pollutants

Melting glaciers and ice sheets are releasing cancer-causing pollutants into the air and oceans, scientists say. The long-lasting chemicals get into the food chain and build up in people’s bodies – triggering tumours, heart disease and infertility. The warning comes in new international study into the links between climate change and a class of man-made toxins called persistent organic pollutants.
Daily Mail (UK), 9 Dec 2010

new planet!

new_planetOur children and grandchildren will live on a “fundamentally different planet” by the end of this century unless people all over the world convince their governments and industries to stop global warming, warned Dr Michael Mann, one of the nation’s leading experts on climate change.

How will the Earth be different in just 87 years? Mann predicted record heat waves, record crop destroying droughts, recrd wildfires – and not just in the West. Expanding deserts, storms producing more floodng, rising ocean levels, And more diseases because fewer frosts will kill disease carrying mosquitoes and ticks.
WFMZ-TV News, 1 May 2013. “Dr Mann warns global warming will create a fundamentally different planet”

more wildfires

With droughts and wildfires hitting many parts of the U.S., municipalities from Colorado to Tennessee canceled July 4th public fireworks displays or banned personal fireworks this year, citing the fire hazards they posed.

In June, a study published in the journal Ecosphere found that almost all of North America will see more wildfires by 2100, reported Reuters.

The study’s lead author, Max Moritz, said, “In the long run, we found what most fear – increasing fire activity across large areas of the planet.”/div> Huffington Post, 2001

no more reef

The Great Barrier Reef could be dead in 20 years unless there is a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a marine biology expert said on Friday.

Rising sea temperatures were bleaching the coral and causing it to die, said Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the Australian Research Council for Excellence for Coral Reek Studies.

At the same time, increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were turning the world’s oceans more acidic and preventing corals form forming their limestone skeletons, he said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Apr 2007

male birds rule the roost

Male birds rule the roost.

By and large there are one third more male birds out there than females, according to a new study by Paul Donald of the UK Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

This is despite the fact that as many hatchlings of each sex born. So the researchers conclude that unlike humans, female birds must have shorter life expectancies than males.

The finding is bad news for conservation efforts, which often estimate the size of populations by counting the number of males – it seems threatened birds might be even more thin on the ground than previously thought.

Strikingly, the researchers also found that the sex ratio was even greater in threatened species.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007

crossroads!

crossroads

World Environment Day has been celebrated in Brisbane with a call for a massive turn to renewable energy and the large-scale subsidy of public transport to aid in the battle against global warming. Brisbane co-convenor Paul Benedek said 2007 was a watershed year for the environment.

“The world is at a crossroads; if we keep going the way we are going, we think the climate change that is occurring will be catastrophic.”

“We have rising seas, catastrophic weather events that are happening – you only have to look down at NSW – lives and species are threatened, look at what is happening at the poles, the ice melting. We think it is absolutely urgent and we are calling for a massive turn to renewable energy.”
The Age, 9 Jun 2007

look out below!

falling_rocks
A vast chunk of Europe’s most ill-famed mountain threatens to break loose and crash down in the next few days, a geologist monitoring the situation told the Guardian on Friday.

Hans-Rudolf Keusen said 2m cubic metres of the Eiger in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland – twice the volume of the Empire State Building – was rapidly working its way loose. He said the mountain appeared to have cracked open as an indirect result of global warming.
The Guardian, 8/7/06

sinking …. sinking ….

house_underwater_2
Up to a quarter of a million homes around the country, vital power stations, ports, sewerage pipes, water supplies and transport hubs, including Sydney airport, are at serious risk of flooding as a result of sea-level rise and bigger storm tides caused by climate change, warns the Rudd Government’s first national assessment of the coastline…

The report draws on scientific experts from the CSIRO, GeoScience Australia, the University of Tasmania and the Department of Climate Change. At risk by 2100, 157,000 to 247,000 homes, 170 industrial zones, 1800 bridges, 120 ports, 360 schools colleges and universities, 102 retirement/nursing homes, 258 police, fire and ambullance stations and 75 hospitals and health centres.
Sydney Morning Herald/ Environment, 14 Nov 2009. “Flood warning: lucky they brought a paddle”

delete winter!

Winter has gone for ever and we should officially bring spring forward instead, one of the country’s most respected gardeners said yesterday. “Over the last 12 months there has been no winter,” said Dr Nigel Taylor, curator of Kew Gardens. “Last year was extraordinary. Spring was in January, April was summer, the summer was cool, then it was warmer and sunny in autumn.”

“There is no winter any more despite a cold snap before Christmas. It is nothing like years ago when I was younger. There is a real problem with spring because so much is flowering so early year to year.” Express, 8 Feb 2008

run, run reindeer

Reindeer, also known as “caribou” in North America, could face a difficult future in a warmer climate.

According to U.S. News & World Report, “Russell Graham, associate professor of geosciences and director of the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum at Penn State University, says global warming will most harm the animals adapted to the coldest environments, primarily those accustomed to life in the Arctic.

A 2008 study found that caribou in West Greenland are “now arriving after peak foraging time, fewer calves are being born and more calves are dying,” reported ScienceNews.

Huffington Post, 2001

cedars at risk

Earlier this year, researchers from the U.S. Forest Service confirmed that climate warming is killing southeast Alaska’s mighty yellow cedars.

The study, published in the journal Bioscience, found that with decreasing snow cover, the trees’ shallow roots are more vulnerable to freezing, reported AP. Paul Schaberg, a U.S. Forest Service plant pathologist, said,

“As time goes on and climates change even more, other species, other locations, are likely to experience similar kinds of progressions, so you might do well to understand this one so you can address those future things.”

Huffington Post, 2001

whiter clouds

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have published a proposal to whiten clouds by using remote-controlled sailing ships to spray a mist of seawater high into the air.

Whiter clouds would reflect more heat away from the Earth.

But vast new fleets of ships would be required to carry out the task on a big enough scale, and it would be vulnerable to local changes in weather.

Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Dec 2012

it’s all in the timing

U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming.

Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year.

The new report comes just a month before international delegates convene in Lima, Peru, to devise a new global agreement to limit emissions, and it makes clear the urgency of their task.
New York Times, 2 Nov 2014

all is lost!

A climate change report has painted an alarming picture of the effect on Australia if global temperatures increase by more than an average three degrees Celsius.

Under that scenario, heat-related deaths would triple, people would be displaced en masse from the coast and national icons like the Great Barrier Reef would almost certainly be lost, according to the analysis by the former head of the CSIRO’s Climate Impacts Group.

The frequency of bushfires would double and there would be major extinctions of animal and plant life, Dr Barrie Pittock says in the report commissioned by WWF Australia.

On an even more serious note, such a rise in temperature would almost certainly trigger an unstoppable climate tipping point – which may occur with a global warming of two to three degrees Celsius, Dr Pittock said.
The Age, 27 Sep 2007

hot under the collar

man_hitting_computerA new research has shown that as the earth’s average temperature rises, so does human “heat” in the form of violent tendencies, which links global warming with increased violence in human beings.

While the global warming science has recently come under fire, the main premise behind the Iowa State researchers’ research paper is irrefutable. “It is very well researched and what I call the ‘heat hypothesis’,” a spokesman said.
dna India, 20/3/10

a hell of a climate

humorous_devilBillions will die, says Lovelock, who tells us that he is not normally a gloomy type. Human civilisation will be reduced to a “broken rabble ruled by brutal warlords”, and the plague-ridden remainder of the species will flee the cracked and broken earth to the Arctic, the last temperate spot, where a few breeding couples will survive.

It is going to be a “hell of a climate”, he says, with Europe 8C warmer than it is today; and the real killer, says Lovelock, is that there is not a damn thing we can do about it. We are already pumping out so much carbon dioxide, with no prospect of abatement from the growing economies of China and India, that our fate is sealed.
The Telegraph (UK),2 Feb 2006

public health

For about 40 million Americans, spring also means sneezing and congestion, a box of tissues, and a trip to the doctor. Unfortunately, for these hay fever sufferers, the suffering will likely get worse.

Researchers have found that changes in climate impose additional strains on those with pollen allergies.

So, what does this mean for public health?

“The influence of climate change on plant behavior exacerbates or adds an additional factor to the number of people suffering from allergy and asthma,” Lewis Ziska, Ph.D., a weed ecologist at the Agriculture Research Service division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said.

The intersection of climate change and health is something that epidemiologists are just beginning to analyze closely, he added.

Union of concerned scientists, A Changing Climate Worsens Allergy Symptoms

greatest challenge

The number and severity of catastrophes such as the June long weekend storm are expected to rise significantly over the next decade, because of climate change.

Leading global insurer Allianz SE, based in Munich, made the predictions in a report, Hedging Climate Change, which was made public in Sydney on Tuesday.

Allianz management board member Clement Booth said climate change was one of the greatest challenges that humankind faced.

Allianz’s report said the number of natural catastrophes had gone from an average of 30 to 40 per year in the 1970s to 120 to 140 a year since the 1990s.

It said most of these were either related, suggesting a connection between increases in natural catastrophes and rising global temperatures as a result of climate change.

Newcastle Herald, 20 Sep 2007 – image held by this website

be slim and save the planet!

The World Health Organisation recently published some data showing that each overweight person causes an additional one tonne of CO2 to be emitted every year, said Sir Jonathan Porritt, the Government’s chief green adviser.

“With one billion people judged to be overweight around the world – of whom at least 300 million are obese – that’s an additional one billion tonnes.”

The Telegraph UK 3 Jun 2009

avalanches and landslides

penguin_landslideOver the last decade, rock avalanches and landslides have become more common in high mountain ranges, apparently coinciding with the increase in exceptionally warm periods. The collapses are triggered by melting glaciers and permafrost, which remove the glue that holds steep mountain slopes together. Worse may be to come.

Thinning glaciers on volcanoes could destabilise vast chunks of their summit cones, triggering mega-landslides capable of flattening cities such as Seattle and devastating local infrastructure. Meanwhile, ongoing studies by Bill McGuire of University College London and Rachel Lowe at the University of Exeter, UK, are showing that non-glaciated volcanoes could also be at greater risk of catastrophic collapse if climate change increases rainfall.

“We have found that 39 cities with populations greater than 100,000 are situated within 100 kilometres of a volcano that has collapsed in the past and which may, therefore, be capable of collapsing in the future,” says McGuire.
New Scientist, 13 Oct 2010

health problems

Many more people will die of heart problems as global warming continues, experts are warning. Climate extremes of hot and cold will become more common and this will put strain on people’s hearts, doctors say. A study in the British Medical Journal found that each 1C temperature drop on a single day in the UK is linked to 200 extra heart attacks.
BBC News, 11 Aug 2010

Earth in deep freeze

iglooClimate change is not going to be a bad thing for every part of the world. It will help make the frozen north of Russia and Canada more liveable and more productive.

Billions of the world’s poorest people, however, will be at risk of more erratic rainfall patterns. Some arid regions will turn into deserts and rising seas will inundate fertile but low lying delta regions that are home to tens of millions of peasant farmers in countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt.

Global warming will also mean more forest fires; hurricanes hitting cities that are at present too far north of the equator to be affected by them; tropical diseases spreading beyond their present zones; the extinction of species unable to adapt to warmer temperatures; retreating glaciers and melting polar icecaps; and rising seas inundating coastal areas.

A far worse scenario cannot be ruled out: some scientists believe the melting icecaps could release huge amounts of methane that accelerate warming forming a cloud layer so dense as to block out heat from the sun and cause the planet to go into a deep freeze that extinguishes all life.
Professor Peter Singer, in the Sydney Morning Herald 28 Apr 2006 – screencopy held by this website

big bill

stack_of_poundsNick Starling, the director of general insurance for the Association of British Insurers, bleakly predicted that the worldwide cost of cleaning up major storms, triggered by global warming, could rise by two-thirds to £15 billion annually by 2080: he therefore implored governments to take stronger preventative action against climate change.
The Telegraph (UK), 3 Jul 05

new reality

Drought will become a redundant term as Australia plans for a permanently drier future, according to the nation’s urban water industries chief.

“The urban water industry has decided the inflows of the past will never return,” Ross Young said. “We are trying to avoid the term ‘drought’ and saying this is the new reality.”

The Age, (Australia), 7 Sep 2007 – image held by this website

disappearing polar bears

Two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could die out over the next 50 years as warmer weather melts away the thick sheet of sea ice where bears spend much of their lives, according to studies released on Friday by the US geological Survey.

The studies were commissioned for the US Fish and Wildlife Service which is now considering whether polar bears should be protected as a threatened species. Environmentalists hope that, if the bears are listed, that will push the Government to impose limits on the greenhouse pollution blamed for climate change.

The Sunday Age, 9 Sep 2007 – image held by this website

stop growth!

As the world meets in Cancun Mexico for the latest round of United Nations talk on climate change, the influential academics called for much tougher measures to cut carbon emissions.

In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough \,while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.

“I’m not saying we have to go back to living in caves,” he said “Our emissions were a lot less ten years ago and we got by ok then.”

The Telegraph (UK), 29 Nov 2010<‘\/span>

let the models predict the future?

“The Weather of the Future” peers ahead at a world stricken by climate change.

Using models to predict weather patterns, climatologist Heidi Cullen, a frequent contributor to the Weather Channel, explores seven regions and their grim futures: the Sahel in Africa, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, California’s Central Valley, two sites in Greenland, Bangladesh and New York City.

Massive floods in Bangladesh may produce “climate refugees,” Cullen suggests; New York may be battered by a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds as high as 135 miles per hour; and coral reefs may be eaten away by an acidic ocean.

“These predictions and our seeming inability to heed their warning is a potential tragedy,” she writes. Cullen also predicts some geopolitical repercussions of global warming: Pirates run rampant, Osama bin Laden invokes U.S. carbon emissions to recruit terrorists, and Canada and the United States argue over naval authority in an ice-free Northwest Passage.

The book is at its best and most insightful when it explores today’s environment, such as regreening efforts in Niger. Let models be used to predict the weather, not the politics.
Washington Post, 8 Aug 2010

uninhabitable planet!

uninhabited_planetThe world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a “different, practically uninhabitable planet” by triggering a “low-end runaway greenhouse effect.”

This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world’s best known climate scientist.
The Guardian, 10 Jul 2013

deluge!

Boston and Atlantic City, New Jersey could experience the equivalent of a once-in-100-years flood as frequently as every year or two, according to the report by the Union of Concerned Scientists and a team of more than 50 researchers and economists.

Only western Maine would retain a reliable ski season by the end of the century if emissions are at the higher end of the scientists’ projections, the report said. Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the scientists’ group and chair of the research team that worked on the report.
bloomberg.com 12 Jul 2007

staring down barrel

pig_in_barrel“And how far will it go? Climate forecasts have long noted that every increase in global temperature heightens the odds of runaway global warming, beyond any human control. Continued overheating could unlock more methane from Arctic regions beyond Siberia.

It could cripple the vital ability of plants and oceans to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, turning them into gushing sources of new CO2 that accelerate the superheating even further. The ice caps that help cool the Earth by reflecting sunlight into space could vanish. In the end, the relentless rise in temperature could induce a cataclysmic venting of billions of tons of methane from the oceans.

It seems likely that we are staring down the barrel of the full force, worst-case scenarios studied by the IPCC and other research organizations”
alternet.org, 12 Oct 2005

Britain flooded

Heatwaves that kill thousands, tropical-style storms and widespread flooding could be regular features of Britain’s climate within a generation if global warming is not checked, according to the Met Office.

Southern Europe would become unbearable in the summer, destroying the tourism industry and making it impossible to grow staple crops like durum wheat for pasta in Italy and fruit and vegetables in Spain.

The findings come from the five-year Ensembles Project, paid for by the European Commission and led by the Met Office. It has brought together scientists from 66 institutions around the world.

John Mitchell, director of climate science at the Met Office, said that the research highlighted the importance of a global deal on climate change.

“This latest research emphasises the necessity to make drastic cuts in emissions as quickly as possible if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. It highlights the importance of the negotiations that will take place in Copenhagen in December,” he said.

The Telegraph, 17 Nov 2009

see also – just plain scary

saltier and fresher

The supercharging of Earth’s water cycle by global warming is making some parts of our oceans saltier, while others parts are getting fresher, according to a new study.

The study, by CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Science shows a clear link between salinity changes at the surface, caused by warming, and changes in the deeper waters over the last six decades.

ABC, 16 Apr 2010

off the air

A 2011 report from the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found that climate change could affect certain infrastructure, like wireless internet.

The Guardian reports, “higher temperatures can reduce the range of wireless communications, rainstorms can impact the reliability of the signal, and drier summers and wetter winters may cause greater subsidence, damaging masts and underground cables,” according to secretary of state for the environment.

The Guardian notes, “The government acknowledges that the impact of climate change on telecommunications is not well understood, but the report raises a series of potential risks.”

Huffington Post, 2001

UN climate conferences to end!

Car travel should be cut by 80%, road construction halted and public transport boosted if Australia is to meet carbon emission targets, energy experts have warned.

“The car is doomed,” Monash University associate professor Damon Honnery said, discussing the findings of a soon-to-be-published research paper, Mitigating Greenhouse: Limited Time Options, written with Dr Patrick Moriarty.

“People are going to have to fundamentally change the way they think about travel and make much more use of non-motorised travel such as cycling and walking.”

Dr Moriarty also believes there must be big reductions in air travel. “An overseas trip might become a once-in-a-lifetime experience rather than an annual event,” he said.

The Age (Australia), 3 Mar 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – action plan

use less stuff!

 

TED TURNER: Not doing it will be catastrophic. We’ll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals. Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state — like Somalia or Sudan — and living conditions will be intolerable.

The droughts will be so bad there’ll be no more corn grown. Not doing it is suicide. Just like dropping bombs on each other, nuclear weapons is suicide. We’ve got to stop doing the suicidal two things, which are hanging on to our nuclear weapons and after that we’ve got to stabilize the population. When I was born-

CHARLIE ROSE: So what’s wrong with the population?

TURNER: We’re too many people. That’s why we have global warming. We have global warming because too many people are using too much stuff. If there were less people, they’d be using less stuff.

what do you say to a polar bear?

bear_wavingBut today’s emerging solution to eco-anxiety is ecotherapy.

The science originated among the New Agers of the USA, like Santa Fe-based therapist Melissa Pickett, who describes herself as “a student of evolutionary inquiry, a visionary and a change agent”.

“Eco-anxiety is caused by our disconnection from nature. People tell me how an article about the polar bears losing their habitat was making them ill,” she says.

“So I place a photograph of a polar bear into the patients’ hands and encourage them to have an imaginary conversation with him as a way to ease their despair.”

She also advises we carry rocks in our pockets to remind us of our connection with the Earth and buy one of her “sacred matrices” (yours for $10 each).

The Independent, 20 Mar 2008

see also – action plan

Call to action!

Considering that climate change represents a real threat to the existence of humanity, of living beings and our Mother Earth as we know it today,

Confident that the peoples of the world, guided by the principles of solidarity, justice and respect for life, will be able to save humanity and Mother Earth,

and Celebrating the International Day of Mother Earth,

The Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia calls on the peoples of the world, social movements and Mother Earth’s defenders, and invites scientists, academics, lawyers and governments that want to work with their citizens to the Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights to be held from 20th to 22nd April 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Bolivia, January 5th, 2010 – CounterCurrents.org

flat as a …..

It may be a bit harder to drown your pancakes in maple syrup in the future, studies suggest.

According to a 2010 Cornell University study, “maple syrup production in the Northeast is expected to slightly decline by 2100, and the window for tapping trees will move earlier by about a month.”

Additionally, most maple syrup production south of Pennsylvania “will likely be lost by 2100 due to lack of freezing.”

Huffington Post, 2001

out of the clouds

The Great Smoky Mountains have the most annual rainfall in the southeastern U.S., which mostly falls as a light, misty rain, explains OurAmazingPlanet.

A study by a team from NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions found that “light rainfall is the dominant form of precipitation in the region, accounting for 50 to 60 percent of a year’s total, governing the regional water cycle.”

OurAmazingPlanet notes: The results suggest the area may be more susceptible to climate change than thought; as temperatures rise, more of the fine droplets from light rain will evaporate in the air and fail to reach the ground.

Lower elevations will have to contend with not only higher temperatures, but less cloud cover.

Huffington Post, 2001

winemakers head for the hills

Huge tracts of potential wine-producing country are expected to vanish from Australia over the next few decades as climate change bites, and winemakers may need to head for higher, cooler ground.

A new international study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, estimates that up 74 per cent of the nation’s potential vineyard country will become unsuitable for growing the right grapes.

An earlier study, led by CSIRO researcher Leanne Webb, found that just under half of Australia’s potential wine country could become unsuitable for future production by 2050.

Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Apr 2013

No TV’s for you!

One useful approach on low-carbon development from a developing country perspective is put forth by Professor Jiahua Pan, executive director of the research centre for sustainable development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and member of the Global Climate Network.

The notion is that while this path also seeks to minimize GHG emissions, “no restriction should be placed on development goals that are directed to enhance the welfare of the poor at large. Development goals are not compromised for reasons of emissions control”.

But, luxurious or wasteful emissions (viewed as those that do not meet basic human needs such as shelter or food) should be discouraged.

Low Carbon Development Path for Asia and the Pacific, December, 2010, UN report, p16

2 wheels good, 4 wheels bad!

With concern over global warming rising nearly as quickly as petrol prices, Australians are turning to motorcycles and scooters in record numbers. Most new riders are citing cost — of petrol, parking and insurance — as reasons for turning to a bike.

