Friday, December 4, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
London, England (CNN) -- A possible rise in sea levels by 0.5 meters by 2050 could put at risk more than $28 trillion worth of assets in the world's largest coastal cities, according to a report compiled for the insurance industry.
The value of infrastructure exposed in so-called "port mega-cities," urban conurbations with more than 10 million people, is just $3 trillion at present.
The rise in potential losses would be a result of expected greater urbanization and increased exposure of this greater population to catastrophic surge events occurring once every 100 years caused by rising sea levels and higher temperatures. More >>>
Saturday, November 21, 2009
BRITAIN should brace itself for more tropical-style deluges of the kind that wreaked havoc on Cockermouth, according to climate experts.
They warn that, although no single event can be attributed to climate change, the warming of the atmosphere caused by greenhouse gases means such disasters will become more frequent.
“We need to follow the example of tropical cities like Kuala Lumpur and Singapore where flooding is a regular event,” said Roger Falconer, professor of water management at Cardiff University.
“They have huge flood drains and roads, all designed to channel water away from danger areas. Britain must learn to think the same way.”
Such warnings are in line with recent studies into how Britain’s climate may change. They suggest summers will become drier and warmer, but winters will be marked by storms, strong winds and more deluges.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
TOKYO — Sunday 1st November, - The government launched Sunday a new program that enables power companies to purchase at higher rates surplus electricity produced by solar power generation systems installed in homes, schools and hospitals.
The move is Japan’s latest attempt to make photovoltaic generation, which is cleaner in terms of carbon emissions than fossil fuels, more popular at the public level and to step up efforts to fight global warming. On Saturday, the government said it may further accelerate such efforts, with Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressing his hope to launch another program during the year through March 2011, under which utility companies would buy all the solar electricity generated at homes and elsewhere. Kan said that would help give incentives to people to install solar panels on their roofs with ‘‘the state not required to spend even 1 yen.’’ Under the program begun Sunday, effective through the next 10 years, many of the utility firms will almost double payments to 48 yen for each kilowatt generated per hour by households and 24 yen by schools, hospitals and other facilities.
To cover the rise in costs, the electricity companies will collect a monthly surcharge of around 30 yen from every household and organization using electricity in the country, starting in April. The surcharge is expected to rise to 50 to 100 yen in the next five to 10 years and critics say the additional burden will only weaken consumer sentiment, delaying Japan’s emergence from the economic downturn. More >>>
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Lily Allen and Duran Duran launch celebrity climate campaign track
The first global music petition, a re-recording of Midnight Oil's Beds are Burning, is aimed at pressuring world leaders at Copenhagen.
Over 60 musicians, including Duran Duran, Lily Allen and Bob Geldof, today launched the world's first digital musical petition: a re-recording of the Midnight Oil song, Beds are Burning, aimed at pressuring world leaders to make a hard-hitting deal over climate change at December's Copenhagen summit.
Described by Kofi Annan as "the Band Aid for the internet generation", the song is the first time such a long list of world celebrities has recorded a campaign track in protest of global warming and climate change. It is also the first ever global music petition: the track is available free online and downloading it automatically adds the listener to the campaign petition: "Tck Tck Tck, Time for Climate Justice". More >>>
Friday, October 23, 2009
Vice President Joe Biden just revealed a plan to make Berkeley First available nationwide. Yesterday at his Middle Class Task Force meeting Biden proposed the way to make solar roofs easy for everyone to afford with virtually free solar panels. If you now pay your current electricity bill and own a home, that’s literally all it takes to go solar under municipal tax assessment financing.
How FIRST Works
Residential and commercial property owners in Berkeley can finance new solar photovoltaic systems using the FIRST program in conjunction with the CSI rebate program. BerkeleyFIRST allows property owners to repay the cost of the solar system through a voluntary tax increment on their property tax bill. The City of Berkeley application process is currently closed.
If you are approved, the City pays the installation cost of your new solar system. In turn, the City adds a line item to your property tax bill sufficient to repay the cost of the energy project plus interest over 20 years. If you sell your house, both the solar system and the remaining debt stay with the property. More >>>
As it appears that the Cayman Islands will have to expand their revenue base, the Cayman Islands Government should consider implementing this type of program in conjunction wth the banking industry. Editor
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Brown: '50 days to save world' Watch Video
The UK faces a "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves if world leaders fail to agree a deal on climate change, the prime minister has warned.
Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the "impasse".
He told the Major Economies Forum in London, which brings together 17 of the world's biggest greenhouse gas-emitting countries, there was "no plan B".World delegations meet in Copenhagen in December for talks on a new treaty.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Theme 3: Ocean and Climate Change – the impacts on and from the Ocean: Adapting coastal communities to sea-level rise
Keynote Speech – Dr Rolph Payet, Special Advisor to the President of Seychelles.
UNESCO General Conference 13 September 2009
Millions of people on the planet now live on the edge of the abyss. The polar people and polar bears are seeing the ice melt before their very own eyes, and island people are seeing their land swallowed up by the sea, sometimes in a blink of an eye.
The ocean is the window to present and future climate change. To predict the onset of the cyclonic seasons, El Nino and other natural phenomenon, scientists turn to the oceans. The oceans are the earth’s barometer and heartbeat. We need to take heed of its signals. Recent studies strongly indicates that sea levels are rising much faster than estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We are now looking at a rise of more than 1.4 meters by 2100, assuming that the melting glaciers of Antarctica and Greenland do not accelerate. The World Bank estimates that a 10% increase in storm surge intensity would place 52 million people at risk of inundation. More >>>
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
September 22, 2009, Pacific Gas & Electric, the big California utility, has pulled out of the United States Chamber of Commerce over what its chairman, Peter Darbee, termed “fundamental differences” over the climate change issue.
In a letter to the Chamber — a business group that has often been a vocal critic of President Obama’s policies to regulate greenhouse gas emissions — Mr. Darbee wrote: We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored. In our opinion, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges are quite another. Excerpts from the letter were published on PG&E’s blog, Next100.com. PG&E is the dominant utility in northern California, and has aggressively pursued energy efficiency and renewable energy. More >>>
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, 18 September 2009 Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Omar W. Hodge left the Territory Tuesday as head of a delegation to Europe to aid in developing the BVI’s energy policy.
The primary purpose of the trip is to determine the feasibility of using waste gasification for energy generation and to view the energy conversion practices at resident plants.
Minister Hodge said the trip will provide the framework needed for Government to explore first hand energy consumption patterns used in industrial countries and identify efficiency measures necessary for local implementation.
“We know that we cannot continue our dependence on oil as over the past year the price has fluctuated widely with a high of $147.00 per barrel. We are seeking to be proactive in identifying green solutions for our energy needs,” Hon. Hodge said. More >>>
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The ban of incandescent light bulbs in the EU has been motivated by the fact that they are 75% less eco-friendly than compact fluorescent light bulbs, plus CFL’s last 10 times longer so they not only save on energy consumption and cost, but the light bulb very quickly pays for itself through its savings.
Little by little, nations worldwide are doing their part to reduce their environmental footprint, and this is one way that the EU is hoping to do their part!
The European Union is on the cutting-edge of green technology; already ahead of many nations through its introduction a ban of incandescent light bulbs that began on September 1, 2009. The ban of these incandescent light bulbs has a goal of reducing region-wide energy costs through use of the more eco-friendly compact fluorescent light bulbs instead.
In order to move forward with this ban of incandescent light bulbs, the EU is not allowing retailers in the area to purchase these lighting options which take a known toll on the environment and our household energy costs. With fairness in mind, however, retailers are allowed to continue to sell incandescent light bulbs that they already have in stock. By implementing this ban, the EU is hoping that it will contribute to their goal of reducing greenhouse gasses by 2010 and will convert the population to becoming more energy-efficient in their line of thinking. THe public has not reacted entirely favorably to this ban, protesting that they have the right to choose their own lighting options in their homes; but meanwhile, the United States is watching closely to see how well received it is since a similar initiative will be underway in 2012.
