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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dream come true? A car that can run on water

The Times of india, Jul 28, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani engineer has successfully developed a unique technology that uses water as fuel in vehicles instead of petrol or CNG, a feat once considered a farfetched dream. Waqar Ahmad drove his car using water as fuel on Thursday during a demonstration for Pakistani parliamentarians, scientists and students.

He claimed that on one litre of water a 1000 CC car can cover a distance of 40 km and a motorbike can run up to 150 km using this technology.

Ahmad said cars could be driven by a system fueled by water instead of petrol or CNG. The onlookers were taken aback when they saw the dream car and a cabinet subcommittee lauded Ahmad's 'Water Fuel Kit Project'. Religious affairs minister Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, panel panel, said Ahmad would have their full support, calling it "this years's Independence Day gift to the nation".

The water fueling system is a technology in which 'hydrogen bonding' with distilled water produces hydrogen gas to run the car.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What is the Higgs Boson?

Spirit LibraryDavid R. Hamilton PhD,  12 July, 2012  (posted 27 July, 2012)

Particle of energy

David R. Hamilton
Quite a few people have asked me about the Higgs Boson – or ‘God’ particle, as it’s been named – that was discovered at CERN recently. They have asked what it is and what it means for us.

The Higgs boson is a particle that gives most other particles mass.  OK, that might not mean much so let me explain it a little differently.

You can actually think of it as a field of energy and that’s an ideal analogy for how I need to explain what it is.

It’s a bit like a swimming pool that objects have to pass through. Say you had a steel ball and a dustbin lid and you had to drag both through the swimming pool. Which do you think would be easiest? The steel ball, of course! The dustbin lid would have a much greater drag factor.

The drag factor is the ‘Mass’ (or weight if that is easier to think about). The swimming pool is the Higgs field and it exerts a drag on all other particles, which mostly accounts for the differences in their masses. The Higgs boson might be thought of as a droplet of water in the swimming pool.

There’s another way you could think about it. Let’s say you have Usain Bolt, the world record holder for the 100 metres sprint (9.58 seconds) and a much less famous sprinter. Usain is much more famous so if the two sprinters walked side by side through Trafalgar Square in London, Usain would get mobbed by people, slowing down his walk. The less famous sprinter would walk right through, virtually unimpeded. You would say that Usain had greater ‘mass’. The people are the Higgs bosons and they weigh Usain down as they interact with him.

So what does that mean for you and me?

If it wasn’t for the Higgs boson most elementary particles (like quarks – that we are made of) wouldn’t have any mass and we would just be a mish-mash of particles floating in the universe, devoid of form. You wouldn’t exist, and neither would the planet Earth or the Sun. It’s kind of why some people call it the ‘God’ particle (although most physicists don’t really like the term).

So for the ordinary person it doesn’t really change anything. You exist now, partly because of the Higgs boson just as you did a few days before it was discovered. Life goes on and you’ll enjoy your morning coffee just as you did before Peter Higgs even thought up the concept of that particular boson.

It’s absolutely not the end of physics. There are still many mysteries to be probed. The Higgs boson could turn out to be not exactly as it was thought and could actually be made of smaller bits. No one knows yet. It might even by a scientific gateway that leads physicists into the search for weird new physics and even different dimensions of space and time. I think it’s all really exciting. It’s the beginning of something new!

So if you want to explain to people what the Higgs Boson is, either you can use the simple descriptions above, or you can cut it down to this simple joke:

A Higgs boson walks into a church. The priest says, ‘What are you doing in here?’ The Higgs boson replies, ‘You can’t have mass without me!’

This message was originally posted here.

Related Articles:

The God Particle
 (" ... This means that we can say, literally, that love is in the air!  ...)

"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa,Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism, Higgs Boson), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around", DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text Version)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Transparent & Flexible Solar Cells

ABC News/Yahoo, By Bill Weir, C. Michael Kim, David Miller, Justin Bare & Brad Marxer, Jul 26, 2012

Researchers at UCLA have created a new transparent polymer based solar cell that may eventually turn buildings, cars and smart phones into energy generating solar cells.

Every 15 minutes the Earth is hit with enough sunlight to provide energy for the entire planet - for a whole year! The goal is to harness that energy at the highest efficiency possible.

