The United Nations estimate of future world population is 9.3 million by 2050, rising to 10.1 billion by 2100. However, the U.N. figures are given with a very wide range of uncertainty – between 6.2 billion and 15.8 billion in 2100. A new model developed by a team from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and the CEU-San Pablo University, both in Spain, indicates that the U.N.'s low estimate for 2100 (a population of 6.2 billion) is more likely – with the population by 2050 being similar to, or even slightly lower than, the present 7.1 billion. Félix F. Muñoz, … Continue Reading
The video clip below graphically describes the shocking disparity in wealth between the richest and poorest groups of Americans. The video points out that the wealth disparity is very different from what most Americans think is the case and what they would want it to be and includes a chart illustrating this. A similar Australian study was conducted by Empirica Research. In the graph below, the Australian results are overlaid on the American chart. The chart shows that Australians are far more equal in wealth than Americans, but not nearly as equal as they think they are, and far less … Continue Reading
Researchers at Stanford University's Global Climate and Energy Project have published the results of a study of the energy efficiency of different ways of storing energy on the electricity grid. The study found that compressed air and pumped hydro storage are by far the most energy-efficient techniques. Over its lifetime, compressed air storage can store 240 times more energy than is needed in its construction. Pumped hydro can store 210 times more energy than is needed to build it. Of the five battery technologies tested, lithium-ion batteries were the best performers, storing 10 times as much energy as is required … Continue Reading
When Trisha Atwood of the University of British Columbia studied the effect of removing predator fish from ponds and rivers in Canada and Costa Rica, she found a consistent pattern – carbon dioxide emissions increased more than tenfold after the predators were removed. Wiping out the top predator results in a "trophic cascade" in which the top predator's prey proliferate, which puts pressure on the species that the prey eats and so on down the food chain. Changes to species at the bottom of the food chain, in this case photosynthesising algae, can dramatically increase the amount of CO2 that … Continue Reading
Researchers at the UK's National Oceanography Centre in Southampton have found that greenhouse gas concentrations similar to the present have been associated with sea levels at least nine metres above current levels. The researchers compiled more than two thousand pairs of CO2 and sea level data points, spanning critical periods within the last 40 million years. They used these values to find the "natural equilibrium" sea level for CO2 concentrations ranging between values of 180 parts per million and more than 1,000 parts per million. For values between 400 and 450 parts per million – which is the target range … Continue Reading
A team of researchers, led by Dr Erik Van Sebelle, at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science say that it will take at least 500 years to stop the growth of five swirling masses of plastic waste in the world's oceans even if we could immediately stop any more plastic going into oceans. A swirling mass of plastic debris, called The North Pacific Gyre, was discovered about 15 years ago. Similar areas of plastic have since been found in other oceans. The research shows this plastic accumulation is an extremely slow process. According to Dr … Continue Reading
The U.S. Labor Department recently announced the results of its first ever survey on green jobs in the United States. Green jobs accounted for 2.4 percent of total employment in 2010, or approximately 2.3 million jobs. The following graph shows job category growth as measured by LinkedIn. Jobs in renewables and the environment are growing at a rate which is an order of magnitude faster than any other category. This video looks at some case studies of green job growth.
A group of European and American car makers has announced the adoption of the J1772 standard developed by the International Society of Automotive Engineers for electric vehicle charging. The single plug system is to be adopted by Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, BMW and the Volkswagen group (including Porsche and Audi). The problem is that Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota have already adopted a different "standard", called CHAdeMO, which uses two plugs – one for home charging and another for fast charging. The J1772 "standard" peg won't fit into the CHAdeMO hole And, of course, Tesla is completely different again.