Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

March 22, 2018 by  
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Could salt help soothe our climate woes? Senior scientist Robert Nelson of the Planetary Science Institute seems to think so. At a recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas, Nelson suggested that sprinkling salt above clouds could hold off sunlight and cool our planet, according to Science Magazine . But as with many geoengineering ideas, this one isn’t without controversy. Finely powdered salt injected into the upper troposphere might help humanity stave off some of the impacts of climate change, according to Nelson. His suggestion isn’t too far off those of other scientists who want to introduce microscopic particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunshine into space , imitating the impact of volcanic eruptions that have served to temporarily cool Earth. But his might be more benign than others, Science Magazine said. The senior scientist tossed out alumina or sulfur dioxide: the first could lead to chronic disease, embedding in our lungs if we inhaled it; the second could lead to acid rain or erode the ozone layer. Related: Trump administration could open door to geoengineering Instead, he turned to salt: it’s more reflective than alumina, according to Science Magazine, and harmless for people. Nelson also thinks if salt were crushed into tiny particles in the correct shape and diffused randomly, the mineral wouldn’t block infrared heat the Earth releases. Volcanologist Matthew Watson of the University of Bristol is one scientist who has called out potential problems with Nelson’s approach. He led an ultimately canceled geoengineering experiment, in which his team considered injecting salt in the stratosphere. But the substance contains a lot of chlorine , which he said could help destroy ozone. With limited amounts of water in the stratosphere, and salt so attracted to it, even a small amount could impact the formation of wispy clouds; we have know idea what consequences this would trigger. Nelson might be able to address issues by injecting salt into the upper troposphere instead of the stratosphere — at least, that’s what he hopes. But he said we should still work to curb carbon emissions , saying, “This would be a palliative, not a [long-term] solution.” Via Science Magazine Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

Congress rejects Trump’s renewable energy budget cuts

March 22, 2018 by  
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Congress has reached a deal on the $1.3 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018, an agreement that does not include the cuts to clean energy demanded by the Trump Administration. President Trump’s budget proposal would have cut funding from carbon capture and storage technology while increasing funding for new coal technologies. In this instance, Congress pushed back. For example, the omnibus spending bill increases funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $2.3 billion rather than agreeing to the 66 percent funding cut for the office proposed by the Trump Administration. In what may be the last major legislation passed this year, Congress must pass the budget deal by midnight on Friday to avoid a third government shutdown in 2018. If the budget deal is enacted, the United States would likely achieve the 2015 goal set by President Obama of doubling research and development for clean energy within a decade. The bill also protects the EPA from Trump ‘s proposed 23 percent cut, maintaining funding for the agency at $8.1 billion. While funding for renewable energy is protected, Trump did manage to achieve a significant policy victory through the bill’s increased funding for DOE’s fossil energy arm to $727 million. This money will fund the development of low-carbon coal technologies. Related: USDA withdraws Obama-era animal welfare standards for organic meat, eggs and dairy The omnibus spending bill also includes a $868 million increase for DOE’s Office of Science , ignoring the Trump Administration’s proposed 15 percent cut. While those who support renewable energy and environmental protection have reason to celebrate, the current government is nonetheless limiting the potential of the clean energy industry. A large increase in funding for clean energy research and development is unlikely in the near future. However, Congress has found an agreeable equilibrium that ensures the quiet work of transforming the energy economy of the United States can continue, even though Donald Trump sits in the White House. Via Axios and the Washington Post Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Congress rejects Trump’s renewable energy budget cuts

Media lab built from recycled shipping containers pops up in half a day

March 22, 2018 by  
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Four recycled shipping containers have found a new lease on life as Bard College’s new media lab in upstate New York. Quick, affordable, and modern, MB Architecture’s speedy lab solution for the Bard College Department of Experimental Humanities has the added benefit of a folding glass door that blurs the boundary between indoors and out. Prefabricated offsite, the Bard College Media Lab was installed in just half a day and fully operational within a few weeks. Located in the middle of campus near a Frank Gehry concert hall, the 960-square-foot media lab cost slightly over $200,000 for prefabrication , delivery, and installation. The four shipping containers were stacked into a single blocky monolith with the exterior painted matte black. While the corrugated sides were retained—perhaps as a reminder of the building’s industrial past—large glazed panels punctuate the building to bring in views of the outdoors and create the illusion of spaciousness inside. Related: The Coolest Bar in Texas is Built With Seven Stacked Shipping Containers Flexibility was built into the design of the lab, which will be shared by different college departments. The first floor comprises multiple entrances, a bathroom, and a double-height meeting room that opens up to the quad through a large pivoting garage door. By opening up the interior to the outdoors, the room can be used as a stage for performances, concerts, and theatrical events. An office is located on the second floor. + MB Architecture Via ArchDaily Images © Matthew Carbone

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Media lab built from recycled shipping containers pops up in half a day

Asian Monsoon Pumps Air Pollution Into Stratosphere, Helps Spread Throughout the Globe

March 29, 2010 by  
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photo: Jakob Montrasio via flickr. We’ve known for some time that air pollution created in Asia –largely because of fast expanding economic activity fueled by coal–spreads far and wide, even reaching the shores of the United States.

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Asian Monsoon Pumps Air Pollution Into Stratosphere, Helps Spread Throughout the Globe

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