Safeguarding Biodiversity – The Conference of Parties on Biodiversity, Hyderabad, 2012

Today, the CoP on Biodiversity Convention of 2012 starts in Hyderabad. To last till 19th October 2012, the CoP is going to be one of the largest activities in the world to safeguard and promote bio-diversity. The World at Risk! Life on Earth can be as simple as a fly, or as complex as an ecosystem of coral reefs. The most unique feature of Earth is the existence of life, and the most extraordinary feature of life is its diversity. Tragically, today biodiversity is disappearing at 1,000 times the normal rate due to human civilization. As human population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the biodiversity crisis will only get worse as more people consume more resources. When one species disappears, it imbalances the food chain, which may cause some critters to over populate while others starve – the loss of one can impact many. The major causes of biodiversity decline are Habitat loss and destruction, Global climate change, Invasive alien species, Over-exploitation, Pollution and contamination. Even our …

Dams the latest culprit in global warming

Source: Timesofindia.indiatimes.com Researchers have documented the role dams play in global warming and the surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down. Bridget Deemer, doctoral student at Washington State University (WSU)- Vancouver, Canada, measured dissolved gases in the water column of Lacamas Lake in Clark County and found methane emissions jumped 20-fold when the water level was drawn down. A fellow WSU-Vancouver student, Maria Glavin, sampled bubbles rising from the lake mud and measured a 36-fold increase in methane during a drawdown, according to a university statement. Methane is 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And while dams and the water behind them cover only a small portion of the earth’s surface, they harbour biological activity that can produce large amounts of greenhouse gases. There are also some 80,000 dams in the US alone, according to its Army Corps of Engineers National Inventory of Dams. “Reservoirs have typically been looked at as a green energysource. But their role in greenhouse gas emissions has been overlooked,” …

Walking the energy beat: Cuffing carbon for smaller buildings

Source: Greenbiz.com In the classic cine-crime series Dragnet, fast-talking Los Angeles detective Joe Friday is well known for the trademark line “Just the facts, ma’am.” In other words: “Let’s dispense with the distractions and get to the point.” So it is with small and midsize enterprise energy-efficiency projects — theory turned to practice speaks louder than words. Projects are rendered in fact and this is the action in the neighborhood of great potential. But walking the efficiency beat can be messy and complicated. It requires management; no one wants to pay for audits or analyses or anything else, for that matter. Decisions are not driven by the return on investment. Contractors are lax, contracts vague, incentive programs counter-productive. And projects can take longer than you think they should for a myriad of unfathomable reasons, not the least of which is “human factor.” So, if you’re going to pursue these projects you need to be patient, thorough, respectful and patient. The simple purpose of listing the successful efficiency projects you’ll find …

Australia, Europe Link Emissions Trading Systems

Source: Environmentalleader.com European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Australian climate change minister Greg Combet today announced that Australia and Europe will link their emissions trading systems, which will allow businesses to use carbon trading units from either trading scheme for compliance under either system. A full two-way link between the two cap and trade systems — the first full international linking of emission trading systems — will begin no later than July 1, 2018. Together, the linked Australian and European emissions trading systems will be the world’s largest carbon market, according to the EU and the Australian government. As an interim arrangement, a partial link will allow Australian businesses to buy and use European Union Emissions Allowances to meet up to 50 percent of their liabilities under the Australian scheme from July 1, 2015 until the full link takes effect. Australia’s carbon tax, which took effect July 1, requires about 300 companies to pay A$23 (US$23.50) per metric ton of carbon emissions. To facilitate linking, the Australian government has said it will …

Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days

Source: Guardian.co.uk Arctic sea ice is set to reach its lowest ever recorded extent as early as this weekend, in “dramatic changes” signalling that man-made global warming is having a major impact on the polar region. With the melt happening at an unprecedented rate of more than 100,000 sq km a day, and at least a week of further melt expected before ice begins to reform ahead of the northern winter, satellites are expected to confirm the record – currently set in 2007 – within days. “Unless something really unusual happens we will see the record broken in the next few days. It might happen this weekend, almost certainly next week,” Julienne Stroeve, a scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, told the Guardian. “In the last few days it has been losing 100,000 sq km a day, a record in itself for August. A storm has spread the ice pack out, opening up water, bringing up warmer water. Things are definitely changing quickly.” Because ice thickness, …

The true cost of food

Source: greenbiz.com Trucost analyzed three common food products: breakfast cereal, fruit juice and cheese. We examined the stages of production from farm and orchard to the supermarket shelf. The embedded carbon, water, waste and pollution were calculated for generic products in each category. (No brand has been harmed in the generation of these metrics!) Trucost then calculated the “natural capital” cost of each of these. For carbon we used the social cost. For water, a local issue, we correlated the volume of water required to produce the raw materials with local scarcity by gathering data on the location of production and pricing water accordingly. To view the full analysis, click on the image below. The percentages show each item’s share of the product’s total environmental impact. Our analysis indicates that, on average, the true cost of a block of cheese should be 18 percent higher than the retail price, breakfast cereal should be 16 percent more expensive and fruit juice 6 percent more. Water is the most significant natural capital dependency for all …

Facebook reveals its carbon footprint

Source: Guardian.co.uk Facebook has, for the first time, revealed the carbon footprint of its operations and its more than 900m users’ likes, photo albums and status updates. The data, published on Wednesday, shows that despite the social networking‘s rising star, its carbon emissions are still a fraction of internet rival Google. Facebook’s annual emissions were 285,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2011, compared with Google’s 1.5m tons in 2010.   The vast majority of the emissions (72%) come from the company’s data centres in the US. The annual footprint for each user that’s active monthly is 269 grams, or around the equivalent footprint of a cup of coffee, the company calculated.   Facebook also detailed the mix of energy sources that power its data centres. The majority, 27%, comes from coal power, with the rest coming from renewable sources (23%), gas (17%), nuclear (13%) and the remaining 20% uncategorised.   Greenpeace welcomed the move’s transparency and hailed it as an important benchmark. Gary Cook, Greenpeace International’s senior IT analyst, said: “Facebook has committed to …

Japan’s Shimizu constructs new building with world’s least CO2 emissions

Source: japandailypress Shimizu Corporation, Japan’s largest contractor, opened the doors today to its new headquarters building, which has specifically been designed to emit the lowest levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the world. Located in Kyobashi, as part of Tokyo’s Chuo Ward, Shimizu’s new building only releases 38 kilograms-per-meter-squared of CO2, 62% less than the average amount emitted by other Tokyo structures. Shimizu hopes its new headquarters will prove to be an example of what the contractor is capable of, and increase the demand for its energy conserving buildings. Adopting and developing its own new technologies, Shimizu has reduced its CO2 emissions like never before. The new air conditioning system cuts CO2 by using radiant heat. Water hoses are installed under the ceiling boards, and by controlling the water’s temperature, it affects the surface of the boards. With a temperature of about 20 degrees celsius, the body heat from people working in the office can be absorbed. The other significant advantage come from lighting technologies. Motion sensors are used in combination …

New Discovery About The Ocean’s Absorption Of Carbon Has Implications For Climate Change

Source: Planetsave An important discovery about how carbon is drawn down from the surface of the Southern Ocean to the deep waters beneath has been made. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Australia’s national research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), found that “rather than carbon being absorbed uniformly into the deep ocean in vast areas, it is drawn down and locked away from the atmosphere by plunging currents a thousand kilometres wide.” Localized pathways or funnels carry the carbon to the depths. These paths are made by the “winds, currents and massive whirlpools that carry warm and cold water around the ocean — known as eddies.” Lead author, Dr Jean-Baptiste Sallée from British Antarctic Survey says, “The Southern Ocean is a large window by which the atmosphere connects to the interior of the ocean below. Until now we didn’t know exactly the physical processes of how carbon ends up being stored deep in the ocean. It’s the combination of winds, currents and eddies that …

Greenland Ice Sheet, Unprecedented 97% Melting

Source: Planetsave Greenland’s surface ice cover has melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations several times this month. Almost the entire ice cover of Greenland, “from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface,” according to the measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists. “On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically.” Based on the satellite data, around 97 percent of the whole ice sheet surface melted at some point in mid-July. “Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss …

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