The ban of incandescent light bulbs in the EU has been motivated by the fact that they are 75% less eco-friendly than compact fluorescent light bulbs, plus CFL’s last 10 times longer so they not only save on energy consumption and cost, but the light bulb very quickly pays for itself through its savings. Little by little, nations worldwide are doing their part to reduce their environmental footprint, and this is one way that the EU is hoping to do their part! More >>>
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Plug-In Vehicle Tracker: What’s Coming, When
Virtually every major auto manufacturer in the world, along with several smaller outfits, is developing a plug-in electric vehicle and Plug In America is tracking their progress. Our list below will be updated monthly. It represents highway-capable cars and trucks, 2- and 3-wheeled and commercial vehicles. Low-speed electric vehicles and conversions are not included. For a list of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, visit http://www.eaaev.org/eaalinks.html#NEVs.
Telephone your Member of Parliament and ask them to pass the requisite legislation to enable the importation and licensing of alternativly powered vehicles.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Carbon capture and storage is expensive, risky and may not work, writes Paddy Manning.
September 7, 2009 : THERE may be a few forced smiles when Martin Ferguson dishes out $2.4 billion in funding for a handful of "flagship" carbon capture and storage projects (CCS), intended to clean up carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations.
As the Energy and Resources Minister knows, these CCS projects have taken one helluva time to get up and running - and it will be a long while yet before they make any significant contribution to Australia's CO
For at least a decade, the coal industry has promoted a range of clean coal technologies, including CCS, as an alternative to renewable energy. But as necessary emission reduction trajectories get deeper and steeper, the industry has been tardy - stubborn, even - about paying for it.
Instead the public will foot most of the bill for CCS, and will wear the liability if it goes wrong. More >>>
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Despite almost universal awareness of the threat posed by climate change, households are still left feeling powerless to act, says Paul King. In this week's Green Room, he sets out his vision that he believes would kick-start a "refurbishment revolution".
A searing summer heatwave might not seem the most obvious time to talk about how we keep our homes warm during the winter; but the two things are closely related.
Recent temperatures in the UK and elsewhere give an indication of what life will be like much more frequently unless we get to grips with the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
Shrinking ice sheets and images of polar bears might attract the headlines.
But it will be premature deaths through heat stroke and respiratory problems, failed harvests, wildfires, social disorder and mass migration that will make climate change a reality for people across the globe. More >>>
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
ScienceDaily (June 16, 2009) — Better building practices for structures in hurricane-prone regions will be the focus of a paper next month in Caribbean Construction Magazine by NJIT architecture professor Rima Taher, PhD.
Taher has written extensively about best building design and construction practices to reduce wind pressures on building surfaces and to resist high winds and hurricanes in residential or commercial construction.
She is a civil/structural engineer who teaches at NJIT's College of Architecture and Design. Her courses include topics related to wind and earthquakes with guidelines and recommendations for better design and construction in hurricane and earthquake prone areas. More >>>
Friday, June 5, 2009
The General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution urging the relevant organs of the U.N. to intensify their efforts to address the security implications of climate change, including sea-level rise.
At right above -H.E. Ms. Marlene Moses for Nauru and PSIDS chair introduced the resolution to the General Assembly.
The passage of the resolution marks the culmination of a year-long campaign by a coalition of Pacific small island developing states (PSIDS) to focus the attention of the international community on the security aspects of climate change and to refer the issue to the Security Council. Though international organizations and many governments have been examining the link between climate change and security issues, this is the first time that the full U.N. General Assembly has made the connection in this type of formal instrument. More >>>
General Assembly Statement: Expressing Deep Concern, Invites Major United Nations Organs to Intensify Efforts in Addressing Security Implications of Climate Change
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, May 25, 2009 (ENS) - "We meet at a critical moment in human history. Our planet is warming to dangerous levels," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the opening session of the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen on Sunday.
Encouraging world business leaders to create a global economy that is "cleaner, greener and more sustainable, Ban told 700 delegates from the business community that "climate change is the defining challenge of our time."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Photo courtesy Copenhagen Climate Council/Peter Sørensen)
"You and your colleagues have the ingenuity and vision to lead by example where others, including governments, are lagging behind," he said. "With your support and through your example, we must harness the necessary political will to seal the deal."
In Copenhagen in December, governments are expected to conclude negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period for reducing greenhouse gas emissions ends in 2012.
Monday, May 18, 2009
GEORGETOWN, Guyana --May 18, 2009 - The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development concluded its 17th session on Friday with concrete policy options to drive practicable actions on agriculture, rural development, land, drought and desertification.
