Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100

February 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Asia’s Himalayan mountain range is about to undergo some major changes. New research predicts that global warming will melt at least one-third or up two two-thirds of the glaciers in the region by the year 2100, significantly affecting the 2 billion people who call the mountainous area home. The alarming prediction will come to pass if global carbon emissions continue at their current rates. Even more disturbing is that one-third of the glaciers in the Himalaya and Hindu Kush range will still disappear, even if governments far exceed expectations and dramatically cut emissions. Related: NASA finds cavity the size of Manhattan underneath Antarctic glacier According to The Guardian , the threatened glaciers are a life source for the millions of people in the region. They also provide water for around 1.65 billion people who live in China , Pakistan and India. Once these glaciers start melting, communities along the Indus river and waterways in central Asia will experience heavy flooding. “This is the climate crisis you haven’t heard of,” Philippus Wester, who works for the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, explained in the report. “In the best of possible worlds, if we get really ambitious [in tackling climate change ], even then we will lose one-third of the glaciers and be in trouble.” The new report predicts that the majority of flooding will occur between 2050 and 2060. After that point, the excess water will run out, and the rivers in the region will experience a decrease in water flow. This will have severe impacts on the hydrodams in the area, which use water to generate electricity for millions of residents. The melting glaciers also affect the monsoon season, which makes it hard to predict rainfall and water supplies. Farmers are already facing issues as water levels are starting to fall during the time they traditionally plant crops. Monsoons are also becoming more frequent, and the resulting flooding is threatening crop growth. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the glaciers from melting over the next 80 years. Even if carbon emissions are significantly cut over the next 50 years, a large portion of the ice cap will still disappear, leaving billions of people dealing with what could be a global climate crisis. That said, curbing carbon emissions could help preserve over half of the glaciers, which is still a goal worth pursuing. Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100

Time-saving supersonic airplanes could be a disaster for the environment

February 4, 2019 by  
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Supersonic airplanes might be making a major comeback, but environmental scientists warn these time-saving transports will add even more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than ever before. A group of regulators from around the world are scheduled to meet in Canada next week to discuss the impacts of supersonic travel on the environment. Ahead of the meeting, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) published an article about how supersonic planes impact the environment . According to USA Today, the ICCT discovered that supersonic airplanes consume significantly more fuel than a standard commercial aircraft. In fact, these jets will use around five times the amount of fuel as a normal jet flying the same route. Supersonic jets consume more fuel because they are faster and carry fewer travelers. Companies in the aviation business previously agreed to cut down on carbon emissions by the year 2050, but with the threat of supersonic jets returning to the skies, ICCT director Dan Rutherford believes those goals will not be met in time. Related: Greenhouse gas emissions rose during 2018 after three year decline “Adding these planes, which could be five to seven times as carbon intensive as comparable subsonic jets, on top of that just to save a few hours flying over the Atlantic seems problematic to me,” Rutherford explained. The appeal of these jets is that they fly at a much faster rate than typical airliners and can cruise at higher altitudes. For example, a supersonic airplane could make it from New York to Paris in under four hours while a normal jet takes about eight hours to complete the same trip. This effectively cuts air travel time in half. There are three corporations from the United States that are seeking to build a new generation of supersonic airplanes for commercial use. This includes Boom Supersonic, which plans on building around 2,000 aircrafts, Aerion Supersonic and Spike Aerospace. The latter two companies are only planning on offering supersonic jets for business travel. This, of course, is not the first time supersonic jets have graced the skies. Air France and British Airways had a line of supersonic jets between the years 1976 and 2003. The companies stopped offering the service after an accident in 2000 took the lives of 113 passengers. They also had trouble selling tickets because the price of a flight was much higher than a conventional jet. Via USA Today Image via Jacek Dylag

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Time-saving supersonic airplanes could be a disaster for the environment

New project could see UK electric trains powered by off-grid solar

January 11, 2017 by  
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In what’s being hailed as a “completely unique” idea that could have “wide impact with commercial applications on electrified rail networks all over the world,” a new project in the UK could see electric trains powered by trackside solar panels that work independently from the main power grid. The Guardian reports that Imperial College London has teamed up with climate change charity 10:10 to look into using trackside solar panels to power trains. As part of the project, researchers will investigate connecting solar panels directly to power lines that supply trains, in an effort to bypass the larger power grid and more efficiently manage power demand from trains. Along with the aforementioned worldwide commercial applications, Imperial College said in a statement that if the research is successful, it would “also open up thousands of new sites to small and medium-scale renewable developments by removing the need to connect to the grid. Related: Wind power now runs all electric passenger trains in the Netherlands The Guardian notes that state-owned Network Rail is already investing billions of dollars toward electrifying railways in the UK, in an effort to get rid of polluting trains that run on diesel fuel. According to 10:10, this effort, combined with the growing production of renewable power in the country could add up to significantly less carbon emissions by 2050. As many trains in the country run through rural areas where the electricity grid is tough to access, the plan to power trains with solar panels not connected to the grid could have widespread applications. The project’s first goal is to look at the feasibility of converting “third rail systems” that supply electricity through power lines close to the ground, which are used on about one third of the country’s tracks. “I don’t think you get a better fit for PPA than a train line,” said Leo Murray of 10:10. “A rural train line even more so, the project would open up many investment opportunities across the country and further afield.” Via The Guardian Images via Sunil060902 and Siemens UK

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New project could see UK electric trains powered by off-grid solar

Iconic 100-year-old tunnel tree in California succumbs to winter storm

January 11, 2017 by  
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The Pioneer Cabin Tree in Calaveras Big Trees State Park , California recently succumbed to a winter storm, breaking the hearts of treehuggers everywhere. The majestic sequoia tree , which was tunneled sometime in the 1880’s to allow thousands of people to pass beneath it, crashed down over the weekend. Calaveras Big Trees Association wrote in a January 8 Facebook post , “The Pioneer Cabin tree has fallen! This iconic and still living tree – the tunnel tree – enchanted many visitors. The storm was just too much for it.” Trees have died in the tunneling process, such as Yosemite’s Wawona Tunnel Tree, which was carved in 1881 but fell in 1969. In contrast to the Yosemite landmark which inspired it, the Pioneer Cabin Tree still showed signs of life. Related: More than 100 million California trees dead due to drought Park volunteer Jim Allday said people walked beneath the tree on Sunday morning, but around 2PM local time the tree fell and “shattered” when it hit the ground. Jim’s wife Joan, also a volunteer, told SFGate, “It was barely alive, there was one branch alive at the top. But it was very brittle and starting to lift.” Way back in 1990, interpretive specialist Wendy Harrison wrote in a Calaveras Big Trees State Park guide , “The pioneer cabin tree was chosen because of its extremely wide base and large fire scar. A few branches bearing green foliage tell us that this tree is still managing to survive.” Harrison described how Calveras Big Trees State Park used to be a popular tourist destination until the roads to Yosemite were improved, and the Calaveras park tried to lure tourists back by carving the Pioneer Cabin tree in the late 1800’s. According to SFGate, cars were once allowed to drive beneath the Pioneer Cabin Tree, but more recently the park only allowed people to pass under on foot. Via Gizmodo and SFGate Images via Wikimedia Commons and Jim Allday on Facebook

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Iconic 100-year-old tunnel tree in California succumbs to winter storm

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