Sunday, May 3, 2015

Terrifying NASA Video Shows How Carbon Emissions Are Engulfing the World

Carbon dioxide emissions are invisible, but NASA has just made them all too real.

The space agency has released a video of high-resolution imagery documenting carbon emissions released over an entire year. The result is what looks like the world’s biggest storm stretching the length of the northern hemisphere. The video is the first time scientists have been able to see in fine detail how carbon dioxide moves through the atmosphere, showing the source of greenhouse emissions and their destination.

It’s mesmerizing and scary. The large, swirling, cloud-like plumes grow and spread across the globe over an entire seasonal cycle, showing just how far C02 emissions can spread. As the time-lapsed animation rolls through the year, the differences between spring, summer, fall, and winter are obvious—especially in the northern hemisphere. As the plant-growing season peaks in late spring and summer, the dark red plumes that signify the worst concentrations of carbon dioxide dissipate.

But as plant growth levels off in fall and winter, the dark plumes creep back up as humans spew carbon into the atmosphere from power plants, factories, and cars. Bill Putman, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, narrates the three-minute video and explains what the terrifying dark reds really mean."As summer transitions to fall and plant photosynthesis decreases, carbon dioxide begins to accumulate in the atmosphere," Putman says. "Although this change is expected, we’re seeing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere each year." That, in turn, is contributing to the long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

So what else does the map show? For starters, the world’s top three emitters—China, the U.S., and Europe—are easy to spot. Large red-tinged tails swirling above the areas indicate the highest concentrations of carbon. The video also shows how wind plays a key role in pushing carbon around the world, and how emissions levels can change rapidly because of weather patterns.

"The dispersion of carbon dioxide is controlled by the large-scale weather patterns within the global circulation," Putman says. The released video portrays carbon emissions in 2006. Given that emissions have only increased since then, the current situation is even more dire.

In the future, the computer modeling data can help scientists better determine the location of carbon sources and sinks. http://bit.ly/1ORziW9

In the 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

France will play a leading international role in hosting this seminal conference, and COP21 will be one of the largest international conferences ever held in the country. The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.

To visit the official COP21 website for more information, click here.

 

 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Caribbean “island laboratories” making a case for renewable, says Mazurier

In early March, Stéphane Tromilin, a sustainable energy attaché in the French government, gave a United Nations webinar on the French government’s work on French islands.

In it, he spent most of the time discussing the unique challenges of islands, specifically those in the Caribbean like Guadeloupe, but also noted an island’s value as “laboratories to develop renewable energy solutions.”

Christophe Mazurier, a European financier and climate defender, has seen these laboratories in action, specifically in the Caribbean, where he has a home in the Bahamas. While many of these nations are at greater risk of climate disasters - in the form of devastating hurricanes and other storms - than most other places on earth, many refuse to become victims of the global intransigence on climate change. Instead, many Caribbean nations are taking it upon themselves to be the change they wish to see in their developed-nation counterparts.

Guadeloupe, the overseas French territory mentioned earlier, is getting nearly 30 percent of its energy from solar, a number on par with climate leaders Germany. Aruba gets 20% of its energy from wind, and is aiming to be totally sustainable by 2020. Ten island nations, including the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Dominica and more have joined the Ten Island Challenge, launched by Richard Branson as a means to give these Caribbean island clear renewable goals and support them in meeting those goals.

Mazurier says that in many ways, the Caribbean’s move to solar was preordained. Not because they are at the forefront of climate change susceptibility, but because of their incredibly high energy costs. Most Caribbean island nations pay around 33 cents per kWh of energy, while for comparison the United States pays 10 cents per kWh. Even with the price of fuel bottoming out, and energy costs in places like Jamaica being cut in half, Jamaica and others were already well on their way to a renewable future.

In 2013, Jamaica signed a deal that would bring 36 MW of wind power for $63 million, which would help it divest from diesel oil in the long-term. By investing heavily in renewables now, the islands can avoid paying for diesel in the future… No matter how the price fluctuates. Mazurier says that this is the key for these Caribbean island nations, who don’t have multimillion dollar climate budgets. These nations cannot just throw money at the problem in hopes that they can play a role in the ultimate cooling of the climate. Their emissions are negligible in the grand scheme of things. The only aspect that can get these nations to buy in if they know they will ultimately pay less for energy than they do now. The positives for the overall climate and the state of the planet are simply a secondary byproduct of these finance-driven deals.

Whichever way it breaks out, says Mazurier, the Caribbean turn toward renewable energy is a refreshing and encouraging sign. The question now becomes: Can the larger nations take note of their island peers? More

 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Turning Ethiopia's desert green

A generation ago Ethiopia’s Tigray province was stricken by a famine that shocked the world. Today, as Chris Haslam reports, local people are using ancient techniques to turn part of the desert green.

People performing their 20 days of compulsory community labour

In the pink-streaked twilight, a river of humanity is flowing across Tigray’s dusty Hawzien plain. This cracked and desiccated landscape, in Ethiopia’s far north, occupies a dark corner of the global collective memory. Thirty years ago, not far from here, the BBC’s Michael Buerk first alerted us to a biblical famine he described as “the closest thing to hell on earth”.

Then Bob Geldof wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas? - a curious question to ask of perhaps the world’s most devoutly Christian people - and thereafter the name Tigray became synonymous with refugees, Western aid and misery. The Tigrayan people were depicted as exemplars of passive suffering, dependent on the goodwill of the rest of the planet just to get through the day without dying.

But here, outside the village of Abr’ha Weatsbaha, I’m seeing a different version. From all directions, streams of people are trickling into that human river. You hear them before you see them - some chatting excitedly, others singing hymns - as they converge on a viciously steep valley at the edge of the plain. They were summoned before dawn by horns, an Old Testament echo calling every able-bodied man and woman over 18 years of age to report for the first of 20 days of compulsory community labour. Their job, quite simply, is to tame the desert.

“This is how the Axumite kings got stuff done 2,000 years ago,” says my guide Zablon Beyene. “With the same tools, too.

By 10 in the morning, some 3,000 people have turned up. Using picks, shovels, iron bars and their bare hands, they will turn these treacherous slopes into neat staircases of rock-walled terraces that will trap the annual rains, forcing the water to percolate into the soil rather than running off in devastating, ground-ripping flash floods.

“Sisters are doing it for themselves,” says Kidane, a pick-wielding Amazon whose arched eyebrow suggests I might want to put down my camera and do some actual work. Brothers, too: from strapping, sweat-shiny youths to Ephraim, a legless old man who clearly ignored the bit about being able-bodied and sits on his stumps, rolling rocks downhill to the terrace builders.

Overseeing this extraordinary effort is 58-year-old Aba Hawi, Abr’ha Weatsbaha’s community leader. Short, pot-bellied and bearded, he darts from one side of the valley to the other, barking orders into his mobile phone, slapping backs and showing the youngsters the proper way to split half-ton boulders. Rumour has it that Aba Hawi once took up arms to fight for Tigrayan independence, but these days he prefers to describe himself as “just a farmer”.

Either way, his tireless leadership has brought a miraculous transformation to this sun-blasted land. In just a decade, entire mountains have been terraced. Once you had to dig 50ft (15m) down to find water. Now it’s just 10ft, and 94 acres (38 hectares) of former desert have been transformed into fertile fields. Families are now reaping three harvests a year from fields of corn, chillis, onions and potatoes. Free-range grazing for sheep, goats and cattle has been banned, allowing new forests of eucalyptus and acacias to take root, and Aba Hawi is particularly keen to show me what he’s done with the deep flash-flood canyons that rive the plain.

We take a long, hot hike to a vast pool of cool, green water held back by a huge hand-built dam. “We’ve built 85 of these check-dams so far,” says Aba Hawi, “and you can see how they work. These mini-reservoirs fill up during the rains and are fed by groundwater in times of drought. Now, every farmer has a well.” He tosses a handful of dust into the wind. “Ten years ago, that was our land.” Then he points at a shimmering blue flash in the reeds. “Now look: we’ve got malachite kingfishers living in the desert.”

