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Is this Clean Coal? (Video)

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Is this what “clean coal” is about?



Massive Coal Ash Spill in Tennessee puts the lie to Clean Coal | DeSmogBlog

Environmental Spill Disaster Devastates Tennessee; 48 Times the Size of Exxon Valdez | AlterNet

Clean Coal is a Joke | DeSmogBlog

The Cost of Energy – Time to bury the ‘clean coal’ myth

>   An Example of Clean Coal?


Poznan Climate Summit Ends In Acrimony

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Following on the news, developments & issues associated with the UNFCCC climate change summit that ended last week in Poznan, Poland …

From Earth News, – December 15, 2008

A key climate change summit has ended in acrimony after the developed world failed to agree to a new tax on industry to help poorer countries survive the droughts and floods attributed to climate change.

Read Full Article: Climate summit ends in acrimony – Telegraph

The UN talks in Poznan, Poland, that cost £23 million and produced 13,000 tonnes of carbon, were supposed to make progress on cutting world emissions and helping the poor adapt to extreme weather conditions. But in the final hours of the meeting ministers from 189 different countries had failed to come to any agreement.

The sticking point was over a controversial adaptation fund that will pump billions of pounds towards helping poorer nations adapt infrastructure, build flood defences and improve agriculture. Although the world agreed to set up the fund from next year, it could not be decided where the money will come from. It had been suggested that existing carbon markets, where heavy industries pay for the right to pollute, should be further taxed to raise the funds. The system is controversial for taxing businesses already suffering the global recession and richer countries refused to commit to the idea.

The EU and Britain said no decision could be made until it is decided how the carbon markets, that have yet to be established in the US, will function or what adaptation measures are needed. But it was no secret that countries like Russia, with heavy industries, were firmly against the scheme. In dramatic scenes developing countries like India and Colombia accused the developed world of abandoning the world’s poor. By the end of negotiations exhausted delegates were forced to shelve the issue until next year.

The conference had made progress on plans to halt deforestation, which causes one fifth of the world’s emissions and agreeing to move to the next stage of talks. However there was no agreement on how to cut greenhouse gases and environment groups criticised the EU for “watering down” its own targets to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. It left aid agencies frustrated at the failure of the summit and questioning the cost.

The talks, that mark the half way point between a summit in Bali last year and an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen next year, had gone on for two weeks. More than 11,000 delegates took part including “climate change superstars” like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Gore and Bianca Jagger. The conference, that included a gala dinner serving traditional Polish cuisine, cost more than £23 million.

Related news and articles with perspectives on the conclusion / outcomes of the Poznan conference:

Carbon News and Info > Climate change news > Kyoto & climate politics > Poznan climate talks drift to a close

Recriminations over adaptation fund overshadow Poznan close – 15 Dec 2008 – BusinessGreen

Environmentalists disappointed more was not achieved – The Irish Times – Mon, Dec 15, 2008

Next Climate Summit May Turn on Rich Nations’ Approach to Poor Ones –

The Hindu : Front Page : At climate change meet, rich-poor divide perceptible

euronews | Mixed results as UN climate summit wraps up

A Bird’s Eye View

Nanotechnology from an Industrial Ecology Perspective

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

There has been much discussion in recent times of the possible impacts on health and the environment, associated with the emerging field of nanotechnology, for example: 

Nanotechnology Not That Green

Nanotechnology’s Public Health Hazard

Nano-pollution: the next scare story?

The following research paper provides a substance-flow analysis (SFA) of carbon nano-tubes from an industrial ecology perspective

Lekas, D. 2005. Analysis of Nanotechnology from an Industrial Ecology Perspective Part II: Substance Flow Analysis of Carbon Nanotubes. Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. November 2005; 22 pp.

Link to full paper —>…ed%20part2.pdf

1. Introduction

The “next plastic,” the future for electronics, a new energy storage material. Such descriptors have been given to the nanomaterial carbon nanotubes. These carbon atom cylinders with diameters under 100 nanometers are quickly becoming the focus of significant research and production around the world. Many people estimate that we will see high penetration of carbon nanotubes into everyday products in the near future. At the same time, however, many have expressed concern over the potential health risks from exposure to nanotubes. In order to better understand the scope of nanotube production, use, and destiny, particularly in terms of their impacts in the environment and on human health, this paper presents findings from an investigation into the feasibility of performing a substance flow analysis on carbon nanotubes.

A substance flow analysis (SFA) is a study of the flow of specific materials throughout the economy from cradle to grave. This approach has been called “a tool for analyzing the societal metabolism of substances,”. It examines and attempts to quantify the inputs of a substance or material into production, end-use applications, and ultimately end-of-life phases. Insight into the material inputs and outputs and other detail at one level or stage (e.g., production) may influence findings at other levels.

A SFA can be an appropriate tool when the material of interest is linked to a particular impact and thus warrants a more focused analysis on the “stocks and flows” and “concentrations in the environment,”. Because of the potential environmental and health impacts of carbon nanotubes (pending their penetration into products and uses), I hypothesized that the SFA approach would help shed light on the uncertain impacts. More specifically, I suspected that information on the quantity of carbon nanotubes produced would better inform understanding on the application of these substances into end uses, and that end-use information would improve the understanding of potential consequences of carbon nanotubes to users and in the environment. 

2. Methodology
3. Nanotube Overview
4. Carbon Nanotube SFA Findings
5. Conclusions

Recent News on Energy and the Environment 19.10.08

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