John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian, November 8, 2013
In yesterday's Virginia governor's race, Terry McAuliffe's win over anti-science Republican Ken Cuccinelli is showing that being a climate-change denier is a losing political position. Certainly the election was about many issues, but climate change was the most striking difference between the two candidates. Virginia's voters clearly rejected Cuccinelli's attacks against climate scientists and his head-in-the-sand views. Ken Cuccinelli has a history of not only discounting scientists but spending taxpayers' money to actively attack them.
GENEVA - World carbon dioxide pollution levels in the atmosphere are accelerating and reached a record high in 2012, the U.N. weather agency said Wednesday. The heat-trapping gas, pumped into the air by cars and smokestacks, was measured at 393.1 parts per million last year, up 2.2 ppm from the previous year, said the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization in its annual greenhouse gas inventory. That is far beyond the 350 ppm that some scientists and environmental groups promote as the absolute upper limit for a safe level.
The only three living diplomats who have led the United Nations global warming talks said there’s little chance the next climate treaty will prevent the world from overheating. The specific goal, to hold temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), was endorsed by envoys from 190 nations in 2010. It’s considered the maximum the environment can bear before climate change becomes more dangerous. Delegates to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meet in Warsaw starting Nov. 11 to work on a treaty that could be agreed to in 2015.
It’s been a hot week for global warming. NASA released global temperature data showing that this September tied with 2005 for the warmest September on record. That’s doubly impressive since 2005 was warmed by an El Niño and accompanying warm Pacific ocean temperatures, whereas 2013 has had cooler Pacific temperatures all year. Greenhouse gases keep warming the planet to unprecedented levels with unprecedented speed. That’s the conclusion of two new studies out this week.
Carbon Talks brought together three experts at the lunch hour on Wednesday to discuss the business case for exporting LNG from B.C. Part of that business case is environmental: the assertion that LNG will be good for global emissions. Dr. Kathryn Harrison, professor of political science at UBC, suggested that climate change is an elephant in the room, a party animal when it suits industry needs or, perhaps, “a large beast with the potential to wreak havoc.”
In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles. But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz.
The U.N. climate panel concluded last month that carbon emissions should be capped at a trillion tons, a total the world is rapidly approaching. Now comes the hard part: How will we decide how the remaining emissions are apportioned? The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the first time sets a cap on the amount of carbon emissions we can allow into the atmosphere before calling a complete and permanent halt if, that is, we are serious about keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius.