Archive | Global Warming & Climate Change

Warming Data Said Stronger Than IPCC Claim

LONDON, March 5 (UPI) — Evidence of manmade global warming is stronger than the besieged U.N. climate panel claimed, with rainfall changes altering the Earth, British scientists said.

“The fingerprint of human influence has been detected in many different aspects of observed climate changes,” Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring at the Hadley Center for Climate Research run by Britain’s meteorological office, said in remarks quoted by the Financial Times. “Natural variability, from the sun, volcanic eruptions or natural cycles, cannot explain recent warming.”

Stott spoke on behalf of an international research team, led by Britain’s Met Office, that analyzed more than 100 scientific papers to update the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report.

The 2007 report seized worldwide attention after asserting human activity was warming the planet in ways that could greatly disrupt human affairs and nature.

The panel, which won a Nobel Peace Prize for its report, is now accused by climate skeptics, conservative politicians and some mainstream scientists of scientific sloppiness and potential financial conflicts of interest.

The latest review, published in the journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, pointed to human-made warming evidence that was not clear in 2007.

This includes climate change in the Antarctic, which covers some 20 percent of the Southern Hemisphere and is the last continent where regional warming has been demonstrated, the research review said.

The subtropical Atlantic Ocean is also becoming warmer and saltier, which could modify ocean currents, the research suggested.

The ocean warming is also increasing evaporation, boosting humidity in the atmosphere and changing rainfall patterns. This means less rainfall in the tropics and more at higher latitudes, the Financial Times cited Stott as saying.

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Gore Wishes Climate Critics Were Right

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) — Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, in an op-ed piece Sunday in The New York Times, says he wishes global warming was an “illusion,” as critics claim.

“It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it,” Gore said.

But even if global warming is an illusion, “we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world … ”

If climate change critics are right, “We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion.”

But unfortunately, Gore said, “the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.”

Gore was vice president from 1993 to 2001, is the founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection and the author of “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.” He also is an investor in alternative energy companies, the Times said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Some Corals Might Survive Global Warming

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Feb. 15 (UPI) — A U.S.-led team of scientists says corals harboring unusual species of symbiotic algae might survive global warming in water too warm for most other corals.

The team, led by Pennsylvania State University Assistant Professor Todd LaJeunesse, said researchers surveyed the Indian Ocean and the Great Barrier Reef area of Australia and discovered a diversity of corals harboring unusual species of symbiotic algae in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea in the northeastern Indian Ocean.

“The existence of so many novel coral symbioses thriving in a place that is too warm for most corals gives us hope that coral reefs and the ecosystems they support may persist — at least in some places — in the face of global warming,” said LaJeunesse.

In the Andaman Sea, the scientists found a variety of seemingly thermally tolerant algae species, with one species being particularly abundant. Called Symbiodinium trenchi, the species is a generalist organism — one that is able to associate with a variety of hosts.

LaJeunesse found corals harboring that symbiont appear to be tolerant of high heat. He said Symbiodinium trenchi apparently saved certain colonies of coral from the damaging effects of unusually warm water.

The team’s findings are reported in the early online edition of the Journal of Biogeography.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Protein Might Help Fight Global Warming

DENTON, Texas, Feb. 8 (UPI) — University of North Texas scientists say they’ve found a way of using eco-friendly proteins to capture carbon dioxide from industrial smokestacks.

The researchers said their technique might also be used to discover new, environmentally friendly materials for fighting global warming.

Michael Drummond and colleagues Angela Wilson and Tom Cundari said existing carbon-capture technologies are expensive and can generate hazardous waste. But they said proteins can catalyze reactions with carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in an environmentally friendly way.

In their study, the researchers said they used the pharmacophore concept to probe how the 3-dimensional structure of proteins affects their ability to bind and capture carbon dioxide. The German chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Ehrlich, who originated the concept a century ago, defined a pharmacophore as the molecular framework that carries the key features responsible for a drug’s activity.

