Global Warming News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on global warming
In April, the email in-boxes of energy executives filled with alerts from the nation’s top corporate law firms. The subject: the multistate investigation into whether Exxon Mobil committed fraud by publicly discounting the impact of fossil fuels on climate change. The investigations into whether their industry suppressed findings and misled investors, policymakers and the public about global warming not only raise the prospects of criminal charges, but add momentum to a legal campaign [comparable] to the decades-long battle against Big Tobacco. In April, a federal judge in Oregon ruled that a case against the U.S. government for inaction on climate change could proceed, explaining that “the alleged valuing of short term economic interest despite the cost to human life” required examination by the courts. Environmental lawyers have argued for years that governments and companies are legally obligated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They had little success, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2011 that the federal government alone had the power to control carbon emissions. But the recent entry of state prosecutors into the legal battle opens up a new line of inquiry: Did fossil fuel companies mislead their investors and the public on their own views on climate change and the risk it posed to their business? The recent legal rush follows the revelation last year that Exxon had engaged in climate change research in the 1970s and ’80s, and was warned by its own scientists of the growing threat.
Note: Read about the recent New York Attorney General's investigation into Exxon's climate change lies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
Rich western countries and the world’s leading developing nations are spending up to $200bn (Ł130bn) a year subsidising fossil fuels, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The ... thinktank said its 34 members plus six of the biggest emerging economies – China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa – were spending money supporting the consumption and production of coal, oil and gas that should be used to tackle climate change. The OECD secretary general, Angel Gurría, [said] that governments were spending almost twice as much money subsidising fossil fuels as was needed to meet the climate-finance objectives set by the international community at climate change summits, which have set a target of mobilising $100bn a year by 2020. Although ... fossil fuel subsidies were on a downward trend since peaking in 2011-12, the thinktank said they remained high. “By distorting costs and prices, fossil-fuel subsidies create inefficiencies in the way we generate and use energy,” Gurría said. “But most importantly, fossil-fuel subsidies undermine efforts to make our economies less carbon-intensive while exacerbating the damage to human health caused by air pollution.”
Note: The International Monetary Fund recently estimated that fossil fuel companies globally receive $5.3 trillion in yearly subsidies. In the US, these subsidies are granted by politicians that receive significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.
The idea was once considered fringe — to purposely re-engineer the planet's climate as a last ditch effort to battle global warming with an artificial cloud. No longer. In a nuanced, two-volume report, the National Academy of Sciences said that the concept should not be acted upon immediately because it is too risky, but it should be studied and perhaps tested outdoors in small projects. Because warming has worsened and some countries might act unilaterally, scientists said research is needed to calculate the consequences. Panel chairwoman Marcia McNutt, editor of the journal Science and former director of the U.S. Geological Survey, said in an interview that the public should read this report "and say, 'This is downright scary.' And they should say, 'If this is our Hail Mary, what a scary, scary place we are in.'" The committee scientists said once you start this type of tinkering, it would be difficult to stop. A decision to spray particles into the air would have to continue for more than 1,000 years. The report was requested by U.S. intelligence agencies, academy president Ralph J. Ciccerone said. Because the world is not reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, scientists have been forced "to at least consider what is known as geoengineering," he said.
Note: The National Academy of Science's two-part report says that geoengineering technologies "present serious known and possible unknown environmental, social, and political risks, including the possibility of being deployed unilaterally." The US military has used the weather as a weapon in the past. Now, with a deeply corrupt scientific establishment being guided by corrupt intelligence agencies to meddle with the planet's total ecology, and with low public awareness about the messy history of mysterious atmospheric experiments over cities in the U.S. and elsewhere, what could possibly go wrong?
Trees and algae have been turning CO2 into fuel since the dawn of time, unlocking the chemical energy within this molecule to power metabolic processes. With a little ingenuity, it is already possible to transform CO2 into anything from petrol to natural gas. Any conversion processes will take a lot of energy. The question is, can these processes be refined to ensure that less energy is used to create this fuel than is provided by it? The key challenge is to convert CO2 into carbon monoxide (CO), by removing one of its oxygen atoms. Once you have CO, the process of creating hydrocarbon fuels such as petrol is easy. It's achieved through a reaction known as the Fischer-Tropsch process – most commonly used to synthesise liquid fuel from coal. But getting from CO2 to CO requires ... a lot of energy. The US Government's Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have opted for ... a system that takes its energy source from concentrated solar power. As Green Futures goes to press, researchers from Bristol and Bath Universities in the UK have also announced plans for solar-powered CO2-to-fuel conversion.
Note: If plants are able to convert CO2 to energy and have been doing this for billions of years, why can't scientists figure out a way to do this for human use?
Global warming is disrupting wildlife and the environment on every continent, according to an unprecedented study that reveals the extent to which climate change is already affecting the world's ecosystems. Scientists examined published reports dating back to 1970 and found that at least 90% of environmental damage and disruption around the world could be explained by rising temperatures. Big falls in Antarctic penguin populations, fewer fish in African lakes, shifts in American river flows and earlier flowering and bird migrations in Europe are all likely to be driven by global warming, the study found. The team of experts, including members of the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) ... is the first to formally link some of the most dramatic changes to the world's wildlife and habitats with human-induced climate change. [The] researchers analysed reports highlighting changes in populations or behaviour of 28,800 animal and plant species. They examined a further 829 reports that focused on different environmental effects, including surging rivers, retreating glaciers and shifting forests, across the seven continents. To work out how much - or if at all - global warming played a role, the scientists next checked historical records to see what impact natural variations in local climate, deforestation and changes in land use might have on the ecosystems and species that live there. In 90% of cases the shifts in wildlife behaviour and populations could only be explained by global warming, while 95% of environmental changes, such as melting permafrost, retreating glaciers and changes in river flows were consistent with rising temperatures.
A handful of the world's largest agricultural biotechnology companies are seeking hundreds of patents on gene-altered crops designed to withstand drought and other environmental stresses, part of a race for dominance in the potentially lucrative market for crops that can handle global warming. Three companies -- BASF of Germany, Syngenta of Switzerland and Monsanto of St. Louis -- have filed applications to control nearly two-thirds of the climate-related gene families submitted to patent offices worldwide, according to the report by the Ottawa-based ETC Group, an activist organization that advocates for subsistence farmers. Many of the world's poorest countries, destined to be hit hardest by climate change, have rejected biotech crops, citing environmental and economic concerns. Importantly, gene patents generally preclude the age-old practice of saving seeds from a harvest for replanting, requiring instead that farmers purchase the high-tech seeds each year. The ETC report concludes that biotech giants are hoping to leverage climate change as a way to get into resistant markets, and it warns that the move could undermine public-sector plant-breeding institutions such as those coordinated by the United Nations and the World Bank, which have long made their improved varieties freely available. "When a market is dominated by a handful of large multinational companies, the research agenda gets biased toward proprietary products," said Hope Shand, ETC's research director. "Monopoly control of plant genes is a bad idea under any circumstance. During a global food crisis, it is unacceptable and has to be challenged."
Note: For many disturbing reports on risks from genetic engineering from major media sources, click here.
Amid growing urbanisation, deforestation and agricultural expansion, it’s long been thought the number of trees across the planet is being reduced. However, that belief is probably wrong, according to new figures. The biggest ever analysis of global land change has discovered there are more trees across the earth today than there were 36 years ago. The study, published in the journal Nature this month, shows trees now cover 7 per cent more of the earth’s surface – roughly 2.24 million square kilometres – than they did in 1982. “This overall net gain is the result of a net loss in the tropics being outweighed by a net gain in the extratropics,” the report states. The study, led by scientists from the University of Maryland, in the US, analysed 35 years’ worth of satellite data to provide the most comprehensive picture ever made of the changing use of land. Tree loss in the tropics is caused by agricultural expansion, while the new growth areas [are] in regions which were previously too cold to support such flourishing life, suggesting global warming is causing previously unidentified changes to the planet’s landscapes. The study ... states that 60 per cent of all change appears to be directly driven by human activity. Of the remaining 40 per cent, the study suggests, most of the change can be attributed to indirect results of human actions.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
An Atlantic Ocean current that helps regulate the global climate has reached an 1,000-year low, according to two new studies in the journal Nature. The shift could mean bad news for the climate. The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation [AMOC] – often called the conveyor belt of the ocean – exchanges warm water from the equator with cold water in the Arctic. The AMOC "plays a key role in the distribution of heat" across the Earth, but that is being disrupted by melting ice, particularly from Greenland, causing larger volumes of freshwater to flow through the oceans, says David Thornalley ... the lead author of one of the new studies. Some scientists are concerned the influx of freshwater could cause the current to shut down altogether. Scientists are worried about the AMOC shutting down "because evidence from the past suggests that it actually did happen during the last ice age, and it is possible that it could happen in the future," [Thornalley] says. While there is an ongoing dispute about what is causing the slowdown, scientists agree that it could have a dramatic impact on ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs and deep-sea sponge grounds. "These delicate ecosystems rely on ocean currents to supply their food and disperse their offspring," Prof Murray Roberts, who co-ordinates the Atlas project at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC News. "Ocean currents are like highways spreading larvae throughout the ocean, and we know these ecosystems have been really sensitive to past changes in the Earth's climate."