential to reduce more than 90 percent of an individual plant's carbon emissions, said Lynn Orr, director of GCEP and professor of energy resources engineering. Stationary facilities that burn fossil fuels-such as power plants or cement factories-would be candidates for the technology, he said.

Capturing carbon dioxide from small, mobile sources, such as cars, would be more difficult, Orr said. But with power plants comprising 40 percent of the world's fossil fuel-derived carbon emissions, he added, the potential for reductions is significant.

Not only can a lot of carbon dioxide be captured, but the Earth's capacity to store it is also vast, he added.

Estimates of worldwide storage capacity range from 2 trillion to 10 trillion tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its report on carbon capture and storage. Global emissions in 2004 totaled 27 billion tons, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration.

If all human-induced emissions were sequestered, enough capacity would exist to accommodate more than 100 years' worth of emissions, according to Benson, coordinating lead author of the IPCC chapter on underground geological storage.

With fossil fuels already comprising 85 percent of the world's energy consumption, and their use rapidly increasing due to the growth of developing countries, such as China and India, the need to find solutions to curb carbon emissions becomes even more crucial, Benson said.

From the air to the earth

In the capture process, carbon dioxide is extracted from a mix of waste gases. The most common method sends the exhaust through a chimney containing a three-dimensional mesh. As the gas goes up, a chemical solvent drizzles down, soaking up the gas where the two substances meet. The carbon dioxide is then extracted from the liquid and compressed, now ready for storage.

The best storage options today lie in geologic sequestration-storage in old oil fields, natural gas reservoirs, deep saline aquifers and unminable coal beds, hundreds to thousands of meters underground.

The carbon dioxide is pumped down through wells, like those used to extract oil, and dissolves or disperses in its reservoir.

Viable locations must have a caprock, or an impermeable layer above the reservoir shaped like an upside-down bowl, that traps the gas and keeps it from escaping, the researchers said.

Safety smarts

''The goal of carbon sequestration is to permanently store the carbon dioxide,'' Benson said, ''permanent meaning very, very long-term, geological time periods.''

The greatest concern surrounding carbon dioxide storage is the potential for it to leak, researchers said.

The most obvious worry, said Benson, is that leakage would lead to more global warming, defeating the purpose of storage in the first place.

''People think, it would have been sort of sad going through all this trouble,'' said Tony Kovscek, associate professor of energy resources engineering and a researcher on a GCEP project on carbon sequestration in coal.

But studies have shown that leakage, if it happened at all, would be insignificant, Benson said. The IPCC reported that 99 percent retention of the carbon dioxide that is stored would be ''very likely'' over 100 years and ''likely'' over 1,000 years, she said.

''If you do it right, if you select the site correctly and monitor, it can be near permanent,'' Benson said.

Of greater concern to the researchers are the potential risks of carbon sequestration to human health, mainly through asphyxiation and groundwater contamination.

The threat of asphyxiation-or suffocation due to carbon dioxide displacing oxygen-is very low, the researchers said, because of the unlikelihood of a rapid leakage, which would have to occur to cause a problem.

Drinking water contamination, Benson said, is the more probable danger. For example, if carbon dioxide enters the groundwater somehow, it can increase the water's acidity, potentially leaching toxic chemicals, such as lead, from rocks into the water, she said.

To address these risks, scientists are studying reservoir geology to better understand what happens after injecting carbon dioxide underground.

''You need to carefully select places that won't leak, and do a good job of engineering the injection systems and paying attention to where the carbon dioxide is actually going,'' Orr said.

While a thorough technical understanding of the risks will reveal best practices, the scientists also stressed the need for good management to see that proper procedures are followed.

Benson points to a familiar technology as a model for thinking about and tackling risk.

''People often ask, is geological storage safe" It's a very difficult question to answer. Is driving safe"'' she expounded. ''You might say yes or no, but what makes driving something we're willing to do" You get automakers to build good cars, we have driver training, we don't let children drive, we have laws against drunk driving-we implement a whole system to ensure that the activity is safe.''

