Australia opposition rejects climate change link to wildfires

By John Parnell

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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Wednesday 09 January

Australia: Acting opposition leader Warren Truss says it is ”too simplistic” to link the current heatwave and fires to climate change. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, he said: “It’s too simplistic to link one hot spell to climate change.” Prime Minister Julia Gillard made just that connection earlier this week, ”While you would not put any one event down to climate change, we do know that over time as a result of climate change we are going to see more extreme weather events,” she said.

Wildfires continue to rage across the continent. NSW is reporting 130 bushfires, including 20 that are out of control as fire crews race to contain blazes before a return to hot and windy conditions later in the week. The intense heat has led to the national meteorological organisation adding extra colours to its temperature chart (RTCC)

USA: 2012 was the warmest year on record for most of the US, according to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (RTCC)

IPCC: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has rejected criticism it is too ‘secretive’ after a blogger posted more excerpts from a review scheduled for publication later this year. In a statement the IPCC said: “The recent posting of drafts should not distract potential reviewers from the important opportunity to play a role in developing a balanced report of the highest quality”.

USA: Barack Obama is considering hosting a bi-partisan climate change summit to lay the foundations for a national climate change strategy. A number of environmental groups in the States have revealed details of conversations with the Whitehouse regarding the proposal. (The Guardian)

UK: The UK’s national meteorological office has dismissed media reports that its data suggests global warming has stopped. Confusion arose after an update to its decadal climate model reduced its estimate for the period 2012-2016 from 0.54 to 0.43°C. (RTCC)

UK: Writing in the Guardian, the LSE’s Bob Ward has called on the Royal Meteorological Society to fill what he calls a vacuum in climate communication. The meteorology profession desperately needs bold and decisive leadership to help it to earn public trust and confidence and to face up to the many challenges arising from its high public profile,” he says. (The Guardian)

GLOBAL: Electric car sales rapidly picked up speed in 2012, with numbers almost doubling in the first nine months, ahead of a new generation of models by BMW, Ford and Tesla Motors arriving in 2013. (The Guardian)

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