Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Good News, Bad News, Weird News

The good news is that clean power is catching on. An article in the Hartford Courant excerpted below tells of the good-natured rivalry in two Connecticut towns designed to increase sign-ups for clean-generated power through Connecticut utility companies.
Members of Rocky Hill's energy task force and Cromwell's energy task force are in a battle to sign up the most residents to the CT Clean Energy Options program by Earth Day 2008 in April.The winning town will receive a clothesline - the best example of a solar dryer.
"A clothesline represents one of the easiest things we can use to get off the power grid and use solar energy, and it's cost-effective," said Sandy Kelly, a member of the Rocky Hill task force.The goal is to try to get the most residents to sign up for the CT Clean Energy Options program, in which participating towns must adopt a goal of purchasing 20 percent of their energy from clean sources by 2010. The program, a partnership between two nonprofit groups, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and SmartPower, gives towns that sign up 100 residents a free solar panel for municipal use. Currently, in Rocky Hill 76 residents are signed up. Cromwell has 72.Jeremy Shingleton, a member of the Cromwell task force, said the two towns will work together even though it's a challenge."We are going to help each other by talking about strategies. This is really to look at alternative technologies to produce clean energy as a community," Shingleton said.

Now for some bad news: the extreme ice melt that the Arctic region experienced this past summer is even throwing scientists for a loop, according to an article that appeared in the New York Times.
The Arctic ice cap shrank so much this summer that waves briefly lapped along two long-imagined Arctic shipping routes, the Northwest Passage over Canada and the Northern Sea Route over Russia.
Over all, the floating ice dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more, by several estimates.
Now the six-month dark season has returned to the North Pole. In the deepening chill, new ice is already spreading over vast stretches of the Arctic Ocean. Astonished by the summer’s changes, scientists are studying the forces that exposed one million square miles of open water — six Californias — beyond the average since satellites started measurements in 1979.

The weird news is a new idea for a (drastic) solution to solve the growing global warming crisis from the guy who came up the the Gaia hypothesis, as chronicled in the New York Times science blog.
The scheme itself — putting giant pipes in the ocean — sounds rather problematic, but I’m intrigued by who’s daring to propose it: James E. Lovelock, the British environmentalist renowned for theGaia hypothesis of the Earth as a kind of self-regulating superorganism.
He and Chris Rapley propose in their
letter “to help the planet heal itself” by using pipes at least 100 meters long to bring nutrient-rich waters up to mix with surface water, causing algae to bloom and absorb carbon dioxide. They acknowledge that success is uncertain, and a news article in Nature by Quirin Schiermeier quotes critics warning that the water-mixing scheme could backfire by bringing up dissolved carbon dioxide from below, leading to a net release of CO2 into the atmosphere. And then of course there are more than a few questions about the impact on the ocean’s acidity and on marine life.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.htm

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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