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Environment - Nov 25

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Record warm October for globe
Record wet October for Northeast U.S.

NOAA News Online
From Maine to Delaware, the northeast United States experienced its wettest October on record, thanks to several powerful, rain-producing storms. The global surface temperature was warmest on record for the month, according to scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

...The average global temperature anomaly for combined land and ocean surfaces for October (based on preliminary data) was 1.22 degrees F (0.68 degrees C) above the 1880-2004 long-term mean. This was the warmest October since 1880, the beginning of reliable instrumental records. Land surface temperatures also were the warmest on record for October with warmer-than-average conditions across many areas of the globe, including Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, the U.S., Brazil and northern Africa. Ocean temperatures were fourth highest on record. Neutral El Niño Southern Oscillation conditions remain in the tropical Pacific at month's end.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.j
(18 November 2005)
Emphasis added. NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Geophysicists say average temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere up 1.5 F. degrees in 150 years

Richard L. Hill, Portland Oregonian
Tree rings and deep holes in the ground give added support to warnings that Earth is warming fast.

In a new study, geophysicists at Oregon State University and the University of Utah have found that average temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere have increased by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 500 years. They show that nearly three-quarters of that rise has come in the past 150 years, when the industrial revolution began spewing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-warming gases into the atmosphere.

Rob Harris, an OSU associate professor, and David Chapman, a University of Utah professor, report in the current Journal of Geophysical Research that their results "are consistent with previous findings . . . that since the onset of the industrial revolution, temperatures appear to be rising at an unprecedented rate."
(23 November 2005)


Alberta will ignore Kyoto guidelines

Dennis Buckert, Canadian Press via Globe and Mail
Ottawa — Alberta will not be bound by federal regulations on greenhouse emissions, says a spokesman for the province's Environment Department.

Robert Moyles said Tuesday that Alberta will introduce its own regulations to govern greenhouse emissions — and they will take precedence over federal rules. The comments open a gaping hole in the credibility of Ottawa's plan for achieving its commitments under the Kyoto protocol, with less than a week before a UN conference on climate change opens in Montreal.
(22 November 2005)
Something to do with oil sands extraction perhaps?-LJ


EU presses U.S. on gas emissions, global warming

Marcin Grajewski, Reuters via ENN
BRUSSELS — The European Union ramped up pressure on the United States on Tuesday to do more to control greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change, saying U.S. reliance on new technology was not working.

"Technology alone is not enough. This has become very clear from the policy that the United States is following," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told a news conference. "According to their approach, they are increasing their emissions, right now about 15 percent more than in 1990 ... We have decreased our emissions, we are below the 1990 level."

A U.N. conference of about 190 states begins on Nov. 28 in Montreal, Canada, to discuss ways to combat global warming after a first phase of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
(23 November 2005)


Green Gauge Report: Bad news

David Roberts, Gristmill
Here we are on the day before a long holiday weekend. A perfect day to bury bad news. So here goes.

The Green Gauge Report is a poll on environmental attitudes, based on 2,000 face-to-face interviews, conducted with a broad cross-section of demographics representative of the U.S. Census, undertaken by an arm of market-research outfit GfK NOP. They do it every year -- though for some reason they skipped 2004.

Joel Makower discusses this year's GGR in a post that tries -- one might say 'strains mightily' -- to put an optimistic spin on the results. But from what I've seen (and I've exchanged a few emails with Bob Pares, the guy who ran it), the results are almost uniformly discouraging. Consider this...
(23 November 2005)


Invest green (for climate change)

Jamais Cascio, WorldChanging
If you think that climate disruption and our resulting global response will be the big story of the 21st century, you have to figure that investment markets will eventually start to pick up on who the winners and losers in such a world might be. And if the market as a whole is on the trail of clean, green companies, then the maxim of "buy low, sell high" suggests that savvy long-term investors will want to get there first. Today's Wired News has what will undoubtedly be one of many articles about how to scope out the investment market in a global warming world. It's a good start.

The article doesn't try to define any winners and losers just yet, but does spell out some steps that those of us thinking about how climate disruption will shape markets should keep in mind. Interestingly, these also make for good rules for catching early indicators of which political figures and non-market organizations are best-positioned to become leaders in the years and decades to come.

Wired's rules, paraphrased, are...
(22 November 2005)


Energy boom alarms Russian Greens

Leonid Ragozin, Guardian
...Gas and oil reserves are Russia's main source of income, but many people believe they are also the country's main curse.

The revenues, they claim, cannot be compared with the long-term damage the oil industry inflicts on the environment and people's health. But oil workers retort that the small but tangible economic boom that has improved living standards in recent years is entirely due to their pursuit of "black gold". Should we jeopardise that success by talking about some "vague" threats, they ask.

Eight time zones away from Moscow, the island of Sakhalin, once described by writer Anton Chekhov as the most miserable place on Earth, has become a magnet for international consortia. They are pursuing some of the most ambitious projects in oil industry history. They include Sakhalin Energy, created by Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi and Mitsui. "We are going to stay on Sakhalin for a long time. Therefore people's health and safety are our key priorities," says the company's spokesman Ivan Chernyakhovsky.

But local environmentalists seem unconvinced. "The project is very controversial. It has a great impact on the environment and biological resources of Sakhalin," says Dmitry Lisitsyn, head of Sakhalin Environmental Watch, a local NGO. ...
(22 November 2005)

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