Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)


The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”



"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Coal reaching 'tipping point' vs renewables: analysis

Yahoo – AFP, June 30, 2020

Getting less viable economically all the time (AFP Photo/Ina FASSBENDER)

Paris (AFP) - Renewable energy such as wind and solar projects are already cheaper to build than it is to continue operating 40 percent of the world's existing coal fleet, according to analysis released Tuesday.

In a report outlining how the world can phase out the most polluting fuel while powering an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a group of experts said coal had reached a financial "tipping point" making it uncompetitive in most markets.

The authors estimate that a third of the global coal fleet is already more costly to run than it is to build new renewable power solutions, including battery storage.

That figure is set to rise to 73 percent of the fleet by 2025, said the analysis, which also found that replacing the entire coal fleet with clean energy could be done at a net saving to the global economy as soon as 2022.

"A faster transition from coal to clean energy is within our grasp, and we show how to engineer that transition in ways that will save money for electricity customers around the world while aiding a just transition for workers and communities," said Paul Bodnar, managing director of the Rocky Mountain think tank which co-produced the research.

The 2015 Paris climate deal enjoins nations to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures through sweeping emissions cuts.

The accord strives for a safer heating cap of 1.5C.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that for the 1.5C goal to remain in reach, global coal use must decline by 80 percent below 2010 levels by 2030.

The analysis found that 81 percent of the European Union's coal fleet was already uncompetitive today -- meaning that without state support the plants would cease to be going concerns.

In China that figure stands at 43 percent currently, rising to nearly 100 percent in five years.

The report did not take into account the environmental and health impacts of coal.

"Coal power is quickly facing economic obsolescence, independent of carbon pricing and air pollution policies," said Matt Gray, managing director and co-head of power and utilities at the Carbon Tracker Initiative.

"Closing coal capacity and replacing it with lower cost alternatives will not only save consumers and taxpayers money, but could also play a major role in the upcoming economic recovery."

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

South Pole warming three times faster than rest of Earth: study

Yahoo – AFP, Patrick GALEY, June 29, 2020

For years it had been thought that the South Pole had stayed cool even as the
continent heated up (AFP Photo/FERNANDA REBULL)

Paris (AFP) - The South Pole has warmed three times faster than the rest of the planet in the last 30 years due to warmer tropical ocean temperatures, new research showed Monday.

Antarctica's temperature varies widely according to season and region, and for years it had been thought that the South Pole had stayed cool even as the continent heated up.

Researchers in New Zealand, Britain and the United States analysed 60 years of weather station data and used computer modelling to show what was causing the accelerated warming.

They found that warmer ocean temperatures in the western Pacific had over the decades lowered atmospheric pressure over the Weddell Sea in the southern Atlantic.

This in turn had increased the flow of warm air directly over the South Pole -- warming it by more than 1.83C (about 3.3F) since 1989.

Authors of the research said the natural warming trend was likely boosted by manmade greenhouse gas emissions and could be masking the heating effect of carbon pollution over the South Pole.

"While temperatures were known to be warming across West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula during the 20th century, the South Pole was cooling," said Kyle Clem, a researcher at Victoria University of Wellington, and lead study author.

"It was suspected that this part of Antarctica... might be immune to/isolated from warming. We found this is not the case any more," he told AFP.

The data showed that the South Pole -- the most remote spot on Earth -- was now warming at a rate of around 0.6C (1.1F) a decade, compared with around 0.2C (1.4F) for the rest of the planet.

The authors of the study, published in the Nature Climate Change journal, attributed the change to a phenomenon known as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO).

The IPO cycle lasts roughly 15-30 years, and alternates between a "positive" state -- in which the tropical Pacific is hotter and the northern Pacific is colder than average -- and a "negative" state where the temperature anomaly is reversed.

The IPO flipped to a negative cycle at the start of the century, driving greater convection and more pressure extremes at high latitudes, leading to a strong flow of warmer air right over the South Pole.

Clem said that the 1.83C (3.3F) level of warming exceeded 99.99 percent of all modelled 30-year warming trends.

"While the warming was just within the natural variability of climate models, it was highly likely human activity had contributed," he said.

Related Articles:




(Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“… The Weather

Let's talk about the weather. We retreat to exactly what we told you before in this very chair. The water cycle is a cooling cycle, not a heating cycle. You're going to have more severe winters and storms. It's going to get colder. But it gets warmer before it gets colder. That is the cycle, and it has always been the cycle. You can see it in the rings of the trees and the cores of the ice. Don't let your scientists pull the political wool over your eyes for their own purposes. Start seeing these things for what they are. It's a recurring cycle based on four Earth alignment attributes, including the wobble (the precession). You're in this cycle. Prepare.

The beginnings of it will be with you from now at least until the end of the 2012 36-year window, and you can watch it work. The first thing that happens is that the ice melts at the poles, but not completely. It's the way it has happened before. As the redistribution of weight from the poles to the oceans of the earth takes place, the weight is redistributed to the crust, and that creates earthquakes. And the earthquakes that will be the most powerful are the ones that are closest to the poles. We told you that some time ago. So it's not a mystery that suddenly you have some of the most powerful earthquakes that you've ever had. Not only that, but a cooling ocean creates larger storms.

What do the conspiracists do with all this? "See? We're doomed. Here it comes," they say. "Here it comes! The end is here!" Twenty-two years ago, we gave you the information that is happening today. We told you about the weather. We told you to get ready for it, but we still haven't told you why the water cycle is needed. We've hinted at it since it is very controversial, and we'll lose many readers right here and now. Here's the prediction: The scientists are going to laugh and biologists are going to scratch their heads and roll their eyes.

The Refreshing of the Cycle of Life

When you change the temperature of the waters of the planet, it changes the life cycle of the ocean and it eventually renews itself. The life cycle of the planet has a limit to its viability over time. There has to be a refreshing of the very cycle of life, and this is what the water cycle does. Are there any places you've seen too many fish lately? Yes. Millions of salmon in the north. Odd that it was in Alaska, isn't it? Alaska is very close to the poles where the water temperature is being felt first. Oh, again the experts will tell you that this is not the reason. It's about hatcheries and rivers. But nobody predicted this, did they? Science is fast to give you reasons, but slow to give you logic in advance. They always seem to be surprised.

We are saying things we haven't said before. Again, watch for this, an actual change in the life cycle of the planet's oceans because of the water temperature shift. Biologists are going to have to start redesigning the paradigm of how everything works, including reefs, ocean bottoms, and how plankton survive and reproduce. Listen, this is not the first time that the life cycle has been refreshed! But again, this may take generations of humanity to complete. In the process, you may again lose species. This is normal. Gaia is slow, and Humans are impatient. Your textbooks may someday tell of how naive humanity was back in 2011 when they tried to blame weather changes on everything but a natural cycle. Now you know why there is a water cycle.

So what does that tell you about Gaia? Gaia is beginning the cycle of refreshing life on over-fished oceans. It tells you that in the cracks, there is love and caring about the Humans who live on the earth. There's a reason you're here. There's a plan here, and a benevolent Universe and quantum energy with intelligent design. All is there for you, precious, sacred Human Being. …”

Friday, June 26, 2020

Vattenvall puts plan to build NL’s biggest biomass power plant on ice

DutchNews, June 25, 2020

Photo:Depositphotos.com

Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall has decided to postpone plans to build the Netherlands’ biggest biomass fired power station because of the ongoing discussion about how green biomass actually is. 

The plant is to be built in Diemen on the outskirts of Amsterdam, but both locals and the town council have major doubts about the project. Biomass is predominantly made up of wood chips and vegetable and fruit waste. 

‘We see the public discussion around biomass increasing, and we are not deaf although we miss the nuance in the debate,’ Vattenfall Netherlands CEO Martijn Hagens said in a statement on Thursday

The first step in finalising the decision involves the Dutch government giving clarity about its plans and the role of biomass in reaching climate change targets, he said. ‘We expect to take a final decision after next summer.’ 

Support for the use of wood pellets to generate electricity is crumbling in The Hague and there is now a majority in parliament for ending subsidies for new biomass power plants. 

In particular, the way wood is being imported from abroad to burn in Dutch power stations has come in for criticism, both in the Netherlands and in the US. Some experts also claim wood is more polluting than coal, which the Dutch government is keen to phase out. 

