Tagged: climate change

Six-and-a-half billion reasons to be cheerful

BERLIN - JANUARY 23: A snowman is pictured wit...

Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, believes that eco-catastrophists are wrong about humans and our impact on the planet. (spiked) Do you find this argument believable? I think that arguing from precedent that we can be sanguine about global warming is a straw man argument. Spiked‘s ‘don’t worry be happy’ polemics are tiresomely undiscriminating.

Fungal Disease Spreads Through Pacific Northwest

C. gatti“Climate change may be responsible for the spread of a virulent new strain of a mysterious fungal disease. First found on Vancouver Island, B.C., 11 years ago, Cryptococcus gattii is spreading south through Washington and Oregon, and several dozen people have died.” (NPR)

The Mystery of the Missing Sea Lions Is Solved!

Anyone who has ever visited San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf has probably hung out with the sea lions of Pier 39, who first appeared after the 1989 earthquake. You should have heard by now about their recent mysterious mass departure, which had left some speculating that they had some sixth sense about an impending disaster such as another major quake. Now, it appears, it has been determined that there is a simpler explanation. In this El Nino season, they have simply gone after their shifting food source. (SFist) This is not to say, it seems to me, that they are not canaries in a coalmine with respect to a different sort of impending disaster, climate change.

‘The most inconvenient truth of all’

Brazilian Indigenous chiefs of the Kayapo trib...
Brazilian indigenous chiefs of the Kayapo tribe

“Measures to stop global warming risk being as harmful to tribal peoples as climate change itself, according to a new report from Survival.

The report, ‘The most inconvenient truth of all: climate change and indigenous people’, sets out four key ‘mitigation measures’ that threaten tribal people:

1. Biofuels: promoted as an alernative, ‘green’ source of energy to fossil fuels, much of the land allocated to grow them is the ancestral land of tribal people. If biofuels expansion continues as planned, millions of indigenous people worldwide stand to lose their land and livelihoods.

2. Hydro-electric power: A new boom in dam construction in the name of combating climate change is driving thousands of tribal people from their homes.

3. Forest conservation: Kenya’s Ogiek hunter-gatherers are being forced from the forests they have lived in for hundreds of years to ‘reverse the ravages’ of global warming.

4. Carbon offsetting: Tribal peoples’ forests now have a monetary value in the booming ‘carbon credits’ market. Indigenous people say this will lead to forced evictions and the ‘theft of our land’.” (Survival International)

Has global warming in the Arctic reached a ‘tipping point’?

An icebreaker navigates through young (1 year ...

“Computer models have long predicted that decreasing sea ice should amplify temperature changes in the northern polar region.

Julienne Stroeve, from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union that this process was under way.”

via BBC.

Plan for new Maldives homeland

Location of Maldives

“The president-elect of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, says he wants to buy a new homeland for his people.

He says that the gradual rise in sea levels caused by global warming means the Maldives islanders may eventually be forced to resettle elsewhere.

The Maldives is the lowest nation in the world. Its highest land is little more than two metres above sea level.

The United Nations estimates that sea levels may rise globally by nearly 60 centimetres this century.” (BBC)

Bird populations in crisis throughout the world

Double-crested Cormorant -- Humber Bay Park (T...Catastrophic fall in numbers: 45 per cent of common European birds are declining; resident Australian wading birds have seen population losses of 81 per cent in the same period; twenty common North American birds have more than halved in number in the last four decades…

“The report, released today with an accompanying website at the BirdLife World Conservation Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, identifies many key global threats, including the intensification of industrial-scale agriculture and fishing, the spread of invasive species, logging, and the replacement of natural forest with monocultural plantations. It goes on to suggest that in the long term, human-induced climate change may be the most serious stress.”

(Independent.UK)

Don’t mention polar bears, Bush tells US scientists

“The Bush Administration has been accused once again of gagging US government scientists by getting them to agree not to talk about polar bears, sea ice and climate change during official overseas trips.

A leaked memorandum issued by a regional director of the US Department of the Interior states that officials within the US Fish and Wildlife Service will limit their discussions when travelling in countries bordering the Arctic region because of sensitivities about climate change.” (Independent.UK)