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GLOBAL ECO WATCH – Eye on the Planet

‘Major shift’: Nations face bottom-up pressure to act on climate change

On Friday, former US vice president Al Gore declared the Global Climate Action Summit a “success”Realistically, we won’t know if it has achieved its purpose until this time next year, when countries have been invited to New York to offer new, upgraded promises to cut carbon.

The summit was slickly designed to capture the climate effort happening at the levels below national governments across the world (and especially in the US) and create an sense of optimism and momentum. And there were some genuinely enormous commitments made.

But more important than those commitments is the fact we have entered into a new phase of the response against climate change, in which nations no longer rule and they face coordinated pressure to move from below.  Continue reading

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180 mayors see the light, commit to solar

in Environment North Carolina

Mayor Vi Lyles of Charlotte is one of more than 180 mayors from across the country who are embracing clean energy from the sun.

What do the Democratic mayor of Berkeley, Calif., and the Republican mayor of Abita Springs, La., have in common? They’re among the 180 mayors who, upon our urging, resolved to make solar energy a key element of their communities’ energy plans.  Continue reading

from CLIMATE HOME NEWS  

It started with the Pope lecturing oil executives on the inescapable logic of unburnable carbon while Donald Trump faced off against fellow rich country leaders at a G7 summit. Then…

The EU upped its ambition on renewable energy, with a boost from new governments in Italy and Spain. Energy efficiency targets and the enforcement plan for next decade are still under negotiation.

We examined the Indian power ministry’s bullish projections the country could blaze past its renewables target of 175GW by 2022, hitting up to 227GW. Some have reported this as a new increased target, but it looks like more of a scenario, contingent on demand growth.

The World Bank hinted it will pull the plug on Kosovo C, the last coal plant on its books. It also reported a 28% jump in climate finance invested by the big six development banks last year – although 81% of that came as loans, which many argue should not count. Continue reading

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Dusty rainfall records reveal new understanding of Earth’s long-term climate

Date:May 24, 2018Source:University of ArizonaSummary:Ancient rainfall records stretching 550,000 years into the past may upend scientists’ understanding of what controls the Asian summer monsoon and other aspects of the Earth’s long-term climate. Milankovitch theory says solar heating of the northernmost part of the globe drives the world’s climate swings between ice ages and warmer periods. The new work turns Milankovitch in its head by suggesting climate is driven by differential heating of the Earth’s tropical and subtropical regions. 

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Incomplete drought recovery may be the new normal

from Carnegie Science / Global Ecology

The amount of time it takes for an ecosystem to recover from a drought is an important measure of a drought’s severity. During the 20th century, the total area of land affected by drought increased, and longer recovery times became more common, according to new research published by Nature by a group of scientists including Carnegie’s Anna Michalak and Yuanyuan Fang. Scientists predict that more-severe droughts will occur with greater frequency in the 21st century, so understanding how ecosystems return to normal again will be crucial to preparing for the future. However, the factors that influence drought recovery have been largely unknown until now.. more »

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China, India Lead Global Solar Power Expansion

 
India and China are driving a rapid global expansion in large-scale, solar power developments as the cost of building new projects falls, according to an analysis by Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

“Solar energy is taking an increasingly prominent role in driving the ongoing transformation of global electricity generation markets alongside gains in storage, wind, hydroelectricity and energy efficiency,” IEEFA said in a report.

 
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Environment North Carolina is knocking on doors in the Triangle to take on the waste that’s killing our wildlife

Raleigh, North Carolina — Environment North Carolina is deploying hundreds of door-knockers this summer in the Triangle to help educate North Carolinians about the plastic waste that is killing our wildlife.

“Nothing that we use for a couple of minutes should pollute our waterways and ocean for centuries,” said Drew Ball, director of Environment North Carolina.

Polystyrene — the stuff we call styrofoam — is one of the worst kinds of plastic waste, often used for cups and food containers. Americans throw away an estimated 70 million polystyrene cups every day. About a third of that plastic waste ends up in our rivers, lakes and oceans.  Continue reading

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Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America
from Environment North Carolina

Solar power is expanding rapidly. The United States now has over 53 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed – enough to power 10.1 million homes and 26 times as much capacity as was installed at the end of 2010.[1]Hundreds of thousands of Americans have invested in solar energy and millions more are ready to join them.

America’s major cities have played a key role in the clean energy revolution and stand to reap tremendous benefits from solar energy. As population centers, they are major sources of electricity demand and, with millions of rooftops suitable for solar panels, they have the potential to be major sources of clean energy as well.  Continue reading

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New York City sues Shell, ExxonMobil and other oil companies over climate change

The New York City government is suing the world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies, seeking to hold them responsible for present and future damage to the city from climate change. The suit, filed Tuesday against BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, claims the companies together produced 11 percent of all of global-warming gases through the oil and gas products they have sold over the years. Continue reading

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Great News! We won the crucial first round to stop the Trump administration’s plan to bail out nuclear power and coal. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously rejected Trump’s proposal to waste billions of our dollars on dirty energy companies. This is another stunning defeat for Trump’s backwards energy agenda. After taking an extra 28 days to consider the evidence – and the mountain of public comments – FERC determined that the closure of nuclear and coal power plants is not a threat to our electricity system and there is no “just and reasonable” basis for upending decades of energy policies just to prop up dirty energy companies. Continue reading

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~ Climate Activists’ Road Map

Now more than ever, it’s important that we all be climate activists – doing everything we possibly can that will force positive change. You’ve made the first step by coming here, now let us show you the rest of the way. 

BECOMING AN ACTIVIST IS ABOUT FINDING YOUR BIGGEST LEVER FOR CHANGE. WHAT’S YOURS?

Think about it:

  • Do you own a business?
  • Do you work at a company that could change its practices?
  • Do you have a large social media following?
  • Are you a writer? Scientist? Both?                     Continue reading
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~New Staffing Report Highlights Continued Growth in Campus Sustainability Positions
Median salaries increased across virtually all position types 
(September 5, 2017) – The results of a 2017 survey of higher education sustainability staff indicate that campus sustainability positions continue to grow and evolve. The 2017 Salaries & Status of Sustainability Staff in Higher Education report examines the nature of sustainability positions at colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and other countries. This report provides insights into salaries, funding, supervision, job satisfaction, challenges, and more.

Notable findings from the 2017 report include:

  • Incremental increase in median salaries overall (5%) and across virtually all position types
  • Increase in rate of benefits for both full time and part-time employees from 2015 to 2017
  • Increase in institutions reporting at least one office, center, or institute with “sustainability” in it’s name (76 percent in 2017 versus 71% in 2015)  Continue reading 
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Staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead.

A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, show that the incoming Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.   

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 ~ RENEWABLES AT THE HEART OF G20 HAMBURG ENERGY ACTION PLAN    Leaders of the world’s biggest economies envision renewables’ key role in economic growth. The world’s commitment to a renewable energy powered future strengthened this month as leaders of the G20 — a bloc of the 20 world’s most powerful economies — revealed a Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth, placing sustainable renewables at the centre of efforts to rejuvenate the global economy and address climate change.
 
Guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, the G20 plan shares the understanding that the energy system is the backbone of economies and that diverse energy systems rely on affordable, secure and sustainable energy sources and clean technologies like renewables.
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~ A first in British history: solar, wind, and nuclear each provided more energy than gas and coal combined 

 The UK National Grid said that this happened around 1 pm on Wednesday, the 7th of June. Wind provided an estimated 9.5 gigawatts, nuclear produced, 8.2 gigawatts, while solar contributed 7.3 gigawatts, compared to the 7.2 gigawatts from gas. There was no electricity from coal at that time — it was completely stopped due to the surge of renewable energy. Renewables also reached another milestone, generating 18.7 gigawatts at the same time. This represented more than half of the electricity contribution at the time, powering 13.5 million of the 25 million homes in the UK.
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There is nothing out here to highlight the scale of these machines. A blue-grey sky hangs behind the enormous structures; the boat we are on, 4 miles (7km) offshore from Liverpool, bobs excitedly up and down on the swell of the sea. We’ve come to the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm to see an engineering marvel: the largest wind turbines in the world.

