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Global carbon dioxide levels on pace to hit 'sobering milestone' of ...

Global carbon dioxide levels on pace to hit 'sobering milestone' of ... | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 399.72 parts per million (ppm) and is likely to pass the symbolically important 400ppm level for the first time in the next few days. Readings at the US ...
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Climate & Clean Air Watch
The latest on what's happening to the climate and the issue of air pollution.
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The Strange Cause of Air Pollution Decline in the Middle East ("it took a revolution to clean the air")

The Strange Cause of Air Pollution Decline in the Middle East ("it took a revolution to clean the air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The Arab Spring contributed to a decline in air pollution, according to new research

Instability in the Middle East in 2010-11 can be linked to a decline in air pollution, reports a studypublished in the journal Science Advances. The findings suggest that short-term societal changes can disrupt climate trends years in the making.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas produced by car engines and power plants than can contribute to climate change, grew rapidly in cities like Damascus, Aleppo, Tehran and Cairo in the early years of the 2000s until they experienced a drop-off around the beginning of the following decade. The onset of unrest caused an economic impact that led to the decline, researchers say.

“The Middle East is a region that catches a lot of attention with political problems and upheaval and armed conflict,” said Jos Lelieveld, study author and professor at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry, on a conference call for journalists. “We find the geopolitics and armed conflict in the Middle East has really drastically altered air pollution emissions.”

In Cairo, for instance, nitrogen dioxide emissions had grown at a rate between 5% and 7% per year in the five years up to 2010. The Egyptian Revolution that year brought with it fuel shortages and household economic problems that drove down levels of nitrogen dioxide, said Lelieveld. In Tehran, the decline in emissions was triggered as the United Nations tightened sanctions in 2010.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The parallelism between economic slowdown and clean air only shows the absurd and crude economic human behavior exhibited by the world.

Can't clean air become the side-benefit of economic enterprise?


"The study adds to research showing the link between air pollution and economy growth. Recent research showed that the 2008 economic collapse and the subsequent recession contributed to a decline in carbon emissions in the United States."

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Grace Poe: Gov't, private sector should work together vs climate change ("this is sound policy")

Grace Poe: Gov't, private sector should work together vs climate change ("this is sound policy") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Cooperation between government, private sector is important to mitigate and eventually stop climate change's effect on poverty, Poe says
Aside from the government, the private sector should also be more involved in helping communities become resilient and adapt to the reality of climate change, Senator Grace Poe said.

“Climate change affects us all, whether you feel it now or not,” Poe said in a statement Sunday, August 16. “While the government builds institutional capacity to tackle the issue, we should all do our part in increasing awareness and supporting adaptation and mitigation efforts.”

Citing a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Poe emphasized that the impact of climate change made the country lose at least $24 billion (P1.104 trillion) in gross domestic product from 1998 to 2009.

“Extreme weather conditions destroy not just people’s homes but also their sources of food and livelihood,” she said. “With every storm that passes, more people are displaced, more people go hungry, more lose their livelihood.”

“Climate change just keeps creating a new set of poor Filipinos, so we have to mitigate its impact,” the senator added.

According to the 2015 Long-Term Climate Risk Index of Germanwatch, the Philippines ranks 5thamong countries in the world most affected by extreme weather events from 1994 to 2013. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

I'm glad that one presidential hopeful has a sound perspective on the climate and its impact on the economy.

 

"The Philippines continues to bear the brunt of climate change as extreme weather events have created a new demographic of poor Filipinos, with at least 12 million people vulnerable. ...

“Either way, farmers, who are already among the poorest in the country, will suffer a significant decrease in crop yield,” the senator said. “With the Philippines’ growing population, food will become even more unaffordable for those who are already struggling.”

"This reality, Poe said, should guide Filipinos to push for cooperation in mitigating impacts of climate change in the Philippines."


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Air Pollution Causes 4,400 Deaths In China Every Single Day ("1/3 regularly breathes "unhealthy" air")

Air Pollution Causes 4,400 Deaths In China Every Single Day ("1/3 regularly breathes "unhealthy" air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Air pollution is killing about 4,400 people in China every single day, according to a new study. Researchers from Berkeley Earth, a California-based climate research organization, calculated that about

Researchers from Berkeley Earth, a California-based climate research organization, calculated that about 1.6 million people in China die every year from health issues caused by the country’s notoriously polluted air. 

According to the study, more than one-third of the Chinese population regularly breathe air that would be considered “unhealthy” by U.S. standards.

“It’s a very big number,” the study’s lead author, Robert Rohde, told The Associated Press. “It’s a little hard to wrap your mind around the numbers.”

The study looked at four months of data from 1,500 ground stations across China, Taiwan and South Korea. The research is set to be published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One. 

As The New York Times notes, air pollution -- particularly exposure to fine airborne particles -- can cause a variety of health problems, including asthma, lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. The World Health Organization said last year that 7 million people die annually because of exposure to polluted air.

