Category Archives: News

Scotland Readies to Ban Plastic Handled Cotton Buds


There has been a growing concern in the UK about the prevalent water pollution. In response to this, Scotland is set to impose a ban on both the use as well as the production of plastic handled cotton bud in her country.

Wastes on the shorelines and in beaches in Scotland, resulting from flushing used plastic cotton buds down the toilet, are estimated to be about half of the total plastic pollution experienced.

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Scotland’s environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, had this to say, ” Banning plastic cotton buds would be a clear sign of our ambition to address marine plastics and demonstrate further leadership on this issue. Despite various campaigns, people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets. This has to stop.

Scotland’s sewerage infrastructure collects and treats some 945 million litres of waste water each day. These systems are not designed to remove small plastic items such as plastic buds which can kill marine animals and birds that swallow them. These products are completely unnecessary as biodegradable alternatives are readily available. The need for action is clear and I would encourage everyone with an interest in safeguarding our natural environment to take part in the consultation when it opens.”

Scotland will be the first country in the UK to make this move, well appreciated by campaigners, who described the move as — great news for the environment and wildlife. In fact, many organizations and big supermarkets, are already having a shift from the use and sales of plastic cotton buds to paper handled ones. An example is a prominent pharmaceutical giant — Johnson and Johnson.

Environmentalists have really applauded Scotland’s move to ban the use of these plastic cotton buds.

Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation officer for the Marine Conservation Society. “After finding over 3,500 plastic cotton bud sticks on beaches across Scotland during our Great British Beach Clean in 2017, that’s an average of 29 for every 100m surveyed, we’re delighted to hear Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham’s plans to ban the making and selling of them in Scotland. For things that are maybe used for just five minutes to clean our ears or put on eye make-up — they can cause huge impacts on our oceans for hundreds of years.”

Gemmell added that, the flushed out plastic cotton buds that end up in our seas and beaches can accumulate toxins such as PCs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or can be accidentally ingested by marine life, causing physical damage. She said, “Paper and cardboard alternatives are already available for those who need them. The ban will help us all make the change, however, no matter what it is made of, we still want everyone to only flush the 3 P’s down the loo—pee, poo and paper, for the sake of Scotland’s seas!”

The director of the Friends of the Earth Scotland, Dr Richard Dixon, had this to say, “This decisive action is great news for the environment and for wildlife. Cotton buds are a very visible sign of our hugely wasteful habits, turning up on beaches across the globe.

Manufacturers and supermarkets are already moving in the right direction but this single measure will guarantee that Scotland cuts its contribution to marine plastic pollution in half. Following the plastic bag charge and the announcement of a deposit and return scheme for drinks’ bottles and cans, this is another good step on the way to a society which uses resources more sensibly. We look forward to further initiatives when the Government’s promised new group on single-use plastic containers, such as coffee cups, reports its work.”

Dr Lyndsey Dodds who is the head of marine policy at WWF, said: “Cotton buds are some of the most pervasive forms of marine pollution so a ban is very welcome and a step in the right direction. We know plastic is suffocating our seas and devastating our wildlife, with millions of birds, fish and mammals dying each year because of the plastic in our oceans. Plastics are also finding their way into the food we eat and the water we drink, so saving our oceans will require further ambitious action from governments, industry and consumers.”

Alasdair Neilson, the project officer at the environmental charity Fidra, who runs ‘The Cotton Bud’ Project, said, “This progressive step will be welcomed by everyone who has seen cotton buds polluting our beaches and harming our wildlife. A ban would support the responsible businesses that have already removed this single-use plastic item from their shelves. Let’s hope it also marks a bigger shift in the way we use and value plastics.

These products are completely unnecessary as biodegradable alternatives are readily available. The need for action is clear and I would encourage everyone with an interest in safeguarding our natural environment to take part in the consultation when it opens.”

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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2017 Weather and Climate Damages in the United States Totaled $306 Billion


Are you wondering when big organizations and politicians are going to pay vital attention to climate change? Well, hope has not yet been found, and this is due to selfish interests, fancy speeches, marches, etc. Certainly, the attention needed will surface when the financial cost associated with climate change becomes so extreme for brokers to take care of. We all know the popular saying “money makes the world go round” well, losing lots of cash will bring these big players to their senses. Since lots of money have been lost in 2017, well, the day that we will count so much loss is getting much closer by the day.

No doubts, 2017 was regarded as one of the hottest years in modern revolution and in that year, it has cost us so much. However, due to a recent news from the National Centers for Environmental Information, which is part of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). According to an annual report, it has been confirmed that the U.S has witnessed losses that exceed $2 billion, thus, totaling about $306 billion.

Hurricane

Furthermore, a statement by the federal agency has stated drastic events that have occurred in the United State plus the wildfires in the west. It is important to note that all of these events have cost about $ 18 billion which means it has tripled in cost from the aforementioned annual wildfire record in the United States.

It is also needful to know that the number of hurricanes that occurred in 2017 has also cost not only the United States but other places that it had occurred. One type of hurricane called “Hurricane Harvey” cost the U.S more than $ 100 billion. Other hurricanes like Maria and Irma had also cost the U.S $90 billion and $50 billion separately.

It is also worth knowing that selfish individuals in the Congress in the U.S discarded tax deductions for the casualties lost in this disasters for personal interests.

From the stable of Property Casualty 360 late last year, it has been affirmed that brokers may lose more than $190 billion in 2017. Due to this news, many of these brokers began to adjust their rates for them to cover the increased risks, several companies began to send their $1000 to beg with Congress to act fast. As you can see, President Trump has already backed off from acting against climate change. The effects of our actions may come so soon then we have expected if things aren’t done the right way.

As we all know, 2005 was another year that had cost the U.S much money, due to the drastic events that occurred. Losses from Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita will never be forgotten.

Certain natural disasters like storms, drought, wildfires, cyclones that occurred last year didn’t cost the U.S financially, they also caused lots of causalities where recorded. According to NOAA NCEI Climate, it has been reported that approximately $16 billion disasters were recorded in 2017; the U.S also witnessed more than 200 weather and climate disasters since 1980, thus, the losses totaled approximately $1.5 trillion.

2017 was recorded the third warmest year since annual records were taken since 1895. Also, according to these reports, 54.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average temperature of the United States last year, thus increasing by 2.6 degrees more than the normal average.

Another report from the Copernicus Climate Change Service has recently placed 2017 as the second-warmest year.

“Certain concerns have been going up due to the fact that sixteen out of seventeen warmest years have been in this century” this statement was made by the head of Copernicus. Lots of scientific agreement has been made due to the increase in greenhouse emissions, but most of them have been futile due to some selfish interest in the government.

Nevertheless, the NOAA report had briefly stated the increased costs of climate and weather catastrophes in spite of the cynicism and the indifference made by the government under the leadership of President Donald Trump toward the Paris accord to combat climate change from the list of threats that affect humanity.

“I was elected to represent the citizen of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” said President Trump after withdrawing the U.S support for the Paris accord on climate change. The president also stated that the Paris accord “confines the U.S, but empowers top polluting counties in the world”.

Trump’s administration is quite different from the previous one and it has unveiled a new strategy that focuses more on protecting the homeland and increasing the influence of the US In an ever competitive world.

However, a document that stated the national security of Trump’s administration has shown that it will show no support to reduce the burning of fossil fuels for energy.

“The United States government is central to counter an energy agenda that is detrimental to the U.S economy and energy security interest” the document declared.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Climate Change Damages Made By Fossil Fuel Prompts New York City to Launch Lawsuit


Most climate advocates on Wednesday hailed what was termed a victory following two recent statements by New York City through its Mayor, Bill de Blasio. In these statements, it was said that the city has intentions of stripping off pension funds from fossil fuels in a period of five years and that it has filed a lawsuit against five big fossil fuel companies for their influence in climate change damages.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had said on Wednesday following the statement released, that, “New York City is standing up for its upcoming generation by becoming the first U.S city to strip off pension funds from fossil fuels“. He has also said that “At the moment, we are bringing the fight against climate change straight to fossil fuel companies that know the damages and the effects of climate change, thus, misleading the public for their personal interests”. It is important to know that climate change continues to deepen; it is up to these giant companies to cut out personal interests to make New York and the world at large a better and a safer place to live in.

climate-change-smoke-industry

These statements come just in time after ExxonMobil launched an attack in a Texas court against communities in the coastline areas of California that charged Exxon for their bad impacts on climate change last year.

“New York has intentions of shifting the costs of shielding the city for the effects of climate change back to the big companies that have tried their best to create this existential threat” this statement was declared by the lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of New York.

The big companies that cause climate change have been named by the city and they are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell. However, it is also essential to know that these companies have produced more than 10% of the world’s greenhouse gases since the advent of industrial revolution, including the threats on the infrastructure, health, and property of the residents.

Several environmentalists and climate activists have praised the Blasio’s statement. Also, state lawmakers have also praised the city’s action and among them who expressed their satisfaction was Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger and he has said that “ The stripping off of pension fund sends a clear message to everyone that we do not support companies whose agendas put the entire city at risk”.

However, climate activists like McKibben has said that “New York City has become a stronghold for the fight against climate change”

We do know that several areas in New York are susceptible to a rising sea; with this, the city is showing a high zeal against climate change, by putting up a fight against big fossil fuel companies in the financial markets and courts.

