Environment Forum

Being on the Level About Sea Level

October 30, 2008

Stuart Gaffin is a climate researcher at Columbia University and a regular contributor with his blog “Exhausted Earth”. ThomsonReuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone

Baa baa green sheep, have you any grass?

October 29, 2008

Farming often gets a bad wrap for causing global warming but at least two sheep in Norway are doing their bit to go green.

Carbon Footprint Calculators

October 29, 2008

Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and is a regular contributor to this page. ThomsonReuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.

What’s nature worth? Financial crunch may bring rethink

October 21, 2008

Acehnese plant mangrove trees at the site of a former housing development which was destroyed by last December’s tsunami in Meuraksa near Banda Aceh April 11, 2005. The local government and Acehnese started planting thousands of mangroves in the area after the tsunami devastated the city. REUTERS/Tarmizy Harva en/KSWould you pay $1,000 a year for a remote patch of mangrove swamp?

Maybe not — but more and more environmental economists are arguing that you should.

Refugees in Antarctica? Olympics in cyberspace?

October 13, 2008

A view of the leading edge of the remaining part of the Larsen B ice shelf that extends into the northwest part of the Weddell Sea is seen in this handout photo taken on March 4, 2008. To the left is the front of the ice shelf with a height of about 30 meters above the sea. An outcrop of Cape Disappointment is seen in the background. On the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches out from Antarctica toward the South Atlantic Ocean, some of the huge ice shelves that line its coasts have now disintegrated and are floating in chunks in the ocean. A large part of the Larsen Ice Shelf broke up in 1995. Picture taken March 4, 2008. REUTERS/Mariano Caravaca/Handout (ANTARCTICA). NO COMMERCIAL SALES.. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS..Antarctica’s population is rising because of climate refugees.

The European Union agrees to let Morocco join in return for exclusive rights to solar power from its part of the Sahara desert.

Renewables investor Khosla: “I’m a Republican, but…”

October 8, 2008

khosla.jpgVinod Khosla is a card-carrying Republican. But, the billionaire venture capitalist and alternative energy entrepreneur said, Democrat Barack Obama would be better for green businesses.

Will the financial storm blow climate action off course?

October 1, 2008

This National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration satellite image, taken August 28, 2005 and released August 28, 2006, shows Hurricane Katrina as the storm’s outer bands lashed the Gulf Coast the day before landfall. Katrina hit on August 29, 2005 and killed more than 1,500 people in four states, flooding 80 percent of New Orleans, where entire neighborhoods are still nearly empty. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/NOAA/HandoutIt took Hurricane Katrina’s battering of New Orleans in 2005 to alert many people to the risks of climate change.  Will the storm in financial markets make them forget all about global warming again?

Save money, cut CO2 and lose weight cycling to work

October 1, 2008

Peter Jebautzke cycles to workBy Peter Jebautzke

Getting caught speeding changed my life — for the better.

It inadvertently turned me into a devoted bike commuter, has saved me lots of money, aggravation — and even saved the world a little bit of carbon dioxide to boot. Since giving up the car for my daily commutes by bike to work in August, I’ve also lost about 2 kilos and now look forward to my daily 16 km journeys each way to and from the office.

Life greener in cities than in the countryside?

September 26, 2008

A man wearing a bowler hat cycles during the morning rush-hour in central London July 17, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN)City-dwelling, bike-riding recyclers are finally getting the recognition they deserve for their environmentally friendly lifestyles.
 
A researcher at the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development argues in a journal article published on Friday that many city residents actually pollute less than families in rural areas.
 
“People who live in the suburbs or commute actually have much higher greenhouse gas emissions per person than people living in (the London district of) Chelsea for the same income level,” David Satterthwaite told Reuters.
 
That’s because country-dwellers tend to have larger homes that need to be heated or cooled and higher car use per household.
 
The study in the journal  Environment and Urbanization says cities are often blamed for producing most of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions but actually generate just two-fifths or less.
 
Satterthwaite argues that cities in wealthy nations can set an example for low carbon living by providing good public transport and energy-efficient buildings. He singles out Barcelona – which has a third of Spain’s average emissions per person – and other historic compact cities like Amsterdam which are easy to walk around. 
 
Culture is also an ally in the fight against climate change. “There’s so much in London or Paris that isn’t high greenhouse gas-emitting: the culture, the art, the buildings, the theatre, the music, the museums, the libraries,” Satterthwaite said.
 
But while cities are often unfairly blamed for producing 75 to 80 percent of the world’s greenhous gas emissions, their responsibility creeps back up when you look at it from a consumption perspective.  Vehicles drive past Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum area in Mumbai April 9, 2008. With one of Asia’s largest slums, congested streets and sometimes startling whiffs of human waste, Mumbai may not be everyone’s first choice for a world-class financial centre. Yet that is exactly what India hopes it will become in the next decade as it rises to the challenge of financing one of the world’s fastest growing major economies after China. To match feature INDIA-MUMBAI/ REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe (INDIA)
 
Satterthwaite believes it would be fairer to allocate greenhouse gas emissions according to the location of the people who consume the goods and services responsible for the emissions rather than to the place they are produced. 

Carbon emissions soar, despite curbs

September 25, 2008

Southern Company's Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Georgia is seen in this aerial photograph in Cartersville in this file photo taken September 4, 2007. One of the biggest coal-fired plants in the country, it generates about 3,300 megawatts of electricity from four coal-fired boilers. Democrats in U.S. Congress are pressing ahead with legislation to limit emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and plants like this are squarely in their cross hairs. Picture taken September 4, 2007. To match feature USA-UTILITIES/SOUTHERN REUTERS/Chris Baltimore (UNITED STATES)Emissions of the main greenhouse gas are rocketing — despite international efforts to slow them down, according to a study today.