State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Climate News Roundup: Week of 2/27

Fact-Free Science, New York Times, Feb. 25

President Obama, advocating science as the means to a better future, requested increases in his budget proposal for scientific research and education, especially for developing alternative energy. According to research completed by the Center for American Progress, a majority of Republicans in Congress do not consider climate change a man-made and threatening phenomenon. Although identity politics are causing more Republican politicians to distance themselves from the reality of climate change, popular polls show majority support for alternative energy and a more aggressive Environmental Protection Agency.

Northwest Losing Lodgepole Pines due to Climate Change, Portland Tribune, Mar. 1

Lodgepole pine trees may disappear from the Northwest region by 2080, according to a new study by Oregon State University and University of British Columbia forest scientists. Warming temperatures, reduced winter precipitation, earlier loss of snowpack, and increased summer drought are shrinking the range of the lodgepole pine and increasing infestations of bark beetles that weaken and kill the trees.

A Big Surprise Beneath the Ice, New York Times, Mar. 3

A scientific study, led by Robin E. Bell of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, shows that melted and refrozen ice has changed the base of the Antarctic ice sheet. This process affects the topography, and thus, behavior of the ice that ultimately empties into the sea.

UN Postpones “Green Fund” Climate Talks to April, Reuters, Mar. 3

The United Nations postponed the 40-nation meeting, meant to start designing a “Green Climate Fund,” until April amid disagreements about who should attend. The fund, which is supposed to provide $100 billion in aid per year by 2020, aims to help developing nations mitigate climate change by shifting to renewable energy and adapt to the impacts of heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms, and rising sea levels.

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