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Global Warming News January 2012

by on January 19, 2012

Global Warming News will be a new series of monthly posts at The Climax. A place to collect Global Warming news. A place to post related studies, news items and a place for discussions. Though for more scientifc news there will be an extra blog post. Everybody is welcome to contribute!

Key receptors in the brains of fish -- like this puffer fish -- can be impaired by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the world's oceans.

Beginning here are some frequent news which made headlines this month:

Solar-Powered Recording Studios Lighting The Way For Music Industry

A professional recording studio is an impressive sight to behold. Inside the expansive recording rooms, it is extremely hushed due to the pains taken to insulate the rooms from outside noise. Surprisingly, it’s also often very warm due to the imposing stacks and stacks of mysteriously blinking equipment humming quietly along the walls and in the control room. Those mixers, effects, compressors, recording decks and remixing desks use an enormous amount of energy. But now, the idea of a solar-powered recording studio seems to be gaining traction as studios convert and bands both big and small seek out an alternative energy recording solution. Huffington Post

Carbon Dioxide Affecting Fish Brains

Rising human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous systems of sea fish, with serious consequences for their survival, according to new research.

Increasing concentrations of CO2 in the world’s oceans have serious consequences for the survival of marine life.
CO2 interferes with a key brain receptor in fishes’ brains, affecting their ability to hear, smell, turn and evade predators. Discovery News

There is “No Evidence” that Wind Turbine Syndrome Exists, Concludes Expert Panel

A new study released this week by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection finds that “there is no evidence for a set of health effects…that could be characterized as ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome.’” The supposed health impacts pushed by wind opponents include mental health problems, heart disease and vertigo.

The Department’s Panel was comprised of independent experts in a range of fields associated with the possible health impact of exposure to wind turbines. They explored scientific literature, reports, popular media and public comments and concluded that there was no scientific basis for claims about Wind Turbine Syndrome. Climate Progress

Climate vigilantes: How to get real facts into media coverage of climate

Did you hear that popping sound last Thursday? That was the sound of thousands of New York Times readers’ heads exploding after reading public editor Arthur Brisbane’s piece on whether the paper has an obligation to challenge falsehoods at the risk of being a labeled a “truth vigilante.”

Obvious, laughable, and ridiculous were just a handful of the responses to his piece across the internet.

But there’s another word to describe it: enlightening. Brisbane’s post offered a peek behind the curtain at how the mainstream media perceives objectivity. In short, it’s akin to stenography. While the concept of reporter-as-stenographer isn’t necessarily news, seeing it laid so bare in the public eye is. And the roar of the response is a sign of the pent-up frustration many people have with the way our media functions.Grist

Cut back on soot, methane to slow climate change: study

WASHINGTON — There are simple, inexpensive ways to cut back on two major pollutants — soot and methane — and taking action now could slow climate change for years to come, international scientists said Thursday.

When it comes to fending off global warming, the focus often is on harmful carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels in coal plants and car engines that linger in the atmosphere for many decades, said the study in Science.

But given the lack of comprehensive global action and mounting resistance from countries whose economies rely on cheap fuel, targeting two shorter-term pollutants could offer significant results over the coming decades, it said. The Raw Story

Taxpayer dollars squandered in Virginia climate scandal

It’s an absolute scandal: During tough economic times, a Virginia government employee has been caught red-handed misspending public funds to advance his political agenda on climate change.

If you think the allusion here is to former University of Virginia climate researcher Michael Mann, the author of the famous hockey stick graph on atmospheric temperatures and a favorite butt of climate-skeptic attacks, think again. Despite a hard-nosed corruption investigation led by Virginia Attorney General (and prominent climate denier) Ken Cuccinelli, every judicial body to examine the Mann case thus far, including several Virginia courts, the National Science Foundation [PDF], and a Penn State ethics panel, has rejected allegations that the professor fraudulently obtained public research dollars.Grist

How long do greenhouse gases stay in the air? Guardian

China Warns of “Extremely Grim Ecological and Environmental Conditions” From Global Warming

Chinese Scientists: Climate Change Threatens Food Security

Global warming threatens China’s march to prosperity by cutting crops, shrinking rivers and unleashing more droughts and floods, says the government’s latest assessment of climate change, projecting big shifts in how the nation feeds itself.

