Other key stories below: Rising Sea Levels Will Hit South Florida Hard; 64,000 People in Massachussets Have Clean Energy Jobs.
“Climate change could cause extreme weather leaving millions of people trapped, a new report claims.” Photo: AFP
Hundreds of millions of people may be trapped in inhospitable environments as they attempt to flee from the effects of global warming, worsening the likely death toll from severe changes to the climate, a UK government committee has found.
Refugees forced to leave their homes because of floods, droughts, storms, heatwaves and other effects of climate change are likely to be one of the biggest visible effects of the warming that scientists warn will result from the untrammelled use of fossil fuels, according to the UK government’s Foresight group, part of the Office for Science.
But many of those people are likely to move from areas affected by global warming into areas even worse afflicted – for instance, by moving into coastal cities in the developing world that are at risk of flood from storms and rising sea levels.
“Millions will migrate into, rather than away from, areas of environmental vulnerability,” said Sir John Beddington, chief scientific advisor to the UK government, and head of the Foresight programme. “An even bigger policy challenge will be the millions who are trapped in dangerous conditions and unable to move to safety.”
The scientists, in a report entitled Migration and Global Environmental Change, found that between 114 million and 192 million more people were likely to be living in floodplains in urban areas of Africa and Asia by 2060, partly as a result of climate change.
A sea-level rise of just a few inches will bring flooding to South Florida cities, contaminate sources of drinking water and lead to sharp increases in utility bills over the next 20 or 30 years, according a study released Wednesday by Florida Atlantic University.
The study found that projected sea level increases of 3 to 6 inches by 2030, due to global warming, could overwhelm flood-control systems that in many areas are more than 50 years old. The authors provided a list of steps to be taken in the coming decades, from moving drinking-water wells inland to installing more pump stations, that could help the region cope with the higher water.
“Unprecedented sea level rise and other climate change impacts are likely to result in serious threats to the water supply, increased risks of flooding, hurricane damage, huge infrastructure investments and other consequences both known and unknown at this time,” states the study, conducted by researchers at the university’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Massachusetts energy officials are pointing to what they say is significant job growth in the state’s renewable energy sector.
A report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center estimates there are now more than 64,000 people in the state working in the so-called “clean energy” economy — or about 1.5 percent of all jobs in the state.
The report identified 4,909 clean energy companies across the state.
The report said those companies saw a 6.7 percent increase in jobs between July 2010 to July 2011, and expect employment growth rate of 15 percent from July 2011 to July 2012.
The World Bank group said it is launching a $60 million equity financing facility to help kick-start small companies that sell goods and services aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions in developing nations.
A maximum investment of $10 million will be made in any one company, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank group member, said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The Cleantech Innovation Facility, by blending private and public funds, should be able to “address a market gap” within climate finance, said Mohsen Khalil, global head of IFC’s climate business group.
“It will support clean-tech companies originating from or moving to developing countries — companies that have the potential to be scaled up and make a real impact but cannot access commercial risk capital,” he said in the statement.
IFC said its equity investments in the clean technology sector now total around $150 million in commitments.
The third annual Global Cleantech 100 list was released by Cleantech Group earlier this week. This list recognizes 100 of the most innovative companies in the renewable energy, energy efficiency, low-carbon transportation and water and waste fields, who are projected to be significant market players over the next five to ten years.
Any company that is independent, for-profit, and not listed on any major stock exchange is qualified to appear on this list. This year, 4,274 companies from over forty-five countries were nominated. Companies ranging from DuPont to Proctor and Gamble to Coca-Cola surveyed the 213 companies that made it to the shortlist, resulting in the final 100.
This year, the 100 companies hail from 16 countries, though most come from the US. When weighted for economy size, however, the companies from small countries like Denmark, Israel, Sweden and the Netherlands had the edge. Over 350 investors, coming from twenty-eight countries, hold shares in the companies, and GE and Siemens proved to be the most active partners within the 1oo.
Japanese cabinet ministers will call on the government to ease rules on building geothermal, wind and hydraulic power plants to boost renewable energy use after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.
The world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March, has heightened public safety concerns and kept 44 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors off-line.
Following the atomic disaster, Japan vowed to review from scratch the country’s energy policy, which previously had aimed to rely on nuclear power for more than 50 percent of the country’s electricity supply by 2030.
A panel of cabinet ministers in charge of energy and environmental issues will make a 93-point list of recommendations to the government on cutting costs and saving time to build more renewable energy plants, the Nikkei said without citing sources.