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 >>>