Ooty: Call to fight global warming with lifestyle changes

‘Take steps to adopt low carbon emission technologies’

Udhagamandalam: Lifestyle changes can combat global warming to a significant extent. This was underscored at a seminar on global warming – “Agni” organised by the Rotary District-3202 in association with various Rotary clubs in the Nilgiris here on Sunday.

Introducing the theme and giving an overview of the scenario vis-a-vis global warming, the former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission M.R. Srinivasan said that steps should be taken to adopt low carbon emission technologies.

Save earth: Former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission M.R. Srinivasan addressing a seminar on Global Warming in Udhagamandalam on Sunday. — Photo:M. Sathyamoorthy

Stating that efforts should be made to conserve energy at all levels, he said that the motto should be “ reuse, reduce and refuse”.

Lifestyle changes should be made.

While use of solar, wind, nuclear and hydroelectric energy should be promoted the people should switch from individual transport to mass transport. Use of bicycles should be encouraged, he said.

Advocating a growth path that is less carbon intensive, he said that the consequences of meddling with nature would be drastic.

He expressed the view that energy is embedded in everything conserved.

Adverting to the recent natural calamity in the Nilgiris, he said that the type of damage caused has revealed that, “we have not learnt from past experiences”.

Trees should be planted on a massive scale.

The Governor, Rotary District 3202 E.K. Sagadhevan who inaugurated the seminar said that all must join hands to fight global warming. “When our grandfathers have given us a healthy earth we should ensure that we do the same to posterity,” he said.

The Secretary General, World Wide Fund for Nature, Ravi Singh said that if appropriate lifestyle changes are made now, the benefits will become visible 20 or 30 years later.

He stressed the role of the media and the younger generation in tackling the problem. He also referred to the consequences of global warming on forests, species, people and economy.

The Field Director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Rajiv K. Srivastava cautioned that if bush fires are not prevented the problems relating to global warming will multiply.

Emphasising the need for self-discipline, he said that wetlands, marshes etc should be protected.

Each village should have an eco-sensitive plan.

The entire district should be declared as an eco-sensitive zone.

The Principal, Good Shepherd International School, P.C. Thomas said that utmost caution should be exercised while laying roads in hill areas like the Nilgiris.

The Director, ECOS Jean-Philippe Puyravaud, the Assistant Rotary Governor N. Chandrashekar and the Secretary, Rotary Club of Nilgiris West Geetha Srinivasan also spoke.

The President, Rotary Club of Nilgiris West Geegee George welcomed the gathering.


Himalayan glaciers most threatened by global warming

It may be delayed, but smoke particles absorb sunlight and heat greenhouse gases: Prof. V. Ramanathan 

Focus on reducing black carbon, which has a deadly effect on human health

Alternative cooking fuels could reduce deaths and clear the air

NEW DELHI: Just before starting his lecture on ‘Atmospheric Brown Clouds,’ Prof V. Ramanathan admits that people think he has come to dismantle Indian progress.

The Director of the Center for Clouds, Chemistry and Climate, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, in a recent address to the International Federation of Environmental Journalists in New Delhi, said the world was already committed to a global warming of 2.5 degrees Celsius.

“Think of greenhouse gases as covering the earth like a blanket,” he starts off.

The blanket traps the heat, but there are also other particles such as sulphates and nitrates in the atmospheric brown clouds, which function as mirrors.

The good news, he says, is global warming may be delayed and the bad news is that smoke particles or mirrors absorb the sunlight and heat the blanket directly.

CFC regulation

Since he left India in 1970 (he was a refrigeration engineer then), he has been publishing nothing but bad news, admits Prof. Ramanathan. One molecule of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has the same greenhouse effect as have 10,000 molecules of carbon dioxide. “If we had not regulated CFC, we would have faced a climate catastrophe.”

In 1980, Prof. Ramanathan predicted that the planet would warm up by 2000. In a 1983 study, he said non-carbon dioxide trace gases contributed as much as CO{-2} to the increase in atmospheric greenhouse effect.

“They thought Ram has gone crazy, but all that came true,” he says.

“I feel sad that the system is behaving as we are predicting it. The only hope we have is that our prediction will be wrong.”

“We have made the blanket thick enough to heat the planet by 2.5 degrees Celsius. The Artic summer ice will be the first to go and the Himalayan glaciers are the most threatened by global warming over 2.5 degrees Celsius.”

There is a 50 per cent probability that the planet will warm by 2.5 degrees Celsius “because of what we have already done.” There was a failure to anticipate this all along.

The “mirrors” (sulphates, nitrates, etc) in the atmospheric brown clouds mixing with rain form acid and it is no longer a good idea to rush out and feel the first rains. “When the mirrors are gone, you get the full blast of global warming.”

The last G8 meeting said emissions would be cut by 50 per cent by 2050.

However, CO{-2} concentration is still increasing and even with the aim of reducing emissions by 50 per cent, only the rate of warming would be slowed down.

“The world thinks that if you cut CO{-2} emissions all will be fine,” he says.

Uncertain science

The science of climate change is uncertain at best; even if the Copenhagen summit succeeds, temperatures could rise in the future to 3.5 per cent, Prof. Ramanathan forecasts. Pointing fingers is not a solution, he says, quoting Mahatma Gandhi that an eye for an eye will make all of us blind.

Referring to his own study, initially called the Asian Brown Cloud, Prof. Ramanathan admits that it was a mistake.

Brown clouds are everywhere now, and they absorb sunlight and have the direct impact of suppressing rain. India is darker by 5-10 per cent, and its rainfall pattern is changing. Even in China, the same thing is happening. Glaciers are surrounded by brown clouds; even on Mount Everest, there is evidence of black carbon deposition, apart from soot on the Tibetan glaciers and the Artic.

The Himalayan glaciers also show evidence of black carbon. The hope lies in the fact that black carbon in the atmosphere is 55 per cent. Alternative cooking fuels could reduce human deaths and clear the air, so to speak, and there is need to focus on reducing black carbon, which has a short life of less than 10 days in the atmosphere. But black carbon and smoke have a deadly effect on human health. Indian contributes six per cent black carbon, though its contribution of biofuels is just one per cent. China accounts for about four times more.

The last slide in Prof. Ramanathan’s presentation showed his little granddaughter on his shoulder. “Need a personal reason for wanting to solve the problem? Lead by USA and Europe is critical for reducing committed warming. Engagement of Asia is critical for reducing future commitment,” he says.


WWF: World Has Less Than 5 Years to Bring Carbon Emissions Under Control

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that the world has less than five years to get carbon emissions under control or runaway climate change will become inevitable.

Scientists generally agree that the world could keep temperature rises below a dangerous level of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) if greenhouse gas emissions are halved by 2050.

However, according to the Telegraph, a new report from the WWF found that this will require a “green industrial revolution” by 2014, with heavy investment
in moving from fossil fuels to ‘low carbon alternatives’ like wind, solar, nuclear and clean coal.

It will also mean switching to electric cars and other green technologies and improving energy efficiency by insulating our homes and wasting less electricity.

The stark warning comes as ministers and officials from around the world meet in London for the Major Economies Forum.

The WWF said that both rich and poor countries need to start investing in renewable energy and encouraging behaviour change among citizens in order to meet the targets.

The report used economic models to calculate how long it would take for a low carbon industry to grow to a point where it is big enough to cut emissions by 50 per cent.

According to Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF UK, any industry will only grow by 30 per cent every year; so the world has to invest in a low carbon industry now to allow the sector to grow to a point where it takes over from fossil fuels by 2050.

“Clean industry sectors can only expand so far, so quickly. If we wait until later than 2014 to begin aggressively tackling the problem, we will have left it too late to ensure that all the low-carbon solutions required are ready to roll out at the scale needed if we intend to keep within the world’s remaining carbon budget,” he said.

“This report is a compelling reminder of the scale of effort and the speed of action needed if we’re going to make the global transition towards low and zero carbon economies before it’s too late,” he added.

