Sunday, June 28, 2009

Timeline: Climate Change (New Scientist)

Reported by New Scientist, May 13th, 2009


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.

1890s to 1940: Average surface air temperatures increase by about 0.25 °C. Some scientists see the American Dust Bowl as a sign of the greenhouse effect at work.

1940 to 1970: Worldwide cooling of 0.2°CMovie Camera. Scientific interest in greenhouse effect wanes. Some climatologists predict a new ice age.

1957: US oceanographer Roger Revelle warns that humanity is conducting a "large-scale geophysical experiment" on the planet by releasing greenhouse gases. Colleague David Keeling sets up first continuous monitoring of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Keeling soon finds a regular year-on-year rise.

1970s: Series of studies by the US Department of Energy increases concerns about future global warming.

1979: First World Climate Conference adopts climate change as major issue and calls on governments "to foresee and prevent potential man-made changes in climate."

1985: First major international conference on the greenhouse effect at Villach, Austria, warns that greenhouse gases will "in the first half of the next century, cause a rise of global mean temperature which is greater than any in man's history." This could cause sea levels to rise by up to one metre, researchers say. The conference also reports that gases other than CO2, such as methane, ozone, CFCs and nitrous oxide, also contribute to warming.

1987: Warmest year since records began. The 1980s turn out to be the hottest decade on record, with seven of the eight warmest years recorded up to 1990. Even the coldest years in the 1980s were warmer than the warmest years of the 1880s.

1988: Global warming attracts worldwide headlines after scientists at Congressional hearings in Washington DC blame major US drought on its influence. Meeting of climate scientists in Toronto subsequently calls for 20% cuts in global CO2 emissions by the year 2005. UN sets up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to analyse and report on scientific findings.

1990: The first report of the IPCC finds that the planet has warmed by 0.5°C in the past century. IPCC warns that only strong measures to halt rising greenhouse gas emissions will prevent serious global warming. This provides scientific clout for UN negotiations for a climate convention. Negotiations begin after the UN General Assembly in December.

1991: Mount Pinatubo erupts in the Philippines, throwing debris into the stratosphere that shields the Earth from solar energy, which helps interrupt the warming trend. Average temperatures drop for two years before rising again. Scientists point out that this event shows how sensitive global temperatures are to disruption.

1992: Climate Change Convention, signed by 154 nations in Rio, agrees to prevent "dangerous" warming from greenhouse gases and sets initial target of reducing emissions from industrialised countries to 1990 levels by the year 2000.

1994: The Alliance of Small Island States - many of whom fear they will disappear beneath the wavesMovie Camera as sea levels rise - adopt a demand for 20% cuts in emissions by the year 2005. This, they say, will cap sea-level rise at 20 centimetres.

1995: The hottest year recorded to date. In March, the Berlin Mandate is agreed by signatories at the first full meeting of the Climate Change Convention in Berlin. Industrialised nations agree on the need to negotiate real cuts in their emissions, to be concluded by the end of 1997.

In November, the IPCC states that current warming "is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin" and that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate". Its report predicts that, under a "business as usual" scenario, global temperatures by the year 2100 will have risen by between 1°C and 3.5°C.

1996: At the second meeting of the Climate Change Convention, the US agrees for the first time to legally binding emissions targets and sides with the IPCC against influential sceptical scientists. After a four-year pause, global emissions of CO2 resume their steep climb, and scientists warn that most industrialised countries will not meet Rio agreement to stabilise emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000.

1997: Kyoto Protocol agrees legally binding emissions cuts for industrialised nations, averaging 5.4%, to be met by 2010. The meeting also adopts a series of flexibility measures, allowing countries to meet their targets partly by trading emissions permits, establishing carbon sinks such as forests to soak up emissions, and by investing in other countries. The precise rules are left for further negotiations. Meanwhile, the US government says it will not ratify the agreement unless it sees evidence of "meaningful participation" in reducing emissions from developing countries.

1998: Follow-up negotiations in Buenos Aires fail to resolve disputes over the Kyoto "rule book", but agree on a deadline for resolution by the end of 2000. 1998 is the hottest year in the hottest decade of the hottest century of the millennium.

2000: IPCC scientists re-assess likely future emissions and warn that, if things go badly, the world could warm by 6°C within a century. A series of major floods around the world reinforce public concerns that global warming is raising the risk of extreme weather events. But in November, crunch talks held in The Hague to finalise the "Kyoto rule book" fail to reach agreement after EU and US fall out. Decisions postponed until at least May 2001.

2001: The new US president, George W Bush, renounces the Kyoto Protocol because he believes it will damage the US economy. After some hesitation, other nations agree to go ahead without him. Talks in Bonn in July and Marrakech in November finally conclude the fine print of the protocol. Analysts say that loopholes have pegged agreed cuts in emissions from rich-nation signatories to less than a third of the original Kyoto promise. Signatory nations urged to ratify the protocol in their national legislatures in time for it to come into force before the end of 2002.

2002: Parliaments in the European Union, Japan and others ratify Kyoto. But the protocol's complicated rules require ratification by nations responsible for 55% of industrialised country emissions, before it can come into force. After Australia joins the US in reneging on the deal, Russia is left to make or break the treaty, but hesitates. Meanwhile, the world experiences the second hottest year on record and Antarctica's Larsen B ice sheet breaks up.

2003: Globally it is the third hottest year on record, but Europe experiences the hottest summer for at least 500 years, with an estimated 30,000 fatalities as a result. Researchers later conclude that climate change at least doubled the risk of the heatwave happening. Extreme weather costs an estimated record of $60 billion this year. 2003 also sees a marked acceleration in the rate of accumulation of greenhouse gases. Scientists are uncertain if it is a blip or a new, more ominous trend. Meanwhile Russia blows hot and cold over Kyoto.

2004: A deal is struck on Kyoto. President Putin announces in May that Russia will back the Protocol. On 18 November, the Russian parliament ratifies the protocol, paving the way for it to come into force in 2005. A study links the 2003 heatwave to global warming. Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow bases its plot on an exaggerated climate change scenario.

2005: On 16 February, the Kyoto Protocol comes into force. In December, Kyoto signatories agree to discuss emissions targets for the second compliance period beyond 2012, while countries without targets, including the US and China, agree to a "non-binding dialogue" on their future roles in curbing emissions. Europe launches its Emissions Trading Scheme, despite criticism of the idea.

2005 is the second warmest year on record. Researchers link warming to a record US hurricane season, accelerated meltingMovie Camera of Arctic sea ice and Siberian permafrost. At a pivotal climate meeting held in Exeter, UK, scientists warn that the west Antarctic ice sheet is starting to collapse.

2006: The Stern Report, commissioned by the UK government, argues that the costs of coping with climate change will be greater than the costs of preventing it. Al Gore's climate change film An Inconvenient Truth becomes a box-office hit. Carbon dioxide emissions are found to be rising faster than in the 1990s, and new evidence bolsters the iconic "hockey stick" graph. The US Environmental Protection Agency is taken to the Supreme Court over its refusal to regulate CO2 emissions. US agencies, including NASA, are accused of trying to censor climate experts.

2007: The fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC places the blame for global warmingSpeaker firmly on humankind, estimates the cost of stabilising greenhouse gases at $1830 billion, and calls for governments to begin planning adaptive measures. Some of the most extreme scenarios are left out of the report, leading to accusations that it has been watered down. The synthesis report warns of "abrupt and irreversible" climate change.

Al Gore and the IPCC are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, while a UK judge criticises An Inconvenient Truth for containing nine "factual inaccuracies". TV documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle alleges that climate science is deeply flawed – the programme is later found to have misrepresented the science and interviewed researchers complain to the British watchdog for broadcasting standards, Ofcom. In April the US Supreme Court rules that the EPA does have the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Measurements of solar activity show that it has declined since the 1980s, debunking the claim that it is responsible for global warming. At the annual UN climate summit held in December in Bali, government representatives from around the world agree a timetable to establish a post-2012 replacement for the Kyoto protocol. The United States delegation is publicly booed, then agrees to the pledge at the eleventh hour.

2008: The polar bear is listed on the US endangered species act, because of the risk to its habitat from climate change. Alaska threatens to sue over the decision. The World Conservation Union finds that thousands of species are at risk from climate change.

Barack Obama becomes president of the United States, promising increases in science funding, especially for climate change and energy technology. He appoints Nobel laureate winner and renewables expert Steve Chu as energy secretary.

2009: Governments, including the US, prepare to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol at a conference in December. Eric Steig and colleagues show that Antarctica is warming. A thin strip of ice protecting the Wilkins ice sheetMovie Camera from collapse breaks apart, hastening the sheet's demise – while the Arctic continues to warm much faster than expected. A major study suggests that humanity can emit no more than 1 trillion tonnes of carbon, if we are to avoid temperature rises of 2°C or more.

Indigenous peoples from around the world meet in Alaska to agree a common position on climate change. Italy and Switzerland agree to redraw their border in response to melting glaciers.

Air Pollution Alerts - June 28th, 2009

News & Information; Every Sunday (Last on June 21, 2009)

Scientific American, June 28th, 2009
Saving the Disadvantaged from Pollution.

June 28th, 2009
Coal Tattoo.

NPR, June 27th, 2009
House Narrowly Passes Climate Change Measure.

The Atlantic, June 27th, 2009
What's the Point of Reducing Carbon Emissions?

World Bank, June 26th, 2009
Sustainable Urbanization – Economically and Ecologically - Is Focus of New Program.

Daily Green, June 26th, 2009
10 Reasons to Support the House Climate Bill.

Guardian, June 26th, 2009
A plea to President Obama - end mountaintop coal mining.

AutoIndia, June 26th, 2009
Volvo targets 35% growth in Indian bus sales.

CNN, June 26th, 2009
House passes sweeping energy, climate bill.

Vietnam News Service, June 26th, 2009
Polluting exhausts may result in fines.

Windsor Star, June 26th, 2009
Beijing's air quality measurements remain hazy.

Times Herald, June 26th, 2009
Trains won't get us out of cars.

California, June 26th, 2009
California: Scrap High-Pollution Cars, Get Cash.

The Tribune, June 26th, 2009
Air questions need answers.

Vancouver Sun, June 26th, 2009
Clean does not smell -- an often-ignored air quality issue.

The Guardian, June 26th, 2009
The price of climate change.

Energy Digital, June 26th, 2009
Conference in Washington D.C. to focus on energy efficiency, sustainable systems.

Jordan Times, June 26th, 2009
Auto emissions key factor in poor air quality.

Inquirer, June 25th, 2009
Metro Manila air quality below standards.

Business Week, June 25th, 2009
EU sets new industry pollution standards.

Economist, June 25th, 2009
The World Bank and the environment - When the learning curve is long.

Science Daily, June 25th, 2009
Better Particle Filters For Trucks.

Reuters, June 25th, 2009
Major economies consider halving world CO2.

Guardian, June 25th, 2009
Climate science is by nature uncertain.

Guardian, June 25th, 2009
The climate-change showdown.

Scientific American, June 25th, 2009
NASA climate researcher Hansen arrested at coal-mining protest.

Scientific American, June 25th, 2009
Car Exhaust Associated With Premature Births in Southern California.

Economist, June 25th, 2009
Migration and climate change - A new (under) class of travellers - Addis Ababa and Lokichiggio.

Science Daily, June 24th, 2009
First Global Map Of Ammonia Emissions Measured From Space Reveals New Hotspots.

Science Daily, June 24th, 2009
Ozone Hole Reduces Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Uptake In Southern Ocean.

China Dialogue, June 24th, 2009
Putting cities at centre stage.

NPR, June 24th, 2009
Air Toxics Raise Cancer Risk In U.S. Neighborhoods.

Economist View, June 24th, 2009
"How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations".

CNN, June 24th, 2009
Indian automakers aim to eat Detroit's lunch.

The Hindu, June 24th, 2009
Tamilnadu (India) plans to purchase 1,600 pollution free buses.

Climate-L, June 24th, 2009
ADB Releases Report on Understanding and Responding to Climate Change in Developing Asia.

Earth Times, June 23rd, 2009
Urban poverty on rise in Kashmir Valley.

Christian Science Monitor, June 23rd, 2009
China’s Olympic effort to curb smog had little effect.

Guardian, June 23rd, 2009
Where's the world's plan of action against climate change?

Daily Triumph, June 23rd, 2009
How to minimise maternal mortality rate in Nigeria.

Science Daily, June 23rd, 2009
How Aerosols Contribute To Climate Change?

Climate-L, June 22nd, 2009
GEF STAP Recommends Including Adaptation in Mitigation Projects.

Science Daily, June 22nd, 2009
Beyond Carbon Dioxide: Growing Importance Of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) In Climate Warming.

The News (Pakistan), June 22nd, 2009
500 CNG buses project ‘ready to kick off’ in Karachi, Pakistan.

Telegraph, June 22nd, 2009
Beijing Olympics were the most polluted games ever.

Science Daily, June 22nd, 2009
Carbon Footprint Calculator Enables First-ever Country By Country Comparison.

U Penn, June 22nd, 2009
India’s Urban Future: It’s Time to Pay Attention.

IYCN, June 22nd, 2009
Confronting Climate Change.

Santa Monica Daily Press, June 22nd, 2009
Swimming, sunbathing and smog-catching.

Tree Hugger, June 22nd, 2009

Beijing's Olympic Pollution Solution: Luck + Data Manipulation.

Science News, June 21st, 2009
Study: Beijing’s air worse than at past Olympics.

Energy Alternative, June 21st, 2009
Air pollution problems from energy production and use.

Channel News Asia, June 21st, 2009
Shanghai govt promoting green roofs to fight climate change.

Manila Times, June 21st, 2009
Innovative technologies to ease climate change.

The Atlantic, June 21st, 2009
More on Beijing air.

Global Post, June 21st, 2009
Electric motorbikes in Vietnam.

Manila Bulletin, June 21st, 2009
Chiz seeks review of Clean Air Act.

Commercial Appeal, June 21st, 2009
Fuming of cars, drivers to ease.

Guardian, June 20th, 2009
Obama's climate change silence.

Express India, June 20th, 2009
Growing Delhi wealthy, healthy.

Times of India, June 20th, 2009
26L more vehicles but air quality 'improves' in Delhi?

Gaea News, June 20th, 2009
Weather played larger role in cleaning air for Beijing Olympics than pollution measures.

Washington Examiner, June 20th, 2009
American Lung Association: Most people in US live in areas with unhealthy air-pollution levels.

West Virginia Gazette, June 20th, 2009
Coal's costs outweigh benefits.

Strait Times, June 20th, 2009
Beijing air quality drops.

Palo Alto Online, June 19th, 2009
Charging ahead
- Electric cars are sparking new interest in Palo Alto and around the world.

China Daily, June 19th, 2009
Companies flout pollution laws.

Climate-L, June 19th, 2009
ADB Holds High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific, Announces Clean Energy Funds.

World Bank, June 18th, 2009
World Bank Supports Modernization of Old, Polluting Coal-fired Power Plants in India to Lower Carbon Emissions.

Economist, June 18th, 2009
Rich countries and climate change - Hot, wet and costly.

World Watch Institute, June 16th, 2009
“Black Carbon” Chokes Chilean Towns.

World Watch Institute, June 9th, 2009
Aviation Industry Outlines Ambitious Climate Goals.

Blog, June 7th, 2007
Ambient Air Quality in India - An Alarming Report.

Gaea News, June 2nd, 2009
Dust pollution in and around Delhi still high.

Untold Stories, May 7th, 2009
China: Abandoned Cities.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Global Map of Ammonia Emissions in 2008

The first complete map of global ammonia emissions has recently been achieved using to satellite data. It reveals an underestimation of some of the ammonia concentrations detected by current inventories, and identifies new hotspots.

Read the full article on Science Daily, June 24th, 2009.

Global emissions inventories are available @ EDGAR.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cancer Risks From Air Pollution in USA (NPR)

Click on the image to access the interactive maps to visualize county level analysis.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated the cancer risk posed by air pollution across U.S. counties. Hovering over a county will tell you the EPA's estimate of how many additional cancer deaths per million people would be expected from air pollution in that county. Use the dropdown list on the right to zoom to a particular state to find your county. The agency's risk estimates are based on data collected in 2002 and assume a lifetime of exposure to the pollutants. The average risk across the country is 36 additional deaths per million people.

Also read the NPR article on the database.

In News, "The TATA Nano Car is..."

The working paper on the Nano Car Economics, transport in urban India, and air pollution, is available @

Some interesting articles

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Country by Country Carbon Footprint Calculator

Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology (NTNU) developed the first-ever analysis and comparison of the carbon footprints of different countries using a single, trade-linked model in collaboration with the staff and researchers at the Centre of International Climate and Environment Research - Oslo (CICERO).

