Climate

Climate Change Seen Posing Big Risk For Insurers
October 3, 2007 07:18 AM - Reuters

SYDNEY  The global insurance industry faces substantial risks from climate change due to the increased incidence of cyclones, floods, drought and bushfires, a major European reinsurer told the Greenhouse 2007 conference.  Losses from tropical cyclones were increasing particularly strongly, Eberhard Faust, head of climate risks at Munich Re (MUVGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), he told the conference organized by the Australian government-backed Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

New method could advance development of hydrogen-fueled cars
October 2, 2007 09:29 PM - UCLA News

Los Angeles, California - Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a model that could help engineers and scientists speed up the development of hydrogen-fueled vehicles by identifying promising hydrogen-storage materials and predicting favored thermodynamic chemical reactions through which hydrogen can be reversibly stored and extracted.

The new method, published online in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials, was developed by Alireza Akbarzadeh, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher in the department of materials science and engineering; Vidvuds Ozolins, UCLA associate professor of materials science and engineering; and Christopher Wolverton, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois.

Expert says China would follow U.S. lead on climate
October 2, 2007 08:32 PM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - China would soon follow the U.S. lead if Washington agrees to tackle its emissions in the next few years because China's government takes the threat of global warming more seriously than the United States does, a climate expert said on Tuesday.

"My impression is that the national government -- top level ministry officials -- in China regard the threats of global warming to their country with a much higher level of seriousness than their counterparts do here in the United States," said David Hawkins of the environmental group National Resources Defense Council.

Hawkins, head of the group's climate center, spoke by telephone to the Reuters Environment Summit in New York.

If the United States agrees to cut emissions deeply with a baseline that gets tougher over time, it would spur U.S. manufacturers to build low-emissions technologies like alternative energy and coal plants that store carbon dioxide underground.

Forecaster predicts two more Atlantic hurricanes
October 2, 2007 05:19 PM -

MIAMI (Reuters) - The La Nina weather phenomenon in the eastern Pacific will likely extend the Atlantic hurricane season this year, with four more storms forming and two becoming hurricanes, a noted forecasting team said on Tuesday.

The Colorado State University hurricane research team boosted its season forecast from 15 to 17 storms, of which six would be hurricanes. Thirteen storms have already formed this year and four of those have become hurricane.

The CSU team, founded by forecasting pioneer Bill Gray and now led by researcher Phil Klotzbach, also said it expected Tropical Storm Karen to be raised to hurricane status in a post-season analysis, increasing the hurricane total to seven.

Ice cap melt seen "very, very alarming"
October 2, 2007 04:06 PM - Gerard Wynn and Jeremy Lovell, Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Record melting of Arctic sea ice this year sent a "very alarming" signal about warming at the North Pole, but it couldn't all definitely be blamed on manmade climate change, the U.N.'s top weatherman said on Tuesday.

The amount of Arctic ice which melted this summer beat a previous record, set two years ago, by an area more than four times the size of Britain, a 30-year satellite record shows.

"This year was quite exceptional ... the melting of the Arctic ice ... it's quite spectacular," Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organisation, told Reuters.

"Can it all be attributed to climate change? That's very difficult. It's very, very alarming," he said. His answer to how best to interpret the melt was -- "let's do more research".

Ancient Fossils Points to Carbon Dioxide As a Driver of Global Warming
October 2, 2007 12:37 PM -

PASADENA, Calif.--A team of American and Canadian scientists has devised a new way to study Earth's past climate by analyzing the chemical composition of ancient marine fossils. The first published tests with the method further support the view that atmospheric CO2 has contributed to dramatic climate variations in the past, and strengthen projections that human CO2 emissions could cause global warming.

In the current issue of the journal Nature, geologists and environmental scientists from the California Institute of Technology, the University of Ottawa, the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Brock University, and the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve report the results of a new method for determining the growth temperatures of carbonate fossils such as shells and corals. This method looks at the percentage of rare isotopes of oxygen and carbon that bond with each other rather than being randomly distributed through their mineral lattices.

 

Climate change will alter world travel patterns
October 2, 2007 12:05 PM - Laura MacInnis, Reuters

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Global warming will produce stay-at-home tourists over the next few decades, radically altering travel patterns and threatening jobs and businesses in tourism-dependent countries, according to a stark assessment by U.N experts.

The U.N. Environment Program, the World Meteorological Organization and the World Tourism Organization said concerns about weather extremes and calls to reduce emissions-heavy air travel would make long-haul flights less attractive.

Holiday-makers from Europe, Canada, the United States and Japan were likely to spend more vacations in or near their home countries to take advantage of longer summers, they said.

Japan to remap climate plans to reach Kyoto goal
October 2, 2007 07:51 AM - Reuters

Japan will draw up new measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions by next March in an attempt to meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, a top official said on Tuesday.

UK chief scientist confident on 2009 climate deal
October 2, 2007 07:43 AM - Jane Lee -Reuters

A new global climate deal should be reachable by 2009, with nations outside the Kyoto Protocol more sympathetic to such a pact, the U.K.'s chief scientific adviser said on Tuesday.

"The point is it really needs to be in place by 2009 if we're going to have a process to operate from 2012," David King told Reuters.

Scientists see dramatic drop in Arctic sea ice
October 1, 2007 08:06 PM - Will Dunham, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Arctic sea ice declined this year to the lowest levels registered since satellite assessments started in the 1970s, extending a trend fueled by human-caused global warming, scientists said on Monday.

Sea ice declined by so much this year that the typically ice-clogged Northwest Passage, allowing vessels to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific, completely opened for the first time anyone can recall, the researchers said.

Scientists at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, part of the University of Colorado at Boulder, measure Arctic sea ice during the annual melt season beginning in March and ending in September.

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