The scientists concluded that the approach could point the way to the development of next-generation carbon capture technologies.

Their research is reported in the American Chemical Society journal Energy & Fuels.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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U.S. Concern About Global Warming Dropping

FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 2 (UPI) — A survey suggests the U.S. public’s concern about global warming has decreased sharply since the fall of 2008.

The national survey by Yale and George Mason universities found the percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening has declined 14 points, to 57 percent, and the number of people who think global warming is caused mostly by human activities dropped 10 points, to 47 percent.

Coupled with those beliefs, researchers found an increase in the number of Americans who think global warming will never harm humans or other species.

“Despite growing scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide, public opinion is moving in the opposite direction,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change.

The survey also found 40 percent of the public now believe there is much disagreement among scientists over whether global warming is happening.

“The scientific evidence is clear that climate change is real, human-caused and a serious threat to communities across America,” said Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. “The erosion in both public concern and public trust about global warming should be a clarion call for people and organizations trying to educate the public about this important issue.”

The Dec. 23-Jan. 3 survey of 1,001 U.S. adults carries a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The report is available at:

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Urban 'green' Space May Aid Global Warming

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 26 (UPI) — A University of California-Irvine study suggests urban “green” areas might be aggravating the formation of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Dispelling the notion that such “green” spaces help counteract greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers found — at least in Southern California — total emissions would be lower if lawns did not exist.

Turf grass lawns help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as organic carbon in soil, making such lawns important “carbon sinks.” However, the scientists found greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production, mowing, leaf blowing and other lawn management practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by ornamental grass in parks.

The research results are important to greenhouse gas legislation, said the study’s lead author, Amy Townsend-Small.

“We need this kind of carbon accounting to help reduce global warming,” Townsend-Small said. “The current trend is to count the carbon sinks and forget about the greenhouse gas emissions, but it clearly isn’t enough.”

She said while previous studies have documented lawns storing carbon, the new study is the first to compare carbon sequestration to nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions from lawn grooming practices.

The findings appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Taiwan's Temperatures and Emissions Rise on Impact of Air Pollution

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Jan. 4 (UPI) — Taiwan’s temperatures have risen by an average of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, according to a government study.

Despite Taiwan’s rise in temperatures, sunny hours in the country have fallen. The decline — attributed to air pollution and suspended particles that had blocked the sunshine — ranges from 176 hours per year in the north to 552 hours per year in central Taiwan, the Central News Agency reports.

Taiwan’s sea level has risen an average of 1.18 inches over the past 10 years, or about 0.11 of an inch each year, according to Fan Kuang-lung, a professor at National Taiwan University’s Institute of Oceanography.

Taiwan is becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate change due to global warming and the pumping of underground water for farming and household use, said Fan, CNA reports. “Flooding will become the norm in some western tidal land areas,” he said.

Taiwan has also recorded the world’s highest growth in greenhouse gas emissions — 138 percent — over the past 16 years, said Liang Chi-yuan, a government minister.

But Taiwan will have to spend twice as much as other countries as a percentage of its gross domestic product to meet international carbon emissions reduction targets, said Yang Jih-chang, a senior adviser to the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

Because it has few natural resources and its industrial sector accounts for more than 50 percent of annual GDP, Yang estimates it would cost Taiwan $3.1 billion to $4.65 billion annually to meet the International Energy Agency’s recommendation that countries spend up to 0.5 percent of GDP to keep greenhouse gases below 450 parts per million by 2020.

Yang Chi-yuan, an associate professor at Chinese Culture University, said the government should not plot a carbon-reduction target using a top-down centralized process. He suggests instead that Taiwan allow agencies in charge of transportation, industrial and economic affairs to set targets based on practical abilities.

“We need not follow European and American countries in setting carbon reduction targets because their regulations do not necessarily meet Taiwan’s needs,” Yang Chi-yuan said, CNA reports.

Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Shu-hung Shen said the government has passed laws on energy management and renewable energy development, admitting that more work still needs to be done.

“Once the statutes governing energy taxes and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are enacted, our legal framework on carbon reduction will be complete,” Shen said.

He urged Taiwan Power Co. to reduce the percentage of fossil fuels in its energy generation.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollutants, Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Atmospheric Science, Causes, Global Warming & Climate Change, Tidal, Transportation0 Comments

Copenhagen Delegates Recognize Pact

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 19 (UPI) — U.N. climate change summit delegates in Copenhagen, Denmark, voted Saturday to recognize a non-mandatory pact aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.

After an up-and-down, all-night bargaining session, the summit adopted a resolution that “took note” of the non-binding document, called the Copenhagen Accord, which sets up a system for monitoring and reporting progress toward national pollution-reduction goals and sets a goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2050, The New York Times reported.

The adoption was followed by adjournment. But, the newspaper said, the summit’s final day was marked by a bitter struggle between nations that favored the compromise — cobbled together Friday by U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders from Brazil, India, South Africa and China — and a group of counties — including Venezuela, Sudan and Cuba — that loudly objected to the process used to reach it.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the document makes progress on the four benchmarks he had set at a special meeting on climate change in September: a limit on global temperature rise, commitments to cut emissions, steps to halt deforestation and aid for poor countries. He called the pact “an essential beginning.”

Obama said a good agreement is not enough in the long term.

“Going forward we’re going to have to build on the momentum that we established in Copenhagen to ensure that international action to significantly reduce emissions is sustained and sufficient over time,” he said.”At home, that means continuing our efforts to build a clean energy economy that has the potential to create millions of new jobs and new industries.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Global Warming & Climate Change, International Relations & Treaties0 Comments

Global Warming Impacts Wine and Corn

STANFORD, Calif., Dec. 16 (UPI) — Stanford University scientists say they’ve determined global warming could significantly negatively impact U.S. wine and corn production.

The researchers, led by Assistant Professor Noah Diffenbaugh, said global warming has made the early arrival of spring commonplace across the planet.

“Our experiment is unprecedented,” he said. “It’s the first time a climate model has been applied at such spatial and temporal detail over such a long period of time.”

The researchers concluded, among other things, global warming could reduce the current U.S. wine grape region by 81 percent by the end of the century — primarily because of a projected sharp increase in the frequency of extremely hot days. They also determined that by the end of the 21st century, warmer growing seasons and milder winters could increase the population and geographic range of the corn earworm, an insect that preys on corn, tomatoes and other cash crops.

“In the case of agricultural pests, many of their ranges are limited by severe cold temperatures,” he said. “In our new simulations, we find that those temperatures could disappear over the next few decades, potentially leading to an expansion of pest pressure.”

The findings were presented this week in San Francisco during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Top Politicos Arriving at Climate Summit

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 16 (UPI) — Leaders and lawmakers from around the globe began arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark, to attend the final days of the U.N.-sponsored climate change summit.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., co-author of climate change legislation pending in the upper chamber, was the first high-level U.S. politician to attend the talks, The Boston Globe reported. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected to meet with negotiators Thursday and President Barack Obama was scheduled to arrive and speak on Friday.

Before leaving, Kerry told the Globe he may agree with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that a deal may be struck over one of the most contentious issues facing climate change negotiators: long-term financing for developing nations to help them adapt to global warming and move to more eco-friendly technologies.

The “makings of a deal” existed at the summit, Kerry said, adding, “today (Wednesday) is going to be quite critical.”

Kerry said he wanted to assure world negotiators that the United States was serious about reducing its emission output.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who arrived at the conference Tuesday, said the gravity of the talks couldn’t be overstated, The Times of London reported.

“It is an uphill struggle, there is a huge amount to be done” in negotiating a climate change treaty, he said.

If a deal can be stuck that results in jobs in Britain, it would be worth the effort, Brown said.

“But I also think our children, growing up, going to school every day, I don’t want them to live in a world of floods, of droughts, of extreme weather,” he said. “It is really important; therefore, for Britain that we get this deal … .”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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