The opening of the U.N.'s climate change summit this past weekend in Poland was overshadowed by Typhoon Haiyan. A Filipino envoy broke down in tears when describing the devastation, and received a standing ovation when he announced that he would fast until a "meaningful outcome is in sight."
An increase in weather-related disasters, fluctuating temperatures and rising sea levels are among the discouraging issues being discussed at the 2-week summit in Warsaw. But, there is some encouraging news…a new report by a Dutch agency found that global greenhouse gas emissions showed signs of slowing in 2012. The slackened pace is not attributed to recession, and has, in fact, occurred as wealth continues to climb among the world’s top CO2 emitters. Fred Pearce is environmental consultant for New Scientist, and breaks down the optimistic report for us.
Methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon – and scientists have discovered there is a potentially disastrous amount of methane trapped under relatively thin ice in the east Siberian arctic shelf. New research measures the global impact the gas could have on global warming… and it’s not very optimistic. Fred Pearce is environmental consultant for New Scientist.
Credit Larry Hamilton and Mary Stampone / Weather, Climate and Society 2013
Hamilton collaborated with the state climatologist Mary Stampone to determine how the temperature on the day that surveys were done effected the accuracy of respondents on climate knowledge questions. Democrats and Republicans were unaffected, but independents' answers varied widely, becoming more accurate the more out of whack the weather was.
Last week the UNH Survey Center released the latest findings of the Granite State Poll. The Survey Center has been following a number of issues recently, the most high profile of which is whether or not there’s public support in New Hampshire for a proposed casino.
The Survey Center has also been part of a project looking at public attitudes about climate change – namely, why there’s a consensus among scientists – but not the public - that global warming is happening and caused by human activity.
New Hampshire’s energy grid relies heavily on fossil fuels like oil and coal, and getting the grid off of those fuels will be a major hurdle in addressing the challenge of global warming.
But here in New Hampshire, it’s proving a steep challenge to get carbon out of the electric supply, without breaking the bank for customers or utilities. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying. As part of a weeklong look at New Hampshire’s Energy Future, we ask what’s being done about CO2?
The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere today is roughly 390 parts per million (ppm), well above the 275 ppm it was before we started pumping pollution skyward during the Industrial Revolution.
A wobbling of the Earth on its axis about 20,000 years ago may have kicked off a beginning to the end of the last ice age. Glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland began to melt, which resulted in a warming of the Earth, a new study says. Above, Greenland's Russell Glacier, seen in 1990.
The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans.
But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet.
Ice tells the history of the Earth's climate: Air bubbles in ice reveal what the atmosphere was like and what the temperature was. And scientists can read this ice, even if it's been buried for thousands of years.
This NASA map shows the size of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Green areas indicate larger, more naturally occurring particles like dust. Red areas indicate smaller aerosol particles, which can come from fossil fuels and fires. Yellow areas indicate a mix of large and small particles.
Peter Gleick is not just any scientist. He got his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and won a MacArthur "genius" award. He is also an outspoken proponent of scientific evidence that humans are responsible for climate change.
And earlier this week, he confessed that he had lied to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a group that questions to what extent climate change is caused by humans.