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September 27th, 2013:

Billions are being wasted on global warming measures

Friday, 27 September, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

Stand by for a flurry of concern over the future of the planet as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today issues its latest assessment report (AR5) on the extent to which man is contributing to changes in climate. From the leaks that have already appeared it is clear that the IPCC will assert it is more confident than ever (95 per cent – compared with 90 per cent in 2007) that global warming is real and is at least 50 per cent due to the carbon dioxide-producing activities of man.

Earlier reports have issued dire warnings of soaring temperatures and rising sea levels. But today’s report is expected to scale back some of its earlier predictions and will forecast temperature increases by the end of the century of between 1 degree Celsius to 3.7 degrees Celsius.

One of the difficulties for the report will be to explain the “pause” in the rise in temperature over the past 17 years. The IPCC is now forecasting a rise in sea levels of 40-60 centimetres by the end of the century, which is a good deal less than earlier forecasts of one to two metres, and altogether less alarmist than Al Gore’s predictions in his film An Inconvenient Truth of increases of seven metres. This would have submerged places like the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Florida.

Although the IPCC is reducing its more dire forecasts, it is still preoccupied with the idea that the production of carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuel contributes 50 per cent of global warming. There are many climate scientists, who are beginning to get their voices heard above the hubbub of the alarmists, who believe variations in climate are more due to natural occurrences such as changes in ocean temperature cycles, volcanic activity, sun spot activity and so on. But the preoccupation with carbon has led to billions being spent on pointless policies to mitigate the perceived problem.

Writing on his blog, Bjørn Lomborg, an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, says that the European Union “will pay US$250 billion for its current climate policies each and every year for 87 years. For almost US$20 trillion, temperatures by the end of the century will be reduced by a negligible 0.05ºC.” This is clearly nonsensical but governments and corporations are blithely committed to these policies, some because they believe the science, others because they feel they can’t afford not to and will incur reputational risk if they don’t, while governments feel it could cost them votes.

Special treatment needed

China Daily has a cheery tale about Beijing’s sewage. Some 17 per cent of it goes straight into its rivers untreated. Unsurprisingly an investigation into the quality of surface water in the capital, by the Department of Environmental Protection at the North China Centre for Environmental Inspectors in early August, found all its 50 rivers, except nine that had run dry, were polluted.

Beijing’s water treatment facilities are based on its population hitting 18 million by the end of 2020. However, the city’s population, according to the statistics bureau, exceeded 20 million last year. Although the government has been expanding its sewage works, it is expected to take some time before these measures have significant impact on the polluted rivers.

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Warming ‘extremely likely’ man-made, says Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Warming ‘extremely likely’ man-made, says Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • by: Malcolm Holland
  • From: News Limited Network
  • September 27, 2013 7:06PM

Ice melting climate change global warming

The IPCC says a human footprint can be found in the warming of the atmosphere and oceans, in rising sea levels, melting snow and ice and in changes in some climate extremes. Picture: AFP/ University of Washington/Ian Joughin. Source: AFP

THE latest major report on climate change by the United Nations says the world is on track to become hotter by 2C by 2100 and that it is more certain than ever that human activity is the main cause of global warming.

Compiled by scientists from around the world and released Friday evening Sydney time in Stockholm, Sweden, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment paints a gloomy outlook.

It says the earth’ average surface temperatures has increased by 0.85C since 1880.

It says it is now ”extremely likely” — with a 95 per cent certainty — that humans rather than natural variations, are the dominant cause global of warming.

The report says sea levels are expected to rise between 26cm and 8cm by 2100.

It says “with high confidence” that a slow down in warming in the past decade was because the ocean has absorbed 90 per cent of the extra heat generated by human activity between 1971 and 2010

If emissions from human activities remain high, the IPCC report predicts that the world is on track to warm by more than 2C, and possibly by more than 4C, by 2100.

The IPCC said its latest report was based on multiple and independent evidence, much of which is new since the IPCC’s previous report in 2007.

The new report warns heatwaves will be more common and last longer and most wet regions will get more rainfall.

Most dry areas of the earth will become dryer, the report says.

The report says that since 1850, each of the last three decades has been warmer than any preceding decade.

The last 30 years have been the warmest since 600AD, and that between 1901 to 2010, the sea level rose by 19cm.

This rise was quicker than the average sea level rise for the last 2000 years.

It says greenhouse gases have reached levels unseen in at least 800,000 years. The cause, it says, is fossil fuel emissions and land use.

The ocean has also become more acidic as it absorbs a third of the carbon dioxide being emitted.

Critics of the IPCC report have said it still fails to properly take into account the earth’s heat varies because of natural climate cycles.

Global premature mortality due to anthropogenic outdoor air pollution and the contribution of past climate change

Global premature mortality due to anthropogenic outdoor air pollution and the contribution of past climate change (1.80 Mb .pdf)

Direct link to download .pdf:



NASA map illustrates air pollution mortality rates

By Mike Krumboltz, Yahoo News | Yahoo News – 22 hrs ago

Want to know where people are most likely to die prematurely due to air pollution?

NASA recently recently released a map (below) showing the average number of deaths per year per 1,000 square kilometers (385 square miles) that can be attributed to fine particle matter pollution.

Researchers compared pollution levels over a 150-year span, beginning in 1850 and ending in 2000. The dark brown areas on the map, shown prominently in Asia, India, Europe and parts of Africa, indicate locations with the highest rates of premature deaths due to air pollution.

Blue areas, as seen in the southeast United States and parts of South America, indicate areas that have seen air quality improve and the number of deaths due to air pollution decline.

Why are so many areas getting worse? According to NASA, that can be attributed to increased industrialization and urbanization. As to the areas in blue that have seen air quality improve from 1850 to 2000, researchers suggest that a decrease in biomass burning is the cause.

The research used to create the map comes from University of North Carolina professor Jason West.  Published in Environmental Research Letters, the study estimated that roughly 2.1 million deaths per year could be attributed to fine particle matter pollution alone.

What’s fine particle matter? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines it as “a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets.” Particle matter that is 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller is particularly worrisome “because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs,” according to the EPA.


The Global Toll of Fine Particulate Matter

Color bar for The Global Toll of Fine Particulate Matter

Occasionally, short-term meteorological conditions merge with ongoing human emissions to produce extreme outbreaks of air pollution. In January 2013, a blanket of industrial pollution enveloped northeastern China. In June 2013, smoke from agricultural fires in Sumatra engulfed Singapore.

In most cases, the most toxic pollution lingers for a few days or even weeks, bringing increases in respiratory and cardiac health problems at hospitals. Eventually the weather breaks, the air clears, and memories of foul air begin to fade. But that’s not to say that the health risks disappear as well. Even slightly elevated levels of air pollution can have a significant effect on human health. Over long periods and on a global scale, such impacts can add up.

But exactly how much exposure to air pollution do people around the world get? And how much health damage is it causing? Since there are gaps in networks of ground sensors, University of North Carolina earth scientist Jason West is leading an effort to answer those questions using computer models that simulate the atmosphere.

In 2010, West and colleagues published an estimate of the global health effects of air pollution based on a single atmospheric model. More recently, West and colleagues thought they could improve their calculations by using results from a range of atmospheric different models—six in all—rather than relying on just one. In 2013, they published their results in Environmental Research Letters, concluding that 2.1 million deaths occur worldwide each year as a direct result of a toxic type of outdoor air pollution known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

The map above shows the model estimate of the average number of deaths per 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) per year due to air pollution. The researchers used the difference in pollution levels between 1850 and 2000 as a measure of human-caused air pollution. Dark brown areas have more premature deaths than light brown areas. Blue areas have experienced an improvement in air quality relative to 1850 and a decline in premature deaths. Fine particulate matter takes an especially large toll in eastern China, northern India, and Europe—all areas where urbanization has added considerable quantities of PM2.5 to the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

A few areas—such as the southeastern United States—saw PM2.5 concentrations decline relative to pre-industrial levels (shown in blue). In the southeastern United States, the decrease in PM2.5 is likely related to a decline in local biomass burning that has occurred over the last 160 years.

· References

Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon based on data provided by Jason West. Caption by Adam Voiland.

Environment watchdog weighing up trial charges for waste disposal

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Environment watchdog weighing up trial charges for waste disposal

Environment watchdog weighing up trial charges for waste disposal

Friday, 27 September, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


Cheung Chi-fai

Three models would be tested during the year-long scheme involving 12 housing estates

The environment watchdog is considering a 12-month trial scheme to test the viability of charging for waste disposal, and assess whether such charges help to reduce waste. scheme, which is expected to be launched in the middle of next year, will involve at least 12 residential housing estates with different social and economic characteristics.

A variety of models of quantity-based waste charges will be tested. Two buildings from each estate will take part, one of each being for control purposes.

A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department confirmed it was considering the experiment, but no details have been finalised.

News of the proposed trial came as environment minister Wong Kam-sing yesterday urged the Council for Sustainable Development to submit a report on waste charges by the summer of next year.

That would be months earlier than the timescale suggested by council chairman Bernard Chan on Wednesday, when he launched a four-month consultation on the issue of charges.

“We cannot delay on the issue any more. We have waited for more than 10 years,” said Wong.

A source familiar with the proposed trial told the Post that three charging models will be tested.

Two models involve charging individual buildings by volume or weight of waste. Under the volume model, waste will be measured by the number of 660-litre rubbish bins used. The charge for each bin will be HK$660.

Under the weight model, rubbish will be weighed and charged at HK$500 per tonne.

The third model requires households to buy garbage bags from the building’s management firm. The proceeds would be kept by the firm and the owners’ incorporation could decide if the money should be refunded later.

Meanwhile, Chan yesterday said Hong Kong should not follow examples from overseas and introduce a system for reporting fly-tipping, as such a system would not fit in with the local culture.

“A reporting system does not fit the Hong Kong culture and it will create more social conflict. But there might be a need to install surveillance cameras in certain lanes to prevent fly-tipping,” he said on a radio programme yesterday.

According to a survey conducted by the World Green Organisation in mid-September, 65 per cent of about 1,000 people polled supported charging households for waste disposal by volume.

About 60 per cent said they were willing to pay HK$30 a month and another 25 per cent said they would be willing to shell out HK$50 a month.