Climate change headlines and global warming news for October 2009
October 31 - Multi-year Arctic ice vanishes
Huge sheets of multiyear ice, reaching up to 80 meters thick, have
historically blocked the path of ships trying to take a shortcut through the Arctic. In what will be a boon for shipping, but also acts as a disturbing reminder about the speed of climate change, this multi-year ice has effectively vanished.
October 28 - Low carbon emissions tar sands "a
According to a recent report, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology
should not be used as leverage to allow for expansion of Canada's
controversial tar sands industry. The study found that carbon dioxide
emissions generated during tar sands oil extraction needs to be reduced by
about 85 per cent to make it comparable with conventional oil - an amount
that CCS simply cannot achieve. Read
October 27 - Copenhagen climate treaty
The chances of a climate change treaty being signed in Copenhagen this
December seems improbable now as so many important issues remain
unresolved in negotiations leading up to the conference. It's now likely a
new deadline for a final treaty will be set - possibly mid to late 2010. Read
October 26 - Australia's red gums face water woes
Australia's iconic red gums are threatened due to drought, river regulation and climate change. River red gums needs frequent flooding, but the last widespread flood was in 1996. Recent studies show in some areas up to 90 per cent of trees are dead or dying.
October 23 - Climate change to hit hydro power
The most commonly utilized type of renewable energy globally, hydro power, is looking at tough times ahead due to rapidly melting glaciers. The situation is already considered critical in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.
October 22 - Global warming denial increases in the
According to a survey of 1500 people, only 57% of Americans believe there is reliable scientific evidence that the atmosphere of the Earth is warming; a fall of 20% in just two years. Additionally, the number of people who believe human activity is causing global warming decreased to just 36%.
October 21 - Carbon capture under the spotlight
The capture and storage of carbon dioxide emissions is gaining increasing
numbers of critics; with some concerned that the technology may be used to
encourage the use of fossil fuels, rather than as an exit strategy as the
world moves to cleaner and renewable sources of energy. Read
October 20 - UK PM warns of climate catastrophe
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said world leaders had 50 days to make
the decisions to save the world from global warming and if they fail to do
so, the UK faces a "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves.
Mr Brown has warned that there is no "plan B". Read
October 19 - Aussie scientists urge soil as ETS
Some of Australia's leading climate scientists are calling on the Federal Government to include soil and vegetation in Australia's troubled emissions trading scheme. They say without the inclusion of soil and vegetation, it will be impossible to achieve the emissions cuts needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
October 17 - Land temperatures second highest last
According to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, average global land surface temperatures and average global land and ocean surface temperatures
combined were the second highest on record during September. Arctic sea ice averaged 2.1 million square miles coverage in September - the third lowest for any September since records began in 1979.
October 16 - Seagrass - a climate change saviour
Mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrass beds may cover under 1 per cent of the world's seabed, but
these ecosystems sequester well over half of all carbon to be buried in the ocean floor.
According to a UN report, preventing their destruction could be one of the
most effective ways of reducing future emissions. Read
October 14 - Victoria plans to export brown coal
The Australian state of Victoria is seriously considering exporting vast
quantities of brown coal - the filthiest of fossil fuels - to India; the
rationale being that if it doesn't do it, someone else will and that the
state can't unilaterally limit global emissions. Read
October 13 - House flies on Mt. Everest
Climbers resting at Everest base camp earlier this year have found house flies - something unheard of just a few years back and further evidence of climate change. The permanent ice above the climbers' village now melts at about 5,500m, previously 3,750 metres.
October 13 - California to charge for carbon
California companies will charged a fee from late next year for emitting greenhouse gases.
The revenue from the fee will help the state pay for carbon emission
monitoring and regulation and is expected to raise $63 million within the first year.
October 12 - Melting glaciers release old poisons
Chemicals banned as far back as the 1980's are re-emerging as a threat.
Some of the man-made toxins that were floating around in our atmosphere
back then travelled long distances, settling in frozen regions. Melting
glaciers that stored these chemicals are melting, discharging their toxic
payloads into waterways. Read
October 11 - Climate change creating dead zones?
Dead zones have been developing rapidly around the world, with over 400
identified to date. While these oxygen-starved regions are usually caused
by a nutrient influx due to human activities, a new trigger seems to be
behind the development of such areas in the northwest Pacific: climate
October 10 - CO2 levels highest in 15 million years
How long ago were carbon dioxide levels as high as we see them today? 15
million years according to Aradhna Tripati, an assistant professor at
UCLA. Back then, temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than
now and the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher. Read
October 8 - Forget CCS, save the trees urges WWF
Funding directed to preventing deforestation results in the same emissions
reductions as five times the amount for the controversial carbon capture
and storage CCS according to WWF Sweden who is urging their government to
support effective international agreement on halting deforestation.
Deforestation in developing countries is equivalent to one third of
Sweden’s surface area. Read
October 7 - Greenland ice sheet could pass tipping
Britain's Met Office has released a report stating that there could
thresholds in the melting of Greenland's massive ice sheet. Once
crossed, the ice sheet may never recover, even if carbon dioxide
concentrations driving climate change are reduced to pre-industrial
October 6 - India: from extreme drought to floods.
The sudden switch from extreme drought to extreme floods in south India that have taken the lives of over 350 people and made millions more homeless are the direct result of climate change according to an expert in the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.
October 5 - Soot causing rapid glacier melt.
Scientist in India and China have determined that glaciers in the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau
are melting faster due to the effects of clouds of soot from diesel fumes and wood fires.
When the carbon in the soot lands on glaciers, it absorbs sunlight that would otherwise be reflected by the snow;
causing it to melt more rapidly than it would in "clean" air at
the same temperature.
October 4 - Climate change denial still common
While the number of people who completely deny man is responsible for
climate change is shrinking, people in Britain are still generally
experiencing a form of denial by ignoring the situation, blaming someone
else or simply having a good time. Clive Hamilton, Professor of public
ethics at the Australian National University, presented a report on the
phenomenon to an Oxford University conference last week. Read
October 3 - Thailand climate talks stall
Negotiations in Thailand seeking tougher emissions targets are failing to
make any headway according the UN. Representatives from 180 countries are
participating in the last negotiating session before the conference in Copenhagen
which will attempt to implement a much tougher global agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
October 3 - UK's emissions growing, not reducing.
Rather than a reduction of 15 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions since
1990 in the UK, the figure generally bandied about, emissions have risen
in real terms by approximately 19 per cent. The reason - the UK, like many
western countries, is simply outsourcing its pollution to countries such
as China and India. Read
October 1 - Climate change food shortages - the end?
History has many examples of civilizations falling due to the direct
effects of a rapid change in climate hampering their ability to feed their
populations. The number of hungry people around the
world, which was declining for several decades is on the rise again and
some of it due to climate change; leading some to ask if we are witnessing
history repeating itself. Read
October 1 - Dozen of US coal mining projects blocked
Another nail in the coffin of mining that involves mountain-top removal
was hammered home earlier this week when 79 applications for surface coal mining permits in four states
were delayed by the EPA on the premise the projects would violate the US Clean Water Act.
While mining groups have condemned the delays, environmentalists are
ecstatic with the move; calling it an important step forward in the total
banning of the practice. Read