UNITED NATIONS - The untapped riches in the world’s oceans are estimated at nearly 24 trillion dollars – the size of the world’s leading economies, according to a new report released Thursday by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Describing the oceans as economic powerhouses, the study warns that the resources in the high seas are rapidly eroding through over-exploitation, misuse and climate change.
“The ocean feeds us, employs us, and supports our health and well-being, yet we are allowing it to collapse before our eyes. If everyday stories of the ocean’s failing health don’t inspire our leaders, perhaps a hard economic analysis will." —Marco Lambertini of WWF“The ocean rivals the wealth of the world’s richest countries, but it is being allowed to sink to the depths of a failed economy,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International.
“As responsible shareholders, we cannot seriously expect to keep recklessly extracting the ocean’s valuable assets without investing in its future.”
If compared to the world’s top 10 economies, the ocean would rank seventh with an annual value of goods and services of 2.5 trillion dollars, according to the study,
Titled Reviving the Ocean Economy, the report was produced by WWF in association with The Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
After nine years of intense negotiations, a U.N. Working Group, comprising all 193 member states, agreed last January to convene an inter-governmental conference aimed at drafting a legally binding treaty to conserve marine life and genetic resources in what is now considered mostly lawless high seas.
Dr. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s former Permanent Representative who co-chaired the Working Group, told IPS the oceans are the next frontier for exploitation by large corporations, especially those seeking to develop lucrative pharmaceuticals from living and non-living organisms which exist in large quantities in the high seas.
“The technically advanced countries, which are already deploying research vessels in the oceans and some of which are currently developing products, including valuable pharmaceuticals, based on biological material extracted from the high seas, were resistant to the idea of regulating the exploitation of such material and sharing the benefits,” he said.
According to the United Nations, the high seas is the ocean beyond any country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) – amounting to 64 percent of the ocean – and the ocean seabed that lies beyond the continental shelf of any country.
These areas make up nearly 50 percent of the surface of the Earth and include some of the most environmentally important, critically threatened and least protected ecosystems on the planet.
The proposed international treaty, described as a High Seas Biodiversity Agreement, is expected to address “the inadequate, highly fragmented and poorly implemented legal and institutional framework that is currently failing to protect the high seas – and therefore the entire global ocean – from the multiple threats they face in the 21st century.”
According to the WWF report, more than two-thirds of the annual value of the ocean relies on healthy conditions to maintain its annual economic output.
Collapsing fisheries, mangrove deforestation as well as disappearing corals and seagrass are threatening the marine economic engine that secures lives and livelihoods around the world.
The report also warns that the ocean is changing more rapidly than at any other point in millions of years.
At the same time, growth in human population and reliance on the sea makes restoring the ocean economy and its core assets a matter of global urgency.
The study specifically singles out climate change as a leading cause of the ocean’s failing health.
At the current rate of global warming, coral reefs that provide food, jobs and storm protection to several hundred million people will disappear completely by 2050.
More than just warming waters, climate change is inducing increased ocean acidity that will take hundreds of human generations for the ocean to repair.
Over-exploitation is another major cause for the ocean’s decline, with 90 per cent of global fish stocks either over-exploited or fully exploited, according to the study.
The Pacific bluefin tuna population alone has dropped by 96 per cent from unfished levels, according to the WWF report.
“It is not too late to reverse the troubling trends and ensure a healthy ocean that benefits people, business and nature,” the report says, while proposing an eight-point action plan that would restore ocean resources to their full potential.
Among the most time-critical solutions presented in the report are embedding ocean recovery throughout the U.N.’s proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), taking global action on climate change and making good on strong commitments to protect coastal and marine areas.
“The ocean feeds us, employs us, and supports our health and well-being, yet we are allowing it to collapse before our eyes. If everyday stories of the ocean’s failing health don’t inspire our leaders, perhaps a hard economic analysis will. We have serious work to do to protect the ocean starting with real global commitments on climate and sustainable development,” said Lambertini. More
Global banking giant HSBC has warned investors of the growing risk of their fossil fuel assets becoming useless, in a private report seen by Newsweek.
In the report, titled ‘Stranded assets: what next?’, analysts warn of the growing likelihood that fossil fuel companies may become “economically non-viable”, as people move away from carbon energy and fossil fuels are left in the ground.
Energy innovation measures, including ‘disruptive’ clean technologies and the EU’s success in decoupling energy use from economic growth, are cited as factors that could in the long term cause fossil fuel assets to become devalued, as green energy becomes cheaper and more easily available.
More stringent government regulation on carbon emissions, especially in the run-up to the Paris climate conference in December this year whose aim is to establish a legally binding global climate commitment, are also cited as longer term risks to investments in traditional energy.
However the analysts also warn that in the short term, low energy prices caused by oversupply should be factored into portfolios.
“The speed of the collapse in energy prices over the past three quarters has taken the fossil fuel industry by surprise, in our view,” reads the report. “As rigs are dismantled, capex is cut and operating assets quickly become unprofitable, stranding risks have become much more urgent for investors to address, including shorter term investors.”
The paper proposes three options for investors - divesting completely from fossil fuels; shedding the highest risk investments such as coal and oil; or staying the course and engaging with fossil fuel companies as an investor. The report argues that investors who stay in fossil fuels “may one day be seen to be late movers, on ‘the wrong side of history’”.
The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human activity has contributed to global warming, especially the burning of fossil fuels. In 2009 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change outlined a target of keeping global warming from reaching 2C above pre-industrialisation levels - the point at which climate change will become catastrophic and irreversible.
Other financial institutions have warned of the risk of investment in fossil fuels in recent years. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, commissioned an inquiry into the dangers of stranded assets in October 2014, and has publicly stated the majority of known fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground.
One company looking to influence investors and fossil fuel companies directly is Carbon Tracker, a UK based non-profit organisation which is releasing a blueprint this week for adapting fossil fuel companies to a lower carbon world.
“It’s incredibly important that a mainstream financial institution is effectively taking our narrative on the carbon bubble, analysing it and then producing a research report that reinforces our conclusions,” says Anthony Hobley, Climate Tracker’s CEO. “But they haven’t gone far enough which is setting out the roadmap, the transition for these [fossil fuel] companies over the next two to three decades.”
“I think we are at the beginning of a very important reframing of this issue, and of climate risk being understood by the mainstream financial markets,” he adds. More
Going to work these days is always a bit of a thrill for me—often more than I care for. It means crossing a 15,000 foot (4,570 m) pass over the Bolivian Andes and snaking down a muddy one lane road carved into the face of immense cliffs. The Most Dangerous Road in the World was the title of an old National Geographic article…
World’s Largest Solar Machine
Actually I’m entering the world’s biggest solar energy machine-the Amazon basin. Towering glacier-topped 20,000 foot (6,100 m) mountains are clearly visible from our tropical water power demonstration site. This mountainous east-facing wall so thoroughly captures the Amazon moisture that the western side-the Atacama desert-is the driest place in the world. Sometimes rain only falls there a few times during an entire lifetime.
But on this side, it’s just the opposite. Uncounted streams and waterfalls abound, some falling hundreds of feet directly onto the roadway! About 80 people die yearly on this short section of road, since it is very narrow and slippery. Vehicles that slip off the road can simply disappear into dense vegetation a thousand feet (300 m) below. It’s incredible to think that this is the only road into a tropical part of Bolivia that’s the size of Texas.
It’s a relief to arrive in the lovely 5,500 foot (1676 m) high town of Coroico, near our demo site. Green hillsides are covered with coffee, citrus, and bananas. This also happens to be the home of Bolivia’s traditional coca leaf production, so the area is much affected by the U.S. “War on Drugs.”
Campo Nuevo - Meeting People’s Needs
Our family-sized appropriate technology organization, Campo Nuevo, was started to better the lives of Bolivia’s rural poor. We teach them how to use their local natural resources for energy. We show them how easy it is to employ the abundant small local sources of water power to improve their lives. This can help make it possible for them to remain on their land and in their own communities.
We are working with Aymara speaking native Americans, one of the largest and most intact indigenous cultures in the Western Hemisphere. Notable for having withstood the Incan conquest, and later the Spaniards, the Aymaras are now succumbing to the pressures of modern global economics. Like rural people all over the “third world,” they are being forced to relocate simply to survive. They usually migrate to a desolate l3,000 foot (3,960 m) suburb of La Paz, in order to compete for unskilled, low paying, and often temporary jobs. More
Underwater munitions pollute the marine environment with toxic chemicals. We have learned that there is a "need to clean" both chemical and conventional weapons based on potential human health impacts, as well as environmental implications through depleting fish stocks (CHEMSEA Findings Report 2013, Search and Assessment of Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons and Porter, JW, Barton J and Torres 2011, Ecological, Radiological and Toxicological Effects of Naval Bombardment on Coral Reefs of Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico). Underwater Munitions are "Point Source Emitters of Pollution". This means that in most cases, if we remove the source: we remove the problem. Off-the-shelf-technology developed by private sector, oil and gas industry, and military's unmanned systems programs, already exists to detect, map, recover and dispose of underwater munitions and the toxic waste they create. More
CREA is an association founded in March 2014 by advocates for the Cayman renewable energy industry who wish to encourage the development of the industry and build greater public awareness of the benefits of renewable energy.
