Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Washington deluge 'predicted' as first sign of global warming

In an eery coincidence Kim Stanley Robinson, a science-fiction writer predicts in 2003 that a sustained Washington downpour will be the first sign of artificially global climate change. Via :::[Carbon Planet]

...sometime in the near future, a gigantic moisture-thick "stalled front" hangs over Washington for many days. Downpours come continuously, and eventually the city floods. Robinson, who is well-versed in science literature and whose fiction is often praised in technical publications, felt that sustained downpours, not melting ice, would be the first harbinger of artificially induced climate change. And a sustained downpour - worst than the Great Storm of 1871, previously the city's worst-ever - is ongoing in Washington at this writing.
The novel he predicted it in is called Forty Signs of Rain.

Other posts about the Washington deluge:
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Canadian climate denial sponsored by ExxonMobil

One of the scientists lending his credential to the badly misnamed 'Friends of Science' ( is Tim Patterson. Friends of Science is an organisation heavily engaged in global warming denial and one of the 'friends', Tim Patterson, turns out to work closely with the ExxonMobil via Tech Central Science Foundation. To find out more plug his name into the Exxon Secrets database. :::[].

I have a suggestion for these sorts of pseudo scientific organisations whose only real reason for being seems to be to cover big fossil fuel's polluting agenda; if they have any specific scientific proof that mankind is not causing global warming, then let them publish it in peer reviewed scientific journals. Throw their ideas into the ring and let them slog it out in a Darwinian struggle. If they survive the mauling by our best and brightest, then the public can at least have confidence in the veracity of 'scientific' claims that mankind is not responsible for global warming. Otherwise, it is simply confusing the message in public, and this is irresponsible and cowardly.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Could US energy politics go Category Five?

At some point time in time, most likely soon, you are going to see something happen that will be big enough to snap the ordinary American right out of their climate change complacency.

It may not just be one big event, it could be a confluence of a number of different events. Perhaps a harbinger of this is when journalists start to regularly use extreme weather metaphors to describe politics and industry. Raymond Learsy of the Huffington Post believes he sees a perfect storm brewing over energy.
:::[A Perfect Storm Is Developing Around Energy Policy: Friedman On TV, Gore In Our Gut]

The speculation about Gore's political ambitions are flying fast and furious. But regardless of whether Gore decides to run again, I sense that something akin to the perfect storm is developing on the issue of energy policy. With $3-a-gallon (and rising) gasoline, an emerging consensus that global warming is real, and a growing sense that Big Oil's hand-in-glove relationship with the administration and Congress harms the average American citizen, Al Gore's return to the public stage may be the critical spark that finally lights a fire under the American electorate.

And yesterday Bill Blakemore of ABCNews announced he also believes he detects a perfect storm in the making. It seems an elm tree has been uprooted and has fallen across the driveway of the White house by a literal storm, and this has served to focus the so called "debate" on global warming. :::[A Perfect Storm Descends Upon The Nations Capital]

June 26, 2006: A perfect storm of drenching rain, irony, political rancor, public fear and - at the last minute like a fierce stroke of lightning - word from the highest court in the land, descended on the nation's capital today.

This storm - pulling in many parts of the global warming emergency - also broke through the White House perimeters and helped bring down a century-old elm tree, laying it across the driveway.

It seems even Mother Nature is not adverse to using the odd bitingly ironic metaphor to make her point. Denying access to and from the White House by use of an uprooted elm (possibly planted by a significant American in the good old days of 'for the people, by the people') until the U.S. Supreme Court announces that it will indeed hear the case brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the grounds that it should have regulated carbon dioxide emissions in order to combat global warming.

How poetic and pithy a protest is that?

Not quite as poetic as the license George W Bush takes with the truth when he holds that there is a scientific global warming debate on whether global warming is man-made or natural. In what is a departure from the way US media generally cover global warming and politics, Blakemore takes the President to task for propagating propaganda:

"I have said consistently," answered Bush, "that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary...… to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil"

The President - as far as the extensive and repeated researches of this and many other professional journalists, as well as all scientists credible on this subject, can find - is wrong on one crucial and no doubt explosive issue. When he said -— as he also did a few weeks ago - that "There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused" - well, there really is no such debate.

