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Posts Tagged ‘global Warming’

Please Nominate Your Candidates for the 2017 Environmental Hall of Fame/Shame Awards

Tue ,27/03/2018

Last year, 2017, saw some real heroes and villains with respect to the environment. It is important that we recognize those who most affected the environment, for good or ill, by their words or actions.

Each year, this site Earthrise2takes a poll to find those most deserving to be in the Environmental Hall of Fame or the Environmental Hall of Shame. Please send  your nominations  for  each category by e-mail through the “Contact the Author”   link, send it to moorejc2646@gmail.com, or put it in the comment section. If you would like, please include a short reason that your nominee should be chosen and suggest a suitable gift if they win.

Nominations will be taken until May 15, 2018. The nominees will then be  listed  and this site will conduct a poll to determine the winner in each category.  You may suggest a suitable prize for your nominee. Please be imaginative, as particularly thoughtful or humorous  nominations will  be recognized and published on this site.

(c) 2018 J.C. Moore

Has Global Warming Made Hurricane Damage Worse?

Sun ,31/12/2017

Hurricanes are the most violent and destructive storms in nature. There’s a smaller, yet potentially destructive, storm raging between climate scientists and climate skeptics about the nature of hurricanes. The scientific evidence points to the fact that global warming  causes hurricanes to be more intense. Skeptics would like to convince everyone that global warming has not made any change in hurricanes, so there is no need to address global warming. Skeptics do have a point or two, but not many. Skeptics want absolute proof from the scientists, but science doesn’t work that way. The changes caused by a warming world have changed the probability of the occurrence of extreme weather events, and skeptics apparently don’t want to consider probabilities.

Skeptics say that the number of hurricanes in the Southern Atlantic is not increasing, and they’re probably right on that. Hurricanes begin as tropical storms, which occur at random depending on the weather conditions. Skeptics also say that the increasing economic damages done by hurricane is because of the increased construction along the coasts. That is partly right, but it is also right that the damage done by storm surges has increased because of increased sea level rise, which is a measurable consequence of global warming. Those who listen to the skeptics, and unwisely build in floodplains, are sure to experience more damage from storm surges.

Global warming has made the oceans much warmer, even later into the year. The water temperature must be above 82°F for a tropical storm to grow into a hurricane, and the warmer the ocean the more likely it is that the a hurricane, once formed,  will intensify. Hurricanes are much like a heat engine, they are driven by the warm air rising from the oceans much like a chimney effect. The greater the temperature difference between the ocean and the upper atmosphere, the faster the flow upward and the greater the wind speeds.

If you could slice into a hurricane, it would look something like the diagram below. It has a low pressure eye at the center, and the air drawn into it rises and circulates counterclockwise around the low pressure area, faster and faster as it nears the eye. The small red arrows show warm, moist air rising from the ocean, and forming bands of clouds around the eye. As the warm moist air produces rain, more heat is released, warming the air further and causing it to rise faster until it reaches the top of the storm. Reaching there, it has become cooler and dryer. The blue arrows show how the cool, dry air then sinks in the eye and between the bands of clouds. Remember that the bands of clouds are rotating very quickly, and the large red arrow show the rotation of the rising bands of clouds.

.                                                                                                                                                      Credit: Kelvinsong

A hurricane is much like a heat engine. It is driven by the energy from the warm oceans and the cold temperature of the atmosphere above the storm. Because of global warming, that temperature difference is greater. The upper atmosphere receives its energy from the earth below. The increasing carbon dioxide between acts as a blanket, which causes the oceans to be warmer and the upper atmosphere to be colder. As in all heat engines, the greater the temperature difference, the more power the engine has. As a hurricane passes, it leaves the oceans cooler behind it as it sucks energy from the ocean. Because of global warming, the warmth goes deeper there is a greater area of warm water,  both factors which provide more heat to the hurricane and cause it to increase in size and intensify.

