China report on climate change
(Photo from Reuters, via The Age.)
From Reuters we hear about the Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change which sums up advancing scientific knowledge about the consequences and costs of global warming for China:
Global warming fed by greenhouse gases from industry, transport and shifting land-use poses a long-term threat to China’s prosperity, health and food output, says the report.
In 2010 China’s emissions grew by 10.4%. This rate is expected to slow, but for reductions we will have to wait until about 2030, “with big falls only after mid-century”.
Here’s the Executive Summary.
Australian weather 2011
People generally like talking about the weather, so here’s the BOM’s Annual Australian Climate Statement 2011.
Overall we had about 50% more rainfall than average. I expected to see more blue on the Queensland map in view of the floods, but much of the flooding took place in 2010. See this post for a map of what happened in December 2010. Actually the category “Very Much Above Average” without being the highest on record gives quite a bit of scope and you can see the smallish blob in SEQ to the west of Brisbane that caused the floods in the city, Toowoomba and surrounds.
It’s hard to see the imprint of Cyclone Yasi.
The temperature was 0.14 °C below the 1961 to 1990 average, not unexpected in a La Niña year.
Lithium-air cell batteries
IBM, would you believe, is working on a new lithium-air cell battery which, if used in electric vehicles, could extend the range to 800 km.
They needed to find a new electrolyte, which was depleting during use. Now they have found one after analysing the material right down to the quantum mechanics of the components.
Don’t crack open the champagne yet. They plan to have a prototype in 2013 and commercial batteries by about 2020. And they still have a few problems to solve, like coping with moist air. Apparently lithium in water spontaneously catches fire.
There’s more information here.
Alternatively you might well be using zinc-air batteries. For one thing, they don’t catch fire.
A Swiss company says it has developed rechargeable zinc-air batteries that can store three times the energy of lithium ion batteries, by volume, while costing only half as much.
The are starting with “button cell” batteries for hearing aids with large-format batteries for electric vehicles in development.
Cutting short-lived global warming agents
A group of 13 scientists from the US, Europe, Africa and Asia have suggested 14 ways of cutting short-lived global warming agents such as soot and methane as a cost effective way of reducing GHG emissions in the next few decades while we make progress on CO2.
The actions recommended would be relatively cheap, and can be implemented with existing technologies.
To cut methane, the study looks at strategies such as capturing gas currently escaping from coal, oil and gas facilities and controlling emissions from landfills. To control soot, policies include installing filters on diesel vehicles to capture soot emissions, and increasing the use of clean-burning cookstoves in developing countries.
Cutting soot, or black carbon, could “reduce warming in the Himalayas and the Arctic during the next 30 years by as much as two-thirds” and have substantial health effects. They say that soot causes 373,000 premature deaths each year in India and China alone.
It has to be done eventually, so why not now?
The strange story of opposition to wind farms
The first was a qualitative study by the CSIRO that their is substantive support for rural wind farm and that opposition is mostly activist-generated, by the global anti-wind group, the Landscape Guardians.
Here’s what they say they are about. Go here for an astonishing exposé of the group, of it’s links to the IPA and the Liberal Party, of its climate scepticism/denialism and its many branches and front organisations, and of the blank wall that hides sources of funding for what is evidently a well-funded group. There is also interesting information on the issue of infrasound and the so-called ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’. Seems there is more noise routinely created inside you head, or at the beach.
The second study is a quantitative survey by Pacific Hydro of public attitudes in wind regions around Australia. They found 83% of people supported wind, with only 14% opposed. They found that 65% of people opposed coal. Gas was somewhere in between.
It’s appropriate to note that:
Dan Cass started Dan Cass & Co in 2010 to provide lobbying and campaign services to renewable energy firms. He is a Director of Hepburn Wind, Australia’s first community-owned wind farm.
Rooftop gardens in Singapore
I’m not sure this is strictly climate change, but what the heck!
Singapore recently convened a panel to come up with the best options for dealing with flash floods and stormwater runoff. One suggestion was rooftop gardens. The photo shows a very attractive open space on top of a city building. Of course, there have been similar schemes for city food production in parts of the world.
The panel did also recommend diversion canals, storage tanks along “pathways” of drains, drain capacity improvements, flood barriers and raised platform levels, as well as rain gardens and porous pavement.
Just for fun, in view of the comments thread, here’s photo of a wind tower in Toronto, taken from Toronto Island, near the city centre. For some unknown reason the blade didn’t move during the week we were there.