Global warming and climate change news headlines for January 2008
January 31 - China's wild weather
Average temperatures in 2006 in China were the warmest in over half a century and 2007 produced some of the worst regional droughts in decades; with some rivers at their lowest recorded levels. 2008 has only just begun, yet large areas of central and southern China have been experiencing the most severe winter in half a century. The wild variations in weather are a sign of things to come according to some climatologists
January 30 - Sea levels rising faster than predicted
A group of scientists from the UK, Germany and US believe the rise in sea levels in decades ahead could be more pronounced than previously predicted - approximately twice as high as maximum estimates in the IPCC Fourth Assessment report. The scientists have found that sea levels rose 1.6 m per century when the Earth was last as warm as it is predicted to be by the end of the present century.
January 29 - Invasive species threaten Antarctica
Some scientists fear global warming may create conditions
appropriate for species of plants and animals that up until now haven't
been able to survive the harsh Antarctic environment. Grass was found
growing under a Japanese research station, Invasive plants have been
found near a Russian installation and a wide variety of fungi around an
Australian station. Read
January 27 - Climate change creates new geological age
A study has concluded that our planet has entered a new geological epoch because
of human influences. Some geologists maintain we have the Earth so much
over the last couple of centuries that we are now living in a new epoch called the
Anthropocene, , meaning "human influenced", with the Holocene epoch
ending around 1800. Read
January 26 - Farmers selling water instead of crops
Due to a lengthy drought and increased demand of water, some
farmers are finding it's more profitable to sell their water quota than
to grow crops. The precious fluid is so scarce in Long Beach, it's
now illegal for restaurants to serve customers a glass of water unless
they ask for it. Read
January 25 - Amazon deforestation rates soar
After a brief reprieve, the Amazon is again facing increased rates of deforestation. The Brazilian government has announced that in the last five months of 2007, 3,235 sq km (1,250 sq miles) of the
Amazon were lost. It's believed the rising prices of raw materials and commodities such as soy could be the culprit for the
sudden spike in deforestation rates. Read
January 24 - USA readying for global warming teach-in
A teach-in is a day when an entire school turns its attention to a single issue and focus the entire campus to one topic. A teach-in in the USA on January 31st January will engage millions of students and citizens with political leaders and decision makers about solutions to global warming.
January 23 - Origin Energy becomes green power producer
Australian energy retailer, Origin Energy Ltd., has secured rights to develop three 30-megawatt wind power projects in New South Wales state, with the possible development of a further 500 megawatts. Origin already has over a quarter of a million clients it supplies green power too, but up until now, that's been purchased from external contracts. Australia has about 817 megawatts of installed wind power capacity, with a further 6,155 megawatts proposed or planned.
January 22 - Arctic carbon dioxide levels reach new record
Measurements taken at a Norwegian station in the Arctic show levels of carbon
dioxide around 394 parts per million, an increase of 1.5 parts per million from
the previous high in early in 2008. Kim Holmen, research director of the Norwegian Polar Institute,
says carbon dioxide levels may increase even further before the annual peak just before the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere.
January 21 - Japan turns to the sea for wind power
Assisted by government subsidies over the last few years, over 1,300 land-based wind turbines in Japan run by regional governments and companies are now in place. Japan is now looking towards the sea,
by planning a network of offshore wind farms to tap into the gales of the Pacific Ocean.
Japan hopes that wind power will provide around 0.2 percent of the country's primary energy supply by 2011.
January 20 - Global carbon trade booming
The global greenhouse gas credits market increased 80 percent in 2007 as emissions restrictions became a priority for more companies. The carbon credit trade rose to $60 billion in 2007, a $27 billion jump from 2006 according to Point Carbon. Traded volume in the global market reached 2.7 billion tons of greenhouse emissions reductions during 2007.
January 19 - Texas: world's 7th largest CO2 polluter
Texas cranked 670 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
in 2003. That figure is more than countries including Britain and more than that of California and Pennsylvania, the second and third-ranking US states
combined. 28% of the carbon emissions are from transportation and the
"bigger is better" Texan mentality has translated to one in
four of the state's 20 million cars being a pickup truck. Read
January 18 - Clean technology investment skyrockets.
