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Climate Change and Energy Production

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Significant ideas:

1)There is a range of different energy sources available to societies that vary in their sustainability, availability, cost and sociopolitical implications.

2) The choice of energy sources is controversial and complex.

3)Energy security is an important factor in making energy choices.

4) Climate change has been a normal feature of the Earth’s history, but human activity has contributed to recent changes.

5) There has been significant debate about the causes of climate change.

6) Climate change causes widespread and significant impacts on a global scale.

7) Mitigation attempts to reduce the causes of climate change.

8) Adaptation attempts to manage the impacts of climate change. Theconversation. Sea-level rise, erosion and coastal flooding are some of the greatest challenges facing humanity from climate change.


Recently at least five reef islands in the remote Solomon Islands have been lost completely to sea-level rise and coastal erosion, and a further six islands have been severely eroded. These islands lost to the sea range in size from one to five hectares. They supported dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old. Nuatambu Island, home to 25 families, has lost more than half of its habitable area, with 11 houses washed into the sea since 2011. Security Check Required. How Northern European waters soak up carbon dioxide. Image copyright AFP The seas around the UK and the rest of northern Europe take up a staggering 24 million tonnes of carbon each year.

How Northern European waters soak up carbon dioxide

Carbon emissions 'postpone ice age'. Image copyright Ittiz The next ice age may have been delayed by over 50,000 years because of the greenhouse gases put in the atmosphere by humans, scientists in Germany say.

Carbon emissions 'postpone ice age'

They analysed the trigger conditions for a glaciation, like the one that gripped Earth over 12,000 years ago. The shape of the planet's orbit around the Sun would be conducive now, they find, but the amount of carbon dioxide currently in the air is far too high. Earth is set for a prolonged warm phase, they tell the journal Nature.

"In theory, the next ice age could be even further into the future, but there is no real practical importance in discussing whether it starts in 50,000 or 100,000 years from now," Andrey Ganopolski from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said.

Energy choices

Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks. What is happening in Paris this December?

Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks

The governments of more than 190 nations will gather in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and thus avoiding the threat of dangerous climate change. Why now? Current commitments on greenhouse gas emissions run out in 2020, so at Paris governments are expected to produce an agreement on what happens for the decade after that at least, and potentially beyond. Why is this important? Scientists have warned that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, we will pass the threshold beyond which global warming becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

Nepal's forests under threat over fuel crisis - BBC News. Image copyright AFP/Getty Nepal's world-renowned community forests are under threat from a sudden rise in demand for firewood because of a fuel crisis, officials say.

Nepal's forests under threat over fuel crisis - BBC News

Climate Time Machine. Designers create the 'impossible' zero-carbon house - BBC News. Designers at Cardiff University say they have constructed the sort of house George Osborne once described as impossible.

Designers create the 'impossible' zero-carbon house - BBC News

Obama's clean energy plan expected to boost renewables - BBC News. After a year of consultations and over 4 million public comments, President Obama's Clean Power Plan will be finalised early next week.

Obama's clean energy plan expected to boost renewables - BBC News

The strategy will outline restrictions on CO2 from electricity that individual states will have to implement. To give reluctant states more time to comply, the starting date is expected to be delayed by 2 years. It's likely that new supports for renewable energy will also be announced. In June last year the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) first put forward its proposals for restrictions on power plants. The EPA said that emissions from electricity generation need to be reduced by 30% of the 2005 level by 2030. Carbon nanofibres made from CO2 in the air - BBC News. Scientists in the US have found a way to take carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and make carbon nanofibres, a valuable manufacturing material.

Carbon nanofibres made from CO2 in the air - BBC News

Their solar-powered system runs a small current through a tank filled with a hot, molten salt; the fluid absorbs atmospheric CO2 and tiny carbon fibres slowly form at one of the electrodes. It currently produces 10g per hour. The team says it can be "scaled up" and could have an impact on CO2 emissions, but other researchers are unsure. Nonetheless, the approach offers a much cheaper way of making carbon nanofibres than existing methods, according to Prof Stuart Licht of George Washington University. Islamic call on rich countries to end fossil fuel use - BBC News. Islamic environmental and religious leaders have called on rich countries and oil producing nations to end fossil fuel use by 2050.

Islamic call on rich countries to end fossil fuel use - BBC News

Fukushima disaster: Japan reopens radiation-hit Naraha - BBC News. Japan is inviting residents to return to a town evacuated in 2011 after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

Fukushima disaster: Japan reopens radiation-hit Naraha - BBC News

Naraha is the first town to allow people to return permanently, following several years of decontamination work. But many say they are not ready to come back, and only a fraction have returned for brief stays since a trial period began in April. The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered a series of meltdowns following a massive earthquake and tsunami. After the disaster, all of Naraha's 7,400 residents moved out. The Evacuated Chernobyl Is Now Teeming With Wildlife.

Global warming