MORE NEWS, 3-31 (OBAMA GETS U.S. IN CLIMATE CHANGE FIGHT; H2 BREAKTHRU BUT H2 STILL JUST A CONCEPT; DOE TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH NUKE WASTE)
OBAMA GETS U.S. IN CLIMATE CHANGE FIGHT
Obama calls major economies climate change meeting
Jeff Mason, March 28, 2009 (Reuters via Yahoo News)
"President Barack Obama is launching a 'Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate' to help facilitate a U.N. agreement on global warming…Leaders from 16 major economies have been invited to a preparatory session on April 27 and 28 in Washington to "help generate the political leadership necessary" to achieve an international pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions later this year…[to] spur dialogue among developed and developing countries about the issue, 'and advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.'
"The major economies include: Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States…Denmark, which is hosting a U.N. meeting at the end of this year to forge a pact that would take over from the Kyoto Protocol, and the United Nations were also invited."
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"The group's preparatory sessions are to culminate with a major meeting on the subject in La Maddalena, Italy in July, hosted by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi…
"Obama, a Democrat, has taken an aggressive stance toward fighting climate change, in a break from his predecessor, former Republican President George W. Bush…Bush also spearheaded a 'major economies' initiative on the issue, but many participants were skeptical of the process and concerned it was his administration's way of circumventing broader U.N. talks to forge an international deal.
"The White House made clear in its statement that Obama's initiative would aim to augment U.N. talks…[and] the international pact… slated to be agreed in Denmark in December…Obama wants to cut U.S. emissions by roughly 15 percent back to 1990 levels by 2020 -- tougher than Bush, who saw U.S. emissions peaking as late as 2025."
H2 BREAKTHRU BUT H2 STILL JUST A CONCEPT
Researchers Create Catalysts for Use in Hydrogen Storage Materials
24 March 2009 (Virginia Commonwealth University via Newswise)
"A team of scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Uppsala in Sweden, and the Savannah River National Laboratory have identified that carbon nanostructures can be used as catalysts to store and release hydrogen, a finding that may point researchers [one step closer to] developing the right material for hydrogen storage for use in cars…
"According to [Puru Jena, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the VCU Department of Physics], complex hydrides are a class of materials that have shown promise for the storage of hydrogen. Because complex hydrides are not reversible and removing hydrogen from them is difficult at temperatures less than 100°C, catalysts are needed to improve the reaction rates. However, previous studies indicate that the addition of catalysts creates defects in the hydrides."
Good research project. But "maybe someday" is a real problem in a world that needs answers now...(click to enlarge)
"The experimental group led by Ragaiy Zidan, Ph.D., a researcher at the Savannah National Laboratory, developed a solvent technique which allowed the introduction of carbon fullerenes and nanotubes without introducing any defects and also functioned as catalysts. Jena and the team at the University of Uppsala led by Rajeev Ahuja, Ph.D., performed theoretical calculations to illustrate the mechanism of how these catalysts work.
"The study appears online and in the journal Nano Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society. The work was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy…"
DOE TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH NUKE WASTE
Reid will defer to DOE commission on Yucca Mountain alternative
March 27, 2009 (AP via Reno Gazette-Journal)
"Nevada Sen. Harry Reid [will] defer to a federal Energy Department plan to create a commission to study alternatives to a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.
"The Democratic majority leader scrapped his own proposal for a similar commission after meeting…with Energy Secretary Steven Chu…"
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"The dueling plans for a nuclear waste panel were proposed earlier this month, after Chu declared Yucca Mountain, a site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was no longer considered an option for housing the nation’s radioactive waste.
"Reid and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., both Yucca Mountain foes, proposed legislation that ordered Congress to create a study group to come up with alternatives. Its members would have been appointed by Reid and other congressional leaders."
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"The bill drew fire from the Nuclear Energy Institute and other industry groups who suggested the panel would not be independent if Reid appointed some of its members.
"The Energy Department plan…allows Chu’s department to appoint commissioners…Reid and other stakeholders will also have a say in naming its members…"