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.”
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.”
“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 –
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.
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.
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.
But 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).
see also – action plan
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.
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
Vast numbers of marine “jelly balls” now appearing off the Australian east coast could be part of the planet’s mechanism for combating global warming.
The jellyfish-like animals are known as salps and their main food is phytoplankton (marine algae) which absorbs the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the top level of the ocean. This in turn comes from the atmosphere.
Mark Baird of the CSIRO said salps were notoriously difficult for scientists to study in the laboratory and consequently little attention has been paid to their ecological role until recently.
Dr Baird was part of a CSIRO and University of NSW marine survey last month that found a massive abundance of salps in the waters around Sydney. They were up to 10 times what they were when first surveyed 70 years ago.
A report done by University of NSW’s Dr Mark Diesendorf found energy efficiency to be a key way to cut greenhouse emissions.
Commissioned by Greenpeace, the report is based on the premise that to prevent global average temperatures from rising above 2C over pre-industrial levels, the world must cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.
To do that, interim targets are vital, with several estimates suggesting developed nations such as Australia must cut pollution by at least 30 per cent relative to 1990 levels by 2020.
To achieve the 30 per cent cut, more controversial measures such as an end to land clearing, a 20 per cent cut in beef production to reduce the effect of methane from cattle, a 50 per cent cut in business and professional immigration, and the elimination or offset of emissions from aluminium smelting would be needed.
Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Oct 2007 – screen copy held by this website
An emotional public debate is currently raging in Germany on whether to do away with a “national icon” – driving as fast as you can on the country’s autobahn or motorways
…a growing number of Germans are now questioning this “freedom”, arguing that it makes no sense calling for measures to curb global warming in other countries while at home motorists can effortlessly continue spewing large amounts of C02 into the atmosphere at the speeds they are allowed to travel
…the head of Germany’s Federal Environmental Office, Andreas Troge, says a speed limit of 120 km/h on motorways “costs nothing and would immediately reduce C02 emissions by 2.5 million tonnes per year”.
Saving the planet one house at a time. Geoff Strong meets four families doing their bit.
While the world has argued in Bali about how to stem climate change, back home ordinary people are making adjustments to ordinary lives. Some have cut back on eletricity use with more efficient appliances and insulation.
But in response to questions from the Age about how householders are stemming water use and greenhouse gas production, one of the most forthright came from the mother of a family of six: “What we did to save the environment was – my husband had a vasectomy.”
The Age (Australia), 17 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website
A huge electronic billboard in the city square telling residents exactly how much greenhouse gas they have produced in the past hour. Sounds a little futuristic? Not if you live in Newcastle.
ClimateCam, the world’s first greenhouse gas speedometer, displays electricity consumption information collected from the 15 substations that supply homes and businesses in the Newcastle local government area. The council now believes Newcastle has been established as an international testing ground for climate solutions.
“We realise that the climate change issue is just so big and we are so, in Australia, far behind the rest of the world that we need to move very, very quickly if we’re going to catch up and have access to the huge economic opportunity that we foresee is coming with the implementation of climate solutions,” city energy and resource manager of Newcastle City Council, Peter Dormand says.
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Oct 2007
Skippy could soon be on the menu for the climate change-conscious if they take note of a report showing a switch from beef to kangaroo could help cut greenhouse gases.
A report by the director of the sustainability centre at the University of NSW, Mark Diesendorf, says a 30 per cent reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is achievable but would need both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and a change of diet.
“Beef consumption is chosen in this measure because it is responsible for the biggest share of livestock-related methane emissions,” the report says. “This measure could be reduced by shifting to kangaroo meat and/or lower-meat diets.”
The Age (Australia), 11 Oct 2007
How our musos (musicians) are saving the planet.
“We recorded our first EP in an old converted Bedford fire engine truck run on vege oil. We drove down to the southern tip of Tassie and found a beautiful little bay surrounded by forest. During recording, the computers, mikes and amps were powered by solar panels and a wind generator on the roof of the truck. Those recordings went on to score us a record deal.”Sydney Morning Herald 30 Mar 2007 – screen copy held by this website
The latest geoengineering scheme involves turning the world’s oceans into a giant bubble bath, with hundreds of millions of tiny bubbles pumped into the seas. This would increase the water’s reflectivity and bring down ocean temperatures, according to Harvard University physicist Russell Seitz.
As the creative physicist said to the assembled crowd at an international meeting on geoengineering research: “Since water covers most of the earth, don’t dim the sun…. Brighten the water.” CBS News, 30 Mar 2010
thanks to Andrew Mark Harding
Southern Ocean sperm whales have emerged as an unexpected ally in the fight against global warming, removing the equivalent carbon emissions from 40,cars each year thanks to their faeces, a study has found. The cetaceans have been previously fingered as climate culprits because they breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2) the most common grrenhouse gas. The study is lead authored by Trish Lavery of the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University at Adelaide.Daily Telegraph, 16 Jun 2010
Plant trees to soak up carbon dioxide – why not? But it’s more complicated than it sounds. As a meeting of the American Geophysical Union heard in December, computer models show that trees can cool the planet through photosynthesis, but only in the tropics.
The problem is that forests are dark and absorb sunlight, thereby raising the planet’s temperature. Light-coloured landscapes reflect sunlight and cool things down. In the United States and Europe, “the climate benefits of planting will be nearly zero”, according to American ecologist Govindasamy Bala. In the seasonally snow-covered regions at higher latitudes, “planting trees could be actually counter-productive”.
Other left field ideas include waiting for the next ice age, though best guesses put it at 40,000 years away.
The Sunday Age, 18 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website
An Australian government report has proposed killing many of the country’s estimated 1.2 million wild camels as a climate change solution.It is considering awarding carbon credits for culling the non-native camels, which are widely considered an ecological and an agricultural pest.
Apparently, a camel produces an estimated 100 pounds of methane a year, which is roughly equivalent to 1.1 tons of carbon dioxide. Methane is twenty times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Almost half of all global methane emissions come from belching livestock, mainly cows but also pigs, goats, sheep – and camels.
Open Knowledge, 10 Jul 2011
see also – action plan
We find that additional days above 80 °F cause a large decline in birth rates approximately 8 to 10 months later. The lack of a full rebound suggests that increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century.
…As an added cost, climate change will shift even more births to the summer months when third trimester exposure to dangerously high temperatures increases. Based on our analysis of historical changes in the temperature-fertility relationship, we conclude air conditioning could be used to substantially offset the fertility costs of climate change.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 21681, Issued in October 2015
thanks to ddh