Climate News Roundup: Week of 7/10
Climate Change Drives Disease in Crucial Seaweed Species, Study Finds, Reuters, Jul 12
A new study from the University of New South Wales in Sydney links the spread of disease in a type of seaweed that is critical for marine life to climate change. Through field and lab observations, the researchers discovered that in warmer waters the seaweeds showed higher levels of disease, or “bleaching.” Scientists fear that the widespread loss of these seaweeds could have disastrous effects on creatures that rely on them for food and protection, such as sea hares, sea urchins and dozens of fish and invertebrate species.
AEP abandons carbon-capture plan, citing lack of federal climate policy, Business First, Jul 14
American Electric Power Company Inc. is putting on hold its foray into carbon capture, a process that captures carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, treats them, and injects them underground for permanent storage. AEP in 2009 was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive up to $334 million to pay about half of the cost to install a commercial-scale, carbon-capture system at its Mountaineer coal-fueled power plant in New Haven, W.Va. The AEP said the decision to stop these plans is based on the uncertain status of U.S. climate policy and the continued weak economy.
Administration Grossly Underestimated Carbon Cost, Says Study, New York Times, Jul 14
The social cost of carbon, the economic value of avoiding the negative consequences of climate change, could be close to $900 per ton of CO2 in a worst-case scenario — nearly 45 times the $21 per ton established two years ago, according to a study by the group Economics for Equity and the Environment (E3). The E3 study was launched the same day as a policy brief from the World Resources Institute stating that the social cost of carbon could be causing more confusion than clarification in understanding the effects of low-carbon policies.
A study published in Science measures the amount of greenhouse gases absorbed from the atmosphere by tropical, temperate and boreal forests. Wooded areas across the planet soak up fully a third of the fossil fuels released into the atmosphere each year, some 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon, the study found. At the same time, the ongoing and barely constrained destruction of forests — mainly in the tropics — for food, fuel and development was shown to emit 2.9 billion tonnes of carbon annually, more than a quarter of all emissions stemming from human activity.