Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Climate Change Unexplained (Guardian)

A Summary of the impacts of temperature changes is listed below and more on the Six Degrees by Mark Lynas.

Less than 2C

Arctic sea icecap disappears, leaving polar bears homeless and changing the Earth's energy balance dramatically as reflective ice is replaced during summer months by darker sea surface. Now expected by 2030 or even earlier.

Tropical coral reefs suffer severe and repeated bleaching episodes due to hotter ocean waters, killing off most coral and delivering a hammer blow to marine biodiversity.

Droughts spread through the sub-tropics, accompanied by heatwaves and intense wildfires. Worst-hit are the Mediterranean, the south-west United States, southern Africa and Australia.


Summer heatwaves such as that in Europe in 2003, which killed 30,000 people, become annual events. Extreme heat sees temperatures reaching the low 40s Celsius in southern England.

Amazon rainforest crosses a "tipping point" where extreme heat and lower rainfall makes the forest unviable - much of it burns and is replaced by desert and savannah.

Dissolved CO2 turns the oceans increasingly acidic, destroying remaining coral reefs and wiping out many species of plankton which are the basis of the marine food chain. Several metres of sea level rise is now inevitable as the Greenland ice sheet disappears.


Glacier and snow-melt in the world's mountain chains depletes freshwater flows to downstream cities and agricultural land. Most affected are California, Peru, Pakistan and China. Global food production is under threat as key breadbaskets in Europe, Asia and the United States suffer drought, and heatwaves outstrip the tolerance of crops.

The Gulf Stream current declines significantly. Cooling in Europe is unlikely due to global warming, but oceanic changes alter weather patterns and lead to higher than average sea level rise in the eastern US and UK.


Another tipping point sees massive amounts of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - released by melting Siberian permafrost, further boosting global warming. Much human habitation in southern Europe, north Africa, the Middle East and other sub-tropical areas is rendered unviable due to excessive heat and drought. The focus of civilisation moves towards the poles, where temperatures remain cool enough for crops, and rainfall - albeit with severe floods - persists. All sea ice is gone from both poles; mountain glaciers are gone from the Andes, Alps and Rockies.


Global average temperatures are now hotter than for 50m years. The Arctic region sees temperatures rise much higher than average - up to 20C - meaning the entire Arctic is now ice-free all year round. Most of the topics, sub-tropics and even lower mid-latitudes are too hot to be inhabitable. Sea level rise is now sufficiently rapid that coastal cities across the world are largely abandoned.

6C and above

Danger of "runaway warming", perhaps spurred by release of oceanic methane hydrates. Could the surface of the Earth become like Venus, entirely uninhabitable? Most sea life is dead. Human refuges now confined entirely to highland areas and the polar regions. Human population is drastically reduced. Perhaps 90% of species become extinct, rivalling the worst mass extinctions in the Earth's 4.5 billion-year history.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Air Pollution Alerts - December 27th, 2009

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on December 20, 2009)

Financial Express, December 26th, 2009
Starting the process of urban revival in Dhaka.

Business Standard, December 26th, 2009
WB funds for JNNURM to come with reforms clause.

Times of India, December 25th, 2009
5 out of India's 20 worst pollution zones in National Capital Region.

New York Times, December 25th, 2009
Earth-Friendly Elements, Mined Destructively.

Science Daily, December 24th, 2009
Disproportionate Effects of Global Warming and Pollution on Disadvantaged Communities.

NPR, December 24th, 2009
U.S., China Emerge From Sidelines On Climate Debate.

Business Standard, December 24th, 2009
Pollution level in 10 industrial hubs alarming in India.

Scientific American, December 23rd, 2009
Velocity of Climate Change Varies from Mountain to Marsh.

International Viewpoint, December 23rd, 2009
Copenhagen: Collapse at the summit, rank-and-file victory.

Science Daily, December 23rd, 2009
Air Pollution Linked to Hospitalizations for Pneumonia in Seniors.

NPR, December 23rd, 2009
Reporters Notebook from Copenhagen.

Reuters, December 23rd, 2009
U.S. cracks down on lung-harming ship emissions.

Guardian, December 22nd, 2009
Biofuels: can they fuel our lifestyle without taking food from the poor?

Guardian, December 22nd, 2009
How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal?

Guardian, December 22nd, 2009
Copenhagen climate deal: Spectacular failure - or a few important steps?

Science Daily, December 22nd, 2009
What Are the Amounts of Greenhouse Gases Released in Your Area and What Are the Sources?

Reuters, December 22nd, 2009

India says to better cuts in gas emissions growth.

Business Mongolia, December 22nd, 2009
The Government promised to decrease air pollution by 50%.

EnviroTech, December 21st, 2009
Tata Steel announces air quality improvement plans.

Clean Energy Footprints, December 21st, 2009
Out With The Coal, In With The New.

Science Daily, December 21st, 2009
Climate Debate: What's Warming Us Up? Human Activity or Mother Nature?

Guardian, December 21st, 2009
Has peak theory reached its tipping point?

Express India, December 21st, 2009
To promote the bus, a plan to ban road parking.

India Press Bureau, December 19th, 2009
481 Projects sanctioned under JNNURM for 65 Mission Cities.

CNN, December 17th, 2009
WHO wants health issues at heart of climate talks.

China.Org, December 15th, 2009
Renewable Energy Choices.

Green Economy Initiative, December 14th, 2009
Bus Rapid Transit Project to Cut GHG Emissions in China.

