Archive for the tag “COP 20”

Sagar Dhara: Keep the Climate, Change the Economy

Contrasting outcomes of recent global warming meetings

Sagar Dhara

Two recent meetings on global warming, one scientific and the other political, are of great public interest as they have a bearing on human society’s future course to become a sustainable global community. The meetings contrasted each other in the clarity of their outcomes.

The first meeting was held by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body of over 2,000 scientists. IPCC released its fifth assessment’s synthesis report in Copenhagen end-October 2014. The report states unequivocally that “Human influence on the climate system is clear.” Further, it warns that the emission of another 1,000 Giga tonnes1 (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2), referred to as the carbon space, is likely to raise average global surface temperatures by 2oC above pre-industrial times. This is considered dangerous to the environment and human society.

Since the industrial revolution began in the mid-18th Century, humans have used 35% of the known 1,700 Gt of conventional fossil fuel reserves, and cut a third of the then existing 60 million km2 of forests to emit 2,000 GtCO2. The consequent 0.85oC average global temperature rise over pre-industrial times has triggered significant changes in the physical, biological and human environments. For example, rainfall variation has increased, extreme weather events are more frequent, pole-ward migration of species is noticeable and their extinction rate is higher, human health, food and water security are at greater risk, crop yield variations are higher, a 19 cm mean sea rise and a 40% reduction in Arctic’s summer ice extent have occurred over the last century, glaciers have shrunk by 275 Gt per annum in the last two decades, and social conflicts have increased. Read more…

Upcoming events in Hyderabad

DISCUSSION JAN 17
The shape of post carbon society and the hazy road to get there
Time and date: 6.30 pm, Sat, 17 Jan 2015
Place: Cerana Foundation office, D-101 Highrise Apartments, Lower Tank Bund Road (next to Courtyard Marriott Hotel), Hyderabad. Tel: 2753 6128.
Message from the organiser (Sagar Dhara): Some of our friends were in Lima during the 20th COP meet on climate negotiations that happened last month, a topic we discussed in our last meeting. If these friends are available, we can have a short report on what happened in Lima before we start discussing the above topic.
Please let me know if you are in. And you are welcome to bring along others who may be interested in this subject or forward this info to them. You could also stay back to discuss the more contentious issues over a dinner (makki ki roti and sarson da saag for anyone?) at the nearby dhaba.
For more information on the topic, contact Sagar Dhara at: sagdhara@gmail.com
SEMINAR JAN 23-24
Seminar on water conservation at Pious College, near Habsiguda Junction. Those interested in the subject may contact Ms Prabhalata at biobotstpious@gmail.com and request her for an invitation for the 2 day seminar (23-24 Jan) on Water conservation.  There will be a talk by Sagar Dhara at 12 noon on 23rd Jan titled: To conserve water bodies, all three global commons water, land and atmosphere need to be conserved.
CONFERENCE
A conference on Climate Change will be held at HCU in the first week of February. Email Sagar Dhara at sagdhara@gmail.com for details.

News update

Bad loans will worsen if economy falters: RBI
Indian Express
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned that the asset quality of scheduled commercial banks may worsen from the current level if the macroeconomic conditions deteriorate drastically. The central bank’s latest Financial Stability Report has also raised red flag on connected banks triggering a contagion and sought more disclosures and accountability in big-ticket corporate debt restructuring (CDR).

Oil’s Swift Fall Raises Fortunes of U.S. Abroad
Andrew Higgins, New York Times
A plunge in oil prices has sent tremors through the global political and economic order, setting off an abrupt shift in fortunes that has bolstered the interests of the United States and pushed several big oil-exporting nations — particularly those hostile to the West, like Russia, Iran and Venezuela — to the brink of financial crisis.

Five energy surprises for 2015
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
The coming year is likely to be as full of surprises in the field of energy as 2014 was. We just dont know which surprises! I am not predicting that any of the following will happen, and they will be surprises to most people if they do. But, I think there is an outside chance that one or more will occur, and this would move markets and policy debates in unexpected directions.=

Weve Been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil For Over a Century
Matt Novak, Paleofuture
The authors lists a number of failed predictions about oil depletion and argues that the idea of peak oil has contributed to climate change more than any other meme of the 20th century. Rather than making the case for alternative energy sources, too many people believed that it would be a problem that eventually sorted itself, which it wont. Also read the lively debate triggered by the article, in the comments section.

A Roadmap to Global Burning: Notes for Understanding the Lima Outcome
Pablo Solón, Common Dreams
The “Lima call for climate action” which came out of the recent UN climate talks, establishes a roadmap to a post-2020 agreement that will be weaker than the ongoing Cancun Agreement (for 2012-2020), and it lays a foundation for an even worse agreement in Paris in 2015, says Solon, former Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations.

What climate change asks of us
Margaret Klein, The Climate Psychologist
Climate change is a crisis, and crises alter morality. Climate change is on track to cause the extinction of half the species on earth and, through a combination of droughts, famines, displaced people, and failed states and pandemics, the collapse of civilization within this century. This is an unprecedented moral responsibility, and we are by and large failing to meet it.

Review: The Great Transition The New Paradigm
Nafeez Ahmed, Degrowth 2014 blog
Worried about the shit hitting the fan on climate change and other major crises? Good. Because those crises prove that civilization is in the midst of a phase shift to new forms – and we’ve got the opportunity, right now, to ride the wave of five interlinked revolutions in information, food, energy, finance and ethics, to co-create a new way of being that works for everyone. (This is a review of University of Turin economist Prof Mauro Bonaiutis new book, The Great Transition. Read Part 1 of the review: The End of Growth?)

Leading archaeologist says world civilization approaching collapse
PBS Hews Hour
Arthur Demarest, one of the world’s leading archaeologists, studies the collapse of ancient civilizations, from Greece and Rome to the Maya and Aztecs. In this interview with Ted Fischer, a professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University, he says I see most of the symptoms of societies on the brink of collapse, not just in the U.S., but in the tightly interconnected societies of Western civilization – now essentially world civilization, and gives detailed reasons why.

News update

Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This
Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse blog
There has only been one other time in history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 40 dollars in less than 6 months. The last time this happened was during the second half of 2008, and the beginning of that oil price crash preceded the great financial collapse that happened later that year by several months. Well, now it is happening again, but this time the stakes are even higher. (Snyders latest post: Anyone That Believes That Collapsing Oil Prices Are Good For The Economy Is Crazy)

Ten Reasons Why a Severe Drop in Oil Prices is a Problem
Gail Tverberg, Our Finite World
If high oil prices can be a problem, how can low oil prices also be a problem? In particular, how can the steep drop in oil prices we have recently been experiencing also be a problem? Here is an explanation. (Also see: Energy Matters blog post: Oil price wars – who blinks first? which says OPEC is bound to trump the U.S. shale oil producers in the ongoing price war)

Signs Of Peak Oil Starting To Emerge
Euan Mearns, Oilprice.com
What caused the recent crash in the oil price from $110 (Brent) in July to $70 today and what is going to happen next? With the world producing 94 Mbpd (IEA total liquids) $1.4 trillion has just been wiped off annualized global GDP and the incomes of producing and exporting nations. Energy will get cheaper again, for a while at least. The immediate impact is a reduction in global GDP and deflationary pressure.

India Says Pollution Levels Need to Rise Further to Boost Growth
Bloomberg Businessweek
India said its pollution levels will need to increase in the years ahead to support its economic development and it won’t discuss limiting greenhouse-gas emissions at United Nations climate talks that began this week. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also said the government is preparing to make a pledge on how India will develop cleaner forms of energy, though he stopped short of indicating when the country might take on the sorts of caps for emissions that the U.S., China and Europe are adopting. (Editors note: Heres another report based on Javadekars statement, which puts a completely different spin on it: India plans 5-fold increase in renewable energy. Also see: The Next Big Climate Question: Will India Follow China?)

A Dam Revival, Despite Risks
Erica Gies, The New York Times
While some dams in the United States and Europe are being decommissioned, a dam-building boom is underway in developing countries. World hydropower production will grow from 4,000 terawatt hours now — about the annual power output of the United States — to 4,670 terawatt hours in 2020, according to Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, in Paris. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that hydropower generation will double in China between 2008 and 2035, and triple in India and Africa.

Solar as Industrial Revolution
The New York Times
The Hanergy Holding Group, created in 1994 and based in Beijing, is a major renewable-energy company, notably in thin-film solar technology. Its founder and chairman, Li Hejun, has written a book, China’s New Energy Revolution, recently translated into English, in which he argues that solar energy will lead a third industrial revolution.

Energy Efficiency May Be the Key to Saving Trillions
Beth Gardiner, The New York Times
Compared with eye-catching renewable power technologies like wind turbines and solar panels, energy efficiency is nearly invisible. But advocates say doing more with less power may be an even more critical weapon in the fight against climate change and offers big economic benefits, too.

Permaculture, a Vision of the Post-Oil World
Yves Cochet, originally published by Holmgren Design
More than an agricultural technology, permaculture is a vision of the societies of tomorrow, ours, which will be confronted with the evolution of energy and climate systems. Permaculture is not only another way to garden: it is another way of thinking about and acting on the world, a global philosophical and concrete change, at the same time as a drawing together of strategies of resilience in the face of radical transformations, if not collapses, which are presenting themselves.

News update

India Struggling Between International Image & Equity at Lima Climate Talks
Dispatches from COP 20, Lima by Kabir, Whats With The Climate
Indian government delegation is warming up for a test match like scenario at COP 20 in Lima. It seems that India in coordination with other developing countries will push for Adaptation, Adaptation, and Adaptation at par with mitigation in Paris, 2015 climate deal. The equal parity between mitigation, and adaption in the mandate of Global Climate Fund was appreciated in the interaction.

Is India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, a climate leader?
Mat Hope, The Carbon Brief
In May, Narendra Modi was sworn in as the new prime minister of India. Many hoped he would prove a climate change champion. Six months later, those expectations have been tempered.

Can China Cut Coal?
David Biello, Scientific American blogs
Coal is cheap and getting cheaper in China. In fact, though the country may require more and more coal imports to satisfy its voracious demand, the cost of coal is cheaper now than in 2000, according to an analysis by WWF’s Hu. As a result, the owners of coal-fired power plants can still make money burning the polluting rock to generate electricity—and even more money if they keep pollution controls in the off position.

Watching the Watchdogs: 10 Years of the IEA World Energy Outlook
David MacLeod, Integral Permaculture
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is the energy watchdog of the industrial world. The IEA World Energy Outlook has gradually moved from rosy to pessimistic reports over the last ten years, or what Stuart Staniford called “increasingly reality-based.”

Down With Sustainable Development! Long Live Convivial Degrowth!
Justin Hyatt, Inter Press Service
For anyone who recently attended the Fourth International Conference on Degrowth in Leipzig, Germany, listening in on conference talk, surrounded by the ecologically savvy, one quickly noticed that no one was singing the praises of sustainable development. Nonetheless, development per se and all that this entails did take centre stage, as a crowd of three thousand participants and speakers debated ongoing trends in the fields of environment, politics, economics and social justice.

The Fragmentation of Technology
John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
As resource depletion and economic contraction tighten their grip on the industrial world, the stock of existing and proposed technologies face triage in a continuum defined by two axes—the utility of the technology, on the one hand, and its cost in real (i.e., nonfinancial) terms on the other. A chart may help show how this works.

Are Humans Going Extinct?
Dahr Jamail, Truthout
Without a major shift away from coal, average global temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, leading to devastating climate change. Some scientists, Guy McPherson included, fear that climate disruption is so serious, with so many self-reinforcing feedback loops already in play, that humans are in the process of causing our own extinction.

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