Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
This was the year the Earth struck back.
Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 — the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.
"It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves," said Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It handled a record number of disasters in 2010.
"The term `100-year event' really lost its meaning this year."
And we have ourselves to blame most of the time, scientists and disater experts say:
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Gas locked inside Siberia's frozen soil and under its lakes has been seeping out since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. But in the past few decades, as the Earth has warmed, the icy ground has begun thawing more rapidly, accelerating the release of methane — a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide — at a perilous rate.
Some scientists believe the thawing of permafrost could become the epicenter of climate change. They say 1.5 trillion tons of carbon, locked inside icebound earth since the age of mammoths, is a climate time bomb waiting to explode if released into the atmosphere.http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=12204420
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The future of our planet lies in the hands of people like Parker Liautaud"
-Douglas Stoup, World Renowned Polar Explorer
Parker Liautaud is a 16-year-old polar adventurer and environmental activist. He is the youngest ever to even attempt a full expedition to the North Pole, and has two polar expeditions under his belt so far... http://www.parkerliautaud.com/about.htm
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Les glaciers du mythique mont Ararat, dans l'est de la Turquie, ont perdu 30% de leur surface en une trentaine d'année, vraisemblablement en raison d'une augmentation de la température environnante, a affirmé mercredi à l'AFP l'auteur d'une étude sur le sujet.
"Nous avons utilisé des images satellites pour analyser la réponse des glaciers au sommet du mont Ararat face au changement climatique. Nous avons découvert qu'ils avaient perdu 30% de leur surface entre 1976 et 2008", a déclaré le géologue Mehmet Akif Sarikaya, dont la recherche n'a pas encore été publiée.
"La surface des glaciers est passée de 8 km/2 en 1976 à environ 5,5 km/2 en 2008, soit une rétraction d'environ sept hectares par an", a poursuivi le chercheur, professeur assistant à l'université Fatih d'Istanbul et chargé de recherches à l'université d'Omaha (Etats-Unis.
Le scientifique a désigné le réchauffement du climat autour du mont Ararat comme la cause la plus probable de la fonte des glaciers, qui pourrait selon lui menacer à terme leur existence.
"Nous avons cherché les raisons de la fonte et avons établi que la température avait progressé de 0,03 degré par an" durant la période étudiée, a-t-il expliqué, sans pour autant rejeter d'autres éventuels facteurs, comme l'augmentation des précipitations, l'ensoleillement et la topographie.
Le géologue n'était pas en mesure de s'exprimer sur les causes de ce réchauffement ni sur son lien éventuel avec un phénomène global de changement climatique.
Il a également refusé de se prononcer sur les nouvelles possibilités que cette fonte pourrait offrir dans la recherche de l'arche de Noé.
L'arche de Noé, d'après la Bible, est une grande embarcation construite sur l'ordre de Dieu afin de sauver Noé, sa famille et toutes les espèces animales d'un déluge sur le point d'arriver.
Selon certains spécialistes, le mont Ararat (5.137 m) serait le lieu où l'arche se serait échouée à la fin de son périple. De nombreuses équipes ont tenté de retrouver l'arche sur le mont Ararat, sans résultat probant.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Hear that Congress? Bjorn Lomborg, the self-proclaimed “skeptical environmentalist” who is perhaps the world’s most famous climate-change skeptic, will declare climate change "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today" and a "challenge humanity must confront” in an upcoming book. Lomborg has never denied that manmade climate change exists; rather, he has typically argued that it does not present much of a threat to mankind and that our resources would be better spent on other problems. In the book, Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits, Lomborg calls for a $100 billion annual investment to fight climate change. The book looks at eight ideas that could help, focusing mostly on investments in renewable energy and also geo-engineering solutions, like “cloud whitening.” He calls for a carbon tax to fund these investments.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Selon Andreas Muenchow, de l'université de Delaware (est), l'Arctique n'avait pas perdu une telle masse de glace depuis 1962.
Des images satellites de la Nasa montrent que le glacier Petermann, qui mesure 70 kilomètre de long, a ainsi rétréci d'environ un quart avec le détachement du bloc de glace, d'une superficie d'au moins 260 kilomètres carrés, note le chercheur dans un communiqué.
L'eau douce contenue dans cet iceberg pourrait "alimenter l'ensemble du réseau public d'eau potable américain pendant 120 jours", affirme-t-il.
