Saturday, December 27, 2014

The age of fossil fuels is over

 

One theme that is emerging loud and clear from the UN Climate Talks (much more so than any other previous negotiation) - if the world is serious about addressing the climate crisis, we must get off fossil fuels— completely. We can't just leave it up to governments, will you be a part of creating the solution we need?

Read more —> http://buff.ly/1zVkaM7 #COP20

 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Joining Forces to Combat Climate Change and Re-ignite the Global Economy

The world’s three biggest carbon emitters—the United States, China, and the European Union—have all announced emissions goals or limits in the past few months. That’s great news, but global fossil fuel demand continues to rise, and with it, so do climate change’s risks—to economy, to environment, to security, to human health, to people living in poverty in areas where climate change will have devastating impact.

The most recent IPCC report (AR5) found that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” “human influence on the climate system is clear,” and “limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The 2014 report Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States detailed the serious economic harm we can expect from climate change if we continue on our current path. But the challenge before us is about more than averting the worst economic impacts of climate change. As highlighted in the recently released Better Growth, Better Climate report from The New Climate Economy, it’s also about finding enormous economic opportunity in clean energy solutions that both tackle global warming and unlock growth opportunities for all.

The transformation to a low-carbon future is arguably the greatest business opportunity of our time. Combating climate change through energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, clean transportation, and smarter land use can reap rewards as great economically as environmentally.

Fortunately, an energy revolution is rising all around us—enabled by smart policies in mindful markets, and led by business for profit. Efficient energy use fuels more economic activity than oil, at far lower cost, while its potential gets ever bigger and cheaper. In each of the past three years, the world invested a quarter-trillion dollars—more than the market cap of the world’s coal industry—to add over 80 billion watts of renewable capacity (excluding big hydro dams). Generating capacity added last year was 37 percent renewable in the United States, 53 percent in the world, 68 percent in China, 72 perent in Europe. Last year, the world invested over $600 billion in efficiency, renewables, and cogeneration.

This growth is accelerating: solar power is scaling faster than cellphones. Last year alone, China added more solar capacity than the U.S. has added in 60 years. Electric vehicle sales are growing twice as fast as hybrid cars did at a comparable stage. Shrewd companies are realizing climate solutions’ enormous business opportunities—a prospect scarcely dimmed by cheaper oil, which makes only a few percent of the world’s electricity.

Global companies like IKEA, Google, Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, and Walmart have committed to 100 percent renewable power. Tesla’s stock is up an astounding 660 percent over the past two years and has half the market value of General Motors Corp. The NEX index, which tracks clean energy companies worldwide, grew by 50 percent over the past two years—far outperforming the general market—while equity raisings by quoted clean energy companies more than doubled. Many of the world’s top financial firms concur that the era of coal and of big power plants is drawing to a close; Germany’s biggest utility is divesting those assets to focus on efficiency and renewables.

Yet we need to create even bigger and faster change. Which is why we are delighted to announce that our two nonprofit organizations—Rocky Mountain Institute and the Carbon War Room—are joining forces. By uniting two of the world’s preeminent nonprofit practitioners of market-based energy and climate solutions, we will help turn the toughest long-term energy challenges into vast opportunities for entrepreneurs to create wealth and public benefit for all. More

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ECLAC Updates Study on Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean read more

5 December 2014: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has published an update of its study ‘The Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: Paradoxes and challenges of sustainable development,' which provides an overview of expected climate impacts in the region, as well as subregional and national figures.

The report explains that, while growth in the region has led to improved economic and social conditions, it has had negative impacts on the environment, economy and society as a whole, including through more air pollution in urban areas and a deterioration of natural assets, such as water resources and forests.

The report states that the "foundations of the region's economic buoyancy are being undermined" through the region's production structures and consumption patterns, which contribute to a large carbon footprint. The report contends that the region must transition towards a sustainable form of development that will preserve its economic, social and natural assets for future generations and leave them with “a more equal, socially inclusive, low-carbon form of economic growth.”

The report concludes that the climate change challenge is also a sustainable development challenge and recommends achieving “a global consensus that recognizes the asymmetries and paradoxes of the problem.”

ECLAC, in collaboration with the Government of Peru, has also released a document estimating the economic costs of climate change in Peru. Both reports were launched at the Lima Climate Change Conference. [ECLAC Press Release] [Publication: The Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: Paradoxes and challenges of sustainable development] [IISD RS Coverage of Lima Climate Change Conference]


read more: http://larc.iisd.org/news/eclac-updates-study-on-economics-of-climate-change-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean/



 

Climate Change: The State of the Science

 

Climate Change: The State of the Science

Published on Nov 19, 201 3 • Produced by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Globaia and funded by the UN Foundation.

The data visualization summarises and visualizes several of the most significant statements in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) recent Fifth Assessment Report, (Working Group I summary for policymakers, the Physical Science Basis). In 2014, IPCC will publish summaries concerning societal impacts, mitigation and adaptation. The statements and facts presented are derived from the IPCC summary for policymakers.

Download the IPCC Working Group I summary for policymakers (The Physical Science Basis) here: www.climatechange2013.org

Produced and directed by Owen Gaffney and Felix Pharand-Deschenes

Animation Felix Pharand-Deschenes GlobaTa

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Decade Of Great Earthquakes

It’s been almost 10 years since the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman-Aceh great earthquake produced a tsunami that devastated the area around the Indian Ocean.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center put together this brief video showing the progression of Earthquakes over the last decade, including both pretty small ones and large ones. Awesome to see how completely they’re controlled by plate tectonics and how the occasional rare “great earthquake” does pop up.

The last decade actually has seen more great earthquakes than typically occur during a decade, but that’s what happens with extremely rare events. Sometimes you go a couple decades with none, sometimes you have a decade with 2 or 3 in a fairly short succession. More

http://the-earth-story.com/post/105063905532/its-been-almost-10-years-since-the-2004

 

 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bahamas takes on renewable energy challenge - Missed Opportunity for Cayman?

The Bahamas has become the latest recruit to Richard Branson's green energy drive for Caribbean islands.

Branson's Carbon War Room NGO is aiming to help islands in the region transition from expensive fossil fuel imports to using their own renewable energy resources as part of its Ten Island Challenge programme.

This week the Bahamas joined the push, committing to developing 20MW of solar PV generation in the outer Family Islands, bringing energy efficiency and solar solutions to a local high school, and replacing streetlights across the nation with energy efficient LED lights.

Carbon War Room plans to support these goals by providing the country's government with a range of technical, project management, communications, and business advisory services.

The Bahamas joins the islands of Aruba, Grenada, San Andres and Providencia in Colombia, Saint Lucia, and Turks & Caicos in the challenge, which aims to generate how small states can decarbonise in a cost-effective manner.

"The Bahamas' entry into the Ten Island Challenge signals another step forward for the Caribbean region in the effort towards a clean energy future," Branson said in a statement. "The progress made in The Bahamas will help inspire other islands to work towards accomplishing their renewable energy objectives."

While the focus to date has been on Caribbean islands, earlier this year Peter Boyd, Carbon War Room's chief operating officer, told BusinessGreen the programme could expand into the Pacific and to isolated communities, military bases, or mines. "There are island energy economies even if the 'island' isn't surrounded by water," he said at the time.

 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Announcing “Disastersand Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate”

Announcing “Disastersand Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate”, a new Massive Open OnlineCourse (MOOC) to be launched on 12 January, 2015

What we all know is that disasters are increasing worldwide. Population growth,environmental degradation and climate change will likely exacerbate disasterimpacts in many regions of the world. What role do ecosystems play in reducingdisaster risks and adapting to climate change? This is the topic of an exciting new Massive Open Online Course thatwill go live in January 2015. It was developedjointly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Center for NaturalResources and Development (CNRD) and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences(CUAS), Germany. This is UNEP’s first MOOC, developed through its engagement with universities worldwide including the Global Universities Partnership on Environment for Sustainability (GUPES).

The MOOC covers a broad range of topics from disastermanagement, climate change, ecosystem management and community resilience. Howthese issues are linked and how well-managed ecosystems enhance resilience to naturaldisasters and climate change impacts are the core theme of the course.
The MOOC is designed at two levels: the leadership track, with the first 6 units providing generalintroduction to the fundamental concepts, which is suitable for people from allbackgrounds who wish to have a basic undertaking of the topic. The second level, or expert track comprises 15 units with more in depth learning on thevarious tools of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and climate changeadaptation.
The course is delivered by both scientists and practitioners.In addition there are guest lectures from global leaders and experts, such as Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, former Director General of the International Union for the Conservationof Nature (IUCN), Rajendra Pachauri of Teri University and Margareta Wahlströmof the UN International Strategy on Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

Students will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledgethrough quizzes, real life and fictitious problem-solving exercises, additionalreading materials, videos and a discussion forum. An Expert-of-the-Week will be available torespond to questions and interact with students. Students will receive weeklynewsletters with up-to-date news on ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction andadaptation.
The course is invaluable for universities around the world,where faculty members can use it to update their curriculum and use thelectures and teaching materials for blended learning for their own courses. Atthe same time, the MOOC format also allows those currently outside theuniversity system to learn about the new developments in the area of disastersand climate change, without having to enroll in a university or pay for anonline course. Those who successfully complete the course will be provided witha course certificate.

Visit: www.themooc.net<http://www.themooc.net/>, or enroll directly at:
https://iversity.org/en/courses/disasters-and-ecosystems-resilience-in-a-changing-climate

 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Disconnected: Hundreds live with no power in Grand Cayman

(CNS): A freedom of information request to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has revealed that more than 640 CUC customers have been cut off by the power supplier, mostly as a result of non-payment of bills. Many of those cut off are families who have been living without electricity for 90 days or more.

The request, which was submitted by a CNS reader, asked for the details of residential customers who had been cut off because their bills were not paid. The statistics show hundreds of people, including children, across Grand Cayman have been without a power supply for more than three months, confirming fears that the number of people living in real poverty is increasingly significant.

The ERA said it was not able to break down all the statistics because CUC merely tracks non-voluntary disconnections, which may also be due to safety reasons and not always because customers failed to pay their bills.

The ERA also explained that CUC did not indicate whether these more long term cut offs were commercial or domestic. Although some businesses may indeed be involuntarily disconnected, the situation would not be for extended periods, as any commercial enterprise without power would not last for very long. It is fair to assume that the disconnections are predominantly residential.

The largest number of disconnections are in the capital, where 306 premises have been cut off for more than three months, as at 24 November. Another 119 customers in Bodden Town were disconnected by CUC and some 117 in West Bay. Meanwhile, another 29 people were cut off in North Side and a further 23 in East End. A spokesperson for the ERA explained that the missing 47 are accounts that have been written off as CUC believes they are abandoned premises.

In addition, the ERA was able to state that 273 residential consumers had been disconnected for a period of less than 90 days, but these figures are constantly changing and any number could have been reconnected to the supply while additional households could have been cut off.

However, on 24 November there were 51 households in Bodden Town, six in East End, 50 in George Town, Seven in North Side and 59 in West Bay without power that had been disconnected within the last 90 days.

CUC recently confirmed to CNS that the firm is now cutting off power suppy without warning to customers who fail to pay their bills within 30 days. More