Global Warming News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Global Warming News Articles in Media
Global warming is disrupting wildlife and the environment on every continent, according to an unprecedented study that reveals the extent to which climate change is already affecting the world's ecosystems. Scientists examined published reports dating back to 1970 and found that at least 90% of environmental damage and disruption around the world could be explained by rising temperatures. Big falls in Antarctic penguin populations, fewer fish in African lakes, shifts in American river flows and earlier flowering and bird migrations in Europe are all likely to be driven by global warming, the study found. The team of experts, including members of the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) ... is the first to formally link some of the most dramatic changes to the world's wildlife and habitats with human-induced climate change. [The] researchers analysed reports highlighting changes in populations or behaviour of 28,800 animal and plant species. They examined a further 829 reports that focused on different environmental effects, including surging rivers, retreating glaciers and shifting forests, across the seven continents. To work out how much - or if at all - global warming played a role, the scientists next checked historical records to see what impact natural variations in local climate, deforestation and changes in land use might have on the ecosystems and species that live there. In 90% of cases the shifts in wildlife behaviour and populations could only be explained by global warming, while 95% of environmental changes, such as melting permafrost, retreating glaciers and changes in river flows were consistent with rising temperatures.
A handful of the world's largest agricultural biotechnology companies are seeking hundreds of patents on gene-altered crops designed to withstand drought and other environmental stresses, part of a race for dominance in the potentially lucrative market for crops that can handle global warming. Three companies -- BASF of Germany, Syngenta of Switzerland and Monsanto of St. Louis -- have filed applications to control nearly two-thirds of the climate-related gene families submitted to patent offices worldwide, according to the report by the Ottawa-based ETC Group, an activist organization that advocates for subsistence farmers. Many of the world's poorest countries, destined to be hit hardest by climate change, have rejected biotech crops, citing environmental and economic concerns. Importantly, gene patents generally preclude the age-old practice of saving seeds from a harvest for replanting, requiring instead that farmers purchase the high-tech seeds each year. The ETC report concludes that biotech giants are hoping to leverage climate change as a way to get into resistant markets, and it warns that the move could undermine public-sector plant-breeding institutions such as those coordinated by the United Nations and the World Bank, which have long made their improved varieties freely available. "When a market is dominated by a handful of large multinational companies, the research agenda gets biased toward proprietary products," said Hope Shand, ETC's research director. "Monopoly control of plant genes is a bad idea under any circumstance. During a global food crisis, it is unacceptable and has to be challenged."
Note: For many disturbing reports on risks from genetic engineering from major media sources, click here.
Amid growing urbanisation, deforestation and agricultural expansion, it’s long been thought the number of trees across the planet is being reduced. However, that belief is probably wrong, according to new figures. The biggest ever analysis of global land change has discovered there are more trees across the earth today than there were 36 years ago. The study, published in the journal Nature this month, shows trees now cover 7 per cent more of the earth’s surface – roughly 2.24 million square kilometres – than they did in 1982. “This overall net gain is the result of a net loss in the tropics being outweighed by a net gain in the extratropics,” the report states. The study, led by scientists from the University of Maryland, in the US, analysed 35 years’ worth of satellite data to provide the most comprehensive picture ever made of the changing use of land. Tree loss in the tropics is caused by agricultural expansion, while the new growth areas [are] in regions which were previously too cold to support such flourishing life, suggesting global warming is causing previously unidentified changes to the planet’s landscapes. The study ... states that 60 per cent of all change appears to be directly driven by human activity. Of the remaining 40 per cent, the study suggests, most of the change can be attributed to indirect results of human actions.
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An Atlantic Ocean current that helps regulate the global climate has reached an 1,000-year low, according to two new studies in the journal Nature. The shift could mean bad news for the climate. The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation [AMOC] – often called the conveyor belt of the ocean – exchanges warm water from the equator with cold water in the Arctic. The AMOC "plays a key role in the distribution of heat" across the Earth, but that is being disrupted by melting ice, particularly from Greenland, causing larger volumes of freshwater to flow through the oceans, says David Thornalley ... the lead author of one of the new studies. Some scientists are concerned the influx of freshwater could cause the current to shut down altogether. Scientists are worried about the AMOC shutting down "because evidence from the past suggests that it actually did happen during the last ice age, and it is possible that it could happen in the future," [Thornalley] says. While there is an ongoing dispute about what is causing the slowdown, scientists agree that it could have a dramatic impact on ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs and deep-sea sponge grounds. "These delicate ecosystems rely on ocean currents to supply their food and disperse their offspring," Prof Murray Roberts, who co-ordinates the Atlas project at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC News. "Ocean currents are like highways spreading larvae throughout the ocean, and we know these ecosystems have been really sensitive to past changes in the Earth's climate."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is going after Big Oil and climate change. The actor and former governor of California said in a Politico-sponsored podcast ... that he is in talks with law firms about possibly suing global oil companies "for knowingly killing people all over the world." "The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people's lives, that it would kill," Schwarzenegger said. "I don't think there's any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you're going to kill someone, it's first degree murder; I think it's the same thing with the oil companies," he said. In the podcast, Schwarzenegger compares the issue to the tobacco industry. "The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people ... and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it," Schwarzenegger said. "Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that." He argues that every gas station, car and product with fossil fuels should have a warning label on it. He hopes that this will raise awareness about cleaner cars and alternative fuels. "We're going to go after them. Because to me it's absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco," he said.
Norway’s doomsday agricultural seed vault will get a $13 million upgrade to better protect world food supplies. The work on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located nearly 400 feet beneath the earth’s surface inside a coal mine, was announced ... as the international facility celebrated its 10th anniversary and its holding of more than 1 million seed samples. The facility, which is fully funded by the Norwegian government, offers any government access to seeds in case of natural or man-made disaster. The concept was successfully tested in 2015, with a seed withdrawl to help Syria re-establish crops wiped out by the country’s civil war. The upgrades will include a concrete access tunnel, a service building for emergency power and refrigerating units, as well as other electrical equipment that will emit heat through the tunnel. The decision to upgrade to the access tunnel comes nearly one year after the vault’s entryway flooded due to unprecedented melting of the area’s permafrost. Though the flooding did not damage any seeds, it served as a jarring reminder of the growing effects of climate change. The vault was designed to take advantage of the location’s permafrost as a permanent feature offering natural cooling protection for the seeds.
A groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. â€śWe may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,â€ť said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science. There is still time to avert catastrophe. Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and [an] author of the new report [said], â€śThe impacts are accelerating, but theyâ€™re not so bad we canâ€™t reverse them.â€ť Humans are harming the oceans to a remarkable degree. Carbon emissions are altering the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic. â€śIf you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy,â€ť Dr. Pinsky said. â€śIn effect, thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doing to the oceans." Mining operations, too, are poised to transform the ocean. Contracts for seabed mining now cover 460,000 square miles underwater, the researchers found, up from zero in 2000. Limiting the industrialization of the oceans to some regions could allow threatened species to recover, [but] slowing extinctions in the oceans will [ultimately] mean cutting back on carbon emissions, not just adapting to them.
Note: Ocean acidification was the number one story subjected to press censorship in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mass animal deaths from reliable major media sources.
Climate change is happening much faster than the world's best scientists predicted and will wreak havoc unless action is taken on a global scale, a new report warns. 'Extreme weather events' such as the hot summer of 2003, which caused an extra 35,000 deaths across southern Europe from heat stress and poor air quality, will happen more frequently. Britain and the North Sea area will be hit more often by violent cyclones and the predicted rise in sea level will double to more than a metre, putting vast coastal areas at risk from flooding. The bleak report from WWF -- formerly the World Wildlife Fund -- also predicts crops failures and the collapse of ecosystems on both land and sea. And it calls on the EU to set an example to the rest of the world by agreeing a package of challenging targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to tackle the consequences of climate change and to keep any increase in global temperatures below 2C. The agency says that the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ... is now out of date. WWF's report, Climate Change: Faster, stronger, sooner, has updated all the scientific data and concluded that global warming is accelerating far beyond the IPCC's forecasts. As an example it says the first 'tipping point' may have already been reached in the Arctic, where sea ice is disappearing up to 30 years ahead of IPCC predictions and may be gone completely within five years - something that hasn't occurred for a million years. It could result in rapid and abrupt climate change rather than the gradual changes forecast by the IPCC.
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Someone appears to be producing a banned ozone-depleting chemical, interfering with the recovery of Earth's damaged ozone layer, according to a newly published study led by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The illicit emissions are believed to be coming from somewhere in eastern Asia, but nothing else is known about the offender. It's a scientific whodunit. The scientists say the atmospheric level of trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is ... not declining as quickly as it should be. "It appears that emissions of CFC-11 have increased in recent years, which is quite a surprise given the fact that production has been phased out," [the study's lead author Stephen] Montzka says. CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons, "were once widely used in the manufacture of aerosol sprays, as blowing agents for foams and packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants." But scientists realized the chemicals were harming the ozone layer. So in the late 1980s, the world agreed to phase out the use of the chemicals. Production was supposed to have stopped as of 2010. The amount of CFC-11 in the atmosphere should be declining more and more each year, allowing the ozone layer to replenish. The scientists ... concluded that CFC-11 emissions started to increase after 2012, two years after production of the chemical was reportedly at zero.
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As the Trump administration yanks the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement, claiming it will hurt the American economy, Beijing is investing hundreds of billions of dollars and creating millions of jobs in clean power. "Even in China where coal is - or was - king, the government still recognizes that the economic opportunities of the future are going to be in clean energy," said Alvin Lin, Beijing-based climate and energy policy director with the Natural Resources Defense Council. More than 2.5 million people work in the solar power sector alone in China, compared with 260,000 people in the U.S.. While President Trump promises to put American coal miners back to work, China is moving in the opposite direction. Coal still makes up the largest part of China's energy consumption, but Beijing has been shutting coal mines and set out plans last year to cut roughly 1.3 million jobs in the industry, [as well as] pledged in January to invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($367 billion) in renewable power generation - solar, wind, hydro and nuclear - by 2020. China's growing dominance in the [renewable power] sector has had a huge effect on the global market. Manufacturers dramatically ramped up production of solar panels, driven by an estimated $42 billion in government subsidized loans between 2010 and 2012. The U.S. accused China of flooding the market and the Commerce Department started imposing steep tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels in 2012 in a bid to protect American producers.
Note: The world's biggest floating solar power plant was recently built in China. And in the US, the solar power industry now employs more workers than the coal, oil and natural gas industries combined.
Law enforcement officials announced last spring that they were pursuing fraud investigations against the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil. “Fossil fuel companies ... deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change,” [Attorney General Maura] Healey said at the time. Now those words are being used against Healey, in a lawsuit filed by ExxonMobil. In a stunning offense-is-the-best-defense legal strategy, the company is ... saying the Massachusetts Democrat’s investigation violates their free speech and other constitutional rights. In its legal battle to shut down her investigation, ExxonMobil has demanded that she testify about her efforts and provide documents from her office. Healey contends the corporate response is unprecedented: Not only is [ExxonMobil] refusing to comply, it is demanding an investigation of the investigating agency. “They took the tack of trying to shut down this investigation by suing us,” she said. When Healey issued subpoenas seeking ExxonMobil’s documents on climate change dating to the 1970s, she was “abusing the power of government to silence a speaker she disfavors,” lawyers for ExxonMobil wrote in their June lawsuit against her, alleging a violation of the company’s rights. And they criticized the stories that prompted the investigation: Reports published in 2015 ... suggested ExxonMobil had encouraged climate change confusion for years, despite its own research documenting the risks.
The sabotage of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior 20 years ago in Auckland was carried out with the "personal authorisation" of France's late president Francois Mitterrand, documents showed today. Le Monde newspaper published extracts in its Saturday edition of a 1986 account written by Pierre Lacoste, the former head of France's DGSE foreign intelligence service, giving the clearest demonstration yet of Mitterrand's direct involvement in the sinking of the campaign vessel. Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira died in the attack on the ship that was leading Greenpeace's campaign against French nuclear tests on the Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific. "I asked the president if he gave me permission to put into action the neutralisation plan that I had studied on the request of Monsieur (Charles) Hernu," Lacoste wrote. Hernu was defence minister at the time. "He gave me his agreement while stressing the importance he placed on the nuclear tests.
Friday was the first full day since the height of the Industrial Revolution that Britain did not burn coal to generate electricity. Coal powered Britain into the industrial age and into the 21st century, contributing greatly to the “pea souper” fogs that were thought for decades to be a natural phenomenon of the British climate. For many living in the mining towns up and down the country, it was not just the backbone of the economy but a way of life. But the industry has been in decline for some time. The last deep coal mine closed in December 2015, though open cast mining has continued. Reducing the world’s reliance on coal and increasing the use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power have long been part of proposals to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. Now on a path to phase out coal-fired power generation altogether by 2025, Britain, also the home of the first steam engine, is currently closing coal plants and stepping up generation from cleaner natural gas and renewables, like wind and solar. Some countries have already left coal behind in power generation. In Switzerland, Belgium and Norway, “every day is a coal-free day,” Carlos Fernández Alvarez, a coal analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris, pointed out. In the United States, where coal still accounts for about 30 percent of power generation, Vermont and Idaho are the only coal-free states, and California is close behind, he said.
Note: In the US, the solar power industry now employs more workers than the coal, oil and natural gas industries combined.
President Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to shelve aggressive vehicle fuel economy targets that have been a foundation for battles against climate change and harmful pollution in California and across the country. The regulations to be reviewed ... had set ambitious targets for vehicle mileage. The decision puts the White House on a path toward a direct and costly confrontation with California. State officials, pointing to California’s unique authority under the Clean Air Act, have made clear they will not waver from requiring passenger cars to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025, up from an average of 36 miles per gallon today. Trump’s announcement comes amid a lobbying blitz from a coalition of the world’s largest vehicle makers, which complained in a letter to the new administration that the existing EPA rules place unreasonable and expensive demands on the industry. The ultimate fate of the regulations may now be decided in a legal brawl between California and the Trump administration. The state is already moving to defend the federal regulations in court. "Any weakening or delay of the national standards will result in increased harms to our natural resources, our economy, and our people,” reads a legal filing submitted Tuesday by the state. Under the Clean Air Act, the state can impose emissions standards stronger than those set by the federal government, and a dozen other states have embraced the California rules.
Note: Many believe that fuel efficiency is determined by marketplace demand for more efficient vehicles. As this article shows, this is not the case. Congress mandates the average mpg of vehicles sold, and industry must comply. For more, see this essay.
At this week’s Alaska Forum on the Environment, 17 EPA employees were no-shows – and not by choice. The agency had planned to send 34 staff members to the week-long conference. But after the White House transition team demanded cutbacks, the Environmental Protection Agency only allowed half to attend. The EPA’s announcement comes after months of criticism by President Trump and his advisors, and a paring-down of climate science on government websites. Regardless of the motives behind this particular action, it continues a years-long trend of cuts to government agencies’ travel funds. Scientific research, which involves a regular exchange of ideas and findings, has been hit especially hard. The federal government faced major pressure to curb travel spending in 2012, when an Inspector General’s report revealed that the General Services Administration had spent more than $820,000 on a lavish conference in Las Vegas. The Office of Management and Budget promptly issued a memo directing each federal agency to spend 30 percent less on travel than it had in 2010. This week’s Alaska Forum on the Environment wasn’t exclusively for scientists. In addition to federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it featured military personnel and representatives from Alaska’s state, local, and tribal governments. Its panels addressed topics such as climate change, oil spills, and hazardous waste, which have both science and public policy aspects.
