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Significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions still possible



Use of various mitigation techniques for natural gas fired electricity may hold key

Newswise — About a quarter of the world’s electricity currently comes from power plants fired by natural gas. These contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions (amounting to 10% of energy-related emissions according to the most recent figures from 2017) and climate change.

By gathering data from 108 countries around the world and quantifying the emissions by country, a McGill-led team, which includes researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, University of Texas (Austin) and the University of Maryland, has estimated that total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the life cycle of gas-fired power is 3.6 billion tonnes each year. They found that this amount could be reduced by as much as 71% if a variety of mitigation options were used around the world.

More efficient plants could reduce greenhouse gases significantly
“We were astonished by how large the potential reduction in greenhouse gases could be by 2050, and even by 2030,” says Sarah Jordaan, an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and the Trottier Institute in Sustainability in Engineering and Design at McGill University and the first author on the paper which was recently published in Nature Climate Change. “If natural gas is going to play a role in a low carbon future, even for a transitional period, there will be a need to improve efficiency in power plants and to cut methane emissions from natural gas production as well as to capture and store CO2.”

“We found that the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was with carbon capture and storage, followed by making power plants more efficient,” added Andrew Ruttinger, a PhD student at Cornell University in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering who participated in the research. “But the mitigation options that will be most successful in any given country will vary depending on the regional context and the existing infrastructure.”

Identifying drivers of emissions gives government tools to take action
The team calculated that the largest mitigation potential (39%) lies with five biggest emitters, the United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Japan, all of whom, apart from Japan, are among the largest gas producers and consumers around the world.

“Climate change is a global challenge and achieving a low-carbon energy system points to the need for reducing emissions across the supply chain from gas extraction through end use,” said Arvind Ravikumar, a research associate professor in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. “Our analysis demonstrates that significant efforts are needed to transition from current emissions levels, but also that by identifying the drivers of emissions in the gas supply chain, governments can take strategic, nationally-determined action to reduce their emissions.”

“Global mitigation opportunities for the life cycle of natural gas-fired power” by Sarah Jordaan et al in Nature Climate Change

Source: McGill University



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Crisis in the Texas Panhandle: Battling the Devastating Wildfires

“Wildfires ravage Texas Panhandle, prompting evacuations, power outages, and a nuclear facility shutdown. Community resilience shines amid the chaos.”



A cluster of wildfires scorched the Texas Panhandle on Wednesday, including a blaze that grew into one of the largest in state history, as flames moved with alarming speed and blackened the landscape across a vast stretch of small towns and cattle ranches. (Feb 28) (AP video by Julio Cortez and Ty O’Neil) (AP production by Javier Arciga)

A series of wildfires wreaked havoc across the Texas Panhandle early Wednesday, unleashing chaos and destruction in their wake. The Smokehouse Creek Fire, now the second-largest wildfire in Texas’s history, has left a trail of evacuations, power outages, and a temporary shutdown of a nuclear weapons facility.

Governor Greg Abbott’s declaration of disaster for 60 counties underscores the severity of the situation. The cause of these ferocious blazes remains a mystery, as they rage through sparsely populated counties characterized by vast plains, cattle ranches, and oil rigs.

In the midst of this turmoil, residents like Adrianna Hill from Borger share harrowing tales of survival. Hill’s account of the fire encircling her town paints a vivid picture of the fear and uncertainty that gripped the community. With roads closed and flames closing in, the resilience of individuals like Hill and the protective force of nature itself offer a glimmer of hope in the face of adversity.

As firefighters battle against the infernos, the weather forecast brings a ray of optimism with cooler temperatures, reduced wind, and the possibility of rain on the horizon. Yet, the immediate reality remains dire in many areas, emphasizing the urgent need for support and solidarity in the ongoing fight against these catastrophic wildfires.

In times of crisis, it is in the unity of communities, the courage of individuals, and the dedication of emergency responders that resilience shines brightest. Let us stand together in support of those affected by this disaster, offering our thoughts, prayers, and assistance as they confront this formidable challenge in the Texas Panhandle.

Source: Associated Press


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NASA’s Vigilance: Tracking Menacing Asteroids in Our Cosmic Neighborhood

“NASA’s vigilant gaze scans the skies, capturing detailed views of menacing asteroids like 2008 OS7, ensuring Earth’s safety from cosmic threats.”



