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Missing heat found in oceans, global warming has accelerated in past 15 years

Missing heat found in oceans, global warming has accelerated in past 15 years | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Some people would like you to believe that global warming has been slowing down in the past 15 years, but it has actually accelerated.
Completely contrary to the popular contrarian myth, global warming has accelerated, with more overall global warming in the past 15 years than the prior 15 years.  This is because about 90% of overall global warming goes into heating the oceans, and the oceans have been warming dramatically.As suspected, much of the 'missing heat' Kevin Trenberth previously talked about has been found in the deep oceans.  Consistent with the results of Nuccitelli et al. (2012), this study finds that 30% of the ocean warming over the past decade has occurred in the deeper oceans below 700 meters, which they note is unprecedented over at least the past half century.
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Climate Change Moves the Doomsday Clock | Climate Central ("we are very close to point of no return")

Climate Change Moves the Doomsday Clock | Climate Central ("we are very close to point of no return") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Doomsday Clock is just three minutes from midnight due in part to climate change.

The end of civilization as we know it just got a little closer. According to an update to the Doomsday Clock, the world is now three minutes from midnight and one of the big reasons is the failure to reduce greenhouse emissions even in the face of climate change.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists maintains the clock and resets the hands every few years based on existential threats to civilization. Created in 1947, the clock initially served as a warning about the threat of nuclear weapons, but climate change has started to mess with the hands of time in recent years. This is the fourth update to the clock that explicitly mentions climate change, though it’s an issue that has been on the Bulletin’s radar since 1961.

The clock was last updated in 2012, when the hands were set at five minutes to midnight. The reason the world is closer to doomsday now is the growing clarity about impacts of climate change, including some already occurring, and the failure to address it.

If emissions continue on their current trend, they’ll likely expend the carbon budget — a term used by scientists to describe how much carbon dioxide can be emitted while safely keeping the world from warming more than the 2°C (3.6°F) — in three decades.

Passing that threshold could lead to higher sea levels, an increased rate of ocean acidification, and rising global temperatures at rates that some scientists think could be beyond society’s ability to adapt. Beyond those direct impacts, climate change also poses a threat multiplier problem for the military by potentially increasing migration, destabilizing governments and increasing regional conflicts. The Pentagon already views climate change as an “immediate risk.”


Bert Guevara's insight:

What time is it? - on the Doomsday Clock!

"What’s keeping the clock from striking midnight now is that despite little to no action on climate change, solutions do exist. Namely, that means transitioning away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy."

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First public lighting system that runs on solar and wind energy ("they keep getting better"

First public lighting system that runs on solar and wind energy ("they keep getting better" | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Scientists have developed the first autonomous industrialized public lighting system that works with solar and wind energy.

his system, developed after four years of research, is designed for inter-urban roads, motorways, urban parks and other public areas. It is unique in the world and reduces the cost by 20% compared with conventional public lighting systems.

The prototype is 10 metres high and is fitted with a solar panel, a wind turbine and a battery. The turbine runs at a speed of 10 to 200 revolutions per minute (rpm) and has a maximum output of 400 watts (W). The developers' aim is to make the lighting system even more environmentally efficient, so work is being done on a second prototype generator that runs at a lower speed (10 to 60 rpm) and has a lower output (100 W). An electronic control system manages the flow of energy between the solar panel, the wind turbine, the battery and the light.

"It takes very little wind to produce energy. The generator that has been developed can start working at a wind speed of only 1.7 metres per second (m/s), whereas current wind turbines need more than 2.5 m/s," says Ramon Bargalló. "This low intensity can provide six nights of electricity without wind or sun," he adds.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Solar and wind-powered lighting just keeps getting better. Although low fuel prices have somehow shifted focus again from renewable energy, the practicality factor comes into play.

