The White House delayed several regulations until after the 2012 election (Washington Post).

Earthquakes keep shaking Oklahoma (NY Times).

Some companies try to increase electronics recycling (NY Times).

Weather (not just chemicals) explains some of the ozone layer hole’s recent changes (BBC).

Antarctica continues losing ice (BBC).

As the international community does what it does best — negotiate a hard-fought framework for the next meetings, so they can simply kick the can down the road then — there was an interesting warning that serves as a reminder to just how fluid all of these projections and statistics about future trouble from climate change are.

Tuesday’s report states that there’s a high risk of increased extinctions of land and sea life and the disappearance of the Arctic icecap in summers within this century. There’s a moderate risk of increased heat waves, a decline in ocean oxygen levels and rapid changes to ecosystems that would threaten food and water supplies, the scientists note. Watching for those symptoms would give communities that depend on those ecosystems the ability to adapt.

For example, there’s been a lot of warning about how wildfires could double by 2050, but what if it’s accelerating as the problems of this year show? How much will the drastic melt of the Arctic sea ice affect the projected sea-level rise? Some say, instead of seas rising 1 meter by 2100, it could be 3 meters. That means a lot of coastal cities will be turning into Venice. If you had cameras or measurements that were widely circulated, you might be able to track these problems — even at a very local level, such as on Plum Island.

“A lot of these things require not only monitoring what’s going on out there in the natural world as well as monitoring what we do in the human-built environment as well; how much dollar-wise do we have at risk?” said Jim White, who led the committee that produced Tuesday’s report.
The committee didn’t calculate the cost of establishing an early climate warning network. But even in a time of tight budgets, White said, the cost would be “trivial compared to the cost of the assets at risk.”

Not only would monitoring allow humans and cities to adapt, but it would also allow those leading the charge to stop climate change to properly adjust the warnings, estimates that our consumption is causing. Any real-life evidence is all the more valuable in convincing the population to conserve more and get behind energy-efficient ideas.

 

A pathway to a possible deal in 2015 is what came out of the UN climate talks (BBC, also see NY Times). It also featured incentives to curb deforestation (BBC).

Nitrous oxide is a major threat to the ozone later (BBC).

Duke Energy pleads guilty and pays a $1 million fine for bird deaths from wind turbines (LA Times).

Some Chinese are fleeing polluted cities (NY Times).

Tesla cars are under investigation for catching fire (Washington Post).

The U.S. is ordered to stop collecting nuclear waste disposal fees (Washington Post).

Wyoming passes new fracking rules (NY Times).

 

Climate change could harm society, says a draft IPCC report (LA Times).

The EPA proposes smaller biofuel use requirements (Washington Post).

Climate talks and a coal meeting go on side by side in Poland (BBC, also see here). Climate change’s inequitable impact has become a key topic (NY Times).

Amazon deforestation is up 28% since last year (BBC). Deforestation is now mapped by Google Earth (BBC).

Human actions partly explain global warming slowdowns, a paper argues (LA Times).

Last month the U.S. produced more crude oil than it imported for the first time in 18 years (Washington Post).

The unmistakable consequences of global warming are already here. This is evidenced by two recent news stories. The first story details how all of the debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan is making its way across the Pacific Ocean and will soon reach the shores of the West Coast. The second piece of news is that greenhouse gases have reached a record high.

The story about the tsunami debris has a vague link to global warming, but it serves as the canary in the coal mine. Somewhere in the middle of the ocean is also the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A patch that is 7 million square miles of plastic (on the surface or below the surface) is floating somewhere near Hawaii. The garbage patch threatens sea life and could disrupt the entire marine ecosystem.

Any kind of trash can get into the ocean—from glass bottles to aluminum cans to medical waste. The vast majority of marine debris, however, is plastic. Scientists have collected up to 750,000 bits of plastic in a single square kilometer (or 1.9 million bits per square mile) of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

News that greenhouse gases have reached a record high is unsurprising. As the article points out, this comes even as emissions in the U.S. are reportedly in decline. That’s not the case for the rest of the developing world, and we will be paying for these high emissions for many years to come.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) was the largest culprit in the rise: it accounted for 80 percent of the increase in overall greenhouse gas concentration. From 2011 to 2012, it increased by 2.2 parts per million, a significant increase from the 2.02 parts per million yearly average over the last decade.

“CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds if not thousands of years… Most aspects of climate change will persist for centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped immediately,” the report said.

It’s no doubt that we’re starting to see some effects from our high-polluting, high-emissions ways of the past century. It’s only going to get worse. But will you get better about your individual use/waste? That’s one way to solve this problem.

