Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ozone back in the equation?

I understood that the ozone layer being destroyed by CFCs problem had been sorted out, and that the holes were now contracting. But it now seems that ozone has yet another trick up its sleeve, this time to do with accelerating global temperatures. Full article is on the RSC - Chemistry World.

"Ozone was already known to have a significant direct greenhouse gas (GHG) action. But the new effect is an indirect one, resulting from the toxic effect of high ozone levels on land plants."

Apparently, ozone in the lower atmosphere directly affects the way that plants absorb CO2, reducing the land carbon sink capability.

"Land plants absorb CO2 through pores in their leaves called stomata. When atmospheric ozone levels reach about 40ppm - already reached in many parts of the world - these stomata contract, reducing the plants' CO2 uptake. Moreover, ozone levels are expected to reach 70ppm in many parts of the world by the year 2100. This will suppress the land carbon sink, push up the equilibrium level of atmospheric CO2, and boost the greenhouse effect"

This "could boost average world temperatures by a further 0.5-1.25°C - compared with the 2-5°C that will result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2."

This appears to suggest that things could get even worse than predicted; but no doubt there will be some counter argument that suggests that this is all a load of guff too!

Is it just one more straw on the camel's back to worry about?

ADDENDUM 1 (from Junkk Male):

Real Climate: Ozone impacts on climate change
The Ecologist: Rising ozone levels could stunt plant growth

Claiming neutrality

I happened across this bit of ad-world navel gazing: Green meanz beanz and couldn't resist a few thoughts...

Well the water cooler vote should be interesting!

Hijacked??? The green agenda seems to have been kidnapped, the hostages killed immediately and then a never ending series of ever more outrageous videos pumped out to substantiate even more outrageous ransom demands.

Ok. Make that a qualified yes.

You are right to be suspicious. And Mr. Whitehouse has every reason to be outraged.

However, I would advocate some caution in how the discomfort 'we' are feeling gets manifested, especially as the core key to making a difference in the fight to mitigate man (PC-alert! Person...) made factors in creating negative climate change (For what it's worth I'm one of those who is not sure, but I simply hate waste and, in any case, for my kids' sake I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. So if the majority of climate experts say it's big and needs addressing now, I figure saying 'Are you sure?' will be a poor legacy. Make a great headstone, though: 'Yup. I guess they were right about global warming after all!. Sorry')

And almost everyone is playing silly b*ggers with the agenda for various selfish, self-promoting reasons, and not just most politicians. Though they are pretty top of a stinking pile. As with the recent floods. A bunch of Chicken Little's pointing at the sky and blaming climate change (which for sure may not have helped much) for creating an 'unprecedented situation that could not be predicted', when it wasn't and it was, respectively.

Which all gets the average Joe's trust factor on the first train straight back to Clarksonville.

You are so right that almost everything is twiddling about at the wrong end of the supply chain, throwing the onus on poorly informed, woefully supported and ill-equipped consumers to deal with all manner of things that is really nothing to do with them. If it's legal to manufacture and sell, why on earth does it end up with the punter to deal with the consequences of a 4x4 purchase, a bottle of Evian (those seeking to ban those two not living in a flood zone I'd hazard) or the packaging of a box of chox?

And I'm afraid that you have rather hit the nail with 'employ lots of people'. How many bazillions are being spent on government departments and unaccountable quangos to assess, research, monitor, and otherwise fiddle about with all this? And with comms budgets squandering amounts that could fund soooo many actual, tangible, plants, initiatives and programmes to really DO something and make a real difference. How many more TVCs pointing at Flash-enabled sites to 'raise' awareness of things people patently can't engage with even if they can be bothered. Forget my favourite measure of all things 'eco', the enviROI... what about simple ROIs? I've seen public websites getting excited at monthly hits in the tens of thousands. My granny's blog gets more than that! And if my agency had ever toddled along to a client and tried to make out 'improved awareness' that hadn't even made double digits was a success having blown several millions (and ignoring massive complementary PR), I'd be shown the door. Who accounts for all this waste of resource?

I'm sure hordes of boxes are being ticked as we speak, but are my kids' futures being protected here? Or a bunch of folks' pensions' plans and bonus structures?

I applaud any corporate who is getting on board and actually doing something here and now that's real and going to make a difference. But I dread the total horse manure that we will also end up being fed in A&P as a consequence. One more car ad with a leaf sticking out of its exhaust and I'm buying a Hummer. And as for going carbon neutral... great. Do it. Just don't shove it down my throat in such a crass way. The definition hasn't even been properly established yet. What's it mean? Are they reducing output? Simply being more efficient? Or trading a carbon credit to make more stuff elsewhere? Is it simply going to help the books internally, or will it a) help the consumer and b) the planet in any way? How many 'green ads' are getting booted out by the ASA at the moment to a tabloid fanfare? Think of the damage to consumer trust and the credibility of brands... and the genuine message.

As co-inhabitants of this planet of course 'we' should take responsibility for green becoming more about wealth generation than the planet.

But I'll leave you with a thought. Maybe, just maybe, with a bit of creativity, a dash of honesty and a smidge of ethics, some things can be done that not only help the planet, but also could lead to genuine marketing opportunities too. And if you'll allow a plug I'll mention in closing one that's dear to my heart that's doing all it can in this regard:

ps: Not all that's green can be viewed in black and white. That avocado? It may well be it's mostly marketing. But food waste accounts for waaaay more than packaging, so which would your prefer? A pile of bruised veg in the dumpster, or a bit of protection to help it through the distribution chain to Mr & Mrs Fussy-Yuppy? And in any case, do they even grow here? Yowser! Food miles! Carbon labels! Another debate for another time....

MPs to investigate if biofuels are truly sustainable

Why do I dread finding items like this from EnvironmentTimes?

Because of that first little acronym - 'MP'.

After months of investigation no doubt they'll come up with some half cocked conclusions that miss out most of the salient points and ignore loads of the key information and evidence.

"Concerns have also been raised about food security, as a large agricultural shift to fuel production might dramatically increase food prices"

'Concerns'? Its already happening - the evidence is out there for all to see! (See the post on 'Agflation' below).

At least they're asking for input - let's just hope that they accept it, review it, consider it and take it into account! Unfortunately, many parliamentary committees seem to have a tendency to do none of the above very well.

Oh well ...... at least they are actually looking at biofuels now; after all, it's something that just might turn out to be very important in the future of this planet.

Let's hope they include in their deliberations things like ethanol production from a dairy by-product as reported via AutoBlogGreen today.


You've already got it, it's already affecting you and you just don't know it! But just what is agflation then?

Well, you've actually heard it described on this very blog on several posts from Peter over the last few months - he just didn't know, like me, that there was a term for it.

"Global corn stocks have fallen to their lowest levels since modern records began as ethanol plants consume an ever-growing share of output".

"The price of wheat has flown up by 53% since March last year to £130 a tonne"

And this is all before the impacts that our rather wet summer will have on local food prices here in the UK.

Crop and foodstuff prices may start to track the price of crude oil? Ridiculous? Well, read this from The Business and figure it for yourself!

I think I'll pop along and put my name down for an allotment tonight!

Nuclear waste not a problem?

I always find this sort of article fascinating. From The Guardian Comment, the writer suggests that the development of additional nuclear power capability is crucial in the fight against global warming. OK ........ I think I can follow the basic logic of that argument.

But, and its a BIG but, we get the same old argument about how to dispose of, store, throw away the inevitable nasty stuff that's left over.

"When we need to deal with the leftovers, we'll have the technology."

Errrrm, go on, prove it to me then. And while you're at it, just what is the EnviROI of storing stuff for decades while scientists play around with ideas on how to dispose of it properly, pray?

Although I still believe that nuclear will inevitably have to be part of the mix in terms of future power generation, I'm sorry, but that sort of argument about disposal of the horrendous waste that spent nuclear fuel represents is just not acceptable.

The article suggests several disposal methods that are in the research stage including some that actually make the waste safe (or, at least, a lot safer), but most of these ideas have been around for some 40+ years now, and yet there is still no safe way of dealing with the spent fuel.

The article is entitled: -

Nuclear waste is hardly a worry when the climate change threat is so urgent"

Sorry, but even measured against the worry that climate change induces in many of us, it IS a major worry to anyone concerned about the environment of this little lump of planetary rock.

ADDENDUM - Junkk Male to CiF site

I must share the compliment offered to what has mostly been a civilised and highly informative series of exchanges.

Just one thing.

If we are to squirt the stuff elsewhere rather than doing without or dealing with it (a human trait), can we wait until the tehcnological solutions that have so far resulted in our current extra-orbital attempts scrape to a slighly more reassuring succcess rate.

Oh, and please make it over someone else's head, not in a jet-stream, etc.

Ta very much.