During a high-level segment last week, Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo, a climate change activist, said while raising awareness is vital, it is not enough to achieve sustainable development. He says as an international community, we need to turn this awareness into solutions that make the difference we urgently require.
Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Christopher Tufton said climate change is the single most urgent threat confronting Small Island developing States
Tufton speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small island States (AOSIS) said it attached great importance to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development. More >>>
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Hawai'i will become one of only a few states that require large parking lots to reserve spaces for electric cars and to provide recharging capacity if a bill passed by the Legislature is signed into law.
The measure would take Hawai'i one step closer to developing a viable electric-vehicle market, supporters say.
"We're definitely on the cutting edge on this," said Robert Harris, director of the Hawai'i chapter of the Sierra Club.
The bill was among a handful of adopted measures that environmentalists applauded yesterday as the Legislature wrapped up its session.
A key one would increase the tax on a barrel of oil by $1 to help the state explore alternative energy and protect local agriculture. More >>>
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Environment ministers and officials are meeting in at a UN summit Copenhagen in December to thrash out global deal on climate change. What's on the agenda?
What is the Copenhagen climate change summit?
From December 7 environment ministers and officials will meet in Copenhagen for the United Nations climate conference to thrash out a successor to the Kyoto protocol. The conference, held at the modern Bella Center, will run for two weeks. The talks are the latest in an annual series of UN meetings that trace their origins to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, which aimed at coordinating international action against climate change. More >>>
Sunday, April 19, 2009
April 18, 2009 -PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, April 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Saturday the prospect of more severe hurricanes and rising sea levels in the Caribbean is "very, very scary."
Chu, who met with government officials from other Western hemisphere nations at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, said it is "a demonstrable fact" that the climate is changing and "very, very convincing evidence -- very high probability it was caused predominantly by greenhouse gas emissions."
Referring to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Chu said there is a reasonable probability that Earth's temperature will rise between 2 and 4 degrees Centigrade or more by the end of this century. More >>>
Saturday, April 18, 2009
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago - April 18, 2009— President Obama, seeking to thaw long-frozen relations with Cuba, told a gathering of Western Hemisphere leaders on Friday that “the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba,” and that he was willing to have his administration engage the Castro government on a wide array of issues.
Mr. Obama’s remarks, during the opening ceremony at the Summit of the Americas, are the clearest signal in decades that the United States is willing to change direction in its dealings with Cuba. They capped a dizzying series of developments this week, including surprisingly warm words between Raúl Castro, Cuba’s leader, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. More >>>
Friday, April 17, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Climate change explained - the impact of temperature rises
Mark Lynas - The Guardian, Tuesday 14 April 2009
Less than 2C
Arctic sea icecap disappears, leaving polar bears homeless and changing the Earth's energy balance dramatically as reflective ice is replaced during summer months by darker sea surface. Now expected by 2030 or even earlier.
Tropical coral reefs suffer severe and repeated bleaching episodes due to hotter ocean waters, killing off most coral and delivering a hammer blow to marine biodiversity.
Droughts spread through the sub-tropics, accompanied by heatwaves and intense wildfires. Worst-hit are the Mediterranean, the south-west United States, southern Africa and Australia.
Summer heatwaves such as that in Europe in 2003, which killed 30,000 people, become annual events. Extreme heat sees temperatures reaching the low 40s Celsius in southern England.
Amazon rainforest crosses a "tipping point" where extreme heat and lower rainfall makes the forest unviable - much of it burns and is replaced by desert and savannah.
Dissolved CO2 turns the oceans increasingly acidic, destroying remaining coral reefs and wiping out many species of plankton which are the basis of the marine food chain. Several metres of sea level rise is now inevitable as the Greenland ice sheet disappears.
Glacier and snow-melt in the world's mountain chains depletes freshwater flows to downstream cities and agricultural land. Most affected are California, Peru, Pakistan and China. Global food production is under threat as key breadbaskets in Europe, Asia and the United States suffer drought, and heatwaves outstrip the tolerance of crops.
The Gulf Stream current declines significantly. Cooling in Europe is unlikely due to global warming, but oceanic changes alter weather patterns and lead to higher than average sea level rise in the eastern US and UK.
Another tipping point sees massive amounts of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - released by melting Siberian permafrost, further boosting global warming. Much human habitation in southern Europe, north Africa, the Middle East and other sub-tropical areas is rendered unviable due to excessive heat and drought. The focus of civilisation moves towards the poles, where temperatures remain cool enough for crops, and rainfall - albeit with severe floods - persists. All sea ice is gone from both poles; mountain glaciers are gone from the Andes, Alps and Rockies.
Global average temperatures are now hotter than for 50m years. The Arctic region sees temperatures rise much higher than average - up to 20C - meaning the entire Arctic is now ice-free all year round. Most of the topics, sub-tropics and even lower mid-latitudes are too hot to be inhabitable. Sea level rise is now sufficiently rapid that coastal cities across the world are largely abandoned.
6C and above
Danger of "runaway warming", perhaps spurred by release of oceanic methane hydrates. Could the surface of the Earth become like Venus, entirely uninhabitable? Most sea life is dead. Human refuges now confined entirely to highland areas and the polar regions. Human population is drastically reduced. Perhaps 90% of species become extinct, rivalling the worst mass extinctions in the Earth's 4.5 billion-year history.
• Mark Lynas is the author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
14 April 2009 - Almost nine out of 10 climate scientists do not believe political efforts to restrict global warming to 2C will succeed, a Guardian poll reveals today. An average rise of 4-5C by the end of this century is more likely, they say, given soaring carbon emissions and political constraints.
Such a change would disrupt food and water supplies, exterminate thousands of species of plants and animals and trigger massive sea level rises that would swamp the homes of hundreds of millions of people.
The poll of those who follow global warming most closely exposes a widening gulf between political rhetoric and scientific opinions on climate change. While policymakers and campaigners focus on the 2C target, 86% of the experts told the survey they did not think it would be achieved. A continued focus on an unrealistic 2C rise, which the EU defines as dangerous, could even undermine essential efforts to adapt to inevitable higher temperature rises in the coming decades, they warned.
The survey follows a scientific conference last month in Copenhagen, where a series of studies were presented that suggested global warming could strike harder and faster than realised. More >>>
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Urge Climate Negotiators, Members of Congress, and the Obama Administration to Adopt 'Bolder' Ambitious Emission Reduction Targets
WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Voices from the frontlines of climate change and leading advocates today called for the climate negotiators currently in Bonn, Members of Congress, and the Obama Administration to commit to ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are threatening the existence of vulnerable communities in the Arctic, small island developing States (SIDS), and other places around the world.
At a briefing organized by the Climate Law & Policy Project (CLPP) and Many Strong Voices (MSV), a panel of experts expressed frustration with the sizable gap between the urgent and bold action that climate science and real-world observations indicate is necessary and the proposed commitments put forth in domestic and international political forums.
Arctic and island peoples are already experiencing significant climate impacts due to a rise in global average temperatures of about .75ºC (about 1.3ºF) since pre-industrial times, corresponding to an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations from around 280 ppm to over 380 ppm. Yet the goal espoused by many in domestic and international policy processes is to limit warming to 2ºC (3.6ºF) - almost triple the amount of warming that has already occurred. More >>>
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Politicians were willfully ignoring and misunderstanding the science of global warming, a government adviser said today.
John Ashton, who is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's special representative on climate change, warned scientists that they could not trust in the honesty of politicians. Speaking at the start of the climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Mr Ashton said that the truth could be lost to political expediency or mischief and urged scientists to couch their conclusions in terms that could not be misunderstood or go unheard.
Delegates at the conference will again meet in the city later this year in an attempt to reach an international deal on how to combat global warming. Mr Ashton, who trained as a physicist before becoming a diplomat, said that researchers had been tremendously successful in analysing climate science but had yet to succeed in making political leaders understand the importance of their discoveries. More >>>
Sunday, March 1, 2009
There were 30 ministers from all over the world who spoke and participated in the event and a number of corporate CEOs who took part both in this and the preceding event called the World CEO Forum which was held on February 4, 2009. A particular feature of this year’s Summit was a special session on Africa, wherein the Under Secretary General of the UN responsible for the Economic Commission in Africa, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh and a number of ministers from African nations participated and discussed the special challenge that Africa faces with the growing impacts of climate change.
The overall theme of the Summit this year was "Towards Copenhagen: an equitable and ethical approach" because as Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, who also addressed the Summit, has stated clearly, 2009 would be the year of climate change. More >>>
Thursday, February 26, 2009
ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2009) — Multidisciplinary research from the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 provides new evidence of the widespread effects of global warming in the polar regions.
Snow and ice are declining in both polar regions, affecting human livelihoods as well as local plant and animal life in the Arctic, as well as global ocean and atmospheric circulation and sea level.
These are but a few findings reported in “State of Polar Research”, released February 25 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU). In addition to lending insight into climate change, IPY has aided our understanding of pollutant transport, species’ evolution, and storm formation, among many other areas.
The wide-ranging IPY findings result from more than 160 endorsed science projects assembled from researchers in more than 60 countries. More >>>
Monday, February 23, 2009
February 23, 2009: Green Globe International, Inc. the worldwide owner of the Green Globe brand, today announced its support for World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and its recent statement setting out the vision and commitment of travel and tourism industry leaders to tackle climate change.
The WTTC, the business leaders' forum for the travel and tourism industry, is a 5% common stock owner of Green Globe International.
Issued by the WTTC on February 18, 2009, the report was titled "Leading the Challenge on Climate Change." The first phase of the WTTC's environmental initiative, the report was endorsed by a large number of WTTC members, which include the Chairs and CEOs of the industry's foremost travel and tourism companies. According to the WTTC, its next steps include the development of a web portal, which will promote information on reducing carbon emissions and will share best practice examples already initiated across the world. The WTTC plans to use the web portal and the report launched today to inform commercial and public policy-makers. More >>> Green Globe International
Saturday, February 14, 2009
But a delusion that lasts for decades is not a delusion. It's an institution. And these, our institutions, are what now fail us. People no longer know what they value. They don't know what to believe. And unfortunately, it's part of the human condition to believe and invest in things that are demonstrably not true.
As 2009 opens, our financial institutions are deep in massive, irrational panic. That's bad, but it gets worse: Many other respected institutions have rational underpinnings at least as frail as derivatives or bundled real-estate loans. Like finance, these institutions are social constructions. They are games of confidence, underpinned by people's solemn willingness to believe, to conform, to contribute. So why not panic over them, too? More >>>
Friday, February 6, 2009
2 February 2009: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a US$31.1 million loan for an energy-efficiency project in the Philippines that will provide 13 million energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) to homeowners and businesses as part of a government push to save about US$100 million every year in fuel costs, and a deferral of an investment of US$450 million in power generation and associated network capacity.
Each CFL is expected to save customers 400 pesos (approximately US$8.50) each year for the next 7 to 10 years. The project will also retrofit government office buildings and public lighting systems with other efficient lighting options and establish an energy service company (ESCO) that will provide financial and technical support to companies planning to reduce energy consumption. [ADB Press Release]
Saturday, January 31, 2009
The Sunday Times - February 1, 2009 To stop the world warming we have to cut our carbon emissions to African levels. It may be crippled and reviled, but Britain’s banking industry is likely to become one of the nation’s key assets in dealing with climate change, according to Lord (Nicholas) Stern.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Stern suggested that Britain’s banks and other financial institutions would be an essential element in building the low-carbon infrastructure the country will need if it is to achieve its emission-reduction targets. He also believes such investments could help them rebuild their profits.
“Banking could do very well as Britain moves to a low-carbon economy,” he said. “There will be lots of business opportunities and Britain’s bankers are particularly strong in this area. They have been very creative over all kinds of issues and they could do it again in the financing of green initiatives.”
Stern, former chief economist at the Treasury, is among Britain’s most influential economists. Two years ago he published The Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change, which described climate change as the “greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen”. More >>>
Friday, January 30, 2009
The Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) released disaster figures for 2008 at a joint press conference with UNISDR in Geneva on 22 January.
The figures showed a marked increase in deaths and economic losses in 2008 from disasters compared to the 2000-2007 yearly average. Disasters in 2008: Killed 235,816 people – three times more than the annual average of 66,812 for 2000-2007. The death toll is attributed to two major events:
Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (138,366 dead) and the Sichuan earthquake in China (87,476 dead).
Affected 211 million people – below the 2000-2007 annual average of 231 million.
Caused economic losses of US$178 billion – double the annual average for 2000-2007 of US$81 billion. The Sichuan earthquake alone caused half of the total damages (US$85 billion).
Analysis of the disaster figures revealed that 2008 was the third costliest year in the last 20 years. 2008 also marked the first year in which middle income countries were the main contributors of economic loss. According to Professor Debarati Guha-Sapir, Director of CRED, "As countries move up the development
ladder, their economic vulnerability tends to increase. Ideally, these countries need to invest more in disaster risk reduction measures if they want to better protect development gains."
The 2008 disasters in numbers fact sheet is available at http://unisdr.org
Monday, January 26, 2009
January 21, 2009 // A utility in Delaware has taken a step toward a future in which electric cars store renewable energy to help make its use more widespread.
The city of Newark has approved a system called vehicle-to-grid (V2G), in which the battery pack in a car serves as a place to temporarily store energy from the power grid.
A big problem with renewable sources of power like solar or wind is that they only operate intermittently. For now, renewables provide such a small part of the total electricity supply that other sources can easily make up for the hours, minutes, or days when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. But if we're ever to rely on them for a large part of our power, we'll need a cheap way to store the energy that they produce for when it's needed most.
The vehicle-to-grid concept suggests a way to store energy cheaply, since the batteries in electric cars have already been paid for. Most of the time, a car is just sitting around doing nothing. For short-term storage--needed to smooth out fluctuations in power from a wind turbine, for example--a utility could quickly charge a car (or, ideally, distribute a little charge to hundreds or thousands of cars) when the wind is blowing and then take that electricity back a few minutes later when the wind dies down. The more cars that are available, the more energy can be stored. Longer-term storage might also be possible: a car owner could charge up for a discount at night, provided she agreed to keep the car plugged in at work to supply extra power during peak power demand in the afternoon. More >>>
Unfortunately, here in the Cayman Islands, given the lack of incentives to generate our own electricity on our homes or businesses, technology like this will not be feasible without a change of government policy. At present the policy favours the incumbent generator and not the consumer or the country. Editor.
Thursday 26 June 2008 // Lord Stern believes £28bn may be need to tackle climate change. The author of an influential British government report arguing the world needed to spend just 1% of its wealth tackling climate change has warned that the cost of averting disaster has now doubled.
Lord Stern of Brentford made headlines in 2006 with a report that said countries needed to spend 1% of their GDP to stop greenhouse gases rising to dangerous levels. Failure to do this would lead to damage costing much more, the report warned - at least 5% and perhaps more than 20% of global GDP.
But speaking yesterday in London, Stern said evidence that climate change was happening faster than had been previously thought meant that emissions needed to be reduced even more sharply. More >>>
Thursday, January 15, 2009
In an open letter, Tom Burke argues that the more immediate should not obscure the more urgent. Climate change must be at the forefront of the international agenda in 2009.
15 - 01 - 2009
My dear friends,
I am writing this letter to you because today is arguably the first day of the most important year in human history. I dislike the grandiose so the previous sentence was written reluctantly. Ideas do not seek permission before they enter your mind and they are not always the most welcome of guests.
The idea that this is the most important year in human history has been haunting me since yesterday. It was prompted by an article in the Financial Times in which the paper's columnists made predictions about the most important issues facing the world in 2009. Bravely, they passed judgement on the likelihood of everything from an early election in the United Kingdom (no) to the bombing of Iran; from the price of oil (higher) to the fall of Mugabe.
But it was what they did not say that really caught my attention. This was much reinforced by a cartoon in today's Guardian in which he pictured a rather cheerful looking Mr Earth holding an Obama balloon. Round his ankles were tied three balls and chain labelled "War", "Recession" and "Climate Change". The Financial Times dealt well with two of them. But it had nothing to say about climate change. More >>>
Tom Burke is a Founding Director of E3G, an Environmental Policy Adviser to Rio Tinto plc and a Visiting Professor at Imperial and University Colleges, London.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
ScienceDaily (Jan. 8, 2009) — New research indicates that the ocean could rise in the next 100 years to a meter higher than the current sea level – which is three times higher than predictions from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC.
The groundbreaking new results from an international collaboration between researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. More >>>