The vapor pressure of water increases exponentially with temperature. In our warmer world, there is now 10 to 15% more water vapor in the rain bands moving around the hurricane. When hurricane Harvey made landfall over Houston, it could be expected that Houston would receive increased rainfall. But by chance, Harvey stalled  over Houston and continued to pull warm moist air in from the Gulf, dumping over 50 inches of rain. Sea level rise has been measured to be about 30 inches along the Gulf Coast. The extreme rainfall coupled with the sea level rise  increased the storm surge and flooded much of the lower areas of Houston. The storm’s stalling was a chance event, and the skeptics are right when they say it should not have happened, but it did. Considering the storm’s intensity, the wind damage, the sea level rise, and the extreme rainfall, climate scientists attribute about 30% of the damage in Houston to global warming.

Below is a satellite image of hurricane Irma on the right, compared in size to the smaller hurricane Andrew which struck Florida in 1992, killing 65 people, destroying 65,000 home, and doing $26 billion in damages. Andrew was the  the most destructive hurricane to hit Florida ever before, and Irma could have been much worse.  

 

Florida was extremely lucky that hurricane Irma, wider than the whole Peninsula, went up the western side of the Peninsula. The western side of the  Peninsula experienced very little storm surge. The winds on the leading edge of the Irma, circulating counterclockwise, blew the ocean water away from shore, leaving the ocean dry for several hundred yards out as it passed. The storm was so weakened that by the time the back of the storm made landfall, directing the water toward shore, that the storm surge was only a few feet. Had Irma gone up the east side of Florida, the storm surge at the leading edge of the hurricane could have been as much as 15 feet, completely inundating much of Miami.

There you have it. Global warming has increased the temperatures of the oceans and has increased the temperature difference between the oceans and the upper atmosphere, both factors which tend to make the hurricanes more intense. The warmer oceans put more moisture into the air, making the rainfall from the hurricanes greater, and sea level rise has increased the height of the destructive storm surges. This fall, there were five intense hurricanes which formed in the Southern Atlantic, all of them making landfall and doing extensive damage. That could just be a chance occurrence, as the skeptics claim, but it has never happened before.

(c) 2017 –  J.C. Moore

Who’s Afraid of Climate Change?

Mon ,06/11/2017

What do you fear? People are moved to action by their fears. Sometimes our fears lurk at the edge of our consciousness, and then are brought into sharp focus by events. Dying oceans, polluted lakes and streams, unsafe drinking water in major cities, catastrophic hurricanes, severe drought and wildfires, and an increase in the severity of weather events, have brought environmental problems into the things Americans fear.

The annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears in 2017 provides an in-depth examination into the fears of average Americans. The survey looked at 80 fears and ranked them according to the survey responses The chart below lists America’s top 10 fears for 2017. For the first time ever, not one, but four of the top 10 fears are related to the deterioration of the environment. Pollution of natural waters, unsafe drinking water, global warming, and air pollution are now among Americans worst 10 fears.

It is not only natural disasters that occurred in 2017, but also political events . Americans had considered that the Environmental Protection Agency would protect our natural waters from pollution. However, Scott Pruitt, the current Environmental Protection Agency director, decided not to enforce major pollution laws, and fired the EPA’s entire Science Advisory Board. No advice, no research, no problem. People are beginning to realize that what you don’t know can hurt you.

The publicity surrounding the failure of the state and local government of Flint Michigan to protect the city’s residents from lead poisoning, and the subsequent discovery of lead and other toxins in our city water supplies, have made people fear that their water is not safe to drink. Almost everyone lives downstream from someone, and pollutants that find their way into our water supplies are bound to find their way into us.

Many Americans perceived the results of climate change remote and far into the future. The attribution of worsening disasters to climate change, and the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord have brought carbon emissions and air pollution into sharper focus. Pictures of severe smog in China and the data from the American Heart and the American Lung Associations about the number of deaths caused by air pollution and particulates are making people increasingly fear for their health.

