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reducing carbon and saving fuel

“Government figures show that between January and June this year, 1.7billion fewer litres of petrol and diesel were sold compared to the first half of 2008. That equates to £1billion in lost revenue for the treasury.”

So that idiot Philip Hammond [Secretary of State for Transport] wants you to drive faster!

“Sales of petrol fell by an incredible 186.5million litres in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period in 2010. The AA puts the drop down to hard pressed motorists being driven off the road by record pump prices. And things just got worse [he means ‘better’!] in the second quarter, with sales crashing by a further 330.7million litres.

“Although diesel sales were more resilient – dropping by 31.2million litres over the last six months compared to 2010 – the extent of falling sales is brought home by a comparison with pre-recession sales levels.”

Instead of talking about increased motorway speeds, most people would save 10 to 20% of fuel consumption by dropping their speed, avoiding unnecessary braking and avoiding stop-start conditions. And by employing several other elements of planned driving, let alone trading to a more modern and/or more efficient vehicle.



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now the northern hemisphere also has an ozone hole

Arctic ozone hole (outlined in black/white)

“...For the first time, the Arctic loss was enough to be considered a hole.”

“A prolonged chill in the atmosphere high above the Arctic last winter led to a mobile, morphing hole in the ozone layer, scientists report in a new paper. It’s just like the South Pole hole we all studied in school, but potentially more harmful to humans — more of us live at northern latitudes. Here are five things you need to know about it.”



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heavy metals in the fossil fuel industry [26-page .pdf]

“...In Kentucky, alone, there are 293 MTR [mountain top removal ] sites, over 1,400 miles of streams damaged or destroyed, and 2,500 miles of streams polluted. Valley fill and other surface mining practices associated with MTR bury headwater streams and contaminate surface and groundwater with carcinogensand heavy metals and are associated with reports of cancer clusters, a finding that requires further study.”

“After coal is mined, it is washed in a mixture of chemicals to reduce impurities that include clay, non-carbonaceous rock, and heavy metals to prepare for use in combustion. Coal slurry is the byproduct of these coal refining plants. In West Virginia, there are currently over 110 billion gallons of coal slurry permitted for 126 impoundments. Between 1972 and 2008, there were 53 publicized coal slurry spills in the Appalachian region, one of the largest of which was a 309 million gallon spill that occurred in Martin County, KY in 2000. Of the known chemicals used and generated in processing coal, 19 are known cancer-causing agents, 24 are linked to lung and heart damage, and several remain untested as to their health effects.”

“ CCW [coal combustion waste] or fly ash—composed of products of combustion and other solid waste—contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals; pollutants known to cause cancer, birth defects, reproductive disorders, neurological damage, learning disabilities, kidney disease, and diabetes. A vast majority of the over 1,300 CCW impoundment ponds in the United States are poorly constructed, increasing the risk that waste may leach into groundwater supplies or nearby bodies of water. Under the conditions present in fly ash ponds, contaminants, particularly arsenic, antimony, and selenium (all of which can have serious human health impacts), may readily leach or migrate into the water supplied for household and agricultural use.”

“ Spath and colleagues found that these emissions are small in comparison to the air emissions. However, amore recent study performed by Koornneef and colleagues using up-to-date data on emissions and impacts, found that emissions and seepage of toxins and heavy metals into fresh and marine water were significant. Elevated levels of arsenic in drinking water have been found in coal mining areas, along with ground water contamination consistent with coal mining activity in areas near coal mining facilities. In one study of drinking water in four counties in West Virginia, heavy metal concentrations (thallium, selenium, cadmium, beryllium, barium, antimony, lead, and arsenic) exceeded drinking water standards in one fourth of the households. This mounting evidence indicates thatmore complete coverage ofwater sampling is needed throughout coal-field regions.”

“ The next stage in the life cycle of coal is combustion to generate energy. Here we focus on coalfired electricity-generating plants. The by-products of coal combustion include CO2, methane, particulates and oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur, mercury, and a wide range of carcinogenic chemicals and heavy metals.”

“ Storing compressed and liquefied CO2 underground can acidify saline aquifers (akin to ocean acidification) and leach heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead, into ground water.”

Still these figures do not represent the full societal and environmental burden of coal. In quantifying the damages, we have omitted the impacts of toxic chemicals and heavy metals on ecological systems and diverse plants and animals; some ill-health endpoints (morbidity) aside from mortality related to air pollutants released through coal combustion that are still not captured; the direct risks and hazards posed by sludge, slurry, and CCW impoundments; the full contributions of nitrogen deposition to eutrophication of fresh and coastal sea water; the prolonged impacts of acid rain and acid mine drainage; many of the long-term impacts on the physical and mental health of those living in coal-field regions and nearby MTR sites; some of the health impacts and climate forcing due to increased tropospheric ozone formation; and the full assessment of impacts due to an increasingly unstable climate. The true ecological and health costs of coal are thus far greater than the numbers suggest. Accounting for the many external costs over the life cycle for coal-derived electricity conservatively doubles to triples the price of coal per kWh of electricity generated.”

related material
fossil fuel disasters
nuclear power - is nuclear power really really dangerous



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dog rays more dangerous than nuclear rays

“Every year 20 Americans are killed by dogs.

“Also candles killed 126 people in a year.

“Wind turbine incidents:
41 worker fatalities - includes falling from turbine towers and transporting turbines on the highway.

39 Incidents of blade failure - failed blades can travel over 400 meters, killing any unfortunate bystanders.

110 Incidents of fire - When a wind turbine fire occurs, local fire departments can do little but watch due to the 30-story height of these turbine units. The falling debris are then carried across the distance and cause new fires.

60 Incidents of structural failure- As turbines become more prevalent, these breakages will become more common in public areas, thereby causing more deaths and dismemberment's from falling debris.

24 incidents of "hurling ice"- Ice forms on these giant blades and is reportedly hurled at deathly speeds in all directions. Author reports that some 880 ice incidents having occurred over Germany's 13-years of harnessing wind power.”

It’s all very well to go around scaremongering.

It will only take about 500 vast windmills to replace one ray-generating nuclear power station. Thus, the six units at Futaba/Fukushima will not need more than 6000 wind turbines to replace their 6 or 7 turbines, or 20,000 if you allow for the rare events when the wind refuses to blow.

Germans can even make windmills over 100 yards high that sometimes produce 7 mW. It will only take about a square kilometre for each turbine.

Wind rays are the wave (sorry about that) of the future.

P.S. A warning to any innumerate windbats, all figures depend on facts.

end notes

  1. In fact, almost every year there are over 30 fatalities from dog bites in the USA.


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cosmo filthy fossil fuel fire still not extinguished - but don’t worry

Following the 8.9/9.0 earthquake in Japan:

“Cosmo Oil said a fire had broken out near an LPG tank at its Chiba refinery and had not been extinguished by Sunday, though its intensity had lessened. A company official denied that rain could spread harmful chemicals from the fire.”

It’s an LPG tank, what’s to worry?

“JX Holdings said a fire at its Sendai refinery originated from a land oil product shipping facility nearby, not an LPG tank as feared earlier.”

Note: the Cosmo refinery is still burning after three days.

related material
fossil fuel disasters
nuclear power - is nuclear power really really dangerous
tsunamis: tsunamis travel fast but not at infinite speed
tectonics: tectonic plates – floating on the surface of a cauldron


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new food report - highly publicised

As so often, I link to the real thing, rather than copy out a hand-out that is without proper reference to the real thing.

Front end for new world food analysis - “The Foresight project Global Food and Farming Futures final report and executive summary”.

Executive summary:

“Project aim: to explore the pressures on the global food system between now and 2050 and identify the decisions that policy makers need to take today, and in the years ahead, to ensure that a global population rising to nine billion or more can be fed sustainably and equitably.

“The global food system will experience an unprecedented confluence of pressures over the next 40 years. On the demand side, global population size will increase from nearly seven billion today to eight billion by 2030, and probably to over nine billion by 2050; many people are likely to be wealthier, creating demand for a more varied, high-quality diet requiring additional resources to produce. On the production side, competition for land, water and energy will intensify, while the effects of climate change will become increasingly apparent. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate will become imperative. Over this period globalisation will continue, exposing the food system to novel economic and political pressures.”

Note that you cannot be wealthier, or have increased demand, if there is insufficient food. You cannot demand what is not available.

I hope the rest of the report is of a higher standard! Never mind the quality, feel the width.

related material
land conservation and food production


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is ‘clean coal’ meaningful or possible? - usa/china interaction

Medium length item.

“To environmentalists, “clean coal” is an insulting oxymoron. But for now, the only way to meet the world’s energy needs, and to arrest climate change before it produces irreversible cataclysm, is to use coal—dirty, sooty, toxic coal—in more-sustainable ways. The good news is that new technologies are making this possible. China is now the leader in this area, the Google and Intel of the energy world. If we are serious about global warming, America needs to work with China to build a greener future on a foundation of coal. Otherwise, the clean-energy revolution will leave us behind, with grave costs for the world’s climate and our economy.

“Through the past four years I’ve often suggested that China’s vaunted achievements are less impressive, or at least more complicated, seen up close. Yes, Chinese factories make nearly all of the world’s consumer electronic equipment. But the brand names, designs, and most of the profits usually belong to companies and people outside China. Yes, China’s accumulated trade surpluses have made it the creditor for America and much of the world. But the huge share of its own wealth that China has sunk into foreign economies ties its fate to theirs. Yes, more and more Chinese people are very rich. But hundreds of millions of Chinese people are still very poor. Yes, Chinese factories lead the world in output of windmills and solar-power panels. But China’s environmental situation is still so dire as to pose the main threat not just to the country’s public health and political stability but also to its own economic expansion.

“This report will have a different tone. I have been learning about an area of Chinese achievement that is objectively good for the world as a whole, including the United States. Surprising enough! And China’s achievement dramatically highlights a structural advantage of its approach and a weakness of America’s. It involves the shared global effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, of which China and the United States are respectively the No. 1 and No. 2 producers, together creating more than 40 percent of the world’s total output. That shared effort is real, and important. The significant Chinese developments involve more than the “clean tech” boom that Americans have already heard so much about. Instead a different, less publicized, and much less appealing-sounding effort may matter even more in determining whether the United States and China can cooperate to reduce emissions. This involves not clean tech but the dirtiest of today’s main energy sources—coal.”

related material
fossil fuel disasters


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