"From action in China and the US to falling solar costs and rising electric car sales, there is cause to be hopeful
For the last few months, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have been at record levels unseen in over 800,000 years. ...
But solutions are available. Here are ten reasons to be hopeful that humans will rise to the challenge of climate change...
1) Barack Obama has made it one of his defining issuesAny politician who runs as the personification of hope is bound to be a bit of a let down. And so it seemed for five long, hot years. Barack Obama inaugurated his first US presidential term by promising to “roll back the spectre of a warming planet”....2) China has ordered coal power plants to close
Just a day after the launch of Obama’s big crackdown on coal, He Jiankun, a top Chinese government climate advisor told Reuters, “The government will use two ways to control CO2 emissions in the next five-year plan, by intensity and an absolute cap”.
3) The cost of solar has fallen by two thirds
According to the authoritative IEA thinktank, the price of installing photovoltaic (solar electricity) systems dropped by two thirds over the past six years. The resulting solar explosion has generated a “prosumer” market, in which the owners of homes and businesses are taking ownership of a growing proportion of the energy supply.....
4) People are taking their money out of fossil fuels
Dozens of cities, institutions and investors are taking their money out of fossil fuel companies after the launch of a divestment campaign in the US around 18 months ago. Similar campaigns were used in the past to hamstring apartheid South Africa and tobacco companies, but this one is happening faster than any of those. ....
5) Bangladeshi women are being retrained as solar technicians
The UN says global warming will impact more women than men because they make up the majority of the world’s poor. Close to two billion people rely on wood, charcoal and agricultural waste for cooking and heating. The primary gatherers of this toxic, labour,...
6) Renewable energy will soon take the lion’s share of new power
Falling technology prices, innovation and some decent government initiatives have seen renewables taking an increasing share of global electricity generation. After stalling through the early part of last decade, the increase is now inexorable. ..
7) European homes are using 15% less energy than they were in 2000
In every part of the world (barring the Middle East) governments are taking advantage of the cheapest way to bring down their emissions – by saving energy. Energy efficient housing and appliances have seen global household emissions drop almost 1% per year...
8) Cutting emissions has become a business imperative
A recent WWF/Ceres report found that the 53 US Fortune 100 companies who report their emissions had cut their carbon footprint by 58 million megatonnes in 2012 - roughly equivalent to the total emissions of Peru. This was achieved mainly through energy efficiency measures, although switching to green energy sources was also a factor....
9) Oil is becoming much more expensive to find
Oil and gas companies are finding it increasingly expensive to find and extract their buried gravy. The Wall Street Journal reported in Januarythe total capital expenditure of fossil giants Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell grew to £70 billion in 2013...
10) Electric car sales are doubling each year
Since 2011 electric car sales have doubled every year. Consumer acceptance of the technology is on an exponential growth curve thatresearchers say will see more than one million such vehicles driven across the world by the end of 2015...
Solar power is the cleanest and most practical form of renewable energy available. It can be used to generate electricity or to heat hot water tanks and swimming pools. The technology is improving every year, making solar power systems smaller and more efficient. Solar energy is collected using solar panels, where radiant heat is converted into energy to produce electricity...
How Solar Panels Work
A solar power system consists of solar panels, inverters, batteries, and a charge controller. Solar panels are connected assemblies of several photovoltaic cells. Each individual cell is coated with a positive and negative layer to create an electric field. As photons from the sun, or sunlight energy particles, enter a cell, they allow the electrons in each cell to become free......
Solar Power Inverter
A solar power inverter is an electrical device that changes direct current (DC) from the photovoltaic cells into alternating current (AC) that is used inside a home or building. A solar inverter can be fed directly into the electrical grid or connected to the photovoltaic system. ....
Solar Power Battery
Solar power batteries store the energy harvested from solar panels. This energy can then be used at night or when energy from the sun is not available. Lead-acid batteries offer the best performance and are the ones most commonly used in solar power systems because of their relative good efficiency and lower price....
By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle WARSAW, Nov 11 (Reuters) - World governments meeting in Poland from Monday are likely to make only modest progress in reaching a 2015 deal to fight climate change, with concern over economic growth at least partially eclipsing scientists' warnings of rising temperatures.
"We can't expect a grand agreement that solves the problems in one fell swoop," said Elliot Diringer, executive director of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a U.S. think-tank.
The best hope, he said, was for a 2015 accord in which countries would agree limits on emissions of greenhouse gases with a mechanism to compare and strengthen them over time.
