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

giant sunshade

Professor Roger Angel thinks he can diffract the power of the sun by placing trillions of lenses in space and creating a 100,000-square-mile sunshade.

Each lens will have a diffraction pattern etched onto it which will cause the sun’s rays to change direction. He intends to use electromagnetic propulsion to get the lenses into space. If work was started immediately Prof Angel thinks the sunshield could be operation by 2040.

He said: “Things that take a few decades are not that futuristic.”

The Telegraph, 17 Feb 2009

can’t see the wood for…..

If global warming really is the mother of all enveronmental probalems, then perhaps the time has come to bring to an end the clearing and logging of natural forests. This will make a significant and cost-effective contribution to solving the global warming problem.

We must not forget that the laws of science apply universally and do not recognise political boundaries. Whether a natural forest is in Tasmania, Victoria or Papua, it performs the same kind of role in the global carbon cycle and in helping to regulate atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

Brendan Mackey, professor of environmental science at the Australian National University, in The Age, 7 Aug 2007 – screen copy held by this website

will you lead by example?

If it’s so hard to change the climate to suit humans, why not alter humans to suit the changing climate, philosophers from Oxford and New York universities are asking. They suggest humans could be modified to be smaller, to dislike eating meat, have fewer children and be more willing to co-operate with social goals.

Behavioural changes might not be enough, even if they are widely adopted, and international agreements for market solutions such as emissions trading are proving difficult to achieve, say Matthew Liao, of New York University, and Anders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache, of Oxford University.

They suggest hormone treatments could be used to suppress child growth, or embryos selected for smaller size. They say people who lack the motivation or willpower to give up eating meat could be helped by “meat patches” on their skin, which deliver hormones to stimulate the immune system against common bovine proteins.

“Henceforth eating ‘eco-unfriendly’ food would induce unpleasant experiences,” the authors say. Better-educated women have fewer children, so human engineering to enhance cognition could lead to fertility reduction as “a positive side effect from the point of view of tackling climate change”, the paper also argues.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Apr 2012

in support of small shops

Neighbourhood shops and farmers’ market will gain currency in the coming days, as reduction in vegetable transport will help save fuel and thereby help reduce global warming, said G, Nammalvar, organic farming scientist on Thursday.

Transportation of food items formed a considerable part in the entire transport industry, he added and suggested that shops like the Greens Shop would be best answer to reduce transportation.

Dr. Nammalvar suggested that ideal situation would be one where the distance between the points of production and sale was not more than 30 km. And, the presence of farmers’ and community markets would ensure absence of middlemen.

The Hindu, 26 Apr 2008

fragile coast

More than 700,000 Australian homes are vulnerable to rising sea levels, with up to $150 billion worth of homes, property and infrastructure at risk of seawater inundation, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts sea levels could rise between 0.18 metres and 0.59 metres over the next 100 years. But even a small rise will dramatically change Australia’s coastline, the department warns.

“It is estimated that erodible coasts will recede one metre for every one centimetre rise in sea level. Storm surges will exacerbate coastal erosion.” But even a small rise will dramatically change Australia’s coastline, the department warns. “It is estimated that erodible coasts will recede one metre for every one centimetre rise in sea level. Storm surges will exacerbate coastal erosion.”

Other experts believe sea levels could jump even more dramatically, rising several metres over the next century, inundating thousands of homes and threatening infrastructure.

The concern is that a threshold may soon be passed beyond which we’ll be committed to losing most or all of the Greenland ice sheet, said Professor Steffen of the Australian National University.

“This would lead to 6 metres of sea level rise (with enormous implications for Australia), although the time frame required to lose this amount of ice is highly uncertain, ranging from a century to a millennium or more.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Oct 2008

see also – just plain scary

moving target

In Sydney to address the Metropolis conference, Dr Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said many scientists believed that even a 450 ppm target was not strong enough.

“There are a section of scientists and some analysts that are actually now saying that 450 is a bit too high and what we should be targeting is 350.”

Pointing to the dangerous predicament of low lying island nations such as Kiribati and the Maldives, Dr Pachauri said: “If you talk to the president of [the] Maldives, indeed the people of the Maldive Islands, they’re living in a state of fear.

Dr Pachauri warned the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was already contributing to sea-level rise.

