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 permafrost giant is stirring
We predict that the PCF [permafrost carbon flux] will change the Arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid-2020s and is strong enough to cancel 42–88% of the total global land sink. The thaw and decay of permafrost carbon is irreversible…
…once the permafrost carbon thaws and decays, no process on human time scales can put the carbon back into the permafrost.
no climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra.
Read all about it at Climate Progress.
Republicans try to defund NOAA’s satellite program
The GOP’s bill would tear $1.2 billion (21 percent) out of the president’s proposed budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
The Republican leadership has proposed sweeping cuts to key programs across the climate change, clean energy, and environmental spectrum. They have also decided that accurate weather forecasting and hurricane tracking are luxuries America can no longer afford.
Again, the story is at Climate Progress
Extinction and Climate
When the planet warms a lot in a relatively short period of time, a particularly nasty condition can develop in the oceans, known as anoxia. Since the polar regions warm more than the equator, the temperature difference between latitudes decreases. As global ocean circulation is driven by this temperature difference, ocean currents weaken significantly and the water becomes relatively stagnant. Without ocean turnover, oxygen doesn’t get mixed in – and it doesn’t help that warmer water can hold less oxygen to begin with. As a result of this oxygen depletion, bacteria in the ocean begins to produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S) instead.
Which, of course, is rotten egg gas.
A reminder of what ‘business as usual’ means
18 climate scientists sent a letter to US Congress urging them to “take a fresh look at climate change” and the threats that it poses to the USA and the world.
This inspired a group of “skeptic” scientists to issue a “rebuttal” claiming that because warming so far had been manageable, the prudent path forward is business as usual. Skeptical Science reminds us what BAU means in the context of Northern Hemisphere temperatures over the last 1500 years using IPCC projections:
Not prudent at all. Rather risky, in fact. Looks like turning a corner on the path to perdition rather than a famous piece of sporting equipment.
Skeptical Science has a series of posts pointing out ‘prudent path’ errors.
Be prudent in where you invest
Climate change could put trillions of investment dollars at risk over the next 20 years, a global study released on Wednesday said, calling for pension funds and other investors to overhaul how they allocate funds.
That’s according to a story from Reuters.
The Investor Group on Climate Change in Australia, which represents about $600 billion in assets under management, said stronger climate change policies were needed to drive emissions-cutting investments and reduce longer-term risks.
“Weather events like the recent floods in Australia will continue to impact infrastructure, food security and property, contributing to material portfolio risk for institutional investors,” Chief Executive Nathan Fabian told Reuters.
Australia’s extreme weather
…is being used as an example of the effects of climate change around the world according to a post by John Cook at The Guardian.
It’s not appropriate to say global warming causes a particular weather event. But it’s equally false to say global warming has no effect on weather. Yes, we’ve had floods and heavy downpours in the past, well before modern global warming. But now the odds of heavy downpours and floods are increasing.
In fact, our physical understanding of climate tells us global warming will cause the water cycle to grow more intense. This means both more heavy downpours and more intense drought. As temperatures rise, the ground dries out faster, causing droughts to get worse.
In effect the dice is being loaded in favour of extreme events. We are breaking temperature records on the high side twice as often as on the low side.
Rising seas spurred by climate change could threaten 180 US coastal cities by 2100
That’s according to a new report looking at the impact of a sea level rise of about 3 feet (1 metre) by 2100.
Rising coastal waters threaten an average of nine percent of the land in the 180 coastal cities in the study.
Miami, New Orleans, Tampa, Florida, and Virginia Beach, Virginia could lose more than 10 percent of their land area by century’s end, the study found.
Europe’s new energy strategy could lead to a 25 percent cut in greenhouse gases by 2020
And ultimately cut fuel import bills roughly in half, according to a draft strategy paper.
Now that’s positive news for you.
Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard is expected to present the strategy next month, and is likely to emphasize the EU still stands by its offer of moving to a 30 percent cut, if other big players such as China and the United States follow suit.
Investing in greener economy could spur growth
In more positive news, the UN says
Channeling 2 percent, or $1.3 trillion, of global gross domestic product into greening sectors such as construction, energy and fishing could start a move toward a low-carbon world.
The investment would expand the global economy at the same rate, if not higher, as under present economic policies, said the report by the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP).