Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scholarships and Bursaries Call for Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Scholarships and Bursaries Call for Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Study areas related to Climate Change that can be considered for these Scholarships and Bursaries are:
Climatology; Environmental Sciences; Coastal Management; Water Resources; Sustainable Tourism; Gender Studies

The CARIBSAVE Partnership, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Waterloo (UW), Canada, announce a joint research project entitled:

Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation (ParCA)*

Students’ scholarships and bursaries will focus on ParCA; a project that will conduct comparative case study research in Tobago, Jamaica and two Atlantic Canadian provinces. The project will use a community-based vulnerability assessment (CBVA) framework in collaboration with coastal communities and local partners to identify vulnerabilities and exposures, and develop strategies for adaptation to climate change. Under this program, funding is available for Caribbean Nationals to study at the University of the West Indies or the University of Waterloo at Masters and PhD levels.

ELIGIBILITY for Scholarships and Bursaries

Must be a Caribbean National
Must have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at a high level in an area relevant to Climate Change including Climatology, Environmental Sciences, Coastal Management, Water Resources, Sustainable Tourism, Gender Studies.
Must have been accepted and registered in a Masters or PhD Programme at UWI or UW.
Evidence of professional experience in any of the fields indicated above will be an asset.
Applicants for Scholarships and Bursaries will be assessed by a Selection Committee established by the University of the West Indies, the University of Waterloo and The CARIBSAVE Partnership.

Applications should be sent via email to The Office of Research, The University of the West Indies: and must be copied to The CARIBSAVE Partnership: When applying please include ‘ParCA’ as Subject in the email.

The following should be included in your Application: an up to date Curriculum Vitae; a covering letter indicating qualifications; professional experience; preferred study location (UWI Campus or Waterloo); your area of interest for graduate studies and full contact details for three Referees. Closing date for this round of applications is 31 August 2011.

* Funding for this project and its student scholarships and bursaries is kindly provided by the Canadian IDRC and the Tri Council and disseminated through The CARIBSAVE Partnership, The University of Waterloo and The Unversity of the West Indies. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An effective response to climate change

Foreign Secretary William Hague has delivered a speech titled 'The Diplomacy of Climate Change' to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Thank you Governor Whitman. I am most grateful for your generous introduction.

I am delighted to be here at the Council on Foreign Relations. In the modern networked world, diplomacy is no longer the sole preserve of diplomats. Instead, we all have a stake in global affairs. That is why the work of renowned bodies such as this is more valuable than ever.

Today I want to talk about why I believe we, as foreign policy practitioners, need to up our game in building a credible and effective response to climate change. Climate change is perhaps the twenty-first century’s biggest foreign policy challenge along with such challenges as preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. A world which is failing to respond to climate change is one in which the values embodied in the UN will not be met. It is a world in which competition and conflict will win over collaboration.

We are at a crucial point in the global debate on climate change. Many are questioning, in the wake of Copenhagen, whether we should continue to seek a response to climate change through the UN and whether we can ever hope to deal with this enormous challenge.

I will first argue that an effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity. Second, our response should be to strive for a binding global deal, whatever the setbacks. And third, I will set out why effective deployment of foreign policy assets is crucial to mobilising the political will needed if we are to shape an effective response. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Monday, July 25, 2011

The scourge of 'peak oil'

Energy derived from oil reaches, quite literally, every aspect of our lives.

From the clothes we wear, to the food we eat, to how we move ourselves around, without oil, our lives would look very differently.

Yet oil is a finite resource. While there is no argument that it won't last forever, there is debate about how much oil is left and how long it might last.

Tom Whipple, an energy scholar, was a CIA analyst for 30 years - and believes we are likely at, or very near, a point in history when the maximum production capacity for oil is reached, a phenomenon often referred to as "peak oil".

"Peak oil is the time when the world's production reaches the highest point, then starts back down again," Whipple told Al Jazeera. "Oil is a finite resource, and [it] someday will go down, and that is what the peak oil discussion is all about."

There are signs that peak oil may have already arrived.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently increased its forecast for average global oil consumption in 2011 to 89.5 million barrels per day (bpd), an increase of 1.2 million bpd over last year.

For 2012, the IEA is expecting another increase of 1.5 million bpd for a total global oil consumption of 91million bpd, leaving analysts such as Whipple to question how production will be able to keep up with increasing consumption. Whipple's analysis matches IEA data which shows world oil production levels have been relatively flat for six years.

"This is getting very close to the figure that some observers believe is the highest the world will ever produce," Whipple wrote of the IEA estimate in the July 14 issue of Peak Oil Review. He told Al Jazeera that peak oil could be reached at some point in the next month, or at the latest, within "a few years". More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What hope is there for us if America is driven to the brink of meltdown?

When President Obama, the supreme rationalist, says that there are just days to avert Armageddon, everyone should sit up and listen.

For months, Republicans have used their new majority in the House of Representatives to block any move to lift the artificial cap on the amount the US government can borrow. If by this Friday they still refuse – insisting on up to $4trillion of spending cuts, excluding defence, and no tax increases as the price of their support – then the US will be unable to service its public debts. The biggest economy on Earth will default.

The results will be catastrophic, argues JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon – a warning repeated by Obama. The US government will have to start to wind down: soldiers' wages and public pensions alike will be suspended. But in the financial markets there will be mayhem. Interest rates will shoot up and there will be a flight from the dollar. Banks, uncertain about their expected income from their holdings of US Treasury bonds and bills, will call in their loans, creating a second credit crunch. Some may collapse. Even to get days away from such a prospect, says Obama, will now have costs: every creditor to the US has been shaken to the core by American politicians not taking their responsibilities as borrowers seriously. They will exact a higher price for lending in future, even if a bargain is struck now.

These are politicians who in some respects have more in common with Islamic religious fundamentalists than the Enlightenment tradition which gave birth to western democracy.

But the Democrats cannot agree to the Republicans' absolutist demands, in part because the arithmetic of deficit reduction does not work without tax increases and cuts in defence spending, in part because they passionately believe that with taxes the lowest for 50 years, the US's rich should share in the pain and in part because in any human exchange there is an element of horse-trading. The Republicans want to suspend the rules by which not just Washington but any political system operates. They want to be political winners who take all, risking even the collapse of the US economy to get their way. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dramatic Climate Swings Likely as World Warms: Ancient El Niño Clue to Future Floods

ScienceDaily (July 15, 2011) — Dramatic climate swings behind both last year's Pakistan flooding and this year's Queensland floods in Australia are likely to continue as the world gets warmer, scientists predict.

Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Leeds have discovered that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the sloshing of the warmest waters on the planet from the West Pacific towards the East Pacific every 2-7 years, continued during Earth's last great warm period, the Pliocene.

Their results suggest that swings between the two climatic extremes, known as El Niño and La Niña, may even have occurred more frequently in the warmer past and may increase in frequency in the future. Extreme ENSO events cause droughts, forest fires and floods across much of the world as well as affecting fishery production.

Reporting in the journal Paleoceanography, the team of geochemists and climate modellers use the Pliocene as a past analogue and predictor of the workings of Earth's future climate. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, July 15, 2011

Best Climate Change Remedy? More Trees, Study Says - International Business Times

Forget wind power and extra efficient lightbulbs — trees are an incredibly effective climate change weapon given the amount of greenhouse gases they absorb, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Trees are natural sponges, or “carbon sinks.” The study found that they cumulatively absorbed almost a third of annual fossile fuel emissions, or nearly 2.4 billion tons of carbon. And tropical forests that have been allowed to grow back after deforestation are removing an astounding 1.6 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere, co-author Josep Canadell told Agence-France Presse.

“This is the first complete and global evidence of the overwhelming role of forests in removing anthropogenic carbon dioxide,” Canadell said. “If you were to stop deforestation tomorrow, the world’s established and regrowing forests would remove half of fossil fuel emissions.”

An international team of climate scientists compiled data spanning nearly two decades, from 1990 to 2007, to present the findings. The central implication, given the capacity of forests to act as safeguards against rising CO2 emissions, is that “forests are even more at the forefront as a strategy to protect our climate,” Canadell said. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

OAS Member States Approve Draft Declaration on Sustainable Tourism Development in the Americas

The representatives of the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), at a meeting in Washington, DC, approved the draft Declaration of San Salvador for Sustainable Tourism Development in the Americas, which will be considered for final approval by the Ministers and High Authorities of Tourism in San Salvador on September 29 and 30, 2011, in the framework of the 19th Inter-American Travel Congress.

The Preparatory Meeting for the 19th Inter-American Travel Congress was held June 23 and 24, 2011, at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, and was presided by El Salvador’s Alternate Representative to the Organization of American States, Agustín Vásquez.

The meeting addressed subject areas of cooperation to be financed by the Special Multilateral Fund of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (FEMCIDI). The delegates identified the following subject areas: competitiveness in the tourism industry, particularly those of micro, small and medium enterprises, and the support for human capabilities development at the public and private levels through training and the use of information and communication technologies; promoting Sustainable Tourism Development, through the mitigation of negative environmental impacts; raising awareness of the importance of maintaining the ecological balance of tourist attractions; the relationship between tourism and other sectors of the economy; and the support for ecotourism and sustainable tourism through dialogue between the public and private sectors.

At the end of the meeting, the Governments of Ecuador and Honduras offered to host the next Inter-American Travel Congress in 2013, a decision that will be made in the upcoming months after consultations among the Member States of the Organization.

Furthermore, a proposal was made to organize a promotional fair for regional tourism to be held during the Congress in San Salvador to further highlight the event and promote tourist attractions in the Americas.

The Inter-American Travel Congress, created in 1939 with the objective of promoting the development of tourism in the Americas, is one of the oldest institutions of the Inter-American System. The last Travel Congress was held in Guatemala in 2003.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Location: Cayman Islands

Cook Islands: 100% Renewable Energy by 2020

5 July 2011, Rarotonga Cook Islands – The Cook Islands has an electricity target of 50% renewable energy by 2015 and 100% by 2020. While this may seem like an extreme target, according to the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Hon. Henry Puna – “it is ambitious but it is not impossible

Plans are already underway to bring this to fruition.

The Cook Islands will be launching their Renewable Energy Chart this year – Te Atamoa O Te Uira Natura, the plan that outlines how they will achieve their renewable energy targets. This chart has undergone consultation with relevant stakeholders and has taken into account input from numerous supporting partners. It is now in the process of being finalised for endorsement.

“It is flexible to take into account possible changes which may happen, as well as addressed the long term concerns – for example the outer island of Aitutaki now has a peak demand for electricity of 900 kilowatts,” said Repeta Puna, the Policy Adviser from the Office of the Prime Minister.

“In Te Atamoa O Te Uira Natura we have planned for a two megawatt solar plant for Aitutaki to take into account the future demand for electricity.”
More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

CCCCC and EU Sign Agreement to Support Caribbean Forum Countries in Meeting Climate Change Challenges

4 July 2011: The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the EU have entered into an agreement to, among other things, support Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries in meeting the challenges of climate change.

Under the agreement, the EU has allocated €8 million to support 17 CARIFORUM countries to meet the challenges of climate change. The four-year project will be managed by the CCCCC, with the objective of developing and strengthening the Caribbean region’s efforts in reducing the impacts of climate change on its economic and social development. The overall objective of the project is to support the sustainable development efforts of the Caribbean region and preserve the progress of the countries towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), by, inter alia: enhancing national and regional institutional capacity in areas such as climate monitoring, data retrieval and the application of space-based tools for disaster risk reduction (DRR); building regional and national capacity to access carbon financing; and implementing adaptation pilot projects that may be subsequently replicated. [CCCCC Press Release]

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

World on the Edge by the Numbers – Shining a Light on Energy Efficiency

Our inefficient, carbon-based energy economy threatens to irreversibly disrupt the Earth’s climate.

Averting dangerous climate change and the resultant crop-shrinking heat waves, more-destructive storms, accelerated sea level rise, and waves of climate refugees means cutting carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020.

The first key component of the Earth Policy Institute’s climate stabilization plan is to systematically raise the efficiency of the world energy economy. One of the quickest ways to increase efficiency, cut carbon emissions, and save money is simply to change light bulbs.

Some 19 percent of world electricity demand goes to lighting. The carbon emissions generated by this sector equal roughly 70 percent of those produced by the global automobile fleet.

Of the 3,400 terawatt-hours of electricity consumed annually by the world’s light fixtures, more than 40 percent is used by commercial buildings, including offices, retail businesses, schools, and hospitals. Close to one third is used in the home; 18 percent in industrial buildings; and the remaining 8 percent in outdoor applications, such as lights at traffic stops and in parking lots. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Monday, July 11, 2011

Political Sustainability and Human Security

Economic Revival Requires a Revival of our National Community

New York - As the nation's debt deadline approaches, and the political and media gamesmanship in our nation's capital increases in intensity, I find myself thinking more and more about community. The value with which we hold each other, and our relationship to those with whom we share our living space. The political parties blame each other for the stubborn persistence of unemployment, now over 9% officially and over 16% when we count those who have given up on the job market or are underemployed.

The Republicans blame the declining economy on over-taxation. The Democrats blame job loss on Republican resistance to additional stimulus. Twice this year the Republicans have been willing to "play chicken" with the President and the nation's well being: first over the budget by threatening a government shutdown, and now by holding the entire economy hostage while threatening to default on our debt. Ideology is dominating debates that should be settled by data, not wishful thinking. People in America need work. Our community has work that needs to be done. It's time to close that loop.

The creation of a global economy and communication network has placed the American economy and our society in uncharted territory. We do not really understand the complex economic, political, ecological, social and cultural forces that drive the world economy. We don't really know the answers to the problems we face. Like FDR during the New Deal we need to pragmatically experiment. We need to learn what works and what doesn't. What collective community responses are needed? What private entrepreneurial forces need to be unleashed? In March of 1933, as FDR assumed the Presidency in the depths of the Great Depression, some of his speeches and articles were collected in a book entitled Looking Forward. At the dawn of the New Deal, Roosevelt wrote:
"The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." Franklin D. Roosevelt, Looking Forward, chapter 2, p. 51 (1933). More >>>

Going forward into this century all states need to have all political parties work together for the benefit of their country and people. To deal with the perfect storm that we are faced with, climate change, sea level rise, energy shortages, and a rapidly rising population it is imperative that political stalemate becomes a thing of the past. Editor

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

UNEP-Risoe Launches Technology Transfer Publication Series

29 June 2011: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-Risoe Centre has announced the launch of a new publication series titled "Technology Transfer Perspectives," which aims to stimulate debate and information sharing on technology transfer among academics, experts, policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders, and will include mitigation and adaptation-side approaches.

The first edition of the series, titled "Diffusion of renewable energy technologies: case studies of enabling frameworks in developing countries," will be complete in time for the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011.

The first four articles of this first edition are available: FIT for use everywhere? Assessing experiences with renewable energy feed-in tariffs, by James Haselip, UNEP Risoe Centre, Denmark; Bioenergy in India: Barriers and Policy Options, by Darshini Ravindranath and Srinivas Shroff Nagesha Rao, UN Development Programme (UNDP) India; Enabling Environment and Policy Principles for Replicable Technology Transfer: Lessons from Wind Energy in India, by Emi Mizuno, Climate Strategies, UK; and An enabling framework for wind power in Colombia: What are the lessons from Latin America? by Isaac Dyner, Yris Olaya and Carlos Franco, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

According to the articles, an effective enabling environment for technology diffusion requires consideration of the market, as opposed to projects specifically. [Publication: Technology Transfer Perspectives Series]

Location:Cayman Islands

Warming Ocean Layers Will Undermine Polar Ice Sheets, Climate Models Show

Warming of the ocean's subsurface layers will melt underwater portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets faster than previously thought, according to new University of Arizona-led research. Such melting would increase the sea level more than already projected.

The research, based on 19 state-of-the-art climate models, proposes a new mechanism by which global warming will accelerate the melting of the great ice sheets during this century and the next.

The subsurface ocean layers surrounding the polar ice sheets will warm substantially as global warming progresses, the scientists found. In addition to being exposed to warming air, underwater portions of the polar ice sheets and glaciers will be bathed in warming seawater.

The subsurface ocean along the Greenland coast could increase as much as 3.6 °F (2 °C) by 2100.

"To my knowledge, this study is the first to quantify and compare future ocean warming around the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets using an ensemble of models," said lead author Jianjun Yin, a UA assistant professor of geosciences.

Most previous research has focused on how increases in atmospheric temperatures would affect the ice sheets, he said.

"Ocean warming is very important compared to atmospheric warming because water has a much larger heat capacity than air," Yin said. "If you put an ice cube in a warm room, it will melt in several hours. But if you put an ice cube in a cup of warm water, it will disappear in just minutes."
Full Article >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

CCCCC Update Takes Stock of Bonn Climate Change Conference

28 June 2011: The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has published the 10th issue of its monthly Climate Change News Update, which compiles international and regional climate change-related news.

The issue features an article on the lack of agreement on key areas at the Bonn climate change talks, held from 6-17 June 2011 in Bonn, Germany.

The Update also highlights statements made by developing country officials and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that developed countries have not provided the US$30 billion of climate financing they pledged at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. The Update further reports on the announcements by Norway and Germany that they would provide US$50 million and €30 million, respectively, to the World Bank Carbon Fund, to help slow tropical deforestation, one of the major causes of climate change.

The issue also compiles regional news on climate change, including warnings by regional experts that Caribbean States are likely to fall into perpetual recession as a result of the impacts of climate change on their tourism and agriculture industries. Other news includes US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s announcement of new programmes to support Caribbean States’ priorities, and discussions between Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo and German leaders and senior officials, which focused on the need for sustained political action on climate change. [Publication: Climate Change News Update Issue 10]

Location:Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why Climate Change Requires A Consciousness Change

Einstein famously said that we cannot solve problems with the same level of perception that created them.

We have to step up to a higher and more inclusive level of seeing what is going on in order to understand and solve great challenges. Certainly climate disruption represents one of the greatest tests humanity has ever faced because it is a much higher level problem than the actions which have created it: countless local actions (driving cars, running factories, etc.) have produced global consequences that respect no national boundaries and that imperil our collective future.

Here is how James Speth, former head of the Council on Environmental Quality and a top Washington policy maker, describes the up-leveling of perception required: "I used to think the top environmental problems facing the world were global warming, environmental degradation, and eco-system collapse.. but I was wrong. The real problem is not those three items, but greed, selfishness and apathy. And for that we need a spiritual and cultural transformation." The transformation that Speth speaks about is a shift to a higher level of attention and seeing the world from a more objective vantage point with a witnessing or reflective consciousness.

Simply stated, what is required is a shift from an "embedded consciousness" that is locked inside the habits of our thinking mind to a more spacious "reflective consciousness" that enables us to become a fair witness or objective observer of our lives. This does not mean we stop thinking; instead, we stand back and, without judgment, simply watch what we are thinking and how we are relating to both the world and ourselves.
Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Warming Oceans Cause Largest Movement of Marine Species in Two Million Years

Warming ocean waters are causing the largest movement of marine species seen on Earth in more than two million years, according to scientists.

Warming ocean waters are causing the largest movement of marine species seen on Earth in more than two million years, according to scientists. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias, file)
In the Arctic, melting sea ice during recent summers has allowed a passage to open up from the Pacific ocean into the North Atlantic, allowing plankton, fish and even whales to into the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific.

The discovery has sparked fears delicate marine food webs could be unbalanced and lead to some species becoming extinct as competition for food between the native species and the invaders stretches resources.

Rising ocean temperatures are also allowing species normally found in warmer sub-tropical regions to into the northeast Atlantic.

A venomous warm-water species Pelagia noctiluca has forced the closure of beaches and is now becoming increasingly common in the waters around Britain.

The highly venomous Portuguese Man-of-War, which is normally found in subtropical waters, is also regularly been found in the northern Atlantic waters. Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands