A team led by scientists at University of British Columbia highlights the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans and marine life. Two scenarios were analyzed. One followed the changes that would arise if the world banded together to significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions; the other summarized impacts 100 years from now if we’d go on with business as usual. The report outlines the consequences under each scenario and found immediate action is required if we’re to avert at a catastrophic outcome, particularly regarding the planet’s oceans.
The effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are great and long reaching – a new study has found that pink salmon in the Pacific Ocean are threatened by increasing ocean acidification.
The team looked at 15-years worth of data on California’s grasslands, and documented declining plant diversity from 2000 to 2014 at both the local community (5 m2) and landscape (27 km2) scales, across multiple functional groups and soil environments. They found a link between wildflower diversity decline to significant decreases in midwinter precipitation.
A research group working at the Australian Grains Free Air CO₂ Enrichment facility (AgFace) in Victoria is studying the effect elevated carbon dioxide will have on crops such as wheat, lentils, canola and field pea. They grow experimental crops in the open, surrounded by thin tubes that eject carbon dioxide into the air around the plants. Findings show that crops have higher yield (up to 25% more), but less proteins. Elevated CO2 also seems to ruin bread made from the grown wheat.
In only 15 years, renewable energy (wind, solar, hydro) could surpass fossil fuels as the main provider of energy. According to a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report, renewables could provide more than 50% of the energy market by 2050. But even so, they warn, without bolder emission cuts, we’ll be blowing past our current climate targets.
Geoscientists have finally unraveled one of Greenland’s long-standing mysteries: how billions of gallons of water can drain in a matter of hours. They believe that this might also help us better understand how sea levels will rise in the future.
In its “Energy Security and Sustainability Strategy” (ES2 Strategy) report, the US army outlines the steps it should take to increase resilience and adapt to an ever changing world. Energy makes the go world round, and for an army it’s literally a matter of life and death. Not surprisingly, the authors note given the current climate of affairs the “army will prioritize solutions that reduce multiple resources. The Army can use energy more efficiently by purchasing energy efficient products, modernizing buildings and utility systems, purchasing energy efficient vehicles, and using more renewable/alternative energy sources.” Basically, being dependent on a finite resource (oil) is a security vulnerability, which isn’t something new. Military strategists have been aware of this for a long time – maybe the most during WWII when many lives were claimed in battles over oil rigs in North Africa and the Middle East, and oil refineries were being bombed on the clock. What’s changed today is the feasibility of renewable energy sources. Drawing the line, in those situations were oil is a liability (and we can only expect these to become ever numerous in the future), it’ll be scrapped in favor of renewable energy systems, both for generating and storing energy.
The entire world is expecting the results of the Paris Climate Conference – will a global treaty finally be reach, or will it be another round of discussions and promises with no pro-active solutions? The French Foreign minister believes that if we are to reach a climate deal, it has to be phrased in such a way that it doesn’t require approval from the US Congress. Laurent Fabius said:
There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and throughout our planet’s history, there have been periods with both more, and less ice. We tend to think of ice as an immovable reality but in truth, planetary ice is quite volatile. With continuously rising temperatures, melting ice and rising sea levels become a reality we have
The plan for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21, was to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. But tackling global warming simply doesn’t seem to be a priority for the governments of most countries, and the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) seems less and less likely.