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.
“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)
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.
“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)
Rising sea levels due to global warming threaten to submerge the entirety of the low-lying Maldives. The island nation’s president considers relocating the entire nation’s population. (New York Times Magazine).
“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.”
“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)
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…
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)