Global warming: Of cattle and climate …

Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases should focus on livestock

Taking a lunch break during a search for orchids in the Austrian countryside.

Too many cows? Scientists say cutting methane emissions from ruminant livestock could help in race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. bberwyn photo.

Staff report

FRISCO — Focusing on livestock to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could help humanity make some headway in the race to prevent catastrophic climate change, according to an international research team that took a close look at methane and nitrous oxide.

Cutting releases of methane and nitrous oxide, two gases that pound-for-pound trap more heat than CO2, should be considered alongside the challenge of reducing fossil fuel use, the scientists concluded in their analysis, published last week as an opinion commentary in Nature Climate Change, a professional journal.

“Because the Earth’s climate may be near a tipping point to major climate change, multiple approaches are needed for mitigation,” said Oregon State University forestry professor William Ripple. “We clearly need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels to cut CO2 emissions. But that addresses only part of the problem. We also need to reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases to lessen the likelihood of us crossing this climatic threshold,” Ripple said. Continue reading

Global CO2 emissions rising unchecked

CO2 graph

Co2 emissions are set to reach a record level this year.

New record level expected in 2013, with U.S. still by far the largest per capita source of greenhouse gases

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Just in time for the Warsaw climate talks, climate trackers with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia said global carbon dioxide emissions are set to soar to a new record high of 36 billion tons in 2013 — 61 percent above the 1990 baseline levels set for the Kyoto Protocol.

“Governments meeting in Warsaw this week need to agree on how to reverse this trend. Emissions must fall substantially and rapidly if we are to limit global climate change to below two degrees. Additional emissions every year cause further warming and climate change,” said the Tyndall Centre’s Professor Corinne Le Quére, who led the global carbon budget report.

“Alongside the latest Carbon Budget is the launch of the Carbon Atlas, a new online platform showing the world’s biggest carbon emitters more clearly than ever before,” Le Quére said, explaining that China’s growing economy is driving the growth in greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

Climate: Global CO2 emissions to hit record high in 2012

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U.S. still by far the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — As delegates to the COP 18 climate talks in Doha, Qatar struggle to find agreement on basic issues — like how to account accurately for greenhouse gas emissions — the Global Carbon Project is reporting that carbon dioxide emissions will climb by 2.6 percent in 2012 to reach a record high of 35.6 billion tons in 2012.

The biggest contributors to global emissions in 2011 were China (28 per cent), the United States (16 per cent), the European Union (11 per cent), and India (7 per cent). Overall, 2012 emissions are now 58 percent higher than in 1990, the baseline year for targets set under the Kyoto Protocol. Continue reading

Global warming: Inching ahead at Bonn climate talks

‘Science is telling us on a repeated basis … that current mitigation efforts are not sufficient’

NASA’s monthly mapping tool shows temperature anomalies in April 2012.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Two weeks of climate talks in Bonn following up on the last year’s Durban summit didn’t yield much progress in some critical areas, although the delegates did take some steps toward finding a way to extend the Kyoto Protocol and on finding ways to help the most poor and vulnerable countries deal with global warming impacts.

The next round of climate talks is set for Doha, Qatar in November, when delegates are to decide on how long the extension of the Kyoto agreement should be, as an interim step before adopting a legally binding climate treaty in 2015.

The Doha meeting is also aimed at defining the precise emission reduction commitments of industrialized countries that have obligations under the Kyoto agreement.

United Nations climate officials tried to paint the Bonn talks in the best possible light, emphasizing the baby steps toward progress, while downplaying the fact that key players, particularly India and China, are balking. Continue reading

Global warming: Interim climate talks start in Bonn

Tough path ahead to implement Durban agreements

April 2012 temperature anomalies.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Global warming will once again take the center of the world political stage this week, with interim climate talks in Bonn, Germany, aimed at trying to nail down a few more details on agreements reached in principal at last December’s COP 17 in Durban.

