Climate

Rio+20 Sustainable Development Talks too Focused on Technology?
April 28, 2012 08:07 AM - Aisling Irwin, SciDevNet

The conviction that new technologies will solve the world's environmental and social problems has overly dominated early negotiations leading up to the Rio+20 summit in Brazil in June, a UN General Assembly meeting has heard. Mentions of technology were "almost endless" in the first draft of the outcome document, known as the 'zero draft', according to Pat Mooney, executive director of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group), a non-governmental organisation based in Canada.

The Change in Ocean Salinity
April 27, 2012 11:48 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Seawater is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% (35 g/L). This means that every kilogram (roughly one liter by volume) of seawater has approximately 35 grams (1.2 oz) of dissolved salts (predominantly sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl−) ions). A clear change in salinity has been detected in the world's oceans, signaling shifts and acceleration in the global rainfall and evaporation cycle tied directly to climate change. In a paper published Friday (April 27) in the journal Science, Australian scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reported changing patterns of salinity in the global ocean during the past 50 years, marking a clear symptom of climate change.

Palm oil is a major driver of peatlands destruction in Indonesian Borneo
April 27, 2012 09:38 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Developers in Indonesian Borneo are increasingly converting carbon-dense peatlands for oil palm plantations, driving deforestation and boosting greenhouse gas emissions, reports a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research concludes that nearly all unprotected forests in Ketapang District in West Kalimantan will be gone by 2020 given current trends. The study, which was led by Kim Carlson of Yale and Stanford University, is based on comprehensive socioeconomic surveys, high-resolution satellite imagery, and carbon mapping of the Ketapang, which is home to some of the most biodiverse forests on the planet including those of Gunung Palung National Park.

David Cameron outlines a Green Plan for Britain, gets mixed reviews
April 27, 2012 07:10 AM - Staff, ClickGreen

Prime Minister's speech on the UK's drive for low-carbon energy has been given a lukewarm reception by campaign groups and industry leaders. Commenting on David Cameron's address, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said he was still waiting to see evidence of the Coalition being the greenest Government ever. He added: "This falls a long way short of the green speech David Cameron should have given - tipping his hat to the need for a cleaner future and recycling a few announcements just won't measure up."

Northern Canada Feels the Heat: Climate Change Impact On Permafrost Zones
April 26, 2012 08:38 AM - Editor, Science Daily

Permafrost zones extend over 50% of Canada's land area. Warming or thawing of permafrost due to climate change could significantly impact existing infrastructure and future development in Canada's north. Researchers Jennifer Throop and Antoni Lewkowicz at the University of Ottawa, along with Sharon Smith with the Geological Survey of Canada, have published a new study, part of an upcoming special issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (CJES), that provides one of the first summaries of climate and ground temperature relations across northern Canada.

Sharing a car is great, but watch the potential liability!
April 25, 2012 07:23 AM - Kara Scharwath, Triple Pundit

Call it whatever you like – the sharing economy, collaborative consumption, the peer-to-peer marketplace, the access economy – but there is no denying that the idea of renting other people’s stuff or loaning out your own for cash is catching on. Fast Company predicted that 2012 would be the year for explosion in the peer-to-peer accommodation market pioneered by Airbnb. And it seems that this growth is expanding to include other renting arrangements as well, with dozens of online services popping up to capitalize on the trend. This all sounds great, but a recent incident is bringing attention to some of the liability issues associated with these borrowing arrangements. An article in the New York Times details the complicated liability situation resulting from a fatal accident that occurred when someone who rented a car through RelayRides crashed into another vehicle and was killed. RelayRides is a popular car sharing company that has gotten backing from GM and Google. The driver injured four people that were in the other car, and although RelayRides provides $1,000,000 in liability coverage to renters, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be enough to cover their medical claims.

Mexico Passes Climate Change Law
April 24, 2012 04:10 PM - Tim Wall, Discovery News

A law recently passed by the Mexican legislature will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 30 percent below business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 50 percent below 2000 levels by 2050, reported Nature. By 2024, Mexico will also derive 35 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, according to the new law.

Ocean Methane
April 24, 2012 07:40 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Methane can be released to the atmosphere from a variety of natural and and made sources. The fragile and rapidly changing Arctic region is home to large reservoirs of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. As Earth's climate warms, the methane, frozen in reservoirs stored in Arctic tundra soils or marine sediments, is vulnerable to being released into the atmosphere, where it can add to global warming. Now a multi-institutional study by Eric Kort of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of Arctic methane: the ocean itself.

The Price is Right for Wind Power
April 24, 2012 07:11 AM - María Elena Hurtado, SciDevNet

Generating wind energy is more than twice as cheap as solar photovoltaic (PV) energy production, a study of alternative energy in six developing countries has found. The findings, published in Nature Climate Change last week (15 April), could help inform global debates on financing initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries.

Global Warming in a Nutshell
April 23, 2012 08:23 AM - LarryM, Global Warming is Real

Occasionally it's good to step back from the details of global warming science and offer non-technical visitors a "Global Warming 101" perspective, sort of like The Big Picture, but starting from the very beginning and touching on many aspects of this broad topic.

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