Archive for October, 2013

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.

 

A UN climate panel endorses an upper limit for greenhouse gas emissions (NY Times).

An appellate courts says that claims against BP need closer scrutiny (Washington Post).

Russia charges Greenpeace activists with piracy (BBC).

Fuel from landfill methane goes on sale (NY Times).

Coal is set to become the leading energy source in Southeast Asia (Bloomberg).

It’s no wonder our federal government has faced challenges in addressing climate change. It can’t even fund itself. And the trickle-down effect is that it could hurt the EPA and its renewable fuel standards for 2014.

It’s hard to imagine a turnaround from last month when the EPA had proposed tighter carbon emission standards for new power plants. It’s also a turnaround from just last week when the U.N.—actually functioning for one of the few times in its history—released a new IPCC report on how man is one of the main causes behind climate change.

This week shows the perils in putting all your eggs in the government basket. As the government is shutdown, progress such as those EPA fuel standards could be delayed, and global warming just won’t wait. It’s time to stop waiting for government or a mystical technological advancement to provide the climate change solution. We need progress now, and the best solution is personal responsibility in cutting down your carbon footprint.