drought

Sun, 2012-12-23 06:00Ben Jervey
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Swiss Re Tallies Huge Costs of Climate Inaction

The world’s largest insurers are tallying the costs of climate inaction, and the numbers are staggering.

Swiss Re announced recently that total economic losses in 2012 from “natural catastrophes and man-made disasters” – primarily weather events – should reach roughly $140 billion. Over 11,000 lives were lost due to the so-called “natural catastrophes” alone.

According to the Swiss Re report, “Natural and man-made catastrophes in 2012,” the top five insured loss events are all in the U.S.

“Hurricane Sandy is the largest Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of wind span. This record storm surge caused widespread flooding and damage to a densely populated area on the East Coast of the U.S. It also led to the worst power outage caused by a natural catastrophe in the history of the U.S.”

Sun, 2012-09-23 18:21Laurel Whitney
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Amidst Record Drought, Report Shows Massive Water Requirements For Nonrenewable Fuels

If you haven't heard about the major droughts afflicting most of the US this summer, then you may just have your head in the sand (or more likely a water-parched dusty hole). In fact, the media department of the Drought Monitor website ran out of combinations for modifying the words “intensify” and “widespread” when referring to the drought in their headlines.

Indeed, if you have been keeping tabs on the situation, “megadrought” and “a new normal?” sound highly familiar by now. With farmers nervous about a modern-day Dust Bowl taking hold, the question on everyone's mind is, how long will it last?

This visceral threat of water scarcity puts a new report about the true cost of fossil fuels in perspective. “The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels” evaluates, among other parameters, the water demands of fuel sources such as biomass, coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar, and wind.

In short, the nonrenewables like nuclear and coal use far more water to generate electricity than clean energy technologies like solar and wind. Take a look at how much water power plants need to function (mainly for the purpose of cooling):

Fri, 2012-07-06 19:00Farron Cousins
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Hot Enough For Ya? Extreme Weather Events Consistent With Climate Change Science

Large portions of the U.S. are on fire. Record droughts currently encompass massive swaths of America. The areas not experiencing droughts have been inundated with flooding. Winter weather in many areas was almost non-existent. A few years ago, an Academy Award-winning film called “An Inconvenient Truth” warned wary Americans that all of these events would become the new normal due to climate change. But these are no longer warnings – this is the reality that we’re living in now.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore the evidence of extreme weather that surrounds all of us. And it isn’t just the United States. Every corner of the globe is experiencing the direct effects of climate change in some form or fashion. And again, we were warned that all of this was going to happen.

My hometown of Gulf Breeze, Florida feels like it's been a petri dish for climate change disaster stories. In the past month, we’ve had two separate droughts that were both ended by flash flooding. In between these events, we avoided a hit from pre-season tropical storm Debby, which turned eastward and drenched central Florida with torrential rains. Last weekend we had a heat index of 112 degrees, and I awoke this morning (again, after weeks of drought) to find half of my yard underwater due to coastal flooding.

In the U.S., the reality of climate change has certainly been an eye opener for many Americans.
  

Fri, 2012-03-09 13:56MA Rodger
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Debunking the GWPF Briefing Paper No2 - The Sahel Is Greening

This is the second in a series of posts on the educational charity and climate sceptic 'think-tank' Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). The first post examined GWPF's organisation and its principles (or lack of them). Here we examine GWPF's Briefing Paper No2 - The Sahel Is Greening by Philipp Mueller who is the Assistant Director of the GWPF. Coverage of the greening Sahel has been in the media for a decade now, so this cannot be too controversial a subject, can it?

GWPF BRIEFING PAPER No2 - SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SUBJECT
Mueller explains what this Briefing Paper No2 is about in the first three sentences.

'Global warming has both positive and negative impacts. However, very often only the negative consequences are reported and the positive ones omitted. This article will show an example of a positive effect of warming.

Mueller then sets out to show how the Sahel is enjoying a 'positive impact' of global warming.
Yet already here is a glaring omission. Despite this being an ideal opportunity to list out all the other 'positive impacts', Mueller fails even to hint at what any of the others might be. Never mind. We still have the Sahel. Or do we?

Sat, 2011-08-06 07:15Brendan DeMelle
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East Africa Food Crisis: 48 Hour Fundraiser This Weekend To Combat Famine and Drought

Please join DeSmogBlog and a network of environmental organizations, websites, nonprofits, and social media mavens this weekend in a 48-hour fundraiser to benefit the 12 million people fighting to survive the worst drought to impact East Africa in over sixty years. On the weekend of August 6 and 7, this network is hosting a blogathon benefit, East Africa Famine: 48 Hour Fundraiser.

The UN, after declaring famine in two districts in Somalia, last week announced the entire region of southern-Somalia is in danger of slipping into famine.

Please click the image below to donate to Oxfam, which is mobilizing to provide emergency water supplies in the region.
Somalia Drought Relief Fundraiser
DONATE TO OXFAM CANADA BY CLICKING THE IMAGE ABOVE AND FILLING OUT THE FORM.
OR CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO OXFAM AMERICA.

Mon, 2011-04-11 04:35Chris Mooney
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Texas Republicans Ignore Climate Science at Their Peril

About a month back, I wrote about the “Strange Case of Ralph Hall,” a leading Republican whose Texas district was suffering through severe drought—a condition expected to worsen, due to climate change, in the future—but who challenges mainstream climate science. As I put it then:

So here is the strange summation: Ralph Hall represents a state and district suffering from (and highly vulnerable to) drought; global warming is expected to worsen drought risks for Texas and Hall’s district; Hall questions the science of global warming; Hall leads his party in an effort to block funding for a climate service that would help his district, and many other regions, assess their vulnerability and prepare for a changing climate.

I bring this up again now because, as Nick Sundt points out at the WWF climate blog, it isn’t just Hall–or, just his district.

March 2011 was Texas’s driest month on record; 98 % of the state is currently in drought conditions; the stage is set for devastating wildfires; and the current drought is expected to persist or intensify.

Tue, 2011-02-22 16:13Chris Mooney
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The Strange Case of Ralph Hall

Rep. Ralph Hall, the Republican Chair of the House Committee on Science, represents Texas’s fourth congressional district, which is located in the far northeast part of the state bordering on Oklahoma and Arkansas. A number of its counties—Lamar, Fannin, Red River, Grayson, and Cass—are currently included in federal disaster designations because they’re suffering from serious drought conditions. And according to the National Weather Service, droughts are expected to either develop, persist, or worsen throughout Texas over the course of this year.

So like any good legislator would, Hall has tried to help his district cope with these difficult challenges. For instance, he recently signed a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calling for more support to counties in his region as they seek to cope with drought.

Here’s the thing, though: Scientific assessments tell us that under human induced climate change, the risk of drought conditions like these, to Texas, will only increase.

Thu, 2007-11-22 07:40Kevin Grandia
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Australia Set to Become a Global Warming Leader With Howard's Expected Election Defeat

Three days ahead of an Australian general election, front-running Labor leader, Kevin Rudd has committed to immediately signing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, describing it as the “number one” priority.

Australian's have been experiencing first hand the effects of a warmer planet with massive drought. Instead of taking a leadership role on the issue, soon-to-be former Prime Minister John Howard ducked the  Kyoto Protocol and only acknowledged the threat of climate change when it appeared to be the politically expedient thing to do.  

Looks like the Australian citizenry easily saw through Howard's ruse, the latest polls show Rudd is set to win with 54 per cent of the vote compared to Mr Howard's 46 per cent.

Thu, 2007-11-08 06:25Ross Gelbspan
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Has He Tried Seeding Clouds?

What to do when the rain won’t come?

If you’re Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, you pray. The governor will host a prayer service next week to ask for relief from the drought gripping the Southeast.

Tue, 2007-10-16 07:26Ross Gelbspan
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Coming soon: Southern Comfort on the Rocks -- But Without the Rocks!

For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water.

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