Ontario Conservative politicians running from carbon taxes

Going green is going too far.

The Liberal government in Canada’s province of Ontario has been in power for a long time, and is due for an election this June. The government is deeply unpopular outside of the big cities primarily because a) the Premier is a gay woman and b) green energy policies. I wrote about the last Premier stepping down:

It is the coal that killed him; In the last election he lost a huge number of seats in rural ridings divided by wind turbines on land and offshore. To save an important seat in Oakville, Ontario, he cancelled a natural gas peaker plant that was already ordered; This is growing in to a half a billion dollar scandal. Dalton was done in by his green energy policies and the NIMBY reaction to them. It is a cautionary tale.

Kathleen WynneOntario Wind Resistance/ Premier Kathleen Wynne up against Wind/via

The opposition Conservative party should have won the last two elections after all these scandals, but they kept choosing seriously right-wing leaders who scared urban and suburban voters (the majority in the Province now) away.

People's guaranteeProgressive Conservative Party Peoples’ Guarantee/Screen capture

Enter Patrick Brown, who became party leader in May, 2015. He tacked hard to the left as what used to be known as a “Red Tory”- unlike the USA, in Canada red means liberal and left, blue means conservative and right. His “People’s Guarantee” probably would be too left wing for American Democrats. It also had a carbon tax that seemed quite sensible; according to Tony Keller in the conservative Globe and Mail,

A revenue-neutral carbon tax is also beloved by economists, since it involves raising taxes on something our society wants less of – pollution – and using the money to lower taxes on the productive economic activities we want more of, such as paid work.

Then Patrick Brown got caught up in a #metoo scandal and was dumped as leader about three hours later, and there is now a last-minute leadership campaign to replace him. And the biggest question right now is who can run furthest and fastest from the carbon tax.

The candidate to come out against it was Doug Ford, yes, the late Rob Ford’s brother. He is picking up the hard right wing torch and will burn the province down, like he almost did to the city. He is quoted in the Star:

I am the only candidate who has been unequivocal in opposition to the carbon tax and … have been clear since day one. I will axe the carbon tax. Just watch me.

Christine Elliot is the experienced hand in the race, and is listening to the Vox populi:

I personally oppose a carbon tax, and I know many of you feel the same way. This leadership race is a way for you to have your say.

Not to be left out of the party, Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney who was a really red Tory, even signing a free trade deal with Ronald Reagan, has flipped over.

As the leader of our party I will not support a carbon tax. I’m a conservative and I’m not in favour of a new tax, especially Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax,” she said, adding she has “now had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of members of our party” and “consulted with members of our caucus and our nominated candidates.”

Patrick Brown told one interviewer that “we have to take climate change seriously. We can’t avoid conversations on the environment.” But apparently it is back to business as usual; if you are a Progressive Conservative, you can.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/ontario-conservative-politicians-running-carbon-taxes.html

BEAUTIFUL CO2: Higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere linked to more flowers blooming in tropical forests


Image: BEAUTIFUL CO2: Higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere linked to more flowers blooming in tropical forests

(Natural News)
The increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) brought about by climate change resulted in an increase in flower production in remote tropical forests across of the globe, according to a study published in the journal Global Change Biology.

A team of researchers at Florida State University examined plant materials obtained from tropical forests of Panama’s Barro Colorado Island to investigate the effects of rising CO2 levels on plant life. The research team also took into account various environmental factors — such as temperature, rainfall, and light — that may impact the annual flowering activity and flowering duration of plant species found in the forest. The experts found that increased CO2 levels had the most pronounced effect on the plants’ flowering activities.

“It’s really remarkable. Over the past several decades, we’ve seen temperatures warming and carbon dioxide increasing, and our study found that this tropical forest has responded to that increase by producing more flowers. Tropical forests have evolved in generally stable climates. So while they may not be warming as much as some higher-latitude ecosystems, these tropical species appear to be much more sensitive than we might have expected,” lead researcher Stephanie Pau told Science Daily online.

According to the research team, the elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere spurred the island’s flora to allocate more energy in producing flowers. The experts noted that certain plant species continue to expand their reproductive activities in response to the rising carbon dioxide concentrations. However, some plant species such as canopy trees and lianas exhibited more stabilized activities. The experts added that forests may continue experiencing new ecological shifts as a result of higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

“The effect of atmospheric CO2 on flowering has diminished over the most recent decade for lianas and canopy trees, whereas flowering of midstory trees and shrub species continued to increase with rising CO2. Increases in flowering were accompanied by a lengthening of flowering duration for canopy and midstory trees. Understory treelets did not show increases in flowering but did show increases in duration,” the study’s abstract read.

“Given that atmospheric CO2 will likely continue to climb over the next century, a long-term increase in flowering activity may persist in some growth forms until checked by nutrient limitation or by climate change through rising temperatures, increasing drought frequency and/or increasing cloudiness and reduced insolation,” the researchers wrote.

Review: Increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere may also accelerate flowering time

A meta-analysis published in the journal New Phytologist revealed that higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere may also speed up the flowering process in both agricultural and wild plant species. The researchers explained that carbon metabolism exerts partial control on flowering time, and thus might play a role in accelerated flowering time in plants. (Related: The REAL SCIENCE behind carbon dioxide: Plants use CO2 to create CBD, THC, curcumin and all medicinal molecules.)

According to the review, certain perennial and annual crops and flowering plants — such as African violet, blackeyed pea and bush bean as well as rice, cucumber and pepper — exhibited an earlier flowering season in response to the elevated CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The researchers also found that up to 80 percent of wild plant species had earlier flowering seasons. The experts added that some plant varieties that bloom early were able to reach the minimum size required for flowering earlier in the season.

The research team noted that the changes in flowering time due to elevated CO2 levels may alter crop productivity and yield, and stressed that understanding the flowering-time responses of crops should be a priority for crop-breeding initiatives meant to optimize crop yield.

Follow more science on the climate at Climate.news.

Sources include:

ScienceDaily.com

OnlineLibrary.Wiley.com 1

OnlineLibrary.Wiley.com 2

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2018-01-29-higher-carbon-dioxide-in-the-atmosphere-more-flowers-blooming-tropical-forests.html

This Green School In Bali Is Designed To Have The Lowest Carbon Footprint Possible

By Fattima Mahdi Truth Theory

The Green School is situated in the heart of the Indonesian jungle, Bali. The school is made entirely of bamboo and features a unique, holistic curriculum that inspires approximately 400 young learners to become green leaders.

The school was founded by John Hardy and his wife Cynthia, they were jewelers who were initially drawn to Bali for its emphasis on craftsmanship. They home-schooled their four children for years before deciding to start The Green School in 2008. “Green School is a model we built for the world,” said John Hardy. “And you just have to follow these three simple rules: Be local, let the environment lead, and think about how your grandchildren might build.”

What do you want in a school? When you step onto a school campus, what do you want to see, hear, experience and feel? Imagine this, a school without walls, a campus which ignites the senses and the natural curiosity of children, a place where innovation, creativity and learning flourish, a community, which has come together from all corners of the globe to share new experiences, a place of joy.” – Leslie Medema, Head of Academics

“Our curriculum is based on three frames of learning: proficiency, thematic, and experiential,” says Noan Fesnoux, the school’s Green Studies Projects Coordinator. “The thematic frame is integrative, taking a topic and exploring it from all viewpoints. For example, for a unit on hydroelectricity, we incorporate geography through looking at dams around the world, physics through concepts like pressure and electric generators, social studies through stories of displaced families, and environmental science through impact studies of dams.”

With its dynamic campus and radical approach to teaching and learning, the Green School has gained a lot of attention from parents all over the world. Some parents have even moved to Bali so that they can send their children to the school.  One day, the Green School hopes that its model will become the norm and not the exception.