EnviroTech, December 11th, 2009
Air quality initiatives 'need to happen at local level'.

Monday, December 21, 2009

ATMoS-4.0: Simplified Atmospheric Transport Dispersion Model for the SIM-air Tool

In the SIM-air tool, all the calculations, including the conversion of emissions to concentrations, are conducted in Excel, using the source-receptor transfer matrix (SRTM). The transfer matrix, which enables the conversion of emissions to concentrations, is based on a dispersion model, which is not included the Excel analytical tool. This part of the calculations (generating the SRTM) is conducted outside the SIM-air tool and then transferred into Excel to enable further analysis to health impacts and optimization.

A number of dispersion models are available to support the development of SRTM; some are free for use with some technical support and some are available at commercial level. As usual, the dispersion models are very data intensive and need substantial training, before using the models for analysis.

At the training events, there was one question which was asked repeatedly is “access to a dispersion model, when the data available is minimum, experience is limited, and yet there is need for some rapid assessment”.

While we supplemented the need for a dispersion model with SRTM concept, the generation of the SRTM based on a dispersion model is now available. This paper describes a simplified dispersion model ATMoS-4.0 to generate SRTM using minimum data inputs for direct use in SIM-air for urban applications.

Also see the SIM-air working papers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Delhi Experiences ~10,900 Premature Deaths Annually due to Outdoor Air Pollution

A pilot study was conducted in Delhi, India on October 3rd, 2009, covering ~160 km on road over 10 hours, recording PM10 and PM2.5 measurements at 1 min/1 sec intervals (full report).

During the experiment, over an 8 hour period, average
PM10 pollution = 206 micro-gm/m3;
PM2.5 pollution = 163 micro-gm/m3;
Black Carbon pollution = 36 micro-gm/m3.

The collected data was interpolated over the Delhi map for visualization of the extent of exposure levels on a daily basis (shown below).

In the Northwest and West sections, traffic movement was slow, especially along the major corridors, along with construction activities, which contributed to higher ambient pollution levels. The Northwest and East sections also home for industrial areas. The South Delhi , which is more residential, tends to experience on average 100 to 200 mg/m3, which is well above the national and WHO health guidelines. See animated monitoring route.

For the current observations, utilizing the average concentrations over Delhi, assuming at least 30% of the population (~5,000,000) is constantly exposed to these levels, and a dose-response function from premature mortality (0.000014 cases/mg/m3/percapita), a back-of-the-envelope calculation yields an annual mortality rate of ~10,900.

This at willingness-to-pay rate of ~US$50,000.00 (~25,00,000.00 Indian Rupees) translates to US$545 millions in health damages due to premature mortality annually.

Air Pollution Alerts - December 20th, 2009

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on December 13, 2009)

NewYorker, December 21st, 2009
Green Giant - Beijing’s crash program for clean energy.

The Daily Star, December 20th, 2009
Increasing population.

Japan Focus, December 20th, 2009
Clean Coal and The Two Faces of China’s Coal Industry.

NPR, December 19th, 2009
U.S., China Reach Tentative Climate Compromise.

Indian Express, December 19th, 2009
New air pollution norms tough to meet.

Scientific American, December 18th, 2009
Copenhagen's Carbon Debt.

New York Times, December 18th, 2009
In Industrial Thailand, Health and Business Concerns Collide.

Financial Times, December 18th, 2009
Cairo’s air quality among the worst in the world.

Science Daily, December 18th, 2009
Chicken or Egg Question Looms Over Climate Debate.

The Hindu, December 18th, 2009
Bye bye Bajaj.

NPR, December 17th, 2009
Ironically, Climate Talks Enlarge Carbon Footprint.

NPR, December 17th, 2009
Climate Envoy: China, India Remain Stumbling Blocks.

NPR, December 17th, 2009
Putting A Price On Emissions Presents Challenges.

Telegraph, December 17th, 2009
Smog sinks Hong Kong's skyline.

Christian Science Monitor, December 17th, 2009
Is happiness linked to quality-of-life factors like climate?

Scientific American, December 17th, 2009
Some airborne particles pose more dangers than others.

Science Daily, December 17th, 2009
Irrigation Decreases, Urbanization Increases Monsoon Rains.

Science Daily, December 17th, 2009
Pollution Alters Isolated Thunderstorms.

The Nation, December 17th, 2009
Air pollution sets alarm bells in Lahore City.

Ghana News, December 17th, 2009
The albatross of traffic congestion in our cities - any way out?

Front Page Magazine, December 17th, 2009
The China Problem In Copenhagen.

Clean Tech, December 16th, 2009
China's Lanzhou makes plans to reduce mass transport emissions.

The Hindu, December 16th, 2009
Innovation university for sustainable city development.

Press Information Bureau, December 16th, 2009
Ceiling on GHG emission from Thermal Power Plants.

China Daily, December 16th, 2009
Jam will lead to more pollution.

China Daily, December 16th, 2009
4 m cars to bring problems.

Genesis, December 16th, 2009
STEMS (Space-Time Exposure Modelling System).

Mongolia Investments, December 16th, 2009
Mongolia will carry out two new projects under the Mongolia Compact.

Bangkok Post, December 16th, 2009
Smog sinks Hong Kong's famous skyline.

NPR, December 16th, 2009
China Refuses To Put Climate Commitment In Writing.

Environmental Research Web, December 16th, 2009
Ozone pollution could kill millions.

NPR, December 16th, 2009
The Green Rush Is On In China.

NPR, December 16th, 2009
Answering Listeners' Questions On Climate Summit.

Guardian, December 16th, 2009
A positive vision for a low carbon economy.

New York Times, December 15th 2009
In 2025, India to Pass China in Population, U.S. Estimates.

Scientific American, December 15th, 2009
Subcontinental Smut: Is Soot the Culprit Behind Melting Himalayan Glaciers?

Wall Street Journal, December 15th, 2009
World's Top Polluter Emerges as Green-Technology Leader.

CNN, December 15th, 2009
Coca-Cola takes on climate change.

CNN, December 15th, 2009
U.N.: Climate deal could change history.

Science Daily, December 15th, 2009
Black Carbon Deposits on Himalayan Ice Threaten Earth's 'Third Pole'.

China Dialogue, December 15th, 2009
In China Ready for Cap & Trade.

Guardian, December 15th, 2009
Copenhagen loopholes could mean rise in emissions.

Newsweek, December 15th, 2009
Turning Carbon into Cash.

Energy Tribune, December 15th, 2009
China Puts Coal (Lots of it) in Copenhagen’s Stocking.

CNN, December 15th, 2009

Choking in China's polluted city.

Financial Times, December 15th, 2009
China pressed to reveal numbers.

The New Nation, December 15th, 2009
Dhaka city's air pollution.

CNN, December 15th, 2009
Will Carbon Trading Work?

UB Post, December 15th, 2009
Mongolia’s Used Car Market on Recovery.

Los Angeles Times, December 14th, 2009
Climate negotiators eye the 'forgotten 50%' of greenhouse gas pollutants.

NewYork Times, December 14th, 2009
For Bicyclists Needing a Boost, This Wheel May Help.

TopNews.in, December 14th, 2009
Rising air pollution levels choke city's in India.

Reuters, December 14th, 2009
EU carbon scheme is supporting clean energy shift.

Financial Times, December 13th, 2009
Manizales: Climbing out of mudslides and pollution.

CCTV, China, December 12th, 2009
New electric bikes rules controversial.

Guardian, December 11th, 2009
Government faces legal proceedings over London air quality.

Climate-L, December 11th, 2009
UNEP Stresses Mitigation Role of Energy-Efficient Buildings.

Center for American Progress, December 10th, 2009
Global Change for the Better - A Dispatch from Copenhagen.

Center for American Progress, December 10th, 2009
Myth vs. Reality on the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

China Dialogue, December 10th, 2009
How to cooperate on climate.

Environmental Research Letters, December 9th, 2009
Expanding cities could increase warming.

PNAS, December 8th, 2009
Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers.

Grist, December 4th, 2009
Lessons from fossil-fueled rats.

Reuters, December 3rd, 2009
Carbon pledges, schemes pile up ahead of Copenhagen.

EnviroFit, December 1st, 2009
Strong action will save millions of lives, improve health of billions.

Belfer Center, November, 2009
Breaking the Climate Impasse with China: A Global Solution.

Wall Street Journal, November 27th, 2009
Small Energy-Saving Steps Can Make Big Strides.

Center for American Progress, November 4th, 2009
Cooperation between China and US Is the Key.

Center for American Progress, October 29th, 2009
Increasing Competitiveness Through Clean Energy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Copenhagen's Carbon Debt = GHG's of 100,000 Ethiopians (Scientific American)

December 18th, 2009 - Scientific American

How many greenhouse gas emissions does negotiating a climate change treaty take?

That's the sound of climate change negotiations—and CO2 being released. All this talking is a seemingly significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and not just because negotiators have traveled to Copenhagen from all corners of the globe.

Whether it be the jets of world leaders—or shutting down the city to proceed in motorcades—transportation contributes 25 percent of global emissions. Then there's the vital warm and cozy hotels to house us here in this wintry town. In fact, the government of Denmark estimates that this climate conference will produce in its two weeks the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of more than 600,000 Ethiopians.

The bulk of that is the more than 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that comes just from all the flights into and out of Copenhagen airport. But the Danes have a plan. They've sent enough cash to Bangladesh to replace 20 old, heavily polluting brick factories with more modern facilities, which will lead to an annual savings of some 100,000 metric tons of CO2.

Of course, the only thing that would really justify all this "hot air" is a global, binding, verifiable, equitable agreement to combat climate change. But achieving that is a lot harder than buying a new brick factory in Bangladesh.

--David Biello, from Copenhagen
Scientific American

More on the Dhaka Brick Kilns

The SIM-air working paper, SIM-21-2009, presents the results from the dispersion modeling of the brick kiln cluster emissions and their impact on the air quality in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Image below presents monthly average PM2.5 concentrations in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with the brick manufacturing season (October-March) separated, which account for ~40-50% of the observed PM pollution in Dhaka city. Click on the image to enlarge view.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Space-Time Exposure Modelling System in London

My previous posts looked at the need for monitoring what matters the most and also discussed the five basic things for Urban air quality management and also explained in a primer for AQM (Figure). One of the main reasons why we monitoring the air pollution is health impacts. The more we monitor, the we understand the spatial patterns and temporal trends in the city air pollution. On the other, we can also model the same and use it a spatial 3D outlay, as it was done in London and use the same or similar models to forecast the air quality and present it as an index.

