Environmental News Network September 23, 2016
The Northwest Passage originated as an unattainable and lethal legend when Europeans arrived in the Americas and longed for an easy sea route across North America. Now, a cruise ship has successfully traversed the route in only a month. It took the Crystal Serenity just a month to glide through the waters from Alaska to New York — Amundsen needed three years. What made this speedy voyage possible? Climate change. For full story, click here.
ScienceDaily September 22, 2016
By adding highly accurate radiocarbon dating of soil to standard Earth system models, environmental scientists from the University of California, Irvine and other institutions have learned a dirty little secret: The ground will absorb far less atmospheric carbon dioxide this century than previously thought. For full story, click here.
By Bob Weber thestar.com September 14, 2016
North American skies have grown quieter over the last decades by the absent songs of 1.5 billion birds, says the latest summary of bird populations. The survey by dozens of government, university and environmental agencies across North America has also listed 86 species of birds — including once-common and much-loved songbirds such as the evening grosbeak and Canada warbler — that are threatened by plummeting populations, habitat destruction and climate change. For full story, click here.
By Robinson Meyer – The Atlantic – September 13, 2016
Imagine that a recently discovered pollutant prevented trees from forming leaves. Every April, buds would spring from the branches, and kids on their way to school would point to the tiny shoots of green and pink. But as the leaves fleshed out further and began to photosynthesize, an invisible vapor would choke and corrode them. The tree would eventually just wear away, its bark falling off in chunks. It is not an exaggeration to say that something similar is happening right now—yet in Earth’s oceans, and so outside of most Americans’ daily view. A fundamental chemical change in the oceans has made marine waters less hospitable to any animal that builds a hard shell or a skeleton. In some places, hatcheries report that oyster larvae are dying by the billions, corroded away before they can grow. The chemistry is already affecting corals, clams, and the zooplankton that form the basis of the marine food chain. For full story, click here.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Now in its sixth year, the Climate Leadership Awards provides national recognition for exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in response to climate change. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) co-sponsors the awards with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR).
2017 Climate Leadership Awards will honor recipients across 6 categories. Learn more about the awards program, application process, and past winners HERE - or email your questions about specific criteria HERE.
By Christa Marshall – E&E Publishing, LLC – September 8, 2016
The United States needs to put a price on carbon dioxide and other pollutants and overhaul energy policies to help avoid catastrophic climate change and other public health calamities, according to a report released today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. For full story, click here.
Louisiana flood price tag could hit $15 billion
By Jonathan Berr – CBS News – September 8, 2016
The devastating floods that hit Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast last month likely caused total economic losses of between $10 billion and $15 billion, according to reinsurer AON Benfield. That would make it one the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. For full story, click here.
University of California - Irvine – ScienceDaily – August 29, 2016
As a multiyear drought grinds on in the Southwestern United States, many wonder about the impact of global climate change on more frequent and longer dry spells. As humans emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, how will water supply for people, farms, and forests be affected? For full story, click here.
By Kelsey E. Thomas – Nex City – August 23, 2016
A hotter world could mean less wealth for millennials, according to a new report from environmental advocate NextGen Climate and research center Demos. They found inaction could cost Americans currently in their 20s and 30s $8.8 trillion in potential earnings over their lifetime. For full story, click here.
By Holly Yan and Rosa Flores – CNN – August 19, 2016 – Video
The catastrophic flood devastating Louisiana is now the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy four years ago, the Red Cross said. "Thousands of people in Louisiana have lost everything they own and need our help now," said Brad Kieserman, the Red Cross' vice president of disaster services operations and logistics. "This disaster is the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy, and we anticipate it will cost at least $30 million -- a number which may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation." For full story and to view video, click here.
By Andrew Freedman – Mashable.com – August 19, 2016
When it comes to our climate, everything is connected. And there has never been a year, and most especially a summer, that has so prominently and destructively showcased this. Right now, wildfires are blazing across the drought-stricken western United States, overpowering firefighters in California. Earlier this summer, the already scorching Middle East saw all-time record heat. Meanwhile, from huge swaths of China to at least four states in the U.S., devastating flooding has inundated homes and uprooted lives. And we still haven’t arrived at the peak of hurricane season. The extreme weather events we’ve seen — and are still living through — around the world collectively bear the fingerprints of human-caused global warming. So, too, does the bevy of monthly heat records that have fallen so frequently that the news stories announcing them almost write themselves. For full story, click here.
