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Climate Change

Page history last edited by Ian Balcom (Dr B.) 8 years, 8 months ago






Shawn Redmond

Ocean Acidification ~ Effects on Coral Reefs



^^^^ Interesting article published on behalf of Teach Ocean Science. The article goes on to discuss the damaging effects of bleaching caused by the departure of zoozanthellae (a food source for Coral) due to warmer water temperatures in the coral reef regions. 






Kathleen Lyford

Farmers cultivate seeds, soil with eye on climate change



Organic Farmer of the Year

“As the weather gets more chaotic, locally adapted seed stuffs will become even more important. Our seeds must be able to thrive in both cold and wet and hot and dry. This is the polar opposite of what genetic engineering is breeding for. They breed to encourage one specific trait, while we need more general adaptability. We can no longer plan on stable growing conditions.” 




  1. Farmers cultivate seeds, soil with eye on climate change
  2. Senate Defeats Bill on Keystone XL Pipeline in Narrow Vote
  3. Push to divest fossil fuel companies from Vermont college endowments is gaining momentum
  4. President Obama Speaks at the 2014 Climate Summit
  5. A Big Win for Climate Change Denial: Republicans to Target EPA Regulations After Taking Senate
  6. http://www.ted.com/talks/rachel_pike_the_science_behind_a_climate_headline?language=en
  7. Carbon map – which countries are responsible for climate change?
  8. Climate costs 'may prove much higher' – report
  9. EPA Publishes 19th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory
  10. $40 per ton: Well below the true cost of carbon
  11. Current Extreme Weather & Climate Change
  12. How British Columbia Enacted the Most Effective Carbon Tax in North America
  13. Carbon tax v cap-and-trade: which is better?
  14. Science Linking Drought to Global Warming Remains Matter of Dispute
  15. Atmospheric carbon levels nearing historic threshold
  16. EU Carbon Prices Plunge to Record Lows
  17. Never mind the State of the Union; here’s what Obama can actually do on climate...    
  18. New York Waves White Flag to Climate Change: Move Humans Out of the Way
  19. Chemistry of Greenhouse gases
  20. Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed - video
  21. To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios
  22. Carbon Pollution up to 2 Million Pounds a Second
  23. California holds cap-and-trade auction of greenhouse gas credits
  24. Earth Warming Faster Than Expected
  25. In The Battle Against Climate Change, Should We Engineer Humans Instead Of The Planet?
  26. Warmer summers cause colder winters, scientists say
  27. Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded
  28. WMO: 2011 one of hottest years on record
  29. Climate Change in Vermont
  30. How Not to Fix Climate Change
  31. The Climate Change Deniers have Won
  32. The Climate Change Debate: Man vs. Nature

Senate Defeats Bill on Keystone XL Pipeline in Narrow Vote


Push to divest fossil fuel companies from Vermont college endowments is gaining momentum







President Obama Speaks at the 2014 Climate Summit

A Big Win for Climate Change Denial: Republicans to Target EPA Regulations After Taking Senate



oembed errorPlugin error: This URL is not valid for embedding: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/11/5/a_big_win_for_climate_change?autostart=true








Carbon map – which countries are responsible for climate change?







Climate costs 'may prove much higher' – report






April 15, 2014

EPA Publishes 19th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory



$40 per ton: Well below the true cost of carbon




Current Extreme Weather & Climate Change



Changes in atmospheric constituents and in radiative forcing



 Scientists to climate change skeptic: Get real 



How British Columbia Enacted the Most Effective Carbon Tax in North America




Carbon tax v cap-and-trade: which is better?




Science Linking Drought to Global Warming Remains Matter of Dispute




Atmospheric carbon levels nearing historic threshold


Website offers daily updates greenhouse gas, which is approaching 400 ppm, the highest in human history.

The URL is: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/29377

For the first time in human history, concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) could rise above 400 parts per million (ppm) for sustained lengths of time throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere as soon as May 2013.

To provide a resource for understanding the implications of rising CO2 levels, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is providing daily updates of the “Keeling Curve,” the record of atmospheric CO2 measured at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa. These iconic measurements, begun by Charles David (Dave) Keeling, a world-leading authority on atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation and Scripps climate science pioneer, comprise the longest continuous record of CO2 in the world, starting from 316 ppm in March 1958 and approaching 400 ppm today with a familiar saw-tooth pattern. For the past 800,000 years, CO2 levels never exceeded 300 parts per million.

“I wish it weren’t true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400-ppm level without losing a beat,” said Scripps geophysicist Ralph Keeling, who has taken over the Keeling Curve measurement from his late father. “At this pace we’ll hit 450 ppm within a few decades.”

