Copenhagen, Denmark. March 10, 2009
Today a three day conference on climate change begins here in a drizzly and cold, yet still ‘wonderful’ Copenhagen. This event is part of the build up to the pivotal November-December COP-15 meetings which will attempt to draft a new international agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol which is due to expires in 2012.
A major goal of this conference is to present the new scientific evidence and findings since the IPCC report of 2007. Since much of that report was based on work from 2006, there are essentially three years of work to review and then present to the policy makers attending the November-December meetings.
The program of speakers and scientists, including Dr. James E. Hansen of NASA, covers a dense collection of scientific and relevant social topics ranging from ‘cryosphere, instability, seal level rise’, ‘vulnerability in carbon sinks’, to ‘sustainable urban deveolopment’. Promises to be quite an education.
Copenhagen harbor Nyhavn where Hans Christian Anderson once lived.
‘Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) mounted a military-style crackdown on deforestation in the Amazon in January — just a month after the government proclaimed that deforestation rates had dropped 59% over the previous three years. The action was prompted by alarming new satellite data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in São José dos Campos, indicating that clear-cutting is once again on the rise.’
via Access : Brazil goes to war against logging : Nature News. (Requires login or payment)
An Indonesian example of the role of human agency in ‘natural’ disasters.
‘But a study in Nature Geoscience suggests that while drought may lead to the worst incidences of burning, land use and population density also play roles’
via Observatory – Land Use and Density Affect Fires in Indonesia – NYTimes.com.
A glimpse into some of the politics behind the science:
‘Several authors of the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the projected effects of global warming now say they regret not pushing harder to include an updated diagram of climate risks in the report. The diagram, known as “burning embers,” is an updated version of one that was a central feature of the panel’s preceding climate report in 2001. The main opposition to including the diagram in 2007, they say, came from officials representing the United States, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.’
via Why 2007 I.P.C.C. Report Lacked ‘Embers’ – Dot Earth Blog – NYTimes.com.
Yet another example of the environmental consequences of military deployments. Always reassuring to hear that standard refrain, ‘releasing no radioactivity’.
‘LONDON – Nuclear-armed submarines from Britain and France collided deep under the Atlantic Ocean earlier this month, causing damage to both vessels but releasing no radioactivity, a British official said Monday.’
via British, French nuclear subs collide in Atlantic.
‘Fresh data has shown that greenhouse gas emissions have grown by an average of 3.5 percent a year from 2000 to 2007, Field told reporters at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
That’s “far more rapid than we expected” and more than three times the 0.9 growth rate in the 1990’s, he said.’
via AFP: Climate change could be even worse than feared.
‘In June 2008, NorthWind added five more turbines, raising the wind farm’s capacity to 33 MW, enabling the company to provide half the province’s power needs.
Mr. Jacobsen attributes NorthWind’s success to a combination of three factors: right timing (NorthWind started the project when wind turbines were cheaper), right financing, and support from the World Bank through its Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF), which enabled NorthWind to generate more resources through the sale of “carbon emission reduction credits” under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol.’
via Philippines – WB’s Carbon Finance: No Tilting at Windmills.
When economic turmoil is so severe, it really ought to be considered as a key factor in environmental policy decisions. For example, how can a economic/political system teetering on collapse be relied upon to maintain nuclear power plants? Apparently last September the whole global economony almost went south – and we’re still not out of the woods either:
From Daily Kos:
According to Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) (PA-11), in mid-September of 2008, the United States of America came just three hours away from the collapse of the entire economy. In a span of 2 hours, $550 billion was drawn out of money market accounts in an electronic run on the banks.
Rep. Kanjorski: “It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.”
Read the article and also see the revealing video testimony of Rep. Kanjorski: Daily Kos: USA was 3 hrs away from Economic, Political Collapse in September 2008.
‘ROCKDALE, Ill. (AP) — A holding tank at a Caterpillar facility in a Chicago suburb broke Sunday, spilling about 65,000 gallons of oil sludge and contaminating a 3-mile section of the Des Plaines River, officials said’
via The Associated Press: 65,000 gallons of oil sludge spills near Chicago.
Bloomberg keeps it interesting by framing this in personal terms. The last paragraphs reveal that at the very least some mixed messages have been going out from the Obama camp about ‘Clean Coal’.
‘Months before Obama’s campaign remarks about the promise of new technology, he said in a recorded interview with the San Francisco Chronicle last January, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu had called coal his “worst nightmare” in a 2007 speech. At his Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 13, Chu said the fuel is a “great natural resource” that the “the U.S., with its great technological leadership, should rise to the occasion to develop.”’
via Bloomberg.com: Exclusive.