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The world can’t afford to build any more fossil fuel burning plants if it hopes to avoid catastrophic climate change, according to a new study in the journal Nature.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the power plants, factories, furnaces and vehicles the world has already built will warm the planet into dangerous territory, past the target set in the Paris climate agreement, the researchers find.
Any new plants — and some older ones — will either have to close early, before they are paid off, or install costly carbon-capture gear, the researchers say.
Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels have already warmed the planet about 1 degree Celsius on average. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires and rainstorms have grown more intense, and sea levels are rising. Impacts will get worse as the planet warms, scientists say.
In Paris, negotiators agreed to keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees, and to aim for 1.5 degrees.
To meet that target, the world can produce at most another 580 gigatons of carbon dioxide, according to a U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate.
But the new study finds that existing fossil fuel infrastructure will produce more than that over its lifetime: about 658 gigatons total. (One gigaton equals a billion tons.)
Additional plants that are planned, permitted or under construction will add another 188 gigatons, putting the world about two-thirds of the way to 2 degrees.
“If we want to stay under one and a half degrees, we’d need to stop building new stuff immediately and retire a fair amount of our already existing stuff before the end of its operating lifetime,” said study co-author Steve Davis, Earth science professor at the University of California, Irvine.
The study adds detail to an IPCC report last October, which said global emissions need to fall 45 percent by 2030 to keep below the 1.5 degree target.
There is some wiggle room in the estimates.
Another study earlier this year gave a 64 percent chance that the world would stay below 1.5 degrees of warming if all existing plants were phased out starting in 2018.
“The message is still consistent,” said lead author Chris Smith, a climate researcher at the University of Leeds. “Basically, we need to transition away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”
Both studies assume that no more fossil plants will be built. Davis calls that assumption “laughable.”
“Research like this makes it obvious that we can’t fight climate change and continue burning oil and gas at the same time,” said Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman, “but the United States continues to expand drilling, fracking, and mining for fossil fuels.”
The American Petroleum Institute, the main U.S. oil and gas industry trade group, said in a statement that the industry “is already driving emissions to 25-year lows—more than any nation on earth—made possible by the growing use of clean natural gas for power. The U.S. and the world can continue that progress, meet record consumer energy demand, and protect the environment by investing in modern natural gas and oil infrastructure.”
The new study is a follow-up to one Davis co-authored in 2010. It found that the world was on track for 1.3 degrees of warming, and “sources of the most threatening emissions have yet to be built.”
That was before China went on a coal-plant building binge.
Today, the study finds, nearly half of the world’s industrial and electricity generation emissions come from China.
As the cost of wind and solar energy plummet, however, “we have an opportunity to retire some of these things early, and it might not even be that far-fetched,” Davis said. “That’s the piece that is a little more hopeful.”
With the cost of renewables declining and health care costs from fossil fuel air pollution mounting, “Many governments have recognized that the economics of coal power…make new coal power economically and socially unfavorable,” said the World Resources Institute’s Kelly Levin.
Nearly 31 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity was taken out of service worldwide in 2018, compared with about 2 gigawatts in 2006, according to Global Energy Monitor.
But early retirements will be expensive and hard to swallow, Davis acknowledged, even for those with good intentions.
Davis is working with the University of California’s 10-campus system to meet its goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. The schools recognize that one of the biggest challenges will be replacing the seven on-campus natural gas combined heat and power plants.
“I’ve had conversations with the administrators where they say, ‘Well, let’s go ahead and make a plan for when this thing is fully paid for,” he said.
“This is exactly what our paper gets at is, we can’t just wait for the end of these things’ lifetime to make a decision. We actually need to hasten that.” (VOA)
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.