Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Poles apart but warming greater than thought

Marian Wilkinson Environment Editor,, February 27, 2009

Icebergs float in a bay off Ammassalik Island, Greenland.
 Photo: AP/John McConnico

A TWO-YEAR research effort by the world's leading scientists has uncovered evidence of global warming's widespread effect.

Snow and ice continue to decline in the Arctic and parts of Antarctica, affecting sea-level rise and weather patterns, as well as human, animal and plant life.

The findings of International Polar Year, a global research project involving 60 nations, were released yesterday. They confirmed that warming in Antarctica was greater than previously understood and the rate of ice loss from Greenland was increasing.

Dr Ian Allison, of the Australian Antarctic Division, who co-chaired the project told the Herald the effect of global warming in Greenland was clear.

"In Greenland the rate of ice loss is getting greater over the last 10 years and the surface [ice] melt is definitely related to the warming," Dr Allison said.

The project's scientists summed up their findings, saying: "It now appears certain that both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass and thus raising sea level, and that the rate of ice loss from Greenland is growing."

They also warned "the potential for these ice sheets to undergo further rapid ice discharge remains the largest unknown in projections of the rate of sea-level rise by the [United Nations] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change".

Projections for the NSW coast released by the State Government suggest sea levels are expected to rise up to 40 centimetres by 2050 and 90 centimetres by 2100. One centimetre of sea-level rise can have erosion effects of up to one metre in low-lying areas.

The popular belief that Antarctica may be resistant to global warming has been undercut by International Polar Year's research. Data from satellites and weather stations confirmed that for the past 50 years it has been warming at the same rate as the rest of the planet.

Until recently it was only the fragile Antarctic Peninsula that juts up from West Antarctica, which was considered vulnerable to global warming. The peninsula is warming more rapidly than much of the rest of the world with temperatures rising 2.5 degrees in the past 50 years and ice loss increasing 140 per cent in the past decade.

The recent research confirms the Arctic sea ice shrank last year to its second-lowest extent since satellite monitoring began in 1979. The previous low was the summer of 2007. Some scientists are predicting there will be an ice-free Arctic in summer by 2012.

Since the findings by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, it has been widely accepted that the planet's warming is almost certainly due to greenhouse gases being released from the burning of fossil fuels, land clearing and cement manufacturing.

The new research warns greenhouse emissions could rapidly increase from the Arctic warming. The Arctic contains large amounts of greenhouse gas that has been locked in permafrost and below the Arctic Ocean.

UN support sought for WOC

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Fri, 02/27/2009 9:33 AM 


Indonesia is suggesting the United Nations adopt the World Ocean Conference as its new international agenda for discussing ocean protection and climate change.


Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi is seeking support from Indonesian lawmakers to ‘lobby’ the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to become an ‘umbrella’ for future talks on marine conservation.

“We hope the WOC in Manado will be the first Conference of Parties (COP), a new agenda for regularly discussing ocean development that could be placed under the UNEP program,” Freddy told the House of Representatives’ Commission I for foreign affairs and security in Jakarta on Thursday.

Indonesia will host the first WOC in Manado, North Sulawesi, on May 11-15. Around 10,000 delegates from 121 countries and some UN bodies such as UNEP, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been invited.

The meeting, to be attended by ministers overseeing maritime and environmental affairs, will conclude with the signing of a non-binding Manado Ocean Declaration.

Senior officials from 43 countries began a two-day meeting in Jakarta on Thursday to drawn up a draft for the declaration.

Freddy said the declaration would detail the impacts of climate change on oceans, the role of oceans in regulating global climate change and opportunities for regional and international cooperation.

Maritime activities are currently regulated under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which came into effect in 1982.

Around 135 countries, including Indonesia, have ratified the UNCLOS, which outlines ground-rules on maritime activities.

The UNCLOS, however, does not address the method of managing maritime resources in circumstances of global climate change.

The oceans cover almost two thirds of the earth surface, with million of people living near and relying on the sea for food and income.

Experts predict the oceans are capable of storing about 50 times the carbon dioxide emissions currently released into the atmosphere.

Global warming could cause ocean acidification, temperature and sea level rise and flood entire small island states, such as the Maldives.

