Mutually Assured Destruction Gives Way To Monetizing Atomic Derelicts

atlas thermonuclear warheadWe were utterly fascinated to read this article in the New York Times revealing that a full 50% of the nuclear fuel used in reactors in the United States comes from recycled nuclear bombs, primarily from Russia. Which pretty much explains why disarmament has been happening! And it has a nice swords-to-plowshares narrative, to boot.

Eventually, however, the available supply of decommissioned nuclear weapons will run out, and nuclear power plants will have to turn to much more expensive unenriched uranium ore from mines around the world. An MIT study estimates that there is enough ore in the ground to “fuel the development of 1000 reactors over the next half century and to maintain this level of development over a 40 year lifetime of this fleet,” although there are dipsutes over how efficiencies in ore extraction and recycling will affect long-term supply.

Does that take care of the problem, then? Continue reading

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“Water is the new carbon”

Increasingly climate change scientists and policy makers are recognizing that water resources and availability will be the largest resource to be impacted by climate change. In a recent webcast published by the UN, several world water experts gather to discuss the difficulties ahead regarding water.

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"Water is the New Carbon"

These experts make a call to policy-makers to bring the focus back to water. There will be an estimated 30% decrease in water resource availability in years to come, according to Colin Chartres, the Director General of CGIAR’s International Water Management Institute. Decisions must be made regarding mitigation and adaptation mechanisms for the water sector. Colin Chartres suggests that climate mitigation is all about greenhouse gases, while adaptation is all about water.

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Manure to Electricity

There is concrete evidence that climate change is mainly due to anthropogenic actions. We are emerging into a world where consumers are becoming more concerned on where their food is coming from and the impacts that food production has on the environment.  Recently, cattle farmers are targeted in terms of rearing practices and amount of methane gas cattle emit.  Although, methane is a natural by-product from a cow, there are increasing concerns with the high demand of beef and therefore an unhealthy amount of cattle that are reared to meet the beef consumption—especially in the United States.   Continue reading

Warming Causes a Freeze

blog dying-coral-frozenSad news everyone: due to the rate at which coral reefs are dying off, researchers are considering take existing ones and freezing them for preservation.

The main reason, as we all know, for the quicker and quicker disappearance of coral reefs is due to the slowly increasing temperatures as a result of climate change. As warming continues, the option of freezing coral becomes a more attractive option to keep coral reefs a viable part of our climate-change-free-future.

To me, this is a sad state of affairs. According to the article, we are already past the point of doing anything to prevent a majority of the coral reefs from disappearing. How pathetic that we must create our own ‘Noah’s Ark’–  and scary, to say the least. Yet, I suppose it is better to take action on the things we can help, and this seems to be one way of doing so.

Full article here.

Losing Battles but Winning the War

Blog CoalFiredPowerPlantLast Monday a lot of planning finally fell through to the dismay of a future coal-fired power plant. However, this meant good news for citizens in Minnesota and South Dakota and furthermore, for the general population at large.

Five years of developing plans went down the tubes as plans for the Big Stone II Project were rejected. This is all in thanks to the local grassroots support in these two states and not because of the regulators or developers involved.

You can read more about this news item here, but the main reason I wanted to point out this little piece of news is because this may seem insignificant in the scheme of things. However, in reading this article it gave me a little more hope that grassroots efforts can make a difference and battles can still be won. A staff member from the Sierra Club said, “This victory demonstrates that even when we may lose the battles—consistent pressure, engaged citizens, and strong partnerships can win the war.” Continue reading

A Crisis of Democracy

AlGore_03 This past Saturday, I packed into a small Unitarian church with 500 other people to catch a glimpse of former Vice President Al Gore. He came to Harvard Square to discuss his new book, Our Choice, which is a follow-up to  An Inconvenient Truth. With only one short month before Copenhagen, I  jumped at the opportunity to see the Nobel Prize and Oscar winning former Vice President and the de facto leader of the current environmental movement give a speech on the politics of climate change.

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Report on Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries

FAO-emblem_enAt the Barcelona Climate Change Talks The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) releases the Report on Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries.

The report  highlights the mitigation potential from agriculture of improvements in cropland and grazing land management and soil restoration. It explores potential synergies between food security, adaptation and climate change mitigation from land-based agricultural practices in developing countries.

It indicates that mitigation options need to require financing and implementation processes.

A final version of the paper will subsequently be prepared for distribution at UNFCCC COP 15 in Copenhagen