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Canada’s New Federal Cabinet: Minister of Environment and Climate Change

mckenna

Source: DeSmog Canada

This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet. Among the most exciting news is that the Minister of Environment title now includes Climate Change. What does the appointment of new MP Catherine McKenna to this file mean for climate change action in Canada?

From DeSmog Canada: 

Leaders in Canada’s environmental community are expressing optimism about the appointment of lawyer Catherine McKenna as Minister of Environment and Climate Change at a swearing in ceremony in Ottawa Wednesday morning.

“Including climate change in the environment minister’s title signals how high a priority this issue is to our new federal government,” said Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada.

As a lawyer, McKenna focused on international trade and competition and co-founded a charity focused on advancing human rights in the developing world.  She was also a legal adviser and negotiator for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in East Timor. A video on her website shows her biking around Ottawa with her three children.

Although her background isn’t heavily weighted to environment and climate change, Ed Whittingham, executive director of the Pembina Institute, said it’s a good appointment.

“I’m impressed with the NGO experience, which suggests a very different approach to working with environmental NGOs like Pembina,” Whittingham told DeSmog Canada. “It indicates a more engaging, communicative, collaborative approach, reading the tea leaves right now.”

McKenna pulled off an upset on Oct. 19, defeating popular NDP MP Paul Dewar to win her seat in Ottawa Centre. She will lead a Canadian delegation to Paris later this month for a critical United Nations meeting to negotiate a new agreement on cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

“I think she has just the right kind of experience,” said Louise Comeau, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada. “We’ve moved beyond the science and even the economic dimensions on climate change. This is now about the issues of justice and fairness and I think she’s well positioned to deal with that.”

Continue reading here. 

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Hurt Environment

Shark fins, which are overharvested for soup, dry on the roof of a factory in Hong Kong.  Source: Antony Dickson, AFP/Getty, National Geographic

Shark fins, which are overharvested for soup, dry on the roof of a factory in Hong Kong.
Source: Antony Dickson, AFP/Getty, National Geographic

From National Geographic: 

“The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership is a huge pact that would govern about 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and one-third of world trade, said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The agreement involves a sprawling cast of countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.

The NRDC joined with the Sierra Club and WWF in criticizing the leaked draft of the environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said proved the chapter was “a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism.””

These groups have the following concerns about the TPP:

  • It lacks basic environmental protections 
  • It does not regulate against overfishing
  • It does not take a strong enough stance against illegal wildlife products
  • It does not go far enough in preventing illegal logging

To read more on this story, click here. 

Many Canadian groups are also expressing concern over environmental, as well as other, impacts of the TPP. The Council of Canadians provides an overview of these concerns here. 

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Fighting to Keep Coal in the Ground, Montana Activists Score a Global Victory Against Climate Change

Otter Creek Valley. (Photo by Alexis Bonogofsky)

Otter Creek Valley. (Photo by Alexis Bonogofsky)

If you are concerned about the climate, you should be paying attention to what is happening in southeast Montana.

To avoid catastrophic climate change, a recent study in the journal Nature found that 92 percent of coal reserves in the United States must stay in the ground to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius. Montana has the largest amount of recoverable coal in the United States, close to 120 billion tons – almostone-quarter of known US reserves.

Arch Coal, a major US coal mining and processing company, has been pushing hard to gain access to Montana’s coal reserves since 2010.

“Montana could be the energy capital of the United States if the state government and the state’s community desire that to happen,” Arch Coal CEO Steven Leer told the Billings Gazette in 2010 after his company leased 1.5 billion tons of coal in the Otter Creek Valley in southeast Montana.

To this day, however, no permits have been issued for a coal mine in Otter Creek.

The mining project does not suffer from a lack of support from Montana’s politicians or from a regulatory environment unfriendly to their ambitions. What they suffer from is a severe lack of community support. There is a dedicated community of people in southeast Montana who fiercely love their land and have organized quietly and resolutely, keeping billions of tons of coal in the ground. Their repeated victories in bringing ranchers, Northern Cheyenne tribal members, Amish farmers and others together to fight the coal mines constitute one of the most inspiring – and most overlooked – stories of climate change activism in this decade.

Continue reading here.

