UK to strengthen protection for peatlands


A blanket bog on the Yell, Shetland Islands, with some peat working. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

New code could spur significant climate benefits

Staff Report

The UK wants to beef up protection and restoration of peatlands under a new government-backed code that could slash carbon dioxide emissions by 220 million tons and protect rare wildlife at the same time.

The Peatland Code was unveiled at the World Forum for Natural Capital in Edinburgh on November 23 following a successful two-year trial, which has seen businesses fund peatland restoration projects in southwest England, the Lake District and Wales.

The Code is based on research by academics at Birmingham City University and the University of Leeds which revealed that sustainable business investment could reverse the degradation of peatlands and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

Climate: Airlines targeted for big emissions cuts


Airlines could cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly simply by adopting the best available technologies. @bberwyn photo.

Existing technology enough to achieve big reductions, new report says

Staff Report

A new report shows that the world’s airlines could use existing technology to cut heat-trapping greenhouse emissions by 50 percent in the next few decades.

The report came as high-level officials prepare to meet in Paris to finalize a global climate deal aimed at trying to cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius. Continue reading

Climate: Can the transportation sector achieve big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions?

Evening train, platform 7.

A big shift away from automobiles to public transportation could help cap greenhouse gas pollution from the transportation sector. @bberwyn photo.

New studies sees potential for reductions with fundamental shifts in transportation policies

Staff Report

The heat-trapping pollution spewing from trucks, cars, busses, ships and airplanes adds up to a hefty 23 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — and they are projected to double by 2050.

But with a concerted effort, the transportation sector could cut that amount by half within the next 35 years. Needed is more fuel efficiency and more public transit in cities, along with a large-scale shift to electric cars, according to a new study that took a close look at emissions from transportation. Continue reading

U.S. Forest Service moves toward permitting more coal mining in Colorado’s North Fork Valley

Roadless rule exemption at issue in federal permitting process


A U.S. Forest Service proposal to permit more coal mining in Colorado would unleash huge amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution.

Staff Report

The U.S. Forest Service wants to update a public lands rule that would re-open the door for new coal mining on about 20,000 acres in south-central Colorado’s North Fork Valley. The agency this week posted a federal register notice seeking comment on a proposal to reinstate the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception to the Colorado Roadless Rule.

The proposal comes about a year after a federal court set aside the exemption after finding that the Forest Service failed to disclose greenhouse gas emissions associated with potential mine operations and the combustion of coal from the area. Find the federal register notice and information on commenting here. Continue reading

Study: Doubling of CO2 may warm Earth by 3 degrees Celsius


New data shows climate may be more sensitive to CO2 than previously thought.

New chemical analysis sends climate warming signal

Staff Report

A study of ancient carbonate crystals in Colorado suggests that the Earth’s climate is more sensitive to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide than believed.

Based on the chemical analysis of rocks from the Green River formation, scientists think that a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial times could raise the global temperature by a whopping 3 degrees Celsius. Continue reading

Climate: Warming lakes will release more CO2


Lakes in high latitudes are likely to become even more significant sources of CO2 in a warming world. @bberwyn photo.

Land use around lakes seen as critical factor in greenhouse gas equation

Staff Report

The world’s lakes already emit carbon dioxide equivalent to about 25 percent of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel combustion, and that amount could grow significantly in a warming world.

Researchers came to that conclusion after studying a huge amount of data from more than 5,000 lakes in Sweden, and tracking the origins of CO2 releases. The study, published in Nature Geoscience, shows that the amount of CO2 produced in the lakes by micro-organisms, and from the influx of CO2 from surrounding lands, both increase in warmer and nutrient-rich climate zones. Continue reading

Climate: No slowdown in greenhouse gas buildup


Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reached a new record in 2014 and aren’t about to drop anytime soon.

“Every year we report a new record in greenhouse gas concentrations … Every year we say that time is running out”

Atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide will soon stay above the symbolic 400 parts per million mark permanently, the World Meteorological Organization said this week in its annual report on the state of the global atmosphere. Continue reading


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