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

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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
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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

drink up quickly!

Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery has been creating specialty brews since 1991, and sustainability director Jenn Orgolini said anyone who enjoys the company’s product should be concerned about the climate. . “If you drink beer now, the issue of climate change is impacting you right now.” Some of those impacts include higher prices for raw materials or scarcer products such as specialty hops. Durango Herald, 23/11/11

the frontiers of climate science

Science News: In a fifteen-page article due to be published in next month’s Nature, an author with no previous scientific background argues that he has proven a link between climate change and the disappointing size of his penis.

Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature Publishing Group, has defended the decision to publish the piece without it being subjected to peer-review by the scientific community:

“Sean Johnson’s ground-breaking work must be read by everyone. I appreciate that the measurement, causes, and even the existence of climate change are divisive issues. Yet the idea that man-made global warming may explain a less-than satisfactory penis-size is something that can unite scientists, environmentalists and politicians behind a shared goal.”ThePoke UK, 9 Nov 2011

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 Smithsonian.com, 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

watch out for falling satellites

Air in the atmosphere’s outermost layer is very thin, but air molecules still create drag that slows down satellites, requiring engineers to periodically boost them back into their proper orbits. But the amount of carbon dioxide up there is increasing. With more carbon dioxide up there, more cooling occurs, causing the air to settle. So the atmosphere is less dense and creates less drag.Live Science, 16 Aug 2011

all the proof you need

Sunflowers are normally associated with warmer climates and scientists believe that global warming is responsible for allowing them to grow successfully in the northern isles. They were grown by Richard Herdman, an Orkney farmer, who scattered the seeds over two and a half acres of his dairy farm in the west Mainland area.

Ruth Dawkins, of the Stop Climate Chaos group, said the success of the sun-loving yellow flowers on Orkney was a sign of global warming.
The Telegraph (UK), 14 Oct 2008

2006 to 2015: we’re halfway there!

“Already in the year 2025 the conditions for winter sports in the Fichtel Mountains will develop negatively, especially with regards to ‘natural’ snow conditions and for so-called snow-making potential. A financially viable ski business operation after about the year 2025 appears under these conditions to be extremely improbable”.Andreas Matzarakis, University of Freiburg Meteorological Institute, 26 July 2006
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“The Fichtel Mountains are not just a wonderful stomping ground for snow shoe tours; they are also a paradise for cross-country skiers. Around 100 kilometres of ski runs in both the classic and skating styles, and in all difficulty levels, are marked each day in the north Bavarian Central German Uplands.”Fichtel Mountains: Franconia’s snow paradise, Holidays in Bavaria website 2015

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