04 November 2012

Climate News

Week ending 4 November 2012


Note: The impact of Superstorm Sandy is the biggest climate story of the year. What happened corresponds with much of the scientific research, and it has changed the political landscape. Our picks of the week focus on this agenda-changing event


Hurricane Sandy and the Climate Connection
Given the unprecedented nature of this event, many people are asking whether it was caused by or its impacts amplified by global warming, and many others are of course trying to deny any hurricane-climate links.  There is actually a fairly simple answer to this question: human-caused climate change amplified the hurricane's impacts.

How Global Warming Made Hurricane Sandy Worse
Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, October 31, 2012
As officials begin the arduous task of pumping corrosive seawater out of New York City’s subway system and try to restore power to lower Manhattan, and residents of the New Jersey Shore begin to take stock of the destruction, experts and political leaders are asking what Hurricane Sandy had to do with climate change.

How Does Climate Change Make Superstorms Like Sandy More Destructive?
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 31 October 2012
Climate science explains how global warming can make a superstorms like Sandy more destructive in several ways.

Scientists look at climate change, the superstorm
Set Borenstein, Associated Press, Oct 30, 2012
Some individual parts of Sandy and its wrath seem to be influenced by climate change, several climate scientists said.

Superstorm Sandy and the climate debate surge
Stephan Lewandowsky, ABC Unleashed, 31 October 2012
Nearly all weather events now have a contribution from climate change and it is up to us to manage and reduce that risk with mitigative action.

Hurricane Sandy: the new normal?
Gary W Yohe, The Conversation, 30 October 2012
Are we now experiencing the “new normal” climate? Let’s look at the recent evidence.

Hurricane Sandy mixes super-storm conditions with climate change
Kevin Trenberth, The Conversation, 29 October 2012
As I write this, Hurricane Sandy remains a very large, powerful hurricane. On Sunday afternoon (local time), Sandy brought winds gusting to 103km/h to coastal North Carolina

Sandy superstorm 'made worse' by climate change
Sara Everingham, ABC AM, November 3, 2012
As we've just heard the massive recovery from Hurricane Sandy is continuing in the US.


It's Global Warming, Stupid
Paul M. Barrett, Business Week, November 01, 2012
Yes, yes, it’s unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us—and they’re right—that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all.

In wake of Sandy, media may finally be willing to discuss climate change
Philip Bump, Grist, 1 November 2012
Yesterday, Wen Stephenson, a former Boston Globe editor (and occasional Grist contributor), described how the paper’s inaction on climate change prompted him to focus on activism from outside the media. Perhaps he should have stuck around a bit longer.

Sandy forces climate change on US election despite fossil fuel lobby
Bill McKibben, Guardian, 31 October 2012
Such is Big Energy's hold on DC, neither Obama nor Romney talk about climate change. But Americans are joining the dots

Sandy's Legacy? Vote As If Future Generations Depend On It
Paul Douglas, Huffington Post, 2 October 2012
Were you impacted by "Nor'easter-cane" Sandy?" Statisticians will debate whether it was a 1 in 100 year storm -- or something worse. Insurance companies will calculate how many tens or hundreds of billions of dollars were lost. It will be a big number, probably the most expensive storm clean-up and recovery in American history. It's "media hype" until it injures your loved ones, cuts the power, floods your home, or shuts down your small business.

Bloomberg Endorses Obama, Challenges Climate Change Silence
Amy Davidson, New Yorker, November 1, 2012
What is most striking about Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of Barack Obama—announced, unexpectedly, on Thursday afternoon—is that it could not be ascribed to a single aspect of the Mayor’s persona or philosophy


Billion-Dollar Disasters Mount: Superstorm Sandy Adds To Record Heat, Drought, And Wildfires For The U.S.
Daniel J. Weiss and Jackie Weidman, Climate Progress, 1 November 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of Americans harmed by Hurricane Sandy. Its devastating winds, rains, and ocean surges caused a huge swath of destruction in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States before dumping vast quantities of snow in the Midwest.

Hurricane Sandy cost may hit $50 billion
AP, 30 October 2012
Superstorm will cost about $20 billion in property damages and another $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business.

Sandy hits poor hardest of all
Susie Cagle, Grist, 1 November 2012
Along the Eastern seaboard, Sandy devastated the rich and poor alike. But they’ve not been equally equipped to deal with that devastation.

