Climate change and global warming headlines July 2007

July 31 - Global warming theory 175 years old
Global warming theory is nothing new it seems. The idea of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere trapping heat and warming the earth was first tabled in 1827, by French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourie who was trying to explain why the earth was warmer than physics would predict based just on distance from the sun. Read more.

July 31 - Global warming encourages pine beetle damage
Alarm is growing that global warming has negated any sort of control over the mountain pine beetle, kept at bay by cold winters. While a natural part of pine tree ecosystems in western North America; the pine beetle is able to do incredible damage to forests - especially if warm weather extends its life-cycle and consequently, broadens its range. Read more.

July 30 - 1 million trees planted in Australia yesterday
Planet Ark's National Tree Day is Australia's biggest community tree-planting event. Since the activity started in 1996, over 10 million native trees and shrubs have been planted by volunteers numbering a million. It's a great effort given the country's population of just over 20 million. Another 1 million trees were expected to be planted by the end of yesterday's event. Read more.

July 30 - Lake Superior heating up and shrinking
Lake Superior in the USA/Canada is the largest freshwater lake on our planet. At 31,820 square miles, it's bigger than the state of Carolina. According to researchers, the Lake has experienced a 4.5 degree Farenheit temperature increasse since 1979. Over the last year, the lake level has fallen a foot and this fall it's expected to drop in level another 3 inches - the lowest point in eight decades. Read more

July 29 - Nevada Senator fights coal station plans.
Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid is committed to fighting tooth and nail to prevent the construction of three proposed coal-fired power plants in his state. The plants would produce about 3.9 gigawatts of electricity, enough to service over one million households, but would also generate massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other toxic emissions. Read more

July 29 - Rice crop yields dropping
Rice accounts for twenty percent of the world's caloric intake; however stocks of rice are at their lowest levels since the 1970s when famines racked Asia. Rice yields are flat-lining due to exhausted soil and water shortages. Research scientists are scrambling to find solutions in order to head off starvation and to reduce the negative impact rice farming has on the environment. Read more.

July 28 - Plankton as carbon dioxide sponges 
A US company is planning to dump a hundred tons of iron dust into international waters off the Galápagos Islands very soon. Iron encourages plankton growth, but creating plankton blooms to absorb carbon dioxide is creating a great deal of debate in the scientific community with some scientists and regulators not only questioning if it will work, but if it does, the possible ecological consequences. Read more

July 28 -USA power generation CO2 emissions
Carbon dioxide emissions from power stations in the USA are currently at around 2.5 billion tons per year. This could rise a massive 34 percent by 2030, according to a report from Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). The EIP's study states that 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the USA originate from electricity generation. Read more (PDF) 

July 27 - Alaskan oil wells under threat from erosion
Old oil wells in Alaska are posing a substantial environmental threat. As global warming speeds up the melting of sea ice; which protects the area from storm waves and maintains the permafrost binding the land together, massive erosion is occurring along the shore line where old exploration wells are located. According to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management 30 wells need to be cleaned and plugged before the ocean engulfs them - at a cost around $20 million per well. Read more

July 27 - Ozone: a global warming double whammy
Ozone in the lower levels of the atmosphere has been on the increase due to emissions from vehicles and general industry. While ozone is a greenhouse gas itself, it also dampens the ability of plants to absorb carbon dioxide. Researchers have reported that continuing increasing ozone levels could dramatically decrease crop yields and increase global warming this century. Read more

July 26 - Using dogs to work around climate change 
A report on dealing with climate change prepared for a Canadian regional government outlines amongst its recommendations the increased use of the Inuit's traditional mode of transport — dog sleds. Modern transport, such as the Skidoo is becoming a safety issue because ice in the region is becoming thinner and more unstable. Read more

July 26 - Uganda's coffee under threat from global warming
Uganda's coffee crop; which generate over 50% of the country's revenue, is seriously under threat from global warming. An increase in average annual temperature of only 3.6°F (2°C) would render the majority of Uganda unsuitable for the cultivation of coffee. To complicate the problem, much of Uganda's farms have little in the way of trees to help shelter the coffee crop from the sun and many farmers are now scrabbling to initiate tree planting projects. Read more.

