Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

PDI Editorial: Growing warmer

January 15, 2009

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:30:00 01/15/2009

Some may still quibble with the assertion, as formulated the other day by a former environment secretary, that the marked rise in temperature in the last decade is “caused entirely by human actions.” But unless you are Sarah Palin, there should be no argument that global warming is a fact and human beings are responsible for much or most of it.

The inconvenient truth is the world is rushing toward an ecologically unstable — and therefore economically uncertain — future.

Elisea Gozun, formerly secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, drew a bleak scenario at the launch on Tuesday of “The Philippine Imperative.” There is trouble for Metro Manila. “PAGASA [Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration] estimates that a one-meter rise in Manila Bay will lead to 5,000 hectares being inundated and two million people will actually be displaced,” she said.

There is even more trouble ahead for other parts of the country. “The distribution of rainfall is changing and we will have more intense and longer droughts and intense typhoons.” Drought will likely be severe in Western Mindanao while Central Luzon will suffer the opposite. “Take note, you have Central Luzon, they’re our food source and they’ll have increased rainfall.”

Of course, some of this necessary scenario-building is extrapolation, based on such data points as the spike in the average rise in sea levels from 1.8 mm per year in the three decades since 1961 to 3.1 mm per year in the 10 years between 1993 and 2003. But many of the scenarios are based, not on future projections, but on actual, alarming experience. Speaking at the same forum, for instance, Lory Tan of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature said that the aquifer supplying the Misamis provinces has already been found to be contaminated with saline water.

That is what happens when sea levels rise; saline water seeps into freshwater sources. And sea levels are rising — and weather patterns are changing — in large part because human society is choking the atmosphere with enormous amounts of carbon emissions.

It is thus a source of encouragement that businessmen like Federico Lopez of First Gen Corp. recognize that power companies are a part of the problem and should form part of the solution. “As the major power generating company in the energy sector that accounts for over 50 percent of the country’s carbon emissions, we’re committed to reducing the carbon intensity of our electricity generation and developing more sustainable solutions for the country,” Lopez said at the forum.

But it is not only industry or institutions that are responsible; taken together, individuals (driving cars, using air-conditioners, etc.) leave a huge carbon footprint. That is why the “Imperative” should be supported by everyone with a stake in the future.

Let us be clear: “The Philippine Imperative” is only a short-term, consensus-building campaign. How short-term? Six months short, marked by several milestones including a “People’s Summit” in April and culminating in a “Business Summit.” Said lead convener Neric Acosta, formerly a congressman from Bukidnon province: “This is so peculiar in the sense that this is the first time that … a private sector-led initiative [is] actually coming up with a national solution to the problem of environmental degradation.”

The idea is to put our heads together. The roadmap will come at the end of the consultations.

It is true that, if leading companies that are part of the “Imperative” like First Gen and Pilipinas Shell and SM do their part, the country’s carbon footprint would shrink over time. But the need is for Philippine carbon emissions to shrink significantly, and fast. For that to happen, ordinary citizens and consumers must make the initiative their own, too. How, to give only one possible example, can a carpool lane in the country’s major cities be expected to work, if motorists and commuters don’t “buy” the “Imperative”?

That brings us to the government, both national and local. The “Imperative” might just succeed and create a workable roadmap because the private sector is leading the way, but the destination, wherever it is, cannot be reached without the government’s help. Laws to sanction bad behavior, rules to enable compliance with certain initiatives, incentives to reward reductions in emissions — there’s a whole slew of interventions the government can do to help fight global warming.

Press Release: Philippine Climate Watch Alliance

December 22, 2008

Philippine Climate Watch Alliance
#26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel.: +63 2 9248756 fax: +63 2 9209099 email:philclimatewatch@gmail.com

December 5, 2008

Environmentalists support the demands of small islands countries on global carbon emissions

Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA) support the demand of the 43 small islands states, the Philippines included, for industrialized nations to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by more than 95 percent by 2050.

“It is a positive thing that the Philippine delegation to Poznan is united with other developing nations on the level of GHG emissions reduction industrialized nations should take, ” said Meggie Nolasco, spokesperson of the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).

The alliance is comprised of representatives of people’s organizations, non-government organizations,  community organizations,  scientific community and environmental groups that seeks to address and discuss the issue of climate change here in the Philippines.

According to Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of the militant scientist group AGHAM and co-convenor of PCWA, “Achieving  more than 40% global carbon emission cut below 1990 level by 2020 may avert the feared 2 degrees Celsius increase of global temperature, which many scientists believed will be catastrophic if not prevented. It is a realistic goal and the world has no choice if we want to avoid global disaster.”

In a statement of PCWA , they urged  the 43 developing countries, especially the Philippine delegates, to hold their ground as  developed countries, especially the US,  have tried to evade responsibility in the past.
The US, the largest emitter of GHG in the world, is the only industrialized country, which did not sign the 1998 Kyoto Protocol. Its President-elect Obama promises to reduce their carbon emission down to their 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 level by 2050. The European Union is negotiating a 20% cut below 1990 levels by 2020.

“It should be expected that industrialized countries, particularly the United States, will impose smaller carbon emission reduction in the pre-text of protecting their economies, as they have done in the past. They might also claim that higher carbon cut targets are unrealistic,” Nolasco warned.

The alliance held that industrialized nations would want to continue to exploit and consume fossil fuels in their greed for profit. This is in view of the fact that industrialized nations were the ones historically and primarily responsible in the emission and rise of greenhouse gases (GHG).

Although developed countries already gave their word to cut back on emissions, Nolasco insisted that, “Cutting back on emissions is not enough. Any genuine move to resolve the problem of global warming must critically recognize and address the larger socio-economic context in which it occurs.”

“As we criticize the policies and offenses of industrialized nations, especially the US, as exacerbating the problem of global warming, the Philippine government also  lacks genuine policies and programs to mitigate climate change and help communities adapt to its impacts.” Nolasco pointed out.

She further expressed that, “The position of the Philippine government in the Conference of Parties in Poznan contradicts the policies of the Arroyo administration in relation to carbon emissions. The Arroyo government’s economic policies such as in mining and energy, agriculture and forest is geared towards in producing and consuming more carbon-based fuels such as large-scale mining projects, coal-fired power plants, oil and gas extraction projects.”

