Tag Archives: global warming

World’s energy systems vulnerable to climate impacts, report warns

Power plants and electricity distribution networks are particularly vulnerable to droughts and floods.Power plants and electricity distribution networks are particularly vulnerable to droughts and floods. Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters

Rising sea levels, extremes of weather and an increase in the frequency of droughts and floods will all play havoc with the world’s energy systems as climate change takes hold, a new report has found.

Energy companies are more often cited as part of the problem of climate change, generating the lion’s share of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, amounting to around 40% of the total. But they will also suffer as global warming picks up pace, as generators – from nuclear reactors to coal-fired power plants – feel the brunt of the weather changes.

Many large plants are particularly at risk from droughts, because they need water to cool their facilities, and floods, because they lack protection from sudden storms. Electricity distribution networks are also likely to be affected.

The vulnerability of energy systems to natural shocks was shown starkly when the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan had to be closed down following the 2011 tsunami, which prompted governments around the world to review their nuclear policies.

The World Energy Council (WEC), which compiled the study along with Cambridge University and the European Climate Foundation, urged generators to examine their vulnerability to climate change, saying that with suitable adaptations – such as protecting power plants from water shortages and building resilience into power networks – the worst of the problems could be avoided.  Continue reading

Americans care deeply about ‘global warming’ – but not ‘climate change’

Researchers found that the term 'global warming' resonates far more powerfully, triggering images of ice melt and catastrophe.Researchers found that the term ‘global warming’ resonates far more powerfully, triggering images of ice melt and catastrophe. Photo: Peter McBride /Barcroft

Barack Obama, scientists and campaigners have all looked at how to engage Americans more powerfully on the environment. Now researchers have come up with one critical piece of advice: do say “global warming”, don’t say “climate change”.

New research released on Tuesday found Americans care more deeply when the term “global warming” is used to describe the major environmental challenge. “Climate change”, in contrast, leaves them relatively cold.

The two terms are often used interchangeably but they generate very different responses, the researchers from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications said.

“Those two terms get heard and interpreted in very different ways,” Anthony Leiserowitz, a research scientist at Yale and one of the lead authors, told The Guardian. “The choice of these two terms really does matter, depending on who you are talking to.”

The term “global warming” resonates far more powerfully, triggering images of ice melt, extreme weather and catastrophe. Mention “climate change”, however, and many Americans begin to disengage, the researchers found.

The researchers found naming the issue as “global warming” rather than climate change made it easier to connect. Americans in general were 13% more likely to say that global warming was a bad thing.

The differences were even more pronounced among Latinos, African-Americans, women, and young people.

Latinos were 30% more likely to view global warming as a personal threat, compared to climate change. African-Americans were 20% more likely to rate global warming as a very big risk, compared to climate change.  Continue reading

Doubling of Antarctic ice loss revealed by European satellite

Doubling of Antarctic ice loss revealed by European satelliteAdelie penguins in east Antarctica. Although most melting of the continent’s ice is happening in the west, even the east is now shedding ice Photograph: STAFF/REUTERS

Antarctica is shedding 160 billion tonnes a year of ice into the ocean, twice the amount of a few years ago, according to new satellite observations. The ice loss is adding to the rising sea levels driven by climate change and even east Antarctica is now losing ice.

The new revelations follows the announcement last week that the collapse of the western Antarctica ice sheet has already begun and is unstoppable, although it may take many centuries to complete.

Global warming is pushing up sea level by melting the world’s major ice caps and by warming and expanding oceans waters. The loss of the entire western Antarctica ice sheet would eventually cause up to 4 metres (13ft) of sea-level rise, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world.

