Climate change headlines and global warming news for August 2011
August 31 - Hannah, Hansen arrested at protest
In recent days, actress and activist Daryl Hannah and NASA scientist Dr.
James Hansen have been arrested outside the White House while protesting
against the establishment of a pipeline from Canada's tar sands to the
Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Hansen has previously stated that should the pipeline
go ahead, it would mean "game over" in relation to fighting
climate change. Read
August 30 - Air & water concerns trump climate
A survey of 25,000 Internet users in 51 countries has found the issue of climate change taking somewhat of a back seat to what
are considered more immediate concerns such as job security, clean water and other environmental issues. Air pollution (77%) and water pollution (75%) are cited by the Nielsenís 2011 Global Online Environment & Sustainability Survey as being top concerns.
August 29 - Climate change's impact on mental health
A study by the Climate Institute, has found catastrophic weather events are causing anxiety in children a level not seen since the Cold War. For adults, climate change's more extreme effects will lead to an increased incidence of depression, substance abuse and suicide.
August 28 - 2% of Cuba could be lost to rising seas
Cuba's beaches are already being affected by a a side effect of climate change, with the coastline retreating by an estimate 4 feet a year. By 2050, 985 square miles
of the nation could be submerged by rising seas. Read
August 27 - Hansen challenges Obama on oil sands
NASA scientist James Hansen, the man among the first to alert the world about anthropogenic climate change, said that if U.S. President Barack Obama gives the nod to the Keystone XL pipeline, he will be "greenwashing" in relation to commitments to addressing climate change.
August 26 - Heat threatens Texas electricity grid
As Texas continues to bake in triple-digit temperatures, electricity
demand increases - a combination that can threaten mains grid supply.
Twice this month wide disruptions have only been narrowly averted. Peak-hour demand has exceeded 66,000 MW
on 15 days during August so far. Read
August 25 - Climate change threatens forestry jobs
With some tree species expected to become less productive with lower rainfall and increased temperatures, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics warns jobs in commercial forestry regions could be lost due to a changing climate.
August 24 - "Climategate" scientist
Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania scientist caught up in the so-called "climategate"
affair has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a National Science Foundation
enquiry, which has confirmed the findings from the U.S. National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administrationís inspector general and a separate panel
of scientists from three countries. Read
August 23 - Tar sands oil pipeline protesters
A sit-in at the White House to protest the development of a pipeline from
the Alberta tar sands in Canada to American refineries at the Gulf of
Mexico has seen 100 protesters arrested so far. Aside from massive damage to the environment where the tar sands oil is extracted, extraction is a carbon dioxide intensive operation. The protesters also fear major spillages of the unrefined and highly toxic substance should the pipeline be established.
August 22 - Court action attempts to block coal mine
An environmental group in Australia has commenced landmark court case to try to block the
development of a coal mine on the basis of the carbon emissions it will be
responsible for. Friends Of The Earth say the mine would make a mockery of
the Australian Government's attempts to combat climate change. Read
August 21 - Climate change threatens Inuit
The climate is changing so fast in Greenland that traditional lifestyles
of its Inuit inhabitants are under threat, causing all sorts of additional
problems. Where ice used to be 1 to 2 meters thick, it's now just
centimeters; disrupting hunting activities and travel. Read
August 20 - Severe weather costs U.S. $35 billion in
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has the United States has
experienced nine separate weather related disasters during 2001, each with an economic loss of $1 billion or more.
This ties the record set in 2008 and overall, this yearís losses have so far amounted to more than $35 billion.
August 19 - Acidic oceans threaten oyster industry
Massive oyster kills have been linked to episodes of spikes in salt water
acidity, caused by excessive carbon dioxide levels that when combined with
sea water create carbonic acid. Oyster farmers in some regions are
battling to save their industry through using sophisticated monitoring
systems to warn them when such events occur. Read
August 17 - Extreme heat damaging infrastructure in
Extreme heat is affecting water pipes in several U.S. states. Oklahoma has
experienced 685 water main bursts since July; which is around about four times the normal rate.
August 16 - Western Australia a high risk for
A new report from Australia's Climate Commission states coastal Western Australian towns are among the most at risk
of being swamped by rising seas - an effect of climate change. Up to
28,900 buildings may be affected by regular flooding. Read
August 15 - Malaria impacting birds in Britain.
Malaria isn't a disease often associated with Britain, but it seems that
malaria has been having an increasing impact on the nation's birds - and
some scientists believe climate change is playing a role. Read
August 14 - An ice free Arctic in our lifetimes
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believe the Arctic will be ice-free during summer several decades earlier than the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast; with the first such event occurring within many people's lifetimes.
August 13 - Carbon tax reversal would cost $27
Australia's Opposition has vowed to scrap the Government's carbon tax if
it takes power after the next election, but it won't be cheap. It's been
revealed it would cost $27 billion to reverse the tax, which includes $24 billion
to be refunded to companies that would have already purchased carbon permits.
August 12 - Climate change may increase ozone damage
By the end of this century, climate change may be responsible for ozone
damage to plants in northern and central Europe. According to Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden,
while the ozone layer high above the Earthís surface protects us against the sunís ultraviolet rays,
when it is formed at ground level through a reaction between exhaust
fumes, heat and sunlight, it is toxic to humans and plants. Read
August 8 - Al Gore gets hot under the collar
A frustrated Al Gore let fly at an Aspen Institute media forum recently;
incensed by the oil, steel, utilities and other industries enlisting lobbyists to cloud the climate
debate and using tactics similar to those employed by tobacco companies to
delay the implementation of the surgeon general's report for four decades.
August 6 - Bioplastics and greenhouse gases
Bioplastics are an alternative to traditional plastics that are often made
from petrochemicals. However, researchers at North Carolina State
University have found biodegradable plastics can release large amounts of methane,
a potent greenhouse gas, while decomposing. Read
August 5 - Greenland vs. Antarctica and ice melt.
While much attention has been focused on Greenland's ice sheet and its
role in sea level rise in the future as a result of climate change, a new
report says West Antarctica is where the most ice melt will occur, based
on events 125,000 years ago when the West Antarctic ice sheet alone accounted for half of
a sea level rise of 13 - 20 feet. Read
August 3 - A hellish summer for the U.S.
Extreme heat has claimed the lives of at least 60 people in the United States and this year may eclipse 2007 when 5,420 high temperature records were broken. This year, the National Weather Service
also revised temperature averages by around half a degree upwards to create a "new normal."
August 2 - A glacierless Glacier National Park?
There were 150 glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park in the 19th
Century, today there are only 25 and even those may have disappeared by
2020. The disappearance of the glaciers will mean the loss of a reliable
supply of water that helps sustain the Park's diverse range of plants and
animals; some of which are already endangered species. Read
August 2 - IPCC contemplates geoengineering
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently
assessing the potential impacts and side effects of geoengineering -
processes that would deliberately manipulate the environment to tackle
climate change. The IPCC's findings will appear in its Fifth Assessment Report,
due to be finalized in 2014. Read
August 1 - Antarctic mountains rising
Snow melt in Antarctica is having an odd effect on some mountains. With
the weight of frozen water lifted, the solid land beneath is bouncing up
at a rate of up to around 5 millimeters a year. In Greenland the change is
even more dramatic, around 4 centimeters a year in some locations. Read
August 1 - Palau threatened by rising seas,
If you haven't heard of the island nation of Palau, you certainly wouldn't
be alone. Situated 500 miles off the Philippines coast, it's one of the
world's youngest and smallest nations. All is not well in this island
paradise. Palau's 20,000 or so residents are already battling the effects
of climate change. Residents have experienced a trend of ocean water contaminating their
fields and some of Palau's unique marine creatures are under threat from
rising temperatures. Read