Investments into earth friendly clean-technology companies increased 44 percent to
over $5 billion last year as climbing oil prices, concerns over climate
change and backing by governments piqued interest in renewable energy.
Energy companies were the biggest benefactors, attracting
financing of $2.75 billion - Read
January 17 - World Bank and the Amazon
Friends of the Earth Brazil claim the World Bank is one of the key
players behind the skyrocketing of cattle ranching in the Amazon - identified as the greatest threat to the survival of the rainforest.
Over 74 million cattle are in the Amazon basin, outnumbering people by a
ratio of more than three to one. The industry is reported to have
generated 12 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the past
January 16 - West Antarctica losing ice rapidly
Antarctica, which has about 90 percent of Earth's ice is rapidly losing it.
While East Antarctica has not experienced any great change, in West Antarctica, ice loss has increased by 59 percent over the past ten years to around 132 billion metric tons a year, while annual loss along the peninsula has increased by 140 percent to 60 billion metric tons.
January 15 - USA Northeast winters warming up
A study of 40 years worth of data from weather stations in the USA's
Northeast region has found December to March temperatures have increased
by 2.5 degrees. Snowfall has decreased by just over 9 inches over the
same period. The decrease in snow days is thought to be due not only to
higher temperatures, but also to "snow-albedo feedback," where
less snow cover allows more heat from the sun to be absorbed by the
darker ground - much like phenomena being observed in the Arctic. Read
January 14 - Warming threatens Alaska villages
In Newtok, Alaska, tidal erosion caused by increased temperatures and the action of water advanced 80 feet in recent months. The barge landing has washed away, as has the landfill. For thousands of years permafrost along the coast has acted as a shield, but the erosion has made the village so vulnerable that the next big storm could destroy what remains.
January 13 - CO2 reduction through iron seeding doubted
The proposal of dumping large quantities of iron or other nutrients into
to the ocean to stimulate the growth of algae that will absorb carbon
dioxide has again been questioned. Researchers from Stanford and Oregon State Universities
suggest that ocean fertilization may not be an effective method of
carbon dioxide reduction. Read
January 12 - Dragonflies as climate change indicators
Three British entomologist believe the humble dragonfly should be
recognized as a key indicator of climate change impact in Britain. Over
the last ten years, a dramatic alteration in the prevalence and distribution of some
species of dragonfly has been observed. Not seen previously in the UK,
the first recorded appearance of the small Small red-eyed damselfly was
in 1999, and the species has since spread to many South East areas since
that time. Read
January 11 - Nuclear power: a global renaissance
As memories of incidents such as 3 mile island and Chernobyl fade and
the spectre of climate change looming large, nuclear powered electricity
generation is experiencing somewhat of a worldwide renaissance. Britain
has just given the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power
stations, setting no limits on nuclear expansion. While many
environmentalists once opposed to atomic energy have decided it may be
lesser of the evils we currently face, critics say the toxic waste from
nuclear power generation remains a problem for thousands of years and is
not worth the risk. Read
January 10 - Switchgrass - viable ethanol feedstock?
According to researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincolin,
switchgrass produces five times more energy than needed to grow, harvest and process it into cellulosic
ethanol. The study also found greenhouse gas emissions from cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass were 94 percent lower than
from fossil fuel production. Read
January 9 - US corn subsidies fuel Amazon deforestation
The US is the world's top producer of soy, but many American soy farmers have been making the switch to corn in order to benefit from government subsidies. In the last year, US corn production increased 19% while soy production decreased by 15%. That in turn pushed soy prices up and soy is a major crop in the Amazon region. With soy becoming even more lucrative; more of the Amazon is being cleared to plant the crop.
January 8 - Solar cell production increases by 50 percent
Production of solar cells increased to 3,800 megawatts during 2007, an estimated 50 percent jump compared to 2006. At the end of 2006 cumulative global production was estimated to be 12,400 megawatts - enough electricity to 2.4 million U.S. homes. Photovoltaic production has been doubling every two years. Production costs for thin film cells are expected to reach $1 per watt in 2010, making it competitive with coal-fired electricity.
