By Andrea Thompson – Scientific America - Climate Central – January 30, 2016
A parade of El Niño-fueled storms has marched over California in the last few weeks, bringing bouts of much needed rain and snow to the parched state. But maps of drought conditions there have barely budged, with nearly two-thirds of the state still in the worst two categories of drought. So what gives? The short answer, experts say, is that the drought built up over several years (with help from hotter temperatures fueled in part by global warming) and it will take many more storms and almost assuredly more than a single winter—even one with a strong El Niño—to erase it. For full article, click here.
By Peter Hannam – The Sydney Morning Herald – February 3, 2016
It's an odd quirk of nature that birds - even chickens - typically lay just one egg a day, and many species rely on all the eggs in the clutch hatching on the same day. Parent birds control incubation by modifying the temperature that triggers embryo development, which is one way that species ensure roughly synchronous hatching. However, climate change - particularly the increase in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves - will take some of that control away from birds, causing some eggs to hatch earlier than others, according to new research published in the Royal Society Open Science journal on Wednesday. For full story, click here.
By Peter Hannan – The Sydney Morning Herald – January 28 2016
The health of the world's soils hinges on the abundance and diversity of the microbes and fungi they contain, and environmental changes including from global warming will undermine their ability to support humans and other species, according to two new studies. While animal and plant diversity has long been understood to be important, the multiple roles of soils – from the decomposition of organic matter to nutrient cycling and carbon fixing – have been less researched. One of the studies, published in Nature Communications on Thursday, examined microbial diversity in 78 drylands on all inhabited continents and 179 sites in Scotland. It found that the loss of varieties – such as from climate change increasing arid zones – undermined the services the soils provided. For full story, click here.
By Katie Valentine – Think Progress – January 28 2016
Oil and gas pipelines now have a new hurdle to clear before they’re approved in Canada. Pipelines and natural gas export terminals proposed in the country will now be subject to a climate test, which will seek to determine how the project will impact greenhouse gas emissions, Canadian officials announced Wednesday. That test will take into account the “upstream” impacts of a project — meaning the emissions from the extraction of the oil or gas that the pipeline would carry or the gas the terminal would store — as well as the emissions created from building and maintaining the project. For full story, click here.
Krista Langlois – High Country News – January 18, 2016
If you’ve ever dreamed about fishing in the West, chances are you’ve pictured something like the South Fork of the Flathead, an achingly beautiful turquoise river tumbling over multicolored pebbles and wending through the deep forest of northwest Montana. Wade Fredenberg is among the few lucky enough to have grown up fishing there, and his childhood recollections read like a passage from Norman Maclean’s legendary book A River Runs Through It. Fredenberg is now a U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, and the gleaming 20-pound bull trout of his youth are increasingly rare. The trout have been devastated by mining pollution, agricultural runoff and non-native fish, and surviving populations are threatened by rising stream temperatures. Yet while their trajectory from abundance to scarcity is a story we know all too well, Fredenberg and his colleagues believe that new research can turn the narrative around — not just for bull trout, but for other cold-water fish species across the West as well. For full story, click here.
By Seth Borenstein, Associated Press – Inside Bay Area News – January 18, 2016
The amount of man-made heat energy absorbed by the seas has doubled since 1997, a study released Monday showed. Scientists have long known that more than 90 percent of the heat energy from man-made global warming goes into the world's oceans instead of the ground. And they've seen ocean heat content rise in recent years. But the new study, using ocean-observing data that goes back to the British research ship Challenger in the 1870s and including high-tech modern underwater monitors and computer models, tracked how much man-made heat has been buried in the oceans in the past 150 years. The world's oceans absorbed approximately 150 zettajoules of energy from 1865 to 1997, and then absorbed about another 150 in the next 18 years, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. For full story, click here.
Reuters – January 13, 2016
Global emissions of mercury from manmade sources fell 30 percent from 1990 to 2010, in part from decreasing use of coal, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported on Wednesday. The greatest decline of the toxic pollutant was in Europe and North America, offsetting increases in Asia, the agency said, citing an international study. The findings challenge longstanding assumptions on emission trends and show that local and regional efforts can have a major impact, it said. For full story, click here.
By Larry Elliott – The Guardian – January 14, 2016
A catastrophe caused by climate change is seen as the biggest potential threat to the global economy in 2016, according to a survey of 750 experts conducted by the World Economic Forum. The annual assessment of risks conducted by the WEF before its annual meeting in Davos on 20-23 January showed that global warming had catapulted its way to the top of the list of concerns. A failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation was seen as likely to have a bigger impact than the spread of weapons of mass destruction, water crises, mass involuntary migration and a severe energy price shock – the first time in the 11 years of the Global Risks report that the environment has been in first place. For full story, click here.
By Coral Davenport – The New York Times – January 14, 2016
The Obama administration announced on Friday a halt to new coal mining leases on public lands as it considers an overhaul of the program that could lead to increased costs for energy companies and a slowdown in extraction. “Given serious concerns raised about the federal coal program, we’re taking the prudent step to hit pause on approving significant new leases so that decisions about those leases can benefit from the recommendations that come out of the review,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. For full story, click here.
By Alister Doyle – Planet Ark – January 12, 2016
The biggest icebergs breaking off Antarctica unexpectedly help to slow global warming as they melt away into the chill Southern Ocean, scientists said on Monday. The rare Manhattan-sized icebergs, which may become more frequent in coming decades because of climate change, release a vast trail of iron and other nutrients that act as fertilizers for algae and other tiny plant-like organisms in the ocean. These extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, a natural ally for human efforts to limit the pace of climate change blamed on man-made greenhouse gas emissions. For full story, click here.
ENN Environmental – News Network – January 10, 2016
Protected areas such as rainforests occupy more than one-tenth of the Earth’s landscape, and provide invaluable ecosystem services, from erosion control to pollination to biodiversity preservation. They also draw heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it in plants and soil through photosynthesis, yielding a net cooling effect on the planet. Determining the role protected areas play as carbon sinks — now and in decades to come — is a topic of intense interest to the climate-policy community as it seeks science-based strategies to mitigate climate change. For full story, click here.
By James Crugnale – The Weather Channel – January 7, 2016
A new study published in the journal Nature Geosciences and conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol's Cabot Institute found that the pace of environmental change is occurring faster now than at any other previous time in the Earth's history. "The rate of change was considerably slower in the past," lead author David Naafs told weather.com. Naafs and his research team showed that previous environmental change events that occurred naturally happened potentially a "thousand times slower than today." For full story, click here.
By Lisa Song – InsideClimate News – January 4, 2016
In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will issue long-awaited rules to control methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The regulations will emerge after years of activism and scientific studies on the climate risk posed by methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that's dozens of times more potent that carbon dioxide. But the regulations will likely be overshadowed by the ongoing saga in Aliso Canyon, Calif., where a leaking natural gas storage field continues to belch thousands of tons of methane into the air every week. For full story, click here.
By John H. Cushman Jr. – InsideClimate News – January 7, 2016
Moving on two new legal fronts to overturn President Barack Obama’s rejection of its Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada Corp. on Wednesday launched a free-trade challenge and a federal lawsuit to salvage the stranded project. The first maneuver, under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement, (NAFTA) seeks compensation of $15 billion – a prize rich enough not just to repay the money already invested, but also to compensate for the loss of future income investors had expected. For full story, click here.
By Russ Zimmer – 10 News – January 2, 2016
Much of this country's barrier islands will be under water in 50 years because of climate change, according to a University of Miami professor and expert on sea-level rise. On the Jersey Shore, not only would places like Long Beach Island and Seaside Heights be partially covered by sea water, but so would flood-prone coastal communities from Bay Head to Tuckerton. These areas also would face more flooding and greater risk from storm surges, according to Harold Wanless, chairman of the university's Department of Geological Sciences. For full story, click here.
By Amy Lieberman an Susan Rust – Los Angeles Times – December 31, 2015
A few weeks before seminal climate change talks in Kyoto back in 1997, Mobil Oil took out a bluntly worded advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post. “Let’s face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil,” the ad said. “Scientists cannot predict with certainty if temperatures will increase, by how much and where changes will occur.” For full story, click here.
By Douglas Fischer – Environmental Health News – December 29, 2015
Call it the grand convergence: Coverage of environmental issues, especially climate change, jumped traditional boundaries to pick up broader—and slightly ominous—geopolitical and health angles. At the successful Paris climate talks in December, President Obama and other world leaders tied terrorism to human-induced bouts of erratic and severe weather. Drought and water crises, they said, exacerbated civil distress in Syria and the Middle East. For full story, click here.
By Michael Byrne – Mother Board – December 17, 2015
In the summer of 2014 the city of Toledo and surrounding areas (pop. 500,000) were forced to cut off their own drinking water supply due to a massive toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie. For two days, residents were told not to cook with or drink tap water. While not quite as bleak as the lake's 1970s pollution heyday of actual burning water, images of supernaturally green sludge lapping at the city's shores were about the next best/worst thing. And, according to research presented Wednesday at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, they're also likely to be a new normal, with the number of severe Lake Erie algae blooms expected to double this century. For full story, click here.
By Andrew Restuccia and Sara Stefanimi – Politico – December 12, 2015
Nearly 200 nations clinched a historic climate change deal on Saturday, pledging for the first time to marshal a global effort to fight climbing temperatures and rising seas and delivering a major victory to President Barack Obama, who has made the issue a core priority of his presidency. The pact is the most aggressive international plan ever put in place to combat climate change and comes after more than two decades of often tortured United Nations talks that have pitted the U.S. and other industrialized nations against poor countries over who should shoulder the burden for protecting the planet from the greenhouse gases spewed by smokestacks and tailpipes. For full story, click here.
