Possible new technology could enable environmentally friendly coal

In today’s world full of concern over climate change, air quality and energy crises, the possibility that coal could become more environmentally friendly would change the entire game, and researchers at the University of Alberta are attempting to do just that. Sushanta Mitra and his research team have found a way to turn coal into methane through microbial activity. Methane, which is the main constituent of natural gas, releases significantly less carbon dioxide than coal does when burned. In the early stages of coal formation, microbial activity creates the biological generation of methane from coal seam. Eventually this transformation minimizes and disappears, leaving just regular coal, but Mitra has found a way to mimic these conditions to keep the coal as a methane. The system built allows fluid to go through a controlled pressure and temperature column which is filled with crushed coal and methanogenic, microbial structures as well as mineral salt to encourage microbial growth. The research showed impressive results, meaning that soon coal could be converted into methane and burned, offering the benefits of methane natural gas and its minimal environmental impacts without any of the dangerous, harmful fracking and with the ease and abundance of coal.

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2014/05/bioconversion-coal-methane-microbe-carbon-footprint

Credit of RSC Chemistry World

Antioch Educator’s Summit Reflection

This past Wednesday the Young Women in Climate and Sam Koufman traveled to Manchester, New Hampshire for the Educator’s Summit ran by Antioch University. The day was filled with workshops and plenaries related to local climate issues, solutions and success stories. Sam Koufman and Eric Magers presented in the first plenary, discussing how the Green Scholars program developed so successfully and giving advice on how to do a similar program in other schools. Young Women in Climate helped community partner Robin Organ run a workshop on successful community partnerships. The team debuted the video they’ve been working on that documents their project and growth as a team. Near the end of the day, Statz-Geary led a student-based discussion with Lachlan Francis on climate preparedness actions and how to solve issues in implementing climate projects. All MERHS scholars who attended are beyond grateful for the experience and look forward to attending similar events in the future.

- Climate Team

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Climate Change Report

Over the past few decades, global greenhouse gases have risen tremendously. The world’s leading body on the assessment of climate change concluded that these emissions are among the highest in recorded history. The consequences of these statistics include a global temperature rise of 4-5 degrees celsius in the near future, which will cause devastation for the planet.

Such a temperature change will create fundamental changes in the land, weather, and energy systems throughout the planet. At this level, the earth is at risk of losing 20 to 30 percent of wildlife and facing extreme weather. Mike Childs, of Friends of the Earth, emphasized that there could be a devastating impact on agriculture and food supplies.

To prevent such disastrous effects, follow the green tips posted on the blog in the past!

Trash on Your Back

The Manchester Essex Green Team started an exciting new program this week called “Trash on Your Back,” run by Diana Dehm of Sustainability News and Entertainment. The program involved wearing a reusable trash bag as a backpack and putting all of one’s trash inside of it for the week to show how much waste we produce.