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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #8

Posted on 23 February 2013 by John Hartz

  • Australia's dirty fossil fuel exports
  • Climate contradiction: less snow, more blizzards
  • Exploring climate resilience and energy sense
  • It's not easy being green in Canada
  • Nepali farmers abandon rice as monsoon shifts
  • New climate goals for Europe
  • Palm oil expansion threatens Congo Basin forests
  • Tech troubles threaten India's solar ambitions
  • The politics of climate change: adapt and avert
  • Understanding extreme weather in an era of climate change
  • Unlocking the conspiracy mind-set
  • Why Republicans should embrace climate change

Australia's dirty fossil fuel exports

Australian coal and gas is being shipped and burned around Asia at record rates – but at what cost to the climate?

Dirty fossil fuel exports will come back to bite Australia by Graham Readfearn, Environment Blob, The Guardian, Feb 21, 2013


Climate contradiction: less snow, more blizzards

But the answer lies in atmospheric physics. A warmer atmosphere can hold, and dump, more moisture, snow experts say. And two soon-to-be-published studies demonstrate how there can be more giant blizzards yet less snow overall each year. Projections are that that’s likely to continue with man-made global warming.

Climate contradiction: less snow, more blizzards by Seth Borenstein, AP/Salon, Feb 19, 2013 


Exploring climate resilience and energy sense

I visited Los Angeles this week to discuss new approaches to environmental communication with students and faculty at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability of the University of California, Los Angeles. I also joined two of the university’s professors — the climate scientist Alex Hall and the environmental historian Jon Christensen — for an onstage Zócalo Public Square discussion of this question: “Should we just adapt to climate change?” (The answer of course is…drumroll…no.)

Exploring Climate Resilience and Energy Sense by Andrew C Revkin, Dot Earth, New York Times, feb 22, 2013 


It's not easy being green in Canada

Canada’s police and security agencies think citizens concerned about the environment are threats to national security, and some are under surveillance, documents reveal.

The RCMP, the national police force, and Canada’s spy agency CSIS are increasingly conflating terrorism and extremism with peaceful citizens exercising their democratic rights to organise petitions, protest and question government policies, said Jeffrey Monaghan, a researcher with the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

In Conservatives’ Canada, It’s Not Easy Being Green by Stephen Leahy, International Press Service (IPS), Feb 20, 2013 


Nepali farmers abandon rice as monsoon shifts

For most of his adult life, Bidur Basnet has planted paddy rice each monsoon season on his five hectares of mountain land. But in the last five years, as monsoon rains have grown increasingly unreliable, he has had to abandon the country’s staple crop.

Nepali farmers abandon rice as monsoon shifts by Saleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio, Alertnet, Feb 19, 2013


New climate goals for Europe

Green campaigners pressed the case for an ambitious new decade of energy and environment policy on Wednesday as the European Commission kicked off debate on 2030 goals, seeking to balance economic reality with climate concerns.

Green groups urge ambitious new climate goals for Europe by Barbara Lewis, Reuters, Feb 20, 2013 


Palm oil expansion threatens Congo Basin forests

Industrial cultivation of oil palm has "wreaked havoc" on rainforests and forest peoples in Southeast Asia and now threatens to do the same in the Congo Basin, a report from the Rainforest Foundation UK warned on Thursday.

Palm oil expansion threatens Congo Basin forests - report by Megan Rowling, Alertnet, Feb 21, 2013


Tech troubles threaten India's solar ambitions

If it wants to its economy growing, India needs a lot of energy. At the moment, it is struggling to find it, experts say.

Tech troubles threaten to stall India's solar ambitions by Archita Bhatta and Sujit Chakraborty, Alertnet, Feb 20, 2013 


The politics of climate change: adapt and avert

While thousands converged on Washington to rally for climate change, the U.S. government was building a levee to protect the National Mall against Katrina-like flooding. Whether we like it or not, we’re going to have to adapt while also averting total disaster.

Welcome to the Politics of Climate Change: Adapt and Avert by Mark Hertsgaard, The Daily Beast, Feb 19, 2013


Understanding extreme weather in an era of climate change

The US has clearly seen some pretty extreme weather events over the last year. These events have caused both billions of dollars in property damage and endless arguments over how much can be attributed to climate change. Even as scientists work on the problem of attribution, the public has often made up its mind on what's to blame.

To try to bring some sanity to the discussion, the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science hosted a session on US weather extremes. Although there were a variety of talks, three presentations nicely captured the challenges: one on the state of the US climate, another on a recent climate event, and a third on trying to convey all of this to the public.

Understanding extreme weather in an era of climate change by John Timmer, ArsTechnica, Feb 22, 2013


Unlocking the conspiracy mind-set

When I first met the NASA climate researcher Gavin Schmidt a few years ago, we discussed the proliferation of material on the Internet attacking mainstream climate science. I asked him whether he thought climate contrarians were flirting with conspiracy theory in their views.

“Flirting?” he said. “No. They’ve already had conspiracy theory out on a hot date, and now it’s the morning after and they’re sitting up in bed, having coffee.”

Unlocking the Conspiracy Mind-Set by Justin Gillis, Green Blog, New York Times, Feb 21, 2013


Why Republicans should embrace climate change

We have reached the point where every rational person who believes in making decisions based on science and available data should, if not fully believe that human beings are warming the planet by releasing greenhouse gases, at least recognize that this is what the data seem to suggest and that it is what the vast majority of scientists who study weather believe is the case.

Why Republicans should embrace the reality of climate change by Matthew Hertel, Forbes, Feb 18, 2013 

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Comments

Comments 1 to 3:

  1. The very first commenter to the first (AUS FF exports) article said:

    As the Premier of NSW said, don't ask him about the effects of climate change when the state is busy being hit with record floods and fire damage...

    That's something remarkable, becaues I don't consider Barry O'Farrell as silly as the quote would indicate. Does anyone know more of that and can provide a context?

    BTW, I notice all of the articles quoted this week are bad news: FF export increasing, monsoons shifting, tech troubles implementing solar panels etc. I have an impression we making no progress at all in combatting GW as there is not a single piece of positive news about it...

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  2. Something has always puzzled me about the right wing and especially the extreme right  wing such as the Tea Baggers.  For the most part they profess to be religious.  So they believe that God gave us dominion over the fowl in the air, the fish in the sea and the beasts in the field.  God, like a good dad has passed on the family business to his kids.  I would have thought they would be in the forefront of the movement to preserve dad's creation.  Instead they seem to have a "drill baby drill" mentality.  Go figure.

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  3. william, there are many religious people who DO take the viewpoint that they should be 'good shepherds' of the Earth. However, those are not the sort you usually find in the Tea Party, or even the modern GOP. Those groups embody a different mindset which holds that God put the resources of the Earth here for our use so that we could 'be fruitful and multiply' and thus any argument of a need for 'conservation' is contrary to God's instructions.

    Which is my root problem with the concept of religion in general. Once you introduce a requirement to 'take this Truth on faith', no matter how it starts out, it can change into virtually anything... so virtually anything can become 'Divine Truth'.

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