Global warming and climate change news for August 2007

August 31 - Triple digit heat causes electricity squeeze
For a second straight day, California energy demand was 1,000 megawatts above forecasts due to triple digit temperatures in the state. If that trend continues on Thursday, California will set all-time record for electricity demand and come close to using all electricity reserves available to the state. Read more

August 31 - Australian consumers and global warming
According to a study by the Australian Conservation Foundation, shopping is a major contributor to increased water use and greenhouse gas emissions - and Sydney's most affluent people have been singled out as culprits. The report states that every dollar of consumption by this group was responsible for 720 grams of greenhouse gas emissions and 28 litres of water consumption. Read more (PDF)

August 30 - Northwest passage free of ice
Since August 21 the North-West Passage, usually littered with large chunks of ice,  is open to navigation - the first such occurrence since monitoring began. This global warming related phenomenon was expected, but has occurred much sooner that scientists expected. Read more

August 30 - Drought catastrophe looms over Australia
Despite recent rains in some parts of the country, the drought rages on in many parts of Australia and with summer about to make its presence felt, the nation's food bowl is poised on the brink of disaster due to high temperatures and the lack of water.  Read more

August 29 - Green investments crucial to climate battle
With an estimated $20 trillion to be invested in energy infrastructure between 2007 and 2030, over 1,000 renewable energy experts are meeting in Vienna this week to devise strategies to ensure that the maximum amount of that figure is routed into projects that will efficiently generate clean energy. Read more.

August 29 - Rapid change exacerbates climate issues
According to the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, rate of change in relation to global warming is just as worrying as the amount of temperature increase as organisms and systems may not be able to adapt fast enough to reduce impact. Rapid climate change will increase the possibility of large and irreversible changes, such as a slowing down of the Gulf Stream and the Greenland ice sheets melting. Rapid change also increases the risk of sparking positive feedback mechanisms that will increase the rate and level of temperature change still more. Read more

August 28 - China drafting new emissions laws
In attempt to meet promised cuts in emissions of major pollutants by 10% by 2010, China has begun reviewing new laws designed to boost energy saving and emissions reductions. China has also acknowledged that their energy consumption per unit of production in industries such as steel and cement are far higher than in more developed countries. Read more

August 28 - A climate related domino effect on Isle Royale
Warming of the Lake Superior area is allowing ticks to survive through winter months and on Isle Royale, these ticks are decimating the moose population. This in turn is impacting on wolf numbers. Read more

August 27 - Disaster still looms for New Orleans
Located as much as 17 feet below sea level in places, New Orleans continues to sink by up to an inch a year. Hurricane Rita and Katrina together destroyed 217 square miles of coastline, leaving the city even more susceptible to further damage from hurricanes and global warming related sea level rises. In fact, some say a weak Category 2 storm could reflood the city.Read more

August 27 - UN sees hope for broader climate change plan
The United Nations believes broader long-term action to fight global warming beyond the Kyoto Protocol is a possibility and that a meeting on climate change starting tomorrow will be a critical indicator of the willingness of countries to go beyond talk and act. Representatives from 100 countries will participate in discussions led by the top two emitters, the United States and China. Read more

August 26 -China to spend $176 million tackling pollution
The Chinese government will invest over 1.33 billion yuan (US$176 million) to reduce emissions and address environmental issues around the country. Charges to industry on emissions of sulphur dioxide, a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming, will also be doubled within three years. Read more.

August 26 - EPA backs down on tighter refinery emissions
Air pollution and emissions from crude oil refineries in the USA are at an acceptable level according to the US Environmental Protection Agency and do not require tighter controls. Read more

August 25-Australia climate change shoreline impact model
The Australian government has provided 5 years of funding for a project to model the impacts of climate change on the coastline of the entire country. The project will calculate the impact of storm surges, floods and tsunamis on Australia's coastal infrastructure, communities and ecosystems. Read more

August 25 - Russia peatlands fires causing thick smog
Peat bogs around Moscow that were drained early in the 20th century have been been catching light during summer months; spewing smoke into the atmosphere and enshrouding Moscow. Hotter temperatures due to global warming are increasing these occurrences and particles from the smoke from the fires further exacerbates the problem. Read more

August 24 - Hearing concludes global warming hysteria driven
Three of the four panelists in a Georgia state House hearing about global warming concluded that much of the information about the problem is being driven by hysteria and predicted catastrophes are not going to occur. Read more

August 24 - China facing climate change related food issues
Global warming could cause grain harvests in China to fall by 5 to 10 percent by 2030 according to an official from the country's meteorological bureau. Warmer weather shortening growing periods, increased evaporation, pests surviving winters coupled with a growing population will put added strain on a country already struggling to feed its people. Read more

