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- Fri Dec 6, 2019 - Climate change: Greenhouse gas concentrations again break records
Climate change: Greenhouse gas concentrations again break records
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases once again reached new highs in 2018.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the increase in CO2 was just above the average rise recorded over the last decade.
Levels of other warming gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, have also surged by above average amounts.
Since 1990 there's been an increase of 43% in the warming effect on the climate of long lived greenhouse gases.
The WMO report looks at concentrations of warming gases in the atmosphere rather than just emissions.
The difference between the two is that emissions refer to the amount of gases that go up into the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuels, such as burning coal for electricity and from deforestation.
Concentrations are what's left in the air after a complex series of interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans, the forests and the
- Fri Dec 6, 2019 - Why climate change is an irrelevance
Why climate change is an irrelevance, economic growth is a myth and sustainability is forty years too late!
As someone who has been exploring the world's most isolated wilderness regions for nearly half a century, I have some insight into the state of the planet and the human race's current environmental befuddlement. I've watched the condition of the earth plummet before my eyes within my own lifespan, to the extent that I no longer recognize it as the beautiful, diverse supporter of all life it once was.
So let me start by addressing a few key points of confusion that seem to affect both keen activists and head-in-the-sand deniers in equal measure:
Climate change is not the biggest threat to the world's environment -- we are. The world's rivers and seas aren't choked with floating piles of rubbish, toxic chemicals and plastic waste because of climate change. They're that way because we have 7.7 billion people crammed onto a planet that's dying under the pressure of ou
- Thu Dec 5, 2019 - A rubbish story: China's mega-dump full 25 years ahead of schedule
China's largest dump is already full - 25 years ahead of schedule.
The Jiangcungou landfill in Shaanxi Province, which is the size of around 100 football fields, was designed to take 2,500 tonnes of rubbish per day.
But instead it received 10,000 tonnes of waste per day - the most of any landfill site in China.
China is one of the world's biggest polluters, and has been struggling for years with the rubbish its 1.4 billion citizens generate.
How big is the landfill site?
The Jiangcungou landfill in Xi'an city was built in 1994 and was designed to last until 2044.
The landfill serves over 8 million citizens. It spans an area of almost 700,000 square metres, with a depth of 150 metres and a storage capacity of more than 34 million cubic metres.
Until recently, Xi'an was one of the few cities in China that solely relied on landfill to dispose of household waste - leading to capacity being reached early.
Earlier this month, a new incineration plant w
- Thu Dec 5, 2019 - Cracks in the Greenland ice sheet are producing massive waterfalls, raising scientists' concerns
A cerulean lake consisting of glacial meltwater on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, located about 18 miles from where the Store Glacier meets the sea in west Greenland, briefly became one of the world's tallest waterfalls during the course of five hours in July 2018.
The waterfall, like many others on the ice sheet's surface, was triggered by cracks in the ice sheet. In the case of this one meltwater lake that scientists closely observed in July 2018, the water cascaded more than 3,200 feet to the underbelly of the glacier, where the ice meets bedrock. There, the water can help lubricate the base of the ice sheet, helping the ice move faster toward the sea.
The observations of scientists, armed with aerial drones and other high-tech equipment, of the partial lake drainage that resulted could help researchers better understand how surface melting of the ice sheet could affect its melt rate, and improve global sea level rise projections.
Scientists are keenly interested i
- Thu Dec 5, 2019 - Scientists used loudspeakers to make dead coral reefs sound healthy. Fish flocked to them.
The desperate search for ways to help the world's coral reefs rebound from the devastating effects of climate change has given rise to some radical solutions.
In the Caribbean, researchers are cultivating coral \'nurseries\' so they can reimplant fresh coral on degraded reefs. And in Hawaii, scientists are trying to specially breed corals to be more resilient against rising ocean temperatures.
On Friday, British and Australian researchers rolled out another unorthodox strategy they say could help restoration efforts: broadcasting the sounds of healthy reefs in dying ones.
In a six-week field experiment, researchers placed underwater loudspeakers in patches of dead coral in Australia's Great Barrier Reef and played audio recordings taken from healthy reefs. The goal was to see whether they could lure back the diverse communities of fish that are essential to counteracting reef degradation.
The results were promising, according to the researchers. The study, published in the jo
- Thu Dec 5, 2019 - Spanish oil and gas company vows to become a net-zero emitter of carbon
Can an oil and gas company become a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases?
The Spanish company Repsol thinks so. On Monday it announced that it will become a net-zero emitter by 2050 and that it would immediately mark down the value of its oil and gas reserves by $5.3 billion after using a new climate change scenario.
The company said that it would continue to search for oil and natural gas but that it would focus on places that provided value over volumes, while it pushes ahead with renewable-energy and biofuels investments.
Eliminating carbon emissions at any corporation would be a difficult task, but it will be especially difficult at a company that relies on the production and sale of fossil fuels. And unlike other major oil and gas companies that have set narrow emissions targets, Repsol is counting the emissions from the automobiles and power plants that use Repsol products --- what environmentalists call \'Scope 3\' emissions.
\'What makes this announcement truly precede
- Thu Dec 5, 2019 - The simplest of climate models run decades ago accurately projected global warming
It's a common refrain from those who question mainstream climate science findings: The computer models scientists use to project future global warming are inaccurate and shouldn't be trusted to help policymakers decide whether to take potentially expensive steps to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.
A new study effectively snuffs out that argument by looking at how climate models published between 1970 --- before such models were the supercomputer-dependent behemoths of physical equations covering glaciers, ocean pH and vegetation, as they are today --- and 2007.
The study, published Wednesday in Geophysical Research Letters, finds that most of the models examined were uncannily accurate in projecting how much the world would warm in response to increasing amounts of planet-warming greenhouse gases. Such gases, chiefly the main long-lived greenhouse gas pollutant, carbon dioxide, hit record highs this year, according to a new U.N. report out Tuesday.
They are now higher than at
- Wed Dec 4, 2019 - Carbon emissions hit record, making it harder to avoid catastrophic impacts from warming
The world has lost another year in the quest to finally start reducing its carbon emissions, which scientists say is crucial to avoid the steadily worsening impacts of climate change.
Instead of beginning a long-awaited decline, global greenhouse gas emissions are projected to grow slightly during 2019, reaching another record high, according to a new analysis published Tuesday. Total carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry totaled 36.8 billion tons, according to an estimate from the Global Carbon Project, an academic consortium that produces the figures annually. That represents a 0.6 percent increase from 2018, which until now stood as the record.
\'We're blowing through our carbon budget the way an addict blows through cash,\' Rob Jackson, a professor of Earth science at Stanford University and chair of the Global Carbon Project, said in an interview. \'It's troubling, because carbon dioxide pollution is higher than it's ever been.\'
Global emissions have risen
- Tue Dec 3, 2019 - Pelosi to climate conference: 'We're still in' Paris agreement
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to assure nations at the U.N. conference in Madrid today that the U.S. would join its efforts to fight climate change despite President Donald Trump's move to pull the U.S. out the Paris agreement.
\'By coming here we want to say to everyone, we're still in,\' Pelosi said at a press conference in Madrid. \'The United States is still in.\'
Last month, Trump made official his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate pact by setting in motion a year-long process for withdrawal that will be completed the day after the 2020 U.S. elections.
Pelosi led a delegation of Democratic U.S. lawmakers that included House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), House Science Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Climate Crisis Committee Chairwoman Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.). Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and nine other members of Congress..
At the press conference, Castor cited th
- Mon Dec 2, 2019 - UN chief warns of 'point of no return' on climate change
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that the world's efforts to stop climate change have been \'utterly inadequate\' so far and there is a danger global warming could pass the \'point of no return.\'
Speaking before the start Monday of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid, the U.N. chief said the impact of rising temperatures --- including more extreme weather --- is already being felt around the world, with dramatic consequences for humans and other species.
He noted that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to limit global warming, but \'what is lacking is political will.\'
\'The point of no return is no longer over the horizon,\' Guterres told reporters in the Spanish capital. \'It is in sight and hurtling toward us.\'
Delegates from almost 200 countries will try to put the finishing touches on the rules governing the 2015 Paris climate accord at the Dec. 2-13 meeting, including how to create functioning international emis