Sulphur cools the planet, Monckton on tour and climate drought questions
- 06 Jul 2011, 13:00
- The Carbon Brief
Mining coal in China
Sulfur emissions may have slowed temperature
paper published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences has attracted attention after it blamed a slow-down in
rate of temperature rise over the last decade on increased sulfur
emissions from coal. Sulfur in the atmosphere has a cooling effect
as it reflects sunlight, and this may have masked the long-term
warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
Media coverage, including by the BBC,
Guardian and the
Washington Post pointed to the significant increase in coal
production in China as the likely cuplrit - while the
Mail headline overstated the paper's findings somewhat -
"Coal-burning China's rapid growth may
have HALTED global warming"
The results, which are based on a computer model, may suggest
another compelling reason to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
quickly - because as China installs technology to reduce sulfur
emission from its coal plants, the masking effect could reduce and
lead to a short-term temperature '
spike'. We covered the issue here.
Britain to give £38m in food aid to
The international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell announced
that Britain is to provide £38m in emergency food aid for 1.3
million people in Ethiopia. The UN office estimates that 10 million
people across the Horn of Africa are facing a severe food crisis
following a prolonged drought in the region.
Guardian article examined the possible connections between the
drought and climate change - which are predictably complicated. It
"...The last intergovernment panel on climate change
report suggested that the Horn of Africa would get wetter with
climate change, while
more recent academic research has concluded that global warming
will increase drought in
the region...according to aid agencies, the weather has become more
erratic and extreme in recent years".
Predicting the regional impacts of climate change on this scale
is notoriously difficult.
Monckton in trouble down under
British climate skeptic and peer Lord Monckton has
continued his speaking tour in Australia. Monckton was
heavily criticized last week after suggesting that Australian
science advisor Professor Ross Garnaut's views on climate change
were "fascist", and subsequently issued a somewhat grudging
More than 50 Australian academics
signed a letter urging Notre Dame University in Perth to cancel
a speech by Monckton, arguing that Lord Monckton "stands for the
kind of ignorance and superstition that universities have a duty to
counter", but the speech went ahead anyway.
Other climate skeptic lobbyists are also heading south. Later this
month Australians can look forward to a visit from Czech President
Václav Klaus, and in November, an appearance from our former UK
chancellor Nigel Lawson.
On our blog
go to extremes to understand climate change
Researchers from the Met Office, the US National Centre for
Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the US National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Organisation (NOAA) have joined forces in a new coalition. The
Attribution of Climate-Related Events will investigate individual
extreme weather events to determine the probability that they have
been caused or exacerbated by manmade climate change. This follows
a three-part special on the potential links between extreme weather
events and manmade climate change published last week in
OECD to business: Scientific uncertainty is not a reason to ignore
The latest version of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational
Enterprises, a central text in defining the relationship between
business and government, has been revised to state that businesses
should no longer use scientific uncertainty to avoid action on
environmental issues, including climate change.
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