“Breathing the air is equivalent to three packs of cigarettes a
day”, but it is still far better than London
air sixty years ago, during the Great Smog. There are still buildings
whose facades are being cleaned sixty years later. The River Thames was
saw the "Great Stink," when the stench [including] raw sewage got
so bad [that] Parliament, which meets in a riverside building, had to be dissolved.”
Croydon, a charcoal producing area, was so filthy
in the 19th century that putting washing out to dry ended with it being
more filthy than before it was washed.
“The model evaluates the impacts on agriculture, forestry, energy,
water, unmanaged ecosystems, coastal zones, heat and cold deaths and
disease. The bottom line is that benefits from global warming right
now outweigh the costs (the benefit is about 0.25% of global GDP). Global
warming will continue to be a net benefit until about 2070, when the
damages will begin to outweigh the benefits, reaching a total damage
cost equivalent to about 3.5% of GDP by 2300. This is simply not the
end of humanity. If anything, global warming is a net benefit now; and
even in three centuries, it will not be a challenge to our civilisation.
Further, the IPCC expects the average person on earth to be 1,700% richer
by the end of this century.”
“If we are to find a workable and economically smart solution,
we would do well to look at the best climate solution from the top economists
from the Copenhagen Consensus. They found that, unlike even moderate
CO2 cuts, which cost more than they do good, we should focus on investing
in finding cheaper low-carbon energy. This requires us to invest massively
in energy research and development (R&D). Right now, we don't -
because the climate panic makes us focus exclusively on cutting CO2.
“R&D has been dropping worldwide since the early 1980s. If
we increased this investment ten-fold, it would still be ten times cheaper
than Kyoto, and probably hundreds to thousands of times cheaper than
The literature indicates that for every pound invested, we would do
£11-worth of good. The reason: because when we all talk about
cutting CO2, we might get some well-meaning westerners to put up a few
panels on their roof-tops. While it costs a lot, it will do little
and have no impact on Chinese and Indian emissions. But if we focus
on investing in making cheaper
solar panels, they will become competitive sooner, making everyone,
including the Chinese and Indians, switch.”
“According to a new study by the University of New South Wales,
farming kangaroos instead of sheep or cattle could lower national greenhouse
gases in Australia by 3 percent a year.
“Methane from burps and farts of cows and sheep is an often overlooked
contributor to global warming, but it accounts for 67% of Australia’s
agricultural sector methane emissions. It also contributes 11% of Australia’s
total emissions. In contrast, kangaroos barely produce any methane.”
“Climate models suggest that extreme precipitation events will
become more common in an anthropogenically warmed climate. However,
observational limitations have hindered a direct evaluation of model
projected changes in extreme precipitation. Here, we use satellite observations
and model simulations to examine the response of tropical precipitation
events to naturally driven changes in surface temperature and atmospheric
moisture content. These observations reveal a distinct link between
rainfall extremes and temperature, with heavy rain events increasing
during warm periods and decreasing during cold periods. Furthermore,
the observed amplification of rainfall extremes is found to be larger
than predicted by models, implying that projections of future changes
in rainfall extremes due to anthropogenic global warming may be underestimated.”
“CCS is untested for good reason. The technology will add about
US$1 billion to the capital cost of a power plant, not including efficiency
losses which will demand a quarter more coal burn just to maintain output,
and extra water for steam to make up the lost power.”
“In the United States utilities are building 28 coal-fired plants
and another 66 are in early planning, as gas price hikes motivate new
“In Europe, Germany is building 16 new plants to come on line
by 2012, despite a European Union emissions trading scheme which penalises
greenhouse gases. In Italy, Enel is converting to coal from oil-fueled
power plants and Britain has endorsed new coal.
“In developing nations, growth is rampant. Poor grid access coupled
with frequent blackouts, rapid economic growth and plentiful fuel are
driving a frenzy to build new power plants which take just 21 months
to build in China.
“Over the past three years, China has added each year new coal
plants equivalent to Britain's entire electricity-generating capacity.
India has approved eight "ultra mega" plants which will add
nearly half again to its present generating capacity.”
