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 world is slowly warming.

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.

Sea level rise is inundating Kiribati

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 : climatezone.central@gmail.com 

So welcome to the website and enjoy the blogs.

The village of Goubetto in Djibouti was evaluated for a photovoltaic minigrid system. The village has a population of about 1500 people.

And why not check out a new book : Climate Change Adaptation in Small Island Developing States.  It’s the first book that’s really focused on the climate change threats to the SIDS–many of which, particularly in the Pacific Ocean, are not going to survive much longer.  It’s a tragedy waiting to happen.

Who is this guy?

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 boat 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.

Drip irrigation on a 25 ha plot using treated urban wastewater in Djibouti

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 picked up 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.

If truth be told, it wasn’t all fun and games. It sounds 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.  Me? No serious injuries.  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.  Then I almost slipped off a waterfall in Lesotho. But that one was all my fault.

My first book on climate change adaption for small island states was published in early 2018. I am now working on a second book which will show how the transition to renewable energy technologies will substantially reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, and play a crucial role in restraining global warming.

Where am I now?

I’m back in Canada.  In Markham, Ontario.

I’m always available to talk. Tell me what’s happening where you are.  Especially if you are from one of the small island developing states, or living in the northern territories of Canada.  These are the places where the climate hammer will fall the hardest.

Drop me a line at climatezone.central@gmail.com