When one of the turbine’s blades swings to its highest point, it reaches 195m (640ft) – making these structures nearly twice as tall as Big Ben. The diameter of the turbines’ three colossal blades is greater than that of the London Eye. As the huge wings sail by, cutting the air, they make a gentle swooshing sound.

The very first offshore wind farm was a Danish project. But Britain now leads the world. The largest offshore wind farm on Earth is the UK’s London Array, a massive site of 175 turbines in the outer Thames estuary. Up to 5.2GW of electricity are provided by the country’s offshore turbines – almost as much as the rest of Europe’s sea-based wind farms put together, with more than two-thirds of continental Europe’s capacity. Beyond Europe, the rest of the world’s offshore wind totals just a few gigawatts.

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The First Offshore Wind Farm in the U.S. Just Shut Down a Diesel Plant
Diesel-Darkened Skies – This May, the 2,000 residents of Block Island, Rhode Island are making a fresh start when it comes to powering their lives. As of May 1, Block Island is the first location in the U.S. to be powered by an offshore wind farm — a wind farm that has eliminated the need for a diesel plant that was burning about one million gallons of dirty diesel fuel annually. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), diesel produces more carbon emissions than every other fossil fuel except for fuel oil.   The Block Island Wind Farm     Image Credit: Deepwater Wind

 

For the most part of April 30, about 85% of Germany’s consumed electricity came from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric. According to a spokesman from the Agora Energiewende Initiative, a fortunate mix of sunny weather and strong winds in the south and north of the country, respectively, made this year’s Labour Day celebration even more eventful.

“Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday, April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country,” Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative said in a statement. “Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced.”  Continue reading

~  At least 2016 was amazing for solar — 95% more solar power capacity came online than in the previous year. Almost 15GW
Last year was sure both memorable and miserable for a lot of folks but that’s not to say it was devoid of positive milestones. Surpassing even the most optimistic expectations, the United States installed 95% more solar power in 2016 than in the previous year, according to the latest market report released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
 
What’s remarkable is that 2015 was itself a record-breaking year seeing 7.5 gigawatts (GW) of new solar coming online, which was 17% more than in 2014. But 2016 simply blew all expectations with 14,6 GW of new solar power or almost double than in the previous year. This momentum won’t stop too soon judging from the quarter to quarter progress registered in 2016. As ZME reported earlier, 4,143 MW of solar PV were installed in the U.S. during Q3’16, marking a 99% increase over Q2’16 and a 191% rise over Q3’15. One megawatt of photovoltaic power came online every 34 minutes in Q3’2016, which is enough to power 164 American homes on average. 
 
~ Environmental Science Degree.com
Climate change has become the focus of a great deal of scientific scrutiny in recent years, and it has become apparent that increasingly erratic weather patterns, extinction of many species, and other significant global-scale events are directly correlated with climate change. To understand the short and long term causes and effects of global climate change, it is important to look at the past, as paleoclimatologists do, as well as the present conditions that influence the climate, including greenhouse gases, natural and anthropogenic changes in landscapes, and even the temperature and acidity of polar ice and the world’s oceans. Understanding and adapting to climate change is a massive, interdisciplinary undertaking, and the sites listed here have lots of information from every possible angle. Continue reading
 
~ Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen to a 120-year low

Last year, the UK emitted 381 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to an analysis by Carbon Brief. The last time the country spewed less of the greenhouse gas was way back in 1894. (Industrial strikes in 1921 and 1926 also resulted in lower emissions, but for unintended reasons.)  Continue reading

~ The Irish Parliament voted to go Fossil Fuel Free 

While the United States has put a climate change denier in charge of the country, elsewhere across the ocean leaders are acting responsibly. With a majority vote, a bill that will enable Ireland to divest all of its sovereign wealth fund away from oil, gas, and coal, was passed in the Irish parliament. The fund is worth more than 8 billion euros. All that now stands before the bill’s final approval is the committee stage, which according to Trócaire and Fossil Free Europe should pose no problem since almost all major political parties support it, except the Fine Gael political party.

“The Irish political system is now finally acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people already know: that to have a fighting chance to combat catastrophic climate change we must phase out fossil fuels and stop the growth of the industry that is driving this crisis, said Éamonn Meehan, the Trócaire Executive Director, an Irish charity striving to overcome the challenges of poverty and injustice.”

Once the bill passes, Ireland will officially become the first country to divest from fossil fuels. Norway also divested its sovereign wealth fund away from coal, which is worth $900 million, but the country still has financial assets tied to oil.

 Such remarkable leadership will likely inspire other countries to follow suit just as how the divestment movement, which first appeared in 2011 with modest supporters, has now grown into a genuine phenomenon. Many big companies, NGOs, cults, and municipalities have divested away from stocks and bonds tied to fossil fuels. As of December, 2015, a staggering $3.4 trillion has been divested away from fossil.

“The support of a majority in the Dáil for this bill is an incredibly important moment for the climate justice movement in Ireland and will inspire other countries to follow our lead,” Meehan said.

On Sunday, May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. Thanks to a sunny and windy day, at one point around 1pm the country’s solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%. Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity.

A group of youngsters just won a major decision in their efforts to sue the federal government over climate change. An Oregon judge ruled Friday that their lawsuit, which alleges the government violated the constitutional rights of the next generation by allowing the pollution that has caused climate change, can go forward.

This is how you install the most powerful wind turbine in the world  Fascinating!

Iran’s renewable energy market blinks at investors    I was hoping the Middle East would do this!!! Can you imagine keeping all that oil in the ground and covering the desert with solar panels? They can export energy in another form and help everybody.

  ~ Mapping how the United States generates its electricity –  Coal and natural gas are the most common sources for electricity in the country, but coal represents a declining share. The new Clean Power Plan seeks to accelerate that trend by requiring power plants to cut carbon pollution levels and rewarding states and companies that embrace clean sources of energy. Story: White House set to adopt sweeping curbs on carbon pollution

~ A Stunning Scale Model of Our Solar System, Drawn in the Desert  AMAZING!

14 Mind Blowing International Borders From Around the World     Borders – we have them everywhere, because we want to divide things up. But not all countries are alike, and not all borders are alike. Some are plain, even boring, some are difficult to pass through, while others you might not even see. Borders often highlight the relationship and differences between different countries, and here are some of the most spectacular and revealing ones.

~London has reached its yearly NO2 pollution lim  it in just 8 days, and it’s being sued     At 7AM local time last Friday, London officially breached the pollution limits set by the European Union for the entirety of 2016. It’s the fifth year in a row London has grossly surpassed its allowed limit for toxic nitrogen-dioxide gas (NO2) pollution. This is not just bad news for the environment, but also for its citizens. Regularly inhaling NO2 (which mostly comes from diesel fuels) has been linked to heart and respiratory problems.  According to to a report by King’s College London for the local mayor’s office, it killed 5900 people in 2010 alone.

 

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SheVille Team

We are a one-of-a-kind magazine that provides local, regional, national and international information about women’s lives and education, performing and visual arts and writing, the environment, green living and sustainability and regional Western North Carolina business, people and events. “Villages preserve culture: dress, food and dance are a few examples. As villages grow in population and turn into towns, local cafes make way for large American chains. Handmade leather sandals are discarded for a pair of Western sneakers. Due to its small size, a village fosters a tight-knit sense of community. Justpeace.org explains the meaning of the African proverb, “It takes a village,” by stating that a sense of community is critical to maintaining a healthy society. Village members hold a wealth of information regarding their heritage: they know about the ancient traditions, methods of production and the resources of the land. When villages become dispersed or exterminated in times of war, this anthropological knowledge disappears. Large cities are not as conducive to growing and producing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Villages, on the other hand, usually have ample amounts of land and other resources necessary for growing conditions.” The Importance of Villages by Catherine Capozzi Our Mission SheVille.org provides readers with information important to women’s lives and well-being. We focus primarily on the areas of education & health, business & finance, the arts & the environment. We are particularly interested in local & regional resources, organizations & events.

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