Policy and progress

Engineers have more than three decades of experience putting carbon dioxide into oil reservoirs, where it increases oil production by making the oil expand and ''thin out'' such that it flows more easily, Benson said.

''That experience gives us confidence that we know how to drill the wells, push the [carbon dioxide] in and say something about what will happen when it gets down there,'' said Orr.

Currently, three industrial-scale projects are pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the ground every year. Two of them represent the first efforts at storage in deep saline aquifers.

A Stanford team also has begun researching storage of carbon dioxide in deep coal beds. In coal, chemical bonds form between the carbon dioxide and the coal, making the method potentially more secure than others, the researchers said.

Even better, the process can free natural gas that sits on the coal's surface. Natural gas is a relatively clean fossil fuel, which can then be burned in place of coal, said Mark Zoback, professor of geophysics and a researcher on the project on storage in coal.

The project, which is funded by GCEP and GEOSEQ-a partnership involving the Department of Energy, several national labs, government groups and industry partners-is still in its early stages, the researchers said.

Of all the projects, only one is turning a profit without recovering oil. Sleipner, an industrial-scale project run by Norwegian oil company Statoil, injects carbon dioxide into a deep saline aquifer beneath the North Sea floor.

Its economic success, scientists say, is due to the presence of Norway's high carbon taxes, which give green technologies an advantage by discouraging carbon emissions.

Carbon taxes are charged to a company for every ton of carbon dioxide it emits, so that it becomes increasingly costly to be dirty. Thus the taxes encourage companies to be green.

When a clean technology is expensive-incorporating carbon capture and storage into a power plant costs $30 to $70 per ton of carbon dioxide-taxes on emissions level the playing field and help make it viable.

A policy framework, therefore, is essential for making carbon capture and storage economical, the Stanford researchers said.

''We need thousands of projects,'' Benson said. ''That's the kind of thing that will only happen if there are global policies to address these issues. That's the number one critical thing.''

With the proper development, Benson believes that carbon sequestration could be ripe for industry in the next 20 years.

'A family of solutions'

Critics of carbon sequestration argue that the technology will divert attention from research on long-term clean energy options, such as renewable power. Worse, they fear it will prolong fossil fuel use, if fossil fuels from some stationary sources can be used more cleanly.

But the researchers continually emphasize the need to adopt other technologies in addition to carbon sequestration.

''Geological sequestration is going to be one of a family of solutions for addressing the greenhouse gas issue,'' said Zoback.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy are already feasible today and also can define the long-term energy picture, he said.

''[Carbon dioxide] sequestration, on the other hand, is only a bridge technology,'' he added. ''Maybe we have another hundred years of using fossil fuels, and then we'll be on to better and smarter things, one hopes. If we're going to be creating greenhouse gases for another hundred years, it's a huge problem right now, so you have to get on this point. But nonetheless, our dependence on fossil fuels is not going to last forever.''

###
COMMENT:

News Service website: http://www.stanford.edu/news/

Stanford Report (university newspaper): http://news.stanford.edu

Most recent news releases from Stanford: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/n.....eases.html

To change contact information for these news releases:
news-service@lists.stanford.edu
Phone: (650) 723-2558

Sally Benson, Global Climate and Energy Project and Energy Resources Engineering: (650) 725-0358, smbenson@stanford.edu

Tony Kovscek, Energy Resources Engineering: (650) 723-1218, kovscek@pangea.stanford.edu

Lynn Orr, Global Climate and Energy Project and Energy Resources Engineering: (650) 725-6270, fmorr@pangea.stanford.edu

Mark Zoback, Geophysics: (650) 725-9295, zoback@pangea.stanford.edu

EDITORS NOTE:

Images, slugged ''carbon,'' are available on the web at http://newsphotos.stanford.edu/

RELEVANT WEB URLS:

GLOBAL CLIMATE AND ENERGY PROJECT

http://gcep.stanford.edu/

INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC) SPECIAL REPORT ON CARBON DIOXIDE CAPTURE AND STORAGE

http://www.ipcc.ch/activity/srccs/index.htm

By Annie Jia, a science-writing intern at Stanford News Service.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:06 am    Post subject: Feds: Storing Carbon Dioxide Underground Can Work Reply with quote

Feds: Storing Carbon Dioxide Underground Can Work
By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 26 June 2007 12:04 pm ET

Coal seams deep below the ground could be used to store carbon dioxide released by human activities, government scientists have found.

