Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Event Horizon Chronicle: The Secret Antarctic Cover-Up

Event Horizon Chronicle: The Secret Antarctic Cover-Up: Courtney Brown has posted some new remote viewing results, at his Far Sight Institute website , having to do with ancient, Atlantean ruins o...

Event Horizon Chronicle: Trump's Greenland Gambit and the Technate of North...

Event Horizon Chronicle: Trump's Greenland Gambit and the Technate of North...: Donald Trump's very public proffer in recent days to buy Greenland from Denmark has been met with amusement in many quarters, as if it w...

ResoluteReader: T.M.Devine - The Scottish Clearances: A History of...

ResoluteReader: T.M.Devine - The Scottish Clearances: A History of...: I had the pleasure of reading Tom Devine's new book The Scottish Clearances on holiday on the Isle of Mull, near where, it turns out, ...I had the pleasure of reading Tom Devine's new book The Scottish Clearances on holiday on the Isle of Mull, near where, it turns out, he wrote at least some of the book. It is a sobering experience when you look out on the landscape which he describes in the introduction like this:

The Scottish Highlands, contrary to the image projected in countless tourist brochures, are not one of the last great wildernesses in Europe but in many parts can be more accurately described as a derelict landscape from where most of the families who once lived and worked the soil are long gone.
This history is never far from view in the Highlands. The region is littered with abandoned homes, farmsteads and villages. Devine explains that contrary to much popular belief, it is wrong to see this "derelict" landscape as the product just of the infamous Highland Clearances, but rather of an extended process of change that took place across Scotland. This change has been neglected in both academic and popular history, and Devine's book aims to rectify this. Devine explains the broader context:
The Scottish experience of rural transformation was a national variant of broader developments in Europe. A primary determinant across the Continent and in Britain as a whole was a sustained revolution of increasing population which soon generated immense pressures on traditional modes of food production... different nations and regions took a wide spectrum of roots to agrarian modernisation... In Scotland, and much of mainland Britain, the pattern was different again with landed magnates deploying their power to introduce far-reaching changes from above. Some of their decisions resulted in dispossession of traditional rural communities on a large scale.

ResoluteReader: Ian Gilligan - Climate, Clothing & Agriculture in ...

ResoluteReader: Ian Gilligan - Climate, Clothing & Agriculture in ...: Precisely why humans made the transition to agriculture from their historic hunter-gatherer and forager modes of production is a discussio...

ResoluteReader: Robert Poole - Peterloo: The English Uprising

ResoluteReader: Robert Poole - Peterloo: The English Uprising: During the massacre of peaceful protesters by cavalry and yeomanry at St. Peter's fields in Manchester on August 16 1819, several cava