“To buttress the point, McCain regularly cites the example of
France, which gets about 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear
sources. He also highlights the U.S. Navy, in which he served as a fighter
pilot and which he boasts has safely operated nuclear power plants in
its aircraft and submarines without an accident in 60 years.”
[Atomic aeroplanes, this must be the fossil media -
“Yet recent events have undercut that message, as well.
“Last week, the Navy announced that one of its nuclear-powered
submarines, the USS Houston, had leaked minimally radioactive water
earlier this year. An investigation showed water may have been slowly
leaking from the valve since March as the Los Angeles-class submarine
traveled around the Pacific.
“The total amount of radioactivity released into the environment
at each stop was less than one-half a microcurie, equivalent to the
radioactivity of a 50-pound bag of fertilizer, but it threatened to
damage relations with Japan, where the presence of U.S. nuclear vessels
has long been controversial.”
[Oh no, it may damage relationships
with Japan - ed.]
Lest the item should be unattributed, this is more Associated Press erudition.
Cut street lighting in half, even though new
solar-LED lamps will drive consumption towards
zero; and so on.
“The speed limit will be cut on dual carriageways outside major
cities by 20%, bringing it in line with Barcelona, which has already
set a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).
“Every time we lift our feet off the accelerator, we are improving
GDP and employment," Sebastián said. "The era of cheap
energy has passed." “
“ With the introduction of a broad swathe of measures between
now and 2014, Spain's socialist government hopes to reduce Spain's oil
imports by 10% per year, cutting consumption by 44m barrels and saving
“During the country's sweltering summers, air conditioning systems
in public buildings will be set no lower than 26C (79F). In winter,
Spaniards will be allowed to turn the heating no higher than 21C (70F),
with hospitals being the only exception.
“Street lighting is to be reduced by up to 50% and the metro
system in many cities will stay open later at weekends to encourage
people to leave the cars at home. The government is also to introduce
a pilot project for the manufacture of 1m electric or hybrid cars.”
And so on.
Note that both the USA and
France are well on the way to replacing all public lighting, from traffic
lights to street lighting, with LED lamps.
“[...] one side looks like a conventional office building with
glass walls, but on the other side there is a huge terraced roof that
merges with a park. The garden terraces, which reach up to about 60
meters above the ground, contain some 35,000 plants representing 76
“The building was constructed on the last remaining green space
in the city center, so the architects, Emilio Ambasz & Associates,
created a design to preserve the green space as much as possible, while
still fitting in a large office building. In addition, a green roof
reduces the energy consumption of a building, because it keeps the temperature
inside more constant and comfortable. Green roofs also capture rainwater
runoff, and support the life of insects and birds.”
The building and is surrounds also provides a green
lung in this concrete desert.
“The survivors are an astonishingly plastic group of plants.
James Bunce, a plant physiologist with an office down the hall from
Ziska’s, has been studying the effect on dandelions (that nemesis
of the suburban greenskeeper) of atmospheres artificially enriched with
CO2. He found in a series of trials that populations of the familiar
weed evolve, changing physically to take advantage of this sort of resource
enhancement, within the space of one growing season.
“ "When you change a resource in the environment,"
Ziska said recently, sitting in his compact office, "you are going
to, in effect, favor the weed over the crop. There is always going to
be a weed poised genetically to benefit from almost any change."
“Ziska, together with Bunce, has been testing the effects of
changing CO2 concentrations on a range of crop and weed species. Wending
his way through a basement full of pumps, filters and boxlike aluminum
growth chambers, Ziska showed himself to be a connoisseur of atmospheres.
Peering at the instrument panel outside one growth chamber, he noted
a CO2 concentration of 310 p.p.m. "That’s a 1957 atmosphere,
the year of my birth," he said. What he and his colleagues have
found, he said, is that weeds benefit far more than crop plants from
the changes in CO2 and that the implications of this for agriculture
and public health are grave.”
