The Transformation from Fossil Fuel to Green Energy

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

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Fossil fuels and the carbon balance of the world

The lifestyle of the world's richer countries is much dependent on fossil fuels. Table 2.2 shows that our worldwide use of energy for heating, cooking, transport, operating factories and so on, is about 20 times that of the food we eat. Most of it comes from fossil fuels. The world's resources of fossil fuels are finite, but predicting how long they will last is notoriously difficult. If the present rate of use of coal and oil is compared with known reserves that are likely to be extractable, this suggests that coal will last 1-2 centuries and oil about half a century (UN Energy Statistics Yearbook 1995). However, the world's total coal is estimated to be at least 10 times as much as the 'known recoverable'. The size of known stocks of oil tends to depend on how much money and effort the oil companies spend on exploration, so there are likely to be reserves not yet discovered. In any case, it may never be possible to use all these reserves, because of the effect the released C02 would...

Fossil Fuel Combustion and Cement Production

The main anthropogenic source of CO2 emissions is the combustion of carbon-based fuels. Since 1860, industrialization has progressed with an increase in the use of fuels - especially fossil fuels - and a corresponding increase in CO2 emissions. The growth has been steady and exponential, interrupted only by the two World Wars and the Great Crash of 1929. In 1997 the emissions reached a maximum of 6.6 PgC yr-1 (0.2 PgC yr-1 of this was from cement production). The average value of emissions increased from 5.44 0.3 PgC yr- in 1980s to 6.3 0.4 PgC yr-1 in 1990s.

Managed Ecosystems and Biofuels A Subject of Current Interest and Concern

Some vegetation classification schemes have developed algorithms to distinguish between wooded C4 grasslands, wooded C3 grasslands, and C3 grasslands. These categories may become particularly important in the future to assess the impact of grasses and woody species being considered for biofuel production. Several grasses and woody species have been evaluated for biofuel production, with perennial rhizomatous grasses showing the most economic promise. Arundo donax (giant reed native to Asia) and Philaris arundinacea (reed canary grass native to temperate Europe, Asia, and North America) are two C3 grasses being considered as biofuel species that are invasive in some US ecosystems. The former threatens riparian areas and alters fire cycles the latter invades wetlands and affects wildlife habitat. The hybrid Miscanthus x giganteus (native to Asia) and Panicum virga-tum (switchgrass native to central and eastern US) are C4 grasses being considered in Europe and the US. Several Miscanthus...

Fossil Fuel to Nonfossil Fuel Transition

Policies that shift the economy's reliance on fossil fuels to renewable fuels and materials can be important to mitigating climate change and a host of other environmental problems. Moreover, as the environmental and financial cost of using fossil carbon in agriculture and forestry rise unsustainably, there is a need to transition to a bio-based source of energy and materials. However, the transformation to a bioeconomy in a carbon-constrained world will have important consequences for land resources, particularly in agriculture.

Fossil fuels

After World War II, the world economy recovered on the consumption of more energy. Until now, fossil fuels are the main sources of energy. They contribute 86 of total amount of energy consumed in 2004. Availability of fossil fuels is difficult to evaluate accurately. However, it is estimated that the reserves of coal are the largest. They are sufficient until 2170 at 2004 production rates. As regards oil and natural gas, their availability is much more limited. They are estimated to last only till 2041 and 2071, respectively (Table 3). Table 3 World reserve of basic fossil fuels Table 3 World reserve of basic fossil fuels Incineration of fossil fuels causes most of the climatic problems today, notably the emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere. Currently, the worldwide average per capita emissions of CO2 is 3.85 tyr-1. Meanwhile, the world average environmental space for CO2 is 1.7 t - the level of 1990 which IPCC suggested to prevent global warming and dramatic climate changes. This...

Past and Current Crimes

Some of the concern today is centred on problems inherited from less enlightened ages which will be with us for many years to come. Examples include spoil heaps from mining operations, contaminated land from previous industrial sites, and pesticides which are now banned but have such a long lifetime in the environment that they will continue to pollute for many decades. Current concerns include emissions from our automobiles, waste production, production of toxic particulate matter from combustion and incineration processes, use of pesticides which build up in the food chain and the use of inorganic fertilizers in agriculture. Although more environmentally friendly methods for power production are being introduced, there is still a large-scale reliance on fossil fuel for energy production with its inevitable production of carbon dioxide.

Environmental Change And Disturbance

Currently, human alteration of Earth's ecosystems is substantial and accelerating (J. Thomas et al. 2004, Vitousek et al. 1997). Anthropogenic changes to the global environment affect insects in various ways. Combustion of fossil fuels has elevated atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (Beedlow et al. 2004, Keeling et al. 1995), methane, ozone, nitrous oxides, and sulfur dioxide, leading to increasingly acidic precipitation and prospects of global warming. Some insect species show high mortality as a direct result of atmospheric toxins, whereas other species are affected indirectly by changes in resource conditions induced by atmospheric change (Alstad et al. 1982,Arnone et al. 1995, Heliovaara 1986, Kinney et al. 1997, Lincoln et al. 1993,W. Smith 1981).A thinning ozone layer at higher altitudes and toxic ozone levels at lower altitudes have similar effects (Alstad et al. 1982). However, the anthropogenic changes with the most immediate effects are land-use patterns and redistribution of...

The Status of Rivers Today

There can be little doubt that most streams and rivers will continue to face a daunting array of threats. Foremost is the increase in human population in all of its manifestations urban areas with impervious surfaces and piping, housing sprawl into farmland and increasingly remote areas, and the intensification of agriculture. Often summed up as changing urban and agricultural land use, these trends result in altered supplies of water and sediments and increasing concentrations of nutrients and contaminants. Immediate consequences include habitat fragmentation and degradation, sedimentation, the enrichment of some systems, and the poisoning of others. Tolerant species multiply and spread, and sensitive species decline. Coupled with the invasion of nonnative species, some of which are very adaptable and thrive in disturbed conditions, the stream biota undergoes simplification and homogenization. Dam construction may actually be on the wane globally, due in part to the recognition of...

Metabolism In The Social Sciences Metabolism in Social Theory

Thus Marx employed the term 'metabolism' for the material exchange between man and nature on a fundamental anthropological level, as well as for a critique of the capitalist mode of production. But the accumulation of capital has nothing to do with the appropriation of the accumulated 'wealth' of nature (for example, fossil fuels) appropriation as a basis for capital accumulation is always and only appropriation of surplus human labor, as Martinez-Alier (1987, pp.218-24) pointed out.

Metabolism in Social Geography and Geology

Similarly, the 1955 conference participants discussed the chances of severe shortages in future energy supply. Eugene E. Ayres, speaking of 'the age of fossil fuels', and Charles A. Scarlott, treating 'limitations to energy use', emphasized the limits inherent to using given geological stocks. Ayres, elaborating on fossil fuels since the first uses of coal by the Chinese about two thousand years ago, was very skeptical about geologists' estimates (then) of the earth's reserves, suspecting them of being vastly understated. He nevertheless concluded 'In a practical sense, fossil fuels, after this century, will cease to exist except as raw materials for chemical synthesis' (Ayres 1956, p. 380). Scarlott (1956) demonstrated

Absolute humidity See humidity

Acid rain Rain with a very low pH (below pH 5.6 and often below pH 4), due to pollution from oxides of nitrogen and sulfur released by the burning of fossil fuels or other industrial emissions. These pollutants combine with water in the atmosphere, forming nitric and sulfuric acids, a process that may be catalyzed by other pollutants such as ammonia, hydrogen perox

Anthropogenic Sources of Benzene

Benzene is commonly used as a solvent and a synthetic intermediate in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Over 90 of benzene produced annually is used in chemical synthesis applications, including ethylbenzene (styrene production), cumene (production of phenol and acetone), cyclohexane, and nitrobenzene (production of aniline and resins). Benzene can prevent engine knocking and is added to gasoline (at 1-2 by volume) as a replacement for alkyllead compounds. Combustion of fossil fuels accounts for approximately 82 of benzene released into the atmosphere as automotive exhaust, 14 from industrial activities, 3 from human individual activities, and 0.1 from cigarette smoke. This is in comparison to human exposure sources, which would include 45 from cigarettes, 34 from individual activities, 18 from automobile exhaust, and 3 from industrial activities.

