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Climate Hustle

2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #21A

Posted on 24 May 2014 by John Hartz

An invitation to demand action on climate change

When world leaders gather in New York this fall to confront climate change, tens of thousands of people (and maybe you) will be there to demand they take action before it's too late.

A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change by Bill Mckibben, Rolling Stone, May


April 2014 ties for hottest on record

April 2014 tied the global record for hottest ever, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week.

The average temperature over land and ocean tied with 2010 as the hottest ever on record for April, at 1.39°F above the 20th century average. The January-April period is the sixth warmest period on record, tying with 2005, with land surface temperatures 1.89°F above the 20th century average. 

April 2014 Ties for Hottest on Record by Barbara Tasch, Time (magazine), May 23. 2014


Climate change is the single most divisive political issue in U.S.

Climate change remains a divisive political issue, with a significant percentage of Republicans saying they don't believe the scientific consensus that man-made industrial emissions are accelerating the rise of global temperatures. But is it the most divisive political issue — more so than abortion, guns or evolution?

Apparently it is, according to new polling data from Lawrence Hamilton of the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. Mother Jones' Chris Mooneyhighlighted the data in a piece on Tuesday, noting that distrust of science was much higher among people who self-identified as Tea Partiers than it was among traditional Republicans.

Climate change is the single most divisive political issue in U.S. The Huffington Post, May 21, 2014


Climate change will make these breakfast cereals more expensive

The price of popular breakfast cereals is set to soar over the next 15 years as a result of climate change, argues a new report from Oxfam International.

If left unchecked, the effects of climate change on basic crops—like rice, wheat and corn—could drive up the cost of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes in the US by up to 20 percent by 2030, according to Oxfam's analysis. Corn Flakes could also rise up to 30 percent in the US, and up to 44 percent in the UK, while the cost of General Mills' Kix cereal could go up by between 12 and 24 percent in the US. And that's on top of any other price increases due to inflation.

The new report, called "Standing on the Sidelines," also calls out what Oxfam dubs the "Big 10" food and beverage companies for not doing enough to combat climate change by cutting emissions from their agricultural supply chains and lobbying for governmental action.

Climate Change Will Make These Breakfast Cereals More Expensive by James West, Climate Desk/The Huffington Post, May 20, 2013


Cold U.S. winter caused by warm tropical waters?

The polar vortex got all the blame for the frigid winter that held much of the eastern U.S. in its icy grip this year, but the wild kinks in the jet stream that sent that cold air southward may be due to thunderstorm activity half a world away, one scientist says.

The first four months of 2014 in the U.S. were the coldest such period the country has seen since 1993, due to the large dips in the jet stream that pulled Arctic air down over the central and eastern portions of the country. The same extreme dips in the jet stream also sent storm after storm over the UK, causing them to have their wettest winter on record.

Cold U.S. Winter Caused By Warm Tropical Waters? by Andrea Thomspon, Cliamte Central, May 23, 2013


El Nino expected to limit 2014 Hurricane Season

An emerging El Niño, along with other factors, is expected to tamp down hurricane activity during the 2014 season, with a near-normal or below-normal number of storms predicted, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday at New York City’s Office of Emergency Management.

“El Niño is a major climate factor that influences Atlantic hurricane activity,” Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center told reporters.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1, has a 50 percent chance of being below-normal, according to the agency. NOAA forecasters expect between 8 and 13 named storms (those of tropical storm force or higher) to form, of which 3 to 6 are likely to become hurricanes. Only one to two of those hurricanes are expected to become major storms, or those of Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength.

An average hurricane season sees 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. 

El Nino Expected to Limit 2014 Hurricane Season by Andrea Thompson, Cliamte Central, May 23, 2014


EPA carbon curbs to reach beyond power plant 'fence'

President Barack Obama's landmark rules to cut power plant emissions will likely give a fresh push to regional U.S. carbon cap-and-trade systems by allowing for a holistic, state-wide view of new pollution targets, sources familiar with the process said.

The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to allow states including California and Maryland to use existing emission-cutting schemes to reach their goals, according to the sources, instead of adopting a narrower method that would have limited states to tackling emissions at individual plants.

As a result, existing trading schemes that many states are already using to reduce greenhouse gas output may now expand and flourish, experts and officials say. That would be a welcome if ironic outcome four years after Obama's initial effort to foster a federal cap-and-trade plan failed to get through Congress.

EPA carbon curbs to reach beyond power plant 'fence,' aiding cap-and-trade, by Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, May  , 2014


Extreme weather stirs up forgotten lead from old smelters

When a mile-wide tornado roared through Joplin, Mo., it killed 158 people and injured thousands, and it also kicked up toxic remnants from the city’s industrial past that are still haunting its residents on the third anniversary of the disaster. 

Extreme Weather Stirs Up Forgotten Lead from Old Smelters by Brian Bienkowski & Environmental Health News, Scientific American, May 21, 2014


Gavin Schmidt on why climate models are wrong, and valuable 

I’m overdue to draw your attention to two fresh, and very different, discussions of climate science by Gavin Schmidt, the longtime climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

First is his conversation with Perrin Ireland, a science illustrator with a playful touch at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She created an animated cartoon of their interview, which took place over lunch at Tom’s Restaurant, a rather fabled diner on the ground floor of the building housing the institute:

Gavin Schmidt on Why Climate Models are Wrong, and Valuable by Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth, New York Times, May 22, 2014


In the age of climate change, trouble is brewing

EVAN FRITZ, the head brewer at Manayunk Brewing Co., was smiling but looking kind of shell-shocked one afternoon this week. Around him lay twisted pipe, a disassembled boiler, stacks of muddy beer cans, a pile of electronic point-of-sale equipment.

All ruined.

"I keep joking that this storm didn't even have a name," he said. "What are we going to put on the plaque?"

That would be the marker to show how high the waters from the May 1 flood rose. Irene in 2011 and Floyd in 1999 - the high-water marks from those devastating hurricanes are remembered with small signs behind the bar.

In the age of climate change, trouble is brewing by Joe Sixpack, Philly.com, May 21, 2014


Landmark sites in the US at risk from climate change – in pictures

From Statue of Liberty to Fort Monroe, a string of national monuments and heritage sites are becoming vulnerable to rising seas, floods and wildfires 

Landmark sites in the US at risk from climate change – in pictures , The Guardian, May 20, 2014 


Record rains made Australia a giant green global carbon sink

Record-breaking rains triggered so much new growth across Australia that the continent turned into a giant green carbon sink to rival tropical rainforests including the Amazon, our new research shows.

Published in the international journal Nature, our study found that vegetation worldwide soaked up 4.1 billion tons of carbon in 2011 – the equivalent of more than 40% of emissions from burning fossil fuels that year.

Unexpectedly, the largest carbon uptake occurred in the semi-arid landscapes of Australia, Southern Africa and South America.

Record rains made Australia a giant green global carbon sink by Pep Canadell & Ben Poulte, The Conversation (Australia), MAy 21, 2014

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