Climate change headlines and global warming news for December 2009

December 30 - Climate Wizard online tool launched
Climate Wizard is a new an online tool that allows the public to select states, countries or regions around the world and apply one of 16 of the world's most prominent climate-change models to generate color-coded maps of changes in temperature and precipitation. Climate Wizard is a joint effort between the University of Washington, University of Southern Mississippi and The Nature Conservancy. Read more

December 29 - 2009 fifth warmest for Korea.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) has said 2009 was the fifth hottest in the country since statistics started in 1912. Unseasonably warm weather in spring and fall also contributed to the high average. Torrential rains were also frequent visitors in parts of the nation. On July 16, Masan was drenched in 102 mm of rain in one hour. Read more

December 28 - Carbon dioxide to increase marine noise?
Excessive carbon dioxide being absorbed by oceans around the world has increased seawater acidity, which threatens corals, shellfish and crustaceans through making it hard for them to maintain their shells, but it's also had another unexpected side effect.  According to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, seawater sound absorption will drop by up to 70 percent this century. Read more.

December 27 - Warming increasing insect breeding.
A U.S. study of moths and butterflies in Central Europe has revealed some species have produced an extra generation in the summers due to prolonged warming of the region; a phenomenon never previously recorded. Of the 263 species of moths and butterflies studied, 190 of them demonstrated the ability. Read more

December 26 - Dutch to tax carbon emissions by the mile
The Netherlands is aiming to replace their general road tax with one based on distances driven. The tax will be more expensive during rush hour and for more polluting vehicles. As a result of the carbon tax, the Dutch government expects carbon emissions to fall 10%. Read more

December 25 - The velocity of climate change
As global temperature rises over the hundred years, some scientists say the Earth's habitable climatic zones will start shifting; creeping from the Equator towards the the north and south poles at an average rate of around a quarter of a kilometre a year. Species not fast enough to keep up with the shift, particularly plant species that can only survive in a limited temperature range, will likely become extinct. Read more

December 23 - Aircraft vapor trails and global warming
An analysis by atmospheric scientists at Stanford University shows that commercial aircraft are responsible for 48% of surface global warming since surface air temperature records began and in in the Arctic, aircraft vapour trails have an even bigger impact; accounting for 1520% of warming. Read more.

December 22 - Warming oceans claiming Alaskan shores
A study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists earlier this year shows that erosion along a stretch of Alaska coastline during 2002 to 2007 was twice as fast as in the period from 1955 to 1979. The study found erosion occurring at an annual rate of 13.6 meters from 2002 to 2007. Warmer ocean thaws the base of frozen bluffs and natural ice barriers protecting the coast. Read more.

December 21 - Climate conference recriminations continue
World leaders scrambled to defend the outcomes of the recent climate change talks in Copenhagen after receiving scathing criticism from many media outlets and environmental groups. UN chief General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged at the conference that many would say the outcomes would be perceived by many to "lack ambition" however, says that much was achieved. Read more

December 19 - Copenhagen fails on carbon reductions
After years of build-up, the outcome of the Copenhagen climate talks is an agreement that isn't legally binding and has already been rejected by some nations. While US$100 billion was pledged per year for developing nations, all countries will be required to submit plans by January for carbon dioxide reductions; but will not be bound by them. Read more

December 17 - Carbon capture excluded at Copenhagen
After concerns were raised at the climate conference in Copenhagen, carbon capture and storage (CCS) will not be a technology listed for industrialized nations to utilize in order to officially offset their carbon emissions until such time that issues relating to long-term liability for the storage site, including liability for any seepage, are addressed. Read more

December 16 - Canada's carbon bomb
Under the ground in the north of Canada lies what some scientists are calling a carbon bomb. A layer of carbon rich peat up to 15 feet thick extends over more than 6 million square miles across Russia, Scandinavia, China, Canada, and the United States. When exposed to the air or as temperatures rise, the peat can begin unleashing greenhouse gases in huge volumes. Read more

December 15 - Australia guilty of carbon emissions fraud?
Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have skyrocketed by more than 80% since 1990 - well in excess of the 8 per cent permitted by the Kyoto Protocol. Australia is now being accused by some environmentalists of "cooking the carbon books" and the scandal has thrown a shadow over the country at the climate change conference currently under way in Copenhagen. Read more.

December 14 - Sunspots not the cause of climate change
Experts in climate or solar science have asserted that the scientific evidence used by skeptics to justify sunspots being the cause of global warming is deeply flawed. When the errors introduced into the studies often cited saying otherwise are removed, the correlations disappear. Read more

December 13 - Postal services commit to carbon cuts
The International Post Corporation (IPC), a trade group that represents some of the world's largest postal services, has announced 20 member services will strive to reduce their carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020, based on 2008 levels. The 20 post operators that contributed to the Sustainability Report, including Australia Post, United States Postal Service, Canada Post and Royal Mail United Kingdom collectively currently emit 8.36 million tonnes of CO2. The target set will reduce that total to 6.69 million tonnes by 2020. Read more

December 11 - 2010 forecast - hottest on record
The heat is being turned up not only on the planet, but for climate change skeptics too. While this year has globally been one of the hottest years in well over a century, the coming 12 months will be hotter than 1998, currently the hottest year in the 160-year-old instrumental record, England's Met Office representatives said at the climate change conference in Copenhagen. Read more

December 10 - Australia's ski industry faces meltdown
Australia isn't really well known for it's ski fields, but it's been a solid industry for the nation for decades and one that is now under threat through rising temperatures. Snow cover has already reduced by a third in some areas and the end-of-season melt is happening two weeks earlier than it did in the 1950s. According to the CSIRO, climate change could see 95 per cent of Australia's snow cover disappear altogether by the year 2050. Read more.

December 9 - Climate change summit heats up
The UN Copenhagen climate conference is experiencing some heat after poorer countries reacted to leaked documents interpreted to mean an agreement will apportion more power to rich countries, reduce the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations and allow developed countries to continue to indulge in much higher per capita emissions then developing nations. Read more.

December 8 - Climate change - the Scots get it
A survey commissioned by BBC Scotland suggests that a 63% of people in Scotland believed immediate action on climate change is required. 20% saw climate change as more of a problem for the future, 11% were not convinced climate change was real. Only 4% felt it wasn't a problem. six in 10 Scots were aware their own lifestyle and behaviours play a role in the climate change issue. Read more

December 7 - 56 newspapers call for climate action
56 newspapers in 45 countries today united to deliver a common editorial, because "humanity faces a profound emergency" - climate change. The editorial calls on those attending the Copenhagen climate conference to put aside differences, stop playing the blame game and to "seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics." Read more

December 7 - CO2 causes more warming than thought
British scientists claim a tool often utilized in climate modelling may have grossly underestimated the role of key processes involved in the warming attributed to carbon dioxide and Calculations for anthropogenic global warming on the basis of carbon emissions may have missed the mark 30 and 50 percent. Read more

December 6 - The psychology of climate change denial
While the IPPC says that humans are beyond a doubt contributing to global warming, those who don't believe, labelled by some as being "climate change deniers" are still very well represented. According to Anthony Grayling, a philosophy professor at the University of London, for some of these people, it has nothing to do with science or facts, but more to do with a reluctance to give up comfortable lifestyles. Read more

December 6 - British PM blasts climate change skeptics
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned "flat-earth" climate change skeptics who have cast doubt on the evidence for global warming. His environment secretary, Ed Miliband, described the skeptics as "dangerous and deceitful" and to abandon the process now would lead to misery and catastrophe for millions. Read more

December 5 - Hansen hopes for failure at Copenhagen
Dr James Hansen, who has been warning on the issue of climate change for decades believes that any agreement to come out of Copenhagen would be so flawed, that it would be better no agreement be made and negotiations started again from the beginning. Dr. Hansen is particularly critical of a cap and trade emissions trading scheme, preferring a tax on the price of carbon at the source. Read more

December 2 - Ozone hole protects Antarctica from warming
The hole in the ozone layer - the size of which is partly attributable to human activity, has had an unexpected positive side effect of shielding much of Antarctica from the degree of damage that could be done by global warming - for now. During the past 30 years there has been little change in surface temperature over much of Antarctica with exceptions in the West and eastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Read more

December 2 - Record cutbacks in California water allocation
Drought and environmental restrictions have forced California officials to cut planned water allocations to irrigation districts and cities to just 5 percent of their contracted allotments, the smallest on record since the agency began delivering water in 1967. Previous cutbacks have already seen tens of thousands of farm workers out of work. Read more

December 2 - Australia's carbon scheme defeated
The Australian Senate voted down legislation critical to implementing the nation's carbon pollution reduction scheme - for a second time. The emissions trading scheme seemed secure until a challenge for the leadership of the Opposition saw a change of guard to a new leader solidly opposed to it. However, the  the Government will make a third attempt at winning Senate approval for its emissions trading scheme when Parliament resumes sitting in February. Read more

December 2 - Dalai Lama urges action on global warming
The spiritual leader of millions, the Dalai Lama has weighed in on the global warming issue, saying that it should be the number one priority of nations. The Dalai Lama made the comments during his current visit to Australia. Read more