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US coal use falling fast; utilities switch to gas - BusinessWeek

US coal use falling fast; utilities switch to gas - BusinessWeek | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
America is shoveling coal to the sidelines. (Baby steps - need to parlay this to #renewable #energy US coal use falling fast; utilities switch to gas.

The share of U.S. electricity that comes from coal is forecast to fall below 40 percent for the year -- the lowest level since the government began collecting this data in 1949. Four years ago, it was 50 percent. By the end of this decade, it is likely to be near 30 percent.

"The peak has passed," says Jone-Lin Wang, head of Global Power for the energy research firm IHS CERA.

Utilities are aggressively ditching coal in favor of natural gas, which has become cheaper as supplies grow. Natural gas has other advantages over coal: It produces far fewer emissions of toxic chemicals and gases that contribute to climate change, key attributes as tougher environmental rules go into effect.

 

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How Climate Change Unfairly Burdens Poorer Countries ("the Phil is one of the worse hit countries")

How Climate Change Unfairly Burdens Poorer Countries ("the Phil is one of the worse hit countries") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Wealthy countries that have contributed the most to causing climate change tend to be most immune to its effects

The study, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, shows that more than half of the highest-emitting countries rank among the least vulnerable to climate change and nearly two-thirds of the countries with low or moderate emissions are acutely vulnerable to the effects.

Researchers classified more than 10% of countries as “free riders,” ranking in the top fifth in terms of emissions and the bottom 20% in terms of vulnerability. These countries include the United States, much of Europe and Australia.

On the opposite end, six countries were classified as “forced riders” with relatively low emissions and high vulnerability. Some island countries with low emissions, like Kiribati, could be wiped off the face of the Earth thanks to rising sea levels.

The new study provides a new way for policymakers to quantify inequality when it comes to tackling climate change. Countries around the world have agreed on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” since the early days of climate negotiations in the 1990s. That principle calls on wealthy emitters like the United States to do more to address global warming than poorer countries who emitted less historically.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

This confirms the injustice of climate change. The small emitters are the bigger victims; as the biggest contributors are shielded from greater impacts.

 

"The study, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, shows that more than half of the highest-emitting countries rank among the least vulnerable to climate change and nearly two-thirds of the countries with low or moderate emissions are acutely vulnerable to the effects."

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The Future of ‘Epic Blizzards’ in a Warming World ("blizzard and typhoons gone haywire")

The Future of ‘Epic Blizzards’ in a Warming World ("blizzard and typhoons gone haywire") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
What does global warming mean for extreme snowfalls like those expected from the blizzard headed for Washington, D.C.?

O’Gorman found that while both average annual snow amounts and extreme snowfalls would decline as temperatures rose, the extremes didn’t drop off as rapidly. Effectively, extreme snowfalls would become a bigger proportion of all snow events.

The reason for this disparity, O’Gorman found, has to do with the very particular temperature conditions in which extreme snows occur, sort of like a frozen version of the Goldilocks tale: If it’s too warm, you get rain, not snow, but if it’s too cold, there won’t be enough moisture in the air to fuel a full-on blizzard.

But looking across a winter, snows in general will occur across a wider band of temperatures — essentially, less warming is needed to chip away at the temperatures that produce all snow than the narrow band where extreme snows occur.

O’Gorman’s study is one of very few to look at the issue of warming and extreme snowfalls, and, to date, the pattern he identified has yet to be seen in snowfall observations, he said. He suspects this is because there are fewer snow observations than those for rain because snow happens over a much smaller area of Earth’s land surface.

Bert Guevara's insight:

A warmer world can bring extreme weather patterns that may result in extreme snowfalls. Read the article and find out why.


"O’Gorman found that while both average annual snow amounts and extreme snowfalls would decline as temperatures rose, the extremes didn’t drop off as rapidly. Effectively, extreme snowfalls would become a bigger proportion of all snow events."

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Power to the poop: 1 Colorado city is using human waste to run its vehicles ("renewable natural gas")

Power to the poop: 1 Colorado city is using human waste to run its vehicles ("renewable natural gas") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Renewable natural gas is a growing industry for fuel, electricity and heat, but advocates says it’s a largely untapped market in the US

The Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant is processing 8m gallons of Grand Junction’s human waste into renewable natural gas (RNG), also known as biomethane. The RNG is then used to fuel about 40 fleet vehicles, including garbage trucks, street sweepers, dump trucks and transit buses.

It’s possible through a process called anaerobic digestion, which breaks down organic matter into something called raw biogas. The biogas is then collected and upgraded to RNG – at pipeline quality – and can be used as electricity, heat or transportation fuel.

Turning wastewater into biogas is not new in the US. For decades, biogas has been used for heating or to power generators and micro-turbines to produce electricity.

“But as far as we know, we are the only municipal wastewater facility in the nation producing biogas used as vehicle fuel,” said Dan Tonello, wastewater services manager for Grand Junction.

Developed over 10 years, the project is worth $2.8m. The cost to produce and compress the RNG is around 80 cents per GGE, while it’s sold to the fleet department for $1.50 per GGE.

“The project will pay for itself in around seven years,” Guillory said. “Not a bad return on the investment.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

With more than 100M Filipinos, this "shitty" renewable source will be viable in the Philippines, aside from the pig, cow and chicken population.

