20 February 2012

Climate News

Week ending 19 February 2012


Leaked docs from climate-denying think tank reveal strategy
Graham Readfearn, Crikey, 15 February 2012
Leaked financial reports and documents from a US-based think tank that denies the risks of human-caused climate change show links to an Australian academic and detail a strategy to pursue funds from corporations affected by climate policies.
Dollars, documents and denial: a tangled web

Scientist accepts 'cash for climate'

Ben Cubby, The Age, February 16, 2012
A prominent Australian scientist has rejected as offensive any suggestion he is doing the bidding of a US climate-sceptic think tank that is paying him a monthly fee.

Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine
Brendan Demelle, DeSmogBlog, 14 February 2012
Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine – its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years. The heart of the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris) RJR Tobacco and more.

Climate sceptics – who gets paid what?
Leaked documents show US thinktank the Heartland Institute has been making payments to experts and scientists to cast doubt on climate science. Here, we profile some of the figures

Heartland Documents Reveal Fringe Denial Group Plans to Pursue Koch Money, Dupe Children and Ruin Their Future
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, Feb 14, 2012
Racing around the internet are some internal documents that appear to be from the Heartland Institute, a relatively obscure hard-core anti-science think tank.

Open Letter to Heartland Institute from Climate Scientists
18 February 2012
As scientists who have had their emails stolen, posted online and grossly misrepresented, we can appreciate the difficulties the Heartland Institute is currently experiencing following the online posting of the organization’s internal documents earlier this week. However, we are greatly disappointed by their content, which indicates the organization is continuing its campaign to discredit mainstream climate science and to undermine the teaching of well-established climate science in the classroom.

The inside story on climate scientists under siege
Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian, 17 February 2012
Michael Mann reveals his account of attacks by entrenched interests seeking to undermine his 'hockey stick' graph

Climate-change naysayers drowning out scientific research, expert says
Margaret Munro, Postmedia News, 17 February 2012
The president of one of the world's biggest scientific organizations says the research community is being outgunned by naysayers.


Fracturing natural gas wells requires hundreds of tons of chemical liquids
Bob Downing, Beacon Journal, February 12, 2012
There are two sides to the debate over the use of chemical additives to complete the process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Tighten fracking regulations, scientists urge US officials

Ian Sample, Guardian, 16 February 2012
Influential group calls on regulators to ensure safe handling of toxic fluids used in controversial hydraulic fracturing

Fracking study sends alert about leakage of potent greenhouse gas
Pete Spotts, CSM, February 13, 2012
A new study finds that fracking is releasing methane, a greenhouse gas, from a Colorado field at a higher rate than estimates suggested.  Researchers must determine if the field is an anomaly or part of a bigger problem.


Oakeshott, Windsor biomass burner scheme Pythonesque
Andrew Macintosh, Crikey, 13 February 2012
Imagine a climate policy plan that was incapable of lowering emissions but could increase them, that resulted in no net gain in the amount of renewable electricity generation, and that cost Australian taxpayers millions each year.
Oakeshott sparks a forestry firestorm

Global fossil fuel subsidies in 5 unforgettable graphs
ClimateCodeRed, 15 February 2012
As the five biggest oil companies made a record-high $137 billion in profits, these five unforgettable charts on global fossil fuel subsidies, courtesy of The Guardian, need no explanation.
Do Americans support or oppose subsidies for fossil fuels?

The hot news in cleantech this week …
Sophie Vorrath, REnewEconomy, 17 February 2012
It’s a relatively well-known fact these days that the US military is one of renewable energy’s biggest fans, so it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise that Lockheed Martin – the US-based global aerospace, defense and security technology powerhouse – is getting in on the act too.

PacHydro sees 14GW of solar by mid 2020s
Giles Parkinson, REnewEconomy, 13 February 2012
Pacific Hydro has unveiled some bullish forecasts for the rollout of solar in Australia – both PV and solar thermal – although it says it is conditional on the manner of deployment of monies from the proposed $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corp and on changes to regulatory rules for the electricity market.

More than 68% of New European Electricity Capacity Came From Wind and Solar in 2011
Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress,  Feb 12, 2012
As the sovereign debt crisis unfolds in Europe, onlookers have questioned whether the region will stay committed to renewable energy. The answer so far is “yes.”
More than 1.1 Million People Employed in EU’s Renewable Energy Sector

Cloud hangs over Rudd's clean coal vision
Michael Atkin, ABC News, February 14, 2012
One of the world's leading clean coal experts wrote to then-prime minister Kevin Rudd warning that his multi-million dollar Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute was a mistake, an ABC investigation has confirmed.


Carbon message lost in negativity
Matthew Knott, PowerIndex, 14 February 2012
Neil Lawrence, the marketer behind the Kevin07 ad campaign, has slammed the Gillard government's attempt to sell the carbon tax as "clumsy and asinine".

Revealed: How fossil fuel reserves match UN climate negotiating positions
Duncan Clark, Guardian, 16 February 2012
New figures calculate how much CO2 each country could emit in the future and asks how their fuel reserves affect their position at the UN climate negotiations


“No time to waste” on transition to green energy
ERW, 16 February 2012
If the entire world adopted ‘green’ forms of energy tomorrow, how long would it take for global temperatures to stabilize? The answer is a good 50 years: even if we "pull out all of the stops" there is little we can do to diminish the impact of climate change during the first half of this century.

Myhrvold N P and Caldeira K (2012), Greenhouse gases, climate change and the transition from coal to low-carbon electricity Environ. Res. Lett. 7 014019 (doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/014019)

Extreme Summer Temperatures Occur More Frequently in U.S. Now, Analysis Shows
ScienceDaily, Feb. 15, 2012
Extreme summer temperatures are already occurring more frequently in the United States, and will become normal by mid-century if the world continues on a business as usual schedule of emitting greenhouse gases.

Climate change role in floods won't be clear for a decade, say scientists
Ben Cubby, The Age, February 14, 2012
THE floods inundating northern NSW and Queensland are likely to have been driven in part by human-induced climate change - although the precise extent of this influence won't be known for another decade.

Arctic Sea Ice Update: Spectacular and Ominous
Neven Acropolis, Climate Progress,  Feb 13, 2012
Has the melt season started in the Barents and Kara Seas two months earlier than normal?
Fears of British super-drought after record low rainfall in winter
Climate experts say warm U.S. winter is due in part to Arctic Oscillation
Jet Lag: What's Causing One of the Driest, Warmest Winters in History?

Global Ice Loss & Sea Level Rise: 2003-2010
Bob Petz, Ecology.com, February 10, 2012
Between 2003 and 2010, the Earth lost 4.3 trillion tons (1,000 cubic miles) of ice mass — enough to raise global sea levels about 0.5 inches (12 mm) or cover an area the size of the U.S. with 1.5 feet (0.5 m) of water — according to a new study published February 8 in the online journal Nature.
Fears Lake council can't afford to adapt to sea level rise
Damon Cronshaw, Newcastle Herald, 14 February 2012
Concerns were raised last night that Lake Macquarie City Council would not have enough money to pay for infrastructure upgrades to adapt to sea level rise.
Lawmakers push for flood insurance as new research predicts rising storm surges

Climate change increases risk of storm surges, according to MIT study
Carolyn Y. Johnson, Boston Globe, 14 February 2012
Studies of climate change and its impact on coastal communities usually focus on rising sea level. Now, scientists from MIT and Princeton University have developed a method to examine how multiple effects of climate change – including the combination of sea-level rise and stronger hurricanes -- will affect storm surges that wash over sea walls and inundate communities, damaging buildings and infrastructure.

Learn from climate history: epidemiologist
The decline of the Mayan empire; the Black Death and the Great Famine in medieval Europe and the collapse of the Ming Dynasty; what's the link?

Fish of Antarctica Threatened by Climate Change
ScienceDaily, Feb. 13, 2012
A Yale-led study of the evolutionary history of Antarctic fish and their "anti-freeze" proteins illustrates how tens of millions of years ago a lineage of fish adapted to newly formed polar conditions -- and how today they are endangered by a rapid rise in ocean temperatures.