Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα cities. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα cities. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Δευτέρα 9 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Floods paralyze Indonesia's capital (the rain will continue for another seven days)

 Parts of Indonesia's capital have been paralysed by floods after torrential downpours swamped the city overnight.

Heavy rain disrupted transportation throughout the city. Thousands of train passengers were left stranded when two of Jakarta’s main stations flooded, some areas left 2-1/2 feet deep in water.

The head of the country's Regional Disaster Management Agency, Bambang Surya Putra, told reporters at city hall Monday that many houses had been flooded, but no one had been displaced.

 "2,698 families homes were flooded, but residents remained in their homes, usually moving all their possessions to the second floor of their houses," Putra said.

The Southeast Asian country is halfway through a months-long rainy season that typically peak in Jakarta in January.

  • The agency for Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics has predicted that the rain will continue for another seven days.

Flooding has also hit other areas on the country, namely; Bandung, West Java, Central Java, South Kalimantan, West Nusa Tenggara, and Bali.

Κυριακή 8 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Sunken Brazilian town revealed amid 80-year drought

A buried Brazil city has miraculously re-emerged from the depths of the Jaguari River.

The city of Igarata was submerged by the river's rising waters in 1969 after the Brazilian government built a dam on the Jaguari river.
For almost 46 years the old city has been hidden from human sight. However, a long period of drought that has struck the country resulted in much lower water levels in the river.

The Jaguari river has reportedly dried up to 100 feet below its previous levels. So far, old buildings of the "lost" city together with benches and trees have started reappearing on its surface.

Local media sources report that the city's structure has remained unchanged and its school and a church as well as the main street are still recognizable, although they have been submerged for nearly half a century.

Some of its former residents returned to the site to take a look at the city they have not seen nearly half a century. Many of them said they had mixed feelings regarding the event. Happiness caused by the reappearance of the city was overshadowed by concerns over the severe drought that has hit the state: the lack of rainfall has resulted in water shortages across the country and prompted local officials to consider imposing water rationing measures.

San Paolo, South America's most populous city, is among those most badly affected by the natural disaster.

Σάββατο 7 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Radar used to bust unauthorized basement construction in Beijing

BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Radar was used to detect unauthorized basement construction in Beijing as the city gets tough on the potentially dangerous practice.

The crackdown comes after a lawmaker built a basement in his courtyard that caused neighboring houses to collapse, local authorities said Friday.

Radar detection has been employed to monitor whether there are any hollowed areas under roads or houses.

According to the office in Xicheng District responsible for the crackdown, law enforcement can use radar to check renovated houses.

If any unauthorized basements are found, the owners will be ordered to fill in the basements or holes immediately, said Song Jiale, an official with the district government.

He said property ownership certificates will be granted after houses pass the check.

Previously, Li Baojun, a lawmaker from east China's Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province, had built a 18-meter-deep basement in his courtyard in Xicheng District without permission, which caved in and caused the road and surrounding buildings to collapse on Jan. 24.

The incident has revealed the city's rampant illegal underground construction and caused a stir in the country.


Heavy snow batters northern Italy

Friday was a hard day for northern Italy, where many cities woke up covered in snow and had to cope with major traffic disruption and severe inconvenience for the population...

Freezing temperatures, heavy snows and strong winds caused icing highways, blocked rail lines and temporary closure of the Bologna airport. Authorities ordered many schools to remain closed.

"Indeed precipitations were intense in some northern regions, namely Emilia Romagna, Liguria and Piedmont," Colonel Guido Guidi, weather and climate expert of the Italian Air Force, told Xinhua.

Not only many areas were under a thick blanket of snow, but strong wings and coastal storms also added to the scourge of bad weather.

Water city Venice was flooded by tides which reached a height of 124 cm above sea level, according to local reports.

Strong winds toppled trees and made some parts of buildings and infrastructures collapse. Aid squads had to intervene and rescue dozens of people in difficulty across northern Italy.

Civil authorities warned residents in various towns to move to the highest levels of their homes and park vehicles as high as possible, after flooding claimed numerous victims in the past months.

Three elderly people in Lombardy region, of which the capital is Milan, were reported to have died on Friday after suffering heart attacks while removing snow from their homes. Five others were suddenly taken ill.

Guidi underlined, however, that the precipitation was regular.

"We are talking about snow in the winter season. Some Italian media have named this wave of bad weather as 'big snow' but if we look at 1929, when a lot of snow also came down, we can find exactly the same words on the then media reports," he noted.

