Japan Uses Climate Cash for Coal Plants, Chem Info Karl Ritter & Aijaz Rahi, Associated Press (AP) 27 Mar 15 — Despite mounting protests Japan continues to finance the building of coal-fired power plants with money earmarked for fighting climate change, with two new projects underway in India and Bangladesh, The AP reported in December that Japan had counted $1 billion in loans for coal plants in Indonesia as climate finance, angering critics who say such financing should be going to clean energy like solar and wind power.
Japanese officials now say they are also counting $630 million in loans for coal plants in Kudgi, India, and Matarbari, Bangladesh, as climate finance. The Kudgi project has been marred by violent clashes between police and local farmers who fear the plant will pollute the environment. …….
Environmental activists are demanding that at the very least, climate finance should exclude coal and other fossil fuels that scientists blame for warming the planet. “Japan’s support for new coal-fired power plants not only destroys the climate — it also displaces communities, is likely to cause untold local environmental damage, and primarily benefits Japanese companies instead of recipient countries,” said Brandon Wu of ActionAid. “This is unacceptable on its own, and the fact that it is being done in the name of ‘climate finance’ makes a farce of the entire concept,” he said.
….Climate finance is money promised by rich countries in U.N. climate talks to help poor countries limit their carbon emissions. Japan announced at a U.N. climate conference in Peru in December that it has provided $16 billion in climate finance since 2013. Yet the U.N. has no rules defining climate finance, meaning governments decide for themselves what projects to include in their accounting.Climate activists are now urging the recently created Green Climate Fund, which is supposed to become a key channel of climate finance, to explicitly ban funding for fossil fuel projects. The issue is likely to be discussed at the GCF’s board meeting this week in South Korea. The Matarbari plant is financed with a Japanese development loan agreed with the government of Bangladesh last June……..http://www.chem.info/news/2015/03/japan-uses-climate-cash-coal-plants
Full text of climate change statement signed by 26 European mayors. Declaration entitled: ‘In response to the challenge of global climate change, a European commitment and local solutions’
If climate change is global, solutions are first and foremost local. Because large cities are at the crossroads of these two levels, they are at the forefront of the fight against climate change.
This is why, we, the European capitals and metropolises that represent more than 60 million inhabitants and have significant investment capacity (€2tn GDP), have decided to join forces and strengthen the instruments that will lead us toward the energy and environmental transition……
FRENCH LAW TO REQUIRE GREEN ROOFS OR SOLAR PANELS ON NEW COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS, ecosalon, by Sara Novak on March 24, 2015 France just passed a new law that will require all new buildings in commercial zones to be covered with green roofs or solar panels.
Environmental groups hope to reduce the energy costs of commercial buildings while creating an urban jungle in the world’s most beloved city of progress…..The law will change the face of the urban landscape in France by promoting more urban greenery.
While solar panels have an obvious purpose, the benefits of green roofsare less well known. Not only do they beautify buildings and create space for community gardens, they have a number of other environmental benefits.
In the summer, green roofs retain 70 to 90 percent of precipitation and in the winter they retain 25 to 40 percent of precipitation. This reduces runoff and decreases the stress on sewer systems. The daily dew and evaporation cycle along with the light absorbed by vegetation, help to cool buildings down. Green roofs also reduce smog by slowing the distribution of dust and particulate matter……..
The combination of solar panels and green roofs create dual environmental tools. Both help reduce the power demands on the national grid, especially when temperatures peak in the summer time.
Green roofs are popular in Germany, Australia, and parts of Canada. Since 2009, Toronto has had a similar mandatory law for green roofs on commercial buildings. But they’re also gaining traction in the U.S. New York City leads the pack in green roofs and it’s home to the largest roof top garden in the country. James Farley Post Office is topped with a greening system that saves the massive post office $30,000 per year in energy costs. Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Portland are all home to a number of green roofs.http://ecosalon.com/french-law-to-require-green-roofs-or-solar-panels-on-new-commercial-buildings/
…federal agencies over the next decade to cut their emissions by an average of 40 percent compared with their levels when he won office in 2008, and to increase their use of electricity from renewable sources by 30 percent.This move is wholly within the president’s power as the nation’s chief executive and will have a significant impact on the market for energy efficiency and renewable energy goods and services. The federal government is the nation’s largest organization. It employs more people and buys more goods and services than anyone else. It is also a powerful role model for the private sector. As Ms. Davis observes:
…because the federal government is the largest user of energy in the United States economy — encompassing 360,000 buildings, 650,000 fleet vehicles and $445 billion in annual spending on goods and services — it has the potential to influence private companies to step up their emissions-cutting targets.When coupled with EPA’s slow and steady progress to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, this change in government’s own operations begins to resemble a meaningful federal climate policy………http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-cohen/the-emergence-and-importa_b_6922614.html?utm_hp_ref=green
Florida environment official dismissed for mentioning climate change at work, Rt.com March 20, 2015 An employee from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been suspended for mentioning climate change at work.
The complaint filed Thursday by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) comes after reports that Employees from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection were told to avoid terms like “climate change” and “global warming” in official communications after Governor Rick Scott took office.
Barton Bibler is a long term employee of the DEP and until the recent disagreement with his superiors was in the position of Land Management Plan Coordinator in the division of State Lands.
He is in trouble for doing nothing more than talking about climate change at an official meeting and then making notes of that discussion in the minutes of the meeting.
During a session of the Florida Coastal Managers Forum on February 27 at which climate change and sea level were explicitly being discussed, Mr Bibler was told not to mention climate change.
He was then given a letter of reprimand and on March 9 was told not to return to work and that he would be charged for his personal leave time. Two days after this he received a medical release form requiring him to have a medical examination to look at his behavior and “medical condition” before being allowed to return to work.
Mr Bibler has no idea if he will ever be allowed to return to his job.
However, it seems that the actions of Florida Govenor Rick Scott and other state officials who operate a policy of rejecting climate change has backfired……..http://rt.com/usa/242425-florida-environment-worker-climate-change/
the Guardian’s campaign for divestment from fossil fuels is so important. If you haven’t signed it already, do so for Vanuatu. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/19/developed-nations-sow-wind-vanuatu-reaps-whirlwind
Developed nations have sown the wind, Vanuatu has reaped the whirlwind, Guardian, 19 Mar 15 Andrew Simms As emissions alter weather patterns, island nations are the bellwethers that show what our future will be if we fail to tackle climate change……..joint work in 2011 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US and the UK’s Met Office concluded that a Texas heatwave was 20 times more likely to be caused by climate change than by natural weather variation. A winter warm spell in Britain the same year was 62 times more likely than in the 1960s. The Met Office’s Hadley Centre now confidently states that it “can identify any changed risk of such events”.
In time, more analysis will be done on Cyclone Pam, but Lonsdale’s personal experience and gut reaction fits a pattern of expectations described in the most recent and most comprehensive collation of science on extreme events in theIPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. It concluded that: “The frequency of the most intense storms will more likely than not increase in some basins. More extreme precipitation near the centres of tropical cyclones making landfall is projected in North and Central America, east Africa, west, east, south and southeast Asia as well as in Australia and many Pacific islands.”
So, while the present is pretty bad for Vanuatu, in a warming world the future looks set to worsen. For this island nation, that is bitterly ironic. . Vanuatu is an archipelago in the western Pacific, famous for having no regular military. When it topped the index in 2006 its ecological footprint per person was no higher than those in non-industrialised countries like Mali and Swaziland, life expectancy matched that in Turkey, and life satisfaction levels were considered as high as New Zealand’s. It is democratic, rich in natural wealth but, being remote, exports little, avoiding the scramble of competing in global markets. It is also hugely culturally diverse with more than 100 languages spoken across its islands.
Small island states tend to do very well in the index topped by Vanuatu. Over countless generations and in the face of geographical isolation, many Pacific islands developed more cooperative economies and highly resilient farming methods. In a warming world they are bellwethers, and carry lessons for us all. If climate change renders small island states unliveable, the international community will sooner or later have to learn to accept and support environmental refugees. Though this would be tragic, remote island populations can, at least, relocate. However, blue island-planet populations cannot.
We will seal our own fate if we fail to learn to share and live within our overall environmental thresholds. There is a long way to go. The World Bank recently tweeted that climate change exacerbates the risk of already costly disasters. It’s a shame then, that as recently as 2012-13 the World Bank Group increased lending to $2.7bn for fossil fuel projects, including toward new oil and gas exploration.
It’s one more reason why the Guardian’s campaign for divestment from fossil fuels is so important. If you haven’t signed it already, do so for Vanuatu. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/19/developed-nations-sow-wind-vanuatu-reaps-whirlwind
ANNOTATED TABLE OF CONTENTS PART I: UNPRECEDENTED THREATS
Introduction: The basic issue is whether global warming, besides
leading to a hellish existence for our children and grandchildren,
will destroy civilization. Each chapter in Part I addresses 3
possible responses: Plan B (mobilization), Plan A (business as
usual), and Plan C (wait and see)……..
PART II: UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGES AND FAILURES
11 Climate Change Denial: Worst in America, climate-change
denialism has resulted from a concentrated campaign by the
fossil-fuel industry to repudiate the scientific consensus and
promote public uncertainty. This chapter examines techniques
previously used by big business to impact public opinion in
relation to smoking, acid rain, CFCs, and the ozone layer,
showing how they are now being used by the fossil-fuel industry
to dispute the conclusion of virtually all climate scientists that
fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas – are imperiling our planet.
The fossil-fuel industry, which knows its claims to be false, has
deceived many citizens into accepting its propaganda over the
evidence provided by climate scientists. This chapter debunks a
large number of the claims against climate science,
12 Media Failure: The fossil-fuel industry’s denialist strategy has
been forced upon, if not willingly embraced by, the major
American corporate media, leading to their failure to adequately
address either the science or the urgency of climate disruption.
Examined here are various media techniques geared to produce
public uncertainty on the issue: reduced coverage, inadequate
contextualization of extreme weather events, and false balance
(giving the opinions of propagandists paid by Big Oil as much
attention as the views of renowned climate scientists), and going
even beyond that to explicit denialism.
13 Political Failure: This chapter documents the historical record
of global failures to successfully address climate change and
explains reasons why. It demonstrates the extent to which
politicians have overruled the findings of science and analyzes
their motives. The record of US Presidents on climate change is
examined. Charting the Republican stampede toward absolute
climate change denial since 2011, it names specific malefactors
pursuing their selfish private interests to shed light on what
British journalist George Monbiot terms “the greatest political
failure the world has ever seen.” Continue reading
This product is doubt – doubt about the causes and impacts of climate change, the impartiality of climate scientists, the world’s temperature records, the height of the oceans and basic atmospheric physics. Continue reading
Was Climate Science Denialist Willie Soon Funded To Do Science Or Was It Just PR Cash From The Fossil Fuel Industry? DeSmogBlog, Graham Readfearn, 1 Mar 15 So one of the climate science denial industry’s most celebrated scientists has been caught describing his research work as “deliverables” to his fossil fuel funders.
Dr Willie Soon, the aeronautics engineer who dabbles in public health, atmospheric science, solar physics and sea level rise, describes himself as an “independent scientist”.
More often though over the years, he is described by others as an “astrophysicist” at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, lending him credibility which most serious climate scientists would argue Soon’s science doesn’t deserve…….
In recent days, the Smithsonian has pointed out that even though Soon is employed as a “part time researcher at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory” they don’t actually pay him. “Dr. Soon pursues external sources to fund his research activity,” a statement said.
Soon has solicited more than $1.5 million since 2001 from fossil fuel companies and conservative foundations.
Coal electricity generator Southern Company, Exxon, Donors Trust, the Charles G. Koch Foundation and the American Petroleum Institute have been among his key funders.
While it’s been known for several years that Soon was being funded heavily by the fossil fuel industry, the current outcry centres on the disclosure of that funding to the journals who have run his research.
InsideClimate News has a summary of the 11 scientific papers where Soon had described his studies as “deliverables” to his funders – in those cases coal utility Southern Company and conservative funding arm Donors Trust. On most occasions, the fossil fuel funding was not disclosed.
Three Senators have extended this to a request to 100 fossil fuel companies and organisations to ask if they are funding research on climate change.
There is an obvious conflict of interest element to this story. Are journals and legislators doing enough to ensure that potential conflicts of interests are disclosed when research is submitted and statements are made? This should extend to media representations too.
But a key reason why the Soon story is so important is not that his work has been repeatedly funded by fossil fuel interests, but that this funding has come during and after many scientists have dismissed Soon’s findings as flawed and irrelevant, and shown it to be so…….
Soon is also most often cited as a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (HSCfA). Rarely are his ties to fossil fuel funded and ideologically-driven think tanks mentioned.
This is strange, because a copy of Soon’s own CV from 2005 lists these associations……..
There is also evidence available that in 2003 Soon had sought to undermine an assessment of climate science by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In emails uncovered by Greenpeace, Soon wrote to like-minded sceptics that “I hope we can start discussing among ourselves to see what we can do to weaken the fourth assessment report”. ……
As science historian Professor Naomi Oreskes, author of Merchants of Doubt (and who actually is employed by Harvard), told the New York Times: “The whole doubt-mongering strategy relies on creating the impression of scientific debate. Willie Soon is playing a role in a certain kind of political theater.”…..http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/03/01/was-climate-science-denialist-willie-soon-funded-do-science-or-was-it-just-pr-cash-fossil-fuel-industry
Switzerland becomes first country to submit Paris climate deal pledge, Guardian, Ed King, 27 Feb 15 Swiss government says it will cut greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 as part of a UN deal on global warming later this year, reports RTCC Switzerland has become the first country to formally communicate its contribution to a UN climate change deal: 50% greenhouse gas cuts on 1990 levels by 2030.
Released on Friday, the Swiss government says 30% of those cuts will be achieved within the country, with the remaining 20% through carbon markets or other forms of offsets.
“This objective of a 50% reduction in emissions reflects Switzerland’s responsibility for climate warming and the potential cost of emissions reduction measures in Switzerland and abroad over the 2020-2030 period,” says the Swiss communication.
“Switzerland, which is responsible for 0.1% of today’s global greenhouse gas emissions and, based on the structure of its economy, has a low level of emissions (6.4 tonnes per capita per year), will use emissions reduction measures abroad to reduce the cost of emissions reduction measures during the period 2020-2030.”……..
All major economies have been asked to submit their ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ before 1 October this year, after which the UN will assess whether the world is on course to avoid dangerous levels of warming. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/27/switzerland-becomes-first-country-to-submit-paris-climate-deal-pledge
The Siberian crater saga is more widespread — and scarier — than anyone thought WP, By Terrence McCoy February 26 In the middle of last summer came news of a bizarre occurrence no one could explain. Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive crater appeared in one of the planet’s most inhospitable lands. Early estimates said the crater, nestled in a land called “the ends of the Earth” where temperatures can sink far below zero, yawned nearly 100 feet in diameter.
The saga deepened. The Siberian crater wasn’t alone. There were two more, ratcheting up the tension in a drama that hit its climax as a probable explanation surfaced. Global warming had thawed the permafrost, which had caused methane trapped inside the icy ground to explode. “Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlaying layers in a powerful injection, forming the crater,” one German scientist said at the time.
Now, however, researchers fear there are more craters than anyone knew — and the repercussions could be huge. Russian scientists have now spotted a total of seven craters, five of which are in the Yamal Peninsula. Two of those holes have since turned into lakes. And one giant crater is rimmed by a ring of at least 20 mini-craters, the Siberian Times reported. Dozens more Siberian craters are likely still out there, said Moscow scientist Vasily Bogoyavlensky of the Oil and Gas Research Institute, calling for an “urgent” investigation.
He fears that if temperatures continue to rise — and they were five degrees higher than average in 2012 and 2013 — more craters will emerge in an area awash in gas fields vital to the national economy. “It is important not to scare people, but to understand that it is a very serious problem and we must research this,” he told the Siberian Times. “… We must research this phenomenon urgently, to prevent possible disasters.”……..http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/26/the-siberian-crater-problem-is-more-widespread-and-scarier-than-anyone-thought/?tid=hpModule_9d3add6c-8a79-11e2-98d9-3012c1cd8d1e&hpid=z16
Democrats Target Climate-Deniers-for-Hire , http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121131/democrats-demand-fossil-fuel-disclosure-climate-denier-studies by Rebecca Leber, Over the weekend, The New York Times and The Guardian reported that the fossil fuel industry paid astrophysicist Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon $1.25 million in grants in exchange for 11 scientific papers that cast doubt on the role humans play in climate change. Soon never disclosed the grants from the Charles G. Koch Foundation, ExxonMobil, Southern Company, and American Petroleum Institute, while publishing research that blamed climate change on anything but pollution (Soon faulted the sun) and spun the impact as a net benefit for the environment (helping trees and polar bears thrive, according to Soon).
