• India needs micro-level data for climate action

    India needs micro-level scientific assessment at the state, district and village levels for effective planning and implementation of measures to combat climate change, a national workshop has highlighted. The workshop on climate-resilient development, organized last month (13 February), discussed integrating climate change into development programs in semi-arid regions like Bundelkhand in central India. >> Read the Full Article
  • How Warm Was it Once Upon a Time?

    How warm or cold is it on Earth as compared to earlier times? Of course, going back far enough and one can find all sorts of extremes. How about the last ten thousand years? Using data from 73 sites around the world, scientists have been able to reconstruct Earth’s temperature history back to the end of the last Ice Age, revealing that the planet today is warmer than it has been during 70 to 80 percent of the time over the last 11,300 years. Of even more concern are projections of global temperature for the year 2100, when virtually every climate model evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that temperatures will exceed the warmest temperatures during that 11,300-year period known as the Holocene – under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios. >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: USA and Russia unite to protect the polar bear

    As the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties continues, the USA and Russia have come together in an attempt to ban export trade in polar bear products. In a bid to provide polar bears with the highest level of protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the American-Russian proposal calls for a ban on any international commercial trade of skin, fur, fangs and other products made from polar bears. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Smart Grid and Electric Car Charging

    Widespread adoption of electric vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Some are worried that the electric grid will be stressed leading to a decrease in its reliability. In related news today, Battelle and AeroVironment have a technology that will address this concern, and help EV's charge when the grid is most able to support charging. This technology is the subject of a commercial license agreement between Battelle and AeroVironment, Inc., of Monrovia, Calif. The technology may also ultimately result in lower costs for plug-in electric vehicle owners. Battelle operates the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. AeroVironment will use a portion of the licensed technology in a new prototype version of its Level II charging systems. >> Read the Full Article
  • Warnings of global ecological tipping points may be overstated

    There's little evidence that the Earth is nearing a global ecological tipping point, according to a new Trends in Ecology and Evolution paper that is bound to be controversial. The authors argue that despite numerous warnings that the Earth is headed toward an ecological tipping point due to environmental stressors, such as habitat loss or climate change, it's unlikely this will occur anytime soon—at least not on land. The paper comes with a number of caveats, including that a global tipping point could occur in marine ecosystems due to ocean acidification from burning fossil fuels. In addition, regional tipping points, such as the Arctic ice melt or the Amazon rainforest drying out, are still of great concern. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hotter Temperatures Link Climate Change to Tree Mortality

    It is evident that drought can create massive problems for ecosystems, especially for trees and plants but no research has been done to determine which drought characteristics actually cause trees to die-off. It has been difficult for scientists to understand how seasonal differences, severity, and duration of droughts have affected tree mortality and even more difficult to predict how climate change can affect different ecosystems. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global Warming Will Open Arctic Shipping Routes

    Who said the effects of global warming are all negative? According to new research conducted by UCLA, melting sea ice during the late summer will make Arctic shipping channels much more accessible. The economy of the world depends on shipping as nearly all of a country’s imports and exports are transported across the global by these large ships. Canals like the Suez and Panama have helped reduce the length of certain shipping routes, but nothing has been done in the Arctic region because of the unreliable weather and treacherous ice. >> Read the Full Article
  • National Climate Change Policy in Pakistan

    Pakistan's newly launched national climate change policy (NCCP) aims at natural resource conservation at home, but it also sees regional and bilateral agreements as key to ensuring water, food and energy security. The policy will be implemented by its provincial governments. At its launch last month (26 February), Pakistan's minister for climate change Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed Khan said efforts would be made to strengthen provincial environment departments to enable them to carry out relevant functions devolved to them. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global Warming Being Slowed by Volcanic Eruptions

    Planet Earth did not warm as much in response to increases in green house gas emissions as expected. There appear to be other factors that influence global temperatures than green house gasses. A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight -- dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide. The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning, said lead study author Ryan Neely, who led the research as part of his CU-Boulder doctoral thesis. Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cropland expansion the culprit in biodiversity loss, says study

    Rapid cropland expansion is the main cause of biodiversity loss in tropical countries, a study by UNEP's (the UN Environment Programme) World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative has found. The study, published in PLOS ONE last month (9 January), highlights maize and soybean as the most expansive crops and as the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical regions. Other crops that pose a major threat to habitats and wildlife are beans, cassava, cowpea, groundnut, millet, oil palm, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, the study says. >> Read the Full Article