The founder of the Urgenda climate movement, which won a landmark court case to force the government to cut pollution, has added her voice to the campaign against the use of biomass. 

‘To put it crudely, it is better to use gas and plant trees than use biomass and cut down trees,’ Marjan Minnesma told radio programme Dit is de Dag last week. Gas, she said, creates half the pollution that burning biomass does.

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Related Article:


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Dutch introduce 15 cent deposits on small plastic drinks bottles from 2021

DutchNews, April 25, 2020 

Photo: Odi Busman

The Netherlands is to introduce a 15 cent deposit system on all plastic bottles smaller than one litre, junior environment minister Stientje van Veldhoven announced on Friday evening. 

The expansion of the current deposit system will come into effect in July 2021 and is being introduced because efforts to reduce the amount of small plastic bottles in litter have not worked, the minister said.

Van Veldhoven told the drinks industry at the beginning of 2018 she would expand the deposit scheme unless the amount of small plastic bottles included in litter was reduced by between 70% and 90%. Some 100 million of the 900 million small bottles sold every year in the Netherlands still end up being dumped. 

Cans 

Van Veldhoven said the same incentive is now being applied to drinks in cans. If the number of cans dumped as litter is not reduced by between 70% and 90%, the government will also introduce a deposit on canned drinks in 2022, the minister said. 

The Netherlands has been debating changing the deposit system, which currently applies to large plastic bottles and some glass bottles, for years. 

In 2015, the Dutch government tore up an agreement with the packaging industry to end the current system of deposits on plastic bottles. 

The industry argued there would be major cost advantages if deposits were scrapped but the cost savings, in a report commissioned by the industry, were later shown to be exaggerated.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A decade after Deepwater, BP faces new existential challenges

Yahoo - AFP, Véronique DUPONT, April 22, 2020

BP says it has reformed its culture over the past decade to emphasise operational
security and to prevent environmental damage (AFP Photo)

London (AFP) - Ten years after an oil spill that BP's new boss Bernard Looney admits tested the company "to the core", the firm is facing two existential challenges: the collapse of prices and climate change.

It was a decade ago this week that an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico triggered the worst oil spill in US history, killing 11 employees and ultimately costing the British firm more than $70 billion.

Speaking in February as BP announced plans to go carbon neutral by 2050, chief executive officer Looney said that "we learned some hard lessons we will never forget".

"We remember those lessons in this new decade, where the big challenge for BP is the one the world faces: climate change," he said.

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has followed suit in pledging to become carbon neutral but the US groups and French firm Total are lagging behind.

Map and factfile on the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico triggered by
 the explosion in April 2010 of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform US 
environment energy oil disaster (AFP Photo)

BP says it has reformed its culture over the past decade to emphasise operational security and to prevent environmental damage, for example through a programme to detect methane leaks.

The company's latest figures show an increase in its oil spills from 124 in 2018 to 152 in 2019, but BP puts this down to acquisitions over the period.

The 2020s began amid greater pressure on multinationals to reduce their carbon emissions, from investor demands to dramatic protests by climate campaigners.

The global coronavirus pandemic has brought a new and unprecedented challenge for oil firms, causing a drop in demand that has sent prices plummeting.

The collapse in prices complicates the transition to cleaner energy for oil majors, because cheap oil makes green energy comparatively less attractive.

For campaign group Greenpeace, the choice for the industry is clear: 'Either 
becoming renewable energy companies or ultimately shutting down' (AFP 
Photo/Mark RALSTON)

BP puts almost all of its $15 billion annual investment budget into fossil fuels, although it has acquired stakes in solar panel firms and electric vehicle charging companies worth a total of $400 million.

"Their basic business model hasn't changed," said Bobby Banerjee, professor of management at City, University of London.

"They invest most of their money in gas and oil" because "they're confident there will be demand for oil" in the next 50 to 70 years, he said.

He said for BP, the energy transition was all about shifting from oil to gas, which is still a polluting hydrocarbon.

"The return they get on fossil fuels is not the return they'll get on renewables," he said.

In this file photo taken on June 08, 2010, veterinarians clean an oil-covered brown 
pelican found off the Louisiana coast and affected by the BP (AFP Photo/Saul LOEB)

Changing the model 

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said after the Deepwater crisis BP shed some assets and bet on low oil prices in the long run, reducing its costs and making the group more resilient.

But it has huge debts, totalling some $45 billion at the end of 2019, leaving it vulnerable to a sustained drop in revenues.

Looney now faces a dilemma. He must decarbonise the group while preserving its profitability and share price, which has fallen by 40 percent since the beginning of the year, a plunge experienced by many rivals.

He has promised to say more in September about how he will reach his carbon neutral target and is expected to bet on gas, still untested carbon capture technology and renewables.

BP could also take advantage of carbon offsetting schemes, which involve investing in green projects but are heavily criticised by environmentalists.

For campaign group Greenpeace, the choice for the industry is clear: "Either becoming renewable energy companies or ultimately shutting down."

"The crash in the oil market is the closest thing BP and the rest of the global oil industry will get to a dress rehearsal for the transition to come," a spokesperson said.

Related Article:


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Use crisis to make post corona society fairer and sustainable, say scientists

DutchNews, April 13, 2020

Photo: D Nicholls-Lee

Dutch scientists are calling on politicians to use the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to make society fairer and ‘radically sustainable’. 

In a manifesto published in Trouw, a group of 170 sociologists and environmental scientists from eight Dutch universities said that the disruption of economic certainties caused by the pandemic offers a chance for radical reforms. These could include the introduction of a universal basic income and debt cancellation for poor countries, the scientists state. 

‘The neo-liberal economic system demands an ever-growing circulation of people and goods, despite the innumerable ecological problems and increasing inequality it is causing. The last few weeks have laid bare the great weaknesses of this machine for growth,’ the manifesto said. 

It is ironic that big businesses are now having to ask for financial support while sectors like healthcare and care for the elderly, which had to fight for sufficient finance not so long ago  are now labelled ‘crucial’, the manifesto continued. 

Political action 

Although the manifesto calls on politicians to act, citizens too would have to make different choices post coronavirus, the scientists say. ‘Luxurious and wasteful consumption and  travel would have to be cut back radically and replaced by necessary, sustainable and meaningful forms of consumption and travel,’ the scientists stated. 

A new economic policy geared towards a fairer division of prosperity would include a basic income, a higher tax on income, profit and capital, plus shorter working weeks and job sharing. 

Food  production, too, must be made more sustainable by promoting circular agriculture, they said. 

Developing countries, small businesses and freelancers have been particularly hard hit by the crisis and should be exempt from paying back their debts, the group argues, calling on the IMF, the World Bank and more affluent countries to come up with a plan to make this happen. 

These measures will contribute to a sustainable and fairer society which will be better equipped to fight future pandemics and protect groups that are now suffering disproportionately from the effects of the crisis, the scientists said.

Related Aricle:


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Banned! New York sends plastic bags packing

Yahoo – AFP, Peter HUTCHISON, February 29, 2020

A shopper with groceries in plastic bags walks in New York's Upper East Side
neighborhood on February 28, 2020, ahead of the statewide ban on plastic
bags (AFP Photo/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

New York (AFP) - Consumerist mecca New York targets its throwaway culture this weekend with a ban on single-use plastic bags that has been years in the making and is still rare in America.

New Yorkers like to see themselves at the forefront of efforts to save the environment but are used to receiving groceries in free plastic bags, often doubled up to ensure sturdiness.

On Sunday, that will change when New York becomes only the third US state to outlaw the non-biodegradable sacks blamed for choking rivers, littering neighborhoods and suffocating wildlife.

Environmental activists welcome the new law but caution that exemptions will weaken its effect, while some small businesses worry the ban might negatively impact their profits.

At the Westside Market in Manhattan, 66-year-old Janice Vrana, who says she has been shopping with a reusable cloth bag for a decade, is delighted "pervasive" plastic sacks are being banished.

"You could drive over them 500 times with a Mack Truck and they probably wouldn't break down. Whatever little I can do, I do," she told AFP.

Janine Franciosa, a 38-year-old who works in advertising, said it is great people are becoming more aware of how their "everyday purchases are affecting the environment."

But not everyone is happy.

Westside Market manager Ian Joskowitz, 52, told AFP some customers were "upset" because they use free plastic bags as garbage bags.

California and Oregon have statewide bans of plastic bags while Hawaii has a de 
facto ban. Four other states have bans starting soon (AFP Photo/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

Fines

New York uses some 23 billion plastic bags every year, according to the state government.

About 85 percent are thrown away, ending up in landfills, and on streets and beaches, it says.

After several failed attempts, lawmakers finally approved the ban in April 2019.

It bars all retailers who pay state taxes -- such as department stores, supermarkets, neighborhood corner stores and gas stations -- from providing plastic bags to customers.

Violators can expect fines of up to $500, although officials have said they will give stores time to adapt to the new rules.

The ban will "protect our natural resources for future generations," said Governor Andrew Cuomo when he announced the legislation last year.

The law allows New York city and counties to levy a five-cent tax on paper bags, with part of the resulting revenue going to an environmental protection fund.

Kate Kurera, deputy director of Environmental Advocates of New York, says the ban will cause "a tremendous reduction" in plastic waste pollution.

She laments, however, that food takeouts, beloved by the city's 8.6 million inhabitants, are exempt.

Other exemptions include bags for prescription drugs, plastic wrapping for newspapers delivered to subscribers, and bags used solely for non-prepackaged food such as meat and fish.

Kurera wishes the government would make the paper bag fee mandatory to force customers to bring their own carriers, noting that producing paper bags is intensive in terms of oil, fossil fuels and trees used.

A shopper with groceries in plastic bags walks in New York's Upper East Side 
neighborhood on February 28, 2020, ahead of the statewide ban on plastic bags
(AFP Photo/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

'Live with it!'

"Ideally neither bag is preferable," she told AFP. "Behavior is slower to change when people know they can get a free paper bag."

Greg Biryla, New York state director at the National Federation of Independent Business, says alternatives can cost up to seven times more than plastic bags.

"They are proportionally more burdensome on small businesses who aren't ordering in as big a quantity as their big business counterparts," he told AFP.

California and Oregon have statewide bans of plastic bags while Hawaii has a de facto ban.

Four other states have bans starting soon while Texas has prevented its cities from outlawing plastic bags.

New York is viewed as one of the most innovative cities in the world, but on the issue of plastic it has some catching up to do internationally.

Ubiquitous across the Big Apple are single-use plastic utensils such as cutlery, straws and stirrers, which European Union countries have voted to outlaw by next year.

New York's older residents note that plastic bags only became available in US grocery stores in 1979, signaling how quickly habits can change.

"When I was growing up we brought our own bags," shopper Denise Shaleaon told AFP, adding of the ban: "The New Yorker will have to live with it!"

Friday, February 28, 2020

Shell, Gasunie and Groningen join forces for mega wind and hydrogen plant

DutchNews, February 27, 2020 

An offshore wind farm. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Oil giant Shell, gas group Gasunie and Groningen’s port authority are joining forces to build a massive offshore wind farm and hydrogen plant in the northern province, Dutch media reported on Thursday. 

The plan, dubbed NortH2, will be formally presented on Thursday afternoon but will, the companies say, be one of the ‘biggest renewable energy projects in the world’. 

The project is still at the planning stage and definitive investment decisions still have to be taken. 

A feasibility study will completed at the end of this year but the project will require government support, the Financieele Dagblad said. More partners may also be brought on board. 

The electricity would be brought onshore at Eemshaven where it would be used to produce hydrogen for northern European industry and distributed via Gasunie’s current network. 

The factory will have capacity to produce 800,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year. ‘Green hydrogen, produced via renewable sources such as wind and solar power, is central in the Dutch climate agreement and in the European Green Deal,’ the three companies say. 

Hydrogen is widely used in industry but is currently mainly produced with gas. 

Last October, Groningen hosted a major conference on developing a hydrogen based economy. 

Economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes said at the time the region has everything it needs, including infrastructure (gas pipelines, deep-sea port), the space and the knowledge to make the transition to a hydrogen economy a reality. 

Households 

The offshore wind farm will kick off with production of some three to four gigawatts by 2030, expanding to 10 gigawatts by 2040. This would be enough to supply 12.5 million households, or more than the total number of households in the Netherlands, the project group said. 

