No one is safe from climate change: IPCC report

Climate change is going to have an impact on the daily lives of everyone on planet earth, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The findings of the international scientific organisation’s latest report, which focused on the impacts of, adaptations to and vulnerability to climate change, were announced this week at a press conference in Yokohama, Japan.

IPCC chairman Dr Rajendra K Pachauri said: “We have assessed impacts as they are happening and impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and oceans and I would like to emphasise that in view of these impacts and those that we have projected for the future, nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”

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Pachauri warned that there could be a major impact on food security, with a change in climate conditions damaging crop yields.

“This really would be a severe challenge for some of the poorest communities and poorest regions in the world,” he said, adding that for the poorest there would be an increased risk of death from heat and vector-borne disease – diseases such as malaria that are transmitted by insects or other organisms.

However, he also stressed that it was not just the poorest who would be affected. In addition to food supply, which, given the popularity of imported foods in many parts of the world, is likely to affect everyone, Pachauri indentified a possible increase of extreme events, which would have an impact on “morbidity and mortality”.

“There could also be severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts on species and there is a risk of crossing tipping points as a result of increasing temperatures,” he added.

For coastal areas and island nations the outlook is particularly grim. “In areas like low-lying coastal areas, the small island states which are very vulnerable to sea level rise, there would be a possible breakdown of infrastructure networks, key services like electricity supply,” said Pachauri.

There are also likely to be other far-reaching social impacts as a result of climate change.

“Climate change can lead to displacement, can lead to increased conflicts,” said Pachauri. “There are already several stressors that are leading to conflicts in certain parts of the world – the impacts of climate change could well exacerbate those risks.”

But Pachauri stressed that efforts can still be made to mitigate the effects of climate change and highlighted that this was humanity’s only option if we are to minimise the potential damage.

“The one thing we have come up with is the importance of adaptation and mitigation choices because this is the only way that we might be able to reduce the risks of climate change,” he explained.

“I think the ability of human society to embark on a move to climate resilient pathways depends to a large extent of the extent to which we are prepared to mitigate the emissions of greenhouse gases.”


Body image and video courtesy of the IPCC.


Revealed: World’s first solar car park that will help to cut greenhouse gasses in half

The first working solar car park has been unveiled, which the manufacturers hope will help to pave the way for future transport links.

The car park, in Idaho, the US, has been built by Solar Roadways which has been working on the technology for years. In an announcement today, it has revealed the 12 x 36 foot parking lot located outside the company’s engineering lab.

It is fully functional and made up of individual panels which include solar cells, LEDs, heating elements and a textured glass surface.

It’s hoped the panels could replace traditional road surfaces and help to collect renewable energy that can be used to power our homes and buildings.

The development of the solar roads has been underway since 2009 and in part has been funded by the Federal Highway Administration. This shows the US government’s attitude that roadways can be harnessed to help improve the environment.

Previously on its website Solar Roadways has said proving solar roadways will ensure everyone has power and there would be no no more need to burn coal – which contributes to 50% of greenhouse gases produced.

 

The roadways are made up of three different layers which all provide different advantages and functions to the overall roadway.

The road surface layer is weatherproof, made of reinforced glass, and allows sunlight to pass through to the layers below.

The electronics layer contains a heating element – which could be used to melt snow and ice on the roads-  the solar cells are also included in this layer and an on-board microprocessor controls lighting and communications.

On the bottom of each individual tile is the base plate layer, which enables the road to distribute the power collected. It is also waterproof to protect the electronics layer above it.

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Details of the amount of electricity produced by the parking lot have not been released yet, but the makers have said it is more than they expected. It also said the strength of the glass was tested in a civil engineering lab.

The LEDs inside the road can be programmed to light up in patterns. If adopted in a widespread manner this could show drivers when to slow down and display road markings and warnings.

In the released prototype the solar cells only cover 69% of the car park’s surface but the company says when in production it will cover the entirety of the surface.

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The next steps for the company, and the technology, will be the most crucial as a deal with a major manufacturer will be essential for the mass production and implementation across cities.

Solar Roadways, writing on its Facebook page, said: “We have lots of potential customers that we are talking to, but next step is to acquire the funding to gear up for manufacturing. We need to hire a team, streamline the process etc.”


Images and video courtesy of Solar Roadways