China has struggled for years to control its air pollution problems, which are primarily caused by the burning of coal in factories and power plants, as well as vehicle use.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Prolonged air pollution damage to health will definitely kill you, either sooner or later.

 

"In April, Greenpeace reported that, of 360 cities in China, less than 10 percent had successfully met national air quality standards in the first quarter of 2015. 

"Previous studies have estimated that between 1.2 and 2 million people die due to air pollution in China every year."

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'Sickening' smoke rises from chemical plant near Verde Island Passage - YouTube ("should this go on?")

'Napakabaho po, parang lason. Sobra pong sakit sa ulo 'pag naamoy kahit po takpan ng kamay ang ilong,' says a resident, describing the stench of the smoke fr...

"Sickening" smoke has been rising from the JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation plant in Batangas, threatening coastal villages and the nearby Verde Island Passage.

Photos on social media show thick clouds of black or grey smoke issuing from a column of flame.

The JG Summit plant manufactures polyolefin products, or products made of a special type of plastic. The complex is located in the villages of Pinamukan Ibaba and Simlong on a coastline adjacent to the Verde Island Passage, one of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world.

Marine biologists dub it the "center of the center of shorefish biodiversity." It has been the subject of numerous scientific studies because of its richness. Only last June, American and Filipino scientistsdiscovered 100 new species in the passage.

Despite its global importance, the Verde Island Passage is not protected by a national law, unlike other ecologically-important places like Mount Pulag National Park.

This has made it possible for facilities like the JG Summit plant to be built nearby. The company also has plans to put up a 600-megawatt coal-fired plant in the province, to the dismay of environmentalists.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Should this go on unchecked?

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The World’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions in One Graphic ("shows the lop-sided distribution of emitters")

The World’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions in One Graphic ("shows the lop-sided distribution of emitters") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
An interactive graphic and database chronicles the greenhouse gas emissions for every country in the world.

Based on data from the WRI’s CAIT Climate Data Explorer, the graphic shows emissions data from 2012 by country. As a whole, the world emitted 42,386 megatonnes of greenhouse gases. Here’s how that number breaks down.

The top 10 list of emitters is no surprise. It includes China, the U.S., European Union 28, India, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Iran. Together, they emit twice as much as the other 175 countries in the data, accounting for 72 percent of the globe’s emissions. The top two alone, China and the U.S., account for more than one-third of the world’s emissions.


Six of the top 10 emitters are developing countries. China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and Iran account for 38 percent of the world’s emissions. While the lowest 100 countries emit less than 3 percent of the globe’s greenhouse gases.

The energy sector makes up about 76 percent of the world’s emissions. Of the countries with energy data available, three-quarters of them attribute a majority of their emissions to energy. The projected rise of wind and solar energy in the next 25 years is likely to reduce the impact of the energy sector. Agriculture and industry are the other largest sectors that add to global emissions.

Bert Guevara's insight:

For climate change students, here is an important source of data on carbon emitting countries. Check it out.

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Agencies commit to hasten renewable energy projects in Mindanao | Official Gazette of the Philippines

Agencies commit to hasten renewable energy projects in Mindanao | Official Gazette of the Philippines | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
This commitment was obtained during a recent regional rounds made by MinDA to provide operational updates on the implementation of the One Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center (OSFMC), a web-based portal for tracking renewable energy applications.

Created through the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC), the OSFMC was a mechanism established to speed up the approval of application permits for RE power projects in Mindanao. Its operations hub was opened to public in May this year and is currently housed at the MinDA office.

Last year, MinDA, DOE, DENR, NCIP, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform and the National Water Resources Board entered into an agreement for the implementation of the OSFMC.

The MPCMC on the other hand was created in July 2012 through Executive Order 81, as a committee tasked to coordinate the efforts of the national, regional, and local governments and power industry stakeholders to improve Mindanao’s power industry.

MinDA and DOE co-chair the MPMC composed of the Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Electrification Adminstration, the National Power Corporation, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities  Management Corporation, the Mindanao Electric Power Alliance, the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives, National Transmission Corporation and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Currently, there are 290 pending RE power project applications in Mindanao with a potential combined capacity of 2,998.09 megawatts (MW). Out of the total power project applications are 242 hydropower projects with a combined potential capacity of 2,147.71 MW. Also in the pipeline are 28 solar energy projects with a combined potential capacity of 427.25 MW; 12 biomass energy power projects with a combined potential capacity of 144.65 MW; and eight geothermal energy power projects with a combined potential capacity of 278.48 MW.

“Once these projects are completed and start generating power, we can expect a more diversified and balanced energy mix in Mindanao in the coming years,” Montenegro said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

In a bid to push for cleaner and greener energy sources in Mindanao, key regional government agencies involved in the permitting process of renewable energy (RE) projects have expressed commitment to accelerate processing and updating of RE project applications in the regions.