“The solution to global warming goes beyond carbon emission reduction. We should address the root cause of it, which is the unsustainable extraction and use of our natural resource particularly of fossil fuels. For a start, we can address the problem if we can oppose and stop the globalization policies of the Arroyo administration which is putting our country and people more at risk and vulnerable to climate change,” Dr. Tapang ended.

Reference: Meggie Nolasco, PCWA spokesperson, 09163733275
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of the militant scientist group AGHAM and co-convenor of PCWA

Majority of Filipinos continue to reject moves to amend the Constitution or charter change (Cha-cha), according to the results of the latest IBON nationwide survey. BY IBON FOUNDATION Posted by Bulatlat Majority of Filipinos continue to reject moves to amend the Constitution or charter change (Cha-cha), according to the results of the latest IBON nationwide survey. Of the 72.4 percent of respondents who answered that they were aware of the Arroyo administration’s moves to amend or change the 1987 Constitution, 77.4 percent said they were not in favor of such proposals. This is a significant increase from the April 2008 survey round where 68 percent said they were not in favor of Cha-cha, and from the 74 percent in October 2007. Meanwhile, 18.4 percent said they were in favor of Cha-cha, down from 25.7 percent in April 2008. The latest IBON survey was conducted nationwide from October 1 to 10 with 1,494 respondents from various sectors. The survey used a multi-stage probability sampling scheme with a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. Below is the tabulation of results of people’s perception on Charter change. Do you know that the Arroyo Administration has a proposal to amend or change the 1987 Philippine Constitution? Are you in favor of the proposal of the current administration to change the constitution? Posted byBulatlat.com

November 26, 2008

Citing the Philippine government’s lack of a genuine program to address climate change and mitigate its impact on the Filipino people, and the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, a newly-formed alliance called the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance is calling on developed countries and TNCs to reduce their carbon emissions by 50 to 90 percent in the next three decades. It is also calling on the Arroyo government to stop its mining revitalization program, the fossil fuel development projects, and other highly extractive industries that compound the problem of climate change. In stead it proposes for a massive forest rehabilitation and protection program, and a strategic energy plan.

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat

A newly formed alliance of grassroots organizations, scientists and environmental groups was recently launched to combat global warming and climate change.

The Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines, Kalikasan – People’s Network for the Environment, scientists from AGHAM (Samahan ng mga Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan) and computer experts from the Computer Professionals’ Union joined together to form the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).

Meggie Nolasco national spokesperson of the PCWA said that the Philippines is among the developing countries that is most vulnerable to the impact of global warming, citing the global scientific consensus and the recently-released Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


Willy Marbella (R) of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas speaks during the launching of the PCWA. Beside him is Dr. Helen Mendoza (Photo by Arkibong Bayan)

Established in 1988, the IPCC is an intergovernmental scientific body set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its task is to provide decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information.

Climate change is defined as a long-term significant change in the “average weather” that a given region experiences. Average weather may include average temperature, precipitation and wind patterns.

“The recent tragedies caused by super typhoons that have killed thousands of people and the record-breaking temperature extremes during the past ten years are deemed part of the effects of global warming on the Philippines,” said the PCWA in its unity statement.

Ill-equipped

Nolasco, however, said “..the present government and its agencies are making our country ill-equipped to respond to the impact of climate change by not pursuing comprehensive policies and programs to respond to the problem.”

Nolasco said that the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continue to increase emissions of national green house gases (GHG) by implementing programs and projects, which result in unprecedented pollution and environmental destruction.

She cited as examples the mining revitalization program, the fossil fuel development projects, and other highly extractive industries that compound the problem of climate change.

The PCWA slammed the Arroyo administration for the absence of a genuine program to mitigate the impact of climate change and to help the Filipino people to adapt to the effects of global warming.

Kyoto Protocol

The Conference of Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) is nearing its final leg of negotiations for the establishment of a post-Kyoto Protocol global agreement on climate change. The COP 14 will be held on December 1 to12, 2008 in Poznan, Poland.

The Kyoto Protocol, a landmark international agreement on climate change, came about in 1998. It targeted to reduce global carbon emissions in 2012 by 5.2 percent compared to 1990 levels. It also introduced market-based and profit-oriented mechanisms such as carbon trading and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to reduce carbon emissions of countries and corporations.

The PCWA said that after a decade of implementing the agreements, the Kyoto Protocol still failed to reduce global carbon emissions. The alliance maintained that private corporations, most especially transnational corporations (TNCs) have manipulated such mechanisms to continue emitting GHG to the environment.

Most affected

In its unity statement, the PCWA noted that the impoverished populace who has no means to adapt to the environmental changes that global warming induces has suffered most.

Felina Mendres, leader of Amihan, a national peasant women’s federation, said the poor, particularly in the rural and coastal areas would be most affected by climate change. “Rising sea level, landslides, prolonged drought, and extreme weather patterns are highly felt in our communities,” she said. “We are suffering twice, we are displaced by anti-people policies and by the environmental consequences of extractive projects,” she added.

In a statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines) said climate change affects the peasants’ source of livelihood: agriculture.

Willy Marbella, KMP deputy secretary general, said that rivers and other sources of irrigation are drying up. He said that large-scale mining results to siltation, erosion and destruction of forests.

Demands

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of AGHAM said, “Since the Philippine Government has no concrete program to contribute to global initiatives to address the problem of climate change, the PCWA would put forward a strong demand to developed countries to reduce from 50 to 90 percent their carbon emissions in the next three decades, and for the Philippine government to develop a participatory roadmap to respond to global warming and climate change.”

Tapang further said, “We believe this is doable and justifiable to avert a global temperature rise of two degrees Celsius.”

He said that according to the scientific consensus, an increase by more than two degrees Celsius in the mean global temperature would have serious irreversible consequences leading to catastrophic events beyond any human experience.

Dr. Helen Mendoza, a climate change activist, called on the COP to establish a climate fund to ensure the judicious use of resources for people’s adaptation to climate change impacts and the installation of effective mitigation measures.

“…[I]ndustrialized nations such as the United States, European Union and Japan which are historically responsible and culpable for global warming should primarily contribute to this climate fund,” said Mendoza.

The root cause of global warming, the alliance said, is rooted in the ‘unsustainable, wasteful and profit-oriented production in the global economy.’ “Under this set up, industrialized countries and their TNCs continue to extract, produce, and consume carbon-based fuels in an unsustainable and detrimental level,” said the alliance.