Now, we have a new study called "Space-Time Exposure Modelling System" (STEMS), as a pilot in London. The pilot focuses on modelling impacts on air pollution exposures, and associated modification in health risks to air pollution, of the London ‘Low Emissions Zone’ (LEZ). It builds on existing technologies, the airTEXT air quality forecasting and alerting system for London, www.airtext.info

Also see some public awareness activities at

Bye Bye Bajaj, Scooter

in the Hindu, December 16th, 2009

"It was one of last symbols of the times when technology hadn't taken control of our lives, riding pillion didn't mean one person on the back seat and licence raj was very much in place. Almost everybody has a Bajaj moment to share."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In News.. China: Air Quality, Energy & Transport

NewYorker, December 21st, 2009
Green Giant - Beijing’s crash program for clean energy.

CCTV, China, December 12th, 2009
New electric bikes rules controversial.

China Dialogue, December 10th, 2009
How to cooperate on climate.

Center for American Progress, November 4th, 2009
Cooperation between China and US Is the Key.

Financial Times, December 15th, 2009
China pressed to reveal numbers.

China Daily, December 16th, 2009
Jam will lead to more pollution.

China Daily, December 16th, 2009
4 m cars to bring problems.

Belfer Center, November, 2009
Breaking the Climate Impasse with China: A Global Solution.

Wall Street Journal, December 16th, 2009
World's Top Polluter Emerges as Green-Technology Leader.

PNAS, December 8th, 2009
Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers.

Energy Tribune, December 15th, 2009
China Puts Coal (Lots of it) in Copenhagen’s Stocking.

CNN, December 15th, 2009
Choking in China's polluted city.

NPR, December 16th, 2009
China Refuses To Put Climate Commitment In Writing.

Also see previous posts

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monitoring What We Want to Manage & Mapping Urban Air Pollution in Delhi, India

If managing air pollution for better health is our primary goal, then we should monitor what we want to manage. Among the many pollutants, PM pollution is prevalent in most of the cities, and yet data available on ambient PM levels is limited for many reasons (read "hazy data").

The SIM-air working paper No.29 titled "Monitoring and Mapping Urban Air Pollution" presents a proposal (discussed earlier in September, 2009) to monitor PM pollution cheaply and effectively and a methodology to map the pollution over city for understanding the hot spots and studying exposure levels.

A pilot study was conducted in Delhi, India on October 3rd, 2009, covering ~160 km on road over 10 hours, recording PM10 and PM2.5 measurements at 1 min/1 sec intervals. During the experiment, average PM10 pollution over a 8 hour period = 206 micro-gm/m3; PM2.5 pollution over a 8 hour period = 163 micro-gm/m3; Black Carbon pollution over a 8 hour period = 36 micro-gm/m3. The collected data was interpolated over a map of Delhi for visualizing the extent of pollution exposure on a daily basis (shown below).

To the Northwest and West parts of the city, traffic movement was slow, especially along the major corridors, at the construction sites, which contributed to higher ambient pollution levels. The Northeast and East parts of the city also home for industrial areas. In the South, which is more residential, tends to experience on average 100 to 200 mg/m3, which is still above the national and WHO health guidelines. See animated monitoring route.

For the current observations, utilizing the average concentrations over Delhi, assuming at least 30% of the population (~5,000,000) is constantly exposed to these levels, and a dose-response function from premature mortality (0.000014 cases/mg/m3/percapita), a back-of-the-envelope calculation yields an annual mortality rate of ~10,900.

This at willingness-to-pay rate of ~US$50,000.00 (~25,00,000.00 Indian Rupees) translates to US$545 millions in health damages due to premature mortality annually.

2-Stroke vs. 4-Stroke Engines

Article provides a simple explanation for 2-Stroke and 4-Stroke engines

(Source: Columbia Encyclopedia)

The Two-Stroke Cycle

The two-stroke engine is simpler mechanically than the four-stroke engine. The two-stroke engine delivers one power stroke every two strokes instead of one every four; thus it develops more power with the same displacement, or can be lighter and yet deliver the same power. For this reason it is used in lawn mowers, chain saws, small automobiles, motorcycles, and outboard marine engines.

However, there are several disadvantages that restrict its use. Since there are twice as many power strokes during the operation of a two-stroke engine as there are during the operation of a four-stroke engine, the engine tends to heat up more, and thus is likely to have a shorter life. Also, in the two-stroke engine lubricating oil must be mixed with the fuel. This causes a very high level of hydrocarbons in its exhaust, unless the fuel-air mixture is computer calculated to maximize combustion. A highly efficient, pollution-free two-stroke automobile engine is currently being developed by Orbital Engineering, under arrangements with all the U.S. auto makers.

The Four-Stroke Cycle

In most engines a single cycle of operation (intake, compression, power, and exhaust) takes place over four strokes of a piston, made in two engine revolutions. When an engine has more than one cylinder the cycles are evenly staggered for smooth operation, but each cylinder will go through a full cycle in any two engine revolutions. When the piston is at the top of the cylinder at the beginning of the intake stroke, the intake valve opens and the descending piston draws in the air-fuel mixture.

At the bottom of the stroke the intake valve closes and the piston starts upward on the compression stroke, during which it squeezes the air-fuel mixture into a small space at the top of the cylinder. The ratio of the volume of the cylinder when the piston is at the bottom to the volume when the piston is at the top is called the compression ratio. The higher the compression ratio, the more powerful the engine and the higher its efficiency. However, in order to accommodate air pollution control devices, manufacturers have had to lower compression ratios.

