catastrophe has come and gone

Climate change is real and urgent, and Australia must have emissions trading in place in 2010 or face a catastrophe.

That’s the message from the nation’s top climate change adviser Ross Garnaut, who is sticking to his guns on the need for drastic action to counter global warming. He said failing to act on climate change would end up decimating the economy and the environment.

“With unmitigated climate change, on the basis of the mainstream science, we won’t have much, if any, of the Great Barrier Reef, of Kakadu.”

The Age (Australia), 4 Jul 2008

watch your step

Scientists were baffled last July when they discovered three giant holes in the ground in the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia. Now, with the help of satellite imagery, researchers have located four additional craters–and they believe there may be dozens more in the region.

The leading theory is that the holes were created by gas explosions triggered by underground heat or by rising air temperatures associated with climate change, the Siberian Times reported last December.

Huffington Post, 23 Feb 2015

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

come hell or high ….

desert

Right now, the 3.6 million people living in Melbourne have more water than they need, with 71 billion litres set aside in half-full rivers and dams for whenever we feel like turning on a tap. But not for much longer.

By 2030, another 800,000 people are expected to squeeze into Melbourne’s sprawling suburbs. Quenching their thirst – not to mention keeping them clean – will take another 53 billion litres of water. So far the equation doesn’t look bad.

But then comes the big subtraction, climate change, which CSIRO scientists have forecast will make the city hotter and drier in the decades ahead. That means that unless we change the way we live, by 2030 Melbourne will be facing a 55 billion litre shortfall.

The Age (Australia), 21 Apr 2006 – screen copy held by this website

Yes, we have no ……

The world’s supply of bananas is under threat from plagues of bugs and fungal infections which could be disastrous if they continue to spread, researchers say. The government in Costa Rica, one of the biggest suppliers of the fruit, has already declared a “national emergency” over the state of its crop.

Magda Gonzalez, the director of the agriculture ministry’s State Phytosanitary Services (SFE), told The Tico Times last week that climate change had boosted insect populations in recent years, making plagues increasingly likely across the world. “I can tell you with near certainty that climate change is behind these pests,” she said.

The Independent, 16 Dec 2013

straight from the ……

small_horse

After they first appeared in the fossil record, horses got smaller as a result of a warming planet, says a study just published in Science.

“Horses started out small, about the size of a small dog like a miniature schnauzer,” said co-author Jonathan Bloch, associate curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus.

“What’s surprising is that after they first appeared, they then became even smaller and then dramatically increased in size, and that exactly corresponds to the global warming event, followed by cooling.”

“It had been known that mammals were small during that time and that it was warm, but we hadn’t understood that temperature specifically was driving the evolution of body size.”

Grist, 23 Feb 2012

Ban plants!

The surprising discovery that plants may be responsible for up to 30 per cent of the world’s methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is no reason to stop planting forests, a scientist has warned.

A team led by Frank Keppler, of Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany, found that living plants emit 10 to 1000 times more of the gas than decaying matter. And plants increase their methane emissions when warmed by the sun, it was found.

Plants have long been seen as weapons against global warming because they absorb another greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.

It’s a surprise, said David Etheridge of the CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research division. “You think you know everything.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Jan 2006

a socially isolated cow

cow

CSIRO research shows methane is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.

Each year, cattle generate about 100 million tonnes of the gas, which is generated by micro-organisms in the cow’s stomach. NSW Agriculture’s research at Tocal Agricultural College showed one cow produced about 100 grams of methane a day, or about 10 to 15 per cent of the energy they digested, and that most was expelled from the cow’s mouth rather than its rear.

“Genetic variations enable some animals to better convert feed to body weight,” Dr Autin said. “More efficient feeding produces less methane.”

Newscastle Herald, 7 Jan 2006 – screen copy held by this website

keep off the grass!

In Australia, where 11 million cattle range in Queensland alone, this call for livestock reform has been a whisper on the edges of the greenhouse debate. I became interested after reading a letter by animal rights activist Geoff Russell to climate-change campaigner Tim Flannery.

In his letter, Russell quotes climate scientist James Hansen, who says meat reduction is the second-most important thing one can do to combat climate change (the most important is to elect a government committed to action). Russell then quotes the CSIRO, who “have tested Australian cattle on grass and grain – those on grass produce about three times more methane”.

Could this be true? Could a fat corn-fed cow be better for the environment than one allowed to range over grass?

Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Feb 2009

in search of the secetive chestnut rail

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

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

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

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Nov 2007

flat as a …

pancakes

It may be a bit harder to drown your pancakes in maple syrup in the future, studies suggest.

According to a 2010 Cornell University study, “maple syrup production in the Northeast is expected to slightly decline by 2100, and the window for tapping trees will move earlier by about a month.”

Additionally, most maple syrup production south of Pennsylvania “will likely be lost by 2100 due to lack of freezing.”

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

…but can new wine be put in new bottles?

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

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

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

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

mound-building Mallee fowl takes a hit!

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

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

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

true believers rocked!

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

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

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

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

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

time is up for sheep and cattle!

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

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

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

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

Climate conference emits hot air!

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

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

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

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Dec 2007

a new environmental warrior!

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

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

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

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

get with the trend!

Women’s concerns are getting a limited focus in efforts to curb climate change, experts said. Statistics from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) suggest that of the total project proposals on curbing climate change submitted to the GEF in 2014, only 18 percent addressed gender issues.

Carla Lopez the executive director of the Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres, a women’s fund based in Central America, doesn’t think the effort to link up threats to women and threats to the climate is simply an “attempt to grab the money” that is becoming available to deal with climate change.

Women’s organisations “are shifting to climate change because they see the reason as genuine, not because that is where the money is”, she said.

The problem facing many women’s groups in securing funding, she said, is that many do not know how to describe clearly the climate connection to their project – even though the links are there.

Reuters, 12 May 2016

thanks to ddh

kissing cousins?

Chris Servheen, a bear biologist and Adjunct Associate Research Professor at the University of Montana, is among a group of scientists who believe climate change is causing the polar and grizzly bears to come into contact more often.

“As you know, as the climate warms there is less and less sea ice in the Arctic,” he said. “And also what’s happening is that grizzly bears seem to be moving further north, we’re seeing their range extend further north toward the coast of the Arctic both in Alaska and in Canada.”

“The result is you have polar bears spending more time on land and grizzly bears spending more time where polar bears might be, and so the result is that we’re seeing these occasional hybrids between two species.”

ABC News (Australia), 19 May 2016

thanks to ddh

Say that again?

A widely reported “pause” in global warming may be an artefact of scientists looking at the wrong data, says a climate scientist at the European Space Agency.

Stephen Briggs from the European Space Agency’s Directorate of Earth Observation says that surface air temperature data is the worst indicator of global climate that can be used, describing it as “lousy”.

“The models don’t have the skill we thought they had. That’s the problem,” said Peter Jan van Leeuwen, director of the National Centre of Earth Observation at the University of Reading.

The Guardian, 14 Jun 2014

Your planet needs you!

David McKnight (“Climate change at the helm of Labor’s next big idea”, April 23) rightly points out that preventing climate change will depend on stoppng business as usual, and that this will also mean stopping politics as usual.

This will require us to accept that unabated climate change is an existential and relatively imminent threat – something akin to a war.
Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Apr 2008 – screen copy held by this website

wake up call!

coffee_cupCoffee lovers may want to get that caffeine fix before the treasured drink becomes a rare export. Starbucks raised the issue last year when the company’s director of sustainability told The Guardian that climate change is threatening the supply chain for the Arabica coffee bean.

Starbucks Sustainability Director Jim Hanna told the paper, “What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean.”
Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2012

par for the …

golf_courseGlobal warming has been blamed for everything else. So you may as well add to the list the carnage that has taken place at the US Masters this year.

In the decade since Tiger Woods ripped Augusta National apart with his record total of 18 under par, the length has been drastically increased, trees added and rough grown where there was none. But, almost always, there has been heavy rain to soften the treacherous greens.

This time, however, after an unusually warm spring, the greens have been baked so hard the millionaire members could use them as helipads. As a result, entering the weekend, the Masters had become a survival of the fittest with only three players under par and most of the world’s top players struggling to stay in touch.

Sydney Sun Herald, 8 Apr 2007 – screen copy held by this website

the hills are alive! (2)

As reported in Geophysical Research Letters, one effect of global warming is that mountains can get taller. The weight of ice held in glaciers can contribute to the depression of the earth’s crust into the viscous mantle; as the glaciers shrink the effect of that depression is reduced, and mountain ranges gradually uplift.

Glaciers in the Alps have been shrinking since the end of the last mini ice age, but evidence suggests the rate of shrinkage is increasing due to anthropogenic climate change, with knock on effects on the rate of mountain uplift.

Geological Society of London blog, 5 Mar 2014

seals given leg up

Male seals are reaping the benefits of climate change by having more sex, scientists have discovered. Subordinate grey seals are taking advantage of rising temperatures and falling rainfall to mate more often.

Due to climate change female grey seals are being forced to travel further for drinking water – removing them from the watchful eye of the dominant males and allowing the subordinate males to take advantage.

The research has been conducted by Dr Sean Twiss, from Durham University, who studied the mating patterns of grey seal colony on the remote Scottish Island of North Rona.

“These findings show that climate change, whilst endangering many species, could also help to increase the genetic diversity of some species, giving a leg up (or over!) to males who normally wouldn’t be so successful.”

Daily Mail (Australia), 14 Dec 2006

a snowflake’s chance

Snow has fallen in Baghdad, Iraq for the first time in approximately 100 years. Although Baghdad sometimes sees hail and sleet, snow has never been seen in living memory. Snow was also recorded in the western and central parts of the country, where it is also very unusual, and in the Kurdish north, which is mountainous and commonly sees snowfall.

A statement by the meteorology department read “Snow has fallen in Baghdad for the first time in about a century as a result of two air flows meeting. The first one was cold and dry and the second one was warm and humid. They met above Iraq.”

Dawood Shakir, director of the meteorology department, told AFP his take on the causation of the snow: “It’s very rare. Baghdad has never seen snow falling in living memory. These snowfalls are linked to the climate change that is happening everywhere. We are finding some places in the world which are warm and are supposed to be cold.”

Wikinews, 11 Jan 2008

small beer

Famed for producing some of the world’s best beer, Germany could suffer from a drop in production due to climate change-induced water shortages. Barley and hops can only be grown with water, and using cheaper alternatives like corn isn’t possible in Germany because of strict regulations about what you can make beer with.

Research published earlier this year in the journal Nature Climate Change found that “unless farmers develop more heat-tolerant corn varieties or gradually move corn production from the United States into Canada, frequent heat waves will cause sharp price spikes,” reported The New York Times.

Price spikes for U.S. corn could affect prices of American macrobrews made with an adjunct ingredient like corn.

Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2012

the end is nigh again!

sandwich_board6.6.16 is almost the devil’s number, but it might be much more than that if a leading scientist’s prediction on climate change is correct.

CSIRO fellow Dr Paul Fraser has earmarked June 6 (“plus or minus a week”) as the day when carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere will hit the point of no return, 400 parts per million (ppm).

The atmospheric measuring station at Cape Grim in Tasmania has recorded the current C02 levels in the atmosphere at 399.9ppm.

Dr Fraser said the difference between 399 and 400ppm was trivial, but when it does hit 400ppm mark it would be a “psychological tipping point”.

Once it reaches 400ppm at Cape Grim it’s very unlikely to drop below 400 again, Dr Fraser told ninemsn.
Channel 9 News (Australia), 13 May 2016

thanks to ddh

staying together for the sake of the planet

As if going through a divorce was not stressful enough, now researchers say marriage break-ups are bad for the environment.

A survey of 12 countries shows that rising divorce rates around the world have resulted in more households with fewer people in them. This escalates the use of resources such as water, land and energy, leading researchers to declare that divorcces lead to less sustainable lifestyles.

“People have been talking about how to protect the environment and combat climate change, but divorce is an overlooked factor,” said Jianguo Liu, an ecological sustainability expert at Michigan State University.

The Age (Australia), 4 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

saved by a dimming sun!

By 2014, the Met Office predicts that the average global temperature will be about 0.3 degrees hotter than in 2004. Australian experts said the the findings, published overnight in the prestigious journal Science, were significant and worrying.

“The most interesting thing is that it bears out the other models we have, showing that the amount of warming built into the system (because of long-lived greenhouse gases) is not great enough that we’ll just keep setting records unless we’re saved by volcanoes or a dimming sun,” said Professor Nicholls, one of Australia’s key contributors to this year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.
The Age (Australia), 10 Aug 2007 – screen copy held by this website

backyards bitten!

Sea-level rise, combined with more severe weather events caused by climate change, will lead to storm surges that will greatly magnify flooding and erosion along coastal communities with devastating consequences, says the report Climate Change in Australia.

Presenting his research on sea-level rise, Dr Church, one of Australia’s leading oceanographers, told the conference the story of a CSIRO secretary whose owns a house on Roches Beach near Hobart – one of the beaches he examined that shows coastal erosion at 100 times the rate of sea-level rise.

Dr Church said the secretary keeps asking him when she should sell her house. When you see dramatic pictures of ice falling off Greenland, this is where it’s biting – in your backyard, he explained.

“Our research shows sea-level rise is an issue, it’s occurring now, it’s having an impact now and it’s going to be increasingly felt in the 21st century and the longer term.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Oct 2007

climate change causes upsurge in dramatic writing!

Another week on a changing planet….. Scientists drop a red-hot report forecasting catastrophic wildfires as a regular hazard of Australian summers.

Suburbanites spooked by drought-inflated grocery bills contemplate a return to the vegie patch, but how to water it?

And far away, in the melting permafrost of Russia’s Arctic, mammoth dung is released in a putridly poetic message – from one long-lost species to another distinctly nervous one – about the vulnerability of all creatures on this merciless earth.

The mammoth never got the memo to act, adapt or perish. The same can’t be said of humanity.

Jo Chandler, a senior Age writer. The Age (Australia), 29 Sep 2007

beware of rampaging mice!

mice_runningTwo researchers have found that mice can detect higher carbon dioxide levels by using specialised neurons in their noses. Collaborative researchers Minmin Luo, from the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, and Peter Mombaerts, from the Rockefeller University, New York, find that intriguing.

Their study has been published in Science. The more CO2 the mice were exposed to, the more their behaviour changed. When given the choice between high and low CO2 concentrations, the mice avoided anything higher than 0.2 per cent. So as climate change causes atmospheric CO2 levels to rise, will mice go crazy?

Not so fast says Mombaerts. If the CO2 increases are gradual the mice might be able to adapt, but there is a posibility that mice could become more fearful or aggressive because the behavioural effect is still not known.
Newcastle Herald,(Australia), 21 Aug 2007 – screen copy held by this website

climate change reaches cut off point!

At the remote camp of Sarara, north of Nairobi, I asked village elders about the drought…That evening I learnt a most remarkable consequence of the drought. The Samburu circumcise their youths in grand ceremonies which are held every seven years or so, when enough cattle and other foods have accumulated to support such celebrations.

Circumcision represents transition to manhood, until a youth has passed it he can’t marry. But it’s been 14 years since a circumcision ceremony has been held here. There are now 40,000 uncircumcised young men, some in their late 20’s waiting for their turn. All the eligible young women, tired of waiting, have married older men (multiple wives are allowed), so there are no wives for the new initiates.

I could never have imagined that climate change would have such an effect on an entire society. On reflection though, cultures such as the Samburu are intimately linked to their environment, so as these pressures increase it becomes more difficult to maintain long-held traditions.

Tim Flannery, The Age (Australia) 3 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

but I thought…

The oceans’ ability to act as a “carbon sink” soaking up greenhouse gases appears to be decreasing, research shows, leading to new fears about global warming.

One of the authors of the study, published on Saturday in a paper for the Journal of Geophysical Research, said the change may have been triggered by climate change and may also accelerate the process by leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere.

Natural processes mean the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is reduced when the gas dissolves into the waters of the oceans which cover much of the surface of the earth, turning them into vast “sinks” storing the carbon safely. But the new study suggests the amount of carbon dioxide entering the oceans is declining, possibly because warmer global weather has heated the water near the surface.

Professor Andrew Watson, of the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia, warned that the process may fuel climate change. “It will be a positive feedback, because if the oceans take up less CO2 then CO2 will go up faster in the atmosphere and that will increase the global warming.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Oct 2007

The wedge-tailed shearwater and the fairy tern wink out!

In a paper he co-wrote, to be published next month, ‘The history of threatened birds in Australia and its offshore islands’, Professor Garnett of Charles Darwin University and chairman of Bird Australia’s threatened species committee, makes a long list of disturbing predictions as to the viability of our bird life because of feral species running amok, human sprawl and climate change.

Already the wedge-tailed shearwater is struggling to feed itself because waters of the Barrier Reef are getting too warm to sustain its diet of fish, squid and crustaceans.

Based on a report from Professor Garnett’s committee, Birds Australia recently recommended the World Conservation Union (IUCN) list the fairy tern as vulnerable on its “red list”, which ranks a species’ risk of winking out forever.
The Age (Australia), 30 Sep 2007

solution found for melting ice shelves!

“Talk is cheap. In the past week, there has been much of it in relation to climate change. The world needs action. This year there has been at least a dozen international conferences and/or major reports released on climate change.

This week there have been three major meetings: two under the auspices of the United Nations and one by the United States. On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hosted a meeting of more than 150 countries as a precursor to a conference in December in Bali at which the groundwork will begin for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Another UN meeting, attended by 190 representatives, was held the previous weekend. In the past few days, US President George Bush has hosted his own conference on climate change attended by 15 of the world’s major greenhouse emitters, including China and India. Australia has been represented by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

If the words spoken or written about climate change could be frozen, ice shelves now breaking into the sea would be replenished.”

Insight, The Age (Australia), 29 Sep 2007 – screen copy held by this website

you wascally wabbits!

A huge surge in the number of rabbits is threatening Australian attempts to curb climate change. A study by the Canberra-based Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre says tree seedlings planted in a national carbon offset scheme are at risk of being eaten by rabbits.

Dr Brian Cooke from the University of Canberra said that the current rabbit problem was “the worst we’ve seen in 10 years”. As well as causing soil erosion and threatening native vegetation, rabbits eat tree and shrub seedlings, Dr Cooke said.
The Age (Australia), 30 Sep 2007

frogs at the mercy of sex crazed fungus!

group_of_frogsFrogs, threatened by a fungal disease sweeping the globe, may be in far greater peril than first thought, according to research led by an Australian scientist.

Until now it had been assumed the chytrid fungus, which attacks the skin of frogs, only reproduced asexually – through simple cell division – and required a host amphibian to migrate to new areas. But now findings suggest it can reproduce sexually, creating spores that may blow in the wind or be accidentally transported into uncontaminated habitats.

Jess Morgan, a Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries molecular parasite expert, said that if she was right, the fungus could spread far more easily than believed. Environmental variations, including climate change, could trigger a reproductive switch.

“The fastest way to reproduce is clonally, as you don’t have to find a mate,” Dr Morgan said.

When conditions are poor, the advantage of sexual reproduction is that you can produce … a spore, with a shell or resistant coat that lies dormant for years, waiting to ambush a luckless passing host.
Sun Herald Sydney, 26 Aug 2007

… almost?

As the world commits billions of dollars to save the world from global warming, criminals are poised to carve off their share. And increasingly they will use the internet to pull off their green scams in cyberspace. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty told the Age “green crime ” was a new frontier for law enforcement.

“New concepts such as carbon trading had significant potential for fraud”, he said. “Carbon trading is a derivatives or futures market. You’re actually trading in something that almost doesn’t exist so the opportunity for fraud or corruption could be significant.”

The Age (Australia), 21 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website

less meat means less heat!

Less meat means less heat. It’s a slogan that leading scientists hope will catch on worldwide, part of a call for people to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products to slow the pace of climate change.

Writing in the medical journal The Lancet, a team of international health experts led by Tony McMichael warns that the world’s growing appetite for meat is increasing greenhouse gas emissions, as vast areas of rainforest are bulldozed for grazing land and as more sheep and cattle burp.

Professor McMichael of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University, Canberra, and his colleagues argue that “for the world’s higher-income populations, greenhouse-gas emissions from meat eating warrants the same scrutiny as do those from driving and flying”.

According to a study published in July by Japanese scientists, a kilogram of beef generates the equivalent of 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide, more than the equivalent of driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on back home.

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Sep 2007

blame it all on the Arctic ground squirrel!

A study has found that the Arctic ground squirrel is contributing far more to global warming than previously thought, suggesting that it is a major contributor to climate change.

The study, by the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, reveals that Arctic squirrels are hastening the release of the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide by melting the permafrost that has kept dead animals and vegetation preserved underground for years.

“It certainly has a bigger impact than we’ve considered and it’s something we will be considering more and more going into the future,” said Dr Sue Natali, of the Woods Hole Research Centre.
The Independent, 17 Dec 2014

physician, heal thyself!

“The truth can be terrifying, so terrifying that often we prefer avoidance or lies. So it is with the reality of climate change. Like a diagnosis of terminal cancer, how I wish it wasn’t so. If only we could go on and on, with the dream of endless abundance and growing prosperity.”

“The problems of disease, poverty, and even war, seem dwarfed and solvable, compared to global warming. I am a psychologist, trained to help others with anxiety, depression, and despair, but I too wrestle with these demons. I have worried about the past and the ills that may befall my loved ones. Worries and doubts have kept me awake at night, and reduced my enjoyment of life.”

“I first realised how we were careening towards our doom nine years ago. I read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery and viewed Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I felt traumatised.”

