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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

Energy for the Common Good

Posted by hkarner - 19. Juni 2018

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, and, most recently, Building the New American Economy.

Aristotle famously contrasted two types of knowledge: “techne” (technical know-how) and “phronesis” (practical wisdom). Scientists and engineers have offered the techne to move rapidly from fossil fuels to zero-carbon energy; now we need the phronesis to redirect our politics and economies accordingly.

NEW YORK – The climate crisis we now face is a reflection of a broader crisis: a global confusion of means and ends. We continue to use fossil fuels because we can (means), not because they are good for us (ends).

This confusion is why Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew are spurring us to think deeply about what is truly good for humanity, and how to attain it. Earlier this month, the pope and patriarch each convened business, scientific, and academic leaders, in Rome and Athens, respectively, to hasten the transition from fossil fuels to safe renewable energy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Climate-Friendly Response to Trump’s Protectionism

Posted by hkarner - 5. Juni 2018

Barbara Unmüßig

Barbara Unmüßig is President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Michael Kellner is Secretary General of the German Green Party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen).

Rather than allowing itself to be dragged into Donald Trump’s destructive trade games, the European Union should turn them on their head, by introducing a CO2 levy, including border adjustment. Such a response would help protect the environment and boost the EU’s own international clout.

BERLIN – As US President Donald Trump translates his “America First” strategy into import tariffs, and the European Union prepares to adopt countermeasures moving the global economy toward a trade standoff, the real challenge facing the two economies – indeed, the entire world – is being ignored. That challenge is to shape the global economy, including trade, so that it finally respects the planet’s natural boundaries.

Trump’s trade agenda is putting progressives into a paradoxical position. For many years, they have been denouncing the current trade system as both unjust and ecologically destructive. But in the face of Trump’s nationalist protectionism, with its echoes of the fatal mistakes of the 1930s, some feel obliged to defend the current system. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Climate change is making the Arab world more miserable

Posted by hkarner - 4. Juni 2018

Date: 03-06-2018
Source: The Economist

Expect longer droughts, hotter heatwaves and more frequent dust storms

SIX years ago Nabil Musa, a Kurdish environmentalist, returned from over a decade abroad to find Iraq transformed. Rivers in which he had swum year-round turned to dust in summer. Skies once crowded with storks and herons were empty. Drought had pushed farmers to abandon their crops, and dust storms, once rare, choked the air. Inspired to act, he joined a local conservationist group, Nature Iraq, to lobby for greener practices. But Kurdish officials pay little attention. “One of the last things we want to think about is climate change,” says Mr Musa.

Apathy towards climate change is common across the Middle East and north Africa, even as the problems associated with it get worse. Longer droughts, hotter heatwaves and more frequent dust storms will occur from Rabat to Tehran, according to Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. Already-long dry seasons are growing longer and drier, withering crops. Heat spikes are a growing problem too, with countries regularly notching lethal summer temperatures. Stretch such trends out a few years and they seem frightening—a few decades and they seem apocalyptic.

The institute forecasts that summer temperatures in the Middle East and north Africa will rise over twice as fast as the global average. Extreme temperatures of 46°C (115°F) or more will be about five times more likely by 2050 than they were at the beginning of the century, when similar peaks were reached, on average, 16 days per year. By 2100 “wet-bulb temperatures”—a measure of humidity and heat—could rise so high in the Gulf as to make it all but uninhabitable, according to a study in Nature (though its most catastrophic predictions are based on the assumption that emissions are not abated). Last year Iran came close to breaking the highest reliably recorded temperature of 54°C, which Kuwait reached the year before. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Climate change will affect developing countries more than rich ones

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2018

Date: 10-05-2018
Source: The Economist

Temperatures in tropical climates will become far more variable

GLOBAL warming is often used as a synonym for climate change, and most discussions of the topic focus on the expected increase in average global temperatures. However, the frequency and severity of individual, catastrophic weather events depend heavily on the variability of temperatures as well as their mean. The larger the swings, the more often extremely hot or cold conditions can wreak havoc.

Unfortunately, according to a new study by Sebastian Bathiany of Wageningen University and three other scientists, poor countries are not only predicted to bear the brunt of the increase in average temperatures, but also to suffer from higher variation. Their paper finds that, as the planet warms, soil in areas near the equator will dry up, reducing its ability to dampen temperature swings. This problem is expected to be especially acute in the Amazon rainforest. Consequently, the authors expect the standard deviation of monthly temperatures to increase by nearly 20% in Brazil.

In contrast, countries in the northern latitudes, which are mostly rich, will not be affected nearly as much by changes in soil moisture. Far from the equator, countries will actually see smaller temperature fluctuations, because of changing atmospheric patterns. In terms of both means and variances, the countries that bear the most historical responsibility for climate change are likely to be the ones least harmed by its consequences.

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Why Paris is all wet again

Posted by hkarner - 1. Februar 2018

Date: 31-01-2018
Source: The Economist

Two years after it last struggled with floods, the metropole is reeling once more

IN mid-2016 the River Seine in central Paris burst its banks. It rose to 6.1 metres, briefly closed the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, disrupted trains and affected businesses and homes. The cause: intense rainfall in much of western Europe, which led to the worst flooding in the city for 34 years. Now the waters are back. By January 29th the river had reached the 5.8 metre-mark, causing similar disorder. Some 1,500 people have been evacuated from their homes. Rats are fleeing sewers. Locals at one vulnerable spot downstream from the city, Ile de Migneaux, told a newswire, L’Agence France-Presse, that they have endured eight swampings in two decades. Are such floods becoming more common, and more disruptive, in Paris? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Federal Regulators Rule Against Trump Administration on Power Plants

Posted by hkarner - 10. Januar 2018

Date: 09-01-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rebuffs plan to aid coal-fired and nuclear power plants

The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation’s top carbon-dioxide emitters, near Juliette, Ga.

WASHINGTON—Federal energy regulators on Monday rejected a Trump administration proposal aimed at shoring up struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants to bolster the nation’s electricity grid, saying the administration hadn’t persuaded them the plan was needed to ensure the system’s reliability.

The administration plan, proposed in September, is one of its biggest initiatives to help those fuels compete amid a boom in gas-fired and renewable power. The Energy Department submitted the proposal, warning that so many coal-fired and nuclear plants are under threat of closing that the country’s electric grid faced a rising risk of outages and price spikes without it.

The five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled unanimously that the administration hadn’t provided enough evidence that the measures proposed were needed. The commissioners—including four Trump administration nominees, three of them Republicans—said the government hadn’t provided adequate justification for changing the rules currently governing competitive electricity markets and that the proposal would have unfairly limited competition.

“In addition, the extensive comments submitted by [the country’s grid operators] do not point to any past or planned generator retirements that may be a threat to grid resilience,” FERC’s order said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Seit Beginn der Industrialisierung: Menschheit erlebt die drei wärmsten Jahre

Posted by hkarner - 7. Januar 2018

Date: 06-01-2018
Source: SPIEGEL

Das vergangene Jahr hat weltweit einen brisanten Wärmerekord aufgestellt. Klimaforscher sind alarmiert.

Temperaturveränderung von 2017 im Vergleich zum Durchschnitt zwischen 1981 bis 2010: Besonders die Arktis hat sich erwärmt

2017 hat einen Rekord aufgestellt: Es war das wärmste Jahr seit Beginn der Industrialisierung ohne El-Niño-Phänomen – dieses sorgt alle paar Jahre für einen Wärmeschub aus dem Meer. Zugleich war 2017 das zweitwärmste Jahr seither überhaupt.

Das berichtet das Europäische Zentrum für mittelfristige Wettervorhersage ECMWF, das als erstes Institut die meteorologischen Daten des vergangenen Jahres ausgewertet hat.

Den globalen Wärmerekord von 2016, als El Niño herrschte, habe 2017 um 0,1 Grad verfehlt. 2017 war aber dafür 0,1 Grad wärmer als das bisher an zweiter Stelle platzierte 2015 – die drei vergangenen Jahre waren mithin so warm wie nie ein Drei-Jahres-Zeitraum seit Beginn der Messungen.

Einen Sprung gemacht Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Year Climate Change Began to Spin Out of Control

Posted by hkarner - 5. Januar 2018

Date: 04-01-2018
Source: Technology Review by James Temple

Fires ravaged the West, hurricanes battered the East—and still emissions continued to rise.

For decades, scientists have warned that climate change would make extreme events like droughts, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires more frequent, more devastating, or both. In 2017, we got an up-close look at the raw ferocity of such an altered world as high-category hurricanes battered the East and Gulf coasts, and wind-whipped fires scorched the West.

We’re also seeing with greater clarity how these dangers are interlinked, building upon one another toward perilous climate tipping points. And yet for all the growing risks, and the decades we’ve had to confront them, we have yet to address the problem in a meaningful way.

In fact, despite all our climate policies, global accords, solar advances, wind farms, hybrid cars, and Teslas, greenhouse-gas emissions are still moving in the wrong direction. And as long as we’re emitting any at all, we’re only making the problem worse.

Here are the five most worrisome climate developments we saw in 2017.

Emissions are rising again

After three relatively flat years, greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels and industry picked up again in 2017, rising an estimated 2 percent, according to the Global Carbon Project. The shift was driven by rising carbon pollution in China and India, which more than offset a slight decline in the United States.

The news punctured tentative hopes that the recent flattening was solidifying into a trend. Among other things, it means that our collective climate efforts haven’t even prevented greenhouse-gas levels from rising, at a point when we need to be radically cutting them. Keeping temperatures from rising beyond a dangerous 2 °C will require slashing emissions as much as 70 percent by midcentury, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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2017 12 28 Eine Studie über die Begrenztheit der deutschen Energiewende

Posted by hkarner - 1. Januar 2018

Dank an H.F.

Posted by Andreas van de Kamp on 28. Dezember 2017

Der frühere Ifo-Chef Hans-Werner Sinn hat ausgetüftelt, wie viel Speicher man benötigte, um wenigstens 50-60% der deutschen Stromproduktion für das Netz “auszubalancieren”, käme diese aus “Zappelstrom” durch Wind und Sonne. Ergebnis: In “Nord-Süd-Mitteleuropa” vom Polarkreis zum Brenner müssten alle topographischen Möglichkeiten ausgeschöpft und ca. 1.500 Pumpspeicher-Kraftwerke neu gebaut werden – vor allem in Norwegen . NB zur Ver-wandlung von Kultur- in Industrielandschaften.

https://youtu.be/ZzwCpRdhsXk

Selbst dann wäre freilich noch nicht allzuviel gewonnen, weil

 Strom insgesamt nur 23 Prozent des Primärenergieverbrauchs in Deutschland aus-macht und
 durch die geplante Elektrifizierung des Personentransports sowie durch den absehbar vermehrten Einsatz von Wärmepumpen zusätzlicher Strombedarf entstehen wird; und weil
 damit die verringerte Produktion (das verringerte Angebot) und der zusätzliche Be-darf mit dem hier gewohnten “Lifestyle einer modernen Welt” (Raumwärme, elektri-sches Licht, Warmwasser) womöglich nicht mehr vereinbar sind. Um das zu garantie-ren, müsste die Effizienz bei der Verwendung von Strom in einem schwer vorstellba-ren Maß steigen bzw. die Nachfrage aus der heute damit betriebenen Infrastruktur müsste dramatisch sinken (sagt dieser Blogger). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Historiker Philipp Blom: „Die Erde braucht uns nicht“

Posted by hkarner - 28. Dezember 2017

Interview Bettina Pfluger28. Dezember 2017, 08:30 derstandard.at

Digitalisierung und Klimawandel läuten das Ende der Demokratie ein, sagt Blom

Wir leben in einer Gesellschaft, in der die Zukunft keine Verheißung mehr ist, sondern als Bedrohung wahrgenommen wird. Die Verteidigung von Privilegien gilt als Geißel unserer Zeit. So schreibt es Philipp Blom in seinem aktuellen Buch „Was auf dem Spiel steht“. Darin entwirft der Historiker ein düsteres Bild von unserer Zukunft. So düster, dass er manchmal selbst damit hadert, ob er das Geschriebene wirklich glauben will. Im Buch wirft eine Forscherin aus der Zukunft einen Blick auf das Heute. Was wird sie sich fragen, fragt Blom. Wohl warum wir gegen die aktuellen Bedrohungen – Digitalisierung, Klimawandel, Hyperkonsum – nicht reagiert und gegengesteuert haben. Denn sie haben laut Blom die Macht, das Ende der Demokratie einzuläuten.

STANDARD: Sie sagen, das Versprechen, dass die Kinder es später besser haben werden als die Erwachsenen heute, gilt nicht mehr. Warum?

Blom: Weil die wenigsten glauben, dass ihre Kinder es besser haben werden. Ein Teil der Bevölkerung hat begriffen, dass unser Wohlstand nicht zu übertreffen ist. Der andere Teil sieht, dass sie keine fairen Aufstiegschancen haben. Es wird nicht gelingen, Wohlstand laufend zu steigern.

STANDARD: Liegt es also auch daran, dass eine Generation nun von Geburt an materiell abgesichert war?

Blom: Es ist unsere historische Erfahrung, dass Krieg das Wirtschaftswachstum angefacht hat. Es ist weder wirtschaftlich möglich noch politisch ratsam noch psychologisch durchzuhalten, dieses Wachstum durch Konsum und damit Identität durch Konsum weiter anzuheizen. Durch den Rohstoffabbau zerstören wir Lebensgrundlagen. Wenn wir hier nicht reagieren, kann das nur in eine problematische Richtung gehen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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