Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Climate change refugees seek a new international deal

27 Dec 2008 | Millions of people are predicted to become climate refugees as global warming increases. A new international pact will be needed to protect their rights to live.

Global warming caused by human-induced greenhouse gas emissions has been linked to a host of environmental disasters. These include sea-level rise, flooding, spells of droughts and cold and other extreme weather conditions such as frequent hurricanes and cyclones. As such natural catastrophes push inhabitants to flee to safer places, environmental refugees are fast becoming an international security issue.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that there will be 150 million environmental refugees by 2050. The Institute for Environment and Human Security, affiliated with United Nations University, estimated the number of environmental refugees at 20 million in 2005 and predicted the number could be 50 million as early as 2010. More >>>

Saturday, December 27, 2008

U.S. Edges Out Germany as World Wind Power Leader

WASHINGTON, DC, December 26, 2008 (ENS) - The national trade association of America's wind industry says in 2008 the industry had another record growth year - the third record year in a row and generated more than $18 billion in revenues.
This year, the United States passed Germany to become the world leader in wind generation, said the American Wind Energy Association in its year-end report.

AWEA says that this summer, the U.S. wind industry reached the 20,000-megawatt installed capacity milestone, doubling installed wind power generating capacity since 2006.

By the end of September, the U.S. had over 21,000 megawatts of wind capacity up and running. Germany had 22,300 megawatts, but U.S. windpower developers sprinted to the end of the year while German wind development slowed.

"With additional projects coming on line every week since, the wind industry is on its way to charting another record-shattering year of growth," AWEA said in its report. More >>>

Sunday, December 21, 2008

President-elect Obama’s Pick for Energy Secretary - Nobel laureate Steven Chu

He will be the first Nobel laureate to serve in a presidential cabinet. By picking Steven Chu — who shared the 1997 prize in physics for his work trapping atoms with lasers — as his candidate for energy secretary, Barack Obama looks to turn the tide on a government bureaucracy that under the Bush Administration often minimized the importance of scientific expertise.

While much of the Department of Energy's attention has previously focused on nuclear weapons and waste, Chu, a firm believer in the dangers of climate change, will try to fulfil Obama's promise to create millions of green collar jobs, develop alternative energy options and make the nation more energy independent. (See Obama's other Cabinet picks.) More >>>

“Climate change of that scale [a 5° C increase] will cause enormous resource wars, over water, arable land, and massive population displacements. We’re not talking about ten thousand people. We’re not talking about ten million people, we’re talking about hundreds of millions to billions of people being flooded out, permanently,” More >>>

Friday, December 19, 2008

NASA Displays Further Ice Melting

18 December 2008 - NASA satellites show that about two trillion tons of ice in Antarctica, Alaska and Greenland have melted in the past 5 years. 

The agency plans to present the facts on Thursday at the American Geophysical Union conference which will be held in San Francisco, Calif. Many scientists state that this phenomenon is a vivid illustration of the effects that global warming has on Earth’s environment and climate.

A NASA geophysicist said that a good part of the melted land ice is located in Greenland, according to the agency’s GRACE satellite. Yet, the scientist pointed out that the ice loss recorded this year is not as severe as in 2007.

Scientists pointed out that the situation in Alaska is getting better because the satellites have recorded a minor increase in land ice throughout 2008. Yet, they are yet worried, as Alaska lost about 400 billion tons of land ice in the past five years.

Previous researches had discovered that melting land ice has little effects on global sea levels, as it adds only half of a millimeter every year. Still, sea level is affected by melting sea ice and by the water expanding as it absorbs more heat. Scientists don’t think that the situation will improve in the following years if the governments don’t take the right measures.

The melting of land ice is a consequence of the global warming. Scientists predict that further rise of global temperatures will lead the sea level to rise and it will also cause dramatic changes in the precipitation patterns. It is believed that the main cause of global warming is the high concentration of greenhouse effects, due to industrial activity of the developed countries
More >>>

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Singapore’s Foreign Minister‘s Speech on Global Governance

Singapore: December 9 2008 - Minister For Foreign Affairs George Yeo's Attendance of the Opening Gala Dinner of the Inaugural S.T.Lee Project On Global Governance Conference, 5 December 2008

Minister George Yeo attended the Opening Gala Dinner of the Inaugural S.T.Lee Project On Global Governance Conference at The Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore on 5 December 2008 where he spoke on the Sino-US relationship and its significance to global governance.

First let me thank Kishore for inviting me here this evening to join you for a discussion on global governance. I feel very honoured to be paired with Strobe Talbott, whose speech I enjoyed very much. A few weeks ago, Ann Florini sent me his book - The Great Experiment - which I dipped into with pleasure. He had a section on gypsies which I really enjoyed reading. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a Roman Cardinal some years ago when I was in Rome attending the canonisation of the Opus Dei founder Josemaría Escrivá. The cardinal said that John Paul II had not too long before, canonised a gypsy saint; and St Peters square was flooded with gypsies. But this time in a role which most Italians were not used to seeing. The Roman Cardinal said to the gypsy leader: "Now that you have your own saint you have got to behave better." The manner in which he narrated this story to me showed first, recognition of the problem, then a challenge to better behaviour but, most importantly, love, profound love. Reading Strobe Talbott's account of the gypsies in his book, how he sought them out in order to understand better, I thought that this is a man with a heart. I had not met Strobe before and am very proud to be joining him this evening for this discussion on global governance, which must always put human beings at the heart of what we are trying to do.

Click here for the full transcript.

[This speech may have been made by George Yeo, Foreign Minister of Singapore, Speaking mainly of China and the United States, however it is relevant to all countries and territories, in both Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs. It is a speech well woth reading. Editor]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Living With a Changing Climate

Climate change is an increasing disaster risk, and preparing for, and reducing the risk of natural hazards is something we all have to do more of. We have to be proactive so that instead of responding to disasters, we mitigate against them.

I was very glad to see Guy Harrison’s article in this weekend’s Cayman Observer, referring to Cayman Brac being devastated by Paloma, as well as to Grand Cayman in hurricane Ivan in 2004. It is imperative that all Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) start to take mitigation measures now to prevent these events from reoccurring. More >>> 101Kb PDF Document

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst

As ministers and officials gather in Poznan one year ahead of the Copenhagen summit on global warming, the second part of a major series looks at the crucial issue of targets.

At a high-level academic conference on global warming at Exeter University this summer, climate scientist Kevin Anderson stood before his expert audience and contemplated a strange feeling. He wanted to be wrong. Many of those in the room who knew what he was about to say felt the same. His conclusions had already caused a stir in scientific and political circles. Even committed green campaigners said the implications left them terrified.

Anderson, an expert at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at Manchester University, was about to send the gloomiest dispatch yet from the frontline of the war against climate change.

Despite the political rhetoric, the scientific warnings, the media headlines and the corporate promises, he would say, carbon emissions were soaring way out of control - far above even the bleak scenarios considered by last year's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Stern review. The battle against dangerous climate change had been lost, and the world needed to prepare for things to get very, very bad.

"As an academic I wanted to be told that it was a very good piece of work and that the conclusions were sound," Anderson said. "But as a human being I desperately wanted someone to point out a mistake, and to tell me we had got it completely wrong." More >>>

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Implement The Alternative Energy Association’s 3 Point Plan

This plan refers to the United States, however it is applicable to all countries, states and territories, including the Cayman Islands!

Reduce, or eliminate, our need for foreign oil, create millions of jobs and stimulate our economy NOW by following the AEA’s 3 POINT PLAN.

Point One: Transportation. America's most immediate energy problem is a liquid fuels issue affecting the transportation sector. Bail out the Big 3 auto makers only if they agree to stop producing any passenger vehicle that does not get at least 25 mpg and give them greater incentives to build vehicles that get 40+ mpg. 60% of all daily vehicle usage in the U.S. consists of less than 30 miles of travel. Plug in hybrid vehicles use an electric motor for travel up to 40 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in, which reduces gasoline usage so that some vehicles can even get up to 100 mpg. BUT, we are still using foreign oil. By using existing technology, not unproven theory, we can create plug in hybrids that run on electricity and domestic natural gas, not gasoline made from foreign drilled oil. Today we have a supply of 118 years worth of natural gas in America. Follow this plan and there will be enough natural gas for 300 plus years – and no foreign oil will be used. Stop sending $600 billion to $1.5 trillion out of the U.S. every year.

Point Two: Solar. One-half of all solar panels manufactured in the world go to Germany. Why? Because of German feed-in-tariff legislation that makes it financially beneficial for homes and businesses to install solar equipment. Eight U.S. states are contemplating similar legislation, and a local variety of this plan is being implemented in Gainesville, Florida. Make Congress pass federal legislation mandating the same plan and provide financing to new solar panel manufacturers. Widespread use of solar will create millions of jobs in the U.S. in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance. Use of solar in federal and state buildings should be mandated NOW, so that government leads the way. Extend the 2008 Economic Stimulus Act provisions that provide tax incentives for commercial solar and implement the financing plan used by some municipalities to help finance solar for residential use. Create government loan guarantees like the ones used by the Small Business Administration to finance solar equipment.

Point Three: Wind Power. The wind corridor from New Mexico/Texas north through the Dakotas can produce enough wind power to generate electricity not only for all of the United States, but for all of Canada and Mexico. Wouldn’t it be nice to export power for a change? Wind power infrastructure will also create millions of jobs in the U.S. and must be built to distribute the power throughout the country. This is the world’s cheapest and fastest-growing new energy source, along with being clean and renewable. Make Congress provide incentives for wind power infrastructure the way it did for the telecommunications infrastructure and the way it provided subsidies to oil companies for decades.

