Category Archives: Science

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.

A MUST-READ: Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment

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If you live in a hurricane vulnerable region this book ‘Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment’ is a must-read. Get it NOW at 20% off the publisher’s price shipping and handling included! Read on for more information about this book and how to order it!

Over the past few days millions of people have been monitoring the progress of monster hurricane MATTHEW, which reached category 5 intensity for a few hours on 1 October,  worrying  about the damage and other adverse consequences that will be caused by the impact of this storm on buildings, houses, infrastructure and the beaches and local environment.  Residents of the Windward Islands, northern Venezuela and Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Central America, Belize, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Florida, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the USA Atlantic coastal regions beyond, have been and are worried about devastation and human suffering that will be wrought by MATTHEW’s passage.

Against the possibility of damaging impact from Hurricane Matthew or any other future hurricane, in this one of the most hurricane vulnerable regions anywhere, it would be fair to ask if you, as a homeowner, or building manager, or hospital administrator, or public official  sworn to guard the welfare of the people, or just as a resident or visitor to hurricane vulnerable communities, have confidence in how your building or house will perform under hurricane impact? Do you know what design criteria was used to build your building? Do you consider your building to be hurricane-resistant? Is your building protected against the impact of storm surge and breaking waves, in addition to wind?  How is sea-level rise affecting the structural integrity of your building?

Are you confident you have specific answers to these and many other similar questions regarding the performance of your building or house under expected impacts from hurricanes? Or how such expected impacts are being exacerbated by sea level rise and global warming?

Do you know what to do to improve the design of a new building or an existing one, to improve performance and reduce the potential for damage under expected hurricane impacts?

This book ‘Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment’  based on actual field work, years of experience assessing building damage caused by hurricanes, and practicing hurricane mitigation, by Ricardo A. Alvarez, will help you answer these questions and clearly understand the issues involved.

Following is a comment by someone who has read the book:

“I just finished reading Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment and realize I need to immediately run to our roof to see what shape it is in and how our equipment is anchored. Alvarez writes with such great clarity that the book is an easy read. I just ordered a second copy to share with our condominium’s board of directors and maintenance staff!”
—Bernard Horowitz, Ph.D., Co-Founder, V.I. Technologies, Inc.; Board Member, The Cleo Institute

Key features of the book include the following:

  • Focuses on the impact of hurricanes in coastal regions
  • Demonstrates the capabilities of reducing potential damages through hazard mitigation
  • Includes detailed figures, photos, and charts that give concrete examples of hazard mitigation and its purpose
  • Uses plain language to make technical issues easy to understand
  • Emphasizes the protection of life and property through the design and construction of hurricane- and climate-resistant buildings
  • Addresses long-term issues such as beach erosion and struggling tourism economies caused by hurricanes

You can now get this invaluable resource at 20% off the publisher’s price including shipping and handling. To order online please visit http://www.crcpress.com.  Use the search box on the upper right of the page and search for K25318. This will bring-up the book and you can put it in your shopping cart. Use the code LFO20 to get your 20% discount!