“ The scientists grew the plant at four concentrations of CO2:
at 270 p.p.m. (the ambient level at the beginning of the 19th century,
before the Industrial Revolution), at 320 p.p.m. (a 1960s level), 370
p.p.m. (a 1990s level) and 420 p.p.m. (the approximate level predicted
for 2020 in all the climate-change panel’s estimates). What they
found was that an increase of CO2 equivalent to that occurring from
1800 until today raised the total mass of material (the biomass) each
cheatgrass plant produced by almost 70 percent. In addition, the composition
of the cheatgrass changed as the CO2 level increased, the tissues becoming
more carbon-rich so that the plant leaves and stems are less susceptible
to decay. In a natural setting, this would mean that the dead material
would persist longer, adding yet more fuel for wildfire.”
all use them; from camera flashes to television remotes, AA batteries
find their way into every home. But just like other energy sources,
batteries can be very costly as well. With a wide range of prices from
store to store, a bit of comparison shopping may be necessary to find
a good deal. Need a 4-pack of alkaline batteries at a tourist trap?
Forget about it -- that'll be 10 dollars please.”
After several tests, a rechargeable and a single use
battery were chosen.
“Energizer's 15 Minute charger and battery set is our top pick
in AA batteries. It offers enviable performance, is reasonably priced,
and can charge completely in 15 minutes. 15 minutes isn't too much to
ask, making this set a great choice for virtually any photographer.
“If you need even more power or don't use your camera on a daily
basis, Energizer's lithium batteries are our second place pick. These batteries
offer the lowest cost per shot of any we've tested, weigh 33-percent
less than alkaline batteries, and last significantly longer than any
single-use battery we've seen.”
“Whether recycling your used batteries or sending them to the
landfills, it's always a good idea to place a piece of tape over the
battery terminals as a safety precaution.”
I think they’re comparing the chargeables on
a once-through basis, which seems a bit strange to me.
“The key objectives in the development were to minimise all driving
resistances through lightweight construction and outstanding aerodynamics,
and to develop new tyres and running gear components, taking ergonomics,
current safety standards and familiar control functions into account.
However, the target, a fuel consumption level of one litre per 100 kilometres,
meant abandoning conventional vehicle concepts. With a width of just
1.25 metres, the 1-litre car is extraordinarily narrow, the driver and
passenger sit in tandem, the transversely installed engine is centrally
located in front of the rear axle, the plastic bodywork has the highly
aerodynamic shape of a teardrop. In close cooperation with numerous
suppliers, existing components were examined, assessed and modified,
and brand new concepts were advanced. This was the case in particular
for the wheels/tyres, the starter-alternator, the bodywork and the lighting.”
“The passive safety level corresponds to that of a GT sports car
registered for racing. With the aid of computer simulations (CAE = Computer
Aided Engineering), all kinds of crash types were investigated and the
vehicle designed accordingly. So-called crash tubes, with integrated
pressure sensors for airbag control in the front end of the car, absorb
the entire deformation energy, leaving the footwell unaffected. The
aluminium fuel tank - with a filler opening designed for automated robotised
filling - is located in the collision-protected area behind the passenger.
“Furthermore, active safety is provided by the latest-generation
four-channel ABS and the electronic stability program ESP.”
“Safe braking is assured by four alloy disc brakes and alloy brake
calipers, combined with the latest generation anti-lock brake system.
An electronic parking brake on the rear axle ensures safe parking of
Engine: One-cylinder diesel engine with just 0.3
“[The] engine is a single-cylinder diesel with an automated, direct sequential
gearbox. Crankcase and cylinder head of the 0.3-liter engine in monoblock
design aluminium. Basically, it is a single-SDI [diesel injection] not
a derivative of a known engine, but a very technologically sophisticated
[Google-translated from VW
Gearbox: automated direct shift gearbox
Starter-alternator, start-stop system and freewheel function help save
Running gear: Double-wishbone front axle weighs no
more than eight kilograms
De-Dion principle rear axle; each wheel weighs only 1.8 kilograms
Electrics: Top-quality electronics with low energy
Headlights with Bi-Xenon and daylight beam
Rear light clusters and turn signals in LED technology
Interior: Monitors in the cockpit and external cameras
instead of mirrors