At least none above what is proverbially called "the flat earth society" level.

Not one scientist of any credibility on this subject has presented any evidence for some years now that counters the massive and repeated evidence - gathered over decades and come at in dozens of ways by all kinds of professional scientists around the world - that the burning of fossil fuels is raising the world's average temperature.

Or that counters the findings that the burning of these fuels is doing so in a way that is very dangerous for mankind, that will almost certainly bring increasingly devastating effects in the coming decades.

I grew up in a county subject to big thunder storms, every summer day at 3:00pm for 15 minutes the rapidly darkened heavens would open up on an otherwise sunny sky. On occasion one got a sense during the build up of the storm that it was going to be a much bigger one than usual. You could smell the electricity in the air, taste it in your mouth (tastes like blood), and feel the beginnings of a tingle on the back of your neck. And you just knew you were in for one serious doozy.

That's kind of how it feels now, but on a global dimension.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ski slope has global warming covered.

Two and a half thousand square metres of the Andermatt Swiss ski resort, next to the Gurschen glacier in central Switzerland was wrapped with white reflective sheeting to protect it from global warming in May: :::[CBC Canada]

Nearly 4 mm thick, the cover is made from synthetic fibres that protect the snow from ultraviolet radiation.

It was laid out on Tuesday by employees of Andermatt Gotthard Sportbahnen, the company that operates ski lifts at the resort.

The company said it took the step because employees had watched the glacier recede 20 metres from one of its lift stations in only 15 years.

Global Warming Watch are not in it to say we told you so, but our prescience is spooky: :::[Day after tomorrow? It's a wrap.]

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Cowards corner: where science and politics converge

On a bloggers conference call this afternoon, Faiz of Think Progress asked Al Gore for a response to the claims by global warming skeptics denying the clear link between global warming and man-made greenhouse gas clearly established by the US National Academy of Sciences report on global warming: :::[Think Progress]

"human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming."

National Research Council
National Academy of Sciences
One skeptic in question was the Electrcity Daily. The sparkies rag claimed the NAS report cast "serious doubts on the conventional scientific wisdom of man-made climate warming" and that "Those who argue that solar activity drives global climate, not CO2, will take heart." The Electricy Daily readership must be invested in coal, right up to their eyeballs. A swipe was also taken at Al Gore. His documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" must be biting.

He provided an insight into what happens when science becomes politicised:

He said that global warming skeptics "will seize on anything to say up is down and black is white." Gore explained that science, by nature, thrives on uncertainty and tries to eliminate it; politics, on the other hand, is vulnerable to being paralyzed by uncertainty. When science and politics converge, Gore argued, the chance for "cowardice is high."

Cut though? Yes. Charged? Definately. Contoversial? Surely. But is he giving us a perspicacious grasp, or was he proffering a mere media grab? Is it cowardice for a politician to uphold a lie on behalf of special interest constituents at the expense of the greater community? Gore may have had the other skeptic Faiz referrs to, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), in his sights on that one. Inhofe claimed that, "Today's NAS report reaffirms what I have been saying all along, that Mann's 'hockey stick' is broken."

That is not the way the BBC reports it though: :::[BBC]

The new report, carried out by a panel of the US-based National Research Council (NRC), largely vindicates the researchers' [Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes] work, first published in 1998.

I think Gore is right. It is clear cowardice not to tell to the truth, more so for narrow political gain. You shouldn't have to think too deeply about that one, but what is galling is that the rest of us, and those who come after us, will pick up the tab for listening to this sort of gutlessness. The longer we listen, the bigger the tab will be.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

World map of renewable energy distribution

Want to know what the world will look like post oil and coal? This groovy little flash program shows how far some countries are on their way to renewable energy independance, and also shows the distribution of regions rich in renewable 'natural assets'. Brazil grows 40% of its motor car fuel as sugarcane ethanol. In Iceland, 93% of homes are powered by geothermal electricity. :::[Popular Science]

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Turn global warming off: "You control climate change" campaign

The "Tune in. Turn on. Drop Out" chant of the 60s ain't going to cut it in the mid-noughties era of global warming. Today, in the EU, it is "Turn down. Switch off. Recycle. Walk."

