…..connecting geospatial to sustainability

Its a Hard Choice: Nuclear over Coal ??

Most of the world’s electrical power is generated by utilizing non-renewable energy resources such as coal or uranium. While each material has a long and productive history of powering electrical plants, they also provide environmental challenges that defy easy comparison. Only by examining the total lifetime risks of the coal and uranium used in energy plants can it be determined which is better for the environment.

Greenhouse Gas Effect of Coal-Burning Plants
Coal-fired electric power plants emit massive amounts of greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants to the atmosphere on a daily basis. Among the worst offenders are sulfur dioxide, which contributes to the formation of acid rain; nitrogen oxides, which combine with VOCs to form smog; and toxic compounds of mercury. That’s beyond the tonnage of carbon dioxide emissions that contribute directly to climate change. Burning coat releases over two pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every kilowatt-hour of electricity it creates (See References 1, 2).

Greenhouse Gas Effect of Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear power plants emit no carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, or other toxic gases. A properly managed facility does not directly contribute to atmospheric climate change; the broad cooling towers characteristic of nuclear plants emit water vapor. Some coastal plants, however, discharge heated water back to lakes and seas, and this heat eventually radiates into surface warming. Raising water temperature in this way may also alter the way carbon dioxide is exchanged with the air by ocean bodies, leading to major shifts in weather patterns such as hurricanes (See references 1, 3, 4).

Waste Disposal
A typical coal-burning power plant creates over 300,000 tons of waste ash and sludge each year. That residue forms a toxic mess with pollutants such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium and mercury (See Reference 5). A typical nuclear power plant generates 20 metric tons of radioactive waste annually. This material must be isolated, transported and stored in remote locations for hundreds of years. Exposure to high levels of radiation is deadly to people and animals (See Reference 6).
Hard Choices
While a nuclear power plant is completely safe under ideal conditions, the failure of a poorly designed facility in Chernobyl led to the world’s largest single eco-disaster. The failure of the Fukushima nuclear power plants following a series of earthquakes and tsunamis demonstrated that even well designed nuclear energy systems are not risk-free. Frightening as those episodes may seem, however, the danger of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions may be more urgent — and thus make nuclear a better choice than coal for the environment.

Which will Give the Signal Green: Coal or Nuclear ??

Human-caused climate change and air pollution remain major global-scale problems and are both due mostly to fossil fuel burning. Mitigation efforts for both of these problems should be undertaken concurrently in order to maximize effectiveness. Such efforts can be accomplished largely with currently available low-carbon and carbon-free alternative energy sources like nuclear power and renewables, as well as energy efficiency improvements.

Figure 1. Cumulative net deaths prevented assuming nuclear power replaces fossil fuels. The top panel (a) shows results for the historical period in our study (1971-2009), with mean values (labeled) and ranges for the baseline historical scenario. The middle (b) and bottom (c) panels show results for the high-end and low-end projections, respectively, of nuclear power supply estimated by the IAEA (ref. 4) for the period 2010-2050. Error bars reflect the ranges for the fossil fuel mortality factors listed in Table 1 of our paper. The larger columns in panels (b) and (c) reflect the all-coal case and are labeled with their mean values, while the smaller columns reflect the all-gas case; values for the latter are not shown because they are all simply a factor of about 10 lower (reflecting the order-of-magnitude difference between the mortality factors for coal and gas). Countries/regions are arranged in descending order of CO2 emissions in recent years. FSU15=15 countries of the Former Soviet Union and OECD=Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


In a recently published paper (ref. 1), we provide an objective, long-term, quantitative analysis of the effects of nuclear power on human health (mortality) and the environment (climate). Several previous scientific papers have quantified global-scale greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions avoided by nuclear power, but to our knowledge, ours is the first to quantify avoided human deaths as well as avoided GHG emissions on global, regional, and national scales.

The paper demonstrates that without nuclear power, it will be even harder to mitigate human-caused climate change and air pollution. This is fundamentally because historical energy production data reveal that if nuclear power never existed, the energy it supplied almost certainly would have been supplied by fossil fuels instead (overwhelmingly coal), which cause much higher air pollution-related mortality and GHG emissions per unit energy produced (ref. 2).

Figure 2. Mean net deaths prevented annually by nuclear power between 1971-2009 for various countries/regions. Ranges not shown but are a factor of ~4 higher and lower than the mean values.

Using historical electricity production data and mortality and emission factors from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, we found that despite the three major nuclear accidents the world has experienced, nuclear power prevented an average of over 1.8 million net deaths worldwide between 1971-2009 (see Fig. 1). This amounts to at least hundreds and more likely thousands of times more deaths than it caused. An average of 76,000 deaths per year were avoided annually between 2000-2009 (see Fig. 2), with a range of 19,000-300,000 per year.

Likewise, we calculated that nuclear power prevented an average of 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) net GHG emissions globally between 1971-2009 (see Fig. 3). This is about 15 times more emissions than it caused. It is equivalent to the past 35 years of CO2 emissions from coal burning in the U.S. or 17 years in China (ref. 3) — i.e., historical nuclear energy production has prevented the building of hundreds of large coal-fired power plants.

To compute potential future effects, we started with the projected nuclear energy supply for 2010-2050 from an assessment made by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency that takes into account the effects of the Fukushima accident (ref. 4). We assume that the projected nuclear energy is canceled and replaced entirely by energy from either coal or natural gas. We calculate that this nuclear phaseout scenario leads to an average of 420,000-7 million deaths and 80-240 GtCO2-eq emissions globally (the high-end values reflect the all coal case; see Figs. 1 and 3). This emissions range corresponds to 16-48% of the “allowable” cumulative CO2 emissions between 2012-2050 if the world chooses to aim for a target atmospheric CO2 concentration of 350 ppm by around the end of this century (ref. 5). In other words, projected nuclear power could reduce the CO2 mitigation burden for meeting this target by as much as 16-48%.

Figure 3. Cumulative net GHG emissions prevented assuming nuclear power replaces fossil fuels. The three panels are ordered the same as in Fig. 1, except that mean values for both the all coal and all gas cases are labeled. Error bars reflect the ranges for the fossil fuel emission factors listed in Table 1 of our paper.

The largest uncertainties and limitations of our analysis stem from the assumed values for impacts per unit electric energy produced. However, we emphasize that our results for both prevented mortality and prevented GHG emissions could be substantial underestimates. This is because (among other reasons) our mortality and emission factors are based on analysis of Europe and the US (respectively), and thus neglect the fact that fatal air pollution and GHG emissions from power plants in developing countries are on average substantially higher per unit energy produced than in developed countries.

Our findings also have important implications for large-scale “fuel switching” to natural gas from coal or from nuclear. Although natural gas burning emits less fatal pollutants and GHGs than coal burning, it is far deadlier than nuclear power, causing about 40 times more deaths per unit electric energy produced (ref. 2).

Also, such fuel switching is practically guaranteed to worsen the climate problem for several reasons. First, carbon capture and storage is an immature technology and is therefore unlikely to constrain the resulting GHG emissions in the necessary time frame. Second, electricity infrastructure generally has a long lifetime (e.g., fossil fuel power plants typically operate for up to ~50 years). Third, potentially usable natural gas resources (especially unconventional ones like shale gas) are enormous, containing many hundreds to thousands of gigatonnes of carbon (based on ref. 6). For perspective, the atmosphere currently contains ~830 GtC, of which ~200 GtC are from industrial-era fossil fuel burning.

We conclude that nuclear energy — despite posing several challenges, as do all energy sources (ref. 7) — needs to be retained and significantly expanded in order to avoid or minimize the devastating impacts of unabated climate change and air pollution caused by fossil fuel burning.


1. Kharecha, P.A., and J.E. Hansen, 2013: Prevented mortality and greenhouse gas emissions from historical and projected nuclear powerEnviron. Sci. Technol., in press, doi:10.1021/es3051197.

2. Markandya, A., and P. Wilkinson, 2007: Electricity generation and health. Lancet, 370, 979-990, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61253-7.

3. Boden, T. A., G. Marland, R.J. Andres, 2012: Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A., doi:10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2012.

4. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2011: Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050: 2011 Edition. IAEA Reference Data Series 1/31. Available at http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/RDS1_31.pdf

5. Hansen, J., P. Kharecha, Mki. Sato, V. Masson-Delmotte, et al., 2013: Scientific prescription to avoid dangerous climate change to protect young people, future generations, and naturePLOS One, submitted.

6. GEA, 2012: Global Energy Assessment — Toward a Sustainable Future. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria. Available at http://www.globalenergyassessment.org.

7. Kharecha, P.A., C.F. Kutscher, J.E. Hansen, and E. Mazria, 2010: Options for near-term phaseout of CO2 emissions from coal use in the United StatesEnviron. Sci. Technol., 44, 4050-4062, doi:10.1021/es903884a.


Food Security Risk Index Map 2013



This is a map created by risk analysis experts Maplecroft using the key elements of food security set by FAO. The Food Security Risk Index (FSRI) is calculated based on assessing 12 components of food security. The indicators include the accessibility and availability of food and the stability of food supplies across all countries. Additionally, the index takes into consideration the nutritional and health elements of populations.

When looking at the map covering 197 countries you will notice that the food security of Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo as lowest, whilst countries in the drought stricken Horn of Africa are also at extreme risk.

Hunger Map 2013

The FAO Hunger Map 2013 has been published . This map displays nutritional information for developing countries. The data are based on the latest edition of FAO’s annual publication “The State of Food Insecurity in the World”.

FAO_Hunger Map 2013

Most of the world’s hungry live in developing countries. According to the latest Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, there are 870 million hungry people in the world and 98 percent of them are in developing countries.  They are distributed like this (WFP, 2013):

578 million in Asia and the Pacific
239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa
53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean
37 million in the Near East and North Africa

19 million in developed countries

Rural risk

Three-quarters of all hungry people live in rural areas, mainly in the villages of Asia and Africa. Overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture for their food, these populations have no alternative source of income or employment. As a result, they are vulnerable to crises. Many migrate to cities in their search for employment, swelling the ever-expanding populations of shanty towns in developing countries.

Hungry farmers

FAO calculates that around half of the world’s hungry people are from smallholder farming communities,  surviving off marginal lands prone to natural disasters like drought or flood. Another 20 percent belong to landless families dependent on farming and about 10 percent live in communities whose livelihoods depend on herding, fishing or forest resources.

The remaining 20 percent live in shanty towns on the periphery of the biggest cities in developing countries. The numbers of poor and hungry city dwellers are rising rapidly along with the world’s total urban population.


An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight – the result of acute or chronic hunger (Source: The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2009).  All too often, child hunger is inherited: up to 17 million children are born underweight annually, the result of inadequate nutrition before and during pregnancy.


Women are the world’s primary food producers, yet cultural traditions and social structures often mean women are much more affected by hunger and poverty than men. A mother who is stunted or underweight due to an inadequate diet often give birth to low birthweight children.

Around 50 per cent of pregnant women in developing countries are iron deficient (source: Unicef). Lack of iron means 315,000 women die annually from hemorrhage at childbirth. As a result, women, and in particular expectant and nursing mothers, often need special or increased intake of food.

Some Basic Definition (FAO)

  • Undernutrition

The outcome of undernourishment, and/or poor absorption and/or poor biological use of nutrients consumed as a result of repeated infectious disease. It includes being underweight for one’s age, too short for one’s age (stunted), dangerously thin for one’s height (wasted) and deficient in vitamins and minerals (micronutrient malnutrition).

  • Undernourishment or Chronic Hunger

A state, lasting for at least one year, of inability to acquire enough food, defined as a level of food intake insufficient to meet dietary energy requirements. For the purposes of this report, hunger was defined as being synonymous with chronic undernourishment.

Number and percentage of undernourished persons
1990-1992 1015 million (19%)
2000-2002 957 million (15%)
2005-2007 907 million (14%)
2008-2010 878 million (13%)
2011-2013 842 million (12%)
  • Malnutrition

An abnormal physiological condition caused by inadequate, unbalanced or excessive consumption of macronutrients and/or micronutrients. Malnutrition includes undernutrition and overnutrition as well as micronutrient deficiencies.

  • Food security

A situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Based on this definition, four food security dimensions can be identified: food availability, economic and physical access to food, food utilization and stability over time.

  • Food insecurity

A situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life. It may be caused by the unavailability of food, insufficient purchasing power, inappropriate distribution or inadequate use of food at the household level. Food insecurity, poor conditions of health and sanitation and inappropriate care and feeding practices are the major causes of poor nutritional status. Food insecurity may be chronic, seasonal or transitory.

URGENT : Job Oppertunity (Part Time)

We have an Urgent Requirement for 2 young and energetic male students as Field Executive for World Bank and IWM supported Doctoral Research entitled “Water Management in Coastal Bangladesh & Livelihood Adaptations: A Study on Policies and Institutions” . It will be an excellent opportunities for the field executives to work with a highly experienced international organizations’ research team and to get experience as well as learning. At the end of the work the executives will get certificates.

Job Duration: 2 Months (Tentative)

Starting date: 4th October, 2013.