Just before the piston reaches the top again, the spark plug fires, igniting the air-fuel mixture (alternatively, the heat of compression ignites the mixture). The mixture on burning becomes a hot, expanding gas forcing the piston down on its power stroke. Burning should be smooth and controlled. Faster, uncontrolled burning sometimes occurs when hot spots in the cylinder preignite the mixture; these explosions are called engine knock and cause loss of power. As the piston reaches the bottom, the exhaust valve opens, allowing the piston to force the combustion products—mainly carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and unburned hydrocarbons—out of the cylinder during the upward exhaust stroke.

Cooling and Lubrication of Engines

Most small two-stroke engines are air-cooled. Air flows over cooling fins around the outside of the cylinder and head, either by the natural motion of the vehicle or from a fan. Many aircraft four-stroke engines are also air-cooled; larger engines have the cylinders arranged radially so that all cylinders are directly in the airstream. Most four-stroke engines, however, are water-cooled. A water jacket encloses the cylinders; a water pump forces water through the jacket, where it draws heat from the engine. Next, the water flows into a radiator where the heat is given off to the air; it then moves back into the jacket to repeat the cycle. During warm-up a thermostatic valve keeps water from passing to the radiator until optimum operating temperatures are attained.

Four-stroke engines are lubricated by oil from a separate oil reservoir, either in the crankcase, which is a pan attached to the underside of the engine, or in an external tank. In an automobile engine a gear pump delivers the oil at low pressure to the bearings. Some bearings may depend on oil splashed from the bottom of the crankcase by the turning crankshaft. In a two-stroke engine the lubricating oil is mixed with the fuel.


A case study from Dhaka, Bangladesh - Reducing Emissions from Baby-Taxis

Emission factors for various vehicles

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Air Pollution Alerts - December 13th, 2009

News & Information; Every Sunday (Last on December 06, 2009)

Scientific American, December, 2009
Setting Boundaries: 10 Guidelines to Save Earth.

Taipei Times, December 13th, 2009
Nature has answers to problems.

Philstar, December 13th, 2009
Working (or sighing) for clean air in the cities in Philippines.

Strait Times, December 12th, 2009
Asean seeks lower emissions.

Times Live, December 12th, 2009
South Africa trying to keep its head above the trash.

Oregon Environmental News, December 12th, 2009
Oregon drops the ball on mercury.

Boston.Com, December 12th, 2009
EU panel chides London’s air quality.

Express Buzz, December 12th, 2009
CNG fails to gather steam in Chennai.

Economic Times, December 11th, 2009
New math: 37% Indians live below poverty line.

New York Times, December 11th, 2009
How Much Climate Aid Is Enough?

Global Times, December 11th, 2009
Pittsburgh's blue skies should be an example to Beijing.

AFP, December 11th, 2009
World Bank to boost India's sustainable urbanization.

Maypor Watch, December 11th, 2009
European Commission refuse UK request for air quality extension.

NPR, December 11th, 2009
Climate Change Trends: Carbon Emissions Giants.

NPR, December 11th, 2009
Will India's Measures Combat Climate Change?

Planet Earth, December 11th, 2009
Aerial measurements shed light on pollution from Lagos.

Science Daily, December 10th, 2009
Danish Eco City Proves Waste Management Can Reverse Greenhouse Trend.

Science Daily, December 10th, 2009
Dow Jones Index for Climate Change.

NPR, December 10th, 2009
Saudi Arabia Tries To Stall Global Emissions Limits.

Science Daily, December 10th, 2009
New Approach to Emissions Makes Climate and Air Quality Models More Accurate.

Spokesman Review, December 10th, 2009
What’s so cool about China?

Economic Times, December 10th, 2009
Bajaj to stop scooter production, focus on motorcycles.

Economist, December 10th, 2009
The Copenhagen climate talks - Filthy lucre fouls the air.

Belfast Telegraph, December 10th, 2009
Breathe easy - air quality in Northern Ireland 'improving'.

Transport Politic, December 10th, 2009
LA Integrates Service on Two Busways, with Plans to Implement Congestion Pricing.

Reuters, December 10th, 2009
China says population controls help fight climate change.

Inhabitat, December 9th, 2009
WMO Confirms that There is No Slowdown in Global Warming.

CNN, December 9th, 2009
Gore: 'Climategate' e-mails misunderstood.

Scientific American, December 9th, 2009
Copenhagen: No "Pass" for Developing Countries.

Financial Express, December 9th, 2009
Indoor air pollution a major worry for 25m households in Bangladesh.

Times of India, December 9th, 2009
Car sales surge to 6-yr high.

AFP, December 9th, 2009
UN: 2000-2009 likely warmest decade on record.

BBC, December 9th, 2009
Making climate talks 'carbon neutral' - in Bangladesh.

China Daily, December 9th, 2009
Time to correct flawed air pollution index.

Khaleej Times, December 9th, 2009
A Guide to Indoor Air Quality.

Hindustan Times, December 9th, 2009
Carbon map shows Delhi emissions low.

Science Daily, December 9th, 2009
Snowflake Chemistry Could Give Clues About Ozone Depletion.

Science Daily, December 9th, 2009
Energy Efficiency Technologies Offer Major Savings.

Science Daily, December 8th, 2009
Major Changes to the Nitrogen Cycle Cannot Be Ignored.

Science Daily, December 8th, 2009
Scientists Detect PCBs on South America’s Highest Peak.

New York Times, December 8th, 2009
The Earth Is Crying Out for Help.

The Gazette, December 8th, 2009
Cities can cut greenhouse emissions more cheaply.