The outline of a deal, to be discussed by negotiators in Warsaw from Nov. 11-22, is emerging that will not halt a creeping rise in temperatures but might be a guide for tougher measures in later years.
Environmentalists warned about the dangers of delaying action to avert more floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
They point to super typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 10,000 people in the Philippines last week, as a reminder of the risks of extreme weather. A U.N. scientific panel says cyclones may become more intense in some regions by 2100 as the planet warms.
Global average temperatures have risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit) since the Industrial Revolution and are set to exceed 2C - a target ceiling agreed at a previous U.N. summit - on current trends, despite a hiatus in the pace of warming so far this century.
In September, the U.N. panel of climate experts raised the probability that mankind is the main cause of recent warming to 95 percent or "extremely likely" from 90 percent "very likely".
The World Meteorological Organisation said this month atmospheric volumes of greenhouse gases reached a new record in 2012, driven up by growth in emerging economies led by China.
$100 BILLION AID
Developed nations are putting most emphasis on spurring economic growth after the financial crisis, rather than making big investments in renewable energies such as wind or solar power. Economic slowdown has - at least temporarily - cut greenhouse gas emissions in many nations.
The U.S. shale boom helped push U.S. carbon emissions to an 18-year low last year, but also shifted cheap, polluting coal into Europe where it is used in power stations.
Many governments, especially in Europe, are concerned climate policies, such as generous support for renewables, push up energy bills for consumers, a major political issue in countries such as Britain.
The Warsaw meeting will also seek ways to raise aid to help developing nations cope with climate change. They have been promised $100 billion a year by 2020, from $10 billion a year from 2010-12.
On Monday, aid charity Oxfam estimated that climate aid totalled between $7.6 billion and $16.3 billion in 2013, but said "murky accounting and a lack of transparency by rich countries" made it hard to know.
Christiana Figueres, the U.N. climate chief, said Warsaw was a "pivotal moment" when it was still possible to limit rising temperatures to 2C above pre-industrial times. "Global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak this decade," she said........
From Climate Central's Andrew Freedman: The Boulder, Colo. area is reeling after being inundated by record rainfall, with more than half a year’s worth of rain falling over the past three days. During those three days, 24-hour rainfall totals of between 8 and 10 inches across much of the Boulder area were enough to qualify this storm as a 1 in 1,000 year event, meaning that it has a 0.1 percent chance of occurring in a given year.
At least four people have been confirmed dead so far, and thousands have been evacuated from their homes and businesses. All along Colorado’s Front Range from Denver northward to Boulder and in nearby areas, small creeks have been transformed into raging rivers, and surges of water, mud, and debris have blasted their way through canyons, at one point trapping a firefighter on a treetop before being rescued. Numerous longstanding records have been smashed, including the all-time 24-hour rainfall record in Boulder.
“This is clearly going to be a historic event," National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said in an interview. “The true magnitude is really just becoming obvious now.”
Uccellini said the Weather Service has initiated a review of its performance leading up to and during the event. Although the potential for heavy rainfall was in the agency's forecasts a week in advance, he said, “Clearly the magnitude of the rainfall and the repetivieness of it in some critical areas was not pinpointed” well ahead of time. Uccellini said that this event will be the new historical high water mark for many affected rivers and streams. In a technical discussion on Thursday, the NWS described the rainfall amounts as "biblical."
On average, Boulder gets about 1.7 inches of rain during September, based on the 1981-2010 average. So far this month, Boulder has received 12.3 inches of rain. This smashes the record for the wettest month ever in Boulder, which was set in May 1995 when 9.59 inches of precipitation fell — and September isn’t even half over! Not only that, but the average yearly rainfall in Boulder is 20.68 inches. This means that Boulder picked up well over half its annual precipitation in just a couple of days.
This comes on the heels of a summer when Boulder experienced a moderate drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. This summer also featured the Colorado's most destructive wildfire on record.
During the past couple of weeks, the weather across the West has featured both an active Southwest Monsoon and a broad area of low pressure at upper levels of the atmosphere, which has been pinned by other weather systems and prevented from moving out of the region. It was this persistent low pressure area that helped pull the moisture out of the tropics and into Colorado. Signs point to the tropical Pacific being the source of the abundant moisture according to the University of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. From there, the moisture plume was transported northeastward, over Mexico and into Texas, and then northward by upper level winds.