By Ari Phillips – Fusion – August 10, 2016
An unprecedented federal court ruling this week validated the way the Obama administration measures the social cost of carbon (SCC), a decision that could have wide-ranging impacts on the future of the energy industry and the way the United States addresses environmental justice. For full story, click here.
By Phil McKenna – InsideClimate News – August 15, 2016
Methane is escaping from more than 250 different oil and gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines, coal mines and other fossil fuel facilities across the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For full story, click here.
By Neela Banerjee – InsideClimate News – August 12, 2016
An Environmental Protection Agency panel of independent scientists has recommended the agency revise its conclusions in a major study released last year that minimized the potential hazards hydraulic fracturing poses to drinking water. The panel, known as the Science Advisory Board (SAB), issued on Thursday its nearly yearlong analysis of a June 2015 draft EPA report on fracking and water. For full story, click here.
By Yereth Rosen – Alaska Dispatch News – August 7, 2016
Many species of shorebirds that migrate to the Arctic each year to breed their young will lose substantial amounts of their summer habitat to climate change, and the biggest losses in the coming decades will be in Alaska and neighboring parts of Russia, new research concludes. For full story, click here.
By Michaeleen Doucleff – NPR – August 3, 2016
Russia is fighting a mysterious anthrax outbreak in a remote corner of Siberia. Dozens of people have been hospitalized; one child has died. The government airlifted some families out because more than 2,000 reindeer have been infected. Officials don't know exactly how the outbreak started, but the current hypothesis is almost unbelievable: A heat wave has thawed the frozen soil there and with it, a reindeer carcass infected with anthrax decades ago. Some scientists think this incident could be an example of what climate change may increasingly surface in the tundra. For full story, click here.
By Valerie Volcovici – Reuters – August 2, 2016
U.S. federal agencies should disclose whether their actions and decisions will have an impact on climate change, the White House announced on Tuesday. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized an update after nearly six years of consultations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a Nixon-era statute that called on officials to weigh the environmental effects of projects such as highways, dams or oil drilling. The update takes NEPA a step further by requiring agencies such as the Interior Department to the Army Corps of Engineers to quantify greenhouse gas emissions in NEPA project reviews and to describe the potential climate change impacts. For full story, click here.
Contact: Enesta Jones – U.S.Environmental Protection Agency – August 2, 2016
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a report that shows compelling and clear evidence of long-term changes to our climate, and highlights impacts on human health and the environment in the United States and around the world. The report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States, features observed trend data on 37 climate indicators, including U.S and global temperatures, ocean acidity, sea level, river flooding, droughts and wildfires. For full news release, go here.
NOAA Releases 2015 State of the Climate Report
A new State of the Climate report confirmed that 2015 surpassed 2014 as the warmest year since at least the mid-to-late 19th century. Last year’s record heat resulted from the combined influence of long-term global warming and one of the strongest El Niño events the globe has experienced since at least 1950. The report found that most indicators of climate change continued to reflect trends consistent with a warming planet. Several markers such as land and ocean temperatures, sea levels and greenhouse gases broke records set just one year prior. These key findings and others are available from the State of the Climate in 2015 report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). For more information and to download the report, go here.
By Tali Trigg – Scientific American – July 31, 2016
That averting climate change will save us money should be a tautology, but for reasons including entrenched interests, it is not. The pre-cautionary principle alone would tell us that we do not want to learn what costs climate change will incur, so better to pay a small premium to avoid the risk at all. Instead, calculated estimates pin the cost of avoiding catastrophic effects from climate change at something like 1% of global GDP. So who will pay for it, and who loses from a more sustainable economy? For full blog post, click here.
