“Now no one can deny that the world is getting warmer.” The federally commissioned report [by over 240 scientists] reveals that the US is already reeling under the impact of global warming. [UK Guardian editorial]
Heatwaves, droughts, floods, intense downpours, rising sea levels and melting glaciers are now causing widespread havoc and are having an impact on a wide range of fronts including health services, infrastructure, water supply, agriculture, transport and flood defences.
Nor is there any doubt about the cause of these rising temperatures. “It is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuel,” the report states. As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere soar, temperatures rise and chaos ensues. Air pollution intensifies, wildfires increase, insect-borne diseases spread, confrontations over water rights become more violent and storm surges rise. This is the near future for America and for the rest of the world. Earth is set to become a hotter, drier, unhealthier, more uncomfortable, dangerous and more disaster-prone place in coming years.
… After poring over the 1,146 pages of the assessment, readers will be under no illusions about what is happening to our planet. The robustness of its rhetoric is especially striking because it contrasts so noticeably with the debate — or to be precise, lack of debate — on climate change that occurred during last year’s presidential campaigning.
Emergency rock blasting on a portion of the Mississippi River and a change in weather is giving the Army Corps of Engineers increasing confidence it can keep the river — a major conduit of bulk materials like grains, fertilizer and fuel oil — open to shippers through spring. [WSJ]
The question of whether Vermont’s only nuclear plant can continue operating without the approval of state regulators goes before a federal appeals court Monday in a dispute that has gained increasing attention nationally about the boundaries of federal authority over a controversial power source. [NYT]
The world could avoid much of the damaging effects of climate change this century if greenhouse gas emissions are curbed more sharply, research showed on Sunday. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first comprehensive assessment of the benefits of cutting emissions to keep the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, a level which scientists say would avoid the worst effects of climate change. [Reuters]
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the Senate’s top Republican lawmaker on energy policy, will shortly travel to Japan for meetings about nuclear power and exporting natural gas from her state. [The Hill]
Auto makers wrestling with ambitious mileage goals have touted hybrids and electrics as the wave of the future, but they have found a quicker path to improved fuel efficiency, reinventing the way traditional gas-powered cars are built. [WSJ]
BP wants a federal judge to rule that the roughly 800,000 barrels of oil that the government says was collected at the head of its runaway undersea Gulf of Mexico well in 2010 should not be counted in determining the company’s civil fine for Clean Water Act violations. [Fuel Fix]