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Experts discuss cruise industry development

Thu, 2014-10-16 05:26
The 9th China Cruise Shipping Forum, co-hosted by the China National Tourism Administration, the Tianjin Municipal People's Government and the China Communications and Transportation Association, opened on Oct 15 at the Exhibition Center in Tianjin's Binhai New Area.

Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change

Mon, 2014-10-13 14:42
The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages.

Dot Earth Blog: The Long Bright Path to the Nobel Prize for LED Lighting

Tue, 2014-10-07 23:01
A Nobel Prize for the breakthrough behind the LED light bulb honors a long lineage of inquiry.

A Gulf in Ocean Knowledge

Mon, 2014-10-06 18:14
Scientists have probably underestimated warming since the 1970s, a study says. That could affect some climate change measures.

Green energy in Canada: Nice try, shame about the price

Fri, 2014-10-03 13:59
UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Green energy in Canada Rubric:  Although Saskatchewan’s new carbon-capture facility is a good start, the technology behind the project is still uneconomic Location:  OTTAWA Main image:  20141004_wbp506_473.jpg CANADA’S prairie province of Saskatchewan rarely hits the world's news headlines. But on October 2nd it attracted global attention by powering up an ageing coal-fired power plant that had been retrofitted to capture 1m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. The basic technology is not new. However, it has never been used on an existing power station at a commercial scale before. Doing just this at Boundary Dam, near to Canada's border with North Dakota, is a “historic milestone on the path to a low-carbon future,” said Maria van der Hoeven at the International Energy Agency. It is also proof, she argued, that the technology is no longer science fiction. Capturing the carbon dioxide belching from the world’s 2,300 coal-fired power plants is much ...

Dot Earth Blog: Staying Upbeat and Engaged in a Turbulent, Complicated Climate

Thu, 2014-10-02 17:38
Seven climate-focused people explain how they sustain their energy and enthusiasm.

Humanity must stop building new and phase out existing coal power plants

Sun, 2014-09-28 12:49

The UN Climate Summit on September 24, 2014 has once again underlined the threat of global warming and climate change for future generations but stopped short of responses to what constitutes the overriding challenge for Humanity.

A mobilisation event is not enough, even if the thousands of people that flocked the streets in USA and Europe have been impressive.

Action is required; and it must come urgently and be effective. Bottom-up approaches by cities, regions or corporations are welcome but too tiny to have a global impact.

To keep the planet temperature from rising beyond the critical two centigrade humanity must reduce C02 emissions between 40 and 70% until the middle of the century, which only the EU has pledged to do so far, with its 80-95 reduction target.

In order to be successful the international community must focus on the major countries and sources accounting for the high and rising level of C02 emissions:

  • China, USA, EU, India, Japan, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, Canada and Australia are jointly responsible for more than three quarters of total emissions. Without them joining the efforts there will be no effective action and no way to prevent havoc: USA, EU, Japan, Russia, Korea, Canada and Australia will, of course, have to deliver much more than emerging countries.
  • Fossil energies are the main sources driving climate change accounting for roughly 80% of the global C02 output.

Humanity has become fossil-addicted; very few people can imagine 9-11 billion human beings doing without fossil energies by 2050-2100.

Coal being by far the worst polluter the international community should in a first step agree on a halt of new coal-fired power plants and a phasing out existing ones by 2050.

To that end, the December 2015 Paris climate conference should agree to:

  • prohibit the construction of coal-fired power plants that are not equipped with CCS as of 2020;
  • withdraw annually at least 5% of non -CCS coal-fired power plant capacity;.

The USA has started the process of replacing coal by shale gas which emits only half as much C02 as coal-fired power plants. Between 2012-16 it plans to retire 60 GW of the total capacity of 310 GW.

The EU is sending mixed signals.

On the one hand, major coal countries like Poland and Germany continue expanding lignite/coal fired power.

On the other ,UK is preparing to build a 450 MW demonstration plant that will capture 90% of its C02 emissions and store them in deep North Sea waters. UK aims to phase out its coal-fired power and become one of the world leaders in carbon capture and storage technology, a strategy for which it deserves praise.

Politically, it will be anything but easy to conclude an international agreement to stop commissioning new and phase out existing coal-fired power plants.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) should be the way to overcome the understandable resistance, in particular from emerging countries like India that have hardly contributed to global climate change so far.

It is therefore urgent to build demonstrations plants like the UK is doing.

In parallel, utilities should invest in power plants operating on shale gas, LNG, wind/solar and biogas as alternatives to lignite/coal.

The first step is for the EU to take: it must urgently freeze and start phasing out its lignite/coal-fired power capacity.

This would constitute a strong gesture to the international community.

