first victim – American pika

A small, mountain-dwelling, round-eared relative of the rabbit yesterday became the first mammal that scientists believe has fallen victim to climate change. The American pika, a hamster-sized creature that makes its home among piles of rocks at high altitudes in western America and south-western Canada, has become extinct at nearly one third of sites where it was once common.

A study in the US Journal of Mammology examined 25 sites in the Great Basin, an area between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. It found that pikas had apparently vanished from seven of the locations and blamed climate change.
The Telegraph (UK), 21 Aug 2003

for new category – first victim

Grasslands drier

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Grasslands in the Great Plains of the United States and southern Canada are predicted to get warmer with climate change.

Southwestern grasslands are expected to become drier because of declining precipitation and higher temperatures, especially the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, which are critical wintering areas for many grassland birds.
The State of the Birds; 2010 report on climate change

Grasslands wetter

Grassland ecosystems could become wetter as a result of global warming, according to a new study by researchers from Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. This surprising result, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), contradicts numerous climate models predicting that higher temperatures could dry out natural landscapes, including grasslands.

“We found that, once the plants shut down, the moisture is effectively trapped in the soil,” noted co-author Christopher B. Field, a professor by courtesy of biological sciences at Stanford and director of the Carnegie Institution’s Stanford-based Department of Global Ecology.
Stanford Report, August 20, 2003
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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

2100 (end of century)

Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government’s chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week. He said the Earth was entering the “first hot period” for 60 million years, when there was no ice on the planet and “the rest of the globe could not sustain human life”.
The Independent, 2 May 2004

2100 (end of century)

The world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive, according to James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia – the Earth which keeps itself fit for life. The world and human society face disaster to a worse extent, and on a faster timescale, than almost anybody realises, he believes.

He writes: ” Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”
Countercurrents, 20 Jan 2006

and your solution is?

Falling birth rates in some developed and developing countries (a significant portion of which are due to government-imposed limits on the number of children a couple can have) have begun to reduce or reverse the population explosion.

It remains unclear how many people the planet can comfortably sustain, but it is clear that per capita energy consumption must go down if climate change is to be controlled. Ultimately, a one child per couple rule is not sustainable either and there is no perfect number for human population. But it is clear that more humans means more greenhouse gas emissions.
Scientific American, 26 Nov 2011

first victim – forests

Forests are also among the first victims of climate change. As a general rule, forests are negatively affected by rising temperatures, changes in precipitation levels and extreme weather events. A general deterioration of forests will create a vicious cycle whereby CO2 emissions are likely to increase which in turn will result in greater deregulation of the climate and so on.
Climate change and biodiversity in the European Union overseas entities, Author Jérôme Petit, Guillaume Prudent, Publisher IUCN 2008, p25

first victims – penguins and turtles

Taiwanese artist Vincent J.F. Huang will again represent the South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu at the Venice Biennale this year, and highlight the issue of climate change with an art installation in Tuvalu’s national pavilion at the major international art exhibition.

His “Animal Delegates,” depicting some of the creatures that could be the first victims of global warming, such as penguins and turtles, were used to highlight the environmental crisis in Tuvalu, one of Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic allies.
The China Post, 24 Feb 2015

first victims – coral reefs and oysters

A recent report in Science magazine finds that the oceans are turning acidic at what may be the fastest pace in 300 million years, with potential severe consequences for marine ecosystems.

Among the first victims of ocean warming and acidification are coral reefs, because corals can form only within a narrow range of temperature and acidity of seawater. Oyster hatcheries are also affected, and have been referred to as “canaries in a coal mine” since they may predict effects on a wide range of ocean ecosystems as ocean acidification increases.
The Economics of Global Climate Change, by Jonathan M. Harris, Brian Roach and Anne-Marie Codur. Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155

first victim – frogs

Frogs could be the first victims of rising temperatures. In a recent study, scientists have examined the effects of climate change on amphibians…They found that if unpredictable changes in temperature were to occur, amphibians may not be able to escape quickly enough due to their small size. This is enough to threaten many salamanders, frogs and newts, who could find themselves stuck in unfavorable conditions along their travels.
National Wildlife Federation, 39 Sep 2011

first victims – birdseed factory, a holy lake in China, Baltic Sea fish and new born hedgehogs

A birdseed factory in Shropshire, a holy lake in China, Baltic Sea fish and new-born hedgehogs have emerged as the first tangible victims of climate change in the year which forecasters predicted this week would be the warmest on record.

