Sunday, February 18, 2018

Breathing Highways and Sponge Cities

The Great Change: Breathing Highways and Sponge Cities

During the 20th Century, the rate of global warming was twice as fast in Taiwan (1.7°C) as for the world as a whole (0.74°C). Partly as a result, the number of days with rainfall decreased dramatically and typhoons gained strength. In 2009, Typhoon Morakot dropped over 1,000 mm (39.4 inches) in a single day and caused the loss of 699 lives. A massive mudslide wiped out Xiaolin Village and 474 people were buried alive. In 2015, Typhoon Soudelor left similar damage. It took months to repair the roads.

Then Taiwan and East China were struck by Dujuan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Jenny, a killer storm and the thirteenth typhoon of the 2015 Pacific typhoon season. Eight months later, Nepartak became the third most intense tropical cyclone on record with 114 deaths and more than $1.5 billion damage in Taiwan and East China. September brought Meranti, a super typhoon and the strongest ever to make landfall in China in more than 1000 years of records. Meranti’s peak sustained winds tied the record set by Haiyan in 2013, 195 mph (315 km/h), comparable to a tornado, or a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. In Taiwan, nearly 1 million households lost power and 720,000 lost water supplies. Flooding in Zhejiang took 902 homes and affected 1.5 million people.

Between those punctuations, the erratic weather brought long droughts. New Taipei City had to enforce water restrictions when the Shihmen reservoir went dry in April. All cities along coasts or rivers have engineered means to remove excess water and to prevent flooding. Few have the means to sustain themselves in severe droughts. Read More

Friday, February 16, 2018


Climate Reality’s founder, Al Gore, is in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 48th annual meeting, where he discussed extreme weather, climate action, and the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

The three-day annual event is being held January 23-26 with attendance expected from a who’s who of global and business leaders, academics, activists, and more, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will deliver the opening address; French President Emmanuel Macron; British Prime Minister Theresa May; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; and US President Donald Trump, who is set to deliver a keynote address before the close of the meeting.
The Forum engages the foremost political, business, and NGO leaders in hopes of shaping global and industrial agendas to improve the state of the world.

“Convening participants under the theme, Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, the meeting will focus on finding ways to reaffirm international cooperation on crucial shared interests, such as international security, the environment and the global economy,” WEF writes. Read More

No Straw Please

Make it a part of your ordering when you're at a restaurant. When you order your drink, make sure to say "no straw." Soon it will become automatic. "Iced tea, no straw."

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Rethinking the Utility Business Model

Interviews - An interview with Dan Cross-Call from the Rocky Mountain Institute - Renewable Energy Magazine, at the heart of clean energy journalism

Over the past year, the adoption of distributed energy resources (DERs), such as solar PV, has increased tremendously. Alongside escalating concerns around carbon and greenhouse gas mitigation, this has forced an understanding that US utilities need to re-orientate their operating strategy and industry outlook in the face of regulatory, policy, and technological change – or risk losing market share.

The latest report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Reimagining the Utility, aims to help policymakers and industry leaders make this transition by framing the critical choices regulators and utilities must make to best shape the ongoing evolution of a cleaner, more resilient, and more customer-oriented grid.

REM talked to Rocky Mountain Institute’s Dan Cross-Call to discuss these issues in greater depth.
Read More

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

UK 'could adopt' Norway bottle recycling system

Advisers to government say the schemes have massively reduced plastic litter in the environment and seas. And a ministerial delegation has been to Norway to see if the UK should copy an industry-led scheme that recycles 97% of bottles.
In the UK, figures show that only around half of all plastic bottles get recycled.
Norway claims to offer the most cost-efficient way of tackling plastic litter
The Norwegian government decided the best method would be to put a tax on every bottle that's not recycled - then leave the operating details of the scheme up to business.
It works like this: The consumer pays a deposit on every bottle - the equivalent of 10p to 25p depending on size.
They return it empty and post it into a machine which reads the barcode and produces a coupon for the deposit.
If the careless consumer has left liquid in the bottle, the machine eats it anyway - but hands the deposit to the shopkeeper who'll need to empty the bottle.
Similar schemes are in operation in other Nordic nations, Germany, and some states in the US and Canada.
The managers of the Norway operation say it could easily be applied to the UK. Read More

Sunday, February 4, 2018

How Bill Gates aims to clean up the planet

It’s nothing much to look at, but the tangle of pipes, pumps, tanks, reactors, chimneys and ducts on a messy industrial estate outside the logging town of Squamish in western Canada could just provide the fix to stop the world tipping into runaway climate change and substitute dwindling supplies of conventional fuel.

It’s a simple idea: strip CO2 from the air and use it to produce carbon-neutral fuel. But can it work on an industrial scale?

It could also make Harvard superstar physicist David Keith, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and oil sands magnate Norman Murray Edwards more money than they could ever dream of.

The idea is grandiose yet simple: decarbonise the global economy by extracting global-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) straight from the air, using arrays of giant fans and patented chemical whizzery; and then use the gas to make clean, carbon-neutral synthetic diesel and petrol to drive the world’s ships, planes and trucks. Read More

Saturday, February 3, 2018


Welcome to the Young Water Leaders Berlin Event which connects current leaders with future leaders to ensure a water-secure world for today’s and future generations.

Young Water ​Leaders was ​launched in ​September 2017 ​to connect ​current leaders ​with future ​leaders. ​

Young Water ​Leaders Berlin ​is the first ​major event to ​bring current ​and future ​leaders ​together to ​build a water-​secure world.​ ​

~Robert ​Brears, Author ​of Urban Water ​Security (Wiley)​, Founder of ​Mitidaption, ​Mark and Focus, ​and Young Water ​Leaders . Read More