Global warming news and climate change headlines for October 2008

October 30 - China now almost 25% desert
China is now almost one-quarter desert and desertification is continuing to consume over 1,300 square miles, approximately the size of the state of Rhode Island, each year. The country's desertification crisis now affects 400 million Chinese. Read more

October 29 - Prince Charles: climate trumps credit crisis
While acknowledging the current financial crisis as being urgent, Prince Charles is yet another voice warning the world that the current economic conditions pale into insignificance when compared to the dangers posed by ignoring climate change. Read more.

October 28 - Stern compares global warming to credit crisis
The risks from not taking solid action over climate change overshadow the fallout of the global financial crisis according to Nicholas Stern, the former British economist who published a seminal report on global warming a couple of years ago. Stern stated that inaction on carbon emissions would result in economic pain equal to the Great Depression. Read more

October 27 - EU forces carbon trading on airlines
The European Union has approved a system of making airlines pay for greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon trading system will increase costs for airlines and it's expected these costs will be passed on to consumers by raising ticket prices. Read more

October 26 - IPCC - climate change underestimated
With only half of Americans polled considering human activity to be the main cause of climate change, the head of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes the news media are not sufficiently addressing the severity issue. Read more.

October 24 - Greenhouse gas more abundant than thought
Nitrogen trifluoride, which has around 17,000 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, has been found to be four times more prevalent in the atmosphere than was previously estimated. The gas is used in the manufacture liquid crystal flat-panel displays, thin-film photovoltaic cells and microcircuits. Read more

October 23 - China's greenhouse gas emissions to double
China's 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon emissions during 2007 could reach 3.1 billion tonnes and up to 4.0 billion tonnes by 2030 according to researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Global carbon emissions reached around 8.5 billion tonnes in 2007. Read more

October 22 - Our oceans to become a CO2 emitter?
The oceans of the world act as a massive carbon sink, scrubbing the air of carbon dioxide; but they are rapidly reaching saturation point and becoming more acidic. Climate change specialist Dr Ashley Johnson recently posed the scenario of a time when these saturated seas will not only no longer absorb carbon dioxide, but start emitting it. Read more

October 21 - Climate change - faster, stronger, sooner
A new compilation of scientific research released from the WWF demonstrates that climate change is occurring more rapidly than previously predicted by the IPCC. Phenomenon such as temperature increases, sea level rises and glacial melt have already outpaced predictions the world over. Read more

October 20 - Australia's carbon permit giveaway
Australia's Government could give almost $3 billion to some of the richest companies in Australia in the form of free carbon pollution permits when its cap and trade greenhouse gas reduction scheme begins in 2010. The report from the Australian Conservation Foundation says the Government has committed to protect some key energy intensive industries by giving them 30 per cent of permits free. Read more

October 19 - Severe drought creeping north in USA
Drought conditions in the USA's south are now spreading north, severely affecting Kentucky, West Virginia and south-western Virginia. In some areas relying on rivers, bottled water is being sent in. In Tennessee, conditions are so extreme, the governor has requested a federal designation of agricultural disaster for 39 counties. Read more

October 18 - UK commits to 80% CO2 emissions cut
Given that a previous target of a 60% cut on 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels is lacking given new information on global warming, Britain's energy and climate change secretary has now  committed the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Read more

October 16 - EU climate talks hit deadlock
The EU's climate change package, due to be released this year is under threat of being stalled until next year while members argue over the legislation. Last year the EU membership unanimously agreed to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent and source 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020, but they are now bickering on how the costs of meeting the targets will be shared. Read more

October 15 - Kyoto a "waste of time" say Australians
A survey has found that nearly half of Australians feel that the signing of the Kyoto Protocol was a waste of time and over 70% believe the Rudd government wasn't doing enough or could be do more to deal with the issue of climate change. Read more

October 14 - Turning carbon dioxide into fuel
Carbon Sciences has announced a breakthrough which they state can turn CO2 back into basic hydrocarbons, which can then be utilized to make fuels like gasoline. By using biocatalysis, they hope to bypass the problem of inefficient energy ratios. Read more

October 13 - 100 billion dollar carbon trading market
According to clean tech research firm New Energy Finance, The world's carbon trading market is on track to increase more than 80 percent this year to $116 billion and if the United States adopted an emissions cap-and-trade scheme, the global carbon market would turn over $3 trillion annually by 2020. Read more

October 12 - Economic woes dwarfed by deforestation
According to a European Union commissioned study the world's economy is losing far more money through deforestation than it is through the current banking disaster. The destruction of forests according to the report's author is costing economies between 2 and 5 trillion dollars a year. Read more

October 11 - Economic crisis threatens climate action
Countries including France, Germany and Austria are calling for an easing of European Union climate change action due to the current economic crisis, stating that a cautious line should be taken on making industry pay for carbon dioxide emissions. Read more.

October 10 - Iceland's unique carbon sequestration project
Iceland scientists have developed a variation on carbon sequestration whereby instead of CO2 being injected into the ground as a gas, the Iceland Carb-Fix project aims to store carbon dioxide by creating carbonate minerals in the subsurface. The technology will be trialed at the geothermal power station at Hellisheidi, where 83 percent of emissions generated are CO2. Read more.

October 9 - Deadly diseases spread by climate change
Health experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society have warned that diseases deadly to both humans and animals such as avian influenza, Ebola, cholera and tuberculosis could spread into new geographic areas due to the effects of climate change. Read more

October 7 - China pessimistic about climate change talks
Yu Qingtai, China's envoy for climate change talks, states negotiations are troubled and could end in disastrous failure, saying rich countries are not fulfilling commitments and citing excuses of financial crises in order to avoid doing so. Read more.

October 6 - Peru's farmers struggling with climate change
All the world's potatoes originated over 10,000 years ago from a single ancestor found on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. Of the 3,000 varieties globally, 2,000 are found in Peru. Up until recently, Peruvian farmers could plant potatoes all year round, but lack of rainfall, increasing temperature, pests and disease are now ravaging crops. Read more

October 5 - Penguins wash up near equator
Over 1,000 penguins have washed up on the shores of Brazil this year, further north than ever, with some appearing just 400 miles from the Equator. The unusual event is thought to be caused by changes in water temperatures creating confusion the birds'  migratory routes. Other theories postulate melting ice in Antarctica has strengthened the Malvinas Current, which has then drags the penguins away or that that oil spills and over-fishing have depleted the penguins' fish stocks, forcing them to hunt further away. Read more

October 4 - In the midst of the sixth great extinction
Animal and plant species are disappearing at unprecedented rates between 100 to 1000 times higher than the average rate over millions of years at which species have become extinct. Some of this is being caused by climate change related issues. The situation is prompting some scientists to declare the earth probably in the midst of the sixth great extinction. Read more

October 2 - France proposes weaker auto CO2 reduction
France, which holds the presidency of the European Union until the end of this year, has proposed diluting plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars by phasing in limits up to 2015. Greenpeace has protested the proposal, believing that rather than limiting emissions, it would give auto makers the ability to increase average CO2 emissions across their fleet. Read more

October 1 - Meat rationing to combat climate change?
According to a government funded study by the UK Climate Network, milk and meat should be rationed in order to avoid dangerous climate change. The organization believes that by the middle of this century, milk should be limited to a quarter of a pint a day and only four small portions of meat a week be allowed. Read more

October 1 - Prince Charles laments climate change action
Prince Charles has recently stated the world is not reacting quickly enough to climate change and that action cannot be anything less than "courageous and revolutionary". The Prince believes the most urgent issue to be address is the continued loss of the world's tropical rainforests. Read more

October 1 - Emissions cuts to add 37% to power bills
The Australian Government advisor on climate change, Professor Ross Garnaut projects that emissions cuts stabilising carbon in the atmosphere at 450 parts of CO2 per million will add approximately 37% to the cost of electricity to Australian consumers.  Read more

October 1 - Kangaroo - low emission meat consumption
Climate Advisor, Professor Ross Garnaut, has suggested in his final report on climate change that the nation's farmers should switch to the low-emission meat option of kangaroo. Professor Garnaut pointed out that kangaroo meat has been a staple of indigenous peoples for tens of thousands of years and given Australian marsupials emit negligible amounts of methane from enteric fermentation, this could have a significant positive impact on Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. Read more