Saturday, January 06, 2007

Climate Change: Week in Review

I have just started using Google Reader. Very nice app. One of the advantages of this is that i can read rss feeds and then select the articles from my reading that I would like to share.

If you look on the right hand side of the page you will find a column of 10 stories, just bellow the embedded Prophets of Hope video. This is updated daily, sometimes more than that.

My preference is for big policy stories of global importance, UK stories and examples of activism from around the world.

This week my picks are...

1. 2007 looks like a scorcher, due to the Climate Change and the El Nino: This has been a pretty huge story, i chose to provide this link as AP quote Phil Thornhill of Campaign against Climate Change...Go Phil! Only one point on this: El Nino is a redistributive phenomena to the best of my knowledge, the albedo doesn't change so what is being talked about must be atmospheric temperatures, with less heat being subducted by the oceans. This is my presumption, correct me if i`m wrong.

2.Protests against Coal Build; you may have heard of recent protests in the US,
and growing political opposition there. Here in the UK we had the Camp for Climate Action
where the UK's largst coal fired power station was targeted to highlight its fossil like nature.
Now, in a heartening sign, a group of religious organisations in Sri Lankas' largest city, Columbo, have came together to fight the building of two new coal fired power stations.

3. Prototypical Energy Types of the Future. Trehugger takes a look at what it sees to be some of the futures key technologies. Wind, Solar, Tidal, Hydrogen and Biofuels. Comments: Wind is huge and ahead of solar in development but solar surely has the largest potential in the long run, the modular manufacturing and high rate of improvement bode extremely well...investment is at a similar level to wind despite the vastly differing manufacturing capacities at present. Tidal is not likely to be as large a resource as either of these in my opinion but still has tremendous potential in areas of high tidal range, such as the UK. Hydrogen may or may not be the future, at present, particularly Post-Tesla all the components for a electrically run road transport sector seem to be in place, but, with further developments of both car design and hydrogen production it may be the best option. Think reforming using gas with ccs, Amory Lovins supports this approach and i`m loathed to argue with a genius experimental physicist who is so widely respected and so clearly reasoned.
Biofuels make my head hurt. I believe this is because of two primary reasons,
to much is asked of them, they will never replace petrol at current rates of consumption. Secondly, they can be hugely detrimental to the environment and society, there are many examples of this and without these issues being adequately addressed it will be all to easy to see biofuels as a threat rather than a useful part of a rational response to climate change.

4. Carbon Offsets and poverty reduction? There have been several interesting development in the voluntary carbon offset industry this year. The two key themes would seem to be rapid expansion and increased circumspection. The idea of high and low quality offsets has been increasingly discussed. If a company is going to be green then they are being conned and made to look irresponsible if they buy credits that cannot be clearly verified and which damage wildlife and the lives of indigenous peoples. Support for certification is therefore growing. This article highlights one scheme that is promoting treddle pumps over diesel engines. I don't know the details, as with many technological fixes, leakage and permanence aren't really the issues but additionality may be difficult to determine. I`ve decided that I like carbon offsets and equally that I dislike the way they have been slandered by parts of the green movement. The issues are complex, i believe the concept is sound and that you have to take car but that there is great value in the industry. Carbon offsetting is empowering it can make a real difference and it can be a powerful force for good.

5. The Times have picked up on a story that I posted here months ago! Don't know where they got there info but they where slow, weren't they? A biodesil power plant in the UK has been canceled because they realised what a murky world they where entering in trying to but a product so frequently produced on areas of cleared reforest...hardly good for there PR. Biofuelwatch for more on these issues.

6.TreeHugger highlights The Helium Report, basically a website for the presents of millionaires.
Not to surprisingly these are large, high carbon products. Is mankind doomed to using
conspicuous consumption to define status? Need we move beyond materialism, or just beyond
high carbon materialism? Just a question to ponder.

7. Call to Responsibility. China Dialogues' most recent article is a call for consumers to take the environment seriously, to make an assessment of there own impacts and then make amends.

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