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Patrick Mazza's Posts

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The carbon math – Western US ecosystems capacity to store carbon in future depends on emissions reductions now

How much carbon is stored in natural systems of the continental western US?  Over coming decades, how much of the fossil fuel carbon dioxide we are pumping into the atmosphere will western ecosystems absorb? A new US Geological Service survey provides some sobering answers. The two crucial takeways: First, the capacity of western ecosystems to absorb carbon between now and 2050 depends on how rapidly we move now to reduce fossil emissions.  To put it simply, the hotter and drier we let the world become, the less will climate-stressed forests, grasslands and other systems be able to capture and store …

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Literal grassroots leadership: The Soil Carbon Challenge

Sitting down to talk about his work to focus the climate-saving power of soil carbon, Peter Donovan starts off with a trick question. “What’s the major greenhouse gas?”  I fall right into it. “Carbon dioxide.” “No, it’s water vapor.” Of course, he’s right, and I know it.  I have answered the question I thought I heard – What is the human-emitted pollutant that is the largest source of climate change?  But in terms of actual gases in the atmosphere, good old H2O is hands down the greatest heat trapper. So what does this have to do with carbon in the …

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Newly discovered super-advanced biocarbon device: anchovy poop!

(At the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative we are constantly on the hunt for ways to improve the carbon storage capacity of natural systems.   One of my partners in the project, Rhys Roth, came across this new scientific study on the importance of fish poop.  One way to help remove the carbon load in the Earth's atmosphere!  Patrick Mazza) Filed under: NBI, biocarbon, solutions, carbon, natural systems   By Rhys Roth I love pizza, but the anchovies?  Not so much.  Little did I know that by skipping the anchovies I may actually be helping protect https://grist.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpEarth’s  natural CO2 cleansing system.  Anchovy poop, …

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Fires, droughts put focus on climate — but will we seize the moment?

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Flying from Seattle to Boise, Idaho, on Sunday for the Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference, the pilot pointed to a bit of climate change out the window.

“Over to your left you can see plumes from the fires,” he announced over the intercom. The sky was choked with smoke from Eastern Washington wildfires, as it has been for weeks.

In Boise it was clear and sunny. But the hotel shuttle driver noted this was the first time in days you could see the mountains above the town. Boise, too, has been gasping on the wildfires.

The smoke came up again in a Monday conference welcome by Boise Mayor David Bieter. It is heartening when the leader of the reddest state’s biggest city greets an auditorium full of climate scientists with an acknowledgement that “the work you do is of such importance to our community and policymakers in general ... your work will help us understand what we might face in decades to come.”

Bieter said the climate issue has faded in recent times, but smoky skies seem to be bringing it back. “If we didn’t have climate change on our minds, events have forced us to think about it again.”

Indeed, this summer's record heat waves, sweeping wildfires, and widespread drought have left visible imprints on the public mind. There is a sense that denialism is finally in retreat, and that this is a moment of climate opportunity.

But moments pass. Will we seize this one?

Read more: Climate & Energy

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On the verge of revolutionizing the U.S. power grid

Rachel Maddow, a kindred spirit whose heart beats a little faster at the word "infrastructure," has been campaigning recently for more infrastructure spending in the stimulus package. Pointing to the mass blackouts caused by Midwest storms, she asked the other day on her MSNBC show, "Can I put in a request for a grid that works, even in the snow?" Yes, Rachel, you can! What you want is a smart grid rich in distributed energy resources. First, it is important to be clear that we have two power grids: a transmission grid, which consists of the big lines carrying power …

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Call it ‘green mobility’

With an auto industry bailout careening down the pike, Climate Solutions policy director KC Golden has some vitally needed insights regarding what we need to demand from industry leader GM in return. ----- We should not rescue General Motors as we know it. But Congress could use the proposed bailout as an opportunity to begin building a new prosperity that can last. As part of any public assistance, GM should be required to help America reduce its oil dependence and tackle the climate challenge by producing the cars of the future. Saving GM under any circumstances is a hard swallow. …

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Upward from the Climate Security Act

Climate Solutions Policy Director K.C. Golden has some thoughts on where to go with national climate legislation after last week's down vote on the Climate Security Act. As thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped through the nation's capital last week, the U.S. Senate tied itself in a procedural knot, preventing a vote on the substance of the Climate Security Act -- the first meaningful climate legislation to reach the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called it "the most important issue facing the world today." But the minority stalled -- insisting on a full reading of the nearly 500-page bill -- …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Linking green buildings and the smart grid will spawn a green energy ecosystem

A new energy ecosystem is emerging that connects smart, green buildings with a smart, green grid to optimize energy flows. Since commercial and industrial buildings represent around 40 percent of U.S. energy use, and homes another 30 percent, this represents the most significant opportunity for energy efficiency and mass-scale renewable generation. But creating this new green energy ecosystem means linking what are today heavily "stovepiped" separate systems within buildings and between buildings and the grid. It also means expanding the definition of green buildings to include the digital smarts that connect diverse systems. The Green Intelligent Buildings Conference in Baltimore …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

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Ron Sims on MLKJr., climate change, and green jobs

Ron Sims, the African-American executive of a county whose name now honors Martin Luther King Jr., has led efforts to make King County one of the climate leaders among American counties. In today's Climate Solutions Journal, he writes about Dr. King's dream and how it connects to climate change, green jobs, and social justice. (County residents a number of years ago decided to shift from honoring 19th century slaveowner and political figure Rufus King to MLKJr. Recently the county logo finally caught up -- see upper left-hand corner.)

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