The CJ Wild Bird Foods company near Shrewsbury has announced that the demand for its products has all but disappeared, because the mild winter had maintained an alternative supply of berries for finches, tits and other species.

The warmer environment is also contributing to the gradual disappearance of the vast Lake Qinghai, a holy site for Tibetans in the remote western province of Qinghai.

More evidence of the consequences of failure arrived yesterday from conservation groups who reported that climate change was causing the deaths of hundreds of baby hedgehogs, born out of season. Confused by the milder autumn months, the creatures are continuing to breed rather than hibernate. This is causing the death of the young who need to grow before they hibernate.

An indication of the effects of climate change on fish has also arrived this week, from a team of German scientists who warned that rising sea temperatures were killing off the eelpout. The fish, which lives in the North and Baltic seas, has been hit by warmer summers, which have increased its need for oxygen at the same time as the water’s oxygen levels have dropped.
The Independent, 6 Janury 2007

first victim – coqui frog

Climate change represents a real threat to the environment and, according to a study published on April 9 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, it has already made its first victim, namely the coqui frog, that could become extinct if the female animals do not alter their hearing in order to pick up the males’ changed chirps.

Rafael Joglar, professor of biology at the University of Puerto Rico added that, as temperatures rise, the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis causes fatal skin infections which could kill one of the territory’s symbols, namely the small brown tree frogs.
The Guardian, 10 Apr 2014

first victim – ouzel

Scottish scientists say global warming’s first major British wildlife victim is the ring ouzel — a close relative of the blackbird. Scientists told The Independent they fear higher temperatures in late summer, prompted by climate change, are causing the birds’ demise.

They just seem to be dying out rather than adapting and moving elsewhere, lead researcher Colin Beale told the newspaper. Although the effect of global warming has been observed on British wildlife, such as flowering times, the ring ouzel is the first case in which a whole species has been seen to be at risk, The Independent said.
Phys.org, 25 May 2006

first victim – Albadra banded snail

The Aldabra banded snail lived on the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. Biologist Justin Gerlach of Oxford University says it had very pretty shell: dark, purplish blue with an orange band around. Smaller shells, once common, disappeared with the frequent long, hot summers.

He suspects — but cannot prove — that these bad summers are a side effect of global warming. If he’s right, then this snail has earned itself a grim distinction: It would be the first species in the modern era to become extinct as a direct result of climate change.
NPR, 8 Aug 2007

first victim – British seabird

Numbers of a British seabird have fallen so low that experts fear the breed could soon become the first victim of climate change. Conservationists say the decline is down to alterations to the marine environment brought on by climate change, with the North Sea’s food chain being ‘profoundly affected’. The population of Kittiwake has more than halved in the UK since the mid-1980s and the breeding numbers in Scotland have declined by almost two-thirds.
Daily Mail (UK), 23 Aug 2012

first victim – narwhal

The polar bear is indeed a more iconic animal than the narwhal and, on top of that, despite being classified as marine, we can see it mostly on land. This may explain why people have been focusing more on it than on other Arctic animals, when warning about the danger of extinction caused by global warming. With all this, a new research published in the Ecological Applications journal shows which species would be the first victim: the narwhal.

“What we wanted to do was look at the whole picture because there’s been a lot of attention on polar bears. We’re talking about a whole ecosystem. We’re talking about several different species that use ice extensively and are very vulnerable,” said co-author Ian Stirling, a polar bear and seal specialist for the Canadian government.
Softpedia, 13 May 2008

first victim – ribbon seal

The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday filed a 91-page petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service seeking to list ribbon seals as threatened or endangered. The group says the classification is needed because sea ice is disappearing because of climate change brought on by humans.

“The Arctic is in crisis state from global warming,” said biologist Shaye Wolf, lead author of the petition. “An entire ecosystem is rapidly melting away, and the ribbon seal is poised to become the first victim of our failure to address global warming.”
Seattle Times, 22 Dec 2007

climate change & female bearded lizards

A recent study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature reveals a new way that lizards might be affected by the higher temperatures (on average) that our planet has been doing through.

