9-24-14 UN climate summit: China pledges emissions action
UN climate summit: China pledges emissions action
China has pledged for the first time to take firm action on climate change, telling a UN summit that its emissions, the world's highest, would soon peak. US President Barack Obama said climate change was moving faster than efforts to address it, and the US and China had a responsibility to lead other nations. (Webmaster's comment: And US with the highest per capita CO2 emissions in the world of 16.5 tons per person will, because of Congress, do nothing.)
9-24-14 New York climate summit paves the way for Paris pact
New York climate summit paves the way for Paris pact
IT WAS impressive, but can it make a difference? Representatives of more than 150 countries met at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Tuesday to discuss climate change. And it wasn't just government leaders present: figures from big business and civil society were there too. "Far more people believe that climate change is happening and is caused by human emissions," primatologist Jane Goodall told New Scientist. "Whether we can act fast enough, I don't know."
9-24-14 Melt ponds successfully forecast Arctic sea-ice extent
Melt ponds successfully forecast Arctic sea-ice extent
A UK technique for forecasting the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic proved its worth this week. The British team's modelled forecast hangs on the amount of water ponding on top of the ice as it warms in the spring. These ponds have been shown to promote melting.
9-23-14 Climate summit advances towards Paris deal
Climate summit advances towards Paris deal
Despite the absence of India and Australia, a majority of prime ministers and presidents did as Mr Ban had asked. They came to New York with pledges of action. The French promised a billion dollars for the Green Climate Fund, a significant amount you might think, but miles from the goal of getting a hundred billion a year by 2020. More than 150 countries signed a declaration that would end emissions from deforestation by 2030, though Brazil refused to join this coalition.
9-23-14 World leaders gather for 'crucial' UN climate meeting
World leaders gather for 'crucial' UN climate meeting
World leaders including US President Barack Obama are holding a summit on climate change at the United Nations. Campaigners say that time is running out for a climate change agreement to be made.
9-22-14 Scientists debate polar sea-ice opposites
Scientists debate polar sea-ice opposites
Arctic sea ice has passed its minimum summer extent, say polar experts meeting in London. The cover on 17 September dipped to 5.01 million sq km, and has risen slightly since then, suggesting the autumn re-freeze has now taken hold. This year's minimum is fractionally smaller than last year (5.10 million sq km), making summer 2014 the sixth lowest in the modern satellite record.
9-22-14 Climate protest: Big deal or big dud?
Climate protest: Big deal or big dud?
Protesters took to the streets of Manhattan on Sunday to call for global action to address climate change. The event's organisers estimated that turnout exceeded 300,000, making it one of the largest environmental-related protests in US history. CNN's John D Sutter says he was starting to wonder if the Americans would ever really care about climate change, but Sunday's protest "put those doubts completely to rest".
9-22-14 Wind causing most of temperature rise in north-west US
Wind causing most of temperature rise in north-west US
The north-western US has experienced 100 years of warming, leading to wildfires and infestations of pests like pine beetles. But the extra heat seems to be linked to natural changes in the winds of the Pacific rather than human-caused climate change. Since 1900, the north-west US, including northern California and Oregon, has warmed by about 0.8 °C. James Johnstone of the University of Washington in Seattle wanted to see if global warning was responsible. "There does seem to be a tendency for any [century-long] trend in temperature - a warming trend - to be interpreted in terms of human effects," he says. "We looked to see if we could verify that."
9-22-14 Rockefellers to switch investments to 'clean energy'
Rockefellers to switch investments to 'clean energy'
Heirs to the Rockefeller family, which made its vast fortune from oil, are to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy, reports say. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is joining a coalition of philanthropists pledging to rid themselves of more than $50 bn (£31 bn) in fossil fuel assets.
9-21-14 China's per capita carbon emissions overtake EU's
China's per capita carbon emissions overtake EU's
New data on carbon shows that China's emissions per head of population have surpassed the EU for the first time. While the per capita average for the world as a whole is 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, China is now producing 7.2 tonnes per person, to the EU's 6.8 tonnes. But the US is still far ahead at 16.5 tonnes per person.
9-21-14 Climate change summit: Global rallies demand action
Climate change summit: Global rallies demand action
Street protests demanding urgent action on climate change have attracted hundreds of thousands of marchers in more than 2,000 locations worldwide. The People's Climate March is campaigning for curbs on carbon emissions, ahead of the UN climate summit in New York next week. In Manhattan, organisers said some 310,000 people joined a march that was also attended by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
9-21-14 Molten metal batteries aimed at the grid
Molten metal batteries aimed at the grid
Engineers in the US have invented a battery, made of three molten metals, which could help smooth the power supply from renewable energy sources. Previous battery designs have largely been too expensive to help store energy on the scale of a national power grid.
9-20-14 UN chief on streets for climate deal
UN chief on streets for climate deal
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and actor Leonardo di Caprio will join thousands in a march for climate action in New York on Sunday. The Manhattan demonstration is part of a global protest, with over 2,000 marches taking place around the world.
9-20-14 California's epic drought
California's epic drought
The parched Golden State is experiencing one of the most severe water crises in its history. At least 82 percent of the Golden State is now in a state of either "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, and experts are considering adding a new top level to that scale to reflect the unprecedented lack of available water.
9-17-14 Record sea ice around Antarctica due to global warming
Record sea ice around Antarctica due to global warming
IT JUST gets bigger. The extent of the sea ice around Antarctica has hit a record high - for the third year running. Counter-intuitively, global warming is responsible. Since satellite records began in 1979, the winter maximum sea ice cover around Antarctica has been growing at 1.5 per cent per decade. This year has long been on track for a new annual record, with 150 daily records already set.
9-17-14 China clamps down on dirtiest coal to curb pollution
China clamps down on dirtiest coal to curb pollution
CHINA is having a clean-up. The world's largest consumer of coal has announced radical restrictions on the importing and use of the stuff, in a bid to curb air pollution. Across the country, the transport, mining and importing of coal with an ash content higher than 40 per cent and sulphur content higher than 3 per cent is banned, effectively ending the use of the poorest-quality coal.
9-17-14 Go low-carbon for the money, says high-profile report
Go low-carbon for the money, says high-profile report
IS IT too good to be true? This week economists laid out an audacious argument for transforming the world's economy to a low-carbon one. It is worth doing regardless of climate change, their report claims. A low-carbon economy offers faster economic growth, better lives and a greener environment. Forget the costs, feel the benefits.
9-16-14 Climate change remedies 'affordable', says global body
Climate change remedies 'affordable', says global body
Politicians will put the world economy at risk if they fail to tackle climate change, a global commission has warned. The body, a group of chief executives, former prime ministers and finance ministers, argues the cost of tackling climate change is modest. Its report says adding 5% to the $6 trillion a year due to be spent on power and transport projects could buy clean technology.
9-8-14 Greenhouse gas levels rising at fastest rate since 1984
Greenhouse gas levels rising at fastest rate since 1984
A surge in atmospheric CO2 saw levels of greenhouse gases reach record levels in 2013, according to new figures. The globally averaged amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, an increase of almost 3ppm over the previous year. Atmospheric CO2 is now at 142% of the levels in 1750, before the start of the industrial revolution.
9-3-14 Warning over vulnerability of soil carbon to warming
Warning over vulnerability of soil carbon to warming
The huge stores of carbon locked in the world's soils are more vulnerable to rising temperatures than previously thought. Researchers found that microbes in the soil were more likely to enhance the release of CO2 in a warming world. Soils from colder regions and those with greater amounts of carbon were seen to emit more as temperatures went up.
9-2-14 Weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex by Arctic sea-ice loss
Weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex by Arctic sea-ice loss
Successive cold winters of severely low temperatures in recent years have had critical social and economic impacts on the mid-latitude continents in the Northern Hemisphere. Although these cold winters are thought to be partly driven by dramatic losses of Arctic sea-ice, the mechanism that links sea-ice loss to cold winters remains a subject of debate. Here, by conducting observational analyses and model experiments, we show how Arctic sea-ice loss and cold winters in extra-polar regions are dynamically connected through the polar stratosphere. We find that decreased sea-ice cover during early winter months (November-December), especially over the Barents-Kara seas, enhances the upward propagation of planetary-scale waves with wavenumbers of 1 and 2, subsequently weakening the stratospheric polar vortex in mid-winter (January-February). The weakened polar vortex preferentially induces a negative phase of Arctic Oscillation at the surface, resulting in low temperatures in mid-latitudes.
9-2-14 Africa's farmers face 'failed seasons' risks
Africa's farmers face 'failed seasons' risks
Many small-scale farmers across Africa face the threat from "failed seasons", a report has warned. The 2014 African Agriculture Status Report says the vital food producers face a risk of being overwhelmed by the pace and severity of climate change.
9-1-14 Antarctic coastal waters 'rising faster'
Antarctic coastal waters 'rising faster'
Melting ice is fuelling sea-level rise around the coast of Antarctica, a new report in Nature Geoscience finds. Near-shore waters went up by about 2mm per year more than the general trend for the Southern Ocean as a whole in the period between 1992 and 2011. Scientists say the melting of glaciers and the thinning of ice shelves are dumping 350 billion tonnes of additional water into the sea annually.