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Archive for July, 2011

Articles:

Carbon Pricing and Fairness

(July 21, 2011)

Sustainable Prosperity

This Canadian policy brief creates a framework to analyze “fairness” of a carbon pricing policy.  The brief acknowledges that carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes will “disproportionately impact households with lower incomes” without mitigation, and discusses the need to design carbon pricing with fairness in mind.

What Does REDD+ Really Cost?

(July 20, 2011)

Center for International Forestry Research

The true cost of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) strategies is contentious, with some parties believing it to be one of the cheapest options to mitigate climate change, and others believing it to be a costly effort with unpredictable results.  This article discusses recent research by Princeton University scientists that looks at the cost of “agricultural policies that make cultivation of existing land more attractive compared to forest encroachment”.  The abstract (and full article available for purchase) can be found here.

Soils May Amplify Warming Power of Greenhouse Gases

(July 14, 2011)

Scientific America

A new study suggests that soil microorganisms absorb carbon dioxide only to convert it into a much more potent greenhouse gases, negating almost 17 percent of the Earth’s ability to absorb heat-trapping emissions.  As atmospheric carbon in expected to increase in the coming years, the output of methane and nitrous oxide from soil microbes is expected to greatly accelerate the rate of warming.  The study was published in Nature and can be downloaded here: Soil Carbon Sequestration: An Overlooked Opportunity for REDD+

Washington Struggles to Clarify Approach to National Climate Policy

(July 11, 2011)

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

At the mid- year climate talks last month in Bonn, Germany, “Washington fiercely resisted calls for ambitious action”, leaving analysts perplexed about the country’s stance and climate action direction.

Up in Smoke: Can Carbon Markets Help Reduce Forest Fires?

(May 31, 2011)

Ecosystem Marketplace

Wildfires in the US produce huge emissions of greenhouse gases, and are expected to continue in their current trend of greater severity as a result of climate change.  Preventative treatments- removing potential fuels before a fire occurs- is seen as one way of staying ahead of the “wildfire curve.”  Research suggests that removal of potential fuels significantly reduces the amount of carbon stock lost in fires, however- treatment of an area that does not burn simply removes carbon stock and provides no emissions avoidance benefit.  Forest management that reduces carbon emissions from forest fires could potentially gain funding from emerging carbon markets, provided new techniques for predicting the locations of future fires and managing forests could be developed.

Reports:

An Analysis of Wildfire Fuel Treatments as a Carbon Offset Project Type

The Climate Trust and Oregon Department of Forestry

This report describes “a landscape-scale case study in southern central Oregon that modeled the impact of fuel treatments on wildfire behavior and associated carbon dioxide emissions and assesses the project’s ability to generate carbon offsets that meet the quality criteria identified by the Offset Quality Initiative.”

Extreme Weather and Climate Change:  Understanding the Link, Managing the Risk

(June 2011)

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Because climate is an average of weather events over many years, it is difficult to attribute any one event to global climate change.  2010 however, was one of the warmest, as well as one of the most disastrous on record since 1880. This report examines risk management as a framework for examining the link between global climate change and extreme weather.  The page also contains links to many other useful resources on extreme weather.

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(July 9, 2011)

The Vancouver Sun

In the Napa Valley, concerned vintners have set up climate monitoring equipment in order to study weather patterns and gain a better understanding of how changing patterns will affect them.  The Valley is the subject of a recent study to try and grasp the weather patterns of the past and determine future fluctuations for the famous wine-growing region.

Bugs a growing threat to forests, US reports

(July 6, 2011)

Associated Press

Over the past decade, drought and a warming climate have increased the threat of insects on the nation’s forests. 37 million acres have been killed over the past 5 years, compared to 12 million during the previous 5 year period.  8% of forests in the lower 48 have been damaged by insect attacks over the last 5 years, compared to just 2% from fires.

California gets carbon market court win

(June 25, 2011)

Reuters

“A California appellate court has ruled that state regulators can proceed with plans to implement a carbon cap-and-trade system, a decision that puts them on track to launch the market as scheduled in January 2012.”

Survey:

Global Warming’s Six Americas in May 2011

(June 28, 2011)

Yale and George Mason Universities

In a survey that broadly examines how adults think about climate change and policies to curb warming temperatures, 6 ideological categories are defined.

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