Monday, November 28, 2005

Climate change: It's now or never

In an open letter to delegates at the Montreal environmental summit, beginning today, campaigner Mark Lynas explains why action on climate change can no longer be stalled

Published: 28 November 2005

I'm scared. For 15 years I've watched international progress on climate change get slower and slower, even while the pace of global warming seems to get ever more rapid. With time running out for the global climate, your meeting in Montreal represents a last chance for action. Here are a few suggestions I would urge you to consider as you gather to debate the future of the planet.


As the politicians dither, whole nations and ecosystems are shifting from the "still time" file to the "too late" file as vital climatic tipping points are crossed. There's now a good chance that 2005 will beat 1998 as the warmest year on record, the high temperatures undeniably giving a boost to the devastating hurricanes that battered the US coast this summer. With northern polar sea ice also declining to record lows this year, it looks too as if some kind of polar tipping point has already been crossed, making further rapid Arctic warming unstoppable.


Agree first principles. The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, father to Kyoto, stated the need to avoid "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". No one made it clear what this might mean. Now is the time for you to agree on what constitutes "dangerous". In my opinion, this means raising the planet's temperature past two degrees above pre-industrial levels. In order to avoid crossing this critical threshold, you must agree to stabilise concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 400 parts per million, giving us only a decade before time runs out.

Cross the two degrees threshold, and we'll likely lose the Greenland ice sheet - flooding coastal cities across the world - as well as coral reefs, the Amazon rainforest, and many of the world's major breadbaskets, as deserts sweep across continental interiors.


Global temperatures will rocket past the two degrees limit unless rapidly developing nations such as Brazil, India and China agree to their own emissions targets, just as industrialised nations have done for Kyoto's first phase (due to end in 2012). In order to get the developing world to come to the table, rich countries' governments must offer a reasonable deal. Poor countries must be able to grow as rich countries contract towards a common goal of per capita emissions equality between nations. This is the contraction and convergence principle, surely the basic starting point for any post-2012 framework.


Having refused to ratify Kyoto, America will be officially exiled to the sidelines in Montreal, giving it much less power to subvert and undermine the negotiations than has been the case in past years. But expect to see representatives from the American delegation huddled in corners with the Chinese and Indians, gently urging them not to agree to European suggestions that it is now time for developing countries to consider taking on their own post-Kyoto targets.

Don't listen to them. Instead, give the Americans an ultimatum: either they agree to rejoin the Kyoto process and cut their own emissions or face ostracism from the world community. Countries that have taken on emissions cuts can't afford to see their efforts undermined by free-riders like the US, so it's time to consider economic and trade sanctions if the US won't play fair. This also goes for Australia, which follows America's lead on global warming.


Serious cash needs to be put aside for an adaptation fund to compensate countries and regions left uninhabitable by global warming. This will include atoll nations such as Tuvalu, soon to be flooded by sea-level rise, and drought-stricken areas such as northern China, where hundreds of thousands of people are already environmental refugees.

If you had met Ye Yinxin, the only remaining inhabitant of what is now a crumbling ghost town in Gansu province, northern China, you would see the importance of this. I met Ye while researching my book High Tide. Ye's life is a solitary one of fetching brackish water for her few animals and trying to scratch a living from the sandy soil.

Spending all day alone in her abandoned village, she has plenty of time to remember the better years gone by, when neighbours would gather to swap stories - before the weather changed and drought reigned supreme. Minutes after I left her one-room, mud-brick house, a terrible dust storm turned day into twilight as blood-red clouds swept overhead. There's no compensation fund to pay Ye or her displaced fellow villagers for the climatic ravages they've already suffered.

Also in line for compensation will be water-stressed countries such as Peru. When I visited in 2002, I was armed with pictures of how the glaciers of the Andes had looked when my geologist father worked in them, in 1980. To my surprise and shock, entire glaciers have already disappeared, in the space of just two decades. Peru's glaciers aren't just beautiful to look at: they're crucial natural reservoirs keeping rivers running all year round to the arid Pacific coast where most of the country's population lives. Once the glaciers disappear from entire mountain ranges, millions of people face the loss of their freshwater supplies. This situation is replicated across Asia, where rivers originating in the Himalayas also face the loss of glacial-origin water.