July 25 - Humans, global warming and rainfall
As Britain reels from the worst flooding in living memory and other countries such as China and Indonesia experience their own deluges, researchers from Environment Canada state that humans have had a "detectable influence" on changes in rainfall that can't be explained by normal climate variations. Read more

July 25 - 150 more coal fired power plants for the USA
Even though the link is well established between human activity and global warming, U.S. electricity utilities are fast-tracking development plans for 150 coal fired power plants due to inadequate supply of natural gas and rising power demand. Green groups have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the U.S. government office from funding the construction of a 250 megawatt coal fired station until information about the emissions it will generate are disclosed. Read more

July 24 - Fighting desertification in China with paper
A paper company in China, formerly a heavily polluter, is assisting in the country's battle against desertification by planting arid lands with nearly 8,000 square miles of desert willow. The willow's branches need to be cut back once every three to four years, or the tree dies and those branches are used by the company to create unbleached paper products. The company also buys 400,000 tonnes of desert willow branches a year from local farmers. Read more

July 24 - Germany's solar power success
Germany has 200 times the solar power capacity installed than  Britain and generates 12% of its electricity from renewable energy. The renewables industry has created a quarter of a million jobs - thanks largely to the FIT (feed in tariff) initiative whereby anyone with a solar, wind or hydro electricity installation feeding into the grid receives payment of four times the market rate guaranteed for 20 years. Read more

July 23 - Beef production and greenhouse gases
The production of a kilogram of beef generates the equivalent amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres according to a study from the National Institute of Livestock. A previous study found that cattle raised on grass rather than concentrated feed emit 40 per cent fewer greenhouse gases. Read more

July 23 - Malaria's range spreads in Africa
Malaria has appeared in areas of Kenya that have never experienced the mosquito-borne disease before. In Kenya's western highlands temperatures over the last 20 years have increased by about 1.8 degrees; providing mosquitos with a greater range. Read more

July 22 - Greenbox - biofuel from vehicle exhaust
Three Welsh men have developed a box that they claim can be affixed to a car to trap the greenhouse gases in exhaust and emit mostly water vapour. The captured gases can then be converted to biofuel using genetically modified algae. Dubbed GreenBox, the inventors state a capture rate of between 85 and 95 percent. Read more

July 22 - Russia to build 26 new nuclear power plants.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has given the go ahead for construction of 26 large new nuclear plants. Their completion will see double the current amount of nuclear energy derived electricity. Russia also hopes to export as many as 60 nuclear power stations in the next two decades. Read more

July 21 - Hybrid car greenhouse gas reduction potential
A recent study states that if 60 percent of the number of cars on USA roads were rechargeable hybrids, this would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 450 million metric tons a year by 2050, which is the equivalent of taking 82 million passenger cars off the road. Read more. Read more

July 21 - Another killer heatwave for Europe
Central and south-eastern Europe are currently experiencing a heatwave that has killed over a dozen people in the last week. Sizzling temperatures are also sparking forest fires and pummelling crops according to officials. Read more

July 20 - Gore: "true planetary emergency"
Al Gore, former USA vice President and the man behind the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" was a speaker at the Greentech Innovation Network summit today, which is an event that brings together world leaders and industry innovators to discuss solutions to global warming. Mr. Gore became particularly impassioned during his speech, stating that humanity is facing a "true planetary emergency" and “there should be no illusions that we are losing this battle badly.” Read more

July 20 - 160 CEOs formally acknowledge climate change
An association of 160 CEO's of prominent U.S. companies recently announced  a policy statement on climate change, acknowledging that climate change is a reality and serious threat and that action is needed immediately. The policy statement includes some recommended starting points for action. Members of the Business Roundtable include Alcoa, BP America, American Express, DuPont and Boeing. Read more

