IMF Chief Says Banks Haven't Changed Since Financial Crisis


Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, presents her address to the Inclusive Capitalism Conference. Photograph: John Stillwell/AP

Christine Lagarde tells London conference banking sector is still resisting reform and taking excessive risks - by Angela Monaghan - May 27, 2014

The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that a persistent violation of ethics among bankers and rising inequality pose a major threat to growth and financial stability.

Christine Lagarde told an audience in London that six years on from the deep financial crisis that engulfed the global economy, banks were resisting reform and still too focused on excessive risk taking to secure their bonuses at the expense of public trust.

She said: "The behaviour of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally in a number of dimensions since the crisis.


Denmark, Portugal, and Spain Leading the World in Wind Power

Wind Share of Electricity Generation in Leading Countries, 2013

Image: Wind Share of Electricity Generation in Leading Countries, 2013 - May 27th 2014 - J. Matthew Roney

Denmark produced one third of its electricity from the wind in 2013. In no other country has wind’s share of annual electricity generation yet topped 30 percent. But the Danes are not stopping there—they are eyeing a goal of 50 percent wind by 2020, with most of the needed expansion coming from offshore wind farms.


Focus: Water risks in the private sector

Growing population and increasing demand for higher living standards have led to the overuse of water resources.

More recently, the management of watersheds has been threatened by the impacts of climate change on the water cycle.

In the face of these challenges, water companies and agribusinesses need to seek solutions.

In this focus, Nature Climate Change presents four opinion pieces that discuss the risks and opportunities posed to private companies by water scarcity, highlight the steps some companies have already taken and, overall, the actions still required.


Climate Change Will Hurt Nations' Credit Ratings, S&P Warns


Credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's warns that climate change will have a negative effect on credit ratings. | Fotosearch Value via Getty Images - by Sara Gates - May 17, 2014

Add credit ratings to the list of things climate change might ruin.

According to a recent report released by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, rising global temperatures will put downward pressure on sovereign credit ratings. The international credit-rating firm warns that poorer countries and nations with already low ratings will be hit the hardest by the effects of climate change.


Global Warming Natural Cycle - Human Induced

The idea that Global Warming is a natural cycle is well understood from paleo data covering the past 1 million years. Is there a difference between current climate, and the natural cycle? For the past million years the natural climate has oscillated between warm periods and ice ages. This shifting in and out of warm periods and ice ages is correlated strongly with Milankovitch cycles. In order to understand the difference between natural cycle and human-caused global warming, one needs to consider changes in radiative forcing and how this affects systems on earth such as the atmosphere, vegetation, ice and snow, ocean cycles and related effects. The current radiative forcing levels are clearly outside of the natural cycle range.

Is global warming a natural cycle? Or is global warming affected by human influence? What does the science say? Both are true. In the natural cycle, the world can warm, and cool, without any human interference. For the past million years this has occurred over and over again at approximately 100,000 year intervals. About 80-90,000 years of ice age with about 10-20,000 years of warm period, give or take some thousands of years.

Tar Sands Linked to Health Problems - by Andy Rowell - April 1, 2014

In a landmark report to Alberta’s energy regulator, a panel of experts has concluded that odours from a controversial tar sands processing plant are linked to human health impacts.

The report, which was published [March 31, 2014], examined the emissions from Baytex Energy’s Peace River plant, which has been the subject of a number of health complaints from local residents over the last few years.

The situation has been so bad that seven families have been forced to leave.


Regulator says Peace River area emissions potential cause of health problems

Ice Melt in Part of Antarctica Appears Unstoppable, NASA Says


Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters).  Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/SVS

(CNN) -- New research shows a major section of west Antarctica's ice sheet will completely melt in coming centuries and probably raise sea levels higher than previously predicted, revealing another impact from the world's changing climate.

According to a study released Monday, warm ocean currents and geographic peculiarities have helped kick off a chain reaction at the Amundsen Sea-area glaciers, melting them faster than previously realized and pushing them "past the point of no return," NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot told reporters.

The glacial retreat there "appears unstoppable," said Rignot, lead author of a joint NASA-University of California Irvine paper that used 40 years of satellite data and aircraft studies.


New cheap, environment-friendly solar cell developed

The tin-based perovskite layer acts as an efficient sunlight absorber that is sandwiched between two electric charge transport layers for conducting electricity to the outside world.Image: The tin-based perovskite layer acts as an efficient sunlight absorber that is sandwiched between two electric charge transport layers for conducting electricity to the outside world. - May 5th, 2014 - Mercouri G. Kanatzidis

In a breakthrough, scientists have developed a new low cost, efficient and environment-friendly solar cell that uses tin instead of the hazardous lead.

Researchers from Northwestern University are among the first to create a solar cell that uses a structure called perovskite, with tin as the light-absorbing material instead of lead.

"Exculding the use of lead is a quantum leap in the process of creating a very promising type of solar cell called a perovskite," said Mercouri G Kanatzidis, an inorganic chemist with expertise in dealing with tin.

With A Little Help, Africa Could Become Renewable Energy Powerhouse

The United States, China, India, Japan, and Europe all fit within Africa, a continent that lags behind those places in development. When it comes to energy and electricity, this lack of infrastructure or institutionalized energy systems offers some opportunities for renewable sources of energy to enter into a market that is struggling to meet demand.

The International Renewable Energy Agency recently said that Africa’s renewable energy capacity is ....

Antarctic Ice Shelf On Brink Of Unstoppable Melt That Could Raise Sea Levels For 10,000 Years


Steve Allen via Getty Images - reuters - by Alister Doyle

OSLO, May 4 (Reuters) - Part of East Antarctica is more vulnerable than expected to a thaw that could trigger an unstoppable slide of ice into the ocean and raise world sea levels for thousands of years, a study showed on Sunday.

The Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica, stretching more than 1,000 km (600 miles) inland, has enough ice to raise sea levels by 3 to 4 metres (10-13 feet) if it were to melt as an effect of global warming, the report said.

The Wilkes is vulnerable because it is held in place by a small rim of ice, resting on bedrock below sea level by the coast of the frozen continent.


CLICK HERE - STUDY - Ice plug prevents irreversible discharge from East Antarctic


Polio’s Return After Near Eradication Prompts a Global Health Warning



Health workers vaccinate a child in Afghanistan. Credit Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times - by Donald G. McNeil Jr. - May 5, 2014

Alarmed by the spread of polio to several fragile countries, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Monday for only the second time since regulations permitting it to do so were adopted in 2007.

Just two years ago — after a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children — the paralyzing virus was near eradication; now health officials say that goal could evaporate if swift action is not taken. . .

. . . “Things are going in the wrong direction and have to get back on track before something terrible happens,” said Gregory Hartl, a W.H.O. spokesman.


WHO Report: The World is Headed for a Post-Antibiotic Era

submitted by Luis Kun

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) released Antimicrobial Resistance: Global Report on Surveillance 2014, the first comprehensive WHO report on surveillance of antibacterial resistance -- when bacteria outsmart the drugs designed to kill them. The report found that rates of resistance for common bacteria causing serious illness are high throughout the world and that there are significant gaps in global surveillance.

The findings in this landmark report are consistent with CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013 published in September 2013. Both reports sound the alarm on this serious threat. Antibiotic resistance is no longer a prediction for the future. It is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone.

Mississippi State University Student-Athletes Respond in Tornado Relief


MSU student-athletes set up a tornado relief shelter on Tuesday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Megan Bean) - April 30, 2014

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A day after destructive tornadoes swept through the state of Mississippi, Mississippi State student-athletes from all sports responded as volunteers in the relief efforts.

MSU student-athletes, graduate assistants, athletic department staff, weight room staff and equipment staff quickly set up a tornado relief center and shelter in the parking lot of the Palmeiro Center on the MSU campus. The relief center is being coordinated by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.



Boris Johnson outlines plan to bolster London's energy independence

A street light in front of the EDF London Eye. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Image: A street light in front of the EDF London Eye. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters - April 25th, 2014 - Terry Macalister

Boris Johnson has announced plans for the London mayor's office to become the UK's latest electricity supplier with an official launch next year of a scheme aimed at lowering bills and bolstering the capital's energy independence.

London will be the first public authority to receive a "junior" electricity licence from industry regulator Ofgem as part of the plan to produce 25% of the capital's power from local sources by 2025.

Energy for London, as the scheme is likely to be named, will initially buy power from small-scale generators owned by London boroughs and public bodies and then sell it on to Transport for London and the Metropolitan police.


Study Casts Doubt on Climate Benefit of Biofuels from Corn Residue


Baling corn residue at a University of Nebraska-Lincoln field experiment site in Saunders County, Neb.  UNL - by Leslie Reed - April 20, 2014

Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The findings by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln team of researchers cast doubt on whether corn residue can be used to meet federal mandates to ramp up ethanol production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Nature - Climate Change - Biofuels from crop residue can reduce soil carbon and increase CO2 emissions


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