feathers ruffled

Winter 2014 – the effects of global warming are being seen first-hand as participants of continent-wide backyard bird watchers find birds in North American areas they typically aren’t seen this time of year.

Changes in migration patterns also mean that different species of birds, which have previously never interacted, are suddenly shuffled together into the same space.

Society for Science points out that the repercussions of this mixture are unstudied, stating, “Scientists don’t yet know what those communities will look like, or how the birds will interact with each other.”

Bird-X notes that while some birds may live peacefully with each other, it’s very likely that the need for limited territory will cause problems that never before existed.

Bird-X 16 Dec 2014

there’s an awful lot of coffee in …..

Most people agree that chocolate tastes great, but is there a way to make it taste even better?

Perhaps, according to scientists who looked at different conditions that can put a strain on cocoa trees. Reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they say that although the agricultural method used to grow cocoa trees doesn’t matter that much, the specific weather conditions do.

The research team detected only minor differences in the chemical composition among the beans harvested from the farms during the same weather conditions…..

The larger contribution to chemical composition was the weather. Overall, the antioxidant content increased and fat content of the beans decreased during the dry season as temperatures rose and soil moisture dropped.

The researchers say these differences could contribute to variability in cocoa bean flavor.

Eureka News Alert, 6 Dec 2017

thanks to David Hanig

tighten your belt!

As the world meets in Cancun, Mexico for the latest round of United Nations talks on climate change, the influential academics called for much tougher measures to cut carbon emissions.

In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.

Prof Anderson admitted it “would not be easy” to persuade people to reduce their consumption of goods.

He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s.

The Telegraph, 29 Nov 2010

jumping the gun

There is currently no organized discipline for the study of the psychological risks of climate change, yet it is already taking a toll on many people who tackle this issue.

Surprisingly susceptible are those who might seem to be immune. Those who do acknowledge the problem face a different set of issues, particularly those who work on the problem.

Lisa Van Susteren coined the term “pre-traumatic stress disorder” to describe the grief, anger, and anxiety clinging to the scientists and advocates whose job it is to gaze into a future that can look increasingly bleak.

The longtime counselor is profoundly empathetic, and her interest in pre-traumatic stress is intensely personal. Said Van Susteren, “Pre-traumatic stress disorder? It’s what I see. It’s what I live. It’s what I see others living.”

Think Progress, 16 Sep 2015

beer tastes worse

………………………………….

climate change is starting to degrade the quality of beer. Or so say a team at the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute lead by the climatologist Martin Mozny.

The team has just published a study in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology which concludes that “even with the modest warming so far experienced, [hop] yields [in the Czech Republic] have stagnated and quality declined”.

But it is the decline in quality of the Saaz hops, which produce the famous Czech pilsners, that is perhaps most worrying for beer lovers.

The “Alpha” acid content – “a major determinant of quality”, according to the team, as it’s the compound that produces a pilsner’s defining bitter taste – is likely to fall a further 13–32% if the predicted warming occurs.

The Guardian, 15 Sep 2009

beer tastes better

From rising sea levels to stifling heat waves, the effects of global warming are shaping up to be a worldwide buzz kill. But brewers in Greenland seem to be going with the flow, having found a new use for one of their homeland’s fastest growing—but least celebrated—natural resources: melted Arctic ice.

On July 31 a team of canny entrepreneurs unveiled Greenland Beer, an ale brewed with water melted from Greenland’s ice cap, at a public tasting in Copenhagen, Denmark. And if reaction from tipplers at the tasting was any indication, the brewers may be on to something.

Electrician Flemming Larsen described the ale to the Associated Press as “smooth, soft, but not bitter … different from most other beer.” Maybe that is because it’s ice-cap water, he said.

National Geographic, 3 Aug 2006
………………………………….

see also – having it both ways

Hell on Earth

Presently our use of fossil fuels is leading to a temperature rise of at least 4C (from a pre-industrial global mean that has been relatively stable for around 10, 000 years, the Holocene).

This unprecedented rapid warming so threatens species and ecosystems, agriculture and industry, Third World countries and rich Western post-nation state economies that only one person in ten is predicted to survive.

Seven to ten billion people are at risk of premature death in this hell on Earth we are creating with the unintended side effects of our present use of an extremely beneficial source of energy.

CounterCurrents.org, 6 Feb 2012

(don’t) spend a penny

But the rise of bitcoin is also happening at a specific moment in history: Humanity is decades behind schedule on counteracting climate change, and every action in this era should be evaluated on its net impact on the climate. Increasingly, bitcoin is failing the test….

But what they might not have accounted for is how much of an energy suck the computer network behind bitcoin could one day become. Simply put, bitcoin is slowing the effort to achieve a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. What’s more, this is just the beginning. Given its rapidly growing climate footprint, bitcoin is a malignant development, and it’s getting worse…..

In just a few months from now, at bitcoin’s current growth rate, the electricity demanded by the cryptocurrency network will start to outstrip what’s available, requiring new energy-generating plants. And with the climate conscious racing to replace fossil fuel-base plants with renewable energy sources, new stress on the grid means more facilities using dirty technologies.

Grist, 5 Dec 2017

thanks to David Hanig

All is lost!

From depression to substance abuse to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, growing bodies of research in the relatively new field of psychology of global warming suggest that climate change will take a pretty heavy toll on the human psyche as storms become more destructive and droughts more prolonged.

For your everyday environmentalist, the emotional stress suffered by a rapidly changing Earth can result in some pretty substantial anxieties.

Two years ago, Camille Parmesan, a professor at Plymouth University and the University of Texas at Austin, became so “professionally depressed” that she questioned abandoning her research in climate change entirely.

“I don’t know of a single scientist that’s not having an emotional reaction to what is being lost,” Parmesan is quoted saying in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2012 report.

Grist, 28 Oct 2014

countdown!

(CNSNews.com) – The world has “500 days to avoid climate chaos,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said alongside Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on Tuesday.

“We have 500 days to avoid climate chaos,” Fabius said. “And I know that President Obama and John Kerry himself are committed on this subject and I’m sure that with them, with a lot of other friends, we shall be able to reach success in this very important matter.”

Fabius was referring to the next big United Nations climate conference, scheduled to open in Paris, France in November 2015, or in 565 days’ time.

CNSNews, 13 Mqy 2014