The researchers studied a population of Bearded Dragon lizards in Australia, an animal who’s sex is usually determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and found that the heat was actually making eggs with male chromosomes turn out female after a climate sex-change, so to speak.
Tree Hugger, 2 Jul 2015

see also – Say what?

thanks to Joe Public

trees less colorful

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Scientists at the University of New Hampshire project that shifts in the climate caused by global warming will progressively dull the leaves throughout southern New England and New York over the next century. Maples will move north and the remaining oaks and hickories will change colors later and with less verve, they say.

“We haven’t had a really great display in the last 10 years,” said Barrett Rock, a professor in natural resources and a researcher at the Complex Systems Research Center at the University of New Hampshire who has studied the effects of global warming on the autumn landscape from New York to Maine.
New York Times, 16 Oct 2005

trees more colorful

The Tree Council this week said global warming caused this season’s russet reds to deep golden yellows. The lack of moisture in autumn means that a different pigment is produced called anthocyanin, says Nick Collinson, conservation policy adviser at the Woodland Trust. This gives leaves more of a red colour.

“Climate change models for the UK suggest we are likely to have hotter and drier summers, which will encourage the kind of colours you normally see in a New England fall.”
The Guardian 18 Nov 2004
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see also – having it both ways

rats getting smaller and bigger

You probably hadn’t noticed — but the head shape and overall size of rodents has been changing over the past century. A University of Illinois at Chicago ecologist has tied these changes to human population density and climate change.

The finding is reported by Oliver Pergams, UIC research assistant professor of biological sciences, in the July 31 issue of PLoS One. Pergams found both increases and decreases in the 15 anatomic traits he measured, with changes as great as 50 percent over 80 years.
Science Daily, July 31 2009

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

paint your roof white

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Two years ago, Barack Obama’s top man on global warming, Professor Steven Chu, the US Secretary of Energy, suggested at the Royal Society in London that one of the most effective engineering measures to tackle rising temperatures is to paint roofs.

He estimated that a city or town where the roofs and the pavements and roads have light-coloured surfaces can increase their albedo by about 10 per cent, which globally would provide a CO2 offset of between 130 billion and 150 billion tonnes – the same as taking every car in the world off the road for 50 years.
The Independent, 13 Apr 2012

don’t paint your roof white

The land covered by urban areas more than doubled between 1992 and 2005, to about 0.128% of Earth’s surface, Mark Z. Jacobson and John E. Ten Hoeve of Stanford University report in the Journal of Climate. A worldwide conversion to white roofs, they found, could actually warm the Earth slightly due a complex domino effect.

Although white surfaces are cooler, the increased sunlight they reflect back into the atmosphere by can increase absorption of light by dark pollutants such as black carbon, which increases heating.
The Guardian, 27 Oct 2011
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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

Comment: Encyclical of Pope Francis


This is primarily a humorous website however from time to time we make a serious statement expressing our opinion. Normal postings continue below this comment.

We understand an encyclical is spiritual guidance from the Pope to his bishops and as such it is not binding on Catholics who are free to disagree with the Pope’s opinions.

While we generally prefer not enter discussions about religion, in this case we believe the problems with the encyclical make it worthy of comment.

Firstly, the satellite and balloon measuring data indicate there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years or so. The recent article by Karl and others to the contrary is the result of cherry picking and manipulating the data rather than any change to what we know.

Secondly, with so many variables involved in the global sea level it is not credible to link it to greenhouse gases. Some of the other factors are land rising or falling by tectonic shifts, recovery since the last Ice Age, sedimentary build up and subsidence, etc.

Thirdly, there is no evidence that extreme weather events have increased in frequency or severity in the past 100 years, as tragic as those events have been for the people involved.

Fourthly, while no one disputes the level of carbon dioxide has increased or that the Earth has warmed slightly, the crux of the heated and intense debate is the extent to which the former has directly caused the latter. The evidence at present is inconclusive.

But the great irony in all of this is that energy restrictions following emissions reduction measures will most likely harm the world’s poor the most.

We do not doubt the Pope’s sincerity however for several reasons we believe it is unfortunate he decided to enter climate change politics.