The PCWA called on the Philippine government to ban commercial logging and mining activities, which destroy the country’s natural forests. It also urges the Arroyo administration to launch a massive forest rehabilitation and protection program that utilizes native forest species.

The alliance proposes that a strategic energy plan be formulated. The plan, they said, should genuinely promote and harness locally based clean energy resources with the objective of achieving energy independence and self-sufficiency. (Bulatlat.com)

Climate change: Tropical species at risk (Flora and fauna heading uphill — study)

October 10, 2008

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 11:14:00 10/10/2008

WASHINGTON — Global warming is driving tropical plant and animal species to higher altitudes, potentially leaving lowland rainforest with nothing to take their place, ecologists argue in this week’s issue of Science.

In a rare study on the impact of global warming in the tropics, University of Connecticut ecologist Robert Colwell and colleagues worked their way up the forested slope of a Costa Rican volcano to collect data on 2,000 types of plants and insects.

“Half of these species have such narrow altitudinal ranges that a 600-meter (2,000 feet) uphill shift would move these species into territory completely new to them,” said a summary of their article released Thursday.

Many species would be unable to relocate at all, as most tropical mountainside forests have become “severely fragmented” by human activities.

Tropical lowland forests — the warmest on Earth — would meanwhile be challenged by the absence of replacement species. Flora and fauna unable to move uphill could also perish, unless it turns out they can bear higher temperatures.

“Only further research can estimate the risk,” the summary said, “but Colwell’s report indicates that the impact of global climate change on some tropical rainforest and mountain species could be significant.”

In another article, Science reports this week on a similar uphill trek by squirrels, mice and other small mammals in Yosemite National Park in California, one of the oldest wilderness parks in the United States.

Comparing a landmark 1918 study against fresh data about Yosemite’s wildlife numbers, it found that small mammals have moved to higher altitudes, or reduced their ranges, in response to warmer temperatures.

“We didn’t set out to study the effects of climate change,” said Craig Moritz, a zoologist and integrative biology professor at the University of California at Berkeley who led the study.

“But the most dramatic finding in the Yosemite transect was the upward elevational shift of species,” he said. “When we asked ourselves what changed, it hit us between the eyes — the climate.”

While such population movements have not altered Yosemite’s biodiversity, Moritz’s research team felt that rapid changes to the climate in less than a century could be a problem, a summary of the article said.

While half of the small mammal species at Yosemite have shifted their ranges, the other half has not. That means wildlife communities — and the way in which species interact — have changed, the summary explained.

If such change happens too fast, said James Patton, a member of the study, “elements of the (ecosystem) may start to collapse because a keystone element gets pulled out too quickly”.

The study used as its starting point a detailed 1918 survey of Sierra Nevada wildlife by a Berkeley professor, when the snow-capped mountain range was under threat from gold mining and overgrazing. (PDI)

CLIMATE CHANGE, IRRESPONSIBLE MINING Green NGO warns of deadly combo for RP

October 7, 2008

By Margaux Ortiz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:05:00 10/07/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Climate change and irresponsible mining in the country could prove to be a deadly combination in coming years, a legal policy research and advocacy organization said on Tuesday.

Members of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) said miners’ inability to predict the weather and amount of rainfall could prevent them from implementing safety measures properly.

“These mining companies say they are able to contain mining toxic wastes in what they call tilling ponds or dams,” Ronald Gregorio, LRC campaigns paralegal, said in an activity held in Quezon City in observance of the Anti-Mining Solidarity Week.

However, the tilling ponds and dams — where hazardous wastes such as mercury and cyanide are dumped — are known to spill over and pollute the surrounding land or watershed whenever the miners miscalculate the amount of rainfall.

“Climate change has blurred the divide between summer and the rainy season. Summer now does not mean that there would be no rains or even typhoons,” Gregorio said.

He added that mining might not be suitable for a disaster-prone country such as the Philippines.

“Typhoons and earthquakes would only worsen the situation, with the consequent spillage of toxic wastes leading to death of biodiversity and food scarcity,” Gregorio said.

He added that the number of mining companies operating in the Philippines only painted a bleaker picture for the environment, especially with an undermanned Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Gregorio likened the DENR to the Bureau of Food and Drugs, which he said lacks the capacity to monitor all dairy products in the country amid the melamine scare.

“With so many mining corporations operating in the country, it is impossible for the DENR to monitor them all,” he said.

LRC documents show 30 companies with exploration permits in the country and 262 companies with mineral production sharing agreements.

He called the government’s mining revitalization program “reckless and unfair to land owners, especially farmers.”

“The government’s mining policies do not jive with the people’s rights,” LRC’s Ana Muhi stressed.

She said “these policies do not take into consideration human rights, biodiversity, water, agricultural, displacement and starvation costs.”

Gregorio said the group has been planning to push for an alternative mining bill, which would stipulate that the industry should have a link with “downstream industries.”

“This means the creation of local industries such as metal processing and machinery plants that would turn the minerals into finished products without exporting them,” Gregorio said.

He added the creation of such industries would regulate the extraction of minerals and prevent the use of toxic chemicals such as mercury and cyanide.

“There would be no use for such destructive chemicals because the miners would not be pressured to sell the minerals for a higher rate abroad,” Gregorio said.

“The Philippine Mining Act should be scrapped and replaced with a more patriotic law,” he said. (PDI)

Young scientists call on world leaders: address climate change

September 16, 2008

LEGAZPI CITY — As the world faces serious food and other environmental problems, young scientists from six countries called on world leaders to get their acts together to counter carbon dioxide emission and lessen the impact of climate change.

At least 24 high school students from the United States, Japan, Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan, participated in the 2nd International Earth Science Olympiad held at People’s Hall at the Albay Capitol here with the theme: “Cooperation in Addressing Climate Change”.

During a round table discussion, they called on world leaders to take strong action in preserving Mother Earth for the future generation.

These young scientists arrived in this city last September 3 and stayed until September 8 to observe Mayon Volcano and its environs and other fields of interest related to geo-sciences. They also immersed with and learned from survivors of typhoon Reming survivors who have since been housed at Taysan Resettlement Site in this city.

Perhaps one of the strongest statements made by the youth participants came from 14-year old high school student Ramon Gian A. Bron of Barangay Buragwis, Legazpi City who is currently enrolled as a sophomore student at the Philippine Science High School-Bicol Campus based in Goa, Camarines Sur. He said: “We hold the world in our hands, so we need to work hand-in-hand whatever our races will be to preserve our Mother Earth for our children’s children. I am asking the world leaders to help us save our environment before it is too late. I wish the world leaders could follow through the action of our our governor (Joey Salceda) who earnestly initiated the program on climate change adaptation,” Bron said.

Chan Jong Kim, Ph.D., chairman of the Advisory Committee of IESO and of the International Geo-Science Education Organization (IGEO) told Bicol Mail that the goal of the 2nd International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) is to promote worldwide Earth Science education. The first IESO was held in South Korea last year.

“We want to promote geo-science education from primary to secondary and tertiary levels globally. We’re hoping that all areas of Earth Science will be able to relate with students and scientists from all over the world who will be willing to work towards a better understanding of earth systems and sustainable human development of the planet’s resources,” he said.

Chan-Jong Kim, also a professor of the Department of Earth Science Education, Seoul National University in Korea said their organization selected Albay province, specifically Legazpi City, as center of their research study because it could help them observe and investigate important aspects and areas of earth science here.

“Students could study thoroughly the contribution of volcanic eruption to climatic change including the operation of the geothermal plant which is situated in the province,” he said.

Tom Tailer, MEd mentor of the US team, told the young students that from 1860 to 1980 a rapid change on hemisphere had been observed which had accelerated dramatically between 1980 to 2000.

“This climatic change brings in more droughts and more powerful typhoons causing global food shortage and other catastrophic disasters,” he said.

When asked by Bicol Mail regarding the American government’s failure to sign the Kyoto Protocol, Tailer said that President W. Bush and his vice president were not committed to sign the Kyoto Protocol because of their own political interest and close connection with American petroleum industries.

“President Bush and his vice president are not so much concerned with the future of the next generation. The Americans are in great sorrow and are hoping that the next US President should come forward to address climate change,” Tailer said.

“We’re afraid that until the American government is not committed to address carbon dioxide emission, climate change will be getting worse and more catastrophic disasters will threaten the world. So that makes the future of our children at precarious state,” Tailer continued.

Tailer, who is also a professor of The University of Vermont, also encouraged the children to study earth science and to take care of Mother Earth. “We need more children to study earth science for the future,” he said. (BicolMail)


YOUTH ON CLIMATE CHANGE. Young scientists from six countries hold on the globe above their heads calling on world leaders to help mitigate the impact of climate change to address food crisis and the future of the generations to come. They were in Legazpi City early this month for an international forum on climate change.

RHAYDZ B. BARCIA

Climate change could devastate Philippines: NASA scientist

September 15, 2008

AFP – Saturday, September 13

MANILA (AFP) – – Climate change could have a devastating impact on the Philippines, leading to widespread destruction of the country’s flora and fauna and flooding the capital Manila, a NASA scientist warned here Friday.

The continued melting of Arctic ice caps, brought on by climate change, could cause sea levels to rise by seven metres (23 feet), said National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) physicist Josefino Comiso.

He said the country’s fish stocks would be depleted and many species of plant and animal life would die because of the change in ocean temperatures caused by climate change.

Comiso said the slow melting of the ice caps should be more than “just an item of curiosity” for Filipinos.

“The Philippines is a country that is among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” Comiso said.

“Slight changes in ocean temperature will lead to coral bleaching which will impact on the coral reefs on which the country’s fishes feed.”

Fish species are already starting to disappear from Philippine waters as delicate coral reefs, some of the biggest in the world, are destroyed in the archipelago, according to the international marine watchdog group Reef Check.

In a report last year the group said coral reefs were already suffering from severe bleaching.

Only five percent of the world’s reefs — which shelter and provide food for a vast number of marine species — are still in pristine condition, according to Reef Check.

Comiso said the melting of the polar ice caps meant the sun’s rays were no longer being reflected, but instead going into the Arctic waters and warming them up.

“Currents from the Arctic waters travel around the world to all the other oceans, including the waters surrounding the Philippines.

“Such warming would encourage the growth of algae in the world’s oceans, which would gravely affect the world’s food chain,” he said.

He also noted that rising temperatures could reach a point where “various living creatures” would start to die in large numbers.

“Such temperatures would vary from species to species,” he said.

“But the deaths of these creatures would gravely affect the food supply chain.”

Comiso, a senior research scientist at a NASA centre that monitors the effects of global warming, made the warning after attending a conference of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration.

He said he was working on a project, to be funded by the Manila government weather station, to monitor the effects of global warming in the Philippines.

The project, which will be based in a state university outside Manila, will coordinate its research with NASA.

Comiso was part of the United States Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice president Al Gore.

Coal-fired power firm plans carbon sink

July 16, 2008

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 July) – Thai-Filipino joint venture firm Conal Holdings Corporation and the local government of Maasim in Sarangani province have agreed to jointly develop a 10,000-hectare carbon dioxide sink or reservoir in preparation for the planned construction of a 200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in the area.


Coal is considered as the dirtiest fuel, and environment groups have been campaigning for its banning as an energy source.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Conal Holdings and Maasim committed to reforest, rehabilitate and develop Maasim’s vast brushlands, grasslands and forestlands for the establishment of a natural carbon sink for the company’s coal-fired power plant, which will be built starting next year at the coastal village of Kamanga.

“Conal is committed to support the development of tree farms, small scale agro-forestry systems and tree plantations as carbon sink with the different tenure holders and legitimate forest occupants in the forestlands of Maasim,” the MOU said.

Maasim Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. and Conal Holdings Vice President Joseph Nocos signed the MOU, which was finalized last June 21.

Conal Holdings, a joint venture of the Alcantara family’s Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. and Thailand’s Egko, earlier announced that it will invest at least $450 million for the development of the Kamanga Power Plant in Maasim.

Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez’ mother is an Alcantara.

The Kamanga Power Plant project aims to initially generate 200 MW of electricity and help stabilize the Mindanao power grid by 2011, with two incremental expansions of 350 MW over a period of 15 years.

In the MOU, a copy of which was obtained by MindaNews last Friday, Conal Holdings acknowledged that the proposed coal-fired power plant “will emit greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere that may pollute the air and contribute to global warming.”

To help counter this problem, the company is banking on the development of the carbon sink in the area and the utilization of the circulating fluidized bed combustion technology, which reportedly reduces pollutant emissions to levels below ceilings set by Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999.

It stressed that Conal Holdings is committed to support the national government’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rolando Tubales, Maasim environment and natural resources officer, said the development of the carbon sink is a requirement for the operation of coal-fired power plants under the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nation’s Agenda 21 program for sustainable development.

“Studies showed that one of the most effective measures to sequester carbon emission is the planting of trees,” he told MindaNews.

Tubales said Conal Holdings and the municipal government plan to develop at least 10,000 hectares as carbon sink, but he stressed that the area will be expanded within the next several years.

He said Maasim currently has an available open area of about 44,000 hectares, which are within the declared public lands in the area.

He said at least 91 percent of Maasim’s total land area of 51,107 hectares is classified as public lands.

The official said the development of the carbon sink will be based on the provisions of Maasim’s four-year old municipal Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP).

He said the local government is currently implementing the FLUP with the tenure holders of legitimate forest and forestlands.

Under the MOU, Conal Holdings and the local government of Maasim also committed to “collaborate and share their human, technical, material and financial resources in the formulation and development of specific terms of agreement that will govern the establishment, management, protection and sharing arrangement of the carbon sink.”

They will also spearhead the creation of a technical working group that will be tasked to formulate the terms of a memorandum of agreement that will specify the establishment, development, management and sharing agreements of the tree farms, small scale agro forestry systems and tree plantations that will be covered by the carbon sink by the end of September.

Conal Holdings and the local government of Maasim are targeting to transform the MOU into a MOA before the end of the year or upon the approval and endorsement of the municipal council and the Sarangani provincial board. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)

Isabela ladies group launches ‘Walang Plastikan’ campaign

July 16, 2008

By CEASAR M. PERANTE

SAN MATEO, Isabela — To minimize, if not eradicate, the widespread use of plastic bags in town, the San Mateo chapter of the Isabela Green Ladies Organization (IGLO) launched the other day a campaign it called “Walang Plastikan.”

The battle cry was intended to discourage the indiscriminate use of the non-biodegradable containers commonly used in modern shopping places, public markets and high-end malls.

“The message which figuratively means be true to one’s self literally means no to plastics,” said Dr. Crispina Agcaoili, IGLO president and wife of San Mateo Mayor Roberto Agcaoili.

A municipal ordinance discourages the use of plastic bags as containers especially in the San Mateo public market.

“While we have a strict garbage disposal system being implemented in our public market and in all the 33 barangays, discouraging the use of plastics will substantially reduce the mounting problem of waste management, not only in our municipality but in the entire country as well,” Mayor Agcaoili said.

Because non-biodegrable, plastic bags and similar containers cause problems at garbage dump sites.

“Because plastic does not decompose, you can just imagine millions of tons of it covering the earth every minute, every second. What will happen to us?” Doctor Agcaoili said.

The mayor’s wife said that food stalls, variety stores and mobile juice carts using cellophane pouches and sachets in the sale of bottled soft drinks and juices or even hot food and soup were advised to stop the practice.

“Cellophane pouches may look clean, but these could be dangerous to our health because there are unknown chemical elements in them that may react with cold soda drinks or to extremely high temperature of food,” Doctor Agcaoili said.

The use of the traditional “bayong” (nipa basket) or rattan baskets, commonly used by rural folk decades ago, is being revived to save the ailing environment.

“In our modern times, ‘bayong’ or basket may initially look awkward, but as the renewed practice goes in full swing, we will get use to it as our official shopping kit. Besides, we can save money because we will no longer buy every now and then plastic bags which cost from R2 to R5 depending on the size. And as a result, we can clean our dump sites and get rid of eyesores,” Mayor Agcaoili said.

Led by the municipal government, civic groups and schools, “Walang Plastikan” is now a byword in the town in both its literal and figurative meaning.(MB)

Duterte blames global warming for the heavy floods

July 13, 2008

DAVAO CITY — Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte blamed global warming and the resistance of landowners against City Hall’s drainage projects for the unprecedented flooding that hit the city early in June.

Duterte said the natural calamities in the world these days are the result of heavy pollution primarily contributed by first world countries; something that people in the Third World can do “very little” about.

But he also said only 13, of the 18 drainage projects scheduled in the city, have been completed because of resistance from the landowners. At the onset of rainy season, areas observed to have poor drainage system suffered heavy floods; including those in Sasa, Mamay, Lanang, J.P. Laurel (Davao Light and Power Company area), N. Torres exit, Barrio Obrero, Lizada, Roxas to Magsaysay, Sta. Ana Ave, Quirino, Central Bank area, Marfori, Maa, Matina, Mac Arthur Highway, GSIS, NHA, Sto Niño, Kawayan and Dumoy.

In his weekly television program, Duterte said City Hall needs billions of money to put up canals like in Roxas Boulevard and Dacudao; and to create another division in the City Engineer’s Office where 300 to 500 workers will be employed to serve as 24-hour quick-response teams in areas with drainage problems. Duterte plans to purchase trucks to transport garbage clogged in canals during rainy days.

He also said City Hall will expropriate lands of local residents where drainage canals will be installed. (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com)

Hailstorm hits Pangasinan

July 8, 2008

Was it a curse?

Binmaley residents wondered if the hailstorm, corn kernel-sized pebbles of ice, that fell on the town and over parts of the province Tuesday evening for 10 minutes was a sign of a curse, particularly when it resulted in power outage in Binmaley for several hours.

The hailstorm accompanied by lightning and thunder, which is unusual in this part of the country, caused near panic among Binmaley’s residents until Greg de Vera, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) station here, assured   them that it was not a curse but a natural occurrence and there was nothing to worry about.

In an interview with The PUNCH, De Vera explained that there is a tendency to develop cumulonimbus clouds, the coldest and thickest cloud, when temperature is at its hottest.

Once this type of cloud — which is composed of water droplets, super cooled droplets and ice crystals, snowflakes, snow pellets, ice pellets or hail stones —reaches freezing point, it develops into ice, he added.

De Vera also noted that in the Philippines, being located in a tropical region, the size of hailstorms can only be expected to be small unlike in the polar region where the size can develop to as large as a baseball ball.

He acknowledged that the hailstorm was unusual as this normally occurs in the country in April when temperature is at its hottest.

Tuesday’s temperature was 34 degrees Celsius.

