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気になった一文集(English ver. No. 14)

Extracting iron from its naturally found form, iron oxide is a hot and heavy business. You throw your iron oxide and some carbon into a blast furnace and then heat it to 1600 degrees Celsius, out comes iron, worldwide about a billion tons of it a year, but also outcomes carbon dioxide - bad news for the environment.

Well essentially if the electricity is got from a green renewable source. It essentially eliminates the production of carbon dioxide which essentially just takes the iron oxide, produce iron on the cathode and oxygen on the anode.

That is a big question, because in an iron blast furnace essentially the reactions take place in three dimensions. So you've got these gas flowing particles and they get reduced all over the surface. The description of the process is that you have a liquid pool and that's essentially two-dimensional, so the mass of material produced per square metre is much less. So there are lots of challenges.

Nature Podcast, 9 May 2013」Derek Fray @ the University of Cambridge


SEJ has been applied extensively in volcanology and in the nuclear sector, and more recently in and ecology.

If contributions from glaciers and ice caps (12.4 ± 4 cm) and thermal expansion of the ocean (14–32 cm) are taken into account, we’re looking at a range in SLR of 33–132cm by 2100, according to Bamber and Aspinall.

Quantifying uncertainty on thin iceNature Climate Change 3, 311–312 (2013)


Climate anomalies have already had a detectable impact. Satellite observations and data from CO2 measurement towers suggest that extreme events reduce plant productivity by an average of 4% in southern Europe and 1% in northern Europe, says Reichstein. That lowers annual carbon uptake by 150 million tonnes — equivalent to more than 15% of Europe’s annual man-made CO2 emissions. The most extreme events can turn forests and grasslands from carbon sinks to sources. In 2003 alone, a record-breaking heatwave in Europe led to the release of more CO2 than is normally locked up over four years.

Lack of water makes plants less capable of fending off pathogens and insects. After the 2003 heatwave, caterpillars devastated Mediterranean oak forests near Montpellier in France. Researchers have presumed that this triggered a large carbon release, but such responses are hard to predict.

The world’s soils contain almost 100 gigatonnes of carbon — twice as much as the entire atmosphere. Just a 10% increase in soil-respiration rates, says Bahn, would release more CO2 in a year than humans pump out.

Wild weather can send greenhouse gases spirallingNature (09 April 2013)


Developers of the €3.5-million (US$4.5-million) project say that the P2G technology is an ideal way to cope with the unreliable nature of solar and wind power. During sunny or breezy days, excess electricity can be used to make methane, which can be stored and then burned to generate power when the winds fail or the days turn dark.

But the economic challenges are daunting, with the total costs of the Energiewende estimated to top !1 trillion. Europe’s deep financial crisis looms large over a project of that scale, warns Roger Pielke Jr, an environmental-policy researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder. “The German public has so far shown great willingness to pay for the transformation, but there will be limits to that willingness, especially if the economic climate gets rougher.”

The primary motivation for the Energiewende is to combat climate change. By 2020, Germany aims to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% below 1990 production levels, and it hopes to achieve a reduction of at least 80% by 2050. The government set those goals in 2005, but the targets became much more ambitious in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in March 2011.

Germany is subject to the vagaries of outside forces, such as the rapid expansion of natural-gas production in the United States, which has curbed domestic demand for coal. Excess US coal is now heading to Europe, helping to fuel a resurgence of coal use in the United Kingdom and Germany, among other countries. With Germany’s imports of low-cost coal rising, the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions increased by almost 2% in 2012 — bucking a long-term decline.

The government intends to have one million battery-powered cars on German roads by 2020, but experts view that goal as unrealistic. The industry lacks the capacity to produce that many electric cars, and motor-loving Germans have not shown much desire for them. The new Audi and similar models may turn more heads, because consumers can switch to normal fuel if they are running low on natural gas and cannot find a specialized refuelling station. That option is not available to owners of batter-powered vehicles that run low on charge.

Germany’s energy gambleNature (10 April 2013)


They find that coral reefs in the western tropical Pacific Ocean are likely to be among the first to succumb to global-warming-induced increases in water temperatures, whereas coral reefs in other places, such as near the high-latitude limits of their range, may hang on for a few more decades. Unfortunately, coral reefs in these higher-latitude environments may be the first to succumb to ocean acidification.

These findings therefore suggest that if we aim to protect any coral reefs, the RCP2.6 pathway must be viewed as an upper bound on permissible greenhouse gas concentrations. However, many see the emissions associated with RCP2.6 as ‘unrealistically’ low. If this view is correct, then the only ‘realistic’ scenario is one in which we kill off all coral reefs.

After previous mass extinction events — preserved in the geological record — it took many hundreds of thousands of years before coral reefs became common once again. Such evidence suggests that the decisions we make over the next years and decades will affect the marine environment for hundreds of thousands of years to come.

Coral ‘refugia’ amid heating seasNature Climate Change 3, 444–445 (2013)


But although fossil fuels can be replaced, at some cost, by carbon-neutral alternatives, we will continue to depend on managing Earth’s land surface for food and fibre.

Plant a tree, but tend it wellNature 498, 47–48 (06 June 2013)


It has long been debated — including at the Conference of the Parties in Doha last December — whether industrialized countries responsible for historical emissions should continue to bear the largest proportion of mitigation costs in the future. The most contested view is that poor and emerging economies are increasing carbon emissions and therefore should intensify their efforts to mitigate.

The international community has to support developing nations as poverty undoubtedly increases susceptibility to climate-related risks. But vulnerability to climate change has several dimensions that depend on a combination of economic and social factors.

Positive intentionsNature Climate Change 3 (6) (June 2013)


The fastest emissions growth last year occurred in Brazil’s energy sector, although it is still eco-friendly compared with the energy sectors of most other major economies. Brazil boasts the world’s most advanced bioethanol industry, and produced roughly 85% of its electricity from hydropower in 2010. But Brazil has increasingly turned to fossil fuels to drive an ever larger share of its economic growth in recent years. Emissions from the energy sector increased 21.4% between 2005 and 2010, translating to an increase of 399 million tonnes of CO2.

“This is the key to fixing international diplomacy — we need a few big emitters to demonstrate credibly how successful international coordination would tangibly lead to extra efforts,” says Victor. “Brazil, as a big emitter and an emerging country, is in a special position to do that.”

Brazil reports sharp drop in greenhouse emissions」Nature NEWS (05 June 2013)


Researchers say that China has reasons beyond climate change to implement emission caps. In the past few years, rampant air pollution has caused increased public resentment and social unrest across the country.

Kelly Sims Gallagher, an expert on energy and environmental policy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, says that an ambitious emissions cap from China “would send a strong political signal to the world” and would make it easier to pass more aggressive climate legislation in the United States, where there is strong political resistance to national climate regulations.
エネルギー・環境政策の専門家であるマサチューセッツ州MedfordのTufts大のKelly Sims Gallagherは、「中国における野心的な排出量制限は世界に強い政治的メッセージを送ると思われ、国家的な気候調節に対して政治的な強い反発があるアメリカ合衆国においても、より意欲的な気候法案が通りやすくなるかもしれない。」と述べる。

China gets tough on carbon」Nature (13 June 2013)


Recent abrupt changes, such as the green revolution and China’s rapid industrialization, differ substantially from the pace of previous changes, such as agricultural practices, which evolved over centuries and thus allowed species and species interactions to coevolve. The systems resulting from those gradual changes maintained an equilibrium that benefits conservation, sustainable production, and cultural ecosystem services. To protect future human civilizations from the effects of the Anthropocene, we should work to decelerate change to gain time for evolution and prevent break- downs in ecosystem services.

The Age of Man: Outpacing Evolution」Science (14 June 2013)