I want children – but my fears for the future of the planet fill me with doubt

Guardian climate change - 4 hours 23 min ago

I am profoundly worried about climate change, resource scarcity and populism – but I can’t shake the yearning I have when I look at my sister’s children. Annalisa Barbieri advises a reader

My partner of the last seven years and I have always been fairly ambivalent about the idea of having children. However, over the last couple of years, notably since the birth of my youngest nephew, I have found myself wavering. My sister emigrated before she had children and I now feel a profound sadness that I can only have a limited involvement in their childhoods. The feelings have become so strong that looking at photos of them causes me to well up.

If I were to tell my partner straight out that I wanted a child, I think he would probably agree to go ahead, but my own feelings are so mixed that there’s little point even raising the subject. (My partner doesn’t know how to handle emotional uncertainty whereas I have found that if I take and present a position on something, discussion is much easier.)

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Categories: News

Drastic cooling in North Atlantic beyond worst fears, scientists warn

Guardian climate change - 4 hours 31 min ago

Climatologists say Labrador Sea could cool within a decade before end of this century, leading to unprecedented disruption, reports Climate News Network

For thousands of years, parts of northwest Europe have enjoyed a climate about 5C warmer than many other regions on the same latitude. But new scientific analysis suggests that that could change much sooner and much faster than thought possible.

Climatologists who have looked again at the possibility of major climate change in and around the Atlantic Ocean, a persistent puzzle to researchers, now say there is an almost 50% chance that a key area of the North Atlantic could cool suddenly and rapidly, within the space of a decade, before the end of this century.

Related: OMG measurements of Greenland give us a glimpse of future sea rise | John Abraham

Related: Europe faces droughts, floods and storms as climate change accelerates

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Categories: News

OMG measurements of Greenland give us a glimpse of future sea rise | John Abraham

Guardian climate change - 8 hours 22 min ago

The Oceans Melting Greenland project is taking important measurements to determine how fast sea levels will rise

If you meet a group of climate scientists, and ask them how much sea levels will rise by say the year 2100, you will get a wide range of answers. But, those with most expertise in sea level rise will tell you perhaps 1 meter (a little over three feet). Then, they will immediately say, “but there is a lot of uncertainty on this estimate.” It doesn’t mean they aren’t certain there will be sea level rise – that is guaranteed as we add more heat in the oceans. Here, uncertainty means it could be a lot more or a little less.

Why are scientists not certain about how much the sea level will rise? Because there are processes that are occurring that have the potential for causing huge sea level rise, but we’re uncertain about how fast they will occur. Specifically, two very large sheets of ice sit atop Greenland and Antarctica. If those sheets melt, sea levels will rise hundreds of feet.

Specifically, our goal is improved understanding of how ocean hydrographic variability around the ice sheet impacts glacial melt rates, thinning and retreat.

What’s interesting about the waters around Greenland is that they are upside down. Warm, salty water, which is heavy, sits below a layer of cold, fresh water from the Arctic Ocean. That means the warm water is down deep, and glaciers sitting in deep water could be in trouble.

It’s an exciting year for OMG. We get our first look at how the oceans and glaciers are changing from one year to the next.

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Categories: News

Government pension scheme begins ditching oil and gas investments

Guardian climate change - 9 hours 1 min ago

National Employment Savings Trust to move investments into new climate change fund and scale back shares in firms such as Shell and ExxonMobil

A giant pension scheme with more than 4 million members is shifting almost 10% of its investments into a new climate change fund designed to move people’s money out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy.

Nest (National Employment Savings Trust), a publicly owned scheme set up by the government, said it was moving £130m into the fund because it wanted to protect its worker members from the risks associated with climate change by reducing their exposure to companies with reserves of coal, oil and gas.

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Categories: News

Low-carbon policy 'less vital than low energy bills and security'

Guardian climate change - 12 hours 12 min ago

Lords seek new commission to spur on power station construction and end ‘low emissions priority that harms consumers’

Ministers should establish a new energy commission to spur on construction of power stations because successive governments have failed to encourage enough fresh power capacity in the UK, according to a House of Lords report.

Subsidy-backed growth in renewable energy projects, such as windfarms, has deterred the construction of new conventional power plants, the economic affairs committee claimed.

Related: UK offshore wind 'will lower energy bills' more than nuclear

Related: Zero carbon emissions target to be enshrined in UK law

Related: Greg Clark to meet energy firms over 'profiteering' claims

Related: Toshiba crisis: unions urge government to 'get a grip' on nuclear policy

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Categories: News

Great Barrier Reef could face another big coral bleaching event this year

Guardian climate change - 15 hours 38 min ago

New report to UN world heritage committee criticises Australia’s lack of planning in dealing with effects of climate change

The Great Barrier Reef faces an “elevated and imminent risk” of more widespread coral bleaching this year, the reef authority has warned the Queensland government.

An alert from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says more of the reef is showing built-up heat stress than this time last year, just before its worst-ever bleaching event killed off a quarter of all coral.

Related: Images of new bleaching on Great Barrier Reef heighten fears of coral death

Related: Rising carbon emissions could kill off vital corals by 2100, study warns

Related: Climate change: 90% of rural Australians say their lives are already affected

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Categories: News

Politics of fear and anger has buried tradition of reform, says NAB chair Ken Henry

Guardian climate change - Thu, 2017/02/23 - 7:20am

Former Treasury secretary urges Australian businesses to fill leadership vacuum left empty by politicians

Former Treasury secretary Ken Henry has blasted Australia’s federal political leaders saying the reform agenda has been buried by the politics of fear and anger.

He urged Australian business to fill the leadership vacuum, saying if companies wanted greater certainty they would have to start delivering it themselves.

Related: South Australia's blackout explained (and no, renewables aren't to blame)

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Categories: News

Deep sea life faces dark future due to warming and food shortage

Guardian climate change - Thu, 2017/02/23 - 7:01am

New study reveals negative impact of climate change, human activity, acidification and deoxygenation on ocean and its creatures

The deep ocean and the creatures that live there are facing a desperate future due to food shortages and changing temperatures, according to research exploring the impact of climate change and human activity on the world’s seas.

The deep ocean plays a critical role in sustaining our fishing and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as being home to a huge array of creatures. But the new study reveals that food supplies at the seafloor in the deepest regions of the ocean could fall by up to 55% by 2100, starving the animals and microbes that exist there, while changes in temperature, pH and oxygen levels are also predicted to take their toll on fragile ecosystems.

Related: 'Extraordinary' levels of pollutants found in 10km deep Mariana trench

Related: Scientists study ocean absorption of human carbon pollution | John Abraham

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Categories: News