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@mospheric Post | Apr 7 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Earth's CO2 Newsletter

@mospheric Post is produced twice monthly by Pro Oxygen and distributed earthwide by 

April 7, 2011
Year 2 | Edition 7


In this edition of @mospheric Post . . .

Quotable Now

  * sees gap between climate literacy and climate policy

The Latest Climate Numbers

Fresh data just released for March 2011:
    *  Atmospheric CO2:  392.40 ppm -- the highest level for March in at least 2.1 million years

Exclusive CO2Now report:  
    *  Accelerating rise of atmospheric CO2:  2.00 ppm per year (March 2002 - March 2011)

Carbon Media

  *  SPOTLIGHT:  Fresh, Intelligent Climate Forums -- Nature, & Climate Progress  
  *  PLUS:  103 recent articles, papers and reports from 6 continents.

The CO2Now Climate Sheet 'In Brief'

  *  17 leading measurements, benchmarks and targets for Earth's global climate.  All in one place.    

About @mospheric Post

Quotable Now sees gap between climate literacy and climate policy

March 2011

"We are seeing very clearly with climate change that our policy choices are currently
not grounded in knowledge and understanding."

~ Paul Higgins, Google fellow and Associate Policy Director for the the American Meteorological Society.

THE STORY:  Google Takes on Climate Skeptics with New Technology Effort  |  Solve Climate
Climate change skeptics who have created a political megaphone in Washington may finally meet their match in the world's largest search engine., the technology giant's philanthropic arm, has hand-picked a team of 21 fellows working in climate research to improve the way the science of global warming is communicated to the public and lawmakers through new media.

The Most Current Data on Earth

Atmospheric CO2 data in this publication was released April 6, 2011 by the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Data for periods within the last year are preliminary.


Monthly Data for Atmospheric CO2



Atmospheric CO2
parts per million

March 2011 

392.40 ppm

March 2010

391.01 ppm

March 2009

388.76 ppm

March 1987

349.54 ppm
(the last March with CO2 < 350 ppm)

March 1961

318.54 ppm
(50 years ago)


Accelerating Rise of Atmospheric CO2 


March data only

Average Annual Increase* | Atmospheric CO2
parts per million


2.00 ppm per year 


1.54 ppm per year


1.54 ppm per year


1.44 ppm per year


0.86 ppm per year

* Rates of change are calculated with Mauna Loa CO2 data released by NOAA-ESRL and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 


CO2 Data Source

Via CO2Now  |  Monthly & Annual CO2 Data from NOAA-ESRL & Scripps


Carbon Media -- Spotlight


Fresh, Intelligent Climate Forums

Some of the world's best sources for climate deepen, broaden our climate conversations.

Journal launch: Welcome Nature Climate Change  |  Nature
Nature Climate Change, launched this week, is something of a distinct venture. Climate change is a phenomenon that is relevant, in principle, to all research disciplines. This journal focuses as much on the impacts of climate change as on its origins and mechanisms. And for the first time within the Nature-branded stable, the journal is explicitly set up to include the social sciences within its remit, with a trained social scientist on its staff, and a panel of social-science advisers to help us to penetrate territory that lies beyond our traditional zones of engagement.  [CO2Now Note:  This new journal provides a broad range of science perspectives on climate change.  Check out the first digital edition published April 2011.]

Isaac Held & other blogging climate scientists  |  RealClimate
The newest arrival in the climate science blogosphere is Isaac Held. This is notable in a number of respects. First, Isaac is a top-tier climate scientist who is hugely respected in the community. For him to decide that it is worth his time to blog on the science should be an important signal for other scientists. Secondly, Isaac is a federal NOAA employee at GFDL in Princeton, and the blog is on the official GFDL website. (Note that RealClimate has a standing invitation to all working climate scientists to submit guest posts on science-related topics – so don’t be shy now!)

What would you like to know about clean energy?   |  Climate Progress
Joe Romm of Climate Progress writes:  In a few weeks, ClimateProgress will bring on a new blogger/journalist who knows a lot about clean energy.  I haven’t covered clean energy quite as much as I had originally intended, given the urgent need to cover climate science, the climate debate and DC climate politics, the media coverage, the BP spill, and the like.  ClimateProgress has covered clean energy policy very extensively — and covered the big picture subject of clean energy solutions broadly, particularly laying out the “solution” to global warming and its cost:

  1. The full global warming solution: How the world can stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm
  2. An introduction to the core climate solutions
  3. Introduction to climate economics: Why even strong climate action has such a low total cost

Now  it’s time to really explore where we are in, say, PV or algae or cogeneration, and just what it would take to achieve wedge-like deployment scale-ups by mid-century.  That means  looking hard at all the plausible technologies and what strategies have worked — and haven’t — here and around the globe.  It also means trying to understand whether some of the “boutique” technologies, like ocean energy,  can really be scaled up affordably.

So I ask, what would you like to read about in the area of clean energy?  And what do you think people ought to know about clean energy that they don’t?   (Log your views at the Climate Progress blog.) 

Related CP article (added April 9): What investigative reporting would you like to see?


Carbon Media

Recent articles, papers and reports.
From around the world.
About our world.


Climate Collaboration

Lights off as 'Earth Hour' circles the globe   |  Kuwait Times
Hundreds of landmark buildings and millions of ordinary homes were switching off their lights Saturday as the annual "Earth Hour" moved around the globe in what was dubbed the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment.

Climate Consequences

Study links longer allergy season to climate change  |  InForum North Dakota 
 Allergy sufferers are suffering a bit longer each year in the Red River Valley due to climate change, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which tracked weather and pollen data from 1995 to 2009 at 10 sites across central North America.

Climate Talks

UN talks aim to thrash out tough details on climate  |  Sydney Morning Herald
The first UN climate talks of the year in Bangkok this week look to hammer out tough details of a global pact that has offered hope in the fight against global warming.


Tweaking the climate to save it: Who decides?  |  Business Week
In three intense days cloistered behind Chicheley Hall's old brick walls, four dozen thinkers pondered the planet's fate as it grows warmer, weighed the idea of reflecting the sun to cool the atmosphere and debated the question of who would make the decision to interfere with nature to try to save the planet. The unknown risks of "geoengineering" -- in this case, tweaking Earth's climate by dimming the skies -- left many uneasy.

Natural Gas

Drilling down on natural gas potential and peril of fracking  |  Climate Progress

A widely used oil-and-gas drilling technique, hydraulic fracturing, is spreading rapidly to develop vast reserves of natural gas trapped in deep underground shale formations. Hydraulic fracking, however, is coming under more rigorous oversight by the press and state and federal agencies because of its contribution to air and water pollution. 

Could shale gas power the world?   |  Time
Until recently, natural gas was the forgotten stepsister of fuels. Now if its boosters are to be believed, gas will change geopolitics, save the lives of thousands of people who would otherwise die from mining coal or breathing its filthy residue, and make it a little easier to handle the challenges of climate change.

Hold planes at the gate to cut greenhouse gases  |  New Scientist

The researchers found that by holding planes at their gates for an average of 4 minutes and 18 seconds, congestion on busy runways at Boston Logan International Airport diminished. This allowed planes to depart more efficiently: taxiing time dropped by 20 per cent and fuel use decreased by 75 litres per plane.

Renewable Energy

Fossil fuels will run out of gas when the solar revolution arrives  |  The Age
It's a sure bet that solar photovoltaics will achieve retail electricity price parity within a few years. When that happens, it will signal the end of the game for fossil fuel baseload power.

Busting the renewables price myth  |  Climate Spectator

Australia’s near hysterical obsession with electricity costs has led to some alarmist predictions – from people who should know better – about the impact on consumers if a carbon price was added to cost of policies favouring renewable energy; such as the renewable energy target and feed-in tariffs.

Climate change survey reveals divided Australia  |  ABC Lateline
A new survey by the CSIRO shows Australians are equally divided on whether to accept or reject the scientific evidence for human-induced global warming.

100% renewable energy by 2050 is possible. Here's how.   |  Fast Company
Energy consulting firm Ecofys produced a report detailing how we can meet nearly 100% of global energy needs with renewable sources by 2050. Approximately half of the goal is met through increased energy efficiency and the other half is achieved by switching to renewable energy sources.

Harper pledges to support major $6.2 billion hydroelectric project  |  Toronto Star
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper hopes to surf a wave of Newfoundland nationalism and support for “green” energy towards a majority, pledging controversial federal financing for a $6.2 billion mega hydro project in Labrador that could cost votes in Quebec.

Climate Communications + Climate Strategy

Balancing a hot debate  |  ABC TV Media Watch
This week, we're going to look at a fascinating and rather disturbing phenomenon: the way a large number of commercial talkback radio presenters deal with the contentious topic of climate change.

The Long View: climate change and the search for balanced reporting  |  Crikey
These days anybody can publish, spreading news and opinion to the world. Meanwhile, holed up in the remaining nooks, crannies and shelters of mainstream media, journalists adhere to their traditional credo: that what they publish should be balanced. 

Climate change action is the Right thing  |  The Australian
Conservatives should be leading the charge for climate change action, says veteran British politician John Gummer.

NASA’s James Hansen on Perceptions of Climate Change  |  Climate Progress
The country’s leading climatologist has a fascinating analysis on “Perceptions of Climate Change:  Can people recognize changing climate?”  Hansen had predicted as part of his famous 1988 testimony “that the perceptive person would notice that climate was changing by the early 21st century.” 

