Climate change - Aug 24
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UK 'could suffer Katrina-style flooding'
Press Association via UK Guardian
Experts today accused ministers of ignoring the lessons of Hurricane Katrina, warning that the kind of deluge that overwhelmed New Orleans a year ago could not be ruled out in Britain.
Although the UK was likely to be spared the effects of a category five hurricane, the experts said the possibility of flooding caused by storm surges, high tides and heavy rain was real and likely to increase due to the effects of climate change.
Migration to coastal and flood plain areas, and projects such as the Thames Gateway development on low-lying land in the south-east, increased the risks and the need for adequate protection.
Yet cost-cutting at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is expected to lead to £15m being slashed from the Environment Agency's flood budget this year.
(22 Aug 2006)
Top climatologist warns global warming will hit Vermont hard
Louis Porter, Times Argus (Vermont)
MONTPELIER - A federal scientist whose statements on global warming have put him at odds with the Bush administration is backing the state of Vermont and environmental groups in a lawsuit over the regulation of car emissions.
In testimony, James Hansen, a top climatologist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, warns that the harmful impacts from global warming will hit Vermont's tourism-based economy harder than other states.
Hansen testified in the lawsuit brought by car makers against the state that climate change due to human activity is rapidly reaching a "tipping point" where the impacts of the changes will be unpredictable and perhaps irreversible.
"The occurrence of abrupt climate changes this century is practically certain if we continue with business-as-usual greenhouse gas emission," Hansen said in testimony. "The two largest and fastest growing sources of emissions are vehicle emissions and power plants."
Hansen, who joined NASA in 1967, has become increasingly at odds with the administration over what he has said is an effort to keep him from talking publicly about climate change.
"Of concern for the eastern United States is the possibility that warmer coastal areas may allow hurricanes to survive longer and strengthen, thus making this region vulnerable to storms that have long been associated more with the southeast United States," Hansen said in testimony given as a citizen, not as a paid expert.
(22 Aug 2006)
Climate linked to plague increase
Climatic changes could lead to more outbreaks of bubonic plague among human populations, a study suggests.
Researchers found that the bacterium that caused the deadly disease became more widespread following warmer springs and wetter summers.
The disease occurs naturally in many parts of the world, and the team hopes its findings will help officials limit the risk of future outbreaks.
The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The bacterium Yersinia pestis is believed to have triggered the Black Death that killed more than 20 million people in the Middle Ages.
(22 Aug 2006)
The hottest hoax around!
Mark Fiore, WorldChanging
Animated satire about global warming.
(17 Aug 2006)