Big oil and climate change

Though oil and gas companies have known about global climate change for decades, they’ve deferred reducing crude and gas production until the second half of this century. But with global weather patterns in flux, activists have been demanding that energy companies set and commit to more rapid action on curbing oil and gas production in line with the Paris climate agreement.
New calls for action come amidst forecasts by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that, by 2014, demand for oil and gas could fall by almost 50 percent – but only if carbon emissions reduction targets are met. With this threat to profits, many ask if big oil companies are serious about addressing global climate change.

Facing an eventual drop in demand, energy companies delay caps on the production of carbon-emitting products.

Oil majors like Royal Dutch Shell has acknowledged that climate change will be a major challenge for years to come, but Total and others are still expecting strong demand for fossil fuels over the next few decades – and Exxon Mobil is under investigation over financial disclosures for climate change.
Anthony Hobley, CEO for the financial think-tank Carbon Tracker, told Counting the Cost that when it comes to profits and compliance with international carbon reduction agreements, big energy companies are sending mixed messages:
“I think they’ve been a bit schizophrenic. They are looking at climate risk and we’re now being deluged with disclosure and scenario analysis from the companies that are, effectively, stress testing their business models against a Paris compliant two degrees pathway. But then when they talk to investors they’re still talking up demand.” Read More

The Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference (CTEC)

 

Caribbean economies suffer from some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

Despite their abundance of renewable energy sources, Cayman has a relatively low level of renewable energy penetration; the economy continues to spend a large proportion of its GDP on imported fossil fuels and residents and businesses continue to pay some of the highest electricity bills in the region. This is a common situation among island nations.

There is a clear opportunity for Cayman to emerge as a regional leader in developing solutions to address climate change through the adoption of renewable energy which will reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and provide key environmental, social and economic benefits.

With the Cayman Islands National Energy Policy now in place, a framework for transition is complete and seizing upon that vision will be critical to affecting positive change for the Cayman Islands and all those who follow.

The recent achievements for islands at COP21 provide a strong driver for action focused on carbon reduction goals. Given that Cayman ranks highly among islands as carbon emitters, it is critical that we position ourselves as leaders in carbon reduction and meet the goals set out in the National Energy Policy and the Paris agreement.

Cayman seeks to stand with other islands in the region and across the world to embrace a low carbon future and to stand on the front line of demonstrating solutions to climate change while delivering cheaper, secure, reliable and economically feasible energy solutions.
Who should attend?

Be part of Cayman’s low carbon future by joining an event which seeks to set out our vision, renewable road-map and opportunities.

The event will bring together delegates from public, private and non-profit sectors, underlining our collaborative approach to a sustainable future- government officials, project developers, manufacturers, investors and key players across the non-profit landscape.

Join government official and industry leads and participate in interactive panel discussions that seek to establish what the journey ahead looks like and how we address the challenges and maximise the opportunities.

Make the most of key networking opportunities, bringing together local, regional and global participation.
For More Information and Register

Five Pacific islands lost to rising seas as climate change hits

Five Pacific islands lost to rising seas as climate change hits

The submerged islands were part of the Solomon Islands, an archipelago that over the last two decades has seen annual sea levels rise as much as 10mm (0.4in), according to research published in the May issue of the online journal Environmental Research Letters.

The missing islands, ranging in size from 1 to 5 hectares (2.5-12.4 acres) were not inhabited by humans. But six other islands had large swaths of land washed into the sea and on two of those, entire villages were destroyed and people forced to relocate, the researchers found.

One was Nuatambu island, home to 25 families, which has lost 11 houses and half its inhabitable area since 2011, the research said.

The study is the first that scientifically “confirms the numerous anecdotal accounts from across the Pacific of the dramatic impacts of climate change on coastlines and people,” the researchers wrote in a separate commentary on an academic website.

The scientists used aerial and satellite images dating back to 1947 of 33 islands, as well as traditional knowledge and radiocarbon dating of trees for their findings. More

CARICOM’s Commercialization of energy efficiency programs and projects in the Caribbean.

As part of its mandate to promote resilient energy matrices region-wide, CARICOM has identified the promotion of investment into energy efficiency programs and projects as a priority action item.

On April 5th at 10.00am EST, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and New Energy Events will co-host a webinar focused on new approaches to the commercialization of energy efficiency programs and projects in the Caribbean.

Confirmed panelists:

Jacob Corvidae, Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute

Kelly Tomblin, President & CEO, Jamaica Public Service Co.

Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager, Energy, CARICOM

Joseph Williams, Sustainable Energy Advisor, Caribbean Development Bank

Despite the obvious potential for investment in energy efficiency across the Caribbean, the markets are yet to take off in any meaningful way. The unavailability of sustainable and affordable financing is widely recognized as the most significant hurdle to commercialization. The webinar will explore an emerging alignment of stakeholders around energy efficiency investments, and examine a number of innovative approaches to financing.

Topics will include:

• How do we introduce investment in energy efficiency into the mainstream?

• How do regional utilities look at investment in EE initiatives from a long-term ROI perspective? How can we align economic incentives to motivate utilities to invest in EE?

