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Human-Caused Climate Change Causes Frequent Mediterranean Droughts

Winter-time droughts are increasingly common in the Mediterranean region, and human-caused climate change is partly responsible, according to a new analysis by NOAA scientists and colleagues at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). In the last 20 years, 10 of the driest 12 winters have taken place in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

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Scientists Project Changes in Rainfall Patterns for Next 30 Years

Scientists at University of Hawai’i at Manoa have projected an increased frequency of heavy rainfall events, but a decrease in rainfall intensity during next 30 years (2011-2040) for southern shoreline of O’ahu, according to a recent study published in ‘Journal of Geophysical Research’. Chase Norton, a Meteorology Research Assistant at SOEST at UH Manoa, and colleagues – Prof. Pao-Shin Chu and Prof. Thomas Schroeder – used a statistical model, rainfall data from rainfall gauges on O’ahu, Hawai’I, and a suite of General Circulation Models from IPCC to project future patterns of heavy rainfall events on O’ahu.

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World’s Fastest Growing Populations Increasingly Vulnerable to Climate Change

The fourth release of Maplecroft’s Climate Change and Environment Risk Atlas includes a new Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) that analyzes and maps climate change vulnerability down to 25km² worldwide. It reveals that some of the world’s fastest growing populations are increasingly at risk from the impacts of climate related natural hazards including sea level rise.

Many of the countries with the fastest population growth are rated as ‘extreme risk’ in the CCVI, including the strategically important emerging economies of Bangladesh (2nd), the Philippines (10th), Viet Nam (23th), Indonesia (27th) and India (28th).

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Facebook, NRDC and Opower Partner to Develop a New Social Energy Application

Arlington (Virginia), Palo Alto (California) & Washington, D.C. – Facebook, NRDC and Opower on October 17 announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to use the power of social networking to raise consumer awareness about energy consumption through a joint development of a new social energy application.

Leveraging the Facebook platform, the application will enable consumers, who choose to participate, to benchmark their home’s energy usage against a national average of similar homes, compare their energy use with friends, enter energy-saving competitions, and share tips on how to become more energy efficient.

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Third Annual Green Rankings of Newsweek Highlight Top Environmental Performers

Boston – On October 17, Newsweek published its third annual Green Rankings, identifying the greenest among the world’s largest companies. Research partners Sustainalytics and Trucost evaluated each company’s performance on a number of criteria related to environmental impact, management and disclosure. Although Trucost is returning as a research partner for the third time, this is Sustainalytics’ first year collaborating with Newsweek on the Rankings.

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More Heat Waves: Increase of Extremes Due to Climate Change

The Moscow heat wave last year was, with high probability, the result of climate change – contrary to what some have assumed. With a likelihood of 80 percent, it was not natural short-term climatic variability but the long-term warming trend that caused the temperature record in the region surrounding the Russian capital in July 2010, according to scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). They developed a formula for calculating how frequently weather extremes occur in a changing climate. This week their findings are published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’.

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Europe Should Abandon Misguided ETS Plans, Says IATA

Hong Kong – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reiterated the air transport industry’s commitment to its ambitious agenda to reduce CO2 emissions and urged the European Union (EU) to abandon its misguided plans to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) commencing in 2012. IATA invited governments to join industry as committed partners in a global approach to reducing aviation’s carbon emissions that could also include a global ETS or other compensation measures.

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Thomson Airways Becomes First UK Airline to Operate Commercial Flight on Sustainable Biofuels

Thomson Airways became the first UK airline to fly customers on sustainable biofuel when flight TOM 7446 took off from Birmingham Airport to Arrecife on October 6. Carrying 232 passengers on a Boeing 757-200, the flight departed at 14:25 HRS for the four hour flight. This landmark flight reiterates Thomson Airways’ position at the fore-front of sustainable aviation. The airline, owned by Europe’s biggest tour operator TUI Travel, already operates one of the highest load factors in the UK industry and makes the most efficient use of its fleet and of the airport slots.

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Report Changes Debate on Future Migration Patterns in Face of Environmental Change

A new international report, published October 20 by U.K. Government’s Foresight Programme, reveals that the major challenges associated with migration and environmental change have been underestimated. By focusing solely on those that might leave vulnerable areas, we risk neglecting those that will be ‘trapped’ and those that will actually move towards danger.

It also shows that migration can have a transformative role in helping communities adapt to hazardous conditions. This is a critical finding for policy makers working to avert costly humanitarian disasters in the future.

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Climate Change Demands New Decision-Making Strategies by National Leaders

In light of recent extreme weather events, as well as long-term disruptions related to climate change, a major new report calls for different approaches to decision making by national leaders. The report, entitled “Decision Making in a Changing Climate”, explores challenges and offers recommendations for national-level government officials to make informed and effective decisions to respond to the changing climate. The report, produced by the World Resources Institute, UNDP,UNEP, and the World Bank, is the latest edition of the influential World Resources Report.

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