Archive for June, 2011

Pollution and Climate Change Accelerate Ocean Degradation

(June 22, 2011)

Scientific American

In a report issued to the UN, a team of scientists indicated that the world’s oceans may be in far worse condition than previously thought.  Acidification caused by carbon dioxide absorption, dead zones from agricultural runoff, and the loss of oxygen from the water all appear to be occurring at increasing rates, “creating conditions similar to those found at the start of major die-offs of marine species in the past, suggesting that the world is at the cusp of another mass extinction event.”

Warming Accelerates Sea Level Rise on U.S. East Coast

(June 21, 2011)

Scientific American

New research shows that temperature and sea levels have been rising and falling in conjunction for at least the last 1000 years.  Along the Eastern US coast, the sea level is rising faster than it has for at least the last 2000 years.

New research suggests that planting mass areas of forests will do little to cool the planet, especially when the trees are planted in Northern countries.  The study concludes that forestation cannot substitute for reducing carbon emissions, and that the “benefits of tree planting are “marginal” when it comes to stopping the planet from overheating.”

U.S. Solar Capacity Jumps 66% in First Quarter on Incentives, Low Prices

(June 16, 2011)


Expiring government incentives and falling panel prices created an increase in the amount of solar capacity installed in the US in the first quarter.  252 megawatts of photovoltaic power capacity were installed in the first quarter of 2011, compared with 152 megawatts in 2010.  Installations were:  59% commercial and government projects, 28% residential, and 13% utility scale plants.


In two reports issued June 15, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) finds that most states with energy efficiency standards are on track to meet their goals, but future barriers could provide significant challenges for programs in upcoming years.

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A Progress Report on State Experience

This report examines the 19 states that have had energy efficiency standards in place for more than 2 years to find that the majority of goals are being met or are on track, and that energy-saving policies set by states area working.  The report also examines the issues that affect the states’ performances in meeting energy savings targets.

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: State and Utility Strategies for Higher Energy Savings

This report outlines key strategies that states are using to successfully meet Energy Efficiency Resource Standards.


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1,000-Year Record Shows Unusual Snowpack Declines– Study

(June 9, 2011)

New York Times

A new US Geological Survey- led study shows the decrease in Rocky Mountain snowpack in the 1980’s to be the greatest decline in the last 1,000 years.  By studying hundreds of thousands of tree growth rings, the researchers built long-term chronologies for locations across the Rockies.  They found 2 other instances of sustained low snow pack in the Northern Rockies, however those dips were not as severe as current declines.  The mountains in the study drain into the Colorado, Columbia and Missouri basins, which provide 60-80% of the water needs for over 70 million people.  The study appears this week in Science.

China’s CO2 emissions rose 10 percent in 2010: BP data

(June 8, 2011)


Global carbon dioxide emissions rose last year at the fastest rate since in over 4 decades. China’s emissions rose 10.4% from the previous year, and accounted for 1/4 of global emissions.  The US was the 2nd largest consumer.  Global coal consumption experienced its greatest growth since 2003 (7.3%), hydroelectric power grew by 5.3%, nuclear output grew by 2%,  and renewable energy sources grew by 15.5%.  Global biofuels production grew by 13.8%.

Rising forest density offsets climate change – study

(June 5, 2011)


Rising forest density in many countries is helping to offset the climate change caused by deforestation in other countries, a new study reveals.  The report, based on a survey of 68 nations,  suggests that increased forest density needs to be taken into account instead of just the area covered with forest.  Measuring forest density requires more complex monitoring than measuring forest extent by photographing it from a plane or by satellite, but could yield more accurate estimates of how much carbon a forest is able to capture.

After Explosive Growth, Global Carbon Markets Stall and Begin to Shrink

(June 2, 2011)

New York Times

The global carbon market has stalled after 5 years of rapid growth.  Reasons for the decline include politics (cap and trade legislation failed in the US, Japan, and Australia), fraudulent activity and outright theft of emissions, and primarily a decreased in public and government interest along with the failure to agree on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which expires next year.

Identifying Opportunities & Assessing Vulnerability: Essential Characteristics of Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments

Climate Prep

Eliot Levine of WWF-US talks about reactive adaptation versus long-term adaptation planning, the value of doing vulnerability assessments, and valuable components to consider in assessments.  In a prior article (How is Climate Change Adaptation Different from Business as Usual?), he discusses the necessity of context and recognition of adaptation as a means, and not an end.


A Guide for Tribal Leaders on U.S. Climate Change Programs

In June 2011, the Tribal Climate Change Project released a Guide for Tribal Leaders on U.S. Climate Change Programs. This guide summarizes key U.S. government programs addressing climate change, opportunities for tribal engagement and contacts for each agency. In addition to its immediate value to tribes and their partners, this information will provide important groundwork for research on understanding and improving the tribal consultation processes in the context of climate change. This guide also begins to include tribal, academic and non- governmental agencies and programs to assist tribes in addressing climate change. To download the Guide, click here: http://tribalclimate.uoregon.edu/publications/

Carbon Disclosure Project 2011 Cities Report

June 2011

The first global report by the organization on greenhouse gas measurement, management, and adaptation to climate change in the world’s largest cities.  The 58 cities represented by the c40 Cities Climate Leadership Group account for 12% of global carbon dioxide.  Download the full report (3.2mb).

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