Category Archives: global warming

Effects and Solutions to Reduce Impact of Air Travel on the Environment


Flying is indeed bad for the planet because it contributes to global warming, pollution, and leaves a huge carbon footprint. Airplanes run on kerosene fuel, which when combusted, releases large amount of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere. Even though aviation is not a large industry, it has large impact on the climate system.

The aviation industry is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon gases in the atmosphere. Airplanes are important to the economy in various ways such as imports, exports, tourism and business. But the importance of the industry comes with adverse effects, which continue to affect the climate with little or nothing to do because of how the industry is tremendously growing and there being no alternative to kerosene as fuel.

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What’s more, the amount of carbon footprint left on the planet by a single flight is a huge contributor of global warming. And to make matters even worse, the increased use of airplanes in travel due to its efficiency and the fact that it helps travelers save time does not make it any better. The high rate of combustion of the fuel increases the amount of carbon emission, which directly affects the erosion of the ozone layer and therefore leading to global warming.

Effects of Air Travel on the Environment

1. Emission of Greenhouse Gases

Aircraft engines combust fuel to emit carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and soot. Nitrogen oxides emitted by aircrafts contributes to global warming and is a pollutant in the lower atmosphere whereas it destroys the stratospheric ozone layer in the high altitudes. The impact of carbons released by airplanes is no small issue considering that the emissions are realized at a higher altitude and faster.

Emissions at higher altitudes pose a greater danger because they trigger a series of chemical reactions and atmospheric effects cover wider areas. It is even recorded that travelling by air has a greater environmental impact per kilometer as compared to other forms of transport such as driving. Even as other industries receive significant improvements on emission levels; that of aviation industry stagnates.

2. Noise Pollution

Noise as a result of the aviation industry can be regarded as debatable. This is because noise produced by aero planes is short-lived. However, to those residing or those near airports are affected hugely by the noise.

Some of the adverse effects that these people face include sleeping disturbances, performance effects, and interference with communication along with cardiovascular and psycho-psychological effects. Noise of an aircraft is the responsibility of the airport operator and he or she should then ensure proper mechanisms to set, monitor and ensure noise insulation schemes are in operation.

3. Contrails Leading to Global Warming

Contrails, water vapor, released by air planes forming condensation trails, trap heat that would otherwise be released from the earth. This brings about global warming. According to studies, night flights cause global warming more compared to day flights because contrails help in reflecting sunlight during the day.

The contrails in the sky condense at higher altitudes and can spread up to two kilometers from where they have been realized. They tend to trap heat that would otherwise be dispensed from the earth, greatly contributing to global warming.

Solutions to Reduce Impact of Air Travel on the Environment

1. Setting up of Regulations

As a solution to environmental degradation as a result of air travel, regulation of the industry is needed. International Civil Authority (ICAO) in 2016 proposed the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) which gives airlines restriction on carbon emissions. If the limit is exceeded, then airlines will buy offsets from other sectors.

This however did not perform as expected proving to the complexity of regulating airlines therefore leaving the responsibility of regulating amount of carbon emissions to Kyoto Protocol whose responsibility is limited to domestic flights. The issue of regulating the aviation industry should therefore be treated as other transport policy and its consistency maintained so as to protect the climate. In order for regulations and policies to take place, international cooperation should be enhanced to achieve its efficiency.

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2. Use of Technology

To deal with the problem of climate impact by the aviation industry, technology can be used in design and systems of planes to make them more efficient. A breakthrough in use of another type of fuel that is greener, like biofuels, hydrogen, solar panels and batteries, could save the world from the degradation of the environment by aircraft engines running on kerosene.

However, the rate at which this progress is made cannot be compared to the rate at which number of passengers are buying tickets. Also, the fact that aircraft have to carry their own fuel is one that should be dealt with and have such engineering problems looked into and a solution is reached.

3. Carbon Offsetting Programs

Charging the amount of greenhouses emitted into the air by aircraft could go a long way in discouraging pollution. These charges should be made payable by airlines for every ton of greenhouses emitted. Like other transport operators, it obliges airlines to pay for the pollution they cause thereby limiting them to lower amounts of emission because it comes at a price.

In addition to emission costs, the government can also add environmental and social costs. Most airplanes have embraced this and have been coming up with projects that help offset their carbon footprints. There is a mechanism that helps in the calculation of the amount of carbon footprint created by a flight and the money generated in offsetting allows the airplane companies to start projects that protect the environment.

4. Using Alternative Means

One of the most effective ways to reduce amount of carbon footprint is by flying less often. This means in the case where other forms transport are available, it is not a must for an individual to fly. Instead, driving or taking the train to the destination as preference for majority of the people would mean airlines burn less fuel. Taking holidays that are not so far away could also help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Use of Computer Programs to Reduce Noise Pollution

As a means of preventing noise pollution by airports to its neighborhoods, computer programs can be used to simulate aircraft operations to identify areas that are prone to such disturbances. Virtually predicting the extent of noise levels using the International Noise Model can be used to address the issue. The model is widely used to come up with aircraft noise footprints for a certain number of aircrafts at average weather conditions.

6. Optimization of Flight Routes

In a bid to protect the climate, optimizing flight routes can reduce negative effects of flying. Having a flight plan that avoids weather conditions, which results in the creation of clouds is among the best strategies. By limiting the formation of clouds, it aids in release of earth’s radiation into space resulting in a cooling effect. With proper formulation of routes, climate protection by aircrafts can be achieved. Plus, airlines with routes that pollute less can be charged less money for pollution certificates.

