Friday, December 25, 2015

Ram Madhav’s ‘your ISIS’ comment to British Muslim journalist goes viral – Janta Ka Reporter

Ram Madhav’s ‘your ISIS’ comment to British Muslim journalist goes viral – Janta Ka Reporter

Thursday, December 24, 2015

UW research: Bird habitat changing quickly as climate change proceeds

The climatic conditions needed by 285 species of land birds in the United States have moved rapidly between 1950 and 2011 as a result of climate change, according to a paper published recently in Global Change Biology.
"Our goal was to look at the climate where these birds were observed breeding over this period and determine where that 'sweet spot' was moving as the climate changed in this period," says first author Brooke Bateman, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Warming temperatures are the fundamental alteration of climate change. The researchers saw the expected northward expansion of suitable conditions, Bateman says, but also a considerable expansion to the west. Unexpectedly, the southern borders of suitable conditions did not, in general, move north, perhaps because a remnant population had not yet left that area.
In general, the southern plains and lower Midwest faced the greatest decline in ideal climate conditions, while the Dakotas, mid-Atlantic and Pacific Coast showed the greatest increase.
The study, the largest examination of the velocity of climate change for birds in the United States in the recent past, began by combining detailed weather records for the lower 48 states with data on the location of bird occurrences from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. The researchers cross-referenced those data, creating a computer model of where the birds nest, in terms of climate factors like average and extreme temperature and precipitation.
The researchers then used the model to predict where the same climate conditions for those birds would be located in 2011, reflecting the ensuing changes in climate. Finally, using data from the 2011 North American Breeding Bird Survey, they checked their work.
The results show that in the face of climate change, a suitable climate for birds has been moving, on average, eight-tenths of a mile per year — about twice the pace predicted by earlier studies.
To make sense of their data, the researchers lumped bird species into guilds — groups based on shared factors like diet, foraging location and migration habits. Hospitable climate moved relatively fast for short- or long-distance migrants, carnivores, insect eaters, and birds that foraged in the air or the canopy of trees. Slow-moving guilds included permanent residents, herbivores, omnivores, hummingbirds and birds that forage on tree bark, such as woodpeckers.
The findings are a significant expansion on the notion that climate change, once called "global warming," would simply force species to the north, or to higher altitudes. In fact, climate change affects wildlife in myriad ways, says Bateman. "People used to think, with global warming, that species would move poleward to beat the heat, but the changes in rainfall and extreme weather events are equally influential, especially in driest part of year. That affects where the birds can live."
Climate could affect predators, prey, disease or many other factors, Bateman says, but the study did not address the mechanisms behind the shifts in location. And while suitable climate is clearly moving, what is not clear is whether the plants and other animals (such as insects) that birds depend on are moving in the same way.
Bateman acknowledges that because of their mobility, birds are not fully representative of plants and ground-based animals, but they are easier to study due to the wealth of data amassed over decades of amateur observation.
The results emphasize the need for connected habitat that allows plants and animals to move as climate change continues, Bateman says. "The ideal situation would be to secure large amounts land that allows connectivity between current protected areas and areas that will become suitable," says Bateman. "We need to think together, to make the landscape more hospitable to all of the wildlife that depends on it."
Bateman's co-authors included Patricia Heglund, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Anna Pidgeon and Volker Radeloff of the UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.
"Movement of suitable climate is not necessarily a bad thing," Bateman says, "because the climate in some nearby areas may become more suitable for these species. However, we must consider the widespread agriculture and development in some of those new areas, in combination with the rapid pace of climate change. So even though the climate may become more suitable in those areas, the landscape is already so altered that much of this habitat is useless to the birds."

Monday, November 30, 2015

What Is the Paris Climate Change Conference?

By Frederic Beaudry

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference is held November 30 to December 11 in Paris, France. The avowed goal of this conference is to reach a comprehensive, binding agreement on climate change bringing together all the world’s nations. The main commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol expired in 2012, and was extended to 2020. Scientists now believe that the Kyoto commitments are not enough to turn the tide of climate change.

At the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit in New York, a lot of ground work was done in preparation for the 2015 Paris meeting, and there are high hopes for a brand new agreement.

A successful agreement in Paris would have to be aimed at keeping the rise in global average temperatures at or below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. The necessity to reach such an agreement is urgent. As the emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, our ability to keep global warming below critical thresholds is diminishing.

A new agreement will have to aggressively support the development of renewable, carbon-neutral energy sources like wind and solar.

According to United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, it is precisely this immense technological challenge that should convince reluctant countries to enter a meaningful agreement. Economic benefits will come from the development of renewable energy, including economic growth, technology jobs, and exports, she told the Associated Press.

While waiting after the slow pace of international diplomacy, here are some actions which anyone can take right now:

Pro Tips to Reduce your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

5 Actions to Slow Down Climate Change

Keeping a Small Carbon Footprint While on Vacation

Friday, November 20, 2015

Google Apps for Work | Referral Programme

Want some quick talking points to glance at while speaking to referrals about Google Apps?

With Google Apps, you can:

Promote your company. Custom email addresses, like, help your team look professional and build your brand.
Work from anywhere. Every team member gets 30GB of space for storing all their files in Google Drive and accessing them from any device.
Save money and time on travel. Connect from anywhere, anytime, by hosting video meetings with teammates and customers using Google Hangouts.
Increase security. Google Apps includes powerful admin controls for managing users, devices and settings, helping your business data stay safe.
Questions? Suggestions? Other talking points that really work for you? Post them in our Google+ community. You can also learn the basics about Google Apps in the resource portal.

The Google Apps Referral Team

Spread the word
about Google Apps and share your referral link:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The U.S. Government Has Invested $34 Billion in Renewable Energy—and It’s Making a Profit November 17, 2014 By Todd Woody
Todd Woody is TakePart's senior editor for environment and wildlife.
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Is the United States government a savvier investor in green technology than Silicon Valley’s masters of the universe?
Were Your Solar Panels Made With Conflict Minerals?

It sure looks like it, judging from the U.S. Department of Energy’s new report on the performance of its $34.3 billion portfolio of investments in solar power plants, wind farms, and other renewable energy projects. The Obama administration in 2009 charged the DOE’s Loan Programs Office with jump-starting cutting-edge green technology ventures deemed too risky and expensive to attract cash from private investors.

As of September, that portfolio had a loss rate of 2.28 percent and has made a profit of $30 million.

The typical loss rate for a venture capital firm’s portfolio? As many as 40 percent of those companies fail, according to a 2012 Harvard Business School study.

There are now 20 projects funded by DOE up and running.

(U.S. Department of Energy)

“These projects currently produce enough clean energy to power more than 1 million American homes (roughly the size of Chicago), have supported the manufacturing of more than 8 million fuel-efficient vehicles, and have avoided carbon pollution equivalent to taking more than 3 million cars off the road,” states the report, which notes that the program has created or saved 55,000 jobs.

The DOE has so far disbursed $21.7 billion and collected $3.5 billion in repayments and $810 million in interest. Losses have totaled $780 million.

A half-billion dollars of that loss came from the 2011 failure of Solyndra, a Silicon Valley solar panel manufacturer whose bankruptcy made it a poster child for Republican attacks on the loan program. (Private investors, including some of Silicon Valley’s most renowned venture capitalists, lost more than $600 million on the company.) Solyndra was one of several makers of advanced solar technology in the U.S. that found themselves unable to compete against a flood of cheap solar panels made in China.

As the DOE report indicates, Solyndra was an outlier rather than an indicator of its portfolio’s performance. The agency, meanwhile, still has $40 billion left to spend.