The statement made on Wednesday has also heaped praise from the president of Center for International Environmental Law, Carroll Muffett, has said that “they have reached a milestone in corporate accountability for climate change and a wake-up call to shareholders the threats of coming up against big fossil fuel companies are increasing”

The move made by New York also came in-line with the announcement it made last month that it was putting up a “de-carbonization roadmap” that includes dissociating from fossil fuels.

“Climate change imposes several threats and it is expensive more than any problem that humans have ever faced,”  said Richard Wiles, who is the executive director of Center for Climate Integrity. “in a dynamic way, climate change is no different from other environmental issues that we are experiencing. The polluters have to pay for the damages they have caused us”

Furthermore, since NYC has become the first major city in the United State to call for divestment, a vast number of communities have filed suit against the fossil fuel industry, thus, it is clear that “a worldwide movement is tuning”

Agreeing to Betamia Coronel, U.S. reinvestment coordinator at 350.org, “Divesting the city’s pensions from big fossil industry is a big step taken; suing companies like Exxon for the role on climate crises is the next move. The announcement made today has sent a big shock and signal to every part of the world that the advent of a fossil-free world is emerging”

We haven’t forgotten the 2012 Superstorm Sandy that struck the east coast of U.S., thus, resulting in the destruction of over 230 facilities and causing more than $70 billion damages, which was the deadliest and the most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

“The signals are clear”, McKibben has also stated in an op-ed, “The oil industry is not the future we should hope, its time has gone. Surely, it will be responsible for its events in the past”

Activists all over the world are hopeful this move made by New York City against fossil fuel will produce a dynamic change to other cities to take the same action.

Image credit: pexels

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Oxygen Levels of Oceans Are Decreasing At An Alarming Rate [Recent Study]


It is important to note that dead zones of oceans have multiplied in size since 1950, thus, increasing in 1000 percent rate, according to a recent research that has been published in the Journal of science. This recent research lays more emphasis to climate change and industrial animal agriculture as the main cause in open oceans.

However, dead zones are areas in oceans or seas with a low-level of oxygen. Aquatic animals in these areas are usually affected and hence, they die due to low-level of oxygen. Furthermore, dead zone areas in open waters usually vary in size due to the changes in tides and seasons. Nevertheless, dead zones are always present in areas where excess nutrients are available due to conservative agricultural activities that take place, thus, entering the waterways.

flock-of-white-birds-photo-during-sunset

Also, human activities are majorly the cause of the increase in dead zones. Climate change, on the other hand, is also caused by the emission of fossil fuels – which are also as a result of human activities. The emission of fossil fuels is also responsible for the increase in dead zones in open waters. It is also important to note that, oceans, naturally, have areas that are low in oxygen-levels which occur in the west of continents due to the rotation of the Earth.

Sadly, coastal zones which usually provide jobs for millions of people today are now deserted, due to the intense increase in dead zones. According to a recent study, it has been known that dead zones have increased by an area which is almost the size of the European Union since 1950, where 50 dead zones were stated across the world today.

A recent study made by the mirrors environmental group Mighty’s research from 2017, has also stated that agricultural runoff is the major cause of the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Although, much blames were put on the Americans’ for their love for meat by Mighty’s research especially with red signs from Tyson Foods, which is one of the biggest meat companies in the United States. Thanks to Tyson foods and companies like them, they have contributed to the runoff of nutrients that have resulted in dead zones in open oceans.

“Recent research is no longer a surprise and they have further ascertained that the unimpeded pollution from agricultural industries has attained a critical level and immediate measures are needed to curb the problem,” said Lucia von Reusner, Campaign Director for Mighty Earth.

One question that comes to the mind is how the animal agricultural industry is the main cause of dead zone in open seas. It is important to note that animals that are reared for the production of food produce 130 times more dung than the whole population of humans. However, over 335 million tons of manure at the dry weight is produced by animals in the U.S every year.

Most times, if there are inadequate facilities to take care of the wastes produced from these animals, the manure or dung excreted would definitely end up in the groundwater and then, it will flow into the ocean and accumulate –approximately over 335 million tons of extra nutrient

The accumulation of the dung from livestock is only part of the problem. It necessary to know that there is a reason why this livestock are excreting, and it is due to excess nitrogen and phosphorous. Over 85% of soybean production over the world belongs to livestock feed. It has also been recorded that 80% of processed corn in the U.S belongs to animal feed. With this, you can see that a lot of composts are used to grow farm produce. Also, in 2011, 22 million tons manure were used for farming in the U.S. Forlornly, do you know that only 50% of fertilizers are actually utilized by crops? The rest fertilizers usually runoff into waterways.

Luca von Reusner has this to say, “food industries like Tyson Foods are the leading the drive behind the demand of corn and soy produced foods, which leads to the increase in the number of nutrients in our open waters and seas.

