Climate Changes

Several stories on the science and politics of global warming caught our attention this week:

The majority of the world’s largest investment managers are not factoring in climate-related trends when making investment decisions. A new report released by Ceres surveyed the world’s 500 largest asset managers and claims they are ignoring “hidden risks” in the trillions of dollars of investment portfolios they oversee. The survey claims companies that are not prepared to adopt climate policies will face growing regulatory, litigation and competitive issues. The study also notes that close to half of the fund managers surveyed reported their clients did not ask them to consider climate risks or opportunities when making investments.

Global warming could shorten Rocky Mountain winters and put the region’s forests in danger of severe forest fires and insect infestation. Those predictions come from a University of Montana professor and international climate change expert who says the real issue for Montana, Wyoming and Idaho is a longer dry season and a lack of water. He claims the shorter winters will result in fewer days of snow and earlier peak snowmelt, resulting in a lack of water for local rivers and reserves.

New research suggests the concentration of methane in the atmosphere is rising. Methane is said to be 25 times more potent than CO2 and studies recently completed near the northern tip of Russia and on the coast of New Zealand link global warming with the increases. Specific causes listed in the studies are unusually high temperatures in the Arctic and emissions from forest fires. In addition, scientists believe methane release from frozen depositories is happening at a faster rate than previously predicted, which may further accelerate global warming.

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