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The gutting of CSIRO climate change research is a big mistake | John Abraham

Guardian climate change - 4 hours 3 min ago

To be able to adapt to climate change, we need scientists to project how the climate will change

Last week, surprise news shocked the world’s scientific community. One of the most prestigious and productive scientific organizations is slashing hundreds of jobs, many related to climate change research. The organization, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO for short) is simply put, one of the best in the world. It rivals well-known groups like NASA, NOAA, and the Hadley Centre for its contributions to climate science.

What does CSIRO do that is so special? Many things. For instance, they are world leaders in measuring what is happening to the planet. Their research includes ocean-going vessels and other instrumentation that measure the chemistry and temperature of the ocean; they help track where human-emitted carbon dioxide is going, how heat is building up in the oceans, and what is happening with the general health of the ocean biosystem.

Our climate models are among the best in the world and our measurements honed those models to prove global climate change. That question has been answered, and the new question is what do we do about it, and how can we find solutions for the climate we will be living with?

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Categories: News

Scrapping carbon capture support 'threatens UK climate targets'

Guardian climate change - 9 hours 2 min ago

MPs warn that without CCS technology, it will be much more expensive to meet national and internationally agreed targets on reducing emissions

The scrapping of government support for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology has put at risk the UK’s international commitments on tackling climate change, an influential group of MPs has found.

The energy and climate change committee said that, without such technology, it would be much more expensive to meet national and internationally agreed targets on reducing greenhouse gases. The extra cost could run to billions, outstripping the £1bn of public funds that had been promised for CCS.

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Categories: News

Winds of climate change will make transatlantic flights longer, study shows

Guardian climate change - 9 hours 7 min ago

Faster jet stream will add thousands of hours to journey times and increase airline fuel bills

Airline flights are known to worsen climate change but now climate change is set to worsen flight times, according to new research.

The work shows faster jet stream winds will delay transatlantic flights, adding thousands of hours a year to journey times and millions of dollars to airline fuel bills. Earlier work showed other impacts of rising temperatures on aviation, including bumpier, more turbulent flights and reducing the weight planes can carry.

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Categories: News

Australia's chief scientist says he was not warned about CSIRO climate cuts

Guardian climate change - 14 hours 29 min ago

Alan Finkel tells Senate estimates he only found out about the shedding of 350 staff from climate change research when it was publicly announced

Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, said he was not told about cuts to CSIRO’s climate change research prior to it being publicly announced, and said continuing the organisation’s work would not be simple.

At Senate estimates on Wednesday, Finkel was asked by Labor senator Kim Carr when he found out the CSIRO would be cutting 350 staff over two years from climate change research programs. “When they were publicly announced,” Finkel responded.

Related: CSIRO chief defends climate research cuts as staff weigh up industrial action

Related: CSIRO climate cuts attack a national treasure when we need it most

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Categories: News

Supreme court to halt enforcement of Obama's sweeping climate change plan

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2016/02/09 - 11:47pm

By temporarily freezing the rule, the high court’s order signals that opponents have made a strong argument against the president’s plan

The supreme court has agreed to halt enforcement of Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to address climate change until after legal challenges are resolved.

The surprising move on Tuesday is a blow to the administration and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab”.

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Categories: News

12 ways to mobilise the money needed to stop climate change

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2016/02/09 - 5:22pm

How do we finance the climate adaption needed to stop global temperatures rising above 1.5 degrees? Our panel of experts share their thoughts

Hundreds of billions of dollars could be made available for climate finance by placing a small tax on financial transactions such as the trading of stocks and bonds. There’s a big Robin Hood Tax movement behind this, with a group of European countries already on the cusp of establishing the world’s first regional financial transaction tax. Karen Orenstein, senior analyst, Friends of the Earth US, Washington DC, USA @KarenOrenstein @foe_us

Related: Ugandan mayor: My district will be 100% renewable by 2020

Related: 11 routes to universal energy access in Africa by 2030

Related: Smart solutions put energy efficiency in the spotlight in Latin America

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Categories: News

Critics fear RSPO's stricter palm oil standards will create two-tier system

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2016/02/09 - 1:30pm

While some believe the palm oil certifier is taking a significant step forward, others fear the creation of a system that excludes smaller companies

The world’s leading body for the certification of sustainable palm oil has created new standards to tackle deforestation, human rights violations and greenhouse gas emissions on certified plantations.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) published the RSPO Next standards on 9 February following rising pressure from industry and campaigners who claim that certified firms are still participating in deforestation, land-grabbing and the destruction of biodiversity, such as the loss of habitat for orangutans.

