Why Solar and Wind Are Thriving Despite Cheap Fossil Fuels

          

Wind turbines provide energy for the residents of Samso Island, a Danish island that gets all its power from renewable sources. PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREW HENDERSON, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Low oil prices are rattling stock markets, but investors remain bullish on solar, wind, and other clean energy. Here are three reasons why.

nationalgeographic.com - by Wendy Koch - January 22, 2016

The prolonged plunge in fossil fuel prices is rippling across the globe. Yet it’s barely put a dent in the booming market for clean energy, heralding perhaps a new era for wind and solar.

Oil prices of less than $30 a barrel—the lowest in 12 years—have shaken stock markets and ravaged the budgets of major producers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. Along with falling gas prices, they’ve slashed the profits of fossil fuel companies, which are delaying dozens of billion-dollar projects and laying off thousands of workers. . . .

. . . But solar, wind, and other clean energy? They’re expanding.

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How Could Paris Climate Talks Change Africa’s Future?

          

Pilanesburg National Park, three hours from Johannesburg in South Africa, has been ravaged by drought. Zebras roam the game reserve on November 12, 2015.  PHOTOGRAPH BY WENDY KOCH, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The UN meeting will focus on developed countries’ plans to curb global warming, but it could give Africa money to embrace clean energy.

nationalgeographic.com - by Wendy Koch - November 23, 2015

A landmark UN report says rising temperatures will “amplify existing stress on water availability” in Africa—a continent that’s contributed little to climate change but is reeling from its impacts. . . .

. . . Countries have pledged to cut their planet-warming emissions of greenhouse gases. Richer nations have also pledged $100 billion a year to help poorer ones adapt to climate change and adopt clean sources of energy.

“Africa could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of COP21,” UN’s Vincent Kitio said at National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge forum this month in Johannesburg on sub-Saharan Africa’s future.

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WHO Unveils Alarming Data on Air Pollution

submitted by George Hurlburt

          

Smog in central London in 2011. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

care2.com - by Lizabeth Paulat - January 24, 2016

New figures to be released from the World Health Organization show some incredibly alarming statistics on global pollution. The impact it has on health cannot be understated. According to the data it kills more people annually than HIV and Malaria combined. Yet the misery doesn’t stop at death. It also causes millions to suffer from chronic illnesses such as asthma and lung inflammation.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLES AND RESEARCH WITHIN THE LINKS BELOW:

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - Shock figures to reveal deadly toll of global air pollution

CLICK HERE - Nature - The contribution of outdoor air pollution sources to premature mortality on a global scale

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At Davos, U.N. Appeals For Final $1 Billion To Fight Ebola

             

Fabrice Coffrini via Getty Images

huffingtonpost.com - by Ben Hirschler

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 21 (Reuters) - United Nations agencies need a final $1 billion to fight West Africa's deadly Ebola epidemic as experts move to a new phase involving a massive detective operation to trace remaining cases, the U.N. Ebola chief said on Wednesday.

David Nabarro estimated that an overall total of $4 billion in new money, equivalent to all the aid committed so far, was needed by relief agencies and the worst affected countries themselves to end the epidemic and "help these countries to get back to the economic trajectory they had." 

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NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015

2015 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to a new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The record-breaking year continues a long-term warming trend — 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have now occurred since 2001. Credits: Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center

nasa.gov - January 20, 2016

Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much.

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Community Resilience Center - Sri Lanka

communityresiliencecenter.org

Community Resilience Center is a community-based organization in Sri Lanka with the aim of promoting community level resilience to disasters.

Vision

A safe world where people will live in love, dignity and opportunities for growth.

Mission

To engage, enlighten and empower communities to promote resilience.

Objectives

1.To promote continuous professional development of membership towards enhancing resilience.

2.To engage communities and all relevant stakeholders in an inclusive manner towards promotion of community resilience.

3.To promote the understanding and application of community resilience.

4.To develop, disseminate and evaluate tools and techniques to assess and enhance community resilience.

5.To innovate, implement and evaluate methods to improve community resilience.

(SEE ATTACHMENT BELOW FOR A REPORT ON COMMUNITY RESILIENCE CENTER ACTIVITIES)

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Study: Oceans Trapping Heat at Accelerating Rate

insidebayarea.com - by Seth Borenstein - January 18, 2016

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature Climate Change - Industrial-era global ocean heat uptake doubles in recent decades

WASHINGTON -- The amount of man-made heat energy absorbed by the seas has doubled since 1997, a study released Monday showed.

Scientists have long known that more than 90 percent of the heat energy from man-made global warming goes into the world's oceans instead of the ground.

And they've seen ocean heat content rise in recent years. But the new study, using ocean-observing data that goes back to the British research ship Challenger in the 1870s and including high-tech modern underwater monitors and computer models, tracked how much man-made heat has been buried in the oceans in the past 150 years.

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By 2050, There Will Be More Plastic than Fish in the World’s Oceans, Study Says

           

A September 2008 photo released by the Ocean Conservancy on March 10, 2009, shows a trash-covered beach in Manilla, Philippines. (Tamara Thoreson Pierce/Ocean Conservancy/AP)

CLICK HERE - REPORT - World Economic Forum - The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Independent study tallies 'true catch' of global fishing

washingtonpost.com - by Sarah Kaplan - January 20, 2016

There is a lot of plastic in the world’s oceans.

It coagulates into great floating “garbage patches” that cover large swaths of the Pacific. It washes up on urban beaches and remote islands, tossed about in the waves and transported across incredible distances before arriving, unwanted, back on land. It has wound up in the stomachs of more than half the world’s sea turtles and nearly all of its marine birds, studies say . . .

. . . But that quantity pales in comparison with the amount that the World Economic Forum expects will be floating into the oceans by the middle of the century.

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Failed EU Relocation Plan Leaves Refugees in Limbo

           

Aral Kakl (right), a Kurdish Iraqi journalist, his Syrian wife Shevin, his brother Rewan and some other refugees who have applied for the relocation programme, kill time in the cafeteria of their Athens hotel.  Photo: Nicola Zolin/IRIN

irinnews.org - by Andrew Connelly

ATHENS, 18 January 2016 (IRIN) - “Relocation does not work.”

With these words on Thursday, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos finally admitted that the bloc’s September agreement to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from the frontline states of Greece and Italy to other EU states over two years has been a dismal failure. After the Commission revealed recently that only 272 asylum seekers had been relocated in the past four months, few could deny it.

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Baby Born in Hawaii With Brain Damage Confirmed to Have Zika Infection

           

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at a lab of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Sao Paulo University. The species is known to carry Zika virus, which has been connected to birth defects. Credit Nelson Almeida/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

reuters.com - by Dan Whitcomb - January 16, 2016

A baby born with brain damage at a hospital in Oahu, Hawaii, was infected by the Zika virus, U.S. health officials confirmed on Saturday, apparently the first case of the mosquito-borne virus in a birth on U.S. soil.

The mother became ill with the Zika virus while living in Brazil in May 2015 and the baby was likely infected in the womb, Hawaiian state health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLES WITHIN THE LINKS BELOW:

CLICK HERE - The New York Times - Hawaii Baby With Brain Damage Is First U.S. Case Tied to Zika Virus

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Pregnant Women Shouldn't Travel To Countries With Zika Virus, CDC Says

NEUSON11 VIA GETTY IMAGES

The mosquito-borne illness may cause birth defects that include a small head and developmental problems.

CLICK HERE - CDC - Travel Health Notices

huffingtonpost.com - by Anna Almendrala - January 15, 2016

People traveling to Central America and South America, as well as some islands in the Caribbean, should take special precautions against mosquito bites because of an outbreak of Zika virus, a previously rare disease that may be linked to serious birth defects. Pregnant women should consider avoiding the region, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised.

The CDC on Friday issued a "Level 2" travel notice for Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, as well as the Caribbean islands Haiti and Martinique. A Level 2 notice means that Americans should "practice enhanced precautions" while on their trip and that, in this case, pregnant women should consider not going.

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A Billion in Pandemic Prevention Is Worth a Trillion in Cure

          

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers /Bloomberg

The world is warned to prepare now for health crises such as the Ebola outbreak, or pay a lot more later.

CLICK HERE - LINK TO REPORT AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION - The Neglected Dimension of Global Security - A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises 

bloomberg.com - by John Tozzi - January 13, 2016

The world needs a . . . transformation to prevent outbreaks of infectious disease that threaten security and economic stability, according to a report sponsored by several major foundations. Pandemics—epidemics that spread across the globe—could cost humanity $6 trillion in the 21st century, or $60 billion a year, the authors estimate. They argued for investing $4.5 billion a year—or 65 cents for every resident of the planet—to prepare.

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The Neglected Dimension of Global Security - A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises

nam.edu - January 13, 2016

CLICK HERE - National Academy of Medicine - Global Health Risk Framework - The Neglected Dimension of Global Security: A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises

CLICK HERE - REPORT - The Neglected Dimension of Global Security: A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises (144 page .PDF report)

The Global Health Risk Framework (GHRF) initiative will build on lessons from the current Ebola outbreak and other major outbreaks to develop a comprehensive framework for improving our response to future global public health threats. The Commission will rigorously analyze options for improving governance, finance, health system resilience, and research and development for global health security. To foster trust internationally with various levels of government, civil society, academia, and industry, the Commission intends to keep the framework from being influenced by politics or the interests of any one country or organization.

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WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak In West Africa Over After Liberia Found Free Of The Disease

submitted by George Hurlburt

         

Zoom Dosso / AFP / Getty Images

It’s been more than 42 days since the last case – although officials warn that it is likely to return.

CLICK HERE - WHO - Latest Ebola outbreak over in Liberia; West Africa is at zero, but new flare-ups are likely to occur

buzzfeed.com - by Tom Chivers - January 14, 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that Liberia is free of Ebola.

The west African country hasn’t seen a new case in 42 days. That’s the measure the WHO uses to determine whether an outbreak is still ongoing.

It means that, for the first time since December 2013, the whole of West Africa (and the world) is free of the disease.

It’s been the worst Ebola outbreak in history, killing at least 11,000 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

However, the WHO warns that new cases are likely.

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How Post-Ebola Syndrome is Making Life Difficult After the Dreaded Disease

submitted by Gavin Macgregor-Skinner

Al Jazeera America - (Tonight) Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 930pm EST 

Survivors of Ebola report strange symptoms as America Tonight examines how post-Ebola syndrome is making life difficult after the dreaded disease. (new, 30 minutes)

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW - Watch at 930pm EST on Thursday, Jan 14, 2016
http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight.html

 

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