Global environmental challenges
But Germany’s Renewable Energy Act has given that phrase a whole new meaning. I’ve discovered that you can get paid for capturing the sun’s energy on your roof, converting it into CO2-free electricity with the help of special equipment, and feeding it into the grid — and watch the investment yield handsome long-term returns.
The German feed-in tariff system is as simple as it is successful – which is probably why Germany produces as much solar power as the rest of the world combined. German utilities are obliged under the Renewable Energy Act to pay above-market feed-in tariffs to producers of photovoltaic or wind energy for a period of 20 years. Germany will add up to 3 gigawatt of PV electricity this year.
Two years ago, after writing this feature on why Germany leads the world in photovoltaic electricity production despite being covered by clouds half the time, I decided to crack open my piggy bank and borrow some money on top of that to invest in a modest 6.8 kWp solar power system for my roof (below left). I added a carport (above right) so that I could put up more solar panels.
A report by a group of leading scientists that global warming is accelerating and that world sea levels could rise at worst by 2 metres by 2100* is grim reading.
But sceptics are using a flood of leaked e-mails from a British University — dubbed “Climategate” – to question the findings.
A three-week tour from the Colorado Rockies to the Arctic Ocean, the tropics, Antarctica and then back again to the Arctic again can give a new perspective of the world.
“You get a feeling of how small the earth is,” said Pavel Romashkin, project manager for a scientific mission that just completed such a trek. “All of us are on a really small place, this little planet of ours.”
There will be a record number of side events at the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen next month, but one woman’s one-woman show could give the delegates, most of whom will be men, the incentive they really need to agree a new global warming treaty.
In “The Boycott“, Kathryn Blume plays Lyssa, First Lady of the United States and climate crusader. Loosely borrowing from a play from ancient Greece, Lyssa launches a nationwide sex strike to fight global warming. As the play unfolds, Lyssa is forced to take on her indifferent husband, a hostile press and a romantic rival who’s not only in bed with the President, but with the oil industry as well.
from The Great Debate UK:
Ahead of a U.N. summit in Copenhagen next month, scepticism is growing that an agreement will be reached on a global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, due to expire in 2012.
The protocol set targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are believed to be responsible for the gradual rise in the Earth's average temperature. Many scientists say that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is key to preventing climate change.
GPS markers usually pinpoint a spot on the earth’s surface to help everything from map-making to navigation.
This one (left) spectacularly didn’t.
In fact, it wandered hundreds of miles (km) this year on an iceberg, blown by winds or carried by ocean currents in huge pirouettes off the coast of Antarctica.
from The Great Debate UK:
Scientists argue that rich nations must make drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent dangerous climate change. The way energy is used, priced and created would have to change in order to institute these cuts.
Ahead of elections in Britain, which must be held before June 2010, Dave Timms of Friends of the Earth shared his thoughts with Reuters on what the group thinks the next government needs to do in order to build a low-carbon economy.
While the world gets ready for December’s climate meeting in Copenhagen, a group of native Arctic women traveled to Washington this week to talk about what climate change is doing right now in places like Arctic Village, Alaska, and Whitehorse, in Canada’s Yukon.******Five of the women talked emotionally about how much harder it is to hunt for traditional game animals like caribou in a time of global warming, and how important these traditional foods are to their culture and health. They also took aim at some of Sarah Palin’s statements, especially her push for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic.******Watch below as Norma Kassi, a member of the Gwich’in nation — sometimes translated as “People of the Caribou” — talks about her practices as a hunter, and her take on Palin and her “drill baby drill” strategy. (It’s a fairly long video; her comments on Palin start about halfway through):************Now watch Sarah James, of Arctic Village, talk about the plain fact that “Western” fare like pizza, meatloaf and fast food simply can’t satisfy her son like a soothing caribou soup:************Kassi, James and other members of the Arctic delegation are telling their story on Capitol Hill and to members of the Obama administration. Some are planning to attend the Copenhagen conference, despite dampening hopes of a major agreement from that gathering.******They have an invitation for President Barack Obama: they’d like him to visit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge next year, the 50th anniversary of this far-north protected area where caribou herds have their calves and where some energy companies have hoped to drill.******Video credits: REUTERS/Deborah Zabarenko (Washington, November 11, 2009) ******Photo credit: REUTERS/Nathaniel Wilder (Sarah Palin outside the Mocha Moose Espresso after voting in Wasilla, Alaska, November 4, 2008)
When he wrote “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” in the 1930s, Ernest Hemingway described the summit of that African mountain as “wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun.”
It’s still wide, but may not be white much longer, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that says the remaining ice fields atop Kilimanjaro in Tanzania could be gone in 20 years or less, a casualty of climate change. Changes in clouds and precipitation play a minor role but the scientists say it’s mostly due to global warming.
from Chris Wickham:
The headline in the Gulf News English language daily reads 'UAE tops world on per capita carbon footprint'.
For a place so reliably bathed in sunlight, the Dubai property explosion seems to have generated enough construction noise to drown out the environmental debate raging elsewhere in the world.