The website keelingcurve.ucsd.edu offers background information about how CO2 is measured, the history of the Keeling Curve, and resources from other organizations on the current state of climate. An accompanying Twitter feed, @keeling_curve, also provides followers with the most recent Keeling Curve CO2 reading in a daily tweet.

Dave Keeling began recording CO2 data at Mauna Loa and other locations after developing an ultraprecise measurement device known as a manometer. Ralph Keeling took over the program in 2005 and also heads a program at Scripps to measure changes in atmospheric oxygen. The Scripps O2 and CO2 programs make measurements of CO2 and other gases at remote locations around the world, including Antarctica, Tasmania, and northern Alaska. The Scripps programs are complementary to many other programs now measuring CO2 and other greenhouse gases worldwide.

Scientists estimate that the last time CO2 was as high as 400 ppm was probably the Pliocene epoch, between 3.2 million and 5 million years ago, when Earth’s climate was much warmer than today. CO2 was around 280 ppm before the Industrial Revolution, when humans first began releasing large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. By the time Dave Keeling began measurements in 1958, CO2 had already risen from 280 to 316 ppm. The rate of rise of CO2 over the past century is unprecedented; there is no known period in geologic history when such high rates have been found. The continuous rise is a direct consequence of society’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels for energy.

Each year, the concentration of CO2 at Mauna Loa rises and falls in a sawtooth fashion, with the next year higher than the year before. The peak of the sawtooth typically comes in May. If CO2 levels don’t top 400 ppm in May 2013, they almost certainly will next year, Keeling said.

“The 400-ppm threshold is a sobering milestone, and should serve as a wake up call for all of us to support clean energy technology and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, before it's too late for our children and grandchildren,” said Tim Lueker, an oceanographer and carbon cycle researcher who is a longtime member of the Scripps CO2 Group.



April 16, 2013

EU Carbon Prices Plunge to Record Lows


Carbon prices hit record lows today after the European Parliament rejected an emergency plan to boost the ailing EU carbon market.

In a 334-315 vote, with more than 60 abstentions, lawmakers rejected a proposal to postpone — or backload — the auctioning of 900 million EU Emissions Trading Scheme allowances from the years 2013-2015 to 2019-2020. This measure was intended to rebalance supply and demand, and reduce price volatility.

European commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard said the plan will now go back to the Parliament’s environment committee for further consideration.

Following the vote, EU carbon permits plunged 43 percent to €2.63 ($3.44) a metric ton before recovering slightly to €2.93 ($3.83) by 1049 GMT, Reuters reports. The news agency says German power prices fell 3 percent to €39.60 ($51.77) per MWh.

The EU ETS, the largest global carbon market, has been plagued by the falling price of carbon permits for years. The ETS saw the estimated carbon price drop 49 percent €5.82 ($7.61) per metric ton in 2012, down from €11.45 ($14.97) per metric ton in 2011. In the past five years, carbon prices on the ETS have plummeted nearly 90 percent.

The ETS gives and sells carbon allowances to factories and power plants to cover their emissions. This year, some countries including Germany and Greece began selling more than 40 percent of their allowances in auctions instead of giving them away for free, Bloomberg reported.

Analysts have cautioned about carbon prices in Europe inching closer to zero unless policymakers take action, either through backloading or some form of long-term structural change.

As of April 1, Britain’s carbon-emitting businesses pay significantly more for energy than their European counterparts under the UK’s new carbon price floor. The emissions tax, set by the UK government in 2011, starts at £16 ($24.30) per ton of carbon emitted this year and rises to £30 ($45.63) by 2020.

The UK’s high carbon price floor represents a threat to competitiveness for British companies, particularly in energy-intensive sectors, warns Richard Gledhill, partner PricewaterhouseCoopers sustainability and climate change.

Earlier this month, Gledhill said if the EU doesn’t boost carbon prices, the UK’s significantly higher carbon price floor will cause “carbon leakage,” driving heavy energy users out of the country.


Never mind the State of the Union; here’s what Obama can actually do on climate...    



