Category Archives: Climate Change

Tips To Survive Severe Storms

With climate change has come increasing weather disturbances, not only for those living in the coastal parts of the cities, but inland dwellers too. When there is a warning for a hurricane or a severe storm, there are important tips to abide by that will ensure that the effect of the disaster is at least minimal on your home.

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Tip 1 – Always ensure that you keep a rechargeable LED lamp with you, as well as extra batteries for flashlights. Where these are not available, use slow burning candles instead of the scented ones. Make sure they are not left unattended to while sleeping. Watch the kids too when they go near them.

Tip 2 – Before things become too disorganised, contact the local Red Cross or authorities and keep their numbers with you. Find the closest shelter in your neighbourhood especially if you have too much damage in your home.

Tip 3 – Prepare a bag that can contain about two days clothing for each member of the family. Also go with necessary toiletries, while keeping the things a baby might need in a different baby bag.

Tip 4 – If you have more than one car, separate them by a good distance. This will prevent you from losing both cars in the case of any disasters. It is usually a great idea to keep one of them in a shelter while the other is kept away from trees, tall objects or power cables that could fall on them.

Tip 5 – Always stay away from doors and windows and try not to vacate immediately except if the home suffers enough structural damage that is significant to leave it for the storm outside. Else, with minor damages like shattered windows or a fallen tree on the roof, it is safer to remain in there.

How Modern Energy Technologies Can Minimize Over-Population Impact on Earth

We all know that human population on the earth is growing at an alarming rate. This has led to speculations that at some point in our existence here on earth, we may run out of energy resources as a result of increased pressure and over-use.r621244_4172517

It is true that the resources on the earth may be limited as compared to the growth in its population, and over-population will definitely affect the availability of freshwater, wildlife and even fossil fuel.

However, we all know that the amount of food produced in the world today has actually surpassed that produced several years ago from the same space of land – even with the increase in human population. Also, in the computer industry, we have learnt to produce powerful computers whose chips use very little energy.

All these are made possible by innovation and technology.

Why then do we think it is not going to be possible in our energy sector? Is it not going to be possible that entrepreneurs are going to figure out ways of conserving the world’s energy resources? The manufacture of some energy efficient devices in recent years is testament to this.

The fight between demand of a large population on earth, and the supply of limited energy resources is going to stimulate innovations to ensure our continued existence on this planet.

Well, this does not in any way mean we should neglect the issue of overpopulation, it simply means that we can come up with ways of using the earth’s resources efficiently without living on the brink of its exhaustion.

The Politics of Solar Power Future

For a good number of years now since the world woke up to the need for alternatives to fossil fuels, it is really surprising that not so much have really been achieved, especially by our governments. This is despite the strides that have been made in solar power technology.

There have also been increases in oil prices as a result of more regulations as well as the instability in the Middle East; yet, the potentials present in solar power as an alternative to fossil fuel remain untapped

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With that in mind, one begins to wonder if all of the alarm being raised – especially by some governments – about global warming is really about caring for the world. If this is about our world, why do governments like the EU and US impose strong tariffs on solar panels manufactured in China?

Referring to an article on the New York Times by James Kanter, that importers of inexpensive solar panels from China could experience loss of hundreds of jobs because of imposing tariffs in the EU. If we really care for our planet, should it matter who manufactures the solar panels?

We have seen inconsistencies in the race to maximizing the potential for alternative energy both in the EU and in the US, so that could make us believe that there are economic reasons slowing down the successful implementation of solar panels in our environment.

Energy companies have to realize the shift in preference in the world, and adjust their business model to accommodate the use of solar panels in homes and buildings.

There are challenges in the successful use of solar panels, but our ultimate priority should be to save our world.

How Plants Can Survive Climate Change

With climatic change plants are now in real danger of facing increased and unusual temperatures in the near future. But there seems to be hope, with the discovery that certain plants could adapt to climates by activating and deactivating certain genes that better preserve them in such conditions.

Epigenetics

The ability to activate and deactivate genes depending on climatic conditions is under the field of study called Epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of chemical markers that bring about temporary genetic changes as a result of external factors.

What causes activating or deactivating of genes?

The activation and deactivation of genes by plants take place under certain conditions of stress. In drought conditions for instance, a plant may have to adapt to the limited available water.

Epigenetics unlike the genetic adaptation we already know takes place very fast; as evidenced in the study of A. thaliana that can produce a new generation every eight weeks.

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The significance of diversity in genes during climatic change

The study of Epigenetics and gene diversity preserve seeds with desirable qualities. Qualities that enhance the survival of the plant in extreme climate conditions will now be readily available.

What this means is that scientists will no more have to go to the wild in search of seeds with the ability to withstand heat, drought or change in climatic conditions. Epigenetic variations will now be available in genetic labs.

Although this research is still in its infancy, it still promises to reveal another interesting aspect of plant breeding.

Baltic Sea Threatens Increase of Up to 80 Centimeters

 

Stralsund – The cities and towns on the German Baltic coast must adjust by the end of the century sea level researchers say, due to a rise by 70 to 80 centimeters. However, there was no reason to panic, according Marcus Reckermann from Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, last Tuesday at a conference in Stralsund.

“In this period, we have to enforce appropriate strategie,” said the scientist. In the last 40 years, the Baltic Sea has again increased. In the longer term, one should abandon certain areas and leave the sea. It is possible that the climate change will be stopped in 100 years and the level of the oceans would sink again.

According to the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde, the impact of global warming on the Baltic Sea will be less dramatic than the ones in the polar regions. By the end of the century, there will be a rise in water temperature by up to 2.5 degrees, said institute director, Ulrich Bathmann. Computer models show that one has to reckon with decreasing salinity, oxygen content, increasing oxygen deficiency in the deep basins, reduced visibility depths and frequent beach contamination by macroalgae.

 

 

Some 230,000 People Displaced Due to Heavy Rains in Kyushu

 

Around 230,000 people have been forced to flee their homes this Friday on the island of Kyushu, the third largest of Japan located in the south, because of the heavy rains that drench the region.

Only in the Fukuoka prefecture, north of this island, some 121,000 people have been evacuated by the Japanese authorities. At least 41,000 homes have been flooded in this region, and more than 58,000 in the whole island of Kyushu.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned that the intensity of rainfall will continue or even increase in some parts of northern Kyushu, including the Fukuoka.

Since Wednesday, at least 20 people have died and seven were missing in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures because of landslides and floods caused by heavy rains.

The governor of the prefecture of Oita, has requested the help of self-defense unit in the field of Nippon Army, after the Kagetsu river flooded the town of Hita.

 

 

Alerts for Risk of Wildfires in Seven Counties of Aragon

 

The 112 SOS Aragon Emergency Center, along with the Prefectures in Teruel, has turned a red alert on Friday, plus the pre-alert risk of wildfires in the seven counties of the Autonomous community.

The alert provided by the Department of Environment in Aragon, in collaboration with the Meteorological Agency, warned of a situation of maximum risk due to weather conditions that could lead to many dangerous wildfires.

According to the State Agency of Meteorology, it will reach 36 degrees in some parts of the community. The fire pre-alert status affect the regions of Jiloca Basin Mining, Andorra-Sierra de Arcos, Aragon, Matarraña, Teruel and the Gúdar Javalambre community.

At Least 11 People Have Died Because Rains in Nicaragua this Year

 

The winter season in Nicaragua killed two people in the northern province of Esteli, which at least 11 people have died so far this year because of the rains, sources said today.

Jesus Fuentes, 50, and Engel Mejia Ruiz, whose age was not specified, were killed Tuesday in separate incidents, being dragged by the currents of two rivers swollen by the rains.

Until the beginning of last June, the authorities reported that nine people dead and around 14,000 are homeless throughout the country, which joined the two victims on Tuesday.

However, the head of the Civil Defense of Nicaragua, Brigadier General Mario Perezcassar, said they they currently do not have consolidation on people who have died this year due to torrential downpours.

Nicaraguan officials have identified 1,475 critical points to the showers.

According to official figures, the winter season last year resulted in at least 16 deaths and affected 148,530 people and destroyed 1,516 kilometers of highways and roads in Nicaragua.

Petition for a Sustainable Use of Land

 

The land is a limited resource. However, Europe continues to utilize more and more throughout the world. Europe is the continent that more than anything else in the world depends on imported resources and products from other countries, to support its economy by using a portion of land totaling approximately one and half times its size.

The persistence of this situation of over-exploitation of land is due to a variety of social and environmental problems worldwide, ranging from increased food prices, the loss of biodiversity, climate change. To change things, it is important for Europe to measure how much of the territory of the planet it uses to support its economy and puts in place effective policies for the efficient use of natural resources.

In the month of June, a group of experts will begin to discuss how to measure the impact of consumption of goods and services in Europe in relation to the use of global territory. The Friends of the Earth offer European citizens to sign a petition addressed to the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik, who is responsible for this institutional initiative.

 

Disaster Management Related to Climate Change

 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in collaboration with Enda Third World, organized a sensitization workshop about “The management of risks related to extreme weather events and disasters in the West Africa.”

There was an opportunity for participants to share information from the last IPCC report in order to have better prevention planning, as well as disaster management related to climate change. According to Mbaye Diagne El Hadji, the National Committee on Climate Change in Senegal, Senegal is under threat of disturbances related to climate change.

This is the case with the rise in sea level which is manifested today by coastal erosion on the entire national coastline. Salinization of groundwater threatens agriculture and food security throughout the Sahel. And finally, the floods caused by heavy rainfall over a very short duration of these events are extreme disturbances. However, says Mbaye Diagne El Hadj, control strategies against these weather hazards are currently being held by African governments.

In Senegal, these efforts result in the establishment of structures such as Project Integration Support for Adaptation to Climate Change in Sustainable Development in Senegal. They aim to help people adapt to climate change phenomena. Diagne observes, however, the difficulties inherent to the availability of data specific to each zone in Africa is one of the bottlenecks of the experts.

Diagne notes, “The only data we have about the risks of climate extremes and disasters in Africa are aggregate data and will delay our response.”

Twenty Years of Struggle Against Global Warming

 

PARIS – Twenty years of fight against global warming and too few concrete results against CO2 emissions: formally adopted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio, the UN process against climate change today arouses little optimism.

“Climate change is like being in a car and try to stop before reaching the edge of a precipice”, explained to AFP Wael Hmaidan, director of the NGO International CAN (Climate Action Network) in late May during the last session of talks in Bonn (Germany).

“We’re trying to slow down, but we are still far to slow enough to avoid falling,” he added.

A study presented at this session in Bonn, the seat of the secretariat of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) established in 1992, believes that the current actions against the emission of CO2 to prepare a warming planet of at least 3.5° C.

A perspective far removed from the threshold of 2° C compared to pre-industrial times that advocates science to escape the worst consequences of climate change: multiplication and intensification of heat waves and storms, rising standard of oceans, impacts on the economy, agriculture, biodiversity.

This objective of 2° C was officially adopted in 2010 by 194 countries negotiating under the auspices of the UN, but seems to move away year after year, while emissions of greenhouse gases on the planet continues to grow.

“Science tells us that to stabilize concentrations (CO2) to a level that would limit the temperature increase to 2° C at a lower cost, 2015 is the date that CO2 emissions must peak before decreasing” recalled Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, in the panel reference on climate change last December.

Not before 2020

Yet, at the Rio +20 summit (20-22 June in Brazil) which marks the 20th anniversary of Earth Summit, also wants to retain some progress.

“I would say the climate negotiations will undoubtedly be in the right direction but not speed and not to scale,” says the UN official for climate, Christiana Figueres.

Jonathan Pershing, a leading U.S. official in this arena, recalled that the preparatory meetings on climate met “the world” in a tiny room in February 1991.

“During the last major conference in Durban (December 2011), we had 10,000 people worldwide coverage and heads of state. Vision, the scale, the level of attention are absolutely new,”he said, while recognizing that there is” a long way to go. ”

The UN process, which took effect in 1994, has enabled the adoption in 1997 of the Kyoto Protocol, the only treaty to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 37 industrialized countries.

China and India, have since become very large emitters of CO2, this treaty is now inadequate.

The negotiations stalled since the fiasco of Copenhagen in 2009. They are now trying to write a new treaty that would put the world on a better path. But this new regime will not see the days before 2020.

 

The Great Barrier Reef is Threatened

 

SYDNEY – UNESCO on Saturday urged Australia to take urgent measures to protect the Great Barrier Reef boom of mining and gas, threatened to add to the list of sites “at risk” of heritage.

Australia has launched an unprecedented program of investment in the exploitation of energy resources to meet the growing demand in Asia, with a pipeline of 450 billion Australian dollars (435 billion).

The largest coral reef in the world is not yet sufficiently affected to be declared in danger, but Unesco estimates that the number and size of projects, including those relating to liquefied natural gas (LNG), tourism exploitaion and mining represent a real threat.

The decline in water quality and climate change are major issues but it is “essential to limit economic development that threatens the strength of the reef,” said UNESCO.

The committee has threatened to close the site “in danger” if some of the biggest projects were not abandoned, giving eight months in Australia to adopt a more sustainable development charter.

The Australian Minister for Environment Tony Burke acknowledged that the reef was exposed “to risks of climate change and the impact of coastal development” and that Canberra was “well aware”.

“Despite the complexity of these issues, we are determined to cope by taking a series of provisions on the coast and marine environment,” said Burke.

Campbell Newman, the Premier of Queensland, who is locally responsible for the barrier, reminded him that his region was living in coal mining and that there was no question of endangering the future Economic Queensland but it would protect the environment.

The environmentalists have called for an awareness of the Government, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) whereas the risk of being pinned by Unesco would be a “national disgrace” for the country.

A UNESCO mission came in March estimate the impact of the proposed natural gas development on Curtis Island has found serious consequences for the environment of the boom “unprecedented” Mining Development.

The port of Gladstone, a hub for exporting coal to Japan, India, North Korea and China, has undertaken massive expansion work which according to environmentalists, destroys Navy life.

UNESCO has estimated that environmental measures taken by the Government in Gladstone and Curtis Island, with an LNG project for an annual production of 12 million tons, were clearly insufficient to protect the reef.

Mr. Burke acknowledged that there were “significant decisions” to be taken regarding the future of the reef, but noted that some projects concern UNESCO had been revised downward since their visit.