Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brace Yourselves For The Next Oil Price Shock

Looking at the oil supply & demand fundamentals, next year looks like an accident waiting to happen. If economic growth in emerging economies remains on track, and that is a big If, the next oil price shock will occur in 2012.

Dave Rosenberg recently put the odds of America going into recession in 2012 at 99%, but I doubt he had oil in mind when he said that. On the current path, oil is set to hit $150/barrel next summer. Take an economy in recession, add in oil prices well in excess of $100/barrel, and what do you get?

Let's briefly review the fundamentals. Here's the Energy Information Administration's current outlook (STEO, June 7 edition).

EIA projects that total world oil consumption will grow by 1.7 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011, which is about 0.3 million bbl/d higher than last month's Outlook, primarily because of higher forecasts of consumption for electricity generation in China, Japan, and the Middle East.

Projected world consumption increases by 1.6 million bbl/d in 2012, unchanged from last month's Outlook. Projected supply from non-OPEC countries increases by an average of about 0.6 million bbl/d in 2011 and 0.5 million bbl/d in 2012.

EIA expects that the market will rely on both a drawdown of inventories and increases in production from both OPEC and non-OPEC countries to meet projected demand growth.

These daunting numbers—1.7 million barrels-per-day in 2011, 1.6 million barrels-per-day in 2012—portend a demand shock just like the one the world experienced in 2006-2007. The key phrase is a drawdown of inventories. This is precisely what happened prior to the oil shock of 2008. If you are forecasting that new oil demand will be met by depleting global stocks, you are already acknowledging that supply can not meet that demand. The EIA can't just come out and say that, of course.
Full Article >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Maldives Government Endorses World’s First Strategic National Action Plan Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation

24 June 2011, Bangkok – The Government of the Maldives has fully endorsed the world’s first Strategic National Action Plan (SNAP) that integrates Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA).

The Disaster Management Centre Maldives has welcomed what is states is a landmark achievement for the country towards preparedness.

SNAP was officially endorsed on behalf of the Government by the Minister of Environment, Hon. Mohamed Aslam, on behalf of the Government of the Maldives on 8 June 2011 who said, “The Ministry has always been working towards risk reduction and resilience for the Nation and island communities. This SNAP concept is prepared in accordance with the necessary strategic plans and Manifestos of the government.”

The new action plan which places DRR and CCA in the development planning of the Maldives is a collaboration led by of the Government of Maldives with support from the United Nations system in the Maldives and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). SNAP is guided by both the Hyogo Framework of Action, a global blueprint for reducing disaster risks which was adopted in Kobe Japan in January 2005, as well as the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Based on broad consultations with key sectors such as housing, construction, environment, health, education, media, development planning and tourism, SNAP builds upon lessons learned from past disasters. It promotes good governance, empowers local communities, builds resilience, and promotes risk sensitive regional and local development. A unique feature of SNAP Maldives is its focus on aspects of governance, and decentralisation, as key for successful DRR and CCA.

The Disaster Management Centre Maldives has welcomed what is states is a landmark achievement for the country towards preparedness.

SNAP was officially endorsed on behalf of the Government by the Minister of Environment, Hon. Mohamed Aslam, on behalf of the Government of the Maldives on 8 June 2011 who said, “The Ministry has always been working towards risk reduction and resilience for the Nation and island communities. This SNAP concept is prepared in accordance with the necessary strategic plans and Manifestos of the government.”

The new action plan which places DRR and CCA in the development planning of the Maldives is a collaboration led by of the Government of Maldives with support from the United Nations system in the Maldives and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). SNAP is guided by both the Hyogo Framework of Action, a global blueprint for reducing disaster risks which was adopted in Kobe Japan in January 2005, as well as the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Based on broad consultations with key sectors such as housing, construction, environment, health, education, media, development planning and tourism, SNAP builds upon lessons learned from past disasters. It promotes good governance, empowers local communities, builds resilience, and promotes risk sensitive regional and local development. A unique feature of SNAP Maldives is its focus on aspects of governance, and decentralisation, as key for successful DRR and CCA. Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Water wars: 21st century conflicts?

As almost half of humanity will face water scarcity by 2030, strategists from Israel to Central Asia prepare for strife.

After droughts ravaged his parents' farmland, Sixteen-year-old Hassain and his two-year-old sister Sareye became some of the newest refugees forced from home by war scarcity.

"There was nothing to harvest," Hassain said through an interpreter during an interview at a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya which is housing some 160,000 Somalis displaced by a lack of water. "There had been no rain in my village for two years. We used to have crops."

As global warming alters weather patterns, and the number of people lacking access to water rises, millions, if not billions, of others are expected to face a similar fate as water shortages become more frequent.

Presently, Hassain is one of about 1.2 billion people living in areas of physical water scarcity, although the majority of cases are nowhere near as dire. By 2030, 47 per cent of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Environmental Outlook to 2030 report.

Some analysts worry that wars of the future will be fought over blue gold, as thirsty people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations battle for dwindling resources. Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Rio+20 Secretary General Sha discusses prospects for sustainable development meeting

What role can local governments play in international sustainable development discussions? Can next year's Rio+20 meeting provide a boost to the global economy? The Honorable Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of

the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), discusses his goals for next year's meeting and explains what the international community's expectations are for the United States in the discussions.


Monica Trauzzi: Hello and welcome to OnPoint. I'm Monica Trauzzi. E&ETV sat down with Rio+20 Secretary General Sha Zukang immediately following a speech on international sustainable development at the National Press Club. Mr. Secretary General, thanks for joining me.
Sec. Gen. Sha Zukang: Thank you, madam, for the interview. It's my honor and pleasure.

Monica Trauzzi:
Why is this meeting so significant?

Sec. Gen. Sha Zukang:
Well, it is significant in many ways. Firstly, the subject itself is very important, important in the sense that sustained development is the only way, because the current way of development, which is not sustainable, you know, it simply cannot continue for any time longer. And with rapid increase of the population, with rapid depletion of the resources and with increased, rapid increase of all kind of disasters, with the increased change of the climate, with the deterioration of the environment, with all those health and the social issues which have led to a lot of conflicts in some parts, many parts of the world, you know, the current way of development is not sustainable and we should have the sense of urgency. And since 1992, that is to say almost in the last 20 years a lot of — the international community has also accumulated a lot of experiences and lessons which can be better utilized. So, therefore, it is really the time to get serious on sustained development. Full Article >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pollinators Make Critical Contribution to Healthy Diets

ScienceDaily (June 25, 2011) — Fruits and vegetables that provide the highest levels of vitamins and minerals to the human diet globally depend heavily on bees and other pollinating animals, according to a new study published in the international online journal PLoS ONE.

The new study was carried out by an interdisciplinary research team, composed of pollination ecologists and a nutrition expert, based at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, the University of Berlin in Germany, and the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco. The research team showed that globally "animal-pollinated crops contain the majority of the available dietary lipid, vitamin A, C and E, and a large portion of the minerals calcium, fluoride, and iron worldwide. The yield increase attributable to animal-dependent pollination of these crops is significant and could have a potentially drastic effect on human nutrition if jeopardized."

More specifically, the team showed that in the global crop supply, several key vitamins and other nutrients related to lower risk for cancer and heart disease are present predominantly in crops propagated by pollinators. These include the carotenoids lycopene and ß-cryptoxanthin, which are found in brightly colored red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Other important antioxidants, including several forms of vitamin E and more than 90% of the available vitamin C, are provided by crops that are pollinated by bees and other animals. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Overfishing and Sustainability

Modern Fish Communities Live Fast and Die Young

ScienceDaily (June 25, 2011) — Fish communities in the 21st century live fast and die young. That's the main finding of a recent study by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society who compared fish recently caught in coastal Kenya with the bones of fish contained in ancient Swahili refuse heaps in order to understand how to rebuild the current fisheries.

Of course, modern fish communities are not victims of reckless living, but of overfishing which has caused an ecosystem-level transition that may not be easily reversible, according to the study. Over the centuries, human fishing has greatly reduced or eliminated larger and longer-lived species that were more commonly caught in the Middle Ages. The remaining fish communities today contain more species with shorter life spans, faster growth rates, smaller average sizes, and fewer top predators.
The study -- which utilized more than 5,475 samples of ancient fish remains dating between 1250 and 600 years before the present (approximately AD 750 -- 1400) -- appears in the current online edition of the journal Conservation Biology. The authors are Tim R. McClanahan and Johnstone O. Omukoto of the Wildlife Conservation Society. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, June 25, 2011

If The Sea Is In Trouble, We Are All In Trouble

The report that the ocean is in trouble is no surprise. What is shocking is that it has taken so long for us to make the connection between the state of the ocean and everything we care about – the economy, health, security – and the existence of life itself.

If the ocean is in trouble – and it is – we are in trouble. Charles Clover pointed this out in The End of the Line, and Callum Roberts provided detailed documentation of the collapse of ocean wildlife – and the consequences – in The Unnatural History of the Sea.

Since the middle of the 20th century, more has been learned about the ocean than during all preceding human history; at the same time, more has been lost. Some 90 per cent of many fish, large and small, have been extracted. Some face extinction owing to the ocean's most voracious predator – us.

We are now appearing to wage war on life in the sea with sonars, spotter aircraft, advanced communications, factory trawlers, thousands of miles of long lines, and global marketing of creatures no one had heard of until recent years. Nothing has prepared sharks, squid, krill and other sea creatures for industrial-scale extraction that destroys entire ecosystems while targeting a few species. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Localisation Is A Key Part Of The Answer

Last week it emerged that the Department of Energy and Climate Change, whose official position remains that "we do not have any contingency plans specific to a peak in oil production", was actually stating in internal documents released under the Freedom of Information Act that "it is not possible to predict with any accuracy exactly when or why oil production will peak".

Energy bills are going nowhere other than up, with knock-on effects across the economy. The fossil fuels of the future will be dirtier, more expensive and from less accessible places. At the same time, the need to decarbonise is urgent. The world's carbon emissions increased in 2010 by a record amount, in spite of many of the world's economies being in recession, and 19 countries recorded their hottest ever temperatures.

In March, Mervyn King, Governor Bank of England, said: "This is not like an ordinary recession where you lose output and get it back quickly. You may not get it back for many years, if ever, and that is a big, long-run loss of living standards for all people in this country." When something isn't working, it behoves us to question whether a different approach might be more appropriate.

One such approach, spreading around the world with great vigour, is the Transition movement. It suggests that within the challenges of peak oil, climate change, and our economic troubles lies a huge opportunity. In the same way that vast amounts of cheap fossil fuels made globalisation possible, the end of the age of cheap oil will inevitably put globalisation into reverse. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Groundwater Depletion Rate Accelerating Worldwide

ScienceDaily — In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled, say scientists who have conducted an unusual, global assessment of groundwater use.

These fast-shrinking subterranean reservoirs are essential to daily life and agriculture in many regions, while also sustaining streams, wetlands, and ecosystems and resisting land subsidence and salt water intrusion into fresh water supplies. Today, people are drawing so much water from below that they are adding enough of it to the oceans (mainly by evaporation, then precipitation) to account for about 25 percent of the annual sea level rise across the planet, the researchers find.

Soaring global groundwater depletion bodes a potential disaster for an increasingly globalized agricultural system, says Marc Bierkens of Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and leader of the new study.
More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Growing Goat Herds Signal Global Grassland Decline

After the earth was created, soil formed slowly over geological time from the weathering of rocks. It began to support early plant life, which protected and enriched it until it became the topsoil that sustains the diversity of plants and animals we know today.

Now the world’s ever-growing herds of cattle, sheep, and goats are converting vast stretches of grassland to desert. One indicator that helps us assess grassland health is changes in the goat population relative to those of sheep and cattle. As grasslands deteriorate, grass is typically replaced by desert shrubs. In such a degraded environment, cattle and sheep do not fare well. But goats—being particularly hardy ruminants—forage on the shrubs. Goats are especially hard on the soil because their sharp hoofs pulverize the protective crust of soil that is formed by rainfall and that naturally checks wind erosion. Between 1970 and 2009, the world’s cattle population increased by 28 percent and the number of sheep stayed relatively static. Meanwhile, goat herds more than doubled.

Growth in goat populations is particularly dramatic in some developing countries. While cattle herds in Pakistan doubled between 1961 and 2009 and the number of sheep nearly tripled, the goat population grew more than sixfold and is now roughly equal to that of the cattle and sheep populations combined. These livestock have grazed the countryside bare of its rainfall-retaining vegetation, contributing to the massive flooding that ravaged Pakistan in the summer of 2010. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Al Gore Blasts Obama On Climate Change For Failing To Take 'Bold Action'

Former Vice President Al Gore is going where few environmentalists – and fellow Democrats – have gone before: criticizing President Barack Obama's record on global warming.

In a 7,000-word essay for Rolling Stone magazine that will be published Friday, Gore says Obama has failed to stand up for "bold action" on global warming and has made little progress on the problem since the days of Republican President George W. Bush. Bush infuriated environmentalists for resisting mandatory controls on the pollution blamed for climate change, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible.

While Gore credits Obama's political appointees with making hundreds of changes that have helped move the country "forward slightly" on the climate issue, and acknowledges Obama has been dealing with many other problems, he says the president "has simply not made the case for action."
More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Syria tops Maplecroft’s Displacement Index, while refugees from Libya’s civil war see the country rated ‘extreme risk’

New research, ranking 185 countries on the risks posed to their economies by large populations of refugees and internally displaced persons, has rated Syria as the nation most at risk, whilst the human impacts of the civil war in Libya have seen it categorised as ‘extreme risk.’

The Displacement Index, produced by risk analysis and mapping firm Maplecroft, measures the potential impact internally displaced peoples (IDPs) and refugees have on the economies, societies and business environments of countries worldwide. The index is calculated using five indicators, including displaced people and refugees per 100,000 population, overall numbers and refugees per US$1bn GDP. Sources include the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, UN OCHA and the Global Trends Report 2010 from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), released on June 20th.

The index rates 24 countries as ‘extreme risk,’ with Africa and the Middle East home to 19 of them. At the top of the ranking are Syria (1), Sudan (2), Yemen (3), Rwanda (4), Serbia (5), Chad (6), DR Congo (7), Kenya (8), Pakistan (9), and Algeria (10). Other countries of note in the ‘extreme risk’ category include Côte d'Ivoire (14), Iraq (16) and Libya (22). More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Monday, June 20, 2011

UN talks must save Kyoto or 'collapse': AOSIS

BONN — UN talks struggling to forge a response to global warming must salvage the embattled Kyoto Protocol or risk collapse, the head of a 43-nation bloc of island nations said Friday.

"Some countries are willing to commit to a second commitment period," said Grenada's Dessima Williams, chair of the the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
"It is not anywhere near the full coverage that will be needed," she told AFP on the sidelines of a negotiating session of the 194-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ending Friday.

"However, it is either that or the complete collapse of the system."
Kyoto, which covers 37 industrialised countries, is the only international deal with binding targets for curbing greenhouse gases.
A first commitment period expires at the end of 2012, and the fate of the treaty remains in limbo. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Shrinking Pie: Post-Growth Geopolitics

Post-Growth Geopolitics

As nations compete for currency advantages, they are also eyeing the world’s diminishing resources—fossil fuels, minerals, agricultural land, and water. Resource wars have been fought since the dawn of history, but today the competition is entering a new phase.

Nations need increasing amounts of energy and materials to produce economic growth, but—as we have seen—the costs of supplying new increments of energy and materials are increasing. In many cases all that remains are lower-quality resources that have high extraction costs. In some instances, securing access to these resources requires military expenditures as well. Meanwhile the struggle for the control of resources is re-aligning political power balances throughout the world.

The U.S., as the world’s superpower, has the most to lose from a reshuffling of alliances and resource flows. The nation’s leaders continue to play the game of geopolitics by 20th century rules: They are still obsessed with the Carter Doctrine and focused on petroleum as the world’s foremost resource prize (a situation largely necessitated by the country’s continuing overwhelming dependence on oil imports, due in turn to a series of short-sighted political decisions stretching back at least to the 1970s). The ongoing war in Afghanistan exemplifies U.S. inertia: Most experts agree that there is little to be gained from the conflict, but withdrawal of forces is politically unfeasible. More >>>

This article is the part 6 from Chapter 5 of Richard Heinberg's new book 'The End of Growth', which is set for publication by New Society Publishers in August 2011. This chapter 'Shrinking Pie: Competition and Relative Growth in a Finite World' looks in greater depth at the prospects for further development in in an increasingly resource strained environment.

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Perfect Storm for Hunger: New Oxfam report tackles broken food system

The global food system is broken,” reads a new report from Oxfam International.

While much of Growing a Better Future: Food Justice in a Resource-Constrained World essentially reviews the major factors that contribute to food insecurity, Oxfam’s call to transform the food system is certainly timely, given this year’s high food prices (blamed in part for inflaming popular revolts in the Middle East) and fears of another global food crisis.

Despite producing enough food for everyone, one in seven people globally face chronic under-nutrition and almost one billion people are food insecure. Hunger is concentrated within rural areas in developing countries, and within families, women are often disproportionally affected, having serious implications for maternal and child health.

“We face three interlinked challenges in an age of growing crisis: feeding nine billion without wrecking the planet; finding equitable solutions to end disempowerment and injustice; and increasing our collective resilience to shocks and volatility,” write the authors of the report. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Will Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Mean for Barrier Islands?

ScienceDaily (June 16, 2011) — A new survey of barrier islands published earlier this spring offers the most thorough assessment to date of the thousands of small islands that hug the coasts of the world's landmasses.

The study, led by Matthew Stutz of Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C., and Orrin Pilkey of Duke University, Durham, N.C., offers new insight into how the islands form and evolve over time -- and how they may fare as the climate changes and sea level rises.

The survey is based on a global collection of satellite images from Landsat 7 as well as information from topographic and navigational charts. The satellite images were captured in 2000, and processed by a private company as part of an effort funded by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

During the 20th century, sea level has risen by an average of 1.7 millimeters (about 1/16 of an inch) per year. Since 1993, NASA satellites have observed an average sea level rise of 3.27 millimeters (about 1/8 of an inch) per year. A better understanding of how climate change and sea level rise are shaping barrier islands will also lead to a more complete grasp of how these dynamic forces are affecting more populated coastal areas.

Stutz, the study's lead author, highlighted a series of key findings from the new survey during an interview with a NASA science writer. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Joint Efforts to Map Water Levels Across Arab Countries

June 9, 2011—Across and within Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Lebanon, water levels in reservoirs and rivers, rainfall patterns and soil moisture will be mapped by satellites high overhead.

This new view of water systems will allow leaders to monitor local and regional drought and flood conditions, track evaporation from lakes and reservoirs, and even estimate future water supplies and crop yields.
This new project, financed by the World Bank’s Global Environmental Facility, is the first in a series of investments under the Arab World Initiative approved by the World Bank Board of Directors.

In the past, information on water has come from people and equipment on the ground. But collecting data in the field is often expensive and difficult to gather and verify. Satellite images can provide a unique view, across mountains and borders, and provide it almost instantly.

Not Enough Water-20% Less
Water supplies have a major impact on agriculture and the environment. A steady water supply is also essential for city life. Cities are growing in size and population throughout the region. And, because of climate change, experts predict an increasingly dry future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that rainfall in many parts of the region will decrease by over 20% during the next century. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Editorial: Mr. President - Are you insane or just blind.

With the greatest respect I would like to ask all world leaders "Are you insane or just blind?"

The world is beset by a perfect storm of peak oil, climate change and an out of control population. all of which are potential conflict triggers.

The high cost and apparently constrained supplies of petroleum are causing blackouts, rolling brownouts and falling productivity in over fifty countries around the globe as I write this.

Climate change has the potential, given the expected rise in average global temperatures, to raise sea level by one metre by the end of the century, inundating islands, coastal plains and deltas around the globe.

Changes in rainfall patterns along with the melting of glaciers could disrupt food production in many of the worlds most populous countries causing famine. Droughts are now evident in states around the world. China is building canal over 1700 kilometers long in an attempt to bring water to water stressed northern areas of the country. Agriculture accounts for at least 70% of a countries water usage. South Asia which is home to well over one fifth of the world's population, is dependent on the seasonal monsoon rains for much of their food production as well as glacial melt water which is the source of the major rivers in the region. As temperatures rise the glaciers will melt, and if the rainfall patterns change millions may perish.

We could see refugee flows the likes of which have never been seen in recorded history, caused by any or all of the above scenarios. Climate Change Refugees will flow from areas of famine to areas where there is food. They will do so legally or illegally and they will be forced to do so even if it costs them their life.

No country can mitigate or adapt to the coming changes on its own. The only way that the human race can survive with a reasonably tolerable level of civilization is by working together. We no longer have time for political bickering, posturing or arguing within states or between states.

The time is now. We have to protect the major portions of the global commons, the atmosphere, the oceans, the biosphere. Humans need these to survive, we need the plants, the animals, the insects. We are dependent on all of it, we cannot survive without a healthy planet.

We are today, more than at any time in the history of the human race, our brothers and sisters keepers.

The Editor

Location: The Cayman Islands

Monday, June 13, 2011

Head of Saudi Electric Company Says "Oil Runs Out in 2030 if Current Consumption Maintained"

Head of Saudi Electric Company Says "Oil Runs Out in 2030 if Current Consumption Maintained"

Mishandle at Global Economic Trend Analysis has a look at a Saudi report that rising oil consumption for power generation may lead to their oil running out by 2030 - Head of Saudi Electric Company Says “Oil Runs Out in 2030 if Current Consumption Maintained”.

In light of Saudi Arabia wanting to step up production only to be rebuffed by the rest of OPEC, this story from is rather interesting. Courtesy of Google Translate please consider Saudi Arabia fears that the oil runs out in 2030 if current consumption is maintained
Note: I am rewording some awkward translations so they read better.
The electricity company of Saudi Arabia warns that oil in this country could be depleted by 2030 if left unchecked domestic consumption. According to a report of Saudi Electric, domestic consumption is estimated to be between 2.5 and 3.4 million barrels a day. The report, published in the magazine Al Mashka says that the increase in domestic consumption of oil is one of the main challenges facing the country, mainly because oil accounts for 80% of national income.

Abdel Salam al-Yamani, head of the Saudi Electricity Company also warned of the consequences for citizens to ignore the calls to save electricity and water, and has advised that they depend more on solar energy. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

The Karma of Electric Vehicles

MALIBU, California, June 9, 2011 (ENS) - Large environmental problems like the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico still occupy center stage, but an even bigger solution to the planet's environmental woes is rapidly approaching.

Vehicle electrification can ease dependence on polluting petroleum that is heating up the planet, yet many people are not fully informed on how electric vehicles will fit into their lives. One information gap is public understanding of the important fit between electric vehicles and the smart grid.

A game-changing research paper that addresses this gap, "Vehicle Electrification: Status and Issues," has just been published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in the special Smart Grid issue of the Proceedings of the IEEE. It shows how to change the energy equation and serves as a reference source to understand electric vehicles from a whole systems perspective. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Sunday, June 12, 2011

India’s Iceman

A land without water

'Super Varieties' of Wheat Expected to Boost Yields and Block Deadly Threat to Food Security

ScienceDaily (June 11, 2011) — Five years after the launch of a global effort to protect the world's most important food crop from variants of Ug99, a new and deadly form of wheat rust, scientists say they are close to producing super varieties of wheat that will resist the potent pathogen, while boosting yields by as much as 15 percent.

According to research to be presented at a global wheat rust symposium in Minneapolis starting June 13, scientists report that variants of the Ug99 strain of stem rust are becoming increasingly virulent and are being carried by wind beyond the handful of countries in East Africa where they had been identified.
New data show that key Ug99 variants have now been identified across all of eastern and southern Africa and that it may only be a matter of time before the spores travel to India or Pakistan, and even Australia and the Americas.
"We are facing the prospect of a biological firestorm, but it's also clear that the research community has responded to the threat at top speed, and we are getting results in the form of new varieties that are resistant to rust and appealing to farmers," said Ronnie Coffman, who heads the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project at Cornell University, which is coordinating the fight against the disease. "But the job of science is not over. Declining support for public agricultural research got us into this problem with Ug99. Unless that changes, the problem is likely to arise again in a few years. We are dealing with a constantly-evolving pathogen, and we need to stay at least one step ahead of it at all times." More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sustainable development must be as much blue as it is green

Seychelles' Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ronny Jumeau, has reminded a United Nations debate on the pathway to sustainable development that the world's oceans, coasts, and small island countries must be included in the concept of a green economy.

Speaking at the informal debate in the UN General Assembly on the challenges of the green economy held on June 2, Amb. Jumeau stressed that what the small island developing states (SIDS) described as a "blue economy" must be part and parcel of the concept, definition, and development of a climate- and environment-friendly green economy.

"This is something we in the small islands talk about a lot but do not hear about enough," Ambassador Jumeau said, “We cannot build a new eco-friendly and sustainable world economy without factoring in and caring for the oceans, which would require integrating the SIDS.”

He later explained that the push by the SIDS for the "blue" economy to be incorporated within the concept of the global green economy is essentially to ensure that the oceans and marine resources, and consequently the small islands as large ocean territories, are not forgotten or left behind. More >>>

Location: Cayman Island

Climate change, nuclear risks and nuclear disarmament: from security threats to sustainable peace.

On 17 May the World Future Council released its latest report entitled Climate Change, Nuclear Risks and Nuclear Disarmament: From Security Threats to Sustainable Peace.

It is the outcome of groundbreaking research by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheffran of the University of Hamburg.

The report examines the linkages between nuclear and climate risks, noting that these two clear threats may interfere with each other in a mutually re-enforcing way. It also acknowledges that finding solutions to one problem area could lead to solutions in the other: "Preventing the dangers of climate change and nuclear war requires an integrated set of strategies that address the causes as well as the impacts on the natural and social environment.” Prof. Dr. Scheffran offers an approach to move away from these security threats to building sustainable peace.

The study brings to light the multidimensional interplay between climate change, nuclear risks and nuclear disarmament, and its critical implications for the strategic security environment. In addition, it explores prospects and openings to tackle these key challenges, stressing the role played by institutions to “strengthen common ecological and human security, build and reinforce conflict-resolution mechanisms and low-carbon energy alternatives, and create sustainable lifecycles that respect the capabilities of the living world."

Read the full report here.

Location: Cayman Islands

How climate change can amplify social, economic and political stresses

How climate change can amplify social, economic and political stresses

At International Alert, the starting point for thinking about how climate change affects stability is understanding that climate change will interact with [stability] and amplify social, economic, and political stressors that are already there in fragile communities, said Janani Vivekananda in this interview with the ECSP. "Rather than climate change being this single, direct causal factor which will spark conflict at the national level," Vivekananda said, these stressors "will shift the tipping point at which conflict might ignite." In places that are already weakened by instability and conflict, climate change will simply be an additional challenge.

Read the full post on The New Security Beat: Click Here

Location:Sandalwood Crescent,George Town,Cayman Islands

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Conference on Islands Energy and Sustainability

Island Analysis has been represented at two international conferences Michaela de Vial spoke at the Wessex Institute of Technology’s 3rd International Conference on Energy and Sustainability, which was attended by commercial organisations, academics, and NGOs all with an interest in energy and sustainability.

Andrew Birnie attended the 2nd Island Dynamic Conference in Malta, where representatives from island governments, academia, and business explored how island identities have developed alongside their cultures and economies. ‘Both conferences had exceptional attendee lists which included highly-respected, senior government officials, global companies and academics which have a specific interest in islands.
For Island Analysis to speak at these is a real honour and allowed us to use the knowledge we have built up to demonstrate the opportunities and challenges facing islands across the world,’ said Island Analysis chief executive Chris Brock.

At the conference in Alicante, Dr de Vial was one of 50 speakers from as far afield as Japan, South Africa and Canada. Her presentation investigated how small island governments around the world are responding to the development of energy technologies. ‘This is a particularly pressing issue for many small islands, the majority of which are reliant on importation of fossil fuels for energy production, experience diseconomies of scale and higher distribution costs. Their exposure and vulnerability is compounded by oil prices peaking again recently. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands