Archive

Monthly Archives: October 2011



Novo relatório apresentado por seis organizações europeias explica por que mecanismos florestais de sequestro de carbono, como o REDD+, não são a resposta para redução das emissões de CO2 e mitigação das mudanças climáticas

A utilização de créditos florestais é frequentemente considerada um dos recursos para ajudar a compensar as emissões de carbono responsáveis pelas mudanças climáticas. Mas uma nova análise de entidades europeias indica que esses mecanismos podem não ajudar realmente na redução das emissões.

O documento, intitulado ‘Um fim para as compensações florestais! Por que as florestas não devem ser parte do mercado de carbono’, foi produzido por seis ONGs europeias: Amigos da Terra (França), Associação Floresta e Conservação da Vida Selvagem (Alemanha), Euronatura (Portugal), Terra da Noruega, Fundação pela Floresta Tropical (Reino Unido) e FERN (Bélgica).

A análise começa criticando o sistema cap-and-trade de comercialização de carbono e fala brevemente sobre a história do comércio da poluição, que foi idealizado pelo economista Ronald Coase na década de 1960. Após a criação do conceito, os também economistas John Dales e Thomas Crocker modificaram um pouco a ideia, estabelecendo que os governos deveriam colocar limites nos níveis de poluição.

Mas mais tarde, os próprios Dales e Crocker criticaram o funcionamento de um sistema ‘cap-and-trade’ de carbono. “Não acredito que o cap-and-trade é a forma mais eficiente de regular o carbono”, declarou Crocker em uma entrevista ao Wall Streel Journal em 2009. “Não é uma cura para tudo. Há muitas situações em que não se aplica”, afirmou Dales sobre o sistema em 2001.

O documento corrobora com essa visão, dizendo que “a compensação de carbono não pretende reduzir emissões. Mesmo no melhor cenário, a compensação pretende deslocar emissões de um lugar para outro”. Assim como esse relatório das ONGs, algumas instituições brasileiras lançaram na semana passada a Carta do Acre, em que também se posicionavam contra esses mecanismos. http://www.institutocarbonobrasil.org.br/reportagens_carbonobrasil/noticia=728692

De acordo com a análise europeia, a mitigação das emissões de gases do efeito estufa (GEEs) não pode ocorrer através de mecanismos florestais de sequestro de carbono em primeiro lugar porque as escalas territoriais para isso estão erradas. Isso significa que não há terra suficiente no mundo para plantar a quantidade de árvores que seriam necessárias para absorver as atuais emissões de CO2.

Em segundo lugar, as escalas de tempo estão incorretas, ou seja, o carbono liberado pelo petróleo e pelo carvão fica retido em uma árvore por um tempo indeterminado, sendo novamente liberado na atmosfera quando a árvore cai ou morre.

O relatório também critica o mecanismo de Redução de Emissões por Desmatamento e Degradação florestal (REDD), alegando que este não pode prever o desmatamento de um país, e, por isso, não pode gerar compensações de carbono a partir da comparação entre um cenário com ou sem a atuação do REDD, já que este panorama é hipotético.

O documento se mostra cético em relação aos benefícios destes programas para as comunidades dependentes das florestas e ao trabalho do Conselho de Manejo Florestal (FSC). “Tendo falhado em garantir o manejo florestal sustentável, a FSC está agora participando de eventos paralelos durante as negociações climáticas sugerindo que pode usar seus padrões para complementar aqueles que visam certificar os créditos de carbono de REDD+”.

No entanto, a análise ressalta que mesmo não servindo como sistema de compensação das emissões geradas a partir dos combustíveis fósseis, é vital preservar as florestas para manter o equilíbrio ecossistêmico e climático do planeta. “As razões para diminuir o desmatamento são claras, salvaguardar os meios de subsistência de comunidades que dependem dessas florestas, proteger a biodiversidade e ajudar a estabilizar o clima”.

“Mas diminuir o desmatamento em vez de reduzir drasticamente as emissões dos combustíveis fósseis simplesmente não vai funcionar. As temperaturas ainda irão subir, o que, em última análise, poderia significar o fim de muitas florestas… Essa é uma das razões chave pelas quais as compensações de carbono são uma solução falsa – defende-se a redução das emissões do desmatamento em vez da redução das emissões dos combustíveis fósseis, quando ambos os tipos de emissões precisam ser reduzidas”.

