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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #27A

Posted on 6 July 2013 by John Hartz

  • Antarctic flood produces 'ice crater'
  • Climate change, pipelines and Alberta floods
  • El Nino was unusually active in possible link to climate change
  • European Parliament acts to support emissions trading system
  • Global warming trend and variations charted by cello
  • Hotter, drier West (U.S) faces more huge fires
  • Is environmental action impossible in corporate-dominated age?
  • It's climate change: I told you so
  • Koch pledge tied to Congressional climate inaction in U.S.
  • Obama seeks new U.S. role in climate debate
  • UN charts "unprecedented" global warming since 2000
  • UN Green Climate Fund ready by 2014

Antarctic flood produces 'ice crater'

Scientists have seen evidence for a colossal flood under Antarctica that drained six billion tonnes of water, quite possibly straight to the ocean. 

Antarctic flood produces 'ice crater' by Jonathan amos, BBC News, July 2, 2013

Climate change, pipelines and Alberta floods

Most Canadians sympathize with those affected by the Alberta floods, and many have offered support of various kinds. At the same time, a number of commentators have pointed out the connection between the oilsands projects in Alberta, and the sad irony of the flooding relatively nearby. It has been asserted that intense floods of this nature are consistent with predictions about climate change, and that the oilsands are a significant contributor to global warming.

Climate change, pipelines and Alberta floods, Op-ed by David Tindall, Vancouver Sun, July 2, 2013

El Nino was unusually active in possible link to climate change

The El Nino weather pattern that can bring drought to Australia and rain to South America was “unusually active” at the end of the 20th century, possibly due to climate change, a University of Hawaii study found.

El Nino Was Unusually Active in Possible Link to Climate Change by Rudy Ruitenberg, Jul 1, 2013

European Parliament acts to support emissions trading system

The European Parliament approved on Wednesday a measure designed to revive sagging prices and confidence in the European Union’s emissions trading system, the centerpiece of Europe’s effort to cut greenhouse gases and a model for similar systems around the world.

The vote had taken on symbolic importance because the Parliament had shot down a similar proposal in April. That earlier vote meant the carbon trading system, which has been emulated globally as a way of using markets to curb greenhouse gases, was on life support.

The measure passed on Wednesday 344 to 314 after intense lobbying by the European Commission and some national governments.

European Parliament Acts to Support Emissions Trading System by Stanley Reed, New York Times, July 3, 2013

Global warming trend and variations charted by cello

Daniel Crawford, a cello-playing undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, came up with a new way to describe the trend and variations that both characterize our warming climate — a solo composition, “Song of Our Warming Planet,” in which notes represent annual temperature readings from 1880 to 2012 as charted by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Global warming trend and variations charted by cello by Andrew Revkin, DotEarth, New York Times, July 2, 2013

Hotter, drier West (U.S) faces more huge fires

One of the deadliest wildfires in a generation vastly expanded Monday to cover more than 8,000 acres, sweeping up sharp slopes through dry scrub and gnarled piñon pines a day after fickle winds and flames killed 19 firefighters.

Experts See New Normal as a Hotter, Drier West Faces More Huge Fires by Felicity Barringer and Kenneth Chang, New York Times, July 1, 2013

It's climate change: I told you so

On Sunday, 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite wildfire-fighting team, were killed when a burst of wind pushed a blazing forest fire in their direction.

Their deaths were a tragedy, but the biggest tragedy is that they could have been prevented. They could have been prevented if we listened to the scientists who told us nine years ago that global warming would lead to harsh droughts, baking heat, and deadly forest fires.

It's Climate Change: I Told You So, Op-ed by Thom Hartmann, Truthout, July 2, 2013

Koch pledge tied to Congressional climate inaction in U.S.

When President Obama unveiled his program to tackle climate change last month, he deliberately sidestepped Congress as a hopeless bastion of obstruction, relying completely on changes that could be imposed by regulatory agencies. A two-year study by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, released today, illustrates what might be one of the reasons why he had to take this circuitous route. Fossil fuel magnates Charles and David Koch have, through Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group they back, succeeded in persuading many members of Congress to sign a little-known pledge in which they have promised to vote against legislation relating to climate change unless it is accompanied by an equivalent amount of tax cuts. Since most solutions to the problem of greenhouse-gas emissions require costs to the polluters and the public, the pledge essentially commits those who sign to it to vote against nearly any meaningful bill regarding global warning, and acts as yet another roadblock to action.

Koch Pledge Tied to Congressional Climate Inaction by Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, July 1, 2013

Obama seeks new U.S. role in climate debate

When President Obama barged into a meeting of leaders from Brazil, China, India and other countries at a climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, he managed to extract a last-minute agreement to set a goal to limit the rise in global temperatures.

It was the high-water mark of Mr. Obama’s leadership on climate change — even if the deal was less than the Americans or Europeans wanted — but it has been downhill ever since. Preoccupied with other problems, the president largely disappeared from the global debate.

Now he is trying to reclaim the spotlight.

Obama Seeks New U.S. Role in Climate Debate by Mark Landler, New York Times, July 2, 2013

UN charts "unprecedented" global warming since 2000

The planet has warmed faster since the turn of the century than ever recorded, almost doubling the pace of sea-level increase and causing a 20-fold jump in heat-related deaths, the United Nations said.

The decade through 2010 was the warmest for both hemispheres and for land and sea, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization said today in an e-mailed report examining climate trends for the beginning of the millennium. Almost 94 percent of countries logged their warmest 10 years on record, it said.

“The decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. “Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far-reaching implications for our environment and our oceans.”

UN Charts ‘Unprecedented’ Global Warming Since 2000 by Alex Morales, Bloomberg, July 3, 2013

UN Green Climate Fund ready by 2014

A U.N. climate fund charged with raising up to $100 billion a year to help some of the world’s poorest countries battle the causes and effects of climate change could be ready to give out cash by the end of 2014, an observer to the fund’s board said Tuesday.

The development of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is seen as a crucial key to help unlock U.N. climate negotiations which have for years been marred by a lack of trust, with rich and poor countries trading accusations over broken promises while global greenhouse gas emissions rise.

“The target is still to make sure the fund is up and running by 2014 and ideally ready for the first deployments of cash by the end of that year,” Abyd Karmali, global head of carbon markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and active private sector observer on the board of the fund said in an interview.

U.N. Green Climate Fund ready by 2014: observer by Susanna Twidale, Reuters Point Carbon, July 2, 2013

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