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is going after Big Oil and climate change. The actor and former governor of California said in a Politico-sponsored podcast ... that he is in talks with law firms about possibly suing global oil companies "for knowingly killing people all over the world." "The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people's lives, that it would kill," Schwarzenegger said. "I don't think there's any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you're going to kill someone, it's first degree murder; I think it's the same thing with the oil companies," he said. In the podcast, Schwarzenegger compares the issue to the tobacco industry. "The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people ... and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it," Schwarzenegger said. "Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that." He argues that every gas station, car and product with fossil fuels should have a warning label on it. He hopes that this will raise awareness about cleaner cars and alternative fuels. "We're going to go after them. Because to me it's absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco," he said.
Norway’s doomsday agricultural seed vault will get a $13 million upgrade to better protect world food supplies. The work on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located nearly 400 feet beneath the earth’s surface inside a coal mine, was announced ... as the international facility celebrated its 10th anniversary and its holding of more than 1 million seed samples. The facility, which is fully funded by the Norwegian government, offers any government access to seeds in case of natural or man-made disaster. The concept was successfully tested in 2015, with a seed withdrawl to help Syria re-establish crops wiped out by the country’s civil war. The upgrades will include a concrete access tunnel, a service building for emergency power and refrigerating units, as well as other electrical equipment that will emit heat through the tunnel. The decision to upgrade to the access tunnel comes nearly one year after the vault’s entryway flooded due to unprecedented melting of the area’s permafrost. Though the flooding did not damage any seeds, it served as a jarring reminder of the growing effects of climate change. The vault was designed to take advantage of the location’s permafrost as a permanent feature offering natural cooling protection for the seeds.
A groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. â€śWe may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,â€ť said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science. There is still time to avert catastrophe. Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and [an] author of the new report [said], â€śThe impacts are accelerating, but theyâ€™re not so bad we canâ€™t reverse them.â€ť Humans are harming the oceans to a remarkable degree. Carbon emissions are altering the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic. â€śIf you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy,â€ť Dr. Pinsky said. â€śIn effect, thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doing to the oceans." Mining operations, too, are poised to transform the ocean. Contracts for seabed mining now cover 460,000 square miles underwater, the researchers found, up from zero in 2000. Limiting the industrialization of the oceans to some regions could allow threatened species to recover, [but] slowing extinctions in the oceans will [ultimately] mean cutting back on carbon emissions, not just adapting to them.
Note: Ocean acidification was the number one story subjected to press censorship in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mass animal deaths from reliable major media sources.
Climate change is happening much faster than the world's best scientists predicted and will wreak havoc unless action is taken on a global scale, a new report warns. 'Extreme weather events' such as the hot summer of 2003, which caused an extra 35,000 deaths across southern Europe from heat stress and poor air quality, will happen more frequently. Britain and the North Sea area will be hit more often by violent cyclones and the predicted rise in sea level will double to more than a metre, putting vast coastal areas at risk from flooding. The bleak report from WWF -- formerly the World Wildlife Fund -- also predicts crops failures and the collapse of ecosystems on both land and sea. And it calls on the EU to set an example to the rest of the world by agreeing a package of challenging targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to tackle the consequences of climate change and to keep any increase in global temperatures below 2C. The agency says that the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ... is now out of date. WWF's report, Climate Change: Faster, stronger, sooner, has updated all the scientific data and concluded that global warming is accelerating far beyond the IPCC's forecasts. As an example it says the first 'tipping point' may have already been reached in the Arctic, where sea ice is disappearing up to 30 years ahead of IPCC predictions and may be gone completely within five years - something that hasn't occurred for a million years. It could result in rapid and abrupt climate change rather than the gradual changes forecast by the IPCC.
Note: For lots more on global warming from major media sources, click here.
