2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #40A

As planet warms, US watersheds go thirsty

Nearly 1 in 10 watersheds have out-stripped water supply, with trend expected to worsen as climate heats up. 

As Planet Warms, US Watersheds Go Thirsty by Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, Sep 30, 2013

Bloomberg, Steyer, Paulson to gauge global warming’s economic toll

The goal of the new Tom Steyer-Hank Paulson-Michael Bloomberg climate initiative has been revealed: make the case that failing to act on global warming is far more expensive than cutting emissions.

The New Yorker reported last month that the billionaire ex-hedge fund chief Steyer, George W. Bush-era Treasury Secretary Paulson and outgoing New York City Mayor Bloomberg were launching some sort of bipartisan effort.

On Tuesday Bloomberg Markets Magazine filled in some of the details: “The three men agreed to join forces to persuade investors, policy makers and the public that the consequences of unchecked carbon emissions would eventually blow away whatever short-term costs are involved in curbing the pollution,” the magazine reports.

Bloomberg, Steyer, Paulson team up to gauge global warming’s economic toll by Ben Geman, The Hill, Oct 1, 2013

Carbon budgets can provide emissions guide

A U.N. panel of climate scientists has for the first time backed a limit on cumulative global carbon emissions, in a so-called budget approach that is useful but with certain limitations.

Carbon budgets estimate the maximum greenhouse gases that countries can emit cumulatively for the world to stay below a certain amount of global warming, and so are related to targets that set an emissions limit in any particular year.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body, published on Friday estimates for different "budgets" that would limit global warming.

Governments have never agreed a global emissions target at annual climate conferences dating back to the signing of the U.N. convention on climate change in 1992.

Carbon budgets can provide emissions guide, Op-ed by Gerard Wynn, Reuters, Oct 1, 2013

Carbon budget' talks urgent, warns Lord Stern

Talks must start urgently on the world's "carbon budget" – the amount of greenhouse gas that can be poured into the atmosphere without triggering dangerous climate change – as without radical policies to cut emissions humanity will exceed the limit within 15 to 25 years, the world's leading climate economist has warned.

Lord Stern, the former World Bank chief economist and author of the landmark study of the economics of global warming, said the world faced a stark choice. On Friday, after days of deliberations, the world's leading climate scientists put a figure for the first time on how much carbon dioxide humanity can continue to pour into the air before overheating the planet. The stark conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was that half to two-thirds of the "budget" have already used up.

Carbon budget' talks urgent, warns Lord Stern by Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, Sep 30, 2013

Climate report: How the science has moved on

"Human influence on the climate system is clear."

With these words, Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern in Switzerland summed up the new assessment of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Stocker was one of the report's co-chairs.

The new report, published last Friday, reaffirms the findings of the previous assessment in 2007: humans are to blame for warming now and in the future.

Climate report: How the science has moved on by Fred Pearce, New Scientist, Sep 30, 2013

Have the media failed us on climate change?

Journalists from Slate, the Guardian, the Atlantic Cities, the Huffington Post, and Mother Jones meet up at SXSW Eco in Austin, Texas, next week to hold the press to account.

Have the Media Failed Us on Climate Change? by Chris Mooney, Mother Jones, Oct 1, 2013

How not to write a headline about the IPCC's climate science report

On Friday, the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fifth assessment showing what scientists understand about climate change. There are a number of important takeaways from the report, like establishing a limit on carbon emissions before the world crashes through 2°C of warming. And the IPCC notes scientists are more certain than ever that humans are behind it.

The scientific understanding of global warming is old news, but it’s a debate fossil fuel groups and climate deniers have forced in the U.S.

How Not To Write A Headline About The IPCC’s Climate Science Report by Rebecca Lebier and Andrew Breiner, Climate Progress, Sep 30, 2013

IPCC digested: Just leave the fossil fuels underground

Hundreds of thousands of words will be written about the latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here, in 10 words, is the bottom line: we have to leave most fossil fuels in the ground. It really is that simple.

IPCC digested: Just leave the fossil fuels underground by Michael Le Page, New Scientist, Sep 30, 2013

Japan’s new global warming goal may not reduce emissions

Japan is planning to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 6 to 7 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, but the new goal, based on no nuclear reactors being online, may be criticized by the international community as it may not represent a decrease from 1990 levels.

Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and other related ministers discussed the proposed goal on Oct. 1. The target will be finalized ahead of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Poland in November, sources said.

Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 were about 7 percent more than in 1990. The new figure is based on the assumption that no nuclear energy will be used because all of the nation’s 50 reactors currently remain offline in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japan’s new global warming goal may not reduce emissions, The Asahi Shimbun, Oct 1, 2013

New EPA emissions’ regs pack little punch on climate

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out restrictive new greenhouse gas emissions standards for new power plants at the end of September, but they are unlikely to have much of an impact on the nation’s overall climate change-fueling carbon emissions.

Part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA's proposed new rules, if finalized, will govern only power plants that haven’t been built yet and affect primarily coal-fired power plants, few of which are likely to be constructed in the future.

New EPA Emissions’ Regs Pack Little Punch on Climate by Bobby Magill, Climate Central, Sep 30, 2013

Ocean warming narrows climate options

Some of the most minute forms of marine life may have a significant effect both on more developed creatures and on the oceans’ ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

An international team of scientists has found that the smallest species of plankton thrive when levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas from human sources, rise and increase the acidity of the oceans.

Writing in Biogeosciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union, they say this could knock the marine food web off balance and also lessen the oceans’ uptake of CO2, a mechanism which helps to regulate the global climate by absorbing gas which would otherwise heat the atmosphere.

Ocean warming narrows climate options by Alex Kirby,Climate News Network, Sep 28, 2013

Scientists call for overhaul of IPCC

The world's need is for faster, more focused and more targeted research, scientists say, now that certainty of man-made climate change is established.

Scientists Call for Overhaul of IPCC by Katherine Bagley, Inside Climate News, Sep 30, 2013

Posted by John Hartz on Wednesday, 2 October, 2013

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