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.
Beware the collapse of the planet’s lungs
Amazon drought is consistent with what scientific models predict for a warmer globe.
Normally, rainforests function like great carbon sinks, absorbing a large proportion of the CO2 that human activity produces. But in 2005, thanks to deforestation, the Amazon became a net emitter of carbon dioxide. In that year, the rainforest is estimated to have emitted some 5 billion tonnes of CO2, almost as much as the entire output of the United States.
Fears of an Amazon ‘climate tipping point’
Damian Carrington in The Guardian tells us:
Billions of trees died in the record drought that struck the Amazon in 2010, raising fears that the vast forest is on the verge of a tipping point, where it will stop absorbing greenhouse gas emissions and instead increase them.
The dense forests of the Amazon soak up more than one-quarter of the world’s atmospheric carbon, making it a critically important buffer against global warming. But if the Amazon switches from a carbon sink to a carbon source that prompts further droughts and mass tree deaths, such a feedback loop could cause runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences.
Carrington is reporting on a new study published in Science.
The 2005 drought was considered a 1 in 100 year event. It seems the 2010 drought may have been worse.
Mario Piperni relates the issue to the US and concerted action by Republicans to counter climate change action.
No ‘mass migration’ with climate
A new report claims that climate change will not lead to significant mass migration.
On closer reading of the BBC story, however, that might be an oversimplification of the report’s findings. The prediction in 1989 of 50 million environmental refugees by 2010 may have been over-hyped, but Dr Tacoli, the lead author, states that a 2001 estimate that approximately 25 million people could be classified as environmental refugees could not be verified. Refugees can be internal and internal statistics are hard to come by in some countries.
Also there is a clear implication that displacement through climate change will increase in the future.
Climate migration a concern in the Asia Pacific region
That’s according to the Asian Development Bank.
“Migration due to climate change demands attention” also said no international mechanism has been created to manage millions of people on the move.
“Protection and assistance schemes remain inadequate, poorly coordinated, and scattered. National governments and the international community must urgently address this issue in a proactive manner,” it said.
Failure to do so risked costly humanitarian disasters, the report concluded.
The report was particularly concerned about the poor and Asia’s mega-cities, which are especially vulnerable. Moreover they have limited capacity to absorb still more migrant populations.
Peal oil is now
The US was told in 2007 according to Wikileaks. Saudi oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.
See also The Oil Drum.
Update: Robert has a separate post on this item.
Australia’s emissions projected to rise sharply
That’s according to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency:
Modelling done by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency shows Australia is way off track in achieving a reduction in carbon emissions over the next decade.
In fact it predicts emissions will rise steeply, to as much as 24 per cent by 2020 if Australia continues with business as usual.
There’s way to solve the problem according to Greg Combet – put a price on carbon. Does Combet see any other measures as necessary? Possibly not, from the way he’s been talking lately.
It seems the government is going to retain industry assistance in the new scheme.
Giles Parkinson details how the task just got harder. New coal fired power stations? Unbelievable. Increased emissions for coal and gas exports? Only too believable.
Can the RET meet its mark?
Yes and no according to two reports commissioned by the federal government.
I note that the reports have different assumptions about the growth in electricity generation. One says 18%, the other 24%.
There seems to be a large dependence on wind power.
Climate skeptics – Charlie’s on their case
Prince Charles blasts climate-change skeptics at a conference in Europe.
“Their suggestion, that hundreds of scientists around the world … are somehow unconsciously biased, creates the implication that many of us are secretly conspiring to undermine and deliberately destroy the entire market-based capitalist system,” he said.
I thought it was a conscious scam that was being perpetrated!
Climate Commission announced
Here in Oz the empire strikes back with the announcement of a Climate Commission, which I’ve detailed in a separate post.