Climate change headlines and global warming news for February 2011

February 28 - January Arctic sea ice lowest on record
The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports arctic sea ice extent averaged over January 2011 was just 13.55 million square kilometers, the lowest for January since satellite records began in 1979. The NSIDC also says Hudson Bay, which usually is frozen by late November, did not completely freeze over until mid-January. Read more.

February 27 - ClimateGate researchers cleared.. again
An investigation by the U.S. Commerce department into the researchers whose emails were leaked, sparking the "ClimateGate" affair, has found no evidence of unethical behavior or NOAA's climate-change science. Read more

February 26 - Australia sets carbon price date
The Australian government has announced it intends setting a price on carbon from 2012. However, in order to achieve the goal, legislation needs to be passed this year and getting it through could be a very difficult task; with the opposition framing it as a massive carbon tax that would be disastrous to families and businesses. Read more

February 23 - Climate change making tawny owls browner
A group of scientists in Finland believes grey feathered tawny owls are likely to disappear as winters become warmer and brown feathered owls the dominant shad - and it's all about survival and natural selection. Read more.
February 20 - Rising ocean levels threaten 180 US cities
A study headed by researchers from the University of Arizona has found rising sea levels could inundate up to nine percent of the land area in 180 cities in the USA by 2100. Cities such as Miami, New Orleans and Tampa would be among those worst affected. Read more.

February 19 - Power plant emissions jump in the USA
According to a report from the Environmental Integrity Project, based on the USA EPA's Clean Air Markets database, carbon dioxide emissions originating from power plants rose over 5% in 2010 compared to 2009, the biggest jump since the EPA began recording emissions in the mid-1990's. Read more.

February 17 - Emissions and major rain events linked
Two studies have found greenhouse gas emissions may be linked to heavy rain events. One study finds  extreme rain events and flooding jumped by 7 per cent in the northern hemisphere in the second half of last century. The second study replicated conditions leading up to flooding in the UK in 2000 and found in two out of three cases, human-induced global warming increased the risk of flooding by more than 90 per cent. Read more.

February 16 - Warming trend likely not reversible
Researchers from the University of Washington say that even if emissions were curbed right now, existing greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have likely committed the planet to a further warming trend for a long time to come. Read more.
February 15 - Taking from fossil fuel, giving to clean energy
The Obama administration's proposed budget for 2012 seeks to eliminate a dozen tax breaks to oil, gas, and coal companies. The cuts will raise $46 billion over 10 years, with much of it going to the research and development of clean energy alternatives. Read more

February 13 - Biomass power production and emissions
While burning biomass such as wood as a means of electricity production is considered carbon neutral by many, critics say burning forests without replacing them creates a a net addition of carbon to the atmosphere. Read more

February 9 - Drought threatens China's wheat crop
China, a nation usually self sufficient when it comes to wheat and the world's largest producer of the crop, is facing a shortfall this year due to extreme drought conditions - the worst in 60 years. This poses a problem not only for China, but for other countries as the shortage could further impact on already high wheat prices. Read more.

February 8 - Climate change a factor in record food prices
UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said food prices have reached the highest point since records began in 1990. Among the causes is climate change, exacerbating extreme weather events around the world - from heatwaves, to fires and floods. Read more.

February 6 - 150 coal plant plans abandoned
The Sierra Club says since the "coal rush" began in 2001, 150 planned coal fired generation facilities have been defeated or abandoned. Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign says dirty coal being the status quo is no longer acceptable and clean energy is the way of the future. Read more

February 5 - Amazon drought turns it into a carbon emitter
The Amazon has now had two "once in a century" droughts in the last five years and the region's ability to act as a major carbon sink is concerning scientists as it is now acting as a carbon source rather than a carbon sponge. Read more

February 4 - U.S. endures massive winter storm
A storm stretching for more than 3,000 kilometres across the USA and covering almost a third of the nation was responsible for weather phenomenon ranging from blizzards to tornadoes. Read more

February 3 - Catastrophic cyclone heading for Queensland
A cyclone (hurricane) system nearly the size of the USA will be hitting the Australian state of Queensland in the next few hours. Packing wind speeds of 290 kilometres an hour, a link between the event and climate change has been made as the storm has been fed by high temperatures in the Coral Sea. Read more.

February 2 - Natural gas not so emissions friendly
While natural gas is often touted to have far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than coal, new information, gas may be as little as 25 percent cleaner than coal - or even less. Read more

February 2 - UK recession results in emissions drop
An 8% fall in greenhouse gas emissions due to the country's recession has made the UK's climate change targets for the next five years achievable according to the UK government. However, the Liberal Democrat energy and climate change secretary says "this is no time for back-slapping". Read more

February 2 - Most British citizens understand climate threat
According to a recent Guardian poll, 83 percent of Britons consider consider climate change a current or imminent threat and only 14 percent  believe that global warming poses no threat. 68 percent said human activity was responsible for causing climate change. Read more