Our mission is to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable living through advocacy, education, and demonstration, by bringing together providers, educators, contractors, installers, consumers and policy makers to foster the development and growth of Cayman’s renewable energy industry.
The Board will work with government, ERA, CUC and private industry to build awareness of the importance of clean energy, seize the opportunity for new job creation and economic growth, provide a resource for government in consulting on policy and issues as it relates to clean energy.
Five primary committees have been formed to carry out the work of the association.
Membership and Sponsorship. Founder members will be augmented by a membership drive over the next six months to include renewable energy providers and all those companies working in design, construction and related industries as well as individuals. Sponsorship will be sought from corporations who wish to be associate with our mission.
Standards. Members who are renewable energy providers will be required to adhere to a strict code of practice giving consumers a quality kite mark.
Technical. Experts will be tasked with keeping members updated on international developments.
Education. Will be responsible for creating ongoing internal and external education programs.
Marketing is charged with building awareness of CREA and its activities and communicating the benefits of renewable energy to private industry and to consumers. An immediate goal is the development of a comprehensive website (crea-cayman.com) and a Face book page has already been created. More
In conjunction with the one-day symposium “Living in the Anthropocene: Prospects for Climate, Economics, Health, and Security,” the Smithsonian has released the following statement on climate change:
Rapid and long-lasting climate change is a topic of growing concern as the world looks to the future. Scientists, engineers and planners are seeking to understand the impact of new climate patterns, working to prepare our cities against the perils of rising storms and anticipating threats to our food, water supplies and national security. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the global climate is warming as a result of increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases generated by human activities. A pressing need exists for information that will improve our understanding of climate trends, determine the causes of the changes that are occurring and decrease the risks posed to humans and nature.
Climate change is not new to the Smithsonian—our scholars have investigated the effects of climate change on natural systems for more than 160 years. We look at processes that occurred millions of years ago alongside developments taking place in today’s climate system.
The Smithsonian responds to climate change in four ways: by increasing knowledge of the human and natural environment through research; by making our findings available to the public; by protecting the Institution’s core asset, the national collections; and by operating our facilities and programs in a sustainable manner.
Research underlies all that we do. Scholars use the Smithsonian’s unparalleled collection of more than 138 million objects and specimens, together with our global network of marine and terrestrial monitoring stations, to examine climate change through multiple lenses. Smithsonian research scientists use satellite- and place-based sensors to study the changing composition of air, water and soil. They study climate history at geological and archaeological field sites around the world. Finally, they excel at baseline studies carried out over decades, which are recognized as essential to tracking the long-term effects of climate change.
The 500 Smithsonian scientists working around the world see the impact of a warming planet each day in the course of their diverse studies. A sample of our investigations includes anthropologists learning from the Native people of Alaska, who see warming as a threat to their 4,000-year-old culture; marine biologists tracking the impacts of climate change on delicate corals in tropical waters; and coastal ecologists investigating the many ways climate change is affecting the Chesapeake Bay.
The dissemination of knowledge gained through research is a public responsibility of the Smithsonian. Our scientists continually communicate with the scholarly community through publications and academic interactions. At the same time, the Smithsonian’s unique combination of museums and interconnected array of traveling exhibitions, publications, media and Web-based tools provide platforms to reach hundreds of millions of people each year across the world. Our goal is to explain in clear and objective terms the causes and effects of climate change as documented in our research and the research of our colleagues.
The Smithsonian has assembled collections of scientific specimens unsurpassed anywhere else in the world. These collections provide invaluable documentation of cultures and global biodiversity for scientists, scholars and the public. Extreme weather, rising sea levels and storm surges pose significant threats to the museums and research centers that house these collections, many of them located on low-lying land. Our charge is to protect, now and far into the future, this irreplaceable resource from the impacts of climate change and other hazards.
We are always striving to operate in ways that minimize the Smithsonian’s environmental footprint, meeting Institutional goals to decrease the use of potable water and fossil fuels, reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and increase use of renewable energy. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is set to be the “greenest” Smithsonian museum yet, designed to achieve a LEED Gold rating, and the new Mathias Laboratory building at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is on track to receive LEED Platinum certification.
The Smithsonian will continue, as it has for more than a century and a half, to produce basic scientific information about climate change and to explore the cultural and historical significance of these changes. The urgency of climate change requires that we boost and expand our efforts to increase public knowledge and that we inspire others through education and by example. We live in what has come to be called the Anthropocene, or “The Age of Humans.” The Smithsonian is committed to helping our society make the wise choices needed to ensure that future generations inherit a diverse world that sustains our natural environments and our cultures for centuries to come. More
Notice Of Intent To Finalize The Terms Of Reference For The Proposed Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Project
Request For Comments And Notice Of Public Meeting
The Environmental Assessment Board (EAB) is providing Notice to the Public of the publication of the Draft Te r m s of Reference (Toll) for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a proposed Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) Project on the north shore of Grand Cayman. The public is invited to review and comment on the To R which has been developed in collaboration with the EAB, which includes representatives from the Department of Environment, Planning Authority. Port Authority, and the Electricity Regulatory Authority.
The project Proponent. OTEC international. LLC (OTI) is undertaking an EIA for its proposed phased installation of 25 megawatts (MWe) of power. The Initial phase would be a 6.25Mwe ﬂoating power platform (FPP). The result of the ElA will be an Environmental Statement (ES) which will help to inform the decision-making process.
Your input will be considered in the ﬁnalization of the ToR document which is available online at www.doe.ky or hard copies can be reviewed at the following locations:
1. Government Administration Building. 133 Elgin Avenue, George Town
2. George Town Public Library. 68 Edward Street
3. North Side Post Ofﬁce. 896 North Side Road
Comments on the draft TOR may be submitted:
1) In writing during the public meeting.
2) Electronically via e-mail to email@example.com
3) Mailed to Department of Environment, P.0. Box 10202. Grand Cayman, KY1-1002
4) Hand delivered, in writing, to Department of Environment, Environmental Centre, 580 North Sound Road, George Town , Grand Cayman.
A public meeting will be held on Tuesday 23 September 2014 at the North Side Civic
Centre to provide an opportunity for OTI and the EIA Consultant to outline the project and to invite comments and questions from the Public on the draft ToR. Representatives from OTI, the EIA Consultant and the EAB will be available to provide information and receive comments concerning the ToR . The presentation will commence at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a question and answer session at 8:00 p.m.
The period for written comments on the draft ToR opens on Friday 12 September for duration of 21 days and will officially close at midnight on Friday 3 October 2014. Download PDF
Gore’s “Turning Point”
Eight years after Al Gore wrote a book and made a movie to impress upon us the “planetary emergency of global warming” (his subtitle for An Inconvenient Truth), he wrote an article with a more optimistic feel- ing in the 18 June 2014 issue of Rolling Stone. He begins “The Turning Point: New Hope for Climate” as follows:
In the struggle to solve the climate crisis, a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place. The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail. The only question is how quickly we can accelerate and com- plete the transition to a low-carbon civilization.
The “surprising – even shocking – good news” is “our ability to convert sunshine into usable energy . . . much cheaper far more rapidly than anyone had predicted,” Gore writes: the cost of photovoltaic electricity is competitive with that from other sources in at least 79 countries, and the 43% decrease in cost of wind- generated electricity since 2009 has made it cheaper than coal-generated electricity. By 2020 more than 80% of world population will live where photovoltaic electricity is competi- tive with other sources.
As evidence of this “largely unnoticed shift,” he notes that Germany now generates 37% of its electricity from wind and solar, a percentage expected to reach 50% by 2020, and that nine of ten European coal and gas plants are losing money. Worldwide, capacity for 17 gi- gawatts of solar electricity was installed in 2010, for 39 in 2003, with expectations of 55 in 2014. China claims it will have a capacity of 70 solar gigawatts by 2017. (A gigawatt is the power generating capacity of a standard electric power plant.)
Gore states that in the U.S. 166 coal-fired plants have closed or announced closings in the last 4.5 years, and 183 proposed coal-fired plants have been canceled since 2005. He acknowledges that some of this shift from coal is to natural gas obtained by hydrofracturing (“fracking”) but focuses on the emergence of “on-site and grid battery storage and microgrids,” noting that the Edison Electric Institute (the U.S. utility trade group) has labeled this trend as the “largest near-term threat” to the present elec- tric utility system. He likens this threat to that posed by cell phones to the landline telephone system. He cites Citigroup’s recognition of the decreased cost of solar and wind electricity and battery storage (long seen as a barrier to intermittent energy from renewable). In addition, he notes a reduction of 49% in energy intensity (energy in- put per dollar output in gross domestic product) since 1980.
Gore observes that the Koch brothers have led the fight against rooftop solar electricity and for keeping the present fossil-fueled electric plants, one of their arguments being that net metering allows producers of solar electricity to benefit from the grid without paying for it. Al- though Gore neglects to mention that in net metering the utility pays the generator only the wholesale price for the surplus generation, he does note that solar electricity gen- eration has the advantage of peaking with electricity de- mand, thereby saving utilities from having to install new peak generation capacity (a point also made by keynoter Perez at the kickoff to develop the solar lessons for School Power Naturally, reported in our Winter 2003 issue).
