wow, I’m worth 30,000 pounds!

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

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

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

tap turned off

Water meters could be imposed on thousands of families under emergency powers brought on by the current threat of drought and global warming, the Government said yesterday. Elliot Morley, the environment minister, said water companies in the driest areas could soon apply to install compulsory meters in homes in order to cut consumption.The Telegraph (UK), 4 Jul 2005

the lawyers win again

Australia’s coastal residents could be about to encounter the impact of climate change on their property insurance, a Sydney climate forum has been told.

Climate change business risk analyst Karl Mallon told the conference that the cash value of a home would be cut by up to 80 per cent if it is deemed uninsurable for a severe weather event caused by global warming. He said developers and local councils risk litigation for negligence if they fail to factor climate change into planning. The Age, 10 Apr 2007

first victim – rusty blackbird

Refuge ecologist Ed Berg has documented the drying of wetlands on the Kenai Peninsula which apparently began in the late 1960s and accelerated during the 1990s. He attributes the decline of wetlands to warmer summer temperature, which increases evapotranspiration.

The drying of wetlands in the boreal forest areas of Alaska and Canada is predicted to have a detrimental effect on many species of wildlife. The rusty blackbird may be one of the first noticeable victims of this ecological change.Peninsula Clarion, 9 Jun 2006

don’t leave home without it!

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

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

an outsized carbon paw print

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

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

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

first victim – Yellowstone grizzlies

Global Warming’s First Victims are the animals of course. Here, grizzly expert Doug Peacock makes the case for the Yellowstone grizzlies, whose food source, the whitebark pine has succumbed to beetle kill in a vast way, due to warm winters for just seven years. It’s a typical house of cards, with one piece falling and others in a textbook domino event. Environment II by Mark Andrew York, 23 May 2009

that explains it!

Naomi Klein, best selling author and social activist, said the denial of climate science was prevalent in English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, the US and the UK because of a “colonial settler mentality”.

“Countries founded on a powerful frontier mentality have this idea of limitless nature than can be endlessly extracted,” she said. “Climate change is threatening to that because there are limits and you have to respect those limits. Where that frontier narrative is strongest is where denialism is strongest.”

“The rest of Europe has a keener sense of boundaries – they’ve lived against the limits of nature for longer.”
The Guardian, 17 Aug 2015

thanks to ddh

bugs on the increase

People who live along the coast may have more to fear from climate change than rising waters. A team of Maryland researchers has found evidence suggesting that the odds of getting sick from a salmonella infection go up, especially for coastal residents, as the shifting climate produces more extreme weather conditions.

“So, I think this is an important study that should help health departments and providers anticipate salmonellosis outbreaks during heat waves and flooding events in specific areas,” Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. said.”The number of disease systems in which risk goes up with climate change seems to be ever-increasing.”The Baltimore Sun, 14 Aug 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

animals and plants

Nearly a third of the world’s species of animals and plants will be at risk of extinction by climate change within 50 years, United Nations scientists and governments are expected to say in a report published today.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to predict the loss of thousands of species in temperature-sensitive biodiversity hotspots such as the Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia, if temperatures go on rising.The Telegraph (UK), 6 Apr 2007

edge of abyss

Mankind is at the edge of an abyss, its very survival dependent on urgent action, warns Tim Flannery. The hurricanes devastating the American coast are the wake-up call the world needs. Do nothing about climate change, and the collapse of civilisation is “inevitable”, according to Dr Tim Flannery.

Do too little, the Australian scientist says, and society will “hover on the brink for decades or centuries”. Action needs to be taken now to slow global warming, says Flannery, the director of the South Australian Museum. The delay of even a decade is far too much, he says.Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Sep 2005

Need an explanation? Use climate change.

The wild boar population in Europe is growing. However, the reasons for this growth were not yet clear. Scientists have now found that climate change plays a major role. The number of wild boars grows particularly after mild winters, suggesting that food availability is a decisive factor.

“It is not so easy to determine the number of wild boars in Europe,” says wildlife biologist and first author of the study, Sebastian Vetter. “Therefore we analysed data on hunting bags and road accidents involving wild boar. Doing this we were able to depict the growth of the wild boar population.” Science Daily, 12 Aug 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

trees growing faster

Climate change’s impact on forests being measured via expanding tree trunks. Jess Parker a forest ecologist at the Smithsonian Institution has led a group of volunteers on a 22-year tree-hugging mission that found many of the trees were growing two to four times faster than expected.

This month, when Parker and his team published a paper on their work, it was received as a key piece of evidence about the ways that climate change could be having subtle but important effects on forests. Others have found similar growth in different parts of the world, as warmer weather and more carbon dioxide fuel tree growth.
Washington Post, 20 Feb 2010

trees growing slower

To study the impact of climate change on trees in tropical forests, a team from CIRAD developed a water balance model that estimates the water available in the soil for trees, based on microclimate data, and set up weather stations throughout northern French Guiana to gather the climate data required for the model.

The scientists then showed that of all the climate variables measured, the soil water reserve, as predicted by the model, was the one that best accounted for tree growth variations from one year to the next. And they also realized that the species that best resisted water stress, which were thus best able to cope with climate change, were slow-growing ones.

Fast-growing plants are much more sensitive to water stress: in the event of drought, they show their growth so much that they considerably increase their risk of dying.
CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development), June 2013

first victim – Bengal tiger

According a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), three-quarters of the region, a World Heritage site, could be underwater by the end of the century.

All it takes is a 45-centimeter (1.5-foot) rise in sea levels for the Bengal tiger, also referred to locally as the “man-eater,” to become one of the first victims of climate change. And if scientists’ predictions are right, it will not be the last.Spiegel Online, 23 Nov 2007

hot under the collar

A new research has shown that as the earth’s average temperature rises, so does human ‘heat’ in the form of violent tendencies. A new research has shown that as the earth’s average temperature rises, so does human “heat” in the form of violent tendencies, which links global warming with increased violence in human beings.DNAIndia, 20/3/10

slow boat to ….?

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

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

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

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

more dam statistics

Climate change is working against Sydney. “There’s only two years supply in Warragamba Dam”, says Professor Tim Flannery, “yet Frank Sartor [NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities] is talking about the situation being stable….If the computer models are right then drought conditions will become permanent in eastern Australia.”Sydney Morning Herald, Running Out Of Water And Time, 25 Apr 2005

(admin note: Warragamba dam was 93% full at 22 Jul 2015)

drawing a long bow

Did Climate Change Contribute To The Minneapolis Bridge Collapse? Melissa Hortman of the Minnesota House of Representatives “speculated that 90-plus-degree heat Wednesday and the above-normal temperatures of the past two summers may have been a contributing factor,” and said “You wonder if this bridge was built to withstand the massive heat we have had this summer.”Newsbusters, 7/8/07

hero of the global warming movement!

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

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

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

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

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

pipe dreams?

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

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

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

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

running hot and cold

Australia is in the grip of a nationwide cold snap – and paradoxically, it could be another result of global warming. But Grant Beard of the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre said global warming could in fact be driving down overnight winter temperatures.

The cold spell, he explained, was being fuelled by the high pressure systems that increasingly dominate southern areas of Australia during autumn and early winter.Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Jul 2006

why didn’t someone think of this before?

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

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

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

is nothing sacred?

The rising demand for flat-screen televisions could have a greater impact on global warming than the world’s largest coal-fired power stations, a leading environmental scientist warned yesterday.

As a driver of global warming, nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, yet no one knows how much of it is being released into the atmosphere by the industry, said Michael Prather, director of the environment institute at the University of California, Irvine.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Prather and a colleague, Juno Hsu, state that this year’s production of the gas is equivalent to 67m tonnes of carbon dioxide, meaning it has “a potential greenhouse impact larger than that of the industrialised nations’ emissions of PFCs or SF6, or even that of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants”. The Guardian, 3 Jul 2008

see also – Say what?

first victims – agricultural areas

There are agricultural areas that are vulnerable to crop-destroying drought or floods that could create serious problems of food and water insecurity. The UNFCC seems incapable of agreeing to adopt a 1.5 degree goal, which might save these first climate change victims.

Therefore a profound inequity exists: harm will be felt most severely by those least responsible for causing it. What will be done by way of mitigation and adaptation to help these first victims, and who will pay for the loss and damage they suffer?
Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), 5 Dec 2014

money please

The United Nations climate chief has urged global financial institutions to triple their investments in clean energy to reach the $1 trillion a year mark that would help avert a climate catastrophe.

In an interview with the Guardian, the UN’s Christiana Figueres urged institutions to begin building the foundations of a clean energy economy by scaling up their investments.
The Guardian, 15 Jan 2014

see also – Say what?

climate change in ruins

From ancient ruins in Thailand to a 12th-century settlement off Africa’s eastern coast, prized sites around the world have withstood centuries of wars, looting and natural disasters. But experts say they might not survive a more recent menace: a swiftly warming planet.

“Our world is changing, there is no going back,” Tom Downing of the Stockholm Environment Institute said Tuesday at the U.N. climate conference, where he released a report on threats to archaeological sites, coastal areas and other treasures.Fox News, 8 Nov 2006

first victims – Adelie penguins (who don’t see well in the dark)

The Adelie penguin is regarded as an “indicator” species, an animal so delicately attuned to its environment that its survival is threatened as soon as something goes wrong. So as temperatures rise, Adelies are among the first to feel the effects, early victims of the devastating worldwide changes that scientists expect if the warming persists and intensifies.

But the die-offs scientists are seeing in the warmest areas of Antarctica are expected to spread as temperatures continue to rise. If the warming continues,Adelie researcher David Ainley said, the Adelies ultimately will go extinct — though it might take hundreds of years. The reason is simple, he said: “Penguins don’t see well in the dark.”
Chicago Tribune, 1 Jul 2007

see also – first victim

dam statistics

“Over the past 50 years southern Australia has lost about 20 percent of its rainfall and one cause is almost certainly global warming. Similar losses have been experienced in eastern Australia and although the science is less certain it is probable that global warming is behind these losses too.

But by far the most dangerous trend is the declines in the flow of Australian rivers; it has fallen by around 70 percent in recent decades, so dams no longer fill even when it does rain. Growing evidence suggests that hotter soils caused directly by global warming have increased evaporation and transpiration and that the change is permanent.

I believe the first thing Australians need to do is to stop worrying about “the drought” – which is transient – and start talking about the new climate.”
Tim Flannery, New Scientist, 16 Jun 2007
(admin note: at July 2015 Australian dams are 68 to 97% full, apart from Perth and Adelaide)

avalanche hazard increases

Climate and environmental changes associated with anthropogenic global warming are being increasingly identified in the European Alps, as seen by changes in long-term high-alpine temperature, precipitation, glacier cover and permafrost.

In turn, these changes impact on land-surface stability, and lead to increased frequency and magnitude of natural mountain hazards, including rock falls, debris flows, landslides, avalanches and floods. These hazards also impact on infrastructure, and socio-economic and cultural activities in mountain regions.
Margreth Keiler and others, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol 368, issue 1919, May 2010.

avalanche hazard decreases

The SAFRAN/Crocus/MÉPRA software is used to assess the climatology of the avalanche hazard and its sensitivity to climate change. A natural avalanche-hazard index based on MÉPRA analysis is defined and validated against natural avalanche observations (triggered avalanches are not taken into account).

A 15 year climatology then allows a comparison of avalanche hazard in the different French massifs. Finally, a simple climate scenario (with a general increase of precipitation and temperature) shows that avalanche hazard may decrease slightly in winter (mainly February) and more significantly in May/June. The relative proportion of wet-snow avalanches increases.
Eric Martin and others, Annals of Glaciology, Vol32, number 1, Jan 2001, p163 – 167.

invasion – Giant killer hornets

Giant, killer hornets that fly faster than people run are killing dozens and injuring thousands across China and Japan, and climate change is seen as one of the main culprits for the continuing spread of these invasive species.

Due to the warming temperatures, the population of hornets has only grown as milder winters allow more to survive the season. To make matters worse, they are believed to be spreading across Europe rapidly, leaving hundreds of thousands of dead honeybees in their path.
The Progressive, 8 Oct 2013

invasion – tree eating wood beetles

Tree-eating wood beetles are likely to benefit from a warmer climate and reproduce in ever-increasing numbers. In the first conference to be called on pets and climate change, scientists warned that the small heartworm, that kills dogs, cats and foxes, is already on the rise in the UK with more cases appearing in the north of the country and Scotland because of warmer wetter summers.
BBC News 2005

32 feet (10 meters)

So what, geologically speaking, can we look forward to if we continue to pump out greenhouse gases at the present hell-for-leather rate? With resulting global average temperatures likely to be several degrees higher by this century’s end, we could almost certainly say an eventual goodbye to the Greenland ice sheet, and probably that covering West Antarctica too, committing us, ultimately, to a 10-metre or more rise in sea levels.
The Sydney Morning Herald 22 Mar 2012

cart before horse

“Climate change is a serious issue, not just for Australia but the whole planet. It is important we address the problem and not get stuck in debate about whether it is real or not, or it will be too late to do anything.”

editorial – Newcastle Herald (Australia) 24 May 2011 (screencopy held by this website)

first victim – Cashel man (4,000 years ago)

He may have been among the first victims of climate change, sacrificed because of changing weather patterns 4,000 years ago. Cashel man, so named because of his discovery in a bog in Cashel, Co Laois in 2011, is the oldest bog body in the world and one of about 300 found in North West Europe.

A one-metre depth of peat can yield 1,000 years of history and analysis of fossilised amoebas by wetlands archaeologist Dr Ben Geary of UCC reveals a shift to a wetter, colder environment during the Bronze/Iron Age, where rainfall increased and weather cooled. For pre-historic tribes it was a disaster, destroying the harvest and leaving the community facing starvation.

Their solution, according to the theory is to kill the king, appease the gods and hope for a better harvest – an early response to climate change.
Irish Times, 28 Nov 2013

first victim – lemuroid ringtail possum

Scientists believe the white lemuroid ringtail possum is Australia’s first mammal on the brink of extinction under global warming. “They live on this tiny island in the sky,’’ said Australia’s James Cook University Vice-Chancellor Sandra Harding, speaking outside the World Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation conference in Cairns.

“It’s not the polar bear on the ice caps, but the white possum of the high-altitude tropical forests that is ecologically extinct, with just a few animals left, and facing complete extinction,’’ Ms Harding said.
Courier Mail, 23 Jul 2014

for new category – first victim

“…for just a few billion dollars…”

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

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

invasion – vampire bats

The increase in global climate temperatures has raised concerns about the vampire bat species travelling from Mexico and South and Central America into the southern and central regions of Texas.

Carin Peterson, training and outreach coordinator of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, said even if vampire bats are not making their appearance, Austin’s surrounding caves and popular bat attraction, Congress Avenue Bridge, already have their annual bat species.
Climate Progress, 27/3/12

shrinking salmon set to soar

A new study released by Vancity says there will be a significant decline in the province’s salmon stock within the next five decades due to climate change and the drop in fish numbers would result in soaring prices.

“This is a really tangible way for people to understand the impact of climate change,” says Rashid Sumaila, one of the study’s authors who has been working with the UBC’s fisheries research unit for over 20 years.

Sumaila is urging all levels of government in Canada to take action. He says while projections are set for 2050, the move to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has to start now.

He also says the public is equally responsible for taking the initiative for change. “Make sure your carbon footprint is as minimal as you can. Get to your representatives, let them know this is serious.”
CBC (British Columbia) News, 6 Jul 2015

thanks to Joe Public

hope springs eternal

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

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

invasion – mosquitoes

A report by the Expert Group on Climate Change on Health predicts that by 2080, much of the south of the UK would be vulnerable to the milder form of malaria plasmodium vivax for up to four months of the year because of the change in weather conditions.

Mosquitoes will thrive in the higher temperatures, and predicted increases in winter rainfall would provide ideal breeding conditions. Areas with salt-marshes like south-east Kent would be the most vulnerable. Global climate change could mean popular tourist destinations like Turkey could have a higher incidence of a more serious form of malaria.
BBC News, 9 Feb 2001

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

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

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., 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

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

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

more bats in the belfry

Thousands of fruit bats have flown down from the tropics to make Melbourne their home. A Deakin University researcher has found out why. Dr Parris figured climate change had to be the answer.

She had completed her PhD (on frogs) in Canberra with Dr Donna Hazell at the Australian National University’s centre for resource and environmental studies.

“The construction and continued expansion of our city, and the huge amount of water we use on our gardens, has made Melbourne warm enough and wet enough for the bats to live here year-round, while the watering also means trees flower and fruit for a longer period,” Dr Parris says.
Sydney Morning Herald 6 Jun 2005

see also – Say what?

paint your roof white

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

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.



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