If the world’s big ice sheets kept melting, “you are talking about well over a metre of sea-level rise and that, to my mind, is going to be disastrous for hundreds of millions of people”.

Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Oct 2008

see also – just plain scary

frisky coral

Australian scientists have discovered some rare corals with promiscuous habits that could be helping them to breed their way out of extinction.

Faced with a shortage of mates of their own kind, these rare corals have cast a wider net and started cross-breeding with other coral species, producing hybrids.

It pushes the boundaries of our traditional understanding of species, said a researcher, Zoe Richards. “They are being a little promiscuous.”

By cross-breeding with other species, rare corals can increase their ability to adapt to the pressures of climate change and other human threats.

This is a mechanism enabling rare species to continue to reproduce and to continue to evolve as a species rather than die out, said Ms Richards, a marine scientist at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

With such tricks up their sleeves, it is even possible that the rare corals of today could become the common corals of the future.

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Oct 2008

a new environmental warrior!

Stand aside Al Gore, there’s a new environmental warrior on the scene and his name is Jason Kimberley. He’s the photographer, author and Antarctic explorer who has a chilling message about the future of this planet and he’s delivering it via the movement he’s created, Cool Melbourne.

“I want to make sure all Melburnians know how poorly we’re treating our environment and how we need to improve,” an ardent Kimberley told Diary.

So what has Kimberley done to reduce the number of black balloons he sends up and away? He’s switched to a hybrid car, double-glazed his windows, installed solar heating and a water tank, bought friendly appliances, adn started a vegie patch. The Cool Melbourne websote says kiddies can do their bit by eating “nude food” – swapping plastic wrap and foil for reusable containers. Even adults can go nude (in a culinary sense).

The Age (Australia), 13 May 2008 – screen copy held by this website

Climate conference emits hot air!

Amid talk of offsetting the hefty carbon footprint of the United Nations climate conference in Bali, organisers missed a large elephant in the room.

The air-conditioning system installed to keep more than 10,000 delegates cool used highly damaging refrigerant gases – as lethal to the atmosphere as 48,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and nearly the equivalent of the emissions of all aircraft used to fly delegates to Indonesia.

In addition, the refrigerant is a potent greenhouse gas, with each kilogram at least as damaging as 1.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Investigators at the Balinese resort complex at Nusa Dua counted 700 cylinders of the gas, each of them weighing 13.5 kilograms, and the system was visibly leaking.

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Dec 2007

time is up for sheep and cattle!

In his report on climate change released at the beginning of the month, Professor Garnaut said that the price of beef and land would soar to a point where only wealthy households could afford beef.

Citing research, he said kangaroo meat “Could again become important” and that if a way to reduce methane emissions from livestock wasn’t found, 7 million cattle and 36 million sheep could be replaced by 175 million farmed kangaroos.

Kangaroos produce no methane, and the other environmental benefit is that kangaroos have soft feet, which means less damage to the land and less soil erosion compared to sheep and cattle.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 15 Oct 2008 – screen copy held by this website

true believers rocked!

“It’s time to get over big government. I know most Australians did so aeons ago but a few hold-outs, such as myself, kept the faith.

The Government’s wimpish response to the crisis of climate change has rocked the faith of the true believers. We can’t wait any longer for government to provide leadership, the price signals and incentives push us towards a simpler life.

If the planet is to be saved it will have to start at the bottom, with people deciding to change the way they live. People power, we can only hope will embolden the Government to do the right thing.

It would seem that whatever personal action we take to reduce our carbon footprint – buy a hybrid car, install solar heating, give up meat – will be negated by a Chinese family now rich enough to buy its first car and first fridge, who will replace the carbon dioxide we have virtuously reduced.”

Adele Horin, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

living within means

Continuing global economic growth “is not possible” if nations are to tackle climate change, a report by an environmental think-tank has warned.

The New Economics Foundation (Nef) said “unprecedented and probably impossible” carbon reductions would be needed to hold temperature rises below 2C (3.6F).

Scientists say exceeding this limit could lead to dangerous global warming.

We urgently need to change our economy to live within its environmental budget, said Nef’s policy director Andrew Simms

Heat Is Online – orig BBCNews, 25 Jan 2010

citizen science

One of the clearest measures of global warming is right outside your window: earlier blooming and budding plants in the spring.

