Climate - Aug 30
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Climate fight hit by global slowdown
Jeremy Lovell and Gerard Wynn, Reuters
The fight against global warming is in danger of being downgraded on more urgent fears over energy security, heightened by a Russian war with Georgia, and a global economic slowdown.
Added to the mix -- politicians are faced with a rising clamor of complaints from voters over record fuel bills, and racing gas and oil prices have sparked new interest in high-carbon coal as well as cleaner alternatives.
"A few years ago it was all about climate change. Now energy security has come up too. The problems arise when the two come into conflict," said Michael Grubb, chief economist at the Carbon Trust think-tank.
(29 August 2008)
Power-Sector Emissions Of China To Top U.S.
Steven Mufson, Washington Post
The carbon emissions of China's electric power sector will jump by about a third this year and surpass the total emissions of the U.S. electric power industry for the first time, according to a report by the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think tank.
The estimate, gathered from a variety of public data, shows that while China and India are becoming somewhat more efficient in energy use, their rapid pace of economic growth would mean a doubling of their carbon emissions from power plants over the next dozen years.
(27 August 2008)
EU lawmakers urge caution on bloc's carbon curbs
Pete Harrison, Reuters
The European Union's response to global warming could be watered down to cut the impact on heavy industry and ensure the bloc takes a cautious approach to tougher goals, a document seen by Reuters shows.
The moves aimed at protecting EU industry from overseas competitors have alarmed environmentalists, who accuse lawmakers of already weakening curbs on emissions from cars and aviation
(28 August 2008)
Scientists Report Further Shrinking of Arctic Ice
Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post
Arctic sea ice has shrunk to the second-lowest level since record-keeping began three decades ago, a group of international researchers determined yesterday, a revelation underscoring how rapidly climate change is transforming ecosystems in northern latitudes.
The extent of Arctic sea ice is now 2 million square miles below the long-term average for Aug. 26, according to the International Arctic Research Center and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, a figure that is within 400,000 square miles of the all-time record low set in September 2007. This figure is already below the long-term average for September ice cover and because the ice traditionally reaches its minimum level in mid-September, researchers warned that a new low might be recorded within weeks.
(27 August 2008)
Seeing Climate Change Through the Trees
Sarah Kuck, WorldChanging
You've probably never heard of the whitebark pine, much less the tiny mountain pine beetle, but the story they tell together may be one of the clearest windows we have on how climate change is already affecting ecosystems around the world.
I just returned from the Greater Yellowstone Area, Wyo., after a weekend with the Natural Resource Defense Council to learn about the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem. Although I’ve washed the campfire smell out of my hair, and shook the last bits of dust from the Continental Divide out of my boots, I can’t help but feel like there’s just something about that forest and experience that will never leave me.
My journey began in Dubois, a small town in the Wind River Valley southeast of Yellowstone National Park. The NRDC brought together a team of scientists, experts in their respective areas, to teach us about the threats facing the whitebark pine ecosystem and all the species tied to its survival.
“Ecologically, things do not look good here,” said Lousia Willcox, the NDRC’s Wild Bears Project Director. “But I believe in the capacity of people to change, if they understand the problem. We’re going to lose a big chunk of it. We’ve got to save what we can and tell this story.”
(27 August 2008)