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Carbon Dioxide Turned Into Electricity - Discovery News ("a radical idea worth checking")

Carbon Dioxide Turned Into Electricity - Discovery News ("a radical idea worth checking") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Nature World News
Carbon Dioxide Turned Into Electricity
Discovery News
Humans generate billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year.

At Wetsus, the center for excellence for sustainable water technology in Leeuwarden, Bert Hamelers and his team came up with the idea of using a combination of membranes and water to pull current out of CO2. They describe the idea in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

To get the water out of the CO2, the scientists set up a tanks filled with water. On one side of the tank, they put a membrane that allows positively charged ions to pass through and on the other side, they put a membrane that allows only negatively charged ions to pass through. Beyond the membrane is an electrode. When the carbon dioxide is pumped through the water it separates into positive hydrogen ions and negatively charge bicarbonate. Since the membranes only allow one kind of ion through, a net flow of electrons — or current — move from one side to the other.

In the paper, Hamelers estimates that harvesting all the carbon dioxide from homes and power plants could produce about 1,570 terawatts of additional electricity annually — about 400 times the annual electrical output of the Hoover Dam. And it wouldn’t add any more CO2 to the atmosphere.

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Climate Work Highlighted on World Meteorological Day | Climate Central ("climate & weather are linked")

Climate Work Highlighted on World Meteorological Day | Climate Central ("climate & weather are linked") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
A new WMO report emphasizes the record warmth of 2014 and the need to connect climate and weather.

A new report released Monday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) catalogues the record hot temperatures — hallmark events of a climate warmed by human activities — and other extreme weather events that pummeled places around the world last year. The report’s release and the events fall on World Meteorological Day, which marks the WMO’s founding.

This year, the focus is on spreading and improving knowledge of weather and the changing climate to help better protect against the devastating effects that extreme events can have on agriculture, food and water availability and infrastructure, particularly in the developing world.

“Extreme weather and changing climatic patterns are having a growing impact on our planet and on human well-being,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

In particular, the report called out the nascent but growing science of extreme event attribution, which seeks to determine whether human-induced warming played a role in various events.

Record heat events were a key focus of the WMO report, with the agency reiterating its earlier announcement that2014 was the warmest year on record for the globe, going back to the mid-1800s. That ranking was affirmed by national meteorological agencies, including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Japan Meteorological Agency. While the record was made by a slim margin, many of the warmest years have been clustered in recent decades with 14 of the 15 hottest having occurred in the 21st century.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This kind of record breaking annual global warming high temperatures is no longer news because the record for consecutive warming is broken every year. Do you still want to be a fence-sitter?

"This year, the focus is on spreading and improving knowledge of weather and the changing climate to help better protect against the devastating effects that extreme events can have on agriculture, food and water availability and infrastructure, particularly in the developing world."

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FreshFruitPortal.com » Philippines: Dry spell hits around 5% of banana production, says PBGEA

FreshFruitPortal.com » Philippines: Dry spell hits around 5% of banana production, says PBGEA | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Philippine banana sector is exporting less fruit to the Middle East due to conflict in the region.

A Philippine banana industry leader says climate change is taking its toll on farmers this year, with production expectations somewhat eroded by the lack of rain in the Southeast Asian country.

The Philippine banana industry will likely see a drop in production this year due to an unusual that could persist for the rest of the year.

“So far it has not really affected that much, probably around 5%, but it could go higher than that if the dry spell persists until the end of the year,” he said, adding weather forecasters believed it could potentially last for the rest of 2015.

Antig emphasized climate change was causing weather patterns to be less and less predictable.

“You can actually have too much rain today and then have a very dry week after that. It is very hard to predict, unlike in the past when we could do it easily because the weather pattern was very distinct – we had the wet and the dry season,” he said.

“What used to be a dry season is now, based on our experiences, a wet season.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is an early admittance that the climate has changed and agriculture is feeling the early touch of El Niño.

“You can actually have too much rain today and then have a very dry week after that. It is very hard to predict, unlike in the past when we could do it easily because the weather pattern was very distinct – we had the wet and the dry season,” he said.

“What used to be a dry season is now, based on our experiences, a wet season.”

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Level ng polusyon sa Metro Manila, masusubaybayan na online | Balita - Tagalog Newspaper Tabloid

Level ng polusyon sa Metro Manila, masusubaybayan na online | Balita - Tagalog Newspaper Tabloid | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Maaari nang matukoy ang antas ng polusyon sa Metro Manila sa pagsisimula ng operasyon ng air quality monitor ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sa susunod na linggo.

“Napakalaking problema ang polusyon dito sa Metro Manila at dapat natin itong agad na tugunan. Kung malalaman ng publiko at mga lokal na pamahalaan kung ano ang kalidad ng hangin sa kanilang lugar, malaki ang posibilidad na gagawa sila ng hakbang upang masolusyunan ito,” ayon kay DENR Undersecretary Jonas R. Leones. Simula sa susunod na linggo, ipatutupad na araw-araw ng DENR ang real time air quality monitoring (AQMN) sa pamamagitan ng www. emb.gov.ph/ambientair.

“Sa ngayon, ang alam lang nila ay may usok, may smog. At kung mabibigyan natin sila ng figures, malalaman nila kung ano ang level ng kalidad ng hangin sa kanilang lugar,” giit ni Leones. Itinuturing ang air quality bilang “good” kung ito ay ligtas pa; “fair,” na ligtas din; “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” o peligroso sa mga maysakit sa puso o baga, dapat iwasan na bumiyahe, at iwasan ang paggamit ng mga sasakyan; at “emergency” kung lahat ay dapat manatili sa loob ng gusali na sarado ang bintana at pinto; kapag bawal nang gumamit ng sasakyan maliban kung may emergency; at ititigil ang operasyon ng mga industriya, maliban kung ang mga ito ay may kinalaman sa kaligtasan ng publiko.

