Climate Change

What US, China are pledging to limit emissions

The United States and China are pledging to move faster to reduce or limit emissions of heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. China and the U.S. are the world's two largest polluters, and by taking action together, leaders from both countries hope to spur other nations to be equally aggressive as they work to finalize a worldwide climate treaty next year.

What both countries are announcing, according to the White House:

Study: Global warming worsening watery dead zones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming is likely playing a bigger role than previously thought in dead zones in oceans, lakes and rivers around the world and it's only going to get worse, according to a new study.

Dead zones occur when fertilizer runoff clogs waterways with nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous. That leads to an explosion of microbes that consumes oxygen and leaves the water depleted of oxygen, harming marine life.

4 Sandy-damaged NYC hospitals to get $1.6 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Four public hospitals in flood-prone parts of the city are getting at least $1.6 billion in federal money to protect them from the kind of harrowing damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy, officials announced Thursday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency money will create a new, storm-resilient building to house the emergency room and such key equipment as X-ray machines at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, where the 2012 storm inundated the basement and came into the first floor. The water plunged the hospital into darkness and sent staffers scrambling to move patients on stretchers to higher floors before ultimately evacuating.

UN climate report offers stark warnings, hope

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Climate change is happening, it's almost entirely man's fault and limiting its impacts may require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero this century, the U.N.'s panel on climate science said Sunday.

The fourth and final volume of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's giant climate assessment offered no surprises, nor was it expected to since it combined the findings of three reports released in the past 13 months.

United Nations photo.

Figueres says U.S. taking steps toward Paris climate deal

The head of the United Nations climate group on Sunday praised the Obama administration's plan to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, in advance of talks next year that are to yield a new post-2020 international climate change accord.

Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency's planned regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants as a positive step. 

"They're actually doing quite well," she said of the administration on the weekly Platts Energy Week television program. Noting the power plant limits, she added, "the U.S. is doing a very good job in preparing what all of the other countries are currently preparing," in terms of national commitments toward a new deal.

EPA photo

EU's new carbon plan shows Obama is right, McCarthy says

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Friday praised the new European Union carbon reduction target, calling it an indication that the Obama administration's climate plan is prompting more ambitious international action on climate change.

Still, she gave no hint about whether the U.S. will make a similarly aggressive pledge in the run-up to a planned new global climate pact next year.

Microbe releasing methane as Arctic melts: Scientists

Source: 
The Washington Post

A microbe that eats carbon and releases methane in its place – Methanoflorens stordalenmirensis – is multiplying in the Arctic melt and accelerating the global warming process, according to scientists writing in the journal Nature this week, The Washington Post reports.

Associated Press

Polar vortex pushed coal, higher CO2 emissions: EIA

Last year's frigid winter blast worsened propane shortages and threatened the electricity grid. Now it has the distinction of driving up U.S. energy-related carbon emissions for only the fourth time since 1990.

The Energy Department on Tuesday said greater heating demand boosted energy-related carbon emissions by 2.5 percent in 2013, to just under 5.4 billion metric tons.

The big contributor to those extra carbon emissions was coal, according to an annual report by the department's data wing, the Energy Information Administration.

Businesses moving on GHG plans on economics, UN uncertainty

Source: 
Reuters

Businesses like IKEA and Microsoft tell Reuters they plan to forge their own paths on green energy and greenhouse gas emissions reductions without domestic or international laws, citing a lack of certainty in next year's UN summit and new economic opportunities.

Public Domain Photos

Environmentalists see uncertainty in new US approach to climate deal

The environmental movement responded cautiously Wednesday to State Department envoy Todd Stern's roadmap for clinching a new United Nations climate deal that would avoid binding carbon reduction targets in favor of voluntary limits.

Representatives from two environmental groups stressed Stern's approach was expected and may succeed in securing a deal in Paris late next year. But they questioned whether enough will be done after 2020 by the international community to reduce emissions and avoid catastrophic global warming.

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