State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 5/30 and 6/6

IEA Sees Record CO2 Emissions in 2010, Reuters, May 30

2010 saw that highest level ever seen of world-wide CO2 emissions, driven in large part by economic growth in coal-heavy countries, including China and India. Increased consumption of oil and natural gas were the next largest contributors to emissions levels. The Fukushima disaster and ensuing drop in nuclear growth has the potential to further contribute to growing emissions.

California appeals court lifts injunction on state warming law–for now, Greenwire, June 7

A California court of appeals has reversed, at least temporarily, the injunction issued earlier by a San Francisco Superior Court Judge that would have “effectively frozen implementation of the state’s climate change law.” The parties to the lawsuit now have until June 20 to respond to the claim of the lower court that the law did not sufficiently analyze alternatives to cap-and-trade system.

Under the Sea, Coral Reefs in Peril, The New York Times, June 5

A new study provides strong evidence that carbon emissions lead to damage to coral reefs through acidification, independent of any ocean warming. Tropical corals off the coast of Papua New Guinea show decreased growth, diversity and resilience the closer they were to natural underwater seeps of CO2. Coral reefs are threatened worldwide by a range of human activities, including pollution, over fishing, and dynamiting. Although these ecosystems cover only 0.2% of the ocean floor, they contain nearly a quarter of the ocean’s biodiversity and provide habitats for the fish that feed millions of people.

Romney Draws Early Fire from Conservatives over Views on Climate Change, The Washington Post, June 8

Mitt Romney, Republican presidential hopeful, has been heavily criticized by conservatives for affirming his stance that human-induced climate change is occurring. His critics include Rush Limbaugh, the Club for Growth, and Conservatives for Palin, and their comments occurred after a town hall meeting during which Romney expressed his support for what his critics termed the “global warming hoax.”

Feed-in Tariffs Cuts Cast Solar Future in a New Light, The Guardian, June 10

The British government has announced cuts to the fund that is intended to support solar installations through feed-in tariffs (FITs), a system by which money is paid by the government to private individuals or organizations which generate their own electricity from renewable sources on a small-scale. The cap on available funds for FITs means that investors are worried that the entire program budget may be consumed by small- and medium-sized installation projects by the middle of next year.

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