• Current pace of environmental change unprecedented in Earth’s history

    Researchers have further documented the unprecedented rate of environmental change occurring today, compared to that which occurred during natural events in Earth’s history. The environmental change in the past “appears to have been far slower than that of today, taking place over hundreds of thousands of years, rather than the centuries over which human activity is increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels,” says a leading expert.

  • Extreme weather increasingly threatening U.S. power grid

    Power outages related to weather take out between $18 billion to $33 billion from the nation’s economy. Analysis of industry data found that these storms are a growing threat to, and the leading cause of outages in, the U.S. electric grid. The past decade saw power outages related to bad weather increase, which means that power companies must find a way address this problem.

  • Global electricity production vulnerable to climate change, water resource decline

    Climate change impacts and associated changes in water resources could lead to reductions in electricity production capacity for more than 60 percent of the power plants worldwide from 2040-2069. A new study calls for a greater focus on adaptation efforts in order to maintain future energy security. Making power plants more efficient and flexible could mitigate much of the decline.

  • Large and growing methane emissions from northern lakes

    Methane is increasing in the atmosphere, but many of its sources are poorly understood. Climate-sensitive regions in the north are home to most of the world’s lakes. New research shows that these northern freshwaters are critical emitters of methane, a more effective greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

  • Refugees in Germany; Swedish border checks; ISIS’s British medics; U.K. flood defenses

    German economist says Germany should expect a tough competition between refugees and poorer Germans; Sweden, as of midnight Sunday, began to impose strict identity checks of all travelers from Denmark; a British delegation, including an imam from London, has traveled to Sudan to try to dissuade young British doctors from joining ISIS; as parts of the United Kingdom braced themselves for more misery, the government’s storm-related actions are criticized.

  • As storms continue to batter U.K., estimates of cost rise

    As Storm Frank – which is following on the heels of Storms Eva and Desmond — continues to batter England, Scotland, and Wales, estimates of the cost of the damage wrought continue to rise. The total economic loss caused by the three Storms may well breach £3 billion – and these projections do not include any government spending on flood defenses, estimated to be between £2.3 billion and £2.8 billion.

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  • Climate-induced disasters linked to food security across time and place

    Teams of researchers in the American Southwest and North Atlantic Islands have found that historic and prehistoric peoples in these regions who had created vulnerabilities to food shortfall were especially susceptible to impacts from climate challenges. Their “natural” disasters were human made in conjunction with climate challenges.

  • U.K.: Economic costs from flooding could reach £1.5bn, reduce GDP growth

    Economic losses caused by the flooding which has devastated parts of Britain in the past few days could exceed 1.5 billion pounds, and shave 0.2-0.3 percent off GDP growth overall in the first quarter of 2016. Insurers will likely shoulder the bulk of the burden after first Storm Desmond and then Storm Eva saw waters swamp large swathes of the country.

  • U.K. government rejected flood warnings from own advisers

    Critics charge that the U.K. government was warned by both the government’s own climate change experts and outside consultants that there was a need to take urgent action to protect the increasing number areas in Britain which are becoming susceptible to flooding, but that the government rejected the advice. Despite the urging of its own climate experts, the U.K. government in October, just a few weeks before the devastating flooding in Cumbria, decided not to develop comprehensive strategy to address flood risk.

  • Climate change losses for Southeast Asia well above previous estimate: ADB

    Economic losses from the impacts of climate change in Southeast Asia could be 60 percent higher than previously estimated, reducing the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 11 percent by 2100, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study. The analysis is an update to a 2009 ADB report that estimated a 7 percent annual reduction in economic output due to climate change.

  • Giant comets may pose danger to life on Earth

    Astronomers report that the discovery of hundreds of giant comets in the outer planetary system over the last two decades means that these objects pose a much greater hazard to life than asteroids. The giant comets, termed centaurs, move on unstable orbits crossing the paths of the massive outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The planetary gravitational fields can occasionally deflect these objects in towards the Earth.

  • U.S., Israel to co-develop technologies for first responders

    Some $12 million will be funneled to collaborative Israeli-American projects for the development of advanced technologies for first responders over the next three years. The agreement brings together the Israeli Ministry of Public Security and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a drive to better equip and prepare both countries’ national rescue forces including fire, police, and first-aid units. Each side will invest equally in the project.

  • Rail line service disruptions caused by sea level rise to increase dramatically

    Rail services to and from the South West of England could be disrupted for more than 10 percent of each year by 2040 and almost a third by 2100, a new study suggests. The cost of maintaining tracks and sea defenses could also soar as predicted sea level rises, coupled with coastal storms and floods, pose major challenges for rail operators and governments.

  • Growing risks in flood-prone areas due to economic growth more than climate change

    Worldwide economic losses from river flooding could increase 20-fold by the end of the twenty-first century if no further actions on flood risk reduction are taken. There are two contributors to risks associated with river flooding. Floods’ frequency and severity (both influenced by climate change); and the exposure to floods of people and economic assets (determined by economic activity and human residency in flood-prone areas). Researchers calculate that in many flood-prone regions of the world, more than 70 percent of the increase in flood-related risks over the coming decades can be attributed to economic growth and residency patterns in flood prone areas.

  • Fracking-induced earthquakes increase in magnitude over time

    A study by geophysicists shows that earthquakes resulting from fracking-related wastewater injection follow several indicative patterns that are starkly different from natural causes. One of the study’s main conclusions is that the likelihood of large-magnitude manmade, or “induced,” earthquakes in areas where fracking activity takes place, increases over time, independent of the previous seismicity rate. The study’s findings could have implications for both the oil and natural gas industry and for government regulators. Under current practices, extraction activities typically shut down in an area if a high-magnitude earthquake occurs. But according to the researchers, a better approach might be to limit production before a large quake occurs.