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Obama to Unveil 'Most Important Step' Ever to Combat Climate Change ("Obama's last hurrah on climate")

Obama to Unveil 'Most Important Step' Ever to Combat Climate Change ("Obama's last hurrah on climate") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
President hails new regulations as "the biggest, most important step" ever taken to combat climate change

The White House plans to unveil regulations on Monday to dramatically curtail greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and eventually revamp the country’s energy industry. The regulations, billed by the President Obama as “the biggest, most important step” ever taken to address climate change, play a key role in the President’s aim to make combatting climate change a priority of his final months in office.

The Environmental Protection Agency rules, finalized versions of 2012 and 2014 proposals, call for a 32% reduction in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030 from 2005 levels. The White House projects that the rules will drive increased investment in renewable energy, leading to 30% more clean energy generation by 2030 and a dramatic reduction in coal power.

“No matter who you are, where you live or what you care about, climate change is personal and it’s affecting you and your family today,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters Sunday on a conference call.

The White House and environmental advocates have argued that the rule would stimulate the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs. Asked whether the EPA has the legal authority to implement the rule, McCarthy said that the agency had considered the legal issues and the measure is “legally a very strong rule.”

Monday’s news is one of many expected announcements from the White House designed to elevate the issue of climate change in the U.S. The President will highlight the issue in his meeting with Pope Francis this fall and his travel to Alaskan Arctic, and has announced a number of new policies and partnerships. All told, the attention is meant to position the U.S. as a leader in fighting climate change in the lead up to a United Nations conference on climate change in December.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The Philippines should take a cue from Pres. Obama on dealing with coal-powered energy plants. The bitter pill may actually be just what the doctor ordered.


"Monday’s news is one of many expected announcements from the White House designed to elevate the issue of climate change in the U.S. The President will highlight the issue in his meeting with Pope Francis this fall and his travel to Alaskan Arctic, and has announced a number of new policies and partnerships. All told, the attention is meant to position the U.S. as a leader in fighting climate change in the lead up to a United Nations conference on climate change in December."

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The risk of relying on coal plants - YouTube ("reliance on imported coal for power is unsound")

Energy stakeholders say it's dangerous to rely on coal-fired power plants to meet almost half of the country's power needs. Details and more in this report. ...
Bert Guevara's insight:

Listen to why it is not good policy to rely on coal.

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Earth just had its warmest June on record, and warmest year so far ("breaking all records in 136 yrs")

Earth just had its warmest June on record, and warmest year so far ("breaking all records in 136 yrs") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
June was the warmest such month for the globe in 136 years of record-keeping, with both the land and the sea setting all-time temperature records.

At this point, it's safe to assume you'll see a story like this (just with a different month in the headline) again and again, given that Planet Earth's thermostat seems to be stuck on "record warm."

Three of the official climate reporting organizations around the world, including the Japan Meteorological Agency, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have each found that June was the Earth's warmest such month on record.

In addition, NOAA found that the first six months of this year were the warmest on record, increasing the likelihood that 2015 will overtake 2014 for the warmest year title. According to NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina, the global average surface temperature was so far above average during June that it was the fourth-highest monthly departure from average for any month on record.

This is particularly noteworthy, since the two highest monthly departures have both occurred this year, in February and March. So the heat in 2015 isn't just breaking records, it's smashing them.

 This, in part, is due to the development of a strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which tends to boost global sea and air temperatures. However, the El Niño alone cannot account for the full amount of warming, nor its consistency in recent years, which include years when no El Niño was present.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Just an update on global temperature records for the first half of 2015. The El Nino phenomenon is aggravating the situation a little, but with or without it, the planet is really getting hotter.


"The average global temperature across land surfaces in June was 2.27 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.26 degrees Celsius, above the 20th-century average. This was the highest June temperature over land on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2012 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.06 degrees Celsius."

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The world's most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario ... - Washington Post

The world's most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario ... - Washington Post | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The new paper, says James Hansen, may be his most important work.

 In the new study, Hansen and his colleagues suggest that the “doubling time” for ice loss from West Antarctica — the time period over which the amount of loss could double — could be as short as 10 years. In other words, a non-linear process could be at work, triggering major sea level rise in a time frame of 50 to 200 years. By contrast, Hansen and colleagues note, the IPCC assumed more of a linear process, suggesting only around 1 meter of sea level rise, at most, by 2100.

“If the ocean continues to accumulate heat and increase melting of marine-terminating ice shelves of Antarctica and Greenland, a point will be reached at which it is impossible to avoid large scale ice sheet disintegration with sea level rise of at least several meters,” the new paper says.

Using climate models and an analogy with the so-called Eemian period or “Marine isotope stage 5e” — an interglacial period some 120,000 years ago that featured considerable sea level rise — the paper goes on to suggest that major ice loss from both Antarctica and Greenland will change the circulation of the oceans, as large volumes of cold, fresh water pour into the seas. This freshening or decreasing saltiness of the ocean, at both poles, could ultimately block the oceans’ overturning circulation, in which (in the northern hemisphere) warm water travels northward, and then colder, denser water sinks and travels back south again.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Remember the movie "The Day After Tomorrow"? The climate model discussed in the movie resembles some of the alarming possibilities posed by James Hansen in his new study.

