Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere Hits Record High Despite Pandemic Dip

Global emissions dropped last year, but the decline wasn’t nearly enough to halt the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

#carbon-dioxide, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #mauna-loa-volcano-hawaii, #national-oceanic-and-atmospheric-administration, #research, #scripps-institution-of-oceanography

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Here Are America’s Top Methane Emitters. Some Will Surprise You.

Oil and gas giants are selling off their most-polluting operations to small private companies. Most manage to escape public scrutiny.

#carbon-dioxide, #conocophillips, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydraulic-fracturing, #methane, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #private-equity

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Flying and Climate: Airlines Under Pressure to Cut Emissions

The airline industry might not be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for decades because most solutions are not yet viable.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #bioenergy-and-biofuels, #carbon-dioxide, #europe, #european-union, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #kirby-scott-1967, #neste-oyj, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #politics-and-government, #united-airlines, #united-states

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Activists Crashed Exxon’s Board, but Forcing Change Will Be Hard

The tension between climate goals and lifting Exxon Mobil’s profits could make it difficult for activists to make progress.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #boards-of-directors, #carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #carbon-dioxide, #chevron-corporation, #executives-and-management-theory, #exxon-mobil-corp, #fink-laurence-d, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #stocks-and-bonds, #woods-darren-w-1965

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It’s Crunch Time and Biden’s Climate Gambit Faces Steep Hurdles

He wants to require power companies to replace fossil fuels with clean energy. It’s a broadly popular idea but its path in Congress is perilous.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #barrasso-john, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #carbon-dioxide, #environment, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #house-of-representatives, #senate, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast, World Energy Body Warns

A landmark report from the International Energy Agency says countries need to move faster and more aggressively to cut planet-warming pollution.

#carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #carbon-dioxide, #coal, #energy-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #international-energy-agency, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline

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What if Space Junk and Climate Change Become the Same Problem?

Changes to the atmosphere caused by carbon dioxide emissions could increase the amount of debris that stays in orbit.

#carbon-dioxide, #federal-communications-commission, #global-warming, #pollution, #satellites, #space-and-astronomy, #space-debris, #space-exploration-technologies-corp

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Gas Flaring Declined in 2020, Study Finds

A new report offers a detailed picture of flaring around the world, with steep declines in some areas and surprising increases in others.

#carbon-dioxide, #gas-flaring, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #world-bank

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Getting Real About Coal and Climate

A document from the United Mine Workers offers reason to hope.

#american-jobs-plan-2021, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-dioxide, #climate-leadership-council, #coal, #global-warming, #green-new-deal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #labor-and-jobs, #mines-and-mining, #united-mine-workers-of-america, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Biden Wants to Slash Emissions. Success Would Mean a Very Different America.

Hitting the targets could require a rapid shift to electric vehicles, the expansion of forests nationwide, development of complex new carbon-capture technology and many other changes, researchers said.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-dioxide, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government

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“Offsetting is a cop-out”: Polestar plans truly carbon-neutral car

By 2030, Polestar wants to build truly carbon-neutral cars.

Enlarge / By 2030, Polestar wants to build truly carbon-neutral cars. (credit: Polestar)

The Swedish electric vehicle startup Polestar says it wants to build truly carbon-neutral vehicles within the next decade. Announced on Wednesday as part of the company’s first sustainability report, the ambitious goal will require new car-building methods because, in the words of Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath, “offsetting is a cop-out.”

“By pushing ourselves to create a completely climate-neutral car, we are forced to reach beyond what is possible today. We will have to question everything, innovate, and look to exponential technologies as we design toward zero,” Ingenlath said.

Specifically, Polestar says the target will only involve the carbon emissions it can directly control, which means everything from emissions from its supply chain and from raw materials, to completed cars leaving its factory.

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#car-manufacturing, #carbon-dioxide, #carbon-neutral, #cars, #climate-change, #electric-cars, #life-cycle, #polestar

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Drillers Burned Off Gas at a Staggering Rate as Winter Storm Hit Texas

Frigid temperatures last month froze pipelines and forced companies to flare vast amounts of planet-warming gases that they suddenly had nowhere to send.

#carbon-dioxide, #drilling-and-boring, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #methane, #natural-gas, #oil-and-gas-climate-initiative, #permian-basin-north-america, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #texas

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New markets emerge for carbon accounting businesses as cities like LA push proposals

Earlier this month, Los Angeles became the latest city to task its various departments with prepping a feasibility study for deploying new software and monitoring technologies to better account for its carbon footprint.

LA’s city council initiative, led by Council member Paul Koretz, follows a push from the state legislature to mandate that all businesses operating in California that gross over $1billion annually disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and set science-based targets to reduce those emissions.

