"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Archive for October, 2016|Monthly archive page

401.77: We Just Entered An Alarming ‘New Era’ Of Global Warming – Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations At Highest In Last 15 Million Years

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2016 at 7:36 pm
1

800,000-year history of carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere, showing the recent spike. Image: Scripps institution of oceanography/mashable

Oldspeak:The rate at which greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are accumulating in the air guarantees that growing impacts from climate change, ranging from rising sea levels to hotter heat waves and ocean acidification, will continue to occur and in fact worsen in coming decades.” Yeah. So that’s happening too. Another blaring alarm, largely ignored. Never mind that it has “profound consequences for everyone alive today.” We have made the arrogant and ignoble mistake of assigning greater importance to our human-created systems & less importance to the natural ecology upon which we depend for survival. That mistake will likely be fatal. Though I suspect 350.org and their greenwashed non-profit industrial complex ilk, will continue passionately rallying the “protest” troops and raising funds until we fucking choke on our toxic exhaust. “-OSJ

Written By Andrew Freedman @ Mashable:

The Earth permanently passed a global warming threshold last year that alarms climate scientists and has profound consequences for everyone alive today — particularly young people looking forward to the future.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), observatories around the world found that in 2015 and 2016, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere crossed the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm), and that this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.

This is the highest level ever seen in all of human history and is 144 percent higher than the pre-industrial average. Such a high level is also very likely the highest on record going back to between 800,000 and 15 million years ago, based on various studies.

For perspective, scientists have found that previous periods with similar carbon dioxide levels — all of which occurred before modern humans evolved — had far higher global average temperatures and sea levels than today. In some cases, such periods had global average sea levels of 100 feet higher than today.

Many scientists think that avoiding dangerous climate change will require getting carbon dioxide concentrations down to 350 parts per million, which will require massive emissions cuts and new technologies to push annual emissions into negative numbers.

While the planet was flirting with the 400 ppm mark on a month-to-month basis at some observatories, it had not yet breached the line worldwide for an entire year until 2015, the WMO found in a report released Monday.

The rate at which greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are accumulating in the air guarantees that growing impacts from climate change, ranging from rising sea levels to hotter heat waves and ocean acidification, will continue to occur and in fact worsen in coming decades.

Carbon dioxide levels in 2016, with various emissions scenarios projected through 2100.Carbon dioxide levels in 2016, with various emissions scenarios projected through 2100.

Image: Climate Central

 

This is in part because carbon dioxide can last in the air for thousands of years, which is why environmental advocates and policymakers say we only have one to two decades at most to act before an unsafe amount of climate change is essentially baked into the climate system.

The WMO report found there was a nearly 40 percent increase in the warming effect on our climate (technically known as “radiative forcing”) between 1990 and 2015, due to the increase in greenhouse gases in the air.

Scientists at the greenhouse gas monitoring station high atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii have said that carbon dioxide levels will not dip below 400 ppm for many generations, according to a WMO press release on Monday.

“The year 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris climate change agreement. But it will also make history as marking a new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement.

In fact, last year saw the largest annual spike in greenhouse gas concentrations on record.

Part of this sharp annual uptick is due to the strong 2015-16 El Niño event, which caused droughts in tropical areas that normally absorb carbon as so-called “sinks.”

Drier than average weather in such areas, including Indonesia, reduced the ability of tropical forests to suck up as much carbon dioxide as they usually do, and increased the occurrence of forest fires that release carbon dioxide into the air.

“The El Niño event has disappeared,”  Taalas said. “Climate change has not.”

 

Advertisements

Scientist:”Climate change is outpacing our ability to adapt food production; In some areas, urgent action is required.”- Wheat, Corn, Rice, Sorghum, Oats, Rye, Barley & Many Other Plants That Underwrite Human Survival Cannot Adapt To Rapid Changes

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2016 at 6:17 pm
1

The glaring sun beats down on a field of wheat. Image: Rick via Flickr

Oldspeak: “New study shows that the speed of climate change is now much too great for grassland species of vital food crops to adapt and survive.”  Yet another blaring alarm bell. Largely ignored. Humanity’s staple crops will in short order no longer grow on this planet. With food demand expected to increase 60% to feed our rabbit like breeding populace, this is not good kids. We’re fucked.” -OSJ

Written By Tim Radford @ Climate News Network:

LONDON, 5 October, 2016 – Climate change is happening faster than many species can adapt to − and climate is changing between 3,000 and 20,000 times faster than many grassland species can respond.

Since the grass family includes wheat, corn, rice, sorghum, oats, rye, barley and many other plants that underwrite human survival, this is serious news.

Although the new research by scientists in the US does not directly address the future of food in a globally warming world, the researchers say their finding has “troubling” implications.

They report in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters that they concentrated their research on the family Poaceae, otherwise known as the grasses.

Creatures subjected to climatic change face only three outcomes: they can relocate uphill or nearer the poles as the temperatures rise; they can evolve to meet the new conditions; or they can go extinct.

Niche climate

So John Wiens, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and colleagues from the University of Arizona looked at the options open to species that occupy a specific climatic niche.

Just as global climates can change, so can niche climates. But could they change at the same rate?

The lesson from the vertebrate world is that climate is changing 100,000 times faster than animal niches change, but vertebrates have legs or fins − so they can shift their ground.

The Arizona team looked at pairs of sister species in the grass family, selecting 236 from nine subfamilies of the grasses, representing 95 separate genera. They constructed a phylogenetic tree to see how closely related the species were, calculated their evolutionary age, and then calculated the rate of change of the niches they occupy.

They then looked at simulations for 32 possible climate scenarios for rates of projected climate change by 2070 and found that, overall, niche temperatures can vary by between 1°C and 8°C and rainfall by 200 to 600 mm in the course of a million years.

“ Climate change is outpacing our ability to adapt food
production. In some areas, urgent action is required ”

But rates of global climate change are going to be much faster − “suggesting that extinctions might occur in many species and/or local populations,” they write. “This has several troubling implications, for both global biodiversity and human welfare.”

Other scientists warned last month that climate change would affect yields in many parts of the world, with as usual the greatest cost imposed upon the poorest people. The Arizona study uses a different approach to come to the same conclusion.

Put bluntly, all flesh is grass, because all carnivores depend on herbivores and herbivores depend on grass.

Humans gain at least 49% of their calories directly from the cereals developed from wild grasses, and – since all the domesticated species have a more limited genetic inheritance than their wild ancestors – evolutionary adaptation seems unlikely. Wild varieties, too, could be endangered by climate change.

“Even local declines may be devastating for some human populations,” the Arizona scientists warn. “Strong reductions in crop yields are already predicted.”

Andrew Challinor, professor of climate impacts at University of Leeds in the UK, also called the results “troubling”.

He has already warned that climate change in Africa means that 60% of the terrain used to grow beans could become unviable by 2100. And he has separately urged plant breeders to start now adapting species to dramatically warmer conditions.

Wheat yields

Professor Challinor is one of a team of more than 60 scientists who report in Nature Climate Change journal that they tested the predicted impact of climate on global wheat yields by three independent methods to deliver much the same conclusion: with just 1°C global temperature increase, wheat yields are expected to fall by between 4.1% and 6.4%.

They divided the planet into grids and looked at climate and data for rice, maize, wheat and soybean for each grid. They looked at 30 field sites that represented two-thirds of the world’s wheat-producing areas, and then they scaled the data from these 30 “sentinel sites” to extrapolate outcomes for areas with similar conditions.

What they found, repeatedly, was that although food demand is likely to rise by at least 60%, yields in many regions could fall.