O relatório finaliza enumerando algumas iniciativas que podem ser tomadas para que as emissões geradas pelas fontes fósseis sejam reduzidas, como substituir os combustíveis fósseis, apoiar iniciativas e legislações positivas existentes como esquemas de tarifa de aquisição, mudar a medição de energia elétrica para tarifas que aumentam em vez de diminuir com o uso crescente, investimento público em mudanças estruturais e trabalhar com indústrias de combustíveis fósseis para começar a transferir empregos de uma economia de combustíveis fósseis para uma economia verde.

Ainda assim, as organizações garantem que não há maneira fácil de mitigar as emissões geradas pelos combustíveis fósseis e pelo desmatamento, e que a solução está na mudança de nossos padrões de vida. “Diminuir o desmatamento requer a mudança do nosso padrão de consumo e a redução das pressões que conduzem à destruição florestal. Não há atalhos”.

Autor: Jéssica Lipinski
Fotografia: Instituto CarbonoBrasil
Fonte: Instituto CarbonoBrasil / REDD Monitor
Original: http://bit.ly/r4pL9S


FOLLOW US / SIGA-NOS:
              


City and private-sector workers go bin-to-bin

ON A cold damp morning in Chicago’s Irving Park a rubbish truck slowly inches its way along an alley, seeking out one of the city’s 240,000 recycling bins. The workers are unruffled over the latest initiative: a competition to see whether the public or the private sector can get the job done better. “We’ll just keep doing it the way we have always done,” says one city worker.

Greater privatisation of Chicago’s waste collection has been on the agenda for a while. However the new mayor has decided that the private sector must compete with the public sector to see who gets to continue to collect the city’s recycling. Each company has been allocated similar areas of the city to service, and their cost and performance will be compared with that of the public sector.

The idea reflects an eternal dilemma for governments everywhere. While the private-sector ought to be cheaper at providing services, often after the contract is won either the price goes up, or the quality of the service down; sometimes both. The city of Chicago is not the first to try what some authorities call “managed competition”. It has been used in Charlotte, Indianapolis and in Phoenix, where the idea has a long history. One study found that in Phoenix between 1979 and 1994 the private sector won 34 contracts while the public sector won 22. In Chicago, the two firms in the “competition” actually already have seven-year contracts. However, the city insists that the companies concerned are well aware there is a competition, that their performance will be reviewed next year, and that contracts can and will be terminated if the companies fail to perform as well as the public sector does.

Who will do best? The city workers reckon they have an advantage because they know their way in and out of Chicago’s tricky alleyways. But Bill Plunkett, a spokesperson for Waste Management, one of the two private-sector contenders, says it has already put a lot of work into route planning. His company also plans to operate one-man trucks (the city currently uses two). As Chicago attempts to provide services in an era of greater austerity, doing things as they have always been done is no longer an option.

Source: The Economist
Original: http://econ.st/nFGtCP


FOLLOW US / SIGA-NOS:
              



O próximo passo para estes cientistas é estudar o que está a acontecer com a temperatura nos oceanos

A temperatura da Terra aumentou, em média, 1ºC desde a década de 1950, diz um grupo de cientistas americanos que quis responder às dúvidas dos mais cépticos e aquecer o debate climático, em lume brando desde o “climategate” em 2009.

A temperatura média da superfície terrestre aumentou 1ºC desde meados da década de 50, concluiu o chamado Grupo de Berkeley, dez cientistas da Universidade da Califórnia, em quatro estudos científicos independentes, divulgados ontem à noite. “O aquecimento global é real”, escreve, em comunicado, o grupo coordenado por Richard A. Muller, professor de Física daquela universidade, ele próprio um antigo crítico.

A investigação, que durou dois anos, usou novos métodos estatísticos para analisar mais de mil milhões de dados recolhidos em 40 mil estações de medição meteorológicas, espalhadas pelo planeta. O principal objectivo não era descobrir a causa das alterações climáticas mas perceber se há, ou não, um aquecimento global, e responder às dúvidas levantadas pelos cépticos, relativas ao efeito das ilhas urbanas de calor, má qualidade das estações de medição e a pouca transparência nos dados e nos métodos.

“Quando começámos o nosso estudo sentimos que os cépticos levantavam questões legítimas e não sabíamos o que iríamos encontrar”, contou Muller num artigo publicado hoje no jornal “Wall Street Journal”. As certezas climáticas foram especialmente abaladas em Novembro de 2009, quando foram publicados mil emails trocados nos últimos 13 anos pelos cientistas da Universidade inglesa de East Anglia, sem que estes tivessem conhecimento. Os críticos disseram que os emails eram a prova de que os investigadores tinham manipulado dados estatísticos para provar a existência das alterações climáticas.

“A nossa maior surpresa foi que estes novos resultados estão em linha com os valores publicados por outras equipas nos Estados Unidos e Reino Unido” e amplamente criticados, diz Muller, referindo-se aos trabalhos do britânico Hadley Center, e das agências norte-americanas NASA (agência espacial norte-americana) e NOAA (agência norte-americana oceanográfica e atmosférica). Na verdade, os investigadores chegaram a um gráfico de temperaturas muito semelhante. Além disso, concluíram que o efeito das cidades enquanto pontos de calor “não contribui de forma significativa para o aumento das temperaturas”, porque “representam menos de 1% da superfície terrestre”, escrevem em comunicado.

Outra das conclusões do estudo foi que um terço das estações de medição de temperatura registou um arrefecimento nos últimos 70 anos. “Mas dois terços registaram um aquecimento”, escrevem. Segundo Robert Rohde, um dos autores do estudo, “o grande número de locais onde se registou um arrefecimento pode ajudar a explicar algum do cepticismo sobre o aquecimento global”. “O aquecimento global é demasiado lento para os humanos o sentirem directamente e se o vosso meteorologista local vos diz que as temperaturas são as mesmas ou são mais baixas do que eram há 100 anos, é fácil acreditar nele”, acrescentou. Mas para ter a fotografia das temperaturas “é preciso termos não dezenas mas milhares de estações de medição”, alertou.

O Grupo de Berkeley concluiu também que as estações de medição consideradas “más” mostraram o mesmo padrão de aquecimento do que as consideradas “boas”.

“Estes estudos reduzem a incerteza nos registos das temperaturas e dão-nos a confiança de que os relatórios anteriores eram certos e de que hoje vivemos num período excepcionalmente quente”, disse Muller ao “New York Times”.

No entanto, os resultados ainda não foram submetidos à revisão pelos pares e ainda não foram publicados. O grupo, que divulgou o seu trabalho num site na Internet, “quis tornar públicos os resultados preliminares para incentivar um escrutínio mais rápido por parte dos cidadãos e só depois os submeteu a avaliação dos pares. Contactada pelo PÚBLICO, Elizabeth Muller, uma das autoras dos estudos, salientou que, precisamente, “o maior contributo destes estudos foi o termos publicado os dados e os programas online, permitindo a qualquer pessoa examiná-los directamente, tentar reproduzi-los ou alterar a nossa análise”. “O aquecimento global é um tópico tão importante que qualquer cidadão devia poder avaliar a ciência por detrás dele”, acrescentou.

O próximo passo para estes cientistas é estudar o que está a acontecer com a temperatura nos oceanos.

E se o “climategate” aconteceu nas vésperas da cimeira climática de Copenhaga, em 2009, estes estudos surgem a poucos meses da cimeira climática de Durban, na África do Sul, onde o mundo vai discutir novas metas de redução de emissões de gases com efeito de estufa e formas de cooperação e financiamento. Elizabeth Muller admitiu ao PÚBLICO que o Grupo de Berkeley “espera conseguir dar às pessoas um ponto de partida comum para as negociações em Durban e mesmo depois”. “Respondemos às maiores preocupações dos cépticos e, ainda assim, concluímos que a superfície terrestre está a aquecer. Espero que isto possa ajudar a levar a paz para o debate”.

Autor: Helena Geraldes
Fotografia: David Gray / Reuters
Fonte: Ecosfera – Público
Original: http://bit.ly/p0QMSW


FOLLOW US / SIGA-NOS:
              




Photography: Tony Cenicola / The New York Times

IT was warm and sunny on a recent Tuesday and the lunchtime crowd in Bryant Park was in full swarm. Hundreds of Midtown workers sat on the grass or at round outdoor tables sunbathing, talking on cellphones and typing away on laptops.

