Climate

Worst case study: global temp up 7.2F degrees by 2060s
November 29, 2010 07:15 AM - Alister Doyle, Reuters, CANCUN

World temperatures could soar by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the 2060s in the worst case of global climate change and require an annual investment of $270 billion just to contain rising sea levels, studies suggested on Sunday. Such a rapid rise, within the lifetimes of many young people today, is double the 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) ceiling set by 140 governments at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen last year and would disrupt food and water supplies in many parts of the globe.

Polar Bears get a Thanksgiving present this year
November 25, 2010 10:32 AM - Brendan Cummings, Center for Biological Diversity

More than 187,000 square miles (approximately 120 million acres) along the north coast of Alaska were designated today as "critical habitat" for the polar bear as a result of a partial settlement in an ongoing lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Greenpeace against the Department of the Interior. This designation under the Endangered Species Act is intended to safeguard those coastal lands and waters under U.S. jurisdiction that are vital to the polar bears’ survival and recovery. The habitat rule comes at a critical juncture for the polar bear. The Interior Department is under court order to reconsider by Dec. 23 elements of its 2008 decision to list the polar bear as "threatened," rather than the more protective "endangered" — a decision that could affect whether the Endangered Species Act can be used as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the primary threat to the species. At the same time, the Interior Department is also considering whether to allow oil companies to drill for oil in the polar bear's newly designated critical habitat in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska.

Global CO2 Emissions Increased in 2010
November 22, 2010 09:17 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

During the heart of the recession in 2009, CO2 emissions fell as economic activity slowed. Now that the world is seeing modest signs at recovery, the pace of economic activity has picked up and so have the CO2 emissions. According to a new study from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, the planet may reach record levels of emissions by the end of the year.

Greening the Blue Helmets: the UN Goes Green
November 22, 2010 08:25 AM - Ann-Danylkiw, Triple Pundit

The United Nations might be the body long responsible for hosting the forum for international agreement on climate change, so it’s about time it gets its own climate house in order.

Global Coral Bleaching Among Worst Ever Seen
November 19, 2010 07:41 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real

Coral reefs are both vital and vulnerable to change, and the combination of rising ocean surface temperatures and increased acidification is devastating corals across the globe in one of the worst bleaching and die-off events ever recorded.

Better Access to Contraception Could Slow Global Warming
November 18, 2010 08:13 AM - Editor, Worldwatch Institute

Washington, D.C.-A new report from the Worldwatch Institute argues that assuring all women have access to contraception and taking steps to improve women's lives should be among key strategies in the fight against global climate change.

Troposphere is warming too, decades of data show
November 16, 2010 07:12 AM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

Not only is Earth's surface warming, but the troposphere -- the lowest level of the atmosphere, where weather occurs -- is heating up too, U.S. and British meteorologists reported on Monday. In a review of four decades of data on troposphere temperatures, the scientists found that warming in this key atmospheric layer was occurring, just as many researchers expected it would as more greenhouse gases built up and trapped heat close to the Earth. This study aims to put to rest a controversy that began 20 years ago, when a 1990 scientific report based on satellite observations raised questions about whether the troposphere was warming, even as Earth's surface temperatures climbed.

The New Floods and Droughts
November 15, 2010 12:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Dust storms scour Iraq. Freak floods wreak havoc in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Rising sea levels erode Egypt's coast. Tuvulu and the Seychelles may disappear altogether as hey submerge into the ocean. A comprehensive vulnerability index suggests you move to Scandinavia, Ireland or Iceland as slightly safer places. The teeming plains of Asia are at greater risk in the next 30 years. Ten of the 16 most vulnerable countries are in Asia where high populations, low lying land and potential water shortages will plague more than other places and people. High Asia is dominated by many steep, dramatic mountain ranges that run through parts of Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, India, China, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and other countries. The region is home to more than 50,000 glaciers that are vital water lifelines to Asia's largest rivers, including the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Indus and Ganges. Roughly two billion people depend on these rivers for their water and food supply. What happens when all this changes with the climate?

Arab world among most vulnerable to climate change
November 15, 2010 06:28 AM - Alistair Lyon, Reuters Special Correspondent, BEIRUT

Dust storms scour Iraq. Freak floods wreak havoc in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Rising sea levels erode Egypt's coast. Hotter, drier weather worsens water scarcity in the Middle East, already the world's most water-short region. The Arab world is already suffering impacts consistent with climate change predictions. Although scientists are wary of linking specific events to global warming, they are urging Arab governments to act now to protect against potential disasters. There are huge variations in per capita greenhouse gas emissions across the region with very high rates for several oil and gas producers. Qatar recorded the world's highest per capita emissions with 56.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006, while Egyptians emitted just 2.25 tonnes each, U.N. figures show.

Warm spell spurred tropical biodiversity
November 12, 2010 08:26 AM - Alexandra Witze, Science News

Some like it hot, including the plants living in South America's tropical rain forests 56 million years ago. As global average temperatures spiked 5 degrees Celsius over a period of 10,000 years — a geologic blink of an eye — plant diversity in northern South America also soared, researchers report in the Nov. 12 Science.

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