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Environmental concerns

Environmental news: 2010 to 2012 incl.

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Media reports on the environment:

  • 2010-JAN-07: Canada: Arctic meltdown grows rapidly: American researchers have been monitoring the melting season for Arctic sea ice with the use of satellite microwave data. They reported their data in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The season has been growing faster across much of Canada than anywhere else in the world. They have found that sea ice has started to melt, on average, 2.5 days earlier every decade, and started to refreeze 3.7 days later per decade. This means that the melt season is almost 20 days longer now than it was 30 years ago. The melting season for ice in the Hudson Bay is increasing at one of the fastest paces in the world. 1

  • 2010-JAN-22: USA: One News Now publishes results of online poll: One News Now is an evangelical Christian news source. They regularly conduct polls. One asked:

    "If Congress were to set aside healthcare reform, even temporarily, what domestic issue should they give top priority?" Four options were given. The economy got 64% response, the war on terror 17%, border security 17%. Climate change/global warming received less than 2%. 2

  • 2010-FEB-01: Sweden: Off-shore wind turbines encourage marine life: Dan Wilhelmsson of Stockholm University writes:

    "Hard surfaces are often hard currency in the ocean, and these foundations can function as artificial reefs. Rock boulders are often placed around the structures to prevent erosion (scouring) around these, and this strengthens the reef function

    "Not only were the foundations giving a boost to marine life, but interestingly, we might be able to build-in features to them in such a way as to enhance conditions to favor those species that need more protection."

  • "With wind and wave energy farms, it should be possible to create large areas with biologically productive reef structures, which would moreover be protected from bottom trawling. By carefully designing the foundations it would be possible to favor and protect important species, or, conversely, to reduce the reef effects in order minimize the impact on an area." 3

  • 2010-FEB-01: World: 55 nations set carbon goals: Fifty-five nations have met one of their responsibilities under the Copenhagen Accord by releasing national targets for carbon emissions that they intend to reach by the year 2020. Together, the countries are responsible for 78% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Yvo de Boer, who heads the United Nation's Climate Change Secretariat released a statement saying: "This represents an important invigoration of the UN climate change talks. 4

  • 2010-FEB-18 (approx): SD: South Dakota House passes resolution re global warming: Legislators passed resolution #1009 that urges public schools in the state to teach that "... global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact." It also states that there are a variety of ... astrological ... dynamics that can effect [sic] world weather phenomena..." The vote was 36 to 30 in favor. 5,6

  • 2010-MAR-25: Bangladesh/India: Climate change solves political dispute: India and Bangladesh have been arguing for almost three decades over ownership of a tiny island in the Bay of Bengal called New Moore Island. However, global warming had cause sea levels in the Bay to rise about 3 mm (0.1 inches) a year. This rate accelerated since the year 2000 and is now 5 mm (0.2 inches) a year. The island is now submerged under water. Oceanographer Sugata Hazra of Jadavpur University in Calcutta said:

    "What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming."

    At least ten other islands in the area are also at risk. Sea levels are projected to rise about one metre (39 inches) by 2050. Part of this will be caused by glaciers and ice caps melting. Part will be due to simple thermal expansion of the water in the world's oceans. Bangladesh will be one of the countries most affected. About 18% of its costal area will be under water and 20 million people will be displaced. 7

  • 2010-OCT-09: Political aspects of climate change. Why we cannot take meaningful action: UK Foreign Secretary William Hague commented about climate change: He said:

    "Climate change is perhaps the 21st century's biggest foreign-policy challenge. An effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity. ... While no one weather event can ever be linked with certainty to climate change, the broad patterns of abnormality seen this year are consistent with climate-change models."

Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal wrote:

"... when the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences last reviewed the data this spring, it concluded: 'A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.'

Not only William Hague but such other prominent European conservatives as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced that widespread scientific conviction and supported vigorous action.

Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is 'no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.'

