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

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bandung tea produced using hydroelectricity

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

When Rachmat Badruddin came up with an idea in 1999 to build a hydroelectric plant to cut diesel fuel costs, people laughed at him.

The same people ridiculed him for spending Rp 2.5 billion to realize this idea, saying it was inefficient and a waste of money, at a time when diesel fuel cost only Rp 600 per liter.

But Rachmat, owner of the KBP Chakra tea company, stayed true to his ambition.

With his own money he built a dam to retain water from Cikahuripan and Cimeri Rivers, to propel turbines to generate electricity.

"I persevered because I wanted to reduce my diesel fuel consumption and use a sustainable energy resource," Rachmat told The Jakarta Post.

His family bought the 800 hectare Dewata tea plantation from a Dutch businessman in 1956. The land is situated between 1,350 and 1,500 meters above sea level in a remote area on the slopes of Mount Tilu, two hours, over broken and rocky roads, outside Bandung. Perhaps this would explain why the state electricity company, PLN, has been reluctant to connect them to the power grid.

Each month Rachmat would order at least 25,000 liters of diesel fuel.

Waiting for diesel fuel supplies to arrive to feed his generators which powered his workers' quarters and four tea processing factories was stressful, he said.

"May the diesel tanker arrive safely and not roll over along the way," he would pray to keep his business running.

Using hydroelectricity, he hoped, would take away this worry, because until then, his business, its 800 workers and their families had depended on diesel for power.

Rachmat was fortunately able to get assistance for his project, including soft loans amounting to US$200,000 from USAID, along with support from many others, like the Directorate General of Electricity and Energy Demand.

Despite receiving instant funding, the project also encountered problems.

Director of KBP Chakra, Teguh Kustiono, said it was a difficult task to redirect water from the two rivers into the dam to propel the two turbines.

"While excavating into the mountain we had to anticipate the possibility of landslides, while making large canals to redirect the water, which made the process tedious," said Teguh.

The planned micro-hydropower facility was completed three years after its conception.

Each of the turbines, installed 60-meters beneath the dam, can generate 120 KW of electricity while using 600 liters of water per second.

Around 30 percent of the generator's capacity of 240 KW powers some 400 workers' homes. According to Teguh, each house is provided with 300 W of electricity since the workers use only a small number of electrical appliances.

"Most of them don't have refrigerators because it's very cold here. They may only use electricity for ironing, lighting and watching TV," said Teguh.

Most of the energy is used to process green, black and Japanese tea varieties, harvesting 5,000 tons of dried tea leaves from four factories annually.

"Previously, 0.6 liters of diesel was used to dry 1 kg of tea leaves. By using the micro hydroelectric unit we can replace up to 80 percent of our energy consumption," Teguh said.

Over the last year, however, droughts have reduced the flow of water in the two rivers, and the amount of hydroelectric power available.

"We use diesel alternately during the drought, but we are considering using old trees as firewood to dry tea leaves. In any case, we intend to totally phase out diesel fuel," said Teguh.

Rachmat said his company hoped to develop alternative energy sources to prevent unnecessary forest clearing.

"We have also empowered local residents who own idle land to plant tea. The trees are not just there to make money, but also serve to retain water and keep the ecosystem in balance," said Rachmat.

With the increasing price of diesel fuel and the reduction of government subsidies the hydroelectric plant has been a blessing for the plantation.

When the hydroelectric plant was launched in December 2002, the price of diesel fuel was Rp 1,150 per liter. It has since surged to Rp 4,900 per liter.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Green power

How California's PG&E is transforming itself into the very model of a modern utility company.

By Katherine Ellison,

September 26 2007: 9:59 AM EDT

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- A 22-foot-long, neon-green banner hangs from the high-ceilinged lobby of the San Francisco headquarters of Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest utility. "GREEN IS resisting the urge to drive to yoga," it declares. "GREEN IS saying no thanks to the daily disposable coffee cup."

The answer: This energy company has risen from bankruptcy to become one of the planet's most prestigious - and profitable - brokers in green power. Wrapped in the mantle of environmentalism and touting the virtues of saving kilowatts, planting trees, and driving electric cars, the 155-year-old, $12.5 billion behemoth these days is acting less like a robber baron than a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

It's exploring, even incubating, cutting-edge technologies - from solar power to wave energy to biogas produced from cow manure. Along the way, it's giving other big energy firms a lesson in how to adapt to a carbon-constrained world, without - at least so far - getting burned.

In short, PG&E is turning itself into a role model for 21st-century utilities. That means making money by transmitting renewable energy wherever it may be generated - from the water flowing under the Golden Gate Bridge to the batteries of hybrid electric cars - all while managing an interactive power grid. Peter Darbee, CEO and chairman of PG&E Corp., the company that owns Pacific Gas & Electric, describes the sophisticated network that will hold it all together as the energy equivalent of the Internet.

While PG&E isn't the only American power firm that's going green, it is way ahead of the pack of investor-owned utilities in some important ways, including its connections in Silicon Valley and its willingness to use its political muscle to support environmental initiatives, such as limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.

Read More

World Bank pledges assistance for climate change management program

The Jakarta Post

NEW YORK (Antara): The World Bank has pledged technical and financial assistance for climate change management program as part of its wider support for Indonesian development agenda.

The pledge is contained in a joint statement between the World Bank and the Indonesian government, issued after a bilateral meeting between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and World Bank President Robert B Zoellick on the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly session in New York on Tuesday.

In an effort to deal with the climate change, Indonesia will host a global summit in the island resort of Bali in December this year.

Both Yudhoyono and Zoellick in their bilateral meeting attached the significance of the Bali summit to seek global consensus in the mitigation of climate change.

In the preparation for the Bali conference, Indonesia has taken various initiatives to reduce green house gas emission and deforestation.

Speaking at the annual high-level debate at UN Headquarters here on Tuesday, President Yudhoyono said the solution to the problems posed by climate change must be linked to sustainable development so that the world's least affluent countries can conquer poverty.

On the occasion, Yudhoyono said it was important to not lose sight of the fight against poverty when trying to combat climate change.

He said the global summit in Bali "must yield a new roadmap" that spells out what both the developed and developing world must do "to save humankind and its planet from the looming tragedy of climate change."

The Bali summit seeks to determine future action on mitigation, adaptation, the global carbon market and financing responses to climate change for the period after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol -- the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- in 2012.

Yudhoyono said the summit must produce an outcome and timeline that will be more comprehensive and more ambitious in achieving its practical objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"We developing countries must protect our natural resources while using them wisely for development," Yudhoyono added.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

RI`s initiative to consolidate tropical rain forest countries hailed

New York (ANTARA News) - Tropical rain forest countries have hailed Indonesia`s initiative to consolidate their (including Indonesia`s) position in efforts to preserve the world`s lungs, a presidential spokesman said.

Dino Patti Djalal made the statement after accompanying President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the opening of a high-level meeting of countries possessing tropical rain forests which was held in conjunction with the United Nations` 62nd General Assembly on Monday afternoon.

Dino added the meeting was an important initiative as it was carried out three months before the Bali Conference slated to be held end of this year. At least 10,000 delegates are expected to attend the Bali meeting.

The fact that Brazil attended Monday`s meeting, he said, was politically important as it was a positive development and progress to consolidate the meeting.

Brazil, he said, was previously reluctant to take part in a similar organization and the fact that Brazil was owner of the widest area of tropical rain forests in the world.

Initially, the forum of tropical rain forest countries was named Forestry Eight/F-8. Later, three countries joined the forum, increasing their number to 11, namely Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Gabon, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Peru.

The meeting of the 11 nations was aimed to produce a proposal to strengthen the role of forests in reducing global warming.

Monday, September 24, 2007

UN Chief Urges Immediate Climate Action


UNITED NATIONS (AP/Google) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an unprecedented summit on climate change Monday that "the time for doubt has passed" and a breakthrough is needed in global talks to sharply reduce emissions of global-warming gases.

"The U.N. climate process is the appropriate forum for negotiating global action," Ban told assembled presidents and premiers, an apparent caution against what some see as a U.S. effort to open a separate negotiating track.

The U.N. chief also addressed a chief U.S. objection to negotiated limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, that it will be too damaging to the American economy.

"Inaction now will prove the costliest action of all in the long term," Ban said.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, another speaker opening the summit, told the international delegates U.S. states are taking action.

