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IPCC Draft Report Leaked: Global Warming Consequences ... ("man-made causes now more certain")

IPCC Draft Report Leaked: Global Warming Consequences ... ("man-made causes now more certain") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Editor's Note: The IPCC now has even more evidence that humans are causing global warming and that global warming consequences are speeding up. The full details on the new IPCC report and what's actually new in it are ...

Of course, nothing in the report should be a surprise to readers of Climate Progress, since the AR5 is just a (partial) review of the scientific literature (see my 12/11 post, It’s “Extremely Likely That at Least 74% of Observed Warming Since 1950″ Was Manmade; It’s Highly Likely All of It Was). The draft AR5 confirms that natural forces played a very small role in warming since 1950, which again means that human activity is highly likely be a source of virtually all of the recent warming.

I say the AR5 is a “partial” review that is “hopefully” the last because, like every IPCC report, it is an instantly out-of-date snapshot that lowballs future warming because it continues to ignore large parts of the recent literature and omit what it can’t model. For instance, we have known for years that perhaps the single most important carbon-cycle feedback is the thawing of the northern permafrost. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment climate models completely ignore it, thereby lowballing likely warming this century.

The report is simply an exclamation mark on what we already knew: Climate change is real and it continues unabated, the primary cause is fossil fuel burning, and if we don’t do something to reduce carbon emissions we can expect far more dangerous and potentially irreversible impacts on us and our environment in the decades to come.

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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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Climate Change Moves the Doomsday Clock | Climate Central ("we are very close to point of no return")

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bert Guevara's insight:

What time is it? - on the Doomsday Clock!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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


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


En definitiva, ahorro e innovación en un mismo producto.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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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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The Adaptation Imperative ("the longer the delay in action, the costlier it becomes; even if 2 deg limit is hit")

The Adaptation Imperative ("the longer the delay in action, the costlier it becomes; even if 2 deg limit is hit") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The recently completed UN climate conference in Lima, Peru, featured a new and welcome focus on the importance of adaptation. But how to provide the funding, technology, and knowledge that countries, communities, and ecosystems need to adjust to climate change requires further articulation.

Even if we limit the rise in global temperatures, climate change is here to stay. Communities are already facing more extreme and frequent droughts, floods, and other weather events. These consequences will only intensify.

Yet the UN Environment Programme’s first adaptation report, released in Lima, showed that the world remains wholly unprepared to cover the costs of adaptation. And those costs will be far higher than was previously thought. According to the report, even if the temperature target is met, the cost of adaptation will reach 2-3 times the previously anticipated $70-100 billion per year by 2050 (an increase of as much as fivefold is possible, though less likely).

If global temperatures exceed the two-degree ceiling significantly, adaptation costs could reach double the worst-case figures, placing a crippling burden on the world economy. If world leaders needed another compelling reason to reach a deal in Paris that keeps global temperatures below the target, this is it.

The burden of adjustment will be borne by everyone. But it will be heaviest for developing countries, least-developed countries, and Small Island Developing States. Though international funding will be available, costs will fall largely to countries, with governments forced to divert scarce resources from development projects to adaptation initiatives.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Even if the alarm bells keep ringing, the political and economic hurdles remain, which make nations wait for leaders to agree. Is there hope for an agreement while natural disasters are taking their toll on life and property?

In the Philippines, the ordinary citizen has accepted the fact that climate disasters will come yearly, we are just waiting who will get hit next.

"Some argue that the global economy cannot afford adaptation. But, as the latest evidence shows, delaying action will mean higher costs later. If we truly want to build a sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future, we cannot afford to wait."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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