Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in the historical record by far, breaking a mark set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.
In the contiguous United States, the year was the second-warmest on record, punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.Full Story
Just days after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling clouded the future of a new United Nations climate pact, the passing of one of its justices has boosted the pact's chances of succeeding.
Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died at a resort in Texas on Saturday. Scalia, 79, was the court’s conservative leader and his death means it is now more likely that key EPA rules that aim to curb climate pollution from the power industry will be upheld.Full Story
Despite the accelerated melting of glaciers and ice sheets, sea levels aren’t rising quite as quickly as scientists anticipated. The reason: Continents are absorbing more of the water before it flows into the seas, according to a new study.
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory figured this out by measuring changes in Earth’s gravity with twin satellites orbiting the Earth in tandem. Over the past decade, thirsty continents have slowed the rate of sea level rise by about 20%, or about 1 millimeter per year, according to the study published in Science.Full Story
The three-month natural gas leak that chased thousands of Los Angeles residents from their homes has been a major ecological disaster, sickening neighbors and pumping a potent greenhouse gas into the sky.
But every day, pipelines across California leak tons of the same gas — methane — into the air. And the total amount collectively leaked each year likely exceeds the vast volume of methane spewed from the Aliso Canyon blowout near Porter Ranch, according to one state estimate.Full Story
A leaking gas well that spewed tons of methane into the air and forced thousands of Los Angeles residents from their homes has been permanently sealed, state officials said Thursday.
The announcement confirmed earlier reports by the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) that the well at its facility in Porter Ranch had been plugged.Full Story
The Googanji people on the northeastern coast of Australia tell of a time when they could follow a river 25 miles through what is now ocean to the current location of the Great Barrier Reef. This story has been preserved without being written down for over 12,000 years, from when sea levels were 200 feet lower than they are today and the Great Barrier Reef was not a reef but groups of cave-pocked hills. The Great Barrier Reef is the best-protected reef in the world: a World Heritage site and an Australian marine park, home to hundreds of species of fish, coral, and sharks. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has successfully reduced threats to the reef from major industrial ports, agriculture, and poachers, and plans to spend over two billion dollars over the next decade to preserve the reef.
Despite this high degree of national protection and funding devoted to the reef, the leading expert on coral, Charlie Veron, told the Royal Society in 2009 that it is on track to be eviscerated within the next generation. Between 1985 and 2012, nearly half the coral in the Great Barrier Reef was lost to cyclones, crown of thorns star fish, and bleaching events. But Veron has described in detail how modern climate change is on track to change the ocean so drastically that corals and the reefs they build will be driven to extinction faster than in any previous mass extinction event.Full Story
Divestment – the decision to voluntarily reduce one’s fossil fuel investments – has been a hot button topic of discussion since 2011, when university students began calling on their institutions to remove fossil fuels from their portfolios. Divestment arguments have often focused on themorality of investments, but the economic value of divestment has recently become hard to ignore.
In January, portfolio planner Advisor Partners reported that, between 2014 and 2015, New York City’s biggest pension fund lost $135m because of its fossil fuel holdings. And, earlier this month, Market Forces, an activist group that works in environmental finance, reported that fossil fuel investments cost 15 of Australia’s top funds an estimated $5.6bn. On average, this cost each member of these funds $1,109.Full Story
European countries should prepare for a far-reaching debate on the “profound lifestyle changes” required to limit climate change, according to a leaked European commission document.
The commission will tell foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday that a Europe-wide debate is needed on how to limit global warming to 1.5C, according to a staff working document for ministers seen by the Guardian.Full Story
Former French foreign minister Laurent Fabius will step down as president of COP21, the U.N.'s climate forum, after being appointed head of France's constitutional court, according to a resignation letter seen by Agence France Presse.
Fabius wrote on Monday to President Francois Hollande "to tender (his) resignation" as head of COP21, during which he helped to steer the troubled U.N. climate talks to a successful conclusion in Paris last December.Full Story
In freezing President Barack Obama's plan to tackle carbon emissions, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a blow to a global climate deal - but experts say that U.S. commitments to the deal will survive.
Obama's "Clean Power Plan" would require the power sector to cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 32 percent compared to 2005 levels by the year 2030.Full Story