Google Takes on Climate Skeptics with New Technology Effort  |  Solve Climate
Climate change skeptics who have created a political megaphone in Washington may finally meet their match in the world's largest search engine., the technology giant's philanthropic arm, has hand-picked a team of 21 fellows working in climate research to improve the way the science of global warming is communicated to the public and lawmakers through new media.

Science is good.  Media is bad. The situation, worse   |  The Age
Australian government adviser Ross Garnaut criticised media treatment of climate change, suggesting it has undermined support for action by giving equal weight to mainstream peer-reviewed science and sceptical views not backed by published evidence.

How not to change a climate sceptic's mind  |  New Scientist
How do you get your point across over an issue as contentious as climate change? As a hearing in the US Congress last week showed, the evidence alone is not enough.

Consequences of ‘He said, She said’ journalism  |  DeSmogBlog
A new study (PDF) published in the Journal of Communication, would appear to break new ground--by actually examining the psychological effect that “he said, she said” or “passive” journalism has on readers, and in particular, on their views of whether it's possible to discern the truth. 

Potty Training Christopher Monckton  |  Greenfyre

In a field (ie climate change denial) where raving silliness and blatant fraud are the stock in trade it would be difficult to pick a King of the Dungheap, but I submit that if one looks at the difference between outrageous, egregious ridiculousness and perceived credibility by the Denialosphere and some popular media, then Monkton is a clear frontrunner if not outright winner. 

Flooding homes - not polar bears – shapes climate perspective  |  London Telegraph
People do not care about global warming until it happens on their doorstep, a survey has found.

Hold the doom and gloom on climate  |  Mother Jones
Is all the mounting evidence that humans are warming the planet only making us less likely to take action? That's the conclusion of a new study by two University of California-Berkeley researchers, "Apocalypse Soon? Dire Messages Reduce Belief in Global Warming by Contradicting Just World Views."

Study: Why fear-based climate communication might backfire  |  Big Think
Research suggests that many political leaders, environmentalists, and scientists--by focusing narrowly on the risks of climate change-- may unintentionally trigger disbelief, skepticism, or decreased concern among audiences.

Climate Targets

The awful arithmetic of global warming  |  Climate Spectator

Ross Garnaut says the IPCC's 2007 scientific findings quite probably underestimate the risks and rates of rising global temperatures, and there may be a case for more ambitious reduction targets. 

Where are we headed?  |  Climate Code Red
How much will our climate warm with the current levels of commitment to action by governments? The scoreboard from Climate Interactive tracks all the firm mitigation commitments from governments around the world, and then compares the result with both "business as usual" (no action) and a 1.5C goal.

NASA’s James Hansen: Can people recognize changing climate?  |  Climate Progress 
The country’s leading climatologist has a fascinating analysis on “Perceptions of Climate Change:  Can people recognize changing climate?”  Hansen had predicted as part of his famous 1988 testimony “that the perceptive person would notice that climate was changing by the early 21st century.” 

A new NASA-funded study has revealed widespread reductions in the greenness of the forests in the vast Amazon basin in South America caused by the record-breaking drought of 2010.

Climate Science

Yearly maximum Arctic sea ice extent tied with satellite record low  |  ClimateProgress
On March 7, 2011, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.64 million square kilometers (5.65 million square miles). The maximum extent was 1.2 million square kilometers (463,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average of 15.86 million square kilometers (6.12 million square miles), and equal (within 0.1%) to 2006 for the lowest maximum extent in the satellite record.

NOAA, NASA, HadCRU global temperature analysis confirmed  |  Climate Progress
Climatologist Ken Caldeira:  “I have seen a copy of the Berkeley group’s draft paper, which of course would be expected to be revised before submission. Their preliminary results sit right within the results of NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU, confirming that prior analyses were correct in every way that matters. Their results confirm the reality of global warming and support in all essential respects the historical temperature analyses of the NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU.”

Berkeley climate data review puts them at center of debate  |  LA Times
The head of the study, a longtime critic of the global warming consensus, will testify before a House panel. Leading climate scientists worry that the project, funded in part by an oil billionaire's foundation, has an agenda.

The 8,000-year-old climate puzzle  |  Nature
Scientists have come up with new evidence in support of the controversial idea that humanity's influence on climate began not during the industrial revolution, but thousands of years ago. It has been repeatedly panned as implausible, but palaeoclimate researchers say that they now have the data to support early anthropogenic climate change.

New worries associated with rising CO2 levels  |  Chemical & Engineering News
Plant growth accelerates in response to high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But new research reports a downside to this faster growth: Plants absorb more toxic metals from the soil when atmospheric CO2 levels are high.

Climate Consequences

Life in a four degree world  |  Climate Spectator
The world has made a political commitment to limit the extent of global warming to 2°C, but the current path of emission trajectories – and even the pledges made at the last climate change talks in Cancun – will take the world well beyond that.

Polar ice mass loss increases point to 1 foot sea level rise by 2050  |   Climate Progress
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass at an accelerating pace, according to a new NASA-funded satellite study. The findings of the study — the longest to date of changes in polar ice sheet mass — suggest these ice sheets are overtaking ice loss from Earth’s mountain glaciers and ice caps to become the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted.

Biodiversity's ills not all down to climate change  |  Nature
Climate change is affecting the world in many ways. But attempts to directly link local changes in species distribution and biodiversity to climate warming hold little promise, ecologists warn.

Multitude of Species Face Climate Threat |  NY Times
“Biodiversity is under severe threat from climate change, but we need to be careful that we don’t give a false impression of what our confidence is,” said Dr. Pearson. “We have to give a nuanced sense of what we do know and what we can say with confidence.”

Arctice Ozone

First North Pole ozone hole forming?  |  National Geographic News
Spawned by strangely cold temperatures, "beautiful" clouds helped strip the Arctic atmosphere of most of its protective ozone this winter, new research shows. The resulting zone of low-ozone air could drift as far south as New York, according to experts who warn of increased skin-cancer risk.

Ocean Acidification

Acid Sea  |  National Geographic
The carbon dioxide we pump into the air is seeping into the oceans and slowly acidifying them. One hundred years from now, will oysters, mussels, and coral reefs survive?

Earth's acid test  |  Nature
The acidity of sea water has climbed by 30% over the past 150 years, and some regions have already become corrosive enough to inhibit the growth of corals and other species for part of the year. According to projections, most creatures with calcium carbonate shells, such as mussels and snails, could run into problems within a few decades. By the end of this century, the acidification could even impede the growth of important groups of plankton, thus endangering entire marine ecosystems, from fisheries to coral reefs.


Think tank urges preservation of Canada's boreal forest   |  Toronto Globe & Mail

An American research centre says Canada’s boreal forest provides hundreds of billions of dollars of value every year, mostly by sucking up greenhouse gas emissions, and its preservation must become a global priority.

Shift in boreal forest has wide impact  |  Daily Climate
Boreal forests across the Northern hemisphere are undergoing rapid, transformative shifts as a result of a warming climate that, in some cases, is triggering feedback loops producing even more regional warming, according to several new studies.

Warming creates more warming in the Boreal Forest  |  Climate Progress
Russia’s boreal forest – the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world, found in the country’s cold northern regions – is undergoing an accelerating large-scale shift in vegetation types as a result of globally and regionally warming climate. That in turn is creating an even warmer climate in the region, according to a new study….

Stabilizing Atmospheric CO2

Climate study validates protective & proactive action  |  Climate Progress
Sandi Labs Study:  The methods of this study reveal how compelling risk derives from uncertainty, not certainty. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the risk. It is the uncertainty associated with climate change that validates the need to act protectively and proactively.

Stabilizing CO2 levels is tough.  Not stabilizing them is tougher   |  Climate Progress
The reasons we must be far more ambitious in politics and policy and clean technology deployment are the increasing evidence of accelerated carbon-cycle feedbacks and the dire warnings from the scientific community about the dangers of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions.  Yet, most new climate science remains either under-reported or mis-reported by most of the traditional media and blogosphere.  And, like CO2 concentrations, the rate of growth (of important science articles) is growing faster as the reality of human-caused climate changes grows — and it’s growing faster than ClimateProgress can cover thoroughly.  At the same time, climate politics and the disinformers and media miscoverage and clean energy solutions and nuclear power and natural gas and peak oil and on and on … also demand attention.

What to do?  Well, I hope to be hiring someone soon to help cover some of these issues.  Also, I have a plan to expand coverage of climate science.  Joe Romm @ Climate Progress

Poor countries pledge to help curb climate change  |  Times of India
 Mongolia. says it will erect solar power plants in the frigid Gobi desert. The Central African Republic says it will expand its forests to cover a quarter of its territory. Mexico promises to slash carbon emissions by 30 percent by the end of the decade.  The pledges are voluntary, and many countries made them conditional on financial and technical help from the industrial world.

The Collapse of the Old Oil Order  |  TomDispatch
How the Petroleum Age Will End

Time to grasp the green future  |  London Daily Telegraph
Since he published the Stern Review in 2006, which warned of the severe future cost of global warming, Sir Nicholas Stern has witnessed a transformation in attitudes to climate change across the world. He says big companies have risen to the challenge, but clear government policy is needed for further progress.

Nonprofits examine climate-change roles   |  Seattle Times
Last year the Global Greengrants Fund added a new category to its budget: climate disasters. The nonprofit, which focuses on environmental issues, acknowledged that the increasing severity of earthquakes, hurricanes and other related disasters needs more attention and funding.

Peace & Security

'Hydro-diplomacy' needed to avert Arab water wars  |
The United Nations should promote "hydro-diplomacy" to defuse any tensions over water in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where scarce supplies have the potential to spark future conflicts, experts said on Sunday.

Climate Books

Carbon Zero: A Short Tour of Your City's Future   |
Alex Steffen wants you to help him create a book on climate solutions for cities (click here to help kick-start this effort).  Take action b4 Earth Day 2011.

New Book:  How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse  |  CSIRO
A new book by Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Climate Solutions

A green city rises up in Sydney   |  NY Times
When finished, Sydney’s Central Park, a $2 billion project, will have 11 buildings that will be so energy efficient they will be able to export electricity to neighboring areas, according to the developer. The rooftops will turn rain into drinking water. The toilets will recycle sewage into usable water.

Climate Science + Faith

Science and faith intersect over climate change  |  Providence Journal
Brother Michael McKenery, president of La Salle Academy, welcomed people to Thursday night’s panel discussion about climate change, saying the Catholic school tries to teach its students by example.

Nuclear Crisis – Japan and Beyond

Five Lessons from a Month in Hell  | Post Carbon Institute
1. Mother Nature and human nature can't be contained.
2. We must prepare for business unusual.
3. Resilience is not just a quaint concept.
4. It’s a small world after all.
5. An addiction is an addiction is an addiction.

Japan's complex megadisaster offers scary glimpse of future  |  MNN
The crisis in Japan could be considered the first "complex megadisaster" the world has ever seen — a potent combination of natural and technological calamities that might become more common in the future.

Analysis:  World to warm if Japan panic spreads  |
Global warming will intensify if leading carbon emitter China drops the world's most ambitious nuclear power building program and Germany shuts down its nuclear plants amid panic over Japan's atomic energy crisis.

Fukushima nuclear accident: Simple and accurate explanation  |  Energy Collective
The plants at Fukushima are Boiling Water Reactors (BWR for short). A BWR produces electricity by boiling water, and spinning a turbine with that steam. The nuclear fuel heats water, the water boils and creates steam, the steam then drives turbines that create the electricity, and the steam is then cooled and condensed back to water, and the water returns to be heated by the nuclear fuel. The reactor operates at about 285 °C.

Is that a banana in your pocket, or are you radioactive?  |  Energy Collective
A banana equivalent dose (or BED) is a concept   to place in scale the dangers of radiation by comparing exposures to the radiation generated by a common banana.

How Japan should impact the US nuclear debate  |  Energy Collective
Perhaps because of our energy infrastructure’s ubiquity, disasters like these are bound to happen, but nuclear accidents are the ones that seem to rattle public confidence most profoundly. It is important to understand such disasters in the proper context in order to learn from mistakes and not unduly handicap any options in the critical quest for cleaner energy.

Japan’s Earthquake-Tsunami-Radiation Disaster Worsens  |  The Climate Post
March 17, 2011  |  Last Friday, Japan was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 quake—its most powerful earthquake on record, and the strongest anywhere in the world in the past 140 years—with its epicenter off the coast, creating a 30-foot-high tsunami that swallowed up whole towns and killed more than 5,000 people. The tsunami waves knocked out the cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northern Japan, creating a nuclear disaster that has worsened over the days since the natural disaster struck.

Two of the six reactors in the complex appear to have suffered partial meltdowns, releasing large amounts of radioactivity. This makes the disaster far worse than the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979, but not as bad as Chernobyl in 1986.

In this nuclear world, what is the meaning of 'safe'?  |   Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
How today's governments and nuclear industry educate the public on the health effects related to radiation exposure is not dissimilar from the approaches used during the Cold War. Japan's nuclear disaster illustrates how a nation prioritizes security interests over the fundamental rights of people and their environment.  In a nuclear world, nations must learn how to respond, adjust, and adapt to the associated hazards and health risks.

Concerns over nuclear energy are legitimate  |  Nature News
Reassurances from 'experts' on the safety of nuclear power will not wash, says Colin Macilwain. The Fukushima crisis raises genuine questions.

Complexity + Complacency = Calamity  |  DOT Earth
Climate scientist and engineer Michael Schlesinger: “The out-of-control status of the 6 Fukushima nuclear reactors and their stored spent fuel rods is a textbook example of “Don’t Know Squared – It’s What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know” that can bring down any system designed by humanity.”

Vietnam to go ahead with nuclear energy plans  |  GlobalPost
In the wake of Japan’s nuclear disaster, Vietnam has quietly confirmed its plans to build a nuclear reactor by 2020. Vietnam plans to have eight operational nuclear reactors in the next 20 years, with Japanese and Russian assistance.