California is far from the only state in the U.S. that’s feeling the disastrous effects of global climate change, but it’s among the most aggressive in trying to address the causes. Whether that’s a dramatic effort to remove fossil fuels from its power supply or the proposal to make businesses accountable for their contributions to climate change, California has been a leader in trying to encourage the adoption of new technology and services that can mitigate the impact of climate change and reverse course on the production of greenhouse gas emissions.

With this move, Los Angeles wants to hitch its wagon to this momentum and is actively looking for tech busineses that can help with carbon accounting.

That means good things for companies like CarbonChain, Persefoni, ClimateView, and SINAI Technologies, which all have offerings meant to help with carbon accounting and management.

It shows that some of the largest cities, with billion dollar budgets, will open their wallets to pay for the tools they need to get a better handle on how they’re contributing to the climate change that threatens their own citizens.

In Los Angeles, the city council tasked the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation and Chief Legislative Analyst to report back on the feasibility of developing or buying technology to provide a more accurate accounting of the city’s carbon footprint.

“The City provides a number of services – from lighting and maintaining municipal buildings, facilities and streetlights, to paving roads and operating a transit fleet, and delivering water and operating reclamation facilities – all of which come with environmental impacts,” said Council member Koretz in a statement earlier this month. “If we’re going to take our carbon reduction goals seriously, and make a real difference in the lives of frontline communities near LAX and the Port of Los Angeles, we need a better, more consistent, and more transparent accounting of our emissions.”

Los Angeles has steadily worked to give climate change and climate friendly policies a more central role in political discussions. Roughly two years ago, in July 2019, Los Angeles set up an office of climate emergency and earlier this year Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the climate emergency mobilization office to coordinate activity between civic leaders, the mayor’s office, and the city council. 

Budget hasn’t been allocated for the accountability plan, but people familiar with the City Council’s plan expect that implementation could begin in the 2021-2022 budget cycle.

Los Angeles has tried to address its carbon footprint in the past, but the efforts weren’t very successful. The study was conducted using historical emissions data and did not include the “scope three” emissions, which refer to the greenhouse gas emissions created by service providers for the city’s operations.

As the City of Angels looks to improve its ability to provide accountability and metrics on its contribution to climate change, it could do worse than look at the standard that’s been set by New York City. Under the Bloomberg Administration, carbon accounting and resiliency measures became a priority — even before Hurricane Sandy made clear that the city was highly exposed to climate and weather-related disasters.

That 2012 storm inflicted nearly $70 billion in damage and killed 233 people across eight countries from the Caribbean to Canada.

The disaster only furthered New York’s resolve to be more aggressive with its climate action. The city has a robust accounting program for emissions from its operations, and is moving forward with policies across the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment, transportation, and industry.

“Data drives decision making and without data, we cannot chart a path towards a zero-emission future,” said Councilmember Joe Buscaino. “Today’s generation of leaders must continue to address climate change with urgency and be held accountable to the goals we set for Los Angeles, and this motion sets us on the path to do just that.”

 

#articles, #california, #carbon-dioxide, #carbon-footprint, #carbonchain, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #leader, #los-angeles, #mayor, #persefoni, #sinai-technologies, #tc, #united-states

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How to Clean Up Steel? Bacteria, Hydrogen and a Lot of Cash.

With climate concerns growing, steel companies face an inevitable crunch. ArcelorMittal sees solutions, but the costs are likely to run into tens of billions of dollars in Europe alone.

#arcelormittal-sa, #carbon-caps-and-emissions-trading-programs, #carbon-dioxide, #europe, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydrogen, #steel-and-iron

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China’s Climate Ambitions Collide with its Coal Addiction

Beijing’s new development blueprint is meant to steer the country to carbon neutrality before 2060, but companies and regions dependent on the fossil fuel aren’t making it easy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #carbon-dioxide, #china, #coal, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #national-energy-administration-china, #xi-jinping

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Eying sustainability gains for its supply chain, BMW backs Boston Metal’s CO2-free iron production tech

BMW has joined the cohort of investors that are backing Boston Metal’s carbon dioxide-free production technology for steel.

The Boston-based startup had targeted a $50 million raise earlier in the year, as TechCrunch reported, and BMW’s addition closes out that round, according to a person familiar with the company.

Through a commitment from BMW iVentures, the automaker’s investment arm, Boston Metal will have an in to a company with massive demands for more sustainably manufactured metal. For instance, BMW Group press plants in Europe process more than half a million tonnes of steel per year, the company said.

