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Palawan aims for a 100% renewable energy future - Rappler ("being off grid may be a blessing")

Palawan aims for a 100% renewable energy future - Rappler ("being off grid may be a blessing") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Rappler
Palawan aims for a 100% renewable energy future
Rappler
GOING FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY. Palaweños gather to lend their support to the Palawan provincial government's 100% renewable energy plan. All photos by Pia Ranada/Rappler.

It was the eve before the start of consultations for the province's master energy plan. The goal is for the province to be 100%-powered by renewable energy and reduce electricity costs for the entire province.

The plan is long overdue. Palawan, an emerging tourist destination known for its natural wonders, is besieged daily by brown-outs and black-outs that sometimes last as long as 10 hours. The island is not connected to the national grid and is dependent on bunker or diesel fuel shipped in from other countries.

Around 60% of barangays in the province have no power, said Ventura, while those who do pay a high price, literally. Electricity here costs P12 per kilowatt/hour (kW/h) compared to the Metro Manila rate of P6/kW/h.

But Palawan's exclusion from the national grid may be a blessing in disguise: it means Palawan can restart from scratch and isn't bound to follow the fossil-fuel-dependent energy models used in other parts of the Philippines.

This, combined with Palawan's pristine ecosystems, makes the province the perfect experimental ground for renewable energy in the Philippines.

"Palawan is so much better off than the rest of the Philippines. Palawan is the last ecological frontier. It can prove if we can live sustainably. It can be a model to follow," said World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines CEO Lory Tan.

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How Climate Deniers Try to Sow Confusion ("we are wasting time arguing; time to act")

How Climate Deniers Try to Sow Confusion ("we are wasting time arguing; time to act") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Climate change deniers use a handful of ploys to sow confusion

Failing that, it helps if you can continue the climate argument on your own by responding to things you wish the other side would say, but won’t. Take the business of climate change being settled science. 

For a long time, scientists have been telling the world that humans are a significant cause—likely the leading cause—of the dangerous deterioration in the climate that has played out over the past few decades. Unmoved, critics continued to howl that the whole thing was a hoax—something about One World Government or the Federal Reserve or who-knew what-all—and so finally, during his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama tried to move on, echoing something the scientists had been saying for a long time: 

“The debate is settled,” he said, “climate change is a fact.” 

You’d think it would be hard to argue with that, but pundits on the right showed a way. In a column shortly after Obama’s speech, The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer, conceding that he believes greenhouse emissions are indeed a serious threat, wrote, “I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.”

That would indeed be propaganda, but as I mentioned at the time, it is very explicitly not what the scientists say. They concede that predicting the exact state of the climate at any one point in time is impossible, and there’s barely a journal paper printed anywhere that doesn’t include a section at the end headed, “Limitations and Questions” that spells out the work that still needs to be done—climate papers among them. But the scientists are very clear about where the trend lines are pointing, and they’re not good.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"That, ultimately, is the thing about science—you can’t argue it or pundit it into submission. Climate change is a deadly serious business. Period. There are more than enough debates about the best way to deal with it without playing games about what we know—or about what the people on the other side are saying."
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Climate change: Is the 1.5ºC target a mirage? ("agreement only sets minimum effort; need more")

Climate change: Is the 1.5ºC target a mirage? ("agreement only sets minimum effort; need more") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The Paris Agreement to try to cap global warming at 1.5ºC was a stunning political victory for poor countries threatened by climate change – but scientists tasked with explaining how to get there are less than thrilled

The Paris Agreement to try to cap global warming at 1.5ºC was a stunning political victory for poor countries threatened by climate change. 

But scientists tasked with explaining how to get there are less than thrilled. 

The UN's climate science panel announced last week it would deliver – at the request of governments – a "special report" in 2018 on the risks and impacts associated with a 1.5ºC (2.7ºF) target. 

But even as 3/4 of the 195 nations which sealed the historic deal in December gather Friday, April 22, for a formal signing ceremony at the UN, experts warn that marshalling thousands of scientists to map a pathway to 1.5ºC may be Mission Impossible. 

Some bridle against politicians meddling with the scientific agenda. Others insist the goal just can't be reached. 

"1.5ºC is almost certainly not feasible without an overshoot," said Peter Frumhoff, chief scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, expressing a view shared – if not frequently articulated – by climate experts. 

The global economy simply cannot be weaned off fossil fuels quickly enough, they argue. 

Joeri Rogelj, a climate modeller at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria agreed: "It will be very hard – if not impossible – to keep warming below 1.5ºC during the entire 21st century." 

Even under optimistic scenarios, he told Agence France-Presse, greenhouse-gas emissions may push Earth past the 1.5ºC threshold by 2050, perhaps sooner.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The future consequences from PAST carbon levels is not included in the Paris Agreement efforts. Reducing future carbon emissions is only a minimum effort target.
Sorry guys, I am still not smiling.

"The question then becomes whether this is a one-way ticket or whether we can return," 
Rogelj said. "And that depends on whether we can remove large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere." 
The technology for sucking CO2 out of the air is well beyond our reach on anything approaching a global scale, scientists agree, yet virtually all scenarios for a 2ºC world – much less a 1.5ºC cap – depend on it."
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From Paris to New York, climate pact to cross next hurdle ("we cannot fail to execute this agreement")

From Paris to New York, climate pact to cross next hurdle ("we cannot fail to execute this agreement") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

More than 160 nations gather in New York on April 22 to ink the pact whose execution demands a radical overhaul of the global economy

Four months after settling on a plan to stave off calamitous global warming, more than 160 nations gather in New York Friday, April 22, to ink the pact whose execution demands a radical overhaul of the global economy. 

After the Champagne moment when the world community sealed the hard-fought agreement in Paris on December 12, signing the document is an important step. 

The next, and final, procedural phase will be ratification by individual governments. Only when 55 countries responsible for 55% of global greenhouse gases have done so can the agreement enter into force.

"First and foremost, it (Friday's signing) will serve a strong symbolic function," said Pascal Canfin, with green group WWF. 

