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Navy Demonstrates Fuel From Seawater Production ("another energy game changer from the US navy")

Navy Demonstrates Fuel From Seawater Production ("another energy game changer from the US navy") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
EcoGeek - Technology for the Environment

A team of US Navy research scientists has developed a method to produce liquid fuel from seawater, using CO2 and hydrogen extracted from the ocean and then processed with a metal catalyst to produce liquid fuel. As a demonstration of the concept, an unmodified scale airplane has been flown with the seawater fuel.

The concentration of CO2 is about 140 times higher in seawater than it is in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen are the two feedstocks needed to make hydrocarbons. The process relies on "an iron-based catalyst [which] has been developed that can achieve CO2 conversion levels up to 60 percent and decrease unwanted methane production in favor of longer-chain unsaturated hydrocarbons (olefins)." The process is claimed to be the first technology of this type with the potential for commercial implementation.

"The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Liquid fuel from seawater? Ask the US Navy.

"The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years."

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Pause button hit on global warming, possibly for a decade - Tech Times ("may be under the Atlantic")

Pause button hit on global warming, possibly for a decade - Tech Times ("may be under the Atlantic") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Pause button hit on global warming, possibly for a decade Tech Times Historical records show heat being pulled down into the ocean caused a similar warming "hiatus" from about 1945 to 1975, the researchers said, after which the cycle of currents...

A number of theories have been proposed in an attempt to explain it; now researchers are suggesting a naturally occurring cycle of Atlantic Ocean currents that takes about 30 years to complete may have hit the "pause" button on warming.

The cycle is known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation current.

The heat may have gone into the ocean, the researchers suggest, citing evidence that the 30-year Atlantic current cycle alternatively warms and then cools the globe by pulling large amounts of heat from the atmosphere into the ocean depths.

That suggests that global warming has not really eased, but rather is ongoing in the world's oceans while the temperature of the atmosphere has temporarily stabilized, they say.

"It's important to distinguish between whether ocean heat storage is responsible for the hiatus versus not enough heat reaching the surface of the Earth," says study co-author Ka-Kit Tung of the University of Washington. "We did find enough heat stored in the North and South Atlantic that, if it had remained on the surface, it would have resulted in rapid warming."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Proof that climate science is complicated, we are still theorizing where the missing heat went. If it's under the Atlantic Ocean (not in the Pacific), then how will this impact the planet when the ocean can't take any more heat?

"Temperature data from there showed Atlantic regions were storing more heat energy than the total going into all the rest of the world's oceans combined, they said."

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Antarctica Has One Totally Unexpected Secret ("penguins yes, ice no!; ice-free Antarctic present")

Antarctica Has One Totally Unexpected Secret ("penguins yes, ice no!; ice-free Antarctic present") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
This island is in a very cold place, but you won't see much snow.

Antarctica is a desert (albeit a polar one) and while it is the "largest single mass of ice on Earth," it still has a few spots without ice, specifically Barrientos Island...

Barrientos shares Antarctica's extreme polar climate with its South Shetland Islandneighbors, which basically just means the ground is always frozen, the "green mossy carpet" thrives and and ice sheets never form because it's always so cold.

But don't let the green fool you -- Barrientos is a harsh and unforgiving place, with weather that can turn at the drop of a hat and steep cliffs that drop off near black-sand beaches. Tourists and explorers flock to the islands on cruise ships and hired passages, mostly because of the island's adorable penguin and seal inhabitants.

However, an increase in visitors has led to the erosion and harm of much of the Antarctic landmass. Comedian John Oliver recently (and humorously) begged tourists to stop "trampling the continent's fragile ecosystems," which has disrupted the wildlife's natural habitat. Becoming more like Barrientos Island isn't a good thing, and an increase in "ice-free" zones would spell doom for some of the creatures currently inhabiting the continent.

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EPA Blames Texas for Illinois Air Pollution - The Heartland Institute ("the planet has only one air")

EPA Blames Texas for Illinois Air Pollution - The Heartland Institute ("the planet has only one air") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
EPA Blames Texas for Illinois Air Pollution
The Heartland Institute
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is blaming power plants in Texas for Illinois air pollution and is using the accusation to justify restrictions on Texas power plants.

Several states have challenged EPA’s asserted authority to enact and enforce the cross-state rule, but two months ago the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it. Nevertheless, the Court ruled individual states can challenge specific applications of the rule if a state believes EPA is restricting emissions beyond what is necessary to prevent its contribution to another state’s air pollution.

EPA’s assertion Texas power plants are causing Illinois pollution raised eyebrows for several reasons. Granite City is approximately 500 miles from the Texas border and even farther away from Lone Star State major metropolitan regions. Granite City is northeast of Texas, with prevailing winds rarely trekking in that direction from Texas. In addition, a local steel mill, which has been an important source of the town’s prosperity since the 1890s, has long been recognized as a primary source of air pollution in Granite City.

