Friday, March 24, 2023

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports reveals Great Barrier Reef could be destroyed

This is a thoroughly dishonest piece of reporting. It takes scenarios that the IPCC deems highly unlikely (3C+ warming) and treats it as if it were probable. It's just blatant propaganda from a fanatic below

The Great Barrier Reef could be destroyed and Queensland could endure extreme weather conditions if the planet warms more than 3C, a new report has revealed.

A United Nations report by the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change warned that time may be running out for the world to only warm by 1.5C, saying it was already at 1.1C.

The report details what changes a rising temperatures would bring to Australia.

If they increaee by 4C globally, Australi’s temperaturs could possibly surge by 6C, meaning the potential for 50C days.

Director of Griffith University Climate Action Beacon Professor Brendan Mackey said to make sure the dire effects of global warming won’t happen we need to transition away from fossil fuels and accelerate to clean energy.

“Each government has made a pledge of policies and programs to achieve mitigation which is what the current government propose,” Prof Mackey said.

“If you add all the commitments it would limit global warming.

“A global warming of three would mean the end of the Great Barrier Reef as we know it,” he said.

“Every increment of warming, that makes it hard for everyone. For Queensland it would mean much heavier impacts for agriculture, huge impacts for Great Barrier Reef.

“If you have a temperature of 40C, it’s life threatening and the doctor would send you to hospital, when we talk about levels of warming a healthy temperature would be 0 above pre-industrial levels.”

Prof Mackey said the Reef couldn’t handle the amount of choral bleaching that would occur.

Prof Mackey said things were heating up fast. “That means we are going to see a big increase in climate impact, an increase of severity of extreme weather events,” he said.

“For Queensland this is interesting, as it is highly exposed to extreme weather events.”

“It would mean more heavy flooding, we will have more of everything that’s bad when it comes to weather.

“Every increment of warming, that makes it hard for everyone.”

But Prof Mackey said the report also revealed there was still opportunity to cap the amount of climate change and limit it at 1.5C.

“It’s really Queensland’s interest to prevent further climate change, while Queensland has a lot of fossil fuels, it also has the minerals that it needed for clean energy, there’s a huge opportunity to become a clean energy powerhouse,” he said.

“What the report is saying for Queensland is that climate change is going to get worse than its better. That’s going to be more climate risk for Queensland.”


Biden's EPA Is Lowering the 'Environmental Justice' Boom on Louisiana's Disputed 'Cancer Alley'

LAPLACE, La.―Along Interstate 10 where the Mississippi River threads from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, ever-expanding petrochemical and other industrial projects have long been fought by environmental activists, who have saddled the stretch with the disputed moniker “Cancer Alley.”   

Now the Biden administration is opening a new front in the war -- against a proposed expansion of the sector in St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes known to Louisianians as the River Parishes. Under its stated aims of “equity” and “environmental justice,” the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to block state-issued permits for two new complexes – while renewing objections to an existing plant – all on grounds of a negative “disparate impact” on minority populations in the area.

In a novel application of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which allows the federal government to defund entities found to discriminate based on race, creed or national origin – the EPA is threatening to withhold millions of dollars in general federal grants to Louisiana unless it enters into an “informal resolution agreement.” This would give federal regulators wide latitude to control a process currently run by Louisiana agencies.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry calls the move a breathtaking regulatory overreach, noting that the state has complied with existing environmental regulations.

But the EPA has notified Louisiana that it has subjected the state’s permitting process to a “civil rights analytical framework.” Just what that framework is, who wrote it and when are unclear, according to Landry’s office, and the EPA declined to discuss the matter or answer questions, citing the pending agreement and legal challenges.

Some light emerged last December, however. In a phone call between Landry’s office and EPA officials, Mary O’Lone, an agency attorney, said the problem in Louisiana isn’t any traditional environmental hazard. In state documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations, she said “compliance with environmental law does not guarantee compliance with Title VI.” The EPA team conducting the civil rights analysis said there was “no specific action at issue” but rather “the cumulative impact from [the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s] overall action.”

The new approach is being met with skepticism from critical attorneys familiar with environmental laws.

“This is not the way the EPA typically operates, and it looks like they are trying to expand their authority by using their muscle without clear authorization from Congress to infringe on a state permitting agency,” said Jeff Clark, who served in the Trump administration in the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and is now with the conservative Center for Renewing America. “There is no authorization to apply cumulative impact analysis to Title VI regulations.”

“I've never seen this," said Steve Milloy, an attorney who has written extensively about what he and others characterize as EPA overreach. "Environmental justice is a hoax and the EPA has no statutory authority to pursue it with permits. The EPA is pushing the envelope here to see what it can get away with. They are trying to strongarm the state.”

At issue is the permitting process covering a cluster of seven existing plants in the River Parishes. The two pending projects would mark a huge expansion. The first is a $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics complex in St. James Parish, the second a $400 million grain terminal in St. John the Baptist Parish. In addition, an existing plant is being targeted by the EPA in its Title VI allegations: the Denka Performance Elastomers factory, which has been in St. John Parish for decades and has been partly owned by a Japanese company since 2015.  

Responding to the agency in January, Louisiana Assistant Attorney General Joseph Scott St. John wrote that “the EPA seems to be using complaints about two specific facilities as a springboard to a larger area.”

Issuance of the Formosa permit is already under legal challenge in Louisiana, where in an unprecedented ruling a district judge tossed it on “environmental racism” grounds last September. That ruling is under appeal.

The Denka plant is the nation’s only domestic producer of neoprene, a synthetic rubber used in surfers’ wetsuits, cell phone cases, and medical and military equipment. And environmentalists and the EPA are zeroing in on a chemical essential to neoprene production: chloroprene, which, they insist, is a dangerous carcinogen.

While studies have shown it can be a carcinogen in animals, scientists only suspect that it is cancerous in humans as well. An agreement reached in 2015 reduced by 85% the amount of chloroprene in the air, which, all sides agree, is released only intermittently. A state permit at the Denka plant that incorporates the regulations is currently pending.

For decades activists have alleged that the petrochemical industry is responsible for cancer in the local population, especially minorities. In 1997, however, the Journal of the Louisiana Medical Society found almost no evidence that the incidence of cancer was higher in the River Parishes than in the rest of the United States.


Canada: scientists discover new method to break down toxic ‘forever chemicals’

Researchers at a Canadian university have made a breakthrough they hope will dramatically shorten the lifespan of the thousands of toxic “forever chemicals” that persist in clothing, household items and the environment.

Scientists at the University of British Columbia announced on Wednesday they had developed a new silica-based material with ability to absorb a wider range of the harmful chemicals, and new tools to break them apart them.

“This is very exciting because we can target these difficult-to-break chemical bonds – and break them for good,” said researcher Madjid Mohseni, who focuses on water quality and water treatment.

The chemicals, also known as PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are used for non-stick or stain-resistant surfaces, including clothing, cookware, stain repellents and firefighting foam. But they are also notoriously difficult to break down naturally, giving them the name “forever chemicals”.

In recent years, scientists have found the chemicals, which were once assumed to be harmless, are also linked to elevated cholesterol, hormonal disruption, infertility, cardiovascular disease and cancers.

“They attach to the proteins in our blood and can accumulate in our bodies, particularly in the liver and the kidneys. And the older you are, the more PFAS you have in your body,” said Amira Aker, a postdoctoral researcher at the Universit√© Laval who was not involved in the UBC research. “And we can also pass the chemicals to a growing fetus, so even newborn babies have PFAS in their bodies from the moment they are born.”

While Canada has joined other nations in banning the manufacture of the chemicals, they are still found in household appliances and cosmetics and when discarded, can leach into the environment.

“We still don’t actually know how long some of these PFAS compounds will take to break down, because they were created back in the 1940s and they still exist within the environment,” said Aker.

Current technologies often use activated carbon to filter out the chemicals, but are largely only able to target what researchers call the “long-chain” versions of PFAS – those with more than six carbon bonds. Following recent bans, however, industry has shifted to creating “short-chain” iterations of the chemical.

“[Those versions] are equally toxic and they stay in the water better. And as a result, current technologies like activated carbon really aren’t as effective,” said Mohseni.

Most household water filters use activated carbon – and as a result, miss a wide range of possibly harmful chemicals.

His team also found that the current filters concentrate the absorbed chemicals, creating a “highly toxic” form of waste that consumers throw into the garbage.

Such filters “are not addressing the problem. We’re just temporarily fixing it and letting those chemicals stay in the environment,” he said.