According to a recent survey made by the One World One Ocean, it has been reported that there are over 405 ocean “dead zones”. The increase in the number of dead zones in our open oceans is as a result of the increase in human population and agricultural activities. With more than ninety million acres of corn last year reported by Scientific American, the number of dead zones in open oceans have increased sporadically, thus, threatening the lives of marine animals.

What is the solution to all of these? There are lots of things we can do to stop dead zones. We can start by making the right choice with our diets. Wherever we are, the need to embrace plant-based whole foods are vital. We, humans, have the ability to create a better world for ourselves and our generations to come and the countless of animals on our planet. We can make the right choice by swapping animal-based products to our daily diet.

Image credit: pexels

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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90 Percent of U.S Coastal Waters Opened to Oil Drilling By Trump


The U.S government under the leadership of President Donald Trump has just made moves that are certain to hurt the oceans, marine lives, coasts, and other aquatic features by intending to render all of U.S coastal waters to oil drilling shores.

This move made by Trump is sure to assault the marine life and also put the American residents that live in the coastal regions at great risk. However, Trump has made it known on Thursday that he will convert the coastal regions (including the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans) into an oil and gas company.

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Furthermore, if the current United States president succeeds, places like the George’s Bank, Florida Straits (which is an important recreational arena), and other aquatic areas like the California coasts would be destroyed by explosions, oil spillages, seismic blasting, etc. it is important to note that these industrial activities will cause more hazards. It also inherent that this will make oil rigs go up in federal waters across various parts of California.

However, it is important to note that Trump’s plan comes in two different ways that will make sure these hazards are increased. Recently, the U.S government projected that it will decrease offshore drilling and the manufacturing of safety methods, these measures were done as a result of the lessons learned from the BP tragedy. Also, the American government hid an independent research that was done to assist and enhance an accountable public overview of the oil and gas activities at these shores. These activities on sea shores are disheartening and dangerous to the American residents that live close and away from these places.

We haven’t forgotten the BP disaster in 2010 that took the lives of 11 workers, and also deposited more than two hundred barrels of lethal crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. However, this incident took lots of people off work, while observing the oil spillages into the uncontaminated ocean waters for eighty-seven days, thus, making the industry fumble. The oil and gas industry were unable to stop this incident.

The images of pelicans, dolphins, turtles, and other aquatic bodies that were affected due to the intense oil spillage that polluted more than a thousand miles of coast were reprehensible. Although, several reports from the U.S government stated what went wrong and what is needed to prevent the occurrence of such incidence.

President Trump wants everyone to forget about the incidents that occurred so as to let the oil and gas sector of the country operate freely and successfully into the wildlife and waters. In this view, we aren’t protected from the next type of BP disaster that might occur again, and who knows? This might be deadly than the previous disaster that occurred.

However, if the U.S presidency has its way, we will have less information on the detrimental effects of offshore drilling. We will also have lesser facilities to combat these risks, and also, our waters will be exposed to these risks, which is not a good news for every American resident, due to the effects that may befall them.

Why are these activities on our coasts and oceans? It is important also to know that the rate of oil production will be increased in the U.S, about 9.2 million barrels- more than ever since the early 80’s. However, with the addition of refined natural gas liquids, the U.S will be producing about 12.9 million barrels every day, which is the highest production recorded in the past few decade.

Many people think that the production of oil in a country ensures national security. The U.S now exports 6.2 million barrels of crude oil and refined petroleum products daily (more than 300%) since 2008. This level of production is more than sufficient to meet the demands of every U.S resident daily; the oil and gas sector of the country also exports the product to other countries.

The increased exploration and production of crude oil is not for the security of the country or some dreams to dominate the world, this is about personal gains and profits, thereby putting the American residents in grave danger. This is wrong, and unacceptable!

The essentiality of preserving and supporting our natural life and ensuring that we have healthy oceans cannot be overemphasized. The production of oil and gas at the coasts puts every resident in the country in danger which includes, explosions, disastrous spills, and sonic blasts. The production of oil and gas is also hazardous to aquatic animals. Burning of oil and gas results to the emission of carbon into the atmosphere, which drives climate change, increasing the temperature of water bodies, and rising sea levels.

President Donald Trump is driving us away from the right direction. The assault on these waters is wrong, and this is due to the fact that these public waters belong to you and me, thus, we are entitled to protect them. It’s about that time that business leaders, elected executives and everyone who understands the importance of these public waters to collaborate and support the movement against the production of oil and gas on coastal areas and seas.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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China Makes Move to Limit Air Pollution by Ending the Production of Over 500 Car Models


China has made a vital move to stop air pollution by ending the production of more than 500 car models and other model versions that do not meet the economy’s fuel criteria. It is important to note that 535 car models have been affected. However, China’s move to curb air pollution by putting a ban on these car models have been announced on the official state news agency this week.

