The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Some of the world’s top PR companies have for the first time publicly ruled out working with climate change deniers, marking a fundamental shift in the multi-billion dollar industry that has grown up around the issue of global warming.
Public relations firms have played a critical role over the years in framing the debate on climate change and its solutions – as well as the extensive disinformation campaigns launched to block those initiatives.
Now a number of the top 25 global PR firms have told the Guardian they will not represent clients who deny man-made climate change, or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollution. Companies include WPP, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100, and Finn Partners.
Melting of glaciers caused by human activity has soared in the past 20 years, a study has shown.
Human influence is now the strongest driver of glacier melting, which has been occurring since the end of the “Little Ice Age” in the mid-19th century, it is claimed.
Between 1851 and 2010, only a quarter of glacial mass loss was due to human-induced climate change, scientists calculated. But during the last two decades of that period the human contribution rose to two thirds.
A few months ago, the international food manufacturing giant General Mills was branded a “clear laggard” by climate activists for not doing enough to cut its carbon footprint. Oxfam International accused the company of dragging its feet on reducing so-called “scope 3″ greenhouse gas emissions—those not directly controlled by the company, but essential in making its products; for example, emissions from a farm contracted by General Mills to grow the oats that eventually wind up in your cereal bowl. Oxfam also faulted the company for not using its clout to engage directly with governments to “positively influence climate change policy.”Oxfam calls General Mills “the first major food and beverage company to promise to implement long-term science-based targets to cut emissions.”
General Mills’ worldwide sales total $17.9 billion, and it owns familiar consumer brands like Cheerios, Old El Paso, and Pillsbury.
Today, Oxfam is claiming big victory: General Mills has released a new set of climate policies that Oxfam says makes it “the first major food and beverage company to promise to implement long-term science-based targets to cut emissions.”
Carbon reduction efforts in the airline industry will be outweighed by growth in air-traffic, even if the most contentious mitigation measures are implemented, according to new research by the University of Southampton. Even if proposed mitigation measures are agreed upon and put into place, air traffic growth-rates are likely to out-pace emission reductions, unless demand is substantially reduced.
“There is little doubt that increasing demand for air travel will continue for the foreseeable future,” says co-author and travel expert Professor John Preston. “As a result, civil aviation is going to become an increasingly significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.”
When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently requested a figure for its annual report, to show global temperature trends over the last 10,000 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Zhengyu Liu knew that was going to be a problem. “We have been building models and there are now robust contradictions,” says Liu, a professor in the UW-Madison Center for Climatic Research. “Data from observation says global cooling. The physical model says it has to be warming.”
Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today, Liu and colleagues from Rutgers University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the University of Hawaii, the University of Reading, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Albany describe a consistent global warming trend over the course of the Holocene, our current geological epoch, counter to a study published last year that described a period of global cooling before human influence.
The scientists call this problem the Holocene temperature conundrum. It has important implications for understanding climate change and evaluating climate models, as well as for the benchmarks used to create climate models for the future. It does not, the authors emphasize, change the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century.
A commonly held belief that global warming will diminish oxygen concentrations in the ocean looks like it may not be entirely true. According to new research published in Science magazine, just the opposite is likely the case in the northern Pacific Ocean, with its anoxic zone expected to shrink in coming decades because of climate change. An international team of scientists came to that surprising conclusion after completing a detailed assessment of changes since 1850 in the eastern tropical northern Pacific’s oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). An ocean layer beginning typically a few hundred to a thousand meters below the surface, an OMZ is by definition the zone with the lowest oxygen saturation in the water column. OMZs are a consequence of microbial respiration and can be hostile environments for marine life.
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