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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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Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace | Entertainment, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace | Entertainment, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Leonardo DiCaprio's movie roles have made him an international star, but his long and little-known commitment to preserving the global environment has led to his new role — as a U.N. Messenger of Peace.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Tuesday that the 39-year-old American actor will join 11 other prominent world figures who advocate on behalf of the U.N. as Messengers of Peace including Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, George Clooney, Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, primatologist Jane Goodall and conductor Daniel Barenboim.

Ban told a news conference that the Dicaprio "is not just one of the world's leading actors" but he has "a longstanding commitment to environmental causes."

He said DiCaprio will focus his U.N. role on climate change issues.

"His global stardom is the perfect match for this global challenge," the secretary-general told a news conference.

Ban said DiCaprio's first act as a Messenger of Peace will be to address the climate summit he is holding next Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting, which 120 world leaders are expected to attend. Ban said the aim is to promote commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions and pave the way for a global climate agreement in 2015.

Entertainment ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

DiCaprio established a foundation in 1998 with a mission to promote the Earth's last wild places and build a more harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world. According to the U.N., the foundation through grants, media projects and public campaigns and appearances by DiCaprio, has brought attention and funds to three areas — protecting biodiversity, conservation of oceans and forests, and climate change.

Bert Guevara's insight:

I'm glad he is on our side.

"I feel a moral obligation to speak out at this key moment in human history — it is a moment for action," he said. "How we respond to the climate crisis in the coming years will likely determine the fate of humanity and our planet." 

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Video - Ozone layer 'shows signs of recovery' ("the planet is winning this battle vs CFCs")

Video - Ozone layer 'shows signs of recovery' ("the planet is winning this battle vs CFCs") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Earth's protective ozone layer is starting to repair itself, according to a panel of United Nations scientists.

The main reason behind its recovery, they say, is the fact that certain chemicals, such as those used in aerosol cans, were phased out in the 1980s.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"The Earth's protective ozone layer is starting to repair itself, according to a panel of United Nations scientists.

"The main reason behind its recovery, they say, is the fact that certain chemicals, such as those used in aerosol cans, were phased out in the 1980s."

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World Falls Behind in Efforts to Tackle Climate Change: Report ("world on track for 3 deg C warming")

World Falls Behind in Efforts to Tackle Climate Change: Report ("world on track for 3 deg C warming") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The world's major economies are falling further behind every year in terms of meeting the rate of carbon emission reductions to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C, according to the sixth annual Low Carbon Economy Index report

"The gap between what we are achieving and what we need to do is growing wider every year," PwC's Jonathan Grant said. He said governments were increasingly detached from reality in addressing the 2 degree goal.

"Current pledges really put us on track for 3 degrees. This is a long way from what governments are talking about."

Almost 200 countries agreed at United Nations climate talks to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to limit heat waves, floods, storms and rising seas from climate change. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.85 degrees Celsius.

Carbon intensity will have to be cut by 6.2 percent a year to achieve that goal, the study said. That compares with an annual rate of 1.2 percent from 2012 to 2013.

As the manufacturing hubs of the world, the seven biggest emerging nations have emissions 1.5-times larger than those of the seven biggest developed economies and the decoupling of economic growth from carbon emissions in those nations is seen as vital.

Britain, Italy and China each achieved a decarbonization rate of 4-5 percent, while five countries increased their carbon intensity: France, the United States, India, Germany and Brazil.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There has to be more political will among the participating nations in these UN Climate Conferences. It appears that pledges are not matched by action.

"United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hopes to gather more than 100 world leaders in New York on September 23 to reinvigorate efforts to forge a global climate deal."

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Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America's Bird Species, Study Says - New York Times

Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America's Bird Species, Study Says - New York Times | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
New York Times Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America's Bird Species, Study Says New York Times Those are some of the grim prospects outlined in a report released on Monday by the National Audubon Society, which found that climate change...

The Baltimore oriole will probably no longer live in Maryland, the common loon might leave Minnesota, and the trumpeter swan could be entirely gone.

Those are some of the grim prospects outlined in a report released on Monday by the National Audubon Society, which found that climate change is likely to so alter the bird population of North America that about half of the approximately 650 species will be driven to smaller spaces or forced to find new places to live, feed and breed over the next 65 years. If they do not — and for several dozen it will be very difficult — they could become extinct.

The four Audubon Society scientists who wrote the report projected in it that 21.4 percent of existing bird species studied will lose “more than half of the current climactic range by 2050 without the potential to make up losses by moving to other areas.” An additional 32 percent will be in the same predicament by 2080, they said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

While birds go extinct, the rest of nature will not be far behind. Are we just going to watch and wait?

“The notion that we can have a future that looks like what our grandparents experienced, with the birds they had, is unlikely,” said Gary Langham, the study’s chief author, in an interview. The impact of climate change, he said, will not just harm birds already considered endangered — it is as likely to decimate birds that have robust populations now.

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The Climate Change Defense? Citing Global Warming, DA Drops Charges Against Anti-Coal Activists - YouTube

In a surprise move, District Attorney Sam Sutter of Bristol, Massachusetts, has dropped criminal charges against two climate activists who were set to go on trial Monday for blocking a shipment of 40,000 tons of coal. In May 2013, Ken Ward and Jay O'Hara used their lobster boat to prevent a delivery of the coal to the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. For their trial, Ward and O'Hara had planned to invoke the "necessity defense," arguing that their actions were justified by how the coal industry worsens the climate change that threatens our planet. In an unprecedented announcement, District Attorney Sutter all but adopted their reasoning and dropped the charges. "Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced," Sutter said outside the courthouse, explaining his decision. "In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking.” 

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is a legal breakthrough in climate change activism! I see this as a precedent of bigger things to come.

The District Attorney in Massachusetts cites Global Warming as a sufficient reason for dropping charges against 2 climate activists who used their small boats to block the delivery of coal by a tanker.

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Cities Prepare for Warm Climate Without Saying So ("let's just get ready; no-win debates later")

Cities Prepare for Warm Climate Without Saying So ("let's just get ready; no-win debates later") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
With climate change still a political minefield across the nation despite the strong scientific consensus that it's happening, some community leaders have hit upon a way of preparing for the potentially severe local consequences without triggering explosions of partisan warfare: Just change the...

Big cities and small towns are shoring up dams and dikes, using roof gardens to absorb rainwater or upgrading sewage treatment plans to prevent overflows. Others are planting urban forests, providing more shady relief from extreme heat. Extension agents are helping farmers deal with an onslaught of newly arrived crop pests.

But in many places, especially strongholds of conservative politics, they're planning for the volatile weather linked to rising temperatures by speaking of "sustainability" or "resilience," while avoiding no-win arguments with skeptics over whether the planet is warming or that human activity is responsible.

The pattern illustrates a growing disconnect between the debate still raging in politics and the reality on the ground. In many city planning departments, it has become like Voldemort, the arch-villain of the Harry Potter stories: It's the issue that cannot be named.

"The messaging needs to be more on being prepared and knowing we're tending to have more extreme events," said Graham Brannin, planning director in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Sen. James Inhofe — a global warming denier and author of a book labeling it "The Greatest Hoax" — once served as mayor. "The reasoning behind it doesn't matter; let's just get ready."

Bert Guevara's insight:

While the climate change debates rage on, the more prudent city and political leaders continue preparing for a warming world without the arguments.

Even the insurance experts have accepted the reality and have included climate change in their actuarial computations. Architects and engineers have included climate resiliency in their designs. Government budgets have set aside enormous disaster preparedness funds. Potable water, irrigation and power utilities are scrambling for dwindling resources.

Do we have time for climate debates?

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Why you could suffer from more pollution while driving a car than walking on ... - Daily Mail

Why you could suffer from more pollution while driving a car than walking on ... - Daily Mail | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Daily Mail
Why you could suffer from more pollution while driving a car than walking on ...
People in cars exposed to up to 15 times pollution of walkers and cyclistsEmissions are highest in the centre of the carriageway, where the cars areDirty air is sucked in through car air filters and breathed in by passengersStudy run by Environmental Audit Committee - cross-party group of five MPsMPs inhaled average of 50 million soot particles per breath in London cab Those who live in big cities have lower life expectancies because of pollution

By far the highest levels of tiny particles of ‘black carbon’ or deadly soot breathed in by the MPs was during taxi journeys in cities.

On average each inhaled around 50 million particles per breath while inside a cab in London, around seven times more than the six to seven million particles per breath inhaled while walking around Whitehall or Oxford Street, and 15 times greater than levels recorded outside their eventual destination City Hall where, on leaving the cab, levels fell to three million particles per breath.