Lyn Bender, a Melbourne psychologist, Eureka Street, 2 Mar 2014

listen to the bees!

bee_megaphoneWhen bees began to disappear from the landscape – and in America and Europe they are disappearing in their billions – it is an alarm signal. Today the bees are telling us something, and we need to listen.

The recent phenomena of the missing bees has been given a name: colony collapse disorder. Because bees play a key role in the landscape, they are a critical indicator of general environmental health. As one of Australia’s leading bee experts, Doug Somerville, of the NSW Department of Primary Industry, told me on Friday: “Honey bees are the canaries in the coalmine of the environment.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Aug 2007 – screencopy held by this website

all in a good cause!

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power posted photos on Twitter Wednesday to illustrate the purported effects of climate change on a West African nation’s coastline, but the pictures show a hotel that collapsed into the sea 12 years ago, the victim of erosion blamed largely on years of illegal mining of coastal sand.

“Had sobering meeting with Benin’s U.N. Ambassador, who described the devastating effects of climate change on his coastal country,” she tweeted. “Showed me chilling photos of eroding coastline, said ‘that’s climate change – a daily life of falling in the sea.’”

A Nexis search of news reports going back almost two decades shows that Benin, like its Gulf of Guinea neighbors, has long struggled with coastal erosion, a problem recorded since the 1960s. The earlier reports, however, say nothing about climate change, rising sea levels or melting icecaps. Only in more recent years have references to climate change started to appear in news reports on Benin’s erosion problems.

CNS News, 17 Jul 2014

…with few egrets

“I was amazed at the magnificent spectacle; there were egrets nesting in tall trees, birds by the hundreds of thousands,” says George Boland, remembering one of the most famous breeding events in NSW, less than a decade ago, on the farm he managed with his son in the Gwydir Valley near Moree….But the Yarrol station clearing is just one of the litany of disasters to wreak havoc in the Murray-Darling Basin in the past two decades. Massively expanding irrigation, water harvesting by farmers, drought and rising temperatures from climate change are putting the wetlands in the basin under severe stress.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30 Jun 2007 – screen copy held by this website

there’s an upside!

Dr Graeme Pearman – a former chief of CSIRO atmospheric research, and one of Australia’s foremost experts on climate change – sees progress, but then he is, despite all he knows, still an optimist. Adding to this is a paucity of solid investigation and analysis of the economic underpinnings of energy alternatives and carbon action.

“We are still caught up in these structures, and I don’t think we recognise them as a severe limitation,” Pearman says. “An effective response requires much more inclusive consideration of what you are doing, because you are trying to achieve multiple outcomes. You are trying to protect the economy. You are trying to protect the environment. You are trying to protect societal wellbeing, as well as leave something useful for the next generation. To do that requires a degree of integrated policy development that is really alien to us at this stage.”

The philosopher in him ponders whether this might be the gift of climate change: to teach humanity to transform into a more integrated, cohesive global organism.

The Age (Australia), 29 Sep 2007

otherwise known as a houseboat

The chairman of the Dutch National Climate Research Program, Professor Kabat has been a pioneer in climate research for 25 years and is a key player in developing the radical approach that has challenged the Dutch public to seize opportunities presented by climate change.

He says the Netherlands has developed floating houses, local companies are investing in saline-tolerant agriculture and experimental work is under way with floating greenhouses in the horticulture sector: “These too have been developed entirely to cope with climate change. I think that swap in attitude – from threat to opportunity – took on board a lot of private business interest immediately.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Dec 2009

report published just in time!

Scientists at the centre published their study last Thursday in the leading peer-reviewed journal Science.

“Given how fundamental these processes are to clouds and the overall global climate, our findings indicate that warming is likely to be on the high side of current projections,” John Fasullo, one of the researchers, said.

The new centre findings come ahead of a crucial United Nations conference in Doha starting on November 26 , where ministers will discuss the future of international action on greenhouse gas emissions.
Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Nov 2012

recycled water?

penguin_umbrella“Even if greenhouse gas emissions were stopped today, sea level would continue to rise for centuries, with the long-term sea-level commitment of a 2C warmer world significantly exceeding 2m.

In view of the potential implications for coastal populations and ecosystems worldwide, we investigate, from an ice-dynamic perspective, the possibility of delaying sea-level rise by pumping ocean water onto the surface of the Antarctic ice sheet.

We find that due to wave propagation ice is discharged much faster back into the ocean than would be expected from a pure advection with surface velocities.”

Delaying future sea-level rise by storing water in Antarctica. K. Frieler1, M. Mengel1, and A. Levermann1, Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 203–210, 2016

thanks to ddh