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anthropogenic change
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News stories about "anthropogenic change," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?anthropogenic+change
Related Scary Tags:
climate impacts  ~ global warming  ~ carbon emissions  ~ holyshit  ~ deniers  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ arctic meltdown  ~ health impacts  ~ weather extremes  ~ capitalist greed  ~ stupid humans  



Mon, Jan 4, 2016
from Truthout:
Climate Disruption Amplifies Atlantic Currents' Contribution to Sea Level Rise
Anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) has progressed to a point where it is, literally, changing one of the most important ocean circulatory currents in the world. In a paper recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, NASA researchers confirmed that the circulation of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is slowing down. In 2009 and 2010 that shifting had already been linked to a sudden and extreme five-inch sea level rise on the East Coast. ...


AMOC is running amok!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 20, 2015
from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
The most powerful abstract the Docs have ever read
Though recorded just previously, we read the abstract of the article "Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and were astonished:

ABSTRACT: Earth is a chemical battery where, over evolutionary time with a trickle-charge of photosynthesis using solar energy, billions of tons of living biomass were stored in forests and other ecosystems and in vast reserves of fossil fuels. In just the last few hundred years, humans extracted exploitable energy from these living and fossilized biomass fuels to build the modern industrial-technological-informational economy, to grow our population to more than 7 billion, and to transform the biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity of the earth. This rapid discharge of the earth's store of organic energy fuels the human domination of the biosphere, including conversion of natural habitats to agricultural fields and the resulting loss of native species, emission of carbon dioxide, and the resulting climate and sea level change, and use of supplemental nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar energy sources. The laws of thermodynamics governing the trickle-charge and rapid discharge of the earth's battery are universal and absolute; the earth is only temporarily poised a quantifiable distance from the thermodynamic equilibrium of outer space. Although this distance from equilibrium is comprised of all energy types, most critical for humans is the store of living biomass. With the rapid depletion of this chemical energy, the earth is shifting back toward the inhospitable equilibrium of outer space with fundamental ramifications for the biosphere and humanity. Because there is no substitute or replacement energy for living biomass, the remaining distance from equilibrium that will be required to support human life is unknown. ...


The planet's resources might actually be finite?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 29, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Most Extreme Weather Has Climate Change Link, Study Says
In the wake of major hurricanes, floods and heat waves, scientists are quick to say that no single weather event can be attributed to climate change until careful analysis draws that conclusion. Now, a new study argues that thinking is backwards, that all extreme weather has a link to climate change... Trenberth's paper instead suggests focusing on thermodynamic changes caused by global warming, such as increased sea surface temperatures, humidity and sea level rise. ... "Because global warming is real and present, it is not a question as to whether it is playing a role, but what that role is," the authors wrote. ...


So the sky has fallen, after all.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Global Warming's Great Hiatus Gets Another Debunking
...A new study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that the world's warming never really stalled during the last 15 years--it was just masked by incomplete data records that have been improved and expanded in recent years.... The "newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from NOAA's NCEI do not support the notion of a global warming 'hiatus,'" wrote the study authors. The scientists argue the findings even underestimate the world's warming because they don't consider what has happened in the Arctic, where temperatures have increased rapidly in recent decades, but where there is a limited number of weather recording stations. ...


Let's put weather stations on those oil rigs heading into the Arctic!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Coal Industry Fighting for Survival on 7 Fronts
...Perhaps no industry has inflicted such widespread costs on society as coal. From debilitating black lung disease to the devastating removal of whole mountaintops, from decades of lung-scarring smog to unrestrained emissions of greenhouse gases, coal has imposed its own deadly taxation--hiding the charges under the smoky cloak of cheap and abundant power. ...


War on coal? I'd say coal was waging war on us.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 3, 2015
from Mashable:
Seeds of war
Manmade global warming helped spark the brutal civil war in Syria by doubling to tripling the odds that a crippling drought in the Fertile Crescent would occur shortly before the fighting broke out, according to a groundbreaking new study published on March 2. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to attribute the drought in Syria in large part to global warming. In doing so, it provides powerful evidence backing up the Pentagon and intelligence community's assessments that climate change is likely to play the role of a "threat multiplier" in coming decades, pushing countries that are already vulnerable to upheaval over the edge and into open conflict. ...


Peace out

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 20, 2015
from Washington Post:
Think of Earth, not just your stomach, panel advises
The nation's top nutritional panel is recommending for the first time that Americans consider the impact on the environment when they are choosing what to eat, a move that defied a warning from Congress and, if enacted, could discourage people from eating red meat... the panel's findings, issued Thursday in the form of a 571-page report, recommended that Americans be kinder to the environment by eating more foods derived from plants and fewer foods that come from animals. Red meat is deemed particularly harmful because of, among other things, the amount of land and feed required in its production. ...


But I thought I was supposed to have it my way?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 12, 2015
from Phys.org:
Methane emissions from natural gas industry higher than previously thought
World leaders are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it's unclear just how much we're emitting. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new program to track these emissions, but scientists are reporting that it vastly underestimates methane emissions from the growing natural gas industry. Their findings, published in two papers in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, could help the industry clamp down on "superemitter" leaks. ...


Forgive me Father, for I have Emitted.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 12, 2014
from NBC News:
2014 Boils Toward Warmest Year Ever with Three More Records Broken
Even if it's freezing in your personal universe, Earth as a whole just broke three "warmest" records and is likely to see 2014 go down as the warmest since record keeping began in 1880, scientists reported Thursday. Driven by record warm oceans, combined sea and land temperatures in October were the warmest on record, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On top of that, January-October was the warmest first 10 calendar months, while November 2013 to October 2014 was the warmest 12-month block. ...


Some days ... you just don't want to get out of bed for fear what you'll find.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 10, 2014
from Associated Press:
As US cleans up, it's exporting more pollution
Heat-trapping pollution released into the atmosphere from rising exports of U.S. gasoline and diesel dwarfs the cuts made from fuel efficiency standards and other efforts to reduce global warming in the United States, according to a new Associated Press investigation. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. has reduced more carbon pollution from energy than any other nation, about 475 million tons between 2008 and 2013, according to U.S. Energy Department data. Less than one-fifth of that amount came from burning less gasoline and diesel fuel. Yet the U.S. is sending more fuel than ever to other parts of the world, where efforts to address resulting pollution are just getting underway, if advancing at all. U.S. exports of gasoline and diesel released roughly 1 billion tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere elsewhere during the same period, according to AP's analysis. This fossil fuel trade has helped President Barack Obama meet political goals to curb carbon dioxide at home, by taking it off America's pollution balance sheet. But that does not necessarily help the planet. ...


This is one of those good news/apocalyptic news type scenarios.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 1, 2014
from New York Times:
Optimism Faces Grave Realities at Climate Talks
... But while scientists and climate-policy experts welcome the new momentum ahead of the Lima talks, they warn that it now may be impossible to prevent the temperature of the planet's atmosphere from rising by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. According to a large body of scientific research, that is the tipping point at which the world will be locked into a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding -- events that could harm the world's population and economy. Recent reports show that there may be no way to prevent the planet's temperature from rising, given the current level of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere and the projected rate of emissions expected to continue before any new deal is carried out. ...


Anybody got a time machine handy?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 24, 2014
from BBC:
New ant discovered already at risk of extinction
A new species of ant has been discovered on the Spanish island of Mallorca. But it is already on the verge of extinction... Climate change is also a threat, as the ants are not well equipped to deal with dramatic changes to their habitat. Talavera's team say the find represents a unique chance to observe "real-time climate-based biodiversity loss". ...


I always feel naming something diminishes its power.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 24, 2014
from Public News Service:
Poll Finds Support for Climate Action, Despite Some IN Opposition
Some of Indiana's leaders have voiced outspoken opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, but a new poll indicates a majority of voters don't share those views. Melissa Williams, national political director for the Sierra Club, says the group's new post-election poll of voters in six key states finds, regardless of who they supported in the 2014 midterm election, most want congressional action to address climate change. ...


If we wanted leaders who listen we would elect listeners NOT leaders.

ApocaDoc
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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Wed, Nov 12, 2014
from Nature:
Climate change curbs crops
Farmers have produced less food during the past three decades than they would have done were climate change not happening, according to a study published today1. Global maize (corn) production, for example, is estimated to be about 3.8 percent lower than it would have been in a non-warmed world -- the equivalent of Mexico not contributing to the maize market. ...


Amaizing!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 22, 2014
from Associated Press:
NOAA: Yet more global heat records fall in August
The globe smashed more heat records last month, including Earth's hottest August and summer, federal meteorologists said Thursday. May, June and August all set global heat records this year. Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average world temperature in August was 61.36 degrees Fahrenheit (16.35 degrees Celsius), breaking a record set in 1998. Scientists at NASA, who calculate global temperature a tad differently, also found August as the hottest on record. ...


The plan to set the earth on fire is unfolding beautifully!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Sep 19, 2014
from Mother Jones:
These Stunning Photos of Greenland's "Dark Snow" Should Worry You
Jason Box knows ice. That's why what's happened this year concerns him so much. Box just returned from a trip to Greenland. Right now, the ice there is... black.... The ice in Greenland this year isn't just a little dark--it's record-setting dark. Box says he's never seen anything like it. I spoke to Box by phone earlier this month, just days after he returned from his summer field research campaign. "I was just stunned, really," Box told me. The photos he took this summer in Greenland are frightening. But their implications are even more so. Just like black cars are hotter to the touch than white ones on sunny summer days, dark ice melts much more quickly.... Box gives the stunning stats: "In 2014 the ice sheet is precisely 5.6 percent darker, producing an additional absorption of energy equivalent with roughly twice the US annual electricity consumption." ...


Scientists have a name for reverse albedo: "Odebla," though they are forbidden from saying it for fear of inadvertently calling this demon.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 17, 2014
from Midwest Energy News:
In fight against pollution, nurses union on the front lines
...a growing mission among nurses nationwide: the pursuit of environmental justice, fueled by a growing awareness of the environmental factors that could be linked to, causing or exacerbating the cancers, respiratory ailments or other conditions that affect their patients. Nurses have individually become increasingly aware of the role of the environment in health, and over the past two years the National Nurses United labor union has launched a concerted campaign to mobilize on environmental justice issues -- including the role of fossil fuels in both local pollution and climate change. ...


We always listen to nurses.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 28, 2014
from Climate Progress:
Climate Scientists Spell Out Stark Danger And Immorality Of Inaction In New Leaked Report
One word in the latest draft report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sums up why climate inaction is so uniquely immoral: "Irreversible." The message from climate scientists about our ongoing failure to cut carbon pollution: The catastrophic changes in climate that we are voluntarily choosing to impose on our children and grandchildren -- and countless generations after them -- cannot plausibly be undone for hundreds of years or more. Yes, we can still stop the worst -- with virtually no impact on growth, as an earlier IPCC report from April made clear -- but future generations will not be able reverse whatever we are too greedy and shortsighted to prevent through immediate action. ...


It's time to create the magic silver bullet wand.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 22, 2014
from London Guardian:
Global warming slowdown answer lies in depths of Atlantic, study finds
The key to the slowdown in global warming in recent years could lie in the depths of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans where excess heat is being stored - not the Pacific Ocean as has previously been suggested, according to new research. But the finding suggests that a naturally occurring ocean cycle burying the heat will flip in around 15 years' time, causing global temperature rises to accelerate again. ...


So. We're still sunk.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 18, 2014
from TED:
Beautiful and Sad GIFs that Show what's Happening to the Ocean
Scientist Sylvia Earle (TED Talk: My wish: Protect our oceans) has spent the past five decades exploring the seas. During that time, she's witnessed a steep decline in ocean wildlife numbers -- and a sharp incline in the number of ocean deadzones and oil drilling sites. An original documentary about Earle's life and work premieres today on Netflix.... Below, four ocean infographic then-and-now-gifs from the film. What happened to the coral reefs? -- What happened to tuna, sharks, and cod? -- The number of ocean deadzones then and now -- The number of Gulf Coast oil drilling sites then and now... ...


"Then" is as much "now" as "now" was "then," if any future is presaged by a past. That means that, ergo, it's clear there is no need to complicate matters with comparisons. No need to pay attention to change, or to the present. Carry on.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 5, 2014
from Cliff Mass Weather Blog:
Will the Pacific Northwest be a Climate Refuge Under Global Warming?
As global warming takes hold later in the century, where will be the best place in the lower 48 states to escape its worst effects? A compelling case can be made that the Pacific Northwest will be one of the best places to live as the earth warms. A potential climate refuge. ...


Don't tell anyone.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from The Economist:
The elephant in the atmosphere
IN SEPTEMBER 2013 a group of institutional investors with $3 trillion of assets under management asked the 45 biggest quoted oil firms how climate change might affect their business and, in particular, whether any of their oil reserves might become "stranded assets"--unusable if laws to curb emissions of carbon dioxide became really tight. Exxon Mobil and Shell are the most recent to get back with their assessment of the risk: zero. "We do not believe that any of our proven reserves will become 'stranded'," says Shell. ...


In other words, they'll keep extracting until the earth is fried.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Bloomberg:
Kudzu That Ate U.S. South Heads North as Climate Changes
As the climate warms, the vine that ate the U.S. South is starting to gnaw at parts of the North, too. Kudzu, a three-leafed weed first planted in the U.S. more than 100 years ago for the beauty of its purple blossoms, has been spotted in every county in Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina. It chokes young trees, brings down power lines and infests abandoned homes. Now the plant, which can grow as fast as a foot (30 cm) per day, is creeping northward, wrapping itself around smokestacks in Ohio, overwhelming Illinois backyards and even jumping Lake Erie to establish a beachhead in Ontario, Canada. ...


Sounds like a biofuel source to me.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Stanford University:
Biologist warn of early stages of Earth's sixth mass extinction event
The planet's current biodiversity, the product of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary trial and error, is the highest in the history of life. But it may be reaching a tipping point. Scientists caution that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the early days of the planet's sixth mass biological extinction event. Since 1500, more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct. Populations of the remaining species show a 25 percent average decline in abundance. The situation is similarly dire for invertebrate animal life. ...


Evolution didn't plan on us.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Washington Post:
Study: Colorado River Basin drying up faster than previously thought
Seven Western states that rely on the Colorado River Basin for valuable water are drawing more heavily from groundwater supplies than previously believed, a new study finds, the latest indication that an historic drought is threatening the region's future access to water. In the past nine years, the basin -- which covers Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California -- has lost about 65 cubic kilometers of fresh water, nearly double the volume of the country's largest reservoir, Lake Mead. That figure surprised the study's authors, who used data from a NASA weather satellite to investigate groundwater supplies..."We really don't know how much water is down there. We've already depleted a lot of it. There could be more, but when we have to start to dig deeper to access it, that's a bad sign," Castle said. "If [ground water basins] continue to be depleted, they don't come back up." ...


We could always squeeze water out of stones, right?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 8, 2014
from Bloomberg News:
U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia
The U.S. will remain the world's biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia as extraction of energy from shale rock spurs the nation's economic recovery, Bank of America Corp. said. U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said in a report today. The country became the world's largest natural gas producer in 2010. The International Energy Agency said in June that the U.S. was the biggest producer of oil and natural gas liquids... The U.S., the world's largest oil consumer, still imported an average of 7.5 million barrels a day of crude in April, according to the Department of Energy's statistical arm. ...


Insatiable.

ApocaDoc
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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014
from London Guardian:
Besieged by the rising tides of climate change, Kiribati buys land in Fiji
The people of Kiribati, a group of islands in the Pacific ocean particularly exposed to climate change, now own a possible refuge elsewhere. President Anote Tong has recently finalised the purchase of 20 sq km on Vanua Levu, one of the Fiji islands, about 2,000km away. The Church of England has sold a stretch of land mainly covered by dense forest for $8.77m. "We would hope not to put everyone on [this] one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it," Tong told the Associated Press. Kiribati has a population of about 110,000 scattered over 33 small, low-lying islands extending over a total area of 3.5m sq km. ...


God moves in mysterious ways.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 12, 2014
from GuyMcPherson.com:
Guy McPherson Sings Sad Songs without Solace
... American actress Lily Tomlin is credited with the expression, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." With respect to climate science, my own efforts to stay abreast are blown away every week by new data, models, and assessments. It seems no matter how dire the situation becomes, it only gets worse when I check the latest reports.... I'm not implying conspiracy among scientists. Science selects for conservatism. Academia selects for extreme conservatism. These folks are loathe to risk drawing undue attention to themselves by pointing out there might be a threat to civilization. Never mind the near-term threat to our entire species (they couldn't care less about other species). If the truth is dire, they can find another, not-so-dire version.... Gradual change is not guaranteed, as pointed out by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in December 2013: "The history of climate on the planet -- as read in archives such as tree rings, ocean sediments, and ice cores -- is punctuated with large changes that occurred rapidly, over the course of decades to as little as a few years." ...


This article changes my perspective entirely on my credit score.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 8, 2014
from University of Central Florida:
Climate change: Termites, fungi play more important role in decomposition than temperature
Climate change models could have a thing or two to learn from termites and fungi, according to a new study. For a long time scientists have believed that temperature is the dominant factor in determining the rate of wood decomposition worldwide. Decomposition matters because the speed at which woody material are broken down strongly influences the retention of carbon in forest ecosystems and can help to offset the loss of carbon to the atmosphere from other sources. That makes the decomposition rate a key factor in detecting potential changes to the climate... The team suggests that scientists need to embrace the variability found across data collected from many different sites instead of averaging it all together to create better models with more accurate predictions. ...


Take me to your leader!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 3, 2014
from ABC:
Broad Concern about Global Warming Boosts Support for New EPA Regulations
Seven in 10 Americans see global warming as a serious problem facing the country, enough to fuel broad support for federal efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions - even if it raises their own energy costs, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.... Sixty-nine percent of Americans in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, see global warming as a serious problem; among them, eight in 10 favor new regulations, and three-quarters are willing to pay higher energy bills if it means significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions.... Even among Republicans, a group generally more skeptical of government regulation - and less apt to see global warming as a serious problem - 63 percent nonetheless favor reducing power plant emissions, and 57 percent back state-level limits on greenhouse gases. ...


Tea Party party poopers!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 3, 2014
from Reuters:
China plan to cap CO2 emissions seen turning point in climate talks
BEIJING, June 3 (Reuters) - China will set an absolute cap on its CO2 emissions from 2016, a senior government adviser said on Monday, a day after the United States announced new targets for its power sector, signalling a potential breakthrough in tough U.N. climate talks. Progress in global climate negotiations has often been held back by a deep split between rich and poor nations, led by the United States and China, respectively, over who should step up their game to reduce emissions. But the adviser's statement, coupled with the U.S. announcement, sparked optimism among observers hoping to see the decades-old deadlock broken. The steps come ahead of a global meet on climate change starting on Wednesday in Germany. ...


What's the carbon footprint of "sparked optimism"?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 2, 2014
from The Hill:
Survey: Majority favor renewable energy over coal, despite costs
... a new survey from an environmentally-friendly business group finds a majority of people would support efforts to overhaul the nation's electric power grid to make room for more renewable forms of energy. The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) survey found that two-thirds of people said it is a good idea to "modernize" the nation's power system, while three in four respondents said they would like to use electricity more efficiently in order to reduce the need for old power plants. But 58 percent of people believe say they would like to move from old power sources like coal to new renewable forms of energy like wind, solar, and hydropower, even if it costs more to do so. ...


Imagine the numbers when people realize renewable energy is cheaper!

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Mon, Jun 2, 2014
from Washington Post:
EPA to propose cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants 30 percent by 2030
The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a regulation Monday that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, according to individuals who have been briefed on the plan.... Ever since a climate bill stalled in the Senate four years ago, environmental and public health activists have been pressing Obama to use his executive authority to impose carbon limits on the power sector, which accounts for 38 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.... The American Wind Energy Association, which also supports a federal carbon cap on existing plants, recently published a study that found that consumer rates declined over the past five years in the 11 states that use the most wind, while rates increased collectively in all the other states during that same time period. ...


Let the wild rumpus start!

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Tue, May 27, 2014
from London Guardian:
Wanted: a breed of chicken that can survive crippling heatwaves
American scientists are racing to develop chickens that can cope with scorching heat as part of a series of government-funded programmes looking to adapt to or mitigate the effects of extreme weather patterns on the food supply. A University of Delaware project is developing ways to introduce climate hardiness to the US domestic breed stock before summer heatwaves predicted under climate change models kill or spoil the meat of billions of birds. ...


These chickens are pre-broiled.

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Tue, May 27, 2014
from Associated Press:
New safety requirements set for Keystone pipeline
Safety regulators have quietly placed two extra conditions on construction of TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL oil pipeline after learning of potentially dangerous construction defects involving the southern leg of the Canada-to-Texas project. The defects -- high rates of bad welds, dented pipe and damaged pipeline coating -- have been fixed... Over 72 percent of welds required repairs during one week. In another week, TransCanada stopped welding work after 205 of 425 welds required repair. ...


Those are some unwieldy welds!

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Thu, May 22, 2014
from Universite de Montreal:
More male bugs in a warmer world? Temperature influences gender of offspring in bugs
Whether an insect will have a male or female offspring depends on the weather, according to a new study. As in bees, wasps, and ants, the gender determination of Trichogramma parasitoids is called "haplodiploid," that is, fertilized eggs produce female offspring, while unfertilized eggs produce male offspring. The study found that when it was hot, females deliberately produced more males than at medium temperature -- at 34C, the number of males produced increased by 80 percent. ...


Bad news for ladybugs.

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Mon, May 19, 2014
from Washington Post:
Climate change: Get ready or get sued
On April 18, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) declared a state of emergency after an epic deluge left much of the Chicago area under water.... Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming. Filed by Farmers Insurance Co. on behalf of itself, other insurance companies and customers whose property was damaged by the surge of storm water and sewage overflow, the lawsuits allege the governments of Chicago-area municipalities knew their drainage systems were inadequate and failed to take reasonable action to prevent flooding of insured properties. ...


Perhaps it's better to be in denial from a litigation standpoint.

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Wed, May 14, 2014
from Time Magazine:
Climate Change Poses Growing National-Security Threat, Report Says
A new report published by the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board this week finds that climate change is a "catalyst for conflict" and a "threat multiplier," proving to be a growing threat not only to the environment but also U.S. national security ...


Hello, sailor, new in town?

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Wed, May 7, 2014
from Associated Press:
Climate report predicts more extremes in Midwest
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A report by the National Climate Assessment says a warming planet will worsen a series of weather trends already showing up across the Midwest. Look for more extremes: searing heat, late-spring freezes, floods and droughts across a region that includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri.... FARMS AND FORESTS: The growing season, already two weeks longer than in 1950, will continue lengthening. But the gains will be offset by smaller yields for some crops, including corn. ...


Amber waves of pain.

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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Environmental News Service:
Green Heart of Africa Turning Brown
Africa's Congo rainforest, the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, has lost its much greenness over the past decade, a new analysis of satellite data shows. The study demonstrates that a persistent drought in the Congo region since 2000 has affected the greenness of an increasing amount of forest area and that the browning trend has intensified over the 13 years of the study. ...


Maybe we should stop paying attention!

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Tue, Apr 8, 2014
from The Daily Beast:
Can Generation Hot Avoid Its Fate?
...As a journalist who has reported on climate change from dozens of countries since then, I can't say I was surprised by the IPCC's report. Most of its findings were familiar to anyone following the subject; I mentioned many of them in my 2011 book, HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years On Earth. But the report did provoke other emotions, because I read it not only as a journalist, but also as a father. And as a father, I felt grief, fear, rage, frustration and, finally, a determination to resist. One emotion I never permit myself, however, is despair. For despair only paralyzes at a time when action is urgently needed. My daughter Chiara, the central character in HOT, is turning nine this weekend. Her current obsession is Harry Potter, so the guest of honor at her birthday party will be a make believe Hermione Granger. I sometimes wish Chiara had Harry and Hermione's magic skills; they'd come in mighty handy in the future the IPCC is projecting. ...


We muggles need to become part of the solution.

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Tue, Apr 8, 2014
from London Guardian:
Endangered butterfly defies climate change with new diet and habitat
A butterfly species whose population collapsed because of climate change and habitat loss has defied predictions of extinction to rapidly move to cooler climes and change its food plant. The quino checkerspot (Euphydryas editha quino), found in Mexico and California, has shifted to higher altitudes and surprisingly chosen a completely different species of plant on which to lay its eggs, according to research presented at the Butterfly Conservation's seventh international symposium in Southampton. Its rapid adaption offers hope that other insects and species may be able to adapt unexpectedly quickly to climate change. ...


Call 'em margarineflies.

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Tue, Apr 8, 2014
from Florida State University:
Permafrost thawing could accelerate global warming
Researchers have found new evidence that permafrost thawing is releasing large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via plants, which could accelerate warming trends. Permafrost is soil that is frozen year round and is typically located in polar regions. As the world has gotten slightly warmer, that permafrost is thawing and decomposing, which is producing increased amounts of methane. ...


There is no "I" in methane.

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Mon, Mar 24, 2014
from Associated Press:
Big climate report: Warming is big risk for people
If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming. In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human. "The polar bear is us," says Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., referring to the first species to be listed as threatened by global warming due to melting sea ice. ...


Today is a good day to panic.

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Sat, Mar 22, 2014
from University of Pennsylvania:
Deep ocean current may slow due to climate change
Far beneath the surface of the ocean, deep currents act as conveyer belts, channeling heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients around the globe. A new study by the University of Pennsylvania's Irina Marinov and Raffaele Bernardello and colleagues from McGill University has found that recent climate change may be acting to slow down one of these conveyer belts, with potentially serious consequences for the future of the planet's climate. "Our observations are showing us that there is less formation of these deep waters near Antarctica," Marinov said. "This is worrisome because, if this is the case, we're likely going to see less uptake of human produced, or anthropogenic, heat and carbon dioxide by the ocean, making this a positive feedback loop for climate change."...The ocean contains about 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere, making it a crucial but sometimes overlooked player in climate change regulation. ...


If only humans could adopt a slow motion lifestyle.

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Wed, Mar 19, 2014
from McClatchy:
Study: Rockies' wildflower season 35 days longer because of climate change
The Rocky Mountain wildflower season has lengthened by over a month since the 1970s, according to a study published Monday that found climate change is altering the flowering patterns of more species than previously thought. Flowers used to bloom from mid-May to early September, but the season now lasts 35 days longer, from April to mid-September, according to researchers who collected 39 years of data at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte, Colo.... The scientific paper is the latest to document one of the strongest signs that global warming is shaking up the natural world. Scientists studying phenology - the timing of seasonal events in nature - are observing rapid shifts in when flowers bloom, trees leaf out and bees, birds and butterflies appear in the spring. ...


Nothing smells so sweet as the apocalypse in the Rockies.

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Wed, Mar 19, 2014
from New York Times:
White House to Introduce Climate Data Website
President Obama wants Americans to see how climate change will remake their own backyards -- and to make it as easy as opening a web-based app. As part of its effort to make the public see global warming as a tangible, immediate and urgent problem, the White House on Wednesday will inaugurate a website aimed at turning scientific data about projected droughts and wildfires and the rise in sea levels into eye-catching digital presentations that can be mapped using an app. ...


If you build it, they will run.

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Fri, Mar 7, 2014
from New York Times:
Minnesota Mystery: What's Killing the Moose?
For moose, this year's winter-long deep freeze across the Upper Midwest is truly ideal weather ... Yet moose in Minnesota are dying at an alarming rate, and biologists are perplexed as to why... In Northeast Minnesota, the population has dropped by half since 2006, to 4,300 from more than 8,800... Seth Moore, a wildlife biologist in Grand Portage, theorizes that recent years of warmer, shorter winters and hotter, longer summers have resulted in a twofold problem. The changing climate has stressed out the moose, compromising their immune systems. And warmer temperatures have allowed populations of white-tailed deer, carriers of brain worm -- which is fatal to moose -- to thrive. ...


Our moose is cooked.

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Mon, Mar 3, 2014
from Environmental News Service:
Hundreds Arrested Protesting Keystone XL at The White House
Police arrested more than 370 young people who tied themselves to the White House fence on Sunday to protest the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. Called XL Dissent, the protest was organized by college and university students to urge President Barack Obama to reject the northern leg of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which needs presidential approval because it would cross an international border on its way from the Alberta tar sands to refineries in Texas. ...


Generation KXL

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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from Reuters:
Sun-dimming volcanoes partly explain global warming hiatus-study
Small volcanic eruptions help explain a hiatus in global warming this century by dimming sunlight and offsetting a rise in emissions of heat-trapping gases to record highs, a study showed on Sunday. Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Nabro in Eritrea, Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, ejected sulfur whose sun-blocking effect had been largely ignored until now by climate scientists, it said. ...


The earth is trying to save itself.

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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from New York Times:
For the Supreme Court, a Case Poses a Puzzle on the E.P.A.'s Authority
In trying to decide whether the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority under two programs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants, the Supreme Court on Monday faced what Justice Elena Kagan called "the conundrum here."... Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who may hold the decisive vote, made a point that did not bode well for the agency. "I couldn't find a single precedent that strongly supports your position," he told the agency's lawyer, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the United States solicitor general. ...


It's gonna get hot under those robes!

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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from E&E Publishing:
How the spreading symptoms of climate change can be deadly
The hallmarks of a warming climate, heavier rains, more severe droughts, rising sea levels and longer growing seasons, are spreading a variety of pathogens throughout the world. Malaria is moving to the highlands. Lyme disease is spreading across the U.S. Northeast and eastern Canada. Outbreaks of cholera will increase with more unsafe water. Those are three of the diseases that are becoming part of a growth field in medical research amid concerns that tropical diseases are moving north and south and that progress made to improve health conditions in previous decades might be undone. ...


We deserve whatever we've got coming to us.

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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from NASA:
NASA satellites see Arctic surface darkening faster
The retreat of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is diminishing Earth's albedo, or reflectivity, by an amount considerably larger than previously estimated, according to a new study that uses data from instruments that fly aboard several NASA satellites.... As the sea ice melts, its white reflective surface is replaced by a relatively dark ocean surface. This diminishes the amount of sunlight being reflected back to space, causing Earth to absorb an increasing amount of solar energy. The Arctic has warmed by 3.6 F (2 C) since the 1970s. The summer minimum Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 40 percent during the same time period. These factors have decreased the region's albedo, or the fraction of incoming light that Earth reflects back into space -- a change that the CERES instruments are able to measure. ...


albedone for

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Mon, Feb 17, 2014
from Sydney Morning Herald:
John Kerry: climate change a 'weapon of mass destruction'
US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Indonesians that man-made climate change could threaten their entire way of life, deriding those who doubted the existence of "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction". Mr Kerry described those who do not accept that human activity causes global warming as "shoddy scientists" and "extreme ideologues", and said big companies and special interests should not be allowed to "hijack" the climate debate. Aides said Mr Kerry had chosen Indonesia for the first of what is to be a series of speeches on the topic this year partly because, as an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, it is particularly at risk from rising sea levels. ...


If only he'd called climate change "A grave threat to continued episodes of Dancing with the Stars."

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Fri, Feb 14, 2014
from The Hill:
Study: Natural gas may not be 'bridge fuel' to fight climate change
The U.S. natural gas infrastructure has far more leaks than federal authorities previously reported, according to new findings. A study released Thursday by Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed that, while natural gas emits less carbon dioxide during combustion than other fossil fuels, the potential for leaks -- which emit the more potent greenhouse gas methane -- put a damper on its "climate benefits."... the study's team of authors who reviewed more than 200 reports found emissions of methane are significantly higher than official estimates, with leaks from the natural gas system being one significant contributor. ...


Environmental Perfidious Agency

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Wed, Feb 12, 2014
from tcktcktck:
Extreme Weather Hits Hard Worldwide
From unprecedented storms and flooding in the UK to severe drought in California and Brazil, 2014 has kicked off with some exceptional and weird weather events. Scientists are increasingly able to link the upward trends in extreme weather to climate change--and these latest examples are giving them even more evidence. ...


We are colonized/by the extreme weather that/we have created

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Tue, Feb 11, 2014
from BBC:
Hollande and Obama make joint call for climate accord
French President Francois Hollande and US President Barack Obama have issued a joint call for an "ambitious" global climate change agreement. The call comes in an article published jointly in the Washington Post and Le Monde. The presidents requested support for a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions "through concrete actions", at a climate conference in Paris in 2015. ...


Sacre bleu or do I mean sacre green?

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Sun, Feb 9, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
U.S. Keystone Report Relied Heavily on Alberta Govt-Funded Research
The analysis of greenhouse gas emissions presented by the State Department in its new environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline includes dozens of references to reports by Jacobs Consultancy, a group that is owned by a big tar sands developer and that was hired by the Alberta government--which strongly favors the project. ...


I am in a "state" of (not) shock!

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Sat, Feb 8, 2014
from Nature Scientific Reports, via SaveOurSeasAndShores:
Anthropogenic noise causes body malformations and delays development in marine larvae
Here we provide the first evidence that noise exposure during larval development produces body malformations in marine invertebrates. Scallop larvae exposed to playbacks of seismic pulses showed significant developmental delays and 46 percent developed body abnormalities. Similar effects were observed in all independent samples exposed to noise while no malformations were found in the control groups (4881 larvae examined). Malformations appeared in the D-veliger larval phase, perhaps due to the cumulative exposure attained by this stage or to a greater vulnerability of D-veliger to sound-mediated physiological or mechanical stress. Such strong impacts suggest that abnormalities and growth delays may also result from lower sound levels or discrete exposures during the D-stage, increasing the potential for routinely-occurring anthropogenic noise sources to affect recruitment of wild scallop larvae in natural stocks. ...


Scallops just need to evolve little hands to put over their little ears.

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Tue, Feb 4, 2014
from Edmonton Journal:
Pollution from oilsands greater than first believed, new research suggests
A new study released Monday suggests environmental assessments of oilsands projects have underestimated the impact of pollution, raising questions about the accuracy of data used as part of the approval process. Despite taking into account emissions from industry-related activities, researchers from the University of Toronto found estimates in environmental impact statements submitted to regulators were insufficient to explain existing contamination levels in northern Alberta... Examining the reported level of emissions, Wania and his team concluded that other significant sources of contamination need to be considered, including toxins from tailings ponds that are spread as they evaporate into the air. ...


Another blow to the oilsands industry.

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Mon, Feb 3, 2014
from Washington Post:
Five takeaways from State Department's review of the Keystone XL pipeline
The State Department has finished its massive environmental review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, down to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would move on to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Bottom line: The report concludes that blocking or approving the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline would not have a "significant" impact on overall greenhouse-gas emissions and future tar-sands expansion. That's because, it argues, most of Alberta's oil will likely find a way to get to the market anyway -- if not by pipeline, then by rail. ...


Human conquest of Mother Earth is now complete.

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Thu, Jan 23, 2014
from Baton Rouge Advocate:
Poll: Most Louisianians see climate change as serious problem
In a state not known for progressive thinking on the environment, a recent poll showed 72 percent of Louisiana residents believe climate change is a serious problem that threatens everyone, in sharp contrast to what many elected leaders have said and done about the issue. ...


The big hard

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Wed, Jan 22, 2014
from University of New South Wales:
Get Used to Heat Waves: Extreme El Nino Events to Double
Extreme weather events fueled by unusually strong El Ninos, such as the 1983 heatwave that led to the Ash Wednesday bushfires in Australia, are likely to double in number as our planet warms... We currently experience an unusually strong El Nio event every 20 years. Our research shows this will double to one event every 10 years," said co-author, Dr Agus Santoso of CoECSS... Extreme El Nino's occur when sea surface temperatures exceeding 28C develop in the normally cold and dry eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. ...


Els Ninos

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Wed, Jan 22, 2014
from Texas A&M University :
Air Pollution from Asia Affecting World's Weather
Extreme air pollution in Asia is affecting the world's weather and climate patterns, according to a study by Texas A&M University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers... Using climate models and data collected about aerosols and meteorology over the past 30 years, the researchers found that air pollution over Asia -- much of it coming from China -- is impacting global air circulations. ...


Gai-yuk

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Mon, Jan 20, 2014
from Bloomberg News:
Climate Proofing of Farms Seen Too Slow as Industry Faces Havoc
Climate change will play havoc with farming, and policy makers and researchers aren't fully aware of the significance on food supply, according to the World Bank. Earth will warm by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) "in your lifetime," Rachel Kyte, the World Bank's vice-president for climate change, said at a meeting of agriculture ministers in Berlin over the weekend. That will make farming untenable in some areas, she said. Extreme weather from China's coldest winter in at least half a century in 2010 to a July hailstorm in Reutlingen, Germany, already started to affect food prices. ...


Is denial a crop?

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Sun, Jan 12, 2014
from Scientific American:
About that consensus on global warming: 9136 agree, one disagrees.
It's worth noting how many authors agree with the basic fact of global warming - more than nine thousand. And that's just in a single year. Now I understand as well as anyone else that consensus does not imply truth but I find it odd how there aren't even a handful of scientists who deny global warming presumably because the global warming mafia threatens to throttle them if they do. It's not like we are seeing a 70-30 percent split, or even a 90-10 percent split. No, the split is more like 99.99-0.01 percent. Isn't it remarkable that among the legions of scientists working around the world, many with tenured positions, secure reputations and largely nothing to lose, not even a hundred out of ten thousand come forward to deny the phenomenon in the scientific literature? Should it be that hard for them to publish papers if the evidence is really good enough? Even detractors of the peer review system would disagree that the system is that broken; after all, studies challenging consensus are quite common in other disciplines. So are contrarian climate scientists around the world so utterly terrified of their colleagues and world opinion that they would not dare to hazard a contrarian explanation at all, especially if it were based on sound science? The belief stretches your imagination to new lengths. ...


It's surprisingly hard to not hear 99.99 percent of the noise.

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Thu, Jan 9, 2014
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Global warming warning stickers at gas pumps?
...A group of Bay Area environmentalists wants to slap warning stickers on gasoline pumps, telling drivers that the fuel they're buying is cooking the planet. The stickers would constantly remind consumers of the link between driving and climate change. "Human beings are not really wired for seeing the cause and effect of climate change," said Jamie Brooks, with the Bay Area chapter of 350.org. "The cause is burning fossil fuels, but we're not going to feel the effects until well into the future. There's no immediate signal to a consumer of gasoline to show their effects on climate." ...


Next thing you know, damn enviros will want to label my escaping farts.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 8, 2014
from Climate Central:
Polar Vortex in U.S. May be Example of Global Warming
While the ongoing cold snap is breaking records from Minnesota to Florida, it will not go down in history as the most significant Arctic outbreak in U.S. history, not even by a longshot. Scientists said the deep freeze gripping the U.S. does not indicate a halt or reversal in global warming trends, either. In fact, it may be a counterintuitive example of global warming in action. Researchers told Climate Central that the weather pattern driving the extreme cold into the U.S. -- with a weaker polar vortex moving around the Arctic like a slowing spinning top, eventually falling over and blowing open the door to the Arctic freezer -- fits with other recently observed instances of unusual fall and wintertime jet stream configurations. ...


Climate change must be kinda fun for the weather.

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Thu, Jan 2, 2014
from Climate News Network:
Climate Change Could Diminish Valuable Cloud Cover, Scientists Say
Australian and French scientists believe they have cracked one of the great puzzles of climate change and arrived at a more accurate prediction of future temperatures... Climate models in the past have tended to predict high cloud formation that damps warming. What Sherwood and his colleagues have done is demonstrate that the world may not work like that... climate cycles could develop that would take vapor to a wider range of heights in the atmosphere, with the consequence that fewer clouds would form as climate warms. ...


Future's so bright, I gotta wear shades...

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Fri, Dec 27, 2013
from ScienceBlog:
Solar activity not a key cause of climate change, study shows
Climate change has not been strongly influenced by variations in heat from the sun, a new scientific study shows. The findings overturn a widely held scientific view that lengthy periods of warm and cold weather in the past might have been caused by periodic fluctuations in solar activity. Research examining the causes of climate change in the northern hemisphere over the past 1000 years has shown that until the year 1800, the key driver of periodic changes in climate was volcanic eruptions. These tend to prevent sunlight reaching the Earth, causing cool, drier weather. Since 1900, greenhouse gases have been the primary cause of climate change. ...


At least it's still the center of our solar system.

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Thu, Dec 26, 2013
from Scientific American:
Climate Scientists Pose for Pinup Calendar
You probably think of computers when you hear the words "climate model." But some intrepid media staffers at Columbia University had a different vision: Convince climate scientists there to model for a 2014 calendar. Surprisingly, 13 researchers decided to bare it all--well, their inspirations, if not their bodies--for the project. And, yes, Columbia calls it a "pinup" calendar. ...


What's next? Climate change porn?

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Thu, Dec 26, 2013
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
After bad year, insurers face potential ice-storm hit
Canadian insurers are grappling with the prospect of financial damage from yet another severe storm, capping off a brutal year that raised serious questions about how the industry will deal with the costs of climate change. After suffering a $3-billion hit from natural disasters such as the summer floods in Alberta and the Greater Toronto Area, property and casualty insurers are now racking up claims from the ice storm that hit Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. It is still too early to determine the costs, but insurers are bracing for a bruising... Insurers aren't the only ones on the hook - they share the burden with reinsurance companies that take on a portion of the risk - but the latest storm reopens a deep wound. The property insurance industry is coming to grips with evidence that severe weather events are becoming more frequent. ...


Duh, just create rereinsurance companies.

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Sat, Dec 21, 2013
from Rolling Stone:
Obama and Climate Change: The Real Story
If you want to understand how people will remember the Obama climate legacy, a few facts tell the tale: By the time Obama leaves office, the U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the planet's biggest oil producer and Russia as the world's biggest producer of oil and gas combined. In the same years, even as we've begun to burn less coal at home, our coal exports have climbed to record highs. We are, despite slight declines in our domestic emissions, a global-warming machine: At the moment when physics tell us we should be jamming on the carbon brakes, America is revving the engine. ...


Bafrack Coalbama

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Wed, Dec 11, 2013
from Guardian:
Newly discovered greenhouse gas '7,000 times more powerful than CO2'
A new greenhouse gas that is 7,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth has been discovered by researchers in Toronto. The newly discovered gas, perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), has been in use by the electrical industry since the mid-20th century.... "This is a warning to us that this gas could have a very very large impact on climate change - if there were a lot of it. Since there is not a lot of it now, we don't have to worry about it at present, but we have to make sure it doesn't grow and become a very large contributor to global warming.".... "PFTBA is just one example of an industrial chemical that is produced but there are no policies that control its production, use or emission," Hong said. "It is not being regulated by any type of climate policy." ...


Can we quit discovering shit, and try to fix the shit we know about?

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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from Climate Central:
Study Adds to Arctic Warming, Extreme Weather Debate
A new study for the first time found links between the rapid loss of snow and sea ice cover in the Arctic and a recent spate of exceptional extreme heat events in North America, Europe, and Asia. The study adds to the evidence showing that the free-fall in summer sea ice extent and even sharper decline in spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reverberating throughout the atmosphere, making extreme events more likely to occur. The study, published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to find correlations between rapid Arctic warming and extreme summer weather events, since previous research had focused on the links between Arctic warming and fall and winter weather patterns. ...


What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic!

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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from Associated Press:
Environmentalists, unions seek to fix gas leaks
Unions and environmentalists have found one point of agreement in the bitter debate over the natural gas drilling boom: fixing leaky old pipelines that threaten public health and the environment. It's a huge national effort that could cost $82 billion. The leaks are a problem because methane, the primary component of natural gas, is explosive in high concentrations and is also a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The Department of Transportation estimates that more than 30,000 miles of decades-old, decaying cast-iron pipe are still being used to deliver gas nationwide. ...


Boy, the cost of duct tape has skyrocketed!

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Sat, Dec 7, 2013
from Dartmouth College:
More Logging, Deforestation May Better Serve Climate in Some Areas
... The findings suggest more frequent logging or deforestation may better serve our planet and pocketbooks in high latitude areas where snowfall is common and timber productivity is low. Such a scenario could involve including snow cover/albedo in existing greenhouse gas exchanges like the Kyoto protocol or a cap-and-trade program or ecosystem services market in which landowners are paid to maintain snow cover and produce timber rather than conserve forests and store carbon. Previous studies have put a price on many ecosystem services -- or services that nature provides to humans that have both economic and biological value, such as drinking water and crop pollination -- but the Dartmouth study is the first to do so for albedo, or the surface reflection of incoming solar energy. The findings contrast with the dominant paradigm that including forest climate mitigation services such as carbon storage on compliance markets will lead to the conservation of forests. Instead, the findings show that in some areas, it is better to have snow act as a natural mirror if you want to use forests for climate-related purposes. ...


Let's call it albedough.

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Thu, Dec 5, 2013
from London Guardian:
ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy
An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels -- casting them as "freeriders" -- in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned. Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalising individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama's main channel for climate action. ...


The people united will never be defeated (by ALEC).

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Thu, Dec 5, 2013
from New York Times:
Large Companies Prepared to Pay Price on Carbon
More than two dozen of the nation's biggest corporations, including the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming. ...


Watch me control global warming.

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Wed, Dec 4, 2013
from Climate News Network:
James Hansen: 2C Temperature Rise Would Be "Disastrous"
Governments have set the wrong target to limit climate change. The goal at present -- to limit global warming to a maximum of two degree Celsius higher than the average for most of human history -- "would have consequences that can be described as disastrous," say 18 scientists in a review paper in the journal PLOS One. With a two degree Celsius increase, "sea level rise of several meters could be expected," they say. "Increased climate extremes, already apparent at 0.8 degrees Celsuis warming, would be more severe. Coral reefs and associated species, already stressed with current conditions, would be decimated by increased acidification, temperature and sea level rise.... Warming of one degree Celsius relative to 1880 -- 1920 keeps global temperature close to the Holocene range, but warming of two degree Celsius, could cause "major dislocations for civilization." ...


Take two aspirin, go to bed and don't get up!

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Mon, Dec 2, 2013
from Quartz:
The US has 43 nuclear power plants' worth of solar energy in the pipeline
The boom in solar energy in the US in recent years? You haven't seen anything yet. The pipeline of photovoltaic projects has grown 7 percent over the past 12 months and now stands at 2,400 solar installations that would generate 43,000 megawatts (MW), according to a report released today by market research firm NPD Solarbuzz. If all these projects are built, their peak electricity output would be equivalent to that of 43 big nuclear power plants, and enough to keep the lights on in six million American homes. Only 8.5 percent of the pipeline is currently being installed, with most of it still in the planning stages. Some projects will inevitably get canceled or fail to raise financing... But there's reason to believe that a good chunk of these solar power plants and rooftop installations will get built over the next two years. That's because a crucial US tax break for renewable energy projects is set to fall from 30 percent to 10 percent at the end of 2016. ...


Carpe solar!

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Mon, Dec 2, 2013
from Politico:
A green movement of all stripes
In Appalachia, greens are banding together with the Tennessee Conservative Union to oppose mountaintop mining. In Georgia, the Sierra Club and Atlanta's tea party have formed a Green Tea Coalition that is demanding a bigger role for solar power in the state's energy market. Elsewhere, veterans of the George W. Bush administration are working with the Environmental Defense Fund on market-based ideas for protecting endangered species... some activists -- particularly outside the Beltway -- see potential for the kinds of coalitions that used to get big things done, back in the days when Theodore Roosevelt was creating national parks and George H.W. Bush's administration was taking on acid rain. ...


Strange bedfellows make for even stranger showermates.

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Sun, Dec 1, 2013
from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
Researchers say Arctic Ocean leaking methane at an alarming rate
FAIRBANKS -- Ounce for ounce, methane has an effect on global warming more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it's leaking from the Arctic Ocean at an alarming rate, according to new research by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Their article, which appeared last week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, states that the Arctic Ocean is releasing methane at a rate more than twice what scientific models had previously anticipated. ...


There's no plugging this leak.

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Fri, Nov 29, 2013
from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory:
The Lingering Clouds: Why Pollution Results in Larger Storm Clouds, Colder Days, Warmer Nights
A new study reveals how pollution causes thunderstorms to leave behind larger, deeper, longer lasting clouds. Appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences November 26, the results solve a long-standing debate and reveal how pollution plays into climate warming. The work can also provide a gauge for the accuracy of weather and climate models.... the team found that in clean skies, the heavier ice particles fall faster out of the anvil-shaped clouds, causing the clouds to dissipate. However, the ice crystals in polluted skies were smaller and too light to fall out of the clouds, leading to the larger, longer-lasting clouds. Lastly, the team estimated how much warming or cooling the storm clouds contributed. Overall, the polluted clouds cooled the day and warmed the night, decreasing the daily temperature range. ...


I've looked at clouds from all sides now.

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Fri, Nov 29, 2013
from American Institute of Physics :
Glaciers Sizzle as They Disappear Into Warmer Water
Scientists have recorded and identified one of the most prominent sounds of a warming planet: the sizzle of glacier ice as it melts into the sea. The noise, caused by trapped air bubbles squirting out of the disappearing ice, could provide clues to the rate of glacier melt and help researchers better monitor the fast-changing polar environments. ...


Played backward, this recorded sizzle sounds like whispering aliens.

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Wed, Nov 27, 2013
from ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies :
Reef Fish Find It's Too Hot to Swim
We all know the feeling, it's a hot summer afternoon and you have no appetite and don't want to do anything apart from lay on the couch. A team of researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University has shown that ocean warming may make some large reef fish feel the same way.... Dr Johansen said that research aimed at understanding the impact of global warming on the commercially important fish species, coral trout, revealed that increasing ocean temperatures may cause large fish to become lethargic, spending more time resting on the bottom and less time swimming in search for food or reproductive opportunities. ...


Sounds like they need television.

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Wed, Nov 27, 2013
from PRI:
Storm expert says climate change may have played a big role in Typhoon Haiyan after all
We've heard that climate change likely played a very minor role in the havoc that typhoon Haiyan wrought on the Philippines... But in the couple of weeks since then, our primary source for that story has taken a deeper look at the storm and has found that climate change may have played a much bigger role in its damage than he initially thought... Emanuel and his colleagues took a computer model they use to forecast the wind speeds in a storm like Haiyan and ran it with the thermodynamic conditions that were present 30 years ago, in the 1980s, before the warming of the last few decades. They compared it to the model using current conditions. "And when we do that," Emanuel tells The World, "we find that the wind speeds are about ten percent larger now." That’s because warmer surface temperatures essentially provide more fuel for tropical storms. ...


Thus a storm that decimates the landscape.

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Wed, Nov 27, 2013
from Washington Post:
New Zealand judge rejects climate refugee plea
A New Zealand judge on Tuesday rejected a Kiribati man's claim that he should be granted refugee status because of climate change. Ioane Teitiota and his wife moved to New Zealand from the low-lying Pacific island nation in 2007. He argued that rising sea levels make it too dangerous for him and his family to return to Kiribati. ...


No man is an (inundated) island.

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Tue, Nov 26, 2013
from GreenTech Media:
Wind Picks Up as Coal Declines in the Midwest
... About a decade ago, coal supplied nearly 80 percent of electricity in the central United States. The figure is now dipping closer to 60 percent. That is still far higher than the national average, where coal accounts for slightly less than half of all generation. Like other regions of the U.S., cheap natural gas generation is mostly taking the place of coal. But non-hydro renewables, primarily wind, are also making a significant dent. The low cost of wind and natural gas has begun to make a dent in coal's dominance and driven down wholesale power prices in the middle of the country, according to the EIA [Energy Information Administration]. ...


Coal slips from King to Archduke!

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Tue, Nov 26, 2013
from New York Times:
Emissions of Methane in U.S. Exceed Estimates, Study Finds
Emissions of the greenhouse gas methane due to human activity were roughly 1.5 times greater in the United States in the middle of the last decade than prevailing estimates, according to a new analysis by 15 climate scientists published Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The analysis also said that methane discharges in Texas and Oklahoma, where oil and gas production was concentrated at the time, were 2.7 times greater than conventional estimates. Emissions from oil and gas activity alone could be five times greater than the prevailing estimate, the report said. ...


We're on methane-phetamines!

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Mon, Nov 25, 2013
from London Guardian:
Reverend Billy faces year in prison for JP Morgan Chase toad protest
An actor who uses comic theatre and music to persuade corporations to address climate change faces a year in prison after the largest bank in the US took offence. In June, Billy Talen and eight members of the Church of Earthalujah choir walked into the lobby of a Manhattan branch of JP Morgan Chase in New York. Dressed as central American golden toads, a species that has been made extinct as the result of climate change, they told the staff that they were about to perform "expressive politics"... The bank is one of the largest funders of mountaintop removal mining and other major fossil fuel projects around the world. ...


Earth bless Reverend Billy.

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Mon, Nov 25, 2013
from Financial Post:
Ontario Premier Wynne vows to ban coal-powered electricity
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Canada's most populous province plans to prevent the construction of new coal plants and ban the burning of coal. "Our work on eliminating coal and investing in renewables is the strongest action being taken in North America,” Wynne told reporters in Toronto, with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore at her side. A coal bill will be introduced in the provincial legislature, where Wynne's Liberal Party holds a minority position, next week. ...


Wynne-win!

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Mon, Nov 25, 2013
from Princeton University:
Even If Emissions Stop, Carbon Dioxide Could Warm Earth for Centuries
Even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, according to Princeton University-led research published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe. The researchers' work contradicts a scientific consensus that the global temperature would remain constant or decline if emissions were suddenly cut to zero. But previous research did not account for a gradual reduction in the oceans' ability to absorb heat from the atmosphere, particularly the polar oceans [..] ...


Ivy league ivory tower debbie downers.

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Sat, Nov 23, 2013
from BBC:
'Signature' achievement on forests at UN climate talks
Forests in Peru Countries with forests will have to provide information on safeguards for local communities. Nations meeting in Warsaw at UN talks have agreed [to] a significant step forward towards curbing emissions from deforestation. A package of measures has been agreed here that will give "results-based" payments to developing nations that cut carbon by leaving trees standing. One observer told the BBC that this was the "signature achievement" of these talks. Deforestation accounts for about 20 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide. Earlier this week the UK, US, Norway and Germany agreed a $280m package of finance that will be managed by the World Bank's BioCarbon fund to promote more sustainable use of land. ...


I can't see the deforest for the detrees.

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Sat, Nov 23, 2013
from Somerville Journal:
Tufts students in Somerville fast to raise awareness of effects of climate change
The dining hall may be tempting, but 20 Tufts students have avoided it for the past two weeks to call attention to the destruction caused by climate change. "It's a very small price to pay for us to give up a few meals if that can in some way help more people know what's going on," said junior Evan Bell, who fasted during daylight hours last week and Wednesday and Thursday this week to raise awareness about climate change in the wake of typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into the Philippines two weeks ago and has killed more than 5,000. Some students fasted for longer. Junior Ben Weilerstein fasted for five days, drinking water and juice. He broke the fast once, to eat a banana in preparation for an exam. ...


Imagine the impact if these college kids decide to give up beer.

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Sat, Nov 23, 2013
from Denver Post:
Wind and solar were the fastest growing sources for electricity generation in 2012
Wind and solar were the fastest growing technologies for electricity generation in 2012, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Wind capacity grew 28 percent to 60 Gigawatts in 2012 and photovoltaic panels were up 83 percent to 7.3 GWs compared to 2011.... Between 2008 and 2012, the United States doubled renewable electricity generation from a combination of wind, solar and geothermal technologies. ...


