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Archive for September, 2011

Amphibians, Other Species May Struggle wtih Climate-Induced Migration

(September 29, 2011)

Scientific American

New research that looks at 15 Pacific Northwest amphibian species concludes that as the climate shifts and species move to more favorable destinations, many species may not be able to make the transition.

Plants take in more CO2 than thought, study finds

(September 28, 2011)

Reuters

The new finding by an international team of researchers shows that plants are consuming carbon dioxide 25% faster than originally thought.  This finding may lead to more accurate climate change predictions, but the studies’ authors say it is to early to determine exactly how.

On global warming, Oregonians see ‘separate realities,’ survey finds

(September 26, 2011)

Portland Oregonian

Oregonians are living in “separate realities” of climate change views, an online survey finds. The survey had approx 2250 respondents, and though it wasnt scientific, confirms stereotypes with deep divides based on political ideology.

The Big Payback from Bringing Back Peat Bogs

(September 26, 2011)

Yale Environment 360

The wildfires in Russia last summer poured huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air by burning the peat in drained bogs.  After burning fossil fuels and deforestation, drained and burned peat bogs are the 3rd largest source of CO2 emissions, releasing 2 billion tons into the atmosphere every year.   A new plan is underway to restore, by re-flooding, 35,000 hectares in Russia, with future targets in Indonesia- the world’s biggest emitter of CO2 from dried out peat bogs.

Main salmon killer still elusive, inquiry told

(September 21, 2011)

Burnaby NewsLeader

A new report finds no conclusive culprit for why millions of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon have died off in recent years.  Climate change and ocean conditions are cited as 2 “likely” factors contributing to the long-term decline.  The report comes from the Cohen Commission, an organization appointed to study the decline of sockeye “after less than 1.5 million sockeye returned in 2009, far fewer than the more than 10 million expected.”

Analysis: Extreme steps needed to meet climate target

(September 20, 2011)

Reuters

New research finds that at present emissions levels, the sky will effectively be full of carbon in less than 20 years, necessitating removal from the air at a vast scale. The research will be published in the journal Climatic Change in November, and will form the basis of a report due out on 2013 and 2014 from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) providing scenarios and estimating what the world must do to have a likely chance of keeping long-term warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

From fire: BWCA forest of the future

(September 20, 2011)

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Climate change is transforming Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area, as a new kind of forest emerges from the latest Pagami Creek Fire.  A less dense landscape that includes a mix of grassland, maples, and oaks, and potentially more invasive species, will likely result as the area adjusts to a warmer climate.

EPA Delays Greenhouse Gas Regulations, Raising Concerns Over Climate Change And Public Health

(September 16, 2011)

Huffington Post

The EPA has announced that it will miss a September 30 deadline for issuing new rules on greenhouse gas emissions.  The agency also missed a July deadline,  creating concern for public health from further delays in air quality regulations.  Industry figures continue to say that the upcoming regulations will be economically damaging, while other researchers find that infrastructure investment will provide long-term economic benefits and create jobs.

Reports:

Methodology for Sustainable Grassland Management (SGM)

Verified Carbon Standards

A new methodology has been formulated, and is being proposed to “estimate greenhouse gas emission reductions and carbon sequestration in grasslands, by applying sustainable grassland management practices (SGM). ” If accepted, it will be the first framework of its kind for grasslands. Download the methodology: FAO-SGM-Methodology (pdf. 1.3mb)

Technology Roadmap Carbon Capture and Storage in Industrial Applications (pdf 2.2mb)

International Energy Agency and United Nations Industrial Development Organization

The analysis finds that equipment installed on factories outside of the energy sector could reduce CO2 levels by 1/10th of the amount needed to halve global emissions from the energy sector by 2050.  Capture from industrial plants tends to be cheaper than from fossil-fuel fired power plants generating electricity, although capture from industrial plants has so far received little attention in government spending and research.  The analysis lays out key finding and key actions that will be necessary over the next 10 years.

PiPe dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the ConstruCtion of Keystone XL

Cornell University Press Release

(September 28, 2011)

“Energy industry claims of jobs created by the TransCanada Corporation Keystone XL Pipeline are inflated at best and misleading at the worst, according to a new report by Cornell University’s ILR Global Labor Institute. The… report, “Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of Keystone XL,” notes that the project may actually kill more jobs than it creates.”

Download the report: GLI_KeystoneXL_Reportpdf (pdf, 1.2mb)

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Articles:

Switching from coal to natural gas would do little for global climate, study indicates

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

September 8, 2011

“Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change.”  Methane leakage from natural gas, along with the release of other particles from burning coal that actually cool the planet (although they are environmentally detrimental), play into the complex ways that fossil fuel burning affects the planet.

King crabs on Antarctic march

Australian Broadcasting Corp

September 7, 2011

For about the last 14 million years, waters off of the Antarctic Peninsula have been too cold to support king crab life.  Recently, the water there has been warming very rapidly, and is now home to a large population of king crabs.  The crabs are voracious predators, while the native fauna for Antarctica have evolved without predators for millions of years.  Initial studies show changes in the natural ecosystem where the crabs have newly arrived, including less biodiversity and changing geochemistry of the ocean-floor sediment.

Scientists explore locking CO2 in rocks

Associated Press/ Delaware Online

September 3, 2011

Later this month, a new experiment that involves “locking away carbon dioxide forever” with seltzer water in a deep hole will begin in Iceland.  In theory, the calcium in the highly reactive basalt rock beneath 90% of Iceland will react with CO2 and create limestone permanently.  The researchers, however, warn that the experiment may fall short of expectations, and advise against “looking for a climate fix from the project any year soon.”

Studies and Reports:

REDDy-Set-Grow Part II:  Recommendations for international climate change negotiators

UNEP Finance Initiative

September 13, 2011

“In this report, the financial sector voices recommendations to international climate change negotiators on how an effective regime for forest-based climate change mitigation should be designed to mobilise private finance engagement and investment.”  The report warns against the huge financial and environmental losses that could stem from a post-Kyoto climate change deal that fails to spur private sector investment into deforestation and forest degradation reduction efforts.

The human dimension of fire regimes on Earth (pdf, 1mb)

Journal of Biogeography, 2011

This article provides a historical framework to promote understanding of the development and diversification of fire regimes in order to help managers assess the role of fire in communities.  It examines how humans have caused a departure from ‘natural’ background levels that vary with climate change.

CDP Global 500 Report 2011- Accelerating Low Carbon Growth (pdf, 6.4mb)

Carbon Disclosure Project

According to the executive summary of the CDP’s annual request to the Global 500 companies, asking them to measure and report what climate change means to their business, “Low carbon growth is now widely accepted as fundamental to generating long term shareholder value, avoiding dangerous climate change and helping the global economy recover from recent turmoil.”

Increased forest ecosystem carbon and nitrogen storage from nitrogen rich bedrock

Nature

August 31, 2011

This study finds that the Nitrogen content of the bedrock beneath forests affects the amount of carbon storage of the forest’s mass.  “Forests associated with N-rich parent material contain on average 42% more carbon in above-ground tree biomass and 60% more carbon in the upper 30 cm of the soil than similar sites underlain by N-poor rocks”

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EPA Accepts First GHG Reporting Data/Agency launches electronic GHG reporting tool

August 22, 2011

US Environmental Protection Agency

By September 30, 2011, the top emitters in the country- those responsible for 70% of emissions across 28 industrial sectors- will be required to submit their greenhouse gas data through the EPA’s online Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.  Industries and businesses will be able to use the data to help find new ways to decrease carbon pollution, increase efficiency, and save money.

Number of Green Jobs Fails to Live Up to Promises

August 18, 2011

New York Times

In the bay area, as well as the rest of the country, the green-job economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned.  Projections for job creation in the sector have consistently fallen short, frustrating proponents of the green economy.

Studies:

New Study Shows Deforestation Much Higher in Protected Areas Than Forests Run by Locals

Center for International Forestry Research

An article published in Forest Ecology and Management finds that tropical forests designated as strictly protected areas have annual deforestation rates much higher than those managed by local communities, challenging the idea that locking forests away is the best way to conserve them.  “With billions of dollars being channeled into Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) – a climate change mechanism that pays developing countries to protect the world’s forests – the paper suggests that community-managed forests could be a more cost-efficient and effective solution to reducing deforestation and ensuring the sustainable use of forests while benefiting local livelihoods.” Download the paper from here.

Evidence for the effect of homes on wildfire suppression costs (pdf 1.6mb)

Headwaters Economics

Hotter weather and increased building in the Sierra Nevada region along the California-Nevada border are strongly associated with more intense fires and dramatically higher costs to fight the fires.

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