The warnings are carried in the government’s “Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change,” which sums up advancing scientific knowledge about the consequences and costs of global warming for China — the world’s second biggest economy and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas pollution.

Global warming fed by greenhouse gases from industry, transport and shifting land-use poses a long-term threat to China’s prosperity, health and food output, says the report. With China’s economy likely to rival the United States’ in size in coming decades, that will trigger wider consequences.

“China faces extremely grim ecological and environmental conditions under the impact of continued global warming and changes to China’s regional environment,” says the 710-page report, officially published late last year but released for public sale only recently.

… Assuming no measures to counter global warming, grain output in the world’s most populous nation could fall from 5 to 20 percent by 2050, depending on whether a “fertilization effect” from more carbon dioxide in the air offsets losses, says the report.

But that possible fall can be held in check by improved crop choice and farming practices, as well as increased irrigation and fertilizer use.

China is the world’s biggest consumer of cereals and has increasingly turned to foreign suppliers of corn and soy beans.

The report was written by teams of scientists supervised by government officials, and follows up on a first assessment released in 2007. It does not set policy, but offers a basis of evidence and forecasts that will shape policy.

RISING COSTS OF GROWING FOOD

“Generally, the observed impacts of climate change on agriculture have been both positive and negative, but mainly negative,” Lin Erda, one of the chief authors of the report, told Reuters.

“But steadily, as the temperatures continue to rise, the negative consequences will be increasingly serious,” said Lin, an expert on climate change and farming at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

“For a certain length of time, people will be able to adapt, but costs of adaptation will rise, including for agriculture.”

Under different scenarios of greenhouse gas levels and their effects, by the end of this century China’s average atmospheric temperature will have risen by between 2.5 degrees and 4.6 degrees Celsius above the average for 1961-1990.

Water, either too much or too little, lies at the heart of how that warming could trip up China’s budding prosperity.

“Climate change will lead to severe imbalances in China’s water resources within each year and across the years. In most areas, precipitation will be increasingly concentrated in the summer and autumn rainy seasons, and floods and droughts will become increasingly frequent,” says the report.

“Without effective measures in response, by the latter part of the 21st century, climate change could still constitute a threat to our country’s food security,” it says.

Under one scenario of how global warming will affect water availability, by 2050 eight of mainland China’s 31 provinces and provincial-status cities could face severe water shortages — meaning less than 500 cubic meters per resident — and another 10 could face less dire chronic shortages.

“Since the 1950s, over 82 percent of glaciers have been in a state of retreat, and the pace has accelerated since the 1990s,” the report says of China’s glaciers in Tibet and nearby areas that feed major rivers. Reuters

The (Solar) Light at the End of the Tunnel

A consultant for the Defense Department reports that introducing solar installations on nine military bases in the Mojave and Colorado Desert could generate 7,000 megawatts of power. New York Times

Hedgehog hibernation could hold clue to climate change

Recent research has show that populations of hedgehogs have dropped by at least a quarter in the past decade, with numbers declining over the long term from an estimated 30 million in the 1950s to 1.5 million in 1995.Telegraph

Flu Pandemic, Climate Pattern May Be Linked, Study Says Huffington Post

Nitrogen Cycle Widespread effects on U.S. health, environment and economy

The nitrogen cycle has been profoundly altered by human activities, and that in turn is affecting human health, air and water quality, and biodiversity in the U.S., according to a multi-disciplinary team of scientists writing in the 15th publication of the Ecological Society of America’s Issues in Ecology. In “Excess Nitrogen in the U.S Environment: Trends, Risks, and Solutions,” lead author Eric Davidson and 15 colleagues from universities, government, and the private sector review the major sources of reactive nitrogen in the U.S., resulting effects on health and the environment, and potential solutions. The report can be viewed at http://www.esa.org/science_resources/issues/FileEnglish/issuesinecology15.pdf and http://www.nitrogennews.com/nitrogen-media-advisory-1172012/

Ban Ki Moon, UN

Now, more than ever, the world needs bold leadership to make the promise of renewable energy a reality” “Doubling the share of renewables is ambitious but achievable. And the benefits far outweigh the costs – which include growing energy insecurity and accelerating climate change. Renewable energy can also address inequity and advance universal energy access.”  – UN Ban Ki-moon

Ian Dunlop, Club of Rome

If you don’t have a sustainable environment, you don’t have an economy.Ian Dunlop

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