September, 2016

September 30, 2016

What would happen if the world suddenly went vegetarian?

By Rachel Nuwer

Eliminating meat from our diets would bring a bounty of benefits to both our own health and the planet’s – but it could also harm millions of people.

People become vegetarians for a variety of reasons. Some do it to alleviate animal suffering, others because they want to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Still others are fans of sustainability or wish to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
No matter how much their carnivorous friends might deny it, vegetarians have a point: cutting out meat delivers multiple benefits. And the more who make the switch, the more those perks would manifest on a global scale.

(Full Story)


September 29, 2016

Chinese Investment Stokes Global Coal Growth

By Beth Walker

Chinese companies and banks are continuing to drive global coal expansion, as state owned companies, backed by state loans, build coal-fired power plants across the world. This is despite commitments from China’s top leaders to deliver clean energy and low carbon infrastructure for developing countries.

(Full Story)

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Tobixen

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Tobixen

September 28, 2016

A key part of Obama’s climate legacy gets its day in court

By Brady Dennis and Ann E. Marimow

President Obama’s signature effort to combat global warming will be in the hands of federal judges this week, as an appeals court in Washington weighs the legality of the administration’s plan to force sharp cuts in power plants’ carbon emissions and push the nation toward cleaner energy sources.

Even after a marathon hearing Tuesday, the legal questions about the Clean Power Plan are almost certain to remain unresolved when Obama leaves office. But the outcome of the case ultimately could shape the president’s environmental legacy and influence how millions of Americans get their electricity.

(Full Story)

Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post

Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post

September 27, 2016

Iowa State, Chevron team up to develop pilot plant, advance biofuel technology

Source Newsroom: Iowa State University

Newswise — AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University’s Lysle Whitmer walked the length of the bio-oil production line – from the 55-gallon solvent tank to the twin-screw extruder with its mixing, chopping, heating and pressurizing functions to the reactor in the middle and then to the product separators and the solvent recycling system.

Whitmer, the senior thermochemical research engineer for Iowa State’s Bioeconomy Institute, said it takes special expertise to make all those operations work together.

“This is the culmination of everything we’ve learned about building pilot plants in the past 10 years,” he said. “This is really a gem that represents everything we’ve learned thus far.”

(Full Story)

Credit: Photos by Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University.

Credit: Photos by Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University.

September 26, 2016

We know this sounds nuts but you can now actually *listen* to climate change

by Lilian Min

While it completely makes sense to be more concerned with immediate horrors like one of the candidates running for election, war and terrorism around the world, and police brutality, it’s easy for people to forget that looming in the backdrop of our everyday life is the specter of climate change. Within cities, it may be hard to grasp just how global warming-based change is affecting nature’s delicate balances.

(Full Story)


September 25, 2016

10 Things That Could Disappear in Your Lifetime, Thanks to Climate Change

By Prachi Gupta

Though some American politicians continue to debate whether climate change is real, scientists have long sounded the warning bells that human-caused global warming is rapidly getting worse. Some warn that we may be close to the point of no return, leaving future generations to deal with the calamitous impacts of earth’s rising temperatures and increasingly extreme weather patterns. (The most alarmist studies claim that climate change will usher in the sixth mass extinction). Unless our society can curb human emissions, here are 10 things that could be gone in the next century:

(Full Story)


September 24, 2016

The Paris Climate Accord Just Passed a Crucial Threshold

by Michael Reilly

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s getting hot in here. “Here” being Earth. July and August both set records for the hottest ever, and 2016 is all but guaranteed to be the warmest year on record. But if we’re lucky, what really sets this year apart is that it could be the moment when we as a civilization finally decided to put a stop to global warming.

That was the take-home message from the United Nation’s General Assembly meeting today, where Secretary General Ban Ki-moon led the announcement that an additional 31 countries have signed on to the Paris climate accord. That brings the total number of countries formally on board to 60, accounting for nearly 48 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

(Full Story)


September 23, 2016

Britain’s leading climate change sceptic Nigel Lawson says global warming is real

by Ian Johnston

One of Britain’s leading climate change sceptics – former Chancellor Nigel Lawson – has admitted that humans are causing global warming.

Speaking to the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee, Lord Lawson said he did not “question for a moment” that carbon dioxide was a greenhouse gas.

