Archive | Global Warming & Climate Change

Climate Summit Produces 41,000 Tons of Carbon Dioxide and Greenhouse Gas

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 7 (UPI) — British researchers said the 12-day U.N. climate change summit in Denmark will generate as much greenhouse gas as an African nation.

U.N. officials conceded the Copenhagen summit, which began Monday, will generate at least 41,000 tons of carbon dioxide, more than the average created by Malawi, Afghanistan or Sierra Leone during the same time period, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

Britain’s Taxpayers’ Alliance also criticized the conference for its estimated $214 million price tag.

“The politicians and bureaucrats going to Copenhagen seem to think it’s unlikely that they’ll reach a deal and they know that even if they can get something signed, an increasingly skeptical public aren’t going to accept ever more expensive climate change policies,” said Matthew Sinclair, research director at the Taxpayer’s Alliance. “This means that a huge amount of money is going to be spent on the summit, and thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emitted to get there, just to give the delegates a good photo opportunity.”

The summit is aimed at curbing climate change through reducing global greenhouse gas emissions from farming, manufacturing and transportation.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Policies & Solutions, Transportation1 Comment

World Leaders Discuss Climate Change Curbs Pact

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 7 (UPI) — Diplomats from around the world converged on Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday for a U.N.-sponsored summit with the goal of producing a pact to curb climate change.

“The time for formal statements is over,” Yvo deBoer, the leading U.N. climate official, said during opening remarks. “Copenhagen will only be a success if it delivers significant and immediate action.”

Delegates from island nations, which could become submerged if seas rise because of warming temperatures, threatened to reject anything less than a legally binding treaty, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Other nations indicated they wanted the two-week summit would lead to an agreement that would lay the foundation for a legal treaty on greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are committed to achieving the strongest possible outcome in the next two weeks,” Jonathan Pershing, U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change, said. “There is a deal to be done.”

In Washington, the Environmental Protection Agency declared greenhouse gases a human health danger and subject to regulation.

Republicans asked the Obama administration to back off the action until it investigates thousands of documents hacked from computers of a climate research university in Britain and posted online. Skeptics say the documents undermine the argument that humans are responsible for global warming.

At the conference, the head of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, called the evidence of global warming “overwhelming,” saying the scandal “shows that some would go to the extent of carrying out illegal acts, perhaps in an attempt to discredit the IPCC.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Russians Hacked Climate E-mails Behind Politically Motivated Efforts

LONDON, Dec. 7 (UPI) — E-mails purporting to show a coverup by British climate change scientists were hacked in a sophisticated operation originating in Russia, sources say.

Citing an unnamed senior member of the U.N.’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, the British newspaper The Independent reported Monday that efforts to access e-mails written by scientists of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia were a highly sophisticated, politically motivated operation.

The newspaper quoted other unnamed sources saying evidence points to the Russian secret services as the hacker, noting that the purloined e-mails were originally posted on a server in the Siberian city of Tomsk by an Internet security business called Tomcity.

Climate change skeptics have seized on the e-mails as evidence that Phil Jones, the East Anglia unit’s head, colluded with colleagues to hide “unhelpful” research that buttressed the skeptics’ views. Jones has denied the claims.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N. panel, told the BBC on Friday the claims were serious and he wanted them investigated.

“We will certainly go into the whole lot and then we will take a position on it,” Pachauri said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Two Week Long U.N. Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen Opens

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 7 (UPI) — Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen called the U.N.-sponsored climate change summit in Copenhagen a chance the world must seize.

Opening the two-week conference Monday in the Danish capital, Rasmussen described the summit as an “opportunity the world cannot afford to miss” and that a “strong and ambitious climate change agreement was needed,” the BBC reported.

About 100 leaders from 193 countries are to attend the meeting, which is intended pass a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gases worldwide.

The venue, Copenhagen’s Bella Center, already is on security alert, several media outlets reported. A bomb scare Sunday forced police to shut down the venue.

Relations between winners and losers of a low-carbon energy future are tense because of overarching issues such as how deeply nations will cut their emissions and how much cash wealthier countries will spend to help poorer countries address climate change, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“One of the reasons that this negotiation is difficult is it really does involve issues of competitive and comparative advantage between countries,” said Nick Main, global managing partner for climate change and sustainability at the consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. “I don’t think there will be any science debate of any substance. This is really an economic debate of, ‘How do you pay the costs?’”

Debate on climate change itself intensified recently after hackers released thousands of e-mails between climate scientists that skeptics say undermine evidence that climate change was human-caused.

However, world leaders have reached a consensus on several fundamental topics, the Times reported. With few exceptions, negotiators in Copenhagen agree Earth is warming. humans largely are responsible, and current trends in greenhouse gas emissions will result in flooding, drought and death in many parts of the world.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Drought, Energy, Global Warming & Climate Change0 Comments

Disagreements on Global Warming Expected to Dominate Climate Talks

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 6 (UPI) — Disagreements on how to tackle global warming will be front-and-center when 192 nations gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week, analysts say.

Organizers of the U.N. climate change conference, which starts Monday, aim to emerge with an agreement to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. But the issues are so contentious that world leaders have already agreed to put off a binding treaty until next year and instead seek a nonbinding interim deal on emissions, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Among the areas of disagreement are who should pay for the reductions, the newspaper said. Poorer nations argue they are more vulnerable to world temperature changes and want wealthier nations to agree to far deeper carbon emissions cuts than they have so far.