Binigyang prioridad ng DENR ang National Capital Region (NCR) sa paglalagay ng 17 AQMN. Ang isang pasilidad ay nagkakahalaga ng P3milyon-P4 milyon.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

If you wish to monitor the level of air pollution in your part of the metro, try this website link:

www.emb.gov.ph/ambientair

Although it is not yet in real time, the information is useful for public awareness.


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A February First: CO2 Levels Pass 400 PPM Milestone | Climate Central ("it's starting to become a year-long habit")

A February First: CO2 Levels Pass 400 PPM Milestone | Climate Central ("it's starting to become a year-long habit") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
February is the first month of 2015 with an average carbon dioxide level above 400 ppm.

Last year, the monthly average didn’t go above the 400 parts per million (ppm) mark until April, which was the first month in human history with carbon dioxide (CO2) levels that high. Levels stayed that high for a full three months, and they are likely to stay that high for many more this year.

In just a few years, CO2 levels will be above this threshold permanently.

The Keeling Curve first recorded a daily level of 400 ppm on May 9, 2013. The following year, CO2 passed that benchmark in March, and this year, on January 1.

“I am not surprised that we are seeing daily means greater than 400 already popping up regularly. Next year that should start happening in November,” Pieter Tans, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in an email at the time.

CO2 measurements hovered around the 400 ppm line throughout January, but the monthly average was just below that threshold. While a few days in February had averages below 400 ppm, most have been at or above, as have weekly averages.

“So, despite the normal slow down in CO2 growth rate that occurs at Mauna Loa in January and February of most years, February's monthly mean looks certain to be greater than 400 ppm,” Stephen Walker, a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which runs the Mauna Loa observatory, said in an email.

CO2 levels in the atmosphere wax and wane with the seasonal plant cycle. They begin to rise in the fall, as plants in the Northern Hemisphere begin to die off and eventually reach their peak in May. Levels fall through the summer as vegetation sucks up CO2 during photosynthesis.

But those plants can only pull so much CO2 out of the atmosphere, and every year an extra 2 to 3 ppm accumulates in the atmosphere thanks to ever-increasing human emissions. That constant increase is why in just a year or two, CO2 levels will be above 400 ppm year-round.

Bert Guevara's insight:

In case you haven't heard yet .... this is old news but it's becoming a bad habit.

"The 400 ppm mark is of course somewhat symbolic. The increase in warming potential from 399 ppm to 400 ppm is small, but it starkly shows how far CO2 levels have risen from pre-industrial levels, which were around 280 ppm. That increase has caused a global average temperature rise of 1.6°F since the beginning of the 20th century. Some scientists say that to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, that warming needs to stay under 2°C, or 3.6°F."

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'Man-made' climate change a major woman's problem ("how about the sick, elderly and disabled?")

'Man-made' climate change a major woman's problem ("how about the sick, elderly and disabled?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
GENEVA, Switzerland - Men and women may not always be on the same footing but you would think both sexes would be equal in the face of gigantic floods, typhoons or droughts. Think again.

According to the World Bank, 90 percent of some 140,000 victims of the 1991 cyclone that battered Bangladesh were women, as were nearly two thirds of those killed by Myanmar's 2008 Cyclone Nargis.

"There are many reasons but one of them is that they cannot swim, they cannot climb trees, it's cultural," said Elena Manaenkova, assistant secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

"In many countries -- and it's also cultural -- they are not supposed to run, they are supposed to wait until their husband will call them to action."

One of the WMO's objectives is to reach out to people in disaster-prone areas with forecasts that could save their lives or livelihoods, for which mobile phones are an important tool.

But according to Manaenkova, 300 million fewer women have mobile phones than men, which means warnings often do not reach them.

Beyond this, women and girls are also impacted by climate change in their everyday lives -- education being a prime example.

In many parts of the developing world, for instance, they are the ones who fetch water for their families, and as global warming impacts the availability of fresh water sources, they have to trek farther afield to find them -- meaning less time for school.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, a survey conducted in Tanzania found girls' attendance to be 12 percent higher for those in homes located near a water source than in homes one hour or more away.

Attendance rates for boys appeared to be far less affected.

Bert Guevara's insight:

In a disaster scenario, gender inequality still exists -- women suffer more. This is the reason why evacuation protocols put women and children ahead of the others.

In the Philippines, we also have to prioritize the sick, the elderly and the disabled.

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The global warming slowdown is real — but that’s no reason to question climate science

The global warming slowdown is real — but that’s no reason to question climate science | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The tropical Pacific, it seems, may have driven a temporary global warming slowdown.

Now, though, a new study in the journal Science suggests that the global warming “pause” may soon run its course, and, anyway, it seems to have been caused by natural variability in the climate system. Thus, the slowdown, such as it was, certainly is no reason not to worry about a longer-term climate trend driven by humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our study adds additional weight to the notion that this is part of a short-term excursion that is likely to reverse in the years ahead,” says Michael Mann of Penn State University, a co-author of the new study, whose lead author is Byron Steinman of the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

The research focuses on a number of sources of natural variation in the Earth’s climate system, including the widely known wobble called thePacific Decadal (or Multidecadal) Oscillation, which is characterized by swings between relatively warm tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures and colder ones. The oscillation is similar to the El Niño-La Niña cycle but plays out on a much longer timescale involving decades, rather than individual years.