Action and participation is the antidote for what fear can create, a  feeling of helplessness. Our fears should create the will for political action on climate change and pollution. Even with the failure of our government and the EPA to protect the environment, we can still do it using market forces. The best plan is the carbon fee and dividend system as proposed by the Citizens Climate Lobby. The CCL legislative proposal would set an initial fee on carbon at $15 per ton of CO2 at the source and would increase it by $10 each year until the CO2 emissions were reduced to 10% of the 1990 US levels. The carbon fees are not a tax, as they would be rebated 100% to American households. It would give every American citizen a stake in conserving energy and reducing their use of carbon fuels,  which would both cut pollution and improve the economy. Exercise the power in your citizenship, and insist your Representative support action on climate change.

Credit: Thanks to Darrel Hart, President of the Wichita CCL Chapter, for suggesting the idea and supplying some of the wording in the article.

(C) 2017 J.C. Moore

 

 

Climate Change: The Oceans Response

Mon ,22/05/2017

This guest article is a PowerPoint presentation given by Dr. Rick Cowlishaw in April at the Citizens’ Climate Education meeting in Wichita. Dr. Cowlishaw is Professor of Biology at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. He describes how the warming oceans, altered ocean currents, sea level rise, and ocean acidification are affecting the oceans, marine life, and eventually us.

Though you may miss some things without Dr. Cowlishaw’s guidance, the slides are mostly self-explanatory. You will need a PowerPoint program to view the slides –  you may  download a free viewer here. The slides will display as set in your viewer. Please click on the link below to start the program.

Climate Change_The Oceans Response 

We greatly appreciate the work that Dr. Cowlishaw put into the presentation, and for his permission to post it here.

J.C. Moore

 

Winners of the 2016 Hall Of Fame and Hall of Shame Awards

Wed ,01/03/2017

  Thanks  to those of you who submitted nominations and who voted.  The four top candidates in each category were selected from the nominees and the poll was  conducted on three internet sites and Facebook. This year’s winners won by landslides.

Here are the winners:

Hall of Fame 

1. Dr. Katharine Hayhoe ( 91% of the vote) –  an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, she is director of the Climate Science Center. She is an evangelical Christian who believes that science and religion do not have to conflict with one another. She has been a persuasive spokesperson for action on global warming and supports a  Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal to address the issue.

Award: An appreciation of climate science by conservatives.

2. The Standing Rock Sioux (5%) – for opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline to protect their water quality after it was routed through their reservation due to concerns of other communities for the same reason. Facing militarized police forces and North Dakota’s most severe blizzards and sub zero winds they prevailed in efforts on the reservation and in the media capturing the support of much of the nation.

Suggested Award: A proper, nonpolitical environmental review before any more construction.

3. President Barack Obama (2%) – for coordinating and implementing a global climate pact signed by 195 countries, including the US, even in the face of a Congress that would stop at nothing to prevent it.  President Obama managed to tie the US Paris agreement to a previous treaty to avoid a possible defeat in Congress.

Prize : Clean air and water for our grandchildren as his legacy.

4China (2%) –for announcing an investment of $361 billion in renewable energy by 2020 (and probably taking the global lead in green tech – a sad, missed opportunity for the US, but a great achievement for our shared future). China has also just cancelled the construction of 100 coal fired power plants to be replaced with wind and solar energy.

Award : Being able to go outdoors in the cities without a mask.

 

Hall of Shame 

 

 1. The  Palm Oil industry (91% of the vote.) –  Palm Oil is found in roughly half the packaged products sold in US grocery stores, creating a skyrocketing demand for the oil. This demand has led to the burning of millions of acres of tropical rain forests and jungles, caused the loss of wildlife and eco-system, contributed to climate change, and spread corruption to local and national governments. It is also responsible for human rights violations as corporations often forcefully remove Indigenous Peoples from their lands and its production has led to child labor violations and modern day slavery.

Suggested Award : A boycott of all conflict palm oil products.

2. Trump voters (5%) – for electing a President more than willing to undo even the modest progress the Paris Agreement would/could have accomplished – and most certainly will work to enable completion of the Keystone Pipeline, and push the Dakota Access pipeline in which he seems to have a financial interest. He has promised to remove/rollback decades of regulations designed to improve the quality of our air, water, and soil.

Suggested Award: May you drink water approved by Scott Pruitt’s EPA.

