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News: Gore Announces Global Warming Effort

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  • Robert Karl Stonjek
    Gore Announces Global Warming Effort Former Vice President Al Gore discusses the First Amendment and the Internet during an event called Accuracy, Privacy and
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2008
      Gore Announces Global Warming Effort

      Former Vice President Al Gore discusses the First Amendment and the Internet during an event called Accuracy Privacy and the World Wide Web: The First Amendment and the Internet held at Middle Tennessee State University Thursday March 27 2008 in Murf ...
      Former Vice President Al Gore discusses the First Amendment and the Internet during an event called "Accuracy, Privacy and the World Wide Web: The First Amendment and the Internet" held at Middle Tennessee State University, Thursday, March 27, 2008, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (AP Photo/Bill Waugh)

      (AP) -- Former Vice President Al Gore on Monday launched a three-year, multimillion-dollar advocacy campaign calling for the U.S. to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

      The Alliance for Climate Protection's campaign, dubbed "we," will combine advertising, online organizing and partnerships with grassroots groups to educate the public about global warming and urge solutions from elected officials.

      "We're trying to get a movement happening to switch public opinion so that our leaders feel, 'Wow! We really need to make this a top priority issue,'" Alliance CEO Cathy Zoi told The Associated Press.

      An advertising campaign will equate the climate-change movement with other grand historic endeavors, like stopping fascism in Europe during World War II, overcoming segregation in the United States and putting the first man on the moon.

      Some advertisements will feature bipartisan pairs, such as the Rev. Al Sharpton with Pat Robertson and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Zoi said.

      The Alliance will initially spend $300 million over three years, although Zoi said more could be spent in the future.

      Some of the money for the campaign comes from Gore himself. Zoi said he contributed his personal profits from the book and movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," a $750,000 award from his share of the Nobel Peace Prize and a personal matching gift. She declined to provide the total amount.

      "When politicians hear the American people calling loud and clear for change, they'll listen," Gore, the former Tennessee senator and 2000 presidential candidate, said in a statement. Gore's staff did not respond to calls seeking further comment.

      Zoi says research suggests that many Americans are concerned about climate change but don't know what to do about it.

      The "we" campaign Web site hopes to change that by offering ideas on conserving energy at home and work and guidance for those who want to do more, like writing to their elected officials.

      "Some steps can be taken by individuals, but the biggest, most important decisions are going to be coming from government and corporate leaders," Zoi said. "We need to have people saying, 'We want you to take bold steps.'"

      The campaign is also working through partnerships with groups like the Girl Scouts. The group's 2.7 million members will take a climate action pledge and the Alliance will provide them with kits offering suggestions for projects they can do in their neighborhoods.


      On the Net:


      © 2008 The Associated Press

      Earth Hour had impact, utilities say
      Utility officials in northern Illinois said residents reduced the same amount of carbon dioxide as 104 acres of trees during the Earth Hour power turnoff.

      Commonwealth Edison, the electrical utility company servicing Chicago and northern Illinois -- said that about 840,000 pounds of carbon dioxide were kept out of the atmosphere during the voluntary power shutoff Saturday night, the Chicago Tribune said.

      The World Wildlife Fund promoted the event where cities and nations worldwide turned out the lights for an hour to raise awareness about global climate change and energy efficiency.

      "I salute our customers, the City of Chicago and the other sponsors of Earth Hour Chicago," the head of ComEd, Frank Clark, said in a news release.

      Copyright 2008 by United Press International

      Specially-designed soils could help combat climate change

      Could part of the answer to saving the Earth from global warming lie in the earth beneath our feet? A team from Newcastle University aims to design soils that can remove carbon from the atmosphere, permanently and cost-effectively. This has never previously been attempted anywhere in the world.

      The concept underlying the initiative exploits the fact that plants, crops and trees naturally absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) during photosynthesis and then pump surplus carbon through their roots into the earth around them. In most soils, much of this carbon can escape back to the atmosphere or enters groundwater.

      But in soils containing calcium-bearing silicates (natural or man-made), the team believe the carbon that oozes out of a plant’s roots may react with the calcium to form the harmless mineral calcium carbonate. The carbon then stays securely locked in the calcium carbonate, which simply remains in the soil, close to the plant’s roots, in the form of a coating on pebbles or as grains.

      The scientists are investigating whether this process occurs as it may encourage the growing of more plants, crops etc in places where calcium-rich soils already exist. It would also open up the prospect that bespoke soils can be designed (i.e. with added calcium silicates, or specific plants) which optimise the carbon-capture process. Such soils could play a valuable role in carbon abatement all over the globe.

      The team will first try to detect calcium carbonate in natural soils that have developed on top of calcium-rich rocks or been exposed to concrete dust (which contains man-made calcium silicates). They will then study artificial soils made at the University from a mixture of compost and calcium-rich rock. Finally, they will grow plants in purpose-made soils containing a high level of calcium silicates and monitor accumulation of calcium carbonate there.

      The multi-disciplinary research team, including civil engineers, geologists, biologists and soil scientists, is led by David Manning, Professor of Soil Science at Newcastle University. “Scientists have known about the possibility of using soil as a carbon ‘sink’* for some time,” says Professor Manning. ”But no-one else has tried to design soils expressly for the purpose of removing and permanently locking up carbon. Once we’ve confirmed the feasibility of this method of carbon sequestration, we can develop a computer model that predicts how much calcium carbonate will form in specific types of soil, and how quickly. That will help us engineer soils with optimum qualities from a carbon abatement perspective. A key benefit is that combating climate change in this way promises to be cheap compared with other processes.”

      Significant scope could exist to incorporate calcium-rich, carbon-locking soils in land restoration, land remediation and other development projects. Growing bioenergy crops on these soils could be one attractive option.

      “The process we’re exploring might be able to contribute around 5-10% of the UK’s carbon reduction targets in the future,” says Professor Manning. “We could potentially see applications in 2-3 years, including a number of ‘quick wins’ in the land restoration sector.”

      The research is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

      Source: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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      Robert Karl Stonjek
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