01 April 2012

Climate News

Week ending 1 April 2012


From Giles Parkinson on the race to the bottom by three State Liberal Premiers:
“There is a saying going around that the world did not leave the Stone Age because it ran out of stones. But what is the chance of it returning there if it runs out of brains?”


National US Record Events For March 2012
An amazing map!

Connecting the dots: climate impacts day 5 May 2012
It’s time to Connect the Dots between climate change and extreme weather. Protest, educate, document and volunteer along with thousands of people around the world to support the communities on the front lines of the climate crisis

6 Things You Should Know About The Value Of Renewable Energy
Adam James, 29 March 2012

Baillieu’s anti-climate strategy doesn’t add up
Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Climate Spectator, 29 March 2012
My father once explained to me a theory that a Premier or Prime Minister was either a Leader, or a Smart Economic Manager. In his opinion, Whitlam was a Leader while Howard was a Smart Economic Manager.
Vic govt abandons high emission target
The Baillieu government drops an election commitment to bring in limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new coal-fired power plants.

Newman takes aim at climate and renewables
Giles Parkinson, REnewEconomy, 27 March 2012
Newly elected Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is expected to move quickly to disband the state’s climate change and renewable energy programs, raising questions about whether the state’s $75 million contribution to the Solar Dawn project will remain intact.
The dawn of a Queensland solar nightmare?

State of the planet and permafrost
PhysOrg.com, March 26, 2012
Time is running out to minimize the risk of setting in motion irreversible and long-term climate change and other dramatic changes to Earth's life support system, according to scientists speaking at the Planet Under Pressure conference, which began in London today.


Connecting the dots: climate impacts day 5 May 2012

Sea level rise action guide
Stand in solidarity with front line communities

Connecting the dots: A communications guide to climate change and extreme weather
March 2012
Guidelines for communicating about the connections between extreme weather and climate change to help the public understand how individual events are part of a larger trend.

Framing the way to relate climate extremes to climate change
Kevin E. Trenberth, Climatic Change, 21 March 2012
The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.   

How Global Warming Sharply Increases The Likelihood Of ‘Outlandish’ Heat Waves
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 28 March 2012
The full 592-page (!) IPCC extreme weather report is out. Like most Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports it has some value for people who don’t follow the science closely, which is to say the overwhelming majority of the media and policymakers.

Climate change panel warns of severe storms, heatwaves and floods
Associated Press/Guardian, 28 March 2012
Prepare for unprecedented onslaught of deadly weather disasters, report says, claiming global warming causing crisis

A decade of weather extremes
Dim Coumou & Stefan Rahmstorf, Nature Climate Change, 25 March 2012
The ostensibly large number of recent extreme weather events has triggered intensive discussions, both in- and outside the scientific community, on whether they are related to global warming. Here, we review the evidence and argue that for some types of extreme — notably heatwaves, but also precipitation extremes — there is now strong evidence linking specific events or an increase in their numbers to the human influence on climate.
Extreme Weather of Last Decade Part of Larger Pattern Linked to Global Warming

“Strong” Links of Manmade Heat, Rainfall Extremes: Study
Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, March 27, 2012
Following on the heels of the March heat wave, which was one of the most remarkable extreme weather events on record in the U.S., are two new scientific papers that discuss the relationship between extreme weather events and global climate change.

IPCC Special report: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)

As IPCC launches report on extreme weather, documentary connects the dots on devastating Texas drought


Why generators are terrified of solar
Giles Parkinson, REnewEconomy, 26 March 2012
Here is a pair of graphs that demonstrate most vividly the merit order effect and the impact that solar is having on electricity prices in Germany; and why utilities there and elsewhere are desperate to try to reign in the growth of solar PV in Europe.

The end for coal?
John Kemp, Climate Spectator, 30 Mar 2012
Proposed emission rules for new power plants unveiled by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 27 spell the gradual demise of coal-fired power generation and entrench the current cost advantage for natural gas.

Plastics put solar on the verge, again
Doug Struck, Daily Climate, March 21, 2012
Recent gains in the efficiency, lifespan and manufacturing of thin-film plastic solar panels have advocates convinced that, this time, solar really is on the verge of a revolution – even as the market crashes around them.

Top 5 nations that use renewable energy.
Christian Science Monitor , 20 March 2012
Solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy made up only 1.3 percent of total global energy use in 2011, but that's up 15.5 percent from the previous year.

Denmark aims to get 50% of all electricity from wind power
BusinessGreen/Guardian Environment Network, 26 March 2012
The country aims to supply 35% of its total energy from renewables by 2020 and 100% by 2050

Coal executives will say anything
2 great videos from Sierra Club http://on.fb.me/GUHG36

US EPA to impose first greenhouse gas limits on power plants
Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, March 27, 2012
The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants as early as Tuesday, according to several people briefed on the proposal. The move could end the construction of conventional coal-fired facilities in the United States.

Climate change 'irrelevant' in coal mine decision
Paddy Manning, Business Day, March 27, 2012
Queensland’s Land Court has recommended the state government approve Xstrata Coal’s massive new thermal coal mine at Wandoan, in the Surat Basin, and deemed objections based on the mine’s likely contribution to climate change as ‘‘irrelevant’’.

Saving the Arctic with geoengineering only costs 24 million euros
Rolf Schuttenhelm, BoS, March 26, 2012
But not to linger, waiting till tomorrow will cost much, much more

The merit order effect – actually, it’s a good thing
Matthew Wright. REnewEconomy,  28 March 2012
The Merit Order Effect, put simply, means lower electricity bills for consumers. That’s because it means lower-cost electricity in the wholesale market when additional renewables are introduced into the mix.

Scientists alarmed as coal pit gets go-ahead
ABC News, 28 March 2012
Climate scientists say a big coal mine set to go ahead on Queensland's Darling Downs will undermine Australia's efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

In a renewable world, baseload generation is redundant
Giles Parkinson, REnew Economy,  29 March 2012
Energy Minister Martin Ferguson revealed the tenuous nature of his understanding of solar technologies in an interview on ABC TV’s 7.30 Report on Tuesday, referring to Solar Flagships projects as “solar baseload power.”


Elwood: when poor planning and climate change collide at the coastline
David Spratt, ClimateCodeRed, 27 March 2012
If you wanted to see what happens when poor planning and climate change collide, the place to be last night was a floods forum in the Melbourne Bayside suburb of Elwood, which was subject to severe flooding a year ago.

Greg Hunt’s carbon illusion
Ben Rose, Climate Spectator, 27 March 2012
Like Labor, the Coalition has committed to reduce carbon emissions 5 per cent by 2020. But the Libs’ ‘Direct Action’ plan has been dubbed ‘soil magic’ because over 60 per cent of reductions – 85 million tonnes of CO2 per year – are to be taken up by soil.

Climate 2C goal 'out of reach'
AFP, March 28, 2012
THE UN's former climate chief said the Copenhagen Summit's global warming pledge is already already unattainable.

Fighting on the beaches as council orders retreat from climate change 'threat
Ean Higgins, The Australian, March 24, 2012
Like many working couples, Anne and Russell Secombe decided to find a place by the sea where they would eventually retire to live out the rest of their lives pursuing simple pleasures.

A flawed carbon pricing scheme lets states dump climate action
Alan Pears, The Conversation, 27 March 2012
In the past few days we have seen two states, Victoria and Queensland, announce cut-backs on action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They have been able to justify this by pointing out, correctly, that their actions would not cut Australia’s overall greenhouse gas emissions beyond the national target.

Lion's share for coal plants before the carbon tax bites
The Age, 30 March 2012
Victoria's dirtiest coal-fired power plants have snared the lion's share of $1 billion in energy industry carbon tax compensation - a concession that will protect jobs but slow the shift to renewable energy.


Arctic sea ice may have passed crucial tipping point
Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 27 March 2012
The disappearance of Arctic sea ice has crossed a "tipping point" that could soon make ice-free summers a  regular feature across most of the Arctic Ocean, says a British climate scientist who is setting up an early warning system for dangerous climate tipping points.

Global warming: Tracking permafrost meltdown
Bob Berwyn, SCSV, March 28, 2012
One of the biggest concerns related to global warming is that rapid permafrost melting in northern latitudes could release a massive surge of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Insights from the past into climatic impacts on human health and survival
Anthony J. McMichael, PNAS, 27 March 2012
Climate change poses threats to human health, safety, and survival via weather extremes and climatic impacts on food yields, fresh water, infectious diseases, conflict, and displacement.

On Solar Cycle Length and Global Warming
Klaus Flemløse, Skeptical Science, 22 March 2012 by
In the scientific debate on global warming and the sun/cosmic rays relations, Friis-Christensen et al. have produced several fascinating and inspiring ideas. New and alternative ideas are always welcome and they deserve recognition for their contribution. Not all ideas have passed the test by the scientific community. However, it is clear that they have started a scientific debate and as well as a blog debate on solar influence and cosmic rays.

Broad range of 2050 warming from an observationally constrained large climate model ensemble
Rowlands et al, Nature GeoScience, 25 March 2012
Predicted temperature increase by 2050 is 1.4-3C above 1960-1990 baseline (or 1.8-3.4C above 1890)

Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists
Nina Chestney, Reuters, March 26, 2012
The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

2C warming target 'out of reach' - ex UN climate chief
Richard Ingham, AFP, Mar 27, 2012
The UN's former climate chief on Tuesday said the global warming pledge he helped set at the Copenhagen Summit little more than two years ago was already unattainable.

West Antarctic Ice Shelves Tearing Apart at the Seams
ScienceDaily, Mar. 27, 2012
A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea.

Rapid warming in SE Australia challenges plans to adapt gradually
Roger Jones, The Conversation, 30 March 2012
Step changes in warming of a few tenths to 1°C can produce rapid changes in risks such as extreme heat and fire danger.