"But it also creates the political space to accelerate action and build on the dynamism" of the Paris conference, which concluded years of tough and complicated negotiations. 

A total of 163 countries have said they will attend the high-level signing ceremony hosted by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

With so many countries present, "we should set a record for the signing of an international accord," French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, who presides over the climate forum, predicted before departing for New York. 

"It is clear that decision-makers have taken the urgency of the climate threat to heart. It is a very good sign.

" Countries which do not sign the document on Friday can do so in the year that follows.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Aside from nations agreeing to reduce FUTURE global carbon emissions, the problem of PAST emissions is still creating havoc on our weather patterns.

"The agreement sets out broad lines of attack against climate change. 
"It defines the goal of limiting global warming to "well below" 2ºC (3.6ºF) – 1.5ºC if possible. ....
"We are far from the 2ºC goal," said France's top climate negotiator Laurence Tubiana, reiterating the need to "accelerate reform towards a low-carbon economy.
" On current trends, scientists say, the world will warm by 4ºC over benchmark pre-Industrial Revolution levels – or 3ºC if countries live up to their pledges."
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Carbon dioxide is rising at its fastest rate in 66 million years ("no historical precedent of CC")

Carbon dioxide is rising at its fastest rate in 66 million years ("no historical precedent of CC") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Planet-warming carbon dioxide is now increasing at the fastest rate of anytime in 66 million years.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, comes about a week after news broke that the level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere spiked by the largest amount on record in 2015, and on the heels of the hottest year and mildest first two months of 2016 on record.

There has been a long-running debate in the scientific community about just what caused the massive climate change and sizable species extinctions at the PETM boundary, and how quickly carbon was released into the atmosphere, thereby warming the air and seas while also acidifying the oceans. While mass extinctions of marine creatures occurred during the PETM, there was not widespread species loss on land, according to study co-author Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During the PETM, the total amount of carbon released was about equal to all the fossil fuels thought to be currently left on Earth. This period likely saw the largest carbon release in at least the past 66 million years, according to the study.

The study also used computer model simulations of Earth’s climate and carbon cycle in order to estimate rates of change from the record without needing precise knowledge of the precise ages of each sediment layer in the record. The global temperature increase during the PETM is thought to be between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius, or 7.2 to 14.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Scott Wing, a paleobiologist and curator at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, who did not contribute to the new study.


Bert Guevara's insight:
Humans are releasing planet-warming carbon dioxide at about 10 times faster than the most rapid event of anytime in at least the past 66 million years. This leaves us without a historical analogue to guide predictions for how climate change will affect the world in coming years, a new study has found.
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Climate Change is Altering How the Poles Drift ("unprecedented issue for science; drastic results")

Climate Change is Altering How the Poles Drift ("unprecedented issue for science; drastic results") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

New research sheds light on how ice loss driven by climate change is affecting Earth's spin axis.

And while that cycle isn’t going away, climate change is messing with the axis upon which our fair planet spins. Ice melting has caused a drift in polar motion, a somewhat esoteric term that tells scientists a lot about past and future climate and is crucial in GPS calculations and satellite communication.

Polar motion refers to the periodic wobble and drift of the poles. It’s been observed for more than 130 years, but the process has been going on for eons driven by mass shifts inside the earth as well as ones on the surface. For decades, the north pole had been slowly drifting toward Canada, but there was a shift in the drift about 15 years ago. Now it’s headed almost directly down the Greenwich Meridian (sorry Canada no pole for you, eh). Like many other natural processes large and small, from sea levels to wildfires, climate change is also playing a role in this shift. “Since about 2000, there has been a dramatic shift in this general direction,” Surendra Adhikari, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said. “It is due to climate change without a doubt. It’s related to ice sheets, in particular the Greenland ice sheet.” That ice sheet has seen its ice loss speed up and has lost an average of 278 gigatons of ice a year since 2000 as temperatures warm. The Antarctic has lost 92 gigatons a year over that time while other stashes of ice from Alaska to Patagonia are also melting and sending water to the oceans, redistributing the weight of the planet.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"Ice loss explains most but not all of the shift. The rest can mostly be chalked up to droughts and heavy rains in certain parts of the globe. Adhikari said this knowledge could be used to help scientists analyze past instances of polar motion shifts and rainfall patterns as well as answer questions about future hydrological cycle changes. 
"Ice is expected to continue melting and with it, polar motion is expected to continue changing as well.
“What I can tell you is we anticipate a big loss of mass from West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and that will mean that the general direction of the pole won’t go back to Canada for sure,” Adhikari said.
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Longannet power station closes ending coal power use in Scotland ("weaning world from coal is real")

Longannet power station closes ending coal power use in Scotland ("weaning world from coal is real") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The biggest plant of its kind in Britain has been generating electricity for 46 years, with closure marking ‘end of an era’ for coal power in Scotland

Scotland will on Thursday witness an end to the coal age which fired its industrial revolution with the closure of Longannet power station. The symbolic switch off is an important step towards a lower carbon Britain but is another blow to energy security. The Fife-based plant – the biggest of its kind in Britain – has been generating electricity for a quarter of Scottish homes for almost half a century but has bowed to a mixture of old age, rising transmission costs and higher taxes on carbon. Over 230 direct jobs and an estimated 1,000 indirect ones could be hit by the decision from Spanish-owned utility, Scottish Power, to switch off the last generator at the 2,400 mega watt capacity plant. “Coal has long been the dominant force in Scotland’s electricity generation fleet, but the closure of Longannet signals the end of an era,” said Hugh Finlay, generation director at ScottishPower.

No decisions have been taken on the future of the site, but Scottish Power expects to outline its plans before the end of the year. Longannet is the largest coal-fired plant in Britain as rival Drax is firing as much wood as coal these days. When built Longannet was the largest of its kind in Europe.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is the desired trend for the planet - switching to clean energy sources, and away from coal. But unforutnately, the Philippines has approved the building of more coal-powered plants to solve short-term power supply problems.

