SHANGHAI, May 16 -- North Korea has suffered its severest drought in 37 years, state-run media reported Wednesday, fanning fears about food shortage in the nation whose economy has been already sluggish amid international economic sanctions.
"According to a meteorologist, the average precipitation of the country from January to early May was 54.4 mm (millimeters), 42.3 percent of the average annual precipitation," the Korean Central News Agency said. "It is the lowest figure since 1982" when the average precipitation in North Korea was 51.2 mm, the news agency said, adding, "The agricultural sector is directing efforts to securing water to prevent drought damage." The United Nations has estimated that more than 10 million North Koreans, or about 40 percent of the population, are undernourished. The country has faced food shortages due partly to natural disasters including floods and a failing food distribution policy in the past.
North Korea's economy is also believed to be lackluster against a backdrop of economic sanctions aimed at preventing it from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
MOSCOW, May 6 -- Forty-one people died in the Sukhoi Superjet 100 plane crash at Sheremetyevo Airport, Yelena Markovskaya, spokesperson for the Moscow interregional transport investigation department of the Russian Investigative Committee, told reporters.
"Forty-one people died," she said. In total 78 people were onboard, 37 of them survived, including four crew members. According to Markovskaya, 28 passengers are now in the airport terminal, five have been taken to hospital. In place of emergency, investigators of the Russian Investigative Committee are working at the scene of the accident.
"At the moment, a state commission on investigation of the emergency situation, headed by the Transport Minister of the Russian Federation, is working at Sheremetyevo Airport," Markovskaya said.
She added that a center on providing psychological assistance to the relatives of the passengers on the flight has been deployed at the airport. "Psychologists and investigators are working with the surviving passengers. Medical assistance was immediately provided to all the victims," Markovskaya said. She also stressed that all the services of the Sheremetyevo airport acted quickly and promptly fighting the plane fire.
Aeroflot’s Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger plane (flight SU-1492) with 73 passengers and five crewmembers onboard that was bound for Murmansk caught fire after emergency landing at Sheremetyevo shortly after the takeoff on Sunday.
In recent days authorities in Orissa state, where 10,000 people died in a 1999 cyclone, have evacuated more than a million people as they fret about a possible 1.5-metre (five-foot) storm surge sweeping far inland. One man died of a heart attack in one of several thousand shelters that have been set up.
“Another person went out in the storm despite our warnings and died because a tree fell on him,” Orissa special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said. “The winds outside right now must be around 200kph,” he said by phone from Orissa state capital Bhubaneswar. Hundreds of thousands more people in West Bengal state have also been given orders to flee. Local airports have been shut, while train queues and roads were closed.
“It just went dark and then suddenly we could barely see five metres in front of us,” said one Puri resident. “There were the roadside food carts, store signs all flying by in the air,” the man said from a hotel where he took shelter. “The wind is deafening.” Another witness said he saw a small car being pushed along a street by the winds and then turned over. “We have been unable to make contact with our team in Puri for some time now to get the latest update about the situation there,” said, H.R. Biswas, Indian Meteorology Department director in Bhubaneswar. Fani was expected to barrel north-eastward into West Bengal and towards Bangladesh, on a trajectory that will take it over the homes of 100 million people. Authorities in West Bengal have started evacuating thousands of people from coastal villages, disaster management minister Javed Ahmed Khan said. “We are bracing for the worst on Saturday when the cyclone is forecast to batter the city of Kolkata,” said Khan. “We are monitoring the situation 24X7 and doing all it takes … Be alert, take care and stay safe for the next two days,” West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.
OSLO, April 4 -- The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is misleading the public by suggesting that global warming and its impacts are accelerating. In fact, since 2016 global average temperature has continued to decline.
That’s according to Norwegian Professor Ole Humlum whose annual review of the world’s climate is published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Last week, the WMO issued its own review of the climate, which insinuated that global warming was worsening.