By Brian Bienkowski – The Daily Climate – December 8, 2015
As in the oceans, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere could throw off water chemistry in large freshwater bodies like the Great Lakes, putting the food web at risk. But the science remains unsettled and, according to researchers, must be bolstered if we are to understand what increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide means for freshwater. While most research on carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption from the atmosphere has focused on oceans and the resulting acidification, it is widely believed that CO2 levels also will rise in large freshwater lakes. Nascent research suggests this could be a problem for the foundation of Great Lakes’ food webs. For full story, click here.
By Coral Davenport – The New York Times – December 6, 2015
The international climate change negotiations entering their second and final week encompass a vast and complicated array of political, economic and legal questions. But at bottom, the talks boil down to two issues: trust and money. In this global forum, no one questions the established science that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are warming the planet — or that both developed and developing economies must all eventually lower their greenhouse emissions to stave off a future that could wreak havoc on the world’s safety and economic stability. For full story, click here.
By Brooks Hays – UPI – December 1, 2015
Three times the amount of carbon suspended in the atmosphere can be found sequestered underground -- the planet's soil stores approximately 9,170 gigatons of CO2. Until now, scientists didn't really understand why. A new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests lazy microbes are to thank. Microbes in the soil break down organic matter into carbon dioxide and nitrogen, facilitating the transfer of carbon back into the above-ground cycle. So why don't they break down all of it? Why does some carbon and nitrogen get left behind? For full story, click here.
By Coral Davenport – The New York Times – November 29, 2015
President Obama and more than 100 world leaders will convene with thousands of diplomats on Monday on the outskirts of Paris to open two weeks of intense negotiations aimed at forging an accord that could begin to avert the most devastating effects of global warming and redefine the economy of the 21st century. Here is a guide to what is at stake. If the talks fail — as they did in two previous attempts to achieve such a deal — then nations will continue on a trajectory that scientists say locks the planet into a future of rising sea levels, more frequent floods, worsening droughts, food and water shortages, destructive hurricanes and other catastrophic events. For full story, click here.
By Katherine Bagley – InsideClimate News – November 23, 2015
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson delivered a blistering critique of a Republican campaign to discredit the work of federal climate scientists, branding the effort "hyper-aggressive oversight," a "fishing expedition" and an "ideological crusade." The months-long probe of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers is being led by Texas Republican Lamar Smith, chair of the House science committee. Johnson is the committee's ranking democrat. "In six separate, and increasingly aggressive, letters," Johnson wrote in a Nov. 19 letter to Smith, "the only thing you accused NOAA of doing is engaging in climate science—i.e., doing their jobs." The letter charges Smith of "political posturing intended to influence public opinion" ahead of the Paris climate talks. For full story, click here.
New study casts doubt on how much sea levels may rise from the collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet
Environmental News Network – November 19, 2015
A new study by scientists in the UK and France has found that Antarctic ice sheet collapse will have serious consequences for sea level rise over the next two hundred years, though not as much as some have suggested. This study, published this week in the journal Nature, uses an ice-sheet model to predict the consequences of unstable retreat of the ice, which recent studies suggest has begun in West Antarctica. For full story, click here.
Why Climate Change and Terrorism Are Connected
By Justin Worland – Time.com – November 15, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders used the terrorist attacks in Paris to call for action to address climate change at a primary debate Saturday. But, while the plea attracted ridicule across the political spectrum, many academics and national security experts agree that climate change contributes to an uncertain world where terrorism can thrive. For full story, click here.
Scientists say melting glaciers are now threatening Antarctic ocean life
By Chelsea Harvey – The Washington Post – November 13, 2015
Much of the scientific work on the fascinating and unique organisms occupying the seas around Antarctica has focused on concerns that rising temperatures will upend these communities. But that’s not the only aspect of climate change we should be worrying about, scientists say. New research suggests that melting glaciers, which produce runoff water that carries extra sediment down into the ocean in the form of silt or clay particles, could be causing big changes in some Antarctic communities. For full story, click here.
Obama Rejects Keystone XL on Climate Grounds, 'Right Here, Right Now'
By Katherine Bagley – InsideClimate News – November 6, 2015
President Obama rejected TransCanada's permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, ending a years-long fight that helped reinvigorate the environmental movement and slow the momentum of fossil fuel ambitions in North America. The State Department, which has been reviewing TransCanada's permit application, decided the pipeline "would not serve the national interest of the United States," Obama said during a press conference at the White House, adding "I agree with that decision." Obama said the pipeline, which would have carried approximately 800,000 barrels of oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas, was ultimately rejected because it wouldn't have made "a meaningful, long-term contribution to the U.S. economy." It would have failed to create a significant number of jobs, lower U.S. gas prices and increase the country's energy security, he said. He also cited the project's contribution to climate change for his rejection. For full story, go here.
New report finds human-caused climate change increased the severity of many extreme events in 2014
NOAA – November 5, 2015
Human activities, such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use, influenced specific extreme weather and climate events in 2014, including tropical cyclones in the central Pacific, heavy rainfall in Europe, drought in East Africa, and stifling heat waves in Australia, Asia, and South America, according to a new report released today. The report, “Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective” published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, addresses the natural and human causes of individual extreme events from around the world in 2014, including Antarctica. NOAA scientists served as three of the five lead editors on the report. For full story and to download the report, click here.
U.S. states, cities seek to defend Obama's carbon rule in
By Ayesha Rascoe – PlanetArk – November 5, 2015
More than two dozen U.S. states and cities asked a federal court Tuesday to let them help defend the Obama administration's carbon emissions reduction plan from legal challenges being brought by other states. California, New York, Iowa and Virginia were among the 18 states who filed a motion to intervene in lawsuits now pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. Cities including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia are also participating in the effort to intervene. "In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, reckless politicians and polluters want to gut the president's clean air plans," California Governor Jerry Brown said in a statement. "Today, California and its partners stand together in fighting these pernicious and dangerous lawsuits." For full story, click here.
Global Emissions Reductions Have Already Saved the U.S. $60 Billion, Report Says
By Naveena Sadasivam – InsideClimate News – November 5, 2015
Global action to reduce carbon dioxide has produced at least $60 billion in economic benefits to the U.S. in the last five years, according to a new analysis. It also concludes that current rates of emission reductions worldwide could contribute another $2 trillion in the next 15 years. The report was published Thursday by the Institute for Policy Integrity, a think tank and advocacy organization at the New York University School of Law, and concluded that the U.S. will gain far more from global efforts on climate change in damages avoided to the economy, public health and the environment than proposed regulations would cost. For full story, click here.
Why a Paris climate agreement could actually be very good for the U.S.
By Chelsea Harvey – The Washington Post – November 5, 2015
With the 2015 UN climate conference looming less than a month away, there’s a strong economic reason for the United States to support a strong international agreement to curb carbon emissions, says a new report: There are trillions of dollars to be gained at home from other countries’ climate mitigation efforts. The report, which was published on Thursday by the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity, calculates that other nations’ existing climate policies, by lessening the impacts of climate change, have already benefited the United States to the tune of more than $200 billion, and additional pledges for future action could save the country more than $2 trillion by the year 2030. This number could rise above $10 trillion by mid-century. For full story, go here.
Water too warm for cod in U.S. Gulf of Maine; stock near collapse
By Alister Doyle – PlanetArk – October 30, 2015
A rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine off the eastern United States has made the water too hot for cod, pushing stocks toward collapse despite deep reductions in the number of fish caught, a U.S. study showed on Thursday. The Gulf of Maine had warmed faster than 99 percent of the rest of the world's oceans in the past decade, influenced by shifts in the Atlantic Gulf Stream, changes in the Pacific Ocean and a wider trend of climate change, it said. Scientists said the findings showed a need to take more account of changing water temperatures in managing global fish stocks usually based on historical data of catches. For full story, click here.
Invasive species exploit a warming Gulf of Maine, sometimes with destructive results
By Colin Woodard – Portland Press Herald – October 28, 2015
Until two years ago, if you had walked down to the shore of Maquoit Bay at low tide, you would have seen a meadow of eelgrass stretching nearly as far as the eye could see across the exposed seafloor. Here near the head of the bay, the sea grass stretched for two miles to the opposite shore, creating a vast nursery for the shellfish and forage species of Casco Bay, of which Maquoit is a part. Now there’s only mud. For full story, click here.
As Gulf of Maine warms, puffins recast as canaries in a coal mine
By Colin Woodard – The Portland Press Herald – October 26, 2015 –Video
The puffins are having a better year. On a late June day, the adults are landing on the rocky shore of this 7-acre bird sanctuary in flights of three or four, their bright red and yellow beaks stuffed with sand lance, tiny haddock and white hake, sometimes a herring or two. They look about, unruffled after a 30- or 40-mile round-trip sortie over Muscongus Bay and the open ocean south of Pemaquid Point and Monhegan, then duck into the rocky hideaways where their hungry chicks are waiting. Puffins – penguin-like in their comical stoicism – were virtually wiped out in Maine in the mid-19th century by hungry fishermen, who threw nets over their hideaways to catch them by the thousands. Restored to midcoast islands by scientists, they have a threatened status in Maine and were recently listed as endangered in Europe, where Icelanders caught and consumed them as a delicacy just five years ago. For full story, click here.
GOP moves to block power plant plan
By Matthew Daly – The Columbian – October 26, 2015
Congressional Republicans are moving to block President Barack Obama’s plan to force steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., filed resolutions on Monday opposing Obama’s plan to impose new regulations on new and existing coal-fired plants. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was expected to follow suit late Monday or today. The challenges by the two Kentucky Republicans were being filed under the little-used Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to block executive actions with simply majority votes. The maneuver is subject to a presidential veto and has rarely been successful in overturning executive branch rules. Still, it allows opponents to set up votes calculated to embarrass the Obama administration ahead of international climate talks in Paris this fall. For full story, click here.
New Website Highlights State Practices for Climate Adaptation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – October 24, 2015
State water agencies across the country are starting to integrate climate change considerations into the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act programs they administer. Short descriptions have been developed of innovative practices that state water agencies are currently implementing to reduce their vulnerability to climate-related impacts and to build resilience to climate change. These select state practices can serve as useful models for other state agencies seeking to make water programs more resilient to climate change. In addition, water resource planners and decision-makers from local and tribal governments and other entities may find these practices to be helpful. For more information, click here.
Two U.S. Representatives Seek Justice Department Inquiry into Exxon
By David Hasemyer – InsideClimate News – October 16, 2015
Two California congressmen have called on U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to open an investigation into whether ExxonMobil violated federal laws by "failing to disclose truthful information" about climate change. Democratic Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Ted Lieu, both members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said they were "alarmed" by the possibility that Exxon withheld significant climate change information and went so far as to try to discredit the science confirming global warming. For full story, click here.
Climate Scientist Faces Backlash for Urging Investigation of Fossil Fuel Companies
By Katherine Bagley – InsideClimate News – October 7, 2015
A climate scientist who was the lead signatory on a letter urging President Obama to launch a federal investigation into whether fossil fuel companies "knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change" is now facing an investigation by Congress because of his part in the letter. Jagadish Shukla, a climate scientist at George Mason University in Virginia, received notice Oct. 1 that the non-profit research organization he runs, the Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES), will soon be investigated by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology for suspected misuse of federal funding. For full story, click here.
Climate plans by 140 nations mark progress, but not enough: experts
By Alister Doyle – PlanetArk – October 2, 2015
Plans submitted by 140 nations to limit their greenhouse gases would go some way towards tackling climate change, but not enough to prevent the planet from warming by well over 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, experts say. The plans by countries from Albania to Zimbabwe, led by top emitters China and the United States, were submitted by an informal United Nations deadline on Thursday as building blocks towards a climate accord that negotiators will try to clinch at a summit in Paris in December. For full story, click here.
500-Year Floods Coming to New York Every 24 Years, Study Says
By Phil McKenna – InsideClimate News – September 28, 2015
New York City is vulnerable to rising seas and larger, more powerful storms that result in more frequent and intense flooding and what was once a 500-year flood prior to human-induced climate change now occurs on average once every 24 years. This is according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Flood heights are increasing and have increased since the pre-anthropogenic era, not only because of rising sea levels but also because of the impact that climate change is having on tropical cyclones," said lead author Andra Reed of Penn State University. Reed and colleagues made their conclusions based on climate models that simulated tropical storms and subsequent flooding for the region beginning in 850. They found that average flood height increased by more than 4 feet from 850 to 2005. For full story, click here.
China Unveils Plans for National Cap and Trade Program
By Naveena Sadasivam – InsideClimate News – September 25, 2015
China announced new details about a national cap and trade program on Friday, demonstrating its commitment to tackling climate change. The plans are a follow-up to the historic announcement China made last November when it pledged to peak its emissions by 2030 in a deal with the U.S., which vowed to reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. Friday’s announcement was made jointly with the U.S. during the official state visit of China’s president, Xi Jinping, with President Barack Obama in Washington. It laid out several policy steps the two countries will take to achieve those goals. For full story, click here.
U.S. climate finance in limbo, risking 'trust gap' before Paris
By Valerie Volcovici – PlanetArk – September 25, 2015
A looming federal budget confrontation and Republican hostility to UN global-warming talks threaten a U.S. down payment into a key climate-aid fund, money considered vital to a climate deal in Paris this December. President Barack Obama had requested $500 million in the 2016 budget for the first tranche of its $3 billion pledge into a UN-administered Green Climate Fund (GCF) that would help poorer countries make a transition to clean energy technologies and adapt to climate change. But Congressional Republicans have vowed to oppose that spending request, and the wider dispute between the President and Republicans over the federal budget has raised the possibility that Obama will not be able to guarantee that U.S. funding before the December summit. For full story, click here.
Volkswagen Test Rigging Follows a Long Auto Industry Pattern
By Danny Hakim and Hirolo Tabuchi – The New York Times – September 23, 2015
Long before Volkswagen admitted to cheating on emissions tests for millions of cars worldwide, the automobile industry, Volkswagen included, had a well-known record of sidestepping regulation and even duping regulators. For decades, car companies found ways to rig mileage and emissions testing data. In Europe, some automakers have taped up test cars’ doors and grilles to bolster their aerodynamics. Others have used “superlubricants” to reduce friction in the car’s engine to a degree that would be impossible in real-world driving conditions. For full story, click here.
Exxon's Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels' Role in Global Warming Decades Ago
By Neela Banerjee, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer – InsideClimate News – September 21, 2015
At a meeting in Exxon Corporation's headquarters, a senior company scientist named James F. Black addressed an audience of powerful oilmen. Speaking without a text as he flipped through detailed slides, Black delivered a sobering message: carbon dioxide from the world's use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity. For full story, click here.
