State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 10/17

Warming Revives Dream of Sea Route in Russian Arctic, NY Times, Oct. 17

As rising temperatures shrink the Arctic ice pack, ice-free passages through the Arctic Ocean are becoming increasingly common in northern Russia. The resulting opportunity for more sea lanes and shipping routes are expected to benefit a wide array of industries, including shipping, mining, oil drilling, and fishing, who will take advantage of the ice-free passage between European and Asian markets. Temperatures in northern Russia are rising about twice as fast as the global average.

Climate Change: The heat is on, The Economist, Oct. 20

A new study by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project has found that Earth is warming at a rate very similar to results found by other major studies, including those conducted by NASA, NOAA, and the UK Met Office. These findings, found using a different methodology that was designed to address “legitimate skeptics,” support the overall conclusion that Earth is warming. Interestingly, one of the main leaders of the Berkeley project was formerly described as “mildly skeptical” of human-induced climate change.

California becomes first state to adopt cap-and-trade program, LA Times, Oct 21

On Thursday, California became the first state to adopt a cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The California Air Resources Board announced unanimous approval of a market system that will put a price on greenhouse gases and force industries to trade credits to emit starting in 2013. The cap-and-trade system is designed to fulfill AB 32, California’s law to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Because of the size of California’s economy and emissions, this system could provide a model for other states or a nation-wide system.

Millions will be trapped amid climate change, study warns, NY Times, Oct. 20

A new report entitled “Migration and Global Environmental Change” prepared by the Foresight group find that millions could be trapped in regions extremely vulnerable to climate change. The study reports that climate change will reduce options for migration and threaten livelihoods, resulting in more illegal and unsafe migrations, poverty, and exploitation. By 2060, over 500 million people in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean could be affected by climate change-related flooding.

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