The Alternative Energy Association is in the process of planning the creation of 50 state chapters, along with multiple college-based chapters. These state and college chapters will be charged with the responsibility of working with their state’s members of House and Senate, state legislatures and local governments to create legislation to make this happen on a grassroots basis. More >>>

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Climate Change Could Destroy Vast Forests, Report Warns

BOGOR, Indonesia, November 28, 2008 (ENS) - Without immediate concerted action by governments, climate change could have a devastating effect on the world's forests and the nearly one billion people who depend on them for their livelihoods, warned forest scientists in a report to be released next week at the UN climate conference in Poland.

Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research, CIFOR, in Bogor say adaptation measures to reduce the vulnerability of forests and forest-dependent communities are urgently needed. Forests will experience an unprecedented combination of flooding, drought, wildfire, and other effects of a warming climate over at least the next 100 years.
"We have identified two broad categories of adaptation measures for forest ecosystems," said Bruno Locatelli, a CIFOR scientist and lead author of the report.
"The first is to buffer ecosystems against climate-related disturbances like improving fire management to reduce the risk of uncontrolled wildfires or the control of invasive species," Locatelli explained. "In plantations, we can select species that are better suited to coping with the predicted changes in climate."
"The second would help forests to evolve towards new states better suited to the altered climate," he said. "In this way we evolve with the changing climate rather than resist it." More >>>

[The more forests we lose the less CO2 that gets sequestered by them and the faster the planet warms. Saving existing forests and indeed, a world wide tree planting campaign (which could be used to create jobs in developing countries) is equally as important. Editor]

Friday, November 28, 2008

Branson backs bid to save Virgin Island mangroves from tourists

Friday, 28 November 2008: Sir Richard Branson is opposing plans to build a luxury resort on Beef Island, close to his Virgin Island hideaway, Necker island (pictured)

Sir Richard Branson is backing a landmark legal challenge by environmental campaigners against a multimillion-pound luxury leisure complex which threatens to destroy some of the most eco-sensitive mangrove swamps in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the paradise home of the British business tycoon.
The case, which is to be heard in full next year, is expected to have far-reaching consequences for the protection of the fragile Caribbean environment. Sir Richard, head of the Virgin group of companies, has paid for a team of barristers, led by the former chairman of the Bar Stephen Hockman QC, to fly to the group of islands and seek to stop plans to build a marina, five-star hotel and golf course in the British overseas territory. More >>>

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Peak Oil Crisis and Electrical Efficiency

26 November 2008 - Last week the Virginia Commission on Energy and the Environment held a day long meeting to hear testimony on the future role of electricity in the commonwealth.

Representatives of the various power companies serving the state testified as to their plans and their commitment to reaching the state's goal of reducing electricity consumption by 10 percent by 2022. As it turns out, this goal turns out to be murky as nobody ever said what the 10 percent should be based on - 10 percent of current consumption so that the state is actually using 10 percent less 14 years from now, or 10 percent less than what 2022 consumption would be if no efforts to conserve electricity were undertaken. In the latter case the state could actually be burning considerably more electricity in 2022 as the state's population is expected to grow and it is likely that a lot of electric or plug-in hybrid cars will be refueling off the electric grid by then. More >>>

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Growth in alternative energy market not about to stop

November 25, 2008: Renewable energy retailers say the market has been growing steadily since the start of the decade.Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty ImagesRenewable energy retailers say the market has been growing steadily since the start of the decade.

The dramatic slide in oil prices has caused many to speculate that renewable energy has gone from the "next big thing" to the latest "has been." But renewable energy retailers tell a different story. The alternative energy market, they say, has been growing steadily since the start of the decade and it is not about to stop.
Kevin Pegg, president of retailer and project developer EA Energy Alternatives Ltd. in Victoria, has noticed "a dramatic shift" in the market since he first entered the industry 16 years ago. Back then, people would stare at him blank faced when he spoke of a solar panel. But since 2000, he says, wind, solar and hydro have become household names. More >>>

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Urgent Action On International Coral Reef Crisis Urged

ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2008) — Coral reef scientists and policy makers from the world’s most prominent coral reef nations are meeting in Australia this week to develop urgent action plans to rescue the world’s richest centre of marine biodiversity from gradual decline.

Human pressures on the Coral Triangle have raised grave concerns about the future of its fish, corals and other sea life, leading to a proposal by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for joint action by six governments, scientists, agencies and environmental non-government organisations of the region.

Marine scientists from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) are assisting the largest reef conservation program ever undertaken, known as the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security.More >>>

Saturday, November 22, 2008

State Funerals Honour Two of Cayman's Visionaries

George Town - November 21, 2008: The Cayman Islands experienced a changing of the guard this week as two of the country’s elder statesmen were laid to rest with the honour of full state funerals.

William Warren Conolly, known to all as Mr Warren, was bade farewell on Sunday, 16 November in his home district of East End following a service at the East End United Church.

Sir Vassel Godfrey Johnson, fondly called Sir Vassel, received accolades and tributes at a memorial on Tuesday, 18 November at the historic Elmslie United Church in George Town.

Both men have been recognised as nation builders and engineers of economic prosperity through the development of the country’s two main industries – financial services and tourism.

