stand down

Most advanced countries spend at least 2% of GDP on standing armies, navies and air forces even though the chance of having to repel an invasion is extremely remote.

Destroyers, submarines, fighter aircraft, bombers, tanks and artillery are useless against terrorism and low-level threats and as aids to peacekeeping missions.

In Australia’s case, the chances of needing a sophisticated standing defence force to repel an invasion over the next 50 years would be no greater than one in 100.

The consequences of defeat in total war may be slavery, which is preferable to the annihilation of civilisation and most of the species on the planet – the possible consequence of going beyond the climate change tipping point.

Kenneth Davidson, senior columnist, The Age, 24 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

buses are not enough

“Better public transport systems probably can make a contribution, but they can’t make it quickly,” the Federal Government’s climate policy advisor, Professor Ross Garnaut, said yesterday.

“It’s more likely that we can get faster results through lowering (carbon) emissions from private automobiles.”

Answering questions at a University of Melbourne conference on climate change and social justice, Garnaut said that for more than half a century the growth of Australian cities had been planned around cars.

It would take many decades for this to be turned around, he said, although rising petrol prices were already forcing people to reconsider their reliance on cars.

The Age (Australia), 4 Apr 2008 – screen copy held by this website

poppies with more punch

Greater concentrations of carbon dioxide in a warming world may have a drastic effect on the potency of opium poppies, according to a new study.

While this increase might mean more morphine available for legal pharmaceutical uses, the painkiller is also the main ingredient in heroin.

The current crop of poppies is twice as potent as those grown at carbon dioxide levels seen in 1950, says Lewis Ziska of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory.

The net result, according to Ziska, is that climate change’s impacts on plants are likely to be chaotic and difficult to predict.

For example, he says, “wheat may make more seeds, but we may have stronger poison ivy and poppies.”

ScienceLine, 3 Aug 2009

the eyes have it

Have those sneeze attacks and itchy eyes that plague you every spring worsened in recent years?

If so, global warming may be partly to blame. Over the past few decades, more and more Americans have started suffering from seasonal allergies and asthma.

Though lifestyle changes and pollution ultimately leave people more vulnerable to the airborne allergens they breathe in, research has shown that the higher carbon dioxide levels and warmer temperatures associated with global warming are also playing a role by prodding plants to bloom earlier and produce more pollen.

With more allergens produced earlier, allergy season can last longer. Get those tissues ready.

Livescience, 16 Aug 2011

the early bird

Australia’s migratory birds are arriving earlier and leaving later and global warming is likely to be a reason, a study has found.

Macquarie University PhD students Linda Beaumont and Ian McAllan and Associate Professor Lesley Hughes have analysed the movements of migratory birds visiting south-eastern Australia since the 1960s.

They have compared the arrival of 34 species and the departure of 12 species over the past 40 years.

Temperature change in Australia of about 0.5 degrees since the 1960s was very likely to influence migratory patterns, Ms Beaumont said.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 21 Jun 2006 – screencopy held by website

little old winemaker me

In the Yarra Valley, Warramate winemaker David Church is already picking his shiraz and only has cabernet sauvignon to go.

With hot days still coming in, he is struggling to keep everything cool. Vineyards in other areas report being between two and three weeks earlier than usual, the result of an early flowering for the grapes and a dry, warm summer.

There may also be another reason: global warming. At Trestle Bridge Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, grape growers Bob and Betty Young are getting used to early starts.

“We’re three weeks earlier than last year and last year we were earlier than we had ever been before,” Mrs Young said.

The Age (Australia) 13 Mar 2006

bugs

In recent months several Melbourne councils have added their names to the list of areas officially declared prone to termite attack.

Several councils did so in 2004 and at least one more is considering it…It is not clear why termite activity is one the rise, but one clue could be global warming, as evidenced by our apparently warmer, and longer lasting summers.

The Age, 23 Jul 2007 – screencopy held by this website

invasion!

Global warming blamed for Swedish beetle-infestation.

Sweden is 60-percent-covered by forests, and in 2005 timber and paper products accounted for 12 percent of the country’s total exports, for a value of 114 billion kronor, or $17 billion.

Sweden is 60-percent-covered by forests, and in 2005 timber and paper products accounted for 12 percent of the country’s total exports, for a value of 114 billion kronor, or $17 billion.

But now some see nature, in the shape of the five-millimeter, or 1/5-inch, hairy bark beetle, as striking back – induced by climate change.

This is the worst situation we’ve ever seen here in Sweden, said Bo Langstrom, a professor of entomology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

“Usually, the beetle only produces one brood per year here in Sweden. But last year, for the first time, it produced two.”

New York Times, 2 May 2007

struggles of an environmentalist

I have been researching and writing about anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) for Truthout for the past year, because I have long been deeply troubled by how fast the planet has been emitting its obvious distress signals.

On a nearly daily basis, I’ve sought out the most recent scientific studies, interviewed the top researchers and scientists penning those studies, and connected the dots to give readers as clear a picture as possible about the magnitude of the emergency we are in.

This work has emotional consequences: I’ve struggled with depression, anger, and fear.

I’ve watched myself shift through some of the five stages of grief proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance I’ve grieved for the planet and all the species who live here, and continue to do so as I work today.

Heat Is Online – originally Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org. Jan. 25, 2015

one good …

Lake Illawarra’s little tern population is due back from the northern hemisphere any day in search of safe nesting over the spring and summer months.

Signage and protective fences were erected around the lake’s entrance in a combined effort to protect the species by the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, the Lake Illawarra Authority, Illawarra Bird Observers Club and Wollongong City Council.

At less than 25cm long, the leaner, migratory seabird is the smallest tern in the world. Lake Illawarra chairman Doug Prosser said the sensitive little terns’ nesting habits made them particularly susceptible to predators.

He appealed to people not to take their dogs down to the area and “Watch where you put your feet.”

Illawarra Mercury (Australia), 29 Oct 2008 – screen copy held by this website

the early bird lays an egg

Many British birds are laying their eggs earlier in the year as a result of climate change, a report by conservation groups claimed yesterday.

Work carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) surveying 30,000 nests showed species such as the chaffinch and robin are laying their eggs about a week earlier than they did during the 1960s.

A similar pattern has been observed for other species such as blue and great tits and swallows.

Dr Mark Avery, conservation director for the RSPB, one of the groups involved in the study, said: “This year’s report shows that climate change is with us already, and from our gardens to our seas, birds are having to respond rapidly to climate change simply to survive.”

Herald Scotland, 15 Aug 2008

all power to the can!

Next week’s National Recycling Week is an opportunity to look a little more closely at who we can all help to reduce the global strain on resources.

Planet Ark has singled out recycling as a key factor in ensuring that communities learn to live sustainably and combat the threat of global warming.

The organisation’s spokeswoman Rebecca Gilling said all sectors of society could contribute to the cause by taking time to consider the benefits that even small changes could have on our environment.

“Recycling a single aluminium can saves enough energy to run a TV set for three hours,” she said.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 9 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

visible signs

Tibetans are waking up with nosebleeds this autumn as their capital Lhasa experiences record low humidity. The Sunlight City, 3700 metres above sea level, is regarded as especially sensitive to global warming and is heating up faster than anywhere in the world, Chinese media has said.

The Age (Australia), 9 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website