Read more: This Indonesian Town Has Been Transformed Into A Beautiful ‘Rainbow Village’

Source Article from https://truththeory.com/2018/01/22/green-school-bali-designed-lowest-carbon-footprint-possible/

AP Runs Interference for Washington Governor Inslee’s Punitive, Ever-Increasing Carbon Tax

Dedicated tax-and-spend liberals often get help from the press in describing their plans to raid constituents’ pocketbooks in vague terms, while nobly describing the alleged benefits of their plans to use the money.

Washington’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee has the Associated Press running that kind of interference for his carbon tax. Continue reading AP Runs Interference for Washington Governor Inslee’s Punitive, Ever-Increasing Carbon Tax

Scientists Have Made Biodegradable Plastic From Sugar & Carbon Dioxide







Next Story

We are producing and consuming plastic at an exponential rate, and at this point we are producing more plastic than ever before. The big problem with plastic is that it does not break down, in fact, according to GreenPeace – every piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists somewhere on the planet. That’s an alarming statistic, especially when you consider every plastic bottle, bag, wrapper, toothbrush, etc. By 2050 our oceans might contain more plastic than fish, and 80% of our tap water may contain microplastics if we don’t do something to change our current habits.

Fortunately, this problem is garnering a lot of attention and there are many initiatives designed to cut back, limit, and provide alternatives to our plastic consumption. The New Plastics Economy, for example, is aiming to reverse this problem by encouraging the plastics industry to design reusable plastic products. Others are looking to change the very nature of plastic altogether, and are searching for more  alternatives.

Have We Found A Solution?

Scientists from the Centre of Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) at the University of Bath have now successfully created a plastic that does not use harmful chemicals during production, which creates pollution. This new method is completely biodegradable, and  it’s made from sugar and carbon dioxide – nothing more. CO2 is added to naturally occurring sugar from thymidine at very low pressures at room temperature.

This process creates a polycarbonate, which is a tough type of plastic that can make beverage containers, lenses for glasses, DVD’s, CD’s (in case anyone still uses those things 😉 ) and scratch resistant screens for cell phones. Typically, polycarbonates are made from petroleum and the chemicals that come from it. These plastics DO NOT biodegrade and we have been producing and consuming them at an alarming rate since the invention of plastics derived from fossil fuels in 1907.

It wasn’t until WW1 that plastics began being produced, plastic changed many aspects of our lives and even though it seems shocking to us now, it seems no one really thought about the potential long term effects of this exponential plastic production, where it would all end up and whether or not it would harm our environment.

Biodegradable Plastics Do Exist


Unlike the petroleum-based polycarbonates we’ve been using for decade, the plastics created by the team at the University of Bath can break down naturally. We have seen a few other examples of biodegradable plastics, but these attempts have been harshly criticized. As pointed out by the UN Environment Programmes chief scientist, Jacqueline McGlade, they were only a “false solution” because many of these alternatives would only biodegrade at temperatures of 50C. This isn’t exactly a common temperature in most  parts of the world.

The plastic created by the scientists from the University of Bath do not need high temperatures to degrade. Instead, they can  be completely degraded back into sugar and CO2 just by the enzymes which are found naturally in the bacteria located within the soil.

Another plus to this new plastic is that it is completely void of any and all toxic chemicals, so the production does not create any pollution. Also, most polycarbonates contain bisophenol-A, which you might know by the name  of ‘BPA,’ it’s a known toxin and hormone disruptor that’s often used in drink and food containers. At certain temperatures, these toxins can also leak into our foods that we store in them.

What About Other Biodegradable Plastics Made From Sugar?

There have been other attempts, and successful ones in terms of their ability to biodegrade, but the problem with these is that the manufacturing process contains the use of a highly toxic chemical called phosgene. Phosgene was actually used as a weapon of chemical warfare during World War 1 and was responsible for 85% of the deaths caused by gas attacks.

According to the scientists of this newly developed plastic from the University of Bath,

“Our process uses carbon dioxide instead of the highly toxic chemical phosgene, and produces a plastic that is free from BPA,” said Dr Antoine Buchard, Whorrod Research Fellow at the University of Bath’s Department of Chemistry.

“So not only is the plastic safer, but the manufacture process is cleaner too.”

By selecting thymidine as the sugar used to create the biodegradable plastic, the university’s scientists may also have found a medical application for it.

“Thymidine is one of the units that makes up DNA,” said Georgina Gregory, a PhD student and lead author of the research paper.

“Because it is already present in the body, it means this plastic will be bio-compatible and can be used safely for tissue engineering applications.”

This Is Great News, But What Can We Do Now?

It is amazing to see that safer, cleaner, environmentally friendly alternatives are becoming available, but the fact of the matter is that they are not yet in widespread use and as consumers we must take responsibility for our actions and be the change we wish to see. Vote with your dollar! 

There are many ways you can reduce your plastic consumption, here are just a few examples,

  • Use a reusable water bottle
  • Opt for no straw when at a restaurant
  • Bring your own containers if ordering take out
  • Say no to a lid at your coffee spot or bring your own reusable mug
  • Use glass containers for storage of leftover food
  • Try using alternatives to saran wrap
  • Buy in bulk, using reusable bags
  • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store
  • Don’t purchase products packed in a ton of plastic
  • Buy products that are made to last
  • Simply stop consuming products that come in plastic i.e. Coca Cola
  • Make your own personal care and cleaning products

There are so many ways that we can easily incorporate these changes into our daily lives and find ways to cut down on the amount of waste we are producing. If we don’t do this now, it is possible that it will be too late. It is up to each and every one of us to take responsibility, learn from our mistakes and be the change we wish to see. Do you want to be a part of the solution or a part of the problem? The choice is yours.

Much Love


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The New Carbon Architecture, or why we should be "Building out of sky" (Book Review)

This book makes the convincing case that we have to change the way we build, that it is no longer enough just to save energy.

French mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal once wrote “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte,” loosely translated as “I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one.” In the introduction to his book The New Carbon Architecture, Bruce King writes:

This could have been a much bigger book. It might have been a 400 page tome fully reporting the state of the art with tables, graphs and other hallmarks of good science, or it could have been shaped as an academic textbook. But it seemed better to get the idea out into the world, as simply and readably as possible.

So he rounded up some of the best minds in the business, “and it took some persuading to get them to provide just the ‘elevator pitch’ summaries of their respective work in their respective fields.” They certainly delivered more than just elevator pitches; they add up to “a collection of useful essays sketching a new palette of materials for a new century.”

Net-Zero buildings that use less energy than they generate are a good start, but don’t go nearly far enough; here we point out how to design and build truly zero carbon buildings — the New Carbon Architecture.

We covered the ideas in the book previously in Why we should be building out of sunshine

Bruce King has nothing against carbon; we are all made of it. He calls carbon “the party animal of elements” because of its ability to bond with nitrogen, iron and oxygen “to make all sorts of interesting delights like giraffes, redwood trees, poodles and you.” The problem is that you can have too much of a good thing, in the wrong places. The issue of concern is Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, and its equivalents in other emissions.

MIT graph© MIT

TreeHugger covered this in Does embodied energy really matter in green building?

It all starts with a bang in Chapter One, where Erin McDade explains why the embodied carbon in our buildings matters at all. For years it has been a standard argument that operating energy overwhelms embodied energy really quickly, so that adding a little more high-energy foam insulation pays for itself in carbon really quickly. But it is not true anymore; as buildings get more efficient, that carbon hit from construction matters more and more. In a high efficiency building it matters a lot. If you are looking at shorter deadlines (like being carbon free by 2050) it matters even more. McDade concludes:

To have any hope of meeting our climate change goals, we need to rethink our traditional carbon analysis mechanisms and design processes. Whole building lifespans do not accommodate the urgency of climate change; carbon emitted today has much, much more impact than carbon emitted after 2050, and we cannot continue to underestimate the effects of embodied carbon emissions.

Frieze building being demolishedJim Howe: Frieze Building, Ann Arbor Michigan, 20047/CC BY 2.0

TreeHugger covered this in Embodied Energy and Green Building: Does it matter? In chapter 3, Larry Strain makes a great case for renovation, noting that there are two reasons to do it:

The first is to reduce operating emissions from existing buildings, and that applies to all buildings. The second is to reduce embodied emissions by renovating existing structures instead of building new ones.