California lawmaker withdraws bill to curb carbon emissions
By Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason – Los Angeles Times – September 10, 2015
The push for aggressive new state policies to fight climate change suffered another setback Thursday. Legislation to put into law executive orders on long-term targets for reducing carbon emissions was pulled from consideration. It had failed to win enough support from lawmakers and faced objections from the governor's office. The bill's author, state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), vowed to revive it next year. The defeat came a day after Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders withdrew a key portion of another proposal to combat climate change, one calling for California to cut its use of gasoline in half. They had been unable to overcome fierce opposition from the oil industry and resistance from some Democrats. For full story, click here.
Southern Ocean showing 'remarkable' revival in carbon absorption ability
Emma Howard –The Guardian – September 10, 2015
The Southern Ocean, which acts as one of the natural world’s most effective sponges for absorbing carbon dioxide, is showing signs of an unexpected revival in its ability to do so, according to scientists. The oceans absorb around a quarter of emissions caused by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, reducing the speed of climate change. About 40% of this occurs in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds the Antarctic, making it the planet’s strongest ocean carbon sink. The researchers said the new findings are surprising and remarkable. For full story, click here.
First-Ever National Climate Boot Camp to Address Tribal Needs and Concerns Related to Climate Change
Contacts: Gustavo Bisbal, USGS; Steven Daley-Laursen, UI; Ryan McClymont, USGS – U.S. Geological Survey – September 9, 2015
limate change has a direct and evident impact on Native American tribal communities by disrupting local economies and traditional cultures. Members of tribes from across the United States will convene at the University of Idaho’s McCall Field Campus in June 2016 for the first-ever National Tribal Climate Boot Camp. The Northwest Climate Science Center, in which UI is a partner, will model the event after its annual Climate Boot Camp that prepares graduate students and early-career professionals to understand and adapt to climate change. For full news release, click here.
‘Disastrous’: Low snow, heat eat away at Northwest glaciers
By Sandi Doughton – The Seattle Times – September 8, 2015 – Video
In more than three decades of field work, Mauri Pelto has taken the measure of Washington’s glaciers during seasons of record-breaking snow and years that broke skiers’ hearts. But he’s never seen anything like this summer. “The best word for it is disastrous,” said Pelto, who recently wrapped up his annual survey in the North Cascades. On mountain after mountain, he and his team encountered bare ice and gushing meltwater on glaciers that would normally be blanketed with snow. On average, Pelto estimates glaciers across the rugged mountain range will lose 5 to 10 percent of their volume before the summer is over. “This is the single biggest volume loss in the last 50 years,” said Pelto, a Nichols College glaciologist. For full story and to view video, click here.
Warming Oceans Putting Marine Life ‘In a Blender’
By Carl Zimmer – The New York Times – September 3, 2015
Up in Maine, lobsters are thriving. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission reported last month that stocks there reached a record high. Down the coast, however, the story is different. In southern New England, lobster stocks have plummeted to the lowest levels ever recorded, putting many lobstermen out of business. Lobster populations rise and fall for many reasons. But in its new report, the commission singled out one factor that is probably driving the recent changes: The ocean is warming. For full story, click here.
Obama Makes Urgent Appeal in Alaska for Climate Change Action
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Steven Lee Myers – The New York Times – August 31, 2015
President Obama on Monday issued a global call for urgent action to address climate change, declaring that the United States was partly to blame for what he called the defining challenge of the century and would rally the world to counter it. “Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now,” Mr. Obama said here at an international conference on the Arctic. “We’re not acting fast enough. I have come here today, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second-largest emitter, to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating the problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it.” For full story, click here.
Mapped: The countries that will face the biggest water shortages by 2040
By Ashley Kirk – The Telegraph – August 28, 2015
Many countries around the world will face severe water shortages by 2040, according to a new report by the World Resource Institute. As climate change takes hold around the world, water will become even more scarce in dry areas - while wet areas become even wetter. For full story, click here.
Arctic may help remove, not add, methane
By Morgan Kelly – ENN – Environmental News Network – August 25, 2015
In addition to melting icecaps and imperiled wildlife, a significant concern among scientists is that higher Arctic temperatures brought about by climate change could result in the release of massive amounts of carbon locked in the region’s frozen soil in the form of carbon dioxide and methane. Arctic permafrost is estimated to contain about a trillion tons of carbon, which would potentially accelerate global warming. Carbon emissions in the form of methane have been of particular concern because on a 100-year scale methane is about 25-times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. However, new research led by Princeton University researchers and published in The ISME Journal in August suggests that, thanks to methane-hungry bacteria, the majority of Arctic soil might actually be able to absorb methane from the atmosphere rather than release it. For full story, click here.
