Week end 23 September 2012
PICKS OF THE WEEK
ACT government seeks 90% renewables by 2020
Giles Parkinson, Renew Economy, 19 September 2012
The ACT government has outlined an ambitious plan to source 90 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2020, with solar, wind and energy efficiency at the centrepiece of its strategy.
Four-degree rise demands 90-degree rethink
Ian Dunlop, SMH, September 22, 2012
Climate change has moved into a new and dangerous phase. The Arctic has been warming two to three times faster than the rest of the world. In the past few weeks, melting of the Arctic sea ice has accelerated dramatically, reducing the area and volume to levels never previously experienced.
Yikes: Avoiding dangerous climate change is still possible, but just barely
David Roberts, Grist, 17 September 2012
The most extreme climate “alarmists” in U.S. politics are not nearly alarmed enough. The chances of avoiding catastrophic global temperature rise are not nil, exactly, but they are slim-to-nil, according to a new analysis prepared for the U.K. government.
Freaked-out climate scientists urge other freaked-out climate scientists to speak up, fight Man
Australian 'mega mine' plan threatens global emissions target
Oliver Milman, Guardian, 18 September 2012
'Unprecedented' increase in the scale of Australian mining would nullify an internationally agreed goal, Greenpeace warns
Entire environments to 'disappear': CSIRO
Julian Drape, The Age, 18 September 2012
Conserving Australia's environment as it is today will become increasingly impossible as the world warms, so governments should instead focus on managing environments as they change, the CSIRO says.
Climate change will transform the bush … and we’ll have to think big to cope
David Hilbert, The Conversation, 18 September 2012
Within decades, environments across Australia will be substantially different from those that currently exist.
The implications of climate change for Australia's biodiversity conservation and protected areas
CSIRO's landmark Australia-wide assessment of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and the National Reserve System will inform future management of Australia's protected areas.
FOCUS ON... THE ARCTIC
Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years
John Vidal, Guardian, 17 September 2012
As sea ice shrinks to record lows, Prof Peter Wadhams warns a 'global disaster' is now unfolding in northern latitudes.
Tipping into new climate territory as scientists put fears on ice
Ben Cubby, The Age, September 23, 2012
As Arctic sea ice hits a record low, focus is turning to climate ''tipping points'' - a threshold that, once crossed, cannot be reversed and will create fundamental changes to other areas.
Earth's attic is on fire
Jeff Masters, Wunderblog, September 20, 2012
The extraordinary decline in Arctic sea ice during 2012 is finally over. Sea ice extent bottomed out on September 16, announced scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) on Wednesday.
Shipping, oil hunt may accelerate Arctic thaw
SMH, September 19, 2012
Local pollution in the Arctic from shipping and oil and gas industries, which have expanded in the region due to a thawing of sea ice caused by global warming, could further accelerate that thaw, experts say.
Opening the fabled Northwest Passage: triumph or tragedy?
Peter Doherty, The Conversation, 18 September 2012
A combination of 33-year satellite records, measurements made over the past century, and long-term proxy analysis suggests Arctic sea ice may be at its lowest level for more than 1,000 years.
Greenland’s ‘Ice Quakes’ May Set a Record
Justin Gillis, NYT blog, 21 September 2012
One of the more amazing facts about the ongoing destruction of the Greenland ice sheet is that it is producing earthquakes that can be detected worldwide.
ENERGY AND INNOVATION
Report: Alarming new findings for our climate & our Reef
This week, the Arctic ice sheet melted to its lowest extent in human records – the result of an increasingly warming climate. Australia’s biggest contribution to global warming is our coal exports. While the Arctic ice reaches historic lows, Australia’s coal exports are reaching historic highs. Today Greenpeace reveals the true cost of Australia’s coal boom.
The farmer wants a life: minister urges lockout over coal seam gas
Sean Nicholls, Sydney Morning Herald, September 18, 2012
The Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, has encouraged a group of farmers to continue to ''lock the gate'' to prevent coal seam gas companies entering their land just days after a cabinet decision on new rules to balance the interests of miners and farmers.
Brown coal generators: Let’s stop renewables now
Giles Parkinson, reNewEconomy, 20 September 2012
International Power, the owner of the Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria, has joined the owners of the Yallourn brown coal facility in calling for an effective halt to the deployment of wind and solar energy to protect their profits.
Water-based battery a step up for renewable energy
Manickam Minakshi-Sundaram & Danielle Meyrick, The Conversation, 19 September 2012
Energy storage will be critically important as we work towards sustainable living. Developing cost-effective ways to store large amounts of electricity from wind turbines and solar farms will be essential in turning from fossil fuels to renewables as our primary source of energy.
Deepening Doubts About Fracked Shale Gas Wells' Long Term Prospects
This month, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released its bi-annual report on how much natural gas has been produced in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation which stretches underneath much of Appalachia.
Department issues coal seam gas emissions warning
Ben Cubby, SMH, September 21, 2012
No one knows precisely how much methane leaks from Australia's growing coal seam gas
fields, and more research is needed to back up industry claims about greenhouse emissions, a report produced for the federal government has found.
POLITICS AND POLICY
Virginia Judge Tosses Frivolous American Tradition Institute Lawsuit
Brendan deMelle DeSmogBlog, 17 September 2012
A Virginia judge issued an order today putting an end to the American Tradition Institute (ATI) frivilous lawsuit that sought to compel the University of Virginia (UVA) to release the private emails of climate scientist Michael Mann.
ACIL Tasman - Confessions of an economic hit… sorry, miss... man
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 17 September 2012
Earlier this month, TRUenergy used modelling work by ACIL Tasman to spearhead an effort to have the Renewable Energy Target watered down.
The curious blindness of climate deniers
Dan Turner, LA Times, September 18, 2012
Climate change has seldom warranted a mention during the 2012 congressional campaigns, a sign both of the nation's changing priorities as it copes with an economic downturn and the extent to which conservative politicians and the fossil fuel industry have succeeded in sowing doubts about the scientific consensus.
SCIENCE AND IMPACTS
Time running out to save coral reefs, scientists say
The Age, September 17, 2012
The chance to save the world's coral reefs from damage caused by climate change is dwindling as man-made greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, scientists said in a study released on Sunday.
Most Coral Reefs Are at Risk Unless Climate Change Is Drastically Limited, Study Shows
ScienceDaily, Sep. 16, 2012
Coral reefs face severe challenges even if global warming is restricted to the 2 degrees Celsius commonly perceived as safe for many natural and human-made systems.
Climate change guardrail too hot for coral reefs?
Limiting global warming to 2°C is unlikely to save most coral reefs
K. Frieler, M. Meinshausen, A. Golly, M. Mengel, K. Lebek, S. D. Donner & O. Hoegh-Guldberg, Nature, 16 September 2012
Mass coral bleaching events have become a widespread phenomenon causing serious concerns with regard to the survival of corals. Triggered by high ocean temperatures, bleaching events are projected to increase in frequency and intensity.
MIT Study: For Every 1 Degree C Rise In Temperature, Tropical Regions Will See 10 Percent Heavier Rainfall Extremes
Jennifer Chu, via MIT News, 18 September 2012
Extreme precipitation in the tropics comes in many forms: thunderstorm complexes, flood-inducing monsoons and wide-sweeping cyclones like the recent Hurricane Isaac.
Record-High Antarctic Sea Ice Levels Don't Disprove Global Warming
Natalie Wolchover, Live Science, 19 September 2012
Distracting from the news that Arctic sea-ice extent reached a record low on Sept.16 is a widely circulating blog article claiming that at the opposite end of the Earth, Antarctic sea ice is more than making up for the losses.
Like lemmings, creatures great and small at risk from climate change
The Age, September 20, 2012
Climate change is a threat to everything from coffee plantations to Arctic foxes and even a moderate rise in world temperatures will be damaging for plants and animals in some regions, experts said on Wednesday.
El Salvador in battle against tide of climate change
Simeon Tegel, Independent, 18 September 2012
Rising sea levels and deforestation have destroyed the mangrove crops that villagers depend on to survive
Warming Ocean Could Start Big Shift of Antarctic Ice
ScienceDaily, Sep. 19, 2012
Fast-flowing and narrow glaciers have the potential to trigger massive changes in the Antarctic ice sheet and contribute to rapid ice-sheet decay and sea-level rise, a new study has found.
June-August northern summer warmest period for global land temperature ever recorded