There certainly isn’t any good news here; if anything, the researchers expect this current behavior to snap back soon enough, increasing global warming. “Given the pattern of past historical variation, this trend will likely reverse with internal variability, instead adding to anthropogenic warming in the coming decades,” notes the study.

“Our findings do support the notion that the pause is likely to end,” says Mann. “And perhaps 2014 does herald that at some level.” It was, after all, the hottest year on record.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Don't get carried away by impromptu conclusions that dismiss climate change scientific facts. The climate change science continues to mature, encompassing all these "pauses".

"The upshot of it all, for those following the climate debate, may be this: We argue, day in and day out, about the meaning of each new piece of science that has some bearing upon what is really, in the end, a policy debate. Thus, when the “pause” showed up, it quickly became a political tool even before its scientific meaning was understood."

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Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters? ("readiness rankings revealed")

Which Countries Are Most Likely to Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters? ("readiness rankings revealed") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The results of a new report show which countries are the most vulnerable to risk--and the most ready to respond when disaster strikes.

The results of a new report show which countries are the most vulnerable to risk—and the most ready to respond when disaster strikes.

Bigger storms and more flooding are some of the most most obvious ingredients in the risk stew brewed up by climate change. But what happens after the storms subside? What about all the secondary and tertiary effects of climate change? What about the challenge of finding the money or doing the infrastructural planning necessary to adapt to a changed environment, or the political stability and leadership to see a country through a time of dire food or water scarcity?

That's the kind of cause-and-effect planning that the Global Adaptation Index or GAIN has been doing since 1995. Every year GAIN, which was based in DC until it moved to become part of Notre Dame two years ago, publishes a report that ranks every country in the world on a scale from 1 to 100. The metrics that determine a country's score are twofold: First, how vulnerable is the country to climate change, defined as "sensitivity to climate, population, infrastructure and resource stress, as well as the country's adaptive capacity to those stresses"? And second, how prepared is the country to deal with those risks, in terms of "social, governance and economic factors"?

The idea is to give leaders the ability to gauge and assess how a particular country will respond to the rising tides, and all the chaos they bring with them. In November, the group met for its annual meeting to release its latest report—and the results are fascinating, if troubling.

Bert Guevara's insight:

How ready is your country to climate disasters? Check the latest rankings.

"The idea is to give leaders the ability to gauge and assess how a particular country will respond to the rising tides, and all the chaos they bring with them. In November, the group met for its annual meeting to release its latest report—and the results are fascinating, if troubling."

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Sea Ice Still Declining, Despite Antarctica’s Gains | Climate Central ("gain too small for reversal")

Sea Ice Still Declining, Despite Antarctica’s Gains | Climate Central ("gain too small for reversal") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Globally, sea ice is on a downward slope, as Arctic losses outweigh recent gains in Antarctica.

But research shows that ice lost in the Arctic dwarfs any gains around Antarctica, as a recent study in the Journal of Climate clearly illustrates by combining satellite records of the two areas to produce a clear overall downward trend in sea ice.

“I hope that these results will make it clear that, globally, the Earth has lost sea ice over the past several decades, despite the Antarctic gains,” study author Claire Parkinson, a sea ice researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, wrote in an email.

The inexorable decline of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been clear from the beginning of the satellite record in the late 1970s. Warming temperatures, fueled largely by climate change, have caused the ice to melt, creating patches of dark ocean water that absorb more of the sun’s rays and causing further warming and melting in a well-understood cycle. While melting sea ice doesn’t raise global sea levels like land ice does, it could have major impacts on regional and global weather and climate patterns, as well as sea life and wildlife.

The gains in Antarctica, in contrast, have emerged in the past few years and the causes aren’t well understood. Scientists are investigating, suspecting the leading culprits are changes to winds and ocean waters around the South Pole.

While scientists understand the Arctic loss far outweighs the Antarctic gains, the message hasn’t always been clear to the public, Parkinson said, which prompted her to do the study to enter the global trend into the official research record.

She used satellite records of the extent of sea ice at both poles and combined them to get the global trend, which mirrors the decline of the Arctic. The overall sea ice loss for the planet is about 13,500 square miles per year from 1979 to 2013.

Bert Guevara's insight:

No reason to celebrate or to relax -- the poles are still melting!

"She used satellite records of the extent of sea ice at both poles and combined them to get the global trend, which mirrors the decline of the Arctic. The overall sea ice loss for the planet is about 13,500 square miles per year from 1979 to 2013."

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Delhi Wakes Up to an Air Pollution Problem It Cannot Ignore ("more toxic than Beijing; cannot ignore anymore")

Delhi Wakes Up to an Air Pollution Problem It Cannot Ignore ("more toxic than Beijing; cannot ignore anymore") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
While Beijing’s air quality has generated more headlines worldwide, scientists say New Delhi’s air is often significantly worse, but only now are residents turning to surgical masks and air purifiers.

Some embassies, including Norway’s, have begun telling diplomats with children to reconsider moving to the city, and officials have quietly reported a surge in diplomats choosing to curtail their tours. Indian companies have begun ordering filtration systems for their office buildings.

“My business has just taken off,” said Barun Aggarwal, director of BreatheEasy, a Delhi-based air filtration company. “It started in the diplomatic community, but it’s spread to the high-level Indian community, too.”