La calotte glaciaire du Groenland, le plus grand réservoir d'eau douce de l'hémisphère Nord, a fondu à un rythme alarmant au cours des dernières années sous l'effet du réchauffement climatique, selon un rapport du Conseil arctique publié fin 2009.
La vitesse d'écoulement des glaciers du Groenland qui débouchent sur la mer affecte directement le niveau des océans, qui monte actuellement d'environ 3 mm par an.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Founding President Mikhail Gorbachev of Green Cross International (GCI) said “the actions and voices of millions of citizens have brought the global movement for the right to water this far. I hope that more people will join us to help bring us closer to the ultimate goal — a world where everyone’s right to safe water and sanitation is not just recognized but is also fulfilled.”
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre, the Colorado-based institute that tracks the annual cycle of winter ice buildup and summer thaw, says in its latest report that June's rapid melt - which followed a similar record-setting retreat in May - means the polar ice cover remained on pace to shrink more than it did in 2007, when an unprecedented loss of ice first prompted scientists to raise alarms about the Arctic as a harbinger of global climate change.
Monday, July 19, 2010
The right of every human being to safe drinking water and basic sanitation should be recognized and realized.
The United Nations estimates that nearly 900 million people live without clean water and 2.6 billion without proper sanitation. Water, the basic ingredient of life, is among the world’s most prolific killers. At least 4,000 children die every day from water-related diseases. In fact, more lives have been lost after World War II due to contaminated water than from all forms of violence and war.
This humanitarian catastrophe has been allowed to fester for generations. We must stop it.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/17/opinion/17iht-edgorbachev.html?_r=1
Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until its dissolution in 1991. He is a founding member of Green Cross International and is on its board.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
The next generation of solar cells will be small. About the size of lint. But the anticipated impact: That’s huge.
Some of these emerging electricity-generating cells could be embedded in windows without obscuring the view. Engineers envision incorporating slightly larger ones into resins that would be molded onto the tops of cars or maybe the roofs of buildings. One team of materials scientists is developing microcells that could be rubber-stamped by the millions onto a yard of fabric. When such cells shrink in size — but not efficiency — it becomes hard to imagine what they couldn’t electrify.
Friday, July 9, 2010
As global warming continues such heat waves will be increasingly common in the future, a Stanford University study concludes.
"In the next 30 years, we could see an increase in heat waves like the one now occurring in the eastern United States or the kind that swept across Europe in 2003 that caused tens of thousands of fatalities," Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford, said in a statement.
Diffenbaugh and Moetasim Ashfaq, a former Stanford postdoctoral fellow now at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, used a series of computer models of climate to calculate changes in the future with increased levels of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere. Their findings are reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
They calculate that within 30 years average temperature could be 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 Celsius, higher than in the mid-1800s.
That level of increase has been reported by others and most atmospheric scientists expect it to lead to warming and a change in a variety of weather and climate conditions.
Diffenbaugh and Ashfaq focus specifically on heat waves over the United States.
They reported that an intense heat wave equal to the longest on record from 1951 to 1999 is likely to occur as many as five times between 2020 and 2029 over areas of the western and central United States.
In addition, they said the 2030s are projected to be even hotter.
"Occurrence of the longest historical heat wave further intensifies in the 2030-2039 period, including greater than five occurrences per decade over much of the western U.S. and greater than three exceedences per decade over much of the eastern U.S.," the researchers reported.
"I did not expect to see anything this large within the next three decades. This was definitely a surprise," Diffenbaugh said.
The research was funded by the Energy Department and the National Science Foundation. The climate model simulations were generated and analyzed at Purdue University.
RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Jean-Michel Cousteau: Use of Oil Dispersants in Gulf 'A Mistake'
The Rundown caught up with ocean explorer and occasional PBS host Jean-Michel Cousteau to chat about what his team discovered on dives last week into the Gulf of Mexico oil leak.
Cousteau, founder of the Ocean Futures Society and son of another famous explorer Jacques Cousteau, spoke with us Monday from the bridge of the cruise ship m/s Paul Gauguin somewhere between the Cook Islands and Bora Bora.
Cousteau discussed the controversial use of dispersants to break up the oil:
"To add another chemical to the ocean, I think has some long-term consequence which we are not even aware of what it's going to do. Personally, I think it was a mistake. We are much better equipped to capture oil at the surface provided that the weather allows that to happen."
