Saturday, October 27, 2018

We’re altering the climate so severely that we’ll soon face apocalyptic repercussions. Sucking carbon dioxide out of the air could save us.

That's why the NAS took a thorough look at potential negative-emissions technologies.

"Most climate mitigation efforts are intended to decrease the rate at which people add carbon from fossil fuel reservoirs to the atmosphere. We focused on the reverse - technologies that take carbon out of the air and put it back into ecosystems and the land," Stephen Pacala, a professor at Princeton University and chair of the committee behind the report, said in a statement.

The authors looked at a variety of strategies. As Kate Gordon, a fellow at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, described it, the approaches range "from literally planting trees and agricultural practices that help keep carbon in the ground, all the way to engineered technological solutions that actually take carbon directly out of the atmosphere through machines."

On the simpler end of the spectrum are options like re-foresting areas that have been logged and using no-till farming practices that keep more carbon in soil. Then there are ways to burn biological material (which traps carbon as it grows) to create energy and catch the CO2 they emit before it gets into the air. "

" A more promising option, they said, is to invest in technologies that essentially filter out CO2 molecules from the air around us. These technologies are still in early development stages, but usually involve materials that naturally attract and bind with carbon.

"It's like draining a bathtub — like pulling the plug and letting a little bit of the water out. It's actually not that sophisticated or crazy," Gordon told Business Insider.

That carbon would then get concentrated and stored, perhaps by injecting it into pores in deep underground rock, which is essentially where it came from in the first place. There's not much limit to how much CO2 these potential technologies could capture and store.

We need this kind of intervention immediately, according to the authors. " Read More

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Climate Change: Five Cheap Ways To Remove Co2 From The Atmosphere

But a new assessment from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says that some of these “negative emissions technologies” are ready to be deployed, on a large scale, right now.

The authors point to the fact that the US Congress has recently passed the 45Q tax rule, which gives a $50 tax credit for every tonne of CO2 that’s captured and stored. So their study highlights some technologies that are available at between $20 and $100 per tonne.

Coastal blue carbon

This report says that there is a lot of potential for increasing the amount of carbon that is stored in living plants and sediments found in the marshy lands near the sea shore and on the edges of river estuaries. They include mangroves, tidal areas and seagrass beds.

Together, these wetlands contain the highest carbon stocks per unit area of any ecosystem.

The National Academies study says that by creating new wetlands and restoring and protecting these fringe areas, there is the potential to more than double the current rate of carbon extracted from the atmosphere.

What’s more the study says that this is quite a cheap option, where carbon can be captured for around $20 a tonne.

The downsides, though, are that these coastal ecosystems are some of the most threatened areas on Earth, with an estimated 340,000 to 980,000 hectares being destroyed each year.

When you degrade these areas, instead of soaking up CO2 they themselves become significant sources of the gas.

Other problems are that rising seas around the world might swamp and destroy marsh lands. Another restriction is that there just aren’t enough coastal areas.

“Although coastal engineering is very expensive, coastal blue carbon is probably about the lowest cost option that we’ve got,” said Prof Stephen Pacala, from Princeton University, who chaired the report.

“The problem is that the total capacity is not that large.” Read More

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tax havens shielding companies responsible for deforestation and overfishing

The study found that more than two thirds of foreign capital directed to Brazil’s soy and beef sectors between 2000 and 2011, as recorded by the Central Bank of Brazil, was channelled through tax havens. Soy and beef farming have been associated with deforestation in the Amazon.

During the period studied, almost $27bn of foreign capital was transferred to key companies within these sectors, and of this about $18.4bn came through tax havens, with the Cayman Islands most commonly used.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Why we should all have a basic income

Consider for a moment that from this day forward, on the first day of every month, around $1,000 is deposited into your bank account – because you are a citizen. This income is independent of every other source of income and guarantees you a monthly starting salary above the poverty line for the rest of your life.

What do you do? Possibly of more importance, what don’t you do? How does this firm foundation of economic security and positive freedom affect your present and future decisions, from the work you choose to the relationships you maintain, to the risks you take?

The idea is called unconditional or universal basic income, or UBI. It’s like social security for all, and it’s taking root within minds around the world and across the entire political spectrum, for a multitude of converging reasons. Rising inequality, decades of stagnant wages, the transformation of lifelong careers into sub-hourly tasks, exponentially advancing technology like robots and deep neural networks increasingly capable of replacing potentially half of all human labour, world-changing events like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump – all of these and more are pointing to the need to start permanently guaranteeing everyone at least some income.

A promise of equal opportunity -