The process could have side-effects, some good and some bad.

When carbon dioxide is pumped into the coal, it may also displace the methane the coal contains, which could be used by industry.

Storing carbon dioxide in coal seams is just one potential method of carbon sequestration being explored by scientists. Researchers are also looking into pumping the greenhouse gas into oil wells to extract the last few drops of oil or in brine aquifers.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/env.....seams.html
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:14 am    Post subject: Elevated CO2 in atmosphere weakens defenses of soybeans to h Reply with quote

American Society of Plant Biologists
6 July 2007

Elevated CO2 in atmosphere weakens defenses of soybeans to herbivores
University of Illinois research presented in Chicago at ASPB Annual Meeting July 9, 2007
In research to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists in Chicago (July 7-11, 2007), scientists will show that elevated CO2 may negatively impact the relationship between some plants and insects. Elevated CO2 is considered to be a serious catalyst of global change. Its effects can be felt throughout the ecosystem, including the insect-plant food chain link. Safeguarding highly-usable crops is of great importance to many local and national economies.

Many plants have inherent enzyme-based defenses that are released during insect attack. This study found that when soybeans (Glycine max) were exposed to elevated amounts of CO2 the plants became more susceptible to attack by Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica). Furthermore, as these beetles consumed the weakened soybeans, the insect’s invasive abilities were intensified.

Dr. Jorge Zavala, Sr. of the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, and his colleagues conducted tests in which they evaluated this herbivorous attack-defense cycle. They studied soybeans grown in traditional field conditions but with additional exposure to ambient CO2. The results showed that the amount of cysteine proteinase inhibitors (CystPls) expressed in the genes decreased when soybeans were exposed to elevated CO2. CystPls is naturally produced by soybeans when they are under insect attack. It inhibits further attack once the invader has ingested it.

“Our results suggest that elevated CO2 increased the susceptibility of soybean to invasive insects by down-regulating the expression of hormones related with defense, which down-regulate the important defense CystPls against beetles,” Zavala said.

Zavala also explained, “Under natural field conditions, elevated CO2 not only increased susceptibility of soybean to herbivory by the invasive species Japanese beetle, but also enhanced the performance of these beetles.”

The investigation also determined the expression of genes that regulate two of the soybean’s defensive hormones, jasmonic acid and ethylene. The results showed that exposure to increased CO2 lowers the plant’s ability to regulate its defensive hormones.

The relevancy of this study is far-reaching since soybeans are an important crop to many different economies. Furthermore, while this study is specific to one plant and insect pairing, these findings will help inform the on-going debate on CO2 exposure and global change.

###
Contact:
Dr. Jorge Zavala, Sr. zavala@igb.uiuc.edu
Katie Engen katie@aspb.org / 301.251.0560 ext 116

Founded in 1924, ASPB (formerly known as the American Society of Plant Physiologists), is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. This professional society has a membership of approximately 5,000 plant scientists from the United States and more than 50 other nations. ASPB publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals in the world, Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. Further information concerning ASPB including the abstracts for these Joint Congress presenters can be found on its website, www.aspb.org
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:50 am    Post subject: Experiment suggests limitations to carbon dioxide 'tree bank Reply with quote

Duke University
7 August 2007

Experiment suggests limitations to carbon dioxide 'tree banking'

SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- While 10 years of bathing North Carolina pine tree stands with extra carbon dioxide did allow the trees to grow more tissue, only those pines receiving the most water and nutrients were able to store significant amounts of carbon that could offset the effects of global warming, scientists told a national meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA).

