Saturday, August 27, 2022

Hope from outside box 1

 Bloomberg discuss the krill revolution; could building's windows be designed to adpat

we'd particularly love to here of anyone scaling photosynthesis solutions; it seems to us but from 1 accident to timing (eg Einstein furious with himslef for early publication of nuclear research) , photosynthesis races would have got as much gov r&D sponsorship as atimoc races chris.macare@yahoo.co.uk

The Einstein Letter That Started It All; A message to President Roosevelt 25 Years ago launched the atom bomb and the Atomic Age.
Nov 23, 2011 — Einstein sought to control nuclear weapons and to develop institutions such as the UN that he believed could lead to peace.

krill inspired research

In a recent paper published in Nature, a group of University of Toronto researchers propose adapting an HVAC technique from Antarctic krill, which use pigments stored in their skin to protect themselves from the sun. They’re developing a product that could do something similar for building facades. In the US, 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings and their associated heating, cooling and lighting systems. 

“If we could learn from biological organisms that keep their ‘indoor environments’ comfortable much, much more efficiently using techniques that they've evolutionarily developed over millions of years, maybe we could make our built infrastructure at least a fraction as efficient,” says Raphael Kay, the lead author on the paper and now a research fellow at Harvard’s school of engineering. 

Krill store sacs of pigment in their skin that allow them to instantly change color from white to orange, acting like highly responsive curtains. “When they sense that the sunlight level is too high,” says Kay, “they will send a signal from the brain to these tiny little dots of pigment, saying, ‘Un-clump yourself,’ basically.”

Credit: Nature Communications

Kay and his team want to apply this principle to buildings by making windows filled with two types of fluid: one that absorbs sunlight, and another that allows it pass through.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

will australia come off green gate in time


Green Giant: Powering the world with green energy is the tantalizing prospect for Australia. By one estimate, the vast sunbaked continent could generate 5,000 exajoules of energy from renewables — more than eight times current global demand. That helps explain why some of the country’s richest people are lining up huge projects designed to pivot the nation from fossil-fuel king — and the world’s biggest per-capita emitter of carbon — to a global supplier of green energy and the metals needed to build electric vehicles. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

 The head of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification will head UN Climate Change from 17 July and until a permanent replacement to Patrica Espinosa is found

Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (Photo: Alex Wynter/Climate Centre/Flickr)


Mauritanian diplomat and head of the UN body to combat desertification Ibrahim Thiaw has been appointed interim executive secretary of UN Climate Change. 

Thiaw will take over the role when Patricia Espinosa, who has been in the job six years, steps down next month and “until the selection process for the new executive secretary is completed,” a letter to parties, seen by Climate Home News, states.

A UN Climate Change spokesperson previously told Climate Home that Espinosa’s last day was on 15 July. Thiaw will start on 17 July.

Espinosa told staff of the decision on Monday and UN Climate Change sent a note to governments today.

Thiaw has served as the executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) since January 2019. In this role, he called for land management to be more closely linked to climate action.

Before that, Thiaw was the UN Secretary-General’s special adviser for the Sahel region of Africa and the assistant secretary general of the UN Environment Programme.

He holds a degree in forestry and spent ten years in the rural development ministry of Mauritania, a large sparsely-populated nation which spans much of the west of the Sahara desert.

While Espinosa was rumoured to step down following her second term as climate chief, the UN was slow to start the recruitment process with the job advert only published on 13 May.

The deadline for applications to be her permanent replacement is on Friday. Current Cop26 president Alok Sharma, from the UK, is reported to be interested in the job.

Patricia Espinosa: Some rich nations felt demands on finance were ‘too strong’

But three of the five executive secretaries have been European so developing nations, particularly in Africa and Asia, are likely to argue that the role should go to someone from their regions.

The job advert states that female applicants are “especially welcome” to apply for the $207,000 a year role based in Bonn, Germany.

Climate Home’s sources have suggested several African and Asian women as possible contenders including the environment ministers of Rwanda, Egypt and Nigeria and the finance minister of Indonesia.

Thiaw will combine his role at UNCCD with running UN Climate Change ahead of the Cop27 climate talks in Egypt in November. He said he is “committed to ensuring that there will be no disruption in the dispensing of my function” at UNCCD.

Earlier this year, former Costa Rican environment minister Andrea Meza Murillo was appointed deputy head of UNCCD.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

 2 June 2022

Global wellbeing is at risk – and it’s in large part because we haven’t kept our promises on the environment – UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday.

Although there have been successes in protecting the planet since 1972, including rescuing the ozone layer, Mr. Guterres warned that “Earth’s natural systems cannot keep up with our demands”.

Triple planetary crisis

Lead us out of this mess”, he urged delegates at the Swedish summit convened by the UN General Assembly, in a call for action against a “triple planetary crisis” that’s been caused by the climate emergency – “that is killing and displacing ever more people each year” – biodiversity loss – which threatens “more than three billion people” – and pollution and waste, “that is costing some nine million lives a year”.

