Water and Water Related Issues (interactive data visualization)
Reblogged from I Love Charts.
“America strengthened its position as the world leader in wind power in 2009. Having overhauled Germany in 2008, installed wind capacity in the United States grew by 9.9 gigawatts (GW) to reach 35.2GW by the end of last year, according to a new report from the Global Wind Energy Council. But America’s reign could be short-lived as China continues its enormous rate of increase. For the fifth year running China nearly doubled its capacity, adding 13GW of installed power and overtaking Spain in the process. Despite the economic downturn, global cumulative capacity grew by 31%, the highest annual increase for seven years.”
“The markets would help to clarify exactly the extent to which there is in fact a consensus about climate change. There is, I believe, an abnormally high degree of disingenuousness within the global warming debate, most of it coming from one side. We would very quickly find out if the skeptics — and for that matter the believers — were willing to put their money where their mouths were.”
The use of markets would be an interesting and effective test of belief as it requires breaking that all too difficult initial barrier of inertia — whether it be political will-power, or overcoming business risk to invest in capital venture. Once you overcome inertia and fear, that’s where the fun and innovation begins.
The world’s first power plant based on osmotic power — a small prototype plant — recently opened in Norway. The plant generates electricity through osmotic pressure: when salt water and fresh water come together, like when a river meets the sea, there’s a difference in water potential. The fresh water and salt water are brought into distinct chambers, separated by a membrane that lets only water molecules through. The salt in the sea water draws fresh water through the membrane, building a pressure (corresponding to a water column of 120 m), which can then be harnessed to generate energy. The challenge in making this cost-effective lies in making the membrane efficient enough. Once it is, we’ll have a new, sustainable energy source — the only waste product is salt water. The total potential is estimated to be around 10 percent of the world’s current electricity consumption. More (pdf). (via science)
A charming image to accompany this article in the NYT where, in light of COP15, the Op-Ed editors asked writers from four different continents to give their own report on the climate changes they’ve experienced close to home.
“You’re the ones who will have to live with the effects of climate change,” we caution our youngest as he consumes yet another burger. As a 12-year-old, he has yet to comprehend that at some point he may have to choose between beef and rain forests, plane journeys or glaciers, rationing or perishing. He has no idea that insurance premiums are already rising fast (too fast!), due to the kind of climate-induced flooding that has been filling many a Danish basement. On the other hand, he knows Denmark will have vineyards, and by then he’ll be able to swim with dolphins! Pretty cool, yeah?
I haven’t the heart to mention the plagues of malaria mosquitoes, the risks of contracting West Nile virus and cholera. Neither have I troubled him with forecasts of the cod disappearing from Danish waters, or with the gloomy prospects for growing Christmas trees here. I did, though, (mis)appropriate the climate angle in the course of a discussion about pets. “A medium-sized dog pollutes as much as a 4.6-liter Toyota Land Cruiser clocking more than 6,000 miles a year!” I tell him, reading out of the newspaper. “Yeah, sure,” he says, and rolls his eyes. As if.
…In Denmark, there are more than 100 wind turbine cooperatives, and special exchanges where you can buy shares in them. Our Christmas will be a peaceful one: we’ll talk about the wind and the weather, but in the nice way, so we’ll forget that this year once again Christmas wasn’t white. The snow is going, too.
“Peaty wetlands emit about 1.3 billion tonnes of CO2 a year as a result of human activity that drains them and thus exposes them to the oxidative effect of the atmosphere. This figure does not include the effect of fire on dried-up bogs, which can double the amount. That, at least, is the conclusion of a report published by Wetlands International, a lobby group, this week. Drained peat occupies 0.3% of the world’s land surface, but is responsible for 6% of man-made CO2 emissions. Indonesia is the biggest emitter, but richer countries are guilty too. However, the report’s findings contrast with the conclusions of a paper on deforestation also published this week in Nature Geoscience. The conventional figure is that tree-felling causes 20% of man-made CO2 emissions, but the new paper puts that figure at closer to 12%. Together, both studies suggest a change of emphasis may be needed, and that efforts should be made to preserve not just forests, but also bogs. (source)”
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Program Executive Director, on lessons from the Montreal Protocol on chlorofluorocarbons in relation to COP15’s focus on carbon emissions and climate mitigation.
“In its annual “World Development Report” published on Tuesday September 15th, the World Bank notes that they accounted for 64% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels between 1850 and 2005. In 2005 itself, however, this share had fallen to 50%, and middle-income countries such as India and China (now the world’s biggest emitter) accounted for almost half of CO2 emissions and more than half of wider greenhouse-gas emissions. But rich countries’ 1 billion people emit far more on a per person basis compared with the 4.2 billion people who live in middle-income countries.”
Bundanoon. It was here it all started. In a little rural community in New South Wales, Australia, with approximately 2,500 inhabitants. Bundanoon. Today they will all gather and by show of hands decide to ban bottled water from the town. All shop owners has agreed, despite the fact that they lose over a thousand bucks a years, each. They say it’s a moral question. I say it’s fucking brilliant.
It all started when a big bottled water company wanted to buy land from the town for drilling wells. Visitors and tourists will be encuraged to use tap water by being provided with empty bottles and public water fountains along the main street. Bottled water is a $500 million business in Australia and the townspeople are hoping that their initiative will catch on and spread. Lets all hope so. (via onepointofview)
July 08, 2009, 7:29pm