Whatever happened to the promise of switchgrass?

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Thu, Nov 21, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
"Saudi Arabia of coal" Study says peak may already be past
It has often been said that the U.S. is the "Saudi Arabia of coal." However, a new report drawing on copious data from government agencies challenges that concept, noting that given global economic and energy trends, the amount of U.S. coal that will be economical to extract is much smaller than previously thought. ...


Hope has not peaked yet.

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Thu, Nov 21, 2013
from The Daily Caller:
Norwegian army goes vegetarian to fight global warming
Norway's military is taking drastic steps to ramp up its war against global warming. The Scandinavian country announced its soldiers would be put on a vegetarian diet once a week to reduce the military's carbon footprint. "Meatless Monday's" has already been introduced at one of Norway's main military bases and will soon be rolled out to others, including overseas bases. It is estimated that the new vegetarian diet will cut meat consumption by 150 tons per year. "It's a step to protect our climate," military spokesman Eystein Kvarving told AFP. "The idea is to serve food that's respectful of the environment." ...


If you're planning on attacking this army don't do it on a Monday night.

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Thu, Nov 21, 2013
from Time Magazine:
If You're Not Worried About Dengue Fever, Here's Why You Should Be
...The latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that annual transmissions of the disease may breach 390 million. This year, infections are breaking records all over Asia and Latin America -- from sweeping epidemics in Nicaragua to the worse outbreaks in six years in India, 20 years in Thailand and the first homegrown case in Western Australia in seven decades. Even temperate climates are now stalking grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Almost 3 billion people, or 40 percent of the world's population, live in areas where there is a risk of dengue transmission.... Mention dengue and most people will think of aches and chills. But the disease is far more dangerous than that. Dengue causes white-blood-cell counts to plummet, making the body susceptible to secondary infections; even more alarmingly, it has a similar effect to platelets, impairing blood's ability to clot. If left untreated, and particularly on a second infection, dengue hemorrhagic fever can take hold, and patients can suffer internal bleeding, shock and death. ...


Fear is my favorite epidemic.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
Coal Seen as New Tobacco Sparking Investor Backlash: Commodities
About $8 trillion of known coal reserves lie beneath the earth's surface. The companies planning to mine and burn them are being targeted by a growing group of investors concerned with the greenhouse gases that will be made. Storebrand ASA (STB), which manages $74 billion of assets from Norway, sold out of 24 coal and oil-sands companies since July including Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), the largest U.S. coal producer, citing a desire to cut fossil-fuel industry holdings. This month Norway's opposition Labour Party proposed banning the country's $800 billion sovereign wealth fund from coal investments...The movement is an offshoot of a campaign by more than 70 investors to pressure all fossil-fuel industries on climate change. It harks to the 1990s anti-tobacco push and is gaining help from unlikely partners. The International Energy Agency, a 28-nation group promoting energy security, is lobbying increasingly to limit the release of heat-trapping gases. ...


I'd rather fight than switch.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from INRS :
Global Warming in the Canadian Arctic
Ph.D. student Karita Negandhi and professor Isabelle Laurion from INRS'Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre, in collaboration with other Canadian, U.S., and French researchers, have been studying methane emissions produced by thawing permafrost in the Canadian Arctic. These emissions are greatly underestimated in current climate models. Their findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, illustrate the importance of taking into account greenhouse gases emitted by small thaw ponds, as they could have a significant impact on climate."We discovered that although the small shallow ponds we studied represent only 44 percent of the water-covered surface in a Bylot Island valley, they generate 83 percent of its methane emissions," notes water sciences doctoral student Karita Negandhi. ...


I have long maintained the small thaw ponds would get us in the end.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research:
Coal Continues to Dominate Global Carbon Emissions
Despite explosive growth in renewable energy consumption, continued strong growth in coal consumption has further consolidated coal as the dominate source of carbon dioxide emissions... In 2012 many countries increased dependence on coal. German emissions increased 1.8 per cent in 2012, with coal growing at 4.2 per cent.Japanese emissions increased 6.9 per cent in 2012, with coal growing at 5.6 per cent. EU28 emissions decreased 1.3 per cent, but emissions from coal grew 3.0 per cent. Indian emissions increased 7.7 per cent, with coal growing at 10.2 per cent. ...


I've always thought it was the main coalprit.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from University of East Anglia :
Global Carbon Emissions Set to Reach Record 36 Billion Tons in 2013
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels are set to rise again in 2013, reaching a record high of 36 billion tonnes - according to new figures from the Global Carbon Project, co-led by researchers from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The 2.1 per cent rise projected for 2013 means global emissions from burning fossil fuel are 61 per cent above 1990 levels, the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol. ...


The climate floodgates are greased.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from London Guardian:
Arctic oil spill is certain if drilling goes ahead, says top scientist
A serious oil spill in the Arctic is a "dead cert" if drilling goes ahead, with potentially devastating consequences for the pristine region, according to a leading marine scientist who played a key role in analysis of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The warning came as Russia filed court orders this week to have Greenpeace activists and journalists kept in prison for a further three months in prison before their trial over a protest at Arctic oil dirlling. Concerns about the potentially dire consequences of drilling for oil in the region have intensified as the Russian government and others have begun exploration under the Arctic seas. In such a cold region, any spill would be much more troublesome, because the oil would not naturally disperse as it does in warmer waters, and because of the difficulty of mounting a clean-up operation in hostile weather conditions. ...


Imagine... A polar bear covered in oil.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from The Hindu:
G77+China group walk out after stalemate on Loss and Damage modalities
The G77+China group of 133 countries walked out of negotiations on Loss and Damage at around 3:30 am on Wednesday morning after the rich countries refused to budge from the position that the subject should be discussed only after 2015. The U.S., Australia and Canada have been the most vocal and trenchant advocates against setting up a separate mechanism on Loss and Damage while the E.U., though not belligerent, has also played a part to make sure the mechanism does not materialise at the Warsaw meeting.... While poor countries look upon Loss and Damage reparation for the damage caused by inevitable climate change which any amount of adaptation cannot avoid, the developed countries desire that the issue be defanged from any kind of legal liability it may impose upon the key countries with highest historic emissions. ...


When you're rich you can afford to wait

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from Grist:
Denial dries up: Americans finally seeing the light on climate change
Looks like Fox News and Congress are becoming ever more intellectually isolated from the American people, perched together on a sinking island of climate denialism. Stanford University Professor Jon Krosnick led analysis of more than a decade's worth of poll results for 46 states. The results show that the majority of residents of all of those states, whether they be red or blue, are united in their worries about the climate -- and in their desire for the government to take climate action. "To me, the most striking finding that is new today was that we could not find a single state in the country where climate scepticism was in the majority," Krosnick told The Guardian. ...


Somebody pinch me!

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Fri, Nov 15, 2013
from Climate Central:
Panel Warns of "Catastrophic" Gap in Weather Satellite Data
Unless it acts quickly, the U.S. faces the likelihood of a "catastrophic" reduction in weather and climate data starting in 2016, resulting in less reliable weather and climate forecasts, a federally-commissioned review panel said on Thursday. The review team, which was comprised of veterans of the weather, space, and aerospace industries, found that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has made progress fixing major problems in its satellite programs since the last outside review was completed in 2012, but that the agency has not done enough to mitigate the impacts of a satellite data gap... NOAA has warned that, starting in about 2016, there will be at least a year-long gap between the newest polar orbiting satellite's design lifetime and the scheduled launch date of its replacement. ...


Less data will make it easier to ignore our problems.

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Fri, Nov 15, 2013
from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:
Global Precipitation Linked to Global Warming
The rain in Spain may lie mainly on the plain, but the location and intensity of that rain is changing not only in Spain but around the globe. A new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows that observed changes in global (ocean and land) precipitation are directly affected by human activities and cannot be explained by natural variability alone. The research appears in the Nov. 11 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Emissions of heat-trapping and ozone-depleting gases affect the distribution of precipitation through two mechanisms. Increasing temperatures are expected to make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier (thermodynamic changes); and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will push storm tracks and subtropical dry zones toward the poles. ...


We got our global village but it's a mess.

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Fri, Nov 15, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Wisconsin bill would grant wide latitude to sue wind farms
Wisconsin legislators are scheduled to take up a bill next week that would make it easier for people to sue for perceived health symptoms and property value impacts they attribute to wind turbines. Under the proposal, anyone living within 1.5 miles of a wind turbine could sue for damages related to physical or emotional suffering, loss of property value, moving expenses, or lost profits, and the wind farm owner or operator would be forced to pick up the tab for the plaintiffs' attorney fees... Opponents say the bill (SB167), if passed, would effectively put an end to wind development in Wisconsin and potentially drive up electricity rates in the state. ...


Our efforts to save the planet are now becalmed.

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Thu, Nov 14, 2013
from New York Times, via DesdemonaDespair:
Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene
... Geological time scales, civilizational collapse and species extinction give rise to profound problems that humanities scholars and academic philosophers, with their taste for fine-grained analysis, esoteric debates and archival marginalia, might seem remarkably ill suited to address. After all, how will thinking about Kant help us trap carbon dioxide? Can arguments between object-oriented ontology and historical materialism protect honeybees from colony collapse disorder? Are ancient Greek philosophers, medieval theologians, and contemporary metaphysicians going to keep Bangladesh from being inundated by rising oceans? Of course not. But the biggest problems the Anthropocene poses are precisely those that have always been at the root of humanistic and philosophical questioning: "What does it mean to be human?" and "What does it mean to live?" In the epoch of the Anthropocene, the question of individual mortality -- "What does my life mean in the face of death?" -- is universalized and framed in scales that boggle the imagination. What does human existence mean against 100,000 years of climate change? What does one life mean in the face of species death or the collapse of global civilization? How do we make meaningful choices in the shadow of our inevitable end?... ...


A realist dies a thousand deaths. A denier dies but one.

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Thu, Nov 7, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Hopes for strong 2015 climate deal fade, as risks grow
World governments are likely to recoil from plans for an ambitious 2015 climate change deal at talks next week, concern over economic growth at least partially eclipsing scientists' warnings of rising temperatures and water levels. "We are in the eye of a storm," said Yvo de Boer, United Nations climate chief in 2009 when a summit in Copenhagen ended without agreement. After Copenhagen, nations targeted a 2015 deal to enter into force from 2020 with the goal of averting more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels. The outline of a more modest 2015 deal, to be discussed at annual U.N. climate talks in Warsaw on November 11-22, is emerging that will not halt a creeping rise in temperatures but might be a guide for tougher measures in later years. ...


Oh well. There's always next planet.

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Tue, Nov 5, 2013
from London Guardian:
Polar bear attacks: scientists warn of fresh dangers in warming Arctic
A polar bear attack in Canada that left two people injured has brought new warnings from scientists of a dangerous rise in human-bear encounters in a warming Arctic. The friends had just walked out of the door in the pre-dawn hours after a party when the young polar bear crept up behind them, unheard and unseen. By the time, the bear was driven off by neighbours wielding a shovel, banging pots and pans, and firing multiple rounds from a shotgun, two people were badly mauled: the young woman who was the original target of the attack and an older male neighbour who tried to come to her rescue....It has also prompted new warnings from scientists of the rising risks of human-polar bear encounters because of climate change, with starving bears coming off the ice and onto land looking for food. ...


For hungry bears, people are just a drive thru window.

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Tue, Nov 5, 2013
from Omaha World-Herald:
UNL plans separate state report that will include human impact on climate change
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln said it will issue a report that includes the role of humans in climate change -- now that the state's climate committee apparently plans to exclude the impact of humans in a separate study. University officials on Friday said that they will complete their own unrestricted study by September 2014 so that its publication coincides with anything released by the state. ...


Academia, as usual, out of step with the mainstream.

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Sat, Nov 2, 2013
from The Earth Institute at Columbia University :
Is Global Heating Hiding out in the Oceans? Parts of Pacific Warming 15 Times Faster Than in Past 10,000 Years
A recent slowdown in global warming has led some skeptics to renew their claims that industrial carbon emissions are not causing a century-long rise in Earth's surface temperatures. But rather than letting humans off the hook, a new study in the leading journal Science adds support to the idea that the oceans are taking up some of the excess heat, at least for the moment. In a reconstruction of Pacific Ocean temperatures in the last 10,000 years, researchers have found that its middle depths have warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they did during apparent natural warming cycles in the previous 10,000. ...


In the ocean, no one can hear you scream.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Politico:
Polls show energy doesn't spark Americans' interest
The U.S. is a rising energy power with soaring oil and gas production and lots of big decisions to make about pipelines, fracking, the future of wind and solar power, and how to tackle climate change. But the public may not be paying much attention. Recent polls show that Americans are largely disengaged from the fierce energy debates that embroil the capital and that many people know few details -- or even the larger trends -- about where the U.S. gets its energy and how much it costs. Most don't know that U.S. energy production is going up, and a large majority think the nation's biggest oil supplier is Saudi Arabia. (The correct answer: Canada.) And some polls reveal apparent inconsistencies in people's opinions on big energy questions: They want more natural gas production but oppose fracking, the technology that produced the U.S. gas boom. ...


Land of the free, the brave and the oblivious.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from New York Times:
Looking for a Way Around Keystone XL, Canadian Oil Hits the Rails
HOUSTON -- Over the past two years, environmentalists have chained themselves to the White House fence and otherwise coalesced around stopping the Keystone XL pipeline as their top priority in the fight against global warming. But even if President Obama rejects the pipeline, it might not matter much. Oil companies are already building rail terminals to deliver oil from western Canada to the United States, and even to Asia. ...


Hell-bent to wreck the earth.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Omaha World-Herald:
Nebraska lawmakers spar over intent of $44,000 climate change study
The Nebraska lawmaker who initiated the Legislature's first study of climate change now prefers to see the study abandoned rather than continue along what he called a politicized, scientifically invalid path. State Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm said Tuesday the state committee handling the study is disregarding the intent of the Legislature. Haar, a Democrat, is asking his fellow senators to help him salvage the $44,000 study by encouraging the committee to reconsider the restrictions it published Monday in the official request for study assistance. The request says researchers "should consider 'cyclical climate change' to mean a change in the state of climate due to natural internal processes and only natural external forcings such as volcanic eruptions and solar variations." The use of the term "natural" would rule out the primary cause of the climate changes that have occurred in the last half-century: humans. The issue of "cyclical" climate change was successfully amended into Haar's bill by Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, a Republican candidate for governor. McCoy on Tuesday elaborated on his opposition to using state tax dollars to study man-made climate change: Humans aren't capable of influencing climate patterns. "I firmly believe our planet goes through cyclical weather patterns. There have been hotter times, colder times, wetter times and drier times," he said. ...


Nebraska's education system must really be in shambles.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
As people live longer, threats to wildlife increase, study finds
As countries' human life expectancy grows, so do their numbers of invasive and endangered species, according to a new study by University of California, Davis researchers. The researchers examined social, economic and ecological information for 100 countries to determine which factors are most strongly linked to endangered and invasive birds and mammals. Human life expectancy is rarely included in such studies but turned out to be the best predictor of invasions and endangerment in these countries, according to the study published in Ecology and Society. "Increased life expectancy means that people live longer and affect the planet longer; each year is another year of carbon footprint, ecological footprint, use of natural resources, etc. The magnitude of this impact is increased as more people live longer," the authors wrote. ...


Who ya calling an old fart?

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from New Statesman:
Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt
Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data -- and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions....Serious scientific gatherings don't usually feature calls for mass political resistance, much less direct action and sabotage. But then again, Werner wasn't exactly calling for those things. He was merely observing that mass uprisings of people -- along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street -- represent the likeliest source of "friction" to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control. We know that past social movements have "had tremendous influence on . . . how the dominant culture evolved", he pointed out. So it stands to reason that, "if we're thinking about the future of the earth, and the future of our coupling to the environment, we have to include resistance as part of that dynamics". And that, Werner argued, is not a matter of opinion, but "really a geophysics problem". ...


You had me at friction.

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Mon, Oct 28, 2013
from GSA, via EurekAlert:
Next generation science standards and drive toward climate literacy generate synchronicity of ideas
... Working with the National Research Council (NRC), an advisory group of scientists, cutting-edge child education experts, and science teachers have developed the first set of science teaching standards in more than 15 years. This framework for science education offers students and teachers the means to engage with science through more hands-on experiences and includes a section on developing climate literacy, which has not previously been included.... One of the biggest shifts in the NGSS, says Wysession, "is a real emphasis on the anthroposphere." The relevance of earth science and engineering to the human experience, and conversely, the impact of humans on earth systems, is presented in a way never attempted before. "Climate now is the capstone" for all interdisciplinary science, says Wysession. Climate literacy, says Wysession, "is critically important, for one, because it's an incredibly delicate system," which has shaped the evolution of life and human civilizations for eons.... ...


The mother of all human sciences: species survival.

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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from Huffington Post:
The Amazon Rain Forest Is Drying Out, Probably Because Of Climate Change
The Amazon rain forest's dry season lasts three weeks longer than it did 30 years ago, and the likely culprit is global warming, a new study finds. Rain falls year-round in the Amazon, but most of the annual deluge drops during the wet season. (The rainy season's timing varies with latitude.) Scientists think that a longer dry season will stress trees, raising the risk of wildfires and forest dieback. The forest's annual fire season became longer as the dry season lengthened, according to the study, published today (Oct. 21) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ...


The likely coalprit is global warming.

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from Capital News Service:
Supermarkets failing to curb harmful emissions, study finds
America's 12 largest supermarkets and retailers are failing to curb their hydrofluorocarbon emissions, adding large amounts of greenhouse gases to the environment, according to a new report. The report, published by the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency, examined 12 retailers, including Costco, Whole Foods Markets, Target, Wal-Mart and the Delhaize Group, whose brands include Food Lion and Bottom Dollar Food. Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are a class of compounds used in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning units. They are the fastest-growing greenhouse gas, and by 2050 will make up 9 percent of global CO2 emissions... ...


Horrifying. Foolish. Collapse.

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Why Is Exxon Taking Its Time Restarting Its Ruptured Dilbit Pipeline?
In the six months since an ExxonMobil pipeline unleashed Canadian oil in an Arkansas neighborhood, nearby residents have had much to endure -- the muck and stench of heavy crude, lengthy evacuations, sickness and economic loss... Exxon, meanwhile, is not pressing to restart the line. Even though the lengthy outage is costing the company as much as $450,000 a day in lost revenue -- totaling as much as $90 million so far -- Exxon is proceeding slowly, conducting additional tests and digging down to the pipeline in places to assess its condition. That caution could reflect fears that the Pegasus problems might be systemic and costly to solve. But analysts say Exxon also is mindful that additional leaks could sink its chances of salvaging the line for good and also undermine public support for new pipeline projects such as the controversial Keystone XL. ...


Perhaps they've been smoking that pipe.

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from Bloomberg:
Roberts Court Cloaks Activism in Complexity
To understand the U.S. Supreme Court's order on greenhouse-gas regulations, I had to read it three times -- and I'm a law professor. The complication isn't a coincidence. It's the very essence of the imprint that Chief Justice John Roberts is putting on the court. As its ninth term clicks into gear, the Roberts court has finally developed something like an identity of its own. It avoids highly activist conservative headlines that would drive Democrats to the polls. At the same time, behind a screen of legal complexity, it achieves significant conservative objectives. ...


Silly me. For a moment there, I read "conservative" as "conservation."

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Thu, Oct 17, 2013
from Columbus Business First:
AEP takes coal "out of the picture" as it plans for future
American Electric Power Company Inc. CEO Nick Akins shared his vision for where the Columbus-based utility is headed Wednesday, and his priority list didn't include coal, AEP's traditional go-to fuel source for its power plants. "We see the future for us being natural gas, energy efficiency, smart-grid activities and renewables," he said during a Columbus Metropolitan Club program. Akins didn't seem happy about leaving coal off the list, but he said it is being "taken out of the picture" as a fuel for power plants because of federal air quality regulations, especially proposed rules on carbon dioxide emissions. ...


Another one bites the toxic dust.

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Thu, Oct 17, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Pacific man seeks climate change asylum in New Zealand
A Pacific Island man trying to flee rising seas and environmental risks caused by global warming in his home country of Kiribati asked a New Zealand court on Wednesday to let him pursue his claim as a climate change refugee. The low-lying South Pacific island nation has a population of more than 100,000, but its average height of 2 m. (6-1/2 feet) above sea level makes it one of the countries most vulnerable to rising waters and other climate change effects. Ioane Teitiota, 37, asked New Zealand's High Court in Auckland to let him appeal a decision that refused him asylum on the grounds his claim fell short of the legal criteria, such as fear of persecution or threats to his life. Teitiota, who came to New Zealand in 2007 and has three children born there, said he and his family would suffer serious harm if forced to return to Kiribati, because there was no land to which he could safely return. ...


We will all be persecuted by climate change.

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Wed, Oct 16, 2013
from Accuweather:
How is Climate Change Jeopardizing the Sounds of Nature?
Climate change has brought once lively and loud habitats to utter silence as their inhabitants of birds, frogs and insects have either vanished or drastically changed their migration patterns. A relatively new study known as biophony, or the signature of collective sounds that occur in any given habitat at any given time, has provided scientific evidence to show that the sounds of nature have been altered by both global warming and human endeavors. ...


Poo-tee-weet?

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Tue, Oct 15, 2013
from Sydney Daily Telegraph:
Climate change moves Nemo current to south
THE ocean current off the coast of Australia made famous in Finding Nemo has moved 350km south and is accelerating toward the pole, a draft international climate change report has found. And with it so too are moving some species of shark and large fish such as Tuna, it has warned. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's second and yet to be released report into the impact of climate change has claimed average climate zones in Australia have already shifted 200km southward along the north east coast. ...


Finding Nemo just got harder.

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Tue, Oct 15, 2013
from Associated Press:
High court will review EPA global warming rules
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether to block key aspects of the Obama administration's plan aimed at cutting power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming. The justices said they will review a unanimous federal appeals court ruling that upheld the government's unprecedented regulation of carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases. The question in the case is whether the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate automobile emissions of greenhouses gases as air pollutants, which stemmed from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, also applies to power plants and factories. ...


Nine robed beings to decide fate of the earth.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from BBC:
Global warming will increase intensity of El Nino, scientists say
Scientists say they are more certain than ever about the impact of global warming on a critical weather pattern. The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occurs in the Pacific Ocean but plays an important part in the world's climate system. Researchers have until now been unsure as to how rising temperatures would affect ENSO in the future. But this new study suggests that droughts and floods driven by ENSO will be more intense. ...


El Nino ... El Nono!

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Climate News Network:
Ocean Deteriorating More Rapidly Than Thought
Marine scientists say the state of the world's oceans is deteriorating more rapidly than anyone had realized, and is worse than that described in last month's U.N. climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They say the rate, speed and impacts of ocean change are greater, faster and more imminent than previously thought -- and they expect summertime Arctic sea ice cover will have disappeared in around 25 years. ...


Seas the day.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Washington Post:
Study links warmer water temperatures to greater levels of mercury in fish
...In a lab experiment, researchers adjusted temperatures in tanks, tainted the killifish's food with traces of methylmercury and watched as the fish stored high concentrations of the metal in their tissue. In a field experiment in nearby salt pools, they observed as killifish in warmer pools ate their natural food and stored metal in even higher concentrations, like some toxic condiment for larger fish that would later prey on them. The observation was part of a study showing how killifish at the bottom of the food chain will probably absorb higher levels of methylmercury in an era of global warming and pass it on to larger predator fish, such as the tuna stacked in shiny little cans in the cupboards of Americans and other people the world over. ...


It would seem our energy system exists solely to serve mercury.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Columbus Business First:
Southeast Ohio school districts bracing for AEP plant closing, with millions in tax revenue going away
Electric utilities giveth and they taketh away when it comes to providing tax revenue to Ohio school districts.... The Muskingum River plant sits in two school districts, Fort Frye and Wolf Creek, that rely heavily on revenue from the property taxes paid by AEP. School officials tell me their districts stand to lose around 10 percent of their general fund revenue once AEP closes and demolishes the plant. But it looks like Wolf Creek will be hit harder than Fort Frye because of nuances in how Ohio taxes electric utilities ...


Perhaps we should continue killing our children with fossil fuels after all.

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Wed, Oct 9, 2013
from Sydney Daily Telegraph:
Role of clouds on climate change needs study, say Greenhouse 2013 scientists
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its latest report, has signalled for the first time that clouds are most likely contributing to warming the planet. However, experts say it is still unclear how significant that contribution is. And predictions around global warming in the IPCC's fifth assessment report - that temperatures will rise between 2C and 4.8C this century - would be more accurate if the influence clouds and rain had on the atmosphere was better understood, says Professor Christian Jakob. ...


Hire me. I look at clouds all ... day ... long ...

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Wed, Oct 9, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
Benefits of curbing GHGs could take a generation to detect -- study
If the countries of the world reduced their greenhouse gas emissions today enough to keep the world from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius, when would they be able to tell that these efforts had succeeded? That's the basic question posed in a paper released yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The answer: about 25 to 30 years, at least where global temperatures are concerned. On a regional level, it may take even longer to see the changes, the paper states. ...


Well then what's the point!

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Wed, Oct 9, 2013
from University of Hawaii at Manoa:
Urgent New Time Frame for Climate Change Revealed by Massive Analysis
The seesaw variability of global temperatures often engenders debate over how seriously we should take climate change. But within 35 years, even the lowest monthly dips in temperatures will be hotter than we've experienced in the past 150 years, according to a new and massive analysis of all climate models. The tropics will be the first to exceed the limits of historical extremes and experience an unabated heat wave that threatens biodiversity and heavily populated countries with the fewest resources to adapt. ...


The tropics will be toast!

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Tue, Oct 8, 2013
from Grist:
Who created the global warming "pause"?
In a major report [PDF] released late last month, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's leading authority on climate science, told us it was more certain than ever that humans are causing global warming.... This, you might think, would be quite a media story. Yet instead, something funny happened on the way from the scientists' heads to the public's ears, and many journalists instead embraced a very different narrative -- in many ways, almost the opposite narrative. Global warming, they suggested, had "paused" or was slowing down. And scientists didn't really understand why. How could this disconnect, this huge divergence of narratives, have happened? What follows is the story of a communications failure that is ultimately harmful to all of us. And it was brought on by combination of causes that, unfortunately, we've seen work together before to mar the communication of climate science: Misinformation from climate skeptics, false balance and just plain bad science reporting from much of the media, and to top it all off, poor communication by scientists themselves. ...


A perfect storm, so to speak.

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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Climate Progress:
College Student Sues Alaska Over Climate Change
In remote northern Alaska, a college freshman has taken fossil fuel divestment campaigns a step further by suing the state for failing to adequately address climate change. University of Alaska Fairbanks freshman Nelson Kanuk is from Barrow, a small town at the top of the world where melting ice and permafrost are reshaping land and life. Because of his grave concern for the impacts of climate change on his family's homeland, Kanuk and six other young adults have sued the state of Alaska, arguing that the state has not adequately addressed carbon emissions and global warming. Kanuk first sued the state last year when he was a senior in high school but the lower court dismissed the case, saying that policy decisions should be left to the legislative and executive branches. Kanuk and the others appealed. ...


Kanuk can do!

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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Solar power for the do-it-yourselfer
A Minnesota entrepreneur has brought the assemble-it-yourself concept to solar power. The SolarPod developed by Mouli Engineering of Eagan comes with four solar panels and related parts, including a rack, that its developer says are no more challenging to assemble than furniture from Ikea. "Two guys can put that thing together in an afternoon," said Nick Tamble of HGVids, who assembled one for a how-to video on a retail website. ...


Two guys... and a case of beer.

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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Grist:
It continues: Two Pennsylvania coal plants will close for good next week
The coal sector is in its death throes, thanks to cheaper alternatives and a growing distaste for what is the worst of the global-warming fuels. The latest casualties: two coal-burning power plants in Pennsylvania that will pump their last energy into the grid, and cough their last pollution in to the air, this weekend. ...


Bump, bump, bump, another one bites the dust!

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Thu, Oct 3, 2013
from The Daily Climate:
Warming Lake Superior prompts a tribe to try a new fish
L'ANSE, Mich. -- Long dedicated to the trout that sustain its commercial fishing, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community started rearing fish that historically couldn't survive in much of frigid Lake Superior. "We started raising walleye at the hatchery in 2005," said Evelyn Ravindran, a natural resource specialist with the tribe. "We see them more and more." Commercial fishing has been a steady staple for the tribe over the past few decades. Walleye is a highly sought fish in the lower Great Lakes. And so the tribe, sensing a business opportunity, added that fish to its hatchery. ...


Mother is the necessity of invention.

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Illinois Residents Call on State & National Groups to Join Gov. Quinn Petition: Stop Lying to Kids on Coal
Outraged by the misleading information on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website for children on coal, former coal miners and citizen groups in the coal country of southern Illinois have launched a CREDO petition to bring the state's infamous coal education fiasco to an end. Calling on statewide and national citizens groups and education organizations to join their efforts, the petition goes straight to the point: Gov. Quinn: Stop Lying to Kids About Coal. As part of a coal education curriculum that has been widely denounced as inaccurate, deceiving and outdated--at best--the state continues to host a website for kids rife with erroneous marketing lingo that overlooks the workplace crisis of black lung disease among coal miners, as well as rising health and environmental costs from coal mining and burning, and climate change. The petition also cites a recent study that found the state of Illinois loses nearly $20 million annually to maintain the coal industry. ...


Hey, kids, your future's so blighted you gotta wear shades.

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Chambers of Commerce want fracking oversight left to states
Calling shale gas a "great new resource of energy" that "creates millions of quality jobs," Chambers of Commerce in 20 states are calling on the EPA to leave fracking oversight to state regulators. In a letter sent to Administrator Gina McCarthy on September 20, the group points to Illinois as an example of states that have "passed legislative regulations ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is employed safely, transparently and with a continued commitment to environmental protection." ...


What could go wrong?

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from NewScientist:
Climate report: Lull in warming doesn't mean we're safe
Humanity's role in driving climate change is more certain than ever before, but the most extreme scenarios of future warming are looking less likely than a few years ago. This is the upshot of the latest scientific assessment from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published today.... The new report leaves no doubt that a storm is brewing. It is unequivocal -- temperatures are rising and human activity is to blame. Without drastic action to curb emissions, it says, the world faces a century of strong warming, in which glaciers and ice sheets melt, sea levels rise, the oceans acidify, weather systems shift and rainfall patterns change.... this stark warning will be sidelined by the scientific conundrum over the "missing heat" that should, according to most climate models, have been warming the atmosphere ever faster these past few decades. This may be a short-term blip -- perhaps a result of the oceans temporarily taking up more heat from the atmosphere, says one of the IPCC's lead authors, Myles Allen of the University of Oxford. The report underlines that, whatever is happening to the atmosphere, the oceans continue to warm dramatically. ...


Damn you, ocean, for trying to save us all.

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from Associated Press:
Big freighter traverses Northwest Passage for 1st time
A large freighter completed a voyage through the hazardous Arctic Northwest Passage for the first time this week, showing the potential for cutting shipment times and costs as global warming opens new routes. The 75,000 deadweight-ton Nordic Orion, built in 2011 by a Japanese shipyard, left the Canadian Pacific port of Vancouver in early September and is scheduled to arrive in the Finnish port of Pori on October 7, according to AIS shipping data.... As the ice continues to melt, some experts have estimated that shipping via the Arctic could account for a quarter of the cargo traffic between Europe and Asia by 2030. ...


Let the feeding frenzy begin...

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from Bloomberg:
Credits to Spur Renewable Energy Sources Seen Set to End: Taxes
Tax credits for the production of wind power and other renewable energy sources face expiration at year's end amid few signs Congress will decide to continue them, tax lobbyists and other analysts say. Failure to extend the 16 tax credits could stymie the development of wind power and the other renewables by undercutting incentives to invest in them, Bloomberg BNA reported... In addition to the 2.3 cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for wind, geothermal and closed-loop biomass, other expiring energy incentives include a $1 per-gallon credit for biodiesel producers, a $1.01 per gallon credit for cellulosic ethanol and multiple credits for energy-efficient homes and appliances. ...


Dear God, please protect the tens of billions gifted to the fossil fuel industry each year...

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Mon, Sep 23, 2013
from Lincoln Journal Star:
Barn goes up in pipeline's path
It was a windy day Sunday for an outdoor event, but Terri Harrington wasn't complaining. "I think God is trying to tell us to do something with the wind," Harrington said as she celebrated the completion of a barn-raising on her land 65 miles west of Lincoln that features both wind and solar energy generation. Another attraction of the new barn, as she sees it, is that it's directly in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. ...


Now that's a barn-raisin' we all should celebrate.

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Fri, Sep 20, 2013
from Mother Jones:
Why Bother Debunking Climate Change Deniers?
...Because, sadly, the people who deny the reality around them have a very large megaphone, and in some cases have a lot of motivation to use it. Money, power, riling up the electorate, or, perhaps worst of all, pure zealotry. Nothing is as impenetrable as an armor wrought from fervent ideology. It's also upsetting to know that we have the facts, the science, the scientists, and really all of reality on our side. But human nature is a contrary beast, and doubt is a seed that grows lushly in dark places. ...


Sometimes, all of reality is simply too much reality.

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Fri, Sep 20, 2013
from Climate Progress:
Study Of Best Fracked Wells Finds Low Methane Emissions, But Skips Super-Emitters
The good news: A sample of what are probably the best fracked wells in the country finds low emissions of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas. The bad news: The study likely missed the super-emitters, the wells that are responsible for the vast majority of methane leakage. The ugly news: Same as ever �" natural gas from even the best fracked wells is still a climate-destroying fossil fuel. If we are to avoid catastrophic warming, our natural gas consumption has to peak sometime between in the next 10 to 15 years, according to studies by both the Center for American Progress and the Union of Concerned Scientists. If natural gas is a bridge fuel, it has got to be a very short bridge. Otherwise it is merely "a bridge to a world with high CO2 Levels," as climatologist Ken Caldeira put it last year. ...


Natural gas might be a bridge to nowhere.

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Report: Social costs, if accounted for, make coal uneconomical
New research from a national environmental group finds that the cost of producing electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar is lower than that of conventional coal-fired generation when factoring for the adverse costs of climate change and human health impacts. That conclusion, derived from analysis on the "social cost of carbon," is at the heart of a study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences... ...


Clearly these durn tree huggers don't care a whit about keeping the poor healthcare industry alive!

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from London Guardian:
Arctic sea ice shrinks to sixth-lowest extent on record
Sea ice cover in the Arctic has shrunk to one of its smallest extents on record, bringing the days of an entirely ice-free Arctic during the summer a step closer. The annual sea ice minimum of 5,099m sq km reached last Friday was not as extreme as last year, when the collapse of ice cover broke all previous records. But it was still the sixth lowest Arctic sea ice minimum on record, and well below the average set over the past 30 years of satellite records. ...


The Awesome Global Meltfest continues!

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Associated Press:
Coal's future darkens around the world
The future of coal is getting darker. Economic forces, pollution concerns and competition from cleaner fuels are slowly nudging nations around the globe away from the fuel that made the industrial revolution possible. The U.S. will burn 943 million tons of coal this year, only about as much as it did in 1993. Now it's on the verge of adopting pollution rules that may all but prohibit the construction of new coal plants. And China, which burns 4 billion tons of coal a year -- as much as the rest of the world combined -- is taking steps to slow the staggering growth of its coal consumption and may even be approaching a peak. ...


That death can't come soon enough.

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Alternet:
How Chicken Is Killing the Planet
Earlier this month, while you were busy sneaking out of your empty office, hoping nobody would notice your starting the holiday weekend early, the USDA was also doing something it was hoping nobody would notice. It was green-lighting the sale of Chinese processed American chicken. As Politico explained, "U.S. officials have given the thumbs-up to four Chinese poultry plants, paving the way for the country to send processed chicken to American markets." But while, "eat first, China will only be able to process chicken that has been slaughtered in the U.S. or other certified countries," that should not be a comfort to fans of the McNugget, Campbell's chicken soup, or any other processed chicken product...Meat is already the No. 1 contributor to climate change. Don't expect shipping slaughtered chickens 7,000 miles to China and then bringing them back as processed food to lower that carbon footprint. And, of course, the Chinese poultry industry has its own dirty laundry, including a current bird flu outbreak, believed to have "evolved from migratory birds via waterfowl to poultry and into people," and already responsible for 44 deaths; the sale of 46- year-old chicken feet; and exporting tainted dog treats, sickening nearly a thousand American pets. ...


Let them eat drywall.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Bloomberg:
Mississippi Coal Plant Overruns Show Risks of Carbon Rule
Coal's future is being built in rural Mississippi, and so far this is what it looks like: a $1 billion cost overrun, a stew of legal battles, a revolt by ratepayers and a credit downgrade for the local utility. With all those challenges, Southern Co. (SO)'s $4.7 billion project in Kemper County may still be coal's best hope to survive President Barack Obama's limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. "It's a transformative project," said John Thompson, a director of the Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based environmental group. "It will be the largest and cleanest coal plant in the world, but I don't think it will hold that title for long." ...


Even when coal is "clean" it's costly.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from NewScientist:
Heatwave and wildfires worsened Colorado flooding
A truly ferocious and exceptional event. That is how Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, describes the storm that pummelled his state last week. "This was a once-in-1000-year rainfall," he says, meaning that the storm was of such an intensity and duration that it had a 1-in-1000 chance of occurring in any given year in Colorado.... That huge volume was due in part to a lingering heatwave that for months blocked tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico from reaching the Rocky Mountains, he says. When that heatwave began to move east last week, weak winds allowed the growing storm system to sit above the Colorado peaks for days. Once that deluge hit the ground, more trouble awaited. Because of Colorado's mountainous terrain, the region is flood-prone anyway but recent wildfires exacerbated things near Boulder and Fort Collins, two areas hardest hit by floodwaters. The fires had cleared land of vegetation that would normally absorb rainwater, says Trenberth. ...


Nice to have the flooding placed in an apocalyptic context.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Politico:
Hearing leaves Ron Binz with few votes to spare
Ron Binz, the president's pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, charged into his Tuesday confirmation hearing with a central message: I'm no radical tree-hugger. But critical pieces moved into place that could sink or stall his bid -- for instance, losing the support of the Energy Committee's top Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.... Binz used his hearing at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to tout his support for natural gas and pointed out that Colorado's largest coal-fired power plant was approved while he chaired the state's public utilities commission. ...


Future FERC chief is fond of fracking.

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Mon, Sep 16, 2013
from University of Bristol :
Achilles' Heel of Ice Shelves Is Beneath the Water, Scientists Reveal
New research has revealed that more ice leaves Antarctica by melting from the underside of submerged ice shelves than was previously thought, accounting for as much as 90 per cent of ice loss in some areas. Iceberg production and melting causes 2,800 cubic kilometres of ice to leave the Antarctic ice sheet every year. Most of this is replaced by snowfall but any imbalance contributes to a change in global sea level. For many decades, experts have believed that the most important process responsible for this huge loss was iceberg calving -- the breaking off of chunks of ice at the edge of a glacier. New research [shows] sub-shelf melting has as large an impact as iceberg calving for Antarctica as a whole and for some areas is far more important. ...


Silent, unseen and deadly.

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Mon, Sep 16, 2013
from Center for American Progress:
States of Denial: States with the Most Federal Disaster Aid Sent Climate-Science Deniers to Congress
The United States suffered from numerous extreme weather events in 2011 and 2012. In fact, there were 25 severe storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires that each caused more than $1 billion in economic damages, with a total price tag of $188 billion. To help communities recover from these violent weather events, the federal government spent nearly $62 billion for disaster relief in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. These federal funds only cover a portion of recovery costs; private insurance and individuals harmed by the events also spent billions of dollars. There is recent evidence that climate change played a role in the extreme weather events of 2012.... Interestingly, many of the states that received the most federal recovery aid to cope with climate-linked extreme weather have federal legislators who are climate-science deniers. The 10 states that received the most federal recovery aid in FY 2011 and 2012 elected 47 climate-science deniers to the Senate and the House. Nearly two-thirds of the senators from these top 10 recipient states voted against granting federal emergency aid to New Jersey and New York after Superstorm Sandy. ...


Now that's a superstorm of irony!

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Thu, Sep 12, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
Warming climate begins to taint Europe's blood supplies
A whole new set of ungovernable pathogens are being loosed on the world's blood supplies. A warming climate has allowed blood-borne tropical diseases to flourish where once they were unheard of, and they're getting around.... Hospitals and blood banks now routinely screen potential donors for HIV and hepatitis in order to keep these diseases from accidentally finding their way into patients. But recent outbreaks of diseases such as West Nile fever, dengue fever and malaria -- all carried by mosquitoes -- have posed new problems for the health of European blood banks. ...


There will be (tainted) blood.

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Wed, Sep 11, 2013
from Christian Science Monitor:
'50 dirtiest' US power plants emit more greenhouse gases than South Korea
Fifty US power plants emit more greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels than all but six nations, says a new report. The study by Environment America paints a bulls-eye on the nation's biggest coal-fired power plants, suggesting that reining in a relatively small share of America's 6,000 electric generating facilities could have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.... The administration's goal is to have power plant emissions regulations in place by 2015, and the new study provides a window into which plants could face steep federal fines unless they slash emissions or close....The "50 dirtiest" power plants generated nearly 33 percent of the US power sector's carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 but only about 16 percent of its electricity. ...


Now that's what I call dirty.

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Tue, Sep 10, 2013
from Associated Press:
Experts: Climate primary factor on lake levels
Placing water retention structures in the St. Clair River may not be enough to counteract the effects of a warming climate and raise Lakes Huron and Michigan to their normal levels, experts said Monday. As water surface temperatures and evaporation rates continue to rise, low water is likely to be a long-term problem despite significant improvement this year following heavy snows in winter and a rainy spring, according to testimony during the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Commission. ...


Okay, everybody, head to one of the Great Lakes and take a leak!

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Mon, Sep 9, 2013
from Alternet:
Holy Cow: Former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Says Every Single Reactor in the U.S. Should Be Shut Down
The first thing to remember about nuclear power is that it's not safe. Just ask Japan. The second thing to remember is that nuclear power isn't cheap. Connecticut draws half its juice from nuclear reactors and has the second-highest rates in the country, after Hawaii. The third thing to know is that everybody lies about it. The power plant designers lie, the builders lie, the utility companies lie, the regulators lie, and the politicians lie.... Consider this: Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko declared in April that he believes every single nuclear power plantoperating in the nation should be shut down, starting with the riskiest. ...


The fourth thing is ... run!

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Mon, Sep 9, 2013
from ClimateWire:
Climate change played a role in half of 2012's extreme weather events -- study
New research released yesterday links human-caused climate change to six of 12 extreme weather events from 2012, including summer heat waves in the United States and storm surges from Superstorm Sandy. Teams of scientists from around the world examined the causes behind extreme weather events on five continents and in the Arctic. Their results were published as a special report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. One of the stronger linkages between global warming and severe weather was found in an analysis of last year's high July temperatures in the northeastern and north-central United States. ...


Half of me is horrified to hear this.

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Fri, Sep 6, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
In unlikely alliance, Wisconsin Libertarians back solar plan
A group of conservative Tea Party activists in Atlanta turned heads this summer when they announced a partnership with the local Sierra Club chapter to help pressure Georgia's largest electric utility to boost its investment in solar power. Six weeks later, solar power picked up another unexpected supporter in Wisconsin, where on Aug. 20 the state's Libertarian Party endorsed a clean energy group's proposal to let customers lease solar panels and other small renewable generators. ...


Who says there's nothing new under the sun?

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Wed, Sep 4, 2013
from National Resources Defense Council (via EcoWatch):
U.S. Becomes Largest Wood Pellet Exporter, Clearcutting Forests and Destroying Wetlands
When you think about burning wood to heat your home, you might imagine a cozy fireplace, not a giant power plant. Unfortunately, utility companies in Europe are making massive investments to convert their power plants to burn wood -- known as "biomass" -- as a replacement for coal and other fossil fuels. This is despite the fact that recent research shows that burning whole trees in power plants actually increases carbon emissions relative to fossil fuels for many decades -- anywhere from 35 to 100 years or more. It also emits higher levels of multiple air pollutants. The result of this new demand has been the explosive growth of wood pellet exports from North America, most of which originate in our Southern forests here in the U.S., putting into peril some of the most valuable ecosystems in the world. ...


Ronald Reagan was right, after all!

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Wed, Sep 4, 2013
from Huffington Post:
'War On Coal' Campaign Against Obama Has Failed, Coal Lobby Concedes
The leading lobbying group for coal companies has acknowledged that the industry's relentless "War on Coal" mantra used to attack the Obama administration has been a failure politically. In a screed against alleged regulatory overreach by federal judges in Washington, Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, writes that the "War on Coal" refrain used to criticize environmental regulation simply failed to resonate with voters during 2012. ...


Perhaps it failed because it's coal we should be at war against!

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Tue, Sep 3, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Population growth increases climate fear
...For various reasons, linking the world's rapid population growth to its deepening environmental crisis, including climate change, is politically taboo. In the United States, Europe and Japan, there has been public hand-wringing over falling birthrates and government policies to encourage child-bearing. But those declining birthrates mask explosive growth elsewhere in the world. In less than a lifetime, the world population has tripled, to 7.1 billion, and continues to climb by more than 1.5 million people a week. A consensus statement issued in May by scientists at Stanford University and signed by more than 1,000 scientists warned that "Earth is reaching a tipping point." An array of events under way - including what scientists have identified as the sixth mass extinction in the earth's 540 million-year history - suggest that human activity already exceeds earth's capacity. ...


Congratulations on your cute new carbon emitter!

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Mon, Sep 2, 2013
from Grist:
U.S. government paid $17 billion for weather-withered crops last year
Desiccated corn and sun-scorched soybeans have been in high supply lately -- and we're paying through the nose for them. The federal government forked out a record-breaking $17.3 billion last year to compensate farmers for weather-related crop losses -- more than four times the annual average over the last decade. The losses were mostly caused by droughts, high temperatures, and hot winds -- the sizzling harbingers of a climate in rapid flux. ...


The Sizzling Harbingers is the name of my new band, dude!

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Mon, Sep 2, 2013
from Reuters:
Warming helps crop pests spread north, south: study
Crop-damaging pests are moving towards the poles at a rate of more than 25 km (16 miles) a decade, aided by global warming and human transport, posing a potential threat to world food security, a study showed on Sunday. The spread of beetles, moths, bacteria, worms, funghi and other pests in a warming world may be quicker than for many types of wild animals and plants, perhaps because people are accidentally moving them with harvests, it said. ...


Who exactly are the pests here?

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Fri, Aug 23, 2013
from Casper Star-Tribune:
A Wyoming first: No bids for coal mining tract in Powder River Basin
At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, U.S. Bureau of Land Management employees in Cheyenne gathered to unseal envelopes containing bids and checks from coal companies hoping to score the rights to dig in the Powder River Basin. But there were no envelopes to open. No companies bid on the coal lease, said BLM spokeswoman Beverly Gorny. "This is the first time it's happened in Wyoming," she said. Minutes later, Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy Inc., which owns the mine that had first asked the federal government to lease the coal tract nearly seven years ago, released a statement saying mining the coal wasn't economical. ...


Let today serve as a beacon of hope!

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Wed, Aug 21, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
A scientist explains the mystery behind the 2010-2011 sea-level drop
For the past couple of decades, the oceans have been steadily rising. Each year, sea-level increases by about 3 millimeters, a constant and ominous creep responding to climate warming. Scientists have been measuring this rise from satellites since 1993, using instruments called altimeters. But for an 18-month period that began in the middle of 2010, something surprising happened. Instead of rising, sea levels fell.... From 2010 to 2011, enough rain fell on Australia to fill the lower part of the lake almost completely, and the upper portion at least 75 percent. Australia got about a foot of rain more than normal over that period, said Fasullo. The continent stored that excess water for long enough to change global sea levels. ...


Planet earth is a magical place.

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Wed, Aug 21, 2013
from Climate Central:
July Adds To Globe's String of 341 Warm Months
The year-to-date has been the sixth warmest on record globally, and July was also the sixth warmest such month since global surface temperature records first began in 1880, according to new data released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figures show that July 2013 was the 37th straight July, and the 341st straight month, with warmer-than-average global temperatures -- a more than 28-year timespan that reflects the significant warming observed worldwide since the 1970s. ...


There's no stopping us now!

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Tue, Aug 20, 2013
from Reuters:
Experts surer of manmade global warming but local predictions elusive
... Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the U.N. panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities - chiefly the burning of fossil fuels - are the main cause of warming since the 1950s. That is up from at least 90 percent in the last report in 2007, 66 percent in 2001, and just over 50 in 1995, steadily squeezing out the arguments by a small minority of scientists that natural variations in the climate might be to blame. ...


There's a five percent chance it's fairies.

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Wed, Aug 14, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Large coal power plants getting life extensions
The nation's big coal-burning power plants are not ready to become dinosaurs. Utilities are making substantial investments to keep their largest coal generating stations operating for decades -- and emitting millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually. Upgrades planned or underway at more than 100 Midwestern coal power plants will reduce emissions of mercury or other air pollutants. But they won't affect greenhouse gas emissions that the Obama administration says it will regulate in 2015 to address climate change. ...


Ol' man coal plant ... He don't say nuthin' ... He jes' keeps rollin' along

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from American Geophysical Union:
Ozone Hole Might Slightly Warm Planet, Computer Model Suggests
A lot of people mix up the ozone hole and global warming, believing the hole is a major cause of the world's increasing average temperature. Scientists, on the other hand, have long attributed a small cooling effect to the ozone shortage in the hole. Now a new computer-modeling study suggests that the ozone hole might actually have a slight warming influence, but because of its effect on winds, not temperatures. The new research suggests that shifting wind patterns caused by the ozone hole push clouds farther toward the South Pole, reducing the amount of radiation the clouds reflect and possibly causing a bit of warming rather than cooling. ...


Uh-o(zone)...

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Cedar Rapids Gazette:
Wacky weather changing Iowans' climate change perceptions
Scientists say annual weather proves little about climate trends, but this year and last, at opposite ends of the extreme weather spectrum, have strengthened Iowans' belief that the state's climate is changing....The annual poll conducted by Iowa State University, shows that the percentage of farmers who believe that climate change is occurring increased from 67.7 percent in 2011 to 74.3 percent in 2013, while the percentage who believe it is not dropped from 4.5 percent in 2011 to 2.5 percent this year. The questionnaire, which is sent to about 2,000 Iowa farms with half of them responding, also found that the percentage of farmers who think climate change is caused by human activity increased from 10 percent in 2011 to 17.3 percent this year. ...


Perhaps they are reluctant to acknowledge their own role in climate change.

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Cutting soot and methane may not give hoped-for climate help
A U.S.-led drive to reduce soot and other heat-trapping air pollutants worldwide is less promising than hoped as a new front in the fight against climate change, according to a study published on Monday. Frustrated by failure to agree a broad international deal to limit global warming, about 30 nations have joined the U.S. initiative to limit short-lived air pollutants as a new way to curb temperature rises, protect health and aid crop growth. But the report said that extra measures to reduce such pollutants, led by soot and methane, would cut temperature rises by only 0.16 degree Celsius (0.29 Fahrenheit) by 2050, far less than some estimates that the benefits could be 0.5C (0.9F). ...


Dang. Thought we had a way to avoid cutting fossil fuels, consumption, etc.

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Q&A: ALEC's new tactics to weaken renewable laws
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) continued its assault on state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) during its 40th annual conference in Chicago earlier this month, with members voting on model legislation that could limit the power of the laws to spark new clean energy construction. Though bills meant to revoke or undercut renewable standards in numerous states failed last session, clean energy advocates say the model Market Power Renewables Act and the Renewable Energy Credit Act proposed by ALEC's energy task force during the conference pose a fresh threat. The Market Power Renewables Act argues for a "voluntary market" that would allow people to invest in renewable energy if they choose without instituting mandates... ...


The only thing "voluntary" the fossil fuel industry does is voluntarily ruin the earth.

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Effects of climate change in California are 'significant and growing'
California is feeling the effects of climate change far and wide, as heat-trapping greenhouse gases reduce spring runoff from the Sierra Nevada, make the waters of Monterey Bay more acidic and shorten winter chill periods required to grow fruit and nuts in the Central Valley, a new report says. Though past studies have offered grim projections of a warming planet, the report released Thursday by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment took an inventory of three dozen shifts that are already happening. ...


This report is in direct contradiction with the findings of the Office of Environmental Cluelessness.

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from London Guardian:
A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water
...Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted. Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse. In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. ...


And the parched shall inherit the earth.

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Wed, Aug 7, 2013
from Environment 360:
With Tar Sands Development, Growing Concern on Water Use
Opposition to the mining of Alberta's tar sands -- and the Keystone and Gateway pipelines that would carry their oil to the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean -- has largely been focused on the project's greenhouse gas emissions and threats to pristine environments along the pipeline rights-of-way. But another serious issue is coming to the fore -- the massive amounts of freshwater being used by the industry. In 2011, companies mining the tar sands siphoned approximately 370 million cubic meters of water from the Athabasca River alone, which was heated or converted into steam to separate the viscous oil, or bitumen, from sand formations. That quantity exceeds the amount of water that the city of Toronto, with a population 2.8 million people, uses annually. ...


Perhaps we could use child labor instead of water to separate the bitumen from the sand?

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Tue, Aug 6, 2013
from Indianapolis Star:
Six days after opening, Duke Energy's controversial $3.5B Edwardsport plant shut down
Six days after opening, Duke Energy's controversial $3.5 billion power plant in Edwardsport broke down, new regulatory filings show. Critics say ratepayers could foot the bill for repairs, despite a settlement last year intended to cap the amount Duke could charge electricity customers for the plant's construction costs, which exceeded original estimates by $1.5 billion. Duke officials say such interruptions are to be expected with a new, complicated plant. Who will pay for the repairs will vary on a case-by-case basis, the company said. ...


And on the seventh day, the Coal Gods rested.

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Mon, Aug 5, 2013
from Washington Post:
Nebraska trial could delay Keystone XL pipeline
While environmentalists, energy executives and elected officials across North America await the State Department's critical decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a little-noticed trial scheduled for next month in Nebraska could spell problems for the $5.3 billion project. Despite two attempts by Nebraska's attorney general to have the case thrown out, Lancaster County District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy has set a Sept. 27 trial date for arguments in a lawsuit that contends the state legislature unconstitutionally gave Gov. Dave Heineman (R) authority to approve the pipeline route. A win for the plaintiffs -- three Nebraska landowners who oppose the pipeline -- would force TransCanada, the company that wants to build the 1,179-mile northern leg of the project, to go through the entire siting process again. Even supporters do not believe that would permanently block the project, but it could add years to the timeline. ...


This could be the kidneystone of the Keystone project.

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Mon, Aug 5, 2013
from London Guardian:
Climate change pushing marine life towards the poles, says study
Rising ocean temperatures are rearranging the biological make-up of our oceans, pushing species towards the poles by 7kms every year, as they chase the climates they can survive in, according to new research. The study, conducted by a working group of scientists from 17 different institutions, gathered data from seven different countries and found the warming oceans are causing marine species to alter their breeding, feeding and migration patterns. ...


Republican creatures head north; Democrat creatures head south.

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Mon, Aug 5, 2013
from BBC:
Rise in violence 'linked to climate change'
Shifts in climate are strongly linked to increases in violence around the world, a study suggests. US scientists found that even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders, as well as group conflicts and war. The team says with the current projected levels of climate change, the world is likely to become a more violent place. ...


Hi, I am Earth Vader.

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Thu, Jul 18, 2013
from The Hill:
Hoeven predicts efficiency bill will collapse without Keystone pipeline attached
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) predicted Wednesday that bipartisan energy efficiency legislation heading to the Senate floor faces a grim future unless it eventually includes language to advance the Keystone XL oil pipeline. A broad energy efficiency bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is believed to be coming to the Senate floor in late July. Hoeven, who is weighing offering a Keystone amendment to the bill, said there's not enough Republican support for the legislation on Capitol Hill unless it includes Keystone. ...


Dude, we are all facing a grim future.

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Thu, Jul 18, 2013
from Ensia:
Black Carbon: Golden Opportunity?
Soot is second only to CO2 in creating climate-changing conditions -- and so offers big hope for reducing the threat... We've known for some time that black carbon plays a role in climate change, but such a complicated one that it's difficult to define or quantify. In January of this year, 31 scientists published the results of a four-year collaboration to analyze and synthesize what we know about black carbon's contributions in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Their key finding? "We were underestimating warming via black carbon by a factor of two," says Patricia Quinn, an atmospheric chemist who contributed to the study. Black carbon, in other words, is a much more important player in climate change than once thought. In fact, the study found that it is the second largest contributor after carbon dioxide, trapping more heat than methane, which was previously thought to be second. ...


Soot? Are we still living in the age of Dickens?

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Wed, Jul 17, 2013
from DeSmogBlog:
Keystone XL Conflict of Interest: Obama Attorney's Law Firm Represents TransCanada
A recent DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel and President Obama's personal attorney, works at the corporate law firm Perkins Coie LLP, which does legal work for TransCanada's South Central Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Project, formerly known as Alaska Gas Pipeline Project. Furthermore, Dan Sullivan, current Commissioner of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources, and former Alaska Attorney General and former Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush Administration, is also a former Perkins attorney. ...


It's as if everybody's in bed together!

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Wed, Jul 3, 2013
from Climate Central:
The Climate Context Behind the Deadly Arizona Wildfire
The deadly Yarnell Hill Fire continued to rage out of control on Monday, a day after the flames fanned by erratic winds and temperatures topping 100°F overwhelmed a team of elite firefighters, killing 19 of the 20-member crew. The fire has burned about 200 homes and has burned through at least 8,400 acres -- more than quadrupling in size since it began on June 28, according to news reports.... And projections show that the West may be in for more large wildfires in the future. Climate models show an alarming increase in large wildfires in the West in coming years, as spring snowpack melts earlier, summer temperatures increase, and droughts occur more frequently or with greater severity. ...


Can't we develop flame-resistant trees?

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Mon, Jun 10, 2013
from Washington Post:
Carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012, IEA report says
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use rose 1.4 percent to 31.6 gigatons in 2012, setting a record and putting the planet on course for temperature increases well above international climate goals, the International Energy Agency said in a report scheduled to be issued Monday. The agency said continuing that pace could mean a temperature increase over pre-industrial times of as much as 5.3 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit), which IEA chief economist Fatih Birol warned "would be a disaster for all countries." ...


Sounds like hell on earth.

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Tue, Jun 4, 2013
from London Guardian:
Jellyfish surge in Mediterranean threatens environment -- and tourists
Scientists across the Mediterranean say a surge in the number of jellyfish this year threatens not just the biodiversity of one of the world's most overfished seas but also the health of tens of thousands of summer tourists. "I flew along a 300km stretch of coastline on 21 April and saw millions of jellyfish," said Professor Stefano Piraino of Salento University in southern Italy. Piraino is the head of a Mediterranean-wide project to track the rise in the number of jellyfish as global warming and overfishing clear the way for them to prosper. "There are now beaches on the island of Lampedusa, which receives 300,000 tourists a year, where people can only swim for a week in the summer," said Piraino. ...


Offer tourists the opportunity to kill the jellyfish and ... problem solved!

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Mon, Jun 3, 2013
from Bloomberg:
TransCanada CEO says Keystone aids jobs and environment
TransCanada Corp. (TRP)'s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline would benefit U.S. employment and support efforts to tackle climate change, according to the company's Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling. ...


And smoking is good for you, too!

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Mon, May 27, 2013
from The Daily Climate:
Opinion: Stop the decay of our planet's life-support systems
...A statement released today and signed by more than 500 scientists from 44 countries who study the interactions of people with our planet is unequivocal: "Based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path."... "By the time today's children reach middle age," the scientists warn, "it is extremely likely that Earth's life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent, and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future." ...


As if middle age doesn't suck regardless.

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Wed, May 22, 2013
from London Guardian:
Climate disasters displace millions of people worldwide
More than 32 million people fled their homes last year because of disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes -- 98 percent of displacement related to climate change. Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt. Some 1.3 million people were displaced in rich countries, with the US particularly affected. Floods in India and Nigeria accounted for 41 percent of displacement, according to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre and Norwegian Refugee Council... ...


Welcome to the new normalypse.

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Mon, May 20, 2013
from University of Colorado at Boulder:
World's Melting Glaciers Making Large Contribution to Sea Rise
While 99 percent of Earth's land ice is locked up in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the remaining ice in the world's glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder. The new research found that all glacial regions lost mass from 2003 to 2009, with the biggest ice losses occurring in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalayas. ...


This loss of mass is likely responsible for the growing obesity epidemic.

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Thu, May 16, 2013
from Science Daily:
Methane Emissions Higher Than Thought Across Much of U.S.
After taking a rented camper outfitted with special equipment to measure methane on a cross-continent drive, a UC Santa Barbara scientist has found that methane emissions across large parts of the U.S. are higher than currently known, confirming what other more local studies have found. Their research is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.... Leifer was joined by two UCSB undergraduate students on the road trip from Los Angeles to Florida, taking a primarily southern route through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and along the Gulf of Mexico. They used specialized instrumentation, a gas chromatograph, to measure methane. The device was mounted in the RV, with an air ram on the roof that collected air samples from in front of the vehicle.... The researchers meandered slowly through areas of fossil fuel activity, such as petroleum and natural gas production, refining, and distribution areas, and other areas of interest. The wide range of sources studied included a coal-loading terminal, a wildfire, and wetlands. ...


This would be scarier if I believed in "science."

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Tue, May 14, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Carbon dioxide in atmosphere did not break 400 ppm at Hawaii site
Carbon dioxide measurements in the Earth's atmosphere did not break the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million at a Hawaiian observatory last week, according to a revised reading from the nation's climate observers. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revised its May 9 reading at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, saying it remained fractions of a point below the level of 400 ppm, at 399.89. ...


Crisis averted!

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
A Rare Bipartisan Clean Energy Bill Is Ready for Passage
...Legislation is moving through both houses to tweak the tax code to let clean energy developers form a master limited partnership, or MLP, a type of publicly traded company structure not subject to corporate taxes. For three decades, coal, oil and gas companies have used MLPs to raise hundreds of billions of dollars for pipelines, refineries and other projects. The financing vehicle is credited with helping sustain the nation's current drilling boom....No one expects much opposition to the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act, the companion bills introduced last month. Co-sponsors include conservative Republicans and legislators from oil and gas states. The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's main trade group, is among its backers. ...


I'd say "hell freezing over" except that the Arctic is already melting.

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from Christian Science Monitor:
Google Earth Engine unveils how Earth has altered
Google has launched Google Earth Engine, a global, zoomable timelapse map that allows you to witness how humans have altered the surface of the Earth since 1984. Google has launched Google Earth Engine, a global, zoomable timelapse map that allows you to witness how humans have altered the surface of the Earth since 1984. ...


Lucky us. We get to watch the train wreck.

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from Associated Press:
Plans to export US natural gas stir debate
A domestic natural gas boom already has lowered U.S. energy prices while stoking fears of environmental disaster. Now U.S. producers are poised to ship vast quantities of gas overseas as energy companies seek permits for proposed export projects that could set off a renewed frenzy of fracking. Expanded drilling is unlocking enormous reserves of crude oil and natural gas, offering the potential of moving the country closer to its decades-long quest for energy independence. Yet as the industry looks to profit from foreign markets, there is the specter of higher prices at home and increased manufacturing costs for products from plastics to fertilizers. ...


A fwacking fwenzy? Vewy fwightening!

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Wed, May 8, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
Coal Mines' Methane Curbs Fall Victim to EPA Budget Cuts
Methane emissions from coal mines escaped being curbed by the Environmental Protection Agency, which said mandatory U.S. budget cuts didn't leave it with the resources to determine if the pollution is a significant risk. The EPA rejected a petition from environmental groups, which three years ago asked the agency to limit the greenhouse gases released from the mines.... The denial, set to be published tomorrow in the Federal Register, is at least the fourth category of emitters the agency has refused to regulate, disappointing groups and some lawmakers who say that EPA needs to take bolder, quicker action to combat the threat of global warming. EPA turned down a petition to curb emissions from aircraft, ships and off-highway trucks in June. ...


EPA: Environmental Pusillanimity Agency

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Wed, May 8, 2013
from Al Jazeera:
Climate talks end inconclusively, again
Another week of international climate negotiations ended in Bonn, Germany on Friday, but there was little mid-level bureaucrats could do when world leaders remain in thrall to the fossil fuel industry, say environmentalists. ...


Sources say Al Jazeera is in thrall to the fossil fuel industry. Perhaps not?

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Tue, May 7, 2013
from Greenwire:
EPA to defend its greenhouse gas emission rules tomorrow
U.S. EPA will return to court tomorrow to defend its regulations for fighting climate change from multiple challenges by Texas and industry groups. At issue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit are two cases that center on EPA's implementation of greenhouse gas air emissions standards under the Clean Air Act after the agency determined the emissions endangered public health. ...


Amazing that the health of the populace needs to be justified in some way.

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from The Keeling Curve:
The Keeling Curve
Want to watch the slow-motion trainwreck of our climate in real time? Go to the Keeling Curve web site and see current ppm rate of CO2 concentration as we march inexorably to 400. ...


I do love the word inexorably.

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from BBC:
Arctic Ocean 'acidifying rapidly'
Scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) monitored widespread changes in ocean chemistry in the region.... It is well known that CO2 warms the planet, but less well-known that it also makes the alkaline seas more acidic when it is absorbed from the air. Absorption is particularly fast in cold water so the Arctic is especially susceptible, and the recent decreases in summer sea ice have exposed more sea surface to atmospheric CO2. ...


Thank goodness the Arctic is heating up!

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from Reuters:
Low-key U.S. plan for each nation to set climate goals wins ground
A U.S.-led plan to let all countries set their own goals for fighting climate change is gaining grudging support at U.N. talks, even though the current level of pledges is far too low to limit rising temperatures substantially. The approach, being discussed this week at 160-nation talks in Bonn, Germany, would mean abandoning the blueprint of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set central goals for industrialized countries to cut emissions by 2012 and then let each work out national implementation. ...


That way we can blame everyone for planetary destruction.

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Wed, May 1, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.us in heated controversy over political ads
Mark Zuckerberg is being unfriended by progressives angered by television ads from his political advocacy group Fwd.us that praise lawmakers for supporting the expansion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.... Though none of the ads suggest that Zuckerberg or Facebook support these policies, that distinction may be lost on the general public. ...


The general public is too busy being on Facebook to delve into the nuances of anything.

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Mon, Apr 29, 2013
from Associated Press:
EPA methane report further divides fracking camps
The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?... The scope of the EPA's revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That's about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. ...


Does this mean we are only 80 percent frucked, after all?

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
Politics, science tangle over climate change in school standards
South Dakota took part in a 26-state effort to update the way K-12 schools teach science, but the resulting standards face a series of hurdles on the way to implementation. The Next Generation Science Standards, released this month, emphasize the practice of science and critical thinking in place of rote memorization. But the standards, which map out what students should know and be able to do, already are drawing both praise and criticism for their unskeptical take on humans' role in climate change... But many politicians consider man's influence on global climate change to be unresolved. ...


Politicians' influence on global climate change is nothing short of ghastly!

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
U.S. States Turn Against Renewable Energy as Gas Plunges
More than half the U.S. states with laws requiring utilities to buy renewable energy are considering ways to pare back those mandates after a plunge in natural gas prices brought on by technology that boosted supply. Sixteen of the 29 states with renewable portfolio standards are considering legislation that would reduce the need for wind and solar power, according to researchers backed by the U.S. Energy Department. North Carolina lawmakers may be among the first to move, followed by Colorado and Connecticut. The efforts could benefit U.S. utilities such as Duke Energy Corp (DUK). and PG&E Corp (PCG). as well as Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM)., the biggest U.S. oil producer, and Peabody Energy Corp (BTU)., the largest U.S. coal mining company. ...


A veritable rogue's gallery of profiteers.

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
EPA settles with Wisconsin utilities on coal plant air pollution
Wisconsin Power & Light Co. and three other utilities will spend $1.2 billion to clean up coal-fired power plants and shut down older plants under a settlement announced Monday with federal regulators. Under a settlement filed in federal court in Madison on Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department will assess a civil penalty of $2.45 million for alleged violations of air pollution laws over the years.... Utility ratepayers won't have to pay for the civil penalties... But it's possible they could pay for the environmental mitigation costs. And over time they will be on the hook for paying for the construction of environmental controls at the coal boilers that will remain open. ...


Even though it's chump change for a utility, still we hope the chumps might change.

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
EPA criticizes environmental review of Keystone XL pipeline
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday criticized the State Department's environmental impact review of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying there was not enough evidence to back up key conclusions on gas emissions, safety and alternative routes. In a letter to top State Department officials, the agency said it had "environmental objections" to their review, which concluded the pipeline would have minimal impact on the environment. The analysis could complicate efforts to win approval for the controversial $7-billion project. ...


Ooo-boy! Gonna be some fisticuffs at the Fed!

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from TckTckTck:
Groundbreaking Study Reaffirms Human Impact on Climate
A groundbreaking new study, published in Nature Geoscience, has found that global temperatures were warmer between 1970 and 2000 than any other 30-year period in the last 1,400 years. The research, compiled by 73 scientists from 28 institutions worldwide, is the most comprehensive reconstruction of global temperatures to date. It used corals, ice cores, tree rings, lake and marine sediments, historical records, cave deposits and climate archives to help establish temperature trends over the last 2,000 years... The timing of the warming period correlates directly with an increase in carbon emissions from human activity over the same period and broadly confirms an ever-growing message from climate scientists: climate change is happening, it is caused by humans and billions of people will fall victim to it without urgent action. ...


1970? Maybe it's disco's fault.

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Tue, Apr 16, 2013
from Public Citizen:
New Report Finds: Keystone XL Would Increase Gas Prices and Reduce National Security
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is likely to increase gas prices contradicting claims by pipeline proponents, a new Public Citizen report finds. Public Citizen also concluded that because the Keystone pipeline is designed to promote exports from Canadian tar sands, it will reduce national energy security -- not bolster it, as pipeline backers claim. The report, America Can't Afford the Keystone Pipeline, documents rapidly increasing Chinese national government interests in Canadian tar sands, further confounding security claims. ...


Helloooo. Keystone is supposed to benefit the rich and politicians they support.

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Mon, Apr 15, 2013
from Politico:
Environmentalists fear weaker fracking rule
Environmentalists fear the oil and gas industry has the Obama administration's ear as the government prepares to release a new draft rule to govern fracking on federal lands. Though the Interior Department has yet to release an official draft, each subsequent leaked version contains less of what environmental groups want, the activists say, taking the rule further away from its potential of setting strict standards for the industry. "What we see is every step of the way, these rules are getting weaker,” said Fran Hunt, senior Washington representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Natural Gas campaign. ...


Perhaps we'll end up with guidelines instead, which are rules with wiggle room.

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Mon, Apr 15, 2013
from Reuters:
Scientists find Antarctic ice is melting faster
The summer ice melt in parts of Antarctica is at its highest level in 1,000 years, Australian and British researchers reported on Monday, adding new evidence of the impact of global warming on sensitive Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves. Researchers from the Australian National University and the British Antarctic Survey found data taken from an ice core also shows the summer ice melt has been 10 times more intense over the past 50 years compared with 600 years ago. ...


Antarctic: the other melting Arctic.

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Tue, Apr 9, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Greens ask U.S. to delay Keystone decision after Arkansas leak
Environmental groups on Monday asked the Obama administration to extend the approval process of the Keystone XL pipeline, using last month's spill of heavy Canadian crude oil in Arkansas as their latest reason to delay the project. The Obama administration is deciding whether to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of TransCanada Corp's proposed pipeline, which would link Canada's oil sands, the world's third richest crude oil deposit, to refineries in Texas. The State Department, which issued a draft environmental assessment of the $5.3 billion project on March 1, indicated then that a final decision could come by July or August. ...


Remember the Mayflower!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from TomDispatch:
Is the Keystone XL Pipeline the "Stonewall" of the Climate Movement?
...Recently, I had a long talk with an administration insider who kept telling me that, for the next decade, we should focus all our energies on "killing coal." Why? Because it was politically feasible. And indeed we should, but climate-change science makes it clear that we need to put the same sort of thought and creative energy into killing oil and natural gas, too. I mean, the Arctic -- from Greenland to its seas -- essentially melted last summer in a way never before seen. The frozen Arctic is like a large physical feature. It's as if you woke up one morning and your left arm was missing.... ...


And, the missing arm returned to choke you to death!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:
286-acre solar farm OK'd for Indianapolis
A sprawling solar farm planned for Indianapolis' south side faces opposition from nearby residents worried its solar arrays will create irritating glints of reflected sunlight and harm property values.... Some said they feared reduced property values and problems with drainage and future development. ...


It's a new form of NIMBY: NOMDE, Not On My Deteriorating Earth.

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from International Herald Tribune:
U.S. Moves Toward Teaching Climate Change; Britain Does the Opposite
New science teaching standards in the United States will include extensive lessons on human-made climate change. Expected to be unveiled this week, the guidelines will bring the subject to classrooms in up to 40 states, in many cases for the first time. Eighth-grade pupils should understand that "human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth's mean surface temperature (global warming)," according to the Next Generation Science Standards. The proposed changes are causing some controversy in a country where the acceptance of man-made climate change is a political issue. ...


Teach your children well/Their father's hell did slowly go by... So just look at them and sigh and know they love you...

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from The Hill:
US carbon emissions drop as gas displaces coal
A switch from coal to natural gas in electricity production helped drive down energy-related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 to their lowest level since 1994, the federal Energy Information Administration said Friday. The carbon emissions have fallen every year since 2007, with the exception of 2010, according to the agency.... The biggest drop in 2012 came from declining use of coal, a fuel facing fierce competition from low natural gas prices, according to the EIA, which is the Energy Department's independent statistical arm. ...


Great news! Except for the methane emissions and the fact that once natural gas prices rise, um ... blergh

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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from Washington Post:
Methane leaks are undermining the shale-gas boom. Here's how to fix that.
At first glance, the recent shale-gas boom in the United States looks like excellent news for efforts to slow climate change. Natural gas is nudging aside dirtier coal in the electric-power sector, which is driving down U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. But the one huge caveat in this story has always been methane.... That brings us to a big new study from the World Resources Institute, which tries to compile everything we know about methane leaks. The bad news: We have no idea how much methane is actually seeping out of our natural-gas wells and pipelines. The good news: The technologies to plug those leaks are readily available, but new regulations may be necessary to make sure they're widely adopted. ...


That sounds like a bad news/good news/hopeless news scenario to me.

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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Midwest Generation gets more time to clean up Illinois coal plants
The Illinois Pollution Control Board on Thursday granted Midwest Generation two extra years to meet a state multi-pollutant standard that would require they install emissions controls on their four Illinois plants by 2015 and 2016. ...


What's the hurry?

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Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from Mongabay:
Scientists find the 'missing heat' of global warming 700 meters below the sea
Critics of climate change often claim that warming has stopped since the late 1990s. While this is categorically false (the last decade was the warmest on record and 2005 and 2010 are generally considered tied for the warmest year), scientists do admit that warming hasn't occurred over land as rapidly as predicted in the last ten years, especially given continually rising greenhouse gas emissions. But a recent study in Geophysical Research Letters has found this so-called missing heat: 700 meters below the surface of the ocean...."This signals the beginning of the most sustained warming trend in this record of [ocean heat content]," the scientists write in the paper. "Indeed, recent warming rates of the waters below 700 meters appear to be unprecedented." ...


We are nothing if not masters of the unprecedented consequence.

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Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from Center for Climate Change Communication:
A National Survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents on Energy and Climate Change
This short report is based on a January 2013 national survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents. We found that they prefer clean energy as the basis of America's energy future and say the benefits of clean energy, such as energy independence (66 percent) saving resources for our children and grandchildren (57 percent), and providing a better life for our children and grandchildren (56 percent) outweigh the costs, such as more government regulation (42 percent) or higher energy prices (31 percent). By a margin of 2 to 1, respondents say America should take action to reduce our fossil fuel use. Also, only one third of respondents agree with the Republican Party's position on climate change, while about half agree with the party's position on how to meet America's energy needs. ...


So much for lockstep Republicans.

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Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from Popular Science:
Over Time, Nuclear Power Would Kill Fewer People Than Petroleum
Using nuclear power for energy instead of coal has prevented almost 2 million pollution-related deaths around the world, and could save millions more lives in the future, according to a new paper. It's the latest publication from James Hansen, NASA's fiery climate change scientist, who is retiring on Wednesday after 46 years with the space agency. The paper argues that policymakers should increase nuclear power, rather than continuing dependence on fossil fuels. The 2011 disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant should not deter governments from expanding nuclear power... Nuclear power has already prevented 64 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions, and would prevent the equivalent of another 80 to 240 gigatons, again depending on which fuel it replaces. ...


This lesser of two evils still looks like a killer to me.

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Tue, Apr 2, 2013
from Washington Post:
Bracket busters and gas guzzlers
In addition to broken dreams, shredded brackets and lost productivity, you can add higher carbon emissions to the adverse effects of March Madness. Booz Allen Hamilton put a new spin on bracket tracking this year, developing an online game that allows users to measure the carbon footprint of their predicted winners...In traveling to the Sweet 16 this past weekend at the Verizon Center, Indiana, Syracuse, Miami and Marquette added about 140,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere -- about the same impact of providing one year of heat and electricity to 7,147 homes. ...


That really IS madness!

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Fri, Mar 29, 2013
from USA Today:
Report: Most insurers not prepared for climate change
Most insurance companies do not have comprehensive strategies to cope with climate change despite mounting weather-related claims, says a report to be released Thursday. Of 184 companies surveyed, only 23 had such strategies, and 13 of those that did were foreign-owned, according to report by Ceres, a Boston-based non-profit that promotes eco-minded business practices. The report says the most prepared tend to be the largest companies with scientists on staff and those that insure property rather than life or health. Many companies "won't talk about climate change" and if they do, they use "hedged" language to avoid the controversial issue of whether it's man-made, says author Sharlene Leurig, senior manager of Ceres' insurance program. She says the issue is less politically divisive in Europe, where insurers are often better prepared. ...


Could be our weird weather these days might or might not have not a little something to do with stuff we might or might not be doing.

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Tue, Mar 26, 2013
from London Guardian:
Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss
Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice. Both the extent and the volume of the sea ice that forms and melts each year in the Arctic Ocean fell to an historic low last autumn, and satellite records published on Monday by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, show the ice extent is close to the minimum recorded for this time of year.... the Arctic ice loss adds heat to the ocean and atmosphere which shifts the position of the jet stream -- the high-altitude river of air that steers storm systems and governs most weather in northern hemisphere. ...


So you're saying there's no benefit at all from global warming???

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Tue, Mar 26, 2013
from USA Today:
Poll questions shift public views on global warming
...The majority of the public pretty much understands that global warming is happening, and has for a long time, the authors say. Some of what looks like confusion about what folks think may result more from the poll questions themselves, rather than from the people answering the questions....ask people what they believe and they will mostly say they believe global warming is happening. If you pile on top of that question the additional task of asking people to assess what they know of the evidence (which may be very little), they become more doubtful in their answers. ...


Do you not agree or disagree that you don't think global warming isn't happening?

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from Stanford News:
Stanford researcher maps out an alternative energy future for New York
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will soon decide whether to approve hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state. To date, no alternative to expanded gas drilling has been proposed. But a new study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert New York's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water and sunlight (WWS). The plan, scheduled for publication in the journal Energy Policy, shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply that creates local jobs and saves the state billions of dollars in pollution-related costs. ...


Do we really want smart people involved in something as important as energy use?

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from Reuters:
Reef-building corals lose out to softer cousins due warming
Climate change is likely to make reef-building stony corals lose out to softer cousins in a damaging shift for many types of fish that use reefs as hideaways and nurseries for their young, a study showed. Soft corals such as mushroom-shaped yellow leather coral, which lack a hard outer skeleton, were far more abundant than hard corals off Iwotorishima, an island off south Japan where volcanic vents make the waters slightly acidic, it said. A build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is turning the oceans more acidic in a process likely to hamper the ability of creatures such as lobsters, crabs, mussels or stony corals to build protective outer layers. ...


Climate change will turn us all into a bunch of softies.

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from Fast Company:
The Weather Channel Is Changing The Climate Change Conversation
Climate change will be a political conversation for a long time to come. So how does an organization that reports on the weather insert itself into the debate without getting political? Just take a look at the Weather Company, the parent company of the Weather Channel and Weather Underground. "We insert climate into every weather story," says David Kenny, CEO of the Weather Company. "We're scientific journalists. We start with science and try to tell scientifically based stories. It's not a political point of view." ...


If only we can get the sportsdesk reporting on climate change...

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Keystone Public Comments Won't Be Made Public, State Department Says
When the State Department hired a contractor to produce the latest environmental impact statement for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, it asked for a Web-based electronic docket to record public comments as they flowed in each day. Thousands of comments are expected to be filed by people and businesses eager to influence the outcome of the intense international debate over the project ... But the only way to see the comments themselves is by filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, a process that can take so long that the Keystone debate could be over before the documents are made available. ...


Imagine if we could harness the power of secrecy for our energy needs.

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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from Washington Post:
EPA likely to delay climate rules for new power plants
The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and could anger many environmentalists. The discussions center on the first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for power plants, which were proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency nearly a year ago. Rewriting the proposal would significantly delay any action, and might allow the agency to set a separate standard for coal-fired power plants, which are roughly twice as polluting as those fueled by natural gas. ...


USA, the world's biggest (procrasti)nation.

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Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from American Geophysical Union:
Canadian Arctic Glacier Melt Accelerating, Irreversible, Projections Suggest
...In the past few years, the mass of the glaciers in the Canadian Arctic archipelago has begun to plummet. Observations from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites suggest that from 2004 to 2011 the region's glaciers shed approximately 580 gigatons of ice. Aside from glacier calving, which plays only a small role in Canadian glacier mass loss, the drop is due largely to a shift in the surface-mass balance, with warming-induced meltwater runoff outpacing the accumulation of new snowfall. ...


What's a giggleton?

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Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from Truthout:
Tar Sands Resistance Escalates in Massachusetts
The national week of actions against the Keystone XL pipeline called for by the nonviolent direct action group Tar Sands Blockade is supposed to run from March 16-23. Activists in Massachusetts decided they wanted to turn up the heat a little early. On Monday, March 11, 2013, at about 10:30 AM, over 100 protesters stormed the Massachusetts offices of TransCanada, the company that stands to profit most from the pipeline's construction. After two hours, 26 people were arrested for handcuffing their bodies together, blockading the entrance and refusing to leave until the pipeline project was abandoned. The action was billed as a Funeral for Our Future and included somber songs, construction paper flowers and a homemade coffin. This was the third protest as part of an escalating direct action campaign in Westborough, Massachusetts, targeting the TransCanada offices there. ...


It's getting hot in here so take off all your clothes.

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Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from Grist:
'State Department' Keystone XL Report Actually Written By TransCanada Contractor
The State Department's "don't worry" environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, released late Friday afternoon, was written not by government officials but by a private company in the pay of the pipeline's owner. The "sustainability consultancy" Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement, which is now an official government document. The statement estimates, and then dismisses, the pipeline's massive carbon footprint and other environmental impacts, because, it asserts, the mining and burning of the tar sands is unstoppable. ...


This isn't a conflict of interest, it's a confluence of interest.

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Boston University College of Arts & Sciences :
Amplified Greenhouse Effect Shaping North Into South
An international team of 21 authors from 17 institutions in seven countries has just published a study in the journal Natural Climate Change showing that, as the cover of snow and ice in the northern latitudes has diminished in recent years, the temperature over the northern land mass has increased at different rates during the four seasons, causing a reduction in temperature and vegetation seasonality in this area. In other words, the temperature and vegetation at northern latitudes increasingly resembles those found several degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 30 years ago. ...


We humans like to mix it up!

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Earth Policy Institute:
Where Has All the Ice Gone?
... In September 2012, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to a record low extent and volume. The region has warmed two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1960s -- twice as much as lower latitudes. With less snow and ice to reflect the sun's rays and with more exposed ocean to absorb heat, a vicious cycle leads to even warmer temperatures. Thinner ice combined with rising temperatures makes it increasingly difficult for the sea ice to recover. The historically ever-present white cap at the top of the globe could disappear entirely during the summer within two decades...Greenland's ice loss has accelerated from 51 billion tons per year in the 1990s to 263 billion tons per year today... parts of Antarctica's vast ice sheet may be even less stable. The continent is flanked by 54 major ice shelves, which act as brakes slowing the movement of ice in land-based glaciers out to sea. Twenty of them show signs of thinning and weakening, which translates into accelerated ice loss. ...


The air conditioner of the planet is turning into a space heater!

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from New York Times:
No to Keystone. Yes to Crazy.
I HOPE the president turns down the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Who wants the U.S. to facilitate the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada's far north?) But I don't think he will. So I hope that Bill McKibben and his 350.org coalition go crazy. I'm talking chain-themselves-to-the-White-House-fence-stop-traffic-at-the-Capitol kind of crazy, because I think if we all make enough noise about this, we might be able to trade a lousy Keystone pipeline for some really good systemic responses to climate change. We don't get such an opportunity often -- namely, a second-term Democratic president who is under heavy pressure to approve a pipeline to create some jobs but who also has a green base that he can't ignore. So cue up the protests, and pay no attention to people counseling rational and mature behavior. ...


We're already crazy in love with Mother Earth!

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Fri, Mar 8, 2013
from AP, via Yahoo:
Recent heat spike unlike anything in 11,000 years
A new study looking at 11,000 years of climate temperatures shows the world in the middle of a dramatic U-turn, lurching from near-record cooling to a heat spike. Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny marine organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until an unprecedented reversal in the 20th century. Scientists say it is further evidence that modern-day global warming isn't natural, but the result of rising carbon dioxide emissions that have rapidly grown since the Industrial Revolution began roughly 250 years ago.... "In 100 years, we've gone from the cold end of the spectrum to the warm end of the spectrum," Marcott said. "We've never seen something this rapid. Even in the ice age the global temperature never changed this quickly." ...


Those scientists act as if time was something more than just a theory.

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Wed, Mar 6, 2013
from Associated Press:
US scientists report big jump in heat-trapping CO2
The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show. Scientists say the rise in CO2 reflects the world's economy revving up and burning more fossil fuels, especially in China. Carbon dioxide levels jumped by 2.67 parts per million since 2011 to total just under 395 parts per million... ...


But I thought it was good when numbers grew.

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Wed, Mar 6, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Critical Part of Keystone Report Done by Firms with Deep Oil Industry Ties
The State Department's recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline "is unlikely to have a substantial impact" on the rate of Canada's oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project. EnSys Energy has worked with ExxonMobil, BP and Koch Industries, which own oil sands production facilities and refineries in the Midwest that process heavy Canadian crude oil. Imperial Oil, one of Canada's largest oil sands producers, is a subsidiary of Exxon. ICF International works with pipeline and oil companies but doesn't list specific clients on its website. It declined to comment on the Keystone, referring questions to the State Department. ...


That fox we hired to guard hen house? He's eating all the hens!

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from New Scientist:
Globetrotting Sahara sand takes rain to California
If the Sahara gets any drier, it could make California wetter. That's because the dust and microbes that help form clouds can travel around the world on narrow air streams called "atmospheric rivers", causing rain. The particles, or aerosols, help clouds form by acting as seeds for water vapour to condense around. Atmospheric rivers carry this dust-laden water until they hit mountains, such as California's Sierra Nevada, where their cargo turns to precipitation....In two storms with otherwise identical conditions, the one containing more dust was much wetter, suggesting that in future, extra dust from desertification and activities such as agriculture could make far-flung places wetter. ...


All right, already. Enough with the Gaia teaching moments!

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
Great Lakes community defined by ice ponders life without it
For decades, winter visitors to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Wisconsin's rugged Lake Superior coast have marveled at the artistry that happens when water, waves and subfreezing temperatures converge, creating natural ice sculptures as artful as glassworks. The ephemeral event, when upstream rivulets flow into caves at the lake's edge and harden into blue-green stalactites anchored in a bed of clear Lake Superior ice, is so popular with tourists that the National Park Service maintains a telephone hotline to let people know when it's safe enough to make the 2-mile hike across the hardened lake to view what are called the sea caves...Among the most worrying trends for scientists and policymakers is the loss of winter lake ice, a condition exacerbated by higher air and water temperatures, that has changed the way the gigantic lake and its micro-climate behave. ...


Without ice, the Great Lakes are mediocre lakes, at best.

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from New York Times:
Cabinet Picks Could Take On Climate Policy
President Obama on Monday named two people to his cabinet who will be charged with making good on his threat to use the powers of the executive branch to tackle climate change and energy policy if Congress does not act quickly... The appointments, which require Senate confirmation, send an unmistakable signal that the president intends to mount a multifaceted campaign in his second term to tackle climate change by using all the executive branch tools at his disposal. But even with Ms. McCarthy and Mr. Moniz in place, Mr. Obama would have to confront major hurdles in trying to refashion the American way of producing and consuming energy, the same hurdles that stymied climate and energy policy in his first term. Among the first of those is a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which the administration appears inclined to approve over the vociferous objections of environmental advocates. ...


Thank goodness he's hired people to bullshit us if he says yes to Keystone.

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Climate Change Science Poised to Enter Nation's Classrooms
New national science standards that make the teaching of global warming part of the public school curriculum are slated to be released this month, potentially ending an era in which climate skepticism has been allowed to seep into the nation's classrooms.... They recommend that educators teach the evidence for man-made climate change starting as early as elementary school and incorporate it into all science classes, ranging from earth science to chemistry. By eighth grade, students should understand that "human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth's mean surface temperature (global warming)," the standards say. ...


Hey, kids! It's important you know all about the shitstorm we're handing off to you.

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Canadian crude oil finds a new pathway through Minnesota
If President Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline, large quantities of the Canadian oil it's designed to carry will still roll into the United States -- on railroads with tracks through Minnesota. The proposed pipeline across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska has provoked opposition from environmental activists who say extraction of crude oil from tar sands increases greenhouse gases that cause global warming. As anti-pipeline groups have pressed the White House to kill the project, the oil and railroad industries have been building oil-loading terminals and buying tank cars to ship Canadian crude oil by rail. ...


The show must go on.

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from University of Colorado at Boulder :
Volcanic Aerosols, Not Pollutants, Tamped Down Recent Earth Warming
A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight -- dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide.... previous observations suggest that increases in stratospheric aerosols since 2000 have counterbalanced as much as 25 percent of the warming scientists blame on human greenhouse gas emissions. "This new study indicates it is emissions from small to moderate volcanoes that have been slowing the warming of the planet"... ...


A little autogeoengineering never hurt anyone!

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from Columbia Journalism Review:
NYT cancels Green blog - No explanation from editors following surprise announcement
At 5pm on Friday afternoon, The New York Times posted the following announcement: The Times is discontinuing the Green blog, which was created to track environmental and energy news and to foster lively discussion of developments in both areas. This change will allow us to direct production resources to other online projects. But we will forge ahead with our aggressive reporting on environmental and energy topics, including climate change, land use, threatened ecosystems, government policy, the fossil fuel industries, the growing renewables sector and consumer choices. This is terrible news, to say the least. When the Times announced in January that it was dismantling its three-year-old environment pod and reassigning its editors and reporters to other desks, managing editor Dean Baquet insisted that the outlet remained as committed as ever to covering the environment. Obviously, that was an outright lie. ...


...bump bump bump... Another one bites the dust.

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from Associated Press:
Climate-change activists jeer as U.S. report says Keystone XL pipeline would have no major environmental impacts
A new U.S. State Department report is the latest evidence that the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada should be approved, supporters say. The draft report, issued Friday, finds there would be no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed route from western Canada to refineries in Texas. The report also said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.... The State Department analysis for the first time evaluated two options using rail: shipping the oil on trains to existing pipelines or to oil tankers. The report shows that those other methods would release more greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming than the pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline, according to the report, would release annually the same amount of global warming pollution as 626,000 passenger cars. ...


Pity the antiquated thinking of our so-called leaders.

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Tue, Feb 26, 2013
from Reuters:
Hotter, wetter climate slashes labor capacity by 10 percent: U.S. study
Earth's increasingly hot, wet climate has cut the amount of work people can do in the worst heat by about 10 percent in the past six decades, and that loss in labor capacity could double by mid-century, U.S. government scientists reported on Sunday. Because warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air, there's more absolute humidity in the atmosphere now than there used to be. And as anyone who has sweltered through a hot, muggy summer knows, it's more stressful to work through hot months when the humidity is high. ...


This is why we created concept of the siesta.

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Tue, Feb 26, 2013
from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK):
Weather Extremes Provoked by Trapping of Giant Waves in the Atmosphere
The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011 or the one in Russia 2010 coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The study will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and suggests that man-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe's Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism...."What we found is that during several recent extreme weather events these planetary waves almost freeze in their tracks for weeks. So instead of bringing in cool air after having brought warm air in before, the heat just stays....["] ...


Gosh, why don't we get a giant broom to move the waves.

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Mon, Feb 25, 2013
from New Scientist:
Major methane release is almost inevitable
We are on the cusp of a tipping point in the climate. If the global climate warms another few tenths of a degree, a large expanse of the Siberian permafrost will start to melt uncontrollably. The result: a significant amount of extra greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, and a threat -- ironically -- to the infrastructure that carries natural gas from Russia to Europe. The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet, and climatologists have long warned that this will cause positive feedbacks that will speed up climate change further. The region is home to enormous stores of organic carbon, mostly in the form of permafrost soils and icy clathrates that trap methane -- a powerful greenhouse gas that could escape into the atmosphere. ...


There is no I in methane.

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Mon, Feb 25, 2013
from Rolling Stone:
The Case for Fossil-Fuel Divestment
It's obvious how this should end. You've got the richest industry on earth, fossil fuel, up against some college kids, some professors, a few environmentalists, a few brave scientists. And it's worse than that. The college students want their universities to divest from fossil fuel -- to sell off their stock in Exxon and Shell and the rest in an effort to combat global warming. But those universities, and their boards, have deep ties to the one percent: combined, their endowments are worth $400 billion, and at Harvard, say, the five folks who run the portfolio make as much money as the entire faculty combined... But here's my bet: the kids are going to win, and when they do, it's going to matter. In fact, with Washington blocked, campuses are suddenly a front line in the climate fight -- a place to stand up to a status quo that is wrecking the planet. ...


Me, I graduated from the University of Carbon Emissions!

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Thu, Feb 21, 2013
from London Guardian:
Halve meat consumption, scientists urge rich world
People in the rich world should become "demitarians" -- eating half as much meat as usual, while stopping short of giving it up -- in order to avoid severe environmental damage, scientists have urged, in the clearest picture yet of how farming practices are destroying the natural world.... The quest for ever cheaper meat in the past few decades -- most people even in rich countries ate significantly less meat one and two generations ago -- has resulted in a massive expansion of intensively farmed livestock. This has diverted vast quantities of grain from human to animal consumption, requiring intensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides and, according to the Unep report, "caused a web of water and air pollution that is damaging human health". The run-off from these chemicals is creating dead zones in the seas, causing toxic algal blooms and killing fish, while some are threatening bees, amphibians and sensitive ecosystems. ...


All I did was order a cheeseburger!

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Wed, Feb 13, 2013
from Climate Central:
Rich Moisture Feed Helped Blizzard Bury Northeast
The weekend blizzard in the Northeast, dubbed "Nemo" by The Weather Channel, socked the region with stunning snowfall totals of more than 3 feet in some places... The amazing snowfall totals were, in part, the result of the rich tropical moisture feed that the storm tapped into, as Climate Central reported on Feb. 8. Data from the University of Wisconsin's Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, showed the amount of total precipitable water over New England was more than 200 percent of normal for the region at this time of year... Climate studies have shown that as the world has warmed, the atmosphere is carrying, on average, more moisture that can be wrung out by storms as rain or snow. ...


I think he said ... rich ... topical ... moisture ...

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Wed, Feb 13, 2013
from Associated Press:
Shell will repair rigs in Asia, possibly delaying Arctic work
After dedicating nearly eight years and $5 billion to the quest, Shell's plans to continue hunting for Arctic oil this summer are in jeopardy, as company officials on Monday confirmed they will tow two drilling units to Asian dry docks for repairs. Although Shell Oil said the firm has not ruled out drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska this summer, it appears unlikely the vessels will be able to make the two-to-four-week treks to those Asian ports, undergo repairs, clear U.S. inspections and return to those Arctic waters in time for the drilling season that begins in July. ...


By the following summer, it will be smooth sailing in the Arctic.

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Mon, Feb 11, 2013
from Climate Central:
Canadian Doctors Urged to Fight Climate Change
Scientists began talking seriously about some dangers of climate change more than 30 years ago -- rising seas, changing weather patterns, more rain in rainy places and more drought in dry places, and more. But the risks that lie outside their areas of expertise have taken longer to draw attention -- especially in the area of human health. That has started to change, however, as medical professionals have begun to understand how a changing climate could lead to all sorts public health problems -- increased mortality as heat waves become more intense and more common; a rising incidence of allergies; the spread of infectious diseases into new areas; and more. The latest evidence of this growing awareness: an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that lays out the facts and urges doctors to become more vocal in demanding action against climate change. ...


Why should they be more vocal? Climate change = more patients = more profit!

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Mon, Feb 11, 2013
from Politico:
John Kerry mum on Keystone XL pipeline
Secretary of State John Kerry and his Canadian counterpart refused to offer hints Friday about the biggest economic decision facing their countries: the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. But they stressed that the U.S. and Canada agree on a host of economic and environmental causes -- including climate change, the same issue that has motivated many of Keystone's green opponents to try to kill the project. ...


John Kerry to kill Keystone project: JK!

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Tue, Feb 5, 2013
from The Daily Caller:
Economist advocates working less to alleviate global warming, US should adopt European approach to productivity
A Center for Economic Policy Research paper released Monday claims that reducing work hours could result in a significant reduction of greenhouse gases, and with it Global Warming. "The calculation is simple: fewer work hours means less carbon emissions, which means less global warming, the paper's author CEPR's David Rosnick explained.... "For many years, European countries have been reducing work hours -- including by taking more holidays, vacation, and leave -- while the United States has gone the route of increased production." ...


I've been working on my lack of productivity for years.

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Tue, Feb 5, 2013
from University of British Columbia:
Blowing Hot and Cold: U.S. Belief in Climate Change Shifts With Weather
A University of British Columbia study of American attitudes toward climate change finds that local weather -- temperature, in particular -- is a major influence on public and media opinions on the reality of global warming. The study, published February 5 by the journal Climatic Change, finds a strong connection between U.S. weather trends and public and media attitudes towards climate science over the past 20 years -- with skepticism about global warming increasing during cold snaps and concern about climate change growing during hot spells. ...


Americans. So bloody literal.

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Mon, Feb 4, 2013
from EcoWatch:
BREAKING: Oklahoma Resident Locks Herself to Equipment to Protest Tar Sands Pipeline
Early this morning, Norman, Oklahoma resident Elizabeth Leja locked her neck to equipment used in constructing the Keystone XL pipeline. Citing concerns for Oklahoma's waterways and their importance for the health of future generations, her actions have halted construction at the site on Highway 62, just North of the North Canadian River, for the day. The Gulf Coast Project is the Southern segment of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a $7 billion project by multinational TransCanada.... The tar sands mining project in Northern Alberta is the largest industrial project in the history of humankind, which when fully realized will have destroyed pristine boreal forest and left a toxic wasteland the size of New York State. ...


This is not nearly as big as our main industrial project which is to wreck planet Earth!

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Mon, Feb 4, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
U.S. Renewable-Energy Capacity Doubled From 2009-2012, BNEF Says
Renewable-energy capacity in the U.S. almost doubled from 2009 to 2012, helping reduce the nation's carbon-dioxide emissions last year to the lowest since 1994, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. The cumulative installed solar, wind, geothermal and biomass-based energy sources in the U.S. climbed to 85.7 gigawatts in 2012, compared with 43.5 gigawatts in 2008, the London-based research company said in a report today. Because the U.S. has reduced carbon emissions by 13 percent from a high of 6.02 gigatons in 2007, it's gained credibility in global negotiations aimed at curbing climate change, Ethan Zindler, a New Energy Finance analyst based in Washington, said yesterday. Natural gas consumption increased as the use of coal and oil declined, according to the report. ...


Am I dreaming?

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Sat, Feb 2, 2013
from Indiana Living Green:
Study: Mainstream media coverage of environment pretty much sucks
On Jan. 31, the non-profit organization Project for Improved Environmental Coverage released a report detailing how the media is handling coverage of the issues affecting the environment. Their goal centered on establishing where environmental coverage ranks among news headlines both nationally and locally, along with how concerned the American population is with such coverage and how it can be improved. Headed by Tyson Miller and Todd Pollak, PIEC's data was gathered by the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism over a 17-month period spanning from early 2011 to 2012. The study found that only 1.2 percent of news headlines in the United States was represented by environmental coverage. ...


Here, at the ApocaDocs Project, it's always 100 percent!

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Sat, Feb 2, 2013
from Climate Central:
Ozone Hole's Winds Are Shifting, May Lead To Decrease In Carbon Dioxide Absorption
High above Antarctica, the atmosphere is slowly recovering from the decades-long barrage of manmade chemicals that ate a hole in the protective ozone layer. But the legacy of that destruction lingers. Scientists have linked the ozone hole that forms each Antarctic spring high above Earth to changes in the fierce band of westerly winds that swirls around Antarctica. Those winds, closer to the continent's surface, have grown stronger and moved poleward over the past several decades. And now a new study suggests that the ozone hole has an even broader reach. It finds evidence those shifting winds are speeding circulation patterns in polar waters. That shift is important because it may already be weakening the Southern Ocean's ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and slow the march of manmade climate change. ...


Man up, Southern Ocean, and grow some carbon sinkin' balls.

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Tue, Jan 29, 2013
from USDA Forest Service ‑ Southern Research Station:
Climate Change Projected to Alter Indiana Bat Maternity Range
...Due to conservation efforts, researchers saw an increase in Indiana bat populations in 2000 to 2005, but with the onset of white-nose syndrome populations are declining again, with the number of Indiana bats reported hibernating in the northeastern United States down by 72 percent in 2011. The study predicts even more declines due to temperature rises from climate change, with much of the western portion of the current range forecast to be unsuitable for maternity habitat by 2060. ...


Methinks all mothers will be suffering by then.

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Thu, Jan 24, 2013
from Omaha World-Herald:
Heineman approves Keystone XL route; pipeline's fate back in Obama's hands
Gov. Dave Heineman delighted supporters and deflated opponents of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline Tuesday when he approved a new route through Nebraska, saying the project represents a minimal environmental threat while holding substantial economic promise. ...


Such myopia is to be admired.

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Tue, Jan 22, 2013
from Reuters:
Curbing climate change will cost $700 billion a year: report
The world must spend an extra $700 billion a year to curb its addiction to fossil fuels blamed for worsening floods and heat waves and rising sea levels, a study issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed on Monday. ...


Pocket change.

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Mon, Jan 21, 2013
from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
Severe Climate Jeopardizing Amazon Forest, Study Finds
An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change. ...


I'm guessing a rainforest needs the occasional rainstorm.

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from London Guardian:
Climate change inaction the fault of environmental groups, report says
A Harvard academic has put the blame squarely for America's failure to act on climate change on environmental groups. She also argues that there is little prospect Barack Obama will put climate change on the top of his agenda in his second term. In a research paper, due to be presented at a Harvard forum next month, scholar Theda Skocpol in effect accuses the DC-based environmental groups of political malpractice, saying they were blind to extreme Republican opposition to their efforts.... That fatal misreading of the political realities - namely, the extreme polarisation of Congress and the Tea Party's growing influence among elected officials - doomed the effort to get a climate law through Congress. It will also make it more difficult to achieve climate action in the future, she added. ...


You mean just being right isn't enough?

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from Popular Mechanics:
NASA's Climate Drones Research at 65,000 Feet
Some NASA researchers believe the key to better climate science is sitting about 65,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. This month, they're going up there. The project, called ATTREX (Airborne Tropical TRopopause EXperiment), will provide measurements of moisture and chemical composition, radiation levels, meteorological conditions, and trace gas levels in the high atmosphere. A slew of climate specialists hope to collect unprecedented amounts of data from the tropopause, the boundary between the troposhere (where most weather phenomenon take place) and the stratosphere. The ultimate goal, according to principal investigator Eric Jensen, is to improve the mathematical models scientists use to predict climate change. ...


And the drones shall inherit the earth.

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Rising temps could change landscape of Midwest
Algae blooms on Lake Superior, the disappearance of birch trees from Minnesota and more heat-related complications for human health are all likely without significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the warmer climate they are causing. Those are among the conclusions of a new national report from the U.S. Global Change Research Project that is expected to help shape federal climate policy over the coming decade.... The report is scheduled to go to Obama in March 2014, after a public comment period and administration policymakers sign off on its conclusions. ...


Why hurry?

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from ClimateWire:
Ontario Phases Out Coal-Fired Power
By the end of the year, Ontario will become the first jurisdiction in North America to shut down almost its entire coal fleet. Yesterday, the province announced that its last two large coal units will close before 2014, making more than 99 percent of the province's electricity generated from non-coal sources. It is a major shift for Ontario, which fired 25 percent of its grid from coal a decade ago. ...


Ontario, u da man!

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from USA Today:
Climate change report: Seas rising, heat waves ahead
Climate change is already affecting how Americans live and work, and evidence is mounting that the burning of fossil fuels has roughly doubled the probability of extreme heat waves, the Obama administration said Friday ... The 400-page report, required by a 1990 U.S. law, comes as 2012 set a century-plus record for hottest year in the United States. As Americans grapple with such extreme weather, President Obama has called for a national conversation on climate change. ...


Obama: from mum on the subject to all talky talky.

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from London Guardian:
Global food crisis will worsen as heatwaves damage crops, research finds
The world's food crisis, where 1 billion people are already going hungry and a further 2 billion people will be affected by 2050, is set to worsen as increasing heatwaves reverse the rising crop yields seen over the last 50 years, according to new research. Severe heatwaves, such as those currently seen in Australia, are expected to become many times more likely in coming decades due to climate change. Extreme heat led to 2012 becoming the hottest year in the US on record and the worst corn crop in two decades. ...


Can't we build a supermassive air conditioner?

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Mon, Jan 14, 2013
from Reuters:
Emissions limits could cut climate damage by two-thirds: study
The world could avoid much of the damaging effects of climate change this century if greenhouse gas emissions are curbed more sharply, research showed on Sunday. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first comprehensive assessment of the benefits of cutting emissions to keep the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, a level which scientists say would avoid the worst effects of climate change. It found 20 to 65 percent of the adverse impacts by the end of this century could be avoided. ...


Soon as I finish with this phone call I'll drive my SUV to the mall to purchase a more energy-efficient blow dryer.

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Wed, Jan 9, 2013
from Live Science:
Arctic Snow Cover Shows Steep Decline
The blanket of snow that covers Arctic regions for most of the year has been shrinking at an increasing pace over the past decade, researchers say. A recent study found an overall decrease in Arctic snow-cover extent (snow that covers the Arctic at the end of the spring) from 1967 through 2012, and an acceleration of snow loss after the year 2003. The rate of snow-cover loss in June between 1979 and 2012 was 17.6 percent per decade (relative to the 1979-2000 mean), which is greater than the rate of September sea-ice decline during that same period, the researchers say....The link between snow-cover and sea-ice extent is not completely understood. "But if you remove snow cover earlier, you're creating the potential to send warmer air out over the ocean. It can't be good for sea ice if you lose the snow early," study researcher Chris Derksen, a cryosphere scientist at Environment Canada in Toronto... ...


At this point I suggest we stop paying attention to the Arctic!

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Wed, Jan 9, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
Harmful algae blooms increase as water warms in the world's major lakes
The warming waters of one of central Europe's most popular holiday destinations, Switzerland's Lake Zurich, have created an ideal environment for a population explosion of algae including Planktothrix rubescens, a toxic cyanobacterium. It has the potential to harm humans, animals and the tourism that pumps up the economies of lake districts. Although harmful algal blooms have been documented for more than a century, recently the number and frequency of cases have drastically increased. According to research published in leading scientific journals, Lake Zurich is by no means alone. Cyanobacteria now threaten the ecological well-being of some of the world's largest water bodies, including Lake Victoria in Africa, Lake Erie in the United States and Canada, Lake Taihu in China, the Baltic Sea in northern Europe, and the Caspian Sea in west Asia. ...


Seems like a lake of fire would be an attraction for some tourists.

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Mon, Jan 7, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
The Year Ahead in Keystone XL: Climate Worry Introduces Big Unknown
After years of protests and lobbying, the Obama administration is expected to decide within months on the fate of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline. The State Department is finalizing a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the project, which would ship tar sands oil from Canada, through America's heartland, and to the Gulf Coast via other pipelines.... For most of 2012, climate disappeared from the political agenda -- including from the administration's discussions of the Keystone XL -- but the issue unexpectedly gained the national spotlight post-Sandy. It remains unclear how, or whether, global warming will be addressed in the forthcoming SEIS and, more generally, by Obama in his second term. ...


Let's hope for another disaster! Oh, wait...

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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from New York Times:
Light Absorption Speeding Arctic Ice Melt
The record-setting disappearance of Arctic sea ice this fall was an indication to many climate scientists and ice experts that the pace of climate change was outstripping predictions. Now a new study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters provides a look at a dynamic that may further accelerate the process: the rate at which the ocean underneath the ice absorbs sunlight ... the more the ice melts in late summer, the more first-year ice replaces multiyear ice, and the warmer the ocean beneath the ice becomes, accelerating the melting process. ...


This feedback loop is insatiable.

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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from London Guardian:
2012: the year we did our best to abandon the natural world
It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half-century. Three weeks before the minimum occurred, the melting of the Arctic's sea ice broke the previous record. Remnants of the global megafauna -- such as rhinos and bluefin tuna -- were shoved violently towards extinction. Novel tree diseases raged across continents. Bird and insect numbers continued to plummet, coral reefs retreated, marine life dwindled. And those charged with protecting us and the world in which we live pretended that none of it was happening. ...


