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  • Video & Report: How renewable energy is already taking over the world – Ecologise
    strategies and tools for doing so Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 18th May 2016 22nd May 2016 Two short courses on Development at Azim Premji University Bangalore Designed for professionals working in various domains of development Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 24th May 2016 3rd June 2016 View All Events Special Features Video Report How renewable energy is already taking over the world Written by Contributor Mar 30 2016 0 Comments Juan Cole writes In 2015 energy companies invested more in new renewables power plants than in fossil fuel plants for the first time in history The majority of these plants were planned for developing countries a sign that the technology is now viewed as less expensive It is clear there is a secular trend upwards Juan Cole Informed Comment A new press release from UNEP states Coal and gas fired electricity generation last year drew less than half the record investment made in solar wind and other renewables capacity one of several important firsts for green energy announced today in a UN backed report Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016 says the annual global investment in new renewables capacity at 266 billion was more than double the estimated 130 billion invested in coal and gas power station s in 2015 All investments in renewables including early stage technology and R D as well as spending on new capacity totalled 286 billion in 2015 some 3 higher than the previous record in 2011 Since 2004 the world has invested 2 3 trillion in renewable energy unadjusted for inflation All figures for renewables in this release include wind solar biomass and waste to energy biofuels geothermal marine a nd small hydro but exclude large hydro electric projects of more than 50 megawatts Just as significantly developing world investments in renewables topped those of developed nations for the first time in 20 15 Helped by further falls in generating costs per megawatt hour particularly in solar photovoltaics renewables excluding large hydro made up 54 of added gigawatt GW capacity of all technologies last year It marks the first time new installed renewables have topped the capacity added from all conventional technologies The 134 gigawatts of renewable power added worldwide in 2015 compares to 106GW in 2014 and 87GW in 2013 Were it not for renewables excluding large hydro annual global CO2 emissions would have been an estimated 1 5 gigatonnes higher in 2015 Here is how the new energy generation broke down by type of fuel Additional energy generating capacity 2015 Renewables excl large hydro 134 GW Large Hydro 22 GW Nuclear 15 GW Coal fired 42 GW Gas fired 40 GW What shocks me is that companies are still investing as much

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/30/how-renewable-energy-is-already-taking-over-the-world/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Why we must have water budgets – Ecologise
    to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 24th May 2016 3rd June 2016 View All Events Special Features Morvarid Fernandez Why we must have water budgets Written by Contributor Mar 30 2016 0 Comments Techno economic fixes do not address the underlying zero sum game nature of water resource use Ultimately the problem is that of allocating the water available each year among users both people and the ecosystem Without understanding how much water is available how much is used and by whom solving India s water crisis will be impossible If we run out of groundwater millions of people will be left without any means to sustain themselves Veena Srinivasan Sharachchandra Lele The protest by farmers in Chikballapur recently over the scarcity of drinking water received extensive news coverage as it halted Bengaluru in its tracks after key highways were blocked Interestingly very little of that coverage was devoted to the groundwater crisis that underpins the problem in such regions Groundwater plays an important role in our lives and India s economy but it is disappearing fast There is mounting evidence that we are extracting more than can be naturally replenished In the hard rock aquifers of peninsular India drilling 800 ft or deeper is becoming the norm Groundwater dependent towns and villages spend an increasing fraction of their budgets chasing the water table Stories abound of farmers spending their life savings or taking loans to drill a borewell but failing to find water If we run out of groundwater millions of people will be left without any means to sustain themselves Scientific evidence also points to over exploitation The Central Ground Water Board classifies all blocks in India based on the fraction of recharge that is extracted and trends in long term groundwater levels Since 2004 almost a third of blocks have been classified over exploited or semi critical If we understand the problem and if the consequences are so severe why are we unable to address it The answer lies partly in politics partly in the invisible nature of groundwater and partly in our reliance on simple techno economic fixes Flawed regulatory structure Electricity is supplied to farmers free of cost This policy made sense when groundwater was abundant in the 1980s Indeed it helped millions of farmers escape poverty But today where groundwater levels have fallen hundreds of feet below the ground the subsidy is actually only utilised by the richest farmers who can afford to drill deep And even so not all are lucky enough to strike water Access to groundwater in hard rock regions has almost become a lottery Yet in the absence of alternative water sources charging farmers for electricity is seen as political suicide Groundwater is inherently difficult to monitor and control in part because of its invisibility which also perpetuates the illusion that each well is independent The myth is enshrined in Indian groundwater law that allows landowners to extract as

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/30/why-we-must-have-water-budgets/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Atulya Bingham: Where did environmentalism go wrong? – Ecologise
    as much involved in it Anyone who has lost someone close knows the first reaction to a terminal prognosis is to pretend it just isn t happening because the truth is simply too devastating to contemplate Everyone simply focuses on the hope that there will be a miracle or some sudden technological innovation or perhaps the doctors were wrong Unfortunately as I myself have witnessed denial doesn t prevent truth from dawning Terminal patients still die as we all do be it today tomorrow or in 15 years And it is here that I d like to pause Because although this is all true it is also as I see it one of the gravest strategic errors the environmental movement has made since the beginning With an unwavering fascination in the end of the world environmentalism has attempted to scare humanity into acting and we are now seeing just how spectacularly scare tactics have failed Not that the scare isn t based on solid foundations it s more that apparently scared people are not particularly effective at mobilising Humanity has been plunged into despair and so it has buried its head even deeper in the sand of any one of our expanding deserts Local red squirrel Photo credit Lost Olympos I ve often thought that environmentalism for all its railing against consumerism and the materialism that fuels it is in fact over obsessed with the material and under obsessed with the soul and that the fate of our planet simply cannot be altered without a deeper understanding of why we are sabotaging it Environmentalism should have taken a leaf out of the book of its far more successful sibling in the ism family capitalism How did capitalism beat environmentalism It perused a bit of Freud and worked out what made us tick It offered a carrot where the environmentalists who ve been all hellfire and brimstone have offered none Either we fight off the forces of massive earth devouring corporations with nothing more than a yaks wool jumper and a couple of placards or we face certain death Well thanks for that inspiring choice Don t mind me if I ship in a case of Chateauneuf du Pape and drink myself into oblivion I have blabbered before on the two drives that the human mind finds itself caught between desire and fear prodded by the carrot or stick mentioned above The mind despite its façade of sophistication is a primitive largely reptilian beast When desire seems easier to attain than fear is to dispel then the mind weighs up the odds What I fear is coming regardless I may as well grab some of what I want it bargains Environmentalism and its use of the media has unwittingly created a bottomless pit of angst within the human spirit and I m sorry but you can t save the world on that To really be able to achieve a miracle and seeing as I ve witnessed a few I view them

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/29/atulya-k-bingham-where-did-environmentalism-go-wrong/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Digest: Climate crisis and the myth of ‘green’ capitalism – Ecologise
    Events Webinar on Groundtruthing at online event Groundtruthing gathers information that connects regulatory requirements with actual impacts development has on people Resource person Kanchi Kohli Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 12th May 2016 12th May 2016 Rainwater Harvesting Workshop at Hyderabad Understand and combat Hyderabad s water problems through rain water harvesting Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 15th May 2016 15th May 2016 Thought for Food at Palampur Himachal Pradesh Workshop on eating responsibly sharing strategies and tools for doing so Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 18th May 2016 22nd May 2016 Two short courses on Development at Azim Premji University Bangalore Designed for professionals working in various domains of development Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 24th May 2016 3rd June 2016 View All Events Special Features Digest Climate crisis and the myth of green capitalism Written by Ecologise Mar 29 2016 0 Comments Much of the mainstream media corporate lobbyists and politicians would like the public to think of climate change as something akin to a natural phenomenon In this second part of our series on Capitalism and Climate Change we present a selection of articles that examine the deep seated connections between climate change and a rapacious global economic order Climate crisis and the myth of green capitalism Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg The Malaysian Inside r Our economies are now reliant upon ever more ingenious ways of exploiting the Earth s fossil fuel reserves and consuming the very life support systems we rely on for our survival This is evident in the rush by some of the world s largest companies to embrace deep water and Arctic oil drilling tar sands processing new mega coalmines and the fracking of shale and coal seam gas These examples highlight both the inventive genius of corporate capitalism and the blindness of industry and government to the ecological catastrophe they are fashioning The Elephant in the Room Capitalism and Sustainable Development Gary Leech Counterpunch It is too often suggested that we can simply incorporate more environmentally friendly practices into our daily lives while only tinkering with our consumption habits in order to achieve sustainability But this simply is not true Each of us living in wealthy nations must massively and I mean MASSIVELY reduce our levels of material consumption if we are to achieve a sustainable ecological footprint And this reality is the elephant that is too often ignored in discussions about sustainable development Why

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/29/capitalism-and-climate-change-2-articles/ (2016-05-02)
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  • The scientific challenge of attributing extreme weather events to human activity – Ecologise