"Friday's weather was the result of a pipeline of cold air coming from Siberia and the Arctic," a climatologist of the Institute of Biometeorology of the national Research Council (IBIMET-CNR), Marina Baldi, explained to Xinhua.

Baldi expected the weather to improve from Sunday, when the Azores anticyclone, a large-scale circulation of winds typically found south of the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, whose effects include clearing skies, will move toward east.

She agreed with Guidi that the wave of bad weather was "not exceptional" but in line with the variability and temperatures experienced in the past, while also mentioning a certain influence of climate change on the milder winters and summer heatwaves registered over the last 10-15 years.

"For the next decades, we can expect an increase of extreme weather events and torrential rainfall within short timespans in Italy, with consequent more frequent flooding," Baldi concluded.

  Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn

Σάββατο 31 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Eco Feggos and Ydrofasm Global News (February 2015 - a)

Japan on Saturday (Jan 17) marked the 20th anniversary of the Kobe earthquake that killed more than 6,400 people with renewed calls for the quake-prone nation to stay vigilant against the next 'Big One'.

More than 14,000 people gathered to commemorate the victims in the western port city of Kobe, where a 7.2-magnitude quake hit at 5.46am on Jan 17, 1995. The quake, which killed 6,434 people, levelled much of the city and sparked a major review of quake preparedness in the island-nation that suffers about one fifth of the world's most powerful tremors.................... Japan marks 20th anniversary of killer quake in Kobe

Παρασκευή 23 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Beijing: Pollution goals missed

Beijing closed or removed 392 polluting factories in 2014, according to the municipal people's congress, which opened on Friday.

A total of 30 industrial relief and cooperation platforms and 53 related programs were launched to pull the polluting companies out of Beijing in the past year, mayor of Beijing Wang Anshun said in a government work report.

Another 300 factories are expected to be closed in 2015. 

Although efforts have been taken in 2014, Beijing failed to meet a key pollution reduction target last year with annual average density of PM2.5 down 4 percent, less than the 5 percent target, Wang said.

  Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
23- 24/1/15

Πέμπτη 22 Ιανουαρίου 2015

China's air quality dire but improving (Greenpeace)

The skies of China's notoriously smog-filled cities saw a marginal amelioration last year, according to figures released by Greenpeace Thursday (Jan 22), but pollution remained far above national and international standards...
China's cities are often hit by heavy pollution, blamed on coal-burning by power stations and industry, as well as vehicle use, and it has become a major source of discontent with the ruling Communist Party. Retired senior officials have acknowledged that it may kill as many as half a million people a year.
Levels of PM2.5 - airborne particulates with a diameter small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs - fell year-on-year in 71 of the 74 cities monitored by the ministry of environmental protection, the figures showed.
But in China's most polluted city, Xingtai, they still averaged 131.4 microgrammes per cubic metre. In Beijing, they were 83.2 microgrammes per cubic metre, and 52.2 in Shanghai, the country's financial centre. By comparison, New York's PM2.5 level averaged 11.2 last year and Tokyo's was 15.8 for the fiscal year ending in March 2014, the most recent figures available.
The World Health Organization recommends a maximum average exposure of 25 microgrammes per cubic metre in a 24-hour period, and 10 microgrammes per cubic metre over a year. China's own standard is 35 microgrammes per cubic metre over a year.
The statistics released by Greenpeace were based on official data from China's ministry of environmental protection. It makes current levels available online but does not publicly release historical data or averages. The figures were compiled by Fresh-Ideas Studio, the operator of a popular pollution monitoring app.
The numbers showed that Xingtai, in the northern province of Hebei, enjoyed a 15.3 per cent improvement, with Beijing levels falling 7.7 per cent and Shanghai dropping 14.0 per cent. Xian, home to the Terracotta Warriors, saw the most dramatic decline at more than 27 per cent.
But despite the drops none of the 74 cities achieved the WHO recommended annual mark, with the least polluted, Haikou on the island of Hainan, averaging 22.4.