Who'd want to be in charge of this ecotastrophe?

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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from University of Wisconsin-Madison:
As Climate Warms, Bark Beetles March On High-Elevation Forests
Trees and the insects that eat them wage constant war. Insects burrow and munch; trees deploy lethal and disruptive defenses in the form of chemicals. But in a warming world, where temperatures and seasonal change are in flux, the tide of battle may be shifting in some insects' favor, according to a new study. ...


Can we all get along?

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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
from Morning Edition, NPR:
A Busy And Head-Scratching 2012 Hurricane Season
Superstorm Sandy is what most people will remember from the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. But Sandy was just one of 10 hurricanes this year -- a hurricane season that was both busy and strange .... the largest and strangest storm of the year: Hurricane Sandy. Almost everything about Sandy was unusual. It turned left where most storms turned right. It started out as a hurricane and then became an equally powerful winter superstorm. It brought heavy snow to the Appalachians. ...


The androgynously named Sandy was also transtormual!

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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
from The Morning Call:
EPA successor faces fracking fight
Lisa Jackson's exit as head of the Environmental Protection Agency leaves her successor to combat global warming and set rules for hydraulic fracturing over the objections of businesses and Republican lawmakers... Jackson used a combination of technical expertise and political charm to try to ease complaints from Republicans, such as Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe. "Lisa Jackson and I disagreed on many issues and regulations while she headed the EPA; however, I have always appreciated her receptivity to my concerns, her accessibility and her honesty," Inhofe said in a statement Thursday. "She was one of the few at the EPA that was honest with me." ...


So she's the one who told Inhofe global warming is a hoax!

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Fri, Dec 28, 2012
from Climate Central:
Great Arctic Cyclone in Summer "Unprecedented": Study
It's known as the Great Arctic Cyclone, and when it roared out of Siberia last August, storm watchers knew it was unusual. Hurricane-like storms are very common in the Arctic, but the most powerful of them (which are still far less powerful than tropical hurricanes) tend to come in winter. It wasn't clear at the time, however, whether the August storm was truly unprecedented. Now it is. A study published in Geophysical Research Letters looks at no fewer than 19,625 Arctic storms and concludes that in terms of size, duration and several other of what the authors call "key cyclone properties," the Great Cyclone was the most extreme summer storm, and the 13th most powerful storm -- summer or winter -- since modern satellite observations began in 1979. ...


All I can say is GAC!

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Thu, Dec 27, 2012
from New York Times:
EPA Chief to Step Down, With Climate Still Low Priority
Lisa P. Jackson is stepping down as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency after a four-year tenure that began with high hopes of sweeping action to address climate change and other environmental ills but ended with a series of rear-guard actions to defend the agency against challenges from industry, Republicans in Congress and, at times, the Obama White House... She informed the E.P.A. staff of her decision on Thursday morning and issued a brief statement saying that she was confident "the ship is sailing in the right direction." ...


I would counter the ship is sinking!

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Wed, Dec 26, 2012
from The ApocaDocs:
The ApocaDocs 2012 Year in Review
No better way to wrap up 2012, than looking to our top 100 stories of horror. 2012 will end up one of the warmest years on record, and so our extreme weather events are no coincidence. ...


No need to thank us. This is our sweat equity in Mother Earth.

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Wed, Dec 26, 2012
from Live Science:
2012: A Memorable Year for Weather
...Record-breaking warmth: The data for the last of the year isn't in yet, but this year looks "virtually certain" to take the title of warmest year on record for the lower 48 states, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)... Until this year, July 1936, during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, held the record for hottest month on record in the lower 48 states going back to 1895, but this July's heat surpassed even that record... ...


It's as if the weather is in competition with itself!

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Sun, Dec 23, 2012
from New Scientist:
2012 review: The year in environment
For anyone living on planet Earth, 2012 was a rough year. The US sweltered in a devastating drought, only to then bear the brunt of superstorm Sandy. Meanwhile Arctic sea ice shrank to its lowest extent on record, months after evidence emerged that it might have passed the point of no return. Even as evidence for human-driven climate change continued to mount, the world did little about it. A major UN summit achieved little other than a vague promise to pay developing countries when they suffer harm from the changing climate. Developed countries continued their dash for gas, often using hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" to extract it, and greenhouse gas emissions kept rising. On a bright note, solar panels became the cheapest energy source in parts of the tropics. Here is our pick of this year's environment stories.... ...


As if we actually should pay attention to the environment!

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Thu, Dec 20, 2012
from E&E Publishing:
The mother behind kids' long-shot legal crusade
For Julia Olson, it all started with "An Inconvenient Truth." The then-thirtysomething environmental lawyer watched Al Gore's climate change documentary while eight months pregnant with her second child. By her own admission, she "cried through the whole film" and spent several sleepless nights plotting a way to increase public awareness of climate change. Her initial idea was to plan public marches on Washington, D.C., but she ending up launching a national legal campaign aimed at forcing government action on climate change. Enlisting children as plaintiffs, she advanced the novel legal theory that the atmosphere is a "public trust" under common law and that the states and federal government have a duty to preserve it. ...


I can breathe to that.

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Thu, Dec 20, 2012
from Reuters:
Pinpoint climate studies flag trouble for Mexico, Central American farmers
A growing body of scientific evidence ranks Mexico and its southern neighbors near the top of the list of countries most vulnerable to global warming, and advances in micro-forecasting foresee a grim future in alarming detail. According to two new studies, a deadly combination of warmer weather and less rainfall in the years ahead will devastate yields of traditional crops like corn and beans, as well as the region's market-critical coffee harvest. ...


And the macro-forecasting looks macro-grim.

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Thu, Dec 20, 2012
from The Hill:
Obama: Climate change among top three priorities for second term
President Obama has identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign. The president, in an interview for TIME's Person of the Year award, said the economy, immigration, climate change and energy would be at the top of his agenda for the next four years. The interview took place before the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, an incident that had pushed gun control to a top spot on Obama's agenda. Obama said his daughters have influenced his thinking about the need to tackle climate change. ...


Wait. Ain't that four things???

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Wed, Dec 19, 2012
from London Guardian:
'Climate change is taking place before our eyes' the weather of 2012
When in September the Arctic sea ice that freezes and melts each year shrank to its lowest extent ever recorded and then contracted a further 500,000 sq km, the small world of ice scientists was shocked. This was unprecedented, yet there was nothing unusual about the meteorological conditions in the Arctic in 2012, no vast storms to break up the ice, or heatwave to hasten the retreat. Only widespread warming of the atmosphere could have been responsible for less ice growth during the winter and more ice melt during the summer, the scientists concluded. It was, said the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), just one of dozens of major physical events in 2012 that convinced many people that the extremes have become normal. ...


But I don't want to look.

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Wed, Dec 19, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Keystone Protesters Pay Price for Camping in Texas Trees
Protesters trying to save the world by sitting in trees or blocking equipment used to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline are learning that environmental activism can be a ticket to lengthy jail time in East Texas. Matthew Almonte, Glen Collins and Isabel Brooks landed in jail in Tyler on Dec. 3, charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass, resisting arrest and illegal dumping, following efforts to stop work on the TransCanada Corp. (TRP) pipeline. Each has asked for a reduction in the $65,000 bond that must be posted to get out pending trial, without success.... "Gangs of tree sitters who trespass and defecate on landowners' property don't understand Texas values and culture," Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said in an essay posted on his website in October. He called the protesters "a bunch of out-of-state, self-appointed eco-anarchists." ...


Texas values = me making my money.

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Wed, Dec 19, 2012
from E&E Daily:
Agencies paralyzed by fiscal cliff, endless succession of CRs
So far this year, U.S. EPA has frozen hiring, delayed contracts and sharply curtailed travel, all to deal with the uncertainty of its future budget. It's not only the so-called fiscal cliff -- with its scheduled across-the-board budget cuts -- that has hampered EPA's operations. Instead, it is an action that has become so routine in recent years that all federal agencies have become experts in handling it: the continuing resolution. And this year, lawmakers seem likely to take it a step further, passing a CR for the entire fiscal year, thanks to fiscal cliff negotiations and a slew of other priorities that have moved the budget to the back burner. ...


Environmental Paralyzed Agency

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Tue, Dec 18, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Extreme heat contributes to rare childhood blindness
Women pregnant during heat waves face a higher risk of giving birth to babies with a rare defect causing blindness, according to new research. The study, surveying 15 years of birth defect records in New York state, offers troubling implications for a warmer climate. In the first study to explore a link between extreme heat and birth defects, researchers from the New York Department of Health and The State University of New York at Albany found that even a five-degree increase in temperature during crucial developmental stages in pregnancy increased the odds of an infant developing congenital cataracts. ...


Arguably, none of us will want to see what's truly happening to our planet.

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Tue, Dec 18, 2012
from National Journal:
A Secretary John Kerry Would Elevate Climate Issues
President Obama will nominate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be secretary of State, sources tell ABC News and CNN. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long been viewed as a likely candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ... If Kerry becomes the next secretary of State, he will likely raise climate change to a top-tier priority. ...


Well, he is tall.

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Tue, Dec 11, 2012
from University of California - Berkeley:
Conservatives Can Be Persuaded to Care More About Environmental Issues When Couched in Terms of Fending Off Threats to 'Purity'
When it comes to climate change, deforestation and toxic waste, the assumption has been that conservative views on these topics are intractable. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that such viewpoints can be changed after all, when the messages about the need to be better stewards of the land are couched in terms of fending off threats to the "purity" and "sanctity" of Earth and our bodies. ...


So much for my "Depraved Whores for Sustainable Energy" meet up group.

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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Rise in renewable energy will require more use of fossil fuels
... One of the hidden costs of solar and wind power -- and a problem the state is not yet prepared to meet -- is that wind and solar energy must be backed up by other sources, typically gas-fired generators. As more solar and wind energy generators come online, fulfilling a legal mandate to produce one-third of California's electricity by 2020, the demand will rise for more backup power from fossil fuel plants. ...


Is that irony or tragedy?

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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from International Herald Tribune:
Ignoring Planetary Peril, a Profound "Disconnect" Between Science and Doha
...the Doha summit was almost politics as usual. It did take 24 hours of overtime, but the Doha Climate Gateway was finally approved Saturday. The agreement extends the Kyoto Protocol until 2020, when a more global emissions reduction agreement is to take effect.... Though the new, tougher and more inclusive treaty will be under negotiation until 2015, environmentalists warn that any deal that goes into effect in 2020 comes too late.... The American news media reported little on the climate talks, compared with Europe. That may be in part, as my colleague John Broder reports: "It has long been evident that the United Nations talks were at best a partial solution to the planetary climate change problem, and at worst an expensive sideshow...["] ...


Step right up ... to the three ring circus of our planet's demise.

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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from London Guardian:
Climate change compensation emerges as major issue at Doha talks
...Whether rich countries should compensate vulnerable communities like those on Kosrae, in the central Pacific, for the "loss and damage" caused by events linked to climate change has emerged as a major new issue for developing countries in the UN talks that have just entered their second week in Doha ... But the US and Europe are resisting strongly the idea that they should compensate for losses, fearing that it would lead to potentially endless financial claims. ...


"Endless financial claims" for our endless culpability.

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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from The Globe and Mail:
Marine industries beware: Ice islands dead ahead
... Recent years have produced a wave of ice islands. Researchers tracking the giant formations have tabulated roughly 1,000 square kilometres that have broken free from Greenland and Canada's Arctic islands. At a time when new research suggests the Greenland ice sheet is melting five times faster than in the 1990s -- and roughly a quarter of that is in the form of icebergs, according to the Swiss Federal Research Institute -- a frozen area the size of Hong Kong is wandering south, breaking into hundreds and thousands of smaller bits, some too small to be seen by ship radar, as they drift. That volume of ice stands to present hazards to marine industries along Canada's northern and eastern coasts for years to come, researchers are now warning. Ice islands, especially if they stay in northern latitudes, can last for decades as they slowly splinter apart, so the potential for problems is a lengthy one. ...


Pack plenty of dynamite!

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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from FuelFix.com:
Coal power plants to lose up to a quarter of capacity by 2035
Nearly a quarter of the nation's coal power generation capacity could shut down by 2035, as natural gas gains popularity as a cleaner and cheaper fuel for producing electricity, the U.S. Government Accountability Office forecasts. In a report released this week, the agency determined that power industry could retire between 15 percent and 24 percent of its coal-fueled power generation capacity over the next 22 years. The fuel source has been hurt by a combination of lower electricity use, stiffer regulations on pollutants and a rapid decline in the price of natural gas. ...


Too little ... too late.

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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from Bloomberg Business Week:
Obama Plans for Climate Deal as Fiscal Cliff Talks Rage
As leaders in Washington obsess about the fiscal cliff, President Barack Obama is putting in place the building blocks for a climate treaty requiring the first fossil- fuel emissions cuts from both the U.S. and China. State Department envoy Todd Stern is in Doha this week working to clear the path for an international agreement by 2015. While Obama failed to deliver on his promise to start a cap-and-trade program in his first term, he's working on policies that may help cut greenhouse gases 17 percent by 2020 in the U.S., historically the world's biggest polluter. ...


Fiscal cliff vs. existence cliff

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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from New York Times:
With Carbon Dioxide Emissions at Record High, Worries on How to Slow Warming
Global emissions of carbon dioxide were at a record high in 2011 and are likely to take a similar jump in 2012, scientists reported Sunday -- the latest indication that efforts to limit such emissions are failing. Emissions continue to grow so rapidly that an international goal of limiting the ultimate warming of the planet to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, established three years ago, is on the verge of becoming unattainable, said researchers affiliated with the Global Carbon Project. ...


We'll try again, next planet/evolution/Big Bang.

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Thu, Nov 29, 2012
from NUVO:
"We've super-sized our weather"
...Every day, we get better at connecting the dots of climate change and extreme weather. As NASA's James Hansen said in August: "The deadly European heat wave of 2003, the fiery Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year can each be attributed to climate change." The 2012 drought that hit Indiana will very likely be connected to climate change as well, but scientists, who are conservative by nature, are still totaling up their data. Who better than your local, trusted weathercaster to walk you through how climate change influences weather? ...


We are fair weather fans, by nature.

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Thu, Nov 29, 2012
from Associated Press:
Arctic sea ice larger than US melted this year
An area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the United States melted this year, according the U.N. weather agency, which said the dramatic decline illustrates that climate change is happening "before our eyes." In a report released at U.N. climate talks in the Qatari capital of Doha, the World Meteorological Organization said the Arctic ice melt was one of a myriad of extreme and record-breaking weather events to hit the planet in 2012. Droughts devastated nearly two-thirds of the United States as well western Russia and southern Europe. Floods swamped west Africa and heat waves left much of the Northern Hemisphere sweltering. ...


Ain't nothin' bigger'n the United States.

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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from London Daily Mail:
Melting permafrost 'will DOUBLE carbon and nitrogen levels in the atmosphere'
As much as 44billion tons of nitrogen and 850billion tons of carbon could be released into the environment as permafrost thaws over the next century, U.S. government experts warn. The release of carbon and nitrogen in permafrost could make global warming much worse and threaten delicate water systems on land and offshore, according to scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey. It comes after the UN last week warned of record levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ...


Just when you thought there was no hope there really is no hope!

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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
Bitsy beetle warms Canada: study
An army of rice-grain-sized beetles, attracted by warming weather, has moved into Canada's western forests, where its tree massacre is causing the mercury to rise yet further, a study said Sunday. The voracious horde of mountain pine beetles has invaded about 170,000 square kilometres (65,000 square miles) -- a fifth of the forest area of British Columbia, Canada's western-most province, a research team wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience. The beetles lay their eggs under the bark of pine trees, at the same time injecting a fungus that protects their offspring but kills the trees with the help of the larvae eating their insides. As trees are felled, the cooling effect of their transpiration, similar to human sweating, is also lost. ...


A perfect, self-perpetuating loop of total annihilation!

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Mon, Nov 26, 2012
from Reuters:
Sea snails show impact of more acidic ocean
The shells of some marine snails in the seas around Antarctica are dissolving as the water becomes more acidic, threatening the food chain, a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience said on Sunday... The shell of the pteropod sea snail in the Southern Ocean was severely dissolved by more acidic surface water, the researchers ... found. ...


This is pterrible news!

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Mon, Nov 26, 2012
from Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies :
Maple Syrup, Moose, and the Impacts of Climate Change in the North
In the northern hardwood forest, climate change is poised to reduce the viability of the maple syrup industry, spread wildlife diseases and tree pests, and change timber resources. And, according to a new BioScience paper just released by twenty-one scientists, without long-term studies at the local scale -- we will be ill-prepared to predict and manage these effects. ...


You saying my pancakes are in danger?

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Wed, Nov 21, 2012
from Discovery Channel:
Greenland Loses 200 Billion Tons Ice Per Year
Glacier-covered Greenland has had an average net loss of 200 billion tons of ice every year since 2003, confirm scientists who are studying the changing mass of the island using satellite data. The latest analysis backs up the previously reported trend without even including the last two summers of record-breaking ice melts. "Greenland is really the place where everyone agrees that (the ice melt) is definitely accelerating with time and there is a big contribution to sea level rise," said researcher Isabella Velicogna of the University of California at Irvine (UCI). Just how much is 200 billion tons of ice? Roughly, it's the amount needed to fill enough railroad coal cars to encircle the Earth 800 times. ...


Where's my bucket?

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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from London Guardian:
More than 1,000 new coal plants planned worldwide, figures show
More than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide, new research has revealed. The huge planned expansion comes despite warnings from politicians, scientists and campaigners that the planet's fast-rising carbon emissions must peak within a few years if runaway climate change is to be avoided and that fossil fuel assets risk becoming worthless if international action on global warming moves forward. ...


Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from Climate Central:
CO2 Hits New High; World Could Warm 7 degrees F by 2060
The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a record 390.9 parts per million (ppm) in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). That's a 40 percent increase over levels in 1750, before humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest. Although CO2 is still the most significant long-lived greenhouse gas, levels of other heat-trapping gases have also climbed to record levels, according to the report. Methane, for example hit 1813 parts per billion (ppb) in 2011, and nitrous oxide rose to 324.2 ppb. All told, the amount of excess heat prevented from escaping into outer space was 30 percent higher in 2011 than it was as recently as 1990. ...


Humans: born to outdo ourselves even if it kills us!

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from Environmental Health News:
Slowing cargo ships cuts pollution near ports by more than half, study finds.
Slowing cargo vessels near coastlines by 10 to 15 miles per hour could dramatically cut ships' air pollution, according to a new study. But only a few U.S. ports have initiated such efforts. A speed limit of 14 mph, down from the current cruising speeds of 25 to 29 mph, would cut nitrogen oxides -- a main ingredient of smog -- by 55 percent and soot by almost 70 percent. It also would reduce carbon dioxide -- a potent greenhouse gas and key contributor to climate change -- by 60 percent. With 100,000 ships carrying 90 percent of the world's cargo, air pollution is a heavy burden for people living near ports, so slowing ships could improve their health, researchers say. ...


Are you suggesting my crap not get to me in a timely manner??

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from University of East Anglia:
Call to Modernize Antiquated Climate Negotiations
The structure and processes of United Nations climate negotiations are "antiquated," unfair and obstruct attempts to reach agreements, according to research published November 18. The findings come ahead of the 18th UN Climate Change Summit, which starts in Doha on November 26. The study, led by Dr Heike Schroeder from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, argues that the consensus-based decision making used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) stifles progress and contributes to negotiating deadlocks, which ultimately hurts poor countries more than rich countries. ...


Let's talk about how we talk about how we talk about this.

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from The Hill:
World Bank report warns of "devastating" global warming
A major World Bank report warns that Earth is heading for a 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature rise by 2100 that would bring unprecedented heatwaves, droughts and floods -- effects that put some of the poorest nations at highest risk. "No nation will be immune to the impacts of climate change," states the new report titled "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 [degrees] C Warmer World Must be Avoided." ...


I'm now banking on the Apocalypse.

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Tue, Nov 13, 2012
from Indiana Living Green:
Climate Reality Chronicles #5: My first church presentation
I've missed updating you on a number of presentations, and as I look back at my initial reports, I'm struck by my lack of confidence. Really, those first couple of times were scary! Working with something as static as a slideshow/power point is really odd, and learning when to talk and when to "show" is going to be a process. But it is getting better. I had a great experience at UIndy a couple weeks ago, though I did make a mistake I hope I won't repeat.... By the time I got to Fountain Square, I realized I had some time to burn. About an hour. What better way to do than to go to Fountain Square Brewery, home of some of the best brews in town. What could go wrong? Well, what went wrong was that halfway into a delicious IPA, I was flat out drunk. ...


I'll drink to that!

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Tue, Nov 13, 2012
from High Country News:
A Western obstructionist gets obstructed
James Inhofe, a 77-year-old senator from Oklahoma, a grown man with no history of mental illness, claims to have uncovered divine logic that refutes the science of global warming. He has sanguinely decoded the rubric among verses in the first book of the world's most famous text -- the Bible... Since Democrats control the upper chamber, California Senator Barbara Boxer from California will retain her chairmanship of the committee. She'll steer legislation dealing with climate change, EPA regulations and a number of large water infrastructure projects coming down the pipe. Inhofe's minority lead role in the committee is term-limited by the Republican caucus, so he will pass the torch as ranking member to David Vitter (R-La.), a more moderate climate skeptic. (If such a thing exists.) ...


Inhofe is an Inhoax.

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Tue, Nov 13, 2012
from Discovery Channel:
Pandas Threatened by Climate Change
Climate change is likely to decimate bamboo populations in an isolated region of China that serves as home for nearly 20 percent of the world's wild giant pandas. As a result, according to new projections, between 80 and 100 percent of livable panda habitat will disappear from the region in China's Qinling Mountains by the end of the 21st century. With fewer than 1,600 individuals left living in the wild, giant pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world. ...


At least we'll always have zoos.

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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Kitchener Record:
Spring snow pack in the Arctic disappearing fast, Environment Canada warns
The spring snow pack in the Arctic is disappearing at a much faster rate than anticipated even by climate change models, says a new study by Environment Canada researchers. That has implications for wildlife, vegetation and ground temperatures, say the scientists, who looked at four decades of snow data for the Canadian Arctic and beyond. Combined with recent news that the Arctic sea ice retreated to an all-time low this summer, it suggests climate change may be happening much faster than expected, said Dr. Chris Derksen, a research scientist for Environment Canada and one of the study's authors. ...


Seems our response to faster than expected events is slower than hoped for.

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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Reuters:
Unprecedented world carbon emissions cuts needed by 2050: PwC
The world will have to cut the rate of carbon emissions by an unprecedented rate to 2050 to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees this century, a report released by PwC on Monday showed.... Global temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 at United Nations climate talks to limit the rise to below 2 degrees C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change. Carbon intensity will have to be cut by over 5 percent a year to achieve that goal, the study said. That compares with an annual rate of 0.8 percent from 2000 to 2011. ...


Guess we better get in gear.

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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Sandy a galvanizing moment for climate change?
One Sunday afternoon in 1969 the filthy, oil-coated Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire and quickly became a potent symbol of industrial pollution, helping galvanize public opinion and set the stage for passage of national environmental laws the following decade. The combination of Hurricane Sandy and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement that he was endorsing President Obama largely because of Obama's actions on global warming could do the same thing for climate change, say scientists and political observers. ...


The Iroquoian word "Cuyahoga," defined, means duh

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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Geological Society of America:
Why Seas Are Rising Ahead of Predictions: Estimates of Rate of Future Sea-Level Rise May Be Too Low
Sea levels are rising faster than expected from global warming, and University of Colorado geologist Bill Hay has a good idea why. The last official IPCC report in 2007 projected a global sea level rise between 0.2 and 0.5 meters by the year 2100. But current sea-level rise measurements meet or exceed the high end of that range and suggest a rise of one meter or more by the end of the century. "What's missing from the models used to forecast sea-level rise are critical feedbacks that speed everything up," says Hay... One of those feedbacks involves Arctic sea ice, another the Greenland ice cap, and another soil moisture and groundwater mining. ...


Feedbacks will eat us up!

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Tue, Oct 23, 2012
from Reuters:
Insight: In vulnerable Greece, mosquitoes bite back
Just when it seems things couldn't get any worse for Greece, the exhausted and indebted country has a new threat to deal with: mosquito-borne diseases. Species of the blood-sucking insects that can carry exotic-sounding tropical infections like malaria, West Nile Virus, chikungunya and dengue fever are enjoying the extra bit of warmth climate change is bringing to parts of southern Europe. And with austerity budgets, a collapsing health system, political infighting and rising xenophobia all conspiring to allow pest and disease control measures here to slip through the net, the mosquitoes are biting back. ...


They started civilization, they might as well end it.

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Tue, Oct 23, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Bill McKibben's campus crusade for climate
Bill McKibben is lanky, soft-spoken, scholarly and engaging. He may also be the closest thing the U.S. environmental movement has to a leader. And he's in show business now. Still soft-spoken, but very, very angry. On a crisp night earlier this month, a mostly-Gen Next crowd filled the University of Vermont's Allen Chapel to see the dress rehearsal of the coast-to-coast road show that McKibben hopes will ignite a campus movement. "Do the Math" will visit 20 cities starting Nov. 7. It mixes McKibben's grim analysis with a little inspiration and hope, with a goal of inspiring America's youth to righteous anger, and to lead where the grown-ups have utterly failed. ...


That bus better be solar-powered.

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Tue, Oct 23, 2012
from London Guardian:
US presidential debates' great unmentionable: climate change
The Pentagon ranks it as a national security threat and, left unchecked, climate change is expected to cost the US economy billions of dollars every year -- and yet it has proved the great unmentionable of this election campaign. Amid unprecedented melting of the Arctic summer sea ice, new temperature records in the US and a historic drought, the last of three presidential debates wound up on Monday night without Barack Obama or Mitt Romney ever uttering the words climate change. ...


They didn't say toilet paper either.

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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Trinity College Dublin :
Rice Agriculture Accelerates Global Warming: More Greenhouse Gas Per Grain of Rice
More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and rising temperatures cause rice agriculture to release more of the potent greenhouse gas methane (CH4) for each kilogram of rice it produces, new research published in this week's online edition of Nature Climate Change reveals.... Methane in rice paddies is produced by microscopic organisms that respire CO2, like humans respire oxygen. More CO2 in the atmosphere makes rice plants grow faster, and the extra plant growth supplies soil microorganisms with extra energy, pumping up their metabolism. Increasing CO2 levels will also boost rice yields, but to a smaller extent then [sic] CH4 emissions. As a result, the amount of CH4 emitted per kilogram of rice yield will increase. ...


Not nice of rice...

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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Salon.com:
No debate on climate change
"Climate change" -- the words that dare not be spoken when candidates for the presidency of the richest and most powerful nation in the world meet in the storm and clamor of a debate. That's been true for the first two meetings between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and it will most likely continue to be the same sad story again in Monday night's foreign policy-focused debate. But it shouldn't be. The latest reason why comes from Europe, in the form of a 274-page report on the cost and frequency of extreme weather events in North America, courtesy of the giant resinsurance company Munich Re. The short version: Across the entire globe, North America is experiencing the most marked increase in both the number of extreme events and their price tag. ...


Now I'm reterrified!

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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Associated Press:
'War On Coal' Label Obscures Reality During Presidential Campaign
...Blame the president, the script goes. Blame the Environmental Protection Agency. And now that it's election season, blame all incumbent politicians -- even those who have spent their careers in a delicate dance, trying to make mines safer while allowing their operators to prosper. The war on coal is a sound bite and a headline, perpetuated by pundits, power companies and public relations consultants who have crafted a neat label for a complex set of realities, one that compels people to choose sides... In reality, U.S. Department of Labor figures show the number of coal jobs nationwide has grown steadily since 2008, with consistent gains in West Virginia and Virginia, and ups and down in Kentucky. ...


Who needs reality when making shit up is sooooo much more fun!

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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from LJWorld:
14-year-old Lecompton girl sues Brownback administration over CO2 emissions
Topeka -- A 14-year-old northeast Kansas girl has sued Gov. Sam Brownback's administration in hopes of forcing it to impose limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Samantha Farb of Lecompton filed the lawsuit Thursday through her parents in Shawnee County District Court. It's part of campaign launched last year by environmentalists to file such lawsuits in all 50 states. The effort is led by a nonprofit Oregon group called Our Children's Trust. ...


Let the wild rumpus begin!

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Tue, Oct 16, 2012
from Climate Central:
New Study Ties Hurricane Strength To Global Warming
One of the major unanswered questions about climate change is whether hurricanes have become more frequent and stronger as the world has warmed. Until now, there hasn't been enough evidence to settle the question, but a report published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may have changed all that. Using an entirely new method of tallying hurricane power and frequency, a team of scientists say that hurricanes are, indeed, more of a danger when ocean temperatures are higher. "In particular, we estimate that Katrina-magnitude events have been twice as frequent in warm years compared with cold years," the report says. ...


Surf's hot!

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Tue, Oct 16, 2012
from E&E Publishing:
Avian malaria found spreading in local Alaska birds
A tropical plague is spreading among birds in America's northernmost state in part due to a changing climate, according to new research. Malaria, a scourge that haunts many parts of humanity, also afflicts our feathered friends. The avian version of the disease does not harm people, but it can serve as an analogue for future infection patterns in humans as the climate changes. ...


Are you implying these birds are, um, canaries in the coal mine?

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Tue, Oct 16, 2012
from Climate Central:
Globe Ties the Record for Warmest September
According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the globe recorded its warmest September on record, tying with 2005 for the title. Global surface temperature records stretch all the way back to 1880. September marked the 331st straight month with above-average temperatures, and the 36th straight September with a global temperature above the 20th-century average. ...


Make it stop!!

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Mon, Oct 15, 2012
from TakePart:
Climate Change Whiplash: 71 percent of Americans Now Link Extreme Weather to Global Warming
It appears that this summer's record-breaking heatwave has lit a fire under our collective climate change views. "Nearly three-quarters of Americans say global warming influences U.S. weather and made this year's record-hot summer worse,” Reuters reported this morning. In a new survey conducted by Yale and George Mason universities, results showed 74 percent of Americans believe that global warming is affecting weather, which is five percentage points higher than it was as recently as March 2012... Other surveys have in fact observed a bit of a see-sawing in American's opinion on the subject of climate change. In a July report, Business Week said, "Following a winter of record snowfall in 2010, the public's acceptance of climate change fell to a low of 52 percent, according to the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which was published by the Brookings Institution in Washington. After this year's mild winter, support jumped to 65 percent, the same as that found by the UT Energy Poll in March.” ...


If only the extreme weather chaos would continue we'd be saved!

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Sat, Oct 13, 2012
from Scientific American:
State of the Earth: Still Seeking Plan A for Sustainability
The state of the planet is grim, whether that assessment is undertaken from the perspective of economic development, social justice or the global environment. What's known as sustainable development--a bid to capture all three of those efforts in one effort and phrase--has hardly advanced since it was first used in the 1980s and the world is hardly closer to eradicating extreme poverty, respecting the dignity and rights of all peoples or resolving environmental challenges, whether climate change or the extinction of plants and animals.... "We've only felt half the warming from the gases already added to the atmosphere," thanks to the long lag time in warming the oceans, a process also already well under way. As a result, the world can expect at least as much warming of average global temperatures as has already happened--0.8 degree Celsius--even if all greenhouse gas emissions stopped today. ...


At least there's something I can do.

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Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Reuters:
More US coal plants to retire due to green rules: study
More U.S. coal-fired power plants could retire due to environmental regulations and weaker-than-expected electric demand, costing the industry up to $144 billion, economists at consultancy Brattle Group said. In a new study, Brattle's economists forecast 59,000 to 77,000 megawatts (MW) of coal plant capacity would likely retire over the next five years. That was about 25,000 MW more than the firm had estimated in 2010, Brattle said in a release. There is about 317,000 MW of coal-fired capacity now in the United States. ...


The golf courses are going to be full!

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Mon, Oct 8, 2012
from Climate Progress:
American Newspapers Give Far More Coverage To Climate Deniers And Skeptics Than Other Countries
America is unique when it comes to giving a platform to climate deniers and skeptics. According to a new analysis of data released last year, American newspapers are far more likely to publish uncontested claims from climate deniers, many of whom challenge whether the planet is warming at all and are "almost exclusively found” in the U.S. media. The study was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters... the U.S. emerged as a unique leader in promoting climate denial in the press. ...


Land of the free and the home of the misinformed.

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Mon, Oct 8, 2012
from E&E Publishing:
Most farmers see climate change but can't see humans causing it
... A new crop of opinion polls suggests many U.S. farmers believe the climate is changing, but few lay the blame on man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Fewer still favor policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And many are turned off by even the mention of "climate change," which they consider a highly politicized phrase. A February survey of 4,778 farmers across the nation's Corn Belt found that while roughly two-thirds believe the climate is changing, just 8 percent believe human activities are the primary cause... Perhaps unsurprisingly, polls also show few growers are willing to accept measures designed to combat climate change. ...


Apocalypse Cow

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Mon, Oct 8, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Q&A: Is Midwest coal destined for Asia?
As coal-fired power plants are closing down across the U.S. -- the result of competition from cheap natural gas and tougher pollution rules -- coal companies are looking to ramp up their exports overseas. Coal exports from the U.S. have already increased significantly in the past few years. The U.S. has long exported coal for power plants and steel-making (thermal and metallurgical, respectively) to Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. But now companies are looking to build new ports or expand existing ports in the Pacific Northwest and on the East and Gulf coasts. ...


(singing) Coal! Coal will bring us together!

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Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from Nature:
Earth's carbon sink downsized
As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to climb, most climate models project that the world's oceans and trees will keep soaking up more than half of the extra CO2. But researchers report this week that the capacity for land plants to absorb more CO2 will be much lower than previously thought, owing to limitations in soil nutrients. Because plants take up CO2 during photosynthesis, it has long been assumed that they will provide a large carbon "sink" to help offset increases in atmospheric CO2 caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Some scientists have argued that the increase might even be good for plants, which would presumably grow faster and mop up even more CO2. Climate models estimate that the world's oceans have absorbed about 30 percent of the CO2 that humans have released in the past 150 years and that land plants have gulped another 30 percent. But the latest study, by ecologists Peter Reich and Sarah Hobbie at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, suggests that estimates of how much CO2 land plants can use are far too optimistic. ...


What is the carbon footprint of optimism?

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Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Global Warming Links Democrats, Independents Isolating Romney
Democrats and independent voters overwhelmingly accept the scientific evidence that human activity is warming the earth's temperature, while almost two out of three Republicans don't. Among likely voters, 78 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents believe humans are warming the earth, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. That finding is consistent with other polls that show undecided voters, and majorities in contested states such as Ohio and Virginia are in line with President Barack Obama and most Democratic candidates in wanting to address the issue. ...


Hey, 2/3s Republicans. Get with the science or go find your own planet to ruin!

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Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from Wall Street Journal:
Ocean acidification emerges as new climate threat
...In the past five years, the fact that human-generated carbon emissions are making the ocean more acidic has become an urgent cause of concern to the fishing industry and scientists. The ocean absorbs about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide we put in the air through fossil fuel burning, and this triggers a chemical reaction that produces hydrogen, thereby lowering the water's pH. The sea today is 30 percent more acidic than pre-industrial levels, which is creating corrosive water that is washing over America's coasts. At the current rate of global worldwide carbon emissions, the ocean's acidity could double by 2100. ...


Buck up, mollusks, or you're history.

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Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from New York Times:
Honey Producers Lament a Bad Season for Bees
Both excess rainfall and drought in various parts of Europe have reduced honey production by as much as 90 percent, according to some producers, while the erratic course of America's parasite-afflicted "zombie bees” this week reached as far north as Washington State.... Climate change, disease and increased use of pesticides have been blamed as factors in dramatic declines in numbers of bee colonies worldwide -- by more than half in 20 years in the case of Britain, according to a recent study by Friends of the Earth, the environmental lobby organization. ...


If the hive don't thrive, honey won't bring you money.

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Wed, Sep 26, 2012
from Live Science:
Fox News Climate Coverage 93 percent Wrong, Report Finds
Primetime coverage of global warming at Fox News is overwhelmingly misleading, according to a new report that finds the same is true of climate change information in the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages. Both outlets are owned by Rupert Murdoch's media company News Corporation. The analysis by the science-policy nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) finds that 93 percent of primetime program discussions of global warming on Fox News are inaccurate, as are 81 percent of Wall Street Journal editorials on the subject. "It's like they were writing and talking about some sort of bizarre world where climate change isn't happening," study author Aaron Huertas, a press secretary at UCS, told LiveScience. ...


Murdoch. Nothing but a hack.

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Tue, Sep 25, 2012
from The Hill:
Poll: Swing voters want more from Obama, Congress on climate
Most undecided voters want more action from President Obama and Congress to fight global warming, and a substantial percentage say the topic will influence their ballot for president, a new poll shows. The joint Yale University/George Mason University (GMU) survey found that undecided voters' beliefs about the existence and causes of global warming are far closer to President Obama's likely voters than GOP rival Mitt Romney's. Sixty-four percent of undecided voters believe Obama should be doing more to address climate change, and 72 percent say Congress should be doing more. ...


At least they have decided something.

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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from Hartford Connecticut Mirror:
Millstone shutdown is a sign of broader power problem caused by climate change
Last month's unprecedented 12-day shutdown of part of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station sent a shudder through the nuclear energy world. Caused when the seawater used to cool the plant's generating Unit 2 became too warm, it was the first time any U.S. nuclear plant was shut down because of intake water temperature problems.... The shutdown capped a season of power reductions and other difficulties at several of the nation's power plants -- including non-nuclear ones -- caused when summer heat and drought compromised the vast amounts of water needed to cool them. It has also set in motion a cascade of other potentially debilitating effects, all of which point to the likelihood that climate change has placed part of the U.S. power grid at risk. ...


The power grid has flipped its lid!

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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from Reuters:
Sweet times for cows as gummy worms replace costly corn feed
Mike Yoder's herd of dairy cattle are living the sweet life. With corn feed scarcer and costlier than ever, Yoder increasingly is looking for cheaper alternatives -- and this summer he found a good deal on ice cream sprinkles... As the worst drought in half a century has ravaged this year's U.S. corn crop and driven corn prices sky high, the market for alternative feed rations for beef and dairy cows has also skyrocketed... in the mix are cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, even dried cranberries. ...


If they are feedin' 'em gummy worms they better be showin' 'em some movies, too!

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Thu, Sep 20, 2012
from Think Progress:
Republican Meterologist To Romney: Top 10 Reasons The GOP Needs To Accept The Climate Reality
...As a Republican business owner, entrepreneur, meteorologist and father of two upbeat, optimistic boys, I may not fit the stereotype of a "global warming alarmist.” I'm an Evangelical Christian. I'm enthusiastic about streamlining government and letting the markets work. But unlike some, I see no inherent struggle between my faith and the ability of science to improve our understanding of the world. The Creator gave me a brain, to think and reason, and react to facts on the ground. And I'm disillusioned, because some in my party are pro-science-denial, and on the wrong side of history ... Will the GOP rise to the occasion, or bet the farm on carbon, and ask our grandkids to deal with the mess? It's time for bold leadership. Climate change is a threat, but it is also an opportunity to transition to a cleaner, greener, more sustainable economy. American Exceptionalism shouldn't stop when it comes to innovating new energy sources. We have the technology and entrepreneurial DNA to mitigate climate change, foster innovative, job-producing clean energy technologies, and reinvent America's economy. Let's put it to work, Governor Romney. As one prominent supporter said at the convention: "Go ahead, make my day!” ...


Didn't Clean Harry say that?

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Mon, Sep 17, 2012
from Politico:
Droughts latest wrinkle in climate debate
Climate change is here. Even those who differ over its cause agree that it's happening. In the United States alone, 28,570 high-heat records have been set so far this year, more than ever before, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported this month. As if that weren't problem enough, the world is also plunging into another major food crisis. And what most people don't know is that the two issues are directly related. Food prices "soared by 10 percent in July" alone, the World Bank said, because of "an unprecedented summer of droughts" worldwide. The U.S. is hardly the only nation affected, but the Department of Agriculture said more than half of this nation's counties have been designated disaster zones because of the summer's devastating drought, including many major food producers. That has never happened before either. ...


You'd think something named "NOAA" would be reporting floods not drought.

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Mon, Sep 17, 2012
from London Guardian:
Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years
One of the world's leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years. In what he calls a "global disaster" now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for "urgent" consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures. In an email to the Guardian he says: "Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades' time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the various geoengineering ideas that have been put forward." ...


Even if we have a paddle we're too far up Shit's Creek for it to matter.

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Mon, Sep 17, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
U.S. Paying a Price for Lack of Water Policy
The worst drought since at least the 1950s has barely registered on political radar screens this year. Water doesn't make it into convention or stump speeches, or onto bumper stickers or campaign signs. To many people concerned about the nation's water supply, this drought of attention to a vital resource underscores a glaring, ongoing problem that will likely worsen in coming years if it is not addressed soon. "The nation lacks a coherent approach to dealing with water," said Gerald Galloway, a civil engineer, hydrology expert and former president of the American Water Resources Association. "Everyone is just hoping it will get better. Hope is not a method." ...


Sounds like we need a Water Czar.

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Wed, Sep 12, 2012
from Toronto Star:
Climate change conundrum: Will Arctic animals' wardrobes be able to adapt?
It's a twice-annual change of wardrobe, one that helps the snowshoe hare avoid becoming another animal's lunch. An age-old biological phenomenon critical to animal survival, the hare sheds its rust-coloured coat for its white winter apparel at around this time every year, a seasonal change called moulting that not only keeps the animal warm, but also provides camouflage for its snowy surroundings. But what happens if northern landscapes usually covered in snow remain muddy brown for longer stretches of time each year? Will the hare, and other moulting snow-dwellers, still change their coats? That's the question perplexing biologists as climate change continues to alter the Arctic landscape: whether the hare and other moulting species -- the ptarmigan, Arctic fox and collared lemming among them -- will be able to adapt their camouflaging behaviour as the snow and ice around them continues to vanish. ...


Does this extinction make my butt look big?

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Wed, Sep 12, 2012
from Mother Jones:
Is Fracking Good for the Environment?
Is increased production of natural gas from shale deposits good for the environment? At first glance, yes: natural gas releases less CO2 into the atmosphere than coal, so replacing coal-fired electrical plants with gas-fired plants is a win for global warming. And since fracking makes natural gas cheaper, it helps stimulate a switch from coal to gas. But wait: It turns out you also have to account for leakage. The problem is that natural gas is methane, a powerful greenhouse gas in its own right, and when you extract natural gas from shale formations, some of it inevitably leaks out. That's decidedly bad for global warming. But David McCabe, an atmospheric scientist at the Clean Air Task Force, reports that the news is fairly good on this front: "From the best of the collective work, we believe that burning natural gas for electricity produces about 30-50 percent less greenhouse gas than burning coal, even accounting for the emissions of methane (and carbon dioxide) from producing and transporting the natural gas." Unfortunately, the story doesn't stop there, and it gets a lot grimmer as you dig deeper. The problem is simple: If you make something cheaper, people will use more of it. ...


Looks like we're frucked no matter what.

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Tue, Sep 11, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
America Is Only Nation Where Climate Scientists Face Organized Harassment
The harassment faced by U.S.-based climate scientists has been well documented in the media--but not the harassment of scientists in Europe, Canada or the rest of the world. That's because there hasn't been much to report. While outspoken scientists of human-caused climate change in the United States endure torrents of freedom of information requests, hate mail and even death threats from skeptics, their counterparts abroad have been free to do their work without fear. ...


America: home of the free, the brave, and the idiotic.

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Tue, Sep 11, 2012
from London Guardian:
Caribbean coral reefs face collapse
Caribbean coral reefs -- which make up one of the world's most colourful, vivid and productive ecosystems -- are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10 percent of the reef area showing live coral cover. With so little growth left, the reefs are in danger of utter devastation unless urgent action is taken, conservationists warned. They said the drastic loss was the result of severe environmental problems, including over-exploitation, pollution from agricultural run-off and other sources, and climate change. The decline of the reefs has been rapid: in the 1970s, more than 50 percent showed live coral cover, compared with 8 percent in the newly completed survey. ...


The collapse of coral is immoral.

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Mon, Sep 10, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Patagonian glaciers melting in a hurry, report finds
Ice fields in southern South America are rapidly losing volume and in most cases thinning at even the highest elevations, contributing to sea-level rise at "substantially higher" rates than observed from the 1970s through the 1990s, according to a study published Wednesday. The rapid melting, based on satellite observations, suggests the ice field's contribution to global sea-level rise has increased by half since the end of the 20th century, jumping from 0.04 millimeters per year to about .07 mm, and accounting for 2 percent of annual sea-level rise since 1998. The southern and northern Patagonian ice fields are the largest mass of ice in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica. The findings spell trouble for other glaciers worldwide, according to the study's lead author, Cornell University researcher Michael Willis. ...


Patagoing ... going ... gone.

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Wed, Sep 5, 2012
from University of Leeds:
Loss of Tropical Forests Reduces Rain
Deforestation can have a significant effect on tropical rainfall, new research confirms. The findings have potentially devastating impacts for people living in and near the Amazon and Congo forests... the researchers estimate that destruction of tropical forests would reduce rain across the Amazon basin by up to a fifth (21 per cent) in the dry season by 2050. ...


From rainforest to drainforest

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Mon, Sep 3, 2012
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Romney To Focus On Fossil Fuels
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to significantly boost U.S. fossil-fuel production while ending federal subsidies and loan guarantees for most forms of alternative energy, such as solar and wind power. Romney's energy plan, which the former Massachusetts governor outlined on Aug. 23, sets an ambitious goal for the U.S. of reaching energy independence by 2020 through increased production of oil, natural gas, and coal, accompanied by reduced regulation. The plan does not mention climate change. "Three million jobs come back to this country by taking advantage of something we have right underneath our feet," Romney said at a campaign stop in New Mexico. "That's oil and gas and coal." ...


Also underneath our feet... our graves.

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Sun, Sep 2, 2012
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Geoengineering 'comparatively inexpensive'
Researchers in the US have estimated that modification of stratospheric albedo - a widely discussed geoengineering technique to counteract some of the effects of climate change - could cost as little as $5 bn a year. Although this is just a small fraction of the gross domestic product (GDP) of most western countries, the team stresses that there are many potential risks of geoengineering the planet in this way.... Indeed, scientists and policy experts have uncovered many disadvantages of stratospheric albedo modification. One problem is that different regions of the world might need different amounts of modification, since global warming is not expected to occur evenly. Another issue is that altering albedo could affect other aspects of the climate such as rainfall. In fact, some climate models suggest that albedo modification could hasten the droughts that climate change itself is expected to induce. Worst, however, is the knowledge that, once begun, albedo modification must be maintained indefinitely. "Abrupt stopping of the delivery of particles to the stratosphere would cause very rapid climate changes," said Apt. ...


Heck, the first fix is free.

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Wed, Aug 29, 2012
from Live Science:
Billions of Tons of Methane Lurk Beneath Antarctic Ice
Microbes possibly feeding on the remains of an ancient forest may be generating billions of tons of methane deep beneath Antarctic ice, a new study suggests. The amount of this greenhouse gas -- which would exist in the form of a frozen latticelike substance called methane hydrate -- lurking beneath the ice sheet rivals that stored in the world's oceans, the researchers said. If the ice sheet collapses, the greenhouse gas could be released into the atmosphere and dramatically worsen global warming, researchers warn in a study published in the Aug. 30 issue of the journal Nature. ...


The Arctic's quiet little sister is about to start screaming!

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Tue, Aug 28, 2012
from The Hill:
Obama aide hints climate will stay in campaign background
A spokesman for President Obama's reelection campaign suggested Thursday that climate change is unlikely to take center stage in the 2012 White House battle, noting that Obama's contrast with GOP rival Mitt Romney is already apparent. "Clearly [climate change] is something that is important to the administration, but right now we are obviously going to be focusing on jobs and the economy and talking about what our contrast is," said Tom Reynolds. Climate change has played little role in the Obama-Romney match-up, disappointing advocates including Al Gore. ...


I don't see any reason why the most important election ever should address the most important issue ever.

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Tue, Aug 28, 2012
from Washington Post:
Arctic sea ice hits record low, scientists say
The extent of Arctic sea ice has reached a record low, a historic retreat that scientists said is a stark signal of how climate change is transforming the global landscape. Scientists at the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA said that, as of Sunday, the Arctic sea ice cover had shrunk to 1.58 million square miles, the smallest area since satellite measurement began in 1979. With the melting season not yet over, the ice will almost certainly contract further in the coming weeks before it begins to re-form. ...


You mean we might break the record we just broke?

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Mon, Aug 27, 2012
from New York Times:
Intriguing Habitats, and Careful Discussions of Climate Change
... With many zoos and aquariums now working with conservation organizations and financed by individuals who feel strongly about threatened habitats and species, managers have been wrestling with how aggressive to be in educating visitors on the perils of climate change. Surveys show that American zoos and aquariums enjoy a high level of public trust and are ideally positioned to teach. Yet many managers are fearful of alienating visitors -- and denting ticket sales -- with tours or wall labels that dwell bleakly on damaged coral reefs, melting ice caps or dying trees. ...


We could wait til we're extinct!

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Mon, Aug 27, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Shell seeks more time to drill exploratory well in Chukchi Sea
With its bid to launch offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean running up against a deadline to protect against sea ice, Shell Alaska has requested an extension in its window for drilling in the Chukchi Sea. Peter E. Slaiby, vice president of the Alaska venture, said Sunday that the company has proposed extending the time allowed for drilling in the Chukchi by slightly less than two weeks beyond the Sept. 24 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Interior to allow time for cleanup of any oil spill before the onset of winter sea ice. Meeting with reporters at an Arctic Imperative Summit here, Slaiby said the company's latest models for forecasting the onset of winter sea ice now show the first freeze-up occurring somewhat later than originally envisioned when federal officials imposed their initial deadline for ending operations in the Chukchi Sea. ...


When it comes to oil, hey we'll letcha slide!

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Mon, Aug 27, 2012
from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry:
Summer Weather Could Mean Fall Colors Pop in Northeast U.S.
The summer's dry weather, combined with recent cool nights, could combine for a colorful fall foliage season in the Northeast, U.S. "Right now, without knowing what's going to happen in the middle of October when the fall colors start to peak regionally, it looks like it's going to be a good year for fall colors," said Dr. Donald J. Leopold, a dendrologist and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. ...


A dendrologist: One who looks on the bright side!

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Thu, Aug 23, 2012
from Guardian:
Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days
Arctic sea ice is set to reach its lowest ever recorded extent as early as this weekend, in "dramatic changes" signalling that man-made global warming is having a major impact on the polar region. With the melt happening at an unprecedented rate of more than 100,000 sq km a day, and at least a week of further melt expected before it begins to reform ahead of the northern winter, satellites are expected to confirm the record - currently set in 2007 - within days.... "In the last few days it has been losing 100,000 sq km a day, a record in itself for August. A storm has spread the ice pack out, opening up water, bringing up warmer water. Things are definitely changing quickly." Because ice thickness, volume, extent and area are all measured differently, it may be a week before there is unanimous agreement among the world's cryologists (ice experts) that 2012 is a record year. Four out of the nine daily sea ice extent and area graphs kept by scientists in the US, Europe and Asia suggest that records have already been broken. ...


It's as bad as the state of Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson's relationship!

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Thu, Aug 16, 2012
from Live Science:
July Ranks as Fourth Warmest on Record
Last month, the planet saw the fourth warmest July since record-keeping began in 1880, according to U.S. weather records. Most areas of the world experienced above-average monthly temperatures, including most of the United States and Canada... Last month, the continental United States saw a bigger milestone. July 2012 was the warmest month on record for the lower 48 states, surpassing the previous record holder, July 1936. ...


We're all in this together!

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Mon, Aug 13, 2012
from Reuters:
Parasites may get nastier with climate swings: study
Parasites, which include tapeworms, the tiny organisms that cause malaria and funguses, may be more nimble at adapting to climatic shifts than the animals they live on since they are smaller and grow more quickly, scientists said. ...


And the eeeek! shall inherit the earth.

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Mon, Aug 13, 2012
from Winston-Salem Journal:
Editorial: Sea-level rise must be taken seriously
Plan for the worst; hope for the best. That's the best strategy to follow with regard to global warming, rising sea levels and development along the North Carolina coast. But our General Assembly and Gov. Bev Perdue are using a totally irresponsible approach in planning for the best and hoping that the worst doesn't happen any time soon. Legislators drew international scorn earlier this year when they considered setting the official estimate of sea-level rise for the next 88 years at 8 inches, a hugely irresponsible projection considering that legitimate scientific projections go as high as 5 feet. ...


They are unwilling to face the shorror of climate change.

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Tue, Aug 7, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Greenland melt spawns iceberg threat in search for offshore oil
Oil companies off Greenland's shores may be basing risk assessments on outdated information as icebergs splinter the island's coastline at an ever faster pace, scientists and environmentalists said. ...


Assassin icebergs!

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Mon, Aug 6, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Opinion: Ignore climate Cassandra at our peril
The first scientist to alert Americans to the prospect that human-caused climate change and global warming was already upon us was NASA climatologist James Hansen. In a sweltering Senate hall during the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that "it is time to stop waffling.... The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here."... Hansen, it turns out, was right, and the critics were wrong. Rather than being reckless, as some of his critics charged, his announcement to the world proved to be prescient - and his critics were proven overly cautious.... the record-breaking heat this summer over so much of the United States, where records that have stood since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s are now dropping like flies, isn't just a fluke of nature; it is the loading of the weather dice playing out in real time. ...


Remember, the singular form of the word dice is die.

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Wed, Aug 1, 2012
from San Jose Mercury News:
California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate
Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak. A series of state-sponsored scientific studies released Tuesday warns that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe and damaging wildfires, emergency room visits and strain on the electric grid as the Earth continues to warm and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast. Higher temperatures in the next decade means that far more of the state's 37 million people will depend on air conditioning--increasing demand for electricity by up to 1 gigawatt during hot summer months. One gigawatt is roughly the size of two coal-fired power plants and is enough energy to power 750,000 homes. ...


As long as the entertainment industry keeps ignoring climate change, we're good!

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Mon, Jul 30, 2012
from New York Times:
The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic
CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I'm now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause. ...


Just in time to be too late!

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Mon, Jul 30, 2012
from Oregon State University:
Chronic 2000-04 Drought, Worst in 800 Years, May Be the 'New Normal'
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. ...


The new normal: horror.

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Sun, Jul 29, 2012
from HuffingtonPost:
Koch-funded scientist Richard Muller: 'Humans Are Almost Entirely The Cause' Of Climate Change
"Humans are almost entirely the cause" of climate change, according to a scientist who once doubted that global warming even existed.... Muller wrote in an NYT op-ed that after exhaustive research, he believes that an increase of greenhouse gases can be closely linked to the rise in the earth's temperature.... Muller, a UCBerkeley professor, founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which receives substantial funding from GOP powerhouse donor Charles Koch. According to Greenpeace, the Koch brothers have given over $61 million to groups that deny the existence of climate change. ...


You'd think that $61,000,000 would buy a little more loyalty.

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Tue, Jul 24, 2012
from NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center:
Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt
For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists. ...


Greenland is aching to be green!

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Tue, Jul 24, 2012
from Toronto Star:
Monarch butterfly population at risk as habitat declines due to climate change
The poster child for conservation is at risk of being at risk. Environmental groups across the country are stepping up efforts to increase the population of monarch butterflies as the insects face being designated as a species at risk. They're currently an international species of concern. The monarch butterfly is like the canary in the coal mine of climate change and conservation, said Maxim Larrivee, the University of Ottawa professor who developed ebutterfly.ca, an online database of butterfly observation. "The monarch is a huge flag bearer for conservation, education and science. The impact it has on advocating or teaching aspects of science to young kids is enormous," he said. But they also have an important role in nature. ...


Poster child ... canary in the coalmine ... flag bearer ... so much to bear for those diaphanous wings!

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Mon, Jul 23, 2012
from The Hill:
GOP ex-lawmaker: Facts will "overwhelm" GOP opposition to climate change
Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who is trying to build support for a carbon tax, said the facts on global warming will "overwhelm" GOP resistance to climate change action and alter the party's stance. "What we have been doing so far is sort of shrinking in science denial and holding onto shaky ideology that really will be overwhelmed by the facts," the former GOP lawmaker said in an interview broadcast Sunday. "You can hold back the facts only for so long and eventually they overwhelm you," Inglis said on Platts Energy Week TV. "I think that is happening on climate change. The science is pretty clear." ...


Great! Just in time to be too late!

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Mon, Jul 23, 2012
from Climate Central:
As Climate Change Worsens, Elderly Face Deadly Heat
The summer of 2012 isn't even half over, and already the U.S. has been hit with two crushing heat waves, and in both cases, the searing temperatures have literally been lethal. Public health-workers know all too well that whenever the mercury soars, people die -- especially the elderly, whose bodies are less resilient to stress than those of younger folks. Climate change is only going to make things worse: as the planet warms over the coming century, climatologists project that heat waves will only get worse. That's on top of a population that continues to age overall, expanding the number of likely victims. ...


Help! I'm on fire and I can't get up!

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Mon, Jul 23, 2012
from Reuters:
Bacteria outbreak in Northern Europe due to ocean warming, study says
Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows. The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, provided some of the first firm evidence that the warming patterns of the Baltic Sea have coincided with the emergence of Vibrio infections in northern Europe. Vibrios is a group of bacteria which usually grow in warm and tropical marine environments. The bacteria can cause various infections in humans, ranging from cholera to gastroenteritis-like symptoms from eating raw or undercooked shellfish or from exposure to seawater. ...


Blessed are bacteria, for they shall inherit the earth.

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Wed, Jul 18, 2012
from London Guardian:
US geoengineers to spray sun-reflecting chemicals from balloon
Two Harvard engineers are to spray sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The field experiment in solar geoengineering aims to ultimately create a technology to replicate the observed effects of volcanoes that spew sulphates into the stratosphere, using sulphate aerosols to bounce sunlight back to space and decrease the temperature of the Earth. David Keith, one of the investigators, has argued that solar geoengineering could be an inexpensive method to slow down global warming, but other scientists warn that it could have unpredictable, disastrous consequences for the Earth's weather systems and food supplies. Environmental groups fear that the push to make geoengineering a "plan B" for climate change will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions. ...


Volcano wannabes.

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Tue, Jul 17, 2012
from CBC Canada:
Pacific Ocean acid levels jeopardizing marine life
The Pacific Ocean is growing more acidic at a much faster rate than anticipated, scientists say, putting everything from corals to mussels in jeopardy. Researchers say carbon dioxide from the atmosphere forms carbonic acid in the ocean, changing the seawater enough that it can dissolve the shells of coral and shellfish. The water off the west coast of Vancouver Island is changing at an unprecedented rate, meaning vulnerable life forms in the ocean's food chain must adapt or die. ...


We knew the oceans would boil.

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Tue, Jul 17, 2012
from University of Delaware :
Glacier Break Creates Ice Island Twice Size of Manhattan
An ice island twice the size of Manhattan has broken off from Greenland's Petermann Glacier, according to researchers at the University of Delaware and the Canadian Ice Service. The Petermann Glacier is one of the two largest glaciers left in Greenland connecting the great Greenland ice sheet with the ocean via a floating ice shelf... According to Muenchow, this newest ice island will follow the path of the 2010 ice island, providing a slow-moving floating taxi for polar bears, seals and other marine life until it enters Nares Strait, the deep channel between northern Greenland and Canada, where it likely will get broken up. ...


Given the circumstances, you'd think these animals would be more likely to take public transportation.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 17, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Generation X on climate change: Meh
Generation X may not be the stereotypical slackers of those '90s cult classic movies, but here's one issue they have trouble caring about: climate change. The generation that was once poked fun at in pop culture for being underachieving slackers has grown into an educated, wired and scientifically literate generation. But record-breaking heat waves, epic droughts and killer tornadoes haven't sounded the climate change alarm for these adults, aged 32 to 52, according to a University of Michigan report released on Tuesday. With careers, families and kids, Gen X just has bigger concerns, the long-term survey found. They are only slightly more interested in climate change than their parents' generation -- even though more than half of those surveyed believed climate change is a real problem, the study found. ...


Dude, where's my SUV?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 16, 2012
from Texas A&M University:
Antarctica at Risk from Human Activities
The continent of Antarctica is at risk from human activities and other forces, and environmental management is needed to protect the planet's last great wilderness area, says an international team of researchers, including a Texas A&M University oceanographer, in a paper published in the current issue of Science magazine.... Antarctica faces growing threats from global warming, loss of sea ice and landed ice, increased tourism, over-fishing in the region, pollution and invasive species creeping into the area. One of the longer-term concerns that may present the greatest threat overall is the potential for oil, gas and mineral exploitation on the continent and in the surrounding ocean... ...


Why should anywhere on the planet be immune from this virus called humanity?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 16, 2012
from NOAA via ScienceDaily:
Back-To-Back La Ninas Cooled Globe and Influenced Extreme Weather in 2011
Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online today (July 10, 2012) by NOAA ... Two back-to-back La Ninas, each characterized by cooler-than-average water temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, affected regional climates and influenced many of the world's significant weather events throughout the year. ...


Cormac McCarthy: You never know what worse luck your bad luck is saving you from.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 10, 2012
from Reuters:
Continental U.S. breaks heat record in first half of 2012
Scorching temperatures in June's second half helped the continental United States break its record for the hottest first six months in a calendar year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday. The last 12 months also have been the warmest since modern record-keeping began in 1895, narrowly beating the previous 12-month period that ended in May 2012. Every state except Washington in the contiguous United States had warmer-than-average temperatures for the June 2011-June 2012 period. The recent blistering heat wave broke records across much of the United States, threatening the Midwest's corn crop and helping to fan destructive wildfires. ...


I am too damn hot to come up with a quip.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 10, 2012
from London Guardian:
Canada's PM Stephen Harper faces revolt by scientists
Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, faces a widening revolt by the country's leading scientists against sweeping cuts to government research labs and broadly pro-industry policies. The scientists plan to march through Ottawa in white lab coats on Tuesday in the second big protest in a month against the Harper government's science and environmental agenda. Harper is accused of pushing through a slew of policies weakening or abolishing environmental protections -- with an aim of expanding development of natural resources such as the Alberta tar sands. ...


Scientists, marching? What's next, break dancing?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 9, 2012
from Alternet:
Climate Change: 'This Is Just the Beginning'
Evidence supporting the existence of climate change is pummeling the United States this summer, from the mountain wildfires of Colorado to the recent "derecho" storm that left at least 23 dead and 1.4 million people without power from Illinois to Virginia. The phrase "extreme weather" flashes across television screens from coast to coast, but its connection to climate change is consistently ignored, if not outright mocked. If our news media, including -- or especially -- the meteorologists, continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we as a nation, the greatest per capita polluters on the planet, may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe. More than 2,000 heat records were broken last week around the U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency that tracks the data, reported that the spring of 2012 :marked the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States." ...


Horror is the new normal.

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Tue, Jul 3, 2012
from Washington Post:
Global warming no longer Americans' top environmental concern, poll finds
Climate change no longer ranks first on the list of what Americans see as the world's biggest environmental problem, according to a new Washington Post-Stanford University poll. Just 18 percent of those polled name it as their top environmental concern. That compares with 33 percent who said so in 2007, amid publicity about a major U.N. climate report and Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary about global warming. Today, 29 percent identify water and air pollution as the world's most pressing environmental issue. ...


My top environmental concern is the EPA wants to shut down NASCAR!

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Mon, Jul 2, 2012
from Reuters:
Rise in sea level can't be stopped: scientists
Rising sea levels cannot be stopped over the next several hundred years, even if deep emissions cuts lower global average temperatures, but they can be slowed down, climate scientists said in a study on Sunday... Rising sea levels threaten about a tenth of the world's population who live in low-lying areas and islands which are at risk of flooding, including the Caribbean, Maldives and Asia-Pacific island groups. More than 180 countries are negotiating a new global climate pact which will come into force by 2020 and force all nations to cut emissions to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius this century - a level scientists say is the minimum required to avert catastrophic effects. But even if the most ambitious emissions cuts are made, it might not be enough to stop sea levels rising due to the thermal expansion of sea water, said scientists at the United States' National Centre for Atmospheric Research, U.S. research organization Climate Central and Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research in Melbourne. ...


Surf's up... and up... and up...

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 16, 2012
from RL Miller, via DailyKos:
2.7 10 to the -98th power
This May was, in fact, warmer than the 20th century average May. It was the second warmest on record, calculates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And - this is the scary part - it was the 327th month in a row (over 27 years) that a month has been warmer than the same month in the 20th century average. The odds of that happening are 2 to the -327th power, or 2.73046341 x 10 to the -98th power. For a bit of context, there are roughly 5 x 10 to the 20th power stars in the universe. Or, for those of us mathematically-challenged folk, the odds of that happening are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY LOW. But, hey, it's just a coincidence, right? It's not like fate, or human activity, or weather on steroids, has a hand in any of this, right? ...


Doesn't this prove that there's a statistically measurable likelihood that it's not our fault?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 12, 2012
from New York Times:
Warming Will Unlock Carbon in Forests, Study Warns
...scientists have identified another feedback loop that may be accelerating the loss of carbon dioxide from the topsoil of forests in the United States, contributing to climate change. In a study published online on Monday, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that as temperatures rise, activity increases among the microbes that eat the topsoil and exhale carbon dioxide afterward. While that finding is not surprising, said the lead author, Francesca Hopkins, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Earth System Science at Irvine, she and her collaborators also found that in warmer temperatures the microbes were better able to digest decades-old carbon stored in the soils. ...


Microbes... they'll eat anything.

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Mon, Jun 11, 2012
from Anchorage Alaska Dispatch:
Arctic tundra transforming into forest much quicker than expected
Rising summer temperatures have triggered an arboreal facelift across a vast swath of Eurasian tundra, transforming patches of Arctic prairie into forest much faster than scientists ever thought possible. Instead of trees slowly invading from the south over the course of centuries, stands of existing dwarf willows and alders have responded to the changing climate on their own -- growing up and branching out into groves of small trees during mere decades, according to a new detailed analysis published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change... The speed and scale of the change reported in the latest study -- as much as 15 percent of the willow and alder in the area had bloomed into six-foot-high groves over 30 to 40 years -- suggests that Arctic warming has the potential to dramatically accelerate, while creating new woodsy ecosystems in the process. Since forested areas absorb more solar energy than grassy tundra, the spread of trees will also help jumpstart warming -- some climate models predict an extra two to four degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature rise, in turn, will promote even more forest growth. ...


What a beautiful, cruel, spiral.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 7, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
Environmental collapse now a serious threat: scientists
Climate change, population growth and environmental destruction could cause a collapse of the ecosystem just a few generations from now, scientists warned on Wednesday in the journal Nature. The paper by 22 top researchers said a "tipping point" by which the biosphere goes into swift and irreversible change, with potentially cataclysmic impacts for humans, could occur as early as this century. The warning contrasts with a mainstream view among scientists that environmental collapse would be gradual and take centuries. ...


These must be mainscream scientists.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 5, 2012
from E&E Publishing:
Exotic diseases from warmer climates gain foothold in the U.S.
Diseases once thought to be rare or exotic in the United States are gaining a presence and getting new attention from medical researchers who are probing how immigration, limited access to care and the impacts of climate change are influencing their spread. Illnesses like schistosomiasis, Chagas disease and dengue are endemic in warmer, wetter and poorer areas of the world, often closer to the equator. According to the World Health Organization, almost 1 billion people are afflicted with more than one tropical disease. ...


Weird. My cats' names are Schistosomiasis, Chagas and Dengue!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 5, 2012
from International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis:
US and European Energy Supplies Vulnerable to Climate Change
Higher water temperatures and reduced river flows in Europe and the United States in recent years have resulted in reduced production, or temporary shutdown, of several thermoelectric power plants, resulting in increased electricity prices and raising concerns about future energy security in a changing climate.... A study just published in Nature Climate Change projects further disruption to supply, with a likely decrease in thermoelectric power generating capacity of between 6-19 percent in Europe and 4-16 percent in the United States for the period 2031-2060, due to lack of cooling water. ...


No worries! We'll have icebergs and ice shelves galore breaking off and cooling the waters!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 4, 2012
from Washington Post:
Canadian government overhauling environmental rules to aid oil extraction
For years, Canada has been seen as an environmental leader on the world stage, pushing other nations to tackle acid rain, save the ozone layer and sign global treaties to protect biodiversity. Those were the old days. The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is rewriting the nation's environmental laws to speed the extraction and export of oil, minerals and other materials to a global market clamoring for Canada's natural resources. ...


Come on, let's hurry up and make some money!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 4, 2012
from National Science Foundation:
Where Have All the Hummingbirds Gone?
The glacier lily as it's called, is a tall, willowy plant that graces mountain meadows throughout western North America. It flowers early in spring, when the first bumblebees and hummingbirds appear. Or did. The lily, a plant that grows best on subalpine slopes, is fast becoming a hothouse flower. In Earth's warming temperatures, its first blooms appear some 17 days earlier than they did in the 1970s, scientists David Inouye and Amy McKinney of the University of Maryland and colleagues have found. The problem, say the biologists, with the earlier timing of these first blooms is that the glacier lily is no longer synchronized with the arrival of broad-tailed hummingbirds, which depend on glacier lilies for nectar. By the time the hummingbirds fly in, many of the flowers have withered away, their nectar-laden blooms going with them. ...


That's like driving into a McDonald's and finding they've run out of Big Macs!

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Mon, May 28, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
Why Tar Sands Oil Is More Polluting and Why It Matters
The debate over the Keystone XL oil pipeline heated up again last week after the Congressional Research Service issued a report saying the project could raise U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 21 million metric tons a year -- the equivalent of adding 4 million cars to the road. The Congressional Research Service is a branch of the Library of Congress that conducts policy analysis for lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Released last Tuesday -- less than two weeks after TransCanada re-applied for a permit to build the Keystone XL -- the report found that crude oil produced from Canadian oil sands (also known as tar sands) emits 14 to 20 percent more planet-warming gases than the conventional oil that is typically found in U.S. refineries. ...


Whoever created this report should be tar sandsed and feathered.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 22, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
Gas Industry Aims to Block 2030 Zero-Carbon Building Goal
The natural gas industry and some allies are working behind the scenes in Washington to block a green building rule that was expected to be a national model for carbon-neutral construction. The rule, called Fossil Fuel-Generated Energy Consumption Reduction, would zero out fossil-fuel use -- coal, fuel oil and natural gas -- in all new and renovated federal buildings by 2030. The natural gas industry says the policy would harm its image as a more environmentally friendly fuel than coal. ...


By all means, let's put at the top of our priority list preserving the image of natural gas!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 21, 2012
from BBC:
Arctic melt releasing ancient methane
Scientists have identified thousands of sites in the Arctic where methane that has been stored for many millennia is bubbling into the atmosphere. The methane has been trapped by ice, but is able to escape as the ice melts. Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this ancient gas could have a significant impact on climate change. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2 and levels are rising after a few years of stability... Using aerial and ground-based surveys, the team identified about 150,000 methane seeps in Alaska and Greenland in lakes along the margins of ice cover. ...


I call these seeps ApocaLeaks!

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Thu, May 17, 2012
from New Scientist:
Chikungunya virus loves warm New York winters
Warmer New York winters have a sting in the tail. The mosquito that carries chikungunya, a virus that causes joint pain, but isn't fatal, is flocking to the city in increasing numbers. The virus, which originates in Africa, is carried by the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and could become endemic in New York within a few years. Until now the bitter winters have kept mosquito numbers down, says Laura Harrington at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Harrington estimates there is one Asian tiger mosquito for every five New Yorkers. Once that ratio flips to five insects per person, her model suggests that someone arriving in New York carrying the virus would have a 38 per cent chance of passing it on to another person through mosquito bites. The disease could become entrenched in the city at that level of infection, Harrington told the Inside Cornell event in New York City last week. ...


Chikungunya bites the Big Apple.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 17, 2012
from Des Moines Register:
Report: Floods are growing trend
Heavy rainfall is falling more often in the Midwest and severe flooding has doubled in the last half-century, according to a report by two environmental groups. The study was released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. The research concludes storms that led to flooding that swamped Cedar Rapids in 2008 and that forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to blow up a Mississippi River levee to save Cairo, Ill., in 2011 are part of a growing climate trend. Between 1961 and 2011, Iowa had a 32 percent increase in storms that brought 3 or more inches of rain in 24 hours, said the report, titled, "Doubled Trouble: More Midwestern Extreme Storms." ...


Might we say there is a flood of floods?

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Tue, May 15, 2012
from The Coloradoan:
CSU study: Trees don't clean as much as thought
A new Colorado State University study of when and how trees absorb carbon could have far-reaching effects on years of previous and current climate change research. The culmination of seven years of research has revealed that trees trap in their leaves less carbon dioxide than once thought. This means that there is an estimated 2 billion more metric tons of the greenhouse gas in the air that scientists say has, with others, contributed to a rise in the Earth's temperature. ...


Stupid slacker trees.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 9, 2012
from Washington Post:
U.S. completes warmest 12-month period in 117 years
As far back as records go (1895), never has the U.S. strung together 12 straight months warmer than May 2011 to April 2012 according to new data released today by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The record-setting 12-month period edged out November 1999-October 2000, the 2nd warmest 12-month period, by 0.1 degrees F. The average temperature was 2.8 degrees F above the 20th century average. ...


Yippeeee! Oh wait.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 8, 2012
from USA Today:
Public support slips for steps to curb climate change
From gas-mileage standards to tax breaks for windmills, public support for "green" energy measures to tackle global warming has dropped significantly in the past two years, particularly among Republicans, a new poll suggests.... Overall, support for various steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions has dropped an average of 10 percentage points since 2010, from 72 percent to 62 percent, lead researcher Jon Krosnick says. "Most Americans (62 percent) still support industry taking steps aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions," Krosnick says, "but they hate the idea of consumer taxes to do it."...Krosnick suggests that distrust of environmental scientists among Republican voters, expressed by about 41 percent of them in the poll, may explain much of the drop. ...


Distrust in science is a greenhouse gas.

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Mon, May 7, 2012
from Yale Environment 300:
Could a Changing Climate Set Off Volcanoes and Quakes?
Geological disasters might influence climate, for instance when volcanic debris blots out the sun. But climate cannot disrupt geology. Right? Well, actually no, says a British geologist Bill McGuire, in a troubling new book, Waking The Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes. There is, McGuire argues, growing evidence to incriminate changing climate in the planet's most destructive geological events. Melting ice sheets and changes in sea level can, he maintains, set off the largest earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Indeed, thanks to climate change, a human hand may already be at work. Potentially, McGuire's argument adds a whole new dimension to why we should be worried about climate change. ...


I'd be soooo disappointed if there weren't volcanoes and earthquakes!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 4, 2012
from London Guardian:
Heartland Institute compares belief in global warming to mass murder
...The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based rightwing thinktank notorious for promoting climate scepticism, has launched quite possibly one of the most ill-judged poster campaigns in the history of ill-judged poster campaigns. I'll let its own press release for its upcoming conference explain, as there's simply no need to finesse it further:... Still believing in man-made global warming -- after all the scientific discoveries and revelations that point against this theory -- is more than a little nutty. In fact, some really crazy people use it to justify immoral and frightening behavior.... The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen. ...


Heartland should change their name to Hateland.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 2, 2012
from New York Times:
Clouds' Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenters
...polls say 97 percent of working climate scientists now see global warming as a serious risk. Yet in recent years, the climate change skeptics have seized on one last argument that cannot be so readily dismissed. Their theory is that clouds will save us. They acknowledge that the human release of greenhouse gases will cause the planet to warm. But they assert that clouds -- which can either warm or cool the earth, depending on the type and location -- will shift in such a way as to counter much of the expected temperature rise and preserve the equable climate on which civilization depends. ...


I've always said climate skeptics have their heads in the clouds.

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Tue, May 1, 2012
from Reuters:
App depicts impact of climate change on planet
Whether it is melting glaciers, coastal erosion or drying lakes, a new app displays the impact of climate change on the planet by using before and after satellite images. Called Fragile Earth, the app for iPhone and iPad shows how our planet is impacted by global warming by featuring more than 70 sites such the receding Muir Glacier in Alaska, the impact of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the draining of the Mesopotamia Marshes in Iraq. ...


Appocalypse Now

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Fri, Apr 27, 2012
from Associated Press:
Study: Antarctic ice melting from warm water below
Antarctica's massive ice shelves are shrinking because they are being eaten away from below by warm water, a new study finds. That suggests that future sea levels could rise faster than many scientists have been predicting. The western chunk of Antarctica is losing 23 feet of its floating ice sheet each year. Until now, scientists weren't exactly sure how it was happening and whether or how man-made global warming might be a factor. The answer, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, is that climate change plays an indirect role -- but one that has larger repercussions than if Antarctic ice were merely melting from warmer air. ...


Antarctica: the other doomed pole.

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Tue, Apr 17, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Bugs in the ice sheets: Melting glaciers liberate ancient bacteria
Locked in frozen vaults on Antarctica and Greenland, a lost world of ancient creatures awaits another chance at life. Like a time-capsule from the distant past, the polar ice sheets offer a glimpse of tiny organisms that may have been trapped there longer than modern humans have walked the planet, biding their time until conditions change and set them free again. With that ice melting at an alarming rate, those conditions could soon be at hand. Masses of bacteria and other microbes -- some of which the world hasn't seen since the Middle Pleistocene, a previous period of major climate change about 750,000 years ago -- will make their way back into the environment. ...


Welcome back, old friends.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 16, 2012
from National Science Foundation:
Twice as Many Emperor Penguins as Thought in Antarctica, First-Ever Penguin Count from Space Shows
A new study using satellite mapping technology reveals there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought. The results provide an important benchmark for monitoring the impact of environmental change on the population of this iconic bird, which breeds in remote areas that are very difficult to study because they often are inaccessible with temperatures as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit. ...


Perhaps the satellite was seeing double.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 9, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Warming Atlantic primes the Amazon for fire
...Scientists used to think the rainforest, especially in the western Amazon, was too wet to burn. But major fire seasons in 2005 and 2010 made them reconsider. Fires are a major source of carbon emissions in the Amazon, and scientists are beginning to worry that the region could become a net emitter, instead of a carbon sink. New findings link rising ocean temperatures off the northern coast of Brazil to changing weather patterns: As the Atlantic warms, it draws moisture away from the forest, priming the region for bigger fires. "We are reaching a tipping point in terms of drought, beyond which these forests can catch fire," says Daniel Nepstad, international program director at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute in Brasilia, Brazil. ...


Ocean vs forests: this time it's personal!

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Tue, Apr 3, 2012
from Neorenaissance:
A Message from a Republican Meteorologist on Climate Change
I'm going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I'm a meteorologist, and the weather maps I'm staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you're not imagining it: we've clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I'm in a small, frustrated and endangered minority: a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It's ironic. The root of the word conservative is "conserve." A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly "global warming alarmists" are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed. ...


You know you're in big trouble when the Republican meteorologist is uncomfortable!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Apr 1, 2012
from AFP, via Yahoo:
Scientists warn of 'emergency on global scale'
In a "State of the Planet" declaration issued after a four-day conference, the scientists said Earth was now facing unprecedented challenges, from water stress, pollution and species loss to spiralling demands for food. They called on the June 20-22 followup to the 1992 Earth Summit to overhaul governance of the environment and sweep away a fixation with GDP as the sole barometer of wellbeing. "The continuing function of the Earth system as it has supported the wellbeing of human civilisation in recent centuries is at risk," said the statement issued at the "Planet Under Pressure" conference. "These threats risk intensifying economic, ecological and social crises, creating the potential for a humanitarian emergency on a global scale." ...


Astonishingly, Lindsay Lohan still hasn't slept with Justin Bieber.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 30, 2012
from Washington Times:
Churches step up environmental activism
God is going green. With a Bible in one hand and a protest sign in the other, many religious activists are now moving in lockstep with the environmental movement in the fight against oil and gas drilling. Stewardship of the Earth is hardly a new concept in Christian thought -- it's mentioned in Genesis -- but a growing school of theological thought leaders are getting out of the pew, marching on the picket line, and becoming specific-issue activists. ...


Amen!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Reuters:
Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists
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.... Despite this sense of urgency, a new global climate treaty forcing the world's biggest polluters, such as the United States and China, to curb emissions will only be agreed on by 2015 - to enter into force in 2020 ...


Newsflash: Earthlings cross deathwish threshold.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 27, 2012
from USA Today:
Study: Global temperatures could rise 5 degrees by 2050
As the USA simmers through its hottest March on record -- with more than 6,000 record high temperatures already set this month -- a new study released Sunday shows that average global temperatures could climb 2.5 to 5.4 degrees by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. The study findings are based on the results of 10,000 computer model simulations of future weather overseen by researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. ...


Couldn't they have written Hamlet instead?

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Tue, Mar 27, 2012
from Reuters:
Link builds between weather extremes and warming
Extreme weather events over the past decade have increased and were "very likely" caused by manmade global warming, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change said on Sunday. Scientists at Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Research used physics, statistical analysis and computer simulations to link extreme rainfall and heat waves to global warming. The link between warming and storms was less clear. "It is very likely that several of the unprecedented extremes of the past decade would not have occurred without anthropogenic global warming," said the study. The past decade was probably the warmest globally for at least a millennium. ...


What a comfort to know we'll have it all figured out by the Apocalypse.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 24, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
2001-2010 warmest decade on record: WMO
Climate change has accelerated in the past decade, the UN weather agency said Friday, releasing data showing that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record. The 10-year period was also marked by extreme levels of rain or snowfall, leading to significant flooding on all continents, while droughts affected parts of East Africa and North America.... Nine of the 10 years also counted among the 10 warmest on record, it added, noting that "climate change accelerated" during the first decade of the 21st century. ...


Proof of global climate strange.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 19, 2012
from McClatchy Newspapers:
As natural gas production grows, questions arise about methane leaks
As natural gas production in the United States hits an all-time high, a major unanswered question looms: What does growing hydraulic fracturing mean for climate change? The Obama administration lists natural gas as one of the "clean energy sources" it wants to expand. When burned, natural gas emits about half the heat-trapping carbon dioxide as coal. Yet natural gas production can result in releases of methane into the atmosphere. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane can enter the atmosphere when gas is stored or transported, but it's particularly a concern with shale gas production during flowback -- when fracking fluids, water and gases flow out of a well after drilling but before the gas is put into pipelines. ...


This leak is the Mother of all farts!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 16, 2012
from Associated Press:
Study: Young People Not So 'Green' After All
They have a reputation for being environmentally minded do-gooders. But an academic analysis of surveys spanning more than 40 years has found that today's young Americans are less interested in the environment and in conserving resources -- and often less civic-minded overall -- than their elders were when they were young. The findings go against the widespread belief that environmental issues have hit home with today's young adults, known as Millennials, who have grown up amid climate change discussion and the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle." The environment is often listed among top concerns of young voters. ...


Dislike

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 8, 2012
from London Daily Telegraph:
Entire nation of Kiribati to be relocated over rising sea level threat
In what could be the world's first climate-induced migration of modern times, Anote Tong, the Kiribati president, said he was in talks with Fiji's military government to buy up to 5,000 acres of freehold land on which his countrymen could be housed. Some of Kiribati's 32 pancake-flat coral atolls, which straddle the equator over 1,350,000 square miles of ocean, are already disappearing beneath the waves. Most of its 113,000 people are crammed on to Tarawa, the administrative centre, a chain of islets which curve in a horseshoe shape around a lagoon. "This is the last resort, there's no way out of this one," Mr Tong said. ...


I propose these Kiribatians be replaced in their homeland by climate skeptics.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Canadian firm to proceed with southern leg of Keystone pipeline
The Keystone XL battle isn't over. The Canadian company behind the controversial pipeline announced Monday that it would proceed immediately with a shorter version of the project south of Oklahoma -- even as it seeks a new permit for the segment through the northern U.S. Opponents immediately vowed to fight on both fronts.... The southern segment of the pipeline would extend from Cushing, Okla., which already has a glut of crude oil, to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast; those refineries now import much of their oil from abroad. ...


If you build it, they will succumb.

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from Chicago Tribune:
Back to normal weather, please
...It's a hungry world out there, and believe it or not, a warm, dry winter in the Midwest weighs against the prospects for the upcoming corn and soybean crop. Think weeds. Think bugs. Think about how soil loses its moisture without its customary blanket of snow. Then consider that global stockpiles of grain and oilseeds stand at low levels, and demand is going strong... As anyone who has set foot outside can attest, temperatures have hovered well above normal. In Illinois, the average for December/January of 33.4 degrees far exceeded the historical average of 27.2. As of last week, February had clocked in at 7.2 degrees warmer than the norm. ...


Abnormal is the new normal.

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Tue, Feb 21, 2012
from London Guardian:
Civilisation faces 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems'
Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies. In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize -- the unofficial Nobel for the environment -- society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us". ...


gulp!

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Wed, Feb 8, 2012
from Nature:
Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field
When US government scientists began sampling the air from a tower north of Denver, Colorado, they expected urban smog -- but not strong whiffs of what looked like natural gas. They eventually linked the mysterious pollution to a nearby natural-gas field, and their investigation has now produced the first hard evidence that the cleanest-burning fossil fuel might not be much better than coal when it comes to climate change. Led by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, Boulder, the study estimates that natural-gas producers in an area known as the Denver-Julesburg Basin are losing about 4 percent of their gas to the atmosphere -- not including additional losses in the pipeline and distribution system. This is more than double the official inventory, but roughly in line with estimates made in 2011 that have been challenged by industry. And because methane is some 25 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, releases of that magnitude could effectively offset the environmental edge that natural gas is said to enjoy over other fossil fuels. ...


This natural gas leak is the Mother of all Flatulence!

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Mon, Feb 6, 2012
from London Guardian:
Bill Gates backs climate scientists lobbying for large-scale geoengineering
A small group of leading climate scientists, financially supported by billionaires including Bill Gates, are lobbying governments and international bodies to back experiments into manipulating the climate on a global scale to avoid catastrophic climate change. The scientists, who advocate geoengineering methods such as spraying millions of tonnes of reflective particles of sulphur dioxide 30 miles above earth, argue that a "plan B" for climate change will be needed if the UN and politicians cannot agree to making the necessary cuts in greenhouse gases, and say the US government and others should pay for a major programme of international research. ...


Apparently, the "B" in "plan B" stands for Bill.

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Tue, Jan 31, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
Climate-driven heat peaks may shrink wheat crops
More intense heat waves due to global warming could diminish wheat crop yields around the world through premature ageing, according to a study published Sunday in Nature Climate Change... a 2.0 Celsius increase above long-term averages shortened the growing season by a critical nine days, reducing total yield by up to 20 percent. ...


Thank goodness we use Fahrenheit!

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Fri, Jan 27, 2012
from London Guardian:
Flooding rated as worst climate change threat facing UK
Flooding is the greatest threat to the UK posed by climate change, with up to 3.6 million people at risk by the middle of the century, according to a report published on Thursday by the environment department. The first comprehensive climate change risk assessment for the UK identifies hundreds of ways rising global temperatures will have an impact if no action is taken. They include the financial damage caused by flooding, which would increase to £2bn-£10bn a year by 2080, more deaths in heatwaves, and large-scale water shortages by mid-century. ...


That's far too many people for an ark.

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Tue, Jan 24, 2012
from Washington Post:
Global warming would harm the Earth, but some areas might find it beneficial
"Global warming" and "climate change" succinctly describe a complicated phenomenon, and in just a few decades they have become common descriptors. But while global warming would be bad for the Earth as a whole, the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would affect different areas in different ways, and local climate change is what matters to many people. So let's look at the relative winners and losers. Two factors will likely determine whether a particular region will prosper or suffer as climate change progresses: starting temperature and adaptability. You don't hear much talk about it, but countries that are cold right now could see very real benefits from a few extra degrees. ...


Gee, this apocalyptic cloud has a silver lining after all.

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Fri, Jan 20, 2012
from Duke University via ScienceDaily:
Harp Seals On Thin Ice After 32 Years of Warming
Warming in the North Atlantic over the last 32 years has significantly reduced winter sea ice cover in harp seal breeding grounds, resulting in sharply higher death rates among seal pups in recent years, according to a new Duke University-led study."The kind of mortality we're seeing in eastern Canada is dramatic. Entire year-classes may be disappearing from the population in low ice years -- essentially all of the pups die," said David W. Johnston, research scientist at the Duke University Marine Lab. "It calls into question the resilience of the population." ...


Climate change is like a giant, brutal hakapik.

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Tue, Jan 17, 2012
from London Daily Telegraph:
Michael Mann vows to keep up the "street fight" against climate change deniers
The Director of Penn State Earth System Science Center said the so-called "climategate" scandal was meant to "intimidate" scientists. He said personal emails between himself and colleagues at the University of East Anglia were stolen in a "malicious and intentional" attempt to make scientists afraid to express their opinions. "What they are trying to do is to blur the distinction between private correspondence and scientific data and methods, which of course should be out there for other scientists to reproduce," he said.... "Scientists have to recognised they are in a street fight," he warned. ...


When you're a Jet / You're a Jet all the way / From your first cigarette/ To your last dyin' day.

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Sat, Jan 14, 2012
from Live Science:
How Warmer Summers Cause Colder Winters
Counter to what logic might suggest, warm summers actually trigger cold winters, according to a new study. The study, detailed in the Jan. 13 issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters,offers an explanation for the recent harsh winters in the Northern Hemisphere: Increasing temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic regions are creating more snowfall in the autumn months at lower latitudes, which, in turn, affects an atmospheric pattern that leads to colder winters. ...


It's as if weather was somehow tied to climate.

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Thu, Jan 12, 2012
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Canadian climate scientist finds fame, hate mail in U.S.
She once was a science-minded undergrad who spent her nights minding the telescopes on the top floors of the University of Toronto's McLennan building. Katharine Hayhoe is now a figure of some fame and controversy in the United States, for her sin is that she is an evangelical Christian who is also a climate scientist trying to convince skeptics that climate change is for real. Dr. Hayhoe made headlines after the Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich came under pressure and dropped plans to have her write an opening chapter on climate change for his upcoming book. ...


His upcoming book is entitled The Make-Believe World of Newt Gingrich.

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Thu, Jan 12, 2012
from Associated Press:
EPA: Power plants main global warming culprits
The most detailed data yet on emissions of heat-trapping gases show that U.S. power plants are responsible for the bulk of the pollution blamed for global warming. Power plants released 72 percent of the greenhouse gases reported to the Environmental Protection Agency for 2010, according to information released Wednesday that was the first catalog of global warming pollution by facility. The data include more than 6,700 of the largest industrial sources of greenhouse gases, or about 80 percent of total U.S. emissions. ...


If I be wicked, coal unto me...

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Wed, Jan 11, 2012
from Colorado Independent:
Snow drought forces Colorado to face frightening new climate-change reality
Just a year after record snowfall throughout much of the Rocky Mountain West, the region is locked in a snow drought not seen since Jimmy Carter surrendered the White House to Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s. "We have had some very unusual weather so far this season," Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said Friday. "For the first time in 30 years, a lack of snow has not allowed us to open the back bowls in Vail as of January 6, 2012, and, for the first time since the late 1800s, it did not snow at all in Tahoe in December." ...


Snow drought = snought.

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Washington Post:
Spaceship Earth: A new view of environmentalism
Spaceship Earth enters 2012 belching smoke, overheating and burning through fuel at a frightening rate. It's feeling pretty crowded, and the crew is mutinous. No one's at the helm. Sure, it's an antiquated metaphor. It's also an increasingly apt way to discuss a planet with 7 billion people, a global economy, a World Wide Web, climate change, exotic organisms running amok and all sorts of resource shortages and ecological challenges. More and more environmentalists and scientists talk about the planet as a complex system, one that human beings must aggressively monitor, manage and sometimes reengineer. Kind of like a spaceship. ...


Sounds like we are lost in space.

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Climate coverage down again in 2011
Media coverage of climate change continued to tumble in 2011, declining roughly 20 percent from 2010's levels and nearly 42 percent from 2009's peak, according to analysis of DailyClimate.org's archive of global media. ...


What we don't know can't hurt us!

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Fri, Dec 30, 2011
from InsideClimate News:
As Climate Change Worsens, Scientists Feel Increasing Pressure to Speak Out
Factors contributing to climate change are moving faster than predicted and pushing us toward planetary conditions unlike any humans have ever known -- this was one of the salient themes to emerge from this month's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest gathering of earth and space scientists. Some scientists think we've already crossed that boundary and are, as Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, said, "in a very different world than we have ever seen before." ...


Musta been one helluva fun meeting.

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Fri, Dec 30, 2011
from Jakarta Globe:
Science Taboo for Republicans Seeking White House
Many of the Republican candidates vying for their party's nod to take on President Barack Obama, dismiss science in favor of strong evangelical faith, playing to a hard-line conservative electorate. Only one of the White House contenders, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, has come out with force to proclaim a belief in man-made climate change, as he condemned his party's hostility to science.... In Iowa, where caucuses kick off the months-long nominating process on Tuesday, just 21 percent of Republican voters said they believe in global warming, and 35 percent in the theory of evolution, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. ...


Heaven help us.

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Wed, Dec 28, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Drought Leads to Stray Donkey Deluge
Law-enforcement agencies in Texas are grappling with an unusual problem: stray donkeys, which are roaming roads and fields in growing numbers and overwhelming animal shelters. The donkey predicament is one of the odder ramifications of the record-setting drought that has dried up Texas. Hay supplies have shriveled, causing prices for a bale to more than double over the past year. Now, authorities say, owners who no longer can afford to feed their donkeys are turning them loose. "The donkey problem is epidemic," said Patrick Bonner, senior sergeant at the Dallas County Sheriff's Department. "We're inundated." ...


This is way beyond political symbolism.

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Wed, Dec 28, 2011
from Politico:
Are GOP pledges to nix agencies undoable?
Republican presidential candidates are promising to save taxpayers a buck by turning entire government agencies into dust. The familiar conservative rallying cry is met with almost universal skepticism from anyone who's seen the wreckage from past bungled attempts to ax big bureaucracies like the Education, Commerce and Energy departments. ...


As the anti-science party, perhaps the GOP should be turned to dust.

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011
from Tierramerica:
No Time Left to Adapt to Melting Glaciers
The water supplied by the glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca, vital to a huge region of northwest Peru, is decreasing 20 years sooner than expected, according to a new study. Water flows from the region's melting glaciers have already peaked and are in decline, Michel Baraer, a glaciologist at Canada's McGill University, told Tierramérica. This is happening 20 to 30 years earlier than forecasted... When glaciers begin to shrink in size, they generate "a transitory increase in runoff as they lose mass," the study notes. However, Baraer explained, the water flowing from a glacier eventually hits a plateau and from this point onwards there is a decrease in the discharge of melt water. "The decline is permanent. There is no going back." ...


"At a glacial pace" is quickly becoming a phrase subject to reinterpretation.

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011
from Daily Record:
Religion and environment: World faiths united on need to save Earth, research shows
The world's religions may differ in subtle and profound ways, but according to research by the New Jersey chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby, when it comes to caring for the earth and addressing global warming, the world's major religions are in agreement: Human beings are responsible for the environment, and time is running out... the Vatican report calls for three immediate actions: "Reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions without delay, using all means possible; reduce the concentrations of warming air pollutants; prepare to adapt to the climatic changes . . . that society will be unable to mitigate.” ...


By "all means possible" except birth control.

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011
from University of Miami via ScienceDaily:
Link Between Earthquakes and Tropical Cyclones: New Study May Help Scientists Identify Regions at High Risk for Earthquakes
A groundbreaking study led by University of Miami (UM) scientist Shimon Wdowinski shows that earthquakes, including the recent 2010 temblors in Haiti and Taiwan, may be triggered by tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons), according to a presentation of the findings at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco. ...


A "groundbreaking" study, indeed.

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Mon, Dec 26, 2011
from London Daily Telegraph:
Chocolate will become an expensive luxury item due to climate change
...The study of cocoa plantations in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, where more than half of the world's cocoa is grown, found that the amount of land suitable for production could halve due to temperature rise of just 2.3C by 2050. ...


Chocapocalypse!

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Mon, Dec 26, 2011
from BBC:
Taking the pulse of Ngozumpa
...The Nepalese Himalayas have been warming significantly more than the global mean temperature in recent decades. Glaciers in much of the region are showing signs of shrinking, thinning, and retreating; and this is producing a lot of melt water. On Ngozumpa, some of this water is seen to pool on the surface and then drain away via a series of streams and caverns to the snout of the glacier. There, some 25km from the mountain, an enormous lake is growing behind a mound of dumped rock fragments. This lake, called Spillway, has the potential to be about 6km long, 1km wide and 100m deep. The concern is that this great mass of water could eventually breach the debris dam and hurtle down the valley, sweeping away the Sherpa villages in its path. ...


Sho long, Sherpas.

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Mon, Dec 26, 2011
from New York Times:
Retreat of Glaciers Makes Some Climbs Tougher
Three decades ago, when Mick Fowler climbed the north face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps, he used crampons and ice axes to haul himself up sheer walls of snow and ice. Nowadays, during a hot summer, "you'll find virtually no snow and ice on its face -- none,” he said. "It's a huge change over the last 20 to 30 years.” Like Mr. Fowler, mountaineers around the world find themselves forced to adjust to a warming world. Routes that were icy or glaciated in the middle part of the past century, when the world's highest peaks were being conquered for the first time, are turning into unstable and unappetizing rock. ...


Eat my (anthropogenically created) dust.

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Mon, Dec 26, 2011
from Oregon State University via ScienceDaily:
Forest Health Versus Global Warming: Fuel Reduction Likely to Increase Carbon Emissions
Forest thinning to help prevent or reduce severe wildfire will release more carbon to the atmosphere than any amount saved by successful fire prevention, a new study concludes. There may be valid reasons to thin forests -- such as restoration of forest structure or health, wildlife enhancement or public safety -- but increased carbon sequestration is not one of them, scientists say... even in fire-prone forests, it's necessary to treat about 10 locations to influence fire behavior in one. There are high carbon losses associated with fuel treatment and only modest savings in reducing the severity of fire... ...


We may be forced to thin the herd instead.

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Thu, Dec 22, 2011
from Reuters:
Texas drought kills as many as half a billion trees
The massive drought that has dried out Texas over the past year has killed as many as half a billion trees, according to new estimates from the Texas Forest Service. ...


Trees just cause pollution anyway.

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Wed, Dec 21, 2011
from Nature News:
Permafrost science heats up in the United States
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is embarking on a US $100-million research programme to investigate what will happen to the 1,500 billion tonnes of organic carbon locked up in frozen soils of the far northern permafrost when they thaw in the rapidly warming Arctic climate. ...


For two cents I'll tell ya: the Apocalypse!

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
With federal green light, Shell hits the gas on Arctic plans
In a sign that the Obama administration is willing to clear the regulatory decks for oil drilling in Alaska's remote Arctic waters, the Interior Department on Friday gave a conditional green light allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. More than 20 years after sinking its first exploratory well in the Chukchi, only to later abandon the project, Shell is seeking to reopen drilling in the nation's northern-most federal waters. The campaign has already had a colossal price tag. So far, Shell officials say they have sunk $4 billion in the project, including $350 million to build two of their own ice-breaking ships. If exploration is successful, it will take 10-12 years before Shell can begin producing oil. During that time, the company would have to build a new ice-resistant drilling facility, install 100 miles of subsea pipeline from the pumping rig to the tiny community of Wainwright and construct a 500-mile pipeline from the shoreline to the beginning of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. ...


It will be worth all the work, if we can indeed destroy the planet!

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Mon, Dec 19, 2011
from Associated Press:
Russia slams Kyoto Protocol
MOSCOW (AP) Russia supports Canada's decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, says its foreign ministry, reaffirming Friday that Moscow will not take on new commitments. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told Friday's briefing that the treaty does not cover all major polluters, and thus cannot help solve the climate crisis. Canada on Monday pulled out of the agreement -- initially adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, to cut carbon emissions contributing to global warming. Its move dealt a blow to the treaty, which has not been formally renounced by any other country. ...


Sayonara, Kyoto.

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Fri, Dec 16, 2011
from Science, via ScienceDaily:
What happens when you double world nitrogen?
In "A World Awash in Nitrogen," Elser, a limnologist, comments on a new study showing that disruption to Earth's nitrogen balance began at the dawn of the industrial era and was further amplified by the development of the Haber-Bosch process to produce nitrogen rich fertilizers. Until that time nitrogen, an essential building block to life on Earth and a major but inert component of its atmosphere, had cycled at low but balanced levels over millennia. That balance ended around 1895. "Humans have more than doubled the rate of nitrogen inputs into global ecosystems, relative to pre-industrial periods, and have changed the amounts of circulating phosphorus (like nitrogen, a key limiting ingredient for crops and other plants) by about 400 percent due to mining to produce fertilizers," Elser said.... "Overall, changes in nutrient regimes (due to human acceleration of the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles) cause various problems, but especially reduction in water quality, in water supplies and deterioration of coastal marine fisheries ('dead zones')," Elser added. ...


Gimme a double. Aw heck, I just got paid -- make it a quadruple.

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011
from ClimateWire:
Scrubbing Carbon Dioxide from Air May Prove Too Costly
One of the seemingly ideal and direct solutions to climate change is to efficiently vacuum up greenhouse gases straight from the atmosphere. But a new study finds that such a proposal is very far-fetched and tremendously expensive... in a paper published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that trying to scrub the air is much more expensive than keeping it from getting dirty in the first place. ...


So what am I going to do with my zeppelin-sized scrub brush?

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011
from New Scientist:
Call for Arctic geoengineering as soon as possible
It's the most urgent call for geoengineering yet: begin cooling the Arctic by 2013 or face runaway global warming. But the warning -- from a voice on the scientific fringe -- may be premature, according to experts contacted by New Scientist. John Nissen, a former software engineer who has become alarmed at the possibility of reaching a climate "tipping point" argued for Arctic geoengineering as soon as possible in a poster presentation at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco last week.... Although Nissen's opinion is not in the scientific mainstream, he has the backing of a leading expert on sea ice, Peter Wadhams of the University of Cambridge, who recently suggested that the Arctic ocean may be ice-free at the end of each summer from 2015 onwards. Wadhams says that accelerating climate change in the Arctic has forced him to abandon his scepticism about geoengineering. "One has to consider doing something," he says. ...


Geoengineering... the equivalent of of punting.

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Vermont Law School's Top 10 Environmental Watch List for 2012
Vermont Law School, which has one of the top-ranked environmental law programs in the country, just released its second annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List of issues and developments that should be closely followed in 2012. Top of the list? Republican attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency. According to an innovative online database set up by L.A.'s own Rep. Henry Waxman, there have been 170 anti-environmental votes under the Republican majority in the 112th Congress, and 91 of them attacked the EPA. Other hot topics on the watch list include that same EPA and the White House clashing over ozone standards, the activist effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and landmark settlements under the Endangered Species Act. ...


Actually, top of the list: Republicans' farts; they're way worse than Democrats' farts.

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from Associated Press:
Canada pulls out of Kyoto Protocol
Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change Monday, saying the accord won't help solve the climate crisis. It dealt a blow to the anti-global warming treaty, which has not been formally renounced by any other country. Environment Minister Peter Kent said that Canada is invoking its legal right to withdraw and said Kyoto doesn't represent the way forward for Canada or the world... "The Kyoto Protocol does not cover the world's largest two emitters, United States and China, and therefore cannot work," Kent said. "It's now clear that Kyoto is not the path forward to a global solution to climate change. If anything it's an impediment." ...


More like CANTada!

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Fri, Dec 9, 2011
from Scientific American:
Climate Negotiations Fail to Keep Pace with Science
DURBAN, South Africa-- By 2020, human activity could produce some 55 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases per year, up from roughly 36 billion metric tons currently. All the accumulating gas is enough to raise the global average temperatures by more than 3 degrees Celsius by century's end -- more than triple the amount of warming that has already occurred.... The latest science suggests that international negotiations are proceeding far too slowly to have any significant impact on global warming and may well dawdle too long to prevent catastrophic climate change. ...


Somebody wake me from this nightmare.

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Thu, Dec 8, 2011
from Reuters:
"Big Three" polluters oppose binding climate deal
The world's three biggest polluters China, the United States and India refused to move toward a new legal commitment to curb their carbon emissions Tuesday, increasing the risk that climate talks will fail to clinch a meaningful deal this week. The European Union is leading efforts to keep alive the Kyoto Protocol, the world's only legal pact to tackle climate change, with a conditional promise to sign a global deal that would force big emitters to change their ways. ...


Three biggest babies, more like.

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Thu, Dec 8, 2011
from Associated Press:
Rapid retreat of Chile glacier captured in images
Researchers in Chile released a series of time-lapse photos Wednesday showing the dramatic retreat of a glacier in Patagonia. The Jorge Montt Glacier is shrinking faster than any other in Chile, with its snout retreating 1 kilometer (more than a half mile) between February 2010 and January 2011, glaciologist Andres Rivera said. Rivera said that global warming is a factor and that the glacier also is melting especially quickly because it partly rests in the waters of a growing fjord. ...


Fyear the fyord!

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Wed, Dec 7, 2011
from E&E News/ClimateWire:
Green groups claim U.S. is blocking a climate change deal
Along the coast of the shark-infested Indian Ocean where the United Nations global warming negotiations are being held, the United States increasingly is being viewed as a pariah. Despite the presence of thousands of Obama supporters in this sub-tropical surf city, even liberal environmental activists at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference say disappointment and frustration toward the administration have reached new levels. The past several days of talks have seen the U.S. seemingly unwilling to discuss more ambitious ways to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change. China, meanwhile, has softened its once hardline position, indicating it could be willing to make binding carbon cuts. As countries head into ministerial-level negotiations, the dynamic appears to have left the U.S. isolated and vulnerable to attack by disillusioned former friends. ...


Yes we ran.

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Tue, Dec 6, 2011
from PLoS One -- IU-Bloomington:
Study finds climate changes faster than species can adapt
The ranges of species will have to change dramatically as a result of climate change between now and 2100 because the climate will change more than 100 times faster than the rate at which species can adapt, according to a newly published study by Indiana University researchers. The study, which focuses on North American rattlesnakes, finds that the rate of future change in suitable habitat will be two to three orders of magnitude greater than the average change over the past 300 millennia, a time that included three major glacial cycles and significant variation in climate and temperature. ...


Let's feed 'em steroids, caffeine and sugar to speed 'em up.

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Tue, Dec 6, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Hotter, drier, meaner: Trends point to a planet increasingly hostile to agriculture
To get a glimpse of the future, look to East Africa today. The Horn of Africa is in the midst of its worst drought in 60 years: Crop failures have left up to 10 million at risk of famine; social order has broken down in Somalia, with thousands of refugees streaming into Kenya; British Aid alone is feeding 2.4 million people across the region. That's a taste of what's to come, say scientists mapping the impact of a warming planet on agriculture and civilization.... Many recent events -- discoveries from sediment cores of New York marshes, drought in Australia and the western United States, data from increasingly sophisticated computer models -- lead to a conclusion that the weather driving many of the globe's great breadbaskets will become hotter, drier and more unpredictable. ...


At least we'll always have Lunchables.

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Thu, Dec 1, 2011
from London Guardian:
Alaskan community revives legal bid for global warming damages
A native American community in remote Alaska this week revived legal efforts to hold some of the world's largest energy companies accountable for allegedly destroying their village because of global warming. The so-called "climigration" trial would be the first of its kind, potentially creating a precedent in the US courts for further climate change-related damages cases. Attorneys acting for the 427 Inupiat people living in Kivalina made representations before an appeals panel in San Francisco on Monday, to claim climate change-related damages from Exxon Mobil, BP America, Chevron, Shell, Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal provider, and America's largest electricity-generating companies including American Electric Power and Duke Energy. ...


Watch out, Goliaths; you may have met your match.

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Thu, Dec 1, 2011
from Reuters:
WMO: 2011 one of hottest years on record
The world is getting hotter, with 2011 one of the warmest years on record, and humans are to blame, a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday. It warned increasing global average temperatures were expected to amplify floods, droughts and other extreme weather patterns. "Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities," WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa told reporters in Durban, where almost 200 nations are gathered for U.N. climate talks. ...


Deja vu screwed.

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Thu, Dec 1, 2011
from E&E Daily:
Supercommittee failure portends yearlong limbo for energy, environment programs
After four months of pressure campaigns and prognostication, the failure of the so-called congressional "supercommittee" to agree on $1.2 trillion in long-term spending cuts leaves energy and environmental programs in much the same position that they were after the August debt-limit deal: an uneasy limbo. The flameout of the 12-member panel, created in the hopes of surmounting political acrimony to slash both parties' prized programs, puts domestic discretionary agencies -- such as U.S. EPA and the Energy Department -- in line for two rounds of automatic cuts, both potentially punishing. The first would come about three months into the 2013 fiscal year, when an estimated $39 billion sequester of already-approved spending would hit all agencies in equal proportions. The second would take the form of lower budget caps until 2021. ...


Why aren't the automatic cuts in CO2 emissions?

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Tue, Nov 29, 2011
from Associated Press:
World on track for nearly 11-degree temperature rise, energy expert says
The chief economist for the International Energy Agency said Monday that current global energy consumption levels put the Earth on a trajectory to warm by 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100, an outcome he called "a catastrophe for all of us. Fatih Birol spoke as as delegates from nearly 200 countries convened the opening day of annual U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa. ...


Or, put another way, 6 degrees of separation between us -- and our continued existence.

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Mon, Nov 28, 2011
from New York Times:
Another Try for a Global Climate Effort
With intensifying climate disasters and global economic turmoil as the backdrop, delegates from 194 nations gather in Durban, South Africa, this week to try to advance, if only incrementally, the world's response to dangerous climate change. To those who have followed the negotiations of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change over their nearly 20-year history, the conflicts and controversies to be taken up in Durban are monotonously familiar -- the differing obligations of industrialized and developing nations, the question of who will pay to help poor nations adapt, the urgency of protecting tropical forests, the need to develop and deploy clean energy technology rapidly. ...


C'mon, folks, let's give it a shot. The planet's pretty important.

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Fri, Nov 25, 2011
from Bloomberg News:
Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall
Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks. Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass attracted $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the most recent data. Accelerating installations of solar and wind power led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal. "The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable," United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. "You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis." The findings indicate the world is shifting toward consuming more renewable energy even without a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. ...


Durban be damned; leaders be let go; renewables rule!

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Thu, Nov 24, 2011
from London Guardian:
Climate scientists defend work in wake of new leak of hacked emails
Climate scientists have mounted a robust defence of their work and debates over science after more than 5,000 personal emails were leaked onto the internet in an apparent attempt to undermine public support for international action to tackle climate change. More than 39,000 pages of emails to and from scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) were loaded onto a Russian server and a link to them posted on climate sceptic websites on Tuesday, almost exactly two years after a similar release of hacked or leaked emails in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009....Following the 2009 emails, the university set up an inquiry led by Sir Alastair Muir Russell, which concluded last year that the university had not been open enough in answering requests under the Freedom of Information Act, but backed the scientists' published work on climate change and said there was no evidence they were deliberately keeping information out of the IPCC reports or journals. ...


This time around, the deniers are pissing into the wind.

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Tue, Nov 22, 2011
from Seattle Times:
State scrambles to fight massive tree die-offs
So many pine, fir and spruce trees in the Northwest are riddled with bugs and disease that major tree die-offs are expected to rip through a third of Eastern Washington forests -- an area covering nearly 3 million acres -- in the next 15 years, according to new state projections. Because Washington's forests are deteriorating so quickly, the state commissioner of public lands last week said he'll appoint an emergency panel of scientists and foresters to seek ways to stabilize or reverse the decline. ...


What will I hug when the trees are gone?

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Tue, Nov 22, 2011
from Yale Environment 300:
Northwest Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived
... Ocean acidification -- which makes it difficult for shellfish, corals, sea urchins, and other creatures to form the shells or calcium-based structures the need to live -- was supposed to be a problem of the future. But because of patterns of ocean circulation, Pacific Northwest shellfish are already on the front lines of these potentially devastating changes in ocean chemistry. Colder, more acidic waters are welling up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean and streaming ashore in the fjords, bays, and estuaries of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, exacting an environmental and economic toll on the region's famed oysters. ...


All I can say is Oy.

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Tue, Nov 22, 2011
from Associated Press:
Greenhouse gases soar; scientists see little chance of arresting global warming this century
Heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are building up so high, so fast, that some scientists now think the world can no longer limit global warming to the level world leaders have agreed upon as safe. New figures from the U.N. weather agency Monday showed that the three biggest greenhouse gases not only reached record levels last year but were increasing at an ever-faster rate, despite efforts by many countries to reduce emissions. ...


This story brought to you by the Duh-partment of Duh.

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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from London Guardian:
Rich nations 'give up' on new climate treaty until 2020
Governments of the world's richest countries have given up on forging a new treaty on climate change to take effect this decade, with potentially disastrous consequences for the environment through global warming. Ahead of critical talks starting next week, most of the world's leading economies now privately admit that no new global climate agreement will be reached before 2016 at the earliest, and that even if it were negotiated by then, they would stipulate it could not come into force until 2020. The eight-year delay is the worst contemplated by world governments during 20 years of tortuous negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions, and comes despite intensifying warnings from scientists and economists about the rapidly increasing dangers of putting off prompt action. ...


Given the lack of enthusiasm among our leaders, it's time to Occupy Mother Earth.

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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from Washington Post:
Congress kills request for National Climate Service
At first look, the proposal is as dull, bureaucratic and routine as an agency request to Congress can be. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wanted to reshuffle its offices to establish a National Climate Service akin to the agency's National Weather Service. It asked for no new funding to do so. But in a political climate where talk of the earthly kind of climate can be radioactive, the answer in last week's budget deal was "no." Congress barred NOAA from launching what the agency bills as a "one-stop shop" for climate information. ...


Welcome to the New Dark Ages.

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Fri, Nov 18, 2011
from Associated Press:
Study: Triple threat paints grim future for frogs
Frogs, salamanders and other amphibians may eventually have no haven left on the globe because of a triple threat of worsening scourges, a new study predicts. Scientists have long known that amphibians are under attack from a killer fungus, climate change and shrinking habitat. In the study appearing online Wednesday in the journal Nature, computer models project that in about 70 years those three threats will spread, leaving no part of the world immune from one of the problems. ...


RIP-bit

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Wed, Nov 16, 2011
from Live Science:
A Graying Population Reduces Global Warming
You can help the environment by getting old. A demographer has profiled the relationship between age and a person's carbon dioxide emissions, showing that after retirement age, our individual contributions to global warming decline. "We expect age structure in the longer term to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," said Emilio Zagheni, a research scientist with the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, who conducted the study."This study is specifically for the United States, but the trend is expected to hold at the global level." ...


Dude, then I suggest we ALL retire, now.

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Mon, Nov 14, 2011
from Springfield Republican:
Winter in Massachusetts undergoing redefinition due to warming climate
...Winter in Massachusetts is undergoing a redefinition due to a warming climate. Already, the mean temperature in Amherst in winter - for December, January and February - has risen about 4.2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, according to a study by a University of New Hampshire researcher. And, average winter temperatures throughout Massachusetts may rise an additional 2 to 5 degrees by 2050 and 4 to 10 degrees by 2100 due to continued global warming, according to a new report prepared for the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. ...


Welcome to the great state of Messachusetts.

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Are birds getting bigger because of global climate change?
Birds in central California are significantly larger than they were 25 to 40 years ago, and researchers believe it may be because they are bulking up in body weight to ride out severe storms related to global climate change. Over the last 25 years, a robin, for example, has increased about an eighth of an inch in wing length and about 0.2 ounces in mass, according to a paper published online in Global Change Biology. The findings fly in the face of assumptions based on an ecological benchmark known as Bergmann's rule: Birds and mammals tend to be larger at higher latitudes, perhaps to conserve body heat. Under this reasoning, birds and mammals would get smaller as they adapted to rising global temperatures. ...


The sky isn't falling; the birds are falling because they're too fat to fly!

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Sat, Nov 5, 2011
from AP, via LA Times:
Biggest-ever jump seen in global warming gases
The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped last year by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago. "The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing," said John Reilly, co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. The world pumped about 564 million more tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That's an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries -- China, the United States and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases. It is a "monster" increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past. ...


Is that a cliff we're speeding toward, or is it just a wall?

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Fri, Nov 4, 2011
from Media Matters for America:
Fox Scraping The Barrel For Attacks On UN Climate Panel
Citing what it calls "a scathing new expose on the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change," Fox News is trumpeting claims that IPCC reports "have often been written by graduate students with little or no experience in their field of study." Fox's article, titled "U.N. Hires Grad Students to Author Key Climate Report," comes as the IPCC prepares to issue a new report on weather extremes. Fox's "expose" is an e-book by Canadian writer Donna Laframboise, who recruited "a team of citizen auditors" to pore over IPCC reports from the past two decades. Drawing from the book, Fox identifies four IPCC authors since 1994 who were in, or had recently completed, grad school. Here are the facts Fox characteristically avoided: There were over 450 lead authors for the 2007 assessment report, plus 800 contributing authors and more than 2,500 reviewers. Fox identified only one graduate student who worked on the 2007 report. 1 out of over 1250 authors. ...


My sources tell me Fox News is really run by hens.

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Fri, Nov 4, 2011
from Duke University via ScienceDaily:
Eastern U.S. Forests Not Keeping Pace With Climate Change, Large Study Finds
More than half of eastern U.S. tree species examined in a massive new Duke University-led study aren't adapting to climate change as quickly or consistently as predicted. "Many models have suggested that trees will migrate rapidly to higher latitudes and elevations in response to warming temperatures, but evidence for a consistent, climate-driven northward migration is essentially absent in this large analysis," says James S. Clark, H.L. Blomquist Professor of Environment at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. ...


Maybe they'll behave if I take the switch to them!

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Wed, Nov 2, 2011
from Our Amazing Planet:
Huge Crack Discovered in Antarctic Glacier
A huge, emerging crack has been discovered in one of Antarctica's glaciers, with a NASA plane mission providing the first-ever detailed airborne measurements of a major iceberg breakup in progress... The crack was found in Pine Island Glacier, which last calved a significant iceberg in 2001; some scientists have speculated recently that it was primed to calve again. But until an Oct. 14 IceBridge flight, no one had seen any evidence of the ice shelf beginning to break apart. Since then, a more detailed look back at satellite imagery seems to show the first signs of the crack in early October...When the iceberg breaks free, it will cover about 340 square miles (880 square kilometers) of surface area. Radar measurements suggested the ice shelf in the region of the rift is about 1,640 feet (500 meters) feet thick, with only about 160 feet of the shelf floating above water and the rest submerged. ...


This crack is bigger'n my plumber's!

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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
APNewsbreak: Future holds more extreme weather
For a world already weary of weather catastrophes, the latest warning from top climate scientists paints a grim future: More floods, more heat waves, more droughts and greater costs to deal with them. A draft summary of an international scientific report obtained by The Associated Press says the extremes caused by global warming could eventually grow so severe that some locations become "increasingly marginal as places to live." ...


It's always more, more, more with these climate scientists!

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Mon, Oct 31, 2011
from Institute of Physics via ScienceDaily:
Glaciers in Southwest China Feel the Brunt of Climate Change
Significant increases in annual temperatures are having a devastating affect on glaciers in the mountainous regions of south-western China, potentially affecting natural habitats, tourism and wider economic development... Of the 111 stations examined, 77 per cent displayed statistically significant increases in annual temperature....In the Pengqu basin of the Himalayas, for example, the 999 glaciers had a combined area loss of 131 km2 between 1970 and 2001, whilst the Yalong glacier in the Gangrigabu Mountains retreated over 1500 meters from 1980 to 2001. ...


111...77...999...what's next? 666?

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from City College of New York via ScienceDaily:
Extreme Melting On Greenland Ice Sheet, Team Reports; Glacial Melt Cycle Could Become Self-Amplifying
The Greenland ice sheet can experience extreme melting even when temperatures don't hit record highs, according to a new analysis by Dr. Marco Tedesco, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at The City College of New York. His findings suggest that glaciers could undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming that would be difficult to halt. ...


I worry about how much I worry about all this.

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from Reuters:
Crop scientists now fret about heat not just water
Crop scientists in the United States, the world's largest food exporter, are pondering an odd question: could the danger of global warming really be the heat?... scientists now wonder if a more immediate issue is an unusual rise in day-time and, especially, night-time summer temperatures being seen in crop belts around the world. Interviews with crop researchers at American universities paint the same picture: high temperatures have already shrunken output of many crops and vegetables. ...


Holy crop!

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Iceland to help France save trees from global warming
Iceland and France are looking into the possibility of taking French trees endangered by global warming and planting them in Iceland to safeguard them for the future, officials said. "The main emphasis (in the collaboration) is on research and finding ways to ensure the protection and preservation of the DNA... of the trees in Iceland," Adalsteinn Sigurgeirsson of the Icelandic Forestry Service told AFP. The service is working with France's Office National des Forets, and their collaboration is focusing on trees from the French Alps and Pyrenees, such as beech. ...


It takes a planet to save a village!

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts
The warnings were dire: 188 predictions showing that climate-induced changes to the environment would put 7 percent of all plant and animal species on the globe - one out of every 14 critters - at risk of extinction. Predictions like these have earned climate scientists the obloquy from critics for being "alarmist" - dismissed for using inflated descriptions of doom and destruction to push for action, more grant money or a global government. But as the impacts of climate change become apparent, many predictions are proving to underplay the actual impacts. Reality, in many instances, is proving to be far worse than most scientists expected. ...


Scientists... nothin' but a bunch of scaredy-cats.

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Climate change downsizing fauna, flora: study
Climate change is reducing the body size of many animal and plant species, including some which supply vital nutrition for more than a billion people already living near hunger's threshold, according to a study released Sunday. From micro-organisms to top predators, nearly 45 percent of species for which data was reviewed grew smaller over multiple generations due to climate change, researchers found. The impact of rapidly climbing temperatures and shifts in rainfall patterns on body size could have unpredictable and possible severe consequences, they warned. ...


It's a small world after all.

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from via ScienceDaily:
Sea Levels to Continue to Rise for 500 Years? Long-Term Climate Calculations Suggest So
Rising sea levels in the coming centuries is perhaps one of the most catastrophic consequences of rising temperatures. Massive economic costs, social consequences and forced migrations could result from global warming. But how frightening of times are we facing? Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute are part of a team that has calculated the long-term outlook for rising sea levels in relation to the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution of the atmosphere using climate models.... Even in the most optimistic scenario, which requires extremely dramatic climate change goals, major technological advances and strong international cooperation to stop emitting greenhouse gases and polluting the atmosphere, the sea would continue to rise. ...


So much for trying to look on the bright side.

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Tue, Oct 11, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
A GOP assault on environmental regulations
Republicans in the House are best known for their inflexible opposition to tax hikes and government spending, but that's nothing new for the GOP; what marks this group as different is that it is perhaps the most anti-environment Congress in history. So far, that hasn't had much impact because Republicans control only one house, and Democrats in the Senate have blocked their most extreme attempts to gut the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. But recent legislative moves in the House provide a preview of what's to come in 2013 if the balance of power shifts further in favor of a GOP that is more united than ever in opposition to environmental regulation. ...


Does Mother Earth get a vote?

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Mon, Oct 10, 2011
from BBC:
Car-free Sunday for smog-struck Milan
The northern Italian city of Milan banned all traffic from its streets for 10 hours on Sunday in an attempt to reduce smog. The measure, first imposed on a trial basis in 2007, is triggered whenever pollution exceeds the statutory limit for 12 consecutive days. Satellite imagery shows Milan to be one of the most polluted cities in Europe. An estimated 120,000 vehicles will be affected by the move, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper. The most polluting vehicles have been banned from driving through the city centre since Thursday. But on Sunday, there was no traffic between 0800 and 1800 local time (06:00-16:00 GMT). ...


Sounds like a slice of heaven to me.

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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from Reuters:
Great Lakes face stresses from run-off, invaders
Great Lakes shorelines are becoming clogged by algae blooms fed by agricultural run-off, while invasive mussels decimate the food chain in deeper waters, an environmental group said on Tuesday. The five lakes, which contain one-fifth of the world's fresh water and supply tens of millions of people, may be "veering close to ecosystem collapse," the report by the National Wildlife Federation said. "Too much food is causing massive algal blooms in Lake Erie and other coastal systems, while too little food is making fish starve in Lake Huron's offshore waters," said the group's Great Lakes director, Andy Buchsbaum. ...


Those poor Great Lakes are ate up lakes now.

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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from Rolling Stone:
Climate Change and the End of Australia
Want to know what global warming has in store for us? Just go to Australia, where rivers are drying up, reefs are dying, and fires and floods are ravaging the continent...In the past year -- one of the hottest on record -- extreme weather has battered almost every corner of the planet. There have been devastating droughts in China and India, unprecedented floods and wildfires in the United States, and near-record ice melts in the Arctic. Yet the prosperous nations of the world have failed to take action to reduce the risk of climate change, in part because people in prosperous nations think they're invulnerable. They're under the misapprehension that, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Tom Schelling puts it, "Global warming is a problem that is going to primarily affect future generations of poor people." To see how foolish this reasoning is, one need only look at Australia, a prosperous nation that also happens to be right in the cross hairs of global warming. "Sadly, it's probably too late to save much of it," says Joe Romm, a leading climate advocate who served as assistant energy secretary in the Clinton administration. ...


This continent, apparently, is not too big to fail.

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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from Associated Press:
Only bottled water to drink in rain-starved swath of South Pacific as sea levels rise
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Crops are wilting, schools have shut their bathrooms and government officials are bathing in lagoons because of a severe shortage of fresh water in a swath of the South Pacific. The island groups of Tuvalu and Tokelau have declared emergencies, relying on bottled water and seeking more desalination machines. Parts of Samoa are starting to ration water. Supplies are precariously low after a severe lack of rain in a region where underground reserves have been fouled by saltwater from rising seas that scientists have linked to climate change. ...


Have these people never heard of stilts?!?

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Tue, Oct 4, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
US government breaks the ice in Arctic drilling dispute
THE US government has decided to uphold the sale of nearly 500 leases to drill for oil in Arctic waters near Alaska, in response to a successful lawsuit by environmentalists and native Alaskan organisations that had thrown the contracts into jeopardy. The move on Monday by the Interior Department was celebrated by Shell and other companies that snapped up some of the 487 leases to drill in the Chukchi Sea during a government auction in 2008. Shell hopes to launch exploratory drilling in the Chukchi next northern summer. The decision was criticised by conservationists, who blasted the Obama administration for bypassing calls for more scientific research on the region's marine life and better studies of how to clean up oil spills in remote icy waters. ...


Chuk-ching! The Chukchi Sea's the place to be!

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Tue, Oct 4, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Big catches mask dwindling numbers of sea bass
As reliably as masses of sea bass gather off the Southern California coast each summer, boatloads of anglers arrive to reel them in. But their bountiful catches are an illusion, scientists say. The populations of kelp bass and barred sand bass, two of the most popular -- and easy to catch -- saltwater fishes in Southern California, have plummeted 90 percent since 1980, according to a study led by a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Overfishing and warmer ocean temperatures are blamed for the stunning decline. ...


A bass exodus.

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Sat, Oct 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf
Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in new research. The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say. Floating icebergs that have broken free as a result pose a risk to offshore oil facilities and potentially to shipping lanes. The breaking apart of the ice shelves also reduces the environment that supports microbial life and changes the look of Canada's coastline. ...


Without shelves, where will we display all our shiny new consumer goods?

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Sat, Oct 1, 2011
from ThinkProgress:
Too Hot for Chocolate? Climate Change Could Decimate the $9 Billion Cocoa Industry, Study Finds
Half of the world's cocoa supply comes from the West African countries of Ghana and Cte d'Ivoire. But in the coming decades, climate change could severely limit production in the region -- disrupting local farmers and squeezing global chocolate supply. A new report out from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture finds that between 2030 and 2050, land area suitable for cocoa production will fall dramatically. While rising temperatures and changing rainfall pattern may shift cocoa production to land currently not suitable, the net impact to this $9 billion-per-year industry could be severe.... "Already we're seeing the effects of rising temperatures on cocoa crops currently produced in marginal areas, and with climate change these areas are certain to spread. At a time when global demand for chocolate is rising fast, particularly in China, there is already upward pressure on prices. It's not inconceivable that this, combined with the impact of climate change, could cause chocolate prices to increase sharply."b ...


The food of the Gods, in peril? What hath God wrought?

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Thu, Sep 29, 2011
from New York Times:
Shanghai Struggles to Save Itself From the Sea
Some 1,000 years ago, the Chinese named this city "Shanghai" based on its location. It literally means "above the sea." Those pioneers probably never imagined the situation that confronts this city today: Shanghai is on its way to being below the sea. Climate change is pushing up the sea level globally. While in Shanghai, such rise is roughly the length of a rice grain in each of recent years, the low-lying city with a population of more than 20 million has had to pour billions of dollars into rebuilding infrastructure to protect against potential floods. It is also revising its growth plans, hoping to reduce its vulnerabilities. ...


From Shanghai... to Shanglow...

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Wed, Sep 28, 2011
from Salon:
One Republican candidate's hellfire
George Bush Park burst into flames on Sept. 13, one month to the day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy for president of the United States. In a summer of fierce wildfires across Texas, the George Bush Park blaze was the first big fire to erupt inside the city limits of a major metropolis -- in this case, Houston, the nation's fourth largest city and the headquarters of the oil and gas industry, a major contributor to the man-made global warming that Gov. Perry famously insists does not exist... Sizable though it was, the George Bush Park fire was a minor fire in the context of Texas 2011. Some 3.7 million acres of Texas have burned in the last 12 months, an area roughly equal to the state of Connecticut. Fires are still burning today, as the Texas Forest Service reports, yet Gov. Perry has offered little in the way of relief but the power of prayer and positive thinking. ...


Dear God: Please don't vote for Rick Perry.

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Wed, Sep 28, 2011
from New York Times:
Climate Change and the Exodus of Species
To most humans, so far, climate change is still more of an idea than an experience. For other species, it is an immediate reality. Many will be left behind as the climate alters, unable to move quickly enough or with nowhere to move to. Others are already adapting. An iconic example of these swift changes is the recent discovery that Atlantic and Pacific populations of bowhead whales -- long kept apart by the frozen Arctic -- are now overlapping in the open waters of the Northwest Passage. A team of scientists from the University of York examined the movement of 2,000 animal and plant species over the past decade. According to their study, published in Science last month, in their exodus from increasing heat, species have moved, on average, 13.3 yards higher in altitude -- twice the predicted rate -- and 11 miles higher in latitude -- three times faster than expected. These changes have happened most rapidly where the climate has warmed the most. Chris Thomas, an author of the study, says, these changes "are equivalent to animals and plants shifting away from the equator at around 20 centimeters per hour" for the past 40 years. ...


Eat. my. dust.

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Sun, Sep 25, 2011
from AP, via PhysOrg:
The American 'allergy' to global warming: Why?
Tucked between treatises on algae and prehistoric turquoise beads, the study on page 460 of a long-ago issue of the U.S. journal Science drew little attention. "I don't think there were any newspaper articles about it or anything like that," the author recalls. But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: "Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?" And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of "global warming" didn't set off an instant outcry of angry denial. In the paper, Columbia University geoscientist Wally Broecker calculated how much carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere in the coming 35 years, and how temperatures consequently would rise. His numbers have proven almost dead-on correct. Meanwhile, other powerful evidence poured in over those decades, showing the "greenhouse effect" is real and is happening. And yet resistance to the idea among many in the U.S. appears to have hardened.... These changes will feed on themselves: Released methane leads to warmer skies, which will release more methane. Ice-free Arctic waters absorb more of the sun's heat than do reflective ice and snow, and so melt will beget melt. The frozen Arctic is a controller of Northern Hemisphere climate; an unfrozen one could upend age-old weather patterns across continents. ...


That was more than 35 years ago. Thank goodness we've evolved since then!

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011
from London Guardian:
Times Atlas is 'wrong on Greenland climate change'
Leading scientists have accused the world's top cartographers of making a blunder in their representation of the effects of climate change in Greenland, prompting a robust defence by the map-makers' publisher. Maps in the 13th edition of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, published last week, show large areas of the eastern and southern coasts of Greenland coloured brown and pink, and the permanent ice cap now covering a significantly smaller area than it did in the 1999 12th edition of the atlas. The atlas suggests that 300,000 sq km, or 15 percent, of Greenland's ice cover had been lost in the period... But seven researchers at Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute backed by glaciologists in the US, Europe and elsewhere, have said that both the maps and the figure of 15 percent are wrong. ...


T'was a bit of a bloody blunder naming it Greenland in the first place, roight?

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011
from New York Times:
For Obama, Peer Pressure from Nobel Laureates
With his approval rating among American voters at an all-time low, President Obama could use a little support from his peers. But this month nine fellow recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the Dalai Lama, sent the president a letter urging him to veto the construction of a huge pipeline that would bring bring crude oil to the United States from Canada. On Monday, the letter was published as an advertisement in The Washington Post. It reads in part: "The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership -- and working together -- the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal. You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge." ...


Obama may be tarred and feathered by these otherwise peaceful souls.

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011
from CBS News:
EPA grants air permit to Shell for Arctic drilling
Shell Oil Co. on Monday took a step closer to tapping vast petroleum reserves off Alaska's Arctic coasts when the federal Environmental Protection Agency approved an air quality permit for one of the company's drilling vessels. The EPA approved the air permit for the drilling vessel Noble Discover, which Shell hopes to use for exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, and its support fleet of oil spill response and supply vessels. Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said the permit was a hopeful step. "The delivery of final air permits for our exploration program is another in a series of recent, positive developments and adds to our confidence that we will be drilling our offshore Alaska leases by July of next year," Smith said in an email. ...


Way to go, EPA! That'll get the GOP on your side.

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Tue, Sep 20, 2011
from Reuters:
"Missing" global heat may hide in deep oceans
The mystery of Earth's missing heat may have been solved: it could lurk deep in oceans, temporarily masking the climate-warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions, researchers reported on Sunday. Climate scientists have long wondered where this so-called missing heat was going, especially over the last decade, when greenhouse emissions kept increasing but world air temperatures did not rise correspondingly. The build-up of energy and heat in Earth's system is important to track because of its bearing on current weather and future climate... Computer simulations suggest most of it was trapped in layers of oceans deeper than 1,000 feet (305 metres) during periods like the last decade when air temperatures failed to warm as much as they might have. ...


That's where I'd hide the heat.

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Wed, Sep 14, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Al Gore is back
He has shared the Nobel Prize, won an Emmy, was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary, served as vice president and took the popular vote for the presidency. Few can point to so many achievements as Al Gore, yet few have fallen so flatly with the public they strive to inspire. Five years after An Inconvenient Truth hit the big screen, Gore is back trying to whip up public awareness on climate change with a revised version of his now-famous slide show... some media observers say, is that Al Gore has become the brand: No one else with anything approaching his stature has taken up the climate cause, yet his personality is wooden and his style didactic. ...


Still, he'll be more than a mere tasty morsel in the post-Apocalypse.

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Fri, Sep 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
UN chief calls for urgent action on climate change
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that urgent action was needed on climate change, pointing to the famine in the Horn of Africa and devastating floods in northern Australia as examples of the suffering caused by global warming. Ban lashed out at climate change skeptics during a speech at the University of Sydney, arguing that science has proven climate change is real..."Watching this high tide standing on the shore of Kiribati, I said, 'High tide shows it's high time to act,'" Ban said. "We are running out of time." ...


"High" this... "high" that... I just want to get high.

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Fri, Sep 9, 2011
from NOAA:
U.S. experiences second warmest summer on record
The blistering heat experienced by the nation during August, as well as the June through August months, marks the second warmest summer on record according to scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C. The persistent heat, combined with below-average precipitation across the southern U.S. during August and the three summer months, continued a record-breaking drought across the region. ...


Gee, thanks, NOAA; next you'll be telling us there's no need to build an ark.

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Thu, Sep 8, 2011
from BBC:
Giant crabs make Antarctic leap
King crabs have been found on the edge of Antarctica, probably as a result of warming in the region, scientists say. Writing in the journal Proceedings B, scientists report a large, reproductive population of crabs in the Palmer Deep, a basin cut in the continental shelf. They suggest the crabs were washed in during an upsurge of warmer water. The crabs are voracious crushers of sea floor animals and will probably change the ecosystem profoundly if and when they spread further, researchers warn. Related species have been found around islands off the Antarctic Peninsula and on the outer edge of the continental shelf. But here the crabs (Neolithodes yaldwyni) are living and reproducing in abundance right on the edge of the continent itself. ...


Let's send scads of giant jellyfish to do battle!

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Wed, Sep 7, 2011
from The Ecologist:
China exports its environmental problems as consumer culture booms
Despite its well publicised investment in green technology, China today has an unenviable list of ecological problems; its reliance on coal has left it with 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world; the north of the country is prone to frequent water shortages which have created hundreds of thousands of "environmental refugees"; and the dumping of chemicals into the Yangtze and other rivers means half the Chinese population drink water contaminated with human and animal excrement. In a new book, 'As China Goes, So Goes the World', Oxford professor Karl Gerth, claims that many of these problems have been directly caused by China's move towards a more consumerist society. ...


Consumers consume. That's what we do.

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Tue, Sep 6, 2011
from Associated Press:
In Greenland, lives are altered with the weather
...The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and "Greenland is experiencing some of the most severe environmental impacts," social researcher Lene Kielsen Holm concludes in a preliminary report on a north-to-south survey of Greenlanders. Those impacts are broad and deep. For a village society whose dogsledding ice hunters long supplied it with seal and walrus meat and fish in winter, the "dark months" are now a time of enforced idleness, limited travel and emptier larders. On land, the thawing permafrost underfoot is leaving houses askew and broken. Climate change touches the animals, too: Greenlanders find lean polar bears, unable to stalk seals on sea ice, invading their settlements for food. And the very sound of Greenland is changing. Where villages once echoed to the howl of huskies, that old call of the wild has been muted. Dispirited hunters up and down the west Greenland coast, unable to feed winter game to their sled dogs, have been shooting them. ...


You know things are very very bad when you have to shoot your dog.

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Tue, Sep 6, 2011
from Climate Central:
Insurance Companies Unprepared for Climate Change, Report Says
Across much of Vermont, New York, and New Jersey this week, home and business owners have been coping with devastating flood damage unleashed by Hurricane Irene. The immense storm is already listed as one of the costliest natural disasters in American history, and total damage expenses will probably surpass $10 billion. Unfortunately, for most people affected by the storm, standard insurance doesn't cover flooding, which means individuals will be footing repair bills on their own. But insurance companies aren't off the hook in the wake of Irene. In a year with a record number of billion-dollar weather disasters, Hurricane Irene has added to an already expensive year for insurers.... According to the Ceres report, most insurance companies are unprepared for how to cope with the risks that a warmer climate poses. ...


Sounds like the insurance companies need insurance companies with insurance...

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Wed, Aug 31, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Mass extinctions linked to climate change are already underway.
New evidence confirms what scientists have long suspected: that climate change is already having major effects on many of the world's species. Researchers report for the first time that the documented species responses -- migration to a higher or cooler climate or changes in population -- suggest actual extinction risks linked to climate change are almost double those that were predicted. Just as grim are future outlooks -- almost one-third of species will be threatened by 2100. Temperature, ocean acidity and other climate-related changes can set the stage for widespread extinctions by adding even more pressure to ecosystems already stressed by habitat loss, pollution, disease and other human-related impacts....The results of the study do not bode well for the species slated for extinction. These organisms are the ones most sensitive to temperature, precipitation and other environmental changes. ...


I wonder if it's possible to get unslated for extinction.

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Sat, Aug 27, 2011
from New York Times Environment:
Time to Start Work on a Panic Button?
For two decades, the world's governments have failed to meet their own commitment to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas. As frustration builds among scientists, some of them have begun to argue for research on a potential last-ditch option in case global warming starts to get out of control. It is called geoengineering -- or directly manipulating the Earth's climate.... Perhaps the single most prominent idea is to scatter sulfur compounds into the upper atmosphere, mimicking volcanic eruptions and causing some of the sun's light to bounce back to space. Other ideas include designing machines to capture carbon dioxide from the air and store it underground or in the deep ocean. Most scientists who support this kind of research are emphatically not advocating that geoengineering schemes be undertaken now, and most of them hope society will never reach that point. But they do want a research program to quantify the potential risks and benefits, so that future political leaders will have some scientific basis if they ever have to make decisions on the issue.... The Government Accountability Office, an auditing and analysis arm of Congress, found that no geoengineering scheme could be responsibly deployed today, given the uncertainties. But it also found that a large majority of experts it interviewed were in favor of research to narrow those uncertainties. And the agency did public-opinion research that suggested the American people would favor such research, too, while also being concerned about the potential harm. ...


We've done it once; surely we can do it again, this time on purpose!

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Thu, Aug 25, 2011
from Reuters:
Polar bear death at BP oil field under investigation
Federal authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a polar bear at an Alaska oil field operated by BP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the oil company said on Thursday. The female bear was shot in early August by a security guard working for a BP contractor and died of its wounds about 11 days later, the agency and BP officials said. BP said the guard had been trying to ward off the bear rather than kill it and believed he was firing nonlethal ammunition....Polar bears, considered to be at risk because the Arctic sea ice they depend upon is dwindling, are listed as threatened with extinction under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. They are also managed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which generally forbids hunting of the animals. ...


BP can either wait for global warming to kill them or take matters into their own hands.

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Thu, Aug 25, 2011
from Reuters:
Romney says he would not put limits on emissions
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in danger of losing his 2012 Republican primary front-runner status, on Wednesday he would not place restrictions on carbon emissions if elected. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, also said he does not know if human activity is the primary cause of climate change and does not favor spending heavily on climate solutions.... "Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is," he said. "I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans." "What I'm not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to." ...


Crazy idea: get experts in the field to tell you the answer!

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from ABC News:
Jon Huntsman Comes Out Swinging Against GOP Rivals
Former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman came out swinging against his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, taking aim at Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann for statements made on the campaign trail about global warming, gas prices, and the Federal Reserve. Huntsman warned that his opponents' stances on the "extreme end" may make them "unelectable" in the general election.... "The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party -- the anti-science party, we have a huge problem," Huntsman told ABC News Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper. "We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012." "When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said -- about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position," Huntsman added. ...


A pro-science Republican? What's the world coming to?

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Michael Stafford, on DailyWorld:
A conservative's conversion on climate change
I am a "climate change convert." Like many conservatives, I was traditionally skeptical of the science supporting anthropogenic global warming. Today, I am skeptical no longer. Like conservative blogger D.R. Tucker, on this issue, I was ultimately "defeated by facts."... In my own case, I finally reached a point where I could no longer in good conscience deny the implications of the cumulative weight of so large a corpus of evidence. That body of evidence is extensive, and growing. For example, in 2010 the National Academy of Sciences issued what its president, Ralph J. Cicerone, deemed "the most comprehensive report ever on climate change." The report echoes many of the same findings as the earlier 2007 IPCC report that played a key roll in Tucker's conversion but includes five additional years' worth of evidence and data. And in 2010, the Pentagon identified climate change as a threat to our nation's security in its Quadrennial Defense Review for the first time.... In the end, my own reading and research made the following conclusions inescapable: today, there is no debate in the scientific community about whether the Earth is warming -- it is. There is also a nearly unanimous consensus that human activity is responsible for this warming. Given the foregoing, addressing climate change today is an ethical and moral imperative. Failing to do so is a repudiation of our responsibilities both to each other, and most particularly, to future generations. It is a breach of faith, trust, and duty, of enormous magnitude. ...


That's... so... beautiful....

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Anchorage Daily News:
Human activities linked to warming and loss of sea ice
About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. The study used supercomputers named Bluefire and Franklin and one of the world's most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The paper was published last week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. In a telephone interview from Boulder, Colo., where NCAR is headquartered, Kay said her study was an attempt to learn how much Arctic Ocean melting can be attributed to "natural variability" -- complex changes wrought by non-human forces -- and how much has been caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and by atmospheric particulates. ...


Nature + nurture = Apocalypse.

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Wed, Aug 3, 2011
from Reuters:
Himalaya glaciers shrinking on global warming, some may disappear
Three Himalaya glaciers have been shrinking over the last 40 years due to global warming and two of them, located in humid regions and on lower altitudes in central and east Nepal, may disappear in time to come, researchers in Japan said on Tuesday. Using global positioning system and simulation models, they found that the shrinkage of two of the glaciers -- Yala in central and AX010 in eastern Nepal -- had accelerated in the past 10 years compared with the 1970s and 1980s... "For Yala and AX, these regions showed significant warming ... that's why the rate of shrinking was accelerated," Fujita told Reuters by telephone. "Yala and AX will disappear but we are not sure when..." ...


In time to come? Researchers are now plying poetry to persuade.

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Wed, Jul 27, 2011
from http://news.discovery.com/earth/climate-change-yellowstone-fires.html:
Climate Change To Spawn More Wildfires
As Earth's climate warms up, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons are likely to experience large fires more frequently, according to a new study. Within just a few decades, big fires may become as much as 10 times more common than they have been in the last 10,000 years. A bump in fire frequency would reverberate through the environment in unpredictable ways -- affecting the kinds of plants that grow in the area, the kinds of animals that can find habitats there and the amount of carbon that vegetation might be expected to pull out of the atmosphere. Such a fiery future would also threaten people and homes throughout the northern Rockies. ...


The fire on the mountain is burning down the house.

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from National Geographic News:
Longest Polar Bear Swim Recorded--426 Miles Straight
A female polar bear swam for a record-breaking nine days straight, traversing 426 miles (687 kilometers) of water -- equivalent to the distance between Washington, D.C., and Boston, a new study says. The predator made her epic journey in the Beaufort Sea..., where sea ice is shrinking due to global warming, forcing mother bears to swim greater and greater distances to reach land -- to the peril of their cubs. The cub of the record-setting bear, for instance, died at some point between starting the swim and when the researchers next observed the mother on land. She also lost 22 percent of her body weight. ...


You go, girl!

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Wed, Jul 20, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Act now on climate, no need to wait: top UN scientist
The key facts on global warming are already known and leaders should not wait for the next edition of the UN climate panel's report to step up action, the body's top scientist told AFP. The 4th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released in 2007, "is very clear," Rajendra Pachauri said Monday in Paris, ahead of a five-day meeting of the body in Brest, France. The fifth multi-volume assessment, which summarizes peer-reviewed science to help policy makers make decisions, is due out in 2013-2014. "We have enough evidence, enough scientific findings which should convince people that action has to be taken," he said after a round-table discussion with France's environment minister, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet. ...


I don't know how you can have "a round-table discussion" with just two people!

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Tue, Jul 19, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Meat Eater's Guide ranks foods by environmental, health effects
Lamb, beef and cheese generate the most greenhouse gases of 20 popular meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins, according to a new study from the Environmental Working Group. The Meat Eater's Guide, released by the Washington-based environmental research firm, used a cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment to determine each food's rank, including the amount of fertilizer used to grow animal feed, as well as data on each food's processing, transportation and disposal... The guide considers the effects of meat, fish, dairy and vegetable consumption on the environment and the climate, as well as human health and animal welfare. Ruminant livestock, such as sheep and cows, "release substantial amounts of methane," a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, according to the guide. In the U.S., 149 million acres of cropland, 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer are used just to grow livestock feed; U.S. livestock generate around 500 million tons of manure annually, which contributes to groundwater and air pollution, the guide said. ...


This heartburn is breaking my heart.

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Tue, Jul 19, 2011
from CNN:
Study: Changes to ocean expected to damage shellfish around world
Massive global greenhouse gas pollution is changing the chemistry of the world's oceans so much that scientists now predict it could severely damage shellfish populations and the nations that depend on the harvests if significant action isn't taken. A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts shows that ocean acidification is becoming a very serious problem. The study was published in July online in the journal Fish and Fisheries....Ocean acidification, or the changing chemical make-up of seawater, has occurred since the industrial revolution as ocean waters absorbed too much carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of human industrial activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels. The Woods Hole study found that many marine animals like mollusks and corals that build hard shells and skeletons are most at risk from this. ...


Seems the shelflife of shellfish is deteriorating.

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Thu, Jul 14, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Economists find flaws in federal estimate of climate damage
Uncle Sam's estimate of the damage caused by each ton of carbon dioxide is fundamentally flawed and "grossly understates" the potential impacts of climate change, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a group of economists. The study found the true cost of those emissions to be far beyond the $21 per ton derived by the federal government. The figure, commonly known as the "social cost of carbon," is used by federal agencies when weighing the costs and benefits of emissions-cutting regulations, such as air conditioner efficiency standards and greenhouse gas emissions limits for light trucks. A truer value, according to the Economics for Equity and the Environment Network, an organization of economists who advocate for environmental protection, could be as high as $900 per ton - equivalent to adding $9 to each gallon of gas. Viewed another way, with the United States emitting the equivalent of close to 6 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the higher figure suggests that avoiding those emissions could save the nation $5.3 trillion annually, one-third of the nation's economic output. ...


Uncle Sam is sure a funny uncle.

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Tue, Jul 12, 2011
from The Upshot:
Big birth announcement: couple welcomes a 16-pound baby boy
This bundle of joy must be bringing an extra helping of happiness: a couple in Texas are the proud parents of 16-pound, 1-ounce, 2-foot-long JaMichael Brown. At 9:05 Friday morning, Janet Johnson and Michael Brown welcomed their son at Longview's Good Shepherd Medical Center. JaMichael, who was quickly nicknamed "the Moose," is the largest child ever born in the hospital — and possibly the state. So exactly how big is a 16-pound baby? Let's put it this way: The average newborn is about seven-and-a-half pounds. The Brown baby's weight is just about equivalent to that of a six-month-old. ...


Something tells me JaMichael will be quite the carbon emitter.

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Tue, Jul 12, 2011
from Deutsche Press-Agentur:
Mixed mating creates hybrid bears
Polar bears and brown bears are coming together again to survive the next major climate change, which is expected to have dire effects on their endangered populations, a study published Thursday said. Melting arctic ice, the result of global warming blamed on massive carbon emissions, could force polar bears into the natural home of the brown bear, setting the two species up for more genetic mixing, according to the study in the twice-monthly scientific journal Current Biology. "When they come into contact, there seems to be little barrier to them mating," said Beth Shapiro, researcher at The Pennsylvania State University. ...


Apparently, bears have no moral code.

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Tue, Jul 5, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Going beyond the IPCC 'worst case'
In order to see how climate models react over a wide range of greenhouse gas concentrations, researchers in the US have modelled emissions scenarios that are significantly higher than the IPCC's "worst case" scenarios. They found - perhaps unsurprisingly - that the extent of climate change will be significantly worse than for the IPCC's A1FI scenario. "Relative to the A1FI scenario, our highest scenario results in an additional 2 deg C (3.6F) of global mean warming above A1FI levels by 2100, a complete loss of Arctic summer sea ice by 2070 and an additional 43 percent sea level rise due to thermal expansion above A1FI levels by 2100," said Ben Sanderson from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the US.... The team also assumed that the shares of primary energy derived from different fuel sources remain fixed over time at 2000 levels; that is, the carbon intensity of energy supply is assumed to remain constant. In the second scenario (AllCoal), the researchers make more extreme assumptions. They maintain the A1FI per capita energy projection, but assume population follows the UN high scenario as implemented in the IPCC A2 scenario, reaching 15 billion by 2100. They also make the bounding assumption that all new demand for primary energy is satisfied by coal. "This assumption is not intended to represent a plausible future, but a useful thought experiment that could help inform the exploration of upper bounds on emissions," said Sanderson. "It is astounding, for example, that this combination of assumptions leads to emissions in 2100 that are about four times those in the A1FI scenario, or about 105 gigatonnes of carbon per year." ...


"Astounding" only if you believe in common sense directing the actions of societies.

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Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from New Scientist:
Tasmanian devils were sitting ducks for deadly cancer
Despite its ferocious nature, the Tasmanian devil is a creature faced with extinction, the victim of a gruesome facial tumour disease. Now the first genetic sequencing of these carnivorous marsupials has revealed that we had a hand in their decline: centuries of human interference left the devils stripped of genetic diversity and vulnerable to disease. This meant that when the parasitic face cancer dubbed "Devil facial tumour disease" appeared in 1996 it rapidly spread through the entire population. As a result, the Tasmanian devil, or Sarcophilus harrisii, population has fallen over 60 per cent since 1996. The disease is transmitted by physical contact, mostly biting during sex. It is almost always fatal and has spread across most of Tasmania.... Some studies estimate the marsupials could be wiped out within decades.... Humans had a heavy hand in this. First the devils were wiped out in mainland Australia by dingoes brought in by settlers, then those that remained in Tasmania were hunted as pests, causing several population crashes. As their genetic diversity was slashed, the devils were left vulnerable to disease. ...


We didn't give the devil his due.

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Tue, Jun 21, 2011
from NPR:
Climate Change: Public Skeptical, Scientists Sure
The American public is less likely to believe in global warming than it was just five years ago. Yet, paradoxically, scientists are more confident than ever that climate change is real and caused largely by human activities. Something a bit strange is happening with public opinion and climate change. Anthony Leiserowitz, who directs the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication, delved into this in a recent poll. He not only asked citizens what they thought of climate change, he also asked them to estimate how climate scientists feel about global warming. "Only 13 percent of Americans got the correct answer, which is that in fact about 97 percent of American scientists say that climate change is happening, and about a third of Americans just simply say they don't know," he said. Most Americans are unaware that the National Academy of Sciences, known for its cautious and even-handed reviews of the state of science, is firmly on board with climate change. It has been for years.... "The consensus statement is that climate changes are being observed, are certainly real, they seem to be increasing, and that humans are mostly likely the cause of all or most of these changes," he said. ...


Those surveys can be explained by natural variation.

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Mon, Jun 20, 2011
from RealClimate:
What if the Sun went into a new Grand Minimum?
An analysis of historic sunspot observations shows that the 11-year solar activity cycle was interrupted during the late 17th century. This period of time, during which the Sun appeared without sunspots most of the time, was called the Maunder Minimum by Jack Eddy in his famous Science paper.... The Maunder Minimum falls within the climatically cooler period of the "Little Ice Age", during which temperatures were particularly low over continents in the Northern hemisphere (especially in winter). It has long been suspected that the low solar activity during the Maunder Minimum was one of the causes of the Little Ice Age, although other factors like a small drop in greenhouse gas concentrations around 1600 and strong volcanic eruptions during that time likely played a role as well.... According to these results, a 21st-century Maunder Minimum would only slightly diminish future warming. Moreover, it would be only a temporary effect since all known grand solar minima have only lasted for a few decades.... However, our model reproduces the historic Maunder minimum with these estimates of solar irradiance. Furthermore, even if one multiplied the solar effects by a huge factor of 5 (which is unrealistic), no absolute cooling would take place (the temperatures would be temporarily cooler than the base scenario, but the trends would still be warming). It is clear that if a grand minimum were to happen it would be a tremendously exciting opportunity for solar physicists, however it is unlikely to be very exciting for anyone else. ...


I was so counting on a solus ex machina.

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from London Daily Telegraph:
Cows are having fewer calves because of climate change
Warmer springs are encouraging cows to breed earlier in the year so their calves are born in the middle of winter, when they have less chance of survival The changes have been observed in a herd of cattle in Chillingham, Northumberland, which were first studied by Charles Darwin, the biologist. Dr Sarah Burthe, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, studied the change in breeding patterns over the last 60 years. She said: "Winter-born calves don't do very well and are more likely to die before they reach the age of one. This suggests that the cattle are responding to climate change but this is having a negative impact on them." ...


No worries; we can always clone 'em!

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from Reuters:
U.S. EPA delays rollout of CO2 rule on power plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Republicans and big utilities, said on Monday it had extended a deadline by two months on draft rules that would for the first time limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA said it had moved the date for proposing the rule from July 26 to Sept. 30 after listening to businesses and states that will have to implement the regulation. The rule, known as a performance standard, would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that U.S. power plants may emit. ...


Sounds like the EPA is having performance anxiety.

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Tue, Jun 14, 2011
from London Guardian:
Climate change should be excluded from curriculum, says adviser
Climate change should not be included in the national curriculum, the government adviser in charge of overhauling the school syllabus in England has said. Tim Oates, whose wide-ranging review of the curriculum for five- to 16-year-olds will be published later this year, said it should be up to schools to decide whether - and how - to teach climate change, and other topics about the effect scientific processes have on our lives.... ...


It seems the tea party has made its way to England.

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Fri, Jun 10, 2011
from BBC:
Global warming since 1995 'now significant'
By widespread convention, scientists use a minimum threshold of 95 percent to assess whether a trend is likely to be down to an underlying cause, rather than emerging by chance. If a trend meets the 95 percent threshold, it basically means that the odds of it being down to chance are less than one in 20. Last year's analysis, which went to 2009, did not reach this threshold; but adding data for 2010 takes it over the line. "The trend over the period 1995-2009 was significant at the 90 percent level, but wasn't significant at the standard 95 percent level that people use," Professor Jones told BBC News. "Basically what's changed is one more year [of data]. That period 1995-2009 was just 15 years - and because of the uncertainty in estimating trends over short periods, an extra year has made that trend significant at the 95 percent level which is the traditional threshold that statisticians have used for many years. "It just shows the difficulty of achieving significance with a short time series, and that's why longer series - 20 or 30 years - would be a much better way of estimating trends and getting significance on a consistent basis." ...


Now they tell us.

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Thu, Jun 9, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Former Interior secretary calls out Obama on the environment
President Obama has failed to answer Republican attacks on environmental safeguards "forcefully and persuasively" and to articulate his own vision for conserving American wilderness and water, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt charged Tuesday. Babbitt, who served under President Clinton, said in an interview that he would lay out his concerns about the Republican environmental agenda and the Obama administration's response in a speech in Washington on Wednesday. ...


Babbitt, Run

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Wed, Jun 8, 2011
from London Guardian:
Australian climate scientists receive death threats
A number of Australia's leading climate scientists have been moved into safer accommodation after receiving death threats, in a further escalation of the country's increasingly febrile carbon price debate. The revelation of the death threats follows a week of bitter exchanges between the government and the opposition in the wake of a pro-carbon price TV advert featuring actor Cate Blanchett. The Australia National University (ANU) in Canberra said that it has moved a number of its climate scientists to a secure facility after they received a large number of threatening emails and phone calls. ...


The planet has been receiving death threats from us all for some time.

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011
from Sydney Australian:
Warming sceptic has frosty reception
PARLIAMENTARIANS from Julia Gillard down appear ready to give the cold shoulder to Czech President Vaclav Klaus, an outspoken climate change sceptic, when he visits Australia next month. Mr Klaus, a critic of the theory of human-caused global warming, will attend a series of seminars organised by the Institute of Public Affairs think tank. ...


They ought to thumb their noses at him, too!

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011
from Stanford University via ScienceDaily:
Climate Scientists Forecast Permanently Hotter Summers
The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists... "According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years," said the study's lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh... ...


Just so the winters are bone-chillin' frigid!

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011
from Associated Press:
Greenhouse gas emissions hitting record highs
Despite 20 years of effort, greenhouse gas emissions are going up instead of down, hitting record highs as climate negotiators gather to debate a new global warming accord. The new report by the International Energy Agency showing high emissions from fossil fuels is one of several pieces of bad news facing delegates from about 180 countries heading to Bonn, Germany, for two weeks of talks beginning Monday...The figures are "a serious setback" to hopes of limiting the rise in the Earth's average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 F) above preindustrial levels, he said. Any rise beyond that, scientists believe, could lead to catastrophic climate shifts affecting water supplies and global agriculture, setting off more frequent and fierce storms and causing a rise in sea levels that would endanger coastlines. ...


Sounds eerily like what's happening now.

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Sat, Jun 4, 2011
from University of Bristol via ScienceDaily:
Ocean Acidification Leaves Clownfish Deaf to Predators
Baby clownfish use hearing to detect and avoid predator-rich coral reefs during the daytime, but new research from the University of Bristol demonstrates that ocean acidification could threaten this crucial behavior within the next few decades. Since the Industrial Revolution, over half of all the CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels has been absorbed by the ocean, making pH drop faster than any time in the last 650,000 years and resulting in ocean acidification. Recent studies have shown that this causes fish to lose their sense of smell, but a new study published in Biology Letters shows that fish hearing is also compromised. ...


Maybe their eyesight will become enhanced.

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Fri, Jun 3, 2011
from North Carolina State University via ScienceDaily:
Biodegradable Products May Be Bad for the Environment
Research from North Carolina State University shows that so-called biodegradable products are likely doing more harm than good in landfills, because they are releasing a powerful greenhouse gas as they break down. "Biodegradable materials, such as disposable cups and utensils, are broken down in landfills by microorganisms that then produce methane," says Dr. Morton Barlaz, co-author of a paper describing the research and professor and head of NC State's Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. "Methane can be a valuable energy source when captured, but is a potent greenhouse gas when released into the atmosphere." ...


For goodness sake can't we get anything right?

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Thu, Jun 2, 2011
from Newsweek:
Are You Ready for More?
...Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage. The Midwest suffered the wettest April in 116 years, forcing the Mississippi to flood thousands of square miles, even as drought-plagued Texas suffered the driest month in a century. Worldwide, the litany of weather's extremes has reached biblical proportions. The 2010 heat wave in Russia killed an estimated 15,000 people. Floods in Australia and Pakistan killed 2,000 and left large swaths of each country under water. A months-long drought in China has devastated millions of acres of farmland. And the temperature keeps rising: 2010 was the hottest year on earth since weather records began. From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone. Which means you haven't seen anything yet. And we are not prepared. ...


Whither weather withers our wherewithal.

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Wed, Jun 1, 2011
from Purdue University via Science Daily:
Climate Change Allows Invasive Weed to Outcompete Local Species
Yellow starthistle already causes millions of dollars in damage to pastures in western states each year, and as climate changes, land managers can expect the problem with that weed and others to escalate. When exposed to increased carbon dioxide, precipitation, nitrogen and temperature -- all expected results of climate change -- yellow starthistle in some cases grew to six times its normal size while the other grassland species remained relatively unchanged... ...


And the yellow starthistle shall inherit the earth.

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Wed, Jun 1, 2011
from BBC:
Rising food prices increase squeeze on poor - Oxfam
Rising food prices are tightening the squeeze on populations already struggling to buy adequate food, demanding radical reform of the global food system, Oxfam has warned. By 2030, the average cost of key crops could increase by between 120 percent and 180 percent, the charity forecasts. It is the acceleration of a trend which has already seen food prices double in the last 20 years. Half of the rise to come will be caused by climate change, Oxfam predicts. ...


I'll just eat half as much.

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Tue, May 31, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Melting of the Arctic 'will accelerate climate change within 20 years'
An irreversible climate "tipping point" could occur within the next 20 years as a result of the release of huge quantities of organic carbon locked away as frozen plant matter in the vast permafrost region of the Arctic, scientists have found...Billions of tons of frozen leaves and roots that have lain undisturbed for thousands of years in the permanently frozen ground of the northern hemisphere are thawing out, with potentially catastrophic implications for climate change, the researchers said. ...


If only ancient people had invented the rake.

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Thu, May 26, 2011
from Bill McKibben, 350.org:
Stay calm, it's just natural variation
Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week's shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn't mean a thing. It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas -- fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they've ever been -- the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they're somehow connected.... It's far smarter to repeat to yourself the comforting mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change.... It's very important to stay calm. If you got upset about any of this, you might forget how important it is not to disrupt the record profits of our fossil fuel companies. ...


Just keep repeating: It's only a theory. It's only a theory.

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Wed, May 25, 2011
from via ScienceDaily:
Mediterranean Sea Invaded by Hundreds of Alien Species
More than 900 new alien species have been encountered in the coastal environments of the eastern Mediterranean Sea in recent decades, including the poisonous pufferfish. The invasion of alien species has had the consequence that the whole food chain is changing, while there is a lack of knowledge on which to base relevant risk assessments, a four-year study conducted at the University of Gothenburg shows. ...


Just so everybody's still eating everyone else.

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Wed, May 25, 2011
from Politico:
Cold shoulder for climate change
Climate scientists are in a tough spot. They have never been more certain about what they know. Powerful new satellites can hone in on mountainous regions to measure ice melt. Stronger computers model changes in disruptive weather patterns. Scientists are even more comfortable attributing climate change to visible effects around the globe, from retreating Himalayan glaciers to southwestern U.S. droughts and acidifying oceans. Yet scientists are still stuck in the mud trying to get that message out in Washington, where House Republicans made one of their first orders of business passing legislation to zero out research budgets for domestic and international climate efforts and unraveling a key EPA declaration that humans have played a critical role in changing the planet. ...


Oh you Republicans what a fantastical world you inhabit!

