Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scholarships and Bursaries Call for Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Scholarships and Bursaries Call for Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Study areas related to Climate Change that can be considered for these Scholarships and Bursaries are:
Climatology; Environmental Sciences; Coastal Management; Water Resources; Sustainable Tourism; Gender Studies

The CARIBSAVE Partnership, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Waterloo (UW), Canada, announce a joint research project entitled:

Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation (ParCA)*

Students’ scholarships and bursaries will focus on ParCA; a project that will conduct comparative case study research in Tobago, Jamaica and two Atlantic Canadian provinces. The project will use a community-based vulnerability assessment (CBVA) framework in collaboration with coastal communities and local partners to identify vulnerabilities and exposures, and develop strategies for adaptation to climate change. Under this program, funding is available for Caribbean Nationals to study at the University of the West Indies or the University of Waterloo at Masters and PhD levels.

ELIGIBILITY for Scholarships and Bursaries

Must be a Caribbean National
Must have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at a high level in an area relevant to Climate Change including Climatology, Environmental Sciences, Coastal Management, Water Resources, Sustainable Tourism, Gender Studies.
Must have been accepted and registered in a Masters or PhD Programme at UWI or UW.
Evidence of professional experience in any of the fields indicated above will be an asset.
Applicants for Scholarships and Bursaries will be assessed by a Selection Committee established by the University of the West Indies, the University of Waterloo and The CARIBSAVE Partnership.

Applications should be sent via email to The Office of Research, The University of the West Indies: and must be copied to The CARIBSAVE Partnership: When applying please include ‘ParCA’ as Subject in the email.

The following should be included in your Application: an up to date Curriculum Vitae; a covering letter indicating qualifications; professional experience; preferred study location (UWI Campus or Waterloo); your area of interest for graduate studies and full contact details for three Referees. Closing date for this round of applications is 31 August 2011.

* Funding for this project and its student scholarships and bursaries is kindly provided by the Canadian IDRC and the Tri Council and disseminated through The CARIBSAVE Partnership, The University of Waterloo and The Unversity of the West Indies. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, July 29, 2011

Report: U.S. Cities Must Prepare for Water-related Impacts of Climate Change

Today marks the release of a new NRDC report called Thirsty for Answers: Preparing for the Water-related Impacts of Climate Change in American Cities.

The report makes clear that some of the most profound effects of climate change are water-related, like sea level rise, increased rain and storms, flooding, and drought. These changes affect the water we drink, fish, and swim in, as well as impact our infrastructure and the economy.

One need only look as far as the recent deadly flooding and severe storms in the Midwest, or to the impacts of the prolonged drought across the South, to understand the profound effects of water, or a lack thereof. Whether any specific weather event, like the flooding in the Midwest, reflects the impacts of climate change or not, the research compiled in our report makes clear that these kinds of events are likely to increase in the coming years as a result of climate change.

In our report, we compiled local and regional research findings about the water-related impacts of climate change in 12 U.S. cities (chosen for their geographic diversity and range in size, in order to provide a snapshot of the varied national picture): New York, Boston, Norfolk (Virginia), Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Homer (Alaska). We also analyzed what many of these municipalities are doing in terms of preparedness planning, and offer their solutions as examples for other communities to emulate.

A brief rundown of the types of changes and impacts detailed in the report include:

Rising Seas: Most of the coastal cities in the report are facing threats from sea level rise, including coastal flooding and storm surges. Miami ranks number one worldwide in terms of assets exposed to coastal flooding, and the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metropolitan area ranks tenth, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Rising seas threaten to decimate the protective wetlands surrounding New Orleans and inundate a large portion of the Florida Keys.

Increased Storms and Flooding: The Midwest and East Coast are at the highest risk for more frequent and intense storms. The frequency of very heavy rainfall in Chicago, for example, is expected to increase by 50 percent in the next 30 years. More frequent and intense rainfall contributes to the type of flooding recently seen along the Mississippi River, and combined sewer overflows that send untreated sewage and stormwater into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

Water Supply Impacts: Rising seas are likely to cause increased saltwater intrusion into freshwater supplies, including drinking water for millions of Americans, especially in Miami and the San Francisco Bay area. In the West, rising temperatures, less rain, and decreased snowpack will create challenges for maintaining a sufficient water supply. For example, a large decline in the spring snowpack in the watersheds that supply water to Seattle is projected over the next two decades. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

UN - Secretary-General's message to sixth general meeting between the United Nations system and the Caribbean Community and its Associated Institutions

I am pleased to convey my greetings to the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated institutions, and to thank Acting Secretary-General Applewhaite and her team for hosting this important event.

The Caribbean Community is a key United Nations partner in achieving our shared goals of development, security and human rights. I commend your strong commitment to multilateralism and regional integration, and your leadership on global challenges, including combating climate change, strengthening democracy, rebuilding after disasters and stopping the spread of global epidemics. I am grateful to the Heads of Government of CARICOM for their participation in last month's General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS, and I look forward to your continuing leadership at the September High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases.

The Caribbean region faces many challenges. These include the negative effects of the global financial crisis, the widening impacts of climate change, and the threats to governance and public safety posed by organized crime. Such transnational risks cannot be addressed by any single country on its own. Rest assured that the UN system has heard the region's call for more coherent engagement. This meeting provides a further opportunity to build on our long-standing partnership.

Our shared efforts to develop the UN-CARICOM Regional Strategic Framework have allowed us to map our activities in the region and identify areas of redundancy or duplication. I am pleased that the recommendations contained in the final report on the Framework were fully endorsed by both the CARICOM Secretariat and the UN system. Let us now work together to implement them.

The Caribbean region has made commendable progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, yet those efforts face significant challenges, including the increase in fuel and food prices. The questions of debt relief for middle-income countries and fair access to the global trading system therefore merit greater attention. I will continue to use every opportunity to raise these issues, including with the G8 and G20. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An effective response to climate change

Foreign Secretary William Hague has delivered a speech titled 'The Diplomacy of Climate Change' to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Thank you Governor Whitman. I am most grateful for your generous introduction.

I am delighted to be here at the Council on Foreign Relations. In the modern networked world, diplomacy is no longer the sole preserve of diplomats. Instead, we all have a stake in global affairs. That is why the work of renowned bodies such as this is more valuable than ever.

Today I want to talk about why I believe we, as foreign policy practitioners, need to up our game in building a credible and effective response to climate change. Climate change is perhaps the twenty-first century’s biggest foreign policy challenge along with such challenges as preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. A world which is failing to respond to climate change is one in which the values embodied in the UN will not be met. It is a world in which competition and conflict will win over collaboration.

We are at a crucial point in the global debate on climate change. Many are questioning, in the wake of Copenhagen, whether we should continue to seek a response to climate change through the UN and whether we can ever hope to deal with this enormous challenge.

I will first argue that an effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity. Second, our response should be to strive for a binding global deal, whatever the setbacks. And third, I will set out why effective deployment of foreign policy assets is crucial to mobilising the political will needed if we are to shape an effective response. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This week in climate change effects: wilder fires, toxic tundra and iceberg ‘islands’

The record-breaking heat may be easing across much of North America, but the dramatic markers of our fast-changing climate continue unabated.

In a summer where much of the continent has sweltered under epic heat and humidity, it is not surprising that forest fires are on the rise. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences reveals that Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons are far more likely to experience large fires more frequently.

According to Discovery Science, researchers used established climate models and compared climate conditions, fire frequency, temperature changes and precipitation levels. From this they determined that within just a few decades, big fires may become as much as 10 times more common than they have been in the last 10,000 years—likely once every 20 to 30 years.

From the article:

This study helps explain what people who live in the West have begun to notice in recent years, said Terry Chapin, an ecosystem ecologist who studies the effects of climate change on wildfires at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Serious wildfires seem to be happening more often than they used to, he said.

“That’s something the United States has not come to grips with, with respect to climate change: We assume that either climate change doesn’t happen or that we can manage things such that climate change won’t affect us,” Chapin said. “This seems like a clear and present example where recent and projected changes in climate are going to have a huge impact on human society. We need to adjust and adapt rather than try to fix the symptoms.” More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Climate Change and SIDS

Climate Change is a planetary emergency that threatens the survival of many small island states.
For some low lying states like the Maldives, Kiribati, and some of the Bahamas, the risks from sea level rise  threaten their physical existence, as they would very easily be inundated by sea levels in excess of one metre above current levels – levels that can be reached by 2100, if significant action is not taken immediately to reduce and ultimately limit the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases to well below 350 parts per million (ppm) in the long run.

For other states, their social-economic viability will be compromised, inter alia:
By the rising seas which will damage their coastal zones, where the majority of their socio-economic infrastructure is located;
By the saline intrusion into their coastal aquifers which will negatively impact on their drinking water and agricultural activities;
By the destruction to their coral reefs and their fisheries habitats that result from increases in ocean acidification and rising temperatures; and
By the impact of stronger tropical cyclones that can destroy years of positive development in a matter of hours, as has been demonstrated time and time again, including by the recent experiences of Cook Islands (2005); Cuba (2008); Fiji (2008); Grenada (2004); Haiti (2004; 2008); Niue (2004); and others. More >>>

Blue Carbon Photo Contest - Life on the Coasts ˆ Blue Carbon.