Furthermore, the suspension of these car models has taken an immediate effect since Jan. 1 2018. Cars that do not meet the country’s fuel economy standards, plus vehicles produced from internal manufacturers such as Cherry Automobile Co, Limited, and also models from FAW-Volkswagen and Beijing Benz Automotive have been affected.

air-pollution-from-Audi-A3

China’s move was apparent to “shake” the car manufacturing sector which boasts of 28 million vehicles produced in 2016. Nevertheless, China has lots of small-scale car manufacturers, in which some of these manufacturers produce more than a hundred cars annually. The government has made adequate efforts to merge its automobile sector, which is a factor that has played a major role in the suspension.

Moreover, the secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, Cui Dongshu has said that the suspension of car models in China would only affect 1% of the Chinese market. Although, China’s decision to deregister the fuel economy on different versions of car models is a good sign of the commitment the government has to combat air pollution that is resulting in climate change. The Chinese government has set out plans to promote electric vehicles in order to encourage a better environment.

Before now, China has placed more priority on economic growth than protecting the environment and produced more than half of greenhouse gases, but it has resurfaced as a stronghold to combat climate-change after several actions from the U.S government in the rejection of the Paris climate accord.

However, the Chinese government is under much pressure to dive into the problem of air pollution and put a halt to it once and for all. Several effects of air pollution have caused serious panic to the Chinese populace; there have been situations where air pollution has forced schools and businesses to shut down briefly. Late last year, China made plans to have the largest carbon market across the globe, thus, offering lots of Chinese big businesses a financial spur to operate freely.

The president of Dunne Automobiles, Michael Dunne, has said that “China is sending an immense message across the world”. It is important to note that Dunne Automobiles is a Hong Kong-based company in China’s automobile sector.

Furthermore, it is also necessary to note that China has now emerged as the world’s biggest sponsor of electric cars; it has also offered incentives to car manufacturers to produce electric vehicles. Although, these incentives will be replaced by quotas in 2 years’ time for the number of electric cars that must be sold. This plan has urged lots of automobile manufacturers to increase the pace in the production of electric vehicles.

By contrast, the U.S under the leadership of President Donald Trump has considered withdrawing its support from plans to combat change, thus, killing the tax credit for battery-powered cars in its recent tax overhaul.

However, considering the fact that big automobile manufacturers such as Dongfeng Motor Corporation were not spared, says so much about China’s commitment to fight air pollution and achieve their goals as soon as possible, thereby, not giving-in to favoritism to the “big players” in the automobile industry, says Bruce M. Belzowski, of the Automotive Futures group at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

China’s commitment has surprised other governments across the world today; this is due to the fact it has never indulged itself to take-up adequate measures on emission standard, not until now. At the moment, the Chinese government is empowering automobile manufacturers in the country to catch-up with the latest trend in making “clean cars”.

Mr. Dunne has made it known that “the latest stride is a recent indication of how fast their own automobile manufacturers have emerged and they are showing no signs of slowing down”.

Nevertheless, other foreign automobile manufacturers had to tally the effect of the ban on Tuesday. Manufacturers such as Volkswagen, General Motors, Honda, etc. have placed lots of probes. BMW, which is one of the biggest automobile industry has said that the company is not yet prepared for any statement.

Moreover, Engadget has stated that “the ban on vehicles that don’t meet the emission standards stands contrasts with the U.S. The Republican tax plan which has been released does not have adequate plans that would take out the EV tax credit, but only the spurs to move for environmental-friendly vehicles, which have little possibility to survive, due to the efforts of the current government to protect fossil fuels at all costs.

On the hand, the Chinese government is increasing its pace in the production of greener cars, because it has no option. Air pollution is imposing detrimental effects on China; due to this reason, the Chinese government is looking for adequate means to sustain the health of its residents.

Image credit: flickr

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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Scientists Warn of Permanent drought for 25% of the Earth by 2050, If Paris Goals Are Not Reached


There are lots of research on climate change and these studies have stated the detrimental effects of man-made gases that are released into the atmosphere daily. However, a recent study on the ever-growing effects of global climate inaction has stated that almost every part of the earth could end up in a long-lasting state of drought if its temperature rises or warms up to 2ºC by 2050.

However, it is important to note that a top researcher in this study named Manoj Joshi has this to say, “The research envisages that desertification would increase about 20% or more on the land surface if the global temperature reaches 2ºC”. Nevertheless, this new study has been published in the journal, Nature.

desert-drought-dehydrated-clay-soil

Today, climate change has been as a result of man-made activities, and researchers have linked and stated that the spread of extreme droughts has been as a result of human activities for many years. It has also been known that the only way to limit these effects is by avoiding the conditions that could result in climate change to a temperature of about 1.5ºC.

