US Senators Boxer and Whitehouse make climate a 2014 ‘priority’

Today’s top five climate change stories chosen by RTCC
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Source: Flickr/Tom Lohdan

Source: Flickr/Tom Lohdan

1 – Senators make climate change priority for Congress
Senators Barbara Boxer and Sheldon Whitehouse have announced a new effort to make climate change a central issue in Congress this year, saying they would attempt to marshal civic groups, private industry, religious organizations and others to pressure senators toward action. The Washington Post reports that the pair have formed a new “Climate Action Task Force”. They said they would roll out their full agenda Tuesday.

2 – Powerful cyclone heads towards Tonga
A category-four cyclone bearing down on the South Pacific island nation of Tonga with hurricane force winds is expected to make landfall in as little as 18 hours, Tonga Meteorological Services said on Thursday. The Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that Tropical Cyclone Ian was upgraded overnight from the less powerful category three and is now packing estimated average winds of 103 miles per hour.The Typhoon that hit the Philippines in November was category five.

3 – Australia has second highest carbon emission intensity
Australia is pumping out more carbon emissions to achieve its economic growth than almost any other major economy, while a quarter of its mammal species are threatened with extinction, according to a major new environmental audit. According to the Guardian, a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found Australia was second only to Estonia among 34 advanced nations in terms of greenhouse gas emission intensity per unit of GDP.

4 – Oversupply of renewable energy leads to negative prices in Europe
North Europe has experienced negative electricity prices, due to strong storms setting its wind turbines spinning. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that over the Christmas holiday, which typically causes a drop in energy demand, wholesale electricity prices in Germany, the Nordic region, the Czech Republic and Slovakia turned negative on excessive renewable energy production and mild weather. This drop will not be passed onto consumers.

5 – Too early to link storms to climate change
It is too early to say whether climate change is behind the recent storms that have wreaked havoc on Britain according to the Met Office. The Guardian reports the comments of a spokesperson, which are at odds with a recent remark of David Cameron that he “suspects” the storms are linked to climate change: “No attribution study has been done, so you can’t make a definitive statement about how more or less likely the recent flooding has become because of climate change.”

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