Climate change headlines and global warming news for April 2009
April 29: Black carbon climate change threat
A recent study states that soot from industry, cars, farming and wood fuel burning has been responsible for half the total temperature increases in the Arctic between 1890 to 2007.
According to Al Gore, as a result, air pollution levels in the upper Himalayas are now similar to those in Los Angeles.
April 27: Oil companies anxiously eye California
A new fuel standard ordered by California officials to reduce greenhouse gases has oil companies and refineries worried;
particularly given standards will limit the use of corn-based ethanol in gas.
But according to officials, affected industries will have time and incentive to make inexpensive biofuels with lower carbon impact.
April 26: Alaska's climigration
Temperatures remote Alaska have increased to such an extent that permafrost is melting and close to 200 communities are being impacted by flooding and erosion. The coastal village of Newtok now needs to relocate its 340 residents to new homes 9 miles away. These moves, called climigration, will become increasingly common in the time ahead.
April 23: Obama's Earth Day proclamation
Yesterday's Earth Day celebrations saw US President Barack Obama issue a
proclamation pledging for a great focus on the environment and climate
change. "History has shown that as we sow, so too shall we
reap," the President stated. "Let us rededicate ourselves to a
world that provides bountiful harvests for us all not just today, but for
many generations to come." Read
April 21: Climate change to overwhelm charities
According to Oxfam, the number of people affected by extreme weather has
doubled in over the last three decades and is expected to reach 375
million a year by 2015; placing charities, emergency response and
humanitarian groups under added strain. Read
April 19: Climate change refugees - it's begun
The world's first climate refugees South Pacific are beginning a migration
with people from parts of New Guinea and Tuvalu having already been forced to moved from low-lying areas.
April 17: Forests to release huge amounts of carbon?
While forests are generally considered to assist in retarding global warming,
over the next few decades damage to forests due to climate change could
see these carbon sinks release huge quantities of carbon and create a situation in which they do more to accelerate warming than to slow it down
according to a new study. Read
April 16: US greenhouse gas emissions increase
Overall, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 17 percent from 1990 to
2007 and according to a recent report by the EPA emissions increased from 2006 to 2007
by 1.4 percent; the primary drivers being a cooler winter and warmer
summer increasing electricity demand and more fossil fuels and less hydro
sources to generate it. Read
April 14: Experts: we won't meet 2c temperature
A Guardian survey states almost nine out of 10 climate experts do not believe current political efforts will keep warming below 2C. Asked what temperature rise was most likely, 84 of the 182 specialists (46%) who answered the question said it would reach 3-4C by the end of the century.
April 13: Mexico city taps run dry
About five million people, or a quarter of the population of Mexico City's
urban sprawl, had no water last Thursday due to emergency rationing as a
result from ongoing drought. While the rationing should be temporary,
officials warn that the city needs to seriously overhaul its water system to stop
a real disaster in the future. Read
April 11: US corn yields threatened by global
While some believe that global warming would be good for US agriculture in
the short term, recent studies have shown the opposite. A study by Environment
America shows that lower yields of corn due to global warming will cost US
farmers 1.4 billion every year and research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Carnegie Institution shows that corn yields are already being affected negatively by warming.
April 10: Obama: Geo-engineering considered
As a last ditch effort against global warming, and to some an admission of
total failure as a species to care for our planet, Barack Obama's chief scientific adviser has
flagged with president the prospect of massive-scale technological fixes to alter the climate known as 'geo-engineering'.
April 9: "Charred Earth" opposition
The concept of burning biomass in order to create biochar for carbon
sequestration purposes is seeing increasing opposition. An international declaration was
recently launched by 147 organisations to keep biochar and soils out of
carbon trading. Read
April 8: Australia's Murray River record low inflows
Water flowing into Australia's stricken Murray River between January and
March was the lowest for that quarter in the 117 years that records have
been kept. The river is being further threatened by an 800km long toxic
blue algae bloom that has spread rapidly due to slow water movement and
warm conditions. Read
April 7: Arctic's sea ice thinner than ever
According to NASA and National Snow and Ice Data Center researchers, more
than 90 percent of the sea ice in the Arctic is only 1 or 2 years old,
making it thinner and more vulnerable than at anytime in the past three
April 6: Black carbon a major Arctic warming
Black carbon, which is created through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and
biomass, is responsible for 50 percent of the total temperature increases in the Arctic from 1890 to 2007 according to a study published in Nature Geoscience.
April 5: Wilkins ice shelf bridge snaps
A 25 mile wide ice bridge holding the Antarctic Wilkins shelf in place has
shattered, suggesting that the rest of the huge shelf may face the same
fate. The Wilkins ice shelf is about 80 nautical miles long and 60 nautical miles wide
- around the same size US state of Connecticut.
April 4: Spain's rainfall outlook grim
According to a European Commission report, global warming could see the Iberian peninsula receive up to 40 percent less rain by the end of the century. The report predicts that food harvests in Spain and Portugal could fall 30 per cent in the region due to the lack of water.
April 3: OPEC in denial over oil's global warming
OPEC has denied oil's role in global warming, opposed plans to reduce oil consumption and advocated adaptation to climate change. OPEC's Secretary General, Abdullah al-Badri has also criticised the subsidies developed countries offer to promote renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
April 2: Coastal forests pumping wind and rain
Forests may be known as the lungs of the earth, but perhaps they are also
the heart; pumping wind across continents. Two Russian scientists
have theorized that water vapour from coastal forests and oceans condenses
to form droplets and clouds and as gas takes up less space as it turns to
liquid, it creates a localized low pressure system, sucking in moist air
from the ocean. This generates wind that drives moisture further inland. Read
April 1: Palm oil ban lift threatens forests
Our forests are crucial carbon sinks, particularly rainforests - but they
are constantly under threat of exploitation. The Indonesian government
will be lifting a year-long ban on the use of peat land for palm oil
plantations and will begin issuing permits for new plantations.
Environmentalists have warned the peat lands sequester up to 37.8 billon
tonnes of carbon dioxide, and that the clearing of land to make way for
palm oil plantations will lead to huge increases in emissions. Read