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EU Elections: Is The EU United To Fight Climate Change?
Populist parties look set to make big gains in the European elections – but think twice about voting for them if you care about climate and the environment Brexit This week, the people of 28 countries will vote to elect their representatives in the European Parliament for the next five years. One of them, the UK, has been brought to the ballot box kicking and screaming, having voted to leave the European Union and its directly elected assembly almost three years ago. EU elections and Climate Change trouble This is the world’s second biggest democratic vote – coincidentally, results from the biggest, the Indian general election, are also expected this week. Current opinion polls suggest a wave of anger will propel populist, anti-establishment parties to victory across swathes of Europe. Right-wing populists may even become the largest bloc in the parliament. That is a problem for the planet. Some of these parties hold views on climate change that make Donald Trump look like a well-informed moderate, as a report published earlier this year by German environmental think-tank Adelphi makes plain. France’s National Rally, for example, supports solar and wind energy fabriqué en France as a way of reducing foreign energy imports, but rejects international action on climate change, denouncing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change as a “communist project”. Germany’s AfD says governments suppress the truth that carbon dioxide is a fertiliser, not a pollutant. A UKIP MEP wrote a European Parliament opinion paper blaming climate change on cosmic rays, while Austria’s FPÖ says “solar flares and the warming of the sun” are responsible. Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit party currently riding high in UK polls, has repeatedly questioned the basis of climate science. Voters may have many reasons for voting for these parties – but those who care about the planet should take pause.  EU needs to be united on climate The measures needed to combat climate change affect competition in a single market, so much of what European countries are doing – creating the world’s biggest carbon trading scheme, setting binding new targets for energy efficiency – is coordinated at EU level. To meet Paris climate-change agreement targets , the European Commission, which proposes EU legislation, has more ambitious plans: carbon neutrality by 2050 and measures taking up to 40 per cent of the new EU budget. All these need the European Parliament’s approval. With two out of three current populist MEPs regularly voting against climate and energy resolutions, votes for populists in the new parliament could significantly dilute the EU’s efforts to mitigate climate change. Populists have gained traction in recent years by appealing emotionally to people who feel disregarded by remote, powerful elites. They are thriving now because liberal elites have ignored alarm over threats to identity and the stability of established communities from immigration, globalisation, economic injustice and changing social norms. Extinction Rebellion and the Remote elite Climate scientists and protest movements such as Extinction Rebellion may still feel they are fighting the good fight against an elite that has until recently been reluctant to hear their concerns. But this is not how they are perceived by a large chunk of their fellow citizens. Scientists are a remote elite if ever there was one, with allegiance to their own strange facts rather than common identities. Activists’ advocacy of higher environmental taxes and restrictions on consumption is viewed as harmful for ordinary people: witness France’s gilets jaunes protests, originally spawned by opposition to higher fuel taxes. {youtube} Climate change is a threat worldwide  Climate change is a threat to stability for everyone, and arguments for action should emphasise just that. These should acknowledge the power not just of facts, but emotions, and focus not just on economic costs and burdens, but on less tangible impacts on shared identity and heritage – the threat to much-loved landscapes, for example. Crucially, they need to show how international efforts to limit emissions can have positive effects on communities, preserving cherished traditions as well as bringing change. There is no umbilical link between populism and anti-climate positions. Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz, for example, is one of three Euro-populist parties to fully accept climate science. Fanned by other winds in society, populism is not going to burn out soon – but we can work together to ensure it doesn’t consume climate action , too. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Populist parties look set to make big gains in the European elections – but think twice about voting for them if you care about climate and the environment Brexit This week, the people of 28 countries will vote to elect their representatives in the European Parliament for the next five years. One of them, the UK, has been brought to the ballot box kicking and screaming, having voted to leave the European Union and its directly elected assembly almost three years ago. EU elections and Climate Change trouble This is the world’s second biggest democratic vote – coincidentally, results from the biggest, the Indian general election, are also expected this week. Current opinion polls suggest a wave of anger will propel populist, anti-establishment parties to victory across swathes of Europe. Right-wing populists may even become the largest bloc in the parliament. That is a problem for the planet. Some of these parties hold views on climate change that make Donald Trump look like a well-informed moderate, as a report published earlier this year by German environmental think-tank Adelphi makes plain. France’s National Rally, for example, supports solar and wind energy fabriqué en France as a way of reducing foreign energy imports, but rejects international action on climate change, denouncing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change as a “communist project”. Germany’s AfD says governments suppress the truth that carbon dioxide is a fertiliser, not a pollutant. A UKIP MEP wrote a European Parliament opinion paper blaming climate change on cosmic rays, while Austria’s FPÖ says “solar flares and the warming of the sun” are responsible. Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit party currently riding high in UK polls, has repeatedly questioned the basis of climate science. Voters may have many reasons for voting for these parties – but those who care about the planet should take pause.  EU needs to be united on climate The measures needed to combat climate change affect competition in a single market, so much of what European countries are doing – creating the world’s biggest carbon trading scheme, setting binding new targets for energy efficiency – is coordinated at EU level. To meet Paris climate-change agreement targets , the European Commission, which proposes EU legislation, has more ambitious plans: carbon neutrality by 2050 and measures taking up to 40 per cent of the new EU budget. All these need the European Parliament’s approval. With two out of three current populist MEPs regularly voting against climate and energy resolutions, votes for populists in the new parliament could significantly dilute the EU’s efforts to mitigate climate change. Populists have gained traction in recent years by appealing emotionally to people who feel disregarded by remote, powerful elites. They are thriving now because liberal elites have ignored alarm over threats to identity and the stability of established communities from immigration, globalisation, economic injustice and changing social norms. Extinction Rebellion and the Remote elite Climate scientists and protest movements such as Extinction Rebellion may still feel they are fighting the good fight against an elite that has until recently been reluctant to hear their concerns. But this is not how they are perceived by a large chunk of their fellow citizens. Scientists are a remote elite if ever there was one, with allegiance to their own strange facts rather than common identities. Activists’ advocacy of higher environmental taxes and restrictions on consumption is viewed as harmful for ordinary people: witness France’s gilets jaunes protests, originally spawned by opposition to higher fuel taxes. {youtube} Climate change is a threat worldwide  Climate change is a threat to stability for everyone, and arguments for action should emphasise just that. These should acknowledge the power not just of facts, but emotions, and focus not just on economic costs and burdens, but on less tangible impacts on shared identity and heritage – the threat to much-loved landscapes, for example. Crucially, they need to show how international efforts to limit emissions can have positive effects on communities, preserving cherished traditions as well as bringing change. There is no umbilical link between populism and anti-climate positions. Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz, for example, is one of three Euro-populist parties to fully accept climate science. Fanned by other winds in society, populism is not going to burn out soon – but we can work together to ensure it doesn’t consume climate action , too. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
EU Elections: Is The EU United To Fight Climate Change?
Climate Change: New Renewables Capacity Stalled Globally 2018
'Deeply worrying': New global renewables capacity stalled in 2018. International Energy Agency data prompts fresh concerns about world's ability to meet long-term climate change goals. The amount of new renewable power capacity added around the world stalled in 2018, according to new figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which today described the latest data as a "deeply worrying" development in the battle against climate change . Global growth in renewable power capacity failed to increase Last year's performance marks the first time since 2001 that global growth in renewable power capacity failed to increase year on year, with new solar PV, wind, hydro, bioenergy and other clean electricity projects delivering around 180GW of net capacity in total - the same level as 2017 - the IEA said. Renewables capacity additions need to grow by over 300GW on average every year between 2018 and 2030 in order to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the IEA explained, yet last year's additions worldwide represented only around 60 per cent of that annual goal. In recent years investment in clean energy sources has slipped, but until now the slowdown in spending has been more than offset by plummeting solar and wind energy costs. However, last year marks the first time that capacity deployments also stalled as policy changes and economic concerns in key markets took their toll. IEA executive director Fatih Birol said the latest data showed the world was still not doing enough to scale up renewables and clean power sources. It follows recent confirmation that energy-related CO2 emissions rose again in 2018, climbing 1.7 per cent to an historic high of 33 gigatonnes, despite renewable power generation capacity having grown by seven per cent overall. Governments need to act quickly to correct this situation "The world cannot afford to press 'pause' on the expansion of renewables and governments need to act quickly to correct this situation and enable a faster flow of new projects," Birol said. "Thanks to rapidly declining costs, the competitiveness of renewables is no longer heavily tied to financial incentives. What they mainly need are stable policies supported by a long-term vision but also a focus on integrating renewables into power systems in a cost-effective and optimal way. Stop-and-go policies are particularly harmful to markets and jobs." Since 2015, exponential growth in solar power worldwide has been compensating for slower increases in wind and hydropower, according to the IEA. However, solar PV capacity growth slowed in 2018, falling short of expectations by adding just 97GW, largely due to changes in China's PV incentives designed to curb costs and address grid integration challenges. The slowdown in China's solar market was compensated somewhat by stable growth in the US, as well as increased solar PV deployment in Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and Africa. But the IEA also revealed that relatively low wind power capacity additions in Europe and India also contributed to the overall stalling in renewables growth last year. In the EU, the second largest market worldwide for clean energy, renewables capacity additions fell slightly overall, due to the slow down in wind energy deployment, which more than offset gains for the solar PV sector. Birol said the 2018 data was "deeply worrying", but he also stressed that falling clean tech costs, maturing grid technologies, and established policy successes demonstrated that a recovery in renewables deployment was possible. "Smart and determined policies can get renewable capacity back on an upward trend," he said. The IEA's analysis differs slightly from that of leading clean energy analyst Bloomberg NEF (BNEF), which earlier this year reported that renewables capacity additions had ticked upwards last year. BNEF's methodology differs from the IEA's which only includes known projects, whereas BNEF's includes a buffer for additional laggard projects that can be confirmed well after the year is complete. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy
'Deeply worrying': New global renewables capacity stalled in 2018. International Energy Agency data prompts fresh concerns about world's ability to meet long-term climate change goals. The amount of new renewable power capacity added around the world stalled in 2018, according to new figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which today described the latest data as a "deeply worrying" development in the battle against climate change . Global growth in renewable power capacity failed to increase Last year's performance marks the first time since 2001 that global growth in renewable power capacity failed to increase year on year, with new solar PV, wind, hydro, bioenergy and other clean electricity projects delivering around 180GW of net capacity in total - the same level as 2017 - the IEA said. Renewables capacity additions need to grow by over 300GW on average every year between 2018 and 2030 in order to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the IEA explained, yet last year's additions worldwide represented only around 60 per cent of that annual goal. In recent years investment in clean energy sources has slipped, but until now the slowdown in spending has been more than offset by plummeting solar and wind energy costs. However, last year marks the first time that capacity deployments also stalled as policy changes and economic concerns in key markets took their toll. IEA executive director Fatih Birol said the latest data showed the world was still not doing enough to scale up renewables and clean power sources. It follows recent confirmation that energy-related CO2 emissions rose again in 2018, climbing 1.7 per cent to an historic high of 33 gigatonnes, despite renewable power generation capacity having grown by seven per cent overall. Governments need to act quickly to correct this situation "The world cannot afford to press 'pause' on the expansion of renewables and governments need to act quickly to correct this situation and enable a faster flow of new projects," Birol said. "Thanks to rapidly declining costs, the competitiveness of renewables is no longer heavily tied to financial incentives. What they mainly need are stable policies supported by a long-term vision but also a focus on integrating renewables into power systems in a cost-effective and optimal way. Stop-and-go policies are particularly harmful to markets and jobs." Since 2015, exponential growth in solar power worldwide has been compensating for slower increases in wind and hydropower, according to the IEA. However, solar PV capacity growth slowed in 2018, falling short of expectations by adding just 97GW, largely due to changes in China's PV incentives designed to curb costs and address grid integration challenges. The slowdown in China's solar market was compensated somewhat by stable growth in the US, as well as increased solar PV deployment in Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and Africa. But the IEA also revealed that relatively low wind power capacity additions in Europe and India also contributed to the overall stalling in renewables growth last year. In the EU, the second largest market worldwide for clean energy, renewables capacity additions fell slightly overall, due to the slow down in wind energy deployment, which more than offset gains for the solar PV sector. Birol said the 2018 data was "deeply worrying", but he also stressed that falling clean tech costs, maturing grid technologies, and established policy successes demonstrated that a recovery in renewables deployment was possible. "Smart and determined policies can get renewable capacity back on an upward trend," he said. The IEA's analysis differs slightly from that of leading clean energy analyst Bloomberg NEF (BNEF), which earlier this year reported that renewables capacity additions had ticked upwards last year. BNEF's methodology differs from the IEA's which only includes known projects, whereas BNEF's includes a buffer for additional laggard projects that can be confirmed well after the year is complete. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy
Climate Change: New Renewables Capacity Stalled Globally 2018
Cyclone Fani,  Climate Change And The Mount Everest: India
Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades, made landfall near Puri, India, around 8 a.m. on Friday, lashing the coast with winds gusting at more than 120 miles per hour. Tens of millions of people are potentially in the cyclone’s path, and more than a million were evacuated this week from coastal areas. Large sections of coastal India and Bangladesh are threatened by storm surges, and heavy rains could cause rivers to breach. The fast-moving storm struck the coast as the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. Several hours after it made landfall, the cyclone was downgraded to a “very severe” storm from an “extremely severe” storm. All times are Indian Standard Time. Source: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System Reports of destruction, and possibly deaths A relief official for the state of Odisha, where the cyclone made landfall, said Friday afternoon that many trees had been uprooted and houses destroyed, and that there had been unverified reports of deaths. The official, Pravat Ranjan Mohapatra, said the situation would be clearer in a few hours. NDTV, a major Indian news network, reported that three people had been killed. Along India’s coast, streets were largely empty as residents heeded warnings from the India Meteorological Department to stay indoors. “In Bhubaneswar, we are all indoors,” said Jagdish Chandra Rout, head of communications for Gopalpur Port Limited. “Nobody is visible on the road, nothing is moving on the road.” Mr. Rout said he felt the area was much better prepared for the storm than in 1999, when more than 10,000 people died in a cyclone. “We feel that yes, we may have some difficult days ahead, but no panic,” he said. “We are prepared, we know what is coming when and where.” In Puri, winds and rainfall were increasing, said Bishwajit Panda, a 19-year-old college student. “We fear that our house should not be damaged, our shop should not be damaged, some tree should not fall on house, electric pole should not fall on shop,” he said. “We live in fear. During the days of cyclone it is the life of fear we live.” Mass evacuations in India and Bangladesh The Indian authorities evacuated more than a million people from parts of the nation’s eastern coast this week. Using television, loudspeakers, radio and text messages to warn residents about the dangers of the storm, India’s disaster relief agency and meteorological department warned of the “total destruction” to thatched huts in some districts, major damage to roads, the uprooting of power poles and the potential danger from flying objects. Cyclone Fani is forecast to drop as much as eight inches of rain on northern parts of the state of Andhra Pradesh and on the state of Odisha. Schools have been closed, fishermen asked to keep off the water and tourists urged to leave the city of Puri, a Hindu pilgrimage site where an elaborate, centuries-old temple could be at risk of severe damage. Airports in the cyclone’s path were closing and hundreds of trains have been canceled. Along Odisha’s coast, more than 850 storm shelters have been opened, said Bishnupada Sethi, the state’s special relief commissioner. Each can hold about 1,000 people, along with livestock. “People are reluctant to leave their homes, though, which is problematic,” Mr. Sethi said on Thursday. In Bangladesh, as the storm approached on Friday the government said it had evacuated half a million coastal residents to shelters by 11 a.m. The government there, similarly, suspended fishing operations, closed ports and ordered an early harvest of rice crops. Cyclone’s effects felt on Mount Everest The cyclone was affecting the weather as far away as Mount Everest, where climbers on their way to the summit turned around after conditions worsened. At Camp 2, 21,000 feet above sea level, climbers reported an increase in cloud cover and moisture, and high winds tore apart tents. Many climbers from higher up the mountain began making their way down to Base Camp, at 17,600 feet above sea level. Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs banned helicopters from flying in high mountain areas through the end of the weekend and issued a warning to mountaineers and trekkers on the mountain. More than 1,000 people, including climbers, high-altitude guides, support staff and government officials, have reached Everest Base Camp since the spring climbing season began in March. A history of devastating cyclones The Bay of Bengal has experienced many deadly tropical cyclones, the result of warm air and water temperatures producing storms that strike the large populations along the coast. Officials said Cyclone Fani could be the most powerful to strike India since 1999, when a cyclone lingered for more than a day over India’s eastern coast, flooding villages, blowing apart houses and ultimately killing more than 10,000 people. Since that storm, the authorities in the region have significantly improved disaster preparation and response capabilities, strengthening coastal embankments and preparing evacuation routes, according to a World Bank report. Subsequent major storms have resulted in far fewer deaths. The state of Odisha was much better prepared for Cyclone Phailin in 2013. About one million people were evacuated, more than twice as many as in 1999, and the storm killed 45 people, the World Bank said. “All of these efforts bore fruit when Cyclone Phailin made landfall,” the report said. Cyclone Fani could still bring severe dangers to the region, however, threatening flooding in inland river basins, depending on its path, in the Ganges River delta region, where the Indian city of Kolkata is home to millions. In 2007, Cyclone Sidr killed at least 3,000 people in nearby Bangladesh, and in 1991, a cyclone killed at least 1,000 there and left millions homeless. In 1970, the so-called Great Bhola Cyclone drove a tidal wave into what was then East Pakistan, in a disaster that killed anestimated 300,000 people, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather & Climate Extremes Archive. “Unfortunately this region, especially the delta area, has produced the highest death tolls from tropical cyclones on the planet,” said Mr. Herndon, the storm researcher. “Many people live in regions barely above sea level.” And Cyclone Fani has already proved “one of the most intense in the past 20 years,” according to Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization. Climate Change and Cyclone Fani Between Gopalpur and Chandbali, to the south of Puri around 3rd May afternoon with maximum sustained wind of speed 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph What relation, if any, does Cyclone Fani have to global climate change? How do we expect it to change in the future? What causes and powers a cyclone and how will global warming affect it? A fully formed cyclone is so powerful that it can span hundreds of kilometres in diameter, extend 15 km into the atmosphere and travel up to 10,000 km before dissipating. An “average” cyclone consumes millions of MW of power during its lifetime of a few days, far exceeding the entire world’s electricity generation capacity during that time. Where could cyclones possibly draw such immense power from and what implications does global warming have for this power source, and hence, for future cyclone intensities? All tropical cyclones form over warm ocean waters and eventually dissipate after making landfall. While details include favourable wind and humidity patterns, cyclone genesis and sustenance fundamentally draw their power from water evaporating from the ocean, which gets cut off once cyclones progress over land. Cyclones vacuum up the evaporating water, which delivers huge amounts of heat energy and moisture that keeps the storm raging. The collected moisture is transported over vast distances and dumped in intense spurts of rainfall over land. The warmer the water, the faster the rate of evaporation, which in turn results in more severe storms. While the relationship is more complex in the real world, this essentially explains the role of global warming in intensifying storms. Cyclones will intensity in a warming world Warmer ocean waters contain more energy and sustain a greater rate of evaporation from their surface. Aligned with what we would expect from how storms gather power, climate model simulations project that the frequency of the most severe cyclones will increase with global warming. Severe cyclones in the Bay of Bengal have, in fact, increased by about 26 percent in the previous century, as they have in the rest of the world. Powerful cyclones today also intensify quicke r  than they did 30 years ago. Recent research on some of the most destructive hurricanes (another word for cyclones) in the Atlantic basin, like Katrina, Irma and Maria, found that they brought 5 – 10 percent greater rainfall than they would have in a pre-industrial world (cooler by “merely” 1°C than the present). Can Cyclone Fani be attributed to global warming ? Neither does every smoker develop lung cancer and nor can lung cancer in an individual patient be attributed with certainty to smoking. Yet it is beyond doubt that smoking increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer. Analogously, individual storms can rarely be attributed primarily to anthropogenic global warming. An additional problem with cyclone attribution is that historical data records on cyclones aren’t yet long enough to be statistically conclusive: we have  a database  of perhaps a few thousand cyclones from the past century, unlike millions of data points on lung cancer patients. For these reasons, it is still being debated in scientific circles how changes in frequency and intensity of cyclones observed so far can be attributed directly to anthropogenic global warming as against long-term periodic natural variations.  This map shows the tracks of all tropical cyclones which formed worldwide from 1985 to 2005. India’s east coast and Bangladesh are among the most active zones despite being much less so than the Atlantic and Pacific basins. Background image: NASA, Map: WPTC track map generator by Nilfanion Specific geographical and environmental factors make the Bay of Bengal a cyclone active basin regardless of anthropogenic global warming. To that extent, cyclones like Fani would form even in a counterfactual world without anthropogenic global warming. Yet, the basic physical concept of how cyclones are powered is clear and there is no scientific doubt that cyclones of greater intensity will become increasingly more common as our planet continues to warm. Therein lies a deeper lesson: climate change is usually not the genesis of a problem; it exacerbates existing problems. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades, made landfall near Puri, India, around 8 a.m. on Friday, lashing the coast with winds gusting at more than 120 miles per hour. Tens of millions of people are potentially in the cyclone’s path, and more than a million were evacuated this week from coastal areas. Large sections of coastal India and Bangladesh are threatened by storm surges, and heavy rains could cause rivers to breach. The fast-moving storm struck the coast as the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. Several hours after it made landfall, the cyclone was downgraded to a “very severe” storm from an “extremely severe” storm. All times are Indian Standard Time. Source: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System Reports of destruction, and possibly deaths A relief official for the state of Odisha, where the cyclone made landfall, said Friday afternoon that many trees had been uprooted and houses destroyed, and that there had been unverified reports of deaths. The official, Pravat Ranjan Mohapatra, said the situation would be clearer in a few hours. NDTV, a major Indian news network, reported that three people had been killed. Along India’s coast, streets were largely empty as residents heeded warnings from the India Meteorological Department to stay indoors. “In Bhubaneswar, we are all indoors,” said Jagdish Chandra Rout, head of communications for Gopalpur Port Limited. “Nobody is visible on the road, nothing is moving on the road.” Mr. Rout said he felt the area was much better prepared for the storm than in 1999, when more than 10,000 people died in a cyclone. “We feel that yes, we may have some difficult days ahead, but no panic,” he said. “We are prepared, we know what is coming when and where.” In Puri, winds and rainfall were increasing, said Bishwajit Panda, a 19-year-old college student. “We fear that our house should not be damaged, our shop should not be damaged, some tree should not fall on house, electric pole should not fall on shop,” he said. “We live in fear. During the days of cyclone it is the life of fear we live.” Mass evacuations in India and Bangladesh The Indian authorities evacuated more than a million people from parts of the nation’s eastern coast this week. Using television, loudspeakers, radio and text messages to warn residents about the dangers of the storm, India’s disaster relief agency and meteorological department warned of the “total destruction” to thatched huts in some districts, major damage to roads, the uprooting of power poles and the potential danger from flying objects. Cyclone Fani is forecast to drop as much as eight inches of rain on northern parts of the state of Andhra Pradesh and on the state of Odisha. Schools have been closed, fishermen asked to keep off the water and tourists urged to leave the city of Puri, a Hindu pilgrimage site where an elaborate, centuries-old temple could be at risk of severe damage. Airports in the cyclone’s path were closing and hundreds of trains have been canceled. Along Odisha’s coast, more than 850 storm shelters have been opened, said Bishnupada Sethi, the state’s special relief commissioner. Each can hold about 1,000 people, along with livestock. “People are reluctant to leave their homes, though, which is problematic,” Mr. Sethi said on Thursday. In Bangladesh, as the storm approached on Friday the government said it had evacuated half a million coastal residents to shelters by 11 a.m. The government there, similarly, suspended fishing operations, closed ports and ordered an early harvest of rice crops. Cyclone’s effects felt on Mount Everest The cyclone was affecting the weather as far away as Mount Everest, where climbers on their way to the summit turned around after conditions worsened. At Camp 2, 21,000 feet above sea level, climbers reported an increase in cloud cover and moisture, and high winds tore apart tents. Many climbers from higher up the mountain began making their way down to Base Camp, at 17,600 feet above sea level. Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs banned helicopters from flying in high mountain areas through the end of the weekend and issued a warning to mountaineers and trekkers on the mountain. More than 1,000 people, including climbers, high-altitude guides, support staff and government officials, have reached Everest Base Camp since the spring climbing season began in March. A history of devastating cyclones The Bay of Bengal has experienced many deadly tropical cyclones, the result of warm air and water temperatures producing storms that strike the large populations along the coast. Officials said Cyclone Fani could be the most powerful to strike India since 1999, when a cyclone lingered for more than a day over India’s eastern coast, flooding villages, blowing apart houses and ultimately killing more than 10,000 people. Since that storm, the authorities in the region have significantly improved disaster preparation and response capabilities, strengthening coastal embankments and preparing evacuation routes, according to a World Bank report. Subsequent major storms have resulted in far fewer deaths. The state of Odisha was much better prepared for Cyclone Phailin in 2013. About one million people were evacuated, more than twice as many as in 1999, and the storm killed 45 people, the World Bank said. “All of these efforts bore fruit when Cyclone Phailin made landfall,” the report said. Cyclone Fani could still bring severe dangers to the region, however, threatening flooding in inland river basins, depending on its path, in the Ganges River delta region, where the Indian city of Kolkata is home to millions. In 2007, Cyclone Sidr killed at least 3,000 people in nearby Bangladesh, and in 1991, a cyclone killed at least 1,000 there and left millions homeless. In 1970, the so-called Great Bhola Cyclone drove a tidal wave into what was then East Pakistan, in a disaster that killed anestimated 300,000 people, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather & Climate Extremes Archive. “Unfortunately this region, especially the delta area, has produced the highest death tolls from tropical cyclones on the planet,” said Mr. Herndon, the storm researcher. “Many people live in regions barely above sea level.” And Cyclone Fani has already proved “one of the most intense in the past 20 years,” according to Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization. Climate Change and Cyclone Fani Between Gopalpur and Chandbali, to the south of Puri around 3rd May afternoon with maximum sustained wind of speed 175-185 kmph gusting to 205 kmph What relation, if any, does Cyclone Fani have to global climate change? How do we expect it to change in the future? What causes and powers a cyclone and how will global warming affect it? A fully formed cyclone is so powerful that it can span hundreds of kilometres in diameter, extend 15 km into the atmosphere and travel up to 10,000 km before dissipating. An “average” cyclone consumes millions of MW of power during its lifetime of a few days, far exceeding the entire world’s electricity generation capacity during that time. Where could cyclones possibly draw such immense power from and what implications does global warming have for this power source, and hence, for future cyclone intensities? All tropical cyclones form over warm ocean waters and eventually dissipate after making landfall. While details include favourable wind and humidity patterns, cyclone genesis and sustenance fundamentally draw their power from water evaporating from the ocean, which gets cut off once cyclones progress over land. Cyclones vacuum up the evaporating water, which delivers huge amounts of heat energy and moisture that keeps the storm raging. The collected moisture is transported over vast distances and dumped in intense spurts of rainfall over land. The warmer the water, the faster the rate of evaporation, which in turn results in more severe storms. While the relationship is more complex in the real world, this essentially explains the role of global warming in intensifying storms. Cyclones will intensity in a warming world Warmer ocean waters contain more energy and sustain a greater rate of evaporation from their surface. Aligned with what we would expect from how storms gather power, climate model simulations project that the frequency of the most severe cyclones will increase with global warming. Severe cyclones in the Bay of Bengal have, in fact, increased by about 26 percent in the previous century, as they have in the rest of the world. Powerful cyclones today also intensify quicke r  than they did 30 years ago. Recent research on some of the most destructive hurricanes (another word for cyclones) in the Atlantic basin, like Katrina, Irma and Maria, found that they brought 5 – 10 percent greater rainfall than they would have in a pre-industrial world (cooler by “merely” 1°C than the present). Can Cyclone Fani be attributed to global warming ? Neither does every smoker develop lung cancer and nor can lung cancer in an individual patient be attributed with certainty to smoking. Yet it is beyond doubt that smoking increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer. Analogously, individual storms can rarely be attributed primarily to anthropogenic global warming. An additional problem with cyclone attribution is that historical data records on cyclones aren’t yet long enough to be statistically conclusive: we have  a database  of perhaps a few thousand cyclones from the past century, unlike millions of data points on lung cancer patients. For these reasons, it is still being debated in scientific circles how changes in frequency and intensity of cyclones observed so far can be attributed directly to anthropogenic global warming as against long-term periodic natural variations.  This map shows the tracks of all tropical cyclones which formed worldwide from 1985 to 2005. India’s east coast and Bangladesh are among the most active zones despite being much less so than the Atlantic and Pacific basins. Background image: NASA, Map: WPTC track map generator by Nilfanion Specific geographical and environmental factors make the Bay of Bengal a cyclone active basin regardless of anthropogenic global warming. To that extent, cyclones like Fani would form even in a counterfactual world without anthropogenic global warming. Yet, the basic physical concept of how cyclones are powered is clear and there is no scientific doubt that cyclones of greater intensity will become increasingly more common as our planet continues to warm. Therein lies a deeper lesson: climate change is usually not the genesis of a problem; it exacerbates existing problems. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/climate
Cyclone Fani, Climate Change And The Mount Everest: India
Cycling Innovation From Germany: Bicycle, Cargo- or e-Bike
Whether you expect it or not, some of the nicest bicycle innovations come from Germany. We came across a striking concept: a model that can be used not only as a city bike but also as a transport bike. No doubt about it: cycling is healthy and good for the environment. But if you have something to transport, you quickly choose the car. This polluting behaviour could quickly become a thing of the past. David Maurer, a design student in Offenbach, is currently working on a flexible solution that combines the advantages of an agile city bike with those of a practical cargo bike. His convincing concept is an everyday bike that transforms into a Cargo bike in seconds and with just a simple wrist movement. Convercycle also as e-bike Photo by: ©Convercycle The trick: The rear wheel can be easily unfolded by lifting the rear carrier slightly. The result is an integrated loading basket with a volume of about two large water containers and a permissible weight of 60 kilograms, designed to accommodate groceries and child seats. Maurer also plans to add individual modifications to his bikes, such as lockable boxes and 250-watt e-bike variants – which comes close to a range of about 60 kilometres. The prototype of the Convercycle, which weighs about 18 kilograms, is currently in the test phase. Together with a bicycle frame builder from Frankfurt and an engineering company from Munich, it is currently being prepared for the market. At the same time, since January 2019, an Indiegogo campaign has been running to realize the production and distribution of the Convercycle. The Offenbach-based product designer is supported by “ idea meets market “, a provider of recycling services specializing in technology transfer. Futuristic concept The Convercycle team hopes for a big response to the campaign. The variable bike meets the ever-increasing demand for modern and environmentally friendly transport for the city. And with an ordinary bike , transport is still cumbersome. Backpack, basket and trailer make the ride an unsafe wiggle. And if you’re not a professional courier, you certainly don’t have a real transport bike as an alternative in your garage – if only because you just can’t have everything. Moreover, such a transport model does not fit on a bike carrier and is also not suitable to take with you on the train. The innovative concept from Offenbach solves all this. Convercycle technical details The 1.85-meter long Citybike in the unfolded version is 2.55 meters long as a cargo model. The wheel is available in two sizes with easily rolling 28 inch Schwalbe G-One tires. The other features: while the electric version needs to be equipped with a Shimano Nexus Inter, the electric version comes with a Shimano Alfine 8-speed gearbox. In addition, the Cityflitzer SM-RT64 is equipped with Shimano disc brakes. Once the prototypes have been tested, the Convercycle will undergo a TÜV test and look for traffic approval. By the way: Those who are fast and financially support the future company can still get one of the limited first versions – expected delivery date August 2019 – at cost price.   Photo above: Product designer David Maurer during a test drive ©Convercycle . https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/cycling
Whether you expect it or not, some of the nicest bicycle innovations come from Germany. We came across a striking concept: a model that can be used not only as a city bike but also as a transport bike. No doubt about it: cycling is healthy and good for the environment. But if you have something to transport, you quickly choose the car. This polluting behaviour could quickly become a thing of the past. David Maurer, a design student in Offenbach, is currently working on a flexible solution that combines the advantages of an agile city bike with those of a practical cargo bike. His convincing concept is an everyday bike that transforms into a Cargo bike in seconds and with just a simple wrist movement. Convercycle also as e-bike Photo by: ©Convercycle The trick: The rear wheel can be easily unfolded by lifting the rear carrier slightly. The result is an integrated loading basket with a volume of about two large water containers and a permissible weight of 60 kilograms, designed to accommodate groceries and child seats. Maurer also plans to add individual modifications to his bikes, such as lockable boxes and 250-watt e-bike variants – which comes close to a range of about 60 kilometres. The prototype of the Convercycle, which weighs about 18 kilograms, is currently in the test phase. Together with a bicycle frame builder from Frankfurt and an engineering company from Munich, it is currently being prepared for the market. At the same time, since January 2019, an Indiegogo campaign has been running to realize the production and distribution of the Convercycle. The Offenbach-based product designer is supported by “ idea meets market “, a provider of recycling services specializing in technology transfer. Futuristic concept The Convercycle team hopes for a big response to the campaign. The variable bike meets the ever-increasing demand for modern and environmentally friendly transport for the city. And with an ordinary bike , transport is still cumbersome. Backpack, basket and trailer make the ride an unsafe wiggle. And if you’re not a professional courier, you certainly don’t have a real transport bike as an alternative in your garage – if only because you just can’t have everything. Moreover, such a transport model does not fit on a bike carrier and is also not suitable to take with you on the train. The innovative concept from Offenbach solves all this. Convercycle technical details The 1.85-meter long Citybike in the unfolded version is 2.55 meters long as a cargo model. The wheel is available in two sizes with easily rolling 28 inch Schwalbe G-One tires. The other features: while the electric version needs to be equipped with a Shimano Nexus Inter, the electric version comes with a Shimano Alfine 8-speed gearbox. In addition, the Cityflitzer SM-RT64 is equipped with Shimano disc brakes. Once the prototypes have been tested, the Convercycle will undergo a TÜV test and look for traffic approval. By the way: Those who are fast and financially support the future company can still get one of the limited first versions – expected delivery date August 2019 – at cost price.   Photo above: Product designer David Maurer during a test drive ©Convercycle . https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/transportation/cycling
Cycling Innovation From Germany: Bicycle, Cargo- or e-Bike
Wiebe Wakker
A Dutch man who has driven 89,000km from Amsterdam to Adelaide in a small electric car says he is proving to Australians that electric vehicles are a viable alternative. Since March 2016, adventurer Wiebe Wakker has driven across 33 countries from Europe to the Middle East to south-east Asia and finally to Australia in a 2009 Volkswagen Golf, converted to electric. Over the past seven months he has continued the journey around Australia from Darwin down to Perth, across the Nullarbor to Newcastle, up to Queensland, and back down to Adelaide. After Adelaide, Wakker will finish once he reaches Melbourne and then Sydney. Electric cars and charging stations in Australia “I expected that by this time I would be exhausted and starving but I’m still having a lot of fun,” he told Guardian Australia from Adelaide. “I’m actually a little bit sad that I’m coming to the end of the journey.” By driving such extreme distances, Wakker said he hoped to bust Australian anxieties over the lack of charging stations and how far electric cars can travel. Australia has one of the slowest uptakes of electric vehicles in the developed world. In 2016, only 0.1% of all new car sales were electric, compared to 29% in Norway, 6% in Wakker’s native Netherlands and 1.5% in China and the UK. “In Australia the infrastructure for electric cars is still getting off the ground, but it’s already possible to drive all around Australia using charging stations,” he said. A lot of people say they are just waiting for the price to come down. Others say the electric car is just not viable for Australia because the distances are so big, which is a bit weird I think. The average daily commute is just 20km or so. A Volkswagen electric car from 2009? “My car is from 2009 and it has a limited range of 200km. Most cars that are available on the market now do 300km to 500km, so if you buy a current car in Australia you won’t have this problem. You can cover the whole country.” Wakker’s car, which he calls “Blue Bandit”, is a first-generation electric car that can be charged on domestic power sockets. “When I started this journey I thought I would mainly charge at people’s homes and whenever I get a charging station that will be a bonus,” he said. He said those with newer electric cars would find the journey even easier. Charging electric cars in Australia The Royal Automobile Club has built a chain of charges in WA, and the Queensland state government has built a 2,000km superhighway of chargers from Cairns to Coolangatta, which Wakker used. “Some states are supportive of installing infrastructure – Queensland has been doing very well. But it’s a pity that the (federal) government doesn’t really support it,” he said. “Most western countries where electric cars are taking off, the government is giving a lot of incentives for electric cars.” In Norway electric cars are exempt from import taxes and the 25% VAT. Users are exempt from tolls and sometimes get free parking and the right to bus lanes. Despite his positive experience, Wakker said he found the journey between Glendambo to Coober Pedy in South Australia a challenge in his 2009 car. “It was 255km – I knew I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “So I checked on my app to see how the wind was going, I saw that 12 hours later I would have a tailwind. I waited and drove very slow to save energy – 60km. I did 235km, which was my record. Just 20km from Coober Pedy I ran out, I put on a lot of sunscreen and waited for someone who could give me a tow. Someone came by within 10 minutes and said yes.” By: Naaman Zhou. Cover photo: Wiebbe Wakker https://www.whatsorb.com/category/automotive
A Dutch man who has driven 89,000km from Amsterdam to Adelaide in a small electric car says he is proving to Australians that electric vehicles are a viable alternative. Since March 2016, adventurer Wiebe Wakker has driven across 33 countries from Europe to the Middle East to south-east Asia and finally to Australia in a 2009 Volkswagen Golf, converted to electric. Over the past seven months he has continued the journey around Australia from Darwin down to Perth, across the Nullarbor to Newcastle, up to Queensland, and back down to Adelaide. After Adelaide, Wakker will finish once he reaches Melbourne and then Sydney. Electric cars and charging stations in Australia “I expected that by this time I would be exhausted and starving but I’m still having a lot of fun,” he told Guardian Australia from Adelaide. “I’m actually a little bit sad that I’m coming to the end of the journey.” By driving such extreme distances, Wakker said he hoped to bust Australian anxieties over the lack of charging stations and how far electric cars can travel. Australia has one of the slowest uptakes of electric vehicles in the developed world. In 2016, only 0.1% of all new car sales were electric, compared to 29% in Norway, 6% in Wakker’s native Netherlands and 1.5% in China and the UK. “In Australia the infrastructure for electric cars is still getting off the ground, but it’s already possible to drive all around Australia using charging stations,” he said. A lot of people say they are just waiting for the price to come down. Others say the electric car is just not viable for Australia because the distances are so big, which is a bit weird I think. The average daily commute is just 20km or so. A Volkswagen electric car from 2009? “My car is from 2009 and it has a limited range of 200km. Most cars that are available on the market now do 300km to 500km, so if you buy a current car in Australia you won’t have this problem. You can cover the whole country.” Wakker’s car, which he calls “Blue Bandit”, is a first-generation electric car that can be charged on domestic power sockets. “When I started this journey I thought I would mainly charge at people’s homes and whenever I get a charging station that will be a bonus,” he said. He said those with newer electric cars would find the journey even easier. Charging electric cars in Australia The Royal Automobile Club has built a chain of charges in WA, and the Queensland state government has built a 2,000km superhighway of chargers from Cairns to Coolangatta, which Wakker used. “Some states are supportive of installing infrastructure – Queensland has been doing very well. But it’s a pity that the (federal) government doesn’t really support it,” he said. “Most western countries where electric cars are taking off, the government is giving a lot of incentives for electric cars.” In Norway electric cars are exempt from import taxes and the 25% VAT. Users are exempt from tolls and sometimes get free parking and the right to bus lanes. Despite his positive experience, Wakker said he found the journey between Glendambo to Coober Pedy in South Australia a challenge in his 2009 car. “It was 255km – I knew I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “So I checked on my app to see how the wind was going, I saw that 12 hours later I would have a tailwind. I waited and drove very slow to save energy – 60km. I did 235km, which was my record. Just 20km from Coober Pedy I ran out, I put on a lot of sunscreen and waited for someone who could give me a tow. Someone came by within 10 minutes and said yes.” By: Naaman Zhou. Cover photo: Wiebbe Wakker https://www.whatsorb.com/category/automotive
Wiebe Wakker's Epic Drive Proves Electric Cars Are Viable
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