Global warming headlines and climate change news for February 2009

February 28 - Drought: California declares emergency
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency and forewarned of mandatory water rationing potentially being implemented. He has already called on urban users to reduce their water consumption by 20 per cent. California is experiencing its third consecutive year of drought. Read more

February 25 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory crashes 
A NASA satellite with the task of monitoring greenhouse gases and studying how they affect the Earth's climate crashed back to Earth about three minutes after launch early Tuesday. The USD $273 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory also would have provided more information about Earth's carbon sinks. Read more.

February 22 - Island nations plan for possible evacuation
While some people still persist in debating whether climate change is occurring, the governments of The Maldives and Kirabati, two of the lowest lying regions on Earth, are already in planning stages of evacuating their nations as the sea increasing laps at their doorsteps. Read more.

February 21 - Australian heatwave killed hundreds
The tragedy of the Australian bushfires has overshadowed an equally deadly yet less dramatic disaster - the deaths of hundreds of Australians in southern states who succumbed to the temperatures during the recent heatwave. The majority of victims were elderly or frail people. Read more

February 20 - Arctic erosion rates double in 50 years
New research reports that the rate of erosion along a stretch of Alaska's north-eastern coastline has doubled over the past 52 years. Between 1955 and 1979, the coastline retreated an average of 6.8 meters per year, then increased 28% over the next 23 years. And from 2002 to 2007, erosion destroyed 13.6 meters of land per year. Read more

February 18 - World Bank warns of looming Andean crisis
According to a report from the World Bank, climate change could cause the complete disappearance of the Andes' tropical glaciers within the next 20 years, putting millions dependent on melt water from the glaciers at risk. Read more

February 17 - EPA official advocates geoengineering
A top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientist has advocated the possible use of drastic and highly controversial geoengineering to battle global warming, stating it could potentially buy the time needed to make the necessary adjustments in energy and industrial infrastructure. Read more.

February 16 - Hansen: coal plants are death factories
James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world's foremost climate change expert has lashed out at governments for their continued support of coal. Dr Hansen believes the German and Australian governments pretend to be green and stated "These governments are not green. They are black - coal black". Read more

February 15 - Humans adding CO2 at blistering pace
A researcher from the Carnegie Institution for Science has warned humans are adding carbon to the atmosphere even faster than in the 1990s. Christopher Field told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that no part of the world had a decline in emissions from 2000 to 2008. Read more

February 14 - Australian bush fires release massive CO2
The recent bushfires in Australia have not only cause a tragic loss of life and destruction of habitat on a huge scale, but have generated the equivalent of over a third of the country's carbon dioxide emissions for an entire year. Australia's generates around 330 million tonnes of CO2 of year and according to a researcher, the bushfires of 2003 and 2006-07 had put up to 105m tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, the recent fires are burning through country that has a far higher carbon load per acre. Read more.

February 13 - Carbon dioxide levels continue to rise
The global economic crisis has failed to make any dent in the steady rise of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Levels of carbon dioxide are around the highest in at least 800,000 years, and up by about a third since the Industrial Revolution. Read more.

February 10 - South Asia water crisis worsens
Unsustainable exploitation, climate change and poor cooperation among countries are threatening river basins that sustain about half of South Asia's 1.5 billion people according to a UN environmental agency. South Asia is home to a quarter of the global population, who have access to less than 5 per cent of the planet’s freshwater resources. Read more

February 9 - Australia burns and floods
A land well known for extremes, Australia is now currently facing a somewhat unique, but tragic mix of weather events. Flooding in the north of the country has caused 60% of the state of Queensland to be classified a disaster area and to the south, the state of Victoria is in the midst of the most deadly bushfires in its history. Read more

February 7 - Greenhouse gases slowing ozone recovery
Since the late 1980s, most countries have observed the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to phase out production of such ozone-depleting substances. However, increasing greenhouse gases could impede the recovery of stratospheric ozone in some places, according to new research. Read more

February 6 - China declares drought emergency
The worst drought in 50 years has scorched fields across a huge swathe of northern China, leaving nearly four million people without proper drinking water. No rain has fallen on Beijing for more than 100 days. Read more

February 5 - The Indian Ocean and Australia's drought
While the phenomenon of La Nina has always been thought to bring rain to Australia and El Nino to cause drought, the patterns have not been followed in recent years. Scientists have found instead that Australia's severe drought appears to be driven by temperature fluctuations in the Indian Ocean. Read more

February 4 - Finding Nemo in a carbon soaked world
Tests on clownfish larvae, the species of fish made famous in the animated movie "Finding Nemo" showed they became confused and unable to find a suitable place to live if they were raised in seawater that had absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Researchers believe the clownfish are unable to sense vital odours in more acidic waters, likely due to damage caused to their olfactory systems. Read more

February 3 - Sea level rises threaten Ganges
Rising sea levels are causing salt water to contaminate India's biggest river, threatening its ecosystem and turning vast farmlands barren. Sea levels in some parts of the Bay of Bengal were rising at 3.14 mm each year compared to a global average of 2 mm, threatening the low-lying areas of eastern India with inundation. Read more

February 3 - Australian government plans green army
Millions of Australia homes will have ceiling insulation installed free of charge and a slew of infrastructure projects will be rolled out by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the latest economic rescue package. An army of green workers will help deliver the Government's plans to make homes and buildings more energy-efficient. Read more

February 2 - A two children limit to save the planet
A UK government's green advisor has warned that couples who have more than two children are being “irresponsible” in relation to the environment. Jonathon Porritt believes that green groups are betraying the interests of their members by refusing to address population issues based on the problem of the topic being too controversial. Read more

February 2 - Australia facing climate change collapse?
Already enduring a severe drought, the recent heatwave in Australia that has killed dozens of people is causing some experts to fear that the country may be the first to "implode" due to the effects of climate change. Australia was already the driest inhabited continent on earth and recent trends such as the ongoing 12 year drought in Australia's south are expected to dry up the Murray-Darling river system, which runs through Australia's food bowl,  by another 25 per cent. Read more