Source-ANI – CarbonOffsetDaily

WWF: Largest Companies around the world are working towards a new Clean Economy

Many of the largest companies around the world are working towards a new Clean Economy

What must be agreed: 6 key tasks

WWF says there are 6 key tasks that have to be agreed upon at the Copenhagen meeting:

1.Rich countries, as a group, should set strong binding emissions reduction targets of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Most of those reductions should be undertaken domestically.
2.Funds and technology cooperation must be established to support the implementation of low-carbon economies in the developing world.
3.With the appropriate needs-based support, developing countries should commit to emissions 30% lower by 2020 than those they are currently projecting.
4.Actions by developing countries should include the halting of forest destruction and its concomitant emissions.
5.Rich nations need to leverage support to help the most vulnerable countries, communities and ecosystems, which are hardest hit by climate change, and finance their adaptation work.
6.All countries need to agree that global greenhouse gas emissions must be at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

For More Information

National Geographic Partners with WWF to Reduce Emissions

Pledges Further Emission Cuts from Operations and Supply Chain

WASHINGTON (Vocus/PRWEB ) September 23, 2009 — National Geographic, through a partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), announced today it will cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 80 percent by the end of 2010. The Geographic’s commitment comes on the heels of the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in New York and at the start of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.

“National Geographic’s commitment to further reduce emissions could not be more timely or relevant,” said Keya Chatterjee, acting director of WWF’s climate program. “More than 100 world leaders gathered at the UN summit this week to show they are committed to building a strong climate agreement. Leaders representing 85 percent of the world’s economy will meet at tomorrow’s G-20 summit to foster a global economic recovery. National Geographic understands that emissions reductions and strong economic performance go hand in hand.”

National Geographic is one of 22 participants, including HP, Nike, The Coca-Cola Company, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson, in WWF’s Climate Savers program. Collectively, WWF’s Climate Savers partners will reduce emissions by an estimated 50 million tons by 2010, an amount equivalent to the annual emissions of Switzerland. Overall, the partners say these efforts are resulting in greater operational efficiency and significant cost reductions.

“Conservation has been at the core of National Geographic throughout our 121-year-history. We’re delighted to be joining other like-minded organizations with strong climate action plans,” said Ted Prince, National Geographic’s executive vice president of Global Media. “Investing in energy efficiency and clean energy technology is a highly effective way to grow our business while protecting the planet from catastrophic climate change.”

WWF-National Geographic

WWF-National Geographic

National Geographic will work with WWF to reduce its CO2 emissions from operations by 80 percent by 2010 and reduce CO2 emissions from its magazine paper and printing materials supply chain by 10 percent by 2015. The emissions reductions are based on a 2005 baseline.

National Geographic is the first media organization to join WWF’s Climate Savers program. As such, it will help communicate the message of WWF’s ”Let the Clean Economy Begin” campaign. The campaign calls on world leaders to find a solution to climate change. It also demonstrates, using results from WWF’s partners, that it is possible to grow a business while reducing its CO2 emissions.

Note to editors:
The Climate Savers program is a collaboration between some of the world’s foremost corporations and WWF to show leadership in reducing emissions and heading off catastrophic climate change. By participating in Climate Savers, companies work with WWF to develop a climate action plan that includes absolute emission reductions and steps to meet their goals. Independent technical experts monitor and verify compliance.

WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge, the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. The Society was recognized for its commitment to energy conservation by the National Energy Resources Organization Energy Efficiency Award in 2002 and received the EPA Green Power Leadership Award in 2006. National Geographic’s Washington, D.C. headquarters was the first office building in the country to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Existing Building Program. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.

From PRWeb

South Africa To Overhaul Industrial Policy To Reduce CO2 Emissions

South Africa needs to rennovate its industrial policy in order to address the relation between economic growth and fossil fuel consumption, reported all Africa.com., quoting an energy researcher.

South Africa is the most carbon-intensive economies, as per its per capita emission of greenhouse gases. According to Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) the South African economy is 5 to 0 times less carbon efficient than the US, the UK or Japan, along with China.

Chart describing about Co2 level in Africa

Chart describing about Co2 level in Africa

The government of South Africa has plans to diversify its energy mix and has set targets to reduce emission, whihc is being hampered by high costs, while electricity tariffs do not reflect the cost of generation.

Alan Brent, a sustainable energy researcher with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, said: “We could not do it, it was impossible and this is an issue that needs to be addressed through industrial policy. We are going to the Copenhagen conference in December and we are inevitably going to move into a carbon constraint environment.”

The WWF’s Saliem Fakir, said: “SA needs a dual strategy for economic growth. On the one hand we have to recognise that we have a high dependency on fossil fuels and on the other we need to look at the energy sector from a supply, demand a growth point of view.”

By Energy Business Review

Carbon Futures Are not The Future

This week climate change negotiators are meeting in Germany to review a 260-page document, which U.N. officials hope will be crafted into a new treaty to reduce carbon emissions and adopted by world leaders at Copenhagen in December. At the center of this proposal is a strategy for governments to raise money by creating a large global market for carbon credits.

Alan Oxley is chairman of World Growth International

Alan Oxley is chairman of World Growth International

The Chicago Futures Exchange already operates a small market for carbon credits. Prices are low, around $1 a ton. Though the market now operates mainly for companies eager to boast a low carbon footprint, boosters eagerly talk about greater interest and future prices as high as $40 a ton.

But be wary. Experts predict that no new treaty will be inked at Copenhagen. Policy makers have little inclination to hike energy costs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the midst of an economic crisis. Moreover, the idea is seriously impractical.

Environmental NGOs like Greenpeace and the WWF are campaigning for a $160 billion market in carbon credits, the proceeds of which are to be directed to developing countries to entice or bribe them to reduce their own emissions.

Poor countries already receive about $105 billion in aid every year. Given widespread doubt about the effectiveness of this existing aid, no government, least of all the U.S. Congress, would agree to more than double that amount–especially since China would significantly benefit from such a transaction and, last time we looked, it is loaded to the gills with finance.

As for the aid at hand, a quarter of the $160 billion raised annually from this emissions trading would be earmarked for poor countries with forestry. But there’s a catch. Nations would only receive these funds if they agree to use forest lands to farm carbon instead of timber or other crops. The World Bank is telling the developing world that emissions farming would generate better returns. That’s just not true.

According to a new study by World Growth International, the returns from developing forest lands are at least four to eight times greater than farming carbon. And since forestry directly and indirectly contributes up to about 7% of the national economy of forest-rich, tropical, developing countries, these anti-forestry initiatives threaten to significantly impede their chances to create new jobs and wealth.

The World Bank’s stated mission is to reduce poverty. Yet, by encouraging poor nations to select the lowest-yielding option, its anti-forestry campaign directly conflicts with that core principle.

The organization’s environmental economists argue that if governments create a large global market for carbon credits, the carbon stored in the trees would become more valuable and, therefore, entice poor communities to farm the carbon instead of the tree. The World Bank has garnered several hundred million dollars to encourage and equip developing countries to get into this game, despite the improbability of agreement on a global emissions trading market.

The touting of “easy money” has already had unhappy results. Last week, for example, the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) closed its official office for climate change. That’s because the country’s climate change director had been circulating certificates for rights to allocate carbon, even though there’s no law in the country that creates such rights. There had been reports of multimillion-dollar sales to companies set up in Australia to make these trades. And hustlers had been selling permits (along with large paper bags) for $500 a pop to locals to collect carbon dioxide from the air and deliver it to the climate change office.

These kinds of policies come at the expense of both the planet and the poor. As such, the World Bank, Greenpeace, WWF and other groups presently pushing for a global carbon market should pause and reassess their plan.

If our true intent is to protect global forest biodiversity and enable poor countries to become economically self-sufficient, then we need to encourage a more serious and nuanced approach: allowing sustainably managed forestry.

Some sort of global compact on climate change will be agreed upon sometime in the next decade. But don’t waste any money on global carbon futures–they are unlikely to be a part of it.

Alan Oxley is chairman of World Growth International, a U.S.-based free-market non-governmental organization, and the author of a new report on how forestry can reduce poverty. He formerly served as chairman of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the predecessor to the World Trade Organization.