What a difference a decade makes…

Ford and Chrysler have just announced that they’re joining the US Climate Action Partnership, a body set up to “call on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

More on inhibition

Brian Fallow provided a good overview of the politics and reality of dealing with agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in yesterday’s Herald:

In the context of a dairy boom the arguments for exempting agriculture is likely to fall on ears if not entirely deaf, at least hard of hearing. The dairy sector, after all, would not be asked to physically reduce its emissions to some level. It would only have to take financial responsibility for any increase in emissions above that level. If it is cheaper to buy emissions reductions that have occurred elsewhere or offsets from forest sinks, well, that is exactly what a trading regime is for. It is intended to achieve emissions reductions at least cost, and reflects the fact that the atmosphere does not care where the reduction occurs. More cows, in short, may just mean more trees. Or biogas digesters. Or biodiesel from algae on effluent ponds.

The answer lies in the… superconducting magnets

Superconducting electrical motors could replace conventional aircraft engines, and if run on hydrogen could offer low-carbon air transport, a team of US researchers claim.

“We could potentially build a superconducting motor and generator smaller than a gas turbine, which would make possible electric propulsion,” says [Phillppe] Masson [of Florida State University]. Electrical propulsion would not only decrease emissions but also reduce to a minimum the needs for maintenance as all hydraulic systems would be eliminated, he adds. The team has designed such systems with high fidelity models and optimization tools. Masson adds that the team is now looking for an industrial partner to build a prototype of the superconducting turbofan. “The technology is there,” he says, “it is a matter of finding a source of funding.”

Meanwhile, the UK Telegraph investigates the rush to green air travel…

Never mind the farts, it’s the fert that matters

The Sustainability Council of NZ has just published the wittily titled report A Convenient Untruth [PDF], which finds that half of NZ’s Kyoto liabilities might be met if farmers used nitrification inhibitors – substances that markedly reduce the output of potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide from farm fertiliser use. From the media statement:

Emission reductions available from the dairy industry are large in relative terms and can be achieved quickly. After seventeen years of targets without measures to achieve them, and a lack of time to get serious emissions reductions from many other options, the availability of a cornucopia of cheap and rapidly adoptable agricultural options is a remarkable break.

Herald report here.

Meanwhile, David Parker expects government policy to reduce NZ’s Kyoto commitment by 50 per cent. In the absence of policy, do we take that on trust?

What’s climate? Ask a real scientist…

A few weeks ago, our beloved Climate “Science