19 August 2012

Climate News

Week ending 19 August 2012
Arctic sea-ice extent decade by decade: the rate of loss is increasing. Source: http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/Sea_Ice_Extent.png

Australians lead in fitting solar panels on homes
Ben Cubby, SMH, 18 August 2012
Australians put more household solar panel systems on their roofs than anyone else in the world last year, new data from the Clean Energy Regulator and the International Energy Agency show.

Hot, dry or flooded: James Hansen video
The Economist, 16 August 2012
Hot summers, wildfires and drought are anomalies no longer. They are the visible products of climate change, and more can be expected, says James Hansen. One solution may appeal to conservatives.

Tropical fish turning up off Tasmania
ABC News, 17 August 2012
The CSIRO is warning climate change is having a big impact on the country's oceans, with tropical fish turning up as far south as Tasmania.
Protection to help save shrinking undersea jungles
Climate Change is changing Australia's ocean environment

Australia Institute claims CSG industry could be under-taxed
Babs McHugh, ABC Rural, 15 August 2012
Think-tank and research body The Australia Institute claims the Federal Government could lose billions of dollars in carbon tax if changes aren't made to the way fugitive emissions from coal seam gas are calculated.
Coal seam gas review on drilling leaks could up carbon costs

Must the poor go hungry just so the rich can drive?
George Monbiot, The Guardian, 13 August 2012
In the United Kingdom, in the rest of the European Union and in the United States, governments have chosen to deploy a cure as bad as the disease. Despite overwhelming evidence of the harm their policy is causing, none of them will change course.

Coal dust causes concern in the playground
Alison Branley, SMH, August 13, 2012
More than 23,000 students at about 60 Hunter schools within 500 metres of the region's coal railway spend their lunchtimes breathing air filled with coal dust from passing trains.
Health impact of rising carbon levels said to be costing $6b a year
SMH, 13 August 2012
Fossil fuel use generates death and disease costing Australia $6 billion a year, yet the health benefits of cutting carbon dioxide emissions have been overlooked, a report by climate groups says.

Councils warned foreshore and esplanade areas may not escape rising sea levels
The Advertiser, 12 August 2012
Local Government Association director of environment Adam Gray has told a Federal Government inquiry into Australia's preparation for climate change that "retreat" from some foreshore areas is a reality.


Dramatic lessons from the Arctic big melt of 2012: It's already too hot, as Greenland melt record is smashed
David Spratt, Climate Code Red, 16 August 2012
News today of a dramatic increase in melting of the Greenland ice sheet this northern summer, and the likelihood of a new record low in summer Arctic sea-ice extent, demand a new look at what safe climate action means.

Greenland Melting Breaks Record Four Weeks Before Season's End
ScienceDaily, August 15, 2012
Melting over the Greenland ice sheet shattered the seasonal record on August 8 -- a full four weeks before the close of the melting season

Greenland Melt Sets Record Weeks Before Summer Ends
Michael D. Lemonick, Climate Central, 15 August  2012
Even as the sea ice on the Arctic Ocean looks to be headed for a possible record meltback this year, scientists reported Wednesday that the land-based ice sitting atop Greenland has already melted more than any time in the past 30 years — and that’s with another four weeks left in the melting season.

Arctic Sea Ice On Pace for a Record Low in September
Michael D. Lemonick, Climate Central, 14 August  2012
The melting season is now fully under way in the high Arctic. Months of relatively warm temperatures and nearly continuous sunshine have taken their toll on the ice that blankets the Arctic Ocean. By mid-September, the sea ice will reach its low point for the year, before starting its  annual re-freeze.

Media Turn A Blind Eye To Record Greenland Ice Melt


SA shows wind and solar make energy cleaner and cheaper
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 13 August 2012
As Europe has looked towards its biggest and most successful economy Germany to lead the way into green energy, Australians are getting a glimpse into its own grid of the future in the state of South Australia – arguably the advanced economy with the highest wind energy penetration, and now with the highest penetration of rooftop solar PV, in the world.

Rooftop solar panels: our new peaking power generators
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 14 August 2012
The CSIRO shows that rooftop solar, combined with sophisticated forecasting and a small amount of energy storage, can look to the grid just like a traditional fossil-fueled generator.

Banner year for US wind
David Danielson, Climate Spectator, 17 August 2012
A new report from the US government outlines the recent rapid growth of the wind sector – and with it prices are falling fast.

Output from Australia’s coal-fired generators falls 10 per cent
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 14 August 2012
The combination of falling demand, the rising threat of rooftop solar and the introduction of the carbon price have combined to reduce the output of Australia’s coal-fired power stations by 10 per cent.

Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Is Still Bad For The Climate — And A Very Poor Long-Term Investment
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, Aug 16, 2012
The surge in U.S. production of shale gas is creating a surge in permit requests to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. That’s because the glut of U.S. gas has dropped domestic prices sharply below global price levels.

Can Australia’s coal customers shop elsewhere?
Zane Alcorn and Ben Courtice, ReNew Economy, 16 August 2012
At the Climate Commission public meeting in Melbourne on July 24, when responding to a question, a Commissioner used what some call the drug dealer’s defence: if Australia stopped exporting coal, others would fill the gap.

Bloated power sector needs a regulatory jolt
Michael West, SMH, 16 August 2012
Readers new to this topic of “gold-plating” should be aware that, since electricity transmission and distribution companies get paid according to the size of their assets, they have a natural incentive to spend for the sake of spending. And that they do, at an enormous cost to consumers  who face 18 per cent increases on their power bills again this year.

The problem in the grid
Mike Sandiford, The Conversation, 16 August 2012
In the electricity game, the “poles and wires” have become the big issue. Even the Prime Minister has starting pointing the finger at excessive investment in the electrical power grid.


Climate Framing: Public Health Rather than Environment, National Security?
Yale Climate Forum, August 16, 2012
Researchers say climate frames reflecting public health, rather than environmental or national security issues, may do more at persuading those ‘as yet unpersuaded.’ Cautions expressed about a ‘boomerang’ or backlash effect from national security framing

Humans impact climate: research
13th August 2012 7:25 AM
Australians accept human impact on climate change and are taking action to reduce it, according to new research.

US media barely mentions climate change in stories on extreme heat
Climate Progress, 15 August 2012


Black mark for clean brown coal
Tom Arup, The Age, August 13, 2012
The Victorian government has quietly reclaimed a huge brown coal allocation in the Latrobe Valley after the companies promising a low-emissions project on the site failed to meet development milestones.

Was the uprising in Syria exacerbated by climate change?
Philip Bump, Grist, 16 August 2012
As the climate shifts, the impacts on any given nation will vary. Some few will see positive changes. Many will be disrupted. That disruption was apparent in the Sudan during the last decade. And now it’s being suggested that climate change also played a role in Syria.

Bringing law into the right environment
Paddy Manning, SMH, August 18, 2012
It is somehow fitting that one of the world's leading climate change lawyers wrote his first thesis on the economic history of Antarctica.

Australia joins attack on EU airline carbon tax
SMH, August 17, 2012
The major parties have come together to attack the European Union's (EU) controversial carbon tax on international airlines. The Labor government on Thursday backed a strongly worded motion by Nationals leader Warren Truss, which noted widespread international opposition to the tax.

Meet Paul Ryan: Climate denier, conspiracy theorist, Koch acolyte
Brad Johnson, Forecast the Facts, 11 August 2012
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match.


Sea Level Rise Dramatized in Multimedia “Book App”
Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, August 16, 2012
Of course you know that polar ice sheets and glaciers are melting, and that as a result, sea level is starting to rise. But once you take in a new multimedia book, Deep Water, by Daniel Grossman, you’ll feel the changes in your gut

Developing Economies At Highest Risk of Climate Change Disasters
Silvio Marcacci, CleanTechnica, August 16, 2012
Several of the world’s fastest-growing economies face the largest financial threats from natural disasters fueled by climate change, according to the new Natural Hazards Risk Atlas.

Hundred-Year Forecast: Drought
Christopher R. Schwalm, Christopher A. Williams and Kevin Schaefer, NYTimes, 11 August 2012
By many measurements, this summer’s drought is one for the record books. But so was last year’s drought in the South Central states. And it has been only a decade since an extreme five-year drought hit the American West. Widespread annual droughts, once a rare calamity, have become more frequent and are set to become the “new normal.”

Hot in the city
Michael D Lemonick, Climate Central, 16 August
And according to a paper just published in Nature Climate Change, urbanisation alone could drive local temperatures up by a whopping 7 degrees Fahrenheit (about 4 degrees Celsius) by 2050 in some parts of the US – some two or three times higher than the effects of global warming (which would also be going on at the same time).

Pacific drought, flood to intensify: study
The Age, August 16, 2012
Climate change will lead to more extreme floods and droughts in the South Pacific as the southern hemisphere's largest rain band responds to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, an international study has found.

Climate Change Will Have Profound Effects On Northeast U.S. Forests, Report Says
ScienceDaily, Aug. 15, 2012
A new report by U.S. and Canadian scientists analyzes decades of research and concludes that the climate of the Northeast has changed and is likely to change more.

Dust Storms' Health Risks: Asthma Triggers, Chemicals, Bacteria May Be In The Wind
Lynne Peepples, Huffington Post, 11 August 2012
Scientists are predicting that the frequency of dust storms, on the rise in the last few years, will continue to increase. Some have also suggested that these storms might well be carrying a more hazardous payload than meets the eye. Among the dangers that experts say are blowing in the wind: asthma triggers, toxic chemicals and infectious disease.

Summer’s record heat, drought point to longer-term climate issues
Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post, 12 August 2012
Under the most wide-reaching drought since 1956, and torched by the hottest July on record dating from 1895, the United States has been under the kind of weather stress that climatologists say will be more common if the long-standing trend toward higher U.S. temperatures continues.