“Climate change is outpacing our ability to adapt food production,” Professor Challinor says. “In some areas, urgent action is required,

“Today’s global assessment is a wake-up call to redouble efforts to work out when and where major problems are expected.” – Climate News Network

_______________________________________________________________

The 6th Great Mass Extinction Continues Apace: World On Track To Lose 2/3rds Of Wild Animals By 2020, Major Report Warns

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2016 at 5:20 pm
1

A victim of poachers in Kenya: elephants are among the species most impacted by humans, the WWF report found. Photograph: imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Oldspeak: Mentioned in passing on a British news program. Tucked inconspicuously  between a story about an earthquake in Italy and a story about lei making toward the end of a report on BBC.  And ended with the sentence “How our behavior is killing the animals we share the planet with… Now to some escapism, and what sounds like a dream job on the island of Hawaii….” SIGH. This was the most disheartening sentence in this piece for me: “more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.” This in light of recent findings that “Agriculture and the overexploitation of plants and animal species are significantly greater threats to biodiversity than climate change.” We are still, amid all these blaring  and multiplying warning signs, so utterly ensconced in our illusions of “More”. Of “Bigger, faster, stronger”.  Of “I’m so busy”.  Mindlessly seeking more babies, building more crap we don’t need, destroying more habitats, wasting more resources, extracting more,  consuming more… Every commercial you see is imploring you to desire more, ever more, there can never be enough MORE. Unfortunately for us, the real world does not exist in this illusion. The real world is heating up, toxifying, and dying. All around us, all the time, it’s not stopping any time soon, in fact it’s intensifying, and we’re inexplicably pretending as though an election, or a climate agreement or a pipeline protest or divesting from fossil fuels will have any discernible impact on what is happening all around us. Cascading systems failure is happening right now. And hardly anyone not being directly affected right now is aware of it. All I hear about are  political speeches, emails, barns, global conspiracies, rigged elections, etc, etc, etc, it’s absurd. All action humans undertake at this time have the effect of exacerbating and accelerating what is happening.  And we’re continuing to pretend that these human scale issues are the most pressing. It’s really making me sad.” -OSJ

Written By Damian Carrington @ The Guardian:

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders.

The collapse of wildlife is, with climate change, the most striking sign of the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which humans dominate the planet. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report.

Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF, said: “The richness and diversity of life on Earth is fundamental to the complex life systems that underpin it. Life supports life itself and we are part of the same equation. Lose biodiversity and the natural world and the life support systems, as we know them today, will collapse.”

He said humanity was completely dependent on nature for clean air and water, food and materials, as well as inspiration and happiness.

The report analysed the changing abundance of more than 14,000 monitored populations of the 3,700 vertebrate species for which good data is available. This produced a measure akin to a stock market index that indicates the state of the world’s 64,000 animal species and is used by scientists to measure the progress of conservation efforts.

The biggest cause of tumbling animal numbers is the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging: the majority of the Earth’s land area has now been impacted by humans, with just 15% protected for nature. Poaching and exploitation for food is another major factor, due to unsustainable fishing and hunting: more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.

Pollution is also a significant problem with, for example, killer whales and dolphins in European seas being seriously harmed by long-lived industrial pollutants. Vultures in south-east Asia have been decimated over the last 20 years, dying after eating the carcasses of cattle dosed with an anti-inflammatory drug. Amphibians have suffered one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be spread around the world by the trade in frogs and newts.

Rivers and lakes are the hardest hit habitats, with animals populations down by 81% since 1970, due to excessive water extraction, pollution and dams. All the pressures are magnified by global warming, which shifts the ranges in which animals are able to live, said WWF’s director of science, Mike Barrett.

Some researchers have reservations about the report’s approach, which summarises many different studies into a headline number. “It is broadly right, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts,” said Prof Stuart Pimm, at Duke University in the US, adding that looking at particular groups, such as birds, is more precise.

The report warns that losses of wildlife will impact on people and could even provoke conflicts: “Increased human pressure threatens the natural resources that humanity depends upon, increasing the risk of water and food insecurity and competition over natural resources.”

However, some species are starting to recover, suggesting swift action could tackle the crisis. Tiger numbers are thought to be increasing and the giant panda has recently been removed from the list of endangered species.