7. Invention of Alternative Energy Sources

Aircraft engines unlike other engines have no other greener alternative such as the use of solar or other renewable energy. Technological advancement in the sector might lead to electric planes that emit less and are more fuel-efficient. However, the sector remains negligent to matters of the environment.

For instance, most airline websites mention little about environmental protection or have completely nothing to do with the environment. Also, NGOs that deal with the environment are reluctant on the matter. Such negligence can be attributed to huge concentration on profits earned by airlines that has seen the industry continue to grow irrespective of how bad flying is for the planet.

Image credit: pexels , pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

20+ Solid Steps Towards Plastic-Free Living


The use of plastic is a big menace to the environment. Plastic lacks the ability to biodegrade and this means that it pollutes the environment. It is hence imperative to adopt a plastic free living to reduce the overall impacts plastics have on the environment.

Essentially, plastic free living means that one has to avoid or minimize using plastic materials. In other words, the plastic materials we use daily can be substituted by other environmentally friendly materials or can be avoided completely. Here are 20+ solid steps to plastic free living.

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1. Giving up bottled water. Bottled water comes in a plastic package, which requires effort to ship and extract. Using a reusable stainless bottle instead of using the plastic bottles is one step towards a plastic free life. The bottled water is normally filtered tap water so one can just purify tap water in their homes and bottle it in a stainless steel bottle. However, one should avoid reusable plastic bottles and aluminum bottles as they may leach chemicals in water and are lined by hazardous epoxy resins respectively.

2. Use reusable shopping bag The use of plastic bags are on the rise and they contribute greatly to pollution and their production also contribute to global warming. Instead of using a plastic bag next time when doing grocery shopping, you can use other alternatives such reusable paper bags, canvas bags, backpacks, and messenger bags. The reusable shopping bags should be kept in one’s bag or car at all times in order to avoid buying plastic bags.

3. Use reusable containers for take outs and leftovers. Next time you are out for food and you need to take out foods or leftovers use one of your containers instead of the takeout containers provided. Make sure you carry with you a container each time you go out to avoid promoting the use of plastic materials. The move will allow movement towards a plastic free living.

4. Use stainless steel bottles and cups for water or coffee as you move around. When moving around the world on travel or when running errands, one needs water or coffee. These drinks come in plastic bottles or disposable cups. To avoid plastics, you can choose to carry around stainless steel mugs or water bottles to store the drinks in. And to avoid forgetting the mug or bottle at home, you must have a personal policy not to take any of the drinks if you have forgotten the containers.

5. Eat ice cream cone instead of ice cream in a container. Instead of keeping tons of ice cream in the freezer in plastic containers you can treat yourself to cone ice cream occasionally when you have cravings. In addition to reducing the number of plastics in the world, it also reduces ice cream consumption hence a healthier individual.

6. Cut on plastic bottled beverages. Plastic bottled beverages include drinks such as sodas and juices, which increase the level of plastics or non-biodegradable components on earth. Choosing to take fresh fruits or drink fresh juice from the comfort of your home makes it easier to get rid of plastics or glass bottles or containers that accompany these beverages.

7. Buy fresh pastries that come in paper bags or no bags. When going to the bakery for bread or other pastries, you should opt for fresh ones that come in paper bags or no paper at all. A cloth bag or any other clean bag can be used when picking bread from the bakery or farmers market. Additionally, bread stay fresh when stored in an airtight tin or in a cloth bag so it’s an added bonus to using plastic bags.

8. Return used containers to suppliers for reuse. When buying groceries from the farmers market, you can use one shopping bag that you can take for a refill each week. As for the cherries, tomatoes, and jam that can be stored in containers, they should be returned to the farmers market for reuse. Instead of having a pile of containers in your kitchen that keep accumulating each time you go to the market, you can collect them and take them back for reuse.

9. Carry around a container for meat and prepared food. When you go out to for meat or other prepared meals that need packaging be sure to carry your own container from home to avoid their plastic containers. You can ask the butcher to measure the weight of the container you are using and deduct it from the total weight of the meat.

10. Buy milk in reusable glass bottle. When buying milk or yogurt you can opt to use glass bottles. The glass bottles can be yours or you can get milk packed in them in the supermarket. Instead of buying milk packed in plastic bags or disposable paper bags you can carry around your glass bottle that is specific to milk or yogurt. The glass bottles help get rid of plastic bags and paper bags coated with plastic on both sides a major step towards plastic free living.

11. Carry Cutlery and Straws that is Non-plastic. Plastic cutlery such as spoons and knives and straws are among the worst pollutants. They are normally overlooked but they are mostly used and disposed of leading to a pile of plastic disposed in the environment. In order to embrace plastic free living, it is important for you to stop using these plastic cutleries and straws and instead embrace the use of your own cutlery. Carry cutlery with you from home and keep it in the car. It could be made of stainless steel, wood or anything that is not plastic or disposable in order to keep this world plastic free.

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12. Shop in Bulk to Minimize Packaging. It is important to shop in bulk be it for personal effects, grocery, hardware products, cleaning supplies or other products that come in plastic packages. When you shop in bulk, you avoid using plastic packaging or minimize them. There are stores that weigh products you have bought in bulk and package them in personal containers. While shopping carrying these containers or bags, it can be essential in reducing and eventually putting a stop to plastic living.

