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The role of ozone depletion in climate change

diagram-ozone-depletionThe ozone hole leaves a lasting impression on southern climate, The Conversation,  Sharon Robinson Professor at University of Wollongong, 8 November 2014, Many people think of sunburn and skin cancer when they hear about the ozone hole. But more ultraviolet (UV) radiation isn’t the only problem.

The ozone hole has also led to dramatic changes in Southern Hemisphere weather patterns. These in turn are altering natural ecosystems and food production. These climate changes are likely having a similar if not greater impact than more UV radiation.

We discuss some of these changes in a paper published today in Global Change Biology.

This week the parties to the Montreal Protocol will meet in Paris, to consider the latest report from the United Nations Environment Programme Environmental Effects Assessment Panel. This report summarises the impact of both ozone loss and the associated increase in ultraviolet radiation on the environment and human health.

The Montreal Protocol continues to be effective at phasing out ozone depleting chemicals and has decreased levels of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But while the Montreal Protocol is a success story, the Southern Hemisphere still faces the threat of climate change from rising greenhouse gases. There is still much to do.

Changing the weather

In recent years, climate scientists have shown that the ozone hole has had a profound impact on weather systems throughout the Southern Hemisphere, especially during summer.

The ozone hole has pulled the polar jet stream further south, increasing its strength. These winds isolate Antarctica and help to keep most of it cold as the rest of the world warms. This has prevented sea ice melt and rising sea-levels. By changing atmospheric circulation, the ozone hole modifies wind, rain and snowfall patterns across the Southern Hemisphere. The changing pattern and strength of winds has caused shifts in the regions that get plenty of rain or snowfall, and those that stay dry. …….

A world avoided

The Montreal Protocol (1987) is a major success story. As a result of this international agreement, the ozone hole is likely to recover by the middle of this century.

Ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation damage to all living organisms, including humans, has been minimised since the region where major ozone depletion occurred is over the sparsely-populated Antarctic. Even there the impacts on terrestrial life are thought to be small, probably less than a 6% loss in productivity in plants.

By controlling the release of ozone depleting chemicals the Montreal Protocol has made a large contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.

The world is cooler now than it would have been without the Montreal Protocol’s controls on emissions of ozone depleting chemicals. This is because many of the chemicals that break down ozone are also potent greenhouse gases (such as chlorofluorocarbons — CFCs).

Climate change in the Southern Hemisphere can be attributed to ozone depletion, as well as increasing greenhouse gases. Decades after the ozone hole was identified and action was taken, we are still discovering how profound its implications are both in terms of the “world avoided”, and unanticipated climate change.

Prompt action was taken in 1987 but the lag time for recovery is still long (see also here)………

Sharon Robinson and Dr. David Erickson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA present this work in the scientific journal Global Change Biology. They are both members of the UNEP-EEAP. ttp://theconversation.com/the-ozone-hole-leaves-a-lasting-impression-on-southern-climate-34043

November 19, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

USA pressure forces Auzstralia’s climate denialist PM to make one tiny concession on Climate Change, at the G20

Map-Abbott-climateG20: Australia makes token concession on climate change after US lobbying  , Guardian Australia political editor theguardian.com, Sunday 2 November 2014 

Government resists calls for climate change to be listed as a major agenda item, but agrees to include in final communique Australia has reluctantly conceded that climate change can be included in a single brief paragraph of the G20 leaders’ communique after heavy lobbying by the US and European nations.

The government had resisted any discussion of climate at the Brisbane meeting on the grounds that the G20 is primarily an economic forum, but other nations argued leaders’ agreements at meetings like the G20 are crucial to build momentum towards a successful international deal at the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris next year.

The final wording of the leaders’ statement after the meeting is still being finalised but it is believed to simply recommit to addressing climate change through UN processes.

The outcome – and Australia’s resistance – have been attacked by the leading climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern, who has written for Guardian Australia that the latest “synthesis” report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be “high on the agenda” for the G20 meeting.

“The G20 is the most effective forum for the discussion of the growth story of the future, the transition to the low-carbon economy. Yet the local politics of a country of less than 25 million is being allowed to prevent essential strategic discussions of an issue that is of fundamental importance to the prosperity and well-being of the world’s population of 7 billion people,” he writes.

Australia has agreed the G20 should discuss climate-related issues as part of its deliberations on energy efficiency, but this also appears to be wrapped up in a general commitment that countries consider taking action in the future on some of a long list of areas where energy efficiency improvements might be made……

In a special “message” about the G20 release on Sunday, Tony Abbott also did not mention climate change……..

US president Barack Obama’s international adviser, Caroline Atkinson, has insisted publicly that leaders around the table at the G20 will raise climate change. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/02/g20-australia-makes-token-concession-on-climate-change-after-us-lobbying

November 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

It’s time for honesty about climate change: our children should know

Do we have the courage to tell our children the truth about climate change? KATHARINE CUKIER, l Montreal Gazette: November 4, 2014  “………. Naomi Klein’s book on climate change This Changes Everything maps out the particular role of our fossil-fuelled economic system and its dynamics in bringing our civilization to the brink of extinction. She also points out that it is the innocent — our children, their children and those Book-Naomi-Kleinsocieties that are not responsible for even a fraction of the current climate altering emissions — that will be harshly punished. They will be both impeded in their economic development and they will bear the full brunt of the catastrophic impacts of runaway climate change.

Klein is not the first to demonstrate that unless our priorities are urgently altered, our fossil-fuelled economy-culture will push us to a level of warming that will be impossible to mitigate. Our current path will lead to an average of between three and five degrees of warming by the end of the century and threaten the vast majority of humanity and most non-human life as well.

Our predicament, if unprecedented, is constructed on familiar ground. As with all the major crimes against humanity of the past century, we know what is going on at the same time as we deny the evidence that piles up around us. ……..

I have read hundreds of articles and books on climate change, and unlike my prime minister and his corporate backers, I have been convinced by the scientists that we are heading for catastrophe…..I feel a profound need to lie to my children — the ones in my house and the ones in my classroom. I haven’t the guts to contradict the central premise of my culture, and tell all my children that the world is not their oyster, that they must not do as I have done. That in fact, not only is the oyster’s shell disintegrating because of the acidification of our oceans, but my children cannot have the lifestyle I have had. How do I admit that I and a handful of generations before me have exposed our unique, perfect pearl of a living planet to gradual, then probable rapid extermination of life?…

climate-poster

I am no role model. For my children must not live like me, eat like me, shop like me, travel like me, dream like me, because our planet cannot cope with another generation of middle-class North Americans treating the planet like its private sewer……..

Our kids earnestly recycle and reuse, but they are not really given much guidance in how to reduce. To reduce, consume less, do less, buy less, in our value system is ideologically associated with being less.

Nor are they given much guidance by their overworked parents about how to  engage in our admittedly flawed political landscape.  The fundamental changes required to slow down global warming demand that young people speak out as citizens, not just as consumers,  for policies that defend their right to clean air, water, soil and survival. Without such engagement, Klein argues, our democracy is a façade spinning PR for corporate interests.

Klein insists that the only thing that will save us is a collective standing up and telling the truth to power, both political and corporate, and that we must demand that our  leaders  guide  us and if needs be, regulate and yes, tax the bejeesus out of carbon at the source. It is the only path for urgently protecting this planet and the future of humanity.

But we must do the hardest job first: We must start by telling the truth to our children. http://montrealgazette.com/business/energy/opinion-do-we-have-the-courage-to-tell-our-children-the-truth-about-climate-change

November 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment

Heat-related deaths from climate change: Australians particularly vulnerable

climate-AustCoal exports a killer for thousands’, says ANU academic Elizabeth Hanna  THE AUSTRALIAN NOVEMBER 04, 2014 TONY Abbott’s declaration that coal is good for humanity has been attacked by Australian ­National University academic ­Elizabeth Hanna, who warns thousands of people will be ­sentenced to death if Australia keeps exporting it.

Dr Hanna, whose research was included in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, predicted Australia faced days hotter than 50C within 10 or 15 years under continuing global warming and this would dramatically increase the number of heat-related deaths.

