Thursday, November 29, 2007

Methane from a very unexpected source

Here's another source of methane (one of the most potent of the greenhouse gases) that needs to be taken into account in any climate model. It seems that certain shrubs (woody) plants themselves actually produce methane by some, as yet, unexplained mechanism, as reported in RSC Chemistry World.

Fortunately it would appear that herbaceous plants don't emit methane, but upland wooded areas may well yet turn out to be a source of at least some of the naturally occurring methane in the earth's atmosphere.

Fickle weather

One of the dire warnings issued by climatologists was that the likelihood and frequency of really nasty hurricanes would increase as global warming took hold. But the 2007 weather has, of course, been totally fickle, and refused to play ball. As the USA's 2007 hurricane season draws to a close, the country has escaped almost entirely unscathed (whilst Mexico and Central America have taken the brunt of the major storms this season).

Anybody fancy a little wager that this first fact will be seized upon by the BOFDi brigade as more evidence that global warming is not taking place?

More windmills for Don Quixote to tilt at?

Spain is going to invest in a project to develop vast windfarms in order to reduce its dependence on natural gas and coal fired power stations. As reported in today's Telegraph.

"The Ministry of Industry plans to announce over the next few weeks its more detailed plans to erect tens of thousands of pylons.
This will require a further investment of about €45,000m in order to produce 107.845 MW of electricity by the year 2030. The ambitious scheme involves tripling wind power in order to reduce Spain's dependency on foreign suppliers of gas (North Africa) and to reduce pollution."

The overall plan is to produce up to 49% of energy requirements from renewables by 2030. My bet is that Spain will succeed while here in the UK we will still not even be at the 20% target set for 2020, even when we get to 2030.