GLOBAL ECO WATCH – Eye on the Planet
What Would You do to Save the Planet?
Offered by Alexander Gunler
When we talk about “the environment,” we are using a very simple term to describe concepts that are so much more complex. The air we breathe, the vast oceans that cover over 70 percent of our planet, the flora and fauna that inhabit each one of the earth’s biomes and ecosystems … all of these natural wonders must maintain a very specific equilibrium to flourish.
Starting with the dawn of the industrial revolution, human intervention has posed many challenges to these natural balances, resulting in an elevated number of environmental concerns we face today. With the Great Pacific Garbage Patch menacing the ocean, the Earth’s surface temperature expected to rise, and the planet constantly experiencing devastating, extreme weather, it’s time to ask ourselves: What are we doing to help? Continue reading
‘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
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
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
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.
from Carnegie Science / Global Ecology
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 —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 »
“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.
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
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.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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.
~ 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
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