Thursday, August 01, 2019

Untapping the power that lies 

between fashion and costume

“Fashion and costume can offer freedom, protection, power. Sometimes they can even change the world.”
So says Chiaki Shimizu, a textile designer who is on a mission to prove that fashion is an underutilized resource for social change.
Pull on a favorite sweater and feel the tension release. Slip into a tailored jacket and experience a rush of strength and confidence. The power of fashion to change how people feel about themselves and the world is undeniable.
What people don’t understand, though, according to Shimizu, is that fashion is woven into the fabric of history, culture and the environments we live in. It influences music, social customs and art, and is influenced by them; and it can be both empowering and an instrument of repression.
For her doctorate, Shimizu interviewed women who had moved to Tokyo from the countryside to explore how a change in environment affected their fashion choices.
“I expected people to say Tokyo is dirty, crowded and unfriendly,” Shimizu says. “Instead, women were so happy to escape the gossip and judgment in their communities.”
She heard time and again that before moving to Tokyo women were labeled by their communities — even by friends — for using fashion as a form of self-expression. They experienced unrelenting ridicule, which in this age of social media can be debilitating.
“One woman thought she was abnormal because she was called eccentric so many times,” recalls Shimizu. “Another woman had difficulty breathing after a teacher told her life would be hard in her town if she dressed in Kera style.” (Kera is a magazine, now digital-only, that focuses on Harajuku fashion.)
In 2018, Shimizu exhibited “Another Tokyo Scenery II,” which showcased the evolution of fashion as self-expression through seven silhouettes: At first, women felt like they were living within a uniform, someone else’s vision of how they should look. Once in Tokyo, the women accented their clothes with tentative flashes of color or unusual accessories because they were still influenced by their past. As new experiences formed them, louder textures and bolder silhouettes emerged. Continued experimentation led to a cacophony of colors, textures, patterns and silhouettes until the women eventually settled on a style that reflected their individuality.
Shimizu says it was important to recognize the new influences in the women’s lives — culture, friends, experiences, interests — so she incorporated music, photos and videos in her exhibits to demonstrate that connection.
But there is always a flipside, and to fashion it has to be costume: If clothing can be used to express the self, it can also be used to jettison the self.
“There is a reason superheroes wear costumes,” says folklorist Jocelyn Hazelwood Donlon, who lived in Japan for eight years. “In a costume, you feel like you can do anything, get away with anything.”
Costumes, says Donlon, not only provide cover for some people, they are the ultimate escape. Cosplay, for example, may provide relief from a normal life, from the everyday self or from the confines of society. But by definition, she adds, escape can be dangerous. The same costumes that provide escape also protect from retribution. “You (can) feel invincible.”
“On a personal level, costumes are shields to hide behind when feeling anxious or insecure,” she says. But their transformative and “protective” powers can’t be underestimated. Ritual costume, whether headdresses, masks or clothing, for example, has been used to conceal identity and help ward off evil the world over.
Donlon mentions the Japanese February Setsubun ritual — a festival to drive out demons and welcome good fortune. Setsubun involves local adults — usually men — donning scary masks and costumes of Japanese oni (demons), before visiting homes to be “driven” from. Others, including children, throw beans at the demons, yelling “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!” (“Demons out, good fortune in!”). It’s a centuries-old a protection ritual that, like many other costumed festivities, is still performed throughout Japan.
“There is nothing more personal than what people put on their bodies,” says Kimberly Brangwin Milham, a Seattle-based historical costuming fan, who uses costuming to celebrate past periods of history.

“It’s like time travel,” she says. “For a fleeting moment, I’m connected to (people in another) time. Then, I go back home to my modern conveniences. I get the best of both worlds.”
Milham, who attends historically themed events and parties in full costume, believes that it is imperative to research the fashions, fabrics and lifestyles of a given period before designing historical costumes. She explains that such fashions are sometimes overly romanticized. The bustles, corsets, hoopskirts and layers of crinoline that create beautiful silhouettes are terribly confining, which means her costumes determine how she sits, walks or even talks.
Immersion, though, is precisely what Milham finds appealing. Whichever the historical period, understanding the construction and wearing the garments generates a deep respect for the women who once made and lived in them. People’s curiosity over the authenticity of Milham’s costumes gives her an opportunity to converse with modern audiences about how the fashion of every era showcases our commonality as humans. People often ask her about a costume’s restrictive nature, she says, while forgetting that modern fashion, too, has its own restrictions.
“You want to talk about corsets?” she says. “Let’s talk about 7-inch-high heels.”
Costuming as escape is common, but so, too, is costuming for empowerment. YouTuber Dremon Cooper, for example, a queer American male, was inspired by big-screen superheroes and their fight for justice to don a costume of 6-inch-high heeled hot-pink boots and a tight silver shirt, to fight real-world bullies. Now, a YouTube “superhero” for LGBTQ rights, his costume gave him what Donlon calls that feeling of invincibility.
Shimizu sees fashion, too, as a tool for making a better world. She works for People Tree Japan, a company that considers social issues, pollution, sustainability, animal and human rights in its manufacturing processes, and is encouraging more Japanese designers to do the same.
Sustainable fabrics are a good place to start, she says. European labels are already using fabrics made from orange peels and are researching other biosynthetic fabric, such as lab-grown leather that would overcome the ethical issues of killing animals for fashion and the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing.
“(Groups such as) The Japan Apparel-Fashion Industry Council encourage Japanese designers to tackle ethical issues,” says Shimizu, but specific goals and guidelines are lacking.
“If fashion doesn’t have meaning, it’s just a waste of money.”

Disposal of Marcellus Shale fracking waste caused earthquakes in Ohio

Before January 2011, Youngstown, Ohio, had never had an earthquake since observations began in 1776. In December 2010, the Northstar 1 injection well came online, built to pump wastewater produced by hydraulic fracturing projects in Pennsylvania into storage deep underground. In the year that followed, seismometers in and around Youngstown recorded 109 earthquakes—the strongest of the set being a magnitude 3.9 earthquake on December 31, 2011.
In a new study analyzing the Youngstown earthquakes, Kim finds that the earthquakes' onset, cessation, and even temporary dips in activity were all tied to the activity at the Northstar 1 well. The first  recorded in the city occurred 13 days after pumping began, and the tremors ceased shortly after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shut down the well in December 2011. Also, the author finds that dips in  correlated with Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving, as well as other periods when the injection at the well was temporarily stopped.
Further, the author finds that the earthquakes were centered in an ancient fault near the Northstar 1 well. The author suggests that the increase in pressure from the deep wastewater injection caused the existing fault to slip. Throughout the year, the earthquakes crept from east to west down the length of the fault away from the well—indicative of the earthquakes being caused by a traveling pressure front.
The author notes that of the 177 wastewater disposal wells of this size active in Ohio during 2011, only the Northstar 1 well was associated with such induced seismicity.
Regular Article 
Free Access

Induced seismicity associated with fluid injection into a deep well in Youngstown, Ohio

First published: 19 June 2013

Wastewater disposal may trigger quakes at a greater distance than previously thought

Oil and gas development activities, including underground disposal of wastewater and hydraulic fracturing, may induce earthquakes by changing the state of stress on existing faults to the point of failure. Earthquakes from wastewater disposal may be triggered at tens of kilometers from the wellbore, which is a greater range than previously thought, according to research to be presented today at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America (SSA). As an indication of the growing significance of man-made earthquakes on seismic hazard, SSA annual meeting will feature a special session to discuss new research findings and approaches to incorporating induced seismicity into seismic hazard assessments and maps.
The number of earthquakes within central and eastern United States has increased dramatically over the past few years, coinciding with increased hydraulic fracturing of horizontally drilled wells, and the injection of wastewater in deep disposal wells in many locations, including Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Ohio. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), an average rate of 100 earthquakes per year above a magnitude 3.0 occurred in the three years from 2010-2012, compared with an average rate of 21 events per year observed from 1967-2000.
"Induced seismicity complicates the  equation," said Gail Atkinson, professor of earth sciences at Western University in Ontario Canada, whose research details how a new source of seismicity, such as an injection disposal well, can fundamentally alter the potential  hazard in an area.
For critical structures, such as dams, nuclear power plants and other major facilities, Atkinson suggests that the hazard from induced seismicity can overwhelm the hazard from pre-existing natural seismicity, increasing the risk to structures that were originally designed for regions of low to moderate seismic activity.
A new study of the Jones  swarm, occurring near Oklahoma City since 2008, demonstrates that a small cluster of high-volume injection wells triggered earthquakes tens of kilometers away. Both increasing pore pressure and the number of earthquakes were observed migrating away from the injection wells.
"The existing criteria for an induced earthquake do not allow earthquakes associated with the well activity to occur this far away from the wellbore," said Katie Keranen, assistant professor of geophysics at Cornell University, who led the study of the Jones earthquake swarm. "Our results, using seismology and hydrogeology, show a strong link between a small number of wells and earthquakes migrating up to 50 kilometers away" said Keranen. The study's result will be presented by co-author Geoff Abers, senior research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
While there are relatively few wells linked to increased seismicity, seismologists seek to anticipate when activity might trigger earthquakes and at what magnitude.
"It is important to avoid inducing earthquakes large enough to be felt, that is, earthquakes with magnitudes of about 2.5, or greater, because these are the ones that are of concern to the public," said Art McGarr, a geophysicist with USGS.
McGarr's research investigates the factors that enhance the likelihood of earthquakes induced by fluid injection that are large enough to be felt, or, on rare occasions, capable of causing damage. The injection activities considered in McGarr's study include underground disposal of wastewater, development of enhanced geothermal systems and . Of the three activities, wastewater disposal predominates both in terms of volumes of injected liquid and earthquake size, with magnitudes for a few of the earthquakes exceeding 5.
"From the results of this study, the total volume of injected fluid seems to be the factor that limits the magnitude, whereas the injection rate controls the frequency of earthquake occurrence," said McGarr.
Despite the increasing seismicity in the central and eastern US, induced earthquakes are presently excluded from USGS estimates of earthquake hazard. Justin Rubinstein, geophysicist with USGS, will present an approach to account for the increased seismicity without first having to determine the source (induced or natural) of the earthquakes.
The USGS is trying to "stay agnostic as to whether the earthquakes are induced or natural," says Rubinstein. "In some sense, from a hazard perspective, it doesn't matter whether the earthquakes are natural or induced. An increase in earthquake rate implies that the probability of a larger earthquake has also risen," said Rubinstein, whose method seeks to balance all of the possible ways the hazard might change given the changing earthquake rate.
But what's the likelihood of induced seismicity from any specific well?
"We can't answer the question at this time," said Atkinson, who said the complex problem of assigning seismic hazard to the effects of induced seismicity is just beginning to be addressed.
"There is a real dearth of regulations," said Atkinson. "We need a clear understanding of the likely induced seismicity in response to new activity. And who is the onus on to identify the likely seismic hazard?"

Anticipating hazards from fracking-induced earthquakes in Canada and US

As hydraulic fracturing operations expand in Canada and in some parts of the United States, researchers at the 2017 Seismological Society of America's (SSA) Annual Meeting are taking a closer look at ways to minimize hazards from the earthquakes triggered by those operations.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a method of hydrocarbon recovery that uses high-pressure injections of fluid to break apart rock and release trapped oil and natural gas. At the SSA Annual Meeting, experts will speak about the growing recognition that hydraulic fracturing or fracking can produce earthquakes magnitude 3 and larger, acknowledging that this type of seismic activity is difficult to predict and may be difficult to stop once it begins.
Most induced earthquakes in Canada have been linked to hydraulic fracturing, in contrast to induced earthquakes studied in the central and eastern United States. In the U.S., these earthquakes have been linked primarily to massive amounts of wastewater injected back into the ground after oil and gas recovery. However, some presentations at the SSA meeting will take a closer look at the possibilities for fracking earthquakes in the United States.
Michael Brudzinski of Miami University and his colleagues will discuss their work to identify swarms of small magnitude earthquakes in Ohio that appear to be correlated in time and space with hydraulic fracturing or wastewater disposal. Their work suggest that there are roughly three times more sequences of magnitude 2 or larger induced by hydraulic fracturing compared to wastewater disposal in the area—even though there are about 10 times more than wastewater disposal wells. Their technique, they say, provides evidence of induced seismicity from hydraulic fracturing in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Texas as well.
Zenming Wang and colleagues are preparing for the onset of oil and gas exploration in the Rome Trough of eastern Kentucky, conducting a study of the natural background seismicity in the area to be able to better identify induced earthquakes if they occur. In their SSA presentation, they will also discuss how an area like eastern Kentucky might assess and prepare for ground shaking hazards from induced earthquakes, since the ruptures may occur on unmapped or "quiet" faults.
In western Alberta and eastern British Columbia in Canada, a significant increase in the rate of felt earthquakes from  has researchers looking at ways to mitigate potential damage to infrastructure in the region. In her SSA presentation, Gail Atkinson of Western University will discuss the factors that affect the likelihood of damaging ground motion from fracking-induced earthquakes. Based on these factors, Atkinson proposes targeted "exclusion zones" with a radius of about five kilometers around critical infrastructure such as major dams. This would be combined real-time monitoring to track the rate of seismic events of magnitude 2 or greater within 25 kilometers, with fracking operations adjusted to potentially reduce this rate to less hazardous levels.

Fracking—not wastewater disposal—linked to most induced earthquakes in Western Canada

Rethinking induced seismicity
Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (outlined in black) is on a geological map of Canada. Credit: QYD
A survey of a major oil and natural gas-producing region in Western Canada suggests a link between hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" and induced earthquakes in the region, according to a new report published online in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

The study's findings differ from those reported from oil and gas fields in the central United States, where fracking is not considered to be the main cause of a sharp rise in induced seismicity in the region. Instead, the proliferation of hundreds of small earthquakes in that part of the U.S. is thought to be caused primarily by massive amounts of wastewater injected back into the ground after oil and gas recovery.
The SRL study does not examine why induced seismicity would be linked to different processes in the central U.S. and western Canada. However, some oil and gas fields in the U.S., especially Oklahoma, use "very large amounts of water" in their operations, leading to much more wastewater disposal than in Canadian operations, said Gail M. Atkinson of Western University.
It is possible that massive wastewater disposal in the U.S. is "masking another signal" of induced seismicity caused by fracking, Atkinson said. "So we're not entirely sure that there isn't more seismicity in the central U.S. from  than is widely recognized."
The fracking process uses high-pressure injections of fluid to break apart rock and release trapped oil and natural gas. Both fracking and wastewater injections can increase the fluid pressure in the natural pores and fractures in rock, or change the state of stress on existing faults, to produce earthquakes.
The Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) contains one of the world's largest oil and gas reserves, and is dotted with thousands of fracking wells drilled in multi-stage horizontal operations. Atkinson and her colleagues compared the relationship of 12,289 fracking wells and 1236 wastewater disposal wells to magnitude 3 or larger earthquakes in an area of 454,000 square kilometers near the border between Alberta and British Columbia, between 1985 and 2015.
The researchers performed statistical analyses to determine which earthquakes were most likely to be related to hydraulic fracturing, given their location and timing. The analyses identified earthquakes as being related to fracking if they took place close to a well and within a time window spanning the start of fracking to three months after its completion, and if other causes, such as wastewater disposal, were not involved.
Atkinson and colleagues found 39 hydraulic fracturing wells (0.3% of the total of fracking wells studied), and 17 wastewater disposal wells (1% of the disposal wells studied) that could be linked to earthquakes of magnitude 3 or larger.
While these percentages sound small, Atkinson pointed out that thousands of hydraulic fracturing wells are being drilled every year in the WCSB, increasing the likelihood of earthquake activity. "We haven't had a large earthquake near vulnerable infrastructure yet," she said, "but I think it's really just a matter of time before we start seeing damage coming out of this."
The study also confirmed that in the last few years nearly all the region's overall seismicity of magnitude 3 or larger has been induced by human activity. More than 60% of these quakes are linked to hydraulic fracture, about 30-35% come from , and only 5 to 10% of the earthquakes have a natural tectonic origin, Atkinson said.
Atkinson said the new numbers could be used to recalculate the seismic hazard for the region, which could impact everything from building codes to safety assessments of critical infrastructure such as dams and bridges. "Everything has been designed and assessed in terms of earthquake hazard in the past, considering the natural hazard," she said. "And now we've fundamentally changed that, and so our seismic hazard picture has changed."
The researchers were also surprised to find that their data showed no relationship between the volume of fluid injected at a hydraulic fracturing well site and the maximum magnitude of its induced earthquake.
"It had previously been believed that hydraulic fracturing couldn't trigger larger earthquakes because the fluid volumes were so small compared to that of a disposal well," Atkinson explained. "But if there isn't any relationship between the maximum magnitude and the fluid disposal, then potentially one could trigger larger events if the fluid pressures find their way to a suitably stressed fault."
Atkinson and her colleagues hope to refine their analyses to include other variables, such as information about extraction processes and the geology at individual well sites, "to help us understand why some areas seem much more prone to induced seismicity than others."
The scientists say the seismic risks associated with hydraulic fracturing could increase as oil and gas companies expand fracking's use in developing countries, which often contain dense populations and earthquake-vulnerable infrastructure.

Damaging Sichuan earthquakes linked to fracking operations

Schematic depiction of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, showing main possible environmental effects. Credit: Mikenorton/Wikipedia
Two moderate-sized earthquakes that struck the southern Sichuan Province of China last December and January were probably caused by nearby fracking operations, according to a new study published in Seismological Research Letters.

The December 2018 magnitude 5.7 and the January 2019 magnitude 5.3 earthquakes in the South Sichuan Basin caused extensive damage to farmhouses and other structures in the area. The December  was especially destructive, injuring 17 people and resulting in a direct economic loss of about 50 million Chinese Yuan Renminbi (roughly $US 7.5 million).
The Changning shale gas block in the South Sichuan Basin has been the site of  operations since 2010, with extensive horizontal fracking  becoming more common since 2014. The earthquake rate in the Changning block rose dramatically at the same time that systematic fracking began.
In the United States, wastewater disposal from oil and gas operations, where water produced during hydrocarbon extraction is injected back into rock layers, is thought to be the primary cause of induced earthquakes, especially in Oklahoma. However, there is growing evidence that , or fracking, which uses injected water to break apart during hydrocarbon extraction, may have caused moderate-size earthquakes at some sites in Ohio, Oklahoma and western Canada.
Both wastewater disposal and fracking have induced earthquakes in the south Sichuan basin, say Xinglin Lei of the Geological Survey of Japan and colleagues. In their new study in SRL, the researchers present "a full chain of evidence" to show that the December and January earthquakes were induced by fracking operations.
They pinpointed the location of the earthquakes, finding that they were relatively shallow (between two and ten kilometers below the surface), as would be expected for induced earthquakes. The December and January quakes also coincided in time and space with injection at nearby fracking well pads. They did not have the exact injection volumes at these well pads to better understand the relationship between injection activities and the evolution of seismicity.
Lei and colleagues' modeling of seismic activity show that most of the activity came from the initial mainshocks, with little aftershock activity, which is also consistent with the pattern seen for induced earthquakes. Finally, their calculations show that overpressure on the rock pores, produced by the fracking injections, was strong enough to activate preexisting faults in the region. These faults were mostly unmapped and not in a favorable orientation to slip under normal tectonic activity, the researchers note.
"For most well pads, the associated seismicity fades out quickly after the hydraulic fracture ended or halted," said Lei, although he noted that their analysis did raise the possibility of seeing signs of fault reactivation from previous seismicity.
"In my opinion, repeated moderate earthquakes can be caused as long as the injection is continuing, since a moderate earthquake releases very limited strain," he added. "The national regulations in China should be updated with the requirement for operators to take action if some signs of fault reactivation were observed."
The researchers say more information is needed about faults and their stress patterns in areas of the Sichuan basin surrounding fracking well pads, to guide drilling in a way that would avoid moderate seismic activity. "Moderate earthquakes were observed in a limited number of sites," said Lei. "If these sites could be screened out, the risk of moderate earthquakes would be greatly reduced."
Lei and colleagues would like to see researchers, regulators and oil and gas operators work together to better understand what causes injection-induced seismicity in the South Sichuan Basin, to allow effective and safe fracking operations.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

We can't expand airports after declaring a climate emergency – let's shift to low-carbon transport instead

We can't expand airports after declaring a climate emergency – let's shift to low-carbon transport instead
The world may finally be waking to the reality of the climate and ecological crisis after 30 years of inaction. But while the UK government has declared a climate and ecological emergency, ongoing plans for airport expansions suggest we're flying full-speed towards crisis rather than away from it.

Globally,  from aviation are rising rapidly, and set to further escalate. Passenger numbers are rising far too fast for efficiency improvements and alternative technologies, such as electric or biofuel-powered engines, to keep up. What's worse, the impact of flights is two to three times larger than their CO₂ emissions alone, due to the release of nitrogen oxides—powerful greenhouse gases—and the contrails planes leave in their wake which trap even more heat in the atmosphere. The aviation industry has also evaded fuel taxes, emissions regulations, and is often completely omitted in emissions accounting.
This is particularly important as cities are setting targets to reduce their . While many of these cities have airports, their climate strategies tend to focus on the emissions released within the city's boundaries and from their electricity use. They don't account for emissions from imported goods and services that are consumed in the city but produced elsewhere, nor from flights through their airports. Any emissions from residents travelling outside the city are generally omitted.
Take Leeds for example
One example is Leeds in the UK, where the city council recently declared a climate emergency and committed the city to emitting no more than 42 megatonnes of CO₂ from 2018 until 2050. But the city's targets sit uncomfortably alongside plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport.

