CO2 emissions since 1850 (red); exponential growth (blue); cuts to hit climate target (dashed). Photograph: guardian.co.uk
Given what is at stake, it is no wonder that governments agree global warming must be stopped. But that is where the common sense ends and the cognitive dissonance…
Photo; Copenhagen, Denmark
wotfigo; In the entire 10,000 year history of humans living in cities there has never been a carbon neutral city. And there never will be. Here’s why.
We are starting to see increasing claims of various regions aiming for carbon neutrality by the year such…
The modern Arctic is a busy place. New mines and crowds of tourists drawn by the changing climate jockey for space alongside traditional communities and the lands they depend on.
At the crossroads of all that traffic sits the small town of Kiruna, in northern Sweden. Which makes it an appropriate backdrop for the Arctic Council meeting it hosts on May 15.
Senior ministers from the Council’s member states meet every two years, and as global awareness of the region has grown, so too has the attention drawn by these gatherings. Next week, eyes will be on Kiruna.
Graph; Global CO2 hitting 400 ppm over this week May 28 to April 4
“It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what…
Benguela Current Convention: Angola, Namibia and South Africa Sign World’s First Large Marine Ecosystem Legal Framework.
“With the signing of the Benguela Current Convention, Angola, Namibia and South Africa will work together on the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem, one of the richest ecosystems on earth.” - full article here
This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time. Taking care of our wonderful continent! Let’s keep going Africans.
Plants moderate climate warming
As temperatures warm, plants release gases that help form clouds and cool the atmosphere, according to research from IIASA and the University of Helsinki.
The new study, published in Nature Geoscience, identified a negative feedback loop in which higher temperatures lead to an increase in concentrations of natural aerosols that have a cooling effect on the atmosphere…
Scientists had known that some aerosols – particles that float in the atmosphere – cool the climate as they reflect sunlight and form cloud droplets, which reflect sunlight efficiently. Aerosol particles come from many sources, including human emissions. But the effect of so-called biogenic aerosol – particulate matter that originates from plants – had been less well understood. Plants release gases that, after atmospheric oxidation, tend to stick to aerosol particles, growing them into the larger-sized particles that reflect sunlight and also serve as the basis for cloud droplets. The new study showed that as temperatures warm and plants consequently release more of these gases, the concentrations of particles active in cloud formation increase.
… While previous research had predicted the feedback effect, until now nobody had been able to prove its existence except for case studies limited to single sites and short time periods. The new study showed that the effect occurs over the long-term in continental size scales.
The effect of enhanced plant gas emissions on climate is small on a global scale – only countering approximately 1 percent of climate warming, the study suggested. “This does not save us from climate warming,” says Paasonen. However, he says, “Aerosol effects on climate are one of the main uncertainties in climate models. Understanding this mechanism could help us reduce those uncertainties and make the models better.”
The study also showed that the effect was much larger on a regional scale, counteracting possibly up to 30% of warming in more rural, forested areas where anthropogenic emissions of aerosols were much lower in comparison to the natural aerosols. That means that especially in places like Finland, Siberia, and Canada this feedback loop may reduce warming substantially…
Driving Distance from Electric Vehicle Charging Stations | Contiguous United States - 2013-04-01
The 5th Middle East and North Africa Solar Conference, MENASOL 2013, is going to be celebrated in Dubai, from 14 May to 15 May.
The event focuses on a wide range of themes concerning the renewable energies development in the countries of the MENA region, from learning how to harness…
AT STANFORD, AL GORE CONNECTS CLIMATE CHANGE INACTION TO POLITICAL DYSFUNCTION
By Rob Jordan, Stanford News:
Speaking to a capacity crowd at Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium, former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore calls for passionate action to reverse “degraded” state of democracy.
“Our democracy has been hacked. The operating system has been taken over.” That was the message former Vice President Al Gore brought to Stanford Tuesday night. In a far-reaching, impassioned call to civic and environmental action, Gore warned against a political system that fails to serve the majority’s interest when it comes to climate change and other pressing issues.
Gore spoke to a capacity audience at Memorial Auditorium as part of the inaugural Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture, in honor of the Stanford professor and world-renowned climate scientist who died in 2010. Schneider and Gore worked together on several projects and shared, along with Schneider’s colleagues on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”
On Tuesday night, after a video montage of Schneider, a former senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, discussing climate change, Gore launched into a discourse that ranged from knowledgeable explanations of ecological cycles to emotional condemnations of the “degraded” state of American democracy.
The 65-year-old paced the stage as he rattled off a litany of dark news from climate change-related superstorms and droughts to the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass meaningful gun safety legislation. He offered blunt assessments of the Iraq War, saying it was about “a country that just happens to have a lot of oil.” He spoke of the interest in energy-intensive Canadian tar sands oil extraction, the driving force behind plans for the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. “Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and legs give out,” Gore said of tar sands oil.
Amid the gloom, Gore offered reasons for hope, such as the fact that global investments in renewable energy have skyrocketed, outpacing those in fossil fuels in 2010. The developing world has the opportunity to “leapfrog” traditional wire grid systems by going straight to wind and solar power, Gore said, drawing a comparison to a similar trajectory that many countries have taken with cellular phones, skipping landlines and going straight to cell.
While prescriptions such as a carbon dioxide emissions tax and the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies are available, Gore said, a more fundamental change is essential. The central issue driving Americans’ relative detachment from climate change and other issues, Gore said, is that elected officials are beholden to wealthy corporations in order to campaign effectively via expensive television ads.
Television airtime dominated by special interests and news media that “do not inform people about serious issues” compound the problem, Gore said.
“In order to solve the democratic crisis, you need to become passionately involved in democracy,” Gore said. He encouraged audience members to let their elected representatives know about their climate change concerns, and to work hard to re-elect those who vote for meaningful change and help defeat those who don’t.
Gore closed his talk by speaking directly to students in the audience. When, in 1969, the first manned spacecraft touched down on the moon’s surface, the average age of NASA engineers in the mission control center was 26, Gore said. That meant that they had been 18 – the age of a college freshman – when President John F. Kennedy challenged America to put a man on the moon.
At the time, many Americans had thought a moon landing was impossible, but were proved wrong, Gore reminded the audience. Similarly, he said, rapid and dramatic action on climate change and other issues is possible. “Change often comes quickly when consciousness changes. We have to become conscious of what we’re doing so that we can change it,” he said.
The lecture was co-sponsored by Stanford in Government, Students for a Sustainable Stanford, Stanford Speakers Bureau and the Stanford Woods Institute. Schneider’s widow, Terry Root, a senior fellow at the institute and frequent scientific collaborator with Schneider, organized the event.
Schneider was a leader in science communication and a world expert on interdisciplinary climate science. At the time of his death, he was the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute. His most recent work centered on communicating the possible risks, vulnerabilities and impacts of climate change to ensure that leaders were sufficiently informed to apply smart risk management strategies in climate-policy decision-making. Schneider founded the interdisciplinary journal Climatic Change and continued to serve as its editor-in-chief until his death. He consulted with federal agencies and/or White House staff in every U.S. presidential administration since the Nixon era. He was a co-author of the first four assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.