Category Archives: Energy

The Paris Agreement Opens for Signing

Earth Day this year heralds the opening of the Paris Agreement for signing at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Paris Agreement was created at the end of last year to combat climate change by focusing on reducing CO2 emissions in order to keep the global temperature increase under 2 C. Two degrees Celsius marks the threshold where climate change becomes permanent. As such, the limit has been set at 1.5 C, which would be met by ensuring no net emissions during the second half of this century.

Under the Paris Agreement, each nation would set its own target for emissions with no formal enforcement system, but with reports given every five years for transparency.

Included is the Green Climate fund, a nonbinding plan to provide $100 billion to developing countries per year as aid towards reducing their emissions.

168 countries are expected to sign at the signature ceremony this afternoon.  While this number is a UN record, it is only the first step towards the agreement taking effect– 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse gases contributions have to sign and ratify before the treaty goes into effect.

So far, only 14 countries representing 0.17% of global emissions are expected to ratify immediately. However, countries do have a year to sign the Paris Agreement, starting today.

So far, China and America announced a joint pledge to ratify this year– together, these two countries contribute 38% of global greenhouse gases. In total, about 90 countries are expected to ratify this year.

The total emissions, however, falls short of the 55% required for the agreement. One of the larger emitters, such as Russia- sitting at 7.53%, or two like India (4.1%) and Japan (3.79%) would be required to ratify the agreement before it goes into effect.

Climate Analytics has a ratification tracker if you want to get a  visual representation of who has ratified so far.

IFLScience has an infographic detailing this information and more.

Downtown Stewardship Center concept gets some MORE press

Pathway running over vegetation and water towards a line of buildings highlighted by sunlight with a clear blue skyHow would you like to have this in Fort Wayne??




For an update on this thread, check out this nice piece by Lisa Ryan of WBOI, or local NPR channel.

Fort Wayne Riverfront Development Could Include Environmental Center

The ERC’s director Bruce Kingsbury is working with the City of Fort Wayne and others on the concept of a downtown facility focusing on environmental stewardship and sustainability. It is proposed as part of the Riverfront Fort Wayne Development and would help the community pursue the goals of enhancing the economy, providing additional recreational opportunities, and protecting and restoring the rivers and other habitats.

For previous coverage, read the recent article in the News Sentinel here.

Environmental Sociology class completes spring tasks

IPFW’s Dr. Sherrie Steiner and her Environmental Sociology students completed their initial investigation into industrial sites and environmental hazards in Blackford County, 50 miles south of Fort Wayne. They generated maps and made videos documenting their efforts.  Here is the link to one of their videos.

The ERC worked with the class to help them collect and depict spatial information using GIS. Here is an example of one of thier products!

Computer generated map of cumulative industrial legacy (1880 - 2015) with various colored markers dotting it and a legend on the bottom

“The mapping expertise that the university brings to this project are a tremendous benefit for the community,” said Dr. Indra Frank, the Hoosier Environmental Council’s environmental health project director.  “This will help us have a clearer picture of possible environmental hazards.” As professor Steiner noted, “This project has been collaboratively designed and implemented with our community partners,” said Sherrie Steiner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at IPFW.  “I am hoping that this experience will strengthen a sense of civic responsibility and personal efficacy within students and among members of the community as pertains to environmental engagement.”