August 23 - Western Climate initiative commits to cuts
The Western Climate Initiative group, consisting of 6 US states and Canadian provinces, have committed to reduce emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The group, headed California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was formed to bypass the Bush administration on regulating greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Read more

August 23 - Bush administration ordered to release reports
A US judge has ordered the Bush administration to release two scientific reports on global warming after environmental groups sued the White House for not producing the documents. US law law requires an updated climate change plan every three years and the last one was tabled in 2003. Read more

August 22 - New islands appearing as Arctic ice melts
Islands never seen before are becoming visible off Norway, Greenland and Canada as Arctic summer sea ice recedes to levels never witnessed before; raising the specter that global warming is accelerating faster than the United Nations predicted. The director of the British Antarctic Survey states the Arctic may be ice free during summer by the middle of this century. Read more

August 21 - Climate change impacting UK birds
The State of the UK’s Birds 2006 report states wintering populations of some species are declining because of climate change. As winters become milder, it appears that some birds are not flying as far as the UK to find suitable conditions. Read more.

August 21 - Lake Tahoe threatened by global warming
Global warming is taking its toll on Lake Tahoe, a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the United States, according to researchers. Already under stress through years of deforestation on its banks, air temperatures in the lake area are rising, rain is replacing snow, and lake water temperatures have hit record highs. It's estimated it would cost between $2 billion and $3 billion over the coming 10 years to stabilize the lake. Read more

August 20 - US heat wave kills 44
A heat wave that's been scorching Southeast and Midwest USA has killed at least 44 people. As of Saturday, Memphis has experienced nine straight days of triple-digit temperatures. Read more. Read more

August 20 - Global warming - the naked truth
A Greenpeace campaign aimed to help raised awareness of global warming saw 600 volunteers pose nude on Switzerland's rapidly diminishing Aletsch glacier for photographer Spencer Tunick a couple of days ago. Switzerland has approximately 1800 glaciers, almost all of which are shrinking and Greenpeace states that if global warming continues at the current rate, most glaciers around the world will disappear by 2080. Read more

August 19 - Energy related innovation and big business
If a company leaves an invention on the shelf that could provide substantial energy savings to the world - should there be severe legal consequences? This question is raised in connection with General Electric and the invention of the CFL. Read more

August 19 - GreenPeace slams climate change statement
After reviewing a leaked copy of the draft climate change statement prepared for the upcoming APEC conference, GreenPeace Australia has lashed out its reported "business as usual" approach to global warming. Read more 

August 18 - Hot river water shuts down nuclear reactor
As a result of a heatwave afflicting South Eastern USA, the Tennessee Valley Authority found it necessary to shut down one of it's reactors at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant on Thursday because water drawn from the Tennessee river to cool the reactor exceeded a 90-degree average. Read more

August 18 - Avoided deforestation incentive proposal
The Coalition of Rainforest Nations have told the UN climate change summit in Kenya that they should be rewarded for the rainforest they have left undisturbed. The coalition has also hinted to the possibility of increased deforestation if their demands aren't met. Their proposal for incentives for 'avoided deforestation' states the scheme should be adopted after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Read more

August 18 - Synthetic volcano eruption solution risky
An idea to fire particles of sulfur into the atmosphere in order to mimic the effect of a massive volcanic eruption is incredibly risky a recently released study says. Advocates say the concept would help filters the sun's rays and buy some time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) states that based on the effects of previous major volcanic eruptions, it would also reduce rainfall and cause drought. Read more

August 17 - World approaching ice sheet melt tipping point
An increase in temperature of just 1 degree Celsius could trigger the beginning of the irreversible collapse of the Greenland ice sheet according Professor Tim Lenton. Nearly three quarters of this increase was already due to occur through global warming and is only being held temporarily at bay by time lags in the climate system says the professor. Read more

August 17 - China's desertification crisis deepens.
Mao Zedong's belief that man must "use natural science to understand, conquer, and change nature" as part of the Great Leap Forward has backfired and deserts are closing in on some farming communities. In a bid to stem the advancement of sand dunes, over 10,000 residents of Minqin County are now being evacuated by the Chinese government so that their fields can be replanted with native grass. Read more

August 16 - North Korean flood disaster
North Korea, already facing struggles to feed its people, has been hit with massive flood that's estimated to have affected over 300,000 people, destroyed 30,000 houses, 800 public buildings and 540 bridges and sections of railway. Over 11 per cent of rice and maize fields across the country have been submerged, buried or washed away, along with 200 pumping stations. Read more

August 16 - NASA error heats up global warming debate
Just when you thought that the acceptance of global warming was a done deal, a blogger uncovered an error in NASA's methods for recording US temperatures which has bumped up the level of discussion that climate change science is unsound. Read more

August 15 - Carbon market may encourage deforestation?
The current carbon market might encourage the destruction of some of the world's biggest forests according to a recent study. Some countries, which account for twenty percent of Earth's intact tropical forests, don't receive financial incentives for maintaining existing forest's. The study's author suggests this may encourage them to start cutting trees in order that they be allowed to participate in carbon cap and trade programs. Read more. Read more

August 15 - The World Bank and global warming.
The Bush administration, via Paul Wolfowitz, has continuously prevented efforts by the World Bank to incorporate global warming as a factor during the approval process for major investments in industry and infrastructure according to the Government Accountability Project. Read more

August 14 - Britain to miss 20% renewable energy target
Contrary to the UK government's claims to be world leaders on climate change, it's been reported that some government officials state Britain will miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a huge margin. Officials at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, believe the best that can be achieved is 9% of energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydro-electric power by 2020. Read more

August 14 - Fewer frosts in New Zealand
Since the 1950s there has been an average of three fewer frost days per decade in New Zealand as a result of global warming. Scientist Jim Renwick predicts that low-lying parts of the North Island will be frost-free by later this century; which could spell disaster for the citrus industry as fruit trees use frost as a signal to bud. The warmer temperatures will also allow pests to survive that would usually be killed off by frost. Read more.

August 13 - Aussies embrace green power
Nearly 8 per cent of Australian households pay more for their electricity to ensure it comes from renewable resources. This trend is preventing 4.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions entering the atmosphere annually and is the equivalent of taking over 900,000 cars off the road. Read more. Read more

August 13 - Coral die-off worse than  thought.
A broad survey of the world's largest reefs indicates that the destruction of coral is occurring more rapidly over a wider area than researchers previously thought. Over the past twenty years, coral has disappeared at five times the rate of Earth's rainforests. Global warming, pollution from urban and agricultural runoff and damage caused by fishing remain the likely culprits. Read more

August 12 - Cities increase storm intensity
A new study suggests that summer thunderstorms in cities are more intense than those in rural areas. The increased intensity is thought to be due to the heat island effect, buildings creating disturbances in air flow and the increased presence of aerosols. Read more

August 11 - Arctic ice at record low
A University of Illinois researcher has announced that as of two days ago the Arctic broke the record for the lowest recorded ice area in recorded history and with over a month of melt likely this year, it's almost certain that the previous 2005 record will be annihilated. Read more

August 11 - Mexico's vanishing glaciers
When you think of glaciers, Mexico probably doesn't spring to mind, but glaciers atop Mexico's tallest mountains may last only another 20 or 30 years due to global warming; according to a glaciologist at Mexico City's UNAM university. On a mountain that can be seen from Mexico City, glaciers have shrunk about 70 percent since 1960. Read more

August 10 - Global warming surge after 2009
A study by researchers at Britain's meteorology office states that natural forces will somewhat offset temperature rises caused by human activity up until 2009 and that after that time the full impact of global warming will set in, with at least fifty percent of the following fiver years to be hotter than 1998, which was the warmest year on record. Read more

August 10 - Faster ocean waves due to climate change?
Researchers from Canada state that giant planetary waves could be travelling 35% faster across the world's oceans by the end of this century due to climate change.  Furthermore, these waves may already be moving close to 10% faster than their pre-industrial rate. The impact of this may affect the distribution of marine nutrients, carbon exchange, large ocean currents and weather patterns. Read more

August 9 - Australia headed for warmer start to spring
The outlook temperatures averaged over August to October shows a moderate to strong shift in the odds towards warmer than normal conditions over most of southeastern Australia according to the nation's Bureau of Meteorology. Read more

August 9 - Freak storm and tornado hit NYC
One person was killed and five injured when strong winds, a possible tornado and heavy rainstorms moved through New York City in the early morning. The Sunset Park neighborhood in Brooklyn lost as many as 40 percent of its trees and up to three inches of rain was dumped in an hour. Read more

August 9 - Gore attacks climate change naysayer funders
Comparing it to the tobacco company smokescreen of bygone years, Al Gore has lashed out at organizations that fund research papers and articles claiming that global warming induced climate change isn't happening or if it is, is not the result of anthropogenic (human) activity. Mr Gore says that $10 million a year is spent by some of the world's largest carbon polluters in order to sow seeds of doubt. Read more

August 8 - 2007: the year of extreme weather
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), an agency of the United Nations, has said that global land surface temperatures early this year were probably the warmest since records began in 1880 and the world also experienced an unusual spate of record breaking weather events in early 2007. Read more

