News from the Columbia Climate School

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Climate News Roundup: Week of 2/13

Republicans Gut EPA Climate Rules, Slash Deeply into Climate Research, Aid and Technology Programs, NY Times, Feb. 14

On Friday, Feb. 11, House Republicans introduced a continuing resolution (CR) on spending legislation which would fund government operations through Sept. 30. Aiming to trim $100 billion from the Obama administration’s 2011 fiscal budget, the bill proposes cuts in a range of environmental initiatives. These include the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, programs, and power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, global climate aid slated for the Global Environment Facility and World Bank programs to developing nations, and funding for clean technology research and innovation.

U.N.: Global warming could cause ‘climate chaos’, USA Today, Feb. 16

U.N. climate secretariat head Christiana Figueres warns that potential effects of climate change, such as growing water stress, declining crop yields, and damage from extreme storms, may lead to mass international migration and conflict. She argues that defense spending should be invested in measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid this military risk.

Floods linked to manmade climate change: studies, Reuters, Feb. 16

Two new studies demonstrating the link between man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and changes in precipitation and flooding events have been published in the journal Nature. One study looks at rainfall globally from 1951-1999 and shows that observed increases in heavy rainfall match the changes predicted by climate simulations that include the effects of anthropogenic GHG emissions. The other study examines the extreme flood that struck Britain in 2000 and establishes that the occurrence of this event was more likely when greenhouse gases were included in simulations than without.

Climate’s Strong Fingerprint In Global Cholera Outbreaks, Yale Environment 360, Feb. 17

Research supports that sanitation levels are not the only factor influencing cholera incidence. Environment, hydrology, and weather patterns also affect the spread of the disease; as climate change leads to increases in global temperature and changes in ocean currents, weather events, and sea surface temperatures, cholera outbreaks may become increasingly common.

Tropical forests ‘re-shaped’ by climate changes, BBC, Feb. 18

A new study examining changes recorded in a Costa Rican forest over 20 years finds that climate change may lead to rapid changes in tropical forest tree profiles. Drier conditions may result in increases in deciduous, canopy trees, which tend to store less carbon.  Thus effects on biodiversity are not the only concern: such changes may influence the impact of afforestation and reforestation mitigation efforts.

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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