 

"So what is roadblocking RNG from flowing freely in the US?

"Jeremy Kranowitz, executive director at Sustainable America, said it has a lot to do with infrastructure. In order to get RNG facilities up and running, they need a dedicated supply of waste, which means long-term contracts and sometimes murky financing.

“The other thing is, people don’t really want to finance shit,” Kranowitz said. It’s no surprise that waste is disgusting, and harder to convince stakeholders of, many of whom are less familiar with RNG than they are of fossil natural gas."

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London Has Already Exceeded Its Pollution Limits for 2016 ("preview of things to happen in clean air")

London Has Already Exceeded Its Pollution Limits for 2016 ("preview of things to happen in clean air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Some areas have nitrogen-dioxide levels on par with Beijing and Shanghai.

This first month of the year, London needed only seven days to breach pollution limits set by the EU for all of 2016. Between January 1 and the end of last week, levels of NO2 (nitrogen-dioxide gas, a pollutant linked to 5,900 London deathsin 2010) had already exceeded the limit of 200 milligrams per-cubic-meter more than 18 times on southwest London’s Putney High Street, as much as EU regulations will allow for an entire 12 months. Damning a whole city for a single site’s breach might seem extreme, but the pollution spike was most likely repeated elsewhere, too.

Oxford Street, London’s main shopping street, is notorious for having the highest recorded levels of NO2 anywhere in the world. (It has probably already exceeded its annual limit as well—in 2015, this took just four days—but measuring equipment has malfunctioned, so this year it’s at least been spared a headline.) In fact, 181-square-miles of Greater London currently exceed yearly NO2 limits, according to a new report, leaving London at an NO2 pollution level similar to that of Beijing or Shanghai.

These huge overages might come as a shock for a city that has shown some leadership in pioneering congestion charging, adopting bike share fairly early, and in fact adopting strict air-quality controls as early as the 1950s. What on Earth is going on?

Bert Guevara's insight:

If diesel-fueled vehicles in the UK are being blamed for the nitrogen-oxide pollution, how much more is it in the Philippines?


"Culprit number one is the huge uptick in the number of diesel-fueled vehicles on U.K. roads. As the report notes, in 1994 they made up just 7 percent of the entire U.K. fleet. Today, they represent 36 percent."

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4 reasons to be hopeful about the Paris Agreement ("only the start of a long, hard struggle")

4 reasons to be hopeful about the Paris Agreement ("only the start of a long, hard struggle") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Jeffrey Frankel identifies 4 features of the deal struck in Paris that will make it workable.

Some avid environmentalists were disappointed that the agreement did not commit firmly to limiting global warming to 1.5º Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2050.

But such a commitment would not have been credible. What emerged in Paris was in fact better, because the negotiators were able to agree on practical steps in the right direction. Individual countries pledged to limit their emissions in the near term, with provisions for future monitoring and periodic reviews of targets. This is far better than setting lofty goals for the distant future while giving little reason to think that they would be met. The important thing is to get started.

First, and most important, participation is comprehensive, with 188 countries offering individual commitments, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions(INDCs).

Second, the agreement includes a process of future assessment and revision of targets.

Third, the Paris deal takes steps toward transparency in monitoring, reporting, and verifying countries’ progress.

Fourth, the agreement contains mechanisms to facilitate international linkage, including scope for residents of rich countries to finance emissions reductions in poor countries. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Was the COP21 agreement fair to all concerned?


"The poor countries do have a strong case. The average American still accounts for ten times the emissions of the average citizen of India, and India should not be deprived of the right to develop economically. But the best way to address these fairness concerns is through the agreed emissions targets. The efforts that richer countries promised should be – and generally are – greater than the efforts of poor countries. The richer a country is, the earlier the date at which its emissions should peak. The richer it is, the more sharply its target should cut emissions relative to the baseline. With targets that take into account their stage of development, poor countries can be paid for additional emissions cuts under the international linkage mechanisms."

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The chart that shows how hard it will be to make climate deal stick ("reality check shows big gap")

The chart that shows how hard it will be to make climate deal stick ("reality check shows big gap") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

To meet global temperature increase targets, how big is the gap in emissions reductions?

Saturday 12 December 2015 saw the world reach a historic agreement in Paris, with nearly 200 countries uniting to tackle climate change.

World leaders signed an agreement at the culmination of the Paris climate talks that commits nations to taking action on climate change. The deal, signed by 196 parties, agrees to keep average global temperatures “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”. The agreement also outlines a goal to limit this rise to 1.5°C.

The question remains, however, whether this is achievable. The following chart from Reuters suggests that without significant change, it is a long way off.

As the chart highlights, current pledges are not enough to reduce emissions to levels they need to be at to limit temperature rises to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. If we are to meet the Paris agreement’s more ambitious objective – to limit the rise to 1.5°C – the gap becomes even bigger.

In order to prevent significant global temperature increases, emissions would need to return to around 1990 levels. As the difference between current policy and pledges shows, this target is some way off.

However, with renewed pledges and commitment as a result of the Paris climate talks, hope is far from lost. Data published in the journal Nature, has even suggested that CO2 emissions could decline slightly this year.

Bert Guevara's insight:

At the start of 2016, let's have a reality check on future climate. After the Paris COP21, many are rejoicing over the unanimous agreement, but the truth is, we are still facing a dire future caused by a warming planet.


