Archive for August, 2008


Friday, August 29th, 2008

Several years ago the big theme in politics was pollution. For example a lot of activity was going on to combat acid rain. These days the main concern is global warming – some say the only concern – we must not forget other matters! What about noise, clean air and water, crime, chemicals control?

Here is a list of polluting agents:

Official Norwegian policies with activities taking place:


Carbon capture and storage

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is about collecting carbon dioxide from large point sources in order to reduce global warming. The reduction could be up to 90% for a facility. The storage is large capacity and could take place geologically, in the oceans, or as mineral carbonates. It will increase the cost of power by 30-60 %.

Available technologies are: Post-combustion, pre-combustion, oxyfuel combustion. New methods are also envisaged.

The CO2 must be transported to storage sites by pipeline after capture. Leakage could be a concern.

The CO2 could possibly be reused as fuel or to make plastics.

Many CCS projects are under development.

See Wikipedia:

Example: Carbon-Capture Experiment in Algeria (BW 2008)

A venture by Algeria’s Sonatrach, BP and Norway’s Statoil to strip CO2 out of natural gas and store it underground could help cut emissions.

About 700 miles south of Algiers, the capital of Algeria, a monumental assemblage of pipes and cylinders rises from the bleak Sahara Desert. The plant is designed to strip out and cleanly dispose of the carbon dioxide contained in the gas produced by a network of fields below the desert floor.

The gas contains about 7% CO2. That contaminant level must be reduced to about 0.3% before it is exported to European countries. In the past energy companies vented unwanted CO2 into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse gas problem. But in this case the partners decided to store the carbon dioxide underground.

The Salah Gas Project is the largest so-called carbon capture and storage venture in existence.

The project will produce gas for roughly 25 years and is preventing about 800,000 tons of CO2 from going into the atmosphere annually – comparable to taking 200,000 cars off the road. It looks like a promising step in the effort to reduce CO2 emissions from one large source: the oil and gas industry.

The added cost of disposing of the CO2 is $100 million out of an overall $4 billion investment, about 2.5%.

Once the methane is purified to export-quality grade it heads north in a buried export pipeline to join the Algerian gas network. 

Environment learning outcomes – new competencies

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
University courses being given – example from Oslo University SUM – teach students as follows:
  • The problem:
    -The greenhouse effect
    -Projections for future climate change
    -Impacts of climate change
  • Dealing with the problem:
    -How can we achieve reduced emissions?
    -What policy instruments can give us these reductions?
    -Fair burden-sharing in a North-South perspective
  • Coordinating our response:
    -Why is it so difficult to establish international cooperation?
    -What might a new international climate agreement look like?
    -Can we expect developing countries to contribute?

The evolving music landscape

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Wikipedia has good articles explaining the terms of the music world – and new terms are arising all the time: – 1950s 

The technology: What must we do to improve the climate?

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Technological changes are needed to reduce emission. We must also change our ways of doing things. 

Large investments are required to achieve this, and there will be conflicts  of interest concerning economics, people will be annoyed when they have to change their long accustomed ways.

Buildings should be made energy passive – requiring no heating, there should be a definite cost added to emission of climate gases, emission reducing measures should be subidized (initially?), feed-in tariffs should be introduced, green certificates should be used. 

To pollute will cost you: The principle of polluter pays will eventually be introduced for all activity, including on the personal level. For this system to work we must provide sustainable alternatives.

Large scale research and innovation projects should be established, partly through government financing. Common acceptance has to be reached to be sucessful, nationally as well as among nations.

The technology of climate change is technically complex, and full of zealotry and taboos. 

Some solutions, ex. fuel cells, are not coming good yet, and others are entering the arena, ex. geo-engineering. Whatever is required – be reasonable and let the various researchers do their job!

In Norway we can reduce CO2 emissions by removing oil burners in homes, electrify the Norwegian offshore sector and by using more electricity in the transport sector.

Why are we not afraid of the climate changes?

Monday, August 18th, 2008

The climate changes can´t be serious since nobody is doing anything! The changes are not real or not dangerous. This seems to be confirmed by politicians that do nothing.

Politicians and bureaucrats feel that they are well informed by the researchers of various kinds and accept the facts that are published.

Governments now need projects that changes the situation for the better and are clearly visible and attack the real problem. Air traffic emits 2-3 % of Norwegian emissions, and would therefore not be the right place to start.

Impressions linger that nothing is correct and is reinforced by discussions that never are concluded.

Media are  adding further to the confusion by systematically dramatizing incidents and forgetting the long term view.

People need facts with authority! These facts have to be transformed into rules for practices so that improvements are gradually – or quickly if necessary -  put into effect. These rules must be made and enforced by bureaucrats of diverse kinds.

Politicians and the public must together seek out the truth from the researchers and see to it that the necessary actions are taken! Remember politicians are mere humans like the rest of us.