Energy Needs And Body Composition

Per unit weight, fat provides much more energy than any other storable biochemical fuel available. The use of 1 g of fat will yield around 9.2 kilocalories (or 38 kilojoules) of energy, compared with only about 1.3 kcal (5.3 kJ) from 1 g of protein or 1.0 kcal (4.0 kJ) from 1 g of carbohydrate (Table 5.1). Weight for weight, fat therefore contains 7-9 times more energy than alternative fuels, and thus provides the maximum energy storage for the minimum weight gain. Fat is an even more efficient fuel than high-octane vehicle fuel, and also has the advantage for birds that its oxidation yields an equal weight of water, thus contributing to another of the bird's needs during long-distance flights. Not only can fat be

Industrial gases and the greenhouse effect

A major element of the Industrial Revolution was the switch from the use of sustainable fuels to the use of coal (and later, oil) as a source of power. Between the middle of the 19th and the middle of the 20th century the burning of fossil fuels, together with extensive deforestation, added about 9 X 1010 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere and even more has been added since. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere before the Industrial Revolution (measured in gas trapped in ice cores) was about 280 ppm, a fairly typical interglacial 'peak' (Figure 2.23), but this had risen to around 370 ppm by around the turn of the millennium and is still rising (see Figure 18.22).

Bioenergetic web See food web

Bioenergy The energy contained in living organisms. The term is used to mean energy, fuels, or energy-related products derived from renewable biological resources such as plants (but not fossil fuels), microorganisms, and biological wastes. Typical sources are fast-growing crops and trees grown as a fuel sources, aquatic plants, agricultural feed crops, waste and residues from timber mills and related industries, animal wastes, and municipal and industrial wastes. These may be burned in coal- or wood-fired boilers to generate electricity, or in high-efficiency gasification plants that drive turbines, and fuel cells. biofuel A fuel derived from renewable organic resources such as fast-growing crops and trees animal, industrial, and municipal wastes and the reactions of microorganisms (see bioenergy). They include biodiesel, biogas, and gasohol. biogeochemical cycle The cycling of chemical elements between organisms and their physical environment, for example the cycling of nitrogen in...

Perspective on Biological Wastewater Treatment

An important question is to what extent wastewater, for example, municipal wastewaters and sewage sludge, should be considered a waste or valuable resource and recycled as plant nutrients in crop and in energy production. Key constraints for the growing global population are due to food and energy. Today, both extraction ofphosphorus and production of mineral nitrogen fertilizers consume extensive resources of fossil fuels. Hence, one important future aim must be to create a sustainable loop ofplant nutrients through food production and refinement, urban consumption, waste handling, and back to arable land. To achieve this, the effluent wastewater stream must contain as much phosphorus and nitrogen as possible in addition to minimal amounts of organic and inorganic toxicants.

How Is an Ecosystem Structured and Sustained

Figure 3.1a depicts an open system in the sense that energy and nutrients (resources) enter the system through producers and pass up the food chain to the top consumers. As resources move up the chain, some fraction dissipates out of the system through respiration (metabolic processes) or leaks out through leaching hence transformation is inefficient. Such a system will only be stable (sustainable) if there is an inexhaustible supply of resources entering the bottom of the consumption chain. This condition is met for systems driven only by solar-derived energy which, for all practical purposes, is in near-infinite supply. The condition will not be met, however, for systems that are supported by nonrenewable energy and materials (e.g., fossil fuels, minerals, and nutrients) which occur in limited quantities (DeAngelis et al. 1989). The distinction between unlimited and limited resource supplies in an open system is critical, especially for promoting sustainable technologies. In many...

Responses To Anthropogenic Changes

However, humans are changing environmental conditions in many ways simultaneously, through fossil fuel combustion, industrial effluents, water impoundment and diversion, pesticide application, and land-use practices. Large areas have been planted to genetically modified crops or occupied by invasive exotic species. Global atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are clearly increasing, and global climate has shown a distinct warming trend (e.g., Beedlow et al. 2004, Keeling et al. 1995). Acidic precipitation has greatly reduced the pH of many aquatic ecosystems in northern temperate countries, with more dramatic effects. Nitrogen subsidies resulting from increased atmospheric NOx may provide a short-term fertilization effect in N-limited ecosystems until pH-buffering capacity of the soil is depleted. Deforestation, desertification, and other changes in regional landscapes are fragmenting habitats and altering habitat suitability for organisms around the globe (J....

Principles for Designing Sustainably

At a time when the known nonrenewable reserves of fossil fuel are getting more costly to tap, producing less net energy and producing harmful global warming, it is prudent to start designing structures and communities that function well without them. As energy costs soar, fossil fuel-powered comfort, water availability, transportation, and food will become less available and affordable impacting the cost and functioning of everything. Since less net energy, coupled with the associated pollution and health issues, is the apparent future for nonrenewable-energy use, it poses a compelling challenge how to design structures that are powered by renewables on the site and region and how to design into the project the ability to fully function without nonrenewables.

Is past and present household consumption sustainable

We concluded from the results of the HOMES and Greenhouse projects that household consumption in the Netherlands during the fifty-year period since the Second World War was not sustainable. We also concluded that the future demand for resources due to household consumption will exceed the sustainable supply of environmental resources assuming the simultaneous need for an acceptable level of environmental quality. By the latter we mean that meeting human needs may not result in undue harm to other species and their ecosystems. The ToolSust project only confirmed the findings. The conclusions were drawn for a variety of levels and household functions. The geographical levels ranged from single households in the Netherlands to cities in four European countries. The actor levels ranged from political (taxes, regulation), economic (product quality, prices) and spatial (spatial planning and infrastructure) to the sociocultural level (institution and social norms). Household functions...

James Simpson Steven N Chillrud Richard F Bopp Edward Shuster and Damon A Chaky

Abstract This chapter uses data from a few representative sampling sites in the Hudson basin to understand variations in major ion concentrations, which are used as one simple proxy of gross drinking water quality. Other water supply issues, including potential implications of dissolved organic carbon concentrations on drinking water quality, are also discussed. The major ion content of surface waters is largely determined by precipitation chemistry, dry deposition from the atmosphere, chemical weathering of rock and soil minerals, and anthropogenic loadings, and then modified by biogeochemical reactions that take place within the system. (1) Based on data reported for West Point, New York by the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP), precipitation chemistry in the Hudson River basin is similar to that in much of the northeastern United States. As a result of upwind and regional fossil fuel combustion, sulfate and nitrate are the most abundant anions and hydrogen is the most...

Cluster sampling See sampling

Coal A carbonaceous deposit formed from the remains of fossil plants. Most of the world's coal deposits formed about 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) period, under warm tropical or subtropical climates when vast swamp forests flourished. The stages in the formation of so-called humic or woody coals pass through partially decomposed vegetable matter such as peat, through lignite, subbituminous coal, semianthracite, to anthracite. During this process, the percentage of carbon increases and volatile components and moisture are gradually eliminated. Sapropelic coals are derived from algae, spores, and finely divided plant material. See Carboniferous fossil fuel.

Effects of acidity on stream ecosystems

Inorganic acids formed from sulfate and nitrous oxides released in the burning of fossil fuels, or from acids leached from mining deposits. Naturally acidic waters, tea-colored from the breakdown of organic matter, occur in diverse settings including northern peatlands, tropical regions such as the aptly named Rio Negro, and blackwater rivers draining swamp forests such as the Ogeechee River in the southeastern United States. Acid precipitation is a relatively recent phenomenon due to industrialization, and has its greatest influence in regions of poor buffering capacity, especially in granitic catchments. Substantial areas of northern Europe, the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, and the Rocky Mountains have been significantly impacted.

Estimation of Carbon Emissions

Table 2 contains data on carbon emissions caused by deforestation in the Tropics. The estimates differ substantially the average annual carbon emissions for 1990-2005 are estimated in the range 0.8-2.2 PgCyr (15-35 of the annual global emissions from fossil fuels approximately during this period) with the overall average at about 1.5 PgCyr-1. This estimate corresponds well to the estimate of the third IPCC assessment of 1.6 0.8 PgCyr for the period 1987-98 and to recent estimates for 2000-06. Simulations done with the model IMAGE 2.1 estimated C emissions from deforestation from 0.83 PgCyrin 1995, 1.04 in 2000, 1.58 in 2005, to 2.16PgCyr in 2015. Several estimates of aggregated carbon fluxes from tropical land given by inverse modeling vary from 1.2 to1.5PgCyr-1, if both fluxes to the atmosphere and hydrosphere are accounted for.