Cousteau said the smaller particles of oil are sneaking under booms set up along the coast seeping into marshland and killing it. It's creating a "monumental problem" that's effecting millions of birds, not to mention plankton -- the foundation of the marine food chain.
He also spoke about the risks that his divers took to get the underwater views of the oil spill.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
After little net change in the 1990s, Greenland is now melting and shedding billions of tons of ice, according to NASA satellite observations. This trend especially concerns scientists because meltwater and ice emptying into the ocean raise global sea level. Currently, sea level is increasing at about 1.25 inches per decade, and researchers estimate Greenland is contributing about 15% of this rate. Greenland holds a great deal of ice; if all of it returned to the ocean, sea level would rise about 23 feet. (Such a loss would take many centuries to play out, even with substantially more warming than today.)
Some scientists suggest that climate change and its consequences on Ice cap thaw in Iceland may awaken volcanoes in the future...
"Our work suggests that eventually there will be either somewhat larger eruptions or more frequent eruptions in Iceland in coming decades," said Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a vulcanologist at the University of Iceland.
"Global warming melts ice and this can influence magmatic systems," he told Reuters. The end of the Ice Age 10,000 years ago coincided with a surge in volcanic activity in Iceland, apparently because huge ice caps thinned and the land rose.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
"Le coup de gueule contre Allègre des climatologues français":
Entre climatologues et climato-sceptiques, ça tourne à la guerre ouverte. Ce mercredi, plus de 400 scientifiques français ont adressé un appel à la ministre de la Recherche pour que cessent les remises en cause permanentes de leur travail par l'ancien ministre de l'Education...
« La lettre est adressée à Pécresse, mais nous ne demandons pas à la ministre de se prononcer sur le contenu scientifique. Nous visons avant tout les structures compétentes : l’Académie des sciences bien entendu, mais aussi les centres de recherche regroupés dans l’alliance AllEnvi qui travaillent sur le climat, CEA, CNRS, Météo France, INRA… », explique Jérôme Chappellaz, directeur de l’équipe climat au laboratoire de glaciologie et géophysique de l’environnement du CNRS à Grenoble et l’un des premiers signataires de l’appel.
Pour ces scientifiques, une telle sortie se donne avant tout comme objectif de recadrer le questionnement scientifique au sein d’un débat « serein ». « Allègre, Courtillot, Galam et compagnie sortent de ce cadre. La science ne se fait pas sur des plateaux télé, mais dans des journaux spécialisés. », cingle Jérôme Chappellaz.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The southern limit of permanently frozen ground, or permafrost, is now 130 kilometers further north than it was 50 years ago in the James Bay region, according to two researchers from the Department of Biology at Universite Laval.
In a recent issue of the scientific journal Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Serge Payette and Simon Thibault suggest that, if the trend continues, permafrost in the region will completely disappear in the near future.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
NRDC is working hard to build a groundswell of support for the strongest possible climate bill, and I wanted to let you know about a powerful new viral media campaign that is giving us a huge lift in this effort. This is our Moment is a 3 minute video featuring NRDC Trustee Leonardo DiCaprio and a host of Hollywood celebrities urging people to speak out to urge the Senate to pass clean energy legislation that will create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and limit global warming. The response to this online campaignhttp://www.nrdcactionfund.org/thisisourmoment/ , which was launched by NRDC's Action Fund, has been fantastic. The video, dubbed "The best PSA ever" by Rolling Stone online, has been played more than 1.6 million times through http://www.nrdcactionfund.org/thisisourmoment/ and the many other websites that embedded the video on their own pages. As of last Friday, more than 35,000 emails have been sent to senators in support of clean energy legislation had been sent through the NRDC Action Fund website. Take a look at http://www.nrdcactionfund.org/ and please pass it on!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
In the State of the Union Address last Wednesday, President Obama said “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy and America must be that nation.” At the same time, on the other coast, 75 clean energy investors, entrepreneurs, and researchers were debating whether the U.S. can gain this leadership position. They agreed that even though Silicon Valley leads the world in technology, it is not clear if it will ever lead in Cleantech. The Valley may develop some breakthrough technologies, but without government help these are unlikely to translate into global leadership. The technology world is rightfully allergic to government assistance and intervention. Cleantech is different, however, and we aren’t dealing with a level global playing field.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Here are some excerpts from the speech by Dr. Hamadoun Touré at the Green Cross International general assembly which I attended last week in Geneva. I thought they were quite relevant especially to my other activities in the ICT world:
§ I am here today as one of the newest members of the GCI’s Climate Change Task Force – and I am deeply honoured to join a group which is led by President Mikhail Gorbachev and which includes Nobel Peace Laureates, the Club of Rome, the Club of Madrid, and other very distinguished members.