By Bobby Magill – Climate Central Scientific America – July 29, 2016
Reports this week from the front lines of the Sand Fire in Southern California painted the scene as apocalyptic. The drought-fueled blaze was explosive, fast-moving and devastating, burning through 38,000 acres in the Santa Clarita Valley and forcing the evacuation of more than 10,000 homes. If the state’s wildfire season holds true to forecasts, the Sand Fire will be one of many catastrophic wildfires to scorch drought-stricken forests and shrublands across California this year. So far, only one wildfire has been larger — the 48,019-acre Erskine Fire, which started in June in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and destroyed 250 homes and buildings. None of the fires have been among the worst or largest wildfires the state has seen in recent years, but they’re part of a dire global warming-fueled trend toward larger, more frequent and intense wildfires. For full article, click here.
Union of Concerned Citizens – July 27, 2016
US East and Gulf Coast military installations are at risk of losing land—where vital training and testing grounds, infrastructure and housing now exists—as sea level rise moves the high tide line inland in decades to come, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) analysis released today. The analysis, “The US Military on the Front Lines of Rising Seas,” found that coastal installations will experience more extensive tidal flooding and when hurricanes strike, deeper and more extensive storm surge flooding. For full press release, click here.
Blazing Hot First Half of 2016 Sends Climate Records Tumbling
By Zahra Hirji – InsideClimate News – July 21, 2016
Halfway through, 2016 has been an exceptional year for climate records, scientists say. Scientists at NASA released their first-ever mid-year analysis of climate trends on Tuesday, which revealed that every month between January and June had the warmest average temperature on record for that month. NASA researchers did this new analysis "mainly because the average temperatures for the first half of this year are so in excess of any first part of the year that we've seen," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "It's somewhat worthy of note." For full story, click here.
By Benjamin Hulac, Climate Wire – Scientific American – July 20, 2016
Organizations worried about climate change have long drawn comparisons between the petroleum and tobacco industries, arguing that each has minimized public health damages of its products to operate unchecked. Some have urged federal regulators to prosecute oil companies under racketeering charges, as the Department of Justice did in 1999 in a case against Philip Morris and other major tobacco brands. Oil companies bristle at the comparison. But overlap between both industries existed as early as the 1950s, new research details.For full story, click here.
By Mary Hoff – Ensia – July 15, 2016
Inland fish play critical roles in North American ecosystems and economics: In the U.S. alone in 2011, freshwater anglers spent more than $30 billion on their hobby, generating $73 billion in economic output. And fish are important parts of healthy ecosystems, feeding on aquatic plants and animals and in turn providing sustenance to iconic species such as eagles, bears and osprey. It’s no surprise, then, that as climate changes, 30 experts gathered last year in Bozeman, Montana, to explore implications for the well-being of North American fish populations. For full story, click here.
By Devin Henry – The Hill – July 13, 2016
Senate Democrats have introduced a bill to bolster carbon capture technology for fossil fuel power plants. The bill, released on Wednesday by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), would expand a federal research tax credit for carbon capture and sequestration technology at power plants. The technology would see power plants capture the greenhouse gas emissions released by burning fossil fuels and either store them or use them for other purposes, such as oil recovery. For full story click here.
Environmental News Network – July 12, 2016
The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s. Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher. These changes are predicted by most climate models of global warming, even though those models disagree on a lot of other things related to clouds, says Joel Norris, a climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego. For full story click here.
Gone: Global Warming Claims a Lake - and a Way of Life
By Susan Lehman – The New York Tiimes – July 8, 2016 – Podcast
There used to be a lake in Bolivia. Lake Poopó. Then it disappeared — along with most of the villagers who depended on the lake, for generations. The Andes bureau chief, Nicholas Casey, went with the Times photographer Josh Haner to Llapallapani, Bolivia, and wrote what is a cautionary tale about climate change and its consequences. For full story and to listen to the podcast, click here.
NOAA – July 7, 2016
We’re only halfway through 2016 and the U.S. has already seen eight weather and climate-related disasters* that have each met or exceeded $1 billion in damages. These eight disasters resulted in the loss of 30 lives, and caused at least $13.1 billion, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). A high number of these events impacted Texas throughout the Spring - most notably - several intense hail storms over densely populated cities and the April 17 Houston flood event. For full story, click here.
Environmental News Network – July 4, 2016
The recent trend of increasing Antarctic sea ice extent -- seemingly at odds with climate model projections -- can largely be explained by a natural climate fluctuation, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The study offers evidence that the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), which is characterized by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific, has created favorable conditions for additional Antarctic sea ice growth since 2000. For full story, click here.
By Scott Dance – The Balitmore Sun – July 2, 2016 – Video
Nature wrought the inlet that separates this narrow strip of dunes and brush from Ocean City just to the north, but humans have sought to control the shifting sands ever since. If not for routine dredging, the gap cut during a 1933 hurricane might have filled in decades ago. In the meantime, millions of dollars have been spent to move around massive piles of sand on both sides of the inlet. As sand erodes from Ocean City beaches, man-made jetties block it from naturally reaching northern Assateague. For full story and to view video, click here.
U.S. Geological Survey – June 30, 2016
Climate change is already affecting inland fish across North America -- including some fish that are popular with anglers. Scientists are seeing a variety of changes in how inland fish reproduce, grow and where they can live, according to four new studies published today in a special issue of Fisheries magazine. Fish that have the most documented risk include those living in arid environments and coldwater species such as sockeye salmon, lake trout, walleye, and prey fish that larger species depend on for food. Climate change can cause suboptimal habitat for some fish; warmer water, for example, can stress coldwater fish. When stressed, fish tend to eat less and grow less. For other fish, climate change is creating more suitable habitat; smallmouth bass populations, for example, are expanding. For full story, click here.
By Jason Samenow – The Washington Post – June 30, 2016
Two bloggers have made a stunning claim that has spread like wildfire on the Internet: They say the Northern Hemisphere jet stream, the high-altitude river of winds that separates cold air from warm air, has done something new and outrageous. They say it has crossed the equator, joining the jet stream in the Southern Hemisphere. One said this signifies that the jet stream is ‘wrecked‘, the other said it means we have a “global climate emergency.” For full story, click here.
By Eva Botkin-Kowacki – The Christian Science Monitor – June 30, 2016 – Video
The troublesome tear in Earth's protective blanket is getting stitched up. A gaping hole in the ozone layer has been opening up over Antarctica each spring for decades. And now there are signs that the slow process of healing has begun, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. Scientists credit this progress to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that phased out chemicals that eat away at the ozone layer, which shields our planet from deadly levels of radiation. For full story and to view video, click here.
By Ed King – Climate Home – June 24, 2016
Midway through what’s set to be the warmest year in history, UK voters have elected to leave the world’s most progressive climate change alliance. The result was tight, but opposite to what most pollsters predicted. The campaign to leave the European Union won 52% to 48%, gaining strong support in England and Wales, in stark contrast to London, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For full story, click here.
By Lydia O'Connor – The Huffington Post – June 20, 2016
Deadly, record-breaking heat and wildfires sweeping across the Southwestern U.S. are a clear sign of manmade climate change at work, scientists say. Triple-digit temperatures began scorching Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico early this week. Some of the most intense heat was recorded throughout Arizona, where four hikers died in separate heat-related incidents. On Sunday, the National Weather Service announced temperature records for that calendar day in Yuma at 120 degrees, Phoenix at 118, Tucson at 115 and Flagstaff at 93, NOAA spokeswoman Maureen O’Leary told The Huffington Post. Tucson’s heat tied for the third hottest day every recorded in the city. Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist and professor of meteorology at Penn State University, was in Phoenix on Friday when temperatures hit 106 degrees. He was speaking at a Democratic National Platform committee meeting, where he pointed to the extreme weather as “an example of just the sort of extreme heat that is on the increase due to human-caused climate change,” he told HuffPost. For full story, click here.
By Brian Kahn – Climate Central – June 20, 2016
Bad coral reef news seems to be never-ending these days. Case in point: on Monday, scientists announced that the world is in for an unprecedented third year of coral bleaching across the globe. The announcement comes courtesy of NOAA Coral Reef Watch, which keeps an eye on a number of climate factors that can stress reefs out. That includes rising ocean temperatures, which have absolutely pummeled reefs in recent years and will only ratchet up the pressure as the globe continues to warm. For full story, click here.
Environmental News Network – June 16, 2016
A farming technique practiced for centuries by villagers in West Africa, which converts nutrient-poor rainforest soil into fertile farmland, could be the answer to mitigating climate change and revolutionizing farming across Africa. A global study, led by the University of Sussex, which included anthropologists and soil scientists from Cornell, Accra, and Aarhus Universities and the Institute of Development Studies, has for the first-time identified and analyzed rich fertile soils found in Liberia and Ghana. For full story, click here.
By Terri Hansen – Indian Country Today Media Network – June 16, 2016
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in LaConnor, Wash., is surrounded by water on three sides. So it’s not surprising that they signed a resolution to actively address climate change and adaptation planning. What is remarkable is that their resolution took place nearly a decade ago, long before climate change became a part of the national conversation. Now the tribal nation is one of seven awardees recognized by the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Climate Adaptation Strategy’s Joint Implementation Working Group as the first recipients of the Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources, for their efforts in raising awareness and addressing the impacts of climate change on the country’s natural resources. For full story, click here.
Contact: Glenn Harris – EurekAlert – June 9, 2016
An international team of scientists have found a potentially viable way to remove anthropogenic (caused or influenced by humans) carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere - turn it into rock. The study, published today in Science, has shown for the first time that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) can be permanently and rapidly locked away from the atmosphere, by injecting it into volcanic bedrock. The CO2 reacts with the surrounding rock, forming environmentally benign minerals. For full story, click here.
By Suzanne Goldenberg – Climate Central – June 4, 2016
The devastating rise in Alaska’s wildfires is making global warming even worse than scientists expected, U.S. government researchers said. The sharp spike in Alaska’s wildfires, where more than 5 million acres burned last year, are destroying a main buffer against climate change: the carbon-rich boreal forests, tundra and permafrost that have served as an enormous carbon sink. Northern wildfires must now be recognized as a significant driver of climate change – and not just a side-effect, according to the report from the U.S. Geological Survey. For full story, click here.
By Nithin Coca – TriplePundit – June 1, 2016
We know that we need to keep the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Now, a new project from the University of Arizona shows us exactly where we need to keep these fuels in the ground. The Climate Alliance Mapping Project (CAMP) is a huge undertaking, aiming to be a resource that includes quantitative and qualitative data. For full story, click here.
By Bob Berwyn – InsideClimate News – May 31, 2016
The Antarctic freezing trend has not been captured well by climate models. So scientists have been trying to understand why planetary warming has not melted Antarctic sea ice like it has in the Arctic. In the new study, Son Nghiem, a researcher with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, evaluated satellite data to zero in on an answer. For full story, click here.
Kathmandu Post – May 27, 2016
It is not the drought as you know it. Scientists are saying so because they have found that it is not just about scarce water. They say that when the life sustaining liquid becomes quite scarce, plants find a way of surviving the extreme condition. And that is where the good news ends. The bad news is that when plants adapt to the harsh environment, they accumulate toxins to dangerous levels that can kill livestock and can cause cancer and other serious illnesses in humans. For full story, click here.
Phys.org – May 24 2016
Washington State University researchers have found that greenhouse-gas emissions from lakes and inland waterways may be as much as 45 percent greater than previously thought. Their study, published today in Environmental Research Letters, has implications for the global carbon budget and suggests that terrestrial ecosystems may not be as good a carbon reservoir as scientists thought. Similar to the way people use a budget to manage finances, researchers are working to understand where carbon is being spent and saved on a global scale to better manage resources. The scientists know that humans are emitting about 33 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year into the atmosphere globally and that the emissions are changing the climate. For full story, click here.
By Balerie Volcovici – Reuters – May 13, 2016
Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has asked one of America's most ardent drilling advocates and climate change skeptics to help him draft his energy policy. U.S. Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota - a major oil drilling state - is writing a white paper on energy policy for the New York billionaire, Cramer and sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. For full story, click here.
By Matthew Daly, Associated Press – Las Cruces Sun-News – May 12, 2016
The Obama administration issued a final rule Thursday to sharply cut methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas production, a key part of a push by President Barack Obama to reduce methane emissions by nearly half over the next decade. The rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the major element of an administration goal to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas drilling by up to 45 percent by 2025, compared to 2012 levels. For full story, click here.
