THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

60 million -year debate on Grand Canyon's age...

Grand Canyon National Park: Kaibab Formation 8901
Grand Canyon National Park: Kaibab Formation 8901 (Photo credit: Grand Canyon NPS)

Richard Perry/The New York Times
The new research into the age of the Grand Canyon used a dating technique based on the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium atoms.

How old is the Grand Canyon? Old enough to be gazed on by dinosaurs, which died out 65 million years ago, or closer to six million years old, formed about when the earliest human ancestors began walking upright?

A blog about energy and the environment.
A bitter controversy among geologists over this question edged into the open on Thursday, when a report published in the journal Science offered new support for the old-canyon hypothesis, which is not the prevailing one. In the report, Rebecca M. Flowers of the University of Colorado and Kenneth A. Farley of the California Institute of Technology used an improved dating technique based on the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium atoms into helium atoms in a mineral known as apatite. They said this yielded a thermal record of these rocks under the canyon floor, hot at great depths but cooler the closer they were to the surface.
An analysis of the data, the geologists said, revealed where surface erosion had gouged out canyons and how much time had passed since there was significant natural excavation in the Grand Canyon region. They concluded in the report that the western segment of the canyon was carved to within a few hundred yards of modern depths by about 70 million years ago.
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UN: Methane released from melting ice could push climate past tipping point...


United Nations
United Nations (Photo credit: Ashitakka)

Doha conference is warned that climate models do not yet ground in Siberia. Permafrost covers nearly a quarter of the northern hemisphere. Photograph: Francis Latreille/Corbis
The United Nations sounded a stark warning on the threat to the climate from methane in the thawing permafrost as governments met for the second day of climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar.
Thawing permafrost releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, but this has not yet been included in models of the future climate. Permafrost covers nearly a quarter of the northern hemisphere at present and is estimated to contain 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon – twice the amount currently in the atmosphere. As it thaws, it could push global warming past one of the key "tipping points" that scientists believe could lead to runaway climate change.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) called for the effect to be studied in detail by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body of top climate scientists convened by the UN to provide governments with the most up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge on climate change. The next IPCC report will be published in several parts from next year.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

The clock is ticking fast - UN climate talks told...

English: Logo of the Committee on Climate Change
English: Logo of the Committee on Climate Change (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Clock is ticking fast, UN climate talks told
DOHA (AFP) - Nearly 200 nations launched a fresh round of United Nations climate talks in Doha on Monday, facing urgent appeals to scale up the fight against Earth-warming greenhouse-gas emissions.
“Time is running out,” UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told a press conference. “The door is closing fast on us because the pace and the scale of action is simply not yet where it must be.”
The runup to the 12-day conference — the annual climax to negotiations on climate change — coincided with a welter of warnings that violent events like superstorm Sandy will become commonplace if mitigation efforts fail. Experts said pledges to mitigate greenhouse gas pledges were falling dramatically short of limiting warming to the UN goal of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
“All of these reports agree that it is much more preferable to act now because it is safer and much less costly than to delay,” said Figueres.
“This is a historic conference of crucial importance,” added Qatar’s conference president, Abdullah al-Attiya. “We must work seriously in the next two weeks... be flexible and not dwell (on) marginal matters.” Topping the talks under the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only binding pact for curbing carbon emissions.
The protocol, whose first commitment period runs out on December 31, currently commits about 40 rich nations and the EU to an average five percent greenhouse gas reduction from 1990 levels. The accord is a touchstone for developing countries and green campaigners.
But critics say it is badly flawed, as it does not include the United States and China, the world’s biggest emitters, in the binding targets. Getting a deal on Kyoto’s future would smooth the way towards a new, global treaty that would be sealed in 2015 and take effect in 2020.
Prospects, though, are soured by discord on how long the next Kyoto commitment period should last and the scope of its carbon pledges. The EU, Australia and some small Kyoto parties have said they would take on commitments in a second period, but New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Russia will not.
“In Doha, governments must agree to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol and close the loopholes that could give countries a free pass to pollute for years,” urged Greenpeace’s Martin Kaiser. “At the end of a year that has seen the impacts of climate change devastate homes and families around the world, the need for action is obvious and urgent.”

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Friday, November 23, 2012

China: Protection of forests and control of desertification

UNEP logo.
UNEP logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Protection of forests and control of desertification
While many countries in the world have seen a decline in forest resources, China has increased both the area and reserves of its forests and was listed as one of the 15 countries preserving the most area of forests by the United Nations Environment Program. Reserved man-made forests in China totaled 53.84 million ha., the forest coverage rate being 18. 21 percent.

From 1998 to 2001, the Central Government invested 42.7 billion yuan in central and western China to protect vegetation, subsidize local farmers and promote projects for transforming over-cultivated farmland back to forests and pasture. In 2003, the Regulations on Conversion of Farmlands to Forest went into official force. The project to reforest cultivated land has been implemented in 25 provinces, autonomous regions and centrally administered municipalities. By 2004, 13.33 million ha. of cultivated land had been reforested throughout China. Another effective measure of forest protection is the natural forest conservation program started in 1998 that stipulated a nationwide end to the felling of trees in natural forests.
As stipulated by the Research Report on China's Sustainable Development Strategy on Forestry, China's forest coverage rate is expected to reach 28 percent by 2050 with an added area of 110 million ha of planted forest. Desertification is one of the most severe environmental problems facing China. The area of desertification, which is 2.62 million sq km or about 27 percent of China's land territory, far exceeds the nation's total farmland. Today, although desertification has been curbed in some areas, it still is expanding at a rate of more than 3,000 sq km every year.
The State Forestry Administration has implemented a nationwide sand control program, which has three phases: the first phase aims to get basic control of desertification by 2010; the second phase aims then to reduce the area of desertification every year until 2030; and the third phase aims to raise the nation's forest cover and bring all desertification sources under effective control by the year 2050.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Climate Change in NZ...

English: Logo of the Committee on Climate Change
English: Logo of the Committee on Climate Change (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Climate Change in New Zealand -  the videos

NZ National Government breaks climate change promises...

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

The latest predictions on climate change should shock us into action...

MDG : climate change :  dried Amrapur branch canal, India state of Gujarat
A villager walks next to a dried Amrapur branch canal near Santalpur village in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Photograph: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
The question about climate change is no longer whether it is real. The question is what the world is going to look like for our children as they grow up. I have a three-year-old son, and, when he is my age, he could be living in a world that is completely different from ours, largely because of climate change.

Despite the global community's best intentions to keep global warming below a 2C increase from the pre-industrial climate, higher levels of warming are increasingly likely. Scientists agree that countries' current emission pledges and commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change would most likely result in 3.5-4C warming. And the longer those pledges remain unmet, the more likely it is that we will be living in a world that is four degrees warmer by the end of this century.

The World Bank Group commissioned a report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to help us understand the science and the potential impact on good economic development of a 4C increase. Launched on Monday, the scenarios in the report are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production, potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, and wet regions wetter; unprecedented heatwaves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems. Some of the most vulnerable cities are in Mozambique, Madagascar, Mexico, Venezuela, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

And, most important, a world that is 4C warmer is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future needs. The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach for millions of people in the developing world; it also threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.   Climate Change in New Zealand

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