Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oceans and Pollution

RPT-US asks UN to help cut ship emissions near coasts 30 Mar 2009 21:19:52 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Fixes typo in first paragraph)

By Timothy Gardner
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner, editing by Marguerita Choy)

NEWARK, N.J., March 30 (Reuters) - The United States has asked the United Nation's International Maritime Organization to create a buffer zone around America's coastline to cut pollution from ocean-going ships that harms human health, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday.
The EPA estimates the plan would save up to 8,300 lives annually in the United States and Canada by 2020. Urban neighborhoods that surround ports, like the hubs of Newark, New Jersey and Los Angeles, have typically suffered the worst health problems, such as asthma and cancer, from the pollutants, according to EPA studies. Some 40 U.S. ports currently fail to meet federal air pollution standards."

But there doesn’t have to be any pollution to control. For more information, see www.terrahumanafoundation.org.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Personal Carbon Footprint Worries Unnecessary

"http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/Carbon: How much is enough?
Richard Black 18:49 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

On my last entry, TandF1 posted a comment about a subject I've been planning to write about for a while - so what better time than now to delve into it? The issue is this: how much carbon dioxide should each person on Earth be "allowed" to emit?
Put another way: if emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are to be limited, at some target date, to a figure that science suggests can stave off "dangerous" climate change, then how does that figure break down at the personal level, when shared out among the world's citizens?""

With no-emissions energy, individuals would not have a carbon footprint to worry about. Yes, it's possible--just cf. www.campaignforgreen.com.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Agriculture, Emissions, and Green Energy

According to an article on Reuters, future farmers will have to raise livestock and plants that put out less methane and nitrous oxide, respectively, and send in greenhouse gas emission reports to the government (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SP410451.htmFarmers face growing climate change dilemma-scientist 26 Mar 2009 10:54:46 GMT By David Fogarty, Climate Change Correspondent, Asia; Editing by Valerie Lee).
Efforts are being made in Australia to breed livestock that produce less methane and plants that produce less nitrous oxide, because methane "is about 20 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide" and nitrous oxide is "about 310 times more powerful than CO2" (ibid).
But what if the only emissions anyone had to contend with were those from agriculture because there were no emissions from vehicles, factories, or power plants? It's possible. Cf. www.campaignforgreen.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Specific Solution

Apparently the recent climate change conference in Copenhagen did not yield any specific solutions. Here's a link to something specific: www.campaignforgreen.com.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Global Water Shortage and Alternative Energy

According to the World Water Development Report as discussed in the 12 March 2009 Globe and Mail, the global water shortage is worsening (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090311.wwater0312/BNStory/International/home). Causes include pollution, climate change, population growth, and changes in eating habits and resulting agricultural needs (ibid). Besides hurting food supplies, the water shortage also stunts economic growth, and could aggravate political instability in countries and regions already in conflict (ibid). There are some areas that do not have clean water or efficient sanitation (ibid).

One thing unmentioned in the article is the amount of water used by power plants. There is a way to produce clean, emissions-free energy without using water. If water wasn’t needed for energy production, there would be much more for agriculture and other needs. This clean, emission-free energy production will drastically cut pollution levels, improving the climate and the water. This production will also be used to clean water in still-polluted areas, and get clean water to areas that needed it for the basic necessities of living, agricultural production, and manufacturing. For more information, please see www.campaignforgreen.com.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Global Warming Quickens Pace

According to scientists reporting at the meeting in Copenhagen, global warming is happening faster than they thought, and the changes could be irreversible (Earth warming faster than thought By Matt McGrath BBC environment reporter, http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr//2/hi/science/nature/7940532.stm, Published: 2009/03/12 19:17:14 GMT, © BBC MMIX).
This could bring on a loss of 75% Amazonian tree cover within a century, and sea level rise that will make areas uninhabitable and cause mass migrations of millions of people (ibid). "Within a century" sounds far away, but if we continue to use fossil fuels at this rate, without changing to an alternative energy, the pace of global warming could quicken, increasing the risks. Don't we want to be the generation that helps halt global warming? We can do it. For more information about emissions-free energy, please see www.terrahumanafoundation.org.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

International Government Response to Climate Change and How We Can Help

BBC online news http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/
"A whale of a week for climate
Richard Black 9 Mar 09, 15:12 GMT
Two of my five picks of environment stories to watch this year may have significant new chapters written this week - and the new US administration of Barack Obama is a key player in both.

In Copenhagen, climate scientists, economists and policy makers will be meeting for a three-day conference that will share some of the latest thinking on the likely impacts of climate change, how the natural world is already being influenced, the costs and benefits of various types of action to mitigate it and adapt to it, and so on.
The Copenhagen meeting is an important one. It will be the final major global attempt to weave the various strands of climate research together before the annual UN summit, in the same city, in December, which is supposed to formulate a new global climate treaty - bigger, longer-lasting and more profound than the Kyoto Protocol.

The proper global body for this, of course, is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but that produces major assessments only every five years or so, and they are by definition somewhat out of date because of the organisation's lengthy collation and review processes.

So the Danish government thinks there's a need for something a bit sharper off the mark, yet still authoritative - hence this week's meeting.

Prominent on the agenda are some of the big unknowns. By how much are sea levels likely to rise (an issue on which the IPCC was, by its own admission, cautious in its 2007 assessment)? Are natural "sinks" such as forests and oceans absorbing less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as some recent studies suggest? Can practices in agriculture or forestry be modified so more CO2 is absorbed?

On the economics side, there will be discussion of what various plans for curbing emissions might cost the global economy, and which economic tools would be the best ones to deploy.

The scientific conclusions will all still be couched in the language of probabilities, but the political dignitaries, such as Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, are likely to use more concrete terms when they outline the implications.

Whatever the demands are for "action now", the conference is unlikely to change the underlying political realities.

Many Kyoto adherents are some way off meeting even their protocol targets [174Kb PDF] for reducing emissions and in difficult economic times, it will be hard for industrialised countries to make the financial contributions that the developing world is likely to demand as the price of a new global agreement.

So many eyes will again turn to Barack Obama and his pledge to lead the world anew on climate change.

But given that US emissions have risen by about one-sixth since 1990 - the baseline year for all these calculations - his administration will struggle to pledge carbon cuts by 2020 that look huge in the context of scientists' and activists' demands for immediate and drastic reductions.

There was talk a couple of months ago that one of Mr Obama's senior energy or environment people - or even the president himself - might pitch up in Copenhagen, though that now seems to be off the agenda, which will presumably save them being asked lots of questions about a US climate policy that has not yet been formulated. ""

People need to get organized. Things need to change. And the change can be made. And made sooner than the meeting next December. We can do this. To find out how, please see www.campaignforgreen.com.

Just Now?

The EPA is just now requiring companies to report the amount of their greenhouse gas emissions. Just now? Strange.
(EPA looks to require reporting of greenhouse gases, Tuesday March 10, 12:15 pm ET, By Dina Cappiello, Associated Press Writer, http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/090310/epa_greenhouse_gases.html)

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Amazon Rainforest and Carbon Emissions

The Independent
Revenge of the rainforest
The Amazon has long been the lungs of the world. But now comes dramatic evidence that we cannot rely on it in the fight against climate change
By Steve Connor
Friday, 6 March 2009
It covers an area 25 times bigger than Britain, is home to a bewildering concentration of flora and fauna and is often described as the "lungs of the world" for its ability to absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide through its immense photosynthetic network of trees and leaves.

The Amazon rainforest is one of the biggest and most important living stores of carbon on the planet through its ability to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into solid carbon, kept locked in the trunks of rainforest trees for centuries.

But this massive natural "sink" for carbon cannot be relied on to continue absorbing carbon dioxide in perpetuity, a study shows. Researchers have found that, for a period in 2005, the Amazon rainforest actually slipped into reverse gear and started to emit more carbon than it absorbed.