Obama is expected to throw climate hawks a bone (or I guess a small rodent) in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night:
“You’re going to like what you hear,” White House aides have told green groups, according to an official at one environmental organization who expects the president to publicly commit to moving forward with EPA climate regulations.
“In past speeches, there was a lot of, ‘I call on Congress,’” the official added. “And what I’m expecting to see more of this time is, ‘This is what my administration is going to do.’ ”
If this OOEO (official at one environmental organization) is right, it will be cause for good cheer. But the question remains, even if Barack Obama is pure of heart and dedicated to climate progress, what can he do?
He’ll get no help from Congress. Serious climate legislation is off the table as long as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is in charge of the House but not in charge of his Tea Party faction. So what can be done without Congress?
The definitive answer on this comes from the World Resources Institute, which recently updated its classic report, “Using Existing Federal Laws and State Action to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” (You know you’ve heard of it.) To summarize: A lot can be done! But mostly in the short term. After 2020, you need legislation.
WRI analyzed three scenarios, combinations of federal (executive) action and state policy. They are referred to as lackluster, middle-of-the-road, and go-getter. Here’s how they shake out:
As you can see, with the right mix of federal and state policy, the U.S. could get on a path to reduce emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 — the target promised by Obama in Copenhagen. That isn’t a particularly ambitious goal in the grand scheme of things, but getting serious about it would carry quite a bit of symbolic weight.
We’ll put aside the state stuff for now and just focus on what’s in Obama’s hands. WRI identifies four federal policies that together would cover most of the gap between business as usual and a 17 percent cut:
1. EPA carbon standards for existing power plants.
This is the biggie — WRI says it alone can cover 48 percent of the gap. That’s assuming EPA is ambitious and Obama’s willing to stick his neck out a bit. The Natural Resources Defense Council has a proposal for how those rules can be flexible and ambitious, of which I’m a big fan.
2. Phaseout of certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
WRI is encouraged by the administration’s efforts to amend the Montreal Protocol to further reduce HFCs, which not only harm the ozone layer but also contribute to climate change. While we’re waiting around for that international accord, however, WRI says EPA can just go ahead and phase them out domestically through the Clean Air Act. That would knock another 23 percent off the gap.
3. EPA standards to reduce methane from natural gas systems.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and EPA could regulate it as such. WRI gives this one 11 percent 2/12/13 12:25 PMof the gap, but it seems like a bit of a wild card to me. There’s so little good data and studies on methane.
4. New appliance and equipment efficiency standards from the Department of Energy.
This is 8 percent of the gap.
Energy efficiency is one area where there is some slim hope of bipartisanship and legislative action. There was even some efficiency in Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s absurdly drill-happy energy plan.
If Obama and Congress are looking for efficiency ideas to work on together, a good place to start is the roadmap recently released by the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy, a bipartisan panel of experts put together by the Alliance to Save Energy. It’s a plan to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030, appropriately called Energy 2030, which the commission estimates would save America $237 billion.
The whole plan is definitely not possible without Congress, though big chunks of it are. It’s a mix of investments, tax reform, modernization of regulations, and public engagement and education. It’s a great, thorough piece of work; I recommend digging into the commission’s recommendations [PDF]. They are extensive.
And hey, while I’m talking tax reform and new reports (this is why I’m such a hit at cocktail parties), don’t miss these recommendations from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy for tax reforms that can boost energy efficiency. There’s a lot of talk of tax reform in the air, what with the periodic fiscal crises that are apparently the new way of life in the U.S., so perhaps some smart reforms have a chance.
Finally, the Center for American Progress has its own report on second-term climate possibilities, many of which do not require Congress. It covers much the same ground as the WRI report, with some additional stuff on use of public lands and, of course, the obligatory shout-out to blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.
From what I can see, there are two big things missing from all these reports:
First, it would be nice if the feds would quit selling Powder River Basin coal to coal companies for pennies on the dollar so they can export more and more of it to China. The Department of Interior is investigating whether coal mining companies are skirting royalties, but honestly, the whole coal leasing game is rigged and corrupt. If the feds can’t keep the damn stuff in the ground, at least they could get taxpayers a fair price for it.
Second, stop the rush to export coal from the West Coast. Many of the decisions about coal ports and coal trains will be made at the local or state level, but Obama could insure that the Corps of Engineers does a comprehensive environmental impact assessment, and that climate effects are part of that assessment. This is a mess:
It remains unclear ... what federal or local body will have a final say in the permitting process. Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the federal government has an obligation to regulate projects whose existence affects public health and the environment. That broad mandate, however, leaves wide room for interpretation.
And unlike the fight over Keystone XL, the struggle over the Northwestern ports is unlikely to see intervention from the State Department.
“If we had a federal energy policy, or even a federal energy export policy ... [the State Department] would likely have a role to play,” wrote Jan Hasselman, an attorney with the group Earthjustice, in an email. “But right now there is a vacuum so you wind up with local county elected officials making decisions with global ramifications.”
Obama needs to step in rationalize this process. He can’t sit back and watch the U.S. radically ramp up its contribution to global carbon emissions with no federal scrutiny or intervention. Not if he’s serious.
So there you have it. Congress is no help as long as right-wing Republicans have veto power. There is nonetheless a great deal Obama can do if he is sincere about making climate change a priority in his second term. It will take planning and determination, the same kind of concerted effort now going into gun safety and immigration, but it’s possible.


