Global warming news and climate change headlines for August 2008

August 31 - Palin "unsure" on climate change's cause
According to the Washington Post, Sen. John McCain's running mate for the next US Presidential Election, Sarah Palin, has told voters she was unsure if climate change was directly related to human activity or if was simply part of a natural warming cycle. Read more.

August 30 - Australia the worst for coal carbon emissions
Australians still top the world on carbon emissions through the burning of coal, with an average 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year per person according to the Centre for Global Development. The Centre also states that Australia is the world's eighth biggest carbon polluter overall. Read more

August 28 - Arctic ice close to all time low
Arctic sea ice has receded to the second-lowest level since record-keeping began 30 years ago; 2 million square miles below the long-term average for Aug. 26. The International Arctic Research Center warns that a new low might be recorded within weeks. Read more

August 27 - U.N - scrap fuel subsidies to help climate
According to a report from the U.N., the removal of subsidies on fossil fuel could see reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of up to 6% and also promote global economic growth. Read more

August 26 - Herbivores to eat climate change buffer?
Some climate models suggest in warmer areas, shrubs will replace grasses as the most common type of vegetation. Having woody stems, shrubs store more carbon. The proliferation of shrubbery may act as somewhat of a carbon dioxide sponge, but an increase in herbivores due to increased food supplies may nibble into that buffer. Read more

August 25 - World Bank still favoring fossil fuel projects
Just 12 months after the World Bank promised to play a bigger role in the battle against climate change, the body is now increasing financing of fossil-fuel projects around the world. Last year, the World Bank loaned $2.3 billion for fossil-fuel related projects, and $1 billion for renewable energy ventures. Read more

August 24 - Ocean survey underlines polar bears' plight
With summer sea ice in the Arctic region nearly 40% less than the long-term average; the impact has been made abundantly apparent in a recent survey which sighted 15 polar bears swimming up to 60 miles from shore. Read more

August 23 - New Greenland glacier concerns
New satellite images of Greenland have revealed a massive crack and an 11-square-mile chunk of ice calving from a major glacier; causing some scientists concern that a continuation of such events could speed up sea level rise around the planet. Read more

August 22 - Warmer weather prompts early coffee harvest
Coffee growers in Peru say that warmer temperatures and generally unstable weather are changing the coffee season, with beans now maturing up to one month earlier than usual. Read more.

August 21 - Arctic invaded by trees
Researchers from the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing state climate change is encouraging vegetation from southern Canada to extend into the Arctic tundra, with the possible consequences of upsetting the northern ecosystem. Read more

August 20 - Sea level rises underestimated
A conference in Australia has heard from a scientific advisor to the Federal government that sea level rise predictions may have been underestimated based on evidence over the past 12 to 18 months.  Professor Will Steffan, from the Australian National University, states that during this century, a sea level rise of at least 0.5 metres is a certainty, a rise of 1 to 1.5 metres is more likely and a rise of up to four metres is possible. Read more

August 19 - Water behind the world's food crisis
Global water issues are a key factor behind current global anxieties over faltering food supplies and rising food costs according to WWF Director General James Leape. Irrigation provides the water for 45 per cent of the world's food production, and without it, we could not feed our planet's population of six billion people. Read more

August 17 - World's largest solar power plant for California
Pacific Gas & Electric has signed a deal to build the world's largest solar power plants in central California. The facilities will have solar panels covering 32.5 sq km, producing 800 MW of electricity. Read more

August 16 - Frogs on the brink of a major extinction
Frogs are often considered an indicator of the health of a particular areas; the first creatures to be adversely affected by pollution or changes in climate. Amphibians made it past the last great extinction which saw the end of the dinosaur. Unfortunately, a third to half of all species of frogs are now threatened with extinction. Read more

August 15 - Australian government to buy back water
In an attempt to send more water down Australia's Murray River to save its lower lakes; Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced $3.1 billion in funding to buy back water rights from irrigators further up the Murray-Darling system. Read more

August 14 - Australia to suffer searing temperatures
Research by Scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute has found temperatures may reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees F) in northeastern India and most of Australia by the end of the century. They also forecast extreme temperatures to exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in southern Europe and the US Midwest. Read more

August 12 - Carbon capture farming
Tules and cattails that are being grown by the U.S. Geological Survey in an experiment that scientists hope will help farmers to rebuild sinking islands in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; with a side effect of sequestering huge quantities of carbon. Read more

August 11 - Atlantic to be invaded by Pacific shellfish
Two California scientists have predicted that shellfish from the Pacific Ocean could overwhelm North Atlantic species as they move into the area due to vanishing sea ice in the high Arctic. Read more

August 10 - US birds heading north 
According to researchers at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, a variety of birds in north-eastern United States are extending their breeding ranges to the north by as much as 40 miles due to the effects of climate change. Read more

August 9 - Climate change - man or God?
While 54% of people in the Philippines say man is the culprit for climate change, 23% state it's a warning or punishment from God according to a recent survey. 18% believed climate change was a natural process that regularly occurs worldwide. Read more

August 8 - Tropical rainstorms increasing
Tropical cloudbursts are increasing in frequency and severity faster than expected according to scientists from the University of Miami. Satellite data showed 2-3 times more intense downpours than predicted by current climate models Read more

August 7 - A third of China's CO2 generated by exports
While China is often the focus of scathing by environmentalists and the press over carbon dioxide emissions, a new study has found that around 33% of China's CO2 emissions are generated through the creation of goods for export; i.e. other countries have merely outsourced their own greenhouse gas emissions to China. Read more

August 6 - Australian government's $350m water buy back
In September, the Australian government release an initial tender as part of a $350 million project to buy back water from farmers in Queensland in order to boost flows in the Murray-Darling Basin - one of the nations most important waterways which has been steadily degrading and is now on the point of collapse. Read more

August 5 - Green carbon and climate change
An Australian study has found that natural forests store triple the amount of carbon dioxide than previously estimated and 60 percent more than plantation forests. Natural forests store more "green" carbon because they stored the carbon for longer than plantation forests which were cut down on a regular basis. Read more

August 4 - Heat wave closes Arctic National Park
A combination of floods, melting permafrost and erosion triggered by record temperatures has caused the closure of Auyuittuq National Park in the Canadian Arctic, which covers over 19,000 square kilometres on Baffin Island. Read more

August 2 - "Outsourced" greenhouse gas emissions
A report from the Stockholm Environment Institute has concluded that if the greenhouse gas emissions on goods created in China and imported into the UK were included in the UK's carbon footprint, the country's total greenhouse gas emissions would be 49% higher than currently reported. The same could likely be said for many western countries. Read more.

August 1 - California to sue EPA over greenhouse gases
State Attorney General Jerry Brown has stated that California will sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for ignoring its duty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, air travel, construction and agricultural machinery. Brown stated that the lawsuit has been filed because he had petitioned the EPA repeatedly without any solid action forthcoming from the department. Read more

August 1 - China - a renewable energy leader
Despite it's environmental record, China is now the global leader in renewable energy according to the Climate Group. Approximately 820 megawatts of solar panels were produced in China in 2007, second only to Japan. The country's installed renewable capacity is current at around 152 gigawatts. While many countries point the finger at China for greenhouse gas emissions, it's ironic that they have achieved this milestone without due recognition and many of the finger pointing countries have simply outsourced their emissions intensive manufacturing to China. Read more.

August 1 - NYC climate change flooding threat
As sea level rises, New York City is becoming increasingly vulnerable to storm surge flooding. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that nearly 30% of the south side of Manhattan would be flooded if a category 3 hurricane hit the city. Brian Colle, Associate Professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University believes that NYC is now playing Russian roulette with some storms. Read more

August 1 - Old cars responsible for 75% of pollution
A California study estimated that cars over 13 years old were responsible for a quarter of mileage but three quarters of all pollution from cars. Alan S. Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, has refloated the idea of a government "cash for clunkers" program whereby the government buys up old polluting vehicles. Read more