Daily Archives: July 2, 2015

Bill Gates Plans To Invest $2 Billion In New Renewable Technology. That’s Not A Great Idea

by Samantha Page Posted on June 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm

CREDIT: Screenshot via The Financial Times

Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and the richest man in the world, plans to double his billion-dollar investments in green technology in an effort to stave off catastrophic climate change, he told The Financial Times.

“Climate change is a big problem, but it’s one that if you do the right types of [research and development] you can actually avoid the ill effects,” Gates said.

Gates wants to expand his investment in alternatives to fossil fuels — and he wants alternatives even to our current renewable options. He said he thinks new technology is the only way to get truly low-cost clean energy, FT reported.

It’s true, renewable energy is often criticized for being too expensive (even though in many places, solar and wind are cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources). But experts on solar — the fastest growing source of renewable energy — say what pushes costs down is not a “breakthrough” technology. It might not sound exciting, but it’s changes in policy and financial innovations that spur industry growth and could be the difference between transforming the energy grid soon, or too late.

Luckily, we already have scalable, workable technology for renewable energy. Expanding and improving those will get us further, faster than the “miracle” Gates called for.

The Future Is Now, Not Later

Most scientists agree that if we do not curb carbon emissions dramatically, there will be irreversible, catastrophic climate change by 2036. But it takes about 30 years for a new technology to enter the energy space, solar expert Jigar Shah told ThinkProgress.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Saudi prince to donate $32bn fortune to charity – BBC News

Prince Alwaleed is at number 34 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has said he will donate his $32bn (£20bn; €29bn) personal fortune to charity.

The 60-year-old nephew of King Salman is one of the world’s richest people.

He said he had been inspired by the Gates Foundation, set up by Bill and Melinda Gates in 1997.

The money would be used to “foster cultural understanding”, “empower women”, and “provide vital disaster relief”, among other things, he said.

Mr Gates praised the decision, calling it an “inspiration to all of us working in philanthropy around the world”.

Prince Alwaleed is at number 34 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.

The money will go to the prince’s charitable organisation, Alwaleed Philanthropies, to which he has already donated $3.5bn.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Majority Of U.S. Coal, Canadian Tar Sands Will Have To Stay In The Ground To Meet Climate Goals

by Tom Kenworthy Posted on January 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

CREDIT: Shutterstock

Keeping the increase in global temperatures under 2°C will require vast amounts of fossil fuels to be kept in the ground, including 92 percent of U.S. coal, most of Canada’s tar sands, and all of the Arctic’s oil and gas, according to the first analysis of which of the world’s reserves should remain untapped.

The study, published in the journal Nature, is a stark assessment of how resource-rich nations and regions will have to adjust to the reality that the battle against climate change means abandoning huge sources of their wealth. Limiting the increase in worldwide temperatures to 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels is generally agreed to be what is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change.

“Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves, and over 80 percent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2°C,” write authors Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins of University College London.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Two Of The World’s Largest Countries Are Joining Forces To Fight Climate Change | ThinkProgress

by Ari Phillips Posted on June 30, 2015 at 2:43 pm

CREDIT: AP/Jacquelyn Martin

On Tuesday, Brazil and the United States announced a joint effort to address climate change and boost renewable energy during a visit by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to the White House.

Specifically, both countries pledged to increase renewable energy targets to 20 percent by 2030. The target excludes hydropower, an especially contentious power source in Brazil, where large and valuable ecosystems can be flooded out to make way for reservoirs.

Brazil also committed to restore and reforest 12 million hectares — an area roughly the size of Pennsylvania — and to eliminate illegal deforestation.

“The environmental agenda is absolutely key and essential for our two countries,” Rousseff said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. She also vowed to fight for an “ambitious” climate agreement when international leaders and negotiators gather in Paris for a climate summit at the end of the year.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Western Europe sizzles in first heatwave of summer, with no end in sight for some places


euronews (in English)

Published on Jun 30, 2015

Western Europe is sweltering in the first big heatwave of the summer, with several days of +30 degree temperatures or more in many places, while in some areas the end cannot be predicted.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

EUROPE HEATWAVE – France and UK issue heat warnings as temperatures rise


FRANCE 24 English

Published on Jul 1, 2015

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

New Research Warns Of Catastrophic Food Shortages Due To Unchecked Climate Change

by Joe Romm Posted on June 23, 2015 at 10:55 am

CREDIT: Shutterstock

New research supported by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office and insurer Lloyd’s of London finds that, absent major changes, humanity risks a catastrophic collapse in its ability to feed itself by mid-century, due in significant part to human-caused climate change.

Last year, the United Nations’ “highly conservative” IPCC climate panel warned that humanity is risking a “breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes” on its current path of unrestricted carbon pollution. Many studies in the last 12 months have strengthened the scientific case (see this, for instance).

The new research is from the Global Resource Observatory, a project of Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) partnering with the UK government’s Foreign Office; Lloyds of London; a “coalition of leaders from business, politics and civil society”; the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries; and both the Africa and Asian Development Banks.

The GSI group does business-as-usual forecasting using system dynamics modeling — arguably the only type of modeling that treats feedbacks and time delays well enough to even approximate what is coming. GSI Director Aled Jones explains that the group “ran the model forward to the year 2040.” The results were stunning:

“The results show that based on plausible climate trends, and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots. In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice
Food-Matters