“We systematically identify the raw materials and components in our supplier network with the highest CO2 emissions from production,” said Dr Andreas Wendt, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network, in a statement. “Steel is one of them, but it is vital to car production. For this reason, we have set ourselves the goal of continuously reducing CO2 emissions in the steel supply chain. By 2030, CO2 emissions should be about two million tonnes lower than today’s figure.”

Conventional steel production requires blast furnaces that generate carbon dioxide emissions, but using Boston Metal’s process, an electrolysis cell produces the pig iron that gets processed into steel, the company said.

The addition of BMW to its investor group, which already includes Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and other strategic and financial investors, caps the fundraising process with another corporate partner wielding incredible industry influence.

“Our investors span across the steel value chain, from the upstream mining and iron ore companies to the downstream end customer, and validate Boston Metal’s innovative process to produce high-quality steel, cost-competitively, and at scale,” said chief executive officer and founder, Tadeu Carneiro.

#automotive-industry, #bmw, #boston, #carbon-dioxide, #cars, #chief-executive-officer, #europe, #investor, #metal, #steel, #tc

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Carbon Engineering inks Shopify as its first partner for carbon removal as a service

Carbon Engineering is moving ahead with its carbon removal service business, allowing customers to buy the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using its direct air capture technology.

The launch of the service, and the announcement that Shopify will be the company’s first customer, comes as the company’s most direct competitor, Climeworks, made moves of its own — striking a deal with the Swedish sequestration services company Northern Lights to move forward with its own direct air capture as a service offering.

With the  Shopify agreement, Carbon Engineering has the first paying customer for 10,000 tonnes of permanent carbon removal capacity from a large-scale DAC project. The removal and sequestration will be done by CE’s plant development partner, 1PointFive – the US development company that’s currently engineering CE’s first industrial-scale facility, the company said. That facility is due to be completed in 2024. 

“Early customers for direct air capture (DAC) — especially companies with ambitious climate goals — can have outsized impact today: not only does procuring DAC services enable companies to hit ‘net-zero’ pledges faster, but it helps DAC technology come down the ‘learning curve,’ driving cost reductions and making DAC services more affordable and accessible for a wider customer base in the future,” said Noah Deich, president and founder of the climate focused advocacy group Carbon180. “I’m very excited to see Carbon Engineering announce a way for early corporate leaders — and hopefully a wave of fast followers — to devote more of their climate spend towards DAC.”

Their timeframe puts the Carbon Engineering timetable on roughly even footing with Climeworks for getting to market. Luckily for both firms, given the billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions that need to be captured and sequestered it’s a market that’s definitely big enough for both of them. 

With its commitment, Shopify becomes the largest publicly-announced purchaser of direct air capture-based carbon removal.

“Carbon Engineering’s mission has always been to deliver a highly scalable and affordable solution for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said CE CEO, Steve Oldham, in a statement. “We’re on the brink of large-scale deployment of our technology and the next critical step is accumulating market interest and securing customers. This new service allows us to do that. It also makes it easy for companies and governments to include permanent carbon removal in their net-zero plans. We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with Shopify and welcome them as our first carbon removal customer, and we look forward to supporting others so we can collectively make large-scale carbon removal a reality.”

Carbon removal unit purchases will be fulfilled by distributed air capture facilities deployed by 1PointFive, Carbon Engineering’s development partner, which is backed by deep-pocketed investors including Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Occidental, and Rusheen Capital Management.

Carbon Engineering is also working with Pale Blue Dot Energy out of the UK to bring its direct air capture technology across the Atlantic.

“We welcome this news and applaud Shopify on their climate leadership position,” said 1PointFive Chairman Richard Jackson. “Alongside climate experts like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we recognize that permanent carbon removal is going to be necessary to achieve our vision of a sustainable low-carbon world. 1PointFive looks forward to bringing large-scale carbon removal capability based on CE’s technology to the market, helping customers worldwide to achieve their climate goals.” 

#advocacy, #air-pollution, #articles, #carbon-dioxide, #ce, #ceo, #chairman, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greenhouse-gases, #president, #shopify, #tc, #united-kingdom, #united-states

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Two European companies are mapping a future service for direct air capture to sequestration of CO2

The Swiss-based, venture capital-backed, direct air capture technology developer Climeworks is partnering with a joint venture between the government of Norway and massive European energy companies to map the pathway for a business that could provide not only the direct capture of carbon dioxide emissions from air, but the  underground sequestration and storage of those emissions.

The deal could pave the way for a new business that would offer carbon capture and sequestration services to commercial enterprises around the world, if the joint venture between the Climeworks and the newly formed Northern Lights company is successful. It would mean the realization of a full-chain carbon dioxide removal service that the two companies called a necessary component of the efforts to reverse global climate change.