But mostly they ate — sushi, pizza, chicken pesto salads, turkey club sandwiches — and much of their food came in plastic containers that had no place to go but into the trash.

As any befuddled, frustrated and guilt-ridden environmentally conscious New Yorker knows, takeout food and its containers — salad bar and deli clamshells; plastic cups and utensils; yogurt containers; fancy three-compartment bento boxes — are the bane of this city’s would-be recyclers. They might reuse plastic shopping bags until they rip and religiously bundle every newspaper and magazine for recycling pickup, only to be undone by lunch.

“There’s nothing I can do,” said Doug Richardson, 25, an accountant eating a chicken salad from a deep plastic bowl. “It annoys me. It’s plastic in a landfill.”


EXPORTED A plant run by Sims Metal Management on the Jersey City waterfront is the sole recycler of metal, glass and plastic for New York City. Photography: Chang W. Lee / The New York Times

Environmental advocates call recycling the weak link in the city’s green agenda, even after legislation was passed last year to overhaul the 1989 recycling law that made New York a 20th-century leader, not a laggard.

How far behind is the city? A survey by the Natural Resources Defense Council this year found that more than two dozen large and medium-size cities in the United States recycle all kinds of plastic containers, while New York takes only bottles and jugs. Another study this year, sponsored by Siemens AG, the global electronics and electrical engineering company, ranked New York 16th among 27 cities in its handling of waste, though it was third in overall environmental performance.

By now, other cities require recyclable or compostable takeout containers and utensils at restaurants — and bins in which to dispose of them. Cutting-edge green cities, like San Francisco, offer curbside collection of food scraps and compostable items at homes, restaurants and offices. And dozens of places now charge residents for their trash by weight to promote recycling and keep refuse out of landfills.

New York, meanwhile, is going backward: it now recycles about 15 percent of the waste collected by the Sanitation Department, which is primarily from residences, down from a peak of 23 percent in 2001. And while city officials have said they are reviewing so-called “pay as you throw” systems, there is no indication that the city might adopt one.

“This issue is simply not getting the attention it deserves,” said Eric A. Goldstein, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York. “They’ve treated their recycling operation like the after-school clarinet program.”

Environmental advocates suspect a lack of commitment from City Hall. After all, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has tackled idling trucks, dirty boilers and even smokers who foul the air, but in 2002, to save money, he temporarily cut back on curbside collection of recyclables.

Caswell Holloway, Mr. Bloomberg’s new deputy mayor for operations and a former commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, said, however, that while recycling faced significant hurdles, a lack of commitment was not one of them.

“The mayor recognizes that a sustainable New York City means that we need to come up with ways to deal with waste,” Mr. Holloway said. “The clock is running on landfills.”

That said, he added, “We could do better.”

We all could. The amount of nonrecyclable waste generated by just one New Yorker can be stunning, as I found out. Saving all the packaging from a week’s worth of takeout food, I ended up with three plastic yogurt containers, a paper salad box, a paper cereal bowl, two Styrofoam plates, one plastic salad-dressing container and seven plastic food containers — the rigid ones with snap-on lids. Also, five plastic cups (each with a plastic straw), a paper cup with a plastic lid, a plastic water bottle and a plain old paper cup (it held milk for my cereal). Also, one plastic fork, one plastic knife and two compostable plastic spoons, which I threw out rather than composting.

And to carry all that food I used three paper trays and a handful of plastic bags.

But change is on the way, Mr. Holloway said. To increase recycling capacity, the city has entered into long-term contracts and is building new infrastructure, like a 100,000-square-foot recycling plant at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park. At the same time, he said, a recently convened team from the Sanitation Department, the mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, and his office is looking at how to divert more waste from landfills.

They’ve got their work cut out for them.


Photography: The New York Times

NEW YORK CITY produces more than 14 million tons of waste a year, and city officials say that roughly half of it is recycled. But most of that is dirt from the construction and demolition industry, which accounts for half of all solid waste.

Recycling efforts are less successful in the two categories that account for the other half of the city’s waste: trash collected from businesses and commercial buildings, which use private haulers to handle it, and residential, government and institutional customers served by the Sanitation Department.

One issue is behavior. City officials say residents sort less than half of all materials that could be recycled; most items are improperly discarded in the trash. Both convenient recycling and the tracking of scofflaws are daunting because of the nature of housing in the city — tall multifamily buildings with large numbers of occupants. (And many residents blame confusing recycling rules.)

The city has less information on commercial recycling, but officials say most businesses, too, are not capturing as much as they could for recycling.

Last year, the City Council passed legislation to require the recycling of rigid plastics — all those containers for yogurt or Chinese takeout, as well as others like medicine bottles and flower pots — and divert 8,000 more tons of plastic from landfills and incinerators each year. But that expansion hinges not just on the opening of the new recycling plant, but also on an assessment of costs.

Still, city officials say that it is more expensive to recycle than to send trash to landfills and incinerators for disposal, and that they have to weigh those costs against environmental goals.

The city also has to give people somewhere to put their recyclables, especially out on the streets. With the heaviest pedestrian traffic in the country, New York has only 500 recycling bins on streets and in parks, compared with about 25,000 wastebaskets. Sanitation Department officials say that to keep costs down, they place the bins mostly in areas along existing collection routes, where volunteers from the community help by replacing and storing bags when they fill up. The new recycling laws approved by the City Council last year call for an expansion, but only to 1,000 recycling bins in public spaces — by 2020.

“I used to live in San Francisco, and there were containers for trash, compost, plastic and glass and paper,” said Yana Rachovska, 26, an architect who now lives in Astoria, Queens. “It was citywide. We had no choice.”


PLASTIC Takeout containers that are not recycled are common sights in Bryant Park. Photography: Ruth Fremson / The New York Times

Things are even worse underground in the subways and on commuter rail platforms. Two years ago, a blue-ribbon commission convened by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority recommended better and more uniform recycling on subway and train platforms. But not much has changed, some commission members said. And recycling efforts are far from uniform. Metro-North stations, for example, have recycling bins, but Long Island Rail Road stations do not.

Officials of New York City Transit, the agency within the transportation authority that operates the subways and buses, say that the city’s 468 subway stations are too crowded and spread out for extra bins and that the expense of managing them would be prohibitive. The officials said all subway trash was sent to a processing plant in New Jersey to be sorted through, in a system known as post-collection recycling.

Post-collection, however, is considered a less reliable method of recovering materials like paper that can be easily soiled by other trash, and those materials make up half of the recyclables collected at subway stations.

Michael G. Zacchea, the operations officer who oversees “asset recovery” for the transit system, said about half of the waste from the subways was recycled, but environmental groups and some public officials expressed skepticism.

“There’s just no way that the quality of the paper is going to be usable,” said City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, a Manhattan Democrat, who has been pressing the transportation authority to provide recycling bins on subway platforms.

“You see everybody getting into the stations with the newspaper and their coffee,” she said. “It drives me crazy.”

The inconsistencies of New York’s recycling test visitors as well. One tourist from Redwood City, Calif., Dawn E. Garcia, wrote on her Facebook page after her visit last summer:

“At the end of an entertaining week as a tourist in New York City, I loved it BUT I have one burning question: Why don’t New Yorkers recycle?”

Ms. Garcia, 52, the deputy director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University, said she had wanted to throw away a plastic water bottle during a walk to the Museum of Modern Art from her hotel near Grand Central Terminal — some 15 blocks — but could not find a recycling bin along the way.

“I was just surprised how many places don’t have them,” she said. “I’m loath to drop a can or water bottle in the trash, and I was walking a long time with that water bottle.

“When you ask people, they give you this blank stare. ‘Recycling?’ ”


Outlets of the Just Salad chain sell reusable bowls. Photography: Yana Paskova / The New York Times

Indeed, one of the major reasons to have recycling bins on streets and in transit hubs is not to divert waste — they capture just a fraction of a city’s total waste stream — but to build the recycling habit and reinforce the message that recyclables are not really garbage.

“It wouldn’t make sense to say, ‘At work and at home you put your recyclables in one bin, but on the street throw everything away,’ ” said Timothy Croll, solid waste director for Seattle Public Utilities. “Then people start to get confused.”

Seattle has 682 public trash cans on its streets, and more than half of those, 351, have a recycling bin for aluminum cans, plastic bottles and paper parked next to them, city officials there said.