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2040

A scientific model has suggested that society will collapse in less than three decades due to catastrophic food shortages if policies do not change.

Dr Aled Jones, the Director of the Global Sustainability Institute, told Insurge Intelligence: “We ran the model forward to the year 2040, along a business-as-usual trajectory based on ‘do-nothing’ trends — that is, without any feedback loops that would change the underlying trend.”

“The results show that based on plausible climate trends, and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots.”

“In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.”
The Independent, 22 Jun 2015

thanks to Kaffe

10 feet (3 meters)

Australian scientist Dr John Church is one of the world’s leading experts on sea level rise (he’s been studying it for a couple of decades) and was a co-ordinating lead author of the relevant chapter in the latest IPCC report.

“I would not dispute the idea that you could get substantially larger rises (beyond the end of this century) particularly with parts of West Antarctica being grounded below sea level and potentially unstable.

I don’t think that three metres is out of the question. Since the IPCC report, studies have shown that this process is now happening. We have triggered something that is potentially unstoppable.”
The Guardian 5 May 2015

thanks to Badgerbod

250 feet (76 meters)

Despite uncertainties in reserve sizes, it is clear that if we burn all the fossil fuels, or even half of the remaining reserves, we will send the planet toward an ice-free state with sea level about 250 feet higher than today. It would take time for complete ice sheet disintegration to occur, but a chaotic situation would be created with changes occurring out of control of future generations.
James Hansen in Inside Climate News, 15 Jul 2009

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

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

Amazon rainforests threatened

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Over time, global climate change and more deforestation will likely lead to increased temperatures and changing rain patterns in the Amazon, which will undoubtedly affect the region’s forests, water availability, biodiversity, agriculture, and human health.

Research carried out under the auspices of INPE – Brazil’s National Space Research Institute – shows that a warmer and drier environment for the region could convert from 30% up to 60% of the Amazon rainforest into a type of dry savanna.
WWF, Climate change in the Amazon

Amazon rainforests not threatened

The Amazon rainforest is less vulnerable to die off because of global warming than widely believed because the greenhouse carbon dioxide also acts as an airborne fertilizer, a study showed on Wednesday.

“I’m no longer so worried about a catastrophic die-back due to CO2-induced climate change,” Professor Peter Cox of the University of Exeter in England told Reuters of the study he led in the Journal Nature. “In that sense it’s good news.
Reuters, 6 Feb 2013

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return of the butterfly

The large blue butterfly went extinct in the UK in 1979 despite a prolonged campaign by conservationists to try and save the species.

Prof Jeremy Thomas, head of ecology at Oxford University, said it is only now that the climate is warming and suitable spots have been discovered in the Cotswolds that the species is able to start spreading across Britain once again.
The Telegraph (UK) 28 Jun 2010 “Climate change brings back endangered butterfly”

how now brown owl?

Tawny owls turn brown to survive in warmer climates, according to scientists in Finland. Feather colour is hereditary, with grey plumage dominant over brown. But the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that the number of brown owls was increasing. As winters become milder, the scientists say, grey feathered tawny owls are likely to disappear.

This study indicates that the birds are evolving in response to climate change. Climate-driven selection has led to an evolutionary change in the population. Dr Patrik Karell from the University of Helsinki, who led the study, gathered together data from long-term tawny owl studies carried out across Finland over the last 30 years.
BBC News, 22/2/11

watch out for giant crabs!

Researchers from the University of Southampton have drawn together 200 years’ worth of oceanographic knowledge to investigate the distribution of a notorious deep-sea giant – the king crab.

The results, published this week in the Journal of Biogeography, reveal temperature as a driving force behind the divergence of a major seafloor predator; globally, and over tens of millions of years of Earth’s history.

“Recent range extensions of king crabs into Antarctica, as well as that of the red king crab Paralithodes camtchaticus in the Barents Sea and along the coast off Norway emphasise the responsiveness of this group to rapid climate change,” said research student Sally Hall.
Science Daily, 19/7/09

Canary in the coal mine – beetles

Beetles, the new canary in a coalmine. Although this number appears to be small, it has effectively removed nature’s ecological cold curtain enabling mountain pine beetles an opportunity to speed up their life cycle, invade and decimate high elevation pine forests across the continent.

