Monday, March 31, 2008

Al Gore launches $300-Million Public Service Campaign

From the HuffingtonPost:

Former Vice President Al Gore is set to unveil a three-year, $300 million climate change campaign Wednesday, one of the most ambitious and costly public advocacy campaigns in U.S. history, the Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin reports:

The Alliance for Climate Protection's "we" campaign will employ online organizing and television advertisements on shows ranging from "American Idol" to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." It highlights the extent to which Americans' growing awareness of global warming has yet to translate into national policy changes, Gore said in an hour-long phone interview last week. He said the campaign, which Gore is helping to fund, was undertaken in large part because of his fear that U.S. lawmakers are unwilling to curb the human-generated emissions linked to climate change.

"This climate crisis is so interwoven with habits and patterns that are so entrenched, the elected officials in both parties are going to be timid about enacting the bold changes that are needed until there is a change in the public's sense of urgency in addressing this crisis," Gore said. "I've tried everything else I know to try. The way to solve this crisis is to change the way the public thinks about it."

Private contributors have already donated or committed half the money needed to fund the entire campaign, he said. While Gore declined to quantify his contribution to the effort, he has devoted all his proceeds from the Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," the best-selling companion book, his salary from the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and several international prizes, such as the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which add up to more than a $2.7 million. Paramount Classics, the documentary's distributor, has pledged 5 percent of the film's profits to the group, and some of the money raised through the 2007 Live Earth concerts will help the campaign, along with Gore's proceeds from an upcoming book on climate change.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bacteria Linked to Climate Change and Renewable Energy Sources

Steven Petsch, a geoscientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been studying natural gas reservoirs in Michigan’s Antrim Shale. His findings have provided scientist with a new insight to global warming and the entire climate history here on earth.

Petsch discovered certain bacteria which fed off of CO² deep below ice sheets. These bacteria are responsible for producing natural gas during the ice age and the progression of glaciers through Michigan. During the Ice Age there were also high levels of methane in the earth’s atmosphere. Throughout the draw back of the ice sheets there was an immense amount of natural gas in the atmosphere, which consists primarily of methane gas.

By using the chemistry of water and rock samples from the shale Petsch is recreating an environment similar to that of the Ice Age. The water melted away from the glaciers and allowed for bacteria to thrive and consume the available carbon, therefore storing the natural gas they produced, underneath the shale.
75% of the gas stored was released into the atmosphere while retreating glaciers during the ice age as well as adding methane from other sources such as tropical wetlands. All of this concludes there were large emissions of methane throughout the atmosphere during this time period.

The bacteria provide us with the opportunity to create natural gas reservoirs, ultimately supplying us with another source of renewable energy.
These studies also are bringing scientist closer to discovering what aspects (particularly how methane) affects melting glaciers and global warming within our own environment.