Warming fuels rise in methane threat – Climate News Network

LONDON, 6 January, 2016 – There is fresh concern among scientists over the rises they are detecting in one of the chief greenhouse gases, methane. A team of researchers from universities in Sweden and the US says methane is increasing in the atmosphere fast enough for emissions of the gas possibly to rise by between 20% and 50% before the end of the century. Over a century, methane is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the main gas contributing to global warming. But over a 20-year period, methane is 84 times more potent than CO2. Many methane sources are poorly understood, including lakes at high northern latitudes. But the researchers hope this may change. Water bodies A study in Nature Geoscience describes how compiling previously reported measurements made at 733 northern water bodies − from small ponds formed by beavers to large lakes formed by permafrost thaw or ice-sheets – has enabled researchers to estimate emissions over large scales more accurately. “The release of methane from northern lakes and ponds needs to be taken seriously,” says study leader Martin Wik, a PhD student at the Department of Geological Sciences and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University. “These waters are significant, contemporary sources because they cover large parts of the landscape. They are also likely to emit even more methane in the future.” “Efforts to reduce human-induced warming are even more urgent in order to minimise this type of feedback of natural greenhouse gas emissions” Average temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as they are anywhere else in the world. At high northern latitudes, this warming means longer ice-free seasons. Together with permafrost thaw, this is likely to fuel methane release from lakes, potentially causing emissions to increase by between a fifth and a half by 2100. Change on this scale would probably generate a positive feedback in future warming, causing emissions to increase still further.  “This means that efforts to reduce human-induced warming are even more urgent in order to minimise this type of feedback of natural greenhouse gas emissions,” says a co-author of the study, David Bastviken, senior lecturer in environmental change at Linköping University. Sweden. “In a sense, every reduction in emissions from fossil fuels is a double victory.”

Faster than expected Two reports published last month raised concerns that methane emissions could be increasing faster than expected.

read the rest…

Source: Warming fuels rise in methane threat – Climate News NetworkClimate News Network

Global warming will be faster than expected — ScienceDaily

Global warming will progress faster than what was previously believed. The reason is that greenhouse gas emissions that arise naturally are also affected by increased temperatures. This has been confirmed in a new study that measures natural methane emissions. Share:  2188  0  61  45 Total shares:  4588 FULL STORY Greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels lead to higher temperatures, which in turn lead to increased natural emissions and further warming. – Linköping University

Source: Global warming will be faster than expected — ScienceDaily

UN weather agency says 2015 already the hottest year on record, smashing the record set last year

SETH BORENSTEIN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS  11.24.2015.

UN weather agency says 2015 already the hottest year on record, smashing the record set last year. Temperatures have reached their highest point since records began in 1880.

Source: UN weather agency says 2015 already the hottest year on record, smashing the record set last year

The Arctic Paradox Poses Questions about Sustainable Development – Guest Blog by Christine Russell – Scientific American Blog Network

Call it a contradiction of glacial proportions—an Arctic paradox. The world pushes for stronger protective measures to curb climate change scientists say is accelerating the destruction of the Arctic—melting ice sheets, thawing frozen soil and threatening the iconic polar bear.  Call it plan A. There is a contingency plan, however, that takes advantage of new Arctic opportunities—in shipping, mining, drilling and national security—if the big melt continues apace. Call it plan B.

Source: The Arctic Paradox Poses Questions about Sustainable Development – Guest Blog – Scientific American Blog Network

World will pass crucial 2C global warming limit, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

Carbon pledges from 147 nations to Paris climate summit ‘are not enough to stop temperature rise’, experts conclude

Source: World will pass crucial 2C global warming limit, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

World Is Locked into About 1.5°C Warming & Risks Are Rising, New Climate Report Finds

In the Andes of South America and across the mountains of Central Asia, the glaciers are receding. As temperatures continue to warm, their melting will bring more water to farms and cities earlier in the growing season, raising the risk of damaging floods. Within a few decades, however, the risk of flood in these areas will become risk of drought. Without action to stop the drivers of climate change, most of the Andean glaciers and two-thirds of Central Asia’s glaciers could be gone by the end of the century.These changes are already underway, with global temperatures 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, and the impact on food security, water supplies and livelihoods is just beginning.A new report explores the impact of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia and finds that warming of close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times is already locked into Earth’s atmospheric system by past and predicted greenhouse gas emissions. Without concerted action to reduce emissions, the planet is on pace for 2°C warming by mid-century and 4°C or more by the time today’s teenagers are in their 80s.The report warns that as temperatures rise, heat extremes on par with the heat waves in the United States in 2012 and Russia in 2010 will become more common. Melting permafrost will release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that will drive more warming in a dangerous feedback loop. Forests, including the Amazon, are also at risk. A world even 1.5°C will mean more severe droughts and global sea level rise, increasing the risk of damage from storm surges and crop loss and raising the cost of adaptation for millions of people.

Source: World Is Locked into About 1.5°C Warming & Risks Are Rising, New Climate Report Finds

Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet | Winkelmann, R. Levermann, A. Ridgwell, A. Caldeira, K. Science Advances

The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 m in global sea-level rise. We show in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

Source: Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet | Science Advances

We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian

We are trapped in a vicious cycle: we will need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people but agriculture, which is paradoxically vulnerable to climate change, generates 25% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. The more we grow using conventional methods, the more we exacerbate the problem. It’s time for a climate-smart agriculture but first we must address a few man-made problems.

First, there is a frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture in the current global climate talks leading up to the Paris conference later this year. By definition, food production affects all countries, rich and poor, and it is hard to imagine any effective post-Kyoto climate change agreement that ignores 25% of the problem. So, we need a climate change agreement where agriculture is a big part of the solution, and delivers a triple win: higher agricultural productivity to feed more people and raise the incomes of poor farmers – especially women, greater climate resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

via We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian.

“Humanity at risk “: climate scientist Schellnhuber speaks at the Vatican — from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Pope Francis’ much anticipated encyclical “Laudato Si” on inequality and the environment mirrors not only religious insights but also the findings of climate science. “Not the poor but the wealthy are putting our planet, and ultimately humanity, at risk,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), at the presentation of the encyclical in the Vatican today. “Those who profited least from the exploitation of fossil fuels and contributed least to greenhouse-gas emissions are hit hardest by global warming impacts, unless we strongly reduce emissions.” Schellnhuber is the only scientist who has been invited to speak, alongside Cardinal Peter Turkson. 

“Humanity at risk “: climate scientist Schellnhuber speaks at the Vatican — PIK Research Portal.

Climate change dominates marathon Shell annual general meeting | Business | The Guardian

Totally unacceptable and deliberately myopic argument from Shell executives at its annual general meeting.. To wait until the second half to this century is to consign the world to 6 degrees warming. that is not survivable.

“…Van Beurden said Shell would be at the forefront of change but that it needed to find more oil in the short term to meet the demands of population growth and economic development in emerging markets.

He rejected the idea that Shell could be left with “stranded assets” that cannot be extracted because climate change will make them unviable. He dismissed as a red herring the argument that there was a carbon bubble of investment in fossil fuels.

Van Beurden said in the second half of this century solar power would become dominant as a source of energy but that the world would have to rely on oil and other traditional fuels in the meantime.

Simon Henry, Shell’s finance director, said fossil fuels made up 80% of the world’s energy sources and that oil was needed to produce and transport food, make clothes and manufacture roofs. “Modern life would not be possible” without oil, he said.”

via Climate change dominates marathon Shell annual general meeting | Business | The Guardian.