Indonesia has about 5.8 million hectares of ocean that could absorb up to 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

The maritime minister also unveiled an initiative for the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) to legislators, claiming it was the world’s first initiative to protect coral from the severe impact of climate change.

The heads of states of six countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste – will officially launch the CTI at the sidelines of the WOC. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has confirmed his intention to witness the launch, while United States Secretary Hillary Clinton is also scheduled to attend.

Minister Freddy said preparations for the WOC were about 90 percent complete, though some obervers, including lawmaker Joko Susilo, have warned the government about ignoring pressing issues that require quick organization.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Jakarta to turn lights off Saturday

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 02/27/2009 5:33 PM  

Jakarta will take part in a global effort to promote climate change mitigation by turning off the city lights for an hour on Saturday starting 8.30 p.m. 

Director General for Electricity and Energy Consumption J. Purwono said the event was endorsed by the World Wide Foundation (WWF) and a total of 1,000 cities from all across the globe would participate in the event. 

“We support this program. In Jakarta, WWF will cooperate with the local government,” Purwono said as quoted by Antara state news agency. 

WWF Indonesia program director for climate and energy Fitrian Ardiansya claimed that the event would safe a total of Rp 200 million of spending on electricity. 

“The main targets of this activism are the government, business players, communities and individuals,” Fitrian said. 

The event, which is called Earth Hour, starts in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 with about 2.2 million people turning their house lights off for an hour. A total of 50 million participated in the city last year, and also followed by 18,231 companies and 370 cities in 35 countries. (and) 

Friday, February 20, 2009

Clinton, UN praise RI role in global climate talks

Adianto P. Simamora and Erwida Maulida, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA | Fri, 02/20/2009 9:23 AM  

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded Indonesia for its role in global climate talks to outlining a road map for emission cuts target. 

The praise was made during her meeting Thursday with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta. 

Clinton eulogized Indonesia’s success in hosting the Bali climate change talks, initiating a forestry forum and a coral triangle concept as efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions to tackle global warming. 

During the meeting, President Yudhoyono asked the US to take the lead in creating a global consensus at the climate change conference to be held in Copenhagen later this year. 

“The President said the new global consensus could not possibly be reached without US leadership, especially with the country being the biggest carbon emitter,” presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal told reporters after the meeting. 

In what many hailed as a breakthrough, the US delegation agreed to go along with the Bali road map during the 2007 climate change conference in Bali. 

The Bali road map orders members of the climate conference to set new binding emissions cut targets to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The protocol requires developed nations to cut their emissions by 5 percent by 2012. 

The United States previously rejected the protocol’s binding targets. 

Indonesia also initiated the establishment of the forestry eleven forum (F-11) consisting of forestry countries pushing the world to “pay” for emissions absorbed by member states’ forests.


The Bali talks also adopted the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) concept to provide financial incentives to countries that protected their forests.


In addition, Indonesia also initiated the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), aimed at halting the degradation of coral colonies and safeguarding vulnerable marine species from the impacts of global warming.


Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste will sign the initiative at the World Ocean Conference (WOC) in Manado, North Sulawesi, in May this year.


The US has pledged a grant of US$40 million to protect coral colonies in the region.


US President Barack Obama has been invited to attend the launching ceremony of the CTI, to be held on sidelines of the WOC, which runs from May 11-15.


Besides the US, the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) also honored Indonesia for its CTI initiative and the first ever WOC, which will be attended by some 10,000 delegates from 140 countries.


UNEP executive director Achim Steiner promised to table the WOC results — to be called the Manado Ocean Declaration — at the Copenhagen climate change meeting slated for December.


The promise was made during UNEP’s 25th season of Governing Council Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, that ends this Friday.


Delegates from 134 countries, including Indonesia, are attending the UNEP meeting.


“The 2009 WOC, initiated by Indonesia, has put high awareness on ocean and climate change into UNEP activities,” Steiner said.


Indonesian Maritime affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi, who heads the country’s delegation to the UNEP meeting, said in his keynote speech, made available to The Jakarta Post, that the impact of global warming would see many small island states succumb to rising sea levels.


