windows closed

windows_open_closedAlready, the window to prevent catastrophic climate change appears to be closing. Some governments are starting to redirect their attention away from climate change mitigation and towards staking their claims in a warming world.

“Canada is spending $3 billion to build eight new patrol boats to reinforce its claim over the Arctic waterways. Denmark and Russia are starting to vie for control over the Lomonosov Ridge, where new sources of oil and natural gas could be accessed if the Arctic Circle becomes ice free—fossil fuels that will further exacerbate climate change. These actions assume that a warming world is here,” said Erik Assadourian, Vital Signs Project Director.
Worldwatch Institute, 31 Mar 2015

future of psychology profession assured!

In America, 200 Million People Will Suffer ‘Psychological Distress’ From Climate Change.

A report published by the National Wildlife Foundation finds that the majority of Americans can expect to suffer mental health problems as a result of global warming and warns that our mental health system is not equipped to handle it.

“The interplay between the climate realities we likely face and the potential psychological fallout from them was the subject of a conference convened in Washington D.C., in March 2009,” write Lise van Susteren, MD, and Kevin J. Doyle, JD, introducing their work. “A highly respected group of experts offered insights. Their thoughts, recommendations and supporting evidence are presented in this report.”
Gizmodo Australia, 30 Dec 2015

children in Bashdad know what snow is

Snow has fallen in Baghdad, Iraq for the first time in approximately 100 years. Although Baghdad sometimes sees hail and sleet, snow has never been seen in living memory.

Snow was also recorded in the western and central parts of the country, where it is also very unusual, and in the Kurdish north, which is mountainous and commonly sees snowfall.

A statement by the meteorology department read “Snow has fallen in Baghdad for the first time in about a century as a result of two air flows meeting. The first one was cold and dry and the second one was warm and humid. They met above Iraq.”

Dawood Shakir, director of the meteorology department, told AFP his take on the causation of the snow: “It’s very rare. Baghdad has never seen snow falling in living memory. These snowfalls are linked to the climate change that is happening everywhere. We are finding some places in the world which are warm and are supposed to be cold.”

WikiNews, 11 Jan 2008

save the Buddha!

Like any historical monument, Indonesia’s magnificent Borobudur temple in central Java has suffered the ravages of time.

But now conservationists fear the world’s biggest Buddhist temple, topped with stupas and decorated with hundreds of reliefs depicting Buddhist thought and the life of Buddha, faces a new threat: climate change.

As global temperatures rise and rainfall patterns change, the dark stone temple, which dates from the 9th century, could deteriorate faster than normal, Marsis Sutopo, head of the Borobudur Heritage Conservation Institute, told Reuters.

Although no direct link has been found between climate change and the damage to Borobudur, Sutopo said a two-year study by Italian stone expert Costantino Meucci showed that higher precipitation is affecting the temple’s volcanic stone.

Humidity allows moss and algae to grow on the stones already more than 1,000 years old. The stones have been exposed to the heat and humidity for so long, they have reached a critical point where deterioration is going to happen faster, he said. We suspect changing climate will make it happen faster.

Reuters, 6 Sep 2007

save winter!

Jessie Diggins is a cross-country skier on the American women’s team and a favorite to win a medal at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Diggins is also an advocate for climate action.

“I’m also someone who lives on this planet. I think you need to be able to stand up for things you believe in, and saving winter is something I believe in. It just breaks my heart because this is such a cool sport, and winter is so amazing and beautiful and I feel like we’re actually really at risk of losing it. And I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world where they’ve never experienced snow because we weren’t responsible enough.”

New York Times, 7 Feb 2018

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

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

back to the …

Here’s a simple solution to global warming: vacuum carbon dioxide out of the air.

Klaus Lackner, a physicist at Columbia University, said placing enough carbon filters around the planet could reel the world’s atmosphere back toward the 18th century, like a climatic time machine.

He estimates that sucking up the current stream of emissions would require about 67 million boxcar-sized filters at a cost of trillions of dollars a year.

The orchards of filters would have to be powered by complexes of new nuclear plants, dams, solar farms or other clean-energy sources to avoid adding more pollution to the atmosphere. LA Times, 29 Apr 2008

escape corridor

Australia will create a wildlife corridor spanning the continent to allow animals and plants to flee the effects of global warming, scientists say.

The 2,800-kilometre climate “spine”, approved by state and national governments, will link the country’s entire east coast, from the snow-capped Australian alps in the south to the tropical north – the distance from London to Romania.

The corridor, under discussion since the 1990s as the argument in support of climate change strengthened, will link national parks, state forests and government land. It will help preserve scores of endangered species.

The Age (Australia), 9 Jul 2007

climatic apocalypse

Thousands of deaths each year from heat stress. Hundreds of plant and animal species extinguished. An inland migration to escape rising sea levels and severe storms. And the end of agriculture in most of the Murray-Darling Basin.