Instead of absorbing CO2, billions of beetle-killed trees across the West are decaying and stoking the ever-rising pool of greenhouse gases.
Ruidoso News, 24 Jan 2012

Canary in the coal mine – Marshall Islands

Canary in a coal mine: Extreme weather, rising seas plague atoll nation. Marshall Islands president issues a call to action ahead of international climate summit next week hosted by the UN. As global leaders gear up to meet at next week’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York, the president of a small Pacific island nation vulnerable to rising seas caused by global warming said the future of his people depends on creating a carbon-free world by 2050.
Al Jazeera America, 18 Sep 2014

Canary in the coal mine – the godwit, plover and snipe

The unavoidable sea level rises, which are already thought to be locked in by current greenhouse gas emission levels, are expected to devastate water bird populations, according to advice from Birds Australia. Migratory birds like the black-tailed godwit, the grey plover and Latham’s snipe can be regarded as the ”canaries in the coalmine” for climate change, said Dr Eric Woehler of Birds Australia, who gave evidence to the parliamentary committee.
Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Oct 2009

Canary in the coal mine – amphibians

Amphibians: Canaries in the environmental coal mine. Amphibian die-off, like the death of canaries by noxious gases in coal mines during the last century, may be warning us of serious environmental dangers ahead. Frogwatch USA is a partnership program affiliated with USGS and designed to enlist the aid of volunteers in describing and monitoring amphibians nationwide.

This year–designated “The year of the frog” by Amphibian Ark, a conservation organization–the Fort Collins Natural Areas Program is using its cadre of volunteers to make a baseline survey of amphibians in Fort Collins natural areas.
North Forty News, July 2008

Canary in the coal mine – freshwater mussels

During laboratory tests, USGS scientists and partners found that the heart and growth rates of some species of young freshwater mussels declined as a result of elevated water temperatures, and many died.

Freshwater mussels have been compared to the “canary in the coal mine” in that they are indicators of good water and sediment quality in U.S. rivers.

They are also important in the aquatic food web, filter large amounts of water and suspended particles, and serve as food for other organisms. The study is published in the December issue of the journal Freshwater Science.
US Geological Survey, 3 Dec 2013

Canary in the coal mine – Florida Keys

“We are feeling some of the most severe impacts of climate change first, and we have no escape route,” says Alison Higgins, President of Florida Keys Green Living and Energy Education and staff of The Nature Conservancy, thinking about the limitations to adaptation in the Keys.

“We’re the canary in the coal mine for climate change impacts in the U.S…We want to be seen as an example of why it’s important for other local governments to work hard on [climate] mitigation [to reduce carbon emissions.] Because that’s going to help us, and themselves.”
ICLEI USA

Canary in the coal mine – shrimp

Shrimp like canaries in coal mine, indicating health of stocks, water temperature. Peter Koeller, a Canadian fisheries scientist, said the findings shed light on the complex mating habits of the Pandalus borealis, the shrimp species that makes up one of the world’s largest fisheries and sustains an industry worth $500 million a year in the North Atlantic.

“Shrimp are very sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, be they global warming-driven or otherwise,” Koeller said from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, N.S., about the research to be published Friday in the journal Science.
Canadian Press, 8 May 2009

Canary in the coal mine – Maldives

Maldives May Be Canary In The Coal Mine. Alas, the high point in this entire nation of 1,200 islands is only 8 feet above sea level. So people here worry that eventually the entire nation may have to move, making the Maldives perhaps the first country in the world to be destroyed by global warming. (Tuvalu and Kiribati, both small Pacific island nations, are other contenders for the title of the first modern nation to be drowned).
Sun Sentinel, 13 Jan 2006

Canary in the coal mine – estuaries

When it comes to climate change impacts, estuaries are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. These unique habitats, which are also home to 22 of the world’s 32 largest cities and are essential hubs for global commerce, face not just the threat posed by rising sea levels, but also a complex nexus of increasing storm risks, droughts, water and air pollution and marine dead zones.
Greenbiz, 7 Jul 2014

Policy decision regarding the views of climate pause deniers

After careful consideration this website has made the following policy decision.