By absorbing infrared light instead of visible light, like current solar cells, the polymer solar cells are nearly 70 percent transparent to the human eye. So they can be applied to clear surfaces that were previously unable to house solar cells.

That means they could be applied to portable gadgets like smart phones, tablets and MP3 players. They could also be applied to the top of your car or to the side of skyscrapers.

The lead researchers from UCLA, Professors Yang Yang and Paul Weiss, joined us from their office at UCLA to discuss the breakthrough.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

World Bank's Jim Yong Kim: 'I want to eradicate poverty'

World Bank president says he will bring sense of urgency to efforts to end global poverty in exclusive Guardian interview, Sarah Boseley, health editor, in Washington, Wednesday 25 July 2012

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, speaks at the opening session
 of the International Aids Conference in Washington on 22 July. Photograph:
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The new president of the World Bank is determined to eradicate global poverty through goals, targets and measuring success in the same way that he masterminded an Aids drugs campaign for poor people nearly a decade ago.

Jim Yong Kim, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian, said he was passionately committed to ending absolute poverty, which threatens survival and makes progress impossible for the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day.

"I want to eradicate poverty," he said. "I think that there's a tremendous passion for that inside the World Bank"

Kim, who took over at the World Bank three weeks ago and is not only the first doctor and scientist (he is also an anthropologist) to be president but the first with development experience, will set "a clear, simple goal" in the eradication of absolute poverty. Getting there, however, needs progress on multiple, but integrated, fronts.

"The evidence suggests that you've got to do a lot of good, good things in unison, to be able to make that happen," said Kim. "The private sector has to grow, you have to have social protection mechanisms, you have to have a functioning health and education system. The scientific evidence strongly suggests that it has to be green – you have to do it in a way that is sustainable both for the environment and financially. All the great themes that we've been dealing with here have to come together to eradicate poverty from the face of the Earth."

Kim, who was previously head of the Ivy League Dartmouth College, is probably best known for his stint at the World Health Organisation (WHO), where he challenged the system to move faster in making Aids drugs available to people with HIV in the developing world who were dying in large numbers. In 2003, he set a target of 3 million people being on treatment by 2005 – thereafter known as "3 by 5". The target was not met on time, but it did focus minds and rapidly speed up the pace of the rollout, which included setting up clinics and training healthcare staff.

Now, he says, he thinks he can do the same for poverty. "What 3 by 5 did that we just didn't expect was to set a tempo to the response; it created a sense of urgency. There was pace and rhythm in the way we did things. We think we can do something similar for poverty," he said.

Asked if he would set a date this time, he said he was sorely tempted, but would not yet. "We don't know what they will be yet, but [there will be] goals, and counting. We need to keep up and say where we are making successes and why, and when are we going to be held to account next for the level of poverty. If we can build that kind of pace and rhythm into the movement, we think we can make a lot more progress," he said in his office at the Bank in Washington.

Kim was seen by many as a surprise choice for president. During the election, critics argued there should be an economist at the helm. Some said that, as a doctor, he would focus too much on health.

But Kim, who co-founded Partners In Health, which pioneered sustainable, high-quality healthcare for poor people, first in Haiti and later in Africa, said his three years at the WHO have been the only ones of his career that were solely devoted to health.

"It's always been about poverty, so for me, making the switch to being here at the Bank is really not that much of a stretch. I've been doing this all my life and we're in a bit of the spotlight because of the stuff we did in healthcare but it was really always about poverty," he said.

Partners in Health offered HIV and tuberculosis treatment to poor people in Haiti for the first time. "We were trying to make a point. And the point we were trying to make was that just because people are poor shouldn't mean that they shouldn't have access to high quality healthcare. It was always based in social justice, it was always based in the notion that people had a right to live a dignified life. The good news is that this place – the Bank – is just full of people like that."

Kim, who has spent his first weeks talking to Bank staff with expertise in a huge range of areas, strongly believes in the integration of all aspects of development, and says the staff do too. He cites a new hospital Partners built in Rwanda, which led to the building of a road to get there and then the expansion of mobile phone networks in the area. "In a very real sense, we've always believed that investing in health means investing in the wellbeing and development of that entire community," he said.

Speaking to the International Aids Conference in Washington this week – the first World Bank president to do so – Kim told activists and scientists that the end of Aids no longer looked as far-fetched as the 3 by 5 plan had appeared in 2003. Science has delivered tools, such as drugs that not only treat but prevent infection.