In San Francisco, everyone, including people in charge of restaurants and offices, must separate refuse among three bins: recyclables (paper, glass, metal and most plastics), compostables (food scraps, paper food wrappers and yard waste) and trash. San Francisco also bans plastic foam containers for takeout food, and plastic bags at large supermarkets and chain pharmacies. And like dozens of the nation’s largest cities, it has instituted a system that charges residents for the trash they throw out. “A lot of people are motivated by money,” said Juliana Bryant, zero waste coordinator for San Francisco’s Department of the Environment.

And when it comes to composting, New York really lags. In San Francisco, residents dump the contents of their kitchen compost pails into compostable bags and then into green bins for weekly pickup by the city.

In New York, there is no curbside collection of food scraps, the largest single component of residential waste. Instead, New Yorkers with no backyards who are committed enough to compost typically either freeze their food waste until they can drop it off at a greenmarket or other collection site, or keep worm bins in their homes to do it themselves.

Commercial food waste is an even bigger missed opportunity, city officials said in this year’s progress report of PlaNYC, the mayor’s environmental agenda. About 600,000 tons of food are thrown away each year by restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and other businesses and institutions. The closest facility to process food waste for composting is 150 miles from the city.

The study released this summer by Siemens AG found that while New York trailed only San Francisco and Vancouver in overall green efforts like improving air quality and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, it trailed most other cities in the study in managing waste because it relies primarily on awareness campaigns rather than direct incentives for waste reduction. But environmental groups working to improve recycling rates say any laws must be accompanied by measures to enable people to comply with those laws, simple steps like providing color-coded bins to minimize confusion about where items go, and more costly actions like finding or creating more facilities that can process recyclables.

One such effort is under way in New York by food service chains like Starbucks and Pret A Manger. Under a pilot program with the environmental organization Global Green, the restaurants are collecting soiled coffee cups, sleeves, salad boxes and other paper packaging separately, to test whether they can be recycled.

Annie White, director of the project for Global Green, said results so far were promising — customers were using the right bins, the stores did not find the collections a burden, and many paper mills were interested in the test, though none were actually recycling the materials commercially yet. She said the pilot was expanding to 150 storefronts over the next year, from the initial 10, and was expected to serve as a national model.

“This is material that previously hasn’t been collected,” she said, “but there’s strong demand for fiber.”

RESTAURANTS, of which New York has 24,000, say their customers are demanding more recycling.

The Green Restaurant Association has about 80 certified members in the city, which can earn different star ratings based on their environmental efforts, like reducing energy consumption in dishwashing or hiring companies to compost their food waste.

But collection efforts are still minimal in the “front of the house.” While some chains, like Le Pain Quotidien (a Green Restaurant Association member), compost their own food waste and offer compostable utensils and containers made of recycled paperboard, they do not collect the materials separately, so there is nowhere for these materials to go except the trash bin. There, they will eventually break down and release the greenhouse gas methane along with other organic decay; and they will not be recovered as compost that could be turned into fertilizer.

“A compostable packaging needs to go to a composting facility to be a good environmental choice,” Ms. White said.

Other restaurants are encouraging reuse with discounts and freebies. Just Salad, a New York City chain with seven outlets in Manhattan, sells a special reusable plastic salad bowl for $1 and gives customers two free toppings every time they use it.

Nick Kenner, a managing partner of the chain, said the bowl was a big hit. “One out of four walk-in customers brings back the bowl,” he said.

One of those customers, Stan Shargordosky, 38, a software engineer recently refilling his salad bowl at the West 37th Street store, explained, “I don’t want my plastic bowl to end up in a landfill and take 500 years to decompose.”

Peter Noce, 27, an accountant in Midtown eating a sandwich and carrots with hummus in Bryant Park recently, takes matters into his own hands, bringing food in his own Tupperware plastic container that he takes back home to Long Island for reuse.

“I bring it back, wash it, try to be green,” he said.

Mr. Noce also takes home his plastic water bottles to redeem them for a nickel at the grocery store. “There’s a lot of waste in general. I’m a nonwaster.”