All nations should do more to protect the basic human right to a clean, healthy environment for everyone, Mr. Guterres insisted, focusing in particular on “poor communities, women and girls, indigenous peoples and the generations to come”.

GDP alert

Part of the solution lies in dispensing with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a gauge of countries’ economic clout, the Secretary-General continued, describing it as an accounting system “that reward(s) pollution and waste”.

He added: “Let us not forget that when we destroy a forest, we are creating GDP. When we overfish, we are creating GDP. GDP is not a way to measure richness in the present situation in the world.” 

After calling on all nations to commit further to implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and following the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle these threats, the Secretary-General also insisted that greater efforts were needed to bring emissions to net zero by 2050.

Hot air

“Hot air is killing us,” he said, repeating his call to all countries to abandon fossil fuel subsidies and invest in renewable energy, while developed nations should “at least double” their support to poorer countries so that they can adapt to a growing number of climate shocks.

Stressing that nations have already cooperated to protect the planet on many fronts, Mr. Guterres noted that the final touches are expected to be added to a new global biodiversity framework to reverse nature loss by 2030.

Work is also ongoing to establish a treaty to tackle plastics pollution, the UN chief continued, and the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, is expected to galvanize efforts to save our seas.

“If we do these things we can avert climate catastrophe, end a growing humanitarian and inequality crisis and promote inclusive and sustainable development,” he said, adding that “every government, business and individual has a role to play”.

Progress impossible if planet's 'under relentless assault'

Conference convenor, General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid, said there was a simple truth all need to acknowledge: "human progress cannot occur on an earth that is starved of its own resources, marred by pollution, and is under relentless assault from a climate crisis of its own making.

He said recent climate action initiatives such as a plastics pollution treaty push, "give me hope", but they needed to be integrated into a much broader effort.

"We need solutions that address the common bottlenecks affecting the entire environment agenda, which will in turn accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and promote resilient and sustainable recovery from the pandemic."

Tech-tonic push for sustainability

In a related development at Stockholm on Thursday, a UN-backed coalition of 1,000 stakeholders from more than 100 countries, launched their bid to use digital tools to accelerate environmentally and socially sustainable development.

The Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES) offers ways to embed sustainability in all aspects of digitalization. This includes building globally inclusive processes to define standards and governance frameworks for digital sustainability, allocating resources and infrastructure, while also identifying opportunities to reduce potential harms or risks from digitalization, said the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

'A chance for the world to commit': Andersen

Addressing the conference, UNEP chief Inger Andersen, said that 50 years on from the original conference in the Swedish capital devoted to the environment, a plethora of agreements are now in place, “covering every environmental challenge”.

But, the practical results had fallen well short so far, she warned, citing the inequity, injustice, and “distress signals” that abound, from the triple planetary crisis.

“If Indira Gandhi or Olof Palme were here today, what excuses would we offer up for our inadequate action? None that they would accept. They would tell us that further inaction is inexcusable.

“We know, more than ever, the terrible consequences of marching blithely further down the carbon-intensive development path we have gouged from the earth”, she added. “But we also know what we should do. And we know how to do it.

The scientific solutions are clear, “for fair and just transformational changes in our economy, our finance systems, our lifestyles, our governance. And we know need science to swing the needle to action on our moral compass.

Stockholm+50 is a chance for the world to commit, once and for all, to delivering these transformations”, she told delegates.

Act now, urges ECOSOC President

Collen Vixen Kelapile, President of the Economic and Social Council, recalled that the conference has its origins in the Council itself, thanks to a proposal by the Government of Sweden, formalized in a letter to the Secretary-General on 20 May 1968.

He pointed to the doubling of the global population, growth in world trade, urbanization, agricultural development and unsustainable consumption and production patterns as among the drivers of environmental degradation. “We are clearly on a dangerous path to harming future generations, if we do not act now,” he warned.

Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of Sweden, said the youth movement is a decisive force in the climate transition.  Political leaders must do what it takes, she stressed, adding that her country has chosen to make various policy changes to enable a green transition.  Noting that climate action is a priority for her Government, she said:  “We won’t speed up the green transition because we are kind, but because we are smart.

Uruhu Kenyatta, President of Kenya and co-host of the international meeting, urged Governments to develop a transformative package of environmental actions, pulling together the outcomes of the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), the United Nations Environmental Assembly 5.2 meeting, Stockholm+50 and the Oceans Conference, to be held at the end of June.

Monday, May 2, 2022

 a landmark $8.5 billion pledge by the U.K., U.S. and European Union before last year’s COP26 summit to support South Africa’s move away from fossil fuels. The deal has become a model for decarbonizing other nations including India, Indonesia and Vietnam. The hope is that agreements can be reached with those countries before COP27, the people said, and that details of the South Africa pact will be finalized by then. Much of the focus is on Indonesia, which will this year host the Group of 20’s meetings and have significant influence over COP27. Getting a deal done could earn rich countries some goodwill in Egypt after they failed again last year to meet a decade-old target to deliver $100 billion a year in climate finance for poor nations. Jess Shanlerman Blomnerg Green., london

Sunday, May 1, 2022