But the cost of drugs for life for 15 million or more people is not sustainable, he says. Donors are unlikely to foot the bill. Hard-hit developing countries have to be helped to grow so they can pay for the drugs and healthcare systems they need.

Kim would like the highly active HIV community to broaden its focus. "We've had Aids exceptionalism for a long time and Aids exceptionalism has been incredibly important. It has been so productive for all of us," he said. "But I think that as we go beyond the emergency response and think about the long-term sustainable response, conversations such as how do we spur growth in the private sector have to be part of the discussion."

Every country wants economic growth, he says, and people want jobs. "If I care about poverty, I have to care a lot about investments in the private sector. The private sector creates the vast majority of jobs in the world and social protection only goes so far," he said.

Nevertheless, he is a big proponent of social protection policies. "I've always been engaged in social protection programmes. But now it is really a signature of the World Bank. We're very good at helping people look at their public expenditures and we say to them things like, fuel subsidies really aren't very helpful to the poor – what you really need is to remove fuel subsidies and focus on things like conditional cash transfer plans. The Bank is great at that."

New to him are climate change and sustainability, he says. "We are watching things happen with one degree changes in ocean temperature that we thought wouldn't happen until there were two or three degree changes in ocean temperature. These are facts. These are things that have actually happened … I think we now have plenty of evidence that should push us into thinking that this is disturbing data and should spur us to think ever more seriously about clean energy and how can we move our focus more towards clean energy."

But poor countries are saying they need more energy and we must respect that, he says. "It's hard to say to them we still do it but you can't … I think our role is to say the science suggests strongly to us that we should help you looking for clean energy solutions."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Satellites reveal sudden Greenland ice melt

BBC News, 25 July 2012

The first image shows Greenland's ice sheet on 8 July, the second
reveals the thawed area just four days later

Related Stories 

Greenland's massive ice sheet has melted this month over an usually large area, Nasa has said.

Scientists said the "unprecedented" melting took place over a larger area that ever detected in three decades of satellite observation.

Melting even occurred at Greenland's coldest and highest place, Summit station.

The thawed ice area jumped from 40% of the ice sheet to 97% in just four days from 8 July.

Although about half of Greenland's ice sheet normally melts over the summer months, the speed and scale of this year's melting surprised scientists, who described the phenomenon as "extraordinary".

Nasa said that nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its centre, which is 3km (two miles) thick, experienced some degree of melting at its surface.

"When we see melt in places that we haven't seen before, at least in a long period of time, it makes you sit up and ask what's happening?" Nasa chief scientist Waleed Abdalati said.

"It's a big signal, the meaning of which we're going to sort out for years to come."

He said that because this Greenland-wide melting has happened before they are not yet able to determine whether this is a natural but rare event, or if it has been sparked by man-made global warming.

Scientists said they believed that much of Greenland's ice was already freezing again.

Until now, the most extensive melting seen by satellites in the past three decades was about 55% of the area.

Ice last melted at Summit station in 1889, ice core records show.

The news comes just days after Nasa satellite imagery revealed that a massive iceberg, twice the size of Manhattan, had broken off a glacier in Greenland.

"This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story," said Nasa's Tom Wagner.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vast aquifer found in Namibia could last for centuries

BBC News, by Matt McGrath, Science reporter, 20 July 2012

Related Stories 

Pressure from the aquifer means
the water is cheap to extract
A newly discovered water source in Namibia could have a major impact on development in the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa.

Estimates suggest the aquifer could supply the north of the country for 400 years at current rates of consumption.

Scientists say the water is up to 10,000 years old but is cleaner to drink than many modern sources.

However, there are concerns that unauthorised drilling could threaten the new supply.

Huge resource

For the people of northern Namibia water is something that they either have too much of or too little.

The 800,000 people who live in the area depend for their drinking water on a 40-year-old canal that brings the scarce resource across the border from Angola.

Over the past decade the Namibian government have been trying to tackle the lack of a sustainable supply in partnership with researchers from Germany and other EU countries.

They have now identified a new aquifer called Ohangwena II, which flows under the boundary between Angola and Namibia.

On the Namibian side of the border it covers an area roughly 70 km by 40 km (43 miles by 25 miles).