Someone appears to be producing a banned ozone-depleting chemical, interfering with the recovery of Earth's damaged ozone layer, according to a newly published study led by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The illicit emissions are believed to be coming from somewhere in eastern Asia, but nothing else is known about the offender. It's a scientific whodunit. The scientists say the atmospheric level of trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is ... not declining as quickly as it should be. "It appears that emissions of CFC-11 have increased in recent years, which is quite a surprise given the fact that production has been phased out," [the study's lead author Stephen] Montzka says. CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons, "were once widely used in the manufacture of aerosol sprays, as blowing agents for foams and packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants." But scientists realized the chemicals were harming the ozone layer. So in the late 1980s, the world agreed to phase out the use of the chemicals. Production was supposed to have stopped as of 2010. The amount of CFC-11 in the atmosphere should be declining more and more each year, allowing the ozone layer to replenish. The scientists ... concluded that CFC-11 emissions started to increase after 2012, two years after production of the chemical was reportedly at zero.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
As the Trump administration yanks the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement, claiming it will hurt the American economy, Beijing is investing hundreds of billions of dollars and creating millions of jobs in clean power. "Even in China where coal is - or was - king, the government still recognizes that the economic opportunities of the future are going to be in clean energy," said Alvin Lin, Beijing-based climate and energy policy director with the Natural Resources Defense Council. More than 2.5 million people work in the solar power sector alone in China, compared with 260,000 people in the U.S.. While President Trump promises to put American coal miners back to work, China is moving in the opposite direction. Coal still makes up the largest part of China's energy consumption, but Beijing has been shutting coal mines and set out plans last year to cut roughly 1.3 million jobs in the industry, [as well as] pledged in January to invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($367 billion) in renewable power generation - solar, wind, hydro and nuclear - by 2020. China's growing dominance in the [renewable power] sector has had a huge effect on the global market. Manufacturers dramatically ramped up production of solar panels, driven by an estimated $42 billion in government subsidized loans between 2010 and 2012. The U.S. accused China of flooding the market and the Commerce Department started imposing steep tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels in 2012 in a bid to protect American producers.
Note: The world's biggest floating solar power plant was recently built in China. And in the US, the solar power industry now employs more workers than the coal, oil and natural gas industries combined.
Law enforcement officials announced last spring that they were pursuing fraud investigations against the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil. “Fossil fuel companies ... deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change,” [Attorney General Maura] Healey said at the time. Now those words are being used against Healey, in a lawsuit filed by ExxonMobil. In a stunning offense-is-the-best-defense legal strategy, the company is ... saying the Massachusetts Democrat’s investigation violates their free speech and other constitutional rights. In its legal battle to shut down her investigation, ExxonMobil has demanded that she testify about her efforts and provide documents from her office. Healey contends the corporate response is unprecedented: Not only is [ExxonMobil] refusing to comply, it is demanding an investigation of the investigating agency. “They took the tack of trying to shut down this investigation by suing us,” she said. When Healey issued subpoenas seeking ExxonMobil’s documents on climate change dating to the 1970s, she was “abusing the power of government to silence a speaker she disfavors,” lawyers for ExxonMobil wrote in their June lawsuit against her, alleging a violation of the company’s rights. And they criticized the stories that prompted the investigation: Reports published in 2015 ... suggested ExxonMobil had encouraged climate change confusion for years, despite its own research documenting the risks.
The sabotage of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior 20 years ago in Auckland was carried out with the "personal authorisation" of France's late president Francois Mitterrand, documents showed today. Le Monde newspaper published extracts in its Saturday edition of a 1986 account written by Pierre Lacoste, the former head of France's DGSE foreign intelligence service, giving the clearest demonstration yet of Mitterrand's direct involvement in the sinking of the campaign vessel. Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira died in the attack on the ship that was leading Greenpeace's campaign against French nuclear tests on the Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific. "I asked the president if he gave me permission to put into action the neutralisation plan that I had studied on the request of Monsieur (Charles) Hernu," Lacoste wrote. Hernu was defence minister at the time. "He gave me his agreement while stressing the importance he placed on the nuclear tests.
