Category Archives: Climate

The Next Step!

The best time to start the fight against climate change was 20 years ago.

The second best time is right now. And since we’re so far behind, we have no option other than to try to roll the clock back and clean up the mess we’ve made.

By that, I mean it is necessary to extract CO2 from the atmosphere, and lock it up so that the percentage in the atmosphere gets down to normal, safe, levels.

This is quoted from the web page entitled “Sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, explained”.

And this is essentially what it now comes down to, and hang the expense!

This does not mean that we choose the most expensive option, and ignore all the others. It does mean that we have to evaluate all of our options to see which will work best (and fastest) for us. The ones I have found so far, as listed below, with a short description of “What and how”, and the link to the source of information.

a) Climate change: Five cheap ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere

1- 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.

2 – Planting trees

Global deforestation has been a significant factor in driving up emissions of carbon, so researchers feel that planting new trees or restoring lost areas is a simple and cheap technology that could be expanding right now.

One of the problems, though, is that while researchers understand a good deal about which trees are best to grow for timber harvesting, they are less knowledgeable about breeding trees whose major focus is to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

3 – Forest management

How forests are managed can have a big impact on how much carbon they store. As well as planting more trees, the report says that we need to manage our existing forests in a better way to remove more carbon. This can also be done for less than $20 per tonne of CO2.

Techniques can include the speedy re-stocking of forests after disturbances like fires. They can also involve extending the age of the forest when you harvest it. A critical step would be to extend the amount of timber that goes into long-lived wooden products and limiting the amount that gets burned as biomass in power stations.

4 – Agricultural practices

The report says that some simple changes in the way farmers manage their land can be a cheap and effective way of removing carbon from the air. These include planting cover crops when fields aren’t being used to grow commercial crops. It means growing crops with reduced tillage and it will involve adding a material called biochar, a type of charcoal made from plant matter, to the land.

5 – Biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)

The idea of BECCS is to grow energy crops that soak up carbon, which are then burned to create electricity while the emitted CO2 gas is captured and buried permanently underground. BECCS has been dismissed by many because of the massive amounts of land that would be needed, up to 40% of global cropland according to some studies.

How effective will these ideas be?

The report says that current technologies that cost less than $100 per tonne can be scaled up safely and store large amounts of carbon but much less than is needed to avoid dangerous climate change. To meet the Paris climate agreement – to global temperature rise below 2C – about 20 billion tonnes of CO2 would need to be removed from the atmosphere every year by 2100. The technologies assessed in the report would remove “significantly less than 10 billion tonnes of CO2”.

b) Extracting carbon dioxide from the air is possible. But at what cost?

CO2 Capture

This process has four steps. First, air is channelled by fans onto a honeycombed plastic slab called a contactor, where CO2, which is acidic, reacts with aqueous potassium hydroxide, which is alkaline. The resulting solution of potassium carbonate is filtered and exposed to a slurry of calcium hydroxide. This produces potassium hydroxide, which is recycled back to the contactor, and pellets of calcium carbonate. These are whisked to the third receptacle, called a calciner. There the calcium carbonate is heated to 900°C to release pure carbon-dioxide gas ready for capture, and calcium oxide. Finally, the calcium oxide is piped to a “slaker”, where it is dissolved in water to form calcium hydroxide, which is reused in the second step.

A pilot plant with a contactor three by five metres across and three metres deep has been running for three years. It extracts a tonne of carbon dioxide from the air per day.

Factoring in operating costs and the cost of capital, the study concludes that Carbon Engineering’s system could capture a tonne of the greenhouse gas for between $94 and $232.

As things stand, the cost of using Carbon Engineering’s kit to scrub 8bn-10bn tonnes of CO2 per year, as the climate models presuppose, would run to trillions of dollars. Then again, no one said guaranteeing civilisation’s survival was going to come cheap.

c) What to Do with CO2 from Coal? How about Make Baking Soda

Skyonic lands funding to build a commercial-scale facility that takes flue gases and converts them into commodity chemicals.

