Environment Correspondent
Deborah's Feed
Nov 15, 2010

Troposphere is warming too, decades of data show

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Not only is Earth’s surface warming, but the troposphere — the lowest level of the atmosphere, where weather occurs — is heating up too, U.S. and British meteorologists reported on Monday.

In a review of four decades of data on troposphere temperatures, the scientists found that warming in this key atmospheric layer was occurring, just as many researchers expected it would as more greenhouse gases built up and trapped heat close to the Earth.

Nov 15, 2010

Q+A: Who’s winning the climate science vs skeptics battle?

Following is the second in a series of Q+As on major climate change themes.

By Deborah Zabarenko

(Reuters) – In the battle between climate change scientists and skeptics who question the connection between human activities and global warming, location matters.

While signs of a warming world has been truly global in 2010, from fast-melting Arctic ice to floods in Pakistan and fires in Russia, attitudes about whether this can be blamed on human-generated greenhouse gas emissions differ widely.

Nov 1, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Steven Chu: Energy Secretary, Nobel Laureate, Zombie

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You sort of have to like a U.S. cabinet secretary and Nobel Prize winner who knows how to have a little fun while getting out a message.

That would be Steven Chu, who posted a picture of himself as a green-faced, blood-dripping zombie on his Facebook page. Just in time for Washington’s scrupulously-observed Halloween weekend, Chu used his own zombification as a platform to point out power-sucking appliances — energy vampires, he called them.

Oct 27, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Green energy aspirations for Obama’s India visit

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When Barack Obama heads for India next month, he’ll be carrying a heavy policy agenda — questions over the handling of nuclear material, the outsourcing of U.S. jobs and India’s status as a growing economic power, along with regional relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan. But Rajendra Pachauri, the Nobel Peace laureate who heads the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, hopes the U.S. president has time to focus on clean energy too.

Even as Pachauri and the U.N. panel evolve — and as Pachauri himself weathers pressure from some quarters to resign — he urged Obama to work on U.S.-India projects that he said would enhance global energy security.

Oct 21, 2010

Warmer Arctic probably permanent, scientists say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The signs of climate change were all over the Arctic this year — warmer air, less sea ice, melting glaciers — which probably means this weather-making region will not return to its former, colder state, scientists reported on Thursday.

In an international assessment of the Arctic, scientists from the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark and other countries said, “Return to previous Arctic conditions is unlikely.”

Oct 20, 2010
via Environment Forum

Backyard tigers

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Would you keep a tiger as a pet?

A puppy-sized tiger cub can be bought in the United States for as little as $200, and there are probably about 5,000 such backyard tigers across the country, about the same number of privately owned tigers in China, according to World Wildlife Fund.

That is far greater than the approximately 3,200 wild tigers worldwide, compared to the estimated 100,000 wild tigers a century ago. The growing number of these animals in captivity poses a threat to the species in the wild, WWF reports.

Oct 19, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Political Surrogate Smackdown!

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You can tell it’s autumn in Washington: the leaves are changing color, Congress has flown away and the political surrogates are in full cry. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, the full cry of the surrogate can often be heard from coast to coast — or at least from Broadway to Reno, Nevada.

Surrogates can do things the candidates can’t, sparring with words most candidates don’t use in places some candidates wouldn’t go. That’s why they’re fun to watch when they figuratively put up their dukes in the struggle before the November 2 vote.

Oct 19, 2010

Drought could hit world’s populous areas: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some of the world’s most populous areas — southern Europe, northern Africa, the western U.S. and much of Latin America — could face severe, even unprecedented drought by 2100, researchers said on Tuesday.

Increasing drought has long been forecast as a consequence of climate change, but a new study from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research projects serious impact by the 2030s. Impacts by century’s end could go beyond anything in the historical record, the study suggests.

Oct 18, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

The chill of the Chandra Levy murder trial

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The Washington summer of Chandra Levy seems to belong to another era — one where a missing government intern and a straying congressman dominated headlines and chatter in the U.S. capital. Congress was somnolent, the country was at peace and prosperous and a new president was learning the ropes. The big concern at the Pentagon was making the U.S. military more efficient in a process dubbed “transformation.” It was the summer of 2001.

It’s now the autumn of 2010, more than nine years since Levy disappeared from her apartment on May 1, 2001, and the trial of a suspect in her murder is at hand. Between then and now, the world has changed. The 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania banished the Levy case to the back pages of newspapers and a brief mention in newscasts (this was before news a la Facebook or Twitter). The military moved away from “transformation” to war in Afghanistan.

Oct 14, 2010
via Environment Forum

Could “putting the cow inside the plant” make a new biofuel?

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The Next Big Thing in biofuel might involve genetically engineered plants that digest themselves, making it cheaper to turn them into fuel. That’s one of the new ideas that Arun Majumdar finds fascinating. As the head of the U.S. Energy Department’s ARPA-E – the path-breaking agency that aims come up with efficient, green energy solutions — Majumdar said this concept is one of a few dozen that are in the development stage now.

Majumdar let his enthusiasm show as he described this project at the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit on Thursday. He was talking about a project in its early stages at Massachusetts-based Agrivida.

    • About Deborah

      "I started with Reuters in 1986 in New York City, moving to Washington DC two years later. I've covered the Winter Olympics in Calgary and Salt Lake City, a couple wars, the State Department, White House, Pentagon, several long trials and a presidential sex scandal. Since 2006, I've been reporting on the environment and climate change."
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