Carbon-Measuring NASA Satellite to Take Orbit This Week
A NASA satellite will take orbit Tuesday to help the agency better understand carbon's role in our changing climate.
"Now that humans are acknowledging the environmental effects of our dependence on fossil fuels and other carbon dioxide-emitting activities, our goal is to analyze the sources and sinks of this carbon dioxide and to find better ways to manage it," Gregg Marland, a professor in the Geology Department at Appalachian State University, said in a statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
More than half of all fossil fuels ever used by humans were consumed in the last 20 years. While Marland says that amount totals "only a few percent of the total yearly atmospheric uptake or loss of carbon dioxide from plant life and geochemical processes on land and in the ocean," it has been enough to tip the scale.
Now, NASA will monitor that consumption to complement various efforts to quantify fossil fuel emissions through the use of statistics on fuel, activity of cars and more to pinpoint emissions on scales as small as an individual building or street.
Those efforts are being funded by NASA and led by Kevin Gurney, an associate professor at Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences.
"This research and OCO-2 together will act like partners in closing the carbon budget, with my data products estimating movements from the bottom up and OCO-2 estimating sources from the top down," Gurney said. "By tackling the problem from both perspectives, we'll stand to achieve an independent, mutually compatible view of the carbon cycle. And the insight gained by combining these top-down and bottom-up approaches might take on special significance in the near future as our policymakers consider options for regulating carbon dioxide across the entire globe."
By Robin Scher
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.
As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.
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By David Drake and Jeffrey York
The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.
The Big Idea
People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.
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