“The closure of Longannet marks an historic and inevitable step in our energy transition as Scotland becomes one of the first nations to end its use of coal for power. 
“While the power station has served the nation for many years, the world is moving forward to cleaner, cheaper forms of renewable energy generation.”
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Ice and the Sky / La Glace et le ciel (2015) - Trailer - (another case of "i told you so ...")

Directed by : Luc Jacquet Produced by : Eskwad Genre: Documentary - Runtime: 1 h 30 min French release: 21/10/2015 Production year: 2014 Ice and The Sk

In 1956, glaciologist Claude Lorius left on his first trip to Antarctica, where he would spend the winter gathering previously undocumented meteorological and geophysical data. Three decades and 22 expeditions later, Lorius unveiled his groundbreaking findings: the irrefutable link between greenhouse gasses and climate, gleaned from glacial ice cores providing snapshots of the environment up to 800,000 years into the past. His key contribution? Realizing that air bubbles trapped in the cores could provide precise atmospheric snapshots of the past. Such a long view, extending over eight ice age cycles, allowed Lorius to look far beyond temporary or cyclic fluctuations, and the implications were clear: "Over the last 100 years, the CO2 produced by man is behind an unprecedented rise in temperatures on Earth."

Bert Guevara's insight:
This movie trailer sends a powerful message. I hope I can access the full movie.
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The World’s Poorest Cities Can’t Cope With Climate Change ("rich & poor divide grows in adaptation")

The World’s Poorest Cities Can’t Cope With Climate Change ("rich & poor divide grows in adaptation") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A new study explores the staggering spending gap between developed and developing megacities struggling to adapt to global warming.

With the majority of Earth’s 7.3 billion people now living in cities, urban centers worldwide are racing to bolster themselves and their residents against rising sea levels, more frequent flooding, hotter temperatures, and other effects of climate change before these problems become too big to manage. But the poorest megacities, where fast-growing populations are often the most vulnerable to these impacts, may already be falling behind.

However, within even the lowest allocations, there were some telling trends. Megacities in developing nations spent about double the amount of rich megacities on agriculture and forestry, while the wealthiest nations tended to make energy a higher priority. “The disparities between the spends in the cities were bigger than expected and go just beyond the different economic capacities of the cities,” said Lucien Georgeson, an economic geographer at University College London and lead author of the study. Also, the pattern of spending “suggests to us that the adaptation spend in these cities is not necessarily always to protect people at risk. It might be more to protect infrastructure and things with an insurable value,” Georgeson explained.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"We were surprised that the spend per capita was so different,” he said. “Our aim is not to point the finger at cities in developing countries but to explore whether those cities have enough resources to adapt. It’s more like a warning signal about the lower levels of spending in developing megacities because of their vulnerability and population trends.” 
"This is the first study that has attempted to independently assess how much money megacities are spending to prepare for climate change impacts and to compare how they’re spending it, Georgeson said. While the study included data on 10 cities, “my sense is it would be broadly similar in other cities,” he added. “If there’s a city that isn’t similar, that would be very interesting to find out.”
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Ontario To Convert Nanticoke Coal Plant Into 44 MW Solar Farm ("classic model of clean energy switch")

Ontario To Convert Nanticoke Coal Plant Into 44 MW Solar Farm ("classic model of clean energy switch") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
As part of Ontario’s phaseout of coal energy and commitment to a clean energy economy, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and its partners, Sun Edison Canadian Construction LP and Six Nations Development Corp., are developing a 44 MW solar facility on and near the Nanticoke Generating Station site on Lake Erie.
The Nanticoke Generating Station, once considered the largest coal plant in North America, was closed for safety reasons last year. This endeavor, the Nanticoke Solar Project, will repurpose the site as an emissions-free energy generating facility. “The Nanticoke project is a great opportunity for Ontario to take a former coal plant site and transform it into a clean and reliable solar power plant,” says Michelle Chislett, SunEdison’s vice president and country manager for Canada. 
“The project aligns with our community values of sustainability and environmental prosperity,” says Matt Jamieson, president and CEO of Six Nation’s Development Corp. “Investing in clean energy benefits the people of Six Nations economically without compromising our children’s future.” According to OPG, this is the power company’s fourth partnership with the First Nations, having produced renewable generation from the Lac Seul station, the Lower Mattagami River station and the Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station. 
“OPG is already Ontario’s largest renewable energy producer, and this will be an important addition to our portfolio,” says Jeff Lyash, OPG’s president and CEO. “We stopped burning coal at Nanticoke in December 2013, and this is an investment in a cleaner energy future for Ontario.” 
The partners will now work together to obtain the required approvals and contracts needed to start construction. 
Bert Guevara's insight:
This is a classic symbol for the clean energy switch! We should be seeing more of these in the near future.
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Patty Lara's curator insight, March 21, 8:30 PM
This is a classic symbol for the clean energy switch! We should be seeing more of these in the near future.
T@T lab's curator insight, March 25, 8:23 AM
This is a classic symbol for the clean energy switch! We should be seeing more of these in the near future.
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Here's What Climate Change Has Done to the Season Formerly Known as Winter | VICE News

Here's What Climate Change Has Done to the Season Formerly Known as Winter | VICE News | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Abnormally warm weather across the Northern Hemisphere points to the continued pace of global warming, which is toppling temperature record after temperature record.

Winter is coming to a warm, wet close in the Northern Hemisphere, knocking down records on the way. Though fading, the Pacific warming phenomenon El Niño helped drive the average temperatures in the continental United States to a new winter record. December-through-February readings were 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 degrees Celsius) over the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported this week. Adding to the worrying string of data, NASA reported this week that February's average global temperatures set another new record, 2.43 F (1.35 C) over the average mark for the month between 1951 and 1980. It's the fifth straight month that the average has topped 1 degree in that tally, and February's number was more than 0.2 C over January's — a big margin in climate terms.

The season started off with a green Christmas across the East, while tornadoes raked Texas, the Gulf Coast, and the Southeast in December, February, and again in March. Even Alaska had its second-warmest winter on record. And while snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere was above normal in January, it was running far below normal in February, said Thomas Mote, a geographer and climatologist at the University of Georgia. Mote said the unusual heat comes from the combination of a long-term trend — the gradual warming of the planet — and the Pacific Ocean warming phenomenon El Niño, which drove global temperatures to a second consecutive annual record in 2015. The current El Niño is fading, but the bigger warming trend shows no sign of stopping, Mote said.

