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Who is warming the world?

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National per capita contributions to global warming. Colours indicate contributions above and below the world average, where read and orange indicate above, and yellow and gree below the world average of 0.11 Celsius per billion people.

National per capita contributions to global warming. Colours indicate contributions above and below the world average, where read and orange indicate above, and yellow and gree below the world average of 0.11 Celsius per billion people.

The map above shows that the largest contributions to global warming is made by people living in the USA, western Europe, including the UK, Cananda, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, Greenland, Iceland, Brazil, Argentina and many other countries in South America. People from India and China contribute below the global average. The data comes from a paper in Environmental Research Letters, in which the authors put this in a very roundabout way:

We show also that there are vast disparities in both total and per-capita climate contributions among countries, and that across most developed countries, per-capita contributions are not currently consistent with attempts to restrict global temperature change to less than 2 Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

In fact, the Candadian authors obfuscate the issue by producing a map which shows that per unit area of the world’s surface India and China are up there with western Europe and USA among the worst offenders, whereas Canada and Australia are clean as a whistle! It seems like the authors went looking for a criterion by which Canada could be shown to be better than China and India.

As is to be expected, western news media has reported this highly biased map. For extremely slanted news, see here, here, here and here.

Time to remind ourselves: land does not burn oil, people burn oil.

Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

January 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Climate change: not with a bang, but a whimper

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TOI reports a story that seems local, but will repeat in the years to come across the coasts of India:

The Padukere-Hejmady Road is in danger of being washed out due to seaerosion at Tenka Yermal village in Udupi district on Wednesday.

The Padukere-Hejmady Road is in danger of being washed out due to seaerosion at Tenka Yermal village in Udupi district on Wednesday.

With the coastal districts of the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi receiving heavy rain, intensity of which is more than what they received last year, various places along the coast are witnessing severe sea erosion.

A fisheries road in Tenka Yermal which was paver-finished last year eroded in five places on Wednesday during the high tide. Six houses near Ameen Moolastana are facing the danger as the sea reached their walls crossing the boulders that were placed as a last resort against erosion. Lalitha Bangera, a resident of Ullal for the past 30 years, said that the sea might engulf her house anytime.

Lifeguard Mohan Kumar said, “This year the erosion has been severe. Last year the sea waves barely reached Sharada Katte. This year the katte is gone.”

About 20 coconut trees of Gangadhar Suvarna were washed away in Thottam area.

Houses of Vishwanath, Sushila Karkera, Sundar Suvarna, Lingappa Puthran and Bharathi Kotian in the village are facing the risk of being damaged by the sea.

Sea erosion in Malpe continued even on Wednesday though the rain has receded in Udupi. Sea erosion had started near Hanuman Nagar and Kola areas in Malpe on Sunday and continued on Wednesday. All the stone benches on the beach have been washed away and the sea has entered a few houses in Kola area.

Climate change and rise in sea-water levels seem like abstractions until you start noticing little local stories like this. Lalitha Bangera, Sushila Karkera, Sundar Suvarna, Lingappa Puthran and Bharathi Kotian are early victims of circumstances that may well wash away parts of Mumbai in 30 years, not to speak of many other places along the 7500 kilometers of India’s coastline.

Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

July 25, 2013 at 9:01 am

Supercomputing bird migration

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A computer model based on eBird data recreates the spring migration of the indigo bunting.

A computer model based on eBird data recreates the spring migration of the indigo bunting.

A news item in Nature tells us how supercomputing is beginning to change our understanding of bird migrations:

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

The eBird team will start by combining the bird sightings with remote sensing information from sources such as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. Among the data that can be gleaned from MODIS is precisely when different places on Earth are ‘greening up’ in the spring — a seasonal phenomenon that can be strongly correlated with bird movement.

The computers will then ‘learn’ what kind of land cover, what timing pattern of greening and what human densities best predict bird presence, and generate a million more simulated observations for each species: points where it is predicted to be either present or absent at different times throughout the year. The result is an animated map of bird movements. An early model of the movements of the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea), a songbird that winters in the tropics, took five days to run on the lab’s own computers. But the visualization was compelling, showing how the birds first made landfall at or near the Mississippi Delta and then used the river system to find their way to northern forests (the animation above). “This shows how important the Gulf coast is early on in the migration,” says Kelling.

With TeraGrid, the Cornell lab plans to marry such models to scenarios for climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in hopes of predicting migratory changes — and perhaps extinctions — for hundreds of species.

Changed climate

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From the Hindu:

As India gets ready to host the important meeting of the BASIC countries — India, China, South Africa and Brazil — on Sunday to decide on a collective strategy for the way forward in 2010 following the Copenhagen Accord of December 18, 2009 at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have sent a strong reply to the letter the Indian government received on the definitive follow-up action to the Accord from Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Prime Minister has apparently questioned the legal status of the various provisions included in the Accord.

[On December 30, 2009] a separate joint letter was also sent by Mr. Rasmussen and Mr. Ban to all heads of state and governments urging them (in particular the 26 Friends of the Chair involved in drafting of the Accord) to “publicly associate themselves with the Accord.”

The joint letter apparently also reiterated the deadline of January 31, 2010, set in Accord for both Annex 1 Parties (developed countries including the U.S.) and non-Annex 1 Parties (developing countries) to submit to the UNFCCC secretariat their emission reduction commitments to be listed in the Accord. These commitments include unilaterally chosen quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets for 2020 (with a base year also to be unilaterally decided) for Annex 1 countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions for non-Annex 1 countries.

The fact that the U.N. Secretary-General has chosen to throw his weight behind the Accord rather than the Kyoto Protocol, especially when the Accord was not a consensual decision of COP15, is being viewed with concern by analysts here.

Dr. Singh’s response basically rejects the premise that the Rasmussen-Ban letter seeks to legitimise, as this was not the understanding of the BASIC countries at Copenhagen. The BASIC Four had endorsed the Accord at Copenhagen with a clear understanding that it was only a political declaration and that their commitments continued to lie with the Kyoto Process and the Bali Action Plan. It is believed that Dr. Singh has written that if this understanding is now being belied, then the Indian government would be constrained to not submit the national mitigation actions by the January 31 deadline set by the Accord.

Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

January 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm

On climate

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The climate change controversy

The climate change controversy

The beautifully designed and researched poster above puts together the arguments for and against man-made (anthropogenic) climate change. Do take a look.

Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 19, 2009 at 4:56 am

Posted in science

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Still waters in Copenhagen

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From Xinhua:

Progress has been made in the climate talks in Copenhagen but negotiators are still engaged in heated debate on some issues, the head of the Chinese delegation to the UN-led climate talks said on Monday.

Xie Zhenhua, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters that at the start of the talks, the debate focused on what draft texts should serve as the basis for discussion after some unofficial texts of the draft was leaked.

In the end, the dual-track principle for talks under the Bali Road Map was upheld with the emergency of two draft texts proposed by the chairs of two major working groups of the UN Climate Change Conference, Xie said.

The two texts meet the requirements of the Bali Road Map in format, but “we are not fully satisfied with the texts,” he said.

Many of the issues in the texts need further discussion and modification, and the ensuing substantial discussion on the texts would be very hard, given the differences in national interests and understandings of the Kyoto Protocol, he noted.

Many sticking points are yet to be resolved, such as the binding targets of emissions reduction for the United States, which is not a party to the Kyoto Protocol, he said.

NYT continues spinning the news:

China and the United States were at an impasse on Monday at the United Nations climate change conference here over how compliance with any treaty could be monitored and verified.

China, which last month for the first time publicly announced a target for reducing the rate of growth of its greenhouse gas emissions, is refusing to accept any kind of international monitoring of its emissions levels, according to negotiators and observers here. The United States is insisting that without stringent verification of China’s actions, it cannot support any deal.

No mention of the fact that the US has walked out of previous international commitments, and is not making any gestures at all towards climate control.

Guardian‘s report puts a nice face to this lack of commitment:

The time-out was called by the chair of the talks, Connie Hedegaard, the Danish climate minister. But her proposal that a core of ministers from 50 out of 192 nations gather to hammer out a compromise text merely incensed those left behind. “Developed nations won’t come to the table with real numbers. That is the main obstacle preventing progress,” said Su Wei, China’s top negotiator.

The US administration attempted to sweeten a deal for developing countries with the promise of a $350m (£215m) fund for clean energy technologies, such as wind and solar power. The US energy secretary, Stephen Chu, likened the initiative to the breakthrough in seed technology after the second world war that dramatically boosted food production. “We need a game-changer like the green revolution was for agriculture,” he said.

Chu claimed he detected no sign of resentment from the developing countries. “I don’t feel that at all that there is any mistrust,” he said. “Perhaps in discussion they may see me as a scientist and say: ‘Let’s just get on with it. Let’s solve the problem’.”

DNA has a report like Xinhua, starts upbeat, but ends with foreboding of a failed summit:

Indian environment secretary Vijai Sharma confirmed yesterday that negotiators had resumed Kyoto Protocol discussions and co-chairs from Germany and Indonesia had been appointed to head the process.

“India has also indicated very clear that both tracks should proceed with equal speed so that the outcome is balanced,” Sharma said. “We are hoping at this point of time because all the delegates are working hard and there is still some time left before the high level segment convenes and hopefully there should be good results on both the tracks,” he said adding “the expectations from this conference are quite high”.

The BASIC countries and Africa want the developed countries to make mitigation pledges under the second commitment period from 2013-2018 but the European Union, Australia, Japan, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) want a document broader than the existing Protocol that puts obligations on the United States and on emerging economies.

Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh made it clear that the goal now is to produce two texts under the LCA and KP tracks by Wednesday or Thursday morning. Ramesh highlighted that the COP 15 president, Connie Hedegaard, had stressed that these two texts would be presented to heads of state when they arrive on Dec 17-18, and also mentioned that Hedegaard had said that a document with minimal “brackets” (alternatives within the text) could also be adopted.

It is also expected that there they will be some kind of Copenhagen Declaration prepared by the Danish government. “We hope that will be the result of a transparent consultative process and that it would not be sprung on us out of the blue,” Ramesh said.

Meanwhile, Ramesh reiterated that the integrated Africa-BASIC (ABASIC) draft was ready in the wings and warned that if any of the other groups sprang a surprise draft like the Danish text then the G77 countries would put out this text. “We are holding it…if there is ‘ADANISH’ we will produce ABASIC,” he said.

Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 15, 2009 at 3:50 am

In the middle of negotiation

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AFP reports:

Africa’s frustration at the UN climate summit boiled over Monday as delegates walked out of key talks and continental giant Nigeria warned the negotiations were now on red alert.

Sources at the marathon talks said Africa had led a walkout of working groups, with the backing of the Group of 77 developing nations, and refused to continue talks without guarantees for the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol ties rich countries — but not developing countries — that have ratified it to legally binding emissions curbs.

It also has an important mechanism enabling the transfer of clean-energy technology to poorer nations.

Yet it does not include the United States, which says the Protocol is unfair as the binding targets do not apply to developing giants that are already huge emitters of greenhouse gases.

Algeria, speaking at a press briefing on behalf of the 53-nation African bloc, demanded that there should be a special plenary session devoted to Kyoto.

“Otherwise we are going to lose everything,” Algeria’s chief negotiator Kemal Djemouia told reporters.

Asked about the state of negotiations, Nigeria’s pointman rang the alarm bell.

“It is ‘climate code red’ right now, we are in code red right now, we stand at the crossroads of either hope for Africa or hope dashed in ‘Hopenhagen’,” Victor Ayodeji Fodeke told AFP.

Daily Nation (Kenya) reports:

African nations said they would return to Copenhagen climate talks on Monday, allowing the negotiations to resume, after winning assurances that the conference put more focus on extending the existing Kyoto Protocol.

Earlier, African negotiators representing the continent in Copenhagen climate negotiations walked out from the ongoing deal, accusing rich nations of sidelining their minimum demands.

“We’re going back,” Pa Ousman Jarju from the delegation of Gambia, told Reuters. The protest held up the talks that had been due to start at 1030 GMT.

African negotiators’ protest move followed fears that developed countries are planning to sabotage the process by abandoning the Kyoto protocol which binds the developed countries to certain levels of gas emissions.

The African countries feared that the developed countries are trying to collapse the Kyoto protocol and pursue other non-binding agreements. African group move is backed by the leading negotiation group of 130 developing nations (G77+China).

African negotiators group chairman, Algerian Environment minister Djemouai Kamel had said on Monday there was no reason African leaders should attend the Copenhagen summit while Africa’s demand is being ignored.

Africa demands Kyoto protocol to stay alive, which is the only available legally binding agreement adopted in 1997 in Japan.

“African group would not be tolerating the killing of Kyoto protocol with out having any new deal,” Kamel said.

Bloomberg in a beautifully written report, which clarifies the context with the minimum of fuss, says:

United Nations climate talks resumed in Copenhagen after envoys from developing countries caused a three-hour delay in a dispute over the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

Danish climate spokeswoman Ida Ebbensgaard confirmed by telephone that talks had started again.

The postponement followed complaints by African nations that today’s agenda reflected attempts by developed countries to kill the Kyoto accord, which limits greenhouse-gas emissions by industrialized nations. Developing countries are not bound by Kyoto and largely support its extension beyond 2012.

The UN talks, which began two years ago, have been conducted in two tracks: one to extend emission reductions demanded under Kyoto that expire in 2012, and another to lay out actions needed by the U.S. and developing nations that are not regulated by Kyoto.

Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm

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