Scientists have quantified for the first time how vegetation across the African continent has changed in the past 20 years. Thirty six per cent of the continent has become greener, while 11 per cent is becoming less green. The study challenges the view that Africa is undergoing a sustained loss of trees and bushes. –Kristian Sjøgren, Science Nordic, 28 May 2017
Global warming is spurring so much plant growth that some parts of Earth are starting to cool, according to study released Thursday by Ghent University. The study concluded that rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing an increase in plant life, which generally has a moderate cooling impact on the local climate. In warm areas, CO2 emissions increase the amount of leaf cover, leading to localized cooling. Cooler places see the opposite, with temperatures rising slightly since less sunlight is being reflected back from the surface from increased leaf coverage. In total, researchers say that these effects have mitigated global warming by roughly 14 percent. –Andrew Follett, Daily Caller, 27 May 2017
A study meant to debunk a claim made by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt in his confirmation hearing ended up doing the opposite — it proved him right. The study, published Thursday in the journal Nature, found that Pruitt’s claim of a “leveling off of warming” over the past two decades is unsupported by satellite-derived temperature data, which measures the lowest few miles of the atmosphere. Based on what Pruitt actually told Congress in January, however, the study essentially proves that he was correct. Meteorologist Ryan Maue pointed out on Twitter that data presented in the study shows a slowdown in warming in the last 20 years. Maue also noted how authors used several studies on the “hiatus” in their citations, but refused to use the term in the study. –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 25 May 2017
President Trump refuses to bow to pressure from world leaders on climate change and insists he’ll do ‘what’s best for the United States’. Donald Trump says he will announce his ‘final decision’ on whether or not the US will stay in the Paris climate agreement next week. The president’s surprise announcement came in the form of a tweet, which he sent on Saturday morning – the final day of his first international trip. ‘I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!’ Trump wrote. The president earlier declined to comment about the accord, as he refused to give into intense international pressure. —Daily Mail, 27 May 2017
Following their tense and grumpy meeting this week the Pope cheekily presented Donald Trump with a parting gift: his 165-page Encyclical on Care for our Common Home, better known as Laudato Si, in which he outlines his commitment to action on climate change. But then Trump was never the intended audience. The critical question is whether, in the two years since it was released ahead of the Paris climate conference, the papal encyclical has shifted opinion among Catholics. And unfortunately the answer is “probably not”. Three major US studies have found that liberal Catholics were far more motivated and inspired by the encyclical than conservative Catholics. What was more surprising, though, was that the encyclical actually increased polarisation. Research by Yale University found that following the publication of the encyclical the number of Catholics who strongly trusted the Pope as a source of information about global warming increased by a quarter. The number who strongly distrusted him doubled. –George Marshall, Climate Home, 26 May 2017
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