Archive for February, 2012

Think tank sees advantage in market-based GHG curbs

(February 13, 2012)

Red Lodge Clearing House

The Resources for the Future think tank has proposed that the EPA “can set the stage for a more efficient reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by building an emission-trading program into standards for power plants, refineries and other industrial emitters”.

Bark beetles expand assault on Wyoming forests

(February 11, 2012)

Billings Gazette

Last year, beetles expanded their range across national forests, private forestland, and the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in the state of Wyoming.  Aerial survey of the state showed an additional 167,000 acres infested, totaling 3.3 million infested acres since the first signs of outbreak in 1996.

Warm winter creates winners and losers in U.S. economy

(February 3, 2012)


After an unseasonably warm January across the lower 48, various markets are either hurting or benefiting.  Natural gas prices and storage are being strained, as are cold-weather retail sales and ski tourism venues.  Construction jobs are breaking ground earlier than normal, while local governments are gratefully spending less on heating bills, snow removal, and road repairs.

The fall in US heating demand:

Meanwhile, in Britain, a super-drought is feared after the driest year in the past 90 years, followed by the driest winter on record so far (The Guardian).  In Australia, flooding is likely, but not definitely, attributable to climate change via warming ocean temperatures, on-track with climate model predictions since 1990.

Winter bug may offer climate clues

(January 22, 2012)


The midge, a cold-hardy insect that feeds SE Minnesota trout throughout the winter, may not survive as water temps creep slowly upward.  The insect remains active down to 6 degrees below zero, but can not reproduce in water warmer than a year-round average of 50 degrees.

New Climate Group:

Conservation Hawks

This newly formed Montana group is made up of hunters and anglers who have made a pledge to defend the future against climate change.  Memberships is free.


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Climate change drying out forests in western Canada

(January 30, 2012)

Canadian Press

Despite projections that global warming could improve conditions for trees growing in the north, some forests in western Canada are dying sooner, and emitting more carbon than they are absorbing:  “Research shows northern forests in the three prairie provinces are drying up and shrinking from drought caused by climate change, while the eastern boreal forest is holding its own.”

New poll finds overwhelming bi-partisan support for protecting water, land, and wildlife

(January 30, 2011)

NRDC Staff Blog, with link to poll results

A Colorado College survey that polled voters across the political spectrum in 5 western states found broad support for environmental protection.  A large majority (88%) are willing to pay more per month for renewable energy, and “2/3 believe the current laws protecting land, air and water should be strengthened, or at least better enforced.”

Obama administration says new forest rules stress science and multiple use

(January 26, 2012)

Washington Post

The new released forest planning rules for the Forest Service’s 193 million acres of land reflect over 300,000 comments since the draft was released last year.  According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the new forest planning rule will “encourage forest restoration and watershed protection while creating opportunities for the timber industry and those who use the forest for recreation.” The new rule allows land management plans for individual forests to be completed in 3-4 years instead of 7, and gives forest managers more flexibility to address forest conditions on the ground.  The new rule revises the planning rule that dates from 1982, after which several attempts to revise it were struck down, at least 3 of which were since 2000.  For more information, visit the Forest Service’s planning rule revision website.

New Federal Planting Map Reflects Warming

(January 25, 2012)

Time Science

For the first time since 1990 the US Department of Agriculture has updated the Plant Hardiness Zone Map, and much has changed.  Zone changes reflect warming temperatures across the country, and nearly entire states are in warmer zones than they previously were.  According to the USDA Press Release, most areas of the US are generally one 5-degree half-zone warmer than previously shown, due to more sophisticated methods of mapping and a longer range of temperature data.  The new map can be viewed (and downloaded online) here:  USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Signs of New Life as U.N. Searches for a Climate Accord

(January 24, 2012)

New York Times

Several months after the conclusion of the Durban Climate Talks that concluded in a universal agreement to establish a new mandate for a binding agreement of some sort by 2015, this article looks at the road ahead,  the promise that the agreement can have, and the gaps of what else is needed to create meaningful change in emissions and warming trends.

an international agreement among all

NASA Finds 2011 Ninth-Warmest Year on Record

(January 19, 2012)


“The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists.  The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.” The posting includes a 26-second movie showing the differences from average temperature from 1884-2011.

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