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February 12 2014

23:48

British Isles Endure Unprecedented Flooding

UK Flooding adds to global extreme weather events

Even while the US East shivers in record cold, Alaska basks in heat and California experiences extreme drought (despite the recent rain), it is the British Isles that are truly being hammered by extreme weather. As much as some folks snipe at the oft-repeated phrase of late, the polar vortex and stalled jet stream lay at the heart of the weather chaos, behaving, scientists believe, in response to a warming Arctic and loss of Arctic sea ice.

In the UK, the implications for this “string of one-in-150 year” events hit at the core of political as well as everyday life.

“The water table is so high in some areas that flooding is possible even far from a river. 1.6 million properties could be at risk.”

The following video comes courtesy of ClimateCrocks.com

 

Featured image credit: Ian is here, courtesy flickr

The post British Isles Endure Unprecedented Flooding appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

December 20 2013

20:18

Video Friday: Climate Change Impacts on the Alaskan Ecosystem

The northern latitudes are experience some of the most dynamic impacts from climate change. Done by a student as a final project for a Climate Dynamics Class, this video explores some of the effects and consequences climate change will have in Alaska.

 

Featured image credit: Berkeley Lab, courtesy flickr

The post Video Friday: Climate Change Impacts on the Alaskan Ecosystem appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

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December 13 2013

19:54

Video Friday: Graham Nash – On the Impacts of Climate Change

Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, music legend Graham Nash tells a Climate One gathering on his own experience witnessing climate change over the past few decades. While on tour in Europe recently he made a concerted effort to talk with roadies, sound engineers and other production personnel he encountered on their own experience of the impacts of climate change:

To a man and to a woman, they had no idea what was going on with their weather. They had never seen it like that, they had never seen it so cold, they had never seen it so hot, they had never seen it so rainy. It’s happening. Global warming is a reality. All the Koch brothers that are paying scientists to tell you that it’s not happening, they’re doing you an incredible disservice.

 

Featured image credit: Chris Boland, courtesy flickr

The post Video Friday: Graham Nash – On the Impacts of Climate Change appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

November 22 2013

23:04

Civil Society Walkout as COP19 Comes to Disappointing Conclusion

Lack of progress leads many from NGO's and civil society to walk out of climate talks at COP19 in WarsawEven going in with low expectations, there is a profound sense of disappointment in Warsaw as the COP19 climate talks wind down. On Thursday, representatives from more than 800 environmental groups, NGO’s and civil society walked out of the meeting hall in protest of the lack of progress in Warsaw.

From the start, ambition was flagging among developed countries for curbing global greenhouse gas emissions and reaching the target 2015 deadline of forging an international agreement on climate change. Even if such a deadline is met, the agreement would not come into effect until 2020. In the meantime the rate of  carbon emissions continue to expand, calling into question the international community’s ability and willingness to set a path toward climate stability in time to avoid the most devastating impact of climate change. To be sure, global warming and its effects are already happening. What is now at stake is the degree of climate change we bestow upon future generations.

 

Featured image credit: Adopt a Negotiator, courtesy flickr

The post Civil Society Walkout as COP19 Comes to Disappointing Conclusion appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

October 28 2013

19:45

I Have a Solar Job: Insider Dispels 5 Myths about Solar Energy in the U.S.

5 myths about solar energy in the United StatesThere are over 120,000 people with solar jobs in the US and I am one of them.

I sell solar PV (photovoltaic) to home and business owners in Washington State and the majority of my job is education. The more the public is educated on the facts of solar power the better the solar industry will do.

Can you think of many professions where most people know little about the product and what they think they know is often false? Most people in America have an opinion about solar energy, yet few of them have any experience with it. When it comes to solar the American public is highly opinionated and minimally educated, a combination that too often creates mass confusion. To combat this problem here are 5 myths about solar energy in the US.

  1. Solar is only for the wealthy:  media outlets often suggest that solar is only for rich people. A report just published  proves that over 60 percent of the households going solar in the California, Arizona and New Jersey earn below $90,000. If you live in a state that allows leases or purchase-power-agreements (PPAs) then you can go solar without any upfront cost.
  2. Solar must always be subsidized to make economic sense: opponents will tell you that solar is not good because it is subsidized. The implication here is that coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear power are all not subsidized by the US government. The US government subsidizes all energy sources, sometimes in really complex and discrete ways.
  3. Solar companies in the US are failing: Listening to the news, especially certain networks, you’d get the impression that solar companies in the US are all failing. While solar manufacturers in the US are having a really hard time competing on the global market, isn’t this true for all US manufacturers of electronic products? Installers of solar are doing really well in the US, and US companies are leading the way. SolarCity is the US solar installer with the highest profile, they went public last year and their business has continued to grow with their stock price.
  4. Solar won’t work because the sun doesn’t always shine: The argument oft-heard argument is that since the sun doesn’t shine all the time it just won’t work as an energy source. There is an issue of storing excess electrical production but this is a solvable problem and strategies like Net Metering are doing the job. The other issue is that we use power when the sun is not shining. That’s why we have multiple sources of electricity that complement each other. The electrical grid in the US needs to be updated to fully utilize the benefits of renewable energy, this updated grid is called the “smart grid.”
  5. Unlike sun-drenched Germany, there isn’t enough sun in the US for solar to work. Leave it to Fox News to make the the most ridiculous claim ever regarding solar. With perfectly straight faces, their morning “news” crew claimed the reason solar won’t work in the US is because we don’t get enough sun, unlike Germany, a leader in solar power, due to the ample amount of sunlight that they get. Check out the solar irradiance map of the US and Germany in the following video clearly showing how much more sunlight falls in the US on average (except for Alaska) than in Germany.

Image credit: USFWS Mountain-Prairie, courtesy flickr

The post I Have a Solar Job: Insider Dispels 5 Myths about Solar Energy in the U.S. appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

October 04 2013

20:03

September 20 2013

22:02

September 08 2013

02:09

World Water Week- Access to Safe Water: Takeaways from Stockholm

Access to water and sanitationIn 2010 the United Nations passed resolution 64/292 mandating the basic human right to water and sanitation.

Efforts abound to secure access to safe water for the nearly one billion and  one-billion-plus without sanitation. But still that effort falls short. Too many people struggle every day to find enough  safe – or any –  water for themselves and their families. Too many people, many of them children, die every year because the don’t have the resources for proper sanitation and hygiene.

This is due, in part, to a growing awareness that the standard philanthropic model of charity doesn’t work. Wells are dug, latrines are built, pictures are taken and published in media for the funders back home. Intentions are good but lasting results don’t happen. wells sit abandoned or dried-up, latrines broken and unused. Access to clean water is controlled by a “water mafia” after the well-meaning but ultimately ineffective NGO or charity is long gone.

A common thread in my conversations with Water.org co-founder Gary White and Safe Water Network Sr. VP for strategic initiatives, Amanda Gimble, was the evolution in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector (WASH) toward using local market-based principals that can ensure lasting impact, long after the initial “intervention.”

Market-based solutions to the water crisis

This isn’t necessarily charity-bashing. There will always be a need for standard philanthropic efforts. Charity may be the only way to reach those that have nothing, living at the absolute bottom of the pyramid (BOP) . Many more live near the BOP, but nonetheless have the means to provide at least the most basic needs for their families. In these situation, mechanisms that allow people access  to market-based solutions provides a more sustainable approach to lasting impact.

Two examples of market-based solutions:

  • Micro-lending programs like WaterBank give access to credit for installing water systems.
  • The Safe Water Network uses basic business and marketing principals to build self-sustaining, locally-owned water “stations” that provide a daily source of safe, clean water at affordable prices (about 7 cents buys a 20 liter container of water).

Not enough charity in the world

“There isn’t enough charity in the world to provide a total solution”  White told me. Where charity is the best solution, of course it needs to be employed. But efforts to innovate market-based solutions is the key to making a real, lasting impact.

As Ned Breslin, CEO of Water for People, says in this Thomson Reuters Fund interview, the WASH sector has failed to meet the goal of safe water and sanitation for all people.  I briefly met Ned while at World Water Week. His frank expression of the reality of this failure, and the need to find new ways to forge real change serves as a good synopsis of my takeaways from Stockholm.

Disclosure: my trip to Stockholm for World Water Week was paid for by PepsiCo. Water.org and The Safe Water Network are core partners in PepsiCo’s water stewardship initiatives. 

Image credit: World Bank, courtesy flickr

The post World Water Week- Access to Safe Water: Takeaways from Stockholm appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

August 16 2013

21:43

Video Friday: The Plastic Bank – Monetizing Waste Plastic

The Plastic Bank can reverse plastic pollution and help impoverished communitiesSocial plastic

The Plastic Bank is an organization and a movement aimed at removing plastic waste from the world’s oceans, beaches and waterways in a process that empowers people living in poverty to raise their standard of living and strengthen their communities. The concept is to establish “Plastic Banks” in impoverished areas with an existing abundance of plastic waste, allowing people to harvest the waste for credits used for micro-finance loans, repurposed necessities and 3D printing of everyday products.

A key focus of the program is education and empowerment, allowing people oppressed by poverty to envision and realize a better life for themselves, finding value in what has heretofore been a waste stream choking their communities and polluting the global environment.

“Social plastic is plastic waste that is harvested and repurposed for cause,” says Plastic Bank founder and CEO David Katz. “When operational, The Plastic Bank will exchange social plastic as a currency that can be used towards items that help lift individuals out of poverty and support local entrepreneurialism. As technology develops, The Plastic Bank will provide 3D printing services with the goal of converting social plastic into the raw material for 3D-printed products like tools, parts and household items.

Global social and environmental crises are linked, and so are the solutions,” adds Katz. “The crisis of waste plastics is an industrial problem that demands a transformative solution, like taking ocean-bound plastic waste and assigning it value. That is the promise of social plastic.”

Support the Plastic Bank

There are several ways you can support the Plastic Bank. First, by donating as little as $1 to their Indiegogo campaign you will help establish plastic repurposing centers around the world. You can also partner with the Plastic Bank to demand that corporations use only recycled plastics and help the transition to cleaning up the millions of tons of plastic waste entering our oceans every single year.

Image credit: Bastian, courtesy flickr

The post Video Friday: The Plastic Bank – Monetizing Waste Plastic appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

August 02 2013

22:11

Video Friday: Music Video – SOLARIZE

Today’s video is a music break presented by Muse Video as part of a music video project produced by talented young artists from United Roots Oakland. A haunting song about global warming, climate justice and indigenous right, the track includes Desirae Harp, Fly 50 and SeasunZ of Earth Amplified.

The post Video Friday: Music Video – SOLARIZE appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

July 26 2013

22:12

Video Friday: NRDC Press Conference on Climate Impacts of Proposed Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

A video of a June 23, 2013 press conference hosted by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC outlining new economic and environmental analysis by NRDC on the consequences of approving the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline. Speakers include Bill McKibben, Brigadier General (Ret.) Steven Anderson, Anthony Swift, and Kate Colarulli.

Featured image credit: NWFblogs, courtesy flickr

The post Video Friday: NRDC Press Conference on Climate Impacts of Proposed Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

July 19 2013

19:13

Video Friday: Philippe Cousteau Speaks on Water, Climate and Resource Challenges in the 21st Century

World-famous ocean and environmental advocate Philippe Cousteau Jr. speaks of the relationship between water and climate, and the coming challenges of the 21st century to address human population and  resource demand in a changing climate.

“We have to fundamentally change the environment, with each other our economic and political systems that drive a lot of the challenges we face today, and build a sustainable system where all of those work in harmony.”

The post Video Friday: Philippe Cousteau Speaks on Water, Climate and Resource Challenges in the 21st Century appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

July 12 2013

21:23

Video Friday: California Governor Brown Delivers Keynote at Intersolar 2013 Conference

One of the largest solar industry conferences, Intersolar North America, just wrapped in San Francisco. Kicking off the four-day meeting was a keynote address from California governor Jerry Brown. I’ll have more on my impressions of this year’s conference soon. For a retrospective, check out Solar is Ready to Launch from 2011 and Solar Gets Down to Business from 2012.

The post Video Friday: California Governor Brown Delivers Keynote at Intersolar 2013 Conference appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

July 05 2013

21:34

Video Friday: Los Angeles, Paris to Participate in Megacities Carbon Project

Cities are responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Los Angeles and Paris are both participating in the Megacities Carbon Project, a research study by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop and test methods for more accurately measuring greenhouse gas emissions from cities and power plants.

The stated goal of the project is to “demonstrate a scientifically robust capability to measure multi-year emission trends of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and carbon monoxide (CO) attributed to individual megacities and selected major sectors.”  The methods and data collected will be shared between international partners to enhance global emissions monitoring from megacities across the globe.

The post Video Friday: Los Angeles, Paris to Participate in Megacities Carbon Project appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

June 28 2013

21:27

Video Friday: Ernesto Sirolli on Truly Sustainable Development

Ernesto Sirolli is the founder of the Sirolli Institute, a non-profit organization that advocates for a “civic economy” model of development. Through mentoring and nurturing local talent instead of a “top down” approach to economic aid and sustainable development, impoverished communities can rebuild their local economies, inspire local entrepreneurship and protect the environment. In this 18-minute TEDx talk, Sirolli talks with passion and humor on how his experiences led to a realization that the typical patriarchal approach to economic aid and development doesn’t work for creating a sustainable future.

The post Video Friday: Ernesto Sirolli on Truly Sustainable Development appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

June 21 2013

22:05

Video Friday: Climate, Arctic Sea Ice and Weather Whiplash

We have two videos today from Yale Climate Forum exploring the connection between Arctic ice, the jet stream and “weather whiplash.” In the first video, Rutgers University climate researcher Dr.Jennifer Francis and Dr. Jeff Masters discusses this connection in terms of the “mirror image” spring weather over much of North America between 2012 and 2013.

In the second video, climatologist Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research offers some skepticism about the impact between Arctic sea ice and the observed weather with a response to Trenberth’s concerns from Francis. This exchange of ideas serves as an example of top scientists working in their fields to better understand the implications and consequences of global climate change.


The post Video Friday: Climate, Arctic Sea Ice and Weather Whiplash appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

June 14 2013

19:24

Video Friday: Celebrating Wind Power for Global Wind Day

Saturday, June 15 is Global Wind Day. To help celebrate the enormous growth of this renewable source of energy, our video for today is Wind Energy at the Crossroads. As with any energy source, wind is not without its challenges, but with the renewal of the Production Tax Credit last January, it becomes clearer with each passing year that wind energy will be a cornerstone in the new energy economy.

 

The post Video Friday: Celebrating Wind Power for Global Wind Day appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

May 31 2013

20:58

Video Friday: Grasslands, Carbon and Climate Change

Jeff Goebel of AboutListening discusses the importance of preserving and restoring grasslands for stabilizing habitats, species and the carbon cycle. The interview was conducted by Barry Heidt of Sustainability Action Media on the EarthSayer YouTube channel.

The post Video Friday: Grasslands, Carbon and Climate Change appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

May 10 2013

19:23

Video Friday: Our Grandkids Future

This short video from John Price, a retired Australian physician and university teacher, speaks eloquently of our responsibility to future generations. Visit his website grandkidzfuture for more.

The post Video Friday: Our Grandkids Future appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

March 22 2013

13:15

Video Friday: World Water Day 2013

Water is the foundation of life on our planet and of sustainable human development. Today is United Nations World Water Day and 2013 is the International Year of Water Cooperation. The objective of the day and the year is to raise awareness both of the opportunities for increased cooperation between communities and nations and of the challenges we face for sustainable water management and increased demand for access and allocation of clean water and water services.

Water knows no international boundaries; 148 countries share at least one transboundary river basin, and cooperation is vital in managing these essential resources. With rapid urbanization, climate change and agriculture putting ever-greater demands on freshwater resources, understanding these stresses and the opportunities of cooperation among nations is vital for a sustainable and equitable future for people and ecosystems across the globe.

The post Video Friday: World Water Day 2013 appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

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