13. Avoid Buying Foods that have been over packaged, processed, canned and those that are frozen. The ban of plastic completely in the world would mean that people would be healthier. Most of the unhealthy foods are stored in plastic materials whereby they are stored for future purposes. Vegetables and fruits are normally covered in plastic in order to keep them fresh. Frozen convenient foods are normally packaged in plastic bags to avoid keeping them fresh while in the freezer. Canned foods are also coated using plastic called epoxy. If you avoid buying these products, then you are taking a step towards a plastic free living.

14. Try Replacing Plastics in the Kitchen. Most small packages in the kitchen come in plastic packages, therefore bulk buying comes in handy here. Buying in bulk means that you can dictate the package that the product comes in say detergent, for example, and instead use mason jars. Plastic scouring pads made of plastic can also be replaced with copper scrubbers. Plastic ice cube and Popsicle makers can be replaced with stainless steel ones to cut on the use of plastic. Cutleries and other utensils made of plastics can be replaced with either wood or stainless steel.

15. Replace Plastics around the Bathroom. Looking around the bathroom and replacing plastic containers with alternative containers goes a long way in getting rid of plastic. Tooth brushes, combs and hairbrushes with plastic handles can be replaced with wooden handles. Furthermore, instead of using deodorants that come in plastic packaging one could opt for baking soda which is as effective in drying the underarm.

16. Choose Healthier Electronics. Instead of buying new plastic made electronics opt for second hand electronics that have less packaging and less toxics.

17. Forego the Idea of a Christmas Tree. Instead of buying the artificial Christmas tree made of PVC, one should consider getting the real tree. The natural trees are more environmental friendly and they are a step towards living a plastic free life.

18. Throw a Zero Waste Party. Hold a party that requires the use of no plastic materials. Replace disposable plastic plates, cups and cutleries with stainless steel utensils. In case you have limited utensils, ask the guests to carry theirs from their homes to reduce the use of plastic.

19. Modify old clothing and shoes. Next time instead of throwing away old clothes or shoes, you should try modifying it and creating something better out of it. Old clothes that are either out of fashion or do not fit anymore could be taken to the tailor for alteration or you can think of something to do with them. The same applies for shoes.

20. Get Rid of Plastic Trash Bags. Instead of using the plastic garbage bags for trash, you could get a recycled plastic Urban Compost Tumbler which allows you to decompose garbage instead of throwing it away. Therefore, the use of plastic bags becomes obsolete.

21. Repair Things when they Break. Repair things around the house or outside before you opt to replace them. Repair allows old appliances or tools to be utilized instead of buying new ones with plastic packages. This acts as a step towards plastic free living.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Famous Climate Skeptic Withdrew From Top Environmental Job by White House


In yet another famous hindrance for the President of the United States, Donald Trump, the white house recently withdrew the appointment of a top climate skeptic to become the chair of the Influential Council on Environmental Quality.

However, it is important to know that the appointment of this top skeptic by name, Kathleen Hartnett White has been delayed due to some of her controversial statements on climate change and other environmental issues in the past. Nevertheless, Kathleen Hartnett has been finding it difficult to get the support of most Republicans in the Senate. The appointment of Kathleen Hartnett had been delayed for over a year now.

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Just like other nominees from the president of the United States, she doesn’t support environmentalism and she’s also in support of the Texas Public Policy Foundation which was a conservative think tank that got huge funds from Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other big fossil-fuel industries.

Kathleen Hartnett White was declared last October by President Trump to be the chairperson of the Influential Council on Environmental Quality. It is also necessary to know that Kathleen has worked with the former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, who is now Trump’s energy secretary for 6 years to oversee the state environmental agency.

Furthermore, the nomination of White was flagged in the Senate and she is among the group of nominees that have been rejected by the Senate from the White House when the Congress concluded its activities for last year. Nevertheless, President Trump submitted White’s nomination at the beginning of this year again.

Kathleen Harnett White who has never been a researcher linked the work of environmentalists to “the rigid claims of ideologues and clerics”. When called for a Senate hearing last year November, she shielded and stood by her past comments, that environmental pollution which is caused by burning fuels does not cause any detrimental effect on the environment.

White’s opponents were against the nomination of her heading the council and they referred to her past comments on the support of fossil fuels to help improve the standard of living of people. White has often referred to carbon dioxide as not being a polluting agent but a necessity for plant nutrition and sustenance.

In the time when Perry was still the governor of Texas, White had often tagged the past American government headed by Obama as “imperial EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)” and she had constantly opposed several programs and measures on air and water pollution.

However, White has asked for her nomination to be withdrawn, according to a Washington Post. Also, she has also said in a statement: “I would love to thank President Donald Trump for his immense confidence in me. I will always support his policies and leadership on environment and energy issues and make them of critical importance in order to make our nation great, prosperous, and safe once more”.

The present U.S Senator, Tom Carper who is the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said that, “it is totally clear that being the head of the Council on Environmental Quality is not the right job for White” Carper had said that the withdrawal of White’s nomination from the office was the best measure that has been taken; he has advised the government of the United States to choose a considerate environmental and public health personnel to lead this sophisticated position.

Kathleen Hartnett White has said lots of provocative statements in the past, in which she affirmed that “there are no environmental crises anywhere and that there are no major problems concerning the environment in the US”.

Also, White’s statement was also recorded saying that “renewable energy can’t be achieved, rather, it is a fabricated hope” and she called the findings made by researchers “dogmatic claims of ideologies and clerics”.