According to project manager Martin Quinger, from the German federal institute for geoscience and natural resources (BGR), it's a substantial body of water.

"The amount of stored water would equal the current supply of this area in northern Namibia for 400 years, which has about 40 percent of the nation's population."

"What we are aiming at is a sustainable water supply so we only extract the amount of water that is being recharged.

"What we can say is that the huge amount of stored water is will always be enough for a back up for an area that is currently supplied only by surface water." 

Test drilling on the new aquifer
This region is dependent on two rivers for its water supply. But this has restricted agricultural development to areas close to these water sources. Mr Quinger says that the new aquifer has great potential to change the nature of farming in the area.

"For the rural water supply the water will be well suited for irrigation and stock watering, the possibilities that we open with this alternative resource are quite massive." he explains.

As well as providing a new source for agriculture in a region the aquifer will augment existing potable supplies. Martin Quinger says the discovery may be up to 10,000 years old but it is still good to drink.

"If the water [has spent] 10,000 years underground, it means it was recharged at a time when environmental pollution was not yet an issue, so on average it can be a lot better than water that infiltrates in cycles of months or years."

Dangerous drilling

The natural pressure that the water is under means that it is easy and cheap to extract. But because a smaller salty aquifer sits on top of the new find it raises the possibility that unauthorised drilling could threaten the quality of the water.

Martin Quinger says that random drilling into the aquifer could be dangerous.

"If people don't comply with our technical recommendations they might create a hydraulic shortcut between the two aquifers which might lead to the salty water from the upper one contaminating the deep one or vice versa."

One of the biggest advantages of the new aquifer could be in helping people cope with climate change.

The researchers estimate that it could act as a natural buffer for up to 15 years of drought.

As well as identifying the new water source a key aim for the researchers involved is to develop the capacity among young Namibians to manage their country's water resources before the funding from the EU runs out.

Is the WWF too close with industry?

Deutsche Welle, 22 July 2012

Does the WWF cooperate with "the biggest environmental sinners on the planet"? Author Wilfried Huismann says yes, and his dispute with the WWF about its agenda and industry ties has escalated.

Miniature pandas on yogurt containers and bags of frozen fish - the logo of the environmental organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stands for environmental responsibility. It is considered one of the "most trustworthy brands in the world," writes documentary filmmaker Wilfied Huismann in his book "Schwarzbuch WWF - Dunkle Geschäfte im Zeichen des Panda" (Black Book WWF - Dark Dealings in the Name of the Panda).

That's why Huismann was upset to see the WWF emblem on a package of salmon produced by a Norwegian company that is responsible for what he calls a "major environmental fiasco." He began digging into the company's production methods while at work on a film about salmon breeding in Chile in 2009, Huismann told DW.

"There were huge amounts of antibiotics and chemicals being dumped into the sea, and fish populations were being completely fished out in order to produce food for the salmon in cages," he said, adding that the principles of environmental protection are being abandoned when the WWF places its logo on such companies' products.

Since then, the author and filmmaker has been at odds with the WWF.

On whose side? 

Huismann believes the WWF
isn't living up to its mission
Last year, Huismann's film "Pakt mit dem Panda" (Pact with the Panda) unleashed heated controversy. And this year, the filmmaker renewed his criticism in the form of a book. Summarizing the book, Huismann said he charges that the WWF cooperates with "major anti-environmentalists like Monsanto, the largest biotech company in the world, or with British Petroleum and Shell," lending them a "green image" along the way.

The WWF rejects the claims Huismann makes in his book and film.

WWF Germany spokesman Jörn Ehlers said the author has the right to express his opinion, but "when he goes beyond that and puts forth as facts things that are false, then we of course react strongly."

Trading words

The WWF sought an interim injunction against the book at Cologne's district court. The court said it could appreciate some of the WWF's concerns, but it also stressed that the organization must accept criticism. Beginning in June, 2012, Huismann and the WWF have tried to come to agreement outside of the court. But finding evidence capable of negating Huismann's criticisms is problematic, Ehlers said.

As an example, Ehlers cited the author's claims about the WWF's work in Indonesia. The organization aims to stop deforestation initiated by palm oil plantations there, but Huismann says the organization is content to protect just a small part of the land while letting clear cutters have their way elsewhere. Deforestation destroys the habitat of orangutans - animals which the WWF has used to wage successful donations compaigns, Huismann added.

