A new study provides details about the link between ocean acidification and the dissolution of coral reef systems. The effect is already powerful and will continue to grow in all locations as acidity grows because of increasing CO2 levels. Looking ahead, “According to their calculations, coral sediments will begin dissolving by 2050; by 2080, they will dissolve faster than they are formed.”
Growing awareness of the tremendous importance of peatlands on Earth’s carbon cycle (Science News). They are found all over the world, the amount of carbon stored right on the surface is huge, and there are a number of ways for the carbon to be released. As long as it is sequestered in wet ground or frozen in permafrost there is no problem, but both of these potential sources are being increasingly disrupted. Canada is especially well-endowed with peat. “Some researchers expect that as climate change pushes agriculture and human populations farther north, people are going to come more in contact with these mostly pristine landscapes and disturb them in ways that could increase fire risk.”
The Red Cross has first-hand knowledge of the growing risk of climate disasters. This organization now prepares for disasters in ways similar to those of insurance companies, and finds that it pays off. Their experience represents more evidence that climate change is a reality, not just a projection.
Back in 1985, when climate change was not yet a reality, scientists were making projections that have held up with amazing accuracy. This video from C-SPAN records a congressional hearing featuring people like Carl Sagan and Al Gore. There was genuine skepticism at that time that had to see some proof. Today’s skeptics, or deniers, cannot be called genuine when proof is so obvious. They are nothing more than advocates for some type of monetary interest that is sadly given higher priority.
An interesting commentary on the future of energy (Bloomberg). The US is enjoying a boom in oil and gas production and exports largely based on exploiting fracking technology applied to shale deposits. China has chosen to go all out on things like solar panels and electric cars as its ticket to economic autonomy and growth. “The shale boom may well have made it impossible for the U.S. to take the leading role in shaping the post-fossil-fuel energy landscape — and it seems to have made it more likely that China will.” It is acknowledged that there is uncertainty about when the fossil-fuel era will end, but it seems sure at some point—maybe soon?
Here is some more information about the newly developed proton battery that was announced last week. It apparently works like a fuel cell except that the hydrogen is never turned into a gas. As recently as 2014 this was nothing more than a “feasible concept” that needed much more research.