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 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
The Weather: a powerful upper ridge will dominate Europe and result in spring like weather, Feb 12-17th
ROTTERDAM, February 12 -- The weather through this week will be mostly stable across much of our continent as a powerful and persistent upper ridge / high pressure system develops and dominates our weather. Let us get into details on individual days.
Tuesday, February 12
An upper ridge is located across western and southwestern Europe while a long-wave upper trough is moving across eastern Europe and the Balkan peninsula. Quite cold weather is being advected across central Europe, Balkan peninsula into the Mediterranean in the wake of the trough and surface cold front. High pressure system is expanding from western towards central Europe.
Wednesday, February 13
The upper ridge and high pressure system are strengthening and spreading into central Europe while trough pushes towards western Russia. Its southern flank cuts off into far south Balkan peninsula and Mediterranean. A secondary cyclone takes place over Greece and strong cold advection continues spreading into the region. Much warmer weather spreads into western and northern Europe, partly into central Europe as well.
ROTTERDAM, February 4 -- 2019 kicked off with lots of tornadic activity across southern Europe and the Mediterranean. A total of 61 reports are available in the European Severe Weather Database.
Southern Europe, particularly the coastal areas and in general most of the Mediterranean region is typically prolific with tornadoes in January. The surface temperatures of the Mediterranean remain comparatively warm, producing steep lapse rates, particularly during intrusions of cold, polar airmass from the north. Both mesocyclonic and non-mesocyclonic tornadoes are frequently observed, although non-mesocyclonic are more common. By far the most important events were the tornadoes in Antalya province, SW Turkey first on January 24 and then again on January 26. In total at least 7 tornadoes hit Antalya and its vicinity, with 2 reported to have hit the city center and one hit the airport. Several fatalities and widespread damage were reported. Several additional events were reported in the vicinity of Rhodes Island, Greece.
ROTTERDAM, February 2 -- Significant warmth will develop across the Balkan peninsula and SE Europe this weekend into early next week.
As intense warm advection takes place ahead of a deep trough / low over the Mediterranean. The established pattern will bring unusually warm period for the Balkan countries with locally near 15 °C warmer weather than normally for early February. The 500 mbar pattern supporting this evolution indicates a very deep upper-level trough slowly moving across the north-central Mediterranean this weekend. A sharp pressure and temperature gradient on its front flank will establish an intense meridional southerly flow from the southern Mediterranean into the Balkan peninsula after today.
BANGKOK, February 2 -- Thai government has apologised to Bangkok citizens about the air pollution that continues to disrupt their daily lives and is threatening their health.
The amount of harmful PM2.5 dust particles in the air has exceeded the safe limit in the capital and adjacent provinces almost daily since late December. The blue sky typical of this time of year is hidden beyond a grey-yellow haze that could have serious long-term effects on health, and emotions are starting to burn along with the waste and cropland fires that contribute much to the problem. Residents have been venting frustration on social media, complaining about difficulty in breathing and pressing hard for the government to do more to solve the problem in a concrete manner.
However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and relevant authorities have taken some action to ease the problem in areas under heavy smog. For instance, they have been trying to crack down on vehicles emitting black fumes and are becoming strict with people burning fires outdoors. Officials have also started keeping a close watch on industrial plants, ensuring there are no toxic fumes coming out of their chimneys. Roads are being regularly hosed down and water is being sprayed in the air in the unsubstantiated hope of bringing down the dust particles.
“The government apologises for the inconvenience caused and would like to thank everybody for support and cooperation,” Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a statement on Friday. He also called on owners of diesel-run vehicles to only use their cars in Greater Bangkok when it is absolutely necessary. “If possible, avoid using them until the smog eases,” he advised as he agreed that the main cause of the haze could be put down to incomplete engine combustion. “As a long-term solution, we will improve the integrated public-transportation system, fuel quality and exhaust fume standards. We will have more petrol stations offering environmentally-friendly choices and start promoting hybrid or electric vehicles,” the premier said.