• US Forest mortality declines due to lack of food for mountain pine beetle

    Forests are not only threatened by man-made decisions like logging and development expansion, but also by insect infestation. From beetles to forest weevils, moths to borers and timber worms, insects cost millions of dollars in forest destruction each year from eating and living in these trees. Insects and diseases are important in maintaining a balance between healthy, functioning forests and catastrophic outbreaks and forest loss. These critical roles affect more than 750 million acres of forest in the US, as well as millions of trees in urban and residential areas. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wildlife trade bans may be worsening trafficking of some species, argues paper

    While founded with good intentions, wildlife trade bans may in some cases be worsening the plight of some endangered species, argues a commentary published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science. Looking at three animals listed under the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) — tigers, elephants and rhinos — Kirsten Conrad of AsiaCat argues that a moratorium on legal trade has exacerbated illegal trafficking by boosting prices and moving all commerce to the black market. She says the situation is worsened by poor law enforcement, ambiguous property rights, and demand rooted in "strong traditional affiliation". >> Read the Full Article
  • Are EV's really better for climate-changing emissions?

    Electric cars are an axiom of clean transport planning - they produce no tailpipe emissions, little localised air pollution and, potentially, no greenhouse gas output. But as their critics point out, they are only as green as the electricity that they use. A power supply dependent on fossil fuels will produce greenhouse gas emissions from electric vehicles that are less than - but still comparable to - those from automobiles fitted with internal combustion engines (ICE) >> Read the Full Article
  • NCDC: August 2012 Was a Warm One

    The latest update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's National Climatic Data Center states that August 2012 was one of the warmest months on record. >> Read the Full Article
  • US electric car industry poised to overtake Europe

    A new US fuel efficiency standard finalised by the Obama administration last month will jolt America’s nascent electric car industry to life, but could leave European auto manufacturers racing to catch up, analysts and industry sources say. From 2025, American cars and light trucks will have to achieve a standard of at least 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) under the new regulation, higher than can be achieved by any existing fuel-powered cars, according to the US Department of Energy. The only cars on the US market which exceed the 54.5 mpg target (measured as mpg equivalent) are at least partly powered by plug-in electricity, the US Environmental Protection Agency says. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ice Sheets Apparently Can Grow Quickly in Cold Periods

    How fast can glaciers and ice sheets expand and shrink in response to rapidly changing climatic conditions? It's a question that scientists have been pondering with particular interest of late, with Greenland's Peterman Glacier calving large amounts of ice two years in succession, and much of the island's surface ice melting earlier this summer. Because abrupt climate changes have occurred, across various spatial and temporal scales, at several previous points in the planet's history, scientists can look for prehistorical clues, to see what happened then and thus infer what might happen in a warming 21st century. A team of geologists has done just that, although it has looked for evidence not during previous warm spells, but by looking at two major cooling events in Earth's past. >> Read the Full Article
  • Death Valley Wins!

    How hot can it get on Earth? It is a sort of dubious honor to be the hottest place, but some place has to be the record holder. A World Meteorological Organization panel has concluded that the all-time heat record held for exactly 90 years by El Azizia in Libya is invalid because of an error in recording the temperature. The announcement follows a danger-fraught investigation during the 2011 Libyan revolution. Death Valley National Park in California, USA, now officially holds the title of the world's hottest place - as symbolic for meteorologists as Mt. Everest is for geographers. >> Read the Full Article
  • UPS Earns Top Score Among U.S. Firms On Carbon Disclosure

    For the second consecutive year, UPS (NYSE: UPS) has received the highest score in the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project's "Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index" of S&P companies, receiving a 99 out of 100. UPS is one of only two U.S. companies to achieve the high score, reflecting the company’s commitment to transparency and leadership with regards to carbon reporting and performance in mitigating environmental impact. UPS is the only company from the Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P) Industrials sector to receive the highest score. Only four companies in the world received scores of 99 or higher. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), companies are scored on their climate change disclosure and high scores indicate good internal data management and understanding of climate change related issues affecting the company. Results from the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project indicate that S&P 500 companies are making significant strides with regards to transparency and progress on carbon goals, narrowing the gap with Global 500 companies. The average performance score of the S&P 500 increased by 44% with assurance of emissions data nearly doubling, signaling a greater commitment to transparency and accuracy. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate models will need to evolve to account for climate change, report finds

    Climate trends and predictions are used to make decisions in more fields than one would expect. From farmers and fishermen, to insurance companies, to mayors and decision-makers concerned about emergency preparedness planning, to the general public, knowing about floods, droughts, heat waves and extreme storms help us prepare our businesses and daily activities. Because of climate change, we can no longer rely on historic norms and climate patterns that models use to predict future events. Despite recent progress in developing reliable climate models, there are still efficiencies to be gained across the large and diverse U.S. climate modeling community. >> Read the Full Article
  • A Wet Surprise: Drier Soils May Spur Rain

    Drier soils are more likely to trigger storms than nearby wetter soils, a surprising new study finds. These findings suggest global weather and climate models — which assume that dry soils mean dry weather — might currently be simulating an excessive number of droughts, the scientists behind the study said. >> Read the Full Article