children in Baghdad 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

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

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

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