slow boat to ….?

In 2007, Peter Flynn, the Poole Chair in Management for Engineers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, devised a US$50-billion contingency plan involving 8,000 barges that would manipulate the Atlantic conveyor, the currents of water which help ensure Northern Europe’s mild climate.

Flynn’s army of barges would maintain that mild climate in the face of global warming changing the currents and causing a deep freeze to fall over Northern Europe. The barges would float into position every fall, spraying water into the air to form ice and then pumping salt water over top and trapping it in the ice.

Come the spring, the barges would pour more water over the ice, melting it and creating a vast amount of cold, salt water that would sink, adding to and strengthening the deep current.
National Observer, 20 May 2015

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

an outsized carbon paw print

Enlightened animal lovers across the United States face a quandary: how to pamper beloved pets without adding to global warming or creating an outsized carbon paw print?

Answers for the ecologically-aware pet owner were on offer at the Going Green With Pets conference at Manhattan’s tony Metropolitan Dog Club, with pointers on everything from whipping up biodegradable cat litter to choosing the best organic shampoo for one’s Lhasa Apso.

The must-read primer for the environmentally aware pet owner is Eco-Dog, published in March and already in its second printing. The book is a how-to on making Fido a meal consisting of just rice and beans or how to convert a faded pair of blue jeans into a dog bed.The Age (Australia), 26 Jun 2008

lose the flakes

Dandruff and dog fur may be more than embarrassing inconveniences: they could be changing the world’s climate, new research shows.

Dead skin, animal hair and other materials, such as bacteria, fungi, algae, viruses, plant cells and pollens, have been found to make up a larger part of “aerosol” air pollution than was thought.

By counting and identifying cells in air samples from around the world, a German researcher, Ruprecht Jaenicke, showed that about 25 per cent of atmospheric particles came from these sources in some places.

Atmospheric aerosols play a crucial role in regulating the global climate, and the meteorological relevance of cellular particles could be high, said Dr Jaenicke, of the University of Mainz, whose results were published yesterday in the journal Science.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Apr 2005

red helicopter

Melburnians believed their 13-year water crisis – with its withering parks and gardens, dying trees, and the end of carefree water use – was as severe as facing a war or major natural disaster.

Documents reveal the Government’s thinking behind the so-called “red helicopter” advertisements, which featured a chopper-borne Steve Bracks (premier of Victoria – admin)announcing the controversial desalination plant.

Shannon’s Way’s (government’s advertising agency – admin) pitch to the Government was centred on the reassurance and leadership of Mr Bracks, underlying that he has been “correct all along”.

The pitch also said the advertisement should highlight that announcements were “just part of the plan on water”. The helicopter, Shannon’s Way said, was important because of the “vibrant nature of the sound – loud, fast and full. And like the film Apocalypse Now, we can use … the intense sound of a helicopter at full throttle.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Oct 2009

don’t leave home without it!

A limit could be imposed on the carbon each person pumps into the atmosphere under proposals being considered by the Government to combat global warming.

A credit card-style trading system would ensure that people pay for air travel, electricity, gas and petrol with carbon rations as well as cash, under the plans to be floated today by David Miliband, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a speech to the Audit Commission. The Independent, 19/7/06

wow, I’m worth 30,000 pounds!

A lower birth rate would help cut greenhouse gas emissions, a report released today claims. Each Briton uses nearly 750 tonnes of CO2 in a lifetime, equivalent to 620 return flights between London and New York, the Optimum Population Trust warns.

Based on a cost of 42.50 pounds per tonne of CO2, the report estimates that the price for the climate of each new person over their lifetime is roughly 30,000 pounds. The bill for the extra 10 million people projected for the UK by 2074 would reach more than 300 billion pounds.

The report, called A Population-Based Climate Strategy, says: ”The most effective personal climate change strategy is limiting the number of children one has. The most effective national and global climate change strategy is limiting the size of the population.”
The Telegraph (UK), 7 May 2007

a holiday used to be just a holiday

The man who inspired a generation of backpackers to see the world has claimed that travelling is environmentally destructive. Mark Ellingham, the founder the Rough Guide series of books, is urging holidaymakers to cut down on foreign flights.

He wants to stop the trend for “binge flying” and is calling for green taxes on overseas plane trips. He added:”Balancing all the positives and negatives, I’m not convinced there is such a thing as a ‘responsible’ or ‘ethical’ holiday.”

The Telegraph (UK), 7 May 2007

murky water

Warmer temperatures are expected to cause more colored organic matter to run off into lakes, turning the water brown.

That will kill the plants at the bottom of the lakes, as they need sunlight to survive.

That means that the animal species which eat those plants will have to find something else to feed them, which will cause significant drop of their number.

Greenbuzz, 2 Jul 2011

more bugs

Bad news for allergy sufferers — climate change, and specifically warmer temperatures, may bring more pollen and ragweed, according to a 2011 study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Along with allergies, a changing climate may be tied to more infectious diseases. According to one study, climate change could affect wild bird migratory patterns, increasing the chances for human flu pandemics.

Illnesses like Lyme disease could also become more prominent.

Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2012 What Climate Change Just Might Ruin

CO2 scrubber

A group of scientists are devising a ‘CO2 scrubber’ which they claim will capture one tonne of CO2 from the air every day, about the same per passenger as a flight from London to New York, reducing the warming effect of greenhouse gases produced each year.

The ‘scrubber’ devices – small enough to fit inside a shipping container – would need to be produced in their millions to soak up human carbon emissions, and the CO2 trapped would still need to be disposed of. The prototype will cost about £100,000 and take about two years to construct at a laboratory in Tucson, Arizona.
The Telegraph (UK), 1 Jun 2008

paying people to eat

Lord Stern, the former government advisor on climate change, yesterday predicted that a mechanism would be established to “pay the poor to eat” as part of efforts to cope with global warming. Increases in prices of food staples sparked riots on three continents in recent weeks and have in part been blamed on the effects of global warming.

Lord Stern’s 2006 report on the economic impact of climate change provided an apocalyptic view of a warming planet. At an energy industry summit yesterday the former head of the government economic service said he would be even more pessimistic if he was writing his report today. He said: “I was too reticent.”
The Telegraph (UK), 17 Apr 2008

Britain’s finest minds put their noses to the grindstone

Britain’s finest scientific minds have turned their attention to a problem that they claim is threatening the future of the planet – farm animal flatulence.

Experts at the Rrowett Research Institute in Aberdeen say the average cow contributes as much to global warming as a family car that travels 12,ooo miles. The scientists are now trying to produce new foodstuffs that result in livestock producing less methane.The Telegraph (UK), 20 Mar 2008

insect taxi service

Now a new study by Durham University shows human beings could help by transporting the insects to cooler climes in the south. The researchers caught the Marbled White and Small Skipper butterflies in North Yorkshire and transported them in soft cages to safe areas in County Durham and Northumberland.

Eight years later the research, published in Conservation Letters, showed both species thriving in their new home. Professor Brian Huntley from Durham University said other species at risk of climate change could also be moved. The Telegraph (UK), 18 Feb 2009

not all bad news

A colony of Antarctic penguins could be excused for feeling like climate change’s big winners.

A study has found a group of Adelie penguins on Beaufort Island in the Ross Sea, 3500km south of New Zealand, has significantly boosted its numbers as nearby glaciers have receded.

A team of US and New Zealand-based scientists has used aerial photographs from as far back as 1958 and modern satellite imagery to measure nesting areas and population.

Population size varied with available habitat, and both increased rapidly since the mid-1980s, the team found.

Numbers in the colony increased by 84 per cent as habitat grew by 71 per cent.

The Age, 4 Apr 2013

turtles go the distance

Turtles go the distance. Female loggerhead turtles in Florida, US, increasingly rely on long-distance relationships with males in North Carolina, according to research our of the University of Exeter in the UK.

That’s because the sex of the loggerhead hatchlings is determined by the temperature at which the egg is incubated: warmer temperatures yield females, cooler ones yield males.

So warming temperatures in the US mean that southern populations of loggerheads are increasingly dominated by females.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007

dog day afternoons

Leading pet behaviourists told The Independent that the number of depressed and unsettled dogs they have seen in recent months is unprecedented. And they suggested that the spate of wet winters could be at the root of the problem, as owners cut down on the daily walks that are crucial to keeping dogs’ spirits up.

“I’ve been working with dogs for more than 20 years and I can’t remember a time when they’ve been this bored. I tend to see boredom in bursts but I’m seeing it chronically this winter,” said Carolyn Menteith, a dog behaviourist who was named Britain’s Instructor of the Year in 2015.

She – like many scientists and meteorologists – puts this down to climate change and expects to see more bored dogs in the future as global warming unleashes increasingly frequent and intense bouts of winter rainfall.
The Independent, 5 Feb 2016

thanks to ddh

like cats on a hot tin roof

When Kristina Vesk started working at the Cat Protection Society of NSW in 2006, she rarely saw kittens in winter. Now warmer weather means cats are breeding all year round, increasing the numbers of unwanted kittens and the threat to native wildlife from strays and feral cats.

Ms Vesk, the society’s chief executive, said there used to be weeks from June to September when the shelter saw very few, if any, kittens. But with the climate changing and temperatures rising, it seems cats are increasingly on heat.

“For the past three years, I don’t think we’ve experienced a full week at any time of year where we don’t have at least a couple of kittens in our care,” Ms Vesk said. “Kitten ‘season’ has grown longer and longer as we keep having … enough warm and sunny days in winter that make cats think it’s a good time to start breeding.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Feb 2016

thanks to ddh

damselfish in distress!

A study from scientists at James Cook University shows increased carbon dioxide levels impaired the senses of spiny damselfish, which live in the Great Barrier Reef.

Fish exposed to higher carbon dioxide levels – which are expected to increase in the oceans for several decades – showed impaired cognitive function, learning difficulties, slowed visual capacity and altered sense of smell and sound.

The damselfish also lose their ability to recognise threats, including the smells of predators when exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide – and will even become attracted to them instead. Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Oct 2014

a wake up call

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects significant disruption to coffee production as the planet warms.

While some places might become more suitable to grow coffee as the planet warms, the drafts say that in many cases suitable growing land will contract significantly with 2 to 2.5 degrees of warming. An overall decline in good coffee growing areas by 2050 was found in all countries studied.
Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Mar 2014

pending collapse

The United Nations’ Global Environment Outlook-4 report, released in New York, reveals a scale of unprecedented ecological damage, with more than 2 million people possibly dying prematurely of air pollution and close to 2 billion likely to suffer absolute water scarcity by 2025.

Put bluntly, the report warns that the 6.75 billion world population, “has reached a stage where the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available”.

And it says climate change, the collapse of fish stocks and the extinction of species “may threaten humanity’s very survival”.

Launching the report, the head of the UN’s Environment Program, Achim Steiner, warned that, “without an accelerated effort to reform the way we collectively do business on planet earth, we will shortly be in trouble, if indeed we are not already”.

Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Oct 2007

see also – just plain scary

shocking approach

A shark expert has warned that Victoria’s “shocking approach” to beach safety could put swimmers at risk as the state faces what could be its worst shark season, due to global warming.

Ric Wilson, from Shark Patrol Victoria, has called for a statewide revamp of beach patrolling, saying the current system is “abysmal” and swimmers’ safety is “the luck of the draw”.

Mr Wilson – who has made voluntary patrols of Victorian waters using his own aircraft for the past 20 years – says he believes global warming ould be behind an increase in the number of sharks approaching on the state’s beaches.

The Sunday Age (Australia), 30 Dec 2007 – screencopy held by this website

a cruel hoax

After the warmest January on record, maple syrup producers in Ohio were surprised to have recently discovered premature maple tree buds.

The shocking thing about this story is that it is not about melting glaciers in faraway Alaska or snow melt at the North Pole, but about the impact of global warming on a very American rite of spring.

“The gathering of maple sap is how we all here know the season is upon us,” says Joe Logan. “This is a cruel hoax on the trees and us.”

A budding maple tree in early February is bad news for the farmer — and for anyone who enjoys delicious “made in America” maple syrup on their pancakes.

Imminent change is upon us — not just in Ohio and Alaska, but at breakfast tables all across the United States.

Huffington Post, 25 May 2011

sounds greenish to me

lightbulbThe inefficient standard light bulb could be phased out within three years to save up to 800,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is expected today to announce a commitment to phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2009-10, a world first by a national government.

Colin Goldman, the head of Nelson Industries, a lighting importer, supported the move. Mr Goldman said compact fluorescent bulbs were available that emitted a range of light. “You can get warm white, which is a yellowish light, or natural, which is white, or day-light, which is more blueish.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Feb 2007

over the top

Australia needs a new “industrial revolution” to come up with an effective strategy against global warming, the Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, will tell one of the country’s largest unions this week.

He will tell members of the Autralian Workers Union that climate change has occurred so quickly that the Government needs to think of it as like going to war.

While stopping short of endorsing either party, Professor Falannery’s speech tomorrow says: “We need a government willing to truly lead on the issue, one willing to get on a war footing, and willing to dip into our surplus to help fund a new industrial revolution that will give Australia’s industry and environment a new lease of life.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website

help the helmeted honeyeater!

Drought could be threatening Victoria’s state bird emblem, the endangered helmeted honeyeater, with research showing a “significant correlation” between declining rainfall and reduced egg laying.

Bruce Quin, the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s field ornithologist for the helmeted honeyeater, agreed the future of the Victorian bird looked grim. He said the number of breeding pairs at Yellingbo — 50 kilometres east of Melbourne — had fallen to a record low of 11 in the past breeding season, compared with 15 in 1989-90.
The Age (Australia), 20 Apr 2007

ban trees, plants and soil!

Scientists at Bristol University in Britain say a recent surge in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is due to green house gas escaping from trees, plants and soils.

Global warming was making vegetation less able to absorb carbon pumped out by humans, such a shift could worsen predictions of the UN’s panel on Climate Change, which has warned there is less than a decade in which to tackle emissions to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Measurements of carbon dioxide in air samples show unusually high levels in four of the past five years.
The Sydney Sun Herald, 13 May 2007 – screen copy held by this website

moving day

Imagine picking up Scone, carting the town 350 kilometres north west and dropping it in the dust near Moree.

Simultaneously, we would drag the entire Hunter Region into the hot, dry landscape over the Great Dividing Range.

Hunter residents will experience this climate shift during the next 22 years under a ‘moderate’ global warming scenario involving a one-degree temperature increase, according to a report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Newcastle Herald, 10 Sept 2007 – screencopy held by this website

designing for climate change

Leading international fashion designers and industry experts say unpredictable and typically warmer weather worldwide is wreaking havoc on the industry.

It is forcing fashion houses to ditch traditional collections for transeasonal garments that may lead to a drastic overhaul of fashion show schedules and retail delivery dates.

So worried are some fashion houses about the impact of climate change is having on the way we dress and shop, they are calling in the climate experts.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that American retail giant Liz Claiborne Inc had enlisted a New York climatologist to speak to 30 of its executives on topics ranging from the types of fabrics they should be using to the timing of retail deliveries and seasonal markdowns.

Other US fashion retail giants, including Target and Kohl’s have also started using climate experts to plan their collections and schedule end-of-season sales. And from January, Target will sell swimwear year-round.

The Sunday Age (Australia), 7 Oct 2007 – screencopy held by this website

don’t feed the man meat

Climate change is not only a pertinent issue for anyone mindful of the environment, but also an opportunity for a serious recruitment drive by vegetarians.

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) research has found that food – in particular beef and dairy – is a major contributor to the average household’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Brisbane Vegetarian and Vegan spokeswoman Maureen Collier said she would try to take advantage of increased awareness of climate change.