This is a position that many of us in the heritage preservation movement have been making for years; we are often told that buildings have to come down because “they will be replaced with a LEED Platinum energy saving building” without even considering the embodied energy expended making the new one.

metropol© Liesa JohannssenFrom Adventures in Engineering: ARUP and the Metropol Parasol

Much of the book is devoted to the wonders of building in wood, which we have written about so often on TreeHugger that I will not go into great detail. But there is a great essay by Jordan Grant, who points out that “the carbon embodied in wood products accounts for only a fraction of the overall carbon stored in the forest they come from – as little as 18 percent by one estimate.” Lots of carbon is still released from rotting logging slash and exposed soils. The logging has to be done carefully, less intensively and more selectively to keep more carbon out of the atmosphere. Which is why we keep talking about the need to use sustainably harvested and certified wood.

Chris HomeChris in front of “canada’s greenest home”/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0TreeHugger meets Chris Magwood in Is this Canada’s Greenest Home?

Chapter 5 has Chris Magwood and Massey Burke looking at straw and other fibres, including straw blocks that look like Lego, Hemp and other straw bale products and designs. “The big advantage is that they are cheap and plentiful, and sequester carbon that would otherwise end up in the air. The primary disadvantage is their susceptibility to moisture decay.“ There is no question, it is a lot more work than a wall of styrofoam. But as Chris concludes,

Straw is a humble and unassuming material, yet it is also one of the most direct links between the human economy and the global carbon cycle; we are only just learning how to use it creatively. Most of the excitement is still to come. Stay tuned.

toothpick tower© PLP Architecture via Cambridge University From TreeHugger: Is an 80-storey plyscraper too much of a wood thing?

It is not all about wood and straw; there is a chapter about re-inventing concrete and making it better, which deserves a post of its own. There is a lot happening in the concrete world that we have barely touched on TreeHugger. There is a good discussion about the health benefits of natural building materials, and Ann V. Edminster does a great chapter on height and density, which is critically important when you realize that transportation now produces more carbon than any other sector.

Tesla 3 from above© Tesla My own rant on Teslas: Why we don’t need electric cars, but need to get rid of cars

Bruce King even ends with a rant about a Tesla with the licence plate ZERO CARB and another sporting FRE NRG “articulating in six letters the bookend myth of the green movement and really our entire culture.”

Call me a party pooper but there’s no zero emissions and there’s no “free energy”. Everything we do has effects, some of which we see and some of which we don’t.

Thinking again of Blaise Pascal, one realizes what an important book this is. It is carefully crafted to explain the essentials of some very complicated and controversial ideas in a very readable, even entertaining form that is accessible to anyone. It’s hard work, distilling so much knowledge and information into 140 pages (with lots of illustrations too!). But as Paul Hawken blurbs on the cover, it is “a fantastic, timely, important book.”

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/new-carbon-architecture-or-why-we-should-be-building-out-sky-2.html

One more reason “high carbon levels” are a good thing: CO2 protects rainforests and at-risk wildlife species

Image: One more reason “high carbon levels” are a good thing: CO2 protects rainforests and at-risk wildlife species

(Natural News)
Scientists and world leaders who are convinced that the world is facing a crisis they refer to as catastrophic man-made global warming have implemented policies to turn the situation around. These measures include taking steps to reduce carbon emissions and entering agreements like the Paris Climate Agreement.

Scientists are also aware that trees are reservoirs of stored carbon and that when trees are cut down they release this carbon into the air. They, therefore, recognize that preventing deforestation will reduce the amount of carbon released into the air, which they believe will help curb global warming.

With this in mind, there has been renewed focus worldwide on protecting what are known as “high carbon” rainforests.

Large-scale and extractive industries like the palm oil giants of Asia have been responsible for massive amounts of deforestation. The United Nations and other organizations have been working with these agricultural companies to institute policies of “zero deforestation,” and have also been allocating conservation areas to protect forests that are known to retain large amounts of carbon.

A research team from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent, set out to discover the effects of such conservation areas on resident wildlife in the forests of Borneo – an area threatened by palm oil conversion. They were excited to discover that when high carbon rainforests are protected, biodiversity increases and the numbers of endangered mammals increase exponentially. Their study was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

The study abstract explains:

[W]hen using high-resolution, locally validated biomass data, diversity demonstrated positive relationships with carbon for threatened and disturbance-sensitive species, suggesting sensitivity of co-benefits to carbon data sources and the species considered. [Emphasis added]

Species most vulnerable to deforestation, like orangutan and clouded leopards, benefited more than any others from the higher carbon levels. (Related: What do mining and chocolate have in common? Deforestation of rainforests.)

Lead author, Nicolas Deere, was able to confirm the link between the higher carbon levels and the increase in endangered species numbers by combining the results of camera-trap images and high-resolution satellite imagery.

When standard carbon maps were consulted the correlation between higher carbon levels and biodiversity was not visible, but when high-resolution maps were used to identify carbon resources it became clear that high carbon levels support the greatest number of mammal species. (Related: If you care about the real issues facing our planet be sure to bookmark Environ.news.)

The study’s authors believe that their work has implications for government and other policymakers because it proves that protecting high carbon forest areas has “strong potential for biodiversity conservation,” particularly in areas vulnerable to palm oil extraction.

Sources for this article include:

Kent.ac.uk

OnlineLibrary.Wiley.com

TheGuardian.com

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-12-27-one-more-reason-high-carbon-levels-are-a-good-thing-co2-protects-rainforests.html

New research finds it was a LACK of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that led to climate change in ancient times

Image: New research finds it was a LACK of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that led to climate change in ancient times

(Natural News)
Researchers from the University of Southampton have found ancient evidence suggesting that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere affected climate conditions approximately a hundred million years ago, but these are not the results that modern day climatologists want to hear. Modern climate change studies desperately want to correlate rising carbon dioxide levels with “climate change.” However, it was a lack of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that led to sweeping temperature changes about a million years ago.

The international research team used an “Earth system” model along with geochemical measurements to pinpoint changes in continental ice sheets. This narrowed in on a timeframe when the Earth experienced extreme dips in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. These drops in CO2 coincided with glacial intervals that brought about extremely cold climatic conditions. The conditions lasted around 400,000 years in what is known as the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT) period.

The researchers came across the findings when they discovered abnormal abruptions in the Earth’s Milkovitch Cycles which cycle naturally every 40,000 years. During naturally-occurring Milkovitch Cycles, ice ages are part of a normal cycle caused by regular changes in the way the Earth orbits the sun. These natural cycles are also influenced by the way Earth spins on its axis in relation to the gravitational pull of other planets. Normally these cycles are predictable. The celestial changes cause climate to cycle from frigid glacial intervals where continental ice covers most of North America and Europe, to warm interglacial climates that free up ice in Europe and North America.

The disruption in this natural cycle occurred about a million years ago, altering the Milkovitch Cycle to a pattern of freeze and thaw over a longer time period of 100,000 years. This disruption was observed during a time when carbon dioxide levels were at their lowest.  Dr. Tom Chalk of the University of Southampton explained that the Antarctic ice cores showed changes in atmospheric CO2 during this disruption in climate.

“CO2 was low when it was cold during the glacials and it was higher during the warm interglacials – in this way it acted as a key amplifier of the relatively minor climate forcing from the orbital cycles.”

Dr. Chalk noted that the ice core records are only measurable up to 800,000 years ago. In order to study carbon dioxide levels during the transition periods, the team had to devise a technique that examined the boron isotopic composition of the shells of ancient marine fossils. Their best bet was to study tiny marine plankton called “foraminifera.” These plankton once lived near the sea surface and harbored the chemical makeup of their environmental conditions when they swam the seas over a million years ago.

