Sunday, January 30, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - January 30th, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on January 23rd, 2011)

Economic Times, January 29th, 2011
Chandigarh: City for 500,000 now has 800,000 vehicles.

Science Daily, January 28th, 2011
Air Above Dead Sea Contains Very High Levels of Oxidized Mercury.

The Guardian, January 28th, 2011
No, clean energy is not a substitute for climate change.

The Guardian, January 28th, 2011
If water vapour is the key greenhouse gas, why are man-made emissions important?

The Guardian, January 28th, 2011
Why Genghis Khan was good for the planet.

East London News, January 28th, 2011
Air pollution in Tower Hamlets is too high.

CNN, January 28th, 2011
All aboard for China's fast-track future?

Energy Pulse, January 27th, 2011
Power Plants Options Towards Progressive Environmental Norms in India.

Xinhua Net, January 27th, 2011
Tapping ancient wisdom for easy and green living.

Africa Review, January 27th, 2011
An Indian lesson for Africa.

The Economist, January 27th, 2011
The Coal Boom - Burning ambitions - What is good news for miners is bad news for the environment.

The CityFix, January 27th, 2011
Transport and Health: Measuring the Link.

WWF, January 26th, 2011
More stimulus needed for energy conservation in China.

Green Peace, January 25th, 2011
The State of the Union and the Environment.

Iowa Politics, January 25th, 2011
Environment Iowa: Report to show mercury pollution from Iowa's power plants a significant public health threat.

UB Post, January 25th, 2011
Mongolia to Start Uranium Exploration by 2012.

Manila Bulletin, January 25th, 2011
Water, oil, fare hikes hit.

Indian Express, January 25th, 2011
Maharashtra CM revives Mumbai makeover plan.

The Guatemala Times, January 25th, 2011
Combating Poverty with Clean Energy.

The Guardian, January 25th, 2011
Making Smart cars smarter - video.

Science Daily, January 25th, 2011
Shining New Light on Air Pollutants Using Entangled Porous Frameworks.

Science Daily, January 25th, 2011
Rogue Storm System Caused Pakistan Floods That Left Millions Homeless.

Science Daily, January 25th, 2011
Climate Tax on Meat and Milk Results in Less Greenhouse Gases.

Science Daily, January 25th, 2011
A Clearer Picture of How Rivers and Deltas Develop.

Xinhua Net, January 24th, 2011
South China metropolis may impose strict rules to ease congestion.

China Daily, January 24th, 2011
Urumqi targets smog producers for clean air.

Science Daily, January 24th, 2011
Debris on Certain Himalayan Glaciers May Prevent Melting.

National Geographic, January 24th, 2011
Guangzhou, China, Wins Sustainable Transport Prize.

The Guardian, January 24th, 2011
The carbon market – gone in a puff of smoke?

The Times of India, January 24th, 2011
TN and central pollution control boards differ on Sterlite plant.

Deccan Herald, January 24th, 2011
International meet on urban development in India.

Register Guard, January 24th, 2011
Efficient stove solution.

Eurek Alert, January 24th, 2011
A new research project to focus on climate change in the Arctic.

The Telegraph UK, January 24th, 2011
China to create largest mega city in the world with 42 million people.

DNA India, January 23rd, 2011
Will Gandhinagar be Gujarat’s first solar city?

The Independent, January 23rd, 2011
Home fires: the world's most lethal pollution.

Xinhua Net, January 22nd, 2011
Beijing to broadcast live first ever car license lottery.

CSE, Delhi, January 22nd, 2011
Alarm over worsening air quality and traffic congestion in South Asian cities.

The Star Online, January 22nd, 2011
Re-cycling a past trend in China.

China Daily, January 21st, 2011
Rising calls for 'bad air' taxation.

China Daily, January 21st, 2011
Natural gas consumption to increase.

VECC Beijing, January 20th, 2011
Xia'men Will Establish Special Law for Vehicle Emission Control.

CNN, January 19th, 2011
All aboard the 'road train?'.

Climate-L, January 19th, 2011
World Bank Highlights Opportunities for Carbon Finance in Arab Countries.

VECC Beijing, January 18th, 2011
Beijing Brings Nitrogen Oxides into Emission Reduction Index for Air Pollution Control.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Air Pollution in Urumqi, China

Urumqi, one of China's most polluted cities, plans to move dozens of factories from urban areas and tear down thousands of coal-burning boilers this year to clean its skies of their habitual winter smoke.

Link to the article..
The government of the Northwest China city, capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, aims to cut 5,000 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions this year, more than double the estimated 2,000 tons of emissions cut in 2010, said a spokesman for the municipal environment department Monday. Urumqi's severe air pollution is mainly caused by industrial activities and winter heating supply. The city emitted 128,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 61,000 tons of soot in 2009. Residents complain that air pollution in Urumqi has grown so serious that the city seems to be constantly shrouded in thick black smoke during the winter.

Urumqi Mayor Jerla Isamudinhe said at the annual meeting of the city's legislature, which ended over the weekend, that the government would push to change the city's winter heating sources. About 5,000 coal-burning small boilers used for winter heating will be dismantled in favor of collective combined power and heat generation facilities, and the use of natural gas, the spokesman said. The cost of building the combined power and heat generation plants was estimated at 4 billion yuan, said the spokesman. In addition, 47 polluting factories would be moved from urban areas while 20 would be upgraded to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, he said.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sustainable Transport Award to Guangzhou, China

Link to the article @ National Geographic


The award-winning transport system in Guangzhou, in south China's Guangdong province, includes not only Bus Rapid Transit but wide, tree-lined bicycle lanes and a tie-in to the large city's rail network.

Photograph by Li Huang, Color China Photo/AP

By Josie Garthwaite

For National Geographic News

Published January 24, 2011

This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.

A bike-sharing program, wide bicycle lanes lined with trees, and a huge bus system that ties in with the city rail network are all part of the recipe for a winning transportation system in Guangzhou, China, according to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

ITDP, an international nonprofit that works with cities on projects to reduce greenhouse gases and improve the quality of urban life, named Guangzhou the winner of its 2011 Sustainable Transport Award at a ceremony Monday night in Washington, D.C.

Guangzhou clinched the prize, said Jessica Morris, senior program director for ITDP, largely because it surpassed expectations. The bus rapid transit system, which opened in February 2010, "carries an awful lot of people," as many as 800,000 a day, she said, making it one of the world's largest. Perhaps more importantly, the new bus system "hooks up seamlessly" with rail as well as "idyllic" bicycle paths and bike-sharing stations, and helps to make the city "more livable."

Serving More Than The Economy

ITDP has been working closely with Guangzhou to build out the bus and bike infrastructure, she said, and the city's recent transportation efforts make it a place that "goes against the idea of a burgeoning Chinese metropolis that's only serving the economy." Experts say that easing congestion and reducing pollution from the transportation sector in China—with its increasingly urban and car-buying population—will require coordination of land-use planning, information technology, and mass-transit development, as well as cleaner vehicles.

(Read more on China’s efforts here: "On China’s Roads and Rails, a Move To Greener Transit.")

Zhong-Ren Peng, who chairs the University of Florida's Department of Urban and Regional Planning and is an expert in transportation planning in China, noted in an email that Guangzhou did much work in transportation and planning in preparation for serving as host to the 16th annual Asian Games in November, just as Shanghai did in preparation for last year's World Expo.

The projects and progress that ITDP seeks to reward are about more than going green. According to Morris, the committee of organizations assembled to nominate and select cities for the prize look for three factors in a "sustainable" transportation system: The system should benefit both the city’s environment and its economy, and it should be equitable, meaning "you should be able to move about your city regardless of income level," she explained.

In recent years, the Sustainable Transport Award has gone to New York in the United States; Paris, France; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Seoul, South Korea; and Bogotá, Colombia. Ahmadabad, India, snagged the award last year for opening what the ITDP described as the country's first full bus rapid transit system.

This year, Guangzhou beat out nominees León, Guanajuato, Mexico; Lima, Peru; Nantes, France; and Tehran, Iran, where the "local climate, topography, and sharp growth in private cars have all conspired to create a lingering air-quality emergency over the city," said Lloyd Wright, Executive Director of Viva Cities, in a news release about the nominations.

Tehran's Effort Amid Controversy

Each of the nominated cities took steps in 2010 to shake up its transportation system, according to ITDP. Tehran's journey has been particularly fraught with controversy, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Tehran Mayor Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf have clashed over funding for an expanded underground rail system. One of the world's most densely populated metropolitan areas, Tehran also introduced congestion charging and expanded its bus rapid transit. "Even more boldly," according to the ITDP, Tehran's government has "begun the process of reducing fuel subsidies."

Over the weekend, however, the Tehran-e Emrouz newspaper reported that the Iran Foreign Ministry had denied Qalibaf permission to travel to the United States for Monday's conference.

Nantes made it into the ITDP's top five for its efforts to integrate bus and tramway systems, while also promoting bicycling. In Lima, a "long-awaited" first step toward "creating an integrated citywide sustainable transport system," came in the form of a new bus rapid transit system. And León has boosted rail and bus ridership while keeping the portion of trips taken by bicycle or on foot among the largest of any Latin American city at more than 39 percent, according to the ITDP.

Jiangping Zhou, ITDP's Policy Director in Beijing, believes Guangzhou’s efforts could be replicated in other Chinese cities. "If something can happen there," he said, "it can happen in Shanghai and Beijing."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - January 23rd, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on January 16th, 2011)

The Daily Star, January 23rd, 2011
Private cars fill 70pc city roads.

The Daily Star, January 22nd, 2011
Private vehicles occupy most of city streets.

Wall Street Journal, January 22nd, 2011
Does Helping the Planet Hurt the Poor?

UB Post, January 21st, 2011
Why a Mongolian Economic Forum?

NPR, January 21st, 2011
Young Filmmakers Make Litter Scary.

The Guardian, January 21st, 2011
Let's debate the environmental issues and drop the death threats.

The National, January 21st, 2011
Clean-energy firm considers waste heat.

Times of India, January 21st, 2011
Paying for diesel in subsidy and health in India.

Science Daily, January 21st, 2011
HEPA Filters Reduce Cardiovascular Health Risks Associated With Air Pollution.

Science Daily, January 21st, 2011
NASA Prepares to Launch Next Earth-Observing Satellite Mission.

Science Daily, January 20th, 2011
2010 Ties Record for World's Warmest Year: World Meteorological Organization.

Science Daily, January 20th, 2011
Better Turbine Spacing for Large Wind Farms., January 20th, 2011
Glory satellite to study aerosols' effect on climate.

The Guardian, January 20th, 2011
Captains of industry must change their investment priorities.

Northern Voices Online, January 20th, 2011
Improving Forecasting Services in India.

Straits Times, January 20th, 2011
China urged to improve air monitoring.

Tasveer Ghar, January 20th, 2011
Chennai Beautiful: Shifting Urban Landscapes and the Politics of Spectacle.

Real Climate, January 20th, 2011
Getting things right.

Switch Board, January 20th, 2011
Current Smog Standards Put Our Families at Risk from Life-Threatening Pollution.

Standard Examiner, January 19th, 2011
Fossil fuel industry will poison our air, kids' minds.

China Dialogue, January 19th, 2011
Soot Strategies.

Live Mint, January 19th, 2011
Spat over unpaid bills drives public transport initiative off course in Indian cities.

Bloomberg Business Week, January 19th, 2011
China’s Power Generation Has Slowest Gain in 17 Months.

Discovery News, January 19th, 2011
City Dwellers Are Greener in China.

Wall Street Journal, January 18th, 2011
China's Thirst for Oil at All-Time High.

UB Post, January 18th, 2011
President Elbegdorj Worries About City Pollution.

AFP, January 18th, 2011
Giant snails monitor air pollution in Russia.

DNA India, January 18th, 2011
Expanding national highways is not the road to the future.

Click Green, January 18th, 2011
Europe awards €60m to support emerging green energy projects.

Science Daily, January 18th, 2011
Big City Life May Alter Green Attitudes.

Science Daily, January 18th, 2011
Findings on Pollution Damage to Human Airways Could Yield New Therapies.

The Guardian, January 18th, 2011
How much can we really trust climate models to tell us about the future?

Science Daily, January 17th, 2011
Indoor Air Pollution: Minerals Reduce Impact of Formaldehyde in Particle Board on Indoor Air Quality.

Science Daily, January 17th, 2011
Improved Measurements of Sun to Advance Understanding of Climate Change.

India Talkies, January 17th, 2011
Soot level in air high in Indian cities.

Hindustan Times, January 17th, 2011
Blame industry, not cars, for pollution.

China Daily, January 17th, 2011
Tunnels, rails to ease capital's traffic woes.

The Star Online, January 17th, 2011
MRT may cost over RM36.6bil in Malaysia.

IPS, January 16th, 2011
Delhi Chokes on Winter Smog.

The Hindu, January 16th, 2011
Fixing India's transport troubles.

Mongolian Views, January 16th, 2011
President demands action to reduce UB air pollution.

Spokesman Review, January 16th, 2011
China wants to keep coal trains running on time.

Xinhua Net, January 16th, 2011
Tianjin to become international shipping center in five years.

China Daily, January 14th, 2011
Clean energy road to future.

Xinhua Net, January 14th, 2011
China's leading steelmaker halts production in capital to cut pollution.

NPR, January 14th, 2011
Halt To Mining Permit Draws Fire In Coal Country.

China Daily, January 14th, 2011
China beats emission reduction target.

Xinhua Net, January 13th, 2011
China sets 2011 pollution control goal, warns of challenges.

Xinhua Net, January 12th, 2011
Official: New traffic rules, subway lines ease congestion "obviously" in Beijing.

Himal SouthAsia, March, 2003
The dark white shroud.

Air Quality Today in Cities Across the World

Air pollution is a growing problem for not only the megacities, but also for 300+ secondary cities, which are following in the footsteps of the megacities (with population more than 10 million) and in line to face similar set of environmental consequences (air and water pollution) of motorization and industrialization, if the necessary policy and technical interventions are not put in place immediately.

Top 100 cities with the worst air quality in the World

Most often, the regulatory bodies have the responsibility of making these necessary and adequate decisions and are always in need for better data. Data not only to base the decisions on, but also to inform the public and media of the current situation and progress in the future. See a previous post on links to air quality monitoring is Asian Megacities.

For air pollution, the air quality index (AQI) is such an indicator.

The AQI is an "index" determined by calculating the degree of pollution in the city or at the monitoring point and includes five main pollutants - particulate matter (see SIM-10-2008), ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Each of these pollutants have an air quality standard which is used to calculate the overall AQI for the city. Simultaneously, one can also establish the limiting pollutant(s), resulting in the estimating AQI.

Pollution in Beijing Today is Like London of 1950's (IHT)

Establishing this number in a forecast mode is not an easy exercise, as it involves modeling of emissions, dispersion of the pollutants depending on local meteorology and terrain, and presentation. However, a number of platforms (and groups) are established and in use, for the readers to choose and learn (and apply). We conducted a workshop on this topic in collaboration with WMO and IITM, in India and hope you will benefit from the material.
The city of Delhi is now the first city to have the air quality forecasting system and a methodology to calculate AQI in India.

Real Time Air Quality and Air Quality Index for Delhi, India

For dissemination, options are limitless and there are innovative ways to present the information to public and media - via balloons (in Paris), via websites (links below), via photo journals (in Beijing), via digital exhibition (in Madrid) and lasers (in Helsinki).

Global Links to Air Quality Index - also check out the side bar on this block for live updates

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Subsidizing Diesel is Causing is Causing More Health Problems !!

Let me explain. We know global oil prices are going through the roof. Indian oil companies, dependent as they are on importing some 80% of their crude are bleeding. The price of petrol has been raised, as the joke goes, to make it more expensive than beer.

This also means that the differential between petrol and diesel price has grown. It makes even more sense for the next car buyer to buy an expensive personal car – perhaps even a Mercedes Benz – but run it on diesel. It even makes more sense to buy a fuel guzzling SUV and run it on subsidized diesel.

Read more in the article by Ms. Sunita Narain, Director of the Center for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India: Paying for diesel in subsidy and health - The Times of India

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Soot Strategies in China !!

Global efforts to mitigate climate change are beginning to take aim at a once-obscure pollutant called “black carbon” in a shift that may bring policies to cool the planet to families preparing meals at home and farmers readying plots of land for planting.

Research shows that black carbon is also heavily impacting the glaciers of the Himalayas, another region of global significance. The “third pole” or “Asian water tower” feeds some of the world’s biggest rivers, including the Ganges, Yangtze and Yellow River, which together supply drinking water and crop-irrigation for some 1.5 billion people across 10 countries. According to estimates published last year in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, black-carbon emissions have caused nearly 10% of the ice-cover loss in the Himalayas from 1990 to 2000, of which about 36% is attributed to Indian coal and biofuel burning.

Read the full article @ China Dialogue, January 19th, 2011 - Soot Strategies.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tracking Air Pollution in Indian Cities

The results from the six city source apportionment studies (for 2006) are now published by MoEF. The study was carried out by the Central Pollution Control Board. Click on the image below to access the article in Hindustan Times.

Link to download to the full report.

These are results from source apportionment and emission inventory over limited areas in the cities (what is source apportionment?)

Other articles on source apportionment in this blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Transport Policy in India

Article published in the Hindu, "fixing India's transport troubles", following the announcement of a new transport committee under the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC)

India that aspires to be an economic superpower is visibly in need of a transport policy that is in tune with the times. The constitution of a high level Transport Policy Development Committee, headed by the former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Rakesh Mohan, reflects this. The last time a comprehensive view of transport was taken at the national level was in 1980 when the B.D. Pande committee submitted its report. Much has happened since then. India's economic transformation from a near-closed economy to a fast liberaliser led to a significant stepping up of economic activity, particularly by the private sector, and resulted in higher individual spending capacity. While the former meant increased flow of goods and services, calling for better freight facilities, the latter translated into both higher purchasing power for personal transportation modes and higher effective demand for better public transport. Liberalisation has also spawned its own huge inequities. A fresh policy has to factor in the harsh reality that the overwhelming majority, in the region of 800 million Indians, live in poverty. This calls for a more active state role as a provider of subsidised transport and as an effective regulator, particularly since the trend is to move towards a system that facilitates private players.

The terms of reference of the Rakesh Mohan committee are wide: they range from “assessing the transport requirements for the next two decades” to “assessing the investment requirements” of the sector. Although there are several issues that jostle for attention, there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive policy for road transport as this mode carries 87 per cent of India's passengers, moves 60 per cent of its freight, and is in serious disarray. Efficient inter-State, intra-city, and rural transport systems will reduce losses, improve connectivity, and open up more economic opportunities. The most shocking lapse of state policy is the decline of public transport. As a Parliamentary Standing Committee rightly pointed out, the decline of buses in the total fleet of vehicles from 11 per cent in 1951 to a paltry 1.1 per cent in 2004 has meant an increase in personalised transport. This leads to avoidable economic losses due to higher fuel expenditure, apart from widening inequalities. The retrogressive trend needs urgent reversal. A policy that accords primacy of space to an affordable, efficient, and integrated public transport system will be key to fixing India's transport troubles.

Also see

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - January 16th, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on January 9th, 2011)

DNA India, January 15th, 2011
Smokeless chulhas capture urbanites fancy in Pune.

The Observer, January 15th, 2011
Sarnia's dirty air clouds new report.

Science Daily, January 15th, 2011
Dramatic Ocean Circulation Changes Caused a Colder Europe in the Past.

The Jakarta Post, January 15th, 2011
Sustainable green cities.

Guardian, January 14th, 2011
How Lagos hopes a railway will end daily endurance test and change lives.

Science Daily, January 14th, 2011
Risks Associated With Second-Hand Smoke in Cars Carrying Children.

Science Daily, January 14th, 2011
New Evidence for Climate Impacts on Ancient Societies.

The Guardian, January 14th, 2011
The population explosion.

Huffington Post, January 14th, 2011
What Hu's Washington Visit Says About Climate Change.

UB Post, January 14th, 2011
Risks on the Road.

Philippine Information System, January 14th, 2011
EMB intensifies clean air campaign.

Live From Beijing, January 14th, 2011
Summary of beijing’s 2010 air quality.

EurActiv, January 14th, 2011
EU eyes climate 'paradigm shift' on tax, growth and China.

Business Green, January 14th, 2011
World Bank puts up €68m to avert post-Kyoto carbon market crash.

The Huffington Post, January 14th, 2011
What Hu's Washington Visit Says About Climate Change.

Philippines Information Agency, January 13th, 2011
PIA, other agencies tapped for clean air management program 2011.

The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2011
Traffic pollution: By 2030 twin cities will be in a mess if we don’t say ‘bus’ in Pakistan Cities.

Times of India, January 13th, 2011
Hyderabad City to get CNG buses from April this year.

MSN, January 13th, 2011
China continues to walk fine line in green innovation.

Scientific American, January 13th, 2011
Wired Wheels: Taking a Spin in the Future of Urban Transportation.

The Economist, January 13th, 2011
GHG Monitoring - Not Hot Air.

NPR, January 12th, 2011
Last Year: The Warmest On Record (Again).

Science Daily, January 12th, 2011
Earth Is Twice as Dusty as in 19th Century.

The Guardian, January 12th, 2011
Climate change exhibit Atmosphere may be pretty but it lacks punch.

Scientific American, January 12th, 2011
Paying Waste: Sewage Contains More Usable Energy Than Scientists Thought.

Express Buzz, January 12th, 2011
Volvo bus depot inaugurated in city.

Reuters, January 11th, 2011
Hong Kong, Shanghai shares rise; energy counters advance.

Reuters, January 11th, 2011
Factbox: Timeline of China's long love affair with coal.

Press of Atlantic City, January 11th, 2011
Pollution from out of state / Blowing in the wind.

Xinhua News Agency, January 11th, 2011
Mongolian president appeals to tackle air pollution in Ulan Bator.

E-Magazine, January 11th, 2011
The Energy Poor.

Scientific American, January 10th, 2011
Casualties of Climate Change: Sea-level Rises Could Displace Tens of Millions.

Inquirer, December 28th, 2010
Smog to usher in New Year in Manila.

Inquirer, December 2nd, 2010
Gov’t plans to limit vehicles on EDSA in Manila.

CNN, November 22nd, 2011
Mayors sign global pact to tackle urban emissions.

News, August, 2007
Spatial modeling for air pollution monitoring network design: example of residential woodsmoke.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Earth Is Twice as Dusty as in 19th Century (Science Daily)

Link to the article

ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2011) — If the house seems dustier than it used to be, it may not be a reflection on your housekeeping skills. The amount of dust in the Earth's atmosphere has doubled over the last century, according to a new study; and the dramatic increase is influencing climate and ecology around the world.

The study, led by Natalie Mahowald, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, used available data and computer modeling to estimate the amount of desert dust, or soil particles in the atmosphere, throughout the 20th century. It's the first study to trace the fluctuation of a natural (not human-caused) aerosol around the globe over the course of a century.

Mahowald presented the research at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco Dec. 13.

Desert dust and climate influence each other directly and indirectly through a host of intertwined systems. Dust limits the amount of solar radiation that reaches the Earth, for example, a factor that could mask the warming effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It also can influence clouds and precipitation, leading to droughts; which, in turn, leads to desertification and more dust.

Ocean chemistry is also intricately involved. Dust is a major source of iron, which is vital for plankton and other organisms that draw carbon out of the atmosphere.

To measure fluctuations in desert dust over the century, the researchers gathered existing data from ice cores, lake sediment and coral, each of which contain information about past concentrations of desert dust in the region. They then linked each sample with its likely source region and calculated the rate of dust deposition over time. Applying components of a computer modeling system known as the Community Climate System Model, the researchers reconstructed the influence of desert dust on temperature, precipitation, ocean iron deposition and terrestrial carbon uptake over time.

Among their results, the researchers found that regional changes in temperature and precipitation caused a global reduction in terrestrial carbon uptake of 6 parts per million (ppm) over the 20th century. The model also showed that dust deposited in oceans increased carbon uptake from the atmosphere by 6 percent, or 4 ppm, over the same time period.

While the majority of research related to aerosol impacts on climate is focused on anthropogenic aerosols (those directly emitted by humans through combustion), Mahowald said, the study highlights the important role of natural aerosols as well.

"Now we finally have some information on how the desert dust is fluctuating. This has a really big impact for the understanding of climate sensitivity," she said.

It also underscores the importance of gathering more data and refining the estimates. "Some of what we're doing with this study is highlighting the best available data. We really need to look at this more carefully. And we really need more paleodata records," she said.

Meanwhile, the study is also notable for the variety of fields represented by its contributors, she said, which ranged from marine geochemistry to computational modeling. "It was a fun study to do because it was so interdisciplinary. We're pushing people to look at climate impacts in a more integrative fashion."

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - January 9th, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on January 2nd, 2011)

NGO Post, January, 2011
City Of Garbage In Egypt.

Down to Earth, January, 2011
Suppressed CNG facts: A CPCB study on fuels goofs up.

DNA India, January 9th, 2011
'IP Gautam made Ahmedabad a cleaner city'.

Asia One Motoring, January 8th, 2011
Car-sharing will ease Shanghai's traffic problems.

UB Post, January 7th, 2011
Mongolia in 2020.

Science Daily, January 7th, 2011
Energy Limits Global Economic Growth.

TIME, January 7th, 2011
Battle Brews Over EPA's Emissions Regulations.

Morgan Hill Times, January 7th, 2011
Healthy winter skies are becoming rarer.

Indian Express, January 7th, 2011
As mercury took a dip, so did air quality.

Environmental Technology, January 6th, 2011
London's air quality achieves high rating.

IRIN Asia, January 6th, 2011
Kabul air pollution prompts advice on use of masks.

The Grist Magazine, January 6th, 2011
What can we expect on climate and energy in China in 2011?

Science Daily, January 6th, 2011
How Studded Winter Tires May Damage Public Health, as Well as Pavement.

Financial Express, January 6th, 2011
Most worrying prospects of an utter breakdown await Dhaka residents.

UB Post, January 6th, 2011
The Mongolian “Katrina”.

Bloomberg, January 6th, 2011
TOP Oil Market News: Oil Trades Above $90; LNG Demand in Asia.

World Resources Institute, January 5th, 2011
What Can We Expect on Climate and Energy in China in 2011?

Tehran Times, January 5th, 2011
The role of transportation in driving climate disruption.

Environmental Research Web, January 5th, 2011
Reducing black carbon buys time.

In These Times, January 5th, 2011
India’s Green Party Maverick.

People's China Daily, January 5th, 2011
Expert: China's urbanization taxing on resources, environment.

Environmental News Network, January 4th, 2011
No Coal-Fired Power Plants Built in Past Two Years.

Business Wire, January 4th, 2011
Nexant Inks Landmark Energy Efficiency Contract in Mongolia.

Wall Street Journal, January 3rd, 2011
China’s Relentless Hunt for Energy.

Business Standard, January 3rd, 2011
Cap-and-trade regime coming for industrial emissions.

The City Fix, January 3rd, 2011
African Cities to Triple in Size.

Jalopnik, January 3rd, 2011
What Smog Over Santiago Looks Like.

Express buzz, January 3rd, 2011
Low-fare bus service for poor in poor shape.

The Epoch Times, January 2nd, 2011
Beijing’s Air Pollution Index Reaches Alarming Levels.

AFP, January 2nd, 2011
Beijing traffic rules empty out car showrooms.

Times of India, January 2nd, 2011
China shuts down steel plant to check pollution.

Deccan Herald, January 2nd, 2011
Slow response to rapid system.

Xinhua Net, December 30th, 2010
Beijing opens five new metro lines amid increasing traffic pressures.

China Daily, December 30th, 2010
Energy plan to focus on cars.

Xinhua Net, December 29th, 2010
Emission control green revolution in impoverished Chinese regions.

Xinhua Net, December 27th, 2010
China's first solar chimney plant starts operating in desert.

Climate-L News, December 22nd, 2010
UNECE Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution Convention Tackles Black Carbon.

Xinhua Net, December 21st, 2010
China raises gasoline, diesel prices.

Xinhua Net, December 21st, 2010
China likely to meet pollution control targets for 2006-2010, future tasks "arduous".

Science Daily, August 25th, 2011
Can the World Be Powered Mainly by Solar and Wind Energy?

Vulnerability of Asian Cities to Climate Change

Access the full report on InfoChangeIndia

The report lists Dhaka in Bangladesh as the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. It is a large but relatively poor city and is located just metres above current sea levels. It is regularly impacted by tropical cyclones and flooding and has very limited adaptive capacity.

Jakarta and Manila are also extremely vulnerable cities and tie for second rank, largely because of their size, degree of exposure (both experience frequent flooding), and relatively low adaptive capacity. Kolkata and Phnom Penh tie for third most vulnerable city, largely because Kolkata is prone to saltwater intrusion and the effects of sea level rise, while Phnom Penh has very low adaptive capacity.

Each city is given a score card that lists particular vulnerabilities: to environmental exposure (storm threat, sea level rise, flooding/drought), socio-economic sensitivity (population, assets threatened) and inverse adaptive capacity, that is, its inability to adapt.

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Finding Delhi, Loss and Renewal in the Megacity (Info Change, India)

Finding Delhi, Loss and Renewal in the Megacity (Viking Penguin 2010), an edited volume by Bharati Chaturvedi, attempts to address the changes in the national capital from the perspective of those who are a low priority for the planners. Perhaps more than any other city in India, Delhi exemplifies the pitfalls of huge investments that produce a city that fails to satisfy the basic needs of the majority of its residents. Of course things could change and the city could yet become a more democratic and less segregated space. But from the lived experience of millions of Delhi’s residents, especially those who have been rendered virtually invisible by the visioning exercises of a ‘global city’, ‘new’ Delhi seems less democratic, more fissured, than the old and historic Delhi.

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Four Ways to Look at Global Carbon Footprints

From National Geographic.. click on the image to access the map

Friday, January 07, 2011

Air Pollution in Kabul

Link to the article and pictures from Demotix.

KABUL, 6 January 2011 (IRIN) - KABUL, 6 January 2010 (IRIN) - Worsening air pollution in Kabul has forced the Afghanistan National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) to advise people to use masks or other protective devices during the morning and evening rush hours.

NEPA and the Health Ministry say air pollution causes up to 3,000 deaths a year and spreads skin, respiratory and eye diseases, and even cancer. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) says air pollution causes about two million premature deaths worldwide every year.

“Anyone can observe that the air in Kabul is highly polluted,” said Chiranjibi Gautam, an expert with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“Up to 75 percent of the air pollution is from transport,” Najibullah Yamin, NEPA’s deputy director, told IRIN.

The country imports tens of thousands of second-hand cars every year. They predominantly use low-grade fuel which pollutes the air, NEPA said.

To discourage the use of state-owned vehicles and reduce pollution, the government announced that Thursdays are to be public holidays until March 2011. Afghanistan normally only observes Friday as a day of rest.

Critics, however, say the extra holiday is benefiting no one, as officials tend to use government vehicles for private purposes on days off. “It’s a joke which in fact is damaging the economy more than helping to reduce air pollution because congestion on Thursdays is no better than on other days,” said Kabul resident Ahmad Temor.

The government has not banned the use of government or private vehicles on Thursdays and Fridays, but merely “requested” that people refrain from using their cars “unnecessarily”.

Kabul’s inadequate public transport system does not meet the needs of its estimated 4.5 million inhabitants, pushing more and more people to buy cars.

Valley aggravates smog

“Kabul is a valley where in winter there is thermal inversion and because of it very low dispersion of pollutants takes place, thus increasing pollution levels,” said UNEP’s Chiranjibi Gautam.

Other main causes of air pollution and environmental degradation are rapid population growth and a largely unregulated urbanization.

The lack of trees, parks and other green areas exacerbate the city’s air quality, experts say. In cold winter months air pollution increases due to the burning of fuel and firewood for heating, they add, though the use of generators has decreased over the past two years due to US-funded electricity imports from neighbouring Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, officials accuse what they call a “land mafia” of plundering public land and illegally building houses, with little or no heed to the environment.

“The land mafia has seized green areas and builds houses and commercial buildings in areas which are crucial for environmental protection purposes,” said NEPA’s Yamin.

A lack of public awareness on environmental issues is part of the problem, he adds. “The last thing on people’s minds here is the air quality and the environment.”

Some more articles on air pollution in Kabul

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Air Pollution Alerts - January 2nd, 2011

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on December 26th, 2010)

Phil Star, January 2nd, 2011
Now, brace for worse air pollution after revelry.

The Scientist, January 1st, 2011
The Coming Health Crisis.

Straits Times, January 1st, 2011
Transit towards a greener, more accessible system.

Science Daily, January 1st, 2011
Cloud Atlas: Scientist Maps the Meaning of Mid-Level Clouds.

The City Fix, December 30th, 2010
China Institutes New Car Policies, But Are They Enough?

Science Daily, December 31st, 2010
Crops: Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency Lessens Environmental Impact.

AFP, December 30th, 2010
Hong Kong posts record roadside pollution levels.

Live Mint, December 30th, 2010
Green construction gaining traction in India.

Eco Business, December 30th, 2010
Singapore: Fine particles a growing concern though air pollution 'in good range'.

CNN, December 30th, 2010
Will Beijing plan halt auto snarl-ups?

Climate Biz, December 29th, 2010
California Clean Truck Laws Cut Black Carbon in Half.

Financial Express, December 28th, 2010
Restriction on cars to check traffic jams.

AlterNet, December 28th, 2010
2010: A Precedent-Setting Year In the Fight Against Coal.

Bloomberg, December 28th, 2010
Hong Kong Air Pollution ‘Very High’ at All 3 Roadside Stations.

The Hindu, December 28th, 2010
‘Killer dust' threat looms over Marwan despite protests.

Science Daily, December 27th, 2010
Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: New Global Search to Save Endangered Crop Wild Relatives.

Science Daily, December 27th, 2010
Decline of West Coast Fog Brought Higher Coastal Temperatures Last 60 Years.

Jerusalem Post, December 27th, 2010
All coal-fired power stations to get filters.

Prague Daily, December 27th, 2010
Dust pollution plagues North Moravia again.

Science Daily, December 27th, 2010
Global Rivers Emit Three Times IPCC Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Nitrous Oxide.

Canada.Com, December 26th, 2010
Canadians in denial about air pollution impact.

Financial Express, December 26th, 2010
Pollution from brick kilns: Attention needed.

The City Fix, December 23rd, 2010
Adapting to Climate Change: Is Our Transport Infrastructure Robust Enough?

CNN, December 3rd, 2010
How to get scientists, policymakers to same page on climate change.

CNN, November 17th, 2010
Climate project calls for citizen scientists.

Yale 360, November 17th, 2010
Indian Temperatures Could Rise Significantly by 2030.

CNN, August 12th, 2010
What's behind the weather chaos?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Another Year... New Hopes and Wishes !!

a passage from NY Times

The coming of the new year reminds us, again, that we live, as we always have, somewhere on a sliding scale between utopia and dystopia and that we continuously carry our burdens and opportunities with us. 2011 is merely a new entry in our ancient custom of chronological bookkeeping, an arbitrary starting point for our annual trip around the sun.

But it is also so much more. Who can live without fresh intentions, new purposes? Who does not welcome a chance to start over, if only on a new page of the calendar? Life goes on, but it goes on so much better with hope and renewal and recommitment.

Last night was a night for banishing regrets. Today is for wondering how to live without new ones, how to do right by ourselves and one another.