December 2012 climate change headlines

December 31 - A note from Michael
I've been posting climate change news items on Carbonify since 2007. Back then, Dr. James Hansen warned the "redline" for atmospheric carbon dioxide was 350 parts per million. We were past 350 ppm then and we're even further away now, with no signs of levels stabilising in the foreseeable future. 

As this year draws to a close, there isn't a lot to celebrate in terms of global progress as most "victories" have been those of a local or minor nature in comparison to the big picture where the damage has been far greater. It's been one step forward and two (or more) steps back.

As for the future, life on Earth will not end as a result of our collective denial and ignorance, but it will be radically changed. 

It's time to prepare for the worst, while continually hoping (and striving) for the best. 

December 30 - Parts of Jarkata sinking
Sections of Indonesia's capital city are facing a dual inundation threat. Due to excessive ground water extraction, the city is sinking; but rising sea levels are also adding to increasing inundation events. Read more

December 28 - Arctic cyclone unique
Scientist have confirmed a hurricane-like storm in the Arctic during August 2011 was the first of its kind ever recorded during an Arctic summer. Some believe the lower levels of ice in the region played a role in its formation. Read more.

December 27 - Did climate change drive human evolution?
One of humanity's outstanding attributes is its ability to establish itself in a wide range of climates. In fact, it may have been shifting climates that accelerated our evolution. Read more

December 26 - A white Christmas ..and tornadoes
Tornadoes touched down in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana yesterday; killing two people and creating other havoc - and there may be more to come according to the USA's National Weather Service. Read more.

December 25 - Outlook grim for the Colorado River
Columbia University predict a 10 percent reduction in the Colorado River's flow in the next few decades based on computer models; a situation that could cause water shortages for tens of millions of people who depend on it for water. Read more.

December 24 - West Antarctic ice sheet rapidly warming
The temperature of the west Antarctic ice sheet is rising nearly twice as fast as previously thought. Between 1958 and 2010; it has warmed by 2.4 degrees Celsius, three times the average global rise. Read more.

December 23 - 2012 climate and weather disasters cost dearly
This year, the USA experienced 11 weather related events that cost over $1 billion, the second highest damage bill since 1980.  The human cost was high too. Hurricane Sandy took 131 lives and heat wave and associated drought directly caused at least 123 deaths. Read more.

December 21 - Seattle's record high tides a warning.
Waves inundated a hundred properties in Seattle earlier this week after the state experienced its highest tides ever recorded - and scientists say more of the same can be expected in future. Read more.

December 18 - 333 months of above average temps
November was the 333rd straight month experiencing a global average surface temperature above the 20th century average says the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). November was also the fifth warmest month globally since records began. Read more.

December 17 - IPCC draft climate report leaked
Part of a draft of the fifth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was leaked on a climate sceptic's web site last week. Instead of one sentence in the report seized upon by the leaker justifying his views; when viewed in context, it reportedly completely undermines it. Furthermore, in totality the leaked information paints a grim picture; again confirming humanity's role in climate havoc. Read more.

December 12 - Equatorial corals shrank due to global warming
Researchers have determined when sea surface temperatures increased by around 0.7 degrees Celsius during the last interglacial warm period, a sharp decline in coral diversity occurred in areas close to the equator. The findings are particularly disturbing given that same level of temperature increase has occurred in recent times. Read more.

December 11 - Climate change's increasing threat to security
With demand for food, water, and energy growing substantially as the world population continues to rapidly climb, this coupled with the effects of climate change will increase competition for resources and consequently, create great instability according to a new US government report. Read more.

December 10 - 20 year old climate predictions accurate
A pair of researchers has stated early predictions in a assessment report by the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990 with regard to temperature rises have been fairly accurate. Read more.

December 7 - Signs of life for Kyoto
With just weeks until the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol, negatiators may be in the final stretch of hammering out arrangements that could see it extended until 2020. Read more.

December 4 - Fossil fuel still riding the subsidy gravy train
In 2009, G20 leaders pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies; but for the most part have failed to live up to that pledge. This year, fossil fuels have been subsidised to the tune of between $775 billion to perhaps $1 trillion - or more. Read more.

December 3 - Record carbon emissions in 2012
According to the latest figures from the Global Carbon Project, emissions will reach a record high of 35.6 billion tonnes this year; raising the grim prospect that reining in emissions in time to avoid the worst effects of climate change is increasingly becoming a pipe dream. Read more.

December 2 - No consensus from climate talks (again)
The first half of climate talks in Doha have ended without any major progress made on the future of the Kyoto Protocol. The second half of discussions will commence on January 1, 2013. Read more.

December 2 - The megastorm threat to California
The 1861 rainstorm event in California killed thousands of people and over three quarters of a million cattle. A similar event today could have a far greater impact - and such events have occurred in California about every 200 years. Read more.  

December 1 - UN chief urges citizens on climate change
Christiana Figueres, the head of the UN's climate change secretariat, has said citizens need to consider their own role in addressing climate change and not rely on governments to solve the problem. Read more.

December 2 - The permafrost time bomb detonates
Permafrost covering almost 25 percent of northern hemisphere harbors 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon, twice currently in the atmosphere - and that permafrost is melting, threatening to emit emit 43 to 135 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2100 says a UN report. Read more.

December 2 - New building regulations in NZ city
A 10-centimetre sea level rise in Dunedin, New Zealand will increase the frequency of flooding in coastal regions by a factor of three and Dunedin City Council has responded to the effect by introducing regulations that will require new homes needing to be built 1.2 metres higher off the ground. Read more.

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