Tag Archives: power

ANOTHER PLANET?

tigetwikiFinally some good news for tigers – one of our most beautiful and most endangered species. Hunting and poaching (to feed the demands of chinese ‘medicine’) has decimated the tiger population across Asia, but now India has said that there has been a 30% increase in wild tiger numbers – up to 2,226 this year from 1,706 in 2010. Still woefully tiny, but better and India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar called the rise a ‘huge success’ after intensifying efforts to stamp out poaching and re-introduce tigers to areas where they had been wiped out, and halt the steady destruction of their natural habitat.

And in South africa, 100 rhinos have been moved to new and secret locations in neighbouring states. South Africa has some 80% of the world’s remaining rhino population and is at the epicentre of the poaching crsis – it lost 1,215 animals last year, a 20% rise on 2013.

Climate change may be wiping out California’s famous big trees which are dying off faaster than ever. More than half of the state’s redwoods, ponerroas pines and other giant trees have died in less than a century. The trees are more susceptible to high temperatures and water shortages than smaller trees.

The symbolic doomsday clock moved to three minutes before midnight because of the gathering dangers of climate change and nuclear proliferation, signalling the gravest threat to humanity since the throes of the cold war. It is the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1984, when arms-control negotiations stalled and virtually all channels of communication between the US and the former Soviet Union closed down. The scientists who set the clock say world leaders have failed to face up to the dangers of climate change and the risk of a ‘potential catastrophe’. US scientists say 2014 was the hottest on record. Nasa and Noaa scientists reported that 2014 was 0.07F (0.04C) higher than previous records and the 38th consecutive year of above-average temperatures. That didnt stop the US Senate from viting that climate changeis NOT caused by human activity. The Senate voted virtually unanimously that climate change is occurring and not, as some Republicans have said, a hoax – but it defeated two measures attributing its causes to human activity. Only one Senator, Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, voted against a resolution declaring climate change was real and not – as his fellow Republican, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma once famous declared – a hoax. That measure passed 98 to one. But the Senate voted down two measures that attributed climate change to human activity. “Climate is changing and climate has always changed and always will,” Inhofe told the Senate. “The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate. Man can’t change climate.” CLIMATE CHANGE IN PICTURES.

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The Guardian reports on illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean: “Staying hidden behind sea ice and large waves, sailors aboard a navy patrol boat from New Zealand sneaked up on three suspected poaching ships, then took photos and video of the fishermen hauling in prized fish in banned nets from the ocean near Antarctica. Seemingly caught red-handed, the crews of the rusting vessels just kept on fishing. Authorities say this month’s high-seas confrontations, and the detailed evidence collected, mark a first in Antarctic waters, where regulators have long suspected poaching activities but have found them difficult to police in an area that’s roughly the size of the continental United States. It is a huge illegal business. Each of the ships could hold more than $1m worth of Antarctic toothfish, marketed in North America as Chilean sea bass.” More here.

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Fossil fuel companies have taken up majority positions in key renewables trade groups steering them towards a pro-gas stance that influenced Europe’s 2030 clean energy targets, industry insiders claim. Big energy firms such as Total, Iberdrola, E.On and Enel have together adopted a dominant position in trade bodies such as the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). Their representatives now constitute a majority on both group’s boards. Officials in EPIA were told to argue for a renewable-gas alliance as the answer to Europe’s energy security concerns, while EWEA lowered its 2030 clean energy ambitions by a third, according to ex-staffers, renewables experts and policy insiders. They argue that the more pro-gas stance influenced the 2030 climate targets adopted by EU governments last year.

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The former Tory environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, has called for a ban on fracking in the UK ahead of a report by an influential committee of MPs that is expected to conclude fracking could derail efforts to tackle climate change. The intervention by Spelman, a member of the Environmental Audit Committee, comes as the UK government’s drive for fracking came under heavy political attack.

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ANOTHER PLANET?

OBurning wood in power stations might actually be good for trees – so says Professor Robert Malmsheimer at the State University of New York. A number of environmentalists and scientists have argued that burning wood in power stations harms forests, produces pollution and once the carbon cost of transport is added in is hardly a ‘green’ or sustainable solution. But Professor  Malmsheimer says such arguments  misunderstand the forestry industry and the type of wood used in biomass  – and that an increase in and for wood would increase forest area and productivity as land owners respond to economic stimuli.

It seems billions of pounds of UK taxpayers money will be given to ‘dirty’ coal burning power stations in the UK – to guarantee that the lights stay on in the UK when power from sustainable power – in particular wind power – fluctuate and cannot meet peak demand. Coal, gas and nuclear plants are all entitled to bid for the funding. Even the energy companies know the scheme is bonkers – back in October Sam Laidlaw the boss of Centrica said there was something wrong with government policies that tax coal plants for carbon emissions with one hand and subsidise them with another and that the paradox means that old dirty coal plants “will be paid extra to stay online for longer”.  Greenpeace – agreeing with Centrica (!) called the policy ‘counter productive’ and ‘bizarre’ and that it would be consumers who met the cost.

windturbines_300And the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron claimed that the public was “fed up” with onshore windfarms and said the country did not need any more subsidised turbines on land now that the energy source was capable of providing 10% of UK energy.  He said: “Let’s get rid of the subsidy, put them into the planning system. If they can make their case, they will make their case. I suspect they won’t and we’ll have a reasonable amount of onshore wind, we’ll have safer electricity supplies as a result but enough is enough and I’m very clear about that. Cameron’s remarks to the liaison committee of MPs are at odds with polling conducted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change that suggests onshore wind is popular and his own Climate Secretary Ed Davey. And Secretary of State Eric Pickles has been sharply criticised by the renewable energy industry for delaying the approval of many onshore wind energy developments in which he has intervened.  The criticism comes in the wake of a new report from the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee, which warns that Pickles’ recent actions risk reducing investment in the clean energy sector. However on a more positive note the UK Government has tannounced details of the National College of Wind Energy based in the Humber area.  Set to open its doors in late 2016, the college will offer students post-A-level professional qualifications; equipping young people with the engineering and technical skills required in the wind industry – particularly offshore, where ‘a large growth in skills is needed’.

Lord Stern has made broadly positive remarks about the results fron the UN Cop summit in Lima. Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change said  “This is an important step towards a new agreement at the climate change summit in Paris in December 2015, but it still leaves a number of important issues to be worked out between countries over the next 12 months” adding”It is vital that countries put forward before the Paris summit intended nationally determined contributions that are both ambitious and credible. However, it is already clear that the scale of action to control and reduce annual emissions of greenhouse gases will collectively not be consistent with a pathway that will mean a reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous global warming of more than 2C above pre-industrial level.”

Invitación Física versión editableAlso at the Lima climate summit, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) restated the importance of biofuels, such as ethanol, in reducing GHG emissions in the transport sector.  Biofuels are presently one of the most commercially viable fuel alternatives to crude oil in the medium term, proven to reduce GHGs from 40% to 90% compared with fossil fuels. GRFA spokesperson Bliss Baker said: “Nearly a third of global GHGs come from the transportation sector, those GHGs need to be a priority if we are going to make a significant contribution to combating climate change. Biofuels must be an integral part of that fight.”

Many Alpine ski resorts are facing their worst season for 150 years with snowfall way below the annual norm. The glacier resort of Tignes has only 13 of its 79 lifts operating and some guests in Chamonix are being bussed to other resorts. The snowfall on Flaine’s upper pistes – just 20cm in 2014 – is less than 10% of 2012’s 240cm snowfall.

President Obama has taken  action to protect one of Alaska’s most powerful economic engines and one of America’s greatest national treasures: Bristol Bay. He signed a Presidential Memorandum that withdraws these beautiful and pristine waters from all future oil and gas drilling. “These waters are too special and too valuable to auction off to the highest bidder,” the President said.

Millions of dicarded plastics bags pollute our oceans

Millions of dicarded plastics bags pollute our oceans

More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world’s oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found.  Data collected by scientists from the US, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand suggests a minimum of 5.25tn plastic particles in the oceans, most of them “micro plastics” measuring less than 5mm. The volume of plastic pieces, largely deriving from products such as food and drink packaging and clothing, was calculated from data taken from 24 expeditions over a six-year period to 2013. The research, published in the journal PLOS One, is the first study to look at plastics of all sizes in the world’s oceans.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says global governments must ‘radically accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technology’ as a new report reveals demand for coal will break the nine-billion-tonne level by 2019.   The organisation’s annual Medium-Term Coal Market Report concludes that the fate of the global coal market will be determined by China, which will continue to account for three-fifths of demand growth during the five-year outlook period.

