locusts on the wane

It’s not often we can report on some good news associated with climate change. But it seems that warming temperatures could give welcome respite to farmers – in China, at least – by suppressing locust plagues.

Zhibin Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues found that the Oriental migratory locust (Locusta migratoria manilensis), which has been named as one of the most damaging agricultural pests in Chinese history, operates on a climate-driven cycle.

Every 160 to 170 years, the swarms get bigger then subside again.

New Scientist, 26 Nov 2008

wolves speak!

Scientists studying grey wolves in Yellowstone national park have developed a method to predict how animals will respond to climate change.

“We now have the tools to determine how wolves would react to climate change,” said Tim Coulson, a professor of life sciences at Imperial College London, who led the study. “With any luck, in the future we can apply the methods developed from the wolves down to small mites or to large herbivores.”

The study used data that is already routinely collected on radio-collared wolves to get a glimpse of some basic responses to a changing environment – population numbers, genetics, body size, and the timing of key events in the wolf life cycle, such as when they first have pups.

Some animals will be constantly on the move, up hill and to cooler locations at a rate of about a quarter of a mile a year according to one study, in search of suitable homes. Other animals will run out of space, and die out. Still others may successfully adapt, growing bigger or smaller to suit their new conditions. The Guardian, 2 Dec 2011

plant trees!

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Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change.
Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen.
See how planting trees helps fight climate change.

arborday.org, 22 Aug 2007

don’t plant trees!

A new study, however, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that forests’ other climatic effects can cancel out their carbon cleaning advantage in some parts of the world.

Using a three-dimensional climate model, the research team mimicked full global deforestation and also studied the effects of clear-cutting in different regions of latitude, such as the tropics and boreal zones.

Apparently, these natural carbon sinks only do their job effectively in tropical regions; in other areas, they have either no impact or actually contribute to warming the planet. In fact, according to this model, by the year 2100, if all the forests were cut and left to rot, the annual global mean temperature would decrease by more than 0.5 degree Fahrenheit.

“I’m not sure the slight amount of cooling is necessarily significant, but that removing all the forest produced little change” on temperature is, says study co-author Ken Caldeira, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, Calif.

“I think what’s interesting is this global cancellation was a product of very different responses at different latitudes.”

Scientific American, 10 Apr 2007

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see also – having it both ways

warning against light green

Some 35 million Americans regularly buy products that claim to be earth-friendly, according to one report, everything from organic beeswax lipstick from the west Zambian rain forest to Toyota Priuses.

With baby steps, more and more shoppers browse among the 60,000 products available under Home Depot’s new Eco Options program. But even at this moment of high visibility and impact for environmental activists, a splinter wing of the movement has begun to critique what it sometimes calls “light greens.”

“There is a very common mind-set right now which holds that all that we’re going to need to do to avert the large-scale planetary catastrophes upon us is make slightly different shopping decisions,” said Alex Steffen, the executive editor of Worldchanging.com, a Web site devoted to sustainability issues.

The genuine solution, he and other critics say, is to significantly reduce one’s consumption of goods and resources. It’s not enough to build a vacation home of recycled lumber; the real way to reduce one’s carbon footprint is to only own one home.

The New York Times, 1 Jul 2007

Venice opens and shuts

Will Venice really disappear within 100 years? If nothing is done to stop the encroaching sea, then yes.

The problem that Venice faces is familiar to anyone living along the Thames estuary – the land is sinking while, thanks to global climate change, the sea is rising.

“It’s a city that lies at sea level so it’s very vulnerable to changes,” says Caroline Fletcher, an environmental chemist and the Venice research fellow at Cambridge University, who is running the conference. Without any action, she warns, the city will be uninhabitable by 2100.

Fortunately, the Italian government has marked Venice as a priority for action and is trialling one possible solution. The city is at one end of a lagoon with three openings to the Adriatic sea.

The Italian scientists are testing a mobile barrier that could move into place in these openings at high tide, thereby blocking out any surges of water during storms.
The Guardian, 18 Sep 2003

see also – action plan

gardeners to the rescue!

As gardeners, we are both guardians and stewards of our environment, says Patty Glick, author of the report and Global Warming Specialist for the National Wildlife Federation. “There are many simple and thoughtful ways we can manage our gardens that can make an enormous difference in reducing the impacts of global warming.”

Gardeners can play an important role in minimizing the threat of invasive species expansion by removing invasive plants from the garden and choosing an array of native alternatives. Establish a “green roof” and plant trees around your house.

Planting rooftop gardens and planting trees near your home can significantly shield your home from the elements, reducing energy use for air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. There are a number of ways to reduce water consumption in your garden, which will be particularly important when water resources become scarce.

Actions that can help include mulching, installing rain barrels, watering only in the morning and evening to avoid mid-day evaporation and using drip irrigation.

National Wildlife Federation, 18 Apr 2007

(Don’t) Feed The Man Meat!

A report by Chatham House, “Changing Climate, Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption,” released in late November, identifies the world’s appetite for meat as a major driver of climate change and concludes that a worldwide shift to healthier, more plant-based diets could bring about a 25% reduction in the gap between current global emissions plans and what is needed to prevent “dangerous” climate change.

“As governments look for strategies to close the Paris emissions gap quickly and cheaply, dietary change should be high on the list,” says Laura Wellesley, an author of the seminal report.

Newsweek, 8 Dec 2015

ban clean air!

It may seem counterintuitive, but cleaner air could actually be exacerbating global warming trends. The soot and other particles that make up air pollution tend to scatter light back out into space.

As countries around the globe have cleaned up their act, there are fewer particles to reflect light, meaning more sunlight is reaching the Earth’s surface and warming it, Martin Wild, a researcher at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, said Tuesday (Dec. 15) here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Yahoo News, 29 Dec 2015

weeds on the move!

A recent CSIRO report for the Australian Government’s Land and Water Australia looked at what effects climate changes anticipated for 2030 and 2070 might have on the distribution of 41 weeds that pose a threat to agriculture (“sleeper” species) and the natural environment (“alert” species).

“We found that climate change will cause most of these weeds to shift south, with wet tropical species making the greatest move – over 1000km,” CSIRO researcher, Dr John Scott said.

“The predicted move south by both native and introduced plants would produce a ‘vacuum’ in northern Australia so, to prevent lurking species from invading, a new list of alert and sleeper weeds for this region needs to be developed,” Dr Scott said. Science Daily, 16 Apr 2009

but I thought….

The world’s dams are contributing millions of tonnes of harmful greenhouse gases and spurring on global warming, according to a US environmental agency.

International Rivers Network executive director Patrick McCully told Brisbane’s Riversymposium rotting vegetation and fish found in dams produced surprising amounts of methane – 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

Often it’s accepted that hydropower is a climate friendly technology but in fact probably all reservoirs around the world emit greenhouse gases and some of them, especially some of the ones in the tropics, emit very high quantities of greenhouse gases even comparable to, in some cases even much worse than, fossil fuels like coal and gas,” Mr McCully said.

The Age (Australia), 4 Sep 2007

head for the hills! – soon!

A study done by non-profit research organization Climate Central shows that even a seemingly minor temperature rise – 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit – on Earth will result in submerged cities around the world, and they’ve got the pictures to prove it.

“Two degrees Celsius warming will pose a long-term, existential danger to many great coastal cities and regions,” lead author Ben Strauss, vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central, told AFP and explains that a four-degree spike would double the danger.

Although the increase in temperature would take place over the course of 200 years, the group’s research says it’s more likely that these striking scenes wouldn’t actually occur for another 2,000 years.
New York Post, 9 Nov 2015

nature refuses to co-operate!

Global warming activists stormed Washington Monday for what was billed as the nation’s largest act of civil disobedience to fight climate change — only to see the nation’s capital virtually shut down by a major winter storm.

Schools and businesses were shuttered, lawmakers cancelled numerous appearances and the city came to a virtual standstill as Washington was blasted with its heaviest snowfall of the winter.

One protester named Kat had planned to get arrested and be bailed out Monday but decided to stay put and donate her money to a good cause instead.

“I don’t want to travel in the snow today. However, I am donating my bail money to fight mountaintop removal,” she wrote to the Climate Action Web site.

Foxnews, 2 Mar 2009

The South is not going to rise again!

Seventy miles south of New Orleans, on the eastern end of Grand Isle, a small tide gauge records the Gulf of Mexico rising against the surrounding land.

The monthly increases are microscopic, narrower than a single strand of hair. Climate scientists recording those results think they add up to something huge.

The gauge, they say, may be quietly writing one of the first big stories in the age of global warming: the obituary for much of southeast Louisiana.