Gaseous Emission Control

This section presents some options for reducing the emission of pollutants. It focuses on the complex series of processes and phenomena generally grouped under acid rain. Acid rain is associated with the release of sulphur and nitrogen oxides into atmosphere via the burning of fossil fuels. The deposition of sulfur and nitrogen compounds is one of the most pressing large-scale air pollution problems.

Current Trends Tradeoffs and Pressures on the Land

Forest ecosystems provide important services via carbon sequestration. One might imagine using the sequestration capacity of forest ecosystems as a service to regulate global carbon emissions. Of the 9 billion petagrams (Pg) of global carbon emissions, 7.5 Pg come from fossil fuels combustion and about 1.5 Pg from land use change (Canadell et al. 2007). Allowing for total current land and ocean sinks of 5 Pg C yr (Canadell et al. 2007) yields a net release into the atmosphere of approximately 4 Pg C yr. Assuming that we are free

Exergy A Useful Concept

As mentioned above, there exist several identifiable 'engines of growth' (positive feedback cycles) of which the first, historically, and still one of the most powerful, has been the continuously declining real price of physical resources, especially energy (and power) delivered at a point of use. The tendency of virtually all raw material and fuel costs to decline over time (lumber was the main exception) has been thoroughly documented, especially by economists at Resources For the Future (RFF). The landmark publication in this field was the book Scarcity and Growth (Barnett and Morse 1963), updated by Barnett (1979). The details of historical price series, up to the mid-1960s, can be found in Potter and Christy (1968). The immediate conclusion from those empirical results was that scarcity was not in prospect and was unlikely to inhibit economic growth in the (then) foreseeable future. It is also very likely, however, that increasing availability and declining costs of energy (and...

Exergy Efficiency And Waste

On the input side, exergy consists of the following products of photosynthesis (phyto-mass), fossil fuels, nuclear heat, hydroelectric power, and metal ores and other minerals. Photosynthetic exergy utilization in the USA in 1998 consisted of primary agricultural phytomass generated for the food system (including grazing animals) - 24.5 exaJoules (EJ) - plus a small contribution by non-food crops (mainly cotton) plus wood. This analysis was made with the aid of an extremely comprehensive agricultural model (Wirsenius 2000) using FAO data for the years 1992-1994. The model works back from final food intake to primary production requirements, adjusting for trade. Food eaten in the USA itself amounted to just about 1 EJ, and exports increased this to 1.37 EJ (equivalent). The calculated efficiency of the US production system was 5.6 per cent, implying gross primary production of 24.5 EJ. Of this 15.6 EJ was actually utilized (harvested and processed or fed to animals), the remainder...

Basic Worldview and Goals

Ecological economics starts with the observation that the human economy is a subsystem of the larger ecological life support system. It recognizes that humans are a part of this larger ecological system and not apart from it. Humans have shaped and modified their supporting ecosystems since the time of their appearance as a species, sometimes sustainably, sometimes not. In the past, this human presence (the economic subsystem) was relatively small in scale compared to the size of the rest of the supporting ecosystem. In the last century, due largely to the utilization of fossil fuels, the human subsystem has expanded so dramatically that it is now a major component of the overall system. Unlike the situation in the majority of human history, we now live in a relatively 'full' world. This changes everything. In a full world context, the goal ofthe economic subsystem can no longer

Accounting for Natural Capital Ecological Limits and Sustainable Scale

The debate has gone on for several decades now. It began with Barnett and Morse's Scarcity and Growth in 1963, but really got into high gear only with the publication of The Limits to Growth by Meadows et al. in 1972 and the Arab oil embargo in 1973. Several thousand studies over the last 15 years have considered aspects of our energy and resource future, and different points of view have waxed and waned. But the bottom line is that there is still considerable uncertainty about the impacts of energy and resource constraints. In the next 20-30 years, we may begin to hit real fossil fuel supply limits. Will fusion energy or solar energy or conservation or some as yet unthought of energy source step in to save the day and keep economies growing The technological optimists say 'yes' and the technological skeptics say 'maybe' but let us not count on it. Ultimately, no one knows.

Efficiency Gains in Production

Considerable potentials for energy recovery from municipal organic waste and residues in agriculture and forestry exist. For example, the energetic use of wastes can provide the double benefit of waste management and energy provision. Residues from agriculture, forestry, and biomass-processing industries have great potential as feedstocks for stationary energy provision. To a more limited extent, second generation technologies for transport biofuels, when these become available, could also make use of residues. Energy recovery from waste and residues can save significant greenhouse gas emissions without requiring additional land. However, research is required with regard to the proper balance of residues remaining on the field for soil fertility and removal for energy, as well as with regard to nutrient recycling after energy recovery.

Directional selection

Dilute and disperse A method of dealing with pollutants in which the pollutant is discharged into a large body of water or air that will reduce its concentration and carry it away from its source, further reducing its concentration on the way. Examples are the emission of gases from power stations burning fossil fuels and the discharge of small quantities of untreated sewage into the sea. Compare concentrate and contain.

Efficiency Gains in Land

Global resources do not allow patterns of current consumption to simply shift from fossil resources to biomass. Instead, the level of consumption needs to be significantly reduced for biofuels to be able to substitute for relevant portions of fossil fuel use. For that to occur, resource efficiency in terms of services provided per unit of primary material, energy, and land will need to be drastically increased. Various developed and developing countries and international organizations have formulated goals and targets for increased resource productivity. Designing a policy framework by setting incentives for a more productive use of resources might be more effective and efficient in fostering a sustainable resource use than regulating and fostering specific technologies. Experiences from targeted biofuel policies corroborate the assumption that the risk of un-desired side effects grows with the degree to which policies are technology prescriptive, rather than setting an incentive...

Efficiency Yield and Stability

Usually there is not a perfect local balance between photosynthetic energy fixation and energy losses to respiration. Residual material, particularly in oligotrophic situations, is a relatively small fraction of the organic material produced by the photosynthesizers in that ecosystem. This residual material may be washed away and used by some distant organisms, or buried, joining sediment or adding to fossil fuel or to the brown color of soil. The existence and condition of organic material in sediments depends broadly on the availability of water and oxygen for decomposer bacteria and molds.

Key Global and Regional Results

At the largest scales, global Ecological Footprint analysis shows that the total human footprint, or demand on ecosystems, exceeds the planet's available biocapacity, or its ability to supply resources and waste sinks. Figure 1 shows that this condition of overshoot has existed since the mid-1980s. The most significant growth in Ecological Footprint over this time period has been a result of an increase in the productive land area required to meet human demands for fossil fuel energy. This energy land footprint made up nearly 50 of the total Ecological Footprint at a global level in 2002. The growth in available biocapacity over time largely reflects increases in the productivity of cropland. These increases also led, however, to increases in application of fertilizers and pesticides, the creation of which contributed to the rapidly growing Ecological Footprint over this same time period.

Applied Systems Thinking

Materials science is a fourth area in which ecology is being taken seriously. Nature, as chemist Terry Collins has noted, uses only a relatively few ingredients while industrial chemistry uses virtually the entire periodic table, creating ecological havoc. The field of biomimicry has grown in response by studying how nature works in fine detail. Natural systems are a carnival of color, for instance, but nature does not use paints. To answer such questions, Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry, is developing a database of the ways nature works to filter, reduce, recycle, color, purify, form, and join - all done without the use of toxics and fossil fuels and all of it biodegradable. The result could be a transformation of materials and industry that dramatically reduce pollution and energy use.

Challenges To Theory And Application Of Optimal Resource Extraction Models

By its nature, economic theory is anthropocentric and, thus, selective in the consideration of effects of economic actions on the environment and the role of environmental goods and services for economic activities. It is consumer utility, welfare or profit that is maximized under a set of constraints that are given by the environment and recognized by economic decision makers. Such constraints reflect, for example, the finiteness of an essential resource or the growth rates of plants harvested or animals caught. However, many other important environmental constraints are typically not captured fully in the economic decision process. Rather, these constraints are captured only as far as they impose apparent, immediate restriction on the deployment of the economically valued factors of production. A variety of constraints that are associated with unpriced material and energy flows that may lead to fundamental changes in the physical or biotic environment are frequently not (but can, in...