This is the climatic apocalypse facing Australia by 2100, Ross Garnaut warns.

The Murray-Darling region, covering a million square kilometres of south-eastern Australia, has produced not only food but much of the very character of the nation.

It was from these once-fertile and now struggling areas that Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson came.

The increased frequency of drought, combined with decreased median rainfall and a nearly complete absence of run-off in the Murray-Darling Basin, is likely to have ended irrigated agriculture for this region, and depopulation will be under way, the report says.

Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Jul 2008

see also – just plain scary

rewriting history

Global warming could wipe out more than half the world’s animal and plant species, according to a study that links rising temperatures with mass extinctions of the past 520 million years.

By comparing fossil data with temperature estimates, British researchers have found that four of the five mass extinction events were linked to warm “greenhouse” phases.

The scientists, from the universities of York and Leeds, say their work shows for the first time a close association between Earth’s climate and extinctions in the past 520 million years.

Lead author Dr Peter Mayhew said: “If our results hold for current warming … they suggest that extinctions will increase.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Oct 2007

see also – just plain scary

fewer children

Andrew Revkin, who reports on environmental issues for The New York Times, floated an idea last week for combating global warming: Give carbon credits to couples that limit themselves to having one child.

“And I have even proposed recently, I can’t remember if it’s in the blog, but just think about this: Should–probably the single-most concrete and substantive thing an American, young American, could do to lower our carbon footprint is not turning off the lights or driving a Prius, it’s having fewer kids, having fewer children,” said Revkin.

cnsnews.com, 16 Oct 2009

see also – action plan

flatter bread breaks hearts

German researchers have shown that high CO2 levels in the atmosphere lead to wheat crops throughout Europe with less gluten, the protein in flour that forms the gooey matrix of dough.

By 2050, the researchers say, the expected CO2 levels in the atmosphere may lead to dough that rises nearly 20% less than it does now. The researchers, from the Johann Heinrich von Thunen Institute in Braunschweig , say that CO2 disrupts nitrogen uptake by the plants, and this causes the protein deficiency.

A world with less gluten may appeal to coeliac sufferers and other members of the wheatless protection program. But for fans of ciabatta and pain de campagne, bread with texture like sponge cake is a heart-breaking prospect.
New Scientist, 10 Jul 2008

the decline of the close clipped lawn

mowing_lawnGardeners should give up trying to grow many of the flowers that typify English cottage gardens and look for new varieties to meet the challenge of climate change, the Royal Horticultural Society said yesterday.

Forward-thinking gardeners should give up the “unequal struggle” of trying to keep them alive in the face of low rainfall and water restrictions, said Guy Barter, head of the Horticultural Advisory Service at the RHS gardens at Wisley, Surrey. …and the biggest casualty of drier, hotter summers will be the verdant, close-clipped lawn, so beloved of caring gardeners.

People should consider replacing them with gravel areas or trying hardier, tougher grasses common in hot climates, and not cutting them so finely or so frequently, he said.
The Telegraph (UK), 12 Jun 2005

the luckless ladybird

ladybugThe luckless ladybird, already under siege from foreign invaders and parasitic wasps, now has global warming to contend with, scientists said yesterday.

Climate change has resulted in the gardener’s friend waking from its seven-month winter hibernation up to two weeks early, said Dr Mike Majerus, an expert on ladybirds at Cambridge University’s department of genetics.

The worry is that the aphids they eat are not responding to the earlier springs in the same way, leaving ladybirds facing starvation.
The Telegraph (UK), 2 Feb 2005

cars, boats and planes

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.

The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.

Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.

That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres, he said. “Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour.”

The Telegraph, 28 Mar 2011

see also – action plan

evolution needs to speed up

Certainly, countless species have adapted to past climate fluctuations. However, their rate of change turns out to be painfully slow, according to a study by Professor John Wiens of the University of Arizona.

We found that, on average, species usually adapt to different climatic conditions at a rate of only by about 1C per million years, Wiens explained.

“But if global temperatures are going to rise by about four degrees over the next 100 years as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that is where you get a huge difference in rates. What that suggests overall is that simply evolving to match these conditions may not be an option for many species.”

Either evolution speeds up 10,000-fold, which is an unlikely occurrence, or there will be widespread extinctions.

The Guardian, 14 Jul 2013

more crime

Prof Pease, visiting professor of crime science at University College London, is reported by the Scotsman as saying that warmer weather will result in more people on the streets, larger crowds, and alcohol consumption – all of which are all linked to increases in crime.

He says: “The question really is not whether global warming will lead to an increase in street crime, but by how much?”

The Guardian, 11 Apr 2007

take a train today!

Greenpeace propelled airline travel into the headlines as a climate change issue when it offered airline passengers free train tickets if they would give up their seats in Britain in June.

The lobby group argued that the main problem with flying was the growth in short-haul flights. It predicted that by 2050 emissions from aviation could wipe out emissions savings made by every other industry combined. Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Oct 2007

bicycle spectacle

Wearing nothing but their causes, 30 naked cyclists hit Newcastle streets yesterday in a very visual protest.

Some found them appalling, others appealing, but whatever the personal impressions of the naturists activists, it was their messages splashed across their brightly painted bodies that gained the most attention.

Newcastle’s staging of the World Naked Bike Ride, dubbed Nudecastle 2008, was a huge success organiser Marte Kinder said. The group protested for environmental accountability, climate change action and anti-war causes.

Clothing was optional with some riders preferring to keep sensitive areas covered, while for others body paint did the trick, organiser Mr Kinder said.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 10 Mar 2008 – screen copy held by this website

ClimateCam is watching you!

big_brother_eyeA huge electronic billboard in the city square telling residents exactly how much greenhouse gas they have produced in the past hour. Sounds a little futuristic? Not if you live in Newcastle.

ClimateCam, the world’s first greenhouse gas speedometer, displays electricity consumption information collected from the 15 substations that supply homes and businesses in the Newcastle local government area. The council now believes Newcastle has been established as an international testing ground for climate solutions.

“We realise that the climate change issue is just so big and we are so, in Australia, far behind the rest of the world that we need to move very, very quickly if we’re going to catch up and have access to the huge economic opportunity that we foresee is coming with the implementation of climate solutions,” city energy and resource manager of Newcastle City Council, Peter Dormand says.
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Oct 2007

saving the planet, one snip at a time!

scissorsSaving the planet one house at a time. Geoff Strong meets four families doing their bit.

While the world has argued in Bali about how to stem climate change, back home ordinary people are making adjustments to ordinary lives. Some have cut back on eletricity use with more efficient appliances and insulation.

But in response to questions from the Age about how householders are stemming water use and greenhouse gas production, one of the most forthright came from the mother of a family of six: “What we did to save the environment was – my husband had a vasectomy.”
The Age (Australia), 17 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

less fish

Climate change is likely to hit supplies of many of Australia’s favourite eating fish, including barramundi, salmon, rock lobster and prawns, the most extensive study on the subject yet undertaken by the Federal Government has warned.

The CSIRO study, commissioned by the Department of Climate Change and to be released today, reports the overall impact of global change “will pose some very significant risks to the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in Australia”.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, said the report, a preliminary assessment of the challenges posed by climate change, found it was likely to affect the fishing industry, as well as the regional and coastal communities the industry supports.

Senator Wong said the report was another reminder of the need to tackle climate change through reducing carbon pollution.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Oct 2008

extinction crisis

The world is facing an animal extinction crisis, with Australia a key culprit, the largest assessment of biodiversity ever undertaken shows.

One in five Australian mammal species is in danger of dying out, the highest proportion of any developed country, the global survey of more than 44,000 animal and plant species found.

“Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live,” the organisation’s director general, Julia Marton-Lefevre said.

“Loss of habitat, over-population, hunting and poaching, as well as the effects of climate change, are all placing pressure on the world’s animals,” WWF Australia’s director of conservation, Dr Ray Nias said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 7 Oct 2008 – screen copy held by this website

see also – just plain scary

democracy on hold

I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change, said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November.

“The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is “modern democracy”, he added.

“Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

The Guardian, 29 Mar 2010

see also – action plan

new finding – planets that don’t have a United Nations will not survive!

Climate change in extraterrestrial environments is inevitable and, should life on hypothetically habitable worlds not act as a stabilizer for their environments, it serves as a “sell-by” date for all burgeoning lifeforms.

In new research published in the journal Astrobiology, astronomers of The Australian National University (ANU) pondered this scenario and realized that young habitable planets can become unstable very quickly. What once was a life-giving oasis becomes a hellish hothouse or frozen wasteland very quickly.

“The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens,” said Aditya Chopra, lead author of the paper. “Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive.”

“Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable,” he said.
Discovery.com, 21 Jan 2016

thanks to ddh

US forests defy United Nations!

Highlights

  • We review information on US forest health in response to climate change.
  • We found that trees are tolerant of rising temperatures and have responded to rising carbon dioxide.
  • No long-term trends in US drought have been found in the literature.
  • CO2 tends to inhibit forest pests and pathogens.
  • Projections of forest response to climate change are highly variable.

“Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change” by Craig Loehlea, Craig Idsob, T. Bently Wigleyc, Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 363, 1 March 2016, Pages 179–189

thanks to ddh

fly less!

Aircraft emissions are seen as one of the principal causes of global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, aviation causes 3.5 per cent of man-made global warming. This could rise to 15 per cent by 2050 as the number of low-cost flights in Europe and Asia continues to increase.
The Telegraph (UK), 19 Nov 2005