”This is a normal occurrence,” he said. # (PangasinanSundayPunch)

IPs prime victims of climate change

June 20, 2008

BAGUIO CITY — Indigenous peoples (IPs) zoom in the problem of climate change as one major issue endangering their very existence.


Christian Erni. Photo by Myko Franco Chiong/NORDIS

This was emphasized in the press conference of the recently concluded Asia Workshop for the Promotion of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) here Tuesday.

According to Joan Carling, a member of the advisory council of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), indigenous peoples have nothing to do with the worsening conditions of global warming but they are in the front line as victims of this phenomenon and as victims of the governments’ mitigation measures.

“Because of the distortion of the agricultural cycle brought about by the climate change, farmers cannot recognize anymore when the wet or dry season would be and this greatly affects the farming cycle leading to food insecurity,” said Carling.

One cited factor was the government’s aggressive promotion of bio-fuel production like jathropa, as an alternative to fossil fuels that causes massive conversion of agricultural lands.

According to the panelists, lands originally used for food production now massively converted for bio-fuel production is one of the main reasons for food scarcity, soaring food prices and widespread hunger across the globe.

“The impact of the issue of bio-fuel production is that our lands are being taken away from us,” said Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Secretary-general Jannie Lasimbang. She added that they anticipate massive land grabbing these plantations.


Photo by Myko Franco Chiong/NORDIS

Dams also considered as an alternative source of energy was also cited as contributor to widespread ethnocide. It destroys the social cohesion of indigenous peoples through dislocation and the destruction of their traditional resources.

Carling said the indigenous peoples have actually been practicing sustainable resource management systems that have preserved the environment.

“As the original environmentalists and conservationists, the indigenous peoples have ways to preserve the environment and prevent the damaging effects of environmental degradation that has not only been recognized,” said Carling.

The centuries-old Banaue rice terraces was cited as one good example of such indigenous practices. The terracing prevents the erosion of land and manages the irrigation from forest watersheds.

Lasimbang lamented, however, that these indigenous ways of managing the resources are neither acknowledged nor recognized by “modern” agricultural systems today.

Promotion of IP rights

According to Christian Erni the Asian coordinator of the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), the UN declaration was a result of a 20-year struggle of different IP groups and their support groups.

“It was a result of a global IP movement which is considered as one of the most successful movements in the world,” said Erni.

Since the adoption of the UNDRIP in September of last year, different IP groups, lobby and advocate groups are now campaigning for its promotion and implementation by the different governments.

“The battle was already won with the UN adoption of the declaration but the war is not yet over,” said Erni adding that their group would still closely monitor its implementation by the different states.

The Asia workshop attended by 80 participants representing 40 organizations from 10 Asian countries, was the first regional occasion where the UNDRIP promotion was discussed.

“It is a historic event especially that the discussions were at various levels and the participants came from different backgrounds,” said Chandra Roy, regional IP program coordinator of the UN Development Program (UNDP).

The action plan of the Asian workshop includes themes on IP women, identification and recognition of IPs as distinct peoples, partnership with UN agencies and advocacy groups, local struggles, networking, issues on health, human rights, self-determination and self-governance.

According to Carling there are about 300 million IPs worldwide and two-thirds of this population are in Asia, “thus the declaration would be implemented largely in Asia.” # Cye Reyes(NorthernDispatch)

Editorial Cartoon: Stopping the Fire

June 10, 2008

Here’s one reason for the AFP to link the environmental groups to the NPA.  Hehehehe…  Hay naku, pag di nila mahabol ang NPA, ang mga insente ang pagbabalingan.  Tsk!

Drive to phase out incandescent bulbs

June 6, 2008

MANILA. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday said it is set to launch a program to distribute about nine million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to low-income Filipino families as part of a plan to phase out incandescent bulbs in the country by 2010.

ADB Senior Energy Specialist Sohail Hasnie said the ADB has already met with 60 electric cooperatives in the country for the distribution of the fluorescent bulbs to lifeline customers by the end of the year. “Priority will be given to the lifeline customers. The people will not pay, they will get it for free,” he told ABS-CBN.

“What will happen eventually is that it will be paid by the Clean Development Mechanism. Every light, you give away one million, it’s equivalent to building a 50-megawatt power station and you save so much carbon dioxide emissions. Ultimately, the value of that avoided carbon dioxide will pay for the bulb itself.”

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol that allows richer and industrialized countries to invest in clean power projects in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emissions reduction measures in their own nations.

The ADB is extending a $30 million loan to the Philippines to fund projects on energy efficiency, including the shift to CFLs and the efficient disposal of mercury tubes.

Hasnie said CFLs are more cost-efficient since they consume less energy than incandescent bulbs and lasts 10 times longer. He said that the Indonesian government saved $250 million in fuel costs annually after distributing 51 million fluorescent bulbs to consumers.

“If you have a 75-watt bulb, it will cost you about 75 centavos to run it every hour. When you switch to a CFL, it will be 15 watts, which means you have savings by 60 centavos. This is how you calculate your savings,” he said.

He said the Philippine government is also eyeing the possible construction of a pilot facility that will handle the proper disposal of about six to 10 million mercury fluorescent lights in the country.

Hasnie said fluorescent tubes usually have about 15 to 20 milligrams of mercury, which could seep to the ground and contaminate water reservoirs if not disposed off properly. He said the facility would be the first of its kind in Asia if the project pushes through.

Lifestyle change

Hasnie said Filipinos should shift to a lower fuel consumption lifestyle as part of a national effort to lower energy demand.

In her opening remarks at the three-day Asia Clean Energy Forum, ADB Vice-President Ursula Schafer-Preuss said the region is estimated to need up to $6.4 trillion in new energy infrastructure by 2030 due to rising demand. She said ADB will invest one billiondollars annually in “clean energy” projects as part of an effort to encourage their use.

Hasnie said the viability of “clean energy” projects largely depends on locations and power charges. As an example, he said “the Philippines has high (power) tariffs so a lot of (renewable energy) projects would be viable here which would not be viable in Indonesia,” which has low power tariffs.

He said the rise in fuel prices should also serve as a wake-up call to policy-makers globally that more efficient fuel consumption is called for. He also said the ADB is embarking on a project with the Department of Energy to revise the way the energy efficiency ratings of appliances are done to make it more understandable to ordinary Filipinos.

Ultimately, however, it is up to consumer to move from a lifestyle of waste to efficiency.

