Climate Change News

Obama Administration Launches Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture

By Secretary of State John Kerry, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Dr. Rajiv "Raj" Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development–  USDA Blob –  September 24, 2014

From record droughts in Kansas to deadly wildfires in California, the United States is feeling the effects of climate change. These same conditions have a dire impact across the developing world, especially for poor, rural smallholder farmers whose very lives are threatened every time the rains arrive late, the floods rush in, or the temperature soars. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach nine billion people. Feeding them will require at least a 60 percent increase in agricultural production. There is no greater challenge to meeting this need than climate change. It poses a range of unprecedented threats to the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people and to the very planet that sustains us. In order to ensure that hundreds of millions of people are not born into a debilitating cycle of under-nutrition and hunger, we must address the urgent threat that climate change poses. For full blog post, click here.

Researchers: 2013 carbon emissions jumped more than ever

By Timothy Cama – The Hill – September 22, 2014

The world emitted more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year than any year before, according to a series of new studies. Human activity, mainly burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal, emitted 39.8 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide last year, 2.3 percent more than 2012, according to the studies published Sunday in Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change. For full story, click here.

New report adds info, urgency to accelerate low-carbon economy

By Aimee Witteman – The McKnight Foundation Blog – September 9, 2014

A few years ago, after 10 or so years spent in small towns and big cities on the west and east coasts, my husband and I returned to our Midwest roots.  Among other things, including being closer to family, we chose to make Minnesota our home because of the low unemployment, easy access to the outdoors, vibrant local food scene, and thriving arts and music — many of the attributes that make Minnesota’s cities and towns consistently named some of the top places to live in the country.

Adding to that list, Minnesota is increasingly being recognized for its regional and national leadership in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a resilient low-carbon economy. Today, renewables like solar and wind make up almost 20% of Minnesota’s annual electricity generation, a nearly four-fold increase since 2000. For full blog post, click here.

How Much Is Climate Change To Blame For Extreme Weather?

By Maggie Loerth-Baker –  Conservation Magazine –  July 10, 2014

A lot of journalists think the public can’t possibly comprehend the complicated probability and risk assessments associated with climate change. Myles Allen thinks they’re wrong. There’s not much difference between explaining how climate change could contribute to a specific weather event and explaining how smoking for 50 years could contribute to developing lung cancer, he says. People understand what you mean when you tell them that smoking doesn’t always cause cancer and isn’t likely to be the only reason a cancer happens. Likewise, they can understand you when you tell them that climate change isn’t the cause of every weather disaster but is a contributing factor to many of them. For full article, click here.

Coca Cola, Heinz And Other Major Food Companies Warn Climate Change Threatens Business

By Emily Atkin – Think Progress – September 15, 2014

Back in March, popular burrito chain Chipotle made news when ThinkProgress reported that climate change could threaten its guacamole supply. That report was based on a statement Chipotle made in its annual report to its investors, filed with the Securities Exchange Commission. Chipotle took issue with the story, noting that its language about how climate change could affect guacamole was routine for annual reports and other SEC filings. The SEC requires companies to tell investors about any business risk they face, no matter how small. Indeed, companies mention things like freak accidents and terrorist attacks in these reports as well. In all, Chipotle just didn’t want its customers to become alarmed about a guacamole shortage (and in fact, guacamole hasn’t budged from the menu). But as ThinkProgress noted at the time, the real story was not a guacamole shortage, but the emerging reality of doing business in a warming world. While politicians continue to bicker over whether or not climate change exists, companies now have no choice in the matter — they must acknowledge the science and the risk and disclose the reality of that risk to their investors’ pocketbooks. Whether that risk actually manifests itself is another matter, but the fact that companies are increasingly putting climate change on their threat lists speaks volumes to the severity of the problem. For full story, click here.

Half of North American bird species threatened by climate change

By Louis Sahagun –Los Angeles Times – September 8, 2014

Half of all bird species in North America — including the bald eagle — are at risk of severe population decline by 2080 if the swift pace of global warming continues, the National Audubon Society concluded in a study released Monday. "The scale of the disruption we're projecting is a real punch in the gut," said Gary Langham, chief Audubon scientist. Langham led an Audubon study that examined more than 500 bird species and determined that more than 300 in Canada and the United States face large climate shifts that could reduce their habitat by half or more by 2080. The changing environment will force birds to adapt to new habitats with different temperature and precipitation rates if they are to survive. For full story, click here.

 

Verdict: Charges Dropped on Account of Climate Change

By Jason Plautz – National Journal – September 8, 2014

When two environmental activists used a lobster boat to block a shipment of coal to a power plant, they planned to cite the urgency of climate change to justify their actions if the case went to trial. As it turns out, a Massachusetts county was one step ahead of them. Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter announced Monday that he had reached a deal to dismiss or downgrade the charges against the two activists because of the need to address climate pollution. For full article, click here.

Zoomed-In Climate Models Help Alaska Communities Plan for Uncertain Future

By Amy Nordrum – Inside Climate News – August 26, 2014

Hunters in the Alaskan village of Wainwright, a community of about 550 Inupiat Eskimos at the lip of the Chukchi Sea, have long harvested bowhead whales from the ocean. Each spring, crews of 15-25 hunters set out in umiaqs—boats made from seal skins and caribou sinew. The hunters usually launch from Point Belcher, where the ice cracks open to expose the water in slivers called "leads." Then the whalers follow these narrow channels to the sea. The hunters must heft the dead whale onto a flat piece of shelf ice to butcher it. But climate change is making it tougher for these whalers to find a spot to butcher their catch. For full story, click here.

New Climate Change Attribution Study

By Wil Burns – Teaching Climate/Energy Law & Policy – September 5, 2014

Instructors who include a module on climate science might want to draw upon a new study in the journal Climate Risk Management. The study addresses one of the most frequent question of students, as well as the general public: could current warming trends (through July 2014, consecutive months in which global land and ocean temperatures have exceeded the 20th century monthly average) be primarily a function of natural system fluctuation? The study, conducted by scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization and the University of Wollongong, seeks to facilitate the development of probabilistic statements to assess the likelihood that anomalous warming (in the study, defined as the unbroken sequence of 346 months, from March 1985-December 2013, of average monthly temperatures exceeding the 20th Century average) is a function of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. It extends the methodology of attribution studies by using a statistically robust approach that incorporates time series modeling, validation and 100,000 bootstrap simulations of temperature time series (which can facilitate sampling distribution of statistics). The model correlates global temperature to well-recognized drivers of temperature variation, including El Niño, solar radiation, volcanic aerosols and greenhouse gas concentrations. The model was run using the historic record and re-run without the anthropogenic influence of greenhouse gas emissions. For full blog post, click here.