Over the past few years, momentum has been building to make cities a focus of climate change action. “Although they cover less than 2 percent of the earth’s surface, cities consume 78 percent of the world’s energy,” reports the UN, “and produce more than 60 percent of all carbon dioxide and significant amounts of other greenhouse gas emissions.” But there’s a problem: there’s a lot we don’t know about emissions in cities, because the ability to detect emissions on local, fine-grained scales is a relatively recent development. This technology is improving steadily, and this week, a paper in PNAS reports results from a detailed analysis of Salt Lake City. Its findings add to growing evidence that dense urban populations, rather than suburban sprawl, has an important role to play in climate action. A one-of-a-kind case study Salt Lake City has an emissions sensor network that is ahead of the game. There have been urban CO2 monitoring … [Read more...] about In Salt Lake City, suburban sprawl is bad news for climate change
Different types of climate change
Today Guy Callendar is a historical footnote, but tomorrow he will have a chapter of his own. Born in 1898, Callendar was the son of Britain’s leading steam engineer, a successful academic and inventor who raised his children in a 22-room mansion. A greenhouse on the grounds was converted into a laboratory for the children until one of Callendar’s three brothers blew it up trying to make TNT. The same brother put out Callendar’s left eye. Undeterred by the subsequent lack of depth perception, he became his father’s successor as the nation’s most important steam engineer. None of this is why Guy Callendar’s name will be boldfaced in tomorrow’s textbooks. Instead it will be because he was willing to delve into fields he knew nothing about, atmospheric science among them. Nobody knows why he got so interested in the air. Callendar himself attributed it to ordinary curiosity: “As man is now changing the composition of the atmosphere at a … [Read more...] about Meet the Amateur Scientist Who Discovered Climate Change
Evan Kopelson took the plunge in November to be sustainable. That leap meant he said “So long!” to his Beverly Hills lifestyle to live in a yoga pod in a communal environment. “The Sustainability Journey” is a window into Evan’s world. Here’s his fourth journal entry. (Read the first , second and third .) How sustainable is it to fly by airplane to Copenhagen, Denmark for the United Nations conference on climate change? At the heart of the issue: what's green, versus what's sustainable. According to TerraPass.com, a flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Copenhagen (CPH) making two stops is 11,213 miles and will emit 5,273 lbs. of carbon dioxide. I’m choosing a flight with two stops because as of yet, I still don’t have enough funds to make the trip. The absolute cheapest flight I’ve been able to find is on LOT (Polish Airlines) and has stops in Chicago and Warsaw, Poland before reaching Copenhagen. Since I’m determined to … [Read more...] about The Sustainability Journey: Is it sustainable to fly to Copenhagen for the climate change conference?
Forests in the eastern United States are actually growing faster than they have in the past 225 years in response to climate change, according to a new study. For more than 20 years, ecologist Geoffrey Parker has been tracking the growth of 55 mixed hardwood forest plots at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland. According to his research in a newly published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the forest is growing at a much faster rate than expected -- two tons per acre, per year. While that doesn't sound like much to call home about, Parker says the unexpected growth is actually a natural response to the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons. In other words, climate change. Forests and their soils store the majority of the Earth's terrestrial carbon. That means minor changes in their growth rate can have major effects on weather patterns, nutrient cycles, climate change and … [Read more...] about Study: Climate change accelerating forest growth in northeast U.S.
From shifts in summer temperatures to potential disease outbreaks, thousands of communities across the country are striving to mitigate -- and prepare for -- the local impact of climate change. For municipalities and agencies overwhelmed with the task, the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative created two guidebooks aimed at easing the burden. The guidebooks, Ready for Change: Preparing Public Health Agencies for the Impacts of Climate Change and Leading by Example: Emissions Reductions in Public Health Agencies, are available free online. I spoke recently with Stacy Vynne, co-writer of the guidebooks. How did the manuals come about and why were they necessary? About two years ago the Oregon Coalition of Local Health Officials contacted us. They were interested in assessing what the Oregon county public health departments were doing about climate change and if they were beginning to take action to either reduce emissions or to educate their communities. We … [Read more...] about Climate change mitigation and prep in two free guidebooks
This story has been updated with new information. See author's note at bottom. Scientists propose that we curb our greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent aliens from blowing us up. The researchers argue that if extraterrestrials detect the alarming rate at which our atmosphere is changing due to the incredible amounts of carbon dioxide we spew into it every year, they may decide to eliminate us in order to prevent the damage to Earth from worsening. I wish I could call this a modest proposal, but it seems to be an earnest one. I'm all for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to keep Earth's climate suitable for human habitation, but even I find their ideas far-fetched. Let's take a look at their argument. Potential types of alien contact In Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis (pdf), two scientists at Pennsylvania State University and one scientist who is a post-doc in NASA's Planetary Science Division explore three potential types of … [Read more...] about Climate change may incite aliens to destroy humanity, scientists warn
A startling new report on climate change was released in early 2014. It didn't mention exact dates or specific forecasts for the future, but it did foreshadow consequences of climate change that are getting increasingly difficult for the world to ignore.Some of the highlights included a prediction of violent conflicts and civil wars, extreme poverty and the loss of several points of gross domestic product in some developing nations, mass extinctions, and an intense, regular pattern of natural disasters. The report was done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that summarizes the effects of climate change every so often. The year 2013 is tied with 2003 as the fourth warmest year on record for planet earth, and the top 10 have all been since 1998. From automobiles to factories, technology has played its part in climate change. But, tech can also change the course we're on, if it's harnessed in effective ways. Here are 10 creative ways humans are using … [Read more...] about 10 ways technology is fighting climate change
Large animals such as the lumber some elephant-sized sloth and fear-provoking saber-toothed tiger once ruled the roost during the Ice Age in the region that is known as Patagonia. Get the Free Tracker App to find a Luvabella in Stock Yet a series of changes led to their decimation. These included rising temperatures and the emergence of human beings that hunted these giant animals.The study regarding this matter was published today in the journal Science Advances. When the human beings arrived in Patagonia, they began their hunting operations. Yet the populations of giant species remained constant. However, when the heat waves began and the snow started to melt, the animals found it difficult to survive and died off.This took place some 12,300 years ago. Yet the exact time line and cause of extinction of these large species is still pretty much an enigma. They ought to have survived and even thrived. Yet such a scenario did not occur at all. The continent of Patagonia is said to … [Read more...] about Humans And Climate Change Wiped Out Ice Age Giants 12300 Years Ago
For a long time, enormous mounds on Mars’ surface remained a mystery for scientists. These mounds stand a few miles tall and have been around there for billions of years. Researchers failed to work out what exactly caused those gigantic mounds on the planet – until now. Get the Free Tracker App to find a Nintendo Switch in Stock A team of researchers from the University of Texas may have found the answer. They believe that wind has contributed a lot in shaping the landscape and it is possibly the same factor that has created those mile-high mounds too. The surface of Mars is totally different from what we used to have on our Earth and the analysis of its distinct features itself reflect what type of geological processes the planet has gone through over the years.“On Mars there are no plate-tectonics and there’s no liquid water, so you don’t have anything to overprint that signature and over billions of years you get those mounds, which speaks to how … [Read more...] about Mystery Solved: Mile-High Mounds On Mars Were Created By Wind And Climate Change
Climate change is back in the news today after Obama's plan announcement, but it may not be enough. A new study shows that taking heat-trapping CO2 out of the atmosphere will slow global warming, but it won't stop it. Get the Free Tracker App to find a SNES Classic in Stock ABC Science reports that even the most aggressive timetables show little hope. To fix the problem, earth must stay below 2 degrees Celsius. We are currently on a 4 degrees Celsius trajectory.Cutting carbon dioxide is still key to stopping the problem.These studies were confirmed independently by different labs.Though we have been aware of the problem for years, CO2 levels are still rising. The earth is still warming. Scientists are starting to doubt we can do anything to stop it.Scientists led by Sabine Mathesius of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany used computer models to test different carbon-reduction scenarios, looking in each case at the impact on acidity, water temperatures … [Read more...] about New Study: We Cannot Reverse Climate Change