“In movie cinemas, you can set the temperature at 22 to 23 degrees instead of 17 degrees. Switch off the water heater or that extra light when you’re not using it.

When you buy kitchen appliances, look for the ones that have good energy ratings – the ones that consume less electricity. Make school children aware of what to look for in good appliances.”

“This is what we want to do in the project in the Philippines. Let’s try to be energy efficient,” he said.(BoholChronicle)

World Environment Day: Towards carbon neutrality

June 5, 2008

By Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General

Addiction is a terrible thing. It consumes and controls us, makes us deny important truths and blinds us to the consequences of our actions. Our world is in the grip of a dangerous carbon habit.

Coal and oil paved the way for the developed world’s industrial progress. Fast-developing countries are now taking the same path in search of equal living standards. Meanwhile, in the least developed countries, even less sustainable energy sources, such as charcoal, remain the only available option for the poor.

Our dependence on carbon-based energy has caused a significant build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put the final nail in the coffin of global warming skeptics. We know that climate change is happening, and we know that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that we emit are the cause.

We don’t just burn carbon in the form of fossil fuels. Throughout the tropics, valuable forests are being felled for timber and making paper, for pasture and arable land and, increasingly, for plantations to supply a growing demand for biofuels. This further manifestation of our carbon habit not only releases vast amounts of CO2; it also destroys a valuable resource for absorbing atmospheric carbon, further contributing to climate change.

The environmental, economic and political implications of global warming are profound. Ecosystems—from mountain to ocean, from the Poles to the tropics—are undergoing rapid change. Low-lying cities face inundation, fertile lands are turning to desert, and weather patterns are becoming ever more unpredictable.

The cost will be borne by all. The poor will be hardest hit by weather-related disasters and by soaring price inflation for staple foods, but even the richest nations face the prospect of economic recession and a world in conflict over diminishing resources. Mitigating climate change, eradicating poverty and promoting economic and political stability all demand the same solution: we must kick the carbon habit. This is the theme for World Environment Day 2008. “Kick the Habit: Towards a Low Carbon Economy,” recognizes the damaging extent of our addiction, and it shows the way forward.

Often we need a crisis to wake us to reality. With the climate crisis upon us, businesses and governments are realizing that, far from costing the Earth, addressing global warming can actually save money and invigorate economies. While the estimated costs of climate change are incalculable, the price tag for fighting it may be less than any of us may have thought. Some estimates put the cost at less than one per cent of global gross domestic product—a cheap price indeed for waging a global war.

Even better news is that technologies already exist or are under development to make our consumption of carbon-based fuels cleaner and more efficient and to harness the renewable power of sun, wind and waves. The private sector, in particular, is competing to capitalize on what they recognize as a massive business opportunity.

Around the world, nations, cities, organizations and businesses are looking afresh at green options. At the United Nations, I have instructed that the plan for renovating our New York headquarters should follows strict environmental guidelines. I have also asked the chief executives of all UN programs, funds and specialized agencies to move swiftly towards carbon neutrality.

Earlier this year, the UN Environment Program launched a climate neutral network—CN Net—to energize this growing trend. Its inaugural members, which include countries, cities and companies, are pioneers in a movement that I believe will increasingly define environmental, economic and political discourse and decision making over the coming decades.

The message of World Environment Day 2008 is that we are all part of the solution. Whether you are an individual, an organization, a business or a government, there are many steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. It is a message we all must take to heart.(ManilaTimes)

Ifugao prepares community on climate change impact

June 4, 2008

LAGAWE, Ifugao – The Community Dialogue on Climate Change and Natural Resource Management Systems and the Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office here is organizing a community dialog on climate change and natural resource management systems.

To be conducted at the Halfway Lodge in Banaue on June 3, the dialog expects 35 community representatives from six municipalities to discuss the results of concluded community level caucuses and interviews that seek to draw out effects of climate change on their communities and the methodologies/strategies the communities to address such.

Ifugao Governor Teddy Baguilat Jr leads the organizers which include Fred Pait, Convenor, Peasant Leaders’ Forum and Sarah Alikes, Officer-In- charge of the Ifugao Resource and Development Center, have noted that through generations, the indigenous communities have survived and developed despite many natural and manmade challenges.

“The world is reeling from the effects of climate change on entire communities, cities and islands. No one is spared, not even the rich and the powerful, although as always the brunt of the disaster strikes harder on the poor and the marginalized,” Baguilat said.

Whatever the people here experience as effects of climate change are nothing compared to those in areas hit by tsunamis, flash floods, heat waves, and other major disasters. # Vency D. Bulayungan/PIA-Ifugao(NorthernDispatch)

Editorial Cartoon: GMA’s Call

May 24, 2008

The Talk

Garbage is dirty, but is it a clean fuel?

May 24, 2008

LOS ANGELES – About 45 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles, a machine the size of a small truck flattens tons of food scraps, paper towels and other household trash into the side of a growing 300-foot pile.

To Waste Management, which operates the landfill, this is more than just a mountain of garbage. Pipes tunneled deep into the mound extract gas from the rotting waste and send it to a plant that turns it into electricity.

Apart from the huge-wheeled compactor driving over garbage on its surface, it looks like an ordinary hillside. And it doesn’t even smell. Yet it produces enough energy to power 2,500 homes in Southern California.

Trash, rubbish, whatever you call it, the 1.6 billion tons of stuff the world throws away each year – 250 kilograms per person – is being touted as a big potential source of clean energy.

As concerns about climate change escalate and prices on fossil fuels like oil and natural gas soar to record levels, more companies are investing in ways to use methane gas to power homes and vehicles.

Around the world, landfills where municipal waste is collected and buried are one of the biggest producers of methane, a gas whose greenhouse effect is 21 times worse than carbon dioxide. If instead that gas is collected and burned to generate electricity, proponents say the resulting emissions of carbon dioxide are less harmful to the environment than the original methane.

In the United States, trash haulers like Waste Management and Allied Waste Industries Inc are rapidly expanding the number of gas-to-energy projects at their landfills, while start-up companies are developing the latest technologies to transform garbage into ethanol, gas and electricity.

“We are able to take that resource and turn it into real value financially for us. In a very basic sense it helps improve our earnings,” said Ted Neura, senior director of renewable energy development for Phoenix-based Allied Waste, which is turning waste into energy at 54 of its 169 US landfills, with 16 more projects in the works.