[We to pay tribute to these two visionary gentlemen who were so instrumental in putting the Cayman Islands on the map. We bemoan however, the fact the world today lacks statesmen of vision like these two, who‘s selfless service benefited the many. Ed] More >>>

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Energy security 'must not be excuse to expand coal power'

Government must not allow construction of coal power stations without carbon capture storage, say researchers

The government should not use energy security as an excuse to build unabated coal power plants, according to a study by energy and climate experts.

Investment should instead be focused on the country's gas power network to keep energy supplies secure while keeping a check on rapid increases in carbon emissions over the next decade, policy researchers have said.

Jim Watson, a climate and energy researcher at the University of Sussex, said that for the government to stay on a path to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, it must not allow the construction of new coal-fired stations simply with the promise that they might be retrofitted with carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) when that has been proven to work. More >>>

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama will act quickly on climate change: adviser

WASHINGTON Wed Nov 12, (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama will act against climate change early in his presidency, an environment adviser said on Wednesday amid doubts that a U.S. carbon-capping program will be in place before 2010.

"The president-elect will move quickly on climate change," Jason Grumet, the Obama campaign's lead energy and environment adviser, told a conference on carbon trading.

Grumet, who has been mentioned as a possible choice for the new U.S. administration's energy secretary, told the group of business and policy-making specialists: "My suggestion to all of you is to enjoy the holiday season ... and rest up because I think it's going to be a very, very busy 2009." More >>>

Sunday, November 9, 2008

UN seeks broad Obama role on climate

BEIJING - November 9, 2008 - The head of the UN climate change body has called on the United States to take a more active role in fighting global warming once Barack Obama becomes president.

"With President-elect Obama, my hope is that the US can take on a leadership role and help to move the negotiations forward," said Yvo de Boer, executive director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

He spoke at a UN-sponsored climate change conference in China's capital that concluded yesterday. The meeting focused on technology transfers between nations, including setting up public-private partnerships that could help developing countries pay for improved energy systems.

Another UN conference is set for early December in Poland, at which countries will begin negotiations for a climate change accord to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The United States rejected the Kyoto accord, arguing that it would harm American business and made no comparable demands on emerging economies. China, India, and other large developing countries signed the accord but refused to accept a binding agreement they said would limit their development and ability to ease poverty at home.

Obama has said he wants to make the United States a leader on climate change and reengage with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the parent treaty of the Kyoto accord. He said he plans to introduce emissions caps to the United States and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
More >>>

Friday, November 7, 2008

Al Gore Group Urges Obama To Create US Power Grid

WASHINGTON - Nov 7 2008- Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection has some environmental advice for the incoming Obama administration: focus on energy efficiency and renewable resources, and create a unified U.S. power grid.

[Former U.S. vice president Al Gore delivers a speech at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao October 16, 2008. (REUTERS/Alfredo Aldai/Pool)]Former U.S. vice president Al Gore delivers a speech at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao October 16, 2008. (REUTERS/Alfredo Aldai/Pool)
On Thursday, the group Gore founded rolled out a new media campaign to push for immediate investments in three energy areas it maintains would help meet Gore's previously announced challenge to produce 100 percent clean electricity in the United States in a decade.
Pegged to Obama's election victory on Tuesday, the Gore group's ads on television, in newspapers and online, pose the question, "Now what?"
"Our nation just made history," one video says. "We have an historic opportunity to boost our economy and repower America with 100 percent clean electricity within 10 years. It will create new American jobs, end our addiction to dirty coal and foreign oil and solve the climate crisis."

More information on the campaign is available online at More >>>

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tourism Sector Can Be Harmfully Affected By Climate Change - Premier Warns

Premier Hon. Ralph T. O'Neal, OBE has warned that the BVI tourism sector can be negatively impacted by the effects of Climate Change which is a major source of revenue of the Islands.

The Premier made this comment during his radio message in light of Caribbean Tourism Day which is being observed under the theme “Tourism -- Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change”.

“Our beaches on Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, Tortola, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke or even Marina Cay can be excessively eroded by rising sea-levels which will also negatively impact our beachfront properties, making us less appealing to the millions of tourists who travel to the Caribbean every year. The natural coral reefs with which we have been so abundantly blessed and which visitors enjoy viewing on diving expeditions, could come under severe pressure.”

- Photo Credit: File -
Against this backdrop, the Hon. O’Neal urged that residents pay close attention to the issue which he said is the much talked about phenomenon.

“I urge you my fellow residents of these beautiful Virgin Islands not to dismiss climate change as a distant concept but to recognise its relevance and potential impact on tourism. The tourism industry represents a major part of our livelihood here in the Virgin Islands and any significant climatic changes could negatively impact the industry upon which we rely so heavily for revenue,” the Premier urged.

Hon. O’Neal took the opportunity to mention his government's pro-active efforts to work on ways of mitigating the effects of Climate Change. More >>>

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Climate Change Seeps Into The Sea

ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2008) — Good news has turned out to be bad. The ocean has helped slow global warming by absorbing much of the excess heat and heat-trapping carbon dioxide that has been going into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

All that extra carbon dioxide, however, has been a bitter pill for the ocean to swallow. It's changing the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic and otherwise inhospitable, threatening many important marine organisms. More >>>

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Coral Reef Discovered In The Seychelles

ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2008) — Researchers from the Department of Biological Sciences have discovered a previously unknown coral reef in the Seychelles. Dr Dave Smith and Dr Dave Suggett visited Curieuse Island as part of an ongoing study funded by Mitsubishi Corporation in conjunction with the Earthwatch Institute. They were joined by PhD student Seb Hennige as well as local Seychelles collaborators.

The island, which is managed by the Seychelles Centre of Marine Research and Technology-Marine Protected Areas (SCMRT-MPA), is home to over 200 giant tortoises but it was thought no coral reefs were present.
Dr Smith said: ‘Diving revealed an extensive coral reef to the south of the island, at a depth which would not be visible to the occasional snorkeller.’ As well as discovering the reef, Dr Smith and Dr Suggett found signs of destruction, and subsequent recovery, caused by the 2004 tsunami. More >>>

Friday, October 24, 2008

OPEC Announces Big Production Cuts

October 24: Oil prices plunge nearly $5, to $63 a barrel, even while OPEC shows "solidarity" by announcing a 1.5 million-barrel-per-day production cut

Through the nine years of ever-increasing oil prices, OPEC snoozed, faintly uneasy with the damage high prices were doing to its customers' economies but content to reap the windfall. Now, with prices having fallen by close to 60% from their July peak of $147 per barrel, the Vienna-based organization is waking up, if not panicking.

On Oct. 24, OPEC announced production cuts of 1.5 million barrels per day. And to try to make the cuts credible, the organization spelled them out for each member, including Angola, which has recently joined and agreed to give up 99,000 barrels per day. "These are real cuts, not B.S.," says Vera Deladoucette, an analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, who was attending the meeting. "Prices close to $60 per barrel concentrated the minds of people." More >>>

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Climate Change on the Agenda

Cayman's efforts to adapt to climate change will advance next week with a training workshop involving local multi-sector and regional climate change officials.

The two-day (21-22 October) Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) Training Workshop at the Grand Cayman Marriott Resort will see stakeholders from Cayman's public and private sector, and NGOs being trained to assess the potential impact of climate change on tourism and other sectors.
The workshop has been organized by the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DoE); the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). More >>>

Monday, October 20, 2008

We need to go for alternative energy – Malta PM

“We need to go for alternative energy on a national level,” said Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi yesterday at the closing of the Nationalist Party general council held at the party headquarters in Pieta.

Dr Gonzi said the energy problem can be overcome by tackling it at national level.

To this end, the government proposed a wind farm on Sikka l-Bajda. He explained that a wind farm on the shallow reef, off Mellieha’s Irdum tal-Madonna, will help the country produce enough energy for 21,000 households, that is five per cent of the country’s energy needs.

The location was chosen following studies of technologies suitable for reefs of different depths. The Prime Minister said Malta was not ready to embark on farms positioned in deeper waters. More >>>

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cost of biodiversity loss is greater than that of the world's current financial problems

Forest, Wildlife Protection Pledged at World Conservation Congress
BARCELONA, Spain, October 14, 2008 (ENS) - The cost of biodiversity loss is greater than that of the world's current financial problems and in many cases, the loss of species is irreparable, said the International Union for Conservation of Nature today at the close of its 10 day World Conservation Congress.

"We're showing how saving nature must be an integral part of the solution for any world crisis," said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre. ""The clear message coming out of this meeting is that biodiversity underpins the well-being of human societies and their economies."

"But conservation can only succeed if we attack the underlying causes of biodiversity loss, and action is taken at the same time to reduce the impacts of that loss," she said.

"The tide is turning in our favor, we have the scientific knowledge and we have the governmental willpower to put the solutions in place," said IUCN's new President Ashok Khosla of India, who will preside until the next Congress is held in 2012. More>>>

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Traditional light bulbs to be phased out from March

From next year traditional light bulbs are to be phased out of shops in Ireland, the Minister for the Environment has said. John Gormley said the move was to help reduce greenhouse gases as well as cut the energy bills of consumers who were feeling the pinch of the economic crisis.

The phasing out of the old style bulbs will be done in a four stage process up until 2012, beginning in March 2009. Bulbs which have an electrical power consumption of 75 watts or higher will be removed from the shelves first, followed by various other types over the next three years.
Sustainable Energy Ireland said that energy efficient light bulbs use 20% of the energy of the older bulbs and can last up to ten times longer if used well. The UK has already begun the process of phasing out old bulbs and hopes to complete it by 2011. More >>>

[All homes and businesses in the Cayman Islands should switch to these bulbs, do not wait for this to be made law, do it now! Not only will it save you money, it will also keep your house cooler as these bulbs generate less heat! The new bank of Butterfield building at Butterfield Place uses high efficiency bulbs throughout the building, Editor]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Malta Government announces measures to protect the water table

Tuesday, 7th October 2008 - The government has published legal notices providing that no new boreholes may be drilled for ground water extraction and all boreholes which have not been already registered with the authorities have to be registered within a month.

