State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 5/08

In a Changing Antarctica, Some Penguins Thrive as Others Suffer, NY Times, May 9

Adelie penguins, inhabitants of the northern edge of Antarctica, are considered to be a “bellwether” of climate change. This Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on Earth: average winter air temperature has risen an alarming 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit in the last fifty years. Warmer winter air, a shorter winter ice season, and perturbations in the penguins’ food chain has caused the population of Adelie penguins to drop by 90 percent in three decades.

Could climate change be a good thing?, The Guardian, May 11

Climate change skeptics often point to the potential benefits of a changing climate, and certain sectors and regions are expected to experience at least temporary benefits from a warmer world. Any consideration of these potential benefits must be taken in the context of broader negative anticipated impacts of climate change.

Arctic climate change to be ‘dramatic’, United Press International, May 11

At a conference of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, climate scientists discussed the “worrying state of affairs” of climate change in the arctic. Higher temperatures, melting snow, ice, and permafrost are some of the characteristics expected to be non-linear, increasing quickly with dramatic changes of global consequence.

Panel Urges Germany to Close Nuclear Plants by 2021, The New York Times, May 11

A committee appointed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel has recommended that Germany close all its nuclear power plants by 2021. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, nuclear power has come under increasing scrutiny across many nations, although many, such as Britain and France, have decided to continue with their nuclear power strategies. If the burden of electricity generation currently borne by nuclear power is shifted to coal or gas, the policy shift could have a negative impact on emissions.

Research Panel Says Climate Change Doubts Slow Urgent Action, Bloomberg News, May 12

A recent report by the National Research Council of the National Academies has found that public skepticism over the reality of climate change has prevented the efforts necessary to reducing emissions in the U.S. The report identifies lobbying by special interest groups, as well as the journalistic phenomenon of “balance as bias,” as contributing factors to Americans’ doubt as to the veracity of anthropogenic climate change.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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