05 August 2012

Climate News

Week ending 5 August 2012
Arctic sea-ice volume (red line is 2012) from
Arctic Death Spiral Continues: Record Low Sea Ice Volume Appears Likely
Neven, Climate Progress, 4 August 2012
I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’re going to have a new record volume low, although the difference with 2010 and 2011 has become smaller. Right now it’s 1249 and 730 km3 respectively. 

More Arctic charts


Climate policy and our sphere of influence
Fergus Green, Inside Story, 2 August 2012
Our policies have focused on the small portion of emissions that we account for within Australia. It’s time to start thinking about how we can influence emissions beyond our borders.

Victory declared for the climate denialists
Graham Readfearn, The Drum, 2 August 2012
A victory has been declared in the field of climate change, but the lap of honour is not being run by research scientists or renewable energy bosses, or by coral reefs, drought-stricken farmers or the citizens of low-lying countries.
A Dark Victory: How vested interests defeated climate science
Robert Manne, The Monthly, August 2012
As greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, as evidence of global warming has continued to grow, as the unwillingness of the world to act to curb emissions has become increasingly clear, a determination not to notice the looming catastrophe has taken hold of large parts of the population.

Sustainability: the word you shouldn't use
Tony Calandro, Guardian, 3 August 2012
A new study shows that understanding a company's business objectives and avoiding sustainability jargon is the secret to successful sustainability leadership

Farmers: Biofuels Quota Exacerbating 'Food Crisis'
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, July 31, 2012
Some of the largest farmers in the US are warning the government that the mandated biofuels provisions that demand grain crops to be converted into ethanol for gasoline will make an impending "food crisis" much worse

Visualising climate change
How can some­thing that is largely ‘invis­ible’ be com­mu­nic­ated using visual tools? This is the ques­tion that Professor Stephen Sheppard asks in this guest blog post, sum­mar­ising some of the research in his new book ‘Visualizing Climate Change‘.


Climate Change Study Ties Recent Heat Waves To Global Warming
Seth Borenstein, Huffington Post, 4 August 2012
The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top government scientist.

Chronic 2000-04 Drought, Worst in 800 Years, May Be the 'New Normal'
ScienceDaily, July 29, 2012
The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the "new normal" for most of the coming century.

Perth on track for driest July on record
ABC News,  July 31, 2012
Perth is on track to record its driest July since records began more than 100 years ago. The city has received just 30 millimetres of rain this month, well below the 170 millimetre average

1988 vs 2012: How heat waves and droughts fuel climate perception
Nathanael Massey, ClimateWire, July 30, 2012
A crop-searing drought grips the Midwest and Southeast. In the Rocky Mountains, extraordinary "superfires" rip through thousands of acres of high-elevation pine. The Mississippi River runs so low that barge traffic must be slowed, at times suspended. Across the country, roads buckle under the heat.

Juiced by Climate Change: Extreme Weather On Steroids
Stephanie Hanson Damassa and Noreen Nielsen, CAP, 1 August 2012
The brutal summer of 2012 is what climate change looks like. It’s only the beginning of August, and yet nearly every corner of the United States has suffered through extreme weather such as oppressive heat waves, damaging storms, and devastating droughts and wildfires

When It Rains, It Pours: New Study Finds Extreme Snowstorms And Deluges Are Becoming More Frequent And More Severe
Climate Progress, July 31, 2012
As our climate warms, wet areas will generally get wetter (and dry areas drier). One of the consequences of global warming is the severity and frequency of rain and snow storms – fueled by the increase moisture in the atmosphere as the air warms.

Climate change the cause of summer's extreme weather, Congress told
Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian, 1 August 2012
IPCC scientists tell Senate committee drought, wildfires and hurricanes are becoming normal because of climate change.

'When It Rains, It Pours': Global Warming Brings Increased, Heavier Storms
Common Dreams, July 31, 2012
The impacts of human-caused global warming are being felt across the U.S. as increased and heavier storms -- predicted by climate scientists -- are confirmed in a report released Tuesday.


Project's woes raise questions about brown coal's future
Simon Lauder, TWT, July 31, 2012
The apparent failure of a brown coal power plant has cast doubt over Victoria's plans to become a major coal exporter.

Smelling a leak: Is the natural gas industry buying academics?
Tim McDonnell. Grist, 30 July 2012
Last week, the University of Texas provost announced he would reexamine a report by a UT professor that said fracking was safe for groundwater after the revelation that the professor pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Texas natural gas developer. It’s the latest fusillade in the ongoing battle over the basic facts of fracking in America

National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Solar Has The Most Potential Of Any Renewable Energy Source
Climate Progress,  July 30, 2012
A recently released study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, estimates that the technical potential of photovoltaic cells and concentrated solar power (CSP) in the United States is as much as 200,000 Gigawatts, enough to generate about 400,000 TWh of energy annually.

Shale gas extraction on the rise in Australia
ABC PM, 2 August 2012
The shale gas revolution that's causing huge controversy in the United States is gathering pace in Australia. Some proponents say shale gas production could be bigger than the coal seam industry.

Utility scale PV market in Australia “about to take off” – First Solar
Giles Parkinson, reneweconomy, 3 August 2012
US solar PV manufacturing giant First Solar has made a bullish assessment of the Australian market, saying the utility-scale sector is about to take off. But it may have more attractive options in markets such as Chile.

Devil in detail of Renewable Energy Target Review
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 3 August 2012
The Climate Change Authority is due to provide an issues paper this month outlining the kinds of things it will consider in its review of the Renewable Energy Target.

Australian energy cost estimates: experts respond
Andrew Blakers and Kenneth Baldwin,The Conversation, 31 July 2012
Renewable energy sources such such as solar photovoltaic and onshore wind could generate the lowest electricity costs in Australia by 2030, according to a report released today by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.

Record Efficiency for Next-Generation Solar Cells
ScienceDaily, July 29, 2012
Researchers ave made a breakthrough in the development of colloidal quantum dot (CQD) films, leading to the most efficient CQD solar cell ever.


Baillieu back-pedals on environmental protection
Kelly O'Shanassy, the Age, July 30, 2012
Bipartisan efforts to safeguard the environment appear to be over with the Baillieu government taking environmental protection backwards faster than any Victorian state government since the 1950s.

The new environmentalism: where men must act 'as gods' to save the planet
Paul Kingsnorth, Guardian, 1 August 2012
For the neogreens, science and business will provide while nature can adapt. It is a messsage gaining traction

We Can Reforest the Earth
Lester R. Brown, EPI, 31 July 2012
Protecting the 10 billion acres of remaining forests on earth and replanting many of those already lost are both essential for restoring the earth’s health.

Climate Emergency Action Plan
Sarah van Gelder, Yes, July 20, 2012
We can still avoid a devastating climate crisis. But we’ll need a World War II-level mobilization. And we’ll need to stand up to Dirty Energy

Carbon price gloom eases
Michelle Grattan, the Age, July 30, 2012
A majority of Australians say the carbon price's introduction has made no difference to them, according to an Age/Nielsen poll that shows Labor slightly narrowing the opposition's two-party lead.


Tightened constraints on the time-lag between Antarctic temperature and CO2 during the last deglaciation
We show that the increase in CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature by less than 400 yr and that even a short lead of CO2 over temperature cannot be excluded. This result, consistent for both CO2 records, implies a faster coupling between temperature and CO2 than previous estimates, which had permitted up to millennial-scale lag

Nature soaks up more greenhouse gases, brakes warming
Alister Doyle, Reuters, 1 August 2012
Oceans and land have more than doubled the amount of greenhouse gases they absorb since 1960 in new evidence that nature is helping to brake global warming, a study showed on Wednesday.

Greenland Meltdown Driven by Collapse of Glaciers at Ocean Outlets
David Biello, Scientific American, August 2, 2012
The interactions between the island's glaciers and the surrounding seas may be driving ice loss, according to aerial photographs

Climate Change’s Costs Hit the Plate
Thomas  Homer-Dixon, Toronto Globe and Mail, July 24, 20
In the past few years, agricultural scientists have shown that crops critical to humankind’s caloric supply – including corn and soybeans – are extremely sensitive to even short periods of high temperature. Output of these crops increases as the temperature rises to about 30 Celsius, but then it falls sharply as the temperature keeps rising.

Study Shows Planet Keeping Pace With CO2 Emissions
Michael D. Lemonick, Climate Central, August 1st, 2012
Climate change is a serious enough problem, but it could be a lot worse. About half of the carbon dioxide we’ve pumped into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels has been absorbed by plants and oceans, rather than staying in circulation to drive up temperatures.

Atmospheric CO2 Drove Climate Change During Longest Interglacial
ScienceDaily, July 31, 2012
Known as the marine isotope stage 11 (MIS 11), the interglacial period centered around 400,000 years ago was the longest and possibly the warmest interglacial in the past 0.5 million years.