Climate Change

World trapped by ‘Toxic Triangle’ that puts profit for the few ahead of a sustainable future for all

People around the world are trapped in a ‘toxic triangle’ made up of short-term financial investors, timid governments and fossil fuel companies, which threatens to push up global temperatures, putting 400 million people at risk of hunger and drought by 2060, Oxfam has warned.

Oxfam’s new report Food, Fossil Fuels and Filthy Finance shows that this ‘toxic triangle’ supported spending of $674 billion on fossil fuels in 2012. Read more »

Due to landscape fragmentation, Brazil's rainforests are releasing more carbon dioxide than previously thought

Shown are fragments of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest in the North-East of Brazil, surround by sugar cane plantations. Credit: Mateus de Dantas de Paula

Because of the deforestation of tropical rainforests in Brazil, significantly more carbon has been lost than was previously assumed. As scientists of the Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) write in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the effect of the degradation has been underestimated in fragmented forest areas, since it was hitherto not possible to calculate the loss of the biomass at the forest edges and the higher emission of carbon dioxide. The UFZ scientists have now closed this knowledge gap. Read more »

Climate-smart agriculture and new approaches to food systems needed to cope with climate change

Overcoming climate change is central to achieving a sustainable future for the planet's growing population, and food security must lie at the heart of that effort, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said in a speech at the UN Climate Summit in New York this September (2014). Read more »

Sharing the Climate Change burden: new study suggests how global carbon cuts could be fair

The UK and other developed nations will have to make far bigger cuts in their carbon emissions than currently planned to meet their fair share for tackling climate change, a new study has revealed. Read more »

New research identifies the areas of the Earth that are high priorities for conservation in the face of climate change

Europe is particularly vulnerable, as it has the lowest fraction of its land area, only four per cent, of any continent in ‘refugia’ – areas of biological diversity that support many species where natural environmental conditions remain relatively constant during times of great environmental change. The refugia that do exist in Europe are mostly in Scandinavia and Scotland.

The biggest refugia are in the Amazon, the Congo basin, the boreal forests of Russia, the Artic and the Australian outback. Read more »

New map reveals worldwide impacts of climate change

Scientists from the University of Southampton have helped to create a new map, which shows the impact climate change could have on the whole planet by the end of the century, if carbon emissions continue to increase. The Human Dynamics of Climate Change map was developed by the Met Office Hadley Centre with specific contributions from universities, Government and science organisations.

The map shows a range of potential impacts:

  • Temperatures on the warmest days of the year rising by 6°C or more across Europe, parts of Asia and part of North America
Read more »

Buildings and infrastructure ill-prepared for changing climate

The resilience of transport networks, homes, hospitals and water supplies in England need to be enhanced to counter the more frequent and severe flooding and heatwaves that can be expected in future. This is the key finding of a new report by the government’s official adviser on preparing for climate change. Read more »

Climate Change: Decline of West Antarctic glaciers appears irreversible

Image courtesy Jeremie Mouginot, University of California, Irvine, originally published in Geophysical Research Letters. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

Two studies published this week conclude that a section of the West Antarctic ice sheet has reached a point of inevitable collapse, an event that would eventually raise sea levels more than a meter (three-plus feet). The first study, led by Eric Rignot of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, used NASA satellite and airborne observations to measure how glaciers have been retreating in the region. Read more »

Judging the effects of climate change on extinction may be easier than previously thought

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Ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata) © Geoffrey A Hammerson

Although widely used assessments of threatened species, such as the IUCN Red List, were not developed with the effects of climate change in mind, a study of 36 amphibian and reptile species endemic to the US has concluded that climate change may not be fundamentally different from other extinction threats in terms of identifying species in danger of extinction. Read more »

Are wind farms changing Europe's climate?

Photo © Augustin Colette

The development of wind farms in Europe only has an extremely limited impact on the climate at the continental scale, and this will remain true until at least 2020. These are the main conclusions of a study carried out by researchers from CNRS, CEA and UVSQ, in collaboration with INERIS and ENEA, the Italian agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable development. Read more »

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