Server Issues And How To Recover Them

tsddThere are a lot of scenarios that will cause you to lose your files on a server. One of the scenarios that can possibly happen is accidentally getting our files corrupted because you might have plugged in something to your device that is not compatible to the system or maybe the system of the device you plugged in is simply not built for your computer. In this kind of situation, you will need to back up your files prior the situation to make sure that you can still retrieve them. However, if you have recovery options at the ready and you are always connected to the internet, there is a big possibility that you can retrieve your files by going in the website and logging in. They make sure that when you are connected to the internet, your files are properly synchronized with the ones in the internet so you can retrieve them.

Dell PowerEdge recovery specialists are trained especially by Dell Computers and when connected to the internet, they make sure it is properly synchronized to the internet. A way to avoid system corruption is to make sure that the things you put in and out of your computer is compatible with it, otherwise, your computer and the contents will be corrupted.

How Can You Avoid HP ProLiant Disk Problems And Is There Any Solution?

A lot of people are encountering HP ProLiant disk problems and even though they work hard and spend a lot on the computer, this problem still occurs. Although there are shops that specialize in HP server recoveries, like this one, this problem is sometimes proven to be unresolvable. Since this system is in the alpha version, there are many bugs in the system and the company has not found a way yet to fix the bugs. They released the system and the hardware sooner than it should be because a lot of people and internet citizens are anticipating for a much bigger memory capacity and something faster. Technology is evolving really fast and small memory does not belong anymore. That is why they want to have one of those HP ProLiant computers because of the capacity of the memory and how fast it makes your computer perform.

Even though these hard drives are fast and very likeable, HP ProLiant disk problems are always in the way. No matter how good this system is, there is always a flaw but in HP’s case, these are flaws. A lot of people still want HP even though they know the consequence that they cannot be fixed anymore after they have damaged it.

Why Choose RAID 5 Recovery Than Other Computer Recovery Systems?

What makes RAID 5 recovery special is it is almost everywhere, easy to use and very affordable. But with the low price, the quality is still the best it can get. It still is the best recovery services on the market and most of the computers nowadays have it. In case your computer is from the factory and is completely empty, you can always purchase a hardware for your computer that will give you a recovery system. A lot of people have RAID in their system so even if you became that careless to lose a file or have a file corrupted, you can always recover them from your RAID hard drive. Having a recovery system in your computer like RAID 5 recovery is very important because it helps you back up not only your files but also the system that your computer’s state is in. Read more here.

It is important to have recovery system because most of the time, the system can get corrupted because of how the USB is plugged in and removed of the system. It can also be caused by the viruses in the system or anything that has been plugged in the computer and this too can corrupt both the computer system and the recovery system.

Posted in The Future at July 16th, 2014. No Comments.

How To Get The Best Help With Back Taxes

htahwbFacing a tax dispute is not an easy problem. There are a number of things to keep in mind, especially that the IRS can take hold on all your financial accounts. So in order to manage this tax dispute, you have to know how to get the best help with back taxes. First, you have to know the tax professionals in your area. It can be a certified public accountant or a tax lawyer who can potentially help you out with the dispute you are facing. Once you already have the list of tax professionals, narrow down your research by identifying the best among them. If you think you are having a hard time finding help with back taxes from these professionals, you can always approach your friends and ask their opinion.

Second, know the professional fees of these people. If you want to save a big amount of money, try to make comparisons with their services and payment options. The most important thing here is to settle your tax issues as soon as possible. So whether your taxes are high or low, you should ask for help with back taxes from reliable tax professionals in order to have it settled with the Internal Revenue Service.

Seeking An Offer In Compromise Help

When you are struggling for your tax debts, the best way to cope up is to apply for an offer in compromise help. The offer in compromise help is non-refundable and can be granted to those who cannot afford to pay their tax debts in full amount. This does not mean that an individual will not be paying anything because the Internal Revenue Service will just lessen the tax debt in a way that the individual can afford. Basically, this kind of option is not available to all but only those who are eligible to apply can be granted. However, most tax professionals would recommend other options such as settling the tax debt in full amount or installment basis, depending on the agreement set by the IRS.

The offer in compromise is a long process just like other tax payment options. It will require an individual to gather all the necessary documents and pay a certain fee for the application. Once it is granted, the individual will have to settle the tax debt in a specific period of time. If not, the Internal Revenue Office will give some penalties for not following the agreement on the offer in compromise help option.

Reviews On Tax Relief Services

In case you need to avail tax relief services, you should be careful in choosing a tax professional to handle your concern. It is important that you research the firm’s credibility through the Better Business Bureau because the organization provides a grade to all businesses registered in them. It will be a great resource for you to identify and evaluate whether the company is reliable or not and whether it has years of experience in the said field. Do not avail any tax relief services from a firm that is not registered in the BBB because it will just put you at risk. As much as possible, you should also ask who owns the firm in order to determine if they have been offering reputable services over the course of time.

The fees for the services of tax relief vary on the firm or the tax professional providing it. Most of time, well experienced lawyers or accountants provide a higher fee for their services while those who are new in the field are still offering flexible payment options. If you are considering an affordable tax relief services, make sure that the tax professional guarantees to fix your tax disputes at a given time.

Posted in Policy at June 14th, 2014. No Comments.

The Storms Are Coming! The Storms Are Coming!

Get ready for a couple of decades of ugly hurricanes. Here’s why.

Did that humongous wall of water in this summer’s hit movie The Perfect Storm blow your mind? Well, that’s entertainment. No wave that size was actually recorded during the real “perfect storm” in 1991.

Still, Atlantic storms can be fierce — and could be getting fiercer. Global climate change could soon whip up hurricanes unlike any ever seen before, say scientists.

MONSTER STORMS

tsacThe last several years have already been bad ones for Atlantic Ocean hurricanes. Two years ago this month, Hurricane Georges destroyed $2 billion in property in Puerto Rico. A month later, Hurricane Mitch killed 10,000 people in Central America. Then, last September, Hurricane Floyd trashed $6 billion in property on the U.S. eastern seaboard and prompted the largest evacuation (more than 3 million people) in the country’s history.

The recent upswing in storms is part of the natural up-and-down cycle of hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean, according to James Elsner of Florida State University. The number of big Atlantic hurricanes was relatively high form 1943 to 1964. In 1995, big hurricanes made a comeback that Elsner says could last through the next few decades.

Why does hurricane activity flip-flop? Elsner puts the blame on the thermal haline circulation, a circulation pattern that moves warm seawater from the Pacific Ocean by way of the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, then back again.

During some periods, the thermal haline circulation moves more quickly and makes the North Atlantic warmer than normal. Such periods prompt more hurricane activity in the Atlantic because warm water supplies the fuel–the heat energy — that keeps a hurricane going, said Elsner. (See “Anatomy of a Hurricane.”)

THE HEAT IS ON

The coming decades could be ones of not just more but also bigger ocean storms. Bigger storms could gain their extra power from global warming, the gradual rise in Earth’s surface temperature that many scientists believe has been caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide ([CO.sub.2]) in the air. Global warmlng is expected to continue well into the 21st century, making the world hotter than ever.

As the world gets warmer, so do the oceans. And warmer oceans hold more of the thermal (heat) energy that hurricanes feed on. According to Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hurricane wind speeds increase by 5 miles per hour for every extra degree Fahrenheit of water temperature. A warmer ocean might push hurricane winds to speeds of 200 miles per hour or more. Only a few hurricanes have ever had wind speeds exceeding 155 miles per hour.

PACIFIC POOL

That’s one forecast. Some scientists say that further global warming might have an opposite effect and dampen hurricane activity. William Gray, a meteorologist at Colorado State University, says continued rises in global temperatures might produce more El Ninos. El Nino is huge pool of warm water that often develops in the Pacific Ocean. When an El Nino is in place, high-altitude winds regularly blow east to the Atlantic Ocean. Those winds can snuff out Atlantic hurricanes by essentially lopping off their tops.

Super hurricanes might fail to take shape for another reason. Scientists have noticed a tendency for Hurricanes to “commit suicide.” When a hurricane reaches a certain size, it starts stirring up cold water from deep in the ocean. Such an upwelling of cold water can rob a hurricane of its energy and kill it. Any supersize storms that arise due to global warming might also die out quickly from exposure to the cold.

STORM WARNINGS

Whatever global warming brings, scientists agree on the need for better hurricane forecasts. One scientist, Isaac Ginis of the University of Rhode Island, has devised a new way of assessing the strength of hurricanes. Ginis’s technique focuses on the thermocline, a narrow zone of water that underlies the ocean’s warm surface water. Beneath the thermocline, the ocean turns very cold.

As mentioned, hurricanes weaken and die when warm surface water mixes with the cold water below. That mixing is partly determined by the depth of the thermocline. The shallower the thermocline, the more likely the hurricane will stir cold water up to the surface.

Last year, Ginis and colleagues measured the depth of the thermocline over the entire North Atlantic. Their measurements helped them improve predictions of hurricane strength by about 30 percent, said Ginis.

Ginis’s forecasting method could prove to be a major lifesaver. If history is any guide, the current surge in hurricane activity could last at least 20 more years.

Anatomy of a Hurricane

1. A hurricane forms where humid air flows over warm ocean water. The air, warmed by the ocean, begins to rise.

2. When the rising humid air reaches a certain altitude, the water vapor in it condenses and forms walls of huge cumulonimbus clouds, called rainbands.

3. The condensation of water vapor also releases a huge amount of heat energy. That energy fuels the hurricane, making it grow in size and shape.

4. The spiraling motion of a hurricane is caused by the Coriolus effect, a turning of the wind produced by Earth’s rotation.

A tropical storm is classified as a hurricane when its winds reach 117 kilometers (73 miles) per hour. The average hurricane is 480 kilometers (300 miles) wide and lasts about ten days.

Posted in The Future at May 15th, 2014. No Comments.

Africa Holds Some Of The Keys

ahsotEAST AFRICA SEEMS TO HAVE DRAWN the short straw in the weather stakes. As Mozambique mops up after the deluge that swamped the country in February, the famine-struck Horn of Africa is tightening its belt once more and praying for rain. The monsoon of the southern Indian Ocean is the system responsible for dealing this unfair climatic hand. Early each year, low-pressure storms loaded with moisture line up for their southwesterly march across the ocean towards the continent. Sometimes they release their watery loads in torrential downpours on the ocean’s islands, flattening crops and ripping coconuts from the twisting, bent palm trees of Mauritius and Rodrigues. Other times, they pass over the Mascarene lands and push on west, to rapidly fill the parched rivers and reservoirs of East Africa’s coastal countries. The monsoon season is a tense time. While meteorologists can predict in the short term where these annual winds will unleash their power, their long-term predictions can be little more than educated guesses.

This is where Shoals of Capricorn, an interdisciplinary, international marine science and education programme, hopes to make a difference. Shoals is a Royal Geographical Society-backed project with modest means but big aims. One of its theories about mother nature’s two-faced approach in the Indian Ocean is that a vast underwater mountain range, the Mascarene Ridge, works in combination with fluctuations in ocean water temperatures to affect the region’s weather. As large as the Himalaya and lying northeast of Madagascar, this volcanic ridge stretches for 115,000 kilometres but only raises its head above the surface to form the scattering of tropical islands that are the Seychelles and Mauritius. In the past year, Shoals has set up three field bases on islands along the ridge so scientists can visit and study all aspects of its marine environment. “Ultimately we want to set up an early-warning system for weather in East Africa,” says Shoals director, Iain Watt.

Long range forecasting is very difficult at present because there is simply not enough data available for the Indian Ocean region. In recent years, scientists have scrutinised the antics of the world’s playful water baby El Nino, shedding some light on shifts in global weather patterns linked to ocean current cycles. However, their attention has focused on the Pacific Ocean, which pounds against wealthy American shores. Much less attention has been paid to El Nino’s effects on ocean temperatures and currents in the Indian Ocean, which is bounded by poorer, less developed African nations. These countries have paid scant attention to the complex interactions of ocean and atmosphere, having barely enough money to feed their populations. Ironically, a better understanding of these relationships could alleviate some of the conditions associated with Africa’s extreme weather events. If Mozambique had received flood warnings well in advance, it could have evacuated people earlier, arranged food drops more effectively and possibly saved lives.

In a first step towards their goal, Shoals field staff have begun gathering vital data on ocean temperatures, currents, marine life and the general health of the Mascarene’s coral reefs. Each day, science coordinator Martin Callow steps from the whitewashed building that is the Shoals Seychelles residence on St Anne island, crosses beneath the coconut palms that overshadow the pens of lumbering giant tortoises, passes the offices of the Seychelles Marine Parks Authority (MPA), and heads for the end of the jetty. Assisted by rangers from the MPA he records the sea temperature and salinity at depth intervals of one metre, and the visibility of the water using a tool called a `secchi disk’. Meteorological data such as rainfall, wind speed, temperature, humidity and cloud cover, is also gathered. The scientists carry their samples and figures a short walk back to the Shoals laboratory and add them to the data from other sites. “We have ten monitoring sites within a five by three kilometre area,” explains Martin. “We take weekly readings of sediments and currents. We’ve got a year-and-a-half’s worth of data so far.”

THE WIDER PICTURE

A short boat ride across the turquoise waters from St Anne is Mahe, the Seychelles’ main island. High on a cliff above the capital, Victoria, are two giant white spheres which glow orange in the setting tropical sun. Previously used for a USA satellite cleansing system, the site may soon house a ground receiving station for SeaWiFS satellite data. The SeaWiFS instrument lies aboard the SeaStar (OrbView-2) satellite, which circles the Earth 14 times a day, casting a remote eye over great swathes of ocean. The images it generates would enable the team to identify areas rich in plankton, the microscopic plants and animals that lie at the bottom of the food chain. Plankton float freely and can yield information on fish stocks and ocean currents. Having the satellite images at their fingertips would help the Shoals scientists gather information on vast areas very quickly.

Visiting scientists from Imperial College, London, are also pioneering a type of remote sensing where the data is gathered using side-scan sonar. A tool that looks like a big fish is tied to the back of a boat, and the scientists traverse an area of interest. As they do so, the scanner pulses out regular sonar signals. “How the signal is distorted as it is reflected back to receiving equipment on the boat illustrates how deep the water is,” explains Martin. “Like the satellite imagery, it may help scientists differentiate between habitat types or live and dead reef. It’s ground-breaking science. We can bring a sample of a particular habitat into the lab and then map a huge area very effectively. It’s remote sensing but from the back of a boat.”

Over two thousand kilometres south of St Anne, a three-hour flight away, lies Mauritius. A second Shoals base is located at Pereybere in the north of the island, close to where director lain Watt has recently relocated from London. He is hoping to also use remote sensing for environmental research at the southern end of the Mascarene Ridge. In the air-conditioned cool of the Mauritius Remote Sensing Center, Iain is discussing acquiring some images for use by the Shoals team. Turning to one of the detailed aerial views of Mauritius that decorate the walls, Suren Lutchmeea, the officer in charge of the centre, points out how the coral reef on the east of the island appears as a sharp white boundary against the deep blue of the sea, while on the western side, the boundary is more gradual. He believes the coral to the west may be dying, while that to the east is healthier. But little work has been carried out using remote sensing to monitor marine environments in the region. A lively discussion ensues as to whether the difference does indeed reflect the corals’ health or whether it simply shows up the varying gradients of the two boundaries.

The debate highlights how important it is for scientists to be able to sink beneath the surface of the ocean surface and study the reefs and marine creatures at first hand. One reason why there has been so little research carried out by scientists living in the Indian Ocean is because very few local people can swim, let alone dive. Oddly enough, many of these island dwellers live surrounded by warm, tempting tropical seas and yet never enter the water Swimming doesn’t come naturally, and water sports have never featured on school curricula.

Underlying the Shoals programme is the concept that it should become a self-sustaining project, run by local people rather than Westerners. With this in mind, the permanent staff at the three bases have begun the lengthy process of passing on their expertise to local people. John Nortcliffe, the programme’s sandy-haired chief diving officer has so far taught 97 islanders to dive and a further 35 first aid. Among them have been rangers from the Seychelles Marine Parks Authority and local adults and children. “The ultimate aim is to train up enough people of a high calibre so that they can become instructors and then there’ll be no need for me,” he says. “To reach that point is going to take time. We’re trying to educate the youths. It can take generations but if you teach from the top down rather than the bottom up it doesn’t really work.”

SCIENCE APPEAL

It’s not just diving that the islands’ children are learning. On Rodrigues, an island owned by Mauritius but lying 650 kilometres northeast of it, it is half term. Instead of being at home getting bored, many of Rodrigues’ schoolchildren have chosen to head for the Shoals of Capricorn classroom to learn about the creatures that live in the waters around their island. Inside the specially converted classroom and laboratory, some are cutting out butterfly fish and sharks from pieces of cardboard, while others slosh brightly coloured paint onto what will become a backdrop for a play they plan to perform. Among them is 15-year-old Norbert Frangois who has been coming to Shoals workshops after school since January. “The play starts on market day in the sea and there are plenty of fish and coral,” he explains. “Then one day, there’s a storm and a tanker gets wrecked on the reef and the oil from it makes the corals die. The butterfly fish are normally afraid of the sharks but the slick makes them realise that they must work together to find a new home.”

Norbert is keen to learn about the marine environment as his father is a fisherman. Stepping outside the classroom, he goes to the `touch-tank’, a shallow concrete tank filled with seawater into which Charlotte Howard, Tom Hooper and Tara Lynch, the Rodrigues field staff, have placed a variety of sea animals for the children to learn about. Picking up a slimy black tube, with nobbles running along its back, Norbert identifies it as a sea cucumber. “And this is a hermit crab living in stolen shell,” he explains, lifting a spiky white shell out of the tank. As he does so a red hairy leg appears, then another and another and finally the crab pops its head out and peers out with black pinhead eyes. “When my father brings home a weird fish, I can help him identify it,” says Norbert. “I can tell him which are the dangerous corals and animals to avoid.”

While educating youngsters is a large part of the Rodrigues team’s work, Charlotte is also teaching a group of older Creole octopus fisherwomen. On Wednesday afternoons, she sits with ten of them beneath a shady tree and teaches them in French about the fish and corals they may encounter while fishing. The fisherwomen earn their keep by wading across the reef in wellington boots and using long poles to hook out octopuses from their coral hideyholes. Charlotte is teaching the women how not to damage the fragile coral as they work; the reef is vital for protecting the island from the crashing breakers that are whipped up by the monsoon storms.

WATERY LESSONS

After a 15-minute lesson, it’s time for the ladies to practise their floating and swimming skills in the water. Wearing an odd mixture of underwear, multicolour T-shirts, cycling shorts and headscarves, the plump 40-somethings splash and giggle their way into the murky water. For an hour, Charlotte battles to teach the shrieking, ample-bosomed group to swim and be generally more aware of the dangers that lurk in the sea. Meanwhile, a cluster of bemused looking men gather on the cliff, while the young son of one of the women wails from the other side of the lagoon where he’s been temporarily abandoned. They’re not ideal teaching conditions, but after several weeks of lessons Charlotte’s perseverance is paying off; some of the women are now able to float quite happily and are less concerned about putting their face in the water. Soon they will all be taking their first strokes. “The lagoon inside the reef is being overfished, so the government is trying to encourage the fishers to seek their catch outside the reef,” she says. “But the boats they use are small and have very little draught, so it’s easy for them to be flipped over. That’s why it’s so important that the fisherwomen and men can swim.”