“We are hoping that once people realize the effect that a meat-eating lifestyle is having on the environment, they will think more seriously about a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle,” she said.

Sun Herald, (Australia), 24 Aug 2008 – screencopy held by this website

simple!

According to research published today in the journal Science, global warming can be limited to 1.3 degrees above the pre-industrial levels by 2060 – less than the 2 degree rise that UN climate scientists warn is likely to trigger dangerous tipping points, The catch? We can’t build any new carbon dioxide-emitting power station or cars.
The Age (Australia), 10 Sep 2010

this isn’t exactly new

US Scientists are to conduct widespread trials of a new farming technique called adaptive multi-paddock grazing and which moves herds every 3 days. This helps to trap carbon dioxide from the air in the plant and in the soil. work by Dr Richard Teague at Texas A&M University that found that adaptive multi-paddock grazing could sequester an additional 30 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare over 10 years compared to conventional grazing.
Daily Mail (UK), 17 Feb 2015

stirring the pot

Recently, the scientific entrepreneur Nathan Myhrvold, whose company Intellectual Ventures has invested in several geoengineering ideas, said that we could cool the earth by stirring the seas. He has proposed deploying a million plastic tubes, each about a hundred metres long, to roil the water, which would help it trap more CO2.

“The ocean is this giant heat sink,’’ he told me. “But it is very cold. The bottom is nearly freezing. If you just stirred the ocean more, you could absorb the excess CO2 and keep the planet cold.”

The New Yorker, 14 May 2012

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

lose the flakes

Dandruff and dog fur may be more than embarrassing inconveniences: they could be changing the world’s climate, new research shows.

Dead skin, animal hair and other materials, such as bacteria, fungi, algae, viruses, plant cells and pollens, have been found to make up a larger part of “aerosol” air pollution than was thought.

By counting and identifying cells in air samples from around the world, a German researcher, Ruprecht Jaenicke, showed that about 25 per cent of atmospheric particles came from these sources in some places.

Atmospheric aerosols play a crucial role in regulating the global climate, and the meteorological relevance of cellular particles could be high, said Dr Jaenicke, of the University of Mainz, whose results were published yesterday in the journal Science.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Apr 2005

not so fast

Blooms of toxic algae can occur in the open ocean, a team of scientists has reported. Once thought to be a problem plaguing only the coast, causing fishery closures and wildlife deaths, the research shows that open-sea algae populations also occasionally bloom into a toxic soup.

Since the algae consume carbon dioxide, earlier research by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories director Kenneth Coale had led to proposals to fertilise the ocean on a mass scale to stave off global warming.

The discovery of the algae’s toxicity throws a spanner into these plans.

“We should use this as a caution,” said Mary Silver of the University of California. “Using iron fertilisation as a remedy for global warming would be dangerous.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 November 2010

doped up cows!

New research carried out by The University of Nottingham suggests targeted use of hormone treatments could make the dairy industry more efficient and sustainable in addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Archer, a Research Fellow in Veterinary Epidemiology, said: “Routine hormone treatments could improve efficiency by getting more cows pregnant sooner. This is better for the environment as for every litre of milk produced; fewer animals would be needed, which generates less waste. This applies for any breed of cow and to the majority of farms, except those that are already exceptionally well managed.”

Phys Org, 11 Jun 2015

surprise, surprise!

Carbon offsets. The way this works is that you pay someone else to take action – by planting trees or investing in renewable energy sources – that will reduce greenhouse gases. That action acts as a proxy for your own emission cuts.

However, research by the University of NSW found many of the carbon certificates issued don’t represent additional cuts in emissions. In other words, some firms are being rewarded for doing things they would have done regardless of the financial incentive offered by the scheme.

For example, government agency, Forests NSW, generates certificates from its forests and sells the certificates to offset companies who then sell them to the public. But Forest NSW hasn’t planted any additional trees.
Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Mar 2007 – screen copy held by this website

missed it by that much!

Last year a series of lakes formed on the vast body of ice that covers most of Greenland. Acting like a lubricant, the water quickly made its way to the base of the ice sheet, forcing giant slabs of ice to rise, then slide into the ocean. The speed at which the ice broke off shocked many scientists.

“We used to think that it would take 10,000 years for melting at the surface of an ice sheet to penetrate down to the bottom. Now we know it doesn’t take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds,” says Richard Alley, a professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.
Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Feb 2007

climate change causes mixed metaphors!

Commenting on the report, United States Secretary of State John Kerry said: “This is yet another wake-up call. Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire. This is science, these are facts, and action is our only option.”

“If this isn’t an alarm bell, then I don’t know what one is. If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Sep 2013

their burp is worse than their ….

beef_cattleScientists from NSW’s Department of Primary Industries have been working for the past 15 years to find a way to breed more efficient beef cattle. After a decade of research, the scientists came up with a blood analysis that has been developed into a commercial test for selecting bulls able to breed the most food-efficient cows and steers.

Although it has been developed to cut farming costs, the scientists now believe the burp-reduced cattle will also help fight global warming, because methane is also a greenhouse gas, many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The leader of the department’s methane research effort, Roger Hegarty, said it may be possible to develop other methane-efficient animals, including sheep. Dr Hegarty estimated 95 per cent of methane from beef cattle was belched. The rest, he said, was “flatulence”.
Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Jun 2006

big winners!

When cockroaches are resting, they periodically stop breathing for as long as 40 minutes, though why they do so has been unclear.

To investigate the mystery, Natalie Schimpf and her colleagues at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, examined whether speckled cockroaches (Nauphoeta cinerea) change their breathing pattern in response to changes in carbon dioxide or oxygen concentration, or humidity.

They conclude that cockroaches close the spiracles through which they breathe primarily to save water. In dry environments the insects took shorter breaths than in moist conditions.

The nifty breath-holding adaptation has allowed cockroaches to colonise drier habitats, says George McGavin of the University of Oxford, and may allow them to thrive in climate change.

New Scientist, 18 Aug 2009

springback mountains

Though the average hiker wouldn’t notice, the Alps and other mountain ranges have experienced a gradual growth spurt over the past century or so thanks to the melting of the glaciers atop them.

For thousands of years, the weight of these glaciers has pushed against the Earth’s surface, causing it to depress. As the glaciers melt, this weight is lifting, and the surface slowly is springing back.

Because global warming speeds up the melting of these glaciers, the mountains are rebounding faster.

Livescience, 16 Aug 2011

save the trees!

Some 7,000 of around 100,000 tree species in the world are on the international IUCN Red List of endangered species, according to Douglas Gibbs, of Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

But experts believe around a quarter of tree species are already in danger, and that climate change could reduce the range of half the world’s plants and potentially put them at risk of extinction.

The Telegraph, 23 Sep 2008

Let them all out?

There is no population more captive to the effects of global warming than the incarcerated. A new study from Daniel W. E. Holt of the Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law explains over 144 pages what the climate-change toll truly is on the two-million-plus bodies caged in our prison system.

“The correctional sector may be alone in facing the prospect of viable constitutional litigation if it does not effectively adapt to the changing climate,” reads the report. The legal and fatal consequences of failing to adapt to climate change and overheating prisons are yet more rationale for reducing the incarcerated population, reads the report.
Mother Jones: Environment, 2 Oct 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

air conditioners to the rescue!

air_cond
Our innovative approach allows for presumably random variation in the distribution of daily temperatures to affect birth rates up to 24 months into the future.

We find that additional days above 80 °F cause a large decline in birth rates approximately 8 to 10 months later. The lack of a full rebound suggests that increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century.

…As an added cost, climate change will shift even more births to the summer months when third trimester exposure to dangerously high temperatures increases. Based on our analysis of historical changes in the temperature-fertility relationship, we conclude air conditioning could be used to substantially offset the fertility costs of climate change.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 21681, Issued in October 2015

thanks to ddh

ban camels!

camel_in_carAn Australian government report has proposed killing many of the country’s estimated 1.2 million wild camels as a climate change solution.It is considering awarding carbon credits for culling the non-native camels, which are widely considered an ecological and an agricultural pest.

Apparently, a camel produces an estimated 100 pounds of methane a year, which is roughly equivalent to 1.1 tons of carbon dioxide. Methane is twenty times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Almost half of all global methane emissions come from belching livestock, mainly cows but also pigs, goats, sheep – and camels.
Open Knowledge, 10 Jul 2011

see also – action plan

to plant, or not to plant?

Plant trees to soak up carbon dioxide – why not? But it’s more complicated than it sounds. As a meeting of the American Geophysical Union heard in December, computer models show that trees can cool the planet through photosynthesis, but only in the tropics.

The problem is that forests are dark and absorb sunlight, thereby raising the planet’s temperature. Light-coloured landscapes reflect sunlight and cool things down. In the United States and Europe, “the climate benefits of planting will be nearly zero”, according to American ecologist Govindasamy Bala. In the seasonally snow-covered regions at higher latitudes, “planting trees could be actually counter-productive”.

Other left field ideas include waiting for the next ice age, though best guesses put it at 40,000 years away.

The Sunday Age, 18 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Christmas – bah, humbug!

Escalating climate change will have an impact on every aspect of Australian Defence Force operations, a report warns, with rising natural disasters and changes to the “physical battle space” affecting Defence’s mission, facilities and strategic environment.

The ADF will have to permanently abandon the idea of Christmas as a time of relaxation and get used to a world where increased floods, fires, storms and cyclones keep it busy throughout summer.

The authors, led by strategic analyst Anthony Bergin and head of the Antarctic Climate Research Centre Tony Press, say the Chief of the Defence Force should appoint a climate change adviser.

Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Mar 2013

shrinking fish

As fish get smaller under man’s environmental impact they will become more prone to predators and a crucial food source will become more endangered than thought obvious, warn scientists.

Previous research has found some key fish species dwindle in size as larger specimens are trawled out and climate change affects the food chain.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Feb 2013

rise of the Grolars!

Polar and Grizzly bears would not normally share breeding habitats, but biologists from the American Museum of Natural History have recently reported Grizzlies moving into what was traditionally Polar bear territory, while an article in Nature has suggested that retracting Arctic sea ice may force Polar bears to migrate into Grizzly terrain.

Although Pizzly (or Grolar) bears – that is, Grizzly-Polar bear hybrids – have occasionally been bred in captivity, their existence in the wild was first proved in 2006 following DNA testing of a bear shot in the Canadian Arctic.

Geological Society of London blog, 5 Mar 2014

pot calling the kettle ….

Bill Moyers, the founding director of Public Affairs Television in Washington, retired three months ago, one of the United States’ most honoured journalists. Harvard Medical School that same month named him the recipient of its fourth annual Global Environmental Citizen Award.

“Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven. Ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.” Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Mar 2005

salps move in for the krill

Human activity is driving changes in the world’s oceans at a rate not seen for several million years, a series of reports has concluded.

Oscar Schofield, of Rutgers University in the US, said environmental change had been “profound” in the West Antarctic Peninsula and was altering the food chain on which whales in this polar region depend.

Blooms of phytoplankton, or microscopic plants, had decreased by 12 per cent in the past 30 years, and the size of the cells had also shrunk.

This had allowed jellyfish-like creatures called salps, which find it easier to feed on the small cells, to start to replace shrimp-like krill, on which whales depend for food. The Age (Australia), 18 Jun 2010

no flies on them!

The pesky little flies that hover around rotting fruit could act as a sensitive warning system for the effects of global warming.

Professor Ary Hoffmann, a member of the La Trobe and Monash University team that studied the vinegar flies, said the changes in the genetic composition of the fly populations because of hotter conditions was surprisingly rapid.

The researchers sampled flies from Tasmania to far north Queensland, visiting farms, fruit shops and some supermarkets. “We’d go in with a net and ask where they dumped their rotten fruit,” Professor Hoffmann said.

They then studied the genes, including one called Adh that is linked to metabolism.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30 Apr 2005

moving day

Arizona’s low taxes and living costs, friendly culture, arts scenes and easy access to outdoor activities make it an appealing state in which to settle.

And in decades ahead the state’s draw as a new home could be boosted as seas rise and oceans warm, forcing coastal residents to deal with fallout like strengthening storms, floods, mudslides and other disasters.

“We see natural disasters all over the world; but to be very close to one, and experience the utter helplessness, as well as the repeated evacuations, is very, very stressful,” says Jenni Aguilar, who moved her family to a four-bedroom house near Tucson from California on Memorial Day.

Climate Central, 7 Jun 2018

thanks to David Hanig

the clock is running!

A top climate scientist is warning that climate change will wipe out all of humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years.

In a recent speech at the University of Chicago, James Anderson — a professor of atmospheric chemistry at Harvard University — warned that climate change is drastically pushing Earth back to the Eocene Epoch from 33 million BCE, when there was no ice on either pole.

Recovery is all but impossible, he argued, without a World War II-style transformation of industry—an acceleration of the effort to halt carbon pollution and remove it from the atmosphere, and a new effort to reflect sunlight away from the earth’s poles.

This has do[sic] be done, Anderson added, within the next five years. “The chance that there will be any permanent ice left in the Arctic after 2022 is essentially zero,” Anderson said, “with 75 to 80 percent of permanent ice having melted already in the last 35 years.”

Gritpost, 19 Feb 2018

thanks to David Mulberry

amphibians jump the gun!

The timing of amphibian breeding is largely driven by environmental cues such as temperature and moisture (Carey and Alexander 2003); because of this, their breeding phenology may be directly affected by global warming.

In temperate regions may be even more susceptible to increases temperatures. Most temperate species spend a large portion of the year inactive, escaping either cold winters or hot summers. Subtle increases in temperature or moisture trigger them to emerge from their hibernacula.

Immediately upon emergence, they migrate to ponds or streams to breed. Thus, one hypothesized direct affect of global warming on amphibians is a trend towards early breeding as the average temperatures increase.

Amphibiaweb, 22 Feb 2006

save the whales!

whaleSouthern Ocean sperm whales have emerged as an unexpected ally in the fight against global warming, removing the equivalent carbon emissions from 40,cars each year thanks to their faeces, a study has found. The cetaceans have been previously fingered as climate culprits because they breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2) the most common grrenhouse gas. The study is lead authored by Trish Lavery of the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University at Adelaide.Daily Telegraph, 16 Jun 2010

happiness is a long hot bubble bath

bubble_bathThe latest geoengineering scheme involves turning the world’s oceans into a giant bubble bath, with hundreds of millions of tiny bubbles pumped into the seas. This would increase the water’s reflectivity and bring down ocean temperatures, according to Harvard University physicist Russell Seitz.

As the creative physicist said to the assembled crowd at an international meeting on geoengineering research: “Since water covers most of the earth, don’t dim the sun…. Brighten the water.” CBS News, 30 Mar 2010

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

Yes, but what does it sound like?

How our musos (musicians) are saving the planet.

“We recorded our first EP in an old converted Bedford fire engine truck run on vege oil. We drove down to the southern tip of Tassie and found a beautiful little bay surrounded by forest. During recording, the computers, mikes and amps were powered by solar panels and a wind generator on the roof of the truck. Those recordings went on to score us a record deal.”Sydney Morning Herald 30 Mar 2007 – screen copy held by this website

sacrilege!

kangarooSkippy could soon be on the menu for the climate change-conscious if they take note of a report showing a switch from beef to kangaroo could help cut greenhouse gases.

A report by the director of the sustainability centre at the University of NSW, Mark Diesendorf, says a 30 per cent reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is achievable but would need both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and a change of diet.

“Beef consumption is chosen in this measure because it is responsible for the biggest share of livestock-related methane emissions,” the report says. “This measure could be reduced by shifting to kangaroo meat and/or lower-meat diets.”
The Age (Australia), 11 Oct 2007