Great astrophotographies – December 2009

This is time for me to present my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). As always, this month was packed with beautiful images. It was as always difficult to select just ten.

For the last post of the year (and of the decade) let’s have a look at what the NASA say about my favorite picture : ” Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, haunted skies over the island of Kvaløya, near Tromsø Norway on December 13.

I particularly like aurora borealis, a natural phenomenon that occurs generally during nights in the ionosphere of both poles regions.

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Worth an article – my December 2009 tweets

I am committed since January 2007 to bring you each month a selection of thelatest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change and the world energy sector.

However, I don’t blog as much as I would like to and generally write around 25 posts per month. However, many more great news are worth reading and blogging about so I had to find a way to share them with you.

This solution came last year with my use of Twitter as I use my account to share with my followers news that are worth your time. Here is a selection of the most interesting ones.

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Carbon sinks are becoming less efficient

This is ” the latest inconvenient truth about climate change ” : Nature absorbs less and less carbon dioxide and this as we keep on increasing our emissions. The Washington Post recently published an interesting article on this. Both forests and oceans absorb carbon dioxide and act as carbon sinks. This phenomenon is less and less … Read more

Soon a deal to end deforestation

Since I read Collapse back to 2007 I have been an advocate of both stopping deforestation and reforesting as both are needed to stop soil erosion in a local scale and stop climate change on a global scale.

It seems the Copenhagen climate conference was not a complete failure as the Kyoto Protocol’s successor is due to tackle deforestation – a huge part of greenhouse gases emissions – via the REDD program.

As the New York Times stated it : “ It is likely to be the most concrete thing that comes out of Copenhagen — and it is a very big thing.”

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The huge failure of the Copenhagen conference

The Copenhagen climate conference failed in preparing the future of the Kyoto Protocol. This is even more enraging as at first positive signs kept on piling : the United States and  many developing nations proclamed they would act.

I saw it coming as still too many are elected representatives around the world that don’t understand the benefits a strong climate change accord could bring us all in terms of employment and sustainable energy.

I won’t point fingers at any particular country or group of countries as I believe this is a collective failure. In today’s post you will find a selection of links on this event.

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Keeping natural gas in pipelines, not air

natural-gas-leaksThis was the title of an article on Dot Earth, as I read the associated New York Times article in Le Figaro as this newspaper now proposes a selection of the best articles from the NYT.

The article is about how natural gas – and methane – is leaking through the miles and miles of pipelines and installations all over the world, thus adding even more greenhouse gases emissions.

As Mister Revkin notes this could be fixed quite fast and save money, energy and greenhouse gases emissions. This sounds like another win-win-win situation.

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World Bank funds solar projects in North Africa

Solar energy in desertsThe World Bank via its Clean Technology Fund is investing $750 million (522 million euros) in eleven concentrating solar plants in the Middle East and North Africa region. This is due to spur additional investments worth $4.85 billion.

These projects are due to add nearly a gigawatt of capacity to local grids within three to five years in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia and would triple the current concentrated solar power (CSP) capacity.

I wonder if this could be a significant boost to the DESERTEC project as it is exactly about building renewable energy facilities in these countries.

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EPA to regulate greenhouse gases emissions

EPAWe had reason to be optimistic on the Copenhagen Climate Conference as the United States unveiled on the first day a plan that will allow its Environmental Protection Agency to act on greenhouse gases emissions.

Among the gases that will be regulated are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. As you can see, this is a pretty exhaustive list.

This is very good news but now remains the question of how deep the EPA will cut greenhouse gases emissions and in what time…

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2000-2009 : the warmest decade ever

Burning EearthAs the year 2009 is ending the World Meterological Organization reveiled in a report that this decade was the warmest ever recorded. This happens as each passing decade is warmer than the previous one.

What disqualifies any natural phenomenon as an explanation is the speed of the warming and the exceptional increase of greenhouse gases emissions for the past decade.

Climate change is already taking place and causing unrest and troubles all over the world. It is high time our representatives acknowledge the fact and act.

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It’s not about saving the planet, but ourselves

George CarlinMany people think that the current Copenhagen climate conference is about saving the planet. I believe this not true as we are just trying to save ourselves from our own folly.

Our planet – whom you may refer to as Gaïa – will still be there long after we are gone. The brilliant George Carlin reminded us brilliantly of that in his bout about environmentalists.

This gem of green humour was first brought to my attention in June 2008 by Marguerite via her blog. Many thanks to her for that.

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Extreme oil anyone ?

new-scientist-extreme-oilWhile some magazines print sensationalist articles, some other prefer to carry out real research with real facts and figures. New Scientist indeed published an interesting article on what they call extreme – or unconventional – oil.

Understanding that peak oil is either near or already arrived we can either burn as much unconventional oil as we need or use it wisely to smooth the transition to the post-oil society.

The editorial is a little gem that will allow you to better understand the full article written by David Strahan, the author of The Last Oil Shock.

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Saving rainforests with the UN-REDD program

time-magazine-banking-on-treesWhile in the train going to Paris to attend the Green Job forum I read an interesting article on how banking on trees could enable us to fight off climate change and give money to enable developing nations to protect their forests.

The United Nations REDD program – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries – may enable us to do just that by financing the protection of existing rainforests.

Time Magazine investigated in Indonesia’s Aceh province as the country is the third greenhouse gases emitter behind China and the United States because of its massive deforestation.

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