This website at climatezone.org is focused on presenting information, data, and opinion about the global changing climate. Also about renewable energy–one of the keys to restraining global warming.
It is intended to be informative, thought-provoking, and provocative–but that doesn’t mean that I invent stuff, and I try not to exaggerate the risks and the threats to the most vulnerable communities–particularly the small island developing states, many of which are going to be underwater before the end of the century. There is no way around this reality.
This is not a website for those who deny that the climate is changing and that the planet is warming. Global heating is now more accurate.
The evidence for increasing global temperatures is overwhelming and conclusive. I do not intend to waste anyone’s time by once again debating the science or disputing the evidence.
The principal focus is on the USA and Canada. The two countries are strongly linked through their shared exploration, exploitation, and consumption of fossil fuels, and the integrated network of oil and gas pipelines that enables the two countries to share these resources.
There are of course many differences between the USA and Canada when it comes to energy policy, regulatory priorities, financial subsidies, and renewable energy incentives. But this difference often provides a richer context when differing policies and approaches can be compared and contrasted.
The site also focuses on small island States. These countries are the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Their emissions of greenhouse gases are miniscule and irrelevant–which leads me to argue that the islands should put all their effort into adaptation–not mitigation. While it is politically correct for small island countries to sign up to the mitigation policies set out in the Paris Agreement, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you consider the limited resources–both financial and institutional–available to island governments.
All the data presented in the blogs is available online and from reputable, peer-reviewed, and verifiable sources. Links are provided to all the sources at the bottom of the blogs. Additional information can always be obtained from me at : email@example.com
So welcome to the website and enjoy the blogs.
For those interested, sketched out below is a brief bioscope:
I have a BSc.Tech. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and Fuel Technology from the University of Sheffield in the UK. For the Ph.D., I worked on computer graphics (pretty new in 1972) focusing on Fortran modeling of chemical process plant layout and design. After that, I was finished with being a student. I hitched a ride on a ship to the West Indies.
First to the University of the West Indies in Trinidad for three years—teaching chemical engineering design, then up to Canada, as a post-doc at the University of Waterloo (working on the computer modelling of waste treatment plants), and then driving across Canada in the dead of winter in a beat-up Beetle to the University of Calgary (teaching chemical and mechanical engineering). Always restless, in 1983 I headed south to warmer climes at the University of Florida in Gainesville. By this time I had transitioned from chemical and mechanical engineering into renewable energy with a focus on solar thermal and photovoltaics.
At the University of Florida, the Training in Alternative Energy Technology program covered solar energy, wind power, hydropower and biomass, and taught renewable energy technology to engineers from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean in a 3-month program funded by USAID. Altogether, the TAET program trained about 450 technicians and engineers from developing countries. After the program came to an end in 1985, I went out to Djibouti in East Africa for three years to manage a USAID-funded renewable energy project. Working with a French colleague, we wrote the first national energy plan for Djibouti. After that, I was in Khartoum, Sudan, for two years, then Mali for four (with the UNDP), before heading out to Madagascar for five years working for Conservation International and CARE.
In Madagascar I managed two national parks: first Ankarafantsika near Majanga on the west coast, and then Masoala national park in the north-east. During this time, I finished an MSc in protected landscape management from the University of Aberystwyth, and a diploma in sustainable tourism from the University of Greenwich in the UK.
Then I was in Guinea for five years on a natural resources management program—working out of Conakry and Labé. Several stints in Haiti intervened before I found myself in Cairo in 2004 working on a Canadian-funded environment project focused on urban waste management.
I worked in London a couple of times as a project manager with Maxwell Stamp PLC, with short-term asssignments in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Bangladesh; then there was another mission to Haiti (working on ecosystem-based adaptation, improved charcoal stoves, and substituting LPG for charcoal), before once again heading out to Djibouti in 2015 managing a climate change adaptation project funded by the European Union.
It might sound adventurous and exciting, and sometimes it was; but occasionally it was dangerous. I was in the Acropole Hotel in Khatoum in 1988 when three men threw a satchel bomb into the dining area. Seven people were killed, including an English family of four. I was evacuated to London where they replaced an ear drum (works better than it did before). Then in Conakry in 2005, three young men with AK47’s decided to rob the house one night. I jumped out of a first floor window onto the garden wall (hard landing), but managed to get out in time to direct the patrolling police back to the house before the gunmen left. One guy killed; two escaped over the wall at the back of the house. The damage to me was 15 stitches in my right forearm–just a flesh wound. In 2010 I was in Haiti during the horrific earthquake that killed a quarter of a million people. I was lucky. I was in St Marc–80 km away from the disaster in Port au Prince.
I published a book in 2020 which shows how the transition to renewable energy technologies will substantially reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, and play a crucial role in restraining global heating and ending the climate crisis.
The book is called Climate change and renewable energy: How to end the climate crisis, and is published by Palgrave-MacMillan.
It is the first book published that shows how renewable sources of energy, particularly solar photovoltaic and wind power, can power the electrification of the transport sector, reduce emissions from the built environment to net zero, and facilitate the rapid reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases towards a target of net zero emissions by 2050.
The book also shines a light into the undercover world of dark money and climate denial propaganda that continues to spread disinformation about the veracity of climate science so that the fossil fuel industrialists and the politicians in their thrall can continue to profit from business as usual.
In the last chapter, I pull it all together and show how a concerted inter-sectoral programme of focused action can flatline emissions and then draw them down to the point where we get to net zero status by 2050. After that, we will need negative emissions technologies to be fully operational, but over the next 30 years I am confident that we will develop and commercialise these essential technologies. It is not certain, though, that this will be enough.
A solution to the climate crisis is possible. But is it likely? What is missing is strong forceful leadership by governments, and politicians with the courage and tenacity to stand up to the powerful vested interests that are fighting every initiative to expedite a transition to a decarbonised and sustainable world. This has to change. Our children’s future depends on it. You can find more about the book here : //www.springer.com/in/book/9783030154233
On a lighter note, I have published a memoire that recounts the many misadventures and near fatal disasters that have befallen me over the last 30 years while working in Africa and the Caribbean. Isabelle was a young woman I befriended in Madagascar who liked to eat lemurs, bats and other animals I was in that country helping to protect. This understandably created a degree of disagreement and some amusing exchanges about culinary priorities. We lived for a while in Marovoay, a hot dusty town on the outskirts of the Ankarafantiska national park. Marovoay was infested with mosquitoes, rummaging pigs, and dogs that barked all night. A few kilometres up the Route Nationale 4 was the forestry station of Ampijoroa, where I lived for a while fending off the numerous rats which shared our accommodation. Biodiversity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Check out the book on Amazon.