The “green” credentials that go along with the waste-to-energy projects are an added benefit, Neura said.

“You begin to look at landfills a little differently when you couple them with a renewable energy project,” he said.

Environmentalists aren’t quite as enthusiastic. Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said touting the benefits of landfills was akin to putting “lipstick on a pig.” Instead, we should be trying harder to reduce waste.

Biogas, another name for methane produced from waste, manure or other organic matter, is most developed in Europe, where Germany has 70 percent of the global market. In Britain, landfill gas makes up a quarter of the country’s renewable energy, giving electricity to some 900,000 homes.

Waste-to-energy projects are also being expanded in the developing world, where rapid economic growth has led to a surge in municipal waste, but efforts to collect the methane emitted by rotting garbage have been slower.

Last year, the World Bank announced a deal to install a gas collection and electricity generation system at a landfill in Tianjin, China, saying the opportunities for other such projects in the world’s most populous nation was enormous.

In less developed countries than China, however, a waste infrastructure needs to be installed before energy projects from landfills or garbage incinerators will make sense.

“Some of the developing countries are fascinated by the possibilities of introducing incineration,” said Henrik Harjula, principal administrator for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “The problem is normally that it is like putting a modern facility in the jungle. There is nobody to take care of the maintenance.”

In the United States, technology to produce electricity from waste has existed since the 1970s, according to Waste Management’s vice president of renewable energy, Paul Pabor, who said federal tax incentives introduced in 2005 and state mandates to produce a percentage of their power from renewable sources has fueled the recent growth in such projects.

Environmentalists recognize that turning methane into power is preferable to releasing it into the air, but quibble with the characterization of landfill gas as renewable. – Reuters(Malaya)

Green tech innovations save cash and planet

May 24, 2008

NEW YORK – Businesses from Wal-Mart Stores Inc to Nike Inc are finding that green investments in their operations are more than just Earth-friendly – they’re boosting the bottom line, an environmental group said on Tuesday.

The new wave of environmental investments goes beyond energy-saving lighting, buying recycled office supplies and double-side printing, the group, Environmental Defense Fund, said in a new report.

Solar energy systems are getting a boost from a long-used energy industry tool, called power purchase agreements, that help finance installation of the clean energy source by selling several years’ worth of electricity under a single contract.

Companies such as Microsoft Corp, Macy’s Inc, Target Corp and Whole Foods Market Inc have signed such agreements with solar developers to set 15- to 20-year fixed costs for their electricity, reducing their reliance on utility-supplied power and trimming their carbon output while getting predictable power bills – often below the typical retail price level.

While those contracts have so far relied on subsidies or tax credits from states to make them attractive, other strategies, from waste reduction to design efficiencies, are becoming more commonplace.

Nike’s newly released Air Jordan XX3 sneaker was designed to be assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, reducing the need for toxic adhesives, and uses recycled polyester from bottles and scrap material from the factory floor.

Consumer products maker Johnson & Johnson focused on implementing energy efficiencies in its facilities and created an “enhanced best practices” checklist that seeks innovations that provide a return on investment within five years.

The move has paid off, the company said in the report, by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 34,500 metric tons in 2006 – and creating an annualized cost savings of $30 million. Reuters(Malaya)

EU report calls for faster climate change curbs

May 24, 2008

NEW YORK – Businesses from Wal-Mart Stores Inc to Nike Inc are finding that green investments in their operations are more than just Earth-friendly – they’re boosting the bottom line, an environmental group said on Tuesday.

The new wave of environmental investments goes beyond energy-saving lighting, buying recycled office supplies and double-side printing, the group, Environmental Defense Fund, said in a new report.

Solar energy systems are getting a boost from a long-used energy industry tool, called power purchase agreements, that help finance installation of the clean energy source by selling several years’ worth of electricity under a single contract.

Companies such as Microsoft Corp, Macy’s Inc, Target Corp and Whole Foods Market Inc have signed such agreements with solar developers to set 15- to 20-year fixed costs for their electricity, reducing their reliance on utility-supplied power and trimming their carbon output while getting predictable power bills – often below the typical retail price level.

While those contracts have so far relied on subsidies or tax credits from states to make them attractive, other strategies, from waste reduction to design efficiencies, are becoming more commonplace.

Nike’s newly released Air Jordan XX3 sneaker was designed to be assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, reducing the need for toxic adhesives, and uses recycled polyester from bottles and scrap material from the factory floor.

Consumer products maker Johnson & Johnson focused on implementing energy efficiencies in its facilities and created an “enhanced best practices” checklist that seeks innovations that provide a return on investment within five years.

The move has paid off, the company said in the report, by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 34,500 metric tons in 2006 – and creating an annualized cost savings of $30 million. Reuters(Malaya)

Animated map of the earth brings global climate crisis to life

May 24, 2008

LONDON – A new animated map of the earth from space illustrates the potential impact of climate change over the next century and can be viewed on your computer.

The project, Climate Change in Our World, is the result of cooperation between web search engine Google, Britain’s environment ministry and the country’s Met Office.

Based on Google Earth which uses NASA satellite images, viewers can run a time lapse series to watch the earth warm under medium case scenarios up to 2100 either from a planetary perspective or zeroing in on countries and even cities.

“This project shows people the reality of climate change using estimates of both the change in the average temperature where they live, and the impact it will have on people’s lives all over the world,” said environment secretary Hilary Benn.

“By helping people to understand what climate change means for them and for the world we can mobilize the commitment we need to avoid the worst effects by taking action now.”

Leaders of the major world economies tentatively agreed last year that half by 2050 should cut carbon emissions from 1990 levels. But there is now a stand-off between rich and poor nations over who should make the first move.

The Google map shows the world heating as the year’s advance, with some of the greatest temperature increases at the ice-bound poles where vast areas turn red indicating rises well into double digits.

The map also offers specific information on local impacts and actions people can and in some cases already are taking.

Scientists say global average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due to carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels for power and transport, causing floods and famines and threatening millions of lives.

But within this global average there will be vast local and regional variations.

“Climate change is arguably one of the biggest issues facing the world today,” said Met Office chief John Hirst.

“Merging the Met Office’s unparalleled climate science expertise with the exciting technology of Google Earth is a great way of bringing the impacts of a warming world to life.” – Reuters(Malaya)