Climate change headlines and global warming news for March 2009

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March 31: The trouble with trees
An economic study has found that allowing tradable credits to be award to countries that reduce deforestation will cause carbon prices to drop dramatically worldwide and may pull investors away from renewable energy. Read more

March 29: Extreme ice
A survey team installed 27 time-lapse cameras in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska and other places to document the dramatic retreat of the ice floes. The end result is a documentary called Extreme Ice, visual evidence to convey the reality and immediacy of global warming to a worldwide audience. Read more.

March 28: Earth Hour goes global
Earth Hour, when people switch off lights as a symbolic gesture towards addressing climate change, kicked off in Australia a short time ago - the start of a 25 hour marathon of similar events around the world. The Australian event went global this year and organisers say up to a billion people will be participating in this year's Earth Hour. Read more

March 27: The Arctic threat
Rapid warming in the Arctic means that a global temperature rise of 3 °C, which is likely over the coming decades, will mean a 10 °C warming in the far north. Permafrost hundreds of metres deep will be at risk of thawing out. The permafrost is a massive store of carbon and methane. If that escapes, runaway global warming could be impossible to stop. Read more

March 25: Plankton sequestration experiment fails
A controversial experiment involved "fertilising" a 300 square kilometre area of ocean with six tonnes of dissolved iron to stimulate growth of tiny planktonic algae has failed after the plankton were eaten by tiny crustacean zooplankton. Read more. Read more.

March 25: Global warming redraws country borders
Global warming is melting Alpine glaciers so rapidly that Italy and Switzerland have decided they will re-draw their national borders to take account of the new landscape. Read more

March 24: Great Lakes losing ice
While Lake Superior remained partially frozen as late as March 13 this year, winter ice cover in the middle of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes has been diminishing by 1.3 percent a year for three decades.  Read more

March 23: 2 degree warming target gone
According to George Monbiot of The Guardian, the time to prevent more than 2 degrees of global warming has gone and we'll be fortunate to only experience 4 degrees of warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, at that point temperatures will exceed the adaptive capacity of many systems. Read more

March 22: Carbon sinks reaching saturation point
According to Australian CSIRO scientist , Dr Mike Raupach, our forests, grasslands and oceans are absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide faster than ever but they are not keeping pace with emissions. Read more

March 21: The ozone layer lesson
What would have happened if we hadn't cut down on ozone depleting chemicals like we did starting around 20 years ago? According to a NASA atmospheric scientist, 2/3 of the ozone layer would have depleted by now and sunburn would have occurred in as little as 5 minutes. The world's collective effort regarding the ozone layer 2 decades ago has a great deal of bearing on this generation's biggest challenge - climate change. Read more

March 20: 37,000 sq km of Amazon damaged in 2008
Logging and fires damaged nearly 25,000 square kilometers (9,650 square miles) of Amazon rainforest in the August 2007-July 2008 period, an increase of 67 percent over the prior year. Read more

March 18: A perfect storm by 2030
The UK government's chief scientist will warn a conference tomorrow of A perfect storm of food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources that threaten to unleash public unrest, conflicts and mass migration due to the effects of overpopulation combined with climate change. According to Professor Beddington, by 2030 the world needs to be producing 50% more food, 50% more energy and 30% more fresh water. Read more

March 16: Maldives to decarbonise local economy
The Maldives, a collection of islands under the biggest threat of inundation due to global warming, is also aiming to be the first nation to be carbon-neutral. The new president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, has unveiled a plan to make his country carbon-neutral within a decade. Unlike Norway, which is also aiming to be zero-carbon by 2030, the Maldives aims to totally decarbonise the local economy. The Norwegian scheme allows an appreciable chunk of domestic emissions to be offset by investments in forestry schemes overseas. Read more

March 15: Climate change could destroy Amazon
Already under threat from humans through deforestation, another danger looms for the Amazon forest - climate change. Researchers from the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre predict even a 1-degree rise in global temperatures would cause the "irreversible" loss of large tracts of forest. A larger increase could be "devastating" — 75 percent for a 3-°C-rise and 85 percent for a 4-°C-rise. Read more

March 14: Despite economy, carbon emissions rise
Australia’s emissions continued to rise as the economy slowed in the last quarter of 2008, research for the independent Climate Institute shows. Carbon pollution from commercial and residential electricity and fuel use increased in the December quarter by 800,000 tonnes. Read more

March 12: Delay on climate change action a suicide pact
According to US Senator John Kerry, continued delays on taking concerted action on climate change due to the global economic crisis amounts to a mutual suicide pact. Kerry said that climate change is not governed by a recession, it's governed by scientific facts about what's happening to Earth. Read more.

March 11: Heatwave deaths to quadruple in London
A study by researchers at King's College London and the Met Office predicts the number of heat-related deaths will quadruple in cities such as London by 2080, rising from the current rate of 120 per year to 500. The findings will be presented to the Climate Congress meeting in Copenhagen this week. Read more.

March 9: Carbon emissions cuts only give 50/50 chance
According to research from the UK Met Office, even with concerted efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the chances of keeping global average temperature rises to about 2C by 2100 would be only 50-50. The research suggests that far more drastic measures are required than what most governments are currently contemplating. Read more

March 8: Sea level rise predictions reviewed upwards
When the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its findings on global warming in 2007, the report stated that sea-level rises of between 20 and 60 centimetres would occur by 2100. However, that report underestimated the input of melting ice sheets as the phenomenon was little understood at the time. New data has led researchers to believe that now clear there will be massive flooding disasters around the globe, including in the USA and Britain. Read more

March 7: China's greenhouse gas emissions to double
According to reports compiled by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China's CO2 emissions will almost double in the next two decades compared with 2002 levels, even in the face of the current economic crisis that has seen manufacturing activity drop substantially. Read more

March 6: Amazon drought generated carbon emissions
The Amazon is often thought of as a huge carbon sink, its trees filtering out carbon dioxide, but in times of drought it can generate massive amounts of carbon dioxide too due to trees being killed off and their subsequent decomposition. According to a study by 68 scientists, the 2005 drought in the Amazon rainforest released more greenhouse gas than the annual emissions of Europe and Japan. Read more

March 4: "Safe" global warming levels to decimate forests
According to new research from Australian scientists, even increases in temperature that are widely regarded as "safe", around 2 degrees, could wipe out trees to such a degree that almost 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide will be  released into the atmosphere. Read more

March 3: Climate change mass migrations soon
There's a growing shared opinion among researchers, including analyses from military experts in the United States and Europe, that by the middle of this century climate change will make huge swathes of Africa and Asia uninhabitable. Analysts say it could be the catalyst for a migration the size of which the world has never experienced. It's already beginning in places such as Bangladesh. Read more

March 3: Beat global warming's effects - take a siesta
After recent heatwaves, such as the one that hit France in 2003 causing 35,000 deaths, a “siesta alert” system has been prepared by the UK's Department of Health in consultation with other agencies. The new Heatwave Plan will be published later this year and also contain a focus on residential and nursing homes for the elderly who are particularly at risk from heat related illnesses. Read more

March 3: Carbon dioxide's long tail
According to a new book, if the world continues to burn coal in a business-as-usual way, it will take centuries more for the oceans to absorb 75% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, creating "climate storm" that would be far worse than the forecast from now to 2100. However, the remaining CO2 would remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years and 10 percent of it would still be in the atmosphere in 100,000 years. Read more

March 3: Mass global warming protest in Washington
The first major demonstration of Obama's presidency and also the first occurrence of mass  civil disobedience against global warming in the USA will occur at the Capitol Hill Power Plant today, spurred on by the world's leading authority on climate change, Dr. James Hansen. Read more.

March 3: Water crunch for Las Vegas
To build a city in a desert without supplies of fresh water close by might sound insane, but that's exactly what happened when Las Vegas was built. The water situation in Las Vegas is now so bad,  home owners are paid to convert lawns to gravel. That and other measures haven't been enough, so the city is planning a $3.5 billion, 327-mile underground pipeline to tap aquifers beneath valleys northeast of the city. Read more.

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