Blue Carbon Photo Contest - Life on the Coasts ˆ Blue Carbon.
We are inviting grassroots organisations involved in coastal and marine conservation to participate in UNEP/GRID-Arendal's Blue Carbon Photography Contest. Selected photographs are intended for use in a special publication for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa (COP17), and for an online image resource - the Blue Carbon Photo Library.   
The theme of the contest Life on the coasts - Blue Carbon focuses on the importance of a healthy marine environment in coastal livelihoods.
 We are looking for iconic images in two categories ˆ People & the Environment, and Coastal & Marine Ecosystems. Examples include coastal and underwater scenes, community based restoration and conservation projects, our connection to healthy coastal ecosystems (e.g. fisheries, tourism), and how a changing ocean and climate impact the daily life of people and communities living along the coast.
As long as there is a clear affiliation with a grassroots organisation, all professional and non-professional photographers worldwide are welcome to submit. Organisation logos will also be highlighted in the special publication. Blue Climate Solutions has offered a digital underwater camera as a prize for the best image.
 **To SUBMIT your images, please see the Competition Rules and send all submissions to:
 **The DEADLINE for submitting pictures to UNEP/GRID-Arendal is SEPTEMBER 30, 2011. Finalists will be announced in October 2011.
Personal Release forms are required for all images that include recognisable subjects and children (see Competition Rules).
After reviewing the following Competition Rules, you will be fully prepared to enter the contest.
Contest information and COMPETITION RULES can be found at:
(see Photo Contest pages)

For further information contact:
Jessica Holterhof
Blue Carbon Photography Contest Manager
Arendal, Norway

Microfinance Can Help Rural Communities Adapt to Climate Change

CAPE TOWN, Jun 27, 2011 (IPS) - Projects to fight climate change are being designed all around the world. But only five percent of them can be financed with the current international funds available, which means resources have to be used more wisely. Microfinance could be one solution.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges to development that the world has ever faced.

According to the World Bank, mitigation of its effects in developing countries could cost 140 to 175 billion dollars per year by 2030, while adaptation costs are expected to reach between 75 and 100 billion dollars per year between 2010 and 2050.

"The low-income masses will be most affected by climate change in their daily lives. We need solutions for mainstreaming adaptation projects to also include these people," said African Development Bank director for energy, environment and climate change development Hela Cheikhrouhou.

She spoke at the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) 2011 Partnership Forum, held from Jun. 24-25 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The CIF, established by the World Bank and regional multilateral development banks, provide funding to support developing countries’ climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Even though more than a third of CIF money have so far gone to 15 African countries, few people in rural and poverty-stricken areas – who struggle most to access financing – have been able to benefit from the schemes, largely due to administrative barriers.

"We need to make sure that funds can be accessed by rural populations because there is urgency in making climate change projects happen on the ground," said Victor Kabengele, project coordinator at the ministry of environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He demanded less red tape and fewer conditions -- otherwise including the poor in climate change projects would remain an empty promise. Without money, the best ideas are worth little, Kabengele pointed out: "Money is the name of the game. Access to microcredit is therefore crucial." More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Monday, July 25, 2011

The scourge of 'peak oil'

Energy derived from oil reaches, quite literally, every aspect of our lives.

From the clothes we wear, to the food we eat, to how we move ourselves around, without oil, our lives would look very differently.

Yet oil is a finite resource. While there is no argument that it won't last forever, there is debate about how much oil is left and how long it might last.

Tom Whipple, an energy scholar, was a CIA analyst for 30 years - and believes we are likely at, or very near, a point in history when the maximum production capacity for oil is reached, a phenomenon often referred to as "peak oil".

"Peak oil is the time when the world's production reaches the highest point, then starts back down again," Whipple told Al Jazeera. "Oil is a finite resource, and [it] someday will go down, and that is what the peak oil discussion is all about."

There are signs that peak oil may have already arrived.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently increased its forecast for average global oil consumption in 2011 to 89.5 million barrels per day (bpd), an increase of 1.2 million bpd over last year.

For 2012, the IEA is expecting another increase of 1.5 million bpd for a total global oil consumption of 91million bpd, leaving analysts such as Whipple to question how production will be able to keep up with increasing consumption. Whipple's analysis matches IEA data which shows world oil production levels have been relatively flat for six years.

"This is getting very close to the figure that some observers believe is the highest the world will ever produce," Whipple wrote of the IEA estimate in the July 14 issue of Peak Oil Review. He told Al Jazeera that peak oil could be reached at some point in the next month, or at the latest, within "a few years". More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A world in hunger: east Africa and beyond

The severe drought across much of east Africa is a human emergency that requires urgent attention. It also signals a global crisis: the convergence of inequality, food insecurity and climate change.

A drought across much of east Africa in mid-2011 is causing intense distress among vulnerable populations, many of them already pressed by poverty and insecurity. The range of the affected areas is extensive: the two districts in Somalia that are now designated as famine-zones are but the most extreme parts of a much wider disaster that stretches from Somalia across Ethiopia into northern Kenya, and as far west as Sudan and even the Karamoja district in northeast Uganda.

The numbers put at risk in this, the worst drought in the region since the 1950s, are enormous. At least 11 million people are touched by the disaster. In the Turkana district of northern Kenya, 385,000 children (among a total population of about 850,000) are suffering from acute malnutrition (see Miriam Gathigah, “East Africa: Millions Stare Death in the Face Amidst Ravaging Drought”, TerraViva / IPS, 18 July 2011). In Somalia, the conflict between the Islamist Shabaab movement and the nominal government makes conditions even more perilous for those affected.

The world's largest refugee camp, at Dadaab in northern Kenya, offers a stark illustration of the consequences of the drought. The population of Dadaab, which was designed to cope with 90,000 people, has increased in recent months to 380,000 - and 1,300 more are arriving daily (see Denis Foynes, “Eleven Million at Risk in Horn of Africa”, TerraViva / IPS, 19 July 2011).

The lessons of crisis

But just as striking is that this is part of a recurring phenomenon. Major warning-signs of malnutrition and famine were already visible in April 2008; among them were climatic factors, steep oil-price increases, increased demand for meat diets by richer communities, and the diversion of land to grow biofuel crops (see “The world’s food insecurity”, 24 April 2008).
More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, July 22, 2011

Is climate change a global security threat?

The UN Security Council expressed concern Wednesday that climate change may aggravate threats to international peace and security after what diplomats described as intense negotiations between Germany and Russia, which initially opposed any council action.

Small island states, which could disappear beneath rising seas, are pushing the Security Council to intervene to combat the threat to their existence. Meanwhile there has been talk of a new environmental peacekeeping force — the green helmets — which could step into conflicts caused by shrinking resources.

The final statement expressed "concern that possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security".

The Security Council had failed to agree on whether climate change was an issue of world peace in 2007, when Britain brought up the issue. This is one of the first debates that will be occurring within that forum, which raises the whole issue of the security implications around climate change and the potential security implications for the globe.

Is it a real opportunity to achieve significant results or an attempt to divert attention from the root causes of the problem and away from the countries that cause global warming and distribute the burden evenly on world nations? More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dramatic Climate Swings Likely as World Warms: Ancient El Niño Clue to Future Floods

ScienceDaily (July 15, 2011) — Dramatic climate swings behind both last year's Pakistan flooding and this year's Queensland floods in Australia are likely to continue as the world gets warmer, scientists predict.

Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Leeds have discovered that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the sloshing of the warmest waters on the planet from the West Pacific towards the East Pacific every 2-7 years, continued during Earth's last great warm period, the Pliocene.

Their results suggest that swings between the two climatic extremes, known as El Niño and La Niña, may even have occurred more frequently in the warmer past and may increase in frequency in the future. Extreme ENSO events cause droughts, forest fires and floods across much of the world as well as affecting fishery production.

Reporting in the journal Paleoceanography, the team of geochemists and climate modellers use the Pliocene as a past analogue and predictor of the workings of Earth's future climate. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

IUCN Publishes Review of CBD Implementation in European Overseas Entities

13 July 2011: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published "Future directions for biodiversity action in Europe overseas: Outcomes of the Review of the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), December 2010," which reviews the status of implementation of the CBD and its relevance to Europe overseas. It builds on IUCN’s earlier efforts in support of biodiversity conservation and adaptation to climate change in the EU overseas entities.

In light of the richness of the biological diversity of 30 overseas entities that are connected to six Member States of the European Union (EU), and because of their constitutional and institutional peculiarities, IUCN conducted an in-depth review of the status of implementation of the CBD and of specific strategies and plans as part of CBD-led National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP) at national levels. Some of the goals included identifying the current status of the various legal and policy instruments and the extent to which they have been implemented, as well as identifying the main lessons learned and documenting some of the best practices in the field of biodiversity conservation.

One of the recommendations of the report is that the EU and its institutions, especially the European Commission, should consider the establishment of an integrated policy framework for EU overseas entities and play a central role in ensuring therelevance and coherence between EU policies and the CBD’s post-2010 revised and updated strategic plan. [Publication: Future Directions for Biodiversity Action in Europe overseas

Can be downloaded at --

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pacific Ministers to Discuss Green Growth

14th July 2011, Apia, Samoa - In an important new initiative, Pacific Finance and Environment Ministers will come together in Apia this month to discuss opportunities and challenges for building green economies in the region.

The Apia meeting is the first in a series of preparatory meetings for Pacific small island developing states in the lead up to a major global UN Conference on Sustainable Development that is scheduled to take place next year in Rio de Janeiro.

The Rio+20 Conference, as it is known, will mark the 20th anniversary of the first "Earth Summit" held in Rio in 1992. The two key themes are: "a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" and "the institutional framework for sustainable development."

The green economy is aimed at ensuring economic growth is environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. It involves a transformation in development values and priorities, as well as in the way our economies function. More >>>

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

OAS Member States Approve Draft Declaration on Sustainable Tourism Development in the Americas

The representatives of the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), at a meeting in Washington, DC, approved the draft Declaration of San Salvador for Sustainable Tourism Development in the Americas, which will be considered for final approval by the Ministers and High Authorities of Tourism in San Salvador on September 29 and 30, 2011, in the framework of the 19th Inter-American Travel Congress.