3. Governor Scott Walker  of Wisconsin (2%) – for appointing a real estate lady to head the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), scattering the DNR programs among five agencies making conservation more costly and less effective, halting enforcement of environmental regulations, and scrubbing anything  involving Climate Change from DNR computers.

Wished for Award: A resounding defeat in the next election.

4. Utah Congressman Rob Bishop (2%)  –  chairman of the powerful House Committee on Natural Resources, with sway over issues ranging from energy production to mining, fisheries, and wildlife across one-fifth of the nation’s landmass. He wants to overturn Obama’s Bear’s Ears monument, taking the land away from a coalition of native American tribes so it can be broken up and sold to mining and lumber interests. He introduced a Constitutional amendment that would take away the right of the President to designate national monuments, and has fought to weaken environmental laws and neuter federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service.

Award: Perhaps having the federal agencies return the favor.

 

It looks like 2017 will have some epic battles between conservationists and corporate polluters. Please keep in mind those who affect the environment the most for good or ill for your 2017 nominations.

(c) 2017 – J.C. Moore

 

We Must Switch to Renewable Energy

Mon ,25/07/2016

We must switch to renewable energy for health reasons, economic reasons, and environmental Temp pathsreasons.

Health reasons: The American Lung Association estimates that there are 26,000 deaths and 1.5 million cases of acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma caused by small particulates, much of it emitted from coal-fired power plants and from coal ash disposal. They estimate the economic benefits of reduced exposure to particulates alone could reach as much as $281 billion annually. Recently, fine particles have been implicated as a cause of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and new research has revealed a troubling link between mental illness and air pollution that seems to particularly effect children.

Economic reasons: Besides reducing health care costs, a switch to renewable energy will help keep our future electric rates low. Wind and solar are falling in cost and are now competitive with energy from coal-fired power plants. Recently AEP/PSO in Oklahoma purchased 800 MW of wind energy saying the cost was now less than building new coal fired plants, and that the purchase will save an estimated $53 million in the first year and even more thereafter. Kansas currently has 27,000 jobs in the clean energy sector. Of those jobs 75% are in wind energy, and are growing at a rate of 2.3% per year.  By the end of 2016, 32% of Westar’s retail electricity will come from the wind.

Environmental reasons: Coal is 65 to 95 % carbon. What about the rest? Burning coal releases mercury, chromium, lead, cadmium, arsenic, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide,  particulates, and radioactive isotopes. Burning  coal releases millions of tons of pollutants into the air and leaves several hundred million tons behind in the coal ash. Some pollutants stay in the air and others eventually find their way into the water, the food chain, and into us. For comparison, mercury is 100 times as toxic as cyanide, arsenic is 20 times as toxic, and chromium(VI) is 4 times as toxic. These three are also are carcinogenic and accumulate in tissue. Even exposure below the allowed levels increases the chance of cancer over time. The sulfur, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide released by coal combustion harm plants, produce acid rain, and increase the greenhouse gas concentrations. Switching to renewable energy would greatly reduce these  pollutants and help preserve the environment for future generations.

Summary: Investing in clean energy protects the environment, reduces death and disease from air pollution, and creates good, local jobs. We must develop policies to encourage the development of renewable energy investments and energy conservation. Our energy needs will best be served by a mixture of traditional and alternate energy sources, and we must be proactive in developing our renewable energy resources.

(c) 2016 J.C. Moore

Climate Change: Science and Solutions

Thu ,21/04/2016

This presentation was given at the Great Plains Conference on Animals and the Environment at Fort Hays State University for Earth Day 2016.  The first part of the program presents the evidenceccl1 for climate change and explains the urgency for taking action. The second part of the presentation explains the Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s  proposal to reduce our carbon emissions below 1990 levels by 2035.  The plan, with broad bipartisan support, would place a fee on carbon at the source and allow market forces to encourage reduced emissions, energy conservation and investments in renewable energy.

Science and Solutions 

Please click on the link above. You will need a PowerPoint program to view the slides – or you may  download a free viewer here. The slides will display as set in your viewer. The slides were meant to be somewhat self-explanatory, but if you have questions you may email the author or post your questions in the comment section. The slides were  prepared by Darrel Hart, Mark Shobe, and J.C. Moore.

