Population, the elephant in the room Oil and its companion natural gas together make up about 60% of humanity's primary energy. In addition, the energy of oil has been leveraged through its use in the extraction and transport of coal as well as the construction and maintenance of hydro and nuclear generating facilities. Oil is as the heart of humanity's enormous energy economy as well as at the heart of its food supply. The following conclusion seems reasonable: Gates, Zuckerberg and Other Tech Titans Team Up to Push Clean Energy Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and several other of the world's wealthiest tech and business titans are banding together to fight climate change by investing billions in clean-energy research and technologies. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition was announced ahead of the opening day Monday of the U.N.-organized climate talks outside Paris. More than 150 heads of state and government were gathering at the summit to try to find common ground on how to slow the rise in global temperatures. The coalition has pledged to invest in innovative ways to produce "clean" energy, especially in the developing world, and thereby cut down on climate-warming greenhouse gases. The group of investors will pour money into companies working on clean-energy ideas.
Why real estate needs Tesla-style buildings, used 'Uber-style' While the financial industry is still reeling from recent stock market gyrations, it is tempting to forget about long-term issues, such as extreme weather events, the rising sea levels and demographic change. It’s short-termism versus long-term thinking in its purest form. And it’s human. But even amidst the current turmoil, there seems to be a sea of change in investment beliefs that is becoming ever more prominent, and ever more articulate: The belief that for long-term investors, long-term trends can have real implications for capital values and income returns. Whether it is drought in western North America, flooding in Chinese cities or the rise of renewable energy, some of these “long-term” trends are starting to become real, happening every day, at many places in the world. While long-term trends affect all industries, they are particularly relevant for the real estate sector, where assets are long-lived and typically cannot be moved to another place.
Greenland Is Melting Away On the Greenland Ice Sheet — The midnight sun still gleamed at 1 a.m. across the brilliant expanse of the Greenland ice sheet. Brandon Overstreet, a doctoral candidate in hydrology at the University of Wyoming, picked his way across the frozen landscape, clipped his climbing harness to an anchor in the ice and crept toward the edge of a river that rushed downstream toward an enormous sinkhole. If he fell in, “the death rate is 100 percent,” said Mr. Overstreet’s friend and fellow researcher, Lincoln Pitcher. But Mr.
Large areas of open ocean starved of oxygen - Science - News Large regions of the open ocean are being starved of oxygen because of warmer sea temperatures according to studies showing that fish and other marine creatures are moving into narrower habitats to avoid suffocation. Marine researchers said they have discovered growing areas of the ocean that suffer from hypoxia - oxygen depletion - which they believe is the result of warmer sea temperature caused by global warming. Warmer sea temperatures increase stratification, where warm, stagnant bodies of surface water sit on top of cooler water and prevent the normal mixing that results from the vertical circulation currents of the ocean, said Professor Lisa Levin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.
Combined effects of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and El Niño-Southern Oscillation on Global Land Dry–Wet Changes : Scientific Reports Figure 1 shows the winter mean sc_PDSI_pm for the El Niño composite and the sub-composites according to the PDO phase, together with the differences between in- and out-of-phase combinations, as indicated. The El Niño-related dry–wet changes result in drier conditions from southern and southeastern Asia to Australia (particularly along the eastern side of the country), central China, equatorial South America, the northern US, western and southern Canada, and the Sahel. Most other regions become wetter, particularly the central and southwestern US, northern Mexico, southern China, the southeastern coast of South America, the Horn of Africa, and the Mediterranean region toward central and southwestern Asia. Sub-composites with respect to the PDO phase reveal that the global El Niño-induced dry–wet changes are determined primarily by El Niño winters that occur during the warm phase of the PDO.
A Carbon Tax for Steak May Be the Best Way to Get People to Eat Less Meat From renewable energy to carbon sequestration to cap and trade, a lot of different ideas for arresting the change under way in the climate are going to be discussed at the upcoming international climate talks in Paris. There is, however, one carbon-producing issue that the international group would appear to deem somewhat marginal—only 21 out of 120 national plans included it in their reduction goals—but that could lead to significant cuts in emissions: meat consumption. The problem is, achieving those reductions would require a huge upending of deep-seated habits and cultural norms the world over. Amazon, data center turn hot idea into cool technology Saving millions of kilowatt-hours a year, the innovative heat-transfer system between Amazon’s downtown high-rises and the region’s chief telecom hub could be a model for others. When Amazon.com’s eye-catching spheres and towers open over the next year, the heat for their thousands of tech workers and hundreds of green plants won’t be a drag on the power grid. Instead, the heat for Amazon’s high-rise Denny Triangle campus will be recycled, essentially, from the Pacific Northwest’s telecom hub on an adjacent block — an innovative partnership that could spread to other downtown buildings.
The Koala in the Coal Mine GUNNEDAH, Australia—Scrambling up a rock-strewn hill, I crane my neck and scan a row of trees for koalas. Truth be told, I’ve never been all that good at spotting koalas in the wild. The cartoon-cute marsupial may be one of the world’s most recognizable animals, but try finding one silently snoozing 40 feet off the ground in a leafy eucalyptus tree among hundreds scattered across this former farm in the Liverpool Plains, a fertile agriculture district 250 miles northwest of Sydney. Koalas, which sleep up to 22 hours a day, don’t snore or do much of anything else that would attract attention. But on this sunny antipodean spring day in late September, even the koala experts from the University of Sydney I’m accompanying aren’t having much luck. After hours of searching, we’ve found only one in an area formerly crawling with koalas.
Climate change may not kill phytoplankton, studies show Most of the focus at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris is on working toward agreements on how to address climate change, and what a changing planet might mean for humans. Special coverage: Paris Climate Change Conference 2015 But CBC Radio science columnist Torah Kachur has been following the conference and exploring new research about tiny water-dwelling plants called phytoplankton — which are being used to measure the effects of our warming world. Carnage in US Natural Gas as Price Falls off the Chart All eyes are on Chesapeake. The price of natural gas in the US has gotten completely destroyed. The process started in July 2008, at over $13 per million Btu and continues through today, at $1.77 per million Btu. In between, natural gas traded at prices that, for much of the time, didn’t allow drillers to recoup their investments, leading to permanently cash-flow negative operations, and now huge write-offs and losses, defaults, restructurings, and bankruptcies.
Soft drink tax war to bubble up in cities across the U.S. There’s something even more polarizing than whether to call soft drinks pop, soda, or coke: the debate over taxing them. Depending on the results of next year’s elections, your city government might turn your soft drink sugar rush into a source of tax income. Politico has the scoop on the plan to bring these tax initiatives to the polling booth: Public health advocates, flush from victories in Mexico and Berkeley, Calif., are plotting to bring voter referendums and legislation to tax soda in as many as a dozen U.S. cities in 2016.
How to read the jargon at the Paris climate change talks Maybe climate change tends to take a back seat because the talks themselves are a jargon-filled monstrosity of diplomatic protocol, which means no one — not even the diplomats themselves! — understands what’s happening half of the time. Here we are, closing out what’s quite possibly the warmest year since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago, with our atmosphere’s carbon dioxide at record levels and emissions still rising. But, alas, the most interesting drama and diplomatic wrangling are buried in a sea of legalese and acronyms. Case in point: Peru’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar Vidal — a key figure in recent years at international climate negotiations — recently tweeted a link to a document designed to provide a more-or-less official guide to the Paris talks. It’s titled: “Scenario note on the twelfth part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.”