Climate Change News
By Sabrina Shankman – InsideClimate News – April 23, 2015
Permafrost—a vast, frozen subsurface layer of soil—covers nearly a quarter of the land in the northern hemisphere. It contains centuries worth of carbon in the form of plants that have died since the last ice age but remained frozen rather than decomposing. Now scientists are learning that the "perma" part of its name may no longer be accurate. For full story, click here.
By Jeff Karoub – AP News – Apr. 23, 2015
Federal agricultural officials are planning to announce voluntary programs and initiatives for farmers, ranchers and foresters meant to build on President Barack Obama's efforts to combat global warming — and don't require congressional approval. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is expected to unveil plans Thursday at Michigan State University, where Obama signed the sweeping farm bill into law last year. The efforts, many of which have their roots in that law, aim to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, boost carbon capture and storage and come with various enticements, including grants, low-interest loans and technical assistance. Vilsack said the agriculture industry accounts for about 9 percent of U.S. emissions, adding that compares favorably with the rest of the globe but can be improved. For full story, click here.
By Jugal Patel – Mace & Crown – April 14, 2015
The first time I felt like I really understood how much this university meant, I stood before the control panel of a 5-foot luminous omniglobe in the dimly lit lobby of Old Dominion University’s Physics and Oceanography Building. The digital panel offers a collection of intriguing visualizations of our planet from space. Beneath the surface, the visualizations are powered by thousands of data points gathered by satellites orbiting the Earth. Some of the projected models were uploaded by scientists at ODU engaged in research on our global environmental systems. The visualization I was most interested in showed the fluctuating height of our oceans’ surfaces over time. Off the coastline of Southeast Virginia, a poignant cluster of red gathered, illustrating the all too familiar sentiment on the area’s vulnerability to changes to our global climate. For full story, click here.
By Magdalena Mis – Planet Ark – April 15, 2015
There will be enough water to produce food for 10 billion people in 2050, but over-consumption and the impact of climate change threaten food security and water supplies in many regions, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday. By 2050 some 60 percent more food will be needed to feed the world's people and as farming remains the largest user of water, food must be produced sustainably to ensure future supplies of food and water, the FAO and the World Water Council (WWC) said in a joint report. For full story, click here.
By Andy Hoffman – The Conversation – April 2, 2015
Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown described Senator Ted Cruz as unfit to run for office because of his “direct falsification of the existing scientific data” on climate change. Cruz fired back that “global warming alarmists” like Brown “ridicule and insult anyone who actually looks at the real data.” Here we go again. This is but the latest example of the toxicity of the public debate over climate change. For full story, click here.
By Doug Boucher – Union of Concerned Scientists - The Equation – April 3, 2015
The United States has now told the world what it intends to do about climate change in the 2020s, by submitting its INDC (“Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”) to the United Nations. As we found in our report Halfway There? in January, the U.S.’ land sector – agriculture and forests – could be a big deal for the climate negotiations in Paris next December. Of course, our actions to reduce fossil fuels will be critical, but land use is important both as a source of global warming pollution and a way to take it back out of the atmosphere. For full blog post, click here.
By Katherine Bagley – Record Searchlight – March 19, 2015
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change. This may put several Republican governors who maintain the earth isn’t warming due to human activities, or prefer to do nothing about it, into a political bind. Their position may block their states’ access to hundreds of millions of dollars in FEMA funds. For full story, click here.
Reporting Climate Science – March 26, 2015
Natural wetlands usually emit methane and sequester carbon dioxide. Anthropogenic impacts however, in particular the conversion of wetlands into cropland, result in a significant increase in CO2 emissions, which overcompensate potential decreases in methane emission, caused by the reduction of wetlands. A large international research team now calculated that the conversion of arctic and boreal wetlands into agricultural land would result in an additional cumulative radiative forcing of about 0,1 mJ per square meter for the next 100 years. The conversion of temperate wetlands into agricultural land would even result in a cumulative radiative forcing of 0,15 mJ per square meter. Converting forested wetlands into managed forests also contributes to increased warming, albeit much less than the conversion of non-forested wetlands. For full story, click here.
By Cheryl Katz – Environmental News Network – March 30, 2015
For decades, the earth’s oceans have soaked up more than nine-tenths of the atmosphere’s excess heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions. By stowing that extra energy in their depths, oceans have spared the planet from feeling the full effects of humanity’s carbon overindulgence. But as those gases build in the air, an energy overload is rising below the waves. A raft of recent research finds that the ocean has been heating faster and deeper than scientists had previously thought. And there are new signs that the oceans might be starting to release some of that pent-up thermal to significant global temperature increases in the coming years. For full story, click here.