Also, the Times said, developing economies such as China, Brazil and India resent pressure to decarbonize their energy systems and claim trade rivals the United States and Western Europe are seeking advantages.

The newspaper also noted an intra-European struggle is ongoing over each nation’s carbon quotas, along with disagreements on how much help should be given developing countries.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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America's Federal Forests Could Help Fight Climate Change

PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 5 (UPI) — America’s public forests could be enlisted in the battle against global warming and climate change to the benefit of taxpayers, experts say.

A study by Oregon State University says the state’s national forests absorb almost half the carbon emissions of Oregon’s cars and power plants, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Friday.

Now some want find a way for the government to make money from the role forests play in removing greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the newspaper said.

One method would be through cap and trade programs. A facility like a power plant would be limited to how much carbon dioxide it emits. If it exceeds that limit, it could offset that by purchasing a credit from somewhere that captures carbon — such as a federal forest.

The question, experts argue, is how putting forests to work in this way would change current uses of logging, wildlife habitat and recreation.

Conservationists say a complete stop to logging would result in carbon savings equal to the removal of every automobile from Oregon’s roads.

But logging advocates urge the opposite; to cut more often and use the wood, which stores carbon, while planting fast-growing young forests for more carbon absorption.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Cars, Global Warming & Climate Change0 Comments

British Prime Minister Brown Blasts Climate 'flat-earthers'

LONDON, Dec. 5 (UPI) — World leaders mustn’t be deterred by “flat-earth” climate change skeptics, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Saturday.

Blasting efforts by the U.S. Republican Party and others to discredit scientific findings linking global warming to human activity, Brown called such efforts “dangerous” and “deceitful” as leaders prepared to gather next week in Copenhagen, Denmark, to negotiate a climate change treaty, The Guardian reported.

“With only days to go before Copenhagen we mustn’t be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate skeptics,” Brown told the British newspaper. “We know the science. We know what we must do. We must now act and close the 5 billion-ton gap. That will seal the deal.”

The newspaper said Brown was referring to estimates by British science adviser Nicholas Stern that 10 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions must be taken out of the atmosphere by 2020, with current proposals likely to remove only half of that amount.

Brown made the comments as Republicans in the U.S. Congress seized on intercepted e-mails among climate change scientists at the University of East Anglia they claim demonstrate efforts to suppress data discrediting climate change findings, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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President Barack Obama to Attend Climate Change Summit in Denmark Later than Expected

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) — U.S. President Obama rescheduled his attendance at the climate change summit in Denmark, based on actions by China and India on coal, the White House said.

Obama will travel to the U.N.-sponsored summit in Copenhagen Dec. 18, when more than 80 leaders of government will convene to craft an agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement Friday.

Obama had planned to attend the gathering Wednesday as he traveled to Oslo, Norway, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, India and China have identified near-term climate goals, signaling a meaningful deal could be struck, White House officials said. India announced Thursday it will improve the energy efficiency of its economy between now and 2020. China outlined its own climate target last week.

“After months of diplomatic activity, there is progress being made toward a meaningful Copenhagen accord in which all countries pledge to take action against the global threat of climate change,” Gibbs said in the statement. “Based on his conversations with other leaders and the progress that has already been made to give momentum to negotiations, the president believes that continued U.S. leadership can be most productive through his participation at the end of the Copenhagen conference … .”

Even if issues still need to be negotiated for an agreement to be reached, Gibbs said the change in plans “reflects the president’s commitment to doing all that he can to pursue a positive outcome.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Coal, Energy Efficiency, Global Warming & Climate Change, Other0 Comments

U.N. Climate Change Panel Seeks Probe in Climate Change E-mail

LONDON, Dec. 4 (UPI) — Claims British scientists altered global warming data to support arguments it is man-made should be investigated, the U.N. climate change panel said.

The allegations came to light after e-mails written by members of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, were posted on the Internet, prompting an investigation into whether computers were hacked, the BBC reported Friday.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, said the claims were serious and he wanted them investigated.

“We will certainly go into the whole lot and then we will take a position on it,” Pachauri said. “We certainly don’t want to brush anything under the carpet. This is a serious issue and we will look into it in detail.”

One of the leaked e-mails suggested Climatic Research Unit chief Phil Jones wanted some papers omitted from the United Nation’s next major assessment of climate science, the British broadcaster reported. Jones has denied the allegation.

The matter erupted two weeks ago when hundreds of messages between CRU scientists and their counterparts around the world, along with other documents, were posted on the Internet.

Skeptics of climate change claim the e-mails undermine the scientific case for climate change being caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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Colder Temperatures Spreading Through U.S.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (UPI) — Much of the midsection of the United States was shivering under a blast of Arctic air and strong winds Wednesday, meteorologists said.

The chilly air spread south and east across the Rocky Mountains and Northern Plains, producing high temperatures fully 20 to 30 degrees colder than Tuesday’s highs in such places as Denver, Des Moines, Iowa, Omaha, Neb., Accuweather.com reported.

Those parts of the country will be lucky to see high temps struggle above the freezing mark, forecasters said.

The Web site predicted the colder temps would move into the rest of the Midwest Wednesday night, with much colder conditions likely in Detroit, Cincinnati and Nashville on Thurdsay.

The U.S. Deep South and East Coast would be next on the chill parade, feeling lower temps Thursday night into Friday, possibly followed up by a shot of snow, Accuweather.com said, adding that Boston, New York City, Raleigh and Columbia, S.C., would be much colder by Friday.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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