Friday, 25 January 2008

Climate change. Official!

So the American Geophysical Union or AGU, have finally revised and re-affirmed most of the globes belief that the majority effects of the increase in melting, warming, flooding... is, with a more than 50% probability, down to human intervention.

"The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century. Global average surface temperatures increased on average by about 0.6°C over the period 1956–2006. As of 2006, eleven of the previous twelve years were warmer than any others since 1850." AGU

But many people have already accepted the scenario that it has been happening, for years. And started making small changes in their lifestyles to match. But how many actually recycle, how much in the way of goods are actually wasted, ending up in landfills or incinerated, all produced from energy fossil fuels.

A deep-vein coal mine has closed down in Wales today, lasting 15 years longer than anticipated. But it has come to an end, other mines will no doubt be in a similar position. Many mines in the UK have or had been in operation for centuries; before the Thatcher & Scargill fiasco.

There is no great probability of developing nations ditching their dash to luxurious modernity, by cutting back on their need for energy! Just as there won't be any real passion in developed nations to cut back on the luxuries and disposables they enjoy.

In the meantime, we know (well according to the science) that a CO2 reduction of at least 60% is in order, and that's just to get us back to where we were a decade ago! If a single digit reduction's managed, that would be a major surprise.

So what's to do?

Solar power, wind, turbine, nuclear, all with problems of their own. How many places have 12 hours of sun beating down from a cloudless sky, with at least 2 hectares given over to energy exchange? Or continual wind? Turbines sound more feasible if the motion - electricity conversion could be made more efficient. Nuclear? Current costs, possibility of meltdowns (with Three Mile and Chernobyl as benchmarks), terrorism and the dumping of burning waste for thousands of years - unless a safer means is found to secure and dispose of it.

Which brings me back. So what to do?

Fusion doesn't seem to be anywhere in the running! Could there be something peering out of the backwater?

Artists drawing of the ITER project

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