And he accepted there was “huge agreement” among scientists that it was having “some effect” on the atmosphere.

(Full Story)


September 22, 2016

The world reached 3 dangerous climate change milestones this summer

by Max Plenke, Mic

In 1848, two ships — the HMS Terror and the HMS Erebus — sank while trying to navigate through the Northwest Passage. It was brutal: a 900-mile-long sea route punctuated with heavy sea ice that connects the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans through an arctic maze. Neither ship made it. All 129 men on the expedition died.

Last month, the Crystal Serenity, a 14-deck, 820-foot cruise ship, sailed from Anchorage, Alaska to New York City using that same pass, but without the icy obstacles. What was formerly the perilous end of a crew of British Royal Navy sailors is now, for the first time ever, a luxury cruise route.

(Full Story)

Stefan Hendricks, Alfred Wegener Institute

Stefan Hendricks, Alfred Wegener Institute

September 21, 2016

Record-smashing August means long-awaited ‘jump’ in global warming is here

by Dr. Joe Romm

We appear to be in the midst of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures.
And that means “The kinds of extreme weather we have seen over the past year or so will be routine all too soon, but then even worse records will be set,” as Kevin Trenberth, one of the world’s leading climatologists, told me.
NASA has reported that last month was not merely “the warmest August in 136 years of modern record-keeping,” it tied with this July 2016 for the “warmest month ever recorded.” And for 11 straight months (starting October 2015), the world has set a new monthly record for high temperature.

(Full Story)


September 20, 2016

Will Global Warming Make Fish Stupid?
Ocean acidification seems to make certain fish blind to predators.

by John Metcalfe

There’s already evidence that rapidly warming oceans are harming fish. The acidification of the water—something that happens as the seas absorb human-produced carbon dioxide—is thought to make certain species anxious and prone to hiding, and even destroy their ability to recognize each other.

Now there are indications it could turn them dangerously dumb, too. When exposed to raised CO2 levels, spiny damselfish seem to be unable to sense signs of danger emitted by their fellow damselfish, according to a study in Scientific Reports. That’s bad news, because if a predator is roaming the reefs chomping on fish, an entire micro population is in effect twiddling its fins waiting to be eaten.

(Full Story)


September 19, 2016

Climate Change Study Finds Last Fossil Fuel Car Must Be Sold By 2035 To Meet Temperature Goals

by Susmita Baral

Transportation is responsible for 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emission and a new study has found that in order to reach global warming goals—set by world leaders last year—the last fossil fuel car would have to be sold by 2035. The report, which has been backed up by three European research groups, spotlights the importance of transitioning to clean electric cars.

(Full Story)


September 18, 2016

The World Hits A Global Warming Milestone This Month. Going Back Will Be Costly.

by Amir Jina

The world was abuzz last week when China and the U.S. formally joined the Paris Agreement. As the world’s two biggest emitters, this was indeed good news and a positive step forward in confronting climate change. But it was just that: a “step.” The fact is that we have postponed our response to climate change for so long that mitigation is no longer sufficient—we will have to invest heavily in adaptation too. The planet itself will underscore that fact in the coming weeks when it does something truly remarkable—and with little fanfare.

(Full Story)


September 17, 2016

Obama to focus on climate change after he leaves office

by National Observer

U.S. President Barack Obama says he will make climate change his personal mission after leaving the White House. He made the comments during a speech in his home state of Hawaii on Friday.

The President starred in a comedy skit earlier this year, depicting himself as bored and listless after leaving office, but now appears to be getting serious. He ratified the Paris climate agreement alongside Chinese president Xi Jinping on Saturday and announced he was going to use his “megaphone” as an ex-president to push for climate policy after his term ends.

(Full Story)

Photo of U.S. President Barack Obama by AP

Photo of U.S. President Barack Obama by AP

September 16, 2016

Extreme ‘warm West, cold East’ winters now the norm?

Posted by Rob Jordan-Stanford

This past July was the hottest single month in Earth’s recorded history, but warming isn’t the only danger climate change holds in store.

Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the simultaneous occurrence of extremely cold winter days in the Eastern United States and extremely warm winter days in the West.

