beware of strangers bearing pavlovas

The Waitahuna River runs through one of the prettiest and most pristine corners of the world, the green rolling hills of Otago, in the deep south of the South Island of New Zealand.

But last November, strangers from the North Island came to the Waitahuna town hall bearing pavlovas and sandwiches. The representatives of the energy company TrustPower had arrived to present their plans to “steal our river”, says local deer farmer Steven Martin. “We might be simple country people, but we’re not stupid.”

TrustPower wants to pump the headwaters of the Waitahuna River and nearby Bungtown Creek uphill out of the valley and over two ridges into a lake to feed the existing Waipori hydro-electric power scheme. Martin says the proposal makes little commercial sense, except that it is subsidised by valuable carbon credits the New Zealand Government has awarded for the project.
Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Mar 2005

Ark put on hold!

According to maps published by National Geographic, Australia will get an inland sea if global warming continues and melts the world’s ice caps and glaciers, lifting sea levels about 70 metres.

The US-based organisation said it would take about 5000 years for all the ice to melt, although impacts will hit coastal communities much sooner – and having an inland sea won’t be much consolation to Australians.
Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Nov 2013

stay at home coral

As the ocean gets warmer, baby coral are becoming more reluctant to leave home. A Queensland study has found that as ocean temperatures rise more coral larvae may remain on their birth reefs rather than exploring the underwater world and finding a new system on which to settle.

Study co-author, James Cook University Professor Sean Connoly, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE), said this will make it more difficult for larger systems to recover after cyclones and coral bleaching because fewer larvae will disperse from other reefs.

“The loss of connectivity can make reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef more vulnerable,” Mr Connolly, said.
Illawarra Mercury (Australia), 30 Apr 2014 – screencopy held by this website

brother, you are not of the faith!

Martin Dix, senior research scientist at CSIRO Atmospheric Research in Aspendale, says measuring today’s greenhouse gas levels is one thing, but predicting future levels is an altogether different matter.

No scientific data, no matter how comprehensive, is ever going to produce anything like a definitive projection of how much greenhouse gases will continue to build in the atmosphere, nor of how the earth’s climate will behave as they do. Humankind is unpredictable and nature is chaotic.
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 Jun 2005

I’ve told you a hundred million times, don’t exaggerate!

The day will soon come when we shall be roused from our beds, not by the ringing of the alarm clock, but by the rising sea levels slapping us on our slumbering faces. That is how serious global warming is. What makes it worse is that we shall all be so morbidly obese by then we won’t be able to rise from our beds to save ourselves.

There is absolutely, positively no question whatsoever that we are in the midst of a climate change crisis. It is also categorically and undeniably beyond any dispute that it is man-made. Maybe.
The Age (Australia), 13 Nov 2006

We’re all doomed!

In a world of celebrity filled with sportsmen and actors, Tim Flannery is a rare breed indeed; a celebrity scientist, explorer and writer dubbed the “Indiana Jones of science”.

“We were sliding into a crisis, without anyone knowing. It’s a dire situation which could lead to the collapse of our global civilisation. If we don’t get on top of the problem this decade, we won’t.”

Although he says his book has been well-received by the Australian public, he is disappointed at the lack of political action. “There’s a moral paralysis in both parties,” Flannery says, in typically outspoken fashion. “In the absence of legislative change, we’re doomed.”
The Sydney Morning Herald 24 May 2006 (Tim Flannery was Australia’s first (and last) Climate Commissioner)

stating the obvious

turtle

The male sea turtle is a rather promiscuous creature, so it suits him to be naturally outnumbered by the female of the species. But the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is wondering if male turtles will be so outnumbered in future the species will fail to breed.

The authority is concerned that global warming will push up the temperature of turtle eggs as they incubate in sand. The warmer the egg, the more likely the hatchling will be female.

“While the natural population can be female-skewed,” says the authority’s species conservation unit manager Dr Kirstin Dobbs, “males obviously play a key role.”

The Age (Australia), 17 Nov 2005

less gray whales

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As many as 118,000 gray whales roamed the Pacific before humans decimated the population through hunting, and human-induced climate change may now be depriving those that remain of the food they need, according to a study released yesterday.

There definitely are large-scale ecosystem effects going on, said Stanford doctoral student S. Elizabeth Alter, the lead author, in an interview yesterday.
Washington Post, 11 Sep 2007

more gray whales

The number baby gray whales born along the Pacific Coast has increased over the past five years, leading scientists to believe that for now pregnant females are doing all right feeding in a warming Arctic environment.

“In the short term they appear to be doing well, based on our monitoring of reproduction. But we really don’t know how th elong term warming ttrend is going to affect this population,” saidWayne Perryman, a fisheries biologist with NOAA in La Jolla (San Diego County).
SFGate, 28 Jun 2006
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see also – having it both ways

pity the poor immigrant

A California anti-immigration group has created a multimedia ad campaign blaming immigrants for climate change and environmental degradation in California.

Californians for Population Stabilization, or CAP, argues that immigrants, legal and illegal, increase their carbon footprint four-fold when they move to the US and “Americanize” their consumption habits, thus exacerbating climate problems.

According to CAP President Diane Hull, “Californians [have] made significant progress in energy conservation over the last couple of decades. However, the progress has been mitigated by massive population growth over the same period, driven by immigration and births to immigrants.”
Triple Pundit, 10 Nov 2009

one swallow doesn’t make…

In what experts say is the first documented evidence of the species “overwintering” here, a solitary swallow has been monitored from November to the end of February in a village near Truro, Cornwall.

