Climate News Roundup 6/19/2015

  • The top news this week was about Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on the environment. The Washington Post published an overview and analysis as well as ten key excerpts. The Carbon Brief posted a much more detailed summary of key statements on climate, energy, and the environment. An abbreviated version of the letter was released by The Vatican. Finally, George Monbiot had a very interesting opinion piece in The Guardian positing that our fight for the natural world is all about love.
  • If you saw the television series Years of Living Dangerously you may remember Anna Jane Joyner and her attempts to convince her father, evangelical minister Rick Joyner, about the human roots of climate change. Rolling Stone has an interview with her discussing how to reach members of the evangelical community. She has some very interesting things to say.
  • Bill McKibben has a letter to President Obama on Common Dreams telling him that he still has time to be a climate champion. It is well worth reading. (Since it was posted last Thursday it should have been listed in last week’s Weekly Roundup, but I didn’t learn of it until after that Roundup had been sent out.)
  • David Gelles of The New York Times examines the divestment movement and whether it is likely to have an impact on the companies targeted or on the shift of the economy off of fossil fuels.
  • Norway is operating the world’s first all-electric battery-powered ferry.
  • Bella Bathurst has a very interesting piece in The Guardian about Ron Naveen, a biologist who has spent 23 seasons in Antarctica studying penguins. His findings should give us all concern.
  • Those who have read Merchants of Doubt, or seen the movie of the same name, will recall Naomi Oreskes, the Harvard historian of science whose research unearthed the activities of the “merchants”. For more background information about her you might be interested in this essay.
  • Governor McAuliffe is considering changes to Virginia’s fracking regulations. John Bloom, chair of public health issues for the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, has reviewed the proposed revisions of the regulations and finds them wanting. His comments on the proposed changes can be read in a guest column on Ivy Main’s blog.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that current pledges from more than 30 countries imply that global CO2 emissions will continue to rise until 2030, thereby making it very difficult to limit warming to 2C. The IEA has proposed four measures that would allow the world to meet that target.
  • David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, is not your typical head of an energy company. Rather, he wants to change the way energy companies operate, thereby revolutionizing the industry.
  • As the Shell drilling rig departs Seattle for the Arctic, The Guardian has another installment in their carbon bomb series, this one about Barrow, Alaska.
  • The UN has no category for climate refugees, although more and more people might fall under that category if one existed. The problem lies in establishing that climate change caused a person to become a refugee, just as it is very difficult to say that any single weather event was caused by climate change. Ana Sofia Knauf examines the concept of climate refugees using the case of a man in Seattle as an example.
  • There is increasing evidence that warmer temperatures are associated with more intense rainstorms, even when the total rainfall doesn’t change. This may mean that existing drainage systems will be inadequate, leading to more localized flooding.
  • Alaska’s glaciers are losing 75 billion tons of ice a year.
  • Ilissa Ocko, writing on the Environmental Defense Fund blog, Climate 411, examines six climate tipping points and assesses how concerned we should be about them.

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.

Climate News Roundup 6/12/2015

  • Bill McKibben has sent a letter to Hillary Clinton advising her that now is the time to get serious about climate change.
  • Elizabeth Douglass of Inside Climate News reports on the difficulty of shareholder engagement with oil and gas companies.
  • A number of U.S. weather related records were broken in May, including the wettest May on record for the lower 48 states. In addition, Alaska just recorded the hottest May that it has had since record keeping began 91 years ago. The hot spring may contribute to polar amplification of climate change because of the early loss of snow cover on the ground.
  • The G7 Summit set goals for decarbonizing the economies of the G7 nations by 2100, but some felt they were very weak.
  • Katherine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, explains why we need to put a price on carbon as a way to reduce CO2 emissions while honoring our values.
  • Jay Faison, a conservative businessman and entrepreneur from Charlotte, NC, has invested $165 million to endow a new foundation focused on getting conservatives to change their minds about climate change.
  • The Weather Channel is launching a new media package called The Climate 25: Conversations with 25 of the Smartest Voices on Climate, Security, Energy, and Peace. Each short video features one of 25 people that speaks about their area of expertise relative to climate change.
  • A Stanford University study provides a state-by-state plan for converting the U.S. to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050. The plan for Virginia can be found here.
  • Hawaii’s governor has signed a bill requiring the state’s utilities to generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2045.
  • The EPA’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants will create more jobs than it cuts, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute,
  • The Environmental Defense Fund has a new white paper analyzing how states can use well-established emissions management tools to meet the requirements of EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
  • Amazon Web Services announced on June 10 that it has partnered with Community Energy, Inc. to support the construction and operation of an 80 MW solar farm in Accomack County, VA.
  • EPA has announced an endangerment finding with respect to CO2 emissions from commercial aircraft, paving the way for regulation of those emissions.
  • According to climate models the temperature in the tropical upper troposphere (roughly 3 – 9 miles altitude) should be increasing faster than the temperature at Earth’s surface in response to atmospheric CO2, but it apparently has not been doing so, providing climate change deniers with evidence that climate models are wrong. Now, in a new paper, Sherwood and Nishant have shown that the upper troposphere is warming about 70-80% faster than the surface, a value close to model predictions.
  • The likelihood of a strong El Nino this year is increasing and if it comes to pass it will have a positive impact on precipitation in California, particularly if it lasts until winter.

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.

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.

Climate News Roundup 5/29/2015

  • Nationwide (not just here in Harrisonburg) elders are taking up the cause of climate change, feeling that they must do all they can for their children’s and grandchildren’s future. They are even planning a rally in D.C. in September.
  • Doug Hendren has a new song about the TPP, called Fast Track Blues.
  • Ivy Main discusses Virginia Sierra Club’s latest General Assembly scorecard on climate and energy.
  • Extreme heat in India has killed more than 1300 people, which is not surprising because the combination of high temperature and humidity made it impossible for perspiration to evaporate and cool the body. Katherine Bagley of Inside Climate News has a roundup of what the latest science says about climate change and extreme weather.
  • Experts think that hurricanes will move further north in response to climate change, with more hitting the mid-Atlantic region. With 2015 shaping up to be a strong El Nino year, the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to generate fewer storms than average, whereas the Pacific is likely to see more storms.
  • As we approach COP21, the Paris Climate Change Conference, an informative infographic has been posted on visual.ly. It might be useful in explaining the climate change issue to family and friends.
  • Skeptical Science has a very informative post about the slowdown in global surface warming over the past 15 years or so, providing a rational explanation for why it has occurred. While the text is fairly long and detailed it is accompanied by a six minute video that summarizes the information in a very clear, succinct manner. I encourage you to watch the video so you’ll be prepared next time you hear someone say that global warming has stopped.
  • Drought has been severe in southern Africa and as a result people in Zimbabwe face disastrous food shortages and hunger.
  • Michael Grunwald has an analysis of the real “war-on-coal”, the one being waged by the Sierra Club, with the help of funding by Michael Bloomberg. This war is being fought on the economic front, not just the environmental one, and Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign is winning.
  • A group of NGOs is working to convince 100 top corporations to set their greenhouse gas emissions policies in line with what scientists say is necessary to keep the global temperature rise less than 2 degrees C. Some are doing a great job, others not so great.
  • China’s coal use may have already peaked, and along with it, its CO2 emissions, but there may be lots of reasons.
  • In another installment of its series on “carbon bombs” The Guardian looks at the Canadian tar sands.
  • An analysis of rainfall data across the U.S. shows a pattern of more intense rainfall across many regions.
  • Chris Mooney examines the skeptics’ argument that we don’t need to worry about the loss of polar sea ice.
  • Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University and coworkers have argued that the warming Arctic is contributing to a wavy jet stream, which in turn impacts severe weather in the Northern Hemisphere. She and colleagues recently published a paper providing additional evidence for their hypothesis. Robert McSweeney, writing in The Carbon Brief, summarizes their latest data and what other climate scientists are saying about it.

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.

