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News articles on climate change
Mongabay.com news articles on climate change in blog format. Updated regularly.
Tropics are expanding
(12/03/2007) Climate change has caused a widening of Earth's tropical belt, according to a new study published in a new scientific journal, Nature Geoscience. "Remarkably, the tropics appear to have already expanded -- during only the last few decades of the 20th century -- by at least the same margin as models predict for this century," said the scientists who conducted the research.
Forest carbon may not fully offset fossil carbon, says expert
(12/03/2007) As policymakers meet in Bali, Indonesia to discuss various mechanisms for mitigating greenhouse emissions, a tropical ecologist from Sri Lanka warns that one ton of forest carbon is not equal to one ton of fossil carbon when it comes to using offsets to fight global warming. The implications: considerably larger forest areas (preferably old growth since it has higher carbon values than plantations) would need to be protected and reforested than are presently anticipated by most policymakers.
Largest-ever climate meeting begins in Bali
(12/02/2007) In Bali, Indonesia, more than 10,000 delegates, scientists, journalists, and activists from around the world kicked off the largest-ever climate change conference Monday. Organizers hope that the meeting lays the groundwork for a new international pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.
Could the carbon market save the Amazon rainforest?
(11/29/2007) The global carbon market could play a key role in saving the Amazon from the effects of climate change and economic development, which could otherwise trigger dramatic ecological changes, reports a new paper published in Science. The authors argue that a well-articulated plan, financed by carbon markets, could prevent the worst outcomes for the Amazon forest while generating economic benefits for the region's inhabitants.
Hope in Bali: the December Meetings on Climate Change
(11/28/2007) The fourth, and final, report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) painted the most irrefutable and sobering picture yet of global warming. Two thousand scientists from over one hundred countries agreed to the statement that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level". The report also stated that it was more than 90% certain that global warming is due to human activity. This report, released last week, will hopefully set the tone for the two week meeting in Bali, Indonesia on climate change and create the rapid and strong responses that are required.
Greenhouse gas levels rise to new record in 2006
(11/23/2007) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels hit a new record in 2006 according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the U.N. weather agency.
Asian countries sign symbolic global warming pact
(11/21/2007) Leaders of 16 Asian countries have signed a "vague" pact on climate change according to Reuters.
Past climate change triggered wars, population decline
(11/21/2007) Long-term climate change may lead to wars and population decline according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research looked at the cool period known as the Little Ice Age and found that the number of wars increased, famine occurred and the population declined.
Hurricane Katrina released large amounts of carbon by destroying 320m trees
(11/15/2007) The destruction of 320 million large trees by Hurricane Katrina reduced the capacity of forests in the Southern United States to soak up carbon, reports a new study published in the journal Science. The research shows that hurricanes and other natural disturbances "can affect a landscape's potential as a 'carbon sink' because the dead vegetation then decays, returning carbon to the atmosphere, and because the old vegetation is replaced by smaller, younger plants."
New system tracks CO2 emissions of 50,000 power plants worldwide
(11/14/2007) A new online database allows users to track carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 50,000 power plants worldwide. The system, called CARMA—Carbon Monitoring for Action, was developed by the Center for Global Development (CGD), an policy and research group.
NASA: Arctic Ocean circulation reversal not due to global warming
(11/13/2007) A study published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that weakening of the Arctic Oscillation results from a cyclical process rather than climate change. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.
Weathering technology could mitigate global warming
(11/08/2007) Researchers at Harvard University and Pennsylvania State University have invented a technology, inspired by nature, to reduce the accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by human emissions.
Subtle threats could ruin the Amazon rainforest
(11/07/2007) While the mention of Amazon destruction usually conjures up images of vast stretches of felled and burned rainforest trees, cattle ranches, and vast soybean farms, some of the biggest threats to the Amazon rainforest are barely perceptible from above. Selective logging -- which opens up the forest canopy and allows winds and sunlight to dry leaf litter on the forest floor -- and 6-inch high "surface" fires are turning parts of the Amazon into a tinderbox, putting the world's largest rainforest at risk of ever-more severe forest fires. At the same time, market-driven hunting is impoverishing some areas of seed dispersers and predators, making it more difficult for forests to recover. Climate change -- an its forecast impacts on the Amazon basin -- further looms large over the horizon.
Carbon-negative bioenergy to cut global warming could drive deforestation
(11/06/2007) A proposed mechanism for generating carbon-negative bioenergy -- an energy source that reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide levels -- could drive large-scale deforestation in the tropics and undermine efforts to conserve forests for carbon offsets says a biofuel expert.
Climate sensitivity to rising CO2 levels still uncertain
(10/25/2007) Climate sensitivity to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases is still largely uncertain and researchers will likely not be able to further refine their estimates on future climate scenarios, say two University of Washington scientists writing in this week's issue of the journal Science.
Kyoto Protocol is fatally flawed; replacement needed
(10/25/2007) The Kyoto Protocol is fatally flawed and show be replaced by a more effective framework, argue researchers writing in this week's issue of Nature.
Mass extinctions happen when temperatures are the warmest
(10/24/2007) Warming temperatures could trigger a mass extinction event, warn scientists writing in the latest issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Comparing ancient records of marine and terrestrial diversity with historical temperature estimates, researchers from the Universities of York and Leeds found a close correlation between Earth climate and extinctions over the past 520 million years: higher extinction rates occur at higher temperatures.
North Atlantic carbon sinks absorbing less CO2
(10/23/2007) The capacity of the North Atlantic ocean to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has declined significantly since in the mid 1990s, report researchers from the University of East Anglia. The findings raise concerns that oceans may be slowing their uptake of CO2, potentially worsening the climate impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
Carbon sinks failing to keep up with emissions
(10/22/2007) Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) growth has increased 35 percent faster than expected since 2000, report scientists writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Worryingly, more than half the increase came from a decreased efficiency of natural land and ocean sinks to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The reminder came from a slowing in the efficiency of use of fossil fuels.
Climate change will impact U.S. economy
(10/16/2007) Climate change will have a significant economic impact on the United States, reports a new study published by researchers from the University of Maryland. The report, The U.S. Economic Impacts of Climate Change and the Costs of Inaction, aggregates and analyzes previous economic research in order to develop a better estimate of the costs of climate change.
Al Gore shares Nobel Peace Prize with climate body
(10/12/2007) Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to build awareness about human-induced climate change. Gore and the IPCC, a body of climate scientists, will each receive about $1.5 million.
Bush aides say mankind responsible for global warming
(09/14/2007) Dr. John Marburger, President George W. Bush's chief scientific advisor, said it is more than 90 percent certain that greenhouse gas emissions to blame for rising global temperatures, according to BBC News.
38 key global environmental indicators worsen - report
(09/14/2007) Consumption of energy and many other critical resources is consistently breaking records, disrupting the climate and undermining life on the planet, according to the latest Worldwatch Institute report, Vital Signs 2007-2008.
Climate change drove human evolution
(09/03/2007) Climate change appears to have been a significant driver of human evolution, report researchers writing in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).
Indonesia's peatlands may offer U.S. firms global warming offsets
(08/29/2007) The following is modified version of a letter I've used to pitch U.S. companies on the concept of carbon finance in Indonesia's peatlands. Discussions are slow and the critical December U.N. climate meeting is fast approaching, so I'm posting this as a tool to help you get American firms interested in avoided deforestation offsets. Please feel free to use, modify, and distribute this letter widely.
How private equity can profit from carbon offsets in Indonesia
(08/29/2007) The emerging carbon market for avoided deforestation presents unprecedented opportunities for private equity to make profitable investments that also help protect the environment. Indeed, for the first time, conservation may be associated with positive financial returns. Here's a brief look at how private equity and other investors can capitalize on this opportunity to earn attractive returns while fighting climate change, protecting ecosystem services, and safeguarding endangered species like orangutans.
Greenhouse gases made 2006 2nd-warmest year on record for U.S.
(08/28/2007) Greenhouse gases likely accounted for over half of the widespread warmth across the continental United States in 2006, report scientists writing in the September 5th issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Global warming causes increase in tropical rainfall
(08/27/2007) Climate change appears to be resulting in higher levels of rainfall in the tropics, reports NASA.
European blood-sucker falls victim to global warming
(08/26/2007) Europe's only known land leech may be on the brink of extinction due to shifts in climate, report researchers writing in the journal Naturwissenschaften. The findings are significant because they suggest that "human-induced climate change without apparent habitat destruction can lead to the extinction of populations of cold-adapted species that have a low colonization ability," according to the authors.
Iron boosts carbon sequestration by the ocean
(08/23/2007) Wind-blown iron contributes significantly to the biological productivity of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Science.
Court rebukes Bush Administration on global warming report
(08/22/2007) Tuesday the Bush Administration was ordered to publish an updated research plan and national assessment on climate change. By law the White Hosue is required to publish such a report every four years, yet the current administration has failed to do so since it took office. The last National Assessment was issued in late 2000 under the Clinton administration, but environmental groups say the Bush Administration had tried to surpress its findings and recommendations.
Could peatlands conservation be more profitable than palm oil?
(08/22/2007) This past June, World Bank published a report warning that climate change presents serious risks to Indonesia, including the possibility of losing 2,000 islands as sea levels rise. While this scenario is dire, proposed mechanisms for addressing climate change, notably carbon credits through avoided deforestation, offer a unique opportunity for Indonesia to strengthen its economy while demonstrating worldwide innovative political and environmental leadership. In a July 29th editorial we argued that in some cases, preserving ecosystems for carbon credits could be more valuable than conversion for oil palm plantations, providing higher tax revenue for the Indonesian treasury while at the same time offering attractive economic returns for investors.
Could a hurricane hit California?
(08/20/2007) San Diego has been hit by hurricanes in the past and could be affected by such storms in the future according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While a hurricane in San Diego would likely produce significantly less damage than Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, it could still exact a high cost to Southern California especially if the region was caught off guard.
NASA admits to error in global warming data
(08/17/2007) NASA has admitted to a data error that skewed temperatures since 2000.
Arctic sea ice shrinks to record low in 2007
(08/15/2007) Arctic sea ice has shrunk to a record low according the Japan Aerospace Exploration agency.
Geoengineering cure for global warming could cause problems
(08/14/2007) Proposed geoengineering schemes to reduce global warming may do more harm than good, warns a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Scientists: Newsweek Erred in Global Warming Coverage
(08/12/2007) A statement from the University of Alabama argues that a recent Newsweek cover story on climate change made two important mistakes.
Climate change claims a snail
(08/12/2007) The Aldabra banded snail (Rachistia aldabrae), a rare and poorly known species found only on Aldabra atoll in the Indian Ocean, has apparently gone extinct due to declining rainfall in its niche habitat. While some may question lamenting the loss of a lowly algae-feeding gastropod on some unheard of chain of tropical islands, its unheralded passing is nevertheless important for the simple reason that Rachistia aldabrae may be a pioneer. As climate change increasingly brings local and regional shifts in precipitation and temperature, other species are expected to follow in its path.
European heat waves double in length since 1880
(08/11/2007) The most accurate measures of European daily temperatures ever indicate that the length of heat waves on the continent has doubled and the frequency of extremely hot days has nearly tripled in the past century. The new data shows that many previous assessments of daily summer temperature change underestimated heat wave events in western Europe by approximately 30 percent.
Controversy over flawed NASA climate data changes little
(08/11/2007) NASA corrected an error on its U.S. air temperature data after a blogger, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, discovered a discrepancy for the years 2000-2006. The revised figures show that 1934, not 1998, was America's hottest year on record. The change has little affect on global temperature records and the average temperatures for 2001-2006 (at 0.66 C) is still warmer than 1930-1934 (0.63 C) in the United States.
U.S. government weather agency cuts hurricane outlook
(08/10/2007) The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday reduced its forecast for the number of tropical storms and hurricanes expected during the 2007 Atlantic season. NOAA said it now expected between 13 and 16 named storms, with seven to nine becoming hurricanes and three to five of them classified as "major" hurricanes (categories 3, 4, or 5).
Global warming will slow, then accelerate reports ground-breaking model
(08/09/2007) Global warming will slow during the next few years but then accelerate with at least half of the years after 2009 warmer than 1998, the warmest year on record, reports a new study that is the first to incorporate information about the actual state of the ocean and the atmosphere, rather than the approximate ones most models use. The research, published by a team of scientists from the Hadley Center in the United Kingdom, appears in the current issue of the journal Science.
Industrial pollution has caused Arctic warming since 1880s
(08/09/2007) Industrial soot emissions have been warming the Arctic since at the least the 1880s, reports a new study that examined "black carbon" levels in the Greenland ice sheet over the past 215 years. The research is published in current issue of the journal Science.
2007 hurricane season downgraded, questions over climate role remain
(08/06/2007) Hurricane researcher William Gray from Colorado State University cut his 2007 hurricane season outlook, saying there will likely be fewer storms than previously projected due to weak La Niña conditions and more atmospheric dust from Africa.
Las Vegas has gotten hotter
(07/25/2007) Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada has heated up over the past 30 years, but it's not the entertainment industry that is responsible. A new study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reports that, as a state, Nevada has seen one of the largest increases in average temperature over the last three decades.
Australia funds first global deforestation monitoring system
(07/23/2007) At a High Level Meeting on Forests and Climate being held in Sydney, Australia today announced a series of measures to slow deforestation and fight global warming.
Is peat swamp worth more than palm oil plantations?
(07/16/2007) Could peat swamp be worth more intact for their carbon value than palm oil plantations for their oil? Quick analysis suggests yes, though binding limits on emissions will be needed to trigger the largest ever flow of money from the industrialized world to developing countries. At stake: the bulk of the world's biodiversity.
Glaciers in western China shrank 20% in 40 years
(07/13/2007) Glaciers in Western China have melted at "alarming" rates over the past 40 years, according to Chinese state media.
How will climate change impact the U.S. Northeast?
(07/11/2007) The Northeastern United States could experience widespread changes from global warming if greenhouse gas emission are not significantly reined in, warns a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a team of more than 50 scientists and economists.
Experts: sun not linked to current global warming
(07/11/2007) Changes in the sun's output is not linked to recently observed global warming, reports a study published in Royal Society's journal Proceedings A.
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