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Posts Tagged ‘climate’

La Nina blamed for weather upset, but climate link unclear

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:11 am

PARIS, Jan 7, 2011 (AFP) – Experts pin the floods that have ravaged northeastern Australia on a weather phenomenon known as La Nina but are cautious whether the peril could be amplified by climate change.

La Nina, or “girl child,” is the counterpart of El Nino, or “boy child,” together comprising a pendular swing of extreme weather that affects the Pacific Rim but can be disruptive as far as the coast of southern Africa.

El Nino occurs when the trade winds that circulate surface water in the tropical Pacific start to weaken.

A mass of warm water builds in the western Pacific and eventually rides over to the eastern side of the ocean.

The outcome is a major shift in rainfall, bringing floods and mudslides to usually arid countries in western South America and drought in the western Pacific, as well as a change in nutrient-rich ocean currents that lure fish.

Eventually, El Nino peters out, sometimes when a cold phase — La Nina — starts to dominate.

At that point, the reverse happens: countries in the eastern Pacific face drier weather and those on the west, such as Australia’s Queensland, get drenched.

An Army Chinook helicopter leaves Australia’s Rockhampton transporting an electricity generator to the flood disaster area of Theodore on January 6, 2011. More heavy rains were forecast for Australia’s northeast, threatening to worsen flooding after besieged Rockhampton cut supplies to “irresponsible” residents refusing to leave. AFP

“2010 began with El Nino conditions in the Pacific followed by a rapid transition into La Nina during (the southern hemisphere’s) autumn,” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says on its website.

“(…) By July, La Nina conditions were well established and most areas of Australia experienced very much above average rainfall. The second half of the year (July to December) was the wettest on record for Australia.”

In the 20th century, scientists identified 25 moderate or strong El Ninos and 17 episodes of La Nina. The toll to human life and property, in droughts and floods, has sometimes been huge.

The back-and-forth cycle — formally known as the El Nino/La Nina-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO — occurs every two to seven years.

Because sea temperature plays such an important role, some climate experts are keen to determine whether man-made global warming might make it more frequent or vicious.

Prudence, though, is the watchword. ENSO is a complex mechanism and reliable oceanographic data reaches back only a century or so, which is minute given that climate history spans billions of years.

“There is no consistent indication at this time of discernible changes in projected ENSO amplitude or frequency in the 21st century,” the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crisply announced in its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.

In an interview with AFP, Baylor Fox-Kemper, an oceanographer at the University of Colorado, explained: “Many models indicate that there is a link between El Nino and climate change, but they don’t agree as to what that change should be.

“Furthermore, El Nino is so noisy [a term meaning complex] that it takes many centuries of data to be sure that a change has occurred.

“Since we have only a limited amount of trusted real-world data, we are unable to validate which of these models is closest to the truth.”

Others say that despite the unknowns, logic dictates that global warming is bound to have an impact on ENSO.

“With a warmer world, one would expect the atmosphere to hold more moisture, so that when it does rain, it is heavier,” said New Zealand specialist Jim Salinger.

“So La Nina rainfall events are expected to be more intense… (although) at this stage, it is not known whether La Nina events will become more frequent.”

Source: SGGP

Lawmakers urged to play greater role in climate change issue

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

Lawmakers urged to play greater role in climate change issue

QĐND – Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 21:6 (GMT+7)

 The role of legislators needs to be promoted in policy and legal planning, negotiation and the supervision of conventions, treaties, international commitments on sustainable development and climate change.

This was agreed among the delegates who attended a seminar on the role of the Asian-Pacific Parliamentary Francophone Assembly (APF) in the environmental field and climate change, which was organised by the APF, the International Francophone Organisation (OIF) and Vietnam’s National Assembly in Hanoi on December 15.

On addressing the opening ceremony, Nguyen Van Son, the chairman of Vietnam’s NA’s Committee for External Affairs, said that the event is meaningful in the context of the 16 th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16) that has just finished in Cancun, Mexico.

“The seminar stresses the responsibilities of Francophone member countries in the face of common global challenges in Asia-the Pacific region”, said Son.

At the event, delegates from APF member countries such as Laos and the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu as well as experts from the Institute for Energy and Environment of Francophone Countries (IEPF), representatives of Vietnam’s ministries, along with scientists agreed that environmental protection is always an essential factor in sustainable socio-economic development.

In reality, in a global economy, climate change poses challenges to many countries around the world, especially poor and developing countries, of whom many are members of the Francophone bloc.

The delegates were also briefed on Vietnam’s progress in the implementation of solutions on climate change as well as the NA’s role in sustainable development.

According to Jean Luc Lala, the Secretary General of Administration for the APF, the crucial point is to find a balance between the economic benefits and environmental protection, so all concerned parties must take own responsibility after signing conventions and international treaties in this area.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Eurocham sees investment climate improvement

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Eurocham sees investment climate improvement

QĐND – Friday, November 26, 2010, 20:41 (GMT+7)

Eurocham has acknowledged Vietnam ’s progress in improving its trade and investment environment, particularly in intellectual property and administrative reform, in year-end months.

The statement was made by Alain Cany, Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Eurocham) while launching the “White Book of Trade/Investment Issues and Recommendations” in Hanoi on Nov. 25.

The White Book, the third edition, will serve as a reference for the Vietnamese Government to address limitations in Vietnam ’s competitiveness such as the quality of labour force, infrastructure, energy supply, encouragement of Public-Private Partnership (PPP), and regulatory and administrative reform, said the Eurocham chairman.

As in prior editions, the White Book 2011 aims to summarise some of the key issues affecting the business operations of over 700 European business members in Vietnam . The companies are involved in pharmaceuticals, energy, telecommunications, automobile, tourism and banking sectors.

The White Book 2011 includes additional views on the important areas of PPP and nutritional foods, which drew special attention from EU businesses.

The book will serve as useful information for European companies to better understand Vietnam ’s economic development and legal and investment environment, said Jean-Jacques Bouflet, Minister-Councillor for Trade and Economics at the European Commission delegation.

The edition will also help the Vietnamese Government to clearly understand investors’ interests and aspirations, he added.

It will also support future negotiations on free trade between Vietnam and EU, he said.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Save the world from climate change — by computer

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2010 at 4:25 am

Netherlands to help Mekong Delta cope with climate change

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 at 6:23 am

Climate change campaign launched

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Long-term strategy to cope with climate change

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm

PM urges Tay Ninh to create competitive investment climate

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm

PM urges Tay Ninh to create competitive investment climate

QĐND – Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 21:18 (GMT+7)

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked Tay Ninh province to review its infrastructure works and mobilize all sources of investment, take better care of human resources, especially farmers, and boost public administration reforms to attract more investors.

Mr Dung made this request while working with authorities from the southern province on August 11 for the implementation of socio-economic plans in the 2006-2010 period and orientations for the next five years.

He said Tay Ninh has made many achievements in various fields and ensured better living conditions for the people but can do more to ensure sustainability of the local economy, orientations for agriculture, and phase out obsolete technologies that cause pollution.

The PM requested the province specify each of its future development targets, including seeking investors for its eight industrial zones, and the ongoing cement project, and to quickly introduce the pharmaceutical chemistry to hi-tech industrial parks.

Tay Ninh province needs to apply modern technology and expedite the application of new varieties in agriculture and aquaculture, said Mr Dung.

At the same time, he suggested that the local officials better deal with social issues, with a particular focus on forest plantation and protection and maintaining social order.

During the working session, PM Dung and some senior government officials in his delegation discussed provincial proposals to build a 55km expressway connecting HCM City and Moc Bai border gate, to expand National Highway 22B, its border routes and build roads between districts and communes.

Over the past five years, Tay Ninh has recorded an average annual GDP growth rate of 14 percent and raised its per capita income to US$1,390. The province’s industrial and service values rose by 16.8 percent and 21.5 percent respectively over the reviewed period and the rate of poor households fell to just 1.5 percent.

The province has set plans for the next five years to increase its GDP by over 14 percent annually and reach more than US$2,970 in per capita income. It also plans to make 100 percent of its business and production establishments meet environmental standards.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Democrats put US climate change legislation plans on hold

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2010 (AFP) – Democratic lawmakers scrapped plans Thursday to introduce climate change legislation, recognizing they do not have enough votes and preparing instead an energy bill addressing the BP oil spill.

“Unfortunately, at this time, not one Republican wants to join us in achieving this goal” of adopting a comprehensive climate bill, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “That isn’t just disappointing. It’s dangerous.”

President Barack Obama has made climate change legislation a key priority, and told Americans during an Oval Office address in June that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was a sign of the urgent need for energy alternatives.

He called the disaster “the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now” and urged Americans to “seize control of our own destiny.”

But Republicans have balked at sweeping energy reform, arguing that policies like “cap-and-trade,” intended to limit harmful emissions, will cost American businesses and hobble US innovation.

In the face of unified opposition, and lacking the 60-vote supermajority needed to pass legislation without Republican votes, Reid and Democratic Senator John Kerry said they would focus on a narrower bill for now.

“To be clear: we are not putting forth this bill in place of a comprehensive bill,” Reid said.

“But we will not pass up the opportunity to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil, create good paying American jobs and protect the environment.”

Kerry said he would continue to work with Independent Senator Joe Lieberman toward comprehensive legislation that targets carbon emissions “so that we can send signals to the marketplace and change the direction and create jobs for America and improve our security.”

The less ambitious legislation being developed would directly address the catastrophic oil spill triggered by an explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20.

It would seek to ensure that BP assumes all the costs of cleaning up spilled oil, propose measures to prevent similar environmental disasters and help create more “green jobs” in clean energy production.

The measures had originally been intended to be included in a broader climate and energy bill, and, unlike cap-and-trade, enjoy Republican support, Reid insisted. The House of Representatives passed a bill that included a cap-and-trade system in June 2009.

Talks on a climate bill could be revived this fall, ahead of crucial mid-term elections in November, lawmakers said.

“We will continue to work with the senators to craft important comprehensive legislation,” White House Director of Energy Policy Carol Browner said after meeting with Senate Democrats.

Kerry, a key player in climate negotiations, said he was “absolutely confident” a comprehensive measure could be passed swiftly, and would not suffer the same fate as comprehensive health care reform, enacted earlier this year after decades of bitter political bickering.

Environmentalists, though, said more needed to be done.

“The failure to price carbon leaves a giant hole in US energy and climate policy, and the long-term cost to the United States will be enormous,” said Rafe Pomerance, founder of Clean Air-Cool Planet.

Union of Concerned Scientists president Kevin Knobloch said the Senate has an “absolute responsibility to act on climate change this year.”

Source: SGGP

US announces climate change help for Mekong region

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

HANOI, July 22, 2010 (AFP) – The United States on Thursday announced a three-year programme to help countries in the Mekong River basin adapt to the impact of climate change on water resources, food security and livelihoods.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the pledge at a Hanoi meet with Southeast Asian countries of the lower Mekong region, whose waterway is also under threat from rapid economic development and expanding populations.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) attends the 2nd Lower Mekong – US Ministerial Meeting in Hanoi on July 22, 2010. AFP

“Managing this resource and defending it against threats like climate change and infectious disease is a transnational challenge,” she told the foreign ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Regional cooperation is essential to meeting that challenge, to preserving the ecological diversity and fertility of the Mekong region.”

The meeting was the first between the five ministers since they launched the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) in Thailand a year ago to develop cooperation on environment, health, education and infrastructure issues in the Mekong region.

The initiative was seen as an attempt by Washington to improve its profile in the region and counter the influence of China, which is home to the upper reaches of the Mekong.

The United States has said it will spend more than 187 million dollars this year under the initiative, the majority of which is directed at health issues.

Low-lying areas around the Mekong, which have been beset by drought this year, are considered some of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change.

More than 60 million people rely in some way on the river, which is the world’s largest inland fishery.

The intergovernmental Mekong River Commission has warned that the basin’s health and the river’s eco-systems could be threatened by proposed dams and expanding populations.

China has eight planned or existing dams on the Mekong River, but rejects activists’ claims that these have contributed to low water levels downstream.

Japan also held a meeting with the Mekong countries in Hanoi on Wednesday to discuss a joint “Green Mekong” initiative for the next decade, which aims to tackle challenges such as natural disasters and deforestation.

Source: SGGP