The Great Debate UK
from Global News Journal:
As if they didn’t have enough to think about, planners trying to pin down the unintended consequences of a strike on Iran may be required to reorder their lengthy worry list.
The concern? Iceland’s volcano, or rather, the vivid reminder the exploding mountain provided to governments of the importance of civil emergency planning.
The ash clouds and the flight chaos it produced may be a foretaste, writ large, of the disruption to daily life in the Gulf that could temporarily result from military conflict and its aftermath in the area, some analysts say.
The Kuwait oil fires of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict provide an example of the confusion and damage that can result from smoke and pollution, quite apart from the popular anxiety caused by war itself, write Riad Kahwaji and Theodore Karasik of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.
In January, 1991, Iraqi forces torched hundreds of Kuwaiti oil fields, creating clouds of heavy smoke across the northern Gulf in the last moments of the conflict. Saddam Hussein’s action was mainly political, not military: in what Kuwaitis perceived as a monumental act of spite, he was laying waste to an asset he was forced to relinquish.
- Joris Melkert, MSc BBA, is assistant professor in aerospace engineering at the Delft University of Technology. The opinions expressed are his own.-
Despite the announcement that air space could begin to re-open in Northern Europe, the Icelandic volcano eruption could prove to be a major turning point for the global airline industry with short- to medium-term questions already being asked by some about its future financial viability.
- Dr Andrew Hooper is an Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology and is an expert on monitoring deformation of Icelandic volcanoes. The opinions expressed are his own. -
The unprecedented no-fly zone currently in force across much of Europe has already caused the greatest chaos to air travel since the Second World War. Thousands of flights have been cancelled or postponed with millions of travel plans affected.
from The Great Debate:
-- John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own --
Efforts to implement cap-and-trade programs at state level are faltering, just as policymakers in Washington are struggling to generate enough support to put in place a comprehensive national system.
Recent setbacks in California and Arizona point to growing headwinds against the policy. As cap-and-trade loses momentum and becomes embroiled in bigger political disputes about the size and role of government, opponents are becoming emboldened to try to block the policy completely.
- Dr. Ir. Jules B. van Lier is a professor at Delft University. The opinions expressed are his own. -
The international observance of World Water Day, this year on March 22, is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. This year’s theme — ‘Clean Water for a Healthy World’ — reflects the fact that population and industrial growth are adding new sources of pollution and increased demand for clean water across the world.
-Graciela Chichilnisky is the Architect of the Carbon Market of the Kyoto Protocol and the author of ‘Saving Kyoto‘, New Holland Publishers, UK, 2009. Chichilnisky is a Professor of Mathematics and Economics at Columbia University in New York, Director of Columbia Consortium for Risk Management and Managing Director of Global Thermostat Inc. The opinions expressed are her own.-
We live surrounded by uncertainty. Tsunamis, the eruption of super- volcanoes, violent floods and storms, asteroid impacts that eliminate entire species as the dinosaurs that went extinct 60 millions years ago, the recent 8.8 earthquake in Chile, not to mention the global financial crisis. Some disasters are worse than others, but they all have one thing in common. They are catastrophic risks. This means risks that occur very rarely – but when they happen they have truly major consequences.
from Environment Forum:
Fred Krupp is president of the Environmental Defense Fund. The views expressed are his own.
It’s as though three mammoth challenges facing America are intertwined like the strands of a rope: reducing our dependence on Mideast oil; creating new American jobs from clean energy; and reducing pollution responsible for climate change.
from UK News:
While attending a meeting of prominent climate sceptics during the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December (an anti-COP15, if you will), I listened to each of the speakers put forward their theory on why conventional evidence on the primary causes of climate change should be dismissed as, for lack of a better phrase, complete hokum.
Among their denunciations of widely-accepted truths regarding global warming, greenhouse gases, melting glaciers and rising sea levels was the assertion that a change in attitude was afoot; the public may have been duped into believing the mainstream scientific assessment of climate change, but not for long.
from The Great Debate:
-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --
Uncertainty about the future cost of emissions allowances for greenhouse gases is one of the biggest obstacles to winning consent for a cap and trade or cap and refund programme in the U.S. Congress. To have any realistic prospect of passing emissions legislation, lawmakers must find a way to reduce it.
Proponents argue a trading programme would ensure emissions reductions are achieved in the most cost-effective manner. They point to the success of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Acid Rain Program in cutting sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions much more quickly and at a fraction of the expected costs during the 1990s.
Title IV of the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) 1990 established a trading programme for SO2 emissions from power plants. Phase I, beginning in 1995, covered the 110 dirtiest coal-fired electricity generating facilities.
- Luuk van der Wielen is at BE-Basic and Delft University of Technology; Roger Wyse is Managing Director, Burrill & Company, San Francisco. The opinions expressed are their own.-
Today the global megatrends of food security, energy security, global climate change and sustainability command the attention of nations worldwide. Confronting these challenges will test political systems, drive policy and stress international relations.