18 June 2012

Climate News

Week ending 17 June 2012
The Northern Hemisphere land and ocean average surface temperature for May 2012 was the all-time warmest May on record, at 0.85°C (1.53°F) above average: State of the Climate Global Analysis” May 2012


Great photo: when floods and coal power collide

Analysis: CO2 market has failed to promote cleaner energy
Henning Gloystein, Reuters, Jun 15, 2012
Europe's emissions trading scheme has failed to create incentives for utilities to use cleaner energy fuels, meaning that governments will have to switch to simpler tools, such as subsidies and regulation, to enforce emissions reduction targets.

Arctic Sea Ice Dips Below Ominous Milestone
Julia Whitty, Mother Jones, 14 June 2012
This week the extent of Arctic sea ice dipped below the extent for 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). As you may remember, the 2007 season holds the record for lowest Arctic sea-ice extent in recorded history.

China emissions study suggests climate change could be faster than thought
David Fogarty and David Stanway, Reuters, Sun Jun 10, 2012
China's carbon emissions could be nearly 20 percent higher than previously thought, a new analysis of official Chinese data showed on Sunday, suggesting the pace of global climate change could be even faster than currently predicted.
Coal's resurgence undermines fight against global warming
Terry Macalister, Guardian, 13 June 2012
Increased use of coal and heavy use of other fossil fuels such as oil and gas led to a 3% increase in world carbon emissions from energy in 2011

Virginia Lawmaker Says ‘Sea Level Rise’ Is A ‘Left Wing Term,’ Excises It From State Report On Coastal Flooding
Rebecca Leber, Climate Progress, June 10, 2012
Virginia’s legislature commissioned a $50,000 study to determine the impacts of climate change on the state’s shores. To greenlight the project, they omitted words like “climate change” and “sea level rise” from the study’s description itself. According to the House of Delegates sponsor of the study, these are “liberal code words,” even though they are noncontroversial in the climate science community.
North Carolina tries to outlaw climate models
Hannah Krakauer, New Scientist, 15 June 2012
Political satirist Stephen Colbert's solution to unfavourable climate science is simple: "If your science gives you a result that you don't like, pass a law saying that the result is illegal. Problem solved."

'Green veto' holding back Qld coal plan: Abbott
Simon Cullen, ABC News, June 13, 2012
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Australia can't allow a "green veto" to hold back a massive expansion of coal exports from Queensland.

Public Understanding Of Climate Science Rebounds, 72% of Independents Say There Is ‘Solid Evidence’ Of Global Warming
Joe Romm, Climate progress, Jun 13, 2012Brookings has released a new survey that confirms other recent polls: Public understanding of climate science is rebounding, and the recent record-smashing extreme weather events are playing a key role.
Continued Rebound in American Belief in Climate Change: Spring 2012 NSAPOCC Findings


The burning questions that won't go away
Lenore Taylor, The Age, June 16, 2012
Carbon capture and storage technology is far from being viable, writes Lenore Taylor.

Carbon millions squandered
Lenore Taylor, The Age, June 17, 2012
The Australian-funded $300 million Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute set up by former prime minister Kevin Rudd has squandered taxpayers' money for negligible results, ex-staff say.

Coal hard light of day for dud scheme
Lenore Taylor, The Age, June 17, 2012
Kevin Rudd's decision to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on technology to capture and store carbon has failed to deliver.


Carbon storage 'may cause small earthquakes'
Fiona Harvey, Guardian, 15 June 2012
US report finds injecting fracking wastewater underground can trigger seismic activity – with implications for CCS viability

Coal seam effluent salts sewerage
Ben Cubby, SMH, 12 June 2012
A coal seam gas company has disposed of over a million litres of dirty water at a sewage treatment plant in northern NSW, breaching the plant’s license conditions, the NSW Environment Protection Authority said.

T4 coal-loader delayed
Ian Kirkwood, Newcastle Herald, 15 June 2012
The controversial T4 coal-loader has been put back by two years and is unlikely – if approved – to be shipping coal before the second half of 2017

Time to radically reform our energy system, says IEA
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 12 June 2012
The International Energy Agency has made a dramatic call for governments to end their policy inertia and push towards a radical transformation of the global energy network, ending the dependence of centralised fossil fuel generation and pushing towards more flexible systems, where more than half of the world’s electricity comes from renewables by the middle of the century.
Over-reliance on gas risks runaway emissions, says IEA economist.