Project BudBurst scientists are getting reports that common lilac, red maples, Virginia bluebells and other popular ornamental plants on their “10 Most Wanted” list are waking up earlier in the spring than ever — a sign that the climate is heating up.

We’re seeing that the data show that spring is advancing, said Sandra Henderson of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which oversees Project BudBurst.

All the instructions for participating, including a geolocator so participants can report their whereabouts, are available at the project website.

An application that allows citizen scientists to report their findings on their cell phones may soon be available, Henderson said. UCLA is working on a mobile phone application to do it, Henderson said.

The application will allow users to quickly send in photos documenting what a plant in a particular location is doing on a given day.

Project BudBurst and other citizen science campaigns is actually empowering, said Henderson. “We want people to be outside in a meaningful way.”

Heat Is Online, 22 Apr 2010 – Discovery.com

out of fashion

Designers and fashion experts fear the increasingly unpredictable weather could see the back of the industry’s traditional, seasonal collections.

They have been the framework for the fashion calendar for so long but could now become meaningless because of the topsy-turvy weather.

The impact on the industry, which currently revolves around a major seasonal change twice a year, could be enormous.

British designer Katherine Hamnett said: “The entire clothing industry is upside-down right now and has been for some time. We have bikinis being sold in January, and fur coats being sold in August. It’s bonkers.

Daily Mail, 9 Oct 2007

but it’s meat and drink to me!

Eating less lamb and drinking fewer pints will help save the planet, according to a Government advisor.

Diners are being encouraged to eat more pork and chicken instead, as they produce fewer carbon emissions. The study also found that alcoholic drinks contribute significantly to emissions with the growing and procesing of hops and malt into beer and whisky prodcing 1.5 percent of Britain’s greenhouse gases.

“Changing our lifesyles, including our diets, is going to be one of the crucial elements in cutrting carbon emissions,” said David Kennedy, chief executive officer of the Committee on Climate Change.

Mr Kennedy, who says he has stopped eating kebabs because they contain lamb, added:”We are not saying that everyone should become vegetarian or give up drinking but moving towards less carbon intensive foods will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health.”

The Telegraph, 24 May 2009

kiss the carbon years goodbye!

Get excited about an energy revolution, Visualize our Earth from space, Know that it’s fragile,

..Don’t drive, unless you have to, Walk more *Cycle more* Skate more…Avoid drive-thrus…Avoid fast food*Eat Less Meat, Share what you have*Buy Less Stuff, Reuse Before you Recycle, Dig up the concrete….Put your hot water heater on a timer…

Support climate friendly politicians…Put on a sweater….Buy tree-free or post-consumer paper….Use a clothsline instead of a dryer, Dream of a solar-hydrogen economy

….Kiss the carbon years goodbye, Our world will be whole, And Healed Tomorrow, If We Pay Attention Today.

Syracuse Cultural Workers postcard, How to end global warming, 2007

fisher-free

A group of scientists have called for the Coral Sea to be declared the world’s largest marine protected area, but the fishing industry says the idea is ludicrous.

Marine researchers said the Coral Sea, which covers one million square kilometres bordering the Great Barrier Reef, should become a non-fishing area to protect its immense environmental and heritage values from the escalating threats of overfishing and climate change.

Professor Terry Hughes, of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said there was overwhelming evidence the world’s marine ecosystems have been seriously degraded by overfishing, pollution and global warming.

“These trends call for urgent, practical solutions” said Professor Hughes.

The Age (Australia), 10 Sep 2008

sink or …

The idea was conceived by advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, who were commissioned by banking giant HSBC to promote its £50million project tackling climate change.

The Ogilvy team came up with an innovative way to show the adverse impact of global climate change.They glued an aerial view of a city to the base of a swimming pool. When the pool was filled with water, it gave a shocking effect akin to a city submerged in water.

The visual of a sunken city shocked swimmers and onlookers, driving home the impact of global warming, and how it could destroy our world someday.

The Telegraph, 26 Nov 2008

turtles skewed

Some of Australia’s most vulnerable native animals could die out as climate change takes its toll on their already fragile existence.

The warning is contained in a report that catalogues the risks facing 11 species from the impact of rising temperatures and rainfall decline.

The report, produced by environmental group WWF and a research team from Macquarie University, says global warming could skew the sex ratios for marine turtles in favour of females, as sex is determined by the incubation temperature of eggs.

Tammie Matson from the WWF, said while Australian species had adapted to climate change in the past, many were now suffering from habitat loss and introduced predators.

“Climate change is just another factor in the mix that could spell extinction for a number of species,” Dr Matson said. “It will exacerbate existing threats. It will tip some species over the edge.”

The Age (Australia), 25 Mat 2008 – screen copy held by this website

chameleon parrots

Scientists are investigating a link between colour and climate in a study of why the Australian parrots vary from red to orange to yellow.

Birds that live in lower-rainfall parts of south-east Australia, such as along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers, have a plumage of pale yellow.

But in higher-rainfall areas such as Gippsland and along the Great Divide, these rosellas remain truer to their name and are rich red.

With climate change it could be possible to see more yellow forms of the crimson rosella in Victoria, Deakin University’s Andy Bennett said.

With increasing aridity, Professor Bennett said, the boundary between the yellow and red varieties could move, resulting in a larger area populated by yellow rosellas.

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Oct 2008

ban fireworks

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.”

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

mound-building Mallee fowl takes a hit!

For nearly 20 years, Joe Benshemensh has been monitoring the mound-building Mallee fowl, trying to discern what’s killing them off, and whether they have a future.

“If climate change is a reality then the prognosis is dire. On the other hand, they have a geographic range that gives us some hope they won’t be eliminated, just take a severe hit. Our big challenge is to modify the monitoring program, to actively preserve them.”

The Sunday Age (Australia), 1 Jun 2008 – screen copy held by this website

…but can new wine be put in new bottles?

World wine producers face rising challenges from global warming and soaring fuel costs but any price increases will be bearable, the head of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine said yesterday.

More efficient producers, who find how to produce better wine even with rising costs, will be the winners, Frederico Castellucci said shortly after being re-elected director-general at the organistion’s congress, where 44 countries were represented.

Solutions being researched including lighter bottles and other packaging such as boxes, increased competition and cost-saving efforts could speed the trend to bigger plots, he said.

The Sun Herald (Australia), 22 Jun 2008 – screen copy held by this website

flat as a …

pancakes

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, 11 Aug 2012 What Climate Change Just Might Ruin

in search of the secetive chestnut rail

Stephen Garnett, a professor of tropical knowledge at Charles Darwin University believes global warming will herald stronger and more frequent cyclones and, as habitats change, life forms will fight for space or even existence.

Consider the chestnut rail, a secretive bird whose ginger body and green beak make it prettier than it sounds – a raucous “wack waka, wah-wah”, alternated with grunts – and once common on Marchinbar Island, about 640 kilometres north-east of Darwin.

Since Cyclone Monica swept through, in April last year, the chestnut rail has been nowhere to be seen on the island.

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Nov 2007

women affected

A California congresswoman warns global warming will be so detrimental to poor women, it will drive them to prostitution.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., has re-introduced legislation that forces the government to address all “policies and programs in the United States that are globally related to climate change” through the lens of gender.

Her resolution, “Recognizing the disparate impact of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change,” asserts that long term and catastrophic weather changes will result in drought and destructive weather events such as flooding, which could lead to food shortages, joblessness and disease, along with economic and political crisis on a regional scale.

Since “women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change, particularly in poor and developing nations where women regularly assume increased responsibility for growing the family’s food and collecting water, fuel, and other resources,” the measure reads, they will be the most desperate and vulnerable, forced into situations,“such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage.”

Fox News Politics, 27 Mar 2015

Arctic Sea ice – 2012

2012 could be a record year for the extent of Arctic sea ice at its yearly summer minimum.

Walt Meier, a research scientist at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, said that with recent satellite observations, “It definitely portends a low-ice year, whether it means it will go below 2007 (the record minimum in September), it is too early to tell,” reported LiveScience.

As sea ice declines in the Arctic, countries are anticipating a competition for control of shipping lanes and mineral extraction in the region.

In Antarctica, research from the United States’ Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula has found that “87 percent of the peninsula’s land-bound glaciers are in retreat,” reported OurAmazingPlanet.

Decreasing sea ice levels were also addressed in a recent spoof of Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic this summer.

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

see also – Arctic sea ice