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
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.
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
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.
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
“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
Jane Beitler,Communications, National Snow and Ice Data Center, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-303-492-1497
Brittany Hook, Communications Coordinator, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, email@example.com, 858-534-3624
Green Aruba is an annual conference born in 2010 with the specific aim to place dedicated emphasis on Aruba's energy transition to 100% fuel independence.
Besides showcasing Aruba's progress and challenges to the accelerated penetration of renewables in the total energy mix, Green Aruba also exhibits the experiences and knowledge of other institutions and island nations in this field. Over the past six years, Green Aruba has evolved into a practical and valuable well-known platform within the region for the exchange of information and applied knowledge on sustainable and best practices for the shift to cleaner, more environmentally friendly energy sources and resources.
Green Aruba VI – Share Sustainability
At this year's Green Aruba conference to be held October 27th and 28th, the main theme will focus on sharing sustainability by together confronting the common barriers we face, identifying the solutions moving forward and creating the essential roadmaps to achieve our desired growth paths of the sustainability journey for our island nations.
Aruba has made remarkable progress over the years in the penetration level of renewables and/or efficiency at production level, with in 2015 reaching close to the 20% mark. With the ongoing and upcoming planned projects operational by the end of 2017, the 40% barrier will be surpassed by 2018!
With our goal to reach 100% fuel free energy production by 2020, and in order to surpass the 40% level, it is fundamental to embark on a “deep dive” into our existing energy mix. Aruba is examining cutting-edge technologies and new business models for our utility companies, all in conjunction with our RAS framework, to create a balance between Reliable and Sustainable investments. This balancing act will only be achievable if energy production costs remain Affordable for the customer base.
Local utility stakeholders together with foreign renowned institutions are preparing for this dive known as the Aruba Renewable Integration Study (ARIS), and will present their approach and concept at the upcoming conference. The ARIS will provide models that map out the road forward towards Aruba's aspiring renewable energy goals, while maintaining grid reliability and minimizing overall system costs, and can serve as a prototype or starting point for fellow island nations. More
The Caribbean appears to be the ideal location for renewable energy development. Petroleum resources are scarce and renewable resources such as solar, wind and geothermal are plentiful. Energy prices are high as there is no opportunity for economy of scale benefits that large land masses enjoy. Added to that, climate change impacts pose a major threat to the region’s small-island economies that are largely dependent on tourism and agriculture.
Despite this, most Caribbean nations still use imported diesel or oil to generate 90-100% of their energy. So what has been the barrier to using renewables? Many people have pointed to the cost factor. Small economies mean that in most cases countries have difficulty in financing renewable energy projects that require high upfront capital. Also, regulations have been slow in setting clear rules for grid interconnection. These factors have led some international investors and developers to be cautious about entering the Caribbean market. http://bit.ly/1NeB0fj