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The Key to Running the World on Solar and Wind Power

Chart of energy density per energy type

Image: Chart of energy density per energy type

energytrendsinsider.com - April 30th, 2013 - Robert Rapier

Perhaps the biggest shortcoming of solar and wind power is their intermittency. In locations like Hawaii, where I live, wind and solar power are already competitive on price. My fossil-fuel supplied electricity typically costs above 40 cents a kilowatt-hour, and wind and solar power can compete with that. But since they can’t supply power that is available on demand (firm power) they must be backed up by power sources that can provide power when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

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Millions Face Starvation as World Warms, Say Scientists

      

Corn in the hands of a farmworker in South Africa. Photograph: Greatstock Photographic Library/Alamy

guardian.co.uk - by John Vidal - April 13, 2013

Millions of people could become destitute in Africa and Asia as staple foods more than double in price by 2050 as a result of extreme temperatures, floods and droughts that will transform the way the world farms.

As food experts gather at two major conferences to discuss how to feed the nine billion people expected to be alive in 2050, leading scientists have told the Observer that food insecurity risks turning parts of Africa into permanent disaster areas. Rising temperatures will also have a drastic effect on access to basic foodstuffs, with potentially dire consequences for the poor.

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US National Climate Assessment
http://assessment.globalchange.gov/what-we-do/assessment/draft-report-information

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Dennis Meadows on 'The Limits to Growth and the Future of Humanity'

Dennis MeadowsImage: Dennis Meadows

carsoncenter.uni-muenchen.de - December 4th, 2012

2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of  The Limits to Growth. Not only has this book been  translated into more than 30 languages,  it has also sold more than 30 million copies, thus making it the highest selling environmental book in world history. The Limits to Growth unleashed a debate that has yet to end.

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The Grand Decade for Global Health: 1998–2008

chathamhouse.org - April 2013 - Jon Liden

The decade 1998-2008 was a period of rapid growth in the resources devoted to global health problems and of unprecedented innovation in the way these resources were delivered.
 
The innovation was principally manifested in new forms of partnerships which included in their governance the private sector, foundations and civil society alongside governments.

This institutional innovation was driven forward by dynamic new leadership at the World Health Organization under Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland and by political leaders in the G8 countries seeking to give globalization a human face, who were themselves heavily influenced by the moral and political force of AIDS activists and protestors.

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Can You Have Too Much Solar Energy?

A worker mounts solar panels on the roof of a  barn in Binsham, Germany, in March 2012. (photo: Michaela Rehle/Reuters)

Image: A worker mounts solar panels on the roof of a  barn in Binsham, Germany, in March 2012. (photo: Michaela Rehle/Reuters)

slate.com - March 29th, 2013 - Andrew Curry

It’s been a long, dark winter in Germany. In fact, there hasn’t been this little sun since people started tracking such things back in the early 1950s. Easter is around the corner, and the streets of Berlin are still covered in ice and snow. But spring will come, and when the snow finally melts, it will reveal the glossy black sheen of photovoltaic solar panels glinting from the North Sea to the Bavarian Alps.

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US Rice Imports Contain Harmful Levels of Lead

      

The researchers found the highest levels of lead in rice from China and Taiwan

submitted by Lloyd Helferty

bbc.co.uk - by Jason Palmer - April 10, 2013

Analysis of commercially available rice imported into the US has revealed it contains levels of lead far higher than regulations suggest are safe.

Some samples exceeded the "provisional total tolerable intake" (PTTI) set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by a factor of 120.

The report at the American Chemical Society Meeting adds to the already well-known issue of arsenic in rice.

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Journal of Environmental Science and Health (Part B)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22099990

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More and More Voices Speaking Out Against Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam

Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam to Displace Thousands in Amazon    www.abcnews.go.com - June 18, 2012 - Tiffany Hagler-Geard

Belo Monte Dam will be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric project and will displace up to 20,000 people while diverting the Xingu River and flooding as much as 230 square miles of rainforest in Brazil. The Brazilian government says residents forced to relocate will be compensated and that most will benefit from the relocation. Opponents of the dam are skeptical of this claim.

While environmentalists and indigenous groups oppose the dam, many Brazilians support the project. The Brazilian Amazon, home to 60 percent of the world’s largest forest and 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen, remains threatened by the rapid development of the country. The area is currently populated by over 20 million people and is challenged by deforestation, agriculture, mining, a governmental dam-building spree, illegal land speculation including the occupation of forest reserves and indigenous land and other issues.

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UN - World Food Programme - Hunger Map

                                           (TO ENLARGE MAP - CLICK ON MAP IMAGE BELOW)

      

The map shows the prevalence of undernourishment in the total population as of 2010 - 2012. The indicator is an estimate of the percentage of the population having access to an amount of energy from food insufficient to maintain a healthy life.

http://www.wfp.org/hunger/downloadmap

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National Climate Assessment Series

      

submitted by Stella Tarnay

securityandsustainabilityforum.org - by Kristina Byrne - January 31, 2013

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OCHA - Japan: An Earthquake, a Tsunami – and a Handwritten Newspaper

      

A rescue worker uses a two-way radio transceiver during heavy snowfall at a factory area devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, northern Japan, 16 March 2011. Credit: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON

unocha.org - March 15, 2013

When one of the most technologically sophisticated countries in the world is hit by a triple emergency, should we count on web platforms and social media to deliver lifesaving information? Not necessarily, according to a new report by Internews into the communications aspects of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan.

. . . instead of their usual high-tech operation, local newspaper reporters went back a few decades in time and produced a handwritten newspaper.

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Internews Report - Connecting the Last Mile: The Role of Communications in the Great East Japan Earthquake
http://www.internews.org/research-publications/connecting-last-mile-role-communications-great-east-japan-earthquake

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