The Preparatory Meeting for the 19th Inter-American Travel Congress was held June 23 and 24, 2011, at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, and was presided by El Salvador’s Alternate Representative to the Organization of American States, Agustín Vásquez.

The meeting addressed subject areas of cooperation to be financed by the Special Multilateral Fund of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (FEMCIDI). The delegates identified the following subject areas: competitiveness in the tourism industry, particularly those of micro, small and medium enterprises, and the support for human capabilities development at the public and private levels through training and the use of information and communication technologies; promoting Sustainable Tourism Development, through the mitigation of negative environmental impacts; raising awareness of the importance of maintaining the ecological balance of tourist attractions; the relationship between tourism and other sectors of the economy; and the support for ecotourism and sustainable tourism through dialogue between the public and private sectors.

At the end of the meeting, the Governments of Ecuador and Honduras offered to host the next Inter-American Travel Congress in 2013, a decision that will be made in the upcoming months after consultations among the Member States of the Organization.

Furthermore, a proposal was made to organize a promotional fair for regional tourism to be held during the Congress in San Salvador to further highlight the event and promote tourist attractions in the Americas.

The Inter-American Travel Congress, created in 1939 with the objective of promoting the development of tourism in the Americas, is one of the oldest institutions of the Inter-American System. The last Travel Congress was held in Guatemala in 2003.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Location: Cayman Islands

Cook Islands: 100% Renewable Energy by 2020

5 July 2011, Rarotonga Cook Islands – The Cook Islands has an electricity target of 50% renewable energy by 2015 and 100% by 2020. While this may seem like an extreme target, according to the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Hon. Henry Puna – “it is ambitious but it is not impossible

Plans are already underway to bring this to fruition.

The Cook Islands will be launching their Renewable Energy Chart this year – Te Atamoa O Te Uira Natura, the plan that outlines how they will achieve their renewable energy targets. This chart has undergone consultation with relevant stakeholders and has taken into account input from numerous supporting partners. It is now in the process of being finalised for endorsement.

“It is flexible to take into account possible changes which may happen, as well as addressed the long term concerns – for example the outer island of Aitutaki now has a peak demand for electricity of 900 kilowatts,” said Repeta Puna, the Policy Adviser from the Office of the Prime Minister.

“In Te Atamoa O Te Uira Natura we have planned for a two megawatt solar plant for Aitutaki to take into account the future demand for electricity.”
More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

CCCCC and EU Sign Agreement to Support Caribbean Forum Countries in Meeting Climate Change Challenges

4 July 2011: The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the EU have entered into an agreement to, among other things, support Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries in meeting the challenges of climate change.

Under the agreement, the EU has allocated €8 million to support 17 CARIFORUM countries to meet the challenges of climate change. The four-year project will be managed by the CCCCC, with the objective of developing and strengthening the Caribbean region’s efforts in reducing the impacts of climate change on its economic and social development. The overall objective of the project is to support the sustainable development efforts of the Caribbean region and preserve the progress of the countries towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), by, inter alia: enhancing national and regional institutional capacity in areas such as climate monitoring, data retrieval and the application of space-based tools for disaster risk reduction (DRR); building regional and national capacity to access carbon financing; and implementing adaptation pilot projects that may be subsequently replicated. [CCCCC Press Release]

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

World on the Edge by the Numbers – Shining a Light on Energy Efficiency

Our inefficient, carbon-based energy economy threatens to irreversibly disrupt the Earth’s climate.

Averting dangerous climate change and the resultant crop-shrinking heat waves, more-destructive storms, accelerated sea level rise, and waves of climate refugees means cutting carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020.

The first key component of the Earth Policy Institute’s climate stabilization plan is to systematically raise the efficiency of the world energy economy. One of the quickest ways to increase efficiency, cut carbon emissions, and save money is simply to change light bulbs.

Some 19 percent of world electricity demand goes to lighting. The carbon emissions generated by this sector equal roughly 70 percent of those produced by the global automobile fleet.

Of the 3,400 terawatt-hours of electricity consumed annually by the world’s light fixtures, more than 40 percent is used by commercial buildings, including offices, retail businesses, schools, and hospitals. Close to one third is used in the home; 18 percent in industrial buildings; and the remaining 8 percent in outdoor applications, such as lights at traffic stops and in parking lots. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Monday, July 11, 2011

Political Sustainability and Human Security

Economic Revival Requires a Revival of our National Community

New York - As the nation's debt deadline approaches, and the political and media gamesmanship in our nation's capital increases in intensity, I find myself thinking more and more about community. The value with which we hold each other, and our relationship to those with whom we share our living space. The political parties blame each other for the stubborn persistence of unemployment, now over 9% officially and over 16% when we count those who have given up on the job market or are underemployed.

The Republicans blame the declining economy on over-taxation. The Democrats blame job loss on Republican resistance to additional stimulus. Twice this year the Republicans have been willing to "play chicken" with the President and the nation's well being: first over the budget by threatening a government shutdown, and now by holding the entire economy hostage while threatening to default on our debt. Ideology is dominating debates that should be settled by data, not wishful thinking. People in America need work. Our community has work that needs to be done. It's time to close that loop.

The creation of a global economy and communication network has placed the American economy and our society in uncharted territory. We do not really understand the complex economic, political, ecological, social and cultural forces that drive the world economy. We don't really know the answers to the problems we face. Like FDR during the New Deal we need to pragmatically experiment. We need to learn what works and what doesn't. What collective community responses are needed? What private entrepreneurial forces need to be unleashed? In March of 1933, as FDR assumed the Presidency in the depths of the Great Depression, some of his speeches and articles were collected in a book entitled Looking Forward. At the dawn of the New Deal, Roosevelt wrote:
"The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." Franklin D. Roosevelt, Looking Forward, chapter 2, p. 51 (1933). More >>>

Going forward into this century all states need to have all political parties work together for the benefit of their country and people. To deal with the perfect storm that we are faced with, climate change, sea level rise, energy shortages, and a rapidly rising population it is imperative that political stalemate becomes a thing of the past. Editor

Location: Cayman Islands

Islands are guardians of sustainability on our planet

July 07 2011 -- President James Michel has called on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to take on the responsibility of becoming ‘the guardians of sustainability of our planet’ and to reclaim the concept of sustainability in the modern world order.

“Islands are more vulnerable and more threatened today than they have ever been in their history. We all know that for islands, the spectre of climate change is existential. Even those that will not be completely engulfed by sea level-rise will see their productive capacity which relies on tourism and fisheries, seriously compromised. And if the human race allows even one of our islands to be engulfed by the sea, we will have to say that ‘sustainable development’ is just a myth. Let us make no mistake, unfortunately the world is already on that path. As islands, we must use Rio+20 to claim back the concept of sustainable development,” said President Michel.

President James Michel was speaking at the opening of the second SIDS sub-regional preparatory meeting for countries in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Seas (AIMS) for next year's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The opening was attended by the Maldivian Foreign Affairs Minister Aslam Mohamed Shakir, and the Chief of Small Island Developing States Unit of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Ms. Hiroko Morita-Lou.
President Michel spoke of the way that SIDS are marginalised within global data collection, funding mechanisms, climate change adaptation funds, infrastructure development, as well as the vulnerability experienced by SIDS to fluctuations in commodity prices and environmental disasters.
The President stated that he refuses to let the development of the Seychellois people to be marginalised and that “to marginalise us, is to marginalise the very concept of sustainability itself,” adding that he would never give up in the fight for island states to be recognised as unique cases for sustainable development. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pakistan to boost renewable energy to meet power shortfall

KARACHI, Pakistan (AlertNet) – Pakistan is planning to boost exploitation of alternative and renewable energy sources in an attempt to tackle a chronic power shortage and address the challenges of climate change.

A new long-term energy policy aims to provide at least five percent of the country’s total commercial energy supplies from clean renewable sources such as wind, solar and bio-waste by 2030.

At present, just 10 megawatts of the country’s daily commercial energy requirement of 11,000 MW, or less than 0.1 percent, is generated from wind and solar sources, according to Faiz Mohammad Bhutta, an executive member of the Renewable and Alternative Energy Association of Pakistan, a non-governmental organization.

Demand for energy is increasing with Pakistan’s rapidly growing population. The country currently produces fewer than 14,000 MW domestically, a shortfall of 5,000 MW compared to overall domestic and commercial needs.

The persistent power crisis has slowed economic activity and led to increased unemployment and poverty, as well as growing unrest in some cases as families suffer through hot summer temperatures without fans and air conditioners.

The government estimates that daily energy requirements in 2030 will be more than 160,000 MW, of which 110,000 MW will be needed for the commercial sector. The new policy calls for alternative and renewable sources to provide at least 5,500 MW.

Much of the rise in demand will come from population growth, with the country’s population of 177 million is expected to soar to 262 million by 2030, according to the Population Census Organisation. Growing demand for power as incomes rise, and from industrial growth, also are expected to play a role. Full Article >>>

Location: Islamabad

Thursday, July 7, 2011

UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) Rio+20 Subregional Preparatory Meeting for the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and the South China Sea (AIMS) subregion will convene in Victoria, Seychelles, from 7-8 July 2011.

The meeting is expected to generate AIMS inputs in preparation for the UNCSD in June 2012. Participants are expected to discuss: creating a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; the need for a blue economy addressing oceans and related issues; the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD); and emerging issues and partnerships. The meeting outcome will be integrated into a consolidated SIDS position paper to be further considered at the SIDS inter-regional meeting in September 2011, which will be included as part of the compilation text for global negotiation.

