International News

Blooming January! Wildflower species think spring’s here

Guardian - January 30, 2016 - 7:06pm
More than 600 varieties of plant are already flowering, according to a new survey, long before spring

From London’s Walthamstow marshes to Thirsk in North Yorkshire, the mayflower has been in unprecedented early bloom.

A survey by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) found that just over 600 wildflower species have begun to bloom across Britain and Ireland, far more than the 20-30 that are usually expected at this time of year.

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Categories: International News

Here is the weather forecast for the next five years: even hotter

Guardian - January 30, 2016 - 7:05pm
Long-range forecast predicts generally upward temperature trend, possibly interrupted by La Niña event in 2017

Global temperatures will continue to soar over the next 12 months as rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions and El Niño combine to bring more record-breaking warmth to the planet.

According to the Met Office’s forecast for the next five years, 2016 is likely to be the warmest since records began. Then in 2017 there will be a dip as the effects of El Niño dissipate and there is some planet-wide cooling.

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Categories: International News

Voter Asks Ben Carson: If You’re So Smart, Why Don’t You Accept Climate Change?

Climate Progress - January 30, 2016 - 9:36am

Daniel Schnall, 29, said he didn't understand how Carson could preach the importance of education and deny mainstream science.

The post Voter Asks Ben Carson: If You’re So Smart, Why Don’t You Accept Climate Change? appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Categories: International News

Republicans might as well deny climate change if they don't plan to address it | Suzanne Goldenberg

Guardian - January 30, 2016 - 6:30am

Mere acknowledgement that the environment is in peril without a plan to mitigate it is a huge oversight

Let’s call it the non-denial denial. Some Republican presidential candidates are beginning to peer out from behind the wall of climate denial that has defined the party as long as Barack Obama has been in the White House. Finally, it seems, the most open expressions of climate denial – such as dismissing long-established scientific fact – may be seen as a bit retrograde, and possibly embarrassing, even by some who are looking for votes from an increasingly rightwing Republican party.

In response to a rare question about climate change in Thursday night’s Republican debate, Marco Rubio offered up an answer that was rarer still in the 2016 campaign. He did not reduce climate change to a punchline or bash the science underlying climate change, as Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have been doing throughout the primary.

Related: The Zika virus foreshadows our dystopian climate future | Bill McKibben

Related: There is a new form of climate denialism to look out for – so don't celebrate yet | Naomi Oreskes

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Categories: International News

Kevin Trenberth on 2015 Temperatures

Climate Crocks - January 30, 2016 - 5:27am
Kevin Trenberth in Science Magazine, August 2015: The main pacemaker of variability in rates of GMST increase appears to be the PDO, with aerosols likely playing a role in the earlier big hiatus. There is speculation whether the latest El Niño event and a strong switch in the sign of the PDO since early 2014 […]
Categories: International News

We print money to bail out banks. Why can’t we do it to solve climate change?

Guardian - January 30, 2016 - 5:00am

We need an estimated $1tn per year to stay below a global temperature rise of 2C. Creating new money might be the only way to meet this financial challenge

The international community has agreed on an ambitious agenda to curb climate change. Some 195 countries have decided to try and cut greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will limit the rise in average global temperatures to well below 2C. The question we now face is: how are we going to finance the changes needed to reach this goal? Quantitative easing – creating new money – might just be the answer.

Related: Wanted: unprecedented collaboration to solve poverty and climate change

A percentage of that spent to bail out private banks could pay for investments needed to stabilise the world’s climate

Related: UN urges business leaders to double investment in green energy by 2020

Related: $100bn? A drop in the ocean, says environment minister Amina Mohammed

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Categories: International News

In the eye of El Niño: landslides and flooding in coastal Peru – podcast

Guardian - January 30, 2016 - 2:00am

Kary Stewart visits shanty towns along the coast of Peru where migrants, driven inland by poverty, are bearing the brunt of climate change

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Categories: International News

Music Break: Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers

Climate Crocks - January 29, 2016 - 5:45pm
Paul Kantner now deceased at 74.Filed under: Crock of the Week
Categories: International News

Jeb Bush pins hopes on 'someone in a garage' to tackle climate change

Guardian - January 29, 2016 - 12:49pm

As rising sea levels threaten their state of Florida, fellow Republican candidate Marco Rubio also warns that action on climate would ‘destroy’ the economy

Florida’s leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, have both criticized federal action to combat climate change, with Rubio warning it would “destroy” the US economy and Bush predicting “someone in a garage somewhere” will solve the problem instead.

Related: Trump rallies after debate: 'Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada' – campaign live

The market will work faster. There’s someone in a garage somewhere … that’s going to have a clue, to have an answer

Related: UAE banks on 'rainmakers' to secure future water supply

Rubio’s views on climate action have gotten more dangerous as the threat to his home town has gotten more severe

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Categories: International News

Local Governments In Florida May No Longer Be Able To Ban Fracking In Their Communities

Climate Progress - January 29, 2016 - 12:08pm

The Florida House passed a bill this week that would allow regulated fracking throughout the state, but would also stop local bans on fracking.

The post Local Governments In Florida May No Longer Be Able To Ban Fracking In Their Communities appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Categories: International News

Air pollution from Europe's planes set to rise by nearly half

Guardian - January 29, 2016 - 10:43am

EU study predicts 43% rise in NOx emissions from planes within two decades, due to increased air traffic

Air pollution from planes in Europe is to rise by nearly half in the next two decades, according to the EU’s first aviation environment report.

Aircraft emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are linked to lung damage, doubled since 1990 and are forecast to rise 43% by 2035.

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Categories: International News

European Summers Are The Warmest They’ve Been In Two Millennia, Study Says

Climate Progress - January 29, 2016 - 9:51am

We may have underestimated how hot European summers are now, compared to the region's past.

The post European Summers Are The Warmest They’ve Been In Two Millennia, Study Says appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Categories: International News

Updated: Satellite Temps, and the Ground Truth

Climate Crocks - January 29, 2016 - 9:27am
The newest Yale Video is looking like one of the more impactful in the series, given that it lays a two by four upside of one of denialdom’s most cherished myths, that satellite temperature data, or more specifically, satellite data since the 1998 El Nino event, are the one and only gold standard measure of […]
Categories: International News

How Congress And The Supreme Court Blew Up The Natural Gas ‘Bridge’ To Renewables

Climate Progress - January 29, 2016 - 8:00am

Recent decisions by Congress and the Supreme Court boost renewables and energy efficiency so much, they may wipe out the natural gas renaissance that had been recently brought on by cheap shale gas.

The post How Congress And The Supreme Court Blew Up The Natural Gas ‘Bridge’ To Renewables appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Categories: International News

Norwegian industry plans to up fossil fuel production despite Paris pledge

Guardian - January 29, 2016 - 7:59am

Norway has pushed for coal and oil to stay in the ground but industry head argues burning Norwegian gas will help lower Europe’s emissions as it is cleaner than coal

Norway wants other countries to leave their coal and oil in the ground to meet new global climate change targets, but its industry is planning to increase production of its own fossil fuels.

“We know that if we burn all the coal, oil and gas available, the Paris agreement cannot be fulfilled. Significant parts of the total fossil resources must remain, untouched,” said Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen, director of the Norwegian oil and gas association and a former minister of finance.

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Categories: International News

'If the world ends in 2100, we’re probably OK' | Howard Lee

Guardian - January 29, 2016 - 6:00am

Two scientists take the long view on climate change.

There’s a myopia in the climate discourse today.

“Everyone is focused on what happens by 2100. But that’s only 2 generations from today. It’s like: If the world ends in 2100 we’re probably OK!” says Professor Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawai’i. “But It’s very clear that over a longer timescale there will be much bigger changes.”

This is why I like the PETM, at least it’s a warming event. It had a peak global warming of about 5º or 6ºC, which is a little bit beyond the end-of-the-century worst case scenario.

We are focusing on the PETM is because we have relatively good sediment records. We are able to constrain timescales and ages relatively accurately. If you go further back in time, these constrains become very, very difficult.

We have two isotope systems that we can look at. One of those are oxygen isotopes and they are essentially a thermometer, they tell us about climate change. And the other isotope system we’re looking at is carbon isotopes and they tell us something about carbon release.

What we’re doing with our emissions is unprecedented in the past 66 million years!

If we just try to explain the PETM with a climate sensitivity of 4.5°C, we only get maybe 60% of the warming. So my conclusion would be that long term sensitivity must be more than 4.5°C.

You might have very short pulses of CO2 release within them. Some of these pulses of CO2 could look like what we’re doing now in terms of amount and rate. That’s an area of active research, because the estimates of individual pulses are getting better, but the estimates of how much CO2 would be released associated with an individual pulse are still uncertain.

We have 1.5°C already programmed in, so even if we bring emissions right, right down, immediately, now, we already have 1.5 degrees! So how we’re keeping to a 1.5-degree threshold isn’t clear.

So a fun thing we’re doing now with our very fast warming is the ocean surface warms up and the deep ocean is still cold, which is partly why we have this programmed-in warming that we haven’t seen yet. The deep ocean hasn’t yet noticed that the planet at the surface is rather warmer. If we just sit here at current CO2 levels and let the system equilibrate, it’s 1.5°C anyway. Which comes back to COP21 - what is this 1.5°C target? We’ve emitted the CO2 to reach 1.5°C already, so I don’t know what they’re thinking of!

If the COP21 agreement works out even partly, then we probably won’t see 5 or 6°C. But the PETM took several thousand years, so marine and terrestrial ecosystems had thousands and thousands of generations to adapt and evolve, whereas we’re doing this on a decade-to-century scale. It’s a very, very different event in terms of rates, although you at least have a total magnitude maybe like the future.

The timescale over which ice sheets disintegrate depends on the duration of a temperature anomaly. If you warm the planet by 3 degrees [Note: that’s effectively what the COP21 Paris Agreement adds up to] over a few decades, and then you cool it down, you can probably keep large portions of Greenland and West Antarctica. But if temperatures remain elevated, this will melt big ice sheets. And then we’re not talking just of a sea level change of 1 meter by 2100, but rises of several meters for centuries.

But people tend to ignore this. The opinion seems to stop at 2100!

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Categories: International News

Copenhagen set to divest from fossil fuels

Guardian - January 29, 2016 - 4:54am

The mayor of Denmark’s capital launches a push to withdraw the city’s £700m investment fund out of coal, oil and gas holdings

Copenhagen’s mayor has announced plans to divest the city’s 6.9bn kroner (£700m) investment fund of all holdings in coal, oil and gas.

If his proposal is approved at a finance committee meeting next Tuesday, as expected, the Danish capital will become the country’s first investment fund to sell its stocks and bonds in fossil fuels.

Related: A story of hope: the Guardian launches phase II of its climate change campaign

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Categories: International News

UAE banks on 'rainmakers' to secure future water supply

Guardian - January 29, 2016 - 2:00am

As climate change makes the desert nation hotter and drier, and a growing economy uses more water, the United Arab Emirates is giving $5m to researchers finding ways to wring more moisture out of clouds

On a winter morning in one of the world’s driest and most water-stressed countries, meteorologist Sufian Khaled Farrah watched on the Doppler radar screen as a cold, wet front scudded across the Gulf – and quickly called air traffic controllers.

Over the next 15 hours, six twin-engine planes took off from an airfield in Al Ain, on the eastern edge of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and flew repeatedly into the clouds, firing off 162 flares loaded with tiny particles of potassium chloride and sodium chloride – table salt. By the end of Farrah’s shift at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, a light drizzle was falling across much of the UAE. Farrah had made it rain.

Related: Malaysia resorts to cloud-seeding in hope of clearing smoke over region

Related: Middle East faces water shortages for the next 25 years, study says

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Categories: International News

Modern European summers are warmest since Roman times, study finds

Guardian - January 29, 2016 - 12:01am

Average summer temperatures in Europe are about 1.3C hotter than two millennia ago due to manmade climate change, scientists say

Europe has almost certainly experienced warmer summers in the last three decades than at any other time since the Roman empire, according to a study published on Friday in the Environmental Research Letters journal.

Since 1986, mean summer temperatures have been about 1.3C hotter than they were two millennia ago, while heatwaves have been longer, more frequent and more persistent, the study says.

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Categories: International News

California’s Rooftop Solar Industry Wins In Head To Head With Utilities

Climate Progress - January 28, 2016 - 3:54pm

California regulators just extended a popular residential solar program.

The post California’s Rooftop Solar Industry Wins In Head To Head With Utilities appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Categories: International News

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