Monday, March 31, 2014

UN Says Climate Reducing Food Supply

Climate change 'already affecting food supply' – UN



Report by climate change panel says global warming is fuelling not only natural disasters, but potentially famine – and war
Climate change has already cut into the global food supply and is fuelling wars and natural disasters, but governments are unprepared to protect those most at risk, according to a report from the UN's climate science panel. 
Farmer wheat
Wheat could drop by 2% a decade
The report is the first update in seven years from the UN's international panel of experts, which is charged with producing the definitive account of climate change.
In that time, climate change has ceased to be a distant threat and made an impact much closer to home, the report's authors say. "It's about people now," said Virginia Burkett, the chief scientist for global change at the US geological survey and one of the report's authors. "It's more relevant to the man on the street. It's more relevant to communities because the impacts are directly affecting people – not just butterflies and sea ice."
The scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found evidence of climate change far beyond thawing Arctic permafrost and crumbling coral reefs – "on all continents and across the  oceans".
But it was the finding that climate change could threaten global food security that caught the attention of government officials from 115 countries who reviewed the report. "All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change," the report said.


Or Watch it Melt Away...



Friday, March 28, 2014

Coal Demand on Upswing


Coal Burning Brightly as Demand Returns With Economic Upswing






(NBC News) – The first thing you notice at the Spring Creek mine in Decker, Montana, is the size. It's a sprawling, 9,000-acre site in Big Sky Country near the Wyoming line.

Giant coal hauling trucks the size of two-story buildings zip around the complex with surprising ease, considering the fact that they are carrying 255 tons of coal per trip. The coal is loaded onto mile-long trains—each car carrying more than 100 tons—that leave the mine 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

At the same time, massive 13,000-ton cranes known as draglines slowly peel back strips of earth and rock 200 feet deep to reveal the rich, black, 80-foot seam of coal below. As the coal is removed, giant machines are filling the strip back in, then moving over like a gigantic lawn mower and starting the process all over again.

Despite the dizzying amount of activity at Spring Creek, production is steadily returning to what it was after the recession forced many coal producers to cut output as demand and prices slumped. Also, many utilities switched from coal to natural gas to fire their power generators plants as gas prices fell.

But the Spring Creek mine's owner, Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy, believes coal is poised for a comeback. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, sees a long-term horizon for coal.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fresh Water - Adds to METHANE BOMB!





Deadly Beautiful?

Global Warming Speeds Up Methane Emissions From Freshwater


By Tim Radford

(Climate News Network) – Methane or natural gas is a greenhouse gas. Weight for weight, it is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a century, and researchers have repeatedly examined the contribution of natural gas emitted by ruminant cattle to global warming. But Gabriel Yvon-Durocher of the University of Exeter and colleagues considered something wider: the pattern of response to temperature in those natural ecosystems that are home to microbes that release methane. 

They report in Nature that they looked at data from hundreds of field surveys and laboratory experiments to explore the speed at which the flow of methane increased with temperature.


How it Works
Microbes, algae, freshwater plants, and animals are all part of an active ecosystem and take their nourishment from and return waste to the atmosphere. Healthy plants take CO2 from the atmosphere with photosynthesis. Most of the methane in freshwater systems is produced by an important group of microbes called Archaea that live in waterlogged, oxygen-free sediments and play an important role in decay.

Plant uptake of CO2 is affected by temperature, and so is microbial methane production. Respiration also releases CO2. The questions the researchers set out to answer were: which gas is more likely to be released in greater quantities as temperatures rise? And is the outcome the same whether they examine the Archaea only, or all the microbes in an ecosystem, or the entire package of submerged freshwater life?


Possible Outcomes
  The answer is, the scientists say, that methane emissions go up with the mercury, and that the ratio of methane to CO2 also goes up in step with temperature. And the result is the same whether you consider the microbes or the whole ecosystem.

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