Climate News Recap: China Might Not Have Carbon Tax After All, Profound Changes in Rocky Mountains' Ecosystems, More
Beyond the headline teaser above, we're reading about worrying about Arctic methane emissions, Ryanair complying with the EU airline emission trading program for literally pennies per customer, and the efforts of Florida, on the front lines of global warming impacts, to build climate resilient communities.
China Says Not So Fast On Carbon Tax Starting in 2015
Contradicting earlier reports, in state-run media no less, China's chief negotiator on climate change has said that China is as yet undecided about implementing a carbon tax. Speaking at the World Resources Institute, Su Wei said that a carbon tax is being considered but that it was one of many policy options being considered to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For those not up on their energy and carbon emission stats: China is both the world's largest user of energy and on a national basis the largest carbon emitter.
The Profound Ecological Effects of Declining Rocky Mountain Snowpack
Snowpack in the Rocky Mountains has been declining for decades (totally separate from the dramatic snow drought so far this winter in most places), and that's creating major shifts in alpine plants and bird species, a new study shows.
US Geological Survey director Marcia McNutt:
This study illustrates that profound impacts of climate change on ecosystems arise over a time span of but two decades through unexplored feedbacks. The significance lies in the fact that humans and our economy are at the end of the same chain of cascading consequences. (Summit County Voice
There Are More "Alarming" Aspects of Climate Than Methane
Climate Progress' Joe Romm has weighed in on the debate about whether or not we should be as alarmed about methane emissions from melting Arctic permafrost as some headlines have recently been. Romm writes:
Whether or not you should be alarmed by Arctic methane depends on your definition of “alarmed.” And it depends on how much you follow the other areas of climate science, many of which are, for me, considerably more “alarming” (see An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces).
Read more: Think Progress
Ryanair, Too, Adds Paltry Sum To Bookings To Meet Costs of Complying With EU Airline Emission Trading Program
Delta added a less-than-a-percent increase on fares to and from Europe to defray costs of compliance with the European Union's newly launched program to include all airlines landing in its territory in its emission trading scheme. Now Ryanair has done so too, The Guardian reports, adding just £0.25 ($0.38) to each booking, each way. A further example that complaining about the program on the part of airlines on the grounds of the costs of compliance is pretty much just a bunch of needless blustering.
Florida Communities Banding Together To Build Climate Resilience
Yale e360 has a really good piece on the efforts already underway in Florida to build climate resilient communities. Here's a taste:
In Southeast Florida...the planning is especially comprehensive, and it covers not just individual cities but four entire counties that stretch across more than 200 miles from Key West to Palm Beach and are home to 5.6 million people. With its beachfront cities, flat, low-lying terrain, extensive swampland and exposure to frequent hurricanes, Southeast Florida is at unusual risk for climate-related disaster.
It’s also at the forefront of efforts to stave that disaster off. On Dec. 9, representatives from Monroe, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties met to approve a far-reaching, bipartisan Climate Action Plan that lays out the steps local governments need to take, working together, to make sure the region’s water supplies, transportation networks, buildings and other infrastructure can withstand the coming changes.