EPA, however, claims it has devised computer models that indicate some sulfur dioxide from Texas power plants may reach Granite City, which has a population of 30,000.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Under EPA’s cross-state pollution rule, electric utilities will be forced to install expensive scrubbers to reduce emissions from smokestacks. Alternatively, they can join in a 28-state trading program in which they can purchase credits to cover their emissions. If neither of those two options are feasible, they can cut back production, mothball, or retire coal-fired power plants to achieve the limits. State officials and utility executives predict the final option will be the most likely outcome.

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Linking Climate Change to Extreme Weather ("since 2010, the data and events are obvious")

Meteorologist Jeff Masters explains why climate scientists once were hesitant to link climate change with the trend of extreme weather events.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Since 2010, the weather has started to act like crazy. Meteorologists have accumulated enough data to start concluding that the warming of the planet is causing a drastic change in weather patterns.

Here is one weather man who explains it in simple terms.

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Methane Blow-Holes Sign of Runaway Climate Change? | EcoWatch ("a point of no return; no kidding!")

Methane Blow-Holes Sign of Runaway Climate Change? | EcoWatch ("a point of no return; no kidding!") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Scientists think this mysterious crater may be a giant methane blow-hole that signals the beginning of runaway climate change. They are calling the point when frozen arctic methane in Canada, Alaska and Russia starts ...

Scientists think this mysterious crater may be a giant methane blow-hole that signals the beginning of runaway climate change.

They are calling the point when frozen arctic methane in Canada, Alaska and Russia starts erupting into the atmosphere dragon burps.

If you have ever wondered whether you might see the end of the world as we know it in your life time, you probably should NOT read this story nor study the graphs or look at the pictures of methane blow holes aka dragon burps.

I think Dr. Jason Box, who has highlighted the appearance of dangerous spikes in methane above Siberia, sums it up best, “If we don’t get atmospheric carbon down and cool the Arctic, the climate physics and recent observations tell me we will probably trigger the release of these vast carbon stores, dooming our kids’ to a hothouse Earth.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

I read about this vast methane threat in the frozen North several years ago. They called it the "point of no return".

Have we reached it?

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Record-Setting Drought Intensifies in Parched California | Climate Central ("it can only get worse")

Record-Setting Drought Intensifies in Parched California | Climate Central ("it can only get worse") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
California's already terrible drought just go worse, again. Now 58% of the state is in exceptional drought.

New information coming in about reservoir levels, stream flows and groundwater pumping prompted Rippey to increase the amount of California covered by exceptional drought to 58 percent from 34 percent (all of the state is in some level of drought). That is a record amount of the state covered by this level of drought since the Monitor began in 1990, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The current drought — which rivals the terrible drought of the late 1970s — has been 3 years in the making, as three successive winter wet seasons went by with below-normal rainfall. The paltry snowpack this year really intensified matters, and the persistent pattern of heat in the West and cold in the East has kept much of California baking all year. In fact, the state had its warmest first six months of a year on record this year. July has followed suit with, for example, San Francisco registering an uncharacteristic 90°F on July 25, a full 12°F above normal.

“Excessive heat this time of year leads to heavy irrigation demands, deteriorating rangeland and pasture conditions, and higher evaporation rates,” Rippey wrote in an email.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Worsening drought while the planet continues to warm.


Officials have been hoping that a developing El Niño, currently foundering, would bring some relief in the form of winter rains this coming winter. But only strong El Niños are well correlated with rainier-than-normal conditions over Southern California, and this El Niño is looking less and less like it will be a strong one. However, even a weak or moderate El Niño could mean the wet season hits somewhat close to normal rainfall numbers.

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'Pay-as-you-go' solar financing hits new milestone ("just unlock the funds and solar will fly!")

'Pay-as-you-go' solar financing hits new milestone ("just unlock the funds and solar will fly!") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
We've said it before and we'll say it again: pay-as-you-go solar is the future for those working beyond the grid.

From Pakistan to Kenya, anecdotal reports have trickled in that pay-as-you-go solar finance -- the off-grid solar market's version of ...

This announcement is a confirmation of what many in the off-grid solar market have been saying for quite some time: it's all about unlocking finance. That's why the solar industry continues to demand $500 million from the World Bank in order to catalyze growth. (You can support their call by signing our petition here). Of course withmillions flowing into the solar market from a variety of sources, they're not exactly waiting for international financial institutions to make a move.

But enterprise financing is just one piece of the puzzle. Access to financing for everyday consumers is just as critical to unlock solar for the masses. That's because the upfront costs of solar technology can often times leave these clean off-grid energy products out of reach for many.