The new data, published in journal Geophysical Research Letters, comes from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite, which was launched in 2010.  Continue reading

White Star Line RMS Titanic

The Guardian tries to claim global warming sank the RMS Titanic – research says the exact opposite

The photo of the iceberg that sank purportedly the Titanic.The photo of the iceberg that purportedly sank the Titanic. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office

Kate Ravilious makes this nutty claim at The Guardian:

But in fact the catastrophe may have been set in motion by a warm, wet year over Greenland in 1908, resulting in greater snow accumulation. Writing in the journal Weather, Grant Bigg and David Wilton of Sheffield University explain how the snow soaked through cracks in the ice sheet, encouraging excess iceberg calving over the following few years. Soberingly, global warming has increased iceberg hazard greatly in recent decades, making years like 1912 more the norm than the exception.


Yeah, but have a look at what this research actually says and you’ll understand why The Guardian is nothing more than agitprop.

Titanic Sunk During Average Iceberg Year

“more than a century of Atlantic iceberg counts reveals 1912 was an average year for dangerous floating ice.”

Old Coast Guard records are throwing cold water on a long-standing explanation for the loss of the Titanic: the suggestion that the fateful journey took place in waters bristling with icebergs, making 1912 an unlucky year to sail the North Atlantic.

Instead, more than a century of Atlantic iceberg counts reveals 1912 was an average year for dangerous floating ice. The findings also contradict a popular notion that the Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier on Greenland’s west coast birthed the Titanic’s deadly ‘berg. Instead, a computer model suggests that one of the glaciers at Greenland’s southern tip released the iceberg that hit the Titanic on April 14, 1912, drowning more than 1,500 people in the frigid ocean.

“I think the question of whether this was an unusual year has been laid to rest,” said Grant Bigg, an environmental scientist at the University of Sheffield and lead study author, adding, “1912 is not an exceptional year.”

Continue reading


Environmental: What climate denial, oil addiction and xenophobia have in common: Neocons

In February, Roy Greenslade reported that US conservative media outfit Breitbart News Network was expanding into the British media scene with the establishment of a London office. Heading up Breitbart’s new UK operations are executive editor James Delingpole and managing editor Raheem Kassem.

The expansion – which Delingpole himself effectively concedes is about “pandering to readers’ prejudices” to maximise profits – reveals the worrying extent to which the forces behind climate denial and racism are one and the same: “American conservativism” of the “right-wing libertarianist” kind.


Given Delingpole’s track record of fundamentalist opposition to climate science at the Telegraph, it is hardly surprising that Breitbart UK’s environmental reporting standards sink to an unprecedented low.

In one story this month, for instance, Delingpole lauded a new US poll which found that: “More Americans believe in God than in man-made global warming.” Only thirty-three per cent of respondents, the poll showed, are confident that average global temperatures are rising mostly due to human-caused greenhouse gasses.

Breitbart comes to London, and the results are a sorry stain on British journalism

Delingpole mockingly dismissed the explanation of Nobel Prize winning biochemist, Prof Robert Leftkowitz: that public opinion is being misled by “the force of concerted campaigns to discredit scientific fact” – largely funded by the fossil fuel industry, as documented in a recent extensive study in Climatic Change.

Rather, said Delingpole:

“Perhaps he should venture out of the biochemistry lab a bit more often. If he did so, he would realise that the 67 per cent who had doubts about greenhouse gas theory are almost certainly correct.”

Delingpole’s scientific evidence for this is the alleged inability of broadly accurate if conservative (rather than alarmist) computer models to account for “real world data” – data which he completely fails to understand, hence his endorsement of the fictional “pause in global warming since 1997.”


Similarly, another story this month by Breitbart political correspondent, Andre Walker – a former Tory political aide who resigned after being caught plotting to smear a deputy council leader lent unwarranted credence to a new report by the anti-climate policy advocacy group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

One of GWPF’s funders is Tory Party donor Michael Hintze, head of $5bn hedge-fund CQS which operates in the oil finance industry, among other areas. The report claimed that “environmentalism” had come to “permeate school curricula across the UK,” resulting in children being “brainwashed” by climate change activism.  Continue reading