Four years ago, a sudden and intense drought in the Amazonian dry season created the sort of conditions that give climate scientists nightmares. Instead of being a net absorber of about two billion tons of carbon dioxide, the forest became a net producer of the greenhouse gas, to the tune of about three billion tons.

The additional quantity of carbon dioxide left in the atmosphere after the drought – some five billion tons – exceeded the annual man-made emissions of Europe and Japan combined. What happened in the dry season of 2005 was a stark reminder of how quickly the factors affecting global warming can change.

"For years, the Amazon forest has been helping to slow down climate change," said Professor Oliver Phillips, from the University of Leeds and the lead author of the study in the journal Science. "But relying on this subsidy from nature is extremely dangerous. The emission of five billion tons of carbon dioxide was huge. It meant that a major part of the biosphere had switched from one function to another, from a carbon sink to a carbon source.

"It shows what could happen if droughts become more frequent, and climate models suggest that Amazonia will get warmer and so put more water stress on vegetation. If the Earth's carbon sinks slow or go into reverse, as our results show is possible, carbon dioxide levels will rise even faster. Deeper cuts in emissions will be required to stabilise our climate."
Humans worldwide are estimated emit about 32 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year but just less than half of this, about 15 billion tons, remains in the atmosphere. The rest is absorbed by natural carbon sinks in the ocean and on land.

Scientists have calculated that the world's tropical forests collectively absorb about 4.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year, with the Amazon being the single biggest rainforest sink. Amazonia alone is estimated to store about 100 billion tons of carbon locked up in its trees.

This is why the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen later this year will focus heavily on what can be done to save rainforests to ameliorate the effects of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide.
The Amazon: Facts and figures

* The Amazon rainforest covers an area of some 600 million hectares (2.3 million sq miles), an area of land 25 times bigger than Britain. It is the biggest rainforest on Earth, responsible for about 40 per cent of the world's rainforest absorption of carbon dioxide.

* Scientists estimate that there are at least 100 billion tons of carbon stored in the trees of the Amazon rainforest and each year the Amazon absorbs about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

* During the extreme drought of 2005, the Amazon became a net producer of carbon dioxide, releasing an estimated 3 billion tons of the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere – a net increase of 5 billion tons."

When what works essentially as a sponge starts producing what it usually soaks up, we're overdoing it. But we can do something about it: change to emission-free energy. We'll save the rainforest, and the planet. For more information, please see www.campaignforgreen.com.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Global Warming

"Next decade 'may see no warming'
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
The Earth's temperature may stay roughly the same for a decade, as natural climate cycles enter a cooling phase, scientists have predicted.
A new computer model developed by German researchers, reported in the journal Nature, suggests the cooling will counter greenhouse warming.
However, temperatures will again be rising quickly by about 2020, they say.
Other climate scientists have welcomed the research, saying it may help societies plan better for the future.
"We've always known that the climate varies naturally from year to year and decade to decade," said Richard Wood from the UK's Hadley Centre, who reviewed the new research for Nature.
"We expect man-made global warming to be superimposed on those natural variations; and this kind of research is important to make sure we don't get distracted from the longer term changes that will happen in the climate (as a result of greenhouse gas emissions)."
Dr Wood cautions that this kind of modelling is in its infancy; and once data can be brought directly from the Atlantic depths, that may change the view of how the AMO works and what it means for the global climate.
As with the unusually cold weather seen recently in much of the northern hemisphere - linked to La Nina conditions - he emphasises that even if the Kiel model proves correct, it is not an indication that the longer-term climate projections of the IPCC and many other institutions are wrong.
Michael Schlesinger, the US scientist who characterised the AMO in 1994, described the new model as "very exciting".
"No doubt we need to have more data from the deep ocean, and we don't have that at present," the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher told BBC News.
"But imagine the payoff of knowing with some certainty what the next 10 years hold in terms of temperature and precipitation - the economic impacts of that would be significant." "
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/05/01 03:11:00 GMT

But what if there was an emission-free alternative energy? There would be no emisssions to contribute to global warming, and any slowdown in global warming would be accelerated. For more information, please see www.terrahumanafoundation.org.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Climate Treaties and Emissions-Free Energy

"Obama’s Backing Raises Hopes for Climate Pact
Published: February 28, 2009
Until recently, the idea that the world’s most powerful nations might come together to tackle global warming seemed an environmentalist’s pipe dream.

The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, was widely viewed as badly flawed. Many countries that signed the accord lagged far behind their targets in curbing carbon dioxide emissions. The United States refused even to ratify it. And the treaty gave a pass to major emitters in the developing world like China and India.

But within weeks of taking office, President Obama has radically shifted the global equation, placing the United States at the forefront of the international climate effort and raising hopes that an effective international accord might be possible. Mr. Obama’s chief climate negotiator, Todd Stern, said last week that the United States would be involved in the negotiation of a new treaty — to be signed in Copenhagen in December — “in a robust way.”

That treaty, officials and climate experts involved in the negotiations say, will significantly differ from the agreement of a decade ago, reaching beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions and including financial mechanisms and making good on longstanding promises to provide money and technical assistance to help developing countries cope with climate change.

The perception that the United States is now serious has set off a flurry of diplomacy around the globe. “The lesson of Kyoto is that if the U.S. isn’t taking it seriously there is no reason for anyone else to,” said Bill McKibben, who runs the environmental organization http://www.350.org/.
But a global treaty still faces serious challenges in Washington and abroad, and the negotiations will be a test of how far the United States and other nations are prepared to go to address climate change at a moment when economies around the world are unspooling. The global recession itself is expected to result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as manufacturing and other polluting industries shrink, lessening the pressure on countries to take action.
The Obama administration has said that it will push through federal legislation this year to curb carbon dioxide emissions in the United States — a promise that Mr. Obama reiterated Tuesday in his speech to Congress.
Negotiating the treaty when countries are under extreme economic stress presents challenges, Mr. de Boer acknowledged. Politicians in Italy and Canada have complained that it will be difficult to clean up industries to meet their Kyoto goals because of the economic downturn. But others say a global industrial recession, in which emissions tend to drop anyway and countries are poised to spend billions to stimulate economies, is the time to craft a global effort to combat global warming.
Mr. Obama has said the United States will lead the effort, but over the next months, he will have to show what exactly that means. A good first step, environmentalists say, would be to commit to trying to limit warming to two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial temperatures, an ambitious goal that the European Union has adopted but that the Bush administration steadfastly avoided. It could also pledge to reduce emissions by 50 or 80 percent by 2050.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that humans could largely adapt to two degrees of warming, but that a greater temperature increase could cause far more serious consequences, from a dangerous rise in sea levels to mass extinctions.

Climate experts added that the United States did not need to have in place national legislation to limit greenhouse gasses, a process that could take months, to negotiate in Copenhagen. “It’s not just about analyzing a piece of legislation,” Mr. Ashton said. “It’s about the feeling you get if you’re a leader sitting in Beijing. It’s like love; you know it when you feel it.”

A more complex issue is whether negotiators will retain the system of trading carbon credits that is central to the Kyoto Protocol, a kind of global commodities market for carbon.
“This is not just about emissions but about creating a massive investment in a new global energy economy” that includes forests, oceans and the transfer of technology, said Angela Anderson, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Warming Campaign.
Contributing reporting were Mark Landler from Beijing and Andrew C. Revkin."

There's a solution, and we can all take it seriously, because it will benefit all of us.
The solution will create green jobs and, when implemented, will be less expensive monetarily and environmentally.
With this solution, there won’t be a need to worry about controlling emissions because there won’t be any emissions to control. Or carbons to trade.
And with no emissions to control, the kind of climate change that we’ve been having to deal with will be . . . changed--for the better.

For more information, please see www.terrahumanafoundation.org.