Global environmental challenges
That’s what Danish Climate and Energy Minister Connie Hedegaard (left) predicts, saying that a huge shift to renewable energies, such as solar and wind power, from fossil fuels will survive flagging economic growth.
She has to puzzle over the outlook since she is set to be host of a U.N. meeting in late 2009 in Copenhagen at which the world is meant to agree a new climate deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.
Many nations have been reluctant so far to spell out what they are willing to do to slow global warming. It’s a bit of the “you first”, “no, you first” trap.
Cranky kids, mosquito bites, burnt marshmallows and soggy sleeping bags – camping in the summer is an American family ritual right up there with baseball and apple pie.
But like other aspects of American life involving big vehicles it has also been hitting the brakes in the face of sky-high gas prices.
It may be a distinct miniority opinion, but if you were to ask me, I’d say I think they’re not high enough — and I sincerely hope they keep rising. It may be the only way the world wakes up to the perils of climate change — hitting people in their pocketbooks where it hurts most.
The higher energy costs are truly a blessing in disguise for anyone concerned about climate change and worried about the inability of world leaders to take any tough measures to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the growing scientific evidence that global warming has been happening, there’s no excuse for this generation’s inaction.
And with the WTO talks ending in abject failure, who could possibly be optimistic about the world ever agreeing on taking the costly, pain-inducing steps necessary to at least slow global warming in our time?
So it is the soaring energy prices are filling the void the cowardly political leaders have left. Rising prices for petrol, natural gas and electricity are causing pain and leading to conservation — and reduced emissions of carbon dioxide It’s a good thing.
Japan budgeted $283 million for security at the summit and $30 million to build a temporary, low-emissions media centre far from where the G8 leaders are meeting in a luxury hotel.
But this graph forecasts that coal, the dirtiest power source in terms of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, will still dominate global power generation growth for decades into the future.
The UN’s climate surgery opening hours this week in Bonn, Germany, are 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm.
Several times they’ve finished early — lack of demand?
“That’s good. Often they just go on and on. Next week it may be a bit later,” a UN spokesperson told me.
A recent trip to bicyle-peppered cities Copenhagen and Amsterdam got me thinking about the pedal possibilities in U.S. cities. Alas, New York, the country’s biggest city, has long way to go make biking easier, and that seems true in many other cities in the world’s largest motor fuel consumer.
It’s not just that it’s disappeared from media headlines this year – shoved off by the credit crunch and natural disasters, for example. It can’t be ignored that 2007 came and went as another very warm year – the 7th hottest on record since 1850 according to the World Meteorological Organization.
But it wasn’t a record. In fact that was 1998, a full 10 years ago — the year of an exceptional El Nino, a Pacific weather pattern which heats the whole globe. So is global warming not living up to the hype?
A worldwide tree planting campaign is aiming to reach a total of 7 billion by the end of 2009 – that means just over one for everyone on the planet.
The United Nations says the campaign has exceeded expectations since it began in late 2006 with a goal of planting one billion within a year: two billion have been planted already. That means another 5 billion by late 2009.
A plan by President George W. Bush to set a distant 2025 ceiling for rising U.S. greenhouse gases has triggered criticisms by Germany that he is coming up with a “Neanderthal” solution to the problem – too little too late.
Most other delegates at 17-nation U.S.-led climate talks in Paris on Thursday and Friday have been far less damning, welcoming the fact that Bush is setting a ceiling for emissions, albeit one that will be a generation after most other rich nations.