Eberhard Rhein, Brussels, 20/9/2014

Aviation industry makes commitment on climate action

Sun, 2014-09-28 11:36

In support of the United Nations Climate Summit and in keeping with its longstanding goals of sustainable growth, the aviation industry joined other business and government groups in making a commitment on climate action. The commitment is between the UN agency ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the Air Transport Action Group, which represents the aviation sector.

Through this commitment, aviation is pledging to “a pathway of sustainable growth encompassing all areas of the commercial industry and governments working in partnership.” It is building on a record of action, as an industry and with ICAO — for example, the historic agreement at the 2013 ICAO Assembly on creating a global, market-based mechanism to limit carbon emissions.

The partnership will also focus on developing sustainable aviation biofuels, deploying new and energy-efficient technology, modernising air traffic control to minimize climate impacts, developing a common carbon emissions standard for new aircraft, and building aviation sustainability capacity in ICAO member states around the world.

The commitment includes Airports Council International, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, the International Air Transport Association, the International Coordinating Council for Aerospace Industries Associations, and the International Business Aviation Council — representing all the stakeholders in the aviation industry, including airports, airlines, air traffic control, and aerospace firms.

“Today’s announcement builds on the collaborative action taking place across the commercial aviation sector. It is impressive to see all parts of the industry working with each other, and with partners in research, government and other sectors to deliver the climate actions we have committed to as an industry,” says ATAG Executive Director Michael GIll. “Aviation is a force for good in the world, supporting economies, fostering tourism and allowing global cultural exchange. We believe that we can continue to deliver these benefits to the world whilst also addressing our climate impacts.”

Dot Earth Blog: Certainties, Uncertainties and Choices with Global Warming

Fri, 2014-09-26 11:07
We can be certain about climate change uncertainty but still address the risk.

China pins high hopes on reaching global climate deal in 2015

Tue, 2014-09-23 20:55
China pins high hopes on a new global climate change pact to be reached late next year, said China's chief climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua Tuesday.

Dot Earth Blog: U.N. Climate Summit Harvests a Host of Commitments

Tue, 2014-09-23 20:53
The U.N. Secretary General builds public and private commitments that could slow global warming and blunt its impacts.

China reaffirms resolve to fight climate change

Tue, 2014-09-23 17:55
China on Tuesday reiterated its resolve to fight climate change, pledging to help boost South-South cooperation in dealing with the global threat.

China to announce post-2020 climate actions asap: VP

Tue, 2014-09-23 15:54
China will announce its post-2020 actions on climate change as soon as possible, which will lead to "marked progress" in reducing carbon intensity.

On the Environment: Flooding Risk From Climate Change, Country by Country

Tue, 2014-09-23 15:41
A new analysis of sea levels and flood risk around the world offers more evidence that the brunt of climate change will not be borne equally.

Chinese vice premier calls for stronger China-EU climate cooperation

Tue, 2014-09-23 14:54
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here Tuesday that Beijing stands ready to work with the European Union (EU) to turn bilateral cooperation on climate change into a bight spot in their partnership.

Chinese vice premier meets Netherlands' PM on climate co-op, ties

Tue, 2014-09-23 14:54
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here Tuesday that Beijing is ready to strengthen cooperation with the Netherlands on climate change and further advance bilateral ties.

Obama, at U.N. Climate Summit, Calls for Vast International Effort

Tue, 2014-09-23 14:48
The president said the United States was “stepping up to the plate” but warned that its efforts would fail without global cooperation.

China pledges $6m to support South-South climate co-op efforts

Mon, 2014-09-22 19:50
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said Monday that Beijing will offer $6 million to support UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in promoting South-South cooperation on climate change.

The Economist explains: Why climate change is back on the agenda

Mon, 2014-09-22 19:50
ON SEPTEMBER 21st Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, joined thousands of people on a march through the streets of New York to demand more action on climate change. Organisers of the march claimed that there were related events in 161 countries. The targets of these global admonitions were more than 100 heads of state and government who will attend a UN summit Mr Ban has convened on September 23rd. The march and the summit come after several years in which climate change has slipped down the international agenda. Why the burst of interest?Since 2009, when the states that are party to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) spectacularly failed to forge the grand deal that some had hoped for at a summit in Copenhagen, the appetite for climate discussions at the highest levels has been scant. This can be put down in part to an unwillingness to repeat the unhappiness of Copenhagen and in part to what sociologists refer to as the “finite pool of worry”­: both politicians and voters have had other things on their minds, from the Arab spring to the euro crisis. The fact that the climate has not been getting noticeably worse over the period probably hasn’t helped.The main reason for the renewed interest is that, six years on from Copenhagen, the UNFCCC is planning to try again to agree a grand bargain when its members meet in Paris towards the end of next ...

By Degrees: Shining Star Power on a Crucial Subject

Mon, 2014-09-22 19:10
“Years of Living Dangerously,” an Emmy-winning documentary series about climate change that ran on Showtime this summer, is now available on streaming services and on DVD.