Several stories on the science and politics of global warming caught our attention this week:
Climate scientists have long declared that global warming could potentially release methane previously frozen in to the Arctic permafrost, setting off significant increases in warming trends. Now researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and elsewhere say this change is underway in a little-studied area under the sea, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, west of the Bering Strait. Scientists contend that while carbon dioxide is far more abundant and persistent in the atmosphere, ton for ton, atmospheric methane traps at least 25 times as much heat.
Nearly 570 concerned scientists have signed a letter urging Congress to “oppose an imminent attack on the Clean Air Act.” The scientists’ plea comes as several coalitions of lawmakers attempt to overturn the endangerment finding using the Congressional Review Act, which establishes special procedures for disapproving regulations from federal agencies. The lawmakers claim the “Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate something like carbon dioxide.”
Is your cup of Joe on the outs? Coffee producers are creating a buzz with claims that global warming is adding risk to the long term sustainability of the industry. Many growers at the World Coffee Conference held in Guatemala this week predicted that if temperatures continue to rise, supplies of the world famous bean will decline. They contend higher temperatures are forcing their industry peers to seek higher, more costly land, driving costs up from the farm to your cup.