What is Carbon Sequestration?

Carbon sequestration is a way to capture carbon dioxide and store it in a safe way in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a process that involves three steps: capturing CO2 from power plants and factories, compressing and transferring CO2 and injecting it deep underground the earth.

CO2 is captured during combustion before it is released to the atmosphere. Once captured it is transferred through pipelines, trains, trucks or ships and stored underground in fields . Geological formations which are suitable for carbon sequestration include depleted oil and gas fields, coal and saline formations.

After being transferred to these fields CO2 is stored several meters underground in solid but porous rock. Over this rock there are one or more layers of cap rock that insulate properly CO2 and don’t let it escape. These fields are carefully monitored in order to ensure that CO2 stays underground and that there are no leaks to the surface that could cause pollution.

What is your opinion on carbon sequestration as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Photo by geograph.ie / Albert Bridge

What you can do about the greenhouse effect ? (part 2)

Our everyday decisions may seem unimportant but collectively can have a huge impact on the environment. Reducing greenhouse gases does not mean that you have to radically change your every day life. It just means that you have to be informed about your impact on the planet and alter some of your everyday choices to more ecofriendly alternatives. Let’s take a look at some more of these practical solutions:

  • What kind of light bulbs do you use? New LED lamps can be as bright as the traditional ones while saving up to 85% electricity. They can be a bit more expensive but in the long run the pay off their price. Try using new technology light bulbs in all the rooms of your house and of course don’t forget to switch them off once you exit the room. Also try to take advantage of the day light as much as possible.
  • Do you wash your clothes? Of course you do. Washing your clothes in cold water or water that is heated up to 30̊ will allow you to save lots of energy. Today’s washing powders are really effective and can do their work even in low temperatures. So do yourself a favor and wash your clothes in cooler water.
  • How many products do you buy? The more products you buy the more energy you use. When industries make products they use water, heat, oil, carbon and other kinds of natural resources. The more products are produced in this way the more fossil fuel is burnt. This means more greenhouse emissions and more pollution for the environment. If you reduce, reuse and recycle you make the planet a great favor.
  • Does your government know? Politicians, business leaders and policy makers need to know that there are people out there who really care about the environment. Global warming is an important issue and only if we show that we care, things can change. Use your power as a voter to put pressure on your local leaders so that they follow policies that are eco friendly.
  • Does your neighbor know? The more people are informed about climate change the better. Research suggests that if all Americans reduced their greenhouse emissions up to 20%, 200 coal plants could be completely shut down. This could have a huge impact on the environment and help us fight climate change. Spread the word and let people know how much you care about environmental issues. You may also inspire other people to follow your example.

What do you think you can do about the greenhouse effect? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by flickr.com  /  Gerald Simmons

What you can do about the greenhouse effect? (part 1)

Photo by www.pixabay.comWe all acknowledge how important it is to protect the environment but how many of us actually do anything in our everyday lives to reduce pollution? In spite of what many people think, there are quite a few practical issues we can all address to help the environment and at the same time save quite a lot of money. We just need to be informed and aware of our every day choices that affect the environment. Let’s have a look at some ideas:

  • What car are you driving? When you buy a car, look for a model that is ecofriendly. Each gallon of gas you use, releases in the atmosphere 25 pounds of greenhouse gases. Buying a car that provides fuel economy means not only that you take care of the environment but that you also save a lot of money.
  • Is your house well insulated? Air leaks in your house can lead to up to 15% -25% of heat loss during winter time. Making your doors and windows air tight means spending less money on central heating. At the same time you are burning less energy to keep your house warm.
  • Do you use a thermostat? A thermostat lets you know the exact temperature in each room and how much time you actually need to heat up or cool down the place. In this way you can plan ahead when to turn on and turn off the heating.
  • Do you use power strips? Power strips (or power boards) allow you to connect many different plugs in one socket and turn them all off at once. This reduces the “phantom loads” and saves an amazing amount from your electric bill. What is the point of leaving your DVD player or hi- fi on if you don’t watch a movie or listen to music? Using power strips or just unplugging the devices can really have a positive impact on the environment.
  • What about your refrigerator and air conditioner? By upgrading the refrigerator and air conditioner often you make sure to have the most energy efficient devices. Whenever you buy any of these appliances, look at the Energy Star label which tells you if they are of the newest technology. These models may be a bit more expensive initially but after some time pay off the extra cost.

These and numerous other solutions can help us reduce the environmental impact of our everyday activities and promote a more sustainable way of living. All that it takes is some self – awareness and the willingness to change a few of our habits that are so detrimental to nature.

What do you think you can do about the greenhouse effect? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by pixabay.com

Which are the possible solutions for the greenhouse effect?

Stop-Global-warming_spelled_by_small_penguinsThe effects of global warming are evident in our everyday lives. More and more people are affected by the adverse environmental conditions created by this phenomenon. However, there is much confusion on what we must actually do in order to face this problem. Social, political and economic reasons intertwine and make solving this issue quite difficult.

Even if we stopped producing greenhouse gases today, the earth would still heat up at least one degree Fahrenheit. But the decisions we make from now on can have a dramatic impact on the temperature rise in the future. Depending on our actions the earth’s temperature can rise from 2.5 degrees to 10 degrees in the following years.

