Archive for the ‘Express 114’ Category

Anthropogenic Change: 97% Climate Scientists For, 3% Against

Posted by admin on June 24, 2010
Posted under Express 114

Anthropogenic Change: 97% Climate Scientists For, 3% Against

New research says that the vast majority of the world’s active climate scientists accept the evidence for global warming as well as the case that human activities are the principal cause of it. This data comes from a new survey out this week in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences. It found that 97% of scientific experts agree that climate change is “very likely” caused mainly by human activity.

By Justin Gillis in New York Times (22 June 2010):

Many debates about global warming seem to boil down to appeals to authority, with one side or the other citing some famous scientist, or group of them, to buttress a particular argument. The tone is often, “My expert is better than yours!”

Against this backdrop, some analysts have been trying for several years to get a firm handle on where climate researchers come down, as a group, on the central issues in the global-warming debate: Is the earth warming up, and if so, are humans largely responsible?

Now comes another entry in this developing literature. William R.L. Anderegg, a doctoral candidate at Stanford University, and his fellow authors compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers. They then focused on scientists who had published at least 20 papers on climate, as a way to concentrate on those most active in the field. That produced a list of 908 researchers whose work was subjected to close scrutiny.

The authors then classified those researchers as convinced or unconvinced by the evidence for human-induced climate change, based on such factors as whether they have signed public statements endorsing or dissenting from the big United Nations reports raising alarm about the issue. Then the authors analyzed how often each scientist had been published in the climate-science literature, as well as how often each had been cited in other papers. (The latter is a standard measure of scientific credibility and influence.)

The results are pretty conclusive. The new research supports the idea that the vast majority of the world’s active climate scientists accept the evidence for global warming as well as the case that human activities are the principal cause of it.

For example, of the top 50 climate researchers identified by the study (as ranked by the number of papers they had published), only 2 percent fell into the camp of climate dissenters. Of the top 200 researchers, only 2.5 percent fell into the dissenter camp. That is consistent with past work, including opinion polls, suggesting that 97 to 98 percent of working climate scientists accept the evidence for human-induced climate change.

The study demonstrates that most of the scientists who have been publicly identified as climate skeptics are not actively publishing in the field. And the handful who are tend to have a slim track record, with about half as many papers published as the scientists who accept the mainstream view. The skeptics are also less influential, as judged by how often their scientific papers are cited in the work of other climate scientists.

“We show that the expertise and prominence, two integral components of overall expert credibility, of climate researchers convinced by the evidence” of human-induced climate change “vastly overshadows that of the climate change skeptics and contrarians,” Mr. Anderegg and the other authors write in their paper.

Climate-change skeptics will most likely find fault with this research, as they have with similar efforts in the past. For starters, Mr. Anderegg’s dissertation advisers are Christopher Field and Stephen H. Schneider, two of the most prominent advocates of the mainstream view of climate change; Dr. Schneider is a co-author of the new paper.

The climate dissenters have long complained that global-warming science is an echo chamber in which, they contend, it is hard to get published if one does not accept the conventional wisdom that humans are heating up the planet. So they argue that it is circular reasoning to claim a broad scientific consensus based on publication track records. The mainstream researchers reject that charge, contending that global warming skeptics do not get published for the simple reason that their work is weak.

In this long-running battle over scientific credibility and how to measure it, the Anderegg paper analyzes a particularly large database of climate researchers, and therefore goes farther than any previous effort in attaching hard numbers to the discussion.


By Doyle Rice in USA Today (22 June 2010):

Forget the four out of five dentists who recommend Trident…. Try the 97 out of 100 scientists that believe in man-made climate change.

This data comes from a new survey out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study found that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is “very likely” caused mainly by human activity.

The report is based on questions posed to 1,372 scientists. Nearly all the experts agreed that it is “very likely that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for most of the unequivocal warming of the Earth’s average global temperature in the second half of the twentieth century.”

As for the 3 percent of scientists who remain unconvinced, the study found their average expertise is far below that of their colleagues, as measured by publication and citation rates.

In the study, the authors wrote: “This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change.”

The study authors were William R.L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold and Stephen H. Schneider.

The report comes as the Earth continues to sizzle in 2010. So far, through May, 2010 is the warmest year ever recorded, according to the National Climatic Data Center.


Climate Change & Sustainability Get Stronger Business Focus

Posted by admin on June 24, 2010
Posted under Express 114

Climate Change & Sustainability Get Stronger Business Focus

Business school faculty and students are applying their management skills to one of the world’s knottiest problems: climate change. Sustainability, the consumption of natural resources at a rate that doesn’t deplete the planet, now cuts across the curriculum. And the 2010 Climate Change and Business conference (Sydney 10-12 August) will focus on how business is moving forward on climate change response in a time of policy uncertainty.

By BETH GARDINER  in Wall Street Journal (17 June 2010):

Business school faculty and students are applying their management skills to one of the world’s knottiest problems: climate change.

IMD Business School worked with conservation group WWF on case studies about how companies reduced greenhouse-gas emissions.

Several years after global warming first became a big topic in B-school classrooms and cafeterias, schools are now digging into the issue in a far more detailed way. There are new faculty posts dedicated to environmental concerns, case studies highlighting companies that have succeeded in shrinking their carbon footprints and a slew of student consulting projects on cutting emissions. Norwich Business School in England recently launched what it says is the world’s first M.B.A. in strategic carbon management.

“This has gone from what 10 years ago, when I started, was kind of a novelty to something that is a core part of our business, because it’s a core part of business,” says Gail Whiteman, who holds a newly created chair in sustainability and climate change at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, in the Netherlands. “As opposed to a few years ago, the legitimacy within the business school has climbed significantly.”

Dr. Whiteman says her school’s corporate advisory board, composed of executives from large corporations, had recently told her sustainability and climate concerns should be one of the institution’s three key focuses.

“There was something like €300 billion worth of responsibility in that room which was saying ‘This is not decorative,’” she says. “They’re strongly committed to doing something on climate change and they need staff who know something about it.”

Like many business school faculty working on climate issues, Dr. Whiteman emphasizes that it goes beyond corporate social responsibility. Retooling for a low-carbon economy must be a central concern for businesses, they say, particularly since governments around the world are likely to eventually require it.

At IMD business school in Switzerland, professors worked with the conservation group WWF to write 13 case studies on companies that had taken innovative steps to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. A representative of the school joined WWF in distributing them at the Copenhagen climate summit in December, says Aileen Ionescu-Somers, director of IMD’s Center for Corporate Sustainability Management.

Topics included the Tetra Pak packaging firm’s decision to site a new Chinese plant near sources of renewable power and an internal finance mechanism at Johnson & Johnson intended to facilitate funding for long-term carbon-saving projects, Dr. Ionescu-Somers says.

She argues that business schools have a big role to play in showing future managers the importance of sustainability, noting that IMD’s research indicated the biggest obstacles to companies working in a more environmentally friendly way were not external issues but their own executives’ mindsets.

“Integrating this as part of how you think as a business leader will definitely allow more opportunities to be perceived, as opposed to only risks, in the area of sustainability,” she says. IMD is starting an executive-education program on sustainability this fall, also in collaboration with WWF.

At the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, students in a new, mandatory M.B.A. course on sustainability and responsible leadership work jointly with companies, non-profit groups or government agencies on a broad range of social and environmental problems, many of them with climate implications, says Richard Brubaker, a sustainability consultant and visiting professor who teaches the course.

“For China these issues are very real,” says Lydia Price, the school’s M.B.A. program director. “There’s just no way that China can continue its economic growth without confronting (sustainability) issues very seriously, and that means they will have a very strong impact on our students in their careers.”

Whether through regulation, government investment in clean technologies or consumer demand for environmentally sensitive practice, “if they’re working in China, they’re going to be affected by this in a big way, sooner rather than later,” she says.

Sustainability, the consumption of natural resources at a rate that doesn’t deplete the planet, now cuts across the curriculum, Dr. Price says. “We’re starting to get into the finance field, we’re talking about sustainable investment, we’re seeing it emerge in all the functional areas of business, sustainable marketing, sustainable supply chain.”

At the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, policy modeling expert Chris Hope designed a model policymakers and businesses can use to estimate the social cost of carbon, using their own assumptions about temperature changes and their economic impact. It’s been used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the authors of the influential Stern Report on the economics of climate change, commissioned by the U.K. government.

The model lets policymakers see what the long-term costs of different decisions on carbon cutting might be, by putting a price on the damage done by every additional ton of carbon in the atmosphere. That figure varies depending on the assumptions used, but Dr. Hope puts it at around $80. Whatever amount policymakers come up with is exactly where they should set a carbon tax, he argues.

“That’s a really useful number, both for governments who might be thinking of using these kinds of financial measures and for businesses who are thinking ‘What might we be asked to pay in the future?’” Dr. Hope says.

He’s also shared his model with Britain’s Committee on Climate Change, which advises the government on carbon limits, and international bodies including the Asian Development Bank, he says. And big corporations are increasingly seeking his help as they consider plans to shrink their carbon footprint.

“Business schools should have a practical focus; we’re interested in results in the real world,” says Dr. Hope. “And so we would certainly be a good place to move beyond the complex science and see what the implications of that science might be for businesses and for government.”

Ms. Gardiner is a writer in London. She can be reached at


6th Australia New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference 10-12 August, Sydney:

The 2010 conference will focus on how business is moving forward on climate change response in a time of policy uncertainty. Attendees will hear from key emitting sectors (stationary energy, buildings, transport, industry, forestry & agriculture) on how they can reduce emissions by 20 -25% by 2020. Policy makers will be asked to respond to the calls from these sectors for policy settings to give business the means to implement these changes.  

Underlining this theme is the importance of energy efficiency and the question of how to properly manage and leverage the public and private sector funding required to seed cleantech projects.    Expert speakers will also explore adaptation measures, emerging as a priority response to inevitable and possibly extreme climate change, given the absence of effective global action. 

The program will take a careful look at the international framework, how those policies are likely to evolve and how they could impact Australian and New Zealand businesses. We will examine the relative success of complementary measures globally and assess what could be replicated in our part of the world. There are also some very practical lessons to learn from, including New Zealand’s implementation of an ETS, energy efficiency best practice, the growing role of land use and summary findings from a full year of NGER reporting.

The 6th Australia-New Zealand Climate Change & Business Conference brings together business leaders and policy makers from both Australia and New Zealand to facilitate taking action on climate change.   The 2010 conference will focus on how business is moving forward on climate change response in a time of policy uncertainty. Business leaders and investors will discuss the challenges, opportunities and potential ways forward while policy makers and market experts will provide updates on regional and international developments.  


Focus on Green Investment, Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

Posted by admin on June 24, 2010
Posted under Express 114

Focus on Green Investment, Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

Climate change @ Work Conference in Brisbane on 4 August will explore how more sustainable approaches to energy and resource efficiency are changing jobs, human resource management, workplace relations and skill formation.

This conference presents the big picture/policy issues of climate change in the workplace, along with case studies and practical workshops. While companies are often more concerned about the technological side of climate change this conference focuses on the practical information you need to achieve a better climate in a green workplace!

The Workplace Research Centre is bringing Climate Change @ Work to Brisbane for the second year following the success of last year’s conference. The conference is run in partnership with the Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Griffith University and ABC Carbon and will take place on the 4 August at the Ship Inn Function Room, Griffith Graduate Centre, Southbank, Brisbane.

The Climate Change @ Work Conference will provide an insight into the latest green business solutions and carbon emissions mitigation practices in the workplace as well as providing and update on green policy, green jobs and green workforce development in Australia.

The conference gives you the opportunity to meet with inspiring environmental business leaders and to hear the latest workplace sustainability research. New to this year’s program will be ‘Workplace Sustainability initiatives in the Tourism Industry’. The day will also include a valuable insight into sustainable leadership in the workplace with presentations by Accenture Australia and Hewlett Packard.

The interactive seminar style format of last year’s conference will be repeated to encourage debate and participation amongst attendees.

Speakers include:

Empowering Sustainability in the Workplace

  • Professor Ian Lowe, President, Australian Conservation Foundation

Environmental Leadership in the Workplace

  • Dr. Sally Russell, Lecturer in Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management,Griffith University
  • Accenture Australia
  • HP Imaging and Printing Group, South Pacific

Workplace Sustainability Initiatives in the Tourism Industry

  • Dr. David Weaver, Professor of Tourism Research, Centre for Tourism, Sport and Service Innovation Research, Griffith University
  • Stewart Moore,CEO, EC3 Global

Skills for Sustainability in Australia

  • Serena Yu, Senior Research Analyst, Workplace Research Centre, University of Sydney

Green Ventures, a sustainability showcase

  • Ken Hickson, Director,ABC Carbon


Lucky Last – Solar Focus from Florida

Posted by admin on June 24, 2010
Posted under Express 114

Lucky Last – Solar Focus from Florida

Barbara Young in Florida, USA writes on solar power. Her work is devoted to helping people save energy using solar powered energy to eliminate CO2 emissions and energy dependency. She has a simple solution to help individuals learn how solar panels work and provide information to make the transition from a full-time energy dependent to successful energy efficiency.

Barbara Young  started in 2008 to help people who want to save energy using solar power or deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting a PV system.

What’s solar energy?

Solar energy is radiant energy that’s produced by the sun. Daily the sun radiates, or sends out, an enormous volume of energy. The sun radiates more energy in a second than people have used since the beginning of time!

The energy of the Sun originates from within the sun itself. Like other stars, the sun is really a big ball of gases––mostly hydrogen and helium atoms.

The hydrogen atoms in the sun’s core combine to create helium and generate energy in a process called nuclear fusion.

During nuclear fusion, the sun’s extremely high pressure and temperature cause hydrogen atoms to come apart and their nuclei (the central cores of the atoms) to fuse or combine. Four hydrogen nuclei fuse to become one helium atom. But the helium atom contains less mass than the four hydrogen atoms that fused. Some matter is lost during nuclear fusion. The lost matter is emitted into space as radiant energy.

It takes an incredible number of years for the energy in the sun’s core to make its way to the solar surface, after which just a little over eight minutes to travel the 93 million miles to earth. The solar energy travels to the earth at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, the velocity of sunshine.

Simply a small part of the power radiated by the sun into space strikes the earth, one part in two billion. Yet this volume of energy is enormous. Every day enough energy strikes the united states to supply the nation’s energy needs for one and a half years!

Where does all of this energy go?

About 15 percent of the sun’s energy which hits our planet is reflected back to space. Another 30 percent is used to evaporate water, which, lifted into the atmosphere, produces rainfall. Solar power is absorbed by plants, the land, and the oceans. The remaining could be used to supply our energy needs.

Who invented solar technology ?

Humans have harnessed solar energy for hundreds of years. As early as the 7th century B.C., people used simple magnifying glasses to concentrate the light of the sun into beams so hot they would cause wood to catch fire.

Over 100 years ago in France, a scientist used heat from a solar collector to produce steam to drive a steam engine. In the beginning of this century, scientists and engineers began researching ways to use solar power in earnest. One important development was a remarkably efficient solar boiler invented by Charles Greeley Abbott, an american astrophysicist, in 1936.

The solar water heater came into common use at this time in Florida, California, and the Southwest. The industry started in the early 1920s and was in full swing just before The second world war. This growth lasted before mid-1950s when low-cost gas had become the primary fuel for heating American homes.

People and world governments remained largely indifferent to the possibilities of solar technology until the oil shortages of the1970s. Today, people use solar energy to heat buildings and water and to generate electricity.

How we use solar energy today ?

Solar energy is used in a variety of ways, of course. There’s two standard kinds of solar energy:

 * Solar thermal energy collects the sun’s warmth through one of two means: in water or in an anti-freeze (glycol) mixture.

 * Solar photovoltaic energy converts the sun’s radiation to usable electricity.

Listed below are the five most practical and popular ways that solar energy is used:

 1. Small portable solar photovoltaic systems. We see these used everywhere, from calculators to solar garden products. Portable units can be utilised for everything from RV appliances while single panel systems can be used traffic signs and remote monitoring stations.

 2. Solar pool heating. Running water in direct circulation systems through a solar collector is an extremely practical method to heat water for your pool or hot spa.

 3. Thermal glycol energy to heat water. In this method (indirect circulation), glycol is heated by natural sunlight and the heat is then transferred to water in a warm water tank. This method of collecting the sun’s energy is more practical now than ever before. In areas as far north as Edmonton, Alberta, solar thermal to heat water is economically sound. It can pay for itself in three years or less.

 4. Integrating solar photovoltaic energy into your home or business power. In numerous parts of the world, solar photovoltaics is an economically feasible solution to supplement the power of your property. In Japan, photovoltaics are competitive with other types of power. In the US, new incentive programs make this form of solar power ever more viable in many states. A frequent and practical way of integrating solar energy into the power of your home or business is through the usage of building integrated solar photovoltaics.

 5. Large independent photovoltaic systems. If you have enough sun power at your site, you could possibly go off grid. It’s also possible to integrate or hybridize your solar energy system with wind power or other types of renewable power to stay ‘off the grid.’

How can Photovoltaic panels work ?

Silicon is mounted beneath non-reflective glass to produce photovoltaic panels. These panels collect photons from the sun, converting them into DC electrical energy. The power created then flows into an inverter. The inverter transforms the power into basic voltage and AC electrical energy.

Photovoltaic cells are prepared with particular materials called semiconductors like silicon, which is presently the most generally used. When light hits the Photovoltaic cell, a particular share of it is absorbed inside the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is given to the semiconductor.

The power unfastens the electrons, permitting them to run freely. Pv cells also have more than one electric fields that act to compel electrons unfastened by light absorption to flow in a specific direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by introducing metal links on the top and bottom of the -Photovoltaic cell, the current can be drawn to use it externally.

Do you know the positives and negatives of solar power ?

Solar Pro Arguments

- Heating our homes with oil or propane or using electricity from power plants running with coal and oil is a cause of global warming and climate disruption. Solar power, on the other hand, is clean and environmentally-friendly.

- Solar hot-water heaters require little maintenance, and their initial investment may be recovered in just a relatively short time.

- Solar hot-water heaters can work in almost any climate, even just in very cold ones. You just have to choose the best system for your climate: drainback, thermosyphon, batch-ICS, etc.

- Maintenance costs of solar powered systems are minimal and also the warranties large.

- Financial incentives (USA, Canada, European states…) can reduce the cost of the initial investment in solar technologies. The U.S. government, as an example, offers tax credits for solar systems certified by by the SRCC (Solar Rating and Certification Corporation), which amount to 30 percent of the investment (2009-2016 period).

Solar Cons Arguments

- The initial investment in Solar Hot water heaters or in Solar PV Electric Systems is greater than that required by conventional electric and gas heaters systems.

- The payback period of solar PV-electric systems is high, as well as those of solar space heating or solar cooling (only the solar warm water heating payback is short or relatively short).

- Solar water heating do not support a direct combination with radiators (including baseboard ones).

- Some air conditioning (solar space heating and the solar cooling systems) are costly, and rather untested technologies: solar air-con isn’t, till now, a truly economical option.

- The efficiency of solar powered systems is rather determined by sunlight resources. It’s in colder climates, where heating or electricity needs are higher, that the efficiency is smaller.

Barbara Young in Floida, USA writes on solar power. Her work is devoted to helping people save energy using solar powered energy to eliminate CO2 emissions and energy dependency.