The environmental campaign group also released a short film on the subject by renowned director Jia Zhangke, whose award-winning 2013 movie A Touch of Sin was denied a Chinese release by the country's censors.
Smog Journeys tells the story of two families, one in China's coal belt and the other in Beijing, showing how neither wealth nor education can defend against smog. It closes with a child in Beijing drawing pictures on dust-covered cars of a world he hopes to live in, complete with a radiant sun.
"The character setting is meant to point out that no one gets to be different when it comes to smog," Jia said in an interview posted by Greenpeace on YouTube. "One thing that fascinated and shocked me the most was the fact that even on smoggy days, people still live their lives as usual."
Public discontent about the environment has grown in China, leading the government to declare a "war on pollution" and vow to reduce the proportion of energy derived from fossil fuels. But it has shied away from pledging to cut total national coal use.
One factor contributing to the decline in parts of northern China is likely to have been the car use restrictions, factory closures and public-sector holidays imposed during a November meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing.
The result was stunning skies popularly dubbed "APEC blue" by online commentators mocking their temporary nature, and even Chinese President Xi Jinping himself used the phrase in a speech.
Pollution is a perennial issue on Chinese social networks, with users on Thursday poking fun at efforts by officials in the southwestern city of Chongqing to clean up dirty air by banning residents from smoking bacon, a traditional method of preserving pork - the latest scientifically dubious theory about its cause.
Environmental activists called for further steps to reduce pollution, cutting coal use and shifting towards renewables.

"Clean air is a basic necessity for healthy living," said Yan Li, Greenpeace East Asia's head of climate and energy. "It's sad if children grow up with more smog than clean air and blue skies, as depicted in Jia's film. Bringing back clean air needs to be a priority and it requires urgent action."
In a commentary piece for the Lancet, a leading medical journal, China's former health minister Chen Zhu and environmental officials said "that between 350,000 and 500,000 people die prematurely each year as a result of outdoor air pollution in China".
- AFP/xq


Τρίτη 6 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Beijing city raises subsidies for scrapping polluting vehicles

Beijing car owners with emissions-heavy models can now earn more money from scrapping their vehicles after the city raised its subsidy for doing so by an average of 2,000 yuan (321.8 US dollars), environmental protection authorities said Tuesday.

According to the new plan, owners who used their vehicles for more than six years and disposed of the vehicles at least one year earlier can receive an average of 8,000 yuan subsidies. The highest subsidies for cars will reach 8,500 yuan, and 21,500 yuan for heavy duty diesel vehicles.

The plan is to be effective throughout 2015 and 2016.

Owners who trade in their old vehicles for new ones will receive another subsidy for purchasing new cars.

Old-vehicles used for more than 10 years with high pollutant emissions are still running on the road, said Li Kunsheng, with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.

"They are the target of our pollution monitoring work," he said.

The new plan is to be announced in detail soon, according to Li, and all vehicle-owners who scrapped their vehicles after Jan. 1 are qualified to apply for the new plan.

Beijing's average PM2.5 density in 2014 dropped by four percent compared with 2013, but some pollutants rebounded, said the municipal environmental protection bureau earlier this week.

The average density of PM2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, was 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter in 2014, compared with 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013, the bureau said in a statement Sunday.

The reading was still 1.5 times higher than the national standard of 35, which was set by the State Council in 2012.

As part of efforts to curb pollution, Beijing reduced coal use by 2.6 million tonnes to keep it below 19 million tonnes. The capital also removed 476,000 outdated vehicles from roads and shut down about 375 factories in 2014.

In 2015, Beijing aims to cut PM2.5 index by around five percent and reduce the emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by six percent.

 Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn

Πέμπτη 23 Οκτωβρίου 2014

A line in the sand: Workers plant a web of shrubs in the desert to halt the advancing of sand dunes

Xinjiang, in Northwest China, is home to the country's biggest deserts. Fighting desertification is a constant for cities deep in the region, to avoid the fate of being buried like the ancient Loulan civilization more than 1,600 years ago.

The town of Qiemo, in the middle of the Taklimakan Desert, China's largest, has been fighting against the sand dunes pushing towards it. On the other side of the Qarqan River, the sand dunes are only two kilometers away at the nearest point. Three times in the town's history, the river running through it was diverted by shifting desert sands................the article and more images to...(Global Times)

Τετάρτη 8 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Fault line discovered under New Zealand capital

The fault, referred to informally as the Aotea Fault, ran in a northeasterly direction for about 2 km under the harbor, and scientists said Wednesday it had yet to be identified on land.

They believed at least two significant earthquakes had occurred on the fault in the last 10,000 years.

The Aotea Fault, capable of moderate to large quakes in the order of magnitude 6.3 to 7.1, was part of a series of several dozen geological faults in the Wellington region, according to the government's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science).

The fault did not appreciably increase the overall ground- shaking hazard in the New Zealand capital, GNS scientist Russ Van Dissen said in a statement.

"Any ground-shaking that this fault could produce is already considered in Wellington's seismic hazard calculations. So it is already accounted for in the building code," he said.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand issued a statement saying the discovery was unlikely to have any impact on insurance premiums for homeowners and businesses.
Source:Xinhua -  globaltimes.cn

Δευτέρα 22 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Simit sellers removed from central Istanbul

Street vendors selling simits, a local savoury pastry enjoyed by all walks of life, have been removed from central spots across Istanbul, with police citing widespread malpractice among unregistered simit sellers.

It is a tradition for many Turks to have simit for breakfast, and street vendors can generally be found at every main street, subway station or any other central point.

However, Tayfun Karaali, the head of the municipal police, said in a statement that the municipality had made such a decision to combat pirate simit sellers.

'Some already had big profits from simit'

“Soon, those simit sellers who are really in need of the job will return,” Karali said, adding that the municipality would help those who need to sell simit to live on for some time.

Ali Yücel, the head of the simit vendors’ chamber, told Hürriyet that the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality had not dealt with the issue for the last four or five years, adding that decisions about who is permitted to sell simit are made by district mayors.

According to Yücel, there are about 8,000 simit vendors across Istanbul, with 250 vendors removed from central spots.


Παρασκευή 18 Ιουλίου 2014

Central and Southwest China: Concern for ancient buildings after floods

Concerns have been raised over the protection of historic towns as persistent downpours in Central and Southwest China have flooded Fenghuang, a renowned tourism destination in Hunan Province.

More than 120,000 people were relocated amid power cuts in Fenghuang on Wednesday.

The rain, however, has begun to slacken and water levels in Fenghuang have dropped, with many people returning to their homes on Thursday.

Electricity along the Tuojiang River, which runs through Fenghuang, has not been restored, although water supplies to parts of the town have been brought back online, a staff member of Fenghuang's flood prevention office surnamed Gao told the Global Times.

Reconstruction work formally started on Thursday, Gao said. No casualties had been reported as of press time.

Pictures of Fenghuang submerged by floodwaters have aroused worries among netizens and experts on ancient architecture.

Yang Zhi, owner of a traditional inn alongside the Tuojiang River, told the Global Times that everything in his inn had been washed away by floods and estimated his losses at more than 200,000 yuan ($32,234).

He blamed the government for inaccurate warning by saying that the water level of the Tuojiang River would only hit 1.5 meters above normal. The river eventually crested at 3 meters over its normal level, "So people were not prepared."

Many traditional buildings, some dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), were made of wood and stone and could be severely damaged by floods, Zhu Qiuli, an expert with the National Architecture Institute of China, told the Global Times.

Old towns have drainage problems and the Fenghuang  government obviously did not realize that the buildings need protection from water in such a rainy region, Zhu said.

It is also a warning for other old town governments, he added.

Wu Rucheng, director of the flood prevention office, admitted that excessive development along the river bank has changed the river's profile, making it more prone to serious flooding.

Fenghuang is currently being considered for UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Other parts of Hunan Province were also hit by severe rains. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, more than 8 million people across seven provinces including Hunan were affected by the rainstorms which started on July 10.

A total of 34 people died in the flooding, while 21 remain missing. Some 400,000 people were relocated and 9,300 houses collapsed, while 384,300 hectares of crops were damaged, incurring a direct economic loss of more than 5.2 billion yuan.

  • Rainstorms are also expected in Hainan Province as Typhoon Rammasun makes landfall in South China on Friday. 
By Liu Sha Source:Global Times Published: 2014-7-18  

Τετάρτη 16 Ιουλίου 2014

Ancient town under water as downpours hit central China

One of China's renowned ancient towns was under water Wednesday as heavy rain hit the centre of the country, with tens of thousands of people evacuated from the area.

The old town district of Fenghuang nestles on the banks of a winding river in a picturesque, mountainous part of Hunan province, and boasts stunning Qing and Ming dynasty architecture dating back hundreds of years.
It can attract 30,000 visitors a day and has applied for world heritage status recognition from UNESCO, but pictures showed it inundated, with the central span of a bridge poking up through the waters.

Reports said electricity had been cut off and 50,000 tourists and locals had been evacuated from Fenghuang and the surrounding county.

"Torrential downpours have led to Fenghuang old town becoming a water town," said a posting on a discussion page on the topic set up on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
[Agence France-Presse/hurriyetdailynews.com]

Τρίτη 24 Ιουνίου 2014

Environment: Ljubljana European Green Capital 2016

European Commission, Press release, Brussels, 24 June 2014:

The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, has won the European Green Capital Award for 2016. The award was presented this afternoon by EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, at a ceremony in Copenhagen, which holds the 2014 European Green Capital title. Ljubljana received recognition for raising environmental awareness amongst its citizens, for its sustainability strategy 'Vision 2025', its implementation of a range of urban green measures over the past decade and its impressive transportation network.

Commissioner Potočnik said: "It gives me great pleasure to present Ljubljana with the European Green Capital Award for 2016. As a citizen of Ljubljana, it is with immense pride that I congratulate the city on its environmental achievements. I very much look forward to its year as the 2016 European Green Capital. All of the finalists of this Award provide us with valuable real-life examples of how respect for the environment, excellent quality of life and economic growth can all be successfully combined."

The European Green Capital Award is an annual event that promotes and rewards the efforts of cities that are committed to improving the urban environment. The Award is given to a European city that has demonstrated a well-established record of achieving high environmental standards and is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for future environmental improvement and sustainable development. 

The Jury was very impressed with Ljubljana’s implementation of the city's sustainability strategy ('Vision 2025') which follows an integrated approach to environmental management. The Environmental Protection Programme, the Sustainable Mobility Plan, the Sustainable Energy Action Plan and the Electromobility Strategy all work together towards an integrated vision for the city. Ljubljana has made significant progress in the area of green procurement which has been implemented for 70% of all city purchases.

Transportation in Ljubljana has changed dramatically over the past decade. From a city which was rapidly becoming dominated by the car, the focus has now shifted to eco-friendly alternatives. In 2013, Ljubljana modified the traffic flow within the city to limit motorised traffic and give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Cycling is also increasing, with over 1.6 million journeys using the 'BicikeLJ' bike-sharing system since 2011. Future transportation plans are promising in Ljubljana. In 2012 the city adopted goals that will see public transport, non-motorised traffic and private vehicles account for equal one-third shares of all transport by 2020.

Twelve cities applied to become the European Green Capital of 2016. Each entry was assessed by an international panel of 12 experts and five cities were shortlisted – Essen, Ljubljana, Nijmegen, Oslo and Umeå. Representatives from the shortlisted cities were interviewed by a Jury which comprised members from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the European Environment Agency, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Covenant of Mayors Office and the European Environmental Bureau.

The European Green Capital Award is ultimately about making cities more pleasant places in which to live and work. The Award is given to a European city that has a record of achieving high environmental standards, is committed to ambitious goals for future environmental improvement and sustainable development and can act as a model to inspire other cities.
Cities entering the European Green Capital Award are assessed on 12 areas – climate change: mitigation and adaptation, local transport, green urban areas incorporating sustainable land use, nature & biodiversity, ambient air quality, quality of the acoustic environment, waste production & management, water management, waste water treatment, eco-innovation & sustainable employment, energy performance, and integrated environmental management.

The European Green Capital Award was conceived by Mr Jüri Ratas, former Mayor of Tallinn, Estonia in 2006, as an initiative to promote and reward efforts, to encourage cities to commit to further action, and to showcase and promote the exchange of best practice among European cities. Seven cities – Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Nantes, Copenhagen, Bristol and now Ljubljana – have won the award so far, from 2010 to 2016 respectively. 

Πέμπτη 8 Μαΐου 2014

United Nations News Centre - ‘Enveloped in dirty air’, most cities fail to meet UN agency’s new pollution guidelines

 UN, 7 May 2014 – Many of the world’s cities are “enveloped in dirty air” that is dangerous breathe, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today, warning that urban dwellers are being exposed to excessive air pollution and are at a risk of respiratory diseases and other long-term health problems.

Air quality in most urban areas worldwide that monitor outdoor air pollution fails to meet WHO safety guidelines, putting people at additional of serious health problems, the agency said in a press release issued along with its 2014 urban ambient air quality database.

The agency says the new information calls for greater awareness of health risks caused by air pollution, implementation of effective air pollution mitigation policies, and close monitoring of the situation in cities worldwide.

The WHO database covers 1600 cities across 91 countries – 500 more cities than the previous database (2011), revealing that more cities worldwide are monitoring outdoor air quality, reflecting growing recognition of air pollution’s health risks.

According to the database, only 12 per cent of the people living in cities reporting on air quality reside in cities where that air quality complied with WHO guideline levels. About half of the urban population being monitored is exposed to air pollution that is at least 2.5 times higher than the levels WHO recommends - putting those people at additional risk of serious, long-term health problems.

In most cities where there is enough data to compare the situation today with previous years, air pollution is getting worse. Many factors contribute to this increase, including reliance on fossil fuels such as coal fired power plants, dependence on private transport motor vehicles, inefficient use of energy in buildings, and the use of biomass for cooking and heating.

“Too many urban centres today are so enveloped in dirty air that their skylines are invisible,” said Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Children and Women's Health.

“Not surprisingly, this air is dangerous to breathe. So a growing number of cities and communities worldwide are striving to better meet the needs of their residents - in particular children and the elderly."

Some cities are making notable improvements - demonstrating that air quality can be improved by implementing policy measures such as banning the use of coal for “space heating” in buildings, using renewable or “clean” fuels for electricity production, and improving efficiency of motor vehicle engines.

“We can win the fight against air pollution and reduce the number of people suffering from respiratory and heart disease, as well as lung cancer,” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.

“Effective policies and strategies are well understood, but they need to be implemented at sufficient scale. Cities such as Copenhagen and Bogotà, for example, have improved air quality by promoting ‘active transport’ and prioritizing dedicated networks of urban public transport, walking and cycling,” she adds.

The report notes that individual cities can take local action to improve air quality and thus go against regional trends. And good air quality can go hand in hand with economic development, as indicated by some major cities in Latin America which meet, or approach, the WHO air quality guidelines.

“We cannot buy clean air in a bottle, but cities can adopt measures that will clean the air and save the lives of their people,” said Dr. Carlos Dora, Coordinator, Interventions for Healthy Environments, WHO Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. 


Πέμπτη 3 Απριλίου 2014

Environment: Essen, Ljubljana, Nijmegen, Oslo and Umeå shortlisted for European Green Capital 2016

The European Commission today announced that Essen (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Nijmegen (The Netherlands), Oslo (Norway) and Umeå (Sweden) have been selected as the five finalists to advance to the next stage of the European Green Capital 2016 Award. The Award is presented to one European city every year, commending its achievements in environmental sustainability. For the first year since its conception, cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants were eligible to apply; previously only cities with a population of 200,000 or more qualified.

EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: There is great diversity in this shortlist, with cities large and small competing to win the title of European Green Capital 2016. It's encouraging to see the quality of these applications, which all feature local authorities partnering with citizens to improve the urban environment and encourage sustainable development.”

Essen, Ljubljana, Nijmegen, Oslo and Umeå have been shortlisted from 12 entries across Europe. An independent panel of experts assessed each entry on the basis of the following indicators:
  • Climate change: mitigation and adaptation
  • Local transport
  • Green urban areas incorporating sustainable land use
  • Nature and biodiversity
  • Ambient air quality
  • Quality of the acoustic environment
  • Waste production and management
  • Water management
  • Waste water treatment
  • Eco-innovation and sustainable employment
  • Energy performance
  • Integrated environmental management
The shortlisted cities will now go forward to present their vision, their potential to act as a role model to other cities, and their communication strategy to the Jury in Copenhagen, the current European Green Capital, on 23 June. Following the Jury’s deliberations the European Green Capital 2016 will be announced the next day, 24 June, at an official Award ceremony in Copenhagen.
Six cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital since its inception in 2010. Stockholm won the inaugural title, followed by Hamburg in 2011, Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2012 and Nantes in 2013. Copenhagen holds the current title which it will pass on to Bristol in 2015.
Europe is now an essentially urban society, with more than two thirds of Europeans living in towns and cities. Many environmental challenges facing our society originate from urban areas but it is also these urban areas that bring together the commitment and innovation needed to resolve them. The European Green Capital Award was conceived as an initiative to recognise efforts, to encourage cities to take further action, and to showcase and encourage exchange of best practice among European cities.
In addition to inspiring other cities, this increased profile can enhance the winning city’s reputation and attractiveness as a destination for people to visit, work and live in.

Παρασκευή 22 Νοεμβρίου 2013

At climate change talks, Ban stresses major role of cities in mitigating impact.

UN, 21 November 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took his campaign to galvanise an urgent global response to climate change to the world’s cities today, stressing that changes in urban planning, home building and transportation can usher in a low-carbon future that benefits both people and the planet.
“Cities are engines of dynamism and creativity. In many respects, cities are the proving ground for our efforts to combat climate change, build resilience and achieve faster, more equitable development progress,” he told a high-level session of United Nations-led climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, devoted to the role of cities in controlling global warming and the other effects of climate change.

“Many of you in this room are working on the frontlines of climate change. We are all familiar with the challenges. Our shared responsibility is to turn them into opportunities.
By transforming how we plan our cities, build our homes and move our goods, we can usher in a low-carbon future that benefits people and the planet.”

With more than 50 per cent of the global population now urban and the proportion growing rapidly, especially in Asia and Africa, sustainable towns and cities offer substantial benefits for urban and rural areas alike, from energy and resource efficiency to public health and overall quality of life, he said.
Mr. Ban underscored the importance of cities across many dimensions, from energy and transport to water and sanitation to social cohesion and disaster risk reduction. “This complexity has made it difficult to channel urban issues into the climate discussion in a coherent way,” he said.

“Therefore I ask all of you to work with each other to ensure that we can do precisely that – and end up with results that are commensurate with the centrality of cities.”
The Secretary-General met with the representatives of various regional organisations and countries attending the Climate Change Conference, including ministers from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the G-77 countries and China, the Africa Group, the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China), and the European Union.

In all these meetings he discussed the 2014 Climate Summit he will convene in New York in September during the General Assembly, and he emphasized the need for tangible progress in Warsaw in order to achieve an ambitious global agreement on climate change at the Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. 

He particularly stressed the need to make progress on climate finance and to capitalise the Green Climate Fund and called for additional mitigation and adaptation measures, saying they are more urgent than ever.
In a related development the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced the official opening of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) to help developing countries make informed decisions about mitigation and adaptation technologies that suit their needs.
“As nations put in the foundations, walls and ceiling of a new, wide-ranging and universal climate agreement, the Climate Technology Centre and Network represents a further building block towards that low-carbon future,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.

UNEP also noted that reducing emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), an often-overlooked yet potent gas that could nearly double by 2050, potentially undermining gains in ozone layer recovery and exacerbating climate change, could bring benefits worth over $160 billion annually across diverse economic sectors by boosting efficiency in agriculture, by far the largest source of human-induced N2O.
This means improving the ability of crops and livestock to better utilize nitrogen, and minimising the loss of nitrogen to the environment that occurs during crop cultivation and animal production.
UN General Assembly President John W. Ashe, who is also attending the Warsaw Conference, is meeting with a series of officials and national ministers to discuss ongoing efforts to forge agreement on combating climate change.

Yesterday he conferred with French Development Minister Pascal Canfin. He also discussed the climate negotiations with the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres.

Πέμπτη 31 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Report: Climate change may pose threat to economic growth

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Nearly a third of the world's economic output will come from countries facing "high" to "extreme" risks from the impacts of climate change within 12 years, according to a new report.
The Climate Change Vulnerability Index, an annual report produced by UK-based risk analysis firm Maplecroft, found that climate change "may pose a serious obstacle to sustainable economic growth in the world's most commercially important cities."
The index ranked the vulnerability of the world's countries, and the 50 cities deemed most economically important, to the impacts of climate change, by evaluating their risk of exposure to extreme climate events, the sensitivity of their populations to that exposure and the adaptive capacity of governments to respond to the challenge.

It said the combined GDP of the 67 countries classed as facing "high" or "extreme" risks was projected to nearly triple from $15 trillion to $44 trillion by 2025 -- meaning nearly a third of the global economy would be coming under increasing threat from extreme climate-related events. It projected the population of those countries -- currently estimated at more than 4.5 billion -- could exceed 5 billion by 2025.
The index's findings bore particularly bad news for Bangladesh, which topped both lists, with its capital, Dhaka, ranked the most vulnerable city due to its exposure to threats such as flooding, storm surge, cyclones and landslides, its susceptible population and weak institutional capacity to address the problem.
Along with the Bangladeshi capital, the four other cities categorized as facing "extreme risk" from climate change impacts were also located in Asia -- Mumbai, Manila, Kolkata and Bangkok -- and projected to be centers of high economic growth.

"The combined GDP in these cities is forecast to almost triple from US$275 billion to US$804 billion by 2025, representing the greatest combined growth in any of the risk categories," said the report, released Wednesday. The figures, it said, underlined the way in which "cities with some of the biggest economic growth potential are among those with the greatest vulnerability to climate change."
Greenpeace's chief scientist Doug Parr said the report highlighted "just how urgent the need is for the international community to tackle climate change." "Without a binding global agreement the economic and social impact of global warming will be devastating," he said.
"It would be morally negligent for countries with large emissions to ignore the mounting evidence of the impact global warming that shows that some of the poorest nations on the planet will be hit hardest, while those nations who are seeing the first signs of economic growth after years of stagnation will see those gains washed away by consequences of global warming."

On a national level, many global growth markets were extremely vulnerable to climate change, the report said, with important markets such as Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Philippines all joining Bangladesh in the "extreme risk" category.
Bangladesh was followed on the list of most vulnerable countries by Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Haiti, South Sudan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia, the Philippines and Ethiopia.
The vulnerability of many African countries -- which accounted for 14 of the 20 most at-risk nations -- was partly due to their natural susceptibility to extreme climate-related events such as floods, droughts, fires, storms or landslides. But it was also a consequence of the vulnerability of the population, and the inadequacies of existing infrastructure to adapt to or tackle the problem, due to weak economies, governance, education and healthcare.
Countries in south and southeast Asia, which accounted for one-third of all "extreme" risk nations, were likely to face an increased risk of severe flooding due to projected changes in seasonal rainfall. These would also increase the likelihood of summer droughts, and in turn, declining crop yields. The most susceptible populations in these areas were in areas with high levels of poverty, and where large populations had clustered on marginal land such as flood plains or coastal regions in cyclone-prone areas.

While the majority of small, developing, island nations faced extreme levels of exposure to climate-related events, their populations and infrastructures were deemed less "sensitive," and were therefore generally not considered to be at "extreme" risk overall. One exception was Haiti, where poor healthcare access, weak infrastructure, high levels of poverty and an over-reliance on agriculture placed the country into the "extreme" category.
Maplecroft's head of environment, James Allan, said that identifying where the risks of climate change were going to be highest was "now an imperative for both business and governments."
"Framing the risks in economic terms makes the issue harder to ignore, especially for business, and it may prompt better preparedness planning," he said. "Nothing prompts corporate or political action faster than having to deal with the aftermath of an extreme climate event."
London and Paris were the only two cities ranked as "low risk," while Iceland, followed by Norway and Ireland, were the least vulnerable countries.
In September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its latest assessment report, a benchmark study on global warming involving the efforts of nearly 1,000 researchers around the world. It expressed widespread, rising confidence among scientists the climate is warming, that humans are responsible for at least half of the increase in temperatures since the 1950s.

Δευτέρα 19 Αυγούστου 2013

VIDEO. Au Japon, une éruption volcanique recouvre une ville de cendres - Record eruption at Japanese volcano, city covered in ash

Une escouade de balayeurs et de véhicules équipés de canons à eau était à pied d'œuvre, lundi 19 août, à Kagoshima (Japon). La veille, un volcan voisin, l'un des plus actifs du pays, a craché une immense colonne de cendres.

Un nuage de poussière s'est élevé à 5 000 m d'altitude, dimanche après-midi, lorsque le volcan Sakurajima, situé à 10 km de la ville méridionale de Kagoshima, est entré en éruption. C'est son 500e accès d'humeur cette année, mais aussi l'un des plus violents.

Les cendres se sont ensuite dispersées dans toute la région, retombant notamment à Kagoshima où la circulation a été perturbée dimanche, avec des automobilistes contraints d'allumer leurs phares en plein après-midi.
Lundi, une soixantaine de balayeurs nettoyaient la ville de ce manteau argenté. "Il n'y a pas de signe avant-coureur d'une éruption de grande ampleur" avec dégagement important de lave, a assuré un responsable local de l'Agence de météorologie du Japon. Un filet de lave est en effet sorti des entrailles du volcan dimanche, mais sans danger pour la population.

Προβολή μεγαλύτερου χάρτη

  • Record eruption at Japanese volcano, city covered in ash

Sakurajima, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has covered the city of Kagoshima in southern Japan in ash and spewed a record-high cloud of smoke 5 kilometers into the sky.
The smoke plume was the highest since 2006, when meteorologists began storing data on smoke during eruptions from the volcano.
Sunday’s eruption was the largest at Sakurajima in decades, but the 500th recorded this year, according to Wired.com.
Lava flowed 1 kilometer from the volcano, but no injuries or damage were reported.
People living in Kagoshima, a city of 600,000 people 10 kilometers from the volcano, wore masks and raincoats, and took umbrellas to protect themselves from the hazardous ash.

Volcanic ash causes respiratory problems and can damage eyesight. Minerals present in volcanic ash can also trigger fatal lung diseases.
Local officials seemed unfazed by the latest eruption, however.
"The smoke was a bit dramatic, but we are kind of used to it," a city official who requested anonymity told AP.
Railway services were suspended in the city, so that ash could be removed from the tracks, and car drivers were forced to turn on their headlights as the sky went dark.
By Monday morning, the air was clearer as hundreds of rubbish trucks and sprinklers were used to cope with the aftermath. Masked residents helped sweep up the ash.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned that volcanic activity could continue and advised residents against approaching the volcano. However, the agency said it was not expecting any larger eruptions soon.

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