A commonly accepted goal is to stabilize the greenhouse gases at 550 parts per million (ppm). This is the threshold before which the most damaging effects of global warming could be avoided. Current concentrations are at about 380 ppm and rising. This means that we have to act fast if we want to prevent mass global warming.

Many countries are trying really hard to cut on their greenhouse emissions but there is still much to be done. A widespread approach proposed by the researchers Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow from Princeton University is called “stabilization wedges”. This approach suggests that we could try to reduce the greenhouse gases by doing small changes in different sectors rather than focusing on making major changes in one single sector. They propose seven wedges that can be used to reduce greenhouse emissions.

These wedges include working on energy efficiency, improving vehicle fuel economy, investing in solar and wind power, and producing energy from hydrogen, biofuels and natural gas. Another possible solution is “carbon sequestration”, which involves the capturing and storing of CO2 underground so that it doesn’t pollute the atmosphere.

As well as reducing the greenhouse emissions we can also increase their absorption. Plants and trees absorb CO2 naturally as they grow during the process of photosynthesis. In this way by planting more trees and reducing deforestation we can have an additional way for fighting climate change.

None of these solutions is perfect and they all have their drawbacks. Each country has to make its own decisions about how to protect the environment while at the same time ensuring a high quality of living. The good news is that there are applicable solutions for reducing the impact of global warming. If we all work close, we can ensure a viable future for the planet.

Which do you think are the possible solutions for the greenhouse effect? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by Frits Ahlefeldt

What causes the greenhouse effect?

Lots of debate has risen recently about the causes of greenhouse effect. Some people argue that the increase in the Earth’s temperature is part of the natural cycle of the climate and has nothing to do with pollution. Others argue that such a dramatic phenomenon cannot be explained only by natural causes and human activity should be taken into consideration. But what does real scientific data suggest?

Scientists have spent many years trying to understand the actual causes of the greenhouse effect. They have investigated temperature fluctuation during the last century and have taken into account many natural and human factors. The conclusion is that current global warming cannot be explained by natural causes alone. The only way to explain it is to include in the equation factors that have to do with human activity and mainly the emission of greenhouse gases.

There are several kinds of greenhouse gases. The most important is carbon dioxide (CO2) which comes from the burning of fossil fuel in cars and factories. However, there are several more like methane which comes from landfills and the digestive system of animals and nitrous dioxide that comes from fertilizers and chemicals used in refrigerators. Apart from this, the greenhouse effect is worsened by the intense deforestation which causes millions of trees to be cut every year. If these trees were preserved, they would absorb tones of CO2 which would slow down the greenhouse effect.

Last but not least, there are various greenhouse gases which trap different amount of heat in the atmosphere. Some of them have even worse effects than CO2. For example, a molecule of methane warms the Earth 20 times more than a molecule of CO2 and a molecule of nitrous oxide warms the Earth 300 times more. Some other chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (which have been forbidden because they also destroy the ozon) trap heat in the atmosphere thousands of times more. Fortunately, none of these chemicals has a high concentration in the atmosphere.

Which do you think are the causes of the greenhouse effect? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by commons.wikimedia.org

Why is the greenhouse effect a concern?

Diagram_showing_ten_indicators_of_global_warmingThe increase of greenhouse emissions is dangerous because this changes the climate at a pace faster than some living organisms can adapt to. Also the climate becomes unpredictable and this is a challenge to all forms of life. Historically the Earth’s climate has changed numerous times and has shifted from high temperatures to very low temperatures. However, these swings usually happen during the course of hundreds of thousands of years. Now we observe a peak in the temperature escalating in just a few decades.

Furthermore, with the concentration of greenhouse gases in the air and the consequent temperature increase the ice of the Arctic starts to melt. The extra water being released can change the sea levels and endanger the life of people who live near the sea. This also poses a threat to the storage of drinkable water that historically comes from the glaciers. If the glaciers melt, then the amount of drinkable water will be reduced dramatically. Last but not least, global warming can lead to extreme weather conditions such as excessive rain or drought. This could pose a great challenge to agriculture. Scientists see some of these changes happening more quickly than they had expected.

Why do you think the greenhouse effect is an important issue to address? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by en.wikipedia.org

What is the Greenhouse effect?

STOP_GLOBAL_WARMING_AND_SAVE_THE_TREESThe greenhouse effect is the warming of the Earth that happens when greenhouse emissions are released to the atmosphere. Sunlight shines on the surface of the Earth and then it’s released back in the form of heat. In the atmosphere some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases and the rest escapes to space. The more the greenhouse emissions are the more heat is trapped in the atmosphere.

Scientists knew about the Greenhouse effect since 1824. At that time Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere. In 1895 the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovered that we could accelerate the greenhouse effect by producing carbon dioxide. He did not predict however that carbon dioxide would become one of the major problems for the environment.

Greenhouse emissions have fluctuated during the history of the Earth but have remained relatively stable during the last millennia.However, during the last hundred years we have increased the greenhouse emissions and the Earth’s temperature to a great extent through the burning of fossil fuel. This has a dramatic and very rapid effect on the climate.

Do you have any more information about what is the greenhouse effect? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by commons.wikimedia.org