2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #7

Climate change influences investment risk

For more than a decade, investors have been asking companies to detail their  climate risks through initiatives such as the Carbon Disclosure Project, but  until now, no one has asked these investors about their own exposure to these  risks – and they have certainly not volunteered the information.

Climate change influences investment risk by Tom Scott, Financial Times, Feb 10, 2013

Climate change makes U.S. government vulnerable

Climate change poses a serious financial threat to the federal government, according to the Government Accountability Office’s biennial “High-Risk Report” covering all federal agencies and programs. 

The nonpartisan investigative agency released its findings Thursday, noting that “The federal government is not well positioned to address the fiscal exposure presented by climate change, and needs a government wide strategic approach with strong leadership to manage related risks.”

Climate change makes government vulnerable, report says by Josh Hicks, Washington Post, Feb 14, 2013

Democrats offer climate bill in U.S. Senate

Democrats in Congress wasted no time in taking up President Barack Obama’s challenge Tuesday night that lawmakers take a "market-based" approach to addressing climate change, even if their effort has little hope of success.

Democrats offer long-shot bill to meet Obama’s climate change challenge by Erika Bolstad, McClatchy Newspapers, Feb 13, 2013

Funding of climate denial think tanks

Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120m (£77m) to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, the Guardian has learned.

Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, Feb 14, 2013

It’s not easy being green 

GREEN jobs have long had a whiff of exaggeration to them. The alternative-energy sector may ultimately employ millions of people. But raising the cost of the energy that households and businesses use every day — a necessary effect of helping the climate — is not exactly a recipe for an economic boom.

It’s Not Easy Being Green by David Leonhardt, New York Times, Feb 9, 2013

Kenyan climate authority bill vetoed

Kenya’s hopes of becoming one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa with a body legally empowered to advise on mitigating the effects of climate change have hit a dead end, after President Mwai Kibaki rejected a law that would have created a Kenya Climate Change Authority (KCCA).             

Advocates shocked by president's veto of Kenyan climate authority bill by Maina Waruru, Alertnet, Feb 11, 2013 

Most Influential Climate Science Paper

Just six pages long, it is stoking a new moral urgency for climate action and forcing the financial world to reconsider the value of fossil fuel reserves.

The Most Influential Climate Science Paper Today Remains Unknown to Most People by Katherine Bagley, Inside Climate News, Feb 14, 2013

Retooling New York for apocalyptic storms

During World War II, a German U-boat made its way into New York Harbour. It fired two torpedoes at a British tanker, splitting the hull in three places and igniting it in flames. The captain and 35 members of his crew burned to death.

Seventy years later, New York Harbour is Lower Manhattan’s first line of defence against another threat: the rising tides of the sea.

Retooling New York for Apocalyptic Storms by George Gao, New York Times, Feb 11, 2013

Sunlight stimulates release of carbon dioxide

Ancient plant and animal matter trapped within Arctic permafrost can be converted rapidly into climate-warming carbon dioxide when melted and exposed to sunlight, according to a new study.

In a report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of environmental and biological scientists examined 27 melting permafrost sites in Alaska and found that bacteria converted dissolved organic carbon materials into the greenhouse gas CO2 40% faster when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Sunlight stimulates release of carbon dioxide in melting permafrost by Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times, Feb 12, 2013

Thawing permafrost may be “huge factor”

Thawing permafrost is emitting more climate-heating carbon faster than previously realised. Scientists have now learned that when the ancient carbon locked in the ice thaws and is exposed to sunlight, it turns into carbon dioxide 40 percent faster.
“This really changes the trajectory of the debate” over when and how much carbon will be released as permafrost thaws due to ever warmer temperatures in the Arctic, says researcher Rose Cory of the University of North Carolina.

Thawing Permafrost May Be “Huge Factor” in Global Warming by Stepehn Leahy, International Press Service (IPS), Feb 13, 2013

Threat to Canadian national security?

Monitoring of environmental activists in Canada by the country's police and security agencies has become the "new normal", according to a researcher who has analysed security documents released under freedom of information laws.

Canada's environmental activists seen as 'threat to national security' by Stephen Leahy, The Guardian, Feb 14, 2013

U.S. east coast faces rising seas

Experts on the sea level rise triggered by climate change have long known that it will proceed faster in some places than others. The mid-Atlantic coast of the U.S. is one of them, and the reason — in theory, anyway — is that global warming should slow the flow of the Gulf Stream as it moves north and then east toward northern Europe.

East Coast Faces Rising Seas From Slowing Gulf Stream by Michael D. Lemonick, Climate Central, Feb 12. 2013

U.S. Sen. Whitehouse's climate crusade

When the Rhode Island Democrat takes the floor each week to lecture his colleagues on climate, the room is usually empty. But still he persists.

Sen. Whitehouse's Climate Crusade Aims to Awaken Congress 'Sleepwalking Through History' by Lisa song, Insdie Climate News, Feb 12, 2013

Posted by John Hartz on Saturday, 16 February, 2013

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