§ Those who know me well, know that I am an optimist. And as an optimist, I am positive that we can succeed.
§ There was an interesting interview last week on CNN’s website with another optimist, Mark Lynas, a British journalist and environmental expert. He said: “we need to try and change the language used to discuss climate change, from all about burden sharing, to opportunity sharing. That's a big mental shift, it's a big political shift and it's a big economic shift,” he added.
§ And he’s right. This is all about opportunity.
§ Information and Communication Technologies – ICTs – will play a vital role in helping us win this battle.
§ Indeed, I would go further, and say that without ICTs we cannot possibly hope to win.
§ ICTs are the single most powerful tool humankind has at its disposal to avoid potential climate catastrophe. While technology contributes around 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient use of modern technologies could cut global power consumption by 15%.
§ ICTs help to reduce waste, cut business travel and make industry more efficient.
§ New technologies being developed within ITU – such as Next-Generation Networks – can reduce network and data centre power consumption by up to 40%.
§ The universal charger, which has just been standardized by ITU, will deliver a 50% reduction in standby energy consumption, eliminate up to 80,000 tonnes of redundant chargers, and cut GHG emissions by at least 13 million tonnes annually.
§ Satellites are also tremendously important – not just in monitoring, but in helping increase food output and reduce emissions. Satellite-based intelligence services for farmers, for example, which cost less than US$ 15 per hectare annually, can increase yields by as much as 10%. And using satellite monitoring produces 98% fewer emissions than ordinary ground monitoring
As the first order of business, the Assembly – led by President Gorbachev, the Founding President and the Board Chairman Dr. Jan Kulczyk - adopted a statement on Haiti. Nearly 100 delegates from 23 of the 29 Green Cross national organisations urged world leaders to speed up preparedness to natural calamites as part of responding to climate change.
Among the keynote opening speakers were Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union and the newest member to join the Climate Change Task Force (CCTF). Both speakers outlined the importance of a timely and adequate global response to climate change within the extended one year deadline from Copenhagen.
The accent on promoting renewable sources energy and cutting down consumption of fossil fuels was prioritised in the programmes and strategic activities of Green Cross national organisations. The Assembly decided to encourage partnerships that respond to climate change mitigation and adaptation needs.
The Green Cross national organisations will continue working on international Programmes. They discussed plans to strengthen them. These include focus areas such as Water; the Legacy of the Cold War (reduction of threats from nuclear and chemical weapons stockpiles); the Social, Medical and Education (SocMed) programme related to catastrophes such as Chernobyl and Agent Orange in Vietnam; the Smart Energy programme; and the Education and Value Change programme.
Professor Mohan Munasinghe, a renowned climate scholar and IPCC member, was welcomed as a member of the GCI Board. The GCI Board of Directors, shaped by the General Assembly, now consists of:
Mikhail Gorbachev, Founding President
Dr. Jan Kulczyk, Chairman
Alexander Likhotal, President
Sander Mallien, Treasurer & Green Cross Switzerland President
Mohan Munasinghe, Member of the IPCC and member of CCTF
Mario Soares, former President of Portugal
Sergey Baranovskiy, Green Cross Russia President
Celso Luiz Claro de Oliveira, Green Cross Brazil President
Ousséni Diallo, Green Cross Burkina Faso CEO
Shoo Iwasaki, Green Cross Japan President
Scott Seydel, Global Green USA Chairman
Friday, January 1, 2010
FOR the many disappointments of the recent climate talks in Copenhagen, there was at least one clear positive outcome, and that was the progress made on a program called Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Under this program, key elements of which were agreed on at Copenhagen, developing countries would be compensated for preserving forests, peat soils, swamps and fields that are efficient absorbers of carbon dioxide, the primary heat-trapping gas linked to global warming.