Jan 06 2014

Climate Roundup: New Study on Clouds, Climate Skeptics on Extreme Weather, and Kerry’s New Push for a Climate Treaty

Each week Uprising will analyze the most pressing climate change stories of the past week with our guest Kelly Mitchell, Coal Campaigner for Greenpeace.

A new study has revealed that the Earth’s temperature is expected to raise 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. The study, published in Nature, found that clouds, which reflect sunlight back into space, are diminishing over time because of global warming. Fewer clouds in turn, can exacerbate warming further. What the scientists found was that even 2 degrees of warming – which was thought to be the safe maximum limit – will lead to catastrophic results. If the planet continues on this trend, Greenland’s ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet are expected to melt and cause sea levels to rise. Click here for a Salon article about the study.

Recent extreme weather in the Northeastern United States and a Russian ship caught in the Antarctic’s ice have unleashed a tirade from the usual climate change skeptics. Donald Trump just tweeted, “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING “BS” has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice.” But, Mother Jones magazine blogs that even though the Northeast US is experiencing record low temperatures, “It’s blazing hot in Australia, with temperatures, in some regions, set to possibly soar above 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the coming days.” Click here for a Mother Jones blog post about this story.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has decided to take on climate change as a high priority in 2014 and is pursuing a global climate change treaty by 2015. The surprising move signals the Obama administration’s willingness to make climate change a priority in its second term, despite very little action in the past 5 years. The State Department made an announcement, calling President Obama’s goal of cutting emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 “ambitious but achievable.” Under Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used its authority to control carbon as pollution, effectively launching a moratorium on new coal plants. Click here for a Scientific American article about the story.

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