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Renewable Energy for Military Applications | MarketWatch.com

Renewable Energy for Military Applications | MarketWatch.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

As the largest single consumer of energy in the world, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is one of the most important drivers for the cleantech market today. The DOD has developed a comprehensive strategy to reduce energy consumption, improve battlefield effectiveness, increase energy security, and reduce costs. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are each implementing detailed plans to achieve ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency targets that, in most cases, are likely to be achieved by 2025, including 3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power generation at military facilities, primarily via third-party financing.

 

Spanning from research and development to base and battlefield deployment, military applications of clean technologies are growing, but there are considerable operational and political challenges that, as in cleantech markets in civilian markets, pose threats to fully realizing these opportunities. Pike Research expects that the expenditures on renewable energy by the Department of Defense will reach $1.8 billion by 2025, growing from $163 million in 2013.

 

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Google: We’re parting with the climate change skeptics at ALEC | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Google: We’re parting with the climate change skeptics at ALEC | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Google is going to stop funding a key conservative group because of its stance on climate change, executive chairman Eric Schmidt revealed Monday.

In an interview with NPR's Diane Rehm, Schmidt said that the American Legislative Exchange Council had been "literally lying" about the reality of climate change — a fact that led Google to reconsider its financial contributions to the organization.

"The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake and so we're trying to not do that in the future," Schmidt said of the funding.


Google had initially supported ALEC over an "unrelated" issue, Schmidt told Rehm. But ALEC's stand on climate change convinced Google to pull its support.


"The company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts — what a shock," said Schmidt. "And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people — they're just, they're just literally lying."


Google said it will not be renewing its ALEC membership at the end of the year.


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Iridium's next-gen satellite network will search for missing planes at no charge | Kevin Fitchard | GigaOM Tech News

Iridium's next-gen satellite network will search for missing planes at no charge | Kevin Fitchard | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

When Iridium’s new satellites will start blasting into orbit next year on top of SpaceX and Dnepr rockets, they’ll be carrying a special payload: an aircraft tracking system that will be able to locate a plane anywhere in the world once Iridium’s 66-satellite constellation is fully operational in 2017.

The service is run by Aireon, a joint venture between Iridium and government aviation agencies in Canada and Europe, and it plans on charging airline for its core flight monitoring services. But Aireon said it would open the network up gratis to international rescue agencies during emergencies, allowing them to home in on missing aircraft.

In the case of Malaysia Airlines 370, which disappeared in March, the emergency service could have helped in locating and the possible rescue of the still missing flight by plotting its exact GPS coordinates every few seconds. The technology behind it is called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), and transponders using it are being installed in new and old commercial aircraft.

Iridium birds won’t be the only ones listening for ADS-B signals either, both Inmarsat and Globalstar are putting the locator tech on their aircraft and will be offering competing flight monitoring services. Iridium, however, has the slight advantage of offering pole-to-pole coverage, which given the artic great circle routes taken by many transcontinental flights would be very handy.

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Statement from Campaign Director Brant Olson on Google Dropping ALEC | Forecast the Facts

Statement from Campaign Director Brant Olson on Google Dropping ALEC | Forecast the Facts | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Forecast the Facts was pleased to hear Google Chairman Eric Schmidt announce today on The Diane Rehm Show that Google will pull its support from The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) due to the organization’s support of climate change denial–a move requested by more than 100,000 members of Forecast the Facts since starting its #DontFundEvil campaign last year.

As Schmidt said, ‘The facts of climate change are not in question anymore, everyone understands that climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place, and we should not be aligned with such people. They are just literally lying.’ We couldn’t agree more, and we hope Google will also take this opportunity review its over $699,000 in contributions since 2008 to another group that is “just literally lying” — climate change deniers in Congress.”


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$4,000 home promises affordable housing in Vietnam | Adam Williams | GizMag.com

$4,000 home promises affordable housing in Vietnam | Adam Williams | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Vietnam-based firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently revealed an affordable prefabricated prototype house that could potentially offer Vietnamese people on a very low income somewhere safe and durable to live. While still a work-in-progress and thus subject to change, the S House currently costs just US$4,000 to build.

