Global warming headlines and climate change news for January 2011

January 31 - New Zealand sets carbon emissions target
The New Zealand government has set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50 percent by 2050. According to Climate Change Minister Nick Smith, this equates to New Zealanders having to reduce net emissions by 31 million tonnes each year. Read more.

January 30 - Arctic ocean warmest for 2,000 years
A new study has found the temperatures of North Atlantic Ocean flowing into the Arctic Ocean is the warmest it's been for at least 2,000 years and will likely contribute to the amplification of global warming in the Arctic. Read more

January 29 - Cut fossil fuel subsidies to pay for AU floods
Given the link between climate change and extreme weather events, the Australian Conservation Foundation believes Australia's government should fund flood recovery by reducing subsidies and tax breaks in connection to fossil fuel use and greenhouse pollution rather than by taking funding from climate action programs. Read more

January 28 - Australia cuts carbon schemes, adds flood tax
In order to pay for damage from floods that have wrought devastation in several Australian states, the country's government has decided to impose a flood tax and to cut several carbon reduction schemes. Read more

January 27 - Drought likely to persist in Southern USA
The rapid onset of drought across the southern United States has been labeled as "unusual" given it was only in 2010 that an El Niņo event dominated the region and rain was in abundance. Read more 

January 26 - Obama sets new clean energy target
As part of his State of the Union speech, U.S. President Barack Obama has set a new goal for the nation - to have 80% of its energy come from clean sources by 2035. Read more

January 25 - Time running out to meet carbon targets
World leaders can forget about stabilizing the average global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius unless decarbonization efforts increase by 400 percent says the chief economist for the International Energy Agency. Read more

January 24 - SE Asia feeling climate change effects
A dramatic increase of natural disasters in South East Asia from 100 to 300 annually is evidence the region is feeling the effects of climate change far more rapidly than other parts of the world. Read more.

January 23 - Extreme weather events in Australia
More than 70 towns and cities in Australian state of Queensland have endured flooding since December last year and whether people believe in climate change or not, the nation will see extreme weather events become even more common in the years ahead according to Professor Peter Grace from the Queensland University of Technology. Read more

January 21 - Record Greenland ice sheet melt
Research conducted by the (WWF) and City College of New York has found Greenland's ice sheet melt in 2010 was as much as 50 days longer than average; due to exposure of bare ice for longer than previous years. Read more.

January 20 - EU carbon registries closed after hacking
The European Commission has closed all carbon registries participating in its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) after escalating cyber attacks. Most activities will be suspended until at least the 26th of this month. Read more

January 19 - Critical food crop shortages by 2020
While some would argue that a food shortage problem doesn't exist, just a distribution issue, a new report entitled "The Impacts of Climate Change on Food Production: A 2020 Perspective," warns there will be a major shortfall in many food crops by the end of this decade due to climate change. Read more.

January 18 - Greens link burning coal to Australian floods
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has called for 50% of Australia's proposed mining profits tax be put aside for to help pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods. Mr. Brown stated burning coal is a major cause of global warming and warmer ocean temperatures were responsible for the recent flooding catastrophe. Read more.

January 17 - California super storm warning
While Californians are well aware of the potential threat of major earthquakes, another menace looms - super storms; devastating enough to cause four to five times as much economic damage as a large earthquake. Storms such as those that have occurred in the past could cause up to $300 billion in damage. Read more

January 16 - Warmer weather triggers deer friskiness
The annual rutting season for deer on the Isle of Rum could be changing due to a warming climate. A recent study found rutting and calving is occurring up to two weeks earlier than just three decades ago. Read more

January 15 - 2010 equal hottest year globally
Global surface temperatures last year tied with 2005 as the warmest on record states an analysis from researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009 respectively since GISS records began in 1880. Read more

January 14 - Climate change's role in Roman Empire's fall
It seems it might not have just been corruption, rampant debauchery and lead contaminated water in Rome's aqueducts that lead to the fall of the mighty empire. A 300-year spell of unpredictable weather seems to have coincided with the decline of the Roman Empire and other major social upheavals in our past have been linked to climate shifts. Read more

January 12 - Rising oceans "inevitable"
The inevitable warming of the Earth's seas will result in 25 centimeters of sea-level rise by 2100 which might not sound like much, but it doesn't include the possibility of a dramatic Antarctic ice sheet melt that could increase sea level globally as much as 4 meters. Read more

January 10 - Carbon price uncertainty affecting Australia
Uncertainty regarding the pricing of carbon pollution in Australia has seen billions of dollars in investment planned over the next five years in the electricity sector alone being slashed. Businesses in Australia may now be more eager for a resolution in order to move forward. Read more

January 9 - Climate change means more energy usage
Over the next century, climate change could be responsible for up to a 20 per cent decrease in demand for electricity for heating in Northern Europe but also a 20 per cent increase in consumption for electricity for cooling in Southern Europe. As cooling requires more energy than heating, the net effect will be an increase in energy consumption overall. Read more.

January 8 - Climate and the U.S. wheat challenge
Temperatures in the USA's bread basket could rise by 4 degrees or more over the next 100 years; posing some major challenges for farmers. However, wheat farmers in past eras successfully used breeding and biological exploration to grow crops in areas outside their traditional temperature range - and achieved this without genetic modification technology. Read more

January 7 - Lakes a major source of greenhouse gases
A team of researchers have discovered that methane release from inland waters is higher than previously estimate. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with many times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of carbon dioxide. Read more

January 6, 2011 - Nepal's rivers dry up - as does electricity
Nepal's electricity authority is ramping up power blackouts throughout the nation to 74 hours a week because of a rapid decrease of water levels in rivers. While the country has capacity to generate over 84,000 megawatts of hydro power, most of that capacity has gone untapped. Read more

January 5, 2011 - China's desertification challenge
China has some of the world's largest deserts - massive areas of desolation; some of which are expanding due in part to climate change and other human activities. While Chinese authorities claim to have slowed desertification, they admit it could be 300 years to recover land the deserts have claimed. Read more

January 3, 2011 - India's climate change suicide tragedy
Nearly 200,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide in the past ten years - some as a result of failure of genetically modified crops that didn't live up to expectation, others as a result of climate change turning farming into an even higher risk pursuit than it has been traditionally. Read more

January 3, 2011 - Coal fired power not dead ..yet
The rumors of coal's death in the USA due to its contribution to climate change are exaggerated - to a degree. Not a single new coal-fired power power station project in the United States was started for the second straight year. Read more.

January 3, 2011 - Huge chunk of Australia under water
Australia is better known for drought than flood, but the latter is something the east coast has experienced a lot of lately. In the Australian state of Queensland, an area the size of France and Germany combined is now under water and the city of Rockhampton, population 75,000, is now cut off.  Read more.

January 1, 2011 - Climate change debate rages on
During 2010, eighteen countries broke  records for the hottest day ever this year. Only 1998 was warmer than any year so far since 2000. However, debate on whether climate change due to human activities is occurring rages on; to the point that while the public's awareness has grown significantly over the last decade, its acceptance of the science may be diminishing. Read more.