14 October 2012

Climate News

Week ending 14 October 2012

Extreme Weather Photo Contest Winner: Ormond Shelf, by Jason Weingart
FEATURED

Climate change behind rise in weather disasters
http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2012/10/10/weather-disasters-climate-change-munich-re-report/1622845/
USA Today, 10 October 2012
The number of natural disasters per year has been rising dramatically on all continents since 1980, but the trend is steepest for North America where countries have been battered by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, searing heat and drought, a new report says. The study being released today by Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance firm, sees climate change driving the increase and predicts those influences will continue in years ahead, though a number of experts question that conclusion.

PICKS OF THE WEEK

The food security risk index – map
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/graphic/2012/oct/10/food-security-risk-index-map
Guardian, 10 October 2012
The index has been developed by the risk analysis company Maplecroft for governments, NGOs and business to use as a barometer to identify those countries which may be susceptible to famine and societal unrest stemming from food shortages and price fluctuations. This map shows the results of evaluating the availability, access and stability of food supplies in 197 countries, as well as the nutritional and health status of populations
AND
UN warns of rising food costs after year's extreme weather
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/10/un-rising-food-costs-weather
John Vidal, Rebecca Smithers and Shiv Malik, Guardian, 10 October 2012
Warning comes as shops struggle to fill shelves and farmers' union reports wheat yields are at lowest level since 1980s.

Climate scientist loses faith in the IPCC
http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-scientist-loses-faith-in-the-ipcc-20121011-27fk8.html
Ben Cubby, The Age, October 12, 2012
As the world's elite global warming experts begin poring over the
drafts of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report
this week, one leading scientist doesn't believe the process should be
happening at all.

Are we deliberately destroying the Great Barrier Reef?
http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/10/05/why-we-are-deliberately-planning-to-destroy-the-great-barrier-reef/
Chris McGrath, Crikey, 5 October 2012
We know the Great Barrier Reef is in trouble. It’s time to admit that our climate policies will contribute to its ultimate destruction, argues Dr Chris McGrath.

The meaning of the wild
http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2012/10/09/3606195.htm
Paul Kingsnorth, ABC Environment, 9 Oct 2012
What is 'wild'? It seems to be an increasingly common question. A slew of books have been published in the last few years about wild places, wild living, wild food, the end of the wild, redefining the wild, rediscovering the wild ... As the industrial economy eats further and further into the world beyond the human bubble, something within us seems to respond; some alarm bell seems to ring. As we lose more and more wilderness, we grow more and more fascinated with what we are losing.

On the cusp of global collapse? Updated comparison of the Limits to Growth with historical data
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/oekom/gaia/2012/00000021/00000002/art00010
Graham Turner,  Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 21(2), 116-124.
The Limits to Growth standard run scenario produced 40 years ago continues to align well with historical data that has been updated in this paper, following a 30-year comparison by the author. The scenario results in collapse of the global economy and environment, and subsequently the population.
[email dspratt@bigpond.net.au if you would like the full article]

ENERGY AND INNOVATION

Thousands join stop CSG protests across NSW
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-13/thousands-join-stop-csg-protests-across-nsw/4311470
ABC News, 13 October 2012
Up to 3,000 people have donned yellow clothing in the New South Wales north coast town of Murwillumbah as they march in protest to coal seam gas mining. They were joined by about 1,000 protesters in Sydney's inner-west, who formed a human sign spelling out "Stop CSG".

Shale Gas Industry Brings PSYOPs and Spy Ops to Poland
http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/10/10/shale-gas-industry-brings-psyops-and-spy-ops-poland
Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog, 10 October 2012      
Roughly a year ago today in Houston, the shale gas industry was caught red-handed discussing its use of military tactics and personnel on U.S. soil to intimidate and divide communities in order to continue its fracking bonanza.

Will energy consumers finally benefit from the merit order effect?
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/will-energy-consumers-finally-benefit-from-the-merit-order-effect-41625
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 8 October 2012
Consumers in NSW stand to benefit – at least partially – from the merit order effect of green energy after the state government instructed the pricing regulator to change the way it calculates the wholesale energy price  component of retail electricity bills.

Doors open on Walkaway solar farm
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-10/doors-open-on-walkaway-solar-farm/4305474
ABC News, Oct 10, 2012
Australia's first large-scale solar farm open for business in the State's mid-west.
AND
Australia’s solar field of dreams
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/australias-solar-field-of-dreams-57318

Burke approves new Abbot Point coal terminal
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-10/burke-approves-new-abbot-point-coal-terminal/4305114
Melissa Maddison and Megan Woodward, ABC News, 10 October 2012
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has approved a proposed new coal terminal at the Abbot Point port near Bowen in north Queensland.

The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628850.200-the-sickening-truth-about-wind-farm-syndrome.html
Simon Chapman, New Scientist, 8 October 2013
Hilltop turbines are being blamed for myriad maladies. What is the truth behind these outlandish claims?

Fear of Fracking: Germany Balks on Natural Gas Bonanza
http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/safety-worries-lead-germany-to-shun-fracking-for-natural-gas-a-859446.html
Christian Wüst, Spiegel Online, 5 October 2012
Using a method known as "fracking," Germany could exploit domestic sources to meet its natural gas needs for 20 years. But safety worries have prompted government authorities to refrain from granting the permits that companies need to use the controversial technique.

More US coal plants to retire due to green rules: study
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/08/us-utilities-brattle-coal-idUSBRE8970LV20121008
Scott DiSavino, Reuters, 8 October 2012
More U.S. coal-fired power plants could retire due to environmental regulations and weaker-than-expected electric demand, costing the industry up to $144 billion, economists at consultancy Brattle Group said.

Solar chases the magic million
http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/solar-chases-magic-million
Ray Wills, Climate Spectator, 10 October 2012
The latest data from the Australian Clean Energy Regulator shows that more than 858,000 homes in Australia are now equipped with solar photovoltaic panels, totalling almost 2 GW of installed capacity in solar PV, according to the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia.

POLITICS AND POLICY

Climate Change, Narcissism, Denial, Apocalyptic Anxiety
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-d-stolorow/climate-change-narcissism_b_1945267.html
Robert Stolorow, Huffington Post, 10 October 2012
On October 5, 2012, on the front page of The Huffington Post, appeared a terrifying image of melting arctic ice, accompanied by the chilling headline, "Arctic Ice Melt and Sea Level Rise May Be 'Decades Ahead Of Schedule.'" Why have the majority of Americans and American politicians been largely oblivious to this extreme threat? I believe there are two principal reasons.
AND
Why do we play down the horror of climate change?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/11/why-play-down-horror-climate-change
Jonathon Porritt, Guardian Environment Network, 11 October 2012
Why do we moderate the 'scary' impacts of global warming to avoid alienating people

Norway to double carbon tax on oil industry
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/11/norway-carbon-tax-oil
Severin Carrell, Guardian, 11 October 2012
Extra funding for climate change mitigation and forestry programmes also part of oil-rich nation's radical programme

Polls Show Jump in US Climate Awareness
http://climatecrocks.com/2012/10/09/polls-show-jump-in-us-climate-awareness/
Peter Sinclair, 9 October 2012
Nothing like getting slammed with a 2 x 4 to focus the mind. As I promised, here’s new polling data shows that weather extremes are finally starting to be recognized as symptoms of climate change.
AND
Yale Poll: ‘Large And Growing Majority Of Americans’ Say ‘Global Warming Is Affecting Weather In The United States’
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/12/979731/yale-poll-large-and-growing-majority-of-americans-say-global-warming-is-affecting-weather-in-the-united-states/

Denial is no longer an option: An open letter to MPs on the global climate emergency
http://rabble.ca/news/2012/10/denial-no-longer-option-open-letter-arctic-and-global-climate-emergency
Bill Henderson, Rabble, 11 October 2012
The single best science article on this year's increasingly rapid melting of the Arctic ice cap is 'Arctic Sea Ice: What, Why and What Next' by Ramez Naam, at the Scientific American website. Clearly written, superbly detailed, insightful and measured, Dr. Naam explains what is happening, why, and the importance of this signal symptom of climate change.

Say Goodbye To The Reef
http://newmatilda.com/2012/10/11/say-goodbye-reef
Ben Eltham, New Matilda, 11 October 2012
The Great Barrier Reef is in decline. The Gillard Government hasn't yet renewed funding for an important reef protection program - and Tony Burke has just approved a massive coastal coal port expansion, writes

Higher taxes would help prevent crushing austerity and a climate calamity
http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/its-the-tax-base-stupid-20121008-2798v.html
Boris Frankel, The Age, 9 Octpber 2012
Away from the political circus of the 24-hour news cycle, Australia remains a profoundly unequal society.

Wyong council changes sea level rise policy
http://express-advocate-wyong.whereilive.com.au/news/story/wyong-council-changes-sea-level-rise-policy/
Erriol Smith, Wyong Express Advocate, 12 Ocober 2012
Thousand of Wyong Shire residents have been given a financial reprieve after the council this week changed its sea level rise projections.

SCIENCE AND IMPACTS

NOAA Bombshell: Warming-Driven Arctic Ice Loss Is Boosting Chance of Extreme U.S. Weather
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/11/989231/noaa-bombshell-warming-driven-arctic-ice-loss-is-boosting-chance-of-extreme-us-weather/
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, October 11, 2012
Two new studies make a strong case that global warming is driving an intensification of high-pressure anomalies that in turn make North American weather more extreme.
AND
Researchers find links between Arctic melting and summer floods and fires
http://www.eenews.net/public/climatewire/2012/10/11/1

Report: Climate change behind rise in weather disasters
http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2012/10/10/weather-disasters-climate-change-munich-re-report/1622845/
USA Today, 10 October 2012
The number of natural disasters per year has been rising dramatically on all continents since 1980, but the trend is steepest for North America where countries have been battered by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, searing heat and drought, a new report says. The study being released today by Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance firm, sees climate change driving the increase and predicts those influences will continue in years ahead, though a number of experts question that conclusion.

Rising milk prices affect foods from pizza to nachos
http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/food-and-drink/rising-milk-prices-affect-foods-pizza-nachos
Eve Troeh, Marketplace, October 10, 2012
As milk prices increase, how might it impact your Starbucks coffee? View this infographic explainer to find out. Extreme drought this summer meant higher prices to feed dairy cows, and now the U.S. faces the smallest dairy herd in almost a decade. That means higher milk prices, and not just for the kind you drink.

Glaciers Cracking in the Presence of Carbon Dioxide
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010191749.htm
ScienceDaily, Oct. 10, 2012
 The well-documented presence of excessive levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere is causing global temperatures to rise and glaciers and ice caps to melt.

Warm North Atlantic ocean causing UK's wet summers, study shows
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/oct/07/north-atlantic-ocean-wet-summer
Damian Carrington, Guardian, 7 October 2012
Data points to link between warmer oceans and the change in weather, and the possibility of a rapid reversal to drier climate.

New chapter in global warming?
http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/new-chapter-global-warming
Michael D Lemonick, Climate Central, 11 Oct 2012
It’s been called the Methane Bomb – a stash of gas buried under the Arctic seafloor whose heat-trapping power is much greater, molecule for molecule, than the carbon dioxide people usually worry about.

Future under threat: climate change and children’s health
http://theconversation.edu.au/future-under-threat-climate-change-and-childrens-health-9750
Brad Farrant, The Conversation, 9 October 2012
Climate change has been widely recognised by leading public health organisations and prestigious peer reviewed journals as the the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.

Why we can't bank on recessions to keep global warming in check
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/oct/08/recessions-global-warming-check
Duncan Clark, Guardian, 8 October 2012
Carbon emissions and GDP rise together almost in lockstep, but emissions are slower to fall when economies contract

Scientists Close in on the Cause of Arctic Methane Leaks
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/scientists-close-in-on-the-cause-of-arctic-methane-leaks-15090
Michael D. Lemonick, Climate Central, 8 October 2012
It’s been called the Methane Bomb — a stash of gas buried under the Arctic seafloor whose heat-trapping power is much greater, molecule for molecule, than the carbon dioxide people usually worry about.

Weather-Making High-Pressure Systems Predicted to Intensify
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121005123904.htm
ScienceDaily, Oct. 5, 2012
High-pressure systems over oceans, which largely determine the tracks of tropical cyclones and hydrological extremes in much of the northern hemisphere, are likely to intensify this century

Arctic sea ice collapse triggers record Greenland icesheet melt
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/arctic-sea-ice-collapse-triggers-record-greenland-icesheet-melt/4302378
ABC RN Breakfast, 9 October 2012
This year's record melt in northern latitudes has surprised - even shocked - many climate scientists

Why sea ice records are poles apart
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22349-why-sea-ice-records-are-poles-apart.html
Peter Aldhous, New Scientist, 8 October 2012
September saw records for sea ice set at both ends of the Earth. Just a couple of weeks after Arctic ice reached a new low, a record high for sea ice extent was recorded around Antarctica. New Scientist puts these records in context.


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