Friday was the first full day since the height of the Industrial Revolution that Britain did not burn coal to generate electricity. Coal powered Britain into the industrial age and into the 21st century, contributing greatly to the “pea souper” fogs that were thought for decades to be a natural phenomenon of the British climate. For many living in the mining towns up and down the country, it was not just the backbone of the economy but a way of life. But the industry has been in decline for some time. The last deep coal mine closed in December 2015, though open cast mining has continued. Reducing the world’s reliance on coal and increasing the use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power have long been part of proposals to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. Now on a path to phase out coal-fired power generation altogether by 2025, Britain, also the home of the first steam engine, is currently closing coal plants and stepping up generation from cleaner natural gas and renewables, like wind and solar. Some countries have already left coal behind in power generation. In Switzerland, Belgium and Norway, “every day is a coal-free day,” Carlos Fernández Alvarez, a coal analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris, pointed out. In the United States, where coal still accounts for about 30 percent of power generation, Vermont and Idaho are the only coal-free states, and California is close behind, he said.
Note: In the US, the solar power industry now employs more workers than the coal, oil and natural gas industries combined.
President Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to shelve aggressive vehicle fuel economy targets that have been a foundation for battles against climate change and harmful pollution in California and across the country. The regulations to be reviewed ... had set ambitious targets for vehicle mileage. The decision puts the White House on a path toward a direct and costly confrontation with California. State officials, pointing to California’s unique authority under the Clean Air Act, have made clear they will not waver from requiring passenger cars to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025, up from an average of 36 miles per gallon today. Trump’s announcement comes amid a lobbying blitz from a coalition of the world’s largest vehicle makers, which complained in a letter to the new administration that the existing EPA rules place unreasonable and expensive demands on the industry. The ultimate fate of the regulations may now be decided in a legal brawl between California and the Trump administration. The state is already moving to defend the federal regulations in court. "Any weakening or delay of the national standards will result in increased harms to our natural resources, our economy, and our people,” reads a legal filing submitted Tuesday by the state. Under the Clean Air Act, the state can impose emissions standards stronger than those set by the federal government, and a dozen other states have embraced the California rules.
Note: Many believe that fuel efficiency is determined by marketplace demand for more efficient vehicles. As this article shows, this is not the case. Congress mandates the average mpg of vehicles sold, and industry must comply. For more, see this essay.
At this week’s Alaska Forum on the Environment, 17 EPA employees were no-shows – and not by choice. The agency had planned to send 34 staff members to the week-long conference. But after the White House transition team demanded cutbacks, the Environmental Protection Agency only allowed half to attend. The EPA’s announcement comes after months of criticism by President Trump and his advisors, and a paring-down of climate science on government websites. Regardless of the motives behind this particular action, it continues a years-long trend of cuts to government agencies’ travel funds. Scientific research, which involves a regular exchange of ideas and findings, has been hit especially hard. The federal government faced major pressure to curb travel spending in 2012, when an Inspector General’s report revealed that the General Services Administration had spent more than $820,000 on a lavish conference in Las Vegas. The Office of Management and Budget promptly issued a memo directing each federal agency to spend 30 percent less on travel than it had in 2010. This week’s Alaska Forum on the Environment wasn’t exclusively for scientists. In addition to federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it featured military personnel and representatives from Alaska’s state, local, and tribal governments. Its panels addressed topics such as climate change, oil spills, and hazardous waste, which have both science and public policy aspects.
Buried below the ice sheet that covers most of Greenland, there's an abandoned U.S. Army base. Camp Century had trucks, tunnels, even a nuclear reactor. It was also a test site for deploying nuclear missiles. The camp was abandoned almost 50 years ago. But serious pollutants were left behind. Now a team of scientists says that as climate warming melts the ice sheet, those pollutants could spread. [Researcher William Colgan] found unclassified records that described what was left behind there - for example, the nuclear reactor was removed, but low-level radioactive cooling water used in it was not. There were very likely PCBs, which are toxic compounds in electrical equipment. There's no record of how much remained. Colgan says the Army figured all of it would be entombed forever. "They thought it would snow in perpetuity," he says, "and the phrase they used was that the waste would be preserved for eternity by perpetually accumulating snow." Except now, the climate has changed. Greenland's ice sheet is melting. Computer models say the camp could be uncovered by the end of this century. Meltwater could easily end up in the buried camp and then carry contamination through under-ice channels to the ocean. Colgan says it's unclear who owns this waste. The Army built the camp under a treaty between the U.S. and Denmark, which had jurisdiction over Greenland. It's a legal dilemma that's likely to start cropping up more often.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing global warming news articles from reliable major media sources.
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