That's why d.light is doubling down on its success by announcing a new initiative that will focus on integrating advanced product technology and service offerings for a full range of payment systems, including microloans, self-help groups, top-up cards, and mobile money. Making solar financing as easy as possible for customers is the best way to get solar power into their hands.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Are you worried about the expected power shortage in 2015? Just switch to RE, preferably wind and solar, and you will have less worries.

Renewable energy financing in the Philippines is also starting to pick-up; just ask around. Also, cost is going down.

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Temperature Records and Global Warming Changes | The Energy Collective ("the hottest in 120 years")

Temperature Records and Global Warming Changes | The Energy Collective ("the hottest in 120 years") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
You may recall that the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported last month that March-May was the hottest in more than 120 years of record-keeping. Well, the JMA reported Monday that last month was the hottest June in more than 120 years of record-keeping.

That makes 3 straight record-breaking months for JMA — the hottest second quarter on record. It also means we had the hottest March-June on record.

And these records occurred despite the fact we’re still waiting for the start of El Niño. It is usually the combination of the underlying long-term warming trend and the regional El Niño warming pattern that leads to new global temperature records.

The JMA is a World Meteorological Organization Regional Climate Center of excellence. NASA reportedthis week fairly similar observations. In the NASA dataset, last month was the third warmest June on record — and the second quarter of 2010 just edged out the second quarter of this year for hottest on record.

It seems all but certain more records will be broken in the coming months, as global warming combines with an emerging El Niño — whose chance of forming NOAA puts at “about 70% during the Northern Hemisphere summer” and “close to 80% during the fall and early winter.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

The heat goes on! 

Global temperatures breaking all-time records -- and El Niño is not yet here!!!

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Welcome to London – the most toxic town on the planet - The Guardian ("city lifestyle did this")

Welcome to London – the most toxic town on the planet - The Guardian ("city lifestyle did this") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Independent Welcome to London – the most toxic town on the planet The Guardian Emissions research from King's College London has found nitrogen dioxide concentrations on Oxford Street to be worse than they are anywhere else on Earth, in the...

Emissions research from King's College London has found nitrogen dioxide concentrations on Oxford Street to be worse than they are anywhere else on Earth, in the history of air pollution. David Carslaw, who led the research, said: "To my knowledge this is the highest in the world in terms of both hourly and annual mean." That's higher than Beijing and Dhaka, higher than anywhere where face masks are the norm and the streets seem to throng with lost medics, and more than 11 times the EU limit.

A spokesman for the mayor of London called the figures "misleading", and said that the capital's air pollution was lower than that in many world cities. The fact is, there is too much stop-start traffic, too many tall buildings, too much nitrogen dioxide. But if you were more interested in winning a debate than you are in the air your fellow Londoners were breathing, you could see this as room for manoeuvre.

We've become so accustomed to the mantra that businesses and developers are king that we've ceased to even make the demand for some kind of equity between their interests and ours.

We're pre-empting the inevitable derision. And that's fair enough: nobody likes to be told no, especially if the refusal is couched in terms that insist upon the pathetic naivety of the request. But these explanations need to be drawn out.

The more we get a Boris Johnson exposition on why the cornflake box must be vigorously shaken for the benefit of the uppermost cornflakes, and how the natural superiority of rich people must be preserved by putting them first at all times, the more widely evident its ridiculousness will be.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Our planet has one air cover. We can't escape it.

"The problem with air is that you can't privatize it, so it doesn't deliver a natural political win – either by flogging or protecting it – for anyone but the Greens. But it does tell you quite a lot about the ambient political atmosphere, which right now is pretty toxic."

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Climate change makes criteria used to predict weather obsolete, UN says - Al Jazeera America

Climate change makes criteria used to predict weather obsolete, UN says - Al Jazeera America | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Sydney Morning Herald Climate change makes criteria used to predict weather obsolete, UN says Al Jazeera America The criteria used by everyone from farmers to governments to predict normal weather patterns need to be updated more frequently to...

The criteria used by everyone from farmers to governments to predict normal weather patterns need to be updated more frequently to account for significant changes caused by climate change, the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday.

The WMO's Commission for Climatology believes that rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves and heavy rains mean that existing criteria, based on climate averages from 1961 to 1990, are out of date.

The commission’s report highlighted growing concern among governments and businesses that climate change will disrupt not only the environment but also entire economies and nations. It comes just two months after a report from the Obama administration warned of dire consequences for every business sector and every region of the U.S. if climate change is not slowed.

"For water resources, agriculture and energy, the old averages no longer reflect the current realities," Omar Baddour, head of data management applications at the WMO, told Reuters.

Some weather services have already adopted new baselines, which just causes confusion, the WMO said.

"Different researchers and weather services are using different baselines, which results in inconsistent comparisons," it said.

Last year, the U.N.'s panel of climate scientists raised the probability that human activities, led by the use of fossil fuels, are the main cause of global warming to at least 95 percent from 90 in a previous assessment in 2007, and this year said the effects of climate change are "worse than we predicted."

Bert Guevara's insight:

I said this many times before - we have to update or rewrite our textbooks in economics & business, agriculture, architecture, engineering, medicine, etc. The accelerated effects of climate change were not even mentioned before. Today's data and trends and principles have become inadequate to cope with many of the present realities.

Even the U.N. is now acknowledging this.

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Smog-Reducing Buildings Aim to Combat Pollution Levels - AccuWeather.com ("way to go!")

Smog-Reducing Buildings Aim to Combat Pollution Levels - AccuWeather.com ("way to go!") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Smog-Reducing Buildings Aim to Combat Pollution Levels
AccuWeather.com
Air pollution is currently the world's largest single environmental health risk, according to the World Health Organization and a recent news release.

In 2013, the Manuel Gea González Hospital in Mexico City unveiled a façade made out of titanium dioxide coating designed specifically to reduce smog. The façade is made of modules called prosolve370e and designed by the Berlin-based Elegant Embellishments. The titanium dioxide is a pollution-fighting technology that is activated by ambient daylight as described on the product's website.

Hugo Destaillats, staff scientist with the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in Berkeley, California, has done similar research on a laboratory scale and verified that titanium dioxide is effective in removing pollution.

"There are many studies by numerous groups around the world that also showed the same positive performance," Destaillats said.

In 2015, another building designed to fight pollution will be unveiled, this time in Milan, Italy, as part of the 2015 Milan Expo. Designed by the Italian architectural firm Nemesi & Partners, the "Palazzo Italia" encompasses 13,275 square meters (142,890 square feet) and six floors.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Clean air is everybody's concern, including buildings.

"However, new technologies are coming to the forefront allowing for greater opportunities to reduce pollution. One of them comes in the form of new building materials."

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Hydrogen breakthrough could be a game-changer for the future of car fuels ("cheap fuel in horizon?")

Hydrogen breakthrough could be a game-changer for the future of car fuels ("cheap fuel in horizon?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
UK researchers today announced what they believe to be a game changer in the use of hydrogen as a 'green' fuel.

When the components of ammonia are separated (a technique known as cracking) they form one part nitrogen and three parts hydrogen. Many catalysts can effectively crack ammonia to release the hydrogen, but the best ones are very expensive precious metals. This new method is different and involves two simultaneous chemical processes rather than using a catalyst, and can achieve the same result at a fraction of the cost.

Ammonia can be stored on-board in vehicles at low pressures in conformable plastic tanks. Meanwhile on the forecourts, the infrastructure technology for ammonia is as straightforward as that for liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

Professor Bill David, who led the STFC research team at the ISIS Neutron Source, said "Our approach is as effective as the best current catalysts but the active material, sodium amide, costs pennies to produce. We can produce hydrogen from ammonia 'on demand' effectively and affordably.
Few people think of ammonia as a fuel but we believe that it is the natural alternative to fossil fuels. For cars, we don't even need to go to the complications of a fuel-cell vehicle. A small amount of hydrogen mixed with ammonia is sufficient to provide combustion in a conventional car engine. While our process is not yet optimised, we estimate that an ammonia decomposition reactor no bigger than a 2-litre bottle will provide enough hydrogen to run a mid-range family car."

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Extracting hydrogen fuel from ammonia using a cheap process to produce fuel is near completion. Indeed, cheap fuel from air will change the economics of the world and result in cleaner air.

"A new discovery by scientists at the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), offers a viable solution to the challenges of storage and cost by using ammonia as a clean and secure hydrogen-containing energy source to produce hydrogen on-demand in situ."

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Air quality to suffer with global warming ("less circulation will cause more stagnant dirty air")

Air quality to suffer with global warming ("less circulation will cause more stagnant dirty air") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Study suggests effects of climate change will slow air circulation around the world.

Climate change is poised to worsen air quality in many parts of the globe, according to a study published today in Nature Climate Change1. By the end of the century, more than half of the world’s population will be exposed to increasingly stagnant atmospheric conditions, with the tropics and subtropics bearing the brunt of the poor air quality.

A team led by Daniel Horton, a climate modeller at Stanford University in California, used 15 global climate models to track changes in the number and duration of atmospheric stagnation events, in which stationary air masses develop and allow soot, dust and ozone to build up in the lower atmosphere. “Much of the air-quality community focuses on pollutants,” says Horton. “This study takes a step back and looks at the weather or climate component that can lead to the formation of hazardous air quality.”

Air stagnation arises from three meteorological ingredients: light winds, a stable lower atmosphere and a day with little or no precipitation to wash away pollution.

In a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, Horton and his colleagues calculate that 55% of the global population will experience more air stagnation by 2099. Large swathes of India, Mexico and the Amazon could see up to 40 more stagnant air days per year compared to the average annual tally from 1986 to 2005, representing increases of 40%, 19% and 28% respectively.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Climate change is poised to worsen air quality in many parts of the globe ... By the end of the century, more than half of the world’s population will be exposed to increasingly stagnant atmospheric conditions, with the tropics and subtropics bearing the brunt of the poor air quality.


”Combine these stagnant air masses with extreme heat and a great number of people may end up sitting in emergency rooms,” 

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Trees lose out to climate change | Climate | The Earth Times ("trees under siege; losing battle")

Trees lose out to climate change | Climate | The Earth Times ("trees under siege; losing battle") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
There aren't many large forest animals in Europe, but the lack of forest is the main reason for that. Is it possible that more forest losses will take place because of the great storms cause d by climate change, the wildfires caused by global warming or the increased infection of many species by fungi?
Pollution and human encroachment may be a great threat elsewhere, but forests are suffering more from wind, bark beetles and wildfire. Europe's forests are very much protected these days, but climate change has been defeating the object of trying to maintain the vestiges of the great Eurasian forest that once covered the land. 

While we are trying to increase the forest carbon sink, the loss of timber before 2030 is likely to prevent that from happening. The management of forest now includes methods of increasing the absorption of carbon. To improve these techniques, it will now be necessary to improve the trees' ability to survive fire, beetle attack and "windthrow." Windbreaks, fire management and resilient varieties are needed over a vast area in the north and east, as well as the few larger forested areas in Western Europe. In the south, just as in Australia and California, fire is proving to be a tough taskmaster. The struggle to maintain cork oak or any other natural community in Spain and Portugal will be a difficult one.

One of the problems with beetle pests is the fungal infections they spread. Britain already looks likely to lose the ash (Fraxinus excelsior) after the loss of the elm, Ulmus procera in both Europe and North America several decades ago. Throughout Europe, many others have already gone or are threatened. The warming of the northern hemisphere will result in the northern spread of several beetle species and the faster growth of fungal infections.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Forests are having a difficult time recovering from all the natural and man-made challenges happening all over the planet.

Have you planted a tree lately? What is the tree population in your area compared to human population?

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German Village Produces 321% More Energy Than It Needs! ("record efforts on RE prove it's possible")

German Village Produces 321% More Energy Than It Needs! ("record efforts on RE prove it's possible") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Ok, those Germans are just showing off now. Not only have they started the shutdown of all the country's nuclear power plants and started the construction of 2,800 miles of transmission lines for their new renewable energy initiative, but now one of their villages is producing 321% more energy than it needs!

The small agricultural village in the state of Bavaria is generating an impressive $5.7 million in annual revenue from renewable energy.

It's no surprise that the country that has kicked butt at the Solar Decathlon competition (to produce energy positive solar houses) year after year is the home to such a productive energy-efficient village.

The village's green initiative first started in 1997 when the village council decided that it should build new industries, keep initiatives local, bring in new revenue, and create no debt. Over the past 14 years, the community has equipped nine new community buildings with solar panels, built four biogas digesters (with a fifth in construction now) and installed seven windmills with two more on the way.

In the village itself, 190 private households have solar panels while the district also benefits from three small hydro power plants, ecological flood control, and a natural waste water system.

All of these green systems means that despite only having a population of 2,600, Wildpoldsried produces 321 percent more energy than it needs - and it's generating 4.0 million Euro (US $5.7 million) in annual revenue by selling it back to the national grid. It is no surprise to learn that small businesses have developed in the village specifically to provide services to the renewable energy installations.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Over the years the village's green goals have been so successful that they have even crafted a mission statement — WIR–2020, Wildpoldsried Innovativ Richtungsweisend (Wildpoldsried Innovative Trend-setting). The village council hopes that it will inspire citizens to do their part for the environment and create green jobs and businesses for the local area.

 

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In China, Climate Change Is Already Here - The Diplomat ("just as predicted, weather extremes!")

In China, Climate Change Is Already Here - The Diplomat ("just as predicted, weather extremes!") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Diplomat In China, Climate Change Is Already Here The Diplomat The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Fourth Assessment Report (issued in 2007) predicted an increase in extreme rains in western and southern China and a decrease...

Northern China is currently experiencing a severe drought. Xinhua reports that Henan Province, one of China’s top grain producers, has suffered economic losses of 7.3 billion renminbi ($1.2 billion) due to the drought, with agriculture representing 97 percent of those losses. Neighboring Hebei Province is also suffering, with rainfall levels in some areas at less than 50 percent of yearly averages. Liaoning Province, meanwhile, is in the midst of its worst drought since the province began keeping meteorological records in 1951.

Even as northern Chinese provinces dry up, southern China is experiencing devastating floods. In southwestern China, July flooding due to extreme rainfall killed at least 34 and caused 5.21 billion RMB ($839.8 million) in damages. In mid-July, Typhoon Rammasun, the largest to make landfall on China in 40 years, brought more rains and flooding. More recently, heavy rains have complicated efforts to rebuild after the August 3 Yunnan earthquake, and just this week more flooding in Guizhou province killed at least 12 people.

The droughts in the north and floods in the south may not be a coincidence, but part of a future trend caused by global climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fourth Assessment Report(issued in 2007) predicted an increase in extreme rains in western and southern China and a decrease in rainfall in the north. And changes in rainfall patterns are only one small part of the challenges climate change poses for China.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Yet despite an awareness of the issues, China (like most countries around the world), is having trouble finding solutions. Certainly the threat lends increased urgency to  Beijing’s attempts to cut emissions and move to clean energy sources. However, even drastic emissions cuts cannot prevent the damage already done by past emissions, which will continue to drive global climate change patterns.

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4 Pathways to Our Climate Future—Which Will We Choose? | EarthTechling ("a predictable future ahead")

4 Pathways to Our Climate Future—Which Will We Choose? | EarthTechling ("a predictable future ahead") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment Report, we are approaching dangerous territory because of climate change.

All areas of the world have already experienced effects of global temperatures rising, from extreme weather events to record droughts.

For the first time in human history, concentrations of carbon dioxide, a global warming pollutant, have hit 400 parts per million in Earth’s atmosphere. Without taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we can expect to experience a number of escalating consequences, from sea level rise to ecosystem degradation, according to experts.

Yet there is still time to reverse course and stave off such catastrophic outcomes. IPCC  finds it physically and technically feasible to stay within the world’s “carbon budget” and offers useful tips for climate action.

What would the future look like if we took drastic action to cut emissions—or no action at all?

Using IPCC data, World Resources Institute created an infographic depicting the likely outcomes of four variable emissions pathways—known as Representation Concentration Pathways—from a low-carbon future to one that is fossil fuel-intensive.

Bert Guevara's insight:

With the aid of science, we are no longer acting as fortune tellers to have an idea of the future we are creating for ourselves.

It is up to this generation to determine the kind of future climate we are putting in place for the planet. It is a pity that the future generation will only reap what their parents have sown.

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Beijing To Fight Pollution With Coal Ban ("unmasking the masterminds and putting them out of business")

Beijing To Fight Pollution With Coal Ban ("unmasking the masterminds and putting them out of business") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
BEIJING (AP) — China's smog-plagued capital has announced plans to ban the use of coal by the end of 2020 as the country fights deadly levels of pollution, especially in major cities.

Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau posted ...

Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau posted the plan on its website Monday, saying the city would instead prioritize electricity and natural gas for heating.

The official Xinhua News Agency said coal accounted for a quarter of Beijing's energy consumption in 2012 and 22 percent of the fine particles floating in the city's air. Motor vehicles, industrial production and general dust also contributed to pollution in the 21 million-person city.

Even with the Beijing ban, coal use is expected to soar in China. Coal-fired power and heating is a major generator of greenhouse gases and has helped turn China into the world's largest emitter of carbon and other heat-trapping gases.

Pressure is growing on China's central government to clean up the country's polluted environment, as discontent over smog and water and soil contamination increases among China's expanding middle class.

The central government recently listed environmental protection as one of the top criteria by which leaders will be judged.

In September, the government announced a prohibition on new coal-fired power plants around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Cutting the use of coal is like quitting cigarette smoking. It has to be quick and absolute.

China has run out of excuses for pollution caused by coal. They can no longer use cheap fuel as an alibi.

 

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Last Month Was the Hottest June of All Time ("how many more extreme hot months will we endure?")

Last Month Was the Hottest June of All Time ("how many more extreme hot months will we endure?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
June was the second consecutive month with a record high global temperature

Just like the month that preceded it, June 2014 was the hottest of its kind in our planet’s history.

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), global land and ocean surface temperatures combined for an average of 61.2 degrees, making last month the hottest June ever. That figure exceeded the previous record in 1998 by 1.3 degrees.

In addition to marking the second consecutive month with a record high global temperature, June was also the fifth month this year to rank among the four hottest of all time for its respective month. February was the only exception.

According to the NOAA, nine of the 10 warmest Junes on record have taken place during the 21st century began. That includes each of the last five years.

“We are living in the steroid era of the climate system,” NOAA climate monitoring chief Derek Arndt told the Associated Press.

There are plenty of other figures that explain why Arndt would make such a statement:

The global sea surface temperature for Oceans in June was 1.15 degrees above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees. That’s the highest for any June on record and the highest departure from average for any month.The combined, year-to-date global land and ocean average surface temperature was 57.24, tying with 2002 as the third warmest such period on record.June broke heat records on every continent except Antarctica.All 12 of the world’s monthly heat records were set after 1997.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Welcome to the new trend of warmest months!

“This is what global warming looks like. Not record hot everywhere all the time, but certainly a reflection that the odds of record hot are going up everywhere around the planet.” 

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Planet is Running a Temp: State of the Climate 'Check-Up' | Climate Central ("where did the heat go?")

Planet is Running a Temp: State of the Climate 'Check-Up' | Climate Central ("where did the heat go?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
A new report provides the latest checkup on the health of the global climate system.

Ocean surface temperatures in 2013 were also among the top 10 warmest. But more notable is the amount of heat stashed in the upper half mile of the ocean, which has increased steadily and reached a record high in 2013.

“Warming in the upper (up to 700 meters) oceans accounts for about 63 percent of the total increase in energy storage in the climate system from 1971 to 2010,” the report said.

Scientists have posited that the apparent “pause” in global warming is being driven by increased heat storage in this layer of the ocean. Ocean warming coupled with melting ice has contributed to sea level rise, which also reached record highs in 2013.

Arctic sea ice extent, glaciers and late spring snow cover all felt the heat last year as well. Each continued a trend in line with the impacts of climate change.

With 2014 halfway over, there are no signs that the globe’s hot streak is ending. Data through May shows that this has been the planet’s fifth-warmest start to the year on record. Jessica Blunden, a scientist who works with NCDC, said that preliminary data show that June’s ocean temperatures were the hottest on record, a sign that 2014 is  on track to be one of the hottest years recorded. Another factor tipping the scales in that direction is the impending El Niño, a climate phenomenon that usually boosts global temperatures. Other indicators like greenhouse gas emissions, Arctic sea ice and deep ocean heat are also likely to keep following suit.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Where did the heat go?

"With 2014 halfway over, there are no signs that the globe’s hot streak is ending. Data through May shows that this has been the planet’s fifth-warmest start to the year on record. Jessica Blunden, a scientist who works with NCDC, said that preliminary data show that June’s ocean temperatures were the hottest on record, a sign that 2014 is  on track to be one of the hottest years recorded. Another factor tipping the scales in that direction is the impending El Niño, a climate phenomenon that usually boosts global temperatures. Other indicators like greenhouse gas emissions, Arctic sea ice and deep ocean heat are also likely to keep following suit."

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Beijing to enforce use of clean coal in anti-pollution drive ("low-sulphur coal but carbon-filled?")

Beijing to enforce use of clean coal in anti-pollution drive ("low-sulphur coal but carbon-filled?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's capital city, Beijing, will enforce the use of cleaner low-sulphur coal from Aug. 1 in a bid to tackle the soaring levels of air pollution that frequently clog the country's

This is the first time China has enforced the use of low-sulphur coal across all industries to tackle pollution.

Air quality in cities is of increasing concern to China's stability-obsessed leaders, anxious to douse potential unrest as a more affluent urban population turns against a growth-at-all-costs economic model that has poisoned much of the country's air, water and soil.

A Xinhua editorial earlier on Saturday called for China's population to "rein in their craze" for excessive consumption to help solve the country's growing environmental issues.

Beijing has previously established an array of laws and rules to battle the environmental consequences of three decades of unchecked growth, but weak monitoring and punishment make it tough to get powerful industrial interests to comply.

China unveiled plans at the end of last year to slash coal consumption and close polluting mills, factories and smelters to cut air pollution.

Beijing has also been pushing the country's steelmakers and power plants to buy higher-quality raw materials to meet tougher pollution targets.

Bert Guevara's insight:

I wouldn't want to be in the position of China right now. Even if they lower the sulfur content of coal, how about the nitrogen oxide and the carbon? Slowing down a coal-powered economy is difficult to do in the short term.

This is why I am questioning the coal-based energy solution of the Philippine government.

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Govt rejects study report on pollution level in India - Times of India ("worst in air pollution?")

Govt rejects study report on pollution level in India - Times of India ("worst in air pollution?") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Times of India Govt rejects study report on pollution level in India Times of India NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, government rejected studies of WHO and Yale University which talked about India and its cities being among the most polluted, asserting...

On Wednesday, government rejected studies of WHO and Yale University which talked about India and its cities being among the most polluted, asserting that the parameters for determining air pollution were not considered by them. 
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said pollution is caused by many factors and the survey took cognizance of only air pollution and that is why India's ranking in Yale University report has come down. 
"Actually, there are 20 indicators to judge pollution like access to drinking water, access to sanitation, waste water treatment, agricultural subsidies, pesticides regulation, change in forest cover, coastal shelf forest pressure, fish stalks, etc. 

