Entries in Global Warming (6)


US Sets New Records for Warmth

Burke/Triolo Productions/Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For those looking for evidence of global warming, look no further than a new government report that says the past six months were the warmest January-through-June period for the U.S. since record keeping began in 1895.

The report says the past 12 months were also the warmest such period since 1895.  Every state in the lower 48 had warmer-than-average temperatures during the period from July 2011 to June 2012, except for Washington, which had temperatures near normal.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report shows that at the end of June, 56 percent of the country was experiencing drought conditions.

The agency report says 2012 also gave us the warmest spring on record, and marked the first time that all three months of spring -- March, April and May -- ranked among the 10 warmest since 1895.

NOAA scientists say the average daily temperature for this past June in the lower 48 states was a full two degrees above the 20th-century average.

Better grab that sunscreen.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NASA: 2011 the Ninth-Warmest Year Since 1880

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Last year was the ninth-warmest year on Earth since 1880, continuing a trend “in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000,” NASA scientists said Thursday.

"We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting," said James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Nina influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record."


NASA says 2011 was 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2010, the warmest year on GISS' record.

“Higher temperatures today are largely sustained by increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide,” NASA said in a news release. “These gases absorb infrared radiation emitted by Earth and release that energy into the atmosphere rather than allowing it to escape to space. As their atmospheric concentration has increased, the amount of energy ‘trapped’ by these gases has led to higher temperatures.”

Scientists and politicians alike have long debated whether or not global warming actually exists, and the degree to which increasing temperatures could affect human life.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Americans Say Weather Is Getting Worse; Blame Global Warming

Damage from flooding seen near a gas station in Killington, Vermont following Hurricane Irene. Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A majority of Americans agree the weather has gotten lousier over the past couple of years, at least according to a new poll.

A survey conducted by the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication finds that 56 percent of those polled think the weather has gotten worse, with four in 10 saying that's not the case.

While most Americans, 64 percent, also think that global warming is occurring -- about the same as six months ago -- only half of that number believe that people contribute to the problem.

Probably more surprising is that just over two thirds either strongly or somewhat strongly agreed that climate change might have something to do with the record high temperatures that covered much of the country this summer.

Sixty percent also say climate change could be linked to the record snowfalls of last winter, with almost the same number suspecting this phenomenon was responsible for Hurricane Irene that struck the Northeast last August. Ironically, a handful of years ago, environmental crusaders were blaming winters in which there was relatively snow on global warming.

Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale climate change communication group, said it used to be that Americans thought global warming was something far off in the future but now they're "beginning to think that climate change actually may be affecting us right here in the U.S. here and now."

Still, the science, to paraphrase Al Gore, isn't settled when it comes to opinions on global warming: a 2010 Gallup poll stated that 48% of Americans believed that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated -- up from 31% in 1997, when Gallup posed that question for the first time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House: Obama Has Taken Aggressive Steps to Tackle Climate Change

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In response to Al Gore’s Rolling Stone essay charging that President Obama “failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change,” a White House spokesman tells ABC News that the president “has been clear since day one that climate change poses a threat domestically and globally.”

Gore accused the president of having done little to move the country forward on the issue of climate change.

“President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis. He has simply not made the case for action,” wrote Gore, who won a Nobel Prize in 2007 for his work on climate change.

Not so, says the White House.

“Under his leadership we have taken the most aggressive steps in our country’s history to tackle this challenge,” the president’s spokesman said, pointing to the investments made through the Recovery Act.

“We made the largest investment ever in clean energy, creating jobs and reducing dangerous carbon pollution.  After decades of delay, we set aggressive new joint fuel economy and emissions standards for cars and trucks, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 960 million metric tons and saving 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program. The administration will also soon set the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease carbon pollution from medium and heavy-duty trucks. These steps not only protect us from the damaging effects of climate change, but they also create jobs and cut costs for families,” he told ABC.

Even the president, however, seemed to admit recently that the administration’s efforts on climate change have left something to be desired.

“We want to invent the next big energy breakthrough that is going to make sure that we're no longer dependent on foreign oil, and we can start finally doing something about climate change, and we're not vulnerable to huge spikes in gasoline prices,” Obama said at a fundraiser in New York in April. “We've had some setbacks, and some things haven't happened as fast as people wanted them to happen. I know. I know the conversations you guys have. ‘Oh, you didn't get the public option’ and ‘Gosh, I wish that energy bill had passed.’ I understand the frustrations. I feel them, too.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


EPA: New Refrigerant Fights Climate Change, Ozone Depletion

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Turn on your car air conditioner in a few years and it will be different and better, says the Environmental Protection Agency.  On Monday, the agency announced the approval of a new refrigerant, called HFO-1234yf, which it says does not deplete the Earth's ozone layer and has a so-called global warming potential that is 99.7 percent less than coolants currently used.

All this is fallout from the discovery, back in the mid-1980s, that the ozone layer was being damaged by the use of chloroflourocarbons -- CFCs for short -- in everything from air conditioners to the manufacturing of foam for coffee cups.  World governments got together relatively quickly. In 1987 the Reagan administration and 195 other countries signed on to the Montreal Protocol, which has been updated several times since, agreeing to phase out most ozone-depleting chemicals by 2030.

By the early 1990s the most common refrigerant for car air conditioners, known as CFC-12, had been replaced in the United States by one called HFC-134.  But it was a stopgap measure.  HFC-134 in the upper atmosphere is very potent at trapping heat in the air. So Honeywell and DuPont have developed HFO-1234yf. General Motors, among others, has said it will use it in its 2013 model cars.

"This new chemical helps fight climate change and ozone depletion," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation in a statement. "It is homegrown innovative solutions like this that save lives and strengthen our economy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Opposition to Climate Change Proposition in California Increases

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- In an election cycle filled with fighting words on climate change, a ballot measure in California could set the precedent for the rest of the country and give a needed boost to Democrats who have unsuccessfully tried to pass a comprehensive energy bill.

Proposition 23 would suspend California's Global Warming Act of 2006 until unemployment in the state drops to 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters.  The clean air law was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to 1990 levels by 2020.  Regulations capping emissions will begin to be fully implemented in 2012, unless the initiative passes.

Opposition to the controversial ballot measure has surged in recent weeks, led by celebrities and heavyweights like Bill Gates and Google's Sergey Brin.

A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shows 48 percent of likely voters in the state oppose the initiative, compared to 37 percent who support it.  The measure has been labeled the "Dirty Energy Prop" by its opponents because of the support it has received from oil companies and conservatives like the Koch brothers.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has said she will vote against Proposition 23, but still plans to suspend the global warming law if she's elected.  But the state's other high-profile Republican candidate, Carly Fiorina, has called the ballot measure "a band-aid fix and an imperfect solution."´╗┐

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio