Climate Live: Drought ‘the new normal’ in the US, EU ponders desert energy investment and maths converts a climate sceptic

By John Parnell

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
– Tweet @RTCCnewswire and use #RTCCLive hashtag
– Send your thoughts to [email protected]
– Updated from 0900-1700 BST (GMT+1) 

Latest news – Monday 30 July

1735 India is expected to head-up efforts at international talks on the EU’s aviation carbon tax. Nations unhappy to be forced to take part in the scheme are meeting to discuss action. A bill is being prepared in the US to prevent its airlines from being included in the plans to charge airlines flying in or out of European airports.

1715 Interesting story from California, can widening a road improve public health? Last week we looked at some of the more…’original‘ ideas to cut transport emissions.

1710 Is different the new normal? A team of scientists in the US believes it is possible that recent droughts could become a repeating pattern creating new ‘normal’ conditions.

1325 Protesters in the US have mobilised in Washington DC against hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking‘. The technique uses pressurised water to break open the cracks in rock to release natural gas.

1311 Organisers of the London Olympics have vowed to make this year’s flame carbon neutral. The Olympic ‘Cauldron’ can be turned down to 15% of its full power with the remaining energy use to be offset.

1145 A leaked memo from Environment Canada, the country’s environment ministry, has suggested that the government could be making bad decisions because climate change risks “may be lost on some departments“.

0948 The CEO of General Electric, one of the world’s largest nuclear energy infrastructure providers, has said it is “really hard” to justify the cost of the technology. Jeff Immelt also said it’s “a gas and wind world today”.

0840 The EU is considering investing in the Desertec project. The German-led scheme would link Europe to solar and wind energy resources in North Africa. It is estimated to cost almost $500bn if fully implemented.

0835 A massive power outage in India has left 300 million people in the country’s north without any power. Traffic lights stopped functioning during rush hour creating gridlock across the country.

0825 Scientists have discovered that the Southern Ocean stores 40% of all the carbon dioxide locked away in the Earth’s seas. While carbon stocks in major water masses help limit the CO2 in the atmosphere, it also reacts with the water to make it more acidic, which is bad news for coral reefs and other marine life.

Video of the day

A new study suggests drought could be the new norm for parts of the US. This video by photographer Pete McBride shows just how bad things can be:

Top tweet

Big question

‘Meatless Monday’ was backed by the US Department of Agriculture only for them to swiftly do a U-turn. Should we really dedicate one day a week to be meat free or are there better, more carnivorous, ways to fight climate change?

Reading list

Economist Jeffrey D. Sachs on the impact of a summer of ‘global weirding‘ on the public and the politicians.

Read more on: India | RTCC General News | | | |