The 2015 Environmental Hall of Fame/Shame Winners

Thu ,31/03/2016
The picture at the right  Moonreminds us of how beautiful, small, and finite the Earth is – and how important it is that we protect it. This contest was designed to identify those who work to protect the Earth and those who would damage it through their actions. The 2015 Environmental Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame contests were carried out on four websites and the votes were combined to determine those who have most affected the environment.

The 2015 Environmental Hall of Fame Winners are:

1. (37% of vote) Bill Nye the science guy, and Neil deGrasse Tyson for their efforts at educating the public. Hearing them together on Tyson’s Star Talk radio show makes me think that they should have a prime time TV show. They are a riot together and certainly help people understand the science of global warming. Prize : A prime time TV show together.

 

2. (25%) President Barack Obama, both for managing to thread the needle in Paris and for postponing the decision on Keystone XL until it was uneconomical and too late for anybody in Congress to want to do anything in a presidential election year. Pres. Obama managed to tie the US Paris agreement to a previous treaty to avoid a possible defeat in Congress if it needed their approval. Prize : An political chess set.

3. (19%) Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY) for introducing H. Res. 424, a Republican Climate Resolution to address mitigating global warming. He, along with 12 Republican cosponsors, support  H. Res. 424 which states, “It is a conservative principle to protect, conserve, and be good stewards of our environment.” This is a very hopeful sign of progress along the road to bipartisan climate action. Prize: Enough political support to ward off Americans for Prosperity and other climate change deniers.

4. (19%) California Governor Jerry Brown for his tireless efforts to make policies and laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to protect the residents of CA  and the surrounding states from the worst impacts of global warming.  He has signed pacts to combat the planet’s warming with leaders from 13 countries including Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel and Peru. Reward: More support from the U.S. Congress.

Honorable Mention. The “little old guy” from the retirement center seen several times a week   leaning on his cane to pick up stuff other people believe they couldn’t be bothered with.  (And does it while walking a dog). Award: Our thanks for being such a good example to us all.

 

Hall of Shame Recipients are: 

1. ( 45%) The dishonorable Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan and his sycophants for not only allowing the poisoning of Flint Michigan children but also insisting that the healthcare professionals who brought this to their attention be dismissed and demeaned by Michigan Environmental officials. To save money, the state switched Flint’s water supply to that of the corrosive water of Flint River, which leached lead out of the city’s water pipes, affecting the resident’s health and causing lead poisoning in thousands of Flint’s children.

Award: A lead pipe connection for their office water supply from the Flint River.

2. ( 35% ) The 114th Congress of the United States for their repeated acts, statements, and actions against climate science, scientist, and new clean energy technologies – and for being out of step with the American public who by a majority in both parties support efforts to reduce CO2. An example would be Lamar Smith (R -TX) for trying to influence the science findings at NOAA.  Award: A huge dearth of votes in the next election for those who oppose climate science.

3.  (10%)  Exxon/Mobil for their continued climate denial and for sowing doubt about CO2’s role in global warming even though their own scientists knew in 1980 that CO2 from fossil fuels was the cause.  Though their lying to the public is apparently not against the law, lying to their stockholders is , and several states are moving to sue them for damages. Award: Judgments against Exxon/Mobil like those against tobacco companies.


4. ( 10%) North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and the NC lawmakers who tacked on a 61-page “business-friendly” measure to a 1-page technical bill – then rammed through the law without public input. It:

  • Gave polluters immunity from certain fines & penalties
  • Allows polluters to avoid full cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination
  • Permits polluters to self-report without enforcement or fines
  • Rolls back clean water and air protections
  • Rejects science on sea level rise

Award: Nickname North Carolina the “Polluters Paradise” in their honor.

Note: Senator James Inhofe,  the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee,  was nominated so many times that he was awarded a Lifetime Membership in the Environmental Hall of Shame to give others a chance. He claims “climate change is the biggest hoax in history” and wrote a book about it (reviewed here). He is famous for comparing the EPA to a Gestapo bureaucracy, appearing at climate conferences as if he spoke for the US, and bringing snowballs onto the senate floor as if they proved climate change is a hoax. The person who nominated him for a Lifetime Award thought he should be barraged with snowballs for as long as it snows in Washington D.C..

(C) 2016 J.C. Moore

 

Carbon Fee and Dividend: How Much Fuel Makes a Ton of Carbon Dioxide?

Mon ,11/01/2016

In Paris, 196 countries agreed to develop plans to reduce their carbon emissions in such a way as to keep global warming below 1.5°C.  Although each country will develop its own plan,  the best plan for the US, and many other countries, would be a carbon fee and dividend system such as that developed by the  Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), which has broad bipartisan support.  CCL’s proposal would place a fee on carbon at the source, and market forces would then encourage reduced emissions, energy conservation and investments in renewable energy.  The fee collected is not a tax as it would be distributed equally to every household as a monthly energy dividend.

CO2 equivalent emissions: CCL’s legislative proposal would set an initial fee on carbon at $15 per ton of CO2 emission or CO2 equivalent emissions with the fee increasing by $10 each year until the US emissions drop to 1990 levels. The main contributors to CO2 are combustion of coal, natural gas, and gasoline, with minor equivalent emissions coming from other industrial chemicals.  A little chemistry allows us to calculate the tons of CO2 that a ton of each fuel produces.

Coal: It is hard to calculate coal’s contribution exactly as it has from 65% to 95% carbon and the rest is impurities. Those include mercury, cadmium, lead, manganese, selenium, sulfur, nitrogen, and some radioactive elements. Much of the environmental damage and many cases of lung disease can be traced to the impurities and to the mining of coal. For calculation purposes we will assume that coal is all carbon as graphite, but keep in mind that each source of coal is different.

The chemically equation for the reaction of carbon with oxygen is:

co22

 

 

 

 

Carbon       +     Oxygen    =>        Carbon Dioxide

The mass of each atom or molecule in atomic mass units (MU) is written on the atom. The equation says that 12 mass units of carbon react with 32 mass units of oxygen to produce 44 mass units of carbon dioxide. The equation is like a recipe and once you establish the basic relationship, it can be scaled up to tons quite easily, i.e. :

C            +          O2               =>                 CO2

12 MU Carbon + 32 MU Oxygen  =>   44 MU Carbon Dioxide    – or –

12 Tons Carbon + 32 Tons Oxygen    =>  44 Tons Carbon Dioxide

Thus, each ton of carbon produces 3.6 tons of carbon dioxide.

Natural gas: Natural gas is composed mostly of methane, CH4 , with small impurities of other hydrocarbon gases. Following the method above:

Rx

 

 

 

 

 

CH4            +         2O2                =>                 CO2                  +          2H2O

16 MU Methane + 64 MU Oxygen   =>  44 MU Carbon Dioxide  +36 MU of Water

16 Tons Methane + 64 Tons Oxygen    =>   44 tons Carbon Dioxide  +36 tons of Water

Each ton of methane produces 2.8 tons of carbon dioxide.

Gasoline: Gasoline is composed of many volatile liquid compounds, but it can best be represented as octane, which has eight carbon atoms and 18 hydrogen atoms, C8H18. (The model for Octane is large so here we will just work from the equation. )

C8H18     +         25/2 O2   =>        8CO2        +         9 H2O

114 AMU  Octane +   Oxygen  =>  352 AMU  Carbon Dioxide  +   Water

114 Tons Octane +   Oxygen  =>  44 tons Carbon Dioxide  +  Water

Each ton of octane produces 3.1 tons of carbon dioxide.

Note: This means that the initial carbon fee on fossil fuels would be around $40-$50 per ton of fuel. This would pay part of the external costs of using the fuel as well as encourage conservation and a shift to renewable energy. One gallon of gasoline is about 7 pounds and it produces about 21 pounds of CO2. That means that 95 gallons of gasoline will produce 1 ton of carbon dioxide. The $15 per ton carbon fee would increase the cost of 95 gallons of gas from about $200 to about $215, or about 7%.