By Carl Zimmer – The New York Times – May 12, 2016
Animal migrations combine staggering endurance and exquisite timing. Consider the odyssey of a bird known as the red knot. Each spring, flocks of the intrepid shorebirds fly up to 9,300 miles from the tropics to the Arctic. As the snow melts, they mate and produce a new generation of chicks. The chicks gorge themselves on insects, and then all the red knots head back south. “They are there less than two months,” said Jan A. van Gils, an ecologist at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. “It’s a very tight schedule.” It is also a vulnerable one. The precipitous decline of the red knots that winter in West Africa may provide a small but telling parable of the perils of climate change. For full story, click here.
By Chris Mooney The Washington Post May 12, 2016
If you want to understand why it is that on a planet wracked by climate change, people still don’t talk much about climate change, then this may be the key: They’re people. Or, more specifically, they’re evolved social mammals who are acutely attuned to how they are perceived by the other evolved social mammals around them — and reasonably so, because those perceptions greatly influence their own lives. For full story, click here.
By Alan Neuhauser – U.S. News – May 6, 2016
At Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, amid the factories and food processing plants that dot the city, nearly half the admissions last year were caused by asthma. Across the country in Fresno County, emergency room visits for breathing problems spiked 400 percent as a wildfire tore across the region last summer, spewing smoke, ash and debris that turned blue skies taupe for hundreds of miles. For full story, click here.
By Brian Kahn – Climate Central – May 4, 2016 – Video
An unusually intense May wildfire roared into Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on Tuesday, forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in province history. The flames rode the back of hot, windy weather that will continue through Wednesday and could pick up again this weekend. The wildfire is the latest in a lengthening lineage of early wildfires in the northern reaches of the globe that are indicative of a changing climate. As the planet continues to warm, these types of fires will likely only become more common and intense as spring snowpack disappears and temperatures warm. For full story and to view video, click here.
By Lauren Donovan – Bismarck Tribune – April 27, 2016
A published and peer-reviewed Duke University study finds that thousands of saltwater and frack flowback spills throughout the oil patch have left a legacy of toxic contamination, including radioactive soils and polluted streams unsafe for human consumption and aquatic health. The Duke team of researchers, which advocated that more study is needed, published the findings Wednesday in the Environmental Science & Technology journal. Funding for the project came from the National Science Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council. A North Dakota health official said the study only looked at spills still being remediated, not sites that have been cleaned up. For full story, click here.
By Ian Johnston –Independent – April 29, 2016
Fracking of shale oil fields in the US is causing a global surge of a gas that causes climate change and creates dangerous air pollution, according to new research. Levels of ethane in the atmosphere had been falling since the 1980s, but in 2010 a sensor in Europe picked up a surprise increase. The boom of fracking, a controversial process used to recover gas from within shale by fracturing the rocks, in the United States was viewed as the prime suspect. For full story, click here.
The New York Times – April 21, 2016
Diplomats from at least 167 countries are gathering in New York to sign the climate accord reached in December in Paris. Whether they make good on their pledges to slow dangerous greenhouse gas emissions will depend in large part on the actions in the years ahead by the world’s largest polluters. China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to have its emissions of carbon dioxide reach a plateau or decline “around 2030,” and many experts believe it is on track to meet that target. For full story, click here.
By Sebastien Malo – Reuters – April 21, 2016
With world leaders converging in New York to sign a landmark climate deal, activists along with actor Alec Baldwin called on Thursday for a halt to deforestation, a contributor to global warming, by giving indigenous people rights to their land. Keeping indigenous tribes from being pushed off their land would help protect forests that absorb planet-warming greenhouse gasses, they told reporters in New York City. For full story, click here.
By Phil McKenna – InsideClimate News – April 14, 2016
Ninety to 100 percent of climate scientists agree that the planet is warming due to human activity, according to a peer-reviewed paper published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study, called a "consensus on consensus," synthesizes findings from prior published research. While there is a near-unanimous consensus among climate scientists that human activity is causing the planet to warm, public opinion in the U.S. lags far behind. For full story, click here.
By Sheila V. Kumar InsideClimate News March 29, 2016
The amount of ice in the Arctic during the depths of winter's freeze hit record lows for the second consecutive year, escalating concerns that sea ice is melting at an alarming rate. The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced on Monday that Arctic sea ice reached its winter ice cover maximum last Thursday with only 5.6 million square miles frozen. That's down 5,000 square miles from last year's record low, a difference the size of Connecticut. Sea ice has been on a long decline since satellites began monitoring its extent in 1979, with between 173,000 and 196,000 square miles of ice vanishing every decade since then—a loss larger than the state of California. For full story, click here.
By Chris Mooney – The Washington Post – March 21, 2016 – Video
If you dig deep enough into the Earth’s climate change archives, you hear about the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. And then you get scared. This is a time period, about 56 million years ago, when something mysterious happened — there are many ideas as to what — that suddenly caused concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to spike, far higher than they are right now. The planet proceeded to warm rapidly, at least in geologic terms, and major die-offs of some marine organisms followed due to strong acidification of the oceans. For full story and to view video, click here.
By Catherine Griffin – Headlines and Global News – March 17, 2016
Wetlands may actually help prevent catastrophic floods in the future. Researchers at Oregon State University have taken a closer look at the possibility of restoring wetlands in the Midwest and found that they have the potential to significantly reduce peak river flows during floods."Flood management in the Midwest is now almost entirely concentrated on use of dams and levels," said Meghna Babbar-Sebens, assistant professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering. "Wetland construction or restoration could provide a natural and ecological option to help with flood concerns, and serve as an additional tool for flood management. Greater investments in this approach, or similar approaches that increase storage of water in the upper landscape of a watershed, should be seriously considered." For full story, click here.
By Alister Doyle – Reuters – March 30, 2016
Sea levels could rise 50 cm (20 inches) more this century than had been expected, according to a report published on Wednesday which found that Antarctic ice will melt faster than previously thought. Climate scientists at two U.S. universities said the most recent U.N. report on the effects of global warming had underestimated the rate at which the ice covering the continent would melt. For full story, click here.
By Darryl Fears – The Washington Post – March 31, 2016
The birds and the bees are telling humans about much more than sex, a new study released Thursday says. They are a harbinger of climate change, with species swapping habitats like a game of musical chairs as regions in Europe and the United States warm. Populations of American robins that winter in southern states are in decline there, but they are on the upswing in northern states that were once too cold. And European wrens are beating a trail from southern parts of Europe, also for chilly northern areas that in the past were uncomfortable, the study says. For full story, click here.
By Alex Pashley – Climate Home – March 16, 2016
Global greenhouse gas emissions resisted a rise for a second straight year in a sign climate policies are working, the leading energy forecaster projected on Wednesday. Renewable power played a “critical role” in holding CO2 emissions to around 32 billion tonnes, the International Energy Agency said in a statement. The Paris-based think tank also cited falling coal use in top carbon polluters China and the United States in its preliminary data. The figures mark the first period in 40 years that a halt or reduction was not tied to an economic downturn. The data does not account for pollution from transport or changes in land use. For full story, click here.
By Oliver Milman – The Guardian – March 14, 2016
US coastal areas occupied by more than 13 million people will be at risk of being completely swamped by the sea under a worst-case climate change scenario, new research predicts, potentially leading to a population upheaval comparable to the Great Migration of the 20th century. Population growth in coastal areas over the course of this century, particularly in vulnerable areas of Florida, is likely to collide with the reality of rising seas caused by melting glaciers and thermal expansion as the planet warms. For full story, click here.
By Carolyn Gramling Science Magazine March 10, 2016
From cow farts to factory emissions, there are a lot of ways to add methane to the atmosphere. Since the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of this potent greenhouse gas has risen rapidly and steadily, climbing from 700 parts per billion (ppb) in 1750 to more than 1800 ppb in 2015. But from 1999 to 2006, that increase temporarily leveled out, mystifying scientists. Now, a new study identifies the likeliest culprit behind the plateau—and singles out what may have kick-started the latest methane jump. For full story, click here.