"As the chart highlights, current pledges are not enough to reduce emissions to levels they need to be at to limit temperature rises to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. If we are to meet the Paris agreement’s more ambitious objective – to limit the rise to 1.5°C – the gap becomes even bigger."

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Chinese Restaurant Charged Customers a 'Clean-Air Fee' ("signs of the times; clean air not free")

Chinese Restaurant Charged Customers a 'Clean-Air Fee' ("signs of the times; clean air not free") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
A restaurant in the polluted Chinese city of Zhangjiagang charged customers a fee to breathe clean air after installing a filtration system

The owner decided to place the burden of the cost on customers by charging them 1 yuan ($0.15) on top of their bill, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reports.

Local authorities say that charging customers for breathing is illegal, and the charges have stopped. However, the BBC reports that many users of Weibo, a popular microblogging service, have since expressed support for the fee because of the country’s notoriously bad air.

China’s pollution regularly garners world headlines. The nation’s capitalBeijing issued its first red alert for smog in early December. Breathing Beijing’s air, the Economist reports, could cause as much damage as smoking around 40 cigarettes per day.

Bert Guevara's insight:

We used to react when Manila waiters won't serve water in restos unless requested.

Now, clean air has become scarce and China customers will buy it, based on supply and demand rates.

Signs of the times?

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Tom Schueneman's curator insight, December 27, 2015 10:15 PM

clean air - the next commodity 

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6 alternatives to petrol ("the marketing and distribution of these alternatives need to take off")

6 alternatives to petrol ("the marketing and distribution of these alternatives need to take off") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
There are already many alternatives to petrol on the market.

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel which can be made from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. Believe it or not, this can then be used in diesel vehicles already on the road because its physical makeup is similar enough to petroleum diesel, but it burns much more cleanly. Biodiesel is also much safer. Not only is it easier on the environment if spilled, but it has a flashpoint of over 130 degrees celsius, compared to 52 for normal diesel. Pure biodiesel, known as B100,  reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 75% compared with normal diesel.

Electricity

Electric cars have been around a while but so far have struggled to enter the mass market. Many hybrid vehicles now use electricity to reduce fuel consumption and thus reduce fuel costs.

Ethanol

Ethanol is an alcoholic renewable that is made of the same kind of alcohol you find in alcoholic beverages. Ethanol is then mixed in various degrees with traditional petrol. The production and use of ethanol could reduce greenhouse gas emissions anywhere between 52 and 86 percent.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen has virtually no greenhouse gas emissions. Power is generated in a hydrogen fuel cell, which will only emit water vapor and warm air. The difficulty is that hydrogen fuel must be extracted from water, hydrocarbons or other organic matter.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is considered a fossil fuel, but an alternative known as renewable natural gas does exist. Biomethane is produced from waste, either from livestock or even landfills through a process called anaerobic digestion.

Propane

Propane, or liquefied petroleum gas, is clean-burning and high-energy, making it a tempting alternative.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Get to know the fuels that will soon replace petroleum. They are friendlier to the environment.

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Solving Climate Change One Busted Fridge at a Time ("the battle goes on as the ozone problem remains")

Solving Climate Change One Busted Fridge at a Time ("the battle goes on as the ozone problem remains") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
San Francisco-based company EOS Climate wants to change the way the world looks at the refrigerant market -- and, in the process, reduce global warming.

Ninety-five countries have now submitted proposals to amend the1987 Montreal Protocol to phase down production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used globally in refrigeration and air conditioning, insulation, aerosols, solvents, and fire suppression. These gases were originally developed to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), because they don’t deplete the ozone layer.

However, HFCs are harmful in their own way: They, like all fluorinated gases including CFCs, are potent greenhouse gases — from 500 to 11,000 times as harmful to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide by some measurements.  Proposals for winding down their production and use range from regulatory changes to financial compensation, all with long timetables and lengthy lists of expenditures aimed at cushioning the financial and material impact of an essential phase-down.

California’s innovative global warming bill helped launch the company’s endeavors beyond the state’s borders, Cohen noted.

“As part of the California cap-and-trade program, we have done projects all over the country where we recover CFC refrigerants from older equipment from refrigerators to large commercial or industrial chillers that are still in use,” Cohen said.
The direct emissions reductions resulting from those projects amount to somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 million tons of CO2 equivalent. “And that is EOS’ projects. If you add in projects that other project developers have done using the methodology that we originated, it is probably double that,” Cohen continued. “In real-world terms, that is like preventing the emissions from the entire city of Los Angeles for a year.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

We cannot let our guard down on CFC's. Although progress has been achieved, the ozone problem has been barely solved. The ozone hole is still a big hole!


"However, HFCs are harmful in their own way: They, like all fluorinated gases including CFCs, are potent greenhouse gases — from 500 to 11,000 times as harmful to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide by some measurements.  Proposals for winding down their production and use range from regulatory changes to financial compensation, all with long timetables and lengthy lists of expenditures aimed at cushioning the financial and material impact of an essential phase-down."

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Magnet Motor Free Energy - Truly Green Energy From Perpetual Motion Induced by Magnets ("game changer?")

http://www.MEGenerator.com Power Innovator is one program which would allow people to power any kind of household appliances and will teach them how to make ...

Power Innovator is one program which would allow people to power any kind of household appliances and will teach them how to make this little device work for their home, considered to be one of its best features. Another great feature is that it will allow people to take this little device anywhere with them. It lets people save at least 80% on electricity, explains the hype encircling this product. But hype aside, this program would never go wrong as the idea was in reality conceived by Nicola Tesla who happens to be a famous scientist and inventor many decades ago. Power Innovator is one system which does not bring forth levels of baulks for people as it is the most simple and easy to follow program to impinge on the market in recent times. 

Prof. Richard Goran wants to spread the message that it's absolutely simple and easy to make your own electricity from scratch. The program not only saves people's money and time but it will also reduce their electricity bills starting today by at least 80%. This easy to follow course is available in digital format and it comes with a whole slew of training video modules that people can watch or download as many times as they like. These instructional videos have been tagged highly useful by people worldwide. In addition, numerous online evaluations affirm that Power Innovator is one genuine and legal system which works well for everyone out there.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Perpetual motion for renewable energy? I believe this!
In fact, there are some local inventors working on this presently.

 

"Power Innovator is one program which would allow people to power any kind of household appliances and will teach them how to make this little device work for their home, considered to be one of its best features. Another great feature is that it will allow people to take this little device anywhere with them. It lets people save at least 80% on electricity, explains the hype encircling this product. But hype aside, this program would never go wrong as the idea was in reality conceived by Nicola Tesla who happens to be a famous scientist and inventor many decades ago. Power Innovator is one system which does not bring forth levels of baulks for people as it is the most simple and easy to follow program to impinge on the market in recent times."

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One Graph Shows El Niño’s New Record ("yes, it is confirmed that this el niño is worse than the last")

One Graph Shows El Niño’s New Record ("yes, it is confirmed that this el niño is worse than the last") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
El Niño hit a weekly temperature record and is likely to keep upping the heat globally.

Weekly data published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that the region of the Pacific generally used to gauge El Niño’s strength has officially surpassed the 1997-98 super El Niño in terms of warmth.

The hot waters in the Pacific are helping drive up temperatures globally as well as affect the world’s weather. This year has been on the fast track to the hottest year on record and the new Niño heat is only likely to crank the heat up even further.

The region in question, called the Nino 3.4 region, is now running an unheard of 5.4°F (3°C) above normal. That tops the previous weekly record of 5°F (2.8°C) set by the 1997-98 event. It remains to be seen if this is the peak and if so, how long it lasts.

Regardless, the impacts of El Niño are being felt in some part of the globe. Indonesia’s fires, heavy precipitation in the southern tier of the U.S., and record warmth around the globe are all telltale signs of how El Niño usually influences weather.

In the U.S., the winter outlook also further shows El Niño is likely to continue exerting its influence with the increased likelihood of cool, unsettled weather from the Southwest to the Southeast and warm conditions in the northern portion of the country.

While everybody loves a good record, it’s worth keeping any debate about the strongest El Niño on record in perspective. The Nino 3.4 region is an important one to monitor in terms of global impacts, but it’s only one of a handful of regions scientists monitor to assess El Niño’s strength and characteristics. Areas off the coast of Peru and the far eastern Pacific were warmer during the 1997-98 El Niño. It also remains to be seen if this year’s event will set an all-time monthly or seasonal record, which would bolster its case for strongest, biggest or whatever-ist on record.


Bert Guevara's insight:

This is not a simple case of hiding in air-conditioned rooms. The impacts of El Niño will not spare you.


"Weekly data published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that the region of the Pacific generally used to gauge El Niño’s strength has officially surpassed the 1997-98 super El Niño in terms of warmth."

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As CO2 Passes 400 PPM, What Goes Up Might Not Come Down ("the 350 benchmark will be harder to reach")

As CO2 Passes 400 PPM, What Goes Up Might Not Come Down ("the 350 benchmark will be harder to reach") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere once again exceeded 400 parts per million Monday, but this time they may never fall back down, according to scientists.

Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere once again exceeded 400 parts per million Monday, but this time they may never fall back down, according to scientists.

While not a tipping point that signals climate catastrophe, the 400 ppm mark is an important symbolic threshold in the fight against climate change. It represents a 43 percent jump in greenhouse gases since pre-industrial times and underscores governments' inaction and worsening global warming impacts. 

Scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the world's longest-running CO2 monitoring station, predicted in October that because of extra warming from El Nino, 2015 could be the last year CO2 concentrations in the Northern Hemisphere stay in the 300 ppm range. They strengthened that prediction on Monday after a routine calibration of data raised measurements taken since April by 0.4 ppm. "The adjustment increases the likelihood that [CO2] concentrations will remain above 400 ppm permanently after 2015," they wrote.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Not all that go up will come down. This may be true for carbon emissions.


"Scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the world's longest-running CO2 monitoring station, predicted in October that because of extra warming from El Nino, 2015 could be the last year CO2 concentrations in the Northern Hemisphere stay in the 300 ppm range. They strengthened that prediction on Monday after a routine calibration of data raised measurements taken since April by 0.4 ppm. "The adjustment increases the likelihood that [CO2] concentrations will remain above 400 ppm permanently after 2015," they wrote."

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Warming set to breach 1C threshold - BBC News ("after 1 deg, what will stop it from hitting 2 deg?")

Warming set to breach 1C threshold - BBC News ("after 1 deg, what will stop it from hitting 2 deg?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Global temperatures are set to rise more than 1C above pre-industrial levels in 2015, according to the UK's Met Office.

In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the combined land and ocean temperature showed warming of 0.85C between 1880 and 2012.

They also noted that the difference in the average temperatures from the 1850 to 1900 period was 0.78C when compared to the average between 2003 and 2012.

In other climate-related developments:

The World Meteorological Organization - the UN's weather agency - says levels of carbon dioxide and methane, two key greenhouse gases, reached record highs last yearA World Bank report says that 62 million more people in South Asia could fall into extreme poverty by 2030 as a result of lower crop yields and higher food prices, and the health impacts of climate change.

Since 2013, warming of the oceans and land surfaces has reached new heights. The year 2014 went down as the warmest year since records began, but it is likely that 2015 will go beyond that level. Scientists believe that 2016 is also shaping up as a very warm year and they expect that the one degree margin will become more firmly established in the coming years.

"This year marks an important first but that doesn't necessarily mean every year from now on will be a degree or more above pre-industrial levels, as natural variability will still play a role in determining the temperature in any given year," said Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution, at the Met Office.

"As the world continues to warm in the coming decades, however, we will see more and more years passing the one degree marker - eventually it will become the norm."

Bert Guevara's insight:

We have experienced how much has changed with a 1-deg C increase in global temperature. Can you imagine a 2-deg C increase? The world cannot afford to wait to act until it happens.

If we can't stop the 1-deg C increase, what makes you think we can stop the 2-deg C increase that easily?

 

"Many island states disagree with the two degree goal and want the UN to adopt a lower threshold of 1.5C.

"A UN analysis of the carbon cutting plans put forward by nations ahead of the Paris meeting concluded that, taken together, they would lead to warming of 2.7C above pre-industrial levels.

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How Expensive is Wind Energy, Really? | Climate Reality ("is 3 cents too much to pay for safer climate?")

How Expensive is Wind Energy, Really? | Climate Reality ("is 3 cents too much to pay for safer climate?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The claim that wind energy is too expensive is out-of-date propaganda. According to the US Department of Energy, the average levelized price of wind in the U.S. during 2014 was less than three cents per kilowatt-hour (2.35 cents to be exact). This was below the price of wholesale power from the grid during that year, and competitive with electricity from natural gas.

Plus, that’s just the financial cost of the technology. When we use more clean energy, we also pay less to treat kids suffering from asthma attacks caused by air pollution from coal plants. We pay less for imported fossil fuels. And we pay less for the myriad of other devastating economic and human impacts of climate change.

The U.S. Department of Energy also shows that increased wind power development in the U.S. could result in a net savings of $149 billion by 2050 as average fossil fuel prices go up and aging plants and other infrastructure have to be replaced.

Scientists also project that using more wind and less fossil fuels will bring a host of benefits by 2050 including:

- Fourteen percent reduction in cumulative GHG emissions, which will save $400 billion in avoided global damages

- Over 21,700 avoided premature deaths

- Twenty-three percent less water consumption in the US electric sector

- Upwards of 600,000 wind-related jobs by 2050

- Increased fuel diversity, which makes the electric sector 20 percent less sensitive to changes in natural gas prices

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Is wind energy expensive?

In summary, next time you hear that wind energy is too costly, just ask “Is 3 cents too much to pay for a safer climate?”

 

"Scientists also project that using more wind and less fossil fuels will bring a host of benefits by 2050 including:

Fourteen percent reduction in cumulative GHG emissions, which will save $400 billion in avoided global damagesOver 21,700 avoided premature deathsTwenty-three percent less water consumption in the US electric sectorUpwards of 600,000 wind-related jobs by 2050Increased fuel diversity, which makes the electric sector 20 percent less sensitive to changes in natural gas prices."
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Solar Power Now Cheaper Than Coal In India, Says Energy Minister ("solar bandwagon time?")

Solar Power Now Cheaper Than Coal In India, Says Energy Minister ("solar bandwagon time?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The latest auction of solar energy capacity in India has achieved a new record low price of 4.34 rupees/kWh, prompting the country’s energy minister Piyush Goyal to say that solar tariffs are now cheaper than coal-fired generation.

The results of a reverse auction tender of 420MW of solar capacity conducted by the Rajasthan government revealed this week that Finnish group Fortum Energy bid the lowest price of 4.34 rupees/kWh for a 70MW solar PV plant.

It is the lowest price obtained so far in India, which aims to install more than 100GW of solar by 2022, and was hailed by Goyal as a sign that solar power is now cheaper than coal power.

Fossil fuels by comparison offer prohibitive price variability and currency devaluation risks.

“India currently has over 4.4GW of installed utility solar capacity, and solar consultancy Bridge to India estimates another 16GW of tenders have been allocated or are in the process of tendering, much which we expect to be operational by 2017 at the latest. Rooftop solar is also on a steep upward trajectory in 2016,” Buckley wrote.

“After only 1GW of solar installs in each of 2013/14 and 2014/15, IEEFA estimates 2015/16 installs will more than double to 2.5GW, double again in 2016/17 to 5-6GW and then 9GW by 2017/18. By 2021/22, we forecast cumulative installs of solar to exceed 80GW – close to the Indian Government’s target of 100GW set one year ago.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Fantastic news! I hope the Phil. government reads this. 

 

"The latest auction of solar energy capacity in India has achieved a new record low price of 4.34 rupees/kWh, prompting the country’s energy minister Piyush Goyal to say that solar tariffs are now cheaper than coal-fired generation."

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Warming Could Mean Major Thaw For Alaska Permafrost ("the impossible thawing is now happening")

Warming Could Mean Major Thaw For Alaska Permafrost ("the impossible thawing is now happening") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Global warming could cause major thawing of permafrost in the North Slope of Alaska, which could release methane and cause major ecosystem changes.

If you’d asked permafrost researcher Vladimir Romanovsky five years ago if he thought the permafrost of the North Slope of Alaska was in danger of substantial thaw this century because of global warming, he would have said no. The permanently frozen soils of the northern reaches of the state are much colder, and so more stable than the warmer, more vulnerable permafrost of interior Alaska, he would have said.

“I cannot say it anymore” he told journalists last month at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

New work Romanovsky presented at the conference suggests that if warming isn’t tempered, more than half of the permafrost of the North Slope (a region bigger than Minnesota) could thaw by century’s end. Such a thaw would imperil infrastructure, local ecosystems and potentially release more heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Romanovsky has observed the substantial rise in temperature of permafrost that has already happened in the North Slope, as well as the damage caused to infrastructure when it thaws and causes the ground to collapse.

As permafrost thaws, it can also cause substantial changes in the local ecosystem, altering the flow of water atop and through the soil, as well as what plant and animal life can thrive in the area.

There are also major worries about the carbon locked up in the frozen soils, which can be released into the atmosphere as methane as the permafrost thaws, to enormous global costs. While methane is less abundant and shorter-lived than carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, it packs a much larger warming punch on a molecule-by-molecule basis.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Our planet needs a "freezer" to balance global temperatures. When this freezer thaws, the planet goes on run-away warming. The resulting planet scenario will no longer be comfortable or livable.


"Even with mitigation, the permafrost of the North Slope would be “much, much warmer than it is now,” Romanovsky said, but most of it would remain below that crucial freezing point. Without mitigation, more than two-thirds of that permafrost, down to a depth of more than 6 feet, could reach above freezing."

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The 7 Most Interesting Climate Findings of the Year ("the woes just keep coming")

The 7 Most Interesting Climate Findings of the Year ("the woes just keep coming") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
From disappearing ice sheets to rising temperature to megadroughts, these are the top climate science studies of 2015.

The finding: We could be entering an era of warming unseen in at least 1,000 years.
Why it made the list: The rate of global warming has increased with each passing decade. A couple of studiespublished this year show that the rate will not only continue to rise, but soon be one the earth hasn’t seen since the Vikings found their way to Greenland (and possibly longer than that). Warming will be fastest in the northern hemisphere, which just so happens to be where most humans live.

The finding: The Southwest and Central Plains face an “unprecedented” megadrought.
Why it made the list: The Southwest and Central Plains are already pretty dry places. Now imagine a drought that “makes the Dust Bowl look like a picnic.”

The finding: Atlantic circulation is weakening, which could be bad news for weather and sea levels.
Why it made the list: Climate change is causing Greenland’s ice to melt, sending a rush of cold freshwater into the sea. That’s acting as roadblock on a key ocean conveyor belt that shuffles warm water from the tropics northward.

The finding: The global warming hiatus might just be a data artifact.
Why it made the list: Hoo boy, did this study generate some controversy. A theoretical slowdown in global warming has been studied — and debated — extensively and a number of studies have linked it to different oceanbasins taking up more heat from the surface and stashing it down with Aquaman’s lair.

The finding: A climate change-induced drought helped spur the Syrian conflict.
Why it made the list: The climate-conflict got a topical jolt earlier this year when a study tied climate change to the Syrian drought that, in part, precipitated Syria’s civil war and the rise of ISIS. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

It's interesting to know the top climate findings in 2015. Thanks to free internet, these matters are now public knowledge.


"But there are a baker’s half dozen studies that really piqued our interest this year, from the Atlantic circulation slowdown to the disappearance of the global warming slowdown. While the seven were all fascinating and critical, some also created controversies that are still ongoing."

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The 8 Biggest Climate Storylines of the Year ("the good & the bad; is there hope for 2016 & beyond?")

The 8 Biggest Climate Storylines of the Year ("the good & the bad; is there hope for 2016 & beyond?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
From record heat to the Pope's climate push to Paris, these are the climate stories that shaped 2015.

 

1. The globe has been crazy hot all year.


2. Our days of a world below 400 parts per million are behind us.


3. Climate action on the international level looks more realistic than ever.


4. El Niño has set records and piqued public interest.


5. Sea level rise projections are, well, on the rise.


6. Religious leaders, including the Pope, lend some climate hope.


7. Attributing extreme events to climate change, especially heat, is easier than ever.


8. NASA’s amazing visuals and science are making climate change clearer and clearer.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Did you miss any of these climate headlines in 2015? Check them out and be updated.


"We’ve come from the end of arguably the most influential year ever when it comes to climate change. The agreements struck at the Paris climate talks gave the world hope that nations could finally get their acts together to cut carbon emissions and with them, the risks climate change poses.

"And talk about a good timing. On top of being the hottest year on record, 2015 also saw a significant carbon dioxide milestone passed, sea level rise projections raised and one of the strongest El Niño’s on record.

"Next year will be a new chapter in the evolving story of our relationship with climate change. But here are the main storylines that developed in 2015."

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COP21 in a single picture ("what was it all about?")

COP21 in a single picture ("what was it all about?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
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Final draft of climate deal unveiled in Paris - CNN.com ("1st time nations agreed")

Final draft of climate deal unveiled in Paris   - CNN.com ("1st time nations agreed") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
After years of buildup and weeks of negotiations, diplomats issued a final draft of a climate change agreement Saturday that the French foreign minister described as "fair ... and legally binding."

After years of buildup and weeks of negotiations, diplomats issued a final draft of a climate change agreement Saturday that the French foreign minister described as "fair ... and legally binding."

If adopted, the agreement would set an ambitious goal of halting average warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures -- and of striving for a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible.

World leaders hailed the draft as a milestone in the battle to keep Earth a planet that is hospitable to human life. But there is still a mountain to climb.

The draft now goes to government ministers. Delegates from 196 parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will be asked later in the day to adopt or reject the proposal.

And different countries may well have ratification procedures back home. The Kyoto Protocol on reducing the emission of greenhouse gases was concluded in 1997. In the United States, the Clinton administration signed the agreement but, fearing defeat, never submitted it to the Senate for ratification.

This time, political pressure for an agreement is coming from many quarters.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Representatives of 195 countries achieved what had been unreachable for two decades! History is made - finally!

 

"U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon hailed the draft that was put together at the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21.

"We must protect the planet that sustains us," Ban said. "For that we need all hands on deck."

"Capping the increase in global average temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius was organizers' key goal going into the COP21 That level of warming is measured as the average temperature increase since the Industrial Revolution."

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10 economies hit hard by climate change ("philippines is number 1 in the list, then nigeria")

10 economies hit hard by climate change ("philippines is number 1 in the list, then nigeria") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
CNBC looks at which countries may be worst hit, both environmentally and economically, by climate change.

U.S. President Barack Obama pushed climate change up the global agenda last month, with his offer of $4 billion in government loans for projects that avoid or reduce greenhouse gases.

This move and others reflect a growing acceptance in Washington, and around the world, that global warming exists and will hamper economic growth unless combated. The OECD, for instance, forecasts annual damages from climate change will knock 1.5-4.8 percent off the global economy by the end of the century.

The economic hit will not be equal across countries however. Floods, typhoons, droughts and landslides all take a heavier toll on poorer countries with fewer infrastructures to cope, and where the majority of the populace still work on the land.

With that in mind, click below to see which places could be worst affected by climate change—both environmentally and economically.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"The Philippines leads the World Bank's list of nations most in danger of facing more frequent and intense storms hitting its 7,000 islands.

"In the last five years, the country has experienced several typhoons that have resulted in severe damage and losses. Some have hit new areas such as Mindanao, which historically have not been affected."

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Business and Climate: A Match Made In Paris ("barrier of distrust must be replaced by cooperation")

Business and Climate: A Match Made In Paris ("barrier of distrust must be replaced by cooperation") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP21, begins later this month in Paris. There, as Newsweek put it, "leaders and high-level officials from 196 parties have 12 days to reach an accord that could save the planet." That's not an exaggeration. The stakes are huge and we're not going to have many opportunities, with everyone gathered together, to come up with a solution equal to the problem. And the business world is going to have to be a part of that solution. So I'm delighted that Michael Bloomberg, whose commitment to working toward solutions to this crisis is inspiring, has asked me to share my own thoughts on the subject as part of "Businesses for Climate," a series on how businesses are addressing climate change leading up to the conference.

Many companies around the world are already taking action. In the last year, for example, the number of companies committing to weaning themselves off fossil fuels -- by creating real financial targets, not just making empty promises -- has tripled. Half of all new power plants built in 2014 were green. Companies from Starbucks and Walmart to Nike and Salesforce have pledged to reduce emissions and vastly increase their use of renewable energy. Even big banks are taking a stand, reducing lending to coal-mining companies.

As Secretary of State John Kerry said, the kind of binding agreement that is the goal of COP21 "will give confidence to business leaders who are uncertain about our collective commitment and hesitant to invest in low-carbon alternatives that we need because of that perceived hesitancy by governments."

One global leader in addressing climate change is Unilever, which has pledged to reduce the company's environmental footprint by 50 percent by 2020. Under the leadership of CEO Paul Polman, Unilever -- which includes hundreds of recognizable brands, including Ben & Jerry's, Dove, and Lipton -- has launched a global Sustainable Living Plan, which aims simultaneously increase the company's impact and its profits. Polman believes that businesses can help solve the world's biggest problems, but as he put it, these problems "cannot be solved just by quarterly reporting. They require longer-term solutions and not 90-day pressures."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Instead of playing villain, business is playing role of hero - many of them, at least.


"Many companies around the world are already taking action. In the last year, for example, the number of companies committing to weaning themselves off fossil fuels -- by creating real financial targets, not just making empty promises -- has tripled. Half of all new power plants built in 2014 were green. Companies from Starbucks and Walmart to Nike and Salesforce have pledged to reduce emissions and vastly increase their use of renewable energy. Even big banks are taking a stand, reducing lending to coal-mining companies."

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Solar Prices Could Be 10% Less Than Coal In India By 2020 ("long-term coal reliance has flawed basis")

Solar Prices Could Be 10% Less Than Coal In India By 2020 ("long-term coal reliance has flawed basis") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
KPMG has released a report stating that by 2020 solar power in India could cost about 10% less than coal power, saying

KPMG has released a report stating that by 2020 solar power in India could cost about 10% less than coal power, saying “Solar power price declines have beaten the expectations of most analysts since the beginning of 2015. In the ongoing NTPC solar park tender, solar prices have breached the INR 5/kwh and this is a landmark for the energy sector. Today, in India, solar prices are within 15% of power prices on a levelized basis. Our forecast is that by 2020, solar power prices could be up to 10% lower than coal power prices.”

2020 is not that far away, and if it does come to pass that solar power is cheaper than electricity generated by coal in just a handful of years in such a huge country that consumes tremendous quantities of the stuff, it certainly would be quite a milestone.

“We need to re-engineer our process to create energy efficiency and conservation to give India an affordable energy access. A holistic vision is the need of the hour in order to reach 200 million people at a faster rate. I am personally convinced that any amount of investment in this sector will have a quick pay back,” explained energy minister Piyush Goyal.

We’ve already seen that solar power in Chile can be cheaper than electricity produced by coal. Who is paying attention to these developments though? Critics and cynics could say that Chile is a nation of only 17 million with exceptional solar power potential, and therefore is not indicative of a larger solar power trend.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Things have changed on the energy front, so why are our leaders still putting their bets on coal?


"It doesn’t seem that long ago that naysayers were saying grid parity wasn’t possible with renewables – especially for solar power. Now, it seems we are moving towards a reality where solar power could be cheaper than coal power, in some cases."

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In Turning Point, Carbon Emissions Fall Among G20 ("a glimmer of hope for planet to avert disaster")

In Turning Point, Carbon Emissions Fall Among G20 ("a glimmer of hope for planet to avert disaster") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Greenhouse gas emissions per capita are falling in 11 of the Group of 20 major economies

Greenhouse gas emissions per capita are falling in 11 of the Group of 20 major economies, a turning point for tackling climate change, a study showed.

The report, by a new organization of scientists and other experts called Climate Transparency, also said 15 of the G20 members has seen strong growth in renewable energy in recent years.

"Climate action by the G20 has reached a turning point, with per capita emissions falling in 11 members, and renewable energy growing strongly," the group said in a statement. The G20 accounts for about three-quarters of world greenhouse gases.

It said G20 members "must all urgently decarbonize their economies" to meet a U.N. goal to limit average temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels to limit heat waves, floods and rising seas.

The report said the trend in per capita carbon emissions over the five years to 2012 was down in Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Britain, the European Union, South Africa, Italy, France and Mexico.

Per capita emissions were still rising in the most populous G20 nations, China and India. They were also up in Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Russia, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia.

Still, that marked a shift in long-term trends. Over the past quarter century, G20 carbon dioxide emissions had risen by almost 50 percent while per capita emissions had gained by about 18 percent, reflecting population growth, it said.

Alvaro Umana, a former Costa Rican environment minister and co-chair of Climate Transparency, said greater G20 cooperation on climate change was a "diplomatic landmark" after years of divisions between developing and developed nations on the issue.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The major carbon emitters are showing signs of positive action in favor of the climate. More needs to be done to sustain the momentum.


"The report said the trend in per capita carbon emissions over the five years to 2012 was down in Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Britain, the European Union, South Africa, Italy, France and Mexico."

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UN Report Raises Ceiling for Greenhouse Gas Pollution ("

UN Report Raises Ceiling for Greenhouse Gas Pollution (" | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The U.N.'s environmental authority has quietly raised its assessment of the level at which global greenhouse gas emissions must peak to avoid dangerous climate change, as governments seek a new accord to fight global warming. In its first four annual emissions reports in 2010-2013, the...

The U.N.'s environmental authority has quietly raised its assessment of the level at which global greenhouse gas emissions must peak to avoid dangerous climate change, as governments seek a new accord to fight global warming.

In its first four annual emissions reports in 2010-2013, the United Nations Environment Program said emissions must not exceed 44 billion tons in 2020 for the world to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F).

But with real-world emissions rising far beyond that level, UNEP has since last year downplayed its focus on 2020 as a make-or-break year for emissions reductions.

In this year's Emissions Gap report, a summary of which was released Friday, UNEP says the world can still reach the 2-degree target with emissions of 52 billion tons by 2020, which is just slightly below today's level.

The new analysis assumes that emissions cuts will drop faster after 2030 than was assumed in previous reports.

UNEP chief scientist Jacqueline McGlade told The Associated Press the earlier assessments weren't wrong, but were based on emissions scenarios that are "no longer realistic."

Critics said the change reflects political pressure to show the 2-degree goal is still feasible as governments work on the U.N. climate agreement that's supposed to be adopted in Paris next month.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What's the difference between 44 billion tons and 54 billion tons by 2020? -- time! Do we really have the luxury of delaying decisive action?


"In this year's Emissions Gap report, a summary of which was released Friday, UNEP says the world can still reach the 2-degree target with emissions of 52 billion tons by 2020, which is just slightly below today's level."

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