Climate change: Why the EU wants to accelerate Earth observation from space

Earth from space

Air pollution, sea level, land artificialisation… Since 2014, the European Union has been acquiring a fleet of satellites to observe the state of the Earth. This is the Copernicus program, whose future will be discussed in Toulouse on Wednesday and Thursday

One thousand eight hundred plumes of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, including 1,200 observed over oil and gas extraction sites. This is what an international team of researchers, led by the French Laboratory for Climate and Environmental Sciences (LSCE) and associated with the company Kayrros, has managed to identify across the globe. “These releases may be accidental or related to maintenance operations,” the scientists said. And yet, these 1,800 methane leaks have an impact comparable to that of the traffic of 20 million vehicles for one year,” they calculate.

This work was published in the scientific journal Science on February 4. To achieve this mapping, the researchers systematically analyzed thousands of images produced daily for two years by the Sentinel-5 SP satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Satellite

A valuable support for the ecological transition?

This is a concrete application of Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth monitoring program. Since 2014, eight satellites have been placed in orbit around the Earth to observe it from every angle. This is phase “one” of the program, which ended last year. The second phase has already been approved by the EU and will see the launch of six new Sentinels between 2025 and 2029. And on Wednesday and Thursday, in Toulouse, during a high-level symposium on the sidelines of the informal meeting of European space ministers, the future of Copernicus up to 2035 will be discussed.

This is proof that the European Union is not planning to stop Copernicus any time soon. Quite the contrary. We are entering a critical period in which we will have to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and to do so, we will have to be accompanied,” says climatologist Robert Vautard, director of research at the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute (LPSL). However, “the majority of climate change indicators can only be monitored correctly from space”.

Air quality, sea level rise, ground temperature

In addition to locating methane leaks, the Sentinel-5SP, with its spectrometer*, “can analyze air quality by measuring components such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) [an indicator of automobile pollution], ozone, sulfur dioxide and aerosols,” reports H. Laur, head of the space mission. Laur, head of Earth observation missions at the European Space Agency (ESA).

Henri Laur also cites “Sentinel-2”, “probably the best known and which gives images of the entire surface of the Earth every five days and in high resolution (with a precision of ten meters). A valuable instrument for monitoring the state of vegetation – particularly forests – and land artificialisation. Other Copernicus satellites, through the various instruments they carry, will measure the rise in sea level, ground temperatures on the surface of the oceans, monitor sea ice, identify local pollution such as oil slicks … Sentinel 3 even has on board a water color sensor that can monitor the levels of microalgae in our waters, both carbon sinks and the basis of the marine food chain.

Concrete applications, from agriculture to urban planning

The new generation of satellites expected from 2025 should improve the observation of parameters already monitored by Copernicus and add new ones. “We are currently developing CO2M [Copernicus Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Mission], a satellite that will specialize in measuring the quantities of CO2 (the main greenhouse gas) released into the atmosphere, which should be launched around 2026.

But the challenge of Copernicus is not only to monitor the health of the Earth. It is also to find concrete applications for these satellite data,” adds Vautard, who is working on the downstream part of the Copernicus program. “By combining them with forecasting models, we can make climate projections for very short and much longer periods,” explains the climatologist. Agriculture is probably the market that should benefit the most from Copernicus, allowing projections on agricultural yields, risks of drought, especially allowing better management of water and planting periods. “But we have also recently worked with the city of Paris and the Ile-de-France region on urban planning scenarios to adapt to climate change and expected heat waves. And on its website, Copernicus lists, on 26 pages, concrete applications or planned applications based on its satellite data. From the “blue economy” to health, forest management, optimization of renewable energy production … All over the world.

Antenna

Copernicus, future policeman of the Paris agreements?

This is one of the strengths of Copernicus: “The EU does not charge for the program’s data,” he says. Anyone, including private actors, can use them to imagine climate services and generate economic activity. These two days of symposium in Toulouse should allow us to project even further by setting priorities for the third generation of Copernicus satellites – the one that should be put into orbit by 2035. The challenge is to improve the accuracy of the indicators already monitored by Copernicus and to identify new ones to be observed and to imagine future applications.

One of these is to make Copernicus the future policeman of the Paris Agreement on climate change? It would not be the first time that we monitor compliance with international treaties from space,” says Oliver Sanguy. This is already the case, for example, with the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The stakes are just as high on climate change. “We must now ensure that countries fulfill their part of the contract and drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Relying only on their declarations will not be enough. This is one of the goals of the CO2M satellite, which will measure the quantities of CO2 produced by human activity. In the same way, we could very well imagine that this mapping of the 1,800 methane plumes would be followed by a rebuke of countries and companies that do not make sufficient efforts to avoid these leaks.