Resources Minister George Pullicino said Malta needed to protect its ground water and give the water table time to recharge itself. It was estimated that ground water would be sustainable if extraction did not exceed 23 million cubic metres annually, yet that number was being exceeded by 11 million cubic metres every year.

He warned that all those who did not register their boreholes within a month would be liable for a fine of between €9,300 and €18,600 in terms of a law enacted in 1997. Registering a borehole did not mean an automatic right to extract groundwater, the minister said.

Furthermore, no new boreholes may be drilled without prior permission from the Malta Resources Authority.

For the time being, however, no new permits would be granted until the situation was assessed and the water table was allowed to re-establish itself.

Anyone drilling boreholes illegally would be liable for a fine of between €20,000 and €50,000 and equipment would be confiscated. More >>>

[If I were building a home in the Cayman Islandsor anywhere today I would construct a tank or cistern to collect my rain water from my roof. This was the traditional norm in many parts of the world prior to mains water systems. In this time of growing water shortages around the world it seems criminal to waste the wonderful rain water, which is free. For those who remember hurricane Ivan you will also remember the lack of running water. As more of our land area becomes paved for roads and parking lots there is correspondingly less water being replenished into the acquifer. Perhaps there needs to be, or maybe there is, a permeable paving system to allow water to pass through it. Ed]

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Forests Play Vital Role In Fighting Climate Change

International consensus on forests’ vital role in fighting climate change

Barcelona, Spain, 8 October, 2008 (IUCN)– The world’s forests have immense potential to lessen the impacts of climate change, but if this opportunity is going to be realized, unified global action is now required, according to a remarkable alliance of international forest leaders

The Forests Dialogue’s Initiative on Forests and Climate Change brought together more than 250 representatives of governments, forestry companies, trade unions, environmental and social groups, international organizations, forest owners, indigenous peoples and forest-community groups in a series of meetings over 10 months. For the first time, the group has agreed on five guiding principles for climate change negotiators. More >>>

Monday, October 6, 2008

Companies 'need green directors'

Businesses must change their attitude to environmental issues if the tide of ecological decline is to be halted. That was the message from Valli Moosa, president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, opening the World Conservation Congress.

The former South African minister said all companies should have directors with environmental experience. The 10-day IUCN congress in Barcelona will debate global environmental problems and potential solutions. The organisation numbers almost all the world's governments, environment groups and business representatives among its members. More >>>

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Coral Reefs Need Deep CO2 Cutbacks Soon

How much carbon dioxide is too much? According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere need to be stabilized at levels low enough to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

but scientists have come to realize that an even more acute danger than climate change is lurking in the world's oceans—one that is likely to be triggered by co2 levels that are modest by climate standards. ocean acidification could devastate coral reefs and other marine ecosystems even if atmospheric co2 stabilizes at 450 ppm, a level well below that of many climate change forecasts, report long cao and ken caldeira. More >>>

Friday, October 3, 2008

The vicious circle

October 2, 2008: At the time of the First World War, Winston Churchill formulated the fundamental principle of energy security as follows: "Safety and certainty in oil lie in variety and variety alone."

While the actual concept of "energy security" appeared only much later - during the oil crises of the 1970s - the wisdom of his words is widely regarded to this day as immutable. But in recent years, the tendency to put all one's eggs in one basket has increasingly undermined the long-term security of natural-gas supplies. Producers and consumers have been recklessly playing at "lose-lose."
The issue has become one of the most heatedly discussed items on the international agenda, even though the proportion of gas crossing international borders is far lower than that of oil (28 percent and 58 percent respectively). More>>>
[Energy security also applies to the Cayman Islands and all Small Island Developing States who must diversify into alternative energy. Solar, wind, and geo-thermal are all viable options that will cut costs and insulate your homes and countries from energy shortages. Ed]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mobilizing to Save Civilization: What You and I Can Do

One of the questions I am frequently asked when I am speaking in various countries is, given the environmental problems that the world is facing, can we make it? That is, can we avoid economic decline and the collapse of civilization? My answer is always the same: it depends on you and me, on what you and I do to reverse these trends. It means becoming politically active. Saving our civilization is not a spectator sport.

We have moved into this new world so fast that we have not yet fully grasped the meaning of what is happening. Traditionally, concern for our children has translated into getting them the best health care and education possible. But if we do not act quickly to reverse the earth’s environmental deterioration, eradicate poverty, and stabilize population, their world will decline economically and disintegrate politically. More >>>

Monday, September 22, 2008

Energy Efficiency Crucial to Achieving Energy Security and Reducing Global Warming, States Leading Scientists Report

American Physical Society Report Says Using Energy Wasted Now From Inefficiencies Is America's Hidden Energy Reserve for 21st Century

WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 16, 2008 -- Eliminating wasted energy from automobiles, homes and businesses is equivalent to tapping a hidden energy reserve that will help the United States improve its energy security and reduce global warming, an American Physical Society (APS) study panel concluded in a major report released today.
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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Join The UN’s International Day of Peace

The United Nations' International Day of Peace - marked every year on September 21 - is a global holiday when individuals, communities, nations and governments highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace.