The South African sessions ended with all countries, including China and India, agreeing that worldwide carbon reductions are needed. The hard part is how to get there. That’s what delegates will be discussing in Bonn this week. Continue reading

Global warming: COP17 Climate talks down to the wire

Draft deal targets legally binding agreement on emissions

A NASA photo taken from the International Space Station shows sunlight glinting off the Amazon River floodplain.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Politics, economics and science clashed once again at the COP17 climate talks in Durban, but after a week of maneuvering and posturing, world leaders in the end did manage to draw up a document that once again acknowledges the threat of global warming and calls for renewed efforts to cut greenhouse gases.

The draft agreement released Friday calls for the “widest possible cooperation by all countries … with a view to accelerate the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

The agreement also expresses “grave concern” about the significant gap between promises and realities and aims to create a legally binding protocol that would commit countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

Global warming: 10 million Facebook votes wanted

Atmospheric CO2 levels measured at Mauna Loa.

Campaign targets action at  COP 17 in Durban

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A new initiative launched in Germany this week aims to harness the power of social media, and Facebook in particular, to show world leaders that citizens of the world want action, and not just words, on climate change.

The Climate Vote Project website went live Aug. 15, steering people toward a Facebook page, where organizers are hoping get 10 million “Likes” by the time government ministers assemble in Durban, South Africa in late November for the COP 17 UN climate conference. Continue reading

Commentary: Carbon tax needed to curb CO2 emissions

A map from the United Nations Environmental Programme shows relative CO2 production worldwide.

Leading climate economist argues that carbon tax would reflect true cost of global warming impacts

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The oft-discussed cap and trade model for limiting carbon greenhouse gas emissions is inefficient and ineffective, according to Yale climate economist William Nordhaus, who last week advocated for supplementing or replacing cap-and-trade with a flat carbon tax that reflects the true environmental and societal costs of global warming.

Writing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Nordhaus describes carbon dioxide emissions externalities, with social consequences not accounted for in the market place. They are market failures because people do not pay for the current and future costs of their emissions, he wrote. A carbon tax could be a useful means to cut budget deficits while meeting environmental objectives, he said. Continue reading

Climate Leaks: Leadership needed on global warming

Who will show leadership on global warming?

Conservation groups try to spark grassroots activism

By Jon Harrington

The UNFCCC convention in Cancun has officially started. Mexico President Felipe Calderon has addressed the conference with a stirring speech on how the World must come together to address CO2 emissions and the resulting climate change. He said there needs to be a sense of urgency in these reductions as climate change is happening now with devastating effects for Mexico and other countries around the globe.

President Calderón cited last year’s hurricane in Mexico, this year’s floods in Pakistan and fires in Russia as examples of increasing incidences of natural disasters brought about by climate change and already affecting the poorest and most vulnerable.

Calling on negotiators in Cancún to make progress in the interest of their children and grandchildren, he said that the “eyes of the world” were focused on the meeting.

“Climate change is an issue that affects life on a planetary scale,” he said. “What this means is that you will not be here alone negotiating in Cancún. By your side, there will be billions of human beings, expecting you to work for all of humanity.” Continue reading

Climate Leaks: EarthUp covers COP 16 in Cancun

"How do we sleep while the beds are burning?" ~ Midnight Oil

Mexico President Felipe Calderón opens COP 16

Editor’s note: Jon Harrington, renewable energy advocate and owner of Silverthorne’s Alpine Earth Center, is traveling to Cancun this week and will be offering his perspectives on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Harrington will post updates regularly at Summit Voice on the proceedings at COP16.

“There are 194 nations that have signed the Kyoto Accord,” Harrington said. “With the U.S. not being one of them, I will be traveling to Cancun this week to understand what the world is doing to combat climate change, and why the U.S. is on the sidelines.”

The following are the remarks by the President of the United Mexican States, Felipe Calderón during the Inauguration of the 16th International Conference on Climate Change, COP16/CMP6, which is taking place in Cancun, Mexico. Continue reading

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