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Climate change projections in Denmark

When I first started delving into predictions about the climate change in Denmark I thought that there might be more positives for Denmark than negatives from it namely because of the higher temperatures. My simple logic was: Higher temperatures => Less rain => Super awesome summer. However it seems that this would not be the case (it never is). Here are some of the projections for the next 87 years.

Higher sea levels

A general rise in sea level of 0.15–0.75 m is anticipated on the west coast and in Danish coastal waters. In extreme storm surge situations an increase in the maximum water level is expected of between 0.45–1.05 m on the west coast under the A2 scenario.  In the Nordic countries, there will be marked regional differences in the effects of the rising sea level. The main reason for this is that the land is rising in some places, but is stable or sinking in others. The effects of the rising sea level will also depend on topography. Where the land is flat, an increase in sea level will affect a greater area than where the land rises steeply from the sea. More frequent flood tides and increased coastal erosion are other possible effects of climate change.

A rise in sea level will also lead to an increase in coastal erosion. Climate change could also change ocean currents so that new areas will become more vulnerable to erosion. Coastal erosion is a natural process in which land masses are worn down by waves and wind. How vulnerable a coastal area is to erosion depends on its topographical and geomorphological characteristics. A relatively steep coastline consisting of hard rock cliffs will be at little risk compared to a low lying area of loose sediment. One of the vulnerable areas is the coast of Denmark, which consists of sand and loose material. On the west coast of Jutland, the medieval Mårup Church had to be taken down in 2008 to save it from being carried out to sea. The church was then only nine metres from the cliff down to the sea, while in 1793 it had been about 500 metres away from the coastline. Measurements indicate that the speed of erosion is increasing, although the reasons for this are not fully understood.

 

More extreme weather

Calculations with climate models show that increased greenhouse effects result in changes in the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme weather conditions. DMI’s calculations show, for example, more and longer-lasting heat waves and increased wind strength during the strongest storms. It is noteworthy that all three scenarios result in about the same extreme downpours, which are expected to be about 20% stronger than today.

With respect to new construction or renovation of dikes, coastal protection or harbour installations, it is important to consider how many years’ climate change should be included in the basic design, since these installations have a lifetime of 50 –100 years, and the climate is expected to change dramatically in that period. It is also important to consider whether it is possible to accept the reduced safety of dikes and other high water protection resulting from climate changes or indeed whether to give up dikes or coastal protection altogether and return to a more natural coastline with more frequent flooding and natural erosion. No matter which solution is chosen, any emergency or storm surge measures should be adapted to existing conditions. It is important that the chosen lifetime of the installation be announced and the rationale for it. Aside from beach nourishment and channel dredging, other adaptation measures will require socio-economic analysis of the degree to which the coastal area must be adapted to future climate change and how such adaptation can be effected.

What do you think about this information? Which solution do you think is better – dikes and high water protection or more natural coastline? Or may be a third option?

Global Atlas for solar and wind + Water Risk Atlas

This week I came across two really useful online tools. The one is about getting information for the renewable energies potential on worldwide scale. The second one presents an overall picture of water risk around the world.

 

The open access ‘Global Atlas for Solar and Wind’ is launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental organisation based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The project aims to help users identify areas of interest for future investment by enabling them to visualise data on wind and solar resources, and then overlay additional information on such things as roads and protected areas. This software tool will allow users to calculate the amount of power that can be generated from a renewable energy resource and so its economic potential.

 

The second free online tool is called Aqueduct, which layers a zoomable map with 12 different indicators that could contribute to water risk, including flood occurrence, drought severity, threatened wildlife and media attention.This tool could be useful for researches in this sphere, companies looking to reduce water risk in their supply chains and for half of the world’s population that would be living under conditions of ‘water stress’ by 2030.

Good Food Goes Bad

Tristram Stuart

“If we fail to deal with the disposal of edible food, then what about problems that do not depend only on us!”

He is an environmentalist from a young age. When he was fifteen he started his own little farm and fed the animals in it with discarded food from the school kitchen and local shops. Then he realized that the complex system for creation and delivery of food to consumers leads to heavy losses throughout the supply chain. Later he began unravelling this problem through a targeted media campaign. After releasing his book “bloodless revolution” ( Bloodless revolution ), he published “Waste: exposing the global food scandal” ( Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal). In the same year he comes to a thought that the best way to demonstrate the extent of the scandal – and moreover the fact that his decision tastes superb (ie – eating food instead of throwing it) – is to feed five thousand people with food that would otherwise be discarded. Since then, the event (called Feeding the 5000 ) occurs in several cities in the United Kingdom and the European Commission, hearing the whole story, ordered its organization throughout Europe.

In addition to promoting the ideas and delving into containers in supermarkets, Tristram Stuart has been involved with teaching English in one of the colleges of the University of Cambridge.

You can learn more about his initiative from this video:

Sooo… what is the fuss all about?!? I don’t spill that much food!!!

The publication of the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Report, ‘Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not’ estimated that 30-50% of food produced around the world (or between 1.2-2 billion tonnes) ends up as waste every year.

This is an obscene statistic when millions of people globally go to bed hungry every night, and it has serious implications for climate change: the amount of fossil fuels used to grow, fertilise, harvest and transport goods that are then thrown away, is immense.

It also puts strain on water resources as many of these wasted crops are irrigated, depleting rivers and reservoirs and leading to conflict ‘downstream’. The manner of disposal of this ‘waste’ must be questioned too. Is it redistributed for social good, composted or as a last resort, burned to create energy from waste? No – much of it is landfilled, producing methane and other greenhouses gases as it rots. What a waste!

One of the reasons for the shocking wastage of perfectly good food is ridiculously limiting sell-by and use-by dates. Food is often safely edible days after its expiry date, but consumers will throw it away because of the use-by date.

There are lots of pioneering organisations in the UK that are looking at reducing food waste, but one of my favourites is The Gleaning Network, which takes its name from the ancient practice of ‘gleaning’: the collection of surplus crops after harvest.

The Gleaning Network aims to address food waste on farms by coordinating local volunteers, growers and food redistribution charities to harvest unwanted fruit and vegetables (rejected because they don’t conform to supermarkets’ strict ‘aesthetic’ regulations) and transport them to groups that are helping the most vulnerable members of society.

To ensure that the maximum amount of surplus produce is saved in the most energy-efficient way, The Gleaning Network established a national network of local ‘gleaning hubs’, each consisting of local growers, food redistribution charities and volunteers who can rapidly mobilise and work together to harvest and redistribute the produce to local charities.

To date, five pilot projects have already salvaged several tonnes of apples, cabbages, spring greens and strawberries on farms in Kent, Sussex and Lincolnshire; food which has the been used to make thousands of meals for vulnerable people across the country. Gleaned produce was also used in Feeding the 5000 events in London and Bristol, which provided a free meal for 5,000 people made from food that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Tristram Stuart, Founder of The Gleaning Network, said: “Amazingly, there has been no systematic study of food waste at the farm level either in the UK or elsewhere in Europe or the US. In my experience, it’s normal practice for farmers to assume that 20% to 40% of their fruit and vegetable crops won’t get to market [because they are misshapen or the wrong size], even if they are perfectly fit for human consumption.”

Another good initiative is the Fødevarebanken in Denmark. The Foodbank is a voluntary association that receives surplus food from food manufacturers, supermarkets and wholesalers and distribute it among society socially vulnerable – including children, crisis battered women, the homeless, drug addicts and mentally ill. People who have no psychological or economic profits to buy and make healthy and nutritious food.

 The amount of food lost through its supply-chain journey throughout the world is unthinkable. This is an estimation of the amount of food lost in India and China:

Food is lost at every stage of the farm-to-table journey. Take produce: a report from America’s Natural Defense Resource Council estimates that 7 percent of planted fields in the United States go unharvested each year. Some fruits and vegetables are never harvested because of damage from pests, disease, or bad weather. (Consider this summer’s record-setting drought.) Produce also goes unpicked when farmers can’t find buyers, or when prices are so low they don’t even cover the cost of harvest and transport.

Even produce that’s harvested may still be thrown out simply because of its appearance: it isn’t the right color, size, or shape, or it has other imperfections. If a peach isn’t pretty enough, it doesn’t make it to the store.

Grocery stores are another source of food waste. Heaping displays of fruits and veggies that are designed to entice consumers crush produce at the bottom. Milk and dairy products with sell-by dates — which are not the same as expiration dates — are often pulled from the shelves well before they would spoil. Prepared foods are also an increasing source of food waste, as groceries keep their buffets fully stocked until closing time, resulting in many trays of discarded edibles.

A staggering amount of food waste, however, occurs in restaurants and in our own homes. American families throw out a significant portion of the food they buy, according to the report. “Imagine walking out of the grocery store with three bags of groceries, then just leaving one in the parking lot,” says Dana Gunders, a food and agriculture expert at NRDC and the author of the report. “A lot of people are trying to be conscious eaters, but this issue just isn’t on their radar,” she says. Even when consumers buy organic and limit meat consumption, they often buy and cook more than they can eat.

Restaurants often contribute to the problem by featuring extensive menu choices and oversize portions. Diners leave 17 percent of their meals uneaten, and 55 percent of those leftovers aren’t even taken home, according to the report.

Conclusion:

Now that the problems are identified, we should not hide them in the closet and pretend that they do not exist. These problems call for attention and there are many possibilities to solve them. The farm-to-market supply chain craves for modernisation, the food waste networks long for attention and participation in them. Let’s take the challenge and face the problems!

Adaptation to a changing climate in the Arab countries

Countries in the Middle East and north Africa will be among those hardest hit by global warming, unless the upward trend for greenhouse gas emissions can be checked, the World Bank warned last month at the Doha climate change conference.

There will be lower rainfall, higher temperatures and continuing desertification, said Rachel Kyte, World Bank vice-president for sustainable development, during her presentation of the report on Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries.According to the report extreme weather events are the new norm for the region. The consequences of the global phenomenon of climate change are especially acute in the Arab world.  While the region has been adapting to changes in rainfall and temperature for thousands of years, the speed with which the climate is now changing has, in many cases, outstripped traditional coping mechanisms.

According to the forecasts, average temperatures could rise by 3C between now and 2050. But night temperatures in city centres could increase by double that figure. The report notes that over the last three decades 50 million people have been affected by climate disasters. Severe flooding is now a recurrent event. But the increasing scarcity of water resources is the biggest challenge for countries in the region, which already have some of the lowest per capita reserves in the world.Fortunately, Arab countries can take steps to reduce the impacts of climate change. The report outlines measures that not only potentially reduce the region’s vulnerability, but can also contribute to more sustainable long-term development.

The report offers a model, an ‘Adaptation Pyramid Framework,’ to strengthen public sector management in a changing climate, and to assist stakeholders in integrating climate risks and opportunities into all development activities. The main messages suggest that countries and households will need to diversify their production and income generation, integrate adaptation into all policy making and activities, and ensure a sustained national commitment to address the social, economic and environmental consequences. With these coordinated efforts the Arab world will be able to rise to the challenge once again and, as it has for centuries, successfully adapt to a changing climate.

What is your opinion about this information? You can share your opinion in the comments section.

7.1 on Greenpeace scale

This 18th edition of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics evaluates leading consumer electronics companies based on their commitment and progress in three environmental criteria: Energy and Climate, Greener Products, and Sustainable Operations.

 

Wipro, an Indian electronics company that has previously participated in Indian editions of the Guide, makes its debut in the international version of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics with 7.1 points – placing it in 1st position.

This guide is useful for users (quickly and easily to choose who to support when you need next purchase) and also for the companies themselves, who could race with the competition and lead the industry forward.

GioTTo

“Chasing Ice” movie reveals the largest iceberg break-up ever filmed

It’s like watching ‘Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes’, says filmmaker James Balog.

James Balog is one of the authors of the documentary Chasing Ice. He has recorded the largest glacier break-up ever seen by man.

After weeks of waiting in the cold, he manages to capture with a camera how a glacier in Greenland with a size of 7.4 cubic kilometers of ice breaks and slides into the ocean. “Huge blocks of ice leap from the water, towering 180 meters and fall back with a bang, says Balog. This continues for 75 minutes.

The film, which last year was nominated for an Oscar, arrived now in Europe. The idea for it was born when frustrated by the distrust of Americans on the topic of global warming Balog, decided to show them what is happening to the glaciers around the world. Greenland is one of the best places for that – scientists estimate that the island is losing annually 142 billion tons of ice.

In October 2005. Balog visited a glacier in Iceland and did not believe what he saw only six months earlier. “Solheym” had moved back by much so that the photographer and his associates began to compare previous image to be sure that they are not on the wrong place.

Thus the idea for the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) was born – with a help from the National Geographic Society of the USA 25 cameras were installed at remote locations in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska and Canada, where they will do one photo every hour of daylight hours over 3 years. The equipment will be periodically reviewed and recharged and the collected footage will be assembled in the video to see how the landscape is changing. But things don’t work out well – the equipment does not work because of the tough environment. At least 10 of the cameras did not start shooting at all, the rest stopped rather quickly.

When in 2007 the enthusiastic 22-year-old student from Stanford Jeff Orlowski joins in, the project was transformed into a documentary. Five years later Chasing Ice won the best documentary film on  Sundance film festival.

Besides being an experienced wildlife photographer, the 60 years old Balog is a Master in Geomorphology of mountain environments and has traveled throughout the Himalayas, the Andes and the Alps. At one point he realized that the images of nature are much more compelling when the human or the consequences of his activities are included.

Today EIS project is growing – 34 cameras are positioned in 16 places around the world (at one point they were even 48). “The idea was to end up the project after three years, but I do not think we can stop it now. We now possess this extraordinary historical document and the longer we record, the stronger it gets.”

 

GioTTo

 

FREE ONLINE COURSE – Introduction to Sustainability

Hi all! I want to spread the message about a great FREE ONLINE course that you can follow on the platform Coursera. The course is an Introduction to Sustainability from the University of Illinois.

  “This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history.”

  The structure of the course is not difficult to follow. There are 5-7 video lectures each week and 2 tests with a deadline – the end of the week. If you are a passionate young environmentalist but you lack some theoretical foundation for your passion – this is the course for you!

Ooops, I forgot to mention something… All the study materials are free. Here you can download the book for this course.All you need for this course is a laptop, internet, 7-8 hours of your time each week and a lot of motivation.

Oh, and one more thing – if you perform well, you can even get a Statement of Accomplishment for this course. Don’t hesitate! Sign up!

 

GioTTo

A new study shows that Greenland and Antarctica ‘have lost four trillion tonnes of ice’ in 20 years

More than four trillion tonnes of ice from Greenland and Antarctica has melted in the past 20 years and flowed into the oceans, pushing up the sea levels, according to a study that provides the best measure to date of the effect climate change is having on the Earth’s biggest ice sheets.

The latest study combines past measurements to arrive at what the Associated Press called a new “scientific consensus” that Greenland is melting at a faster pace and that “as a whole the Antartic ice sheet is melting”. The following graph from Associated Press shows how melting polar ice sheets are increasingly contributing to rising sea levels, threatening coastal communities:

Prof Richard Alley, of Penn State University, US, who was not involved in the study, said: “This project is a spectacular achievement. The data will support essential testing of predictive models, and will lead to a better understanding of how sea level change may depend on the human decisions that influence global temperatures.” Rising sea level is one of the greatest long-term threats posed by climate change, threatening low-lying cities and increasing the damage wrought by hurricanes and typhoons.

Here is the Fox Business response to the hard evidence of global warming.

Unfortunately the scientific article is not publicly available at the moment of writing this post. You need to be subscribed to AAAS Science Magazine in order to read the full text, but if maybe you want to purchase the article here is the link.

 

GioTTo

COP18 negotiations, between rigid politics and demanding reality.

Some people find it rather impossible to depend on Arab Countries in the UNFCCC negotiations, especially that amongst those very countries are oil and natural gas exporters, and the top emitters per capita. Surprisingly though, approaching the end of the first week of negotiations, and while Australia pledges an “embarrassing” -as referred to by Australian activists- 0.5% decrease in emissions, and while the US continues to try to block the negotiations in any way possible, the UAE announced that they’ll be producing 100 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP), and they are preparing the next 100 MW tranche which will be solar Photovoltaics (PV). That announcement was rather a surprise to negotiators on one hand and civil society on the other. It’s highly expected that a chain reaction of some sort will take place in the second week, especially amongst the Arab countries, which is a valid point but other things need to be taken into consideration. While some of the countries are trying to mitigate, a negotiator from Saudi Arabia, which is THE highest emitter worldwide and an oil exporter said that Climate Change is “a merely Economical and Political issue” which might sound like an innocent statement to the naked eye, but it’s a very dangerous statement, not only does it deny all the Climatic catastrophes taking place right now, it also denies all the scientific evidence that Climate Change is the epidemic of this era. Also, an Egyptian negotiator talked about the obstacles that face Egypt and other Arab countries that would make it difficult for those countries to take mitigation actions against climate change, and it’s valid on some level that many countries in the Arab region are going through difficult economic and political conditions, but that raises the question, why didn’t those countries take any actions before they went through those unstable conditions? Or is it just another excuse for countries that have caved in to the power of oil?

