Daily Archives: January 15, 2015

Why solar power is spreading so fast in Africa


The Economist

Published on Jan 15, 2015

Africans have been waiting for decades for the mains electricity which the rich world takes for granted. Sub-Saharan Africa’s 910m people consume less electricity each year than the 4.8m people of Alabama. Many more who are on the grid suffer brown-outs and dangerous surges in current. But a solar revolution is afoot.

In 2009 just 1% of sub-Saharan Africans used solar lighting. Now it is nearly 5% or 11m people. The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based government think-tank, reckons that 500m more people will have solar electricity by 2030,

Why is solar power spreading so fast in Africa? There are three main reasons.

First, solar panel technology has improved. Efficiency gains and mass production mean that modern photovoltaic panels have plunged in price per watt – to around 30 cents.

Second, low-energy bulbs have got better and cheaper. Modern solar lamps cost as little as $8—they charge by day and give light by night. They replace costly and dangerous alternatives – Africans waste $10 billion a year on kerosene. Even worse are candles, open fires—or darkness, which hurts productivity and encourages crime.

The third, crucial development is in storage, as lamps are needed at night and solar power is collected in the daytime. Old nickel cadmium batteries wore out after 500 recharges; lithium-based ones can manage 2,000 and store much more electricity

Additionally, solar power is increasingly well-financed in Africa. Aid donors are sponsoring more ambitious projects – specially designed fridges and televisions, for example. Bigger solar systems can run a school or clinic, a grain mill or irrigation pump, or even a whole village.

Some dismiss solar as a second-best solution. But conventional, centralised electrical grids have proved unreliable and inefficient in the past — and solar is much better than nothing.

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United Planet Faith & Science Initiative – UPFSI

Faith and science are two of the most influential forces in global society. The United Planet Faith & Science Initiative unites prominent religious figures and leading scientists to speak out together and mobilize action for ecological sustainability.

The UPFSI is a project that holds low-impact, web-based meetings of eminent scientists and faith leaders from across the globe. These meetings are edited into short, powerful videos and disseminated through social media and news outlets to promote public awareness, political will, policy, and action. The UPFSI also holds public events featuring presentations by these leaders. Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and prominent climatologist Dr. James Hansen are among the founding members of this Initiative.

Read more about us here:

http://www.upfsi.org/about/

Contact us here:

http://www.upfsi.org/contact/

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Arctic Methane Emergency Group – AMEG – Arctic Sea Ice – Methane Release – Planetary Emergency

AMEG is a group of determined scientists, engineers, communicators and others, dedicated firstly to establishing what really is happening to our planet (especially in the Arctic) using best scientific evidence, secondly to finding effective and affordable means to deal with the situation, and thirdly communicating these matters to authority and the general public.

AMEG aims to position itself in the centre ground – neither overstating nor understating the dangers of climate change. We are only alarmist in the sense that we are drawing attention to the more unpleasant realities of rapid Arctic warming and climate change, which have been downplayed or ignored by IPCC, unwittingly backed up by the media. We are determinedly optimistic as regards promoting an intervention strategy against all the odds, believing that mankind must have the collective intelligence to sort out the mess that mankind has got itself into.

In early 2012, AMEG gave evidence to the UK’s Environment Audit Committee in their inquiry on protecting the Arctic. Much of our evidence was dismissed by government advisers, but all our evidence has been borne out by subsequent observations and events, including: the rapid rise in temperature of Arctic ocean and atmosphere; the dramatic decline of sea ice to a record minimum in September 2012 (following the exponential downward trend we had warned the committee about); the exponential increase in release of the potent greenhouse gas, methane, from the Arctic Ocean seabed; the exponential increase in melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and consequent sea level rise; and the continuing disruption of the jet stream patterns we expected from Arctic warming, with resulting climate change in the form of weather extremes (despite a continuing hiatus in global warming), causing widespread crop failures and increase in the food price index above the crisis level, thus promoting civil conflict in a number of Asian and African countries where food prices have recently escalated, including most notably Syria.

Recent independent research, by scientists in AMEG and elsewhere, puts beyond reasonable doubt our assertion that the Arctic is locked in a vicious cycle of warming and melting, with the sea ice well past its tipping point. The current albedo forcing from snow and sea ice retreat is now estimated at around 0.4 to 0.5 Watts per square metre, averaged globally, amounting to 200 to 250 terawatts heating in the Arctic – more than mankind’s total energy consumption. This albedo forcing is liable to double within a few years as the snow and sea ice further retreat. AMEG believes that the vicious cycle of warming and melting can only be broken by rapid intervention to cool the Arctic.

…(read more).

Additional video links to COP 20 presentations

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Rethinking Economics in the Age of Climate Change

UPFSI .org

Published on Dec 14, 2014

Here is the briefing by Stuart Scott, Deputy Director General of IESCO and Founder of the United Planet Faith & Science Initiative. It was delivered at COP20 on 12-11-2014 in Lima, Peru. It is well worth your time to watch, and you are encouraged to share the link widely via social media, email to friends, etc. Stuart is available to make briefings like this one to audiences anywhere in the world. He may be contacted at stuart.scott.

The first half is a brief review of previous press briefings about potentially catastrophic warming in the Arctic and the multi-gigaton methane release under way. The second half goes into more detail about our unsustainable economic system and how it is destroying the habitability of the planet for ourselves and all species…

As the world focuses more intently on the threat of abrupt and possibly ‘runaway’ climate change, greenhouse gases are still the officially recognized cause. Going further, many people indict the fossil fuel industry, whose products provide the energy to run a constantly growing global economy. While the common wisdom remains that ‘growth is good’ and thus exponential growth is excellent, we have reached a point in the human project on Earth where that fundamental belief must be called into question. This briefing will cite the evidence for the commencement of runaway climate change, which many scientists assert forms an existential threat to human civilization. It will identify with clarity the secret hiding in plain sight, that it is the global devotion to exponential economic growth that is causing the radical destabilization of the climate system. It will conclude with the assertion that the current global economic paradigm must be changed to avert the collapse of civilization.

About Stuart Scott:
Stuart Scott is the Deputy Director General of the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization (IESCO). He is an international educator, public speaker, advisor, and strategist on Climate Change, sustainability and ecological safety. Previous experience includes associate of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, participant at UN Climate Negotiations, formerly Chief Ecological Officer of NagaCorp, Ltd., Hong Kong, and first environmentalist stockbroker on Wall Street in 1977. He was also the founder of an information technology consultancy to New York City’s major banks and university instructor in Mathematics, Statistics and Critical Thinking.

Abibimman Foundation: United Planet Faith & Science Initiative
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YZNg…

1ST PRESS BRIEFING:
COP20: Global Arctic Methane Emergency #1 (12-4-2014 in Lima Peru)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2w0q…

2ND PRESS BRIEFING:
COP20: Global Arctic Methane Emergency #2 (12-5-2014 in Lima Peru)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQkNx…

3RD PRESS BRIEFING:
COP20: Global Arctic Methane Emergency #3 (12-6-2014 in Lima Peru)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATIm8…

Rethinking Economics in the Age of Climate Change #1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLsFa…

Rethinking Economics in the Age of Climate Change #2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCkCV…

Global Climate Change
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COP20: Global Arctic Methane Emergency #1 (12-4-2014 in Lima Peru)

UPFSI .org

Published on Dec 14, 2014

First press briefing of the Arctic Emergency Methane Group(AMEG) held on Dec. 4, 2014 at the 20th annual Conference of the Parties (COP 20) for the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Lima, Peru.

AMEG Chairman, John Nissen, is the primary speaker. He talks about the catastrophic dangers that the warming of the Arctic region poses to modern civilization and the possible extinction of humans due to abrupt climate change.

Abibimman Foundation: United Planet Faith & Science Initiative
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YZNg…

1ST PRESS BRIEFING:
COP20: Global Arctic Methane Emergency #1 (12-4-2014 in Lima Peru)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2w0q…

2ND PRESS BRIEFING:
COP20: Global Arctic Methane Emergency #2 (12-5-2014 in Lima Peru)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQkNx…

3RD PRESS BRIEFING:
COP20: Global Arctic Methane Emergency #3 (12-6-2014 in Lima Peru)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATIm8…

Rethinking Economics in the Age of Climate Change #1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLsFa…

Rethinking Economics in the Age of Climate Change #2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCkCV…

Global Climate Change
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King’S College Choir – Samuel Barber – Agnus Dei

Fred Dekkers

Uploaded on Sep 15, 2008

King’S College Choir – Samuel Barber – Agnus Dei (Adagio For Strings)

Global Climate Change
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Half the Planet Doomed — If We Don’t Act – Scientist Says

Eddie Becker

Published on Feb 17, 2013

James Hansen while working for NASA, was one of the first scientists to connect greenhouse gases, like C02, with global temperature rise, warning a congressional hearing back in the 1980’s of the dire consequences. I asked him for the latest science, he started in on his most recent journal paper to be published soon – but then suddenly stopped, remembering, that he was embargoed from talking – until publication. So I told him to just talk about the science and not mention the Journal name — which is very old, prestigious and Royal. (UPDATE The paper to be published mid summer 2013 by the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A)) see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment…
He says that if we burn up 100% of the earth’s fossil fuels, we’ll make 50% of the earth humanly uninhabitable. So it seems it’s not the end of the world, like some predict — well maybe the end for half the world! But for most of those left the earth wouldn’t be such a nice place to live.
Hansen more precise statement on CO2 emissions and climate can be found here
http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com…
Hansen started his career at NASA back in the 1980’s specialized in understanding the Venusian atmosphere. NASA scientists were trying to figure out why the surface temperature of the planet Venus was hotter than Mercury’s, despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun and receiving only 25% of the solar energy then Mercury. Instrumentation showed the atmosphere of Venus composed mostly of CO2, with some water vapor and sulfur dioxide all working together to trap heat like a huge greenhouse and super-heat the planet. Another peculiar thing, about Venus, was that there was not much difference between night and day temperatures, unlike Mercury, where temperatures at night were colder by a factor of 6-7 times. Meaning that the atmosphere on Venus, conducts heat – so the more greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere the less cooling at night!. So when Hansen looked at earth’s atmosphere, and saw atmospheric Co2 concentration rise along with global earth temperatures, he sounded the alarm and still is.
Though, had space scientists discovered an asteroid on trajectory to wipe out half the earth, I think we would likely be doing more to head that off. The USA seems likely to approve the XL pipeline, that in the short term will make us more dependent on the dirtiest fossil fuels.

The so called global economic recession has not significantly cut down emissions. China surpassed the US as the top Co2 emitter (2011 data) — though when population is factored in, China, per-capita, emits 3-4 times less Co2 per person, and has invested almost a third more in renewable energy research then the U.S. (2009 -10). Which is all to say that things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better.

Transcript
Hansen: Well, I think the most important thing my colleagues and I have come up with in recent years is the fact that if we burn all of the fossil fuels, more than half the planet will be uninhabitable by humans. So it makes absolutely no sense to be going after every fossil fuel we can find.
We are going to have to leave the dirtiest ones like the tar sands, tar shale, fracking for gas. We are going to have to leave those in the ground. Otherwise we are going to create a situation in which we will have an unlivable planet for our grandchildren and future generations.

Interviewer: So how far along are we in burning half the fossil fuels that are in the ground?

Hansen: We’ve burned only a fraction; only about a tenth of the fossil fuels. But we’re trying to get all of them out of the ground. It makes no sense. We have got to move to clean energies.
We are already beginning to see the impacts with increased storms, increased droughts. But the long range consequences will be even worse. It makes no sense to continue down that path. We have got to move to clean energies. We have got to put a price on fossil fuels by collecting a fee from the fossil fuel companies and distributing the money to the public so the public can make the changes that are necessary to move to more energy efficiency and clean energy.

Interviewer: What do you think about today?

Hansen: This is great. This is by far the biggest crowd we have ever had and finally I think the public is waking up to the fact that our governments are working for the fossil fuel industry. Our governments are well oiled and they are coal fired. The public has got to begin to put the pressure on the governments to serve the people, not the special interests.

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