Climate Change News

Verdict: Charges Dropped on Account of Climate Change

By Jason Plautz – National Journal – September 8, 2014

When two environmental activists used a lobster boat to block a shipment of coal to a power plant, they planned to cite the urgency of climate change to justify their actions if the case went to trial. As it turns out, a Massachusetts county was one step ahead of them. Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter announced Monday that he had reached a deal to dismiss or downgrade the charges against the two activists because of the need to address climate pollution. For full article, click here.

Half of North American bird species threatened by climate change

By Louis Sahagun –Los Angeles Times – September 8, 2014

Half of all bird species in North America — including the bald eagle — are at risk of severe population decline by 2080 if the swift pace of global warming continues, the National Audubon Society concluded in a study released Monday. "The scale of the disruption we're projecting is a real punch in the gut," said Gary Langham, chief Audubon scientist. Langham led an Audubon study that examined more than 500 bird species and determined that more than 300 in Canada and the United States face large climate shifts that could reduce their habitat by half or more by 2080. The changing environment will force birds to adapt to new habitats with different temperature and precipitation rates if they are to survive. For full story, click here.


New Climate Change Attribution Study

By Wil Burns – Teaching Climate/Energy Law & Policy – September 5, 2014

Instructors who include a module on climate science might want to draw upon a new study in the journal Climate Risk Management. The study addresses one of the most frequent question of students, as well as the general public: could current warming trends (through July 2014, consecutive months in which global land and ocean temperatures have exceeded the 20th century monthly average) be primarily a function of natural system fluctuation? The study, conducted by scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization and the University of Wollongong, seeks to facilitate the development of probabilistic statements to assess the likelihood that anomalous warming (in the study, defined as the unbroken sequence of 346 months, from March 1985-December 2013, of average monthly temperatures exceeding the 20th Century average) is a function of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. It extends the methodology of attribution studies by using a statistically robust approach that incorporates time series modeling, validation and 100,000 bootstrap simulations of temperature time series (which can facilitate sampling distribution of statistics). The model correlates global temperature to well-recognized drivers of temperature variation, including El Niño, solar radiation, volcanic aerosols and greenhouse gas concentrations. The model was run using the historic record and re-run without the anthropogenic influence of greenhouse gas emissions. For full blog post, click here.

Zoomed-In Climate Models Help Alaska Communities Plan for Uncertain Future

By Amy Nordrum – Inside Climate News – August 26, 2014

Hunters in the Alaskan village of Wainwright, a community of about 550 Inupiat Eskimos at the lip of the Chukchi Sea, have long harvested bowhead whales from the ocean. Each spring, crews of 15-25 hunters set out in umiaqs—boats made from seal skins and caribou sinew. The hunters usually launch from Point Belcher, where the ice cracks open to expose the water in slivers called "leads." Then the whalers follow these narrow channels to the sea. The hunters must heft the dead whale onto a flat piece of shelf ice to butcher it. But climate change is making it tougher for these whalers to find a spot to butcher their catch. For full story, click here.

Health benefits offset costs of climate policies

By Amanda Peterka – E & E Publishing, LLC – August 25, 2014

Savings due to avoided health problems help offset -- and in some cases greatly outweigh -- the costs of carbon dioxide-cutting policies in the United States, according to a new study. The study, led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that health benefits offset between 26 and 1,050 percent of the cost of greenhouse gas reduction policies. The study examined three different types of climate policies: a clean-energy standard, a transportation policy targeting on-road vehicles and a cap-and-trade program. For full story, click here.

EPA Announces 2015 Climate Leadership Awards Applications


EPA's Climate Protection Partnerships Division is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through cost-effective partnerships across the U.S. economy. As part of this commitment, EPA co-sponsors the Climate Leadership Awards (CLA) with three NGO partners: The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO),  the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES),  and The Climate Registry (The Registry). The Climate Leadership Awards is a national awards program that recognizes and incentivizes exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change. In February 2012, the first-ever awards were presented to one individual and 20 organizations from across the U.S. who are leading the way in the management and reduction of GHG emissions — both in internal operations and throughout the supply chain. Now in its fourth year, the awards continue to honor and highlight leadership in addressing climate change by reducing carbon pollution and implementing adaptation planning initiatives. For more information, click here.

Keystone Could Add 400% More CO2 Than State Dept Estimated

By John H. Cushman, Jr. – Inside Climate News – August 11, 2014

Building the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in the United States could add more than 100 million additional metric tons of carbon dioxide to world emissions—four times more than the maximum estimated in the State Department's study of the project's environmental impact, according to a new study. For full story, click here.

Climate change reflected in altered Missouri River flow, report says

By Maya Srikrishnan – Los Angeles Times – August 17, 2014

Montana farmer Rocky Norby has worked the land along the Missouri River for more than 20 years, coaxing sugar beets and malted barley out of the arid ground. "Every year it gets worse," he said. "There's not enough water to get through our pumps." Last month, he said, he spent more than $10,000 trying to remove the sand from his clogged irrigation system. The Missouri River's stream flow has changed significantly over the last 50 years, leading to serious water shortages in Montana and Wyoming and flooding in the Dakotas, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report released last month. For full story,click here.

In Arctic Temperature Causing Extreme Weather In US, Europe, Claims New Study

By Avaneesh Pandey – International Business Times – August 12, 2014

A rapid rise in temperature in the Arctic region over the last two decades could be responsible for extreme weather events throughout the northern hemisphere, scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany said in a study published Monday. Both U.S. and Europe have seen cold snaps, heat waves and flooding in recent years. “The large number of recent high-impact extreme weather events has struck and puzzled us,” Dim Coumou, lead author of the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said in a press release. “Of course we are warming our atmosphere by emitting CO2 from fossil fuels, but the increase in devastating heat waves in regions like Europe or the US seems disproportionate.” For full story, click here.