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.