He reminded participants that the fallout from climate change would be vastly worse and much more long-lasting than that from the current global financial crisis.

Related Article:

Indonesia tells Clinton US must lead on climate change

WOC Website

Monday, February 16, 2009

Solar-powered mobile phone

The Strait Times, Feb 16, 2009

BARCELONA - SOUTH Korean electronics group Samsung showcased its first solar-powered mobile phone on Monday at an industry event in Barcelona, promising a commercial launch later this year.

The sleek-looking, touch-controlled 'Blue Earth,' the centerpiece of Samsung's drive to be more environmentally friendly, has solar panels on its back which the company claims are able to charge the battery in 10-14 hours. 

The phone's use of recycled materials and a built-in pedometer might also appeal to fans of eco-sheek gadgets. -- PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

This would offer approximately four hours of talk time, a company representative said at industry event Mobile World Congress where the phone is on display for the first time. 

The device, expected to be launched in Europe in the second half of 2009, can also be charged normally via a plug, with the solar panels used to top up the battery to extend its power. 

Fellow South Korean manufacturer LG Electronics also has put a prototype solar-powered phone on display here but the company has no launch date or name for the device. 

Industry watchers say the market for a solar-powered phone would include outdoor types in developed countries such as fishermen or campers who head into the wilderness without access to electricity. 

Its recycled materials and built-in pedometer, which shows how far the user has walked, might also appeal to fans of eco-sheek gadgets. 

If the price was low enough - Samsung has not revealed details yet - such a phone could also help link up the millions of poor worldwide who live either without or with very limited access to electricity. -- AFP

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Global warming pushes U.S. species north into Canada

Audubon Society plots bird's-eye view of winged migration

The Vancouver Sun 



Climate change is pushing American birds northward, with some finches and chickadees moving hundreds of kilometres into Canada, an Audubon Society study reported Tuesday.


Drawing on citizen observations over a 40-year period, the society's scientists found that 58 per cent of 305 widespread bird species found in the contiguous United States shifted significantly to the north. While there are many factors that can make birds move, there's no question this is caused by human-spurred global warming, according to report co-author Greg Butcher.

 Boreal chickadee. 

Photograph by: Jeremy Yancey, National Audubon Society; Reuters



"There's a thousand things that cause birds to change their range, and so if you do a study of a whole bunch of birds, you'll see some moving north, some moving south, some moving west," Butcher said. "What was real surprising about this study is ... to see the birds moving so uniformly in one direction."


Scientists were able to relate this movement with temperature changes from 1966 through 2005.


"That uniformity of movement and then a whole bunch of different tests we were able to take to correlate those movements with temperature change that make it so obvious that it's global warming is what we're dealing with here," he said.


All kinds of birds moved north, but more of the highly adaptable forest and feeder birds -- upward of 70 per cent -- made the move, compared with only 38 per cent of grassland species, the study found. The purple finch, pine siskin and boreal chickadee moved deep into the Canadian Boreal Forest, shifting their ranges 504, 396 and 340 km, respectively.


Southern-dwelling water birds, including the red-breasted merganser, ring-necked duck and American black duck, shifted their ranges northward by lesser distances. Only 10 of 26 grassland species made significant moves north. Birds including the eastern meadowlark, vesper sparrow and burrowing owl may have been unable to despite more moderate northern temperatures because grassland habitats have been converted to human uses such as row crops, pasture and hayfields.


There will be fewer of these grassland birds as global warming and pressure on grasslands increases, the report said.


These changes in the bird world are an indicator of the impact of climate change on humans, Butcher said. "This isn't something that's going to happen in the Arctic or the Antarctic and it isn't something that's going to happen way off in the future," he said. "It's something that has been occurring over 40 years and it is disrupting the lives of birds and it's going to disrupt the lives of people."


Butcher said the key to combating global warming is to pass a law to cap and trade climate-warming greenhouse emissions.




Forest and feeder birds have been the most frequent new immigrants to Canada, extending their range by up to 500 kilometres. By contrast, grassland birds have not tended to move north. 

Global warming 'underestimated'


The severity of global warming over the next century will be much worse than previously believed, a leading climate scientist has warned.

Professor Chris Field, an author of a 2007 landmark report on climate change, said future temperatures "will be beyond anything" predicted.

Prof Field said rising temperatures could thaw Arctic permafrost

Prof Field said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had underestimated the rate of change.

He said warming is likely to cause more environmental damage than forecast.

Speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, Prof Field said fresh data showed greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2007 increased far more rapidly than expected.

"We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously in climate policy," he said.

Prof Field said the 2007 report, which predicted temperature rises between 1.1C and 6.4C over the next century, seriously underestimated the scale of the problem.

He said the increases in carbon dioxide have been caused, principally, by the burning of coal for electric power in India and China.


Prof Field said the impact on temperatures is as yet unknown, but warming is likely to accelerate at a much faster pace and cause more environmental damage than had been predicted.

The BBC's science reporter Matt McGrath says the most recent data is also worrying because it threatens to kick-start what climate scientists call negative feedback effects.

Prof Field says that a warming planet will dry out forests in tropical areas making them much more likely to suffer from wildfires.

The rising temperatures could also speed up the melting of the permafrost, vastly increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Google's PowerMeter Lets You Know If the Lights Are on


Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service, Feb 10, 2009 7:20 pm 

This is an example screenshot of Google's power meter software in action. The service, once it receives more partner support should eventually help reduce the stress on the grid and save users power bills by monitoring their usage and comparing it with grid demand for live information feeds. (Source:

Google is testing software that will let consumers get detailed information on how much electricity they're using, which could help households reduce consumption by as much as 15 percent, the company said Monday. 

The software, Google PowerMeter, integrates into the company's iGoogle platform, where users create a customized page with lightweight Web-based applications. The PowerMeter is designed to show a granular, real-time view of electricity-consuming devices. 

Although just a prototype now, consumers will eventually be able to opt in to use it, and no personal information will be shared between Google and utilities, the company said. The electricity data will be stored securely, and users will be able to tell their utility to stop sending data to the PowerMeter, Google said. 

Most consumers don't have much data or context regarding their electricity consumption, according to Ed Lu of Google's engineering team

Google's PowerMeter takes data from so-called "smart meters," or advanced electricity meters and other electricity management devices. About 40 million smart meters are in use worldwide, with that number expected to rise to 100 million in the next few years, Lu said. 

U.S. President Barack Obama's economy stimulus plan includes investments to put up to 40 million smart meters in U.S. homes. 

Google takes data from a home's smart meter and displays it in agraph. It can show the current day's electricity consumption compared to the day before, but the graph can be expanded to get a historical view of peaks and troughs in electricity usage, Google said. 

Google also plans to release APIs (application programming interfaces) for PowerMeter that would let other software developers build applications around it. 

Google is making a strong push for agreements with utilities on how to standardize the data that's available from smart meters. In a position paper dated Monday sent to California's Public Utility Commission, Google said that "the data from the smart meter needs to be available to the consumer in real-time and in a non-proprietary format." 

California has been pushing ahead with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) plans, which call for new meters that show real-time data well as pricing information to consumers. 

So far, Google is letting its own employees test PowerMeter. The insights gained include at least two revelations about the electricity used to make toast and the inefficiency of 20-year-old refrigerators. 

"One morning I noticed that my energy consumption was higher than normal," wrote Kirsten, a Google program manager, who didn't give her last name. "I went into the kitchen and found that the dial on our toaster oven was stuck and had been on all night. 

"It was already burning and the once white exterior was now brown. If I hadn't seen my energy consumption and known where to look, my apartment could have been toast," she wrote.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

China to set up largest wind power facility R&D center

Beijing (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - China Northern Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry (Group) Corporation would invest another six billion yuan (US$882.4 million) in western China's Xi'an city to build the largest wind power facility research center, the company has said.


According to the agreement between the company and the municipal government of Xi'an of Shaanxi Province, four billion yuan will be invested first in six wind power product manufacturing projects, which are scheduled to be completed in 2011.


The second phase involves an investment of two billion yuan to build railway transportation and develop wind power systems by 2015.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Green growth" puts climate spending in focus

By Gerard Wynn - Analysis, Thu Feb 5, 2009 1:04pm EST 


LONDON (Reuters) - The United States, Europe and other nations will spend about $100 billion on projects to fight climate change under economic stimulus plans, raising questions about how much support the industry needs.

Power-generating windmill turbines on a wind farm in Fruges, near Saint Omer, northern France January 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)

Spending money through a recession to boost jobs is well established, but the long term value-for-money of current support for clean energy is questioned.


Political and business leaders have called for "green growth" spending over the next two to three years to boost fossil fuel alternatives and cut carbon emissions, and create jobs and help a sector wilting in the downturn.


Many energy alternatives including wind and solar are not yet cost-competitive with fossil fuels, and so need incentives.


"The fiscal stimulus simplifies things. It says -- let's not worry about cost efficiency but get things moving ... give the money to somebody making something we want," said Nick Mabey, head of the London-based environment group E3G.


But in the longer term European supports need to be more transparent, Mabey said, arguing that suppliers should bid to produce low-carbon electricity, as in some parts of the United States, rather than get fixed price support as now.


"If we're trying to push a big transformation you want it to be cost-effective."


"The (European) system just makes everything untransparent and gives lots of opportunities for people to get excess profits. It doesn't seem the best bargain for the consumer or the government."


An additional question is just how much government help electricity producers, for example, need to produce low-carbon power, rather than invest off their balance sheet.


The EU will force all west European utilities from 2013 to pay for every ton of carbon emissions, a strong driver for them to invest now in wind power, for example.


But utilities argue that the economics of offshore wind projects, in particular, are finely balanced as a result of lower oil and gas prices. Exactly how much support they need is difficult to predict.


"This is simply arm-wrestling with the government over who pays what," said Michael Liebreich, head of researchers New Energy Finance.


"The problem we've got is that calculations (of support) were done at energy prices probably higher than current prices, and they've gone back and said this project is now marginal."


"Why not use this opportunity to get 200 million of tax breaks (under a fiscal stimulus)?"


One area that public investment is needed is in power grids and other networks to connect new, renewable sources of energy.


"The argument of value for money can only be pushed to a certain level, for example you need significant investment in new infrastructure," said HSBC analyst Joaquim de Lima.




The United States is expected this month to agree about $75 billion spending on climate change related projects. European countries have proposed about 10 billion euros ($13.03 billion), and other countries have similar plans.


Asset managers are especially excited about Obama's initiative, because this is a policy shift in a country where huge private sector funds have barely invested in listed clean energy companies to date, fund managers say.


But it is not just public equity financing that clean energy companies need. Bank lending is a key plank of project financing and has come to a standstill.


Falling oil prices have not helped. One of the cheapest forms of alternative energy, onshore wind, is competitive at a $55 oil price -- estimates investors Impax Asset Management -- far above Thursday's price of $40.


Zero growth in investment in climate-related companies is expected this year, at about $150 billion, compared with 60 percent annual growth from 2006-07, say New Energy Finance.


That assumes a pick-up later this year. Growth could be faster if the Obama administration pushed through a federal minimum standard for producing renewable energy.


Less investment will mean fewer installations. Solar power will not match its breakneck 55 percent annual growth of the past five years, said Citi analysts. Wind power growth may fall to about 20 percent from nearly 30 percent last year, estimated New Energy Finance.


A bright spot from the recession will be falling equipment prices. A lack of project finance now is flipping kit shortages into over-capacity in the wind industry and a glut of solar panels.


Solar-grade silicon prices will fall by more than 30 percent and wind turbine prices by up to 15 this year, according to New Energy Finance. That will hurt manufacturers but aid developers and operators -- now top picks for investors.

Related Articles:

Small firms see green in package

Hope builds on China-U.S. clean-energy partnering

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Waste could be crucial in search for cleaner fuels

Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:30pm EST  

LONDON (Reuters) - What we throw away could soon be used to power our cars, if projects to produce ethanol from commercial waste are ramped up. 

Some companies are exploring the environmental and financial benefits of putting waste to good use and are developing technology to produce bioethanol. 

Magazine paper company UPM Kymmene and renewable fuel supplier Lassila & Tikanoja are currently running pilot tests to produce bioethanol from the pulp-based waste created by the paper industry. 