COP15 Post, December 8th, 2009
We must respond to climate change today.

Popular Mechanics, December 8th, 2009
The Myth of Clean Coal: Analysis.

The Olympian, December 8th, 2009
Clean air important while we head indoors for winter.

Slightline Daily, December 8th, 2009
How James Hansen Gets Cap and Trade Wrong.

CNN, December 8th, 2009
Glaciers melting so fast, a generation will be too late.

Science Daily, December 8th, 2009
How Arctic Food Webs Affect Mercury in Polar Bears.

Science Daily, December 8th, 2009
Berkeley Lab Experts Assist in the Greening of China.

The Guardian, December 8th, 2009
Nitrous oxide concerns cloud future of biofuels.

Planet Earth, December 8th, 2009
Scientists warn of nitrogen pollution risks.

Economist, December 7th, 2009
Who would pay more to tackle climate change?

National Post, December 7th, 2009
Rethinking Green: Save the environment: Don't take transit.

CNN, December 7th, 2009
The distorted global-warming debate.

CNN, December 7th, 2009
EPA: Greenhouse gases a public health threat.

Livemint, December 7th, 2009
Bringing sustainable development back to the centre stage.

DNA India, December 7th, 2009
Mega hoax in Urban India.

Oil & Gas Journal, December 7th, 2009
IEA includes climate change policy scenario in latest forecast.

Malaysian Insider, December 7th, 2009
For China developers, green is in.

Sky News, December 7th, 2009
China: Green Plans Still A Long Way Off.

The Island Online, December 7th, 2009
Pollution in Sri Lanka: Who cares?

Rediff Business, December 7th, 2009
Indians most concerned about air pollution.

China Daily, December 7th, 2009
Mongolian herders harness the sun for greener lives.

The Baltimore Sun, December 7th, 2009
In climate change debate, don't forget the impact on human health.

New York Times, December 7th, 2009
Climate Talks Open With Calls for Urgent Action.

The Guardian, December 7th, 2009
A stable, low-emissions future with gas.

The Gaurdian, December 6th, 2009
China's carbon emissions will peak between 2030 and 2040.

EcoWorldly, December 6th, 2009
4 Childhood Lessons & Climate Change.

Xinhua Net, December 6th, 2009
Number of vehicles in Indonesia should be limited for better air quality.

Copenhagen Voice, December 6th, 2009
COP15: Public transport and electric vehicles will keep overall transport emissions in 2050 at 2000 level.

Examiner, December 6th, 2009
Beijing to hit four million cars this month.

BBC, December 6th, 2009
Pay up or die: Guatemala City bus drivers targeted.

NPR, December 5th, 2009
Declining Interest Makes Climate Change A Hard Sell.

CNN, December 3rd, 2009
G20 needs to 'quadruple' carbon intensity cuts.

Economist, December 3rd, 2009
Carbon-management software - Heat count.

Slightline Daily, November 24th, 2009
How Cap-and-Trade Markets Work for Acid Rain and Smog.

Gulf News, November 21st, 2009
Rice husk lights up villages.

Business Standard, September 25th, 2009
Bus Rapid Transit system in nine more cities.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Climate Change: What's the Final Answer?

I was listening to NPR and the story of "Concerned Scientists Vs. 'Superfreakonomics' Author". The author suggests some provocative ideas for addressing the problem of global warming, like pumping sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere to cool down the earth.

I do not approve of this approach. This shall remain a best seller on the amazon list and hope people don't take this too seriously.

On the silver screen in 2004, “The Day After Tomorrow” dramatized a possible scenario of an immediate calamity due to global warming and climate change and an overnight push to the ice age.

In the “Inconvenient Truth”, Al Gore was very persuasive on the contribution of human activity to the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the impending consequences via climate change, for which he won an Academy Award for best documentary feature film and shared the Nobel Peace Prize along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Thus, “global warming” and “climate change” have become common phrases, heightened the public awareness across the world, and created international threshold for immediate need for action.

So far, so good.

Recent projections of the IPCC estimate that by 2080, 1.1 billion to 3.2 billion people will be facing water scarcity; 200 million to 600 million, hunger; and two million to seven million more homes will be hit hard by coastal flooding. Between 75 and 250 million people in Africa alone will experience increased water shortages due to climate change by 2020. Although greater wealth may offset damage through adaptation in many nations, without the ability to pay for such measures the world's poor are likely to suffer more stress from climate impacts in the coming decades. Lord Stern, former chief economist at the World Bank, estimated the cost of climate change at between 5 per cent and 20 per cent of global gross domestic product.

Dr. James Hansen from NASA, renowned physicist in the field of climate modeling, concludes that far from aiming to limit rising CO2 concentrations to a ceiling of 450 ppm (parts per million), as currently suggested, the world should set a long-term target of getting back down to 350 ppm. A few decades with CO2 above that figure might not matter, but it would be foolish to allow CO2 to stay in the danger zone for centuries. The global average CO2 concentration was 385 ppm in 2008.

This morning, Dr. James Hansen sent out an email titled, "Sack Goldman Sachs Cap-and-Trade" and quote..

As I explain in my book "Storms of My Grandchildren" what is planned for Copenhagen is a selling of Indulgences, as in the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church sold forgiveness of sins. The Bishops were very happy (lots of moulah) and the sinners were happy (they could still go to heaven). The developed country sinners in Copenhagen will be paying
moulah via "offsets" (many imaginary or unverifiable) and "adaptation" funds and the developing countries will be looking to collect as many billions as possible. Can't blame them for that, but it is plain as day that the global emissions are not going to take the rapid downward track that the science demands.

This is best explained by Annie Leonard in her "story of cap & trade.

The conference of the parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is meeting for the 15th time in Copenhagen, Denmark. While the goal is to establish an ambitious and effective international response to the climate change, the discussions are still bogged down by the economics of who will do what and how much. There is an increasing pressure on India and China to join an emissions capping agreement, which both parties have restrained from in the past, saying the rich and developed countries who lead the industrial revolution should take the lead and should agree for bigger cuts.

While the high level dialogue at COP15 is ensured impasse and nobody willing to demonstrate the political will to undertake strong mandate, the Atlantic magazine reports a radical - and possibly extremely dangerous - schemes for reengineering the climate by brute force. Similar to the ideas presented in the SuperFreakonomics.

Among the few scientists, the leading voice for reengineering comes from Dr. Paul J. Crutzen, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for formation and decomposition of Ozone. The theory revolves around blocking and reflecting the sun light by spreading sulphur-aerosols into the atmosphere. The immediate impacts of such an exercise not tested in a laboratory, but are already observed nature. The Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines in 1991 cooled global temperatures by about half a degree Celsius for the next few years.

The aerosol plan is also cheap - so cheap that it completely overturns conventional analysis of how to mitigate climate change. In the past, Thomas C. Schelling, who won the 2005 Nobel Prize in economics, has pointed out how difficult it is to get vast international agreements - such as the Kyoto Protocol - to stick. But a geo-engineering strategy like sulphur aerosol changes everything.

Dr. Schelling argues that while the big emitters are bickering about the emission caps and whether or not to mitigate the greenhouse gases fast; who will stop a small nation like Maldives or Bangladesh from attempting to cool down the temperatures fast and cheap by pumping aerosols. At the end, this is the step they may have to take in their national interest, to save the millions of the poor and thousands of hectares of drowning land resources?

I hope it will not come to this.

In 1999 Movie, “The Matrix”, Neo “the one” learns that it is the humans who scorched the sky, in order to block the sun and stop the life support to the machines. The unintended consequences led to the end of humanity on earth, but they managed to block the sun.

While the short term measures like sulphur-aerosols are intended to provide immediate relief, this is only postponing the long term damage. The unintended impacts of higher sulphur in the atmosphere mean more incidences of acid rain and further ecosystem damage.

A recent study published by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, that bad air quality (due to aerosols) in the Eastern China is affecting the rainfall patterns, thus the country's ability to raise crops as well as contributing to health and environmental problems.

The interaction of policies and knowledge base to better understand the air pollution (aerosols) and climate change have not been sufficiently investigated and there is a tremendous potential for co-benefits.

Policy research aimed at clarifying the synergies and trade-offs in this field could help to develop instruments that work both ways. And in the mean time, hope that no radical measures are implemented for short term benefits and people will listen to the likes of Dr. James Hansen for stringent mitigation measures on the ground.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Beijing Cars = Four Million in December 2009

An article in Examiner states that the Beijing car population will reach the four million mark in December 2009 and the city averaged ~2,000 cars a day in 2009 to reach the mark. And yet, the authorities claim that "it was confident that the city’s air pollution wouldn’t worsen as the number of cars increased".

Call me lame, but I do not understand the math here. If something is polluted, and if you are adding something to the system without purging the old, how is this not worsening?

1. City just added 1 million cars in less than 28 months. Even if the new cars are Euro-IV complaint, they are still emitting something. What about all the cars that are pre-Euro IV, which are still on the road.

2. If the cars were running normally, then OK, at least they are serving the mobility function, but not if they are sitting in congestion. Our calculations show, on average a 20 min idling in the city can lead to an addition of up to 10 percent of the emissions which could have been avoided.

Get out of the cars. The air pollution (and other emissions linked to climate change) is severe along the corridors and worse during the rush hours, mostly due to congestion and idling emissions. A lot of energy is wasted every where, in US, China, Europe, India, and the rest of the World.

See a review of air pollution from transport sector in China in SIM-air working paper No.19.

A Climate Change Reading for Lay People (NPR)

An interesting list of books posted by NPR.

See a video by Greg Craven below

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Air Pollution Alerts - December 6th, 2009

News & Information; Every Sunday (Last on November 29, 2009)

Reuters, December 6th, 2009
Japan to stick CO2 goal, mull domestic steps.

ECN, December 6th, 2009
A Climate for Collaboration: Analysis of US and EU lessons and opportunities in energy and climate policy.

Frontline, December 5th, 2009
Energy equity in India.

Frontline, December 5th, 2009
City of Future in Pune, India.

Telegraph, December 5th, 2009
Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges.

Green Prophet, December 5th, 2009
Egypt takes prize in smog ahead of under-20 World Cup.

Science News, December 5th, 2009
Countering Copenhagen’s Carbon Footprint.

Times of India, December 5th, 2009
Isro images show Gangotri glacier receded 1.5km in 30 yrs.

Times of India, December 4th, 2009
BRTS Ahmedabad has learnt from Delhi's mistakes.

Health News, December 4th, 2009
Black week for Hong Kong as smog shrouds city for five days.

Wall Street Journal, December 4th, 2009
The Science and Politics of Climate Change.

Financial Times, December 4th, 2009
A burning issue in the climate change fight.

CCTV, China, December 5th, 2009
Green Efforts: China coal industry cuts emissions.

IEA, December 4th, 2009
Cement Technology Roadmap.

China Business, December 4th, 2009
Making Energy Efficiency Pay Off in China.

KPBS, December 4th, 2009
UCSD Scientists Rolling Out Air Pollution Monitoring Network.

San Diego Union Tribune, December 4th, 2009
Time to clear the air and breathe.

Press Information Bureau, India, December 3rd, 2009
Prime Minister inaugurates National Conference on JNNURM - MouD seeks more funds for the mission.

Press Information Bureau, India, December 3rd, 2009
MoUD Inaugurates 2nd Urban Mobility India Conference and Urges public to prefer public transport to private.

Economist, December 3rd, 2009
India's recovering economy: Vroom, vroom.

AFP, December 3rd, 2009
Climate fears over India's car boom.

Thanh Nein News, December 3rd, 2009
Acid rain widely prevalent in Vietnam.

WHO, December 3rd, 2009
WHO Stresses Links between Urbanization, Human Health and Climate Change.

China Daily, December 3rd, 2009
Big cities small on happiness.

China Daily, December 3rd, 2009
Changsha looks to new chapter in quality of life.

Oil & Gas Journal, December 3rd, 2009
USCAP: Climate change actions won't stunt US economic growth.

Economist, December 3rd, 2009
What needs to change for Climate Change Control.

Science Daily, December 3rd, 2009
Elevated Carbon Dioxide Levels May Mitigate Losses of Biodiversity from Nitrogen Pollution.

Philstar, December 3rd, 2009
The environment and our health in Philippines.

China Daily, December 2nd, 2009
Haze raises questions on air quality.

Oil and Gas Journal, December 2nd, 2009
Technology outpacing climate-change legislation.

Reuters, December 2nd, 2009
Google map shows climate-changed California future.

Guardian, December 2nd, 2009
India reveals carbon emission targets.

Guardian, December 2nd, 2009
India to reduce carbon intensity by 24% by 2020.

Guardian, December 2nd, 2009
Building an easy answer to climate change.

World Watch Institute, December 2nd, 2009
India Announces Improved Cook Stove Program.

China Dialogue, December 2nd, 2009
Two faces of China's coal industry.

Indian Express, December 1st, 2009
The first cuts for carbon in India.

Times of India, December 1st, 2009
City of Nagpur stands on a weak foundation!

The New Nation, December 1st, 2009
Dhaka :Third in air pollution.

Dawn, December 1st, 2009
Islamabad’s air is degrading alarmingly.

Japan Focus, December 1st, 2009
Lessons from China's Three Gorges Dam.

Science Daily, November 30th, 2009
Climate Studies to Benefit from 12 Years of Satellite Aerosol Data.

CNN, November 30th, 2009
New technology cleans up coal with CO2.

Business Standard, November 30th, 2009
Carbon lines in the sand.

Times of India, November 30th, 2009
Polluters off roads, city breathes easy in Kolkata.

Nepal News, November 30th, 2009
Lets Walk for Clean Blue Sky in Kathmandu.

France 24, November 30th, 2009
Hong Kong's carbon footprint 'second highest in world'.

The Nation Business, November 30th, 2009
Srisuwan targets 181 industrial projects in Thailand.

AFP, November 29th, 2009
Europe's post-Soviet greening _ gains and failures.

Polluted industrial clusters to be ranked. November 29th, 2009
Deccan Herald & Times of India

Scientific American, November 27th, 2009
Obama and (climate) change: Indian edition.

Scientific American, November 26th, 2009
What Explains Past Climate Change?

NY Times, November 23rd, 2009
U.S. to Set Emissions Target Before Climate Talks.

Scientific American, November 23rd, 2009
Climate change cover-up? You better believe it.

Center for American Progress, October 23rd, 2009
Taking the Wheel in Clean Transportation.

Discover, October, 2009
Introducing the Most Efficient Solar Power in the World.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Population, Energy, & Climate Change - An Interactive Map for 50 US States

This interactive map of the U.S. shows the population and energy factors that link them to climate change, including: population numbers, population growth rate, housing units (indicator of energy consumption per household and household appliances), energy consumption per-capita, carbon dioxide (C02) emissions per-capita, and vehicle miles traveled per-capita (VMT), indicating fossil fuel burning which contributes to CO2 emissions. It shows how the nation, its regions, and each of the 50 states compare. Click on each state or region in the map below to see how they stack up.

Click here for other GIS based interactive maps and data resources.

Friday, December 04, 2009

An Animated Journey Through Earth's Climate History (BBC)

Click on the image to access the graphs and audio presentation on BBC.

Also see timeline of Climate Change published by New Scientist.

900-1300: The Medieval Warm Period brings warm weather to Europe, thanks to an unusually strong North Atlantic Oscillation bringing in extra heat.

1350-1850: The Little Ice Age chills parts of the northern hemisphere.

1709: As the Little Ice Age comes to an end, Europe experiences a freakishly cold winter.

1827: French polymath Jean-Baptiste Fourier predicts an atmospheric effect keeping the Earth warmer than it would otherwise be. He is the first to use a greenhouse analogy.

1863: Irish scientist John Tyndall publishes a paper describing how water vapour can be a greenhouse gas.

1890s: Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius and an American, P C Chamberlain, independently consider the problems that might be caused by CO2 building up in the atmosphere. Both scientists realise that the burning of fossil fuels could lead to global warming, but neither suspects the process might already have begun.

More on the Timeline.