Furthermore, Dr. SU-Jong Jeong, a scientist in China’s University of Science and Technology has also concluded that “the temperature of the earth has warmed up by 1ºC but to keep global warming by 1.5ºC, is to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which may lead to the circumvention of aridification in many parts of the earth” this includes America, Africa, Australia, and Asia (which has almost 20% of the world’s population)

“It is important to know that aridification poses a serious risk to the earth because of its threat to vital areas such as biodiversity, farming, water quality, and so on”. Lead researcher and author at the Southern University and Technology in Shenzen, China, Chang-Eui Park, stated this in a recent news release. He has also indicated that aridification can also result in an increase in more droughts and wildfires in many parts of the world – related to those seen intense in California and its environs.

The recent research also concluded and showed that decreasing global warming to a 1.5ºC rise would prevent the spread of drought, and it is important to note that the rates of drought across the world today has already increased beyond human expectations. This is due to the fact that the temperature of the Earth has sporadically risen to 1ºC in global average temperature.

Scientists have taken a critical look at the probable occurrence of aridification for different levels of global warming, containing a 1.5ºC and 2ºC rise in the average temperature of the earth. Although, the Paris climate accord has been with lots of critics from environmentalists and scientists as not being adequate to the tasks of combating the problems associated with climate change which is already imposing lots of havoc across the world today. Nevertheless, the main objective of the Paris agreement is to decrease global warming to 2ºC by the end of the century. However, if we are to achieve this feat, “prompt measures” have to be taken to restrain the emergence of aridification.

The issue associated with the Paris agreement is that the U.S (which is the second largest emitter of carbon in the world) recently withdrew its support for the Paris accord under the governance of President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, President Trump has instead, moved to other directions stated by other scientists. Together with this, Trump has also increased his actions to gut adequate measures that have been put to place for environmental protection by the former administration during his first year in office, and it is vital to know that Trump is showing no signs of limiting his actions.

Furthermore, Trump has also stated last week of his enthusiasm of a warmer planet, when he tweeted that the United States “could use a little bit of that good old global warning” to fight the cold weather that is taking over other states in the east. In addition to this, he has shown that he is unaware of the discrepancy between weather and climate. Trump’s move to withdraw the U.S from the Paris climate accord has been criticized by lots of ecologists as “stupid and reckless”

The reckless decision has categorized Trump’s tactic to the environment, not only to the United States alone but also to the world – throughout his first year as the President of the United States. However, Trump’s tweet last week sparked lots of comments from environmentalists and analysts, but this is not the first tweet made by the American President on cold weather to suggest that the world should embrace climate crisis.

Moreover, David Sirota of the International Business Times has said that the president tweet should be preserved forever so that generations to come can know the reason why the American government didn’t take adequate measures to combat climate change.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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Sun, Wind and Water: Africa’s Renewable Energy Set to Soar by 2022


There has been a loud cry for clean, more efficient, less carbon sources of energy all over the world. About 22 percent of electricity on the world is produced by renewable energy, while the remaining 78 percent is by the use of fossil fuels — gas, coal, etc. This accounts for the massive global warming worldwide; and also the desertification, gully erosion and flooding experienced in some parts of Africa.

Africa too is having a shift towards the use of renewable energy. Countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, and few other countries are making headway in the use of renewables. Energy officials have said that the strong demand for power in Africa would give rise to the use of renewables in the next 5 years.

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So many communities in African nations (especially Sub-saharan Africa) just have access to electricity by the advent of the use of renewable energy in those places. Much more people now have access to power.

In Nigeria, the Energy commission have forecast that by 2030, Nigeria would need about 200,000MW of power to be able to effectively distribute electricity to it’s citizens. This can’t be achieved by the use of gas alone; but more of the renewables — sun, wind, and water; and even biomass; because of the current rate of production (which is about 5,500MW).

In some places in Nigeria, power has become affordable and easy to access. For example, in Ofetebe community in Edo State, Nigeria, a solar mini-grid produces 4kW of electricity to power a community borehole, a clinic, 30 households, a barber shop and relaxation spots like a video parlour. The cost of installation was about N4.8m, the mini grid will last for 30 years: an investment of N500 per month for each household. The community would therefore enjoy electricity every day, 365 days per year.

Ghana is currently building what is to be Africa’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant with $400m, which will consequently produce 155MW (the Nzema Solar Project). Kenya is also planning for sufficient solar power to provide more than half of the country’s electricity by 2016. Construction of the plants that would help achieve such is expected to cost $1.2bn. (For the same amount, Nigeria could build about 1,000km of gas pipelines – but this would constitute only 10% of what she needs).

The use of renewable energy in Africa is really growing. Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable division at the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) had this to say, “A big chunk of this (growth) is hydro because of Ethiopia, but then you have solar sources in South Africa, Nigeria and Namibia and wind in South Africa and Ethiopia as well.”

He forecast that the installed capacity of renewable energy in the Sub-Sahara region would almost double the current 35 gigawatts to above 60 gigawatts under the right conditions. Ethiopia has a set of hydro-power projects that are being constructed, this includes the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River that will produce about 6,000 megawatts when it is completed.

This is sufficient for an averagely populated city for a year. “Africa has one of the best potential resources of renewables anywhere in the world, but it depends very much on the enabling framework, on the governance and the right rules,” Frankl told Reuters on the sidelines of a wind energy conference. The advocacy for a low-carbon energy source to reduce harmful greenhouse gases is a form of threat to industries who use fossil fuels, as well as beneficiaries of such.

In Africa, South Africa’s state-owned electricity company, Eskom, best illustrates the effect of the shift from fossil energy to renewable energy. The company has shown reluctance to sign new deals with independent power producers, according to analysts.

In May 2017, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) said that the energy regulator agreed to probe into Eskom’s refusal to sign the agreements that delayed almost 3,000 megawatts

in new solar and wind projects. Mark Pickering, chairman of SAWEA, said on Wednesday, “Our government does not appear to appreciate the forces of nature.”

Eskom’s reluctance to sign the new power purchase agreements for two years has delayed investment of $4.03 billion, and affected investors’ confidence with the record of at least one wind turbine being closed down. “The continent has a lot of potential, but the problem is financial and political issues, so all of our projects are being delayed for quite a long time, like with Eskom,” said Mason Qin, business development manager for southern and eastern Africa.

Hence, the strong demand for less carbon energy, and the prospective plans of African nations regarding electricity, and the demands to achieve such plans, has projected that, only by the use of renewable energy can these be achieved. 5 years would be sufficient to make this shift in Africa much clearer.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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India to be Mainstay in Global Energy Scene by 2040, Says IEA Report


Analysts have deduced that the energy demand rate in India may rise by 1,005 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), and between a period of 2016 to 2040. This accounts for about 30 percent of the world’s energy demand within the same period of years (i.e., 2016-2040). This implies that, India’s demand alone will surpass the increase in energy demand of places like China (790 Mtoe), West Asia (480 Mtoe); and Africa (485 Mtoe), during the above period.

It is very predictable that India would likely lead the global energy demand growth by 2040, as reported by the International Energy Agency in its annual World Energy Outlook report, 2017, on Tuesday. In comparison with places of high energy demands as estimated by the agency such as China, West Asia, Africa, etc, the Indian energy demand would surpass.

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However, US, Japan and Europe may reduce their energy demand by 30 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), 50 Mtoe, and 200 Mtoe, respectively, by. 2040. It is very clear from the analysis, that there would be much more energy demand in India than in any other place by 2040.

Considering the current state of the nation, India, as it booms in manufacturing and a bigger, richer, more-urbanized population set the nation on the path of quick and steady expansion, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. The country’s oil demand is expected to attain a whooping quantity of about 10 million barrels per day in the next quarter of a century, marking, most probably, the IEA forecast fastest growth in the world.

The statement was by the Paris-based agency, said in a report released on Tuesday, Last month. The use of coal which is the mainstay of the country’s power generation, will also increase due to cities, adding about 315 million people, the international energy agency said in its report. India, home to a sixth of the world’s population, currently accounts for only 6 percent of global energy use at present, which implies that one out of every five Indians are yet to gain access to electricity.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s government has pledged to bridge that abyss, promising to light up every house by 2019. In order to achieve an effective national electricity supply, the nation plans a record increase in coal production as it builds new cities and as it has taken on an unprecedented $200 billion plan to generate renewable energy.

Environmental concerns have been raised, particularly air pollution resulting from India’s expanding industrialization and urbanization, with several of its cities reporting an alarming decline in air quality. Rapid growth in energy use, especially the use of fossil fuels like coal, may exacerbate the situation, the IEA said.

India has vowed to increase power-generation capacity using non-fossil fuels to 40% by 2030. They would cut an alternative path of relying on solar, wind and other renewable energy projects, to meet its clean-energy goals, in view of the slow progress in constructing large dams and nuclear plants, according to the agency. A policy framework will be critical to meeting India’s energy demand, the IEA said, pointing to losses from local electricity distribution.

A policy overhaul will help attract necessary investments of an estimated amount of $2.8 trillion in energy supplies. While India looks all ready to have the fastest growth in energy demand, the structural shifts in China’s economy may likely result in an 85% reduction in energy use for every unit of growth there, according to the report.