By Timothy Cama The Hill March 10, 2016
President Obama gleefully welcomed a new partner in the fight against climate change Thursday, saying the United States and Canada are on the same page. n a press conference alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Obama outlined their matching ideologies and some of the steps they've agreed to take. “I’m especially pleased to say the United States and Canada are fully united in combating climate change,” Obama said. For full story, click here.
By Joby Warrick – The Washington Post – March 3, 2016
A month after it hobbled the Obama administration’s signature regulation on climate change, the Supreme Court declined Thursday to block a different air-pollution rule that seeks to cut toxic emissions from the nation’s power plants. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. rejected a request to stay the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards rule, adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency three years ago to tighten restrictions on a class of harmful pollutants that are byproducts of burning coal. For full story, click here.
By Jeff Tollefson – Nature – February 26, 2016
Republicans in the US House of Representatives are expanding their request for documents related to a major climate study by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Agency researchers — led by Thomas Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina — published the analysis last June in Science1. After updating and correcting problems with the temperature record, the team found no sign of an apparent pause in global warming that had been described in previous studies. For full story, click here.
By Chris Arsenault – Planet Ark – February 22, 2016
Climate change is pushing fish toward the planet's North and South poles, robbing traditionally poorer countries closer to the Equator of crucial natural resources, U.S. biologists said in a study published on Wednesday. Key species of fish are migrating away from temperate zones and toward the poles as global temperatures rise, according to a research team from Rutgers University, Princeton University, Yale University and Arizona State University. For full story, click here.
By Chris Mooney – The Washington Post – February 22, 2016
A group of scientists says it has now reconstructed the history of the planet’s sea levels arcing back over some 3,000 years — leading it to conclude that the rate of increase experienced in the 20th century was “extremely likely” to have been faster than during nearly the entire period. For full story, click here.
By John Upton – Climate Central – February 14, 2016
Just days after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling clouded the future of a new United Nations climate pact, the passing of one of its justices has boosted the pact's chances of succeeding. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died at a resort in Texas on Saturday. Scalia, 79, was the court's conservative leader and his death means it is now more likely that key EPA rules that aim to curb climate pollution from the power industry will be upheld. For full story, click here.
By Katherine Bagley – InsideClimate News – February 2, 201
Climate change—and the extreme weather associated with it—is changing the way U.S. emergency response organizations operate, from how they spend their money to where they pre-position resources, a panel of military, emergency and climate science experts said Monday. "We pay a lot of money to have our military prepared to do something we really don't want them to have to do: go to war," said Joseph Nimmich, deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Well, we also need a FEMA and national infrastructure to deal with those catastrophic events we hope never happen… but are inevitable." For full story, click here.
PHSY.org – February 16, 2016
The role rainforests play through storing carbon in the battle against climate change is well understood, but Deakin University scientists now believe the humble swamp, or freshwater wetland, could be up to 50 times more effective. A team of Deakin researchers from Deakin's Centre for Integrative Ecology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences are now undertaking an Australian-first study to investigate how wetland areas could help us to win the battle against climate change. For full story, click here.
By Jeff Mason and Valerie Volcovici – Reuters – February 11, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday called the Supreme Court's decision to delay implementation of his administration's Clean Power Plan "unusual" and expressed confidence that the White House would prevail. "We’re very confident that we’re on strong legal footing here," he told a group of Democratic donors in California in his first public remarks about the move. In Washington, Gina McCarthy, Obama's head of the Environmental Protection Agency, told state energy and environmental regulators that the ruling "is not going to slow us down." The Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a blow to the plan, the centerpiece of Obama's climate change policy and backbone of his administration's commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions pledged last year in Paris. For full story, click here.
By Suzanne Goldenberg – The Guardian – February 8, 2016
Governments proposed for the first time on Monday to reduce climate pollution from airplanes, plugging one of the biggest loopholes in last December’s landmark Paris agreement. The global initiative was a first attempt to halt carbon emissions from air travel – one of the fastest growing sources of climate pollution. In a call with reporters, White House officials described the standards as “a huge deal”, noting that the aviation authority has also proposed an aspirational goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020. For full story, click here.
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.