The year 2011 caps a decade that ties the record as the hottest ever measured, the WMO said in its annual report on climate trends and extreme weather events, unveiled at UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa.
“Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement, adding that policy-makers should take note of the findings.
“Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached new highs and are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2 to 2.4 Celsius rise in average global temperatures.”
Scientists believe that any rise above the 2.0 threshold could trigger far-reaching and irreversible changes on Earth over land and in the seas.
The 2002-2011 period equals 2001-2010 as the warmest decade since 1850, the report said.
The Interior Department’s offshore drilling branch is preparing to issue a second round of regulatory violation notices to companies involved in last year’s BP oil spill, a top official said Monday.
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Michael Bromwich said the so-called Incidents of Noncompliance notices could be sent to BP, Transocean and Halliburton in the next couple of weeks.
The notices that companies allegedly violated offshore drilling regulations, a step toward collecting penalties, stem from the 2010 well blowout and rig explosion that killed 11 men and dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
In October BSEE issued an initial set of violation notices to BP, which owned the ill-fated Macondo well, Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean, and Halliburton, which performed cement work on the failed well.
The violations stemmed from the final investigative report by an Interior-U.S. Coast Guard team that detailed a series of missteps by the companies.
Over the past two decades, changes in technology and the rising cost of oil have left it with so much recoverable oil in the sands, rocks and clay of the state of Alberta that it is now believed to hold the third largest reserves on earth – after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
But most of that is so far un-tapped, with Canada accounting for little over 4% of global oil production in 2010 according to BP’s annual statistical review.
To increase that share it must gain global acceptance of the heavy, sticky and, some say, more polluting oil it has found.
For Canada’s government, the world has no choice – despite its climatic consequences.
“You can turn off your lights and freeze in the dark, the alternative is to use the energy, which of course you are using, everybody is using,” says Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister for natural resources.
But for ministers meeting at the latest climate change summit in Durban, South Africa, the decision on whether to embrace new, more polluting, forms of fossil fuel may seem less obvious.
Leaders of China’s solar power industry rejected a U.S. trade complaint that they receive unfair government support and said Tuesday possible sanctions would hurt American consumers and development of clean energy.
Solar and other renewable energy technology has emerged as an irritant in U.S.-Chinese trade. The two governments have pledged to cooperate in development but accuse each other of violating free-trade pledges by subsidizing their own manufacturers.
The chairmen of four of China’s biggest solar companies, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., said at a news conference that their success comes from more advanced technology and skillful management.
“If you ask whether the solar industry in China has received special treatment or special support, the answer is no,” said Suntech’s Shi Zhengrong, one of the solar power industry’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Plenty of late-stage financing will be available for cleantech start-ups over the next few years, but seed/Series A money is another matter.
There’s been a pile of negative news about cleantech start-ups recently. I’ve heard it said more than once in the past month that venture-backed entrepreneurship clearly isn’t working here, so maybe we should all pack our bags and go home. Given the human bias to extrapolate individual events into overarching trends, I figured now would be a good time to review the data so far about cleantech VC performance – and I stress data, not anecdote or assertion! – to see what we can learn.
This is a meaty topic, so I’m going to cover it in four posts. Today I’m going to focus on the money – how much capital has been available for cleantech start-ups so far, and what we can expect in the next few years. Two subsequent posts will address the VC investors that are supplying this cash, as well as the experiences of start-up companies that have achieved liftoff. In the final post, I’ll wrap it all up with some parting thoughts.