But others are turning to two-wheeled alternatives out of concern over carbon.

Stevie Murray of Kensington will go for his learner’s permit next week. He said he decided to buy a scooter for environmental reasons.

“I just felt a bit guilty driving around the inner city in a car, so it was that environmental reason which initially led me to consider a scooter,” he said.

The Age, 30 Nov 2006

solution to climate change – write more articles!

“I feel confident that we WILL reduce emissions to slow global warming to a pace to which we can (mostly) adapt.

Why am I so confident? Firstly, because in 2015, more than 1.5% of all articles in the New York Times mentioned “climate change”. This compares with 2% of articles that mentioned “terrorism” and 1.4% that mentioned “refugees”.

As in other countries, the media profile of “climate change” is now very strong – politicians and the public see reports about our changing climate almost daily. Secondly, in 2015 over 15,000 scholarly papers were published with the topic of “climate “change”, “greenhouse effect”, or “global warming” as the topic.

In 1988, the year the IPCC was established, only 68 scholarly articles published on these topics. With such strong and growing media and expert interest, how can we fail?”

– Neville Nicholls Professor Emeritus, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment Monash University, Australia –

Is This How You Feel? Website – How scientists feel

clouded thinking

Stephen Salter, professor of engineering design at the University Edinburgh, and Professor John Latham, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, have been using Salt Flares to test if it is possible to seed or even create Marine Stratocumulus Clouds.

The flares will spray up salt water into the clouds. When the particles rise into a cloud they redistribute the moisture, increasing its reflectivity. As a result the cloud bounces more sunlight back into space.

Approximately 300 flares will be released at sea level from a boat moored off the South African coast. Prof Latham added: “We’ve got the most massive global problem that we’ve ever had, so we’ve got to think big.”

The Telegraph, 19 Feb 2009

plan backfires

Scientists say sprinkling the ocean surface with trace amounts of iron or releasing other nutrients over many thousands of square kilometers promotes blooms of tiny phytoplankton, which soak up carbon dioxide in the marine plants.

When the phytoplankton die, they drift to the ocean depths, along with the carbon locked inside their cells where it is potentially stored for decades or centuries in sediments on the ocean floor.

Firms eyeing this natural carbon sink hope to commercialize it to yield carbon credits to help industries offset their emissions.

The problem is no one knows exactly how much carbon can be captured and stored in this way, for how long, or the risks to ocean ecosystems from such large-scale geo-engineering.

Some scientists fear such schemes could change species composition in the oceans, increase acidity or cause oxygen depletion in some areas, even promote the release of another powerful greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.

“It is very important to recognize that if deleterious effects increase with scale and duration of fertilization, detection of these cumulative effects may not be possible until the damage is already done,” said John Cullen, professor of oceanography at Dalhousie University at Nova Scotia in Canada.

Heat Is Online – Reuters News Service, Dec. 15, 2008

time’s up

The world has lost 19 per cent of its coral reefs: a further 15 per cent are threatened within the next 10 to 20 years, and a further 20 per cent could be lost in 20 to 40 years, according to a report sponsored by the US and Australian governments.

Releasing the report in Washington, Clive Wilkinson, co-ordinator of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, siad the forecasts did not take into acocunt the impact of climate change.

“We have about eigth to 10 years to do something about it Carbon dioxide is currently at 380 parts per million. We need to do something before it reaches 450 parts per million,” he said.

The Age (Australia), 12 Dec 2008 – screen copy held by his website

trout drought

According to a 2002 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife, a warming planet does not bode well for species that thrive in cold streams.

The study found that “global warming is likely to spur the disappearance of trout and salmon from as much as 18 to 38 percent of their current habitat by the year 2090.”

A 2011 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science produced “models [which] forecast significant declines in trout habitat across the interior western United States in the 21st century,” reported The New York Times.

The study claims, “The decline will have significant socioeconomic consequences as recreational trout fisheries are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars in the United States alone.”

Huffington Post

cold water poured on artificial clouds!

A controversial proposal to create artificial white clouds over the ocean in order to reflect sunlight and counter global warming could make matters worse, scientists have warned.

The proposed scheme to create whiter clouds over the oceans by injecting salt spray into the air from a flotilla of sailing ships is one of the more serious proposals of researchers investigating the possibility of “geoengineering” the climate in order to combat global warming.

However, a study into the effects of creating man-made clouds which reflect sunlight and heat back into space has found that the strategy could end up having the opposite effect by interfering with the natural processes that lead to the formation of reflective white clouds over the ocean.

Our research suggests that attempts to generate brighter clouds via sea spray geoengineering would at best have only a tiny effect and could actually cause some clouds to become less bright, said Professor Ken Carslaw of the University of Leeds.

Heat Is Online – originally The Independent 7 Jun 2010

smoke and ….

Eric Hu, from Melbourne’s Deakin University, said that while red house roofs absorbed heat from the sun, white ones would bounce energy back into space and “it will never come back”.

He also proposed painting roads white, and building giant mirrors in the outback. He said energy reflectors could be built in the desert using aluminium foil, “like you use in the kitchen”.

A climate change expert at the University of NSW, Andy Pitman, said Dr Hu’s ideas were “not stupid” but required more research to ensure there would be no unwanted side-effects. But better than reflecting energy would be to harness it using roof tiles with built-in solar cells.

Dr Pitman suspected white roads and roofs could inflict glare on motorists and said scientists would need to be sure heat reflected from outback mirrors did not interfere with the weather.

Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Mar 2007

house on stilts

Houses should be built on stilts to adapt to flooding caused by climate change, scientists have said. The Newcastle University study looked at the impact of predicted rises in temperature – particularly in urban areas.

“Houses built on stilts, flood resilient wiring where the sockets and wires are raised above flood level, and water resistant building materials are going to have to be incorporated into our building plans.” said Dr Richard Dawson, one of the report’s authors.
Daily Telegraph, 12 Oct 2009

not fast & not furious

Women must stop admiring men who drive sports cars if they want to join the fight against global warming, the Government’s chief scientist has warned.

Professor Sir David King singled out women who find supercar drivers “sexy” adding that they should divert their affections to men who live more environmentally friendly lives.

”I was asked at a lecture by a young woman about what she could do and I told her to stop admiring young men in Ferraris,” he said. Daily Telegraph, 16 Dec 2007

switch off that TV!

Carbon dioxide is not the only gas that worries climate scientists. Airborne levels of two other gases one from ancient plants, the other from flat screen technology – are also on the rise. And that has scientists wondering about accelerated global warming.

The gases are methane and nitrogen trifluoride… In contrast, nitrogen trifluoride has been considered such a small problem that is generally has been ignored.

The gas is used as a cleaning agent during the manufacture of liquid display television and computer monitors for thin-film solar panels.

Earlier efforts to determine how much nitrogen trifluoride is in the air dramatically underestimated the amounts, said Ray Weiss, a geochemistry professor with Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California and lead author on a nitrogen fluoride paper to be published next month.

The level of nitrogen trifluoride in the air has quadrupled during the past decade, said Weiss, who is also a co-author of the methane paper. Nitrogen trifluoride is one of the more potent gases, thousands of times stronger in trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

Sun Herald (Sydney), 26 Oct 2008 – screen copy held by this website

money troubles

The World Economic Forum convened more than 700 international experts in Dubai in November to discus the world agenda for 2009.

Among them were more than 120 leading experts in environment, sustainability and human security.

Their conclusions were startling: we face an economic security problem that is deeper, more fundamental, more complex and much more systemic than the financial crisis; 2008 could merely be the precursor to a perfect economic storm, the like of which we have never seen before.

The Age (Australia), 19 Jan 2009 – screen copy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

time out!

As average temperatures rise over the course of this century, states in the Southern U.S. are expected to see a greater number of days with temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit each year.

Hotter temperatures will mean that football players in the South will face a greater risk of hyperthermia, explains GE’s TXCHNOLOGIST blog.

ThinkProgress suggests, “Indeed, it is the conservative southern U.S., especially the South central and South east, who have led the way in blocking serious climate action, as it were, making yesterday’s worst-case scenario into today’s likely outcome.”

Huffington Post

but who wants a padded cell in their own home?

Dr John Pockett from the Barbara Hardy Institute suggests that you take time to adapt your house to climate change.

For home builders, have a refuge at the centre of the house, that has thicker walls, so heat will take longer to get through. The other major thing (that all home owners can do) is to have a lighter coloured roof, known as a cool roof.

Make it as light coloured as your council area will allow. A cool roof reflects sunlight (including ultraviolet and infrared rays) ensuring the surface will not get as hot during the summer, leading to less heat entering living spaces.

University of South Australia, 13 Jan 2015

green or white?

Environmentalists, urban planners and politicians all agree the city’s roofs need to change so that less heat is absorbed and less electricity used for cooling offices and apartments within. But unanimity on the best way of doing this is more elusive, with green roofs and white roofs being spruiked from different corners.

In September, Victorian Environment Minister Gavin Jennings declared himself “a fan” of green roofs – a concept well advanced in American cities such as Chicago and Portland – where beds of vegetation adorn building tops.

Citing overseas research, Jennings said a green roof was capable of reducing local temperatures by about four degrees. The State Government has helped fund a study into adapting green roof technology to local conditions, while the Wonthaggi desalination plant will boast one of the biggest green roofs in Australia.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, meanwhile, declared himself a fan of white roofs this month; another method for tackling the heat island effect by spraying rooftops with a white, rubbery layer that reflects the sun’s rays. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is another fan of the concept.

Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Jan 2010

ways to save the planet

As further evidence emerges of the threat of climate change, scientists around the world are developing tools to try to stop the temperatures rising.

A new series on Discovery Channel from this Sunday looks at some of the methods being proposed by scientists around the world.

Iain Riddick, series producer, said the scientists may have outlandish ideas but they are all respected in their field.

Ways to save the planet:

  1. Wrapping Greenland. Dr Jason Box, a glaciologist from Ohio State University, proposes wrapping Greenland in a blanket. By covering the valleys that form darker areas, therefore attracting the sun’s heat, he hopes to significantly slow the melting of the glacier.
  2. Hungry ocean. Dr Brian von Herzen of the The Climate Foundation and marine biologists at the University of Hawaii and Oregon State University believe that the ocean could absorb much more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by creating plankton blooms. This is done by mixing the nutrient rich water in the colder depths of the ocean with the warmer surface water by placing huge wave-powered pumps on the swells of the North Pacific.
  3. Space sun shield. Professor Roger Angel, who helped create the world’s largest telescope, believes the power of the sun could be reduced by placing a giant sun shield in space. The 100,000 square mile sunshade would be made up of trillions of lenses that reduce the sun’s power by two per cent.
  4. Raining forests. Consultant environmental engineer Mark Hodges believes forests could be generated by dropping “tree bombs” from a plane. The seedlings are dropped in a wax canister full of fertiliser that explodes when it hits the ground and grows into a tree. The method has already been used to regenerate mangrove forest in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
  5. Infinite Winds. Fred Ferguson, a Canadian engineer specialising in airships, has designed a wind turbine that will use the constant winds that exist at 1,000 feet to produce renewable energy.
  6. Brighter World. Stephen Salter, an Edinburgh University engineer, believes that clouds can be created to protect the world from the power of the sun. He proposes forming clouds above the ocean by sending salt into the atmosphere.
  7. Orbital power plant. Former Nasa physicist John Mankins believes the world could have a never-ending source of power and reduce carbon emissions by sending thousands of satellites into space to gather the sun’s power and then beam them down to earth as a microwave.
  8. Fixing carbon. David Keith, 2006 Canadian Geographic Environmental Scientist of the Year, believes he can create a machine that sucks in ambient air and sprays it with sodium hydroxide and then expels it as clean air. The carbon from the air will be captured and stored underground.

The Telegraph, 13 Feb 2009

one man’s ….

People should eat less meat to help combat the effects of climate change, the world’s leading expert on global warming has claimed.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said people should aim for one meat-free day a week, before scaling down their consumption even further.

Dr Pachauri, whose panel won a Nobel Peace Prize last year, said: “Give up meat for one day a week initially, and decrease it from there. In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity.”

The Telegraph, 8 Sep 2008

fading foliage

Fading Fall Foliage Blamed on Global Warming.

Forested hillsides usually riotous with reds, oranges and yellows have shown their colors only grudgingly in recent years, with many trees going straight from the dull green of late summer to the rust-brown of late fall with barely a stop at a brighter hue.

It’s nothing like it used to be, said University of Vermont plant biologist Tom Vogelmann, a Vermont native.

He says autumn has become too warm to elicit New England’s richest colors. The leaves fall off without ever becoming orange or yellow or red.

They just go from green to brown, said Barry Rock, a forestry professor at the University of New Hampshire. He says 2004 was “mediocre, 2005 was terrible, 2006 was pretty bad although it was spotty. This year, we’re seeing that same spottiness.”

Fox News, 22 Oct 2007

stronger strawberries

With higher temperatures expected in northern latitudes in coming decades, the U.K. has begun a program to develop strawberries that will survive in higher temperatures with less water.

Since chocolate also may be threatened, could sexy chocolate-covered strawberries, a Valentine’s Day staple, be endangered?

According to The Telegraph, Dr. David Simpson, a scientist with England’s East Malling Research, said last year, “Consumer demand for fresh strawberries in the UK has been growing year on year since the early 1990s.

The British growers have done a great job of increasing their productivity to satisfy this demand between April and October.

The future will be challenging due to the impacts of climate change and the withdrawal of many pesticides but the breeding programme at EMR is using the latest scientific approaches to develop a range of varieties that will meet the needs of our growers for the future.”

Huffington Post, 2015

coals to Newcastle

Scientists will this week warn that Italy may be forced to import the basic ingredients for pasta, its national food, because climate change will make it impossible to grow durum wheat.

In a report to be released by Britain’s Met Office today, scientists predict that Italy’s durum yields will start to decline from 2020 and the crop will almost disappear from the country later this century.

The report will say: “Projected climate changes in this region, in particular rising temperature and decreasing rainfall, may seriously compromise wheat yields.”

The warning is the latest example of the impact climate change could have on lifestyles and diets across Europe.

It has emerged from the five-year Ensembles project, an EU-sponsored study straddling 66 research centres in 20 countries across Europe.

The Australian, 16 November 2009

watch your waste!

“Apartment dwellers are not only the worst recyclers; they also fail to realise that the authorities sometimes go through their rubbish. We have found incriminating stuff before, pictures of people cross-dressing and the like,” the City of Sydney’s waste education co-ordinator, Michael Neville, said yesterday, picking through a bin of compacted waste at Sydney’s biggest apartment block, World Tower.

“You’d be surprised what you can fit down the rubbish chute,” said the building’s cleaning contract manager, John Kouhis. “We have found rice cookers in there.”

World Tower management and the City of Sydney have joined the Department of Environment and Climate Change and the Ethnic Communities Council to develop a pilot program aimed at improving the recycling habits of apartment dwellers.

Sydney Morning Herald, 12 May 2007

ban dogs!

A group of architects from New Zealand have calculated that a pet dog has an environmental footprint twice that of an SUV.

The calculations are based on how much land is required to grow enough food to feed a dog throughout its lifetime. ‘Time to Eat the Dog’ is the title of a new book by two architects from New Zealand.

Robert and Brenda Vale have calculated that a medium-sized dog has twice the environmental impact of a large four-wheel drive vehicle, when all factors are considered. Digital Journal, 22 Oct 2009

if blind lead the blind, both fall in the …

As temperatures rise due to global warming the UK will have to be prepared for ‘monsoon style’ storms by building open drainage ditches beside urban roads, pourous pavements and storing water in reservoirs under car parks.

Lord Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said Britain is experiencing a “new kind of rain” in the summer that is putting cities at increasing risk, especially London.

The Telegraph (UK), 14/10/09 “Monsoon style floods to hit Britain

Have you hypermiled lately?

Real men hypermile.

That’s the “attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques,” according to the Oxford American Dictionary, which named “hypermiling” the 2008 word of the year.

Hypermiling techniques include keeping tires perfectly inflated, killing engines at stoplights, turning off the air-conditioning and driving at a steady speed, with as little rapid acceleration or deceleration as possible.

Originally coined in 2004 by a driver named Wayne Gerdes, who has earned several gas-mileage records, hypermiling really caught on in 2008 as gas prices passed $4 a gallon in much of the country. Time, 3 Nov 2008

conspiracy

A report by the Public Religion Research Institute and the American Academy of Religion found that race is a consistent predictor both of people’s concern toward climate change and inclination to act on it.

According to the report, more than 7 in 10 Hispanic Americans and nearly 6 in 10 black Americans are very or somewhat concerned about the impact of climate change.

By contrast, less than half of white Americans share this sentiment.

Policy.Mic, 2 Dec 2014

outnumbered

Climate change could affect the ratio of human males to human females that are born in some countries, a new study from Japan suggests.

The researchers found that male fetuses may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

This suggests that climate warming or climate extremes could negatively affect male fetuses, study researcher Dr. Misao Fukuda, of M&K Health Institute in Ako, Japan, told Live Science in an email.

LiveScience, 30 Sep 2014

tipping point passed

“Today I testified to Congress about global warming, 20 years after my June 23, 1988 testimony, which alerted the public that global warming was underway. There are striking similarities between then and now, but one big difference. The difference is that now we have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb.

The next president and Congress must define a course next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for the present dangerous situation.

Otherwise it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity’s control.”

Dr James Hansen, Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near on Global Warming, Huffington Post, 07/01/2008 , Updated May 25, 2011

stable shoreline slips away

“More ominous tipping points loom. West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are vulnerable to even small additional warming. These two-mile-thick behemoths respond slowly at first, but if disintegration gets well under way, it will become unstoppable. Debate among scientists is only about how much sea level would rise by a given date.

In my opinion, if emissions follow a business-as-usual scenario, sea level rise of at least two meters is likely within a century. Hundreds of millions of people would become refugees, and no stable shoreline would be reestablished in any time frame that humanity can conceive.”
Dr James Hansen, Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near on Global Warming, Huffington Post, 07/01/2008 , Updated May 25, 2011

more tipping points

An average global temperature rise of 7.2F (4C), considered a dangerous tipping point, could happen by 2060, causing droughts around the world, sea level rises and the collapse of important ecosystems.

The Arctic could see an increase in temperatures of 28.8F (16C), while parts of sub Saharan Africa and North America would be devastated by an increase in temperature of up to 18F (10C).

Britain’s temperature would rise by the average 7.2F (4C) which would mean Mediterranean summers and an extended growing season for new crops like olives, vines and apricots.

However deaths from heat waves will increase, droughts and floods would become more common, diseases like malaria may spread to Britain and climate change refugees from across the world are likely to head to the country.

Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said the new study showed how important it was to try and reduce emissions.

The Telegraph (UK), 27 Sep 2009

one of the four horsemen gets a run!

4_horsemenUp to 300,000 Australians on average may annually be exposed to the dengue virus by 2020, and between 600,000 and 1.4 million by 2050, according to climate change predictions finalised yesterday by global scientists. CSIRO climate change scientist Kevin Hennessy, a lead author on the report’s Australian chapter, was in Brussels for behind-closed-doors talks to finalise the summary.

This should help governments, industries and the community to begin planning responses to climate change, Mr Hennessy said. “But there are likely to be considerable cost and institutional constraints (on finding solutions) … Water security and coastal communities are the most vulnerable sectors.”
The Age(Australia), 7 Apr 2007

no more water

Half of humanity could face water shortges by 2050 if the world lets the financial crisis distract it from fighting global warming, a key UN climate change summit of more than 185 countries has been told.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri told an opening meeting that many people had still not woken up to the risks of climate change if the world failed to act.

He cited projections that the number of people living in river valleys and facing water stress could quadruple from more than 1 billion in 1995 to more than 43 billion by 2050, that a third of species could face extinction, that the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets could melt, triggering massive sea-level rises.

Dr Pauchari said “everybody was distracted” by the financial crisis, but that it should not stop firm action “once the dust settles, give it a month or two”.

The Age (Australia), 3 Dec 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

vulnerable koalas

Koalas, already listed as vulnerable, are likely to die in greater numbers as they adapt to climate change, which will bring more intense bushfires, rising temperatures, increased drought and a drop in the nutrition levels of their food, a senior NSW Government scientist warns.

Dan Lunney told a conference of the NSW Nature Conservation Council that rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere would push up toxins and lower nutrients in eucalyptus leaves.

“We’d all burst into tears if they disappeared from the scene,” Dr Lunney told the Herald.

But he and his colleagues have begun a research project that may help the vulnerable animals adapt to climate change.

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Nov 2008 – screen copy held by this website

the roof is falling!

The tile roofs atop Sydney houses are too flimsy and unable to withstand the onslaught of a summer storm season, new research has found.

And, if climate change proponents are correct, the problem could get worse, with hailstorms of greater intensity and regularity wreaking untold property damage.

Professor Alan Jeary, a structural design specialist from the University of Western Sydney’s school of engineering, issued a warning at the start of this year’s summer storm season that hail damage had been largely ignored by regulators, builders and manufacturers.

Insurance Council of Australia chief executive Karl Sullivan said the once-in-a-generation review was an opportunity to change the mindset that building standards was only about protecting lives.

Mr Sullivan said making properties more durable and resilient also was required in the face of challenges raised by climate change.

He said tougher buildings would lead to a small increase in construction costs, which would be offset by lower routine maintenance and lower repair bills after naturally occurring hazard events.

Sydney Morning Herald, 7 Dec 2008