This tropical air mass, which is more typical of the Gulf Coast than the Rocky Mountains, has been forced to move slowly up and over the Front Range by light southeasterly winds. This lifting process, known as orographic lift, allowed the atmosphere to wring out this unusually bountiful stream of moist air, dumping torrents of rain on the Boulder area for days on end. There was also broader-scale lifting of the air that resulted in heavy rain in areas of eastern Colorado and western Kansas as well.
According to meteorologist Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, or "precipitable water," as measured by a weather balloon over Denver on Sep. 12, reached record values for the month of September..........
What if you could peer back in time to see how glaciers melted over generations? Or how a major wildfire scarred the earth in a few days?
Launched in 2010, NASA's "State of Flux" image gallery shows the impacts of climate change, urbanization, natural disasters and other events in both the short and long term.
Between 1941 and 2004, Alaska's Muir Glacier retreated more than seven miles and thinned by more than 875 yards, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Bruce Molnia.
Before: Muir Glacier, Alaska on August 13, 1941 After: August 31, 2004
(Photos: William O. Field, NSIDC / Bruce F. Molnia, USGS)
Before: McCarty Glacier, Alaska on July 30, 1909 After: August 11, 2004
(Photos: Ulysses Sherman, NSDIC / Bruce F. Molnia, USGS)
According to NASA, Bear Glacier retreated by 1300 feet in 140 years after 1809. Between 1950 and the mid-1990s, it retreated another 0.9 miles. By 2010, it had retreated an additional 1.9 miles in about 15 years. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Bear Glacier thinned by about 2.5 feet every year between the early 1950s and the 1990s.
Check out a ground level view of Bear Glacier's retreat here.
Before: Bear Glacier Alaska on May 16, 1989 After: May 26, 2010
(Photos: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey)
Note: The area depicted in the photos above is about 25 miles wide.
NASA and the USGS explain, "Though a relatively small number of people may live near Alaskan glaciers, shrinking ice on that northern land may indicate bigger changes for millions of people living elsewhere because the meltwater from shrinking glaciers flows to the ocean and raises sea level."
As we emit more carbon dioxide, the oceans will become more acidic. That will be bad for sealife—but it may also speed the rate of global warming
Given that they cover 70% of the Earth’s surface—and provide about 90% of the planet’s habitable space by volume—the oceans tend to get short shrift when it comes to climate change. The leaked draft of the forthcoming coming new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the atmospheric warming we’re likely to see, the rate of ice loss in the Arctic and the unprecedented (at least within the last 22,000 years) rate of increase of concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. But when it came to the oceans, press reports only focused on how warming would cause sea levels to rise, severely inconveniencing those of us who live on land.
Some of that ignorance is due to the out of sight, out of mind nature of the underwater world—a place human beings have only seen about 5% of. But it has more to do with the relative paucity of data on how climate change might impact the ocean. It’s not that scientists don’t think it matters—the reaction of the oceans to increased levels of CO2 will have an enormous effect on how global warming impacts the rest of us—it’s that there’s still a fair amount of uncertainty around the subject............................
Flood damage in the world's major coastal cities may top $1 trillion a year by 2050 due to rising seas and subsiding land, according to a new study.
The startling figure is "not a forecast or a prediction," but rather a means to "show that not to adapt and not to improve protection is impossible," Stéphane Hallegatte, a senior economist with the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and the study's lead author, told NBC News. "We have to do something."
The finding, which comes nearly 10 months after Superstorm Sandy's destruction, is shared by Hallegatte and colleagues in a report Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. Researchers considered current flood protections in 136 cities around the world, and found that in many instances they are inappropriate for sea levels that rise a projected 8 inches by the year 2050........
By Nina Chestney LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - A release of methane in the Arctic could speed the melting of sea ice and climate change with a cost to the global economy of up to $60 trillion over coming decades, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Erasmus University in the Netherlands used economic modelling to calculate the consequences of a release of a 50-gigatonne reservoir of methane from thawing permafrost under the East Siberian Sea.
They examined a scenario in which there is a release of methane over a decade as global temperatures rise at their current pace.
They also looked at lower and slower releases, yet all produced "steep" economic costs stemming from physical changes to the Arctic.
"The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb," said Gail Whiteman, an author of the report and professor of sustainability, management and climate change at the Rotterdam School of Management, part of Erasmus University.
"In the absence of climate-change mitigation measures, the model calculates that it would increase mean global climate impacts by $60 trillion," said Chris Hope, a reader in policy modelling at the Cambridge Judge Business School, part of the University of Cambridge.
That approaches the value of the global economy, which was around $70 trillion last year............
By Erik Kirschbaum BERLIN, July 15 (Reuters) - Sea levels could rise by 2.3 metres for each degree Celsius that global temperatures increase and they will remain high for centuries to come, according to a new study by the leading climate research institute, released on Monday.
Anders Levermann said his study for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research was the first to examine evidence from climate history and combine it with computer simulations of contributing factors to long-term sea-level increases: thermal expansion of oceans, the melting of mountain glaciers and the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
Scientists say global warming is responsible for the melting ice. A U.N. panel of scientists, the IPCC, says heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels are nudging up temperatures. A small number of scientists dismiss human-influenced global warming, arguing natural climate fluctuations are responsible.
"We're confident that our estimate is robust because of the combination of physics and data that we used," Levermann told Reuters. "We think we've set a benchmark for how much sea levels will rise along with temperature increases."
Sea levels rose by 17 cm last century and the rate has accelerated to more than 3 mm a year, according to the IPCC. A third of the current rise is from Antarctica and Greenland.
Almost 200 governments have agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times and plan to agree, by the end of 2015, a deal to curb emissions.
Global average surface temperatures have risen by 0.8C (1.4F) since the Industrial Revolution and the IPCC has said temperatures are likely to be 0.4 to 1.0 degrees Celsius warmer from 2016-35 than in the two decades to 2005.
"In the past there was some uncertainty and people haven't known by how much," Levermann said. "We're saying now, taking everything we know, that we've got a robust estimate of 2.3 meters (7 feet, 6.6 inches) of rising sea per degree (Celsius) of warming........"
We spend most of our home’s energy during cold winter days. People use up lots of energy for heating and that’s why the bills go up during winter and fall. However, there are several ways you can cut down on your monthly bills and make your home more energy efficient. Here’s how:
Think about all the light bulbs that are currently active in your house. You probably don’t need half of them, so turn off the light each time you exit a room and you are already making progress. If you haven’t already changed regular light bulbs for energy efficient ones, now is the time to do so.The most popular choice on the market are LED light bulbs, so give them a try. They may cost more than regular ones, but they are much more energy efficient and it will pay off once you notice how lower your energy bill turns out to be........
Make sure your fridge and freezer are placed somewhere cold, or at least at room temperature. Keep them away from direct Sun light, heaters, radiators and other elements that give off heat. They increase the temperature inside the fridge making it activate its electrical components and use up more energy.Don’t forget to defrost your fridge and freezer on a regular basis, unless they have the function to do it automatically. The accumulated ice acts as insulation and increases energy consumption....
Energy Efficient Cooking
Start your cooking at a higher temperature until you reach boiling temperature. Then, continue to cook on a lower temperature until your meal is ready. To save even more energy, use the accumulated temperature of the oven. If a meal takes 40 minutes to cook, you can turn off the oven 10 minutes beforehand, the meal will still be cooked like the oven worked for the entire 40 minutes. So, the meal gets properly cooked and you save a precious 10 minutes of energy....
Try to use as much natural materials in your house as you can. Not only will it make your home more energy efficient but it will also create a more pleasant atmosphere.
"In the wake of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), the government allocated P347 million, since then increased to P1 billion, to rehabilitate mangroves in devastated areas.
The loss of thousands of lives and livelihoods was well documented by the media. However, were the degree and extent of destruction in mangrove ecosystems documented as well to merit such a huge amount?
To assess mangrove damage, two teams were simultaneously deployed in Eastern Samar (seven sites in six municipalities) and Leyte (five municipalities and two cities) over a total of seven days in January and March. (See map.)
The teams comprised 17 participants from nongovernment organizations (ZSL, GDFI, ELTI, Haribon Foundation, Conservation International and Tambuyog) and academic (UP Diliman, UP Tacloban, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University) communities and and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 6, with assistance from UP Tacloban students.
The locations surveyed were Quinapondan, Guiuan (Bagongbanwa Island and Maliwaliw Island), Salcedo, General MacArthur, Hernani and Lawaan in Eastern Samar, and Ormoc City, Palompon, Isabel, Merida, Carigara, Palo and Tacloban City in Leyte."
From Charles Q. Choi, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor: If melting ice caps trigger rapid sea level rise, the strain that the edges of continents could experience might set off underwater landslides, new research suggests.
Submarine landslides happen on every continental margin, the underwater parts of continental plates bordering oceanic plates. These underwater avalanches, which can happen when underwater slopes get hit by earthquakes or otherwise have too much weight loaded onto them, can generate dangerous tsunamis.
A staggering half of all the Earth moved by submarine landslides over the past 125,000 years apparently happened between 8,000 and 15,000 years ago. "This time period coincides with the period of most rapid sea level rise following the end of the last ice age," said study co-author Daniel Brothers, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Coastal and Marine Science Center in Woods Hole, Mass. [10 Tsunamis That Changed History]......
Since these prehistoric disasters coincided with changes in climate, previous research suggested natural global warming might have been their cause, but what exactly the link might be was unclear. To learn more, Brothers and his colleagues generated 3D computer models of the effects of 395 feet (120 meters) of sea level rise on the continental margins off North Carolina and Brazil's Amazon coast.........
National Trust study warns of threat to wildlife as rising sea levels and changing weather patterns transform UK coastlines
Puffins, terns and butterflies are among the key species in the UK being put at risk from global warming, which is transforming the UK's coastal areas as sea levels rise and storms grow fiercer, a study by the National Trust has found.
Sea levels are predicted to rise by up to half a metre by the turn of the century, and coastal erosion is accelerating, with a fourfold increase in landslips reported.
Puffin chicks are having a particularly hard time – their preferred meal of sand eels is disappearing, owing to overfishing and changing ocean temperatures, and in their place a new fish has moved into UK waters that the chicks find indigestible. The newcomer is the snake pipefish, normally found in warmer waters but moving northwards as the climate changes – with devastating effects for puffins, as it is bony and hard for the birds to eat. Some chicks have been found dead, the trust reports, having choked trying to swallow pipefish.
Another problem for the species, colonies of which can be found in the Farne Islands and at Lundy Island in Devon, is that their burrows were flooded during last year's exceptionally wet summer, which was followed by the unusually long winter, causing many to die of starvation.
Little terns are another species that could suffer: they are vulnerable to unusually high tides and storms, both of which are likely to hit more frequently as climate change takes hold. When they migrate to the UK each spring, they tend to site their colonies just above the high tide line, so when storm surges strike their nests can easily be flooded..................
Man-made perils to the universe's garden of life are evident from space.
By MICHAEL BENSON In 1961, Yuri A. Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, issued his initial impressions from an altitude of more than 100 miles. The sky was deep black, he said, and the Earth’s horizon crowned with “a beautiful blue halo.” Between bright white clouds, he enthused, he could make out “snow, forest, mountains.” It was an Edenic picture.
In the subsequent depths of the cold war, with nuclear weapons racing off the assembly lines of the Soviet Union and the United States, succeeding cosmonauts and astronauts contributed their own observations. Like Mr. Gagarin, they found their world mesmerizingly beautiful. They also reported a singularly intriguing fact: no borders or political boundaries could be seen from space.......................
Images laced together from NASA’s Visible Earth show the cycling seasons of our planet reduced to just a few seconds of ceaseless movement.
You can almost hear it sigh. Our third rock from the sun inhaling the solid ice of winter and exhaling in the heat of summer, as the world keeps turning and spinning.
John Nelson, a user-experience expert for the software firm IDV Solutions, posted this GIF, which laces together NASA's Visible Earthimages. The GIF is made up of 12 NASA photographs, one taken each month in 2004.
The GIF reveals the dramatic way Earth freezes over each season, only to thaw into the infinite blue deep in the warmth of a summer sun.
Unfortunately, climate change has the power to skew the yin-yang balance. Unprecedented Arctic ice cap loss could tip the scale in favor of the great watery drink, to the detriment of human and fauna alike.
Divers from Silliman University, Coastal Conservation and Education foundation, and Greenpeace today surveyed the massive coral damage in Apo Island. The documentation of the reef check in Apo Island is part of the activities around the visit of the Greenpeace ship, Esperanza which arrived yesterday in the Philippines.
Reefs in Apo Island’s Marine Sanctuary, in the southeastern side of the island were severely damaged by typhoon Sendong in 2011 and Typhoon Pablo in 2012. Researchers estimate coral damage at 99%. Coral reef fish abundance also declined by 50%. Reefs on the Northern side of the island were unaffected by the storms and remain intact.
Apo Island’s community-managed marine sanctuary is considered one of the best of its kind in the world. Established in the mid1980s, the sanctuary became a beacon of hope that damaged reefs can, with proper protection, management, and community buy-in, be restored back to health. The sanctuary was key to the increase of fish populations in the area, providing multiple benefits to coastal folk.......