UN Touts Ambitious (But Cheap) Investment in Renewable Energy Epoch Times, By Jeremy Hance, news.mongabay.com | April 15, 2014 The world is warming rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions, threatening everything from our food supply to our ecosystems, but the solution may be surprisingly cheap, according to the third and final reportfrom the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report recommends a rapid and aggressive switch from fossil fuel-based energy to renewables. While this isn’t exactly surprising, the new report finds that an ambitious green revolution would shave only 2-4 percent off total economic growth over the century, a figure that doesn’t take into account the economic benefits of shifting to clean energies.
“There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual,” Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, said. The IPCC’s Working Group III was responsible for the new report, which focuses on climate change mitigation; the first report explored the science behind current warming, while the second reported on the impacts.
The new report finds that global society must more than triple investment in green energies by 2050 in order to have a reasonable chance of keeping temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a goal agreed on by the world’s governments. However such a revolution–which would need to cut emissions to near zero by 2100–need not break the bank as some critics of climate change action have warned in the past.
“It is actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living,” co-chair Jim Skea told the Guardian. “It is not a hair-shirt change of lifestyle at all that is being envisaged and there is space for poorer countries to develop too.” According to the report, ambitious mitigation of climate change would reduce global economic growth–set at around 1.6 to 3 percent–by just 0.06 percent over the century. Moreover this analysis doesn’t take into effect the economic pluses of clean energy, such as reduced air and water pollution, new jobs, increased efficiency, and greater stability for energy prices.
“The loss in consumption is relatively modest,” the chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, told the Associated Press.
The report finds that this shift would reduce profits for the coal and oil industries, though may not hurt gas in the near-term; in fact, fossil fuel investments would need to drop by around $30 billion annually. Not surprisingly, lobbying from the powerful fossil fuel industry has proven one of the largest obstacles to governments taking bolder action on greenhouse gas emissions……..
according to the IPCC, the bulk of emissions reductions must come from a sped-up and scaled-up clean energy revolution and a phase-out of fossil fuels.
The IPCC, the world’s global authority on the science of climate change, releases new reports every six years meant to guide current negotiations over the global crisis. Nations are set to sign a new treaty on tackling global climate change in 2015….http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/621996-un-touts-ambitious-but-cheap-investment-in-renewable-energy/?photo=2
Can Business Break Impasse on Climate Action? http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2014/apr/09/can-business-break-impasse-on-climate-action/
bmagill (AP) April 9, 2014 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urged immediate action on adapting to human-caused climate change in the second part of its fifth assessment report, released in March. But it may be that governments and the media are poorly equipped to deliver that dire message to the public.
That was the consensus among experts speaking about the evolution of the public debate over climate change and clean energy at Bloomberg’s Future of Energy Summit in New York City.
Andy Hoffman, director of the Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, said that climate change and renewable energy are caught in a cultural schism in which both, regardless of the science, are seen as products of radical environmentalists and big government.
“What we find is that when people start to discuss these issues, they’re questioning your motives and (trying) to find out whether you’re a member of their tribe,” he said.
Of all the institutions that deliver the message to the public about how climate change will affect them, the media, the government and energy companies are the least trusted, according to surveys conducted by public relations firm Edelman, Jessica Lennard, the firm’s director of energy public affairs said.
The public has a great trust in the business community to deliver that message, however, she said. Continue reading
Sudden nuclear disasters of the kind that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station three years ago may not at first glance seem to have much in common with the slow-motion planetary destruction of global warming. The two phenomena, though, are alike—and not just because they are dangerous to humankind. They unfold in similar fashion, starting with a single event which then leads to and interacts with many others. Both are also easy to foresee—but unprofitable to avert. Continue reading
The journal that gave in to climate deniers’ intimidation The Conversation, Elaine McKewon, Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney 1 April 14,
In February 2013, the journal Frontiers in Psychology published a peer-reviewed paper which found that people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Predictably enough, those people didn’t like it.The paper, which I helped to peer-review, is called “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”. In it, cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky and his colleagues survey and analyse the outcry generated on climate skeptic blogs to their earlier work on climate denial.
