Revisiting shared climate prediction

OK I think it is time to get onto climateprediction.net (CP) again. I and the lab I headed at that time were avidly looking for "ET" from the inception of the SETI@HOME project and subsequently I also looked for large Mersenne primes in GIMPS. I personally found neither aliens nor any huge primes, but I have always loved the base idea of sharing reseurces in search of solutions for mankinds large problems. As a whole the GIMPS project holds the record for large Mersenne though

I had some problems with CP when I tried last year, but I'll figure it was mainly "baby stage" glitches. There, its a breeze to install and seems to be less problematic. CPView is a viewer i'll try as well.


Summer reading - World Changing part one

Despite seeing the occasional negative review I decided to take on the book edition of "World Changing - A User's Guide for the 21st Century" and also post brief summaries and followups. When I bought the book the female cashier exclaimed "Oh what a beatiful book". My hope now is that it 's also beautiful on the inside.

The books editor Alex Steffen presents the bad and good news in the Introduction. The bad news starts with the unequal distribution of the ecological footprint (based on Wackernagel's ideas). If you are not familiar with the footprint framework it is good to learn about it because it is a way to actually measure and potentially price non-sustainable footprints. Then he continues with overpopulation "adding one city like Seattle every week" and ecological overshoot is adressed: "we are using the planet with such intensity that it is unable to restore itself". He conludes the bad news with a summary of energy resources, ie the environmental costs of producing non-renewable energy resources and that they are indeed running out and describes the tensions created by the current global economic unequality.

Finally Steffen adresses the good news and that the illusory tradeoff between "doing well and doing right" can be countered by small smart individual and collective steps of innovation. Sharing green innovation and inspire readers to innovate is the overall purpose with the book. He stresses that we should strive for individual actions with global impact. Start with the things you know and address some of the easier stuff and then incrementally and collectively adress the more complex issues. Making the "What will I do?" more maneagable and finding suitable societal networks for knowledge sharing.

I'll return to the questions and overall objective, when posting on each chapter. Stay tuned.


Personal Kyoto and "Real Costs"

R&D for the public domain is what the lab part of Eyebeam does. Some of their projects are listed here. Eyebeam per se seems to have some of the flavour of an open site for art and technology, ie similar to MIT Media Lab. And indeed it turns out that several of the managers have a Media Lab background.

One project is personal Kyoto which is a way of checking and tracking electrical usage (for New York residents for now) and realigning the projected consumption with target levels in the Kyoto protocol. They also co-financed The Real Costs - a Firefox plugin to show CO2 costs when buying airfare tickets.


Cost-efficient sustainability

Utilizing reverse auctions can be a complement to more large-scale market mechanisms like climate exhanges. There is also a host of open source auction implementations that support reverse auctions. TenderSystem, E-Z Auction and iLance are three that can be used for realization of your particular market.

There are many countries that are already using this for energy auctions and there are also emerging private companies in niche areas, like GoGreenSolar, for solar energy projects.


Using open source to track trees in the City

OSGeo is creating many new and old open source tools for geospatial purposes. There are tools for both web-based and desktop mapping. Here is one project - Urban Forest - that has used several OSGeo tools:

"...the project team has created an Urban Forest Map, which digitally pinpoints the location of each tree, maintainstree data in a consistent database, and offers web access to the tree data – key for maintenance and planting efforts. The community can get involved by posting photos and stories about their own trees that they plant and map online. With the launch of this collaborative effort and the support of the Mayor's Office, a critical step has been taken to move San Francisco's urban greening efforts forward...

One of the OSGeo tools from Autodesk is called MapGuide Open Source


Extra, extra! Read all about it.

This is a nifty thing to visualize (RSS and atom feeds). Here I use it on my own feed:

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IT investment getting greener

At least in the US for the moment, where investment agencies are moving more towards clean environment technologies.The IT companies in Silicon Valley have started to employ people and are also leaning more towards juxtapositions of IT and green technology.


Two interiews with Fritjof Capra on Transition Culture

The first part is on Relocalisation and here Capra critizes the the original "sustainability" concept for focusing too much on individual moral persuasion mainly and leaving out the important issue of how to achieve sustainable development. Capras own simplest example is to mimic ecosystems which support life, recycle, uses solar energy and thus are adaptive and sustainable. This is a wonderful approach and it makes the issue more approachable for humans and also is a good incentive for how to go about with human communities. So I really think you should read this short interview in full. Aside on relocalisation theme : There is still an unclear picture on
costs and benefits. See for example the Dec 9 2006 issue of theThe Economist "Why ethical food harms the planet". (premium content). But maybe it is relevant to add an "may" to the title of the Econimist article!

Peak Oil and climate change is the second part of the interview and it recaps some things, but in the context of the opportunities served to mankind with the current climate change. If you need to get understand more on peak oil theory, check wikipedia, but the emphasis here is on "climate change", so don't get lost in debates about peak oil.


Need startup money?

I was not aware of Ceres, until I read the Mindy Lubbers' excellent coverage of Davos on WorldChanging. Here is a quote from their investment part :

"Ceres works with investors worldwide to improve corporate and public policies on climate change and
other environmental, social, and corporate governance issues. As part of this mission, Ceres
launched and coordinates the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), an alliance of leading U.S.
institutional investors that collectively manage over $1.3 trillion in assets"

I will look closer at this and return later. They claim to be global in scope, but from the list of prominent "Ceres companies" there is mainly the large US corporate conglomerates that you'd expect. But there are also coalition members of interest.