Bert Guevara's insight:
While scientists hesitate to pin any one event on climate change, the pattern over the past few decades has been for winters to get warmer and warmer, said Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. "We're still going to have cold weather, cold temperatures, snow and ice," Hayhoe said. "But what we're used to is changing. So nowadays, when we get a winter that was the typical winter when we were little, we say 'Oh my goodness, what an unusual winter.' Well, that used to be the normal winter.
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Harry Boutin's curator insight, March 21, 3:41 PM
While scientists hesitate to pin any one event on climate change, the pattern over the past few decades has been for winters to get warmer and warmer, said Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. "We're still going to have cold weather, cold temperatures, snow and ice," Hayhoe said. "But what we're used to is changing. So nowadays, when we get a winter that was the typical winter when we were little, we say 'Oh my goodness, what an unusual winter.' Well, that used to be the normal winter.
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Now, Delhi Metro hit by rising pollution ("even electrical equipment endangered by polluted air")

Now, Delhi Metro hit by rising pollution ("even electrical equipment endangered by polluted air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Delhi Metro has had to redesign its electrical overhead equipment set-up for the phase III to withstand the increasing pollution in the capital. Its spokesman Anuj Dayal said, "Heavy pollution in Delhi and the rest of NCR has been posing challenges in reliable maintenance of power supply system."

To improve the reliability of the system, DMRC is upgrading its OHE set-up. According to Dayal, Delhi Metro had conducted a pollution mapping of the localities through which the Metro network goes. The survey by the Bengaluru-based Central Power Research Institute had identified 22% of the areas as "very heavily polluted" while another 76% were found to be "heavily polluted". The survey, which was done in 2014-15, also showed that most of the "very heavily polluted" areas were located near the Yamuna or near industrial areas like Azadpur and Kirti Nagar.

The high pollution levels had an impact on the running of the trains, said Dayal. "Due to pollution, a conducive layer of pollutants is formed on the surface of the insulators, resulting in increased leakage of current and sometimes, flashovers on the insulators and tripping of power supply," added Dayal. This obviously led to delays in trains.

In phase III, the Delhi Metro is now planning to change the set-up of the OHE in order to protect it from the corrosive pollution levels. "For instance, we will have higher creepage distance (shortest distance between the metal parts at each end of the insulator) in the OHE in place of the current ones, which will help in avoiding unwanted trippings or flashovers," said Dayal.


Bert Guevara's insight:
Even the train system in India is affected by its toxic air pollution. They have to change the insulation materials. 
How about the lungs of its people? Can they also be replaced?

"The high pollution levels had an impact on the running of the trains, said Dayal. "Due to pollution, a conducive layer of pollutants is formed on the surface of the insulators, resulting in increased leakage of current and sometimes, flashovers on the insulators and tripping of power supply," added Dayal. This obviously led to delays in trains."
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Statistics From China Say Coal Consumption Continues to Drop ("but 210 new coal-powered plants coming?")

Statistics From China Say Coal Consumption Continues to Drop ("but 210 new coal-powered plants coming?") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The data lends further support to the view that the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide may be reaching a peak in coal consumption.

Coal use has dropped in China because the country’s economic growth has slowed considerably in recent years. The government is also enacting policies to curb coal use in large population centers in eastern China, to bring down extraordinary levels of air pollution.

In a new estimate of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, a team of international researchers said China’s carbon dioxide emissions had fallen 2.5 percent in 2015 compared with 2014. Emissions in the United States, the largest emitter after China, were down 3 percent, and carbon dioxide emissions globally appeared to have dropped 0.43 percent, according to Glen Peters, a member of the team, called the Global Carbon Project. 

The figures were a revision of earlier estimates released in December, which put the global decline in emissions for 2015 at 0.6 percent. 

The pain being felt across China’s coal industry suggests the country’s slowdown in coal demand and consumption is real. On Monday, the government said the coal and steel industries, which are dominated by state-owned enterprises, were expected to lay off 1.8 million workers, or about 15 percent of the work force. 

Zeng Hao, a coal industry analyst in Shanxi, one of China’s biggest coal-producing provinces, said the industry did worse than expected in 2015. Coal producers were hoping for a recovery in the third quarter, but it never materialized, he said.

On Wednesday, Greenpeace East Asia released a revised report that said China had granted environmental permits last year for 210 new and proposed coal-fired power plants. The group’s original report, released in November, had put the number at 155. Greenpeace estimated that the 210 proposed plants would cost about $100 billion in total.

Bert Guevara's insight:
More coal plants to come - in China???!!! I thought the world has already agreed to reduce carbon emissions.

"On Wednesday, Greenpeace East Asia released a revised report that said China had granted environmental permits last year for 210 new and proposed coal-fired power plants. The group’s original report, released in November, had put the number at 155. Greenpeace estimated that the 210 proposed plants would cost about $100 billion in total."
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How Climate Change Unfairly Burdens Poorer Countries ("the Phil is one of the worse hit countries")

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

 

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

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T@T lab's curator insight, March 25, 8:24 AM

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

 

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

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Flirting with the 1.5°C Threshold ("reality overtakes COP signing; warming in february exceeds limit")

Flirting with the 1.5°C Threshold ("reality overtakes COP signing; warming in february exceeds limit") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A Climate Central analysis shows that the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions if it wants to meet the 1.5°C COP goal.

Climate Central scientists and statisticians made these calculations based on an average of global temperature data reported by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But rather than using the baselines those agencies employ, Climate Central compared 2016’s temperature anomalies to an 1881-1910 average temperature baseline, the earliest date for which global temperature data are considered reliable. NASA reports global temperature change in reference to a 1951-1980 climate baseline, and NOAA reports the anomaly in reference to a 20th century average temperature. 

NASA’s data alone showed a February temperature anomaly of 1.63°C above early industrial levels with March at 1.54°C. 

Calculating a baseline closer to the pre-industrial era provides a useful measure of global temperature for policymakers and the public to better track how successful the world’s efforts are in keeping global warming below agreed-upon thresholds. 

A similar adjustment can be applied to some of the temperature change projections in the most recent IPCC report. 

The IPCC AR5 Working Group 1 Report contains projections of future global surface temperature change according to several scenarios of future socio-economic development, most of which are presented using a baseline of 1986 to 2005. The IPCC chose this baseline in order to provide its readers a more immediate base of comparison, the climate of the present world, which people are familiar with. But these representations may suggest that the Paris goals are easier to reach than is true.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"A Climate Central analysis shows that the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions if it wants to meet that goal. The average global temperature change for the first three months of 2016 was 1.48°C, essentially equaling the 1.5°C warming threshold agreed to by COP 21 negotiators in Paris last December. 
"February exceeded the 1.5°C target at 1.55°C, marking the first time the global average temperature has surpassed the sobering milestone in any month. March followed suit checking in at 1.5°C. January’s mark of 1.4°C, put the global average temperature change from early industrial levels for the first three months of 2016 at 1.48°C."
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This Solar Power Plant Can Run All Night ("mirrors and liquid salt provide better energy storage")

This Solar Power Plant Can Run All Night ("mirrors and liquid salt provide better energy storage") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Could it replace conventional energy sources?

Crescent Dunes looks and sounds a bit like an invention lifted from a science fiction novel. Deep in the Nevada desert more than 10,000 mirrors—each the size of a highway billboard—neatly encircle a giant 640-foot tower. It looks like it might be used to communicate with aliens in deep space. 

 But the engineers and financiers behind the facility, located in the desert about halfway between Las Vegas and Reno, say the power plant’s promise is anything but fiction. The solar power facility built and operated by the company SolarReserve can power 75,000 homes. What sets it apart from other big solar projects is that this plant can store power for use when it is most needed, including cloudy days and after dark—a major advance for renewable energy technology.

“This is the first utility-scale facility in the world with this technology,” says SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith. “Our technology can truly replace conventional generation.” 

The Crescent Dunes plant, and others in the class known as concentrated solar, does not have that problem. The plant uses thousands of mirrors to reflect light into a central tower. Inside, concentrated sunlight heats up liquid salt to over 1,050°F (566°C). Salt is capable of retaining very high levels of heat, turning it into a kind of thermal battery. When the utility company needs electricity on the grid, plant operators use the stored heat in the molten salt to power a traditional steam turbine. Altogether the process emits a whopping total of zero tons of carbon.

Bert Guevara's insight:
A new approach to solar energy! Better storage technology.

"The plant uses thousands of mirrors to reflect light into a central tower. Inside, concentrated sunlight heats up liquid salt to over 1,050°F (566°C). Salt is capable of retaining very high levels of heat, turning it into a kind of thermal battery. When the utility company needs electricity on the grid, plant operators use the stored heat in the molten salt to power a traditional steam turbine. Altogether the process emits a whopping total of zero tons of carbon."
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Oil industry knew of 'serious' climate concerns more than 45 years ago ("greater sin of hiding truth")

Oil industry knew of 'serious' climate concerns more than 45 years ago ("greater sin of hiding truth") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Researchers warned American Petroleum Institute in 1968 that the release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels could lead to ‘worldwide environmental changes’

The oil industry’s knowledge of dangerous climate change stretches back to the 1960s, with unearthed documents showing that it was warned of “serious worldwide environmental changes” more than 45 years ago. The Stanford Research Institute presented a report to the American Petroleum Institute (API) in 1968 that warned the release of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels could carry an array of harmful consequences for the planet. The emergence of this stark advice follows a series of revelations that the fossil fuel industry was aware of climate change for decades, only to publicly deny its scientific basis. “Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000 and these could bring about climatic change,” the 1968 Stanford report, found and republished by the Center for International Environmental Law, states. “If the Earth’s temperature increases significantly, a number of events might be expected to occur including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, a rise in sea levels, warming of the oceans and an increase in photosynthesis. “It is clear that we are unsure as to what our long-lived pollutants are doing to our environment; however, there seems to be no doubt that the potential damage to our environment could be severe.” The study, written by scientists Elmer Robinson and RC Robbins, adds that accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere could cause “serious worldwide environmental changes”. The scientists estimated that CO2 in the atmosphere could reach 400 parts per million by 2000. In fact, CO2 levels broke that milestone last year, recording their largest leap on record.

Bert Guevara's insight:
What happens when a company puts company profits ahead of the people it was meant to serve? The interest of the company became more important than the interest of the people and the planet. 
What happened to ethics?

"Last year, it was revealed that ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, knew of climate change as early as 1981, only to spend millions of dollars over the following 27 years to promote climate denial. The exposure of this prior knowledge has been led by Inside Climate News."
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Analysis: Who killed the electric car (again) - Energydesk ("this confirms what we already know")

Analysis: Who killed the electric car (again) - Energydesk ("this confirms what we already know") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Who holds back the electric car? They do.

The oil industry and oil trade associations in California spent millions of dollars last year to kill off legislation that would have meant the significant take-up of electric vehicles in the state. Global brands – including BP, Shell, Exxon and Chevron – local oil and gas companies and trade bodies, spent more than $22 million (£15 million) on lobbying in California last year – a record – according to official figures.

During that summer there was also a rather blatant campaign spreading fear-mongering rumours about what the law entailed for car users. In October 2015, SB 350 passed – but without the key clause calling for a 50% reduction in petroleum use by vehicles by 2030. This would have meant lift off for the electrification of the transport sector in California and would have been the equivalent of removing 36 million (non-electric) cars and trucks from the road. The lobbying comes as oil majors scramble to present a future in which electrification plays little or no role. In its most recent energy forecasts BP predicted almost nobody will drive an electric car even by 2035.

It didn’t work, and the law got passed in California. But one of the WSPA’s astroturfing groups, the California Drivers Alliance, continued the push against emissions regulation, this time against SB 350 in the summer of 2015. The alliance re-dubbed SB 350 “The California Gas Restriction Act of 2015” and waged an information battle with leaflets, a social media campaign, billboards and media ads.

Bert Guevara's insight:
In the Philippines, we need to convince our legislators to continue giving incentives to electric vehicles. We realize, of course, that the other side (Big Oil) is against it.

"In October 2015, SB 350 passed – but without the key clause calling for a 50% reduction in petroleum use by vehicles by 2030. 
"This would have meant lift off for the electrification of the transport sector in California and would have been the equivalent of removing 36 million (non-electric) cars and trucks from the road."
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Another study says warming may be worse than experts think ("they forgot to factor in the clouds")

Another study says warming may be worse than experts think ("they forgot to factor in the clouds") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON (AP) — Most computer simulations of climate change are underestimating by at least one degree how warm the world will get this century, a new study suggests. It all comes down to clouds and how much heat they are trapping. According to the study published Thursday in the journal Science, computer model simulations say there is more ice and less liquid water in clouds than a decade of satellite observations show. The more water and less ice in clouds, the more heat is trapped and less the light is reflected, said study co-author Trude Storelvmo, a Yale atmospheric scientist. She said even though it tens of degrees below freezing, the clouds still have lots of liquid water because they don't have enough particles that helps the water turn to ice crystals. Because as the climate changes, there will be more clouds with far more liquid, and global warming will be higher than previously thought, Storelvmo said. How much warming is predicted for the next 80 or so years depends a lot on if society cuts back on carbon dioxide emissions. In the worst case scenario, with no carbon reduction, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sees temperatures rising by about 6.7 degrees by the end of the century and Storelvmo said the liquid cloud factor would add another degree or more on top of that. While the study is "well-reasoned" and "sobering," there are uncertainties with the satellite observations that raise questions for Chris Bretherton at the University of Washington, who wasn't part of the study. He said if the Yale team is right and there's a bigger cloud feedback, why hasn't warming so far been even higher? That's a legitimate question, Storelvmo said, but computer simulations may also be underestimating the cooling effect of aerosols that mask the warming but are diminishing in the atmosphere. This is just the latest in a series of studies that have found that mainstream science may be too conservative in estimating the pace and effects of warming, including melting ice sheets in Antarctica. "None of this is good news," Storelvmo said. "You always hope that climate isn't as sensitive to carbon dioxide as we fear, same with the ice sheets, but we're calling it as we see it. Several studies have come out and show that we've been too conservative up until now." Uncertainties in mainstream climate science are more "on the bad side" than on the side of less harm, said climate and glacier scientist Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University, who wasn't part of the study. "Climate science thus is probably more open to criticism of being too conservative than being too alarmist."
Bert Guevara's insight:
When clouds disappear on a sunny day, check your thermometer!

"It all comes down to clouds and how much heat they are trapping. According to the study published Thursday in the journal Science, computer model simulations say there is more ice and less liquid water in clouds than a decade of satellite observations show. The more water and less ice in clouds, the more heat is trapped and less the light is reflected, said study co-author Trude Storelvmo, a Yale atmospheric scientist. She said even though it tens of degrees below freezing, the clouds still have lots of liquid water because they don't have enough particles that helps the water turn to ice crystals."
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There’s a reason some birds don’t seem to fly south for winter anymore ("warming changes migration")

There’s a reason some birds don’t seem to fly south for winter anymore ("warming changes migration") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Birds are on the move in Europe and the United States, as their habitats warm.

The study on the warming climate’s effect on common birds “is the first real demonstration that climate is having a similar, large-scale influence” on the animals around the world. It was undertaken by an international team of researchers led by the Durham University in England, with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, and published Thursday in the journal Science. “These findings represent a new climate impact indicator for biodiversity,” said Stephen Willis, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the university’s School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. “The same approach could also be applied to species such as bees, butterflies and dragonflies, which are well monitored and highly susceptible to changes in climate.”

Thursday’s study supports previous research commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that said warming temperatures are altering the habitat ranges of birds in every state, so much so that the mascot of Baltimore’s baseball team — the oriole — might no longer inhabit the Baltimore-Washington region 30 years from now. The same is true for eagles. As the area warms and dries, they would have to find other habitats, possibly fight other species for a place there, and quickly adapt or possibly perish, a study published two years ago by the National Audubon Society says. Of 588 species studied, about 125 were expected to be pushed from half their range and likely decline.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The changes in bird migration patterns affect ecosystems which we may be taking for granted now. But continued changes will not be so subtle.

"Various species of birds flocking from one range to another leaves more than just a void. It can do as much harm to a natural ecosystem as humans who abandon one city for another can hurt the economy of their place of origin. Birds eat pests and are prey for other animals that rely on them to survive. 
“Common species dominate ecosystems, and even small changes in their abundance can lead to large changes in ecosystem structure, function, and service provision,” the study said.
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Carbon Farming: Hope for a Hot Planet - Modern Farmer ("putting the carbon back to the soil")

Carbon Farming: Hope for a Hot Planet - Modern Farmer ("putting the carbon back to the soil") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Among the top climate-change culprits, agriculture finally attempts to address the issue, via a series of holistic methods called carbon farming.

Why all the hubbub? And, for that matter, what exactly is it about? Carbon farming is agriculture’s answer to climate change. Simply put, the goal is to take excess carbon out of the atmosphere, where the element causes global warming, and store it in the soil, where carbon aids the growth of plants. The principle is pretty straightforward—the practice, not so much. Most folks understand that burning fossil fuels puts carbon that was once buried deep beneath the earth into the atmosphere, turning the planet into one big greenhouse in the process. But in addition to petroleum underground, the soil on the surface of the earth contains a sizable store of carbon in the form of organic matter—the stuff that environmentally aware farmers and gardeners are always striving to maximize. Plants add organic matter to the soil when they decompose, and photosynthesis, by definition, removes carbon dioxide from the air and pumps it through the roots of plants and into the soil.

At first glance, most carbon-farming techniques mirror age-old organic growing methods: Instead of relying on chemical crutches and pulverizing the soil with constant tillage, you enrich it with compost and rotate a diverse array of food and cover crops through the fields each season. (See “Five Tenets of Carbon Sequestration,” below.) But Brown and other practitioners of carbon farming—Virginia’s Joel Salatin and Zimbabwe’s Allan Savory are the best known among them—go to extraordinary lengths to keep carbon-producing organic matter in the soil and out of the atmosphere. Plowing is avoided like the plague. Instead of turning up the earth at the end of a given crop’s cycle, Brown sends his livestock—Angus cattle, Katahdin sheep, hogs, and chickens—into the field to trample and eat the crop. He then uses a seed drill to plant the next crop among the decaying roots of the previous one.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"At first glance, most carbon-farming techniques mirror age-old organic growing methods: Instead of relying on chemical crutches and pulverizing the soil with constant tillage, you enrich it with compost and rotate a diverse array of food and cover crops through the fields each season. But Brown and other practitioners of carbon farming—Virginia’s Joel Salatin and Zimbabwe’s Allan Savory are the best known among them—go to extraordinary lengths to keep carbon-producing organic matter in the soil and out of the atmosphere. Plowing is avoided like the plague. Instead of turning up the earth at the end of a given crop’s cycle, Brown sends his livestock—Angus cattle, Katahdin sheep, hogs, and chickens—into the field to trample and eat the crop. He then uses a seed drill to plant the next crop among the decaying roots of the previous one."
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Exxon's Climate Denial History: A Timeline ("more than 40 years of climate denial funded by big oil")

Exxon's Climate Denial History: A Timeline ("more than 40 years of climate denial funded by big oil") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A timeline of Exxon's climate research and campaign to deny climate science.

Exxon made the news in September and October of 2015 when research produced by InsideClimate News, the Los Angeles Times, and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism revealed that Exxon had know since the 70s about the causes of climate change and the dangers climate disruption poses. The articles spurred a wave of action against Exxon. In November 2015, the New York state attorney general announced an investigation into Exxon for disclosure violations. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders called for a federal investigation into the company. And more than 350,000 Americans joined that call, petitioning the Department of Justice to investigate. The news has changed the game on fossil fuel companies and their role in climate denial. But the track record of Exxon’s climate science denial and climate double talk has been growing for some time. Check the timeline below for a rundown.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Follow the 40-year timeline of climate change denial by Big Oil. This shows how long the truth had been kept from the public, in the interest of the oil industry, to the detriment of the planet.

"1978 James Black, working under Exxon’s Products Research Division, writes an internal briefing paper called “The Greenhouse Effect” following from a 1977 presentation to Exxon’s management committee. The paper warns that human-caused emissions could raise global temperatures and result in serious consequences. “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical,” Black writes in his summary of the presentation. (Source: InsideClimate News) 
"1979 At the urging of a Exxon scientist Henry Shaw, Exxon begins analyzing the absorption rate of carbon dioxide in the oceans, considered one of the key questions of climate science at the time. “Exxon must develop a credible scientific team that can critically evaluate the information generated on the subject and be able to carry bad news, if any, to the corporation,”Shaw wrote in a letter to Exxon research executives. (Source: InsideClimate News)"
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Tom Schueneman's curator insight, March 24, 6:51 PM
Follow the 40-year timeline of climate change denial by Big Oil. This shows how long the truth had been kept from the public, in the interest of the oil industry, to the detriment of the planet.

"1978 James Black, working under Exxon’s Products Research Division, writes an internal briefing paper called “The Greenhouse Effect” following from a 1977 presentation to Exxon’s management committee. The paper warns that human-caused emissions could raise global temperatures and result in serious consequences. “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical,” Black writes in his summary of the presentation. (Source: InsideClimate News) 
"1979 At the urging of a Exxon scientist Henry Shaw, Exxon begins analyzing the absorption rate of carbon dioxide in the oceans, considered one of the key questions of climate science at the time. “Exxon must develop a credible scientific team that can critically evaluate the information generated on the subject and be able to carry bad news, if any, to the corporation,”Shaw wrote in a letter to Exxon research executives. (Source: InsideClimate News)"
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A frightening record: Carbon dioxide levels show biggest-annual jump ("treading on uncharted future")

A frightening record: Carbon dioxide levels show biggest-annual jump ("treading on uncharted future") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

We're crashing climate records left and right.

Recently, we’ve had more reason than usual to be optimistic on climate change — the world reached its first truly global climate agreement in December, there are a lot of signs that China is getting serious about its emissions, and coal is facing economic collapse in the U.S. But there’s just as much news to sour this outlook, particularly when you look at what’s happening to carbon dioxide. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reported the biggest 12-month jump in carbon dioxide concentrations since record-keeping began, based on preliminary data from its Earth Science Research Lab in Mauna Loa. From February 2015 to 2016, the global concentration of carbon in the atmosphere rose a record 3.76 parts per million (ppm), to over 404 ppm. The last record-holder was 1997-1998, when carbon dioxide rose 3.70 ppm. We’ve broken other records this past year, too: The 2015 calendar year also posted the biggest-annual rise in carbon levels, while NOAA reported last May that carbon stayed above an average 400 ppm for the entire month, a first in millions of years.

Meanwhile, 2015 was the hottest year on record. Mauna Loa’s data looks at the big picture of carbon in the atmosphere and not just emissions from the energy sector and industry. It includes deforestation’s impact on CO2, as well as El Niño, which boosts wildfires that release even more carbon. The previous record, 1997-1998, was also during El Niño.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The climate is treading on uncharted territory. We are gambling on our future by continuing to delay major action, while hoping that nature will be fine by itself.
If the odds lean towards the "man-made disaster" scenario, then it's a "God help us" future for the planet.

"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reported the biggest 12-month jump in carbon dioxide concentrations since record-keeping began, based on preliminary data from its Earth Science Research Lab in Mauna Loa. From February 2015 to 2016, the global concentration of carbon in the atmosphere rose a record 3.76 parts per million (ppm), to over 404 ppm. The last record-holder was 1997-1998, when carbon dioxide rose 3.70 ppm. We’ve broken other records this past year, too: The 2015 calendar year also posted the biggest-annual rise in carbon levels, while NOAA reported last May that carbon stayed above an average 400 ppm for the entire month, a first in millions of years."
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T@T lab's curator insight, March 25, 8:23 AM
The climate is treading on uncharted territory. We are gambling on our future by continuing to delay major action, while hoping that nature will be fine by itself.
If the odds lean towards the "man-made disaster" scenario, then it's a "God help us" future for the planet.
 
"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reported the biggest 12-month jump in carbon dioxide concentrations since record-keeping began, based on preliminary data from its Earth Science Research Lab in Mauna Loa. From February 2015 to 2016, the global concentration of carbon in the atmosphere rose a record 3.76 parts per million (ppm), to over 404 ppm. The last record-holder was 1997-1998, when carbon dioxide rose 3.70 ppm. We’ve broken other records this past year, too: The 2015 calendar year also posted the biggest-annual rise in carbon levels, while NOAA reported last May that carbon stayed above an average 400 ppm for the entire month, a first in millions of years."
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CO2 data is 'wake-up call' for Paris climate deal - BBC News ("the delay in climate action raises alert level")

CO2 data is 'wake-up call' for Paris climate deal - BBC News ("the delay in climate action raises alert level") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increased more in past 12 months than at any time in the past 56 years.

Measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii went up by more than three parts per million(ppm) in 2015. 

Scientists say the spike is due to a combination of human activities and the El Niño weather pattern. They argue that the data increases the pressure on global leaders to sign and ratify the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Mauna Loa is the world's oldest continuous atmospheric measurement station, with records dating back to the later 1950s. It is regarded as the most important site in the global monitoring network, recording the see-saw, rise and fall of carbon in the atmosphere over a year. Plants and trees tend to absorb more CO2 during the spring and lose it as autumn approaches and leaves die off.

For the past decade the average increase in carbon dioxide at the station has been 2ppm. But in 2015 the level grew by 3.05ppm - In the year to February 2016, the level went up by 3.76ppm. 

The global climate phenomenon, El Niño, is believed to have played a role in the rise. Scientists at the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) say that the previous biggest increase was in 1998, also an El Niño year. 

The weather event drives drought in many parts of the tropics and in 2015 this led to forest fires in Indonesia and other locations which pumped large amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The sense of urgency for big-time climate action is raised another level. The longer the delay, the longer the abnormality will prevail.

"The scientists say the latest figures should encourage global leaders to make progress on the Paris Climate Agreement. 
The UN is hoping that prime ministers and presidents will turn up in large numbers at a signing ceremony in New York in April, and that the treaty will become operational this year. 
"This should serve as a wake-up call to governments about the need to sign the Paris Climate Agreement and to take urgent action to make the cuts in CO2 emissions necessary to keep global temperature rises to well below 2C," said the WMO's Petteri Taalas.
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El Niño, La Niña: How do they mess with our weather? ("back-to-back weather normals that wreck havoc")

El Niño, La Niña: How do they mess with our weather? ("back-to-back weather normals that wreck havoc") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Recurring climatic events are driven by air pressure tendencies and the warmth of seas in the Pacific Ocean.

To start, it’s important to note that both are naturally recurring climatic events. They are not storms. Chaotic weather is not the guaranteed outcome of either. They are not a product of climate change.

El Niño and La Niña are part of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, a climate pattern affected by variations of sea surface temperatures and air pressure tendencies in and around the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The warm phase of ENSO is known as El Niño and the cool phase is La Niña. 

The equatorial Pacific is split into four regions over which sea surface temperatures, or SSTs, are monitored. One region, Niño 3.4, is where scientists have found the best linkage between SSTs and climate patterns. 

For a weather event or pattern to be classified as an El Niño or a La Niña, the SSTs in the 3.4 region must be at least 0.5 degrees Celsius — about one degree Fahrenheit — above or below the long-term average for a minimum of roughly six or seven consecutive months. 

On average, ENSO undergoes a full cycle every two to seven years. El Niño and La Niña events occur every three to five years and reach peak strength between October and March, when SSTs across the equatorial Pacific are the warmest.

Basic ocean and atmospheric circulation set the scene. Cold waters deep in the equatorial Pacific move eastward toward the Americas, causing the upwelling, or surfacing, of these cool waters off the coast of Peru.

Easterly trade winds — that is, from the east — coming along the equator carry surface waters westward toward Asia. During the journey, the waters are warmed by the sun. Upon arrival, the waters sink down to the ocean floor, restarting the cycle.

Bert Guevara's insight:
El Niño and La Niña will be around every 3 to 5 years, so it is important to understand where they come from. Read and be informed, and be prepared.

"To start, it’s important to note that both are naturally recurring climatic events. They are not storms. Chaotic weather is not the guaranteed outcome of either. They are not a product of climate change."
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Old coal-fired plants go boom! ("how did you feel while watching this?")

Video shows the demolition of these Duke Energy coal plants: Weatherspoon, H.F. Lee, Cape Fear and Cliffside. Music provided by the Skidmore College Orchestra.

Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the U.S., released a video this week showing the death of four of its old coal power plants, giving environmentalists an awesome soundtrack to the death of the coal industry.

The video shows the demolition of Weatherspoon, H.F. Lee, Cape Fear, and Cliffside, all facilities in North Carolina. The demolitions, set to a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, are nothing short of transfixing.

Bert Guevara's insight:

How did you feel while watching this video?

While many coal-fired power plants around the world are being closed down, the Philippines is constructing new ones.


"Thanks in large part to cheap natural gas, many of America’s coal plants have been reduced to rubble — or are about to be. As of last November, over 200 coal-fired stations had been retired or were scheduled for retirement. According to ananalysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance last year, about 17 percent of U.S. coal-fired power generation is expected to disappear over the next few years. It’s been said that the coal industry is “in terminal decline,” and there’s no better way to visualize that than the crumbling of an enormous, dirty power plant."

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