As the global population increases and water supplies become less predictable due to global warming, finding sources of clean drinking water becomes even more critical. Just ask residents of Cape Town, which expects to run out of water around April 12nd! The obvious solution is to desalinate ocean water, but that’s a very energy-intensive process. Well, researchers in Australia found a way to use a graphene film to act as a filter; its structure allows water molecules to pass through but blocks larger contaminant particles. Most membrane filters get clogged up quickly, but this one keeps working even as it gets coated in contaminants. It’s nowhere near a commercial product yet, but is a promising solution to a growing global concern.
(more at FastCompany)
Some recent votes have put Senators on the record on their position on climate change. Despite them not being climate scientists themselves, many of them are choosing to ignore the conclusions that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists have reached. Specifically, Senators defeated a proposed amendment that stated that “climate change is real (and) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” To any educated person, that statement is kinda obvious and not a big deal. However, 49 Senators voted ‘NO’ to that statement. Children of the world…these 49 people are blocking efforts to combat climate change at the Federal government level in this country. The science is indisputable…your future is being put at risk by these and others that agree with them. Know this, and remember this, for in the coming years, chances are there will be some pretty creative spin put on the climate change issue as people worldwide are forced to face the reality…they’ll talk about uncertainties, doubts that people had…but know that the IS no doubt in the climate science community. The only doubt is that which is created by those who seek to block efforts to reduce CO2 emissions (the ‘why’ is a subject for another day, but a quick tip there, just follow the money).
Read more at NBC or ThinkProgress.
The names of the Senators who voted ‘NO’ are shown below (full results are here). Note that Harry Reid (D-NV) did not vote on this amendment so his position is unknown. Note that not a single Democrat voted ‘NO’. To their credit, five brave Republican Senators broke ranks and voted ‘YES’! Nice to see…but we need more like them!
Continue reading “Senators go on the record on Climate Change”
Climate change IS happening and WE are causing it. Here’s a great video that sums up ‘what you need to know’ in 24 simple steps. Check it out, and share!
This is a really fascinating video showing CO2 levels dispersed throughout the atmosphere over a year, as simulated by NASA’s climate modeling program GEOS-5. It’s really interesting to see how the levels change over the year based on plant growth, and also the stark differences between the northern and southern hemispheres. Check it out below, or read about it more over at Wired.
A draft UN science report, expected to be approved this week, warns that we’re on the path toward irreversible climate change. We can still avoid that by making significant cuts to CO2 emissions, but the question is, will we? Unless you’re a Republican (sorry, but I call it like I see it), you’ve probably already accepted that the current situation is unsustainable and that immediate change is needed. What will it take? Fortunately, the answer is ‘not much’…well, apart from a decision to change (which in this political climate in the US, is no small feat!). A report from Deutsche Bank finds that rooftop solar will reach grid parity in all 50 states in the US by 2016. This means the cost will be the same or less than getting power from the electric grid (10 states have already reached grid parity). Removing the ‘cost’ argument from the debate will help a ton. What about the reality that solar power is not a 24/7 energy source? Good news there, too. Many companies have been working on energy storage systems, and they’re looking more and more promising (meaning, closer to production!). The latest is interesting…a company called Alevo has been operating out of the spotlight (sort of in stealth mode, though not like some startups)…and expects to be producing hundreds of utility-scale (read:massive) energy storage systems within a year. These 1MWh containers use lithium ferrophosphate and graphite batteries..cool tech. It’s easy to perhaps dismiss Alevo as yet another company with dreams and promises…except this one has raised a billion dollars from Swiss investors. Whoa. So they have the technology, they have the money, and they’re taking over a former Phillips Morris plant in North Carolina. This is a company to watch. Then of course you have Solar City looking to include battery storage systems with every home solar installation within 5-10 years.
So the future is bleak if we do not act…yet advances in technology along with greatly decreased costs is looking to push renewable energy to the forefront, despite the best efforts of Republicans opposing it. Now, just imagine how awesome that industry could be if it actually had broad support! Oh well. It’s a tsunami that can’t be stopped, I think…fortunately!
Scientist studying the ice in Antarctica have found that a very large area, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is melting at an accelerating rate, and has already reached a point of instability, where its melting will continue regardless of any actions we take to reduce the effects of global warming. It is past the point of no return, so to speak. The impact of this is expected to be a global rise in seal levels of several feet (up to 10 feet, potentially) over the next couple of centuries. Yes, that makes it a problem that won’t affect us, but we have a moral obligation to future generations to provide them with the same potential for prosperity that we enjoy.
The cause of this melting is deep, warmer water being pulled to the surface by increasingly powerful winds circling the continent (which is generally believed to be caused by global warming). As far back as 1978, scientists were warning that global warming could lead to this…and now it’s happening (unless you’re a Republican with your head in the sand).
Read more at the NYTimes.