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Wed, May 25, 2011
from Ohio State University via ScienceDaily:
Two Greenland Glaciers Lose Enough Ice to Fill Lake Erie
A new study aimed at refining the way scientists measure ice loss in Greenland is providing a "high-definition picture" of climate-caused changes on the island. And the picture isn't pretty. In the last decade, two of the largest three glaciers draining that frozen landscape have lost enough ice that, if melted, could have filled Lake Erie. The three glaciers -- Helheim, Kangerdlugssuaq and Jakobshavn Isbrae -- are responsible for as much as one-fifth of the ice flowing out from Greenland into the ocean. ...


This study makes me feel Kangerdlugssuaq all over!

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Fri, May 20, 2011
from BBC:
Brazil: Amazon rainforest deforestation rises sharply
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has increased almost sixfold, new data suggests. Satellite images show deforestation increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil's space research institute says. Much of the destruction has been in Mato Grosso state, the centre of soya farming in Brazil. The news comes shortly before a vote on new forest protection rules. Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the figures were "alarming" and announced the setting up of a "crisis cabinet" in response to the news. ...


All I gotta say is that "crisis cabinet" better not be made of wood!

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Fri, May 20, 2011
from Hartford Advocate:
You Have No Idea What Mowing Your Lawn Is Doing To The Planet
Imagine a scenario where tens of millions of Americans are condemned by their own illusions to hours of hot, sweaty, grueling unpaid labor every week involving expensive and potentially dangerous chemicals, ear-shattering machines and fuels that pollute the air and water. This isn't some nightmarish dystopian science-fiction plot. It's happening right now as this nation's suburban homeowners renew their unending and damaging war against nature to preserve, protect and pamper the foreign organisms that make up the American lawn. ...


But if I don't make my lawn... just so... the gnomes get angry.

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Tue, May 17, 2011
from Wired Science:
Lethal Hendra Virus Outbreaks May Be Caused by Man
By making flying-fox populations sedentary, stressed and fragmented, development might have also made them prone to viral spikes. Hendra's spread in people may be, in a sense, a man-made disaster. "We're now seeing more evidence that human-induced environmental changes may be driving this disease," said Raina Plowright, a disease ecologist at Pennsylvania State University. "That's something that's been proposed many times, but few people have been able to show a mechanism. Here's a mechanism."... "We've essentially created a situation in which flying foxes are more likely to undergo these massive epidemics that lead to spillover events," said disease ecologist Richard Ostfeld of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, who wasn't involved in the study. "In the flying foxes, it doesn't appear to cause terrible sickness. It may have co-evolved with them to be relatively benign. But all bets are off when the virus reaches a spillover host." Adding to the problem are the immediate physical stresses of habitat loss and weather extremes that have become normal in Australia. Just as stressed humans are more vulnerable to infection, so are flying foxes. ...


The evidence builds that "anthropogenic" is now nearly globally applicable.

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Tue, May 17, 2011
from St. Petersburg Times:
Once a major issue in Florida, climate change concerns few in Tallahassee
...In low-lying Florida, where 95 percent of the population lives within 35 miles of its 1,200 miles of coastline, a swelling of the tides could cause serious problems. So what is Florida's Department of Environmental Protection doing about dealing with climate change? "DEP is not pursuing any programs or projects regarding climate change," an agency spokeswoman said in an e-mail to the St. Petersburg Times last week. "That's a crying shame," said former Gov. Charlie Crist...Crist's successor, Gov. Rick Scott, doesn't think climate change is real, even though it's accepted as fact by everyone from NASA to the Army to the Vatican. "I've not been convinced that there's any man-made climate change," Scott said last week. "Nothing's convinced me that there is." ...


Floriduh!

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Tue, May 17, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Extreme makeover: are humans reshaping Earth?
If alien geologists were to visit our planet 10 million years from now, would they discern a distinct human fingerprint in Earth's accumulating layers of rock and sediment? Will homo sapiens, in other words, define a geological period in the way dinosaurs -- and their vanishing act -- helped mark the Jurassic and the Cretaceous? A growing number of scientists, some gathered at a one-day symposium this week at the British Geological Society in London, say "yes"... For the first time in Earth's 4.7 billion year history, a single species has not only radically changed Earth's morphology, chemistry and biology, it is now aware of having done so. ...


Pimp my planet!

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Tue, May 17, 2011
from London Guardian:
Vast Mongolian shantytown now home to quarter of country's population
It is a supreme irony in a country once known as the land without fences. Stretching north from the capital, Ulan Bator, an endless succession of dilapidated boundary markers criss-cross away into the distance. They demarcate a vast shantytown that sprawls for miles and is now estimated to be home to a quarter of the entire population of Mongolia. More than 700,000 people have crowded into the area in the past two decades. Many are ex-herders and their families whose livelihoods have been destroyed by bitter winters that can last more than half the year; many more are victims of desertification caused by global warming and overgrazing; the United Nations Development Programme estimates that up to 90 percent of the country is now fragile dryland. ...


My shantytown is shabby chic.

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Fri, May 13, 2011
from National Research Council, via New York Times:
Scientists' Report Stresses Urgency of Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The nation's scientific establishment issued a stark warning to the American public on Thursday: Not only is global warming real, but the effects are already becoming serious and the need has become "pressing" for a strong national policy to limit emissions of heat-trapping gases.... "The risks associated with doing business as usual are a much greater concern than the risks associated with engaging in ambitious but measured response efforts," the report concludes. "This is because many aspects of an 'overly ambitious' policy response could be reversed or otherwise addressed, if needed, through subsequent policy change, whereas adverse changes in the climate system are much more difficult (indeed, on the time scale of our lifetimes, may be impossible) to 'undo.'"... The report's authors -- an unusual combination of climate scientists, businessmen and politicians -- said they were very aware that the political mood on climate change had changed significantly from when the committee was formed in 2009.... But Representative Joe L. Barton, Republican of Texas, who has been leading the charge against further regulating carbon emissions, swiftly dismissed the council's findings in an interview Thursday. "I see nothing substantive in this report that adds to the knowledge base necessary to make an informed decision about what steps -- if any -- should be taken to address climate change," Mr. Barton said. ...


Silly scientists. All we need to do is Cntrl-Alt-Delete and restart the ecosystem.

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Tue, May 10, 2011
from Cardiff Western Mail:
Hi-tech teen lifestyle fuels climate change
TODAY'S teenagers are consuming more energy than any previous generation - despite receiving unprecedented education on climate change and other green issues, an academic has warned. Mobile phones, gaming devices, televisions, computers and hair straighteners are just some of the gadgets commonly found in the bedrooms of modern teenagers. Professor Ian Williams, who has studied the Facebook generation's lifestyles and environmentalism, says a typical teenager may have amassed more electrical items than an entire household would have owned a generation earlier. ...


They were so, like, primitive back then.

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Tue, May 10, 2011
from Reno Gazette-Journal:
Fact checker: Don't see consensus on global warming? Look past Fox News
The claim: There is no scientific consensus that global temperatures are rising and humans are significantly to blame. The background: This week's claim started because of a study done by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes. The study's aim was to determine whether the Citizens United case before the Supreme Court, which allowed unlimited campaign contributions from corporations and unions, affected people's perception of the truthfulness of the information being fed in the midterm elections. The study wasn't intended to be concerned with where people got their information, just how accurate it seemed. But the researchers noticed a peculiar thing: Although some Americans were misinformed, they generally became more informed if they consumed more news -- with one major exception. The study found that the more people watched Fox News, the less informed they became. ...


Unfair and unbalanced.

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Thu, May 5, 2011
from Associated Press:
Climate scientists told to 'stop speaking in code'
Scientists at a major conference on Arctic warming were told Wednesday to use plain language to explain the dramatic melt in the region to a world reluctant to take action against climate change. An authoritative report released at the meeting of nearly 400 scientists in Copenhagen showed melting ice in the Arctic could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet this century, much higher than earlier projectionsProminent U.S. climate scientist Robert Corell said researchers must try to reach out to all parts of society to spread awareness of the global implications of the Arctic melt. "Stop speaking in code. Rather than 'anthropogenic,' you could say 'human caused,'" Corell said. ...


Or you could just say: We're fucked.

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Wed, May 4, 2011
from Miller-McCune:
Environmental Footprints May Produce Backlash
Measuring a person's ecological footprint or carbon footprint is a popular tool among environmentalists. Many see it as a way to educate people about the damage they inflict on the environment on an everyday basis -- information that may prompt them to change their behavior. But newly published research suggests that for many people -- perhaps most -- the receipt of such data may produce the opposite result. In an experiment described in the journal Social Influence, "Only people who had invested their self-esteem in environmentalism -- a strong form of commitment -- reacted to negative environmental-footprint feedback by engaging in a pro-environment behavior," writes Santa Clara University psychologist Amara Brook. "Others were less likely to engage in a pro-environmental behavior after negative feedback." ...


Again I am reminded denial rules!

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Wed, May 4, 2011
from New York Times:
Army Corps Blows Up Missouri Levee
Ruben Bennett, his back bent and his fingers gnarled from a lifetime of labor, has lived all of his 88 years on an expanse of rich farmland here, just below where the Ohio River pours into the Mississippi. He survived his share of floods -- including the record-setting one that swept away his boyhood home -- but he has never run from one, until now....The Mississippi River, already at record levels here, keeps rising, fed by punishing rains. As the flood protection systems that safeguard countless communities groan under the pressure, federal officials executed a fiercely debated plan to destroy a part of the levee holding back the river in the area Mr. Bennett calls home for the greater good of the region. ...


Bye bye, Miss American Pie.

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Tue, May 3, 2011
from Reuters:
Major polluters say 2011 climate deal 'not doable'
The world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters do not expect a legally-binding deal to tackle climate change at talks in South Africa in December, two leading climate envoys said on Wednesday. U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern and European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard played down the chance of a breakthrough after a meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), an informal group of 17 countries including the world's top polluters, China and the United States. "From what I've heard in these last two days, the conclusion must be that it is highly unlikely that the world will see a legally binding deal done in Durban," Hedegaard told reporters. "Not that they do not think it's important -- but there is just this feeling that it's simply not doable for Durban." ...


Sorry, guys -- it's just a little too inconvenient.

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Sat, Apr 30, 2011
from Mother Jones:
The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science
... an array of new discoveries in psychology and neuroscience has further demonstrated how our preexisting beliefs, far more than any new facts, can skew our thoughts and even color what we consider our most dispassionate and logical conclusions. This tendency toward so-called "motivated reasoning" helps explain why we find groups so polarized over matters where the evidence is so unequivocal: climate change, vaccines, "death panels," the birthplace and religion of the president (PDF), and much else. It would seem that expecting people to be convinced by the facts flies in the face of, you know, the facts...We're not driven only by emotions, of course -- we also reason, deliberate. But reasoning comes later, works slower -- and even then, it doesn't take place in an emotional vacuum. Rather, our quick-fire emotions can set us on a course of thinking that's highly biased, especially on topics we care a great deal about. ...


I refuse to believe I'm in denial.

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Sat, Apr 30, 2011
from Climatewire:
Scientists Probe Genetic Component of Climate-Hardy Species
Douglas firs have more than 38,000 genes, roughly twice the number in the human genome. So any gene that has helped those trees survive extreme drought, heat and disease has been passed down through generations of seedlings... Forest Service researchers are in the midst of teasing out which of those genes help Douglas firs and 39 other species of plants, animals and pathogens found in Western forests adapt to climate change. Armed with that information, managers could select more robust seeds to replant forests destroyed by fire or disease, or propagate those seeds to help conserve a species. ...


What do you wanna bet mountain pine beetles and emerald ash borers have their researchers working on this, too.

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Sat, Apr 30, 2011
from USA Today:
Climate change could spawn more tornadoes
As with any major weather disaster these days -- from floods and hurricanes to wildfires and this week's tornado outbreak in the South -- people ask questions about its relation to the huge elephant that's lurking in the corner, global climate change. Two separate studies in 2007 reported that global warming could bring a dramatic increase in the frequency of weather conditions that feed severe thunderstorms and tornadoes by the end of the 21st century. One study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that locations could see as much as a 100 percent increase in the number of days that favor severe thunderstorms. ...


And by "elephant," are we referring to those blood-sucking, climate-denying Republicans??

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Thu, Apr 28, 2011
from Duke University via ScienceDaily:
Record Number of Whales, Krill Found in Antarctic Bays
Scientists have observed a "super-aggregation" of more than 300 humpback whales gorging on the largest swarm of Antarctic krill seen in more than 20 years in bays along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. The sightings, made in waters still largely ice-free deep into austral autumn, suggest the previously little-studied bays are important late-season foraging grounds for the endangered whales. But they also highlight how rapid climate change is affecting the region..."The lack of sea ice is good news for the whales in the short term, providing them with all-you-can-eat feasts as the krill migrate vertically toward the bay's surface each night. But it is bad news in the long term for both species, and for everything else in the Southern Ocean that depends on krill," says Ari S. Friedlaender, co-principal investigator on the project and a research scientist at Duke. ...


A krilling spree by humpback chumps.

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Wed, Apr 27, 2011
from Alaska Dispatch:
Playing politics with climate change
What Americans believe about climate change depends almost entirely on their political affiliation and not their scientific understanding, according to a new national study that found the same dynamic in two regions of Southeast Alaska. Democrats who claim knowledge of the issue appear to be in firm agreement with the nation's leading scientific organizations -- that human activity and greenhouse gas emissions have become the main drivers behind an accelerating global climate shift. But Republicans don't buy it. While most do agree that the climate has begun to change, they mostly blame the phenomenon on natural forces that lie beyond human control. ...


Are you a Smartocrat or a Stupidlican?

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Tue, Apr 26, 2011
from Columbia University via ScienceDaily:
Ozone Hole Linked to Climate Change All the Way to the Equator
In a study to be published in the April 21st issue of Science, researchers at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science report their findings that the ozone hole, which is located over the South Pole, has affected the entire circulation of the Southern Hemisphere all the way to the equator. While previous work has shown that the ozone hole is changing the atmospheric flow in the high latitudes, the new Columbia Engineering paper demonstrates that the ozone hole is able to influence the tropical circulation and increase rainfall at low latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the first time that ozone depletion, an upper atmospheric phenomenon confined to the polar regions, has been linked to climate change from the Pole to the equator. ...


The ozone... knows all!

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Mon, Apr 25, 2011
from University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute via ScienceDaily:
Brown Recluse Spider: Range Could Expand in N. America With Changing Climate
One of the most feared spiders in North America is the subject a new study that aims to predict its distribution and how that distribution may be affected by climate changes...The researchers concluded that the range may expand northward, potentially invading previously unaffected regions. Newly influenced areas may include parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. ...


Now I am truly terrified by climate change!

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Mon, Apr 25, 2011
from London Observer:
Spring may lose song of cuckoos, nightingales and turtle doves
Some of Britain's most cherished spring visitors are disappearing in their thousands. Ornithologists say species such as the cuckoo, nightingale and turtle dove are undergoing catastrophic drops in numbers, although experts are puzzled about the exact reasons for these declines. The warning, from the RSPB, comes as the songs of the cuckoo, nightingale and wood warbler herald the return of spring...There is almost certainly a significant problem caused by climate change. Migrant birds arrive and breed and then have chicks at times which are no longer synchronised with the best periods when food, such as insects, is available. ...


That sound you hear is the rejoicing of worms.

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Sun, Apr 24, 2011
from Associated Press:
Costly gasoline clouds Obama re-election prospects
With gas prices climbing and little relief in sight, President Barack Obama is scrambling to get ahead of the latest potential obstacle to his re-election bid, even as Republicans are making plans to exploit the issue....As Obama well knows, Americans love their cars and remain heavily dependent on them, and they don't hesitate to punish politicians when the cost of filling their tanks goes through the roof. ...


This Easter, give your car a big bunny hug because it's the most important thing on the planet.

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Sat, Apr 23, 2011
from Science News:
Salt clouds relieve some Arctic warming
Earth's warming in recent years has had an exaggerated impact in the Arctic. There, temperatures have soared relative to temperate areas, resulting in an increased summer melting of sea ice. But new research indicates that the local warming would be even more dramatic if it weren't for salt sprays kicked up by whitecaps from the Arctic's increasingly open waters. Snow and sea ice reflect much of the sun's warming rays back into space. As an increasing share of the Arctic Ocean's year-round cover of sea ice has disappeared, the sea surface has darkened -- or reduced its albedo -- and become an increasingly better absorber of solar energy. The open water starts to develop in spring and doesn't ice over again until fall. Year-round ice is ice that survives the summer...As expected, the salt clouds can exert a subtle cooling of the Arctic, the team reports online April 13 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. ...


Hey, this gives me a geoengineering idea: zeppelin saltshakers!

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011
from Alaska Dispatch:
Arctic glacier meltdown accelerates
Glaciers in the Canadian High Arctic -- home to about one third of the world's ice outside of the continental sheets of Antarctica and Greenland -- are melting away much faster than anybody realized. Between 2004 and 2009, the frigid runoff from the ice tongues of Ellesmere, Baffin and hundreds of other islands in the Canadian Far North would have filled Lake Erie three quarters full, according to a new study published this week in the journal of Nature. Toward the end of that period, the accumulated meltdown had surpassed the runoff from the glaciers rimming the Gulf of Alaska and became the greatest single contributor to global sea-level rise outside the continental sheets... ...


Happy Earth Day

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Tue, Apr 19, 2011
from PNAS, vai ScienceDaily:
Methylmercury on the Rise in Endangered Pacific Seabirds
Using 120 years of feathers from natural history museums in the United States, Harvard University researchers have been able to track increases in the neurotoxin methylmercury in the black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), an endangered seabird that forages extensively throughout the Pacific. The study shows that the observed increase in methylmercury levels, most likely from human-generated emissions, can be observed and tracked over broad time periods in organisms that live in the Pacific Ocean.... "Given both the high levels of methylmercury that we measured in our most recent samples and regional levels of emissions, mercury bioaccumulation and toxicity may undermine reproductive effort in this species and other long-lived, endangered seabirds." They found increasing levels of methylmercury that were generally consistent with historical global and recent regional increases in anthropogenic mercury emissions. ...


That's the Kool kind of mercury. I'm just Salem'.

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Thu, Apr 14, 2011
from Jakarta Globe:
Weather Blamed for Caterpillar Plague
Unpredictable weather coupled with a decline in natural predators is responsible for a recent plague of caterpillars in parts of the country. Though the phenomenon is centered largely in Probolinggo, East Java, smaller reported outbreaks in Central Java, West Java, Bali and, most recently, Jakarta have prompted fears of a widespread infestation... Since March, millions of hairy caterpillars have cropped up in at least five subdistricts in Probolinggo, invading fields and homes. They have also caused itchy rashes among residents. The caterpillars have also destroyed more than 8,800 mango trees -- the district's main agricultural produce. ...


Isn't "hairy caterpillars" one of the Seven Signs? Dear Lord...

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Greenwire:
Shale Gas Isn't Cleaner Than Coal, Cornell Researchers Say
Cornell University researchers say that natural gas pried from shale formations is dirtier than coal in the short term, rather than cleaner, and "comparable" in the long term. That finding -- fiercely disputed by the gas industry -- undermines the widely stated belief that gas is twice as "clean" as coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The gas industry has promoted that concept as a way for electric utilities to prepare for climate change regulations by switching from coal-fired plants to gas.... "Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20 percent greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years," states a pre-publication copy (pdf) of the study... ...


Sounds like just another shale game to me.

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Australia ABC News:
Ice melt a weighty problem: expert
Melting ice sheets could cause a redistribution of the world's gravitational field causing higher than expected rises in sea level for some parts of the world, according to a senior Australian scientist. Dr John Church, chief research scientist with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, says the full effect of this shift in gravity hasn't been factored into sea level rise predictions....the gravitational effect is lost and sea levels will be slightly lower than expected around the icy regions, but higher than expected in far away places such as New York or the Pacific islands. ...


Does this massive global shift make my butt look big?

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Sat, Apr 9, 2011
from Washington Post:
Plants' earlier bloom times hurting some creatures
Cristol Fleming has gone out hunting for the first wildflower blooms of spring for close to four decades. She knows where every tiny bluish clump of rare phacelia can be found, where every fragile yellow trout lily grows....So it was with some consternation that the local field botanist found two of her favorite early flowers -- sprigs of white and purple "harbinger of spring” no higher than an inch and graceful white twinleaf -- in full bloom in the chill of late March....Bloom hunters like Fleming, who for 40 years have been tramping through the woods, roaming along riverbanks and scrambling over rocky outcrops to document the first blooms of spring in the Washington area, worry that what they have been seeing is nothing less than the slow, inexorable shift of global warming. ...


Enough with the bloom-and-doom!

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Sat, Apr 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
World stumbles toward climate summit
Nineteen years after the world started to take climate change seriously, delegates from around the globe spent five days talking about what they will talk about at a year-end conference in South Africa. They agreed to talk about their opposing viewpoints. Delegates from 173 nations did agree that delays in averting global warming merely fast-forward the risk of plunging the world into "catastrophe." ...the U.N. meeting in Bangkok, which concluded late Friday after delegates cobbled together a broad agenda for the December summit, failed to narrow the deep divisions between the developing world and the camp of industrialized nations led by the United States. These may come to plague the summit in Durban. ...


Participants in this summit were given commemorative bronze fiddles.

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Tue, Apr 5, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Record Depletion of Arctic Ozone Layer Causing Increased UV Radiation in Scandinavia
Over the past few days ozone-depleted air masses extended from the north pole to southern Scandinavia leading to higher than normal levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation during sunny days in southern Finland. These air masses will move east over the next few days, covering parts of Russia and perhaps extend as far south as the Chinese/Russian border. Such excursions of ozone-depleted air may also occur over Central Europe and could reach as far south as the Mediterranean.... "Such massive ozone loss has so far never occurred in the northern hemisphere, which is densely populated even at high latitudes," AWI researcher Markus Rex describes the situation. The ozone layer protects life on Earth's surface from harmful solar ultraviolet radiation. Because of the low inclination angle of the sun, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is not normally a public health concern at high northern latitudes. However, if ozone-depleted air masses drift further south over Central Europe, south Canada, the US, or over Central Asiatic Russia, for example, the surface intensity of UV radiation could lead to sunburn within minutes for sensitive persons, even in April.... Ozone loss was particularly large this winter due to unusually low temperature, which results in the presence of clouds in the polar stratosphere. Reactions on the surface of these clouds transform chlorine containing breakdown products of CFCs into compounds that aggressively remove ozone.... The stratosphere has been observed to cool, following the rise of greenhouse gases (GHGs), because heat that would otherwise reach the stratosphere is trapped below, warming the surface. The situation for the Polar Stratosphere is more complicated because of dynamical heating by waves generated in frontal systems. For several years, however, scientists have noted that the coldest winters in the Arctic stratosphere are getting colder, a development that enhances the ozone-destroying efficiency of the remaining CFCs and could be linked to rising levels of GHGs. ...


It ain't the heat, it's the humid-UV.

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Mon, Apr 4, 2011
from PhysOrg:
Declining mangroves shield against global warming
Mangroves, which have declined by up to half over the last 50 years, are an important bulkhead against climate change, a study released on Sunday has shown for the first time.... Destruction of these tropical coastal woodlands accounts for about 10 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation, the second largest source of CO2 after fossil fuel combustion, the study found. Fewer trees not only mean less CO2 absorbed from the air, but also the release of carbon stocks that have been accumulating in shallow-water sediment over millennia. Mangroves -- whose twisted, exposed roots grace coastlines in more than 100 countries -- confer many benefits on humans living in their midst. The brackish tidal waters in which the trees thrive are a natural nursery for dozens of species of fish and shrimp essential to commercial fisheries around the world. Another major "ecosystem service," in the jargon of environmental science, is protection from hurricanes and storm surges. ...


I bet that passive-voice "decline" has an active causal agent behind it.

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Tue, Mar 29, 2011
from Our Amazing Planet:
Oceans May Be Speeding Melt of Greenland's Glaciers
Dynamic layers of warm Atlantic and cold Arctic Ocean waters around Greenland may be speeding the melt of the country's glaciers, researchers find. "Over the last 15 years or so, the Greenland Ice Sheet has been putting a lot more ice into the ocean," said Fiammetta Straneo of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, who has spent years studying the ice-coated country that is currently responsible for about a quarter of worldwide sea level rise. "We're trying to understand why, as we thought ice sheets changed on much longer timescales, like thousands of years," she told OurAmazingPlanet. Researchers know that warm air over Greenland melts surface snow and ice, but this process doesn't do enough melting to explain the extent of the glaciers' rapid retreat. ...


Maybe the glaciers are simply recoiling from the horror!

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Tue, Mar 29, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Shift in boreal forest has wide impact
Vegetation change underway in northern forests as a result of climate change creates feedback loop that prompts more warming, scientists say. Boreal forests across the Northern hemisphere are undergoing rapid, transformative shifts as a result of a warming climate that, in some cases, is triggering feedback loops producing even more regional warming, according to several new studies. Russia's boreal forest - the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world - has seen a transformation in recent years from larch to conifer trees, according to new research by University of Virginia researchers.... "The climate has shifted. It's done, it's clear, and the climate has become unsuitable for the growth of the boreal forest across most of the area that it currently occupies," said Glenn Juday, a forestry professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. ...


I wish that durn scientist wouldn't beat around bush.

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Sat, Mar 26, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Scientists find waves are getting bigger
Ocean wind speeds and wave heights around the world have increased significantly over the past quarter of a century, according to Australian research that has given scientists their first global glimpse of the world's rising winds and waves. Published in the journal Science today, the research - the most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken - used satellite data collected from 1985 to 2008. It shows the extreme wave height off the coast of south-west Australia today is six metres on average, more than a metre higher than in 1985. ...


Surf's up! Size matters.

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Sat, Mar 26, 2011
from National Science Foundation via ScienceDaily:
Kudzu Vines Spreading North from US Southeast With Warming Climate
Kudzu, the plant scourge of the U.S. Southeast. The long tendrils of this woody vine, or liana, are on the move north with a warming climate. But kudzu may be no match for the lianas of the tropics, scientists have found. Data from sites in eight studies show that lianas are overgrowing trees in every instance. If the trend continues, these "stranglers-of-the-tropics" may suffocate equatorial forest ecosystems. ...


Sounds like someday we will all live in the Land of Kudzuliana.

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Fri, Mar 25, 2011
from Leader-Post:
Counting down to 2011 Earth Hour
Major landmarks across Canada -from the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver to the MontRoyal Cross in Montreal -will stand in darkness Saturday as more than 100 countries pledge to turn their lights off as a call to action for climate change. Earth Hour started as a simple conversation between The World Wildlife Federation (WWF), Chicago-based advertising agency Leo Burnett and the Sydney Morning Herald about climate change and how to raise and demonstrate public support. But that discussion sparked an idea that led to the now-annual, hour-long, lights-off event. ...


At my house, we're having Earth Night!

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
The European invader that's after your blood: Ticks from continent discovered in UK
A breed of blood-sucking tick normally found on the continent has been discovered in Britain for the first time. Scientists say that climate change has brought the parasite to the UK - and warned that it may have brought with it new strains of disease from Europe. The researchers, from the University of Bristol, also found that the number of pet dogs infested with ticks was far higher than previously thought. This increases the risk thatdiseases carried by the foreign tick - Dermacentor reticulatus - will spread quickly to people and animals in this country, they cautioned. ...


Foreign ticks... work harder than domestic ones!

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from Forbes:
Salazar opens 750M tons of Wyo. coal to mining
nterior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans Tuesday to auction off vast coal reserves in Wyoming over the next five months, unleashing a significant but controversial power source amid uncertainty about clean and safe energy development. ...


Salazar = Salaczar

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Climate change adaptation 'needs to move up the agenda'
Adaptation urgently needs to move up the climate change agenda, according to Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the Met Office in the UK. "Talking about adaptation to climate change has for a long time been frowned upon as it is seen as giving up on mitigation," Betts told environmentalresearchweb. "But people need to wake up to the fact that we are already locked into a certain amount of climate change and we need to make sure we are prepared for the consequences."... Betts believes it is the role of the media, climatologists and policymakers to make sure that the need for adaptation moves up the agenda and that people are not so distracted by mitigation alone. ...


Not to worry -- the Republicans already voted global warming down.

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from The Washington Post:
King crabs invade Antarctica
Sven Thatje has been predicting an invasion of deep-water crabs into shallow Antarctic waters for the past several years. But the biologist and his colleagues got their first look at the march of the seafloor predators while riding on an icebreaker across frozen Antarctic seas this winter. The ship towed a robot sub carrying a small digital camera that filmed the seafloor below. It caught images of bright red king crabs up to 10 inches long, moving into an undersea habitat of creatures that haven't seen sharp teeth or claws for the past 40 million years. ...


Cue theme from "Claws."

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Sat, Mar 19, 2011
from Nature:
'Wilful ignorance': Nature opinion
At a subcommittee hearing on 14 March, anger and distrust were directed at scientists and respected scientific societies. Misinformation was presented as fact, truth was twisted and nobody showed any inclination to listen to scientists, let alone learn from them. It has been an embarrassing display, not just for the Republican Party but also for Congress and the US citizens it represents.... [T]he legislation is fundamentally anti-science, just as the rhetoric that supports it is grounded in wilful ignorance. One lawmaker last week described scientists as "elitist" and "arrogant" creatures who hide behind "discredited" institutions.... [T]o deny that there is reason to be concerned, given the decades of work by countless scientists, is irresponsible. ...


Why should we listen to egghead smarty-pantses? What do they know?

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Wed, Mar 16, 2011
from Montreal Gazette:
Could global warming be causing recent earthquakes?
Severe earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Japan have experts around the world asking whether the world's tectonic plates are becoming more active -- and what could be causing it. Some scientists theorize that the sudden melting of glaciers due to man-made climate change is lightening the load on the Earth's surface, allowing its mantle to rebound upwards and causing plates to become unstuck....The surface of the Earth is elastic. A heavy load such as a glacier will cause it to sink, pushing aside the liquid rock underneath. ...


Regardless, these earthquakes are good practice for the Apocalypse.

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
EPA Tangles With New Critic: Labor
The Obama administration's environmental agenda, long a target of American business, is beginning to take fire from some of the Democratic Party's most reliable supporters: Labor unions. Several unions with strong influence in key states are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency soften new regulations aimed at pollution associated with coal-fired power plants. Their contention: Roughly half a dozen rules expected to roll out within the next two years could put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and damage the party's 2012 election prospects. "If the EPA issues regulations that cost jobs in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Republicans will blast the President with it over and over," says Stewart Acuff, chief of staff to the president of the Utility Workers Union of America. "Not just the President. Every Democratic [lawmaker] from those states." ...


Those of you hoping the US will get its shit together... are dreaming!

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from New York Times:
Polar Ice Loss Is Accelerating, Scientists Say
...On Wednesday, a research team led by a NASA scientist unveiled a new study that is sure to stir debate on the topic. The paper concludes that ice loss from both Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating, and that the ice sheets' impact on the rise in sea levels in the first half of the 21st century will be substantially higher than previous studies had projected. The increasing ice loss means that, for the first time, Greenland and Antarctica appear to be adding more to sea-level rise than the world's other reserves of ice -- primarily mountain glaciers, which are also melting because of rising temperatures. In 2006 alone, the study estimated that the two ice sheets lost roughly 475 billion metric tons of ice.... If the rates of melting observed in the study were to continue, the ice sheets could add nearly six inches to the rise in global sea levels in the next forty years -- a far larger contribution than the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international scientific body, has projected. ...


Six inches in 40 years? I can crawl away from that!

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from Living on Earth:
Can a Hollywood Producer inspire Americans on Climate?
...Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the organization's climate chief Christiana Figueres... urged film and TV industry bigwigs to pitch in and put their talents to use to raise awareness about global warming. Among the 400 Hollywood celebs in the audience was Marshall Herskovitz - the producer of the TV series "thirtysomething" and "My So Called Life." He also produced a dozen films, including "Blood Diamond" and "I am Sam." Now, Marshall Herskovitz has two new projects underway dealing with climate change in which he says he's going to put many of the Hollywood tricks-of-the-trade to use....GELLERMAN: Well, isn't that the idea: that you don't hit people over the head with the message, but you weave the message into the motion picture. HERSKOVITZ: Well, yes, it's the idea, except for the fact that we are either in a planetary emergency or we're not. (Laughs). And it's fine to say, 'don't hit people over the head,' but in fact, we need to hit people over the head. We need people to act right now, and we need people to act in a huge manner. It's very hard to get across to people the scale at which we have to act. ...


That's funny. I've been saying this for years!

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from Greenwire:
Democrats Cry Foul Over GOP's Attempts to Tie Fuel Prices to EPA
House Republicans' move to join the two most politically volatile threads in the Washington, D.C., energy debate -- gas prices and U.S. EPA rules -- sparked Democratic charges of deception yesterday and silence so far from the Obama administration. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) amplified the GOP gambit as he laid out a new project, dubbed the American Energy Initiative, calling for more domestic fossil-fuel production, new nuclear power plants and an end to EPA's authority over greenhouse gases. While the Republican message had percolated all week, Boehner's decision to spotlight the anti-EPA bill now sailing through the House Energy and Commerce Committee gave the gas-price charge a far broader platform. The administration's offshore oil-production policies and regulation of greenhouse gases, Boehner said yesterday, represent a systematic hit to economic growth. "If the White House has its way -- and the EPA imposes a backdoor national energy tax -- gas prices will only go higher," the Ohioan told reporters. ...


I decree... that all politicians... abandon their limos and airplanes in lieu of riding bicycles.

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Greening the faith
... Last Saturday, leaders from 16 Christian denominations, along with Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Unitarian leaders, gathered at First Baptist Church of Indianapolis to celebrate the inauguration of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light. The organization is an affiliate of the national Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) organization, founded in 1998, which considers itself the "religious response to global warming." Its goal is to educate religious congregations on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and conservation. "The first goal of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light is to reduce our carbon use, our energy use, within our places of worship," explained Luke Gascho, board chair of the new organization and director of the Merry Lea Environmental Center at Goshen College, to the gathering of about 200 Indiana church leaders.... "Every mainstream religion that I know of has a mandate to care for the earth," said Interfaith Power & Light's founder Rev. Bingham. "For Christians who are commanded to love God and love our neighbors, it could not be clearer... If you love your neighbor, love one another, you don't pollute your neighbor's air and water." ...


I don't believe in God, but I believe in Reverend Bingham.

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from Climatewire:
Snubbing Skeptics Threatens to Intensify Climate War, Study Says
Listening to climate change doubters, and not dismissing them, might avert a "logic schism" similar to the political stalemate on abortion, according to a new paper involving research on skeptics. The paper (pdf) portrays doubters as being at a disadvantage. The majority of climate research comes from the fields of physical science, engineering and economics -- largely depicting rational outcomes in a world dominated by the view that the Earth is warming, and that something needs to be done about it.... Hair-raising warnings about climate catastrophes tend not to resonate with the skeptical crowd, the research says. And expensive government solutions to it definitely do not. Another way of talking about the issue is needed, the paper says. ...


How about we talk about it backwards? .raen si dne ehT

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from Science News:
Soot hastens snowmelt on Tibetan Plateau
In high-elevation snowy regions, the warming effects of greenhouse gases pale in comparison to those triggered by soot, new computer calculations show. The finding could help explain the accelerating pace of melting on the Tibetan Plateau, which holds the world's largest reservoir of ice outside of the polar regions. Located north of the Himalayan range, the plateau's spring meltwater feeds rivers that ultimately slake much of Asia's thirst. In recent years, spring melting has been starting earlier, triggering downstream floods and shortening the time that irrigation water is available to farmers... new simulations indicate that the estimated amounts of black carbon on the Plateau can reduce snow's reflectivity in spring by 4 to 6 percent. That's enough to warm the average surface air temperature across the Tibetan Plateau by around 1 degree Celsius... ...


Chim chiminey Chim chiminey Chim chim we're screwed!

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Sun, Mar 6, 2011
from Time:
Testing the Waters
...Corals build colonies that secrete calcium carbonate to form ocean reefs. When they're healthy, coral reefs provide shelter and food for animals all along the food chain, including the top: us. Across the planet, half a billion people rely, directly and indirectly, on corals for their living. That's why what happens to the 9,000-year-old Great Barrier Reef, as well as to other reefs worldwide, is critical. The recent Queensland floods were most notably tragic for the lives lost and property destroyed. But they have also hurt the Great Barrier Reef by funneling into the ocean vast plumes of freshwater and agricultural runoff that could severely damage the coral. Besides the extreme rain that sparked the floods, rising ocean temperatures, changes to the ocean's chemistry and the global trade in natural resources -- all symptoms of our fossil-fuel economy -- are waging a multifront war on the marine environment. "You can't walk into a forest and start hacking at branches and killing off animals and denuding the forest cover without killing the trees," says Justin Marshall, a marine biologist at the University of Queensland. "The outlook for the whole reef is poor." ...


This story brought to you by a mag once called TIME now called NO TIME LEFT.

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Sat, Mar 5, 2011
from Associated Press:
NASA research satellite plunges into the sea
For the second time in two years, a rocket glitch sent a NASA global warming satellite to the bottom of the sea Friday, a $424 million debacle that couldn't have come at a worse time for the space agency and its efforts to understand climate change. Years of belt-tightening have left NASA's Earth-watching system in sorry shape, according to many scientists. And any money for new environmental satellites will have to survive budget-cutting, global warming politics and, now, doubts on Capitol Hill about the space agency's competence... Thirteen NASA Earth-observing satellites remain up there, and nearly all of them are in their sunset years. ...


I wonder why I'm getting the feeling that we're in for some bad luck...

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Thu, Mar 3, 2011
from PNAS, via EurekAlert:
Rising CO2 is causing plants to release less water to the atmosphere, researchers say
As carbon dioxide levels have risen during the last 150 years, the density of pores that allow plants to breathe has dwindled by 34 percent, restricting the amount of water vapor the plants release to the atmosphere, report scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and Utrecht University in the Netherlands in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (now online).... "The increase in carbon dioxide by about 100 parts per million has had a profound effect on the number of stomata and, to a lesser extent, the size of the stomata," said Research Scientist in Biology and Professor Emeritus in Geology David Dilcher, the two papers' sole American coauthor. "Our analysis of that structural change shows there's been a huge reduction in the release of water to the atmosphere." ...


I don't think I can stomata this news.

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Thu, Mar 3, 2011
from Associated Press:
New report exonerates climate researchers
A Commerce Department investigation has found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of federal climate researchers whose e-mails were leaked in the debate over global climate change. The report Thursday from the department's inspector general is the latest to exonerate climate scientists whose communications with the Climate Research Unit at England's University of East Anglia were stolen and made public in 2009. The department reviewed all 1,073 leaked e-mails, but focused on 289 that involved National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists. ...


Can we please now let scientists proceed with the business of telling us how doomed we are.

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011
from Greenwire:
Regulators Face Deep Cuts as Governors Close Budget Gaps
As they battle record deficits, governors nationwide are digging into state environmental regulatory bodies in budget proposals, many in the name of increasing efficiency and creating states that are "open for business." In some states, environmental groups say budget proposals unfairly target those departments over other state agencies and would set back conservation efforts by years. They also argue that cutting environmental spending will end up costing more jobs than are created by bolstering other state programs.... Industry supporters and budget hawks say environmental agencies have to face the ax like everyone else. ...


I know. Let's let the US have this planet to kill, and the rest of us can go find a new one.

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
Issa Oversight Committee Staffs Up with Industry Insiders
First as ranking minority member and now as chairman of one of the most powerful committees in Congress, San Diego Republican Darrell Issa has built a team that includes staff members with close connections to industries that could benefit from his investigations. Issa took control of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last month, and asked companies, nonprofits and industry associations for guidance on federal regulations. The committee, which includes 23 Republicans and 17 Democrats, has broad powers to investigate government and industry, and to issue subpoenas. Issa's staff already has released findings sympathetic to industries bent on softening or eliminating certain government regulations. ...


This is what happens when power shifts to the GOP: the environment goes to shit!

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Mon, Feb 28, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40 percent within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth
Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due to the combined threat of climate change and population growth, scientists have warned. A new way of thinking about water is needed as looming shortages threaten communities, agriculture and industry, experts said. In the next two decades, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, said researchers. Agriculture, which soaks up 71 per cent of water supplies, is also likely to suffer, affecting food production. ...


That's why I'm sticking with my Diet Coke.

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Mon, Feb 28, 2011
from London Guardian:
Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change?
The Berkeley Earth project say they are about to reveal the definitive truth about global warming... The aim is so simple that the complexity and magnitude of the undertaking is easy to miss. Starting from scratch, with new computer tools and more data than has ever been used, they will arrive at an independent assessment of global warming. The team will also make every piece of data it uses -- 1.6bn data points -- freely available on a website. It will post its workings alongside, including full information on how more than 100 years of data from thousands of instruments around the world are stitched together to give a historic record of the planet's temperature. Muller is fed up with the politicised row that all too often engulfs climate science. By laying all its data and workings out in the open, where they can be checked and challenged by anyone, the Berkeley team hopes to achieve something remarkable: a broader consensus on global warming. ...


This hope pre-supposes climate skeptics are willing to change their minds.

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Sun, Feb 27, 2011
from Topeka Capital-Journal:
House seeks to choke EPA regs
Nearly every member of the Kansas House is convinced air-quality regulators at the federal Environmental Protection Agency are spewing toxic rules. Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, took the lead on pushing through a resolution declaring convergence of EPA carbon-limiting edicts, tied to anxiety about greenhouse gases and global warming, should be likened to a runaway railroad engine screaming down the tracks toward certain disaster... 116 members of the House voted for a resolution urging Congress to prohibit EPA by any means necessary -- such as stripping funding from the federal agency -- to block regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. ...


Kansans have a proud history of undermining their own existence.

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Tue, Feb 22, 2011
from Albany Times Union:
An assault on the environment
The new House Republican majority likes to say that the American people spoke last year. If the GOP's spending bill is any indication, it seems the American people are clamoring for more mercury in their fish, oil on their coasts and pollution in their drinking water. Those would be just some of the environmental highlights of a House spending bill to keep the government running through Sept. 30. Or perhaps anti-environmental highlights would be more apt. Anti-health, too. ...


It's simply ... anti-life.

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Tue, Feb 22, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Sniffle, snort, achoo! Allergy season is extending, scientists find.
Bad news for - achoo! - those who sniffle, er suffer their way through ragweed - sniff, snort, itch - season: A team of researchers has found that increased warming, particularly in the northern half of North America, has added weeks to the fall pollen season. It's enough to make you grab a tissue: Minneapolis has tacked 16 days to the ragweed pollen season since 1995; LaCrosse, Wisc. has added 13 days, Winnipeg and Saskatoon in Canada have added 25 and 27 days, respectively. The new research, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds the longer pollen seasons correlate with the disproportionate warming happening around the planet and attributed to greenhouse gas emissions. ...


I think I'm allergic to climate change...

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Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Washington Post:
Predator fish in oceans on alarming decline, experts say
Over the past 100 years, some two-thirds of the large predator fish in the ocean have been caught and consumed by humans, and in the decades ahead, the rest are likely to perish, too. In their place, small fish such as sardines and anchovies are flourishing in the absence of the tuna, grouper and cod that traditionally feed on them, creating an ecological imbalance that experts say will forever change the oceans. ...


The answer to the prey's prayers.

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Sat, Feb 19, 2011
from Climatewire:
House Republicans Fire White House Climate Advisers as Frenzied Budget Debate Continues
House Republicans and 13 Democrats passed a measure last night eliminating the salaries of President Obama's international climate change envoy and other top officials, a defiant GOP challenge that will further complicate tough budget negotiations looming with Senate Democrats. The amendment to "sack the czars" ignited protests from Democrats who called it a political attack masquerading as a principled spending cut. It is among hundreds of amendments in the Republican budget package being assembled to fund the government for the next seven months while slashing $60 billion. One of amendment's top targets is U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, Obama's chief treaty negotiator at the U.N. global warming talks. It also defunds Obama's climate adviser, a post formerly held by Carol Browner, and several other "czar" positions that Republicans decry as unaccountable to Congress. ...


If they sack the czars we can pretty much bag our chances of recovery.

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Sat, Feb 19, 2011
from Live Science:
New Idea to Reduce Global Warming: Everyone Eat Insects
There is a rational, even persuasive, argument for voluntarily eating insects: Bugs are high in protein, require less space to grow and offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to the vertebrates we Westerners prefer, advocates of the bug fare say. However, this topic is not a hotbed of research, so while some data exist -- in particular on the protein content of insects -- there are some assumptions built into the latter part of this argument. "The suggestion that insects would be more efficient has been around for quite some time," said Dennis Oonincx, an entomologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He and other researchers decided to test it, by comparing the greenhouse gas emissions from five species of insects with those of cattle and pigs. The results, Oonincx said, "really are quite hopeful." ...


Hopeful maybe for everyone but the poor bugs!

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Thu, Feb 17, 2011
from Associated Press:
Scientists connect global warming to extreme rain
Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding. Two studies in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before... For years scientists, relying on basic physics and climate knowledge, have said global warming would likely cause extremes in temperatures and rainfall. But this is the first time researchers have been able to point to a demonstrable cause-and-effect by using the rigorous and scientifically accepted method of looking for the "fingerprints" of human-caused climate change. ...


Let the revolution begin!

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Sun, Feb 13, 2011
from Reuters:
Climate change keenly felt in Alaska's national parks
Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks. These are just a few of the ways that a rapidly warming climate is reshaping Denali, Kenai Fjords and other national parks comprising the crown jewels of Alaska's heritage as America's last frontier. These and some better-known impacts -- proliferation of invasive plants and fish, greater frequency and intensity of wildfires, and declines in wildlife populations that depend on sea ice and glaciers -- are outlined in a recent National Park Service report. ...


These kinds of new excitements should increase tourism!

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Wed, Feb 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
APNewsBreak: Endangered decision delayed on walrus
Pacific walrus need additional protection from the threat of climate warming but cannot be added to the threatened or endangered list because other species are a higher priority, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday. Walrus will be added to the "warranted but precluded" list, said agency spokesman Bruce Wood, a designation under the Endangered Species Act that allows delays in listing if the agency is making progress listing other species and does not have resources to make a decision on others. "The threats to the walrus are very real, as evidenced by this 'warranted' finding," said Geoff Haskett, the service's Alaska region director, in a statement. "But its greater population numbers and ability to adapt to land-based haulouts make its immediate situation less dire than those facing other species such as the polar bear." ...


I can't even understand "warranted but precluded," how can a walrus?

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Wed, Feb 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
Global warming heats up Republican attacks on EPA
Vowing to curb the authority and the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, congressional Republicans are attacking the agency to a degree not seen since President Richard Nixon created it 40 years ago. The EPA's effort to tackle the latest and perhaps most challenging environmental problem -- global warming -- has made it a central target of the new Republican leadership's anti-regulatory agenda. Having failed last year to enact new legislation to curb global warming, the administration is left to use existing law -- the Clean Air Act -- to start reducing the pollution causing the planet's temperature to rise. During a hearing on Wednesday, GOP members of a House subcommittee contended that such actions will only raise electricity prices and penalize industries that otherwise could be creating jobs. ...


...ack...

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Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Reuters:
Milwaukee, Chicago Areas May Face Water Shortages: Report
The Great Lakes region, the world's largest freshwater system, could face local water shortages in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas due to increased demand and environmental changes, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Monday. Water levels in Chicago and Milwaukee could drop by an additional 100 feet over the next 30 years due to increased demand from pumping of groundwater that has already reduced groundwater levels as much as 1,000 feet, the report found... The five Great Lakes make up 84 percent of the fresh surface water in North America overall. ...


The sad fate / of the not so Great / Lakes

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Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Business Groups' Target: EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces rules that affect the U.S. economy from factories to farms, is the No. 1 target of complaints from business groups collected by House Republican leaders. EPA rules were cited more than those from any other agency in more than 100 letters sent by trade associations, businesses and some conservative groups to House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) in response to his call for businesses to identify regulations they deemed burdensome, according to documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The letters are scheduled for release today. ...


I have this sneaking suspicion Issa is gonna pissa me off!

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Fri, Feb 4, 2011
from London Guardian:
Communities not getting a say in how forests are managed
Governments have been accused by grassroots groups and scientific researchers of reneging on commitments to give communities a say in how forests are managed, and doing little to address the causes of worldwide deforestation. The charges came as the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, declared 2011 to be the international year of forests, and politicians from around the world meet in New York for the high level segment of the UN's ninth forestry forum (UNFF). Non-government groups released a report showing that indigenous peoples and forest communities have done a much better job at conservation than governments. ...


When are going to go ahead and declare an international year of panic!!!

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Thu, Feb 3, 2011
from Earth Institute, Columbia University:
In the Arctic More Than Elsewhere, Things Are Heating Up
Today's water temperatures are roughly 2.5 degrees F above what they were during the Medieval Warm Period, which affected the North Atlantic from about 900 - 1300 A.D. and altered the climates of Northern Europe and northern North America. The authors of the study hypothesize that this recent rise in water temperature in the Fram Strait is related to the amplification of global warming in the Arctic.... Based on their studies, the team of researchers behind the study believes that a number of recent trends (including the rapid warming of the Arctic, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the warming of the North Atlantic) are interrelated.... Both methods demonstrated a sharp rise in the abundance of warmer-water foraminifera in the last 100 years; for the first time in 2,000 years, this species became dominant over a cold-water variety.... [A] co-author of the CU-Boulder study recently stated he feels "fairly confident that what we are seeing today is largely an anthropogenic signal." ...


I'm "fairly confident" that signal is saying STOP!

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Wed, Feb 2, 2011
from Reuters:
Giant cyclone hits Australian tourist coast
One of the most powerful cyclones on record slammed into Australia's coast on Thursday, uprooting trees, tearing roofs off buildings and raising the danger of deadly storm surges. Cyclone Yasi, packing winds of up to 300 km (186 miles) an hour near its core, come ashore along hundreds of kilometers of northeast coastline late on Wednesday...Satellite images showed Yasi as a massive storm system covering an area bigger than Italy. It is predicted to be the strongest ever to hit Australia... Queensland has had a cruel summer, with floods sweeping across it and other eastern states in recent months, killing 35 people. ...


Down Under, torn asunder.

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from New York Times:
Once Popular, Car Pools Go the Way of Hitchhiking
Remember the 1970s? Watergate, disco, oil embargoes and, of course, car-pooling. Many big companies organized group rides for their employees, and roughly one in four Americans who drove to work shared a ride with others. But now far more people are driving alone, as companies have spread out, Americans are wealthier and cars have become cheaper to own. The percentage of workers who car-pool has dropped by almost half since 1980, the first time the Census Bureau started systematically tracking the numbers, according to new data from the bureau. ...


And thus we shall drive / one person per vehicle / unto our ruin

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from London Guardian:
Greenpeace protests at Koch brothers' rally
Prominent figures on both the right and left of the US political spectrum gathered in the luxury enclave of Rancho Mirage in the Californian desert today amid increasingly heated debate about the influence of the secrecy-loving billionaires Charles and David Koch on the political process. About 200 key figures in business, energy, the media and law were expected to assemble at a five-star hotel at the invitation of the Koch brothers for the latest of their twice-yearly discussion groups on how to forward their libertarian causes... As the attendees arrived in their private jets, they were greeted by an airship that circled over the hotel's golf courses and tennis courts bearing the logo: "Koch brothers dirty money." It was sent up by Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group, which has joined forces with several other left-leaning organisations to hold a counter-rally to the Koch meeting. ...


In an air battle, I fear the jets would win.

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Sun, Jan 30, 2011
from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
Alaska seeing impact of climate change in its infrastructure, villages
Climate change has already begun to make life difficult for state transportation managers. And they expect it to become a bigger and more expensive challenge if warming trends continue as predicted. "With over 6,600 miles of coastline and 80 percent of the state underlaid by ice-rich permafrost, you can certainly imagine we are at the forefront of climate change impacts," said Mike Coffey, maintenance and operations chief for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Coffey discussed the impact of climate change on transportation in a webinar last week, hosted by the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. New challenges include warming permafrost, coastal erosion and the potential for more dramatic storms and flooding, he said. These could lead to more highways and facilities cracking, icing up or even washing away. The hardest-hit areas are northern, western and Interior Alaska, where roads and structures are built over permafrost and near the coast. ...


Benefits of climate change include seeing Russia more easily from Alaskan windows.

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Sat, Jan 29, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Polar bear's long swim illustrates ice melt
In one of the most dramatic signs ever documented of how shrinking Arctic sea ice impacts polar bears, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska have tracked a female bear that swam nine days across the deep, frigid Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe 426 miles offshore. The marathon swim came at a cost: With little food likely available once she arrived, the bear lost 22 percent of her body weight and her year-old female cub, who set off on the journey but did not survive, the researchers said. ...


We can only hope being "dead" might clarify the debate between "threatened" and "endangered."

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Sat, Jan 29, 2011
from The Economist:
Burning ambitions
IN RICH countries, where people worry about air quality and debate ways of pricing carbon emissions, coal is deeply unfashionable. Elsewhere demand for the dirty rocks has never been stronger. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reckons world consumption will increase by a fifth over the next 25 years, assuming governments stick to their current climate-change policies. A new age of coal is upon us.... the coal boom blows yet another hole in the effort to restrain greenhouse-gas emissions. The Kyoto protocol makes countries responsible only for their own direct emissions. As environmentalists point out, rich countries that spurn coal-fired power while exporting the rocks to countries with less ambitious emissions targets are merely shifting the problem around the globe. ...


Does this coal plant make my butt look big???

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Sat, Jan 29, 2011
from University of Colorado at Boulder via ScienceDaily:
Warming North Atlantic Water Tied to Heating Arctic
The temperatures of North Atlantic Ocean water flowing north into the Arctic Ocean adjacent to Greenland -- the warmest water in at least 2,000 years -- are likely related to the amplification of global warming in the Arctic, says a new international study involving the University of Colorado Boulder...The team believes that the rapid warming of the Arctic and recent decrease in Arctic sea ice extent are tied to the enhanced heat transfer from the North Atlantic Ocean..."Cold seawater is critical for the formation of sea ice, which helps to cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back to space..." ...


Call it... the "albedone effect."

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Fri, Jan 28, 2011
from London Guardian:
Climate change: Barack Obama less interested than Bush, analysis reveals
Barack Obama has paid less attention to climate change in his State of the Union addresses than any other president in the past 20 years, an analysis by a British researcher has found. Obama made no mention of the words climate change, global warming or environment in his hour-long speech on Tuesday night -- when presidents typically employ the pomp and ceremony of the annual occasion to put forward their priorities before an American television audience in the tens of millions. ...


Finicky Brits.

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Fri, Jan 28, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Revised data show feds understate climate costs
The cost of climate change impacts runs twice as high as previously estimated, according to revised data from a key economic model used by federal agencies. The preliminary analysis suggests that the number used by federal agencies to help justify emissions reductions is too low -- making the cuts appear disproportionately expensive under the cost-benefit analysis required of federal rules. The revised numbers, say scientists and economists familiar with the research, are a sign that climate impacts likely will be more expensive than previous assumptions. Models used to generate current cost impacts contain gaps and, in some cases, outdated assumptions. As those models are refined and updated, they show greater economic harm as global temperatures rise in response to greenhouse gas emissions. ...


I have a feeling there's all sorts of things being understated about the coming Apocalypse.

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Thu, Jan 27, 2011
from Reuters:
Castration seen as climate change aid for reindeer
Indigenous Sami peoples in the Arctic may have found a way to help their reindeer herds cope with climate change: more castration. Research by Sami experts shows that sterilised males can grow larger and so are better at digging for food -- as Arctic temperatures vary more, thawing snow often refreezes to form thick ice over lichen pastures. Neutered males are more able to break through ice with their hooves or antlers, and seem more willing than other males to move aside and share food with calves that can die of starvation in bad freeze-thaw winters like 2000-01. ...


Something about this solution ... just doesn't seem sustainable.

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Thu, Jan 27, 2011
from Reuters:
Arctic short-cut shipping to leap in 2011 -Russia
Russia predicted on Tuesday a surge in voyages on an Arctic short-cut sea route in 2011 as a thaw linked to climate change opens the region even more to shipping and oil and mining companies. High metals and oil prices, linked to rising demand from China and other emerging economies, is helping to spur interest in the Arctic and the route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as an alternative to travelling via the Suez canal. ...


The Apocalypse is nigh -- LET'S PARTY!!!

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Thu, Jan 27, 2011
from Associated Press:
Gingrich calls for replacing EPA
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Tuesday for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency, which he wants to replace with a new organization that would work more closely with businesses and be more aggressive in using science and technology... Gingrich, who has made several visits to Iowa recently, said the EPA was founded on sound ideas but has become a traditional Washington bureaucracy. Gingrich had previously mentioned his desire to change the EPA, but Tuesday's explanation was the first time he made a specific proposal for replacing the agency...Gingrich denied his proposal would result in environmental damage, saying he would replace the EPA with what he called the Environmental Solution Agency. ...


An agency formerly known as the Business Aggrandizement and Earth Ruination Agency.

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from BBC:
Report: Urgent action needed to avert global hunger
A UK government-commissioned study into food security has called for urgent action to avert global hunger. The Foresight Report on Food and Farming Futures says the current system is unsustainable and will fail to end hunger unless radically redesigned. It is the first study across a range of disciplines deemed to have put such fears on a firm analytical footing. The report is the culmination of a two-year study, involving 400 experts from 35 countries. ...


I prefer my fears to be based on whim and misinformation.

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from Rolling Stone:
12 Politicians and Execs Blocking Progress on Global Warming
No one does more to spread dangerous disinformation about global warming than [Rupert] Murdoch. In a year of rec­ord heat waves in Africa, freak snowstorms in America and epic flooding in Pakistan, the Fox network continued to dismiss climate change as nothing but a conspiracy by liberal scientists and Big Government. Glenn Beck told viewers the Earth experienced no warming in the past decade -- the hottest on record. Sean Hannity declared that "global warming doesn't exist" and speculated about "the true agenda of global-warming hysterics." Even Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the chatty Fox & Friends, laughed off the threat of climate change, joking that the real problem was "too many polar bears." ...


This is the dirtiest dozen of all.

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from ProPublica:
Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated
The United States is poised to bet its energy future on natural gas as a clean, plentiful fuel that can supplant coal and oil. But new research by the Environmental Protection Agency -- and a growing understanding of the pollution associated with the full "life cycle" of gas production -- is casting doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change. Advocates for natural gas routinely assert that it produces 50 percent less greenhouse gases than coal and is a significant step toward a greener energy future. But those assumptions are based on emissions from the tailpipe or smokestack and don't account for the methane and other pollution emitted when gas is extracted and piped to power plants and other customers. The EPA's new analysis doubles its previous estimates for the amount of methane gas that leaks from loose pipe fittings and is vented from gas wells, drastically changing the picture of the nation's emissions that the agency painted as recently as April. ...


Can we at least still call it natural?

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Hebrew University of Jerusalem via ScienceDaily:
Climate Change Threatens Many Tree Species
Global warming is already affecting the earth in a variety of ways that demand our attention. Now, research carried out at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem indicates that many tree species might become extinct due to climate change if no action is taken in time. According to the research, trees which disperse their seeds by wind, such as pines and maples, will be unable to spread at a pace that can cope with expected climate changes. ...


I suspect we'll all have trouble keeping up.

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne via ScienceDaily:
Humans Have Been Provoking Climate Change for Thousands of Years, Carbon History Shows
The Roman Conquest, the Black Death and the discovery of America -- by modifying the nature of the forests -- have had a significant impact on the environment. These are the findings of EPFL scientists who have researched our long history of emitting carbon into the environment. Humans didn't wait for the industrial revolution to provoke environment and climate change. They have been having an influence for at least 8000 years." ...


No wonder this habit is so hard to break.

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Inter Press Service:
Driving Straight Into Catastrophe
Despite repeated warnings by environmental and climate experts that reduction of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is fundamental to forestalling global warming, disaster appears imminent. According to the latest statistics, unprecedented climate change has Earth hurtling down a path of catastrophic proportions. The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the global consumption of primary energy in 2010 reached some 500 exajoules (EJ), a number just under the worst-case scenario formulated ten years ago by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC's Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, published in 2000, calculated the worst-case scenario as 525 EJ consumed in one calendar year. The IEA found that coal was one of the largest sources of energy consumed in 2010, comprising approximately 27 percent of the total energy consumption. Coal, one of the cheapest sources of energy, is considered the filthiest of all, as far as greenhouse gases emissions (GHGE) are concerned. ...


If you're heading for a cliff might as well accelerate!

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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from London Independent:
Fish threatened by global warming to be moved north
Fish from the Lake District will be moved to cooler waters in Scotland under radical plans -- which will be unveiled this week -- aimed at coping with climate change. The first seven of more than 100 reports by government agencies and utility companies will set out how Britain needs to change to cope with hotter summers and wetter winters. They will highlight the risks -- and potential costs -- of more landslides, buckled railway lines, crumbling water pipes and rising sea levels threatening lighthouses around the coast. Officials say the studies are needed because levels of carbon emissions mean climate change over the next four decades is unavoidable. The dangers to wildlife have triggered the most extreme solutions: the Environment Agency is poised to catch and transfer thousands of vendace and schelly, both freshwater white fish, from the lakes of Cumbria to Scottish lochs. ...


Ideally, there is so much Prozac in the water the fish won't even care they're being abducted!

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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Climate change: Dogs of law are off the leash
From being a marginal and even mocked issue, climate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake. Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money. Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map. In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions. ...


That won't be a problem here in the United States where climate change is an ideological issue.

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Sat, Jan 22, 2011
from Climatewire:
Greenland's Ice Feels the Heat in Record-Setting 2010
Greenland's massive ice sheet experienced record surface melting and runoff last year, according to research released today. Unusually warm conditions in much of the country helped extend the annual melting season by up to 50 days longer in 2010 than the average observed between 1979 and 2009, researchers found... Last year was the warmest in Greenland's capital, Nuuk, since record keeping began there in 1873. Nuuk, on the country's southwest coast, also set records in 2010 for warmest winter, spring and summer seasons. ...


We're Nuuked!

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Sat, Jan 22, 2011
from New York Times:
For Many Species, No Escape as Temperature Rises
...Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel. Polar bears have become the icons of this climate threat. But scientists say that tens of thousands of smaller species that live in the tropics or on or near mountaintops are equally, if not more, vulnerable. These species, in habitats from the high plateaus of Africa to the jungles of Australia to the Sierra Nevada in the United States, are already experiencing climate pressures, and will be the bulk of the animals that disappear. ...


Fortunately, we will always have electric sheep and other animatronic animals.

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Tue, Jan 18, 2011
from Medill National Security Journalism Initiative:
Losing the Andes glaciers
Glacier melt hasn't caused a national crisis in Peru, yet. But high in the Andes, rising temperatures and changes in water supply have decimated crops, killed fish stocks and forced entire villages to question how they will survive for another generation. U.S. officials are watching closely because without quick intervention, they say, the South American nation could become an unfortunate case study in how climate change can destabilize a strategically important region and, in turn, create conditions that pose a national security threat to Americans thousands of miles away. "Think what it would be like if the Andes glaciers were gone and we had millions and millions of hungry and thirsty Southern neighbors," said former CIA Director R. James Woolsey. "It would not be an easy thing to deal with." ...


Kind of a bummer for those Southern neighbors as well.

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Mon, Jan 17, 2011
from University of Cambridge via ScienceDaily:
Warming Climate Means Red Deer Rutting Season Arrives Early
Wild red deer on the Isle of Rum are rutting earlier in the year, a study shows. Scientists believe the annual rutting season on the Isle of Rum could be changing because of warming spring and summer temperatures. The study shows that the rutting and calving seasons are now up to two weeks earlier on average compared with 30 years ago... Scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, who maintained the long-term research, say this provides rare evidence that warming temperatures are affecting the behaviour of British mammals. ...


Some enchanted evening!

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Mon, Jan 17, 2011
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Northwest's unusually foggy summer mystifies experts
The summer of 2010 was the foggiest on record in the Pacific Northwest, according to a researcher dubbed "Dr. Fog" by his colleagues. Record levels of fog were reported in Seattle, Portland, Ore., Olympia, Wash., and from North Bend, Ore., to Quillayute, Wash., along the coast, said James Johnstone, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Washington's Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceans who's focused on West Coast fog. Though the increase in fog is consistent with global warming computer models for the West Coast, Johnstone said there were other factors in play, with California actually becoming less foggy as the Northwest grew foggier. ...


Fog, by its very nature, is supposed to be mysterious!

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Thu, Jan 13, 2011
from Associated Press:
2010 ties 2005 as warmest year on record worldwide
It's a tie: Last year equaled 2005 as the warmest year on record, government climate experts reported Wednesday. The average worldwide temperature was 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit (0.62 degree Celsius) above normal last year. That's the same as six years ago, the National Climatic Data Center announced. Climate experts have become increasingly concerned about rising global temperatures over the last century. Most atmospheric scientists attribute the change to gases released into the air by industrial processes and gasoline-burning engines. In addition, the Global Historical Climatology Network said Wednesday that last year was the wettest on record. Rain and snowfall patterns varied greatly around the world. ...


It's as if... the years are competing with each other!

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Wed, Jan 12, 2011
from Christian Science Monitor:
South in icy grip, as latest winter storm defies warming predictions
...After many Southerners experienced the second unusually cold and snowy December in a row - including Atlanta's first white Christmas since 1882 - the warming trend predicted by long-range meteorologists at the National Weather Service has so far failed to appear. A regional high-pressure system over Greenland - the North Atlantic Oscillation, or "Greenland Block" - has thrown a wrench into traditional, and easier-to-predict, weather patterns. The unusual winter conditions, especially in the South and parts of the mid-Atlantic, have renewed debates about manmade global warming, with many scientists saying the cold weather is proof of climate change and skeptics saying such global-warming hype has left many unprepared for one of the coldest and snowiest decades in 40 years. ...


It's as if the weather has a mind of its own.

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Tue, Jan 11, 2011
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Why the CIA is spying on a changing climate
... As [CIA] intelligence officials assess key components of state stability, they are realizing that the norms they had been operating with -- such as predictable river flows and crop yields -- are shifting...Back in the 1990s, the CIA opened an environmental center, swapped satellite imagery with Russia and cleared U.S. scientists to access classified information. But when the Bush administration took power, the center was absorbed by another office and work related to the climate was broadly neglected. In 2007, a report by retired high-ranking military officers called attention to the national security implications of climate change, and the National Intelligence Council followed a year later with an assessment on the topic. But some Republicans attacked it as a diversion of resources. And when CIA Director Leon Panetta stood up the climate change center in 2009, conservative lawmakers attempted to block its funding. "The CIA's resources should be focused on monitoring terrorists in caves, not polar bears on icebergs," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said at the time. ...


Is "Barrasso" pronounced "bare-asshole"?

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Tue, Jan 11, 2011
from Reuters:
EPA "pollution diet" starves agriculture: farm group
The head of the largest U.S. farm group called on Congress to stop ruinous EPA "over-regulation" of agriculture and announced on Sunday a lawsuit against EPA rules to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution. Bob Stallman, president of the 6 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation, announced the lawsuit during a speech that opened the group's annual meeting. He said the Environmental Protection Agency's "over-regulation endangers our industry." Farmers have been leery of EPA for years. Opposition has grown in the past couple of years out of concern that regulation of greenhouse gases will drive up farming expenses and that EPA may tell farmers to limit dust from fields. ...


And YOUR pollution endangers OUR environment!

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Mon, Jan 10, 2011
from CBC:
Climate change on inevitable course: study
Researchers from the University of Calgary and Environment Canada's climate centre at the University of Victoria say coastal areas will flood and the Earth's land mass will shrink as global sea levels rise by at least four metres over the next millennium. They also believe parts of North Africa will dry out by up to 30 per cent and ocean warming is likely to trigger widespread collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, a region the size of the Canadian Prairies.... "We were kind of surprised by the result, actually. Even if we change behaviour and totally change society, we're still in store for a lot of bad scenarios. I feel a bit defeatist from it."... The team used computer modelling to speculate how the world would change by the year 3000 in a "zero emissions" scenario.... If we drop dead with emissions right now, the Arctic sea ice gets worse for another 10 or 20 years but then it comes back -- so by 2100 it's back to what we're used to. "If we keep business as usual, the sea ice in the Arctic is mostly gone." ...


Time to invest in Nunavut!

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Wed, Jan 5, 2011
from Scientific American:
Why dire climate warnings boost skepticism
Although scientific evidence that anthropogenic activities are behind global warming continues to mount, belief in the phenomenon has stagnated in recent years. "When I was a pollster, I was detecting that many dire messages seemed to be counterproductive, we really needed someone to determine why," says Ted Nordhaus at the Breakthrough Institute, a Californian think-tank for energy and climate issues.... Feinberg and Willer found that participants primed to have a stronger belief in a just world reported levels of skepticism that were 29 percent higher, and a willingness to reduce their carbon footprint that was 21 percent lower, than those primed to see the world as an unjust place. Their findings are reported in Psychological Science. ...


Life ain't fair! Not at all!

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Wed, Jan 5, 2011
from Associated Press:
Reinsurer says costs from natural disasters jumped in 2010, shows evidence of climate change
A leading reinsurer said Monday that extreme natural catastrophes in 2010, including severe earthquakes, floods and heat waves, led to the sixth-highest total of insurers' losses since 1980 and showed evidence of climate change. Munich Re AG said in its annual review that insured losses came in at $37 billion (euro27.69 billion) this year, up from $22 billion in 2009. It said total economic losses, including losses not covered by insurance, rose to $130 billion from last year's $50 billion. "The high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide further indications of advancing climate change," the company said in a statement. ...


Good God, man, even the insurance dudes get it!

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Wed, Jan 5, 2011
from London Independent:
Tax on carbon: The only way to save our planet?
Professor James Hansen's last formal engagement was delivering a keynote paper to the American Geophysical Union Autumn meeting. After that, he spent the holidays not enjoying wintry walks or taking advantage of the sales, but doing something altogether more industrious. "I'm writing a paper to provide the scientific basis for [law] suits against the government - just to make them do their job," he says..."I realised that if we [scientists] don't help to connect the dots from what the science says to what the implications are for policy, then those dots get connected by people who have special interests," says Hansen, explaining his decision. "I think scientists are able to be objective. Governments just don't face the facts clearly. And it's scary because as scientists we can see what the implications are for our own children and grandchildren." ...


You know what's really scary? That we have to find this story about a courageous American scientist ... in a London newspaper.

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Mon, Jan 3, 2011
from Minneapolis Star Tribume:
Our new Minnesota normal: Warmer and wetter
The year 2011 will bring a change in the weather -- or at least what we think of as normal weather. New "normal" settings for temperatures, rainfall and snow for Minnesota -- indeed, for 10,000 U.S. locations -- will be published later this year by the National Climate Data Center, which calculates them once a decade, much like the census. For the Twin Cities and much of Minnesota, normal will probably mean warmer and wetter. The normal overall temperature for January for the Twin Cities could be 2.7 degrees warmer than the normal that's been in use for the past 10 years, based on previous calculations. That's a sizable jump in climate terms, but once people adjust to the new average, it's possible they might not be alarmed. ...


Especially if they are in denial.

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Sun, Jan 2, 2011
from Washington Post:
Coal's burnout
The headline news for the coal industry in 2010 was what didn't happen: Construction did not begin on a single new coal-fired power plant in the United States for the second straight year.... "Coal is a dead man walkin'," says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. "Banks won't finance them. Insurance companies won't insure them. The EPA is coming after them. . . . And the economics to make it clean don't work." ...


Coal in their Christmas stocking is exactly what the industry deserves.

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Sat, Jan 1, 2011
from DesdemonaDespair:
50 Doomiest Graphs of 2010
The Graph of the Day feature comprises Desdemona's assault on the left hemisphere of the brain, in the quixotic quest against delusional hope. This post complements the media barrage on the right hemisphere, 50 Doomiest Photos of 2010. 2010 yielded a torrent of new scientific data that documents the accelerating destruction of the biosphere, and Desdemona managed to capture a few graphs from the flood. Here are the most doom-laden graphs of 2010, chosen by scope, length of observational period, and sleekness of presentation. Open up your left hemisphere and drink in the data. ...


Now put both hemispheres together, and get busy! 2011 must be a year of change.

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Politico:
President Obama under pressure to deliver on climate
Jan. 2 isn't just your ordinary Sunday. It's the day the Obama administration will officially start regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and critics have issued dire predictions of economic destruction. With all the fiery rhetoric about how damaging the regulations could be, the White House is under pressure to fulfill its pledge to tackle climate change while avoiding the appearance that it's hindering job growth.... Incoming House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) last week accused EPA of advancing a "long regulatory assault" against domestic energy producers. "The EPA has its foot firmly on the throat of our economic recovery," he said. "We will not allow the administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate." ...


Better than a noose firmly on the throat of the planet's neck!

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Time:
The Northeast Blizzard: One More Sign of Global Warming
It's become as much a winter tradition as eggnog at Christmas and champagne on New Year's Eve -- the first major snowstorm of the year bringing out the climate-change skeptics. And the bona fide blizzard that has frozen much of the Northeast just a few days after winter officially began definitely qualifies as major. But while piles of snow blocking your driveway hardly conjure images of a dangerously warming world, it doesn't mean that climate change is a myth. The World Meteorological Organization recently reported that 2010 is almost certainly going to be one of the three warmest years on record, while 2001 to 2010 is already the hottest decade in recorded history. Indeed, according to some scientists, all of these events may actually be connected... The loss of Arctic sea ice helps accelerate the warming of the atmosphere in the far north, thanks to what's known as the albedo effect. White ice reflects sunlight into space, cooling the air, but when ice melts and is replaced with dark ocean water, the effect is reversed and more of the sun's heat is absorbed. As the Arctic air warms, it raises the altitude of discrete areas of high pressure, which can then alter wind patterns. This, in turn, can weaken the jet stream, allowing more cold air to seep out of the Arctic and into Europe and the eastern U.S. ...


Just like snowmen, climate skeptics will melt.

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010
from NPR:
Small Beetles Massacre The Rockies' Whitebark Pines
The Whitebark pine trees in the high-elevation areas of America's Northern Rockies have stood for centuries. But these formerly lush evergreen forests are disappearing at an alarmingly fast rate; what remains are eerie stands of red and gray snags. Warmer climates have sparked an outbreak of a voracious mountain pine beetle that is having devastating consequences for whitebarks and the wildlife that depend on them... As entomologist Jesse Logan looks up at snow-covered slopes speckled with skeletons of dead trees, he says the massacre is happening faster than even he expected. More than a decade ago, Logan predicted that with global warming, these tiny, ravenous beetles would start to thrive here. At the time, other insect experts were skeptical. But in recent years, winter cold snaps haven't been nearly as brutal as usual. ...


This, my friends, is the Age of Skeptics Are Usually Wrong.

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Six months after Pakistan floods, seven million remain without shelter
...he biggest disaster in Pakistan's history inflicted its deadliest wrath in these northern reaches, as summer monsoons ripped down the valleys, devouring land, people and entire villages. The brown torrent killed almost 2,000 people, but that number hardly begins to encompass the months of misery that followed, those who died of malnutrition or disease as they fled the rising water. Now, as winter blows into the mountains, an estimated seven million people remain without proper shelter. Villagers scrabble in the earth, trying to build homes that will keep them warm among the snow drifts. ...


If any of you are having trouble visualizing our post-Apocalyptic future, look no further.

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Sun, Dec 26, 2010
from Associated Press:
The problem with wheat
In these volcanic valleys of central Mexico, on the Canadian prairies, across India's northern plain, they sow and they reap the golden grain that has fed us since the distant dawn of farming. But along with the wheat these days comes a harvest of worry. Yields aren't keeping up with a world growing hungrier. Crops are stunted in a world grown warmer. A devastating fungus, a wheat "rust," is spreading out of Africa, a grave threat to the food plant that covers more of the planet's surface than any other. ...


Let them eat rust.

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Fri, Dec 24, 2010
from New York Times:
Climate Change and 'Balanced' Coverage
In an article this week on the relentless rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, I outlined one of the canonical projections of climate science: if the amount of carbon dioxide doubles, the average surface temperature of the earth is likely to increase by 5 or 6 degrees Fahrenheit, a whopping change. I contrasted that with a prediction from skeptics of climate change who contend that the increase is likely to be less than 2 degrees. One major voice on climate science, Richard B. Alley of the Pennsylvania State University, told me he gets annoyed by the way this contrast is often presented in news accounts. The higher estimate is often put forward as a worst case, he pointed out, while the skeptic number is presented as the best case... The true worst case from doubled carbon dioxide is closer to 18 or 20 degrees of warming, Dr. Alley said -- an addition of heat so radical that it would render the planet unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants. ...


Just when you thought it was safe to slip back into denial.

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Tue, Dec 21, 2010
from London Guardian:
That snow outside is what global warming looks like
... There is now strong evidence to suggest that the unusually cold winters of the last two years in the UK are the result of heating elsewhere.... Here's what seems to be happening. The global temperature maps published by Nasa present a striking picture. Last month's shows a deep blue splodge over Iceland, Spitsbergen, Scandanavia and the UK, and another over the western US and eastern Pacific. Temperatures in these regions were between 0.5C and 4C colder than the November average from 1951 and 1980. But on either side of these cool blue pools are raging fires of orange, red and maroon: the temperatures in western Greenland, northern Canada and Siberia were between 2C and 10C higher than usual. Nasa's Arctic oscillations map for 3-10 December shows that parts of Baffin Island and central Greenland were 15C warmer than the average for 2002-9. There was a similar pattern last winter. These anomalies appear to be connected. ...


In the future all our anomalies will be connected.

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Mon, Dec 20, 2010
from CNN:
Going green to save the white of the Alps
In the Alps, the term "going green" is not necessarily a good thing. While efforts to be more environmentally friendly are welcome, the region is under threat from climate change that could mean in the future the snowy, white slopes in the winter are more a grassy, green color... According to figures from an OECD report from 2007, a two degree Celsius rise in temperature would reduce the number of skiable areas in the Alps from nearly 700 to around 400. Those lying below 1,500 meters are most vulnerable.... ...


On the flip side, with sea level rise, we'll have more water skiing!

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Mon, Dec 20, 2010
from Associated Press:
2010's world gone wild: Quakes, floods, blizzards
This was the year the Earth struck back. Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 -- the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined. "It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves," said Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It handled a record number of disasters in 2010. "The term `100-year event' really lost its meaning this year." And we have ourselves to blame most of the time, scientists and disaster experts say. Even though many catastrophes have the ring of random chance, the hand of man made this a particularly deadly, costly, extreme and weird year for everything from wild weather to earthquakes. ...


The hand of man is a mighty instrument of ineptitude.

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Sun, Dec 19, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
On the move in a warming world: The rise of climate refugees
... Across the Sahel, a band of semi-arid land south of the Sahara stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, an estimated 10 million people suffered food shortages this year, including 850,000 children who are acutely malnourished and could die without urgent care. In the Sahel region of Chad, more than 20 per cent of children are acutely malnourished, on top of a chronic malnutrition rate of about 50 per cent. In some regions, mothers are desperately digging into anthills in search of tiny grains and seeds for their children. And this is just one of many places around the world where the changing climate has left the people dependent on foreign aid. When the 190-nation climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, staggered to an end last weekend, there was no binding agreement on curbing carbon emissions and no sign of a treaty to replace the soon-expiring Kyoto Protocol. The negotiators will try again next December. But regardless of those negotiations, the facts on the ground will not change: The climate is growing more precarious, and millions of people are on the move. The question now is whether to encourage them to migrate - or to salvage their ravaged land with long-term investment, instead of simply handing out emergency aid. ...


Is there no other option, such as colonizing Mars? C'mon, people, where's the can-do vision?

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Mon, Dec 13, 2010
from Reuters:
Analysis: Next climate test: how to adapt
...Because nations are unlikely to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate change, world leaders must work out how developing nations will adapt to more severe weather predicted in coming years that will hit food and water supplies...Until now, most efforts have been on curbing greenhouse gases from factories, power plants and vehicles -- not on adapting to a changing climate of droughts, floods and a creeping rise in sea levels. The Cancun deal asks countries to submit ideas by February 21 about steps to set up an "Adaptation Committee." ...


I can get used to anything but committees.

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Sat, Dec 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
UN climate meeting OKs Green Fund in new accord
A U.N. conference on Saturday adopted a modest climate deal creating a fund to help the developing world go green, though it deferred for another year the tough work of carving out deeper reductions in carbon emissions causing Earth to steadily warm. Though the accords were limited, it was the first time in three years the 193-nation conference adopted any climate action, restoring faith in the unwieldy U.N. process after the letdown a year ago at a much-anticipated summit in Copenhagen. The Cancun Agreements created institutions for delivering technology and funding to poorer countries, though they did not say where the funding would come from. ...


We developing countries dodged the bullet again!

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Fri, Dec 10, 2010
from Houston Chronicle:
Study: Clouds' cooling role weakens in warmer world
Until now one of the biggest uncertainties in climate change is whether a warming world will change how clouds regulate temperature. Will they trap more heat, or will they offer a net cooling by reflecting more of the sun's heat? A Texas A&M University scientist, Andrew Dessler, has produced some of the first data to address this question, and his conclusion is that current climate models do a pretty good job of simulating the changing nature of clouds in a warmer world. The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, also appears to strike at a central tenet of some climate skeptics who believe clouds will offset much of the projected warming in a world with elevated greenhouse gases. "Scientists are always thinking about where we could be wrong," Dessler said. "Clouds are one of the last places where scientists could really be wrong with respect to climate change. My work is really a first step toward removing this possibility. "The opportunities for legitimate skepticism are drying up." ...


Those climate skeptics just have their heads in the clouds.

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Tue, Dec 7, 2010
from ABC News:
GOP's Global Warming Skeptics to Take House Chairs on Energy, Science
All of the contenders in line to head the prestigious House committees responsible for setting America's energy and science policy are global warming skeptics, and that's causing scientists to worry that Republicans will use their new positions for political grandstanding at the expense of scientific advancement. The Republicans, who will take over leadership of the House in January, have not yet announced who will chair the Energy and Commerce Committee or the Science and Technology Committee, but the short lists for both committees consist solely of congressmen who question the veracity of climate change. ...


The Rapture can't come soon enough.

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Sun, Dec 5, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
At climate summit, they're feeling like deserted islands
...As the 12-day [Cancun] summit moves into high gear this week, small island nations may be the noisiest critics, but they are hardly alone in their frustration that a legally binding agreement to reduce planet-heating pollutants has no chance to be concluded here. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Wednesday that the Cancun talks "won't result in anything" because no major leaders are attending. Climate negotiations in Copenhagen ended in acrimony last year, with 120 heads of state, including President Obama, in attendance. This year, except for a few leaders of smaller nations, ministers and diplomats are doing the talking. ...


So... leaders showing up doesn't work, and leaders NOT showing up doesn't work. What on earth will work?

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Sun, Dec 5, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Who will pay for the environmental mess we're in?
Many leaders from the developing world and Western activists are demanding trillion-dollar reparations for the developed world's damage to the Earth's atmosphere at the expense of the poor. Their argument is an extension of the anti-globalization, anti-corporate credo that assigns moral blame for the vast gap in global living standards. Representatives from developing countries arrived at Cancun determined to hold rich nations to account for their role in causing what scientists say is a growing climate crisis, one that will hit poor nations the hardest. However, the United States and the European Union are mired in the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. The heightened level of economic insecurity -- and the perception that China is overtaking Western economies -- will make it increasingly difficult for those governments to win public support for massive climate-related transfers to developing countries that would have been politically problematic even before the global slump. ...


Unfortunately, we're all gonna pay!

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Sun, Dec 5, 2010
from Daily Mail:
Jellyfish are taking over the oceans: Population surge as rising acidity of world's seas kills predators
Britain's beaches could soon be inundated with records numbers of jellyfish, marine experts warned today. Scientists say the number of jellyfish are on the rise thanks to the increasing acidity of the world's oceans. The warning comes in a new report into ocean acidification - an often overlooked side effect of burning fossil fuel.... The report, written by Dr Carol Turley of Plymouth University, said: 'Ocean acidification has also been tentatively linked to increased jellyfish numbers and changes in fish abundance.' Jellyfish are immune to the effects of acidification. As other species decline, jellyfish will move in to fill the ecological niche. Populations have boomed in the Mediterranean in recent years. Some marine scientists say the changing chemistry of the sea is to blame.... The report says acidification may push overstressed oceans into disaster with far reaching consequences the billions of people who rely on fish as their main protein source.... 'The basic chemistry of sea water is being altered on a scale unseen within fossil records over at least 20 million years,' the report said. ...


I hear Ashton Kutcher's mistress has a sex tape, and boy is he pissed!

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Sat, Dec 4, 2010
from Associated Press:
As climate talks drag on, more ponder techno-fixes
Like the warming atmosphere above, a once-taboo idea hangs over the slow, frustrating U.N. talks to curb climate change: the idea to tinker with the atmosphere or the planet itself, pollute the skies to ward off the sun, fill the oceans with gas-eating plankton, do whatever it takes. As climate negotiators grew more discouraged in recent months, U.S. and British government bodies urged stepped-up studies of such "geoengineering."... Schemes were floated for using aircraft, balloons or big guns to spread sulfate particles in the lower stratosphere to reflect sunlight, easing the warming scientists say is being caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by industry, vehicles and agriculture. Others suggested assembling gargantuan mirrors in orbit to fend off the solar radiation. Still others propose -- and a German experiment tried -- seeding the ocean with iron, a nutrient that would spur the spread of plankton, which absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. ...


Hey, if we can't get real work done, we might as well fire up the bong!

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Fri, Dec 3, 2010
from CBC:
2010 set to be Canada's warmest year
The year 2010 is expected to be one of the three warmest years worldwide since the collection of reliable climate data began -- and Canada's on track to record its hottest year yet. The data released Thursday by the UN's weather agency, the World Meteorological Organization, provides further evidence of a warming trend that has been seen for many years. Scientists blame a steady rise in man-made greenhouse gases, which have been building up in the atmosphere, trapping heat in. During the first 10 months of 2010, the global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature was 0.55 degrees C above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14 degrees C.... The final ranking of 2010 won't be known until data from November and December are examined early next year. But measurements from the first 25 days of November suggest global temperatures continue to track record levels. "Canada had its warmest winter on record, with national temperatures 4 degrees C above the long-term average," said the WMO. "Winter temperatures were 6 degrees C or more above normal in parts of [Canada's] North." ...


Why, that's practically winter in Cancun!

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Tue, Nov 30, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
A ringside seat at the end of the world: 127 Hours
...Once I worked through the trauma of having watched this film, I began to think of its larger, metaphoric aspects. For those of you who thought there'd be some respite from the theme of this column, sorry! Ralston is somewhat of a Peter Pan loner, afraid of commitment, doing whatever the heck he wants, whenever he wants, never telling anyone where he's going (a key theme of the film). Meanwhile, there's a comeuppance to his arrogance in the form of the accident, and Ralston has to do something inconceivable to survive. Now consider the USA in terms of our hero's predicament: four percent of the world population, burning 25 percent of its energy, going it alone in its nascent, Peter Pan stages as a nation, and there's the ongoing accident called climate change. The country is going about its business (business, first!) and even under a we-can-change Obama administration, climate change policy has been put on the back, increasingly hot burner as we turn our attention to more immediate needs. ...


In the 11th hour of his 127 hours, Aron Ralston did the unimaginable!

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Mon, Nov 29, 2010
from Scientific American:
Worst case study: global temp up 7.2F degrees by 2060s
World temperatures could soar by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the 2060s in the worst case of global climate change and require an annual investment of $270 billion just to contain rising sea levels, studies suggested on Sunday. Such a rapid rise, within the lifetimes of many young people today, is double the 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) ceiling set by 140 governments at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen last year and would disrupt food and water supplies in many parts of the globe. Rising greenhouse gas emissions this decade meant the 2 degree goal was "extremely difficult, arguably impossible, raising the likelihood of global temperature rises of 3 or 4 degrees C within this century," an international team wrote.... One of the papers gave what it called a "pragmatic estimate" that sea levels might rise by between 0.5 and 2 meters (1.64 to 6.56 feet) by 2100 if temperatures rose 4 degrees Celsius. Containing a sea level rise of 2 meters, mostly building Dutch-style sea walls, would require annual investments of up to $270 billion a year by 2100. ...


Good news, since our worst case scenarios are much worser.

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Sun, Nov 28, 2010
from London Observer:
A billion people will lose their homes due to climate change, says report
Devastating changes to sea levels, rainfall, water supplies, weather systems and crop yields are increasingly likely before the end of the century, scientists will warn tomorrow. A special report, to be released at the start of climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, will reveal that up to a billion people face losing their homes in the next 90 years because of failures to agree curbs on carbon emissions. Up to three billion people could lose access to clean water supplies because global temperatures cannot now be stopped from rising by 4C. ...


Cancun is going to be even more fun than Copenhagen!

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Fri, Nov 26, 2010
from London Guardian:
Copenhagen climate activists found guilty
Two Danish activists who took part in the Copenhagen climate demonstrations last December have been found guilty of organising and instigating violence and vandalism, and have both been given four-month suspended sentences. One of the three judges in the case disagreed with the verdict. Tannie Nyboe and Stine Gry Jonassen were both spokespeople for the Climate Justice Action group, part of the network involved in some of the demonstrations in Copenhagen during the UN's COP15 climate summit. They have been convicted of four charges, including inciting violence against the police, serious disturbance of the police, interfering with police in the course of their work and destruction of property. The case against them was based, controversially, on evidence gathered by tapping their phones before the conference, and also on video footage taken during the "Reclaim Power" demonstration on 16 December. ...


Too bad the chilling effect this might have on protest doesn't also chill the warming earth.

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Thu, Nov 25, 2010
from London Daily Telegraph:
Ice core on public display in new drive to educate public on climate change
The Science Museum is the first institution in the world to put an "ice core" on display. The three foot high block of ice was drilled from beneath the Antarctic in 1989 by the British Antarctic Survey. The core was taken from almost 200ft beneath the top of the ice, where the snow was laid down in layers hundreds of years ago, trapping the air. It was brought back to England as part of efforts to try and understand the past climate and how greenhouse gases have affected temperatures...This suggests that carbon dioxide causes global warming, prompting concern that the unprecedented growth in carbon since the industrial revolution could cause catastrophic climate change. ...


I've got a wood core teaching tool, myself.

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Thu, Nov 25, 2010
from Associated Press:
World's lakes getting hotter, more than the air
A first-of-its-kind NASA study is finding nice cool lakes are heating up -- even faster than air. Two NASA scientists used satellite data to look at 104 large inland lakes around the world and found that on average they have warmed 2 degrees (1.1 degree Celsius) since 1985. That's about two-and-a-half times the increase in global temperatures in the same time period. Russia's Lake Ladoga and America's Lake Tahoe are warming significantly and the most, said study co-author Simon Hook, a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif. Tahoe has heated up by 3 degrees (1.7 degrees Celsius) since 1985, while Ladoga has been even hotter, going up by 4 degrees (2.2 degrees Celsius). ...


Slouching ever closer ... toward the Lake of Fire!

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Tue, Nov 23, 2010
from Climatewire:
Republicans Learn the Perils of Being Politically Incorrect on Climate Change
Defeat came for Republican Rep. Bob Inglis because he slid to "Satan's side." hat's how South Carolina voters perceive Inglis' newfound belief in climate change, says the outgoing lawmaker, who lost his primary bid in June to tea party candidate, and now representative-elect, Trey Gowdy. Inglis reflected on several blasphemies he committed in the eyes of voters in a departing interview last week, held in his congressional office. They ranged from opposing President George W. Bush's troop surge in Iraq to supporting his Troubled Asset Relief Program. But none of those, Inglis said, had as strong an impact as his assertions that atmospheric warming is a scientific certainty. ...


Dear God... could you please bestow some brains upon your followers?

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Sun, Nov 21, 2010
from Guardian:
Global emissions of carbon dioxide drop 1.3 percent, say international scientists
Global emissions of carbon dioxide dropped by 1.3 percent in 2009 compared with the previous year, largely due to the effects of the economic crisis and an overall fall in GDP, according to an international team of scientists. The drop is smaller than the 2.8 percent fall predicted by many experts for 2009, however, because the reductions in carbon emissions per unit of GDP - a measure of efficiency called the carbon intensity - was smaller than expected in many emerging economies.... Despite the 1.3 percent overall drop, the 2009 global fossil fuel emissions - 30.8bn tons of CO2 - were the second highest in human history, just below the all-time high of 2008. The small overall decrease in global emissions masks some big regional shifts, according to the report published today in Nature Geoscience. Because the global financial crisis has mainly affected developed nations, this is where emissions dropped by the largest amounts: in the US by 6.9 percent, the UK by 8.6 percent, Germany by 7 percent, Japan by 11.8 percent, Russia by 8.4 percent and Australia by 0.4 percent. In the emerging markets, however, there were big increases: China rose by 8 percent, India by 6.2 percent and South Korea by 1.4 percent. ...


Big sale! 1.3 percent off $30 billion dollars!

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Sat, Nov 20, 2010
from TheEnergyCollective:
Oil industry insider exposé: what it took to wake some of them up on climate.
I've just read Challenged by Carbon: The Oil Industry and Climate Change, which was written by Dr. Bryan Lovell, a former senior executive at British Petroleum.... Lovell writes about how it came to be that the senior European oil executives backed Kyoto while Exxon-Mobil continued on with its denial campaign. In the process, he also shows us what he and his European counterparts believe about how dangerous climate change is. I was astonished.... The oil execs understand and believe that the amount of carbon that is being moved into the atmosphere as civilization accelerates its use of fossil fuels is going in at such a rate that the only comparable event in Earth's history is the PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum). They believe a recurrence of this event is not only possible but likely. They can't face being held responsible by history. The European senior oil execs, unlike their American counterparts, and perhaps only briefly, lost their nerve about the denial policy, backed Kyoto, and confronted the Americans. The science described by Lovell is why BP started its "Beyond Petroleum" campaign. The science hasn't changed. Obviously, BP has. ...


Hey, you think there'll even be any historians left? Ha! I'm safe.

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Thu, Nov 18, 2010
from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via ScienceDaily:
As Arctic Temperatures Rise, Tundra Fires Increase
In September, 2007, the Anaktuvuk River Fire burned more than 1,000 square kilometers of tundra on Alaska's North Slope, doubling the area burned in that region since record keeping began in 1950. A new analysis of sediment cores from the burned area revealed that this was the most destructive tundra fire at that site for at least 5,000 years. Models built on 60 years of climate and fire data found that even moderate increases in warm-season temperatures in the region dramatically increase the likelihood of such fires. ...


You know you're in trouble when your tundra is on fire!

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Thu, Nov 18, 2010
from CNN:
Climate project calls for citizen scientists
An international team of climate scientists is calling on the public to help with a new initiative aimed at predicting how the climate will change during the 21st century. Using the collective power of ordinary home computers, scientists from the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa will run thousands of regional climate modeling tests which would otherwise take much longer to complete, even on the most up-to-date supercomputers... With the help of the public's PCs scientists will now start running regional climate models for the western United States, Europe and southern Africa. People interested in signing up to the project can visit http://climateprediction.net/weatherathome/ where they can download all the necessary tools to start running regional climate models from their own computers. ...


C'mon kids let's put on a show!

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Wed, Nov 17, 2010
from Climatewire:
The 'Fate of the World' Will Soon Be in Your Hands (Virtually Speaking)
...A British game designer is launching "Fate of the World," a climate change video game giving the gamer total control of the world's energy economy -- and a bird's-eye view of what happens if he or she flips the wrong switches. In a way, a computer game is the perfect medium for the topic. Part of the reason U.S. action is so lukewarm, environmentalists have complained, is that climate's too big to grasp. Carbon dioxide is invisible, and its consequences are too far away. The likely consequences -- future floods, drought, famine -- lack a personal touch. ...


Only problem is with most video games, it's most fun when you destroy things.

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Wed, Nov 17, 2010
from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via ScienceDaily:
Earth's Lower Atmosphere Is Warming, Review of Four Decades of Scientific Literature Concludes
The troposphere, the lower part of the atmosphere closest to the Earth, is warming and this warming is broadly consistent with both theoretical expectations and climate models, according to a new scientific study that reviews the history of understanding of temperature changes and their causes in this key atmospheric layer.... The paper documents how, since the development of the very first climate models in the early 1960s, the troposphere has been projected to warm along with the Earth's surface because of the increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere....This new paper extensively reviews the relevant scientific analyses -- 195 cited papers, model results and atmospheric data sets -- and finds that there is no longer evidence for a fundamental discrepancy and that the troposphere is warming. ...


We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Apocalypse.

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Tue, Nov 16, 2010
from UC Berkeley News:
Dire messages about global warming can backfire, new study shows
Dire or emotionally charged warnings about the consequences of global warming can backfire if presented too negatively, making people less amenable to reducing their carbon footprint, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley. "Our study indicates that the potentially devastating consequences of global warming threaten people's fundamental tendency to see the world as safe, stable and fair. As a result, people may respond by discounting evidence for global warming," said Robb Willer, UC Berkeley social psychologist and coauthor of a study to be published in the January issue of the journal Psychological Science. "The scarier the message, the more people who are committed to viewing the world as fundamentally stable and fair are motivated to deny it," agreed Matthew Feinberg, a doctoral student in psychology and coauthor of the study. But if scientists and advocates can communicate their findings in less apocalyptic ways, and present solutions to global warming, Willer said, most people can get past their skepticism. ...


Dog-gone it! The world needs a humor site for global warming!

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Tue, Nov 16, 2010
from Climatewire:
Can Social Scientists Help Ease the Nation's Rift Over Climate Change?
Stop being so skeptical of climate skeptics, says one researcher who believes there's been a failure to understand the mounting cultural doubt around atmospheric warming. The national discussion on climate change is brimming with economic models, scientific findings and wonky plans to fix it. But something is missing: academic explanations of why people flout reams of scientific conclusions, bristle at the notion of cutting carbon and regard climate change as a sneaky liberal plot.... She came away with themes that will sketch an outline of the skeptical movement for future research: Adherents tend to be middle-aged, white males who resent government, are suspicious of scientists and their peer-reviewed protocols, and believe global warming is made up to hit them in the wallet. ...


They'll eventually die off... won't they?

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Tue, Nov 16, 2010
from The Daily Climate:
Feds understate the cost of climate disruption, critics contend
The Obama Administration has ignored wrenching climate impacts such as ocean acidification in its effort to estimate the cost of carbon emissions, making emissions limits disproportionately expensive, economists say... In February an inter-agency workgroup released the administration's best guess of what each ton of carbon dioxide dumped in the atmosphere costs society: $21, plus or minus, or roughly $121 billion worth of damages annually as a result of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions [pdf]... The lower the estimated cost of disruption - known as the "social cost of carbon" - the less action the Obama Administration can justify. And several economists and scientists fear that the Administration has low-balled the figure, handicapping its ability to curb emissions. ...


Somehow it seems like it's the president's job, whoever is in the position, to screw this up.

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Mon, Nov 15, 2010
from Reuters:
Climate science "under-reported" at 2009 U.N. summit
Less than 10 percent of the articles written about last year's Copenhagen climate summit dealt primarily with the science of climate change, a study showed on Monday. Based on analysis of 400 articles written about the December 2009 summit, the authors of the report for Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) called for a re-think of reporting on future such conferences. Author James Painter concluded that "science was under-reported" as the essential backdrop to the drama when about 120 world leaders met in Copenhagen but failed to agree a binding treaty to slow climate change. Much coverage from Copenhagen instead focused on hacked e-mails from a British university that some skeptics took as evidence of efforts by scientists to ignore dissenting views. The scientists involved have since been cleared of wrongdoing. ...


If it ain't sexy or dramatic, it ain't worth reading!

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Sun, Nov 14, 2010
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Ocean waves getting bigger, and stronger
...Ocean waves are becoming bigger and more powerful, and climate change could be the cause... Using buoy data and models based on wind patterns, scientists say that the waves off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and along the Atlantic seaboard from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., are steadily increasing in size... Since the mid-1970s, buoy data show the height of the biggest waves off the Northwest coast has increased an average of about four inches a year, or about 10 feet total... ...


Perhaps the oceans are simply evolving.

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Thu, Nov 11, 2010
from London Daily Mail:
'The planet won't be destroyed by global warming because God promised Noah,' says politician bidding to chair U.S. energy committee
A Republican congressman hoping to chair the powerful House Energy Committee refers to the Bible and God on the issue of global warming. Representative John Shimkus insists we shouldn't concerned about the planet being destroyed because God promised Noah it wouldn't happen again after the great flood. Speaking before a House Energy Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing in March, 2009, Shimkus quoted Chapter 8, Verse 22 of the Book of Genesis. He said: 'As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.' The Illinois Republican continued: 'I believe that is the infallible word of God, and that's the way it is going to be for his creation. 'The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood. ...


Dear God: Could you please make sure this guy is in charge of nothing?

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Wed, Nov 10, 2010
from The Onion:
Report: Global Warming Issue From 2 Or 3 Years Ago May Still Be Problem
According to a report released this week by the Center for Global Development, climate change, the popular mid-2000s issue that raised awareness of the fact that the earth's continuous rise in temperature will have catastrophic ecological effects, has apparently not been resolved, and may still be a problem.... "Global warming, if you remember correctly, was the single greatest problem of our lifetime back in 2007 and the early part of 2008," CGD president Nancy Birdsall said. "But then the debates over Social Security reform and the World Trade Center mosque came up, and the government had to shift its focus away from the dramatic rise in sea levels, the rapid spread of deadly infectious diseases, and the imminent destruction of our entire planet." Continued Birdsall, "Because the problem of global warming and massive environmental devastation appears to be lingering, however, the time may be right for the federal government to consider dealing with it again in some way." ...


Leave it to The Onion to remind us. Damn you, satirists!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 9, 2010
from Mother Jones:
The GOP's Coming Climate Witch Hunt
Last Tuesday, as Americans across the country headed to the polls, a group of climate scientists gathered in Denver to discuss strategies for fighting back against right-wing attacks on global warming science. Their timing couldn't have been better. With the ascent of the Republicans, climate science -- and scientists -- will be a major target for the new House majority... Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the incoming head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has pledged to hold hearings on the "Politicization of Science," which will consist of a rehashing of the so-called ClimateGate "scandal." He's also called for greater oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency's coming regulations of greenhouse gases. With Issa in charge, the oversight committee will devote a good deal of time to hauling government and university climate scientists before Congress. ...


Issa is going to pissa me off!

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Mon, Nov 8, 2010
from Toronto Star:
Climate change prosperity or disparity?
What do you do when your entire homeland is slipping into the sea? This is the earth-shattering reality facing the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu, rapidly being reclaimed by the Pacific owing to rising sea levels. For the families of this small, slivered island nation, climate change is not something to prepare for in the distant future; it is a reality leading to the melting of polar ice caps and currently stripping them of their homes, their livelihoods and their ancestry. The plight of the Tuvalu islanders is just one heart-rending example of "environmental refugees" -- persons displaced, often permanently, from their homes owing to extreme weather events, such as floods, desertification and rising sea levels. ...


Too-da-loo, Tuvalu...

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 7, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Grim outlook for grizzlies in Yellowstone region
With milder winters affecting their food and hibernation habits, they're forced into a meat-dependent diet -- putting them at odds with humans and livestock. They could end up as despised as wolves. It's been a bad year for grizzly bears, and, if forecasts prove correct, it's only going to get worse. The tally of grizzly deaths in the states bordering the greater Yellowstone region is fast approaching the worst on record. And that's before the numbers come in from the current hunting season, a time when accidental grizzly shootings are traditionally high. Here in Wyoming, more bears were killed this year than ever, including a bear shot by a hunter last week. A number of complex factors are believed to be working against grizzlies, including climate change. Milder winters have allowed bark beetles to decimate the white-bark pine, whose nuts are a critical food source for grizzlies. Meanwhile, there has been a slight seasonal shift for plants that grizzlies rely on when they prepare to hibernate and when they emerge in the spring, changing the creatures' denning habits. ...


I'm not sure any organisms -- other than invasive species -- are having much of a year.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Nov 4, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
A ringside seat at the end of the world: The Titanic deck chairs are burning
Let's mix up some metaphors to try and fathom what happened during the elections. At the very moment that we should be peeling back the onion of denial on climate change, and moving WITHOUT PAUSE to an energy efficient economy -- and human behavioral change toward conservation -- we just fell further down the rabbit hole. Republicans, by and large a motley group of climate change deniers, have now taken over the House of Representatives. The Democrats still have a majority in the Senate, but they are by and large a motley group of climate change cowards, as many of them must bend over for coal and oil industry interests.... And so with this election we are fiddling around with the chairs on the Titanic as Rome is burning. ...


Not to mention being up a creek, paddlessly!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 3, 2010
from USA Today:
Global warming may bring giant, voracious crabs to Antarctica
Changing ocean temperatures may allow giant, voracious, predatory crabs to enter the unique continental-shelf ecosystems of Antarctica. Research by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton in the United Kingdom found that even small increases in water temperature due to global warming could bring king crabs into new areas. King crabs are a popular food source. But historically they haven't been able to live in the high-Antarctic continental shelves, so the species that currently live there have not evolved to cope with them. ...


I suppose we had this coming.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 1, 2010
from The Vancouver Tyee:
US Tea Party's Deep Ties to Oil Sands Giant
The Tea Party movement, poised to help shift the U.S. legislature to the right and stymie President Obama's green agenda, has financial and organizational ties to Koch Industries, one of America's biggest processors of Alberta oil sands crude. Congressional midterm elections on Tuesday could create a U.S. government less amenable to climate change action, partly a result of Tea Party influence. That would likely bode well for Alberta's carbon-intensive oil sands industry, which has long worried that national greenhouse gas standards south of the border will reduce profits and restrict future growth.... Koch Industries provides critical support for the Tea Party movement through Americans for Prosperity (AFP), an advocacy group it established in 2003 and now helps fund. AFP sponsored and helped organize nearly 1,000 Tea Party rallies in April. ...


Sounds like a bunch of dicks to me.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 1, 2010
from London Guardian:
Obama environment agenda under threat from incoming Republicans
Republican leaders have begun gathering evidence for sweeping investigations of Barack Obama's environmental agenda, from climate science to the BP oil spill, if as expected, they take control of the House of Representatives in the 2 November mid-term elections, the Guardian has learned. The new Congress will not be installed until next January, but Democrats and environmental organisations say they are braced for multiple, aggressive investigations from the incoming Republican majority. Republican leaders have also raised the possibility of disbanding the global warming committee in Congress, established by the Democratic speaker, Nancy Pelosi. ...


It would be soooo cool if, upon investigation, it turned out global warming isn't real.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 29, 2010
from Pew Research Center:
Wide Partisan Divide Over Global Warming
...Views about climate change continue to be sharply divided along party lines. A substantial majority of Democrats (79 percent) say there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been increasing over the past few decades, and 53 percent think the earth is warming mostly because of human activity. Among Republicans, only 38 percent agree the earth is warming and just 16 percent say warming is caused by humans. Roughly half of Republicans (53 percent) say there is no solid evidence of warming. These patterns are little changed from a year ago. More than half of independents (56 percent) say there is solid evidence of warming, but just 32 percent think it can mostly be attributed to human actions. Opinions among independents who lean toward the Republican Party or Democratic Party are similar to those of partisans. ...


Whew! I thought global warming was real but it's actually ideological!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 28, 2010
from Huffington Post:
Greenhouse Gases Database: Companies Fight To Keep Global Warming Data Secret
Some of the country's largest emitters of heat-trapping gases, including businesses that publicly support efforts to curb global warming, don't want the public knowing exactly how much they pollute. Oil producers and refiners, along with manufacturers of steel, aluminum and even home appliances, are fighting a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency that would make the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that companies release - and the underlying data businesses use to calculate the amounts - available online. While gross estimates exist for such emissions from transportation and electricity production and manufacturing as a whole, the EPA is requiring companies for the first time to submit information for each individual facility. The companies say that disclosing details beyond a facility's total emissions to the public would reveal company secrets by letting competitors know what happens inside their factories. More importantly, they argue, when it comes to understanding global warming, the public doesn't need to know anything more than what goes into the air. "There is no need for the public to have information beyond what is entering the atmosphere," Steven H. Bernhardt, global director for regulatory affairs for Honeywell International Inc., said in comments filed with the agency earlier this year. The Morristown, N.J.-based company is a leading manufacturer of hydrofluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas used in a variety of consumer products. Honeywell wants the EPA to reconsider its proposal, which the company said would damage its business.... Aluminum smelters want 11 of the 15 data fields the EPA intends to make public kept confidential, according to comments filed by the Aluminum Association. Koch Nitrogen Co. LLC, a fertilizer producer, questions the EPA's desire to make unit-specific or facility-specific emissions available, calling it "misguided" since a change in pollution from a single factory is unlikely to influence policy on a global problem. ...


Good thing these corporations are now free to buy any election anonymously!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 27, 2010
from University of Delaware via ScienceDaily:
As Arctic Warms, Increased Shipping Likely to Accelerate Climate Change
As the ice-capped Arctic Ocean warms, ship traffic will increase at the top of the world. And if the sea ice continues to decline, a new route connecting international trading partners may emerge -- but not without significant repercussions to climate, according to a U.S. and Canadian research team that includes a University of Delaware scientist. Growing Arctic ship traffic will bring with it air pollution that has the potential to accelerate climate change in the world's northern reaches. And it's more than a greenhouse gas problem -- engine exhaust particles could increase warming by some 17-78 percent, the researchers say. ...


Why not make a horrific situation even worse!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 26, 2010
from London Guardian:
Drought brings Amazon tributary to lowest level in a century
One of the most important tributaries of the Amazon river has fallen to its lowest level in over a century, following a fierce drought that has isolated tens of thousands of rainforest inhabitants and raised concerns about the possible impact of climate change on the region. The drought currently affecting swaths of north and west Amazonia has been described as the one of the worst in the last 40 years, with the Rio Negro or Black river, which flows into the world-famous Rio Amazonas, reportedly hitting its lowest levels since records began in 1902 on Sunday. In 24 hours the level of the Rio Negro near Manaus in Brazil dropped 6cm to 13.63 metres, a historic low. ...


What will we call the rainforest, in the Age of Drought?

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Mon, Oct 25, 2010
from London Guardian:
Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters
BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party