While Bush administration has resisted emissions caps, California's Republican governor and Democrat-led legislature have approved a law requiring the state's industries to reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 25 percent by 2020. Other U.S. states, in various ways, are moving to follow California's lead.

"California is moving the United States beyond debate and doubt to action," Schwarzenegger said. "What we are doing is changing the dynamic."

The one-day meeting, with more than 80 national leaders among some 150 participants, also was scheduled to hear from Al Gore and international figures including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy.

U.N. chief Ban organized the summit to build political momentum toward launching negotiations later this year for deep cutbacks in emissions of carbon dioxide and other manmade gases blamed for global warming.

President Bush, who has long opposed such negotiated limits on "greenhouse gases," wasn't participating in the day's meetings but was to attend a small dinner Monday evening, a gathering of key players hosted by Ban.

Rather than accept treaty obligations, Bush has urged industry to cut emissions voluntarily, and emphasizes research on clean-energy technology as one answer. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, leading the U.S. delegation, was to address a technology session at Monday's conference.

On Thursday and Friday, Bush will host his own two-day climate meeting, limited to 16 "major emitter" countries. It's the first in a series of U.S.-sponsored climate gatherings.

Many environmentalists fear the separate U.S. "track," which will involve China and India, may undercut the global U.N. negotiating process. But some hope it eventually helps draw those two big developing nations and others into a new, U.N.-negotiated emissions regime.

This first-ever U.N. climate summit looked ahead to December's annual climate treaty conference in Bali, Indonesia, when the Europeans, Japanese and others hope to initiate talks for an emissions-reduction agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

The 1997 Kyoto pact, which the U.S. rejects, requires 36 industrial nations to reduce heat-trapping gases emitted by power plants and other industrial, agricultural and transportation sources by an average 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Advocates say a breakthrough is needed at Bali — almost certainly requiring a change in the U.S. position — to ensure an uninterrupted transition from Kyoto to a new, deeper-cutting regime.

To try to spur global negotiations, the European Union has committed to reduce emissions by at least an additional 20 percent by 2020.

Bush has objected that Kyoto-style mandates would damage the U.S. economy, and says they should have been imposed on fast-growing poorer countries, such as China and India, as well as on developed nations.

The U.N. summit follows a series of reports by a U.N. scientific network that warned of temperatures rising by several degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 and of a drastically changed planet from rising seas, drought and other factors, unless nations rein in greenhouse gases.

The U.N.-sponsored scientists reported global average temperatures over the past 100 years rose 1.3 degrees, and the planet's sea levels rose 6.6 inches, as oceans expanded from warmth and from the runoff of melting land ice.

Just last week, U.S. scientists reported that warmer temperatures this summer had shrunk the Arctic Ocean's ice cap to a record-low size.

Companies Make Climate Change a Priority

Report Says Climate Change Moves Up on Corporate Priority List

Yahoo Finance, Monday September 24, 9:52 am ET

By Vinnee Tong, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The world's biggest companies are making climate change a higher priority, in part through more widespread disclosure of carbon emissions, according to an annual report released Monday by a nonprofit group.

The report from Carbon Disclosure Project tracked how companies plan to deal with the risks and opportunities associated with greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

"The big thing this year is the huge increase in the level of seriousness with which climate change is being incorporated into the corporate strategy of companies," Carbon Disclosure Project Chief Executive Paul Dickinson said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Monday that the company would begin measuring energy use for seven product categories in a partnership with the CDP.

A typical Wal-Mart Supercenter, which combines a full grocery section with general merchandise, carries about 200,000 items in thousands of categories.

For the time being, the world's biggest retailer would not yet use the data to choose its suppliers of DVDs, toothpaste, soap, milk, beer, vacuum cleaners and soda.

"This is an important first step toward reaching our goal of removing non-renewable energy from the products Wal-Mart sells," its chief merchandising officer, John Fleming, said in a statement.

Among the 500 companies ranked by the Financial Times newspaper as the world's largest by market capitalization, 75 percent responded to this year's survey, up from 47 percent when the survey started four years ago.

The response rate by companies in North America rose in all industry sectors, and nine of 10 sectors had a response rate of more than 50 percent. The increased willingness by companies to disclose their carbon emissions and find ways to reduce them reflects the changing political and regulatory landscape over energy efficiency.

