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]