The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: carbon dioxide

UN Climate ChangeA rainbow pierces gray skies during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. United Nations

Climate activists stress positives of Senate climate bill despite its shortcomings 

Amy Rawe is communications director for Knoxville-based Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

KNOXVILLE The U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), an estimated $430 billion bill, of which approximately $370 billion will be allocated to investments in clean energy and to address climate change.

It’s the single largest climate investment in U.S. history, and if it passes the House, will put the country on a path to be able to achieve roughly 40 percent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, reestablishing our influence in meeting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

If passed, the Inflation Reduction Act will:

  • Give opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Americans to work in well-paying jobs manufacturing, installing, and maintaining clean energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation
  • Lower Americans’ cost of electricity by spurring the development of hundreds of gigawatts of low-cost clean energy, including wind, solar, and battery energy storage.
  • Protect drivers from expensive and volatile fuel costs through financial incentives to switch to electric vehicles.
  • Reduce households’ bills through historic investments in rebates and tax credits for home energy efficiency and efficient electric appliances.
  • Promote environmental justice and direct resources and benefits to disadvantaged communities, which are often overlooked for investment and bear heavy costs of fossil fuel pollution.
Published in News

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Shut up and get on the bus

KNOXVILLE Everyone needs to be everywhere at once: School, work, the grocery story, the mall and back home.

Locked into a society run by time, we tend to prefer methods of transportation that make for the quickest journey from place to place.

The modern car, usually powered by gasoline, provides individuals with quick transportation, which saves time. Private transportation embodies convenience.

Published in News
Monday, 11 October 2021 13:17

Permafrost is a ticking methane bomb

Smithsonian: In Russia, even rocks emit greenhouse gases

The melting Siberian tundra north of the Arctic Circle released millions of tons of methane last year as regional temperatures rose to 11 degrees (F) above average.

Methane has a shorter effect than carbon dioxide on global atmospheric change but is still 70 times more potent than CO2 in its overall global-warming potential. Its accelerated release on such a vast scale represents an immediate challenge to restricting overall global warming to less than 3 degrees (fF) by the end of the century, which scientists agree is necessary to prevent dramatic climate change. Methane’s potent global warming potential is why many conservationists oppose the use of natural gas as an energy source.

But in Siberia, even the rocks are emitting methane. Scientists were surprised to find that limestone exposed by disappearing permafrost itself generated high levels of methane. Tundra fires have also accelerated the release of methane and other gases, and have come at great cost to the Russian government and the rural inhabitants of the vast region.

That means economical and practical means must be developed elsewhere, at least, for methane management.

But according to the United Nations Economic Council for Europe:

“Despite methane’s short residence time, the fact that it has a much higher warming potential than CO2 and that its atmospheric volumes are continuously replenished make effective methane management a potentially important element in countries’ climate change mitigation strategies. As of today, however, there is neither a common technological approach to monitoring and recording methane emissions, nor a standard method for reporting them.“

Published in Feedbag

Washington Post: Carbon dioxide levels at highest point in 2 million years

A United Nations climate report authored by 34 people mining 14,000 scientific studies concludes that substantial climate change and its effects are now largely unavoidable but nations, municipalities and individuals can still take steps to minimize the consequences as much as possible.

Here are some key points from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report:

— Human-caused global climate change is an irrefutable fact. Now the debate is what we do about it.

— Few if any signatories to the 2015 Paris Climate Accord met their pledged reduction targets.

— At current emissions rates, the Earth will have heated to or beyond 2.7 degrees (F) above pre-industrial levels by the 2030s.

— Hurricanes, cyclones, droughts, heat waves and other weather anomalies will worsen.

The report comes as many present disasters linked to global warming unfold around the world. The second-largest wildfire in California history burned in the drought-stricken state; Greece dealt with historic wildfires; and Germany and the European Lowcountry reeled from an unprecedented rainstorm that destroyed entire towns and killed more than 200 people. Another heat wave is supposed to arrive in the Pacific Northwest this week.

Published in Feedbag

TVA's 2008 Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spillRemember TVA’s 2008 Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill

The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to retire the Kingston plant and its four other remaining coal-fired power plants by 2035.

But it is seriously considering replacing them with large fossil gas power plants and new gas pipelines!

Natural gas is cleaner than coal, but is yet another fossil fuel source that releases carbon dioxide. Such a replacement would be contrary to the national and global consensus that we must reduce the use of fossil fuels quickly to constrain the runaway climate crisis as much as we can.

A plan based on emerging technologies for increased energy efficiency combined with distributed use of renewable energies and energy storage can increase community resilience; create more good, long-term jobs; diversify local business opportunities; and provide immediate public health benefits.

TVA accepts public comments electronically through the end of July 15, 2021. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to tell TVA that customers don’t want to pay for a yesteryear “solution” that does not really address the clear and present dangers to humanity. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has made it easy for you:  

Submit your comment to TVA by tapping or clicking this link NOW:  

Tell TVA, No New Fossil Gas Plants + Pipelines  

You can also email TVA directly attn: Chevales Williams, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Source: TVA — Kingston Fossil Plant Retirement 

 

Published in Action Alert Archive
Friday, 18 June 2021 17:52

Outrage + Optimism

Global Optimism: “We Have to Be At War With Carbon”

The first 15 minutes of this podcast analyze the Shortcomings of the G7 Summit.

The second 15-minute segment is a conversation with the CEO of Rolls Royce about its goal to make long-distance flights Net Zero by 2050.

Published in Feedbag

Washington Post: CO2 levels hit highest point yet, even after 15-month idling of transportation, industry and overall carbon emissions.

Initial air pollution reductions during the Covid-19 pandemic had an immediate measurable impact on global and local air quality. Demand for oil dropped by nearly 9 percent. That didn't stop the atmospheric carbon dioxide level from reaching its highest concentration since records began.

It's a sign of how difficult it will be to curb overall global emissions enough to prevent the worst consequences of climate change and global warming.

"Even as international borders closed and global economic activity took a massive hit throughout much of 2020, researchers have found that human-caused emissions rebounded fairly quickly after decreasing sharply early in the pandemic," the Washington Post reported. 

Published in Feedbag

Watch the webinar recording of 

Apr 1  8 p.m.

Reintroduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Citizens' Climate Lobby

Zoom Meeting - Free and open to the public

Today the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2021 has been reintroduced into the House by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL-22) and 28 original cosponsors. Tune in to learn the updates and details.

Published in Event Archive
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreat Smoky Mountains National Park Air Resource Specialist is seen at the Look Rock air quality research station.   Courtesy National Park Service

The lack of regional and local vehicle traffic during the pandemic greatly reduced measurable pollution in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This is your Hellbender weekend read, and the first in an occasional Hellbender Press series about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the natural world

Great Smoky Mountains National Park shut down for six weeks in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Recorded emissions reductions during that period in part illustrate the role motor vehicles play in the park's vexing air-quality issues. The full cascade of effects from the pollution reductions are still being studied.

Hellbender Press interviewed park air quality specialist Jim Renfro about the marked reduction of carbon dioxide and other pollutants documented during the park closure during the pandemic, and the special scientific opportunities it presents.  He responded to the following questions via email.

Hellbender Press: You cited “several hundred tons" in pollutant reductions during an interview with WBIR of Knoxville (in 2020). What types of air pollutants does this figure include? 

Published in Air