• What can we learn from the experience of other markets and other utilities? Hawaii, for example?

• What is the Integrated Utility Service (IUS) model? What can we learn from the initial experience in Fort Collins?

• How might utility-centric EE programs align with public sector and multilateral objectives and with what implication for the financing of EE programs?

• How do we de-risk EE investment?

• What are the opportunity costs associated with the inability of the current “market will deliver” philosophy to tap the regional EE potential?

• What are the key stakeholders – utilities, utility regulators, governments, multilaterals and private investors – prepared to do in order to deliver clean, efficient, reliable and cost-effective energy services to end-users? More

Register Now!

 

Yes, Scientists Can Link Extreme Weather Events To Climate Change

When asked about a particular weather event’s link to climate change, scientists are typically cautious to make definitive statements — especially in the immediate aftermath, before they’ve had the chance to study the event.

But according to a new study, it’s getting easier for scientists to make the link between climate change and some forms of extreme weather. The study, published Friday by the National Academies Press, found that scientific advances over the past several years have helped scientists link increases in frequency and intensity of temperature and precipitation-related events like droughts and heat waves to climate change.

“In the past, a typical climate scientist’s response to questions about climate change’s role in any given extreme weather event was ‘we cannot attribute any single event to climate change,'” the report, completed by a committee of scientists, reads. “The science has advanced to the point that this is no longer true as an unqualified blanket statement. In many cases, it is now often possible to make and defend quantitative statements about the extent to which human-induced climate change (or another causal factor, such as a specific mode of natural variability) has influenced either the magnitude or the probability of occurrence of specific types of events or event classes.”

The report calls this branch of science, wherein researchers work to determine whether climate change contributed to a certain event, “event attribution.” To determine how and if climate change is linked to a certain event, scientists typically either reference the observational record of similar events — i.e. the recorded history of droughts leading back several decades — or use models to determine how likely a similar event would be in different warming scenarios. Most studies, the report states, use both of these tactics. More

 

Warming ocean water undercuts Antarctic ice shelves

“Upside-down rivers” of warm ocean water threaten the stability of floating ice shelves in Antarctica, according to a new study led by researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center published today in Nature Geoscience. The study highlights how parts of Antarctica’s ice sheet may be weakening due to contact with warm ocean water.

“We found that warm ocean water is carving these ‘upside-down rivers,’ or basal channels, into the undersides of ice shelves all around the Antarctic continent. In at least some cases these channels weaken the ice shelves, making them more vulnerable to disintegration,” said Karen Alley, a graduate research assistant at NSIDC and lead author of the study. Alley is also a Ph.D. student in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Geological Sciences.

Ice shelves are thick floating plates of ice that have flowed off the Antarctic continent and spread out onto the ocean. As ice shelves flow out to sea, they push against islands, peninsulas, and bedrock bumps known as “pinning points.” Contact with these features slows the flow of grounded ice off the continent. While ice shelves take thousands of years to grow, previous work has shown that they can disintegrate in a matter of weeks. If more ice shelves disintegrate in the future, loss of contact with pinning points will allow ice to flow more rapidly into the ocean, increasing the rate of sea level rise.

“Ice shelves are really vulnerable parts of the ice sheet, because climate change hits them from above and below,” said Ted Scambos, NSIDC lead scientist and study co-author. “They are really important in braking the ice flow to the ocean.”

The features form as buoyant plumes of warm and fresh water rise and flow along the underside of an ice shelf, carving channels much like upside-down rivers. The channels can be tens of miles long, and up to 800 feet “deep.”

When a channel is carved into the base of an ice shelf, the top of the ice shelf sags, leaving a visible depression in the relatively smooth ice surface. Alley and her colleagues mapped the locations of these depressions all around the Antarctic continent using satellite imagery, as well as radar data that images the channels through the ice, mapping the shape of the ice-ocean boundary.

The team also used satellite laser altimetry, which measures the height of an ice shelf surface with high accuracy, to document how quickly some of the channels were growing. The data show that growing channels on the rapidly melting Getz Ice Shelf in West Antarctica can bore into the ice shelf base at rates of approximately 10 meters (33 feet) each year.

The mapping shows that basal channels have a tendency to form along the edges of islands and peninsulas, which are already weak areas on ice shelves. The team observed two locations where ice shelves are fracturing along basal channels, clear evidence that basal channel presence can weaken ice shelves to the point of breaking in vulnerable areas.

While no ice shelves have completely disintegrated due to carving by basal channels, the study points to the need for more observation and study of these features, said co-author Helen Amanda Fricker of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “It's feasible that as ocean temperatures around Antarctica continue to rise, melting in basal channels could contribute to increased erosion of ice shelves from below.”

The study, “Impacts of warm water on Antarctic ice shelf stability through basal channel formation,” was led by University of Colorado Boulder Ph.D. student Karen Alley, who worked with coauthors Ted Scambos of NSIDC and Matthew Siegfried and Helen Amanda Fricker of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. Their work was funded in part by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. More

Contacts

Jane Beitler,Communications, National Snow and Ice Data Center, press@nsidc.org, +1-303-492-1497
Brittany Hook, Communications Coordinator, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, scrippsnews@ucsd.edu, 858-534-3624

 

What it takes to be a great leader – TED

What makes a great leader today? Many of us carry this image of this all-knowing superhero who stands and commands and protects his followers. But that's kind of an image from another time, and what's also outdated are the leadership development programs that are based on success models for a world that was, not a world that is or that is coming.

0:45We conducted a study of 4,000 companies, and we asked them, let's see the effectiveness of your leadership development programs. Fifty-eight percent of the companies cited significant talent gaps for critical leadership roles. That means that despite corporate training programs, off-sites, assessments, coaching, all of these things, more than half the companies had failed to grow enough great leaders. You may be asking yourself, is my company helping me to prepare to be a great 21st-century leader? The odds are, probably not.

1:28Now, I've spent 25 years of my professional life observing what makes great leaders. I've worked inside Fortune 500 companies, I've advised over 200 CEOs, and I've cultivated more leadership pipelines than you can imagine. But a few years ago, I noticed a disturbing trend in leadership preparation. I noticed that, despite all the efforts, there were familiar stories that kept resurfacing about individuals. One story was about Chris, a high-potential, superstar leader who moves to a new unit and fails, destroying unrecoverable value. And then there were stories like Sidney, the CEO, who was so frustrated because her company is cited as a best company for leaders, but only one of the top 50 leaders is equipped to lead their crucial initiatives. And then there were storieslike the senior leadership team of a once-thriving business that's surprised by a market shift, finds itself having to force the company to reduce its size in half or go out of business.

2:48Now, these recurring stories cause me to ask two questions. Why are the leadership gaps widening when there's so much more investment in leadership development? And what are the great leaders doing distinctly different to thrive and grow? One of the things that I did, I was so consumed by these questions and also frustrated by those stories,that I left my job so that I could study this full time, and I took a year to travel to different parts of the world to learn about effective and ineffective leadership practices in companies, countries and nonprofit organizations. And so I did things like travel to South Africa, where I had an opportunity to understand how Nelson Mandela was ahead of his time in anticipating and navigating his political, social and economic context. I also met a number of nonprofit leaders who, despite very limited financial resources, were making a huge impact in the world, often bringing together seeming adversaries. And I spent countless hours in presidential libraries trying to understand how the environment had shaped the leaders, the moves that they made, and then the impact of those movesbeyond their tenure. And then, when I returned to work full time, in this role, I joined with wonderful colleagues who were also interested in these questions.

4:26Now, from all this, I distilled the characteristics of leaders who are thriving and what they do differently, and then I also distilled the preparation practices that enable people to grow to their potential. I want to share some of those with you now.

4:44(“What makes a great leader in the 21st century?”)

4:46In a 21st-century world, which is more global, digitally enabled and transparent, with faster speeds of information flow and innovation, and where nothing big gets donewithout some kind of a complex matrix, relying on traditional development practices will stunt your growth as a leader. In fact, traditional assessments like narrow 360 surveys or outdated performance criteria will give you false positives, lulling you into thinking that you are more prepared than you really are. Leadership in the 21st century is defined and evidenced by three questions.

5:29Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life?The answer to this question is on your calendar. Who are you spending time with? On what topics? Where are you traveling? What are you reading? And then how are you distilling this into understanding potential discontinuities, and then making a decision to do something right now so that you're prepared and ready? There's a leadership team that does a practice where they bring together each member collecting, here are trends that impact me, here are trends that impact another team member, and they share these,and then make decisions, to course-correct a strategy or to anticipate a new move.Great leaders are not head-down. They see around corners, shaping their future, not just reacting to it.

6:28The second question is, what is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? You know, we hear often about good ol' boy networks and they're certainly alive and well in many institutions. But to some extent, we all have a network of people that we're comfortable with. So this question is about your capacity to develop relationships with people that are very different than you. And those differences can be biological, physical, functional, political, cultural, socioeconomic. And yet, despite all these differences, they connect with you and they trust you enough to cooperate with you in achieving a shared goal. Great leaders understand that having a more diverse network is a source of pattern identification at greater levels and also of solutions,because you have people that are thinking differently than you are.

7:29Third question: are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past? There's an expression: Go along to get along. But if you follow this advice, chances are as a leader, you're going to keep doing what's familiar and comfortable. Great leaders dare to be different. They don't just talk about risk-taking,they actually do it. And one of the leaders shared with me the fact that the most impactful development comes when you are able to build the emotional stamina to withstand people telling you that your new idea is naïve or reckless or just plain stupid.Now interestingly, the people who will join you are not your usual suspects in your network. They're often people that think differently and therefore are willing to join you in taking a courageous leap. And it's a leap, not a step. More than traditional leadership programs, answering these three questions will determine your effectiveness as a 21st-century leader.

8:45So what makes a great leader in the 21st century? I've met many, and they stand out.They are women and men who are preparing themselves not for the comfortable predictability of yesterday but also for the realities of today and all of those unknown possibilities of tomorrow. More