Climate Change News

EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites

By Neela Banerjee – Los Angeles Times – April 14, 2014

Drilling operations at several natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania released methane into the atmosphere at rates that were 100 to 1,000 times greater than federal regulators had estimated, new research shows. Using a plane that was specially equipped to measure greenhouse gas emissions in the air, scientists found that drilling activities at seven well pads in the booming Marcellus shale formation emitted 34 grams of methane per second, on average. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that such drilling releases between 0.04 grams and 0.30 grams of methane per second. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds to a growing body of research that suggests the EPA is gravely underestimating methane emissions from oil and gas operations. The agency is expected to issue its own analysis of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector as early as Tuesday, which will give outside experts a chance to assess how well regulators understand the problem. For full story, click here.

Climate change increasing massive wildfires in the West

By Doyle Rice – USA Today –  April 19, 2014

Massive wildfires are on the increase in the Western USA due to rising temperatures and worsening drought from climate change, and the trend could continue in the decades to come, new research suggests. Overall, the number of large wildfires increased by a rate of seven fires a year from 1984 to 2011, while the total area damaged by fire increased at a rate of nearly 90,000 acres per year, according to the study, published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).The study comes against the backdrop of what could to be a disastrous year for fires in the West, especially drought-plagued California, which even saw fires in the normally quiet month of January. For full story, click here.

Climate changes to result in bird, reptile shifts

By Susan Montoya Bryan – SFGate – April 9, 2014

As temperatures climb across the Southwest, researchers have found some species will win, but others stand to lose — and lose big. The U.S. Geological Survey and researchers from the University of New Mexico and Northern Arizona University released a report this week that takes a closer look at some of the effects climate change is likely to have on species such as the desert tortoise and the pinyon jay. The jay stands to lose nearly one-third of its breeding range, while other birds could lose as much as 80 percent by the end of the century. On the other hand, the tortoise is the only reptile studied that isn't projected to see a decrease in suitable habitat. For full story, click here.

What chickadees can tell us: Studying the tiny birds and their territory gives university students insight into how our changing climate is altering the world around us

By Sandy Bauers – Portland Press Herald – March 30, 2014

About 15 years ago, Villanova University biology professor Robert Curry was looking for a project that would allow his students to investigate something interesting without much travel. He found it in a cheeky little bird with a black cap, familiar to anyone with a backyard feeder: the chickadee. His idea was to catch a lot of birds (with special nets), band them to identify individuals and keep track of all they did – who was nesting with whom and where, how many offspring they had, where the young went when they set out on their own. Little did Curry know how quickly this creature, weighing less than two quarters, would provide clear evidence of birds moving northward – at quite a clip – in association with climate change. For full story, click here.

Climate change a threat to security, food and humankind - IPCC report

By Suzanne Goldberg – The Guardian – March 31, 2014

A United Nations report raised the threat of climate change to a whole new level on Monday, warning of sweeping consequences to life and livelihood. The report from the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change concluded that climate change was already having effects in real time – melting sea ice and thawing permafrost in the Arctic, killing off coral reefs in the oceans, and leading to heat waves, heavy rains and mega-disasters. And the worst was yet to come. Climate change posed a threat to global food stocks, and to human security, the blockbuster report said. “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC. For full story, click here.

Climate change reports of CNN, Fox News may mislead public: Report

By Alexander Saltarin – Tech Times – April 8, 2014

A new study shows that two of the top U.S. cable news companies are guilty of airing misleading reports about climate change. The study also showed that of the top three cable networks, MSNBC aired the most accurate reports on climate issues. The study was conducted by Aaron Heurtas and Rachel Kriegsman from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The aim of the study was to asses the accuracy of cable new coverage relating to climate science, climate change and other climate-related issues. For full story, click here.

Exxon: Climate change rules won't halt oil and gas; fuels too important for global development

Global Post – March 31, 2014

On the same day the world's scientists issued their latest report on climate change and the risks it poses to society, the nation's biggest oil and gas company said the world's climate policies are "highly unlikely" to stop it from selling fossil fuels far into the future. Exxon Mobil issued a report Monday on the risks that climate change policies could pose to the value of its assets and future profitability, by coincidence on the same day as the latest paper by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a Nobel Prize-winning United Nations group assembled to assess the science and risks of climate change. For full story, click here.

IPCC report on climate impacts and adaptation released

By Scott K. Johnson – Ars Technica – March 31, 2014 – Video

A few months ago, we covered the release of the first section of the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which dealt with the physical science of climate and climate change. After one last meeting in Yokohama, Japan, the authors of the section on climate “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” have released the final draft of their work. (One additional section will be released in just a couple of weeks, with a synthesis report and the full, official release due at the end of October.) This thirty-chapter report on climate impacts is the product of 679 scientists from around the world, and it cites over 12,000 studies. Its goal is to summarize observed climate impacts, lay out future risks, and describe types of adaptation that could help manage those risks. For full story and to view video, click here. For Final Draft Report, click here.

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Releases Report on Climate Change Risks to Energy Infrastructure

U.S. Government Accountability Office – March 4, 2014

According to assessments by the National Research Council and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, U.S. energy infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to a range of climate change impacts-particularly infrastructure in areas prone to severe weather and water shortages. Climate changes are projected to affect infrastructure throughout all major stages of the energy supply chain, thereby increasing the risk of disruptions. GAO was asked to examine the vulnerability of the nation's energy infrastructure to climate change impacts. This report examines: (1) what is known about potential impacts of climate change on U.S. energy infrastructure; (2) measures that can reduce climate-related risks and adapt energy infrastructure to climate change; and (3) the role of the federal government in adapting energy infrastructure and adaptation steps selected federal entities have taken. GAO reviewed climate change assessments, analyzed studies and agency documents, and interviewed federal agency officials and industry stakeholders, including energy companies that have implemented adaptive measures. To access the report, click here.