By Andy Rowell
He has said that Maria could be the most damaging hurricane to hit the country in more than 100 years.
With maximum recorded wind speeds of 140 mph and rainfall of up to 25 inches or even higher, Mike Brennan, a senior hurricane specialist from the U.S. National Hurricane Center has also warned locals of flash-flooding and "punishing" rainfall. He added that the storm would remain "very dangerous" for the next couple of days.
"Rainfall is going to continue to be a problem there even after Maria's center begins to move away," Brennan said. "Everybody there should be prepared to stay safe the rest of the day and into tomorrow morning."
In nearby Dominica, the principal advisor to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, said "The island has been devastated. The housing stock significantly damaged or destroyed … The country is in a daze—no electricity, no running water—as a result of uprooted pipes in most communities and definitely to landline or cellphone services on island, and that will be for quite a while."
There is no one left on the Antigua and Barbuda islands after previous Hurricane Irma effectively destroyed the island's infrastructure and housing with 185 mph winds. All the inhabitants had to be evacuated.
The islands' prime minister, Gaston Browne, told IPS on his way to the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York. "Climate change is real. We are the victims of climate change because of the profligacy in the use of fossil fuels by the large industrialized nations."
He added: "These nations, that have contributed to global warming and sea level rise, have an obligation to assist in the rebuilding of these islands … Our common humanity, as citizens of a common space, called planet Earth mandates a spirit of empathy and cooperation among all nations, large and small."
The climate deniers in the Trump administration though don't want to talk about climate change or how our changing climate is making hurricanes more powerful.
Last week, Donald Trump said: "We've had bigger storms than this. And if you go back into the 1930s and the 1940s and you take a look we've had storms over the years that have been bigger than this."
The EPA Administrator Scott "Polluting" Pruitt added "Now isn't the time to talk about climate change."
But now is the time to talk about climate change. It certainly looks like our changing climate is playing a part, as 2017 looks set to be an unprecedented hurricane season.
According to the meteorologist Eric Holthaus, who tweeted:
Just one other year in recorded history has there been two U.S. Cat 4+ landfalls (1992, Andrew & Iniki). There's be… https://t.co/IOKxYEDqpW— Eric Holthaus (@Eric Holthaus)1505926531.0
There is still uncertainty if Maria will hit the U.S. coastline, but if it does, history will be made. And we are only in September.
The Washington Post's Chris Mooney wrote an article Wednesday entitled: What's scary about 2017's hurricanes isn't just their strength. It's how fast they're achieving it.
According to Mooney: "Rapid strengthening tends to happen when waters are warm, when that warm water is deep, when the atmosphere is moist and when there's little adverse wind flow that could disrupt the storm, according to research papers on the topic and interviews with experts."
And our changing climate is warming the waters and adding more moisture to the atmosphere.
So now is the time to talk about climate change. Pure and simple.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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