Many are trying to answer the question of what the UK’s energy and climate change policy might look like if we leave the EU. So, what do those...
Global average sea level has risen by about 17 cm between 1900 and 2005. This is a much faster rate than in the previous 3,000 years.
The sea level changes for several reasons, including rising temperatures as fossil fuel burning increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In a warming climate, the seas are expected to rise at faster rates, increasing the risk of flooding along our coasts. But until now we didn’t know what fraction of the rise was the result of human activities.
In research published in Nature Climate Change, we show for the first time that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the majority of sea level rise since the late 20th century.
As the amount of greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere continues to increase, we need to understand how sea level responds. This knowledge can be used to help predict future sea level changes.
This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup crossposted from EcoWatch.
Decades-old documents unearthed by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) show that executives in the oil industry knew fossil fuels posed a risk to the environment as early as 1968, and in the next decades, carried out a campaign to cloud public perception of these risks.
In 1946, a consortium of oil companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron’s predecessors, created the “Smoke and Fumes Committee.” Its purpose was to commission research on smog and air pollution resulting from fossil fuels, which the oil industry would use to shape public opinion on these issues. Out of this committee grew the Stanford Research Institute, which was set up to provide an academic shroud for the industry to fight accusations that its product caused pollution. (The tobacco industry employed a similar strategy in its efforts to hide evidence that smoking causes cancer).
This is a guest post by Emily Logan of Care2.
When activists talk about climate change, we often focus on impacts. We show how Superstorm Sandy mangled the Jersey Shore, how the severe California drought reduced reservoirs to puddles, and introduce people to children suffering from asthma. We tell folks that climate change makes all of these impacts more likely, more frequent and more severe.
But for people skeptical of climate change—either of its science or, like the Chris Christies of the world, of the need for humanity to do anything about it—sometimes these stories aren’t enough. When facing the choice of spending our country’s limited resources on drastically reducing our fossil fuel production and fortifying our cities against sea level rise or investing in economic stimulus or tax cuts, it helps to speak the opposition’s language: dollars.
This is a guest post by Aaron Viles of Care2.
When we talk about the effects of climate change, often the first place we look is the natural world. There are polar bears dying from starvation for lack of sea ice; there are forests in the American West catching fire and burning rapidly after years of drought have dried out the vegetation. There are human costs too: the damage to homes and communities from extreme weather events that happen with more frequency and severity as the planet warms. And there’s the poor air quality that causes and exacerbates health problems, especially for children and the elderly.
These are compelling arguments for those of us already concerned about our changing planet. However, some of the best arguments to win more supporters for climate action aren’t about the environment at all. Climate change is going to cost us real, hard dollars that we just can’t afford. It’s not just taxpayers on the hook for cleanup and resilience investments. Whole industries will have to change dramatically or disappear. Here are a few that are most at risk:
This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup originally published at Daily Kos.
A new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Bjorn Lomborg misses the mark, and while it’s not as bad as some of Lomborg’s misleading opinions, there can be no doubt that the deception is intentional.
Lomborg attacks the recently released Climate and Health Assessment, a comprehensive overview of how climate change impacts the American public by the US Global Change Research Program. He attacks the report’s finding that heat-related deaths from rising temperatures will outnumber the avoided cold-related deaths, which has been debated among legitimate scientists (see this piece or this piece).
Global temperatures for February showed a disturbing and unprecedented upward spike. It was 1.35℃ warmer than the average February during the usual baseline period of 1951-1980, according to NASA data.
This is the largest warm anomaly of any month since records began in 1880. It far exceeds the records set in 2014 and again in 2015 (the first year when the 1℃ mark was breached).
In the same month, Arctic sea ice cover reached its lowest February value ever recorded. And last year carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere increased by more than 3 parts per million, another record.
What is going on? Are we facing a climate emergency?
This is a guest post by Rhiannon Fionn, an independent investigative journalist and filmmaker in post-production on the documentary film “Coal Ash Chronicles.”
“I’m fighting for my kids and my neighbors,” says a determined Amy Brown.
Brown and hundreds of other North Carolina residents have been using only bottled water for the better part of a year now for cooking, drinking, hygiene and even for their pets. Like Brown, most of those residents live near impoundments of coal ash — the waste product created when coal is burned for electricity.
Now residents are learning that the “do not drink” orders placed on their well water supplies have been lifted by state officials. That decision has provoked fear and confusion among residents and some experts about the safety of their water supply. “This news makes me feel like we’re not getting anywhere,” said Brown, before her voice wavered with emotion.
In April 2015, the state began notifying residents their water wells were contaminated, many with the carcinogen hexavalent chromium and vanadium, which is known to harm kidneys and affect blood pressure.
Residents were issued the “do not drink” notices by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Duke Energy’s coal ash impoundments were suspected as the cause of the contamination and the company was compelled by the state legislature to provide bottled water.
But last Monday, March 7, during a county commission meeting in rural Lee County, state officials announced most of the “do not drink” orders were being withdrawn.
EUGENE, OREGON — Courtrooms usually aren’t jovial places, but with 21 youth plaintiffs and two busloads of supporting junior high-school students in tow, the air in the US District Courthouse here on Wednesday felt more field trip than federal court.
The occasion for the youthful energy was a hearing on a complaint filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, aged 8–19, by Oregon nonprofit Our Children’s Trust. The kids’ lawyers assert that their clients, and the younger generation as a whole, have been deprived of key rights by their own government. By failing to act on climate change, they argue, the United States government — including President Obama and a baker’s dozen federal agencies — has valued its own generation more than future generations, who will bear a greater burden with respect to the climate crisis.
Each year our terrestrial biosphere absorbs about a quarter of all the carbon dioxide emissions that humans produce. This a very good thing; it helps to moderate the warming produced by human activities such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests.
But in a paper published in Nature today, we show that emissions from other human activities, particularly food production, are overwhelming this cooling effect. This is a worrying trend, at a time when CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are slowing down, and is clearly not consistent with efforts to stabilise global warming well below 2C as agreed at the Paris climate conference.
To explain why, we need to look at two other greenhouse gases: methane and nitrous oxide.