Households directly contribute about 16 percent of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is in direct control of householders, and to illustrate the point for the public.advertisements carrying the globe with a thermostat control are spearheading a
new advertising awareness campaign launched by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas in Brussels on 31 May. The slogan is: Turn down. Switch off. Recycle. Walk. You couldn't get a more elegant piece of communication, it's so simple, anyone can turn a dial. But what is more powerful is the empowerment it gives the average punter. If you and I can control up to 16% of greenhouse gas emissions, and offset the rest, we can have a significant control over the impact of climate change on our future. Making things 16% less worse for ourselves is a good thing. It makes it worth doing something about global warming, and it is this point that will allow Joe Punter to come out of understandable global warming denial to take really stock of the situation. And then make a plan. :::[Expatica]

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Seeds need to survive global warming if we are to.

While the US and Australia continue to contend that there is nothing wrong with global warming that can't be fixed by some future technology, the industrious Norwegians and others are squirreling away nuts. :::[SMH]

ON A Norwegian island 1000 kilometres from the North Pole, a consortium of nations is beginning work on a super-safe repository for "the world's most precious asset": its seeds.

When the chilled vault is completely installed in the permafrost and above the tsunami line some time next year, more than 1 million samples of agricultural seed, from apples to Zinfandel grapes, will be brought to the "seed bank of last resort".

It will be fifty metres long and five metres wide, lined with the hardest of prestressed concrete, and is to be bored into the side of a mountain on the island of Spitsbergen above the village of Longyearbyen. It is vertically high enough to survive sea level rise and tsunami, high enough in lattitude for the temperature to remain insulated from heat for "month, even years" should power fail. Dr Cary Fowler, executive director of the Rome-based Global Crop Diversity Trust, which will manage the repository, said the seeds are, "beyond value, and I don't think anyone can imagine realistic solutions to problems like climate change, water shortage or energy shortage without a system of agriculture that can adapt and change."

Learn more about: :::[Global Crop Diversity Trust]

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Flat Earth Theory #4: Dreaded global cooling didn't happen.

I enjoy coming across devotees of Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist" as they are thinner on the ground these days than a few years back, most not surviving the Darwinian rigours of peer-reviewed science except in protected, unscientific niches. For those who don't know Bjørn Lomborg, he is able to wave away the entire science of climatology and it's consensus on AGW with his particular brand of magic, that being political science. Joe Duck, a blogger is impressed:

What consistently impresses me the most about Lomborg is his willingness to take on his critics point by point, addressing their concerns with citations and what only appear to be legitimate personal criticisms. (Such as noting that climatologist Schneider used to warn about potentially catastrophic global cooling but now warns of potentially catastrophic global warming).

Well Joe, this one is a sitting duck. Perhaps Lomberg should have pointed out that the proponents of global cooling in the '70s remain scientifically valid today; if the atmosphere had not been cleaned up by successful initiatives as the Clean Air Act and similar ones in Europe, then indeed we would have hit an enormous ramification of global cooling. Same with the ozone hole, it would be bigger and damaging had we not banned CFC's.

Your argument (or rather Lomborg's) goes something like this:

First guy to second: "Mate, you are sitting on a train track, hate to point out the obvious, but if you don't get out of the way you are going to get killed!"

Second guy, as he steps off railway track: "Greenie, hippy, communist, wealth-stealer, you want to take my money and give it to the third world. Al-Gore-for-president freak you are, that's almost a religions belief you are professing, you chicken little alarmist nut."


First guy: "Wow, good thing that train just missed you... "

Second guy: ".... and I am alive! Just shows you just how wrong you were in the first place! Why should I ever believe you again?"

First guy opens mouth. Closes it. Opens mouth again: "Actually, please don't."
Learn more: :::[Wikipedia/Lomborg]

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Grow your own organs in 10 years.

In what must be the penultimate act of self-sustainability a home grown Aussie science breakthrough has us shortly being able to replace our failing organs by growing them. Just in time too I reckon. Could this be our way out of the consequences of global warming? Since we can't prevent Gaia's organs from collapsing, can we regenerate our own to deal with rapid environmental change. :::[Wikipedia/climate surprise].

Is this a kick along for nuclear? If we can replace radioactive body parts with our own, non-rejectable body parts who cares where we place the nuclear power plants? If your neighbourhood finds it's supprise host to them then just order up complete organ redundancy. The nuclear plant will take 13 years to build, it will only take 10 years to completely regenerate lungs... that's three years of breathing space. Nuclear debate over.

Prime Minister John Howard's original future technology fix to the current problem of global warming has nothing on this little beauty. You read it first on Global Warming Watch.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Global warming solution is to free the market.

I believe the solution to global warming is going to be a free-market based one, which is why I am linking to this article. But first I want to tell you what I think.

Just as democracy operates best with an informed populace, so the free-market operates best with fully informed consumers. However we don't have a free market, and symptomatic of this is the unprecedented global warming that we are experiencing. The carbon cycle is out of kilter, with a build-up in the atmosphere trapping more heat than is reflected back into space, slowly heating the globe.

The reason why carbon is bottlenecking in the atmosphere is that we pump it up there, as a gasseous by-product of anciently sunk carbon dioxide, the fossil fuel energy we now use. Consumers have imperfect information about this, and it's effects when they fill up at the pump. They don't know that it was sunk for a good reason. Not because the knowledge is not there, it's been out there since 1988, but because it has been distorted by the purveyors of fossil fuels.

This hasn't been helped by our free-market economics theories and practices that seek to increase their margins by externalising costs of goods: :::[Planet Ark]

OSLO - The world must lay to rest a "myth" that protecting the environment harms economic growth, the new head of the UN Environment Programme said on Thursday.

Achim Steiner, a 45-year-old German, said he would seek to involve consumers, governments, businesses and activists in developing new economic mechanisms to protect the planet from threats ranging from climate change to pollution.

"Care for the environment is often portrayed as detrimental to economic growth," he told on his first day as head of the United Nations' top environment body.

"We hope to lay that myth to rest in the 21st century," he said by telephone from UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, setting out priorities for a four-year term.

Most conventional economic theory places no value on natural phenomena such as the coastline protection given by coral reefs or forests' role in absorbing heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

Steiner said a shift was needed to recognise the "enormous wealth of nature's services" underpinning all life on earth. In turn, that would show that environmental protection is a condition for economies to survive and thrive in the long term.

"We have to get environmental concerns into the mainstream of economics... to include what we are consuming and destroying," he said.

The article goes on to talk about how carbon trading places commercial activity in an economic system that recognises the fine business sense in keeping our common natural capital in good working order. If vigorous free market competition was happening within this framework then we would have the formula for species longevity. If one of us cuts corners to accumulate wealth, sell of a bit of the proverbial farm and the rest of us down the river, we are all ultimately poorer for it. We need economic thinking that has us as stewards of the planet, rather than masters of it. The reward is that we become masters of our destiny. The planet is like that.

Learn more about carbon trading: :::[Carbon Planet]

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Earth to climate model science: don't forget the permafrost!

Take a frozen meat and vege dinner out of your freezer, leave it and in a few days it rots, releasing carbon dioxide as bacteria breaks thawing organic matter down. Now take ancient woolly mammoth bones and grasslands locked in a million-square-kilometre stretch of Siberian permafrost, raise the global average temperature by one degree celcius over 100 years and it rots, releasing carbon dioxide as bacteria breaks thawing organic matter down. This analogy is provided by University of Florida botany professor, Ted Schuur, who with colleagues published a report in yesterday's issue of Science journal. :::[SMH]

... while other global warming researchers were factoring carbon reserves in the ocean, and in current soils and vegetation on the earth into their calculations, they had overlooked vast amounts of carbon trapped in permafrost in the northern plains of Siberia and central Alaska.

If all the permafrost thawed and was released as heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it could nearly double the 730 billion tonnes of carbon now in the atmosphere, the scientists said.

Carbon stored over tens of thousands of years could bubble up from thawed soil in as little as 100 years.

Also in Science journal is a pay per view story on what I can only interpret as the extremes the US Government is prepared to go to to maintain their global warming denialism: :::[]

on 5 June, the U.S. government decided to strip several climate instruments off a suite of polar-orbiting satellites intended to provide the next generation of weather and climate-monitoring data for military, civilian, and scientific users.

Maybe there is a fair enough explanation but this does fit a pattern of previous denial. And take it to new heights.

Learn: :::[Wikipedia/Permafrost]:::[Science Magazine]

Other posts on the thawing permafrost:
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Global warming awareness: even in America

An interesting, more 'real world' comparison to my "Greatest Fears" straw poll. There is movement at the station: :::[Blog For Clean Air]

59% [of Americans] say climate change warrants "some action" or "immediate" steps, up from 51% in 1999
Wall St. Journal/NBC poll

I wondered whether this figure is much lower than for the rest of the world. I googled up a BBC report of the Pew Global Attitudes Project of 17,000 people in 15 countries, including the US, between 31 March and 14 May 2006. :::[BBC]

The survey found concern over bird flu was largely confined to Asia, while two-thirds of people surveyed in each country said they were worried by global warming.

Concern over the greenhouse effect was highest in India and Japan and lowest in the US and China.

The survey interviewed people in China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the US.

Margin of error: two to six percentage points.
Not that much lower; 59% versus 66.6%. The rest of the Pew findings were a bit scalding for the US with respect to the rest of the world's attitudes to them at the moment, and that seems to be about Iraq, but I am sure that some must come from the fact that the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitting nation refuses to engage in meaningful emissions management. If so, a reversal will redeem US's international goodwill, always good for business. Iraq the 'issue' will fade one day, although I'm not brave enough to predict when.

But global warming is only going to get worse.

By showing genuine leadership on climate change now, they won't squander that leadership in generations to come.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Seventy one per cent fear global warming most.

Final results of our first poll, "Greatest Fears", are in. As you can see 71% of readers of Global Warming Watch pick global warming as their greatest fear. I am very pleased to have such an astute audience, and one that hasn't had the frighteners put on them by the war on terror media hype. But that is all this means. The sample is small (n=59) but probably representative (I have had 3,547 unique visits). When the population was 22 the percentage nominating global warming as their greatest fear was 68%. How the poll results would be in the wider world, across a broader selection of people, I am curious about.

Quick question ...Which is your biggest fear?
Global warming71.2%42

Global terror16.9%10

Global pandemic11.9%7

total votes: 59

powered by blogpoll

I am open to suggestions for a new poll. What I currently have in mind is something like "Do you expect to see extreme climate change in your lifetime? Or "What is going to come first? Peak Oil or Rapid Climate Change?

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Global warming consensus solid since 1988

As we have seen with the CEI carbon dioxide commercial, and from other activity, the public understanding of the 'scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming' is subject to an ongoing FUD marketing onslaught with the latest salvo coming from Dr Bob Carter saying there is no such thing. Pity that Carter is funded by ExxonMobil to say these things, or he could be bearing good news. But he is not.

Science Magazine details the scientific consensus on climate change that was first articulated in 1988 when the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme co-established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with the express purpose of evaluating climate science to inform public policy. Their information:

"Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations"

The article further details the chorus of other American scientific bodies with a relevance to climate science who have made statements in support of the conclusion that global warming is man-made:
  • The American Meteorological Society
  • The American Geophysical Union
  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Not only is the consensus firm and conclusive, there is no scientific dissent to the consensus. A study of 928 climate-change scientific abstracts published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 showed no disagreement with the scientific consensus:

The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

Think about it, we've had a solid scientific consensus that we are causing global warming since 1988. How do we explain that to the grandkids? Our inaction can only be excused by action now.

The CEI commercial - 'Carbon dioxide: Some call it pollution. We call it life'.
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Nuclear debate not all hot air: some is radioactive

Two weeks ago John Howard declared that Australia must have a debate on nuclear power. A couple of days later he announced a feasibility study into nuclear power. Then radioactive gas escaped from the Lucas Heights reactor days later. What bad timing for him: :::[SMH]

The accident occurred on Thursday [last week] about 7pm. An internal email from the chief of operations, Ron Cameron, says "a small amount of radioactive noble gases (xenon and krypton) was released through the stack" but this posed no danger.

Accidents happen, I can accept that. A worker was found to be contaminated but got the scrub-down, and I am glad that Lucas Heights just produces isotopes for medicine and not energy. What I can't accept is that it took six days before this was public knowledge.

Sure, the timing of the incident was bad for the Government's political nuclear push, but by not shouldering the responsibility of informing the public immediately the Government loses credibility as responsible participants in the debate. It took the Soviet authorities two days to inform their public about the Chernobyl accident and, granted, we are comparing apples with oranges but any pro-nuclear party seeking plausibility needs to engender confidence they will act in the public interest over political expediency when dealing with any nuclear crises, great or small.
Other posts on the nuclear debate in Australia:
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Polar bears go cannibal as ice melts

In the competition for ever diminishing resources polar bears are turning to cannibalism as longer summers are melting the ice bridges to ringed seal colonies, their natural food source.

Observed Sea Ice 1979Observed Sea Ice 2005

Observed Sea Ice in Sep 1979 Versus 24 Years Later
Source: ACIA 2004:25.

Polar bears are predators, and they do kill each other for population regulation, dominance and reproductive advantage, but they are not known to kill each other for food. :::[SMH]

"During 24 years of research on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea region of northern Alaska and 34 years in northwestern Canada, we have not seen other incidents of polar bears stalking, killing, and eating other polar bears,"
Steven Amstrup
US Geological Survey Alaska Science Centre

A study documenting bears preying on each other for food has been published in Polar Biology.

Researchers in the northern spring of 2004 found more bears in the eastern portion of the Alaska Beaufort Sea to be in poorer condition than bears in areas to the west and north.

Researchers discovered the first kill in January 2004. A male bear had pounced on a den, killed a female and dragged it 75 metres away, where it ate part of the carcass.

Females are about half the size of males.

"In the face of the den's outer wall were deep impressions of where the predatory bear had pounded its forepaws to collapse the den roof, just as polar bears collapse the snow over ringed seal lairs," the paper said.

"From the tracks, it appeared that the predatory bear broke through the roof of the den, held the female in place while inflicting multiple bites to the head and neck. When the den collapsed, two cubs were buried, and suffocated, in the snow rubble."

In April 2004, while following bear footprints on sea ice near Herschel Island, Yukon Territory, scientists discovered the partially eaten carcass of an adult female.

Footprints indicated it had been with a cub.

The male did not follow the cub, indicating it had killed for food instead of breeding.

A few days later, Canadian researchers found the remains of a yearling that had been stalked and killed by a predatory bear, the scientists said.

The Centre for Biological Diversity petitioned the US federal government to list polar bears as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in February 2005. You can find out how it is going here: :::[]

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CO2 counter commercial punches above weight

Chalk up a victory for the little guy (and the horse he rode in on). The Global Warming Watch counter-advertisement to the Exxon Mobil funded, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) produced campaign is listed #1 on Google when you type in the wonderfully generic search term "CO2 commercial".

Don't let them blow her future like that At time of post, the CEI's own ad was listed at #3, behind YouTube's at #2. The CEI receives hundreds and thousands of dollars a year from fossil fuel companies to muddy the message about the science of global warming, so there is some poetic justice in cost-effectively placing ahead of their commercial with just a tvc script. The Google algorithm is based on the number of 'votes', or links, to the page being ranked so thank you to all who voted in the great big Google election and linked me. It a message that the public won't tolerate bad adverting, let alone bad science. For those who haven't read the script, please do, and if you like it, link it. The election is dynamic and you will be helping me maintain my Google ranking for :::[Carbon dioxide spot: They call it an ad, we call it a lie] ahead of CEI's :::[Carbon dioxide: They call it pollution. We call it life] for 'co2 commercial' and improving my ranking for other terms such as 'carbon dioxide commercial', 'carbon dioxide ad' and 'co2 ad'.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bush's secret War on Global Warming Science (sWoGWS)

Climate Change Action's video of the week is a BBC News documentary exploring how the US Republican Administration has systematically muddied the public message to undermine the science of global warming and its role in informing public policy, leaving a pliant and dumbed-down public with no idea of what is just about to hit them.

In what is compared to a Soviet government control of the public narrative the BBC News documentary, "Climate chaos: Bush's climate of fear" is produced by the reputable Panorama program. It's eye-popping:

"It reminds me of the process that occurred in the old Soviet Union where the public is given the information the Government wants them to hear, rather than an honest description of the situation."
Former government official

They report how the censorship regimen was methodically and systematically executed:

" If they could suppress it they would. If they couldn't they would ignore it. If they could edit it they would edit it. "
Rick Piltz, Climate Science Watch
Former government official

It's not news that the Bush Administration censors climate science. Of some interest is how they did it and continue to do it, and I would like to know more about why, but of vital interest is what they have censored. It can't have been insignificant in its implications for us, or what's the point? Tobacco companies spent many billions of dollars over 40 years telling us there was nothing wrong with smoking when they knew the truth themselves. Now cigarette packets carry lovely pictures of gangrenous feet, and advanced lips and gum tissue necrosis, and the like. My solution was to finally give up smoking so I don't have to look at the packets. My question is, how long will it be before we have to suffer the indignity of filling up at a fuel pump carrying dramatic pictures of hurricane damage, or mabe even a nice video clip to watch while refueling, and emblazoned in bold: "The Climate Change Management Authority strongly recommends you walk, or cycle, or take the horse and buggy."?

Have they painted themselves into a corner though? As the realisation of a massive conspiracy dawns on the greater public, will there be a rebound Da Vinci Code like taxpayer quest to find out just what they should have been knowing for their money, the occulted and occluded honest description of the situation? Is this the boost that eco-trourism needed; will the "We're right over the exact position of the North Pole" photo become a new cliche in time?

Hyperbole, you say?

My answer to that is that it's still not that long ago that we can't remember when the notion that a government would conspire to withhold knowledge about an approaching global catastrophe would seem like crazy out there Marvel Comics material.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Global warming? Bring it on if you breed quickly.

The meek on global warming shall not inherit the earth.

If God's creatures, small, are anything to go by it looks like that honour may go to the lustful and libidinous, the lubricious and licentious. Or rather the reproductively rapid.

The recent discovery that some species of animals are evolving to adapt to rapid climate change within just a few generations gives us an idea of who or what may be left on board when our 21st century Noah's ark, what I call the planet, comes to metaphorical rest once our carbon dioxide levels stabilise and/or subside: :::[The Independent]

Smaller animals in particular that can breed quickly, such as squirrels, some birds and insects, are showing signs of evolving new patterns of behaviour to increase their chances of survival. Scientists say that many of the genetic adaptations are to cope with changes in the length of the seasons rather than the absolute increases in summer temperatures.

Larger animals and species that are slow to reproduce may on the other hand find it difficult to cope with climate change because they cannot adapt genetically as quickly as smaller, more fertile creatures that have rapid life cycles.

Christina Holzapfel, from the University of Oregon in Eugene says that, "Studies show that over the past several decades, rapid climate change has led to heritable, genetic changes in animal populations.". The Canadian red squirrel is reproducing earlier in the year, German blackcap birds migrate and arrive earlier at their nesting grounds and even northern American mosquitoes are adjusting their lifecycles to shorter days.

In the past it has been noted that animal species are extending their ranges by migrating north (and presumably south) to higher latitudes where global warming is causing longer growing seasons at a faster rate than towards the equator. This has been called 'phenotypic plasticity', or the ability of individuals to modify their behaviour, morphology or physiology in response to altered environmental conditions, but what we are also witnessing is heritable genetic adaptations to changing seasons.

So where does that leave us humans? Mice can outbreed us by a factor of 10,000 to 1. If we don't want the squeak to inherit the earth, if we don't want to say hello to the unicorn, we need to act now to change climate change.


Other posts of global warming animal adaption and non-adaption:
  • Frisky lizards in climate change warning.
    The blue-tongue lizards of my home state are now mating early as mother nature sings out that the climes they are a-changing.
  • Natures climate change canary cooking.
  • The only way is up for the American Pika as it seeks to adjust to global warming. Very sensitive to hot temperatures, their 1200 years migration from the great American plains has found them in alpine terrain
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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Global warming worse than 9/11 terror attacks

In what is bound to raise controversy, Australian actor Jack Thompson claims that global warming is a far greater atrocity than the September 11 terror attacks and the nuclear bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined. :::[Sunday Telegraph].

Thompson, who will today address a Melbourne rally on the eve of World Environment Day, said measurably more people were affected by global warming than by the three catastrophic events.

"That is not to diminish what happened on 9/11. That is probably the most awful and spectacular incident in my life since Nagasaki and Hiroshima," he said.

"But Hiroshima, Nagasaki and 9/11 all together, when you look at the meltdown of the Greenland ice-cap and the flow-on of that alone, the numbers of people affected, it is measurably more."

The death toll from Nagasaki and Hiroshima was probably more than 100,000, possibly exceeding 200,000 within five years of the World War II bombings. An estimated 3,000 people died as a result of the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Put that way you can see at a glance he is spot on with his observation. In a single event the global warming grim reaper has already harvested 50,000 souls in the European heat wave of 2003. That's 9/11's death toll knocked out of contention right there although some say that Hurricane Katrina did that job with 6,600 people missing or presumed dead. A US study
by Dr Laurence Kalkstein is currently underway to explore what would happen if a similar pattern of an abnormal heatwave occurs in the US. :::[Climate Change Action].

This project is currently still in its early stages but one thing is clear, the death toll, without investment in preparation, could be similarly large.

The first projections for NYC showed that temperatures would reach up to 116F (a blistering 46.6 degrees celcius) and continue for 11 days with little respite at night. It is not hard to believe that an anthropogenic American heatwave may be imminent (on a geologic timescale) and, if the US doesn't learn from the European 2003 tragedy (which is unlikely given its current leadership's response to the predicted and anticipated Hurricane Katrina) it is not hard to believe that similar numbers of people will die.

There goes Nagasaki.

Europe 2006, and US 200? are both examples of first world heatwave scenarios. The European heatwave also resulted in massive crop failures: :::[Wikipedia]

The following shortfalls in wheat harvest occurred as a result of the long drought.

  • France - 20%
  • Italy - 13%
  • United Kingdom - 12%
  • Ukraine - 75%
  • Moldova - 80%

Many other countries had shortfalls of 5-10%, and the EU total production was down by 10 million tonnes, or 10%.

If similarly caused and equivalent crop failures had happened in a third world subsistence region one can imagine that tens of hundreds of thousands of people would die. Without evasive action, it is just a matter of time; a ticking bomb.

There goes Hiroshima.

Like Jack Thompson I don't mean to trivialise 9/11 or the dropping of the atomic bombs. I've been to Hiroshima, seen the epicentre wireframe of the only building left standing and was very much moved by the visit (as I imagine I would be visiting the 9/11 site). But, consider the fact that the European heatwave of 2003 was a consequence of greenhouse gasses of 40 to 50 years ago, and that we still have another 40 to 50 years of mankind emitted carbon dioxide left in our atmospheric pipeline to get through even if we stopped all emissions now. And consider that I have only used deaths attributable to heatwaves for my speculation, and not the millions of deaths that are predicted for the next 20 years in a secret study by the Pentagon. Not the deaths from the spread of malaria, Denge river fever, and the Nile virus as tropical diseases increase their ranges into heavily populated areas. Not the deaths from the resource wars as we all fight for the last remaining oil, coal,uranium and water. Not from the mega-droughts, famine and world widespread rioting the Pentagon predicts in its report.

While Thompson's reference to 9/11, Nagasaki and Hiroshima initially generated surprise for me, thinking it through I can see that his is a fair call. If global warming continues unabated much longer then 9/11, Nagasaki and Hiroshima will just be foothill base camps in the Everest of man-made catastrophes.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

A Convenient Marketing Truth

"An Inconvenient Truth" is a model of modern marketing case study in the making according to Rohit Bhargava of Influential Interactive Marketing. He breaks down his reasons for the eadvocacy campaign's success to come: :::[The Marketing of "An Inconvenient Truth"]
  1. The online pledge
  2. The parter email outreach
  3. High impact online advertising
  4. The personal and custom content
  5. Email reminders
I am happy to promote the documentary:

And there are thousands of us. All it takes to turn a documentary viewer into a candidate for Bhargava's eadvocacy is the dropping of a simple link to :::[] in a comments section, or even the reader's own blog.

The first weekend box office results are in:

The final box office for the 4-day Memorial Day weekend was $367,311 in only four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The per screen average was a record-breaking $91,827. Total box office to date in the first 6 days is $490,860.

An Inconvenient Truth expands in New York and Los Angeles this Friday (6/2) and opens in select theaters in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Toronto and Washington D.C.

So if any of you live in any of the above cities get onto the website where you can pledge to be at the opening.

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