January 7 - Australian CO2 emissions increasing
The Australian Greenhouse Office predicts total emissions will be up 9% by 2012 -
a figure which could mean penalties for exceeding the 8% Kyoto target, including tougher targets in a new global climate change treaty. The emissions
from energy production in the Australian state of Victoria have have skyrocketed by nearly 30% since 1990, due to the increased use of brown coal for power generation.
January 6 - The importance of Canada's forests
Canada's boreal forests, home to the largest population of wolves,
grizzly bears, woodland caribou, and nesting grounds for three billion
birds are also one of the last great forests on Earth. The boreal is
believed to be one of the planet's biggest carbon sinks, storing a
volume of carbon equal to 27 times the world's annual greenhouse-gas
January 5 - Biofuels worse than coal and oil?
Using biofuels made from crops could have a larger impact on the environment than burning fossil fuels, according to some recent research. While biofuels generate fewer greenhouse gases, the costs in relation biodiversity loss and destruction of farmland are very high. In a study of 26 biofuels, 12 had greater total environmental impacts than fossil fuels such as coal or oil.
January 4 - California sues Bush over emissions
California and 15 other states have launched a law suit against the Bush
administration in an effort to overturn the administration's decision
last month rejecting California implementing laws to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions generated by cars and trucks. California governor
Schwarzenegger believes that the Bush administration is ignoring the
will of millions of Californians who want their government to take
action in the fight against global warming. Read
January 3 - Climate change benefits small Canadian town
It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good; some may prosper (for a
while) from climate change. With ice-free summers in the Arctic
predicted to occur as early as 2013 and the Northwest Passage becoming
navigable for the first time in 2007, a small Canadian town called
Churchill may become a center of a new network of international shipping
January 2 - Cities and energy consumption
Over half the global population live in cities and the United Nations projects that by 2030, 60 percent of us will live in them. 200 years ago, only one city had a population of over 1 million; today 400 cities do. The mega cities of the world are responsible fo 75 percent of the world's energy consumption.
January 1 - 2007 - a top ten year for temperature
2007 is set to be one of the 10 warmest years for the contiguous U.S.,
since national records started being kept in 1895, according to
preliminary data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. The global
surface temperature for 2007 is tipped to be fifth warmest since records
began in 1880. Read
January 1 - The weather & bee colony collapse
During recent years, honey bees have been dying across North America in
unprecedented numbers. A University of California Davis apiculture
expert believes that small variations in weather caused by climate
change could be affecting the basic elements that bees rely on and in
their weakened state, causing them to succumb to viruses they may have
otherwise been able to resist. Read
January 1 - Human evolution and climate change
It's been generally accepted that modern humans arrived in Europe from
Africa and then overran the Neanderthals, or inter-bred with them, but
increasing credibility is being given to the theory that homo sapiens
evolved from the Neanderthals, with a little assistance from rapid
climate change. Read
January 1 - The year that was and the one to come
2007 was an incredible year on so many levels. Al Gore's An Inconvenient
Truth continued to penetrate the consciousness of many people; bring
global warming and climate change out of the shadows and into the light.
More ordinary folks asked "what can I do to help prevent
Green became mainstream, we saw so much progress in the field of
renewable energy and finally the prospect of clean coal, ethanol and
biofuels were shown not to be the cure for what ails us as originally
hoped. We began to learn it's not just what we consume, but how much we
My country, Australia, finally decided to start demonstrating some
serious concern about global warming after a change of government and
began the Kyoto protocol
ratification process. Now we must walk the talk.
Probably one of the biggest moments of 2007 politically speaking was
in December at the Bali conference where the small country of Papua New
Guinea voiced what many larger countries were afraid to by telling the
Bush administration to lead (properly) on the subject of climate change
or get out of the way and let other countries do so.
Much of the progress just politics and talk - but it was a year of
awakening and now we must get down to work. The squabbles will go on,
but a comment I saw on a forum between the global warming naysayers and
the "believers" summed it up nicely. It went along the lines
of "Nature doesn't give a damn what any of us think; she will do
what she needs to in order to bring things back in balance".
I don't believe the skies will fall in on us in 2008; but the storm
clouds are certainly gathering and I think we're in for a bumpy ride as
we come to terms with not so much preventing climate change from
occurring, but trying to minimize the damage and cope with its effects.
I think the New World Order isn't about humans, it's about Nature
reasserting itself in no uncertain terms.