The EU and other Kyoto-ratifying countries need to get their act together and ensure they actually meet the protocol's targets. It's no good being self-righteous about the Bush administration while doing precious little at home to cut emissions. The EU, Canada and Japan are on course to miss their targets.

Margaret Beckett announced recently, without a trace of shame, that Britain wouldn't meet its self-declared target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by 2010. Then Tony Blair, the man who has done so much to put climate change on the international agenda, seemed to stab Kyoto in the back by questioning whether setting targets for greenhouse gas emissions is any longer the best way forward.

And as if to emphasise our Government's moral collapse on the climate change issue, the UK is now taking the EU to court in order to force it to allow an extra 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from British industry. This is all the more disappointing, given that the UK has presidency of the EU at the moment and therefore leads the powerful European delegation. Unfortunately, it looks as if the tough and visionary leadership we need in Montreal may have to come from elsewhere.


Listen to the noise on the streets outside your tightly sealed conference centre and hotel rooms. All over the world people are mobilising to demand stronger action from governments on climate change. Rather than feeling scared and despairing about global warming, people are getting angry about the lack of progress we've seen over 15 years of lengthy negotiations.

Major demonstrations are planned everywhere from Istanbul to Moscow on 3 December. In London, thousands are expected to attend a Campaign Against Climate Change march, via Downing Street to the American Embassy, making it the biggest climate change demonstration ever on British soil.

The marchers will demand leadership from the politicians on what is increasingly acknowledged as being a survival challenge to the entire human species. The protesters will want to see action. Now is the time to deliver.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Green investors hope for new Kyoto rules post-2012

I like this article as it shows the Buisness community 'as is' not bad people, just constrained by a narrow remit-to make money or go bankrupt. Infact there are a lot of good people in buisness who are now pushing for govormnment leadership so they can act.

"At the moment no company can justify the huge amount of dollar investment needed (to reduce emissions)...the risk-return ratio is not right," said the head of socially responsible investment at a multi-billion dollar mutual fund."

By Gerard Wynn Sun Nov 27, 5:00 AM ET

LONDON - An international meeting this week on climate change should start setting rules governing cuts to greenhouse gas emissions once the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, industry and green investors said.

Investors that help finance cuts in emission can earn so-called "carbon credits," which they then sell using schemes such as the European Union ‘s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

However, they said they needed to know that the Protocol, and the carbon market, had a future after 2012 because without limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) limits there would be no reason to trade.

The U.N.‘s Kyoto Protocol ties some 40 rich nations to reducing between 2008 and 2012 their output of gases such as CO2, which scientists link to changes in climate including increased extreme weather events and global warming.

About 190 countries will discuss how to extend and expand the U.N.-led accord at a meeting in Montreal, Canada, from November 28 to December 9.

"We need a greater time horizon beyond 2012 -- the sooner we have a time horizon compatible with what people need to make investments the better," said Graham Meeks, director of policy research at Climate Change Capital, a $100-million-plus fund investing in clean technologies.

"What the carbon market needs to see from Montreal is concrete progress toward determining how things will look post-2012. We can‘t expect binding targets (yet)...We need a realistic level of ambition."

Industry is a major contributor to CO2 emissions, but in large part supports emission cuts provided it gets the time and money to make the adjustments. The present 2012 end-date has investors looking for more clarity from the meeting.

The Kyoto Protocol sets nationals ceilings on emissions, and in that way lays the groundwork for a carbon market whereby dirty companies buy the right to emit CO2 from cleaner ones.

"(Only) knowing a carbon price makes investments which fund emission reduction post-2012 worth a candle," a source close to the Montreal negotiations said.

The ETS limits how much carbon some 5,000 European companies can emit, and market-makers describe it as a huge success but also see the need for a longer-term protocol.

"There have to be binding targets post-2012, it would be stupid to do all this (the ETS)...and then have nothing," said Steven Drummond, Managing Director at CO2e, a broker in greenhouse gas emissions.

