Scientists Double Sea Level Rise Projections

April 21, 2016

Washington Post: "Sea levels could rise nearly twice as much as previously predicted by the end of this century if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe, according to new research published Wednesday."

"The main reason? Antarctica."

"Scientists behind a new study published in the journal Nature used sophisticated computer models to decipher a longstanding riddle about how the massive, mostly uninhabited continent surrendered so much ice during previous warm periods on Earth. They found that similar conditions in the future could lead to monumental and irreversible increases in sea levels. If high levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue, they concluded, oceans could rise by close to two meters in total (more than six feet) by the end of the century. The melting of ice on Antarctica alone could cause seas to rise more than 15 meters (49 feet) by 2500."

NOAA’s Senior Advisor for Coastal Inundation: "Davidson said recent data that has been collected but has yet to be made official indicates sea levels could rise by roughly 3 meters or 9 feet by 2050-2060, far higher and quicker than current projections."


Mass Bleaching of Coral Reefs

April 11, 2016

New York Times:  "The damage off Kiritimati is part of a mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world, only the third on record and possibly the worst ever. Scientists believe that heat stress from multiple weather events including the latest, severe El Niño, compounded by climate change, has threatened more than a third of Earth’s coral reefs. Many may not recover."

"Coral reefs are the crucial incubators of the ocean’s ecosystem, providing food and shelter to a quarter of all marine species, and they support fish stocks that feed more than one billion people."


Rising Public Health Impacts

April 04, 2016

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: “This document shows that the public health case for climate action is really compelling beyond words,” McCarthy said.

“This isn’t just about glaciers and polar bears. This is about the health of our families and our kids. To protect ourselves and future generations, we need to understand the health impacts of climate change that are already happening and those that we expect to see down the road.”


Feds: Climate Change to Impact Western Water Trends

March 27, 2016

The Hill: "Climate change will hasten existing water supply concerns in the Western United States, the Interior Department concluded in a report released Tuesday."

"A warming climate is excepted to bring higher temperatures and changes to precipitation, snowpack and water flow throughout the West, the report found."


February Breaks Global Temperature Records by "Shocking" Amount

March 14, 2016

The Guardian: "February smashed a century of global temperature records by 'stunning' margin, according to data released by Nasa."

"The unprecedented leap led scientists, usually wary of highlighting a single month’s temperature, to label the new record a 'shocker' and warn of a 'climate emergency.'"

"The Nasa data shows the average global surface temperature in February was 1.35C warmer than the average temperature for the month between 1951-1980, a far bigger margin than ever seen before. The previous record, set just one month earlier in January, was 1.15C above the long-term average for that month."

“'Nasa dropped a bombshell of a climate report,' said Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, who analysed the data on the Weather Underground website. 'February dispensed with the one-month-old record by a full 0.21C – an extraordinary margin to beat a monthly world temperature record by.'”


Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries

February 22, 2016

New York Times: "The scientists confirmed previous estimates, but with a larger data set, that if global emissions continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100, as ocean water expands and the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica begin to collapse."

"Experts say the situation will grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many of the world’s coastal cities."

"In a report issued at the same time as the scientific paper, a climate research and communications organization in Princeton, N.J., Climate Central, used the new findings to calculate that roughly three-quarters of the tidal floods now occurring in towns along the American East Coast would not be happening in the absence of sea-level rise caused by human emissions."

"The recent climate agreement negotiated in Paris, if acted upon, will bring emissions down enough to slow the rate of sea-level rise in coming centuries, but scientists say the deal was not remotely ambitious enough to forestall a significant melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets."


Railroads Need to Turn Carload System into a Precision Network

February 19, 2016

Lawrence J. Gross: "While trying to forecast coal loadings has been as difficult as trying to catch a falling knife, the magnitude of the problem can be seen from the simple arithmetic calculation that if North American coal loadings finally end the current plunge and stabilize at the levels experienced during the first three weeks of 2016, the deficit vs. 2015 will be 23% or 1.3 million carloads."

"There are fundamental forces currently under way in the North American economy that are going to dramatically remake the freight transport landscape. Macro forces are moving the economy in a direction where transport providers will be asked to provide more reliable, consistent and faster service for generally smaller shipments moving shorter lengths of haul. Meanwhile, the rail industry has been moving in exactly the opposite direction, with larger, less frequent trains composed of larger, higher-capacity cars. . . . So as an industry, we are heading one way and our customers are heading in another."

"Today, the single-carload system delivers inconsistent service and inadequate asset turns while demanding ever increasing pricing, prompting shippers with modal choices to avoid rail, and leaving shippers without modal choices in a distinctly uncompetitive position. The railroads need to turn the carload system into a precision network that delivers reliable service and better utilization of expensive railcar assets."


2015 Hottest Year on Record

January 20, 2016

New York Times: "Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history by far, breaking a record set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world."


Quadruple Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

November 12, 2015

Reuters: "G20 members are spending $452 billion a year subsidising fossil fuel production - nearly four times global spending on renewable energy subsidies - despite pledging to phase out fossil fuel support to tackle climate change, a new report said on Thursday."

"'G20 governments are paying fossil fuel producers to undermine their own policies on climate change,' the ODI's Shelagh Whitley said in a statement."

"Despite calls by U.S. President Barack Obama to scrap fossil fuel subsidies, the world's largest economy spent more than $20 billion in national subsidies, the report said."


Changes Happening Too Slowly

November 10, 2015

New York Times: International Energy Agency reports--"Even as the world shifts toward lower-carbon forms of energy, the changes are happening too slowly to keep global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels in the coming decades, an international research group warns in a report released on Tuesday."