Friday, September 28, 2007

Global Security Implications for Climate Change


Climate change could have global security implications on a par with nuclear war unless urgent action is taken, a report said.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) security think-tank said global warming would hit crop yields and water availability everywhere, causing great human suffering and leading to regional strife.

While everyone had now started to recognize the threat posed by climate change, no one was taking effective leadership to tackle it and no one could tell precisely when and where it would hit hardest, it added.

“The most recent international moves towards combating global warming represent a recognition … that if the emission of greenhouse gases … is allowed to continue unchecked, the effects will be catastrophic — on the level of nuclear war,” the IISS report said.

“Even if the international community succeeds in adopting comprehensive and effective measures to mitigate climate change, there will still be unavoidable impacts from global warming on the environment, economies and human security,” it added.

Scientists say global average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due to burning fossil fuels for power and transport.

The IISS report said the effects would cause a host of problems including rising sea levels, forced migration, freak storms, droughts, floods, extinctions, wildfires, disease epidemics, crop failures and famines.

The impact was already being felt — particularly in conflicts in Kenya and Sudan — and more was expected in places from Asia to Latin America as dwindling resources led to competition between haves and have nots.

“We can all see that climate change is a threat to global security, and you can judge some of the more obvious causes and areas,” said IISS transnational threat specialist Nigel Inkster. “What is much harder to do is see how to cope with them.”

The report, an annual survey of the impact of world events on global security, said conflicts and state collapses due to climate change would reduce the world’s ability to tackle the causes and to reduce the effects of global warming.

State failures would increase the gap between rich and poor and heighten racial and ethnic tensions which in turn would produce fertile breeding grounds for more conflict.
Urban areas would not be exempt from the fallout as falling crop yields due to reduced water and rising temperatures would push food prices higher, IISS said.
Overall, it said 65 countries were likely to lose over 15 percent of their agricultural output by 2100 at a time when the world’s population was expected to head from six billion now to nine billion people.

“Fundamental environmental issues of food, water and energy security ultimately lie behind many present security concerns, and climate change will magnify all three,” it added.

Global Security Implications for Climate Change

Climate change could have global security implications on a par with nuclear war unless urgent action is taken, a report said on Wednesday.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) security think-tank said global warming would hit crop yields and water availability everywhere, causing great human suffering and leading to regional strife.
While everyone had now started to recognize the threat posed by climate change, no one was taking effective leadership to tackle it and no one could tell precisely when and where it would hit hardest, it added.
“The most recent international moves towards combating global warming represent a recognition … that if the emission of greenhouse gases … is allowed to continue unchecked, the effects will be catastrophic — on the level of nuclear war,” the IISS report said.
“Even if the international community succeeds in adopting comprehensive and effective measures to mitigate climate change, there will still be unavoidable impacts from global warming on the environment, economies and human security,” it added.
Scientists say global average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due to burning fossil fuels for power and transport.
The IISS report said the effects would cause a host of problems including rising sea levels, forced migration, freak storms, droughts, floods, extinctions, wildfires, disease epidemics, crop failures and famines.
The impact was already being felt — particularly in conflicts in Kenya and Sudan — and more was expected in places from Asia to Latin America as dwindling resources led to competition between haves and have nots.
“We can all see that climate change is a threat to global security, and you can judge some of the more obvious causes and areas,” said IISS transnational threat specialist Nigel Inkster. “What is much harder to do is see how to cope with them.”
The report, an annual survey of the impact of world events on global security, said conflicts and state collapses due to climate change would reduce the world’s ability to tackle the causes and to reduce the effects of global warming.
State failures would increase the gap between rich and poor and heighten racial and ethnic tensions which in turn would produce fertile breeding grounds for more conflict.
Urban areas would not be exempt from the fallout as falling crop yields due to reduced water and rising temperatures would push food prices higher, IISS said.
Overall, it said 65 countries were likely to lose over 15 percent of their agricultural output by 2100 at a time when the world’s population was expected to head from six billion now to nine billion people.
“Fundamental environmental issues of food, water and energy security ultimately lie behind many present security concerns, and climate change will magnify all three,” it added.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Generation Ultra Thin Modules

A new generation of ultra thin solar modules that can be integrated into the facades of buildings at low cost is to be produced in Germany next year. The German company Schueco has joined up with E.ON, the country's biggest energy company, to invest 100 million euros [$US 136 million] in the research and production of this new ultra thin solar technology that cuts down on the need for silicon, the costly raw material for solar cells.

Production is due to start at a site in Saxony-Anhalt in the second half of 2008. "Our researchers are currently working on developing more efficient solar modules of more than six percent and also on ways of producing modules at a far lower cost in order to make them more attractive for builders and architects," Thomas Lauritzen, spokesman for Schüeco, told.

The high absorption level of amorphous silicon will allow solar cells to be produced that are a few micrometers in thickness—much thinner than conventional mono and polycrystalline silicon solar cells. Glass panels of varying sizes—up to 5.7 square meters and with an output of 460 W/h—will give builders the flexibility to cover the maximum surface of any façade.

"Theoretically, this technology could supply the entire electricity needs of a building, depending on its size, location and the amount of sun it gets. We believe that this new technology could be integrated into a huge number of existing office buildings and also in new buildings because investors increasingly recognize the importance of carbon neutral buildings," said Lauritzen.

The U.S. company Applied Materials will supply the nanomanufacturing technology for the production, which will be carried out by a newly founded umbrella company called Malibu. Lauritzen added that he sees a huge export market for the new modules in southern Europe.
Following in the footsteps of Germany—France, Italy, Greece and Spain have recently introduced legislation giving financial incentives to producers of solar electricity. Also, individual cities in Europe are enacting renewable energy legislation: the city of Barcelona in Spain recently issued a law requiring every new public building to have solar technology installed.
"The countries in southern Europe have recognized the huge potential for solar energy that they have and are introducing a favourable legal and financial framework. That's why we expect the demand to grow there, but we are also interested in other markets, including the U.S.," said Lauritzen.

Since 1997, the photovoltaic (PV) industry in Germany has reduced the unit cost for solar electricity power plants by 50 percent and the costs are expected to fall further and to be 85 percent below the 1990 cost by 2020.

Government legislation that guarantees solar electricity suppliers a certain minimum price has also boosted the use of PV electricity: 2000 GW/h was installed in 2006 compared to just 76 GW/h in 2001.
Of Germany's electricity, 1 percent is produced today by solar power plants, but this is estimated to rise to 25 percent by 2050, saving the country an estimated 100 million tons of carbon emissions.

About 220,000 new solar power plants were installed in 2006, mostly on roofs, taking the total number of solar electricity and thermal power plants installed in Germany to 1.3 million.
To meet the growing demand, more than one billion euros is being invested this year in solar factories according to the industry association, the German Solar Industry (Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The inevitability of drastic Global Warming Impacts

The rise of two degrees centigrade in global temperatures – the point considered to be the threshold for catastrophic climate change which will expose millions to drought, hunger and flooding – is now "very unlikely" to be avoided, the world's leading climate scientists say now.

The latest study from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put the inevitability of drastic global warming in the starkest terms yet, stating that major impacts on parts of the world – in particular Africa, Asian river deltas, low-lying islands and the Arctic – are unavoidable and the focus must be on adapting life to survive the most devastating changes.

For more than a decade, EU countries led by Britain have set a rise of two degrees centigrade or less in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels as the benchmark after which the effects of climate become devastating, with crop failures, water shortages, sea-level rises, species extinctions and increased disease.

Two years ago, an authoritative study predicted there could be as little as 10 years before this "tipping point" for global warming was reached, adding a rise of 0.8 degrees had already been reached with further rises already locked in because of the time lag in the way carbon dioxide – the principal greenhouse gas – is absorbed into the atmosphere.

The IPCC says that the effects of this rise are being felt sooner than anticipated with the poorest countries and the poorest people set to suffer the worst of shifts in rainfall patterns, temperature rises and the viability of agriculture across much of the developing world.

In its latest assessment of the progress of climate change, the body said: "If warming is not kept below two degrees centigrade, which will require the strongest mitigation efforts, and currently looks very unlikely to be achieved, the substantial global impacts will occur, such as species extinctions, and millions of people at risk from drought, hunger, flooding."

Under the scale of risk used by IPCC, the words "very unlikely" mean there is just a one to 10 per cent chance of limiting the global temperature rise to two degrees centigrade or less.

Professor Martin Parry, a senior Met Office scientist and co-chairman of the IPCC committee which produced the report, said he believed it would now be "very difficult" to achieve the target and that governments need to combine efforts to "mitigate" climate change by reducing CO2 emissions with "adaptation" to tackle active consequences such as crop failure and flooding.

Speaking at the Royal Geographical Society, he said: "Ten years ago we were talking about these impacts affecting our children and our grandchildren. Now it is happening to us."

"Even if we achieve a cap at two degrees, there is a stock of major impacts out there already and that means adaptation. You cannot mitigate your way out of this problem... The choice is between a damaged world or a future with a severely damaged world."

The IPCC assessment states that up to two billion people worldwide will face water shortages and up to 30 per cent of plant and animal species would be put at risk of extinction if the average rise in temperature stabilises at 1.5C to 2.5C.

Professor Parry said developed countries needed to help the most affected regions, which include sub-Saharan Africa and major Asian river deltas with improved technology for irrigation, drought-resistant crop strains and building techniques.

Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, said that 2015 was the last year in which the world could afford a net rise in greenhouse gas emissions, after which "very sharp reductions" are required.
Dr Pachauri said the ability of the world's most populous nations to feed themselves was already under pressure, citing a study in India which showed that peak production of wheat had already been reached in one region.

Campaigners said the IPCC findings brought added urgency to the EU's efforts to slash emissions. John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: "The EU needs to adopt a science-based cap on emissions, ditch plans for dirty new coal plants and nuclear power stations that will give tiny emission cuts at enormous and dangerous cost, end aviation expansion and ban wasteful products like incandescent lightbulbs."

Plus two degrees: the consequences

Arica: Between 350 and 600 million people will suffer water shortages or increased competition for water. Yields from agriculture could fall by half by 2020 while arid areas will rise by up to 8 per cent. The number of sub-Saharan species at risk of extinction will rise by at least 10 per cent.

Asia: Up to a billion people will suffer water shortages as supplies dwindle with the melting of Himalayan glaciers. Maize and wheat yields will fall by up to 5 per cent in India; rice crops in China will drop by up to 12 per cent. Increased risk of coastal flooding.

Australia/New Zealand: Between 3,000 and 5,000 more heat-related deaths a year. Water supplies will no longer be guaranteed in parts of southern and eastern Australia by 2030. Annual bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.

Europe: Warmer temperatures will increase wheat yields by up to 25 per cent in the north but water availability will drop in the south by up to a quarter. Heatwaves, forest fires and extreme weather events such as flash floods will be more frequent. New diseases will appear.

Latin America: Up to 77 million people will face water shortages and tropical glaciers will disappear. Tropical forests will become savanna and there will be increased risk of coastal flooding in low-lying areas such as El Salvador and Guyana.

North America: Crop yields will increase by up to 20 per cent due to warmer temperatures but economic damage from extreme weather events such as Hurricane Katrina will continue increasing.
Polar regions: The seasonal thaw of permafrost will increase by 15 per cent and the overall extent of the permafrost will shrink by about 20 per cent. Indigenous communities such as the Inuit face loss of traditional lifestyle.

Small islands: Low-lying islands are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels with the Maldives already suffering land loss.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Climate Criminals


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) Fourth Assessment Report (2007) warns of the following disasters this century if mankind does not respond urgently to anthropogenic climate change: possible temperature increases of up to 4 degrees Centigrade, sea level rises of up to 0.6 metres, massive damage to agriculture and serious threat to huge populations, especially in Asia and Africa. Further, the IPCC warns that “anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized” (IPCC, Climate Change 2007: the physical science basis. Summary for policy makers: http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf ).

Now a recent scientific paper by top American climate change experts, NASA’s Dr James Hansen and colleagues, and published by the prestigious UK Royal Society, says that the IPCC warnings are actually UNDER-estimated and warns of an impending “cataclysm”. Dr Hansen and colleagues conclude: “Palaeoclimate data show that the Earth's climate is remarkably sensitive to global forcings. Positive feedbacks predominate. This allows the entire planet to be whipsawed between climate states. One feedback, the 'albedo flip' property of ice/water, provides a powerful trigger mechanism. A climate forcing that 'flips' the albedo [light reflection capacity] of a sufficient portion of an ice sheet can spark a cataclysm. Inertia of ice sheet and ocean provides only moderate delay to ice sheet disintegration and a burst of added global warming. Recent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions place the Earth perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of our control, with great dangers for humans and other creatures. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the largest human-made climate forcing, but other trace constituents are also important. Only intense simultaneous efforts to slow CO2 emissions and reduce non-CO2 forcings can keep climate within or near the range of the past million years” (Dr James Hansen et al, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 365, 1925-1954 (2007), “Climate change and trace gases”: http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk/
ontent/l3h462k7p4068780/fulltext.html ).

Professor James Lovelock FRS goes even further. In his recent book “The Revenge of Gaia” (London, 2006) Dr Lovelock says that it may already be too late, that the control systems regulating the global temperature may be too severely damaged already. A gloomy summation of Dr Lovelock’s position by Commondreams.( http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0116-06.htm ) is blunt: “Environment in crisis: “We are beyond the point of no return’”.

Urgent global action is demanded by the IPCC, the US National Academy of Science, the UK Royal Society, former World Bank Chief Economists Sir Nicholas Stern (UK) and Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz (US) and an overwhelming international scientific consensus. Thus Sir Nicholas Stern believes that urgent action now will enable stabilization of the Earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to about 500 ppm (parts per million) and that acting NOW will be far cheaper economically than leaving it till later (see: The Stern Review: the economics of climate change (2006):
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/
shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/30_10_06_exec_sum.pdf ). Professor Stiglitz has stated that Sir Nicholas Stern’s position is actually conservative.

