Sustainability Science
8.1K views | +0 today
Follow
Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
Curated by PIRatE Lab
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

'Africa rising' narrative takes a hit as foreign investors scale back investment

'Africa rising' narrative takes a hit as foreign investors scale back investment | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The well-worn narrative of Africa as a place ripe with growth potential isn't as strong as it once was.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

But while this makes things difficult for the mining industry, is it really such a terrible thing for Africa? Africa holds about 30 percent of the world’s mineral resources. Revenue from those resources could improve a lot of lives. But some think that in the long-term, a lack of interest from mining companies could be a positive thing, spurring interest in industry other than simple raw extraction of materials.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Farming Now Worse For Climate Than Deforestation | Climate Central

Farming Now Worse For Climate Than Deforestation | Climate Central | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Farming is now the leading source of land-based greenhouse gas pollution as deforestation has slowed.

 

Efforts such as these to slow deforestation have delivered some of humanity’s few gains in its otherwise lackadaisical battle so far against global warming. A gradual slowdown in chainsawing and bulldozing, particularly in Brazil, helped reduce deforestation’s annual toll on the climate by nearly a quarter between the 1990s and 2010. This new study describes how this trend has seen agriculture overtake deforestation as the leading source of land-based greenhouse gas pollution during the past decade. While United Nations climate negotiations focus heavily on forest protections, the researchers note that delegates to the talks ignore similar opportunities to reform farming. “The decline in deforestation over the past decade or two is a success story,” Rob Jackson, a professor at Stanford University’s earth sciences school, said. He was not involved with the new study. The deforestation slowdown has, “in large part,” he said, been driven by new forestry rules in Brazil, by the U.N.’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program, which funds forest conservation, and similar policies elsewhere.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

The new study, led by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and published in Global Change Biology, quantifies the reductions in climate pollution from the degradation and clearcutting of forests. Clearcutting most often clears space for agriculture, suggesting agriculture’s indirect climate impacts surpass the impacts of deforestation for timber and other commodities. The researchers aim to tally those indirect impacts later this year. This paper was an early step in a larger effort to better understand and report on the climate repercussions of how land is used. “Every year, we’ll have updates,” lead author Francesco Tubiello said.

The study is also a reminder that the burning of fossil fuels remains the main cause of global warming. Burning fuel produces about four times more climate pollution every year than forestry and agriculture combined — a figure that is growing. The research shows that the recent climate-protecting gains in forests are being nearly canceled out by efforts to satisfy the world’s growing appetite — particularly its appetite for meat. Greenhouse gases released by farming, such as methane from livestock and rice paddies, and nitrous oxides from fertilizers and other soil treatments rose 13 percent after 1990, the study concluded. Agricultural climate pollution is mostly caused by livestock. Cows and buffalo are the worst offenders — their ruminating guts and decomposing waste produce a lot of methane. They produce so much methane, and eat so much fertilized feed, that livestock are blamed for two-thirds of agriculture’s climate pollution every year. “We’re seeing an expansion of agricultural lands in some areas because of the growing global population,” Jackson, who is a co-chair of the Global Carbon Project, which studies the global carbon cycle, said. “We’re also seeing intensification of agriculture.”

Although annual climate pollution from deforestation is declining, experts warn that recent gains could quickly be reversed.Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest spiked recently following nearly a decade of declines, for example, as farmers and loggers rushed to exploit loopholes in forest protection laws. Some parts of Central Africa are seeing deforestation in areas where it was not previously a problem. And cutting down trees can reduce moisture levels in a rainforest, which could cause parts of the Amazon to start dying off — even if everybody’s chainsaws simultaneously jammed. The researchers drew on three global datasets to try to hone in on land’s changing contribution to global warming. Such impacts are harder to quantify accurately than are the pollution impacts of burning fuel. Governments invest fewer resources tracking and reporting complex climate indicators for deforestation and agricultural activity than is the case for the energy sector. The paper noted a gulf between global efforts to reduce the climate impacts of deforestation, and the dearth of a global response to the climate impacts of food production. REDD is a major focus of U.N. climate negotiations, but agriculture is barely discussed during the talks….

...Doug Boucher, the director of climate research at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says agriculture’s climate impacts could be reduced without taking food off tables. Reducing the overuse of fertilizers, protecting the organic content of soils by changing farming practices, and keeping rice paddies flooded for fewer weeks every season could all contribute to a climate solution, he said.The biggest opportunities for reforming agriculture’s climate impacts can sometimes be found miles from where any food is grown. Reducing waste where food is sold, prepared, eaten and, in many cases, partly tossed in the trash as uneaten leftovers or unsellable produce, reduces the amount of land, fertilizer and equipment needed to feed everybody. “Shifting consumption toward less beef and more chicken, and reducing waste of meat in particular, are what seem to have the biggest potential,” Boucher said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

San Francisco gets no rain in January for first time in 165 years

San Francisco gets no rain in January for first time in 165 years | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
In another sign California's persistent drought, downtown San Francisco recorded no measurable rain in January for the first time in 165 years.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Why oil prices keep falling — and throwing the world into turmoil

A complete guide to the oil price crash.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is a great general overview of oil pricing fluctuations.  It does not prove a curb-notes version or overly simplify this important dynamic.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by PIRatE Lab from Geography Education
Scoop.it!

Worldwide Country Comparison

Worldwide Country Comparison | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"MyLifeElsewhere allows you to compare your home country with different countries around the world. Ever wonder what your life would be like if you were born somewhere else?"


Via Seth Dixon
more...
HG Académie de Rennes's curator insight, January 31, 2015 1:56 AM

Un site d'une grande simplicité d'utilisation bien qu'en anglais. Le principe est de choisir deux pays dans un menu déroulant pour en comparer les principaux indicateurs de développement sous la forme de petites infographies très pédagogiques.
La comparaison est évidemment un processus de raisonnement à mettre en place pour situer et caractériser en géographie. On songera ainsi à l'utilisation d'un tel outil dans le cadre de l'étude des inégalités de développement en classe de 5e et de Seconde, mais aussi pour une mise en perspective sur les Territoires dans la mondialisation en classe de 4e afin de caractériser un PMA, un pays émergent, un pays développé (cf. exemple réalisé pour l'illustration).

Dernière information sur ce site, les statistiques utilisées proviennent des bases de données open source de la CIA américaine.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, February 7, 2015 7:51 PM

After studying this comparison tool and using it to find the best of the best and worst of the worst, I picked out some highlights I'd like to share. Monaco is clearly the place to be born, earn, and live. When compared to the USA, the infant mortality rate is 71% less, the life expectancy is 10 years longer @ 84, and you'll earn 62% more money, no doubt because you have ten more years in which to do so. I believe the stats may be skewed a bit in this country comparison as the very rich live there and they have access to the best medical care, and probably don't have very many infants with them when they make the move from elsewhere, hence the low infant mortality rate. Austria is not a bad second choice as you are 33% less likely to be unemployed. On a sobering note, the life expectancy if you live in Namibia is only 52! Yikes, I'm already 53... It's far worse however in Swaziland. The life expectancy is sadly only 50.5 years and you are 44 times more likely to have AIDS than if you lived here. 26.5% of the population has AIDS! Be thankful for where you live and stop complaining, it's far worse on average in nearly all other countries.

Monika Fleischmann's curator insight, February 15, 2015 4:59 AM
Seth Dixon's insight:

Did you know that with 1/30th the territory of the United States, Norway still has over 25% more coastline?  I didn't either until I compared Norway to the United States using My Life Elsewhere.  This site is designed allow United States students to imagine how their lives might be different if they were born in a different part of the world.  Students would probably die 21 years earlier if they were born in Liberia and 11 times more likely to have died in infancy.   Students would be 43.8% less likely to grow up and be unemployed and have 36.3% less babies if they were born in Taiwan.  This side-by-side format is a great way to help students help make these statistics real and meaningful.  One major drawback: this site only allows users to compare a country to the United States.  If you prefer to have students compare, say Cuba to the United Arab Emirates, I would recommend that you try If It Where My Home. 


Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

The FAA Calls Amazon's Bluff on Taking Drone Delivery Overseas

The FAA Calls Amazon's Bluff on Taking Drone Delivery Overseas | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Earlier this week, Amazon threatened to take its drone delivery program overseas—the FAA says that won't happen.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Hmmm."calls their bluff?"  This looks more like: pushing the to move all of their R&D to the UK.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by PIRatE Lab from sustainability and resilience
Scoop.it!

The foldable Solight Solarpuff solar-powered lantern provides off-grid light where there is no electricity

The foldable Solight Solarpuff solar-powered lantern provides off-grid light where there is no electricity | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The Solight Solarpuff is a lightweight, pop-up, solar-powered LED lantern that provides a sustainable lighting source where access to electricity is limited.

Via Anita Woodruff
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Group updates green label forestry standards

Group updates green label forestry standards | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

An organization that certifies lumber and paper products as environmentally sustainable has upgraded its standards, but critics say the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards and enforcement remain weak. SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow said the upgrade released Wednesday came out of a ­regular five-year reassessment. It tightens standards on clearing large areas of ­forest, damaging wetlands, and using pesticides. The revision comes as the environmental group ForestEthics ­issued a report comparing SFI cert­ification audits in ­Canadian forests with audits by the Forest Stewardship Council, the other leading forest certification organization.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

The battle between the two leading third-party certification organizations for forest products is heating up.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Wealth Inequality: Having it all and wanting more

Wealth Inequality: Having it all and wanting more | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Global wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small wealthy elite. These wealthy individuals have generated and sustained their vast riches through their interests and activities in a few important economic sectors, including finance and insurance,
PIRatE Lab's insight:

In a report released Monday, the anti-poverty group Oxfam says that if current trends persist the richest 1 percent will own more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth by 2016. “The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering,” Oxfam’s executive director said in the statement. “The gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.”

The statement was actually released in the form of a letteraddressed to leaders gathering in Davos, Switzerland this week for the World Economic Forum. Income inequality is likely to come up. Symptoms of the growing wealth gap are numerous. While the world’s billionaires continue to add billions to their bank accounts, billions of people around the world still live on less than $2 a day. And the wealth gap is truly a global problem. Countries from China to the United States are considering taxes to address the problem. US President Barack Obama is expected to make it a central point of his State of the Union speech this week. But, as Oxfam says in its report, the lobbying power of the world’s top corporations could present a “major barrier” to any kind of global tax reform.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

California Higher Education Sustainability Conference: July 20-24 @ SF State

The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) highlights cutting-edge research, as well as case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs, and community partnerships. This unique event is jointly organized by independent / private colleges, California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and the University of California creating the opportunity for dialogue across institutions.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

The planning for CHESC 2015 is well under way!  We have

Built new partnerships (please see the announcement from our co-marketing sponsor, the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, who is offering a 20% discount on registration to their 4th Annual USZWBC National Zero Waste Business Conference for the CHESC community);Launched our exhibiting and sponsorship drive (see below for details on the new interactive exhibit hall space and e-marketing opportunities);Are days away from announcing this year’s call for proposals (expect an announcement next week and check out the opportunity below to participate on our speaker selection committees); andHave started a social media campaign to promote best practices from California colleges and universities.  Please share your best practices with us at chescsocialmedia@gmail.com and follow us at:

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CHESC

 

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/cahigheredusustainabilityFacebook

 

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1538490636369246/

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Pope Francis Plans to Have Human Ecology Encyclical Finished in March

Aboard the papal plane, during an in-flight press conference on his way to the Philippines, Pope Francis said he plans to have his much-anticipated encyclical on man's relationship with creation finished in March.

“At the end of March, I think it will be completed,” he told journalists aboard the papal plane Jan. 15. “I think that if the translations go well, in June or July, it could come out.”

 

A year ago this month, the Vatican had announced the Pope's plans to write on the theme of “human ecology,” a phrase that was originally coined by retired pontiff Benedict XVI.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by PIRatE Lab from Marine Litter
Scoop.it!

'We're probably drinking plastic'

'We're probably drinking plastic' | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Commonly used in cosmetic products, microscopic beads have been found in Cayuga Lake

Via AimForGood
PIRatE Lab's insight:

We appear to be in early phases of the pushback surrounding microplastics.  See also: 

 

http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/

 

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313157701/why-those-tiny-microbeads-in-soap-may-pose-problem-for-great-lakes

 

http://ag.ny.gov/pdfs/Microbeads_Report_5_14_14.pdf

 

http://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/2015/01/simply-laundry-possibly-biggest-source-plastic-pollution/

 

And some more general plastic related health effects as suggested by colleagues:

 

http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/06/german-beer-contaminated-with-plastic/

 

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2014/feb/fish-heart-valves-1

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Nebraska high court tosses suit over Keystone pipeline route

Nebraska high court tosses suit over Keystone pipeline route | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's highest court threw out a challenge Friday to a proposed route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, even though a majority of judges agreed the landowners who sued should have won their case.…
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Environmentalists and other opponents of the pipeline have highlighted the potential for extraction and transport of crude from Canada’s tar sands to contaminate water, pollute air, and harm wildlife. But the congressional republicans, the oil industry, and other pipeline backers argue that Keystone will lead to jobs and increase oil independence as well as strengthen bonds with Canada.  Er...or maybe we should say would lead to perhaps 2,000-3,000 temporary jobs for perhaps 2 years.

 

“Boosting American-made energy results in more American jobs and improved international relations," said Rep. Leonard Lance. "This is a winning combination for our Nation’s economy, our national security and a centerpiece in our relationship with our ally, Canada.”

 

Rep. Adam Smith had a different take: “Rather than focusing on Keystone XL, we should be working on bigger picture investments in clean energy and energy efficient technologies that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels that hurt our environment.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Americans are finally taking climate change seriously. Here is why that might not last.

Americans are finally taking climate change seriously. Here is why that might not last. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Polling shows that voters' commitment to combating global warming is very much conditional
PIRatE Lab's insight:

A big new poll has raised some optimism that public opinion on climate change is finally catching up to the science. But the poll is a welcome reflection that more and more people understand the seriousness of the climate threat, some caution is merited — for two important reasons. Among the adults polled by The New York Times, Stanford University, and Resources for the Future in January, a healthy majority — 78 percent — think global warming will be a serious problem for the United States (44 percent very serious; 34 percent somewhat serious). Even among Tea Party supporters, 59 percent put themselves in one of the "serious" camps.  As the poll breakdown shows, even though people more clearly recognize that climate change will be a problem, they still consider the threat something that will happen to "other" people, either those living in foreign countries or future generations. When asked if climate change will hurt them personally, more people are likely to say "a little" or "not at all" than "a great deal" or "a lot."  This persistent view that the worst effects are far into the future is not necessarily inaccurate. As reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and World Bank indicate, even at current rates, the worst effects manifest themselves at temperature levels that we will only begin reaching at midcentury, even under a business-as-usual (no policy changes) scenario. However, because the effects of climate change are cumulative, and the transitions needed to prevent the worst effects involve large-scale changes to our economy, it is precisely now that action is needed. And even if the worst effects are still a generation away, there are still many effects that we are seeing right now.

The Risky Business Project, co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer, is dedicated to demonstrating that while climate change is having immediate economic effects, for business as well as nations, time is still on our side. Doing something now, they argue, would be more effective and less expensive than doing something later, as investments and policy changes made today will pay much bigger dividends than waiting to play catch-up. 

That the public is still slow to realize this underscores the flaws in how the risks and benefits are being communicated.

Which brings us to the next problem: how to go about doing what is necessary. This challenge is entirely separate from convincing folks climate change is a threat, and the results are less than encouraging.

An overwhelming number of respondents (80 percent) think the government should give tax breaks to companies that use more renewable energy. (To put this in perspective, a modified version of this idea is one of the two main components of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's climate change plan — which is much maligned.) Nearly as many (78 percent) would support a federally mandated limit on greenhouse gas emissions, which is the closest analog to the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. 

Unfortunately, far fewer people said that they would tolerate an increase to their electric bills, or an increase to the gas tax to discourage emissions from transportation (a large slice of the American greenhouse gas footprint). This suggests that public tolerance for policies on climate change are household cost sensitive in a way that is not true for policies that are perceived to affect individual companies.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The public and scientists express strikingly different views about science-related issues, yet both groups agree that K-12 STEM education in America falls behind other nations.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

On some things, such as the space station, fracking, and bioengineered fuel, U.S. adults and scientists a part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science share similar sentiments. On other issues, such as genetically modified foods, animals in research, and climate change, there are big differences.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Increased frequency of extreme La Nina events under greenhouse warming

Extreme La Nina events occur when cold sea surface temperatures across the central Pacific Ocean create a strong temperature gradient to the Maritime continent in the west. This work projects an increase in frequency of La Nina events due to faster land warming relative to the ocean, and a greater chance of them occurring following extreme El Nino events.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Extreme La Niña events might be experienced about every 13 years, rather than every 23 years, as they are now, but not like clockwork, according to lead study author Wenju Cai, a climate scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Aspendale, Australia. "We're only saying that on average, we expect to get one every 13 years," said Cai. "We cannot predict exactly when they will happen, but we suggest that on average, we are going to get more."

 

The study finds that powerful La Niñas will immediately follow intense El Niños, causing weather patterns to alternate between wet and dry extremes.


see also:

 

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/global-warming-may-lead-more-frequent-la-nina-events-study-n292451


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Should tackling climate change trump protecting nature?

Should tackling climate change trump protecting nature? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Miles King: Planners have given the green light for a solar farm at Rampisham Down, a SSSI in West Dorset. But stopping biodiversity loss is as important as stopping global warming
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by PIRatE Lab from sustainability and resilience
Scoop.it!

Making the Measure: A Toolkit for Tracking the Outcomes of Community Gardens and Urban Farms  | The Nature of Cities

Making the Measure: A Toolkit for Tracking the Outcomes of Community Gardens and Urban Farms  | The Nature of Cities | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Via Anita Woodruff
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by PIRatE Lab from sustainability and resilience
Scoop.it!

Human population growth's effects on global warming

Human population growth's effects on global warming | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Earlier this month, Pope Francis made news when he said that not only was climate change real, but it was mostly man-made. Then, last week, he said that couples do not need to breed “like rabbits” but rather should plan their families responsibly — albeit without the use of modern contraception.

Via Garry Rogers, Anita Woodruff
more...
Garry Rogers's curator insight, January 25, 2015 2:25 PM

Good.  We need more like this.  We need to delete the third-rail image from population and bring public pressure to bear on our politicians. 

V. C. Bestor's curator insight, January 26, 2015 11:25 AM

Ladies devoted to Creation can save species from humans: the Garden of Eden has elbow room for all God's critters. 

Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Tropical deforestation threatens global food production

Tropical deforestation threatens global food production | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Tropical deforestation in the southern hemisphere is accelerating global warming and threatening world food production by distorting rainfall patterns across Europe,
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I'm not sure I would characterize Brazilian management as a "wonderful success story" but the overall global pattern is clear.  We simply don't have the capacity to stop altering these systems and we beginning to see real, realized feedback loops on larger atmospheric patterns necessary for food production, silvaculture, etc.

 

Here is the original paper:

 

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n1/full/nclimate2430.html

 

If you would like to see the current boogy man for deforestation (and want to be kept up at night with worry) check out the latest disappointing news from Indonesia:

 

http://www.eco-business.com/news/half-indonesias-deforestation-occurs-outside-concession-areas/

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

It's Official: 2014 Was the Hottest Year on Record

It's Official: 2014 Was the Hottest Year on Record | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Deny this. NOAA's monthly temperature data show the Earth's climate warming over 135 years, animated here in less than 30 seconds.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

When you look at overall global temperatures over time, you see a rising line and new heat records set. Instead of just one line though, Tom Randall and Blacki Migliozzi for Bloomberg split up the time series by year and animated it.

 

Each year is overlaid on top of the other with a new time series in each frame. The dotted line rises too as new records are set, and as time passes, the older time series lines fade to the background.

 

You still get the rising effect as you would with a single time series over the past 135 years, but this view provides more focus to the increase, closer to present time.

more...
PIRatE Lab's curator insight, January 19, 2015 9:16 PM

An interesting way to present the data: time.

 

By making this an animation, you clearly can see the rapid change in recent decades quite clearly.

Anastasia Wei's curator insight, January 20, 2015 1:47 AM

Impressive..

Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

2015 National Zero Waste Business Conference 2015

2015 National Zero Waste Business Conference 2015 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
U.S Zero Waste Business Council, Zero Waste Companies
PIRatE Lab's insight:

On May 5-7, 2015, the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (www.uszwbc.org) will host its 4th annual national conference, "The Stars of Zero Waste," in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation. The event will provide educational resources, professional training for businesses to start (or complete) their efforts to pursue Zero Waste, and presentations by industry leaders on Zero Waste business operations, economics, policies, and more. Professionals from all sectors (private, public, nonprofit, academia) are invited to gain practical knowledge, explore new business opportunities, and learn how to create healthier, more productive, and more efficient businesses. Please visit the USZWBC website (www.uszwbc.org) for more information including early bird registration, sponsorship opportunities, conference topics and much more.

 

Special offer for CHESC network: enter the code “nzwbc15CHESC” during registration and a set of 20% off discounted rates will appear!!! Register today at www.uszwbc.org!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Japan’s birth rate problem is way worse than anyone imagined

Japan’s birth rate problem is way worse than anyone imagined | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Japan’s population shrank by its largest amount on record in 2014.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

It's hard to predict the future, especially when humans are involved. Oftentimes, there are just too many variables to control for to estimate accurately. In the chart above from the Washington Post Wonkblog, Japan's fertility rate is plotted against various forecasts over the years, and you see forecasts headed upwards, but in reality it decreased consistently since the 1970s. This is based on work from Katagiri, et al (pdf).

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

The Energy Numbers From 2014

The Energy Numbers From 2014 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Sometimes energy makes headlines, sometimes it doesn’t. But it almost always has important implications for the global economy, the environment, and our day-to-day lives.

 

Here are ten energy statistics from 2014 that capture some of the most noteworthy trends of the year, and that will shape the energy world in the years to come.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Some of these are obvious, but many of these were surprising to me.  None less so than the push to get California solar home arrays westward oriented to help with peak afternoon electricity demand.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Social impacts of carbon emissions on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy

Social impacts of carbon emissions on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Integrated assessment models estimate the impact of climate change on current economic output, but not on its rate of growth. This study modifies a standard integrated assessment model to allow climate change to directly affect gross GDP growth rates. Results show that climate change significantly slows down GDP growth in poor regions but not in rich countries, with implications for the level of near-term mitigation.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The social cost of carbon (SCC) or the economic damage caused by a ton of carbon dioxide emissions—which the United States uses to guide energy regulations and, potentially, future mitigation policies—is $37 per ton according to a recent U.S. government study or, according to a new study by Stanford researchers published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, six times that value.


The Stanford scientists say the current pricing models fail to reflect all the economic damage each ton of CO2 causes and that a higher value on that damage could change policy.


“If the social cost of carbon is higher, many more mitigation measures will pass a cost-benefit analysis,” said study co-author Delavane Diaz. “Because carbon emissions are so harmful to society, even costly means of reducing emissions would be worthwhile.”


“For 20 years now, the models have assumed that climate change can't affect the basic growth rate of the economy,” said study coauthor Frances Moore. “But a number of new studies suggest this may not be true. If climate change affects not only a country’s economic output but also its growth, then that has a permanent effect that accumulates over time, leading to a much higher social cost of carbon.”


But William Pizer, a faculty fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions who has worked on andrecommended regular updating of the SCC estimate, questioned the methodology of the Stanford analysis, pointing out that it relied on the impact on national economies of short-term temperature spikes rather than on long-term trends that might reveal permanent economic reductions.

 

“To me, it just seems like it has to be an overestimate,” Pizer said of the Stanford result of $220 (subscription required). “I think it's great they're doing this,” he added. “I just think this is another data point that someone needs to weigh as they're trying to figure out what the right social cost of carbon is. But this isn't like a definitive new answer.”

 

more...
No comment yet.