Climate change headlines and global warming news for December 2010

December 30 - Greenland's ice sheet thinning extensively
While the future of Greenland's ice sheet is increasingly looking grim, it could be anywhere from 100 to a thousand years before complete collapse takes place according to a recent study. 2010 was another another record-breaking year in terms of very warm temperatures across Greenland and the Arctic. Read more.

December 29 - Farming a climate gamble in Tanzania
With agriculture accounting for up to 60 per cent of Tanzania's gross domestic product the country's farmers - and the entire country - have a lot to lose through climate change, with extremes such as floods and drought predicted to become more common. Read more 

December 28 - USA EPA to crack down on emissions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week it would move forward on greenhouse gas standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries. These two industries represent nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States. The EPA will propose standards for power plants in July 2011 and for refineries in December 2011.  Read more

December 26 - UK infrastructure not up to climate change
Blackouts, travel delays and other infrastructure failures may become commonplace in Britain due to the effects of climate change and a lack of investment in upgrading facilities. Read more

December 23 - Global warming and colder winters
When it gets unseasonably chilly, the climate skeptics come out in force to proclaim it's proof global warming is a hoax. Aside from the fact there's a very big difference between weather and climate, it has been proven global warming can cause colder winters in some parts of the world. Read more

December 22 - Polluted rivers greenhouse gas emissions
Human-caused nitrogen loading to river networks are the source of at least 10 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions added to the atmosphere according to a report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Nitrous oxide has a global warming potential (GWP) many times that of carbon dioxide. Read more.

December 21 - A world without coral reefs
An Australian marine scientist who once thought that coral reefs might have a limited lifespan on Earth as a consequence of human activity is "utterly convinced" that they will not be around for much longer unless we drastically change our priorities and the way we live. The major threats facing corals are warming, more acidic oceans. Read more

December 20 - Australians contemplate a changed climate
In parts of Australia, climate change is occurring quite rapidly; providing challenges for many and benefits for few. Maximum daily temperatures in the already sunburnt country have risen almost 1 degree Celsius on average in the past 14 years, while average annual rainfall has dropped 15 per cent over the same period. Read more.

December 19 - Climate change and interbreeding
Arctic ice lost as a result of climate change could result in 22 species of animals interbreeding; possibly resulting in the creation of a new species or the extinction of endangered ones. An example is the "grolar" bear - a polar/grizzly bear hybrid. Read more.

December 18 - 700,000 lives at risk in Bangkok
A study has found approximately 700,000 people and over 1 million buildings in Bangkok will be seriously impacted by floods rising sea levels as a result of climate change in the next 40 years. Increases in seal levels could inundate parts of Bangkok more than 1 kilometer inland. Bangkok's rainfall has had increased by around 15% over the past 30 years and the sea level has risen by an average of 1.3cm annually. Read more

December 15 - Climate change and toxic fish
Climate change may be a contributing factor in an increase in toxins that poison Caribbean fish. Warmer water temperatures trigger an increase in growth of an algae the produces toxins similar to ciguatoxins. The ciguatoxins build up in the flesh of fish that eat the algae and when consumed by humans, can cause Ciguatera fish poisoning. Read more

December 14 - Project to save food crop relatives
With many wild plants, including species related to common food crops, becoming extinct because of climate change and habitat destruction, a new project is seeking to collect seeds from the wild relatives of 23 of the world's major food crops; including those related to corn, potatoes and rice. It's hoped that by preserving these plants, beneficial wild traits can be introduced into plant breeding programmes to help crops endure the impacts of climate change. Read more.

December 12 - Cloud feedback could add to global warming
A new study has found that an increase in clouds due to greenhouse gases will cause clouds to trap more heat, which will lead to additional warming. "Cloud feedback" could be responsible for a considerable amount of  warming over the next century. Read more.

December 11 - Cancun climate talks 11th hour progress
Some progress has been made at the Cancun climate conference during its final hours with a draft text committing to a fund to help poor countries cope with climate change and including a statement that deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed - however, no mechanism for verifying any pledges countries may make appears to be included. Read more 

December 10 - UN Chief: "Nature will not wait"
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon appears to feel that some progress is better than none and is endeavoring to ensure something comes from the troubled Cancun climate talks. The U.N. reminded delegates that ""Nature will not wait while we negotiate". Read more

December 8 - Climate change & recalcitrant countries
Out of 57 countries evaluated for their performances in addressing climate change, the worst offenders have been noted as Saudi Arabia, followed by Kazakhstan, Australia and Canada. In terms of those doing the most, Brazil, Sweden and Norway lead the way according to research organization Germanwatch; who released the report at the United Nations' climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico. Read more.
December 6 - South Australia planning coal power ban
The Australian state of South Australia is considering legislation that will effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power stations in a bid to reduce the state's carbon emissions. South Australia has set a target of 33% renewable energy by 2020. Read more

December 5 - Cancun climate talks border on collapse
The Guardian is reporting that crucial climate change talks being held in Cancun bordered on collapse after Latin American countries threatened leaving the negotiations table if a critical document did not continue to oblige developed countries to emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol. Read more

December 4 - Climate change megadeath annually by 2030
DARA, a humanitarian research organisation has released its "Climate Vulnerability Monitor", which states the world is headed for nearly 1 million deaths every single year by 2030 without corrective actions. The organisation states already 350,000 lives are lost annually through climate change related issues.
Read more (PDF)

December 2 - Coastal wetlands under threat globally
Many coastal wetlands around the world may be more susceptible than previously thought to climate change and sea-level rise. Under a rapid sea-level rise scenario, most coastal wetlands worldwide will disappear towards the end of this century. Read more

December 2 - Big names to phase out HFC refrigerants
The Consumer Goods Forum, which includes major companies such as Unilever, Tesco, Coca-Cola and General Mills announced on the first day of the Cancun climate summit two major initiatives on climate change: to work toward ending deforestation, and to phase out the use of refrigerant gases with high global warming potential. Read more (PDF)

December 1 - Tundra fire linked to climate change
A thousand square kilometres of the Alaskan tundra was torched in September 2007 and scientists have since discovered it was likely the most severe fire event in the area for 5,000 years. Increasing temperatures in the area are making fire events more likely and when they occur, the potential to be more severe. Read more.

December 1 - Farming catastrophe looms for South Africa
Africa could face a farming catastrophe should global average temperatures rise by 4 degrees Celsius. While growing season may increase to a modest degree in eastern Africa, everywhere else in the region except central Africa would see rapid declines.  Read more

December 1 - Global warming wiped out ancient rainforests
The rise of the dinosaurs may have been triggered by the destruction of rainforests in a global warming event 300 million years ago say researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Bristol University. Read more

December 1 - Australia still bickering over carbon targets
Australia's governing Labor party and the rapidly strengthening Greens are now squabbling over carbon emissions-reduction targets; a situation that could see Prime Minister Julia Gillard introducing an interim carbon tax.  Read more