About Our Work
Welcome to Envirobeat, a environmental news service covering climate change and global energy developments.
Our news roundup contains links to relevant stories, while our field reports feature in depth video coverage of important speakers, events and conferences, both internationally and within the United States. Examples include:
• COP15 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (Dec 2009)
• Copenhagen Climate Congress (March 2009)
• SEMI/SolarCon India 2009 in Hyderabad
• SEMI/SolarCom Intersolar in San Francisco, 2011
• World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil
The San Francisco Bay Area could aptly be described as an important green metropolis, with frequent presentations by visiting specialists in both energy and climate policy. Envirobeat reports on many such events in San Francisco, notably at the Commonwealth Club’s ClimateOne, an excellent ongoing climate forum led by Greg Dalton. Across the bay at the University of California, Berkeley, we cover presentations by guest lecturers and local scientists.
Climate change is an issue of such breadth and magnitude that it draws countless other environmental, social, political, and economic issues into its wake for reconsideration. And the climate change story is far from over. Despite nearly two decades of international climate negotiations, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still increasing globally. China’s dramatic emergence as an industrial powerhouse has come with environmental costs, including increasing global coal consumption. Coal has a higher carbon footprint than other fossil fuels, and China has in recent years surpassed the United States as the world’s greatest annual GHG emitter, while the US still ranks highest as leader in cumulative historic emissions.
Despite a notable lack of climate progress in his first term in the wake of the financial crisis, President Obama’s second inaugural address underlined his second term goal of taking on climate change. Recent dramatic and destructive weather events have brought renewed attention to climate issues, yet political and economic constraints will likely continue to limit policy options. One benchmark test of the Obama administration’s commitment will be the approval or rejection of the Keystone pipeline project, which would bring Canadian tar sands oil to Texas for processing before export.
Climate scientist James Hansen has made dire warnings about the exploitation of the Canadian tar sands, not just because this extraction is expected to be dirtier than other fossil fuel sources, but because the development of these resources represents a vast increase in the worlds overall fossil fuel supply. From a long term climate perspective, the eventual destination of the carbon in fossil fuels is not the refineries, importing countries, or even consumers who use them – but rather as carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere and carbonic acid in the oceans. The story of energy is key to the story of climate change.
On the bright side, these are exciting times for renewable energy development – the green energy revolution continues to unfold rapidly, with ongoing technological innovations and increasing deployments of wind and solar energy around the world.