Today's climate and energy headlines:
- Scientists warn of unprecedented damage to forests across the world
- Climate Change Intensifies California Drought, Scientists Say
- July was Earth's hottest month on record, NOAA says
- EU urges speeding of efforts to clinch global climate deal
- Denmark scales back climate goals that are proving "too expensive" for businesses
- Is Jeremy Corbyn's brand of environmentalism really the radical option?
- Will fracking be allowed in hundreds of SSSIs, and around several protected areas and beauty spots?
- Forest health in a changing world
- Contribution of anthropogenic warming to California drought during 2012-2014
Forests around the world are being affected by humans – both
directly by deforestation and indirectly by climate change, say
experts in a special issue of the journal Science. The researchers
examined the health of the world’s tropical, boreal and temperature
forests, finding that they’re far from being in good shape to cope
with climate change in the coming decades.
Climate and energy news.
A new study looking at how much of the current drought in
California can be blamed on global warming concludes that changing
temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and other factors
intensified the drought by 8-27% between 2012 to 2014. The drought
is largely driven by natural fluctuations in weather patterns but
rising temperatures dry the soil faster and cause more rapid
evaporation from streams and reservoirs, says the authors. The
study isn’t the first to say warming has played a key role in
fuelling California’s dry conditions, says
The month of July was the hottest on Earth since records
began, scientists announced yesterday. At 16.6C, the average
temperature over the month was 0.08C higher than the previous
record set in 1998 – a significant margin in weather records, says
the BBC. The high temperatures are caused by a combination of
man-made climate change and a strong El-Nino, said the monthly
report from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It is almost certain 2015 will be the hottest year recorded, with
the first seven months of this year already topping the charts for
the hottest January to July on record, says
The EU has called for more urgency in thrashing out a draft
negotiating text for the upcoming climate talks in Paris in
December. Calling the pace of progress so far “painfully slow”,
Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU’s climate commissioner, said countries
faced a battle against the clock. At more than 80 pages and with
only 10 formal negotiating days before Paris, the text remains “far
too long”, Cañete told a press conference in Brussels, adding that
“the technical talks are seriously lagging behind the political
discussion and this must change.”
Denmark is rolling back its 2020 carbon target from a 40 to
37% cut on 1990 levels, after the government said the previous
target was too costly for businesses. Speaking in Parliament,
Denmark’s climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said that
reaching those last percentage points “is not what Denmark needs
right now” and that the new goal would be “enough”. Denmarks
climate goal remains more ambitious than most, the piece notes.
Climate and energy comment.
James Murray examines which of the candidates for Labour
leader offers the most compelling vision of a sustainable future.
Each has sketched out their position on the environment, climate
change, and the green economy, confirming they are committed to
decarbonisation and low carbon investment. Jeremy Corbyn’s brand of
environmentalism is encouraging as far as his 10-point climate
action plan to fit solar panels on every building, introduce a ban
on fracking and improve energy efficiency goes, but look a little
deeper and it constitutes a “Green party tribute act with a strange
soft spot for coal”, says Murray.
The Oil and Gas Authority has announced 27 locations in
England where companies will be offered licences to frack for shale
oil and gas. EnergyDesk maps where the block fall in terms of
overlapping with protected landcapes, finding that there are 53
Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the blocks and 260 in the
ones kept back for further consultation.
New climate science.
In this special issue, the journal Science invites experts
to provide a closer look at how natural and human-induced changes
are affecting – and could affect – forests around the world,
including tropical, temperate and boreal forests, and plantations
as well. The review articles find that warmer temperatures bring
increased risks of water stress, forest fires and the spread of
pests and diseases.
Human-caused warming has substantially increased the overall
likelihood of extreme California droughts, a new study finds.
Researchers analysed monthly records of rainfall, temperature,
humidity and wind from 1901 to 2014. Over this period, average
temperatures have risen about 1.4C, which the researchers estimate
to have accounted for 8-27% of the observed drought in 2012-2014
and 5-18% in 2014 alone.
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