The increased awareness of the depth of India’s air problems even led Indian diplomats, who had long expressed little interest in climate and pollution discussions with United States officials, to suddenly ask the Americans for help in cleaning India’s air late last year, according to participants in the talks. So when President Obama left Delhi after a visit last month, he could point to a series of pollution agreements, including one to bring the United States system for measuring pollution levels to many Indian cities and another to help study ways to reduce exhaust from trucks, a major source of urban pollution.

But Nicholas Dawes, a top editor at The Hindustan Times, said the media coverage was just one reason for the attitude shift. “I think the people of Delhi are increasingly unwilling to tolerate tough circumstances,” he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

India has graduated from the denial stage. Now, they accept that there is a serious problem. And yet, their government is driving 'in reverse'!!! 

Hello Metro Manila, do we have an air pollution problem?

"... In fact, the problem is likely to get worse as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi works to reboot the economy. His government recently promised to double its use of coal over the next five years.

“The thing that gives me greatest hope is the huge increase in awareness that I’ve seen in Delhi just in the past year,” he said.

"Delhi’s air is the world’s most toxic in part because of high concentrations of PM2.5, particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that is believed to pose the greatest health risk because it penetrates deeply into lungs. While Beijing’s air quality has generated more headlines worldwide, scientists say New Delhi’s air is often significantly worse, especially during the winter, when choking smog often settles over the sprawling city."

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Birds Tell An Urgent Climate Change Message ("birds as nature's prophets and taking action")

Birds Tell An Urgent Climate Change Message ("birds as nature's prophets and taking action") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

Learn how birds are cautioning humans about the imminent threat of climate change.

Having the longest running animal census in the world (since 1900), Audubon is strategically positioned to contribute to the conversation. Langham discussed “habitat shifts” that evolved as a result of a changed landscape over the past century and a half — an outcome of humans “converting land use to their own ends.” Alarmingly, in the past forty years, “even common birds have declined by 40 to 70 percent due to habitat shift.”

Langham underscored, “Birds have an urgent message.” The reason they are on the move is due to climate change. In the past two decades, more than 200 species of birds have moved their “habitat range” substantially north in order to achieve comparable living conditions. This migration then impacts the ecosystem where they resettle. Langham stressed, “All this disruption is not good. Birds are an excellent indicator of nature overall. What impacts them will impact us. As the birds go, so do we.”

On the bright side Langham assured me, “When you give nature half a chance, it can respond in a positive way.” The bottom line is, “Restorative measures are the key. If we take concerted actions, the birds can recover.” He gave the example of the country’s national emblem, the Bald Eagle, which was brought back from the brink after being devastated by the effects of DDT.

Commenting on the newly elected representatives in Congress, Langham observed that the “fingerprints of big oil and gas” were clearly evident. “Climate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” he insisted. “It’s about doing the right thing for future generations. It’s about protecting nature and our children.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

We cannot appreciate what we take for granted. Birds play an important role in the balance of nature and changes in their lifestyle become warnings to man. Have you checked out the birds in your area lately?

Langham concluded, “Climate change threatens everyone’s sense of place by introducing ecological disruption on a scale never seen before.”

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The Obama administration is cutting funds for a major ‘clean coal’ project ("the pursuit trips again")

The Obama administration is cutting funds for a major ‘clean coal’ project ("the pursuit trips again") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
FutureGen 2.0 was to be a key demonstration of carbon capture and storage.

It was a glittering gem for “Clean Coal” proponents — a coal plant that, advocates said, would have “near-zero emissions” thanks to a plan to capture carbon dioxide and inject it deep beneath the ground. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club scoffed, calling it a “boondoggle” and proceeding to sue.

And now, the Department of Energy, which had planned to fund the FutureGen 2.0 project to the tune of $1 billion in stimulus funds and expended just over $200 million since 2010, will pull the plug, thanks to delays that had made the project unable to hit deadlines before it ran out of federal funding.

“In order to best protect taxpayer interests, the Department of Energy has initiated a structured closeout of federal support for the project that will help maximize the value of investments to date while minimizing ongoing risks and further costs,” said Department of Energy spokesman Bill Gibbons.

But critics like the Sierra Club hailed the move, noting that “with today’s announcement, $1 billion in federal funding and hundreds of thousands of dollars in Illinois ratepayer financing can be freed up for investment in clean energy.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

To see is to believe. But without the proof, clean coal remains a myth.

"Carbon capture and storage projects have run into a number of  difficulties, but with coal still a central component to the world energy mix, interest remains high, especially abroad."

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Xtreme Green EVs For Police, Security, Military, Farming, & Mining Industries ("new models available")

Xtreme Green EVs For Police, Security, Military, Farming, & Mining Industries ("new models available") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

In the renewables world, passenger car electric vehicles get a lot of attention. However, there is also an emerging market for work space electric vehicles that has to date received little attention.

Xtreme Green’s product line fulfills business mobility needs for police, security, farming, mining, landscaping, military, parks and recreation, warehousing, and EMS. One of its EVs, a three-wheeled EV called the Sentinel, which is used by police departments and security services, has in one case been driven 26,000 miles in 2¼ years at a large Motel 6 property in Las Vegas. The Sentinel is a trike EV model on which one stands when driving. After taking it for a fun test drive in the factory warehouse, it’s clear that it’s very easy to operate.

Byron Georgiou, CEO and Chairperson of the Board, explains how EVs are normally in use as automobiles, which have very good pollution controls with catalytic converters, but in the work vehicle space, the exhaust can be much more polluting. Xtreme Green was designed to greatly reduce carbon emissions in this overlooked work vehicle arena. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Here are interesting e-vehicle models to replace service vehicles. Check them out.