Between promises, statements and endless sessions, the vision stays hazy and unclear to a lot of people and the painful reality stays the same, the decisions that are being made right now are too little and too late, even if positive. It’s going to be very hard for us to undo the damage that we have done so farm and it’s going to be impossible for us to make this world livable for future generations if we do not start acting this very instant because we, have created a time bomb.

 

 

An action by IndyAct in the halls of Qatar National Convention Center symbolizing how political will in Arab countries prevents any real climate action. Photo by: Sarah Rifaat.

Facts – Impacts of Climate change in Food Security and Water Resources in Egypt .

 

Through Reading many researches related with Impacts of  Climate change on Egypt , I decided to share with all of you some Real Facts about the Impacts of Climate change on Food Security and Water Scarcity in Egypt.

Water scarcity
The first impact of climate change in Egypt is likely be felt in water domain. Water is already a limited resource, with per capita share just below 1000 m3 per year and is thus at the edge of the so-called poverty line (El Quosy, 1999).
River Nile, provides more than 95% of all water to Egypt and the annual rainfall varies from a maximum of 180 mm/year on the North coast, to an average of 20 mm near the city of Cairo and diminishes to as little as 2 mm close to the city of Aswan in upper Egypt. Both water supply and demand are expected to be exaggerated by climate change. Impacts on the supply side are likely to arise from possible changes of precipitation patterns over the Ethiopian highlands and equatorial lakes. These effects of predicted climate change on both components are uncertain Decline in rainfall on the upper White and Blue Nile catchments and Middle Nile basin may
exacerbate the set-up. Yet It is expected by 2050 that climate change will increase water demand by an average of 5% (Eid, 1999). Meanwhile, most of the population of Egypt are linked to the agricultural sector which constitutes 20% of gross national products and consumes about 80% of the water budget. However, there are conflicting projections of the future availability of Nile water as a result of climate change. While some simulation studies foresee an increase in Nile water increase by 25% over current yearly levels, a larger number of studies project declines reaching up to 70% (El-Quosy, 2008). The difference in results indicates that more robust studies are needed to provide a more solid base for the design of public policy.
However, the most plausible projections seem to point to less availability of Nile water in the future.

Agricultural and food insufficiency

Egyptian agriculture faces two major potential threats; the first is that River Nile might lose 30 to 60% of its main resources due to climate change. The second is that all estimates show that North Africa rain-fed farming would decrease to 50% owing to climate change. No detailed quantitative assessment of the actual impacts of climate change on agriculture has been carried out yet, though it is expected to decline by 10 – 60% (Pam, 1990). It is worthy to state that seasonal ( winter and summer crops) and geographical distribution of Egyptian crops are temperature controlled. The major crops in Egypt (wheat, maize, clover, rice, cotton, sugar-cane, bean, sorghum and soybean) are expected to decrease due to global change and water shortage. A doubling of CO2 might increase photosynthetic rates significantly, but crop harvests will decline due to water scarcity and heat-associated damage to plant pollination, flowering and the formation of grains. By 2050 decline in yields due to climate change is expected to reach 28% for soybean, 18% for wheat and barleys19% for maize and sorghum and 11% for rice, while that of cotton would be increased (Eid, 1999). Livestock production would also suffer due to reduced range quality and availability. Hotter and drier conditions would widen the area prone to desertification which would also be aggravated by increases in erosion and Reductions in soil fertility. The economic and human costs of desertification would be tremendous.

I hope leaders in our government take action and  put Effective policies to reduce the risk of Climate Change .

We haven’t time to waste…………….. .

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