“There’s this idea that the past few winters were more extreme than usual, particularly since the conditions in the East and West were so different,” says Noah Diffenbaugh, associate professor of Earth system science at Stanford University and senior author of the new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres.

(Full Story)

(Credit: Mark Zilberman/Flickr)

(Credit: Mark Zilberman/Flickr)

September 15, 2016

The Political Divide on Climate Change: Partisan Polarization Widens in the U.S.

by Riley E, Dunlap, Aaron M. McCright and Jerrod H. Yarosh

The November 2008 election of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States created great optimism among supporters of many progressive causes, including environmental protection and action on climate change. Obama’s victory marked the end of the George W. Bush Administration, widely viewed as the most anti-environmental administration in our nation’s history, 1 – based in part on its record of denying the significance of human-caused climate change and blocking federal action to deal with it. 2 – It also coincided with growing societal attention to climate change.

(Full Story)

September 14, 2016

Climate change blamed for collapse of Hawaiian forest birds

by Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

HONOLULU (AP) — Native forest birds on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are rapidly dying off and facing the threat of extinction as climate change heats up their habitat and allows mosquito-borne diseases to thrive, according to a study released Wednesday.

Higher temperatures caused by global warming increase the spread of diseases such as avian malaria in wooded areas once cool enough to keep them under control, the research says. The findings are an early warning for forest birds on other islands and other species worldwide that rely on rapidly disappearing habitat, according to the study published in the journal Science Advances.

(Full Story)


September 13, 2016

Q&A: An ocean of threats must be tackled to protect the world’s ‘blue economy,’ U.S. undersecretary says

by Ann M. Simmons

They are the lifeblood of our planet, responsible for more than half of the oxygen we breathe. They regulate the climate, provide a major source of protein for 3 billion people, and millions of livelihoods — including 1 of every 6 jobs in the United States — are connected to the marine environment.

But the world’s oceans are under extreme duress, and humans are primarily to blame.

“I think we sometimes take it for granted, especially if you are located someplace where you don’t see the ocean every day,” Catherine A. Novelli, U.S. undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment, said during a recent interview with The Times.

(Full Story)


(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

September 12, 2016

California extends most ambitious US climate change law

by Alicia Chang

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown extended the nation’s most ambitious climate change law Thursday by another 10 years as California charts a new goal to reduce carbon pollution.

The Democratic governor signed the legislation in a Los Angeles park amid opposition from the oil industry, business groups and Republicans. It expands on California’s landmark 2006 law, which set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

(Full Story)

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

September 11, 2016

10 Images Show What Coastal Cities Will Look Like After Sea Levels Rise

by Taylor Hill

Sea-level rise is coming. Even if we keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above historic norms—the benchmark for avoiding catastrophic climate warming—we may still see oceans creep four feet farther inland by 2100 and rise 20 feet by as soon as 2200.

That’s according to a new study published in the July issue of Science. Researchers looked at three decades’ worth of data on ice-cap oxygen levels, then analyzed it to determine how varying amounts of CO2 in the modern-day atmosphere lined up with atmospheric CO2 and sea levels in the prehistoric past.

(Full Story)

global warming sea rise

AT&T Park, San Fransico, CA
Photo: Courtesy Climate Central

September 10, 2016

Alaska’s most detailed maps will reveal the impacts of climate change

by Kate Baggaley

A new set of 3D topographic maps offer a gorgeous, high-resolution look at Alaska’s rugged terrain. The maps were created from satellite images at a resolution of 2 meters, making them the most precise maps yet of the Arctic. Traditionally, maps of this region have been based on images taken from aircraft, which were limited by the Arctic’s inhospitable conditions and resulted in less detailed coverage.

(Full Story)

Credit: NSF/NGA

Credit: NSF/NGA

September 9, 2016

3 Big Trends Shaking Up the Energy Industry

by Peter Diamandis
We are at the cusp of an energy revolution.

This post is a look at how three technologies — solar, batteries, and electric vehicles (EVs) — are poised to disrupt a $6 trillion energy industry over the next two decades.

I had the chance to sit down with Ramez Naam, chair of Energy and Environmental Systems at Singularity University and acclaimed author of the Nexus series, to discuss these major forces and their implications.

Let’s dive in.

(Full Story)

September 8, 2016

Warming of oceans could be humanity’s ‘greatest hidden challenge’, report warns

by Ian Johnston

The warming of the oceans may become the “greatest hidden challenge” of our generation, a major new report has warned.

The 456-page document, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), describes the effects of the huge amount of energy that has been absorbed by the sea in recent decades.

The scale of the changes is potentially huge affecting marine life from viruses, bacteria and plankton, fish and seabirds to the climate, weather and human health.

(Full Story)


September 7, 2016

Western Innovator: Farmers test biochar’s benefits

by Eric Mortenson

Calling Kelpie Wilson a “biochar believer” isn’t a joke.

“I’m a believer in science,” she said, “and the science tells us biochar is worth pursuing.”

And at this point in her life, Wilson is in chase mode. She is part of a Southern Oregon group, the Umpqua Biochar Education Team, or UBET, that is working with 10 farmers to make biochar, mix it with manure and apply it to their land.

(Full Story)


September 6, 2016

Biochar technology for mine rehab

by Babe G. Romualdez

Nickel mining companies Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. (MMDC) and Benguetcorp Nickel Mines Inc. (BNMI) have been given the green light by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to engage in a mine rehabilitation project using activated biochar technology. According to Marcventures vice chairman Isidro “Butch” Alcantara, the project is not only in compliance with the new policy direction of the DENR to rehabilitate mined-out areas, but also complements the Surigao nickel miner’s initiatives in providing sustainable, organic and environmentally enhancing livelihood activities.

(Full Story)


September 5, 2016

Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

by Justin Gillis

NORFOLK, Va. — Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

(Full Story)

Source: The New York Times

Source: The New York Times

September 4, 2016

Breakthrough as US and China agree to ratify Paris climate deal – Campaigners hail key moment in battle against global warming as presidents Obama and Xi announce deal on eve of G20 summit in Hangzhou

by Tom Phillips, Fiona Harvey, and Alan Yuhas

The United States and China, the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, have announced they will formally ratify the Paris climate change agreement in a move campaigners immediately hailed as a significant advance in the battle against global warming.

Speaking on Saturday, on the eve of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, US president, Barack Obama, confirmed the long-awaited move, the result of weeks of intense negotiations by Chinese and American officials.

(Full Story)


September 3, 2016

NASA aircraft probe Namibian clouds to solve global warming puzzle

by Eric Hand

Off the coast of Namibia, for several months a year, a layer of smoke drifts over a persistent deck of low clouds. It’s the perfect place to investigate the thorniest problem in all of climate science: how haze and clouds interact to influence global warming, either boosting or moderating it. Now, after weeks of delay, an airborne research campaign is getting started in this diaphanous natural laboratory.

(Full Story)

climate change

Buena Vista Images

September 2, 2016

Scientists solve puzzle of converting gaseous carbon dioxide to fuel – saving the planet from climate change with a grain of sand

Source: University of Toronto

Every year, humans advance climate change and global warming — and quite likely our own eventual extinction — by injecting about 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

A team of scientists from the University of Toronto (U of T) believes they’ve found a way to convert all these emissions into energy-rich fuel in a carbon-neutral cycle that uses a very abundant natural resource: silicon. Silicon, readily available in sand, is the seventh most-abundant element in the universe and the second most-abundant element in the earth’s crust.

(Full Story and Pictures)

environmental news

Converting greenhouse gas emissions into energy-rich fuel using nano silicon (Si) in a carbon-neutral carbon-cycle is illustrated.
Credit: Chenxi Qian

September 1, 2016

Global warming is melting the Greenland Ice Sheet, fast

by John Abraham

A new study measures the loss of ice from one of world’s largest ice sheets. They find an ice loss that has accelerated in the past few years, and their measurements confirm prior estimates.

As humans emit heat-trapping gases, we expect to see changes to the Earth. One obvious change to be on the lookout for is melting ice. This includes ice atop mountains, ice floating in cold ocean waters, and the ice within large ice sheets or glaciers. It is this last type of ice loss that most affects ocean levels because as the water runs into the oceans, it raises sea levels. This is in contrast to melting sea ice – since it is already floating in ocean waters, its potential to raise ocean levels is very small.

(Full Story)

 Photograph: Brennan Linsley/AP[/column]