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Archive for November 2008

Sustainable Energy (Video)

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Sustainable Energy

This might not add much to the debate and discussion on “Sustainable Energy”, but it has a somewhat different presentation format: 

More videos on sustainable energy, climate and related: Geo Energy Network Media


Recent News on Energy and the Environment 28.11.08

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Some recent articles featured on the Energy Environment News Portal, on current and emerging issues related to energy and the environment

US Government backs off drilling near national parks

UK adopts world’s first binding carbon targets

Egypt Wants Brazil’s Technology on Ethanol & Deep-Water Drilling

EU negotiators close to deal on biofuels

Africa, Europe seek to harmonise climate-change demands

Revamped LEED ratings emphasize climate, energy conservation

Written by geoenergy

November 28, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Modelling civilization as “heat engine” could improve climate predictions

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

An interesting article from Environmental Research Web  (November 27, 2008)  on a possible conceptual approach to modelling human activities (and the built environment) and how they interact with climate systems (and the natural environment).

—>  Modelling civilization as ‘heat engine’ could improve climate predictions – environmentalresearchweb

The extremely complex process of projecting future emissions of carbon dioxide could be simplified dramatically by modelling civilization as a heat engine. That is the conclusion of an atmospheric physicist in the US, who has shown that changes in global population and standard of living correlate to variations in energy efficiency. This discovery halves the number of variables needed to make emissions forecasts and therefore should considerably improve climate predictions, he claims. 

Computer models used to predict how the Earth’s climate will change over the next century take as their input projections of future manmade emissions of carbon dioxide. These projections rely on the evolution of four variables: population; standard of living; energy productivity (or efficiency); and the “carbonization” of energy sources. When multiplied together, these tell us how much carbon dioxide will be produced at a given point in the future for a certain global population. However, the ranges of values for each of the four variables combined leads to an extremely broad spectrum of carbon dioxide-emission scenarios, which is a major source of uncertainty in climate models. 

Timothy Garrett of the University of Utah in the US believes that much of this uncertainty can be eliminated by considering humanity as if it were a heat engine (arXiv:0811.1855). Garrett’s model heat engine consists of an entity and its environment, with the two separated by a step in potential energy that enables energy to be transferred between the two. Some fraction of this transferred energy is converted into work, with the rest released beyond the environment in the form of waste heat, as required by the second law of thermodynamics.

However, the work is not done on some external task, such as moving a piston, but instead goes back to boosting the potential across the boundary separating the entity from the environment. In this way, says Garrett, the boundary “bootstraps” itself so that it can get progressively bigger and bigger, resulting in higher and higher levels of energy consumption by the entity.


Recent News on Energy and the Environment 16.11.08

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Written by geoenergy

November 17, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Geothermal Energy Potential in the Caribbean Region

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

From report by: Erouscilla P. Joseph, Seismic Research Unit, University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago (March 2008)

> Link to report:…rgy_joseph.pdf

The Lesser Antilles Island arc extends 850 km along the eastern edge of the Caribbean Plate. The islands have been largely built by volcanism above a subduction zone, as the Atlantic Plate is being subducted under the Caribbean Plate. There are at least 19 potentially “active” volcanoes in the Lesser Antilles. The thermal energy of these volcanic islands makes them of interest for geothermal exploration.

Although geothermal resources are abundant on several of the islands, apart from Guadeloupe which has a 4.5 MWe binary plant, geothermal development is still in the early stages for several reasons:

1. Geothermal development is not a priority in the energy policies of the island governments. Traditionally, the islands have depended on diesel generation, with the exceptions of Dominica and St.Vincent which use hydroelectric power.

2. None of the countries have geothermal laws; many do not have laws for the regulation of the electricity sector in particular.

3. Limited financing and the high cost of geothermal exploration has held back the projects in the feasibility stage.

4. There are no economic incentives for geothermal development.

5. The population, and consequently the markets, of the islands are small.



Geothermal Energy and its Prospects for Future Development

Negotiations to deal with Nevis geothermal energy

St. Kitts & Nevis science teachers experience geothermal energy

Dominica forging ahead with geothermal resource development

Geothermal energy project, Caribbean islands

Geothermal Energy – SustainabilityForum.Com

Written by geoenergy

November 17, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Posted in geothermal energy

Recent News on Energy and the Environment 09.11.08

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Sea Level Rise and Inundation of Coastal India

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

A somewhat long, but interesting article by Dr. Nachiketa Das 

—> Sea level rise and inundation of coastal India

Dr. Nachiketa Das: November 2, 2008

Global warming is making sea level rise. Sea level, however, will not rise appreciably overnight, not in months, not even in years. The rise will assume dangerous proportions only over a substantial length of time, perhaps over decades. The assertions are not designed to make you complacent my readers, but you need not panic either. The sensationalist movies and documentaries that you have been watching show the sea invading deep into eastern India, inundating the capital of West Bengal Kolkata, which as Calcutta was once the capital of British India. Moreover in these movies the ancient capital city of the state of Orissa, Cuttack that is situated at the apex of the Mahanadi delta some 70 km inland within a matter of seconds submerges under the invading sea. These movies have their own agenda, and have very successfully scared millions of viewers without ever telling much, as to how to combat the rising sea. 

Sea and nature in general, have been more kind to us human beings, than we would care to admit. Nature always gives us plenty of warning before doing anything drastic, and by the same token, sea gives us a good many years to protect our landmass from her transgression. As sea level rise accelerates due to global warming, coastal India faces inundation. Although sea level rise is inevitable, the inundation of coastal India is not, and certainly it is not a fait accompli. If we decide to initiate collective action, in a scale comparable to the mass movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, we could successfully combat the rising sea, at least for a good few centuries. In this article I propose to discuss the various aspects of sea level rise, and emphasise the preventive measures that could be undertaken to save coastal India from the ravages of the rising seas.


— Rate of sea level rise

— Sea level rise is not uniform

— Maximum possible rise of sea level

— Sea level rise and coastal inundation

— Coastal inundation after the last ice age

— Losses due to sea level rise

— Achyutananda’s prophecy on sea level rise

— Measures to combat the rising seas

— The Netherlands is up to 6 m below sea level

— Let Coastal Works commence