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Bushfire season 'will be more severe as a result of climate change'

Guardian climate change - Mon, 20/10/2014 - 21:00

Report predicts economic cost of fires will triple by 2050 and urges reduction in carbon emissions

Climate change is already increasing the intensity and severity of bushfires in New South Wales and extending bushfire season by months, a report by the Climate Commission has warned.

The economic cost of fires such as those that devastated the states Blue Mountains one year ago will triple by mid-century and the number of professional firefighters will need to double, the commission said, urging that carbon emissions be cut rapidly and deeply in order to reduce the risk of conditions becoming even hotter and drier.

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Denmark's plan to offset transport emissions sparks EU row

Guardian climate change - Mon, 20/10/2014 - 18:34

Green champions push to funnel car emissions into the emissions trading system seen as attempt to bend rules

A Danish bid to expand carbon offsetting to the transport sector has triggered uproar among NGOs and academics, with one new analysis saying it would devastate efforts to reign in fuel emissions.

Transport is responsible for a quarter of Europes CO2 pollution and, unlike most sectors, its contribution is rising fast up 36% since 1990. About half of Europes transport emissions come from cars and the EU has ordered car-makers to slash their fuel emissions by 2021.

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2014 on track to be hottest year on record, says US science agency

Guardian climate change - Mon, 20/10/2014 - 17:57

Global average temperatures in September were highest ever, following warmest year to date since 1998

The world is on course for this to be the hottest year ever, with global land and sea temperatures for September the highest ever recorded for the month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday.

The findings, which confirm September as the warmest such month on record, continue a string of record-beating months for global temperature.

September is the 4th month this year to set record for warmth. SEE maps & more #StateofClimate

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'Build bridges for Lima climate talks'

Guardian climate change - Mon, 20/10/2014 - 15:21

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres urges delegates to work towards achieving a historic pact in Paris in 2015

The UNs climate chief urged country negotiators on Monday to build bridges at talks in Bonn towards a new, global pact that received fresh endorsement from world leaders last month.

The six-day forum in Germany must lay the foundations for the annual round of ministerial-level UN talks to be held in Lima [Peru] in December, Christiana Figueres told delegates as the meeting opened.

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Environment Secretary Liz Truss under fire over plan to scrap solar farm subsidies

Independent climate change - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 21:14

The Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, came under fire yesterday after branding solar farms “a blight on the landscape” and announcing plans to scrap subsidies for new developments.

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If you plant different trees in the forest, is it still the same forest?

Guardian climate change - Sun, 19/10/2014 - 15:00

As the Nature Conservancy works to help Minnesotas North Woods adapt to climate change, other environmentalists worry assisted migration may end up changing the forests very nature

In northern Minnesota, theres a near-mythic expanse of lakes and boreal forests known as the North Woods, packed with spruces, firs, red and bur oaks, and other trees. Its in danger of vanishing forever.

The North Woods joins the ever-lengthening list of regions threatened by climate change. Temperatures in Minnesota have increased by more than 1.5F since record keeping began, according to a 2013 report by the states interagency climate adaptation team. Temperatures have risen even more in the northern portion of the state, and the growth is picking up speed, with more than 80% of the recorded increase happening since 1980.

These increases are expected to continue through the next 50 years, joined by more days of extreme heat, heavier precipitation and other changes to the regions climate. As rainfall and other conditions shift because of climate change, once iconic species like spruce and fir may move northward, either leaving the forests replaced by unproductive grasslands or given over to the hardwoods more common further south. Climate change, the state report says, will likely exacerbate and intensify the effects of invasive plant species, insect pests, and tree diseases.

In other words, the forest like others across the northern United States and southern Canada could disappear. Now the conservationists most driven to save the forest may do so only by changing its nature for good.

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