January 2016 Climate Change News

Australia's Environmental Ranking Sinks
In Yale University's 2016 Environmental Performance Index,  Australia has ranked 150th in the climate and energy category due to the nation's trend in carbon emissions associated with electricity generation.

Doomsday Clock Stuck At 3 Minutes To Midnight
Concerns regarding climate change and nuclear war have seen the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists keep the Doomsday Clock's hands at 3 minutes to midnight - indicating humanity remains on the brink of catastrophe. The Doomsday Clock has been used since 1947.

Bolivia's Second Largest Lake Disappears
Bolivia's second-largest lake, Lake Poopó, was once twice the size of Los Angeles. Currently it is just 2% of its previous size; with water diversion, El Niño and climate change all culprits. While it has recovered from such events in the past, this time it may not be possible.

Melbourne's Hotter, Wetter Future
Melbourne, capital city of the Australian state of Victoria, has become increasingly warmer and drier in recent decade. Sea levels have also risen substantially, up about 23 centimetres since 1880. Based on current emissions trends, Melbourne's temperature could increase by as much as 2.6 degrees above the 1986 to 2005 average by 2070, with sea levels rising by as much as 50 centimetres.

2015 The Earth's Hottest Year
Scientists at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed last year was Earth's hottest year since at least 1880, when records began. 2015 edged out the previous record year - 2014 - by 0.13 Celsius

CO2 In Seawater Could "Intoxicate" Fish
Researchers at the University of New South Wales have warned carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater could reach levels high enough to intoxicate and disorient fish much earlier than previously thought. The condition, called hypercabnia, could have massive implications for fisheries around the world.

New Supercomputer To Crunch Climate Change Data
One of the biggest supercomputers in the world will replace a current computer dedicated to the task of climate change calculations. The new system will be 2.5 times more powerful and able to make 5.3 quadrillion calculations a second.

Climate Change Skepticism "Political Suicide"
Nature documentary maker Sir David Attenborough says with climate change now widely accepted by the public, for a UK politician to express doubts about anthropogenic global warming; it would amount to political suicide.

Cancer And Climate Change
Piers J. Sellers is a climate scientist and an ex-astronaut. During that part of his career, he visited the International Space Station three times and walked in space six times. He has also recently been informed he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. That sort of diagnosis can really draw certain things into focus - this article is about his views regarding the road ahead in relation to climate change.

Obama's Coal Mine Lease Moratorium
The Obama administration has halted the granting of new coal mining leases on federal lands for three years, while it engages in a review that aims to bring leasing into line with the USA's climate policy. Approximately 40 percent of all the coal produced in the U.S. is dug up from mines situated on federal public lands. However, the temporary ban doesn't apply to metallurgical coal, or to coal leasing on tribal land.

2016's Biggest Threat - Climate Change
A survey of 750 economic experts and decision-makers found the biggest potential threat to the global economy this year is a climate change related catastrophe

Australian Firefighter Numbers Need To Be Doubled
With bushfires in Australia becoming more frequent and extreme due to climate change, the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union has called for doubling the total number of firefighters in the country. More than 500,000 hectares of land has been razed in Australia since October - and summer is only at the halfway mark; with the worst perhaps yet to come.

Climate Deniers "Lonely": Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama has given special emphasis to climate change in what will be his last State of the Union address. The President said climate change deniers who wish to continue disputing the science behind climate change will be "pretty lonely".

Icebergs Are Carbon Sinks (Sort Of)
Massive icebergs sequester up to 20 percent of carbon in the Southern Ocean through meltwater that contains iron and other nutrients, supporting high levels of phytoplankton growth. If icebergs continue the trend of calving, a process spurred on by increasing temperatures, it could play a role in slowing carbon dioxide load added to the atmosphere.

Volcano Season - Global Warming Link?
The earth is in the midst of a 300-year period of increased volcanic activity; activity that may be due to rising sea levels associated with global warming.

Trump Company Fined For Carbon Emissions
UK government officials have fined one of Donald Trump's companies for breaching the country’s rules relating to airplane carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate Change Killed Off "King Kong" Ape
Mega-ape Gigantopithecus, which is believed to have stood 3 metres high, likely went extinct after failing to adapt to alternative food sources as forested areas turned into savanna landscapes during the Pleistocene Epoch.

Melting Ice Provides Access To Shipwrecks
A minor climate change positive - archaeologists have found the 19th-century wreckage of two whaling ships off the coast of Alaska; previously undiscovered due to ice.

Cereal Crop Production Slashed
Droughts and heatwaves have reduced cereal harvests by an average of between 9 and 10 per cent globally over the past half century, but in North America, Europe and Australia, production cuts average 20 percent. 

2015 Australia's 5th Hottest Year
2015 was among the top five warmest years in Australia's recorded history; attributed to a particularly vigorous El Nino and a general global warming trend.

Greenland's Meltwater Runoff Underestimated?
The ability of Greenland's ice sheet to limit mass loss by retaining meltwater could be less than has been assumed. This means projected sea level rise due to meltwater runoff in Greenland is likely higher than previously predicted.

Climate Change Threatens Electricity Generation
The impact of climate change on rivers and streams may result in a significant reduction in electricity production around the world; particularly in the USA, southern South America, southern Africa, central and southern Europe, Southeast Asia and southern Australia.

China Suspends New Coal Mine Approvals
China will not approve new coal mines for three years and rein in output; with a goal of cutting the fossil fuel's share of the country's energy consumption to 62.6 percent this year.

Massive Methane Leak In California
A methane leak in Southern California has released 72,000 metric tons of gas since October. This single leak could be responsible for up to a quarter of all California's methane emissions for 2015. Methane is a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Australian Government Considered Carbon Tax In 1991
Newly released documents indicate as far back as 25 years ago, the Australian Government had concerns about climate change and considered a carbon tax. However, it was also very protective of its lucrative coal industry.

Earth's Sensitivity To Carbon Dioxide Underestimated
Scientists from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies state Earth's climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide has been underestimated and as a results, so have the effects

Climate Change A Health Threat To Pacific Island Nations
Climate change poses the most significant threat to human health in Pacific island nations; with risks from non-communicable and infectious diseases increasing.

Disappearing Foods
Certain foods could become less common and more expensive as a result of the effects from climate change - among them, guacamole, beer and seafood

Climate Change's Impact On Mental Health
The impact of climate change isn't limited to the severe weather events; but also the aftermath - mental trauma. Its been predicted 200 million Americans will suffer “serious psychological distress” as a result.