Of the companies that responded, 76 percent implemented programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 48 percent last year.

On Monday, the Carbon Disclosure Project also was launching the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index, a smaller group of 68 companies including Citigroup Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., The Coca-Cola Co., Hewlett-Packard Co. and General Motors Corp.

The nonprofit group is supported by 315 institutional investors, including Merrill Lynch & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the California Public Employees' Retirement System. Those investors have a total of more than $41 trillion under management.

AP Business Writer Marcus Kabel contributed to this report.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Countries sign on for accelerated plan to get rid of ozone depleting chemical

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL - International governments have banged out an agreement to shave a decade off a deadline to eliminate an ozone-depleting chemical.

Officials from close to 200 countries signed the deal on Friday night before the end of a week-long conference in Montreal on the topic of hydrochlorofluorocarbons - or HCFCs.

HCFCs, used in refrigeration equipment, air conditioners and foams, have been blamed for destroying the ozone layer.

"I don't think we're going to stumble across a silver bullet, but we've made great progress this week," Environment Minister John Baird told reporters at a news conference on Saturday.

"It's been a great week for international action to protect the ozone layer."

The agreement calls for developed nations to begin reducing production and consumption of HCFCs by 2010, and phase them out in 2020.

Meanwhile, developing countries will start cutting HCFCs in 2015 and eliminate the substance in 2030. Poorer nations will receive funds under the deal to help with the added costs of the shorter deadline.

The advanced dates speed up existing international obligations by 10 years.

"It's perhaps the most important breakthrough in an environmental negotiation process for at least five or six years, because it sets a very specific target with an ambitious timetable," said Achim Steiner, the UN under-secretary and UN Environment Programme director, via video link from New York.

Steiner said HCFCs also act as potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Without the agreement, he said the production and use of HCFCs may have doubled by 2015, leading to the release of several billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Last week's conference came on the 20th anniversary of what is known as the Montreal Protocol, a United Nations agreement negotiated by 191 parties - 190 countries and the European Commission - to cut back on chemicals that deplete ozone.

A UN document says the Montreal Protocol led to worldwide reductions in the production of chlorofluorocarbons - or CFCs. In the 1990s, HCFCs became the less-damaging replacement for CFCs.

Baird said the Montreal Protocol and Friday's agreement are examples of how the international community can work together for the environment.

"We've got to learn from the success of the Montreal Protocol," he said. "The confidence and trust is clearly there from Canada, the United States, the European community . . . and that's the type of confidence we have to build up in other environmental accords."

Meanwhile, Jean Langlois of the Sierra Club of Canada called accelerating the elimination of HCFCs a "good thing," but criticized Canada for failing to respect the Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto mandates strict greenhouse gas emission targets through 2012.

When it comes to the government's position on Kyoto, the country has failed to learn lessons from the Montreal Protocol, Langlois said.

He said the binding targets and timelines of the Montreal Protocol made it a success.

Industrialized nations were also required to act first, he added.

"We would love to see Mr. Baird get behind the Montreal Protocol kind of approach (for) climate change, and so far he has been absolutely unwilling to do that," Langlois said.

"We're quite dismayed that the (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper government, on the greenhouse gas front, is still trying to push for voluntary measures."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Record Arctic ice melt causes alarm, September 22, 2007

Washington (Reuters): SEA ice over the Arctic has shrunk to its smallest known area, shattering a record set in 2005 and continuing a trend spurred by human-caused global warming, scientists say.

"It's really quite astounding," said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre. "It's the biggest drop from a previous record that we've ever had."

Sea ice freezes and melts seasonally, but never had it ebbed to this small a patch. Compared with 2005, this year there had been a decrease of more than 1 million square kilometres — nearly four times the size of Victoria — the centre said. It is more than double the decline between 2002 and 2005.

"That's a dramatic change in one year," Dr Meier said of this year's sea ice decrease.

"Certainly we've been on a downward trend for the past 30 years or so, but this is really accelerating the trend."

The minimum amount of ice occurred on Sunday and freezing has already begun in some places, according to satellite imagery used by the centre.

Melting sea ice, unlike the melting glaciers of Greenland and Antarctica, does not contribute to the global sea level rise, much as an ice cube in a glass of water does not make the level of liquid rise when it melts.

