Sunday, August 19, 2012

In yet another evidence of climate change wreaking havoc on marine life, it has been found that the Australian tropical fish are migrating southwards on account of rising temperature which has not spared any part of the world.

Compiled by over 80 of Australia's leading marine experts for the government science body CSIRO, the snapshot of global warming's effects on the island continent's oceans warned of "significant impacts".

"Climate change is already happening; widespread physical changes include rapid warming of the southeast and increasing flow of the east Australia current," the report said.

The report described southeast Australia as a 'global warming hotspot', with the contraction south and strengthening of southern hemisphere winds causing the eastern current to become more intense and also warmer, reports the Daily Mail.

"A range of species including plankton, fish and invertebrates are now found further south because of the enhanced transport of larvae and juveniles in the stronger current and the high rate of regional warming," it said.

Sea snakes were declining and warmer beaches were changing turtle breeding habits and seabird and marine mammal feeding and mating, it added.

In the past 30 years, coral reefs have experienced increasing thermal bleaching and it is projected to become more frequent and severe, "leading to chronic degradation of most coral reefs by the middle to late parts of the century", the report said.

Though the findings raise concerns, project leader Elvira Poloczanska pointed out some positives too. The research suggested that certain tropical fish species were better equipped to adapt to warming than previously thought, Poloczanska said.

This finding should come as a rude shock to those living in denial about this global menace of climate change and while some steps have already been initiated to fight this phenomenon, more needs to be done or else there would come a time when all our marine wealth will become a thing of the past.

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Fox News' foxing it's viewers?

According to 'TechNewsWorld', 'Fox News', one of the world's well known News corporation, has been underplaying the fact of global warming and climate change and been catering to the political class by not asserting that the planet has warmed or cooled in a bid to distort the global warming debate that has been raging worldwide. Critics believe such a view hampers fight against the menace of climate change and mis-characterizes the issue of global warming as an even-sided scientific debate when majority of the researchers accept it's presence.

While almost all of the scientific community accepts that the planet is warming, there are a few members who don't, and Fox uses that to warp the issue in the name of fairness, according to Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

In the name of being fair and balanced, she told TechNewsWorld, Fox "implies that there is an equal number of scientists on all sides of this issue, which is not the case. It's really distorting the facts."

"Fox seems unwilling to accept the facts," she maintained.

"Most media outlets try to have some factual basis," she added. "I think Fox prefers fantasy to facts."

Full article: TechNewsWorld

Monday, February 1, 2010

13 countries come together to save tigers...

HUA HIN, Thailand - A dozen Asian nations and Russia vowed Friday to work to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, crack down on poaching that has devastated the big cats and prohibit the building of roads and bridges that could harm their habitats.

However, the historic declaration adopted by the 13 countries that have wild tigers includes no new money to finance the conservation efforts. The agreement only includes plans to approach international institutions like the World Bank for money and to develop programs to tap money from ecotourism, carbon financing and infrastructure projects to pay for tiger programs.

"This is a historic meeting. Before this, not many people paid attention to tigers," Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti said after the three-day meeting in Hua Hin. "Stopping the depletion of tigers is a very important issue for all of us."

source: Msnbc

This is a welcome step and it's time words are transformed into action... tigers, who are on the verge of being extinct need comprehensive protection and such initiatives and mass awareness can help save them. Governments should not act stingy in financing such efforts and the support from ordinary citizens is very much needed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

As the world bears the brunt of climate change, here's something that comes as an encouragement for those who are really concerned about the environment. "Lighting a billion lives campaign" initiated by the Indian people is one movement that will go a long way in fighting climate change and creating awareness among the rural masses which constitute of millions of Indians. Recently, California governer Arnold Schwarzeneger has lauded the people of India for initiating this project and urged other nations to follow suit. So... what is the campaign about and what does it intend to achieve? Here's all you want to know about this ambitious project:

Over 1.6 billion people in the world lack access to electricity; roughly 25% are in India alone. For these people, life comes to a standstill after dusk. Inadequate lighting is not only an impediment to progress and development opportunities, but also has a direct impact on the health, environment, and safety of millions of people, as they are forced to light their homes with kerosene lamps, dung cakes, firewood, and crop residue after sunset.

Recognizing the need to change the existing scenario, TERI, with its vision to work for global sustainable development and its commitment towards creating innovative solutions for a better tomorrow, has undertaken an initiative of 'Lighting a Billion Lives' (LaBL) through the use of solar lighting devices.

The Campaign aims to bring light into the lives of one billion rural people by replacing the kerosene and paraffin lanterns with solar lighting devices. This will facilitate education of children; provide better illumination and kerosene-smoke-free indoor environment for women to do household chores; and provide opportunities for livelihoods both at the individual level and at village level. In terms of physical targets, it translates into 200,000,000 solar lanterns in use, assuming that each solar lantern benefits five members of a family.

At the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in 2007, TERI committed to bringing light into the lives of one million rural people over four years by displacing kerosene and paraffin lanterns with solar lighting devices, and providing opportunities for livelihoods both at the individual and village level.

This since has been expanded to the ‘Lighting a Billion Lives’ Campaign to benefit many more people in India and around the world. The campaign was formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, on 7 February 2008 during DSDS (Delhi Sustainable Development Summit).

What are the benefits?

-The Campaign offers local and global environmental benefits. Each solar lantern in its useful life of 10 years displaces the use of about 500-600 litres of kerosene, thereby mitigating about 1.5 tonnes of CO2.

-Each Solar lantern saves:
40-60 liters of kerosene/year
100 Billion Rupees burned each year in kerosene and wick lamps

-There are several social benefits too. The Campaign benefits both the user and the supplier of services. The rural entrepreneurs are trained to manage and run a central solar lantern charging/distribution centre where lanterns are rented. This creates financial opportunities for the entrepreneur. Thus apart from providing reliable and ensured lighting to households at an affordable rate, the Campaign also facilitates entrepreneurial development among rural communities.

To know more about this project and to be a part of it visit their site:
Lighting a Billion Lives

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bangladesh has been the most affected country by extreme weather conditions between 1990 and 2008. And globally, in the last 18 years, extreme weather conditions have killed 600,000 people and cost a loss of $1.7 trillion, according to Germanwatch's Global Climate Risk Index 2010.

India is ranked 7th worst-hit country in the Climate Risk Index. None of the developed countries figure in the ten most affected countries' list. Among the first 20, there are only four developed countries: Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United States.

Poorer developing countries are often hit much harder. These results underscore the vulnerability of poor countries to climatic risks, despite the fact that the absolute monetary damages are much higher in richer countries. Myanmar, Yemen and Vietnam were most severely affected in the year 2008.

The Climate Risk Index ranks nations that have been worst affected by climate change and are most vulnerable to global warming on the basis of a CRI score. The lower the score on the index, the higher the risk to that country.

Here is a list of top 10 countries worst hit by climate risks from 1990 to 2008.

1. Bangladesh

In all, 654 events were registered worldwide in 2008, which caused around 93,700 deaths and economic losses of more than $123 billion. Only around a third had been insured, primarily in developed countries.

The fact that no further peak catastrophe has happened in Bangladesh, like in 1991 when 140,000 people died, is partial proof that it is possible to better prepare for climate risks and prevent larger-scale disasters.

Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 8.0
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 8,241
Total losses: $2,198 million (purchasing power parity)
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 1.81%

Results (annual averages) in specific indicators: Number of deaths, sum of losses in US$ in purchasing power parity (PPP) and losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

2. Myanmar

In Myanmar, more than 95 per cent of the damages and fatalities occurred in 2008 because of cyclone Nargis. Cyclone Nargis killed as many as 100,000 people. One million people were rendered homeless. Many towns and villages were been washed away.

Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 8.25
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 4,522
Total losses: $707 million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 2.55%

3. Honduras

Honduras has been hit by severe tropical storms and hurricanes over the years. Hurricane Mitch, which hit the country in 1998 changed the landscape of Honduras. In 2008, abut 200,000 people were affected by severe flooding caused by heavy rains, and 20,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 12.00
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 340
Total losses: $660 million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 3.37%

4. Vietnam

Over the last decade, the frequency and severity of droughts and floods have intensified, increasing their impact on living conditions. Many people have been affected by cyclones and hailstorms.

Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 18.83
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 466
Total losses: $1,525 million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 1.31%

5. Nicaragua

Nicaragua has been often hit by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and volcano eruptions.

Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 21
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 164
Total losses: $211million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 2.03%

6. Haiti

Four storms -- Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike -- devastated this poverty-struck nation. About 800,000 people were affected in 2008. Haiti's poverty, weak infrastructure, vulnerable environment and fiscal problems worsen the impact of a natural disaster.

Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 22.83
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 335
Total losses: $95 million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 1.08%

7. India

Natural disasters have caused extensive damage to India over the years. Droughts, flash floods, cyclones, avalanches, landslides brought on by torrential rains, and snowstorms pose the greatest threats.

Floods are the most common natural disaster in India.China, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines belong to those countries that are most often hit by extremes which, of course, is partially due to their large size and/or specific exposure to extreme weather events, the study states.
Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 25.83
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 3,255
Total losses: $6,132 million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 0.38%

8. Dominican Republic

The hurricane season in the Caribbeans frequently coincides with heavy rains, which leads to flash floods and landslides. Earthquakes are a potential threat and tremors are felt occasionally.

Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 27.58
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 222
Total losses: $191 million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 0.45

9. The Philippines

A disaster-prone country, the Philippines is recurrently hit by natural disasters: typhoons, earthquakes. The Philippines faces on average 20 typhoons each year.

Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 27.67
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 799
Total losses: $544 million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 0.30%

10. China

China is one of the countries most affected by natural disasters. It had 6 of the world's top 10 deadliest natural disasters, which include floods, droughts, ecological disasters, forest and grassland fires.

China had been hit badly hit by Typhoon Hagupit in 2008. About 70,000 people were killed and 18,000 people were reported missing after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan, China in 2008.
Climate Risk Index (CRI) score: 28.58
Annual death toll due to extreme climate: 2,023
Total losses: $25,961 million
Losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 0.78%

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

As the world awaits a significant breakthrough in talks at the Copenhagen summit,there are many who feel after the serious deadlock between the developing and developed nations on several key issues, the Copenhagen summit would not turn out to be as fruitful as one would have expected. Some critics go as far as to say all the fuss about Copenhagen and fighting climate change has amounted to very little as a unanimous resolution on some key facets of climate change seems to be next to impossible. The recent issue of contention which has led to the developed and developing countries locking horns is that of the Kyoto Protocol. The developed bloc wants the Kyoto Protocol to be scrapped which makes it mandatory for developed nations to confine their emissions to set targets and to pay a penalty to the developing world in case they fail to achieve the set target. While the developing bloc is strongly opposed to scrapping the Kyoto Protocol, the developed nations are now not willing to follow the protocol.

The United States believes it would be detrimental for their interests to pay a penalty in monetary terms to a country like China for not being able to achieve set target of emission cuts as China is now the biggest emitter of carbon and other gases which stimulate global warming. On the other hand, major developing countries like India and China feel the onus should be on the developed countries as they are the main emitters. At the same time, they expect developed nations to provide assistance financially and technologically to developing nations in coming up with clean technology to reduce harmful substances from being released in the atmosphere.

No matter what the issues, it really seems that countries are more concerned about their GDP and national growth and development than this grave danger staring at us on the face. Each nation wants a deal that is favourable to it without looking at the broader picture. The biggest losers in all of this confusion are the small and underdeveloped nations like Maldives, Ethiopia and other such nations. Even a major player like India will face devastating effects of climate change and it is estimated that the number of people that will have to be migrated would be more than that which migrated during partition.

In this acute situation, it's extremely important to come up with a flexible, concrete and a fair solution to tackle this monster of climate change and every nation should be willing to sacrifice other petty interests and bring the larger interest that concerns the world to the fore. There's still some time for the world to react(a couple of days till the summit ends)... here's hoping this much hyped and talked about Copenhagen summit doesn't end up being a 'talk-shap' or an 'expensive picnic'.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

600 arrested for Copenhagen protest

More than 600 people have been arrested at a demonstration against climate change in Copenhagen today.

What started as a peaceful demonstration calling for action on climate change, descended into rioting as hundreds of masked youths threw bricks and smashed windows in the Danish capital.

Police in riot gear arrested between 600 and 700 people, who were cuffed and forced to the ground, before being taken away in vans.

The scenes were in stark contrast to the rest of the colourful demonstration, which had progressed peacefully.
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An estimated 30,000 people attended the opening rally, which was part of an international "day of action" to mark the mid-point of the United Nations climate change summit currently being held in Copenhagen.

Police spokesman Rasmus Bernt Skovsgaard said they had taken preventative measures to control activists at the back of the procession.

Full Article: TIMES

Friday, December 11, 2009

2000-09 warmest decade in 160 years

The UK met office on Tuesday confirmed that 2000 to 2009 were the warmest of the last 160 years. Also, it's figures released at the UN climate summit in Copenhegen showed that 1998 was the warmest year on record. This official report will end the controversy which arised from a leaked e-mail over tweaked climate change data referred to as climategate-aimed at discrediting the phenomenon and the several thousands scientists that have been on work at it.

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