11 March 2012

Climate News

 Week ending 11 March 2012


Concern over Greenland warming: tipping point at 1.6C warming?
AFP/Oman Observer, 10 March 2012
The Greenland ice sheet is more sensitive to global warming than thought, for just a relatively small — but very long term — temperature rise would melt it completely, according to a study published.

Perth swelters through record 8th summer heatwave
ABC News, 11 March 2011
Perth is sweltering through the eighth heatwave of the summer and autumn seasons, the first time such an event has happened since records started being kept in 1897AND
Bureau of Meteorology Special Climate Statement 39: Exceptional heavy rainfall across southeast Australia

Climate Change Consensus: A Simple Table for Comprehension
A.Siegel, HuffPost blog, 23 February 2012
While scientific "debate" always continues and there are debates over many elements within and around climate science, here is a rather simple table to use to consider the extent of that "debate."

California Takes the Lead With New Climate Initiatives
Mark Hertsgaard, Environment360, 8 March 2012
Long ahead of the rest of the U.S. on environmental policy, California is taking bold steps to tackle climate change — from committing to dramatic reductions in emissions, to establishing a cap-and-trade system, to mandating an increase in zero-emission vehicles. The bottom line, say state officials, is to foster an economy where sustainability is profitable.

Voters call for action on climate change
Adam Morton, The Age, March 9, 2012 
As the Baillieu government prepares to reveal the future of Victoria's climate change laws, a poll has found two-thirds of Coalition voters think the state has a responsibility to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

James Hansen’s Must-See TED Talk: Starting To Reduce CO2 In 10 Years Is Too Late
Dan Miller, Climate Progress, 8 March 2012
NASA climate scientist James Hansen gave a talk at the TED conference in Long Beach, CA on February 29th where he laid out the case for taking urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Five things we learned this week
The merit order effect is killing gas in Europe  


Has government lost the ability to assess CSG?
ABC PM, 8 March 2012
Two of Australia's leading hydrologists say governments have lost the ability to effectively regulate coal seam gas. They say regulatory bodies have lost the skills and the manpower to assess the safety of the burgeoning industry.

The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom
Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, 1 March 2012
It’s not only toxic – it’s driven by a right-wing billionaire who profits more from flipping land than drilling for gas.

Behind the Seams: who's asking questions about coal seam gas and health?
David Shearman and Marion Carey, Crikey, 8 March 2012
Almost a quarter of the disease burden and deaths in the world can be attributed to environmental factors. We need clean air and water, and safe food to maximise our health at the most basic level.

Ohio Finds Fracking Waste Injection Well Caused 12 Earthquakes
Joe Romm, Climate Progress,  Mar 9, 2012
“A dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio were almost certainly induced by injection of gas-drilling wastewater into the earth,” Ohio oil and gas regulators said today.

Natural born drillers: Why shale gas won’t end our energy woes
Sharon Kelly, Grist, 9 March 2012
Right now the fossil fuel industry, utility execs, pundits, and politicians from both parties would like us to believe that natural gas will solve our chronic energy woes.

Gas Boom Brings Environmental Concerns
Patti Domm, CNBC, 6 March 2012
The shale gas energy industry needs to put in place better practices and reporting about "fracking" before public concerns delay or even stop use of the technology that has created a boom in U.S. natural gas production, according to the MIT professor who led President Obama's subcommittee on shale gas.


Reef madness: mining may not be the messiah
John Hepburn, AFR, 9 March 2012
The mining industry had a shot at “gotcha” politics this week when it got its hands on an anti-coal campaign plan by environmentalists, and leaked it to divert attention from the release of a critical United Nations report on the impact of mining on the Great Barrier Reef.

Miners might not dig a coal delay, but it makes sense
David Day, Canberra Times, 8 March 2012
There is a degree of political schizophrenia within the Labor government.

Australia's mining boom placing Great Barrier Reef at risk, UN warns
Oliver Milman, Guardian, 6 March 2012
Environmental team is assessing the reef amid concerns over rapid escalation in coal exports and gas exploration

Is the Great Barrier Reef listing? The UN asks if we’re still heritage-worthy
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, The Conversation, 7 March 2012
Obtaining a World Heritage listing for a national asset is a source of great pride for any country.

Have our coal miners never heard of climate risk?
Giles Parkinson, REnewEconomy, 8 March 2012
It’s been fascinating to watch the reaction of the mining industry and others to revelations that Greenpeace is seeking funds to stop the uncontrolled expansion of the thermal coal industry in Queensland and NSW.

David vs Goliath
John Hepburn, Greenpeace blog, 5 Mar 2012
Last week Greenpeace launched a vital new campaign for Australia. We’re taking on the massive coal mining and coal export expansion plans particularly in Queensland. These mega coal mines, coal port infrastructure and increases in coal shipping traffic not only spell disaster for our climate but for Australia’s national treasure – theGreat Barrier Reef.

Revealed: Coal under green attack
Matthew Stevens, Gemma Daley and Marcus Priest, AFR, 6 March 2012
Greenpeace is spearheading a ­campaign by green groups, including Wotif founder Graeme Wood’s ­foundation, to raise up to $6 million to disrupt and delay new coalmines and infrastructure in a bid to make some unviable.

Why our Great Barrier Reef is the cheapest dump going
Lionel Elmore, Crikey, 6 March 2012
The Australian committee of the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) has warned of a tenfold increase in shipping on the Great Barrier Reef associated with existing and proposed port development projects. Much of it will be going through channels within a marine park far narrower than the English Channel.

Greenpeace defends leaked anti-coal campaign
Brigit Anderson, ABC News, 6 March 2012
Trade Minister Craig Emerson has accused Greenpeace of living in "fantasy land" and flirting with the risk of a global recession after details of the environmental group's plans to fight coal mining were leaked to the media. 


A peak at Australia's energy potential
Mark Diesendorf, Climate Spectator, 8 March 2012
A recent contribution to the debate over electricity futures for Australia comes from the Grattan Institute report ‘No quick fix for Australia’s future energy challenge’.

Now US says solar PV to be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020
Giles Parkinson, REnewEconomy, 5 March 2012
The sharp slump in solar PV prices has caused a dramatic re-evaluation of the technology cost and potential for solar by the world’s largest energy consumers – the US, China, and India – over the last three months.

Deutsche Bank: Big Energy Efficiency Push Could Save Americans $1 Trillion, Cut CO2 10%, Create 3 Million Jobs
Zachary Rybarczyk, Climate Progress, 4 March 2012
Scaling up energy efficiency retrofits around the U.S. could save an estimated $1 trillion over the next 10 years while creating 3.3 million job years for a wide range of skilled workers, according to study released this week from Deutsche Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation.


It's time for the gloves to come off on climate change
William Brent, GreenWiz, March 07, 2012
The people who accept climate change as a real threat need to accept that they have failed to get other people to accept climate change as a real threat.

Will the techno-optimists save the world?
Paul Gilding, REnewEconomy, 7 March 2012
I’m writing this on my way home from speaking at the annual TED gathering in Long Beach California, where 1,500 people gathered to listen to what the organisers call “Ideas Worth Spreading”. TED has always been an influential gathering, but then they put some of the talks online and, with over 500 million views, their global reach as a spreader of ideas has become quite a phenomenon.

Dismantling Consumer Society
It is one thing to identify social values responsible for our environmental predicament and quite another to replace them with values conducive to ecological health.

Global warming skepticism rose as the economy tanked
Doyle Rice, USA Today, 8 March 2012
Americans' skepticism about global warming has increased over the past few years, and a recent study says that the dismal economy is the prime reason. 


Developer may sue to trigger rethink on sea level rises
Ben Cubby, SMH, March 6, 2012
Cracks are appearing in the state's response to rising sea levels, with one council facing potential legal action from a developer and other residents worried about planning controls and insurance risks.

Hunt's scare tactics 'misleading'
Lenore Taylor, SMH, March 7, 2012
The Coalition's climate spokesman Greg Hunt has been accused of deliberately misleading the public after twice falsely claiming the government's Climate Commission would ''set tax rates and set electricity prices''.

Resource sector chipping away at Australian prosperity
Shahar Hameiri and Toby Carroll, ABC Unleashed, 7 March 2012
Treasurer Wayne Swan's article in The Monthly has provided a much-needed antidote to the Labor Government's timidity in the face of the resources sector in Australia.

Why the good times don't feel so great
Jessica Irvine, 7 March 2012
Someone's getting filthy rich out of this resurgent mining boom, but it ain't the federal government.


Climate change made the drought worse, scientists say
Colin McDonald, San Antonio Express-Newsy, March 5, 2012
Several scientists at NASA and the state climatologist say the record-setting heat and drought of last summer in Texas was made worse by climate change.

Linking Weird Weather to Rapid Warming of the Arctic
Jennifer Francis, Yale360, 5 March 2012
The loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the rapid warming of the Far North are altering the jet stream over North America, Europe, and Russia.

Mesoamerican Coral Reef on the Way to Becoming a Marine Desert
Danilo Valladares, IPS, 7 Mrch 2012
Scientific studies show that global warming is causing irreversible damage to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the world�s second largest coral reef, yet efforts to protect this biologically and economically vital ecosystem remain insufficient.

The Real and Predicted Effects of Sea Level Rise
Christopher Bartlett, Ecology, March 5, 2012
“The impact of sea level rise on developing countries: a comparative analysis,” the continued growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and associated global warming could well promote SLR of 1-3m (3-10 feet) in this century.
Sea level rise claims cause massive rise in home insurance
Sea level rise primer

UK nuclear sites at risk of flooding, report shows
Rob Edwards, Guardian, 7 March 2012
Rising sea levels because of climate change put 12 of 19 sites at risk, unpublished government analysis shows