Slow-motion wrecks: how thawing permafrost is destroying Arctic cities At first, Yury Scherbakov thought the cracks appearing in a wall he had installed in his two-room flat were caused by shoddy workmanship. But then other walls started cracking, and then the floor started to incline. “We sat on the couch and could feel it tilt,” says his wife, Nadezhda, as they carry furniture out of the flat. Yury wasn’t a poor craftsman, and Nadezhda wasn’t crazy: one corner of their five-storey building at 59 Talnakhskaya Street in the northern Russian city of Norilsk was sinking as the permafrost underneath it thawed and the foundation slowly disintegrated.
Population, the elephant in the room Oil and its companion natural gas together make up about 60% of humanity's primary energy. In addition, the energy of oil has been leveraged through its use in the extraction and transport of coal as well as the construction and maintenance of hydro and nuclear generating facilities. Oil is as the heart of humanity's enormous energy economy as well as at the heart of its food supply. The following conclusion seems reasonable: Climate change: 'Monumental' deal to cut HFCs, fastest growing greenhouse gases More than 150 countries have reached a deal described as "monumental" to phase out gases that are making global warming worse. Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) are widely used in fridges, air conditioning and aerosol sprays. Delegates meeting in Rwanda accepted a complex amendment to the Montreal Protocol that will see richer countries cut back their HFC use from 2019. But some critics say the compromise may have less impact than expected. Three-way deal US Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped forge the deal in a series of meetings in the Rwandan capital, said it was a major victory for the Earth.
The politics of climate change in the United States Receding glaciers, volatile weather, and rapid greenhouse gas accumulation all point towards human-induced climate change. In fact, 97 percent of published reports agree that climate change is fuelled by man-made greenhouse gases. But while there is overwhelming consensus within the scientific community, climate change remains a contentious topic in politics in the United States. In this episode, TechKnow examines the debate over climate change. Hurricane Sandy-level flooding is rising so sharply that it could become normal The frequency of floods of the magnitude of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of New York City in 2012, is rising so sharply that they could become relatively normal, with a raft of new research laying bare the enormous upheavals already under way in the US due to climate change. These findings and two other fresh pieces of research have highlighted how the US is already in the grip of significant environmental changes driven by warming temperatures, albeit in different ways to the processes that are fueling hurricanes. An analysis of past storms and models of future events as the planet warms has shown that Sandy-like floods have become three times more common in the New York area since 1800. This frequency is set to climb further, from once every 400 years to once every 90 years by 2100, due to the effects of sea level rise alone. “Sandy was a wake-up call, and New York has been starting to do things, such as coastal defences and some mitigation.
Combined effects of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and El Niño-Southern Oscillation on Global Land Dry–Wet Changes : Scientific Reports Figure 1 shows the winter mean sc_PDSI_pm for the El Niño composite and the sub-composites according to the PDO phase, together with the differences between in- and out-of-phase combinations, as indicated. The El Niño-related dry–wet changes result in drier conditions from southern and southeastern Asia to Australia (particularly along the eastern side of the country), central China, equatorial South America, the northern US, western and southern Canada, and the Sahel. Most other regions become wetter, particularly the central and southwestern US, northern Mexico, southern China, the southeastern coast of South America, the Horn of Africa, and the Mediterranean region toward central and southwestern Asia. Sub-composites with respect to the PDO phase reveal that the global El Niño-induced dry–wet changes are determined primarily by El Niño winters that occur during the warm phase of the PDO.
Ethiopia May Paradoxically Benefit From Climate Change Suffering from corruption, poor sanitation, malnutrition, and enormous economic inequality, Ethiopia is a troubled nation to say the least. However, a new study reveals that it may be getting a welcome boost from a most unlikely source – climate change. Writing in the journal Climatic Change, a team from Virginia Tech (VT) has concluded that the flow of water to the Ethiopian Blue Nile Basin (BNB) will likely increase as the world inexorably warms. Historic opportunity to end poverty will be lost if we don’t tackle climate change Over the past 15 years – and contrary to popular belief – the world has made tremendous progress in reducing global poverty. One billion fewer people live in extreme poverty today than in 2000. This year, the rate of extreme global poverty is expected to fall below 10%, dropping into single digits for the first time in history. Inclusive economic growth, especially in China and India, has driven this success. This kind of economic growth, which increases the income of the poorest 40%, is critical to reaching our global goal of ending poverty by 2030.
UK must focus on carbon removal to meet Paris goals, climate advisers urge The UK government needs to kickstart technologies to suck carbon dioxide from the air if it is to play its part in meeting the goals of the Paris climate change agreement, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s official advisers. The global climate deal, which the prime minister, Theresa May, says the UK will ratify by the end of 2016, pledges net zero emissions by the second half of the century, in order to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Given that some emissions, such as those from aviation and agriculture, will be very difficult to reduce to zero, that means removing some carbon from the atmosphere. Planting trees is the simplest solution but is limited by the land available, meaning more radical technologies need to be developed, such as chemically scrubbing CO2 from the air and burying it.
Carnage in US Natural Gas as Price Falls off the Chart All eyes are on Chesapeake. The price of natural gas in the US has gotten completely destroyed. The process started in July 2008, at over $13 per million Btu and continues through today, at $1.77 per million Btu. In between, natural gas traded at prices that, for much of the time, didn’t allow drillers to recoup their investments, leading to permanently cash-flow negative operations, and now huge write-offs and losses, defaults, restructurings, and bankruptcies. Global sea levels are rising fast, so where does that leave the cities most at risk? Current projections of global average sea level rise are now expected to double by 2100, which would be severely damaging – if not disastrous – for many of the world’s coastal cities, from Ho Chi Minh City and Mumbai to New Orleans and Miami. Yet the upcoming United Nations conference on sustainable urban development, Habitat III, is unlikely to create the international platform needed to tackle such a global threat, according to Dan Lewis, head of UN Habitat’s urban risk reduction unit. “The communication of risk is something that most UN member states are not prepared to openly discuss, unless they happen to be Tuvalu or the Maldives or other South Pacific or Caribbean islands,” Lewis told the Guardian. “Massive [climate-induced] displacement is a big problem that a lot of member states have dressed up as other kinds of issues. But when it comes to the real nuts and bolts of ‘how do you accommodate 100,000 people from Kiribati in the next decade or so?’