Climate News Roundup 10/9/2015

  • The United Nations has published a new, slimmed-down draft of the global climate agreement to be negotiated in Paris in December. This document is 20 pages long (from a previous 90) but is filled with bracketed phrases that still must be negotiated. India has already voiced its objection to it.
  • Official negotiations will not be the only thing going on the Paris climate talks in December. Rather, grassroots groups such as 350.org will be putting on “Climate Games” to emphasize red lines that they fear negotiators will cross.
  • Hoesung Lee, a long-standing vice chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has been elected chair. Lee is a professor of climate change economics at the Graduate School of Energy and the Environment at (South) Korea University.
  • Twenty countries considered to be very vulnerable to climate change are forming a new group, the V20 (V for vulnerable), to give them more leverage in pressing for action against climate change. One thing they hope to achieve is “improved access to international climate change finance.”
  • Because so much rain fell on South Carolina over the weekend all major media outlets covered the event. The question is, what happened to cause so much rain. Andrew Freedman and Chris Mooney posted analyses of the confluence of events that led to so much rain.
  • Changing weather conditions in sub-Saharan Africa over the past two years have put 60 million people at risk of starvation.
  • New research published in the journal Global Environmental Change has found that the exposure of pregnant women to low precipitation and very hot days can result in low birth weight babies.
  • In a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers report that high temperatures are a major factor contributing to dengue outbreaks Southeast Asia. Although other factors also influenced outbreaks, high temperature was the major factor.
  • NASA’s climate change newsletter for October came out this week and two of the articles are about Greenland ice and what is happening to it. One focuses on the research of Eric Rignot, a glaciologist, and the other is about the new project Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG). Both are short and worth the time to read.
  • The first six months of ocean heat data for 2015 are now available and they show a continued increase in the heat content of Earth’s oceans.
  • As in 1998 and 2010 massive coral bleaching is occurring world-wide in response to higher ocean temperature. While both previous events were each one year long, this one is poised to occur over two years, making it potentially the largest such event ever. Scientists fear that over 4,500 sq. miles of coral could be affected.
  • Greenpeace has warned that forest and peat fires in Indonesia are poised to pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere this year than the UK’s total annual emissions.
  • SolarCity has announced that its new solar panels convert 22.5% of incident sunlight into electricity, the highest conversion rate on the market. This will allow them to reduce the cost of rooftop solar installations for homes and businesses.
  • Continued year-after-year budget cuts for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, one of DOE’s “national labs,” is undermining their efforts to engage in long-term, cutting-edge research for developing the next generation of solar panels.
  • Inside Climate News has released parts IV and V of its investigative report on ExxonMobil and climate change. In part IV it examines Exxon’s dilemma over the Natuna natural gas field under the South China Sea, which they acquired rights to in the 1970’s. To date they have not developed that field because of the high amounts of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide in it. In part V Exxon’s role in the potential development of synthetic liquid fuels from coal and tar sands is examined.

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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