Paul Stancliffe, a spokesman for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), called the discovery “incredible”. As further evidence of climate change, volunteers have also recorded “early returns” by many migrants this year, as well as unseasonably early nesting by birds that ordinarily remain here.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Mar 2008

more tipping points than a see saw

see_sawEarth may be approaching its points of no return. As Arctic sea ice hits a record low, focus is turning to climate ”tipping points” – a threshold that, once crossed, cannot be reversed and will create fundamental changes to other areas.

“It’s a trigger that leads to more warming at a regional level, but also leads to flow-on effects through other systems,” said Will Steffen, the chief adviser on global warming science to Australia’s Climate Commission. There are about 14 known “tipping elements”, according to a paper published by the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Age (Australia), 23 Sep 2012

beware of lurking frog finders

Melbourne Water has encouraged volunteers to record frog calls in their local areas. Armed with digital recorders, a small army of dedicated “frog finders” will lurk at local waterholes to seek out vociferous amphibians.

The annual frog census, now in its ninth year, was launched at Werribee Zoo yesterday as part of World Animal Day. Melbourne Water’s manager of waterways, Chris Chesterfield, said frogs were a key barometer of environmental health but climate change was taking its toll.
Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Oct 2009

ban cities!

In the concrete jungle at the core of a city, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are dominated by the fossil fuels burned by the dense concentrations of cars and buildings.

Boston University researchers now have shown, however, that in metropolitan areas surrounding the city core, plant roots and decomposing organic material in soil give off enough CO2, in a process termed “soil respiration,” to make an unexpectedly great contribution to total emissions.

“When people mulch their landscaped areas or fertilize their lawns, they’re putting out yummy fresh highly decomposable carbon that soil microbes can use,” says Pamela Templer, Associate Professor of Biology. “And that’s stimulating microbial growth and loss of CO2 out of these urban soils.”

Science Daily, 23 Feb 2016

thanks to ddh

anyone remember when the word science meant science?

The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (UK) prohibit discrimination in the workplace by reason of any religion or belief. The regulations were amended in 2007, so that “belief” now means “any religious or philosophical belief”.

Tim Nicholson claimed that he was dismissed from his position because of his extremely strongly held belief that it is necessary to significantly reduce carbon emissions in order to avoid a global catastrophe.

In today’s ruling, Mr Justice Michael Burton decided that: “A belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperatives, is capable if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations.”

“Under those regulations it is unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their religious or philosophical beliefs.”

Personnel Today, 27 May 2009

scientific proof!

“Anzac Day, April 25, is a temperature marker for me because for many years I’ve risen at much the same time, for more than a decade as a reporter to cover the dawn services and later because I have become, since my misspent 20s, an early riser.”

“It is beyond doubt that Anzac Days these days are not as cold as they used to be. As a young reporter out and about at six on Anzac Day morning I’d be wearing every piece of warm clothing I could find and long costs were common, but the change has been such that these days the most that’s required is a light jacket and if coats are worn it’s for formal reasons.”
Jeff Corbett, reporter, Newcaste Herald (Australia), 5 Jun 2007 – screen copy held by this website

climate change is like a wet blanket

According to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, warmer weather means less “coital frequency.” “Extreme heat leads to a sizable fall in births,” the study says.

“Temperature extremes could affect coital frequency. It could affect hormone levels and sex drives. Alternatively, high temperatures may adversely affect reproductive health or semen quality on the male side or ovulation on the female side,” say the three economists from Tulane University, University of California and University of Central Florida who wrote the paper.

In the paper, Maybe Next Month? Temperature Shocks, Climate Change and Dynamic Adjustments in Birth Rates, the researchers predict that “increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century.”

Looking at 80 years of U.S. fertility and temperature data, they found that “additional days above 80 degrees Fahrenheit cause a large decline in birth rates approximately eight to 10 months later.” And these would-be parents often do not “make up for lost time in subsequent, cooler months,” reports Bloomberg.
EcoWatch, 4 Nov 2015

thanks to Peter

life not a box of….

chocolateAll signs point to a pretty terrifying future for the world if scientists’ warnings about climate change continue to fall on deaf ears. But now, it looks like our inability to address climate change adequately might cost us one of the world’s most pure, innocent, and wonderful pleasures: chocolate.

According to Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company, our growing love for chocolate might mean “a potential cocoa shortage by 2020.” But the shortage isn’t just about the world going crazy for chocolate — it also has a lot to do with climate change…. Higher temperatures mean that more water evaporates into the air from leaves and earth, leaving less behind for cocoa trees — a process called “evapotranspiration.”
Salon, 20 Nov 2014

thanks to Peter

one of the four horsemen gets a run!

4_horsemenUp to 300,000 Australians on average may annually be exposed to the dengue virus by 2020, and between 600,000 and 1.4 million by 2050, according to climate change predictions finalised yesterday by global scientists. CSIRO climate change scientist Kevin Hennessy, a lead author on the report’s Australian chapter, was in Brussels for behind-closed-doors talks to finalise the summary.

This should help governments, industries and the community to begin planning responses to climate change, Mr Hennessy said. “But there are likely to be considerable cost and institutional constraints (on finding solutions) … Water security and coastal communities are the most vulnerable sectors.”
The Age(Australia), 7 Apr 2007