Responsibilities :

  • Complete the house hold and water management information collection through  interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with respondents using standardized interviewing tools and questionnaires and persuasion skills.
  • Legibly complete paper and pencil forms or survey questionnaires, where responses to questions are recorded verbatim by hand.
  • Accurately complete Interviewing instruments, and add the information in spss spread sheet into a computer.
  • Present research study goals and objectives in a professional and ethical manner.
  • Maintain the security and confidentially of all data.
  • Conduct pretest interviews and provide feedback to main research team.
  • Display good teamwork skills and a willingness to continually improve performance.
  • Ability to speak and communicate well with the public.


  • Graduate from Environmental Science / Economics or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Familiarity with desktop or laptop computer.
  • Must have experience and sound knowledge in SPSS and other statistical analysis.
  • Legible handwriting.
  • Previous field data collection and related research will add a value.
  • Knowing motor bike driving will be plus.
  • Receptive to monitoring and constructive feedback from supervisors to improve quality of interviews and interviewing techniques.
  • Ability to work independently without close supervision to meet deadlines.
  • Willingness to complete other interviewing tasks assigned.

Salary : Attractive ( Negotiable)

Contact:  Interested Candidates must contact as soon as possible via sending CV to email: hoque.ahasan@gmail.com . The primarily selected candidates will be requested to meet the research team in 4th October , 2013 in Khulna.

OSM is not only a dataset, but also a community

OSM of Old Dhaka City
OSM of Old Dhaka City

The crowd is teeming with cartographers. At least according to a (very pretty) new data report from MapBox. The report details the explosive growth of OpenStreetMap, a free global, crowdsourced map, started in 2004, which OpenStreetMap’s annual international conference, State of the Map is returning to the UK, the first time it has come to the UK since the very first State of the Map in 2007.

Since its start in the UK in 2004, OpenStreetMap’s volunteer Vespuccis have now mapped 21 million miles of road data and 78 million buildings. The map can contain fine-grain details covering specific trees, alleys, and the interior of some buildings.

Like Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap is a non profit that depends on a small proportion of its total user base to handle most of the heavy lifting. According to the report, 90 percent of changes to the map are submitted by less than 4 percent of its users. Fortunately for OpenStreetMap, it has over one million users. It has added 500,000 of them in the last six months, doubled its total in the last year and a half, and adds one thousand every day.

Indeed, OpenStreetMap has given way to a subsidiary industry of companies making apps out of all that map data, like Skobbler, Telenav, and Mapbox.

Being open doesn’t mean being perfect. OpenStreetMap took some flack for being one of Apple’s data sources for the company’s disastrous iOS6 map rollout, but the OSM Foundation insists problems with the maps originated elsewhere.

OSM is not only a dataset, but also a community. The quality of the map differs place to place, the growth of OSM reflected in the report shows people need not rely on for profit companies to tell them where they are.

Web GIS : Changes Everything

web gis

GIS –> Web GIS

This vision is being driven by the transformation of GIS into web GIS.  This evolution means that GIS can fully leverage and take advantage of the web and the cloud, big data, faster machines, and other big technology trends.  GIS is also advancing by integrating all of the new measurement types–remote sensing, GPS, the sensor web, citizen science, crowdsourcing, and pervasive information –and it’s all very visual because it’s in 3D.  What is emerging is a new pattern: a pattern of apps that make cool maps, do analytics, allow pervasive access to your work, support better content management, and increase collaboration.

So what does this mean?

It means that GIS is getting easier to use.  It’s getting dramatically more accessible.  And it’s becoming much more social.

It means that the evolution of GIS into web GIS transforms the technology from a valuable tool for projects into an essential tool for society.

Web GIS integrates organizations and people, breaking down barriers, creating new relationships, sharing resources, and supporting collaborative approaches. - See more at: http://blogs.esri.com/esri/esri-insider/2013/08/22/gis-transforming-our-world
Web GIS integrates organizations and people, breaking down barriers, creating
new relationships, sharing resources, and supporting collaborative approaches.
Web GIS Changes Everything
GIS in a web environment, or web GIS, can of course represent all of the typical data types–maps, imagery, and different kinds of services.  But it’s increasingly able to bring in new kinds of data–tabular data, enterprise data, spreadsheet data, big SAP databases, etc.  It can also integrate social media and sensor networks, real-time information, and more recently, the whole world of big data, providing a new medium for understanding.

Web GIS also provides a new pattern for integration.  Traditionally, GIS was all about the geodatabase; we very carefully integrated all of our data into the geodatabase.  That’s really important work, and most of you have done that kind of work.  But web GIS represents a fundamentally different pattern.  It means that we can integrate things dynamically from distributed services, using web services and web maps.  And this enables a more flexible and more agile approach.

Web GIS integrates organizations and people, breaking down barriers, creating  new relationships, sharing resources, and supporting collaborative approaches.

Web GIS integrates organizations and people, breaking down barriers, creating
new relationships, sharing resources, and supporting collaborative approaches.

Another intriguing aspect of web GIS is that it breaks down the fundamental barriers that separate organizations.  Whether the silos are departmental or organizational, the ability of the web GIS environment to fluidly integrate different disciplines and different activities gives us a new framework for collaboration.

Web GIS has one other interesting ingredient: it can help us organize our work.  It provides content management capabilities for all of your maps, apps, and models, and also it simplifies the sharing these within a group or across departments and organizations.

Driving the Transformation

Web GIS is a very attractive framework that can help us to scale up our work, our knowledge, and our understanding.  From what I am seeing today out there in the GIS community, web GIS has already started to fundamentally transform how people and organizations work.  And who’s leading this transformation?

You are.

You understand the technology.  You are embracing these patterns.  You are sharing your work and your knowledge.  You are driving this transformation of the way we work, and in the process you are transforming our understanding of the world around us.

When you put all of this together, you begin to realize that we suddenly have a totally different kind of GIS.  But this isn’t just a more simplified approach to mapping–it’s a change in how we leverage geographic information.  This change isn’t happening from some outside influence–it’s being driven from within organizations like yours.  Because of this, GIS professionals are essential to making this happen.  In my mind, there has never been a more exciting time to be a GIS professional.

– See more at: http://blogs.esri.com

GIS: Transforming Our World


Today our world is facing serious challenges, and it’s clear that we need to work together to collectively create a better future.  We don’t really have a lot of choice in this matter.  We need to leverage our very best brains, our best creative talent, our best design talent, our technology, and our science, and use it to create a more sustainable future.

It’s a big challenge–by its very nature, a geographic challenge–that will require a lot of GIS talent.

GIS changes how we think and how we act.  It’s transformational.  It also integrates geographic science into everything we do–what we measure, how we analyze things, what predictions we make, how we plan, how we design, how we evaluate, and ultimately how we manage it over time.

GIS is already helping us to understand things.  It provides a framework for transforming the world through all kinds of activities.  But to meet the geographic challenges we face, we need to also fundamentally transform GIS itself.  We need to scale up GIS.

Scaling Up

GIS is being transformed into web GIS, making GIS easier, always available, and more social. - See more at: http://blogs.esri.com/esri/esri-insider/2013/08/22/gis-transforming-our-world/#sthash.ZIKtRASI.dpuf
GIS is being transformed into web GIS, making GIS easier, always available,
and more social.

GIS is integrative; it’s visual; it’s quantitative, and it’s analytic.  It has the power to organize things systematically.  And it’s built on the science of geography, which is comprehe

nsive and cuts across many disciplines.  The scientific foundation of geography is the basis for the scaling up of GIS to meet the grand challenges the world faces today.

Watch Esri president and founder Jack Dangermond deliver his opening remarks at the 2013 Esri International User Conference.

Watch Esri president and founder Jack Dangermond deliver his opening remarks at the 2013 Esri International User Conference.

– See more at: http://blogs.esri.com


I have been requested to urgently collect  CVs of  2/3 Potential female candidates who should have  Professionalism, Proficiency in English, Computer Literacy, excellent communication skills and should be enterprising, dynamic and energetic. The following are the details of the opening:
Post : Disaster Risk Management Officer
Company : Khulna Based Reputed NGO
Salary : Lucrative (Around 30k)
Job Location : Khulna
Qualification : Graduate from Environmental science, KU
Skill – Basic Computer Knowledge (Word, Excel, Power Point, Internet), Good communication skill Knowledge of Climate change and Disaster Management.
Last Date for sending CV: Tomorrow (15th August, 2013)Instruction: Please send your CV preferably with 01 scanned photograph on, to  hoque.ahasan@gmail.com as early as possible.


Global Climate Change: Key Indicators

Time Series Data_CO2

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, as well as natural processes such as respiration and volcanic eruptions. The chart on the left shows the CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere during the last three glacial cycles, as reconstructed from ice cores. The chart on the right shows CO2 levels in recent years, corrected for average seasonal cycles.

Source :NASA