Climate Change News

Supreme Court to Review EPA Authority to Require Greenhouse Gas Permits

Van Ness Feldman – October 23, 2013

On October 15, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear challenges to a determination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) that, under the Clean Air Act, increases in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from new and modified major stationary sources triggers a requirement for those sources to obtain Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits.  In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (D.C. Circuit) upheld this EPA determination inCoalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, 684 F.3d 102.  The Supreme Court has consolidated review of six separate challenges as Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, and will hear one hour of oral argument in its October Term. For full story, click here.

NASA Announces New Downscaled Climate Projections for the United States

NASA

Global models of the climate system are now the foundation for many important climate studies, but they typically show climate changes at very large geographic scales on the order of 100 to 250 kilometers. Some data sets have scaled that down to about 10 kilometers, but even these make it difficult to analyze climate change impacts on a local or regional scale. Using previously published large-scale climate model projections, a team of scientists from NASA, the Climate Analytics Group, and California State University, Monterey Bay, has released monthly climate projections for the contiguous United States at a scale of one half mile (800 meters), or approximately the size of a neighborhood. To generate these high-resolution climate projections, researchers used an innovative scientific collaboration platform called the NASA Earth Exchange. These climate projections provide a view of future U.S. temperature and precipitation patterns based on four different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, spanning the period from 1950 to 2099.  The new downscaled climate projections were statistically derived from the results of the latest climate scenarios produced by an ensemble of global climate models for the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report and historical surface observations. To learn more, click here.

Climate Change Makes Any Disaster Global

By Gillen D'Arcy Wood – Bloomberg – November 18, 2013

Historians may look back at Typhoon Haiyan as a turning point in disaster journalism and the politics of climate change. For the first time, an extreme-weather catastrophe in the tropics has shrugged off its “made in Asia” label and gone global. For full story, click here.

Impacts of climate change observed in global precipitation patterns

By Kate Prengaman – Ars Technica –  November 16, 2013

More evidence turned up this week indicating that climate change impacts are already underway—this time in rainfall patterns. It's pretty hard to clearly link climate change to individual droughts, like the summer of 2012 in the United States, or specific storms, like Hurricane Haiyan that devastated the Philippines last week. These events are driven by a complex set of factors, including natural variations. But new research that tracked a broad look at precipitation patterns found that they have already shifted beyond the bounds of natural variations. For full story, click here.

More evidence turned up this week indicating that climate change impacts are already underway—this time in rainfall patterns. It's pretty hard to clearly link climate change to individual droughts, like the summer of 2012 in the United States, or specific storms, like Hurricane Haiyan that devastated the Philippines last week. These events are driven by a complex set of factors, including natural variations. But new research that tracked a broad look at precipitation patterns found that they have already shifted beyond the bounds of natural variations

Combining climate-change adaptation & mitigation: a win-win option

By Barbara Fraser – Thomson Reuters Foundation – November 16, 2013

Although rural landscapes can be managed to optimize both climate-change mitigation and adaptation, many climate-oriented development projects fail to take advantage of the combined benefits, according to Bruno Locatelli, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD). With careful planning, landscapes can be managed to emphasize the synergies between adaptation and mitigation while balancing the trade-offs, he said at a conference at the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, CATIE) in Costa Rica in October. For full story, click here.

Investors Sound the Alarm on Climate Change

By Ryan Bradley – CNN Money  – October 24, 2013

If human-caused climate change is accepted as a certainty -- it is, by 95% of scientists (a higher percentage, by the way, than agree that smoking causes cancer) -- what are the ramifications for business? If you are in the keeping-back-the-sea biz, rising seas will likely be a boon. If you seek out and extract carbon from the earth (oil or coal, mostly) to be burned as energy and released into the atmosphere, climate change might be a very grave problem indeed. For full story, click here.

Climate Change Increases Storm Severity and Toxic Chemical Hazards

eNews Park Forest – November 13, 2013

As the world sheds tears from reading the reports of human suffering and looks on in horror at the pictures of devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the debate of whether increased occurrences of super-storms like Haiyan are just over the horizon because of man-made climate change have also taken up residence in the headlines. Coupled by coverage of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the leak of a draft summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on the impacts of global warming, the world is clearly paying attention. For full story, click here.

Marine plants provide defense against climate change

PHYS.org – October 31, 2013

Winthrop Professor Carlos Duarte, Director of UWA's Oceans Institute said seagrass, mangrove and salt-march ecosystems ranked among the world's most intense carbon sinks while offering effective coastal defences against , such as the ability to raise the seafloor, dissipate wave energy and prevent flooding. For full story, click here.

Climate change alters timing of spring growth in forests

Environmental Research Lab – November 1, 2013

Warm winters let trees sleep longer In the temperate zones, vegetation follows the change of the seasons. After a winter pause, plants put out new growth in spring. Research has now brought a new correlation to light: The colder the winter, the earlier native plants begin to grow again. Since warmer winters can be expected as the climate changes, the spring development phase for typical forest trees might start later and later - giving an advantage to shrubs and invasive trees that don't depend on the cold. In the temperate zones, vegetation follows the change of the seasons. For full story, click here.