Author: Mireya Navarro
Source: The New York Times
Original: http://nyti.ms/pvTZUf


FOLLOW US / SIGA-NOS:
              


Etanol celulósico será produzido em larga escala a partir de 2020


Laboratório no japão desenvolveu nova cepa de leveduras que colaboram no processo de fermentação para obter biocombustível

A Toyota anuncia, por meio de seu laboratório de biotecnologia, localizado na província de Aichi, no Japão, um importante passo para viabilizar a produção em larga escala de biocombustível extraído de vegetais não comestíveis, o etanol celulósico, a partir de 2020.

Hoje, a maioria dos biocombustíveis provém de vegetais comestíveis, como a cana de açúcar e o milho. A utilização de vegetais não comestíveis irá gerar impacto significativamente menor nos estoques globais de alimentos.

Para viabilizar a produção de etanol celulósico em larga escala, o laboratório de biotecnologia da Toyota desenvolveu, por meio de técnicas de recombinação genética, uma nova cepa de leveduras que desempenham papel importante no processo de fermentação necessário para a obtenção do biocombustível.

A fermentação da xilose, um dos açúcares produzidos quando as fibras das plantas são quebradas no processo de sacarifição, normalmente é difícil de ser obtida com leveduras encontradas na natureza.

Entretanto, a nova levedura desenvolvida não apenas é extremamente eficiente na fermentação da xilose como também é altamente resistente à substâncias que inibem a fermentação, como o ácido acético.

Como resultado, a levedura atingiu uma dos mais altos índices de densidade de fermentação de etanol já obtidos no mundo, de aproximadamente 47 gramas por litro. Dessa forma, espera-se que a obtenção de etanol a partir de celulose seja incrementada e que os custos de produção sejam significantemente reduzidos.

A empresa japonesa, com sua meta de reduzir as emissões de CO2 e de responder à crescente demanda por fontes alternativas de energia, desenvolve fontes de energia renováveis, como biocombustíveis, além da próxima geração de veículos amigáveis ao meio ambiente.

As pesquisas neste setor buscam desenvolver tecnologias que compreendam todos os processos envolvidos na produção do etanol celulósico, incluindo o pré-tratamento do material bruto, a sacarificação enzimática e a fermentação da levedura. Com o objetivo de atingir um custo de produção páreo ao de outros combustíveis líquidos, como a gasolina, a Toyota está se esforçando para obter um suprimento estável de material bruto de fibras vegetais bem como tecnologias que reduzam os custos de produção.

Fotografia: Junko Kimura / Getty Images
Fonte: Exame / CicloVivo
Original: http://bit.ly/reO5nU


FOLLOW US / SIGA-NOS:
              



The mine, perched on Mt. Baden-Powell, still holds an estimated 262,000 ounces of gold. It’s also a refuge for wildlife — and soon it will be transferred to the U.S. Forest Service.

Reporting from Wrightwood, Calif.— The Big Horn Mine, perched on a mountainside overlooking the headwaters of the San Gabriel River, still holds an estimated 262,000 ounces of gold in its quartz bedrock. At current prices, that haul would be worth more than $430 million.

The wild country surrounding the mine, framed by alpine peaks and watered by snowmelt running through wrinkled canyons and ancient pine forests, is a refuge for bears, mountain lions and endangered Nelson’s bighorn sheep.

Within a few days, preservation will trump economics when the 277-acre parcel is handed over to the public.

The transfer of title to the U.S. Forest Service will cap six years of arduous negotiations by the nonprofit Wilderness Land Trust, which acquires unprotected private land and returns it to the people. And, trust president Reid Haughey reported with a hint of satisfaction, taxpayers got this slice of paradise for a bargain price: $2 million.

“At 277 acres, this is a relatively small transaction,” he said, standing knee-deep in sage and prickly yuccas on a promontory near the mine’s long-abandoned ore mill. “But the value of adding it to the surrounding wilderness for future generations is significant.”

The mine on the eastern flank of 9,399-foot Mt. Baden-Powell was first prospected in 1859. In its heyday in the 1930s, Big Horn Mine supported a community of cabins, machine shops and a post office serving the 30 workers who operated its steam-powered rock crushers and trucked ore down the mountain for processing.

Permits to mine gold were valid until just a few years before the land trust — with $125,000 in private donations and a long-term loan of $825,000 — bought the property from a private mining company in 2007. It was ultimately sold to the Forest Service for $2 million.