New York Waves White Flag to Climate Change: Move Humans Out of the Way


New York state is waving a white flag to climate change by deciding to move human developments out of the way of future storm surges and return the land to nature.

Governor Cuomo wants to spend $400 million out of the $51 billion Congress approved for federal disaster relief to restore wetlands, dunes, and coastal areas into a protective undeveloped coastline - permanently.

Explaining the Chemistry of greenhouse gases.


Read more here.


Chemistry of Greenhouse gases





Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed - video



It's like watching 'Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes', says filmmaker James Balog. He's describing the largest iceberg calving ever filmed, as featured in his movie, Chasing Ice. After weeks of waiting, the filmakers witnessed 7.4 cubic km of ice crashing off the Ilulissat glacier in Greenland. Chasing Ice, released in the UK on Friday, follows James Balog's mission to document Arctic ice being melted by climate change.


To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios

Stephen Maturen for The New York Times


Students in Minneapolis, seeking steps to cut atmospheric carbon levels to 350 parts per million, known as the safe level.

Published: December 4, 2012


SWARTHMORE, Pa. — A group of Swarthmore College students is asking the school administration to take a seemingly simple step to combat pollution and climate change: sell off the endowment’s holdings in large fossil fuel companies. For months, they have been getting a simple answer: no.



Enlarge This Image

Stephen Maturen for The New York Times

Bill McKibben, a writer turned advocate for carbon reduction, is on a national tour to build support for the divestment campaign.

Enlarge This Image

Associated Press

Demonstrators in 1978, protesting Harvard’s refusal to divest itself of stocks owned in companies operating in South Africa.


As they consider how to ratchet up their campaign, the students suddenly find themselves at the vanguard of a national movement.

In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda.

“We’ve reached this point of intense urgency that we need to act on climate change now, but the situation is bleaker than it’s ever been from a political perspective,” said William Lawrence, a Swarthmore senior from East Lansing, Mich.

Students who have signed on see it as a conscious imitation of the successful effort in the 1980s to pressure colleges and other institutions to divest themselves of the stocks of companies doing business in South Africa under apartheid.

A small institution in Maine, Unity College, has already voted to get out of fossil fuels. Another, Hampshire College in Massachusetts, has adopted a broad investment policy that is ridding its portfolio of fossil fuel stocks.

“In the near future, the political tide will turn and the public will demand action on climate change,” Stephen Mulkey, the Unity College president, wrote in a letter to other college administrators. “Our students are already demanding action, and we must not ignore them.”

But at colleges with large endowments, many administrators are viewing the demand skeptically, saying it would undermine their goal of maximum returns in support of education. Fossil fuel companies represent a significant portion of the stock market, comprising nearly 10 percent of the value of the Russell 3000, a broad index of 3,000 American companies.

No school with an endowment exceeding $1 billion has agreed to divest itself of fossil fuel stocks. At Harvard, which holds the largest endowment in the country at $31 billion, the student body recently voted to ask the school to do so. With roughly half the undergraduates voting, 72 percent of them supported the demand.

“We always appreciate hearing from students about their viewpoints, but Harvard is not considering divesting from companies related to fossil fuels,” Kevin Galvin, a university spokesman, said by e-mail.

Several organizations have been working on some version of a divestment campaign, initially focusing on coal, for more than a year. But the recent escalation has largely been the handiwork of a grass-roots organization, 350.org, that focuses on climate change, and its leader, Bill McKibben, a writer turned advocate. The group’s name is a reference to what some scientists see as a maximum safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million. The level is now about 390, an increase of 41 percent since before the Industrial Revolution.

Mr. McKibben is touring the country by bus, speaking at sold-out halls and urging students to begin local divestment initiatives focusing on 200 energy companies. Many of the students attending said they were inspired to do so by an article he wrote over the summer in Rolling Stone magazine, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.”

Speaking recently to an audience at the University of Vermont, Mr. McKibben painted the fossil fuel industry as an enemy that must be defeated, arguing that it had used money and political influence to block climate action in Washington. “This is no different than the tobacco industry — for years, they lied about the dangers of their industry,” Mr. McKibben said.

Eric Wohlschlegel, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, said that continued use of fossil fuels was essential for the country’s economy, but that energy companies were investing heavily in ways to emit less carbon dioxide.

In an interview, Mr. McKibben said he recognized that a rapid transition away from fossil fuels would be exceedingly difficult. But he said strong government policies to limit emissions were long overdue, and were being blocked in part by the political power of the incumbent industry.

Mr. McKibben’s goal is to make owning the stocks of these companies disreputable, in the way that owning tobacco stocks has become disreputable in many quarters. Many colleges will not buy them, for instance.

Mr. McKibben has laid out a series of demands that would get the fuel companies off 350.org’s blacklist. He wants them to stop exploring for new fossil fuels, given that they have already booked reserves about five times as large as scientists say society can afford to burn. He wants them to stop lobbying against emission policies in Washington. And he wants them to help devise a transition plan that will leave most of their reserves in the ground while encouraging lower-carbon energy sources.

“They need more incentive to make the transition that they must know they need to make, from fossil fuel companies to energy companies,” Mr. McKibben said.

Most college administrations, at the urging of their students, have been taking global warming seriously for years, spending money on steps like cutting energy consumption and installing solar panels.

The divestment demand is so new that most administrators are just beginning to grapple with it. Several of them, in interviews, said that even though they tended to agree with students on the seriousness of the problem, they feared divisive boardroom debates on divestment.

That was certainly the case in the 1980s, when the South African divestment campaign caused bitter arguments across the nation.

The issue then was whether divestment, potentially costly, would have much real effect on companies doing business in South Africa. Even today, historians differ on whether it did. But the campaign required prominent people to grapple with the morality of apartheid, altering the politics of the issue. Economic pressure from many countries ultimately helped to force the whites-only South African government to the bargaining table.

Mr. Lawrence, the Swarthmore senior, said that many of today’s students found that campaign inspirational because it “transformed what was seemingly an intractable problem.”

Swarthmore, a liberal arts college southwest of Philadelphia, is a small school with a substantial endowment, about $1.5 billion. The trustees acceded to divestment demands during that campaign, in 1986, but only after a series of confrontational tactics by students, including brief occupations of the president’s office.

The board later adopted a policy stating that it would be unlikely to take such a step again.

“The college’s policy is that the endowment is not to be invested for social purposes” beyond the obvious one of educating students, said Suzanne P. Welsh, vice president for finance at the school. “To use the endowment in support of other missions is not appropriate. It’s not what our donors have given money for.”

About a dozen Swarthmore students came up with the divestment tactic two years ago after working against the strip mining of coal atop mountains in Appalachia, asking the school to divest itself of investments in a short list of energy companies nicknamed the Sordid 16.

So far, the students have avoided confrontation. The campaign has featured a petition signed by nearly half the student body, small demonstrations and quirky art installations. The college president, a theologian named Rebecca Chopp, has expressed support for their goals but not their means.

Matters could escalate in coming months, with Swarthmore scheduled to host a February meeting — the students call it a “convergence” — of 150 students from other colleges who are working on divestment.

Students said they were well aware that the South Africa campaign succeeded only after on-campus actions like hunger strikes, sit-ins and the seizure of buildings. Some of them are already having talks with their parents about how far to go.

“When it comes down to it, the members of the board are not the ones who are inheriting the climate problem,” said Sachie Hopkins-Hayakawa, a Swarthmore senior from Portland, Ore. “We are.”



Brent Summers contributed reporting from Burlington, Vt.








1.59 estimated printed pages  |  use the edit tools to save paper and ink!  

Carbon Pollution up to 2 Million Pounds a Second


Study: Carbon dioxide emissions worldwide up again, 2-degree limit to global warming unlikely

The Associated Press

The amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3 percent. So scientists say it's now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple degrees, which is an international goal.

The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet's top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions.

Last year, all the world's nations combined pumped nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to new international calculations on global emissions published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. That's about a billion tons more than the previous year.

The total amounts to more than 2.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide released into the air every second.

Because emissions of the key greenhouse gas have been rising steadily and most carbon stays in the air for a century, it is not just unlikely but "rather optimistic" to think that the world can limit future temperature increases to 2 degrees, said the study's lead author, Glen Peters at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.

Three years ago, nearly 200 nations set the 2-degree temperature goal in a nonbinding agreement. Negotiators now at a conference under way in Doha, Qatar, are trying to find ways to reach that target.

The only way, Peters said, is to start reducing world emissions now and "throw everything we have at the problem."

Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in Canada who was not part of the study, said: "We are losing control of our ability to get a handle on the global warming problem."

In 1997, most of the world agreed to an international treaty, known as the Kyoto Protocol, that required developed countries such as the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 5 percent when compared with the baseline year of 1990. But countries that are still developing, including China and India, were not limited by how much carbon dioxide they expelled. The United States never ratified the treaty.

The latest pollution numbers, calculated by the Global Carbon Project, a joint venture of the Energy Department and the Norwegian Research Council, show that worldwide carbon dioxide levels are 54 percent higher than the 1990 baseline.

