// archive

Archive for December, 2012

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.


“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.”




The meeting in Doha came across a sandstorm!

“The Doha COP caravan is lost in a sandstorm. There is not enough ambition here,” said Ronny Jumeau, ambassador on climate change for the Seychelles, representing the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).“We can’t be in a situation a few years from now where some countries say economic circumstances prevent them from meeting their pledges,” Jumeau said at a press briefing.

The long expected climate meeting in Doha did not bring any proper solution on how to lower the carbon footprint and how to assign finances to help the less developed economies to protect themselves against the rising sea levels, storms, droughts and other damaging climate change impacts.

It seems that many of the governments have a short-term memory loss. Only $23.6bn of the promised in 2009 $100bn for a Green Climate Fund has so far been delivered ahead of a deadline at the end of this year. This so-called “fast-start finance” was meant to kick-start global climate funding efforts. However, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development, the majority of fast-start finance has come in the form of loans, which poorer countries will have to repay with interest. This jeopardizes the whole idea of such a fund…

The UK committed a further £1.5bn of finance yesterday, and while more is expected to come from European countries, the UK’s pledge is currently the only formal post-2012 funding commitment to be made at the negotiations.

The US, which has mobilised about $7.5bn over the past three years, has yet to state what it will commit from next year, although senior officials have indicated new funding will be delivered. “We have every intention to continue pressing forward with funding of that same kind of level, to the greatest extent that we can,” Todd Stern, the senior State Department diplomat at the talks, said at a briefing.

So far, only the EU and Australia have agreed to new carbon commitments, leaving 85 per cent of the world’s emissions – including the planet’s biggest polluters, China and the US – outside a new deal aimed at keeping global average temperature rise below 2ºC. Russia is also thought to be backing away from the 25 per cent emissions reduction target it announced at the Rio +20 conference over the summer towards a range of 15 per cent and 25 per cent.


The finances were the core of the problem in the summit. The “rich” countries are in a self-inflicted monetary and fiscal mess, the “developing” countries are still developing and are not willing to share even a tiny bit of their GDP for a Green Climate Fund and the “poor” countries cannot change the status quo simply because they lack the finances…

Barbara Kux, a member of the Board at Siemens and its Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “Finance is not the bottleneck, technology is not the bottleneck, businesses are not the bottleneck. There is one bottleneck and that’s policy.”

THE BIG MISSING on the discussion table – food insecurity!

Qatar may be one of the richest countries in the world, but it has something in common with its African counterparts – food insecurity. This Middle-Eastern oil-producing nation imports 90 percent of its food because it is a dryland country.

Climate Analytics, along with Germany’s Pik Potsdam Institute, prepared the World Bank report “Turn Down the Heat” that warns many parts of the world won’t be able to grow food if global temperatures rise by four degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

The report also warns humanity is on the path to a four-degree-C world, a world with unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods, with serious impacts on ecosystems and agriculture.

A four-degree-warmer C world means an average of four to 10 degrees warming over land, too warm for many crucial food crops. Large parts of Africa, China, India, Mexico and the southern United States will suffer declines for that reason, said Schaeffer. There will also be significant changes in rainfall patters and higher evaporation levels.



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!



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.



One step closer to achieving one of the eight UN’s Millennium Development Goals

One month after U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) launched its meeting on “Global Education for All”, there is a progress in the objective to achieve universal primary education.

Some of the political support came from the fourth annual World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, where Qatar’s Sheikha Moza bint Nasser launched a global initiative to deliver quality schooling to “the world’s hardest-to-reach children”, mostly in urban slums, disaster-prone regions and conflict zones.

The initiative is called “Educate a Child” and is already supporting 25 projects in countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, usually on a matching funding basis, involving more than 500,000 children.

You can read more about this initiative here!


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.

Backstage Sustainability at Roskilde Festival

This year during the annual Roskilde Festival, one of the biggest music festivals in Europe featuring big names like Bruce Springsteen, Bjork, The Cure etc., I had the lucky opportunity to participate in their environmentally focused workshop “Backstage Sustainability”. My involvement was sponsored by CONCITO and here follows what this exciting event had to teach on climate initiatives.


Article on DEMENA’s Green Innovation Cup in Egypt Independent

In an attempt to introduce youth to the green market and teach them how to capitalize on their potential, the DEMENA Youth Climate Ambassadors, along with environmental organizations icecairo, Nawaya and the Wadi Environmental Science Center, hosted the Green Innovation Cup ceremony Sunday.

Read more here:



Follow us!


home_facebook home_facebook home_facebook home_facebook