“Partnership seeks technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants” – The Lane Report, 21 July 2014

Kentucky is currently building its first carbon capture pilot unit at Kentucky Utilities Company’s E.W. Brown Generating Station in Harrodsburg. The $19.5 million project has been funded by national, state, and educational entities to help Kentucky’s lifeblood, coal, from becoming severely undercut by limits in carbon emissions.

Obama’s Climate Action Plan has introduced steep cuts in existing power plants’ emissions levels — Kentucky’s answer to new climate policy is to further explore carbon capture technology. The aim of the “catch and release” pilot system is to show how carbon capture technology can be advantageous to existing power plants, determine ways to improve the system, and analyze the practicality of producing carbon capture systems on a large scale. The system will be ready for testing in the fall; testing will end mid-2016.

Though pricey, the hope behind the carbon capture technology is that it will generate affordable, cleaner energy that will retain Kentucky’s coal industry. Coal has always been a cheap and abundant source of energy in the state, but the federal government’s changing regulations on how to improve the US’s environmental issues is altering coal’s role in Kentucky. Coal-supporters see Obama’s newly proposed climate policy as a “war on coal,” and this is Kentucky’s fight to preserve the state’s leading industry.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

August 1, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2014. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“U.N. Climate Panel Endorses Ceiling on Global Emissions” – New York Times, 27 September 2013

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met last Friday in Stockholm, Sweden to discuss the current state of global climate change. Presenting information from the UN’s assessment of climate science, the panel unanimously agreed, for the first time, on an upper limit for greenhouse gases (GHG), advocating for a specific emissions cap that the world must adhere to, before climactic changes become permanent.

The UN’s assessment affirmed the idea that our changing climate is caused by human activities, reinforcing the need for a global environmental policy. The panel noted that if nothing is done to reduce emissions, then we will exceed our emissions cap in just a few decades. Unfortunately, any recent action taken towards enacting a global environmental policy has been bogged down by political conflicts.

The report states, “Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes.”

The panel also supports a “carbon budget” for the world, or a limit on how much GHG — the main GHG is carbon dioxide — can be expelled into the atmosphere by industrial activities and deforestation. Scientists have found that if the planet’s temperature were to increase by more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, then we would begin to see the most detrimental effects of climate change; if we want to keep the planet’s temperature below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, then we cannot burn more than one trillion metric tons of carbon.

According to the UN’s report, more than a half-trillion tons of carbon have been burned since the start of the Industrial Revolution, and as energy consumption continues to increase, we will likely reach the trillionth ton around 2040. Over three trillion tons of carbon are still kept in the ground as fossil fuels.

Just this month, Obama passed an executive order, in conjunction with the EPA, which regulates the amount of carbon that US power companies can emit, making “carbon capture” technology a requirement. The panel recommended that the same technology should be done for other companies around the world, especially once we pass the trillion-ton mark.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meets every five to six years — the last time they met was in 2007. The 2013 report presents a 95-100 percent probability that climate change is human-caused; the 2007 report presented a 90-100 percent probability.

The new report accedes to the fact climate science is not a perfect science; we are still uncertain, for instance, of the progression of rising ocean levels, and of how much the planet will actually warm when a certain amount of emissions is released. The report also acknowledges the gradual decrease of warming that has happened over the last 15 years, reasoning that it is probably due to the natural variability of climate. Both are favorite points of climate doubters; and despite the climate doubters’ valid claims, the only way to lessen the effects of climate change is to place a global cap on emissions.

The societal risk and cost of inaction is unaffordable.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

September 30, 2013

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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