State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 7/18 and 7/25

Sizzle Factor for a Restless Climate, NY Times, July 19

In the context of the recent East coast heat wave, NOAA’s recent finding that the last 10 years was 1.5 degrees higher than in the 1970s is particularly palpable. If trends continue, the number of days that exceed 95 degrees is expected to triple by 2050 and days above 100 degrees will “become a regular feature of the Big Apple.”

Stratospheric Pollution Helps Slow Global Warming, Scientific American, July 22

A recent report lead by NOAA has found that stratospheric aerosols, especially those from coal-fired power plants, have significantly slowed anthropogenic climate change. Because these particles block sunlight and keep the sun’s rays from heating the planet, they “keep warming from being as big as it would have been.” If aerosols are reduced, which is likely as China moves to add scrubbing technology to its coal power plants, warming could accelerate.

U.S. and Europe Battle Over Carbon Fees for Airlines, NY Times, July 27

Starting on January 1st, the EU will charge airlines a fee if they do not reduced their emissions; the cleanest airlines will pay fewer emissions fees. This move is vehemently opposed by the U.S. airline industry, which argues that the EU has no legal authority to enforce this ruling.

Carmakers Back Strict New Rules for Gas Mileage, NY Times, July 28

On Friday, President Obama announced new stringent mileage requirements which will reach a minimum of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Although American automakers strongly opposed a much more lenient increase as recently as four years ago, the U.S. auto industry has thus far supported the measure, in large part because of the financial aid the industry received two years ago during the financial crisis.

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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