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Simpler route to global warming management being missed

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source: greenoptimistic.com
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A scientific report has stated that while the world is looking at carbon dioxide as the major concern with respect to climate change, other possibly easier ways of bringing down global warming are being missed out on.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) set up by the Arctic Council produced the said report, which claimed that the temperature on earth could be brought down by earth by approximately 0.2 degrees Celsius between now and 2050 by putting down a heavier hand on the other pollutants except carbon dioxide, such as methane, black carbon and atmospheric ozone.

Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide, but is 20 times more dangerous in its potential for global warming. However, it is much easier to deal with, as it is a short-lived pollutant. An even shorter life-span is carried by black carbon, which is produced from incomplete burning of fossil fuels.

The accumulation of greenhouse gases, which might even remain hanging in the atmosphere for over a century, is the main cause behind global warming.

“Actions to reduce methane emissions could slow the global warming expected by 2050 by approximately 0.2 degree Celsius. A reduction of about 0.25 degree Celsius in the Arctic could be achieved through global actions to reduce emissions of black carbon and co-emitted air pollutants,” the report, released during the Paris conference, says, according to a statement by the AMAP.

“Unlike carbon dioxide, short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) have a relatively short residence time in the atmosphere (of a few days to about a decade). The shorter the lifetime, the more quickly atmospheric concentrations can be reduced by lowering emissions. This means that action on SLCPs has the potential to slow the rate of climate warming on a comparatively shorter time scale,” said the statement.

The statement additionally said that this step should not be seen as a replacement to the actions being taken on carbon dioxide and harsher greenhouse gases.

“Action on black carbon and ozone has added benefits since these pollutants are also harmful to human health,” it said.

The research also showed that if black carbon and methane were aggressively curbed, the temperature rise since the industrial age could easily be stalled at the 2 degrees Celsius mark.

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine
Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine. wikimedia commons

New York, Jan 3, 2018: Although winegrowers seem reluctant to try new grape varieties apparently to protect the taste of the wines, new research suggests that they will ultimately have to give up on their old habit as planting lesser-known grape varieties might help vineyards to counteract some of the effects of climate change.

vineyards. wikimedia commons

“It’s going to be very hard, given the amount of warming we’ve already committed to… for many regions to continue growing the exact varieties they’ve grown in the past,” said study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, Assistant Professor at Harvard University.

“With continued climate change, certain varieties in certain regions will start to fail — that’s my expectation,” she said.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that wine producers now face a choice — proactively experiment with new varieties, or risk suffering the negative consequences of climate change.

“The Old World has a huge diversity of wine grapes — there are overplanted 1,000 varieties — and some of them are better adapted to hotter climates and have higher drought tolerance than the 12 varieties now making up over 80 per cent of the wine market in many countries,” Wolkovich said.

“We should be studying and exploring these varieties to prepare for climate change,” she added.

Unfortunately, Wolkovich said, convincing wine producers to try different grape varieties is difficult at best, and the reason often comes down to the current concept of terroir.

Terroir is the notion that a wine’s flavour is a reflection of where which and how the grapes were grown.

Thus, as currently understood, only certain traditional or existing varieties are part of each terroir, leaving little room for change.

The industry — both in the traditional winegrowing centres of Europe and around the world — faces hurdles when it comes to making changes, Wolkovich said.

In Europe, she said, growers have the advantage of tremendous diversity.

They have more than 1,000 grape varieties to choose from. Yet strict labelling laws have created restrictions on their ability to take advantage of this diversity.

For example, just three varieties of grapes can be labelled as Champagne or four for Burgundy.

Similar restrictions have been enacted in many European regions – all of which force growers to focus on a small handful of grape varieties.

“The more you are locked into what you have to grow, the less room you have to adapt to climate change,” Wolkovich said.

New World winegrowers, meanwhile, must grapple with the opposite problem — while there are few, if any, restrictions on which grape varieties may be grown in a given region, growers have little experience with the diverse — and potentially more climate change adaptable — varieties of grapes found in Europe, the study said.

Just 12 varieties account for more than 80 per cent of the grapes grown in Australian vineyards, Wolkovich said.

More than 75 per cent of all the grapes grown in China is Cabernet Sauvignon — and the chief reason why has to do with consumers.

“They have all the freedom in the world to import new varieties and think about how to make great wines from a grape variety you’ve never heard of, but they’re not doing it because the consumer hasn’t heard of it,” Wolkovich said. (IANS)

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