Climate News Roundup 6/5/2015

  • Ivy Main has a new post about the use of solar panels and green buildings to reduce energy costs at schools.
  • NOAA scientists have just had a paper published in Science that finds that the so-called hiatus in global warming since 1998 is an artifact caused by inaccuracies in the global temperature record. Rather, their reanalysis of the global temperature record shows that there is no hiatus. As might be expected, the paper has caused quite a stir, especially among the denier community. Two additional articles on the subject can be found here and here.
  • The death toll in India from their heat wave has continued to rise. Catherine de Lange has a post in The Guardian with an interesting graphic that shows the combinations of temperature and humidity at which it is dangerous to work out of doors. She also explains why high temperatures are dangerous.
  • The third installment of The Guardian‘s carbon bomb series covers coal in China. Like the previous two, it really grabs you.
  • Getting countries to make the costly but necessary investments to reduce their carbon emissions will take more than diplomacy. It will require a big stick, something currently lacking from the negotiations leading up to Paris.
  • After suffering a multi-year drought, Texas has recently experienced record high rainfall with associated widespread flooding. This is referred to as “weather whiplash” as explained by Joe Romm.
  • Although a temperature increase of 2C over preindustrial times has been the goal of international negotiations for quite some time, some are saying that pledges so far are inadequate and that the Paris conference in December may mark the end of it as a goal.
  • A new study indicates that natural gas may not be effective as a bridge to a low carbon world.
  • The EPA has just released a report that concludes that there is little evidence that fracking represents a threat to water supplies. This means that it is unlikely that additional regulations will be put forth.
  • A paper in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that global warming may result in the largest ocean species migration in 3 million years, with a large impact on fisheries and other marine food supplies.
  • In one of the most surprising actions this week, a group of six major oil/gas companies have indicated that they are ready for a price on carbon and, in fact, need one in order to effectively plan for the future. Tim McDonnell at Mother Jones and Tara Patel at Bloomberg Business both had commentaries, as did a former CEO of Shell, who also indicated that divestment is a perfectly rational response to current actions of fossil fuel companies.
  • Last week I included an item about a new paper by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers providing more evidence that the warming Arctic is causing more severe winter weather patterns at mid-latitude in the Northern Hemisphere. Well, this week she and another coauthor have another new paper out with even more evidence for their hypothesis.
  • Renewable energy in South Africa is producing significant amounts of electricity less expensively than new coal-fired power plants.
  • Southeastern U.S. forests are being cut to provide biomass for European power plants and the practice may not lead to a reduction in carbon emissions.
  • Psychological barriers make it difficult to overcome denial of climate change. Brian Roewe discusses the various factors that prevent us from taking climate change seriously.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

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