Coal seam effluent salts sewerage
Ben Cubby, Brisbane Times, June 12, 2012
A coal seam gas company has disposed of more than a million litres of dirty water at a sewage treatment plant in northern NSW, breaching the plant's licence conditions, the NSW Environment Protection Authority says.

Kimberley under threat from mining boom
Wade Freeman, ABC Unleashed, 11 June 2012
In case you missed it with all the drama unfolding in Canberra over the past 12 months, one of the world's most untouched and iconic regions was granted National Heritage protection last August.

$450m solar project for outback NSW
SMH, June 9, 2012
One of Australia's largest solar projects is to be built in NSW after AGL Energy and PV manufacturer First Solar were awarded a $130 million grant from the federal government
AGL wins with Solar Flagships – but why go large?

Clouds clear for solar power
ABC News, June 14, 2012
Researchers at the Newcastle CSIRO Energy Centre are confident the problem of clouds affecting the output of solar panels can be managed, even for large scale power generation.


Science under siege
Cliva Hamilton, The Conversation, 14 June 2012
When the denial machine goes after climate scientists it is, as one of them said, like the marines going into battle against boy scouts. The brutality of the attacks has once again been confirmed by the release of some of the emails sent to Phil Jones, the University of East Anglia climate scientist.

Brazil's blueprint for reforestation
Jonathan Watts, Guardian, 12 June 2012
Ahead of the Rio+20 sustainable development talks Jonathan Watts visits a tree planting scheme that aims to restore millions of hectares of forest to land scarred by logging and extraction

Canberra stalls on 100% renewables planning
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 13 June 2012
The federal government is being accused by the Greens of stalling on an agreement to get Australia’s Energy Market Operator to plan scenarios for moving to 100 per cent renewables.

Rio+20 Earth summit: leaked draft reveals conflict among countries
John Vidal, Guardian, 8 June 2012
UN's vision for one deal to save the Earth is in peril as countries bicker over phrasing of clauses and key terms in the draft text

ACCC rejects claim of 25% power bill rise from carbon tax
Lenore Taylor, SMH, June 12, 2012
Small businesses around the country were warned yesterday by the opposition they could be facing carbon tax-related increases in their power bills of an alarming 25 per cent.

ACMA rules against Alan Jones on climate change
ABC News, 15 June 2012
The media watchdog has ruled that comments made by Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones on climate change last year were unsubstantiated.

Don’t mention the floor
Fergus Green, Inside Story, 14 June 2012
Amid tumbling international carbon markets and calls to weaken the carbon pricing scheme, Fergus Green makes the case for retaining an Australian carbon price floor


Global Climate Change: Underestimated Impact of Sea-Level Rise On Habitat Loss?
ScienceDaily, June 13, 2012
The hidden impact of sea-level rise: current projections may be underestimating the consequences of global climate change on habitat loss.

NOAA: Second Hottest May On Record Globally, Hottest For Northern Hemisphere
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 14 June 2012
The globally-averaged land surface temperature for May 2012 was the all-time warmest May on record, at 1.21°C (2.18°F) above average

Scientists uncover evidence of impending tipping point for Earth
Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley, June 6, 2012
A prestigious group of scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation.

Greenhouse gases largely to blame for warming oceans: scientists
ABC AM, 11 June 2012
A new US-led study, featuring research by Tasmanian scientists, has concluded that warming ocean temperatures over the past 50 years are largely a man-made phenomenon.
Human-induced global ocean warming on multidecadal timescales

Global Warming Threat Seen in Fertile Soil of Northeastern U.S. Forests
ScienceDaily, June 11, 2012
Vast stores of carbon in U.S. forest soils could be released by rising global temperatures, according to a study by UC Irvine and other researchers in a recent online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Warming accelerates decomposition of decades-old carbon in forest soils

Kaiser Permanente: Climate Change ‘Will Impact Our Ability To Provide Quality Health Care’
Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress, June 15, 2012
One of America’s largest health care companies is warning that climate change will worsen public health problems and make it more difficult to provide services.