If that happens, “we are at risk of mass-death events in Australia, similar to the death tolls due to ­extreme heat overseas’’, she said.

“In 2003, 70,000 people died in Europe and 55,000 died in Russia in 2010 due to extreme heat.”

Asked on Radio National about the Prime Minister’s support for coal, Dr Hanna said that Mr Abbott’s government was “captive to the vested interests” and eventually would be held to account. “Now if they continue to ­ignore this message they are sentencing thousands and thousands to their deaths,” she said.

Dr Hanna, the president of the Climate and Health Alliance, in a following interview with The Australian, stood by her comments and went further:…….http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/coal-exports-a-killer-for-thousands-says-anu-academic-elizabeth-hanna/story-e6frg6xf-1227111379081

November 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change is slowing the recovery of the hole in the ozone layer

Ozone-depleting chemical hydrogen chloride found to be on the rise http://www.smh.com.au/environment/ozonedepleting-chemical-hydrogen-chloride-found-to-be-on-the-rise-20141105-11h1hl.html November 6, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald  Atmospheric levels of a key ozone-depleting chemical are on the increase but the rise appears to be a symptom of climate change rather than additional sources of the destructive substance, according to international researchers including three from the University of Wollongong.

Investigations were prompted when scientists identified levels of hydrogen chloride had began rising in 2007 – but only in the northern hemisphere – when they should have been falling because of curbs agreed under the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.

Hydrogen chloride releases chlorine in the stratosphere, depleting ozone and allowing more ultraviolet radiation to reach the Earth, increasing skin cancer and damaging crops and other species.

Findings based on that satellite observations and model simulations and published in Nature on Thursday rule out any “rogue” source of emissions from undisclosed sources because the abundance of the chemical is falling at other layers of the atmosphere and in the southern hemisphere.

“The overall burden of chlorine is still decreasing,” said David Griffith, director of the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, and a co-author of the report. “It’s a good news story about ozone.”

It’s not so positive news on the climate change front, however, since the increased abundance of chlorine in the northern hemisphere’s stratosphere is attributed to a slowdown in atmospheric circulation leading to slower mixing at some levels.

Climate change, through increased greenhouse gas emissions, “is changing the way radiation is absorbed in the atmosphere and distributed, which would drive things such as this circulation,” Professor Griffith said.

Although it was beyond the scope of the paper to examine how long the circulation slowdown will last, or other possible consequences, Professor Griffith said the study showed the recovery of the ozone layer wouldbe a slow process, taking decades.

“Our results show that atmospheric variability and perhaps climate change can significantly modify the path towards full recovery,” he said. “It will be a bumpy ride rather than a smooth evolution.”

Professor Griffith said the work also underscored the general success in tackling ozone depletion and a range of chemicals that were phased out in a matter of years in contract to dealing with global warming. For ozone, it was a “problem created by man, problem recognised, solution proposed, solution implemented,” he said. “For climate change, the culprits have been recognised but no-one’s prepared to stop producing [carbon dioxide].”

November 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

A nuclear power station produces as much carbon dioxide as a gas-fired power station

global-warming-nuke2Nuclear power is dirty.http://gsihn.blogspot.com.au/  3 Nov 14, Mining process of nuclear power creates serious environmental problems. Nuclear power is not free from carbon emission. Rowell claims that fossil fuels are required for mining uranium, building a nuclear power station, and disposing of radioactive waste; therefore “a nuclear power station produces as much carbon dioxide as a gas-fired power station” (3). Uranium is limited resource and will require deeper mining in the future, which will require increased amount of fossil fuels, producing increased amount of carbon dioxide. Soon, it will require more energy to extract uranium than producing energy from the resource. Uranium mining of 1,000 tons of uranium creates approximately 100,000 tons of radioactive tailings that have contaminated rivers and nearly one million gallons of liquid waste containing heavy metals and arsenic in addition to radioactivity; furthermore, “a new method of uranium mining, known as in-situ leaching, does not produce tailings but it does threaten contamination of groundwater water supplies” (“Dirty, Dangerous and Expensive: The Truth about Nuclear Power” 1). The mining process also affects miners who “experience higher rates of lung cancer, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases (“Dirty, Dangerous and Expensive: The Truth about Nuclear Power” 1). The level of deterioration is extremely high, and it is doubtful that the nature can recover.

Waste disposal also creates a serious environmental problem. Amount of radioactive waste increases while lands to dispose of the waste are limited. The United States alone already accumulated 63,000 metric tons of highly radioactive spent fuel at reactor sites, and “another 42,000 metric tons will be produced by operating reactors” (“Dirty, Dangerous and Expensive: The Truth about Nuclear Power” 1). The wastes can be handled properly if there are enough repository sites. Totty states, however, that the U.S. does not have single permanent repository site after cancellation at Yucca Mountain in Nevada due to public safety (5). After failure to dispose of the existing inventory of spent fuel, “US taxpayers have already paid out $565 million in contract damages to nuclear utilities…[and] an additional billion dollars of damage payments are expected every year for the next decade” (“Dirty, Dangerous and Expensive: The Truth about Nuclear Power” 1). Nuclear power is not green, and environmental problems are accumulating without proper resolutions.

Work Cited

“Dirty, Dangerous and Expensive: The Truth about Nuclear Power.” Physicians for Social Responsibility: United States Affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Web.

Rowell, Alexis. “Ten Reasons Why New Nuclear Was a Mistake – Even Before Fukushima.”Transition Culture. Web. 15 March. 2011.

Totty, Michael. “The Case For and Against Nuclear Power.” The Wall Street Journal. Web. 30 June. 2008.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment | 3 Comments

Patrick Moore, fossil fuel and nuclear mercenary, tours Australia, courtesy of front group Galileo Movement

Moore,Patrick-11Moore’s trip to Australia has been financed through the climate science denial organisation the Galileo Movement.

.Moore has been given favourable coverage in popular rural newspaper The Land and the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Australian.

Moore is almost always described as a co-founder of Greenpeace, despite Greenpeace itself contesting that he wasn’t a co-founder.

An archive of Moore’s CV shows his work for corporations and organisations in logging, pulp and paper and mining. He has also been an advocate for the nuclear energy industry.


Climate Science Denialist Patrick Moore Tours Australia After Comparing Students to the Taliban
http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/10/23/climate-science-denialist-patrick-moore-tours-australia-after-comparing-students-taliban#disqus_thread Canadian climate science denialist Patrick Moore is at the beginning of a tour around Australia speaking to audiences across the country.

But here’s a warning.

If you do find yourself in the audience and don’t want to be compared to the “Taliban” then don’t even think about walking out in protest.

Less than two weeks before flying to Australia, Moore spoke on the campus of Amherst Collegein Massachusetts.

When members of the college’s environmental group decided they had heard enough and walked, Moore said they had a “Taliban mindset”.

When he was later asked to apologise, a report in the Amherst College student newspaper says Moore instead chose to double-down on his remark.

“Fifty people walk out, and I say that’s a pretty Taliban thing to do,” Moore is reported to have said, characterizing the behavior of the young students to that of the fundamentalist regime that massacred thousands and committed brutal repression of women.

Who is Patrick Moore?

Moore has no scientific credibility on climate change and has never published a scientific paper on the issue.

Yet Moore claims there is “no scientific proof” that humans are causing global warming and that “throwing bones on the ground” would have a better predictive ability than most climate models.

His opinion on the science runs against all the major national science academies in the world and about 97 per cent of all the peer reviewed studies on climate change carried out since the early 1990s. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

For centuries to come, ice sheets will keep melting

we cannot ignore it, because the sheer volume of land ice on Earth is enormous – equivalent to more than 65m of global sea level rise; Greenland alone accounts for 6 to 7m, West Antarctica for some 5-6m, and East Antarctica for the remainder. These melting ice sheets will dominate major sea level changes for centuries to come.

ice-sheets-melting

Why ice sheets will keep melting for centuries to come,Skeptical Science By Eelco Rohling, University of Southampton 17 Oct 14    Ice sheets respond slowly to changes in climate, because they are so massive that they themselves dominate the climate conditions over and around them. But once they start flowing faster towards the shore and melting into the ocean the process takes centuries to reverse. Ice sheets are nature’s freight trains: tough to start moving, even harder to stop. Continue reading

October 18, 2014 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

World Bank leader calls for development banks to mobilise climate funds

piggy-ban-renewablesDevelopment banks should mobilize climate funds: World Bank’s Kim  BY VALERIE VOLCOVICI   REPORTING BY VALERIE VOLCOVICI,; EDITING BY ROS KRASNY AND FRANCES KERRY) WASHINGTON Thu Oct 16 (Reuters) – The World Bank and other multilateral financeinstitutions should pool their resources to help developing countries combat and adapt to climate change, helping smooth the path to a global climate agreement in Paris next year, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said on Thursday.

One important disagreement looming over the climate talks is how countries will reach an agreed target of raising $100 billion in annual funding for climate change projects in developing countries by 2020, Kim told the Reuters Global Climate Change Summit.

The World Bank, other multilateral organizations, climate funds and regional development banks can help mobilize money prior to the Paris talks to give developing countries confidence in the negotiating process, he said.

“We are doing everything we can to really make sure that issue doesn’t stop the proceedings,” Kim said.

“Can we take all of the money that is floating around out there, and put it together in a package that would make the developing countries feel a lot better about the available financing for tackling both mitigation and adaptation?”……….

Beyond the financing question, Kim said strong signs of an agreement between the United States and China on climate would set a “strong foundation” for the Paris meeting.

He added that a declaration by 74 countries and over 1,000 private companies announced at the U.N. Climate summit in September, in support of carbon pricing measures such asmarkets and taxes, could also bolster prospects for success in Paris.

Kim said the decision by China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, to sign the declaration was a surprise to World Bank officials, and had raised the pressure on other countries……..http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/16/us-climatechange-summit-worldbank-idUSKCN0I52QK20141016

October 18, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change, renewable | Leave a comment

2015 Paris climate deal must be a real one – or no deal!

globe-warmingflag-franceNo Paris climate deal better than bad one – former French climate minister, Guardian, 10 Oct 14 
Serge Lepeltier saysglobal warming deal at Paris in 2015 must be binding, as capital hosts pre-summit meeting AFrench diplomatic effort to seal a deal on cutting carbon emissions at next year’s Paris climate change summit has opened with a warning from the country’s former climate change ambassador that it would be better to have no deal at all, than a bad one.

The World Summit for the Regions on Climate in the French capital on Friday and Saturday is a showcase for efforts to mobilise business sectors in a ‘bottom-up’ initiative to enable commitments on carbon cuts ahead of the 2015 UN climate conference.

The approach is in line with the ‘pledge and review’ idea proposed by the US in which countries would put the emissions reduction measures they are prepared to offer on the table for review at a later date. EU negotiators hope a climate deal next year will include a mechanism that could trigger moves to binding cuts if countries’ emissions go too high.

But Serge Lepeltier said that without agreed minimum ambitions to curb man-made global warming in 2015, the bottom-up approach could be “an excuse” for the lack of a comprehensive effort, with scattered results.

“There has to be a global agreement with binding constraints,” he told the audience of policy-makers, businesses and environmentalists on Friday. “Without those commitments, what is done by local authorities and companies will remain marginal.”

“Can we risk non-agreement in Paris? We can’t have a minimal agreement that won’t truly combat climate change,” he said. “We should take the risk of no agreement rather than accept a weak agreement.”……Because of the wide differences between states with some commitment to cutting emissions and those such as Russia, Canada, Australia and Japanwhich have withdrawn from international treaties, UN officials have played down the chances of material emissions cuts emerging from next year’s Paris summit.

Bernard Spitz, the president of the French Insurance companies association, AFA, told the conference that if global warming continued on present trends, an estimated 20% of world GDP could be lost by the end of the century.

“In 2007, the cost of natural disasters represented €34bn, or 16% of the [French] insurance budget. In the next 20 years, that could double to more than €60bn,” he said. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/10/no-paris-climate-deal-better-than-bad-one-former-french-climate-minister

October 13, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Australia’s Tony Abbott government out of step on climate change

Government drops ball on climate change http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/government-drops-ball-on-climate-change-20141007-3hhgq.html 8 oct 14 Two weeks ago, when Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke before the General Assembly of the United Nations, he named four dire problems facing the world: the dangers posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Russia’s destabilising influence in eastern Ukraine, the outbreak and spread of the Ebola virus in western Africa and the economic malaise that continues to afflict many countries.