August 8 - India - the climate change reality
A top United Nations official has again warned that climate change could destroy vast swaths of farmland in India, adding to the major challenges already faced by impoverished people who depend on the land for basic survival. Even a small jump in temperatures could see the loss of 18% of India's total crop yield. So far this year in India, 2 million hectares of farmland has been affected by flooding, over 130,000 houses destroyed, and more than 1,400 people killed by weather related events. Read more

August 7 - Bottle corks and carbon sequestration
The  cork oak tree provides the raw material for most of the 20 billion wine corks used every year, but synthetic corks made from aluminium and plastic threaten the traditional cork market and also the carbon sequestration benefits that the cork industry provides each year. Read more

August 6 - USA - 15% renewable energy by 2020
The US House of Representatives has passed a sweeping energy bill that requires utilities to produce 15 per cent of their power of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2020. Reaching this target will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 500 million tonnes annually. Read more

August 6 - Sea levels could rise further than predicted
One of the authors of the recent United Nations report on climate change has published a new method of estimating sea-level rises caused by global warming. Professor Rahmstorf's revised method points to higher ocean levels and a new study shows projections for sea-level rises ranging from 50 centimetres to 1.4 metres over this century. Read more

August 5 - Brazil reconsiders climate change policy
An increasing number of climatologists are warning of a “tipping point” in the Amazon being anywhere from just a few years to a few decades away. Increases in temperature and associated decreases in soil water are predicted to accelerate the desertification of the Amazonian forests. Given the number  of recent indications of climate change in the Amazon, the Brazilian government is now becoming more interested in becoming involved in negotiations to limit human-caused global warming. Read more

August 5 - Heatwaves more frequent and longer
According to data compiled from dozens of weather stations throughout Europe, heatwaves are now lasting an average of 3 days compared to only 1.5 days in the 1880's. The researchers involved with the study state the evidence points to western Europe's climate becoming more extreme, likely as a result of global warming and these trends are expected to continue to increase substantially by 2100. Read more

August 4 - 19 million displaced, 1 thousand dead to floods
Unusually severe monsoon rains in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have caused over 19 million people to flee their homes and more than 1,100 have lost their lives to the deluge. In Bangladesh at least a third of the country has been submerged by the flooding. With the monsoon season not due to end until September, the immediate outlook looks grim. Climate change models have predicted heavier rainfall events happening more frequently in these areas of the world. Read more

August 3 - US Democrats weaken on fuel efficiency
A proposal to boost vehicle mileage to 35 miles per gallon by 2019 has been withdrawn. The Democrat who sponsored the bill decided not to pursue the matter after discussions with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Another proposal that would have required cars and trucks to meet efficiency levels of 32 to 35 mpg by 2022 has also been abandoned. Read more

August 3 - Brown clouds increasing global warming
Using unmanned aircraft to capture information while flying through brown clouds of pollution that sit over southern Asia for half the year, US researchers have discovered that the section of the atmosphere containing these clouds is warming by 0.25 ºC per decade, which is over twice the warming rate at ground level. Read more

August 2 - New Zealand launches ethanol blend fuel
A 10 percent bioethanol-blended petrol for New Zealand motorists went on sale yesterday and from next year, oil companies will be required to blend ethanol into all  petrol and diesel fuels; starting at a .2 percent blend rate then increasing to 3.4 percent by 2012.  While the impacts of bioethanol are still the subject of great debate, it is generally considered useful in relation to minimizing carbon dioxide emissions as the plants grown to produce the ethanol absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, which balances the CO2 produced when the fuel is burned. Read more.

August 1 - Power plant development divides Navajo
The planned development of a coal fired power plant on Navajo land that would emit 12 million tons of carbon dioxide annually is causing great divisions within the native community. On one hand the plant would create hundreds of jobs, higher incomes and better living conditions according to the Navajo president, but some of the Navajo and environmentalists have labelled the $3 billion proposal as a lethal “energy monster”. Read more

August 1 - Climate risk featuring more on Wall Street
With climate change being the number one sustainability issue currently as it will have an effect on every economic sector, risk associated with global warming is being included in every business and investment portfolio these days. Increasing numbers of  Wall Street analysts are starting to incorporate corporate response to climate risk into their evaluations of the companies they review. Read more

August 1 - UK government launches green car site
The UK government have partnered with What Car? to make it easier for British car buyers to gauge the carbon dioxide emissions of new car models through a new site, Act on CO2. The rankings were developed using emissions data from the Vehicle Certification Agency, the DfT Agency responsible for conducting the official tests to determine CO2 emissions from cars. Read more

August 1 - New South Wales dumps coal power station plan
The government of New South Wales, Australia, will announce today its willingness to move away from coal and towards natural gas for power generation for the first time. This move isn't purely out of concern for the environment, but fears that a carbon trading scheme to be introduced in Australia in a couple of years time will make coal far more expensive than it is today. Read more.