Archive for August, 2011

Projects Aimed at Advancing State-of-the-Art Carbon Capture from Coal Power Plants Selected for Further Development

August 15, 2011

US Department of Energy

“Four projects aimed at reducing the energy and cost penalties of advanced carbon capture systems applied to power plants have been selected for further development by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE)”.  The projects are valued at $67 million over 4 years, with the overall goal to achieve at least 90 percent CO2 removal at no more than a 35 percent increase in the cost of electricity.

Crops with deeper roots capture more carbon, fight drought: study

August 5, 2011


Doubling root length from the typical 1 meter to 2 meters could help capture and sequester more carbon under the ground, as well as “make crops more drought resistant, improve soil structure and moisture, store more nutrients and reduce erosion”.  The study is published in Annals of Botany, and includes a carbon calculator for global crop and grasslands.

U.S Billion-Ton Update (pdf, 6.7 mb)

US Department of Energy

6 years after the original Billion Ton Study (pdf, 2.6mb), the DOE has released an update.  “The conclusion remains the same: There are more than enough biomass sources to satisfy a goal of displacing 30 percent of the country’s petroleum consumption by 2030 (http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2011/08/12/5).”  In 2 scenarios provided for future biomass supply, the 1 billion ton mark is reached in each, and in the high yield scenario, the mark is far exceeded.

Guildelines for Constructing Climate Scenarios (pdf)

Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, Oregon State University

This article represents the lessons learned from an October 2009 workshop organized by the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute on scenarios of future climate (details of the workshop are here http://occri.net/news-and-events/workshop-on-scenarios-of-future-climate).  The article appeared last week in EOS, the Transactions of the American Geophysical Union.


The Model Forest Policy Program (MFPP) is now accepting applications for 2012 Climate Solutions University: Forest and Water Strategies (CSU).

This program offers rural U.S. [only] communities the opportunity to be part of climate adaptation solutions urgently needed across the country. This educational opportunity is being conducted in collaboration with the Cumberland River Compact.

Local communities are on the front line making key land use decisions in regards to climate change.  Through a peer learning network that links underserved rural communities across the U.S., Climate Solutions University (CSU) provides training, expertise, and support to communities engaged in climate adaptation planning.

Climate Solutions University (CSU) helps rural communities design and implement climate adaptation plans that protect local forest and water resources and support viable rural economies. CSU strengthens local leadership and public engagement and promotes the following outcomes: protection of forests, streams, human and ecological health; preservation of natural resource based economies; and builds broad public support.

Each community develops and implements a Forest and Water Climate Adaptation Plan and Case Study by participating in a four-step multi-year process.

Scholarships Available : Six communities will be provided $10,000 scholarships.

Application Deadline:  5:00 PM, Monday, September 19, 2011

Apply Here: www.mfpp.org


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Climate Change Threatens Health:  Serious Threats Where You Live and What to Do About Them

Natural Resources Defense Council

A new, interactive map-based web program shows links between climate change, pollution, and health risks by tracking the impacts of climate in all 50 states.  “Click on a state on the map for more information on climate-health threats, actions being taken to prepare communities, and what you can do.”

Community-owned wind powers up

August 2, 2011

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Australia’s first community-run wind farm began operation on June 22.  Over the next 12 months, it will produce enough power to provide electricity to 2300 homes.  The project follows in the footsteps of others in Germany and Denmark, where community-based wind projects have long been welcomed.

Greenhouse gas impact of hydroelectric reservoirs downgraded

August 1, 2011


A new study, published in Nature Geoscience this past week, finds that greenhouse gas emissions from hydroelectric plants are actually far less than originally estimated, producing just 1/6 of the carbon dioxide and methane previously assigned to them.  Article in Nature Geoscience: online here.

President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard

July 29, 2011

White House Press Release

The Obama Administration has made an agreement with 13 major automakers to pursue the next phase in the Administration’s national vehicle program, increasing fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.  The programs are projected to save families $1.7 trillion at the pump, and an average of over $8,000 per vehicle by the year 2025.  The White House has also released a report about the new fuel economy standards, which can be found here (pdf)Update:  Obama plans to unveil new fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks next Tuesday in Virginia (The Hill.com)

Salmon may face greater threat than water shortage

July 25, 2011

San Francisco Chronicle

Growing human populations and climate change pose even more significant threats to California Salmon than a shortage of clean water.  Salmon and humans do not live harmoniously, with salmon numbers running inverse to human numbers in many parts of the world, and California salmon struggling to retain historic runs.  On the other hand, salmon are now being found in waters that were previously too cold for them.

Northwest Forest Plan has unintended benefit – carbon sequestration

July 22, 2011

Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University and the USDA Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station have found that the Northwest Forest Plan has had a significant, albeit unintended, consequence of carbon sequestration on public lands.  The plan was enacted in 1993 and was designed to conserve old-growth forests and protect endangered species such as the Northern Spotted Owl; the original goals had nothing to do with carbon emissions.  From the article/ study:

“When forest harvest levels fell 82 percent on public forest lands in the years after passage of this act, they became a significant carbon “sink” for the first time in decades, absorbing much more carbon from the atmosphere than they released. At the same time, private forest lands became close to carbon neutral.”

Coral reef species may adjust to climate change

July 22, 2011

Sydney Morning Herald

A new study has found that some reefs may be able to adapt and survive in the coming decades if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.  The researchers stated “Our expectation is that some regions are less likely to completely collapse in the next few decades than others.”  It is unknown which regions will fare better, but the capacity for reefs anywhere to adapt is compromised greatly by human activities such as over-fishing, pollution and habitat destruction.


Near-Term Opportunities for Integrating Biomass into the U.S. Electricity Supply (pdf, 1.1mb)

Rand Corporation

This technical report finds that coal burning plants facing increasing pressure to reduce emissions are much better off adding biomass to the energy mix than waiting for expensive carbon capture and storage technology.  Biomass from forestry waste, logging residues or commercially produced wood pellets would costs a fraction of what carbon capture and storage technology abatement would, the study finds.

Climate Change Hurts Indian Tribes Disproportionately

August 3, 2011

National Wildlife Federation

“North American Indian Tribes are especially harmed by climate change, as more ecological shifts and more frequent, more extreme weather events occur…”, a new report find.  Indian tribes are more affected by severe weather events than the general population because they tend to rely heavily on natural resources, and are often struggling from a lack of resources to begin with.  The full report is available at the site.

Potential for Biomass and Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (pdf, 4mb)

July 2011

International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG)

This study examines how carbon capture systems, which are typically attached to coal plants, can remove CO2 from the air, reducing global emissions, when attached to biomass-burning plants.  The study finds that: “Combining biomass with carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) could result in an annual global saving of up to 10 gigatonnes of negative CO2 emissions by the year 2050, an International Energy Agency (IEA)-commissioned study has predicted” (siliconrepublic.com).

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