Good news everyone! Armageddon has been postponed by another 60 seconds.
This morning, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock back to six minutes before midnight. The clock is a symbolic timepiece that measures the threat of human extinction due to man-made causes, and recent international action on global warming, combined with cooperation between Russia and the US on nuclear weapon reduction, provided the incentive for the scientists to roll it back a minute.
For most people, conserving energy means turning off lights in empty rooms. But for the researchers at Bell Labs, the massive energy savings lurk in the 1's and 0's of the code that regulates the Internet. Based on a new study from the lab, communications networks could use 99 percent less energy with only a few simple code changes. Bell Labs also estimates that those savings would prevent the emission of 300 million tons of carbon.
In a break from their usual business of overthrowing South American governments, covering up alien landings, and broadcasting coded messages through my fillings, the CIA has revived a program that teams up spies and scientists for the study of climate change. Through the program, scientists get access classified images of the polar ice caps, as well as the chance to pick the targets of off-duty spy satellites.
Today's symbolic but politically crucial move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes greenhouse gases as a danger for humans and Earth alike. That would open the doors for new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories, according to the New York Times.
With the conference in Copenhagen swiftly approaching, and the Senate analog to the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act" struggling towards the floor, little doubt remains that fossil fuel-burning power plants will soon face either fines for, or mandatory reduction of, carbon emissions. Luckily, a team at MIT has devised a power plant set up that generates power from fossil fuels, but does so with almost none of the carbon emissions.
In 1985, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey found a giant hole in the ozone layer of Earth's atmosphere over the South Pole. This discovery prompted a largely successful international effort to ban CFCs, the chemicals largely responsible for man-made thinning of the ozone layer.
It’s no secret that the world is warming, but a new report published by the World Wildlife Fund suggests we may not have as much time to mull solutions as we think. If the world doesn’t commit to green technologies by 2014, the report says, runaway global warming and economic meltdown are all but unstoppable.
Even before a single ounce of natural gas gets burned in a home or power plant, massive amounts of CO2 have already been released. The process of extracting natural gas releases carbon dioxide pent up in the same wells as the gas, thus adding to the climate-changing impact of the fuel.
To help lower the global warming impact of one of the world's largest natural gas fields, General Electric has supplied Chevron, Exxon Mobile and Shell with enough compression "trains"--the pumps and turbines that do the sequestering--to create the world's largest carbon sequestration project. The trains will pump 3.3 million tons of CO2 released from natural gas mining back into the ground every year. That's the equivalent of taking 630,000 cars off the road.
In an attempt to both strengthen the US's negotiating hand in the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks, and to prod domestic lawmakers into swifter action on lasting legislation, the White House has told the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with new rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions.