Monday, December 31, 2007

Man-made undersea ridges expected to fight global warming

More than 20 years ago, Tatsuo Suzuki came up with the idea of building an artificial undersea ridge from coal ash to help increase the fish population and provide a new use for industrial waste. His project raised eyebrows, but it might have produced another upshot: helping to fight global warming.

The shape of the manmade ridge creates currents that cause nutrients to rise, sustaining tiny phytoplanktons. As these phytoplanktons go through photosynthesis, they suck up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to Suzuki, who now heads the Environment Project Department of major general contractor Hazama Corp.

The Fisheries Agency projected in 2006 that one underwater ridge, which measures 120 meters long, 60 meters wide and 12 meters high, absorbs and stabilizes about 3,500 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Suzuki had a hunch that something like this might result. More >>>

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ranking Port Cities with High Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Extremes

Screening Study: Ranking Port Cities with High Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Extremes: Interim Analysis: Exposure Estimates

The impact of climate change and urban development could more than triple the number of people around the world exposed to coastal flooding by 2070, according to a new report by the OECD, co-authored by experts from academia and the private sector.

150 million people could be exposed to a 1 in 100 year coastal flood event by 2070, up from 40 million today, says a new report by the OECD. The co-authors include Professor Robert Nicholls from the Tyndall Centre at Southampton University. ...More ⋙

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Global Warming Could Kill World's Coral Reefs in 50 Years

ST. LUCIA, Queensland, Australia, December 21, 2007 (ENS) -Seventeen eminent marine scientists warn that world leaders face a race against time in preparing coral reefs, and the coastal communities dependent upon them for the "inevitable impact" of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. Their new study shows that levels of carbon dioxide could become unsustainable for coral reefs within 50 years.

The warning comes in a new study published in the journal "Science" on December 14.

"It's vital that the public understands that the lack of sustainability in the world's carbon emissions is causing the rapid loss of coral reefs, the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystem," said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and head of the Coral Disease Research Team, which is part of the international Coral Reef Targeted Research, CRTR, group that wrote the new study. Read More

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Climate Sanctions Sought Against US

German Party Launches Effort

by Judy Dempsey

BERLIN - The Social Democrats are calling for sanctions on energy-intensive US export products if the Bush administration continues to obstruct international agreements on climate protection, the party’s leading environmental specialist said yesterday.1219 02The move, after the United Nations climate conference last week in Bali, Indonesia, has won strong support from the Greens and other leftist groupings in the European Parliament. Those factions will renew their bid to impose such levies when the Parliament reconvenes next month.

It also signals a big effort by the Social Democrats to take the initiative on the environment and perhaps reshape it as a foreign policy issue that could affect relations between Berlin and Washington.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken the lead on climate change, both domestically and internationally, leaving her junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats, frustrated. The opposition Greens have also lost ground on an issue they had long dominated.

But with three important state elections next year, the Social Democrats, still floundering in the opinion polls, are revamping their program to stem the decline of public support, party officials say.

“Merkel has made climate change a big issue and has tried to bring the Bush administration on board, so far without success,” said Ulrich Kelber, deputy parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats and an environmental specialist who is leading the campaign to impose levies on energy-intensive US products. Read More

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Al Gore’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

By Al Gore

11 December, 2007

Oslo, Norway

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honorable members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.

I have a purpose here today. It is a purpose I have tried to serve for many years. I have prayed that God would show me a way to accomplish it.

Sometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our door with a precious and painful vision of what might be. One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy inventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death. Wrongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh judgment of his life’s work, unfairly labeling him “The Merchant of Death” because of his invention - dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, the inventor made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace. Read More

FutureGen, World's Cleanest Coal Plant, Sited in Illinois

WASHINGTON, DC, December 18, 2007 (ENS)

A consortium of some of the world's largest coal companies and electric utilities has selected the small east-central Illinois town of Mattoon for FutureGen, a $1.4 billion coal-fueled power plant that is planned as the cleanest in the world.

The FutureGen Alliance today announced that Mattoon was chosen over three other sites in Tuscola, Illinois; Jewett, Texas; and Odessa, Texas.

"The Alliance would like to congratulate Mattoon, Illinois for being chosen as the final site to host the FutureGen facility," said Mike Mudd, CEO of the FutureGen Alliance, making the announcement at the National Press Club in Washington. "Officials from Mattoon should be commended for their determination and dedication to the FutureGen program." Read More

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases Final 2007 Report

Climate Change 2007”, has now been completed. Its final part, "The Synthesis Report" was released in Valencia, Spain, on 17 November 2007.

The three Working Groups full reports are available online (see here below). Hardcopies of the Summaries for Policymakers + Technical Summaries are available for free in the 6 UN official languages upon request to the IPCC Secretariat. Hardcopies of the full reports can be purchased from Cambridge University Press.
A limited number of free copies are available for academic institutions from developing countries and countries with economies in transition upon request to the Secretariat. The full Synthesis Report will be available on the website within a few weeks. Read More

Monday, October 15, 2007

Adapting to climate change: Now is the time to act


In recent months, global awareness on the risks associated with climate change has shifted drastically. Few would now dare to argue against the view that climate change does and will present an enormous humanitarian challenge. Even if progress was made in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, we should not forget that weather patterns have already changed, global temperatures have already risen and, above all, climate change is already taking a heavy human toll around the globe.

For far too long, climate change has been seen as a problem of the future, one that only a limited range of ministries and institutions should manage. This must change now. Climate change requires broader engagement. Read More

Friday, September 21, 2007

‘Incentives Offered to Destroy Forests’

Instead of providing positive incentives to tropical nations to conserve their rainforests and so reduce greenhouse gases emissions, the world indirectly gives “perverse incentives” to destroy them by demanding goods produced by intensive logging, a leading environmental activist says.

VIENNA - “The Kyoto protocol does not give incentives to rainforest nations to protect their forests,” Kevin Conrad, special envoy of the environment and climate change permanent mission of Papua New Guinea to the United Nations told IPS.

The Kyoto protocol is the international agreement that establishes how industrialised countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by an average of five percent relative to 1990 levels. The treaty does not assign targets to developing nations.0920 01

One of the instruments of the Kyoto protocol is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), an arrangement that allows industrialised countries with a GHG reduction commitment to invest in projects in developing countries that reduce emissions. This then counts towards their domestic ‘clean’ record. Conservation of rainforests is not included in such projects.

Between 1989 and 1995, global emissions as a result of deforestation amounted to 5,000 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, studies show.

“Instead of giving us incentives to protect our forests, the world gives countries like mine incentives to destroy them,” Conrad said. Coffee, soy beans, sugar, flowers and wood furniture, he said, can only be produced in developing countries through systematic deforestation.

“Tropical rainforest nations deserve to be treated equally,” Conrad said. “If we reduce deforestation, we must receive fair compensation for reductions. A tonne (of carbon dioxide) is a tonne is a tonne.” Read More

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cayman Institute makes presentation to Cabinet

Press Release
George Town, Cayman Islands 7 September 2007

The Cayman Institute, on August 7th. 2007 made a presentation to the Cabinet of the Cayman Islands Government on energy security.

The Cayman Institute is an apolitical, privately funded, non profit organization established to consider the long term effects and implications of diverse technological, sociological, economical and cultural issues to the Cayman Islands.

A modern, carefully crafted energy policy, creating the legislative and policy frameworks is imperative for all states today. For Small Island Developing States (SIDS) without the resources of developed nation an energy security is even more important.

“The use of alternative forms of energy, solar, wind, ocean thermal conversion, hydrogen and geothermal are vitally necessary to mitigate the threat global warming as well as that of deminishing and ever more costly petroleum based fuels“, said Nick Robson Chairman and founder of the institute. Read the Report (This is a PDF document and will open in a new window)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ice-Free Arctic Could Be Here in 23 Years

The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said last night. Experts said they were “stunned” by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this summer that the north-west passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia’s Arctic coast could open later this month. If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030. Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver which released the figures, said: “It’s amazing. It’s simply fallen off a cliff and we’re still losing ice.” The Arctic has now lost about a third of its ice since satellite measurements began 30 years ago, and the rate of loss has accelerated sharply since 2002. Read More

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A letter to President Bush regarding “The Surge”

Energy Bulletin. Published on 3 Sep 2007

by Neal Brandvik

I have a feeling President Bush is fully aware of Peak Oil and the stakes on the table for America. I think he was speaking from his heart when he said in his State of the Union Address, “America is addicted to oil!”

I evem have a hunch that every morning President Bush is in the Oval Office he fires up his computer and can’t help but sneak a peek at to check out the latest Peak Oil news.

I was going to e-mail this letter to but, realistically, it has a better chance of reaching the President if I post it here. Read More

Sunday, September 2, 2007

New study from NASA predicts more severe storms

DailyTech - Science 2 September 2007

NASA scientists have developed a new model that is among the first to simulate the strength of updrafts in storms. This model was applied to a global warming scenario to give a possible peek at what future weather might look like

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies is a leading research center, located in New York, which studies Earth's past, present and future climates.
The Institute has recently announced a new study which discusses what future storms might look like in a global warming scenario.
NASA's scientists at the Institute developed a new climate model for the study. The model is among the first to successfully simulate the strength of updrafts in storms. This allows the model to give a more complete picture of the strength of storms that are occurring around the world, and those that may someday occur. Read More

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bank launches climate change fund with $20 million

(24 August 2007)

A major regional development bank has put up US$20 million to start a new fund to help Latin American and Caribbean countries tackle climate change.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Fund earlier this month to boost the use of environmentally friendly energy and lessen the impact of climate change.

Janine Ferretti, IDB environmental safeguards unit chief, said: "Climate change is a development issue. The fund will help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean address the problem of climate change and its impacts in important economic and social areas like agriculture, water, health, and biodiversity. It will also help improve access to affordable and reliable sources of energy." Read More

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The 11th Hour

Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour" is a feature length documentary concerning the environmental crises caused by human actions and their impact on the planet. The 11th Hour documents the cumulative impact of these actions upon the planet's life systems and calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity.

The 11th Hour opens in Los Angeles and New York on August 17th, in select markets on August 24th, and nationwide on August 31st.

Monday, July 23, 2007

UN members to table climate change plans

UN member states will, between 31 July and 1 August in New York, US, present their national strategies and commitments to address the adverse effects of climate change.

The countries' plans, which will be discussed at a special meeting, is aimed at fostering sustainable growth and development.

The meeting tagged: ‘Climate Change as a Global Challenge’, is convened by UN General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Al-Khalifa, ahead of the General Assembly scheduled for September and October.

A UN source, who spoke to PANA Monday, said that it will be attended by the three UN Secretary-General's Special Envoys for Climate Change. Read More

Glaciers and Ice Caps Quickly Melting Into the Seas

Environment News Service
20 July 2007

BOULDER, Colorado, July 20, 2007 (ENS) - Sea level rise this century may be greater than previously thought, posing risks to hundreds of millions of people who live close to the world's oceans, concludes a new study of ice loss from glaciers and ice caps. The researchers say that in the near future, the giant Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will contribute less to sea level rise than glaciers and ice caps.

Scientists with the University of Colorado-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, INSTAAR, and the Russian Academy of Sciences conclude that glaciers and ice caps now contribute about 60 percent of the ice melting into the oceans and the rate has been accelerating over the past decade.

"One reason for this study is the widely held view that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will be the principal causes of sea-level rise," says lead author Emeritus Professor Mark Meier, former INSTAAR director and CU-Boulder professor in geological sciences.

"But we show that it is the glaciers and ice caps, not the two large ice sheets, that will be the big players in sea rise for at least the next few generations, he says. Read More

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Brown to lobby EU on greener VAT

Friday, 20 July 2007, 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK

Gordon Brown has said he will push for lower taxes on environmentally friendly products across the European Union.
Mr Brown said the UK and France would seek to persuade other nations of the need for an EU-wide cut on VAT levied on less polluting goods.
The British Prime Minister made the pledge during his first meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The European Commission welcomed the initiative but said it would require agreement from all 27 member states. Read More

Monday, July 9, 2007

Valuing the Environment in Small Islands

An Environmental Economics Toolkit (2007)
van Beukering, P., Brander, L., Tompkins, E. and McKenzie, E.

This toolkit provides clear guidance on how the value of the environment in small islands can be estimated and incorporated into planning and development decisions. It explains why you would undertake a study, who should be involved, how to implement the study and how to use the results.
Read More

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Press Release: Energy Security for Small Island Developing States

George Town, Grand Cayman May 17 2007

The Cayman Institute is in the process of finalizing its report on Energy Security for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) The report, which addresses climate change / global warming, peak oil and the instability of oil producing regions makes the case of the need for a long term energy security plan to ensure supplies of secure, affordable, reliable energy. Abundant and affordable energy is essential for for economic and social development.

The energy systems in many SIDS are ineficient and expensive, and add to national economic vulnerability. Electricity prices are generally between 20 and 35 cents (US) per kilowatt-hour, which is much higher than prices in the USA or Europe(1).
The report stresses the need to promote economic growth while being environmentally as essential. It notes that responding to the potentially devestating effects of climate change in an environmentally responsible manner by tackling carbon emmissions contributed through energy production is an obligation shared globally.

For More Information email:

(1) Report by: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 2006

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May 15, 2007
Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert Trash into Environmental Treasure

New bill in U.S. Senate will advocate adoption of "agrichar" method that could lessen our dependence on fossil fuel and help avert global warming
By Anne Casselman

CHARCOAL like that created by ancient Amazonians or in a modern process called pyrolysis, could be used as a carbon-negative source of fuel and fertilizer
SIDEBAR: The Companies and Organizations Poised to Turn Garbage into Fuel, Fertilizer and a Means of Carbon Sequestration

When Desmond Radlein heard about Richard Branson and Al Gore's Virgin Earth Challenge, a contest in which the first person who can sequester one billion tons of carbon dioxide a year wins $25 million, he got out his pencil and began figuring whether or not his company was up to the task.

Radlein is on the board of directors at Dynamotive Energy Systems, an energy solutions provider based in Vancouver, British Columbia, that is one of several companies pioneering the use of pyrolysis, a process in which biomass is burned at a high temperature in the absence of oxygen. The process yields both a charcoal by-product that can be used as a fertilizer, and bio-oil, which is a mix of oxygenated hydrocarbons that can be used to generate heat or electricity.

Read More

Sunday, May 13, 2007

About The Cayman Institute


The Cayman Institute is an apolitical, privately funded, non profit organization established to consider the long term effects and implications of diverse technological, sociological, economical and cultural issues to the Cayman Islands. Its members work on a voluntary basis and offer strategic plans for consideration to guide the delivery of nearer term projects, so as not to jeopardize the future of the islands' infrastructure, financial and human resources.


It is composed of group of specialists with a wide range of knowledge in a cross section of disciplines including: Cayman Culture; Health; Primary & Secondary Education; Economics & Finance; The Environment; Technology & Communications; Construction Trades; Law Enforcement: Entrepreneurism and General Business.