Gore likens global warming to a fever for planet Earth and notes that the presently-gathering El Niño is expected to result in a pronounced global temperature increase. (Coverage in our Winter 2010 issue of a talk to the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers on 15 February 2010 by Judith Lean of the Naval Research Laboratory attributes this to the phase of the 22-year solar cycle.) He correlates the de- struction from Supertyphoon Haiyan and Superstorm Sandy with greater surface water temperature (5.4oF for the former, 9oF for the latter). He notes that higher water temperatures also mean higher sea level and disruption of water supplies that depend on snowmelt. And he adds that even more severe catastrophes are in the offing, like the irreversible collapse of a portion of the West Antarc- tic ice sheet. In addition to heightened sea level, warmer climate also means an atmosphere capable of holding more water vapor and delivering more severe storms, as have been seen in Pensacola (FL), and Nashville (TN). At the same time, global warming will exacerbate the dryness of the drier parts of the Earth through greater evaporation of what little water there is in the ground. Gore also observes that climate change brings concern to the military for both the safety of its bases and the new types of world conflict it will have to deal with.
Gore concedes that these many “knock-on consequences of the climate crisis” are enough to cause anyone to despair. But, as he writes in his opening paragraph, “we will have to take care to guard against despair,” lest we become deterred from the action we must pursue. Though there be light at the end of the tunnel, he points out that we are in the tunnel. Among the things he says we need are “a price on carbon in our markets” and “green banks” to finance “green” projects.
“Damage has been done, and the period of consequences will continue for some time to come, but there is still time to avoid the catastrophes that most threaten our future.”
Though U.S. greenhouse gas emissions had decreased from 2008 to 2012, due to recovery from the recession, they increased 2.4% in 2013. Gore calls for the U.S. to match the European Union’s commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 40% by 2030.
Gore’s concluding reasons for optimism are that “Rapid technological advancements in renewable energy are stranding carbon investments; grassroots movements are building opposition to the holding of such assets; and new legal restrictions on collateral flows of pollution . . . are further reducing the value of coal, tar sands, and oil and gas assets.” “Damage has been done,” he adds, “and the period of consequences will continue for some time to come, but there is still time to avoid the catastrophes that most threaten our future.”
Climate War Room – Sunday 3rd. August 2014
I have today changed the Cayman Institute's name to the Climate War Room.
Having collaborated with Sir Richard Branson's Carbon War Room on their Ten Island Challenge, which is a major initiative to mitigate climate change through cutting down the global carbon output, I have realized that a similar initiative is needed to to raise awareness of the necessity for a global war on climate change rather than just carbon output.
For more input on the reality of the situation a good place to start would be Makiko Sato & James Hansen'swebsite where they ask 'What Path is the Real World Following'? Jim Hansen was the former director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies who resigned because the United States Government would not let him speak out on climate change. Assessing ‘‘Dangerous Climate Change'' makes worrying reading.
The world needs to take climate change, or as James Lovelock prefers to call it 'global heating' very seriously. Dr. Lovelock is the founder of the Gaia theory and on of the great thinkers of this century, his Cirriculum Vitae is very interesting and worth reading. Mary Midgley wrote on James Lovelock, published in the New Statesman on 14 July 2003.“Lovelock is an independent scientist. Though fanatically accurate over details, he never isolates those details from a wider, more demanding vision of their background. He thinks big. Preferring, as Darwin did, to work outside the tramlines of an institution, he has supported himself since 1963 through inventions and consultancies.”
We need to take the issue very seriously as a rapidly warming climate will change life as we know it. As Jim Hansen has tried to make us aware our children and grandchildren will effectively living on a different and not very nice planet.
I implore you to research and read up on this subject. Speak out to your friends and neighbors and contact your political representatives and make your views known to them.
Nicholas Robson – Grand Cayman – Cayman Islands
The Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission (PUC), unlike the Cayman Islands Electrical Regulatory Authority (ERA) in dealing with Caribbean Utilities company Ltd (CUC), has sent a strong message to Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) on Tuesday April 29th 2014, saying the company is not moving fast enough to lower utility rates and connect more photovoltaic systems into the grid. Backed by governor Neil Abercrombie, the commission laid out an action plan on what the goals should be for the utility company.
The PUC wants HECO to implement plans that will reduce energy costs and be more proactive to emerging integration challenges. HECO is also ordered to improve the process to interconnect photovoltaic systems and embrace customer demand response programs.
“It is now incumbent upon the Hawaiian Electric Companies to use this road map diligently and promptly to move forward,” said commissioner Lorraine Akiba of the Public Utilities Commission.
Hawaii residents have complained about [and] continue to pay some of the highest utility rates in the nation, a source of frustration for customers. Along with not being able to connect their PV systems.
“The commission recognizes the inability to interconnect is a major source of customer frustration and has to be dealt with promptly,” said PUC commissioner Michael Champley.
Critics like Blue Planet Foundation, a group that promotes clean energy, say it doesn’t have to be that way.
In the Cayman Islands, Nicholas Robson, Director-General of the Cayman Institute concurs, saying that 'in my opinion the ERA does not appear to be regulating in the best interests of the people of the Cayman Islands. The continued social and commercial impacts of high energy prices are and will continue to have a negative effect on the Cayman Islands. If these islands want to remain competitive as a tourist destination and as a financial centre the cost of doing business must be reduced. Rising electrical prices also impinge on the price of water. The Water Authority should be investigating installing their own solar generation as is being done in the eastern Caribbean of Bequia in the Grenadines. http://bit.ly/1qhFc2V
“The technology is out there to enable everyone to plug into the grid and that’s just one of the frustrating pieces to this,” said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation.
That frustration has forced the PUC to criticize HECO’s planning, saying that after review, the commission finds that HECO did not sufficiently and meaningfully address the identified principal issues, such as reasonable costs of rate impacts. The PUC said estimates were flawed and unreliable. More
The government of the Seychelles has recently introduced a new solar energy policy. The policy, which can be download below, is the most outstanding energy policy that I have read in in my decade of working in energy policy. All Small Island Developing States (SIDS) would be well advised to review this policy and ask themselves how it may benefit their country.
Island states, and indeed all states, have to plan for the near, mediun and long-term when it comes not only to energy, but also to social issues, economics and climate change. These three issues are very much connected and without long range planning states are setting themselves up for failure. More
Proposed solar plant for the Cayman Isands
Caledonian Financial services spent nearly a year transforming their gravel parking lot into Cayman's largest solar farm. The solar carpark has been generating electricity since mid-January, it was officially unveiled at a ceremony Thursday (13 March) night.
“Every minute where the sun is shining, on average, we make 50 cents worth of electricity,” said Caledonian CEO Barry McQuain, “That doesn’t sound like a lot but over the course of a year that adds up to more than $100,000.”
The solar carpark has been generating electricity since mid-January. It was officially unveiled at a ceremony Thursday (13 March) night.
Some 520 photovoltaic panels produce about half the energy Caledonian uses. The solar farm will pay for itself in 5 to 6 years, and has a life span of more than 20.
Caledonian CFO Steven Sokohl breaks it down in banking terms.
“We look at it this way, it’s basically as a bank, we’re giving a loan at 16-17% interest, so what’s not to like about that?” quipped Mr. Sokohl.
Minister of Infrastructure Hon. Kurt Tibbetts applauded Caledonian’s efforts to go green, and urged others to follow their lead. He told the assembled crowd incentives are available to any other business entity or individual who seeks to join the green revolution. More
Seychelles Grid Connected Rooftop Photovoltaic Systems
The Seychelles, like many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is almost 100% reliant on imported oil for energy needs, which is a significant economic and budgetary cost, and is the single largest contributor of greenhouse gases in the country (based on emissions during the shipping process and in the burning of fuel to produce electricity). Given that Seychelles is a tropical country receiving large amounts of sunshine, with an average 6.9 hours of sunshine per day, there is great potential to replace at least some of the current oil-generated (and polluting) electricity with solar energy systems. One opportunity with high economic, financial and environmental viability is the implementation of rooftop grid-connected PV systems. Current barriers to a more widespread utilization of PV systems in the Seychelles include market barriers institutional and regulartory barriers, and technical barriers.
The objective of the project is to increase the use of PV systems as a sustainable means of generating electricity, thereby significantly reducing reliance on fossil fuel, through pilot projects for rooftop PV systems on all of the main and selected smaller islands, of the Seychelles. The identified barriers to the deployment, diffusion and transfer of solar PV systems will be addressed through the following project components: a) establishing a strategic policy and legal framework, b) strengthening technology support and delivery systems, and c) creating pilot PV projects.
Could Little Cayman become 100% fossil fuel free? One social scientist believes the smallest of the Cayman Islands is the perfect candidate to become completely reliant on renewable energy.
Nicholas Robson attended Sir Richard Branson’s recent energy summit in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The billionaire entrepreneur’s company ‘The Carbon War Room’ wants to take 10 regional countries off the fossil fuel map. Mr. Robson thinks perhaps government should start with Little Cayman “because it would help sell it. It is already a green island for visitors, it would be completely off of fossil fuel and make it more saleable.”
Environment Minister Hon. Wayne Panton and Finance Minister Hon. Marco Archer also attended the energy summit in the BVI. They will now discuss their findings with their elected colleagues. More
Government discusses green plan for Cayman
Cayman’s days of fossil fuel could be nearing an end if government becomes convinced it can be weaned off the fossil fuel fix. Environment Minister Hon. Wayne Panton and Finance Minister Hon. Marco Archer recently returned from entrepreneur billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s energy summit in the British Virgin Islands.
They will now take their experience to caucus to decide whether the Cayman Islands will be one of 10 caribbean countries to become 100 percent fossil fuel free.
Social scientist Nicholas Robson says he hopes government considers signing up. “Carbon War Room for this exercise approximately has $400 million for funding. This is not funding Carbon War Room is giving out. This is funding through World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank and other funding agencies. They all want to work with regional islands on such an important project, which will fund itself because of the reduction in energy costs,” he said.
Ministers Panton and Archer sent Cayman 27 a joint statement:
“We attended the Renewable Energy conference and the Ten Island Challenge put on by the Carbon War Room and hosted by Sir Richard Branson. Firstly we would like to thank Sir Richard for being such a gracious host and his commitment to such an important issue. We are also thankful to the government of the British Virgin Islands for looking after us the way they did.
The event featured some very useful and stimulating discussions regarding phased conversions to renewable energy production for both the national grid and for distributed production which may feed into the national grid, Much of the discussions featured the various technologies, financing the same and the relative advantages and disadvantages of each type of technology. Some groups discussed discussed the implementation of renewable energy technology on a project basis while others did utility scale implementation.
It was clear from discussions that our cost of electricity is on the lower range of those found in neighbouring islands but it is nevertheless important for our country to embrace renewable energy as it has the potential to lower the cost of living and doing business, provide new industries and opportunities for economic diversification, growth and job creation, significantly improve our balance of payments (by reducing our eliminating the outflow of a hundred million dollars plus to pay for fossil fuel). It goes without saying that this will involve significant environmental benefits and be an important contributor to climate change initiatives as well.
The renewable energy initiative is undoubtedly a potential win win situation and fits within the policy of this Government to lessen, minimise and eventually eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels for energy production and perhaps even transportation in the country. The benefits will be as outlined above and the technologies that can deliver this includes solar, wind power and ocean thermal energy conversion. There are examples of other Caribbean islands making great strides and while the use of renewables including solar and wind power is currently in development for the country this government intends to take the steps to advance the introduction of renewable energy initiatives to deliver the noted benefits to the country.” More
The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit & Expo
Co-located with the Islands Innovation Summit & Showcase/ Pacific Defense Energy Summit & Showcase
September 15-17, 2014
Honolulu Convention Center, Honolulu, HI
The event is the preeminent meeting place for international leaders and energy experts at the forefront of the clean energy movement. Securing energy independence and developing a clean energy industry that promotes the vitality of our planet are two reasons why it is critical to reaffirm already established partnerships and build new ones throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The summit will provide a forum for the high-level global networking necessary to advance this emerging clean energy culture.
'Call for Papers' Submission deadlines:
Panel Proposals - Due March 28th
Islands Innovation Challenge & Defense Energy Challenge - Due May 31st
For further information, partnerships, island/community showcase, or group programs, please contact Regina Ramazzini at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cayman Delegation Attends Sir Richard Branson’s Smart Island Economies Summit
The palm trees and billiard table have been shipped in, work on the infinity pool overlooking the coral reef is progressing and the tennis courts are celebrity-ready. But few of the super-luxury buildings rising on Moskito island's beaches are finished yet.
Moskito is Sir Richard Branson's number two Caribbean island, but it will soon be his new family complex. It is just over a mile from Necker island, which he bought in his 20s for £250,000 and now rents for £40,000 a night.
Both islands are eco-trophies for Britain's best-known entrepreneur, but his plans to ditch the use of diesel power and to generate electricity from wind and solar are expected to have a profound impact on dozens of far poorer nearby islands facing crippling debt, hurricanes and climate change.
Last week Branson hosted a summit of financiers, politicians, energy companies, lawyers and others on Moskito and Necker to work up a plan to "green" the Caribbean, island by island. Five prime ministers and 12 governments, as well as international bankers and investors, heard renewable energy experts explain how the region's islands, which currently generate nearly all their electricity from diesel, could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year and reduce emissions by 50% or more.
Necker and Moskito will be 75-80% converted to use renewable energyand become working models for how other islands could cut expensive diesel imports, while all Caribbean governments will be offered a technical and financial blueprint on how to switch, by US energy thinktank theRocky Mountain Institute and Branson's green business group, Carbon War Room.
So far the governments of Aruba, St Lucia, the British Virgin Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, the Turks and Caicos, Dominica and the Colombian islands of Providencia and San Andrés have said that they will aim to increase their use of renewable energy and cut diesel imports. Last week the US government's private-sector lending arm said it would support the efforts by the islands to go green by offering loans of up to $250m for renewable energy and energy-saving projects. Smart Island Economies
Time for Cayman to go green
Water Security and Climate Change in The Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands being situated in the North-West Caribbean and having no rivers or lakes are vulnerable to water insecurity.
Traditional Caymanian homes were built with a cistern or tank beside the house being fed by gutters from the roof. A hand pump would often be used to pump water up ten to fifteen to a barrel or two to supply gravity fed water in the house.
As water usage patterns have changed, with modern households having washing machines [rather than a wash tub) dishwashers, showers and all the modern conveniences, their water usage has gone up tremendously. As a result of these changes it has become easier and cheaper to connect homes to the city piped water supply and avoid the cost of constructing a cistern.
As a result of being connected to the city water system is has also become very easy to ignore ones water usage, allowing even higher consumption. In the old days homeowners would, as a matter of habit, check the water level of their cisterns and cast their eyes on the heavens to see if there was any rain clouds in sight.
It was also a tradition in the Cayman Islands to have a well beside each home. Many of these well produced water that was, if not fresh, at least had low enough salt levels to be drinkable. More
The 2013 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo will be held jointly with the 2013 Islands & Isolated Communities Congress at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, September 9 - 11.
Nicholas Robson Director-General of the Cayman Institute shall be attending on behalf of Many Strong Voices where he sits on the Advisory Committee. The goal of Many Strong Voices is to promote the well-being, security, and sustainability of coastal communities in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by bringing these regions together to take action on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to tell their stories to the world.
The Arctic and SIDS are barometers of global environmental change. As they are on the frontlines of climate change, they are also critical testing grounds for the ideas and programmes that will strengthen the adaptive capacities of human societies confronting climate change.
This event is the preeminent meeting place for international leaders and energy experts at the forefront of the clean energy movement. Securing energy independence and developing a clean energy industry that promotes the vitality of our planet are two reasons why it is critical to reaffirm already established partnerships and build new ones throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo and the Islands & Isolated Communities Congress provide a forum for the high-level global networking necessary to advance this emerging clean energy culture. Read our 2012 attendee testimonials at right. More
Director-General 0f the Cayman Institute Invited to Climate Reality Leadership Training by Al Gore
Nick Robson, Director-General of the Cayman Institute has been invited to Istanbul to take part in former Vice-President Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training. The Climate Reality Project, founded and chaired by former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore, is dedicated to unleashing a global cultural movement demanding action on the climate crisis. Despite overwhelming international scientific consensus on climate change, the global community still lacks the resolve to implement meaningful solutions. The Climate Reality Project exists to forge an unwavering bedrock of impassioned support necessary for urgent action. With that foundation, together we will ignite the moral courage in our leaders to solve the climate crisis.
The Climate Reality Project employs cutting-edge communications and grassroots engagement tools to break the dam of inaction and raise the profile of the climate crisis to its proper state of urgency. With a global movement more than 2 million strong and a grassroots network of Climate Leaders trained by Chairman Al Gore, we stand up to denial, press for solutions, and spread the truth about climate change to empower our leaders to solve the climate crisis.
I want to change the world and stop climate change. We have to do so.
All around the world, members of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps trained by our Chairman and former Vice President Al Gore are standing up and making a difference on the climate crisis. They’re leading by example, speaking to their communities about how climate change affects their daily lives—and what we can do to solve it. They’re appearing in the media, activating social networks, and—most of all—inspiring people everywhere to join us in confronting the defining issue of our time. More
Experts on the sea level rise triggered by climate change have long known that it will proceed faster in some places than others. The mid-Atlantic coast of the U.S. is one of them, and the reason — in theory, anyway — is that global warming should slow the flow of the Gulf Stream as it moves north and then east toward northern Europe.
Now there’s a smoking gun that appears to validate the theory. A study in the February Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans ties the measured acceleration of sea level rise in this area to a simultaneous slowdown in the flow of the Gulf Stream. “There have been several papers showing (sea level rise) acceleration,” said lead author Tal Ezer, of Old Dominion University’s Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography. “This new paper confirms the hypothesis for why it’s happening.”
Even without faster-than-average sea level rise, America’s East Coast would be at high risk. On average, scientists have projected that the oceans should rise by about 3 feet by 2100, inundating low-lying land, contaminating water supplies and undermining roads, airports, port facilities and power plants. Add the storm surges that come with hurricanes and other severe weather, and the danger gets even worse. A worldwide average of 8 inches of sea level rise since 1900 has already put millions of Americans at risk; 3 feet more will greatly multiply that risk; and the even higher levels that Americans could see will be a very bitter icing on top of that already unpleasant cake.
The slowing of the Gulf Steam is not the only reason the U.S. coast will see higher sea level than the world average in coming decades, Ezer said. In some places, the land itself is slowly sinking as it readjusts to the disappearance of continental ice sheets more than 10,000 years ago.
But that process can’t explain why sea level rise should actually be speeding up, as a report in the Journal of Coastal Research documented in October 2012. Another study, which appeared in Nature Climate Change in June 2012, showed the same thing, and suggested that a Gulf Stream slowdown could be a contributing factor. Ezer’s own paperin Geophysical Research Letters in September 2012, documented the phenomenon in Chesapeake Bay, and once again, suggested the Gulf Stream’s possible role.
What makes this new study different is that it includes actual measurements of the Gulf Stream’s flow, from instruments mounted on underwater cables that stretch across theFlorida Strait. It also uses satellite altimeter data to document changes in the height of the ocean from one side of the Gulf Stream to the other. Normally, the northeasterly flow of the stream literally pulls water away from the coast.
“It keeps coastal sea level a meter or a meter and a half lower than the rest of the ocean,” Ezer said. In recent years, however, the satellites show that the midpoint of the Gulf Stream doesn’t have as high an elevation as it used to, and that the edges aren’t quite as low — again, evidence that the stream itself is starting to slow down.
Theory says this is just what should be happening. Ordinarily, the Gulf Stream brings warm surface water from the tropics up along the U.S. coast, and then across to the eastern North Atlantic, where it cools and sinks to the bottom of the sea. The cold bottom water then flows south to the tropics, where it gradually warms, rises to the surface, and begins flowing north again. This constant flow, which meanders through all of the world’s oceans is sometimes called the global ocean conveyor belt, and the section that operates in the North Atlantic is called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. More
Trevor Munroe, one of the Caribbean’s leading public scholars, has been
Executive Director of Jamaica’s National Integrity Action Limited, a not for
profit NGO dedicated to the building of integrity and the combat of corruption
in Jamaica on a non-partisan basis. Prior to this he directed the National
Integrity Action Forum a coalition of leaders of public sector anti-corruption
agencies, a 2-year project launched in 2009 and supported by USAID. In 2012, Professor
Munroe was appointed an individual member of Transparency International, the
only such person from the Caribbean, one among 27 in the world. More
In defence of Offshore tax havens by Gordon Barlow
Except when the residents of any community are not genuinely free to leave it (for whatever reason), logic tells us that members of the community have consented to be bound by all the community’s laws. That’s only common sense. They may not like all the laws; they may even hate and resent some of them, and agitate to have them changed. But whatever their feelings, they always have these three options. 1) They can stay and work to change the laws they hate; 2) they can stay and accept the laws they hate; or 3) they can leave. I can’t think of a fourth option.
Tax laws, gun laws, traffic laws, abortion laws, it doesn’t matter which laws. If your strata committee orders you to paint your front door purple, and you don’t like purple, the same three options exist. If your spouse snores all night and keeps you awake, same thing. “Community” is a broad concept.
If a community’s rulers are crooks or charlatans, liars or tax-dodgers; if they are sex-maniacs or half-wits or psychopaths; if they do things that are illegal, immoral or stupid: the options are always the same. The USA has been cursed with elected or appointed officers who are all of those things; so has Britain; so have most nations in history. In all cases, their subjects have been faced with the same three options. Some of their subjects have knuckled under, some have rebelled, some have fled.
As a longtime resident of an Offshore tax-haven (and a former resident of two others), I marvel at the criticism levelled at Cayman, Bahamas, Bermuda and all the other Offshore centres. Lately, there has been a lot of fuss in the USA over Mitt Romney’s use of Cayman to minimise his exposure to US taxes. I find little to like about Romney, and I know almost nothing about US tax laws: but I find it hard to believe that he has defied the laws. More likely, he is simply taking advantage of loopholes in them. More
The U.S. electric-vehicle industry has posted impressive growth over the last decade, with hundreds of companies now advancing the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market. But there is still much to do to further the transition to electric-drive vehicles. For the Cayman Islands there may be some lessons to be learnt here that will help in out own transition.
Internationally renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand makes his feature directorial debut with this environmentally conscious documentary produced by Luc Besson, and narrated by Glenn Close. Shot in 54 countries and 120 locations over 217 days, Home presents the many wonders of planet Earth from an entirely aerial perspective. As such, we are afforded the unique opportunity to witness our changing environment from an entirely new vantage point. In our 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has hopelessly upset Mother Nature's delicate balance. Some experts claim that we have less than ten years to change our patterns of consumption and reverse the trend before the damage is irreversible. Produced to inspire action and encourage thoughtful debate, Home poses the prospect that unless we act quickly, we risk losing the only home we may ever have.
(CNS): Although there has been no confirmation from government officials in the ministry regarding the date when the traffic law, which was passed last November, will come into force, Mike Adam made an announcement last week that Cabinet had approved the regulations. Speaking at the opening night of Cayman’s first electric car show on Thursday, the community affairs minister, who was standing in for the premier, said that the law would come into effect in two weeks. Although this is good news for local business man John Felder, its spells bad news for clamping firms and a warning for drivers who have not yet purchased a hands free mobile phone kit.
Despite the revelations by the minister, the regulations have not yet been made public and, among many other key issues, the level of fines for people using their phones while driving have not been revealed. If the minister is correct that the law will come into force around the 10 September, this does mean that before the month is out electric cars will finally be allowed on Cayman’s roads.
Local businessman John Felder, the man who has been relentless in his goal to populate Cayman’s roads with green vehicles, told CNS on Monday that he was delighted With many false alarms over the years, Felder has been waiting a long time for this day.
“Now for the first time, Caymanians will be able to have the option to drive an eco-friendly vehicle that will not pollute the environment,” he said. “Petroleum is a limited resource, a vexing source of price spikes, geopolitical instability, and environmental disasters of epic proportions.”
Felder, who owns Cayman Automotive, the only current supplier of electric vehicles in Cayman, said that these eco-cars would be essential to the development of a cleaner, more independent transportation system in Cayman. Felder had taken a significant business risk as he began the process of importing electric vehicles into Cayman several years ago, even though they could not be driven on local roads, in anticipation of a long promised government commitment to changing the law. He also began the process of introducing solar panelled charging stations, which he hopes to roll out across Grand Cayman in the coming months so that electric car drivers can also make the use of truly green energy. More
Given that we now have the ability to drive alternatively powered vehicles, and that the Cabinet of the Cayman Islands Government has recently approved Net Metering, and that the Cabinet also approved the Duty Free importation of Alternative Energy equipment for home owners eighteen months ago, it is entirely feasible for the owner of an electric vehicle to produce their own electricity at home. This would enable then to use solar or wind to produce their own electricity and operate their new electric car in a totally green manner.
Any excess electricity produces can be' pushed to the grid', sold to Caribbean Utilities Ltd. under their CORE Feed-in-Tarriff policy. Editor
2011 Traffic Law Here
Caribbean Utilities CORE Policy Here
Hansard from Legislative Assembly Approving Net Metering Here
Why we need parks, streetlife, squares, markets, trails, community gardens and other hang outs more than ever.
Public space is a literal commons: the common ground where people come together as friends, neighbors and citizens. Places we share together—parks, streets, sidewalks, squares, trails, markets, waterfronts, beaches, museums, community gardens, public buildings and more—are the primary sites for human exchange, upon which our communities, economy, democracy and society depend.
It’s a dark and wintry night in Copenhagen, and the streets are bustling. The temperature stands above freezing, but winds blow hard enough to knock down a good share of the bicycles parked all around. Scandinavians are notorious for their stolid reserve, but it’s all smiles and animated conversation here as people of many ages and affiliations stroll through the city center on a Thursday evening.
A knot of teenage boys, each outfitted with a slice of pizza, swagger down the main pedestrian street. Older women discreetly inspect shop windows for the coming spring fashions. An accomplished balalaika player draws a small crowd in a square as he jams with a very amateur guitarist. Earnest young people collect money for UNICEF relief efforts. Two African men pass by, pushing a piano. Candlelit restaurants and cafes beckon everyone inside.
Official Cayman Islands Hansard Report
Wednesday - 11 April 2012
Approving Net Metering in the Cayman Islands
Click Here for the PDF
Note: Debate starts at page 6
The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
13th-15th May 2012
By Timothy Ridley
It is with some trepidation that I open the batting here today since my membership of STEP lapsed inadvertently back in 2005 (my STEP files and records were Hurricane Ivan victims). And more importantly, there are in the audience very many delegates who are far more qualified and experienced than I in private client matters. As some of you will only know too well, I have over the past few months been reaching out (sometimes in desperation) to practitioners in Asia, Europe, the United States and here in Cayman to get a better feel for what you see as the likely trends and the future of the industry. So today, I will try and distill what I garnered from those insightful comments. As a result, I shall likely deviate (perhaps wander would be a better word) from the topics on the slide (developed months ago as a first crack at what might be relevant and of interest to you and before I had embarked on my search for outside input). For that, I apologise (mildly). I hope that some of my remarks will usefully feed in to some of the more detailed presentations and discussions that will take place over the next three days.
The 7th May 2012 issue of the Wall Street Journal carried an article headed “A New Port Emerges for Global Investors”. The article described a new port venture in Brasil, to be constructed by a Brasilian entrepreneur, to ship natural resources to China, and backed by a Middle East sovereign wealth fund. The article went on to state that M&A deals between BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India and China) countries had increased from US$600 million in 2000 to US$11 billion in 2011, a near twenty fold jump. The point made by the article was that the Brasilian port project was an example of a growing number of transactions that did not involve the West (i.e. the old guard of Europe and the United States). Ok, I hear you say, but what does that have to do with what we do? I think it has everything to do with what you are now doing and what you should be doing in the future. More
Net Metering, Energy Policy for Cayman Islands
As a result of my travels and communications with Government leaders in other countries and through the work of the Honourable Deputy Premier's ministry, we have been steadily moving towards responsible participation in combating the effects of Global Warming and reducing the carbon footprint of the Cayman Islands. As you might well remember - I gave you a commitment to work to reduce as many people's electricity bill as possible. We have worked towards that solution. A systematic programme was started.
In Phase One, my government requested the first National Energy Policy a draft of which has now been completed, and calls for a shift towards greater use of renewable energy sources; and we thank the Deputy Premier's Ministry for their hard work.
In Phase Two, we presented a motion (which was passed in the Legislative Assembly) to eliminate the restrictions on renewable energy use with grid-tied systems and the requirement for Net Metering. We thank Mr. Glidden and Capt. Eugene especially for their efforts. As Minister of Finance - in keeping with my promise I set up a committee consisting of Mr. Joey Ebanks, now Director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority, Ministerial Councillor, Hon. Cline Glidden Jr., Mr. Jim Knapp and Mr. Mike Herland, Member of the ERA, to help to get a programme in place.
Today, in Phase Three, I am very happy to announce that the Government will be enacting a solar energy programme for 1500 low consumption homes in the Cayman Islands. This programme will generate savings of nearly 70% for these homes and at the same time ensure that these families will have refrigerators, lights, fans and other electrical essentials available to them without fear of being shut off by CUC. I mean, I don't know of any of our people who might challenge or say they challenge CUC on one bill, then don't pay any for 16 months - but our program will not only save 70% for 1500 homes but also provide between 150 - 200 net new job opportunities for Caymanians. We intend to also examine how government buildings such as this one that is costing us $100 thousand per month, can be included in this initial programme. More
THE FUTURE OF OFFSHORE FINANCIAL CENTRES
Re-Reading the Tea Leaves From A Cayman perspective
By Timothy Ridley
Paper presented to the UCCI / UWI / ICCI Caribbean Conference 21-23 March 2012
The financial services industry is critical to the economic well-being of small international financial services centres (OFCs) such as the Bahamas, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. It is the major driver of the high per capita GDP figures. Some of these jurisdictions have thriving tourism industries also. But these, while welcome, tend for the most part to provide unskilled and low paying jobs.
Less well understood is the often beneficial role OFC’s play in the allocation of global capital in legitimate ways. The picture often painted of OFC’s by the ‘noisy” media of shady places for shady people overlooks that the bulk of the flows through OFC’s are legal and are a natural part of globalization.
After a volatile few years since early 2008, the financial services industry in OFC’s is now slowly recovering from the global financial crisis. For the most part, OFC’s have dodged the misdirected bullet that “offshore” was responsible for the meltdown. In Cayman, the hedge fund industry is renergised and is growing again, Asian IPO’s are doing well, captive insurance is hanging in, but the debt side (securitization) is still quiet, albeit with some green shoots. Banking and fiduciary (trust) businesses are essentially flat. Overall, the recovery in OFC’s is patchy as yet and they cannot afford to become complacent again on the basis it is soon to be “happy days are here again”. They must continue to be vigilant to ensure their long term stability and success in the future. More
Many Strong Voices (MSV) has just launched its new web site, which has been revised and updated. There are sections with downloadable materials -- publications, posters, postcards, etc. -- which you should feel free to use. We will shortly about linking to other projects and material as well. Click Here
The University College of the Cayman Islands -- in collaboration with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), the University of the West Indies, Mona, and the International College of the Cayman Islands -- invites you to the 50-50 Conference, 21-23 March, 2012. More
Draft 50/50 Conference Programme Click Here
Conference Panels by Theme Final Click Here
The phase-out of inefficient lighting is one of the quickest, easiest and most cost-efficient ways to combat climate change and save energy globally. Electricity for lighting accounts for almost 20% of electricity consumption and 6% of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF) en.lighten initiative is a globally-coordinated effort to accelerate the transition to efficient lighting to mitigate climate change.
It aims to halve these carbon dioxide emissions, while increasing access to energy-efficient lighting in developing and emerging countries. en.lighten is a public-private partnership between UNEP, the GEF, Philips Lighting, OSRAM AG and the National Lighting Test Centre of China (NLTC).
The transition to efficient lighting significantly impacts the ability to harness existing power without having to build new and expensive generation capacities. For example, India would be able to electrify 35 million homes, and South Africa 4 million homes, from the power saved from replacing all existing incandescent lamps with energy-efficient alternatives. In a time of global recession, avoiding the construction of new power plants is financially significant to a country’s economy.
If the benefits of efficient lighting are so impressive why has this transition not yet happened globally? Incandescent lamps have already, or are in the process of being phased out in most OECD countries plus Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. China has just announced that will it complete a phase-out by 2016. However, over 130 countries still engage in the widespread utilization of inefficient incandescent lamps. More
KINGSTON — Members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have joined forces in an attempt to bolster energy conservation and awareness efforts throughout the region, with its first staging of the annual Caricom Energy Week (CEW).
The brainchild of the CARICOM Secretariat, the initiative was launched on November 3 in Jamaica under the theme: ‘Energy Security for a Sustainable Future’, and will be observed November 6 to 12 this year, and during the second week of November in subsequent years.
CEW is being observed across the Caribbean Community as a series of concurrent National Energy Weeks, with regional focus on energy conservation. The initiative is expected to stimulate thought and encourage discussion on key energy issues, as well as initiate action in the area of energy conservation and efficiency and renewable energy.
Speaking at the recent launch, Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. Clive Mullings, said he is pleased with the integral role the Ministry has played in the co-ordination of the first staging of the event.
“Through this initiative, the entire region has been forced to acknowledge the challenges we face in energy and that we need a regional approach in meeting these challenges,” he said. More >>>
On Friday many environmental lawyers will have their eyes on the UK Supreme Court, the venue for a mock trial for the crime of "ecocide", a crime that doesn't yet exist. The fictional chief executives of two multinational companies will be put in the dock and prosecuted by leading criminal defence lawyer Michael Mansfield QC, who has been involved in a range of high profile cases and inquests, including the Bloody Sunday incident and the death of John Charles de Menezes.
"Ecocide" is the brainchild of Polly Higgins, a UK barrister who is coming up with some imaginative new legal ways of looking at the environmental crises. Polly describes the crime as covering the mass damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems in a particular territory at a level which severely diminishes "peaceful enjoyment" by inhabitants of the territory, including wildlife.
"Ecocide" would be added to a list of existing international crimes (such as genocide and war crimes) that can be prosecuted at both national and international levels because they are considered to be of concern to the international community as a whole. The aim behind doing this is to create a deterrent effect that will halt the massive and continuing environmental destruction we see today. The fictional CEOs tried on Friday will be prosecuted for ecocide on the basis of business activities like deforestation of the Amazon, Arctic drilling and tar sands extraction. At the end of the mock trial, the jury will decide whether to convict them of the crime.
The Cayman Islands is arguably facing several challenges in the energy sector that may impede the future development and success of the Islands’ economy and society.
Accordingly, under the auspices of the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Land and Agriculture (DAWLA), government appointed a National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC) on 1 June 2010; the NEPC is tasked with developing a National Energy Policy.
“We are almost one hundred percent dependent on fossil fuel to meet our energy needs. Water and electricity production and transportation are heavily reliant on these imported fuels and these areas are all important cornerstones of our economy and society,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of DAWLA, the Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.
She continued: “The challenges associated with oil reliability, affordability and security, as well as the environmental impact are all major concerns facing our relatively small country. As a government, we must address them; we feel a clear national plan to manage the energy sector is needed going forward, hence the appointment and remit of this committee.”
The NEPC is not limiting its work merely to the electricity sector; it is tasked with looking at all aspects of energy requirements and use, including transportation, gasoline products, water supply, building codes, and environmental issues, as well as ensuring dependable product supply lines so that residents receive future continuity of necessary services.
Director-General to attend 2011 Permculture Conference in Jordan
The next International Permaculture Conference and Convergence, IPC10, will be held in Jordan across September 2011. The theme is "Plan Jordan ~ Water".
The 1-day IPC10 Conference (open to all) and 4-day IPC10 Convergence (open to Permaculture Design Certificate graduates only) will be held in Jordan (Amman and Wadi Rum, respectively) and will be coordinated by Nadia 'Abu Yahia' Lawton. Prior to the start of the Conference and subsequent Convergence, a two-week International Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) coursewill be taught by a team of respected permaculture educators and pratitioners, and all three events will be followed by tours and permaculture site visits.
'The move to democracy in its wider meaning and the respect of human rights are absolute requisites for the region to move forward.
The June editorial of the Bulletin of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (Oapec) states that "for the last 50 years the Arab region has occupied a prominent position in regard to world fossil energy resources owing to its countries' vast reserves of oil and natural gas."
As we all know, the Arab world is engulfed in turmoil in a number of countries and it is important to look where it stands with respect to its "prominent position" that's expected to continue well into the future.'
The above report was published in the Gulf News as a business editorial on August 8th 2011. However, the reality is that much of the Gulf region is an unstable region waiting to explode. If there were to be an uprising in this region as we have seen in Egypt or in Libya the amount of oil flowing out of the Straights of Hormuz would be drastically reduced. For those of us living in island nations this would mean a sudden drying up of our oil supply. The reason, obviously is that the major states would ensure that their needs are fulfilled before anyone else get theirs. For an example of the instability see the Al Jazeera report here.
The Cayman Islands have had .55” inches of rain invforty-eight hours this past week. This has apparently brought the temperature down a few degrees, which is a welcome relief. Our gardens are looking greener and hopefully some of the water will find its way into our underground aquifers from whence the Water Authority extracts our water for processing into our city water supply.
However, in years to come the climate is predicted to change, getting hotter and drier. this means the possibility of less rainfall for the Cayman Islands.
Given the possibility of lessened rainfall in the future it is now time to start thinking of how we mitigate the effects of this climate change scenario. The Caribbean region is predicted to be as much as 30% drier with less cloud cover and between 2 to 5° Celsius warmer. More >>>
Director-General on Advisory Committee of Many Strong Voices
May 10 2011 - Nick Robson is now sitting on the Advisory Committee of Many Strong Voices (MSV). Climate change presents the human race with profound choices that go beyond the current debate over new technologies, economic, and social costs and even concerns over environmental impacts. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called climate change the “moral imperative and the defining issue of our era.”
The goal of Many Strong Voices
The goal of Many Strong Voices is to promote the well-being, security, and sustainability of coastal communities in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by bringing these regions together to take action on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to tell their stories to the world.The Arctic and SIDS are barometers of global environmental change. They are considered critical testing grounds for the ideas and programmes that will strengthen the adaptive capacities of human societies confronting climate change.Lessons learned through MSV will support policy development at local, regional, and international levels. They will provide decision makers in the two regions with the knowledge to safeguard and strengthen vulnerable social, economic, and natural systems.
Green Energy Act - What is It About
Ontario’s McGuinty government’s proposed Green Energy Act (GEA) is a bold series of co-ordinated actions motivated by our ambitions to
create substantial employment in a green economy and reduce our impact on the climate.
Within three years, the GEA will create over 50,000 “green collar” jobs and generate billions of dollars of economic growth in communities across Ontario. The Green Energy Act operates on two thrusts: making it easier to bring renewable energy projects to life and creating a culture of conservation so that people can go about their daily lives using less energy.
The act builds on the progress the McGuinty government has already made on its commitment to eliminate coal and the progress the government has already made introducing renewable energy throughout the province.
The McGuinty government’s Green Energy Act is a landmark piece of legislation which aims to expand investment in a green economy by supporting renewable energy and conservation projects.
Ontario’s Green Energy Act proposes to expedite the growth of clean, renewable sources of energy, like wind, solar, hydro, biomass and biogas. It will ensure that renewable energy projects are able to come online more quickly by removing barriers which have existed in the past and providing added reliability to initiatives. More >>>
Download the Act - PDF
24th September, 2009 The eyes of the world will centre on Copenhagen in December when the United Nations conference on climate change takes place.
The goal of the conference is to come up with a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty limiting carbon emissions.
Cayman’s National Weather Service Director Fred Sambula isn’t likely to be at COP 15, as the Copenhagen conference is called, but heknows what’s at stake.
“Climate change is the next big thing that will affect humanity and its survival,” he said. “Climate change is upon us and it’s little island nations like the Cayman Islands that are going to be affected the most, even though we contribute [carbon emissions] the least,” he said. More >>>
Wed Sep 16, 2009 - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday signed an Executive Order directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt regulations increasing California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 33% by 2020.
The Governor's office over the weekend said he would veto a bill passed by the state assembly on Friday that also raised the RPS to 33%. Schwarzenegger's communications director said the Governor was opposed to the complexity of the bill and limits placed on renewable power supply from outside the state's borders.
"Three years ago, I signed AB 32 and committed California to roll back our greenhouse gas emissions a nation-leading 25% by 2020. We've made a lot of progress since then, but we still have a lot of work to do to reach our goals," said Governor Schwarzenegger.More >>>
Better World: Generate a feed-in frenzy
Paying people who generate green energy and feed it back to the grid is the best way to boost uptake of renewable energy.
ONE day, 100 per cent of our energy will have to come from renewable sources. But how do we make it happen?
There is a proven way to rapidly boost the adoption of renewable energy - give companies or individuals who want to generate green energy access to the grid and promise to pay them extra for the electricity they "feed in" over the next 20 years or so.
This approach is known as a feed-in tariff, and since Germany introduced feed-in tariffs in 1990, the proportion of electricity it generates from renewable sources has grown from less than 3 per cent to about 15 per cent in 2008. By comparison, the UK, which tried to boost renewable energy through an alternative "green certificate" scheme, generated just 5 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2008. More >>>
CARICOM Iliendaal Declaration On Climate Change And Development
Gravely concerned that our efforts to promote sustainable
development and to achieve the internationally agreed development
goals including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are under severe threat from the devastating effects of climate change and sea level rise which has led to increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events, damage to bio diversity, coral bleaching, coastal erosion, changing precipitation patterns.
ScienceDaily (June 17, 2009) — Two researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Evan Mills and Michael Wehner, contributed to the analysis of the effects of climate change on all regions of the United States, described in a major report released June 16 by the multi-agency U.S. Global Change Research Program. More >>>
The General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution urging the relevant organs of the U.N. to intensify their
Above: H.E. Ms. Marlene Moses for Nauru and PSIDS chair
efforts to address the security implications of climate change, including sea-level rise. The passage of the resolution marks the culmination of a year-long campaign by a coalition of Pacific small island developing states (PSIDS) to focus the attention of the international community on the security aspects of climate change and to refer the issue to the Security Council. Though international organizations and many governments have been examining the link between climate change and security issues, this is the first time that the full U.N. General Assembly has made the connection in this type of formal instrument. More >>>
Marcel Stive, coastal engineer for the Delta Committee
Photo: Ralph Hargarten www.wired.com
The first evacuation of an entire community due to manmade global warming is happening on the Carteret Islands
Rising sea levels have eroded much of the coastlines of the low-lying Carteret Islands situated 50 miles from Bougainville Island, in the South Pacific. Photograph: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert /Greenpeace
by George Monbiot
Journalists - they're never around when you want one. Two weeks ago a momentous event occurred: the beginning of the world's first evacuation of an entire people as a result of manmade global warming. It has been marked so far by one blog post for the Ecologist and an article in the Solomon Times*. Where is everyone?
The Carteret Islands are off the coast of Bougainville, which, in turn, is off the coast of Papua New Guinea. They are small coral atolls on which 2,600 people live. Though not for much longer.
As the Ecologist's blogger Dan Box witnessed, the first five families have moved to Bougainville to prepare the ground for full evacuation. There are compounding factors - the removal of mangrove forests and some local volcanic activity - but the main problem appears to be rising sea levels. The highest point of the islands is 170cm above the sea. Over the past few years they have been repeatedly inundated by spring tides, wiping out the islanders' vegetable and fruit gardens, destroying their subsistence and making their lives impossible.
They are not, as the Daily Mail and the Times predicted, "the world's first climate-change refugees". People have been displaced from their homes by natural climate change for tens of thousands of years, and by manmade climate change for millennia (think of the desertification caused in North Africa by Roman grain production).
Some people ascribe the fighting in Darfur - and the consequent displacement of its people - to climate change, as people struggle over diminishing resources. But this appears to be the first time that an entire people have started leaving their homes as a result of current global warming.
Their numbers might be small, but this is the event that foreshadows the likely mass displacement of people from coastal cities and low-lying regions as a result of rising sea levels. The disaster has begun, but so far hardly anyone has noticed. More >>>
With the first climate change-related relocation of an Inuit village already underway, some 400 Indigenous People and observers from 80 nations are convening in Alaska for a UN-affiliated conference April 20-24 to discuss ways in which traditional knowledge can be used to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Shishmaref, Alaska. <www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org>
Hosted by the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change is also designed to help strengthen the communities' participation in and articulate messages and recommendations to the December UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, at which a successor agreement to the Kyoto protocol will be negotiated. The Summit will conclude Fri. April 24 with a declaration and action plan, and a call for world governments to fully include Indigenous Peoples in any post-Kyoto climate change regime adopted in Copenhagen.
The Summit takes place in Anchorage, about 800 km east of the Alaskan village of Newtok, where intensifying river flow and melting permafrost are destroying homes and infrastructure, forcing 320 residents to relocate to a higher site 15 km west, at an expected financial cost in the tens of millions of dollars. More >>>
April 17, 2009
Indigenous communities unite against climate changeIn
“Start of dying of a civilization”
WASHINGTON - What do Nunavut, Niue and Sahka have in common?
Patricia Cochran, the chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, says Inuit and other indigenous groups threatened by climate change will “not assume the role of powerless victims.” (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Nunavut, the coral island in the South Pacific and the Siberian state are all populated by indigenous communities that are being adversely affected by climate change.
And two weeks ago officials and scientists from these disparate lands met in Washington D.C. to discuss how to bring attention to their common climate crises.
Their group, Many Strong Voices, unites indigenous peoples from the Arctic with those from the tiny coral isles sprinkled throughout the globe's oceans, known in the lingo of climate change policy as "small island developing states." A representative from the Cayman Institute attended this important event. More >>>
March 13, 2009 - Solar cells adorn the roofs of many homes and warehouses across Germany, while the bright, white blades of windmills are a frequent sight in the skies above Spain.
If one day these machines become as common on the plains and rooftops of the United States as they are elsewhere, it may be because the financial technique that gave Europe an early lead in renewable energy is starting to cross the Atlantic.
Put simply, the idea is to pay homeowners and businesses top dollar for producing green energy. In Germany, for example, a homeowner with a rooftop solar system might get paid four times more to produce electricity than the rate paid to a coal-fired power plant. More >>>
Tax break on green energy
(CNS): Fri, 01/30/2009 - An import duty waiver for renewable/alternative energy equipment has been approved reducing costs for residents wanting to invest in alternative energy sources, such as solar panels. Brought to Cabinet by Minister of Communications, Works and Infrastructure Arden McLean, the waiver is part of efforts by his ministry and the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to reduce the islands’ dependence on fossil fuels.
“There are many renewable energy sources that are economically viable for the Cayman Islands,” McLean explained, “The ministry would like to prevent any further delay caused by import duties in the adoption of renewable technologies.”
Effective since 1 December 2008, the waiver allows a full exemption from import duty on renewable energy equipment for residential homeowners. Waivers on similar equipment imported for commercial use will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the ERA.
To access the waiver on renewable energy equipment, buyers need to present a copy of the equipment invoice to the Customs Department and sign a declaration form which states the purpose of the equipment. Also, electrical contractors who import renewable energy equipment may seek refunds on duty after the equipment is sold and installed at residential applications.
Cayman Institute To Draft Energy Report For Presentation to Government
The Cayman Institute has had their funding request granted, enabling the Institute to bring aboard Dr. Murray Simpson of Oxford University‘s School of Geography and the Environment who will be Chief Scientist on the project. On completion of the project a report will be presented to the appropriate agency of the Cayman Islands Government for their consideration.
Oxford University’s Climate Systems and Policy cluster examines the physical and human dimensions and consequences of climate change and variability. It has particular strengths in the analysis of global climate data sets; climate modelling and forecasting; climate impacts on ecosystems; and the critical assessment of climate policy and governance.
The Cayman Institute will also be producing a report in the impacts of rising sea levels for the islands.
These projects have been in the planning stages for a number of months and have finally come to fruition with funding provided by the UK Government‘s Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
The Cayman Institute is an independent, apolitical, privately funded, non profit organization established to consider the long term effects and implications of diverse technological, sociological, economical and cultural issues to the Cayman Islands. Its members work on a voluntary basis and offer strategic plans for consideration to guide the delivery of nearer term projects, so as not to jeopardize the future of the islands' infrastructure, financial and human resources. All of the institutes papers and reports are presented to the government for their consideration.
The Climate for Change: OP-ED by Al Gore
November 9, 2008
THE inspiring and transformative choice by the American people to elect Barack Obama as our 44th president lays the foundation for another fateful choice that he — and we — must make this January to begin an emergency rescue of human civilization from the imminent and rapidly growing threat posed by the climate crisis.
The electrifying redemption of America’s revolutionary declaration that all human beings are born equal sets the stage for the renewal of United States leadership in a world that desperately needs to protect its primary endowment: the integrity and livability of the planet.
The world authority on the climate crisis, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, after 20 years of detailed study and four unanimous reports, now says that the evidence is “unequivocal.” To those who are still tempted to dismiss the increasingly urgent alarms from scientists around the world, ignore the melting of the north polar ice cap and all of the other apocalyptic warnings from the planet itself, and who roll their eyes at the very mention of this existential threat to the future of the human species, please wake up. Our children and grandchildren need you to hear and recognize the truth of our situation, before it is too late. More >>>
The Cayman Institute establishes working relationship with Many Strong Voices
The Cayman Institute has established a working relationship with, and will be discussing collaboration with the Many Strong Voices (MSV) initiative http://www.manystrongvoices.org/, following discussions between the Chairman of the Cayman Institute and Mr John Crump of Many Strong Voices. Nick Robson will be attending the MSV conference in January (?) 2009 More >>>
Presentation by Dr Rolph Payet,
Chairman of the Sea Level Rise Foundation
Presented at the UN General Assembly at the invitation of the Secretary General, Mr Ban ki Moon.
High Level Event on the Millennium Development GoalsDownload PDF
Cayman Institute Makes Presentation to Cabinet
George Town, Cayman Islands 7 August 2007
The Cayman Institute today made a presentation to the Cabinet of the Cayman Islands Government on energy security.
The Cayman Institute is an apolitical, privately funded, non profit organization established to consider the long term effects and implications of diverse technological, sociological, economical and cultural issues to the Cayman Islands.
A modern, carefully crafted energy policy, creating the legislative and policy frameworks is imperative for all states today. For Small Island Developing States (SIDS) without the resources of a developed nation an energy security is even more important.
“The use of alternative forms of energy, solar, wind, ocean thermal conversion, hydrogen and geothermal are vitally necessary to mitigate the threat global warming as well as that of a diminishing and ever more costly petroleum based fuels“, said Nick Robson Chairman and founder of the institute. Download Report (PDF Document)
Judy Van Liere and supervisor at the construction site of a home designed to use 100 percent renewable energy.
While many people were shocked to find their electric bill had doubled and tripled from the previous month, one family quietly broke ground on the construction of its new home, designed to use 100 per cent renewable energy and stay off CUC’s bill. And if all goes well, the homeowners intend to sell excess power it generates back to CUC, taking advantage of recent agreement by CUC and government. Using energy sources including wind, solar, hydrogen and geothermal, this ‘totally green’ home could become the gold standard for new construction in Cayman as economists predict the price of oil could reach $200 per barrel by year’s end, driving energy costs even higher. After a year of struggling to get Planning approval for their green home, Jim Knapp and his wife Judy Van Liere broke ground earlier this month on their new home in Grand Harbour. It is estimated that it will take 10 months to complete construction. At the time Knapp and Van Liere started planning their new three bedroom two-and-a-half bath home a year ago, their average utility bill was seven times higher than the US.
Stanford, CA— Thursday, April 17, 2008 - The Earth’s jet streams, the high-altitude bands of fast winds that strongly influence the paths of storms and other weather systems, are shifting—possibly in response to global warming. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution determined that over a 23-year span from 1979 to 2001 the jet streams in both hemispheres have risen in altitude and shifted toward the poles. The jet stream in the northern hemisphere has also weakened. These changes fit the predictions of global warming models and have implications for the frequency and intensity of future storms, including hurricanes. More >>>
17 Apr 2008 - Just as canaries help miners monitor underground gases, marine turtles are emerging as excellent indicators of the effects of climate change.“Turtles are a really good way to study climate change because they depend on healthy beaches as well as mangroves, sea grass beds, coral reefs and deep ocean ecosystems to live”, said Dr. Lucy Hawkes, coordinator of an initiative to develop adaptation strategies for climate change impacts to turtles.
Decline in Snowpack Is Blamed On WarmingFebruary 1, 2008;
Water Supplies In West Affected, The persistent and dramatic decline in the snowpack of many mountains in the West is caused primarily by human-induced global warming and is not the result of natural variability in weather patterns, researchers reported yesterday.Using data collected over the past 50 years, the scientists confirmed that the mountains are getting more rain and less snow, that the snowpack is breaking up faster and that more rivers are running dry by summer.
The study, published online yesterday by the journal Science, looked at possible causes of the changes -- including natural variability in temperatures and precipitation, volcanic activity around the globe and climate change driven by the release of greenhouse gases. The researchers' computer models showed that climate change is clearly the explanation that best fits the data.
Antarctic ice sheet shrinking at faster rate
January 13, 2008 at 1:00 PM EST
One of the biggest worries about global warming has been its potential to affect the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet, a vast storehouse of frozen water that would inundate the world's coastal regions if it were to melt because of a warming climate. The southern continent contains enough ice to raise ocean levels by about 60 metres, a deluge that would put every major coastal city in the world deep under water and uproot hundreds of millions of people.
The huge implications posed by the health of the ice sheet have prompted major scientific interest into whether it is growing, shrinking, or stable, with no clear consensus among researchers about its overall trend.
But a new study released today, based on some of the most extensive measurements to date of the continent's ice mass, presents a worrisome development: Antarctica's ice sheet is shrinking, at a rate that increased dramatically from 1996 to 2006.
Willis Report Tackles Global Warming Impact on Risk Management
December 27, 2007
"Climate change is one of the foremost concerns of our time," states a bulletin from Willis. "In a relatively short time, the focus has shifted from debate over the reality of global warming to a general consensus that it not only exists, but needs to be urgently addressed."
While the reinsurance industry has been in the forefront of climate change research for many years, global broker and risk management consultants like Willis have also become concerned about the threats posed by changing climate conditions. A series of reports and decisions has given the issue an even larger profile.
Willis notes that "recent U.S. federal court rulings on global warming have strengthened the growing demand from scientists and business leaders for action from the federal government. Further, the latest UN report on climate change emphasizes that global warming is "unequivocal", that humans are the main cause, and concludes that the greatest financial responsibility lies with the U.S. and other countries which are most responsible for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions" [See http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2007/04/06/78556.htm