Research Says 27 Percent of California's Drought Attributable to Climate Change
By Katherine Bagley – InsideClimate News – August 20, 2015
As California’s four-year drought has drinking and groundwater reserves at dangerously low levels, households rationing water and the agricultural sector struggling to keep its crops alive, the question has been: how much of a culprit is climate change? New research published Thursday now says as much as 27 percent of the drought can be attributed to global warming. For full story, click here.
Study Shows Sea Level Rise to Threaten West Coast Tidal Wetlands Over the Next 100 Years
Contacts: Karen Thorne and Ryan McClymont – U.S. Geological Survey – August 18, 2015
The U.S. Geological Survey and Oregon State University released a report this week examining Pacific Northwest tidal wetland vulnerability to sea level rise. Scientists found that, while vulnerability varies from marsh to marsh, most wetlands would likely be resilient to rising sea levels over the next 50-70 years. Beyond that time, however, most wetlands might convert to intertidal mudflats as sea level rise outpaces the capacity of tidal marshes to adapt. For full news release, click here.
U.S. EPA to propose rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas sector
Reuters – August 17, 2015
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose regulations on Tuesday aimed at cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by up to 45 percent over the next decade from 2012 levels, sources familiar with the issue said on Monday. The regulations on methane are one part of the Obama administration's strategy to curb greenhouse gases and combat climate change and come just two weeks after the president unveiled a sweeping rule to slash carbon emissions from the country’s power plants. For full story, click here.
Rise of ‘Shoreline Hardening’ Threatens Coastal Ecosystems
Roberta Kwok – Conservation Magazine – August 6, 2015
The United States is covering its coasts in armor. “Shoreline hardening,” which refers to the process of adding structures such as seawalls or jetties, has become increasingly popular over the past century. In a new study, researchers estimate that more than 14,000 miles of US coastline have been transformed in this way — and the changes could spell trouble for ecosystems. These structures offer a less friendly environment for species, and they can increase erosion and cause habitats such as intertidal zones and wetlands to shrink. For full article, click here.
Obama rolls out historic climate rule: 'We only get one planet'
By Jordan Fabian – The Hill – August 3, 2015 – Video
President Obama on Monday rolled out a historic rule that imposes the first-ever federal limits on greenhouse gas pollution from power plants. An emotional Obama argued climate change already affects the “reality we’re living with every day,” adding that it would be “shameful” if the U.S. waited any longer to address its causes. “We only get one home. We only get one planet. There is no plan B,” he said at the White House. “I don’t want my grandkids to not be able to swim in Hawaii, or not to be able to climb a mountain and see a glacier, because we didn’t do something about it.” The rule is the cornerstone of Obama’s climate agenda, and administration officials have called it a crucial step to build momentum toward an international climate agreement in Paris this December. For full story and to view video, click here.
Climate Change, Healthy Soils, and Holistic Planned Grazing: A Restoration Story
Allan Savory – Revitalization News – August 1, 2015
Regenerating the health and productivity of our soils is critical for ensuring the Earth’s climate remains conducive to not only human life but other species as well. Moreover, we need to take direct action so that we have enough water and food to sustain a growing population of people. Livestock, properly managed, have a critical role to play in achieving these goals. For full article, click here.
Obama's Clean Power Plan Gets a Jolt of Support from Corporations
By Katherine Bagley – InsideClimate News – July 31, 2015
Three hundred sixty-five companies and investors sent letters on Friday to more than two dozen governors supporting the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to significantly reduce carbon emissions from power plants, urging even the most recalcitrant states to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of the new rules. The Clean Power Plan, expected to be issued in final form as early as Monday, has drawn significant opposition, particularly from Republicans and the fossil fuel industry, but the corporate push counters the argument that the regulations are bad for American business. For full story, click here.
Washington DC Slowly Sinking Into The Sea Says Study
By Rina Marie Doctor – Tech Times – July 30, 2015
A new study found that Washington D.C. may drop by approximately six or more inches in the next 100 years as researchers discovered that the land under the Chesapeake Bay is sinking slowly. The falling of this land may contribute significantly to the problems of sea level rise and all the more increase the possibility of flooding, which is a growing problem of the country due to global warming and subsequent ice melting. Adding all these circumstances may hasten the hazards faced by infrastructures, roads, wildlife refugees, monuments and military installations. For full story, click here.
Alaska’s Permafrost is Burning. That’s Not Good For You.
Candice Gaukel Andrews – Good Nature Travel – July 28, 2015
Alaska is on fire. Even where I live in Wisconsin, I can feel it. A NASA photo shows that a plume of smoke from those northern blazes extends all the way down through the Midwest. But that’s not the only reason why I should care about Alaska’s fires. And whether or not you can see, smell or feel the flames where you live, there’s a reason you should be concerned, too. Stored within the permafrost—a vast, subterranean body of icy soils that stay frozen all year—there may be more than twice as much carbon as there is in the atmosphere itself. Our atmosphere thought it lost that carbon long ago. Today, however, all of a sudden, that carbon is being returned to the air through the state’s current, massive fire outbreaks. And that may accelerate climate change. For full blog post, click here.
Nearly 40% of US population at risk of flooding – study
RT.com – July 28, 2015
Changing storm dynamics are causing a greater risk of flooding than they were 50 years ago, particularly on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, putting nearly 40 percent of the US population in harm’s way, according to a new study from a Florida university. In the study, Florida researchers used records of rainfall, sea levels and hurricanes for more than 30 American cities along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts to assess the relationship between heavy rainfall on land and abnormal rises in water levels occurring during a storm or storm surge. For full story, click here.
Outrage over EPA emissions regulations fades as states find fixes
By Joby Warrick – The Washington Post – July 23, 2015
Even after years of talk about a “war on coal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell startled some of his constituents in March when he urged open rebellion against a White House proposal for cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants. The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan is “extremely burdensome and costly,” the Kentucky Republican said in letters advising all 50 states to boycott the rule when it goes into effect this summer. For full story, click here.
International report confirms: 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record
NOAA – July 16, 2015
In 2014, the most essential indicators of Earth’s changing climate continued to reflect trends of a warming planet, with several markers such as rising land and ocean temperature, sea levels and greenhouse gases ─ setting new records. These key findings and others can be found in the State of the Climate in 2014 report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). For full story, click here.
Texas' Climate Stubbornness Takes an Increasingly Big Toll
By Katherine Bagley – Inside Climate News – July 15, 2015
The Texas flooding in May that pulled houses off foundations and swamped city streets provided a glimpse of what scientists have long warned could be its new norm because of global warming. But it did nothing to sway the state's politicians, who have done next to nothing to adjust to a climate that is already bringing more damaging extreme weather. For full story, click here.
USDA declares parts of Puerto Rico disaster areas due to drought
By Jessica Dinapoli – Reuters – July 15, 2015
The U.S. Department of Agriculture named several Puerto Rico municipalities natural disaster areas on Wednesday, giving them access to emergency loans to make up for losses of crops and livestock as a result of the recent drought. The drought is another blow to Puerto Rico as it struggles to restructure $72 billion in debt. The USDA declared municipalities located southeast of the capital, San Juan, as disaster area. It also named other areas, including some of the island's suburbs, as disaster areas. For full story, click here.
Ecologists predict impact of climate change on vulnerable
ScienceDaily – July 14, 2015
If it seems like you're pulling more bass than trout out of Ontario's lakes this summer, you probably are. Blame it on the ripple effect of climate change and warming temperatures. Birds migrate earlier, flowers bloom faster, and fish move to newly warmed waters putting local species at risk. To mitigate the trend and support conservation efforts, scientists at the University of Toronto (U of T) are sharing a way to predict which plants or animals may be vulnerable to the arrival of a new species. For full story, click here.
When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job
By John H. Richardson – Esquire.com – July 7, 2015
The incident was small, but Jason Box doesn't want to talk about it. He's been skittish about the media since it happened. This was last summer, as he was reading the cheery blog posts transmitted by the chief scientist on the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which was exploring the Arctic for an international expedition led by Stockholm University. "Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented . . . we discovered over 100 new methane seep sites.... The weather Gods are still on our side as we steam through a now ice-free Laptev Sea...." For full story, click here.
Why Budget Forecasts Should Include the Next Big Disaster
By Charles Rath – Government Executive – July 7, 2015
The White House made a bold move last week to minimize the economic burden of climate change. Specifically, the Office of Management and Budget is asking federal agencies via the revised Circular A-11 to “consider climate preparedness and resiliency objectives as part of their FY17 budget requests for construction and maintenance of federal facilities.” For full story, click here.
Extremely high coastal erosion in northern Alaska
Environmental News Network – July 2, 2015
In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the remote northern Alaska coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world. Analyzing over half a century of shoreline change data, scientists found the pattern is extremely variable with most of the coast retreating at rates of more than 1 meter a year. For full story, click here.
The Great Plains' looming water crisis
By Alan Bjerga – Bloomberg.com – July 2, 2015
Farming in the northeast corner of Colorado used to be simple: plant corn and watch it grow, irrigated by the massive Ogallala aquifer. Today the sprinklers at Marvin Pletcher’s farm in Yuma County, about 120 miles from Denver, put out half as much water as a decade ago, and he keeps them low to the ground to prevent evaporation. Half of Pletcher’s 1,300 acres are planted with wheat, sorghum, sunflowers, and pinto beans—crops that are less thirsty than corn, but also less profitable. “I have four wells in operation. In 10 years I’ll be lucky if I have one,” says the fourth-generation farmer. “We’re all drinking from the same bowl of water here, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.” For full story, click here.
Global warming may cause sex changes in lizards
By Rachel Feltman – The Washington Post – July 1, 2015
According to new research, climate change may leave some lizards in a gender lurch. The Australian bearded dragon's sex is determined by both its chromosomes and the environment its egg is incubated in, so warmer temperatures could be skewing wild populations to have more females. For full story click here.