IPCC Forecasts are wrong. We’re even worse than the worst case scenario.

I was amazed to read this WWF report the other day and not have heard any commentary on it earlier.  Given that it was published in November, it was likely buried under the news of a new hope in the form of President Obama in the US and a badly disrupted global economy keeping the journalists busy.

Dr. Martin Sommerkorn produced the Global Greenhouse Reality 2008 with some stark evidence.

 “Scientific evidence accumulating since the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report reveals that global warming is accelerating, at times far beyond projections outlined in earlier studies, including the latest IPCC Report. New modelling studies are providing updated and more detailed indications of the impacts of continued warming.”

“Anthropogenic CO2 emissions from fossil fuel are growing four times faster since 2000 than during the previous decade (1990-99: 0.9 per cent/yr; 2000-2007: 3.5 per cent/yr), and above IPCC’s worst case emission scenario(A1FI intensive dependency on fossil fuels) that predicts 4°C global warming (2.4-6.4°C) for 2100 (Global Carbon Project, 2008).”

Yes, our current reality is ABOVE the worst-case scenario outlined by the IPCC. 

Worst cases scenarios are not supposed to be reached or worse, surpassed, they’re a theoretical “what if” area.  The IPCC is doing the world a disfavour with watered-down forecasts.  While academic reputations may be protected from public ridicule by producing conservative climate reports.  Governments and the general public need to hear the whole truth if we are going to be able to respond rationally.

Several new studies continue to make the case that we have the opportunity to avoid the worst consequences of global climatic change.  But we need to act sooner than later. 

We have a window of opportunity to use this faltering global economy and capitalise on the temporary slowdown in greenhouse gas emissions as industry, development, and consumption levels fall.  However, the economic downturn is also affecting clean energy markets and money flows to transition to a low carbon economy, measures including government economic intervention will need to be considered.   

Economic intervention is only one of several approaches needed and to get a real handle on the problem.  We need to start the conversations about limiting population growth, defining what is responsible consumption, and imbedding an accurate price on externalities such as Carbon emissions.

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Droughts and heatwaves 2.0

While the weather here in Scotland may be bringing snow this way, I’m left concerned with the recent droughts and heat waves affecting Australia and Kenya. 

The Aussies are getting a 70 year heat record, causing blackouts to hundreds of thousands, buckling public transit railroad tracks in Melbourne,  and killing over 20 people so far from bushfires and heat exhaustion.  And to make matters even worse, expectations are that this year’s wine crop could see serious losses in productivity.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Kenya’s own current drought  conditions are leading to the risk of mass starvation.  In a country where corruption runs free and everyday people can’t pay the high food prices being charged by the few vendors with food to sell, very few options remain.  Wait and hope for timely foreign aid, begin a migration in the hopes of finding a better world, use violence to meet your needs, or just pass away.

Climate scientists have predicted an upward trend in the frequency of severe weather events for this century, with particular areas such as Australia and Africa being more exposed to the worst conditions.  However, the frequency and severity of severe weather events seems to be rising more sharply this decade, let alone this century.  Could we have underestimated our expectations?

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Russia turns off natural gas tap to Europe. Little Future Energy Planning at Play

Amid disputes over fuel prices and allegations by Russia that the Ukraine has been stealing natural gas intended for Europe, Russia’s major natural gas supplier has turned off the taps to many of it’s pipelines.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7812860.stm

Eastern Europeans are already feeling the cold from this most recent shortage in fuel supply.  Without other significant fuel choice options to produce heat, those affected are often being forced to live through these frigid conditions.

Experts and political leaders from around Europe are highlighting this dispute between Russia and the Ukraine as the turning point needed for the EU to get serious about addressing its energy security challenges.  Given the declining fossil fuel resource base in Europe, steadily increasing demand, and the likelihood of more energy-related disputes between Russia and the Ukraine in the future, the EU will need to make some bold moves to avoid future energy shortages, especially shortages that have the potential to being much more severe.

An expert interviewed on BBC Worldnews last night speculated on the need for the EU to support the development of natural gas pipelines from Asia that take alternate delivery routes, avoiding the Ukraine.  While this may reduce Europe’s exposure to the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, it leaves Europe vulnerable to other regional conflicts that have a likelihood of developing in the foreseeable future.  It also does nothing to address Europe’s biggest problem here, energy dependance.

A reactionary approach to the current situation, such as developing an alternative pipeline route , would only create a short term solution to the problem, at best. 

The EU needs to look at this issue as the final motivator to rapidly transitioning into a fully renewable, energy efficient, and energy independent region.  Until these options are brought into the foreground of the energy supply debate, we will be continually at the mercy of repeated geo-political disputes in neighbouring regions.

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Vanno-The Company Reputation Index

A new site opened for feedback from the public.  www.vanno.com

It’s a great method of using the wisdom of the crowds to gain an understanding of how companies are being viewed by the general public.  Essentially it’s wiki-indexing.

If you have an opinion on a company, either positive or negative, I encourage you to contribute.  The more of us participating, the higher the accuracy of the scoring.

Information is influential, let investors and consumers know the reality before they make their decisions.

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Heavy Signal: IEA 2008 report

The IEA finally gave a serious report on the state of global oil reserves this year and predicted a barrel price of $200 US by 2030.

This may not seem like a very high prediction as we reached $147 US per barrel earlier this year.  However, this is the first time that the 2030 price has been predicted to be higher than the current price since 1998.  And in 1998, the IEA was predicting a 2030 price of $17 US per barrel!

What’s more, the IEA makes a boldly realistic statement in their 2008 executive summary:

The world’s energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable — environmentally, economically, socially. But that can — and must — be altered; there’s still time to change the road we’re on. It is not an exaggeration to claim that the future of human prosperity depends on how successfully we tackle the two central energy challenges facing us today: securing the supply of reliable and affordable energy; and effecting a rapid transformation to a low-carbon, efficient and environmentally benign system of energy supply. What is needed is nothing short of an energy revolution. This World Energy Outlook demonstrates how that might be achieved through decisive policy action and at what cost. It also describes the consequences of failure.

Consider this post on www.theoildrum.com

Today, the world’s energy ‘watchdog’, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published their long awaited annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) for 2008. In stark contrast to bland-to-cornucopian supply commentary in past reports, the initial language in this years Executive Summary is of an urgent nature. This report is a step in the right direction for conveying our rapidly deteriorating energy situation to world policymakers – the IEA should be commended for making the turn and finally acknowledging: costs, investment limitations, new capacity requirements, steep decline rates of existing wells, and externalities (in this case GHGs).

For the first time sine 1998, the IEA has forecast a higher oil price in the year 2030 than the current market price. In fact, the new price forecast for 2030 of $200 per barrel is not only higher than all previous WEO forecasts, it is higher than all previous WEO 2030 price forecasts combined. (1998-$17, 2002-$29, 2004-$29, 2006-$58, 2007-$65).IEA 2030 spot price predictions and oil price fluctuation

What happened to bring about such a big change in the IEA’s stance?  Is the IEA really finally predicting accurately? Or, are they still several years behind in predicting the real state of affairs in our current energy model?

If this is so, $200 per barrel by 2030 and hints of peak oil may still be a huge underestimate.

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To know a lot about something, you need to know a little about everything.

Sharing insights into  new trends, new ways of living, appreciating the incredible that transpires in this world.

As a self-proclaimed generalist, I can’t resist discussing almost any subject, often finding ways to consider the concept of sustainability within.  No stone needs to be left untouched, technological to traditional, political to cultural, curiosity, science, nature, even love.  With of course, reflection on the joy of art & design in both function and beauty.

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