By itself, the revelation isn’t likely to slow Soon’s lucrative romp through GOP talking points. When the Boston Globe reported in 2013 that the same companies had contributed more than a million dollars to Soon’s climate research, Republicans continued to cite his work and his double-barrelled affiliation with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Which is why two Democrats are launching investigations into the climate-change denial machine. Continue reading
Overnight the EU released its target for greenhouse gas reductions ahead of a meeting later this year in Paris.
It’s committing to reducing emissions by at least 40 per cent over 1990 levels by 2030 as David Mark reports.
DAVID MARK: The US and China made some commitments to greenhouse gas reduction targets at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting in Brisbane last year.
DAVID MARK: The US and China made some commitments to greenhouse gas reduction targets at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting in Brisbane last year.
Now the EU has announced specific targets – its member countries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 over 1990 levels……
European Commission Unveils Draft Energy Strategy, Renewable Energy World, David Appleyard, Contributing Editor February 25, 2015 LONDON — The European Commission has unveiled “A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy,” which is a key plank in the development of its plans for Europe’s energy sector through 2030.
The Framework Strategy broadly sets out five interrelated policies, and the steps to achieve its policy goals, including new legislation to redesign and overhaul the electricity market, substantially developing regional cooperation and an integrated market, and with a stronger regulated framework.
Among the measures designed to engender a unified, clean and sustainable European energy sector, the Commission has revealed that it will propose a new Renewable Energy Package in 2016-2017 to include a new policy for sustainable biomass and biofuels, as well as legislation to ensure that the 2030EU target of at least 27 percent of EU energy to come from renewables is met cost-effectively.
In a Communication to the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank, the Commission noted that the European Union is committed to becoming the world leader in renewable energy.
However, the document also concedes that to achieve the 27 percent target new challenges must be addressed including developing appropriate energy markets and transmission and distribution infrastructure.
“Existing legislation and new market rules need to be fully implemented, enabling the roll-out of new technologies smart grids and demand response for an efficient energy transition,” the Commission says, adding that renewable production needs to be supported through market-based schemes that address market failures, ensure cost effectiveness and avoid over-compensation or distortion………
Summing up, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), observed that the EU’s draft Energy Union document shows the intention to switch the EU’s electricity supply system to a “flexible, smart low-carbon grid.”
Black says: “The EU’s draft international climate pledge doesn’t contain any surprises — essentially it is taking what EU governments decided to do back in October and putting that package of measures and targets forward into the UN climate convention.
“The Energy Union proposals are a bit more interesting and show that in principle the EU doesn’t want to continue with an electricity system dominated by fossil fuels, but switch to the kind of flexible smart low-carbon grid being pioneered in Germany, which should lead to a cheaper and more secure system that’s less dependent on Russia.” http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2015/02/european-commission-unveils-draft-energy-strategy
The prince was speaking to health professionals, health ministers and senior civil servants about “putting health at the centre of the climate change debate”.
He said climate change was a challenge of “astonishing complexity” and urged health practitioners to be bolder about highlighting its effects on well-being.
He said: “I hardly need to tell you we are faced, I fear, as far as the problem of human-induced climate change is concerned, with a challenge of astonishing complexity.
“The fact of climate change is now accepted by every major scientific body in the whole world.
“The gravity and immediacy of the threat it poses to us and our children and grandchildren is also accepted by constituencies that can scarcely be accused of being part of some half-baked conspiracy dreamt up by extreme environmentalists intent on undermining capitalism.
“These constituencies include the UN, the World Bank; The Pentagon and the UK Ministry of Defence, the CIA, NSA. … and, I’m happy to say, nurses and doctors.”
The prince added: “Your message isn’t just of alarm, but of hope.
“Actions which are good for the planet are also good for human health……….. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/26/planet-earth-is-a-sick-patient-due-to-climate-change-says-prince-charles
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