    75 while separate research found climate change had made heavy rainfall in the winter of 2013 4 another particularly wet period 43 more likely The different percentages attached to these studies reflect the fact that attribution studies are done on a case by case basis with no two events being identical But sometimes you ll see the results presented another way The very first study to apply extreme weather attribution in 2004 expressed the effect of climate change as having at least doubled the risk of a heatwave as severe as the one Europe experienced in 2003 This could equally have been expressed as a 100 rise in the probability they amount to the same thing A study published this week expressed its results slightly differently again The authors found that climate change had raised the odds of extremely high temperatures in each of the last 16 record breaking warm years leading them to conclude that without human induced climate change recent hot summers and years would be very unlikely to have occurred Yet another way that attribution studies can express their findings is through a change in the frequency of a particular event occurring rather than the magnitude it reaches For example a 2015 study which found that extremely warm years such as 2014 are 13 times more likely to occur in the Central England Temperature CET record under climate change also concluded that such events could be expected about every five years in 2020 compared to every 120 years in 1914 Different ways to express the human influence on July heatwaves in Russia in terms of the return time frequency top or increased probability bottom Each figure compares the model result for the 1960s green and 2000s blue Source Adapted for NAS Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change report from Otto et al 2012 Need for speed How authors of attribution studies choose to express their results comes down at least in part to a choice about what s most effective says Dr Peter Stott head of detection and attribution at the UK s Met Office and author of the 2004 study on the European heatwave Attribution has grown out of a demand for answers to specific questions he says and expressing results in different ways is part of an evolving understanding of what people want to know The attribution community recognises how effective attribution can be as a communication tool to connect climate change with people s everyday experiences Stott adds There is a power to be able to make statements while they re still fresh in people s minds In the case of the heavy rain during Storm Desmond and the heatwave across Europe last summer scientists were able to turn the handle on the attribution studies while they were still going on Cullen whose research group was part of the team behind both studies tells Carbon Brief Despite profound changes to our climate system global warming and its associated impacts sea level rise ocean acidification species loss still feel distant in both time and space to many people The most immediate and costly threat results from the changing risks of extreme weather Cullen has an Op Ed in the New York Times today in which she compares today s report linking climate change to a higher risk of some types of extreme weather to the surgeon general s 1964 report connecting smoking to lung cancer She writes Climate change can no longer be viewed as a distant threat that may disrupt the lives of our grandchildren but one that may be singled out as a factor possibly a critical factor in the storm that flooded your house last week One important forward facing use for attribution research is in prediction Today s report explains how it can be used to help vulnerable communities cope with climate impacts present and future In the wake of a devastating event communities may need to make a decision about whether to rebuild or relocate Such a decision could hinge on whether the occurrence of an event is expected to become more likely or severe in the future and if so by how much Allen says scientists could use attribution predictions in the same way that meteorologists use weather forecasts He told Carbon Brief recently My personal view is that in the long term attribution should be a routine part of any package of climate services so a quantitative assessment of how various external drivers may be making weather events more or less likely to occur should become just part of the job of the world s meteorological services For extreme event attribution to be useful in any of these contexts time is of the essence So does the need for speed mean a compromise on quality Oct 23 2015 Boulder City Nevada U S Low waters of Lake Mead seen from above in this aerial view via helicopter Years of unrelenting drought are straining a large reservoir of water between Nevada and Arizona Lake Mead s water level has dropped by about 120 feet 37 meters from where the water reached 15 years ago on July 6 2000 Ruaridh Stewart ZUMA Press Corbis Quality control The methods that underpin extreme event attribution are thoroughly peer reviewed such that the scientists are just turning the same handle each time Allen says Individual seasonal forecasts aren t subject to peer review before they are issued but seasonal forecasting methods certainly are I think we should see attribution results in much the same way Effective rigorous and scientifically defensible analysis of how climate change is implicated in extreme weather not only offers valuable information about future risks but also satisfies the public s desire to know says Rear Admiral Dr David Titley in his introduction Titley is a professor at Penn State university and chair of the author committee for today s report And as long as those boxes are ticked it s usually better to say

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/28/the-scientific-challenge-of-attributing-extreme-weather-events-to-human-activity/ (2016-05-02)
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  • The decisions we make about climate change today will reverberate for millennia – Ecologise