Vo Trong Nghia Architects has been developing the S House since 2012, and the design has already gone through several iterations. The firm notes that because Vietnamese wages can be very low (the equivalent of under $100 per month in some cases), many people are required to live in temporary shacks that simply don't stand the test of time and are expensive to maintain and repair. Therefore, the main goals of the S House are durability, affordability, and ease of repair.


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Hyperoptic Confirms Expansion of 1Gbps FTTH Broadband to Glasgow | Mark Jackson | ISPreview UK

Hyperoptic Confirms Expansion of 1Gbps FTTH Broadband to Glasgow | Mark Jackson | ISPreview UK | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Fibre optic ISP Hyperoptic has confirmed that the next UK city to benefit from access to their 1000Mbps (Megabits per second) capable home and business Fibre-To-The-Building (FTTB/H/P) network will be none other than Glasgow in Scotland.

So far Hyperoptic has confirmed that their Gigabit FTTB network, which tends to focus on connecting large urban residential apartment blocks and businesses, is being rolled out to parts of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff and Reading. Most of this is being funded by a £50 million investment from Quantum Strategic Partners (here).

But in a brief comment today the ISPs boss confirmed that, in light of the referendum result that saw Scotland vote to stay part of the United Kingdom, Hyperoptic’s next city will be none other than Glasgow.


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NYC Climate Demo: Top 5 Massive Rallies That Had No Effect | Juan Cole | Truthdig.com

NYC Climate Demo: Top 5 Massive Rallies That Had No Effect | Juan Cole | Truthdig.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for demonstrating and admire everyone who came out in New York City on Sunday (some 400,000 according to Time magazine) to demand that world leaders deal urgently with climate change.

But I just do have to point out that holding large rallies doesn’t always result in political change. It is by organizing at the district level, walking neighborhoods, and putting pressure on those running for Congress that we would get real legislative change. Some activists are such purists that they sniff at giving political contributions. Likewise, disinvestment from oil and gas companies is a great symbolic gesture but it doesn’t stop global warming.

More actual carbon would be taken out of the atmosphere if all homeowners put solar panels on their roofs and get an electric car.

In the end, a single-issue Climate PAC, if well-funded, would make far more difference than standing in the street. Much climate action will have to be done or coordinated by politicians, and at the moment most of those in Washington are owned by Big Oil, including by the Koch brothers.

Here are some very large rallies that were ignored for all practical purposes:


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ISP Wants European Commission To Take Action Against Sweden For Refusing To Halt Data Retention | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com

ISP Wants European Commission To Take Action Against Sweden For Refusing To Halt Data Retention | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Back in April, Mike wrote about the decision of the Swedish ISP Bahnhof to delete all user log files in the wake of the judgment from the EU Court of Justice that the present EU data retention requirements are "invalid". According to an article in Computerworld UK, Bahnhof did this with the permission of the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS), which agreed that the Swedish law implementing data retention was problematic. However:

in mid-August the PTS ordered Bahnhof to start retaining data again, Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung said. The PTS has made a 180-degree turn in policy by ordering Bahnhof -- and Tele2, which also stopped retaining data for a while -- to resume doing so.

According to a PTS spokesman, it was the government that ordered the PTS to start enforcing the Swedish data retention law again. "They appointed a commissioner to investigate if the Swedish national legislation could still be applied" despite the CJEU's ruling, he said. The commissioner came to the conclusion that the national legislation stands, and from that point on, the PTS has been enforcing the law again, he said.

Bahnhof is not only fighting this reversal of policy in the Swedish courts, but also calling on the European Union to take action against the Swedish government for its refusal to halt data retention:


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Peru creates anti-logging commission after murders | BBC News

Peru creates anti-logging commission after murders | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Peruvian government says it will investigate illegal logging along the Peru-Brazil border following the murder of four indigenous leaders.

The leaders were killed in early September, allegedly by loggers.

The Peruvian President of the Council of Ministers, Ana Jara Velasquez, announced a commission which she said would have powers to stop the logging.

She said police had so far arrested one person suspected of involvement in the killings.

The four tribal leaders, including outspoken anti-logging activist Edwin Chota, had been killed on their way to a meeting to discuss ways to stop illegal logging.

The men from the Ashaninka community were attempting to travel to Brazil when they were murdered,


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MA: Salem's Footprint Power project gets lifeline from federal regulators | Jon Chesto | Boston Business Journal

MA: Salem's Footprint Power project gets lifeline from federal regulators | Jon Chesto | Boston Business Journal | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

To Footprint Power, a change to New England’s electricity market rules represented a crucial lifeline to get its natural gas power plant off the ground. But to potential rival NRG, the change was the same as a “get out of jail free card.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ended up siding with Footprint in the debate, keeping hope alive for a nearly 700-megawatt power plant that’s considered crucial to electricity reliability in Boston and in towns north and west of the city.

In a Sept. 12 decision, FERC agreed to allow what’s known as a tariff provision proposed by grid operator ISO New England, siding with the ISO on just about every argument. The tariff change would be available to any power plant developer that bids into ISO’s capacity market, which rewards power plant owners for ensuring energy is available for times of need. But Footprint would be the only company that could reasonably benefit from the tariff change right now.

Here’s how the change would work. Power plant developers can bid into this capacity market, and then take the promised five years of revenue from that market to the bank as they look to get financing. If they missed the start of the first year, they could face financial penalties in that first year for not having power to offer the grid. But under the new rule, certain developers who miss the deadline for reasons outside their control would get an extra year before the five-year payment stream starts.


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Australia: Harper Review suggests stripping ACCC of pricing and access powers | TeleGeography.com

A draft report published by the Harper Review, which has been tasked with a ‘root and branch’ review of Australian competition policy, has suggested that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) be stripped of its powers related to the pricing and access terms of fixed line incumbent Telstra’s wholesale services.


As per the review panel’s proposals, the responsibility for access and pricing regulation would be passed to a new ‘Access and Pricing Regulator’, which would cover such issues over several sectors.


Meanwhile, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the review also supported a call by Telstra for an end to price signalling legislation, which is designed to stop companies from unofficially colluding over the prices and terms of products and services.

The Harper Review is being carried out in line with the Liberal Party election campaign pledge for a review of competition policy, with draft terms of reference having been released back in December 2013. With final terms of reference subsequently published on 27 March 2014, an issues paper followed on 14 April 2014, with submissions to this required by 10 June 2014. With the panel’s draft report now having been released it has invited feedback on the proposals by a deadline of 17 November 2014.

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Telecom Namibia launches FTTP range | TeleGeography.com

Telecom Namibia has launched fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband services for businesses and consumers with connection speeds of up to 120Mbps/40Mbps (download/upload) in selected areas, including Maerua Mall in Windhoek, the Swakopmund Central Business District (CBD) and the Omeya Residential and Golf Estate, with plans to gradually expand the service to other towns and business districts in the country.


The new ‘Speedlink LitePlus’ range of FTTP-based packages includes several ‘unlimited’ monthly tariffs starting from an entry-level 15Mbps service, whilst the telco also announced it is boosting the connection speeds of existing Speedlink ADSL broadband packages by up to two-times free of charge.

The commercial launch of FTTP follows Telecom Namibia’s nine-month user trial (December 2013 to 30 August 2014) in homes at the Omeya Residential and Golf Estate (30km south of Windhoek) to ensure stability and reliability for customers.

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UK to streamline business broadband subsidy scheme to boost uptake | TeleGeography.com

A GBP100 million (USD163 million) business broadband subsidy scheme is set to be overhauled by the government amid slow take-up. According to the Financial Times, just GBP7.5 million of the GBP100 million set aside to subsidise business broadband in cities has been allocated, with only six months of the scheme left to run.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in June 2013 it was announced that government plans to spend GBP150 million on broadband infrastructure to create 22 ‘super-connected cities’ had been scaled back following legal challenges. In its place it was revealed that funds would instead be distributed to small businesses in the form of vouchers, with these designed to pay for installation of faster broadband.


The change in plan came after fixed line incumbent BT and cableco Virgin Media brought a legal complaint against the fixed line element of the original project, with both claiming it could benefit rival companies. Subsequently, the state said it had decided to scrap the funding scheme in its original form amid suggestions that it was facing a lengthy European Union (EU) investigation into State Aid infringements.


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Israel: Cellcom updates network sharing deal with Golan; reaches passive infrastructure agreement with Pelephone | TeleGeography.com

Israeli mobile network operator Cellcom has announced that it has updated an existing 2G/3G indefeasible rights of use (IRU) agreement and 4G network sharing agreement with rival Golan Telecom. With the revised agreements valid for a ten-year period, they include ‘stipulations as to ownership and mutual IRU rights in the 4G radio equipment as well as the establishment of a joint venture for the joint operation of the 4G radio network’.


The updated agreements remain subject to regulatory approvals, Cellcom noted, adding that if approved it expects its revenues from Golan to be at annual levels similar to those recorded in 2013 and 2014 for the duration of the agreements.

Meanwhile, Cellcom has also confirmed that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with another rival – Pelephone – related to maintenance services for passive elements of cell sites, including unifying passive elements and streamlining costs, through a common contractor. It said that the contractor to be selected by RFP process will enter into separate agreements with each of the cellcos, for a period of at least five years. Again, this agreement remains subject to regulatory approval.

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Global City Teams Challenge Workshop | NIST.gov

Global City Teams Challenge Workshop | NIST.gov | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Purpose:


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and several partners will kick off a year-long Global City Teams Challenge to help communities around the world work together to address issues ranging from air quality to traffic management to emergency services coordination. NIST invites communities and innovators to create teams that will foster the spread of “smart cities” that take advantage of networked technologies to better manage resources and improve quality of life.

The challenge will kick off September 29-30, 2014 with a two-day workshop that will bring together city planners and representatives from technology companies, academic institutions and non-profits. The challenge is open to participants around the world, and international representatives will be able to participate in the kick-off meeting via webcast.

This new challenge will leverage the success of the SmartAmerica Challenge, which from Dec. 2013 through June 2014 brought together more than 100 companies, universities and other organizations to form teams that developed and applied networked technologies. That challenge demonstrated that these technologies have the potential to create jobs and business opportunities and provide socio-economic benefits.

Smart cities rely on effective networking of computer systems and physical devices. These Internet of Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems (CPS) currently account for more than $32 trillion in global economic activity, a number that is projected to grow as they bring improvements to health care, advanced manufacturing and a host of other industries.

To support the challenge, NIST has teamed with US Ignite, a nonprofit focused on the creation of next-generation Internet applications that provide transformative public benefit. US Ignite will host the website where communities and technology innovators can sign up to create teams that will focus on particular smart city goals and challenges. Partners in the challenge will include the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Health and Human Services, and, from the private sector, Intel, IBM and ARM Holdings, which work in these technology areas.

Examples of current smart city projects include the following:


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Apple CEO on climate change, calls new HQ "greenest building on the planet" | Katie Fehrenbacher | GigaOM Clean Tech

Apple CEO on climate change, calls new HQ "greenest building on the planet" | Katie Fehrenbacher | GigaOM Clean Tech | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Following a weekend of record sales for Apple’s newly launched iPhones, Apple CEO Tim Cook conducted a rare live interview on Monday, but it wasn’t about Apple’s new devices. Instead, Cook took the stage at The Climate Group’s opening ceremony for New York’s Climate Week, and talked about the importance of fighting climate change and embracing sustainability for Apple’s employees, for Apple’s customers and for Cook’s generation, the baby boomers.

Cook said that it’s important to highlight that making sustainable choices — like adopting clean power for Apple’s data centers, removing toxins from Apple’s products and making Apple’s supply chain more efficient — can be both economic choices and environmental choices. For example, a more energy efficient supply chain could save money on energy costs, and less toxic materials could also be less expensive to purchase.


“If you innovate and set the bar high, you can do both,” Cook said. Apple is using 94 percent renewable energy, said Cook at one point, “and we’re chipping away to get the last six percent.” For more on Apple’s aggressive clean power plan, check out this report.


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Record CO2 levels fuel urgent calls for emissions cuts | Tim Radford | Climate New Network

Record CO2 levels fuel urgent calls for emissions cuts | Tim Radford | Climate New Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Global carbon dioxide emissions will this year reach a new record as power stations, cars, buses, trains, aircraft, tractors, factories, farms and cement works continue to burn fossil fuels − releasing an estimated 40 billion tonnes of the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

And the world’s chances of limiting global average surface warming to 2°C – an ambition agreed by the world’s political leaders in Copenhagen in 2009 − are dwindling, according to new studies published just ahead of the United Nations summit on climate change opening in New York tomorrow.

Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, Chair in Mathematical Modelling of Climate Systems at Exeter University, UK, and a consortium of colleagues from the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia report in Nature Geoscience that despite attempts to reduce fossil fuel dependence, greenhouse gas emissions have on average continued to grow by 2.5% per year for the last decade.


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Project MUNIN aims to make robot ships a reality | Dacid Szondy | GizMag.com

Project MUNIN aims to make robot ships a reality | Dacid Szondy | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Earlier this year Rolls Royce outlined a future where giant robot cargo vessels ply the world's sea lanes without a human crew on board. That scenario is now coming closer to reality as the EU project MUNIN looks into the feasibility of robotic freighters and the hurdles they must overcome.

Project MUNIN is made up of eight partner companies led by Germany’s Fraunhofer institute and coordinated in Sweden. Meanwhile, the Scandinavian research organization SINTEF, though its Marinitek subsidiary, has invested NOK12 million (US$1.8 million) in the project. MUNIN’s task is to identify the factors that will go into automated freighter operation, the challenges and obstacles involved, and the best way to make the changeover from manned to unmanned shipping.

SINTEF sees a time within twenty years when 200 m (660 ft) robotic cargo ships will be a reality. According to the organization, there are over 100,000 merchant ships steaming between the world’s ports with more launched every day to keep up with the growing demands of trade.


The problem is that these ships are becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to operate. Not only are labor costs the highest single expenditure, but fewer and fewer people are willing to sign up for spending a fortnight at sea with nothing to look at but waves and seagulls.


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Governor Jerry Brown Seeks More Electric Cars in California | Jennifer Medina | NYTimes.com

Governor Jerry Brown Seeks More Electric Cars in California | Jennifer Medina | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Gov. Jerry Brown of California has signed several bills to help build the market for electric cars in his state, two days ahead of speaking alongside world leaders at the United Nations this week for a summit meeting on climate change.

The legislation is designed to make electric cars more affordable for low-income residents, and the intent is to have at least one million zero-emission and near-zero-emission vehicles on the state’s roads by 2023.

California already has more electric vehicles on its roads than any other state, with an estimated 40 percent of all electric cars sold in the United States driven by the state’s residents. Earlier this month, the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative, a coalition of advocacy groups and car manufacturers, announced that more than 100,000 plug-in cars had been sold in the state during the last four years.

Mr. Brown has made combating climate change a cornerstone of his administration, traveling to China and Mexico to sign agreements to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. He has also continued to call for enforcement of the state’s cap-and-trade program, even as some have called for it to be scaled back while the economy is sputtering. On Tuesday, he will participate in a panel discussing cities’ roles in fighting climate change and another on carbon pricing.

“We are carrying on because we know in California that carbon pollution kills, it undermines our environment, and long-term, it’s an economic loser,” Mr. Brown said in a video statement posted online in advance of this week’s summit meeting. “We face an existential challenge with the changes in our climate. The time to act is now, the place to look is California. We’re not finished, but we sure are setting the pace.”


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NYC: Rebuilding by Design: The Art of Resilience | Patrick Kiger | Urban Land Magazine

NYC: Rebuilding by Design: The Art of Resilience | Patrick Kiger | Urban Land Magazine | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy slammed into coastal New York and New Jersey, causing 147 deaths and an estimated $50 billion in property damage and traumatizing the nation with televised images of neighborhoods reduced to rubble and stormwater surging through the streets of lower Manhattan. But the magnitude of that catastrophe also made it a catalyst for a transformation in urban planning and infrastructure design—one that may help protect the region against future ravages of extreme weather and rising sea levels from climate change.

Not quite two months after the hurricane, then-U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan went to the Netherlands to see what he could learn from the low-lying European nation’s long history of coping with the continual threat of flooding. His guide was a Dutch water management expert named Henk Ovink who suggested to Donovan that Sandy’s aftermath was a potential pivot point for upgrading climate resiliency policy in the United States. “I said, here is a great opportunity to come up with a new approach,” Ovink recalls.

Ovink advocated a shift away from the time-honored American approach to protecting coastal communities, which relied heavily upon erecting higher and higher barriers around the communities to keep the water out.

That strategy could be overwhelmed by massive storms, and it gave little protection against other threats, such as steadily rising sea levels and flooding from increases in rainfall. Instead, Ovink advocated a more holistic approach, deploying multiple layers of safeguards and designing them to work in synergy so that even if water topped one wall, other mechanisms could lessen the damage from flooding. Beyond that, he wanted to see climate resiliency features subtly woven into the urban landscape and designed so that they would provide other benefits, such as creating recreational areas for residents and anchors for development.


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Can a “Firewall Strategy” Keep Big Energy Out of Climate Talks? It Worked for Fighting Tobacco | Alexis Goldstein | Yes! Magazine

Can a “Firewall Strategy” Keep Big Energy Out of Climate Talks? It Worked for Fighting Tobacco | Alexis Goldstein | Yes! Magazine | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

When more than 120 heads of state meet next week to discuss how to “galvanize and catalyze climate action,” they’ll be taking a break for a “private sector luncheon” with guests like Royal Dutch Shell and the Norwegian oil company Statoil.

It won’t be the first time in the negotiations that big oil has made its voice heard. At the 2013 U.N. climate conference in Warsaw, thousands of lobbyists roamed the halls. And three years earlier, when the conference was in Cancun, representatives from Royal Dutch Shell attended as a part of the official Nigerian delegation.

Many observers believe the presence of these industries at the talks has helped to stall meaningful action.

“As long as industries like big oil and big coal, whose profits depend on the failure of the talks, are calling the shots,” said Kelle Louaillier, executive director of the watchdog group Corporate Accountability International, “these talks are going nowhere.”

But what if these industries weren’t allowed to attend?

You might call it “The Firewall Strategy”: a plan to break the gridlock in climate negotiations by excluding polluters. Louaillier’s organization began pursuing this strategy with an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, co-signed by 78 organizations. The letter calls on him to “protect climate policy-making from the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry,” and to look to specific language in an earlier treaty about tobacco as an example.

The group ratcheted up the pressure on September 16 with a new petition, and they'll be discussing the idea with many other NGOs this week, including some that have their finger on the pulse of the U.N.’s climate negotiations—officially known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC. Through these discussions, Corporate Accountability International aims to build support for a firewall to safeguard policymaking from energy corporations.

Kicking the polluters out of the negotiations may sound like wishful thinking. But there is a precedent: the global effort to regulate the tobacco industry, which led to one of the most widely adopted treaties in the history of the United Nations.


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New York climate march draws hundreds of thousands | Barbara Goldberg & Natasja Sheriff | Reuters.com

New York climate march draws hundreds of thousands | Barbara Goldberg & Natasja Sheriff | Reuters.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

An international day of action on climate change brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets of New York City on Sunday, easily exceeding organizers' hopes for the largest protest on the issue in history.

Organizers estimated that some 310,000 people, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and elected officials from the United States and abroad joined the People's Climate March, ahead of Tuesday's United Nations hosted summit in the city to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment.

The New York rally, the largest single protest ever held on the topic of climate change, followed similar events in 166 countries including Britain, France, Afghanistan and Bulgaria.

"The march numbers are beating our wildest expectations," said Ricken Patel, executive director of activist group Avaaz, which organized the march. "In 2,500 marches from Paris to Bogota, we've blown past expected numbers. Climate change is not a green issue anymore, it's an everybody issue."


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MA: BRPC not sold on Housatonic River cleanup strategy | Phil Demers | BerkshireEagle.com

MA: BRPC not sold on Housatonic River cleanup strategy | Phil Demers | BerkshireEagle.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The federal Housatonic River cleanup strategy falls short and risks leaving a "legacy of contamination" to future generations, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) fears.

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed action to clear PCB pollution from the river is not "comprehensive" enough to "gain long-term resiliency of species and habitat," BRPC Executive Director Nathaniel Karns wrote in a response to the EPA's cleanup proposal.

According to BRPC figures, 75 percent of the contamination would be left behind in the stretch of the river of most concern -- 10.5 miles from the confluence of the river's east and west branches in Pittsfield to Woods Pond in Lenox, where "90 percent of the mass of PCBs that remain in the river system" exist.

General Electric, which used PCBs at its plant in Pittsfield before they were banned in the 1970s, is responsible for their cleanup from areas in Pittsfield and the Housatonic River. PCBs are a suspected carcinogen.

EPA plans to control much of the remaining contaminated material through bio-engineering, but BRPC is "very skeptical about the long-term efficacy of engineered approaches to containing the very significant remaining contamination."

"We are not convinced that leaving high PCB concentrations behind in core areas is scientifically justifiable," Karns wrote.

The BRPC official advocates a more ambitious reduction in PCBs from the river and better protection for the habitat and animals living there.


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Temperature Records by Months and Years | Joseph Romm | The Energy Collective

Temperature Records by Months and Years | Joseph Romm | The Energy Collective | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Last month was the warmest August since records began being kept in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Thursday.


NOAA also projected out scenarios for the rest of the year making clear that 2014 is going to be one of the very hottest years on record — and possibly the hottest.


Land and sea surface temperature percentiles in August 2014. Hot spots in red.


As the map shows, the oceans were particularly warm. In fact, ocean warming blew more than one record out of the water:


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Stockholm is giving 100% to be a clean sustainable capital by 2050 | City Talk | ICEI.org

Stockholm is giving 100% to be a clean sustainable capital by 2050 | City Talk | ICEI.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Stockholm is built on 14 islands and is characterized by many waterways and parks. Due to its focus on environmental sustainability, in 2010 Stockholm was selected as the first European Green Capital. 85% of Stockholm’s inhabitants are employed in the service industry and there is almost no heavy industry, which helps to maintain the city very clean. One of the five fastest growing cities in Europe, with currently around 900.000 inhabitants, Stockholm is Sweden’s capital, biggest city and its cultural, political and economic center.

The city is very determined to reduce its CO2 emissions. The goal is to cut carbon emissions by 44% by next year, compared to 1990 levels. Also, by 2050 the city aims to be 100% powered by renewable energy. Actions are following intentions: Stockholm’s CO2 emissions have already been reduced from 5.3 tons of CO2e /person in 1990 to 4.0 tons CO2e/person in 2005.

Climate change will affect Stockholm, with temperatures rising, heat waves increasing, drier summers and wetter winters. The main threat will be the potential impacts of Lake Mälaren flooding, which would affect buildings, industries and arable farms. A change in groundwater levels could also pose a greater risk of landslides, erosion and soil chemistry variations.


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China Clamps Down on Web, Pinching Companies Like Google | Keith Bradsher & Paul Mozur | NYTimes.com

China Clamps Down on Web, Pinching Companies Like Google | Keith Bradsher & Paul Mozur | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Google’s problems in China just got worse.

As part of a broad campaign to tighten internal security, the Chinese government has draped a darker shroud over Internet communications in recent weeks, a situation that has made it more difficult for Google and its customers to do business.

Chinese exporters have struggled to place Google ads that appeal to overseas buyers. Biotechnology researchers in Beijing had trouble recalibrating a costly microscope this summer because they could not locate the online instructions to do so. And international companies have had difficulty exchanging Gmail messages among far-flung offices and setting up meetings on applications like Google Calendar.

“It’s a frustrating and annoying drain on productivity,” said Jeffrey Phillips, an American energy executive who has lived in China for 14 years. “You’ve got people spending their time figuring out how to send a file instead of getting their work done.”

The pain is widespread. Two popular messaging services owned by South Korean companies, Line and Kakao Talk, were abruptly blocked this summer, as were other applications like Didi, Talk Box and Vower. American giants like Twitter and Facebook have long been censored by China’s Great Firewall, a system of filters the government has spent lavishly on to control Internet traffic in and out of the country.


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