Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Climate-Related News 5/29/09

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I’m going to talk about two news articles I saw this week.  The first is about Arctic methane concentration levels rising.  After 10 years of no change in concentration values, methane concentrations rose in 2007 and 2008 by 0.6% each year.  While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it is important to remember that methane is 25 times as effective a greenhouse gas as is carbon dioxide.  It therefore takes much less of a rise in concentration to effect the climate in the same way.  The biggest problem is that nobody knows for certain what the source of the new methane is.  Finding that out would give scientists a better idea of how much of an impact on the climate it is likely to have.

Carbon pollution is expected to rise by at least 40% worldwide by 2030 if emissions aren’t cut.  Most of the forecasted rise comes from the BRIC developing countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China.  Ways must be found to bring these countries into the 21st century, technologically and economically speaking, without endangering the planet.  It’s a fact that is acknowledged by climate scientists who are trying to bring increased focus to societal impacts due to climate change as part of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report, due to be issued in 2013.

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