The findings are worrying because persistent inhalation of air pollution and traffic emissions have been linked to lower life expectancy and serious illnesses, including heart disease and cancer, as well as low birth weights and stunted lung development in children. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

"The biggest concern is the tiny bits of carbon - around 30 times smaller than a human hair - which are so small they can get into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream, passing through major organs, such as the heart and brain.

"They can have immediate effects on people with existing health conditions, triggering asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes.

But, worryingly, pollution can also cause diseases in healthy individuals, such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even cancer."

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Cut air pollution in half by taking road less travelled - Telegraph ("staying away from main roads")

Cut air pollution in half by taking road less travelled  - Telegraph ("staying away from main roads") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Simply avoiding main roads and switching to side streets can halve the amount of air pollution commuters breath in, Dr Rossa Burgha, has found

The most recent statistics from Public Health England (PHE) suggest that 5.3 per cent of all deaths in over-25s are linked to air pollution, but that leaps to 8.3 per cent in inner London.

However Dr Burgha found that pollution, primarily caused by traffic, falls off rapidly just a few metres away from main roads.

He tested the theory while walking the two miles between Waterloo Station in London and the British Library, and found that by switching to side streets, the recorded level of air pollution he experienced fell by half.

“The most important thing is being away from the traffic,” he said.

“If you are walking home from work at rush hour or when you’re walking to your office in the morning, veer off into the side streets and the air will be cleaner.

“You can cut air pollution by half by going a different route, which will have incremental health benefits.”

Dr Burgha claims that pollution in cities can be the equivalent of smoking half a cigarette per day and is particularly damaging for children, because their lungs are still developing.

He advises parents to look carefully at routes to school to avoid the busiest roads.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Try this: using side roads, away from the traffic, can reduce air pollution intake by half.

In congested Metro Manila, there are some side roads available but may not be always safe. Use your Waze (using "shortest" route or Google Map to get guidance).

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For Air Pollution, Trash Is a Burning Problem | Climate Central ("double whammy to environment")

For Air Pollution, Trash Is a Burning Problem | Climate Central ("double whammy to environment") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The open-air burning of trash contributes surprisingly large emissions of several air pollutants.

Ghana, Nepal, Mexico and other developing countries often lack the tax bases and infrastructure needed to put such systems into place. So residents and governments often burn piles of their trash in the open; removing the garbage from the land but transferring it to the skies. Some 40 percent of the world’s waste may be dealt with in this way.

Wiedinmyer set out to produce the first global estimates of burn-related pollution. The result, detailed in July in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggests that burning trash isn’t just bad for human health -- it could pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than had been realized.

What she found was that some 1.1 billion tons of waste, more than 40 percent of the world’s garbage, is burned in open piles, contributing more emissions than is shown in regional and global inventories.

An estimated 40 to 50 percent of the garbage is made up of carbon by mass, which means that carbon dioxide is the major gas emitted by trash burning. Those emissions are dwarfed by others sources on the global scale, such as cars and power plants, amounting to just 5 percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions. But the carbon dioxide that comes from trash burning can be a significant source in some countries and regions, and it is one not reflected in the official greenhouse gas inventories for those places.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The right approach is still to manage solid waste from the source, not at the disposal level.

“It’s expensive to get rid of garbage cleanly,” ...

"But, “you need to make a small step to make a big step,”

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Coal Plants Lock In 300 Billion Tons Of CO2 Emissions ("try doing the math and figure what CO2 can do")

Coal Plants Lock In 300 Billion Tons Of CO2 Emissions ("try doing the math and figure what CO2 can do") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
This story originally appeared on Climate Central.

It seems straightforward to say that when you buy a new car by taking out a loan, you’re committing to spending a certain amount of your income per month on that car for a specific period of...

That’s a huge problem for the climate because more new coal-fired power plants have been built worldwide in the past decade than in any previous decade, with no sign of slowing down, the study says.

Those existing coal-fired power plants emit billions of tons of CO2 each year and account for about 26 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — double that of the transportation sector. In the U.S. alone, burning coal emitted 1.87 billion tons of CO2 in 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Worldwide, coal-burning released 14.4 billion tons of CO2 in 2011.

