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News Article | December 14, 2015
Site: cleantechnica.com

Saturday saw the long-awaited COP21 UN climate summit succeed in adopting a new climate change agreement, causing a frenzy of responses from officials, businesses, and climate organisations around the world. Below are several notable responses. “In my first inaugural address, I committed this country to the tireless task of combating climate change and protecting this planet for future generations,” said US President Barack Obama in his statement. “Two weeks ago, in Paris, I said before the world that we needed a strong global agreement to accomplish this goal — an enduring agreement that reduces global carbon pollution and sets the world on a course to a low-carbon future. “A few hours ago, we succeeded. We came together around the strong agreement the world needed. We met the moment. “Now, no agreement is perfect, including this one. Negotiations that involve nearly 200 nations are always challenging. Even if all the initial targets set in Paris are met, we’ll only be part of the way there when it comes to reducing carbon from the atmosphere. So we cannot be complacent because of today’s agreement. The problem is not solved because of this accord. But make no mistake, the Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis. It creates the mechanism, the architecture, for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way. “This agreement is ambitious, with every nation setting and committing to their own specific targets, even as we take into account differences among nations. We’ll have a strong system of transparency, including periodic reviews and independent assessments, to help hold every country accountable for meeting its commitments. As technology advances, this agreement allows progress to pave the way for even more ambitious targets over time. And we have secured a broader commitment to support the most vulnerable countries as they pursue cleaner economic growth. “In short, this agreement will mean less of the carbon pollution that threatens our planet, and more of the jobs and economic growth driven by low-carbon investment. Full implementation of this agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change, and will pave the way for even more progress, in successive stages, over the coming years.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “Paris will always be connected with this historic turning point in climate policy.” “Deliberations at #COP21 & #ParisAgreement demonstrates the collective wisdom of world leaders to mitigate #ClimateChange,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, via Twitter. “#ClimateChange remains a challenge but #ParisAgreement demonstrates how every nation rose to the challenge, working towards a solution.” “Outcome of #ParisAgreement has no winners or losers. Climate justice has won & we are all working towards a greener future.” “In striking this deal, the nations of the world have shown what unity, ambition and perseverance can do,” said UK Prime Minister David Cameron. “Britain is already leading the way in work to cut emissions and help less developed countries cut theirs – and this global deal now means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change. It’s a moment to remember and a huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet.” “We have witnessed an important step forward, with an unprecedented number of countries agreeing to a deal to limit global temperature rises and avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” said Amber Rudd, the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary. “This is vital for our long-term economic and global security. This deal will ensure all countries are held to account for their climate commitments and gives a clear signal to business to invest in the low carbon transition”. “The IEA congratulates all Parties, under the leadership of the French Presidency, for the successful conclusion of the landmark Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is nothing less than a historic milestone for the global energy sector. It will speed up the transformation of the energy sector by accelerating investments in cleaner technologies and energy efficiency. “Driving even stronger action to lower emissions while supporting continued economic growth and expanding energy access will require greater engagement and effort by all. The IEA stands ready to support implementation of the Paris Agreement by helping countries track the transition of the energy sector and by promoting innovation and technology transfer.” “This is a proud moment in world history and a strong step forward to solving the biggest challenge of our time,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “While not perfect—the Paris Agreement urges a just transition for impacted workers and underscores the obligation to protect human rights. The Agreement does right by us all because it sets a goal and structure that could keep our world below 1.5 degree C of warming. The Agreement also made significant progress towards helping developing nations fund efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in ensuring both transparency and verification of everyone’s commitments. Enforcement and follow through are now key.” “With this historic deal, world leaders have unambiguously confirmed their commitment to limit dangerous warming, and nearly every country has published its own plan to limit carbon emissions,” said Anthony Hobley, CEO of Carbon Tracker Initiative. “This is a new kind of inclusive global agreement providing a framework for action. It sends a strong signal that will accelerate the low-carbon transition that is already underway. “The necessary carbon budget to deliver the 2 degrees target and maintain ambition for 1.5 degrees means the fossil fuel era is well and truly over. There is absolutely no room for error. Fossil fuel companies will need to accept that they are ex-growth stocks and must urgently re-assess their business plans accordingly. “New energy technologies have become hugely cost-competitive in recent years, and the effect of the momentum created in Paris will only accelerate that trend. The need for financial markets to fund the clean energy transition creates opportunity for growth on a scale not seen since the industrial revolution. “Carbon Tracker will now focus on the immediate task of translating this unambiguous signal for global financial markets, so that they can increase the flow of investment and capital towards activities that are consistent with a low-carbon world, and correctly price-in the risks associated with high-carbon activities. This ‘Paris Effect’ will build momentum behind an orderly economic transition and help minimize the destruction in value of some of the world’s biggest companies. “The Paris Agreement is probably the most important international agreement in history,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme. ‘Nations of the world have underlined that climate change is a threat to the security and prosperity of all societies, and can only be addressed through unity of purpose. A sustainable future benefits all of humanity. “This agreement is a testament to the ability of our societies to set aside differences and confront collective challenges for the global good. Importantly, the agreement has provisions to protect the most vulnerable. Fairness and equity are at the heart of this accord. “Governments have sent a signal to the private sector that the momentum toward sustainability cannot be stopped. This is what the world needed to see. “Above all, we have given future generations hope instead of doom and gloom. “Rainforest Action Network views today’s global climate agreement in Paris with both hope and disappointment,” said Lindsey Allen, Executive Director of the Rainforest Action Network. “We are encouraged at the recognition that deforestation and forest degradation play a critical role in the climate crisis, yet greatly disheartened at the lack of binding inclusion for Indigenous and human rights in the agreement. We are hopeful that promises of addressing the loss and damage experienced by developing nations will become a reality, but this will require the full participation of wealthier nations many of whom have an even worse environmental track record.” “Ultimately, real change is always led by people power. The past few weeks in Paris have presented a heartening display of the unity and solidarity of an ascendant global climate justice movement with Indigenous community voices and voices from the global south at its core. Frontline communities, Indigenous communities, and everyday activists who are willing to stand up to those who place profits before people and planet will force the change we need to see. And that will allow us to keep forests standing, to keep fossil fuels in the ground, to protect human rights and to create a just and sustainable future.” “We appreciate the efforts made by the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and her team in helping to secure a deal which commits the UK on the world stage to continuing its trajectory towards a sustainable and carbon-free future,” said Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive. “This landmark agreement puts the world firmly on course to limiting dangerous climate change and Britain has proved it is willing to play its part. “We hope that in the months to come we can see this accord translated into the necessary policies at home to achieve these goals, with Ministers returning from the talks fired up to put their weight fully behind the development of the UK’s plentiful renewable energy resources, including wind, wave and tidal power, without the Government seeking to exclude successful and cost-effective technologies such as onshore wind from our energy mix”. “This is a substantive, tremendous result that has been achieved by the parties in Paris,” said Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative. “The Agreement sets us towards limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, puts significant transition and financial measures in train and cements the global consensus on moving to a low carbon future.” “By acting in such a coordinated manner the international community has opened the way for institutional investors, regions and cities to now take the lead on climate finance solutions with confidence that governments have set the low carbon direction. The review periods and ratchet mechanisms in the Agreement add certainty and weight for investors and other stakeholders.” “Enormous opportunity now clearly exists to deploy green bond and climate bond financing, to renew ageing infrastructure, and to provide climate finance for emerging markets and economies that require new energy, transport and urban networks over coming decades.” “For the first time, almost 200 countries have agreed on a landmark deal on climate change action for all. This Paris Agreement is a deal for both people and planet,” said David Nussbaum, WWF-UK Chief Executive. “The vision to keep global warming below 1.5°C provides the mandate to press on in our efforts to tackle climate change. Starting with countries revisiting their existing commitments before they come into force in 2020.” “We welcome the historic agreement that has just been reached in Paris,” said Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President.  The world has come together to forge a deal that finally reflects the aspiration, and the seriousness, to preserve our planet for future generations. “First, it leaves no one behind – protecting the poorest people and the most vulnerable countries by calling on all of us to hold the increase in temperatures to well below 2 degrees C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. “Second, it sends the much needed signal to trigger the massive sums of public and private sector investments needed to drive economies toward a carbon neutral world as advised by science. While doing this, we will strive to ensure that there is the necessary finance to provide resilience for developing countries. “Third, it changes development. We agree there is no development without tackling climate change. We cannot poison the planet and thrive. “We called for strong ambition, for remarkable partnerships, for mobilization of finance, and for implementation of national climate plans. Paris delivered. Now the job becomes our shared responsibility. The World Bank Group is ready to help immediately and will do its utmost to realize this vision of prosperity.”    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  

Love D.,Waternet | Love D.,Matopos Research Station | Uhlenbrook S.,UNESCO IHE | Uhlenbrook S.,Technical University of Delft | And 4 more authors.
Hydrological Sciences Journal | Year: 2010

Characterizing the response of a catchment to rainfall, in terms of the production of runoff vs the interception, transpiration and evaporation of water, is the first important step in understanding water resource availability in a catchment. This is particularly important in small semi-arid catchments, where a few intense rainfall events may generate much of the season's runoff. The ephemeral Zhulube catchment (30 km2) in the northern Limpopo basin was instrumented and modelled in order to elucidate the dominant hydrological processes. Discharge events were disconnected, with short recession curves, probably caused by the shallow soils in the Tshazi sub-catchment, which dry out rapidly, and the presence of a dambo in the Gobalidanke sub-catchment. Two different flow event types were observed, with the larger floods showing longer recessions being associated with higher (antecedent) precipitation. The differences could be related to: (a) intensity of rainfall, or (b) different soil conditions. Interception is an important process in the water balance of the catchment, accounting for an estimated 32% of rainfall in the 2007/08 season, but as much as 56% in the drier 2006/07 season. An extended version of the HBV model was developed (designated HBVx), introducing an interception storage and with all routines run in semi-distributed mode. After extensive manual calibration, the HBVx simulation satisfactorily showed the disconnected nature of the flows. The generally low Nash-Sutcliffe coefficients can be explained by the model failing to simulate the two different observed flow types differently. The importance of incorporating interception into rainfall-runoff is demonstrated by the substantial improvement in objective function values obtained. This exceeds the gains made by changing from lumped to semi-distributed mode, supported by 1 000 000 Monte Carlo simulations. There was also an important improvement in the daily volume error. The best simulation, supported by field observations in the Gobalidanke sub-catchment, suggested that discharge was driven mainly by flow from saturation overland flow. Hortonian overland flow, as interpreted from field observations in the Tshazi subcatchment, was not simulated so well. A limitation of the model is its inability to address temporal variability in soil characteristics and more complex runoff generation processes. The model suggests episodic groundwater recharge with annual recharge of 100 mm year-1, which is similar to that reported by other studies in Zimbabwe. © 2010 IAHS Press.

Hoyer-Klick C.,German Aerospace Center | Wald L.,MINES ParisTech | Menard L.,MINES ParisTech | Blanc P.,MINES ParisTech | And 13 more authors.
30th ISES Biennial Solar World Congress 2011, SWC 2011 | Year: 2011

Southern and eastern Mediterranean regions are prone to production of electricity by solar systems. The solar resource is the "fuel" of such systems and its availability is a key economic parameter in system design. Even though the southern and eastern Mediterranean region is served by several commercial data providers, in a public domain, so far only coarse resolution (100 km) data or data with limited temporal coverage is available. For more rapid development of policies and to attract the industrial interest in this region a more enhanced and easy to access free information is needed. The project will bring high resolution (1 km), long term coverage of at least 15 years data on the available solar resources for the region covering the countries Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine National Authority, Mauretania and Turkey. The resource data will be derived from Earth Observation satellite data, based on published and transparent methodologies and the data will be validated with existing ground measurements in the region. The database will be provided by SOLEMI and Helioclim-3 (SoDa) sources - Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI) and Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI). The data will be made available via a distributed information system which will ensure the ease of access to the data. The free access to the data will include historical, annual and monthly averages, and more detailed data products and services will remain the domain of commercial data providers. This paper will show the first prototype of the user interface for an easy web access to the solar radiation as well as ancillary geographical data. With the presentation of this paper we aim to encourage potential users to give us feedback on the further development.

News Article | April 22, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

A record number of countries are set to descend upon New York today to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, today’s signing “signals the next step towards the Agreement coming into force and a critical juncture in a global effort to ensure lasting hopes for secure and peaceful, human development.” “More carbon in the atmosphere equals more poverty,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “We cannot deliver sustainable development without tackling climate change, and we cannot tackle climate change without addressing the root causes of poverty, inequality and unsustainable development patterns.” Today’s signing has been given a smidgen-more significance, as it takes place on Earth Day, with the United Nations Environmental Programme hoping “we can lift our heads and look at this bigger picture with new hope, for today the world is gathering at the UN Headquarters in New York to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.” “In Paris, the world’s nations agreed that climate change is a threat to planetary well-being,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “Having over 160 countries sign the Paris Agreement in New York on its opening day is proof positive that the world is committed to a global response.” “More than this, the signed Paris Agreement is evidence of an epochal shift in global mentality toward how we interact with our environment.” Earlier this month it was announced that more than 130 countries are set to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, with over 60 world leaders and other luminaries expected to be present today. Successfully agreed upon in the last moments of the COP21 meeting in Paris, France, last December, the “Paris Agreement will enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55% of total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary.” “The challenges we face from climate change are still very real, and no document can fix our problems for us,” Achim Steiner continued, in a statement released this morning. “What the Paris Agreement can do is inspire action, safe in the knowledge that we do not act alone, but with a global unity of purpose. It is heartening to see countries come together to improve the lives of all peoples through the safeguarding of our planet.” “Signing the Paris Agreement is but a step on a long journey to make our world a better place. A large step, yes, but many more remain to be taken in our efforts to address the risks of climate change, reduce pollution and increase access to clean energy. By continuing to cooperate, as the world did in Paris, we can achieve our goals sooner than we expect. UNEP, as part of the United Nations family, is committed to supporting nations and citizens in making this transition towards a greener future.”   Drive an electric car? Complete one of our short surveys for our next electric car report.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  

Schaefer K.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Lantuit H.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | Lantuit H.,University of Potsdam | Romanovsky V.E.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2014

Degrading permafrost can alter ecosystems, damage infrastructure, and release enough carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to influence global climate. The permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) is the amplification of surface warming due to CO2 and CH4 emissions from thawing permafrost. An analysis of available estimates PCF strength and timing indicate 120α85 Gt of carbon emissions from thawing permafrost by 2100. This is equivalent to 5.7α4.0% of total anthropogenic emissions for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario and would increase global temperatures by 0.29α0.21 °C or 7.8α5.7%. For RCP4.5, the scenario closest to the 2 °C warming target for the climate change treaty, the range of cumulative emissions in 2100 from thawing permafrost decreases to between 27 and 100 Gt C with temperature increases between 0.05 and 0.15 °C, but the relative fraction of permafrost to total emissions increases to between 3% and 11%. Any substantial warming results in a committed, long-term carbon release from thawing permafrost with 60% of emissions occurring after 2100, indicating that not accounting for permafrost emissions risks overshooting the 2 °C warming target. Climate projections in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), and any emissions targets based on those projections, do not adequately account for emissions from thawing permafrost and the effects of the PCF on global climate. We recommend the IPCC commission a special assessment focusing on the PCF and its impact on global climate to supplement the AR5 in support of treaty negotiation. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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