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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Climate Hustle

2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #41B

Posted on 12 October 2013 by John Hartz

  • Alaska sinks as climate change thaws permafrost
  • Antarctica's scars hold clues to hidden water
  • Can cities solve climate change?
  • Climate change is real and denial is not about the science
  • Fossil fuel power plants still not capturing CO2 emissions
  • How oil pipelines threaten democracy and the planet's survival
  • IMF, World Bank heads lend clout to climate change efforts
  • Inconvenient uncertainties
  • IPCC report shows action on climate change is critical
  • Politics is poorly suited to address global warming
  • Scientists: U.S. climate credibility getting fracked
  • Up to five billion face ‘entirely new climate’ by 2050

Alaska sinks as climate change thaws permafrost

The thawing of permafrost — frozen ground covering most of Alaska — doesn't just damage roads, buildings and airport runways. It also releases vast amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

Alaska sinks as climate change thaws permafrost by Wendy Koch, USA Today, Oct 8, 2013 


Antarctica's scars hold clues to hidden water

Deep furrows on Antarctica's floating ice shelves mark arch-shaped channels melted out under the ice. Thinner ice floats lower, and researchers can read the corrugated surface topography like a map that mirrors what lies beneath.

Now, a new study published today (Oct. 6) in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests that in some spots, these surface scars also signal where water drains from beneath Antarctica's giant ice sheets.

Antarctica's Scars Hold Clues to Hidden Water by Becky Oskin, Live Science, Oct 6, 2013


Can cities solve climate change?

Warming is global, but efforts at the local level make the most difference

Can Cities Solve Climate Change? by David Biello, Scientific American, Oct 9, 2013


Climate change is real and denial is not about the science

First, the climate system is definitely warming.

Second, humans are now a dominant driver of the climate and are very likely to be responsible for most of the recent warming we have experienced.

And future warming over the 21st century will likely be several degrees.

Climate change is real and denial is not about the science, Op-ed by Andrew E. Dressler and Gerald R. North, San Antonio Express News, Oct 6, 2013


Fossil fuel power plants still not capturing CO2 emissions

A survey finds little movement—and even some decline—in adopting technologies that can capture the primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

Fossil Fuel Power Plants Still Not Capturing CO2 Emissions by Christa Marshall and Climate Wire, Scientific American, Oct 10, 2013


How oil pipelines threaten democracy and the planet's survival

We spend the hour looking at politics, money and the pursuit of oil, from the series of pipelines originating in the oil-rich Caspian Sea to the deposits in the Arctic Sea where Russia has charged 30 people with piracy for a Greenpeace protest against drilling, to the vast reserves of the Middle East that have fueled conflict for decades. Three guests join us for a roundtable discussion: Anna Galkina, a member of the London-based arts, human rights and environmental justice organization Platform; Platform founder James Marriott, author of "The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London"; and Timothy Mitchell, Columbia University professor and author of the books "Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil" and "Colonizing Egypt." 

How Oil Pipelines Threaten Democracy and the Planet's Survival by Amy Goodman & Aaron Mate, (Video & Transcript) Democaracy Now, Oct 8, 2013


IMF, World Bank heads lend clout to climate change efforts

The world's finance ministers should focus on two elements to tackle climate change: setting the "right price" on carbon emissions and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said on Tuesday.

At a panel on the opening day of their 2013 autumn meeting, Lagarde and World Bank Group President Jim Young Kim said climate change was a priority for their lending institutions, the first time the two had addressed the issue together in public.

Lagarde said measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can add much needed revenue to national economies and steer countries toward the development of cleaner renewable energy.

IMF, World Bank heads lend clout to climate change efforts by Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, Oct 8, 2013 


Inconvenient uncertainties

The world is a messy place. The scientific method imposes some order, but in the case of climate change, that order is probabilistic. For the sake of science and the planet, we should not become distracted by a false sense of certitude. Imprecise truths are the most inconvenient ones. We know enough to act now. What we don’t know should prompt us to even more decisive action. 

Inconvenient Uncertainties, Op-ed by Gernot Wagner & Martin l. Weitzman, New York Times, Oct 10, 2013


IPCC report shows action on climate change is critical

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released the first of four chapters of its Fifth Assessment Report. It shows scientists are more certain now than in 2007 when the Fourth Assessment was released that humans are largely responsible for global warming—mainly by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests—and that it’s getting worse and poses a serious threat to humanity. It contains hints of optimism, though, and shows addressing the problem creates opportunities.

IPCC Report Shows Action on Climate Change Is Critical by David Suzuki, Epoch Times, Oct 7, 2013


Politics is poorly suited to address global warming

The fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided undeniable proof of a remarkable phenomenon: a public debate even more bitter and polarized than the budget showdown.

The intersection of science and policy, of climate and politics, has become a bloody crossroads. Blog-based arguments over ocean temperatures and the thickness of the Greenland ice sheet are as shrill and personal as any tea-party primary challenge. And the IPCC report — designed to describe areas of scientific consensus — has become an occasion for polarization.

Politics is poorly suited to address global warming Op-ed by Michael Gershon, Washington Post, Oct 10, 2013


Scientists: U.S. climate credibility getting fracked

As fracking catapults the United States to the top of the list of the world’s largest crude oil and natural gas producers, climate scientists worry that the nation's booming fossil fuels production is growing too quickly with too little concern about its impact on climate change, possibly endangering America’s efforts to curb global greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. is likely to become the world’s top producer of crude oil and natural gas by the end of 2013, producing more hydrocarbons than either Russia or Saudi Arabia, the Energy Information Administration recently announced.

Scientists: U.S. Climate Credibility Getting Fracked by Bobby Magill, Climate Central, Oct 10, 2013


Up to five billion face ‘entirely new climate’ by 2050

The mean annual climate of the average location on Earth will slip past the most extreme conditions experienced during the past 150 years and into new territory by between 2047 and 2069, depending on the amount of climate-warming greenhouse gases that are emitted during the next few decades, a new study found. The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, used a new index to show for the first time when the climate — which has been warming during the past century in response to manmade pollution and natural variability — will be radically different from average conditions during the 1860-2005 period.

The study shows that tropical areas, which contain the richest diversity of species on the planet as well as some of the poorest countries, will be among the first to see the climate exceed historical limits — in as little as a decade from now — which spells trouble for rainforest ecosystems and nations that have a limited capacity to adapt to rapid climate change.

Up to Five Billion Face ‘Entirely New Climate’ by 2050 by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, Oct 9, 2013

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  1. As per the lead for the first article, methane offgassing from formerly frozen permafrost layers is a huge concern, but I was given to understand that it is mainly due to bacterial decomposition of organic material following the melt, rather than being spontaneously released from suspension (as with subsea methane clathrates). 

    Maybe I am nitpicking but the phrase "[Permafrost melt] also releases vast amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases" might be better qualified as 'indirectly releases'. Although the quantities involved are definitely massive.

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