"We will start discussions with the European Union over investment support in February and hope to make a decision on a full-scale plant by the end of the year," Lassi Heitanen, senior expert at Lassila & Tikanoja, told Reuters. 

By developing waste processing units, Finnish energy company St1 Oy's biofuel division hopes to produce 70 million litres a year of bioethanol by the end of 2011. 

Industrial and household waste is vastly under-utilised and is usually burned or disposed of in a landfill. Decaying waste can generate methane which is even more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. 

Using it to produce a cleaner type of fuel could also help reach EU's target that 10 percent of the bloc' transport fuel should come from renewable sources by 2020. 

Ethanol burns with a greater efficiency than gasoline, thereby emitting less carbon dioxide. The world produced 52 billion litres of ethanol in 2007, mostly in the United States and Brazil. 

In a similar move to use waste efficiently, British renewable energy company New Earth Energy has partnered with waste management group Biossence to generate renewable energy in the northwest of the UK. 

They want to use household and industrial waste as an energy source at two plants in the northwest of the country by 2010. 

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by James Jukwey)

Calif. facing worst drought in modern history


ECHO SUMMIT, Calif. (AP) — State officials reported a Sierra Nevada snowpack smaller than normal on Thursday and said California may be at the beginning of its worst drought in modern history. Residents were immediately urged to conserve water.


The snowpack was about 61% of its usual depth across the 400-mile-long mountain range, according to the state Department of Water Resources, which released the findings as part of the second snow survey of the season.

Terry Cochrane, caretaker of the Lake Pillsbury Resort in Northern California, stands on the dock Thursday. During a normal wet year, the water would be approximately 30 to 40 feet deep at the dock. (By Kent Porter, AP) 


Department Director Lester Snow said the results indicate California could be heading for a third dry year.


"We may be at the start of the worst California drought in modern history," Snow said in a statement. "It's imperative for Californians to conserve water immediately at home and in their businesses."


Measurements of snow depth and snow water content in the Sierra are important because they help hydrologists forecast how much water California can expect to get in the coming year.


Levels were 49% of normal in the northern Sierra and about 63% of normal in the central region and 68% of normal in the southern region.


California's largest reservoirs — Shasta and Oroville — are less than half as full as they should be for this time of year. The snowpack water content needs to be roughly double what it is today by April to replenish the reservoirs, said Don Strickland, a spokesman for the water agency.


It's doubtful Mother Nature will grow the snowpack by that much. Felix Garcia, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said a La Nina weather pattern over the Pacific Ocean is pushing most of this year's winter storms past California.


"The rain is happening but it's happening way north in Washington and in Canada," Garcia said. "It is expected to remain about the same for the next two to three months."


The state has said it will deliver just 15% of its water contracts this year because of the low reservoir levels and court-ordered restrictions not to pump water to protect a threatened fish that lives in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last week warned farmers that water deliveries would be low this year. The agency intends to release its annual delivery estimates next month.


And in neighboring Nevada, the U.S. Agriculture Department has declared almost all of the state a natural disaster area because of losses caused by drought over the past year.

Related Articles:

China hit by worst drought in 50 years

Drought, heat killing trees in western N.America

Sharp rise in China birth defects

BBC World,

A senior family planning official in China has noted an alarming rise in the number of babies with birth defects, a Chinese media report says.

Jiang Fan, from China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, said environmental pollution was the cause of the problem.

The report suggests China's rapid development has a human cost

He said a child was born with physical defects every 30 seconds because of the degrading environment.

The report said China's coal-rich Shanxi province had the highest rate.

The commission blamed emissions from the region's large chemical industry for the problems there.

'Prevention plan'

Correspondents say the report suggests there is a human cost to China's rapid economic development.

Researchers also blamed exposure to nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulates for the increase.

"The number of newborns with birth defects is constantly increasing in both urban and rural areas," China Daily newspaper quoted Ms Jiang as saying.

"The rather alarming increase has forced us to kick off a high-level prevention plan."

The commission had introduced a screening programme in the eight worst-affected provinces, Ms Jiang explained.

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