But without the bright white of sea ice to reflect the sun's rays, the Earth loses what some climate scientists call its air-conditioner. The less ice there is, the more dark water there is to absorb the warming solar radiation.

This year's record was caused by a "perfect storm" of interacting factors, Dr Meier said. These included a long-running high pressure system that kept skies cloudless over the Arctic, along with a circulation pattern that pushed ice out of the Arctic towards Greenland, instead of letting it circle around the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska.

While this year's ice minimum could not be directly attributed to anthropogenic — human-caused — global climate change, the trend that brought it about could, he said.

"This year, the reason why (the ice) was so low was not because there's more anthropogenically generated carbon dioxide dumped in the past year, it's because of this high pressure … but you can't really explain the overall trend without invoking anthropogenically global warming," Dr Meier said.

The decrease in Arctic sea ice was forecast in models used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which this year said with 90 per cent probability that global warming exists and that human activities contribute to it.

Climate change worse than feared: Australian expert


SYDNEY (AFP) — Global warming is occurring at a faster rate than the worst-case scenario envisaged by experts just six years ago, Australia's top climate change scientist said Thursday.

Tim Flannery, named the 2007 Australian of the Year for his work in alerting the public to the dangers of global warming, said the issue was the greatest challenge facing humanity in the 21st century.

Flannery said predictions in a 2001 UN report, warning the atmosphere was likely to warm by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (2.5-10.4 Fahrenheit) from 1990 to 2100 now appeared conservative.

"In the six years since then, we've collected enough data to (check) whether those projections are valid or not," he said.

"It turns out they're not valid, but in the most horrible way -- because for the key performance indicators about climate, change is occurring far in advance of the worst-case scenario," he said.

"Carbon dioxide's increasing more rapidly, sea levels are rising more rapidly (and) the Arctic ice cap is melting away more quickly than were projected in 2001."

Flannery said the world needed an international organisation similar to the United Nations dedicated solely to climate change.

"The 21st century is going to be about environmental limits," he said.

"There's six billion of us on the planet, there will soon be nine billion, the atmosphere is tiny as a pollution receptacle, clearly that's going to be where the action is.

"But we haven't yet built the structures, the new version of the UN that helps us deal with the global pollution crisis as a species."

Flannery said nations needed to "de-carbonise" their economies by 2050, increasing reliance on geo-thermal, nuclear and renewable energy.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Eco-friendly radio helps Javanese farmers

Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, Bantul

The two-by-three-meter room is cramped with electronic gadgets, computers, chairs and tables -- but it is the nerve center of farming life, as well as every other activity in Terong village, Dlinggo district, Bantul, from which the Menara Siar Pedesaan (MSP), or Rural Broadcasting Tower community radio station airs its programs.

Terong village consists of nine hamlets and is inhabited by around 6,000 people, 4,000 of whom are farmers.

MSP broadcasts a variety of community-based information programs as well as an environmentally-friendly farming program, which disseminates information on efficient farming patterns, pest control and food crop price management.

The farming program is aired twice weekly -- every Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and every Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., while other programs are aired every Friday evening.

"Our schedule is flexible. We'll cancel the Wednesday program out of the planting season," said Sukamdan, leader of the Among Kismo farming association, an alliance of farmers from the nine hamlets in the village.

"We apply a back-to-nature concept in farm management and planting pattern programs," said Terong village administrative chief and MSP radio announcer, Sudirman Alfian.

Sudirman said the radio station chose to focus on a back-to-nature concept due to extensive soil damage in the village, which had resulted from an ineffective government policy of promoting the excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Despite the lack of concrete data, the four years of MSP's existence has brought about some changes in farmers' cultivating patterns. This is evident from a decrease in the use of chemical fertilizers, with most of the farmers switching back to organic fertilizers.

"We have not yet obtained the exact figures or percentages, but the change in farming habits is obvious," Sudirman said.

Sudirman said residents now used natural pest control measures, such as using organic pesticides derived from the mindi plant, with favorable results.

"The eel population dropped drastically when chemical fertilizers and pesticide were used ... they died of chemical poisoning.

"Now, eel numbers in the fields have increased. This indicates that the environmental condition has improved."

Radio MSP was established in 2002 when one of the farming groups received aid from the World Bank through the Decentralized Agriculture and Forestry Extension Program (Dafep) in an effort to empower farmers.

They received audio equipment, such as amplifiers and loudspeakers, to expedite information among villagers. As they faced difficulties in operating the devices, they set up a community radio as a means to communicate and provide information and entertainment.

Group members collected fees which amounted to Rp 7 million (approximately US$777) and purchased additional equipment. The World Bank then provided them with a mixer.

MSP radio, which is set at a frequency of 107.9 FM, went on air in November 2002 and has been registered as a member of the Yogyakarta Community Radio Network (JRKY). It has a current broadcast radius range of 6 kilometers.

"We stopped airing for two months because the radio station and some of the equipment was damaged from the massive earthquake that struck in May last year."

Thanks to a number of donors, that provided transmitting devices, a mixer and a facsimile machine, MSP was able to get back on the air.

At least 15 people call in to participate in live programs every day; some from as far away as Gunungkidul.

"At least we are able to get information quicker," said Sukamdan, leader of the Among Tani farmers' group.

MSP is also the center for information on activities in the village. A survey involving 500 local respondents showed that 75 percent of listeners regularly tuned in to the station.

The radio station employs seven broadcasters, some of whom are employees at the village hall. Residents collect fees to finance operational costs, while the village administration foot the telephone and electricity bills, which amount to Rp 1 million monthly.

Sukamdan said Radio MSP gives direct benefits to farmers because they can obtain information fast, and are kept up-to-date on crop price developments, thereby no longer needing to rely on middlemen during the harvest.

Farmers are able to listen to the experiences of other farmers in cultivating a certain plant successfully.

"We often discuss the best way to plant. We record the discussions and the radio airs and discusses them during the interactive programs," he said.

Friday, September 7, 2007

APEC officials agree on global warming statement

The Jakarta Post

SYDNEY (AP): Pacific Rim nations on Friday reached agreement on a joint statement on global warming, overcoming bickering between rich and poor nations about whether to include targets on emissions, two Asian officials said.

Experts from the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum approved the wording of a final draft statement on climate change that would be handed to leaders at their summit starting Saturday, the officials said.

If the leaders agree to the statement in it's current form, it would be a big victory for the goal of Australia and the United States to have China - one of the world's biggest polluters – and other developing nations commit to quantifiable goals to tackle climate change.

One official involved in the talks, Indonesia's Salman Al-Farisi, said the draft statement included agreement on setting an "energy intensity" reducing target - a major concession by poorer nations that had earlier refused to consider including any quantifiable goals.

The target was for all 21 APEC members to work toward a 25 percent reduction of energy intensity by 2030, said a Southeast Asian officials involved in the talks, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

In return for the reduction target, developed countries have accepted the inclusion of recognition of the U.N. principle that poorer nations had fewer responsibilities to cut carbon emissions that developed ones, officials said.

The sides also agreed that the U.N. was the chief place for global negotiations on the problem.

"Everybody cannot get everything, but everybody did not lose too much," Al-Farisi said of the compromise. He stressed that, in line with APEC's consensus-based, non-binding approach, nothing in the agreement was cast in stone.

"It is (up to members') discretion to follow, in accordance to their national programs," he said.

Another Southeast Asian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed that agreement had been reached among officials, and the final draft was ready to be handed to the leaders.

NOAA Scientists Say Arctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Expected

By Doug Struck, Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Arctic ice cap is melting faster than scientists had expected and will shrink 40 percent by 2050 in most regions, with grim consequences for polar bears, walruses and other marine animals, according to government researchers.

The Arctic sea ice will retreat hundreds of miles farther from the coast of Alaska in the summer, the scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded. That will open up vast waters for fishermen and give easier access to new areas for oil and gas exploration. It is also likely to mean an upheaval in species, bringing new predators to warmer waters and endangering those that depend on ice.

The study, by NOAA oceanographer James Overland and meteorologist Muyin Wang, adds to the increasingly urgent predictions of major ice loss in the Arctic. Six years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted major ice loss by 2100. An update by that United Nations-sponsored panel in February said that without drastic changes in greenhouse gas emissions, Arctic sea ice will "almost entirely" disappear by the end of the century.

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