But Mr Abbott did not mention climate change at all. That failure was conspicuous because just two days earlier, at the same podium, US President Barack Obama had outlined the same four threats to the world (”terrorism, instability, inequality and disease”) but added one more. Mr Obama told more than 120 leaders attending the UN Climate Summit that ”there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate”. Mr Obama said the US had a duty to lead on emissions reduction strategies, and he urged other nations to do their part, saying no nation could afford to pretend climate change was not real.

Mr Abbott, though, did not even bother to attend the Climate Summit. He sent Foreign Minister Julie Bishop instead, and she chose to promote the government’s Direct Action strategy, under which businesses would be paid to cut their emissions. Sure, there are several other nations – India, for one – that obstinately shuck off any responsibility for initiating emissions-abatement strategies and which do so because they perceive their economies would be significantly disadvantaged. But Australia under the Abbott government has become an international joke on matters related to climate change. Only last year, for example, Mr Abbott suggested the UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, was ”talking out of her hat” when she said bushfires in Australia were linked to climate change. Soon after, Environment Minister Greg Hunt sought to defend the PM in an interview with the BBC. During that interview, Mr Hunt said he had ”looked up what Wikipedia says”, and then sought to downplay the notion that climate change could influence the likelihood of bushfires.

Map-Abbott-climate

But as Fairfax Media reported this week, Mr Hunt was thoroughly briefed just weeks before the interview by officials of the Bureau of Meteorology who explained the effects of climate change on weather patterns. They told the minister that a pattern of recent episodes of extreme heat was ”consistent with the general pattern of warming”. Last week, five separate studies published by Australian universities all concluded that record temperatures in Australia in 2013 were almost certainly caused by man-made climate change.

The governments of the world’s biggest economies and biggest emitters – the United States and China – are focused on emissions reduction strategies. In Australia, while the Abbott government says it supports the science indicating man’s influence on climate change, there is a distinctly grudging aspect to its attitude, a deliberate effort to minimise the scale or urgency of the problem and a clear intention to focus instead on the economic impact of emissions abatement strategies. The government has scrapped the carbon tax and it wants to wind back the renewable energy target, which is intended to ensure that one-fifth of Australia’s energy supply in 2020 will come from renewable sources.

This is a highly educated nation, whose scientists have made valuable contributions to the growing body of knowledge on climate change, and it is a wealthy nation with great economic opportunity. But it is being governed by a party that refuses to acknowledge the vital role it must play at this point in history.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Heating of Southern oceans much faster than previously thought

ocean-heatingOceans heating up faster than we thought: study, SMH  October 6, 2014  Hannah Francis   Oceans in the southern hemisphere are warming faster than anticipated, with implications for rising sea levels and climate modelling.

A team of scientists in California has studied rising temperatures of the southern hemisphere over the decades between 1970 and 2004, and recommended lifting estimates of ocean heat content by between 48 and 152 per cent.

Lead author Paul Durack said it was the first time scientists have been able to quantify how big the gap is between earlier estimates and the reality of rising ocean temperatures.

Sea temperatures are a crucial yardstick for global warming as the ocean stores more than 90 per cent of human-induced excess heat.

Higher sea level temperatures are also closely linked with rising sea levels, because water expands as it warms.

Ocean warming down to two kilometres below the surface accounts for around a third of the annual rate of global mean sea-level rises.

The study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday, attributed the missed estimates to a history of poor sampling of temperatures in the southern hemisphere oceans, which make up 60 per cent of the world’s oceans.

