2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #50B

Are the UK's carbon targets too low?

George Osborne has indicated he would like to ease the UK's carbon reduction ambitions. But the government's advisory body on climate change today said, if anything, the carbon budget should be tightened. Should the government have more, not less, ambition? With your help, Karl Mathiesen investigates.

Are the UK's carbon targets too low? by Karl Mathiesen, The Eco Audit, The Guardian, Dec 11, 2013

Berliners still fighting to pull the plug on coal-fired utility

Citizens in Berlin are fighting to democratize and decentralize the city's energy system, and they've found an unlikely model—in Sacramento, Calif. 

Berliners Still Fighting to Pull the Plug on Coal-Fired Utility by Joel Stonington, InsideClimate News, Dec 12, 2013 

Climate change is scaring the fish due to acidified oceans

Ocean acidification – one of the consequences of an increasing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – makes rockfish anxious, according to a newly published paper by a neuroscientist at Edmonton’s MacEwan University.

“It’s actually very similar to a human being anxious at a very basic fundamental level,” said Trevor Hamilton. “[The fish are] afraid of any sort of stimuli that could be harmful.” 

Climate change is scaring the fish due to acidified oceans by Bob Weber, The Globe and Mail, Dec 11, 2013

Is the American West’s dry spell really a megadrought?

The drought that has been afflicting most of the Western states for the past 13 years may be a “megadrought,” and the likelihood is high that this century could see a multi-decade dry spell like nothing else seen over the past 1,000 years, according to research presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting on Wednesday and Thursday.

Today, drought or abnormally dry conditions are affecting every state west of the Mississippi River and many on the East Coast, with much of the Southwest under long-term severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions. While drought conditions nationwide are down this year, they remain entrenched in the West.

Is the West’s Dry Spell Really a Megadrought? by Bobby Magill, Climate Central, Dec 12, 2013

Newly discovered greenhouse gas '7,000 times more powerful than CO2'

Perfluorotributylamine is an unregulated, long-living industrial chemical that breaks all records for potential climate impacts.

Newly discovered greenhouse gas '7,000 times more powerful than CO2' by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, Dec 10, 2013

Powder River basin coal on the move

No other coal deposit on the planet is so big, so close to the surface and so cheap to mine as the rich seams in eastern Wyoming and southern Montana. And that's made the Powder River Basin the locus of a national debate on how we develop fossil fuel reserves.

Powder River Basin Coal on the Move by Gary Braasch, The Daily Climate/Scientific American,  Dec 9, 2013

Scientists explore paths to ‘radical’ emissions reductions

After more than 20 years of effort to reduce them,  the world’s climate-changing emissions are still dramatically increasing year by year and “nothing that we’ve said or done to date about climate change has made any detectable dip whatsoever in that curve,” says Mike Berners-Lee, an environmental consultant at the UK’s Lancaster University.

That suggests it’s time for radical changes in how climate change is addressed – and that could involve anything from shaming Johnny Depp for his high carbon footprint to issuing personal “carbon allowance” electronic credit cards for every adult or launching a Marshall Plan to build a low-carbon energy supply by 2040, according to experts at a London “Radical Emissions Reduction” conference this week organised by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

“Whatever we’re doing, it’s not working, and we need to try something different,” said Berners-Lee, one of the speakers at the conference.

Scientists explore paths to ‘radical’ emissions reductions by Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Dec 12, 2013

Study adds to Arctic warming, extreme weather debate

A new study for the first time found links between the rapid loss of snow and sea ice cover in the Arctic and a recent spate of exceptional extreme heat events in North America, Europe, and Asia. The study adds to the evidence showing that the free-fall in summer sea ice extent and even sharper decline in spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reverberating throughout the atmosphere, making extreme events more likely to occur.

The study, published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to find correlations between rapid Arctic warming and extreme summer weather events, since previous research had focused on the links between Arctic warming and fall and winter weather patterns. 

Study Adds to Arctic Warming, Extreme Weather Debate by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, Dec 8, 2013

The Heartland Institute and the American Meteorological Society

Well, the Heartland Institute is at it again. This fossil fuel–funded (and tobacco company–funded) group has made quite the name for itself in the climate change denial game, from trumpeting the false controversy over Climategate to comparing climate scientists to mass murders to misrepresenting the actions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (which was so egregious the CAS issued a statement against Heartland that used the word false four times).

Heartland’s latest salvo involves an email they sent out about meteorologists and climate change. A paper (a legitimate one, I’ll note) was recently published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society called “Meteorologists’ Views About Global Warming: A Survey of American Meteorological Society Professional Members.” The paper’s conclusions show that AMS members who study the climate overwhelmingly support the idea that global warming is real and humans have at least contributed to it.

The Heartland Institute and the American Meteorological Society by Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy/Slate, Dec 10, 2013 

Three ways U.S.-China conflict is helping on climate change

McCarthy acknowledged conflict between the two nations, but said it was crucial that both act on climate change. "We know there's economic competition between the two—that's healthy—but we do share the same climate and we are well positioned to begin to work together in greater depth."

Three Ways U.S.-China Conflict Is Helping on Climate Change by Marianne Lavelle, National Geographic, Dec 10, 2013

US Navy predicts summer ice free Arctic by 2016

An ongoing US Department of Energy-backed research project led by a US Navy scientist predicts that the Arctic could lose its summer sea ice cover as early as 2016 - 84 years ahead of conventional model projections.

The project, based out of the US Naval Postgraduate School's Department of Oceanography, uses complex modelling techniques that make its projections more accurate than others.

US Navy predicts summer ice free Arctic by 2016 by Nafeez Ahmed, Earth Insight, The Guardian, Dec9, 2013

Yellowstone report: Climate, invasive species affect ecosystem

Yellowstone National Park was created by slow changes in geothermal conditions, but now it's being reshaped by rapid changes in climate and human pressures, according to a new report.

After enduring for almost 150 years, Yellowstone National Park is changing under human pressures as documented in the 2013 issue of “Vital Signs,” a biennial report released Tuesday by the Yellowstone Center for Resources.

Yellowstone report: Climate, invasive species affect ecosystem by Laura Lundquist, Bozeman Daily Chonicle, Dec 10, 2013

Posted by John Hartz on Saturday, 14 December, 2013

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