But success brings its own problems. Abr’ha Weatsbaha is now facing an immigration problem as people from neighbouring valleys clamour for their share of Aba Hawi’s oasis.

“They shouldn’t need to come here,” he says. “Every district in Tigray is supposed to be using compulsory community labour for terracing but, well…” he shrugs with just a tad of false modesty… “not all community leaders are so, er, committed.”

And as fear of starvation fades, Aba Hawi faces new demands.

“People want electricity now,” he sighs.

I’m interested in his views of where God comes into all this. After all, this valley was once the physical definition of the term “Godforsaken.”

Aba Hawi disagrees. “God was here when the land was bad,” he says. “And he’s still here. But God will only help those who help themselves.” More

 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

BP, Chelsea Manning and the Deepwater Horizon Deaths

April 19, 2015. Azerbaijan, Five years ago Monday, 11 men died on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig — despite Chelsea Manning’s effort to save their lives. were revealed in the secret State Department cables Manning released in December 2009 through WikiLeaks.

Greg Palast being arrested in Azerbaijan

Cables from the U.S. ambassador relayed a summary of confidential meetings in which BP's top Azeri executive confided that the big Caspian offshore rig suffered a "blowout" in September 2008, leading to the "largest such emergency evacuation in BP's history." Its likely cause: "a bad cement job." "The message was relayed to Washington after BP's American partners in the Caspian—Exxon and Chevron—asked the State Department to find out why BP had ceased to drill in the Caspian, costing them all millions. State, then headed by former Chevron board member Condoleezza Rice, got the oil chiefs their answer—then joined them in keeping it secret.

But Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning tried to warn us. The details of the Caspian Sea blowout off the coast of Baku are below.

Five years ago Monday, 11 men died on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig—despite Chelsea Manning’s effort to save their lives. Let me explain.

The BP drilling rig blew itself to kingdom come after the "mud"—the cement used to cap the well—blew out.

The oil company, the federal government and the industry were shocked—shocked!—at this supposedly unexpected explosion in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

But BP knew, and Exxon and Chevron knew, and the U.S. State Department knew, that just 17 months earlier another BP offshore rig suffered an identical, disastrous blowout halfway across the planet in the Caspian Sea.

In both the Gulf and Caspian blowouts, the immediate culprit was the failure of the cement, in both cases caused by the use—misuse—of nitrogen in the cement mix, a money-saving but ultimately deadly measure intended to speed the cement’s drying.

The cover-up meant that U.S. regulators, the U.S. Congress and the public had no inkling that the cost-saving "quick-dry" cement process had failed on an offshore rig until the Deepwater Horizon blew.

But Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning tried to warn us. The details of the Caspian Sea blowout off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan, were revealed in the secret State Department cables Manning released in December 2009 through WikiLeaks. Cables from the U.S. ambassador relayed a summary of confidential meetings in which BP’s top Azeri executive confided that the big Caspian offshore rig suffered a "blowout" in September 2008, leading to the "largest such emergency evacuation in BP’s history." Its likely cause: "a bad cement job."

The message was relayed to Washington after BP’s American partners in the Caspian—Exxon and Chevron—asked the State Department to find out why BP had ceased to drill in the Caspian, costing them all millions. State, then headed by former Chevron board member Condoleezza Rice, got the oil chiefs their answer—then joined them in keeping it secret.

(Not knowing about the Manning cables, I had to find out about the Caspian blowout the hard way. Just days after the Deepwater Horizon blowout, I received a tip from an eyewitness to the Caspian disaster. To determine the facts I flew to Baku, where my British TV crew and I found ourselves placed under arrest by a team of goons from the Azerbaijan secret police, the military and some of BP’s oil-well-insignia-sporting private security clowns. As a reporter for British television, I was quickly released—with the film of the bust captured on my little pen camera. But, terribly, two of my rig-worker witnesses disappeared.)

Had BP or the State Department ’fessed up to the prior blowout—a disclosure required by U.S. and British regulations—it is exceptionally unlikely that BP would have been allowed to use the quick-dry cement method in the deep Gulf of Mexico.

Indeed, there may have been a complete prohibition on the drilling, because Department of Interior experts had opposed deep drilling in that part of the Gulf. To lobby the government to allow drilling there, just six months before the Deepwater Horizon blew, BP executive David Rainey and the presidents of Exxon USA and Chevron testified before Congress that offshore drilling had been conducted for 50 years "in a manner both safe and protective of the environment." More

 

 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Engineers purify sea and wastewater in 2.5 minutes

A group of engineers have created technology to recover and purify, either seawater or wastewater from households, hotels, hospitals, commercial and industrial facilities, regardless of the content of pollutants and microorganisms in, incredibly, just 2.5 minutes, experts say.

A group of Mexican engineers from the Jhostoblak Corporate created technology to recover and purify, either seawater or wastewater from households, hotels, hospitals, commercial and industrial facilities, regardless of the content of pollutants and microorganisms in, incredibly, just 2.5 minutes, researchers say.

The System PQUA, works with a mixture of dissociating elements, capable of separating and removing all contaminants, as well as organic and inorganic pollutants. “The methodology is founded on molecularly dissociating water pollutants to recover the minerals necessary and sufficient in order for the human body to function properly nourished,” technical staff explained.

Notably, the engineers developed eight dissociating elements, and after extensive testing on different types of contaminated water, implemented a unique methodology that indicates what and how much of each element should be combined.

“During the purification process no gases, odors nor toxic elements that may damage or alter the environment, human health or quality of life are generated,” said the Mexican firm.

The corporation has a pilot plant in their offices that was used to demonstrate the purification process, which uses gravity to save energy. We observed that the residual water in the container was pumped to reactor tank, where it received a dosing of the dissociating elements in predetermined amounts.

In this phase solid, organic and inorganic matter as well as heavy metals are removed by precipitation and gravity; and a sludge settles at the bottom of the reactor. The latter is removed and examined to determine if it is suitable to use as fertilizer or manufacture construction materials.

Subsequently, the water is conducted to a clarifier tank, to sediment the excess charge of dissolved elements; then the liquid reaches a filter to remove turbidity and is finally passed by polishing tank that eliminates odors, colors and flavors. The treated water is transported to a container where ozone is added to ensure its purity, and finally is ready to drink. Indeed, the resulting liquid is fresh, odorless and has a neutral taste.

“We have done over 50 tests on different types of wastewater and all have been certified and authorized by the laboratories of the Mexican Accreditation Agency (EMA). Also, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM), the College of Mexico and the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) have given their validation that the water treated with our technology meets the SSA NOM 127 standard, which indicates the parameters and quality characteristics for vital liquid to be used for human consumption,” says the Corporate Jhostoblak.

Moreover, they report that this development is protected under trade secret in America and soon will get the same record in Switzerland. Its implementation in the market will depend on the needs of users and the issue of new laws regarding use, consumption and water discharge. More

 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Watch the exclusive worldwide premiere of the Origins film


Earth Day Preview

This hugely important film tells the story of how we veered off the very path we evolved to follow and what that decision is doing toour human biology, fertility and brains. I can think of nothing more important to our survival."

Dave Asprey - Founder of The Bulletproof Executive

Watch the exclusive worldwide premiere of the Origins film from APRIL 17-26th.

Get Details: http://origins.well.org

#OriginsFilm

Find out more at http://well.org

Don't forget to check us out on...

Facebook - http://well.org/facebook

Twitter - http://well.org/twitter

Pinterest - http://well.org/pinterest

Click here to get our free Vitality Resource Guide

http://well.org/vitality-resource-guide-landing/

Watch the Vitality Movie http://well.org/vitality/

Produced by Pedram Shojai

 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Allan Savory: How to fight desertification and reverse climate change.

Click picture for video

Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And it's happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes — and his work so far shows — that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

Allan Savory: How to fight desertification and reverse climate change