Dutch offshore wind farms currently generate just under one gigawatt of power.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Bushfires burned a fifth of Australia's forest: study

Yahoo – AFP, Patrick GALEY, February 24, 2020

Australia's annual average forest loss to wild fires is typically well below 2 percent --
but a study has shown around 21 percent was lost between September and January
(AFP Photo/SAEED KHAN)

Paris (AFP) - Australia's wildfires have destroyed more than a fifth of the country's forests, making the blazes "globally unprecedented" following a years-long drought linked to climate change, researchers said Monday.

Climate scientists are currently examining data from the disaster, which destroyed swathes of southeastern Australia, to determine to what extent they can be attributed to rising temperatures.

In a special edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, Australian researchers examined several other aspects of the blazes, including investigations into their extent and possible causes.

One study showed that between September 2019 and January 2020 around 5.8 million hectares of broadleaf forest were burned in New South Wales and Victoria.

This accounts for roughly 21 percent of the nation's forested area, making this fire season proportionately the most devastating on record.

"Halfway through Spring 2019 we realised that a very large part of the eastern Australian forest could be burned in this single season," Matthias Boer, from the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University, Penrith, told AFP.

One study author warned the data almost certainly underestimates the extent of
forest loss as the island state of Tasmania was not covered by the research (AFP 
Photo/PETER PARKS)

"The shock came from realising that this season was off the charts globally in terms of the percentage of the continental section of a forest biome that burned."

Boer said his study almost certainly underestimates the extent of forest loss as the island state of Tasmania was not covered in the data.

Australia's annual average forest loss to wild fires is typically well below 2 percent.

Droughts linked to sea temperature

Another study published Monday looked at the conditions that made the fires so damaging -- a years-long dry spell in Australia's Murray-Darling Basin.

Droughts create more fuel for wildfires and make it harder for forests to recover after each blaze.

Andrew King, from the University of Melbourne, and colleagues looked at a phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which has a direct effect on rainfall levels in Australia and elsewhere.

Since 2017 much of Australia has experienced widespread drought, something the study attributed to a relative lack of negative IOD events -- when there are warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the east Indian Ocean with cooler waters in the west.

Climate scientists are currently examining data from the disaster, which saw swathes 
of southeastern Australia destroyed, to determine to what extent they can be attributed
to rising temperatures (AFP Photo/TOM BANNIGAN)

These events tend to shift weather patterns and typically bring greater rainfall to southeast Australia, and are made less frequent as global sea temperatures warm.

King and the team examined rainfall statistics and found that the winter of 2016 saw extremely heavy precipitation and a corresponding negative IOD event.

Since then, the Murray-Darling Basin has experienced 12 consecutive seasons with below-average rainfall, the longest period on record since 1900.

"With climate change there have been projections that there will be more positive IOD events and fewer negative IOD events," King told AFP.

"This would mean that we'd expect more dry seasons in Australia and possibly worse droughts."

Boer said that climate change was all but certain to make Australia more prone to wildfires and urged the government to strengthen fire readiness measures and "take urgent and effective action on climate change."

Related Articles:


(*)  Kryon explains what is going on with the Weather/Climate Change 
(**) Kryon gives Australia fire suggestions

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Netherlands in EU top three for recycling, says circular economy report

DutchNews, February 21, 2020

Plastic waste awaiting collection in Amstelveen. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Netherlands is in Europe’s top three for recycling, according to the latest figures published by the Dutch statistics office

A report on the ‘circular economy in the Netherlands’ – looking at the extent to which the country uses raw materials and recycles what it uses – shows that it is apparently improving. 

In 2018 the country consumed around 20% less in materials than in 2000 – including goods that are used in production. On average, each resident used 10,000 kilos of materials in 2018 – however another 21,500 kilos per head were produced, intended for export. 

The report says that the Netherlands’ material use ‘footprint’ is relatively low, partly because it is small and densely populated so less material is needed for infrastructure such as roads. 

The Dutch produce more rubbish per head than the European norm, at 2,500 kilos in 2016, compared with an average 1,800 kilos – partly due to packaging from goods that are imported and then exported, according to the report. 

However, it is third for recycling rates, after Luxemburg and Belgium – sending 1,698kg of rubbish for reuse per head in 2016, the most recent year for which there are comparative figures. 

The government is aiming to build a ‘completely’ circular economy by 2050, in which material is used sparingly, products are designed with reuse in mind and everything possible is recycled.

Monday, February 10, 2020

As nations bicker, a greener future evolves in finance

Yahoo – AFP,  Jitendra JOSHI,February 9, 2020

Analysts believe that green finance could help save the planet and make
money for investors (AFP Photo/Philippe HUGUEN)

London (AFP) - Away from the toxic atmosphere at climate summit talks, in boardrooms, banks and trading houses, a transformation in green finance is under way.

Its backers hope it could profitably help save the planet.

Regardless of the politics of climate change, there is real money to be made today in the exploding market for bonds and other instruments invested in environmentally sustainable projects.

But in the final analysis, uniform regulation derived from collective political action will be vital both for the markets and for the planet itself, observers acknowledge.

Hard-nosed US investors in fields such as solar panels are not necessarily driven by anxiety about global warming, Climate Bonds Initiative chief executive Sean Kidney said.

"Most of them are Republicans for god's sake," he said at a conference on climate finance organised by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London.

"They care only about price," he added, predicting the transition to a low-carbon future would generate $90 trillion investment by 2050 in areas including low-energy cooling, urban farming and greener transport.

Kidney's independent organisation certifies "green bonds" issued by governments, municipalities and companies whose proceeds are devoted to sustainable development.

Notable issuers last month included the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, one of a slew of US cities unwilling to wait on President Donald Trump's climate-sceptic administration as they vie to adapt their creaking infrastructures to a low-carbon future.

Tipping point

The investment community more broadly is running ahead of climate politics, which have been stymied by the refusal of the United States and other major economies to chart a way forward on the 2015 Paris accord.

BlackRock, the world's biggest asset management fund, shook the industry last month by announcing it would transition out of coal-based investments.

"Climate risk has become mainstream (for investors). It does feel we have reached a tipping point," said Nick Anderson, board member of International Financial Reporting Standards, which is crafting new climate guidance for company accountants.

Democratic presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
 set up a task force on climate-related financial disclosures in 2015 (AFP Photo/
JEFF KOWALSKY)

In 2019, the green bonds market worldwide expanded by more than half to about $258 billion, and further breakneck growth is expected this year, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative.

Departments at major banks in charge of environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters, once a backwater in high finance, now have real teeth as banks get serious about profitable alternative investments and their wider public image.

Environmental finance is "absolutely real and tangible", said Alexandra Basirov, global head of sustainable finance for financial institutions at French bank BNP Paribas.

Banks such as BNP and ING have pioneered lower-interest loans that give greener projects an edge over more carbon-intensive ones.

But Basirov also cautioned at last week's EBRD conference: "Ultimately markets don't operate efficiently without adequate data."

Therein lies the rub for many engaged in the ESG business: how to tally assets at risk from climate change, and how to quantify the risk itself given the array of catastrophic outcomes in store as temperatures rise.

Green for greenbacks

Credit risk agencies have been writing new models that seek to calculate corporate exposure, such as the weight of assets that companies already hold in potentially obsolete carbon investments.

Green investments are already turning into greenbacks for firms, according to James Leaton, vice president for climate risk at Moody's Investors Service.

Sustainable projects show a "lower default rate" because investors see them as more future-proof and creditworthy, he said.

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, an initiative launched by former New York mayor and now US presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, aims to rationalise what companies must report to investors on their climate exposure.

In the acronym-heavy field of climate finance, central banks are also getting in on the act.

One initiative derived from the Paris accord is the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a platform for central bankers to examine the global financial risks of climate change.

A notable holdout has been the US Federal Reserve, hobbled by Trump's vocal objections to climate action. Fed chief Jerome Powell hinted last month that it might soon sign up.

Morgan Despres, head of the NGFS secretariat and deputy chief of the financial stability department at the Banque de France, told AFP that network staffers were in contact with Fed counterparts "on a regular basis".

"Any action does need to be global," he added, echoing environmentalists who say that policymakers must in the end bury their differences and catch up with financiers on climate change.

For investors, the EBRD conference heard that the most meaningful policy action would be for governments to agree a true market price for carbon that properly reflects its climate impact.

"Without carbon pricing, you can only go so far," Eric Usher, head of the UN Environment Programme's finance initiative, said.