She admits that the team have faced some suspicion from the locals about the motives of the Shoals team. Rodrigues has been at the receiving end of several failed European initiatives, so its inhabitants have reason to be sceptical. On the steep, boulder-strewn, grassy hillsides are faint grid patterns, the legacy of an agricultural project that never worked out. A few kilometres away beside the potholed, tarmac road which winds around the edge of the 240 square-kilometre lagoon, paint peels from white walls of an abandoned octopus canning factory. “There have been lots of failed projects that have originated in Europe,” explain” Shoals field scientist Tara Lynch. “People have come over, brought in money and left without training any local people to carry the work on. We have to make sure we don’t do that.”

With this in mind, all three Shoals teams have begun employing local people to carry on their work once they have left. Eric Blais, a large, smiling Rodriguan, Sabruna Meinier, a pretty, petite school-leaver, and boatman Antonio Jolicoeur are now working alongside Tom, Tara and Charlotte in Rodrigues, while Marcelle Geffroy and Omi Adjodah have joined the Mauritius team. In the Seychelles, the rangers of MPA are improving their diving skills and carrying out monitoring work, and staff from the local coastguard, BirdLife Seychelles and the Seychelles Islands Foundation have all received some training. With the blessing of the relevant governments, there are plans to involve other local organisations, such as ministries, fisheries departments and meteorological offices.

As the heat of the tropical day wanes and the fiery orange sun sinks beneath horizon, Agathe Salou begins the night watch at Rodrigues’ Meteorological Office beside the Shoals “residence. Looking out at the clear skies, across field of crops which are beginning to turn brown, he shakes his head. “It is a problem that there hasn’t been enough research,” he says. “We’ve noticed that the rainfall is decreasing on the island. It has been for four to five years, but why?”

It is questions such as this that the Shoals of Capricorn programme is seeking to answer. If its scientists can begin to understand how the strands of the ocean environment work together; how varying water temperatures affect currents and coral health; how the currents distribute plankton and affect fish stocks; and ultimately how the ocean and atmosphere interact to affect climate, the people of the Indian Ocean’s islands and coastal countries may be better prepared for mother nature’s climatic quirks, be they downpours or dry spells.

Posted in Places at May 3rd, 2014. No Comments.

UK Climate Strategy: Is It Enough?

ucsThe Climate Change Levy has been recognised by many as an incentive to look at energy usage and reduce it, and it has certainly focussed minds at boardroom level. As a result of the Levy negotiations we have organised many site visits to inform the talks and from those visits industry and Government has learnt that:

* Some companies have effective monitoring systems in place. But other companies do not and they need to build up a much better picture of their energy usage

* Such visits provide a greater understanding of some sectors’ energy usage and also help to identify gaps in energy management. They also show that performance does vary within and between companies despite the fact that the companies honestly believe they are doing, or have done, all they can; and

* Site visits help to list priorities for future action.

That process therefore has in turn has informed Sector Initiative Papers, action plans within the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme drawn up by trade bodies and the Programme jointly; and these include “no-cost” and “low-cost” measures that can be delivered immediately. But other measures may involve significant research, development and investment, and will therefore probably involve the new Carbon Trust.

For us, and for you, this will be a period of change. Best Practice for example has had a strong and valued tradition of providing general information. But this left you to implement it, and we are now moving to a position where the Best Practice programme is much more “hands on”.

Not surprisingly the sector plans are quite wide ranging as they cover a variety of organisations from the largest to quite small SMEs, who nevertheless use significant energy, and we will need to work closely in partnership with the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Government Offices in England, to deliver and signpost both national and local services in line with the UK Climate Change Strategy, and our international obligations.

Some high priorities for both industry and Government this year are:

* Seminars to assist with target setting

* Site visits to further understand energy usage

* Cross sectoral technology training and

* General awareness raising for companies to understand energy usage.

In particular many sectors are wanting more site visits. We have been piloting site visits over the last couple of years, learning in the process many of the lessons I have already mentioned, and around 1,700 site visits should have been completed by the end of this financial year since the pilots started (including visits supporting the negotiations).

We expect to double the number of visits and double the number of consultants in the year ahead, and we have called this broad programme “Action Energy” for the time being because it is about keeping up the momentum. Continued support following a site visit is essential to ensure the reports are not left to gather dust. Packages of measures suited to an organisation’s particular needs will be delivered if necessary, but obviously we look to industry to do as much for themselves as possible, as they will benefit from the savings.

The value of the information gathered in site visits can not be overstated as, apart from helping the individual company, it will inform the shape of Best Practice (and the Carbon Trust’s agenda) in areas such as R&D, sectoral support, and CHP needs, and the more we are in tune with industry’s needs, the better we will be able to meet them.

130m [pounds sterling] Carbon Trust and a financial kick-start for emissions trading

The Chancellor’s Spending Review announcements on 18 July 2000 included a new Carbon Trust with a first year budget of 130million [pounds sterling] and a greenhouse gas incentive to kick-start carbon trading. This additional spending will help improve energy efficiency in business as part of a wider package of environmental expenditure.

The Carbon Trust is being set up this year to co-ordinate a new 130million [pounds sterling] programme to accelerate the take up by business of low carbon technologies, and the money available to businesses will rise to 170million [pounds sterling] in 2002.

This includes enhanced capital allowances on energy-efficient investment, and around 30million [pounds sterling] recycled from the Climate Change Levy for other measures. Around 20million [pounds sterling] is being spent on renewables by other government departments.

This additional expenditure is an integral part of the Climate Change Levy package, and the Trust will set up a joined-up programme including R&D, fiscal incentives, and advice to encourage businesses, especially SMEs, to implement energy efficiency measures.

The Trust will be run by a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, but further decisions on its organisation, membership and management are still being taken.

The Government also announced a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Incentive that signalled concrete backing for the early start of a UK emissions trading scheme, which enables companies to volunteer for challenging emissions reduction targets, delivering genuine environmental improvement.

Further details of the incentive will be announced in due course. It will be for a limited period only to kick-start the trading scheme and lever in the environmental and wider benefits this should provide. A trading scheme will enable organisations who can considerably reduce their energy and carbon use to earn `carbon credits’, which can be traded with those less able to make savings.

A temporary financial incentive, and an early opportunity to gain experience in emissions trading, could leave the UK well placed to influence international developments, as well as setting up UK business and the City to make the most of the opportunities presented by this new market.

Business and environment organisations have been consulted about the size and design of the incentive, and will be consulted about detailed arrangements.

International progress on action to tackle climate change, by reducing carbon use in energy, following the Kyoto summit was discussed at The Hague last November, and the Carbon Trust will serve as the focus for strategic and executive action to ensure business adapts successfully to the challenges presented by climate change.

In particular, it will help business make a full contribution to the UK’s Kyoto obligations and toward achieving domestic [CO.sub.2] obligations by 2010.

The Trust will be business-focused, maintaining competitiveness and preparing business for future climate change targets. It will take over elements of the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme and specifically address regional needs with more support for local partnerships and business networks stimulating local initiatives.

The Government recognises that carbon emissions trading is a key part of longer-term solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and similar developments are taking place in Europe and internationally.

But a range of instruments is necessary if organisations of all sizes, and from all sectors, are to contribute to improved energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

The government therefore believes that tax, regulation, voluntary agreements and trading should be viewed as complementary, rather than alternative, approaches, and will be working to ensure that all the different possible measures form a consistent and coherent framework.

When Lord Marshall published his report on `Economic Instruments and the Business Use of Energy’ in November 1998, he recommended a business-led initiative to design a `dry run pilot’ domestic trading scheme for greenhouse gas emissions.

Following on from this, the CBI and ACBE (Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment) set up the UK Emissions Trading Group (ETG) to take forward the design of a domestic trading scheme.

Posted in Policy at April 22nd, 2014. No Comments.

Getting Yourself Green

gygScientists have always known about it. They had been measuring atmospheric [CO.sub.2] at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa observatory, and by 1983 they were seriously worried about Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases are the stuff of life; they are essential to the biosphere because they trap and hold heat from the sun’s radiation. However, massively increased volumes of them were causing a warming trend over the Earth’s surface.

Soon, the Environmental Protection Agency was soberly reporting, in stiff bureaucratese, that “agricultural conditions will be significantly altered, environmental and economic systems potentially disrupted, and political institutions stressed.”

In 1988 the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), comprising the world’s leading climate scientists. They organized the Rio Earth Summit of 1999, which acknowledged a pressing need to cut Greenhouse gas emissions–specifically, human gas emissions, primarily from our factory emissions and our car exhausts. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was established. Its purpose was to get industrialized nations to commit to curb their spew.

1998 was the hottest year on record, and a megastrength El Nino caused massive storms in some areas, severe drought in others. So much for hand-waving theory and early precursors. Now it was real.

WARMING

I live in Boulder, Colorado, where climate and environmental studies are on the city’s doorstep. The National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both have big facilities in Boulder, and the University of Colorado has one of the best environmental studies programs in the US.

I dropped in on Dr. James White, director of the environmental studies program. He said that the global climate is definitely changing, and there’s no doubt that human activity is a significant driver. “If you look at the simple physics around how Greenhouse gases work, if you look at the fact that Greenhouse gases are on the increase, we know we’re having an impact on climate,” he says. Now the debate is about how that impact is expressed. It might be generalized heat. It might be megastorms. It might be overall climatic instability of some kind we’ve never seen before.

Can’t we have more certainty out of our weather science? Not according to Dr. White. “My own research tells me that climate change is not this give-and-take, push-and-shove kind of linear system, where if we increase [CO.sub.2] by X, we get X climate change; if we increase it by 2X, we get 2X climate change. That is really what the models give us as feedback, because the models don’t have mode changes. If North Atlantic deep water fails, a sophisticated model can handle that. But if you look at the way climate has changed historically, going back over the history of the Earth, it’s not a little bit here, a little bit there.

“It’s more like my little brother, when we were kids. I would pester him, and he didn’t respond, and I would pester him more, and he would blow up, and yell and scream at me. When Mom asked me what I did, I said `All I did was poke him once, Mom.’ But there was all that energy I built up in my little brother with all those other tormenting little pokes. And it’s that kind of nonlinear behavior that makes waiting for the shoe to drop a rather dangerous activity.”

Despite the current global warming trend, the southeast US has been actually cooling lately. Temperature trends throughout the US are relatively flat compared to the rest of the world. Though we know climate is changing, we don’t know the long-term implications. Lacking clarity about direct, polarizing impacts right in someone’s back yard, it’s simplest to do nothing.

Scientists are taught to think in terms of hypotheses and conditional statements, not blatant warnings of doom. As a culture we’re into denial, especially about problems that seem distant, but demand big money right now. George W. Bush disses the Kyoto accords as too expensive to implement. For him, they are, because short-term political costs to George Bush outweigh long-term climate damage in someone else’s administration. Says Jim White, “I think the sad reality is that we may, before all is said and done, get a big climate change, and that may be the mobilizing factor. Some people have argued that we’ll need that. We’ll need the big change, the grizzly bear set free in the house, before we deal with the bears in the yard.”

GREEN TEAMS

White’s been looking forward. “I see carbon dioxide and climate change as merely step one in many steps, many problems that are going to happen in the future,” he says. “We’re going to have to have global cooperation to deal with them all. So we need to take the first step with something like the Kyoto treaty. Maybe we’re not going to get the best treaty we possibly can, maybe it’s going to have a little more economic impact than we could potentially negotiate. But let’s take the step. We’re going to have to get to some point of global cooperation in the future, and we’re certainly not going to get there if we take all of our toys and step back from the table, and say no, we’re not going along.”

Meanwhile, White and his colleagues in Boulder are working on a solution in a new, cross-disciplinary approach to environmental sciences curriculum. The University of Colorado has a National Science Foundation grant for a curriculum called Carbon, Climate, and Society. “The idea is for graduate students from the natural sciences–biology, geological sciences, chemistry, etc.–to be coeducated with students from economics, political science, and in particular, journalism. At an early stage in a graduate career, they’ll learn team-building skills, essential for them to address environmental issues. There’s just no way that a person going through any one discipline can really grasp the full breadth of environmental problems, because it involves the full complexity of humans interacting with the natural environment. So the idea is that they will learn first how to trust their colleagues in these various fields. And we want them to learn how to communicate with the media, and through the media, with the public.”

This seems to me to be the kind of activism we need in the year 2001. Given that boiling mix of carbon, climate, and society, it’s no longer enough to be educated, even in one of the relevant scientific disciplines. We also have to develop and leverage synergy with experts in science, media, commerce, and politics. We need green networks, green teams, where cooperation isn’t limited to academia, or to training students, or to networks of journalists, or to policy analysts. It has to be huge in scope; it has to happen all at once.

Corporations can have “green teams.” The British book Managing Green Teams describes “how environmental teams can trigger changes in core operations and integrate environmental concerns in business decision-making at every level in the organization.” A web search on the phrase “green teams” via Google got over 1,400 hits. This is an idea whose time has come.

There are two major differences between the world of 2001 and Earth Day 1970. The first is that it’s much hotter; we’re not just musing over scare talk about “The Ecology,” we’re really starting to boil. And the second big difference is digital networks. Networks of this kind are something we did not imagine, had never seen before. This is the one new cultural factor in sight that is of the same vast scope as the problem. We’ve got to unite via networks somehow, leverage the potential there, and find and invent real answers. Reforming our cars, greening our energy, planting some trees, redesigning our cities, these are virtuous but piecemeal efforts. If there are going to be, within our children’s lifetimes, 11 billion people in a sustainable situation, that can only be a vastly sophisticated, global, cybergreen society.

Posted in Environmental, Policy at March 29th, 2014. No Comments.

Is Planting Trees A Fakeout So Rich Nations Can Slack?

iptafPlanting trees to neutralise [CO.sub.2] emissions has become a politically charged issue, says Catherine Barr. Are `carbon sinks’ merely a way for the richer nations to shirk their responsibility to the rest of the world?

FACING UP TO CLIMATE CHANGE couldn’t be easier when you can hop into your car for a `carbon neutral’ spin down to the local football ground to relax in a `carbon neutral’ club. All the while secure in the knowledge that trees are being planted to soak up, or neutralise, the carbon emitted to power up the TVs in your home, the [CO.sub.2] pumped out by your car and the energy used to run a football club. What a perfect balance.

Or is it? Based on uncertain science combined with social and environmental problems surrounding large-scale plantations in developing countries, to the `feel good’ messages implied to Western consumers, carbon sinks are highly contentious. Although forests may play some role in soaking up excess carbon dioxide, the only way to really halt global warming is to stop burning fossil fuels. In an eagerly awaited report due to be published at the end of this month, world climate experts make it clear that neutralising this message is a dangerous diversion. The 3,000 climate change experts compiling the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Third Assessment Report, warn that global warming will be much worse than previously thought. Predicting temperature rises of up to 6 [degrees] C by the end of the current century, the world’s top climate change scientists now believe that the atmosphere will warm at twice the rate predicted a decade ago. Internationally, this spells disaster for millions of people.

The `carbon neutral’ deal, whereby one tree planted is believed to cancel out a measured amount of [CO.sub.2] emissions, is now being adopted by the likes of car, mortgage and telephone companies in the UK. Even some pop groups have planted trees to compensate for emissions they expected to cause while on tour. Climate talks have proved that the concept of planting trees to mitigate carbon emissions is both technically complex and politically charged. These `carbon sinks’ proved to be the sticking point at the international climate change conference in The Hague last November, with no effective resolution in sight.

SINKING FEELING

The IPCC has shown that if industrialised countries maximised their use of carbon sinks, they could, according to the vagaries of carbon accounting, nominally avoid any cuts in carbon emissions. This in itself epitomises the deadly scapegoat that sinks can provide.

Under current climate negotiations, it is unclear whether industrialised countries can offset emissions and gain `carbon credits’ by planting trees in the southern hemisphere — under what is known as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Under the Kyoto Protocol, the global climate agreement formed in Japan, the CDM is supposed to fund sustainable development projects in the southern hemisphere. Environmental groups and the EU are pushing for the CDM to be restricted to the development of renewable energy, excluding carbon sinks.

The global economics of tree plantations (which is what many carbon sinks will inevitably encompass) suggest that any boost to the already expanding plantation industry in the developing world would be bad news for the poor. Commercial tree farms mask a catalogue of social and environmental injustices to local communities and ecosystems in developing countries.

But should these Kyoto Forests, as they are called, be sanctioned, they are most likely to multiply in poor countries desperate for foreign investment and exchange, to repay debts to the North. `Climatic stability’ threatens to become poor countries’ new export. Real estate prices are lower in the poorest countries and tree growth rates faster there.

Yet the real debt is the carbon debt that the North owes the South. Each year CO2 emissions from human activity — 80 per cent from the North — spew over six billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Poor people in poor countries suffer most from the devastating rages of climate change, as we have seen in Bangladesh and Honduras. The UN estimates that by 2025 over half of all people living in developing countries will be `highly vulnerable’ to floods and storms.

African countries have expressed concern that if sinks are allowed to expand, they won’t get new funding for alternative energy developments (including crucial infrastructure) that could bring electricity to people who currently have none. But rather, African soils will be planted, probably by foreign companies, with acres of commercial plantations — inextricably linking them to an uncertain future under the darkening cloud of climate change.

PEST OR PANACEA?

The growing scientific evidence underpinning climate change contrasts sharply with the inadequate and questionable science surrounding carbon sinks. Unsubstantiated science and controversial calculations (one ton of carbon emitted is said to equal one ton of carbon absorbed by trees) twist the fashionable `logic’ of tree planting into a legitimate panacea (as promoted by the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) for climate change.

At its simplest, the science goes like this. During photosynthesis plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air to grow, storing it in plant matter and therefore keeping it stable. With this in mind, the British physicist Freeman Dyson suggested in 1976 that huge areas of trees could be planted to soak up excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by the burning fossil fuels. Decades later, Dyson’s `inspiration’ threatens to derail all attempts to reach agreement on combating the biggest threat to our existence in history.

It is estimated that about a third of all the world’s carbon is stored in forests — but while forest cover is declining worldwide, commercial plantations are expanding. But plantations are not forests and do nothing to address the fundamental causes of forest loss. When forests are destroyed, they release carbon dioxide — contributing 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide is also released from soils, which have absorbed [CO.sub.2] from the air and which then release it as micro-organisms which break down organic matter. So, one of the core issues, in terms of evaluating the rationale behind counting forests as carbon stores is permanence — or in reality, lack of it. The underlying premise is that forests and other land uses accepted as carbon `sinks, must store carbon for a very long period of time (perhaps 100-150 years). But it has been estimated that only 12 per cent of carbon stored in commercial tree plantations has a life expectancy of more than five years. So even accepting the potential of these `forests’ to absorb excess carbon, there is debate and uncertainly as to how much they can store, and for how long.

For the purposes of climate change, the Australian delegation define forests at anything over 15cm high. Whatever form of forest, effectiveness rests on the theory of `once a carbon sink, always a carbon sink’. Once land has been given over as a carbon sink — be it a forest or some other form of land use qualifying as a sink — the nation is, in theory, locked into a deal whereby they cannot change the land use. This raises questions of ownership and the ultimate beneficiaries of the carbon stored.

Unravelling the soothing solution of planting forests for carbon, exposes a raft of controversial issues behind this popular concept. Popular, that is, with those that hold the global sway of influence. It is popular for good reason: there’s money in it; it’s cheaper than cutting emissions; and it’s simple, compared with the complexities of negotiating carbon cuts at home.

Posted in Environmental at February 6th, 2014. No Comments.