Global Warming

US, Russia block key global warming report from climate summit

A landmark study on global warming has been blocked from being endorsed by a world climate summit by the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“I think it was a key moment,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The fact that a group of four countries were trying to diminish the value and importance of a scientific report they themselves, with all other countries, requested three years ago in Paris is pretty remarkable.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on what would happen if average global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius, and how to ensure they don’t go higher, was widely regarded as a wake-up call for policy-makers when it was released in October.

As diplomats wrapped up a week of technical talks on Saturday (Sunday NZT), almost all 200 countries present in Katowice, Poland, had wanted to “welcome” the IPCC report, making it the benchmark for future action.

Global Warming

Climate Alarm at Summit

Those attending a U.N. climate-change summit in Poland were warned that today’s generation is the last that can prevent catastrophic global warming by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.

Famed British naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, who attended the gathering, gave the dire warning: “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

The summit convened as scientists announced that the last four years have been the hottest on record, and that the planet’s average temperature is on track to rise between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9.0 F) by the end of the century.

A new report released in conjunction with the summit said that instead of falling around the world as agreed to by world governments, global carbon emissions will jump 2.7 percent to a record high by the end of 2018, mainly due to booming industrial output.

Carbon Eaters

Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin say they have discovered dozens of new species of exotic bacteria in extremely hot deep-sea ocean sediment that appear to have the ability to consume hydrocarbons such as methane and butane to survive and thrive.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers say the microbes might be harnessed to curb the concentrations of some greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and someday even help clean up oil spills.

The bacteria, found in the Guaymas Basin of the Gulf of California, are so genetically different from other known species that they represent new branches in Earth’s tree of life.