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Fiji Climate Change Policy Now in Place - Pacific News Center

Fiji Climate Change Policy Now in Place - Pacific News Center | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Fiji Climate Change Policy Now in PlacePacific News CenterSuva, Fiji - “Climate change constitutes some of the greatest barriers to sustainable development with widespread and cross-sector effects, putting the biodiversity and ecosystems of Pacific...

Dahil sa tindi ng epekto ng pagbabago ng klima sa mga bansa sa Pacifico, halos lahat ng bansa doon ay gumawa na ng mga polisiya ukol dito. Ang Fiji ang may pinaka-kumpletong plano! Congrats!

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World Is Locked into ~1.5°C Warming & Risks Are Rising, New Climate Report Finds

World Is Locked into ~1.5°C Warming & Risks Are Rising, New Climate Report Finds | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal explores the impact of climate change in Latin America, Central Asia and the Middle East and finds that warming of close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times is already locked into the earth's atmosphere.

These changes are already underway, with global temperatures 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, and the impact on food security, water supplies and livelihoods is just beginning.

A new report exploring the impact of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia and finds that warming of close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times is already locked into the Earth’s atmospheric system by past and predicted greenhouse gas emissions. Without concerted action to reduce emissions, the planet is on pace for 2°C warming by mid-century and 4°C or more by the time today’s teenagers are in their 80s.

The report warns that as temperatures rise, heat extremes on par with the heat waves in the United States in 2012 and Russia in 2010 will become more common. Melting permafrost will release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that will drive more warming in a dangerous feedback loop. Forests, including the Amazon, are also at risk. A world even 1.5°C will mean more severe droughts and global sea level rise, increasing the risk of damage from storm surges and crop loss and raising the cost of adaptation for millions of people.

Bert Guevara's insight:

 As we accept the fact that global temperatures have already risen 1.5 deg.C, the practical direction to take is to engage in pro-active climate action that can help sustain the economy. We have to go beyond the defensive mode of preparing for disasters all the time. Climate mitigation and adaptation are good economic boosters.

“The good news is that there is a growing consensus on what it will take to make changes to the unsustainable path we are currently on,” President Kim said. “Action on climate change does not have to come at the expense of economic growth.”

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This New Restaurant Is A Lab To Help Find Ways The Food Industry Can Fight Climate Change

This New Restaurant Is A Lab To Help Find Ways The Food Industry Can Fight Climate Change | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Anthony Myint's new San Francisco restaurant will find ways for a not-super-sustainable industry to change.

Each ingredient on the menu is carefully sourced. Normally known for its large carbon footprint, beef will come from ranches using a new process called "carbon farming" that uses cattle to actually increase carbon storage in the soil. Bread will be made with a perennial grain called Kernza, which has been naturally bred by researchers to store more carbon than something like wheat.

 The Perennial will showcase both small changes—like a water-saving dishwasher nozzle—and much larger efforts, like a 2000-square foot aquaponic greenhouse that will combine fish farming and growing greens. Food scraps from the restaurant will be composted and turned into fish food for the greenhouse; the greens and fish will show up on the menu.

The restaurant's founders have also helped start a new nonprofit called Zero Foodprint, which will help restaurants evaluate ways that they can improve their businesses, fromenergy-efficient fridges to better sourcing. The organization will also help restaurants offset their remaining footprint by supporting projects like anaerobic digesters or clean cookstoves.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The restaurant will serve as an incubator for new approaches to environmentalism in food. It's also designed to serve as an example to other restaurants—and show that change is realistic. "There's kind of a feeling in restaurants that it's such a scramble to make ends meet in general that you can't really start focusing on this gigantic problem," Myint says. "We wanted to show how it's possible."

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NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth's CO2 - YouTube ("very clear explanation of a complex topic")

An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe. Plume...

This is what your atmosphere looks like on carbon dioxide. And it’s not a pretty sight. NASA provides a stark and stunning view of a year in the life of our planet as humans continue to emit greenhouse gases that warm the planet. The animation comes courtesy of one of the highest-resolution computer models in existence.

Since the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide (CO2) has been rising in the atmosphere due to human activities. Seasonal cycles mean that CO2 rises progressive throughout the fall and winter before peaking in late spring. At that point, a flurry of plant growth in the northern hemisphere — where most land is located — draws CO2 levels down over the summer before the cycle begins again.

That process is made clear in the saw-toothed Keeling Curve, which shows ever rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This past spring, it topped 400 parts per million for three months, a symbolic milestone.

The modeling effort, along with new data pouring in from NASA’s latest CO2-monitoring satellite, will give scientists better insights into sources and sinks of CO2, but the current effort provides one of the clearest views yet of just how humans are having a large-scale impact on the atmosphere and the planet it surrounds.


Bert Guevara's insight:

When I watched this, there was no longer any doubt of human causes of climate change. The solution therefore is climate action!

"The modeling effort, along with new data pouring in from NASA’s latest CO2-monitoring satellite, will give scientists better insights into sources and sinks of CO2, but the current effort provides one of the clearest views yet of just how humans are having a large-scale impact on the atmosphere and the planet it surrounds."

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Can Low Oil Prices Be Good for the Environment? ("too low may hinder investment in renewables")

Can Low Oil Prices Be Good for the Environment? ("too low may hinder investment in renewables") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Deepwater drilling rigs are sitting idle. Fracking plans are being scaled back. Enormous new projects to squeeze oil out of the tar sands of Canada are being shelved. Maybe low oil prices aren't so bad for the environment after all. The global price of oil has plummeted 31 percent in...

Some say the answer is clear: "There will be more demand (for fossil fuels) and less incentive for alternative technology," says James Stock, an economist who recently served on the Council of Economic Advisers and is now at Harvard University. "In the long run it is unambiguously bad to have low oil prices from an environmental perspective."

In much of the developing world — which is propelling the rising global demand for oil — fuel prices are set by the government, not by markets. Consumers don't pay less even if the price on the open market falls.

And while low oil prices encourage drivers to use more, they also force oil companies to drill less. The places they cut back first are areas that are risky, like the Arctic or deep offshore, or require lots of energy, like the Canadian tar sands, because they are the most expensive.

If oil sands production slows, it could lessen the need to build the Keystone XL pipeline even if congressional Republicans succeed in their effort to get the Obama Administration to approve it. The project is reviled by environmentalists who believe it will further tie the world to what they consider especially dirty oil.

Ceres' Logan says a perfect oil price might be around $70 a barrel, near where it is now. Consumers will still be careful with how much they use, but oil companies might not be willing to go to extreme measures to find new oil.

"It's low enough to make high-carbon oil uneconomic, but not so low that it kills off investments in renewables," he says.



Bert Guevara's insight:

Lower oil prices may keep the oil underground, but it may also delay the investment in renewable energy. 

 

"Ceres' Logan says a perfect oil price might be around $70 a barrel, near where it is now. Consumers will still be careful with how much they use, but oil companies might not be willing to go to extreme measures to find new oil.

"It's low enough to make high-carbon oil uneconomic, but not so low that it kills off investments in renewables," he says.

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Methane cuts won't buy us time on climate change - environment - New Scientist ("no 3rd way; no time!")

Methane cuts won't buy us time on climate change - environment - New Scientist ("no 3rd way; no time!") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Slashing carbon dioxide emissions is the only way to avoid dangerous climate change – targeting other greenhouse gases just won't cut it

Some scientists and governments have in the past argued that there is a third way to curb warming. Since CO2 is not the only pollutant warming the atmosphere, action to curb other types of greenhouse emissions might be cheaper and quicker, buying time for later action on CO2. The US administration and the UN Environment Programme in particular have promoted cutting emissions of methane gas and soot as an effective emergency response to global warming.

But a new study published independently of the IPCC report by Joeri Rogelj of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenberg, Austria, says that the potential for preventing 2 degrees of warming by controlling these pollutants has been "strongly and consistently overestimated".

The problem is twofold. Because these gases have much shorter atmospheric lifetimes – days to decades – they do not accumulate in the atmosphere the way that CO2 does, lessening their contribution to warming.

Secondly, in many cases these other gases have the same sources as CO2emissions, such as burning fossil fuels. This means that some of the impact cutting other greenhouse gases would have on curbing climate change has already been included in CO2 emissions' calculations, so those gases have in effect been "double-counted".

Many studies have not considered this, says Rogelj.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There is no alternative to cutting CO2 emissions. Reducing other GHG gases isn't dealing with the problem directly.

"Science has spoken," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report in Copenhagen. "There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side."

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U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming ("time to raise alarm level otherwise...")

U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming ("time to raise alarm level otherwise...") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Failure to reduce emissions could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, major flooding and mass extinctions, the group of scientists and other experts found.

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” the report found.

In the starkest language it has ever used, the expert panel made clear how far society remains from having any serious policy to limit global warming.

Doing so would require leaving the vast majority of the world’s reserves of fossil fuels in the ground or, alternatively, developing methods to capture and bury the emissions resulting from their use, the group said.

If governments are to meet their own stated goal of limiting the warming of the planet to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above the preindustrial level, they must restrict emissions from additional fossil-fuel burning to about 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide, the panel said. At current growth rates, that budget is likely to be exhausted in something like 30 years, possibly less.

