Robert Vinet

Insatiably Curious

Category: Environment & Nature (page 1 of 7)

The air conditioner is heating up the world

There are just over 1bn single-room air conditioning units in the world right now – about one for every seven people on earth. Numerous reports have projected that by 2050 there are likely to be more than 4.5bn, making them as ubiquitous as the mobile phone is today. The US already uses as much electricity for air conditioning each year as the UK uses in total. The IEA projects that as the rest of the world reaches similar levels, air conditioning will use about 13% of all electricity worldwide, and produce 2bn tonnes of CO2 a year – about the same amount as India, the world’s third-largest emitter, produces today.

All of these reports note the awful irony of this feedback loop: warmer temperatures lead to more air conditioning; more air conditioning leads to warmer temperatures. The problem posed by air conditioning resembles, in miniature, the problem we face in tackling the climate crisis. The solutions that we reach for most easily only bind us closer to the original problem.

The global dominance of air conditioning was not inevitable. As recently as 1990, there were only about 400m air conditioning units in the world, mostly in the US. Originally built for industrial use, air conditioning eventually came to be seen as essential, a symbol of modernity and comfort. Then air conditioning went global. Today, as with other drivers of the climate crisis, we race to find solutions – and puzzle over how we ended up so closely tied to a technology that turns out to be drowning us.

Read more by Stephen Buranyi at The Guardian…

Amazing Video of a Crack Splitting an Antarctic Ice Shelf in Two

by National Geographic

Watch » The Icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean

This video was shot in the Arctic Ocean in March 2018.

For 7 days the crew passed through the Barents Sea to Karsky around the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the nuclear icebreaker Yamal. They witnessed the northern lights, polar bears, watched the ships stuck in the ice being towed, and were very cold.

In the video you can see two Russian icebreakers – “50 Years of Victory” and “Yamal” with a capacity of 75,000 horsepower.

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Plastic Bags to Be Banned in New York

Jesse McKinley, writing for NY Times:

New York State lawmakers have agreed to impose a statewide ban on most types of single-use plastic bags from retail sales, changing a way of life for millions of New Yorkers as legislators seek to curb an unsightly and omnipresent source of litter.

The plan, proposed a year ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would be the second statewide ban, after California, which banned bags in 2016. Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, since all the state’s counties bar such single-use bags.

Read More…

Bill Gates Sits Down With David M. Rubenstein

On Monday June 24, 2019, Bill Gates was interviewed by the Economic Club president David M. Rubenstein. They discuss climate change, Microsoft, artificial intelligence, and his work on global health and K-12 education in the USA through the Gates Foundation.

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Watch » A Brief History of Yellowstone National Park

National Geographic put together this brief 4:22 minute video about the epic, strange, and iconic Yellowstone, the world’s first national park.

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Happy Solstice

It’s Friday.

It’s the first day of summer for the northern hemisphere » The longest day and shortest night of the year for 88% of the world’s population.

Skye got her summer hair cut. This should keep her cooler during the summer months.

Great day to celebrate.

Amsterdam to ban all petrol and diesel cars and motorbikes by 2030

Diesel cars older than 15 years will be barred from the Dutch capital next year.

Daniel Boffey writing for The Guardian:

“Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam,” said the councillor responsible for the city’s traffic, Sharon Dijksma, announcing the municipality’s decision.

From next year, diesel cars that are 15 years or older will be banned from going within the A10 ring road around the Dutch capital.

Read More…

Inspirational Video » Mighty Finn

Born with a cerebral palsy, Finn is unable to walk, feed himself, or communicate with words.

That hasn’t stopped his father, Ethan Sheets, from sharing his love for outdoor adventures with his son.

A Brief History of Dogs

David Howe tells us how wolves became domesticated dogs.

From TED:

Since their emergence over 200,000 years ago, modern humans have established communities all over the planet. But they didn’t do it alone. Whatever corner of the globe you find humans in today, you’re likely to find another species as well: dogs. So how did one of our oldest rivals, the wolf, evolve into man’s best friend? David Ian Howe traces the history of humanity’s first domesticated animal. [Directed by Cabong Studios, narrated by Addison Anderson, music by Vadeco Schettini].

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