the decline of the close clipped lawn

mowing_lawnGardeners should give up trying to grow many of the flowers that typify English cottage gardens and look for new varieties to meet the challenge of climate change, the Royal Horticultural Society said yesterday.

Forward-thinking gardeners should give up the “unequal struggle” of trying to keep them alive in the face of low rainfall and water restrictions, said Guy Barter, head of the Horticultural Advisory Service at the RHS gardens at Wisley, Surrey. …and the biggest casualty of drier, hotter summers will be the verdant, close-clipped lawn, so beloved of caring gardeners.

People should consider replacing them with gravel areas or trying hardier, tougher grasses common in hot climates, and not cutting them so finely or so frequently, he said.
The Telegraph (UK), 12 Jun 2005

the luckless ladybird

ladybugThe luckless ladybird, already under siege from foreign invaders and parasitic wasps, now has global warming to contend with, scientists said yesterday.

Climate change has resulted in the gardener’s friend waking from its seven-month winter hibernation up to two weeks early, said Dr Mike Majerus, an expert on ladybirds at Cambridge University’s department of genetics.

The worry is that the aphids they eat are not responding to the earlier springs in the same way, leaving ladybirds facing starvation.
The Telegraph (UK), 2 Feb 2005

cars, boats and planes

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.

The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.

Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.

That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres, he said. “Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour.”

The Telegraph, 28 Mar 2011

see also – action plan

evolution needs to speed up

Certainly, countless species have adapted to past climate fluctuations. However, their rate of change turns out to be painfully slow, according to a study by Professor John Wiens of the University of Arizona.

We found that, on average, species usually adapt to different climatic conditions at a rate of only by about 1C per million years, Wiens explained.

“But if global temperatures are going to rise by about four degrees over the next 100 years as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that is where you get a huge difference in rates. What that suggests overall is that simply evolving to match these conditions may not be an option for many species.”

Either evolution speeds up 10,000-fold, which is an unlikely occurrence, or there will be widespread extinctions.

The Guardian, 14 Jul 2013

more crime

Prof Pease, visiting professor of crime science at University College London, is reported by the Scotsman as saying that warmer weather will result in more people on the streets, larger crowds, and alcohol consumption – all of which are all linked to increases in crime.

He says: “The question really is not whether global warming will lead to an increase in street crime, but by how much?”

The Guardian, 11 Apr 2007

take a train today!

Greenpeace propelled airline travel into the headlines as a climate change issue when it offered airline passengers free train tickets if they would give up their seats in Britain in June.

The lobby group argued that the main problem with flying was the growth in short-haul flights. It predicted that by 2050 emissions from aviation could wipe out emissions savings made by every other industry combined. Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Oct 2007

bicycle spectacle

Wearing nothing but their causes, 30 naked cyclists hit Newcastle streets yesterday in a very visual protest.

Some found them appalling, others appealing, but whatever the personal impressions of the naturists activists, it was their messages splashed across their brightly painted bodies that gained the most attention.

Newcastle’s staging of the World Naked Bike Ride, dubbed Nudecastle 2008, was a huge success organiser Marte Kinder said. The group protested for environmental accountability, climate change action and anti-war causes.

Clothing was optional with some riders preferring to keep sensitive areas covered, while for others body paint did the trick, organiser Mr Kinder said.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 10 Mar 2008 – screen copy held by this website

ClimateCam is watching you!

big_brother_eyeA huge electronic billboard in the city square telling residents exactly how much greenhouse gas they have produced in the past hour. Sounds a little futuristic? Not if you live in Newcastle.

ClimateCam, the world’s first greenhouse gas speedometer, displays electricity consumption information collected from the 15 substations that supply homes and businesses in the Newcastle local government area. The council now believes Newcastle has been established as an international testing ground for climate solutions.

“We realise that the climate change issue is just so big and we are so, in Australia, far behind the rest of the world that we need to move very, very quickly if we’re going to catch up and have access to the huge economic opportunity that we foresee is coming with the implementation of climate solutions,” city energy and resource manager of Newcastle City Council, Peter Dormand says.
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Oct 2007

saving the planet, one snip at a time!

scissorsSaving the planet one house at a time. Geoff Strong meets four families doing their bit.