Northern Lights was incorporated in March as a joint venture between Equinor, Shell and Total to provide processing, transportation and underground sequestration services for captured carbon dioxide emissions. The business is one of the lynchpins in the Norwegian government’s efforts to capture and store carbon emissions safely underground under a plan called The Longship Project.

“There is growing awareness of the need to build capacity to remove CO2 from the atmosphere to achieve net zero by 2050. We are enthusiastic about this collaboration with Climeworks. Combined with safe and permanent storage, direct air capture has the potential to get the carbon cycle back in balance,” said Børre Jacobsen, the  Managing Director of Northern Lights, in a statement.

The two companies are hoping to prove that Northern Lights facilities combined with Climeworks direct air capture technologies can prove to be a part of a push towards negative emissions technologies that allow companies in non-industrial sectors to become either carbon neutral or carbon negative.

There are a number of caveats to the project, which reveal both the potential promise and pitfalls of direct air capture initiatives and sequestration and monitoring projects.

The first issue is the need to set a global price for carbon dioxide emissions that would take to make the projects economically viable.

“There is one legislation worldwide that is paying for direct air capture of CO2 and that is the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in California,” said Christoph Gelbad, the co-chief executive and co-founder of Climeworks. “It’s paying up to $200 per ton… this price range is the price range that will be needed to make this full chain, really going from the atmosphere to direct air capture to underground storage and monitoring. That will be the price range needed to build up the infrastructure and finance it.”

A breakdown of the costs associated with different carbon capture technologies.Image Credit: Climeworks

That price is on the highest end of any that world leaders have discusses as a potential cost for carbon emitting industries (and it’s well below the price that China has set for carbon emissions, which is important to note given the scale of China’s contribution to the production of greenhouse gases that cause global warming).

Beyond any pricing concerns associated with making these direct air carbon capture and storage solutions viable, there’s the scale at which these projects would need to be developed to make a real dent in global emissions.

Here again, Gelbad offers a clear-eyed assessment of his company’s capabilities and the size of the problem.

“The numbers given by science 10 to 20 billion tons of CO2 for removal,” Gelbad said. “Direct Air Capture will need to grow at a gigaton scale. This [potential] site will be in the megaton scale. [But] this is the range where our journey together with Northern Lights definitely could go. We see it going into the megaton ranges.”

Climeworks uses renewable energy and waste heat to power modular collectors that can be stacked into machines at any size. The only limit to the company’s ability to capture carbon dioxide is the availability of power, according to Gelbad.

The company already has a collaboration with an Icelandic company called Carbfix, where the Climeworks technology is used to capture carbon dioxide and store it in mineralized basalt. The company said in a statement that it’s looking globally for other opportunities for permanent carbon dioxide storage and that the Northern Lights solution of deep geological sequestration in an offshore saline aquifer under the North Sea represents an ideal alternative site.

To develop its technology, Climeworks has raised over $150 million from investors including the Swiss lender Zuercher Kantonalbank.

For its part, Northern Lights is already planning on capturing carbon dioxide from industrial point sources in the Oslo region, which will then be shipped to an onshore terminal on the Norwegian coast. A facility there will transport the liquefied carbon dioxide by pipeline to an offshore storage location 1.62 miles below the seabed in the North Sea.

“Northern Lights is offering carbon capture and sequestration as a service. From the idea of doing this project and from the early days of working with the ministry … my biggest surprise was the level of interest in [carbon capture and sequestration] among emitters in Europe,” said Jacobsen. “This awareness. This interest. And the need to find a solution is accelerating. We are talking about what are the possibilities and what are the solutions. Northern Lights offers a great part of the value chain.”

Some companies are already interested in becoming early customers for the project, Jacobsen said. “We have a number of MOUs and confidentiality agreements with customers and letters of support. Big interest in discussing with us. The key will be that we have to bring conversations into agreements so that we can bring this business forward.”

#air-pollution, #articles, #california, #carbon-dioxide, #china, #energy, #europe, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #greenhouse-gases, #norway, #oslo, #renewable-energy, #shell, #tc, #total, #venture-capital

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How Bad Was the Coronavirus Pandemic on Tourism in 2020? Look at the Numbers.

The dramatic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the travel industry and beyond are made clear in six charts.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #carbon-dioxide, #carnival-corporation, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #cruises, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #travel-and-vacations

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Oil Giants Prepare to Put Carbon Back in the Ground

Climate concerns push BP and other firms to seek new roles as pollution fighters.

