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News Article | November 11, 2016

"Brexit has factored in a 15-18% rise in fuel prices next year due to the fall in a value of Sterling. Could a fall in the value of the dollar after Trump's victory offset that rise with a fall in the value of the dollar against the pound? Immediately after the result, there was a fall in the value of the dollar; this should make energy cheaper, as fuel is priced in dollars, but what will happen in the short to medium term? The scenario that Trump will be a catastrophe to the world markets has led to a short term fall, but the market should calm down after the unexpected shock. The rally will depend on what Trump does rather than what he has said he will do. The American political system is based on checks and balances. Obama failed to deliver much of his program because he could not get it passed Congress. The Senate and House of Representatives are now both in Republican hands, but the Republican Party itself, is not fully backing Trump. It is likely that the wild promises that he has made will meet a wall (not built by Mexicans), past which he will not be able to progress a lot of his agenda. Short term turbulence will settle down as happened in the case of Brexit, but the underlying risk of a populist President trying to match his unrealistic rhetoric to action, will be a constant destabilising influence on the markets. This is not scare mongering but based on what has already happened, should households and companies need to factor in a rise in energy costs? Energy prices closely match the ups and downs of Sterling's or dollar's value, really due to an inability of energy companies to absorb the rise of the commodity prices in an already extremely competitive market, which has very little profit margin. To protect themselves, they will need to hedge against the risks, the cost of which will be passed onto the consumer. Brexit caused the same turbulence with a major drop in the value of Sterling, so why has the fall in the value of sterling, not already been seen in a hike in bills? The answer is wrapped up in the procurement of energy. The majority of the energy we buy is gas. Gas provides two thirds of the energy used in the home and businesses, mostly heating, and it also powers over half of electricity generation. Gas is valued in dollars and so logically, prices should already have gone up with the fall in sterling. The reason this has not happened yet is that most gas is purchased up to a year ahead, so the price of the energy we are consuming now is still based on the value of Sterling before the vote. The price of energy therefore has an inbuilt price increase, based on currency exchange rates, which cannot be avoided, but will start to bite later in the winter. Back to Trump, his victory may lead to the fall in the value of the dollar so will this not lead to cheaper commodity prices? Well yes and no, the exchange rate will have an effect, but the fall in the Dollar may lead to inflation in the price of oil as commodity, producers, many of whom are dependent on oil revenue, will need to increase prices to offset losses on the exchange rates. Cheap energy is based on stable markets with clearly understood risks. Nobody is sure where Trump is going, maybe not even him, but arguably the most powerful man in the world, making up policy as he goes along is not going to make energy cheaper", concluded Lord Rupert Redesdale, CEO of the Energy Managers Association With his team at the Energy Managers Association, he has been working with hundreds of businesses to provide an event, EMEX where energy users can share knowledge, technologies and expertise on how to increase buildings energy efficiency, reduce electricity, water consumption and their associated costs. EMEX ( and its community are returning to the ExCeL Centre in London on 16th and 17th November with a packed programme spread across 4 free-to-attend CPD-accredited seminar theatres. This content, curated by the Energy Managers Association and its Board of major energy users, will include the opportunity to meet with top industry experts, peers and numerous leading suppliers that will unveil the latest technology and energy efficiency strategies available right now. Organisations like Network Rail, Land Securities, Local Councils, Ministry of Defence, National Grid, E.ON, Unite Students, Servest Group, Bourne Leisure, British Sugar, Costa Express, Port of Milford Haven, Water Plus, University College London, Bank of England, Skanska, BIFM, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), House of Commons, The Body Shop International, Pets At Home, Total Gas & Power, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, Greater London Authority, Broad gate Estates, Queen Mary University of London, Lloyds Banking Group, and Regent Street Management Direct are confirmed to speak at EMEX 2016. EMEX is an annual exhibition that takes place on 16 and 17 November 2016 at ExCeL London. The Energy Management Exhibition is for everyone responsible for reducing their organisation's energy consumption. This can be achieved through better energy buying, staff training and innovative technology. Attendees will be able to find and talk to companies and government; both have developed industry-leading solutions for decreasing energy costs. It is free to register to attend the show. There are over 3,000 visitors, 120 exhibitors, 100 speakers and 80 seminar sessions. More information can be found at Lord Redesdale was the Energy Spokesman for the Liberal Democrats for the House of Lords 2000-2008 during which time he introduced a number of private members bills in the area of energy and conservation. As Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group he has worked to spread the message about the carbon costs of energy especially computing. In 2012 he was awarded the accolade of Environmental Parliamentarian of the year by the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management. Lord Redesdale is the CEO of the Energy Managers Association (EMA). The EMA aims to promote the development of energy management and the career structure of Energy Managers in the British economy. The EMA sets up standards for energy management training courses to all companies to reduce their energy and CRC bill. The LEC scheme was launched in October 2013 and aims at driving the energy efficiency agenda by auditing companies by their commitment to energy management. The recognition of energy costs and energy reduction through energy efficient measures is a matter of the utmost importance and overarching key driver for the EMA.

Maynard J.A.,University of Melbourne | Anthony K.R.N.,James Cook University | Anthony K.R.N.,University of Queensland | Harvell C.D.,Cornell University | And 7 more authors.
Coral Reefs | Year: 2011

Links between anomalously high sea temperatures and outbreaks of coral diseases known as White Syndromes (WS) represent a threat to Indo-Pacific reefs that is expected to escalate in a changing climate. Further advances in understanding disease aetiologies, determining the relative importance of potential risk factors for outbreaks and in trialing management actions are hampered by not knowing where or when outbreaks will occur. Here, we develop a tool to target research and monitoring of WS outbreaks in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The tool is based on an empirical regression model and takes the form of user-friendly interactive ~1. 5-km resolution maps. The maps denote locations where long-term monitoring suggests that coral cover exceeds 26% and summer temperature stress (measured by a temperature metric termed the mean positive summer anomaly) is equal to or exceeds that experienced at sites in 2002 where the only severe WS outbreaks documented on the GBR to date were observed. No WS outbreaks were subsequently documented at 45 routinely surveyed sites from 2003 to 2008, and model hindcasts for this period indicate that outbreak likelihood was never high. In 2009, the model indicated that outbreak likelihood was high at north-central GBR sites. The results of the regression model and targeted surveys in 2009 revealed that the threshold host density for an outbreak decreases as thermal stress increases, suggesting that bleaching could be a more important precursor to WS outbreaks than previously anticipated, given that bleaching was severe at outbreak sites in 2002 but not at any of the surveyed sites in 2009. The iterative approach used here has led to an improved understanding of disease causation, will facilitate management responses and can be applied to other coral diseases and/or other regions. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

News Article | November 29, 2016

Ten households in Shakimali Matborkandi, a village in the Shariatpur district of Bangladesh, have seen a dramatic change over the past year in the way they light their homes and charge their mobile phones. For decades, these families had little choice but to use kerosene, the most popular fuel in tens of millions of homes in the developing world. But in September 2015, a Bangladeshi company, ME SOLshare, introduced them to what it calls "swarm electrification". In a fresh twist on the sharing economy popularized by Uber and Airbnb, ME SOLshare's pilot project enables the residents of Shakimali Matborkandi to trade electricity among themselves, free of any contact with a local utility. More than four million homes in Bangladesh are already equipped with solar panels. But, starting with the Shakimali Matborkandi pilot project, ME SOLshare aims to go a step further. With the help of a black box called a SOLbox and a mobile phone connected to the largest mobile banking network in the country called bKash, each family can buy solar electricity from their neighbours when they need it, and sell when they have a surplus. If anyone on the grid needs electricity, they add credit to their mobile wallet, switch their SOLbox to 'buy' mode, and trade the credit for power. Similarly, those who have excess power, or simply want to make some extra money, set the box to 'sell' mode. They can then use the credit on their mobile wallet to buy products at any local store. This system, known as peer-to-peer electricity trading on a nanogrid, is already making inroads in some industrial countries, such as the Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany and the US. But its introduction to Bangladesh could revolutionize the use of electricity in impoverished and remote communities that up to now have never known any source of power apart from kerosene and batteries. Read More: An Indie, Off-the-Grid, Blockchain-Traded Solar Power Market Comes to Brooklyn What's more, in countries prone to armed conflict and natural disasters, such as Bangladesh, where floods affected 3.2 million people and damaged over 250,000 homes this past summer, swarm electrification can keep the lights on even if there is extensive damage to the utility power grid. Sebastian Groh, ME SOLshare's managing director, said in an interview that the technology inspires a new way of thinking. "It inspires entrepreneurship. You are not just focused on your needs." He added that "people are encouraged to use energy efficient appliances and the latest LED lights to reduce consumption" so that they can sell surplus power to their neighbors. Groh came up with the term "swarm electrification" because, he said, "in a swarm of fish, there is no central intelligence and the fish work together to create unity." He added that, "if a shark attacks a swarm, it may take out one or two fish, but the rest keep on swimming." Another advantage of the technology is the low cost and reduced environmental impact. In rural Bangladesh, the average household spends $2 USD a month on kerosene for lighting but, as Nasir Uddin, executive director of Bangladesh-based nonprofit UBOMUS, one of the leading installers of solar home systems in the country, put it: "You can't charge your mobile phone with kerosene." The SOLbox itself costs $30, which consumers pay in installments over 24-36 months. After that, they own the box. Mr. Uddin said: "There are thousands of places in remote Bangladesh where this kind of project may be implemented." He added that for the same cost as kerosene, the SOLbox enables consumers to have access to bright, clean lighting, and they can also charge their mobile devices. In Bangladesh, about 20,000 new solar systems are installed each month. According to Groh, ME SOLshare plans to install another 200 SOLboxes by February 2017. The potential of swarm electricity extends far beyond Bangladesh. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), more than 6 million solar home systems are in operation worldwide, and their cost has dropped by over 80 percent since 2010. As prices continue to drop, the number of solar home systems will continue to rise, with the Climate Change Group estimating that five million solar home systems will be sold in India alone between 2014 and 2018. The challenge that the technology faces in reaching this wider market will be in finding the right sites. For efficiency reasons, the nanogrid uses direct current as opposed to alternating current, which means the lines carrying the electricity cannot extend far without significant energy loss. Only areas with high population density are candidates for this technology. Bangladesh makes a perfect guinea pig with a population of over 160 million people squeezed into an area roughly the size of New York state. ME SOLshare's technology won the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Momentum for Change award this year. According to Nawal Al Hosany, an expert on energy innovation and a member of the UNFCCC award advisory panel, ME SOLshare's technology "could make secure, sustainable and healthy energy access a reality to many millions of people across the globe who currently live day-to-day without it." Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.

Garde L.A.,National Climate Center | Spillman C.M.,Center for Australian Weather and Climate Research | Heron S.F.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Heron S.F.,James Cook University | Beeden MAppSci R.J.,Climate Change Group
Journal of Operational Oceanography | Year: 2014

The expected increase in the frequency of mass coral bleaching under climate change underlines the importance of thermal stress monitoring systems for coral reef management. ReefTemp Next Generation (RTNG) is a sophisticated remote sensing application designed to operationally monitor the ocean temperatures that can lead to coral bleaching across the Great Barrier Reef. Products are derived from state-of-the-art satellite data; and newly calculated climatologies and management thresholds for bleaching are presented. RTNG is a key component of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Early Warning System, which informs management action and response strategies.

Beeden R.,Climate Change Group | Beeden R.,James Cook University | Maynard J.A.,CNRS Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory | Marshall P.A.,Climate Change Group | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Management | Year: 2012

Predicted increases in coral disease outbreaks associated with climate change have implications for coral reef ecosystems and the people and industries that depend on them. It is critical that coral reef managers understand these implications and have the ability to assess and reduce risk, detect and contain outbreaks, and monitor and minimise impacts. Here, we present a coral disease response framework that has four core components: (1) an early warning system, (2) a tiered impact assessment program, (3) scaled management actions and (4) a communication plan. The early warning system combines predictive tools that monitor the risk of outbreaks of temperature-dependent coral diseases with in situ observations provided by a network of observers who regularly report on coral health and reef state. Verified reports of an increase in disease prevalence trigger a tiered response of more detailed impact assessment, targeted research and/or management actions. The response is scaled to the risk posed by the outbreak, which is a function of the severity and spatial extent of the impacts. We review potential management actions to mitigate coral disease impacts and facilitate recovery, considering emerging strategies unique to coral disease and more established strategies to support reef resilience. We also describe approaches to communicating about coral disease outbreaks that will address common misperceptions and raise awareness of the coral disease threat. By adopting this framework, managers and researchers can establish a community of practice and can develop response plans for the management of coral disease outbreaks based on local needs. The collaborations between managers and researchers we suggest will enable adaptive management of disease impacts following evaluating the cost-effectiveness of emerging response actions and incrementally improving our understanding of outbreak causation. © 2011 Her Majesty the Queen in Rights of Australia.

Bongaerts P.,University of Queensland | Riginos C.,University of Queensland | Ridgway T.,University of Queensland | Ridgway T.,Climate Change Group | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: Coral reefs are hotspots of biodiversity, yet processes of diversification in these ecosystems are poorly understood. The environmental heterogeneity of coral reef environments could be an important contributor to diversification, however, evidence supporting ecological speciation in corals is sparse. Here, we present data from a widespread coral species that reveals a strong association of host and symbiont lineages with specific habitats, consistent with distinct, sympatric gene pools that are maintained through ecologically-based selection. Methodology/Principal Findings: Populations of a common brooding coral, Seriatopora hystrix, were sampled from three adjacent reef habitats (spanning a ~30 m depth range) at three locations on the Great Barrier Reef (n= 336). The populations were assessed for genetic structure using a combination of mitochondrial (putative control region) and nuclear (three microsatellites) markers for the coral host, and the ITS2 region of the ribosomal DNA for the algal symbionts (Symbiodinium). Our results show concordant genetic partitioning of both the coral host and its symbionts across the different habitats, independent of sampling location. Conclusions/Significance: This study demonstrates that coral populations and their associated symbionts can be highly structured across habitats on a single reef. Coral populations from adjacent habitats were found to be genetically isolated from each other, whereas genetic similarity was maintained across similar habitat types at different locations. The most parsimonious explanation for the observed genetic partitioning across habitats is that adaptation to the local environment has caused ecological divergence of distinct genetic groups within S. hystrix. © 2010 Bongaerts et al.

Bongaerts P.,University of Queensland | Bongaerts P.,CARMABI Research Institute | Ridgway T.,University of Queensland | Ridgway T.,Climate Change Group | And 3 more authors.
Coral Reefs | Year: 2010

Coral reefs in shallow-water environments (<30 m) are in decline due to local and global anthropogenic stresses. This has led to renewed interest in the 'deep reef refugia' hypothesis (DRRH), which stipulates that deep reef areas (1) are protected or dampened from disturbances that affect shallow reef areas and (2) can provide a viable reproductive source for shallow reef areas following disturbance. Using the Caribbean as an example, the assumptions of this hypothesis were explored by reviewing the literature for scleractinian corals-the reef framework builders on tropical reefs. Although there is evidence to support that deep reefs (>30 m) can escape the direct effects of storm-induced waves and thermal bleaching events, deep reefs are certainly not immune to disturbance. Additionally, the potential of deep reefs to provide propagules for shallow reef areas seems limited to 'depth-generalist' coral species, which constitute only ~25% of the total coral biodiversity. Larval connectivity between shallow and deep populations of these species may be further limited due to specific life history traits (e.g., brooding reproductive strategy and vertical symbiont acquisition mode). This review exposes how little is known about deep reefs and coral reproduction over depth. Hence, a series of urgent research priorities are proposed to determine the extent to which deep reefs may act as a refuge in the face of global reef decline. © Springer-Verlag 2010.

Fisher S.,Climate Change Group
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development | Year: 2014

Cities are key actors in addressing climate change. Through local policies and regulation, participation in national programmes, and membership in transnational networks, cities have been shown to play an important role in the new configurations of climate change governance beyond the nation-state. There has so far been little attention, however, on how cities in the global South fit into this agenda and how climate policies become integrated and transformed in local municipalities with varying levels of development and differing urban priorities. This paper addresses this gap by bringing together literatures on cities and climate change with urban policy mobilities to explore how mobile urban climate policies are understood and embedded within municipal governments of second-tier cities in India. Based on the empirical work in five municipalities, this paper shows how a municipal network seeks to make climate policies mobile and how local municipal governments engage with such mobile policies. I suggest that the Indian example indicates different mechanisms of policy mobility than those identified in the literature elsewhere including a different use of policy spaces locally and nationally, strategic use of shifting policy narratives across scales to access global circulations of climate policies, and an important role for the precursors of mobility such as linkages, funding and awareness. © 2014, Taylor & Francis.

Maynard J.A.,University of Melbourne | Maynard J.A.,Climate Change Group | Marshall P.A.,Climate Change Group | Johnson J.E.,Climate Change Group | Harman S.,Climate Change Group
Coral Reefs | Year: 2010

Climate change is now considered the greatest long-term threat to coral reefs, with some future change inevitable despite mitigation efforts. Managers must therefore focus on supporting the natural resilience of reefs, requiring that resilient reefs and reef regions be identified. We develop a framework for assessing resilience and trial it by applying the framework to target management responses to climate change on the southern Great Barrier Reef. The framework generates a resilience score for a site based on the evaluation of 19 differentially weighted indicators known or thought to confer resilience to coral reefs. Scores are summed, and sites within a region are ranked in terms of (1) their resilience relative to the other sites being assessed, and (2) the extent to which managers can influence their resilience. The framework was applied to 31 sites in Keppel Bay of the southern Great Barrier Reef, which has a long history of disturbance and recovery. Resilience and 'management influence potential' were both found to vary widely in Keppel Bay, informing site selection for the staged implementation of resilience-based management strategies. The assessment framework represents a step towards making the concept of resilience operational to reef managers and conservationists. Also, it is customisable, easy to teach and implement and effective in building support among local communities and stakeholders for management responses to climate change. © Springer-Verlag 2010.

Fisher S.,Climate Change Group
Geographical Journal | Year: 2015

Climate justice is a well used concept within the international climate debate yet it has often remained little more than a static ideal. Through an analysis of the work of a loose civil society coalition in India mobilising around climate change justice, this paper argues that we need to be more attentive to the emerging geographies of climate justice, particularly in the global South where climate change provokes questions of uneven development processes as well as environmental concerns. The paper shows how climate justice has been scaled as an international justice issue through public discourses, national policies and civil society engagement in India. I argue that this focus on international climate justice narrows the political space for alternative articulations and claims for climate justice. Whereas climate justice has tended to focus on the nation-state as the key actor in addressing climate injustice I argue there are multiple entry points to address climate injustices at different scales. To understand what is meant by climate justice beyond the international sphere requires an exploration of the multiple manifestations and scales of climate justice and geographers could offer a critical contribution to an understanding of what national and local climate justice would mean in practice. These ideas are already starting to be operationalised in development programmes and climate finance, and a spatially grounded geographical understanding is crucial to future policy in this area. © 2014 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

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