In addition to all of White’s statements, it is important also to note that September last year, she also stated that believing in “global warming” is a sort of paganism.

White’s opinions concerning global warming were also aired live in a show in November during her appointment hearing at the Senate committee on environment and public works, where she had problems trying to answer vital questions about carbon dioxide and climate. She said, “Carbon dioxide is not a characteristic air pollutant that you know to contaminate the atmosphere, thus, carbon dioxide has a direct impact on human health”. White was asked if she was concerned on the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, well, she stated that “carbon dioxide is an important gas that adds essential nutrients to plants”.

When she was asked if she knew of any issue on the oceans as a result of the discharges of fossil fuels, she answered: “there are lots of them”. When requested to name a few of them, she stated that she had only a shallow knowledge of these problems. White couldn’t give a good answer to the questions that were asked by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the effects of carbon dioxide on oceans.

However, the news of White’s withdrawal was welcomed by lots of Democrats in the U.S and it is also a cheered one for every thoughtful environmentalist all over the world today.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Scientists Warn of Permanent drought for 25% of the Earth by 2050, If Paris Goals Are Not Reached


There are lots of research on climate change and these studies have stated the detrimental effects of man-made gases that are released into the atmosphere daily. However, a recent study on the ever-growing effects of global climate inaction has stated that almost every part of the earth could end up in a long-lasting state of drought if its temperature rises or warms up to 2ºC by 2050.

However, it is important to note that a top researcher in this study named Manoj Joshi has this to say, “The research envisages that desertification would increase about 20% or more on the land surface if the global temperature reaches 2ºC”. Nevertheless, this new study has been published in the journal, Nature.

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Today, climate change has been as a result of man-made activities, and researchers have linked and stated that the spread of extreme droughts has been as a result of human activities for many years. It has also been known that the only way to limit these effects is by avoiding the conditions that could result in climate change to a temperature of about 1.5ºC.

Furthermore, Dr. SU-Jong Jeong, a scientist in China’s University of Science and Technology has also concluded that “the temperature of the earth has warmed up by 1ºC but to keep global warming by 1.5ºC, is to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which may lead to the circumvention of aridification in many parts of the earth” this includes America, Africa, Australia, and Asia (which has almost 20% of the world’s population)

“It is important to know that aridification poses a serious risk to the earth because of its threat to vital areas such as biodiversity, farming, water quality, and so on”. Lead researcher and author at the Southern University and Technology in Shenzen, China, Chang-Eui Park, stated this in a recent news release. He has also indicated that aridification can also result in an increase in more droughts and wildfires in many parts of the world – related to those seen intense in California and its environs.

The recent research also concluded and showed that decreasing global warming to a 1.5ºC rise would prevent the spread of drought, and it is important to note that the rates of drought across the world today has already increased beyond human expectations. This is due to the fact that the temperature of the Earth has sporadically risen to 1ºC in global average temperature.

Scientists have taken a critical look at the probable occurrence of aridification for different levels of global warming, containing a 1.5ºC and 2ºC rise in the average temperature of the earth. Although, the Paris climate accord has been with lots of critics from environmentalists and scientists as not being adequate to the tasks of combating the problems associated with climate change which is already imposing lots of havoc across the world today. Nevertheless, the main objective of the Paris agreement is to decrease global warming to 2ºC by the end of the century. However, if we are to achieve this feat, “prompt measures” have to be taken to restrain the emergence of aridification.

The issue associated with the Paris agreement is that the U.S (which is the second largest emitter of carbon in the world) recently withdrew its support for the Paris accord under the governance of President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, President Trump has instead, moved to other directions stated by other scientists. Together with this, Trump has also increased his actions to gut adequate measures that have been put to place for environmental protection by the former administration during his first year in office, and it is vital to know that Trump is showing no signs of limiting his actions.

Furthermore, Trump has also stated last week of his enthusiasm of a warmer planet, when he tweeted that the United States “could use a little bit of that good old global warning” to fight the cold weather that is taking over other states in the east. In addition to this, he has shown that he is unaware of the discrepancy between weather and climate. Trump’s move to withdraw the U.S from the Paris climate accord has been criticized by lots of ecologists as “stupid and reckless”

The reckless decision has categorized Trump’s tactic to the environment, not only to the United States alone but also to the world – throughout his first year as the President of the United States. However, Trump’s tweet last week sparked lots of comments from environmentalists and analysts, but this is not the first tweet made by the American President on cold weather to suggest that the world should embrace climate crisis.

Moreover, David Sirota of the International Business Times has said that the president tweet should be preserved forever so that generations to come can know the reason why the American government didn’t take adequate measures to combat climate change.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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Sun, Wind and Water: Africa’s Renewable Energy Set to Soar by 2022


There has been a loud cry for clean, more efficient, less carbon sources of energy all over the world. About 22 percent of electricity on the world is produced by renewable energy, while the remaining 78 percent is by the use of fossil fuels — gas, coal, etc. This accounts for the massive global warming worldwide; and also the desertification, gully erosion and flooding experienced in some parts of Africa.

Africa too is having a shift towards the use of renewable energy. Countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, and few other countries are making headway in the use of renewables. Energy officials have said that the strong demand for power in Africa would give rise to the use of renewables in the next 5 years.

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So many communities in African nations (especially Sub-saharan Africa) just have access to electricity by the advent of the use of renewable energy in those places. Much more people now have access to power.