However, Professor Humlum points out that the data tells a very different story:
“Reading the WMO report, you would think that global warming was getting worse. But in fact, it is carefully worded to give a false impression. The data are far more suggestive of an improvement than deterioration.”
And the lack of anything to be alarmed about is clear across a range of measures, says Professor Humlum:
“After the warm year of 2016, temperatures last year continued to fall back to levels of the so-called warming “pause” of 2000-2015. There is no sign of any acceleration in global temperature, hurricanes or sea-level rise. These empirical observations show no sign of acceleration whatsoever.”
Professor Humlum’s key findings:
MARY'S HARBOUR, March 19 -- The new ferry in the Strait of Belle Isle doesn't have the same horsepower as the old Apollo, so even with an ice breaker, it's risky to travel in this year's ice conditions, says the Canadian Coast Guard.
But the province says this year's severe ice conditions are unprecedented, and even an icebreaker got stuck in the thick ice. The Qajaq W has spent numerous days tied up in the dock, with passengers waiting on either side of the strait for clear conditions to sail. Coast guard's Henry Larsen is en route to the area and, assuming weather conditions are suitable, will be able to break ice Friday morning. But even with an ice breaker, it's no guarantee the Qajaq will sail, says Brad Durnford, who is with the coast guard. "The ice conditions are just too severe for this ferry to run. It's a new ferry, it has less power than the Apollo, so we're very cautious, everyone's being very cautious, as they should be," Durnford said. "Don't want to get that ferry out there and then get stuck for days with people on board, because that's a potential that could happen in this situation."
Qajaq W more 'capable' than Apollo
In January, Peter Woodward, president of the Woodward Group, said the Qajaq had half the horsepower and half the carbon footprint of the Apollo, burning half the fuel of the old ferry, but that the Qajaq had two ice-strengthened bows. Government is defending its new 7,500-horsepower vessel, saying the new vessel is "designed and built to operate in severe sea ice conditions." The 48-year-old Apollo's horsepower was rated at 9,000 — more than its new replacement — but only "operated at 6,000 horsepower in its later years," reads a statement from the Department of Transportation and Works. Minister Steve Crocker said even the coast guard's icebreaker Molly Kool, with a horsepower of 18,000, got stuck in the ice this year. "The fact that it's a newer vessel brings more thrust, so, you know, the reality we have here right now is we're battling ice conditions that we haven't seen in 30 years," Crocker said. Also, the Qajaq has more agility and ability when compared with the Apollo, Crocker's department said. "The MV Qajaq W is stronger in ice, has a more durable hull, has better maneuverability," according to the department. The new vessel has "modern technology that makes it much more efficient and capable than its predecessor," says the statement provided to CBC News.
The worst ice conditions in 30 years
Durnford and the government do agree on one thing — that the ice this year is incredibly thick. Conditions are "the worst they have been in 30 years," says the statement from the transportation department. Durnford acknowledges the ice breakers themselves are having a hard time. "The ice in the strait, as we've all seen this year, is quite severe. We're seeing conditions that we haven't seen in a number of years," Durnford told CBC's Labrador Morning. "At the site of the ferry crossing, it's a bottle neck, so all the ice from down south in the gulf is kind of just squeezing up through the Strait, and that's what's causing all this ice pressure that you hear about and why the ferry is not able to follow behind the ice breaker." 'We're all at the mercy of Mother Nature' Durnford said the ferry's captain is the one who has to weigh the risks each day about whether to chance a sailing.
"Coast guard does have concerns with the capability of the vessel, given its lower horsepower and its ability to follow behind the icebreakers," said Durnford.
ROTTERDAM, March 14 -- If you've ever expressed the least bit of skepticism about environmentalist calls for making the vast majority of fossil fuel use illegal.
You've probably heard the smug response: “97% of climate scientists agree with climate change” — which always carries the implication: Who are you to challenge them?
The answer is: you are a thinking, independent individual--and you don’t go by polls, let alone second-hand accounts of polls; you go by facts, logic and explanation.
Here are two questions to ask anyone who pulls the 97% trick.
1. What exactly do the climate scientists agree on?
Usually, the person will have a very vague answer like "climate change is real." Which raises the question: What is that supposed to mean? That climate changes? That we have some impact? That we have a large impact? That we have a catastrophically large impact? That we have such a catastrophic impact that we shouldn't use fossil fuels? What you'll find is that people don't want to define what 97% agree on--because there is nothing remotely in the literature saying 97% agree we should ban most fossil fuel use. It’s likely that 97% of people making the 97% claim have absolutely no idea where that number comes from. If you look at the literature, the specific meaning of the 97% claim is: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause--that is, that we are over 50% responsible. The warming is a whopping 0.8 degrees over the past 150 years, a warming that has tapered off to essentially nothing in the last decade and a half.
Even if 97% of climate scientists agreed with this, and even if they were right, it in no way, shape, or form would imply that we should restrict fossil fuels--which are crucial to the livelihood of billions.
Because the actual 97% claim doesn’t even remotely justify their policies, catastrophists like President Obama and John Kerry take what we could generously call creative liberties in repeating this claim. On his Twitter account, President Obama tweets: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” Not only does Obama sloppily equate “scientists” with “climate scientists,” but more importantly he added “dangerous” to the 97% claim, which is not there in the literature. This is called the fallacy of equivocation: using the same term (“97 percent”) in two different ways to manipulate people. John Kerry pulled the same stunt when trying to tell the underdeveloped world that it should use fewer fossil fuels:
And let there be no doubt in anybody’s mind that the science is absolutely certain. . . 97 percent of climate scientists have confirmed that climate change is happening and that human activity is responsible. . . . . they agree that, if we continue to go down the same path that we are going down today, the world as we know it will change—and it will change dramatically for the worse. In Kerry’s mind, 97% of climate scientists said whatever Kerry wants them to have said. Bottom line: What the 97% of climate scientists allegedly agree on is very mild and in no way justifies restricting the energy that billions need. But it gets even worse. Because it turns out that 97% didn’t even say that. Which brings us to the next question:
2. How do we know the 97% agree?
To elaborate, how was that proven? Almost no one who refers to the 97% has any idea, but the basic way it works is that a researcher reviews a lot of scholarly papers and classifies them by how many agree with a certain position. Unfortunately, in the case of 97% of climate scientists agreeing that human beings are the main cause of warming, the researchers have engaged in egregious misconduct.
One of the main papers behind the 97 percent claim is authored by John Cook, who runs the popular website SkepticalScience.com, a virtual encyclopedia of arguments trying to defend predictions of catastrophic climate change from all challenges. Here is Cook’s summary of his paper: “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97 percent [of papers he surveyed] endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.”
This is a fairly clear statement—97 percent of the papers surveyed endorsed the view that man-made greenhouse gases were the main cause—main in common usage meaning more than 50 percent. But even a quick scan of the paper reveals that this is not the case. Cook is able to demonstrate only that a relative handful endorse “the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.” Cook calls this “explicit endorsement with quantification” (quantification meaning 50 percent or more). The problem is, only a small percentage of the papers fall into this category; Cook does not say what percentage, but when the study was publicly challenged by economist David Friedman, one observer calculated that only 1.6 percent explicitly stated that man-made greenhouse gases caused at least 50 percent of global warming. Where did most of the 97 percent come from, then? Cook had created a category called “explicit endorsement without quantification”—that is, papers in which the author, by Cook’s admission, did not say whether 1 percent or 50 percent or 100 percent of the warming was caused by man. He had also created a category called “implicit endorsement,” for papers that imply (but don’t say) that there is some man-made global warming and don’t quantify it. In other words, he created two categories that he labeled as endorsing a view that they most certainly didn’t. The 97 percent claim is a deliberate misrepresentation designed to intimidate the public—and numerous scientists whose papers were classified by Cook protested:
“Cook survey included 10 of my 122 eligible papers. 5/10 were rated incorrectly. 4/5 were rated as endorse rather than neutral.”
—Dr. Richard Tol
“That is not an accurate representation of my paper . . .”
—Dr. Craig Idso
“Nope . . . it is not an accurate representation.”
—Dr. Nir Shaviv
“Cook et al. (2013) is based on a strawman argument . . .”
—Dr. Nicola Scafetta
Think about how many times you hear that 97 percent or some similar figure thrown around. It’s based on crude manipulation propagated by people whose ideological agenda it serves. It is a license to intimidate. It’s time to revoke that license.
ROTTERDAM, March 7-- Het aantal Nederlanders dat zich zorgen maakt over klimaatverandering, is de laatste maanden opvallend gedaald.
Sinds de klimaatplannen van het kabinet bekend zijn, groeit bovendien de groep die de aanpak van broeikasgassen te ver vindt gaan. Vond eind 2015 nog twee derde van de Nederlanders dat het kabinet méér moest doen om de uitstoot van broeikasgassen te beperken, nu is dat nog maar 48 procent. De groep die vindt dat het kabinet juist minder moet doen, groeide in die periode van 7 naar 19 procent. ,,De scepsis omtrent het klimaat neemt toe’’, concludeert Peter Kanne van I&O Research, dat in opdracht van het blad Binnenlands Bestuur dit onderzoek deed. Eind februari gaf 65 procent aan zich zorgen te maken over klimaatverandering. Een opvallende daling ten opzichte van eind december: toen maakte 78 procent zich nog zorgen. Die kentering hangt volgens Kanne samen met het concept-Klimaatakkoord dat vlak voor Kerstmis is gepresenteerd.
,In onze laatste opiniepeiling zien we dat mensen daar niet zo enthousiast over zijn. Ze zijn bang dat het ze veel geld gaat kosten. En het is natuurlijk ook niet prettig: er wordt een beroep op ons gedaan om prettige dingen zoals vlees eten, lang douchen en met het vliegtuig op vakantie gaan op te geven, en je krijgt daar niet meteen iets voor terug.’’ Dat leidt volgens de onderzoeker tot wat psychologen cognitieve dissonantie noemen: mensen stellen hun eigen overtuigingen bij en zoeken weerklank bij partijen die de noodzaak van CO2-vermindering in twijfel trekken. Kanne: ,,De uitgesproken sceptische reacties van Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD), Sybrand Buma (CDA) en Thierry Baudet (Forum voor Democratie) hebben begin dit jaar veel aandacht getrokken. Net als de berichten van De Telegraaf over de gehaktbal die op rantsoen zou moeten. Het nieuws over de energierekening die dit jaar gemiddeld ruim 300 euro hoger uitpakt, kwam daar nog bovenop.’’
Twee derde van de Nederlanders is ervan overtuigd dat de mens verantwoordelijk is voor de opwarming van de aarde. De groep die vindt dat het eigen gedrag daarin een verschil kan maken, is echter aanzienlijk kleiner. Zo lang grote bedrijven hun CO2-uitstoot niet terugdringen, maken hun eigen daden volgens zes op de tien Nederlanders niet uit. Mannen, ouderen en lager opgeleiden zijn aanzienlijk sceptischer over klimaatverandering en hun eigen rol daarin dan vrouwen, jongeren en hoger opgeleiden. Die eerste groepen hebben bij strenger klimaatbeleid meer te verliezen, verklaart Kanne. ,,Mannen eten veel meer vlees en rijden meer auto dan vrouwen. Ouderen hebben meer verworvenheden dan jongeren, die bijvoorbeeld nog geen auto hebben. En onder lager opgeleiden is het wantrouwen in de politiek, pers en wetenschap groot.’’
Oudere mannen met een hoge opleiding en bovenmodaal inkomen die VVD stemmen, hebben de grootste CO2-voetafdruk.
"It is simply not sustainable to exchange every car on the road today with an electric car."
ROTTERDAM, February 28 -- You might think the environment is helped by buying an electric or hybrid car.
The CO2 law
But the truth is that so much CO2 is released during the production of the batteries, that any savings will be nullified afterwards. That says the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, a government agency that has done research on the power source of electric cars. According to the authors of the report, the production of lithium-ion batteries for light electric vehicles produces on average 150-200 kilos of carbon dioxide equivalents per kilowatt-hour of battery. One of the smallest electric cars on the market, the Nissan Leaf, for example, already uses batteries of approximately 30 kWh. Many new models have batteries of 60 and 100 kWh.
An electric car with a 100kWh battery has thus delivered 15-20 tons of carbon dioxide, even before the engine is switched on. In this calculation a 50-70 percent fossil share in the electricity mix is assumed. That is not the only environmental burden. Car batteries contain metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. Since the extraction of these metals is chemically intensive, it takes a lot of energy and damage to the environment of the extraction site.
The authors of the report point to the need to supplement the consumption figures of vehicles currently in use with information on manufacturing, environmental impact and recycling options. Now only the low fuel figures are mentioned, so the false idea arises that the cars do not produce harmful substances. They also advocate certification of the battery makers. This is often still happening in countries such as China and India, where environmental impact is of secondary importance. By using more green power while making the batteries, a big step forward can be made. But producers have to indicate that well and honestly.
The making of Batteries
One recent study by scientists in Norway has found that in some circumstances electric cars can have a greater impact on global warming than conventional cars. Electric cars are only as green as the power that supplies them and, in many parts of the world, most electricity is still derived from fossil fuels. Guillaume Majeau-Bettez, one of the authors of the report from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, says he was shocked and disappointed by the study’s findings. "The electric car has great potential for improvement, but ultimately what will make it a success or failure from an environmental standpoint is how much we can clean up our electricity grid - both for the electricity you use when you drive your car, and for the electricity used for producing the car."
Mining companies are positioning themselves to meet the increased need for raw materials that include lithium from Australia and Chile, cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo and nickel from Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Russia and the Philippines. Environmentalists are alarmed by the mines and smelters needed to supply the electric vehicle industry. The Philippines has closed or suspended 17 nickel mines this year because of environmental concerns. In Columbia, residents who live near the Cerro Matoso nickel mine, which spun-off from BHP Billiton in 2015, have reported elevated rates of birth deformities and respiratory problems associated with exposure to pollution generated by nickel mining and smelting.
UBS estimates that the combined production of pure EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs will mean a 12-fold increase in battery power will be needed by 2025. This will boost global cobalt demand for plug-in vehicles at an average rate of around 20 per cent per annum for the next five years. Lithium demand is also set to rise by 16 per cent per year over the course of the next decade, quadrupling by 2025 to 750,000 tonnes. As a result, prices of key commodities associated with making batteries have exploded. While demand for the minerals is growing, concerns are accelerating over the environmental footprint of the vast processing plants that are required to turn rare earth elements into materials that are needed in electric vehicles. Many of these are in located China, where environmental standards are low and difficult to monitor.
Most of the raw materials in an electric vehicle battery are used in the cathode, the electrode that provides electricity when the battery is discharging. “Processing lithium is not so much of a problem – because of where the materials are sourced from [Australia and Chile], " says David Merriman, the deputy division manager at the metals consultancy Roskill. "However, cobalt - which goes into the cathode in the battery - is causing a lot of concern. Much of it is produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so there are a lot of conflict mineral issues and child-labour issues. Downstream users are having to look at this closely.”
Graphite, another rare earth used in lithium ion batteries, is mostly produced and consumed in China. Mr Merriman says there are also concerns over the way this rare earth is mined, although the industry is now seeing more non-Chinese mine operators starting up, which may help to raise standards. One of the problems with the surge in demand for metals for batteries is that increasingly the capacity for these minerals is coming from new and emerging mining companies, who may not have the same sustainability and responsibility standards as established miners.
The International Centre for Metals and Mining, based in London, is a lobbying organisation for the world’s biggest miners and has companies such as BHP, AngloAmerican and Barrick Gold as members. Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner, which announced this nonth that it is to mine lithium in Chile, is another member. John Atherton, ICMM's director - health, safety and product stewardship, admits that there are problem areas in the world where rare metals are mined. “Regarding China, there are large areas where we don’t know what is going on and in other territories there are difficulties with governance and sometimes a clash between the approach of large-scale and small-scale miners.” However, he insists that members of organisations such as ICMM, which has a sustainability framework that its members must follow, do genuinely want to curb their environmental impact. “Our members do have the skills to minimise impact and the amount of innovation that is going on means that there is a constant improvement, both in company performance and in the management of environmental risk and social risk,” Mr Atherton says. He argues that an increasing dialogue between the downstream users of the metals – the car makers and battery manufacturers – means that new entrants into metals mining will be scrutinised and will need to prove themselves responsible, if they are to be part of an international supply chain. Areeba Hamid, a senior Greenpeace clean air campaigner, says: “More electric cars will increase demand for lithium and cobalt, but this doesn’t have to mean environmental damage or human rights abuses. Companies need to fully commit to and resource responsible supply chain oversight and policies to ensure they don’t mine in ecologically important, vulnerable areas or encroach on local people’s rights and livelihoods.”
Greenpeace says efforts to reduce the price of EVs should focus on improving technology and economies of scale, not through the use of cheap labour or lower mining standards. Down the line, to offset the environmental impact of mining, there will also need to be a large build-out in recycling facilities to meet the first wave of electric vehicles, analysts say. Currently more than 90 per cent of lead-acid batteries used in conventional petrol-engine cars are recycled, versus less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries. An estimated 11 million tonnes of spent lithium-ion battery packs will be discarded between now and 2030, according to Canada-based Li-Cycle, a recycler of batteries. Companies such as Belgium-based Umicore have already started to recycle lithium-ion batteries and are investing in expanding its capacity. Umicore expects huge volumes of spent batteries to start coming on to the market for recycling from around 2025. So are consumers kidding themselves that buying an electric vehicle is “good” for the environment? “There are two sides to the story: although emissions are better from an electric vehicle there is still an environmental impact at the mining and [power] generation stage," says Mr Merriman. "The good news is that that impact is improving.” And the picture will get better across Europe and in the US, as more electricity generation comes from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels.
Nissan, which builds its first mass-market electric car the Leaf in the UK, says it monitors its supply chain carefully to assess whether the mineral resources contained in materials or components used to manufacture its products have any harmful social effects, such as on human rights or the environment. “When there are concerns about the minerals being used, Nissan actively works to end that use,” a spokesman says. Nissan is also working on battery recycling and has developed xStorage, which gives electric vehicle batteries a second life. The battery can be reused in homes and businesses as an energy storage unit, which the homeowner can control. Nissan’s efforts show that manufacturers are aware that they will have to work hard to make electric vehicles more desirable and greener, despite governments around the world giving them a helping hand. But it is Ms Hamid who explains why electric vehicles can only reduce, rather than eliminate, the impact on the environment. “To tackle both air pollution and climate change we will also need to drive less altogether and opt for walking or cycling instead, as well as improved public transport," she says.
"It is simply not sustainable to exchange every car on the road today with an electric car."
ROTTERDAM, February 17 -- Warm weekend ahead for most of Europe.
Very stable weather across much of Europe with predominantly clear skies across central, western, southern and parts of eastern and southeastern Europe. Only Greece and southern Italy will be experiencing cooler weather, particularly Greece where continued snow and rain is expected.
北京2月17日电 近日，生态环境部部署全面从严治党任务 严查生态保护调门高行动少问题