Climate News Roundup 5/22/2015

  • Ivy Main has a new blog post entitled “If the power grid goes down, blame the war on solar.”
  • Jason Mathers has some surprising numbers about fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by the trucking industry.
  • New research shows that much of the heat that has been taken up by the Pacific Ocean over the last decade has been transported to the Indian Ocean, where it could impact India’s monsoon rains.
  • A new study shows that the shapes of mountains are not as we typically imagine them. Their actual shape will influence the ability of animals and birds to change their range in response to climate change.
  • At a time when we badly need to reduce the emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, governments around the world are still spending trillions of dollars in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Also reported on here.
  • Climate models provide the only means we have of estimating what the future may look like in the face of continued CO2 emissions. But are 95% of them in error, as claimed by Maurice Newman, top business adviser to Australian Prime Minister tony Abbott? John Cook answers that question in The Conversation.
  • A new study published in Nature Climate Change finds that climate change is impacting hurricanes in two contradictory ways: it is making them stronger while decreasing their number.
  • Another impact of increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is to make the oceans more acidic. This increased acidity makes it more difficult for marine organisms to form shells, which has the impact of making them smaller.
  • Global warming will make trees shorter and scrubbier. Since large trees store more carbon, this may exacerbate warming.
  • The next generation of wind turbines, which are much larger, will be able to reach winds at higher elevation, thereby making wind energy feasible in more states.
  • A new report by German and Austrian scientists suggests that it is still possible to keep global warming below 1.5C, but it will take rapid changes in the global energy system and will likely require the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • After reviewing the presentations at four technical conferences across the country the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has concluded that contrary to claims from some states, there is nothing in EPA’s Clean Power Plan that will make the lights go out.
  • Several glaciers in the southern Antarctic Peninsula suddenly began shedding ice in 2009, according to a recent report in Science. Another article about it is here.
  • Fusion remains the holy grail of energy production because it would provide an endless supply of energy. A new reactor configuration increases the likelihood of achieving the dream, maybe even within five years.
  • If an El Nino event materializes this year as expected, it could increase rainfall in California, but it could also increase drought in west Africa, which would be very bad.

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.

Climate News Roundup 5/15/2015

  • Bill McKibben had an op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled “Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial“.
  • There has been a lot of interest lately in the 2 degree C goal for global warming. First, there is controversy over whether it can be achieved, particularly given some of the assumptions in the models showing how to get there. Then several reasons were cited as to why we are missing the mark. Finally, we were told that the 2 degree goal is too high and that we should shoot for something lower lest low-lying island nations suffer.
  • David Roberts has a very interesting conversation with libertarian Jerry Taylor about climate change and the type of policy against it that would get libertarian support. In a follow-up conversation they discussed why Taylor favors a carbon tax for addressing climate change. You might want to share both conversations with any libertarian or Tea Party acquaintances you have.
  • The World Bank doesn’t think that pricing carbon is adequate for solving climate change. Instead, it recommends five policies for establishing a thriving low-carbon economy.
  • Stage 3 of climate denial is to accept that climate change exists and we are the cause, but to deny that it is really a problem. People who think this way are called “lukewarmers.” Dana Nuccitelli examines whether the rise of lukewarmers is a good or bad thing.
  • As part of its “Keep it in the ground” campaign The Guardian is starting a series of stories about the five biggest “carbon bombs.” The first deals with the Galilee basin coal project in Australia, which would dig up and make available a huge amount of coal. If you don’t look at anything else in this Roundup, look at this story. It is beautifully done.
  • While it is tempting to attribute every extreme weather event to climate change, many are just due to the vagaries of “the weather.” The Economist has an interesting article about the advances in attribution, i.e., the science behind scientists ability to determine when an event is really due to climate change.
  • Both the Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelves in Antarctica have already collapsed and now it looks as if the massive Larsen C ice shelf may also collapse. Although total collapse of the ice shelf will take a very long time because of its massive size, it is still a concern for those interested in sea level rise. Meanwhile, Larsen B ice shelf appears to be in the final stages of disintegration, which will allow faster calving of ice bergs from the glaciers behind it.
  • New research on sea level rise published recently in Nature Climate Change has revealed both good news and bad news. The good news is that sea level hasn’t risen as much as previously thought. The bad news is that sea level rise is accelerating.
  • Because of recent volcanic eruptions, Robert McSweeney and Roz Pidcock have queried climate scientists to determine the impact of volcanoes on the climate.
  • Does the lack of renewable energy from Dominion and Duke Energy threaten the choice of Virginia and North Carolina as locations for large data centers, and therefore the jobs they provide? Greenpeace has studied the renewable energy availability in the two states and its relationship to the data centers.
  • Yale Climate Connections has a new website. On it they have articles as well as 90 sec podcasts of their public radio program. Perhaps we could get WMRA to work their program into its schedule.
  • It now looks as if the long-awaited strong El Nino is here. If so, it will be good for the western U.S. but bad for Australia.
  • January through April 2015 was the hottest Jan – April on record, and the records are likely to continue to be broken this year, especially with the developing El Nino.
  • An international group of scientists has just published a study showing that the organic carbon in the thawing permafrost is rapidly eaten by microbes and released as carbon dioxide, providing a significant new input of fossil CO2 to the atmosphere.


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.