Professor Gavin Foster explained that the research team was able to use boron isotope measurements to obtain variable measurements in atmospheric CO2 from up to 1.1 million years ago. He explained that there were two main differences:

“[F]irstly, during the glacials before the MPT, CO2 did not drop as low as it did in the ice core record after the MPT, remaining about 20-40 parts per million (ppm) higher.  Secondly, the climate system was also more sensitive to changing CO2 after the MPT than before.”

Looking further, NERC Independent Research Fellow Mathis Hain used a biogeochemical model to determine why glacial aged CO2 declined by 20-40 ppm. Their models determined that the lack of CO2 during the MPT coincided with a drop-off in dust to the Southern Ocean. During the normal glacial periods in the Milkovitch cycle, higher concentrations of dust brought necessary levels of iron to the Southern Ocean, encouraging the growth of phytoplankton. During the time-frame when there was less CO2 in the atmosphere, there wasn’t enough iron or phytoplankton and this locked more CO2 away in the deep ocean.

In other words, climate change during this era was caused by a complex series of factors including ocean currents, iron content of dust returning to the Southern Ocean, the subsequent loss of phytoplankton growth, the locking away of CO2 in the ocean bottoms, and the lack of CO2 returning to Earth’s atmosphere. The researchers commented that the less dusty climate conditions after this altered MPT could be caused by ice sheet formation and atmospheric circulation, too.

The complexity of the Earth’s climate, its natural cycles, and its relationship with celestial cycles should not be trivialized just to advance a sensationalist climate change agenda that blames human activity for the demise of the planet. For the most part, the Earth’s climate is beyond man’s control. (Related: Major climate change study just confirmed the climate was changing dramatically in the 1800s, long before the invention of the combustion engine.)

Sources include:

Southampton.ac.uk

NaturalNews.com

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-12-22-new-research-finds-it-was-a-lack-of-carbon-dioxide-in-the-atmosphere-that-led-to-climate-change-in-ancient-times.html

More proof carbon dioxide is essential to planetary health: Research finds urban trees are growing faster worldwide

Image: More proof carbon dioxide is essential to planetary health: Research finds urban trees are growing faster worldwide

(Natural News)
Climate change alarmists are quick to point out what they perceive to be the negative effects of warmer temperatures, including droughts on one hand and excessive rainfall on the other. What they are not so quick to point out are the advantages of a warmer climate. One of these advantages was recently highlighted in a study conducted by researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), which found that urban trees – which are exposed to warmer temperatures – are growing at a considerably faster rate than rural trees.

Urban areas are subject to what is known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Increased human activity in a confined area causes metropolitan areas to be considerably warmer than their surrounding rural neighbors. This increase in temperature can be as little as 3 degrees or as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

With urban areas worldwide bursting at the seams and growing at an exponential rate, the research team, led by Professor Hans Pretzsch, wanted to examine the effects of the UHI effect on trees in these crowded environments.

The scientists collected heartwood samples from 1,400 mature trees in cities in different climate zones across the planet, including Cape Town, Hanoi, Berlin, Brisbane, Paris, Munich, Houston, Santiago de Chile, Prince George and Sapporo.

“We can show that urban trees of the same age are larger on average than rural trees because urban trees grow faster,” said Professor Pretzsch. “Further observation showed that the relative difference in size between urban and rural trees decreases with increasing age, but still remains relevant. While the difference amounts to about a quarter at the age of 50, it is still just under 20 percent at a hundred years of age.”

The heat generated by the UHI effect speeds up the growth of trees in two important ways:

1. It promotes photosynthesis; and

2. It extends the vegetation period, or time during which the trees can grow.

The researchers warn, however, that this accelerated growth can also lead to accelerated aging, and municipal managers should be conscious of planting new trees to replace dying ones on a regular basis. (Related: If you care about the environment visit Environ.news.)

Since trees provide numerous benefits for city dwellers, including improving the climate and benefiting their health, as urban areas continue to grow, trees will become increasingly important to the health of cities around the globe.

There are many vital ways in which trees contribute to the health and comfort of city dwellers. (Related: 10 Survival trees EVERYONE should plant on their property.)