The IEA report says that traditional disparities between energy producers and consumers are not clear, and that a new set of major developing countries, led by India, is moving towards centre stage. “There is a fourfold shift towards the rapid deployment and falling costs of clean energy technologies, the growing electrification of energy, to a more service-oriented economy and a cleaner energy mix in China, and the resilience of shale gas and tight oil in the United States,” the Paris based agency said in its report.

Rapid deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV), led by India and China, will help solar energy become the most prominent source of low carbon capacity by 2040, the report said. The energy agency has also deduced that electricity demand in India would double by 2040. It would be 2,504 billion units, in juxtaposition with the 1,154 billion units in 2016 and 2017.

Thus, from the IEA forecast, the large population of India, the current consumption and demand for energy in India; and the abounding industrialization and urbanization ongoing in India. It is safe to conclude that between 2016 and 2040, India would be the mainstay of global energy demand.

Source: IEA

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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Soft Drink Execs: Plastic Pollution a Low Priority to Shoppers


Soft drink executives have told the government officials that most shoppers do not care much about the effect of buying plastic bottles on the environment. Such statement could be seen in the documents released by Unearthed.

Companies such as Nestle, Lucozade Ribena, and Coca-Cola were invited for a soft drinks roundtable in order to discuss the present problems on plastic bottles specifically on the amount of waste and the issue on plastic bottle recycling.

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Plastic pollution, specifically the single-use packaging including plastic bottles, has been gaining more attention from various individuals and environmental organizations across the globe due to the amount of plastic that has been entering the oceans. In the United Kingdom alone, there are an estimated 15 million plastic bottles that are being thrown away every day rather than being recycled. The data shows how people really do not care about the effects of plastic bottles if they are only thrown anywhere.

One of the reasons for the public outcry on the issue of plastic is the screening of Blue Planet 2, a documentary that includes the ill effects of plastics, which consisted of a footage of turtles that are trapped in plastic debris. Moreover, albatrosses are shown in the documentary feeding their offspring with plastics.

Inspired by the documentary, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has told the reporters that the issue on plastic should be tackled. He further mentioned the need to boost recycling rates, reduce the number of plastics that are being circulated, and to make the process of recycling easier by reducing the number of different types of plastic which are commonly used.

Drink company executives who joined the roundtable meeting told the officials that consumers who are aware of the state of the environment like the idea of less plastic. They further mentioned that those who are not concerned with the environment think that softer bottles are of inferior and substandard quality.

The executives also mentioned that addressing the problem of littering is easier than attempting to inform the consumers of the materials which their bottles are made up of. This goes to show how soft drink bottle users do not prioritize plastic pollution as much as they prioritize their own needs.

The report also mentioned that plastic bottle consumers usually say that they care about the environmental impact of drink packaging. In a survey conducted for Veolia, a recycling company, more than half of the consumers would instead choose a beverage placed in a recyclable container than over a similar product but placed in a non-recyclable container.

Meanwhile, 71 percent of the respondents in a separate survey mentioned that they would support an increase in the cost of a plastic milk bottle if it were made of recycled plastics and that these bottles would be recycled after use.

The executives further mentioned that introducing a new system together with the existing curbside collections could confuse the consumers who are more invested in getting rid of rubbish out of convenience rather than a financial reward.

Dr. Laura Foster, the Head of Pollution at Marine Conservation Society, mentioned that responsible consumers and manufacturers are becoming more aware that they do not want to see their product being a threat to the environment. She further indicated that giving incentives to those who are returning beverage containers through a deposit-return scheme (DRS) are increasing, with return rates of over 95% in countries where the scheme has already been introduced.

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola stated that the company support DRS. She further mentioned that Coca-Cola had committed itself to double the amount of recycled plastic on its bottle to 50 percent by the year 2020. She said that they would get the materials from a recycling plant in Lincolnshire. By doing so, the company is hoping to contribute to the circular economy in the country.

On the other hand, the spokesperson of Nestle told that a well-designed deposit-return scheme that is easy to use could be a significant solution to achieve a higher recycling rate.

Meanwhile, a Danone spokesperson mentioned that the company supports efficient solution that would lower the societal costs, giving incentives to packaging producers in order to increase the recycling and reuse of their packaging.

The roundtable emphasized the role of the government in such issue. The executives mentioned that the government has a legal obligation to improve the recycling rates. Since litter is an issue in most parts of the world – from the streets to the marine environment – a government is needed to reduce litter and the amount of marine debris.

They also said that local authorities should support the call to bolster the existing household recycling infrastructure, noting the need to improve varied recycling approaches including DRS.

In the end, the decrease of plastic bottle consumption should start with the individual. By prioritizing products with recyclable materials, individuals could help reduce the environmental impact of plastic pollution on the rest of the world.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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