Modeling Future Resource Demands

In addition to contemporary and past trend analyses of stocks and flows, ambitious attempts to forecast future patterns of natural resource use have been attempted. A study by the MOSUS (Modelling Opportunities and limits for restructuring Europe towards SUStainability) project carried out a scenario analysis through 2020 for six resource groups including biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores, and industrial construction minerals. This provides an ex-ante assessment of environmental and economic effects of different resource policies (Giljum et al. 2008).

Essential amino acid See amino acid

Ethanol A clean fuel (used as an alternative fuel for motor vehicles) that can be produced from grain crops, and from paper and wood wastes. Because it is derived from recently grown crops, it does not contribute to carbon dioxide accumulation as do fossil fuels. Ethanol and ethanol gasoline blends (gasohol) have been used for many years. Methanol, another alcohol produced from wood and coal, has similar benefits, and provides a much better performance for motor vehicles than ethanol.

Myth of Sustainable Development

Our technological civilization (a) uses nonbiospheric, nonrenewable sources of energy (fossil fuels and nuclear energy) (b) applies technological processes, which increase concentrations of chemical elements in comparison with their concentrations in the biosphere (metallurgy, chemical industry, etc.) (c) disperses chemical elements decreasing their concentrations in comparison with their biotic concentrations. All these processes produce redundant entropy, Since the overproduction is spatially heterogeneous, the redundant entropy naturally overflows from one site with high entropy to others with lower entropy, or it is artificially transported. If in the first case the process manifests as spreading of different pollutants by natural agents (wind, rivers, etc.), then in the second case this is either a purposeful export of industrial waste and polluting technologies to other regions, or import of low-entropy energy (e.g., fossil fuels) from other regions. Finally, we formulate the...

Glades Community Development Corporation

This regional design would be a win-win situation for the economy, the community, and the environment. The natural system, in this case the Everglades National Park, would receive cleaned-up sheet flow from the lake. The agricultural system, degraded from the past 100 years of abuse, would be revitalized by using a gravity irrigation-distribution system, reducing fossil-fuel dependence while rejuvenating the historic town image.

Summary Us Physical Goods Material Use Patterns

During the 20th century the flow of processed physical goods to support the industrial economy of the USA increased exponentially. This trend continued after a slight pause around 1970-80. From 1975 onward, the data show that while hidden flows decreased, processed flows for fuels, physical goods and agricultural products increased at the same rate as population. With the exception of physical goods obtained from agricultural resources, the per capita use of material for this purpose continues to increase. The end of the century saw a resurgence in the use of construction materials, primary metals and wood, a consequence of a robust economy and, probably, urban sprawl. During that same period, the increased use of synthetic polymeric material affected both metals and natural fibers, and even though Americans are using increased amounts of paper, packaging applications have likely also been affected. Of major significance is the fact that they are becoming increasingly dependent on...

Foreign Resource Requirements

Domestic production of primary resources differs from imported commodities (raw materials and semi-manufactures) with regard to the related hidden flows as shown in Table 23.2. In 1995, imports of fossil fuels (excluding electricity) into the EU-15 had a significantly lower hidden flow ratio than the domestic extraction of energy resources. This resulted from the fact that the imports were mainly oil and natural gas. Those materials are associated with lower hidden flows than lignite and hard coal, which contribute significantly in some of the member states. Imports of metal resources were associated with 17 times higher hidden flows than domestic extraction. Ore mining within the EU-15 plays only a minor role. It concentrates on deposits with relatively high efficiency of extraction and lower volume burden to the environment. Most of the base metals, such as iron, aluminum and copper, are imported. Precious metals with the highest ratio of unused to used extraction are mostly brought...

Types of Conceptual Diagrams

Values in compartments are in 1(1 tons and in fluxes 10 tons year. All fluxes balance each other with the exception of the transfer of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel to the atmosphere. Fortunately. 60rr of this flux is absorbed bv the ocean. Fig. 4.5. Carbon cycle, global. Values in compartments are in 1(1 tons and in fluxes 10 tons year. All fluxes balance each other with the exception of the transfer of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel to the atmosphere. Fortunately. 60rr of this flux is absorbed bv the ocean.

Alcoholic Fermentation

The redox balance of alcoholic fermentation is achieved by the regeneration of NAD+ during the reduction of acetaldehyde to ethanol, which is catalyzed by alcohol deydrogenase. The ATP yield of alcoholic fermentation is 1 or 2 mol of ATP per mole of glucose oxidized via the ED and EMP pathways, respectively. Zymomonas mobilis is the most important bacterial species that is able to perform alcoholic fermentation. The habitat of this species is the lymph of tropical trees, such as the palma tree from where it was originally isolated. Z. mobilis was proposed and used as a starter for ethanol production at the industrial level, although at present alcoholic fermentation carried out by yeast is better known and has been more thoroughly investigated. Natural alcoholic

Geographical and Historical Background

Japan is very densely populated, with a population of about 125 million, whereas the domestic stock of natural resources is not sufficient and its exploitation to sustain this population is costly. Therefore Japanese material flows should not be discussed without considering international trade flows. The history of international trade in Japan has an interesting profile. The Edo era, when Japan was closed to foreigners and international trade, is often referred to as a model environmentally sustainable society because of its self-sufficiency in resources. In contrast, the present Japanese economy heavily depends on international trade, both imports and exports. Without a tremendous amount of imported natural resources, such as fossil fuels and metal ores, the Japanese economy cannot be sustained. The growing export of products by raw material industries and assembly industries has been a major driving force of rapid economic growth.

Domestic Hidden Flows

Hidden flows associated with mining activities are trivial in quantity in Japan, because of the limited resources of fossil fuels and metal ores. Consequently, the contribution of domestic hidden flows to total domestic output (TDO) is relatively small, compared with more resource-rich countries. It should be borne in mind that the small size of domestic hidden flows is counterbalanced by imported hidden flows associated with imported metals and energy carriers this represents the transfer of Japan's environmental burden to its trade partners, which the first joint report emphasized (Adriaanse et al. 1997).

Industrial Ecology In The Context Of The Uk

Recently, the UK Office for National Statistics' work on environmental accounts began to include a physical accounting for the UK's foreign trade activities (Vaze 1998). Further, at the Manchester School of Geography, the minerals and fossil fuels fraction of the UK industrial metabolism has been linked to geomorphological, environmental and land use change (Douglas and Lawson 2000). The Manchester approach explicitly deals with mobilized materials not intended to enter the economic process, including overburden from mining or translocated materials. These large hidden flows in industrial metabolism, consisting of mainly trouble-free materials (see Steurer 1996) are discussed in comparison to flows which are mobilized by ecosystems dynamics and recognized as problems from the point of view of sustainability. Furthermore, city metabolism for Manchester has been studied following a historical perspective (Douglas, Hodgson and Lawson forthcoming, see also Chapter 28). Projects with a...

An Empirical Application For The Uk Economy

Data sources for the UK, such as agricultural statistics, statistics on supply and demand of home-grown timber, the UK's mineral statistics, the overseas trade statistics and the input-output tables. Some first insights on the UK's physical economy can be drawn from time series analysis. At an aggregate level we distinguish biomass (plant harvest, timber removals, fishing and hunting) from mineral materials (ores, industrial materials and construction materials), fossil fuels (coal, crude oil, natural gas) and products (both semimanufactured and finished). At this level, water and air inputs are not included. Looking at the physical dimension of the UK economy within the last decades clearly shows that (after a period of rapid growth from the 1940s to the 1970s) material input had come to a standstill. Direct material input (DMI) is one of the internationally agreed indicators derived from a material flow accounting approach. Direct input consists of mainly economically used materials...

Material Flows From Foreign Trade

The second part of society's industrial metabolism stems from the interaction with other economies. In the UK case, not surprisingly, fossil fuels are also the main component of imports and exports. Imports of fossil fuels became relevant after World War II and reached a peak during 1970-74, when around 130 million tons (mainly crude oil) were imported yearly. Up to this point, fossil fuels also made a dominant contribution to the UK exports, mainly as coal. This changed with the start of the North Sea gas and oil industry. Since around 1975, imports of fossil fuels have decreased considerably while exports have exploded. If we look at the foreign trade with fossil fuels from the perspective of a physical net balance of trade, the UK began to be a net importer of fossil fuels in the 1950s, reaching a maximum of 115.5 million tons import surplus. But 1973, the year of the first oil crisis, seems to be a turning point. By 1981, the UK was a net exporter of fossil energy carriers. Except...

