2012 SkS Bi-Weekly News Roundup #1

This is the first edition of a biweekly roundup of selected news articles and blog posts about climate change and its impacts. This new series replaces the weekly roundup. 

Arctic Methane

A half mile below the ground at Prudhoe Bay, above the vast oil field that helped trigger construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, a drill rig has tapped what might one day be the next big energy source.

Looks like ice, burns like a candle: Frozen methane hydrate may be new Alaska energy source, AP/Washington Post, Nov 11, 2012

Climate Model Forecasts

For decades the leading models have predicted an average rise of 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees Celsius), with models on the low end predicting a rise of 3 degrees F (~1.6 degrees C) and those on the high end predicting 8 degrees F (5.3 degrees C). Now a new analysis in the leading journal Science suggests that the higher end forecasts are more accurate.

Forecast: Hotter Climate Models Likely Right by Julia Whitney. Mother Jones, Nov 7, 2012

Cooling Upper Atmosphere

"We now have direct evidence that a major driver of upper atmospheric climate is changing," study lead author John Emmert, an upper atmospheric physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., told SPACE.com.

Global Warming Gas, Carbon Dioxide, Found To Affect Orbiting Satellites & Space Junk by Charles Choi, The Huffington Post, Nov 12, 2012

Flooding: Italy 

As coastal areas of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are just drying out from horrific flooding prompted by Hurricane Sandy, more watery disaster has struck 4,200 miles away in Italy. Following torrential rains, Venice is experiencing unusually bad flooding.

It's the fourth time floods have exceeded norms there since 2000.

Venice floods attributed to climate change by Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, Nov 13, 2002

Leading Italian meteorologist Mario Giuliacci said: The Mediterranean has warmed up by 1C to 1.5C in the last 20 years, meaning that Atlantic weather fronts passing over it absorb more vapour and more heat, which means more energy. And that means ever more violent storms and more rain when the fronts hit Italy.

Italy floods prompt fears for future of farming  by Tom Kington, Guardian (UK)  Nov 13, 2012

Fossil Fuel Resources

But the truly global implications of the International Energy Agency's flagship report for 2012 lie elsewhere, in the quietly devastating statement that no more than one-third of already proven reserves of fossil fuels can be burned by 2050 if the world is to prevent global warming exceeding the danger point of 2C. This means nothing less than leaving most of the world's coal, oil and gas in the ground or facing a destabilised climate, with its supercharged heatwaves, floods and storms.

IEA report reminds us peak oil idea has gone up in flames, Damian Carrington's Environmental Blog, The Guradian (UK), Nov 12, 2012 

Global Demand for Coal

In all, coal use is expected to increase 50 percent by 2035, said Milton Catelin, chief executive of the World Coal Association in London.

“Last year, coal represented 30 percent of world energy, and that’s the highest share it has had since 1969,” he said.

Within a year or two, coal will surpass oil as the planet’s primary fuel, Mr. Catelin predicted.

With China and India Ravenous for Energy, Coal’s Future Seems Assured by Peter Galuszka, New York Times, Nov 12, 2012

Greenland Ice Sheet

In a new study from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, scientists show how the northern part of the Greenland ice sheet might be very vulnerable to a warming climate.

Enhanced Melting of Northern Greenland in a Warm Climate, ScienceDaily, Nov 9, 2012 

Public Opinion: Australia

Australians grossly overestimate the proportion of people who deny that climate change is happening, a CSIRO study has found.

Climate change deniers are rarer than we think by Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation, Nov 12, 2012

Public Policy: New Zealand

Prime Minister John Key has defended the Government's decision not to sign on for the second stage of the Kyoto Protocol, saying the country is playing its part in combating climate change.

Key defends decision not to stick with Kyoto Protocol by Rebecca Quilliam, The New Zealand Herald, Nov 11, 2012 

Public Policy: US

The whole issue of climate change was virtually absent during the presidential campaign until Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. The devastating superstorm - a rarity for the Northeast - and an election that led to Democratic gains have shoved global warming back into the conversation. So has the hunt for answers to a looming budget crisis.

Global warming talk heats up, revisits carbon tax by Seth Borenstein, AP, Nov 13, 2012

The number of climate-change believers has undoubtedly risen still further since Superstorm Sandy, which powerfully demonstrated that global warming is not a theory about the indeterminate future, but a snowballing catastrophe that is with us right now. A study by insurance giant Munich Re, released days before Sandy struck, reported that North America has suffered $1.06tn in extreme weather damage since 1980. That mind-boggling number is five times the average loss in prior decades.

Obama's Mandate to Tackle Climate Change by Richard Schiffman, the Huffington Post, Nov 12, 2012

Superstorm Sandy is fueling concerns about climate change and how it’s inflating the costs and risks of extreme weather, according to a new post-election poll from Zogby Analytics. The poll shows key voting groups in the 2012 election – Hispanics, women, young voters – are among those most concerned with confronting climate change now and protecting America’s air, water, wildlife and other natural resources.

After Sandy, Poll Shows GOP Faces Growing Environmental Divide with Voters by John Zogby. Forbes, Nov 14, 2012 

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that his administration has not done enough to combat global warming but said he hopes to begin his second term by opening a national “conversation” on climate change.

Obama wants national ‘conversation’ on climate change; no legislation proposed, AP/Washington Post, Nov 14, 2012


Posted by John Hartz on Friday, 16 November, 2012

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