The 2011 figures for the biggest polluters:

1. China, up 10 percent to 10 billion tons.

2. United States, down 2 percent to 5.9 billion tons

3. India, up 7 percent to 2.5 billion tons.

4. Russia, up 3 percent to 1.8 billion tons.

5. Japan, up 0.4 percent to 1.3 billion tons.

6. Germany, down 4 percent to 0.8 billion tons.

7. Iran, up 2 percent to 0.7 billion tons.

8. South Korea, up 4 percent to 0.6 billion tons.

9. Canada, up 2 percent to 0.6 billion tons.

10. South Africa, up 2 percent to 0.6 billion tons.








California holds cap-and-trade auction of greenhouse gas credits

The sale, a market-based approach to curbing global warming, takes place despite a last-minute lawsuit filed by the state Chamber of Commerce 







A refinery in Wilmington pumps out emissions in the process of producing gasoline. Companies that emit gases that contribute to global warming were expected to participate in the state's first sale of cap-and-trade credits. (Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times / March 5, 2012)



By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times

November 15, 2012



SACRAMENTO — California environmental officials moved ahead with a first-ever auction of greenhouse gas pollution credits despite a last-minute lawsuit filed by the state Chamber of Commerce to invalidate the sale.

On Wednesday state Air Resources Board technicians worked at computer terminals to take bids from some major industrial facilities such as cement plants, steel mills, refineries and food processors.

Many companies that emit carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that contribute to global warming were expected to participate in the three-hour sale of so-called cap-and-trade credits. Results of the auction, including prices and volume, will be made public Monday.

Environmentalists, who had been working years on the market-based approach to curbing global warming, called the auction an important step.

"The launch of the nation's first economy-wide carbon market emphasizes once again California's leadership in developing innovative energy policies," said Alex Jackson, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The sale of these pollution credits is a key part of a six-year state effort to curb and reduce to 1990 levels the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in California by the year 2020.

Polluters initially get 90% of their needed credits free, but they are required to buy more if they plan to release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases above allotted levels. Pollution credits start at a minimum price of $10 for the right to emit 1 metric ton of greenhouse gases.

Opponents brand the system a new pollution tax and contend that it is unfair to large businesses and a job killer. This year the program covers about 350 industrial businesses operating a total of 600 facilities throughout the state.

On Tuesday the California Chamber of Commerce sued in Sacramento County Superior Court, challenging the state's authority to raise revenue from the sale of the credits. The quarterly auctions are expected to generate about $1 billion in their first year.

The Air Resources Board said it was "confident that the cap-and-trade program will withstand any court challenge."





Earth Warming Faster Than Expected


By 2050, global average temperature could be between 1.4°C and 3°C warmer than it was just a couple of decades ago, according to a new study that seeks to address the largest sources of uncertainty in current climate models. That's substantially higher than estimates produced by other climate analyses, suggesting that Earth's climate could warm much more quickly than previously thought.





Many factors affect global and regional climate, including planet-warming "greenhouse" gases, solar activity, light-scattering atmospheric pollutants, and heat transfer among the land, sea, and air, to name just a few. There are so many influences to consider that it makes determining the effect of any one factor—despite years and sometimes decades of measurements—difficult.

Daniel Rowlands, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and his colleagues took a stab at addressing the largest sources of short-term climate uncertainty by modifying a version of one climate model used by the United Kingdom's meteorological agency. In their study, the researchers tweaked the parameters that influence three factors in the model: the sensitivity of climate to changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the rate at which oceans absorb heat from the atmosphere, and the amount of cooling from light-scattering aerosols in the atmosphere.

Then the team analyzed the results of thousands of climate simulations—each of which had a slightly different combination of parameters—that covered the years between 1920 and 2080, Rowlands says. All of the simulations assumed that future concentrations of greenhouse gases would rise from today's 392 parts per million to 520 ppm by 2050. Each of the runs also allowed for variations in solar activity (which would affect how much the sun's radiation warms Earth) and rates of volcanic activity (which would influence the concentrations of planet-cooling sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere).

The team discarded results of simulations that didn't match observations of regional climate in more than 20 land areas and ocean basins from 1960 to today. Of those that passed this test, those considered statistically most likely—the two-thirds of those that best matched previous climate observations—suggest that global average temperature in 2050 will be between 1.4°C and 3°C warmer than the global average measured between 1961 and 1990. All of the simulations that matched recent climate patterns suggested warming would be at least 1°C, the researchers report online today in Nature Geoscience.

Article continues: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/03/earth-warming-faster-than-expected.html


In The Battle Against Climate Change, Should We Engineer Humans Instead Of The Planet?

We’re the ones causing the problem, so maybe there are biological fixes that could make humanity consume fewer resources. Academics have some ideas, but the ethics are troubling. Are you ready for your government-mandated meat patch?






Warmer summers cause colder winters, scientists say





By David Fogarty

SINGAPORE | Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:45pm EST

(Reuters) - Warmer summers in the far Northern Hemisphere are disrupting weather patterns and triggering more severe winter weather in the United States and Europe, a team of scientists say, in a finding that could improve long-range weather forecasts.

Blizzards and extreme cold temperatures in the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 caused widespread travel chaos in parts of Europe and the United States, leading some to question whether global warming was real.

Judah Cohen, lead author of a study published on Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, and his team found there was a clear trend of strong warming in the Arctic from July to September.

Existing predictions would also expect a warming trend during winter as well. But Cohen and his team found this was not the case for some regions, in a counter-intuitive finding that reveals more about the complexity of the world's climate system than any flaws in the science of global warming.

"For the last two decades, large-scale cooling trends have existed instead across large stretches of eastern North America and northern Eurasia. We argue that this unforeseen trend is probably not due to internal variability alone," the scientists say in the study.

Using temperature, rainfall and snow and ice data, the team found that rising summer temperatures in the Arctic meant the atmosphere could hold more moisture, leading to an increase in autumn snowfall in high-latitude areas.

Analysis of data showed the average snow coverage in Eurasia had increased over the past two decades. This additional snow cover in turn has led to a change in the Arctic Oscillation, the main atmospheric pressure pattern that governs winter weather in the far Northern Hemisphere.

When the oscillation is in a negative phase, high pressure cells over the Arctic push colder air towards the mid-latitudes, triggering colder than usual temperatures and fierce snow storms.

A positive phase tends to bring milder winter weather, such as the case at present in the United States and Europe.


The team say the winter cooling trends cannot be entirely explained by natural variability of the climate system and need more study.

Cohen said the finding could improve long-range forecasting.

"Using the snow cover in a seasonal forecast can provide a more skilful or accurate forecast," Cohen, of Atmospheric and Environmental Research, a U.S. firm that helps businesses and governments manage climate risks, said in a statement.

The team's research is one of recent studies to highlight the complexity of the climate system and that scientists are still learning how much mankind and natural factors can influence long-term patterns.

Last October, a study led by the UK Met Office, found that a cyclical drop in the sun's radiation can trigger unusually cold winters in parts of North America and Europe.

(Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)




Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded


Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.

The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades.

The researchers said the high growth rate reflected a bounce-back from the 1.4 percent drop in emissions in 2009, the year the recession had its biggest impact.

They do not expect the extraordinary growth to persist, but do expect emissions to return to something closer to the 3 percent yearly growth of the last decade, still a worrisome figure that signifies little progress in limiting greenhouse gases. The growth rate in the 1990s was closer to 1 percent yearly.

The combustion of coal represented more than half of the growth in emissions, the report found.

In the United States, emissions dropped by a remarkable 7 percent in the recession year of 2009, but rose by just over 4 percent last year, the new analysis shows. This country is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, pumping 1.5 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere last year.

The United States was surpassed several years ago by China, where emissions grew 10.4 percent in 2010, with that country injecting 2.2 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emissions are usually measured by the weight of carbon they contain.

The new figures come as delegates from 191 countries meet in Durban, South Africa, for yet another negotiating session in a global control effort that has been going on, with minimal success, for the better part of two decades.

“Each year that emissions go up, there’s another year of negotiations, another year of indecision,” said Glen P. Peters, a researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo and a leader of the group that produced the new analysis. “There’s no evidence that this trajectory we’ve been following the last 10 years is going to change.”

Scientists say the rapid growth of emissions is warming the Earth, threatening the ecology and putting human welfare at long-term risk. But their increasingly urgent pleas that society find a way to limit emissions have met sharp political resistance in many countries, including the United States, because doing so would entail higher energy costs.

The new figures show a continuation of a trend in which developing countries, including China and India, have surpassed the wealthy countries in their overall greenhouse emissions. In 2010, the combustion of fossil fuels and the production of cement sent more than nine billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, the new analysis found, with 57 percent of that coming from developing countries.

Emissions per person, though, are still sharply higher in the wealthy countries, and those countries have been emitting greenhouse gases far longer, so they account for the bulk of the excess gases in the atmosphere. The level of carbon dioxide, the main such gas, has increased 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution.

On the surface, the figures of recent years suggest that wealthy countries have made headway in stabilizing their emissions. But Dr. Peters pointed out that in a sense, the rich countries have simply exported some of them.

The fast rise in developing countries has been caused to a large extent by the growth of energy-intensive manufacturing industries that make goods that rich countries import. “All that has changed is the location in which the emissions are being produced,” Dr. Peters said.

Many countries, as part of their response to the economic crisis, invested billions in programs designed to make their energy systems greener. While it is possible those will pay long-term dividends, the new numbers suggest they have had little effect so far.

The financial crisis “was an opportunity to move the global economy away from a high-emissions trajectory,” said a scientific paper about the new figures, released online on Sunday by the journal Nature Climate Change. “Our results provide no indication of this happening.”

A version of this article appeared in print on December 5, 2011, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions in 2010 Show the Biggest Jump Ever Recorded.




WMO: 2011 one of hottest years on record



The main street of Roxas boulevard is seen submerged under flood waters in metro Manila September 27, 2011 after Typhoon Nesat.   REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco



(Reuters) - 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.

The WMO, part of the United Nations, said the warmest 13 years of average global temperatures have all occurred in the 15 years since 1997. That has contributed to extreme weather conditions that increase the intensity of droughts and heavy precipitation across the world, it said.

"Global temperatures in 2011 are currently the tenth highest on record and are higher than any previous year with a La Nina event, which has a relative cooling influence," it said

This year, the global climate was influenced heavily by the strong La Nina, a natural phenomenon usually linked to extreme weather in Asia-Pacific, South America and Africa, which developed in the tropical Pacific in the second half of 2010 and continued until May 2011.

One of the strongest such events in 60 years, it was closely associated with the drought in east Africa, islands in the central equatorial Pacific and the United States, as well as severe flooding in other parts of the world.

The WMO report was released to coincide with U.N. climate talks which run until December 9 in Durban aimed at trying to reach agreement on cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Prospects for a meaningful agreement appear bleak with the biggest emitters the United States and China unwilling to take on binding cuts until the other does first. Major players Japan, Canada and Russia are unwilling to extend commitments that expire next year and the European Union is looking at 2015 as a deadline for reaching a new global deal.

The WMO report said the extent of Arctic sea ice in 2011 was the second lowest on record, and its volume was the lowest.

It said the build-up of greenhouse gases put the world at a tipping point of irreversible changes in ecosystems.

"Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached new highs," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a separate statement.

"They are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2-2.4 degree Centigrade rise in average global temperatures which scientists believe could trigger far reaching and irreversible changes in our Earth, biosphere and oceans."

Russia experienced the largest variation from average, with its northern parts seeing January to October temperatures about 4 degrees C higher in several places, it said.

U.N. scientists said in a separate report this month an increase in heat waves is almost certain, while heavier rainfall, more floods, stronger cyclones, landslides and more intense droughts are likely across the globe this century as the Earth's climate warms.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said global average temperatures could rise by 3-6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century if governments failed to contain emissions, bringing unprecedented destruction as glaciers melt, sea levels rise and small island states are submerged.

(Additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva, reporting by Jon Herskovitz, Editing by Maria Golovnina and Janet Lawrence)





Climate Change in Vermont


In 2012 Vermont's Governor released the formation of the Vermont Climate Cabinet, which would be a team of senior government officials whose goals where to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce fossil fuels.  This site is created by the state of Vermont in order to relay there message and general information on overall air quality in Vermont.  http://governor.vermont.gov/newsroom-climate-cabinet 

This Second article states the purposes of the Vermont Climate Cabinet and there overall goals stated in 2012.



How Not to Fix Climate Change


Interview with director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies James E. Hansen and his positions on the keystone pipeline as well as stepping in the direction away from fossil fuels.  Author Joe Nocera of the New York Times was in favor of this pipeline until research lead him to numerous others who oppose the building of this pipeline due to the economic and environmental disasters brought forth from demand of oil.   "He told me he would like to see oil companies pay a fee, which would rise annually, based on carbon emissions. He said that such a tax could reduce emissions by 30 percent within 10 years."



History of Climate Change


This is a neat Article that talks about the history of climate change starting at 1712. It was cool to see when the idea of the greenhouse effect was first talked about and what they thought it was. The article also includes some information on mauna loa and how the PPM of co2 have   increased over time. Article also gives some interesting facts on the increase of pollution. Climate change was being looked at during the late 1800's and earl 1900's which I thought was very interesting. 


The Climate Change Deniers have Won

Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it



Combatting climate change using geoengineering 

atmospheric scientist David Keith talks about combatting climate change by deploying sulfur into the upper atmosphere to reflect ultra violet sun rays and cool the earth. he knows this can work and believes it should be seriously considered and talked about.    




The Climate Change Debate: Man vs. Nature






Comments (2)

Trevor Banister said

at 9:34 pm on Mar 31, 2014

The Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources

jgn06080@... said

at 6:43 pm on Mar 30, 2014

Land Use Compounds Habitat Losses under Projected Climate Change in a Threatened California Ecosystem