IISD RS will be producing a summary report of the meeting, which will be available by Monday, 11 July 2011 at

For information on how to support IISD Reporting Services’ coverage of the UNCSD regional preparatory process, please visit: Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

U.N. Security Council to Take Up Climate Change

More developing nations back the idea that global warming is an issue for the council

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council will debate climate change for the second time in four years, its current chair announced yesterday.

The July 20 discussion, led by the German government, will be a repeat of a 2007 attempt by the United Kingdom to put climate change on the council's agenda. That earlier move garnered sharp criticism from many developing country leaders, who accused the 15-member panel of attempting to strip power from other U.N. groups.

This time, however, Germany has the full backing of several developing countries, most notably an alliance of small island nations that feel threatened by rising sea levels. That group also wants the Security Council to regularly debate climate change and to appoint a special adviser to investigate the risks to national sovereignty that global warming may pose. Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rising Hydrocarbon Costs: A Quick Summary for Policy Makers

During the past century, world economic growth has depended largely on ever-expanding use of hydrocarbon energy sources: oil for transportation, coal and natural gas for electricity generation, oil and gas for agricultural production. It is no exaggeration to say that the health of the global economy currently hinges on increasing rates of production of these fuels.

However, oil, gas, and coal are non-renewable resources that are typically extracted using the “low-hanging fruit” principle. That is, large concentrations of high-quality and easily accessed fuels tend to be depleted first. Thus, while the world is in no danger of running out of hydrocarbon energy sources anytime soon, oil, gas, and coal extraction efforts are increasingly directed toward low-quality, hard-to-produce fuels that require higher up-front investment and entail increasing environmental costs and risks.

These trends are easily demonstrated in the case of oil.

Dependency: The dependence of the world economy on oil is illustrated by the close correlation between oil price spikes and US economic recessions that has been noted by several analysts.[1]

Declining resource quality: The pace of world oil discoveries has been declining since 1964. Oilfields found during the past decade have tended to be smaller, on average, than those located decades earlier, and tend to require expensive new technologies (including horizontal drilling, deepwater drilling, and hydrofracturing) for their development. As Jeremy Gilbert, former chief petroleum engineer for BP, has put it, “The current fields we are chasing we’ve known about for a long time in many cases, but they were too complex, too fractured, too difficult to chase. Now our technology and understanding [are] better, which is a good thing, because these difficult fields are all that we have left.”[2] Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

International Climate Change Financing: The Green Climate Fund (GCF)

Recent reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been

made readily available to the public include the International Climate Change Financing: The Green Climate Fund (GCF) (pdf).

Location: Cayman Islands

UNEP-Risoe Launches Technology Transfer Publication Series

29 June 2011: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-Risoe Centre has announced the launch of a new publication series titled "Technology Transfer Perspectives," which aims to stimulate debate and information sharing on technology transfer among academics, experts, policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders, and will include mitigation and adaptation-side approaches.

The first edition of the series, titled "Diffusion of renewable energy technologies: case studies of enabling frameworks in developing countries," will be complete in time for the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011.

The first four articles of this first edition are available: FIT for use everywhere? Assessing experiences with renewable energy feed-in tariffs, by James Haselip, UNEP Risoe Centre, Denmark; Bioenergy in India: Barriers and Policy Options, by Darshini Ravindranath and Srinivas Shroff Nagesha Rao, UN Development Programme (UNDP) India; Enabling Environment and Policy Principles for Replicable Technology Transfer: Lessons from Wind Energy in India, by Emi Mizuno, Climate Strategies, UK; and An enabling framework for wind power in Colombia: What are the lessons from Latin America? by Isaac Dyner, Yris Olaya and Carlos Franco, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

According to the articles, an effective enabling environment for technology diffusion requires consideration of the market, as opposed to projects specifically. [Publication: Technology Transfer Perspectives Series]

Location:Cayman Islands

Environment: Worlds Of Water

Why water security is one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century, and why water politics have just got more complicated.

Water is the most essential and most awkward of natural resources. It has no substitutes, but many uses - as drinking water, for sanitation purposes, in agriculture, in industrial processes, in electricity generation. Water's versatility makes it coveted by many different consumers, each with their own needs and political heft.

Sometimes water ends up not being water at all: it becomes an input to agricultural production or energy or, in the case of bio-fuels, both. In hydraulic fracturing, water is key to the extraction of natural gas. Elsewhere, it is needed to cool power stations. In southern Mongolia's bone-dry Gobi, water is needed for the region's huge mineral wealth to be developed.

Sometimes, the process works the other way, and huge amounts of energy and wealth are used to provide water. In California, it is the State Water Project, transporting water to southern California, that is the single largest user of electricity. In Saudi Arabia, up to 1.5 million barrels of oil per day are used to desalinate and pump the country's water.

Water's usability depends not only on sheer quantity, but also on quality and type. Water's most common form - ocean saltwater - is its least directly useful (though advocates of large-scale desalinisation and salt-water farming have long promised that could change).

The availability of water in both necessary quantity and quality depends, in part, on geography. Despite the overall global abundance of water, over one billion people live in water-scarce or water stressed parts of the world, a number expected to triple over the next few decades as groundwater depletion, climate change and accelerating demands on water extraction take their toll. Globally, the Water Resources Group has defined a forty percent gap between projected water requirements in 2030 and current accessible and reliable supply. In some places, the gap is much greater.
Full Article >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Warming Ocean Layers Will Undermine Polar Ice Sheets, Climate Models Show

Warming of the ocean's subsurface layers will melt underwater portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets faster than previously thought, according to new University of Arizona-led research. Such melting would increase the sea level more than already projected.

The research, based on 19 state-of-the-art climate models, proposes a new mechanism by which global warming will accelerate the melting of the great ice sheets during this century and the next.

The subsurface ocean layers surrounding the polar ice sheets will warm substantially as global warming progresses, the scientists found. In addition to being exposed to warming air, underwater portions of the polar ice sheets and glaciers will be bathed in warming seawater.

The subsurface ocean along the Greenland coast could increase as much as 3.6 °F (2 °C) by 2100.

"To my knowledge, this study is the first to quantify and compare future ocean warming around the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets using an ensemble of models," said lead author Jianjun Yin, a UA assistant professor of geosciences.

Most previous research has focused on how increases in atmospheric temperatures would affect the ice sheets, he said.

"Ocean warming is very important compared to atmospheric warming because water has a much larger heat capacity than air," Yin said. "If you put an ice cube in a warm room, it will melt in several hours. But if you put an ice cube in a cup of warm water, it will disappear in just minutes."
Full Article >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

CCCCC Update Takes Stock of Bonn Climate Change Conference

28 June 2011: The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has published the 10th issue of its monthly Climate Change News Update, which compiles international and regional climate change-related news.

The issue features an article on the lack of agreement on key areas at the Bonn climate change talks, held from 6-17 June 2011 in Bonn, Germany.

The Update also highlights statements made by developing country officials and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that developed countries have not provided the US$30 billion of climate financing they pledged at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. The Update further reports on the announcements by Norway and Germany that they would provide US$50 million and €30 million, respectively, to the World Bank Carbon Fund, to help slow tropical deforestation, one of the major causes of climate change.

The issue also compiles regional news on climate change, including warnings by regional experts that Caribbean States are likely to fall into perpetual recession as a result of the impacts of climate change on their tourism and agriculture industries. Other news includes US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s announcement of new programmes to support Caribbean States’ priorities, and discussions between Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo and German leaders and senior officials, which focused on the need for sustained political action on climate change. [Publication: Climate Change News Update Issue 10]

Location:Cayman Islands

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Briefing Note of the ECLAC Expert Group Meeting on the Economic Impacts of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean

30 JUNE 2011

The third Expert Group Meeting on Understanding the Potential Economic Impacts of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean was held on 30 June 2011, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Expert Group Meeting examined country case studies of the economic costs and benefits of climate change in key sectors in four Caribbean countries and discussed how these economic assessments may guide or influence national climate change policies. The meeting included government and academic participants from Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as representatives of ECLAC and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) secretariat. This briefing note provides a brief history of the Understanding the Potential Economic Impacts of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean project, together with a summary of the discussions during the third Expert Group Meeting.


With funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development, the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters in Port of Spain, in cooperation with CARICOM and its Climate Change Centre, has, since 2008, pursued two related projects on the economics of climate change in the Caribbean. The first, known as the Review of the Economics of Climate Change in the Caribbean (RECC) project, began Phase 1 in 2008, with a scoping exercise to determine the scope and feasibility of an economic assessment of the costs and benefits of climate change actions in the Caribbean. Phase 2 began in 2010 with 26 national sectoral studies of the economic impacts of climate change, and Phase 3, which is yet to commence, is intended to broaden these studies by incorporating the multiplier effects caused by regional interdependence. Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Warming Oceans Cause Largest Movement of Marine Species in Two Million Years

Warming ocean waters are causing the largest movement of marine species seen on Earth in more than two million years, according to scientists.

Warming ocean waters are causing the largest movement of marine species seen on Earth in more than two million years, according to scientists. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias, file)
In the Arctic, melting sea ice during recent summers has allowed a passage to open up from the Pacific ocean into the North Atlantic, allowing plankton, fish and even whales to into the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific.

The discovery has sparked fears delicate marine food webs could be unbalanced and lead to some species becoming extinct as competition for food between the native species and the invaders stretches resources.

Rising ocean temperatures are also allowing species normally found in warmer sub-tropical regions to into the northeast Atlantic.

A venomous warm-water species Pelagia noctiluca has forced the closure of beaches and is now becoming increasingly common in the waters around Britain.

The highly venomous Portuguese Man-of-War, which is normally found in subtropical waters, is also regularly been found in the northern Atlantic waters. Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands