Climate

Alaskan Glacier Ice Loss Overestimated?
March 3, 2010 08:48 AM - Science Daily, Adapted from materials provided by Northern Arizona University.

The melting of glaciers is well documented, but when looking at the rate at which they have been retreating, a team of international researchers steps back and says not so fast. Previous studies have largely overestimated mass loss from Alaskan glaciers over the past 40-plus years, according to Erik Schiefer, a Northern Arizona University geographer who coauthored a paper in the February issue of Nature Geoscience that recalculates glacier melt in Alaska.

Cap-and-trade plan dead says Senator Graham
March 3, 2010 08:34 AM - Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

The idea of imposing a broad cap-and-trade system to cut America's greenhouse gas emissions is dead and will be replaced with a new approach, an influential Republican senator said on Tuesday. Lindsey Graham, one of three senators working against daunting odds to produce a compromise climate bill, has recently turned against imposing the kind of cap-and-trade system used in Europe, which involves companies buying and selling pollution permits.

Pliocene Hurricaines
March 2, 2010 05:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Pliocene epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5 million to 2 million years before present. Although scientists know that the early Pliocene had carbon dioxide concentrations similar to those of today, it has remained a mystery what caused the high levels of greenhouse gas and how the Pliocene’s warm conditions, including an extensive warm pool in the Pacific Ocean and temperatures that were roughly 4 degrees C higher than today’s, were maintained. In a paper published February 25 in Nature, Kerry Emanuel and two colleagues from Yale University’s Department of Geology and Geophysics suggest that a positive feedback between tropical cyclones — commonly called hurricanes and typhoons — and the circulation in the Pacific could have been the mechanism that enabled the Pliocene’s warm climate.

British Antarctic Survey census of biodiversity sheds light on changing climate
March 2, 2010 07:35 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) presents the results of its ongoing census of marine life in the Antarctic at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The BAS census has been documenting the diversity of marine life in Antarctic waters and the way it is changing in response to climate change.

Mekong River at record low flow
March 2, 2010 06:30 AM - Agence France-Presse, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Water levels in the northern Mekong River are at record-low levels, posing a threat to water supply, navigation and irrigation along a stretch of water that is home to millions, a regional official said. Northern Thailand, northern Laos and southern China have all been affected, Jeremy Bird, chief executive officer of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) secretariat, told AFP. "The flows are much lower than we've got records on in the last 20 years," said Bird, whose inter-governmental body deals with all Mekong River-related activities including fisheries, agriculture and flood management.

BP and Shell face new shareholder revolt over tar sands
February 28, 2010 07:45 AM - Editor, The Ecologist

Investors want oil giants to answer questions on their involvement in the environmentally damaging extraction of oil from tar sands Shareholders at BP and Shell will get the chance to vote at upcoming AGMs on whether to force oil giants to come clean on their Canadian tar sands involvement. Institutional investors including The Co-operative Asset Management and Rathbone Greenbank have co-signed a 'special resolution,' which would force the two companies to fully disclose and justify their involvement in Canadian tar sands.

House members seek to block EPA carbon limits
February 27, 2010 10:06 AM - Reuters

Two senior Democrats in the U.S. House filed a resolution to block the Obama administration from regulating greenhouse gases on its own if a climate change bill fails to pass Congress soon. The resolution of disapproval, filed on Thursday, is identical to a controversial resolution by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. Both resolutions offer a fairly quick way to overturn Environmental Protection Agency proposals to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming.

Huge iceberg breaks off from Antarctic glacier
February 26, 2010 06:46 AM - Reuters

An iceberg the size of Luxembourg has broken off from a glacier in Antarctica after being rammed by another giant iceberg, scientists said on Friday, in an event that could affect ocean circulation patterns. The 2,500 sq km (965 sq mile) iceberg broke off earlier this month from the Mertz Glacier's 160 km (100 miles) floating tongue of ice that sticks out into the Southern Ocean. The collision has since halved the size of the tongue that drains ice from the vast East Antarctic ice sheet.

China has "No intention" of capping emissions
February 25, 2010 04:04 PM - Lan Lan, China Daily, Environmental Health News

China has no intention of capping its greenhouse gas emissions even as authorities are committed to realizing the nation's target to reduce carbon intensity through new policies and measures, the country's top climate change negotiators said yesterday. The negotiators also warned that rich and developing countries have little hope of overcoming key disagreements over how to fight global warming. China "could not and should not" set an upper limit on greenhouse gas emissions at the current phase, said Su Wei, the chief negotiator of China for climate change talks in Copenhagen, at a meeting in Beijing on China's climate change policies in the post-Copenhagen era.

Do you believe in global warming?
February 24, 2010 07:25 AM - Christopher Joyce, NPR

Over the past few months, polls show that fewer Americans say they believe humans are making the planet dangerously warmer, despite a raft of scientific reports that say otherwise. This puzzles many climate scientists — but not some social scientists, whose research suggests that facts may not be as important as one's beliefs. Take, for example, a recent debate about climate change on West Virginia public radio. "It's a hoax," said coal company CEO Don Blankenship, "because clearly anyone that says that they know what the temperature of the Earth is going to be in 2020 or 2030 needs to be put in an asylum because they don't." On the other side of the debate was environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr.

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