Heat of Combustion: Each fuel releases a different amount of energy when burned, measured in kilojoules  of energy per  mole of fuel burned. Those are listed below along with another important quantity, the amount of heat released per mole of carbon dioxide released.

Fuel

 

 

 

 

Note that Methane releases more than twice as much energy as coal for each mole of carbon dioxide produced. This was the impetus to convert coal-fired power plants to natural gas-fired plants. That would help in the short term as natural gas has fewer impurities and produces more energy per mole of CO2 released.  However, there is another factor to be considered which is the Global Warming Potential of each greenhouse gas.

Global Warming Potential (GWP):   The amount that each greenhouse gas contributes to global warming depends upon its concentration in the atmosphere, it’s effectiveness at trapping heat, and its lifetime in the atmosphere. The focus is on carbon dioxide as it is the greenhouse gas whose concentration has increased the most by burning fossil fuels. Methane is very efficient at trapping heat and has a GWP 28 times that of CO2. Though methane’s concentration is low, it has more than doubled since pre-industrial times. There are other greenhouse gases which are more effective at trapping heat and have longer lifetimes, such as N2O, but their contributions are small because they have such low concentrations. Below is a table comparing those. Source.

co2 table

 

 

 

 

Although converting coal-fired power plants to natural gas might be advantageous in the short term, we should be concerned about methane’s volatile prices, the link between fracking and earthquakes, and its GWP. Large amounts of methane are lost from fracking operations, leaking gas wells, and pipeline leaks.  If even 4% of the methane produced is lost to leaks, then any advantage of converting to methane will be lost.  The EPA has taken steps to reduce methane loss to the air, but is a very difficult thing to measure. One study found that infrastructure leaks in the Boston area accounted for about 2.6% of the methane transmitted. And methane, when burned, still ends up as CO2 in the atmosphere. You can see from the table that the amount of methane in the air is growing, and rather than count on it for the future, we should focus on converting to renewable energy sources as quickly as possible.

(C) 2016  –  J.C. Moore

Note: Here is a model of octane for the curious:

octane

 

Please Nominate Your Candidates for the 2015 Environmental Hall of Fame/Shame Awards

Sat ,02/01/2016

It is important that we keep in mind those who have most affected the environment by words or action.  Each year, this site Earthrise2takes a poll to find those most deserving to be in the Environmental Hall of Fame and the Environmental Hall of Shame. Please send  your nominations  for  each category by e-mail through the “Contact the Author”   link or put it in the comment section . If you would, please include a short reason that your nominee should be chosen and suggest a suitable gift if they win.

Nominations will be taken until January 31st, 2016. The nominees will then be  listed  and this site will conduct a poll to determine the winner in each category.   You may suggest a suitable prize for your nominee. Please be imaginative, as particularly thoughtful or humorous  nominations will  be recognized and published on this site

Past years winners and their awards were:

Hall of Fame Winners – Award

2014       Pope Francis  – for his Protect Creation efforts.  – A strong agreement from the Paris climate conference.

2013       Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org – Many new members so subscribe to his  weekly newsletter .

2012       President Barack Obama – A little coöperation from Congress, so please write your Representatives.

2011        James Hansen – A massive presence at the 2012 Citizen’s Climate Lobby 

2010        RealClimate.org  – A recommendation from this site. ( Priceless)

2009       Benno Hansen,  ThinkAboutIt Blogger – A Subscription to Science News.

Hall of Shame 

2014    Freedom Industries ( Gary Southern ) –  A prison cell with drinking water from the Elk River he polluted.

2013      The Koch Bothers -A boycott of their products: less money, less lobbying.

2012       Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund – An IRS investigation of their of their tax-exempt status.

2011        Halliburton (Cheney) –  A big glass of water from a well next to a hydrofracking operation.

2010        Koch Brothers – A petition to the Wizard of Oz for  the grant of a social conscience.

2009       SpaceGuy,  Newsvine Blogger – The movie Wall-E,  representing his view of the future of Earth.

 

(C) 2015  J.C. Moore