Ovre Forsland is a big departure from the hulking power stations that traditionally served our energy needs. It looks more like an elegant, custom‑built home from TV show Grand Designs. Located in the Helgeland district in northern Norway, it’s a small hydroelectric power station capable of supplying 1,600 homes with power. Designed by Norwegian architecture firm Stein Hamre Arkitektkontor, it sits on a riverbed at the edge of a forest, with an exterior that aims to reflect the irregular shapes of the spruce trees forming its backdrop. “It’s a small plant. The biggest stations in this region were built in the late 50s and 60s to serve industry, but in the last 15 years it has been much smaller projects,” says Torkil Nersund, production manager at the plant’s owner, energy company HelgelandsKraft. “It’s the perfect place; the environment is fantastic. This region is known for its spectacular nature, so we thought the building should try to … [Read more...] about Beauty and power: how Norway is making green energy look good
Opportunity green energy set
In just a few decades, Dubai has gone from sleepy fishing village to glittering metropolis, complete with some of the largest shopping malls in the world and indoor ski slopes. The boom has been fuelled by oil, first discovered in the United Arab Emirates in the late 1950s. But now, the emirate's rulers are touting another dramatic transformation: From fossil fuel mecca to green-power paradise. Dubai says it is working toward covering 75 percent of its energy demand from clean sources by 2050. But the desert megacity doesn't just have to decarbonize its power and transport sector. Securing its water supply also consumes huge amounts of energy. Most of Dubai's water comes from the sea. Extracting the salt from seawater to make it potable is costly, energy intensive and currently reliant on fossil fuels. The UAE's climate change minister, Thani Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, says Dubai is already moving in the right direction. Traditional dhows hark back to the days before oil fuelled Dubai's ascent … [Read more...] about Dubai: Can the city of black gold go green?
A world that does not manage to curb global warming is an insecure world. A series of recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it abundantly clear. If we do not succeed in staying below the target of keeping temperature rises below 2C over preindustrial levels, the consequences are likely to be far-reaching and disastrous. We will see a dramatic rise in sea levels, by up to a metre in this century alone, a greater frequency of violent storms, increased desertification, with hundreds of millions of people experiencing water scarcity, and radical changes in entire ecosystems. This will pose a serious threat to the livelihoods of large swathes of people, causing unprecedented refugee flows and, in the worst case, new conflicts and wars. Recently, military strategists around the world have declared that uncontrolled climate change constitutes a global security threat. In February this year, US secretary of state John Kerry called climate change “perhaps … [Read more...] about The Green Climate Fund is not a charity but an investment in our shared future
Britain is due to pledge hundreds of millions of pounds to a new Green Climate Fund in Berlin on the same day as the critical Rochester byelection, threatening to hand political ammunition to Ukip. David Cameron betrayed anxiety about the coincidence – and its impact on potential Ukip supporters opposed to overseas aid or sceptical of climate change – by refusing to say how much Britain is likely to offer and stressing the funding would come from existing government funds. He said: “All we have to do now is to decide how much of this already set aside money we put into this specific fund and, as ever, Britain will play its part.” Aware of the mood on his own backbenches, he reiterated: “When we make an announcement it will not be new money, it will be money already set aside for that purpose.” Government sources said the British contribution at the pledging conference is likely to be hundreds of millions, and independent sources said they expected it … [Read more...] about UK donation to Green Climate Fund gives David Cameron byelection jitters
Canada – one of the few countries previously in line with Australia’s opposition to the international Green Climate Fund – now appears to have changed its mind, with Tony Abbott’s close friend prime minister Stephen Harper saying he is preparing to make a contribution. Abbott has defied global pressure to commit to the fund, designed to help poor countries adapt to climate change, because Australia is already spending $2.5bn on its domestic Direct Action fund and providing $10bn in capital to a so-called “green bank” – which he is trying to abolish. World leaders forced Australia to include stronger language about the Green Climate Fund in the G20 communique – and during the summit Barack Obama pledged the US would contribute $3bn to it and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, offered $1.5bn. But soon after the conference was over Abbott indicated it would make no immediate difference to Australia’s position. On Sunday Harper … [Read more...] about Canada breaks with Australia to contribute to Green Climate Fund