#bp-plc, #carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #carbon-dioxide, #factories-and-manufacturing, #global-warming, #great-britain, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #labor-and-jobs, #lane-andy-oil-executive, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #teesside-england

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Making the Concrete and Steel We Need Doesn’t Have to Bake the Planet

There are cleaner ways to produce the building blocks of the nation.

#carbon-dioxide, #cement, #concrete, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #infrastructure-public-works, #pollution, #united-states

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How Green Are Electric Vehicles?

In short: Very green. But plug-in cars still have environmental effects. Here’s a guide to the main issues and how they might be addressed.

#air-pollution, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #carbon-dioxide, #conservation-of-resources, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #energy-efficiency, #environment, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #mines-and-mining, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #pollution, #recycling-of-waste-materials, #water-pollution

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How We Can Better Predict Weather Catastrophes

We need to develop an early warning system to forecast climate-induced extreme weather events.

#arctic-regions, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-dioxide, #earth, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #siberia, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #weather

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How We Can Better Predict Weather Catastrophes

We need to develop an early warning system to forecast climate-induced extreme weather events.

#arctic-regions, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-dioxide, #earth, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #siberia, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #weather

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Companies Say They Care About the Climate. Their Actions Fall Short.

Many big businesses have not set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Others have weak goals.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #blackrock-inc, #boards-of-directors, #brazil, #carbon-dioxide, #carbon-disclosure-project-cdp, #cargill-inc, #corporations, #electric-light-and-power, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #google-inc, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #institutional-shareholder-services-inc, #levi-straussco, #microsoft-corp, #standardpoors-500-stock-index, #stocks-and-bonds, #united-states

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Here’s how Elon Musk’s $100 million Xprize competition for carbon removal will work

Elon Musk notified the world that he would be donating $100 million to pursue new technologies for carbon capture, methods through which carbon dioxide can be actively extracted from the atmosphere as a means to help stave off climate change. As TechCrunch reported in January when he made the tweet, Musk’s sizeable pool of monetary incentive would be going to the Xprize foundation, a non-profit that has organized similar ambitious technology competitions aimed at developing world-changing tech. Now, Xprize and Musk have released new details of the competition.

The entire $100 million prize pool is up for grabs with this competition, which will seek solutions that can “pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans and lock it away permanently in an environmentally benign way.” That’s an ambitious goal, and one that seeks methods for carbon extraction which have a net negative effect on the overall global balance of the element’s presence. Xprize aims to award up to 15 finalists $1 million each, along with three top winners, with $50 million to the Grand Prize victor, and $20 million and $10 million respectively for second and third place. 25 student scholarships valued at $250,000 each will also be up for grabs specifically for student team entrants.

To qualify for victory, solutions must be able to extract 1 ton of CO2 per day, and be viable in a scaled, validated model at time of presentation, with the ability to scale it to “gigaton levels” in commercially viable ways in future. Those are big goals for new technologies, but the competition’s stakes are high: Musk has frequently referred to climate change as an existential threat to humanity, and carbon capture is one key means to combat it.

Carbon capture methods exist, and some are at the center of new startups and emerging businesses, like Canadian company Carggon Engineering which uses CO2 extracted from the atmosphere to create new types of fuel, or Air Vodka, a carbon negative vodka distilled using C02 removed from the atmosphere. Though there are a handful of companies pursuing this, the problem is that it’s typically very expensive to remove carbon in a way that is both safe and that has no subsequent impact on the environment from its resulting byproducts.

The new Xprize competition hopes to spur the development of a wide range of emerging companies in a way similar to how the the 2004 $10 million private spaceflight Ansari Xprize led the development of a whole new era in the space industry. The competition will officially begin on April 22, 2021, at which time full guidelines will be made available and registration will open. Applicants will have up to four years to submit their solution, with the competition closing on Earth Day 2025 and the initial $1 million awards distributed after 18 months following that. That will provide the funding necessary for teams to build out their full-scale demos to claim the top prizes.

#articles, #carbon-dioxide, #chemistry, #earth-day, #elon-musk, #greentech, #tc, #transhumanism, #xprize

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Researchers make their own enzyme pathway to get CO₂ out of the air

Researchers make their own enzyme pathway to get CO₂ out of the air

Enlarge (credit: Olivier Le Moal | Getty Images)

Before this century is over, we’re almost certainly going to need to pull massive amounts of carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere. While we already know how to do carbon capture and storage, it takes a fair amount of energy and equipment, and someone has to pay for all that. It would be far more economical to pull CO2 out of the air if we could convert it to a useful product, like jet fuel. But processes like that also take a lot of energy, plus raw materials like hydrogen that take energy to create.

Plants and a huge range of microbes successfully pull carbon dioxide out of the air and use it to produce all sorts of complicated (and valuable!) chemicals. But the pathways they use to incorporate CO2 aren’t very efficient, so they can’t fix enough of the greenhouse gas or incorporate it into enough product to be especially useful. That has led a lot of people to look into re-engineering an enzyme that’s central to photosynthesis. But a team of European researchers has taken a radically different approach: engineering an entirely new biochemical pathway that incorporates the carbon of CO2 into molecules critical for the cell’s basic metabolism.

Sounds good in theory

On the rare occasions that most biologists think about biochemical pathways, energy is an afterthought. Most cells have enough of it to spare that they can afford to burn through their own energy supplies to force rather improbable pathways forward to get the chemicals they want. But grabbing carbon out of the atmosphere represents a very different sort of problem. You want it to happen as a central part of the cell’s metabolism rather than a pathway out on the periphery so that you grab a lot of carbon. And you want it to happen in a way that’s more efficient than the options the cells already have.

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#biochemistry, #biology, #carbon, #carbon-dioxide, #catalysis, #science, #synthetic-biology

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U.K. to Halt Subsidies for Fossil Fuel Projects Abroad

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been positioning himself as a leader in fighting global warming, an area where he can make common cause with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

#carbon-dioxide, #global-warming, #great-britain, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #johnson-boris, #organization-for-economic-cooperation-and-development, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change

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Airlines Gear Up to Transport Vaccines That Could Revive Travel

Planes are one part of an elaborate supply chain to move billions of doses of vaccines around the world.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #american-airlines, #belgium, #carbon-dioxide, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #delta-air-lines-inc, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #federal-aviation-administration, #united-airlines, #united-parcel-service-inc, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization

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‘Is Exxon a Survivor?’ The Oil Giant Is at a Crossroads.

Exxon Mobil is struggling to find its footing as demand for oil and gas falls and world leaders and businesses pledge to fight climate change.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #carbon-dioxide, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dow-jones-stock-average, #exxon-mobil-corp, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydrocarbons, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #raymond-lee-r-1938, #shale, #solar-energy, #stocks-and-bonds, #texas, #tillerson-rex-w, #united-states, #wind-power, #woods-darren-w-1965

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New York State’s Divestment Threat Is a Victory for Climate Activists

The comptroller’s threat to pull billions from fossil fuel investments is a big victory for climate activists.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #bp-plc, #carbon-dioxide, #coal, #dinapoli-thomas-p, #exxon-mobil-corp, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #natural-gas, #new-york-city, #new-york-state, #office-of-the-comptroller-nys, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #pensions-and-retirement-plans, #stringer-scott-m, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change

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Burning Fossil Fuels Helped Drive Earth’s Most Massive Extinction

Massive volcanic eruptions ignited oil and coal deposits in Siberia in the events that led to the Permian-Triassic “Great Dying” event.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fossils, #geology, #geology-journal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #nature-geoscience-journal, #oceans-and-seas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #research, #volcanoes, #your-feed-science

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Japan’s New Leader Sets Ambitious Goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2050

The announcement, coming weeks after a similar pledge by China, will require a major overhaul of the infrastructure in Japan, which remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #japan, #nuclear-energy, #suga-yoshihide

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Japan’s New Leader Sets Goal of Being Carbon Neutral by 2050

The announcement, coming weeks after a similar pledge by China, will require a major overhaul of the infrastructure in Japan, which remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #japan, #nuclear-energy, #suga-yoshihide

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When the U.S. and China Fight, It Is the Environment That Suffers

The Trump administration’s moves to decouple the two economies means less leverage over Beijing’s green policies.

#air-pollution, #carbon-dioxide, #chengdu-china, #coal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #environment, #gansu-province-china, #general-assembly-un, #global-warming, #green-climate-fund, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #hong-kong, #india, #international-trade-and-world-market, #japan, #liu-he-1952, #obama-barack, #outsourcing, #pacific-ocean, #paris-agreement, #pew-research-center, #pollution, #steel-and-iron, #united-states, #united-states-economy, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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What’s Green, Soggy and Fights Climate Change?

You might be surprised: Protecting peat bogs could help the world avert the worst effects of global warming, a new study has found.

#carbon-dioxide, #environmental-research-letters-journal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #peat, #research, #wetlands

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China’s Pledge to Be Carbon Neutral by 2060: What It Means

Under international pressure to do more to address global warming, Xi Jinping made a surprise commitment to drastically reduce emissions. Now comes the hard part.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #carbon-dioxide, #china, #coal, #communist-party-of-china, #conservation-of-resources, #general-assembly-un, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #politics-and-government, #xi-jinping

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Climate Disruption Is Now Locked In. The Next Moves Will Be Crucial.

The Times spoke to two dozen experts who said decisions made now would spell the difference between a difficult future and something far worse.

#carbon-dioxide, #disasters-and-emergencies, #earth, #environment, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #weather, #wildfires

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Microsoft commits to putting more water than it consumes back into the ecosystems where it operates by 2030

One good trend in 2020 has been large technology companies almost falling over one another to make ever-bolder commitments regarding their ecological impact. A cynic might argue that just doing without most of the things they make could have a much greater impact, but Microsoft is the latest to make a commitment that not only focuses on minimizing its impact, but actually on reversing it. The Windows-maker has committed to achieving a net positive water footprint by 2030, by which it means it wants to be contributing more energy back into environment in the places it operates than it is drawing out, as measured across all “basins” that span its footprint.

Microsoft hopes to achieve this goal through two main types of initiatives: First, it’ll be reducing the “intensity” of its water use across its operations, as measured by the amount of water used per megawatt of energy consumed by the company. Second, it will also be looking to actually replenish water in the areas of the world where Microsoft operations are located in “water-stressed” regions, through efforts like investment in area wetland restoration, or the removal and replacement of certain surfaces, including asphalt, which are not water-permeable and therefore prevent water from natural sources like rainfall from being absorbed back into a region’s overall available basin.

The company says that how much water it will return will vary, and depend on how much Microsoft consumes in each region, as well as how much the local basin is under duress in terms of overall consumption. Microsoft isn’t going to rely solely on external sources for this info, however: It plans to put its artificial intelligence technology to work to provide better information around what areas are under stress in terms of water usage, and where optimization projects would have the greatest impact. It’s already working towards these goals with a number of industry groups, including The Freshwater Trust.

Microsoft has made a number of commitments towards improving its global ecological impact, including a commitment from earlier this year to become ‘carbon negative’ by 2030. Meanwhile, Apple said in July that its products, including the supply chains that produce them, will be net carbon neutral by 2030, while Google made a commitment just last week to use only energy from carbon-free sources by that same year.

#apple, #carbon-dioxide, #chemistry, #energy, #google, #greentech, #microsoft, #microsoft-windows, #renewable-energy, #tc, #water

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U.S. and European Oil Giants Go Different Ways on Climate Change

While BP and other European companies invest billions in renewable energy, Exxon and Chevron are committed to fossil fuels and betting on moonshots.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #bp-plc, #carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #carbon-dioxide, #chevron-corporation, #exxon-mobil-corp, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydrocarbons, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline

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How to Ship a Vaccine at –80°C, and Other Obstacles in the Covid Fight

Developing an effective vaccine is the first step. Then comes the question of how to deliver hundreds of millions of doses that may need to be kept at arctic temperatures.

#astrazeneca-plc, #biontech-se, #carbon-dioxide, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #corning-inc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #fedex-corporation, #ice, #moderna-inc, #pfizer-inc, #shortages, #united-parcel-service-inc, #vaccination-and-immunization

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The Wildfires Show That Stopping Climate Change Is No Longer Enough

We have to adapt to it, too.

#affordable-housing, #california, #carbon-dioxide, #debatable, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #newsom-gavin

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LanzaTech is developing a small-scale waste biomass gasifier for ethanol production in India

As part of the continuing global rollout of LanzaTech’s technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions and turn those emissions into fuel and chemicals, the company is rolling out a new small-scale waste biomass gasifier in India.

The new gasifier, which was announced Tuesday on TechCrunch Disrupt’s virtual stage, will be hosted at Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical, one of India’s largest refiners. The LanzaTech gasifier, which will be built in partnership with Indian project development firm Ankur Scientific, will use waste to make ethanol and chemicals rather than power.

While most of the industry uses large-scale, expensive oxygen-blown gasifiers to make liquids, the LanzaTech air blown technology is much cheaper and easier to operate and can still produce bacteria at a scale that produces a meaningful amount of ethanol.

Contamination also isn’t an issue with the gas feedstock for LanzaTech’s bacteria, according to Holmgren. The new process can produce biochar that ends up replacing fertilizer in soil and thereby reducing nitrogen oxide emissions, which are another greenhouse gas contributing to global climate change.

If the pilot project is successful and the gasifiers are rolled out at scale across India, it could mean an ability for the country to produce roughly 25 billion liters of ethanol per year and result in removing 60 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to LanzaTech’s estimates.

“Overall something that people said makes no sense, may well make sense and may well result in benefits beyond just the immediate reuse of waste agri carbon and production of a fuel that results in keeping some petroleum in the ground,” according to a statement from Holmgren. “Holistic systems thinking is the way.”

For Holmgren, the small pilot project in India is an example of how small-scale, low-cost distributed systems can compete with the big oil industry.

“There are two paths to scale, bigger which is cheaper per unit produced, or massively replicating a small scale unit (numbering up vs. scaling up),” Holmgren said. “Most people have always believed that numbering up is for toys and food, but I think it will also fit process technology. Certainly, larger fits petroleum, but it can’t fit biotechnology or biomass or waste gases which are distributed and difficult to move.”

Decarbonization, Holmgren believes, will require a reimagining of traditional systems if humanity is to break the carbon cycle that’s now causing global climate catastrophes that can be observed in the Western United States right now.

“We must not benchmark today’s innovation against the past; we must, instead, imagine and create a very different future, one where the production of energy, fuels and chemicals is based on distributed, rather than centralized principles,” said Holmgren. “Recent breakthroughs in miniaturization, automation, AI and 3D printing enable distributed production beyond anything that could have been previously imagined and of course, a simple gasifier will help that along.”

#biofuels, #biogas, #biomass, #carbon-dioxide, #chemicals, #disrupt-2020, #food, #india, #lanzatech, #renewable-energy, #tc

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In Visiting a Charred California, Trump Confronts a Scientific Reality He Denies

A president who has mocked climate change and pushed policies that accelerate it is set to be briefed on the scorched earth and ash-filled skies that experts say are the predictable result.

#air-pollution, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #california, #carbon-dioxide, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disasters-and-emergencies, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #green-new-deal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #national-oceanic-and-atmospheric-administration, #presidential-election-of-2020, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #science-and-technology, #states-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wildfires

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When the Otters Vanished, Everything Else Started to Crumble

Against the backdrop of climate change, the delicate underwater ecology of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands is hurting from declines in otters.

#alaska, #aleutian-islands, #algae, #carbon-dioxide, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #otters-animals, #reefs, #research, #science-journal, #sea-urchins, #seaweed, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

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Did Something Burp? It Was an Earthquake

Years of observations in central Italy show that more carbon dioxide percolates through Earth’s crust during periods of strong seismic activity.

#carbon-dioxide, #earthquakes, #geology, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #italy, #research, #science-advances-journal, #your-feed-science

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In face of federal inaction, California gets five automakers to cut CO2

Cars congest I-10 in Los Angeles late October 2006. That year, the state sued several US and Japanese automakers for their alleged contribution to global warming.

Enlarge / Cars congest I-10 in Los Angeles late October 2006. That year, the state sued several US and Japanese automakers for their alleged contribution to global warming. (credit: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, five automakers signed agreements with California’s Air Resources Board to implement cleaner emissions standards over the next few years. BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo will reduce vehicle emissions between model years 2021 and 2026.

Unlike Europe’s rules, which fine automakers if they exceed a blanket fleet average for the amount of CO2 emitted per km, CARB has different targets for cars and light trucks based on their relative footprint. But each of the five OEMs has agreed to cut the amount of CO2 its vehicles produce per mile by about 17 percent by MY2026. The new agreement is broadly similar to one announced last year, although with a revised timeline that now runs through 2026.

Specifically, CO2 emissions from small cars would drop from 157g/mile in 2021 to 130g/mile in 2026, large cars from 215g/mile to 178g/mile, small light trucks from 195g/mile to 162g/mile, and large light trucks from 335g/mile to 278g/mile, with a formula to adjust vehicles that fall in between the small and large footprint areas. For context, the EU’s new fleet-wide average, which came into effect in 2020, heavily fines any automaker whose fleet average exceeds 152g/mile (95g/km).

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#air-pollution, #bmw, #california-air-resources-board, #carb, #carbon-dioxide, #cars, #climate-change, #co2-emissions, #ford, #honda, #volkswagen-group, #volvo

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With the Biden-Harris Ticket, Environmental Justice Is a Focus

Climate change leaders said the choice of Harris signaled that Democrats will try to ensure that communities burdened by pollution would benefit from a transition to clean energy.

#air-pollution, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-dioxide, #environment, #global-warming, #green-new-deal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #harris-kamala-d, #income-inequality, #presidential-election-of-2020

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Global Warming Could Unlock Carbon From Tropical Soil

Warming soils in the tropics could cause microbes to release carbon dioxide from storage. One scientist called the finding “another example of why we need to worry more.”

#carbon-dioxide, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #nature-journal, #research, #smithsonian-tropical-research-institute, #soil

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E.P.A. Proposes Airplane Emission Standards That Airlines Already Meet

Staving off a lawsuit, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new regulations to hold airlines to the carbon dioxide emissions standards they created.

#airlines-and-airplanes, #carbon-dioxide, #environment, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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