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Weblog of reegle – Information Gateway for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency

Contribution by Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel (www.modernize.com)

world

As scientific research continues to prove that our choices for how we power our lives has a significant impact on the health of our planet, more countries are making the shift towards renewable resources. Solar powerPhotovoltaics (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity. Solar power is sometimes used as a synonym to refer to electricity generated from solar radiation. systems are now popping up across the globe at an astounding rate due to enticing incentivisation packages and aggressive legal mandates. At Modernize, we have found that these three countries are leading the charge in this solar revolution.

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During the last weeks, we had a closer look at the ‘Handbook of Climate Change AdaptationAdjustments in human and natural systems, in response to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects, that moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. (IPPC)’ published by Walter Leal Filho at Springer.

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Logo_COP21REN21 @ COP21, Paris, France

Renewable energyRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. and energy efficiencyUsing less energy/electricity to perform the same function. Programs designed to use electricity more efficiently - doing the same with less. are central pillars for decarbonising the energy sector. Moreover they hold collectively the greatest potential for addressing the climate crisis in a sustainable, decentralised and cost-effective way.

Despite the world’s recent annual average of 1.5% increase in energy consumption, and an average 3% growth in Gross Domestic Product, carbon dioxideCarbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted in several ways. Naturally through the carbon cycle and through human activities like the burning of fossil fuels. These human activities have increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution and these high ... (CO2) emissionsEmissions of greenhouse gases, greenhouse gas precursors, and aerosols associated with human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, land-use changes, livestock, fertilisation, etc. (IPCC) in 2014 were unchanged from 2013 levels. For the first time in four decades, the world economy grew without a parallel rise in CO2 emissions. This landmark “decoupling” was due—in large part—to the increased use of renewable resources, and efforts to promote more sustainable growth through increased use of energy efficiencyUsing less energy/electricity to perform the same function. Programs designed to use electricity more efficiently - doing the same with less. and renewable energy.  This decarbonising of the economy also illustrates the place of renewablesRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. and energy efficiency at the heart of the solution to mitigate climate changeClimate change is a lasting change in weather patterns over long periods of time. It can be a natural phenomena and and has occurred on Earth even before people inhabited it. Quite different is a current situation that is also referred to as climate change, anthropogenic climate change, or ....

The numbers speak for themselves. By the end of 2014, renewables contributed 19.1% to the global final energy consumption and supplied 22.8% of the world’s electricityElectricity generation includes all technologies that turn some form of energy into useful electric energy. Electricity is a form of energy that has magnetic, radiant and chemical effects. Electric current is created by a flow of electrons..  Over the course of the year, renewables represented 59% of net additions to global power capacity, clearly showing that a transition to renewables is well underway in the electricity sector.  Nevertheless, this transition must be accelerated across all energy sectors. In 2014, renewables contributed only 8% to the heatingDomestic heating describes the heating of private homes. and cooling sector.  And much more action is needed to decarbonise the transport sector.

It is evident that renewables are part of the solution agenda to reaching the 1.5C objective. We have the technological solutions to address this challenge.  Morally we have no excuse not to commit to an energy transition that moves us towards 100 % renewable energy and energy efficiency, and thereby ensuring energy accessEnergy access represents a crucial yet often overlooked dimension to the issue of poverty. Relatively small amounts of energy can satisfy the basic needs of rural populations and have a dramatic impact on quality of life. Despite this, approximately 3 billion people , half the worlds population, ... for all.

Renewables are cost-completive; the renewables trainGradients, maximum speeds, loading and stopping patterns influence a train's fuel efficiency. has left the station.  An ambitious agreement coming out of the Paris talks would do much to help accelerate this transition.

In mid-September the Climate KnowledgeClimate is typically defined as the average weather (or more rigorously a statistical description of the average in terms of the mean and variability) over a period of time, usually 30 years. These quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Climate ... Brokers Group (CKB) released a Manifesto to save us from drowning in all the climate changeClimate change is a lasting change in weather patterns over long periods of time. It can be a natural phenomena and and has occurred on Earth even before people inhabited it. Quite different is a current situation that is also referred to as climate change, anthropogenic climate change, or ...-related information that is out there. As society is only now grasping the full extent to which our lives, jobs and environment are sensitive to a changing climate, effective decision making is needed more urgently in many area than ever before. At least, if we want to continue building a climate resilient future.

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SAIREC_Sm (1)

South Africa is organising the first ever International Renewable EnergyRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. Conference on the African subcontinent. Abbreviated IREC, the conference is in its sixth instalment with previous hosts including Bonn, Germany (2004), Beijing, China (2005), Washington, USA (2008), Delhi, India (2010), Abu Dhabi, UAE (2013).

SAIREC is a high-level political conference hosted by the South African government, together with the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) and the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), 4-7 October 2015.

The discussion will focus on the potential of renewablesRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil.—within the country and the continent—that can be successfully implemented and the investment needed to boost the uptake of renewables in the coming years. SAIREC will address the two most important topics discussed around the globe: energy securityLowers tensions in domestic energy supply and reduces energy shortages. and energy accessEnergy access represents a crucial yet often overlooked dimension to the issue of poverty. Relatively small amounts of energy can satisfy the basic needs of rural populations and have a dramatic impact on quality of life. Despite this, approximately 3 billion people , half the worlds population, ....

Africa has a large untapped market potential and hence an opportunity to be the leading business destination for renewable energy. It is aided by the abundant natural resources with which the continent is endowed. Therefore, the conference’s agenda will introduce economically sound, policy-orientated initiatives that will significantly increase the presence of renewable energy not just within the continent but worldwide.

The aptly coined motto “Re-Energising Africa” only goes to show the significance of this event and its outcomes. Over the past decade these conferences have provided the motivation for several momentous initiatives and the hope is that the same holds true for Africa.

 

Over 3000 delegates will convene in Cape Town, for those of you at the conference, do not forget to join the twitter conversation with the hashtags #SAIREC2015 and #REenergisingAfrica.

 

“We are not far away from the climate talks in Paris and I’m frightened by the information overload that awaits people there. How will they cut through it all?”

This question, posed by Geoff Barnard at the Open Session of the Climate Knowledge Brokers (CKB) Group workshop, cuts through to the raison d’etre of knowledge brokers. With so much climate information available, on a multitude of online platforms, how can end-users find what they need – when they need it?

 

The CKB Group, a network of organisations and professionals focused on improving the quality and use of climate knowledgeClimate is typically defined as the average weather (or more rigorously a statistical description of the average in terms of the mean and variability) over a period of time, usually 30 years. These quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Climate ... in decision-making, is trying to answer that question. Now in its fifth year, the Group has refined its thinking into the concept of a Climate Knowledge GridA grid is a network of transmission lines, usually to distribute electric power .. This will be a series of interconnected tools and techniques (such as the Climate Tagger) that help to show where climate information is available, so that the many users of climate information can find what they need.

The Open Session, held at the energy-efficient UN City building in Copenhagen, was a chance to introduce the Grid and start gathering feedback – from the expert panel, the 50-plus participants in the room and the much larger audience watching via a live stream. But why, exactly, is this Climate Knowledge Grid needed?

One of the expert panellists, Jukka Ousukainen from CTCN, drew on his own experience to outline the challenges facing an important set of end-users: developing country government officers: “They need answers immediately, and about a range of different issues: new technologies, adaptationAdjustments in human and natural systems, in response to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects, that moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. (IPPC), climate strategy. But it’s so easy to get lost; if we just pour information out there, users can be flabbergasted.”

Ari Huhtala from CDKN agreed that this is a major problem, adding that knowledge brokers need to package information and evidence in ways that captures end-users’ attention: “People want information relevant to them; if they are Kenyan decision-makers, they want to know about Kenya. How do we make information relevant to each user, and each user’s individual reality?”

But it is not just government-level decision-makers who need to navigate their way through the ‘soup’ of climate information sources. Rob Cartridge, head of communications at Practical Action, asked a critical question about the Climate Knowledge Grid: will it reach down to other end-users, such as farmers in Bangladesh?

Florian Bauer from REEEP explained that this is exactly why a grid approach is needed. There needs to be a network of diverse organisations to meet the different users, not one agency that tries to reach all the users. In fact, the CKB Group moved away from the idea of a one-stop shop for climate information in its early days; the varying information needs out there are too diverse for one website to meet them all.

Indeed, websites may play less of a frontline role in the future, as the way people look for information changes. There is a new generation who are going to social media in the first instance, noted Ari Huhtala. Martin Hiller from REEEP agreed: “Many people use Twitter now [to get their information], not organisational home pages.”

The discussion raised yet more issues for the CKB group to consider. Helena Molin Valdés from CCAC questioned the role that the media will play in knowledge brokering, while Geoff Barnard asked the panellists for their expert advice on how best to fund knowledge platforms. These issues and more will give the CKB Group plenty to chew on over the next two days of the workshop, and in the coming weeks. And as Martin Hiller noted, “action on climate changeClimate change is a lasting change in weather patterns over long periods of time. It can be a natural phenomena and and has occurred on Earth even before people inhabited it. Quite different is a current situation that is also referred to as climate change, anthropogenic climate change, or ... is like Formula One. You have to move fast”.  The countdown to Paris has started; Climate Knowledge Brokers, start your engines…

– Tim WoodsForestry is the management and care of woods, including fellings and plantation of new trees.
Tim Woods is a Project Manager at Green Ink, an international agency specialising in communicating science and development issues.

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