In response, the WWF presented satellite images that the organization believes refute that criticism. However, Ehlers acknowledged that it is very difficult to provide evidence in enough detail to contravene what Huismann claims.

"It's his word against ours," Ehlers said.

A further point of contention for Huismann is the WWF's participation in talks with industry representatives, like at the Round Table Palm Oil. Discussions held at that event aimed to establish criteria and standards for certifying sustainable forms of palm oil.

"Purely false marketing," said Huismann, who argues that there can be no palm oil without deforestation.

Some environmental groups reject cooperation with industry representatives at roundtable discussions like these. But Ehlers does not accept Huismann's characterization of the talks as offering cooperation with anti-environmentalists. Instead, the WWF spokesman said, the process is about setting basic standards that limit negative effects on the environmental.

When environmental advocacy groups take part at industry roundtables, there is a danger their participation can lend undeserving companies a green image. 

Deforestation deprives orangutans
of their home
"We're aware of this risk, and we also have very careful internal discussions about whether that is helpful. We think that we can achieve more by going this route than if we don't participate," Ehlers said.

The enduring dispute between Huismann and the WFF has led to frayed nerves and harsh words from both camps.

"Ridiculous, typical Huismann," the experienced spokesman said when asked about Huismann's claim that the WWF's creation of a global land use plan represents "a service for industry."

Huismann always twists the facts "as though the WWF were responsible for all environmental destruction in the world," Ehlers said.

Differing approaches

The recent escalation in the dispute between the WWF and the author suggests the significance of the controversy for the "largest and most influential environmental protection organization in Germany," as WWF Germany writes in its mission statement. The credibility and image of the organization behind the panda logo are at stake - as are its funding streams.
But the back and forth with Huismann also suggests a fundamental split when it comes to ecology. 

Greenpeace favors more oppositional
tactics than the WWF
While Greenpeace and other environmental organizations employ protests and oppositional tactics, the WWF is convinced that the environment can only be protected in dialogue with industry. But the organization has not done enough to justify that stance publically, Ehlers said, noting that as one lesson the group has drawn from Huismann's book.

"We decided to take this path because we believe that it lets us achieve the most. We perhaps have to go more on the offensive to say why we are doing these things, so that people understand them," he explained.

Huismann has said the goal of his book was to unleash a debate about the environmental protection movement. On that point, he seems to have succeeded - both within and beyond the WWF.

Despite the environmental group's protests, the book is still being sold without any changes, and it is now in its second edition.

Author: Irene Quaile / gsw
Editor: Andrea Rönsberg

Related Article:

Beijing chaos after record floods in Chinese capital

BBC News, 22 July 2012

Chaos at the capital's Guangqumen overpass as cars are deluged

Related Stories 

The heaviest rainfall to hit China's capital Beijing in 60 years has left 10 people dead and stranded thousands at the main airport.

The deluge struck on Saturday afternoon and continued into the night, flooding major roads, state media said.

Roof collapses, lightning strikes and electrocution from downed power lines were among the causes of the deaths.

More than 500 flights were cancelled at the main airport, the Beijing News reported.

State news agency Xinhua said 460mm (18.1 in) fell in Beijing's Fangshan district, with the capital as a whole averaging 170mm.

It said 14,500 people, mostly in outlying districts, had to be evacuated.

"There could be further large-scale storms or extreme weather," the Beijing city government's website said.

Outside the capital, four people died in the northern province of Shanxi when their truck was swept into a river, Xinhua reported.

A further six people were killed by landslides in Sichuan province, in the southwest, the agency said.

'Like a waterfall'

British student Tom Smith, who has been living in China for a year, told the BBC it was like "standing under a waterfall.

"All the manholes had vanished because the water was sitting on top of them. It looked very dangerous and very difficult to find where these holes were," he said.

Another Briton in Beijing, 20-year-old Reece Ayers, described "terrifying loud bolts of lightning and truly relentless downpours.

"Old women could be seen wading through the streets and shop owners desperately tried to tunnel water from their establishments.

"Waves of water would send bicycles tumbling and rubbish bins floating.

