Friday, 23 October 2009

Harnessing the power of the oceans and seas

Here in the UK we are surrounded by the sea, and yet the non-stop tides that are an unending part are seemingly ignored as a source of never ending carbon free cheap energy.

A way of harnessing this resource is an ‘energy island’. This is basically an outer ring, rather like an atoll, but with the inner area sealed off from the surrounding water. The island would use wind power to pump out the water from the inner area and then generate electricity by allowing water from the outer to again enter the inner via electricity generating turbines.
There are already wind turbines in the some offshore UK locations, as indeed there are all around the world, and the spare capacity they generate could, if this type of ‘island’ was constructed around them, mean that the potential energy in the trapped water would be the same as the trapped energy in a battery. Often the criticism levelled against renewable energy, especially wind energy, is that it may not be available at times of need, but with this Dutch system, that perceived problem could be overcome.
An attraction of this concept is that it potentially allows a large amount of new energy storage to be brought online quickly and, compared to nuclear or ‘clean’ coal, cheaply, and most importantly this storage would be along the world's coastlines, where most of the world’s population lives.

The power of the seas and the oceans are the most overlooked of the big renewable energy resources and yet they are there 24hrs a day 365 days a year.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


As a part of Global Warming the world is experiencing many '100 year
only events. many of these are extremes in weather, extreme storms
are but one, and you can find more details of these HERE.

Rising sea levels threaten many low lying areas and countries are
facing disaster, the Maldives is one. For more details see

The above is the breaking up of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, for more
details, see HERE.

In Bolivia, the glacier melt water that many rely on for life has
all but gone. For more detail see HERE.

The picture above is of Terry Cochrane in the U.S., and the dock that he is
standing on should be on water 30 to 40 feet deep where he is. For more
details see HERE and HERE.

The above is Scotland in early September this year,for more
details see HERE.

In Kenya, the drought will effect millions and bring starvation
to many, for more details see HERE.

Australia has been gripped in many areas by drought conditions,
as a result recent high winds have caused Dust Bowl conditions
in Sydney, for more details see HERE.

For more details of the demise of Lake Chad, one of the worlds
biggest inland seas, click HERE.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Save the Rainforests - The Prince's Rainforest Project

Due to destructive logging activity and the clearing of land for large-scale farming, both offer high financial returns, the world's rainforests are being destroyed at an alarming rate, and the deforestation threatens the many vital ecosystem benefits that these forests provide.

Cutting down and burning tropical forests to clear the land in this way enables rainforest nations to provide globally traded commodities, such as timber, palm oil, beef, cocoa, coffee, rubber, bio fuels and soy as well as mining and cattle ranching.

The world’s population is likely to increase from 6 billion to 9 billion over the next 40 years. This population growth, combined with rising incomes, will lead to a continual increasing demand for food, animal feed and fuel. And this, in turn, will lead to more destruction of rainforests – with devastating effects for everyone.

Rainforests benefit us all, not just those who live in the nations in which they are found. They store water, regulate rainfall and are home to over half of the planet's biodiversity, but most importantly, they absorb and store carbon dioxide (CO2). So they play a critical role in helping to limit the amount of fossil fuel emissions (greenhouse gases) that build up in our atmosphere every year. To make matters worse, when they are cut down and burned as they are at the present rate, they are releasing more emissions than the entire global transport sector!

Rainforests absorb almost a fifth of the world’s man-made CO2 emissions every year. But tropical deforestation releases an extra 17% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. It is these emissions that are causing global warming. In simple terms, if we didn't have any rainforests to absorb CO2, the temperature of the earth would rise, as would sea levels.

Climate change is already happening. We can all see it all around us in the unexpected weather patterns, the flooding, even plants flowering earlier than usual. We are no longer in a position where we can reverse this process, but we might be able to slow the process down to manageable proportions, even if we cannot stop it completely.

In the past 50 years, a third of the world's rainforests have been felled and burned, and deforestation continues, now at the rate of 15 million hectares per year, the equivalent of approximately 8.5 million soccer pitches a year, or 23,483 a day. Although this deforestation averages a loss of less than 1% of the forests per year, it is believed that after the loss of 30-40% of a rainforest that the remaining forest ecosystem may become so destabilised that it will collapse.

In 2007 The Prince of Wales, following reports from the top climate change experts and scientists including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Inaugurated The Prince's Rainforests Project (PRP,)in order to promote the urgent need to take action against tropical deforestation. The Prince of Wales has long been concerned about climate change and about how destruction of the world's rainforests contributes to rising temperatures and sea levels and as a prominent public figure has often faced appalling sarcasm and criticism for his views.

I am a huge fan of the prince's environmental aims and opinions, as he has the courage to stand up and be counted for what he knows is right. For many of us his views may not have been new, but we are the very, very small minority and Prince Charles certainly reaches the parts of society that so many of us will never even have a chance get near.

In The Prince’s own words: "If deforestation can be stopped in its tracks, then we will be able to buy ourselves some much-needed time to build the low carbon economies on which our futures depend. I have endeavoured to create a global public, private and NGO partnership to discover an innovative means of halting tropical deforestation. Success would literally transform the situation for our children and grandchildren and for every species on the planet."

Please visit the site via this link and, if your are able, sign via the below.