South Korea considers shutting down aging coal-fired power plants

June 15, 2016 by  
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South Korea is considering a plan to shut down aging coal-fired power plants in an attempt to address air pollution and fine dust emissions. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is drafting the initiative which could see the oldest and most polluting plants phased out. According to Korea Times, out of 53 coal-fired power plants in the country, 11 are over 30-years-old and three have been in operation for more than 40 years. “The government has decided to close down aged coal-powered power plants accused of air pollution and fine dust emissions,” South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyung-Hwan said in his keynote speech at the Future Energy Forum in Seoul. He said that natural gas facilities would generate more electricity to avoid any possible electricity shortages. Related: South Korea races to create the world’s first carbon-free island While the South Korean government blames China for up to half of the fine dust floating in the air over the Korean Peninsula, Greenpeace says that 50 to 70 percent of particle-laden smog (PM2.5) comes from South Korea’s coal-fired power plants. South Korea scrapped plans for four new coal-fired power plants as part of its commitment to the Paris climate agreement signed by nearly 200 nations this past December. However, 20 new plants are still planned by 2021. Via Climate Action News Images via Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

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South Korea considers shutting down aging coal-fired power plants

Siberia’s "gateway to the underworld" crater is rapidly growing due to climate change

June 15, 2016 by  
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In a remote area of Siberia, outside the small town of Batagaiin the Sakha Republic, the ground suddenly opened up between 25 and 50 years ago, and it never stopped. The crater now measures a mile long and is almost 400 feet deep. Geological surveys suggest that the crater has been growing over 60 feet each year but, despite its size and rapid growth rate, most people outside of the immediate area don’t even know it exists, let alone how climate change is making it worse. The chasm is dubbed the Batagaika Crater, and locals refer to it as a “gateway to the underworld.” Its location, in the middle of a vast boreal forest, is no accident. The catastrophic chasm probably wouldn’t exist if not for the surrounding trees, because it’s presumed that the crater was inadvertently created when a swath of forest land was cleared . The Siberian Times reports that happened in the 1960s, while other outlets have reported it as being in the 1980s or 1990s. Regardless, the deforestation caused the land to begin sinking, and the crater was formed. Related: The Gates of Hell: Gas crater in Turkmenistan has been ablaze for 41 years Recent warmer temperatures brought on by climate change have continued to melt the permafrost, accelerating the sinkage of the crater, which is shaped like an incredibly giant tadpole. Major flooding in the region in 2008 also contributed to the crater’s growth. Similar craters have been reported in northern Canada, but none come close to the vast size of the Batagaika Crater, also known as the Batagaika ‘megaslump.’ The geologic event in Siberia is two to three times the size of the next largest crater with a similar origin story. “I expect that the Batagaika megaslump will continue to grow until it runs out of ice or becomes buried by slumped sediment. It’s quite likely that other megaslumps will develop in Siberia if the climate continues to warm or get wetter,” Dr. Julian Murton, a geology professor at the University of Sussex said in an interview with Motherboard. He is one of few researchers investigating the site, alongside a team from the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North-East Federal University in Yakutsk. Via Motherboard Images via Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North

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Siberia’s "gateway to the underworld" crater is rapidly growing due to climate change

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