"I was terrified, most of all, by the thought of tumbling down a manhole without a cover after a friend told me that several people had died that way last year."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spain's king ousted as WWF honorary president

Associated Press, Jul 21, 2012 

MADRID (AP) — The World Wildlife Fund's branch in Spain says it has ousted King Juan Carlos as its honorary president — a title he'd held since 1968 — because the monarch's recent elephant hunting safari was incompatible with the group's goal of conserving endangered species.

The fund said in a statement that "although such hunting is legal and regulated" it had "received many expressions of distress from its members and society in general." It says members voted in a meeting in Madrid on Saturday to "to get rid of the honorary President."

News of the king's April elephant hunting trip in Botswana upset many Spaniards who considered it an opulent extravagance at a time of economic distress in the country.

The Royal Palace declined immediate comment on the WWF announcement.

King Juan Carlos on his €10,000-a-day hunting safari in Botswana, which
had  been hushed up before he fell and broke his hip. Photograph: Target
Press/Barcroft Media

Friday, July 20, 2012

Leaders say climate is changing Native way of life

Associated Press, by Suzanne Gamboa,  Jul. 19, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Native American and Alaska Native leaders told of their villages being under water because of coastal erosion, droughts and more on Thursday during a Senate hearing intended to draw attention to how climate change is affecting tribal communities.

The environmental changes being seen in native communities are "a serious and growing issue and Congress needs to address them," Tex Hall, chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of New Town, N.D., said Wednesday.

Mike Williams, chief of the Yupit Nation in Akiak, Alaska, said in the informational Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing, that villages are literally being wiped out by coastal erosion. Williams said he can cast a net and catch salmon at his childhood home because the home is under water, he said. He also described how the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, in which he participates, has been moved because of lack of snowfall and that dogs must run at night to stay cool.

"We've always lived off the land and off the waters and continue to do that. But we're bearing the burden of living with these conditions today," Williams said.

Sen. Daniel Akaka, committee chairman, acknowledged that environmental changes are widespread, but the Hawaii Democrat said native communities are disproportionately impacted because they depend on nature for traditional food, sacred sites, and for cultural ceremonies. Several tribes already are coming up with plans to adapt to the changes and federal agencies are assisting with resources, Akaka said.

Members of several West Coast tribes and Alaska communities have been in Washington this week for a symposium at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian on the impact of climate change on indigenous people and their communities. The symposium, titled First Steward, brought together tribal leaders, people experiencing the changes and scientists.

Williams said Congress needs to come up with a strategic plan to address the impact to help ensure Alaska Natives and American Indian tribes continue to exist. He said in coming up with the plan, Congress should consider Native practices and traditional knowledge.

Saudi Arabia Helps Morocco Kick-Start Solar Program

Forbes, Christopher Coats, Contributor, Green Tech, Jul 19, 2012

English: Photovoltaic Micro-plants by
Isofoton (Morocco) (Photo credit:
Hailed as the next green energy leader in the sun-soaked Mediterranean, Morocco has been taking steps towards reaching a 40 percent renewable mix by 2020, essentially doubling even Europe’s clean energy goals. However, figuring out just how a country with little in the way of domestic energy reserves and rather unsustainable public spending obligations is going to pay for it all has remained a sticking point for all concerned.

The last few months have done little to remedy this situation. To the north, the country’s main trading partners and potential investors continue to struggle with a seemingly endless economic crisis. Closer to home, government spending has continued to rise in step with efforts to curb the kind of growing public protests that led to challenges to the government in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Taken with a nation-wide drought, the situation has left Morocco posting a modest 2.5 to 3 percent growth rate for the year.

Enter Saudi Arabia. This week saw an anonymous government source tell Reuters that Morocco state officials had all but decided that they would team with Saudi Arabia’s International Company for Water and Power (ACWA) to kick start what amounts to the first stage of the country’s sprawling solar plan outside the southern town of Ouarzazate – a 160 MW component of a 6 GW overall renewable strategy planned over the next eight years. The public-private effort will cost about $500 million and include an agreement with ACWA to handle financing, design, construction and maintenance of the plant.

The broader plan, which was initiated in 2009, promises 2 GW from wind power (300 MW are already installed) and 2GW from a planned 5 solar projects across the country, amounting to about 18 percent of Morocco’s energy demand, with construction planned between 2014 and 2020, according to a Saudi Gazette report. The remaining renewable options will come from hydro and biomass projects.

While an official government announcement on the project funding and partnership has not been offered, the reported step forward is welcome news for the country’s green energy advocates, both at home and those associated with the German-led Desertec initiative. While the far-reaching Desertec renewable energy project includes green energy projects from Tunis to Cairo, Morocco has emerged as the program’s best bet for a successful anchor project thanks to their early adoption and support for solar and wind efforts.

Still, there is a long road ahead for the North African nation’s renewable energy dreams, not least because of recent increases in government spending green advocates would have rather seen go towards project and infrastructure development. Over the past year, public program spending from Rabat has increased in response to growing political protests, with new subsidies and job efforts aimed at calming potential opposition movements. While early efforts combined with elections and pledges for constitutional reforms helped ease the tension, sustaining such spending with minimal natural resource revenue is becoming an increasingly difficult task to keep up.

Dependent on exports for much of their energy needs and largely free of domestic oil and gas resources, Morocco launched their 2009 renewable energy program as a part of a diversification effort that has included traditional projects and beefing up the country’s role as an energy transport hub. Looking beyond green options, Morocco has also stepped up traditional energy license offers as well as exploring offshore drilling efforts, though there is far less confidence in that sector’s potential. Earlier this year, Tangiers opened an expanded storage facility for oil, gas and other refined materials aimed at the more than 70,000 ships that pass through the Strait of Gibraltar each year.

'Time running out' for climate deal

Deutsche Welle, 19 July 2012

The third Petersberg Climate Dialogue has wrapped up, with both Germany and Qatar saying the talks were a good preparation for the next UN climate talks in Doha.

"I wouldn't go so far to say that we already have team spirit, but what we have developed is a sense of family," said German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier at the end of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue on Tuesday.

The family Altmaier was referring to were the environment ministers from the 35 countries attending the talks in Berlin. "There was more consensus here than I had thought possible," he said. But all participants agreed that the next UN climate conference in Doha in November would have to deliver a milestone.

Just like Chancellor Angela Merkel in her keynote speech a day earlier, Altmaier named one key goal for the Doha conference. He said the international community had to succeed in drawing up a timetable for setting up a new binding climate contract by 2015. Time was running out to limit global warming to a 2 degree increase, he pointed out.

Good working environment 

Altmaier sees Germany as a leader
in tackling climate change
The informal climate talks at the Petersberg Dialogue did not, however, yield any concrete results for the Doha conference in Qatar – and, in fact, they weren't expected to do in the first place.

Negotiations toward an international breakthrough in the climate protection talks have turned somewhat rough. And past UN conferences have all failed to deliver any significant progress.

The Kyoto Protocol, so far the only proper deal on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, is running out at the end of the year. A successor agreement is nowhere in sight, and the only option currently on the table is an extension to Kyoto.

But despite this bleak atmosphere, Altmaier said the Berlin talks were a success. "We have created a working atmosphere which will hopefully sustain the international climate protection efforts and will lead to some real progress," he said.

National measures

"We have also discussed how we can step up measures on the national level – to run parallel to the international efforts," said Altmaier, mentioning Brazil as an example. The country plans to cover 80 percent of its energy needs from renewables in the future. "Also in China, we're seeing changes getting under way."

It was now important to have internationally comparable criteria for those projects, he said, suggesting an increase in the exchange of best practice examples. In that respect, he added, Germany sees its decision to abandon nuclear energy by 2020 as a good example.

Qatar's al-Attiyah said everyone's
sitting in the same boat
Playing the blame game?

Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, deputy prime minister of Qatar, agreed that the Petersberg talks went very well.

"Each side could speak of their expectations about Doha, and I had the chance to hear about what my job as president of the conference will entail," he said, adding that he would now be able to draw up a strategy for the talks. But, he said, it must be clear that the time of playing the blame game was over – after all, everyone was sitting in the same boat.

As an example, al-Attiyah mentioned the accusation that Qatar is seen as the country with the highest carbon dioxide output per capita. While technically correct, he pointed out that it was simply a matter of perception. "The small countries are being made the scapegoats by the larger ones – but what counts is not the per capita output but the total amount," said al-Attiyah.

Altmaier said Germany would now continue leading bilateral talks in preparation for the Doha conference, in order to live up to its leadership role in tackling climate change.

Author: Kay-Alexander Scholz / ai
Editor: Martin Kuebler