Climate Newsprint

Listen to the sand eels on climate change | Letters

The Guardian Climate Change - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 17:43

Michael Grange (Letters, 19 August) recommends “not asking the frogs first” before building tidal barrages on the Severn. But we are already being spoken to by the sand eels, mosquitoes, birds, butterflies and even the humble Highland saxifrage (Climate change threatens UK’s mountain plant life, 18 August) if only we would listen.

They are on the move already. The environmental effects of sea-level rise will dramatically alter the Severn estuary, and all its inhabitants, if we do little to deploy alternatives to fossil fuels now. Can the seriousness of the crisis justify the sacrifice of some present wetlands in order to avoid them being found far inland by our great grandchildren?
Professor Terry Gifford
Research Centre for Environmental Humanities, Bath Spa University

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

‘Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice’

The Guardian Climate Change - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 06:00

Scientist Peter Wadhams believes the summer ice cover at the north pole is about to disappear, triggering even more rapid global warming

Peter Wadhams has spent his career in the Arctic, making more than 50 trips there, some in submarines under the polar ice. He is credited with being one of the first scientists to show that the thick icecap that once covered the Arctic ocean was beginning to thin and shrink. He was director of the Scott Polar Institute in Cambridge from 1987 to 1992 and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge since 2001. His book, A Farewell to Ice, tells the story of his unravelling of this alarming trend and describes what the consequences for our planet will be if Arctic ice continues to disappear at its current rate.

You have said on several occasions that summer Arctic sea ice would disappear by the middle of this decade. It hasn’t. Are you being alarmist?
No. There is a clear trend down to zero for summer cover. However, each year chance events can give a boost to ice cover or take some away. The overall trend is a very strong downward one, however. Most people expect this year will see a record low in the Arctic’s summer sea-ice cover. Next year or the year after that, I think it will be free of ice in summer and by that I mean the central Arctic will be ice-free. You will be able to cross over the north pole by ship. There will still be about a million square kilometres of ice in the Arctic in summer but it will be packed into various nooks and crannies along the Northwest Passage and along bits of the Canadian coastline. Ice-free means the central basin of the Arctic will be ice-free and I think that that is going to happen in summer 2017 or 2018.

In the end, the only hope we have is to find a way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere once it has got there

Related: Hottest ever June marks 14th month of record-breaking temperatures

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

A Farewell to Ice by Peter Wadhams review – climate change writ large

The Guardian Climate Change - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 06:00
The warning this book gives us about the consequences of the loss of the planet’s ice is emphatic, urgent and convincing

Becoming a world authority on sea ice has taken Peter Wadhams to the polar zones more than 50 times, travelling on foot and by plane, ship, snowmobile and several nuclear-powered submarines of the Royal Navy.

Nonscientists who read his astonishing and hair-raising A Farewell to Ice will agree that the interludes of autobiography it contains are engrossing, entertaining and, when one submarine suffers an onboard explosion and fire while under the ice, harrowing.

We act, decisively and immediately, or our grandchildren pay full price, with our children impotent to help them

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Green Party candidate Jill Stein calls for climate state of emergency

The Guardian Climate Change - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 11:00

Presidential hopeful points to California wildfires and Louisiana flooding in push for Green New Deal to address both environment and economy

Dr Jill Stein called for a national state of emergency to be declared over the rapidly worsening effects of global warming, during a campaign swing through New York.

Related: 'The only other option': Bernie Sanders backers turn to Green party's Jill Stein

Related: Jill Stein dismisses perception she is anti-vaccines as 'ridiculous'

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

As Louisiana floods rage, Republicans are blocking modest climate action | Raul M Grijalva

The Guardian Climate Change - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 14:33

If a common sense proposal for federal agencies to consider climate change in their decisions on the environment is shot down, what hope is there?

If we needed a reminder of the importance of taking climate change seriously, the floods in Louisiana are providing a big one on a daily basis. When it comes to the big environmental issues, our country’s polarization is historically unusual, and it’s already gone way too far. That’s why the latest fight to break out in Washington over climate issues needs more attention.

On 1 August, the White House Council on Environmental Quality issued a non-binding suggestion, formally known as “guidance”, to federal agencies to think about climate change when making decisions under a law called the National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa). What should have produced a shrug (or, hopefully, a cheer) caused a panic on the right that’s only getting louder.

Related: Louisiana left stunned by damage from '1,000-year' flood: 'It just kept coming'

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Alaskan village threatened by rising sea levels votes for costly relocation

The Guardian Climate Change - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 16:18

Shishmaref residents decided to leave island rather than add more defenses against coastal erosion but community may not be able to afford $180m move

The residents of a small coastal Alaskan village have voted to move to the mainland because of rising sea levels, but they may not have the funds to do it.

The 600-person village of Shishmaref, located on an island just north of the Bering Strait, has for decades been ravaged by erosion tied to climate change, leading residents to seek a more sustainable place to live.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

California's Blue Cut fire: climate change dismissed as 'excuse' on the ground

The Guardian Climate Change - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 15:20

The fire has ripped through communities with alarming velocity but many caught up in the flames have shrugged off claims that global warming is to blame

James Webb huddled on the hill with his dog and watched the fire advance, the flames licking through the cherry trees, the oak trees, the peach trees, then swaying just short of his home, the last home left in this part of the valley.

Related: Share your photos and experiences of California's Blue Cut wildfire

Related: Fire starters: California cracks down on those who ignite blazes, arsonist or not

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral

The Guardian Climate Change - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 08:38

The Arctic’s ice is disappearing. We must reduce emissions, fast, or the human castastrophe predicted by ocean scientist Peter Wadhams will become reality

Ice scientists are mostly cheerful and pragmatic. Like many other researchers coolly observing the rapid warming of the world, they share a gallows humour and are cautious about entering the political fray.

Not Peter Wadhams. The former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge has spent his scientific life researching the ice world, or the cryosphere, and in just 30 years has seen unimaginable change.

Related: Nobody can buy the silence of a climate spinning out of control | Caroline Lucas

Related: The climate crisis is already here – but no one’s telling us | George Monbiot

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Africa droughts prompt calls to start pumping untapped groundwater

The Guardian Climate Change - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 04:00

As drought sweeps many countries in Africa, an initiative led by water NGOs supports the use of underground aquifers. But the idea is controversial

Despite recent heavy rains, Ethiopia is still reeling from the worst drought to hit the country for half a century, particularly in the livestock-dependent regions of Oromia and Somali. Yet studies (pdf) suggest the country could have billions of cubic metres of untapped groundwater.

The story is the same across many parts of Africa, where farmers rely on erratic rains and depleted surface water while potentially vast groundwater reserves go ignored. Africa’s subterranean water amounts to an estimated 660,000 cubic kilometres (pdf), according to research from the British Geological Society – more than 100 times the continent’s annual renewable freshwater resources.

Related: 'Extreme measures are needed': Namibia's battle with drought comes to its cities

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

The Guardian view on the heatwave: still hope on climate change | Editorial

The Guardian Climate Change - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 18:54
Ira Glass the radio show host says global warming may not be amusing or surprising but it is still the most important thing that’s happening

The documentary broadcaster Ira Glass, the man behind the hit radio programme This American Life, is in Britain this week with his theatre show, Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host. The production, a collaboration with the experimental dancers of Monica Bill Barnes & Company, puts storytelling and dance together in an improbable but, the reviews say, endearing and entertaining combination. The dancers like to bring dance into places were no one expects it. Mr Glass does the same with documentary. The collaborators are united in wanting to tell serious stories in an engaging manner.

Not many subjects defeat Mr Glass’s creativity. But climate change, he admits, is beyond even his midas touch with a tale. “Any minute I’m not talking about climate change it’s like I’m turning my back on the most important thing that’s happening to us,” he said recently. The trouble with it is that it is “neither amusing nor surprising”. It is “resistant to journalism”.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Four ways technology will change how we commute in the future

The Guardian Climate Change - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 16:44

From self driving cars to streetlight sensors, we highlight some of the grand ideas for urban transportation from cities across the US

Columbus, Ohio, is a mid-size city known primarily as the home of Ohio State University, not as a hub of cutting edge technology for public transportation. But that is exactly what this city of 790,000 people plans to be.

By 2019, residents of Columbus could see autonomous shuttles cruising the Easton commercial district, motion-sensitive LED streetlights that also provide free Wi-Fi internet to the residential neighborhood of Linden, and 175 smart traffic signals that aim to ease traffic jams and speed first-responders’ paths through the city. Residents will also be able to use one app to plan and pay for trips that require multiple types of public transportation.

Related: Hyperloop and our misplaced love of futuristic technology

Related: Self-driving cars are coming, and the technology promises to save lives

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime and Exxon fired the gun | Bill McKibben

The Guardian Climate Change - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 11:11

This week we’re staging protests on the ‘crime scene’ of the world’s affected reefs to send a signal that we’re not going to let fossil fuel firms get away with murder

Coral reefs are probably Earth’s most life-packed ecosystem; those who’ve had the privilege of diving in the tropics know the reef as an orderly riot of colour and flow, size and shape.

Which is why a white, dead reef is so shocking – as shocking in its way as a human corpse lying on the street, which still takes the form of the living breathing person it used to be, but now suddenly is stopped forever, the force that made it real suddenly and grotesquely absent.

Related: The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Sadiq Khan names deputy mayor for environment and energy

The Guardian Climate Change - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:30

Shirley Rodrigues has become the latest woman to be appointed to a senior role by London’s mayor

Having marked his first 100 days as London mayor, Sadiq Khan has chosen his 101st to announce the appointment of a deputy mayor for environment and energy. Shirley Rodrigues, who is currently acting executive director for climate change at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), a philanthropic organisation which operates in developing countries, has previously worked at City Hall on implementing London’s Low Emission Zone and programmes for retrofitting buildings. She is also former director of policy at the Sustainable Development Commission.

She will immediately take the lead on finalising Khan’s proposals for tackling London’s poor air quality, for which a consultation has already been conducted. The consultation results are to be published in September, followed by two further, more detailed, stages addressing plans for an initial £10 a day emissions surcharge on polluting vehicles entering central London and the forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone as a whole.

A comprehensive range of energy services to to help Londoners generate more low carbon energy and increase their energy efficiency, support local and community energy enterprises, and buy clean energy generated across the city, using it to power GLA and TfL facilities.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

How the fossil fuel industry's new pitch is more like an epitaph than a life lesson

The Guardian Climate Change - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 07:08

New fossil fuel advocacy group launched to celebrate an industry that’s driving dangerous climate change

Bright and glistening with all the glory of youth and promise, her eyes glance upwards. A jet crosses a cloudless sky.

A field of wheat sways in the breeze. She opens her arms in a wide embrace, open to the horizon.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Scotland's rare mountain plants disappearing as climate warms, botanists find

The Guardian Climate Change - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 05:00

Research by the National Trust for Scotland shows rare mountain plants in the Highlands and islands are retreating higher or disappearing entirely

There is clear evidence that some of Britain’s rarest mountain plants are disappearing due to a steadily warming climate, botanists working in the Scottish Highlands have found.

The tiny but fragile Arctic plants, such as Iceland purslaine, snow pearlwort and Highland saxifrage, are found only in a handful of locations in the Highlands and islands, clustered in north-facing gullies, coires and crevices, frequently protected by the last pockets of late-lying winter snow.

Related: On the trail of Scotland's rare mountain plants - in pictures

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

On the trail of Scotland's rare mountain plants - in pictures

The Guardian Climate Change - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 05:00

Ecologists and botanists have been working with highly skilled mountaineers in a series of intensive studies to map and track mountain plants and help ecologists understand the impact and speed of climate change

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Alaskan village votes on whether to relocate because of climate change

The Guardian Climate Change - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 22:43

Coastal village of Shishmaref, which is losing ground to rising sea levels, could become the first in the US to move over the threat of climate change

The residents of an Alaskan coastal village have begun voting on whether to relocate because of rising sea levels.

Related: 'There was just no snow': climate change puts Iditarod future in doubt

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Australia’s rarest tortoises get new home to save them from climate change

The Guardian Climate Change - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 20:31

Natural range of critically endangered western swamp tortoise increasingly untenable owing to reduced rainfall

Twenty-four of Australia’s rarest tortoises have been released outside their natural range because climate change has dried out their remaining habitat.

The natural range of the critically endangered western swamp tortoise, Pseudemydura umbrina, has shrunk to two isolated wetlands in Perth’s ever-growing outer suburbs, and a herpetological expert, Dr Gerald Kuchling, said reduced rainfall and a lowered groundwater table made those areas increasingly untenable.

Related: Galapagos gets a new species of giant tortoise

Related: Runaway 100lb tortoise back home after mile-long journey

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

World's hottest month shows challenges global warming will bring

The Guardian Climate Change - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 19:31

July was hotter than any month globally since records began – but some areas, such as the Middle East, suffer more than others

In Siberia, melting permafrost released anthrax that had been frozen in a reindeer carcass for decades, starting a deadly outbreak. In Baghdad, soaring temperatures forced the government to shut down for days at a time. In Kuwait, thermometers hit a record 54C (129F).

July was the hottest month the world has endured since records began in 1880, scientists have said, and brought a painful taste of the troubles people around the world may have to grapple with as global warming intensifies. Results compiled by Nasa showed the month was 0.84C hotter than the 1951-1980 average for July, and 0.11C hotter than the previous record set in July 2015.

Related: July 2016 was world's hottest month since records began, says Nasa

Related: Q&A smackdown: Brian Cox brings graphs to grapple with Malcolm Roberts

Related: Disasters like Louisiana floods will worsen as planet warms, scientists warn

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Categories: Climate Newsprint

Obama tightens emissions and fuel efficiency rules for heavy duty trucks

The Guardian Climate Change - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 18:30

Second phase of new benchmark will cut equivalent of greenhouse gases emitted by electricity and power from all US residences in one year, officials say

US trucks will produce 10% less carbon dioxide and consume 10% less fuel within a decade under the last major plank of Barack Obama’s climate policy.

The second phase of a new benchmark for medium- and large-sized trucks will cut more than 1bn metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and 2bn barrels of oil use, the Environment Protection Agency announced on Tuesday.

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Categories: Climate Newsprint
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