While the world has argued in Bali about how to stem climate change, back home ordinary people are making adjustments to ordinary lives. Some have cut back on eletricity use with more efficient appliances and insulation.

But in response to questions from the Age about how householders are stemming water use and greenhouse gas production, one of the most forthright came from the mother of a family of six: “What we did to save the environment was – my husband had a vasectomy.”
The Age (Australia), 17 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

less fish

Climate change is likely to hit supplies of many of Australia’s favourite eating fish, including barramundi, salmon, rock lobster and prawns, the most extensive study on the subject yet undertaken by the Federal Government has warned.

The CSIRO study, commissioned by the Department of Climate Change and to be released today, reports the overall impact of global change “will pose some very significant risks to the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in Australia”.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, said the report, a preliminary assessment of the challenges posed by climate change, found it was likely to affect the fishing industry, as well as the regional and coastal communities the industry supports.

Senator Wong said the report was another reminder of the need to tackle climate change through reducing carbon pollution.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Oct 2008

extinction crisis

The world is facing an animal extinction crisis, with Australia a key culprit, the largest assessment of biodiversity ever undertaken shows.

One in five Australian mammal species is in danger of dying out, the highest proportion of any developed country, the global survey of more than 44,000 animal and plant species found.

“Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live,” the organisation’s director general, Julia Marton-Lefevre said.

“Loss of habitat, over-population, hunting and poaching, as well as the effects of climate change, are all placing pressure on the world’s animals,” WWF Australia’s director of conservation, Dr Ray Nias said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 7 Oct 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

democracy on hold

I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change, said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November.

“The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is “modern democracy”, he added.

“Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

The Guardian, 29 Mar 2010

see also – action plan

new finding – planets that don’t have a United Nations will not survive!

Climate change in extraterrestrial environments is inevitable and, should life on hypothetically habitable worlds not act as a stabilizer for their environments, it serves as a “sell-by” date for all burgeoning lifeforms.

In new research published in the journal Astrobiology, astronomers of The Australian National University (ANU) pondered this scenario and realized that young habitable planets can become unstable very quickly. What once was a life-giving oasis becomes a hellish hothouse or frozen wasteland very quickly.

“The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens,” said Aditya Chopra, lead author of the paper. “Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive.”

“Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable,” he said.
Discovery.com, 21 Jan 2016

thanks to ddh

US forests defy United Nations!

Highlights

  • We review information on US forest health in response to climate change.
  • We found that trees are tolerant of rising temperatures and have responded to rising carbon dioxide.
  • No long-term trends in US drought have been found in the literature.
  • CO2 tends to inhibit forest pests and pathogens.
  • Projections of forest response to climate change are highly variable.

“Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change” by Craig Loehlea, Craig Idsob, T. Bently Wigleyc, Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 363, 1 March 2016, Pages 179–189

thanks to ddh

fly less!

Aircraft emissions are seen as one of the principal causes of global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, aviation causes 3.5 per cent of man-made global warming. This could rise to 15 per cent by 2050 as the number of low-cost flights in Europe and Asia continues to increase.
The Telegraph (UK), 19 Nov 2005

stand down

Most advanced countries spend at least 2% of GDP on standing armies, navies and air forces even though the chance of having to repel an invasion is extremely remote.

Destroyers, submarines, fighter aircraft, bombers, tanks and artillery are useless against terrorism and low-level threats and as aids to peacekeeping missions.

In Australia’s case, the chances of needing a sophisticated standing defence force to repel an invasion over the next 50 years would be no greater than one in 100.

The consequences of defeat in total war may be slavery, which is preferable to the annihilation of civilisation and most of the species on the planet – the possible consequence of going beyond the climate change tipping point.

Kenneth Davidson, senior columnist, The Age, 24 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

buses are not enough

“Better public transport systems probably can make a contribution, but they can’t make it quickly,” the Federal Government’s climate policy advisor, Professor Ross Garnaut, said yesterday.

“It’s more likely that we can get faster results through lowering (carbon) emissions from private automobiles.”

Answering questions at a University of Melbourne conference on climate change and social justice, Garnaut said that for more than half a century the growth of Australian cities had been planned around cars.

It would take many decades for this to be turned around, he said, although rising petrol prices were already forcing people to reconsider their reliance on cars.

The Age (Australia), 4 Apr 2008 – screen copy held by this website

you left something out – what about the cows?

“Many conscientious people are trying to help reduce global warming by driving more fuel-efficient cars and using energy-saving light bulbs. Although these measures help, science shows that going vegan is one of the most effective ways to fight global warming.

A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.

The most powerful step that we can take as individuals to avert global warming is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy products.”
PETA website

on yer bike, gov’ner!

“A new scientific finding in the journal Environmental Science & Technology shows that, counter to what most of us believe, driving a car causes more global warming pollution than flying the same distance in a plane.

The point that you probably wouldn’t take such long trips by car that you take by plane was not a part of the study and is an important matter to bring up as well.

Nonetheless, this study confirms again that driving is one of the leading ways humans cause global warming. Get out of your car and onto a bike or bus or subway or train today in order to help stop global warming.”
Clean Technica, 9 Aug 2010

flower miles warning

In the past three years, the amount of flowers imported from the Netherlands has fallen by 47% to 94,000 tons, while those from Africa have risen 39% to 17,000 tons. Environmentalists warned that ‘flower miles’ could have serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes.

Andrew Sime, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation, said, “There are plenty of flowers that grow in Britain in the winter and don’t need to be hot-housed. “Air freighting flowers half way round the world contributes to global warming.”
Daily Telegraph (UK), 10 Feb 2007

poppies with more punch

Greater concentrations of carbon dioxide in a warming world may have a drastic effect on the potency of opium poppies, according to a new study.

While this increase might mean more morphine available for legal pharmaceutical uses, the painkiller is also the main ingredient in heroin.

The current crop of poppies is twice as potent as those grown at carbon dioxide levels seen in 1950, says Lewis Ziska of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory.

The net result, according to Ziska, is that climate change’s impacts on plants are likely to be chaotic and difficult to predict.

For example, he says, “wheat may make more seeds, but we may have stronger poison ivy and poppies.”

ScienceLine, 3 Aug 2009

the eyes have it

Have those sneeze attacks and itchy eyes that plague you every spring worsened in recent years?

If so, global warming may be partly to blame. Over the past few decades, more and more Americans have started suffering from seasonal allergies and asthma.

Though lifestyle changes and pollution ultimately leave people more vulnerable to the airborne allergens they breathe in, research has shown that the higher carbon dioxide levels and warmer temperatures associated with global warming are also playing a role by prodding plants to bloom earlier and produce more pollen.

With more allergens produced earlier, allergy season can last longer. Get those tissues ready.

Livescience, 16 Aug 2011

flower miles warning

“In the past three years, the amount of flowers imported from the Netherlands has fallen by 47% to 94,000 tons, while those from Africa have risen 39% to 17,000 tons.

Environmentalists warned that ‘flower miles’ could have serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes.

Andrew Sime, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation, said, There are plenty of flowers that grow in Britain in the winter and don’t need to be hot-housed. Air freighting flowers half way round the world contributes to global warming.

Daily Telegraph (UK), 10 Feb 2007

depends on who your friends, relatives and colleagues are

All those who fail to tackle the problems of pollution and climate change “will feel guilty on their deathbeds”, says a leading environmental campaigner. Mayer Hillman, formerly a fellow of the Policy Studies Institute, claims that there is now a broad consensus that travel by both road and air is pushing the planet towards “a situation which will become critical well before 2050”.

Describing climate change as an ethical issue and personal responsibility as a moral imperative, Hillman championed the imposition of an individual allowance for greenhouse-gas emissions, allowing those who are able to live with greater energy efficiency trading their surpluses. People without cars, for instance, might sell their allocation to people who wanted to travel more often.

Having given up flying on principle, he has been unable to visit friends, relatives and colleagues around the world, but says that the sacrifices are not as bad as they might seem.
The Telegraph (UK), 24 Jul 2004

how many people is too many people?

A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences looked at the link between policies that help women plan pregnancies and family size and global emissions (the study also looked at aging and urbanization trends).

The researchers predicted that lower population growth could provide benefits equivalent to between 16 and 29 percent of the emissions reduction needed to avoid a 2 degrees Celsius warming by 2050, the warning line set by international scientists.
The Atlantic, 1 Nov 2014

great news….watch the football instead!

Research confirms that highly manicured lawns produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up. Grass lawns soak up carbon dioxide, which is stored in the soil after the cut grass rots and so, like trees, they are considered good for the planet.

But Dr Chuanhui Gu of Appalachian State University in the US says that once the energy expended by mowing, fertiliser use and watering are taken into account, lawns actually produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up.
The Independent, 18 Jan 2015

for new category – action plan

the early bird

Australia’s migratory birds are arriving earlier and leaving later and global warming is likely to be a reason, a study has found.

Macquarie University PhD students Linda Beaumont and Ian McAllan and Associate Professor Lesley Hughes have analysed the movements of migratory birds visiting south-eastern Australia since the 1960s.

They have compared the arrival of 34 species and the departure of 12 species over the past 40 years.

Temperature change in Australia of about 0.5 degrees since the 1960s was very likely to influence migratory patterns, Ms Beaumont said.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 21 Jun 2006 – screencopy held by website

little old winemaker me

In the Yarra Valley, Warramate winemaker David Church is already picking his shiraz and only has cabernet sauvignon to go.

With hot days still coming in, he is struggling to keep everything cool. Vineyards in other areas report being between two and three weeks earlier than usual, the result of an early flowering for the grapes and a dry, warm summer.

There may also be another reason: global warming. At Trestle Bridge Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, grape growers Bob and Betty Young are getting used to early starts.

“We’re three weeks earlier than last year and last year we were earlier than we had ever been before,” Mrs Young said.

The Age (Australia) 13 Mar 2006

bugs

In recent months several Melbourne councils have added their names to the list of areas officially declared prone to termite attack.

Several councils did so in 2004 and at least one more is considering it…It is not clear why termite activity is one the rise, but one clue could be global warming, as evidenced by our apparently warmer, and longer lasting summers.

The Age, 23 Jul 2007 – screencopy held by this website

painful news

Could global warming cause surge in kidney stones? Hot weather increases risk of painful condition, experts claim.

Researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia examined 60,000 patients in several cities across the U.S., with varying climates, discovering a link between hot days and kidney stones.

Lead researcher and urologist, Gregory Tasian, said: ‘We found that as daily temperatures rise, there is a rapid increase in the probability of patients presenting over the next 20 days with kidney stones.
Daily Mail (UK), 11 Jul 2014

sounds more like a religion everyday

In a project they hope to take nationwide at a cost of up to $2 million a year, Australia’s main environment groups will next week start door-knocking in Sydney’s east to talk about what predicted climate changes could mean for beaches and parks, health and hip pockets.

Supported by Greenpeace, WWF Australia, Climate Action Network Australia, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and Environment Victoria, the Power to Change campaign will also include mail drops, street stalls and public meetings.

These reports aren’t aimed at scaring people by making outlandish predictions, said the campaign’s founder, Dave West. Rather, we are trying to paint the best picture of how climate change will affect people’s lives … how bad it will be depends on how fast we act and how deep we can cut our greenhouse gas emissions.
Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Oct 2005

waking the giant

giantThe disappearing ice, sea-level rise and floods already forecast for the 21st century are inevitable as the earth warms and weather patterns change – and they will shift the weight on the planet.

University College London’s Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards, calls this process “waking the giant” – something that can be done with just a few gigatonnes of water in the right – or wrong – place.
Newsweek, 28 Apr 2015

thanks to Badgerbod and Andrew Mark Harding

Saved, but the party’s still over

“According to climate scientist James Hansen, we are never going to see another ice age, ever. When the ice melts it will not be replaced. Ice extent will fluctuate from year to year, and some climate change deniers will selectively point to recovery years, but there is only a downward escalator. Which means, unless dangerous climate change is addressed, for some of us today, and many more tomorrow, the party will definitely be over.”The Conversation, 20 Sep 2013

invasion!

Global warming blamed for Swedish beetle-infestation.

Sweden is 60-percent-covered by forests, and in 2005 timber and paper products accounted for 12 percent of the country’s total exports, for a value of 114 billion kronor, or $17 billion.

Sweden is 60-percent-covered by forests, and in 2005 timber and paper products accounted for 12 percent of the country’s total exports, for a value of 114 billion kronor, or $17 billion.

But now some see nature, in the shape of the five-millimeter, or 1/5-inch, hairy bark beetle, as striking back – induced by climate change.

This is the worst situation we’ve ever seen here in Sweden, said Bo Langstrom, a professor of entomology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

“Usually, the beetle only produces one brood per year here in Sweden. But last year, for the first time, it produced two.”

New York Times, 2 May 2007

struggles of an environmentalist

I have been researching and writing about anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) for Truthout for the past year, because I have long been deeply troubled by how fast the planet has been emitting its obvious distress signals.

On a nearly daily basis, I’ve sought out the most recent scientific studies, interviewed the top researchers and scientists penning those studies, and connected the dots to give readers as clear a picture as possible about the magnitude of the emergency we are in.

This work has emotional consequences: I’ve struggled with depression, anger, and fear.

I’ve watched myself shift through some of the five stages of grief proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance I’ve grieved for the planet and all the species who live here, and continue to do so as I work today.

Heat Is Online – originally Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org. Jan. 25, 2015

one good …

Lake Illawarra’s little tern population is due back from the northern hemisphere any day in search of safe nesting over the spring and summer months.

Signage and protective fences were erected around the lake’s entrance in a combined effort to protect the species by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, the Lake Illawarra Authority, Illawarra Bird Observers Club and Wollongong City Council.

At less than 25cm long, the leaner, migratory seabird is the smallest tern in the world. Lake Illawarra chairman Doug Prosser said the sensitive little terns’ nesting habits made them particularly susceptible to predators.

He appealed to people not to take their dogs down to the area and “Watch where you put your feet.”

Illawarra Mercury (Australia), 29 Oct 2008 – screen copy held by this website

a shovel ready project

Under proposals from the Cquestrate project, they aim to reduce ocean acidity while increasingly absorbing CO2 by converting limestone into lime, thereby adding the lime to seawater. Cquestrate, proposed by Tim Kruger, a former management consultant.

While the idea is good in theory, Mr Kruger added that in order for it to properly work, the world would need to mine and process about 10 cubic kilometres of limestone each year to soak up all the emissions the world produces. The CO2 resulting from the lime production would also have to be captured and buried at source.
The Telegraph (UK), 6 Jul 2009

hope springs eternal

Research: Cut Alcohol Consumption to Help Reduce Climate Change. “Simply put, if everyone cut down their alcohol consumption they could help reduce climate change – although that is on condition they do not drink Coca Cola instead or spend the money on going to the cinema for instance,” said Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network.
Environmental Leader, 15 Mar 2007

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

“…for just a few billion dollars…”

The most prominent geoengineering proposal is to spray minute reflective particles into the atmosphere. These are designed to act as a “global shadecloth” by blocking a small percentage of sunlight from warming the Earth.

Scientists in the US and UK are developing this technology, and it looks feasible. For just a few billion dollars it may be possible to inject these particles into the sky in an attempt to cool the planet.
Newcastle Herald, 4 Dec 2013

why didn’t someone think of this before?

We don’t have to relinquish our cars, move to the woods, and get off the grid to conquer climate change. The real solution is simple and easy: eat plants.

Though the figures vary, World Bank scientists have attributed up to 51 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to the livestock industry.

The cows, pigs, chickens and other animals raised for food across the globe — and the industry of which they’re a part — contribute more to rising temperatures and oceans than all the planes, cars, trucks, boats and trains in the world. Huffington Post, 1 Dec 2014

the early bird lays an egg

Many British birds are laying their eggs earlier in the year as a result of climate change, a report by conservation groups claimed yesterday.

Work carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) surveying 30,000 nests showed species such as the chaffinch and robin are laying their eggs about a week earlier than they did during the 1960s.

A similar pattern has been observed for other species such as blue and great tits and swallows.

Dr Mark Avery, conservation director for the RSPB, one of the groups involved in the study, said: “This year’s report shows that climate change is with us already, and from our gardens to our seas, birds are having to respond rapidly to climate change simply to survive.”

Herald Scotland, 15 Aug 2008

all power to the can!

Next week’s National Recycling Week is an opportunity to look a little more closely at who we can all help to reduce the global strain on resources.

Planet Ark has singled out recycling as a key factor in ensuring that communities learn to live sustainably and combat the threat of global warming.

The organisation’s spokeswoman Rebecca Gilling said all sectors of society could contribute to the cause by taking time to consider the benefits that even small changes could have on our environment.

“Recycling a single aluminium can saves enough energy to run a TV set for three hours,” she said.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 9 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

visible signs

Tibetans are waking up with nosebleeds this autumn as their capital Lhasa experiences record low humidity. The Sunlight City, 3700 metres above sea level, is regarded as especially sensitive to global warming and is heating up faster than anywhere in the world, Chinese media has said.

The Age (Australia), 9 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

happy workers

We started to think about . . . the things . . . we do economically which have alignment with sustainable outcomes. One is the environment and one is safety, Mr Hawker said. IAG employees started to print on both sides of paper, recycle paper, use the internet to read information rather than printing documents, and the number of documents in branches was slashed from 52 to 4.

In addition to helping the environment, Mr Hawker said employees were happier than ever.
Sydney Morning Herald, 27/9/03

china cups lead the fight against climate change!

Church of England bishops should abandon their draughty historic palaces and gas-guzzling cars to counter global warming, one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists said yesterday.

Sir John Houghton, the former chief executive of the Met Office and the first chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that the Church was breaking the Ten Commandments if it failed to take a moral lead.

His call to church leaders came as the Christian development agency, Tearfund, published guidleines for churches on how to be more green. They included installing wind turbines and solar panels on homes, and using china rather than plastic cups for after-church coffee. The Telegraph (UK) 3 Feb 2007

concrete proposal

The Royal Horticultural Society has launched a campaign to encourage home owners to think twice about paving over their front gardens. Replacing foliage with hard surfaces prevents rainwater soaking into the ground and increases the risk of flash flooding.

As global warming becomes more of a problem, gardens are necessary to absorb heat, paricularly in densely populated areas, the RHS said.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Feb 2007

girl power

More than half of Sunday Age readers support the introduction of an emissions trading scheme regardless of whether other countries follow suit.

Views of readers on emissions trading and climate change were canvassed in a poll that also revealed a significant gender divide over environmental issues.

Female readers are more likely to conserve water, recycle waste and support Australia going it alone on carbon emissions trading than their male counterparts.

They are also more inclined than men to take shorter showers, buy local produce and restrict garden watering for the sake of the environment.

But four times as many men as women support the introduction of nuclear power to helped cut carbon emissions.

Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Oct 2009

fat chance

Professor David Raubenheimer, a nutritional ecologist at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, believes that the worldwide obesity pandemic is caused by climate change and a low consumption of protein.

Sydney Morhing Herald 8 Dec 2014 – screencopy held by this website

pipe dreams?

Today James Lovelock, of Green College, Oxford University, outlines an emergency way to stimulate the Earth to cure itself with Chris Rapley, former head of the British Antarctic Survey who is now the director of the Science Museum, London.

They propose that vertical pipes some 10 metres across be placed in the ocean, such that wave motion would pump up cool water from 100-200 metres depth to the surface, moving nutrient-rich waters in the depths to mix with the relatively barren warm waters at the ocean surface.

This would fertilise algae in the surface waters and encourage them to bloom, absorbing carbon dioxide greenhouse gas while also releasing a chemical called dimethyl sulphide that is know to seed sunlight reflecting clouds.

One version of the scheme sees around 10,000 pipes in the Gulf of Mexico, they told The Daily Telegraph.The Telegraph (UK), 26 Sep 2007

hero of the global warming movement!

Meet David Keith. He’s a professor of physics and public policy at Harvard University. He’s a Canadian who won Canada’s national physics prize exam and who Time Magazine named one of their Heroes of the Environment in 2009. Keith sounds like — must be — a rational guy with credentials like that, right? But consider Keith’s plan to tackle climate change.

He wants to send two jets 20 kilometres up above the Earth’s surface to spray a fine layer of sulfuric acid, approximately one million tons of it, blanketing the global atmosphere.

According to an article on Smithsonian.com, which recently featured Keith, that layer of sulfuric acid would be enough to reflect back one per cent of the sun’s rays, deflecting radiation and lowering the global temperature.

The Smithsonian celebrated Keith in mid-May at its third annual The Future is Here Festival.
National Observer, 20 May 2015

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

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