Archive for March, 2012

Second Truth about Climate Change: it comes from long ago

26 March 2012

Scientists have been concerned about global warming for some time now, it’s nothing new. What is new, however, is that extreme climate events are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity.
The so-called “greenhouse effect” that certain gases (known as GHGs) produce in the Earth’s atmosphere is a natural phenomenon that allows temperatures to be warm enough for life to flourish on the planet. This is not a recent discovery: the relationship between CO2, water vapor, other GHGs and the Earth’s climate was already the subject of study back in the 19th century: Fourier discovered that the atmosphere retains heat, and later Tyndall identified a number of molecules responsible for capturing the heat. It was Arrhenius who, at the turn of the 20th century, stated that a two-fold increase in the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere would lead to significant temperature changes on the surface of the planet. In 1958, Keeling began to undertake what was to become the longest ever monitoring of CO2 quantities in the atmosphere from his base at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. In 1979 the first World Climate Conference was held and experts identified Climate Change as an urgent problem on a planetary scale; this led to the setting-up, in 1988, of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC itself does not conduct research: it reviews all current worldwide research work on Climate Change and presents it in Assessment Reports. Science has advanced considerably since Fourier’s day thanks to the scientific community’s growing dedication to Climate Change. Today it is possible to gauge more and more accurately the relationship between CO2 and temperatures, a key factor in the study of Climate Change. The latest IPCC Assessment Report (AR4) brings together the research work of 174 experts, all members of the scientific community. Since publishing its first Assessment Report, the IPCC has come to increasingly solid conclusions, incorporating a growing mass of reviewed scientific material. On March 28th, the IPCC will launch the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). Can you see how directly Climate Change is affecting our society and the business world? To be continued…
Helping to regain trust in scientific evidence on Climate Change is a shared responsibility for everyone committed to Sustainable Development.

See “The ten truths of climate change”

ACCIONA and World Water Day 2012

22 March 2012

Today is World Water Day. This year the theme is “The world is thirsty because we are hungry” and the UN is attempting to drive home just how important water is for the food industry given that most of the water we “drink” actually reaches us through the food we eat.

According to a KPMG report “Expect the Unexpected”, water shortage will be a serious obstacle to growth and development in many companies between now and the year 2030.

While water coverage has increased by 87%, the world  is still far from the sanitation target of 75%, according to the report  Keeping Track of Our Changing Environment”, drawn up by the UN Environment Programme.

ACCIONA Agua has been working for more than 30 years to help make water shortage a thing of the past. At our Technology Center in Barcelona, we carry out ongoing research into water- and wastewater treatment and desalination. Because solutions don’t always rain down on us.

The First Truth: Global warming is a reality

15 March 2012

Scientific observations differ fundamentally from a layman’s day-to-day ones, of the coffee-bar kind. That fact that we think it’s getting hotter by the day in our particular neck of the woods isn’t conclusive proof of the existence of climate change. And vice versa, winters with snowfalls and cold spells aren’t enough to show that climate change doesn’t exist. Scientists assure us that temperatures will rise exponentially in the long term. In the past fifty years, average temperatures have doubled compared with the average figure for the past one hundred years. The past ten-year period has been the hottest on record. Eighteen out of the past twenty years have been the hottest-ever. Temperatures have been recorded since 1850, and the increasingly more comprehensive information they provide just go to strengthen certainty: the world’s most-renowned climate research centers all agree that there is a clear and undeniable trend towards global warming (USA: NOAA 2011, NASA 2011; UK: UK-Met Office 2011; Japan: JMA 2011). Moreover, the average temperature increase is not the same in all parts of the planet: changes are more extreme in Northern parts of the globe.

Global warming is not a future event: it’s already here. The sea level is on the rise (an average 2.5 mm/year between 1992 and 2001), the acidity levels of the oceans are increasing (30% up since the Industrial Revolution), glaciers are melting (80.7m per year in the past ten years) and so too are the Polar ice-caps (35% in the Arctic since 1992). Studies carried out on thousands of species show extraordinary changes in migration patterns in terms of both altitude and latitude. One particular study involving 1,700 species registered shifts of 40km towards the North Pole and 6 meters per decade in Alpine regions during the second half of the 20th century.

Something is causing the planet to get warmer: there’s no room for doubt for either the informed but less demanding layman or the seasoned scientist.

The scientific community is more than sure and, as an example, we’re giving you this link to an article published recently in the Wall Street Journal, signed by more than 40 top-level researchers, stating that “Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused”.

This is the first truth of the “ten truths of climate change”

 

The ten truths of climate change

15 March 2012

We are starting today a series of posts about Climate Change. This phenomenon has originated heated debate, some of it plainly absurd, particularly when the arguments flout scientific evidence.  To counter the confusion sewn by climate skeptics, we are taking this initiative on issues we consider to be self-evident.

In recent years, scientific research on climate change has been coordinated in an effort to acquire deeper knowledge of this phenomenon. In an unprecedented display of collective responsibility, policies have been drawn up aimed at fostering a low-carbon economy and fighting climate change.

Even so, we are constantly being presented with biased, and at times contradictory, information that leaves the non-specialist feeling confused. We need to stop and take stock of the key facts in order to arrive at a set of reasonably-founded affirmations: Ten truths that we want to share in this blog.

  1. The First Truth: Global warming is a reality
  2. Second Truth about Climate Change: it comes from long ago
  3. Third major truth on Climate Change: Global warming levels are significant
  4. Fourth major truth on Climate Change: Human activity is the main cause of global warming

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