In the vast expanse of space, NASA’s unwavering watch over the skies has once again highlighted the importance of tracking potentially hazardous asteroids. Recently, the space agency turned its gaze towards asteroid 2008 OS7, a formidable rock ranging from 650 to 1,640 feet (200 to 500 meters) in diameter. Despite its imposing size, this celestial visitor came within a relatively close distance of 1.8 million miles (2.9 million kilometers) from Earth in early February.

The day before asteroid 2008 OS7 made its close approach with Earth on Feb. 2, this series of images was captured by the powerful 230-foot (70-meter) Goldstone Solar System Radar antenna near Barstow, California.
 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Thankfully, meticulous observations by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed that this asteroid’s trajectory posed no imminent threat to our planet. While the proximity of 2008 OS7 may seem disconcerting, it was reassuring to learn that the calculated distance was a safe 7.5 times the span between Earth and the moon.

Utilizing sophisticated technology such as the Goldstone Solar System Radar in the California desert, NASA scientists captured detailed images of the asteroid, shedding light on its size, rotation, shape, and surface features. These radio telescopes, with their massive arrays of dishes, play a crucial role in enhancing our understanding of near-Earth objects and assessing potential risks they might pose.

Despite the vast number of asteroids scattered throughout our solar system, the current cosmic landscape is relatively calm compared to the tumultuous era of its formation billions of years ago. Dr. Sally Dodson-Robinson, a planetary scientist at the University of Delaware, emphasized this shift, highlighting the violent collisions and formations that shaped the solar system in its early stages.

In essence, NASA’s continuous surveillance of the heavens serves as a beacon of preparedness and scientific advancement, ensuring that we remain vigilant against potential cosmic threats. As we navigate the mysteries of our universe, these efforts underscore the importance of monitoring and understanding the dynamics of celestial bodies to safeguard our planet and advance our knowledge of the cosmos.

Source: NASA/JPL and Mashable



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Black History

The Legacy of Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr.: A Trailblazer in Invention, Business, and Community Leadership

Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr.: Inventor, businessman, and community leader whose legacy continues to inspire generations with his groundbreaking contributions.



Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr., a prominent figure in American history, left an indelible mark through his remarkable contributions as an inventor, businessman, and community leader. Born on March 4, 1877, Morgan’s legacy continues to inspire generations.

One of Morgan’s most renowned inventions was the three-way traffic light, a pivotal innovation that revolutionized road safety and traffic management. Additionally, his creation of the protective ‘smoke hood’ proved instrumental during the 1916 tunnel construction disaster rescue, saving numerous lives and highlighting his commitment to public safety.

Beyond his inventions, Morgan ventured into the realm of haircare, developing a groundbreaking chemical hair-processing solution that led to the establishment of the successful “G. A. Morgan Hair Refining Company.” His entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to innovation paved the way for a complete line of haircare products.

Morgan’s influence extended beyond the business world; he actively engaged in the civic and political advancement of African Americans, particularly in Cleveland, Ohio, and surrounding areas. His efforts exemplified a commitment to fostering positive change and empowerment within his community.

In recognition of his significant contributions, several institutions and landmarks bear Morgan’s name, honoring his legacy. From the Garrett A. Morgan Cleveland School of Science to the Garrett A. Morgan Water Treatment Plant, his impact is immortalized in various locations across the United States.

Notably, Morgan’s legacy was nationally recognized at the Emancipation Centennial Celebration in Chicago in August 1963, underscoring his enduring influence and importance in American history. His inclusion in the book “100 Greatest African Americans” by Molefi Kete Asante further solidifies his place among the most influential figures in African American history.

Morgan’s inventions continue to captivate audiences, with his safety hood featured on popular television shows like “Inventions that Shook the World” and “Mysteries at the Museum,” showcasing the lasting impact of his innovations on society.

As an honorary member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Morgan’s dedication to excellence and service continues to inspire individuals to strive for greatness and make a positive difference in their communities.

The remarkable life and achievements of Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr. serve as a testament to the power of innovation, entrepreneurship, and advocacy, leaving a lasting legacy that resonates with generations past, present, and future.

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