"It takes very little wind to produce energy. The generator that has been developed can start working at a wind speed of only 1.7 metres per second (m/s), whereas current wind turbines need more than 2.5 m/s," says Ramon Bargalló. "This low intensity can provide six nights of electricity without wind or sun," he adds.

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Judit Urquijo's curator insight, January 20, 4:17 PM

Innovador prototipo de farola urbana el que ha resultado de la colaboración entre la Universitat Politécnica de Cataluña (UPC) y la empresa Eolgreen.


Tal y como recoge la web Agencia SINC, es necesaria una velocidad de viento muy baja para mover la turbina, en torno a 1,4-1,7 m/s. Asimismo y según se hace constar en la web de Eolgreen, el sistema de puede monitorizar en remoto y no necesita ningún tipo de conexión a red. Dispone también de una pequeña batería que almacena energía, proporcionando una autonomía de 58 horas de iluminación en caso de que no haya ni viento ni sol. En el acabado de la farola también se ha empleado grafeno, uno de los materiales llamados a revolucionar el futuro.


En definitiva, ahorro e innovación en un mismo producto.  

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China Says It Will Make It Easier For Environmental Groups To Sue Polluters ("Phil SC should follow")

China Says It Will Make It Easier For Environmental Groups To Sue Polluters ("Phil SC should follow") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Supreme People’s Court will give "special status" and reduce court fees for "social organizations involved in public interest litigation" involving the environment.

In a post on its website, the Supreme People’s Court said it would give “special status” and reduce court fees for “social organizations involved in public interest litigation” involving the environment. China has more than 700 registered and regulated environmental protection groups that will be impacted by the new directive, The Guardian reported.

The post did not clearly specify the reason for the new directive, saying only that it was issued “in response to questions on the matter.” But it is likely that China is taking action in response to its notoriously bad air pollution, which despite having improved slightly in 2014, is still some of the worst in the world.

The country does seem to be cracking down on polluters in court, at least in the last month. Just last week, an eastern Chinese court ordered six companies to pay a combined $26 million in fines for discharging acid into two waterways. The fines represent the highest-ever penalty in Chinese environmental public interest litigation, the New York Times reported.

Still a developing country, China is currently the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with the United States close behind.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The formula of using class suits to pursue environmental objectives and objections should be made easier. In the Philippines, we need more environment lawyers to activate our environmental laws, which are more than enough, but are not implemented.

"China’s pollution reached levels so bad that this past March, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang officially “declared war” on the horrific and tragic smog problem. Since then, the country has announced plans to reduce toxic gases by banning high-emission cars and closing coal-powered furnaces, and entered into an historic agreement with the United States to peak its carbon emissions and get 20 percent of its electrical power from renewable sources by 2030. Neither the plans nor the agreement, however, are legally binding."

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Worried about melting ice, pro hockey vows to go green ("what is hockey with melted ice? players act")

Worried about melting ice, pro hockey vows to go green ("what is hockey with melted ice? players act") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The issue is a natural for the sport born on frozen ponds, the league commissioner said.

The commissioner of the National Hockey League has good reason to be concerned about global warming. “Our sport was born on frozen ponds and to this day relies on winter weather,” Gary Bettman said.

The league teamed up with Constellation Energy, Baltimore, which will conduct an energy-efficiency analysis starting in the next few days to determine whether the NHL can improve lighting and refrigerator motors that cool everything from the rinks to the drinks. Bettman said it will start at Verizon Center, where the Capitals play.

Bettman said the NHL is simply “taking an active role to preserve the environment and the roots of our game.” But Allen Hershkowitz, president of the Green Sports Alliance, said the potential impact goes far beyond that.

There’s a broader message when a sport with 30 teams and tens of millions of fans around the world acts as an aggressive environmental steward, Hershkowitz said.

Today, on its Web site, NASCAR claims to have “the largest recycling and environmental sustainability programs” of any American sports league. It also claims “the world’s largest solar-powered sports facility, a tree-planting program capturing 100 percent of the emissions produced by on-track racing, and the largest recycling program” with several corporate partners, including Coca-Cola and Coors.

Environmental stewardship in the nation’s most popular sport, football, is only beginning to take shape. Last year, Ohio State University ramped upits green initiative to reduce waste at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, where about a million fans visit each season.

The school sought to improve on a program that diverted 98 percent of trash from landfills during a game by extending it to an entire season.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Now global warming, which triggers ice melting, is threatening the sport of ice hockey. The players and sport associations of hockey are now doing their share in mitigating climate change.

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An Open Letter to Environmentalists on Nuclear Energy ("in the name of climate change mitigation")

An Open Letter to Environmentalists on Nuclear Energy ("in the name of climate change mitigation") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Professor Barry W. Brook, Chair of Environmental Sustainability, University of Tasmania, Australia. barry.brook@utas.edu.au Professor Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change...

Brook and Bradshaw argue that the full gamut of electricity-generation sources—including nuclear power—must be deployed to replace the burning of fossil fuels, if we are to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change. They provide strong evidence for the need to accept a substantial role for advanced nuclear power systems with complete fuel recycling—as part of a range of sustainable energy technologies that also includes appropriate use of renewables, energy storage and energy efficiency. This multi-pronged strategy for sustainable energy could also be more cost-effective and spare more land for biodiversity, as well as reduce non-carbon pollution (aerosols, heavy metals).

Although renewable energy sources like wind and solar will likely make increasing contributions to future energy production, these technology options face real-world problems of scalability, cost, material and land use, meaning that it is too risky to rely on them as the only alternatives to fossil fuels. Nuclear power—being by far the most compact and energy-dense of sources—could also make a major, and perhaps leading, contribution.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Are these scientists waking up to a clearer vision of the future of energy? 

"As scientists, we declare that an evidence-based approach to future energy production is an essential component of securing biodiversity’s future and cannot be ignored. It is time that conservationists make their voices heard in this policy arena."

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CO2 Takes Just 10 Years to Reach Planet’s Peak Heat | Climate Central ("within our lifetime")

CO2 Takes Just 10 Years to Reach Planet’s Peak Heat | Climate Central ("within our lifetime") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Carbon dioxide emissions warm the planet faster than previously thought, and their impacts linger for centuries.

Back-of-the-envelope estimates for how long it takes for a given puff of CO2 to crank up the heat have generally been from 40-50 years. But the new study shows that the timeframe for CO2 emissions to reach their maximum warming potential is likely closer to 10 years.

By revealing that CO2 has such a rapid warming effect on the planet, the study said that “people alive today are very likely to benefit from emissions avoided today.” Ricke said that provides a clearer incentive for policymakers and politicians — and the people who vote for them — to consider actions for reducing emissions.

“We’re more used to making decisions about things that will happen 10 years in the future than things that will happen in 40 years,” she said.

But the maximum warming impact of CO2 is only a single note in an otherwise long symphony of climate change. Ricke and her collaborator, Ken Caldeira, created 6,000 projections using advanced climate models to test when CO2 emissions increased warming and to see how long those impacts lasted. Their results confirm something scientists have long said: that the warming effects of CO2 emissions will linger for decades and even centuries.

But the maximum warming impact of CO2 is only a single note in an otherwise long symphony of climate change. Ricke and her collaborator, Ken Caldeira, created 6,000 projections using advanced climate models to test when CO2 emissions increased warming and to see how long those impacts lasted. Their results confirm something scientists have long said: that the warming effects of CO2 emissions will linger for decades and even centuries.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It is now becoming clearer -- CO2 emissions reach max warming potential in ~10 years -- not 40-50 as previously thought. This means that the extreme climate events will start to happen within our lifetimes.

“It takes only a few years for the climate to respond to emissions, but it takes a generation, at least, to change the emissions. We are slow, not the climate,”

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China Pollution Targets and Future Emissions Goals | The Energy Collective ("4 reasons to be true")

China Pollution Targets and Future Emissions Goals | The Energy Collective ("4 reasons to be true") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
China announced it would cap coal use by 2020. The Chinese State Council said the peak would be 4.2 billion tonnes, a one-sixth increase over current consumption. This is a reversal of Chinese energy policy, which for two decades has been centered around building a coal plant or more a week.

Will the Chinese meet or even beat their target? Yes, for four reasons.

First, as Obama senior adviser John Podesta explains on Charlie Rose (video here), it is very hard to get China to make such major public commitments, but once they do, they are all in.

Second, what the deniers and doubters don’t get is that climate change is going to get more and more painfully obvious in the coming years. Jump head to the early 2020s, and all the nations of the world, including China, will be close to desperate to make even deeper reductions.

Third, China has a major public health and domestic political motivation to peak coal ASAP. Their urban air pollution levels are catastrophic.

The fourth reason the Chinese will meet — and likely beat — their CO2 commitment is that they know it can be done and that doing so will not only be critical to maintaining their political influence worldwide, ...

Bert Guevara's insight:

"BOTTOM LINE: China’s game-changing deal with the United States is already dramatically changingtheir energy policy and their emissions trajectory, as is clear from the 2020 coal cap. Also, it greatly boosts chances for a global climate deal and ensures the triumph of non-carbon energy, especially renewables, over fossil fuels, starting with coal. China has every incentive to beat their targets, and the smart money says they will."

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Judit Urquijo's curator insight, December 1, 2014 4:52 AM

El gráfico adjunto resulta muy significativo, en tanto en cuanto apunta cuál va a ser la estrategia energética de China en los próximos años. Como bien apunta el propio artículo, estas previsiones van a depender en gran medida del progreso tecnológico que experimenten las energías renovables.


En este sentido, el redactor del artículo, Joseph Romm, se muestra ciertamente optimista en relación con el planteamiento de China, estableciendo 4 razones por las que, en su opinión, el gigante asiático, logrará alcanzar las metas planteadas:


  • El compromiso público, escenificado recientemente en el acuerdo firmado con EEUU y que ya de por sí genera un gran escepticismo
  • Los efectos del cambio climático resultan patentes y se agravarán para el 2020.
  • El problema de salud pública que arrastra China y que es tema recurrente en los medios de información con esas imágenes de las ciudades chinas cubiertas con una densa nube contaminante (interesantes los indicadores recogidos en esta web
  • El deseo de mantener su influencia política y su liderazgo en la fabricación de sistemas para la producción de energía renovable. Este afán competitivo le ha llevado a posicionarse como uno de los principales referentes en el jugoso mercado africano.


Obviamente, podría cumplirse todo lo expuesto por Romm en su artículo, si bien se me antoja un tanto complicado. No obstante y suponiendo que así fuese y que la gráfica arriba expuesta se concreta realmente, ¿sería suficiente? Si nos atenemos a los informes del IPCC, es claro que, por lo menos en el caso chino, para el año 2050 no se alcanzaría esa reducción del 40-70% en emisiones de gases de efectos invernadero con respecto a los niveles registrados en 2010. 

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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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The Pope's statement on climate change: 5 things to know - independentmail.com: AP News ("taking off from his 2 predecessors")

The Pope's statement on climate change: 5 things to know - independentmail.com: AP News ("taking off from his 2 predecessors") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

Pope Francis, who pledged on the day of his installation as pontiff to make the environment a priority, is drafting a highly anticipated encyclical on ecology and climate change.

Environmentalists are thrilled by the prospect of a rock-star pope putting his moral weight behind efforts to curb global warming. Francis said last week he wanted the document to be released in time to be read before the next round of U.N. climate treaty talks in Paris at the end of the year.

Francis is extending the work of his predecessors. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI both spoke of environmental protection as an urgent moral concern and placed the issue the context of church social teaching on helping the poor and promoting the common good.

In 1990, John Paul II said Catholics had a special religious obligation to protect God's creation from damage caused by "industrial waste, the burning of fossil fuels, unrestricted deforestation" and other practices. Benedict was dubbed "the Green Pope," for his frequent calls to stop ecological devastation and his efforts to bring solar power to the Vatican city-state. "Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change?" Benedict said in 2010.

Francis has already asserted that climate change is happening and people are partly to blame. "I don't know if it (human activity) is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face," he said last week. He has also indicated the body of the encyclical will not be consumed with scientific analysis.

At a U.N. Climate Change Summit in New York last September, the pope's top diplomat, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, urged international intervention to curb global warming, "not only strengthening, deepening and consolidating the political process on a global level, but also intensifying our commitment to a profound cultural renewal," according to a Vatican radio transcript.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The Pope's is asserting his prophetic ministry to proclaim what his flock needs to know, because failure to do so will be omission on his part. A papal encyclical is in the works.

"The pope said he plans to "take a week" in March to review their suggestions and finish the encyclical, which will then be translated into several languages. The pope said he expects the document to be released in June or July."

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The hottest year ever, in 5 charts ("all these charts say the same thing & point to same culprit")

The hottest year ever, in 5 charts ("all these charts say the same thing & point to same culprit") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Earth keeps getting warmer, and we're to blame.

2014 was the hottest year since record-keeping began way back in the 19th century, according to reports released Friday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to NASA, the Earth has now warmed roughly 1.4 degrees F since 1880, and most of that increase is the result of greenhouse gases released by humans. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.

NASA and NOAA both conducted their own, independent analyses of the data. But as you can see in the chart below, their results were nearly identical (all images below are from NASA and NOAA’s joint presentation): ...

The record warmth wasn’t spread evenly across the globe. Europe, parts of Asia, Alaska, and the Arctic were extremely warm. At the same time, the U.S. Midwest and East Coast were unusually cold, according to NASA’s analysis: ...

Here’s another version of that map, from the NOAA analysis. This one shows that vast swaths of the oceans experienced record warm temperatures in 2014. Land temperatures in 2014 were actually the fourth warmest on record. But the oceans were so warm that the Earth as a whole was the hottest it has ever been since we started measuring: ...

Bert Guevara's insight:

These charts don't lie! How will you respond?

"So what’s causing this dramatic warming trend? In short, we are. Check out these charts, which show that if we weren’t pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the planet would actually be cooling right now:..."

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Global Warming and Measurement Year in Review | The Energy Collective (6 charts show present & future")

Global Warming and Measurement Year in Review | The Energy Collective (6 charts show present & future") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
This year saw a lot of big climate reports, including three by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). And, as always, we had many important publications from the work of individual scientists. And that means great charts!

The uncounted co-benefits are enormous. A recent International Energy Agency report concluded that “the uptake of economically viable energy efficiency investments has the potential to boost cumulative economic output through 2035 by USD 18 trillion.”

The report found that green building design can achieve health benefits — including reduced medical costs and higher worker productivity — “representing up to 75 percent of overall benefits.” That is, the non-energy benefits of efficiency upgrades can be three times larger than the energy savings.

The biggest scientific bombshell of 2014 was that the West Antarctic ice sheet appears close to if not past the point of irreversible collapse — and, relatedly, that “Greenland’s icy reaches are far more vulnerable to warm ocean waters from climate change than had been thought.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

For serious climate change students, here are 6 graphs which will surely wake up the apathy of many.

"In its comprehensive literature review, the IPCC finds the annual cost of avoiding climate catastrophe is a mere 0.06 percent of annual growth — and that’s “relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6 percent and 3 percent per year.” So we’re talking annual growth of, say 2.24 percent rather than 2.30 percent to save billions and billions of people from needless suffering for decades if not centuries."

