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Al Gore forgot to mention something else inconvenient in his Inconvenient Truth 

May 9, 2009

In Al Gores documentary, an Inconvenient Truth, something which startles me as being an a complacent use of information, is the lack of mention towards the worlds largest contributors to global warming, methane.

For those of you who don’t know what methane is (which doesn’t surprise me), it outputs from livestock animals.

According to the IPCC, CH4 (methane) is more than 20 times as effective as CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere.  Over the last two hundred and fifty years, the concentration of methane (CH4) in the atmosphere increased by 148 percent (IPCC 2007).  Al Gore superbly “speaks of the need to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions as a “moral imperative,”(New York Times).

So why does Al Gore fail to mention the worlds largest contributor towards global warming?

After much deliberation, the only conclusion I could find is due to the possible unsettling response from Al Gore’s audience. In order to reduce the amount of methane in the atmosphere, the worlds population needs to reduce their meat intake, which will most likely be recieved negatively from Al Gore’s viewers. It is quite acceptable for Al Gore to suggest what vehicles one should drive in-comparison to other forms, however, dictating what one should should eat is a more controversial topic, often fueled by emotion rather than fact. Al Gore may of considered the pro’s and con’s and found, it was better off for him to relinquish, rather than allow his documentary to run the risk of complete disregard.

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Climate change predicted to effect increased population

April 21, 2009

UK based charity, Oxfam predicts climate change related disaster is going to effect 50% more people , to reach 375 million a year by 2015.

This has become an increasing concern for Oxfam as the current humanitarian systems are barely able to cope with present circumstances.

There is a risk that agencies are going to become bombarded with events such as drought, flooding and storms.

So how can we work towards preparing agencies for such predicted climate change events?

 

Oxfam’s international spokesman, Rob Bailey states rather than humanitarian aid being sent in relation to political preferences, it should be sent impartially.

Mr Bailey provides an example of the evident partiality taking place with regards to how much aid is given to some counties, in-comparison to others. In response to the Asian tsunami that occurred in 2004, more than $1,200 was provided to each victim. In-comparison, only $23 was donated to victims in the recent Chad crisis.

Clearly, there is an unequal distribution of aid going towards area’s effected by climate change.

In order for agencies to have any hope in coping with the predicted increase of natural disasters, aid needs to be equally distributed amongst countries that have been targeted by climate change to the same degree. Furthermore, rather than political preference being used as an incentive towards how much aid is distributed, the circumstances of each country needs to be considered impartially.

What are your thoughts?

The critical role of forests ‘may be lost’ due to climate change.

April 18, 2009

The ability for forests to act as carbon sinks may be lost due to climate change according to forestry scientists.

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) says as a result of climate change, the stabilizing influence  forests have on rising carbon emissions is weakening.

If temperatures increase by 2.5C (4.5F) above pre-industrial levels, forests could release huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere as a consequence.

The findings will be presented at the UN Forum on Forests, in New York on Monday.

Authored by 35 leading forestry scientists, the forum will discuss evidence which describes the first global assessment of the ability for forests to stabilize climate change.

Scientists at the forum hope such findings will prompt and inform climate negotiators.

If climate change continues to persist, the study finds over the next ten decades:

  • Droughts are projected to become more intense and frequent in subtropical and southern temperate forests
  • Commercial timber plantations are set to become unviable in some areas, but more productive in others
  • Climate change could result in “deepening poverty, deteriorating public health, and social conflict” among African forest-dependent communities

Co-author Professor Andreas Fischlin from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, states the fact still remains, that the only way to reduce deforestation is to reduce our green house gas emissions.

Polluted air shortens life expectancy.

April 14, 2009

US researchers have found to what extent polluted city air effects the average life expectancy.

Dr Douglas Dockery

Dr Douglas Dockery

The project conducted  followed 51 cities in the US and recorded the change of air quality.

The results found life expectancy has increased by two and half years due to factors such as improved healthcare, diet, and lifestyle in general.

Researchers believe 15% of the increased life expectancy is due to cleaner air.

Head of the Environmental Health Department at Harvard School, Dr  Douglas Dockery believes 5 months of the increased 2 and half year life expectancy is due to cleaner air.

 

Dr Dockery makes a comparison to the results found in US cities and the expected results found in heavily polluted cities such as Beijing and Mexico City, “the life expectancy impact would be far greater” he said.

As a result of such research, Dr Dockery hopes this will prompt governments to consider working towards making cleaner air in the next 25 years.

Attenborough in favor of reducing population rate.

April 13, 2009

Broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough has become a member of a group seeking to reduce the growth of human population.

In recent times, Attenborough has become increasingly vocal with regards to the need to reduce the population rate in order to protect the wildlife.

In a statement provided by Optimum Population Trust, Attenborough is quoted as saying “I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more.”

The Trust  was founded in 1991 by the late David Willey, its first chairman. The aim of the Trust was to collect and disseminate data in regards to the global population rate, and how this in turn effects the quality of life of the worlds inhabitants.

As of recently, it has launched a “Stop at Two” online pledge in an effort to encourage couples to limit their family size.

David Attenborough’s patronage has proven to be of great condemn to a number of religious followers. Sir David revealed that he had received hate mail from viewers for not crediting God in his nature programmes.

From an environmental stance, the Optimum Population Trust has highlighted a number ways the increasing population rate is acting as a detriment. For example (just to name a few):

  • Continuous population growth, fuelled by an expected increase of 2.3 billion people on the planet by 2050, is multiplying the impacts of climate change and will be ecologically unsustainable.
  • In a world of weather extremes, where land is being lost due to rising temperatures, desertification, floods and rising sea levels, the word will not be able to feed, water and sustain even its current 6.8 billion population.
  • As people are forced off their land by climate change mass migration movements may be joined by up to 200m environmental refugees. The poorest peoples will be the most effected.
  • Although northern temperature climates may benefit in the short term, they too will be effected adversely by climate change.

Please go to the Optimum Population Trust website for more information.

Spanish island nears energy independence

March 31, 2009

Whilst researching renewable energy systems for my previous blog, I came across an island which should inspire and motivate the rest of the world to adapt a similar policy.

El Hierro

El Hierro

 

A Spanish Island called El Hierro hopes to become completely energy independent in the next year.

After 10 years of preparation, the infrastructure is finally being put into place in order to create a  fully self-sufficient zone for its 10,000 inhabitants. There will be no back-up power connection to other islands or the mainland.

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are being used. In addition, the island plans on banning oil completely. Rather than using gas-guzzlers as modes of transportation, the island is going to implement eco-friendly hybrid vehicles. 

Obama’s economic stimulus package may boost small wind turbine sales.

March 30, 2009

President, Barack Obama’s new economic stimulus package could boost the small wind turbine industry by 30 to 40 per-cent annually.

 

Small wind turbine at rural property

Small wind turbine at rural property

The stimulus provides a 30% tax credit to consumers who invest in the turbines.

Unlike the large wind turbines, the small turbines are targeted towards business and property owners.

The wind turbines might best be suited to rural properties, however there is movement to install this alternative energy technology in cities, too.

A volunteer organization, the Urban Wind Task Force has distributed 27 wind-monitoring stations throughout  San Francisco to survey sites for potential turbine installations.

 

 

Small wind turbine accommodating residency in the city

Small wind turbine accommodating residency in the city

Last August, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed installing small wind turbines on top of city bridges and sky scrapers. He later withdrew from this decision saying he wasn’t sure the project was feasible.

The question is, would you purchase a small wind turbine for your home or business?

If you’re interested in purchasing this environmentally efficient form of technology, go to the Wind Powering America website for more details.