Tag Archives: Nicaragua

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.

June 12, 2015: It is Carlos, the Caribbean, the Gulf, and floods in Nicaragua!

There is plenty of disturbed weather near our neck-of-the woods here if our Florida paradise!

Infrared GOEST-EAST satellie [NOAA] image of 12 June showing Tropical Storm CARLOS almost stationary and strengthening to the southwest of Acapulco, Mexico
Infrared GOEST-EAST satellite [NOAA] image of 12 June showing Tropical Storm CARLOS almost stationary and strengthening to the southwest of Acapulco, Mexico

Today, Friday 12 June 2015, marks the first four weeks of the ‘official’ 2015 East Pacific Hurricane Season, which is off to a fast start with three named storm already. The latest of these storms, Tropical Storm CARLOS is almost stationary some 200 kilometers southwest of Acapulco, Mexico over an area of warm surface waters and a favorable ocean-atmosphere environment that may  lead to further strengthening of this tropical cyclone.

Tropical storm CARLOS tracks as of 12 June [courtesy of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory]
Tropical storm CARLOS tracks as of 12 June [courtesy of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory]

Opposite T.S. Carlos off the eastern coast of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico  on the Yucatan peninsula, there is an area of low pressure and an active cell of stormy weather over the northwestern Caribbean.

Infrared GOEST-EAST Satellite image [NOAA} showing various weather disturbances over the Gulf of Mexico, the northwestern Caribbean, the offshore Pacific waters off Central America, and northern South America, and 'Hurricane alley'
Infrared GOEST-EAST Satellite image [NOAA} showing various weather disturbances over the Gulf of Mexico, the northwestern Caribbean, the offshore Pacific waters off Central America, and northern South America, and ‘Hurricane alley’

Just to the north of that disturbance, over the central Gulf of Mexico, there is a large ‘glob’ of stormy weather that is already generating copious rain over a wide area.

Looking south, over Central America, the off-shore waters of the Eastern Pacific, the central Caribbean, and the northern regions of South America over Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana, there are plenty of systems that have prevailed for some time now, fueling rainy and stormy weather over a large area.

The aggregation of all of these elements of weather has already  had adverse consequences over the region extending from central/southern Mexico, through Central America and Panama, to northern South America.

This prevailing and current weather pattern over this region [Caribbean and Gulf activity], which is really a continuation, a repeat if you will, of what we have seen in recent years and most especially in 2014 when the East Pacific hurricane season generated  20 named tropical cyclones, surpassing the 18 generated in 2013, has had particularly damaging consequences in Nicaragua where extreme rain events over most of the country including over Managua, the capital city, where more than 200 mm of rain fell there yesterday over a period of 6 hours, leading to numerous instances of flash floods, some death by drowning, and extensive damage to homes and infrastructure. Emergency management authorities have declared an emergency  and have evacuated hundreds of families in Managua and in other communities.

Photo showing flood waters rushing down a causeway in Managua, Nicaragua after 200 mm of rain fell in less than six hours between 11 and 12 June 2015
Photo showing flood waters rushing down a causeway in Managua, Nicaragua after 200 mm of rain fell in less than six hours between 11 and 12 June 2015

There is no question, but that all interests in the region will need to watch unfolding events closely,  but as El Niño continues to develop off the Pacific coast of Peru and Ecuador prevailing wind currents are causing tropical waves along ‘Hurricane Alley’ to traverse over northern South America and Panama into the Eastern Pacific where they are fueling the kinds of disturbed weather we have seen over the past few weeks, and potentially future cyclonic activity as well.

It is clear that there may be plenty of  this kind of activity in the  northern tropics over coming months, consequently all interests in Nicaragua, or Mexico, or in the rest of Central America, and in the Caribbean and especially here in Florida must remain alert, be prepared and continue to mitigate!