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As scientists last week projected atmospheric carbon dioxide is on track to reach 400 parts per million by month end,  other news bytes about the noxious GHG percolates across the internets.

Some snippets:

Unburnable fuel
Either governments are not serious about climate change or fossil-fuel firms are overvalued

Several recent reports suggest that markets are now overlooking the risk of “unburnable carbon”. The share prices of oil, gas and coal companies depend in part on their reserves. The more fossil fuels a firm has underground, the more valuable its shares. But what if some of those reserves can never be dug up and burned?

If governments were determined to implement their climate policies, a lot of that carbon would have to be left in the ground, says Carbon Tracker, a non-profit organisation, and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, part of the London School of Economics. Their analysis starts by estimating the amount of carbon dioxide that could be put into the atmosphere if global temperatures are not to rise by more than 2°C, the most that climate scientists deem prudent. The maximum, says the report, is about 1,000 gigatons (GTCO2) between now and 2050. The report calls this the world’s “carbon budget”.

European carbon market in trouble
LONDON — As the centerpiece of Europe’s pledge to lead the global battle against climate change, the region’s market for carbon emissions effectively turned pollution into a commodity that could be traded like gold or oil. But the once-thriving pollution trade here has turned into a carbon bust.

Under the system, 31 nations slapped emission limits on more than 11,000 companies and issued carbon credits that could be traded by firms to meet their new pollution caps. More efficient ones could sell excess carbon credits, while less efficient ones were compelled to buy more. By August 2008, the price for carbon emission credits had soared above $40 per ton — high enough to become an added incentive for some companies to increase their use of cleaner fuels, upgrade equipment and take other steps to reduce carbon footprints.

‘Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change’ by Andrew Guzman
The dedication of Andrew Guzman’s book makes obvious what he hopes to convey in the couple of hundred pages to follow. “To Nicholas and Daniel,” he writes, referring to his sons, “Whose Generation Will Face The Consequences.”

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... if things fall apart under a 2-degree scenario, how much worse would it be if the rise reached 4 degrees, which is what might very well happen given the current rate of global carbon emissions?

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“There should be no mistaking the fact that this will involve some economic sacrifice,” he writes. “Our lives are easier because energy is plentiful and inexpensive, but we can no longer ignore the impact of our energy use on the climate.” Unless we impose a higher price on carbon, he warns, “we will trigger human tragedy on a scale the world has never seen.”

Scrap fuel subsidies and price CO2, urges World Bank
LONDON, May 6 (Reuters Point Carbon) – The world’s nations must scrap fossil fuel subsidies and put a price on emitting carbon dioxide if the planet is to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the president of the World Bank.

The two measures are part of a five-point plan that the bank urged the world’s environment ministers to take, including building low carbon cities, improving agricultural practices and sharing new technology that will save energy.

“We need a global response equal to the scale of the climate problem. Bold action that will make the biggest difference,” Jim Yong Kim told about 30 of the world’s energy and environment ministers gathered in Berlin for informal talks on a new global climate deal to take effect in 2020.

Other Climate News

NASA: Climate change will make rainfall patterns more extreme

A NASA-led modeling study provides new evidence that global warming may increase the risk for extreme rainfall and drought.

The study shows for the first time how rising carbon dioxide concentrations could affect the entire range of rainfall types on Earth.

Analysis of computer simulations from 14 climate models indicates wet regions of the world, such as the equatorial Pacific Ocean and Asian monsoon regions, will see increases in heavy precipitation because of warming resulting from projected increases in carbon dioxide levels. Arid land areas outside the tropics and many regions with moderate rainfall could become drier.

The analysis provides a new assessment of global warming’s impacts on precipitation patterns around the world. The study was accepted for publication in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Ocean acidification and warming waters threaten future of U.S. fisheries
Ocean acidification and climate change are among the top long-term threats to fisheries to be discussed this week at a conference on U.S. fishing policy. These issues should be considered as part of an ecosystem-based approach to protecting marine life, as outlined in a report on the state of U.S. fisheries released in advance of the conference by Pew Charitable Trusts and the Ocean Conservancy.
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Climate change could reduce India’s key crop yields by 18% in 2020

Climate change is likely to bring down the production of key foodgrain crops like wheat and rice in the country by up to 18% in 2020, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said today.

"Climate change is projected to reduce timely sown irrigated wheat production by about 6% in 2020. In case of late sown wheat, the projected levels are to the extent of 18%," Pawar said in the Rajya Sabha.

Further reduction by up to 25% in crop yields are projected in 2080, he noted.

Similarly, a 4% fall in crop yield of irrigated rice and 6% in rain-fed rice is seen due to climate changes by 2020

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Report: Warming threatens Southwest's power grid
Wildfires, drought, higher demand could stress electric supply

The Southwest's power grid could become more vulnerable to climate change over the coming decades, says a new report led by University of Arizona researchers.

A growing number of future extreme heat and drought incidents could increase threats to electricity supplies, says the report on Southwest climate change, coordinated by UA and released Thursday. The 500-page report was prepared by 120 scientists around the nation, with five UA researchers as lead editors.

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