Pipe: Climate and Health

New NASA space observatory to study carbon conundrums

Mon, 2014-06-16 10:03
NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere is in final preparations for a July 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission will provide a more complete, global picture of the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as carbon dioxide's "sinks," the natural ocean and land processes by which carbon dioxide is pulled out of Earth's atmosphere and stored. Carbon dioxide, a critical component of Earth's carbon cycle, is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth's climate.

Yes He Could

Mon, 2014-06-16 00:00
This is the Barack Obama we’ve been waiting for.

Obama Mocks Lawmakers Who Deny Climate Change

Sun, 2014-06-15 00:00
Speaking at the University of California, Irvine, President Obama likened those who deny climate change to people who would have told John F. Kennedy, at the dawn of the space program, that the moon “was made of cheese.”

Muon detector could help UK reduce carbon emissions

Fri, 2014-06-13 08:44
A specialist detector which is set to play a fundamental part in helping the UK reduce its carbon emissions is being developed. Muon detectors which exploit cosmic-ray muons, a natural radiation to see through kilometers of rock -- in a similar way to X-rays being used to see inside a patient's body -- are being developed to improve monitoring of the process of subsurface carbon storage.

Watching Silicon Valley’s Response to Obama’s Climate Goals

Fri, 2014-06-13 00:00
In an interview, Vinod Khosla addresses how he and other venture capitalists might react to the call for new technology on clean energy.

Double Trouble for the Mediterranean Sea: Acidification and warming threaten iconic species

Thu, 2014-06-12 11:45
Scientist have finalized their findings about the threat of Mediterranean Sea warming and acidification on key species and ecosystems after a 3.5 year study. They have found that this sea is warming and acidifying at unprecedented rates – the main reason is emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. This increases the CO2 in the atmosphere causing warming of the atmosphere and the ocean as well as acidification of its waters due to uptake of CO2 by surface waters.

How Earth avoided global warming, last time around

Wed, 2014-06-11 14:37
Geochemists have calculated a huge rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide was only avoided by the formation of a vast mountain range in the middle of the ancient supercontinent, Pangea. A new model explains some of the events in the 80 million years following the start of the Carboniferous period.

Climate change: An offer they can't refuse

Wed, 2014-06-11 08:46
ON JUNE 2nd, Barack Obama announced that he wanted total emissions from American power stations to fall by 30% from 2005 levels in the next 15 years. This has (correctly) been interpreted as a potshot at the coal industry. States will have to come up with plans to meet specific emission-reduction targets; scrapping coal plants (and replacing them with gas-fired ones, say) is an obvious avenue to get there.The goal is laudable, but even if the act makes it through inevitable legal challenges its global impact may be limited. Part of the trouble is that scrapping an American coal plant serves little purpose if the black stuff is then put on a ship to China and burned there instead. This is precisely what is happening: coal exports to China increased nine-fold between 2009 and 2012 as cheap shale gas displaced the sooty stuff. Most of that coal is used in highly energy-intensive steel mills. Worse still, power plants in India and China that use imported American coal are often less efficient than American ones. Obama’s policy may reduce domestic coal consumption while boosting the amount of coal the world as a whole burns.A comprehensive, global agreement on carbon emissions would be one way around this problem. That may happen late next year, at a climate shindig in Paris (though past experience suggests optimism should be kept in ...

Interests, Ideology And Climate

Mon, 2014-06-09 00:00
The monetary stakes, it turns out, are not the biggest obstacle to rational action on global warming.

Warming climates intensify greenhouse gas given out by oceans

Sun, 2014-06-08 15:27
Rising global temperatures could increase the amount of carbon dioxide naturally released by the world's oceans, fueling further climate change, a study suggests. Scientists studied a 26,000-year-old sediment core to find out how the ocean's ability to take up atmospheric CO2 has changed over time, and found that when silicon was least abundant in ocean waters corresponded with relatively warm climates, low levels of atmospheric iron, and reduced CO2 uptake by the oceans' plankton.

Wind? Biofuels? Get Real, a Contrarian Says

Sun, 2014-06-08 00:00
A new book by a “climate agnostic” offers contrarian views on energy policies, arguing that the world needs a revival of nuclear power.

Obama on Obama on Climate

Sun, 2014-06-08 00:00
The president explains in an interview why the new E.P.A. rules on carbon are so pivotal.

Saving trees in tropics could cut emissions by one-fifth, study shows

Fri, 2014-06-06 09:16
Reducing deforestation in the tropics would significantly cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere -- by as much as one-fifth -- research shows. In the first study of its kind, scientists have calculated the amount of carbon absorbed by the world's tropical forests and the amounts of greenhouse gas emissions created by loss of trees, as a result of human activity.

The Climate Domino

Fri, 2014-06-06 00:00
The E.P.A.’s proposed rules on carbon should start a chain reaction that leads to steps to limit climate change around the world.

Climate change: Termites, fungi play more important role in decomposition than temperature

Thu, 2014-06-05 18:36
Climate change models could have a thing or two to learn from termites and fungi, according to a new study. For a long time scientists have believed that temperature is the dominant factor in determining the rate of wood decomposition worldwide. Decomposition matters because the speed at which woody material are broken down strongly influences the retention of carbon in forest ecosystems and can help to offset the loss of carbon to the atmosphere from other sources. That makes the decomposition rate a key factor in detecting potential changes to the climate.

June 6 2014: The week explained: Delicate diplomacy

Thu, 2014-06-05 16:19
AMERICA'S military in central Europe, Obama’s climate change policy and the Syrian election are three important stories that made the news this week. Our correspondents explain Comment Expiry Date:  Fri, 2014-06-20

State of wildland fire emissions, carbon, and climate research

Thu, 2014-06-05 11:37
The current state of knowledge, critical knowledge gaps, and importance of fire emissions for global climate and terrestrial carbon cycling is the focus of nine science syntheses published in a special issue of a journal. The issue reflects the collaborative efforts of a team of 17 scientists and associates from many organizations.

Climate policy and the future of coal: Obama’s green gamble

Thu, 2014-06-05 10:59
UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Beautiful game, dirty business Fly Title:  Climate policy and the future of coal Rubric:  The president’s new climate rule will change America. He hopes it will change China and India, too Location:  DECKER, MONTANA Main image:  20140607_USP001_0.jpg WITH a metallic gasp, the chute opens its metal jaws and deposits precisely 230,000 pounds of coal into the railway car. The pour is carefully calibrated to create an aerodynamically efficient heap; sealant is sprayed evenly across the coal’s surface to limit dust release. Fully loaded, the car moves along to be replaced by another; it takes two-and-a-half hours to load the two-mile-long train. Four trains, each carrying 15,000 tonnes of coal, leave the Spring Creek mine in Montana every day, often destined for midwestern power plants, where the fuel is burned to light the homes and power the kettles of Minnesotans and Michiganders. Some goes ...

Climate change and business: Nobody’s fuels

Thu, 2014-06-05 10:59
UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Beautiful game, dirty business Fly Title:  Climate change and business Rubric:  American investors are taking climate change more seriously Location:  NEW YORK CARBON is the new Vietnam: American students want out. Or rather, they want their universities to stop investing in firms that profit from climate-changing carbon. Last month Stanford said it would no longer invest any of its $19 billion endowment in coal firms. Was this a brilliant piece of market timing, given Mr Obama’s announcement on June 2nd of tough new carbon regulations? Not really: coal shares were already down in anticipation of the new rules, and barely moved when the news broke. Shares in Peabody Energy, America’s largest coal firm, are down four-fifths from their high in June 2008. Perhaps the trustees of Stanford’s endowment (including Tom Steyer, a rich environmentalist) concluded that ditching coal is now an affordable public-relations strategy. The economics of non-carbon renewable ...

Climate change: In praise of second best

Thu, 2014-06-05 10:59
UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Beautiful game, dirty business Fly Title:  Climate change Rubric:  A carbon price would be better, but Barack Obama’s plan to cut emissions from power plants is welcome Main image:  20140607_LDP002_0.jpg NOTHING is too good for the United States Congress. The Capitol even has its own power station. The Capitol Power Plant in south-east Washington is still puffing away, though it was built in 1910—making it older than most museums of power—and even though it has not generated any electricity since 1951. It pipes steam and chilled water to heat or cool the nation’s legislators, and in the process it pumps out over 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year. In 2000, when the administrator of the plant tried to switch it over from burning coal to natural gas to cut that pollution, senators from coal-producing states ganged up to stop him. The plant symbolises everything that is wrong with America’s power sector and the policies that influence it. So ...