Characteristic Metabolic Profile Of Societies The Postindustrial Pattern

Looked at more closely, the continuing high level of materials use appears to be a result of construction intensity, nutrition habits, energy supply and transport. The amount of consumer goods plays a comparably less important role, even though an enormous amount of resources, both materials and energy, are mobilized to produce them. The amount of physical advance achievements necessary to make available the production infrastructure and all payments due to the transport infrastructure to distribute final goods and the whole commerce infrastructure are also factors. Nevertheless, the dimensions of the material relations have changed dramatically. The metabolic profile of industrial societies is dominated by a small number of materials. Water, for instance, accounts for around 87 per cent of yearly mass throughputs in industrial economies. Air is approximately 8 per cent, whereas all the other materials (biomass, minerals, fossil fuels and imported products) only amount to around 5 per...

Population Growth and Natural Resources

The burning of fossil fuels, removal of forests, and soil erosion are all contributing to an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and to the global warming problem already evident are the spread of some bird and insect species northward and the loss of some alpine plants.

Indirect Effects of Global Relevance

Indirect relationships important on the global or subglobal scale are often separated from their cause spatially and or temporally. For example, the dramatic increase in volcanic activity (possibly caused by the impact of an asteroid) at the end of the Mesozoic era is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs, which arguably stimulated the eventual evolution of mammals (including humans). The increased production and use of fertilizers in the 1950s led to the increased phosphate inputs, eutrophication, and decrease in water quality in many lakes, ponds, and reservoirs during the subsequent decades. The increased consumption of fossil fuels in the twentieth century led to the increased emissions of carbon dioxide, which were eventually followed by global warming and an apparent increase in the frequency of natural disasters. This climate change was probably accelerated by the depletion of the planet's ozone layer due to the CFC (chlorofluorocarbon)-containing deodorants and...

Plant And Microbial Lipids

Lipids can accumulate in acidic soils where they can constitute 30 of the total SOM C (Stevenson, 1994). Soil disturbance such as tillage, erosion, or fire is needed to release these compounds into the decomposition cycle. High organic matter soils contain the greatest amount of lipids. Clay soils have higher lipid content than coarse textured or sandy soils. The decomposition of more complex lipids, such as sterols and cutins, requires multifaceted enzymatic systems or groups of enzymes. Cutin is a polymer network of oxygenated C-16 and C-18 fatty acids cross-linked by ester bonds. Gaining attention are compounds accumulating in soils with behavior similar to that of lipids termed polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), released from fossil fuel combustion. Enzymes and degradative processes of the more recalcitrant lipid substances and PAH are not well understood.

Consumption and Sustainable Development

Such investigations are part of a broader inquiry about the sustainability of systems and, in particular, sustainable development (see Sustainable Development) of the global economy. Development of alternate energy systems that can substantially reduce reliance on fossil fuels by making more direct use of solar energy in both production and consumption, thus moving industrial systems back in the direction of ecological systems, promises to be an active area of research. A shift in the diets of the affluent from animal-based toward more plant-based foods could have substantial impacts on resource use in agriculture. Such scenarios about the future will be analyzed using frameworks that integrate material flow data, life-cycle descriptions of products and processes, and IO models of individual economies and of the world economy. As increasing numbers of researchers with roots in different disciplines turn their attention to the challenges of sustainable global development, the...

Ian Douglas and Nigel Lawson

Urban use of materials involves two broad strands of inputs, stocks and outputs. The buildings and infrastructure of the city can be described as the 'urban fabric' (Douglas 1983) while the materials (largely food) consumed by the people and all other organisms within the city can be seen as passing through the urban biosphere. The biospheric use of materials has a rapid turnover, expressed by the high proportion of food waste and packaging in the domestic waste stream. The biospheric consumption is largely biomass-derived food and clothing, water and energy mainly using fossil fuels, but an increasing amount of hydrocarbon synthesized materials are used in packaging and other short-life materials. The inputs to the urban fabric include wood from biomass, but are mainly from mining and quarrying, and thus in national assessments of domestic and imported mineral products. The urban fabric has a slower turnover as buildings last for decades, if not centuries and, in rare cases,...

Risk Management For Metals

Three main approaches for enhanced metals management now seem feasible (a) the input into the economy can be lowered (b) the output can be delayed and (c) the output can be controlled or sequestered. The first main approach, lowering of the input, can be achieved by replacement of metals in functional applications (for example, PVC for zinc gutters), by recycling or increasing the lifespan of metals with an elastic supply (for example, Cu, Pb or Zn) and by reducing inflows as contaminants, for example in phosphate fertilizer or fossil fuels. The second main approach, delaying the output, can be achieved by keeping non-functional metals within the economy (for example, fly ash in concrete or roads). This option offers time for further development of the third main

Nuclear membrane See nucleus

Nuclear winter The significant cooling of the global climate suggested to be a possible consequence of nuclear war, due to the resulting high-altitude dust clouds caused by the nuclear explosions and the burning of forests, fossil fuels, and plastics set alight by firestorms triggered by exploding nuclear warheads. Such a large accumulation of dust would block sunlight for weeks afterward, perhaps reducing surface temperatures by as much as 22 C (40 F). The low temperatures, frosts, and dim light, as well as the radioactive fallout, would destroy plant and animals life.

Environmental Profiles Of Climatic Materials Table 1411

Calculation of global warming potential GWP include carbonatation (50 years), storing of carbon dioxide (50 years) and emissions from final incineration of products based on fossil fuels. The storing of carbon is calculated from net weight of material, (exclusive loss and renewal).

Ecological Engineering for Eutrophication Management in Coastal Zones

Upwelling zones, which receive infusions of nutrients from deep ocean waters, support some of the most pro ductive marine ecosystems. However, anthropogenic eutrophication of estuaries and coastal zones has been a growing problem since the latter half of the twentieth century. The main drivers for this have been the increas ing proportion of the population moving to the coastal zones, an increase in the burning of fossil fuels, the increase in the use of synthetic fertilizers and the increase in consumption of animal protein, due to the intensive rearing of poultry and pork. Other contributing factors have been the draining of wetlands and the clear ing of riparian vegetation. The result of these human activities has been a very large increase of the inputs of certain plant nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phos phorus, into aquatic ecosystems. Whereas phosphorus is often the limiting nutrient in freshwater systems, nitrogen is most often the naturally limiting nutrient in...

A tale of two cycles the short and longterm carbon cycles

Although often described as the carbon cycle such diagrams are usually depicting only a small part of the planet's carbon cycle, often referred to as the 'short-term carbon cycle' by those with a more geological perspective on these things (e.g. Berner, 2004 Kump et al., 2004). These ecology texts usually either miss out the two-way fluxes of carbon between the rocks and the surficial system (i.e. oceans, atmosphere, life, and soils), or restrict it to considering the burning of fossil fuels. This is a reasonable approximation on the time scale of thousands of years however, this is a tiny fraction of the time span of life on Earth. To put the role of life in its proper Earth Systems context we need to consider the 'long-term carbon cycle'. A generalized mass balance equation for the long-term cycle can be written as (Berner, 2004)

Metal Surface Materials

From an ecological point of view, the use of metals should be reduced to a minimum. Reserves in nature are limited, and the production of metals requires high amounts of energy, usually based on fossil fuels emissions of greenhouse gases and other severe pollutants during the production of metals are generally large.

Global Carbon Monoxide Air Pollution Measurements

NASA's Terra spacecraft provides a complete view ever of the world's air pollution traveling through the atmosphere, across continents and oceans. For the first time, policymakers and scientists now have a way to identify the major sources of air pollution and to closely track where the pollution goes, anywhere on Earth. Carbon monoxide is a gaseous by-product from the burning of fossil fuels, in industry and automobiles, as well as burning of forests and grasslands. In the 30 April 2000 image (Figure 10), the levels of carbon monoxide are much higher in the Northern Hemisphere, where human population and human industry is much greater than in the Southern Hemisphere. However, in the 30 October 2000 image, immense plumes of the gas are emitted from forest and grassland fires burning in South America and Southern Africa. Researchers were surprised to discover a strong source of carbon monoxide in Southeast Asia. The air pollution plume from this region moves over the Pacific Ocean and...

Partitioning Urban CO2 Sources

Isotopes of CO2 have been used to distinguish between a number of components of ecosystem carbon cycles, including photosynthesis vs respiration (Yakir and Wang, 1996 Bowling et al., 2001) and respiration of plants utilizing the C3 vs C4 photosynthetic pathways (Still et al., 2003). In urban ecosystems, 14C is a useful tracer for separating fossil fuel-derived CO2 from more recent carbon released in plant respiration, as fossil sources contain no 14C. Studies utilizing a combination of the 13C and 14C tracers in urban areas to quantify the relative proportions of respiration and fossil fuel CO2 sources have found significant contributions from plant and soil respiration (Zondervan and Meijer, 1996 Meijer et al, 1997 Takahashi et al, 2001, 2002). Although these results do not provide direct information about the net carbon balance of urban forests, they indicate that plant and soil processes can be detected in the urban atmosphere, despite the large influence of fossil fuel-derived CO2...

Contemporary Concerns

There is growing global awareness that our human population is increasing and many resources, like fossil fuels, are limited. Forests have a finite ability to meet competing demands placed upon them, but many forest resources are renewable, as long as soil fertility is not depleted or conversion to another land use does not occur. Indeed, as a case study of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation illustrates (see Case study 2) many attributes offorests are available for use in perpetuity ifthe basis for their existence is not jeopardized, either by the methods used to extract them or the amount that is removed.

Long Term Global and Regional Trends in the Nitrogen Cycle

North America doubled its N production between 1961 and 1997, with most of the increase occurring during the 1960s and 1970s. Although the largest increase was in use of inorganic N fertilizer, emissions of NOx from fossil fuel combustion also increased substantially. By 1997, even though N fixation had increased, fertilizer use and NOx emissions had increased more rapidly and two-thirds ofreactive N inputs were denitrified or stored in soils and biota, while one-third was exported, the largest export being in riverine flux to coastal oceans, followed by export in food and feeds, and atmospheric advection to the oceans. The consumption of meat protein is a major driver behind N use in agriculture in North America. Without changes in diet or agricultural practices, fertilizer use will increase over the next 30 years, and fluxes to coastal oceans may increase by another 30 .

Mechanisms and Institutions

As for the first question, fire has been a key amplification mechanism of human action since prehistorical times. Clearly, the burning of fossil fuels with the resulting emission of greenhouse gases is a related mechanism today. Vernadsky was particularly impressed by an amplification mechanism that was developed during his lifetime. The human capability to think had led to an understanding of subatomic processes that enabled human beings to build atomic bombs as well as to generate electricity from nuclear power plants. Vernadsky had studied radioactive materials already before World War I during World War II he played a key role in triggering the nuclear weapons program under Stalin, and he forcefully supported the Soviet nuclear energy program. It is noteworthy that Lovelock, champion of the Gaia concept, strongly advocates nuclear power as the way to meet the challenge of anthropogenic climate change.

Reticulate evolution and seed crops maize

Maize (Zea mays mays) domestication is thought to have occurred c.9,000 ybp in the southern Mexican highlands (Matsuoka et al. 2002). Cock (1982) listed maize as the third and fourth most important calorie source for tropical and worldwide human populations, respectively. Indeed, he listed 600 billion kilocalories day as the amount of energy generated for H. sapiens from this crop alone. Global production of maize in 2006 2007 was greater than 700 million metric tons (World Agricultural Outlook Board 2007). Furthermore, it is predicted that the United States will export a record 2.45 billion bushels during 2007 2008 (World Agricultural Outlook Board 2007). For the United States, the extremely large economic benefit from Z. m. mays, is reflected in its 2006 value as a grain crop of US 34 billion (National Agricultural Statistics Service 2007a). Each of these facts reflects the integral role played by maize in human nutrition and economic development (including its capacity as a source...

The Recent Decline in Atmospheric Oxygen

Since 1989, when Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography began extremely high precision measurements, there has been a steady decline of molecular oxygen in our atmosphere. The decrease is small, just 0.03 in the past 20 years or an annual rate of about 2 ppm (out of 210 000ppm of atmospheric oxygen). Measurements of the bubbles of air trapped in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica suggest that this oxygen decline started in the late eighteenth century, at the beginning of the industrial revolution, when fossil fuel burning increased dramatically. This decrease in atmospheric oxygen is not unexpected, for the combustion of fossil fuels, while in the process of producing carbon dioxide, destroys O2. For every 100 atoms of fossil-fuel carbon burned, it has been estimated that roughly 140 molecules of O2 are consumed. Since every molecule of additional carbon dioxide locks up two oxygen atoms, the free oxygen decline is greater than the carbon dioxide increase....

Humans and carbon sequestration

The preceding discussion highlights the role of life in carbon cycling, currently one species Homo sapiens is having unprecedented effects on this system. This is not a book on applied ecology, however, it is impossible to write a chapter on carbon sequestration without any mention of the effects of humans on the future of the Earth System (see Lovelock (2006) for an impassioned Gaia perspective on the perils of human-driven climate change). With 'global warming' we are not taking part in any new processes within the Earth system, but we are greatly altering the rate of some of the existing processes (see Box 8.2 for a brief history of human intervention in the Earth's carbon cycle). In the context of Fig. 8.2 we have greatly increased the rate of 'Fwg' by burning fossil fuels. In addition, we have altered the distribution of carbon within the 'surficial system' box by processes such as biomass destruction which converts carbon from organic matter into atmospheric CO2.

Living Plant Surfaces

Earth removed from roofs returns to the soil. Waterproofing layers of plastics can, in theory, be cleaned and recycled, but this is seldom done in practice. Impregnated trelliswork must be deposited at special tips. Bituminous materials, plastics and impregnated wood can be recycled for energy. When burning plastics and bitumen, the emissions of carbon dioxide will be the same as with fossil fuels. From the burning of products of polyvinyl chloride dioxins will be emitted. Ash must be deposited at special tips.

The Soil Sulfur Cycle

Similar to the soil N cycle, and unlike P, these elements undergo chemical and microbially mediated transformations leading to volatilization. Not only is the biosphere a repository for highly mobile forms of S, but several key reactions of the cycle are accelerated by, and sometimes completely controlled by, microbiological activity. The soil microbial biomass acts as the driving force behind mineralization-immobilization and oxidation-reduction transformations. The primary input of S to soil occurs during the weathering of soils, which releases sulfate into the available pool. Other inputs include plant residue inputs, S fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation water. Atmospheric deposition can be a significant input of S in areas affected by atmospheric pollution due to combustion of fossil fuels. Losses of S from the soil system include plant uptake and harvesting of residues, long-term fixation into minerals, leaching of soluble sulfate, and gaseous losses of volatile forms of S.

Nature And Forms Of Sulfur In Soil

The largest global reservoir of S is the lithosphere (Table 15.4). The atmospheric content of S represents a relatively small pool, but one that has increased significantly in recent times due to the burning of fossil fuels. Atmospheric emissions of S peaked at approximately 70 million metric tons (70 Tg) on an annual basis in the mid- to late-1980s. The result is acid rain, containing SO4-and NO-, which is acidifying surface waters and soils. These emissions have declined in recent decades where pollution abatement has been implemented. Areas with minimal atmospheric pollution receive approximately 1 kg S ha-1 year-1, while areas downwind from heavily industrialized areas can receive as much as 100 kg S ha-1 year-1. Many soils near cities receive more S from dry deposition through particulates than wet deposition from S dissolved in rainfall. Gases such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon disulfide (CS2), carbonyl sulfide (COS), methyl mer-captan (CH3SH), dimethyl sulfide ( CH3 2S),...

Production of Naturally Occurring Phenols

Phenolic compounds are relatively recalcitrant to degradation by microbes, phenolics occur in association with fossil fuels such as coal, shale oil, and petroleum. In oil production fields, produced water (i.e., water pumped up along with petroleum) often contains elevated levels of phenolics. Produced water from the extraction of methane from coal-bed water also contains phenolics. The aromatic and phenolic compounds in produced water originating from oil and coal-bed methane extraction account for much of the water's acute toxicity.

Mechanisms Contributing to Interannual Variability in Atmospheric

During El Nino events, less rain falls on land, particularly in the tropics, and air temperatures increase. Combined, these shifts in climate increase drought stress, and lead to decreases in both GPP and stomatal conductance. From both leaf and ecosystem level studies, there is strong empirical evidence that stomatal conductance decreases more rapidly than GPP in response to drought stress, causing a decline in internal leaf CO2 concentrations, and thus a decrease in A af, (Farquhar et al., 1989 Ekblad and Hogberg, 2001 Bowling et al, 2002 Mortazavi and Chanton, 2002 Fessenden and Ehleringer, 2003). A smaller terrestrial discrimination provides less resistance to the Sa decline caused by fossil fuels, and so the decrease in Sa accelerates. While the anomalies in discrimination (Aab) are likely to be small when integrated globally (much less than l o) they operate on GPP ( 120PgCyr-1) and so the instantaneous isotopic forcing can be quite large. Even after a year, it is likely that...

Climate Change and Agriculture

The rising costs of fossil fuels (the current dip in prices notwithstanding) needed to irrigate more land, produce more fertilizer, and move more food around the globe will add further pressure to an already charged situation. These costs are beginning to influence decisions about the allocation of land and water resources for biofuel feedstock production, both to replace fossil fuels and to mitigate a portion of the growing GHG emissions. Any further expansion in the agricultural footprint to support biofuel production will invariably lead to increased CO2 emissions through land use change, which in turn will exacerbate climate change impacts. Recent studies have looked at the carbon footprint of biofuel production when land use change is taken into consideration (Fargione et al. 2008). These studies suggest that if land is converted from export agriculture to domestic biofuel feedstocks, land conversion in other world regions for export agriculture can result in carbon emissions....

Energy and Agriculture

Natural inputs of nutrients, water, and energy. However, inputs of fertilizers and the widespread use of irrigation have enabled land productivity rates at levels much higher than natural inputs alone would provide. Science and technology have also played important roles to raise yields through the introduction of hybrid plants, some of which now require more nutrient and water inputs than their natural equivalents. The control of pests and weeds also requires large inputs of pesticides and herbicides. Many of the most critical inputs, such as nitrogen fertilizers, irrigation, and pesticides, are manufactured from or depend on fossil fuels.

An early start to the Anthropocene

The large-scale burning of fossil fuels is not the only way to affect global climate land use change can also be very important. Clearing forests releases the carbon locked up inside the plants and land use changes can potentially release large amounts of carbon from organic matter in the soils. In addition, altering vegetation changes the land's albedo (the amount of solar energy reflected back into space) which affects climate, as does the extent of wetlands as this is correlated with the amount of the greenhouse gas methane released into the atmosphere. As all of these things are affected by agriculture, it raises the possibility that as agriculture spread around the world it may have started to affect the atmosphere and climate on a global scale, long before the industrial revolution. While it sounds plausible that land use change associated with agriculture may have had global effects, what is needed to really establish this is a rigorous preferably quantitative approach to the...

Nature And Forms In Soil

Trace metals in soil originate from (1) parent materials from which the soils are formed, (2) contamination from impurities in soil amendments such as mineral fertilizers or biosolids, and (3) atmospheric deposition of natural (e.g., wind-eroded soil or volcanic materials) or anthropogenic (e.g., fossil fuel combustion products) particulates. The main source of trace metals is the parent material because the amounts added, even in high fertilizer use agroecosystems, are generally too low to have an influence on the total amount present. Some sites that have received high rates of biosolid amendments over a long period of time may have soil concentrations of trace metals many times higher than that of the geochemical background (Table 15.10).

Land Base for Food Fuel and Materials How Much Is Required

Using the global value, the world would need to increase ethanol production by 20-fold over current levels to meet 100 fuel needs from grain ethanol. In the U.S. this equates to an increase in the area planted in non-wheat grains from 9.3-162 million hectares, an increase that would exceed the total It is clear from these numbers that the land base would have to overrun the cropland area for current croplands and spread into other regions (tropics) and ecosystems (forests). This finding is consistent with recent studies by Searchinger et al. (2008) and Fargione et al. (2008). In addition, such a transformation would increase the net carbon debt of biofuels through carbon stock loss due to land conversion.

Reticulate evolution and fruit crops coconut

The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, exemplifies again observations made repeatedly in this and the two preceding chapters. First, this species has benefited numerous tropical, H. sapiens populations as a source of food and economic stimulus in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Jamaica, and Brazil (Teulat et al. 2000 Manimekalai and Nagarajan 2006b). In 2003, 10.6 million hectares were utilized for C. nucifera plantations, yielding 53 million nuts (Manimekalai and Nagarajan 2006a). The second observation that can be drawn from an analysis of coconut is that, though I have placed this species into the category of food source, coconut palm is a species with a multitude of uses. For example, parts of the coconut palm are utilized to produce drink containers, alcohol, furniture, activated charcoal, ropes, doormats, woven articles, thatch, and biodiesel (Bruman 1945 Corpuz 2004 Baudouin et al. 2006).

Environmental Profiles Of Surface Materials Table 1511

Calculation of global warming potential GWP include carbonatation (50 years), storing of carbon (50 years) and emissions from final incineration of products based on fossil fuels.The storing of carbon is calculated from net weight of material (exclusive loss and renewal).

The longterm carbon cycle

If you look in a university-level ecology textbook at a diagram of the carbon cycle, you will normally see a collection of arrows showing the flux (movement) of carbon between various reservoirs (such as the atmosphere, ocean sediments, or life). Various fluxes will be illustrated, such as photosynthesis, human burning of fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide dissolving in water.34,35 However, for anyone used to thinking about the carbon cycle over geological time spans, one key process is strikingly absent from these ecology texts. This missing process is the weathering of silicate rocks, which on a geological timescale removes large quantities of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and places it into carbonates and silica oxides. Indeed on a long timescale this is more important than the burial of organic carbon from photosynthesis in controlling the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Fig. 10.2). In the 'short-term' carbon cycle of the ecology textbooks, the fluxes are...

Inputs to terrestrial communities

Last, and by no means least, human activities contribute significant inputs of nutrients to many communities. For example, the amounts of CO2 and oxides of nitrogen and sulfur in the atmosphere have been increased by the burning of fossil fuels, and the concentrations of nitrate and phosphate in stream-water have been raised by agricultural practices and sewage disposal. These changes have far-reaching consequences, which will be discussed later.

Modeling future health risks under climate change scenarios

While epidemiologists have often projected from observed recent exposures and or current disease trends to estimate future disease risks and burdens, they have much less experience in doing this in relation to the health risks of scenarios of future environmental conditions. Such scenarios usually entail plausible ranges of the underlying drivers (such as fossil fuel combustion as a major determinant of greenhouse gas emissions) rather than formal probability distributions. The scenarios also entail substantial uncertainties about both future societal trajectories and (climate) system responses to as-yet unexperienced (in human records) atmospheric composition. The former category of uncertainty can be better addressed by achieving a higher level of horizontal integration (of non-climate effect-modifiers) into the model. The latter category will require more empirical observation by climate scientists, both now and as the process unfolds (WHO, 2004).

The role of carbon dioxide

With the advent of our modern industrial society, the amount of CO2 directly entering the atmosphere has risen dramatically and now stands at about 350 ppm as compared with 280 ppm in the 1850s. The current rate of increase is about 1.3 ppm per year. Most of this extra CO2 comes from the burning of fossil fuels and the effects of de-forestation. In the latter, the trees are not only no longer there to photosynthesize and use up CO2 but the forests are often burnt, thus releasing more CO2. The oceans are helping to counteract and moderate this build-up of atmospheric CO2 because as atmospheric levels increase, more CO2 dissolves at the ocean-atmosphere interface.

Can intelligent life prolong the life span of the biosphere

In the far future, this time to save rather than challenge the biosphere For example, it has recently been suggested51 that we could counter our contemporary increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide by effectively increasing the rate of silicate weathering, so it would function to reduce carbon dioxide levels on short timescales of use to ourselves. This could conceivably be done by electrochemically (assuming the electricity is derived from sources other than fossil fuels) removing hydrochloric acid from sea water and reacting the acid with silicate rocks on a grand scale. This example illustrates the general idea of deliberately intervening in biogeochemical cycles, but as in the very long term the problem is too little carbon dioxide then this particular approach would not help in increasing the life of the biosphere.

Successional tolerance See succession

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) A colorless choking gas, readily soluble to form an unstable solution of sulfurous acid (H2SO3). Sulfur dioxide is released from many industrial processes and from the burning of fossil fuels. It is a serious air pollutant, causing respiratory irritation and triggering asthma in susceptible people. It is a major constituent of acid rain.

Pesticides and organic compounds

Many other organic chemicals used in industry, con sumer products, and created by fossil fuel combustion also have significant detrimental effects on ecological stability. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aro matic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are introduced through industrial and municipal wastewater, urban runoff, groundwater intrusion, and atmospheric deposition. In addition, petroleum based pollutants such as oil and gaso line enter through urban and road runoff, and leaking underground storage tanks. Many of these chemicals are closely associated with the sediments and can persist for many years within the ecosystem.

Primary Saprotrophs Detritivores Roots

Recycling for photosynthesis and primary production. Until the recent impact of humans on ecosystems over the last 250 years, the release of soil CO2 and its uptake by photosynthesis were closely balanced (Schlesinger and Jeffrey, 2000). The balance is now disrupted, with the accumulation of an additional 7 X 1015 g C annually in the equation, mostly from burning fossil fuels and destruction of habitats. There have been many discussions of the global carbon budget as a result, to predict the impact of climate change on ecosystems, and on the rate of warming caused by the rate of an increase in CO2 (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere. In particular, soils are seen as important because they are more easily managed than the ocean or marine soil (Amundson, 2001 Fang et al., 2001 Pacala et al., 2001). The global approach to ecosystem analysis relies on two key observations (i) that ecosystems are distributed into similar life zones based on similar mean annual precipitation and mean...

Land Use and C02 Emissions

The influence of C02 emissions from burning of fossil fuels on the global climate is intensified by the release of C02 from changes in land use (see Fig. 5.2.6). Changes in land use amount to about 20 of global C02 emissions - the trend is increasing. Man influences the global C balance by

Threats to forests and the increasing demand for timber

Expected to result in a stabilization of the world population at around ten billion by 2050. Total demand for timber will thus enlarge it will also increase on a per capita basis as timber is substituted for ever-diminishing fossil fuels. A small but significant proportion could well come from the efficient harvesting and use of urban timber, a process now well underway in parts of the USA, where many people became disgusted by the way in which urban trees were used as landfill or just burnt in a convenient spot (Sherrill, 2003).

Future Directions For Design

One critical fact about the future is that environmental problems will continue to grow and to multiply. These problems include global climate change and sea level rise, along with declining levels of freshwater availability, agricultural land and fossil fuels, and increasing levels of pollution. These pressures may lead society to focus on ecological engineering designs that do more with less, that utilize natural energies and biodiversity, and that convert by-product wastes into resources. Several examples of possible directions are outlined below. These are selected to illustrate various dimensions such as size extremes from molecular to planetary and applications of biodiversity, technology, and social action. Some directions rely on futures

Effects of the Rising CO2 Concentration in the Atmosphere

Vast amounts of carbon are present in carbonates in the Earth's crust. Also stored in the Earth's crust is another major carbon pool the organic carbon derived form past photosynthesis a key factor in the development of the present low CO2 high O2 atmosphere. Some CO2 enters the atmosphere when carbonates are used for making cement, but apart from that, carbonates are only biologically important on a geological time scale. Far more important for the carbon balance of the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and changes in land-use that represent a CO2 input into the atmosphere of 8.1015 g of carbon per year (1015 g equals 1 petagram, Pg). Compared with the total amount of carbon present in the atmosphere, 720 Pg, such inputs are substantial and inevitably affect the CO2 concentration in the Earth's atmosphere (Falkowski et al. 2000). CO2 is, by far, the largest contributor to the anthropogenically enhanced greenhouse effect (Houghton 2007). 1.5 mmol...

The scale of human impacts

Significant though they were, these earlier impacts were not on the literally global scale of today's. It is estimated that humans now take to their own use, directly or indirectly, between 25 and 50 of all net terrestrial primary productivity (the commonly quoted figure is 40 see Vitousek et al., 1986 Daily, 1997). Perhaps even more striking, it has been estimated that more than half of all the atoms of nitrogen, and also of phosphorous, incorporated into green plants today come from artificial fertilizers (produced with fossil-fuel energy subsidies) rather than the natural biogeo-chemical cycles which built, and which struggle to maintain, the biosphere. These estimates are necessarily imprecise, but they accord with a very recent study, using satellite imagery, which found 40 of the Earth's land surface being modified by human use, mainly for agriculture. The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF, 2004) has presented estimates, country by country, of humanity's ecological footprint (EF)...

From Emissions to Concentration

Regarding carbon dioxide (CO2), there are considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the present sources of, and sinks for, the anthropogenically produced CO2. In fact, the only well-understood source is fossil fuel combustion while, in contrast, the source associated with land-use changes is less understood. The amount of carbon remaining in the atmosphere is the only well-known component of the budget. With respect to the oceanic and terrestrial sinks, the errors are likely to be in the order of 25 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively, mainly resulting from the lack of adequate data and from the deficient knowledge of the key physiological processes within the global carbon cycle (for example, Schimel et al. 1995). The uncertainties can be expressed explicitly in a basic mass conservation equation reflecting the global carbon balance (all components in gigatons of carbon content per year GtC yr) where dCCO2 dt is the change in atmospheric CO2, Efos is the CO2 emission from...

Chemical Components Nutrients

A reduction in pH can occur in streams with limited buffering capacity (alkalinity). One of the main causes of anthropogenic acidity is acid precipitation. Nitric and sulfuric acids from coal and other fossil fuel combustion such as automobiles' exhaust form within clouds and are deposited onto the watershed with rain and snow. Although streams located in regions with significant industrial, urban, or mining influences are at a higher risk, acidic deposition can be transported long distances in the atmosphere and deposited in pristine watersheds that are otherwise unaffected by humans. pH-lowering acids also often enter streams through industrial waste-water discharges.

Introduction Main Water Quality Problems

A second important problem comes from the emissions of sulfur- and nitrogen-containing gases that lead to acid rain and an acidification of waters and soils in areas deficient in lime and with a low buffer capacity. The enrichment of sulfur and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere mainly results from burning of fossil fuels, exhaust emissions, and agriculture. Additionally, natural sources contribute to the emissions (e.g., dimethylsul-fide by marine algae, volcanisms, oxidation of pyrite, NOx emissions from soils and wetlands). The decrease in pH may cause extreme changes in the biocoenoses, as fish and many other higher organisms cannot survive or cannot reproduce in acidic environments. Biota is also influenced by indirect consequences of acidification such as the increased release of toxic metal ions (in particular, aluminum, copper, cadmium, zinc, and lead) from soils and sediments. Acid deposition has changed the natural water chemistry and, thus, the biological structure in 50...

Xinping Zhou Jiakuan Yang and Bo Xiao

Solar Chimney

Solar chimney power generating technology is a solar thermal technology on a large scale which combines three parts a collector, a high chimney (reinforced concrete chimney or floating chimney that can stretch up to several thousand meters), and turbines installed at the chimney base. The best locations of these systems are vast desert regions with high solar insolation and large daily range of temperature. As reported by Zhou et al. in 2008, special microclimate conditions will result around the solar power generation belts consisting of many commercial solar chimney power plants. Resulting rainfalls will support the growth of different types and quantitities of plants, including herbs, shrubs, and even trees. This will promote restoration of desert land and even create fertile soil and modify the local ecology. Produced plants can be used for biofuel. Furthermore, vegetables can be planted in the periphery of the collector acting as a green house and as a result benefit agricultural...

The Isotopic Composition of Urban CO2 Sources

The isotopic composition of fossil fuel emissions is of great interest in atmospheric studies of the carbon cycle as well as local studies of urban CO2 sources (Andres et al., 2000). Emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion are naturally more depleted in 13C than is atmospheric co2, and cause 13C dilution of the atmosphere (Keeling et al., 1979). In order to utilize isotopic tracers to estimate the role of biological uptake of atmospheric CO2 at the global scale, the contributions of fossil fuels must be removed. Two major sources of fossil-derived CO2 are gasoline and natural gas combustion, which are generally isotopically distinct. In addition, plants and soils in cities comprise an 'urban forest,' which also contributes to local carbon cycling. Distinguishing between these CO2 sources can improve estimates of the seasonal and spatial distribution of fossil fuel isotopic composition for regional and global atmospheric studies, as well as provide insight into local urban...