Climate Change & Environment
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New Studies Deepen Concerns about a Climate-Change ‘Wild Card’

Two new studies are adding to concerns about one of the most troubling scenarios for future climate change: the possibility that global warming could slow or shut down the Atlantic’s great ocean circulation systems, with dramatic implications for North America and Europe.

The research, by separate teams of scientists, bolsters predictions of disruptions to global ocean currents — such as the Gulf Stream — that transfer tropical warmth from the equator to northern latitudes, as well as a larger conveyor system that cycles colder water into the ocean’s depths. Both systems help ensure relatively mild conditions in parts of Northern Europe that would otherwise be much colder.

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Southern Ocean Showing 'Remarkable' Revival in Carbon Absorption Ability

The Southern Ocean, which acts as one of the natural world’s most effective sponges for absorbing carbon dioxide, is showing signs of an unexpected revival in its ability to do so, according to scientists.

The oceans absorb around a quarter of emissions caused by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, reducing the speed of climate change. About 40% of this occurs in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds the Antarctic, making it the planet’s strongest ocean carbon sink.

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Developing Countries Set an Example on Emissions Cuts

LONDON, 12 September, 2015 – A review of four governments’ plans for cutting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use praises two developing countries for their ambition.

The review, by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), says Ethiopia and Morocco have plans that leave the strategies of the other two countries, China and Canada, far behind.

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The Simple Statistic that Perfectly Captures what Climate Change Means

There are many ways to measure the world’s changing climate. You can chart rising global temperatures, rising sea levels and melting ice. What’s tougher, though, is to find a measurement that easily relates all of that to what people experience in their daily lives.

In a new study in Geophysical Research Letters, however, two Australian researchers do just this by examining a simple but telling meteorological metric — the ratio of new hot temperature records set in the country to new cold temperature records.

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Failure to Act on Climate Change Means an Even Bigger Refugee Crisis

As I looked in on my own children sleeping safely last Thursday night before I went to bed, I did so with added poignancy as I reflected that this was something Abdullah Kurdi was not able to do. I’m sure millions of parents of young children right across Europe have felt similar emotions these last few days.

We’re all human, and so it’s perhaps not surprising that it takes a single photograph and an individual’s story to shake a society, all too belatedly, into glimpsing at one horrific aspect of Europe’s refugee crisis and demanding action.

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Emissions 'Far above' 2C Target

Global plans to curb carbon dioxide are well below what's needed to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees, according to a new analysis.

It is the work of researchers from the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a consortium of research institutions.

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Warming Oceans Putting Marine Life ‘In a Blender’

Up in Maine, lobsters are thriving. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission reported last month that stocks there reached a record high.

Down the coast, however, the story is different. In southern New England, lobster stocks have plummeted to the lowest levels ever recorded, putting many lobstermen out of business.

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Fleeing Drought, Climate Migrants Press Zimbabwe's Fertile East

In the eastern highlands of Manicaland province, crudely built wood, mud, and thatch hovels cling perilously to the mountainsides.

The illegal homes, the government says, belong to migrants who have fled drought-prone areas of the province in search of fertile soil and good rains. And they are growing in number every year.

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U.N. Climate Talks Plagued by Twin Fears

Negotiators from 195 nations tasked with crafting a universal climate pact are driven by twin fears tugging in opposite directions, which may result in a hollow deal, say analysts.

The all-too-real prospect of climate catastrophe on a horizon of decades, not centuries, coupled with a rising tide of expectations, would seem to be powerful incentives to forge an agreement that is truly up to the task.

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Tutu, Klein and Chomsky Call for Mass Climate Action ahead of Paris Conference

Desmond Tutu, Vivienne Westwood, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky are among a group of high-profile figures who will issue a mass call to action on Thursday ahead of the UN’s crunch climate change conference in Paris in December.

They call for mass mobilization on the scale of the slavery abolition and anti-apartheid movements to trigger “a great historical shift”.

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