In Nigeria, the Energy commission have forecast that by 2030, Nigeria would need about 200,000MW of power to be able to effectively distribute electricity to it’s citizens. This can’t be achieved by the use of gas alone; but more of the renewables — sun, wind, and water; and even biomass; because of the current rate of production (which is about 5,500MW).

In some places in Nigeria, power has become affordable and easy to access. For example, in Ofetebe community in Edo State, Nigeria, a solar mini-grid produces 4kW of electricity to power a community borehole, a clinic, 30 households, a barber shop and relaxation spots like a video parlour. The cost of installation was about N4.8m, the mini grid will last for 30 years: an investment of N500 per month for each household. The community would therefore enjoy electricity every day, 365 days per year.

Ghana is currently building what is to be Africa’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant with $400m, which will consequently produce 155MW (the Nzema Solar Project). Kenya is also planning for sufficient solar power to provide more than half of the country’s electricity by 2016. Construction of the plants that would help achieve such is expected to cost $1.2bn. (For the same amount, Nigeria could build about 1,000km of gas pipelines – but this would constitute only 10% of what she needs).

The use of renewable energy in Africa is really growing. Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable division at the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) had this to say, “A big chunk of this (growth) is hydro because of Ethiopia, but then you have solar sources in South Africa, Nigeria and Namibia and wind in South Africa and Ethiopia as well.”

He forecast that the installed capacity of renewable energy in the Sub-Sahara region would almost double the current 35 gigawatts to above 60 gigawatts under the right conditions. Ethiopia has a set of hydro-power projects that are being constructed, this includes the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River that will produce about 6,000 megawatts when it is completed.

This is sufficient for an averagely populated city for a year. “Africa has one of the best potential resources of renewables anywhere in the world, but it depends very much on the enabling framework, on the governance and the right rules,” Frankl told Reuters on the sidelines of a wind energy conference. The advocacy for a low-carbon energy source to reduce harmful greenhouse gases is a form of threat to industries who use fossil fuels, as well as beneficiaries of such.

In Africa, South Africa’s state-owned electricity company, Eskom, best illustrates the effect of the shift from fossil energy to renewable energy. The company has shown reluctance to sign new deals with independent power producers, according to analysts.

In May 2017, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) said that the energy regulator agreed to probe into Eskom’s refusal to sign the agreements that delayed almost 3,000 megawatts

in new solar and wind projects. Mark Pickering, chairman of SAWEA, said on Wednesday, “Our government does not appear to appreciate the forces of nature.”

Eskom’s reluctance to sign the new power purchase agreements for two years has delayed investment of $4.03 billion, and affected investors’ confidence with the record of at least one wind turbine being closed down. “The continent has a lot of potential, but the problem is financial and political issues, so all of our projects are being delayed for quite a long time, like with Eskom,” said Mason Qin, business development manager for southern and eastern Africa.

Hence, the strong demand for less carbon energy, and the prospective plans of African nations regarding electricity, and the demands to achieve such plans, has projected that, only by the use of renewable energy can these be achieved. 5 years would be sufficient to make this shift in Africa much clearer.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

The Journey to Limelight of Electrically Powered Vehicles in the US


The use of electricity to power vehicles in the world can be dated back to as far as the 19th century. A lot of people made tremendous contributions to the development of this kind of vehicle. Around this time, there were other means of powering vehicles which include the use of steam and fuel (coal, gasoline, etc.) which have gained prominence in the world today. The electric cars at this time were very slow and they could only work for a limited time due to the capacity of the batteries used at that time. Some could only travel a few miles and a few hours.

Before its acceptance in the US, it was already widespread in the UK and in France with so much improvement because better durable batteries were made and its speed had improved. It was until about 15 years after that the US accepted it. The first in the US was by William Morrison. It was 6-carriaged, with a speed of about 14 mph in 1890. By 1897, through the “Electric Vehicle Company,” the electric car had started to gain prominence in the US as it was used as cabs in New York, with about 62 electric cabs during that period.

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Because of some limitations in the batteries used at that time, i.e., early 20th century, the top speed of these early electric vehicles was limited to about 20 mph; but, it still earned the consumers’ preference because of some advantages it had over the other vehicles. It didn’t have vibrations, bad smell and an awful noise as can be attributed to gasoline cars.

They were also very easy to operate and they didn’t require much to start up, unlike their competitors – steam vehicles which usually took about 45 minutes to start up on cold mornings; and gasoline cars which featured a hand crank to start the engine. Because of the ease of operation of Electric cars, it was accepted widely by women in the US and was even tagged the women’s car.

When power supply became better 1912, there came a surge in the popularity of electric cars so much that it grew to a 38% use among all other types of vehicles. A total of about 34,000 electric cars were registered in the US. In the early 1920’s, the electric cars in the US began to suffer a rapid decline in its use, owing to some factors highlighted below:

  • Good road infrastructures which now required vehicles that could travel faster and for longer periods. Electric cars couldn’t stand this test as they were slow with their maximum speed of about 20 mph, and they couldn’t travel more than 60 miles or thereabout.
  • The discovery of large oil reserves in the world made fuel readily available and cheap. It now became a cheaper means to power vehicle using fuels which could even travel faster and longer.
  • Gasoline cars became even easier to operate. The hand crank which was a difficult way of starting fuelled-vehicles was replaced with an electric starter by Charles Kettering; and the noise from ICE cars became more tolerable as mufflers were used, which Percy Maxim had invented in 1897.
  • The mass production of fuelled-vehicles by Henry Ford during that period made the price of gasoline cars affordable, up to half the price of electric cars.