The main benefits of increased cannabis culture in the world

cannabis culture trending

From time immemorial, humanity has used the multiple properties of cannabis for clothing, health care, food, and the production of many foodstuffs used in sectors as diverse as construction and retail.

But beyond its valuable resources for humanity, cannabis is also a precious ally in our time’s severe ecological crisis. Here are a few examples.

Cannabis helps forests generate oxygen and reduce global warming.

The growing needs of humanity for the products resulting from logging have led to endemic deforestation responsible for many ecological disasters. A simple solution exists. However, cannabis can easily be used as a substitute for most of the elements produced by woodworking.

By preserving the planet’s ecosystem, the cycle of flora and fauna is not only protected from the harmful effects of human activity, but the forests thus continue to produce oxygen, thus combating global warming. Another example is the natural biodegradable cannabis-based plastic that significantly reduces our ecological footprint.

Cannabis to help fight starvation in the world.

Cannabis seeds contain amino acids and fatty acids essential for the proper functioning of the human body. It is the plant source with the most edible variants for the digestive system and the adequate fatty acid ratio for our nutritional needs.

Unfortunately, its lousy reputation prevents its massive use, which would be very useful in regions of the world affected by famine.

Cannabis as a natural medicine

The demonization surrounding the use of cannabis as natural medicine has finally retreated in the face of the considerable amount of scientific research conducted on the subject in recent years.

One of the most convincing examples is the set of studies carried out on CBD Oil. This non-psychoactive substance of cannabis (which does not provide the plant’s recreational effects) can be used as a supplement in the treatment of many diseases and other afflictions (arthritis, rheumatism, cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, etc…).

Easy to produce, economical, and ecological, it represents a perfect substitute for the heavy medication of certain toxic pharmaceutical products such as painkillers and tranquilizers that every year leads thousands of people to fight against forms of dependence with sometimes tragic outcomes.

Cannabis contributes to the rehabilitation of contaminated soils.

One aspect of cannabis’s properties that is still little known is its contribution to the rehabilitation of areas contaminated by heavy metals or sewage residues. An instructive example took place at the end of the 1990s when cannabis was tested at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site.

Here is a plant that adapts to most climates on our planet. Most of its non-polluting and perfectly biodegradable products are palliatives to a wide range of contemporary industrial equivalents. A plant that could help humanity in what may well represent the greatest challenge of its existence, the fight against excessive pollution and the resulting climate change.

You can find a list of some of the best cannabis seeds available on the market on this French website www.ganjatimes.fr/guide-graine-cannabis/

How San Fernando in the Philippines is transforming into a waste-free city

Until six years ago, the streets were littered with garbage, but citizens decided to take action.

San Fernando hopes to become a waste-free city. Between 2012 and 2018, the town north of Manila, Philippines, increased the percentage of waste diverted from landfills from 12 to 80%. Instead of going to landfills or, even worse, to watercourses, most of the waste collected in the city is composted or offered for recycling.

According to a World Bank report from 2018, nearly two billion tonnes of solid waste were generated worldwide in 2016, which could reach 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050.

The Philippines, which contributes significantly to plastic pollution in the oceans, produced more than 14 million tonnes of waste in 2016. Only 28% were recycled.

Almost two decades after the country’s adoption of the law on the ecological management of solid waste, which required the installation of material recovery facilities (MRIs) in each village, the practice is still far from established.

The MRIs were to receive mixed waste for sorting, separation, composting and recycling. Residual waste is transferred to storage areas or incineration. However, some public officials argued that the law was not economically viable, particularly for low-income municipalities.

A tiring but necessary job

In addition to the significant policies, which include a total ban on plastic and polystyrene, the city has also launched short-term programmes, such as collective clean-ups, to keep the initiative at the forefront of public concerns.

From now on, all households follow waste sorting policies in three categories: biodegradable, recyclable and residual. Some houses even have their compost pits.

Around San Fernando, imagining that that solid waste once littered its streets is difficult.

Across the country, other local governments have begun to follow the city’s example, working with groups such as MEF to improve their waste management.

Garbage on the streets

 In 2012, San Fernando’s local government called on MEF to implement a zero waste strategy in the city. It was a long and exhausting effort.

In 2018, the city of San Fernando was considered one of the world’s model cities for waste management.

Froilan Grate attributes the success of this initiative to a combination of support from local authorities, strict implementation of policies and an active household education campaign.

