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Rising seas ‘to beat predictions’
The world’s sea levels could rise twice as high this century as UN climate scientists have previously predicted, according to a study.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposes a maximum sea level rise of 81cm (32in) this century.
But in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers say the true maximum could be about twice that: 163cm (64in).
They looked at what happened more than 100,000 years ago – the last time Earth was this warm.
The results join other studies showing that current sea level projections may be very conservative.
Sea level rise is a key effect of global climate change. There are two major contributory effects: expansion of sea water as the oceans warm, and the melting of ice over land.
(17 December 2007)
Mexico, US Suffer as Rio Grande Sucked Dry
Robin Emmott, Reuters
EJIDO LA LAGUNA, Mexico — Julian Rosales’ farm is within a stone’s throw of one of North America’s biggest rivers, but the Mexican landowner fears he will not be able to sow his crops next year for lack of water. … While farmers and lawmakers in arid northern Mexico seek to challenge the water payment in an international court, the farmers’ plight is a symptom of a much bigger problem: the Rio Grande and its underground aquifers are being sucked dry on both sides of the frontier. The eastern border region is slowly heading toward a water crisis.
(18 December 2007)
Hot spots – the carbon atlas (PDF)
This week’s Bali meeting highlighted just how diffi cult it will be to secure an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas levels by enough to save the earth from catastrophic temperature rises. This map, showing countries according to their emissions, shows why an international deal is needed – and why only one binding the big polluters can succeed
As Temperatures Rise, Health Could Decline
David Brown, Washington Post
Depending on where you are, this is going to be a hotter, wetter, drier, windier, calmer, dirtier, buggier or hungrier century than mankind has seen in a while. In some places, it may be deadlier, too.
The effects of climate change are diverse and sometimes contradictory. In general, they favor instability and extreme events. On balance, they will tend to harm health rather than promote it.
That is the majority view of scientists trying to solve an equation whose variables range from greenhouse gas concentrations and the El Niño weather pattern to mosquito ecology and human cells’ ability to withstand heat.
(17 December 2007)
3,000 walruses die in stampedes tied to climate
Shortage of sea ice on Russian side of Arctic led to crowded conditions
Several thousands Pacific walruses above the Arctic Circle were killed in stampedes earlier this year after the disappearance of sea ice caused them to crowd onto the shoreline in extraordinary numbers, deaths some scientists see as another alarming consequence of global warming.
The deaths took place during the late summer and fall on the Russian side of the Bering Strait, which separates Alaska from Russia.
(14 December 2007)