Reading Around the Internet: December 8, 2014

This week, between grading and some other writing (on deadline, of course), I also took some time to catch up a little on climate change politics. Here’s some of the reading I did:

Philippines Hit By Typhoon

A storm named Hagupit (“Whip”, but also known as Typhoon Ruby) has struck the Philippines. At least 900,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes. You may remember that last year Typhoon Haiyan killed 6,300 people and caused $13 billion in damage.  This time, thanks to preparedness and evacuation strategies the nation was spared the extreme amount of devastation and high death toll of Haiyan. That said, Hagupit is responsible for the deaths of three people, has caused landslides and damage to homes and buildings across the country. One of the more detailed and interesting articles covering the storm is from The Irish Times.

Antartica’s Ice

You may have heard that the ice shelves in Antarctica have been melting, causing a lot of concern regarding global climate change. A recent article from Ars Technica  discusses some of the recent science investigating the causes of the melting ice. While you’re reading that, and bundling up to go outside, you might want to take a look at the possible effects of Arctic ice melting from another Ars Technica article (here).  While the relationship is correlative and not causal, it is noteworthy how strong the correlation is.

UN Climate Talks

The UN Climate Summit 2014 is well underway, where world leaders are meeting in an attempt to craft a global agreement that would curb global warming.  You can read statements from the Member States as well as watch videos at the website. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow discussion about the summit at #climate2014. For awhile, as the Wall Street Journal reported, it appeared that China and the US had jointly unveiled longterm plans to cut carbon-dioxide emissions.  However, it appears that the momentum for change that resulting from what some commentators saw as a historic U.S.-China pact has slowed as conflicts between rich and poor countries concerning the roles of various countries in these plans have increased.  In addition, China has been working to remove provisions in the draft agreements that would allow other countries as well as non-governmental agencies to submit questions concerning carbon-reduction plans. The idea behind the provisions is to shine light onto the individual country plans and provide for some accountability among the various signees of the agreement. The tensions have been rising, not unexpectedly, as some of the harder questions and more difficult issues become the focus. However, there are several more days to go before the talks end, and so China’s position may change.

Reading Around the Internet: September 16, 2014

There is so much happening — and so much has happened while we were on hiatus… But here are a few topics we think are especially interesting.

Flood Recovery in Colorado

We just passed the one-year anniversary of the Colorado floods. Here’s some photos showing then/now of flood recovery. Several other news sources produced summaries of the current situation. Two we found particular interesting include, which documents the staggering costs of the recovery and describes the help FEMA and other funding sources are giving in the continuing recovery efforts.

NPR also covered the one-year anniversary. Their coverage can be found here.


I have developed a fascination with volcanoes… Hawai’i, after beating off hurricanes earlier this fall, is making plans for the impact the Pu’u O’o crater flow will have in the Pahoa area on the big island. There is a rural community in the path of the lava flow that started in late june and is now advancing around 300-400 yards per day. Hawai’i County Civil Defense is working with various other organizations and officials to prepare in the case that the lava flow moves through subdivisions in the community.

In the meantime, the Bardarbunga volcano system in Iceland is also spewing lava and smoke. Here are some magnificent pictures of that activity. reports that the earthquakes associated with this eruptions are worsening and the smell of sulfur from the volcano has reached Norway’s coast. In Iceland, people are suffering from stinging eyes, sore throats and sinus congestion. People are being told to stay indoors as much as possible.

Hurricane Season

Our first major hurricane (category 3 or higher) of the season has formed in the Atlantic. Hurricane Edouard, according to the Washington Post, appears to be a strong hurricane (at this time) than Sandy. The Atlantic was off to a slow start, but Edouard seems to be helping make up for the relative peace and quiet. In the East Pacific, on the other hand, we’ve seen storm after storm after storm this year.