09 September 2012

Climate News

Week ending 9 September 2012

Arctic sea ice extent over the past 1,450 years reconstructed from proxy data by Kinnard et al., with a 40-year low pass filter applied.  Note that the modern observational data in this figure extend through 2008, and thus it is a close approximation of current conditions, even though the extent is not as low as current annual data due to the 40-year smoothing. Courtesy Skeptical Science

Life Is Sacred
Chris Hedges, TruthDig, 3 September 2012
Corporations care nothing for democracy, the rule of law, human rights or the sanctity of life. They are determined to be the last predator standing. And then they too will be snuffed out. Unrestrained hubris always leads to self-immolation.

Sudden spikes in global food prices to 'become the norm'
Charlie Cooper, The Independent, 5 September 2012
Food price spikes caused by extreme weather events like the
US drought will become the norm over the next twenty years, leading to millions
of deaths from malnutrition among the world’s poorest if Governments do not act
on climate change, Oxfam has warned.

How do people reject climate science?
John Cook, The Conversation, 6 September 2012
A growing body of research has found that when a person’s worldview is threatened by scientific evidence, they interpret the science in a biased manner. One issue where this influence is strongest is climate change.

Burn on: PM's dirty power buyback plan up in smoke
Lenore Taylor and David Wroe, The Age, September 6, 2012
Australia's highest-emitting brown coal electricity generators are between $400 million and $1 billion better off than they would have been without the carbon tax, according to new modelling.
Labor’s clean energy future betrayal
Mark Wakeham, Climate Spectator, 6 September 2012
Yesterday the rumours swirling around contracts for closure were confirmed. The Gillard government announced it was breaking its carbon price package promise to secure the closure of 2000 MW of Australia’s dirtiest power stations like Hazelwood and Playford.
Will Canberra finally call time on the utilities’ snow job?
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 5 September 2012
Could it be that the Australian government has finally woken up to the fact that they have been conned by the electricity industry in this country – at least for the last decade.

Downfall: denier Anthony Watts versus sea-ice (video)


Arctic ice melting at 'amazing' speed, scientists find
David Shukman, BBC News, 7 September 2012
Scientists in the Arctic are warning that this summer's record-breaking melt is part of an accelerating trend with profound implications.

On thin ice: Time-frame to save the Arctic is melting away
David Spratt, ReNewEconomy, 5 September 2012
Something extraordinary is happening when graphs of melting Arctic sea-ice have their vertical axis redrawn because the data are falling off the chart.

Wetter Arctic Could Influence Climate Change, Study Finds
ScienceDaily, Sep. 5, 2012
Increased precipitation and river discharge in the Arctic has the potential to speed climate change, according to the results of a study led by Xiangdong Zhang, a scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center.

Arctic ice melt 'like adding 20 years of CO2 emissions'
Susan Watts, BBC News, 5 September 2012
Loss of Arctic ice is effectively doubling mankind's contribution to global warming, ice scientist Professor Peter Wadhams has told BBC Newsnight.

Record Arctic Sea Ice Melt to Levels Unseen in Millennia
Dana Nuccitelli, Skeptical Science, 5 September 2012
The record Arctic sea ice decline this year has predictably and deservedly received a fair amonut of media attention.

Death Spiral Watch: Experts Warn ‘Near Ice-Free Arctic In Summer’ In A Decade If Volume Trends Continue
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 5 September 2012
The sharp drop in Arctic sea ice area has been matched by a harder-to-see — but equally sharp — drop in sea ice thickness. The combined result has been a collapse in total sea ice volume.

Record Ice Thaw in Arctic, Greenland
Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, 6 September 2012
The Northern Hemisphere's largest expanses of ice have thawed faster and more extensively this year than scientists have previously recorded. And the summer isn't over.

Continued retreat of Greenland’s most productive glacier
Jason Box, Meltfactor, 5 September 2012
In terms of ice flow discharge, one of Greenland’s most productive outlets from the inland ice sheet, if not the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, the Ilulissat glacier continues to retreat.


Newcastle’s T4 project puts short-termprofit before health
David Shearman and Linda Selvey, The Conversation, 5 September 2012
A massive expansion of Newcastle’s coal export terminal has been proposed by Port Waratah Coal Services. Approval is likely soon, but the expansion’s effect on human health has been ignored in the project’s evaluation.

Solar dims as Baillieu government breaks key election promise
EV, 3 September 2012
The Baillieu Government has this afternoon broken a key election promise to provide ‘fair reward’ for those who invest in solar power on their rooftop.
Solar PV industry licks its wounds as last tariff falls

Air pollution reaching extreme levels, warns Hunter Valley council
SMH, 2 September 2012
Hunter Valley winemakers and residents will today step up the campaign against mining in their backyards as the local council warns dust in the region is reaching ''extreme'' levels.

India approves $4bn electric vehicle stimulus
Cleantechnica, 3 September 2012
The government of India has decided to approve a $4.13 billion plan to stimulate the production of electric and hybrid vehicles over the next eight years. The country is setting for itself the target of 6 million vehicles by the year 2020.

Denmark's Recipe for a Model Democracy
Manfred Ertel and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel online, 24 August 2012
Hailed as a "miracle of modern politics," Denmark consistently earns top marks for its efficient governance, innovation and transparency. Nowhere is this more apparent than with its successful embrace of wind power, making it a role model for the world.

Spinach Power Gets a Big Boost: Reseachers Combine Spinach Protein With Silicon to Make Biohybrid Solar Cell
ScienceDaily, Sep. 4, 2012
Spinach power has just gotten a big boost.

CSG ad criticised for false claims
The Age, 4 September 2012
CSIRO has hit out at a petroleum lobby group for making false claims in a TV ad about coal seam gas.
Halt to drilling ordered at NSW gas site
ABC News, 5 September 2012
A court has granted a temporary injunction to stop test drilling for coal seam gas at Fullerton Cove in New South Wales.


Better co-ordination needed for climate change aid in Pacific
Radio Australia, 3 September 2012
One of the reports released on the sidelines of the Forum in Cook Islands was a report on funding for climate change projects.

Science reporting banished to the ‘fast-food news ghetto’
Lyndal Byford, Australian Science Media Centre, 4 September 2012
Looking through the lists of journalists who have fallen as a result of cuts at News Limited and Fairfax, it’s hard not to notice that science, health and environment reporters have really suffered.

How polluters can cream the carbon scheme
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 5 September 2012
A poorly appreciated aspect of the Australian carbon trading scheme is that a number of large industrial plants will be given more free permits than they need to meet their liability.
Coal-fired stations '$1b better off under carbon tax'
ABC News, 6 September 2012
Australia's dirtiest coal-fired power stations are up to $1 billion better off because of the Federal Government's carbon tax package, according to new analysis by a private economic forecaster.

Campbell Newman’s war on green energy
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 6 September 2012
It looks like the clean energy industry is going to have to go back to basics when dealing with the new conservative government in Queensland – just as it has had to do in Victoria, with that state’s Coalition government.

Court rejects global warming challenge
News24, 7 September 2012
New Zealand's High Court on Friday dismissed a challenge launched by climate change sceptics against a government research agency's finding that the temperature had risen in the past century.

Councils can jettison UN sea-rise rules
Ean Higgins, The Australian, September 08, 2012
The O'Farrell government will ditch UN sea-level rise predictions as the basis for coastal management, after local council decisions based on what climate change might do by the end of the century shattered waterfront property values.


Food prices soaring thanks to global warming
Simon Copland, Crikey, 5 September 2012
A report released by the World Bank in late August showed that global food prices rose by 10% in July. The price hike has been largely due to the massive heatwaves and droughts that have swept across the United States and eastern Europe over the past few months, causing havoc for farmers, destroying crops across the continents.

"If 2013 breaks heat record, how will deniers respond?"
Stefan Rahmstorf, New Scientist, 3 September 2012
With an El NiƱo on the way, 2013 could be the warmest year on record. But the climate-denial machine will keep on churning.

A great silence is spreading over the natural world'
John Vidal, Guardian, 3 September 2012
Bernie Krause has spent 40 years recording nature's sounds. But such is the rate of species and habitat loss that his tapes may become our only record of the original diversity of life.

Glacial thinning has sharply accelerated at major South American icefields
Earth & Climate, September 5, 2012
For the past four decades scientists have monitored the ebbs and flows of the icefields in the southernmost stretch of South America's vast Andes Mountains, detecting an overall loss of ice as the climate warms. A new study, however, finds that the rate of glacier thinning has increased by about half over the last dozen years in the Southern Patagonian Icefield, compared to the 30 years prior to 2000.

2040: Here comes the endless global summer
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 4 September 2012
If you’re wondering what the worst-case might look like, then the UK Met Office has what you are looking for: Catastrophic climate change, 13-18°F over most of U.S. and 27°F in the Arctic, could happen in 50 years, but “we do have time to stop it if we cut greenhouse gas emissions soon.”

Climate change: coming to a tap near you
Sara Phillips, ABC Environment, 6 September 2012
Australia's drinking water supplies may be at risk from threats from left field, according to two recent scientific reports. Climate change is implicated in both of them. It's evidence, as if we needed any more, that the consequences of climate change may be entirely unexpected.

Destroyed Coastal Habitats Produce Significant Greenhouse Gas
ScienceDaily, Sep. 6, 2012
Destruction of coastal habitats may release as much as 1 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, 10 times higher than previously reported, according to a new Duke-led study.

Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure in Victoria Report