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

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dutch company to make electric cars for Europe, US

Malaysia's Proton, Dutch company set to make electric cars for Europe, US by 2010

Yahoo Finance, 30 March 2009

Vijay Joshi, Associated Press Writer, Monday March 30, 2009, 10:03 am EDT

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia's national car maker Proton and a Dutch-based company signed a $555 million deal Monday to make zero emission electric cars that they said would be more powerful that any existing model.

Proton and Detroit Electric, a startup company that owns the technology, signed the agreement in the presence of Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to produce the sedan cars, initially targeted for Europe and the U.S.

"We have the audacity to bring to the people an affordable, practical, everyday car ... with zero emission," Detroit Electric Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Albert Lam said in a speech.

The four-door vehicle will roll out of Proton's factory by early next year, Lam told The Associated Press in an interview.

The aim is to produce 40,000 units in the first year, ramping up to 270,000 by 2013, he said. The cars will be priced between $23,000 and $33,000, depending on the model and taxation.

Under the agreement, Detroit Electric will use Proton's underutilized assembly line. Detroit Electric's motor, lithium polymer battery, the drive train and other components will be fitted in the bodies of two Proton models, Persona and Gen 2. They will be sold as Detroit Electric, without a specific brand name.

If it succeeds, Detroit Electric would be among the first to mass-produce an electric car driven purely by a noiseless battery-powered motor, unlike current hybrid engines that combine gasoline engines and electric motors.

General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co., PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Tesla Motors are all seeking to develop electric cars market amid rising consumer interest in "green" technologies -- and at a particularly difficult time for the industry amid the global slowdown.

U.S.-based Tesla Motors has a prototype that has a claimed range of 160 miles (257 kilometers) and is scheduled to be produced by 2011, and cost about $50,000. A Peugeot-Mitsubishi collaboration, the iMiEV hatchback, expected to reach European consumers next year, has a stated range of 90 miles (145 kilometers).

Lam said Detroit Electric's base model, meant for city driving, will have a range of 150 miles (240 kilometers) on a full charge of eight to 10 hours and will have a top speed of 120 miles per hour (195 kmph).

The higher model will have a range of 200 miles (320 kilometers) with a top speed of 120 miles per hour. Plugging the car to an ordinary electric power outlet would charge the battery, manufactured by a South Korean company.

"We will be the spark that triggers change and tells people now is the time," said Lam. "Let's push change in the industry for environment's sake, for the sake of less dependency on petrol, for the sake of zero emission and for noiseless driving."

Lam, a British citizen and a longtime auto industry executive, joined a group of Dutch investors and inventors of the car's motor to set up a company in Damwoude, Netherlands. Lam bought the rights to the company's name -- Detroit Electric produced electric cars in the U.S. in 1907 -- to restore its historical legacy.

The engineers developed the car over 18 months and two working models were demonstrated to journalists last year.

Proton, which has struggled in recent years, could benefit from the agreement and create a niche market for itself.

"The project shows that Proton can adapt well to the current challenging economic climate," said Proton Managing Director Syed Zainal Abidin bin Syed Mohamed Tahir. "As a manufacturer, we have to think differently from others and start venturing into new areas where there are potential for growth," he said.

He said the deal will earn Proton revenue of at least 2 billion ringgit ($555 million) over four years, even if it makes only 40,000 cars per year.

Proton will have the option of buying the Detroit Electric technology after a nine-month evaluation period and to sell the car under its own brand in Southeast Asia.

Associated Press writer Eileen Ng contributed to this report.

Related Articles:

GM, Chrysler rocked by Obama's hard line

Could the Tesla Model S become the Google Car?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Obama team debuts at UN climate talks

The Jakarta Post, Athur Max, The Associated Press, Bonn, Germany | Sun, 03/29/2009

President Barack Obama's climate change team made their international debut Sunday at a major U.N. conference - and delegates were eager to find out whether Obama could translate his aggressive domestic agenda into a worldwide deal to fight global warming.

The two-week meeting by 175 countries is the latest attempt to craft a global agreement to govern the emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists say are dangerously warming the planet.

With time running out before the pact is due to be completed in December, delegates are trying to narrow vast differences over how best to fight climate change.

Issues include how much countries need to reduce emissions, how to raise the tens of billions of dollars needed annually to fight global warming and how to transfer money and technology to poor countries who are most vulnerable to increasingly fierce storms, droughts and failing crops.
In a symbolic move embraced around the world, lights dimmed Saturday night for one hour in nearly 4,000 cities and famous sites - from the Sydney opera house to the Egyptian pyramids, from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to Times Square in New York - to highlight concern over global warming.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature, which organized the event, said hundreds of millions of people took part.

"Last night's message from the masses was loud and clear: Delay no more, real action now!" said Kim Carstensen, head of WWF's Global Climate Initiative.

The climate change agreement to be concluded in December in Copenhagen, Denmark, is meant to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which requires 37 industrial nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent from 1990 levels by 2012 when it expires.

The United States was instrumental in negotiating Kyoto, but could not win enough support in Congress. Global talks stalled as the U.S. Bush administration refused to reduce carbon emissions.

In an upbeat signal to the 2,000 delegates in Bonn, Obama dispatched his top negotiator, Todd Stern, to deliver the message: "We're back."

But the talks have barely picked up momentum since Obama's election. Everyone is waiting for the new team to clarify its stand on a host of issues, from emission targets to finances.

"There is a clear reluctance to go too fast and too quickly into numbers until we know what the U.S. will say," said Harald Dovland, chairman of a key forum at the conference.

Obama announced Saturday he would revive a parallel negotiating forum of the 17 nations that emit more than 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, including India, China, Brazil, Russia, Japan and the European Union.

When it was first launched by former President George W. Bush, many of the U.N. delegates viewed it as an attempt to undermine the U.N. process. That view seems to have softened.

"It's quite a useful group of countries," said Michael Zammit Cutajar, chairman of the second negotiating forum at the U.N. talks.

Diplomats wonder how flexible the new U.S. negotiating team can be, and whether the U.S. has fallen so far behind that it can't catch up.

While the European Union is on target to reduce its carbon emissions by 8 percent from 1990 levels, U.S. emissions have grown at least 16 percent from that baseline.

Obama has pledged to return to 1990 levels by 2020. But other countries insist that by that time the industrial world should be 25-40 percent below 1990 to avoid a potentially catastrophic warming of the Earth's average temperature.
"The big question for me is to what extent it is prepared to negotiate," Zammit Cutajar told The Associated Press.

U.S. negotiator Stern says the administration wants to avoid a repeat of the Kyoto debacle, and its policy will be driven by the political realities of dealing with Congress.

"This will be a big, big fight to get the domestic piece done," he told reporters in Berlin on Friday.

Alden Meyer, of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists, says Obama cannot ignore the international scene.

What the world needs to hear from Obama "is the kind of rhetoric for a global deal on climate that he's made very powerfully in the domestic context," Meyer said.

Three more meetings - six weeks of actual negotiations - are scheduled this year.

Obama invites major economies to energy forum

CNN, 29 March 2009

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama has invited the leaders of 16 major economies to Washington for a forum on energy and climate next month, the White House announced Saturday.

Obama, who recently turned his attention to the need for more clean-energy funding, has also asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to attend.

The forum, scheduled for April 27-28, seeks to "generate the political leadership necessary" for a successful outcome at the U.N. climate change negotiation to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, the White House said in a statement.

Aside from the United States, the 16 other major economies are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Last week, Obama told a group of renewable-energy company owners and investors that the country has "known the right choice for a generation (and that) the time has come to make that choice."

He argued that an expanded investment is needed to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth, cut dependence on foreign oil and slow the process of global warming.

"We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc or we can create jobs preventing its worse effects," he said. "We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can create those jobs right here in America."

The need for new energy sources was a heated point of contention in the 2008 presidential campaign. Obama emphasized the need for renewable-energy development, while Republican nominee John McCain stressed a preference for more oil drilling within the United States.

Antarctica to Pyramids - lights dim for Earth Hour

The Jakarta Post, Rupa Shenoy, The Associated Press, Chicago | Sun, 03/29/2009

From an Antarctic research base and the Great Pyramids of Egypt to the Empire State Building in New York, lluminated patches of the globe went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a campaign to highlight the threat of climate change.

Time zone by time zone, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries joined the event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to dim nonessential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The campign began in Australia in 2007 and last year grew to 400 cities worldwide.