What strikes me is the change in ocean currents caused by ocean warming trends - a real scenario. This means that the ocean circulation may be disturbed, causing cooler oceans to grow colder; while the warmer oceans to grow hotter (also mentioned by Al Gore). Even wind velocities will be affected, disturbing wind power capacities.

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U.S. Army develops new solar cells that are 1,000 times thinner than current technology

U.S. Army develops new solar cells that are 1,000 times thinner than current technology | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The United States Army has patented new solar cell technology that is 1,000 times thinner than current solar panels on the market, as well as being stronger and more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity.

At the heart of advancements in solar power technology is the drive to make solar cells smaller, lighter, and more efficient. It’s already possible to print paper-thin solar cells, but the Army’s latest patent is for solar cells just a fraction of that thickness, which is tough to imagine. A piece of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick, while the Army’s new solar cells are made from layers of silver and gold semiconductors that result in “a combined thickness of only a few hundred nanometers,” according to Dr. Michael Scalora, a research physicist at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), who is the co-inventor of the new technology.

In addition to being 1,000 times slimmer, the new solar cells are less expensive to manufacture, more durable, and more robust than current solar cell technology. “Low-cost, compact, flexible and efficient solar cells are destined to impact all sorts of Department of Defense applications, as lightweight solar panels will eventually power all kinds of equipment, particularly in remote, inaccessible areas,” Scalora said.

Although the Army has won the patent rights for the concept, research is still ongoing at AMRDEC in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, conducted by Scalora and his co-inventors Maria Antonietta Vincenti, Neset Akozbek, and Domenico de Ceglia. What’s clear is that this kind of advancement could have a widespread impact on the solar power industry, outside of its military applications.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Great breakthroughs in solar tech coming from the US military?


"Military research leads to a lot of cool technological advancements that can benefit the public as much as the troops. United States Army researchers have been working on improved solar technology, and they have developed a tiny photovoltaic solar cell that is substantially smaller and more cost effective than any other solar cell on the market. The new design has won the Army a patent, and the inventors are calling it a “breakthrough” in clean energy."

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Simon BdR's curator insight, July 15, 3:37 AM

Will this be a real breakthrough ?

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Historic Climate Court Decision in the Netherlands ("another precedent-setting case for environment")

Historic Climate Court Decision in the Netherlands ("another precedent-setting case for environment") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Big news from the Netherlands, where a court just decided that the government was not doing enough to combat climate change. Yep. You read that right.

Big news from the Netherlands, where a court just decided that the government was not doing enough to combat climate change. Yep. You read that right.

“The state must do more to reverse the imminent danger caused by climate change, given also its duty to protect and improve the environment,” the court said in its ruling.

The court’s decision is being seen as not only a victory for environmentalists, but also for human rights advocates worldwide. This is the first attempt by European citizens to hold the state accountable for potentially devastating inaction on climate change. It’s also the first case in the world in which human rights are used as a legal basis to protect citizens against climate change, according to the Urgenda Foundation.

“This makes it crystal clear that climate change is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with much more effectively, and that states can no longer afford inaction,” said Marjan Minnesma, a Dutch citizen and one of the plaintiffs in the case. “States are meant to protect their citizens, and if politicians will not do this of their own accord, then the courts are there to help.”

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Major pro-environment precedent-setting court decision!!! The government is accountable for climate mitigation!

 

"The logic behind the court case was, actually, quite simple. As Minnesma stated above, governments have an obligation to protect us, its citizens, from dangers. And few dangers have as widespread, potentially devastating impacts as climate change. Attempts to both plan for, and mitigate, emissions require incredible coordination between governments, businesses and citizens."

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We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind?

We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The World Bank’s head of agriculture and food security speaks of a “frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture” at the climate talks and calls for advances in climate-smart farming

We are trapped in a vicious cycle: we will need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people but agriculture, which is paradoxically vulnerable to climate change,generates 25% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. The more we grow using conventional methods, the more we exacerbate the problem. It’s time for a climate-smart agriculture but first we must address a few man-made problems.

First, there is a frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture in the current global climate talks leading up to the Paris conference later this year. By definition, food production affects all countries, rich and poor, and it is hard to imagine any effective post-Kyoto climate change agreement that ignores 25% of the problem. So, we need a climate change agreement where agriculture is a big part of the solution, and delivers a triple win: higher agricultural productivity to feed more people and raise the incomes of poor farmers - especially women, greater climate resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Second, we still grow our food largely using 20th century technology - over 100 years old in the case of fertilizer production! We need more and better agricultural research to bring farming into the 21st century. Other sectors like energy have made great breakthroughs in remarkably short periods of time, but where is the “electric car” for agriculture? The Copenhagen Consensus concludes that agricultural research is one of the single most effective investments we could make to fight malnourishment. Therefore, we need more support for bodies like the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research that focus on crops and cropping systems that are of greatest importance to poor farmers and poor countries. Such research is a global public good that the private sector cannot be expected to deliver alone.

Bert Guevara's insight:

To have climate smart agriculture, we need smarter people who can introduce better ways to increase food production. 


"If the sustainable development goals and COP 21 in Paris are opportunities to come up with bold ideas to tackle poverty, reduce inequality and address climate change, then climate smart agriculture should be acknowledged as one of those ideas that will enable us to do all three in one."

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Military’s Shift Toward Renewable Energy ("this thinking should be adopted by country leaders too")

Military’s Shift Toward Renewable Energy ("this thinking should be adopted by country leaders too") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S., the DoD has requisitioned the deployment of renewable energy to power military facilities by 2025.
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o achieve military operational success, the Department of Defense (DoD) relies on one mission-essential resource: energy. The DoD is the largest government consumer of energy in the United States, with petroleum-based liquid fuels composing approximately two-thirds of the DoD’s consumption.

The DoD has requisitioned the deployment of 3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy to power military facilities by 2025.  This meets a larger DoD mandate, Title 10 USC § 2911, which directs at least 25 percent of any DoD facility energy consumption come from renewable energy sources. Implementing alternatives has evolved from increasing energy distribution costs, foreign oil dependency, the threat of energy supply disruptions and the need for more secure and clean energy generation and distribution.

The Army, the most populous branch of the military, consumes less energy than the Navy or Air Force because of the Army’s reliance on the Air Force and the Military Sealift Command for transportation.  The Army’s energy consumption is   concentrated in its installations, which consume an average of 21 million barrels of petroleum per year. The DoD’s shift toward energy security has encouraged Army energy initiatives, including the Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy, which requires at  least  five installations  meet “net-zero” energy goals by 2020 and deploy 1 GW of renewable  energy on their installations by 2025.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The military’s shift toward renewable energy is not just a political directive but also an operational imperative. Improvements toward energy alternatives can increase warfighter efficiency, enhance energy security and cut installation and operational energy costs. Between 2010 and 2012, DoD renewable energy projects increased 43 percent and are anticipated to exponentially increase over the next 20 years. DoD’s implementation of alternative energy and supporting infrastructure is one area where DoD is utilizing industry to promote research thus fortifying energy security across the nation.

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MLK III: Climate change a civil rights issue - CNN.com ("environmental rights now")

MLK III: Climate change a civil rights issue - CNN.com ("environmental rights now") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Obama administration's limits on carbon pollution from power plants is attempt to redress environmental inequality borne by poor and communities of color

Make no mistake, the injustice of climate change and the pollution that fuels it are among this century's most debilitating engines of inequality.

Climate change pries further apart the haves and have-nots. When Sandy leaves New York dark and underwater; when Katrina sweeps away homes in New Orleans; when coastal cities face continual worry as rising seas pollute drinking water -- it is low-income inner city families who suffer most. When punishing drought smothers livelihoods and inflates food prices; when warmer temperatures bring more smog, more asthma, and longer allergy seasons; when heatwaves and cold snaps descend on urban, unprepared neighborhoods -- it is communities of color who suffer.

Climate change is fueled by carbon pollution -- largely from our power plants -- and comes packaged with smog and soot, causing thousands of asthma attacks, hospital visits, and premature deaths every year, especially in vulnerable minority populations. The NAACP found that almost 40% of the 6 million Americans living in close proximity to coal-fired power plants are people of color. Increased exposure to power plant pollution is especially hazardous to African-American children,who are three times as likely to die from asthma than white children.

Regulating the carbon pollution that fuels climate change will also cut smog and soot, and the health benefits would likely be felt immediately by people living near power plants. EPA's plan will help head off 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days, according to the White House.

And because power plants will invest in efficiency to meet new higher standards, families will ultimately save $85 a year on energy bills in 2030.

 

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Climate justice is a new political issue that cannot be neglected.

 

"My father, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., devoted his life to achieving civil equality in our democracy, but that was only the beginning. The poor and disenfranchised -- too often those in communities of color -- still disproportionately bear society's harms through no fault of their own. That truth has compelled the fight for social justice across the spectrum: labor rights, women's rights -- and yes -- environmental rights.

"Because no matter who we are or where we come from, we're all entitled to the basic human rights of clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and healthy land to call home."

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El Niño 2015 could be strongest ever - Tempo - News in a Flash ("don't be the last to know; prepare!")

El Niño 2015 could be strongest ever - Tempo - News in a Flash ("don't be the last to know; prepare!") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The El Niño weather phenomenon that began this year could be among the strongest in 65 years, US government scientists said Thursday.

El Niño comes with a warming in sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, and can cause unusually heavy rains in some parts of the world and drought elsewhere.

This year’s El Niño began in March and is forecast to last about a year. Authorities in Australia have already predicted it would be “strong” and “substantial.”

That trend is still expected to continue, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, on a conference call with reporters to discuss the US agency’s latest forecast, released Thursday.

“What is new this month is we are predicting that this El Niño could be among the strongest El Niño in the historical record dating back to 1950,” said Halpert.

The reason for the forecast is the finding that three months of average sea surface temperatures in a key part of the equatorial Pacific “could potentially reach or even exceed two degrees Celsius above normal, which is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, a value that we have only recorded three times in the last 65 years,” he said.
Such temperatures were previously seen in the 1972-73 season, 1982-83 and 1997-98.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Don't be the last to know. The Philippines is on El Niño's hit list.


"The last El Niño , five years ago, had a major impact: it triggered monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the United States, heatwaves in Brazil and killer floods in Mexico."

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Laura Rathe's curator insight, August 16, 8:36 AM

El Niño en 2015 puede ser el mas fuerte desde el 1950

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CO2 Exceeded 400ppm Again In June ("this level doesn't seem to be declining soon; becoming new normal")

CO2 Exceeded 400ppm Again In June ("this level doesn't seem to be declining soon; becoming new normal") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Seasonally adjusted carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) again in June for the fourth month in a row, according to data.

The global average seasonally adjusted concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 400.47ppm in June, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US. This compares with 400.71ppm recorded a month earlier in May, 400.59ppm in April and 400.06 in March.

The non-adjusted global average concentration of CO2- the actual measured level of CO2 in the atmosphere -  was 402.80ppm in June, exceeding 400ppm for the fifth month in a row. This measure exceeded 400ppm briefly in April, May and June 2014 before dipping back below 400ppm and then crossing back over the line in February.

However, the all-important seasonally corrected figure is more significant as it reflects the true underlying level of CO2 in the atmosphere. It strips out the seasonal cycle of increasing and decreasing CO2 concentration associated with spring and summer plant growth in the northern hemisphere.

This means that the seasonally adjusted figure gives a more meaningful view of the long-term underlying trend in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The data shows that the seasonally adjusted figure has been remorselessly rising.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Are our efforts at reducing carbon emissions gaining any major impact?


"However, the all-important seasonally corrected figure is more significant as it reflects the true underlying level of CO2 in the atmosphere. It strips out the seasonal cycle of increasing and decreasing CO2 concentration associated with spring and summer plant growth in the northern hemisphere."

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Obama's big climate plan is now final -- and it's even stronger than expected ("a time for action ")

Obama's big climate plan is now final -- and it's even stronger than expected ("a time for action ") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The EPA will require utilities to make deeper cuts in emissions from power plants, and will incentivize use of renewable energy.

The Clean Power Plan, assuming it survives legal challenges, is set to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It’s the biggest component of Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and the centerpiece of any realistic program to meet our emission-reduction pledges from the 2009 Copenhagen Accord and the intended targets we have outlined ahead of the Paris climate talks that will take place later this year.

One big change from the proposed rule a year ago is that states will have two more years — until 2022 instead of 2020 — to start meeting emission-reduction requirements. While this sounds like a step backward, it is part of a correction to an odd feature of the original proposal, which is that it required sizeable cuts at the front end and little further improvement in the later years. The path now starts with lesser demands but grows steeper.

With its draft plan, the EPA estimated that emissions would be cut 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030; now it’s bumped that estimate up to 32 percent. Administration officials argue it therefore will actually reduce emissions more in the long run, especially if you look beyond 2030. “That will help drive deeper decarbonization not just in 2030, but in subsequent years as well,” said Brian Deese, a top Obama policy advisor, on the press call Sunday afternoon. “This rule gives us a strong foundation to keep pushing forward against our international commitments and is stronger when you look out at 2030 and beyond.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Actually, the US has to do more, from all sectors, since the power industry is only 1 sector but the biggest. Anyway, it's one step at a time -- if we still have time.

 

"And as Plumer also points out, only 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from power plants. While they are the biggest single source, this plan would by itself would only cut total U.S. emissions 6 percent between 2013 and 2030.

"What that reveals, though, is not a lack of ambition in the Clean Power Plan but the need for carbon regulation in other sectors of the economy. Obama has also raised fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. What the next president must do, and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley has proposed to do, is regulate carbon emissions from industrial and agricultural sources."

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Laura Rathe's curator insight, August 9, 11:35 AM

Actually, the US has to do more, from all sectors, since the power industry is only 1 sector but the biggest. Anyway, it's one step at a time -- if we still have time.

 

"And as Plumer also points out, only 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from power plants. While they are the biggest single source, this plan would by itself would only cut total U.S. emissions 6 percent between 2013 and 2030.

"What that reveals, though, is not a lack of ambition in the Clean Power Plan but the need for carbon regulation in other sectors of the economy. Obama has also raised fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. What the next president must do, and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley has proposed to do, is regulate carbon emissions from industrial and agricultural sources."

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One of climate change’s biggest dangers is one the world still isn’t talking about ("it's our food")

One of climate change’s biggest dangers is one the world still isn’t talking about ("it's our food") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Climate change affects both water quality and food safety, which will have tragic impacts on public health.

We now have evidence that climate is a major factor increasing risks for food and waterborne diseases. While the linkages are complex, both temperature and precipitation are directly and indirectly associated with illnesses. It is critical to improve infrastructures and apply appropriate interventions to prevent climate-related risks to public health in water and food.

Climate change affects both water quality and food safety, which will both have important impacts on public health in the absence of appropriate interventions.The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences notes that the potential effects of climate change on food-related illness may be indirect and moderate or unlikely in the US. On a global scale, however, the concern may be greater, arising from:1. The direct correlation between water temperatures and certain microorganisms that cause human gastroenteritis.2. Direct and indirect links between food contamination, certain foodborne disease outbreaks, and earth surface temperatures.3. Possible changes in food production patterns due to climate—temperature, precipitation, humidity, and flooding are all factors in pathogen contamination.
Bert Guevara's insight:

No wonder the news has been full of food poisoning and food-related cases lately. Is it related to climate change? Maybe it is.

 

"We now have evidence that climate is a major factor increasing risks for food and waterborne diseases. While the linkages are complex, both temperature and precipitation are directly and indirectly associated with illnesses. It is critical to improve infrastructures and apply appropriate interventions to prevent climate-related risks to public health in water and food."

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4 Takeaways from the Annual Climate Review ("for students of climate change; a brief review")

4 Takeaways from the Annual Climate Review ("for students of climate change; a brief review") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
The annual State of the Climate report shows how 2014 broke all kinds of warming records.

Numerous records were broken last year, according to the State of the Climate report, an annual checkup of the global climate published in a special issue of the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Here are four key points to draw from the report:

Carbon dioxide levels are rising: This is the trend that underlies global warming, as it is the rise of carbon dioxideand other greenhouse gases from human activities — first recognized in the famous Keeling Curve — that is driving the rise of Earth’s temperature. 

Earth’s temperature is rising: A direct consequence of the build-up of greenhouse gases is a steady rise in Earth’s average temperature from all the excess heat those gases trap and prevent from escaping out into space. Arndt called this temperature rise “one of the most obvious connections to a changing climate.”

The oceans are heating up: Not only was Earth’s temperature record warm in 2014, but so were the global oceans, as sea surface temperatures and the heat of the upper oceans also hit record highs. “The heat content is just continuing to pile up,”

Overall, ice is melting: All the excess heat in the Earth system, both at the surface and in the oceans, has contributed to the steady disappearance of the planet’s ice, including Arctic sea ice, mountain glaciers and permafrost.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Are you familiar with the major climate issues of the day? Here they are in a nutshell.

 

"While each of these components of the Earth’s system tells a part of the story of the warming planet, together they combine into a powerful narrative of the planet’s plight.

“It’s the whole global climate system,” NCEI director Thomas Karl said. “These things are all intricately linked to each other.”

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NASA: Pause Exists And Is Due To Ocean Heat Storage ("a temporary relief that has long-term impacts")

NASA: Pause Exists And Is Due To Ocean Heat Storage ("a temporary relief that has long-term impacts") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A new NASA study of ocean temperature measurements shows in recent years extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Researchers say this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade.

Researchers Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis and Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California, found a specific layer of the Indian and Pacific oceans between 300 and 1,000 feet (100 and 300 meters) below the surface has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized. They also found the movement of warm water has affected surface temperatures. The result was published Thursday in the journal Science.

During the 20th century, as greenhouse gas concentrations increased and trapped more heat energy on Earth, global surface temperatures also increased. However, in the 21st century, this pattern seemed to change temporarily.

The Pacific Ocean is the primary source of the subsurface warm water found in the study, though some of that water now has been pushed to the Indian Ocean. Since 2003, unusually strong trade winds and other climatic features have been piling up warm water in the upper 1,000 feet of the western Pacific, pinning it against Asia and Australia.

"The western Pacific got so warm that some of the warm water is leaking into the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian archipelago," said Nieves, the lead author of the study.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What will the effect on the surface be if the ocean gets warmer through the years? Read this very new report and find out.


"Now a new analysis by three ocean scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory not only confirms that the extra heat has been going into the ocean, but it shows where. According to research by Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis, and Bill Patzert, the waters of the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean warmed significantly from 2003 to 2012. But the warming did not occur at the surface; it showed up below 10 meters (32 feet) in depth, and mostly between 100 to 300 meters (300 to 1,000 feet) below the sea surface. They published their results on July 9, 2015, in the journal Science."

“Overall, the ocean is still absorbing extra heat,” said Willis, an oceanographer at JPL. “But the top couple of layers of the ocean exchange heat easily and can keep it away from the surface for ten years or so because of natural cycles. In the long run, the planet is still warming.”

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Bert Guevara's curator insight, July 28, 12:17 AM

What will the effect on the surface be if the ocean gets warmer through the years? Read this very new report and find out.

 

"Now a new analysis by three ocean scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory not only confirms that the extra heat has been going into the ocean, but it shows where. According to research by Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis, and Bill Patzert, the waters of the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean warmed significantly from 2003 to 2012. But the warming did not occur at the surface; it showed up below 10 meters (32 feet) in depth, and mostly between 100 to 300 meters (300 to 1,000 feet) below the sea surface. They published their results on July 9, 2015, in the journal Science."

“Overall, the ocean is still absorbing extra heat,” said Willis, an oceanographer at JPL. “But the top couple of layers of the ocean exchange heat easily and can keep it away from the surface for ten years or so because of natural cycles. In the long run, the planet is still warming.”

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Pope and mayors sign declaration on climate and trafficking ("alliance with cities is good action")

Pope and mayors sign declaration on climate and trafficking ("alliance with cities is good action") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Please find below the full text of the common declaration:


We the undersigned have assembled at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences to address two inter-connected dramatic emergencies: human-induced climate change, and social exdusion in the extreme forms of radical poverty, modern slavery and human trafficking, We join together from many cultures and walks of life, reflecting humanity's shared yearning for prosperity, justice and environmental sustainability peace, happiness.
On the basis of the encyclical Laudato si', we have considered the over-whelming scientific evidence regarding human-induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the vulnerability of the poor to economic, social and environmental disasters.
In the face of the emergencies attributable to human-induced climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty, we join together to declare the following:

Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.

In this core moral space, cities play a very vital role. All of our cultural traditions uphold the inherent dignity and social responsibility of every individual and the related common good of all humanity. They affirm the beauty, wonder and inherent goodness of the natural world, and appreciate that it is a precious gift entrusted to our common care, making it our moral duty to steward rather than ravage the garden that is our "common home". ...

The financing of sustainable development, including the effective control of human-induced climate change, should be bolstered through new incentives for the transition towards low-carbon and renewable energy, and through the relentless pursuit of peace, which also will enable a shift of public financing from military spending to urgent investments for sustainable development. ...

As mayors we commit ourselves to building, in our cities and urban settlements, the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reducing their exposure to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, which foster human trafficking and dangerous forced migration. ...

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The alliances are set and the battle lines versus climate change have been drawn. The Pope is showing what it means to be a true "shepherd"!


"As mayors we commit ourselves to building, in our cities and urban settlements, the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reducing their exposure to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, which foster human trafficking and dangerous forced migration."

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Shocking Photos Reveal How Bad Pollution in China Has Gotten ("is this city smog or a sandstorm?")

Shocking Photos Reveal How Bad Pollution in China Has Gotten ("is this city smog or a sandstorm?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

#6 It's hard to recognize Beijing through the smog (Image 2 of 7)
Be thankful if you live anywhere else in the world. There is so much smog in China that trace amounts of it has even been measured as far as California!

Bert Guevara's insight:

Imagine yourself living in this city. 

How is the air in your side of the world?

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Simon BdR's curator insight, July 15, 3:34 AM

Incredible photos of pollution in China...

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2015 Arctic Sea Ice: How Low Will It Go? ("the melting goes on & 2015 may set another record low")

2015 Arctic Sea Ice: How Low Will It Go? ("the melting goes on & 2015 may set another record low") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Scientists say the Arctic Sea ice extent in 2015 is likely to be among the lowest on record.

This year, the usual period where summer melt ramps up — from mid-June to early July — saw only modest declines, so it’s unlikely any records will be broken. But even a non-record annual low nowadays is far lower than it was decades ago, before warming really started to kick in.

The overall warming of the planet, which is happening at a faster pace in the Arctic, has caused steady declines in both the max and min over recent decades (as well as an overall thinning of the ice), ranging from 10 to 15 percent per decade depending on the season. This sea ice retreat has major implications for regional wildlife, which can depend on the sea ice for hunting food; the livelihoods of indigenous cultures; and commerce, including oil exploration and shipping.

But that background warming driven by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere isn’t the only factor that affects what happens to Arctic sea ice from year to year and season to season. Weather patterns can act over that trend, sometimes reinforcing it and sometimes counteracting it. In 2012, an intense storm helped drive the summer extent to a record low, whereas in other years, weather has had less impact and the summer melt has fallen in line with the decades-long decline.


Bert Guevara's insight:

No alarms raised; but the melting goes on!


"Right now, given the melt so far this summer, it seems unlikely that 2015 will break 2012’s record, Scambos and Meier said, but it will still be in line with the overall downward trend. As Meier put it: “Not extreme, not record-setting, but still far lower than what was normal for the 1980s and 1990s.”

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The Lilypad floating city concept is designed to house climate change refugees ("timely ideas needed")

With global sea levels predicted to rise significantly over the next century due to climate change, a lot of people living in low lying areas are expected to be displaced from their homes. Architect Vincent Callebaut has come up with a possible relocation destination for these climate change refugees in the form of the “Lilypad” concept – a completely self-sufficient floating city that would accommodate up to 50,000.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Rising sea levels are real and beach fronts and low-lying areas are increasingly threatened. Here is a forward-looking planner who may have a doable design for a floating relocation center of up to 50,000 inhabitants. Settling climate refugees inland may not always be possible, especially for island towns.

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