Consequently, these led to a drop in the demand for electric cars, leading to many of such companies being closed or converted. Only a few electric vehicles such as the milk floats in the US were still functioning.

Looking through these facts, it would seem as though electric cars would never gain prominence again in the US and even in the world at large. But, nature has its way of recycling, bringing old methods to limelight. Such is the case of the electric cars in the US today. The recent problem of global warming, a result of greenhouse gases from fuel combustion, has called the attention of the world to save our crashing Earth. One way this would be achieved is by curbing the use of fuelled-vehicles.

The US has from the 1990’s, made remarkable advancements in the design and improvement of electric cars. During this period, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), began an advocacy for more fuel-efficient, lower-emissions vehicles, with the ultimate goal being a move to zero-emissions vehicles such as electric vehicles.

From December 2016’s analysis, about 2 million electric vehicles are used all around the world, an amount of 0.2% in comparison with non-electric vehicles. America recorded an amount of 570,000 electric cars. It is said that US citizens want zero or low-emission vehicles, and it is only a matter of time for electric cars to gain prominence again, may be permanently this time.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Construction, Working and Environmental Effects of Landfill


Most of us have heard about landfills but few ever think of them as anything more that holes in the ground that get filled with trash bags. Nonetheless, landfills are a little more complex than how most of us perceive of it. A landfill is a waste disposal system where waste is buried, but the waste first goes through some processing before it is buried. Landfills are some of the most common means of waste disposal and have become increasingly popular due to the hazardous effects of burning waste, which used to be the primary technique of dealing with waste disposal for many developed and developing countries.

The uniqueness of landfills is how it allows for the burying of waste, in that, it does not cause an eyesore such as is the case with dumpsites and is completely isolated from getting into contact with groundwater or the air. Landfills also provide the added advantage of providing potential sources for energy which means that they make use of the waste in ways that no other trash storage method does.

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Construction of the landfill

Landfills work by going through a thorough process of evaluation first in order to determine where to put them and its lifetime operation. The criteria are as follows;

1. Area of land

The section of land for setting up the landfill needs to be large as not only is the actual landfill supposed to be sizable to pack enough waste, but also requires a lot of space for supporting structures that will be discussed further on. Environmental impact study also has to be done on the land before construction begins.

2. Composition of the bottom of the pit

The bottom of the pit needs to be as watertight as possible. This means that the bottom of the pit should be compacted tightly or the bedrock should not have cracks in it to prevent water from the pit leaking into ground water.

3. Surface flow of water

The flow of water from rain should also be studied in a bid to develop strategies to prevent runoff water from the landfill from making its way to rivers as well as the ground table. This means, landfills cannot be constructed near rivers and lakes and they require drainage systems to manage their surface water run-off.

4. Environmental impact assessment

This is to evaluate the damage that the project will have on the surrounding region as well as drawing up plans for contingencies that will help solve problems that the landfill might cause. The systems set up here are supposed to ensure the environment does not suffer too greatly while cushioning against any forms of accidents.

5. Historical and archaeological value of the site

Historical and archaeological valuation of the site has to be done to ensure the landfill site does not disturb land that is significant in any way either historically for the local people or on the basis of archaeological importance that would be lost. 

How Landfill Works?

Once these requirements are established, the landfill creation process can begins and this shows exactly how the landfill works. Landfills may differ in operations, structure and how they are designed, but the following are the typical structures involved.

1. Bottom Liner system

The Bottom Liner System is the section ensuring that the trash and leachate does not drain into the ground water or sip out of the landfill and make its way to other water sources or pollute the soil. The liner is usually a durable and puncture resistant material such as polyvinylchloride about a tenth of an inch (approximately 3 millimetres) thick.

2. The Cells

This is where the actual trash gets placed. As space is a precious commodity for landfills, there is a need to be very careful with how it is packed. Cells are created to allow for the allocation of specific space resources while guaranteeing optimal usage of the given land for the landfill. The packing process is especially rigorous, requiring that each cell be filled then compacted using heavy machinery to ensure maximum use of space. The resulting trash is usually packed till it becomes airtight.

Examples of cell dimensions have them placed at 15 by 15 by 4 meters. At the top of each cell, they are packed with about 6 inches of compacted soil to ensure the cell remains airtight, preventing insect and other pest penetration into the landfill.

3. Storm Water Drainage System

This is the system maintaining the dryness of the landfill by preventing water from seeping into the system. It directs surface runoff away from the landfill as well as ensuring water does not find way into rivers untreated.

4. Leachate Collection System

This system collects leachate that eventually seeps from the landfill. While trash put into the landfill is usually checked for liquids and rejected if it’s too wet, the system still generates enough liquid referred to as leachate. This liquid contains large concentrations of hazardous materials that have dissolved in it from the landfill trash over time.

It is therefore very dangerous to have it pool anywhere unmanaged or drain off into water sources. As such, the system collects the leachate and drains it out of the landfill into a collection region where it is processed just like sewage and released safely back into the natural water ways.

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5. Methane Collection System

Due to the airtight nature of the packing process, only anaerobic bacteria can survive in the landfill. These are the bacteria that do not need oxygen to survive. The bacteria break down the materials found within the landfill and produce mostly two by-products, methane and carbon dioxide.

Methane is highly flammable; therefore, letting it collect within the landfill is a dangerous option given that it might be densely packed and eventually becomes explosive. For this reason, the methane collection systems either collects the gas and use and/or sell it as a fuel source or burn it on site to reduce its concentration inside the landfill.

6. Covering or Cap

The covering cap is the last bit of material placed daily on the landfill to cover the cells. It is usually a polythene material covered in a thick layer of soil that later has trees and shrubs grown on it once the landfill is completely filled to prevent erosion. The covering is done to prevent exposure of the waste to the air, pests, and to aid on the management of bad smell.

Landfills can have very adverse effects on the environment, especially when improperly constructed. The major concerns include:

1. Leaching

Leachate is the water contained in the trash that usually seeps out over time. While management during construction ensures the trash ending up in landfills is relatively dry, some liquid is inherent within the trash and thus drains out over time. This leachate has in it dissolved organic and non-organic material and minerals. It is also usually acidic. This can cause horrendous changes in the pH levels of the soil around the landfill as well as change its chemical composition.

2. Methane as a greenhouse gas

Methane gas, as previously discussed, is extremely volatile and could easily cause problems. However, its biggest contribution to the environmental problem is that, it is a greenhouse gas. In this view, methane gas could contribute to the global warming. The situation is even made worse by the possible human errors that could contribute to problems such as accidental release of the gas due to negligence.

3. Other gases similarly cause air pollution and health problems to humans

Some other gases also tend to be produced in the landfills especially when ammonia and bleach mix. These gases can cause health problems and reduce the quality of life because of the bad smell. Besides, it can be particularly dangerous because of the tendency of converting landfills into recreational parks at the end of their lifecycle.

4. Potential fire hazard

Another huge concern is the potential fire hazard that landfills pose. Poor construction of landfills could leave enough room in the structure for air to make its way in. The produced methane gas could then easily mix with the air and ignite to start a fire. The trash within the landfill could then burn, heating to very high temperature as it burns due to its construction, the same way an oven burns, with all the compacted material above and below it. Such an occurrence could make the fires very hard to put out. Furthermore, the fire could cause the leachate to spread when attempts are made to put out the fire.

5. Soil erosion and dust

During the construction of landfills, a lot of soil is disturbed that leads to increased dust in the air. Also, the dust could rise after the completion of the project if shrubs and plants are not planted appropriately on top of the cap. Moreover, soil erosion could occur during the whole process of moving dirt as well as over time as the cap on the landfill slowly gets attacked by surface water run-off and wind.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Recent Climate Study: Severe Forecasts on Global Warming Could Be Accurate


Reports on global warming are not new all over the world today and events that contribute to climate change include the burning of fossil fuels to foster the growth of our economy. It has also been discovered that by 2100, the earth will be 15% warmer than it should. Also, the growth of indecision of disconsolate projections has been narrowed also. However, it is important to note that lots of climate models have been made so far and these models project that the amount of climate change in this century is the ones that support current observations.

Furthermore, the use of climate models is to project how much warming is taking place and what we should expect when there is an increase in the concentration of gases like CO2 ( Carbon dioxide) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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Recent research has affirmed that the uncertainty of global warming is narrow, which means that the future looks dire for us.

Climate researchers who have worked on global warming had already proposed that there is a 62% chance of the earth becoming warmer on average by more than 4 degrees Celsius if there are no policies or measures to control the emissions of greenhouse gases. With a recent climate study, the uncertainty of global warming has been narrowed and it is now estimated that by 2100, there will be a 93% chance that global warming will exceed 4 degrees Celsius.

Moreover, many nations of the world had a meeting in Paris in 2015 and they made a joint decision to curb the rise of global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius; even at this temperature, the state of global warming can still pose a great danger to the earth. However, one degree higher to this temperature is cataclysmic. And an increase above 5 degrees Celsius could pose a total change to the world or may even end it.

It is also important to note that two United State researchers made a report in the journal Nature. They made use of several climate models for the projections which were proposed by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and they also aligned the reasons against some opinions that were made.

In the report also, a detailed look was done on the differences in seasonal and monthly climate, the utilization of energy, the emissions of greenhouse gases, and how they affect temperatures. Furthermore, there have also been some contentions about how accurate these climate models work and how they can be used to forecast the world’s climate in the next centuries to come. With this, it has been affirmed that the future looks dire for us if nothing is done on global warming.

A researcher from the Stanford University of California has said that with the results gotten by them, it does not make sense to discard the forecasts made on global warming probably due to the fact that the models used are imperfect in their imitation to the way the climate looks now.

More truths

Researchers from the Stanford University of California have proposed that they are trying to show that the faults of the climate model can be used to discard predictions that are not severe. They have also stated that their results which were gotten by them suggest that if the world is to achieve a total stabilization of global temperature, then there is a need for a drastic decrease in the emissions of greenhouse gases that were previously envisaged.

With these statements and affirmations, it has been known that the use of climate models are essential as the use of climate data itself and that the basis of uncertainty could be the effect of warming. This means that there will be more evaporation to a warmer earth; which implies that the warmth of the earth is captured in the atmosphere which could cause an increase in the radiation of the sun.

For many years now, lots of research have been done in order measure with accuracy, the links between the emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of coal, natural gas, and oil, and the change in the temperature of the earth.

Modest indication

A researcher in Carnegie by name Ken Caldeira has estimated the way in which Carbon dioxide causes global warming in the earth and the way in which greenhouse gases can warm the earth for a long period of time.

However, recent conclusions solely rely on modest indications which is the precision with which climate models can be used to envisage the future of the earth when it comes to climate change.

Ken Caldeira has praised the use of these models that simulate today’s comments and he has also said that these models may be the most reliable forecast for the future of the earth.

Finally, based on a recent research, it has been confirmed that if there are no adequate policies put in place concerning the emissions of greenhouse gases, there is a high chance that global warming will surpass 4 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, which indicates grave danger on the future of the earth.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Electric Cars Are Now Cheaper to Own Than Petrol Cars


It wasn’t too long ago that electric cars were considered a dream of the future, unattainable by most working class citizens. But according to new research, this may no longer be the case.

In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, electric cars have become much more cost-effective to use and own, especially in the long-term, as found by this study. In the United States, research was conducted in Texas and California, while the study encompassed all of the other two aforementioned countries.

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This information comes at the same time as a rapid rise in the sales of electric cars in occurring, and the researchers find it fair to theorize that this is a direct result of the lower costs. Currently, the low prices is assisted by government support, though electric cars are still expected to naturally become the most inexpensive option in the near future.

The study in question was conducted by Kate Palmer, James E. Tate, Zia Wadud, and John Nellthor at the University of Leeds, UK, and it involved recording and analyzing the entirety of the cost of owning a car over the course of four years. This included all details involved with purchasing, using, and maintaining a car, including original price, fuel consumption, maintenance costs, and taxation and insurance fees.

Cars that ran entirely on electricity had the lowest fuel costs of all car options, as charging the car is much more low cost than filling up with gas, diesel, or petrol. The simpler and easier to maintain engines incurred lower maintenance costs thanks to their extra functions, which includes eliminating the need for brake pad replacements as the engine assists in braking the car on its own. In fact, in the UK, running and owning an electric car was 10% less expensive than doing the same for a petrol car as of 2015.

Meanwhile, hybrid cars did not follow in this fashion. Due to an inability to plug in and charge, they were often actually more expensive than their petrol counterparts. Hybrids that can be plugged in actually were even more expensive to own, especially when it came to the initial purchase, as buyers would basically need to pay for two engines, doubling the price. (It is worth noting that this is not the case in Japan as plug-in hybrids in that country have more subsidies.)

The researches, in a statement led by James Tate, expressed feelings of encouragement as his team predicts that purely electric cars will become even more inexpensive in the future, with car battery costs for this kind of vehicle lowering in the coming years. This is in spirit of sales subsidies, which are about $6,750 in the UK and $8,780 in Japan at this moment, but are predicted to slowly fall. The researchers estimated that by the year 2025, an electric car may be just as inexpensive to buy, own, and use as a petrol car – though some companies, like Renault, estimate that this will happen before that in the 2020’s.

Sales of electric cars have had a significant increase in recent years. For example, in the UK, the rise is as much as 37%, while diesel automobile vehicles have dropped by 30%. This is in lieu with increased concerns regarding air pollution, especially from vehicles and cars that use diesel gas. In fact, at the rate they’re going, electric cars – which do not produce nearly as much carbon emissions that contribute to global warming – could outsell diesel vehicles by May 2019. This is according to Matt Finch, an analyst at the United Kingdom Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

The push to roll out electric cars, which produce less climate-warming carbon emissions, has been supercharged by concerns over air pollution, particularly from diesel cars. In the UK, where toxic air is at illegal levels in most urban areas, sales of diesel vehicles have plummeted by 30% in the last year while sales of electric cars, which produce 50% less greenhouse gases than petrol cars, have soared by 37%.

Currently, however, demand for electric cars is far greater than the supply manufactured. The main issue behind this has been suggested to be due to the fact that there are good electric cars prices at the low and high ends, but none in the medium price range, where most families who which to purchase family cars will be turning their attention.

Meanwhile, concerns regarding the worsening state of the environment and air pollution continue to rise around the world, particularly in China, which has the largest market of electronic cars worldwide that continues to grow day by day. The rest of the world has yet to catch up, as petrol companies and traditional fuel car manufacturers continue to push to make their own products and sales.

This may come with some unfavorable downsides, as governments may begin to tax electric cars when petrol and fuel sales start to drop, according to Steve Gooding, the director of the Royal Automobile Club Foundation for Motoring Ltd. The transition to more electric cars would also require more public chargers, which good charging speeds and powers that can match up to the needs of users.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Why Gardening is Good For Your Health [Infographic]


The point of Conserve Future Energy is to help others realize what kind of state our planet is in right now. With climate change, global warming and our constant usage of non-renewable energy resources, we need to do all we can to do our bit for the environment and one way you can do your part, have some tasty food, stay in shape and also have fun is by gardening. The people at WhatShed got in touch and we have this infographic that shows just how good for you gardening can be.

By growing your own food, you are making sure that you are eating more organic and natural food. Of course, this is going to save you money in the long run, but it is also a way that you can do your small part for the environment. Growing your own food is a wonderful experience and that first time you make a dish with vegetables you have grown from scratch, you will never look back.

Gardening takes care of your physical and mental health so you get full body workout. Speaking of which, you no longer need to go to the gym as gardening for a few hours is just as good for burning calories as spending an hour in the gym. People who are keen gardeners tend to be happier people and more adept at fighting off things like strokes and various heart issues. As you can see, gardening does wonders for your body and the better in health you are, mentally and physically, the more you can do for the environment.

So as you can see by spending time in your garden, growing plants and carefully growing your own food, you can save money, be healthier and also make sure that your pantry is full of great tasting food. Have a good look at the infographic and see all of the wonderful benefits gardening offers you.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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