Climate change and global warming news for February 2008
February 29 - North America's first carbon tax
Canada's British Columbia will soon be taxing most fossil fuels, including
gas and home-heating fuel in a bid to reduce consumption. Starting from July, the tax on fossil fuel will start at $10 per ton of carbon emissions, rising to $30 per ton by 2012. This translates to an extra 7.2 cents per liter of gas by 2012.
To compensate, corporate and personal income tax rates will be reduced, and low-income families will receive an annual tax credit.
February 28 - Alaskan town sues over global warming
The Alaska Native village of Kivalina has sued 10 oil companies, 14
power companies and one coal company in a lawsuit that claims damages
from global warming. Sea ice surrounding the community is forming later
and melting sooner because of higher temperatures; leaving the community
unprotected from fall and winter storm waves and surges that are causing
accelerated erosion. Read
February 27 - Australian carbon emissions grow
The Australian Minister for Climate Change Minister has announced greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 108 percent of 1990 levels during the period 2008 to 2012 and emissions would continue to grow to 120 percent of 1990 levels by the year 2020. While Australia Australia only contributes around 1.2 percent of global emissions, it has one of the world's highest per capita emission rates.
February 25 - Dust increases by 500% in USA's west
The Western United States has become 500 percent dustier in the past two
centuries due to human activity according to researchers from the
University of Colorado at Boulder. Their study also indicates the amount
of dust falling in the West over the past century was five to seven
times heavier than at any time in the previous 5,000 years. Read
February 24 - Greenland ice loss accelerating
Though the loss of the entire Greenland ice sheet is unlikely - and would be catastrophic, the melting contributed to a sea level rise during the 20th century of around 2
millimetres a year and is accelerating.
February 23 - Truffle production down due to warming
French truffle farmers say truffle production has been reduced by 50-75 percent this winter season;
and they claim the culprit is global warming. The farmers say that if
temperatures keep rising; France's prized black truffle will disappear
February 22 - World's largest solar power plant for Arizona
Abengoa Solar has sealed a deal to construct what will be the world's
largest solar power plant. The plant, which will be located southwest of
Phoenix, Arizona, has been named Solana. It will generate 280 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 70,000 homes. Compared to current coal fired power generation, this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 400,000 tons a year. Additionally, construction of the plant will create about 1,500 construction jobs. Once operational, the solar power facility will employ 85 full-time workers.
February 21 - Chile forced to hand out water
The worst drought in 80 years in Chile has seen many wells dry up to the
point the government is now installing water tanks in the hardest hit areas and trucks come by weekly to fill them.
An agricultural emergency in some areas has been declared and it's been
reported least 120,000 people have been affected. Read
February 19: Beijing cracking down on new car emissions
From March, Beijing will ban sales of new cars that are unable to meet new emission standards. The new regulation will reduce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides by 57,400 metric tonnes during 2008.
Beijing has about 3.1 million motor vehicles on the road currently, with 1,200 new autos adding to that number each day.
February 18 : Predators moving into Antarctic oceans
The warming of the oceans has allowed some predators such as crabs
to invade the Antarctic's fragile marine ecosystem according to
scientists. Cold temperatures previously allowed sea creatures including
sea snails and large sea spiders to safely exist in the ocean. Read
February 14 : Shipping greenhouse emissions blowout
According to a leaked UN report, greenhouse gas emissions from shipping
is almost three times higher than previously estimated. Shipping is now
thought to constitute close to 4.5% of all carbon dioxide emissions. The
IPCC had previously estimated emissions from shipping activities to be
in the region of 400m tonnes annually, but the new report warns the world's merchant fleet have already reached 1.12bn tonnes of
CO2, with a further rise of 30% predicted by 2020. Read
February 13 : Global warming encourages insects.
While increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will perhaps spur on the
growth of some plants, this may be mitigated by the proliferation of
bugs. When temperature increases, the diversity of insect feeding damage on plant species also increases
according to researchers who have studied an earlier chapter of global warming in Earth's history.
This phenomenon may have a major impact on the world's food crops. Read
February 12: An early spring in the UK
The UK is experiencing very mild conditions at present and Saturday was
the warmest February 9 for over a hundred years. The relatively balmy
conditions are sparking flowers into bloom, with daffodils opening 11
days before average and the English hawthorn is expected to flower by
the end of February - nearly 2 months earlier than normal. Read
February 11: Global warming changing fashion
While the freak snow storms in China had people rugging up, throughout
the rest of most of the world, global warming is changing the way people
dress and consequently the fashion industry. With Spring arriving
earlier, autumn starting later and winter not being as harsh, fashion
designers are creating clothes that suit all seasons. Read
February 10: Scientist calls for Australian land clearing ban
A moratorium on all land clearing in Australia is urgently needed in order to contribute
substantially to addressing climate climate change, according to Dr. Clive McAlpine from the University of Queensland. Dr. McAlpine believes vegetation must be re-established in order to make the land more resilient to climate change. Dr. McAlpine's research shows that land clearing is responsible for triggering hotter droughts, and decreasing summer rainfall by between 4 and 12 per cent.
February 9 - India throws down carbon emissions gauntlet
Developed countries have long pointed the finger at China and India for
their carbon dioxide emissions resulting from massive growth; but it's
often overlooked that per capita, industrialized nations have a far
larger carbon footprint. India has said if industrialized countries bring down their per capita carbon emissions, it would reduce its threshold for carbon
dioxide output. Read
February 8 - Freak tornados kill 52 in the US
At least 67 tornados touched down in southern states on Tuesday and
Wednesday; killing 52, injuring hundreds and causing millions of dollars
worth of damage. A senior meteorologist said that to have so many
tornados so far north in midwinter was "quite unusual to say the
February 7 - Himalayan water crisis looms large
A glaciologist in India had predicted a 20 to 30 percent increase in the water flow of the Ganges in the next four decades as the glaciers feeding the river melt faster due to global warming, but this will be followed by a severe water shortage. Two billion people rely on the Himalayan glaciers for their water supply.
The effects of greatly decreased water supply could spark local and
international conflicts. Read
February 6 - Philippines incandescent bulb phase out
The Philippines plans to phase out traditional incandescent bulbs for fluorescent lamps (CFLs) which are more energy efficient and will be the first Asian country to do so. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced the plans to phase out incandescent bulbs by January 2010 at the 2008 Philippine Energy Summit.The change to CFLs will see household lighting costs falling by up to 80%, and the Phillipines annual greenhouse gas emissions decreasing by 2 million metric tons.
February 5 - Increased carbon dioxide impacts food quality
While some may feel that increased carbon dioxide levels will be of
benefit by increasing the amount of arable farmland and acting as a
stimulus for plant growth. Research suggests that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will creating poorer nutritional value in
critical crops that 40 per cent of the world's population relies for its dietary
protein and that much of the land in areas that warmed would be
unsuitable for agriculture. Read
February 4 - Rainforest destruction at 60 acres per minute
U.N. specialists estimate 60 acres of tropical forest are felled
worldwide each minute, an increase of 10 acres per minute since 25 years
ago. 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of rainforest is being
cleared each year. Forest destruction accounts for about 20 percent of
manmade greenhouse gas emissions, second only to burning of fossil fuels
for electricity and heat. Read
February 3 - London ups congestion charge for guzzlers
London already has a congestion charge, on almost all vehicles that enter parts of London, with only hybrids and gas sippers being exempt. A new scale of charges will dramatically increase for the highest polluting vehicles. Vehicles that emit in excess 225 grams of CO2 per
kilometre, will pay a massive £25($50) each to enter the zones, with many heavy 4×4 vehicles falling into that category.
February 2 - Alberta's oil sands - at what cost?
The oil sands projects of Alberta, Canada have already destroyed
over 100,000 acres of boreal forest in one area and Greenpeace believes
the exploitation is getting out of control. Oil produced from bitumen is one of the most resource intensive fuel processes around. Extracting one barrel of crude requires two to four barrels of fresh water, along with 750 cubic feet of non-renewable natural gas plus around four tonnes of sand and soil waste. The mining and upgrading of oil sands bitumen creates five times as many greenhouse-gas emissions as extracting oil from a conventional well.
February 1 - Britain claims carbon emission drop
According to the British government, UK greenhouse gas emissions were
more than 16 percent below 1990 levels in 2006. Britain, under the Kyoto
Protocol is obligated to cut its greenhouse gases to 12.5 percent below
1990 levels by 2012. It's a good result, but the numbers excluded
international aviation and shipping which don't have to be reported
under Kyoto and are substantial contributing factors overall carbon
February 1 - UN: Global warming to cost $20 trillion
Humanity has so much work to do in addressing climate change that global
investments of $15 trillion to $20 trillion over the next couple of
decades may be needed "to place the world on a markedly different
and sustainable energy trajectory" according to U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. A lawyer for Environmental Defense, said
global warming will most affect the poor and minority groups as the
wealthy have the means to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. Read
February 1 - Major water crisis for western USA
A group of climate scientists have warned of a major water crisis in
Western USA. They claim that computer models point to greatly reduced
water supply in the coming two decades. Well over half of the changes in
three key factors that play a role in the West's water cycle, namely
river flow, winter air temperatures and snow pack are reported to be due
to human-caused climate change. Read
February 1 - US wind power grows by 45%
The U.S. wind energy industry brought over 5.24 megawatts of power online last year, representing in increase of 45% in total wind power generating capacity. While the future looks bright and breezy for wind energy in the USA, there's concerns that tax benefits for some renewable energy sources could be lost at the end of 2008. Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, believes a continuation of incentives will mean tens of billions of dollars in investment and more than a 100 thousand new jobs in 2008 and is lobbying for an extension to the tax credits.