The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Sir Bob Watson and a team of climate experts lay out a step-by-step action plan on how to meet global warming limit, but say success depends on ‘immediate, urgent, action’
Meeting a target of keeping global temperature from rising above 2C is still possible, according to 30 leading climate and energy experts.
The authors, who include former UK government scientific adviser Sir Bob Watson, conclude that staying under 2C needs “immediate, urgent action” at the highest levels of governments. The Tackling the Challenge of Climate Change report was presented at Ban Ki-moon’s UN climate summit in New York last month.
Antarctic ice floes extended further than ever recorded this southern winter, confounding the world’s most-trusted climate models.
“It’s not expected,” says Professor John Turner, a climate expert at the British Antarctic Survey. “The world’s best 50 models were run and 95% of them have Antarctic sea ice decreasing over the past 30 years.”
The winter ice around the southern continent has been growing relatively constantly since records began in 1979. The US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), which monitors sea ice using satellite data, said this week that the year’s maximum was 1.54m sq km (595,000 sq miles) above the 1981-2010 average. The past three winters have all produced record levels of ice.
Days of heavy smog shrouding swathes of northern China pushed pollution to more than 20 times safe levels on Friday, despite government promises to tackle environmental blight.
Visibility dropped dramatically as measures of small pollutant particles known as PM2.5, which can embed themselves deep in the lungs, reached more than 500 micrograms per cubic metre in parts of Hebei, a province bordering Beijing.
The World Health Organization’s guideline for maximum healthy exposure is 25.
A surprising hotspot of the potent global warming gas methane hovers over part of the southwestern US, according to satellite data and is likely to be leakage from pumping methane out of coal mines.
The result hints that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies considerably underestimate leaks of methane, which is also called natural gas.
The higher level of methane is not a local safety or a health issue for residents, but is a factor in overall global warming. While methane isn’t the most plentiful heat-trapping gas, scientists worry about its increasing amounts and have had difficulties tracking emissions.
A new website on sustainable innovation, backed by the likes of Coke and Google, launches Tuesday. Jonathon Porritt, one of its creators, says it will galvanize young people
Certain types of corals, invertebrates of the sea that have been on Earth for millions of years, appear to have found a way to survive some of their most destructive threats by attaching to and growing under mangrove roots. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and Eckerd College recently published research on a newly discovered refuge for reef-building corals in mangrove habitats of the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than 30 species of reef corals were found growing in Hurricane Hole, a mangrove habitat within the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument in St. John.
Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of Britsh Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots for local fish extinction but also found that changing temperatures will drive more fish into the Arctic and Antarctic waters. Using the same climate change scenarios as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, researchers projected a large-scale shift of marine fish and invertebrates. In the worst-case scenario, where the Earth’s oceans warm by three degrees Celsius by 2100, fish could move away from their current habitats at a rate of 26 kilometres per decade. Under the best-case scenario, where the Earth warms by one degree Celsius, fish would move 15 kilometres every decade. This is consistent with changes in the last few decades.
A new study suggests that drops of fuel spilled at gas stations — which occur frequently with fill-ups — could cumulatively be causing long-term environmental damage to soil and groundwater in residential areas in close proximity to the stations. Few studies have considered the potential environmental impact of routine gasoline spills and instead have focused on problems associated with large-scale leaks. Researchers with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, publishing online Sept. 19 in the Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, developed a mathematical model and conducted experiments suggesting these small spills may be a larger issue than previously thought.
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