Trump says US could ‘conceivably’ return to Paris climate deal

donald trump
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg in the East Room of the White House January 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Trump’s comments will renew questions about whether he actually intends to withdraw or simply wants easier US emissions targets

WASHINGTON DC, USA (Jan. 10, 2018) — US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, January 10, that the United States could “conceivably” return to the Paris climate accord, although he stopped short of signaling any move in that direction. Continue reading Trump says US could ‘conceivably’ return to Paris climate deal

Magnitude 7.6 earthquake strikes off Honduras coast – USGS

usgs
Map courtesy USGS

A powerful and shallow 7.6-magnitude earthquake hits the waters off the coast of Hondura, triggering tsunami threats and advisories for nearby Caribbean shores

WASHINGTON DC, USA (Jan. 10, 2018) — A powerful and shallow 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the waters off the coast of Honduras late Tuesday, January 9, triggering tsunami threats and advisories for nearby Caribbean shores, though there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Continue reading Magnitude 7.6 earthquake strikes off Honduras coast – USGS

Learning From an Extreme El Niño

2015-2016 extreme el nino
The 2015-2016 extreme El Niño brought drought and fire to Indonesia. Smoke from extensive and uncontrollable forest fires blankets southern Borneo in October 2015. It spread westward causing severe haze over Singapore and Malaysia. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MISR instrument team

A recent paper in Reviews of Geophysics describes new scientific insights on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation from analysis of the 2015-2016 extreme El Niño

January 10, 2018 — The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle is a periodic change in the ocean-atmosphere system of the tropical Pacific Ocean but which has knock-on effects on weather around
the world. In an article recently published in Reviews in Geophysics, Santoso et al. [2017] examined the 2015-2016 El Niño event which was particularly extreme. The editor asked one of the authors to explain the characteristics of that El Niño and what scientists learned from it. Continue reading Learning From an Extreme El Niño

A Better Way to Probe Peat

a depressional wetland in the disney wilderness preserve in florida
A depressional wetland in the Disney Wilderness Preserve, Florida, in September 2016. Credit: William Wright

Florida scientists use ground-penetrating radar to image underground carbon stores in the Disney Wilderness Preserve

January 10, 2018 — Millions of years before it can turn into coal, dead and decaying organic matter exists as a dark, spongy, carbon-rich material called peat. When layers of peat become saturated Continue reading A Better Way to Probe Peat

International dismay at Germany’s 2020 climate target lapse

angela merkel
Angela Merkel (Pic: European People’s Party/Flickr)

Reports Berlin will abandon its ambitious carbon-cutting goal with two years to go are “disheartening” and “problematic”, say observers

January 10, 2018 — Germany’s reputation as a green leader is slipping, after reports this week the putative government will give up on meeting its 2020 emissions target. Continue reading International dismay at Germany’s 2020 climate target lapse

Deadly California mudslide ‘like Niagara falls’ as hills turn to rivers of debris

a home hit by mudslide
Inside a home in Montecito, California, which was hit by the mudslide. Photograph: Reuters

At least 17 people have been killed, with the death toll expected to rise, after heavy rains caused a violent mudslide exacerbated by recent wildfire damage

January 10, 2018 — The mud cascaded down scorched, blackened slopes still blanketed with ash. With no trees or vegetation to slow the surge it swept rocks and boulders from the Verdugo mountains into a thunderous river. Continue reading Deadly California mudslide ‘like Niagara falls’ as hills turn to rivers of debris

Plastic bags charge set to be extended to small shops in England

throwaway culture
A speech by by Theresa May on Thursday will set out plans to tackle UK’s ‘throwaway culture’.
Photograph: Paul Quayle/Alamy

Expansion expected of highly successful policy of charging 5p for each bag could be extended beyond large retailers

January 10, 2018 — The 5p charge for plastic bags is expected to be applied to small shops under government plans to be unveiled by Theresa May this week as she seeks to tackle Britain’s “throwaway culture”. Continue reading Plastic bags charge set to be extended to small shops in England

Building boom in China’s tropics as Beijing’s ‘smog refugees’ flee toxic air

apartments in xishuangbanna prefecture in yunnan province
Property developers are cashing in on the clean lung boom, building apartments in Xishuangbanna prefecture in Yunnan province. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Jaded urbanites keen to outrun hustle and bustle of country’s big smoke put down roots near border with Myanmar and Laos

January 10, 2018 — It was on 3 January last year, days after Beijing’s last major airpocalypse, that Ji Feng began to put into action his plan to escape one of the world’s most polluted cities. Continue reading Building boom in China’s tropics as Beijing’s ‘smog refugees’ flee toxic air

New round of oil drilling goes deeper into Ecuador’s Yasuní national park

a flame flares at the oil production facility on the border of the yasuní national park in ecuador
A flame flares at the oil production facility on the border of the Yasuní national park in Ecuador. Photograph: Georg Ismar/Alamy

State oil company starts second phase of drilling in one of the world’s most biodiverse hotspots

January 10, 2018 — Ecuador’s state oil company has begun drilling the first of 97 planned wells inside a new field of the Yasuní national park, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Continue reading New round of oil drilling goes deeper into Ecuador’s Yasuní national park