Indeed in “The Revenge of Gaia” Professor Lovelock states that at 500 ppm CO2 the Greenland ice shelf goes and so does the ocean phytoplankton system that is vital for global temperature homeostasis (balance) through sequestering CO2 and generating dimethyl sulphide (that helps nucleate the formation of sunlight-reflecting clouds).

Recent summaries by the prestigious New Scientist shows that the atmospheric CO2 concentration is currently about 380 ppm (parts per million) but is increasing at a rate (3.3% per year) corresponding to the WORST scenario envisaged by the IPCC i.e. of unaddressed carbon pollution (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10507
-carbon-emissions-rising-faster-than-ever.html ).

However the US Bush Administration and the pro-Bush Australian Federal Government refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol or to constrain CO2 pollution as revealed by the following statistics for “annual per capita fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollution” (tonnes CO2 per person per year) (2004): 19.2 (for AUSTRALIA; 40 if you include Australia’s “world’s biggest” coal exports), 19.7 (the US), 18.4 (Canada), 16.4 (Netherlands), 11.9 (Russia), 10.4 (Germany), 9.9 (Japan), 9.7 (UK), 8.5 (Italy), 6.7 (France), 4.2 (the World), 3.6 (China), 3.6 (Argentina), 2.0 (Egypt), 1.8 (Brazil), 1.0 (India), 0.7 (Pakistan), 0.7 (Nigeria), and 0.25 (for Bangladesh) (US Energy Information Administration (2006):
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/iea/
Notes%20for%20Table%20H_1co2.html ).

The major climate criminals are clearly the Western countries with the HIGHEST annual per capita fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollution, most notably the stand-out Kyoto Protocol NON-signatories Bush America (the world’s worst greenhouse gas polluter) and Bush-ite Australia (the world’s biggest coal exporter and the world’s big country with the world’s highest “annual capita greenhouse gas pollution” if coal exports are included ) (see the World Bank report:

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTDATASTA/
64199955-1178226923002/21322619/LGDB2007.pdf and http://www.kab.org.au/_dbase_upl/KABWeekFactsheet.pdf and http://www.greenhousegases.gov.au/
about_greenhouse_gases/australia's_emissions.html ).


In contrast, the major “climate victim” countries threatened by climate criminal-impelled global warming, drought and inundation through sea level rises (climate genocide) are African, South American and Asian countries with major river delta systems and with “annual per capita fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollution” (tonnes CO2 per person per year) (2004) BELOW that of the World (4.2), notably China (3.6), Argentina (3.6), Egypt (2.0), Brazil (1.8), India (1.0), Pakistan (0.7), Nigeria (0.7) and Bangladesh (0.25).

What can decent and responsible people do?

We cannot ignore this mounting threat to humanity – we cannot walk by on the other side. Already, in 2006 a Bengali island, Lohachara Island, once home to 10,000 of our fellow human beings, finally disappeared under the waves. We are obliged to (a) inform others about gross abuses of humanity and (b) to take peaceful action against those complicit in such atrocities. Sanctions and boycotts worked against the racist atrocity of Apartheid South Africa and may well help constrain the implicitly racist atrocity of climate genocide being foisted on the world by climate criminal Bush America and Bush-ite Australia.

It has recently been estimated that the ACTUAL price of coal-based electricity (taking into account the environmental and human cost) can be about 4 times higher than the present commercial cost. However this Canadian estimate was conservative and may have UNDER-estimated the additional environmental cost due to climate change by a factor of TEN (10) (see: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836 ). Nevertheless this ACTUAL COST estimate indicates that a number of renewable options (notably wind power and concentrated solar power, CSP) are ALREADY competitive on current costings with the TRUE cost of coal-based electricity i.e. for economic reasons the coal should stay in the ground. Those greedy, corrupt, intrinsically racist climate criminals (climate terrorists) that IGNORE the science, the technology and economics and remain committed to fossil fuel-based energy to the cost of Humanity will eventually get the BILL for the full COST of their racist irresponsibility and the consequent climate genocide.

However the Western world is dominated by lying, racist, Bush-ite media who are still giving the climate criminals a free run to pollute the planet at the expense of the Developing World. The WORDS of the world’s most eminent scientists, technologists and economists are FAILING under the weight of corporate Mainstream media lies and spin.


Both water-deficient and river delta (deltaic) regions around the world (notably those of South Asia e.g. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) are acutely threatened by global warming. Already about 16 million people die avoidably around the world each year (3.7 million in India alone) (see: “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007): http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ). Please inform all your associates and please feel free to reproduce “TERRA” and its attendant message with attribution in the interests of our Planet and Humanity.

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