U.S. to Submit Plans to Fight Global Warming by Deadline

Global Warming and Climate ChangeThe United States will submit plans for slowing global warming to the United Nations  this week but most governments will miss an informal 31 March 2015 deadline, complicating work on a global climate deal due in December. The United States plans to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

The U.S. submission adds to national strategies beyond 2020 already presented by the 28-nation European Union, Mexico, Switzerland and Norway.

Together, they account for about a third of world greenhouse emissions. But other emitters such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Canada and Australia say they are waiting until closer to a Paris summit in December, meant to agree a global deal.

 

Posted in carbon emissions, Climate Change, Environmental Data Management, Greenhouse Gases, Sustainability Management

Locus to Sponsor UCLA DataFest Hackathon

Locus is proud to sponsor UCLA DataFest Hackathon.

Locus UCLA DataFest

Locus is proud sponsor of UCLA DataFest Hackathon.

For more information please click here: https://www.facebook.com/DataFestUCLA/posts/653470928132526

Posted in big data, CEO'S Blog, Cloud Computing, Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, Internet of Things, SaaS

Water Wars

Clean drinking water  is the mankind's biggest challenge.

Clean drinking water is the mankind’s biggest challenge.

California. California is now heading into its fourth year of record-breaking drought, with no water relief in sight. High temperatures, little precipitation, and historically low snowpack have left the state with dwindling water reserves. The situation is so bad, as NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti wrote in an LA Times op-ed last week, that California has only a year of water left in its reservoirs. Household water rationing is already planned.

Las Vegas. An ongoing drought and the Colorado River’s reduced flow have shrunk Lake Mead to its lowest level in generations. The reservoir, which supplies 90% of Las Vegas’ water, is ebbing as though a plug had been pulled from a bathtub drain. For six years, the Southern Nevada Water Authority has been building an intake pipe below the reservoir’s two existing pipes. Due for completion in fall 2015, critics say it may not provide a long-term solution.

Ireland. Tens of thousands of people marched in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday, 21 March 2015, in the latest protest against the government’s new water charges. The government has begun directly charging households for water use.
Detroit: In bankrupt Detroit back in June the city authorities decided to cut off supply to 200,000 homes who had not or could not afford to pay water bills. Since water charges were introduced a decade ago bills have soared by 120%. The UN condemned the cutting off of the water supply to these people as a “violation of the human right to water and other international human rights”.

Bolivia. The average price of water quadrupled after it was privatized, leading to civil unrest and the eruption of “water wars” in the city of Cochabamba.

Uruguay. The sell-off of water and subsequent rising prices led in 2004 to the government outlawing the privatization of this public utility.

France. The citizens of Paris voted to reject plans to privatize water and took the utility back into public ownership.

Posted in big data, carbon emissions, Climate Change, Environmental Data Management, Water Footprint, Water Quality, water quality management

The Emerging and Innovative Blue Tech Industry

water

Have you heard of the Blue Tech market?  Blue, as in blue water, is an emerging sector, with its roots coming from European entrepreneurs, that focus on developing leading edge products to ensure clean water.  I took a deeper dive into the new area and found a lot of interesting products and solutions such as miniature sensors to detect micro organisms, bacteria as well as robotic fish housed with optical sensors.  The advances and innovations are quite remarkable and clever, however the real challenge for these budding companies will be the mindset of the water industry.  Products however relevant products must first and foremost guarantee safety, reliability and scalability. For water leaders, these key requirements will always trump innovation.

Don’t get me wrong. I embrace innovation.  After all, Locus is located in the heart of Silicon Valley.  As with all innovative products, timing is a key factor in success, and for Blue Tech products, the timing might be off.  According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), water utilities are now focused on repairing, updating and expanding its infrastructure, and in the United States, the cost of that will exceed $1 trillion over the 25 years.  Industry motivators are ensuring water safety, managing supply, and balancing demands of an ever increasing population.  I hope for the sake of innovation that some of these products become “must have” rather than a “nice to have”.  Only timing will tell.

Posted in Environmental Data Management

How to Select Enterprise EHS and Sustainability Software Solution

Visualization technologies couple with augmented reality will change the way how environmental data are consumed.

Visualization technologies coupled with augmented reality will change the way how environmental data are consumed.

I recently had a discussion with the Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) on challenges companies face when selecting EHS and Sustainability management software. Environmental managers have to consider many things at this time of rapid technological change. The solution that was considered an industry standard or good fit just two years ago may not be the right answer any longer. With rapid penetration of multi-tenant SaaS, always connected mobile devices, and the Internet of Things, enterprise software selection just got much simpler (and less expensive). 

The reality is that if a software vendor is offering you a latest on premise version of its software, or any version, you should not invest into it. Why? The new version, that comes out in two years from now, will most likely have unexpected changes that will cause pain for users, installers and/or managers of the solution.  But that pain can be avoided by moving to a SaaS-based solution.  SaaS not only improves cost efficiencies and offers better  integration with mobile deployments, but provides the ability to gleam more intelligent insight in the collected data.  Even Microsoft with its pending Windows 10 release, which is expected to be the last of the traditional big bang launches, is likely to complete Microsoft’s transition from a software licensing model to a cloud computing one.  Read more ›

Posted in big data, carbon emissions, Climate Change, Cloud Computing, Environmental Compliance, Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, Greenhouse Gases, Internet of Things, SaaS, Sustainability Management, water quality management

Could the Influence of “Under the Dome” — a Chinese Documentary about Smog Pollution — Equal the American Book the “Silent Spring”?

Non-compliance carries high risk.

Air Pollution.

In just three days, Chinese documentary film “Under the Dome” (now posted on YouTube, available only in Chinese) generated 136 million views on the Chinese government Tencent video portal and sparked vibrant discussions of the country’s dense and devastating pollution problems, specifically health issues relating to smog. The huge online response illustrates perhaps indicates greater official tolerance for public discussion of the country’s environmental challenges.

Produced by Chai Jing, a former anchor at state broadcaster China Central Television, and presented in TED Talk style, the film released at 12 noon Saturday, 28 February 2015 taps researchers from around the world discussing the health effects of smog.

The enthusiastic response to the 104-minute film — and the fact government censors have permitted it to stream on major internet portals — suggest officials want to harness public pressure to build political support for tougher measures to combat the problem.

Chen Jining, environmental protection minister, said on Sunday he had texted Ms Chai to thank her for a film “worthy of admiration”. Mr Chen compared the film to Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, which is credited with galvanising the modern environmental movement in the US, official media reported.

Posted in big data, carbon emissions, Climate Change, Environmental Compliance, Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, Greenhouse Gases

European Study on Chemical Composition of Fracking Wastewater: Can it be drinkable?

Natural gas drilling and surrounding pollution problemsHave you heard of “halogenated hydrocarbons”? It is a group of chemicals containing elements that when consumed by humans, it can damage the nervous system and your liver. Normally, these compounds are not on your daily menu.  But studies suggest these elements are appearing in water as by the reuse of fracking wastewater which ironically has been treated with chlorine-containing antibacterial chemicals.  The process of cleaning the water is a common practice. More studies of treated wastewater are being conducted to more clearly determined if the creation of halogenated hydrocarbons from antibacterial chemicals occurs during treatment of wastewater or during reuse.

Produced water, water that is chemically cleaned, can contain a complex mixture of metals — salts and other chemicals, partly composed of the original fracturing fluid components — plus chemicals released by the rocks in the area. Large volumes of water used for fracking poses some level of side effects of the wastewater on human and environmental health. To investigate further, researchers in Europe, in one of the most comprehensive studies of chemical composition of its kind to date, took samples of produced water from three fracking sites in the US.  A number of different analysis techniques were used to determine the chemical composition of the samples, although not the concentrations of the different organic (carbon-based) constituents.  Read more ›

Posted in big data, Environmental Compliance, Environmental Data Management, Environmental Software, hydraulic fracturing, Water Footprint, Water Quality, water quality management
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