The city now has more than one hundred waste treatment facilities in its 35 villages, far more than the minimum number required by law.

Rene Lasca, president of a local landowners’ association, explains that the decision to create his management center in the neighborhood contributes to the city’s waste management efforts. It also allows them to sell recyclables and compost, as well as to foster camaraderie between neighbors.

Looking At Bitcoin And The Environment

bitcoin and environmental impacts

While Bitcoin has received quite a bit of attention over the last few years, there are a few things that people haven’t looked at closely. For example, there are a lot of people that haven’t considered the impact that Bitcoin has on the environment. If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, this is a subject that you won’t want to learn more about.

Bitcoins Are Mined

New Bitcoins are introduced to the market through a process called mining. This process takes quite a bit of computing power. Mining Bitcoin can consume a great deal of energy. This rapid energy consumption can take a toll on the planet.

If you’re merely purchasing Bitcoin through a website, it’s easy to forget where that coin came from. You should learn more about Bitcoin mining at the toll that it takes. As people mine more and more Bitcoin, the damage to the environment will increase.

There Is A Limit To How Much Bitcoin Can Be Mined

bitcoin and environmental impactsIf an infinite amount of Bitcoin could be mined, then people would keep on generating more and more Bitcoin. It would cause the overall value of this cryptocurrency to drop. Because of this, there are strict limits on how much Bitcoin can actually be mined. In many ways, Bitcoin operates in the same way that paper money does.

Because there are limits on Bitcoin, there are also limits on the damage that it can cause. You may want to learn more about mining and the restrictions surrounding it. That way, you’ll be able to make an educated decision about whether or not you’d like to purchase Bitcoin.

There Are Other Types Of Cryptocurrencies

Even though Bitcoin is the best-known cryptocurrency, it isn’t the only option out there. There are many other cryptocurrencies available. These currencies are often referred to as “altcoins.” Purchasing bitcoin is easy, if you are looking to d’acheter du bitcoin en france, there are many bitcoin brokers out there!

There are different rules and restrictions on different currencies. Some currencies are far more environmentally-friendly than Bitcoin is. If you have an interest in crypto, but also have concerns about the environment, then you’ll want to look at some of your other choices.

It’s Best To Weigh Your Options

Before you make any decisions about what you do or don’t want to do, you’ll want to look at your options. Do you feel like you can use Bitcoin in an environmentally responsible way? How do you feel about some of the other currencies that are on the crypto market?

You should take a good look at every choice you have and decide how you would like to proceed from there. Examine every option you have and find a decision that you are comfortable with. No matter what you wind up doing, you’ll want to know that the option you’ve selected works for you.

Pay attention to Bitcoin and the environment. If you’re aware of the impact that Bitcoin has on the world around us, you can make sure that you use it responsibly. You may also want to look into altcoins to see how environmentally friendly they are.

Genetics: Yes, the environment can influence our DNA

Epigenetic research discovers how the environment communicates with genes and educates their activity. This communication includes a system that uses specific molecules produced by cellular metabolism to modify the histone proteins that organize DNA chemically. An international collaboration has just highlighted a new way of communicating with genes by characterizing the function of chemical modifications of histones unknown until now.

Our cells organize the DNA carrying our genes into a compact structure within the nucleus of our cells using specific proteins, histones. Intense research over the last few decades has revealed chemical changes in histones that constitute a real language instructing the function of associated genes.

Specific molecular systems have been identified that implement, recognize, interpret and remove these changes. All these systems cooperate to direct the functioning of genes according to their molecular environment. However, cellular metabolism strongly conditions this environment.

One of the first chemical modifications identified and intensely studied is acetylation. It is placed by enzymes, histones-acetyltransferases (HAT), and is recognized by proteins with a particular domain, bromodomain: it is removed by other enzymes, histones-deacetylases (HDAC). HATs use acetyl-CoA, a small molecule produced by metabolism, to direct the acetylation of histones. It can directly modify the packaging of genes by histones or signal the action of other proteins on genes. This system therefore directly links the functioning of genes to the production of acetyl-CoA in cells and, as a result, relates gene activity to metabolism.

 

Modification of histones, these specific proteins

 

Collaborative research by French, American and Chinese scientists shows that histone acetylation has a competitor, butyrylation, a modification that also has its source in metabolism. Surprisingly, it has been observed that the most active genes are not only marked by acetylation of histones, but also by butyrylation of the same histones. They also show that the enzyme that acetyls histones also directs butyrylation.