In 50 to 100 years, the numbers tell them, rising seas caused by global warming, combined with the steady subsidence of Louisiana’s coast, will lift the Gulf of Mexico two to six feet higher in many areas surrounding New Orleans.

“This area is facing big trouble from climate change. I think there’s consensus on that point,” said Virginia Burkett, a senior researcher at the National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette and one of the nation’s foremost experts on climate change.

The Times-Picayune, 13 Dec 2008

flying squirrels team up!

Many species have responded to contemporary climate change through shifts in their geographic range. This could lead to increased sympatry between recently diverged species; likely increasing the potential for hybridization.

Recently, following a series of warm winters, southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) in Ontario, Canada rapidly expanded their northern range limit resulting in increased sympatry with the closely related northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus).

To our knowledge, this is the first report of hybrid zone formation following a range expansion induced by contemporary climate change. This is also the first report of hybridization between North American flying squirrel species.

“Global Change Biology, Volume 16, Issue 1 January 2010 Pages 113–121

moving mountains

The erosion caused by rainfall directly affects the movement of continental plates beneath mountain ranges, says a University of Toronto geophysicist — the first time science has raised the possibility that human-induced climate change could affect the deep workings of the planet.

“In geology, we have this idea that erosion’s going to affect merely the surface,” says Russell Pysklywec, a professor of geology who creates computer models where he can control how a range of natural processes can create and modify mountains over millions of years.

“These are tiny, tiny changes on the surface, but integrating them over geologic time scales affects the roots of the mountains, as opposed to just the top of them,” says Pysklywec. “It goes right down to the mantle thermal engine — the thing that’s actually driving plate tectonics. It’s fairly surprising — it hasn’t been shown before.”

Eureka Alert, 20 Apr 2006

Comment – two recent developments

Two recent items have been underreported in the media but in our opinion have significance.

A recent paper by scientists, many of whom are associated with the IPCC, acknowledges the pause in the rise of global temperatures and the inaccuracy of the computer models on which the climate change movement is largely based.

The main effect of the acknowledgment is that it is no longer possible to maintain there is a direct link between man-made carbon dioxide and a rise in global temperature.

The second is a speech by President Trump on 29 June 2017 at the Dept of Energy.

Some features of the speech were an encouragement for the development of coal and natural gas as well as expansion of the nuclear energy sector, reference to the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and the repeal of numerous regulations that hindered the development of energy resources.

In summary, the goal is for the US  to be not only energy independent but also an energy exporter.

For us, this raises questions for our country, Australia. How long will we be stuck in past with phony scares about climate change and unnecessary laws, regulations and targets that restrict development and raise power prices?

black-capped chickadees turn up their noses

In yet another example of the far-reaching impact of global warming, a University of Rhode Island student found evidence that suggests some songbirds may avoid eating insects that consume leaves exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide.

URI senior Martina Miller of Kingston, working in cooperation with Associate Professor Scott McWilliams, Ph.D. candidate David Podlesak and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, studied the food preferences exhibited by black-capped chickadees.

“It was clear that the birds could tell the difference between the different caterpillars and they had strong preferences,” Miller said. “They’re intelligent birds with a keen capacity to learn.” medical news today, 27 Jan 2004

thousand year run

The Australian of the Year, the scientist Tim Flannery, said the highest temperature forecasts could spell disaster for many species.

“[It] lays out a sort of middle-of-the road trajectory, which is alarming enough, I can tell you, for this century,” Professor Flannery said. “Three degrees will be a disaster for all life on Earth. We will lose somewhere between two out of every 10 and six out of every 10 species living on the planet at that level of warming.”

“It will set in train a series of climate consequences that will run for a thousand years.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Feb 2007

see also – just plain scary

clean energy for eternity!

Living in a coastal community and having young children has spurred Matthew Nott into action on climate change.

The orthopedic surgeon from the tiny community of Tathra on the NSW far south coast is the driving force behind a move to introduce clean energy to the Bega Valley.

The movement started out relatively small – raising $20,000 to install a wind turbine and solar panel on the roof of a surf club.

But now, under the banner of Clean Energy for Eternity, the group’s aims have grown and Nott says the next step is raising about $8 million to build a community-owned solar energy farm. Nott wants wants to establish a model other communities can follow.

“We want to set ourselves up as a centre for excellence for renewable energy,” he says.

Sun Herald (Australia), 23 Nov 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – action plan

researcher fails to avoid overused cliché!

Twenty-first century disasters such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the United States, droughts in Australia and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand and Pakistan highlight how vulnerable humanity is to extreme weather, says a massive new report from a Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists released early Monday.

The dangers are going to worsen as the climate changes even more, the report’s authors say, adding that no one is immune. “We’re all sitting ducks,” Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the main authors of the 32-volume report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said in an interview. theblaze, 31 Mar 2014

new field of study provides solution to climate change!

Simply stated Exopolitics is a new and emerging field of study that examines the implications of possible contact between humans and extraterrestrial civilizations.

Exopolitics also attempts to provide a political framework in which human beings and extraterrestrials could interact. Exopolitics also seeks to examine the disclosure process that governments may be required to use to inform citizens of the authentic nature of an extraterrestrial presence.

It must be assumed that any civilization that has mastered interstellar voyages has somehow mastered light speed travel or a form of interstellar or inter-dimensional travel we as yet do not comprehend.

These civilizations must have developed technologies that utilize arcane energy sources that our scientists and physics cannot explain. Could contact with off-world civilizations be the answer?

If the use of fossil fuels were to stop today and be replaced by energy sources obtained from a developing contact and relationship with off-world civilizations, would the planet enter a new era of environmental design?

The Exopolitical Disclosure Movement provides a unique forum of enquiry that may address and possibly answer the multiplicity of questions presented here.

The only missing piece of the puzzle is the cultural and political will to examine the extraterrestrial phenomenon with the vigor the media examines issues such as child and spousal abuse, political patronage, corporate fraud and who the Canadian Idol is this month.

Exopolitics and Global Warming, 12 May 2006

see also – action plan

wracked with guilt

Magazine editor Alison Potter, 34, who lives with her husband Joe Ferrara, 35, and their two-year-old son Milo, in Sydney’s Rozelle, was spurred on to do her bit when she became pregnant with their second child.

She decided to view global warming as “an opportunity to change our values and standards of living.” Despite the spin, Potter says climate change is also her biggest fear. “I wonder what the future holds for my kids.”

And she struggles with guilt – when she flies (because the aviation industry’s contribution to greenhouse gases) and when she’s idling at traffic lights (fuelling the skies with carbon dioxide).

“I see everyone else beetling round in cars and I wonder how we’ll all make the transition to less car dependence,” says Potter “Having said that my husband and I splashed out on a Toyota Prius [a hybrid petrol-electric car] and that does make me feel less guilty.” And she’s planted hardy native plants.

“I water once a week and avoid putting things in pots so they can sort themselves out with water from the ground,” says Potter.

The Sun Herald (Sydney) 29 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website

water world

The real greenhouse gas index (GGI) that we must measure is the concentration of all greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and we must be able to see that we are lowering the emissions at a global level.

It is the GGI that will be far more important than the Dow Jones or the all Ordinaries and we will need to watch it come down every year.

The Hunter Region in particular will be hit hard by increased heat stress and disease in humans and other animals, worse droughts and water shortages, severe storms and flash flooding and sea-level rise that will inundate all the land many metres above the current shoreline.

The expensive waterfront property, port infrastructure and our beaches will become water world. All these huge costly changes will occur within the lifetime of the current and next generation of Novocastrians; that is 50 to 100 years from now. Dr Glenn Albrecht, associate professor in environmental studies at the University of Newcastle in the Newcastle Herald, (Australia) 25 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website

look for the signs

Australians will begin to see the stark impacts of climate change within the next few years, not the coming decades, a leading Australian scientist warned yesterday after releasing a new report presenting evidence that global warming has dramatically increased in the past 12 months.

Dr Graeme Pearman, the former head of CSIRO’s atmospheric research unit, said: “if you think climate change is on the agenda just wait another couple of years.”

“Every day the media are going to be reporting people seeing changes as a result of things we have already done and the implications of these all over the world: like the breeding patterns and migration paterns of birds and animals, the flowering times, the production capacity of farms and the impact of coastal erosion. We are going to get more of them, not in the next few decades but the next few years.”

The Age (Australia), 15 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

Dartford Warbler declines

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The heavy snow in February may have had a devastating affect on the Dartford warbler in some of its UK’s strongholds.

Initial reports suggest Dartford warbler numbers on important heathland sites in Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire are down by around 80 to 90 per cent from 2008 due to this year’s snow.

Sam Dawes, conservation manager in the RSPB’s South East region, said: “The impact of this winter’s snow shows what a fine balance there is for these birds between success and failure. Dartford warblers have generally been doing well on the Thames Basin and Wealden Heaths in recent years due to milder winters and better protection of the sites.”

“The Thames Basin and Wealden Heaths, and the special birds they support, have never been so important but it’s a rare habitat that desperately needs protecting.”

“Climate change could also see Dartford warblers ousted from their traditional grounds in Europe and north-west Africa, and if the birds can’t find refuge here, on our heaths, the future for them could be very bleak indeed.”

Surfbirds.com, 6 Jul 2009

Dartford Warbler doesn’t decline

The scratchy mechanical song of the Dartford Warbler is one of the rarest sounds in the English countryside.

But according to a new report it could become more frequent as global warming turns Britain into an ideal habitat for the endangered songbird. A new report by Natural England found that many species will benefit from climate change, including the warbler, the emperor dragonfly, wasps, bees and ants.

Dr Tim Hill, Chief Scientist for Natural England, said: “Our climate is changing fundamentally. There is already evidence of it affecting the habitat of some species, forcing them to live elsewhere. As temperatures rise, the consequences of future climate change for England’s wildlife are likely to be substantial, resulting in wholesale changes in the distribution of our wild animals and plants.”

Dr Richard Bradbury, Head of Environmental Research at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science said: “The nature we know and love will change, with some warmth-loving species becoming more familiar, while we risk saying goodbye to some of England’s colder-adapted species.”

“It is imperative that we minimise the risks, by reducing carbon emissions, while redoubling our efforts to reduce the threats to vulnerable species and provide safe homes for nature, both in nature reserves and other protected areas, and in the wider landscapes in which wildlife should thrive.”

The Telegraph, 22 Jul 2015
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see also – having it both ways

not all beer and skittles

According to Jim Salinger, a climate scientist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, the warming globe will likely cause a decline in the production of malting barley, which, when combined with the scarcity of hops right now, stands to have a profound and negative impact on the world’s beer supply starting now, and for decades to come.

“It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up,” Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention. He said climate change could cause a drop in beer production within 30 years, especially in parts of Australia, as dry areas become drier and water shortages worsen.

Treehugger, 10 Apr 2008

don’t snow on my parade!

World leaders flying into Copenhagen today to discuss a solution to global warming will first face freezing weather as a blizzard dumped 10 centimeters (4 inches) of snow on the Danish capital overnight.

“Temperatures will stay low at least the next three days,” Henning Gisseloe, an official at Denmark’s Meteorological Institute, said today by telephone, forecasting more snow in coming days. “There’s a good chance of a white Christmas.”

Delegates from 193 countries have been in Copenhagen since Dec. 7 to discuss how to fund global greenhouse gas emission cuts. U.S. President Barack Obama will arrive before the summit is scheduled to end tomorrow.

Bloomberg News, 17 Dec 2009

ban short nosed dogs!

You thought penguins were in gravest danger of extinction from global warming.

Now bulldogs, boxers, Pekinese, pugs and French mastiffs are among the breeds of dogs that may not see out many more Australian summers, experts say. Rising temperatures could also cast aside Persian cats in favour of fuller-faced felines.

Citing Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, RSPCA chief veterinarian Chris Thurgood said forecasts of frequent 40 degree days would gradually deplete local stocks of short-nosed dogs and cats, which typically suffer from respiratory problems and heat stress.

“Darwin’s theory will take care of them,” he said. “They won’t be around in the future; they won’t last.”

The director of Melbourne University’s veterinary teaching hospital, Mark Davis, said dog owners should act responsibly by opting for long-nosed or long-tongued breeds such as greyhounds or golden retrievers.

Dogs cool themselves by panting, which makes summer more difficult for breeds like bulldogs and pugs, which typically have squashed airways.

The Age (Australia), 20 Jan 2008

can’t see this idea catching on

But when American utilities and other major emitters are simply given free permits to emit greenhouse gases, the effect of the carbon cap is dulled.

That’s why the first carbon auction in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — a pact by 10 northeastern states to cut carbon emissions jointly — was so important.

Utilities in the region bid $38.5 million for the right for emit 12.5 million tons of CO2, generating revenue that the states will be able to put toward climate change action.

More important, by forcing utilities to buy emission allowances, the government sends a signal that their carbon caps will have teeth — something to consider when Obama takes his run at national cap-and-trade legislation in 2009.

Time, 3 Nov 2008

see also – action plan