Category Archives: NEWS – NOTICIAS

CLIMATE: The United States forsaken opportunities and responsibilities

By: Ricardo A. Alvarez (305)931-0871; 19530 NE 18th Ct, Miami, FL 33179-3656

Last April 24, 2017 the United Kingdom satisfied all its energy needs without using a single ounce of coal to generate power. All of its power was generated by renewables, natural gas and nuclear.

Just a week later on April 30 Germany, the 4th largest economy in the world,  provided  85% of its considerable needs by generating power from renewable sources.

A week ago China, the 2nd largest world economy and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, inaugurated the largest floating solar power plant in the world: a 40 megawatt facility floating on a man-made lake covering the site of an abandoned coal mine.

These are examples of how three of the leading economies in the world are meeting their commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate and their obligations to guard the welfare of their people and our planet Earth. These are examples of what leaders do.

In this context it is also important to note that China has committed to generating at least 20% of their immense power needs from renewable sources by 2030, investing $360 billion to do it while generating 13 million NEW JOBS in the process, which will offset by a large margin those jobs lost as a result of closing obsolete and high polluting coal-fired power plants and coal mines. Truly a smart and forward thinking approach to climate change mitigation.

In addition China is not just talking about doing this things, the country is actually doing what its leaders said they would do. Just in 2015 China installed more than 105,000 power-generating wind turbines and more than 29 million commercial solar power panels. These numbers are not new, China began this gargantuan effort a few years back altering the supply and demand equation in such a way, that it has made renewable energy from solar and wind sources highly competitive with energy derived from fossil fuels. In turn this has driven demand for renewable power even higher, which is already making it cheaper that non-renewable.

In its process of working to meet its commitments, China has also created millions of jobs and a strong niche in the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells, solar panels, and wind turbines, demonstrating with facts that investing in climate change mitigation and renewable energy is good for business and the economy.

In contrast, today 1 June 2017, the current U.S. administration announced it will withdraw from the Paris Agreement giving as a reason the need to protect our economy and jobs, which would suffer, or so the President claims, should the United States reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and invests more on the production of renewable energy. This despite the factual examples summarized before.

The United States will join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries that will not be parties to the PARIS Agreement on Climate. However in defense on Nicaragua and Syria let us consider the following: Syria has for the past few years undergone a horrible civil war where Syrian citizens have been displaced by the million, and also attacked with outlawed chemical weapons.  It is clear that under its current circumstances Syria is not focusing on climate change or the Paris Agreement. Nicaragua, on the other hand, did not sign the agreement because it considered it not strong enough, but the country has committed  to generating 90% of its power needs from renewable sources by 2020. By 2015 Nicaragua had already achieved more that 60% renewable power generation (from hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal and wind) compared to less than 15% in the United States.

In taking this action, and several others taken or proposed since Mr. Trump took office, the current administration is not only derelict of its sworn duty to safeguard the welfare of the people, but it is forsaking its responsibility to create jobs and generate business opportunities to underpin our economy. Not to mention that by rejecting facts, reason, and science, which clearly show the exacerbating influence of human activity on our planet’s climate, the President and current administration have chosen to deny the United States a critical opportunity to lead for the benefit of the people and humankind, electing instead to continue to move toward decline.

16 October 2016: The northern tropics remain restless, watch out!

The Autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere has come and gone, and as the Sun marches south of the equator overhead the southern hemisphere tropics we have started to see tropical waves and storm cells flare-up on that half of the planet.

Soon the northern hemisphere hurricane, typhoon and cyclone seasons will start to wind down and cease menacing hundreds of million of residents of coastal regions and island nations in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian oceans.

We  in the northern hemisphere must however remain alert and be prepared, for the ‘official’ tropical cyclone seasons may end on fixed dates, but the reality is that Mother Nature will always do as she will!  Also, ocean heat content has continuously grown higher as every new year becomes the warmest of record or one of the warmest. So, conditions for tropical cyclone development have become earlier-happening, longer-lasting and wider-spread over time.

Infrared satellite image of 10 October 2016 showing various tropical waves, areas of disturbed weather, and Hurricane NICOLE over the larger north Atlantic basin
Infrared satellite image of 16 October 2016 showing various tropical waves, areas of disturbed weather, and Hurricane NICOLE over the larger north Atlantic basin

In fact, satellite imagery this morning brought pictures of a large tropical disturbance over the Bahamas looking suspiciously as if cyclonic development could be possible. This may already be affecting a wide region from Florida to the Carolinas, which were hit hard a few days ago by Hurricane MATTHEW, and also suffered a remote hit that coincided with King Tides from passage of Hurricane NICOLE at a distance.

Other satellite images of the north Atlantic basin show a tropical wave over the isthmus of Panama, another one in the middle of ‘hurricane alley’ and yet another one beginning to emerge over the eastern Atlantic from equatorial Africa, plus a nice one of Hurricane NICOLE still going strong over the open waters of the Atlantic.

Enhanced infrared satellite image of 16 October 2016 showing numerous tropical waves and storm cells reaching some 10,000 kilometers from Atlantic Waters to the Lake Victoria region in eastern Africa
Enhanced infrared satellite image of 16 October 2016 showing numerous tropical waves and storm cells reaching some 10,000 kilometers from Atlantic Waters to the Lake Victoria region in eastern Africa

Farther east from the eastern Atlantic waters, there remains a long train of tropical waves and storm cells over equatorial Africa reaching all the way to Lake Victoria and beyond. Plenty of fuel left for future cyclonic activity.

Enhanced infrared satellite image of 16 October 2016 over the Northwest Pacific showing typhoons SARIKA and HAIMA respectfully moving away from and approaching the Philippines!
Enhanced infrared satellite image of 16 October 2016 over the Northwest Pacific showing typhoons SARIKA and HAIMA respectfully moving away from and approaching the Philippines!

On the opposite side of the planet, near northwest Pacific waters there is typhoon SARIKA moving in the South China Sea toward another landwall after ravaging the Philippines, while to the east there is a strong typhoon HAIMA approaching the Philippines Sea and a possible double-whammy on that most cyclone-vulnerable country on Earth.

Life goes on, and this is the only planet we have for now, so it is prudent to pay attention, remain alert, and be prepared alway. MITIGATE!