The wider investment community -- beyond environmental specialists -- is also looking for long term commitment.

Pension and mutual funds are concerned about the negative impact on global wealth of increased extreme weather events, and the possible link with carbon emissions.

"At the moment no company can justify the huge amount of dollar investment needed (to reduce emissions)...the risk-return ratio is not right," said the head of socially responsible investment at a multi-billion dollar mutual fund.

"You‘re going to see a big push on the part of the business community to work with governments to change the policy context."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Washington scrambles to dash efforts on climate change!

US defends opposition to Kyoto, looks to next steps

AFP, 21 November 2005 - President George W. Bush's top environmental aide defended Monday Washington's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, saying the world should already be mulling options for after the landmark pact runs out.

In Brussels for talks with his European Union counterparts, James Connaughton said requirements of the 1997 protocol were simply too costly for the United States.

Specifically he dismissed as "inappropriate" the option of trading in greenhouse gas emissions, a system launched by the European Union this year as a way of encouraging companies to cut their production of carbon dioxide.

"The (US) president is pursing a strategy that is aimed at advancing economic growth, not subtracting from economic growth, and therefore emissions trading is not a useful tool," Connaughton told a small group of reporters.

The United Nations (UN) Kyoto treaty commits 39 industrial nations and territories to trim their output of six greenhouse gases -- especially carbon dioxide -- by 2012 compared with 1990 levels.

But the pact's impact has been limited because the United States opted against ratifying it. Connaughton said that targets set by Kyoto would have cost the US 500 billion dollars.

The future of climate negotiations after the Kyoto Protocol -- which is due to expire in 2012 -- will be explored at a UN conference from November 28 to December 9 in Canada.

The US official said Washington would be an "active" participant in the discussions, but noted that the Kyoto treaty itself obliges those who ratify it to start preparing for the post-2012 era.

"Those who are party to the Kyoto Protocol have already committed by the terms of the treaty to starting a discussion about what happens after 2012," he said. "From our point of view the post 2012 situation is already occurring."

Connaughton, who was notably due to meet EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs, was keen to underline the areas of agreement between Washington and Brussels.

"While we have disagreements over the structure of the Kyoto Protocol, the common ground that we share is much more substantial," he said.

Climate Change: Carbon dioxide levels highest for 650,000 years

AFP, 25 November 2005 - Levels of carbon dioxide, the principal gas that drives global warming, are now 27 percent higher than at any point in the last 650,000 years, according to research into Antarctic ice cores published on Thursday.

The study, adding powerfully to evidence of human interference in the climate system, appears in the runup to a key conference on global warming which opens in Montreal next Monday.

The evidence comes from the world's deepest ice core, drilled at a site called Dome Concordia (Dome C) in East Antarctica by European scientists who battled blizzards and an average year-round temperature of minus 54 Celsius
(minus 65 Fahrenheit) and made a thousand-kilometer (650-mile) trek to bring up supplies.

The core, extracted using a 10-centimetre (four-inch) -wide drill bit in three-metre (10-feet) sections, brought up ice that was deposited by snows up to 650,000 years ago, as determined by estimated layers of annual snowfall.

Analysis of carbon dioxide trapped in tiny bubbles in the ancient ice showed that at no point during this time frame did levels get anywhere close to today's CO2 concentrations of around 380 parts per million (380 ppm).

CO2 levels began to rise with the Industrial Revolution, when coal began to be burned in large quantities, and have surged in recent decades as more countries become industrialised and millions more cars take to the road. As a result, billions of tonnes of CO2 are now being released into the air each year from fossil fuels that previously were underground. In
pre-industrial times, the CO2 concentration was just 278 ppm. Today's rising CO2 concentrations are 27 percent higher than at the highest level seen over the 650,000-year time scale, according to the study, which appears in the weekly US journal Science.

The Dome C core, extracted by the 10-country European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), outstrips by 210,000 years the previous record-holder, drilled at an Antarctic site called Vostok. "We have added another piece of information showing that the time scales on which humans have changed the composition of the atmosphere are extremely short compared to the natural time cycles of the climate system," said lead author Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern's Physics Institute in Switzerland.