See the article in the Science Daily, June 22nd, 2009 for details.

Click here for the "Carbon Foot Print of Nations"

Also see

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Air Pollution Alerts - June 21st, 2009

News & Information; Every Sunday (Last on June 14, 2009)

Scientific American, June 24th, 2009
5 Steps to Clean Up Air Pollution.

The Statesman, June 20th, 2009
Transport costs.

Power Engineer, June 20th, 2009
Fuel for thought: how to meet the growing demands of industry.

Down to Earth, June 20th, 2009
Let the journey choose the vehicle.

TRB, June 20th, 2009
JnNURM-Funded Bus Rapid Transit Systems in India: Review.

IRIN, June 19th, 2009
BANGLADESH: Indoor air pollution kills thousands every year.

Environmental Protection, June 19th, 2009
Chinese Scientists: Briquettes Better than Coal Chunks.

BBC, June 19th, 2009
How aerosols mask climate change.

The Statesman (India), June 19th, 2009
New buses to hit Gangtok roads.

China Dialogue, June 19th, 2009
Tough challenges for China.

Scientific American, June 19th, 2009

WCCO, June 18th, 2009
Time Traffic Lights, And Cut Down On Pollution.

CARB, June 18th, 2009
CARB to sniff out air pollution with electric cars.

Scientific American, June 18th, 2009
Clean Diesel Comes of Age.

Science Daily, June 18th, 2009
British Climate Act 'Failed Before It Started'?

Science Daily, June 18th, 2009
Copenhagen Climate Report: 'Inaction Is Inexcusable'.

Science Daily, June 18th, 2009
Carbon Dioxide Higher Today Than Last 2.1 Million Years.

Guardian, June 18th, 2009
How climate change will affect temperatures around the UK in 2050.

Guardian, June 17th, 2009
Carbon capture plans threaten shutdown of all UK coal-fired power stations.

AFP, June 17th, 2009
Climate change hits China's 'poor hardest'.

Tulsa World, June 18th, 2009
State air quality under review.

All Africa, June 18th, 2009
Zimbabwe: EMA Shortchanging Public Health.

Fox News, June 18th, 2009
How Green Is Your Gasoline?

Reuters, June 18th, 2009
Global warming braked less than expected by haze.

Market Watch, June 17th, 2009
Ducon Secures FGD Order for 3x250 MW Power Plant From BHEL in India.

Azom, June 17th, 2009
Coal Briquettes and More Efficient Stoves Could Help China Reduce Pollution.

Reuters, June 17th, 2009
EU eyes more road tolls to curb transport emissions.

Los Angeles Times, June 17th, 2009
EPA targets cement industry emissions.

Daily Light, June 17th, 2009
EPA recognizes local air quality improvement.

BBC, June 16th, 2009
China 'unfairly seen as eco-villain'.

China Dialogue, June 16th, 2009
Accounting for China’s carbon.

PhilStar, June 16th, 2009
Cities becoming stressful.

Ottawa Citizen, June 16th, 2009
Most Canadians Ignore Air Quality Advisories.

CNW Group, June 16th, 2009
Recycling old cars - Clear The Air! in Montreal.

NPR, June 16th, 2009
Scientists Debate Shading Earth As Climate Fix.

CNN, June 16th, 2009
White House report warns of climate change effects.

CNN, June 15th, 2009
Stern stance on China climate talks 'pragmatic'.

Blog, June 15th, 2009
Why is Air Pollution a Global Problem?

Wheels Unplugged, June 15th, 2009
Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland get grace periods for bus supplies from government.

Financial Chronicle, June 15th, 2009
Tata Motors says focus on small vehicles won’t hit margins.

Times of India, June 15th, 2009
Haryana to set up air quality monitoring station.

PG Citizen, June 15th, 2009
Air quality needs to be part of city planning.

National Journal, June 15th, 2009
How Can Smart Technology Drive Performance?

Time, June 14th, 2009
On the Streets of China, Electric Bikes Are Swarming.

Hindustan Times, June 14th, 2009
From Beijing, a lesson for Delhi.

Wheels Unplugged, June 13th, 2009
Tata Motors to supply 4,689 buses to state govts under JNNURM scheme.

Times of India, April 12th, 2009
Modhwadia's book raves about JNNURM benefits.

Indian Express, June 12th, 2009
India to tackle climate change in its own way.

The China Post, June 12th, 2009
Malaysia looks for fires as air quality falls.

Forbes, June 5th, 2009
Strategic Analysis of the Industrial Air Pollution Control Equipment...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In News... Air Pollution in Beijing, China

Live from Beijing, June 3rd, 2009
New report shows widespread air quality manipulation.

Live from Beijing, Jun 18th, 2009
Air quality is hazardous in Beijing.

Tree Hugger, June 22nd, 2009
Beijing's Olympic Pollution Solution: Luck + Data Manipulation.

Science News, June 21st, 2009
Study: Beijing’s air worse than at past Olympics.

TIME, June 19th, 2009
Twittering Bad Air Particles in Beijing.

Science Codex, June 19th, 2009
China underrepresented air pollution at 2008 Olympic Games by 30 percent.

Oregon Live, June 19th, 2009
Air pollution at Beijing games exceeded healthy levels.

Opposing Views, June 19th, 2009
After Olympics, China Still Worried About Clean Air for Beijing.

UTV, June 18th, 2009
Headlights at noon, yet officials give all-clear on Beijing smog.

Nature, June 17th, 2009
Beijing's clean air claims questioned.

Previous posts on Beijing/China Air Pollution

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beijing to Delhi - Traffic Problems Highlighted

In today's Hindustan Times, June 14th, 2009, an article "From Beijing, a lesson for Delhi" highlights the traffic problems that Delhi could face if the lessons from Beijing (with six ring roads) are not taken into consideration. Delhi averaging close to 1,000 new vehicles a day and Beijing registering approximately 1,500 a day is adding to the traffic problems and the road particles are adding to the exposure to harmful pollutants and increasing health risk.

The growing number of vehicles and the demand for urban infrastructure is choking megacities of India and the growing number of secondary cities following the megacity trends.

The air quality in Delhi improved in the early 2000's due to a number of interventions, including the large scale conversion of the bus fleet and the 3 wheeler fleet from the conventional gasoline and diesel to compressed natural gas. However, the large increase in the demand for personal transport and construction activities reversed the trends.

A major intervention that Beijing and Delhi are counting on is the extension of the metro rail system, to shift the motorized transport trends to the metro rail. The expected level of shift is uncertain, which depends on a number of factors, some of which are recently discussed on the sustran listserve. An analysis conducted by UrbanEmissions.Info reveals a possible reduction of at least 7 percent in the criteria pollutant emissions in 2010, by the introduction of expanded metro rail system in Delhi, India.

The impact of air pollution on the human health and the ecosystem is increasingly been linked to the growing transport sector.

The emphasis is on the public transport. The JNNURM funds for buses and urban transport strategy of India are promoting the need for infrastructure for new buses (Tata and Ashok Leyland). A good public transport system is expected to help reduce the congestion levels, energy demand in the transport sector, and the interlinked air pollution.

Air Pollution Alerts - June 14th, 2009

News & Information; Every Sunday (Last on June 07, 2009)

Taipei Times, June 14th, 2009
Eco-consultants are greening up the US by evaluating people’s homes and lifestyles and offering advice on how to reduce their environmental impact.

Physician Assistant, June 13th, 2009
Air Pollution and Asthma.

Scientific American, June 13th, 2009
Being Green: 11 Environmentally Friendly Habits.

Scientific American, June 13th, 2009
Greenest Skylines: LEED Certification Changes Cities.

New Straits Times, June 13th,2009
Haze a whiplash of El Nino effect.

Beijing Daily, June 12th, 2009
Beijing to build "public transport city".

Reuters, June 12th, 2009
Nations may form global CO2 market without U.N. deal.

Guardian, June 12th, 2009
Blame games on climate change.

Treehugger, June 12th, 2009
US Won't Demand China Commit to Binding Emission Reductions Targets.

ABC News, June 12th, 2009
China aims to lead in renewable energy.

Cyprus Observer, June 12th, 2009
Pollution above EU charts in once ‘heavenly’ Cyprus.

Cape Times, June 12th, 2009
Air pollution bylaw targets tyre burning in South Africa.

The News, June 12th, 2009
Air in Big Cities is Unhealthy in Pakistan.

Associated Press, June 12th, 2009
Locations of high-risk coal ash sites kept secret.

NPR, June 12th, 2009
Where's My Carbon Credit, Dude?

Guardian, June 12th, 2009
US eases pressure on China over climate change targets.

Master Resource, June 12th, 2009
Cleaned-Up Coal: Technology Improvements, Low-Sulfur Resources Are Winning the Day against Air Pollution.

India, June 11th, 2009
Urban Transport Focus in India.

Gaea News, June 11th, 2009
US envoy says China wants top line US technology in exchange for reining in CO2 emissions.

New Zealand Herald, June 11th, 2009
Air-quality deadlines may be extended.

Strait Times, June 11th, 2009
Malaysia's air quality falls.

New Strait Times, June 11th, 2009
Air quality in Port Klang drops badly.

Financial Times, June 11th, 2009
Climate change for richer and poorer.

Xinhua Net, June 11th, 2009
China's economy transforming in green revolution.

Economist, June 11th, 2009
America and China talk climate change - Heating up or cooling down?

Science Daily, June 11th, 2009
Carbon Emissions Linked To Global Warming In Simple Linear Relationship.

Guardian, June 11th, 2009
China and the environment: Red, green - and black.

Salt Lake Tribune, June 11th, 2009
Faith communities enter clean-air challenge.

BBC, June 11th, 2009
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia hits with air quality and visibility problem.

New York Times, June 11th, 2009
Departments to Toughen Standards for Mining.

New York Times, June 11th, 2009
Climate Change and Intellectual Property.

New York Times, June 10th, 2009
Japan Sets Emissions Targets, and No One Seems Pleased.

Scoop, June 10th, 2009
Air quality standards to be reviewed in New Zealand.

Metro News, June 10th, 2009
Canada better than U.S. and Mexico at reporting industrial pollutants.

LD News, June 9th, 2009
Society promotes clear skies and clean air.

PR News, June 9th, 2009
Less CO2 emissions with new diesel from renewable energy sources.

BBC, June 9th, 2009
Road particles pose 'higher risk'.

Santiago Times, June 9th, 2009
Air contamination escalates in some Chilean cities - After Santiago, Coihaique Is Most Polluted City.
Coihaique Is Smoggiest after Santiago City in Chile.

Guardian, June 8th, 2009
Indian farmers to insure themselves against climate change crop failure., June 8th, 2009
Fixing polluting vehicles is a win-win.

Reuters, June 8th, 2009
Airlines to achieve CO2-neutral growth by 2020.

Financial Times, June 7th, 2009
US must pull up its Sox and Nox.

New York Times, June 7th, 2009
China and U.S. Seek a Truce on Greenhouse Gases.

Guardian, June 5th, 2009
China promises economic stimulus plan will protect environment.

WL Tribune, June 5th, 2009
Idling at drive-thrus creates health problems.

Center for American Progress, June 4th, 2009
Moving Forward Together on Climate Change.

Guardian, June 2nd, 2009
Obama to stake political prestige on passing US climate bill.

Guardian, June 2nd, 2009
We've got no choice but nuclear power and carbon-capture technology, says Jeffrey Sachs.

Time Online, June 2nd, 2009
Carbon off-sets 'add to climate change'.

Time Online, May 31st, 2009
Rebound effect will raise fossil fuel use.

Climate Progress, May 13th, 2009
World’s largest solar plant with thermal storage to be built in Arizona — total of 8500 MW of this core climate solution planned for 2014 in U.S. alone.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blame Games of Air Pollution & Climate Change

With the COP summit in Copenhagen looming in December, the blame game of who is responsible for the emissions and climate change and who should do how much is back on the table. Nick Mabey and Malini Mehta writes (in the Guardian, June 12th, 2009) that "each one (option to cut the emissions or share the blame) seems to advantage the particular country that proposes it. So India wants per capita emissions because it has a growing population. China wants credit for reducing its population and being the workshop of the world. Australia wants credit for being hot. Russia wants credit for being cold. The US argues it is too rich to cut emissions; the Africans that they are too poor."

At the end of the day, what ever the results of the negotiations at COP15 may be, the atmospheric changes will not stop and spare the countries which do or do not control their emissions. More than the power (financial and institutional) to mitigate the GHG emissions, it is the will of the policy makers (and the lobbists) which is at the heart of the negotiations.

While the countries are at it for averting the mitigation role, the sectoral players are also at the top in blaming the others for the current level of GHG emissions. While the popular ones have been the transport and industrial sectors (including power) contributing the most to the cumulative GHG emissions, the new ways are emerging to shift the blame. For example, the role of the black carbon emissions in the climate change was new and immediately the known skeptics like Inhofe become the fans of the climate change, which (black carbon) is providing them fuel to shift the climate change blame from transport centeric US cultures to biomass centeric African and Indian domestics. Now the Black Carbon and the Soot of poor people's stove comes to the rescue?

Another example, is blaming the roads for the air pollution. A Life-cycle Energy and Emissions Inventories for Motorcycles, Diesel Automobiles, School Buses, Electric Buses, Chicago Rail, and New York City Rail published by University of California, Berkeley, in May, 2009, suggests that the role of the roads is higher when the life cycle of the vehicles is taken into consideration. So, it is not the vehicles to be blamed, but the material used for the construction of the roads.

The argument should be based on the health impact of the emissions which are current - for example, the vehicle exhaust - due to the on-road use and congestion, which is a growing problem. Just because the road is constructed with green material (whatever they are), the environment doesn't get clean and the city people are not breathing clean air. Cars or other vehicles are still on the road and polluting (local and global).

Blame game tactic?

The sources of air pollution (and the GHG emissions) and their contributions is a challenging exercise.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Change in Temperature per ton of CO2?

In Science Daily, June 11th, 2009, Damon Matthews, a professor in Concordia University's Department of Geography, Planning and the Environment found a direct relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Matthews, together with colleagues from Victoria and the U.K., used a combination of global climate models and historical climate data to show that there is a simple linear relationship between total cumulative emissions and global temperature change.

Road Particles Pose Higher "Health Risk"

BBC ran an article on June 9th, 2009, "Road particles (PM) pose higher health risk". In a growing number of cities, especially in the developing countries, along the major roads, the contribution of the transport sector is the main culprit. However, the city as a whole, it is important that a holistic picture and understanding of the sources (including the domestic and industrial) is established before a decision is made on the contribution (source apportionment).

For example, during the 2008 Olympics, the city of Beijing, did not achieve the reductions in the air pollution levels by halving the on road vehicular fleet alone. This was achieved only in conjunction with closing down a number of small and large industrial sites in and around the city.

Now, the long range transport plays a critical role. The transport emissions are ground based and tend to increase the local concentrations significantly. However, the industrial sources also contribute to farther distances. For pollutants like SO2, the transport quotient is higher than the coarse PM and this was also evident in Beijing during the games.

On one side, the visibility of the growing transport sector creates an atmospheric cloud that multiples its contribution, while the industries contribute significantly in packets of puff and contribute to farther distances.

Since the people spend more time on the roads, because of traveling or due to sitting in a congestion zone, people tend to experience the most of the air pollution along the roads and thus conclude that the contribution of transport as the main culprit. However, quantifying the contribution of the transport sector is a challenge, not only for the researchers (studying the satellite evidence earlier), but also the policy makers to propose effective measures encompassing multiple sectors.

Previous posts on transport emissions, air pollution, and health

Monday, June 08, 2009

Emissions & Co-Benefits of Urban Transport in India (SIM Series)

The SIM 24-2009, "Motorized Passenger Travel in Urban India: Emissions & Co-benefits Analysis" paper presents the emissions analysis of the motorized “in-city” passenger travel from twenty cities in India, covering
  • the current trends in four modes of transport (passenger cars, motorcycles, 3 wheelers, and buses)
  • estimated energy consumption for the assumed growth patterns, and
  • possible co-benefits of three combined scenarios (public transport, policy reforms, and non-motorized transport).
The cities included in this analysis are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kanpur, Agra, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Jaipur, Surat, Pondicherry, Bhubaneswar, Panaji, Patna, Kochi, Nagpur, and Guwahati.

Some figures from the report (click on the images to enlarge view).

1. Illustration of travel demand

2. Increase in the number of secondary and tertiary cities in India

3. Enhanced passenger travel from the satellite cities in National Capital Region of Delhi, India

4. Projected PM and CO2 Emissions from the 20 cities

5. Estimated benefits of three interventions (Public transport, norms, non-motorized transport)

Emissions estimates and projection details are presented for individual cities in the report. Details @