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Tag: Politics (page 1 of 10)

Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting used to be a thing. Then it was not a thing. Now it’s a thing again. But what is carbon offsetting, and does it have any effect at all?

Let’s start with the “what”. A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. There are currently two different carbon offsetting schemes: The EU compliance market, and the UN Clean Development Mechanism.

In the EU mandatory compliance market, governments and industries in the union have to buy carbon offsets to comply with the caps on the total amount of CO2 they are allowed to emit. The market has a fixed number of carbon offsets available. To reduce the total EU greenhouse gas emission, that number is gradually decreased every year. Less carbon offsets means that those available for purchase will become more expensive. In turn, this means that it will be increasingly more expensive to pollute within the EU. At some point it will then be sensible, not just from an environmentally friendly point of view, but also from an economical perspective, to replace polluting industrial processes with greener ones.

The other carbon offset market, the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is voluntary. Using the CDM, individuals, companies, and governments can purchase carbon offsets to mitigate their own greenhouse gas emissions. The money raised from the sale of carbon offsets is used to fund environmentally friendly projects around the world. As an example, if a German citizen purchases carbon offsets to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions caused by personal air travel, that money can potentially be used to build a solar power plant in India.

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The Case Against Nuclear

Many people are touting nuclear as the ultimate solution to the world’s energy problems. But why do they always seem to conveniently forget the technology’s flaws?

First of all, let me get one important thing clear: I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on this fairly complicated subject. But it really doesn’t feel like you need to be one to see some of the issues with nuclear being portrayed as a massive silver bullet.

We have a problem that needs to be solved: The world’s energy usage is ridiculously high – and increasing. As poor countries climb out of property, their energy usage goes up. For many of these countries, the main source of energy is coal. In fact, many countries built coal plants like mad in the beginning of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, coal is bad for everyone, and so we need to find less lethal alternatives to stay alive.

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Feeding The Addiction

My stash of energy drinks is about to run dry. There’s no top up-trip to Sweden in sight. In desperation, I turn to shady1, online stores.

We’re certainly enjoying the good life here in Norway. But living costs are high, and pretty much everything – except for diapers – is more expensive than across the border, in lovely Sweden. We live about an hour from the nearest Swedish shopping mall, so every now and then we throw the kids in the car, and go there to stock up on candy, meat, soft-drinks. And in my case, those precious energy drinks.

How much we actually save by going to Sweden to shop, I don’t know. If you factor in the price of gas, the emotional cost of the constant fear of the kids barfing in the back seat, and the guilty feeling from all the lethal exhaust the car spew out on a trip that’s not strictly necessary, we might not be saving a single รธre on the expedition.

But I digress. The point here is that it’s been about half a year since the last time we bolted across the border, and I’m down to my last 5 cans of sweet, sweet energy juice. There’s a crisis looming on the horizon!

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Why Not The Sun?

The world is relying heavily on non-renewable, dirty, and poisonous oil, gas, and coal as energy sources. Why not use the giant, glowing ball of energy in the sky instead?

Every day, the Earth is bombarded with the Sun’s powerful rays. Some of the energy is used by plants and trees in photosynthesis, but most of it just heats up the planet. A better use would be to use the energy from the Sun to create electricity. The most common way to do this is by utilizing solar panels. Through the photovoltaic effect, electricity is produced when photons hit the solar panels. The commercially available panels are slowly getting more an more efficient. Currently, the sunlight conversion rate is roughly 21.5%, but this is expected to increase to 40% or even higher in the not-so-distant future.

So why aren’t the world throwing all their research money into solar panel technology? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we used a virtually endless, free source of energy instead of having to invest billions to be able to strip-mine non-renewable sources?

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Not Tonight: A Post-Brexit Dystopia

Will Britain turn into a dystopian hell-hole when it leaves the EU? PanicBarn’s upcoming RPG Not Tonight depicts such a scenario, and some people aren’t particularly happy about it.

In a referendum on 23 June 2016, 51.9% of the participating UK electorate voted to leave the EU. On 29 March 2017, the UK government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union. The UK is thus due to leave the EU at midnight on 30 March 2019 CET. Those against Britain leaving the EU, preach doom, gloom, and the eventual downfall of the UK as an international superpower. The Brexiteers – those in favor of Brexit – see it as the only way to save the UK from being overrun, and sucked dry by the EU and its members.

The consequences of leaving the EU might be many for the brave Britons. Economy, immigration, higher education, academic research, and a metric fuckton of international agreements, are but a few things that will be affected by Brexit. The EU will also cancel 300,000 UK-owned .eu domains in the process. Exactly in what ways things will actually change, however, remains to be seen.

London-based developer PanicBarn is tinkering with a less-than-jolly scenario where Brexit talks have collapsed, an extreme far-right government has taken power. The result is Not Tonight, a “post-Brexit music road trip thriller”.

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