Climate Live: July 2012 hottest month on record for USA, Kerry compares Iran’s ‘Nukes’ to climate change and tea prices set to soar

By Ed King

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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Latest news – Thursday 9 August

1720 President Obama has made wind energy a campaign issue ahead of November’s election with a rebuke for Romney on wind energy. However, climate change remains off the Election 2012 agenda for now.

1600 Japan’s tectonically precarious position has inflicted misery via earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis but now it could be about to give back. As the country looks to replace its nuclear power, geothermal energy could be an unlikely winner.

1510 It’s handling 80% of the Olympic visitors to London and is already the busiest airport in Europe, so what can Heathrow do to limit its carbon emissions? Quite a lot as it turns out.

1400 What role do dams play in increasing methane emissions? A new study has found that when water levels drop suddenly, methane emissions can shoot up by a factor of 20.

1210 As Germany announced its intention to switch off its 22 nuclear power stations many environmentalists rejoiced. But a new study suggests that coal filled the void, and now it appears that the solution to replacing that coal, is slightly cleaner coal.

1100 Yesterday I penned a short article arguing that Todd Stern might have a point over the need to be flexible about the 2 degree C climate target – reaction is starting to come in


1030 Three days till David Cameron hosts a ‘World Hunger Summit’ at Downing Street. We think David Beckham may be there – but the Downing Street press office can’t confirm anything now – nor do they have an agenda. Save The Children have compiled this useful fact-sheet for anyone interested in why this is such an important event.

1000 The Daily Mirror is reporting that the cost of a cup of tea could rise by 25% as a result of drought in Kenya:

“Drought has severely hit plantations in Kenya – sending wholesale prices rocketing 41% to a two-and-a-half-year high since the start of 2012. And supplies from India and Sri Lanka have been slashed by 11.4% after monsoons blitzed crops. Experts say exports from the big three producers will now plummet by  13million kgs, with the rising costs passed to British consumers. It means the average £1.10 price of an on-the-go brew could go up 25% – or 28p per cuppa”

0925 US Senator John Kerry has been speaking on Capitol Hill – he says climate change is as serious as nuclear war.

“The situation that we face Mr President is as dangerous as any of the real crises that we talk about – today (Aug 3) we had a hearing in the Foreign Relations committee with respect to Syria, and we all know what is happening with Iran, nuclear weapons and the possibility even of a war. This issue is of as significant level of importance because it affects life itself.”

0915 The USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) says July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the USA. Scientists cannot as yet directly link these extreme weather events to climate change – but as RTCC reported two weeks ago experts at the UK Met Office and NOAA believe they are getting closer to establishing a direct link.

Full statement here:

Drought expands to cover nearly 63% of the Lower 48; wildfires consume 2 million acres

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.

Precipitation totals were mixed during July, with the contiguous U.S. as a whole being drier than average. The nationally averaged precipitation total of 2.57 inches was 0.19 inch below average. Near-record dry conditions were present for the middle of the nation, with the drought footprint expanding to cover nearly 63 percent of the Lower 48, according the U.S. Drought Monitor.

0851  Let’s start with a confession. The live blog is running late because I was on the Olympic tickets site. There are barely any tickets left – except for the Olympic basketball. I don’t even like basketball. So I bought two tickets at £85 each. Olympic fever could very well send the UK the same way as Greece.

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