“We moved quickly to prevent the land from being marketed for its mineral resources and potential as a mountain retreat,” Haughey said. “When we bought the mine, gold was selling for $350 an ounce. Today, it sells for about five times that much.”

Negotiations with federal officials got off to a shaky start, Haughey said, when they balked at accepting liability for the rusting mill or the mine shaft — roughly 350 yards deep and 8 feet wide — which they wanted to seal with foam. Instead, a steel gate was installed to prohibit public access to the mine, which bats use as habitat.

Eventually, the Forest Service agreed to protect the relics on the property that Angeles National Forest Supervisor Tom Contreras described as “a great contribution to the wilderness and important reminder of Southern California’s pioneers.”

The trust also recently completed a complex deal that resulted in the donation of a 2,450-acre, 100-year-old gypsum mine just south of Death Valley National Park to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Co. was established in 1912 to supply cement and sheetrock for one of Southern California’s first building booms. The company spent huge sums on engineering reports, soil samples and surveys for its mining operations, and on plans for a railroad. But after World War I began, the firm was unable to secure financing for its ambitious projects.

The mine operated for only a few years and never turned a profit.

Acquiring the arid landscape of craggy peaks and salt flats for preservation presented an unusual problem: how to buy a company in which many of the shareholders were deceased or all but impossible to find.

The solution involved creating an entity called Avawatz Acquisition Corp., then merging it with the mining company, said land trust treasurer Jim Blomquist. The trust, as the main shareholder in the new corporation, directed it to donate the property to the BLM.

“We made about $2 on that particular deal,” Blomquist said with a laugh.

Author: Louis Sahagun
Photography: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
Source: Los Angeles Times
Original: http://lat.ms/ovZVUA


FOLLOW US / SIGA-NOS:
              



Designers: Seunggi Baek & Hyerim Kim – Computador verde, que usa o mecanismo das plantas para adquirir sua energia da água e da energia solar

Vejam que invenção sensacional é o Plantbook, criado por dois pesquisadores sul-coreanos: um notebook literalmente verde, porque, além da cor, utiliza energia solar e água para gerar a energia elétrica que o faz funcionar.


Inspirado na capacidade de absorção de água do bambu, sua bateria é carregada apenas com o hidrogênio, um dos componentes da água, e luz solar, como se estivesse fazendo fotossíntese, o processo realizado pelas plantas para a produção de energia necessária a sua sobrevivência.

Ao contato da bateria com a água segue-se o processo de fotossíntese: uma vez checada a carga e verificada a necessidade de energia, vêm os passos: 1) absorção da água; 2) a eletrólise; 3) extração do hidrogênio; 4) produção da eletricidade, e 5) a liberação do oxigênio


Mecanismo da bateria, pela ordem dos termos em inglês: as células de energia solar; a tomada para receber o plug do notebook; a área por onde a bateria libera oxigênio; na outra extremidade da bateria, por onde a água penetra

Os dois inventores e designers, Seunggi Baek e Hyerim KimThe, explicam o mecanismo, simples e genial:

“O sistema usa um recipiente externo de água, já que o Plantbook , uma vez mergulhado na água, a absorve continuamente, e gera eletrólise usando energia armazenada numa placa fotovoltaica [que guarda energia solar] instalada em uma das pontas. No curso do processo, o notebook é operado usando o hidrogênio [cujos átomos são presentes na água] como fonte de energia e descarta oxigênio [o outro elemento químico constitutivo da água].”

“Se o usuário coloca a bateria num recipiente com água enquanto não usa o laptop, a bateria é carregada automaticamente e, ao mesmo tempo, libera oxigênio. Uma correia de silicone com formato de folha, instalada na ponta da bateria, serve como alça para conduzi-la e, ao mesmo tempo, indica, por meio de uma luz verde, seu nível de carga.”


A alça de silicone em forma de folha avisa quando a bateria está carregada

Este notebook é ecológico por natureza: não utiliza energia elétrica gerada por fontes poluidoras, e ainda libera oxigênio na atmosfera.

Que tal?


Simples assim — e muito bonito, ainda por cima

Autor: Ricardo Setti
Fotografia: Veja
Fonte: Veja
Original: http://bit.ly/p3wE2S


FOLLOW US / SIGA-NOS:
              

%d bloggers like this: