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Entries in global warming (11)


This June Was Earth’s Hottest Month On Record Since 1880 When NOAA Started Keeping Track

No shocker! We all know its been a hot summer, but very few of us have probably realized the true significance of this particular temperature rise.

Graphic courtesy of radiogreenearth.org.

“The global-averaged land surface temperature for June 2012 was the all-time warmest June on record,” said the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which began keeping track in 1880.

Many people still argue that there is no such thing as global warming, but the new data makes a freighting case for it. NOAA also reported that, “The global land surface temperature for June was above the 20th century average. This is the second month in a row that the global land temperature was the warmest on record.”

Along with the land, the oceans are getting hotter too, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. NOAA reported that, “The Northern Hemisphere land and ocean average surface temperature for June 2012 was the all-time warmest June on record.”

The data for just the land in the Northern Hemisphere had its own story to tell. “The Northern Hemisphere average land temperature, where the majority of Earth’s land is located, was record warmest for June. This makes three months – April, May, and June – in which record-high monthly land temperature records were set.”

Most areas experienced much higher-than average monthly temperatures, including most of North America, Eurasia, and northern Africa.

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New Electric Taxi Fleet Expected to Save Energy Costs and Lower Emissions of Colombia’s Capital

Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá has decided to introduce a starting pilot fleet of 50 fully electric taxi cabs to be used in the city’s center. 

The BYD e6 all-electric sedan will be used as part of Bogotá’s electric taxi pilot project. Photo courtesy of BYD.

Officials are anticipating a number of benefits to come from the pilot project, including reducing operating costs for the city, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as creating exposure and spurring demand for electric vehicles in the residential sector.

“Bogotá’s 50 new electric taxis will not only diminish noise and air pollution, but reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent and 70 percent respectively when compared to traditional vehicles,” said the city’s collaborating partner, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

“The pilot project is very important countrywide, and an example for the world because it sets a path to transform vehicle fleets to low carbon technologies, fosters green vehicle markets by increasing consumer confidence, and opens a wide window for public and private transportation that moves away from pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” said a statement from Felipe Targa, Colombian vice minister of transportation.

Besides being the capital of Colombia, Bogotá is also the country’s largest city with a population of about 7 million. In terms of land area, the city is also among the largest in Latin America, and is among the top 30 largest cities in the world.

The first taxis are expected to be operational in Bogotá within the next few months. In an effort to make electric vehicles in the city a more viable option, the government on both the national and local level has enacted laws and policies to make electric vehicles more accessible for consumers.

Last December, Bogotá enacted a local decree (No. 677) to support the electric taxi project over a three-year period. Supported by an existing national government policy that removes the import duty on electric vehicles, this local decree removes circulation restrictions and permit requirements for electric taxis. The local government says that privately-owned electric vehicles will receive the same incentives.

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New York City Implementing New Green Technologies to Reduce Waterway Pollution

As part of New York City’s ongoing efforts to clean up the pollution in its surrounding waters, NY Waterway has decided to revamp nine of its ferries with new engines and catalysts designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the environment.

Photo courtesy of wirednewyork.com.

Part of the financing for this project will include $2.5 million in funding secured from a grant by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and a $900,000 contribution from the NY Waterway.

NY Waterway has also already converted the fleet to use 100 percent ultra-low sulfur diesel.

“The city has set a high standard with a cleaner retrofit for Staten Island ferry boats and equipping private fleets with this technology now brings a new standard to the industry in New York,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in a statement.

NY Waterway estimates that it carries about 35,000 passengers per day on 31 boats serving New Jersey, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland, Westchester, Orange, and Dutchess County.

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Global Warming’s Double Whammy: Reducing World Crop Yields and Increasing Food Prices

While many people still refuse to believe that global warming is real, the evidence for it continues to slowly grow, bringing frightening consequences – massive food shortages around the world, and skyrocketing prices for what food there is.

Stock photo.

This is especially true for staple crops, like wheat and corn. For most major agricultural countries, rising temperatures have had a damaging effected crop yields, resulting in below normal levels, especially of wheat and corn, said a new study by Stanford University.

David Lobell, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of environmental Earth science at Stanford, said that he and his colleagues examined the temperature and rainfall records of major crop-growing countries over the last 30 years and did a comparative analysis of their crop yields.

The researchers found that global wheat production was 5.5 percent lower than what it would have been had climate remained stable. They also found that global corn production was lower by almost four percent.

Russia, India, and France suffered the greatest drops in wheat production relative to what they might have had without global warming. The largest comparative losses in corn production were seen in China and Brazil.

“Yields in most countries are still going up, but not as fast as we estimate they would be without [these] climate trends,” Mr. Lobell told the Stanford Report.

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The Amazon Rainforest – Earth’s Brazilian Lung Being Burned Down For Profit

Tropical rainforests are the lungs of the planet. Photosynthesis makes them massive carbon absorbers, regulating global climate. These rainforests generate most of the world’s rainfall and form a cooling band around the equator, acting as the Earth’s thermostat.

Amazon deforestation through burning. Photo courtesy Chris Neill/Marine Biological Laboratory.Cutting down forests causes two major problems - removing the planet’s natural carbon absorber, and adding more carbon into the atmosphere because many trees are cleared by burning. Too much carbon dioxide heats up the atmosphere, which then causes erratic global weather patterns.

Today in Brazil it’s still a lot cheaper to clearcut into the virgin Amazon rainforest to open up new pastures for grazing cattle than it is to rehabilitate existing pastures, says a new report from Brighter Green, a public policy action group.

“The most severe deforestation is occurring in South America, particularly in the Brazilian Amazon,” says a United Nations report. The information comes through the use of over 200 satellite images, maps, and graphs that highlight the most pervasive environmental issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Brazil is dealing with the conflicting goals of conserving its rainforest and continuing to be an export leader in agricultural commodities – most extensively beef and soybean.

Nearly 100 countries import fresh and frozen beef from Brazil, including Russia, Iran, China, (through Hong Kong), Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, and Venezuela. In 2009, these exports were valued at $6.3 billion. Brazil’s cattle population - numbering about 190 million - is the world’s second largest behind India.

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