Schoolkids might soon know more about climate change than you do. Millions of young Americans will finally be taught, in a methodical manner, about the science behind the biggest threat to their generation: climate change.
Inside Climate News reports that new national science standards, which will make global warming lessons a part of the public school curriculum, are expected to be adopted by the 26 states that helped craft them. Another 15 states have indicated that they may also adopt the standards. Textbook publisher McGraw-Hill thinks that number could climb even higher.
That's the message from Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La). She is among the lawmakers who say the federal government needs to cut the company some slack and allow it to bid on Gulf Coast drilling leases when they're auctioned off by the Department of Interior later this month. The company was temporarily banned by the EPA in November from bidding on new leases because of the "lack of business integrity" it demonstrated "with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response."
That ban has now dragged into its fourth hellish month and has so far prevented the company from bidding at one entire auction. Enough is enough, as far as Landrieu is concerned.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself at your favorite beach. Swells rise around your tanned hips. A bottle of beer and a joint are held safe and dry above your head. You’re sporting a revealing little bathing suit over a younger version of your hot self, airbrushed to perfection using the power of imagination. And there are no cops around to spoil the fun.
Now imagine what that beach would look like if the water was 15 feet higher. Your beer and your ganja are now full of saltwater, and you’re struggling just to keep your head above the waves. Unless your favorite beach is at the bottom of a cliff, nearby buildings are under water, taken over by invasive communities of pineapple-dwelling, square pants-wearing sponges.
That’s not some outrageous scenario dreamed up by liberal scientists with global warming agendas. (The sponge bit was admittedly outrageous, but you can blame me, not the scientists, for it.) No, it’s where sea levels were 120,000 years ago: 15 feet higher than they are today.
Fast forward to 20,000 years ago, when the world was nearing the end of an ice age. Vast stretches of today’s oceans were ice cubes, and as a result, sea levels were 400 feet lower than they are today. What now are tropical near-shore islands back then were frigid hills.
The seas rose again between 20,000 and 6,000 years ago. Then they started rising again early in the 19th century. (Whatever else was happening during the early 19th century, hmmm? A little polluting something called the Industrial Revolution, perhaps?) The seas have been rising ever since, and as a result, land is losing territory to the seas, which are eight inches higher now than they were in 1870.
Scientists can’t be sure how quickly or how badly the world is going to flood, but they have published a variety of estimates based on the amount of pollution we pump into the atmosphere in the coming years. All the scenarios are pretty apocalyptic, though we've factored out the possibility if sudden ice cap collapse, which would create an even more dramatic deluge. So what the hell: Have a little fun on the way down and choose your own adventure!
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose to just under 395 parts per million last year, according to new figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Compare that to the 350 ppm target that many climate scientists and activists say we need to get down to -- activists like those at, yes, 350.org.
Global CO2 levels last year jumped by 2.67 parts per million, which might not sound like a dramatic leap, but it's the second highest one-year increase since record-keeping began in 1959, surpassed only by the 1998 spike of 2.93 ppm.
Or so say executives at Cree, a lighting company that has started selling affordable LED lightbulbs that outwardly resemble the traditional, energy-hogging incandescent bulbs of old. The company claims that its new 60 watt-equivalent LED bulb, which costs $13 or $14 depending on which variety you buy, lasts 25 times longer and uses 84 percent less juice than does a traditional lightbulb.
The city council of Fort Collins, Colo., voted Tuesday to ban fracking within city limits. The move has strong support from residents, but it makes the city the target of lawsuits from the state government and the oil and gas industry.
The new regulations [PDF] will block gas and oil exploration and ban the storage of hazardous fracking chemicals within the city, which is 65 miles north of Denver and home to 150,000 people.
While we've been pumping the atmosphere full of heat-trapping gases, Mother Earth has been belching sulfur pollution through volcanoes and slowing down global warming.
That's the conclusion of a new study that's helping to explain why the globe warmed less during the first 10 years of this century than climate models suggest it should have. If volcanic activity calms down and sulfur pollution levels fall away again, runaway global warming could ensue.
Australia's government has officially blamed climate change for the bushfires, heatwaves, and floods that ravaged the continent these past few months, during the southern hemisphere's summer. And it gave an official name to the merciless season sent from the pits of hell: The Angry Summer.
The country set 123 weather records during what was the hottest summer on record, according to a report published this week by the federal government's Climate Commission. Those records included the country's hottest day, when the maximum temperature across the vast land mass on Jan. 7 averaged 104.5 degrees F. And the extreme rainfall that hit areas along the border of the states of Queensland and New South Wales in late January, when they received more than 27 inches of rain within 24 hours. And the record number of bushfires -- up to 40 -- that ignited on the island state of Tasmania on Jan. 4.