Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CLIMATE NEWS: Warming Video - Policy Battlefield - Polar Vortex - What's 350?

VIDEO: Six Decades of a Warming Earth.

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which analyzes global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated report on temperatures around the globe in 2013. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience temperatures warmer than those measured several decades ago.

With the exception of 1998, the 10 warmest years in the 134-year record all have occurred since 2000. 2010 and 2005 rank as the warmest years on record. NASA scientists say 2013 tied with 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

Scientists emphasize that weather patterns always will cause fluctuations in average temperatures from year to year, but the continued increases in greenhouse gas levels in Earth's atmosphere are driving a long-term rise in global temperatures. Each successive year will not necessarily be warmer than the year before, but with the current level of greenhouse gas emissions, scientists expect each successive decade to be warmer than the previous.
Read more at NASA.gov.

Climate to be 2014 Battlefield

Climate change and energy will be a major policy battleground in the 2014 midterms, advocates on both sides of the issue promise.

Republicans like Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) plan to go on the attack against President Obama’s  climate action plan, which they have dubbed a “war on coal.”

They’re backed by conservative groups like the American Energy Alliance, which is already airing campaign ads attacking Democrats such as Rep. Nick Rahall (W.Va.) for supporting a carbon tax.

Green activists led by Tom Steyer plan to return fire.

The billionaire former hedge fund manager, who has poured his money into environmental causes, said Thursday that his New Year’s resolution is to make climate change a voter concern in 2014.

“This election year, more than ever, we must hold our leaders responsible for the role they play in the fight against climate change,” he wrote on NextGen Climate’s  website, keystonetruth.com. 

Noise surrounding crude oil exports and offshore oil development from coastal states is already being made, and Landrieu may push policy that evens the playing ground for coastal states when it comes to collecting federal dollars tied to energy development.

A number of political players are promising involvement.

The Sierra Club plans to highlight differences between candidates on energy issues. The green group touts that in 2014 it will mobilize its 2.1 million members and supporters to continue the momentum it built in 2013 races in Virginia and Colorado, where candidates it backed won reelection.

“Americans widely support climate solutions like accelerating job-creating wind and solar energy growth, tackling dangerous carbon pollution from dirty power plants, securing strong standards to protect our air and water, and protecting our public lands from destructive drilling and mining — we will help ensure the contrasts between candidates on these issues are clear,” Sierra Club Director Michael Brune wrote in an email to The Hill.

Read the full article at The Hill

VIDEO: The Polar Vortex Explained in Two Minutes

President Obama's Science and Technology Advisor, Dr. John Holdren, explains the polar vortex in 2 minutes—and why climate change makes extreme weather more likely going forward. 

Dr. Holdren says, "If you've been hearing that extreme cold spells, like the one that we're having in the United States now, disproves global warming, don't believe it!"

Click Here to view the video.

350 - Education of a Climate Upstart with a 'Weird' Name

A trip to the United Nations' climate talks in Bali sounds like every young activist's dream. But when a group of recent Middlebury College graduates trekked there in 2007 to continue the environmental work they began in school, at least one found the scene more daunting than inspiring.

The aspiring young leaders had orchestrated rallies in all 50 states that year to push for slashing greenhouse gas emissions -- only to be greeted in Bali by "endless meetings about long-term targets, most of which weren't going well," one of them, Phil Aroneanu, recalled recently.

Just as Aroneanu began "falling a little into despair" at the task of slowing global carbon, the Middlebury friends got a new email from their friend and adviser Bill McKibben. Government climatologist James Hansen, he told the young greens, was setting 350 parts per million (ppm) as the atmosphere's CO2 safe zone in his newest research.

McKibben also suggested that since 350 ppm was about to become a very important climate number, why not rename their group after it? Jamie Henn, now the group's communications director, remembered his initial reaction when the email arrived during a moment of reflection on the beach: "That's totally weird."

People would undoubtedly assume the name was 360, Henn thought at the time. But then the former classmates realized that the number's initial obscurity also illustrated its potential to pique curiosity among potential converts.

Read more at E&E Publishing 

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