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Special report: How the rise of a mega solar panel farm shows us the future of energy ("plus & minus")

Special report: How the rise of a mega solar panel farm shows us the future of energy ("plus & minus") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
After about an hour of weaving up and down the winding, mountainous, two-lane highway that is route 58, eastbound from San Luis Obispo, I honestly started to wonder where 9 million solar panels — one of the world’s largest operating solar panel farms that was built in this region — could be hiding. I passed…

Given that large utility-scale solar panel farms like Topaz take up so much land, their potential to disturb environmentally sensitive land is one of the biggest concerns, and obstacles, confronted when creating these types of sites. Other solar sites, like the Mojave Desert solar thermal farm Ivanpah, faced years of delays and protests after initial surveys underestimated the desert tortoises that lived on the land.

The main endangered animal living on the land of the Topaz site is the kit fox. To avoid delays and litigation, Topaz’s developers purchased extra land for kit fox conservation, and also developed Topaz to be as unintrusive as possible on the surrounding wildlife.

By solar photovoltaic standards, Topaz, at 550 MW of capacity, is huge. But Topaz won’t even be the biggest of California’s mega solar panel farms within a few years.

The similarly-sized, 550 MW, Desert Sunlight project was quietly finished in mid-January, a couple months after Topaz. It was built near Desert Center, Calif., in the Sonoran Desert east of Joshua Tree and Palm Springs. It’s about a five and a half hour drive from Topaz, and was installed on land managed by the Federal Bureau of Land Management, also using solar panels from First Solar. NextEra Energy, GE Energy Financial Services and Sumitomo Corporation of America own that one and the project used guarantees from the U.S. government to back $1.4 billion in loans.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Going serious on solar! Amazing! 

"These 12 solar projects collectively will be able to provide enough power for close to 2 million average American homes, with enough total capacity for about 4 and a half gigawatts (1 GW equals 1,000 MW)."

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Saltier drinking water in Bangladesh could boost stroke, heart attack risk ("due to rising sea levels")

Saltier drinking water in Bangladesh could boost stroke, heart attack risk ("due to rising sea levels") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Sea-level rise and storms worsen saltwater intrusion into drinking water, but water harvesting might help

Tropical cyclones that hit Bangladesh lead to incursions of seawater that can “cause a huge flux of salinity in the rivers and drinking water ponds on land for the local people,” said Adrian Butler, co-author of a study by Imperial College in London and the University of Dhaka. Sea-level rise is also raising the risk of worsening saltwater incursions.

Drinking excessive amounts of sodium can increase the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart disease, the researchers said, during a forum at Imperial College on non-communicable diseases.

Bangladesh, a low-lying country that is largely a vast river delta for the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna Rivers, is particularly vulnerable to severe weather, including floods, cyclones and droughts.

But Bangladesh is also struggling with long-term environmental problems, including soil degradation, increasing soil salinity and river erosion, which are likely to worsen as a result of more extreme weather and rising seas, said Vineis, who has studied climate change and salinity levels in Bangladesh.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Due to over-extraction of ground water and other effects of climate change, some parts of the Philippines are also susceptible to salt water intrusion of fresh water supply. This also threatens our agriculture. 

"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2014 Fifth Assessment Report predicted that sea-level rise will make worsening salinity of drinking water “a key issue in most coastal areas, particularly in low-income countries,” Vineis said."

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In 2014, for the first time in 40 years, global CO2 emissions have stalled, but ("it didn't decrease")

In 2014, for the first time in 40 years, global CO2 emissions have stalled, but ("it didn't decrease") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
While that's encouraging, it shouldn't lead the world to lose focus in its fight against global warming.

New data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) is showing that last year, for the first time in four decades, global CO2 emissions have "stalled," remaining at about 32 billion tonnes, the same number as in 2013. "This is both a very welcome surprise and a significant one," said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. "It provides much-needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December: for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions are decoupling from economic growth."

But while that's encouraging, it shouldn't lead the world to lose focus in its fight againstglobal warming. The reason is simple: While the rate has stopped increasing, it doesn't mean that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will stop increasing. 

All that the IEA news about 2014 means is that last year, we didn't open the faucet more, it just keeps filling the tub at the same rate as in 2013.

Said like that, it doesn't sound so great, uh? But it's still a good sign. I'd much rather see the rate stabilize, and eventually start to go down than to keep going up as it has been for decades. Hopefully it's an early sign that we are decarbonizing our civilization, andturning more to clean sources of energy.

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Bert Guevara's curator insight, March 17, 3:45 AM

The situation merely stopped increasing, but the emissions continued at the same rate, as in 2013. It's like a 20-second timeout in basketball.

"An important factor could be that China's coal consumption fell in 2014, driven by their efforts to fight pollution, use energy more efficiently and deploy renewables.

"Efforts to reduce emissions elsewhere will have played a role, but there are also more random factors such as the weather and the relative price of oil, coal and gas." 

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In Reversal, Chinese Government Bans Pollution Exposé ("coz messenger became more popular than gov't")

In Reversal, Chinese Government Bans Pollution Exposé ("coz messenger became more popular than gov't") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

Until recently, China's rampant smog problem was thought to be fog by the millions engulfed in it.

Over the course of a weekend in early March, more than 175 million people in China tuned into a highly personalized and unprecedentedly science-driven documentary about the country’s debilitating smog problem. Produced by former Chinese news anchor and environmental reporter Chai Jing, the 104-minute “Under the Dome” caught the Chinese public at a moment of intense focus on the wide-ranging impacts of air pollution from coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions.

Then, a few days later, the government ordered media outlets to “absolutely discontinue coverage of the documentary.”

Why this sudden turnaround from co-opting the documentary’s message to quashing its very existence?

According to Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center, “Under the Dome” was banned for its popularity, not for its message. Speaking during a discussion after a screening of the film at the Wilson Center on Thursday, Daly said that the film allowed Chai Jing to “control the discourse” around China’s crippling air pollution problems.

Daly said that the Chinese leadership’s decision to ban the film over its popularity is ultimately harmful to the country’s efforts to be a persuasive international force, and that it redirects attention from the acute challenges of controlling air pollution to the standard questions about governance and transparency. He also said that when foreigners express anger over the ban, Chinese figures of authority get upset over what they see as foreign meddling. This is a cycle that’s been going on since China started modernizing 35 years ago.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Chinese government becoming a little touchy on this one, although this is old news! They were worried the messenger became more popular then the message.

"Daly said that while the most important thing about this film is that it’s a Chinese voice speaking to China, the many Western influences apparent in the film’s production should not be overlooked. On top of its references to PM 2.5 readings from the U.S. Embassy, Daly noted the documentary is also in the style of a TED Talk, relies heavily on NASA data, has been likened to Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring — which is often credited with inciting the environmental movement in the U.S. — works in the tradition of video journalism programs such as “60 Minutes,” and is even named after the American TV series “Under the Dome.”

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Traffic intersections are cesspools of air pollution, acc to a new study ("danger of engine idling")

Traffic intersections are cesspools of air pollution, acc to a new study ("danger of engine idling") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
You spend 2 percent of driving time at traffic lights, but inhale 25 percent of your air pollution there.

“Air is not uniformly polluted,” says Prashant Kumar, the study’s lead author and a civil engineer at the University of Surrey. “At intersections, cars stop, idle, then accelerate. It takes time for the particles to disperse.”

Kumar asked drivers to carry pollution monitors while navigating an urban course at different times of the day. He found that the concentration of airborne nanoparticles, whichcontribute to inflammation and disease in the lungs and circulatory system, was 29 times higher at intersections governed by traffic lights than on the open road. (At 300 nanometers across, nanoparticles are smaller than PM 2.5, which is the typical target in vehicle pollution–monitoring studies.)

Don’t despair—there are ways you can limit your exposure. When possible, choose a route with fewer traffic lights. If they're unavoidable, aim for intersections not surrounded by tall buildings, which prevent the pollutants from dispersing. When you’re sitting at a red light, keep a generous distance from the car in front of you. It will make you look a little crazy and probably draw some exasperated honking, but that’s the cost of cleaner lungs.

How about not driving at all? That would be good for the planet, but it could paradoxically make matters worse for your lungs. The air outside the car—the air that pedestrians and cyclists breathe—is much worse than the air within. The study demonstrated this by showing that drivers who open the windows and turn on the car’s fan expose themselves to between two and four times as much particulate matter as those who keep the windows shut. Joggers, I guess you should start sprinting through the intersections—but try not to breathe hard while doing so (that could make it worse).

Bert Guevara's insight:

"... Kumar’s study may reignite an old debate: whether we should turn cars off at traffic lights. Idling engines not only expose drivers to pollution but also burn more than10 billion gallons of gasoline each year. NRDC recommends turning off your car if you will be stopped for more than 30 seconds. The Environmental Defense Fund suggests shutting down for waits of 10 seconds or more. Two auto executives, however, told Car and Driver in 2008 that starting a hot engine is too stressful for most cars. Environmentalists and car manufacturers don’t agree? I can’t believe it."

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Waste-to-energy revolution boosted by biobattery idea - Climate News Network ("need for more research")

Waste-to-energy revolution boosted by biobattery idea - Climate News Network ("need for more research") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
4 March, 2014 − New processes to turn waste products into renewable energy that can power cars, planes and turbines are rapidly being developed across the world.

Competition to make bio-fuels out of waste products that would otherwise have to be dumped is creating a fast-growing, worldwide industry.

And a German research organisation now believes it has perfected a system called a “biobattery” for turning a vast range of waste into energy.

However, the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Energy and Safety Technology(UMSICHT) in Germany has developed the  biobattery, which uses sewage sludge, green waste, production residues from the food industry, straw and animal excrement to create electricity, heat, purified gas, engine oil and high quality biochar (a form of charcoal).

The scientists at UMSICHT, a research organisation that claims to be the leader in Europe for turning ideas into commercial ventures, believe that they can efficiently produce electricity and even marine and aviation fuel from the process.

To make all this work efficiently, the biobattery is a series of environmental technologies bolted together in one complex. They include biogas plants, thermal storage, carburettors and engines to produce electricity.

At the heart of the system is a process called “thermo-catalytic reforming”, which turns organic material into carbon. This is then processed to make oil, gas or coke.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The trend towards conversion of waste to different forms of renewable fuel and energy is nearing sustainable levels. 

"The process is continuous, feeding raw material in one end and mixing it up without oxygen with a continuous turning screw. The material is heated up to break it down into charcoal and gases. These vapours are then heated up again and cooled down to create bio-oil and water. The remaining gas is purified and collected.

"The liquid, gaseous and solid products can be re-used in various ways. The oil can either be processed into marine and aviation fuel or used in a combined heat and power plant, as can the gas, to produce electricity and heat. The separated process water, which contains numerous short-chain biodegradable carbon compounds, can be fed back into the biogas plant to increase the methane yield. The biochar is ideal as a soil conditioner."

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Apple spending $2 billion on two European data centers running on 100 percent renewable energy

Apple spending $2 billion on two European data centers running on 100 percent renewable energy | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Apple has announced plans worth €1.7 billion ($1.93 billion) to construct two new data centers in Europe. Each facility will be run using 100 percent renewable energy and will provide online...

"We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date. We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet."

Building data centers in Europe not only allows Apple to get rid of some of its foreign cash while creating local good will — it also put the company in a better position for defending users' data privacy. In the last couple of years there has been a surge in European data centers being built by US firms, with companies reacting to concerns that data stored on American soil will simply be hoovered by the NSA. Paul Nemitz, a director in the European Commission’s Justice Unit, described the uptick in new sites as "proof" that Europe was "becoming a trust center for data."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Apple investing in a sustainable clean energy future.

The commitment to using renewable energy in both centers underscores Apple's green credentials. Earlier this month it announced it was investing $850 million in building a giant solar farm to power its new global headquarters, with Cook saying: "We know at Apple that climate change is real. The time for talk has passed and the time for action is now."

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Cebu City vulnerable to climate change – study ("how is your city adapted to CC?; is it resilient?")

Cebu City vulnerable to climate change  – study ("how is your city adapted to CC?; is it resilient?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Cebu City ranked sixth out of 16 cities in terms of vulnerability to climate change impacts but the problems faced by the metropolis  are minor, an official of

ebu City ranked sixth out of 16 cities in terms of vulnerability to climate change impacts but the problems faced by the metropolis  are minor, an official of the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature reported yesterday.

In a study conducted four years ago by the WWF-Philippines on Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Change Impacts, Cebu City scored 6.55 in  vulnerability.

... it is important to understand the role of the private sector and collaboration with neighboring towns and cities for better management.

He cited the importance of land use planning and the implementation of these plans.

“Cebu (City), which is a resource-scarce area, must learn to produce more with less. That’s going to be a challenge. Therefore, you must learn to integrate a way to manage Cebu,” ...

The other 16 cities that were studied include Baguio, Cebu, Davao and Iloilo in 2011; Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, Laoag and Zamboanga in 2012; Angeles, Batangas, Naga and Tacloban in 2013; Butuan, General Santos, Puerto Princesa and Santiago in 2014. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

How vulnerable is your city?

"Baguio City ranked the most  vulnerable with a score of 7.43 while Angeles City, which was covered in 2013, ranked lowest with a score of 5.56.

"Each city was analyzed using three factors—climate exposure, socio-economic sensitivity, and adaptive capacity."

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Clean Air and Healthy Lungs: How to Better Tackle Air Pollution ("can cities have clean air & dev't at the same time?")

Clean Air and Healthy Lungs: How to Better Tackle Air Pollution ("can cities have clean air & dev't at the same time?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Clean Air and Healthy Lungs: World Bank Report on How to Better Tackle Air Pollution
But city-dwellers in India and China are not the only ones facing worrying levels of air pollution. From Senegal to Peru, millions of people breathe polluted air every day, suffering a range of health implications. In 2012, an estimated 3.7 million people died from diseases brought on by breathing polluted air. And air pollution is not limited to big cities. Add to that pollution from household sources like cook stoves and heating, and that number goes up to about 7 million, according to the World Health Organization. The impact of pollution is felt across families, cities and societies in terms of health costs, impaired quality of life, lost productivity and missed economic opportunities. A new World Bank report, Clean Air and Healthy Lungs: Enhancing the World Bank’s Approach to Air Quality Management, examines the Bank’s own experience working with developing countries to improve air quality over a decade, so that the institution and developing countries are better prepared to tackle this major challenge in the future. The report comes on the heels of the formation of a Pollution Management and Environmental Health program whose focus is to help developing countries reduce pollution and build healthier and more economically stable communities. The Bank recently commissioned a review of its methodology for estimating the cost of air pollution damages that will provide stronger evidence for action on pollution. The Bank is also a partner of advocacy and knowledge sharing coalitions, such as the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, that seek to advance better understanding of pollution challenges and effective solutions.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Aspiring for the best of both worlds... is it reachable? "The future of growth in Africa and Asia will largely take place in cities. This urbanization does not have to mean that deadly polluted and un-breathable air will become the new normal. Cleaner transportation, industry, energy, construction, agriculture and waste systems, backed by stronger standards can save lives and support the cities of the future. “Improving air quality can be achieved in the face of urbanization when proactive leaders are willing to institute the right policies and investments,” said Paula Caballero, Senior Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice at the World Bank. “A nation can have clean air and healthy lungs, in addition to the economic benefits of urbanization.”
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Panel Urges Research on Geoengineering as a Tool Against Climate Change ("this is prudence in place")

Panel Urges Research on Geoengineering as a Tool Against Climate Change ("this is prudence in place") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The National Academy of Sciences panel said that with proper governance, experiments of climate intervention technologies should pose no significant risk.

The panel said the research could include small-scale outdoor experiments, which many scientists say are necessary to better understand whether and how geoengineering would work.

Some environmental groups and others say that such projects could have unintended damaging effects, and could set society on an unstoppable path to full-scale deployment of the technologies.

But the National Academy of Sciences panel said that with proper governance, which it said needed to be developed, and other safeguards, such experiments should pose no significant risk.

Geoengineering options generally fall into two categories: capturing and storing some of the carbon dioxide that has already been emitted so that the atmosphere traps less heat, or reflecting more sunlight away from the earth so there is less heat to start with. The panel issued separate reports on each.

The panel said that while the first option, called carbon dioxide removal, was relatively low risk, it was expensive, and that even if it was pursued on a planetwide scale, it would take many decades to have a significant impact on the climate. But the group said research was needed to develop efficient and effective methods to both remove the gas and store it so it remains out of the atmosphere indefinitely.

The second option, called solar radiation management, is far more controversial. Most discussions of the concept focus on the idea of dispersing sulfates or other chemicals high in the atmosphere, where they would reflect sunlight, in some ways mimicking the effect of a large volcanic eruption.

Bert Guevara's insight:

We are not against technology, but transparency is a condition. I tend to side with action so long as it is implemented with prudence.

"But the panel said that society had “reached a point where the severity of the potential risks from climate change appears to outweigh the potential risks from the moral hazard” of conducting research."

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Choking in car fumes, Madrid locals curse pollution ("diesel fuel and too many cars = dirty air")

Choking in car fumes, Madrid locals curse pollution ("diesel fuel and too many cars = dirty air") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Air pollution, mainly due to traffic fumes, causes 2,000 deaths a year in Madrid, a city of 3.2 million inhabitants

It estimates that air pollution, mainly due to traffic fumes, causes 2,000 deaths a year in Madrid, a city of 3.2 million inhabitants, where there is about one vehicle for every two people according to authorities.

Ecologists in Action said that in the first two weeks of January Madrid had already exceeded one of the European Union's annual health limits for poisonous nitrogen dioxide gas in the air.

That made 2015 the sixth year in a row that Madrid had breached the limit since the current EU norms came into force in 2010, said the group. Madrid risks big EU fines for the breaches.

A study last year by the French association Respire ranked Madrid as the sixth most-polluted big city in Europe, a few places behind Rome, London and Paris.

Antonio Miguel Carmona, an opposition Socialist candidate for mayor of Madrid, citing doctors, claimed that hospital admissions for breathing problems had risen 30% in the first half of January. No official figure was available.

Madrid's nitrogen dioxide problem is blamed on a high proportion of its vehicles -- 70 percent, according to Sanjuanbenito -- using diesel fuel, which generally makes them cheaper to run than petrol ones.

"I think there is an excessive use of vehicles in cities, and that of course includes Madrid," Sanjuanbenito said.

"But if you banned diesel vehicles here, that would be extraordinarily costly and families in Madrid could not handle it at short notice."



Bert Guevara's insight:

Air pollution is still a persistent problem in major cities, including here in Metro Manila. The continued use of diesel fuel is a major contributor.

"In this country, people do not seem to realize that breathing is the most basic need," she said. "The pollution problem is a constant battle." 

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The Making of a Climate Refugee ("where will climate refugees get justice and retribution?")

The Making of a Climate Refugee ("where will climate refugees get justice and retribution?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Four years ago, Ioane Teitiota barely knew what global warming was. Today, the migrant farmer from the tiny island nation of Kiribati is a test…

So did the High Court later that year, after the well-publicized open hearing that first allowed Teitiota’s name to go public. In May 2014, the Court of Appeal also dismissed the case. All three bodies issued similar decisions, ruling it wasn’t their place to expand the scope of the international refugee convention to cover those displaced by climate change. Despite their sympathy for the people of Kiribati, the legal authorities said Teitiota’s argument failed to meet the narrow criteria spelled out in the convention.

In their various opinions, New Zealand authorities wrote that the impacts of climate change are largely indiscriminate, rather than targeting any individual for any particular reason. Furthermore, the appellate justices agreed with Justice Priestley, writing that the arguments in the case attempted to “stand the [refugee] convention on its head.” Refugees typically flee from governments that have failed to protect them from persecution or that have persecuted them directly. In this case, Teitiota “is seeking refuge within the very countries that are allegedly ‘persecuting’ him,” Priestley wrote, referring to industrialized nations filling the skies with greenhouse gases. Priestley noted that if he granted asylum to Teitiota and if the legal precedent spread around the world, it would open the doors to “millions of people” facing economic deprivation, consequences of natural disasters, or other “hardships caused by climate change.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

The issue of climate justice gets international media attention.

"The allure, of course, was how the case touched on broader political questions. Should international law protect those forced to leave their countries due to climate- related disasters? Do wealthy, high carbon dioxide-polluting countries have a responsibility to help the poor countries least capable of weathering a changing climate?"

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This "Simple Home" has legs ("you need this if your house is in a danger zone now; adaptation option")

This "Simple Home" has legs ("you need this if your house is in a danger zone now; adaptation option") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Gerhard Feldbacher has designed a lovely little portable home that you can drop anywhere in Austria.

That's why I was so excited about Gerhard Feldbacher's Simple Home; it is delivered on a flatbed and supported on legs. This makes it a lot easier to transport and set up than a shipping container, there is no need for a crane to drop it on the ground. The Home to Go model is made of wood, is 8'-6" wide (the widest you can go down the highway without special permits and licences) by 25' long.

It is built of one of my favorite materials, cross-laminated timber four inches thick and a ventilated larch exterior so it will cool and comfortable inside.

It's a lovely little interior design as well, with a pop-out bedroom and fold-down deck. I love the old suitcase storage.

There is a kitchen that folds up and a bathroom behind. There is no explanation that I can find about where the water goes from the bathroom and kitchen, whether there are tanks or not.

It does beg the question of whether such a home should just be on a chassis like a trailer and get towed instead of being transported on a flatbed. I do like the extra height, and often those wheels and chassis on trailers get very little use. Nice work; this one has legs. More at Simple Home and Gerhard Feldbacher, found on Tiny House Swoon.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Climate change adaptation brings out the best designs. How do you like this design?

"It's a lovely little interior design as well, with a pop-out bedroom and fold-down deck. I love the old suitcase storage."

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