Flood risk will rise with climate change, experts say
Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, 1 November 2012
As the Northeast struggles with the aftermath of the massive storm Sandy, many experts say the government for years has underestimated how much of the nation is prone to flooding, given the increasing likelihood of extreme weather because of climate change and the prospect of future sea level rise.


Coal? It’s Over
Mike Seccombe, Global Mail, October 29, 2012
There are good reasons — both ecological and economic — to think the slowdown in demand for coal is not a slump, but the start of a post-coal world.

Why Australia must stop exporting coal
Peter Christoff, The Conversation, 2 November 2012
Why get worked up about our climate responsibilities when Australia’s contribution to global emissions – around 1.5% of the total – is small?

Coal resurgence threatens climate change targets
Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 29 October 2012
Biggest increase in coal usage for 50 years could throw the UK's green ambitions off course

Geoengineering: Testing the Waters
Naomi Klein, NYT, 27 October 2012
FOR almost 20 years, I’ve been spending time on a craggy stretch of British Columbia’s shoreline called the Sunshine Coast. This summer, I had an experience that reminded me why I love this place, and why I chose to have a child in this sparsely populated part of the world.

Baillieu faced with falling polls and rising 'TWIMBYs'
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 29 April 2012
Castlemaine community wind project galvanises Victorian wind proponents and gives rise to new term – Turbines Wanted in My Backyard.

Mitt Romney's Fracking Hit List
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 2 November 2012
The top 10 targets for destructive drilling if Romney is elected


We cannot avoid the global crisis… but we can deal with it
Paul Gilding, ReNewEconomy, 1 November 2012
Speech by Paul Gilding delivered to the AGM of World Business Council for Sustainable Development Seoul, South Korea on October 31st, 2012.

Carbon price won’t halt Australia’s emissions
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 2 November 2012
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has just released its latest emissions projections out to 2030. In spite of the introduction of a carbon price, Australia’s emissions will continue to rise to 2020 due largely to expansion in liquefied natural gas, as well as a bizarre one-year blip in emissions from land-use activities.

Scientific consensus shifts public opinion on climate change
Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation, 29 October 2012
People are more likely to believe that humans cause global warming if they are told that 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that it does, a new study has found.

Will our infrastructure stand up to extreme weather?
John Connor and Stella Whittaker, Climate Spectator, 29 October 2012
Slowly but surely businesses and governments around the world have begun confronting the reality that, in the not-too-distant future, they will need to respond to more extreme weather events and rising climate risks which will challenge their assets, supply chains, core infrastructure and social stability


Climate change poses hazard to infrastructure, report says
Katina Curtis, AAP, October 29, 201
AS a land of droughts and flooding rains, Australia should be well prepared for the extreme weather that climate change will bring - but it isn't.

Climate change, fire may wipe out Australia’s giant gum trees
Megan Clement and David Bowman, The Conversation, 2 November 2012
As Australia gears up for another risky bushfire season this summer, some of its most iconic and valuable forests are at risk.

Flood risk will rise with climate change, experts say
Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, November 2, 2012
As the Northeast struggles with the aftermath of the massive storm Sandy, many experts say the government for years has underestimated how much of the nation is prone to flooding, given the increasing likelihood of extreme weather because of climate change and the prospect of future sea level rise.

Wild Weather Doesn’t Have to Cause a Malthusian Nightmare
Editors Oct 29, 2012 9:30 AM ET
Almost 1 billion people around the world don’t get enough to eat. Climate change, which is already contributing to food-price increases in poor and prosperous countries alike, promises to make it even harder to feed a growing population.

Corporations Profiting Out Of Food Crisis
Simon Butler, ZNet, October 27, 2012
The United Nations has warned that world grain reserves have fallen to critically low levels as world food prices have risen to levels close to that of 2008 — a year in which food riots took place in more than 30 countries.

Food switch could offset climate threat to staples - study
Megan Rowling, AlertNet, 31 October 2012
Climate change could significantly depress yields of maize, wheat and rice, constrain supplies of animal protein, and force a rethink of diets and the crops farmers grow, say researchers.

Farming may contribute a third of emissions, study finds
SMH, 31 October 2012
Food production accounts for up to 29 per cent of man-made greenhouse gases, twice the amount the United Nations has estimated comes from farming, a study published on Wednesday said.

Rising Sea Levels
Bryan Walker, Hot Topic, October 29, 2012
Of all the consequences of human-caused global warming, sea level rise has always held special alarm for me in its inexorability, its extension into the future, and the enormous disruption it threatens to centres of high population and essential infrastructure.