The region, which includes the Indian and South Pacific oceans as well as the South Atlantic and Southern oceans, has not been sampled nearly as frequently to date as oceans in the northern hemisphere……..  http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/oceans-heating-up-faster-than-we-thought-study-20141005-10qgfn.html#ixzz3FPcZ9tZW

October 6, 2014 Posted by | climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Australia’s 2013 was brought on by global warming – researchers conclude

heat_waveAustralia’s 2013 heatwave due to climate change, researchers conclude http://www.theage.com.au/environment/australias-2013-heatwave-due-to-climate-change-researchers-conclude-20140930-10o1sj.html September 30, 2014   National political reporter Record temperatures in Australia in 2013 were almost certainly caused by man-made climate change, five separate studies have found.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University and the University of NSW have concluded it is “virtually impossible” that the heatwaves that hit Australia in 2013 would have occurred were it not for carbon emissions caused by human activity.

The reports have been published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as part of a global project examining the impact of climate change on extreme weather.

The results, which are the strongest statement yet on the impact of climate change on Australia’s weather patterns, are a wake-up call for the Abbott government a week after it was criticised for failing to take beefed-up emissions reduction targets to a special summit of world leaders in New York.

Five teams of researchers examined the heat that baked Australia for much of 2013, leading to the hottest day, month, spring and summer since records began.

They concluded that the record temperatures for the whole of that year would almost certainly not have occurred without man-made climate change and that the chance of heatwaves occurring was more than 2000 times greater because of human-caused climate change.

Professor David Karoly, one of the authors, said the results mark the first time that researchers had concluded that a specific weather event couldn’t or most likely couldn’t have occurred in Australia without the increase in greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.

“The Prime Minister last year said that studies hadn’t been done and the CSIRO cautioned against attributing individual extreme weather events to climate change,” Professor Karoly said.

“Now the studies have been done and the results are very clear.”

The teams of researchers used a variety of computer-based simulations that modelled 20th and early 21st century temperatures.

One set of models factored in natural variations in climate and human influences on climate, while another set showed what temperatures would have looked like without man-made climate change.

Out of 12,500 simulated years, only one result in the latter group produced temperatures higher than those seen in Australia in 2005 – the hottest year before 2013 – and none as hot as 2013.

“There was an increase in the frequency of heatwaves in 2013 and the intensity of heatwaves due to climate change,” Professor Karoly said “It was three times the frequency and two times the intensity.”

October 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Australia most unpopular at Climate Change Summit

Australia’s climate stance savagely condemned at New York summit SMH  September 27, 2014  Nick O’Malley US correspondent for Fairfax Media  “…….in his address to the General Assembly, Leonardo DiCaprio sought to buttress his call for drastic and immediate action to reduce carbon emissions with a voice harder to challenge than his own.

“The Chief of the US Navy’s Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, recently said that climate change is our single greatest security threat,” said DiCaprio. “My friends, this body – perhaps more than any other gathering in human history – now faces that difficult task. You can make history, or be vilified by it.”The speech was well given and well received, but it turned out that his prediction was not entirely correct. Australia did not have to wait for history, it was vilified for its stance on climate change on the spot…….”I’m disappointed but not surprised with Australia,” Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambia’s Climate Change Minister who represents the 54 least developed nations at UN climate talks, told the Responding to Climate Change analysis website later. “What the Foreign Minister [Julie Bishop] said was as good as not coming. It’s nothing… as good as not attending.”Indeed Tony Abbott did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, though many attendees detected a reference to Australia – among a handful of other notable recalcitrants – in Barack Obama’s keynote speech……..

it was Australia and to an extent Canada that were subject to most of the opprobrium, in part because they have already enjoyed the economic benefits of carbon emissions, in part because China is perceived to be on the brink of significant action.

One of the successes of Tuesday’s meeting was China’s announcement for the first time ever that it would set an emissions target, aiming to reduce its emissions of carbon per unit of GDP by 45 per cent by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.

“As a responsible major country, a major developing country, China will make even greater effort to address climate change,” Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said.

“All countries need to follow the path of green and low carbon development that suits their national conditions, [and] set forth post-2020 actions in light of actual circumstances.”

An adviser who attended a meeting of small island states that excoriated Australia’s inaction on climate said the group now viewed China’s commitments optimistically.

The reaction to Australia’s presence could not have been more different. Tony de Brum, the Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, told Fairfax that small islands states were frustrated and baffled by Australia’s stance, especially as they had regarded the nation as a “big brother down south” and advocated for its seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Asked if “betrayal” was too strong a word, he paused and said, “Now it is, maybe not soon.”