Given the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence in favour of the 18 year hiatus in global warming, this website will no longer give coverage of the views of climate pause deniers.

This announcement will remain in place for a few days. Future articles will examine whether climate pause denialism should be regarded as a form of psychological pathology.

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Canary in the coal mine – lobster

The New England lobster, under threat from disease and invasive species, may be the “canary in the coal mine” of climate disruption, according to a new report that examines case studies from around the nation about how global warming is altering wildlife habitats.

Lobsters are king, Wahle said. “If lobsters aren’t the canary in the coal mine, then we might at least consider them a poster child for marine climate change.” Rick Wahle, a research associate professor at the University of Maine.
Public News Service Feb 2013,

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

more than a metre

More cyclones, rising sea levels and increased flooding will be the pattern for Australia’s coastal communities by 2050, a South Australian climate expert says. Professor Nick Harvey said Australia should expect sea levels to rise more than a metre by the end of the century. “We will experience more intense tropical cyclones and storms will be more frequent” Prof Harvey said.
The Age, 6 Apr 2007

22 feet (6.7 metres)

Dr Tim Lenton of the University of East Anglia, believes the risk are far greater than the IPCC suggests. Speaking at a meeting in Cambridge organised by the British Antarctic Survey, Dr Lenton said: “We are close to being committed to a collapse of the Greenland ice sheet. But we don’t think we have passed the tipping point yet.”

But if the climate change crisis reached the point of no return and it were to melt then global sea levels would rise by 22ft and swallow up most of the world’s coastal regions.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Aug 2007

Canary in the coal mine – walrus

Huge Walrus Haul-Out Signals Latest ‘Canary in the Coalmine’ for Climate Change in the Arctic.

Margaret Williams, managing director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic program told the Associated Press, “The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change.”
The Scuttlefish, 3 Oct 2014

Canary in the coal mine – oysters

A company near San Diego raises oysters. Last year, Dennis Peterson says they could only get a quarter of the young oysters, or seed, they need from hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. Dennis Peterson worries about what that means for his oysters.

“When it comes to climate change,” he says, “the oyster in the ocean is like a canary in a coal mine.”
CBS News, 27 Sep 2013

Canary in the coal mine – monarch butterfly

The poster child for conservation is at risk of being at risk. Environmental groups across the country are stepping up efforts to increase the population of monarch butterflies as the insects face being designated as a species at risk.

“They’re currently an international species of concern. The monarch butterfly is like the canary in the coal mine of climate change and conservation,” said Maxim Larrivée, the University of Ottawa professor who developed ebutterfly.ca, an online database of butterfly observation.
The Star, Canada, 22 Jul 2012

Canary in the coal mine – frog

Thus a climate canary would be an animal that is susceptible to the impacts of climate change. In that sense, frogs and other amphibians could be considered the “Canaries of global warming”.
Environmental Systems Studies: A Macroscope for Understanding and Operating … By Hidefumi Imura published by Springer, Japan, 2013 p49

Canary in the coal mine – finch

When it comes to global warming, the canary in the coal mine isn’t a canary at all. It’s a purple finch.

An Audubon Society study released Tuesday found that more than half of 305 birds species in North America, a hodgepodge that includes robins, gulls, chickadees and owls, are spending the winter about 35 miles farther north than they did 40 years ago.
NBC News, 10 Feb 2009

Canary in the coal mine – Alaska

At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders called Alaska the “canary in the coal mine” on climate change and cited threats to Native American communities from rising seas as a result of global warming.

The village of Newtok, Alaska, near the Arctic Circle, may be underwater by 2017, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sanders noted. More than 180 other native Alaskan villages also are at risk because of climate change, Sanders added.
Bernie Sanders, US Senator for Vermont website 5 Mar 2015

Canary in the coal mine – Napa Valley

Is Napa Valley the canary in the coal mine? Climate change, the bad, the good and the unknown…

There is little consideration for the potential impact of global warming on all forms of agriculture and human and animal activity – were this apocalypse to come true, one could argue that world hunger, deforestation, coastal flooding and other horrific environmental changes would dominate the world’s agenda and no one would care about where the best Cabernet Sauvignon is produced.
Napa Valley vintners website