Climate Change News Digest
Unless we curtail carbon emissions, every attempt to adapt is doomed
Opinion: Weather records being broken all around the world for heat and drought
10th January 2014
November Was the Hottest on Earth Since 1880
It's confirmed: November 2013 was the hottest November on Earth since at least 1880.
10th January 2014
Climate change: news and resources round up
New research shows that the earth is warming up faster than than anticipated. If you want to explore the issues in your classroom, here's a collection of handy links and lesson ideas.
10th January 2014
A Dash of Cold Weather Is No Excuse to Argue That Extreme Climate Change Won't Happen
This is a guest post by James Lawrence Powell. I have brought my previous study (see here and here) up-to-date by reviewing peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals over the period from Nov. 12, 2012 through December 31, 2013. I found 2,258 articles, written by a total of 9,136 authors. (Download the chart above here.) Only one article, by a single author in the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, rejected man-made global warming. I discuss that article here.
10th January 2014
Uproar Over "60 Minutes" Hit Piece on Clean Energy
The report was only the latest in a series of "60 Minutes" reports that have been subject to stinging critiques in recent months.
10th January 2014
Noam Chomsky: The Richest Countries Are Racing Us Towards Disaster While 'Primitive' Societies Are Trying to Stop It
<!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> Chomsky on the NSA, earth's destruction and more.<!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> In his 85th year, political theorist and linguist Noam Chomsky remains a fiercely busy polymath and dedicated activist. Indeed, his schedule is so demanding, our interview had to be booked a good number of weeks in advance and my time on the phone with the MIT professor was sandwiched between another press interview and another one of his many commitments.Happily, though, speaking with Chomsky in late December gave occasion to look back on this year ...
10th January 2014
New Greenhouse Gas Discovered That Is 7,100 Times Worse than CO2
With a name like perfluorotributylamine, the latest greenhouse gas to be discovered is a tongue twister. But you should learn how to say it, as this synthetic chemical could mean dangerous business for the climate.Perfluorotributylamine (or PFTBA) is an artificial compound commonly used since the 1950's in electrical equipment and heat transfer agents.
10th January 2014
Factoring climate change into flood insurance
Homeowners' deal doesn't take into account the increasing risk from rising sea and shifts in rainfall due to climate changeBob Ward
10th January 2014
A failure in communicating the impact of new findings
I was disappointed by the recent summary for policymakers (SPM) of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) assessment report 5, now that I finally got around to read it. Not so much because of the science, but because the way it presented the science. The report was written by top scientists, so what went wrong? I guess we need to recognise the limitations of the format of the SPM, and the constraints that they have to work under (word by word approval from 190 country representatives) may not have been helpful this time. The specified report length, combined with attempts from lots of people to expand on the content, may have complicated the process.
10th January 2014
Arctic and American Methane in Context
Lots of interesting methane papers this week. In Nature Geoscience, Shakhova et al (2013) have published a substantial new study of the methane cycle on the Siberian continental margin of the Arctic Ocean. This paper will get a lot of attention, because it follows by a few months a paper from last summer, Whiteman et al (2013), which claimed a strong (and expensive) potential impact from Arctic methane on near-term climate evolution. That economic modeling study was based on an Arctic methane release scenario proposed in an earlier paper by Shakhova (2010). In PNAS, Miller et al (2013) find that the United States may be emitting 50-70% more methane than we thought.
10th January 2014
China Approves Major Increase in Huge Coal Mining Projects
In 2013, the Chinese government approved 15 large coal mining projects that will produce more than 100 million new tons of coal a year. The expansion will lead to a 2 to 3 percent growth in coal production over the next several years, even as the country announced moves to reduce the severe air pollution choking major cities such as Beijing. Chinese officials will increase coal production while reducing pollution in population centers by closing outdated coal plants and creating huge "coal bases" that will mine and burn coal in remote regions of northwestern China, such as Inner Mongolia. Those bases, which will cost $8.9 billion to build, will generate electricity that will be transferred over an improved electricity grid to cities in China's central and eastern regions.
10th January 2014
Climate change: How does soil store carbon dioxide?
Global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise -- in 2012 alone, 35.7 billion tons of this greenhouse gas entered the atmosphere. Some of it is absorbed by the oceans, plants and soil. They provide a significant reservoir of carbon. Scientists have now discovered how organic carbon is stored in soil: The carbon only binds to certain soil structures. This means that soil's capacity to absorb ...
10th January 2014
Curmudgeons Happen
I was talking with people at my friend's big birthday bash yesterday. I mentioned I'm writing about Renewable Gas, and this led to a variety of conversations. Here is a kind of summary of one of the threads, involving several people. Why do people continue to insist that the wind turbine at Reading uses more energy than it generates ? Would it still be there if it wasn't producing power ? Does David Cameron still have a wind turbine on his roof ? No. It wasn't working, so it was taken down. I would ask - what are their sources of information ?
10th January 2014
Fiscal Meltdown
The government is betting the farm on a nuclear technology that might soon look as hip as the traction engine. By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 22nd October 2013 Seven years ago, I collected all the available cost estimates for nuclear power. The US Nuclear Energy Institute suggested a penny a kilowatt hour(1). The Royal Academy of Engineering confidently predicted 2.3p(2). The British government announced that in 2020 the price would be between 3 and 4p(3). The New Economics Foundation guessed that it could be anywhere between 3.4 and 8.3p(4).
10th January 2014

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