• US Military Takes Part in Reducing Ecological Footprint

    In an effort to enhance American security and address climate change, the U.S. military is diminishing its footprint. The military is producing cleaner power, reducing energy consumption, managing water and minimizing waste. Their efforts encompass vast numbers of vehicles, ships, planes, buildings, lands, and other facilities. A major impetus for these efforts is Executive Order 13514, "Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance," which President Obama signed on October 5, 2009. It mandates a 30 percent reduction in energy usage by federal agencies. >> Read the Full Article
  • New research finds mine waste could provide an effective CO2 trap

    It's time to economically value the greenhouse gas-trapping potential of mine waste and start making money from it, says mining engineer and geologist Michael Hitch of the University of British Columbia (UBC). Hitch studies the value of mine waste rock for its CO2-sequestration potential, or "SP." He says mining companies across Canada will, in future, be able to offset CO2 emissions with so-named "SP rock," and within 25 years could even be selling emissions credits. >> Read the Full Article
  • Great Potential for Energy Efficiency Improvements in UK

    With the ambitious goal of kickstarting "a revolution in UK energy efficiency," England’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has just launched a new program called the Government's Energy Efficiency Strategy. The goal is to cut the equivalent of 22 power stations worth of energy consumption throughout the United Kingdom by 2020. Though the UK has already made some significant progress in energy efficiency, the new strategy underscores just how much more opportunity there is to save energy in a nation that boasts an impressive stock of centuries-old buildings. The challenges of upgrading castles, cottages and ancient estates is small potatoes, though, compared to some broader structural challenges the UK faces, and the DECC is not shy about laying those out. >> Read the Full Article
  • Warmer Summers

    The world is warming up but not always evenly. So how much warmer are the summers? Analysis of 90 years of observational data has revealed that the world summer climates in regions across the globe are changing — mostly, but not always, warming –according to a new study led by a scientist from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences headquartered at the University of Colorado Boulder. >> Read the Full Article
  • Report: Climate-Related Migration

    Recent reports, as well as extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy, suggest that climatechange, and particularly sea-level rise, may be occurring faster than earlier anticipated. This has increased public and policy discussions about climate change’s likely impacts on the movement of populations, both internally and worldwide. Research suggests that when climate-related migration does occur, much of it is short distance and within national borders, as opposed to international, according to new analysis conducted by Lori Hunter, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, for the Worldwatch Institute’s Vital Signs Online service (www.worldwatch.org). Recent research has added nuance to the scientific understanding of the potential connections between climate change and human migration. Previous studies over the past two decades relied largely on descriptive data and simplistic assumptions to put forward at-times alarmist estimates of future numbers of "environmental refugees," ranging from 150 million to 1 billion people. But such broad-sweeping generalizations mask several central issues that are important in the development of appropriate policy responses. These include: >> Read the Full Article
  • Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions Delaying the Start of an Ice Age?

    Mankind's emissions of fossil carbon and the resulting increase in temperature could prove to be our salvation from the next ice age. According to new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, the current increase in the extent of peatland is having the opposite effect. "We are probably entering a new ice age right now. However, we're not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide", says researcher Professor Lars Franzén. Looking back over the past three million years, the earth has experienced at least 30 periods of ice age, known as ice age pulses. The periods in between are called interglacials. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ground Water Inundation

    Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) published a study today in Nature Climate Change showing that besides marine inundation (flooding), low-lying coastal areas may also be vulnerable to groundwater inundation, a factor largely unrecognized in earlier predictions on the effects of sea level rise. Ground-water flooding or inundation occurs in low-lying areas when the water table rises above the land surface. >> Read the Full Article
  • Growth of Renewables will continue with continued subsidies

    The International Energy Agency predicts renewables will become the world's second-largest source of power generation by 2015 and close in on coal as the primary source by 2035. But according to the 2012 edition of its flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook, the agency warns this rapid increase is critically dependent on continued subsidies. It says in 2011, these subsidies (including for biofuels) amounted to $88 billion, but over the period to 2035 need to amount to $4.8 trillion; over half of this has already been committed to existing projects or is needed to meet 2020 targets. >> Read the Full Article
  • Antarctica Ice is Up While Arctic is Down

    Global warming only decrease the extent off the ice in polar regions, right. Well maybe not so. The first direct evidence that marked changes to Antarctic sea ice drift have occurred over the last 20 years, in response to changing winds, is published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. Scientists from NERC’s British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena California explain why, unlike the dramatic losses reported in the Arctic, the Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change. >> Read the Full Article
  • Seeing Storms Through the SMOS Eye

    When millions of people are bracing themselves for the onslaught of extreme weather, as much information as possible is needed to predict the strength of any impending storm. As its name suggests, the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite was designed to measure how much moisture is held in soil and how much salt is held in the surface waters of the oceans. Since SMOS has the ability to see through clouds and it is little affected by rain, it can also provide reliable estimates of the surface wind speeds under intense storms. This can be quite useful in tracking a storm system remotely and accurately. >> Read the Full Article