State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 6/12

California re-embraces carbon market, Reuters, June 13

After a court ordered California to consider alternatives to cap and trade, the Air Resources Board published a 120-page policy analysis on Monday, examining five approaches to cut emissions, including a carbon tax, direct regulation of power plants and big factories, and a cap-and-trade system. The report concludes that a cap-and-trade system would cut emissions in the most cost-effective way and would set clear caps on emission to let the state hit its targets.

Europe’s forests ‘vital for climate goal,’ BBC, June 14

According to the State of Europe’s Forests 2011 report, presented at the Forest Europe conference in Oslo, Europe is home to 25% of the world’s forests, which absorb about 10% of the EU’s annual emissions. The study said that improved policies had increased tree cover but that the risks of fire and disease were growing. The ministers at the summit considered developing a legally binding deal on forest policy.

Climate Change Link to Fires Ignites Senate Committee, New York Times, June 15

Climate change, as it relates to fire management, was discussed at a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this week. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, one of the witnesses present at the hearing, cited research from within the service to link fires and climate change. “Throughout the country, we’re seeing longer fire seasons, and we’re seeing snowpacks that, on average, are disappearing a little earlier every spring,” he said, as well as devastating droughts. As a result, fire seasons have lengthened by more than 30 days, on average. Republican Senator, James Risch, argued that excess biomass, not climate change, is the catalyst for the catastrophic fires of the last decade. Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski blamed poor management and slow policy implementation as the primary factor for out-of-control fires, caused by recent cuts to the Forest Service budget.

What Will Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Mean for Barrier Islands?, Science Daily, June 16

A new survey of barrier islands published earlier this spring offers the most thorough assessment to date of the thousands of small islands that hug the coasts of the world’s landmasses. The study, led by Matthew Stutz of Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C., and Orrin Pilkey of Duke University, Durham, N.C., offers new insight into how the islands form and evolve over time — and how they may fare as the climate changes and sea level rises. The survey is based on a global collection of satellite images from Landsat 7 as well as information from topographic and navigational charts.

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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