The company plans to raise $35 million to build a commercial-scale plant for capturing carbon dioxide and other gases at a coal-powered cement factory in San Antonio, Texas by 2014. If the company meets its schedule, it will be able to use 83,000 short tons of carbon dioxide from the plant’s flue to make 157,000 short tons of baking soda. Its process also produces hydrochloric acid and other chemicals.

Skyonic now uses the name “Skymining”, and can be found here!

d) This tower sucks up smog and turns it into diamonds

Smog tower

(More details available here! )

The tower they built, which has been used in Rotterdam, Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian, sucks up 30,000 cubic meters of polluted air per hour, cleans it at the nano level — the PM2.5, PM10 particles — and then releases the clean air back into the city. (The tower is powered by solar energy.)

The smog particles filtered by the tower are compressed for 30 minutes and turned into dark, boxy gems. The diamonds are then used for rings and cufflinks, each representing 1,000 cubic meters of pollution. Roosegaarde says a couple even used a smog ring as an engagement ring.

It’s incredibly effective: the air around the tower is 55 to 75 percent cleaner than the rest of the city.

e) Carbon dioxide captured from air can be directly converted into methanol fuel

and a second page on the same subject:-

Carbon dioxide-to-methanol process improved by catalyst

The first method uses a catalyst made from ruthenium, the second uses a specific formulation of palladium and copper. I make no attempt to evaluate which of the two is better.

f) Diamonds From the Sky

Having already developed revolutionary methods for making fertilizer and cement without emitting harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, Professor of Chemistry Stuart Licht has now found a way to extract the greenhouse gas from the air and transform it into a valuable manufacturing material.

The method involves applying CO2 — either extracted directly from the air or captured from industrial smokestacks — to a vat of hot molten salt, a liquid solution called carbonate. As the CO2 rapidly dissolves in the carbonate, Licht’s team places nickel and steel electrodes into the molten liquid. Applying just a few volts of electricity, the carbon nanofibers build up on the steel electrode, where they are easily removed.

The entire process, which is ignited by either a conventional power supply or a solar-energy system of Licht’s design, is both earth-friendly and economical. Licht estimated the energy input costs at $1,000 per ton of carbon nanofiber — an amount commercially valued at as much as $25,000. “We are at the beginning of an explosion in the market for carbon nanofiber uses,” he said. “It’s at the same place plastics were at beginning of World War II. By making [nanofiber production] inexpensive, the applications go far beyond airplane bodies. They could, for example, be used in building materials, and could one day replace steel.”

“We calculate that with a physical area less than 10 percent the size of the Sahara Desert, our process could remove enough CO2 to decrease atmospheric levels to those of the pre-industrial revolution within 10 years,” Licht said. “There’s a necessity to work together, to test this on a larger scale, [and then] there’s no telling where we can go from here.”

Please do not stop with tried and trusted measures, such as refusing to chop trees down, and planting new ones where you can, (and where it makes sense to do so).

Lets get started!

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Its “Make Your Mind Up” Time!

Its time for each of us to make a momentous decision:- either to accept the fact that climate change will eventually make the earth we live on uninhabitable, or not to accept it, and fight as hard as we can to prevent it happening.

If your choice is to accept, then congratulations. You need read no further, you have saved yourself some valuable time, which I am sure you can put to better use, and go back to sleep.

If you choose not to accept it, and are prepared to fight, then you should get busy immediately.

Take stock of your current lifestyle, and itemise everything in it. Once you have a long list, you should prioritise it, and I suggest that you first divide the list into 2 parts:-

1. Essential for your continued survival, and
2. Non-essential, but nice-to-have.

Under item 1 would come things like basic foods, drinks, clothing, housing, public transportation, and, where necessary further education, for example.

Under item 2 would come such things as following fashion, trips to the pub, holidays abroad, (no flying), a car, alcohol, cigarettes, a television, air conditioning.

Of course, the first thing you would probably say is that “life would be so boring”, and this is true – until you change it yourself. Change your attitude, start positive thinking, get a computer and become an activist. When you start to place value on different aspects of life than before, it all starts to open up. Life is in fact a challenge, and you need to find out if you are up to it!

