Climate Task Force

Daily Forecast: Today’s Online Buzz on Environmental Issues

Experts are concerned over increasing temperatures in Lake Superior, who view the Great Lake as a bellwether for future climate trends. Total ice has reportedly decreased 20 percent during the past 37 years and lake temperature is expected to exceed the past high of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lake Superior, a Huge Natural Climate Change Gauge, Is Running a Fever

Dina Fine Marion – New York Times

The Great Lakes are feeling the heat from climate change. As the world’s largest freshwater system warms, it is poised to systematically alter life for local wildlife and the tribes that depend on it, according to regional experts. And the warming could also provide a glimpse of what is happening on a more global level, they say. “The Great Lakes in a lot of ways have always been a canary in the coal mine,” Cameron Davis, the senior adviser to the U.S. EPA on the Great Lakes, said last week. “Not just for the region or this country, but for the rest of the world.” And it seems the canary’s song is growing ever more halting.

China Passes U.S. as World’s Biggest Energy Consumer

Spencer Swartz – Wall Street Journal

China is now the world’s biggest energy consumer, knocking the U.S. off a perch it held for more than a century, according to new data from the International Energy Agency. The Paris-based agency, whose forecasts are generally regarded as bellwether indicators for the energy industry, said China devoured 2,252 million tons of oil equivalent last year, or about 4% more than the U.S., which burned through 2,170 million tons of oil equivalent. The oil-equivalent metric represents all forms of energy consumed, including crude oil, nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable sources such as hydropower.

Coral Species in Red Sea Barely Growing, Thanks to Global Warming

Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer – Tree Hugger

Global warming is wreaking havoc on plant and animal populations around the world: Polar bear habitats are melting, giant trees in Yosemite are thinning, and branched coral in the Caribbean has been largely killed by bleaching due to warmer water temperatures. Now researchers believe global warming is also responsible for slowed growth of one species of coral in the Red Sea. A new study published in Science and conducted by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) used CT scans to determine that growth of diploastrea heliopora coral has dropped by 30 percent, and they fear it could stop growing altogether by 2070, if not sooner.

Google Earth Map Now Highlighting Effects of Climate Change

Zachary Shahan – Planet Save

Using peer-reviewed science and Google Earth technology, a new map shows what will happen if the global average temperature goes 4°C above the pre-industrial average. Climate change is very abstract, even to those who think, read, and write about it a lot (ahem…). Creating visuals that show what will happen (or is happening) as a result of climate change are important to stimulate more action to slow or stop climate change.

Climate Panel Clarifies Its Media Plan

Andrew Revkin – New York Times’ Dot Earth

One of my high school English teachers, Carlton J. Pinheiro, was a big fan of Mark Twain and once told us that the humorist supposedly had an interesting way of writing a letter. He’d write the missive, rip it up, and then write the letter he would actually send. Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has done the next best thing, sending a letter clarifying the panel’s media policy to the 831 lead authors and review editors of its next set of assessments. He had tried to do this in a letter sent last week, but the first attempt  created a stir by suggesting that the authors “keep a distance” from reporters.

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