    the worst effects of climate change Despite the enormity of climate change s other numbers that one is small the time we have left to effectively act So let s try an imaginative exercise Let s talk long term climate consequences and then try to connect them to our current political moment Climate change is for all intents and purposes forever Almost all climate models and reports including those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change focus on the near term effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions They almost all extend their analysis out to 2100 and then stop There are obvious reasons for this the current century is of intense interest to those planning on living in it but it also distorts our perspective in subtle ways Most notably it renders the post 2100 damages of climate change invisible it allows us to think of the damage we re doing as short term or temporary As it happens however time is not going to stop in 2100 It is going to be followed by 2101 and so forth And the effects of climate change put into motion in this century will also continue accumulating A large group of scientists recently submitted a comment to the journal Nature in which they stressed this point They note that a considerable fraction of the carbon emitted to date and in the next 100 years will remain in the atmosphere for tens to hundreds of thousands of years Nature Temperature goes up and stays up They argue for taking a longer view modeling the previous 20 000 and the next 10 000 years to put the climate changes being initiated today into proper geologic context If you re interested in detailed results read the paper it s pretty short but the takeaway from the modeling is this The changes we are setting in motion are irreversible Elevated atmospheric levels of CO2 will stay elevated for 10 000 years Global average warming over the 21st century will substantially exceed even the warmest Holocene conditions producing a climate state not previously experienced by human civilizations That unprecedented climate state will continue for 10 000 years Global mean sea level GMSL which has been reasonably stable throughout human civilization is now rising as the Earth seeks a new equilibrium with its higher temperatures The rate of rise will itself increase possibly higher than it s been in 8 000 years Total GMSL rise over 10 000 years is between 25 and 52 meters several orders of magnitude higher than IPCC s projections for 2100 Though the scientists don t go into it such a large rapid change in the Earth s climate should be expected to radically reshape its flora and fauna as well most notably through a rise in the rate of extinctions Because of the time lags involve in the climate system short term changes can be very difficult to predict but over a long enough timescale these kinds of effects become all but

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/27/the-decisions-we-make-about-climate-change-today-will-reverberate-for-millennia/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Organic agriculture, agroecology and the parallel reality of the GMO evangelist – Ecologise
    organic approaches like agroecology are not sufficient to feed the world If agro ecological approaches can currently match yield that can be attained by using modern farming methods then by all means use it But if not and my understanding is that currently it cannot then they should not be the farming method of recommended choice at present No one with any concern for humanity or the welfare of its population should currently consider any other alternative to GM The groups that campaign for this kind or that kind of farming method and destroy crops to try and bounce others into their point of view have lost that fundamental concern for their own species In an attempt to drive his belief home Trewavas does his cause no help by using GM industry inspired PR rhetoric masquerading as expert opinion in an attempt to smear and marginalise proponents of agroecology by implying they are enemies of humanity And he is not alone in going down this route Whether in academia or elsewhere mouthpieces for their transnational agribusiness masters have no shame in churning out misinformation and cheap slurs to forward a pro GM agenda that is based on fraud and a subversion of science as documented in Steven Druker s book Altered Genes Twisted Truths And this agenda does not possess overwhelming support within science despite the claims of GM supporters This much has been made clear by Food Water Watch and by Druker himself in a recent TV debate and his follow up points here But PR slurs and smears aside the pro GM lobby s specific attack on organic agriculture and more generally agroecology merely being a kitchen table niche mode of farming flies in the face of reality The truth organic farming wins on all counts According to new research carried out by a team of US scientists organic farming could provide ample food for the whole human population while causing less pollution and fewer health problems than conventional agriculture Their review of hundreds of published studies provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields be profitable for farmers protect and improve the environment and be safer for farm workers even though organic production currently accounts for only one percent of global agricultural land It is the first such study to analyse 40 years of science comparing organic and conventional agriculture across the four goals of sustainability identified by the National Academy of Sciences productivity economics environment and community well being In their paper published on 3rd February in the journal Nature John Reganold and Jonathan Wachter agronomists at Washington State University argued that that yields from organic farms were indeed between 8 and 25 lower than those of conventional farms depending on the crop With effective use of organic polyculture however this gap narrowed to 9 and with increased crop rotation it shrank to just 8 But one area where organic farming trumped conventional methods is in periods of severe drought a phenomenon set to become increasingly common as the global climate is disrupted The authors argue that the weight of evidence argues that yields from organic farms are more reliable in periods of drought because their healthier soil retains more moisture as perfectly described previously by Bhaskar Save based on his many decades of organic farming in India It is also noted that organic farmers often make a better living than their pesticide spraying colleagues with revenues between 22 and 35 higher The two agronomists state that humanity s conversion to organic farming should not rest solely on the question of yields by noting that wider issues must be addressed as well We should also reduce food waste improve access to food distribution stabilise the global population eliminate the conversion of crops into biofuels and adopt a more plant based diet The unpaid costs of industrial agriculture The authors also say that the downsides of conventional farming are clear it uses costly pesticides pollutes water with nitrates and phosphates causes high greenhouse gas emissions and reduces biodiversity on cultivated land As well as contributing to a variety of chronic diseases conventional farming methods also produce food with lower nutritional values than organic methods a finding supported by 12 of the 15 studies identified by the researchers on this subject Numerous studies in the review indicated that organic farms tend to store more soil carbon have better soil quality and reduce soil erosion Organic agriculture also creates less soil and water pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions And it is more energy efficient because it doesn t rely on synthetic fertilizers or pesticides It is also associated with greater biodiversity of plants animals insects and microbes as well as genetic diversity Biodiversity increases the services that nature provides like pollination and improves the ability of farming systems to adapt to changing conditions In terms of the social impact of the two farming methods organic farming also came out on top organic farms create more jobs are less damaging to their employees health and actually improve their diet promote interaction between producers and consumers and provide better conditions for animals Reganold concludes Hundreds of scientific studies now demonstrate that organic farming should play a greater role in feeding our planet 30 years ago there were only a handful of studies comparing organic and conventional agriculture In the last 15 years their number has massively increased In the long term nothing matters so much as sustainability Of course it is conceivable that given breakthroughs in non GM biotechnology not least marker assisted selection systems of agriculture based on organic techniques will in future narrow the gap further or even outperform petro chemical intensive farming This latest research follows on from other recent studies that puts paid to the claim that organic based farming is a kitchen table niche incapable of playing a major dominant role in feeding the world For example we now have 1 The Rodale Institute s 30 year research trial into organic farming which concludes

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/27/5952/ (2016-05-02)
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  • How the coal industry is deepening the global water crisis – Ecologise
    10 October 2014 10 September 2014 11 August 2014 7 July 2014 5 June 2014 7 May 2014 2 April 2014 3 March 2014 4 February 2014 1 January 2014 2 December 2013 3 November 2013 2 October 2013 8 Upcoming Events Webinar on Groundtruthing at online event Groundtruthing gathers information that connects regulatory requirements with actual impacts development has on people Resource person Kanchi Kohli Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 12th May 2016 12th May 2016 Rainwater Harvesting Workshop at Hyderabad Understand and combat Hyderabad s water problems through rain water harvesting Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 15th May 2016 15th May 2016 Thought for Food at Palampur Himachal Pradesh Workshop on eating responsibly sharing strategies and tools for doing so Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 18th May 2016 22nd May 2016 Two short courses on Development at Azim Premji University Bangalore Designed for professionals working in various domains of development Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 24th May 2016 3rd June 2016 View All Events Special Features How the coal industry is deepening the global water crisis Written by Contributor Mar 26 2016 0 Comments The high water intensity of global energy generation is leading to water coal conflict caused by coal power production Greenpeace International has prepared a groundbreaking analysis of the impacts of the world s coal power plants on global water resources The world s coal power plants are consuming water that could meet the basic requirements for nearly 1 billion people View Greenpeace Photo Feature How coal is deepening the water crisis in India Greenpeace Water is essential for all life on earth and plays a central role in human development from sanitation and health to food and energy production to industrial activities and economic development However human activities are depleting our planet s water resources at an alarming rate The World Economic Forum s Global Risks report 2015 identified water crises as the greatest risk that the world faces over the next 10 years in terms of potential impact with political business and civil society leaders agreeing that water security is one of the most tangible and fastest growing social political and economic challenges faced today Despite this Greenpeace International has discovered that governments are failing to manage water sustainably by continuing to allow the coal industry to tap into this precious resource without first conducting thorough evaluations of the consequences The whole lifecycle of coal generated electricity

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/26/the-great-water-grab-how-the-coal-industry-is-deepening-the-global-water-crisis/ (2016-05-02)
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