The new report is a 175-page synopsis of a much longer series of reports that the panel has issued over the past year. It is the final step in a five-year effort by the body to analyze a vast archive of published climate research.

It is the fifth such report from the group since 1990, each finding greater certainty that the climate is warming and that human activities are the primary cause.

Bert Guevara's insight:

In short, it's time to raise the alarm level another notch and start organizing action.

 

“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, and in global mean sea-level rise; and it is extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” the report said.

"A core finding of the new report is that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but is being felt all over the world. “It’s here and now,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman of the panel, said in an interview. “It’s not something in the future.”

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Delhi has the filthiest air on the planet right now—by a long shot ("worse than China; deadlier")

Delhi has the filthiest air on the planet right now—by a long shot ("worse than China; deadlier") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Even industrial cities in China don't come close.

India’s capital city has been choked with heavy pollution in recent winters, thanks to more cars, construction and diesel generators, along with the city’s bowl-like setting that traps dirty air when the weather is cool. Since at least 2011, air quality has sometimes been worse than notoriously polluted Beijing.

But in one Delhi neighborhood right now—Anand Vihar, a residential and business district across the Yamuna River from New Delhi’s leafy government seat—the levels are astoundingly high today, even by the city’s dismal standards. The most recent readings of PM 2.5—the tiny particulate matter that causes the most damage to human health—are the highest in the world at 580. PM10 levels, which measure larger particles, are even worse, and this is all before rush hour morning traffic begins: ...The air in the rest of Delhi isn’t faring much better—it is rated “unhealthy,” or “hazardous” throughout the city. Illegal rice farm debris fires in Punjab likely have something to do with the increase, which could explain why PM 10 levels are so much higher than PM 2.5.India’s pollution measures are notoriously inaccurate, thanks in part to shoddy equipment and bad data collection. But even the US embassy, which is located across the Yamuna in a green enclave, is measuring Delhi’s PM 2.5 at a miserable 270 right now.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Metro Manila air will smell good when compared to Indian cities.

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How do trees change the climate? ("a main part of solution, but emissions should be reduced big")

How do trees change the climate? ("a main part of solution, but emissions should be reduced big") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Guest commentary from Abby Swann (U. Washington) This past month, an op-ed by Nadine Unger appeared in the New York Times with the headline “To save the climate, don’t plant trees”.  The author’s main argument is that UN programs to address climate change by planting trees or preserving existing forests are “high risk” and a “bad bet”. [Ed. There is more background on the op-ed here] However, I don't think that these conclusions are supported ...

Numerous scientists have already replied to the original op-ed, highlighting the points above and adding others.  But some of those responses made confusing arguments too, muddying things further.

So what is going on?  Why is it so complicated to say scientifically what trees do to climate?  The answer lies in the fact that trees have multiple pathways for influencing climate, and the relative importance of these pathways varies depending on where we look on the globe.

First lets talk about how plants can influence climate—directly through carbon, directly through energy fluxes, and indirectly through various channels.  Then I’ll cover how these factors combine in different places across the globe.

Bert Guevara's insight:

So should we try to slow global warming by planting trees? 

On a 20-40 year time scale, there is no question that planting trees will transfer carbon from the atmosphere into the trees, slowing the growth of CO2 in the atmosphere and thereby slowing global warming. 

On a 100-year time scale, I would say that we cannot plant our way out of the problem. 

However, we know that tropical forests keep carbon out of the atmosphere, keep the land surface cool, and play a critical role in providing habitat, maintaining biodiversity, and other good stuff for people. 

These things are hugely important and it is a no-brainer that we need to fight to keep tropical forests as intact as possible.  Maintaining tropical forest does lots of great things, and also helps to slow global warming. But we probably shouldn’t expect to combat global warming in the long term by planting trees in other latitudes.

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If we want to make climate action happen we need to hear about the solutions - The Guardian

If we want to make climate action happen we need to hear about the solutions - The Guardian | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Mal Chadwick: Reports show the biggest threat to progress on climate change is cynicism. That’s why 10:10’s #itshappening project showcases positive action happening around the world now

Alongside concern about the consequences of inaction must come an optimistic sense that taking a low-carbon path is not just possible but often better; and that we are part of a global community walking it together. Polling we commissioned from ComRes showed that two out of three people would be more inclined to support climate action if they heard more about the solutions. And 71% say people are less likely to take action on climate change because they’re unsure of the difference their actions will make.

Similarly, when asked about what would make them personally more likely to take action on climate, they said hearing more about the solutions (41%) and benefits (39%). Less likely, though still one-third, said hearing more about the impacts (reflecting recent research from Yale that both feelings of concern and hope motivate support for carbon policies).

There are many more stories out there. Nothing would make us happier to see the internet full of people sharing exciting carbon cutting projects we’ve completely missed.

But #itshappening isn’t just inspiration and motivation. Next time you find yourself cornered at a party by a Paterson-admirer telling you that our actions don’t matter because other counties aren’t acting, or that the solutions aren’t mature enough to be taken seriously – show them these pictures and tell them it’s happening already.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is also my personal assessment of what is missing in climate change advocacy. NGOs and movements should take the fight to second gear.

"Alongside concern about the consequences of inaction must come an optimistic sense that taking a low-carbon path is not just possible but often better; and that we are part of a global community walking it together. Polling we commissioned from ComRes showed that two out of three people would be more inclined to support climate action if they heard more about the solutions. And 71% say people are less likely to take action on climate change because they’re unsure of the difference their actions will make."

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lescuyer's curator insight, November 3, 10:57 AM

Parler des solutions climat pour mobiliser : c'est le credo d'une étonnante ONG anglaise créée en 2009, 10:10.  Elle ne se limite pas à informer puisqu'une de ses actions est de stimuler le co-financement de panneaux solaires sur les toits des écoles anglaises. 10:10, c'est son nom, est inspirante.

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Climate change caused by ocean, not just atmosphere, study finds ("other cause of warming in past age")

Climate change caused by ocean, not just atmosphere, study finds ("other cause of warming in past age") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere.

The ocean conveyor system, Rutgers scientists believe, changed at the same time as a major expansion in the volume of the glaciers in the northern hemisphere as well as a substantial fall in sea levels. It was the Antarctic ice, they argue, that cut off heat exchange at the ocean's surface and forced it into deep water. They believe this caused global climate change at that time, not carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

"We argue that it was the establishment of the modern deep ocean circulation – the ocean conveyor – about 2.7 million years ago, and not a major change in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere that triggered an expansion of the ice sheets in the northern hemisphere," says Stella Woodard, lead author and a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences. Their findings, based on ocean sediment core samples between 2.5 million to 3.3 million years old, provide scientists with a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of climate change today.

The study shows that changes in heat distribution between the ocean basins is important for understanding future climate change. However, scientists can't predict precisely what effect the carbon dioxide currently being pulled into the ocean from the atmosphere will have on climate. Still, they argue that since more carbon dioxide has been released in the past 200 years than any recent period in geological history, interactions between carbon dioxide, temperature changes and precipitation, and ocean circulation will result in profound changes.

Bert Guevara's insight:

So the cause of global warming 2.7M years ago was different from what is happening today, says scientists. This expands the understanding of climate change we are experiencing today.

In the past age, shifting ocean currents caused the abnormality in the climate. Today, carbon emissions are pointed to as the culprit, but the predictions are affected by the behavior of the ocean currents too. This is why the explanations and predictions become complex.

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Pentagon: global warming will change how US military trains and goes to war ("rewrite the battle plan")

Pentagon: global warming will change how US military trains and goes to war ("rewrite the battle plan") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
 Climate change to become immediate factor for all strategic, operational and planning decisions

“A changing climate will have real impacts on our military and the way it executes its missions,” Hagel wrote in his introduction to a Pentagon report out today. “We are considering the impacts of climate change in our war games and defence planning scenarios.”

The Pentagon’s strategic planners have for years viewed climate change as a “threat multiplier”– worsening old conflicts and potentially provoking new clashes over migration and shortages of food and water in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and opening up new military challenges in a melting Arctic.

But with Monday’s report, climate change moved from potential threat to an immediate factor in a wide range of operational and budgeting decisions.

Those decisions could include war games, training exercises, and purchasing decisions – which could all be affected by conditions such as sea-level rise, heat waves, and drought.

War games scenarios would now factor in floods or storms instead of assuming optimal conditions, said Goodman. “You could make the game more complex with sea-level rise, and extreme weather events.”

She said the navy would have to test sonar and other systems under the changing ocean chemistry. The military will have to adapt to hotter temperatures.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There is no denying that climate impacts are part of the "new givens" in all battle plans of the Pentagon. This attitude should be reflected in the rest of society. Hazard maps should govern the zoning regulations to make development disaster-resilient and climate-adapted.

"Meanwhile, military bases in the south-west are coping with water and electricity shortages, under recurring droughts. Arctic land-based installations are shifting because of melting permafrost, while retreating sea ice is changing naval requirements.

"The Pentagon is not planning a wholesale relocation of bases, the officials told the call. But they said the military was already bringing in sandbags and moving generators out of basements in low-lying areas. It was also shelving ideas for new construction on flood plains."

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"CHASING ICE" captures largest glacier calving ever filmed - OFFICIAL VIDEO - YouTube ("amazing!!!")

On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted f...

The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.

Bert Guevara's insight:

In over an hour, a glacier movement the size of Manhattan Island, happens on real video. Watch how nature is moving in big leaps in response to a changing climate.

Yes, this is part of a natural glacial event, but in the last part of the video, it shows the unnatural speed by which glaciers are receding.

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NASA: Missing climate heat not in deep ocean - 89.3 KPCC ("can El Nino & La Nina cycles blunt warming?)

NASA: Missing climate heat not in deep ocean - 89.3 KPCC ("can El Nino & La Nina cycles blunt warming?) | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Member-supported public radio for Southern California. Award-winning local news and cultural programming alongside the best of NPR.

Human-caused greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, but in the last decade, scientists say average surface temperatures have not risen as much as that accumulation was expected to generate.

A new study from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena discovered that this so-called "missing heat" is not hiding in the deep ocean.

JPL climate scientist Josh Willis co-authored the study and said if the deep-sea were the repository of the missing heat, the water would be expanding as it warmed. That in turn would lead to an increase in global sea levels.

Willis said there are other theories about why average surface temperatures over the past ten years haven't risen as much as scientists thought they would.

He said it could be due to natural El Niño and La Niña cycles temporarily blunting the increases.

Or it could be related to the dimmer solar cycle the sun is currently experiencing, something it does every decade or so.

But Willlis is quick to point out, just because researcher can’t account for all the heat doesn’t mean global warming isn’t a very real threat to the planet.

Bert Guevara's insight:

While scientists are debating where all the heat went, global warming and sea level rise continues.

"But Willlis is quick to point out, just because researcher can’t account for all the heat doesn’t mean global warming isn’t a very real threat to the planet.

"We're talking about the nitty gritty details of what's going on with global warming," he said. "But global warming is still happening. The earth is still heating up, people are still causing it, and sea levels are still rising."

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Infographic: What Climate Change Means for Latin America, Middle East & Central Asia

Infographic: What Climate Change Means for Latin America, Middle East & Central Asia | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Evidence suggests that the world is already locked into about 1.5°C of warming, and the risks associated with climate change are rising.
Bert Guevara's insight:

A quick look at climate change.

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South Africa’s New 96MW PV Plant is the Continent’s Largest Solar Power Facility ("switch from coal")

South Africa’s New 96MW PV Plant is the Continent’s Largest Solar Power Facility ("switch from coal") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Jasper PV Project provides 180,000 MWh annually, enough to power 80,000 homes in South Africa.

South Africa is a historically coal-hungry nation, producing around 225 million tonnes of the stuff each year. But just two years ago, government leaders pledged to invest an incredible $5.4 billion in renewable energy, and the products of that investment are taking shape. The Jasper PV Project in Kimberly, South Africa, became fully operational in October, and produces enough power to serve an impressive 80,000 homes. It’s now the largest solar power plant in Africa. The better news? It’s soon to be eclipsed by an even bigger facility nearby.

The Jasper PV Project has a rated capacity of 96 megawatts, and will produce 180,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy each year—enough to power 80,000 homes with power purchased by Eksom, a local public utility. The project was developed by a consortium led by Solar Reserve, who in addition to Jasper also constructed the adjacent 75 MW Lesedi Power Project, and are at work on the 100 MW Redstone Concentrated Solar Power Tower project.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Thinking long-term, South Africa makes a win-win switch to solar renewable energy.

"Not only are these projects a huge step towards South Africa’s efforts to have 1,400 MW of renewable energy by 2016, but they also serve as a significant economic boon. According to Treehugger, the Jasper PV Project provided one million hours of paid work during construction, and peaked with over 800 on-site construction jobs. Funding for Jasper came from both local and international sources—including Google, who have, to date, committed $1.5 billion to the development of clean energy wind and solar projects internationally."

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Home | U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit ("for serious climate action advocates - a step by step kit")

Home | U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit ("for serious climate action advocates - a step by step kit") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

The Climate Resilience Toolkit provides information from across the federal government to meet the information needs of communities, interested citizens, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government. It includes:

The Climate Explorer: A visualization tool that offers detailed maps of climate stressors and impacts, as well as interactive graphs showing daily observations and long-term averages from thousands of weather stations across the nation.Steps to Resilience: A five-step process that users can follow to initiate, plan, and implement projects to help make their homes, communities, and infrastructure more resilient to climate-related hazards.“Taking Action” Stories: More than 20 real-world case studies describing climate-related risks and opportunities that communities and businesses face, steps they’re taking to plan and respond, and tools and techniques they’re using to improve resilience.Federal Resource Database: The Toolkit provides centralized access to federal sites for future climate projections, as well as freely available tools for accessing and analyzing climate data, generating visualizations, exploring climate projections, estimating hazards, and engaging stakeholders in resilience-building efforts.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Since the Philippines ranks high in climate disaster vulnerability, a TOOLKIT like this will be very useful.

"Today, the Toolkit is launching with resources to help communities address coastal flooding, food resilience, human health, and ecosystem vulnerability, and in the coming months, it will be updated with resources to help decision-makers plan for climate impacts related to water security, energy, and transportation risks.

"This Toolkit’s resources are a perfect example of the kind of actionable information that the federal government can provide to address the growing challenges posed by climate change. We look forward to continuing to work with leaders from across the country to provide the tools, information, and support they need to build healthy and climate-ready communities."

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Record-breaking ocean temperatures wreak havoc - environment - 12 November 2014 - New Scientist

Record-breaking ocean temperatures wreak havoc - environment - 12 November 2014 - New Scientist | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Warm water in the North Pacific could be cancelling out an El Niño event and is expected to threaten valuable marine life

But when Axel Timmermann of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu analysed the most recent publicly available monthly data from the UK Met Office, he found that the ocean surfaces are now the hottest they have been since records began. In July this year, ocean surfaces were 0.55 °C above the average since 1890, just beating the previous record of 0.51 °C in 1998. In the North Pacific, the temperatures were about 0.8 °C above average, which is 0.25 °C warmer than the 1998 peak.

"It's a remarkable situation and I've never seen warming of the North Pacific like that," Timmermann says. The sea surface temperatures could drop back to what they've been recently, he says, but unless there is a dramatic drop soon, it will mean the end of the current hiatus in warming. "This will bias the trends over the next two or three years," says Timmermann.

Land surface temperatures are much more variable than ocean temperatures. The ability of the world's oceans to absorb extra heat is believed by many to be behind the recent pause in global warming. Now some researchers say the increased ocean surface temperatures are a strong sign that this hiatus could be coming to an end.

Bert Guevara's insight:

After a lull in land surface warming, the "missing" heat found its way in the depths of the oceans. Now, scientists are saying that the oceans are also warming at record levels and its manifestations will be serious, on land and sea.

"Even though a large El Niño is yet to materialise, the warm Pacific temperatures mean some El Niño-like effects are occurring, says Trenberth. This includes more hurricanes in the Pacific, as well as more storms curling over into mainland US. Meanwhile, there have been fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic, just as happens during El Niño. Elsewhere, dry conditions have occurred across Australia, and the Indian monsoon was delayed – effects all arising from warm oceans, despite the lack of an El Nino event."

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IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ("for serious climate advocates, here's the document")

IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ("for serious climate advocates, here's the document") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

AR5 provides a clear and up to date view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change. It consists of three Working Group (WG) reports and a Synthesis Report (SYR). Further information about the outline and content and how the AR5 has been prepared can be found in the AR5 reference document and SYR Scoping document. Information about how the AR5 was prepared can be found here.

The Synthesis Report distils and integrates the findings of the three working group contributions to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report -- the most comprehensive assessment of climate change yet undertaken, produced by hundreds of scientists -- as well as the two Special Reports produced during this cycle.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Don't rely on commentaries. Here is the document for serious climate advocates.
This is the fifth (and last) of the series of scientific reports on Climate Change gathered by the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change).

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New Study Adds Up the Benefits of Climate-Smart Development in Lives, Jobs, & GDP ("winnable options")

New Study Adds Up the Benefits of Climate-Smart Development in Lives, Jobs, & GDP ("winnable options") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
With careful design, the same development projects that improve communities, save lives, and increase GDP can also fight climate change. A new study looks at some of the possibilities.

Modernizing landfills and cleaning up open dumps have obvious benefits for surrounding communities, but the value reaches deeper into the national budget that may be evident at first glance. 

For a country like Brazil, where waste-to-energy technology is being piloted today, integrated solid waste management practices including building sanitary landfills that capture greenhouse gas emissions to generate electricity can improve human health, add jobs, increase the energy supply, reduce the impact on climate change, and boost national GDP.

A new study looks at a series of climate-smart development project scenarios, including landfills in Brazil, and for the first time on a large scale adds up how government actions can boost economic performance and benefit lives, jobs, crops, energy, and GDP – as well as emissions reductions to combat climate change.  

“Climate change poses a severe risk to global economic stability, but it doesn’t have to be like this,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “At the World Bank Group, we believe it’s possible to reduce emissions and deliver jobs and economic opportunity, while also cutting health care and energy costs. This report provides powerful evidence in support of that view.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

There is a winning paradigm in tackling climate change. We just have to expand our way of assessing actions.

“Climate inaction inflicts costs that escalate every day,” says Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change. “This study makes the case for actions that save lives, create jobs, grow economies and, at the same time, slow the rate of climate change. We place ourselves and our children at peril if we ignore these opportunities.”

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Ozone Hole Recovery Continues, Albeit a Little Slower | Climate Central ("need to sustain efforts")

Ozone Hole Recovery Continues, Albeit a Little Slower | Climate Central ("need to sustain efforts") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The ozone hole continues to be on the mend, but it's still a long road to full recovery.

And today, NASA announced that recovery has continued, though slightly slower this year compared to years past.

This year’s ozone hole maximum topped out at 9.3 million square miles, or roughly the size of North America. That might sound bad, but it’s 2.2 million square miles smaller than the single-day record set in 2000. This year’s maximum is about on par with last year’s maximum, something Newman said is more likely due to year-to-year variability than a turn for the worse.

The ozone layer’s thickness also continues to grow since bottoming out in 1994.

At its minimum thickness this year, ozone was 114 Dobson units, up from a single-day minimum of 73 Dobson units in 1994.

Not familiar with Dobson units? How odd. In plain English, that means if you took the ozone layer from the stratosphere and brought it to the ground, this year’s minimum would measure a little more than a twenty-fifth of an inch thick or roughly the thickness of that credit card in your wallet.

That impossibly thin layer performs an immensely important function of keeping harmful ultraviolet radiation at bay. Though the ozone hole is an issue over Antarctica, it’s impacts can spill into other parts of the stratosphere, the second layer of the earth’s atmosphere.


Bert Guevara's insight:

An update on the ozone layer: it's improving slowly.

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DOE pins hopes on wind energy ("250MW is a big deal for 2015; power outages look slimmer")

DOE pins hopes on wind energy ("250MW is a big deal for 2015; power outages look slimmer") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Department of Energy is counting on some 250 megawatts of wind power to be available starting this year until early 2015, a development that could sign

“Around 250 MW (of wind capacity will come in) until early next year,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said following a visit to Ilocos Norte, known as the country’s wind farm haven.

The Energy chief visited three wind projects in the province, namely the 33-MW Bangui Windmills operated by NorthWind power Development Corp., the Energy Development Corp.’s 150 MW Burgos wind farm and the 81 MW Pagudpud project of the North Luzon Renewable Energy Corp.

The three projects are racing to be the first to be completed under the feed-in-tariff regime, a set of incentives given to renewable energy players.

“This is a race so I cannot disclose,” Petilla said when asked which of the three would be completed first based on the timetables submitted to the Department of Energy.

EDC officials said the company hopes to put up the first wind project that would avail of the feed-in-tariff. The DOE has approved the tariff for 200 MW of wind projects on a first to commission, first served basis. 

Once operational, the Burgos wind project is envisioned to be the biggest wind farm in the Philippines.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Wind energy is providing some relief to the power shortage in Luzon. By 2015, an additional 250MW is expected to go online.

"The Energy chief visited three wind projects in the province, namely the 33-MW Bangui Windmills operated by NorthWind power Development Corp., the Energy Development Corp.’s 150 MW Burgos wind farm and the 81 MW Pagudpud project of the North Luzon Renewable Energy Corp."

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Cold Winters in Europe, Asia Linked to Sea Ice Decline | Climate Central ("linking decline in sea ice to extreme winters")

Cold Winters in Europe, Asia Linked to Sea Ice Decline | Climate Central ("linking decline in sea ice to extreme winters") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Arctic sea ice decline has doubled the chances of an extreme cold winter over Europe and Asia.
The new study, detailed online Oct. 26 in the journal Nature Geoscience, was able to find a connection by conducting a large number of computer model simulations and determining there is a link between sea ice decline and cold winters over Europe and Asia, at least. But in the past decade or so, frigid winters have been happening with a regularity that defies the projections of climate models, which said that winter would be the fastest-warming season. While some scientists have chalked this up to the inherent natural variability of the atmosphere, others suspect a link to the rapid warming of the Arctic and the related precipitous decline of Arctic sea ice ultimately fueled by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. To look for a link, Masato Mori, of the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute at the University of Tokyo, and his colleagues ran computer model simulations comparing what happens when ice is low in the Barents-Kara area and when it is high, using sea ice levels based on actual observations. They found that declines in this region led to a doubling of the chances of a cold winter over Europe and Asia. The model simulations suggest that the reduced sea ice leads to greater absorption of incoming solar heat by open ocean waters, which leads to pressure changes in the atmosphere. Specifically, it seems to intensify a feature called the Siberian High over Europe and Asia, and leads to more of what are called blocking patterns, where the atmosphere effectively gets stuck in a particular pattern for days or even weeks. In the case of the study, the feature leads to more breakouts of Arctic air over the combined Europe-Asia landmass.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Climate science is not simple to explain. Here is another model which suggests that colder winters in Europe and Asia are expected because of sea ice decline. Check it out.
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India launches air quality index to warn over dangerous pollution events - The Guardian ("hide alert")

India launches air quality index to warn over dangerous pollution events - The Guardian ("hide alert") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Index will track eight major pollutants, after World Health Organisation said New Delhi was world’s most-polluted city

Like the Chinese capital, New Delhi has gone through rapid economic development, raising living standards but also spewing out pollution.

Decades of policies that favoured economic decisions over environmental concerns have taken their toll. The numbers of cars on the roads of New Delhi have doubled in the last decade and years of booming construction has kicked up countless clouds of dust.

Javadekar said it wouldn’t be “business as usual anymore” and the government was committed to improving air quality as part of a cleanliness drive launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month.

There are various ways to measure pollution, but comparisons have generally focused on the microscopic particulate matter, sometimes called black carbon or soot, which can lodge in a person’s lungs and fester over time.

In New Delhi, levels of PM10 — particulate matter that is 10 micrometers in size — touched 400 micrograms per cubic meter last winter. That’s four times the city’s legal limit of 100, and well above the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit of 20.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

What else can you do when your air pollution (PM10) reaches 400 level, when the WHO limit is only 40 (micrograms per cubic meter)? I guess it's indoor hiding time for everyone!


"The index will measure levels of PM10 and the even tinier PM2.5 as well six other indicators, including lead, ammonia, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, and then calculate overall pollution. The warning levels would be colour-coded and come with specific health warnings that could be easily understood by lay people, Javadekar said."

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South Australia Achieves 100% Renewable Energy For A Whole Working Day ("wind & solar combined did it")

South Australia Achieves 100% Renewable Energy For A Whole Working Day ("wind & solar combined did it") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
RenewEconomy.

There have been several instances in recent months when wind energy has accounted for all, or nearly all, electricity demand in South Australia. Last Tuesday, however, set a new benchmark – the combination of wind energy and rooftop solar provided more than 100 per cent of the state’s electricity needs, for a whole working day

Interestingly, the South Australia government has already exceeded its target of generating 33 per cent of the state’s electricity needs from renewables (over a full year), and has now set a 50 per cent target by 2025. In reality, it will likely reach that mark well before that, particularly if the Ceres wind farm and the Hornsdale wind farm are built. It could even be the first mainland state towards 100 per cent renewables over the whole year.

Considerable volumes of electricity were exported to Victoria. “In simple arithmetic terms, though not of course in how the grid actually operated, the state’s electricity supply was 100 per cent renewable while coal and gas-fired electricity was exported,” he says.

Bert Guevara's insight:

One megawatt at a time, this state is moving forward with wind and solar. While they have more than enough for themselves, they export their coal and gas-fired electricity to the national grid.

 

"It occurred briefly on Saturday afternoon, for much of Sunday, and again, most strikingly, between about 9.30am and 6.00pm on Tuesday, September 30, a normal working day.

"In reality, renewables contributed well over 100 per cent because they were generating and consuming their own electricity from rooftop solar – the state has 550MW of rooftop solar, with nearly one in four houses with rooftop modules."

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Plants 'absorb more CO2 than thought' (accounts for missing 17%; small contribution but can help")

Plants 'absorb more CO2 than thought' (accounts for missing 17%; small contribution but can help") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

Global climate models under play the amount of CO2 being absorbed by plants according to new research.

The researchers believe that Earth systems models have over estimated the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by about 17%, and think their new evaluation of plant absorption explains the gap.

"The atmospheric CO2 concentration only started to accelerate rapidly after 1950," said Dr Gu.

"So the 17% bias was achieved during a period of about 50 years. If we are going to predict future CO2 concentration increases for hundreds of years, how big would that bias be?"

"The paper provides great new insights into how the very intricacies of leaf structure and function can have a planetary scale impact," said Dr Pep Canadell from the Global Carbon Project at CSIRO Australia.

"It provides a potential explanation for why global earth system models cannot fully reproduce the observed atmospheric CO2 growth over the past 100 years and suggests that vegetation might be able to uptake more carbon dioxide in the future than is currently modelled.

"Having more carbon taken up by plants would slow down climate change but there are many other processes which lay in between this work and the ultimate capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to remove carbon dioxide and store it for long enough to make a difference to atmospheric CO2 trends."

Bert Guevara's insight:

We need all the help available - especially from the common plants. Greening of cities using small-scale vegetation also helps absorb some of the carbon that can delay "slightly" our trip to 2 degree global warming.

"This new research implies it will be slightly easier to fulfil the target of keeping global warming below two degrees - but with a big emphasis on 'slightly'," said Dr Chris Huntingford, a climate modeller at the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

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