On Tuesday the Pulitzer Prize-winning climate change news website Inside Climate News published a story about the “Canada-Australia axis of carbon”. It suggested that not only were the two nations not willing to pull their weight, but that they were seeking to derail the binding agreement on emissions reductions at next year’s talks in Paris that many view as the world’s last best hope to prevent catastrophic climate change.

“Neither the prime ministers of Canada nor Australia will speak at the summit, and the subordinates they have sent will not be offering the kind of “bold” new steps that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seeking on the way to a treaty in Paris late next year,” it reported.

“Instead, these two governments, with their energy-rich domains sprawling across opposite ends of the earth, will present strikingly similar defences against what much of the rest of the world is offering. And their stance is earning them opprobrium among advocates of strong and immediate action.”

The online magazine Slate published a story headlined, “The Saudi Arabia of the Pacific, How Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world.”

It charted Australian climate politics since the last election – noting for an international audience Australia’s history as a leader in solar technology, the creation and then scrapping of a carbon trading scheme, the promotion of climate change sceptics to key advisory roles, the attacks on the solar industry, the scrapping of the mining tax, the failed bid to expand logging in Tasmanian wilderness.

“Let’s hope that the rapacious policies of the current government represent only a temporary bout of insanity,” Slate concluded. “If the Australian people cannot recover some of their earlier regard for their environment they may find in time that their great land is no longer merely apathetic toward their residence there but openly hostile.” http://www.smh.com.au/world/australias-climate-stance-savagely-condemned-at-new-york-summit-20140926-10mc0x.html#ixzz3Eac7HHfN

September 27, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate policy now getting support from big business

Sea change: big US businesses now support climate policy theguardian.com, Saturday 27 September 2014   Climate Week might have been a washout politically, but insiders found reasons for optimism in the business discussions Plenty of attendees expressed disappointment with the United Nations climate talks this week in New York. “The bottom line is I’m not turning cartwheels after the talks yesterday,” said Greg Barker, UK prime minister David Cameron’s envoy on climate change, at a Climate Week session on clean energy investment Wednesday. “This hasn’t been the show many of us hoped it would be.”

But while the political commitments may have fallen short of the “bold new announcements and action” that UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called for, several industry insiders found reasons for optimism in the business discussions.

Kevin Moss, head of UK-based telco BT’s Net Good program, said he’s seen a major shift in sentiment from US companies leading up to Climate Week. “In the last few weeks, I’ve been much more encouraged than I was a year ago,” he said. “I think we’re at a turning point.”

It’s an interesting viewpoint from someone who witnessed – and actively supported – climate change policy in Europe, which has outpaced that in the US. There’s still less business resistance to regulation in Europe, Moss said. “But I’m really feeling that changing here (in the US),” he said. “American companies are supporting a price on carbon.”…….

There’s also more objective proof that opinions are changing: the World Bank on Monday announced it had received pledges of support for carbon pricing from 1,000 companies and investors, as well as 73 national and 11 regional governments. And a report from nonprofit CDP earlier this month found that 150 major companies already have put an internal price on carbon.

What has spurred this change?

Compared to 2010, when a US climate bill failed and climate talks were held in Cancun, Mexico, clean energy has grown a lot cheaper and has become a far more mainstream investment, Juska said. Meanwhile, successful state and local climate policies – such as in New York, California and Hawaii – have instilled more confidence, he added…….

Meanwhile, the private sector has made “stunning advances”, such as dramatically cutting the cost of clean energy, Barker said. And the perceived risk from climate policy has also fallen as several countries – such as the UK – have demonstrated the ability to cut emissions while growing the economy.

“There are reasons to be cheerful, but I think one of the strongest reasons to be cheerful is finance,” Barker said during a session on clean energy investment at Bloomberg on Wednesday. “There is without doubt a growing appetite and interest in finding ways to harness the great growth industry of the 21st century, which is clean energy.”……http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/sep/25/business-came-out-on-top-during-climate-week?commentpage=1

September 27, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

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