Skeptics about man-made global warming point out that Earth has been through many periods of higher and lower temperatures in its history as a result of natural processes. Volcanic eruptions that disgorge CO2 and other greenhouse gases, oscillations in the planet's axial spin and minor changes in its orbit can have a major impact on surface temperatures, sometimes plunging Earth into prolonged Ice Ages, the last of which ended some 11,000 years ago. But over the past decade, a mountain of scientific evidence has accumulated about Man's impact on temperatures through the unbridled burning of fossil fuels.

In the past five years, the average global temperature has risen by 0.2 C (0.36 F) -- 100 times higher than is normal for such a short time scale -- and 2005 is on course for being the hottest year on record. Glaciers in the Alps, Greenland and the Himalayas are shrinking and ice shelves are cracking in the Antarctic peninsula in what appear to be early signs of dangerous climate change, according to recent studies.

The 12-day Montreal talks, gathering members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will focus on the future of the Kyoto Protocol after this pact, aimed at curbing carbon pollution, runs out in 2012. Scientists say political progress for tackling the problem falls miserably short of what is needed to avoid long-term damage to the climate system. In the most extreme scenarios, global warming could drive up sea levels and drown coastal cities, cause floods, droughts and freak storms, and create tens of millions of "climate refugees."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Climate Change to give pests a boost...

Climate change could upset the balance between insect crop pests and the 'natural enemies' that control their numbers, say researchers.

This might make pest outbreaks more frequent and severe, particularly in the tropics where the climate is naturally more consistent, they warn in a study published this week (11 November) in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

The team looked at how climate affects parasitoids — insects such as wasps and flies that lay their eggs on or inside caterpillars, allowing the hatched larvae to feed on the host.

"There is a complex relationship between parasitoids and their caterpillar hosts," says lead researcher Daniel Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States. "We wanted to see what would happen when there's a change like we are experiencing with global climate change."

Global warming is expected to make regional climates more varied and unpredictable, which could affect relationships between plant-eating insects and their enemies.

The team assessed the impact of parasitoids on more than 5,000 caterpillar species collected in forests from central Brazil to southern Canada. They found that the caterpillars had significantly fewer parasitoids in years when rainfall was most variable.

This could be because the parasitoids use cues such as changes in local climate to determine the best time for laying their eggs. If so, unpredictable rains might disrupt the parasitoids' ability to 'track' their caterpillar hosts.

"The wasps use the start of the rains as a cue to hatch out of their cocoons and look for a caterpillar to lay their eggs on," said Janzen. "If the rains are late, they will emerge late, and miss the narrow window of time when their host is most vulnerable."

Previous studies of rapid climate change have concentrated on individual species, but Janzen's team looked at relationships between interacting species.

Although the study focused on species in forests, the researchers claim their results are also relevant to agricultural land.

Many of the same parasitoids are also widespread in agricultural areas, says co-author Lee Dyer of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

Dyer told SciDev.Net that parasitoids are an important means of natural pest control for many tropical crops and that if that relationship broke down, farmers might need to use more insecticides.

Frank van Veen of Imperial College, United Kingdom, points out, however, that parasitoids are not the only things that can control caterpillar numbers.

"Other agents, such as predators, diseases and fungal pathogens, might be affected differently by climate change," he said.

Climate change round-up

Catch the bus from Brighton

Nearly 200 people packed into the Friends Meeting House in Brighton on Friday of last week for a Campaign against Climate Change meeting to build for the climate march in London on 3 December.

Green MEP Caroline Lucas, city councillor Joyce Edmond-Smith, Dr Dominic Kniveton from the University of Sussex and Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change all spoke at the meeting.

Muzammal Hussain from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences chaired the meeting.

A double-decker bus to the climate march from the University of Sussex is already full. Tickets for coaches from Brighton are available for £10 each from Brighton Peace and Environment Centre. Phone 01273 766 610 for details.

Andy Player

Demanding a massive turnout

Around 80 people turned out on Sunday of last week for a Campaign against Climate Change public meeting in Swansea.

They heard Suzanne Jeffrey of the campaign along with Llanelli Labour MP Nia Griffiths, Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly environmental spokesperson Helen Mary Jones and Unison union regional official Paul Elliot.

Speakers from the floor called for a maximum turnout on the 3 December demonstration.

Huw Pudner


In Neath, Respect raised £57 for the Medical Aid for Iraqi Children charity at a poetry and folk song night where we also gave out leaflets for the climate change demo.

Huw Pudner

Stop the world from burning

Hurricane Katrina has brought the reality of climate change into sharp focus. If we do not act now, global warming will become irreversible and future generations will never forgive us for “fiddling while Rome burned”.

The Campaign Against Climate Change is holding a public meeting on Wednesday 23 November at 7pm, at Kingsley Hall, Powis Road, E3, near to Bromley by Bow tube station in east London.

Speakers include Muzammal Hussain from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Phil Thornhill from the campaign, Jenny Jones of the Green Party and George Galloway MP.

There will also be a slide show demonstrating the extent of the flooding in Bangladesh last year.

This meeting is to mobilise for the international day of demonstrations on 3 December, to coincide with the Montreal Summit on Climate Change. Assemble 12 noon at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, or for the bicycle protest at 9.30 am at the Thames barrier.

Jackie Turner, East London Campaign Against Climate Change

Monday, November 14, 2005

Illinois Launches Community-based Wind Power Loan Program

Illinois' new loan program is particularly well suited to promote small wind power projects for farms in the state.

Chicago, Illinois [] Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced the launch of a $4 million Renewable Energy Development (RED) Fund that will support community-scale wind-energy projects throughout Illinois. The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) will work with community banks and lenders to provide loans and loan guarantees to qualified farmers and farmer co-operatives who construct wind turbine projects less than 20 MW in capacity.

Alpha Technologies
"Governor Blagojevich understands wind turbines help farmers and co-ops diversify their income stream which, in turn, helps strengthen the economic environment throughout Illinois. Through long-standing relationships in the agricultural community, we've identified tremendous interest for assistance in financing these types of projects, and now we have the resources to do it."

-- Jill Rendleman, interim executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority

The program begins immediately with a goal to launch community-scale projects by the end of 2006 that will generate new wind-to-energy market capacity across the state. This aggressive effort to promote the use of wind energy in Illinois is part of the Governor's Opportunity Returns initiative, his comprehensive strategy to promote economic growth throughout the state.

"Relying more on our homegrown energy sources will not only make our air cleaner to breathe, but will also provide consumers some relief from high gas prices, help make the energy grid more reliable and bring much-needed jobs and economic growth to our rural communities. This partnership with the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation will help increase our use of one of Illinois' untapped renewable natural resources and provide an important economic boost to our farmers," Gov. Blagojevich said.

In the State of the State Speech earlier this year, Gov. Blagojevich announced his commitment to a Renewable Energy Standard for Illinois with a plan for the state to get 8 percent of its total electricity supply from renewable energy resources like wind by 2012 -- up from less than 1 percent today. A recent study by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that Gov. Blagojevich's plan also would create 7,800 jobs by 2012.

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) and the IFA worked together to develop the RED Fund to support a primary mission of both organizations: to encourage and support development of renewable energy resources. With the Foundation providing the financial resources, the Authority will use its financing expertise and community banking relationships to help Illinois farming operations obtain access to capital for wind-to-energy projects.

"Governor Blagojevich understands wind turbines help farmers and co-ops diversify their income stream which, in turn, helps strengthen the economic environment throughout Illinois," said Jill Rendleman, interim executive director of the IFA. "Through long-standing relationships in the agricultural community, we've identified tremendous interest for assistance in financing these types of projects, and now we have the resources to do it."

Within the next six months, the IFA will host at least three informational seminars across Illinois to educate farmers, landowners, developers and agricultural lenders about the RED Fund and its requirements. Community banks will be encouraged to lend funds for the development of wind projects that meet the Authority's qualifying parameters. The same evaluation and approval process currently in use for existing IFA loans and guarantees will be used.

Under the general provisions of the RED Fund, borrowers must contribute a minimum of 10 percent equity and are limited to community-scale projects that are under 20 MW. Projects must be located in Illinois and will be required to meet the specific requirements of the participation loan or loan guarantee being requested.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Capital MP's global warming Bill leaps over first Westminster hurdle

EDINBURGH MP Mark Lazarowicz's private members Bill to tackle global warming passed its first parliamentary hurdle.

The former city leader's Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill got its second reading at the House of Commons and will now be considered in detail by an all- party of group of MPs. The proposal would give households that micro generate their own heat and light council tax rebates. And it would require the Government to report annually to the Westminster parliament on its progress in promoting energy sources, including micro generation and renewable heat, and the measures taken to tackle climate change.

With more than 100 MPs present - unusual for a Friday - the Bill received all-party support and was backed by energy minister Malcolm Wicks.

Mr Lazarowicz's Bill would apply UK-wide.

After it was passed without a vote the Edinburgh North and Leith MP said: "The backing my Bill received today shows there is the political will to tackle our carbon emissions and promote renewable energy.

"We need to turn this will into action and I hope this Bill will become law and make this possible.

"International agreements and international action are necessary and important but we have our own role at home to play too in combating climate change.

"The UK has committed itself to a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2010, but on recent trends we will struggle to achieve that.

"My Bill, if passed, will help to put the UK back on track to reach its targets for cutting greenhouse gases and also help householders tackle climate change."

But Mr Lazarowicz expressed concern that his fellow Labour MP Alan Whitehead's private members measure "the management of energy in buildings Bill" - which would put a responsibility on construction companies to provide energy saving measures in new homes - fell because of the actions of Tory MPs led by Scots-born Eric Forth.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The begining of the end for climate skeptics!

Fox News the famously Neo-Con news channel has always had problems with global warming, in large part due to the political persuasion of thos most strongly pushing for action on this issue. In a futher sign of washingtons increasing isolation on this issue, Fox News is set to broadcast a docummentary based on facts and not oil funded spin! An interesting quote:

Fox News Channel reporter Rick Folbaum, in a statement on the news organization's website, explained that "after months of research and interviews with many experts, I've learned this simple fact: The earth is heating up. And it's happening much faster than ever before. No one can argue with this."

Halleluja! I believe this is representative of the realisation amongst the rulling class arounf the world of the reality of the situation, and by rulling class i obviously include most of the big buisness leaders in the USA.

"( - A Fox News Channel documentary on "global warming," set to air Sunday night, provides only the liberal take on the controversial issue and was approved after environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reportedly "dragged" Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes to a lecture by former Vice President Al Gore, "kicking and screaming."

Clay Rawson, the Fox News Channel producer of the hour-long special titled "The Heat Is On: The Case of Global Warming," told Cybercast News Service Wednesday that the project "was a little bit different for us.

"Often on Fox News Channel, we present both sides, according to our 'fair and balanced' motto, but this is the global warming story," Rawson said. "We do make it clear that this is one side of the issue through inclusion of a disclaimer," he added. The documentary is said to ignore scientific skeptics who believe that human activity is not responsible for catastrophic climate change.

The Bangor Daily News (Maine) on Sept. 23 reported Kennedy's comments about having "dragged" Ailes to the Gore lecture. The November edition of Outside magazine also features a column by Amanda Griscom Little, in which she asserts that Laurie David, the wife of comic Larry David, managed to persuade Ailes about the need to air the special.

According to Griscom Little's column, Ailes telephoned Laurie David to discuss the "one-hour global-warming report that his network will air this fall, thanks in large part to Laurie's badgering."

Griscom Little also wrote that "Ailes was charmed by what he calls Laurie's 'impressive passion and dedication'" and that Ailes "considers her one of the country's 'leading authorities' on global warming." Laurie David is a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Ailes was unavailable for further comment Wednesday night.

Fox News Channel reporter Rick Folbaum, in a statement on the news organization's website, explained that "after months of research and interviews with many experts, I've learned this simple fact: The earth is heating up. And it's happening much faster than ever before. No one can argue with this."