The earlier study had also linked climate denial with conspiracist thinking. And so by reacting with yet more conspiracy theorising, the bloggers rather proved the researchers’ point.
Yet soon after Recursive Fury was published, threats of litigation started to roll in, and the journal took the paper down (it survives on the website of the University of Western Australia, where Lewandowsky carried out the study).
A lengthy investigation ensued, which eventually found the paper to be scientifically and ethically sound. Yet on March 21 this year, Frontiers retracted the paper because of the legal threats.
The episode offers some of the clearest evidence yet that threats of libel lawsuits have a chilling effect on scientific research………
the journal’s management and editors were clearly intimidated by climate deniers who threatened to sue. So Frontiers bowed to their demands, retracted the paper, damaged its own reputation, and ultimately gave a free kick to aggressive climate deniers.
I would have expected a scientific journal to have more backbone, certainly when it comes to the crucially important issue of academic freedom. http://theconversation.com/the-journal-that-gave-in-to-climate-deniers-intimidation-25085
How British Columbia Enacted the Most Effective Carbon Tax in North America, the Atlantic Cities, CHRIS MOONEY, 26 MARCH 14, Suppose that you live in Vancouver and you drive a car to work. Naturally, you have to get gas regularly. When you stop at the pump, you may see a notice like the one below, explaining that part of the price you’re paying
is, in effect, due to the cost of carbon. That’s because in 2008, the government of British Columbia decided to impose a tax on greenhouse gas emissionsfrom fossil fuels, enacting what has been called ”the most significant carbon tax in the Western Hemisphere by far.”
- A carbon tax is just what it sounds like: The BC government levies a fee, currently 30 Canadian dollars, for every metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions resulting from the burning of various fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and, of course, coal. That amount is then included in the price you pay at the pump—for gasoline, it’s 6.67 cents per liter (about 25 cents per gallon)—or on your home heating bill, or wherever else the tax applies. (Canadian dollars are currently worth about 89 American cents).
If the goal was to reduce global warming pollution, then the BC carbon tax totally works. Since its passage, gasoline use in British Columbia has plummeted, declining seven times as much as might be expected from an equivalent rise in the market price of gas, according to arecent study by two researchers at the University of Ottawa. That’s apparently because the tax hasn’t just had an economic effect: It has also helped change the culture of energy use in BC. “I think it really increased the awareness about climate change and the need for carbon reduction, just because it was a daily, weekly thing that you saw,” says Merran Smith, the head of Clean Energy Canada. “It made climate action real to people.”
It also saved many of them a lot of money. Sure, the tax may cost you if you drive your car a great deal, or if you have high home gas heating costs. But it also gives you the opportunity to save a lot of money if you change your habits, for instance by driving less or buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle. That’s because the tax is designed to be “revenue neutral”—the money it raises goes right back to citizens in the form of tax breaks. Overall, the tax has brought in some $5 billion in revenue so far, and more than $3 billion has then been returned in the form of business tax cuts, along with over $1 billion in personal tax breaks, and nearly $1 billion inlow-income tax credits (to protect those for whom rising fuel costs could mean the greatest economic hardship). According to the BC Ministry of Finance, for individuals who earn up to $122,000, income tax rates in the province are now Canada’s lowest.
So what’s the downside? Well, there really isn’t one for most British Columbians, unless they drive their gas-guzzling cars a lot. (But then, the whole point of taxing carbon is to use market forces to discourage such behavior.) The far bigger downside is for Canadians in other provinces who lack such a sensible policy—and especially for Americans. In the United States, the idea of doing anything about global warming is currently anathema, even though addressing the problem in the way that British Columbia has done would help the environment and could also put money back in many people’s pockets. Such is the depth of our dysfunction; but by looking closely at British Columbia, at least we can see that it doesn’t have to be that way……….
- The tax has actually become quite popular. “Polls have shown anywhere from 55 to 65 percent support for the tax,” says Stewart Elgie, director of the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment. “And it would be hard to find any tax that the majority of people say they like, but the majority of people say they like this tax.”It certainly doesn’t hurt that the tax, well, worked. That’s clear on at least three fronts: Major reductions in fuel usage in BC, a corresponding decline in greenhouse gas emissions, and the lack of a negative impact on the BC economy……..
- The bottom line, then, is that BC’s experience provides an exclamation point at the end of the long list of reasons to like a carbon tax. Perhaps the leading one, in the end, is that it’s a far simpler policy option than a cap and trade scheme, and is, as Harvard economist and Bush administration Council of Economic Advisers chair N. Gregory Mankiw has put it, “more effective and less invasive” than the sort of regulatory approaches that the government tends to implement.Indeed, economists tend to adore carbon taxes. When the IGM forum asked a group of 51 prominent economists whether a carbon tax would be “a less expensive way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions than would be a collection of policies such as ‘corporate average fuel economy’ requirements for automobiles,” assent was extremely high: 90 percent either agreed or strongly agreed. Yale economist Christopher Udry commented, “This is as clear as economics gets; provides incentives to find minimally costly ways to reduce emissions.”
“Totally basic economics!” added Stanford’s Robert Hall.
Since 2012, British Columbia has not raised the carbon tax further. Instead, the government agreed to freeze the rate as it is for five years. And no wonder: BC is now far ahead of most of its neighbors, and most of North America, in taking action to curtail global warming………
- In the meantime, BC can boast of the crown jewel of North American climate policy. “BC now has the lowest fuel use in Canada, the lowest tax rates in Canada, and a pretty healthy economy,” says the University of Ottawa’s Stewart Elgie. “It works.”http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2014/03/how-british-columbia-enacted-most-effective-carbon-tax-north-america/8732/
Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come NYT, By JUSTIN GILLISMARCH 30, 2014 YOKOHAMA, Japan — Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that the problem is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.
The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.
The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.
Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said.
And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as
nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty. In particular, the report emphasized that the world’s food supply is at considerable risk — a threat that could have serious consequences for the poorest nations.
“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the intergovernmental panel, said at a news conference here on Monday…….. Timothy Gore, an analyst for Oxfam, the anti-hunger charity that sent observers to the proceedings, praised the new report for painting a clear picture. But he warned that without greater efforts to limit global warming and to adapt to the changes that have become inevitable, “the goal we have in Oxfam of ensuring that every person has enough food to eat could be lost forever.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/science/earth/panels-warning-on-climate-risk-worst-is-yet-to-come.html?hp&_r=0
As grim as the Working Group 2 report on impacts is, it explicitly has very little to say about the catastrophic impacts and vulnerability in the business as usual case where the Earth warms 4°C to 5°C [7°F-9°F] — and it has nothing to say about even higher warming, which the latest science suggests we are headed toward.
Conservative Climate Panel Warns World Faces ‘Breakdown Of Food Systems’ And More Violent Conflict THINK PROGRESS, BY JOE ROMM ON MARCH 30, 2014 THE U.N. INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC) HAS ISSUED ITS SECOND OF FOUR PLANNED REPORTS EXAMINING THE STATE OF CLIMATE SCIENCE. THIS ONE SUMMARIZES WHAT THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE SAYS ABOUT “IMPACTS, ADAPTATION, AND VULNERABILITY” (BIG PDF HERE). AS WITH EVERY RECENT IPCC REPORT, IT IS SUPER-CAUTIOUS TO A FAULT AND YET STILL INCREDIBLY ALARMING.
It warns that we are doing a bad job of dealing with the climate change we’ve experienced to date: “Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability.”
It warns of the dreaded RFCs (“reasons for concern” — I’m not making this acronym up), such as “breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes.” You might call them RFAs (“reasons for alarm” or “reasons for action”). Indeed, in recent years, “several periods of rapid food and cereal price increases following climate extremes in key producing regions indicate a sensitivity of current markets to climate extremes among other factors.” So warming-driven drought and extreme weather have already begun to reduce food security. Now imagine adding another 2 billion people to feed while we are experiencing five times as much warming this century as we did last century!
No surprise, then, that climate change will “prolong existing, and create new, poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger.” And it will “increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence” — though for some reason that doesn’t make the list of RFCs.
In short, “We’re all sitting ducks,” as IPCC author and Princeton Prof. Michael Oppenheimer put it to the AP. AN OVERLY CAUTIOUS REPORT
As grim as the Working Group 2 report on impacts is, it explicitly has very little to say about the catastrophic impacts and vulnerability in the business as usual case where the Earth warms 4°C to 5°C [7°F-9°F] — and it has nothing to say about even higher warming, which the latest science suggests we are headed toward.
The report states:
- “Relatively few studies have considered impacts on cropping systems for scenarios where global mean temperatures increase by 4°C [7°F] or more.
- “… few quantitative estimates [of global annual economic losses] have been completed for additional warming around 3°C [5.4°F] or above.”………
THE HIGH COST OF INACTION
The IPCC’s discussion of economic costs is equally muddled:
“… the incomplete estimates of global annual economic losses for additional temperature increases of ~2°C are between 0.2 and 2.0% of income. Losses are more likely than not to be greater, rather than smaller, than this range…. Losses accelerate with greater warming, but few quantitative estimates have been completed for additional warming around 3°C or above.”
It would have been nice if the IPCC had mentioned at this point that keeping additional temperature increases to ~2°C requires very aggressive efforts to slash carbon pollution starting now. As it is, the deniers, confusionists, and easily confused can (incorrectly) assert that this first sentence means global economic losses from climate change will be low. Again, that’s only if we act now.
The costs of even higher warming, which, again, would be nothing more than business as usual, rise exponentially. Indeed, we’ve known for years that traditional climate cost-benefit analyses are “unusually misleading” — as Harvard economist Martin Weitzman warned colleagues, “we may be deluding ourselves and others.” Again, that’s because the IPCC is basically a best case analysis — while it largely ignores the business-as-usual case and completely ignores the worst case……http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/30/3420723/climate-breakdown-of-food-systems/
Explainer: how are IPCC reports written? , The Conversation, 29 March 14 David Karoly, Professor of Atmospheric Science at University of Melbourne This week in Yokohama, Japan, a group of scientists and representatives of more than 120 governments are meeting to approve the report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. They will also agree on its Summary for Policymakers – an arduous process of negotiation and line-by-line approval. On Monday they will release it to the media and public.
This is the second part of the Assessment Report of the IPCC. It follows last September’s release of the first part, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.
The IPCC was established in 1988 to undertake comprehensive assessments of the scientific basis of climate change and the impacts and future risks to different sectors and regions. It also assesses the options for adapting to these impacts, and opportunities to mitigate climate change.
The IPCC is the accepted global authority on climate change. A recent explainer on The Conversation has described the structure of the IPCC and how it works.
It has three “Working Groups”: one on Climate Change Science; one on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; and one that deals with Mitigation of Climate Change. They work together to prepare comprehensive Assessment Reports roughly once every six years. The IPCC Third Assessment Report was released in 2001 and the Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.
Now we are in the middle of the release of the various parts of the Fifth Assessment Report, one from each Working Group and finally the Synthesis Report, to be released later this year.
The IPCC assessments are written by hundreds of leading scientists who volunteer their time. They undertake comprehensive assessments of the scientific literature across a very wide range of topics relevant to climate change. The reports are required to present policy-relevant information, but it must be presented in a policy-neutral manner, so there are no recommendations in any IPCC assessment.
Each part of the report goes through three stages of drafting and review by experts and governments. All review comments and the responses from the authors on how they addressed the comments are made public. This review process is more open and comprehensive than for any other scientific publication or assessment, including the peer-reviewed science publications on which the reports are based.
The final stage, the approval of the Summary for Policymakers, is often misunderstood. The government representatives go through the final draft line by line, seeking to ensure that the text is scientifically accurate, that any uncertainties are carefully explained, and that the language is as clear as possible. The authors of the chapters ensure their scientific accuracy and can veto any text that they consider to be inaccurate. Every line is approved by consensus by the representatives of all the governments present. It takes a long time.
A very helpful explainer on how to read an IPCC report was published on The Conversation last September.http://theconversation.com/explainer-how-are-ipcc-reports-written-24641
Explainer: how are IPCC reports written? , The Conversation, 29 March 14 David Karoly, Professor of Atmospheric Science at University of Melbourne #………This week, the IPCC has been meeting to approve the second part of its Fifth Assessment Report – the volume that covers “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”. This assesses the impacts of climate change and vulnerabilities to these impacts, as well as options for how we can adapt to minimize the impacts.
It considers a wider range of sectors than previous reports, as well as more regions of the globe. This means that this Impacts Assessment has twice as many chapters and is nearly twice as long as the previous IPCC Working Group 2 report in 2007.
The different sectors include water resources, terrestrial, coastal and ocean systems, food production, urban and rural areas, human health and human security, as well as approaches to adaptation and multi-sector risks and vulnerabilities. The regions include each of the continents, plus the poles, small islands, and the oceans.
The IPCC has worked hard to include a broader and more representative group as authors. Working Group 2’s writing team consists of 310 scientists from 73 countries, divided into Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors and Review Editors. Most have not previously been involved in any of these roles in the past decade. Some 40% of the writing team come from developing countries and economies in transition.
When the report comes out on Monday, make sure to read its Summary for Policymakers (as well as The Conversation’s IPCC coverage).http://theconversation.com/explainer-how-are-ipcc-reports-written-24641
Floods in Britain: a sign of things to come? http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/47190 21 Mar 14, A new investigation of long-term weather records suggests that the recent flooding in the south of England could signal the onset of climate change. The research, from UWE Bristol, Loughborough University and the University of East Anglia has produced a new index of flooding trends called the Fluvial Flood Indices. This enables widespread flooding and weather patterns to be viewed in the context of the last 150 years, revealing that four of the six most severe flood episodes since 1871 have occurred in the last 30 years. The new index was developed by Professor Rob Wilby from Loughborough University and Associate Professor Nevil Quinn from UWE Bristol, and was published in the Journal of Hydrology last year. With the collaboration of Dr. Colin Harpham from the University of East Anglia, the index has been updated to cover the most recent flooding.
The indices match weather patterns and river flow data collected over the last 60 years to reconstruct the likelihood of widespread flooding in Britain back as far as the 1870s. The index is broken down by British region and updated weekly from atmospheric pressure data.
Professor Quinn, who is a hydrologist and specialist in flood risk management, said, “One of the greatest difficulties in flood estimation is that recorded flood data are rare — very few stations were operating prior to 1950. The index is based on the association between the atmospheric pressure patterns at the time and the concurrent recorded flood events. Since we have a classification of atmospheric pressure patterns called Lamb Weather Types going back to 1871 we can contextualize floods in relation to a much longer period.”
The indices reveal that the sequences of weather leading to the recent floods in southern England occur on average once every 25 years. The worst flooding suggested by the series happened in 1872, with later flood-rich episodes in the 1950s, 1980s and 2000s. Professor Wilby said, “The extraordinary events in 1872 show the extent to which flood severity varies from one decade to the next. This flooding was so significant it was even captured in a painting by Monet. However, to experience four of the six most severe episodes in the last 30 years is disconcerting. Such a flood-rich period in the context of a 144-year record is very unusual and linked to the large number of cyclones passing over the country.”
It is envisaged researchers and agencies interested in tracking long-term changes in weather patterns linked to widespread flooding could use the indices.
Read more at ENN affiliate Click Green.
Thursday March 20, 2014, The World Nuclear Association reported that melting snow is to blame for the disruption of a number of uranium operations in Southern Kazakhstan.
According to the WNA:
National atomic company Kazatomprom reported that snow melt has damaged roads near the village of Taykonur in the Sozak region of South Kazakhstan oblast. This has restricted access of vehicles delivering chemical reagents to the Inkai in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mine and processing plant in central Kazakhstan. The Inkai project is owned and operated by Joint Venture Inkai, which is 60% owned by Canada’s Cameco and 40% by Kazatomprom.
Geo-engineering no Cure-all for Global Climate Change Sourceable 12 Mar 14 A new study by scientists in Germany has concluded that geo-engineering is unlikely to have anything more than a minor impact on global climate change. Research conducted by scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, has concluded that even the most ambitious and large-scale forms of geo-engineering are unlikely to have much of a diminishing impact on global warming.
The study was led by oceanographer Dr. David Keller and published in the scientific journal Nature Communications. It looked at five forms of geo-engineering which have the potential to reduce the effects of global climate change, modelling the outcome of their deployment.
According to Keller, the study is one of the most thorough and comprehensive ever undertaken with respect to the real world impact of climate engineering……..The methods examined included the mass forestation of arid desert areas in North Africa and Australia, and the reduction of solar radiation levels via measures such as the sowing of aerosols in the atmosphere to produce artificial cloud cover.
Three of the methods entail tinkering with the earth’s seas to raise their carbon dioxide uptake by means including the pumping of cold water rich in nutrients from the lower strata of the ocean; the sowing of iron to raise the fecundity of phytoplankton and thus foster the proliferation of plant life; and the dissemination of lime to increase CO2 absorption.
Despite the imaginative and ambitious nature of these geo-engineering methods, the study concluded that none of them are potent enough to significantly reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Even if they were deployed as early as the end of this decade, they would fail to make much of a difference given projected increases in the volume of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.
Modelling performed by the scientists concluded that the outcome for the earth’s atmosphere remains the same irrespective of whether or not geo-engineering measures are implemented…..
The methods would also have extreme ramifications for local ecosystems, given the radical nature and immense scale of any measures intended to influence the climate of the planet as a whole…….http://sourceable.net/geo-engineering-no-cure-all-for-global-climate-change/
“During the campaign we saw the impacts of climate change. We know those islands are among the most vulnerable to climate change.”The desire to more effectively conduct projects in the Pacific was also the reason the UAE signed the partnership arrangement with the New Zealand ministry of foreign affairs and trade.
Renewable energy projects key to UAE’s diplomatic efforts http://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/renewable-energy-projects-key-to-uaes-diplomatic-efforts 26 Jan 14 ABU DHABI // Renewable-energy projects are now a mainstay of diplomatic efforts with developing nations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.
At Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week last week, technology partnerships were signed with New Zealand and Denmark, and plans announced to give US$20 million (Dh73.4m) in aid to Pacific Island states.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, director of energy and climate change at the ministry, said clean energy had been identified as a major area of focus for UAE diplomacy. Dr Al Zeyoudi said the money would go to Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Continue reading
While the cost of these [ clean renewable] technologies continues to decline and enjoy further technological advancement, the cost of nuclear power continues to increase and construction timeframes remain excessive. And we emphasize again that no technological breakthrough to reduce its costs or enhance its operation will occur in the foreseeable future.”
- see the letter
Climate change battle: Nuclear vs. an efficient, renewable grid http://www.fierceenergy.com/story/climate-change-battle-nuclear-vs-efficient-renewable-grid/2014-01-09 January 9, 2014 | By Barbara Vergetis Lundin More than 300 U.S. and international environmental and clean energy groups are expressing their disagreement with climate change scientist Dr. James Hansen’s claims that nuclear power is the solution to global warming. A joint letter from more than 311 groups — including 237 from 46 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and 74 from 44 other nations around the world, which includes those on the ground dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster — is being issued in response to a November 3, 2013 statement from Hansen and three of his academic world colleagues, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel, and Tom Wigley. Continue reading
Earth’s New Normal: Wild Weather 2014, HUFFINGTON POST Dr. Reese Halter 01/04/2014 Each year in early January (2011, 2012, 2013) I have tallied a scorecard on the vicious effects of burning in excess of 85 million tons of carbon fuels daily on our planet. Irrespective of where you live the human-induced effects of global warming are irrefutable and deadly.
As humans ramp-up the destruction of nature in Australia, Canada, Indonesia and elsewhere to feed the insatiable coal and petroleum markets in China, India and the U.S. the amount of melting ice at both poles continues to erode at an astounding rate.
In the Northern Hemisphere less Arctic ice cover in September means that a warming Arctic Ocean is easily able to infuse its latent heat into the Arctic atmosphere. As this occurs an all-hell-break-loose scenario is felt elsewhere – particularly on the eastern half on the North American continent and in the U.K.
The Arctic is warming at least two times faster than the rest of our planet. It’s not just the loss of the white surface, which reflects solar radiation back to space and helps keep Earth at a habitable temperature range for our species that is a concern.
A warming Arctic Ocean of 1.8 degrees (F) has caused the upper atmosphere to change, dramatically. The polar jet stream is a powerful upper atmosphere, sinuous river of air, which normally hugs the North Pole tightly, but since it has been super-charged with Arctic Ocean heat it’s migrating with regularity – southward.
A meandering polar jet stream spells epic wild weather.A massive winter blizzard on January 3, 2014 throughout the Northeast dumped feet of snow with Arctic air spilling bone-chilling temperatures across at least half of the United States. On the Northern Plains, including Iowa, Minnesota, Dakotas and eastern Montana the mercury has plummeted with wind chills reaching in excess of -50 degrees (F)………
The meandering polar jet stream is wreaking havoc on the other side of the Atlantic in the U.K. where the Brits have been lashed and pummeled, again by walls of 30-foot waves in concert with king tides (the highest of the year) and colossal hailstones leaving a horrible wake of destruction including destroyed roads, rail lines and floods that with regularity are breaching the defenses. That destruction may be tame compared to the 50-foot waves predicted for Monday (January 6, 2014).
In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is broiling and enveloped by yet another drought fraught with bushfires. 2013 was their hottest year ever recorded. At 2degrees (F) above the long-term average it easily surpassed 2005 as the hottest year.Every month in 2013 was 0.9 degree (F) above the normal dating back to the inception of continuous record keeping in 1910. Australia has experienced just one cooler than average year in the last decade — 2011.
Temperatures of 120 degrees (F) occurred January 2, 2014 in South Australia whilst New South Wales is enduring its worst-ever drought. And in tropical Queensland asweltering heat wave has temperatures there reaching 117 degrees (F). Elderly people with chronic illness, especially diabetes and obese people are at terrible risk. In addition, all pets left outside in these inferno-like temperatures stand little chance of survival.
While most North American early January (2014) temperatures resemble the inside of deep freezer – California, on the other hand, is warm and bone-dry. A high-pressure system has stalled over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean diverting the moisture carried by the jet stream northward toward British Columbia and Alaska………
Currently 85 percent of California is experiencing a severe drought; this is very serious because without water the nations leading agricultural producer at $16 billion annually (including the world’s largest almond crop at $3 billion, alone) is in dire straights. The drought is predicted to cost farmers at least $1 billion.
Clearly, the most precious substance on a warming Earth is its fresh water. Until we address our voracious addiction to coal and petroleum and allow innovation our best friend in the 21st century to guide us beyond the present crisis, we can expect more brutal wild weather with its massive price tag of devastation to continue.
Earth Dr Reese Halter is a broadcaster, biologist, educator and author of The Incomparable Honeybee. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-reese-halter/earths-new-normal-wild-we_b_4543416.html
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