U.N. Climate Panel Endorses Ceiling on Global Emissions (New York Times)

You may have seen this recent news story:

U.N. Climate Panel Endorses Ceiling on Global Emissions

Published: September 27, 2013

Unveiling the latest United Nations assessment of climate science, the experts cited a litany of changes that were already under way, warned that they were likely to accelerate and expressed virtual certainty that human activity is the main cause. “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time,” said Thomas F. Stocker, co-chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations-sponsored group of scientists that produced the report. “In short, it threatens our planet, our only home.”

The panel, in issuing its most definitive assessment yet of the risks of human-caused warming, hoped to give impetus to international negotiations toward a new climate treaty, which have languished in recent years in a swamp of technical and political disputes. The group made clear that time was not on the planet’s side if emissions continued unchecked.

“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes,” the report said. “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” Read more.

Which reminds us of a favorite from a while back:

No Fooling: Cow Burps and Farts Contribute to Climate Change

Written by Lisa Hayden on April 1, 2011. Posted in Learn

Holy cow!, came the exclamation, when a colleague recently read about emissions from cow burps and farts potentially rivaling the global warming pollution of the world’s cars and trucks. So, I pulled the short straw and here I am ruminating on cow farts and climate change for our April Fool’s Day post.

My mom grew up on a dairy farm and talked about her favorite Guernsey cow Daisy, chewing her “cud.” Come to think of it, until now, I never really knew what cud was.

For those of us who weren’t members of the Future Farmers of America in high school, here’s a little Animal Husbandry 101: It turns out that cows, sheep, beef cattle and goats are “ruminants,” or animals with a specialized digestive system that allows them to process otherwise unusable plant material. Cows and other ruminants regurgitate their food (creating the cud) and digest it in multiple stomachs.

Through this prolonged digestive process, known as “enteric fermentation,” dairy cows and beef cattle release methane, mostly from burping, but also from farting. Read more.

Interested in learning more about the science behind global warming and climate change?  Check out these OCW courses (these searches have overlaps):

One thought on “U.N. Climate Panel Endorses Ceiling on Global Emissions (New York Times)

  1. Gore said the fingerprints of man-made climate change are now increasingly visible in extreme weather events, fueled by a warmer atmosphere that retains more moisture.

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