I’ve been on holidays for a bit. Here are some links that I saved from a few hours spent on my daughter’s computer last week by checking some of the usual sources. In the next few days I’ll check the feeds and see whether there are more links to share.
E10 debacle puts the brakes on biofuels in Germany
German motorists have shown uncommonly good sense by not buying the biofuel mixture E10.
The real reason, though, was confusion over which car models could use the stuff without harm. Meanwhile a study found that:
up to 69,000 square kilometers (about 27,000 square miles) of forest, pasture and wetlands would have to be cultivated as farmland to satisfy the future demand for biofuel in Europe alone. This is an area twice the size of Belgium. One consequence of such cultivation would be the release of up to 56 million tons of CO2 a year, or the equivalent of the emissions of an additional 12 million to 26 million cars on European roads.
Germany squanders chance to pioneer CO2 capture technology
That’s the headline of a recent article.
The problem is that people don’t want it. They don’t trust the process not to leak. Enabling federal legislation has allowed the states to opt out and it is anticipated that they will.
It’s not game over. The pilot project at Ketzin near Berlin will go ahead and the law is yet to be passed. However, in the long run you’d have to think this avenue of mitigation is going nowhere in Germany.
Greens will have to give way on Stuttgart redevelopment
Still on the German theme, the redevelopment of Stuttgart train station may go ahead after all.
The Greens recent success in Baden-Württemberg was partly due to Fukushima nuclear disaster. Arguably just as important, if not more so, was the vigorous campaign, bitter and at times violent, against the redevelopment of Stuttgart train station, which quickly emerged as a time bomb. But:
Cancelling the contracts would now be as expensive as the project itself. So the new coalition can either pay up to €4.5 billion for a new station — or roughly same amount for nothing at all.
At stake on the one hand are heritage values and a sizeable bunch of trees. On the other we have:
a stretch of high-speed rail to replace 160-year-old track between the city and Ulm. This corridor happens to be vital for Europe. It lies on the busy route from Paris to Munich and points east — Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest. If the long-term dream is to build a high-speed corridor linking western and eastern Europe, renovating this stretch will be unavoidable.
Green values on both sides, it seems.
Politically the path chosen by the new Greens-led Baden-Württemberg state government is to let the people vote on the issue. You would think the majority would be for proceeding.
Ozone hole has dried Australia, scientists find
The ozone hole is tending to move the weather south and the rainfall with it according to a new study. But we should be clear here, the ozone hole is only part of the story. Generally in the Southern Hemisphere the ozone hole is responsible for 10% of this southern shift. But there are regional variations and in Australia the influence is thought to be 35%.
The implication, I think, is that when the ozone hole heals, expected in 2045 to 2060, the problem won’t go away.
Ten years to save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
If we continue to release CO2 into the atmosphere at current rates, within a decade we will reach a tipping point beyond which ocean warming will occur no matter what we do, reducing the reef’s chances of survival, he told delegates at the Greenhouse 2011 conference in Cairns this week.
The reef biology is not as adaptable as we quite recently thought.
The only problem is we are not told exactly what has to be done within 10 years.
Gulf Stream could be threatened by Arctic flush
Rapid warming in the Arctic is creating a new and fast-growing pool of fresh water in the Arctic Ocean. Measuring at least 7500 cubic kilometres, it could flush into the Atlantic Ocean and slow the Gulf Stream, bringing colder winters to Europe.
That’s according to Laura de Steur of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research who is tracking the build-up of fresh water which is
mostly coming from melting permafrost and rising rainfall, which is increasing flows in Siberian rivers that drain into the Arctic, such as the Ob and Yenisei. More comes from melting sea ice.
Hansen on “Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications.”
Hansen et al have posted a new draft paper on the earth’s energy balance.
The paper is fundamentally an explanation of why Hansen and company think we need to reduce emissions to 350ppm to achieve an appropriate global energy balance. As it is they think the temperature will continue to rise during the next decade. On sea level rise, thermal expansion is likely to increase and the ice melt will accelerate.
The paper goes into some length about the difficulties of measuring such things as the effect of aerosols, net energy balance and the heat content of oceans.
This story was courtesy of Climate Progress where, unusually, Joe Romm fails to appreciate the main point of the paper.
Ruddimann on early land use
William Ruddimann has long been interested in the notion that the land use associated with agriculture had an effect on the climate. During a ‘normal’ interglacial the temperature gradually reduces and then slides into a new ice age. The question is whether human activity associated with land clearing and rice growing produced enough emissions to counteract this effect and that is what kept the temperature steady during the Holocene.
Ruddimann some years ago suggested that these factors may be the major story, but estimates of land use indicated that this effect was insufficient. Now the thought is that those land use assumptions were wrong. They were based on a constant per capita land use formula. New evidence indicates that the more modern land use is more efficient and is a fraction of the earlier in per capita terms. Nothing is certain but the old theory has been dusted off.