To combat the deficiencies in combatting PFAS, the team has developed a new silicate absorbing material that captures a far wider range of chemicals. The thin material can also be reused repeatedly.

To destroy the chemicals, Mohseni says researchers use either electrochemical or photochemical processes to break the carbon-fluorine bond. The team first published their findings in the journal Chemosphere.

Mohseni says the technology could be used to combat the chemicals, both in drinking water, as government agencies bring higher standards in, and at industrial sites where high concentrations of the chemicals are released into water supplies.


Why Britain has big plans to join the rush for small modular reactors

Sixty years ago, small nuclear power plants were the next big thing. A United States army promotional film from 1963 features square-jawed scientists and earnest GIs cooing over the ML-1, a reactor that could go anywhere on the back of a truck and provide power without need for resupply. “Epitaph for an unsuccessful operation,” says the narrator, in a Walter Cronkite baritone, “out of gas!”

The army’s portable atomic stations were meant to ensure no operation ever ran out of gas. Unfortunately they did not fulfil their promise, and the programme was shut down in the 1970s. A similar fate befell America’s flirtation with small civilian power plants.

Now small reactors are all the rage again. This time they are being touted as powerful potential weapons in the fight against climate change. Governments around the world are investing billions of pounds to push ahead with new designs; private investors, including Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, are piling into what they believe will be a lucrative market.

Britain is trying to secure its place in the rush. Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, used last week’s budget to announce a competition to select a design for a small modular reactor — an SMR — for use in the UK. The successful applicant or applicants will be chosen by the end of the year and will receive co-funding from the Treasury.

The contest is part of what would be a substantial expansion of the UK’s nuclear fleet. Hunt said he wanted nuclear to provide one quarter of electricity by 2050, up from the 15 per cent provided by the current ageing plants, many of which will be decommissioned in the intervening years.

There is no standard definition of an SMR, but typical designs produce up to 400 megawatts, enough to power 400,000 homes. Traditional large nuclear plants have much higher outputs. The station being built by EDF at Hinkley Point in Somerset, for example, will generate 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, eight times as much.

More details of the competition are expected at the end of the month, but industry executives expect the government will commit to taking on close to half of the development costs of a prototype. There is also speculation that the government will underwrite construction of the first commercial plants with a contract to buy power at a guaranteed price — or that the funding of a station could be paid for from a levy on consumer bills.

It is thought that about six companies or consortiums will submit bids. The race is likely to pit the domestic champion Rolls-Royce, the aero-engine maker, against European and American contenders.

Regardless of how many companies enter, there is no shortage of interest in the UK among international constructors. “We are very happy with the idea of a competition, and we look forward to seeing what is proposed. We would like, though, to go ahead even without government funding,” said Stefano Buono, chief executive of Newcleo, a start-up in London that will announce plans today to raise €1 billion in equity.

“In general promoters like the UK because there is public support for nuclear power, and support across political parties too,” said Jeff Navin, director of external affairs at TerraPower, which is backed by Bill Gates.

“We look forward to working with the government,” said a spokesman for NuScale, an American company that has a design approved by the US nuclear regulator. Nuscale is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker “SMR”.

Small reactors have floated back to the top of the energy charts on the tide of renewed interest in nuclear power. After the initial enthusiasm of the 1960s and 1970s, governments and utility companies lost interest because of high costs and the risk of serious accidents — a fear stoked by the partial meltdown of a reactor in 1979 at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, and a more serious disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine in 1986.

These worries have been set against the need to tackle climate change. Nuclear power generation does not produce carbon dioxide, and, unlike wind and solar, is not intermittent.

Advocates of SMRs say their smaller size means they can be installed in a greater range of sites, in clusters where more power is needed, and can largely be built on factory production lines, eliminating many of the cost overruns that have dogged the building of large plants. Detractors point to the eventual failures of previous efforts to develop SMRs, and the potential higher cost than rival forms of generation.

Those issues have not deterred a rush of interest in the past five years. It is estimated that about 60 different SMR designs are at various stages around the world, split between established nuclear power companies, governments, universities and start-ups. China and the US both have large government-backed programmes. Britain has put money into the Rolls-Royce effort, and promised a wider programme, but progress has been held up by delays in setting up Great British Nuclear, an agency that will co-ordinate the government’s efforts.




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