 

 

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Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?

Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate.’ Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate.’ Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

I’ve often wondered how the media would respond when eco-apocalypse struck. I pictured the news programmes producing brief, sensational reports, while failing to explain why it was happening or how it might be stopped. Then they would ask their financial correspondents how the disaster affected share prices, before turning to the sport. As you can probably tell, I don’t have an ocean of faith in the industry for which I work. What I did not expect was that they would ignore it.

 

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Heatwaves – A Global Threat to Human Health and Habitation From Climate Change

australian-open-heat

A brutal heatwave affected players and fans alike at the 2014 Australian Open.

Fourth in a series of blogs on climate change and population displacement.

By Claire Havens, ACT population displacement researcher.

I recently relocated to Melbourne, Australia without much knowledge of the regional climate. Over the winter, which was mild but not much warmer than an average February in Vancouver, I was warned repeatedly by locals about the extreme temperatures that can occur in the summer. On cool, grey days, this was hard to imagine – but one recent spring day that reached 36 degrees signaled what is yet to come.

Tennis fans will remember last year’s Australian Open, when an unprecedented heatwave saw temperatures rise above 40 degrees for three days running. Many players and 1,000 spectators were treated for heat stress. Matches had to be cancelled because conditions were so dangerous. The Australian Climate Council has found that the frequency of heatwaves in Australia is “projected to increase significantly” and ties the extreme temperatures during the tennis tournament directly to climate change. During periods of extreme heat in Australia’s major cities, elderly and low income residents living in energy inefficient homes without modern air conditioning are at particular risk.

Heatwaves may have been freak occurrences in the past, but they are becoming increasingly common in many places around the globe, with serious implications for human health. A new study in Nature has found that, by 2070, the Gulf in the Middle East, the centre of the global oil industry, will experience heatwaves “beyond the limit of human survival” if climate change continues at the current rate. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and coastal cities in Iran will suffer extreme heatwaves, more intense than any ever experienced on Earth. After 2070, the hottest days in current climatic conditions will become routine, essentially rendering the region uninhabitable for residents without access to air conditioning. In a recent Guardian article, the study’s authors noted, “Under such conditions, climate change would possibly lead to premature death of the weakest – namely children and the elderly.”

Heatwaves are deadly. Extreme temperatures in Europe in 2003 killed 30,000 vulnerable people and in Russia in 2010 50,000 people perished from respiratory illnesses and heat stress. Both incidents have been linked to climate change. This isn’t an entirely foreign concept for some Canadian cities; Toronto and Montreal regularly experience summer temperatures in the high 30s, and medical health officers routinely issue warnings to the elderly and families with children to take precautions.

There is still time to avert a rise in extreme and extended heatwaves in the Middle East and elsewhere. Global action to reduce carbon emissions would mean that temperatures in the region would experience much smaller rises. “The [Gulf] countries stand to gain considerable benefits by supporting the global efforts” to mitigate emissions, said the researchers. So do other climate laggards, such as Australia and Canada.

As some regions become uninhabitable as we creep towards 2070, without significant action on reducing emissions we can expect intensifying instances of migration to cooler parts of the globe as people try to escape the health effects and high costs of extreme heat. In some countries, this will mean moving internally to more temperate areas; in others, it may eventually mean complete abandonment of certain regions. Where will those escaping extreme heat go, and how will their movements impact arrival cities and regions?

Countries like Canada with lots of room, water, and social services plus less likelihood of the kind of extremes that are projected for the Middle East should begin now to consider their options – especially considering the crisis unfolding in the EU as Syrian people arrive in the thousands, partly due to drought.

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Research Opportunity: Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium

pcic_header3Read below for a research opportunity with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) and the Canadian Network for for Regional Climate and Weather processes:

The Canadian Network for Regional Climate and Weather Processes (CNRCWP) is a collaborative partnership between seven Canadian Universities (Montreal, McGill, Calgary, Victoria, Northern British Columbia, Waterloo, Saskatchewan), two partner organizations (Ouranos, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium), and four Canadian Government labs of Environment Canada (CCCma, RPN, CPS, CDAS).

Canada’s Nordic and the Arctic regions offer challenges to Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) and climate projection, due to complex processes and feedbacks between various components of the climate system. A better understanding of these regional climate processes and interactions is crucial to improving the quality of both climate projection and NWP for this region. CNRCWP will exploit the added value of high-resolution models on climate and weather simulations, in particular in the representation of extremes, afforded as a result of the improved representation of physical processes, feedbacks and interactions through a Regional Earth System Modelling approach. Activities are organized  around in the following three themes: 1) specific weather and climate phenomena permitted by high-resolution simulations, 2) statistical extremes allowed by fine mesh and land-atmosphere feedbacks and 3) land surface processes enhanced by improved representation of surface heterogeneity.

Applications are sought for a Postdoctoral Researcher for a 2-year position that will be located at the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC). The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) was created to assess climate impacts in the Pacific and Yukon Region of Canada. The goals of the Consortium are to foster collaborative research, to strengthen the capacity to address regional climate change and variability, and to provide the scientific basis for policy development. PCIC is a regional climate service centre at the University of Victoria that provides practical information on the physical impacts of climate variability and change. Through collaboration with climate researchers and regional stakeholders, PCIC produces knowledge and tools in support of long-term planning.

Postdoctoral Researcher

A two-year Postdoctoral Research position is available for a highly qualified individual to undertake research in support of the theme statistical extremes allowed by fine mesh and land-atmosphere feedbacks, focusing in particular on projected changes in precipitation extremes. Particular objectives of the position will include research on changes in probable maximum precipitation and future intensity duration frequency curves. The position will be located at the University of Victoria and will be jointly supervised by Prof. Francis Zwiers (PCIC) and Dr. Xuebin Zhang (Climate Data and Analysis Section, Environment Canada). To be considered, applicants will have held their PhDs for less than 5-years at the time of acceptance of the offer employment.  The position is available immediately and will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

Qualifications

  • PhD in climatology or a related discipline
  • Aptitude and demonstrated ability to apply and interpret sophisticated statistical methods in climate science
  • Demonstrated research potential
  • Graduate training and/or research experience in one or more of the study of climate extremes represented in global and regional climate models, evaluating climate models, or the study extreme precipitation is an asset
  • Experience and ability in manipulating and analyzing very large datasets
  • Experience and/or desire to work on interdisciplinary projects and with interdisciplinary teams
  • Capable of working in a self-directed manner and within a team environment.

Application Procedure

Applicants should submit a CV, list of publications, a statement of research interests, and three letters of reference to Ms. Shelley Ma, climate@uvic.ca, with “ATTN: CNRCWP Postdoctoral Researcher” in the subject line.

Additional information

Address enquiries to Prof. Francis Zwiers and Dr. Xuebin Zhang, climate@uvic.ca.

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Imagine if Exxon had told the truth on climate change

A woman protests outside the building where the annual ExxonMobil shareholders’ meeting is held in Dallas. Photograph: LM Otero/AP

A woman protests outside the building where the annual ExxonMobil shareholders’ meeting is held in Dallas. Photograph: LM Otero/AP

Like all proper scandals, the #Exxonknew revelations have begun to spin off new dramas and lines of inquiry. Presidential candidates have begun to call for Department of Justice investigations, and company spokesmen have begun to dig themselves deeper into the inevitable holes as they try to excuse the inexcusable.

As the latest expose instalment from those hopeless radicals at the Los Angeles Times clearly shows, Exxon made a conscious decision to adopt what a company public affairs officer called “the Exxon position.” It was simple: “Emphasise the uncertainty.” Even though they knew there was none.

Just think what might have happened differently if, in August of 1988, the “Exxon position” had been “tell the truth”.

That was a few months after Nasa scientist James Hansen had told Congress the planet was heating and humans were the cause; it was amid the hottest American summer recorded to that point, with the Mississippi running so low that barges were stranded and the heat so bad that corn was withering in the fields. Imagine, amid all that, Exxon scientists had simply said: “Everything we know says Hansen is right; the planet’s in serious trouble.”

No one would, at that point, have blamed Exxon for causing the trouble — instead it would have been hailed for its forthrightness. It could have begun the task of finding alternatives to hydrocarbons, and the world could have done the same thing. This would not have been an easy job: the world was utterly dependent on coal, gas and oil. But it would have become our planet’s single-minded job. With Exxon — largest company on Earth, heir to the original oil baron, with tentacles reaching around the world — vouching for the science, there is no way we would have wasted 25 years in fruitless argument.

Students would not have — as we speak — to be occupying administration buildings from Tasmania to Cambridge, because the fossil fuel companies would long since have become energy companies, and divesting from them would not be necessary.

More urgently, rapid development of renewables might well have kept half of Delhi’s children — 2.5 million children — from developing irreversible lung damage.

The rapid spread of decentralised renewable technology might have kept oil and gas barons like the Koch Brothers from becoming, taken together, the richest man on Earth, and purchasing America’s democracy.

Continue reading here.

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Young Conservative of the Year Amelia Telford calls for the energy revolution ahead of Paris climate conference

Amelia Telford, a Bundjalung woman from Tweed Heads, is the Young Conservationist of the Year. Photo: James Brickwood Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/young-conservationist-of-the-year-amelia-telford-calls-for-the-energy-revolution-ahead-of-paris-climate-conference-20151028-gkl01j.html#ixzz3q0zNBASD  Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

Amelia Telford, a Bundjalung woman from Tweed Heads, is the Young Conservationist of the Year. Photo: James Brickwood

In 2013, Amelia Telford approached then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd while dressed up as Nemo to ask him “how he was going to protect my home, as a clown fish in the Great Barrier Reef”.

This year the 21-year-old has another message for the Prime Minister, though this time it’s for Malcolm Turnbull, and she’s talking about much more than the reef.

“People who have the power of decision making [must be] thinking about the impacts their decisions have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, specifically around approving new fossil fuel projects and how our communities are being devastated,” she said.

“We need to get the energy revolution started.”

A Bundjalung woman from Tweed Heads, Ms Telford was named the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year on Wednesday.

Ms Telford is a member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and founder and director of Seed, a network of young Aboriginal people fighting for climate justice.

With little more than a month until the United Nations Paris climate conference, Ms Telford and her colleagues have all eyes on the government.

“It’s really disappointing to see such a lack of ambition in what we are taking to Paris,” she said.

“It’s embarrassing for Australia, because we are one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world and we have the science and technology available to actually be powered by renewable energy, but there are other countries doing so much better than we are.”

“The people of Australia want to see action. So if that means starting the transition ourselves by getting solar panels on the roofs of high schools and hospitals, showing the government what true leadership looks like and leaving them with no choice but to follow, I guess that’s the path we will have to go down, and already have.”

Continue reading here.

 

 

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Event During Climate Forum: Hill Times Policy Briefing

hill times event

If you will be in Ottawa November 12th, check out this event as part of the Canadian Climate Forum.

This free Hill Times exclusive reader event will assemble a provocative panel to discuss the politics of Canada’s policy on climate change.

Global political leaders are coalescing to address climate change and carbon pricing. In October, China agreed to match the U.S. commitment of $3.1 billion and will become a climate financier. Last summer, the G7 vowed to create a carbon neutral energy system by 2050, and the G20 leaders are under considerable pressure to be forward leaning as they meet a few weeks before COP21.

Will Canada’s policy be changing as a result of mounting global pressure? How do the new players and politics play into Canada’s policy? What role does industry play? These are some of the questions that our panel will address during this important discussion.

For more information click here.

Featuring:
Hon. Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Dr. Thomas Pedersen, Chair, Canadian Climate Forum
Hon. Sergio Marchi, President, Canadian Electricity Association
Moderator:
Catherine Clark, Journalist and Communications Consultant
When: Thursday, November 12 – 4:00 PM
Where: Westin Hotel Ottawa
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ACT ED on CBC Early Edition

Warmer weather may mean lack of snow in Whistler.

Warmer weather may mean lack of snow in Whistler.

ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford was on CBC’s Early Edition on October 26th to discuss the coming warm winter for BC.

Deb was interviewed by Rick Cluff, and spoke about how this winter’s warm weather represents climate change predictions for our province. By 2050, we can expect similarly warm winters. What does this mean for water supplies, agriculture, and our growing population?

Click here to listen to this segment of the show. Click on “October 26 2015”, and our segment starts at 1:21:30. It is about 8 minutes total.

You can also learn more about predicted weather changes for BC, including more extreme weather, by checking out ACT’s work on the topic here. 

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The Twisted Fate of Northern Communities: Home of the First North American Climate Refugees

Source: Jan Van Der Woning/TCS/Zuma Press

Sandbags lining the Kivalina coastline. Source: Jan Van Der Woning/TCS/Zuma Press

Third in a series of blogs on climate change and population displacement.

By Claire Havens, ACT population displacement researcher.

We’ve all heard about polar bears starving, stranded on ice flows and unable to hunt effectively due to global warming. Photos flash around the world of emaciated bears struggling to survive in a rapidly changing environment, a symbol of our collective failure to halt climate change.

But there are people in the polar regions of Canada and the US too. And how they are experiencing climate change, the implications of this stark reality, and what our various levels of governments should be doing about it, is a less well-explored topic.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted the risk for remote Inuit communities of coastal erosion, a phenomenon that is already occurring due to the combined effects of melting permafrost and sea ice, storm surges and stronger waves.

In Alaska, the rate of erosion is already astonishing. The coastline has been disappearing exponentially over the last 50 years, reaching an average loss of 25 metres per year by 2008[1]. Communities such as Kivalina, located at sea level on a small spit of sand on the unforgiving Bering Sea, are expected to disappear over the next decade. Coastal erosion, melting of the protective ice that used to line the community’s shores, and strong winter storms have made it a risky home.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, which built a defensive wall for the community seven years ago, now predicts the 400 inhabitants of Kivalina will be America’s first climate change refugees. They project that there are another 26 Alaskan villages in immediate danger of significant erosion.

The response of the State government has been baffling. Estimated costs of relocating Kivalina’s inhabitants to higher ground and rebuilding houses, and a school, could be as high as $400 million. Alaska Governor Bill Walker recognizes that coping with the effects of climate change on remote communities is expensive. A state with no income or sales tax, Alaska has been hit hard by the dramatic fall in oil price and related revenues.

His response? In order to fund the relocation programs, Walker wants to drill for more oil in the protected lands of the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge.

Understandably, there is anger from the Inuit community. Kivalina council leader, Colleen Swan, says, “If we’re still here in 10 years time we either wait for the flood and die, or just walk away and go someplace else. The US government imposed this Western lifestyle on us, gave us their burdens and now they expect us to pick everything up and move it ourselves. What kind of government does that?”

In Canada, things are not much different. We are already seeing the effects of permafrost thaw on remote northern Canadian communities such as Pangnirtung or sea level rise in Tuktoyaktuk.

Despite mitigation efforts to protect the shorelines of these small communities, it is anticipated that they will have to eventually be evacuated.

How will our government respond? Internal population displacement is already occurring, and while the world laments the loss of an iconic Arctic species, we are also losing unique cultures and ways of life.



[1] Source: Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change, Second Edition

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The Future of Meat

It’s no secret that meat production is a problem for the climate.

Though some small-scale and more sustainable meat production does exist, the majority of meat produced in North America comes from huge feedlots of cows, chickens, or pigs. These feedlots use immense amounts of environmental resources and contribute greatly to exacerbating climate change.

In response to this, many entrepreneurs are exploring new types of protein that could replace animal protein to feed the masses. In this engaging and funny video from The Atlantic, journalist James Hamblin learns more about the alternative protein industry, all the various options now available, and how this industry is planning to overtake animal meat as the “meat” of choice for North Americans.

Watch the video below, or click here. 

Be sure to also check out ACT’s work on how crops and food supplies will be affected by climate change here in Canada. With the combined pressures of climate change and a growing population, finding ways to feed ourselves sustainably is a hot topic in climate change work right now.

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California Faces a Future of Droughts Alternating with Floods

Climate change is expected to increase drought and floods in California. Credit: Ray Bouknight via Flickr

Climate change is expected to increase drought and floods in California. Credit: Ray Bouknight via Flickr

A warming climate coupled with more intense El Niño and La Niña events could cause twice as many droughts and three times as many floods in California by 2080, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications.

The findings come while California suffers its most severe drought in recorded history, a four-year disaster that has caused an estimated $2.2 billion in economic loss from 2013-14 alone.  At the same time, heavy rainfall––which triggered mudslides last week in Southern California––is anticipated through the winter from a strong El Niño event predicted by many climate forecasters.

The findings provide a more detailed understanding of how the region’s climate will respond to global warming in the coming decades. Prior studies predicted a slight increase in rainfall for California over the 21st century. These studies, however, looked at mean rainfall over periods of a decade or more. They failed to take into account increasing variability from extreme El Niño and La Niña events, changes in surface water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that affect rainfall patterns across the globe.

“Mean is one thing, but the changes, the extremes are really another thing that we need to pay attention to,” said Jin-Ho Yoon, an earth systems scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and the study’s lead author.

Continue reading here.

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Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project

Ouarzazate solar plant will create enough electricity to power a million homes once it is finished. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

The Moroccan city of Ouarzazate is used to big productions. On the edge of the Sahara desert and the centre of the north African country’s “Ouallywood” film industry it has played host to big-budget location shots in Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, The Living Daylights and even Game of Thrones.

Now the trading city, nicknamed the “door of the desert”, is the centre for another blockbuster – a complex of four linked solar mega-plants that, alongside hydro and wind, will help provide nearly half of Morocco’s electricity from renewables by 2020 with, it is hoped, some spare to export to Europe. The project is a key plank in Morocco’s ambitions to use its untapped deserts to become a global solar superpower.

When the full complex is complete, it will be the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world , and the first phase, called Noor 1, will go live next month. The mirror technology it uses is less widespread and more expensive than the photovoltaic panels that are now familiar on roofs the world over, but it will have the advantage of being able to continue producing power even after the sun goes down.

Continue reading here.

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Sønderborg: the little-known Danish town with a zero carbon master plan

The coastal town of Sønderborg has developed a strategy to go zero carbon by 2029. Photograph: Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd/Alamy

The coastal town of Sønderborg has developed a strategy to go zero carbon by 2029. Photograph: Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd/Alamy

Almost completely surrounded by water, the little-known Danish town of Sønderborg is no stranger to flooding from both seawater rising along its coastline and heavy rainfall. With climate change ensuring more of both, Sønderborg is learning to tackle the immediate problems of adapting to a warming world while becoming part of the broader solution.

Its ProjectZero plan, launched in 2007 as a joint venture between the people, politicians and businesses of Sønderborg, aims to enable the town of approximately 77,000 to become zero carbon by 2029.

In practice, this means an aggressive shift (pdf) to renewable energy and energy efficiency measures through initiatives including the establishment of new on- and off-shore wind turbines and the introduction of biogas in transport and manufacturing processes to replace oil and natural gas. However, in keeping with the norms of setting carbon targets in the international climate negotiations, it has not yet included the emissions “embedded” in goods imported to the area.

More than 50 companies have become part of ProjectZero to date, which requires them to produce provable plans to reduce their emissions by at least 10% in the first year of operation. Some have already exceeded this target, reaching reductions of more than 45%. In return, the companies are insulated from energy price volatility and make savings through associated efficiency measures.

Continue reading here.

 

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Disintegrating Rockies glacier sends ‘strong message’ on climate

bc-glacierOne of the world’s longest-studied glaciers is melting so fast in the heart of the Canadian Rockies that scientists say it is “disintegrating” before their eyes, causing monitoring stations to collapse.

The Peyto Glacier in Banff National Park has long been regarded as a key global reference site for climate change studies. But the ice has started to crumble so quickly, says John Pomeroy, that clusters of scientific instruments mounted on poles drilled deep into the ice are toppling over and other data collection sites are flooding.

“Canada’s glaciers are sending us a very strong message that we are in unprecedented climate change,” said Dr. Pomeroy, director of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan. “The glaciers are not coping. We are losing them within our lifetimes in Canada.”

He said Peyto Glacier, located along the Icefields Parkway, a spectacular scenic highway between Lake Louise and Jasper, is one of hundreds of glaciers in the Rockies that are melting away.

“The Rockies are literally coming out of the Ice Age and we are seeing this [happen now],” said Dr. Pomeroy. “Future generations driving down the Icefields Parkway will wonder why they named it that.”

Continue reading here.

 

 

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