But the study extends those emissions out to the full lifespan of each of the existing power plants — 40 years per plant — and estimates that together they will spew out 300 billion tons of CO2 before they are retired, up from 200 billion tons of CO2 emissions that were committed from the power plants that existed in 2000, the study says.

In other words, the power plants operating today are committed to emitting 300 billion tons of CO2 in the future, enough to contribute an additional 20 ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere globally, Princeton University professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering and study co-author Robert Socolow told Climate Central.

Bert Guevara's insight:

If we are nervous about 400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere (350ppm is the desired level), then coal alone can raise it to 440ppm in a new more years. 

“If we can account for committed emissions over a lifetime of a plant at the time it is built, this may change the equation about what type of power plants it makes sense to invest in,”

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Scotland Is Building The World’s Largest Tidal Array ("Phil must review wave power as abundant source")

Scotland Is Building The World’s Largest Tidal Array ("Phil must review wave power as abundant source") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Once completed, the project is expected to provide enough energy to power 175,000 homes.

Scotland is building what it calls the world’s biggest tidal array in the Pentland Firth in northern Scotland, the country’s government announced last week.

Once built, the tidal array is projected to provide enough electricity to power 175,000 homes, and will also create up to 100 jobs. Construction is slated to begin later this year, and the first phase will install four 1.5-megawatt turbines that will start supplying power to the grid in 2016. Overall, the project will involve installing up to 269 turbines on the seafloor, which will capture the energy of ocean tides.

“This innovative and exciting project puts Scotland and the U.K. on the map as a global leader in marine technology – meaning jobs, better energy security and the potential to export this technology to the world,” U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said in a statement. “The project also shows what can be done when the U.K. and Scottish Governments work together to provide a lasting benefit for the people of Scotland.”

The U.K. is hoping to replace a fifth of its aging coal and gas plants with renewable energy by 2020. According to the government, the U.K. has about 50 percent of Europe’s energy tidal energy resources, and if developed fully, wave and tidal stream energy could meet 20 percent of the U.K.’s demand for power. Already, Scotland is home to the world’s firstcommercial wave power generator, and the government estimates that marine-based renewable energy like tidal arrays could one day power 750,000 homes in Scotland.

Bert Guevara's insight:

With the Philippines scrambling for alternative power sources, wave energy appears to be an abundant source, considering we have more coastlines spread all over our 7100 islands.

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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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Global Warming Threatens Organic Coffee ("from coconuts to coffee, fungi infests plants worldwide")

Global Warming Threatens Organic Coffee ("from coconuts to coffee, fungi infests plants worldwide") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Global warming has created the worst outbreak of leaf-rust fungus in 30 years for organic

Farmers can use chemicals to kill the fungus, though they risk losing their organic certification if they do.

Humid conditions and erratic weather for the past two years in Chiapas, Mexico, have allowed the fungus spores to spread much faster than in the past, according to Ruben Bernabe of the Chiapas Federation of Ecologic Indigenous Coffee Producers. The fungus is expected to reduce the crop — both organic and non-organic — by 23 percent this year from 2013, according to local government data.

In Guatemala, the fungus used to only be a threat to coffee plants grown below 3,000 feet. Now the fungus is hitting crops as high as 6,000 feet.

In Colombia, leaf rust devastated crops from 2009 to 2012, which sent prices for the beans to a 14-year high in 2011.

The disease, first found in Latin America in the 1970s, is caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, which disrupts photosynthesis and prevents beans from reaching full maturity.

According to Steve Savage, a plant pathology consultant in Encinitas, Calif., farmers can kill the fungus by using a copper-based fungicide. However, the fungicide can wash off the plants in wet weather, requiring the workers to apply it every few days. This increases the amount that runs off into streams, which can endanger wildlife, and potentially poison soil.

In 2012, researchers at Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and scientists in Ethiopia warned that wild Arabica coffee could be extinct in 70 years due to rising temperatures as a result of climate change.

Bert Guevara's insight:

We may end up drinking chemically-laced coffee from our brewer.

"Global warming has created the worst outbreak of leaf-rust fungus in 30 years for organic coffee growers throughout Mexico, Central America and parts of South America, according to Bloomberg.

"Farmers can use chemicals to kill the fungus, though they risk losing their organic certification if they do. ...

"According to a report last year from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming is “unequivocal” and each of the last three decades has been warmer at the Earth’s surface than any previous decade since 1850."

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Clean coal key to combating climate change: Rio Tinto ("self-justification? - is there such a thing")

Clean coal key to combating climate change: Rio Tinto ("self-justification? - is there such a thing") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Mining giant Rio Tinto said Tuesday clean coal was key to tackling climate change and that developing the technology was a challenge greater than the first moon landing.

"The challenge now faced by the whole world is far more urgent and important," Kenyon-Slaney said.

"But it can be solved by the same methodical, determined process. The world has no choice."

Kenyon-Slaney's remarks came ahead of a World Meteorological Organization report released Tuesday that showed global concentrations of CO2, the main culprit in global warming, soaring to a new high in 2013.

The energy boss, who described emissions-driven climate change as "among the world's biggest and most pressing" problems, said he supported the development of all power-generating technologies including renewables.

But he said the abundance of coal meant it would remain the world's main source of "large-scale, reliable, affordable energy".

Advancing research and development in carbon capture storage, known as CCS, to make it commercially viable should therefore be a key goal for governments and businesses, Kenyon-Slaney said.

"(The technologies) can all help to combat climate change but breakthroughs in low-emissions coal generation will be fundamental. They could break the back of this problem," he said.

While CCS has been hailed as a solution to make fossil fuels cleaner, the technology has at this stage been too risky, costly and energy inefficient in its own right.

The technology involves trapping CO2 emissions from power plants and other large sources, liquefying them and storing them deep underground.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The coal industry wants to justify its continued use by saying that we have no choice!

Is there such a thing as "clean coal"? Isn't there another energy plan that does not emit as much carbon as coal?


"But it can be solved by the same methodical, determined process. The world has no choice." (Rio Tinto energy chief Harry Kenyon-Slaney)

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'PH can rely on renewable energy as stable power source' ("reliable and politically immuned source")

'PH can rely on renewable energy as stable power source' ("reliable and politically immuned source") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Petilla says the Philippines can rely on renewable energy in the face of fluctuating global oil prices and threats to energy security

With fluctuating fuel prices in the global market, the Department of Energy (DOE) is pushing for renewable energy (RE) to make up a significant portion of the Philippines' energy mix.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said the Philippines can rely on RE for a stable source of energy whenever oil prices go up or if there is a shortage in supply in the global market.

“Because RE is indigenous, which means it is locally available, we can depend on it for energy security even if there are political issues such as war in other countries," Petilla added.

Aside from providing a secure energy source, Petilla also cited its benefit to the environment.

“In addition to contributing to our energy sources which ultimately translates to energy security, utilizing RE is needed for environmental reasons. Since it is clean energy, harnessing RE can cushion the effects of climate change,” Petilla said.

The Philippine is harnessing 30% of RE in its energy mix, which is currently dominated by coal and diesel. The country also imports 90% of its fuel needs.

Petilla acknowledged that the infrastructure needed to utilize RE is expensive, but he added that the benefits – especially to private citizens – outweigh the costs.

"The equipment only entails one-time cost, not repeated costs. Also, private citizens can actually benefit more for own-use of RE such as solar, wind and biomass in self-generation of electricity for their own use,” he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

As long as we are importing 90%+ of our fuel, we cannot be stable in our energy, specially now that global politics is shakey. Renewable energy is key to our long-term stability.

"While the cost of electricity from a coal plant can amount to P12.00 per kilowatt hour (kWh), including costs for distribution and transmission, using solar panels can run to about P9.00 per kWh for generation, with no costs for distribution or transmission."

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With falling costs, renewable energy transforms world ("economic sense can change political decisions")

With falling costs, renewable energy transforms world ("economic sense can change political decisions") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Renewable energy can cut 7m annual deaths due to air pollution

Apart from offering environmental and health benefits, renewable energy with its decreasing costs has started playing a larger positive role in socio-economic sectors. Renewable energy provides energy access to millions of people living in energy poverty, creates millions of jobs every year, and contributes significantly to the national income of many countries, they said.

“Today, renewable energy outcompetes coal in South Africa and shale gas in the world market. They [renewable energy sources] are overwhelmingly cheaper than any other energy source,” Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, said.

Renewables have become the economic choice of even some oil-exporting countries. “Here in the UAE solar PV [photovoltaic] cost was

$5 (Dh18.36) per watt in 2008; but today it costs less than $1.5 per watt,” Al Jaber said.

He said renewable energy makes good economic sense now.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The SHIFT to renewable energy now makes economic sense. So what are we waiting for?

"The emissions from solar, wind, nuclear, hydroelectric and geothermal sources of energy are, across their lifetime, 10 to 120 times less g than the cleanest fossil fuel (natural gas) and up to 250 times lower than coal.

"About the falling costs, he said solar photovoltaic costs alone fell by two-thirds between the end of 2009 and 2013: a speed of change comparable to that seen in the IT revolution. In Denmark, wind recently became the cheapest energy source of all, beating out even coal. In Germany, almost half of all renewable generation is now owned by households and farmers, marking a profound shift in control, Ameen said."

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The World Is Falling Behind In Its Goal Of Limiting Warming To 2°C, Report Finds ("not serious enough")

The World Is Falling Behind In Its Goal Of Limiting Warming To 2°C, Report Finds ("not serious enough") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
So far, progress toward keeping global warming to 2°C has been slow.

Meeting a goal of limiting warming to 2°C is becoming increasingly difficult as the world falls behind in implementing needed carbon reduction policies, according to a new report.

 The sixth annual Low Carbon Economy Index, published by PwC, examined what progress different countries have made in reducing carbon intensity, or the ratio of emissions produced to GDP. Overall, the report found, progress toward keeping global warming to 2°C has been slow.

“While all governments at the UNFCCC reiterate the goal of limiting warming to 2°C, implementation has fallen short of this goal,” the report reads. “Current total annual energy-related emissions are just over 30 GtCO2 and still rising, a carbon ‘burn rate’ that would deplete the carbon budget for the entire century within the next 20 years.”

The report found that, if countries want to get on track in lowering their emissions toward a 2°C goal, the world needs to cut its carbon intensity by 6.2 percent each year from now until 2100 — more than five times the current rate for the global economy. That rate would also be “double the decarbonisation rate achieved in the UK during the rapid shift to gas-fired electricity generation in the nineties,” the report notes.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The planet's report card is failing!

“Overall, to stay within the global carbon budget, annual energy-related emissions by the G20 bloc need to fall by one-third by 2030 and just over half by 2050,” the report states. “Much of the debate in climate negotiations has centred on responsibility and how to share the burden between developed and developing countries, as defined in 1992 in the UNFCCC. Regardless of how the carbon budget is split, it is clear that both developed and emerging economies face the challenge of growing their economies whilst radically curbing emissions.”

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‘Urgency of Climate Change’ to Debut as Legal Defense | Climate Central ("the law is for good of man")

‘Urgency of Climate Change’ to Debut as Legal Defense | Climate Central ("the law is for good of man") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The necessity defense will be used in the case of two men who blockaded a coal shipment.

The men’s attorneys are planning to deploy a novel strategy. It’s called the necessity defense. They will argue that the urgency of climate change and greenhouse gas pollution was so great that their clients’ actions were legally justifiable.

The trial’s outcome could have far-reaching implications, with fossil fuel blockades growing in popularity around the world as a form of climate-related protest. And the trial could grab national headlines. Former NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen and prolific climate writer Bill McKibben told Climate Central that they plan to testify in Ward’s and O’Hara’s defense.

“The necessity defense is a defense that justifies a particular criminal act,” Gertner said. “You’re saying the harm created by the criminal act is outweighed by the harm to be avoided. It’s saying it isn’t a crime.”

If the men’s attorneys do win in court using the necessity defense, “it would create a precedent,” Gertner said. “That’s probably something that would be in the judge’s mind. Would this enable people, or encourage people, to do other acts — to block coal shipments, or nat gas?”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Can we outlaw certain acts in the name of the good of the environment and of man?

“If there is a threat that’s looming to property or life, to yourself or a loved one, or, in this case, to all of our loved ones, you can act in ways that would otherwise be considered criminally illegal.”

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India's Severe Ozone Pollution Kills Enough Crops to Feed 94 Million People ("dirty air kills crops")

India's Severe Ozone Pollution Kills Enough Crops to Feed 94 Million People ("dirty air kills crops") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
India's ozone pollution is a growing problem and now, scientists have announced that it's damaged millions of tons of the country's major crops. In fact, it's caused losses of more than a billion dollars and has destroyed enough food to feed tens of millions of people.

Rising emissions are causing severe ozone pollution in India's most populated regions, like Delhi, where pollution has reached levels comparable to Beijing. Currently, there are no air quality standards in India that are designed to protect agriculture from the effects of ground-level ozone pollution, which is formed when nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and organic compounds react with sunlight.

That's why the researchers decided to calculate the total damage the pollution was doing to crops. They compared emissions estimates from 2005 with data about how much ozone each of four crops could withstand. Plants start to exhibit damage when they are exposed to ozone levels that reach 40 parts per billion or above. Then, the scientists used a computer model to calculate ozone levels during crop growing seasons.

So what did they find? It turns out that surface ozone pollution damaged 6.7 million tons of India's wheat, rice, soybean and cotton crops in 2005. In fact, India could feed 94 million people with the lost wheat and rice crops, which is about a third of the country's poor.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Cleaning the air produces more food for the hungry in India.

"The findings reveal the importance of putting emission regulations into effect. Damage to crops means that less food is being produced; this, in turn, means that those near India's poverty line suffer for it. By making some changes, it's possible to potentially increase crop yield. Hopefully, the new study will help spur the action need in order to create new air quality standards."

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Climate-related disasters rising in PH: ADB - YouTube ("preparedness the only viable response for now")

Typhoon "Yolanda", "Glenda", and even Habagat. All of these caused great effect in the country. According to the study made by Asian Development Bank, the cl...
Bert Guevara's insight:

Deadly super-typhoons like Yolanda may hit the Philippines every 2 years. We can only increase our preparedness to meet this climate challenge. 

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News - Leaked IPCC draft report highlights risk of 'abrupt and irreversible change' as carbon emissions continue - The Weather Network

News - Leaked IPCC draft report highlights risk of 'abrupt and irreversible change' as carbon emissions continue - The Weather Network | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
A leaked draft report from the IPCC is warning of 'abrupt and irreversible change' if we continue to delay action on climate change.

While this report holds no new information, over and above the already-published parts of the 5th assessment report, it is a simple and direct summary of all the science background, the impacts, and the mitigation strategies to deal with global warming and climate change. It also gives the climate scientists involved another opportunity to emphasize to the world the profound importance of dealing with this issue.

"The risk of abrupt and irreversible change increases as the magnitude of the warming increases."

According to the report: "Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems."

"The report represents a very conservative viewpoint that can be shared by, essentially, all of the scientists contributing to the report, who have various views and various findings," he said, which leads to what he calls a "scientific lowest common denominator" - a message that all the scientists can agree on, regardless of which end of the scale they are at, with respect to the threat of climate change.

Based on the findings of Part 3 of the 5th assessment report, Mitigation of Climate Change, it is still possible to act to limit the impacts of global warming on our climate, and we are at a point now when it it still relatively inexpensive to put those plans into effect.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Another urgent call for action ... in case you forgot!

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Global Trash Burning Far More Polluting Than Expected (around 5% of total man-made CO2 emissions")

Global Trash Burning Far More Polluting Than Expected (around 5% of total man-made CO2 emissions") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

NEW DELHI (AP) — Rampant trash-burning is throwing more pollution and toxic particles into the air than governments are reporting, according to a scientific study estimating more than 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned....

While many governments tally emissions from incinerators, trash that is burned in backyards, fields and dumps is mostly unregulated and unreported.

Researchers pulled together existing data on population, per capita production of trash and official reports on waste disposal to calculate how much garbage is burned around the world each year. The answer: 41 percent of our global 2 billion-ton annual output goes up in flames.

China and India were found to have the most trash burned by residents, while China, Brazil and Mexico burned the most at garbage dumps.

Much of the world's air pollution can be blamed on burning garbage, including discarded plastics, busted electronics, broken furniture and food scraps.

 

China's trash-burning emissions, for example, are not reflected in official data for slightly larger PM10 particulate matter, though the study shows those emissions are equal to 20 percent of what's reported.

 

The study also showed that global trash burning releases about 5 percent of the world's man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Is trash-burning still happening in your neighborhood? 

"In India, where burning trash is illegal, hundreds of thousands with no garbage pickup have no other choice for disposal. And as temperatures dip in winter, they often have few other options for keeping warm, and many spend their nights huddled around noxious blue flames coming off humble pyres of burning plastic bags, rubber tires and whatever else they can find handy to burn."

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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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