• Flood insurance increases delayed in Senate

    The floodgates have opened on the legislative debate surrounding flood insurance. On Monday, followed by remarks by Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ, the Senate voted 86-13 to begin debate to delay the increases mandated by the 2012 law for four years. Proponents of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act say that the price of coverage is too high for many policyholders making their homes unaffordable. Fifty five percent of Americans live within 50 mile of the coast. The National Flood Insurance Program insures more than 5.5 million properties across all 50 states. Rate increases affecting premiums all over the country. Proponents say that while The 2012 Biggert-Waters law was intended to make the flood insurance program fiscally solvent, it forces changes that are far too large and fast causing people to lose their homes. Menendez acknowledges, "The flood insurance program needs to be put on a more solvent trajectory, (but) we first need to understand the scope of these changes and be sure the mapping process used to set these rates is accurate. We need to understand the impact that these dramatic changes in Biggert-Waters will have on the housing market before it's too late. >> Read the Full Article
  • UN - Business needs to play full part in tackling climate change

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon kept up the drumbeat for business to play its full part in tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development for a second day today, telling the World Economic Forum in Davos that investments now will generate major savings for tomorrow. "The finance community is a key player. We need trillions of dollars of investment to move from the brown to the green economy," the United Nations chief told a session on Climate, Growth and Development, citing four areas for action. "First, we need investors, banks and other financial service providers to increase finance flows into low-carbon energy and climate-resilient infrastructure, including through setting portfolio targets and increasing the deployment of climate bonds. Second, we need to decrease the flow of finance to carbon-intensive and obsolete technologies and business practices." >> Read the Full Article
  • "Phosphate free for all" from P & G

    Consumer product giant Procter & Gamble has announced that it will eliminate phosphates from all of its laundry detergents worldwide within the next two years. The change applies to brands including Tide, Ariel, Ace and Bonux, and will maximize the conservation of precious resources and reduce the threat of water pollution. >> Read the Full Article
  • Winter Olympic Games May Face Threats of Climate Change

    With the Winter Olympics set to be held in Sochi, Russia starting February 7th, new reports are questioning whether the games will survive climate change in the future. A new study conducted by the University of Waterloo says that most of the cities that have already hosted the Winter Olympics may be too warm to host the events again. According to the study, only six of the previous Winter Olympics host cities will be cold enough to reliably host the games by the end of this century if global warming projections prove to be accurate. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mice and Moose and climate change

    How do animals adjust to a warming climate? Do all animals respond in the same way? According to a new study by the University of Colorado at Boulder, if you were a shrew snuffling around a North American forest, you would be 27 times less likely to respond to climate change than if you were a moose grazing nearby. That is just one of the findings of a new University of Colorado Boulder assessment led by Assistant Professor Christy McCain that looked at more than 1,000 different scientific studies on North American mammal responses to human-caused climate change. The CU-Boulder team eventually selected 140 scientific papers containing population responses from 73 North American mammal species for their analysis. "If we can determine which mammals are responding to climate change and the ones that are at risk of disappearing, then we can tailor conservation efforts more toward those individual species," said McCain. "Hopefully, this potential loss or decline of our national iconic mammals will spur more people to curb climate impacts by reducing overuse of fossil fuels." >> Read the Full Article
  • Emissions outsourced to China return to US as air pollution

    Twenty percent of China's air pollution can be attributed to goods exported to America, with some of those emissions drifting back to the Western United States, finds a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research, conducted by an international team of researchers, estimates that Los Angeles sees at least one extra day of severe air pollution due to nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide emitted by Chinese factories making products for export. On some days as much as a quarter of sulfate pollution on the California coastline can be attributed to Chinese export production. >> Read the Full Article
  • New study shows differences in mammal responses to climate change

    If you were a shrew snuffling around a North American forest, you would be 27 times less likely to respond to climate change than if you were a moose grazing nearby. That is just one of the findings of a new University of Colorado Boulder assessment led by Assistant Professor Christy McCain that looked at more than 1,000 different scientific studies on North American mammal responses to human-caused climate change. The CU-Boulder team eventually selected 140 scientific papers containing population responses from 73 North American mammal species for their analysis. >> Read the Full Article
  • Warming climate will bring more extreme 'El Nino' events

    Rising global temperatures are likely to double the frequency of the most severe El Niños - the periodic atmospheric disruptions which affect weather across the globe. Tim Radford reports An El Niño is part of a natural cycle: a huge blister of heat in the equatorial Pacific, usually around Christmas-time. >> Read the Full Article
  • Human response to climate

    Throughout history, humans have responded to climate. Take, for example, the Mayans, who, throughout the eighth and 10th centuries, were forced to move away from their major ceremonial centers after a series of multi-year droughts, bringing about agricultural expansion in Mesoamerica, and a clearing of forests. Much later, in the late 20th century, frequent droughts caused the people of Burkina Faso in West Africa to migrate from the dry north to the wetter south where they have transformed forests to croplands and cut the nation's area of natural vegetation in half. >> Read the Full Article
  • Great Lakes evaporation hypothesis up in the air

    The recent Arctic blast gripping the nation will likely contribute to a rise in Great Lakes water levels in 2014, new research from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University shows. Research conducted by the two schools through the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA) shows the correlation between periods of high and low evaporation and its effect on ice cover. Years with high ice cover were usually followed by cooler summer water temperatures and lower evaporation rates, but these same high-ice winters were preceded by high evaporation rates during the autumn and early winter indicating a two-way connection between ice cover and evaporation. While ice cover reduces evaporation from what would otherwise be exposed lake surface water, it also reduces lake temperature generating ice cover. >> Read the Full Article