Climate Live: NASA to develop “green rocket fuel”, US media fail to link heatwave and climate change

By John Parnell

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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– Updated from 0900-1700 BST (GMT+1)

Latest news – Thursday 16 August

1630 TransCanada has begun construction on the southern leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in Texas. The project has attracted criticism on two main fronts. Firstly the risk to key water aquifers and secondly the resultant CO2 emissions from the carbon intensive Canadian tar sands oil that it will transport.

Here we explain why tar sands matter to all of us.

1550 Singapore has published its national climate change strategy. The city-state was one of the first countries to form an Environment Ministry. It joins a handful of countries that have pushed domestic climate policies ahead of the international curve.

1405 Poland has announced it will start drilling in a new shale gas field today as it looks to cut its dependance on Russia for gas. The country believes Russian prices are too high. The move strengthens the country’s reputation in the EU as a major fossil fuel developer. It has been criticised for its coal dependence in the past which some have attributed as the reason for its hesitance in global climate change talks.

1237 Great photo gallery walk through of the oil sands mining process from InsideClimate News. They visited an early stage 6000 hectare bitumen mine in Utah.

1142 This will cheer you up. Jon Stewart from the Daily Show on why pizza and climate change is the big issue in the USA right now. You simply could not make it up.

1035 A South Korean solar firm is leading a consortium to build a $900m solar farm in Pakistan. The 300MW installation would be sufficient to power 200,000 homes in the west but will be able to power far more in Pakistan were average household consumption is lower.

0920 The Dubai government has found an innovative way to boost recycling, by giving the households that recycle the most an iPad. “Not only that, but the housemaids who put the plan into action have been given cash prizes,” says state-run newspaper The National.

0840 US media monitor Media Matters has found that US TV news coverage of the July heatwave shows that only 9% of stories mentioned climate change. NASA scientist James Hansen has said the heatwave is “almost certainly” linked to climate change.

The percentage of stories about the heatwave on US TV networks that mentioned climate change. (Source:

0835 German Chancellor Angela Merkel is using a trip to Canada to visit climate scientists but Canadian PM Stephen Harper has chosen to stay away. Yesterday a poll found just 2% of Canadians don’t believe in climate change.

0830 NASA has announced a $45m project to develop environmentally friendly rocket fuel. “An effective green rocket fuel would dramatically reduce the cost and time for preparing and launching space missions while decreasing pollution and harm to our environment,” said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Program.

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Reading list

Powerful piece in the Huffington Post, the legacy of climate change, a world awash with environmental refugees.

Read more on: RTCC General News |