Japan Disaster May Affect India’s Import of Nuclear Reactors  |  Solve Climate
NEW DELHI—India's ambitious plans to quadruple its nuclear output by 2020, from the current 4,650 megawatts to 20,000 megawatts, may have taken a hit from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. 

China nuclear: Japan tsunami won't stop Beijing  |  GlobalPost
China has put the brakes on its nuclear power drive for safety checks in the wake of Japan’s earthquake-and-tsunami-driven nuclear crisis, but there’s little chance of Beijing turning its back on nuclear power for good.

Fear's price tag: The high price of Merkel's nuclear about-face  |  Der Spiegel
Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to temporarily shut down seven nuclear reactors could cost the industry more than a half-billion euros and result in Germany not meeting its CO2 emission reduction goals. The rest of the world is taking a wait-and-see approach.

Climate change creates flood risks for U.S. nuclear reactor safety  |  Climate Progress
A couple weeks ago, I asked how many U.S. nuclear plants are vulnerable to a tsunami and/or a 100-year flood? Here a very initial treatment of the flood vulnerability issue.

New designs for nuclear plants seek to generate trust  |  Kansas City Star
As debate rages about the future of nuclear energy, a new generation of safer nuclear plants is coming on line now. They have a so-called passive backup cooling system that would keep reactors safe if electricity were cut off.

Earthquake risk at TVA nuclear plants upgraded  |  The Tennessean
New seismic information shows that the risk of earthquakes damaging many of the country's nuclear plants — including TVA's — is higher than had once been estimated. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that the shift is incremental and that all of the nation's plants remain safe despite the new data.

Sea-level rise brings added risks to coastal nuclear plants   |  Climate Central
In many parts of the world, including the United States, nuclear reactors are located near the ocean, due to their requirement for abundant supplies of water for cooling purposes. And while tsunamis aren’t a threat everywhere, the sea can pose other challenges.

Undeterred by fallout fears, US and Chile sign nuclear accord  |  NY Times
With fears of radiation spreading in Japan after the devastating earthquake there, Chile and the United States signed an accord on Friday intended to help Chile develop a nuclear energy program.


Refugees of climate change  |  Karachi News International
Fishermen, farmers and herdsmen who once led prosperous lives in the flood-prone district of Thatta are now being forced to scramble from village to village to avoid natural disasters. These people, according to experts, are "refugees of climate change."

Red China turns green  |  Dublin Irish Times
China's new five-year plan is probably the greenest in its history. The blueprint document aims to reduce the blind rush for economic growth at any cost and to introduce greater consideration for environmental concerns and better use of natural resources.

Dalai Lama in warning over Tibet glaciers   |  Edinburgh Scotsman
The Dalai Lama has voiced concerns that the glaciers of Tibet are retreating faster than those in any other part of the world. The Tibetan spiritual leader called for special attention to be paid to ecology in Tibet, adding "it's something very, very essential."


Is Environmentalism Really Working?  |  Der Spiegel
Germany is among the world leaders when it comes to taking steps to save the environment. But many of the measures are not delivering the promised results.

Victorious Greens:  Two state elections upturn German politics  |  The Economist
In Baden-Württemberg 58 years of government by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) came to an end. The Greens will now take control of a state government for the first time.

World's first tidal energy farm to be built off Islay  |  Edinburgh Scotsman
The world's first tidal power project is to be built in the Sound of Islay, after approval was given by the Scottish Government. The ten-turbine, 10MW facility will further develop emerging tidal energy technology and is seen as a forerunner for much larger projects in the Pentland Firth.

Wind power cheaper than nuclear, says EU climate chief  |  London Guardian
Connie Hedegaard says declining cost of offshore wind energy makes it genuine alternative to crisis-hit nuclear industry.

UK greenhouse gas emissions rise  |  London Guardian
Cold winter leads to 2.8% rise in greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, figures show

North America

Ottawa fights EU's dirty fuel label on oil sands  |  Toronto Globe & Mail
The Conservative government has been lobbying furiously to prevent the European Union from carrying out their plans to slap a dirty fuel label on Canada’s oil sands, a move that would increase political pressure on Europe’s major oil companies to curb their investments in the Alberta projects.

Canada getting warmer, temperature trends show  |  Toronto Sun
Temperatures in Canada are getting warmer, particularly in the North, just as climate change models predicted.

British Columbia survives 3 years and carbon taxes  |  NY Times
As it nears its third anniversary, British Columbia's carbon tax is loved by some, hated by others, and yet forgotten by many Canadians.  

Environment is big in BC where Green party seeks victory |  Vancouver Sun
A recent survey found only 15 per cent of Canadians wanted the environment to be the primary focus of the budget. But things could be different in B.C., where there's no shortage of federal environmental issues, including salmon, oil tankers, climate change.