Butyrylation, like acetylation of histones, directly activates gene expression, but on the other hand, prevents proteins that recognize acetylation from binding to histones. As a result, the researchers discovered an aspect of active gene expression that is based on a successive alternation of different chemical modifications of histones with opposite functional consequences. This system creates a dynamic state of return of factors at the gene level, necessary to maintain their active expression.

 

Better understand the control of gene expression.

 

The discovery of this system brings new concepts to understand better how genes work and how the environment communicates with them. Indeed, a change in the ratio of acetylation and butyrylation of histones, both from metabolism, could durably affect the state of gene expression. It could explain how a metabolic disorder could drastically alter genome expression.

The prospects for a thorough understanding of the control of gene expression, the effect of the environment on gene expression and the occurrence of diseases, as well as the identification of mechanisms for the transgenerational transmission of information from the environment, stem from this work published in the journal Molecular Cell.

Water management and the objective of sustainable development

afbaslvbksbhjjbd bhjdsjfsfsfs

Water is a vital and yet so scarce resource.

More than 65% of the earth’s water covers the planet earth in various forms: fresh or salt water, liquid or ice, green water. 30% of the world’s population does not have access to drinking water. Because on the blue planet, only fresh water is viable.
However “being unevenly distributed across the globe and its use being sometimes inadequately managed, some regions are characterised by water scarcity or are already in short supply.

Water scarcity will be one of the most critical problems of the 21st century. Droughts, water stress, desertification, polluted water and climate change exacerbate this situation. The lake Chad, which is supposed to supply nearly 20 million people, has seen its level so dangerously reduced (from 22,000 km2 to 2,500 km2), that it should benefit from a filling project to preserve its social and economic role.

Recent disasters could also cast doubt on this scarcity. The quantity of water that appears, combined with an inadequate piping system and anarchic constructions, transforms the water source of life into a means of destruction. In the rainy season, Cotonou, Benin’s economic capital, is underwater. And for a good reason, Cotonou, or the swamp of death in the local language, is a natural reservoir of water. In Côte d’ Ivoire, the populations have renamed their commune Koumassi “Koum-Beach,” ironically masking their distress. In Sierra Leone, floods and mudslides killed nearly 400 people. The pattern is repeated around the world: Miami, Saint Martin, Haiti, etc.

afnancnxbaxxcxccccccFaced with a situation that seems to persist from generation to generation, the population remains helpless. This abundant water that accumulates in neighbourhoods and houses could at least partly be reused for other uses.

Water, therefore, becomes scarce. Not because there are fewer, but because needs are increasing and the quality of the resource is deteriorating, and potential effects of climate change could change its availability. This scarcity is mostly the result of poor management: management that does not provide incentives to use water sparingly; that does not systematically allocate water where it is most useful, and that does not contain sufficient incentives to preserve the quality of the resource.

In Cotonou, a project hopes to soon contribute to channeling this water so that it no longer acts as a brake on the economic and social development of the city.

The Sehomi Group hopes to take up the first level of challenge by developing a solar pumping solution that would make it possible to clean up flooded areas, and then recycle rainwater for non-hygienic uses such as urban tidying and industrial cleaning. Thus, water resulting from floods and perceived so far as a threat can be transformed into an opportunity for people.

Forty or so mayors from around the world in Paris for climate change forums

Paris will host eight closed-door forums on Sunday and Monday dedicated to the environment, bringing together some forty mayors from around the world, under the aegis of Anne Hidalgo.

Some forty mayors including those of London, Bogota, Cape Town, Tokyo or Los Angeles, will gather Sunday and Monday in Paris for forums devoted to the environment and the fight for air quality, said Tuesday, the organizers.

Organized by the C40, the international network of mayors, chaired by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a forum,”Together4Climate” (Together for Climate) will bring together mayors and leaders of large companies on Sunday in camera to “forge the necessary alliance” to accelerate the ecological transition.

Energy, mobility and urban planning are on the agenda. The aim will be to exchange and highlight the solutions to be proposed, with a particular focus on energy, mobility, and urban planning. One-third of greenhouse gas emissions in C40 cities come from transport, and traffic is the most important source of air pollution, recalls this organization, which will bring together public and private innovators working in the city of tomorrow on Monday, with new technologies at the service of urban innovation.

Commitments announced Monday. On Monday, mayors will announce commitments from their cities to fight air pollution and climate change. At the same time, again at the initiative of the C40, Paris is hosting an annual summit of innovators from all over the world on Sunday and Monday Citylab, meeting this year on the theme of “urban solutions for global challenges.”