Friday, May 20, 2011

Carbon Emissions Overload, by the Numbers

Coal requires 83 pounds of fuel to generate 1 million BTU, which produces 227 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Wood requires 156 pounds of fuel to generate 1 million BTU, which produces 195 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Oil requires 52 pounds of fuel to generate 1 million BTU, which produces 164 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Natural gas requires 50 pounds of fuel to generate 1 million BTU, which produces 117 pounds of CO2 emissions.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the US economy produced/consumed 100.1 QUADRILLION BTU in 2008. (1 quadrillion is 1 billion times 1 million. That 0.1 is 100 TRILLION BTU.)

There are roughly 3,400 BTU to one kiloWatt-hour, in case you’re counting…

Friday, April 15, 2011 Monday, April 11, 2011 Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Utopia or Oblivion: Only Our Best is Good Enough

For the third ClimateTalks roundtable event of the academic year, two faculty members will present advanced analysis of the climate crisis, from the historical, ethical and scientific points of view, and we will moderate a policy debate among students working on environmental issues.

The discussion will be framed by Buckminster Fuller’s admonition that our advanced industrial civilization was reaching a point where the choice between Utopia and oblivion was not only possible, but was a likely outcome of hyper-advanced “world-around” technologies, communications and commercial and political structures.

If we are in fact facing the need to provide water for 7 billion people, to secure the food supply against unprecedented stresses and a destabilized climate, if our routine consumption of basic resources is undermining the future sustainability of our civilization, what can we do?

We will examine key related questions and challengs and propose some ideas for how humanity can move forward in the midst of this complex crisis.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reports from Japan: Radiation in Water 7.5 MILLION Times Legal Limit

The still unfolding nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan is still not contained. Less than a day after officials announced they were deliberately releasing thousands of gallons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, reports now say radiation levels in water leaking from the plant has been measured at 7.5 million times the legal limit.

Efforts are underway at present to plug a crack thought to be the main source of leaked radioactive water, using silicon-based polymers. Over the last week, officials have finally admitted that at least three of the six facilities at the plant may have suffered partial meltdown.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Report finds U.S. Not Prepared for Nuclear Disaster

A report from the American Medical Association finds the US is not prepared to deal with the public health crisis that would ensue from a major nuclear accident. There is also evidence suggesting that aging nuclear plants are less stable and less secure than the public is led to believe. Indeed, radiation releases are surprisingly and disturbingly common.

Christian Parenti, author of the book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, told MSNBC tonight that at least two aging nuclear plants in the northeast —one in Vermont and one in New York— are presently leaking radiation. And as many as 180,000 gallons of radioactive tritium-laced water may have leaked into ground water in one incident.

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Monday, March 7, 2011 Saturday, February 19, 2011