Climate Change USA

The Brookings Institution nicely summarizes the main conclusions of the recently published National Climate Assessment (NCA).

1. Warming has been driven by human activity.

Human activities are the primary cause of warming over the past 50 years. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by more than 40 percent since the industrial revolution, through the burning of fossil fuels and continued deforestation…

2. Climate change impacts are happening now.

Temperatures in the United States have already increased 1.3 to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895 (most of it since 1970) and in most areas of the United States temperatures are projected to rise by another 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few decades…

3. Climate change impacts will continue into the future.

Temperatures across the United States as well as in oceans and freshwater lakes are projected to rise. This will be accompanied by more heavy downpours, severe droughts, and wildfires. Sea levels are projected to rise by another 1 to 4 feet this century.

4. Climate change will adversely affect the economy and quality of life.

These impacts will have negative repercussions for human health, water supply, agriculture, transportation, energy, and coastal areas where nearly 5 million Americans and billions of dollars worth of property are located…

5. Vulnerable regions and sectors will be disproportionately affected.

Climate Change Denied by State of Florida

In low-lying Florida, where 95 percent of the population lives within 35 miles of its 1,200 miles of coastline, a swelling of the tides could cause serious problems. So what is Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection doing about dealing with climate change?

“DEP is not pursuing any programs or projects regarding climate change,” an agency spokeswoman said in an e-mail to the St. Petersburg Times last week.

via One a major issue, climate change not a priority in Tallahassee | Florida politics blog: The Buzz | tampabay.com & St. Petersburg Times.

Hard To Deny Global Warming

Local and regional authorities have decided that climate change and global warming are not relevant for public policy.  Even Miami and Coral Gables leaders should start thinking about the evident impact on our town.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has released its monthly global temperature data.  It reveals that there is no April in the temperature record before 2005 that was warmer than April 2010.

And that’s in spite of the fact that we are still in the tail end of a major La Niña and just coming out of “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.”  April 2011 is surpassed in warmth only by 2005, 2007, and 2010.  It tied with 2002 and just beat 1998.

via NASA: April tied for 4th hottest on record globally « Climate Progress.

Natural Gas is Not Such a Great Solution: Not That Much Cleaner than Coal

ProPublica recently published a report that challenged assertions that natural gas was much cleaner than coal. Reporter Abrahm Lustgarten found out that “gas may be as little as 25 percent cleaner than coal, or perhaps even less.”

via Abrahm Lustgarten Answers the Question, “How Clean Is Natural Gas?” – ProPublica.

Carbon Emissions in the Recession

Because of emerging country growth, the great recession did not cut carbon emissions.  These data are an interesting view of the future.

The deepest recession since the 1930s has failed to reverse rising global carbon emissions, as plummeting industrial output in the west was offset by the continuing rapid expansion of China and a handful of other emerging economies, new statistics for 2009 show.

While US emissions fell substantially in 2009, to levels not seen since 1995-96, China surged ahead with an increase of more than 13% on the previous year – the equivalent of adding the yearly emissions of Germany, Greece and Peru combined.

Europe, Russia, Canada and South Africa saw their emissions dip, and India has risen to third place in the league table, with the strong growth in its carbon output driven by a ramping-up of coal burning to generate power.

via Energy and global warming news for January 31, 2011: Deep recession fails to reverse rising global emissions, as China’s CO2 surges 13%; Eco-friendly 7-Elevens « Climate Progress.