Climate researchers have published a new paper this week in the journal Nature Climate Change that acknowledges there has been a global warming slowdown from 2000-2014. Their research shows a hiatus did indeed occur and continued into the 21st century, contradicting another study last June that said the hiatus was just an artifact that “vanishes when biases in temperature data are corrected.” This is not the first time activists have tried to hide the hiatus by using dodgy methods. –Thomas Richard, The Examiner, 24 February 2016
An apparent slowing in the rise of global temperatures at the beginning of the twenty-first century, which is not explained by climate models, was referred to as a “hiatus” or a “pause” when first observed several years ago. Climate-change sceptics have used this as evidence that global warming has stopped. But in June last year, a study in Science claimed that the hiatus was just an artefact which vanishes when biases in temperature data are corrected. Now a prominent group of researchers is countering that claim, arguing in Nature Climate Change that even after correcting these biases the slowdown was real. –Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 24 February 2016
You may have read that an Antarctic colony of penguins was trapped by an iceberg and died, killed by climate change. But there’s a twist: All parts of the story turn out to be untrue. Major news outlets ran with a widely mischaracterized study from Australian and New Zealand researchers in Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, saying enough penguins to fill three Yankee Stadiums had been trapped by an iceberg and, unable to fend for themselves, died. “I doubt widespread death and destruction, and the reason I doubt that is that the behavior of Adélie penguins has already been observed in similar circumstances,” said Dr. Michelle LaRue. Their migratory patterns were recorded in 2001 after the iceberg B-15 caused them to move, she said. The only thing The Daily Beast can confirm is that there are no zombie penguins, just zombie reporters. –Ben Collins, The Daily Beast, 22 February 2016
A decision by Japan’s environment ministry to abandon its opposition to building new coal-fired power stations casts doubt on the industry’s ability to meet targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, experts and environmental activists said. The environment ministry’s recent reversal puts Japan further out of step with other industrialized economies that have been restricting coal to meet commitments on carbon emissions agreed between 200 nations in Paris two months ago. Companies are rushing to build 43 coal-fired plants or 20.5 gigawatt of capacity in coming years, about a 50 percent increase. –Yuka Obayashi, Reuters, 24 February 2016
The UN isn’t going to sanction the U.S. if the Clean Power Plan is binned, and this lack of an enforceability mechanism is one of the key problems with any international approach to climate change. The United States isn’t the only country whose court system or domestic politics are going to make it difficult to achieve the goals set in Paris, but there’s nothing beyond “naming and shaming” that the international community can do to cajole a country into sticking to the deal. We knew in the run-up to the Paris summit that any deal reached would be little more than a green version of the Kellogg-Briand pact, and now we’re seeing that in action. It sure didn’t take long. The American Interest, 21 February 2016
More than 200 members of Congress are backing a court challenge to President Barack Obama’s plan to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. A brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington argues that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its legal authority and defied the will of Congress by regulating carbon dioxide emissions. —Associated Press, 23 February 2016
Cheap coal, oil and natural gas are outcompeting wind and solar power despite massive government support, and environmentalists are really upset about it. “I believe low energy prices may complicate the transformation, to be very frank, and this is a very important issue for countries to note; all the strong renewables and energy efficiency policies therefore may be undermined with the low fossil fuel prices,” Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), told reporters in Brussels Thursday. Environmentalists are also terrified that the rise of cheap conventional energy will hurt wind and solar. –Andrew Follett, The Daily Caller, 22 February 2016
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