Global warming headlines and climate change news for November 2009
November 30 - Peatland fires a major CO2 contributor
A research group at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich have determined that in 2006, peatland fires in Indonesia released up to about 900 million metric tons of CO2, more than the total amount of CO2 emitted in Germany in that year.
An El Niņo phenomenon in 1997/98 saw up to 2.57 gigatons of carbon released from the wetlands of Indonesia alone.
November 29 - US carbon emission targets
The recently announced emissions reduction targets of the United States
are just hype says the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The Centre
states the absolute reduction target of 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 translates to just 3% reduction below the 1990 levels, far short of the call for reduction of 40% below 1990
levels in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. Read
November 28 - Oceans absorbing less carbon dioxide
Our oceans are collectively the largest carbon sink in the world,
accounting for 93% of all carbon sequestration. Unfortunately, they are
having trouble keeping up with the huge volumes of carbon dioxide being
generated; becoming CO2-sodden. A recent study says our oceans have
absorbed nearly 10 percent less carbon dioxide since 2000. Read
November 27 - USA to commit to 17% carbon emission
The United States said it will commit to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 at the Copenhagen climate change conference. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill for the 17 percent reduction target for emissions by 2020 from 2005 levels. It's a start, but far below what many environmentalists believe is required to prevent runaway global warming.
November 25 - CO2 levels to reach 1 million year record
Carbon dioxide concentrations measured at the Mauna Loa observatory in the northern hemisphere are around 385 parts per million, on their way to a record high of over 390 ppm expected in the first half of next year - a level not seen for a million years. The world is on track to reach 450 ppm, a disastrous level for humans and many other species, in just 30 years.
November 24 - Acidic oceans making fish easy prey
According to a recent study, ocean acidification caused by excessive
carbon dioxide levels could interfere with some fish species' ability to
detect the presence of predators and could cause them to become attracted
to predatory species. Read
November 23 - Antarctic losing "billions of
tons" of ice
A new study has found the east Antarctic icesheet is losing more ice than it is gaining. The majority of the loss is in coastal regions and is estimated at 57 billion tonnes a year; contributing to half a millimetre of sea level rise per year.
November 21 - Climate research center hacked
The Climate Research Unit, one of the three leading climate research
centres in the UK, has fallen victim to a data breach that has seen large quantity of emails and other documents from staff
published online. The resulting controversy over the contents of some of
the republished private documents has generated rumours of conspiracies,
lies and cover ups from both sides of the climate debate. RealClimate, a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists,
has commented on the situation. Read
November 20 - U.N. : Birth control can reduce
According to a United Nations report, ploughing money into birth control
strategies could be the most effective way to combat growing greenhouse
gas emissions. The report states prevention of one billion births by 2050 would save as much carbon dioxide as constructing 2 million giant wind turbines.
November 19 - Heading for worst-case climate
The world is looking increasingly to suffer a worst-case climate change scenario, with average global temperatures rising by up to 6C by the end of the century. A rise of this magnitude would ultimately cause mass extinctions and "reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles."
November 18 - Despite GFC, carbon dioxide emissions
Researchers from the Global Carbon Project report that in spite of the global economic downturn carbon emissions increased by 2 per cent during 2008. The financial crisis had an impact on emissions growth in 2008 - the annual average growth over the previous 7 years was 3.6 per cent. Emissions for 2009 are expected to fall to their 2007 levels, before increasing again in 2010. Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels by 29 per cent between 2008 and 2000, and by 41 per cent between 2008 and 1990.
November 17 - South Australia - the heat is on..
After enduring its first ever recorded November heatwave last
week, Adelaide is set to endure scorching temperatures again over the next
couple of days. The heat, more reminiscent of the height of summer rather
than late spring, will be intense in many areas of South Australia and
conditions such that the fire danger in some regions has been rated by the
Country Fire Service as being "catastrophic". Read
November 16 - Climate change compounds Ethiopia's
East Africa is facing one of its worst droughts in decades with over over 23 million people facing starvation, with climate change further compounding the dire picture. Average temperatures in Ethiopia are predicted to rise by 3.9 degrees
Celsius within 70 years. Read
November 15 - Greenland ice sheet melt accelerating
Data from satellite observations and a cutting edge regional atmospheric model have independently confirmed the Greenland ice sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate. The ice sheet has been losing as much as 273 cubic kilometres of water annually in recent years.
November 14 - Australian homes at risk from rising seas
An Australia Federal Government report states that up to 250,000 homes around the nation will be subject to deluge from climate change related rising seas. Additionally, infrastructure including 120 ports, airports and bridges are also under threat of inundation by the turn of the century.
November 13 - Argentina drought a social emergency
An ongoing drought affecting around 90 percent of Argentina's territory, killing hundreds of thousands of cattle and contributed to an 50 percent rise in unemployment. The areas have received less than half their average rainfall in the last two years. In addition to a lack of water, the area is baking in temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius.
November 12 - Climate change failure at Copenhagen?
Climate experts believe that without a international agreement on carbon
emissions at Copenhagen in December, our children and grandchildren will
be suffering a world where geoengineering is the norm, coastal cities will
be fortified with sea walls and the poor are continually hammered by the
fury of Mother Nature - a planet heading towards climatic conditions not
experienced for 100 million years. The meeting at Copenhagen is not a
November 11 - Climate inaction to cost $500 billion
According to a new report released by the International Energy Agency, the window for
real action on emissions over a given
period becomes narrower each year and the costs of transforming the energy sector increase.
The IEA estimates that each year of delay add approximately $500 billion to the global
incremental investment cost of $10.5 trillion for the period 2010-2030. A delay of just
a few years would probably render that goal completely out of reach says
the organization. Read
November 10 - America's new dust bowl
Reminiscent of the Great Depression, America's new dust bowl is having a
shocking effect on local economies and people. California's Central Valley
was the world's richest agricultural economy, but the 70-year-old
irrigation system is proving increasingly vulnerable to shifting weather
November 10 - South Australia's spring heatwave
While flooding has been experienced in the north of the country, blistering
conditions are being experienced in South Australia this week, with some
parts of the state expecting a further 4 days of back-to-back temperatures
of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and higher. A spring
heatwave of this magnitude hasn't been experienced in South Australia for
115 years. Earlier this year, the state's capital, Adelaide, experienced a
15-day heatwave that was deemed to be a once in 3000 year occurrence.
November 9 - Britain to outsource more carbon
Britain's new generation of nuclear power could be the destruction of the Kalahari desert in Namibia.
Additionally, while Britain may decrease its own carbon emissions by turning to nuclear power,
the Namibian government will build a coal-fired power station to generate electricity for the mines that could produce more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
November 8 - Britain warned on climate change
Professor John Beddington, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, has warned that without deep cuts to carbon dioxide emissions, climate change could see a wave of migrants heading for cooler climates such as the British Isles and
November 7 - Pet CO2 footprint more than an SUV's?
Robert and Brenda Vale, authors of "Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living" believe a Toyota Land Cruiser's eco-footprint is less than half that of a medium-sized dog. Much of the impact is due to the carbon footprint of meat used in feeding.
November 5 - Carbon trading in the crosshairs
A Friends Of The Earth reports says 'cap and trade' carbon markets have
had little impact on carbon emission reductions but have been riddled with
corruption and inefficiency. The report claims the first phase of the
European emissions trading scheme between 2005 and 2007 was a failure and
the second phase will meet the same fate.
November 4 - $100bn "not enough" in climate change fight
According to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, money committed by rich
countries to battle global warming will have to "be scaled up"
from the $100bn a year offer currently on the negotiating table. It's
estimated by some groups that the money needed is up to $400bn a year. Read
November 4 - Deep sea not immune to climate change
A new study says that that global climate change could affect the food
supply to the deep sea in many ways, including wind-driven upwelling, the
depth of mixing of the surface waters, and the delivery of nutrients to
surface waters via dust storms. These changes would lead to substantial
variations in the amount of organic material reaching the seafloor. Read
November 4 - Drought forces Venezuela water
Due to an ongoing drought, water is being rationed in some parts of Venezuela,
including the capital. Caracas and some nearby areas will experience cuts
for periods of up to 48 hours and the rationing is expected to continue
through the first quarter of 2010. In neighboring Miranda State, the
Lagartijo Reservoir is at the lowest level ever recorded. Read
November 2 - 20 years left for the snows of
Mt Kilimanjaro's famous glaciers may be gone within the next two decades. Mt Kilimanjaro's ice caps were 85 percent smaller in 2007 than they were 1912, according to paleoclimatologists who have released a new study.
November 2 - Cyanobacteria and carbon sequestration
Tiny plants that increase soil carbon and nitrogen levels may be a boon
for land managers in Australia's arid landscape. Single-celled
micro-organisms known as cyanobacteria utilize carbon dioxide and convert
it into biomass while replacing oxygen back into the atmosphere. Read