I have been extremely busy lately and therefore running completely behind on my writing schedule. If that was not enough, the IPCC decided to publish another of its so-many-hundreds-of-pages-counting reports on climate change. This time I decided to not even start reading the executive summary. Why, you ask? Because I am getting so damn tired of reports, press conferences, talks, climate summits, and what not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been dropping on us since the first global Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.
2017: Devastating fires in Portugal, Hurricane Maria kicking Puerto Rico KO, record temperatures in Sydney, an iceberg as big as Delaware braking of the Antarctic Larsen-C ice-shelf, a wildfire season spanning 6 months in California, accelerated melting of Greenland’s glaciers, streets turned into rivers in… I could go on and on. As bloggers and journalists on climate change we used to write in the future tense to describe a warmer world. That has changed.
I have the feeling the last year gave us a look into the future. As you might know, it is difficult to prove the relationship between one particular extreme weather event and the rise of average global temperatures. Yet, we do know as a fact that the intensity and frequency of weather events like those scourging the planet the previous 12 months will increase. What do I say, are increasing. You see, I haven’t got used to the change of tenses myself yet.
While Trump performed a piece of first-class alternative facts-stuffed theatre in Washington to announce he retreats the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, industry leaders from around the world discussed the latest innovations in solar technology at the Intersolar Europe summit in Munich last week. It is there that Chinese inverter* manufacturer Sungrow announced exciting plans for a new floating solar farm on a lake in the South of China. With an installed capacity of 140 MegaWatt, it will be the largest floating solar farm in the world, a record currently held by another farm of Sungrow that was opened earlier this year.
President-elect Donald Trump, probably the most discussed man of 2016, is about to move into the oval office on the 20th of January. From his alleged links with Russia, derogatory statements about women and plans to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, Trump has proven to feel no remorse about spreading wrong information. How will Trump’s Administration deal with climate change? Based on his statement that “climate change is hoax invented by the Chinese”, one might expect the worse. Let’s have a closer look.
Most of the New Year’s receptions and parties are now behind us and everyone is getting back to work. Time to look ahead to what we can expect from the battle against climate change in 2017. I identified 4 positive and 4 negative trends, which you find in the infographic below. Do you agree with my predictions? What do you think is missing?
Last week my facebook feed nearly overflew with shares of an amazing discovery: a group of US scientists of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tenessee had accidently stumbled upon a catalyst that turns CO2 into ethanol. For those of you unfamiliar with catalysts, they are materials or substances that speed up or slow down the rate of a chemical reaction by providing a ‘reactive site’. The catalyst itself is not altered during the process (don’t run away, the article won’t get more complicated than this ;) ).
Well well, I thought. It’s about the fourth or fifth time this year I read about a new technique to suck CO2 out of the air. This one sparked my interest more than previous discoveries, though. (more…)