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Vital Signs: Global Temperature ("satellite images clearly show cause for alarm and action!")

Vital Signs: Global Temperature ("satellite images clearly show cause for alarm and action!") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Vital Signs of the Planet: Global Climate Change and Global Warming. Current news and data streams about global warming and climate change from NASA.

This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. The 10 warmest years in the 134-year record all have occurred since 1998, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the warmest years on record (Source: NASA/GISS). This research is broadly consistent with similar constructions prepared by the Climatic Research Unit and the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration.

The time series below shows the five-year average variation of global surface temperatures from 1884 to 2013. Dark blue indicates areas cooler than average. Dark red indicates areas warmer than average.

Bert Guevara's insight:

These color-coded NASA images from 1884 to 2013 of the earth's temperature speak for themselves. Will you just allow our planet to heat up to the point of disaster?

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Mysterious Seafloor Methane Begins to Melt Off Washington State Coast ("frozen undersea methane???")

Mysterious Seafloor Methane Begins to Melt Off Washington State Coast ("frozen undersea methane???") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Researchers probe the oceans off the west coast and see signs of the meltdown of icy methane similar in size to the BP oil spill

At issue are methane hydrates, which are complexes of methane trapped in frozen ice buried in ocean beds. The hydrates are found throughout the world's oceans and are maintained by cool water and immense pressures. But as the oceans warm, the hydrates get destabilized and methane is released.
Methane is a significant greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential 86 times as potent as CO2 on a 20-year time scale. Some scientists worry that a significant release from the oceans could exacerbate climate change.
The study focuses on the upper continental slope off Washington in a region of the shelf called the Cascadia margin. The ocean has been warming there, possibly due to a current carrying water from the Sea of Okhotsk that occurs between Russia and Japan. The sea has been warming over the past half-century.
Using temperatures of the ocean up to a depth of 200 meters recorded between 1970 and 2013, the scientists modeled the amount of methane that has been released historically. The preliminary estimates suggested 4.35 terragrams of methane per year may have been released along the Cascadia margin. This is equal to the release from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the report finds.

Bert Guevara's insight:

As the oceans absorb most of the warming of the planet, the stored frozen undersea methane may start to thaw. This is a warning from scientists who are conducting more probes into this phenomena. Read and learn more.

"Methane is a significant greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential 86 times as potent as CO2 on a 20-year time scale. Some scientists worry that a significant release from the oceans could exacerbate climate change."

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Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels ("could be why oil price dropping")

Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels ("could be why oil price dropping") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The cost of electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted, making it cheaper than coal or natural gas in some places.

The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas.

According to a study by the investment banking firm Lazard, the cost of utility-scale solar energy is as low as 5.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, and wind is as low as 1.4 cents. In comparison, natural gas comes at 6.1 cents a kilowatt-hour on the low end and coal at 6.6 cents. Without subsidies, the firm’s analysis shows, solar costs about 7.2 cents a kilowatt-hour at the low end, with wind at 3.7 cents.

“It is really quite notable, when compared to where we were just five years ago, to see the decline in the cost of these technologies,” said Jonathan Mir, a managing director at Lazard, which has been comparing the economics of power generation technologies since 2008.

But in a straight comparison of the costs of generating power, Mr. Mir said that the amount solar and wind developers needed to earn from each kilowatt-hour they sell from new projects was often “essentially competitive with what would otherwise be had from newly constructed conventional generation.”


Bert Guevara's insight:

Energy rates are turning in favor of RE. Best news of the year.

"According to a study by the investment banking firm Lazard, the cost of utility-scale solar energy is as low as 5.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, and wind is as low as 1.4 cents. In comparison, natural gas comes at 6.1 cents a kilowatt-hour on the low end and coal at 6.6 cents. Without subsidies, the firm’s analysis shows, solar costs about 7.2 cents a kilowatt-hour at the low end, with wind at 3.7 cents."

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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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