44 Global Warming News Articles
for January of 2017
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source
1-29-17 How long will we be able to afford water?
How long will we be able to afford water?
en you think of water security, perhaps your mind turns to images of some nameless, faraway place where private water companies hike up rates on poor people desperate for water. It may come as a surprise, then, that 12 percent of Americans can't afford clean water in their homes, according to a new analysis. "If water rates rise at projected amounts over the next five years, conservative projections estimate that the percentage of U.S. households who will find water bills unaffordable could triple from 11.9 percent to 35.6 percent," Michigan State University assistant professor of geography Elizabeth Mack and MSU undergraduate Sarah Wrase write in PLoS One. Calculating water affordability can be a tricky task, since affordability is assessed by both how much water people use and how much they actually need — and what "need" even means — along with income, utility rates, and the reasonable cost for a household to spend on water. Mack and Wrase followed the Environmental Protection Agency, which estimates that the average American family of four uses about 400 gallons of water a day, or 12,000 each month, and that households should expect to pay 4.5 percent of their income on water. To determine both incomes and water utility rates, the pair relied on the American Water Works Association's 2014 Water and Wastewater Rate Survey, which includes data on median household income for those served by 187 water providers, as well as water bills as a percentage of median income. Piecing all of that information together, Mack and Wrase constructed a rough estimate for a four-person household's annual water bill: $1,440, which means the household would need to bring in at least $32,000 in income every year — meaning about 12 percent of American households can't afford a typical water bill, Mack and Wrase conclude.
1-28-17 World Bank loan scheme 'failing clean energy'
World Bank loan scheme 'failing clean energy'
A multi-billion dollar global fund is encouraging the construction of fossil fuel projects, at the expense of cleaner options, a study reports. An NGO said that some World Bank policy loans had the effect of supporting coal, gas and oil developments while undermining renewable schemes. It added the loans were intended to boost growth in the low carbon sector. The World Bank disputed the report's findings, saying it did not reflect the wider work it did with countries. The report by NGO Bank Information Center (BIC) looks at the Bank's Development Policy Finance (DPF) operations in four nations - Indonesia, Peru, Egypt and Mozambique. DPF is one of the main activities of the bank, accounting for about one-third of its funding (more than US $15 billion in 2016), according to the report's authors. The scheme provides funding for countries in exchange for the implementation of policy agreed by both the national government and World Bank officials. The authors say the World Bank's Climate Action Plan considers DPF as a key instrument in help developing nations become low-carbon economies. They added that the scheme was also essential in helping these nations meet their national commitments outlined in reducing emissions, which form the backbone of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, BIC research found that DPF had introduced subsidies for coal in three of the four nations examined in the report (Indonesia, Egypt and Mozambique).
1-28-17 New mercury threat to oceans from climate change
New mercury threat to oceans from climate change
Rising temperatures could boost mercury levels in fish by up to seven times the current rates, say Swedish researchers. They've discovered a new way in which warming increases levels of the toxin in sea creatures. In experiments, they found that extra rainfall drives up the amount of organic material flowing into the seas. This alters the food chain, adding another layer of complex organisms which boosts the concentrations of mercury up the line. The study has been published in the journal, Science Advances. Mercury is one of the world's most toxic metals, and according to the World Health Organization, is one of the top ten threats to public health. The substance at high levels has been linked to damage to the nervous system, paralysis and mental impairment in children.
1-27-17 Wood-burners: London air pollution is just tip of the iceberg
Wood-burners: London air pollution is just tip of the iceberg
Sold as an eco-friendly way to heat our homes, wood-burning stoves might actually be a disaster for their owners’ health and for the climate. Last week, air pollution in London soared to heights not seen since 2011. The usual suspects were named and shamed, including traffic fumes and a lack of wind. But joining them was a surprising culprit. “We think about half of the peak was from wood smoke,” says Timothy Baker, part of a team at King’s College London that monitors air pollution. The trendy log-burning stoves producing much of this pollution are marketed as a source of renewable energy that can cut fuel bills while helping reduce global warming. But recent findings suggest they pose a serious threat to the health of their owners, and are also accelerating climate change in the short term. If nothing is done to discourage log burning in homes, it could become the biggest source of air pollution in cities like London. In the UK as a whole, wood burning is already officially the single biggest source of an especially nasty form of air pollution. “I love sitting by a log fire as much as the next person but maybe we need to think again before it’s too late,” says climate scientist Piers Forster of the University of Leeds, UK. Air pollution is awful for our health. The smallest particles get into our blood and even our brains, increasing the risk of many disorders including heart disease.
1-27-17 Planet Earth makes its own water from scratch deep in the mantle
Planet Earth makes its own water from scratch deep in the mantle
Computer simulation confirms that water can form within our planet rather than arriving from space, and the process may explain mysterious deep quakes. Our planet may be blue from the inside out. Earth’s huge store of water might have originated via chemical reactions in the mantle, rather than arriving from space through collisions with ice-rich comets. This new water may be under such pressure that it can trigger earthquakes hundreds of kilometres below Earth’s surface – tremors whose origins have so far remained unexplained. That’s the upshot of a computer simulation of reactions in Earth’s upper mantle between liquid hydrogen and quartz, the most common and stable form of silica in this part of the planet. “This is one way water can form on Earth,” says team member John Tse at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. “We show it’s possible to have water forming in Earth’s natural environment, rather than being of extraterrestrial origin.” The simple reaction takes place at about 1400 °C and pressures 20,000 times higher than atmospheric pressure as silica, or silicon dioxide, reacts with liquid hydrogen to form liquid water and silicon hydride.
1-27-17 Climate change may boost toxic mercury levels in sea life
Climate change may boost toxic mercury levels in sea life
Increased runoff shifts marine ecosystems, concentrating more of the contaminant in food webs, experiments suggest. Increased runoff into Earth’s oceans could increase methylmercury concentrations in marine ecosystems by altering the food web, new laboratory tests show. The muddying of coastal waters by climate change could drastically increase levels of neurotoxic mercury in sea life, contaminating food supplies. Shifting rainfall patterns may send 10 to 40 percent more water filled with dissolved bits of organic debris into many coastal areas by 2100. The material can cloud the water, disrupting marine ecosystems by shifting the balance of microbes at the base of the food web, new laboratory experiments suggest. That disruption can at least double methylmercury concentrations in microscopic grazers called zooplankton, researchers report January 27 in Science Advances.
1-27-17 Climate change: The hottest year on record
Climate change: The hottest year on record
“Well, it’s official,” said Phil Plait in Slate.com: 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week that the average global temperature last year was as much as 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th-century average—making 2016 the third consecutive year to break the global temperature record. With grim timing, the news broke just before the inauguration of President Trump, a man who famously dismissed global warming as a Chinese “hoax.” Almost every one of Trump’s Cabinet nominees—most notably Scott Pruitt, his pick to head up the Environmental Protection Agency—has expressed skepticism about the overwhelming scientific consensus that mankind’s carbon emissions are driving climate change. Are we headed for disaster?
1-27-17 Massive carbon sink
Massive carbon sink
Scientists have found a vast peat swamp in Africa’s central Congo Basin that harbors about 30 billion metric tons of carbon—the equivalent of 20 years’ worth of U.S. fossil fuel emissions. Discovered using satellite imagery, the swamp is thought to cover 56,000 square miles and reach depths of up to 20 feet; radiocarbon dating suggests it has been accumulating for nearly 11,000 years. “It is 16 times larger than the previous estimate and is the single largest peatland complex found anywhere in the tropics,” Simon Lewis, co-leader of the research team, tells The Guardian (U.K.). Highly acidic and nearly devoid of oxygen, tropical peatlands prevent decaying plants and animals from fully decomposing, effectively trapping carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. But the researchers warn that if the carbon-rich ecosystem is destroyed for agricultural use, or allowed to dry out, much of its stored carbon would escape. “Peatlands are only a resource in the fight against climate change when left intact,” notes Lewis. “Maintaining large stores of carbon in undisturbed peatlands should be a priority.”
1-26-17 US pipeline protesters: 'It's going to be war'
US pipeline protesters: 'It's going to be war'
President Trump signed an executive order calling for the advancement of the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. He said the move will create thousands of American jobs. Native Americans and First Nations Canadians who oppose the projects give their reaction. (Webmaster's comment: PLEASE don't use violence. Trump has declared war on the American people. Believe me. He has said he will simple have terrorists, their families, or any one else violently opposing his rulings killed!)
1-26-17 More national parks appear to defy Trump on Twitter
More national parks appear to defy Trump on Twitter
A US national park's Twitter account has inspired an online movement protesting against President Donald Trump's policy on climate change. The Badlands National Park account's tweets about global warming were swiftly deleted after they appeared to undermine Mr Trump's position. But if President Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, hoped it would silence his critics, he was wrong. Instead, it was the catalyst for a host of people and parks to follow suit. Badlands National Park, in Dakota, posted a series of tweets highlighting climate science data a few days after The National Park Service briefly shut its Twitter operation following an apparent clampdown. It had retweeted photos about the turnout at President Trump's inauguration, suggesting numbers at the ceremony were lower those at President Obama's ceremony. The national park accounts were eventually reactivated with an apology message. It did not deter Badlands. "Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate," one of its tweets said.
1-25-17 Badlands on Twitter: US park climate change tweets deleted
Badlands on Twitter: US park climate change tweets deleted
A US national park has posted a series of tweets about climate change that were later deleted. "Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate," said one of the tweets. The posts by Badlands National Park in South Dakota were widely shared but had all been removed by Tuesday evening. The National Park Service shut its own Twitter operation briefly on Friday after an apparent clampdown. Trump's 'control-alt-delete' on climate. The park service had retweeted photos about turnout at President Donald Trump's inauguration. But the accounts were reactivated the next day after an apology for "mistaken" retweets. Since then the park service tweets have been about park news and scenery, but on Tuesday afternoon, the South Dakota park started posting tweets about climate science data. President Trump has previously called climate change a hoax and the White House deleted the climate change policies on its website on the day of the inauguration. The park service could not be reached for comment. (Webmaster's comment: Government censorship of science information has begun. Global warming doesn't exist if the government does not say it does.)
1-25-17 Trump's 'control-alt-delete' on climate change policy
Trump's 'control-alt-delete' on climate change policy
Are the recent actions taken by the Trump team on the issues of climate and energy the opening shots in a war on knowledge? Or are they simply what you'd expect from a new administration of a different political hue? Let's examine what we know. Just after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president, a range of information on the White House website related to climate change was moved to an Obama online archive. The only references to rising temperatures on the new Trump White House site are a commitment to eliminate "harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan". This was President Obama's broad-based strategy to cut carbon emissions. The brief White House document now contains a further indication of the green priorities of the new administration. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should focus on its "essential mission of protecting our air and water". While the administration figures out how to achieve that re-focus, staff at the EPA have been told to freeze all grant making, and to be quiet about it. This means that no external press releases will be issued and no social media posts will be permitted. It is unclear when these restrictions will be lifted. Reports from news agencies indicate that the roll-back will not stop there, with climate information pages hosted by the EPA expected to be shut down. "My guess is the web pages will be taken down, but the links and information will be available," the prominent climate sceptic and adviser to the Trump transition team, Myron Ebell, told Reuters. "If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear," said an anonymous EPA staff member, according to reports.
1-25-17 Defining a true ‘pre-industrial’ climate period
Defining a true ‘pre-industrial’ climate period
Scientists are seeking to define a new baseline from which to measure global temperatures - a time when fossil-fuel burning had yet to change the climate. At the moment, researchers tend to use the period 1850-1900, and this will often be described as "pre-industrial". But the reality is that this date range came after industry really got going. And the influence of humans on the climate was already in play, judging from the ice cores that retain a record of carbon dioxide emissions. These show a perceptible uptick by 1850-1900; likewise for other greenhouse gases such as methane. It is these inconsistencies that prompted Ed Hawkins from Reading University and colleagues to look for a more appropriate historical reference period. And in a new paper published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), they suggest 1720-1800 might serve as a better "starting line".
1-23-17 Trump ditched Obama’s climate and water policies on first day
Trump ditched Obama’s climate and water policies on first day
White House signals intention to cancel Obama’s Climate Action Plan and expand oil and gas exploration. The writing is on the wall for Barack Obama’s climate legacy. Hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, his administration signalled a dramatic change of direction by removing the White House webpage on climate change and publishing “An America First Energy Plan” on the site. According to this webpage, Trump will roll back two key elements of Obama’s environment policy: the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the US rule. The Climate Action Plan outlines steps to reduce carbon emissions, prepare for the effects of climate change and lead international efforts to protect the climate. The Waters of the US rule expanded the rivers, lakes and wetlands protected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers. (Webmaster's comment: The Gutting of the EPA has begun. You're drinking your last clean water and breathing your last clean air.)
1-23-17 Trump backs Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines
Trump backs Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines
US President Donald Trump has signed executive orders backing two controversial oil pipelines. The new Republican president's measures support the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. The Obama administration in late 2015 halted Keystone, which would carry crude from Canada to US refineries on the Gulf Coast. The Army decided last year to explore other routes for the Dakota pipeline amid huge protests by Native Americans. (Webmaster's comment: In the land of the lowest cost gets the job you can expect the piplines to break before long. It's the American way!)
1-23-17 Big cities warm up during the week as commuters flock in
Big cities warm up during the week as commuters flock in
People warm up large cities such as Melbourne and Sydney by an average of 0.3°C each week, and temperatures drop over the weekends. Behold humans, the weather-makers. The crowds of commuters that pour into cities during the week can drive up the local air temperature and alter wind, rain and cloud patterns. Heat generated by human bodies, cars, public transport and operating office buildings causes cities to gradually warm up from Monday through to Friday. The temperature then drops over the weekend. A recent study led by Nick Earl at the University of Melbourne, Australia, shows that the morning temperature in Melbourne is typically 0.3°C hotter on Thursdays and Fridays than on Sundays. “That’s just the average,” he says. “So some days will heat up more, if for example there isn’t much wind.” The temperature jump is caused by heavy traffic and the 250,000 extra people in Melbourne on weekdays compared with weekends, says Earl. “Nothing in nature occurs on a weekly cycle, so it must be due to human activity.” Earl and his colleagues have shown that three other big Australian cities – Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide – have similar weekly cycles. But less populated cities like Hobart do not have weekly cycles, most likely because they have smaller workforces. The findings were based on more than 50 years of temperature data from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. They will be presented at the annual conference of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society in Canberra next month.
1-21-17 World v Trump on global climate deal?
World v Trump on global climate deal?
As a pro-coal president strides into the White House, the rest of the world is rallying in defence of the climate. Donald Trump has called climate change "a hoax" and filled his cabinet with representatives of fossil fuel industries. One of the world's leading climate scientists told me she was positively scared about his potential impact on the planet. But so far the leaders who joined with President Barack Obama in Paris in 2015 to sign the global climate deal are standing firm. As Mr Trump ponders pulling out of the UN climate deal, China, India, Germany, the EU and the UK have all reaffirmed their promise to curb CO2 emissions. And in the USA itself, moves have already been made to consolidate the low-carbon economy in a sign that fossil fuel companies will still face a battle over CO2 emissions, even with support from the White House. Only this week, China's President, Xi Jin Ping, warned Mr Trump that walking away from the Paris deal would endanger future generations. As Mr Trump promises to boost jobs by scrapping President Obama's clean energy plans, China is pushing on with a $361bn (£293bn) investment in renewable energy by 2020.
1-20-17 Larsen ice crack continues to open up
Larsen ice crack continues to open up
The crack that looks set to spawn a giant iceberg in the Antarctic has continued to spread. The rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf has grown a further 10km since 1 January. If the fissure propagates just 20km more, it will free a tabular berg one-quarter the size of Wales. That would make it one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded, according to researchers at Swansea and Aberystwyth universities, and the British Antarctic Survey. News of the lengthening crack in the 350m-thick floating ice shelf on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula comes from the EU’s Sentinel-1 satellite system. Comprising two spacecraft, this orbiting capability can continuously monitor Larsen C no matter what the weather is doing because its radar sensors see through cloud. Their data indicates the fissure now extends for some 175km. But just how long it will take before the 5,000 sq km block finally breaks free is anyone’s guess, says Swansea's Prof Adrian Luckman.
1-20-17 Ice sheet breaking away
Ice sheet breaking away
A massive chunk of ice roughly the size of Delaware is about to break away from the fourth-largest ice shelf in Antarctica. British scientists have been watching a crack steadily develop in the Larsen C ice shelf for years. But the rift has expanded dramatically in the past few weeks, and there are now only about 12 miles of ice preventing a 1,900-square-mile section from coming free. The split not only will form one of the largest icebergs in history but also will leave Larsen C vulnerable to a complete collapse, which could speed up the flow of glacial ice into the ocean and indirectly add nearly 4 inches to global sea levels. Two neighboring ice shelves, Larsen A and Larsen B, collapsed after similar breakaways. The researchers believe the rift, which is now 100 miles long and 1,000 feet wide, will reach the shoreline imminently. “If it doesn’t go in the next few months,” Swansea University’s Adrian Luckman tells BBC.com, “I’ll be amazed.”
1-20-17 Gore 'hoping for best' from Trump over climate
Gore 'hoping for best' from Trump over climate
Former US Vice President Al Gore says he believes climate change campaigners will "win" the debate, even with a new president in the White House who has previously called global warming "a hoax." At the world premiere of his environmental documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel, at Utah's Sundance Film Festival, Gore called those demanding action on climate change "a mass movement - one that cannot be ignored". Like its predecessor, 2006's Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth, this film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power focuses on Mr Gore's lifetime campaigning for global action on climate issues, and on the search for renewable energies. The politician says he was initially "reluctant" to make another film, but believes the 2015 climate conference in Paris was a "benchmark". However, the film ends with the election of Donald Trump as president in November 2016.
1-19-17 Earth’s last major warm period was as hot as today
Earth’s last major warm period was as hot as today
At peak of previous interglacial interval, sea levels were 6 to 9 meters higher. Sea levels were 6 to 9 meters higher than present-day levels the last time Earth’s climate was this warm, new research suggests. Similar sea level rise today would submerge many coastal areas. The last time Earth’s thermostat was cranked as high as it is today, sea levels were high enough to completely drown New Orleans (had it existed at the time), new research suggests. Ocean surface temperatures around 125,000 years ago were comparable to those today, researchers report in the Jan. 20 Science. Previous estimates suggested that this period, the height of the last warm phase in the ongoing ice age, was as much as 2 degrees Celsius warmer. Climate scientists often use the last interglacial period as a reference point for predicting how rising temperatures will affect sea levels. The new results, the researchers write, will help scientists better predict how Earth’s oceans and climate will respond to modern warming. Warming 125,000 years ago raised sea levels 6 to 9 meters above present-day levels.
1-18-17 2016 confirmed as the hottest year on record
2016 confirmed as the hottest year on record
The global average temperature in 2016 was 1.1°C higher than pre-industrial levels and about 0.07°C higher than the previous record set in 2015. Last year was the hottest year on record globally, beating 2015’s exceptionally high temperatures, the World Meteorological Organisation said today. The global average temperature in 2016 was 1.1°C higher than pre-industrial levels and about 0.07°C higher than the previous record set in 2015, the organisation said. Along with record temperatures, other long-term indicators humans are changing the climate reached new heights in 2016, including levels of greenhouse gases and melting ice, the WMO said. The analysis is based on data from the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
1-18-17 For three years in a row, Earth breaks heat record
For three years in a row, Earth breaks heat record
Climate change, El Niño drove 2016’s high temperatures. Climate change and remnant warming from the 2015–2016 El Niño helped make 2016 the hottest year on record. For the third year running, Earth’s thermostat broke a new record: 2016 was the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880. Spurred by climate change and heat from a monster El Niño, the global average surface temperature last year was 0.94 degrees Celsius (1.69 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 20th century average of 13.9° C (57° F). That slightly edges out the previous titleholder, 2015, by 0.04 degrees C (SN: 2/20/16, p. 13). Eight months during 2016 set new all-time highs, including July, which was Earth’s warmest month on record, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA reported January 18. (Webmaster's comment: Don't worry Twit Trump, you'll fry right along with the rest of us!)
1-18-17 Obama administration gives $500m to UN climate change fund
Obama administration gives $500m to UN climate change fund
The US government has given half a billion dollars to the UN's Green Climate Fund, just three days before Donald Trump takes office. Barack Obama's outgoing administration announced the contribution of $500m (£406m; €468m) on Tuesday, bringing the total funds to date to $1bn. Mr Obama pledged in 2014 to give $3bn to help tackle the effects of climate change in the poorest countries. Mr Trump has previously called global warming a hoax. The president-elect has also threatened to pull the US out of the Paris accord - a global agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions - and America's commitment to the fund.
1-17-17 Resisting Trump: How scientists can fight a climate witch-hunt
Resisting Trump: How scientists can fight a climate witch-hunt
Climate scientists could find themselves facing an internal witch-hunt. But there are several things they can do to fight back, as individuals and as groups. THE Climate forecast for the next four years is bleak. Donald Trump notoriously tweeted in 2012 that global warming was a hoax created by China to damage US manufacturing. As president-elect, he has chosen a climate change denialist to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and his pick for the helm of the energy department (DOE) is Rick Perry, who once suggested dismantling it. If CO2 emissions rise faster as a result, the consequences for the global climate will be dire. “We can’t take a four-year break,” says Marcia DeLonge at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Washington DC. But a Trump presidency won’t just be a problem for climate change – it could also spell trouble for the scientists trying to stave it off. In December, the Trump transition team asked for a list of DOE employees and contractors who worked on climate change or had attended climate change meetings. The agency refused, but the incident has sent a chill through the scientific community, particularly in the light of the Republicans’ revival of the Holman rule, which means specific federal employees can have their pay slashed to $1, effectively dismissing them. Climate scientists’ fears of being targeted are legitimate. There has already been an uptick in Freedom of Information Act requests for their private emails, says Peter Fontaine, the lawyer who defended climate scientist Michael Mann in a high-profile case against the State of Virginia. If such tactics also came from within their own agencies, federal scientists might leave en masse.
1-16-17 Global sea ice is at lowest level ever recorded
Global sea ice is at lowest level ever recorded
The area of ocean covered by floating ice is at its lowest since the satellite era began, and probably the lowest it has been for thousands of years. It’s a new low point. The area of the world’s oceans covered by floating sea ice is the smallest recorded since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s. That means it is also probably the lowest it has been for thousands of years. The latest observations from the US National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, show how the ice extent has fallen to a new low this year. In the Arctic, the low in sea ice coverage is a result of both global warming and unusual weather events probably influenced by global warming. But in the Antarctic, the current low in seasonal sea ice could just be a result of natural variability. The extent of Arctic sea ice should be growing rapidly during the northern hemisphere winter. But not only has the Arctic been warming rapidly, this winter repeated incursions of warm air have pushed temperatures even further above average.
1-16-17 Trump team moving away from supporters on climate science
Trump team moving away from supporters on climate science
Donald Trump and his cabinet accept far more of the research on climate change than many of their political supporters, say British scientists. UK researchers say Mr Trump's team acknowledge key concepts such as the relationship between fossil fuels and rising temperatures. They are among a group of 100 scientists urging the Prime Minister to push the President-elect on climate. Mr Trump has previously pledged to pull the US out of the Paris climate deal. Donald Trump and his cabinet accept far more of the research on climate change than many of their political supporters, say British scientists. UK researchers say Mr Trump's team acknowledge key concepts such as the relationship between fossil fuels and rising temperatures. They are among a group of 100 scientists urging the Prime Minister to push the President-elect on climate. Mr Trump has previously pledged to pull the US out of the Paris climate deal. (Webmaster's comment: The new Fuhrer's words mean nothing. He says whatever he needs to say to gain power. The same as Hitler did.)
1-15-17 Prince Charles co-authors Ladybird climate change book
Prince Charles co-authors Ladybird climate change book
Prince Charles has co-authored a Ladybird book on the challenges and possible solutions to climate change. It is part of a series for adults written in the style of the well-known children's books that aims to clearly explain complicated subjects. The 52-page guide has been co-authored by former Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper and climate scientist Emily Shuckburgh. Mr Juniper said he hoped the book would "stand the test of time". Ladybird produced a series of books for children in the 1960s and 1970s and has recently found renewed success with a range of humorous books for adults. Titles include the Ladybird Book of the Mid-Life Crisis and the Ladybird Book of the Hangover. The latest series involves experts explaining complex subjects in simple form.
1-13-17 ‘Clean coal’ plant opens
‘Clean coal’ plant opens
he nation’s first large-scale “clean coal” project was declared operational this week, and has so far been successful at dramatically curbing the carbon dioxide emissions of an existing coal plant located outside Houston. The $1 billion Petra Nova project passed extensive tests in December, according to the U.S. and Japanese companies in charge of the initiative. Carbon dioxide produced during coal combustion at the plant is piped to the West Ranch oil field 80 miles away, where it is used to force additional oil from the ground. The companies claim the process can capture more than 90 percent of the plant’s CO2 emissions, and that 100,000 tons of the greenhouse gas from the facility have already been piped to the West Ranch field.
1-12-17 Tidal lagoon: £1.3bn Swansea Bay project backed by review
Tidal lagoon: £1.3bn Swansea Bay project backed by review
Plans for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay have been backed by a government-commissioned review. Charles Hendry's independent report into the technology's viability said it would make a "strong contribution" to the UK's energy supply. He said it was cost effective and would bring "significant economic opportunity". The UK government still needs to agree on a deal and a marine licence would also need to be approved. Mr Hendry said moving ahead with a pathfinder lagoon off the Swansea coast should be seen as a "no regrets" policy. There are hopes of developing a network of larger lagoons around the UK coast, harnessing power from the ebb and flow of the sea's tides. But Mr Hendry believed that was "too ambitious a goal" before even one had been built and "could only be considered properly when more progress had been made". (Webmaster's comment: Pretty simple really. Totally green. Produces no greenhouse gases. Turbine produces electricity when tides come in and when tides go out. Sort of like a two-way dam.)
1-10-17 Warming world harming insects' reproduction, says study
Warming world harming insects' reproduction, says study
A warming world harms insects' ability to reproduce, which could have long-term consequences, scientists warn. UK researchers also found that insects in northern latitudes were more vulnerable than their southern-dwelling cousins. The team added that many insects were unable to move great distances while they are juveniles. Therefore, they are at risk from a warming climate. The findings have been published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. "You get an extreme heat weather event that [the insect] cannot escape from because they are juveniles, so they can't move as much," explained co-author Rhonda Snook from the University of Sheffield, UK. "They live through it because it does not kill them, but then they have the subsequent problem of reproducing."
1-10-17 Donald Trump win 'won't sway world on climate'
Donald Trump win 'won't sway world on climate'
The election of the climate sceptic Donald Trump as US president will not sway UK leadership on the issue, a minister has said. Mr Trump, reported to believe climate change is "mostly bunk", has threatened to withdraw from the UN climate deal. Environment Minister Nick Hurd admitted the Trump victory was "a very big rock chucked in the pool". But he said the world - including the UK - would continue working to curb emissions without the US if necessary. Mr Hurd also stressed that it was impossible to be sure at the moment exactly what Mr Trump's policies would be. Mr Trump's supporters say rules on climate and energy are stifling business. Details of his climate policy are not yet clear, but his team has talked about boosting coal, opening new oil pipelines, and allowing mining on public wilderness or drilling in the Arctic. Mr Hurd told the cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that President Obama had led the way in partnership with China towards the Paris climate deal at the end of 2015.
1-9-17 Obama says shift to green energy is 'irreversible' despite Trump
Obama says shift to green energy is 'irreversible' despite Trump
Renewable energy sources will continue to grow in the US despite the antipathy of the incoming Trump administration, says President Obama. The President says it's unlikely that power companies will switch back to coal, regardless of Mr Trump's plans to boost production. Mr Trump has also said he wants the US to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. But President Obama says this would see the US lose its "seat at the table". The President's views appeared in a policy forum article in the highly regarded research journal, Science. The editors believe it is the first time that a sitting President has written such a feature. In the article, the President argues that a "massive scientific record" shows that climate change is "real and cannot be ignored". Mr Obama also details the reasons he believes the trend towards a low-carbon economy is now "irreversible". He points to the fact that between 2008 and 2015 the US economy grew by 10% while emissions of CO2 fell by almost the same amount. Mr Obama says that US businesses have increasingly seen the financial benefits from cutting carbon through greater energy efficiency.
1-9-17 Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf nears breaking point
Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf nears breaking point
A 100-meter-wide, kilometers-long rift in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf could soon break off a 5,000-square-kilometer chunk of ice into the ocean, scientists warn. One of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves is nearing its breaking point, scientists warn. A colossal crack in the Larsen C ice shelf abruptly grew by 18 kilometers during the second half of December 2016, members of the Antarctic research group Project MIDAS reported January 5. The crack is now only about 20 kilometers away from reaching Larsen C’s edge and snapping off a hunk of ice the size of Delaware. Such a breakup could destabilize the ice shelf — similar to the collapse of Larsen B in 2002, scientists with the project forecast in 2015. Because Larsen C’s ice is floating on the ocean, the breakup won’t directly raise sea levels. But with the ice shelf gone, glacial ice could slip into the sea unabated and contribute to rising sea levels.
1-9-17 Better batteries charge forward
Better batteries charge forward
Researchers are close to releasing prototype designs to meet consumer, business demand. New chemistries and designs promise to take batteries into the 21st century to store energy from solar and wind farms and send energy to homes and businesses. Everybody wants more power from their batteries. Smartphones and laptops always need recharging. Electric car drivers must carefully plan their routes to avoid being stranded far from a charging station. Anyone who struggles with a tangle of chargers every night would prefer a battery that can last for weeks or months. For researchers who specialize in batteries, though, the drive for a better battery is less about the luxury of an always-charged iPad (though that would be nice) and more about kicking our fossil fuel habit. Given the right battery, smog-belching cars and trucks could be replaced with vehicles that run whisper-quiet on electricity alone. No gasoline engine, no emissions. Even airplanes could go electric. And the power grid could be modernized to use cheaper, greener fuels such as sunlight or wind even on days when the sun doesn’t shine bright enough or the wind doesn’t blow hard enough to meet electricity demand. A better battery has the potential to jolt people into the future, just like the lithium-ion battery did. When they became popular in the early 1990s, lithium-ion batteries offered twice as much energy as the next best alternative. They changed the way people communicate.
1-6-17 Huge Antarctic iceberg poised to break away
Huge Antarctic iceberg poised to break away
An iceberg expected to be one of the 10 largest ever recorded is ready to break away from Antarctica, scientists say. A long-running rift in the Larsen C ice shelf grew suddenly in December and now just 20km of ice is keeping the 5,000 sq km piece from floating away. Larsen C is the most northern major ice shelf in Antarctica. Researchers based in Swansea say the loss of a piece a quarter of the size of Wales will leave the whole shelf vulnerable to future break-up. Larsen C is about 350m thick and floats on the seas at the edge of West Antarctica, holding back the flow of glaciers that feed into it. Researchers have been tracking the rift in Larsen C for many years, watching it with some trepidation after the collapse of Larsen A ice shelf in 1995 and the sudden break-up of the Larsen B shelf in 2002. Last year, researchers from the UK's Project Midas reported that the Larsen C rift was growing fast. But in December the speed of the rift went into overdrive, growing by a further 18km in just a couple of weeks. What will become a massive iceberg now hangs on to the shelf by a thread just 20km long.
1-5-17 Climate change: Fresh doubt over global warming 'pause'
Climate change: Fresh doubt over global warming 'pause'
Glaciers have continued to melt at increasing rates over the past 20 years despite the supposed pause. A controversial study that found there has been no slowdown in global warming has been supported by new research. Many researchers had accepted that the rate of global warming had slowed in the first 15 years of this century. But new analysis in the journal Science Advances replicates findings that scientists have underestimated ocean temperatures over the past two decades. With the revised data the apparent pause in temperature rises between 1998 and 2014 disappears. The idea of a pause had gained support in recent years with even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporting in 2013 that the global surface temperature "has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years than over the past 30 to 60 years". But that consensus was brought into question by a number of studies, of which a report by the the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) published in Science last year was the most significant.
1-5-17 Why solar power poses a very tricky problem for Donald Trump
Why solar power poses a very tricky problem for Donald Trump
The worst imaginable president for climate change might be about to take power, but solar is still a bright spot. The technology and business infrastructure of solar panel manufacturing has been getting better at a blistering pace, and the latest estimates conclude that solar will surpass coal as the cheapest electricity source within a single decade — and in many places, it already has. This raises the question of what President Trump will do about the solar business. Most Republicans, Trump included, are heavily committed to filth-spewing power sources like coal and natural gas, and deny the science of climate change. But while Republicans will no doubt want to use regulations and subsidies to prop up fossil fuels and keep down renewables, Trump has shown a bizarre fixation with U.S.-based manufacturing jobs that might just redound to solar's benefit. The latest estimate of solar panels' economic viability comes via Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The price of solar power has plummeted by 62 percent merely since 2009. Taking into account current trends and planned technological developments, they estimate solar will be on average the world's cheapest power source by about 2026, without subsidies of any kind. That average hides much variability, of course — in some sunny regions, solar is already astoundingly cheap.
1-4-17 Warming could disrupt Atlantic Ocean current
Warming could disrupt Atlantic Ocean current
New simulations revise freshwater impact on circulation’s stability. Rising temperatures could shut down the Atlantic Ocean current that helps warm northwestern Europe, a new simulation shows. Spewing too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere could shut down the major ocean current that ferries warm water to the North Atlantic, new climate simulations suggest. While not as extreme as the doomsday scenario portrayed in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, such a shutdown could cause wintertime temperatures to plummet by an estimated 7 degrees Celsius or more in northwestern Europe and shift rainfall patterns across the globe. Many previous climate simulations predicted that the Atlantic circulation would remain largely stable under future climate change. But those simulations failed to accurately portray how relatively freshwater flows between the Atlantic and Southern oceans, an important mechanism as the climate warms. After fixing that inaccuracy, Yale University climate scientist Wei Liu and colleagues set up an extreme climate scenario to test the current’s robustness. Doubling CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere shuttered the Atlantic current in 300 years, the researchers’ simulation showed.
1-3-17 Sustainable tuna fishing is bad for climate – here's why
Sustainable tuna fishing is bad for climate – here's why
Fishing methods meant to keep marine ecosystems healthy may unintentionally aggravate climate change. What’s good for the ocean might be bad for the planet. Fishing boats that target specific species, leaving others free to swim away, use more fuel than vessels intent on simply scooping up all the fish in their vicinity. Eco-label initiatives and programmes like Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, meant to help hungry diners quickly select sustainably caught seafood, have been gathering public support in recent years, says Brandi McKuin at the University of California Merced. While those guides are helpful, their standards focus mainly on fishing-based factors, like leaving enough fish in the ocean to avoid decimating the population, and reducing the number of accidently caught fish, or bycatch, McKuin says. Other impacts, including the greenhouse gas emissions generated by using different types of fishing gear, are often overlooked. “If we’re including climate change in the sustainability criteria, it changes things,” McKuin says. By combing through published papers, reports, and online catch databases, McKuin and her colleague Elliott Campbell determined that tuna vessels using more sustainable methods such as troll and pole line fishing or longline fishing consume about three to four times as much fuel as boats that employ a large net called a purse seine.
1-3-17 India's double first in climate battle
India's double first in climate battle
Two world-leading clean energy projects have opened in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. An industrial plant is capturing the CO2 emissions from a coal boiler and using the CO2 to make valuable chemicals. It is a world first. And just 100km away is the world's biggest solar farm, making power for 150,000 homes on a 10 sq km site. The industrial plant appears especially significant as it offers a breakthrough by capturing CO2 without subsidy. Built at a chemical plant in the port city of Tuticorin, it is projected to save 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year by incorporating them into the recipes for baking soda and other chemicals.
1-2-17 Donald Trump makes top Republican fear environmental future
Donald Trump makes top Republican fear environmental future
A leading US Republican says she fears for the future of her seven grandchildren with Donald Trump in the White House. Christine Todd Whitman, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under George W Bush, accused Mr Trump of ignoring compelling science. And she warned that his threat to scrap climate protection policies puts the world's future at risk. Trump supporters say rules on climate and energy are stifling business. But Ms Todd Whitman says the US must find ways of promoting business without unduly harming the planet. Details of Mr Trump's climate policy are not yet clear, but his team have talked about boosting coal, opening new oil pipelines, and allowing mining on public wilderness or drilling in the Arctic. On the political side, they have suggested quitting the global climate deal, scrapping President Obama's clean power plan, and dismantling the US energy department along with the EPA itself.
1-2-17 David Hempleman-Adams urges climate change action after Arctic voyage
David Hempleman-Adams urges climate change action after Arctic voyage
The adventurer Sir David Hempleman-Adams has called on politicians to "grasp the nettle" on climate change. The 60-year-old set off from Bristol in June to circumnavigate the Arctic polar region by boat, a trip traditionally taking about three years. His team managed it in four months and one day which confirmed, he said, his "worst fears" about disappearing ice. A government spokesman said the UK was committed to playing a major role in reducing global CO2 emissions. "The UK's commitment and leadership on climate action, internationally and domestically, is as strong as ever and we are recognised as the second best country in the world for tackling climate change," a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said.
1-2-17 4 reasons not to completely despair about climate change in 2017
4 reasons not to completely despair about climate change in 2017
The end of 2016 has not been a sunny time for climate activists. As the Trump administration takes shape, it has become crystal clear that the president-elect's climate change denialism will soon become de facto U.S. policy. And Trump will not only have many options for rolling back the progress President Obama made to curb carbon emissions, he already is putting in place the personnel to do it. Trump's proposed picks include: for head of the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is currently suing the agency; for secretary of the interior, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), who despite his support for protecting public lands, is lukewarm on climate issues; and, for state department secretary — the face of the United States in international climate negotiations — Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil who is locked in a battle with the descendants of the oil company's founder over its role in distorting the evidence of climate change. Not all of the news is this bleak, however. As the year ends, there are some pockets of optimism:
- Other nations are not waiting for the U.S.
- U.S. states and cities aren't giving up the fight either.
- Public opinion is on the side of action.
- Even the most fossil fuel-dependent entities are starting to plan for a less-carbon intensive future.