July 19 - Australian carbon emission blowout
A report from an Australian think-tank states that Australia has consumed nearly 30% of a 100-year carbon dioxide budget in just five years. According to the Australia Institute, if the international community does commit national greenhouse gas allocations are determined on the basis of population levels, it is highly unlikely Australia will be able to stay within its carbon budget for the 21st century without purchasing a substantial quantity of emission permits from other countries. Read more

July 19 - Weeds thriving on increased carbon dioxide
Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are stimulating the growth and resilience of weeds such as poison ivy and dandelions according to two separate studies. Researchers have found that when plucking leaves plants, the ones being grown under current CO2 saturation levels grew back their leaves twice as fast as those at 1950 conditions. Read more

July 18 - Japan nuclear reactor leaks after earthquake.
The recent earthquake in Japan that caused world's largest nuclear power plant to leak radioactive water into the sea and spill low level radioactive waste from fallen drums has fueled the argument from some environmentalists about why nuclear power is neither a safe or green alternative to our energy needs. Read more

July 18 - Louisiana's dead zone growing
The recurring oxygen-depleted “dead zone” situated off the Louisiana coast is predicted to grow to over 8,500 square miles this year. The dead zone is the largest one known in the world and is thought to be created by a combination of nutrient pollution and warm water temperatures. The conditions encourage blooms of algae, and oxygen is drawn out of the water when they die to a point that other sea creatures cannot survive in the area. Read more

July 17 - Climate change - the good news & bad news
We already have the expertise for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to a point that global warming doesn't pose such a threat - that's the good news. The bad news is that because of the short term costs involved and likely consumer backlash, it's unlikely to happen in many countries as politicians concerns themselves more with staying in office than passing unpopular, but very necessary laws.  Read more

July 17 - Australia cap & trade carbon system soon
A few hours ago, Australian Prime Minister John Howard stated he will soon be announcing details of a `cap and trade' emissions trading system that will help Australia substantially lower carbon dioxide. Howard also announced an extra  $627 million for addressing global warming, including funding for every school in the country to assist in the installation of solar hot water systems and rainwater tanks. Read more

July 16 - Liquid coal worse than gasoline for CO2
Liquid coal is being considered as a replacement for foreign oil. The problem is that liquid coal produces over double the global warming emissions as regular gasoline and nearly double those of diesel. Read more

July 16 - Hurricanes for the Mediterranean
Europe's coastline currently doesn't experience hurricanes, but scientists now warn that due to climate change, the Mediterranean is warming to a point that it stores enough heat to instigate the formation of its own hurricanes. Read more

July 15 - Polar bear birthing changes due to ice melt
Increasing numbers of female polar bears in northern Alaska are giving birth on dry land due to sea ice melting. US Geological Survey scientists have found that just over a third of polar bears made dens on sea ice between 1998 and 2004; but in the period 1985 - 1994 the figure was 62 percent. Read more

July 15 - South East Asia - the haze returns
The ‘haze’, thick smoke from the forest fires in Indonesia which is now a yearly occurrence has returned, affecting parts of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The fires are lit to clear land for the burgeoning palm oil industry. It's expected that another three million hectares of forest in Indonesia will be cleared by 2020; effectively wiping out what remains of the last great rainforests in the region. This presents several problems - carbon dioxide emissions from the burning itself, fewer trees to process carbon dioxide in the future and a loss of biodiversity through habitat loss. Read more

July 14 - India to develop global warming roadmap
Responding to the urgency of the challenges of climate change, India, one of the world's biggest emitters of carbon dioxide has announced the development of a national plan to address the effects of global warming. The plan will not include any overall CO2 emissions target, but will consider ways to increase energy efficiency without undermining growth. Read more

July 14 - City creates global warming coordinator role
As the threat of global warming becomes increasingly real to those in government, some cities are creating specialist positions within their administration to tackle local issues contributing to climate change and to help prepare local infrastructure from negative effects. Santa Cruz in the USA is one of those cities and recruitment for the global warming coordinator will begin in the next two weeks. The salary - up to $80k. Read more

July 13 - Climate change impacts on NE USA agriculture
David Wolfe, a professor at Cornell University, has warned that agriculture in North Eastern USA could be severely affected if global carbon dioxide emissions remain at their current levels. Among the scenarios, he says that parts of New York are projected to reach temperatures that would reduce milk production up to 15 percent during summer months. Read more

July 13 - Multiple fires in Indonesia razing tropical forests
Indonesia has around 10 percent of the world's remaining tropical forest, much of it under threat due to the burgeoning palm oil market. While the Indonesian government has made a commitment to preserve much of what remains, GreenPeace has expressed concern over satellite images showing 124 "hot spots" in Riau on Sumatra island last week where forest is being burned in order to clear the way for the establishment of palm crops. Read more

July 12 - ECX - over 1 billion tons of carbon credits served
The European Climate Exchange (ECX) passed a milestone yesterday, having bypassed trading of one billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). The ECX trades approximately 85 percent of all exchange-traded European Union Allowances. Read more

July 12 - Population control and climate change
According to a report by the Optimum Population Trust, increasing human population and consumption are are outstripping the Earth's biological capacity. By 2050,  the global population will be over 9 billions and at that point, humans will be using twice the Earth's natural capacity. The report says that given that, compulsory limits on births may become unavoidable. Read more.

July 11 - Carbon dioxide labeling on cars gaining popularity
Introduced in the UK as a voluntary initiative in 2005, at-a-glance labels detailing the carbon dioxide emissions of new cars are gaining popularity among car dealers. Of 400 dealers surveyed, 86% are now using the CO2 emission indicator labels. Read more.

July 11 - Climate change bills making insurers edgy
The threat of global warming has already generated pending legislative bills connected to natural disaster insurance that are being watched closely by the insurance industry. If the bills should pass, the added burden may be passed on to consumers as higher insurance premiums. Read more.

July 10 - Global warming - it's the sun says academic
Australian academic, Professor Lance Endersbee, states "there's a lot of nonsense being talked about carbon dioxide". The professor believes that the current warming trends have been caused by a cycle in the sun's electro-magnetic radiation and not greenhouse gases. Read more.

July 10 - Global warming to cause higher humidity
Many people can handle dry heat, but throw in high humidity levels and it becomes a different story. Warmer air has the capacity to store more water vapor and recent research has found water vapor has risen by 4% around the world over the last 30 years. Read more

July 9 - China denies loans to polluters
China's State Environmental Protection Administration has announced that banks and financial institutions will not be able to loan funds to companies within the country who fail environmental assessments and adherence to related regulations. Read more

July 8 - Western USA continues to sizzle
Forecasters see little relief in the days ahead for residents in Western USA where many cities have been enduring sustained triple-digit temperatures. Montana has experienced temperatures usually not seen until August and many temperature records previously set have been broken. Read more

July 8 - Increased clean energy investment will pay off
An additional $22 billion yearly global investment into renewable energy and away from fossil fuels and nuclear power over the next two decades could cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 in half and also save USD$180 billion annually according to GreenPeace International. Read more

July 7 - California to have world's largest solar farm
Fresno California has been announced to be the home of the world's largest solar powered electricity generation project. The 80 megawatt array will cover 640 acres and provide electricity for 21,000 homes. The farm will be 7 times larger than the current record holding installation located in Germany. Read more

July 7 - Mt. Everest a "barren rock" by 2050
The face of Mt Everest has greatly changed since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit 54 years ago. Their base camp is 40 metres lower than it was in 1953 and the glacier where their camp was established has retreated three miles since that time. Some scientists predict that glaciers in the Himalayas, which are between half a mile and more than three miles in length, will be reduced to small patches of ice within 50 years if trends continue. The runoff from the rapid melting will cause havoc for the local and wider environment. Read more