We can't expand airports after declaring a climate emergency – let's shift to low-carbon transport instead
Climate impact of all flights through Leeds Bradford Airport if passengers increase to 8m (red), remain at 2018 level of 4m (yellow) or fall to 1m by 2030 (green), compared to the target emissions for Leeds as a whole (black dashed curve). Credit: Jefim Vogel, Author provided
The expansion should double the number of passengers using the airport every year from 4m to 8m by 2030. The climate impact of all those flights would be more than double the 2030 target emissions for Leeds as a whole. If passenger numbers continue growing after 2030, even at a slower rate, the overshoot would escalate to a factor of nine by 2040.
By 2050, the combined climate impact of all flights through Leeds Bradford Airport since 2018 would exceed the  for Leeds as a whole by a factor of 2.5. Even if only one in four passengers are Leeds residents, their flights alone would use up 62% of the city's entire carbon budget by 2050.
As aviation is governed mostly at a national level, Leeds City Council may argue it has little control over the expansion, but is it even trying to stop it? Their Inclusive Growth Strategy suggests the opposite: endorsing the expansion and promising new transport links to the airport with a new commercial centre nearby.
Preparing an emergency landing
If the number of passengers using Leeds Bradford Airport remained at their current levels, all flights from 2018 to 2050 combined would still produce a climate impact equivalent to the entire carbon budget of Leeds. Only if passenger numbers fell drastically could flying become remotely compatible with climate targets.

We can't expand airports after declaring a climate emergency – let's shift to low-carbon transport instead
Even if passenger numbers remain at 2018 levels, air traffic at Leeds Bradford would overshoot the city’s carbon budget. Credit: Jefim Vogel, Author provided
If cut in half by 2022 and 75% by 2030, the flights of Leeds residents alone would use up 8% of the city's carbon budget. This might be just low enough to squeeze all other activities in Leeds into the remaining carbon budget—if these are also radically decarbonised.
Such a drastic reduction might seem difficult, but perhaps some flights are more dispensable than others. For UK residents, 70% of all flights in 2014 were claimed by just 15% of the population, and while many business leaders fly every week, more than half of the population didn't fly at all in 2014.
Given how sharply the number of flights has to decrease, the difficult question then is who gets to fly, and for what purpose. Should priority be given to someone taking their fourth  this year to their second home in the Mediterranean, or to someone visiting their family living abroad? And how is this decided? A first step might be to increase taxes in line with the number of flights a person takes, with what's called a frequent flyer levy.
But that's not enough. Price mechanisms can't make the value judgements at the heart of this—and they could just make flying exclusive to a rich elite who could still afford it. It seems more appropriate to make these decisions through democratic deliberation processes like citizens' assemblies.
Read more: To tackle the climate crisis we need more democracy, not less

We can't expand airports after declaring a climate emergency – let's shift to low-carbon transport instead
Expanding and improving rail travel could make some flights redundant. Credit: Blanscape/Shutterstock
A low-carbon transport system
Reducing flights will need to come with wider changes in  and society. A large share of current air traffic could be made redundant by using video conferences for meetings. Improving rail transport could make for a low-carbon and affordable alternative to flying for medium-distance travel. More overnight trains with sleeping facilities and better cross-border integration of rail operators would help. Carefully developing attractive holiday locations closer to home, made accessible by electrified public transport, and promoting low-carbon activities like bike trips could also reduce demand for flights.
Another major issue is car transport which accounts for the lion's share of transport emissions and causes severe air pollution, with dramatic impacts on public health. Road accidents are a major cause of death worldwide, far exceeding deaths from malaria or war, and road networks and car parks take up lots of public space.
Making transport systems sustainable means ending the dependence on car travel. This involves massively expanding reliable and affordable, low-carbon  within and between cities. It also means better urban planning, with more bike lanes, bike sharing and car-free zones. Suburbs should be designed so that a car isn't necessary for getting around. And a drastically reduced car fleet could be bound to fuel efficiency standards before eventually becoming fully electric.
Deep and rapid changes to the world's  systems are needed to halt climate change, and many of these would also improve human well-being and public life. But to get there involves challenging powerful vested interests in aviation and the car and oil industries. The challenges are vast, but doing nothing means accepting an unacceptable future.

Predicting seismic activity at fracking sites to prevent earthquakes

Predicting seismic activity at fracking sites to prevent earthquakes
Aerial view of the hydraulic fracturing rig at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. Credit: Matthew Hampson, Cuadrilla Resources Ltd
Scientists from the University of Bristol have found a more effective way to predict seismic activity at hydraulic fracturing sites, ensuring that potential earthquake activity remains within safe levels.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock by drilling down into the earth and injecting a mixture of water and sand at high-pressure, creating fractures that allow the gas or oil to flow out.
Like many other industries, such as , hydro-electricity and , fracking has in some cases been known to cause earthquakes.
In 2011 test operations near Blackpool had to be suspended after tremors of 1.5 and 2.2  were detected.
Investigations carried out after this concluded that it was highly probable that the drilling had caused the tremors and new 'traffic light' regulations were introduced at fracking sites across the country.
If earthquake magnitudes are below a certain level, then the injection can proceed as normal. If the earthquakes exceed a certain amber light magnitude, then the operator must proceed with caution by, for example, reducing the injection rate, pressure or volume. If the magnitude exceeds the red light magnitude, then the injection must pause.
Currently, there is little scientific basis for how the amber and red-light thresholds should be decided.
Lead author, Dr. James Verdon from the University's School of Earth Sciences, said: "Many industries can create induced earthquakes, including both longstanding ones like coal mining and hydroelectricity, and newer ones like geothermal and hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.
"Our goal is to manage induced seismicity, ensuring that these industries conduct their activities in a safe manner, without posing a risk to nearby buildings and infrastructure."
The Bristol-led research, published today in the journal Seismological Research Letters,shows that using microseismic data to make forecasts about expected seismicity can provide a far more effective approach than the simple traffic light scheme (TLS) system which is currently used.
Dr. Verdon added: "The TLS is a retroactive method. This means that the red-light threshold must be set far below the actual level we need to avoid, otherwise the operator would only stop after larger earthquakes have occurred.
"This is a problem because on the one hand operators may be required to stop their work even though everything is actually at a safe level. However, on the other hand if they set the red-light level too high then they may allow damaging events to occur.
"Our work is about developing and testing a model that can take the observations we have at an early stage in the operation and make predictions that are robust and accurate about what will happen as the injection proceeds, thus allowing an operator to make decisions while ensuring that any earthquakes remain within a safe level."
All subsurface industries (for example, oil production, mining and geothermal) produce very small magnitude "microseismic events"—these are far too small to be detected even by sensitive instruments at the surface.
Instead, recording instruments called geophones are installed in monitoring boreholes that are within a few 100 meters of the injection point.
This allows them to pick up the pops and cracks of the rock as the fluid is injected. To give an idea of scale, a typical microseismic event might consist of a fracture the size of a dinner plate moving by less than a millimeter.
Dr. Verdon said: "These microseismic events can give us clues about whether the injection might be about to reactivate a larger fault and give us larger events, and it can give us clues as to what magnitude that event might be.
"So, our aim is to use the microseismic data, which is far too small to be felt by people at the surface and make models and predictions of whether the injection might be about to give us a larger event, and therefore should be stopped."
The team developed a statistical model that takes the small-magnitude microseismic data and makes predictions about what magnitude the tremors might reach as injection continues.
Previously they tested their approach using past data from older sites. However, in this case they were analyzing live data from the Preston New Road site in Lancashire, and providing the operator, Cuadrilla, with their results, which they used to inform real-time decisions about how to proceed.
Dr. Verdon said: "Importantly, our modeling approach was successful—the magnitudes that actually occurred were in line with the magnitudes that we predicted from our model. This gives us confidence that our approach is robust and can be used for decision making at future injection sites.
"This approach has implications not only for today's shale gas industry, but for future industries like geothermal energy and carbon capture and storage that are being planned in the UK.

Explore further
Man-made earthquake risk reduced if fracking is 895m from faults

More information: Huw Clarke, et al. Real-Time Imaging, Forecasting, and Management of Human-Induced Seismicity at Preston New Road, Lancashire, England. Seismological Research Letters, 19.06.2019.
Journal information: Seismological Research Letters 
Provided by University of Bristol