It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP's stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms -- and the dangers that Hague identified creep closer." 13

  • 2011-NOV-12: "Climate change: 2011 year in review:" Although 2011 wasn't as hot as 2010, it was still history's tenth warmest year. Financial investment in renewal energy exceeded investment in fossil fuels for the first time in history. The UN climate talks went badly. Researchers warned that we only have five years to halt climate change before it spirals out of control. 12

  • 2012-AUG-16: Interview with "the father of global warming:" Wallace Broecker is often referred to as "the father of global warming" because of a 1975 paper he published in Science titled: "Are we on the brink of a pronounced global warming." He suggested that the burring of fossil fuels will cause an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that will increase global temperatures. His timing was fortunate because a short-term global cooling ended that year and a warming trend began in 1976 which has continued to the present time. He was interviewed in 2012 and was asked what it would take for the public to demand acton on climate change. He replied:

    "it will be difficulty in finding food.  If this summer doesn’t turn out to be just a fluke, they’re going to have to start irrigating the corn, and of course that would use up a lot of our water supply, and be very expensive—food prices will go way, way up.  Eventually, people will be ready to do something.  It won’t happen tomorrow, I won’t be around to see it (Broecker is 80 years old) but maybe in ten or twenty years.  These will be interesting times." 11

  • 2012-NOV-21: World: UN issues Emissions Gap Report 2012: 55 scientists from 20 countries has compiled the report. It concludes that by 2010, if current trends continue, there will be 58 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere yearly. That is about 14 gigatonnes above the level needed to keep temperature rises by the end of the 21st century to 2 degrees Celsius _3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The report was produced to help negotiators at the COP18 climate meeting that began the following week. 10

  • 2012-DEC?: Alarming report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC): They issued a report titled "Too late for two degrees."It indicates how unlikely it would be for the world to reduce carbon usage levels so that the global temperature rise will be limited to 2oC (3.6 degrees F). They conclude:

    "Our Low Carbon Economy Index evaluates the rate of decarbonisation of the global economy that is needed to limit warming to 2oC. This report shows that global carbon intensity decreased between 2000 and 2011 by around 0.8% a year. In 2011, carbon intensity decreased by 0.7%. The global economy now needs to cut carbon intensity by 5.1% every year from now to 2050. Keeping to the 2oC carbon budget will require sustained and unprecedented reductions over four decades.

    Governments’ ambitions to limit warming to 2oC appear highly unrealistic." 14

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Bob Weber, "Melt season for Canadian Arctic sea ice outpacing global average: study," Yahoo! News, Canada, 2010-JAN-06, at: http://ca.news.yahoo.com
  2. "Recent poll results (Jan. 18-22, 2010)," One News Now, 2010-JAN-22, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
  3. "Marine Life Flourishing Beneath Off-Shore Wind Turbines," Simply Green, 2010-FEB-01, at: http://www.simplygreen.co.za/
  4. "55 nations set 2020 carbon goals after summit," Reuters, 2010-FEB-01.
  5. "House Concurrent Resolution No. 1009," State of South Dakota, at: http://legis.state.sd.us/
  6. "South Dakota legislators tell schools to teach 'astrological' explanation for global warming," Climate Progress, 2010-FEB-25, at: http://climateprogress.org/
  7. Nirmala George, "New Moore Island disappears into the sea," The Huffington Post, 2010-MAR-24, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  8. Joe Romm, "In Epic Blunder, NY Times And Washington Post All But Abandon Specialized Climate Science Coverage," ClimateProgress, 2013-MAR-04, at: http://thinkprogress.org/
  9. "Carbon dioxide passes symbolic mark," BBC News, 2013-MAY-10, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/
  10. Matt McGrath, "UN says carbon cuts too slow to curb dangerous warming," BBC News, 2012-NOV-21, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/
  11. Stevem Edwards. "An interview with 'the father of global warming'." American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2012-AUG-16, at: http://membercentral.aaas.org/
  12. Neil Wagner, "Climate Change 2011 Year in Review: Good News / Bad News," Huffington Post, 2011-DEC-27, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  13. Ronald Brownstein, "GOP Gives Climate Science A Cold Shoulder," National Journal, 2010-OCT-09, at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/
  14. "PwC Low Carbon Economy Index 2012: Too late for two degrees," PricewaterhouseCooper, 2012-DEC?, at: http://www.pwc.com

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Copyright 2010 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2010-JAN
Most recent update: 2013-MAY
Author: B.A. Robinson


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