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

you left something out – what about the cows?

“Many conscientious people are trying to help reduce global warming by driving more fuel-efficient cars and using energy-saving light bulbs. Although these measures help, science shows that going vegan is one of the most effective ways to fight global warming.

A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.

The most powerful step that we can take as individuals to avert global warming is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy products.”
PETA website

on yer bike, gov’ner!

“A new scientific finding in the journal Environmental Science & Technology shows that, counter to what most of us believe, driving a car causes more global warming pollution than flying the same distance in a plane.

The point that you probably wouldn’t take such long trips by car that you take by plane was not a part of the study and is an important matter to bring up as well.

Nonetheless, this study confirms again that driving is one of the leading ways humans cause global warming. Get out of your car and onto a bike or bus or subway or train today in order to help stop global warming.”
Clean Technica, 9 Aug 2010

flower miles warning

In the past three years, the amount of flowers imported from the Netherlands has fallen by 47% to 94,000 tons, while those from Africa have risen 39% to 17,000 tons. Environmentalists warned that ‘flower miles’ could have serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes.

Andrew Sime, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation, said, “There are plenty of flowers that grow in Britain in the winter and don’t need to be hot-housed. “Air freighting flowers half way round the world contributes to global warming.”
Daily Telegraph (UK), 10 Feb 2007

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

flower miles warning

“In the past three years, the amount of flowers imported from the Netherlands has fallen by 47% to 94,000 tons, while those from Africa have risen 39% to 17,000 tons.

Environmentalists warned that ‘flower miles’ could have serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes.

Andrew Sime, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation, said, There are plenty of flowers that grow in Britain in the winter and don’t need to be hot-housed. Air freighting flowers half way round the world contributes to global warming.

Daily Telegraph (UK), 10 Feb 2007

depends on who your friends, relatives and colleagues are

All those who fail to tackle the problems of pollution and climate change “will feel guilty on their deathbeds”, says a leading environmental campaigner. Mayer Hillman, formerly a fellow of the Policy Studies Institute, claims that there is now a broad consensus that travel by both road and air is pushing the planet towards “a situation which will become critical well before 2050”.

Describing climate change as an ethical issue and personal responsibility as a moral imperative, Hillman championed the imposition of an individual allowance for greenhouse-gas emissions, allowing those who are able to live with greater energy efficiency trading their surpluses. People without cars, for instance, might sell their allocation to people who wanted to travel more often.

Having given up flying on principle, he has been unable to visit friends, relatives and colleagues around the world, but says that the sacrifices are not as bad as they might seem.
The Telegraph (UK), 24 Jul 2004

how many people is too many people?

A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences looked at the link between policies that help women plan pregnancies and family size and global emissions (the study also looked at aging and urbanization trends).

The researchers predicted that lower population growth could provide benefits equivalent to between 16 and 29 percent of the emissions reduction needed to avoid a 2 degrees Celsius warming by 2050, the warning line set by international scientists.
The Atlantic, 1 Nov 2014

great news….watch the football instead!

Research confirms that highly manicured lawns produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up. Grass lawns soak up carbon dioxide, which is stored in the soil after the cut grass rots and so, like trees, they are considered good for the planet.

But Dr Chuanhui Gu of Appalachian State University in the US says that once the energy expended by mowing, fertiliser use and watering are taken into account, lawns actually produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up.
The Independent, 18 Jan 2015

for new category – action plan

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

painful news

Could global warming cause surge in kidney stones? Hot weather increases risk of painful condition, experts claim.

Researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia examined 60,000 patients in several cities across the U.S., with varying climates, discovering a link between hot days and kidney stones.

Lead researcher and urologist, Gregory Tasian, said: ‘We found that as daily temperatures rise, there is a rapid increase in the probability of patients presenting over the next 20 days with kidney stones.
Daily Mail (UK), 11 Jul 2014

sounds more like a religion everyday

In a project they hope to take nationwide at a cost of up to $2 million a year, Australia’s main environment groups will next week start door-knocking in Sydney’s east to talk about what predicted climate changes could mean for beaches and parks, health and hip pockets.

Supported by Greenpeace, WWF Australia, Climate Action Network Australia, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and Environment Victoria, the Power to Change campaign will also include mail drops, street stalls and public meetings.

These reports aren’t aimed at scaring people by making outlandish predictions, said the campaign’s founder, Dave West. Rather, we are trying to paint the best picture of how climate change will affect people’s lives … how bad it will be depends on how fast we act and how deep we can cut our greenhouse gas emissions.
Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Oct 2005

waking the giant

giantThe disappearing ice, sea-level rise and floods already forecast for the 21st century are inevitable as the earth warms and weather patterns change – and they will shift the weight on the planet.

University College London’s Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of Geophysical and Climate Hazards, calls this process “waking the giant” – something that can be done with just a few gigatonnes of water in the right – or wrong – place.
Newsweek, 28 Apr 2015

thanks to Badgerbod and Andrew Mark Harding

Saved, but the party’s still over

“According to climate scientist James Hansen, we are never going to see another ice age, ever. When the ice melts it will not be replaced. Ice extent will fluctuate from year to year, and some climate change deniers will selectively point to recovery years, but there is only a downward escalator. Which means, unless dangerous climate change is addressed, for some of us today, and many more tomorrow, the party will definitely be over.”The Conversation, 20 Sep 2013

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

a shovel ready project

Under proposals from the Cquestrate project, they aim to reduce ocean acidity while increasingly absorbing CO2 by converting limestone into lime, thereby adding the lime to seawater. Cquestrate, proposed by Tim Kruger, a former management consultant.

While the idea is good in theory, Mr Kruger added that in order for it to properly work, the world would need to mine and process about 10 cubic kilometres of limestone each year to soak up all the emissions the world produces. The CO2 resulting from the lime production would also have to be captured and buried at source.
The Telegraph (UK), 6 Jul 2009

hope springs eternal

Research: Cut Alcohol Consumption to Help Reduce Climate Change. “Simply put, if everyone cut down their alcohol consumption they could help reduce climate change – although that is on condition they do not drink Coca Cola instead or spend the money on going to the cinema for instance,” said Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network.
Environmental Leader, 15 Mar 2007

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

“…for just a few billion dollars…”

The most prominent geoengineering proposal is to spray minute reflective particles into the atmosphere. These are designed to act as a “global shadecloth” by blocking a small percentage of sunlight from warming the Earth.

Scientists in the US and UK are developing this technology, and it looks feasible. For just a few billion dollars it may be possible to inject these particles into the sky in an attempt to cool the planet.
Newcastle Herald, 4 Dec 2013

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

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