The organization Tree People highlights dozens of these, including:

Trees actually combat climate change: Trees absorb CO2, storing the carbon and releasing the oxygen back into the air.

Trees clean dirty city air: Trees contribute to cleaner air by absorbing pollutants and odors and filtering particulates out of the air by trapping them in their bark and leaves.

Trees provide natural cooling: Trees can cool a city by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by shading homes and streets, and releasing water vapor into the air.

Trees reduce energy costs: The site notes that three trees placed in the right positions around an urban home can cut its summer air conditioning costs by as much as 50 percent.

Trees save water: The shade from trees reduces the need to water lawns and flowerbeds.

Trees prevent soil erosion: Trees planted on hillsides and other areas susceptible to soil erosion reduce runoff and ensure the soil stays in its place.

Trees provide natural sun protection: Trees reduce the exposure of children to harmful UV-B rays by up to 50 percent when they are planted extensively in schoolyards and gardens.

Trees provide physical healing: Studies have revealed that patients who have an outside view of trees heal faster and with fewer complications from injuries or surgery.

Trees provide mental healing: Tree-lined streets reduce the levels of fear experienced by people and in turn provide calm and reduce incidents of violence.

Clearly, there are many reasons to plant more trees, and we should be grateful that warmer temperatures are encouraging their growth in our crowded cities.

Sources include:

TUM.de

FAO.org

TreePeople.org

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-12-19-more-proof-carbon-dioxide-is-essential-to-planetary-health-research.html

This Swiss facility is sucking carbon dioxide out of the air for growing veggies (Video)

For years, experts have been debating whether sucking greenhouse gases out of the air using carbon capture technologies are a viable and effective way of curbing emissions on a large scale. Well, we may find out soon, at least on a smaller scale, thanks to the world’s first commercial plant for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air, now operating near Zurich, Switzerland.

Climeworks© Climeworks

The facility run by Climeworks is the first to extract CO2 from the air and sell it directly to buyers, such as companies that run greenhouses growing vegetables, or for producing carbonated drinks and carbon-neutral fuels. While the amount that the plant will be able to take in is not much — only 900 tons annually or about the equivalent emissions from 200 cars — it may be the first step in a larger roll-out in the future, says Climeworks co-founder Christoph Gebald:

Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2-degree target [for global temperature rise] of the international community.

Climeworks© Climeworks
Climeworks© Climeworks

Here’s how it works: 18 huge fans suck in ambient air, which is filtered and goes through a process of adsorption and desorption to extract the CO2. The cleaner air is then blown out, and the captured CO2 piped over to a nearby greenhouse farm to help grow tomatoes and cucumbers.

The fans also sit on top of a municipal waste disposal company, where the incineration process produces a lot of heat. This heat is recovered and is used to heat up the saturated filters to release and capture the CO2 for use elsewhere. These filters are reusable and can be used several thousand times.

Climeworks© Climeworks
Climeworks© Climeworks
Climeworks© Climeworks

Climeworks was started by Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, both engineers, who got the idea back in 2008 as graduate student when they first observed a greenhouse farm actually ordering tanks of CO2 to be trucked in and used for agricultural production. Gebald and Wurzbacher realized that CO2 could be directly filtered from air and used instead. They found funding have since developed the process into its current form, though they acknowledge that in order to reach the company’s goal of capturing 1 percent of global carbon emissions by 2025, they will have to build 250,000 similar plants. Such carbon capture facilities would be most cost-effective and efficient when placed right beside fossil fuel power plants, but this option is still costly compared to solar and wind power.

Climeworks© Climeworks

Nevertheless, with the broader goal of reducing global carbon emissions, a variety of possible solutions will be needed. Curbing deforestation, restoring marshes and peatlands, and utilizing sustainable agricultural techniques are other vital carbon-reduction strategies. Whether more carbon capture facilities such as this one will be built remains to be seen, but it’s encouraging to see that it can be one of many that are being explored. For more information, visit Climeworks.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/climeworks-first-commercial-carbon-capture-plant-switzerland.html