G7 Leaders: World Needs to Phase Out Carbon Emissions

G7 Leaders: World Needs to Phase Out Carbon Emissions

From Climate Central By Brian Kahn Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and the other leaders of the world’s seven largest economies met in Germany for wide-ranging discussions on the state of the world on Sunday and Monday. Climate and energy were high on the agenda with concurrent climate talks happening in Bonn and major negotiations set for Paris later this year. The G7 meeting has helped set the bar for Paris in a wide-ranging communiqué that outlines the future for the world’s economy. The document makes a historic commitment to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by century’s end, with a 40-70 percent reduction guidepost at 2050. While the call for decarbonization is some of the strongest language yet of how some of the world’s most powerful countries want to deal with climate change, there are few clues of how they plan to get there. However, the few clues that have emerged could give raise eyebrow about how serious the G7 leaders are about dealing with climate change in the present. The Big News: Emissions Must Fall and Everyone Has a Role Here’s the money quote from the G7 declaration: “Mindful of this (2°C) goal and considering the latest IPCC results, we emphasize that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century.” That means that the G7 leaders want to say goodbye to carbon as the driving force behind the economy. They also set a 2050 mark of reducing emissions 40-70 percent below 2010 levels. The countries that comprise the G7 account for a third of global carbon emissions. So while their efforts are key, it’s clear both in the language of the document and the carbon calculus that all the world’s countries will have to get involved. RELATED In Stunning Reversal, ‘Big Oil’ Asks for Carbon Price Halfway There: Countdown to Paris Climate Talks Is The World’s Main Climate Goal Misguided? The cold, hard math of emissions cuts also indicates that for all the continued bluster about the 2°C goal, the current emissions reductions pledges — including those from G7 countries — are inadequate to reach it. What’s more, decarbonizing by the end of the century doesn’t necessarily keep global warming below that level. In other words, there’s a lot of ground to make up and while the desire to reduce warming — and all the impacts that come with it — is there, the mechanisms and political will currently are not. Even getting that language into the document was a stretch. Canada and Japan both pushed back against it, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as both countries’ climate plans have been rated as inadequate. Canada also has vast oil resources in its tar sands, which represent a...

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Australia – Down the Rabbit Hole

Australia – Down the Rabbit Hole

THE END OF THE FOSSIL-FUEL ERA? Monday, Jun 15th, 2015 By Senator Larissa Waters (When you read this don’t you wonder who lines the pockets of these government officials?) The world wants to end the fossil fuel era and move to the age of renewables. But Abbott’s attacks have seen jobs in the renewables sector plummet. All over the globe, governments and industries and entire nations are beginning the transition away from coal and embracing the clean, sustainable energy that the sun, wind and oceans can provide. Bloomberg New Energy Finance figures show us that investment in clean energy is now greater than in fossil fuels. Investment grew by 32% in China last year, by 8% in the US, 26% in Canada and 14% in India. 800,000 jobs were created around world between 2012 and 2013 thanks to the renewable energy sector. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that renewable energy employed 7.7 million people. However, in Australia, under the Abbott Government’s relentless attacks, investment in large-scale renewable energy fell by 88%. We saw jobs in the renewable energy sector plummet. In five, ten, twenty years — if the Abbott Government is to be remembered for something it will be its cruel social policies and its absolute determination to ignore the science and wreck the climate. But — and this is the important part — the renewable energy sector is moving at too great a pace for even the most bloody-minded of governments to hold it back. Today, the Abbott Government and the Labor Party are going to slash our Renewable Energy Target from 41,000 GWh to 33,000GWh. This ‘deal’ will cost Australia $6 billion in wind and solar investment according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It will also take Australia backwards at a time when the rest of the world is embracing the opportunities that renewable energy offers. Abbott, and the Labor Party, will try to justify this illogical, damaging and frankly dangerous deal by saying it was necessary for industry ‘certainty’. Well, that just doesn’t stack up. There was no problem with industry certainty in 2010 when the number of rooftop solar installations tripled, or from 2009–2010 when the number of accredited solar installers almost doubled. Uncertainty doesn’t come from nowhere. Uncertainty comes from two old parties that continue to protect and invest in Big Coal despite its disastrous impacts on our climate, our Great Barrier Reef, our health and our ability to participate in the innovative and sustainable economy of the future. And, given PM Abbott’s anti-wind farm comments on Friday where he made it crystal clear that his intention is to destroy our renewable energy industry, it is obvious that even the reduced 33,000 GWh target...

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Solar for Papua New Guinea Highland Hospital

Solar for Papua New Guinea Highland Hospital

Over the years I’ve worked with William Wright, PE of PowerQuest WorldWide, Ltd a man who brings energy and vital equipment to hospitals in the developing world.  This year I was invited to help install a solar and battery backup system – in Papua New Guinea (PNG).  It was an amazing experience.  I am sharing it here because I can’t help myself (it was such an stunning adventure) and in the hopes of inspiring us all to look outside the box we see as our territory at how renewable energy can help others whether it is a neighbour across the street or around the world.  And at the same time build a thriving business for ourselves. A Little History   Australia has a long history and connection with PNG. (For those who may not know I am an Aussie.) During World War II the Japanese made their naval head quarters in PNG where a small number of Aussie troops were stationed. There were months of ferocious battles in the malaria ridden jungle and in the end the meagre Australian and US troops prevented the Japanese from their planned invasion of Australia.  Many of those ill or wounded soldiers were saved by the locals who walked our bedraggled mob over the Kakoda Track to Port Moresby where they could then be transferred the short distance home. So, getting to visit PNG and make a difference for the people who were so kind and generous to my fellow Australians was a wonderful opportunity.  By the way,  although profoundly under developed Papua New Guinea is a stunning tropical paradise near the equator – all of which doesn’t hurt. The Trip   We flew from Brisbane, Australia to Port Morsby, PNG and transferred planes to Mt Hagen.  The next morning after visiting Hagen’s large open air market for supplies we drove the 5 hours over insanely rutted road to Kompiam where the hospital is situated. Following are a few impressions from our trip to Kompiam.  The infrastructure is failing miserably.  There are small open air markets by the road side every few kilometres, often with people hanging out or sitting in the dirt nearby.  Most of the people are warm, friendly and helpful.  Many smiled and waved as we passed.  ‘Don’t litter’ is not a concept.  There are very few cars and walking is the major mode of transportation.  In fact, there is no road from Mt Hagen (Agricultural Hub of PNG) to Port Moresby (National Capital).  There is very little industry.  The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is one of the highest in the world.  Wound care and basic hygiene are virtually non existent outside hospitals or medical stations which are very few and far between....

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Guardian Takes a Lead on Climate Change

Guardian Takes a Lead on Climate Change

From Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian: On Friday, I stepped down as editor of the Guardian. Six months ago, when I announced my decision, I said I had only one regret – that we had not treated climate change with the gravity and impact it deserves. Keep it in the Ground has been our attempt to change that. When I started 20 years ago, creating such a project would not have been possible. At the time, we were debating whether we should switch to using colour photography in the paper. Now with two-thirds of our readership outside the UK, virtually all our readers can be publishers themselves – while we publish continuously. Of course, the Guardian is much bigger than any one editor. A rival kindly took me out to lunch soon after I started and reassured me: “If I take a day off, there are six assistant editors who have a completely different view of what my paper should be. If you take the day off, the building itself would produce the Guardian.” In many ways, it is the readers that have produced this campaign. You have signed petitions, written heartfelt letters to the Wellcome Trust and filmed yourself for inspiring videos asking Bill Gates to take a lead on climate change. However you have contributed, I wanted to write and thank you. Your voices have have brought far more insight, energy and diversity than we could have hoped to achieve on our own. They have been one of the trademarks of Keep it in the Ground. There are now more than 216,000 of you, from 170 countries around the world. That’s quite a movement. The team would like to see your photos, videos and stories about how you continue to campaign against climate change. You can send them in here. In six months time, leaders from around the world will meet in Paris to negotiate a new global deal on climate change. As we head towards that, we hope your voices will remain strong. In the coming weeks, the campaign team will be in touch about what Keep it in the Ground will look like as we head towards Paris. But from me, thank you. It has been remarkable. Alan   For more info...

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White House Roof

White House Roof

Solar power is an increasingly important building block on our path toward a clean energy future. Watch the video by clicking on the picture, for an inside look at the solar panels that were recently installed on the roof of the White House. (You may view it in full screen mode by clicking the brackets in its lower right corner.) To find out more, visit the White House‘s own web page on this...

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Solar Plane Crosses U.S.

Solar Plane Crosses U.S.

Solar plane crosses U.S., injects sexiness into the green conversation By Osha Gray Davidson From Grist May 22, 2013 Standing beside Solar Impulse — the world’s most advanced solar aircraft — in a hangar at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on a recent afternoon, Bertrand Piccard attempted to diagnose humankind’s biggest problem. We are being bored to death, he opined. “People talk about protecting the environment and it’s boring,” the 53-year-old Swiss aviator/psychiatrist said. Discussions about climate change are even worse. “Those,” he added, “are boring and depressing.” Piccard’s prescription: Make environmentalism inspiring, exciting, and sexy. Not coincidentally, those adjectives are frequently used to describe Solar Impulse itself, the aircraft Piccard piloted 650 miles, from Mountain View, Calif., to Phoenix, Ariz., on May 3, the first of five legs in a coast-to-coast voyage. “We want to motivate people to be pioneers,” said Piccard, stressing the syllable with the intensity of a hypnotist (which he is). “We want to show solutions. To show hopes. We want to show what is possible.” Not long ago, the notion that a solar-powered aircraft could stay aloft day and night did, in fact, seem impossible. But in 2010, Solar Impulse broke this technological barrier when the plane flew for a record 26 consecutive hours. After reaching an altitude of nearly 28,000 feet, the aircraft, then piloted by André Borschberg (CEO and cofounder, along with Piccard, of the Solar Impulse project), descended slowly, landing an hour before dawn. The plane’s lithium polymer batteries had enough power left to fly for an additional six hours. Solar Impulse has the wingspan of Boeing 747 but weighs only as much as a Subaru Outback. With a bulbous cockpit affixed to a fuselage just two feet wide, the Swiss-built aircraft looks like one of the many dragonflies that buzz around outside the hanger in the Sonoran desert during the Arizona stopover. Nearly 12,000 solar cells, each as thin as a human hair, cover the top of the plane’s upward curving wings and its horizontal stabilizers. Four electric motors provide roughly the same amount of energy to the Solar Impulse as the Wright brothers’ gasoline-powered engine produced for the world’s first flight. On that historic occasion, the Wright Flyer 1 flew 120 feet at just under seven miles per hour. Solar Impulse is no racer either — it has a top speed of just 43 miles an hour. But speed is as irrelevant to the significance of Solar Impulse as it was to the Wright brothers’ invention. “In 1903,” said Piccard, “nobody could imagine that there could be 200 people crossing the oceans in big airliners. The goal today with Solar Impulse isn’t to replace airliners with solar airplanes....

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