Can Mexico lead the way in proving carbon cuts?  |  Scientific American
Mexico has begun a program to make its climate actions more transparent, a move it hopes will raise its credibility in the international community. If the plan works, it will prove a useful case for developing countries that know they need bulletproof data to draw respect, and cash, in global climate talks.

Mexican Brick-making industry confronts its climate impacts   |  Global Issues
The 20,000 brickmakers in Mexico barely make a living from their work – and, in the view of Mexico's Secretariat of Environment, they over-exploit natural resources, alter ecosystems and pollute the air and water with production waste.

Lowering the Price of Electricity from the Sun  |  Scientific American
The U.S. Department of Energy aims to make electricity from the sun cheaper than that from burning coal or natural gas

U.S. energy giant sets up shop in Alberta  |  Edmonton Journal
Koch Industries registers to lobby provincial government.   An American energy conglomerate owned by two powerful billionaire brothers who help fund the Tea Party and climate-change denial movements in the U.S. has registered to lobby the Alberta government.


Australian Opposition Leader painted as climate denier  |  Sydney Morning Herald
The Australian Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, seized on recent comments by Mr Abbott as ''proof'' the Liberal Party's climate policy is based on ''the extreme view that climate change doesn't exist''.

Australian right plans ‘Tea Party’ on climate fears  | ABC Australia
Tony Abbott’s decision to fight the next election in Tea Party mode is taking the Liberal Party - and Australia - towards a new kind of politics.

Australian carbon tax supporters outnumber protestors  |  Sydney Morning Herald
Outside Prime Minister Julia Gillard's electorate office in Werribee on Saturday, 400 protesters gathered with Liberal Victorian senators Mitch Fifield and Scott Ryan to protest against the federal government's plan to put a price on carbon.  Meanwhile, at Treasury Place in Melbourne's CBD, an estimated 8,000 protesters gathered to support the prime minister's carbon tax plan and call for action on climate change.

Scientists find waves are getting bigger   |  Sydney Morning Herald
Ocean wind speeds and wave heights around the world have increased significantly over the past quarter of a century, according to Australian research that has given scientists their first global glimpse of the world's rising winds and waves.  Also, read about this at  


Uganda facing food crisis  |  Kampala Sunday Vision
Uganda may be unable to feed its people in the coming years because the population growth is not being matched by an increase in cultivated land. Climate change has been identified as a major contributor to falling food supply.

Uganda to boost clean energy capacity  with solar cookers  |  Nairobi East African
Uganda is set to start manufacturing solar-powered cookers, to be marketed across East Africa, as the country seeks to boost its energy capacity and reduce over reliance on timber and charcoal.

Africa needs climate data to fight disease  | Nature (article for purchase)
Many of Africa's most important cities are on the coast and at risk of sea level rise. Without adequate infrastructure they are vulnerable to poor sanitation during floods and shortages of drinking water and loss of hydroelectric power during droughts. Climate data is not readily available, so is rarely used in development decisions.

Droughts to worsen in E. Africa, with implications for U.S. food aid   |  SolveClimate
Rising global temperatures could trigger more extreme drought conditions in the coming decades in East Africa, U.S. researchers have concluded. Their findings contradict earlier research from a United Nations science panel and could have far-reaching consequences for American food aid.

South African business faces climate threat   |  Cape Town News24
An expert has warned that climate change presents challenges for companies in the way they do business and how they respond to the environment.

West Africa explores ways to mitigate climate change's effects  |  Voice of America
From eroding coastline to depleted fish stocks, the effects of climate change are being felt along West Africa's coast – and governments and environmental groups are coming together to talk about what can be done to mitigate its impact.

South America

In the shadow of a melting glacier  |   Nature
The people living beside the Colonia River in the Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia are under constant threat of a sudden catastrophic flood sweeping down from the mountains above them. The region has experienced an unprecedented seven events called glacial-lake outburst floods since April 2008.

Satellites detect extensive drought Impact on Amazon |  ScienceDaily
A new NASA-funded study has revealed widespread reductions in the greenness of the forests in the vast Amazon basin in South America caused by the record-breaking drought of 2010.

Pity Chevron for Ecuadorean verdict costing company $18 Billion?  |  DeSmogBlog
New documents uncovered in the ongoing legal battle over Chevron/Texaco’s destruction of the Ecuadorian rainforest show that, while Chevron recently labeled the guilty verdict and $18 billion fine leveled against its Texaco unit by an Ecuadorian court as “illegitimate and unenforceable,” it was in fact the oil company that lobbied fiercely to have the case moved out of U.S. courts to the Ecuadorian justice system. 

Chevron case highlights difficulty of making oil companies pay for spills  |  SolveClimate
The case is especially complex — it marks the first time a U.S. oil giant was held accountable in a foreign court for pollution overseas. But it raises a fundamental question about all court orders forcing energy companies to pay for spill cleanup and damages: Are they working?

Carbon Counting

What does it cost in carbon?  |  Toronto Star
A bit obsessively, a British climate change expert has calculated the carbon footprint of just about everything. For a text message, it’s .014 grams; a quarter-pound cheeseburger, 2.5 kilograms; a heart bypass operation, 1.1 tonnes.


The CO2Now Climate Sheet 'In Brief'

An updated, full edition is available at: The CO2Now Climate Sheet.     

The following data and targets are current as of  April 6, 2011:

0 tonnes

CO2 Emissions Target

Global CO2 emissions for long-term stabilization of atmospheric CO2

“Stabilizing atmospheric CO2 and climate requires that
net CO2 emissions approach zero”                    


 0 w/m 2
watts per square meter

CO2 Emissions Target

Global energy balance  & the end of global warming

“Stabilizing climate requires, to first order, that we restore Earth’s energy balance.
If the planet once again radiates as much energy to space as it absorbs from the sun,
there no longer will be a drive causing the planet to get warmer.” 


 0.25 - 0.75 w/m 2

Global energy imbalance from rising atmospheric CO2  |  1750 - 2000


2.00 ppm per year
parts per million

Atmospheric CO2  |  Average Annual Rise  |  March 2002 - 2011

March Data Only   The rate of increase for the latest decade is higher than any decade since the start of the atmospheric CO2 instrument record in March 1958.   

 8.07 pH

Ocean Acidification:  Average pH of Surface Oceans  |  2005

Average pH of surface oceans has declined about 0.1 units since before the industrial revolution.  This is an increase of about 30% in the concentration of hydrogen ions which is a considerable acidification of the oceans. 

“…world leaders should take account of the impact of CO2 on ocean chemistry,
as well as on climate change…we recommend that all possible approaches
be considered to prevent CO2 reaching the atmosphere.”

 12.1 °C

100-Year Average Global Surface Temperature  |  February 1901 - 2000

 12.5 °C

Average Global Surface Temperature  |  February 2011

February 2011 is tied as the 17th warmest February on record (since 1880).  February 1998 is the warmest on record.  

Preliminary data reported March 17, 2011 by NOAA-NCDC.  

 172 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Lowest level in 2.1 million years

 194 countries

Target of Most National Governments

Signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The United Nation's ultimate climate objective “is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.” 

 280 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Pre-Industrial Revolution

Atmospheric CO2 was stable at about 280 ppm for almost 10,000 years until 1750.

 300 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Highest level in at least 2.1 million years (pre-industrial)

Circa 1912, atmospheric CO2 levels breached the 300 ppm threshold for the first time in at least 2.1 million years.

 350 ppm

Atmospheric CO2 Target for Humanity

Atmospheric CO2  |  Upper Safety Limit

“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm, but likely less than that… If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.”

 391.01 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  March 2010  |  Mauna Loa Observatory

Data posted by NOAA-ESRL as of April 6, 2011.

392.40 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  March 2011  |  Mauna Loa Observatory

Preliminary data reported April 6, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL

805 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Projection for Year 2100

This scientific projection, based on an analysis on March 4, 2011, accounts for the voluntary emissions reductions pledges of parties to the UNFCCC since the Copenhagen climate talks.  The projected CO2 level represents a global temperature increase of about 4 °C.  


World Population | April 1, 2011

More than 6.9 billion people are living on planet Earth. If humanity is to achieve a stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at safe levels, this is roughly the number of people who will need to be aligned with net CO2 emissions that approach zero. (See “0 tonnes” in The Climate Sheet.)

30.8 billion
metric tonnes

Humanity's Global CO2 Emissions  |  2009

2009 global CO2 emissions were the second highest in human history.   Global fossil fuel emissions – more than 88% of all carbon emissions – are projected to increase by more than 3% in 2010.   In the past decade, 47% of CO2 emissions accumulated in the atmosphere, 27% were absorbed by land and 26% were absorbed by the ocean.  The 2009 data was published November 21, 2010

See the Full Edition of The CO2Now Climate Sheet



About @mospheric Post

@mospheric Post is an independent, volunteer-driven publication that is produced in Canada by Pro Oxygen, the maker of Pro Oxygen distributes @mospheric Post as a free information service for the advancement of climate literacy . . . starting with awareness of atmospheric CO2 and what it means.

Twice a month, @mospheric Post delivers the global numbers earthwide – straight from the atmosphere and virtually in real time. It also gives you access to the latest targets, reports and stories about our world, from around the world. Consider it your online source for getting the straight goods and the big picture on humanity's main environmental challenges.

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