The 5th. step

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

The 5th level is the preliminary name that has given the form of society that follows after the materialistic societies we see in most developed countries of the world today. Developing these societies further along the same lines has led to the rise of many questions: sustainability, motivation, conflict level, inequality and poverty, increasing knowledge, loss of faith.

More of the same is probably not a sensible future development. Improved material living standard can not be the aim forever. We need a shift – a new paradigm.

Many countries are still poor in materialistic terms and will undoubtedly try to achieve good materialistic standards in the near future. These processes should be supported by all – poverty in the world should be unacceptable!

Visions for the future of society have to have a broad foundation initially. There have been many attempts at formulating new visions – Utopia, Marx, 1000 year society, capitalism, anarchism. These are often presented as a correction to present models.

A new model must contain elements from several places: The scientific world where we make positive use of what we know, the emotional world where feelings and experiences will be used in communication with others and to energize us, the rational world where reasoning, use of sensible practices are important.

The new model should  be a global one – to benefit all

A new view of  the self is an important part of  the future – we want to be free and at the same time contribute to society.

(More to follow….)

Ref. Dag Andersen: Det 5. trinn, Flux Forlag

Sustainable production

Friday, August 1st, 2008

All production should enter into an ecological system where everything is recircled and/or upgraded. All use of resources will then be sustainable and small-scale.

Wastage rates for products: establish norms concerning non-wanted products. Is it possible to do an upgrade?

Sustainability of resources: how much can we use as new, how much must we re-use?

Recirculation systems: electronic products, batteries, many chemicals, everything else?


Emissions/climate quotas trading schemes

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Emissions trading is an instrument in the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It should ensure that the emission reductions take place where the cost of the reduction is lowest.

“The Government regulates the amount of emissions produced by setting the overall cap for the scheme but gives companies the flexibility of determining how and where the emissions reductions will be achieved. By allowing participants the flexibility to trade allowances the overall emissions reductions are achieved in the most cost-effective way possible.”

Emissions trading allows companies to emit in excess of their allocation of allowances by purchasing allowances from the market. A company that emits less than its allocation of allowances can sell its surplus allowances.

Buying quotas should lead to reduced emissions, and buying EU-quotas requires a reduction in emission – some firm has to reduce their emissions.

Traders – see example:

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) quotas are based on a calculated value of emissions with no active reduction measures required. There is a limit, usually 10%, to the number of CDMs a country can have. Norway has no such limit. The countries involved in CDM trades are usually in the developing world. Norway will buy CDM quotas worth 3.6 billion NOK in 2008

CDM projects needs to be “additional” i.e. would not have been done if it weren´t for the CDM financing.

There are active trading programs in several pollutants. For greenhouse gases the largest is the European Union Trading Scheme.

In the United States there is a national market to reduce acid rain and several regional markets in nitrous oxide. Markets for other pollutants tend to be smaller and more localized.

Critics of emissions trading point to problems of complexity, monitoring, enforcement, and sometimes dispute the initial allocation methods and cap.

Point Carbon: Company delivering analysis and consultancy services, news, tools for buyers and sellers of quotas in the field of CO2.

See also

Buy private quotas to make yourself carbon neutral:

The price of carbon dioxide in the European Union has fallen so low it no longer provides an incentive to low-carbon development, and seems unlikely to do so in the near future.

Permits to emit the gas, issued by the EU’s emissions trading scheme (Euets), have tested record lows in the past two weeks and now trade at about €11.80 ($15.12, £10.42), according to analyst Point Carbon. (F.T.)

The world’s energy systems are facing big challenges. The global economy demands more clean energy and the the energy industry must innovate: emissions trading, trading new instruments, understanding the interdependence of different energy and non-energy commodities and instruments, changes in working processes, methods and tools. A competitive emissions and energy trading market must be developed.

11.11.2009 Renewed criticism of the quota market in Europe – it does not work! The system of issuing and pricing quotas does not result in reduced emissions. The number and sizing of quotas seems to be haphazard!  It is not clear what the money is used for.

Climate conventions, protocols, directives

Friday, August 1st, 2008

The Climate Convention was adopted in 1992 (Montreal). Then we had the Kyoto protocol, adopted in 1997, taking effect in 2005 limiting emissions and setting emission numbers for individual countries. Countries will be cutting their own emissions.

3 mechanisms were established to help obtain more reductions:

1. Trading quotas between rich countries

2. Paying for emissions in other countries and in return being able to increase your own emissions

3. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) where rich countries can buy rights to increase their own emissions by paying for reductions in poor countries. The measures must foster a sustainable development in the host country.

A new conference will be held in Copenhagen in 2009.

The practical realities are dawning on the various countries. The present (2008) financial crisis will slow down adoption of further measures. 

In the EU a quota directive states that the power producers have to pay their own quotas from 2013, excluding some industries. Carbon-leakage is feared, meaning tmovement of companies to “cheaper” countries. A political battle is under way. The present large users of coal are running scared!

The EU has 4 climate directives: quota trade, renewable energy, CO2 handling, biofuel.

The Norwegian Government has just postponed its own “Energy Proposition” (2008)