Climate Change News

U.S. coastal flooding on the rise, government study finds

By Ryan McNeill – Reuter – July 28, 2014

Flooding is increasing in frequency along much of the U.S. coast, and the rate of increase is accelerating along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts, a team of federal government scientists found in a study released Monday. The study examined how often 45 tide gauges along the country’s shore exceeded National Weather Service flood thresholds across several decades. The researchers found that the frequency of flooding increased at 41 locations. Moreover, they found that the rate of increase was accelerating at 28 of those locations. The highest rates of increase were concentrated along the mid-Atlantic coast. For full story, click here.

Delay Action on Climate Change by 10 Years and Costs Rocket 40%: Report

Maya Rhodan – Time.com – July 29, 2014

The longer the U.S. holds off action to mitigate climate change, the more costly the effort will become, a new report shows. A new report estimates the cost of mitigating the effects of climate change could rise by as much as 40% if action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is delayed 10 years — immediately outweighing any potential savings of a delay. For full story, click here.

Australia Kills Off Carbon Tax

By Lenore Taylor – The Guardian – July 16, 2014

Australia’s carbon price has been repealed, leaving the nation with no legislated policy to achieve even the minimum 5% greenhouse emissions reduction target it has inscribed in international agreements. After eight years of bitter political debate, during which climate policy dominated three election campaigns and contributed to the demise of two prime ministers, after last week’s Senate drama in which the repeal was again defeated and this week’s lengthy last gasp debate, the Senate has now finally voted to make good Tony Abbott’s “pledge in blood” to “axe the tax”. For full story, click here.

Attack of the Chicago climate change maggots

By Danielle Paquette – The Washington Post – July 23, 2014

Sewage gushed up Lori Burns’s toilet. It swept the floor. It wrecked the water heater, the deep freezer, her mother’s wedding veil. This basement invasion was the third in five years. Burns, 40, could no longer afford to pay a cleanup crew. So she slipped on polka dotted rain boots, waded into the muck, wrenched out the stand-pipe and watched the brown water drain. The South Side native, a marketing specialist, estimated damages at $17,000. And that did not include what she could not replace: the family heirlooms, the oriental rugs, her cashmere sweaters. The bungalow had flooded four times from 1985 to 2006, when her parents owned it. Lately, it flooded every other year. Burns felt nature was working against her. In a way, it was. As Washington still fights over whether or not climate change is real, people across the country are already paying costs scientists ascribe to it — sometimes in unexpected places. You might think about climate change in terms of rising sea levels threatening coastal cities. But all over the Midwest, from Chicago to Indianapolis and Milwaukee, residents face just as many difficult issues as changing weather patterns collide with aging infrastructure. The costs — for governments, insurance companies and homeowners — are measured not only in dollars, but in quality of life. For full story, click here.

White House Announces Climate Change Initiatives

By Coral Davenport – The New York Times – July 16, 2014

President Obama announced a series of climate change initiatives on Wednesday aimed at guarding the electricity supply; improving local planning for flooding, coastal erosion and storm surges; and better predicting landslide risks as sea levels rise and storms and droughts intensify. The actions, involving a variety of federal agencies, were among the recommendations of the president’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, a group of 26 officials who have worked since November to develop the proposals. For full story, click here.

New Study Adds Up the Benefits of Climate-Smart Development in Lives, Jobs, and GDP

The World Bank – June 23, 2014

Modernizing landfills and cleaning up open dumps have obvious benefits for surrounding communities, but the value reaches deeper into the national budget that may be evident at first glance. For a country like Brazil, where waste-to-energy technology is being piloted today, integrated solid waste management practices including building sanitary landfills that capture greenhouse gas emissions to generate electricity can improve human health, add jobs, increase the energy supply, reduce the impact on climate change, and boost national GDP. A new study looks at a series of climate-smart development project scenarios, including landfills in Brazil, and for the first time on a large scale adds up how government actions can boost economic performance and benefit lives, jobs, crops, energy, and GDP – as well as emissions reductions to combat climate change. It provides concrete data to help policymakers understand the broader potential of climate-smart development investments. For full story, click here.

NASA launches carbon satellite after 2009 failure

WHEC Rochester – July 7, 2014

A rocket carrying a NASA satellite lit up the pre-dawn skies Wednesday on a mission to track atmospheric carbon dioxide, the chief culprit behind global warming. The Delta 2 rocket blasted off from California at 2:56 a.m. and released the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite in low-Earth orbit 56 minutes later, bringing relief to mission officials who lost a similar spacecraft five years ago. Like the original, OCO-2 was designed to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide from 438 miles above the Earth's surface. Its polar orbit will allow it to cover about 80 percent of the globe. For full story, click here.

Sea Level Rise Cuts Across Political Divide in Norfolk, Virginia

By Christina DeConcini and C. Forbes Tompkins – World Resources Institute – July 2, 2014

While the climate change debate continues in some quarters in Washington, the impact of sea-level rise cut across political divides at the “Rising to the Challenge” conference in Norfolk, Virginia, earlier this week. Members of Congress and Virginia mayors from both political parties joined military and state and local officials to discuss the challenges sea level rise presents to the Hampton Roads area, as well as how to promote federal, state and local action. For full blog post, click here.

Can Coral Save Our Oceans?

Ocean News & Technology – July 2, 2014

Coral reefs are home to a rich and diverse ecosystem, providing a habitat for a wide range of marine animals. But the increasing acidification of ocean water is jeopardizing the calcified foundations of these reefs, endangering the survival of thousands upon thousands of resident species. For full story, click here.