22 July 2012

Climate News

Week ending 22 July 2012

Carbon dioxide emission per head of population - see first story


As emissions rise, China loses moral high ground
Jeff Tollefson, Nature News Blog, 18 July 202
For years China has dismissed concerns about its rising carbon emissions by pointing out that, on a per-capita basis, Chinese citizens still emit far less than their counterparts in the industrialized world. But now that China’s per-capita emissions are on par with those of the European Union, that argument will be much harder to make.
A da xiang in the room: new emissions data
Cathy Alexander, Crikey, 20 July 2012
There’s a dà xiàng in the room when it comes to addressing climate change. Dà xiàng is mandarin for elephant. And if you want to get your head around the latest data on greenhouse gas emissions, you’ll need to look to China.

Remembering Stephen Covey: The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Climate Hawks
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, July 17, 2012
Stephen Covey, author of the mega-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, died Monday at the age of 79

Record warmth at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet
Jeff Masters, Wunderblog, July 18, 2012
The coldest place in Greenland, and often the entire Northern Hemisphere, is commonly the Summit Station.
Climate alarm as iceberg breaks
SMH, July 19, 2012
A chunk of ice twice the size of Manhattan has parted from Greenland’s Petermann glacier, a break researchers at the University of Delaware and Canadian Ice Service attributed to warmer ocean temperatures.

Sea Level Rise: It Could Be Worse Than We Think
Michael D. Lemonick, Climate Central, 21 July 2012
A new analysis released Thursday in the journal Science implies that the seas could rise dramatically higher over the next few centuries than scientists previously thought — somewhere between 18-to-29 feet above current levels, rather than the 13-to-20 feet they were talking about just a few years ago.
Sea rise threatens 'paradise' Down Under
Amy Coopes, PhysOrg, 20 July 2012
When Elaine Pearce left Sydney for the seaside peace of Old Bar 12 years ago she was assured her new house was a solid investment, with a century's worth of frontage to guard against erosion.

A World Without Coral Reefs
Roger Bradbury, NYT, 13 July 2013
It's past time to tell the truth about the state of the world’s coral reefs, the nurseries of tropical coastal fish stocks. They have become zombie ecosystems, neither dead nor truly alive in any functional sense, and on a trajectory to collapse within a human generation.

Global Warming's Terrifying New Math
Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone, 19 July 2013
Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is.

Following the Ice: Is this global warming?
Ben Linhoff, Scientific American, July 20, 2012
If this were a movie, the music would be tense and building; this was the moment of truth.


Record Heat Wave Pushes U.S. Belief in Climate Change to 70%
Mark Drajem, Business Week,  July 18, 2012
A record heat wave, drought and catastrophic wildfires are accomplishing what climate scientists could not: convincing a wide swath of Americans that global temperatures are rising.

High-Speed Research On Climate Change and Extreme Weather
David Steve, earthfix, 16 July 2012
By the time some of the top climate scientists published their research into the possible links between the 2003 heat wave in France and global warming, five years had passed. That was so last decade.

Inside Story Americas - Extreme weather: Linked to climate change?
AlJazeeraEnglish, July 11, 2012
Extreme weather has gripped much of the United States recently and thousands of heat records have been broken. At least 46 deaths have been linked to the July heat wave alone.

The Big Heat
Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker,  July 23, 2012
Up until fairly recently, it was possible—which, of course, is not the same as advisable—to see climate change as a phenomenon that was happening somewhere else.

US forecast: Hot, dry weather to linger into fall
Seth Borenstein, AP, 20 July 2012
The unusually hot dry weather that has gripped the nation will not let up its stranglehold over the next few months, federal weather forecasters said Thursday. And that means the heartland's "flash drought" will linger at least until around Halloween and even spread a bit farther north and east.

Top Ten Things Climate Change Is Making Worse Right Now
Rebecca Leber and Ellie Sandmeyer, Climate Progress, 21 July 2012
The onslaught of extreme weather and record temperatures this year have had an impact on people globally, directly through drought and temperature, and more indirectly impacting food prices and public transportation.


Why the RET is gold medal-winning energy policy
Fiona OHehir, ReNewEconomy, 17 July 2012
There’s a reason why the Renewable Energy Target is supported by all federal political parties – it works.

Wind turbine syndrome: a classic ‘communicated’ disease
Simon Chapman, the Conversation, 20 July 2012
At the beginning of this year I started collecting examples of health problems some people were attributing to wind turbine exposure. I had noticed a growing number of such claims on the internet and was curious about how many I could find. Within an hour or two I had found nearly 50 and today the number…

Dirt cheap solar
Braden Reddall, reuters, 19 July 2012
New US import tariffs have prompted China's solar panel makers to buy more expensive supplies elsewhere and avoid the new duties, but prices for the renewable energy equipment continue to decline.

Digging deep into Yallourn mine failures
Mark Wakeham, Climate Spectator, 19 July 2013
On June 6 the Morwell River collapsed into the Yallourn coal mine in the Latrobe Valley. The river, perhaps Australia’s most poorly treated, has been moved six times to allow access to new coal deposits.

10 Reasons Clean Coal Is Offensive
Kevin Grandia, Huffington ost, 17 July 2013
According to the Washington Examiner yesterday, President Obama's campaign team is going "on the offensive to promote [the President's] support for clean coal".

Kooragang coal workers face increased cancer risk: study
Jacqui Jones, SMH, 20 July 2012
Past and present employees of Port Waratah Coal Services' Kooragang Island terminal in the Hunter are up to two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than the NSW and Australian populations, or colleagues based at Carrington in Newcastle, a study has found.

Shale gas fever develops as firms see a new gold rush
Zhou Yan, China Daily, 16 July 2012
With China having put shale gas near the top of the government agenda for energy security concerns, the scramble for this game-changing unconventional gas is gathering momentum

Dumping iron at sea can bury carbon for centuries, study shows
Damian Carrington, Guardian, 18 July 2012
Iron fertilisation creates algae blooms that later die off and sink, taking the absorbed carbon deep towards the ocean floor


Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed the Environmental Point of No Return?
Madhusree Mukerjee, Scientific American, May 23, 2012
Although there is an urban legend that the world will end this year based on a misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar, some researchers think a 40-year-old computer program that predicts a collapse of socioeconomic order and massive drop in human population in this century may be on target

We’re All Climate-Change Idiots
Beth Gardiner, NYT Review, 21 July 2012
Climate change is staring us in the face. The science is clear, and the need to reduce planet-warming emissions has grown urgent. So why, collectively, are we doing so little about it?

Generation X on climate change: Meh
Brett Israel, The DailyClimate, July 17, 2012
Preoccupied with careers and families, the Gen Xers – adults in their 30s and 40s  – remain almost as indifferent to climate change impacts as their parents

Time to accept that soon, the climate science deniers will be in charge
Graham Readfearn, 17 July 2012
Anyone who places any stock in safeguarding the current and future climate (and for that matter anyone who doesn’t) should prepare themselves for the risk that very soon, climate science deniers, contrarians and sceptics will be running the show.

Global warming will accelerate without climate deal, Merkel warns
Reuters/Guardian, 17 July 2012
German chancellor says world leaders must reach a deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible

Carbon tax pledge stands, says Pyne
The Age, 16 July 2012
The Coalition will call a double dissolution election if it wins government but is prevented by the Senate from getting rid of the carbon tax, says frontbencher Christopher Pyne.

Slow Ride Stories: Kick-starting conversations about climate change
By Aaron Reuben, Grist, 18 July 2012
The climate is a-changin’ — but the debate on climate change isn’t. As a result, climate scientists and environmental advocates appear to be fighting a losing battle.

A healthy climate change battle
David Shearman, Climate Spectator, 18 July 2012
The tide of public opinion on climate change may be turning in the US with the impacts of massive drought, floods, storms and bushfires. A recent poll suggests so. Perhaps the removal of climate change from the realm of science to personal experience of physical and economic harm was always necessary for realisation.

Who Needs Cute? A Jab at Shell and Arctic Drilling
Clifford Klauss, NYT blog, 19 July 2012
Royal Dutch Shell’s plan to drill in the Arctic waters of Alaska next month is no laughing matter for most environmentalists, who still hope the Obama administration will deny the company some permits at the last minute. But Greenpeace is having some fun all the same.

Melbourne byelection: Kanis rated low on climate issues
Chris Hingston, Melbourne Times, 17 July 2012
A Vote Climate scorecard favouring Green candidates will be delivered to more than 15,000 homes in the Melbourne electorate.
Climate the key as inner-city voters turn from Labor
Adam Shand, The Australian,  July 16, 2012
The Australian Labor Party lost Megan O'Connor's vote in the ruins of Kevin Rudd's disastrous prime ministership. Like many North Melbourne residents, she switched her allegiance to the Greens candidate Adam Bandt in the 2010 federal election, helping to deliver the party its first seat in House of Representatives.
Vote climate assesses candidates


Following this summer's Arctic sea-ice melt...

Record Amount of Arctic Sea Ice Melted in June
Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, July 13, 2012
The Arctic melt season is well underway, and sea ice extent — a key indicator of global warming — declined rapidly during June, setting a record for the largest June sea ice loss in the satellite era. Sea ice extent is currently running just below the level seen at the same time in 2007, the year that set the record for the lowest sea ice minimum in the satellite era.

Fossils show ocean rise risk
Australian National University, 16 July 2012
Sea levels may rise much higher than previously thought, according to scientists from The Australian National University, who have used fossil corals to understand how warmer temperatures in the past promoted dramatic melting of polar ice sheets

Majority of Tibetan Plateau Glaciers Retreating Increasingly Rapidly
Mat McDermott, treehugger, July 17, 2012
The most comprehensive survey of glaciers on the Tibetan plateau and the surrounding areas in the Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir, and Qilian mountain ranges has found, based on study of satellite data and field  measurements, that the majority of glaciers there are in rapid retreat—and over the past 30 years the rate has been increasing.
For Climbers, Risks Now Shift With Every Step
Our frozen assets slowly melting away (New Zealand)

The wet side of Greenland
Arctic Sea Ice blog, 16 July 2012
When writing The dark side of Greenland, a recent blog post on decreasing reflectivity of the Greenland ice sheet, with images comparing the southwest of Greenland with satellite images from previous years, I of course realized that when that ice sheet becomes less reflective, it will soak up more solar energy and thus melt faster. But the practical aspect of this theory never really dawned on me, until I saw this video:

Mexico’s drought turns farms to dust
Simeon Tegel, Global Post, July 17, 2012
‘Is it really a drought or the region’s new climate?’ asks a climate expert.