Wednesday, June 22, 2011

China: Two coal miners sentenced to death for killing locals who protested pollution

A court in China's vast northern region of Inner Mongolia has sentenced to death a coal mine worker for killing a resident who had complained about pollution [...] Earlier this month, a court in the same part of Inner Mongolia ordered the execution of a man for murdering an ethnic Mongolian herder who had also protested against coal mine pollution, a killing that set off days of rare protests.

This past month five environmentalists have been murdered in Brazil. Police are - apparently - clueless.

Sources: Yahoo! / Chinese man gets death in pollution protest case, AP / Chinese sentenced to die for Mongol herder's death

Friday, June 17, 2011

How Much Gas Is Left? See with new visualization at Information is Beautiful

The basics:

  • The world uses 2.6 trillion cubic metres a year, we have 187.9 trillion cubic metres left. 187.9 divided by 2.6 gives 72.3 but the graphic says there's only 63 years left assuming constant consumption. Assuming a constant growth in consumption by 2% there's supposed to be 42 years left.
  • The top three biggest reserves are in Russia, Quatar and Iran (~53% total). The most production and consumption is in USA and Russia (~38% total production, ~35% total consumption).
  • In comparison, assuming constant growths in consumption of oil (1%) and coal (4%) we have 38 and 44 years left of these resources respectively.
What is really interesting, though, is that General Electrics and BP are mentioned at the bottom of the page. Have the big corporations finally given up pretending infinite supplies of natural resources?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Guardian News / Network Rail losing millions from copper thefts

The theft of copper cables from Britain's railways is reaching epidemic proportions, costing the operator Network Rail millions of pounds as it takes on extra staff to catch the criminals and pays out compensation to train companies for delays on the system. Copper theft from railway lines jumped by 67% to 3,116 incidents in the year to April as metal prices have soared and Britain's stumbling recovery from recession has continued to push impoverished groups into crime, according to the British Transport Police. [...] The damage is also taking a financial toll, costing Network Rail £43m in compensation and repair charges in the past three years, as thousands of incidents led to nearly 1m minutes of delays. [...] Economic hardship has been blamed for the rise in thefts but the soaring price of copper has made it more lucrative. Copper has tripled to about $9,000 (£5,486) a tonne in under three years as fast-growing emerging markets such as China demand more of the metal, which is used in wiring, to feed its construction boom. [...] The number of copper thefts is closely aligned to the price of the metal, meaning that an increase in speculation by pension funds and other investors at one end is likely to filter through to an increase in train service disruptions at the other.

"[It] can only get worse. If someone is desperate and determined they will find a way. [...] Copper [prices are] likely to keep rising and the austerity measures aren't helping."
- Steve White, Network Rail engineer

I have been reading near-identical stories in Danish media about the Danish railways.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Climate news: Change linked to food security, emissions up, denialism alive and well, scientists threatened

I'm a bit behind on taking note of the climate change news. First the bad plus the ridiculous:

CO2 emissions are setting records while old time denier release auto-biographic film
Carbon dioxide emissions hit record levels following global financial crisis lows (Reuters / IEA sees record CO2 emissions in 2010). Apparently now Westerners buy even more goods produced by coal dependent emerging economies. Meanwhile Bjørn Lomborg (see A history of skepticism: Bjørn Lomborg) released a film titled after his last book (Cool it) yet judging from from the mildly forgiving reviews is simply an advertisement of the person. What a depressing combination of news.

Not exactly battlefield news. But it gets worse.

Australian climate scientists given protection following death threats and harassment
We should defend the rights of stupid people as well as people who are simply wrong and let them speak their mind. And even make films that advocate dangerous policies like Lomborgs. But in Australia the anti-environmentalists have reached a new low by threatening scientists whose research helped clear up the uncertainties previously surrounding climatology. Shocking. Remotely understandable if the threats had been directed towards politicians - but threatening the researchers!? (ABC News / Death threats sent to top climate scientists, The Sydney Morning Herald / Death threats to scientists)

Science journal article links climate change to food security
"In most places we see temperature trends, and they have significantly reduced yield growth."
 - Wolfram Schlenker
Since I'm not blogging that much on climate these days I really hope the next post will be a bit more encouraging. But that depends on people not acting selfishly or stupid.

(Cross-posted at TH!NK)

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