Thursday January 17th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)
Problems With Green Solutions- A Discussion
In the back of your mind, climate and environmental people, you have thought that the transition to a green civilization will itself cause harm. All of those nifty windmills and solar panels aren’t grown organically, of course. Materials for these have to be mined then manufactured, requiring energy to do so. Today I will repost an article meant to make people think of ways to limit any environmental harm that our current “green solutions” may cause.
Those in power, whether they be in government or in the private sector, should be very flexible
when new inventions offering better transitional ways come forth:
Fixing the environment: when solutions become problems
January 14, 2019 by Marlowe Hood
In a world where climate change, air and water pollution, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, ozone depletion, and other environmental problems overlap, a fix in one arena can cause trouble in another.
Here are a few examples of what might be called Earth’s “zero-sum” dilemma in the 21st century.
Water vs. ocean pollution
A study released Monday shows for the first time that more than 16,000 desalination plants scattered across the globe produce more briny toxic sludge than fresh water.
For every litre of fresh water extracted, a litre-and-a-half of salty, chemical-laden sludge called brine is dumped—in most cases—into the ocean.
That’s enough to cover the state of Florida in a 30-centimetre (one-foot) layer of slime.
“Desalination technology has benefited a large number of people,” said co-author Manzoor Qadir, a researcher at the UN University. “But we cannot ignore the production of brine, which is going to become an even greater problem in the future.”
Ozone vs. climate
The 1987 Montreal Protocol banned industrial chemicals dissolving stratospheric ozone, which protects us from the Sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays.
To replace the forbidden molecules, used in aerosols and refrigerants, scientists invented a new category known as HFCs.
But there was a small problem that didn’t emerge until much later: the substitutes—while harmless to the ozone layer—were dangerous greenhouse gases, thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide or methane.
That meant a new, protracted round of negotiations over an amendment calling for the phase of HFCs, which was finally adopted in 2016.
Biofuels vs. food, forests
The rise in oil prices in the 1970s, and later the looming threat of climate change, boosted the production of biofuels made from corn, sugarcane and palm oil.
It seemed like a great idea: planet-warming CO2 released into the atmosphere when the biofuels were burned would be partially offset by the CO2 absorbed while the plants were growing.
But the solution became a problem it its own right.
The energy needed to transform and transport plant-based fuels undercuts their original purpose. To make matters worse, the newly emerging market created a perverse incentive to cut down tropical forests—far more efficient at soaking up CO2—to make way for sugarcane and palm oil trees.
When it comes to climate change, projections for how humanity can cap global warming under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) assume a major role for biofuels. But recently scientists have calculated that an area up to twice the size of India would be needed to cultivate them, which may not leave enough land to grow food.
Wind farms vs. biodiversity
But wind farms are also bird killers: up to 328,000 birds—especially those that fly at night—are felled every year by fast-spinning blades in the United States alone, where there are some 50,000 turbines.
They also disrupt ecosystems. A scientific study of wind farms in the Western Ghats, a UNESCO-listed range of mountains and forest spanning India’s west coast, found that predatory raptor birds were four times rarer than in adjacent areas.
Their absence cascaded down the food chain and radically altered the density and behaviour of the birds’ prey. There was, in particular, an explosion in the raptors’ favourite meal: fan-throated lizards.
Solar panels vs. ground pollution
Photovoltaic solar panels—which absorb sunlight to generate electricity—have a dirty little secret, according to French investigative journalist Guillaume Pitron.
The fastest growing renewable energy source includes critical metals and minerals that require a lot of energy to extract and often leave a trail of environmental devastation in their wake.
Wandering the world to research his book “The Rare Metals War”, Pitron said he saw mountains in southern China “cut in half vertically,” and “toxic lakes” in Inner Mongolia.
Some of my readers may halve qualms with some of the points the PHYSORG article makes. Please contact me and I will add some rebuttals.
I’ll just end here by stating that transition to a green society won’t be easy and has barely begun as of 2019.
Please share any ideas which will be friendlier to the planet so we can all live in harmony with nature, insuring a great future for many generations to come.
I’ll just end here by stating that transition to a green society won’t be easy and has barely begun as of 2019. Please share any ideas which will be friendlier to the planet so we can all live in harmony with nature, insuring a great future for many generations to come.
Explore further: Desalination produces more toxic waste than clean water
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)
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The Climate Guy