Saturday, 17 December 2011

17 December 2011 News Digest

The digest of today’s Daily Climate news review … and I would highlight 3 of the headings.

The first is the article in the New York Times that draws attention to the quantity of carbon frozen in the thawing permafrost and the reality that we haven’t a clue what will happen when it thaws completely.

The second is the Climate Central report about the effect of the Thai floods on the cost of Computers and hard drives. It drives home the whole interconnectedness of the human family and the global environment.

The third article is National Geographic’s warning about the effect of drought in Africa. Yes, our lives may be “inconvenienced” by having to pay more for electronic gadgetry. This will be nothing compared to the “inconvenience” that, probably millions, of Africans will experience when they have no water …. unless of course we welcome them into our communities.


Europe’s clogged arteries drive up transport costs and uncover old bombs. Germany’s driest November has shrunk Europe’s rivers, creating month long delays for oil- and ore-carrying barges, while uncovering the continent’s deadly past. Bloomberg News

As permafrost thaws, scientists study the risks. A recent estimate suggests that permafrost, which underlies nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, contains twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere. Temperatures are warming across much of the region and signs are emerging that the frozen carbon may be becoming unstable. New York Times

Despite delay, the 100-watt bulb is on its way out. On Friday, the House voted to delay enforcement of the new light bulb standards until at least Oct. 1, with the Senate expected to agree, as part of a last-minute budget deal to keep the government operating through the rest of the fiscal year. Republicans have vowed to press for a full repeal of the new rules. New York Times

Carbon dioxide offsets used to be a hot topic. What happened? Just a few years ago, it seemed carbon offsetting might be one of the best responses to society's emissions-heavy habits. Winnipeg Free Press

Breakthrough could double solar electricity ouput. A new discovery from a chemist at the University of Texas at Austin may allow photovoltaic solar cells to double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power from regular sunlight. Los Angeles Times

China's growing share of solar market comes at a price. If Chinese solar companies are eating our lunch, they’re also choking on it. Growth in global solar manufacturing capacity is outpacing global demand, and prices of solar energy products are plunging. Chinese solar companies are suffering from some of the same ills afflicting their U.S. competitors. Washington Post

Thai floods give high-tech sector a climate primer. If a new PC or hard drive is on your holiday wish list, you may be in for a rude surprise: Supplies are running low and prices have skyrocketed, all because of an extreme weather event that took place halfway around the world. Climate Central

Endangered reindeer
. Reindeer – also called caribou – are ubiquitous in the world’s northern latitudes, but the populations closest to the North Pole are dwindling because of climate change. Now there is a push to list the large deer as endangered. Living On Earth

Africans must adapt to drought in warming world: Report
. Flexible farming methods and the ability to quickly change tactics to deal with unpredictable swings in rainfall will be vital if African nations are to survive climate change in the coming decades, scientists say. National Geographic News

Egg gas finding a rotten result for free-range hens
. Eggs from caged hens produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than free range eggs, a new report has found, prompting calls for carbon footprint labelling to be used on all food products in Australia. Sydney Morning Herald

China to unveil new energy consumption strategy
. China is set to unveil a plan to impose controls on total energy consumption, said Zhang Ping, director of the National Development and Reform Commission on Friday. China Daily

WWF: Asia Pulp & Paper misleads public about its role in destroying Indonesia's rainforests. Asia Pulp & Paper continues to mislead the public about its role in destroying rainforests and critical tiger habitat across the Indonesian island of Sumatra, alleges a new report from a coalition of Indonesian environmental groups. But APP is sharply contesting the claims. Mongabay

Greens call out Keystone XL deal. Senate Democrats accepted a provision Friday forcing a decision in two months on the Keystone XL oil pipeline as part of the must-pass payroll tax cut package, leaving the White House on the brink of a meltdown with environmental groups. Politico

Europe's plan to 'decarbonize' by 2050 will use natural gas as a bridge
. Renewables, more energy efficiency and greater electrification will be the backbone of any future low-carbon E.U. energy mix, although natural gas will also pay a pivotal transitional role, the European Commission said yesterday. ClimateWire

California 'levels playing field' for oil
. Oilsands producers will have an easier time exporting their crude to California under stringent climate change policy following a regulator's decision Friday to apply the same scrutiny to all refinery feedstock, regardless of origin. Calgary Herald

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