Sunday, June 25, 2017

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Emmanuel Macron: Let’s Make The Planet Great Again?

As a counter rebuttal to U.S. President Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate Deal, could former action star and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and newly-elected French president Emmanuel Macron “make the planet great again”? 

By: Ringo Bones 

A lot of the world’s head-of-states and environmental ministers and secretaries might have been dismayed by U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s withdrawal last month from the historic 2015 Paris Climate Deal – which was signed by 195 countries and ratified by 147 aiming to reduce carbon emissions and contain global warming. Could President Trump’s climate change denial risking the long-term future of our planet? Thankfully, a recent 10-second clip that represents a “new hope” to those dismayed by U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s recent announcement to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Deal runs for full duration with the caption: “With President Macron, a great leader!” It ends with President Macron bringing out his new catchphrase: “We will deliver together to make the planet great again.” 

The good news is, is that the pact made in the recent Sorbonne University meeting could eventually be put to the United Nations for adoption and to impose legally-binding obligations on signatory states, its drafters – comprising legal experts from several countries – have said. Attendees at the Sorbonne include former United Nations chief Ban Ki Moon. It was chaired by the former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius who also chaired the 2015 conference on climate change. 

Many world leaders are quite agog at President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw from the historic Paris Climate Deal given his mercantilist background. Since 2014, renewable energy systems like wind turbines and solar photovoltaic and solar thermal electricity generation business are already 3 times as profitable as their coal and crude oil based counterparts and in the United States alone, the renewable energy industry employ 3-times as much workers currently employed in the crude oil extraction and coal mining sector. And many experts predict that automobiles fueled by crude oil sourced fuels could become as rare as 1930s era automobiles still running today by the year 2030.

Monday, April 24, 2017

March For Science: Science Versus Donald J. Trump?

Even though the Earth Day “March for Science” was primarily aimed at the Trump Administration’s suppression of scientific research results, has America’s political and religious persecution of science finally reached a tipping point? 

By: Ringo Bones 

If you asked me, I wish that this year’s March for Science that coincided with this year’s April 22 Earth Day festivities should have been started back in 1996 to mark the moment that America’s radical right-wing Evangelical Christians started interfering scientific results of the National Academy of Science – especially ones that concern women’s health, climate change and environmental pollution. Fat forward to the election of Donald J. Trump into the U.S. presidency thanks to his “rhetoric” proclaiming that climate change is a hoax invented by The People’s Republic of China to help make them sell wind turbines and photovoltaic solar panels, not to mention Trump signing an executive order to undo any Obama Administration era Clean Energy and Security programs, many observant Christians finally reached the point of “Holy Jesus Hitler Christ, enough is enough” to have decided on this year’s Earth Day to march into Washington as a show of unity that Donald J. Trump’s Alternative Facts is no solution to global warming and sea level rise brought about by climate change due to man-made greenhouse gas emissions from industrial activity. 

Similar marches also happened around the world largely inspired by the march on Washington D.C. At a demonstration in Washington D.C., Dr. Jonathan Foley, the executive director of the California Academy of Sciences, said that research was being irrationally questioned, adding that attacks from politicians – especially from the U.S. Republican Party – “amounted to oppression”. According to Dr. Foley, skeptical politicians in DC are specifically targeting science that protects our health – especially women’s health – our safety and the environment. “Science that protects the most vulnerable among us”, Foley said. In short, everyone the world over protested on this year’s Earth Day against what they consider to be an “alarming trend” among politicians for discrediting their research.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Coal and Crude Oil On the Way Out?

Given the revelations at the annual UN’s COP22 meeting in Marrakech, are coal and crude oil on the way out to be replaced by renewable energy sources? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Maybe the American president-elect Donald J. Trump should pay close attention to the “revelations” of this year’s COP22 climate conference held in Marrakech which shows that renewable are increasingly getting more economically viable and coal is on the way out because more and more developing countries are rejecting its use due to the harm it can do to the environment offsets any profit gained. Maybe president-elect Trump should offer America’s coal industry alternative jobs instead. 

International Energy Agency representatives and industry analysts during this year’s COP22 Conference in Marrakech have shown figures that, if current trends continue, in the subsequent decades, renewable could become more economically viable than coal and crude oil due to China and scores of African states choosing to adopt renewable energy infrastructures for power generation. The only fossil fuel that could remain economically viable in the subsequent decades is natural gas – that is if the environmental downsides of fracking are solved. 

Ever since China has adopted renewable energy sources big time since 2005 and the country’s increased impetus to adopt renewable energy sources in the wake of the air pollution threatening to spoil the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the current economies of scale has driven coal and crude oil less economically viable in comparison to large-scale wind turbine and solar power installations. Look like environmentalists around the world could get the most of what they want and, sadly, America’s coal industry could die an ignominious death from an environmentalists’ perspective.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kigali Climate Conference: Monumental Deal to Save the Planet?

Even though many see it as a “complicated addendum” to the Montreal Protocol, will the recent Kigali climate conference save our planet from global warming HFCs?

By: Ringo Bones 

Delegates meeting in Kigali, Rwanda resulted in more than 150 countries reaching a deal described as “monumental” to phase out refrigerant gases that are making global warming worse. The delegates accepted a complex amendment to the Montreal protocol that will see richer countries cut back their HFC use from 2019. Some developing countries like China, nations in Latin America and island states will freeze their use of HFCs from 2024. Other developing countries, specifically India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states will not freeze their use until 2028 while China, the world’s largest producer of HFCs, will not actually start to cut their production or use until 2029. But given that HFCs is a thousand times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide generated from power plants that exacerbate global warming – why the delay in curbing their commercial use in order to limit global temperature rise? 

The Montreal Protocol was originally an international treaty designed to protect the environment against the impact of harmful substances – specifically CFC based refrigerant that causes ozone layer depletion. It was created back in 1987 following the discovery of a large hole in the Earth’s ozone layer over Antarctica during the 1970s. The Montreal protocol came into force in 1989 with the main aim of ending the use of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. During the 1990s, CFCs were rapidly replaced by a less ozone depleting class of chemical refrigerants called hydrofluorocarbons of HFCs. A new amendment of the Montreal Protocol was proposed around 1998 after scientists discovered that, while HFCs pose no threat to the ozone layer, HFCs contribute to global warming by trapping heat radiating off the Earth into space. The Montreal Protocol has undergone a number of revisions since it was introduced and has been successful in eliminating more than 100 fluorinated gases. 

If realized, the latest Montreal Protocol amendment reached in the recent Kigali Climate Conference on a staged HFC phase out would eventually result in reducing projected global temperature rise by 0.5 degrees Celsius before the end of the 21st Century while the Paris Climate Agreement signed by over 190 countries last December would serve the bulk of reducing carbon dioxide emissions that would ultimately reduce global temperature rise below 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st Century. If realized, it would also reduce catastrophic sea level rise that would affect low-lying island states near the end of the 21st Century.  

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Plastic Bank: Reducing Poverty While Saving The Environment?

Despite of the conservative right-wing’s pessimism when it comes to saving the environment and reducing extreme poverty, can a “mere” social enterprise manage to do both? 
By: Ringo Bones 

Given their inability to provide a workable solution, the world’s conservative right-wing had been resorting to politics, religion and even sham science to deny the world’s most pressing environmental problems – i.e. climate change – since the mid 1990s by adopting the position that these problems are a “hoax” perpetuated by “bleeding-heart liberals”. Sadly, this also made it easy for right-wing conservatives to adopt the position that helping the world’s poorest citizens is a “Marxist-Leninist Socialist idea”. Fortunately, there are still sensible folks out there that are working hard to formulate a sensible solution to solve the pressing problems of extreme poverty and environmental degradation. 

Fortunately, David Katz, founder of The Plastic Bank has established a social enterprise whereby recycling plastic wastes is monetized to reduce poverty and halt any additional plastic that gets dumped in the world’s ocean that contributes to the ocean gyre plastic pollution. The scheme is fully compatible with established capitalism and free enterprise by establishing a system where impoverished people that collects plastic wastes can trade them to The Plastic Bank for goods and services. 

As a so-called social enterprise, The Plastic Bank makes money from discarded plastic wastes by recycling them and then selling them for a profit to their various customers. The Plastic Bank started in Haiti and, according to David Katz, it was a perfect place to test the concept because Haiti’s solid waste infrastructure is largely nonexistent and because of this, most current operations of The Plastic Bank are primarily located in countries and territories where solid waste collecting infrastructure is largely nonexistent. The idea for The Plastic Bank got started when David Katz got gravely concerned on the increasing amounts of plastic wastes that find their way into the world’s oceans. At present, about 8-million tons of plastic wastes find their way into our oceans every year.