2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #23B

Central Europe floods are most dramatic in a decade

More than 80,000 emergency personnel including firefighters and soldiers were on duty Saturday, working aggressively to contain the most dramatic floods in Germany in a decade. Thousands of residents were still unable to return to their homes, and bridges and streets were impassable in many regions of eastern and southern Germany.

Twenty people reportedly have already died in the floods across central Europe after several days of heavy rains. Thousands have been put up in emergency shelters waiting for the waters to recede so they can get back to their homes.

Central Europe Floods Are Most Dramatic In A Decade by Kirsten Grieshaber,  AP/The Huffington Post, June 8, 2013

China sticks to carbon-intensity target

China’s Chief Climate Negotiator Su Wei reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to lower emissions relative to economic output while dismissing reports that it will adopt an absolute cap on greenhouse gases.

The Financial Times and Independent newspapers both said last month that China is looking to introduce a cap in 2016. The Independent cited a proposal by the National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning agency where Su works. The FT cited Jiang Kejun, an NDRC carbon-policy researcher.

China Sticks to Carbon-Intensity Target by Alex Morales, Bloomberg News, June 4, 2013

Climate change causing Pentagon planning shift

One of the Pentagon’s top strategists said climate change is fundamentally altering how the Defense Department (DOD) evaluates future conflict areas.

Daniel Chiu, the deputy assistant secretary of DOD strategy, said climate change has the Pentagon thinking about impacts on global food and water scarcity, mass migration and the potential for those issues to ignite clashes around the world.

Climate change causing Pentagon planning shift, says DOD strategist by Zack Colman, E2Wire, The Hill, June 7, 2013

Climate science tells us the alarm bells are ringing

Much has been made of a short-term reduction in the rate of atmospheric warming. But “global” warming requires looking at the entire planet. While the increase in atmospheric temperature has slowed, ocean warming rose dramatically after 2000. Excess heat is being trapped in Earth’s climate system, and observations of the Global Climate Observing System and others are increasingly able to locate it. Simplistic interpretations of cherry-picked data hide the realities.

Climate science tells us the alarm bells are ringing, Op-ed by Michael Oppenheimer and Kevin Trenberth, Washington Post, June 7, 2013

Hotter planet creating 'extraordinary' wild fires

Climate change is worsening wildfires, lengthening the wildfire season and increasing their size, the head of the nation's forest service warned Congress on Tuesday.

Hotter Planet Creating 'Extraordinary' Wild Fires says Head of US Forest Service by Andreas Germanos, Common Dreams, June 5, 2013

Meet the world's best new environment bloggers

Today we're lifting the curtain on our new family of environment bloggers. From Shanghai to New York, Melbourne to Bangalore and Lima to Nairobi, our 10 new blogs will open a global window onto stories about wildlife, climate change, pollution, food, water, deforestation, activism, and more.

Inspired in part by the Guardian's stable of science blogs, our environment bloggers will have independence to publish without our editorial interference. Being on the ground, and experts in their field, I believe they'll deepen and enrich our coverage, rather than replacing our traditional journalism.

Meet the world's best new environment bloggers by Adam Vaughn, June 7, 2013

Mine-dependent Mongolia to push renewables

Mongolia, which is banking on a mining-led investment boom to develop its economy, is aiming to turn itself into a regional renewable energy hub as it tries to fight off the pressures of global warming, the country's president said.

"Mongolia is regarded as one of the centres of this region for wind power. We have high mountains and the Gobi. We have great potential to generate power," president Tsakhia Elbegdorj told reporters.

Mine-dependent Mongolia to push renewables as climate change bites -president by Terrance Edwards, Reuters, June 5, 2013

Most Americans say global warming is real

About seven-in-ten Americans (69%) say there’s solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March. That’s about as many as said so in 2008, although acceptance of the reality of global warming has risen and fallen considerably over that time span: from a high of 79% in July 2006 to a low of 57% in October 2009. 

Most Americans say global warming is real, but opinions split on why by Drew Desilver, Pew Research Center, June 6, 2013

Obama officials raise ‘social cost’ of carbon in federal regulations

The Obama administration has increased the “social cost” of carbon emissions in federal regulations, a move that could lay the groundwork for new rules on climate change.

Obama officials raise ‘social cost’ of carbon in federal regulations by Zack Colman, E2Wire, The Hill, June 5, 2013

This one picture shows how we’re causing climate change

We know that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is hitting levels unprecedented in human history, and we know that we’re behind it. We know that the choices we make every day, and the choices of nations, affect the emissions of greenhouse gases.

But despite knowing all this, it’s still sort of tricky to understand where all these heat-trapping molecules are really coming from. Put together by the renewable energy consultancy firm Ecofys, this infographic (high-resolution PDF here) tries to break those systems down.

This One Picture Shows How We’re Causing Climate Change by Colin Schultz, Smart News, Smithsonian.com, June 6, 2013

Warming, rising acidity and pollution: top threats to the ocean

Ocean plants produce some 50% of the planet’s oxygen. Seawater absorbs a quarter of the carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere. Ocean currents distribute heat around the globe, regulating weather patterns and climate. And, for those who take pleasure in life’s simple rewards, a seaweed extract keeps your peanut butter and ice cream at the right consistency!

Nonetheless, those of us who can’t see the ocean from our window still feel a disconnect—because the ocean feels far away, it’s easy to forget the critical role the ocean plays in human life and to think that problems concerning the ocean will only harm those people that fish or make their living directly from the sea. But this isn’t true: the sea is far more important than that.

Every year, scientists learn more about the top threats to the ocean and what we can do to counter them. So for tomorrow's here's a run-down of what we've learned just in the past 12 months.

Warming, Rising Acidity and Pollution: Top Threats to the Ocean by Emily Frost and Hannah Waters, Surprising Science, Smithsonian.com, June 7, 2013

Wildfire smoke a rising health concern with climate change

While wildfires are a staple in central Washington state, last fall's fires were unusual for their timing and intensity, experts told The Huffington Post. The late-season blazes sparked by lightning raged for more than a month, resulting in the highest smoke concentrations ever recorded in several central Washington communities. 

Wildfire Smoke A Rising Health Concern With Climate Change by Lynne Peeples, The Huffington Post, June 5, 2013

Posted by John Hartz on Saturday, 8 June, 2013

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