I have always ignored fashion, so for me there is no change required.

After 50 years of smoking, I gave it up completely – about 3 years ago now. Sometimes, the body gives us an indication that all is not well, and we need to make changes. If you are unlucky, it is cancer, and your term on this earth is probably very limited. I was more fortunate:- Burgers Disease, which can be managed with tablets fairly readily.

I haven’t had a vehicle for years. Its one better than #NotInMyTank: – #IDontHaveATank. I use public transport, or walk. I enjoy walking, and after cycling it is my favourite form of exercise.

I also stopped drinking. My excuse for that was “to help me get to sleep at night”, but if you are drinking beer to do it – it doesn’t work. You are out of bed so many times to pass urine, that the benefit is totally lost. You can, as I did, substitute rum or some other spirit for beer, but then you put your liver at risk as well. The answer is to give it up completely. When you are tired, you will sleep anyway, so where’s the problem?

I refuse to use air-conditioning – a  simple fan has to be enough! Air-con removes much of the water vapour from the air, and for those who are sensitive, a humidifier will also be required – using yet more energy!

Now, take a closer look at the second part of the list – the items you have deemed “nice-to-have”. Can you prioritise it further? Can you divide it into 3 columns:-

2.1 – I want to keep this at all costs
2.2 – This I can manage without sooner or later
2.3 – This I can get rid of straight away

The more items you have in column 2.3 the better, and the sooner you can get rid of them, the better it will be for the planet!

The items in 2.2 are also important. Check this list every week, and see if you are ready to remove another one from it.

The items in 2.1 are a bit of a problem. They are not essential to your continued existence, but you won’t let them go. Perhaps if you realise that you are causing us all problems with this refusal, it will put the matter into a different perspective for you. Check this list every week, and see if you can move anything to 2.2.
Television? My father would not allow one in the house! I did have one once, but that was many years ago, and as long as I have a computer, I don’t need anything else.

To survive at all, we need to make far-reaching changes, and these will have a serious effect on the things we take for granted. If we all decided to ignore fashion, for example, in a short time the fashion industry would collapse, and the people employed in it would be looking for another source of income. Similarly, if many of us decide to give up driving a car, this would have a serious effect on the car industry, and may well lead to lay-offs – in one country or another.

We are already blocking coal mines wherever we can, and there are probably a lot of ex-miners still looking for work.

We cannot afford to be squeamish here! Changing our lifestyle will have knock-on effects for others, and they will have to be accepted. If you see someone in trouble as a result, give them a helping hand where you can!

If you got this far, thank you!

The more people trying to help, the better!

Breakthrough!

Some years ago, I wrote a “Warning” on this website, in the hope that it would encourage some action on the part of some people to do something about the gobal warming problem that threatens us. It can be accessed from the top menu, or:- Warning

Unfortunately, the response was not exactly world-shattering, and I have had to patiently wait for something to happen.

Now, however, the Genie is well and truly out of the bottle, and there is no turning back!

Greta Thunberg led the way. Her long vigil outside parliament in Sweden has caught the imagination of youth all around the world, youth that has been frustrated by the lack of progress in the race to save the planet. Collectively they have also demonstrated that children do have a voice, in spite of not having a vote, and that voice is now demanding to be heard.

The movement is spreading like wildfire racing through a bone-dry forest!

Governments are powerless to stop it. They have little or no leverage against children who are committing no crime, but only demonstrating against a rank injustice. They are the ones that have most to lose, and if we don’t fight for them, they will fight for themselves, in any way possible.

You can follow Greta on Twitter at @GretaThunberg. Give her more support if you can.

Some of her comments are as follows:-

“Children skipping classes to take the moral lead is an indictment of adult complacency”

“British PM says that the children on school strike are “wasting lesson time”. That may well be the case. But then again, political leaders have wasted 30 yrs of inaction. And that is slightly worse.”

But the real meat of what she has to say is contained in her speech at the UN COP24 climate talks. Links to this are given below.

“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden.

I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now.

Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do.

But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference.

And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.

You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.

You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.

Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. (The Koch brothers come to mind here!)

Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act.

You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.

Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.

We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself.

We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again.

We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time.

We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.

Thank you.”

Links:- You tube
Climate Change
(The reference to the Koch brothers is my own.)

And if you have the time, do watch Greta’s presentation at the TED talks, which is even more comprehensive:-
Ted Talks

Another young lady, Sophie Sleeman, says:-

“We’re swapping the classroom for active citizenship. Without a vote for 16 year olds, our generation – like the Earth we are trying to protect – has been silenced.”

“We are here because we have less than 12 years to sort this out… and we are just not seeing the action by our government. They are so behind the times and we really are scared.”

@SleemanSophie is Sophie’s Twitter handle..

Note:- At the moment, demonstrations are restricted to Fridays. If necessary, this could be extended to the whole week, which means that virtually none of our children would be attending school at all. Can you imagine what sort of a headache that would be for governments that are affected?!!!

And I have no doubt at all that the collective genius of our youth will come up with further ways of ramming their point home!

At the same time, there are signs that the dam is beginning to break for other reasons.

George Monbiot posted the following article in The Guardian newspaper:-

“My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back”,

and stated:-

‘You have issued a challenge to which we must rise, and we will stand in solidarity with you. Though we are old and you are young, we will be led by you.’

@GeorgeMonbiot

George Monbiot’s Guardian Article

George is also one of the main supporters of Extinction Rebellion @ExtinctionR

In the USA, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a sweeping package of environmental measures Thursday that has pitted progressives in the House Democratic caucus against moderates over how far to go in pursuit of resetting the climate change debate.
The proposals, which have come to be known as the Green New Deal, were crafted in conjunction with Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. Their plan envisions shifting away from fossil fuels and other sources of emissions that cause global warming within 10 years.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can be reached on Twitter at @AOC.

“Don’t mess with our future.

When it comes to climate, it’s all our lives at stake. The younger you are, the more consequences you’ll see.
It’s life and death for us. And we will fight like it.”

Its our world! Want to help? Find a climate champion, and support them on social media as much as you can!

Furthermore, if there is a politician who is not doing what we need, tell them so, and be clear about it!

New Alerts from Avaaz and 38Degrees!

AvaazIt’s our “holy shit” climate moment according to a leading NASA scientist, and only a holy shit massive coordinated day of action response, right now, can change the future we’re facing.

One agreement with common sense steps to end dirty energy can save us. That’s why the UN has called an urgent climate meeting in just over 100 days with all major world leaders — if we greet them on September 21st with the largest ever global climate mobilisation in history we can break through the walls of mega coal, oil, and business that prevent even the best politicians from doing what is right.

What has got everybody so excited?

It is the realisation that an Ice Age can be triggered, and be upon us in a matter of months!

JUST months – that’s how long it took for Europe to be engulfed by an ice age. The scenario, which comes straight out of Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, was revealed by the most precise record of the climate from palaeohistory ever generated.

Around 12,800 years ago the northern hemisphere was hit by the Younger Dryas mini ice age, or “Big Freeze”. It was triggered by the slowdown of the Gulf Stream, led to the decline of the Clovis culture in North America, and lasted around 1300 years.

Until now, it was thought that the mini ice age took a decade or so to take hold, on the evidence provided by Greenland ice cores. Not so, say William Patterson of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and his colleagues.

The group studied a mud core from an ancient lake, Lough Monreagh, in western Ireland. Using a …

To continue reading this article, subscribe to receive access to all of newscientist.com, including 20 years of archive content.

More info at:-
A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change
Global warming: it’s a point of no return in West Antarctica. What happens next?
Report: Prepare for climate tipping points

Please join the GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION on September 21st! Volunteers welcome!

38degreesAnd now for people in the UK:-

Stop the privatisation of the Land Registry.

Why is this important?

Privatisation of the Land Registry will create a private sector monopoly of a function essential to the property market. It will remove competition and devalue the Land Registry.

The Land Registry is a very efficient public organisation that is self funding and is not a drain on public finance. It has a 98% satisfaction rating with its users.

The public consultation on government proposals to privatise the Land Registry closed on Thursday 20th March. There has been no publicity or attempt to inform the public of this radical change to an organisation that is vital to the UK property market.

Another consultation on giving the Land Registry wider powers in the control of data essential to the sale and purchase of property closed earlier with the majority of the public not being aware of its existence.

The Land Registry is well run, efficient and professional. If the government is to sell off one of our best performing public services, the wider public needs to be able to have its say.

The public consultation is at
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/land-registry-new-service-delivery-company

The petition will be delivered in person.

Heading our way – 4m of Seawater – Sooner or Later!

This not one of my favourite topics, but I think it is essential that people keep themselves informed, for only then are they able to make good decisions.

In fact, after I had read another article entitled “Scaremongering pandemic could claim countless lives“, I had some doubts about whether to mention it at all.

“Keeping people scared is an effective way of controlling them, so it’s no wonder politicians and their media friends are neck-deep in scaremongering” Professor Mortis adds.

Those of you that have seen the documentary series “The Power of Nightmares” will understand the problem well enough.

But then I saw at the end of the article …

“Professor Mortis was unavailable for comment on this, as he had sealed himself in an underground bunker with 400 cans of beans and a shotgun.

Dean Burnett usually tries to downplay the dangers of everything, thus accelerating mankind’s inevitable demise, via Twitter @garwboy”

… and I thought perhaps it was a bit “tongue-in-cheek” after all, and decided to take the risk!

But …

I do feel the need to protect myself against possible repercussions resulting from what I am about to reveal, and so

DISCLAIMER

I will not be held responsible for any suicidal tendencies which may develop after reading the rest of this post!

This is what all the fuss is about:-

Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn

“The loss of the entire western Antarctica ice sheet could eventually cause up to 4 metres (13ft) of sea-level rise, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world. But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.”

There is a cute little animated graphic by way of explanation:-

“Even under the worst-case scenario currently envisaged, the collapse of the entire ice sheet is about 200 years off – and the collapse could be as far away as 1,000 years, depending on future warming.”

The problem for me is that I don’t trust their time estimates at all, as you may have gathered already if you looked at my “Warning” site – see top menu bar.

Everywhere you look, you find the same reaction – its happening faster than we thought!

“Even so, Rignot said he was taken aback at how fast change was occurring.

“This system, whether Greenland or Antarctica, is changing on a faster time scale than we anticipated. We are discovering that every day,” Rignot said.”

My advice?

Forget suicide, move to higher ground!

Owen Paterson – The Right Man for the Job?

This post is about the current UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson. Another boarding school product, he failed to win a seat in Wrexham in 1992, but has been MP for North Shropshire since 1997, (from Wikipedia).
He has held a variety of positions, including –

    – Shadow Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister from 2003–05
    – Shadow Minister for Transport from 2005–07
    – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from May 2010 to September 2012

none of which have provided him with the experience required for his present position in DEFRA, where his performance has been openly questioned, and he seems to have been promoted to the point of incompetence.

“An acrimonious Cabinet rift opened Monday over the handling of the flooding crisis that has inundated wide stretches of the south of England. Conservative colleagues Eric Pickles and Owen Paterson are at odds over the performance of the Environment Agency and its embattled chairman, Lord Smith.”
See “UK weather: Eric Pickles and Owen Paterson clash over the performance of the Environment Agency

And further:-
“Mr Paterson was reported on Monday to have protested “in the strongest possible terms” to Mr Cameron about Mr Pickles’s “ grandstanding” in his absence.” “But the Environment Secretary was dismissed in scathing terms by a fellow Cabinet member. The minister told MailOnline: “He just isn’t very bright. Most of the people around the Cabinet table are bright, even if I disagree with them, but not Owen. He isn’t climate sceptic, he’s climate stupid.””

He is not doing too well on air pollution either! See “Air pollution

He doesn’t like bees, apparently, and supported the UK government opposition to a European ban on Neonicotinoids.
Owen Paterson defends use of bees-link pesticide

Neither does he appear to like badgers!STB_Badge

As if all of that wasn’t enough, he is apparently an ardent fan of Gm foods. See:-
Ministers ‘covering up secret meetings with GM food lobby’

    Ministers are trying to cover up secret briefings with GM companies
    Owen Paterson has refused FOI request to supply details about talks
    Has encouraged public to accept GM crops being sold in supermarkets
    Has also been lobbying EU to let Britain grow crops banned elsewhere
    He is working in partnership with Agricultural Biotechnology Council

It is crystal clear to me that with Owen Paterson in his present position, we will never get the environment we want and need. It is high time to do something about it!

You can add your signature to mine on the following petition, if, as I ardently hope, you are of the same opinion as me.

Owen Paterson should resign as Environment Secretary

Lets ‘badger’ him into doing the right thing!

Get the Climate Change Message Across!

If the National Climate Assessment (NCA3) fails to get the Climate Change message across to the American people, I really am at a loss as to what to do next.

My first sources of information were:-
Warming ‘increasingly disruptive’ across US – report
Climate change wreaking havoc in America’s backyard, scientists warn

I have downloaded the NCA3 Overview, the NCA3 Highlights, and the NCA3 Climate Change Impacts in the United States so far, and can only say that this document is impressive, both in its coverage and in its presentation.
Change
I am certain that most of the hardened climate change naysayers will have to relent after reading this report. So our first job is to make sure that they know where to find it.

Get it here:- http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/downloads

The text at the bottom of the page tells you what it is all about:-

“The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.

A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.”

And they have done a magnificent job! So do yourselves a favour by reading as much of the report as you can manage!

Now a word about priorities!

Imagine that you and your friends are on a boat, and the boat develops a leak, and starts to fill up with water. You know that if nothing is done, the boat will eventually founder, and all souls aboard will be lost.

What is the very first thing that needs to be done?

    1. Repair the leak, and stop water coming in, or
    2. Find out whose fault it is that the hull is leaking, and punish them?

Hopefully you will come to the same conclusion that I did – repair the leak must be the very first priority. Who caused it can be dealt with later, when we know that we will survive!

Continuing the analogy, we see that the leak itself is not a hole at all. In fact the cause is too much pressure on the hull. This has lead to distortion, and the plates are letting water in where they overlap at the rivets.

The cure, in fact, is to remove the pressure on the hull. This would allow the hull to regain its proper shape, and the leak around the plates would stop.

The difficulty we face is that the pressure cannot be relieved immediately. It has taken 200 to 300 years to build up to danger level, and we have no safe means of reducing it quickly.

Added to that, we don’t know how much more strain the hull can take before it implodes, with catastrophic consequences.

We must act quickly now!

At the personal level, use less of everything.

At the national level, guide industry to as much reduction as possible in greenhouse gases.

We cannot afford to split hairs over the cost. If we fail, we will pay the ultimate price – the Earth.

America, like it or not, you have always been on-board.

We are all in the same boat!

I will begin to feel a bit easier when I can see that we are all rowing in the same direction!

Read NCA3, and spread the message!,

In spite of everything, there are still some among us who are blinded by money, and fail to acknowledge the approaching disaster:-

“Some Republican members of Congress continued to dismiss the findings of the report. Deb Fischer, a Republican Senator from Nebraska, attacked the science as “politically charged” and “far from settled” as well as Obama for bypassing Congress and using his executive authority to act on climate change.

Meanwhile, a leading coal industry lobby group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, dismissed the report as “unsubstantiated scare tactics and hyperbole” and lashed out at Obama for moving ahead on power plant regulations.”

Our task is to take away their oars!

The New Site is Installed!

If you look at the top menu, you will find a new site – Warning.

Its actually not a new site at all. Its one I generated for teaching purposes about 6 years ago, but I thought I had lost it altogether.

As luck would have it, I found some old ‘Zip’ files, and had a look inside. Closer inspection revealed that it was unfortunately not complete. In some ways this is a real blessing, as it was Huge. I had invested a lot of time in it.

Now, with only four countries being shown instead of most of the world, the site is a lot leaner, and easier to navigate.

Looking through the contents, I realised that although a little out-of-date, it was mostly still perfectly valid, as nobody has done anything at all in the interim to counter the problems.

In fact, looking at http://www.climatecentral.org/news/new-greenland-ice-melt-fuels-sea-level-rise-concerns-17187 it seems that now was the right time after all!

So, see what you think.

I remember some shocks when looking around different parts of the world, as the system reveals where the worst affected areas will be very quickly. Brazil was certainly one of them, and Australia another.

Cooperation is Welcome!

If there is a real demand for further information in areas no longer covered, let me know, and I’ll see what can be done. But don’t expect miracles overnight – this job consumes masses of time!

Alternatively, if anyone is prepared to produce a file for their own area, they could send it to me for inclusion. It should be in GIF format to enable switching between two states, and picture size needs to be about 450 x 370.

Just include your email address in a comment to get the ball rolling!

Earth’s Temperature Gradients will Change.

This has been kept simple intentionally.

The first reason is that I don’t know enough about the math to do it any other way. Even if I did, I would never fit it all into a single blog post.

The second reason is that you will understand it easily.

Consider a metal bar connected to an infinite heat sink at 0C at one end, and the other to an infinite heat source at 100C.
gradient 1
At any point on the bar between the ends, the temperature will be function of distance, and at dead centre the temperature will be 50C.

Now consider the same metal bar, with infinite heat sinks at 0C at both ends, and an external source of heat in the middle at 50C. It could be shown like this –
gradient 3
The same principle applies – at the mid-point of each side, the temperature will be 25C.

Now, let’s see what happens if the right-hand end were disconnected from 0C, and left to float. We could represent it thus:-
gradient 4
Now, the left-hand end temperature is fixed at 0C, as before, but the right-hand end is floating and is not so easy to define. It will, however, lie somewhere between 0C and 50C+. The mid-point will take on a new higher value, as a result of the right-hand end floating. If the mid-point changes to a higher temperature, all temperatures to the left will increase in line.

Ok, you say, sounds reasonable. So what?

Well, the same principles that I have just discussed apply to this:-
globe1
and currently the human race is busy destroying the 0C temperature sink at the North Pole. When this happens, and I think it is only a matter of time, I estimate that most of the Northern hemisphere will become uninhabitable, and the available area for habitation in the Southern hemisphere will be reduced.

I would prefer the Northwest Passage to remain covered with ice all year round!

Growing Rice Better.

Rice being the staple food of a large percentage of the world population, it seemed prudent to start looking at the way it is grown, as this is the only major crop that is transplanted at the beginning of the growth period. And this is exactly where the main problem occurs. As Fr. Lalauni showed in his System Of Rice Intensification, his research in Madagascar proved that the time of transplantation was extremely important. This is consistent with general knowledge of transplantation techniques.

It has been common practice around the world to transplant rice at 13 or 14 days. This, in actual fact, is outside the transplantation “Window” for most plants, and this definitely includes rice. This means that the seedlings suffer a ‘shock’, from which they need to recover to continue growing. It has been shown that for rice, the recovery period is 3 weeks!

If, however, the seedlings are transplanted at 8 days, they are still within their “Window”, and grow on as if nothing at all had happened. Of course, 8-day seedlings are not as robust as 14-day seedlings, and need correspondingly careful treatment.

Further experimentation showed that the best results were obtained when individual seedlings were planted at a spacing of 12 inches – further apart than has hitherto been customary. This planting regime – single seedlings and 12-inch spacing – has been amply confirmed by research in India and Pakistan.

The results from such simple changes can only be described as astounding!

1. The time to harvest is shortened by the three week period that the plants no longer need to recover.

2. Root growth is stronger and deeper.

3. Individual plants are bigger and fuller.

4. The yield from each plant is vastly higher than before – a 100% increase is normal.

Other advantages are claimed, but are not so easy to quantify.

a) Less fertilizer required.

b) Less irrigation required.

c) Less pesticide required.