Australian researchers have set a new world record by converting more than 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity. The record was achieved by scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, and verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the United States.”This is the highest efficiency ever reported for sunlight conversion into electricity,” UNSW Scientia Professor Martin Green said. “The new results are based on the use of focused sunlight, and are particularly relevant to photovoltaic power towers being developed in Australia.”

Anaerobic digestion (AD) enjoyed a bumper year in the UK according to the latest sector survey published today (11 November) by WRAP, but Scotland did not contribute to the growth.  The number of AD sites in the UK has increased from 87 to 117, while capacity increased by 55% to 3.20mt. This operational growth has led to a boost to employment in the sector – up 36% to 482 full-time jobs.

schnipeldiscoThe “Schnippeldisko” (chopping disco), which is organised by Slow Food Youth,  raises awareness of the industrialisation of farming in Germany. On the 16th of January 2014 many helping hands come together at Zirkus Cabuwazi in Berlin Friedrichshain to chop about a ton of vegetables as ingredients for a “protest soup” that will warm the hearts and bellies of the thousands of “Wir haben es satt!”  participants the following day. And even better – all vegetables used for the protest soup are from the region of Brandenburg and are usually rejected by retailers as they don´t fit into the German trade standard – too big, too small or have an unusual shape, but there is literally nothing wrong with them – of course! To make cutting of all those vegetables more fun and to create a real ´disco´ feeling the organisers have invited DJs Florinn & Decent, who will pump out the best music around!

LIB1And finally from Jarno in the USA who reports that the International Music Festival conference, IMFcon, took place in Austin from the 7th until the 9th of December. An interesting conference where topics such as big data at festivals, fan loyalty, marketing & sponsorship, and the global success of EDM were discussed. One of the discussions was dedicated to sustainability with panelist such as Karen Cohen from Symbiosis Events, Melissa mcClary from Klean Kanteen and Nick Algee. Jarno says in his opinion “more time could, and should, have been dedicated to this particular subject. Sustainability is a vast area that can not possibly be discussed and explained in 45 minutes”. But its a start! And Lightning in a Bottle, awarded the Outstanding Award from A Greener Festival this year, were at IMFcon and this presented the perfect opportunity for Jarno to present Dede and Jesse Flemming, from The Do Lab, their award.  As Jarno says – Two very humble men who are passionate about their festival and about sustainability.  Congratulations!

Power back at Benicassim

Hot Press reports that Vince Power’s All Music Live Ltd  has struck a deal to buy back Spain’s Benicassim festival from the administrators of his former company, Music Festival PLC, with Hot Press quoting Power as saying ““I’m delighted that we have entered into an agreement to acquire the shares of Benicassim Ltd that has secured the future of the festival”.

Benicassim is based in the Valencian coastal town of the same name and  has a capacity of 50,000, In 2012 it was headlined this year by Bob Dylan, The Stone Roses and New Order.

UK wind power programme blown off course

Is it all sunny in the renewable energy world?

Is it all sunny in the renewable energy world?

Its seems that the UK government’s plans to meet renewable energy targets are ‘Gone With the Wind’ after news that Iberdrola Renewables, the Spanish company that is the world biggest investor in wind energy plans to reduce investment in UK renewable electricity by 40% from a high of E700 million to a reduced E400 million. Iberdrola blames the drop on the world’s economic crisis and said it was committed to the UK sustainable energy market but tellingly their chairman also said that planning delays and complications as well as problems connecting to the national grid were also factors. Doug Parr, the chief scientist of Greenpeace, said the UK renewables industry was moving “at a snail’s pace” and called for urgent action by the Government to accelerate its plans for a green energy revolution. “It really is a case of getting off their backsides and doing what they said they were going to do,” Dr Parr said. But Energy Minister Mike O’Brien hit back at claims that the Government was failing to deliver on an ambitious plan to foster a green energy revolution by building thousands of onshore and offshore wind turbines telling a meeting of renewable-energy chiefs that he was determined that Britain would meet its goal of generating as much as 35 per cent of all UK electricity from wind, wave and solar power by 2020, up from less than 5 per cent at present. It is estimated that £100 billion in investment is needed to meet these targets.

See: Ministers pore over incentives to save growth in green energy http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article5983602.ece