These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.
They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.
The disconnect between climate policy and scientific reality
There is a dangerous disconnect between climate policy and scientific reality, according to Ian Dunlop of the Policy Development Centre.
Climate change is not just another policy item on the normal agenda, it is a transformative issue which has life-and-death consequences. This is not a time to follow Bismarck’s advice that“politics is the art of the possible”, as Combet suggested. Quite the reverse; we need leaders who can see that what was politically impossible will shortly become politically inevitable.
The continual emphasis on the economy as the main game, with climate change grudgingly considered as an optional extra, ignores the fact that unless we address climate change fast, the economy will be in tatters err long.
The government and the opposition are both missing the boat, according to Dunlop, and the NGOs are no better, settling into going with the flow in order to get something started.
Coal power on the way out in the US?
Climate Progress tells us that:
38 coal plant projects were dropped or delayed in 2010, up from 26 the year before and 27 in 2008. Meanwhile, power producers announced plans to retire 48 existing plants this year, four times as many as in 2009 and 12 times as many as in the year before that.
Retirements announced this year equate to roughly 4 percent of the nation’s total coal-fired capacity.
Meanwhile Ernst & Young report that clean technology investments will continue to accelerate next year all on a world basis after building momentum this year.
And by the way, oil hit $90 per barrel for the first time in over two years.
The US will boldly lead the world to catastrophic climate change in the next 25 years
That’s according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). They predict that energy-related CO2 emissions will increase by 16% by 2035.
Obama should do something, but the other lot are heading in the opposite direction. House Energy chair Upton calls EPA climate change plan ‘unconstitutional power grab’. He doesn’t believe carbon is a problem in need of regulation.
Climate Progress has more.
Upton once considered a “moderate on environmental issues,” but has worked hard to refashion himself as a hard-right defender of pollution in recent months.
Whatever it takes, I guess.
Obama is in fact trying
Yep, he’s pushing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants amid opposition from industry and Republicans in Congress.
Simple rebuttals of climate change sceptic talking points
Climate Progress is re-posting some stuff from Skeptical Science, including rebuttals of climate change sceptic talking points. You may recall their Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism.
They do good work.
Agriculture will cope with climate change: study
I don’t know whether this one is good news or false hope. They studied wheat growing in North America from 1839 to 2007.
Eastern Ohio was the geographic centre of wheat production in 1839 but by 2007, west-central South Dakota assumed that position.
Farmers in US managed to grow 26 times more wheat in 2009 while in Canada, there was 270 times increase.
Wheat actually moved farther west and moved farther north digging roots into regions of harsher climates; drier and colder climates, a researcher told.
They do say that drier climates in Africa are going to be a problem. I thought dry was going to be the lot of the southern parts of the US.
Also wet can be a problem as we are finding in Qld this summer. Certainly greater variability is a problem for dry-land farming.
Polar bears are not doomed
That’s if we reach peak emissions by 2020 according to model runs.
The real story here is whether the Arctic ice melt will reach a tipping point, or whether it will respond positively and reverse as emissions concentrations peak and reduce.
I’ve always suspected the latter, simply because in the past we have had fluctuations before involving part-melts with relatively weak natural forcings.
The carbon trading HFC scam is still happening
Last week [the article is from 16 December], at the climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, India successfully opposed the adoption of a provision that would have called for action to limit the production of HFC gases.
This New Scientist article tells you why. There is simply too much money to be made.
The environment year in review
John Vidal in The Guardian does the environment year in review for 2010.
It’s not all bad.