State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Week of 1/01

Police Inquiry Prompts New Speculation on Who Leaked Climate-Change E-mails, Jan 1, New York Times

Speculation has revived about the identity of the hacker responsible for releasing more than 1,000 private e-mails on the Internet in an attempt to discredit climate scientists. In November, another round of e-mails between scientists were distributed online before the international climate conference in Durban, South Africa. The November leaker left behind an encrypted file and a note, prompting a police investigation underway in Britain.

Insurance payouts point to climate change, Jan 4, Science News

Natural disasters in 2011 exerted the costliest toll in history – a whopping $380 billion in losses.  Reinsurance corporations note that the numbers of storms, droughts, and wildfires have been climbing steadily since 1980, increasing in number, severity, and often in lives lost. That trend provides strong evidence that climate change is already impacting human suffering and the world’s economies.  One expert warns that policyholders should expect premiums to climb, especially in parts of the country that insurers anticipate could be hit hard by storms in this and coming years.

Scientists back ‘significant broadening’ of climate research amid tight budgets, Jan 5, CNN

U.S. scientists want to expand research into climate change to focus on its social effects and ways to adapt to a changing planet, but tighter budgets may crimp those plans, the National Academy of Sciences reported Thursday. The 10-year plan reviewed by the academy represents a “significant broadening” of the federal Global Change Research Program, which includes researchers from across the U.S. government. Thursday’s report by the academy’s National Research Council generally supports the proposal but warned that researchers may have to overcome fiscal as well as scientific hurdles.

Africa’s rainforests ‘more resilient’ to climate change, Jan 6, BBC

Tropical forests in Africa may be more resilient to future climate change than the Amazon and other regions, a gathering of scientists has said. An international conference agreed that the region’s surviving tree species had endured a number of climatic catastrophes over the past 4,000 years. As a result, they are better suited to cope with future shifts in the climate.

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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