Climate News Roundup 5/8/2015

  • Hannah Devlin, writing in The Guardian, addresses eight myths about climate change that need to be exploded, some from people who deny human-caused climate change and some from people who are concerned about it.
  • Will framing climate change as a moral issue change the transition to a carbon-free economy? David Roberts at Vox argues that it will.
  • Commitments made by world governments to reduce carbon emissions are inadequate to keep global warming below 2C.
  • In the final video of the Post Carbon Institute’s four-part video series, Richard Heinberg discusses what a more resilient society would look like.
  • Ivy Main has a new blog post, this one about Governor McAuliffe’s veto of coal subsidy bills. She also has a post about AG Herring’s ruling that municipalities may ban fracking.
  • The nature of Arctic sea ice is changing, which will bring about changes in its vulnerability to melting as well as the absorption of solar energy in the Arctic.
  • Gayathri Vaidyanathan of E&E Publishing has a moving and riveting account of the fate of two explorers surveying ice thickness in “The Last Ice” region of the Arctic.
  • The drought in California should be a wake-up call for everyone that our food production system is deeply flawed. Natasha Geiling reports on how our dependence on California for so much of our food came about and what would be required for us to grow more food closer to home.
  • Climate scientist James Hansen has an interesting 13 minute interview on Australian radio about why allowing a temperature rise of 2C is a recipe for disaster. Just click on “Listen now”.
  • The route of the Keystone XL pipeline in South Dakota must be recertified and that has led Native Americans to vow to fight it.
  • If you have been frustrated by TV weather forecasters and their reluctance to address climate change, relief may be on the way.
  • The MIT Energy Initiative has issued a new report entitled “The Future of Solar Energy.” It concludes that solar energy has great potential, provided there is increased emphasis on developing lower-cost technologies and more effective deployment policy. The executive summary can be found here.
  • The co-creators of the 2013 composition “A Song of Our Warming Planet” are back with a new composition entitled “Planetary Bands, Warming Worlds.”
  • Bank of America has announced that it will continue to reduce credit for financing of coal extraction projects.
  • Earthjustice, on behalf of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Patuxent Riverkeeper, and the Maryland Sierra Club, has filed suit to rescind federal approval of the Cove Point natural gas export terminal proposed by Dominion.

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.

Climate News Roundup 5/1/2015

  • CNN columnist John D. Sutter will spend the rest of the year reporting on 2 degrees C as a target for maximum global warming and its significance to the future Earth. To begin, he asks and answers 7 questions about the 2 degree value. You can signup there to receive his 2 degree newsletter.
  • Thawing permafrost may release significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere
    in the form of carbon dioxide and methane.
    Its impacts should be considered in climate models and in efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees C.
  • EPA’s Clean Power Plan will have a positive effect on the economy, generating more than 270,000 new jobs.
  • The Post Carbon Institute has released Part 3 of its four-part video series made in conjunction with the release of Richard Heinberg’s new book, Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels. In case you missed them, you can still watch Part 1 and Part 2.
  • China claims to have significantly reduced both its carbon dioxide emissions and its coal consumption in 2014. If confirmed and sustained this could be good news for all.
  • According to a new study about 75% of extremely hot days and 18% of extreme rain events can be attributed to climate change.
  • South Dakota regulators have delayed a decision on whether to renew the expired permit for the Keystone XL pipeline’s route through the state.
  • The Premier of Alberta in Canada hopes to turn their First Nations into pipeline proponents by letting them share in oil and gas profits.
  • We don’t normally think of climate change as triggering earthquakes, but some geologists think that it can.
  • It has been asserted that the recent report by the North American Energy Reliability Corporation (NERC) on the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on the reliability of our electricity supplies is based on several flawed assumptions.
  • Last week the U.S. government released the first Quadrennial Energy Review.
    It lays out six ways we can create a climate resilient energy infrastructure.
  • Matthew England, an Australian climate scientist, explains his recent article showing that the “hiatus” in global average surface temperature will have little effect on the long-term increase in temperature due to climate change.
  • NASA has prepared a set of interactive visuals showing the impact of climate change on Arctic sea ice, sea level, and global temperature. They also have one on how the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has changed.
  • For those who are interested in the concept of climate sensitivity, Dana Nuccitelli has an interesting piece on where things currently stand in trying to estimate it.
  • According to a new analysis, one in six of the planet’s species will go extinct if world leaders fail to act adequately on climate change.

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.

