CO2, Climate Change Seen As Waste Disposal Challenge
Climate Central, feat. Mark Barteau
Only a handful of institutions — among them are the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Arizona State University, the University of Michigan and the Center for Carbon Removal in Berkeley, Calif. — are studying ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and funding for the research is sparse.
Tribe challenging pipeline has some advantages in courtroom
Associated Press, feat. Mark Barteau
The American Indians challenging an oil pipeline that would cross four states have some legal advantages in a courtroom, particularly their tribe's status as a sovereign nation with long ties to the land in question.
But stopping a major project like the Dakota Access pipeline after construction has begun is difficult, and even if the Standing Rock Sioux win in federal court, the end result might simply be an altered route.
Energy Institute Research Professor John DeCicco’s newly published research in Climatic Change, “Carbon balance effects of U.S. biofuel production and use,” has been covered and discussed in media around the country during the past two weeks. Check out a selection of articles below.
Biofuels worse for climate change than gasoline, U-M study says
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Biofuels might not be as clean as you thought, and they certainly aren’t carbon-neutral. The common thinking goes that crops used to make ethanol and biodiesel suck CO2 out of the air and turn it into a gas substitute. Then, when you fill up your car and take it for a spin, all you’re doing is releasing that carbon back into the atmosphere, not generating new emissions.
A new study from University of Michigan researchers challenges the widely held assumption that biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are inherently carbon neutral.
Contrary to popular belief, the heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas emitted when biofuels are burned is not fully balanced by the CO2 uptake that occurs as the plants grow, according to a study by research professor John DeCicco and co-authors at the U-M Energy Institute.
UMEI’s John DeCicco authors update of popular 2004 fuel cell reference article
Elsevier Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
The updated piece, originally published in the Encyclopedia of Energy, defines and contextualizes fuel cell vehicle use and technology in the rapidly changing transportation landscape. It notes that “climate constraints are now the most compelling rationale for developing vehicles that use non-petroleum fuels, particularly carbon-free energy carriers such as electricity or hydrogen,” and forecasts the disruptive effect of coming connected and automated transportation technologies. DeCicco wrote the piece along with Masters Student Xinwei Li.
Why utilities have little incentive to plug leaking natural gas
The Conversation, feat. Catherine Hausman
The Aliso Canyon leak in California earlier this year focused public attention on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.
Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and it is a potent contributor to climate change. In less than a year, the Aliso Canyon facility leaked methane equal to about four million metric tons of CO2, the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving over 800,000 cars in a year.
When Sarang Supekar describes how he thinks global warming will have to be stabilized, he talks in terms of sucking a lot of carbon dioxide out of the air and in a very short timeframe.
Supekar, a systems engineer at the University of Michigan, is part of a team developing a computer model that estimates how countries can stay within their carbon budgets, limiting their greenhouse gases so that the earth does not warm beyond the 2°C (3.6°F) threshold.