 

The rate of CO2 increases is slowing (BBC).

Climate change could affect food supplies (NY Times).

Trees help protect vulnerable species from climate change (BBC).

LED prices are tumbling (NY Times).

The Pacific Ocean is warming faster than it has in 10,000 years (LA Times).

Flooding is the newest fear after a California fire burns out (LA Times).

Climate scientists want environmentalists to support nuclear power (Washington Post).

Upon the year anniversary Superstorm Sandy, there’s been a lot of retrospection on the actual storm as well as checking in to see how all those pledges of reform to stop storms like this from happening more often (also known as ways to halt climate change).

Time examines higher tides as a result of rising sea levels and what it all means for those who live near the coast.

123 million Americans, more than a third of the entire country, live in coastal counties, a number that increased by 39% from 1970 to 2010. About 3.7 million Americans live within just a few feet of the sea at high tide, putting them at even more extreme risk for coastal flooding. And the ocean they live next to is rising.

NJ.com calls out N.J. Gov. Chris Christie for failing to take climate change into account in the rebuilding of New Jersey.

Christie withdrew New Jersey from a regional treaty on climate change, and robbed our state’s clean-energy fund of $1 billion to balance his budgets. Now, he refuses to acknowledge any role climate change might play in a storm like Sandy, calling it “a scientific discussion and debate that I’m simply not engaged in.”

In addition to there being a less than desired response from the government, one article points out that the concern for climate change was waned since Sandy.

Interest in “adaptation” as well as “sea level rise” also rose in early December 2011 and late November 2012. Those peaks coincided with the annual United Nations climate negotiations. During the 2012 negotiations in Doha, Qatar, a major sea level rise report was released and the amount of searches during that period for that term actually topped searches during Sandy. However, even those big peaks failed to produce longer-lasting trends, as interest dropped back down to a baseline level.

And there’s dire news coming for more than just the mid-Atlantic region. Climate change is going to hit people where they feel it in the coming years, according to one report. It could affect one-third of the world’s economy by 2025

Thirty-one percent or $44 trillion of output will be based in countries classified as most at risk from climate change in Maplecroft’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index, which considered a nation’s exposure to extreme weather events over the next 30 years alongside its capacity to cope with the impact.

Add it all up, and it seems we still haven’t gotten the message from Sandy.

 

 

Corruption in Peru hurts the rain forest (NY Times).

The Supreme Court will hear challenges to the EPA’s power (LA Times).

Microgrids are gaining popularity (Bloomberg).

Air pollutants are a leading cause of cancer, says the WHO (BBC).

Oil companies are sued for flaring natural gas (NY Times).

Environmentalists and labor unions look for common ground (Washington Post).

BP’s exploration activity is recovering (NY Times).

 

Animals in the tropics will face global warming’s strongest effects (LA Times). And the coldest years in the future could be warmer than the hottest years of the past (NY Times).

El Nino will be more intense in the future (BBC).

The U.S. is less vulnerable to OPEC than it was 40 years ago (Washington Post).

The energy industry is rapidly changing (NY Times).

The moose population is in decline (NY Times).

Sometimes climate change research comes with lots of stats, dates and a multitude of scenarios that will be caused by global warming. It’s been one of the obstacles to getting people to focus on solutions to global warming since a lot of the warnings and stats released are often hard to grasp by regular people. So, it’s with welcome ears and eyes that a study had boiled down one of the effects of global warming to a tangible effect: In a few decades, the coldest years we experience will be hotter than any year we’ve currently experienced.

“Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced,” Dr. Mora said in an interview. “What we’re saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm.”

The study was done by a class, rather than a team of researchers, which might have something to do with the fact the result is jargon-free.

Dr. Mora is not a climate scientist; rather he is a specialist in using large sets of data to illuminate environmental issues. He assigned a class of graduate students to analyze forecasts produced by 39 of the world’s foremost climate models. The models, whose results are publicly available, are operated by 21 research centers in 12 countries, and financed largely by governments.

A secondary result of the study also backs up previous research:

Unprecedented climates will arrive even sooner in the tropics, Dr. Mora’s group predicts, putting increasing stress on human societies there, on the coral reefs that supply millions of people with fish, and on the world’s greatest forests.

It’s simple, and it’s alarming. While I hope it can be something to push people to focus more on global warming, it hasn’t quite been a big enough study to get people’s attention. A more important effect from this study could be using it as a blueprint in pushing more studies to be straightforward.