These results from the decade-long Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) experiment in a Duke University forest suggest that proposals to bank extra CO2 from human activities in such trees may depend on the vagaries of the weather and large scale forest fertilization efforts, said Ram Oren, the FACE project director.

"If water availability decreases to plants at the same time that carbon dioxide increases, then we might not have a net gain in carbon sequestration," said Oren, a professor of ecology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

"In order to actually have an effect on the atmospheric concentration of CO2, the results suggest a future need to fertilize vast areas," Oren added. "And the impact on water quality of fertilizing large areas will be intolerable to society. Water is already a scarce resource. "

In a presentation delivered on Tuesday, Aug. 7 by Heather McCarthy, Oren's former graduate student, eight scientists working at the FACE site reported on the daily administrations of 1 1/2 times today's CO2 levels and how it has changed carbon accumulations in plants growing there.

The Department of Energy-funded FACE site consists of four forest plots receiving extra CO2 from computer-controlled valves mounted on rings of towers, and four other matched plots receiving no extra gas.

Trees in the loblolly pine-dominated forest plots that were treated produced about 20 percent more biomass on average, the researchers found. But since the amounts of available water and nitrogen nutrients varied substantially from plot to plot, using averages could be misleading.

"In some areas, the growth is maybe 5 or 10 percent more, and in other areas it's 40 percent more," Oren said. "So in sites that are poor in nutrients and water we see very little response. In sites that are rich in both we see a large response."

The researchers found that extra carbon dioxide had no effect on what foresters call "self thinning" -- the tendency of less-successful trees to die off as the most-successful grow bigger.

"We didn't find that elevated CO2 caused any deviation from this standard relationship," said McCarthy, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine.

Also unchanged by the CO2 enrichment were the proportions of carbon atoms that found their way to various components of plant systems -- wood, leaves, roots and underlying soil. Only a few of those components will store carbon over time, noted Oren and McCarthy.

"Carbon that's in foliage is going to last a lot shorter time than carbon in the wood, because leaves quickly decay," McCarthy said. "So elevated CO2 could significantly increase the production of foliage but this would lead to only a very small increase in ecosystem carbon storage."

###
Other FACE researchers contributing to the ESA report were Kurt Johnsen of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, Adrien Finzi of Boston University, Seth Pritchard of the University of Charleston, Robert Jackson and Charles Cook of Duke and Kathleen Treseder of the University of California, Irvine.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:39 pm    Post subject: Greenhouses Gases Responsible for 2006's Record Warmth Reply with quote

Greenhouses Gases Responsible for 2006's Record Warmth
By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 28 August 2007 01:25 pm ET

Greenhouse gases were likely responsible for more than half the increase in warmth that smothered the continental United States in 2006, a new study says.

Average yearly temperatures have shown a warming trend in recent decades, but the average temperature of 2006 was the second highest since recordkeeping began in 1895.

The warmest year on record in the United States, 1998, was partly fueled by a very strong El Nino. (El Nino is a warming of the surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that has influence on weather patterns across North America and even into the Atlantic Ocean.)

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/env.....armth.html
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:56 pm    Post subject: Cutting carbon: New tech traps, stores airborne emissions Reply with quote

Cutting carbon: New tech traps, stores airborne emissions
8 October 2007
Environmental Science & Technology

In a finding that could shrink the massive carbon footprint of cars worldwide, a New York scientist has proposed an industrial technology that captures CO2 directly from the atmosphere. The study is scheduled to appear in the Nov. 1 issue of ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

Current Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies focus on large, stationary sources like power plants. But even if the capture sites were at full deployment and efficiency, "more than 50 percent of global emissions would remain unabated," writes the author. The remaining emissions, often from dispersed and mobile sources, require other mitigation techniques. According to the author, "atmospheric CO2 emissions may double this century." These CO2 forecasts lend urgency to the search for a more comprehensive carbon capture system.

Frank Zeman addresses the ambient emissions with a new 'Air Capture' system that absorbs CO2 straight from the atmosphere. While it provides a very different approach to carbon capture, the CO2 storage technologies would be the same used in conventional CCS. The leading challenge of air capture technology arises from the low concentration of ambient CO2 -- 4,697 cubic feet of ambient air must be processed to capture about 2 ounces of carbon dioxide! Zeman proposes a number of solutions, including a design that uses natural drafts to absorb vast amounts of air at little to no energy cost. The comprehensive devices could be installed anywhere, writes the author, and would trap and store carbon as efficiently as current capture technologies.

ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE "Energy and Material balance of CO2 Capture from Ambient Air"

DOWNLOAD PDF http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sa.....70874m.pdf
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:29 am    Post subject: New Plastic Could Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reply with quote

New Plastic Could Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions
By Ker Than, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 23 October 2007 09:07 am ET

A plastic tweaked to mimic cellular membranes can separate carbon dioxide from natural gas and could help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, scientists say.

The technology, detailed in the Oct. 12 issue of the journal Science, might also be modified to isolate natural gas from decomposing garbage or filter impurities from water, the researchers say.

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http://www.livescience.com/env.....astic.html
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:53 pm    Post subject: Study reveals lakes a major source of prehistoric methane Reply with quote

Study reveals lakes a major source of prehistoric methane

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
University of Alaska at Fairbanks
25 October 2007

Methane bubbles are trapped in the ice of a Siberian lake in 2003. Mapping methane bubbles in the ice helps researchers estimate how much methane escapes from lakes each year.

Methane bubbling from arctic lakes could have been responsible for up to 87 percent of that methane spike, said UAF researcher Katey Walter, lead author of a report printed in the Oct. 26 issue of Science magazine. The findings could help scientists understand how current warming might affect atmospheric levels of methane, a gas that is thought to contribute to climate change.

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http://www.uaf.edu/news/news/20071024130833.html
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:53 pm    Post subject: Seawater Treatment Plants Could Combat Climate Change Reply with quote

Seawater Treatment Plants Could Combat Climate Change
By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience

posted: 09 November 2007 07:46 am ET

The seas themselves might be modified to combat global warming by absorbing climate-altering carbon dioxide from the air, research now reveals.

The new approach scientists have theorized—which ideally modifies seawater's chemical composition using treatment plants near volcanoes and coastlines—could also help benefit coral reefs worldwide, they suggest. But they caution such a technique could potentially also have detrimental environmental impacts that need to be minimized.

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http://www.livescience.com/env.....ocean.html
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:59 pm    Post subject: Oceans could slurp up carbon dioxide to fight global warming Reply with quote

Oceans could slurp up carbon dioxide to fight global warming
19 November 2007
Environmental Science & Technology

Researchers in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are proposing a new method for reducing global warming that involves building a series of water treatment plants that enhance the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. About 100 such plants — which essentially use the ocean as “a giant carbon dioxide collector” — could cause a 15 percent reduction in emissions over many years, they say. About 700 plants could offset all Co2 emissions. Their study is scheduled to appear in the Dec. 15 issue of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

Scientists believe that excessive build-up of carbon dioxide in the air contributes to global warming. In addition to cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the use of fossil fuels, researchers have focused on new technologies that remove the gas directly from the atmosphere.

In the new study, Kurt Zenz House and colleagues propose building hundreds of special water treatment facilities worldwide that would remove hydrochloric acid from the ocean by electrolysis and neutralize the acid through reactions with silicate minerals or rocks. The reaction increases the alkalinity of the ocean and its ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The process is similar to the natural weathering reactions that occur among silicate rocks but works at a much faster rate, the researchers say.

ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Electrochemical Acceleration of Chemical Weathering as an Energetically Feasible Approach to Mitigating Anthropogenic Climate Change”

DOWNLOAD PDF http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sa.....701816.pdf
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