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Carbon Brief weekly update 4 October 2012

  • 04 Oct 2012, 16:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff

Arctic ice melt in context - and polar bears

Two weeks after Arctic sea ice extent reached a record low, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has written a post putting the melt - and Antarctica's simultaneous increase in sea ice extent - into context.

News also broke that academic Dr Charles Monnett, whose work first highlighted polar bears drowning as a result of melting ice in the Arctic, has been cleared of scientific misconduct. The United States Department of the Interior launched an investigation into Monnet on charges related to his 2006 study, which linked drowned polar bears to ice loss in the Arctic.

Climate skeptics - including former politician Ann Widdecombe - have argued the investigation showed Monnet's research was suspect. Instead, Monnett has received what appears to be a fairly minor reprimand for "improper release of government documents", and no criticism of his research. Some of the leaked documents were used in court to force the US government to revoke its approval of Shell's drilling plan. We covered the story here.

US Climate silence

The first US presidential debate took place on Wednesday - and Mitt Romney seems to have come out ahead. Unfortunately, despite a 60,000 signature petition calling for a question on climate change, the subject didn't come up.

Some US media outlets are highly critical of the candidates' silence on climate change - particularly as polling has suggested it's an issue voters care about. US blog Grist has given its view on some of Mitt Romney's statements about energy issues in the debate.

Counting the cost of Antarctic research

Facing cuts to its funding, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has announced plans to merge two of its research bodies. The British Antarctic Survey looks set to join forces with the National Oceanography Centre.

Media coverage of NERC's plans has been critical, reflecting researchers' worries that the merger will hamper their ability to study the Antarctic. But NERC told Carbon Brief it had ring-fenced funding for polar research.

Also on the blog this week:

Can we estimate the tipping point into irreversible climate change? We assess the science behind the One Hundred Months campaign
Our rundown of the evidence base underpinning the New Economics Foundation's One Hundred Months campaign

Carbon Brief's pick of the climate and energy events at the Conservative conference
The Conservative party conference kicks off this Sunday in sunny Birmingham. Here's our roundup of the energy and climate fringe events.

A pinch of salt for new carbon storage modelling
Although salt marshes may be able to store carbon short-term, the net impact of climate change on salt marshes' ability to sequester carbon dioxide doesn't look too good in the long run. 

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