Tiempo Climate Newswatch
Week ending January 7th 2007
The Blue Carbon Portal brings together the latest knowledge and resources on the role of oceans as carbon sinks.
WalkIt provides walking routes between user-defined points in selected British cities, with an estimate of the carbon savings.
Joto Afrika is a series of printed briefings and online resources about adapting to climate change in sub-Saharan Africa.
The CoolClimate Art Contest presents iconic images that address the impact of climate change.
About the Cyberlibrary
The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary was developed by Mick Kelly and Sarah Granich on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development, with sponsorship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site, and on other sites that are referenced here, is accurate, no liability for loss or damage resulting from use of this information can be accepted.
Two islands have been lost in the Sunderbans delta, which straddles the border between India and Bangladesh, as a result of rising sea level, according to a six-year study of climate impacts. Official records list 102 islands in the area but a recent survey revealed only one hundred. Sugata Hazra of the School of Oceanography Studies at Jadavpur University in Calcutta, India, reports that "two islands, Suparibhanga and Lohachara, which have gone under water, could not be sighted in satellite imagery. The [disappearances] have rendered over 10,000 people homeless, a dozen others on the western end of the inner estuary delta are threatened. As the islands sink, nearly 100,000 people will have to be evacuated from the islands in the next decade." Refugees from Lohachara island and from Ghoramara island, which is in the process of disappearing, have fled to the heavily-populated Sagar island, but this island is also losing land to the sea.
The study shows that the temperature of the region has increased by over one degree Celsius since 1965. While the yearly number of cyclones has decreased, storms have become more intense. "Rainfall has shifted to the post-monsoon period and this shifting is a definite indicator of climate change," says Hazra. Relative mean sea level in the Bay of Bengal is rising at a rate of 3.14 millimetres a year and "if this trend continues, the rising sea will devour nearly 15 per cent of the islands in the Sunderbans," he concludes. The study will contribute to India's reporting commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
A study commissioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) concludes that demand for cars will treble Asia's greenhouse gas emissions over the next 25 years. Local pollution and transport congestion will severely limit capacity to move people and goods. Emissions of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter, mainly from the transport sector, are of concern in all cities currently experiencing rapid motorization, according to another recent study, led by the Stockholm Environment Institute-York in the United Kingdom and the Clean Air Initiative for Asia Cities (CAI-Asia). "The speed of motorization is so fast in Asia. For example, vehicle fleets double in about five years in an average Asian country," said Cornie Huizenga, head of CAI-Asia. The ADB study predicts that vehicle numbers in China could grow by as much as 15 times over the next 30 years, while the growth in India could be up to 13 times.
If current trends continue, there could be about two billion urban residents in Asia in ten years' time. "To accommodate these people, a huge amount of cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and other motorized vehicles is being added to our streets, their number doubling every five to seven years. The ramifications of this for air quality are daunting," warned Bindu Lohani of ADB's sustainable development department. Reducing transport problems will mean "changing existing travel behaviour patterns and modifying urban development patterns to minimize the type, length, and frequency of trips that people need to take," he said. The ADB report was released at the three-day Better Air Quality 2006 conference held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The conference called on Asian governments to tighten fuel efficiency standards, promote the purchase of more fuel-efficient cars, increase spending on clean public transport projects and cater for bicycles and pedestrians in road design.
Egypt, Peru and Vietnam are among the nations taking the lead in addressing the environment's central role in poverty, according to a new report from the United Nations. "A healthy, sustainable environment is a vital national asset and when it is eroded, the poorest people suffer the most," said Kemal Dervis of the United Nations Development Programme. "This report highlights the progress of some countries towards more environmentally sustainable development planning but it also presents a harsh reality: if our delicate ecosystems are not firmly at the heart of all national plans to reduce poverty, then all other efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 will be undermined."
The report reviews over 150 developing country experiences in addressing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In Kenya, for example, deforestation is a major challenge. The poor chop down trees as their only source of fuel for cooking and heating. As part of its MDG plan, the Kenyan Government proposes to protect at least 3.5 per cent of its forested area by 2008 and introduce renewable options like solar energy to the rural population. Lack of environmental sustainability, the report concludes, is often related to a lack of political will, pressure on environmental resources from high use and natural disasters, insufficient governance and planning policies, social unrest and lack of financial resources. Poor coordination within countries and differing priorities between governments and donor agencies may also create difficulties.
General Electric plans to cut solar installation costs by half
Project 90 by 2030 supports South African school children and managers reduce their carbon footprint through its Club programme
Bath & North East Somerset Council in the United Kingdom has installed smart LED carriageway lighting that automatically adjusts to light and traffic levels
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Public Gardens Association are mounting an educational exhibit at Longwood Gardens showing the link between temperature and planting zones
The energy-efficient Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel is powered by renewable and sustainable sources, including integrated solar photovoltaics and guest-powered bicycles
El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, plans to generate 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources
The green roof on the Remarkables Primary School in New Zealand reduces stormwater runoff, provides insulation and doubles as an outdoor classroom
The Weather Info for All project aims to roll out up to five thousand automatic weather observation stations throughout Africa
SolSource turns its own waste heat into electricity or stores it in thermal fabrics, harnessing the sun's energy for cooking and electricity for low-income families
The Wave House uses vegetation for its architectural and environmental qualities, and especially in terms of thermal insulation
The Mbale compost-processing plant in Uganda produces cheaper fertilizer and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
At Casa Grande, Frito-Lay has reduced energy consumption by nearly a fifth since 2006 by, amongst other things, installing a heat recovery system to preheat cooking oil
Tiempo Climate Newswatch