One item may be seen as a disadvantage by some. Flooding the field is no longer used as a method of weed control, and weeds need to be removed manually, possibly resulting in higher labour costs. This is important, as there is always the need to avoid unwanted plants competing with the rice for the nutrients in the soil. At harvest time, the threshing machine will be busy for longer, as it has an increased workload to deal with. This may result in some increased cost if the machine is hired.

Any normal rice seed is suitable for this system. There is no special seed for SRI, and if somebody wants to sell you some, they are probably operating a scam.

Hybrid seeds offer a 15% increase in yield, but the price of seed is correspondingly high. I would ask why settle for 15% increase at a higher cost when you could double your yield at no charge? Hybrid seeds, unless there is a special property that is important, seem to offer no advantage over normal seed. And don’t forget, that any seed saved from a planting of hybrid seed, will be back to a normal yield. The “Hybrid Vigour” only applies to the F1 hybrid.

Temperature affects rice yields in two ways.

1. Research indicates that yield drops 10% for every 1C degree increase in temperature. It is suggested that covering the field with black mesh netting, (such as is commonly used for an Orchidarium), may suitably reduce temperatures. This will be an item for further experimentation.

2. It has also been noted that not reaching a low enough point in the daily temperature cycle could negatively influence yield. Although no specific data is available at this time, it is certainly possible to use irrigation at the later part of the day to reduce soil temperature, and hence lower the nighttime temperature to a minimum.

Note that the irrigation cycle should allow the soil to dry out and crack. This aerates the soil, and any increase in water loss through increased evaporation will be nullified at the next hoeing cycle as weeds are removed.

The foregoing applies to rice grown in the dry season. The rainy season has special requirements, as follows: –

In areas where there is a strong possibility that fields will flood for periods in excess of 3 days, the whole crop is at risk.

It is therefore most strongly recommended that only flood-proof rice be sown. This has been developed in Japan, and is known as “Snorkel Rice”. Under flood conditions, it grows breather tubes, and will survive, whereas normal rice will simply perish after 4 days. Please note that Snorkel Rice is not commonly available yet, and you may have to travel considerable distances to obtain it.

One of the rice farmer’s worst nightmares seems to be getting rice dry enough to take to the rice mill in the rainy season. Having given this matter some thought, and not wishing to pay for machinery and fuel to dry the rice, I consider a simple greenhouse to be a suitable solution. It only needs to be of light construction – ie. a bamboo frame, and clear plastic covering – and should be portable, such that it can be lifted away from the rice being dried. Again, if flooding is likely, the rice should be on a raised plinth, and suitably protected from water below it. This could be by the judicious use of straw bales and tarpaulin, for example.

Straw Bales.

The production of straw bales at harvest time is common practice in Western countries, but almost unheard of in Asia. Instead, after the harvest, the remaining straw and stubble are burned off. This is a tremendous waste of a useful resource. Straw bales can be easily stored for animal bedding, for building houses, for composting – they are really versatile. And a mechanical baler is not necessary. Look around on the Internet for instructions on building a baler to be operated manually.

A word about costs and profit.

The farmer with a large family which is expected to work in the fields for only board and lodging has serious advantages over those that must use employed labour for the same purpose. It therefore makes sense to grow the most expensive variety of rice possible, as this will command the highest price when sold. The amount of work is the same.

Finally, to those skeptics that don’t believe this is possible.

It most certainly is – we are doing it!

It started as a pilot project on one part of a rice field. The results were so encouraging, that the whole of the field was subsequently used. When the neighbouring farmers saw what was happening, they wanted to know how it was being done, and quickly joined in. When it came to buying the seed for Snorkel Rice, a group of farmers traveled together, as they could all see the benefits.

We just need to spread the word to bring these benefits to everyone. Please help if you can!

The World is Hungry, lets feed it!

PS. None of this has anything to do with genetically modified products whatsoever. If we can do so much without them, their possible value, (as yet unproven), becomes even more questionable.