Climate change news and global warming headlines for July 2008
July 31 - 20 square kilometers of Arctic ice breaks away
In the biggest calving of Arctic ice in years, warmer weather has caused
two chunks of ice measuring 20 square kilometers to break away from Ward
Hunt Ice Shelf off Ellesmere Island in Canada. Read
July 30 - Shale and tar sands oil means even more CO2
Extraction of North America’s estimated 1.15 billion barrels of shale and tar-sand oil could increase atmospheric
carbon dioxide levels by up to 15% according to the WWF. The process of extracting oil from such resources is far more energy intensive than traditional drilling and requires three barrels of water to produce each barrel of oil.
July 29 - Soot and global warming
Most of the focus on climate change causes has been on gases such as
carbon dioxide and methane. Some scientists are arguing that one other
major component that's been left completely out of the picture is soot.
Soot is a suspension of fine solid particles in the air and since soot
is black, it absorbs heat. Read
July 28 - California's new marine diesel emission laws
California has adopted new regulations that require the use of low sulfur fuel in all vessels entering its ports. The new rules, when fully implemented, will reduce sulfur
oxide emissions by 140 tons daily, a 95 percent reduction, and nitrogen oxides will be reduced by 11 tons per day, a six percent reduction.
July 27 - Arctic's oil bonanza and climate threat
It's ironic that one of the drivers of climate change - the burning of
fossil fuels, is in abundance in the Arctic. A recent report states it may contain as much as a fifth of the world's
remaining viable oil and natural gas reserves. Up until now, it's been
safely locked away by ice. The melting of the Arctic due to global
warming is now making its treasure more accessible. Read
July 26 - China's glaciers rapidly melting
According to China's Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute,
a Tian Mountains glacier being monitored has decreased in volume by over
20% since 1962 as the temperature has increased by almost a degree
celcius. For the first time last year, temperatures in the summer
have been so high that rain rather than snow fell on the glacier. Read
July 24 - Liming the oceans to soak up carbon dioxide
Researchers with backing of the Shell oil company have refloated a previously disregarded proposal to address carbon dioxide saturations - adding massive quantities of lime to our oceans. Adding lime to seawater increases its alkalinity, which in turn improves the water's ability to scrub the air clean of carbon. There are many hurdles to clear in order for this to be viable and the long term effects of this tinkering are unknown.
July 24 - Saharan solar could power the EU
Massive arrays of solar panels could provide renewable energy to much of
Europe according to EU scientists. Northern Africa's solar radiation has
far more intensity, so a solar panel installation could generate up to three times the electricity compared with similar
installations in northern Europe. Read
July 23 - Wildfires in North America to cool Arctic?
With global warming threatening an ice-free Arctic during summer, it's
ironic that another climate change related phenomenon may prevent it
from happening. Researchers from the University of Colorado and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
believe that smoke from wildfires in North America could lessen the effect of global warming in the Arctic.
July 22 - Drying wetlands pose greenhouse gas release risk
Experts are meeting in Brazil this week to discuss the greenhouse gas
threat posed by evaporation and destruction of wetlands. The world's
remaining wetlands hold 771 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane
gas - the equivalent to what is in the earth's atmosphere today. The
drying and disturbance of these wetlands could release massive amounts
of gases into an already overburdened atmosphere. Read
July 21 - Canada aiming for 20% energy efficiency increase
Canadian premiers have pledged to achieve a 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency in their provinces by 2020. A key to reaching the goal is a cap-and-trade carbon system, which makes companies that pollute buy credits from low polluting companies.
July 20 - Gulf "Dead Zone" to reach record proportions
Excess nutrients pouring into the Gulf of Mexico are spurring on the growth of algae. When the algae die, the decaying process sucks oxygen from the water, creating "dead zones" where most marine life can't exist. Fluctuating with the seasons, this year's Gulf dead zone is predicted to be the largest on record. Researchers believe it will affect over 10,000 square miles.
July 18 - Australia tables carbon trading scheme
Earlier this week, Australia's government tabled their long awaited carbon trading scheme, to be launched in 2010, according to a green paper released by Penny Wong, climate change minister. Initially, the government would provide free carbon credits for polluting industries to allow them time to adjust. The government also proposed to offset any related rise in fuel prices with reductions in fuel taxes; leaving some to wonder if this will defeat the purpose as it's been demonstrated that costlier fuel encourages fuel consumption reduction.
July 17 - Australian vegetable glut due to warmer weather
In Australia's state of Tasmania, farmers have been scrambling to
harvest vegetable crops in the wake of an unseasonably warm winter.
While the glut means cheaper prices for consumers for the short term, it
will translate to higher prices in the months ahead due to shortages
over the remaining winter months. Read
July 16 - Global warming and kidney stones?
It seems the list of ills associated with rising temperatures around the
world never ends. Kidney stones have been found to be more prevalent in
hotter areas due to the effects of dehydration, so researchers have forecast increases of up to 30 percent in kidney stone cases in some areas
of the USA. Read
July 15 - Smog to worsen due to global warming.
Primarily a summer phenomenon, high smog levels could become common
during spring and autumn in the USA due to global warming according to
the Environmental Protection Agency. Given the department's own
findings, some believe this should compel the EPA to actively control
greenhouse gas emissions, something it has resisted. Read
July14 - Dozens of cold water fish species face extinction
According to a study by a team of UBC fisheries scientists, dozens of
important commercial fish species will face extinction by 2050 partly
due to climate change. Minor fluctuations in temperature could cause many cold water species to
die out as they attempt to seek out cooler habitats. Read
July 12 - Ice shelf collapse stuns scientists
Climate change is causing the accelerated collapse of a massive ice
shelf in Antarctica - in the middle of winter. The 14,500-
square-kilometre Wilkins ice shelf began disintegrating in earnest
during last summer, but the colder months were expected to slow the
process down. All that remains attaching the mass is a narrow ice bridge
which is now expected to collapse soon. Read
July 11 - Global warming causing California glacier growth
While glaciers around the world are disappearing due to increased
temperatures, a few such as the Mount Shasta glacier are gaining mass
due to it's proximity to the ocean and increased oceanic evaporation
July 10 - Russia to suffer from global warming effects
A recent report compiled by the WWF and Oxfam has painted a grim picture
for Russia and other ex-Soviet states in relation to climate change. Permafrost,
which covers the majority of the region, will melt creating stress on
aging critical infrastructure, rising temperatures will destroy crops and
drought and mosquito borne diseases will steadily creep northwards. Read
July 10 - G8 meeting a climate commitment fizzer
Yet another expensive, mult-national meeting on climate change, yet
another waste of money. The recent G8 summit saw leaders agree to talk
more, but that was about it - no solid action was agreed upon. Read
July 9 - Massive coral dieoff by 2050
Our oceans act as massive carbon sinks and have been bearing the brunt of increased carbon dioxide emissions for many years; but climate change and increased CO2 saturations are turning the ocean too warm and too acidic for most corals species to survive beyond the year 2050, many marine scientists now believe.
July 8 - G8 nations apply pressure to USA on CO2 targets
Climate change is a hot topic on the agenda for the current G8 nations meeting. The European Union and various environmental groups are applying a great deal of pressure on the USA to come to the party on not only a target to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, but to also commit to 2020 targets as well.
July 7 - Australia: drought the new "normal" weather
In a major report by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, high temperatures that used to occur once every couple of decades are likely to occur every couple of years by 2030. Areas currently witnessing exceptionally low rainfall will double, as will the likelihood of general drought.
July 6 - Canada's Pine beetle crisis linked to climate change
The mountain pine beetle, around the size of a grain of rice, has killed over half the
lodgepole pine forest in the middle of British Columbia; an area larger than England. Cold winters usually limit the beetle's ability to spread, but climate change has seen increased temperatures in the ara. It's feared that by 2013, eighty percent of British Columbia’s central-southern pine forest will have been destroyed.
July 5 - Australian carbon trading scheme "urgent"
In a draft report presented by Professor Ross Garnaut, Australia's government has been urged to implement a carbon trading scheme as soon as possible as being the best strategy for cutting greenhouse gas production.
July 5 - West Canadians now paying carbon tax
A carbon tax has now been implemented in the Canadian West Coast
province of British Columbia. The tax adds 2.34 Canadian cents per liter;
but some service stations are boosting prices by as much as 4 cents. The
tax assesses a fee of C$10 per ton of carbon emissions on all fossil
fuels, with an additional C$5 a ton to be added each year for the next 4
July 4 - LCD gas contributes to global warming
Almost half the televisions sold around the world this year have been
LCD units and while they have electricity saving benefits, it seems the
gas used to make LCD screens contributes to global warming. Nitrogen trifluoride
(NF3) is not reported in Kyoto targets. 4,000 tons of NF3 will be
produced in this year and that number is likely to double next year.
While that figure mightn't seem high, it's estimated to have 17,000
times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Read
July 3 - Lizard doomed by climate change
The Tuatara, an ancient reptile, faces extinction by the end of this
century due to rising temperatures. Researchers have found that based on maximum warming
predictions; the lizard which only hatches as males when nest temperature
moves above 21.5°C, will be incapable of producing females. Read
July 2 - UN Secretary urges climate agreement by 2010
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated the world must implement a new agreement on climate change measures by the end of 2009 in order to reach a goal of halving carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Ban Ki-moon believes the appropriate technologies are in place and all that is missing is united political will.
July 2 - France punishes high emission cars
France has had a scheme in place for some time now where the purchase of
high emission cars incurs an additional cost of up to $4,000 whereas the
purchase of low emission vehicles gains the buyer a bonus. Critics say
the scheme doesn't go far enough and the penalty aspect should become an
annually recurring cost. Read
July 2 - Cyprus ships in water
A tanker containing 40,000 cubic metres of drinking water has arrived in Cyprus after emergency rationing of water was implemented on the island. Cyprus is in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record. Cyprus reservoirs are currently only just over 7 percent full and the water shipment, costing over 63 million dollars, contains double the precious liquid that is currently stored on the island.
July 2 - China removing cars from Beijing roads
With China still struggling to reduce air pollution for the upcoming
Olympics and countries such as Australia opting to skip the opening
ceremony to minimize athlete's exposure to smog, the Chinese government
has taken 300,000 high-emission cars off Beijing roads on Tuesday. Beijing also states it has already taken half its government cars off the road and a slew of factory closures will take place later this month in an effort to reduce emissions.