Fewer penguins survive warming Antarctic climate, Reuters, Apr. 11
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that in Antarctica, only 10 percent of juvenile chinstrap and Adelies penguins now survive the first independent trip they take from their winter habitat back to their colonies, know as the penguin’s “transition to independence”. In the mid-1970s, the survival rate was about 50 percent. The study points at diminishing krill populations as the cause. Krill, which form the basis of the marine food web, feed on phytoplankton growing on the undersides of ice floes. As warming temperatures cause ice to form later and cover less area, populations are negatively affected.
Congress Details Cuts in 2011 Budget Deal as Votes nears, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 12
As the details of the 2011 budget deal approved by Congress are revealed, it is becoming clear that although Republicans did not achieve all of the cuts to environmental programs desired, substantial reductions were made. While the deal does not remove the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, it does reduce the organization’s budget by $1.6 billion. In addition, climate related programs are cut by 13%. The deal also officially eliminates the position of the president’s special advisor on climate change, deemed by some as the president’s “climate czar”.
Shale gas ‘worse than coal’ for climate, BBC, Apr. 12
A new study finds that natural gas extracted from shale through “fracking” may have a larger “greenhouse gas footprint” than coal, perhaps more than twice as large on the 20-year time scale. This is primarily because shale gas wells leak methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2) on the relatively short term. Many had been promoting the expanded use of natural gas as a “transitional fuel” while developing non-fossil fuel options, such as renewables, as burning natural gas produces half as much CO2 as burning coal.
Care About Climate? Wearing a Coat Today? Discovery News, Apr. 13
In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers at Columbia University present that people’s perception of current temperatures impacts their opinions regarding climate change. Surveys revealed that those who thought the day was unusually warm were more likely to be concerned about global warming than those who thought the day was unusually cold. These findings may help explain why public opinion concerning climate change wavers while a large consensus exists within climate specialists.