Buried below the ice sheet that covers most of Greenland, there's an abandoned U.S. Army base. Camp Century had trucks, tunnels, even a nuclear reactor. It was also a test site for deploying nuclear missiles. The camp was abandoned almost 50 years ago. But serious pollutants were left behind. Now a team of scientists says that as climate warming melts the ice sheet, those pollutants could spread. [Researcher William Colgan] found unclassified records that described what was left behind there - for example, the nuclear reactor was removed, but low-level radioactive cooling water used in it was not. There were very likely PCBs, which are toxic compounds in electrical equipment. There's no record of how much remained. Colgan says the Army figured all of it would be entombed forever. "They thought it would snow in perpetuity," he says, "and the phrase they used was that the waste would be preserved for eternity by perpetually accumulating snow." Except now, the climate has changed. Greenland's ice sheet is melting. Computer models say the camp could be uncovered by the end of this century. Meltwater could easily end up in the buried camp and then carry contamination through under-ice channels to the ocean. Colgan says it's unclear who owns this waste. The Army built the camp under a treaty between the U.S. and Denmark, which had jurisdiction over Greenland. It's a legal dilemma that's likely to start cropping up more often.
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In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on [climate change] to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions. The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope’s wish to directly influence next year’s crucial UN climate meeting in Paris. The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion. In March ... the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners. In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. Francis’s environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US. Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion. “The pope should back off,” he said.
Last week, 5,000 files of private email correspondence among several of the world's top climate scientists were anonymously leaked onto the Internet. Like the first "climategate" leak of 2009, the latest release [includes emails from] top scientists in the field ... like Michael Mann of Penn State University and Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia. The new release of emails was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the original climategate leak and with the upcoming United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa. And it has already stirred strong emotions. But at least one scientist involved -— Mr. Mann -— has confirmed that the emails are genuine. If the case for man-made global warming is really as strong as the so-called consensus claims it is, why do the climategate emails show scientists attempting to stamp out dissenting points of view? This is the real significance of the climategate emails. They show that major scientists who inform the IPCC can't be trusted to stick to the science and avoid political activism. This, in turn, has very worrying implications for the major international policy decisions adopted on the basis of their research.
Note: We are not taking a stand for or against global warming. We post this to show that both sides of the debate are manipulating the data for their own political agendas.
Climate change experts face a "McCarthy-like" persecution by politically-motivated opponents, some of the world's leading scientists have claimed. In a letter published in the journal Science, more than 250 members of the US National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel Prize laureates, condemned the increase in "political assaults" on scientists who argue greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet. In the US politicians have called for a criminal investigation of climate scientists, while in the UK eminent professors have received hate mail and even death threats. In a strongly worded letter, the group of scientists likened the situation to the 'McCarthy era' in the US where anyone suspected of Communist links was threatened with persecution. The period in the 1950s was named after the anti-communist pursuits of Senator Joseph McCarthy. "We call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them," the letter read. The letter points out that there is uncertainty attached to theory of evolution and the Big Bang. But like these theories, climate change has been "overwhelmingly" accepted by scientists.
President Obama plans to order a sweeping overhaul of the National Security Council, expanding its membership and increasing its authority to set strategy across a wide spectrum of international and domestic issues. The result will be a "dramatically different" NSC from that of the Bush administration or any of its predecessors since the forum was established after World War II ... according to national security adviser James L. Jones, who described the changes in an interview. Jones, a retired Marine general, made it clear that he will run the process and be the primary conduit of national security advice to Obama. The new structure ... will expand the NSC's reach far beyond the range of traditional foreign policy issues. New NSC directorates will deal with such department-spanning 21st-century issues as cybersecurity, energy, climate change, nation-building and infrastructure. Many of the functions of the Homeland Security Council, established as a separate White House entity by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, may be subsumed into the expanded NSC, although it is still undetermined whether elements of the HSC will remain as a separate body within the White House. Over the next 50 days, John O. Brennan, a CIA veteran who serves as presidential adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security and is Jones's deputy, will review options for the homeland council, including its responsibility for preparing for and responding to natural and terrorism-related domestic disasters.
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