Related: World's largest palm oil trader criticised for lack of progress on deforestation

Related: Indonesia's forest fires: everything you need to know

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Categories: News

Satellite Eye on Earth: January 2016 - in pictures

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2016/02/09 - 11:16am

US snowstorms, Tasmanian bushfires and Arabian plankton blooms were among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month

In orbit around the Earth on board the International Space Station, Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly captured this blue water image and tweeted it out with this message: “ A splash of #EarthArt over the #Bahamas! #YearInSpace.”

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Categories: News

Arctic shipping passage 'still decades away'

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2016/02/09 - 9:30am

Ordinary merchant ships will not be able to take an ice-free shortcut from China to Europe until at least 2040, report predicts

It will be decades before big cargo ships link China and northern Europe by taking a shortcut through the Arctic Ocean, a report predicts.

Climate change, retreating summer ice and the prospect of shorter journey times and 40% lower fuel costs has led Russia, European governments and some industries to expect a major ice-free shipping lane to open above Russia, allowing regular, year-long trade between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans within a few years.

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Categories: News

CSIRO chief defends climate research cuts as staff weigh up industrial action

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2016/02/09 - 2:12am

Larry Marshall says there will be no net loss of staff over two years as international climate scientists condemn the cuts

The chief executive of the CSIRO, Larry Marshall, has defended the agency’s cuts to climate change research and criticised the media for inaccurate reporting.

In a release posted to the CSIRO website titled “Correcting the public record on changes at CSIRO”, Marshall took issue with reports about the proportion of staff in the oceans and atmosphere unit that would be cut and sought to calm concerns about the survival of particular research programs.

Related: CSIRO climate cuts will cost Australia dear, world scientists warn government

Related: CSIRO climate cuts attack a national treasure when we need it most

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Categories: News

Climate change has not been answered for farmers: we need more information, not less | Marian McDonald

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2016/02/08 - 11:34pm

Cuts to the CSIRO’s climate and land and water research will make finding solutions – and making milk Australian families can afford – ever more difficult

“…in the last decade we’ve definitively answered the question that the world’s climate is changing. What keeps me up and night and I think what keeps most of the country up at night is what are we going to do about it? How are we going to mitigate it?” – CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall, ABC 7.30 Report, February 4

Perversely, I’m pleased CSIRO chief Larry Marshall is lying in bed worrying about how to mitigate the effects of climate change. I’m only glad he’s not a farmer like me, because I doubt he’d cope.

Related: CSIRO climate cuts attack a national treasure when we need it most

Related: Climate change is spoken of in hushed tones, but it wasn't always this way

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Categories: News

Global initiative introduces first proposal to reduce airplane pollution

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2016/02/08 - 10:52pm

International Civil Aviation Organisation plan of 4% fuel reduction of new aircraft starting in 2028 not enough to halt emissions, environmental groups say

Governments proposed for the first time on Monday to reduce climate pollution from airplanes, plugging one of the biggest loopholes in last December’s landmark Paris agreement.

The global initiative was a first attempt to halt carbon emissions from air travel – one of the fastest growing sources of climate pollution.

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Categories: News

Stormy weather and the power of a closeup | Letters

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2016/02/08 - 7:20pm

While I am sorry to see the photo archive move to London (Letters, 6 February) I find it ironic that Bradford council is happy to do to Ilkley what London does to it. It has closed our Manor House Museum, taken the exhibits to Bradford and proposes selling the building, which was originally bequeathed to the people of Ilkley, presumably keeping the proceeds. They too can be accused of “metropolitan cultural fascism”.
Tim Jerram

It is time the BMA found an alternative for the term 'junior doctor' for any doctor in hospital under consultant level

Big mistake giving names to all these storms. Clearly they feel befriended, so they keep coming back

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Categories: News

Sea-level rise 'could last twice as long as human history'

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2016/02/08 - 4:00pm

Research warns of the long timescale of climate change impacts unless urgent action is taken to cut emissions drastically

Huge sea-level rises caused by climate change will last far longer than the entire history of human civilisation to date, according to new research, unless the brief window of opportunity of the next few decades is used to cut carbon emissions drastically.

Even if global warming is capped at governments’ target of 2C - which is already seen as difficult - 20% of the world’s population will eventually have to migrate away from coasts swamped by rising oceans. Cities including New York, London, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Calcutta, Jakarta and Shanghai would all be submerged.

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