July 6 - Chinese environmental activism increases
China's State Environmental Protection Administration has received over 1800 petitions in 2007 up until May from Chinese citizens concerned about pollution -  an 8 percent rise over the same period in 2006. Related public protests and riots over related issues are also on the rise. Read more

July 6 - "Crucial" sea ice under threat
According to Australian scientists from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre and the CSIRO - the Australian government's scientific research department, global warming may threaten the development of Antarctic sea ice, possibly changing global ocean circulation. Read more

July 5 - Gaia theorist predicts major loss of human life
Dr. James Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia Hypothesis formulated in the 1960s, says that climate change will destroy most of humanity by the end of this century and turn much of Europe into a desert. Professor Lovelock also believes that the artificial sequestration of carbon dioxide will not work. Read more

July 5 - Climate change has killed 1 million already - WHO
The World Health Organization states that global warming induced climate change has already killed more than 1 million people globally since 2000, either directly or directly; with the majority of those deaths having occurred in the Asia Pacific region. Read more

July 4 - Companies without an environmental strategy
The majority of corporations in China, the United States, Canada and Britain are yet to develop strategies in improving energy efficiency according to a recent Hill & Knowlton consultancy survey. Only 66% of USA companies surveyed saw a need for a strategy. Read more

July 4 - Survey shows increasing concern over climate
A Pew survey of 47 nations has found an increase in the number of people who view pollution and environmental issues as a major global threat. Concern has increased sharply in Latin America, Europe, Japan and India. The USA and to a lesser degree, China, are being blamed for the problems. Read more

July 3 - UN developing forest preservation proposal
The United Nations is currently preparing the "Reduced Emissions from Deforestation" (RED) proposal - a carbon-trading system that would make it more financially beneficial for countries to keep their forests rather than clear them. Deforestation contributes to approximately 20 percent of human related global carbon emissions. The report will be presented in Bali in December. Read more.

July 3 - Asia needs climate change crisis preparation - WHO
The World Health Organization has alerted countries in Asia need that they need to urgently prepare to deal with climate change related disasters said to be "just a matter of time". Increasing temperatures through global warming is expected to increase outbreaks of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Read more.

July 2 - Non food crop biofuel reactor under development
California researchers are trialing biofuel production without the use of food crops or microbial fermentation. A prototype reactor is being developed that use steam, sand and catalysts convert cellulose wastes into alcohol. Approximately 30 percent of the energy content from the stock materials will provide the energy needed to operate the plant. Read more

July 1 - Alaska infrastructure costs to skyrocket
Temperatures in Alaska have increased by an average of two to five degrees in recent decades. Much of Alaska's infrastructure such as roads and pipelines will require increased maintenance and replacement due to the effects of climate change according to a recent report. An increase of expenditure in the order of 20% has been projected from now to 2030. Read more.

July 1 - 7 point global warming pledge launched
In the lead up to Live Earth, a concert that's said will attract over 2 billion viewers on July 7 and an effort to raise global warming awareness; a 7 point pledge has been unveiled on the Live Earth site. The pledge is designed to be an undertaking by individuals to take personal action in curbing global warming. Read more.

July 1 - Sweden leading the way in renewables
Over 25% of all the energy consumed in Sweden comes from renewable sources. 200,000 gallons of bootleg alcohol illegally brought into the country last year was converted into biofuel instead of being poured down the drain. 

The country even uses  animal carcasses from slaughterhouses and human faeces in the production of fuel. Biofuel is more affordable than gasoline in Sweden due to tax breaks and 1% of all cars in the country now run on alternative fuels. 

Cars certified as green don't pay tolls in Stockholm, and get free parking in many of Sweden's cities. The government also recently announced cash incentives of approximately US$1,400 for people who purchase eco-friendly cars.

The Swedish government also recently committed to becoming the world's first oil-free country by 2020. Read more