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The Goracle strikes again. Photo: Center for American Progress Tuesday, Al Gore launched a new campaign that will involve, among other things, a new name for his climate change group: the Alliance for Climate Protection will henceforth be known as the Climate Reality Project . I chatted with him about it Monday and got a rundown on the thinking behind it. All of the group’s efforts will be devoted to spreading the truth about the climate crisis and the solutions to it, making use of the thousands of slideshow presenters that Gore has trained over the last few years.
Cellular & DNA
Perhaps it is not a place that many climate sceptics visit. Though standing on Gokyo Peak, the view before you is spectacular and according to glaciologists - quite worrying. For the giant 22km long Ngozumpa Galcier that dominates the Gokyo valley in the Everest Himalaya is dead, glaciologists claim. For Jason Gulley, a Karst Hydrogeologist at the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida, their demise is certain.
A new study published in the journal, Science, has quantified the forests' role in regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. Because plants absorb CO2 as part of their metabolism, the greater the forest, the more CO2 is removed, and the impact of global climate change is decreased. The study found that the world's established forests remove 8.8 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year. This equates to nearly one third of all annual fossil fuel emissions from humans. Forests are areas with a high density of trees which hold a diverse ecosystem. They cover about 30 percent of all land area on Earth.
While scanning the horizon in sea of mostly grim economic news, I found three gems - - - news reports or economic indicators, if you will, that point to solid and profitable growth in the renewable energy sector of the economy in the near, 3-5 year term. These indicators point toward a shift in the financing, production, consumption and distribution of alternative energy, predicated on advances in technology that will bring the productions costs down to a competitive plateau with conventional fossil fuels. I suspect the time it takes from "innovation in the laboratory" to diffuse into the commercial market place has to be reduced from years to months or less, in order for this to work. When investors like General Electric, Google, and MIT, direct research and investment on this scale - - - it just might tip the balance.
Emily Shuckburgh spends much of her time wrapped up against the cold on the far side of the world, measuring atmospheric and ocean eddies for the British Antarctic Survey. But over the past few months she has been rolling up her sleeves and travelling across the UK to confront the public heat over climate change . With support from Living With Environmental Change, a partnership between government departments and funding agencies, she has run a series of focus groups exploring people's views on media coverage of science. She endorses projects such as oldweather.org , an attempt to engage the public directly in analysing historical sea temperature data.
George Perkins Marsh, 1801-1882, an American diplomat, is considered by some to be America's first environmentalist. Photograph: Library of Congress When we think of the birth of the conservation movement in the 19th century, the names that usually spring to mind are the likes of John Muir and Henry David Thoreau , men who wrote about the need to protect wilderness areas in an age when the notion of mankind's " manifest destiny " was all the rage. But a far less remembered American - a contemporary of Muir and Thoreau - can claim to be the person who first publicised the now largely unchallenged idea that humans can negatively influence the environment that supports them. George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882) certainly had a varied career. Here's how Clark University in Massachusetts, which has named an institute in his memory, describes him :
June 4, 2011 — Baby clownfish use hearing to detect and avoid predator-rich coral reefs during the daytime, but new research from the University of Bristol demonstrates that ocean acidification could threaten this crucial behavior within the next few decades. Since the Industrial Revolution, over half of all the CO 2 produced by burning fossil fuels has been absorbed by the ocean, making pH drop faster than any time in the last 650,000 years and resulting in ocean acidification. Recent studies have shown that this causes fish to lose their sense of smell, but a new study published in Biology Letters shows that fish hearing is also compromised.
The Earth may look glum, but it’s not to be messed with. Photo: John LeGear This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission . In his 2010 book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet , environmental scholar and activist Bill McKibben writes of a planet so devastated by global warming that it’s no longer recognizable as the Earth we once inhabited. This is a planet, he predicts, of “melting poles and dying forests and a heaving, corrosive sea, raked by winds, strafed by storms, scorched by heat.” Altered as it is from the world in which human civilization was born and thrived, it needs a new name — so he gave it that extra “a” in “Eaarth.” The Eaarth that McKibben describes is a victim , a casualty of humankind’s unrestrained consumption of resources and its heedless emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gases.
Kyle Whitmire says the Alabama tornado was huge, turning houses into airborne flakes He says tornadoes are part of life in Alabama; kids learn early how to prepare for them This week's storm was devastating -- the worst anyone had ever seen, he says Whitmire: People talk of God afterward, less of doubts that follow, but support heals loss Editor's note: Kyle Whitmire is an Alabama native who lives in Birmingham, where he is new media editor and senior writer at WELD for Birmingham . He blogs at the news and politics site Second Front (CNN) -- We knew the threat was real when little pieces of Tuscaloosa began to drop on Birmingham. For such a violent storm, there was very little rain. Instead, paper receipts from businesses 50 miles away and strangers' family photos flitted through the air.
While we're not sure why this month has seen a record number of tornadoes, we should prepare for the worst Time 's Bryan Walsh has a good, subtle piece on the difficulties of figuring out what's causing the record month for tornadoes in the South. The toughest question, of course, is what role climate change is playing in the devastation . On the one hand, increased greenhouse gas levels mean higher temperatures and more moisture in the air, which as Walsh puts it, is "like adding nitroglycerin to the atmosphere." There is more energy for storms to play with. On the other hand, some models forecast that wind shear will decrease, cutting down on the number of destructive tornadoes.
Global warming is making hot days hotter, rainfall and flooding heavier, hurricanes stronger and droughts more severe.
Apr. 25, 2011 — In a study to be published in the April 21st issue of Science , researchers at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science report their findings that the ozone hole, which is located over the South Pole, has affected the entire circulation of the Southern Hemisphere all the way to the equator. While previous work has shown that the ozone hole is changing the atmospheric flow in the high latitudes, the new Columbia Engineering paper demonstrates that the ozone hole is able to influence the tropical circulation and increase rainfall at low latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the first time that ozone depletion, an upper atmospheric phenomenon confined to the polar regions, has been linked to climate change from the Pole to the equator. "The ozone hole is not even mentioned in the summary for policymakers issued with the last IPCC report," noted Lorenzo M.
Apr. 21, 2011 — Earth may be able to recover from rising carbon dioxide emissions faster than previously thought, according to evidence from a prehistoric event analyzed by a Purdue University-led team. When faced with high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising temperatures 56 million years ago, Earth increased its ability to pull carbon from the air. This led to a recovery that was quicker than anticipated by many models of the carbon cycle -- though still on the order of tens of thousands of years, said Gabriel Bowen, the associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences who led the study. "We found that more than half of the added carbon dioxide was pulled from the atmosphere within 30,000 to 40,000 years, which is one-third of the time span previously thought," said Bowen, who also is a member of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.
Apr. 12, 2011 — In a development that holds intriguing possibilities for the future of industrial catalysis, as well as for such promising clean green energy technologies as artificial photosynthesis, researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have created bilayered nanocrystals of a metal-metal oxide that are the first to feature multiple catalytic sites on nanocrystal interfaces. These multiple catalytic sites allow for multiple, sequential catalytic reactions to be carried out selectively and in tandem.
April 1, 2007 — Engineers have designed a simple, sustainable and natural carbon sequestration solution using algae. A team at Ohio University created a photo bioreactor that uses photosynthesis to grow algae, passing carbon dioxide over large membranes, placed vertically to save space. The carbon dioxide produced by the algae is harvested by dissolving into the surrounding water. The algae can be harvested and made into biodiesel fuel and feed for animals. A reactor with 1.25 million square meters of algae screens could be up and running by 2010. Global warming's effects can be seen worldwide, and many experts believe it's only going to get worse.