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Climate Hustle

2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #30B

Posted on 27 July 2013 by John Hartz

  • 11 Reasons to divest from the fossil fuel industry
  • Can agriculture reverse climate change? 
  • Coal exports contradict Obama's climate pledge
  • Deciphering the air-sea communication
  • Education is the key to addressing climate change
  • How likely is a huge Arctic methane pulse?
  • Maryland has 'moral obligation' to avert climate change
  • Methane and the risk of runaway global warming
  • Taking earth's temperature

11 Reasons to divest from the fossil fuel industry

There is a robust debate happening in university halls, around religious congregations, and at individual kitchen tables nationwide. The driving question: Should we divest from the fossil fuel industry?

Whether you are a college student, a trustee of a religious or educational institution, or an individual with a retirement fund, this is a relevant question for you.

11 Reasons to Divest from the Fossil Fuel Industry by Chuck Collins, Common Dreams, July 23, 2013

Can Agriculture Reverse Climate Change? 

Climate change is the gravest existential threat the planet faces. Whether we’re talking about flora or fauna, the damage that could, and is likely, to occur should give rise for alarm. To tackle such a complex problem will require major shifts in society. And one large sector that’s ripe for change is agriculture.

The current industrialized food systems—factory-style farming that consumes massive amounts of resources and relies heavily on chemicals—that are widespread in developed countries are a major contributor to climate change. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Key shifts in the way we produce food could take agriculture from a climate bust and turn it into a climate boon. This undertaking is the cause that gave rise to a Future Tense event at the New America Foundation on Thursday, July 25, called “An Agricultural Revolution to Fight Climate Change?” The event brought together a number of experts for panel discussions about how to spur on an agricultural transition—from an industrial process to an ecological, innovative method. 

Can Agriculture Reverse Climate Change? A Future Tense Event Recap. by Jathan Sadowski, Future Tense, Slate, July 26, 2013

Coal exports contradict Obama's climate pledge

Environmental experts who remain unimpressed with President Barack Obama's war-on-carbon rhetoric point to one key reason for concern that's off most Americans' radar: U.S. coal exports.

A push to expand coal mining operations in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, and to build three ports in Oregon and Washington to ship the fuel to Asia, could create more national and global environmental impact than a Canadian company's proposal to ferry Albertan tar sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast via the Keystone XL pipeline. Yet these remote projects are not getting the attention they deserve, critics suggest, and they fear Obama may be overlooking, apathetic to, or even supportive of them.

Coal Exports Contradict Obama's Climate Pledge, Critics Say by Lynnne Peeples, The Huffington Post, July 25, 2013

Deciphering the air-sea communication

Why does hurricane activity vary from decade to decade? Or rainfall in the Sahel region? And why are the trans-Atlantic changes frequently in sync? A German-Russian research team has investigated the role of heat exchange between ocean and atmosphere in long-term climate variability in the Atlantic. The scientists analyzed meteorological measurements and sea surface temperatures over the past 130 years. It was found that the ocean significantly affects long term climate fluctuations, while the seemingly chaotic atmosphere is mainly responsible for the shorter-term, year-to-year changes. The study appears in the current issue of the prestigious journal Nature, and provides important information on the predictability of long-term climate fluctuations.

Deciphering the Air-Sea Communication, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, July 25, 2013

Education is the key to addressing climate change

Climate change is now back in the UK geography curriculum after indications from education chief Michael Gove it would be left out

It’s been introduced in the US curriculum, and threatened to be removed from the parts of the UK’s. It’s an issue that has sparked much debate, and in the UK’s case, outcry from thousands, particularly from young people and schools (to recent success). So why has education sparked such interest and been considered so vital an issue?

Education is the key to addressing climate change by Adam Dyster, Left Foot Forward, July 26, 2013 

How likely is a huge Arctic methane pulse? 

Rising temperatures in the Arctic Ocean could see 50 billion tonnes of methane that's currently frozen in the seabed released into the atmosphere, a comment piece published in the journal Nature argues.

According to the modelling, the resulting climate change impacts could cost the globe an extra $60 trillion. But the scenario is unlikely, other scientists say.

How likely is a huge Arctic methane pulse? by Freya Roberts, The Carbon Brief, July 24, 2013

Maryland has 'moral obligation' to avert climate change

Gov. Martin O'Malley said Thursday that Maryland will not meet its ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gases unless the state adopts more aggressive measures he is proposing.

The governor — who said the state has a "moral obligation" to avert climate change — outlined several strategies for more quickly reducing gases that drive global warming.

"This work is hard," said O'Malley, a Democrat. "It is life-and-death hard."

O'Malley says state has 'moral obligation' to avert climate change by Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun, July 25, 2013

Methane and the risk of runaway global warming

Research was published this week showing the financial cost of methane being released from Earth’s permafrosts. But the risks go beyond financial – Earth’s history shows that releasing these stores could set off a series of events with calamitous consequences.

Methane and the risk of runaway global warming by Andrew Glikson, The Conversation, July 26, 2013

Taking earth's temperature

Much of the debate around climate change taking place in the media, online and in the world of campaigning focuses on the part of the planet where human live - the surface. We are warned about climate change in terms of temperature rise - two degrees is 'dangerous' - and when temperatures don't rise steadily, some claim that "global warming has stopped".

Taking Earth's temperature: Three Met Office reports examine the warming pause, climate sensitivity and taking a broad view of climate change by Roz Pidcock, The Carbon Brief, July 25, 2013

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. On coal exports:

    Good to see awareness that "...reason for concern that's off most Americans' radar:  US coal exports...Yet these remote projects are not getting the attention they deserve..."

    The US is the fourth largest exporter of coal in the world.  If the three export projects are built in Oregon and Washington why, we can shoot for third place--maybe even second.

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  2. The trendy meme that we can have our steak and save the planet too (your link above to "Can Agriculture Reverse Climate Change?") seems to be more or les entirely based on the claims of biologist Allan Savory, with cheerleading by Michael Pollan and others. But his extraordinary, counter-consensus claim hasn't held up to scientific scrutiny: Why Allan Savory’s TED talk about how cattle can reverse global warming is dead wrong. It would be nice to see an SkS item on this (it would seem) myth.

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    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Hotlinked URL that was breaking page formatting.

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