Climate News Roundup 4/24/2015

  • Several large insurance companies are calling upon the Federal Government to revamp its disaster relief system to put more emphasis on preparedness before a disaster.
  • Lester Brown and colleagues at the Earth Policy Institute have released a new book entitled The Great Transition.
  • John Cook and colleagues at the University of Queensland have a developed a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled “Making Sense of Climate Science Denial” that is available free through EdX. A description of it can be found at RealClimate.
  • Ivy Main’s blog reports on the Virginia Attorney General’s opinion letter concerning the 2014 Virginia law prohibiting HOAs from banning solar panels. The short answer is that they can’t do it unless the prohibition was written into the founding documents of the HOA. She also reports on Gov. McAuliffe’s comments at a forum on climate change in Richmond on Earth Day.
  • Chesapeake Climate Action Network has launched a new website entitled domtruth. Check it out.
  • A new report finds that China could feasibly get 60% of its energy and 85% of its electricity from renewables by 2050.
  • March 2015 set the record for the hottest March ever recorded and the period Jan-March 2015 set the record for the warmest Jan-March ever.
  • The Dutch have developed a way to retrofit existing housing in 10 days to make it net zero energy housing. The occupants don’t even have to vacate during the retrofit.
  • Peter Sinclair has a disturbing new video about Totten Glacier in East Antarctica. Recent research indicates that it is being destabilized by warm ocean waters coming under it, much like two glaciers in West Antarctica.
  • Climate scientists have a difficult enough time communicating their results without people misinterpreting them. Read how one climate scientist has had to work to clear up misuse of his findings.
  • One of the weakest links in climate models is how clouds will influence future warming. Recent research provides new insights and the findings are not encouraging: clouds can amplify global warming.
  • In the April 3 Weekly Roundup of Climate News I gave you a link to a new book on climate change economics by Wagner and Weitzman. In this post they explain how rapidly the likelihood of exceeding a temperature increase of 6 degrees C goes up as the average temperature increase goes up. Scary, but well worth reading.
  • Panelists at the Electric Power Conference and Exhibition gave their opinions on how the electric power industry can meet the goals of the Clean Power Plan. The plan is achievable, but the industry faces large challenges in meeting it.
  • Planting forests in places where they haven’t been before can help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A recent study indicates a positive impact from such efforts, although there are some potential negative impacts as well.
  • A Federal Court of Appeals today dismissed a challenge to the fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for big trucks.

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.

Climate News Roundup 4/10/2015

  • Doug Hendren has a new song entitled “Fracking’s Just a Bad Dream.”
  • Here is a brief, hopeful essay about why the “Merchants of Doubt” will lose in the end.
  • In a Guardian column, economics editor Larry Elliott asks “Can we imagine a future that is cleaner, greener and sustainable – one that avoids climate Armageddon – without abandoning the idea of growth and, thus, forcing living standards into decline?” To see what he concludes, go here. It is a very thought-provoking essay.
  • Libertarian science writer and author Ronald Bailey asks what evidence would it take to persuade you that man-made climate change is real. His essay is one you might want to share with your conservative and/or libertarian friends and relatives.
  • The Post Carbon Institute is releasing a series of four videos by Richard Heinberg in conjunction with the release of his new book, Afterburn: Society beyond Fossil Fuels. The first is here.
  • The Yale Project on Climate Change has released an interactive map that shows public opinion on a variety of climate change issues down to the county level. It is interesting to note that Rockingham County is more accepting of man-made climate change than surrounding counties.
  • The Risky Business Project issued its third report, this one on the economic impacts of climate change. This report focuses on California, particularly the impacts on agriculture.
  • The National Environmental Education Foundation is offering a free course entitled “Extreme Weather 101” through UDEMY.
  • Two members of the Natural Resource’s Defense Council staff have published a paper outlining how the federal flood insurance program can be used to encourage people to retreat from shore lines and move away from flood prone areas.
  • A new study shows that cities with extensive urban sprawl will have a difficult time decreasing their CO2 emissions from transportation, even if they increase housing in the city center.
  • The Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy policy think tank, has issued a new report on how we will get our electricity in the future. Chris Mooney has a description of the major findings from the report.
  • As Shell moves drilling equipment near Alaska, environmental groups maintain that drilling for oil in the Arctic is just not compatible with President Obama’s pledge to lead on climate change.
  • A new study confirms that significant amounts of organic carbon are stored in permafrost. While it is unlikely that they will be abruptly emitted as CO2 or methane, they are expected to serve as a continuous carbon source over long time periods.
  • One impact of increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere is to make the oceans more acidic. BBC News summarized a recently published study that provided evidence that the Permian-Triassic mass extinction (252 million years ago), in which over 90% of marine species went extinct, was likely caused by increased ocean acidity caused by CO2 released by volcanic activity.
  • A recent study demonstrated that marine ecosystems can be disrupted by climate events on timescales of multiple decades, but recovery can require a thousand years.

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.