Established by U.N. resolution in 1982, "Peace Day" has grown to include millions of people around the world who participate in all kinds of events, large and small.

For 2008, this new Web site makes it easy to find and promote Peace Day events anywhere in the world. Just click on "Participate!" to locate an event or post information. And explore the rest of the site to learn more about Peace Day and how to get involved.

May peace prevail on Earth! More>>>

[Let those of us in all communities, including the Cayman Islands take time to end conflicts and promote friendly relations with our neighbours. Editor]

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lost World Beneath Caribbean To Be Explored

ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2008) — Scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, are set to explore the world's deepest undersea volcanoes and find out what lives in a 'lost world' five kilometres beneath the Caribbean.

The team of researchers led by Dr Jon Copley has been awarded £462,000 by the Natural Environment Research Council to explore the Cayman Trough, which lies between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. This rift in the Caribbean seafloor plunges to a depth of more than 5000 metres below sea level. It contains the world's deepest chain of undersea volcanoes, which have yet to be explored.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Developing Nations Discuss Ways to Fight Climate Change

Dakar - 28 August 2008 - The delegates at the U.N. conference on climate change in Ghana say they are pleased with the progress made after a week of negotiations. Brent Latham reports from our West Africa bureau in Dakar, the parties hope to shape a new global environmental regime to further incorporate African countries in the fight against global warming.

The U.N.-sponsored meeting in Accra was one in a series aimed at forging a deal to replace the Kyoto protocol, which expires at the end of 2012, and was never fully embraced.

The process has sped up, and parties have become more serious about reaching an agreement, said executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Yvo de Boer said that time is running out to come to reach an accord on climate change, and that he witnessed a growing sense of urgency at the conference. More >>>

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Climate Change from Pacific Islands

Climate change is wreaking havoc and there is an urgent need to help island communities at risk of being submerged by rising waters

That was the warning from the leader of the tiny Pacific Island of Niue, as regional leaders gathered on the island for their annual summit. More >>>

Friday, August 22, 2008

Climate Change Could Be Impetus For Wars, Other Conflicts, Expert Says

ScienceDaily (Aug. 22, 2008) — Hurricane season has arrived, sparking renewed debate regarding possible links between global warming and the frequency and severity of hurricanes, heat waves and other extreme weather events.

Meanwhile, a related discussion has ensued among international-security experts who believe climate-change-related damage to global ecosystems and the resulting competition for natural resources may increasingly serve as triggers for wars and other conflicts in the future.

Jürgen Scheffran, a research scientist in the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security and the Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research at the University of Illinois, is among those raising concerns. In a survey of recent research published earlier this summer in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Scheffran concluded that “the impact of climate change on human and global security could extend far beyond the limited scope the world has seen thus far.” More >>>

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pacific Islands Forum leaders fly in to discuss climate change

ALOFI, Niue, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- As last-minute preparation work is being carried out in the small island nation of Niue, heads of the government from guest countries are landing here for the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) summit to be held from Tuesday to Thursday.

As a key political and economic policy organization in the Pacific, the 16-member PIF meets annually to develop collective responses to regional issues. When leaders meet this week in the isolated coral atoll thousands of kilometers north-east of New Zealand, climate change and Fiji's stalled election process will top the agenda.

The effect of "global warming" has been a threat to food security and safety of island communities. As a consequence, many Forum Island countries are already subjected to sea level rising.

"It is hoped that Niue as host will take the lead in navigating change to combat the overwhelming effects of climate change and to encourage the PIF to raise its stance on the issues of climate change and not just paying lip-service but be active and promoting all means of renewable energy, recycling, re-use and so forth," the Niue government said in its website for the summit. More >>>

Friday, August 15, 2008

France's Reunion island aims for zero CO2

Wed Aug 13, 2008 - SAINT-DENIS DE LA REUNION (Reuters) - Ringed by volcanic rock, sandy beaches and the blue swell of the Indian Ocean, France's Reunion island is hardly a major polluter.

But hit by rising fuel costs and worried about the impact of global warming, particularly on its delicate flora and fauna, the small island nation has set itself the ambitious goal of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

By 2025, the French territory wants to use renewable energy sources to produce 100 percent of its electricity, and to power all of its transport by 2050.

"We have water, sunshine, we even have an active volcano. We have more energy than we need for our development," Paul Verges, president of Reunion's regional council, said after Group of Eight (G8) leaders agreed a 50 percent cut in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 More >>>

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mass Extinctions And 'Rise Of Slime' Predicted For Oceans

ScienceDaily (Aug. 13, 2008) — Human activities are cumulatively driving the health of the world's oceans down a rapid spiral, and only prompt and wholesale changes will slow or perhaps ultimately reverse the catastrophic problems they are facing.

Such is the prognosis of Jeremy Jackson, a professor of oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, in a bold new assessment of the oceans and their ecological health. Jackson believes that human impacts are laying the groundwork for mass extinctions in the oceans on par with vast ecological upheavals of the past.

He cites the synergistic effects of habitat destruction, overfishing, ocean warming, increased acidification and massive nutrient runoff as culprits in a grand transformation of once complex ocean ecosystems. More >>>

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

GLOBAL: What we are doing about climate change

Photo: UN Library
Years of poorly regulated emissions have made the earth warmer
JOHANNESBURG, 5 August 2008 (IRIN) - In developing countries, where survival is often a daily struggle, people cannot afford to wait for their government to bail them out. Many are living in the grip of climate change, coping with frequent droughts, heavy flooding, intense cyclones and other extreme weather events, and have found ways to adapt:

- In Bangladesh, women farmers faced with frequent floods are building 'floating gardens' — hyacinth rafts on which to grow vegetables in flood-prone areas.

- In Sri Lanka, farmers are experimenting with rice varieties that can cope with less water and higher levels of salinity in the water.

- In Malawi, some small-scale farmers dependent on rain-fed agriculture have begun planting faster maturing maize to cope with more frequent droughts.

But, on a global scale governments continue to be deadlocked on the issue of reducing the emission of dangerous greenhouse gases, such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone and methane, which are making the earth warmer. According to the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the decade from 1998 to 2007 was the warmest on record.More >>>

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sub to make deep dive in Cayman Trench

Sub to make deep Caribbean dive

August 9 2008: Scientists are set to explore the world's deepest undersea volcanoes, which lie 6km down in the Caribbean. Delving into uncharted waters to hunt for volcanic vents will be Autosub6000, Britain's new autonomously controlled, robot submarine. Once found, the life, gas and sediment around the vents - the world's hottest - will be sampled and catalogued.

The research will be carried out by a British team aboard the UK's latest research ship, the James Cook.
"We are heading out on two expeditions, each close to a month long, to map the full length of the Cayman Trough," said team leader, Dr Jon Copley of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton (NOCS).
Dr Copley explained that the Cayman Trough, which lies between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, is a product of the Caribbean tectonic plate pulling away from the American plate.

"It is the world's deepest volcanic ridge and totally unexplored," the Southampton-based researcher told BBC News. More >>>

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

First 100 Percent Wind-powered Community In U.S.

Rock Port, Missouri is the first one hundred percent wind powered community in the United States

ScienceDaily (July 16, 2008) — Rock Port Missouri, with a population of just over 1,300 residents, has announced that it is the first 100% wind powered community in the United States. Four wind turbines supply all the electricity for the small town.
Rock Port’s 100% wind power status is due to four wind turbines located on agricultural lands within the city limits of Rock Port (Atchison County). The city of Rock Port uses approximately 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. It is predicted that these four turbines will produce 16 million kilowatt hours each year. More >>>

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

CCCCC Mission Statement:

Through its role as a Centre of Excellence, the Centre will support the people of the Caribbean as they address the impact of climate variability and change on all aspects of economic development through the provision of timely forecasts and analyses of potentially hazardous impacts of both natural and man-induced climatic changes on the environment, and the development of special programmes with create opportunities for sustainable development.


The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and on the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change in the Caribbean. More >>>

Friday, August 1, 2008

Harsh Climate Change Once Fell Swiftly

Aug. 1, 2008 -- It's one of the most dramatic examples of climate change in Earth's history, and scientists now say it happened almost entirely in one year's time.

Thirteen thousands years ago, Europe was much like it is today -- cool but temperate, with great forests carpeting the land. Ice sheets still nibbled at Finland and Sweden, but for much of the continent the last Ice Age was a distant memory. Suddenly, the climate went haywire. Warm Gulf Stream currents that brought heat from the equator up toward the pole began to fail. Temperatures plummeted 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, and stayed that way for a millennium.

Now scientists believe they've pinpointed the exact time the northern hemisphere was plunged back into a deep freeze. Examining sediments preserved at the bottom of a remote lake in western Germany, they found that what's known as the Younger Dryas cold period took just a year to sweep across the continent, starting in the autumn, 12,679 years ago. More >>>

Monday, July 28, 2008

Population Policy Needed In Order To Combat Climate Change, Experts Argue

ScienceDaily (July 28, 2008) — The biggest contribution UK couples can make to combating climate change would be to have only two children or at least have one less than they first intended, argues an editorial published in the British Medical Journal.

Family planning and reproductive health expert Professor John Guillebaud and Dr Pip Hayes, a GP from Exeter, call on UK doctors to break their silence on the links between population, family planning and climate change. They point to a calculation by the Optimum Population Trust that "each new UK birth will be responsible for 160 times more greenhouse gas emissions … than a new birth in Ethiopia."
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