Organizers initially worried enthusiasm this year would wane with the world focused on the global economic crisis, said Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley. But he said it apparently had the opposite effect.

"Earth Hourhas always been a positive campaign; it's always around street parties, not street protests, it's the idea of hope, not despair. And I think that's something that's been incredibly important this year because there is so much despair around," he said.

Crowds in Time Square watched as many of the massive bllboards, including the majestic "Phantom of the Opera" marquee, darkened.

Mikel Rouse, 52, a composer who lives and works nearby came to watch what he called "the center of the universe" dim its lights.

"C'mon, is it really necessary? ... All this ridiculous advertising ... all this corporate advertising taking up all that energy seems to be a waste," Rouse said.

Officials planned to flip a 4-foot-tall, mock light switch in Chicago, one of 10 U.S. Earth Hour flagship cities, where a storm added rains and strong winds to the drama of the event. More than 200 buildings have pledged to go dark in the city, including shops along the Magnificent Mile. Workers will also pull the plug on the marquee at the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field.

"No matter what your individual beliefs are about climate change, energy efficiency is something everyone can understand in this economic environment," said WWF managing director Darron Collins, who helped Chicago officials organize for the night.

The Smithsonian Castle, World Bank, National Cathedral and Howard University were among several buildings that went dark for an hour in the nation's capital.

"This was the first year that Washington, D.C., became an official Earth Hour city," said Leslie Aun, WWF spokeswoman.

In the Chilean capital of Santiago, lights were turned off at banks, the city's communications tower and several government buildings, including the Presidential Palace where President Michelle Bachelet hosted a dinner for U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

The two leaders and dozens of guests dinned at candlelight.

In San Francisco, lights on landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge were set to be turned off, along with the city's well-known Ghirardelli Square sign. The Las Vegas Strip will turn down its glitz by extinguishing the marquees and decorative lighting outside casinos, as well as the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign.

The honkytonks in Nashville went dark as country music stars Jo Dee Messina and Big Kenny Alphin of the duo Big & Rich entertain a crowd with a free concert.

"I think it's fascinating that so many cities are taking part and that something as simple as shutting off the lights can make such a difference. It's something everyone can do," Messina told the AP.

Brenda Sanderson, owner of four Nashville honkytonks, said she expects the crowd to be surprised, but noted Nashville is also known for acoustic music.

"We're going to do it acoustic for a while and let the crowd play along and see if they enjoy it," Sanderson said.

U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon called Earth Hour "a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message: They want action on climate change."

An agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, is supposed to be reached in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December, and environmentalists' sense of urgency has spurred interest in this year's Earth Hour.

In Bonn, WWF activists held a candlelit cocktail party on the eve of a U.N. climate change meeting, the first in a series of talks leading up to Copenhagen. The goal is to get an ambitions deal to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are dangerously warming the planet.

"People want politicians to take action and solve the problem," said Kim Carstensen, director of the global climate initiative for WWF, speaking in a piano bar bathed by candlelight and lounge music.

China participated for the first time, cutting the lights at Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium and Water Cube, the most prominent 2008 Olympic venues. In Bangkok, the prime minister switched off the lights on Khao San Road, a haven for budget travelers packed with bars and outdoor cafes.

Earth Hour organizers say there's no uniform way to measure how much energy is saved worldwide.

Earth Hour 2009 has garnered support from global corporations, nonprofit groups, schools, scientists and celebrities - including Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett and retired Cape Town Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

McDonald's Corp. planned to dim its arches at 500 locations around the U.S. Midwest. The Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Fairmont hotel chains and Coca-Cola Co. also planned to participate.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

US birds in 'widespread decline'

BBC News, 22 March 2009

Almost one third of the 800 species of birds found in the US are "endangered, threatened or in significant decline", a report has concluded.

Described as the most comprehensive assessment of its kind, the study listed habitat loss and invasive species as being the main threats.

The number of western meadowlarks has declined sharply in recent years

But where conservation measures had been taken, some bird populations had shown signs of recovery, it added.

The US State of Birds report was commissioned by President Bush in 2007.

It was compiled by a partnership of organisations, including the US Geological Survey and the American Bird Conservancy, from three long-running bird censuses stretching back 40 years.

Habitat concerns

One of the key findings was that more birds were at risk in Hawaii than anywhere else in the US.

"Habitats such as those in Hawaii are on the verge of losing entire suites of unique bird species," warned David Pashley, American Bird Conservancy's vice president.

As a result of the encroachment of human activities, nearly all of the bird species on the Hawaiian Islands were in danger of extinction unless urgent conservation measures were implemented.

"In addition to habitat loss, birds also face many other man-made threats, such as pesticides, predation by cats, and collisions with windows, towers and buildings," Dr Pashley added.

The report also found that at least 39% of ocean bird species were declining, and about half were of "conservation concern".

It also highlighted that half of coastal migrating shorebirds had declined, "indicating stress in coastal habitats besieged by development, disturbance and dwindling food supplies".

The researchers said it indicated deteriorating conditions and that effective "management policies and sustainable fishing regulations were essential".

Bald eagles have benefited from shooting bans and pesticide restrictions

But the report also presented evidence that populations of birds recovered quickly when conservation measures were taken.

The data revealed "dramatic increases" in wetlands species, such as pelicans, herons, egrets, ospreys and ducks.

"These results emphasise that investment in wetlands conservation has paid huge dividends," observed Kenneth Rosenberg, director of conservation science at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

"Now we need to invest similarly in other neglected habitats where birds are undergoing the steepest declines."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Veggie Garden on White House Lawn

We asked for it - a veggie garden on the White House lawn. Could this be true?

ABC News’ Brian Hartman Reports: President Obama’s latest shovel-ready project is close to home — in fact, right in his own yard. In an effort to promote healthy eating, the first family will be planting a vegetable garden right on the White House grounds. - ABC News

The ABC news article says one of the Park Service workers confirmed that the garden will become reality, and went on to state that it will be organised by White House residence staff, not the Park

Service staff that normally maintain the grounds. This infers that Michelle Obama will be in charge of the garden, as she is head of residence staff.

This begs the question, does Michelle Obama read our blog? (well, you can’t help but wonder).

We’ll know in due course - the veggies pulled from the White House turf are either going to be organic (hopefully in the truest sense of the word), or we’ll have a slew of industries proudly proclaiming that White House staff are using their chemicals to ’solve’ any issues they may have along the way.

I like to hold out a little hope though, and the ABC article indicates there may be a valid reason to do so:

As first reported online by food writer Eddie Gehman Kohan, who reports on food issues related to the Obamas, First Lady Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey’s "O" magazine, "We’re … working on a wonderful new garden project."

In the April issue of the magazine, Mrs. Obama tells Winfrey, "We want to use it as a point of education, to talk about health and how delicious it is to eat fresh food, and how you can take that food and make it part of a healthy diet." - ABC News

I’m sure the mainstream media will have their eyes all over this one - so time will tell.

Michelle - if you are reading, I’d like to propose that our own Geoff Lawton come and take you through the design process. He’s worked a lot of unusual locations….

Related Articles:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Google to roll out free tool to help save energy

Reuters, Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:31pm EDT

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - Google Inc (GOOG.O) is soon to roll out free software which allows consumers to track their home electricity use and improve energy efficiency in a bid to help mitigate global warming.

Dan Reicher, Director for Climate Change and Energy Initiatives Google, told Reuters it was in talks with utilities companies in the United Sates, Europe and Asia to make the product available shortly to general consumers.

As part of its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Google said in February it would use its software skills for the programme that will show home energy consumption in real time on a user's computer or a telephone.

"It will get rolled out very soon to regular energy consumers," Reicher said, without providing exact timings.

"When I began getting information about my own home, I discovered that I had a 35-year electric motor running for my heating system. That was using huge amount of electricity. I did not realise that's the change I need to make in my home."

The company cited studies showing that access to home energy information typically saves between 5 percent and 15 percent on monthly electricity bills.

"The beauty of the tool we are developing is that is going to be an open source," Reicher said. (Reporting by Nao Nakanishi; Editing by Keiron Henderson)

Related Article:

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wall St. underwater: rising seas to hit NY hard

Paris (ANTARA News) - A predicted slowdown in Atlantic Ocean currents will cause sea levels along the US northeast coast to rise twice as fast as the global average, exposing New York and other big cities to violent and frequent storm surges, according to a new study.

Manhattan's Wall Street, barely a metre (three feet) above sea level, for example, will find itself underwater more often as the 21st century unfolds, said the study, published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience.

Sea levels vary across regions by up to 24 centimetres (9.5 inches), influenced in part by powerful currents that coarse around the globe in a pattern called the thermohaline circulation.

In the Atlantic, warm water moving north along the surface from the Gulf of Mexico helps temper cold winters in western Europe and along the US east coast, while frigid Arctic waters run south along the bottom of the sea.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in early 2007 that expanding ocean water driven by climate change will drive up sea levels, on average, anywhere from 18 to 59 centimetres (seven to 23 inches) by 2100, depending on how successful we are at slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

This rising water mark will erase several island nations from the map, and is likely to cause devastation in Asian and African deltas home to tens of millions of people.

More recent studies, taking the impact of melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Western Antarctic into account, forecast an even higher increase of at least one metre (39 inches) over the same period.

Jianjun Yin of Florida State University and two colleagues wanted to find out what impact these sea level rises would have at a regional level, especially along the American eastern seaboard.

The researchers analysed the projections of nearly a dozen state-of-the art climate change models, under three different greenhouse gas scenarios.

They found that sea levels in the North Atlantic adjusted in all cases to the projected slowing of the Gulf Stream and its northward extension, the North Atlantic Current.

The weakened currents account for nearly half of a predicted sea rise -- from thermal expansion alone -- of 36 to 51 centimeters for the US northeastern coast, especially near New York, they found.

"This will lead to the rapid sea level rise on the Northeast coast of the United States," Yin told AFP by phone.

And if, under the influence of melting ice sheets, "the global sea level rise is higher, the relative sea level rise will be superimposed. Proportionally it would be the same," he added.

Rapid sea level increases would put cities such as New York, Boston, Baltimore and Washington D.C. at significantly greater risk of coastal hazards such as hurricanes and intense winter storm surges.

A study released last year by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists showed that, due to rising sea levels, once-in-a-century storms would occur on average every 10 years by 2100.

A large belt of around the tip of Manhattan -- included Wall Street -- would have a 10 percent chance of flooding in any given year, it concluded.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Singapore Honors Dutch Scientist

The Jakarta Globe, March 13, 2009 

Singapore. Singapore will award nearly $200,000 to a Dutch scientist who pioneered an environmentally friendly, low-cost way of treating waste water and refused to patent the process. 

Gatze Lettinga, an environmental engineer from Amsterdam, was chosen as this year’s winner of the award, launched in 2008 and named after Singapore’s founding father and former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, officials said. 

Resource-starved Singapore, which is already recycling sewage into clean water for use in factories and homes, gives out the award to honour persons or groups for “outstanding contributions” in the field of water. 

Lettinga, who turns 73 next month, said he did not patent his discovery because he wanted everyone to benefit. 

“I believe that innovative technologies for treating used water, waste, and gas … will contribute to more sustainable living which the world urgently needs,” the retired professor told a news conference in Singapore. 

Lettinga focused on anaerobic technology, which uses micro-organisms in an oxygen-free environment to purify waste water before it is released to the environment, reducing the threat of pollution. 

While anaerobic technology has been around for hundreds of years, his research proved that it can be done at a much lower cost and in a manner that is environmentally sustainable, organizers of the award said in a statement. 

Because it does not use oxygen, anaerobic technology uses up to 40 percent less energy than the conventional aerobic system and is also cheaper to operate and maintain, the statement said. 

The technology is now used in almost 3,000 reactors, representing 80 percent of all anaerobic used water treatment systems worldwide. 

The award, which comes with a cash prize of 300,000 Singapore dollars ($194,000) and a gold medallion, is sponsored by the Millennium Foundation, a philanthropic body supported by sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. 

Agence France-Presse

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The "Flying Dutchman" of Climate Change

By BRYAN WALSH , Time/CNN, Thursday, Mar. 12, 2009


Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), gestures as he answers questions during a press conference at Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on February 13, 2009. Toru Yamanaka / AFP / Getty

His colleagues call him the Flying Dutchman because of all the time Yvo de Boer spends in the air, traveling from one world capital to another as he tries to stitch together a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions — and possible save the world. As the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), de Boer is the U.N.'s point man for the ongoing global effort to plan a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. (See pictures of our fragile planet.

The deadline for a new treaty is coming up fast — at the U.N. climate summit that will be held in Copenhagen at the end of the year. Though a much more climate-friendly Administration has just taken power in Washington, the main conflicts that have held up talks in the past — including the division of responsibility between China and the U.S., the two biggest carbon emitters in the world — remain deep. De Boer spoke to TIME in New York City, just a few hours before he was back in the air: 

You were just down in Washington. Can you give me a sense of what the new Administration and Congress are expecting on climate negotiations this year?

What struck me across the board was this huge enthusiasm to get moving on the topic. It's very clear that it's very near the top of the political agenda, if not at the top. The Obama Administration is committed to putting an ambitious domestic policy package in place. The new President has asked Congress and the Senate to come up with cap and trade legislation. They want to show leadership at the national level, engage in the international process, work towards an agreement in Copenhagen and reach out to developing countries to ensure they engage as well. 

The conventional wisdom is that, with everything else on the government's plate, we're unlikely to see carbon cap and trade legislation passed in Congress before the Copenhagen summit at the end of the year. How important is it that something is in place by then?

I'd agree that legislation is not going to be passed by Copenhagen, but it will be well advanced by then. The international community is keenly interested in seeing what steps America is making at home to get its emissions under control, but it also wants to se what the Administration says it will do. If the Administration in Copenhagen commits to a target that is good enough for the international community, that will work. It's up to the U.S. see how the target will be implemented nationally. 

Do you worry about a repeat of the Kyoto Protocol, where U.S. negotiators signed onto ambitious carbon cut targets, only to be repudiated by the Senate at home?

I don't see that happening again. At that time there was almost a complete disconnect between the Administration and the Senate. This time around, I don't know if Sen. [John] Kerry and Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton are on the phone with each other every day, but I have the impression they work together very closely and that Kerry is going to help make sure that whatever is agreed to at Copenhagen can get through the Senate. 

Is Copenhagen still an "all or nothing" deadline? Or is there still wiggle room if the world fails to agree on a new treaty?

You have to do it in Copenhagen. There is tremendous political momentum internationally to come to an agreement, and if you let that slip the momentum and enthusiasm will gradually dissipate and things will become more difficult. But having said that, I'm not under the illusion that every final little detail of how the agreement will work in practice will be finalized in Copenhagen. A certain amount of engineering has to be done. 

Has that momentum been dented by the ongoing global recession?

I don't think the enthusiasm has been dented. In fact, a lot of countries including this one are mainstreaming climate and energy in their recovery packages. Obama does that in improving the electrical grid to put more renewable energy in place, and by helping Detroit build the hybrids of tomorrow rather than the relics of yesteryear. But clearly this is a difficult time to mobilize the financial resources for international cooperation, and that poses a challenge. 

How are you managing the expectations for Copenhagen? Do you worry that if expectations remain low, nations could go into the meeting willing to accept low emissions targets, or even failure?

Yes, I think that it's dangerous to hold onto the prospect that you can go into overtime and postpone an agreement. I think that's dangerous because it's not true. It's not true in the sense that things will be a lot more difficult after Copenhagen than before Copenhagen. 

What's your life like now, as you prepare the way for Copenhagen?

I don't think I've got a life! I do an incredible amount of traveling, about three quarters of my life. The rest of the time I'm back at the OK Corral [at UNFCCC headquarters in Bonn] to make sure I know what the hell is going on, and that we're all working in the same direction. 

There are those who say that climate change is primarily a question of technology — that we need to change the way we use energy, and only research and development will do that, not UN mandates. Why is the UNFCCC process important?

It's important because you have to drive change. Automakers will only begin to look for low emissions technology if they think the government is likely to regulate toward low emissions technology. There has to be a sense of urgency out there. We still live in a world where the cost of pollution is not yet part of the price, where you can as a factory emit unlimited greenhouse gases, without having to pay for the environmental consequences. Unless we begin to change that, there is no incentive to switch to more renewable energy and energy efficiency. Technology doesn't happen by itself. 

You're closer to these negotiations than anyone else. Do you remain optimistic about the ability of the world to come to grips with climate change?

Yes, because I see a political willingness to support the Copenhagen process, and a growing public concern that is driving that political momentum. That makes me confident things will happen. Hopefully quickly.