"So, this ranking which you are citing is not based on all these parameters ...The survey of Yale University was also done from the satellite and there was no ground proof," he said, replying a question of BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Just a wake up call for India. Instead of complaining of the criteria, I think the government should look deeper into what is really happening.

I remember an article which was citing the lack of toilet facilities and people doing "it" at the railroad tracks.

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US EPA Plan to Tighten Landfill Methane Emission Regulations - Waste Management World ("global issue")

US EPA Plan to Tighten Landfill Methane Emission Regulations - Waste Management World ("global issue") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Waste Management World
US EPA Plan to Tighten Landfill Methane Emission Regulations
Waste Management World
As part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions, the U.S.

“Reducing methane emissions is a powerful way to take action on climate change,” commented EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy.

The proposal would require new MSW landfills subject to the rule to begin controlling landfill gas at a lower emissions threshold than currently required. Under the proposal, landfills would capture two thirds of their methane and air toxics emissions by 2023 – 13% more than required under current rules.

Currently methane is said to account for nearly 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., with landfills the third-largest source of human-related methane in the country, accounting for 18% of methane emissions in 2012.

The agency noted however, that regulatory and voluntary programs, including its own Landfill Methane Outreach Program, have helped reduce emissions from landfills by 30% from 1990 to 2012. However, without additional actions, methane emissions are projected to increase through 2030.

Bert Guevara's insight:

In spite of all modern technological advances, the landfill continues to spread its methane menace very quietly in hidden corners of the world. Serious attempts to reduce carbon emissions should include methane from landfills.

Methane is 23x more destructive than carbon in Climate Change computations.

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Are Butterflies Getting Lost Because Of The Fumes From Your Car? ("insects' can't smell through smog")

Are Butterflies Getting Lost Because Of The Fumes From Your Car? ("insects' can't smell  through smog") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
New research shows that fumes from car exhaust can mess with a pollinator's ability to find flowers.

“Pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths use their sense of smell to locate flowers from long distances, but we found that scent from neighboring vegetation, and even pollutants given off from vehicle exhaust, can disrupt the moth’s behavior,” one of the study’s authors, University of Washington biology professor Jeffrey Riffell, said in a press release.

Pollinators across the U.S. are in trouble. While the plight of honeybees poisoned by pesticides has dominated the news recently, many key pollinator species are in decline. Bats are in trouble around the country as the mysterious and deadly fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome continues to spread from cave to cave. Many species of butterflies are also being adversely affected by climate change, which is throwing off the timing of migration, leaving them exposed to severe weather along their flight path. Certain types of butterflies and pollinating birds like hummingbirds are also affected by climate change, as a warming world has caused flowers to bloom earlier in the season, leading to a situation known as resource asynchrony, where birds and butterflies aren’t in the right place at the right time for the flowers they depend on.

On June 20, President Obama announced plans to create a special task force dedicated to helping the nation’s ailing pollinators. The team, led by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, will have 180 days to investigate current and future threats to birds, bees, butterflies and bats, and create a National Pollinator Health Strategy. According to the USDA, one-third of all food and beverages consumed in the U.S. are dependent on pollination.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Air pollution caused by car fumes are messing up our tiny pollinators' sense of smell used in finding the flowers they are supposed to pollinate.

"The vehicle exhaust decreased the moths’ ability to find flowers, and changed how the flower’s scent was processed by the moth’s brain."

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PH nearing total phase out of ozone-depleting substances ("good news for the ozone, on paper at least")

PH nearing total phase out of ozone-depleting substances ("good news for the ozone, on paper at least") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Coron, Palawan – Soon, the imperilled ozone layer will be all smiles on the Philippines — that is, if figures from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are to be the basis. La...

“All [substances] have been phased out according to the commitment period,” DENR-EMB-POD Program Manager Ella Deocadiz said in her presentation during the recent three-day Media Workshop on Ozone and Climate Linkages spearheaded by DENR here.“Currently, the only remaining substance for phase-out in the Philippines is hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC).”

Substances that have been phased out as of January 1, 2010 — mostly ahead of target schedule — are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachlorides (CTCs), methyl chloroforms (MCs), non-quarantine and pre-shipment methyl bromides (MBs). These substances are chlorinated, fluorinated or brominated hydrocarbons, which can react with ozone molecules in the stratosphere and deplete the protective layer. They are thus called ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

By “commitment period,” Deocadiz was referring to the target date of phase out of the said substances, as committed by the Philippines to the Montreal Protocol (MP), where the country is one of the “developing country” signatories. MP identified and started to regulate these substances when the global agreement was drawn up in September 1987.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Based on records of the DENR, the Philippines has reached its commitment to get rid of ozone-depleting substances ahead of its schedule in the Montreal Protocol. The ozone is safe for the moment.

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