1. Heat waves frequency could rise
New studies reveal that the power of El Nino, the world’s most devastating weather phenomenon, could double to once every 10 years if global warming continues. According to the Science Daily website, the 1997-98 event caused $35-45 US billion in damage and claimed an estimated 23,000 human lives worldwide.
2. Oz coal assets plummet
The value of coal stocks held by some of Australia’s leading mining groups could be slashed by half, according to HSBC. This could wipe $20 billion off the balance sheets of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Glencore Xstrata says the bank.
3. If you see something, say something
That’s the view of leading climate scientist Michael Mann, the brains behind the iconic ‘hockey stick’ graph warning of rising temperature levels. In a strident op-ed in the New York Times he explains why it’s time scientists get involved in the political debate over climate action: “In my view, it is no longer acceptable for scientists to remain on the sidelines”, he says.
4. Outsourcing carbon pollution
The world’s richest countries are ‘outsourcing emissions’ to China, warns a new UN study. It says that of the 14 gigatonnes of CO2 emitted last year by rising economies, around 2GT was as a result of manufacturing goods for the USA and Western Europe.
5. China targets food security
Improving the rural environment and ensuring food security will be China’s priorities for 2014, according to official documents. The Trust.org website says industrial contamination of water and soil, and the overuse of pesticides and fertiliser, has caused severe environmental problems in the countryside.