But Chris Horner, senior fellow with the free market environmental group, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), is among those arguing about the theory of "global warming." He is also criticizing Fox News Channel, not only for its decision to air the documentary, but for featuring "Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a prominent agenda-driven environmentalist and registered lobbyist for green causes ... as a 'special correspondent' for the show."

Despite the disclaimer at the beginning of the program, Horner told Cybercast News Service that "many and possibly most viewers would not even see this disclaimer ...

"While it is unfathomable that a reputable news network would air so blatantly a one-sided program regardless of any disclaimer, that the 'fair and balanced' network would put itself in the position of suspending its motto is stupefying," Horner said. CEI plans to deliver a letter to Ailes on Thursday morning, complaining about the documentary.

"I hate to draw attention to a Sunday night 'filler' program, but it is important to expose this disgraceful excuse for journalism, particularly by the so-called 'fair and balanced' crowd," Horner said. "Maybe a special on the 10,000 dead in New Orleans could follow."

Folbaum asserted in his Fox News website statement that "the vast majority of the scientific community says we're witnessing a unique and troubling kind of climate change, one where changes that used to occur over centuries are now taking place during the course of a single lifetime."

The reporter concluded by pleading for website visitors to tune in to Fox News Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. "Learn the facts about global warming and decide for your self what needs to be done about these new realities," Folbaum stated.

Fox News Channel coordinated the special with the Alaska based Weston Productions, which has previously worked with Greenpeace and National Geographic."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Beijing Conference Shows Renewable Energy Booming Worldwide

BEIJING, China, November 7, 2005 (ENS) - The fastest growing energy technology in the world is grid-connected solar photovoltaic, which grew in capacity by 60 percent per year from 2000 through 2004, to cover more than 400,000 roofs in Japan, Germany, and the United States, according to a Worldwatch Institute report released today at the Beijing International Renewable Energy Conference.

Second is wind power capacity, which grew by 28 percent last year, led by Germany, with almost 17 gigawatts installed as of 2004, the report finds.

"Renewable energy has become big business," said Eric Martinot, lead author of "Renewables 2005: Global Status Report." The report was compiled by Martinot, working with more than 100 researchers and contributors from at least 20 countries as a project of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).

The report was produced and published by the Worldwatch Institute and released at the Beijing International Renewable Energy Conference 2005, sponsored by the government of China.

At the conference today, Chinese President Hu Jintao called on the international community to improve cooperation in research and development, technological transfer and funding for the use of renewable resources to benefit the world.


A new wind farm, located 60 miles outside Beijing, will generate 400 megawatts per day by October 2006, enough to power up to 400,000 households when running at full capacity, nearly doubling China's wind power. For now, it claims to be the world's largest wind power project, but rivals from Scotland to Texas also make that claim. (Photo courtesy EHP)
The state news agency Xinhua quoted Hu as telling conference delegates that giving priority to the exploitation and use of renewable energy is the only way for the world to deal with the growing energy and environmental problems, and the only way for humankind to achieve sustainable development.

Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan told the conference that China will develop its water resources, build wind power plants capable of generating a million kilowatts each, pay more attention to the use of solar energy, and methane in rural areas, and promote the biological energy sector. By 2010, renewable energy will account for 15 percent of China's energy supplies, said the vice-premier.

Xinhua quoted Vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission Zhang Guobao as saying the Chinese government will raise about US$180 billion to develop renewable energy from now to 2020.

The conference gathers government and private leaders from around the world, providing a forum for international leadership on renewable energy. It reconnects the stakeholders that came together at the International Conference for Renewable Energies in Bonn, Germany in 2004.

Martinot, who is a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute and a lecturer at Tsinghua University in Beijing, notes that renewable energy is attracting some of the world's largest companies, including General Electric, Siemens, and Sharp.

Global investment in renewable energy set a new record of $30 billion in 2004, Martinot and his team report.

By design, the report does not provide analysis, recommendations, or conclusions. It provides an assessment of small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels, energy sources that are now competing with fossil fuels and nuclear power in four distinct markets - power generation, hot water and space heating, transportation fuels, and rural off-grid energy supplies.

Technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small hydro now provide 160 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity, about four percent of the world total. Developing countries have 44 percent of this capacity.

This 160 gigawatt slice of generating capacity compares to 3,800 gigawatts installed capacity worldwide for all power generation.

The report finds that government leadership provides the key to market success and that government support for renewable energy is growing rapidly.

At least 48 countries now have some type of renewable energy promotion policy, including 14 developing countries. Most targets are for shares of electricity production, typically five to 30 percent, by the 2010 - 2012 timeframe.

Legislation requiring the blending of biofuels into vehicle fuels have been enacted in at least 20 states and provinces worldwide as well as in three populous developing countries - Brazil, China and India.


High efficiency solar photovoltaic modules are installed at the Center for Art and Media Technology building in Karlsruhe, Germany. The array can produce 90,000 kilowatt hours per year. (Photo courtesy BP Solarex)
The market leaders in renewable energy in 2004 were Brazil in biofuels, China in solar hot water, Germany in solar electricity, and Spain in wind power.

In total, renewable energy industries worldwide provide 1.7 million jobs, most of them skilled and well-paying.

Over 4.5 million green power consumers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan purchased renewable electricity at the retail level or via certificates in 2004.

The report estimates that nearly 40 million households worldwide heat their water with solar collectors, most of them installed in the last five years.

Sixteen million households cook and light their homes with biogas, and two million households use solar lighting systems.

Production of the biofuels ethanol and biodiesel exceeded 33 billion liters in 2004, when ethanol displaced about three percent of the 1.2 trillion liters of gasoline produced globally.

Interest in using renewable energy technologies to provide electricity to rural and remote areas as a cost-effective alternative to grid extension is gathering momentum in many developing countries, the report finds. An estimated 360 million households worldwide still lack access to to central electric power networks.

“All our client countries in Latin America have told us that they have realized that they need subsidies and regulatory measures for reaching the ‘last 20 percent’ of their rural unelectrified populations, including with renewable energy,” said a World Bank project manager quoted in the report.

Brazil plans to electrify 2.5 million households by 2008 under the “Luz para Todos” program, and about 700,000 households have already been electrified. Brazil has targeted 200,000, or about 10 percent of these households for renewable energy.

Several other Latin American countries have recently launched or revamped new rural electrification programs, including Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. Most of these countries have launched efforts to “mainstream” renewable energy as a standard option of new rural electrification efforts. The report finds that Chile has recently recognized renewables as a key technology as it enters a second phase of a national rural electrification program.


Solar photovoltaic panel begins powering a water pump in rural Thailand (Photo courtesy United Solar Ovonic)
Asian countries with mandates for renewable energy for rural electrification include Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Some of these countries are financing programs with multilateral assistance, and conducting other technical assistance and support measures.

The report estimates that US$500 million goes to developing countries each year as assistance for renewable energy projects, training, and market support. The German Development Finance Group, the World Bank Group, and the Global Environment Facility provide the majority of these funds, and dozens of other donors and programs provide the rest.

REN21 is a global policy network aimed at providing a forum for international leadership on renewable energy. Its goal is to allow the rapid expansion of renewable energies in developing and industrial countries by bolstering policy development and decision making on sub-national, national, and international levels.

The establishment of a global policy network was embraced in the Political Declaration of the International Conference for Renewable Energies, Bonn 2004, called Renewables 2004, and formally launched in Copenhagen in June 2005.

The REN21 Steering Committee brings together government officials from Brazil, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Germany, India, Morocco, Netherlands, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States with nongovernmental leaders such as Greenpeace, the Worldwatch Institute, WWF, and the African Energy Policy Research Network.

Multilateral agencies are represented on the Steering Committee by the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Energy Agency among others. Funding agencies are represented by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility. Industry associations include the World Wind Energy Association, and the Renewable Energy Councils from Europe and the United States.

WorldWatch says the Global Status Report fills a gap in the international energy reporting arena, which has tended to neglect the emerging renewable energy technologies. Regular updates will be produced in the future

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