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A Push to Save Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake

Mon, 2014-06-09 17:41
Scientists are digitally tracking the links between human activity and the fragile ecosystem of Cambodia’s great lake.

Off the Shelf: Review of Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper

Sat, 2014-06-07 15:01
A new book by a “climate agnostic” offers contrarian views on energy policies, arguing that the world needs a revival of nuclear power.






Third airport in Istanbul: an exciting project

Sat, 2014-06-07 08:48

The building of the biggest airport of the world is about to start.

A 150 million passengers capacity airport.
It will cost a little more than 10 billion euro. The Turkish state doesn’t pay anything, the airport will be built by the Turkish private sector.
25 years later the Airport licence will be back in the hands of the Turkish state!!!!
It will be finished in 2018.
The Turkish private group paid the Turkish state a little more than 22 billion euro for the licence/rent (VAT exluded).

The airport requires 350 thousand tons of steel, 10 thousand tons of aluminium, 415 thousand square metre of glass.

150 000 people will work in this huge airport. That’s a great news.

A capacity of 500 planes on the floor, 6 plane tracks, 8 control towers, 165 passenger bridges, rail connections between the terminals….

Turkish Airlines will have its own terminal. I admire this company so much, I hope they will order the magnificent A380.

There will be a congress centre, a 70 thousand car capacity parking, shops, hotels….It is so huge that we can call this airport a city.

The Airport will be built on the European shore of Istanbul, in the north, a stone’s throw from the Black sea.

A fantastic project!

Sincerely yours

Cem

PS: Atatürk AirPort is overloaded, many planes wait and cue through the clouds to land.
PPS: The Ankara-İstanbul high speed train line will be opened this month.
PPPS: Another grandiose and very serious project : Kanal İstanbul.
PPPPS: Turkey is changing at a fast pace. I’m so happy for my country that has suffered so much. At last Turkey’s horizon is bright. Mutlu ve gururluyum.

June 6 2014: The week explained: Delicate diplomacy

Thu, 2014-06-05 16:19
AMERICA'S military in central Europe, Obama’s climate change policy and the Syrian election are three important stories that made the news this week. Our correspondents explain Comment Expiry Date:  Fri, 2014-06-20

Climate change and business: Nobody’s fuels

Thu, 2014-06-05 10:59
UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Beautiful game, dirty business Fly Title:  Climate change and business Rubric:  American investors are taking climate change more seriously Location:  NEW YORK CARBON is the new Vietnam: American students want out. Or rather, they want their universities to stop investing in firms that profit from climate-changing carbon. Last month Stanford said it would no longer invest any of its $19 billion endowment in coal firms. Was this a brilliant piece of market timing, given Mr Obama’s announcement on June 2nd of tough new carbon regulations? Not really: coal shares were already down in anticipation of the new rules, and barely moved when the news broke. Shares in Peabody Energy, America’s largest coal firm, are down four-fifths from their high in June 2008. Perhaps the trustees of Stanford’s endowment (including Tom Steyer, a rich environmentalist) concluded that ditching coal is now an affordable public-relations strategy. The economics of non-carbon renewable ...

In praise of second best

Thu, 2014-06-05 10:59
NOTHING is too good for the United States Congress. The Capitol even has its own power station. The Capitol Power Plant in south-east Washington is still puffing away, though it was built in 1910—making it older than most museums of power—and even though it has not generated any electricity since 1951. It pipes steam and chilled water to heat or cool the nation’s legislators, and in the process it pumps out over 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year. In 2000, when the administrator of the plant tried to switch it over from burning coal to natural gas to cut that pollution, senators from coal-producing states ganged up to stop him. The plant symbolises everything that is wrong with America’s power sector and the policies that influence it. So President Barack Obama’s proposal on June 2nd to cut CO2 emissions from power plants is welcome. Power stations are the single biggest source of greenhouse-gas emissions in America, accounting for a third of the total. The plan to cut them by 30% from their 2005 level by 2030 is the biggest step an American president has taken to curb climate change for several decades (which admittedly is not saying much). The proposal matters for political reasons: several states which Democrats must win if they are to keep control of the Senate are also coal producers, where anything that hurts miners is unpopular (see ...

The Amazon rainforest: Cutting down on cutting down

Wed, 2014-06-04 13:18
UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Beautiful game, dirty business Fly Title:  The Amazon rainforest Rubric:  How Brazil became the world leader in reducing environmental degradation Main image:  20140607_STP001_0.jpg IN THE 1990s, when an area of Brazilian rainforest the size of Belgium was felled every year, Brazil was the world’s environmental villain and the Amazonian jungle the image of everything that was going wrong in green places. Now, the Amazon ought to be the image of what is going right. Government figures show that deforestation fell by 70% in the Brazilian Amazon region during the past decade, from a ten-year average of 19,500 km2 (7,500 square miles) per year in 2005 to 5,800 km2 in 2013. If clearances had continued at their rate in 2005, an extra 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide would have been put into the atmosphere. That is an amount equal to a year’s emissions from the European Union. Arguably, then, Brazil is now the world leader in tackling climate change. But ...

Finland’s new climate change act – Will it deliver?

Wed, 2014-06-04 12:33

By Jason Anderson, Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy, WWF European Policy Office

For years it would have been hard to call Finland the most enthusiastic of European countries when it comes to climate action. Not that they made a habit of causing trouble, but they were by and large content to be carried along by the general trends. But today they’ll announce a new climate change act that is expected to put into law a long-term mitigation target of 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050 (they appear to have forgotten the EU range ’80 to 95%’ for the moment, but this is a good starting point).​

Among other features, the external expert panel established in 2011 is expected to have a legally established position under the new Act. This kind of external assessment is essential to policy formation. An independent committee features in the implementation UK Climate Change Act, and European Commission President Barroso’s own science adviser spoke longingly of a similar arrangement for the EU when reflecting on how the EC basically produces made-to-order analyses to fit political stances.

The timing is also fortuitous, arriving on the first of two days of ministerial meetings at the UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn, and hot on the heels of a string of announcements from Mexico, the US, and (not yet officially) China. So, we look forward to seeing what Finland releases today and hope it will live up to its potential.

 

Economic Scene: A Paltry Start in Curbing Global Warming

Tue, 2014-06-03 18:04
World leaders aren’t dealing with the limit of the planet’s carrying capacity when they weigh future growth against the need to deal with climate change.

The novel accounting of greenhouse gas regulations: We are the world

Tue, 2014-06-03 15:19
Applying a dollar sign to death, disease and catastrophic climate change is a macabre business. Nonetheless, the cold-eyed math of cost-benefit analysis is the biggest contribution economics can bring to the often emotional questions that environmental and other types of regulations raise. In deciding whether a new rule does more good than harm, the Environmental Protection Agency routinely applies a cost-benefit test. Its sweeping propsal to cap greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants appears to pass with flying colours. By the EPA's reckoning, the rule will, by 2030, cost just $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion a year (in 2011 dollars), while producing benefits worth $55 billion to $93 billion per year.But this calculation rests on a novel calculation of the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases that takes regulatory policy into contentious new territory. As calculated, the costs are borne entirely by Americans, but the benefits accrue to the whole world. Using American benefits only, the benefits of reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) would be far smaller. The remaining benefits would be so-called co-benefits, which are basically good things that happen that weren't the main intent of the rule. Those co-benefits come from reductions in soot that are a by product of sulfur dioxide emissions (SO2) and rest heavily on assumptions as opposed to hard scientific ...

Democrats in Coal Country Run From E.P.A.

Mon, 2014-06-02 20:59
The president’s proposal to cut emissions from power plants could become a key issue in hard-fought midterm races across the country.






Climate policy: Obama's green gamble

Mon, 2014-06-02 20:36
BARACK OBAMA'S determination to act on climate change has been clear to anyone watching the president's major speeches in recent years. In his state-of-the-union address last year, for example, Mr Obama urged Congress to pass a "market-based solution to climate change", warning that if it failed to do so he would act alone. A couple of years earlier a cap-and-trade bill had died in the Senate; by 2013 it was already clear that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives had no interest in passing new laws. Thus did Mr Obama turn to his executive toolbox.Lurking inside was something rather useful: the Clean Air Act, signed by Richard Nixon back in 1970. Today Gina McCarthy, head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, announced that by 2030 America's power stations must reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide by 30% from the 2005 level. (Comments will now be solicited; a final rule is due next year.) The EPA has authority to issue such rules under an obscure provision of the CAA written long before mainstream politicians determined that carbon dioxide was a threat; indeed, the EPA's authority to regulate the gas as a pollutant was made clear only in a Supreme Court ruling in 2007. Lawsuits will be no doubt be filed against the 645-page rule; some provisions may be altered and weakened as a result, but the basic legal framework seems sound. The ...

Obama to Take Action to Cut Carbon Pollution

Mon, 2014-06-02 09:25
Experts say the new regulation could close hundreds of the nation’s coal-fired power plants and lead to changes in the U.S. electricity industry.






Damned if they do: EU and US politicians grapple with commitments on climate

Mon, 2014-06-02 07:54

By Jason Anderson, Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy, WWF European Policy Office

Today the Obama administration will come out with a draft rule on power plants that represents its latest attempt to make headway reducing greenhouse gas emissions despite the failure of Congress to take action (indeed, despite the histrionic antipathy towards action among many of them).

Inevitably, it will get blasted by those forces married to fossil fuels who enjoy the sound of their own rhetoric on economics and liberty, which is best enjoyed with the oceans rising up around your ankles. But with midterm elections coming up and climate not top of US politicians’ priority list, political support isn’t guaranteed even among many Democrats.

In other words, Obama is walking into a minefield. Which raises the question, if politicians are risk-averse and sensitive to election outcomes, why would he be doing this? Is it possible there’s some meat on this bone?

EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard would’ve liked to have had the same benefit of the doubt when announcing the EU’s 2030 plan in January. Environmentalists jumped on its inadequacy. In reply, Hedegaard said that it was easy to be an observer but hard to be a politician, and invited the NGOs to go soak our heads. She claimed that the 40% target was a position requiring serious political effort, and that a more ambitious proposal would have no chance of overcoming political opposition.

Be that as it may, the differences between the US and EU situation are informative. In the US case, climate action has been hard to come by, with the last president spending eight years basically working in the opposite direction entirely. Meanwhile, the current president gets little credit for any reductions in emissions, with most people ascribing that entirely to the rush for shale gas.

In fact, according to the US government’s 2014 climate action report, the effect of current policy and trends, including increased use of natural gas, would be to see US emissions drop 5.3% compared to 2005 levels in 2020[1]. However, they have a commitment of reducing by 17%. Bearing in mind the US GDP is rising and its population grows by more than a million people per year, new policy will have to make significant efforts to close the gap, of which the power plant rule is the most important element.

In Europe, meanwhile, GHG emissions were basically stable from 1990-2004, aside from the post-1990 implosion in Eastern countries. A shift from coal to gas played an important a role initially in keeping emissions low, but, as the US is also now finding, that shift only gets you so far before much more is needed. It is no coincidence that the year the Kyoto Protocol went into force, 2005, is when EU emissions clearly took a permanent downward path – concern about the failure to dent emissions in the previous years led to serious efforts at new policy lest we completely miss our Kyoto targets.

But Europe overcompensated – we let countries and companies buy overseas offset credit to temper costs of compliance. Together with the economic downturn the result is that the EU can now either significantly increase emissions to 2020, or hold excess credits over to the following period thereby reducing real effort to 2030. The combination of policy already in place and excess credits carried over could mean that the additional effort from 2020 to 2030 resulting from the current EU debates is negligible.

Solutions to the EU’s problem include adding an approach being pursued, ironically, in both the US and Canada – an emissions performance standard for power plants, which focuses minds on the problem at hand (emissions) and not on the theoretical solution (movement of overabundant paper credits, often of dubious provenance). An EPS will play an important role in the post-2020 target Obama has promised to deliver before the UN deadline in March 2015 (cue jeering from the domestic better-dead-than-green coalition).

So, the historic bad guys are trying to make up for lost time while the historic good guys are resting on their laurels. In both cases politicians trying to get something done are lightning rods for criticism from all sides – old-fashioned industry (and their friends in government) emboldened by the death of peak oil and smelling blood around climate action, and everyone else, who worry that the outcome of the political process is generally to pitch beach umbrellas in the face of a tsunami.

But neither should we expect government to build solid fortifications on shifting sand. Whatever the deficiencies, arguably we’re finally starting to see what looks like a the foundation of real climate action – China, the EU and the US are lining up behind new efforts, along with dozens of other significant economies, right in the run-up to a new big global agreement. If politicians make the calculation that they can’t push as far as we want, then that’s an indication we’ve got more work to do on all fronts.


News Analysis: Trying to Reclaim Leadership on Climate Change

Sun, 2014-06-01 21:16
New rules to reduce coal pollution are calculated to keep President Obama’s pledge to cut greenhouse gases, but by itself, the plan will barely budge global emissions.






E.P.A. to Seek 30 Percent Cut in Carbon Emissions

Sun, 2014-06-01 16:30
The Environmental Protection Agency will unveil a draft proposal on Monday to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to people briefed on the plan. The proposed rule amounts to the strongest action ever taken by the United States government to fight climate change.






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