Scientists worry about a global warming vicious cycle that was not part of their already gloomy climate forecast: Warming already under way thaws permafrost, soil that has been continuously frozen for thousands of years. Thawed permafrost releases methane and carbon dioxide. Those gases reach the atmosphere and help trap heat on Earth in the greenhouse effect. The trapped heat thaws more permafrost and so on. “The higher the temperature gets, the more permafrost we melt, the more tendency it is to become a more vicious cycle,” said Chris Field, director of global ecology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, who was not part of the study. “That’s the thing that is scary about this whole thing. There are lots of mechanisms that tend to be self-perpetuating and relatively few that tend to shut it off.”
Bleaching in 1998 occurred in all reef regions of the world; 16% of the world’s reefs were lost in that one year, alone. But the western Indian Ocean suffered most because of an interaction between El Nino and another periodic climate phenomenon called the Indian Ocean dipole.
In the seven years since, the damaged reefs have been largely unable to reseed. Many simply collapsed into rubble and became covered in algae.
This collapse removed food and shelter from predators for a large and diverse amount of marine life. The survey showed four fish species could already be locally extinct, and six species are at critically low levels.
The survey also revealed that the diversity of fish species in the heavily impacted sites had plummeted by about 50%.
Well, this is bad news, there has been earlier indication that coral reefs were not necessarily doomed by higher ocean temperatures because this would just cause a shift in the coral species to varieties thriving at higher temperatures/exhibiting adaptive behaviors. Obviously, this did not happen fast enough to regenerate the reef.
NDP MP Pat Martin said Tuesday the Canadian delegation did not even participate in the discussions this year but got others to work on their behalf instead.
He accused the Canadians of browbeating developing nations such as India, Pakistan and Vietnam — some of Canada's largest chrysotile customers — into opposing its inclusion on the list.
"It's not a proud day for our country," said Martin, who attended the convention and spoke by telephone from Rome.
Canadians can now breathe easy. The government did not even have to oppose a notification officially, other countries did it for them.
But, will it make tea? File it under the “too good to be true” department. I’ll believe it when it happens.
The world’s richest corporations and finest minds spend billions trying to solve the problem of carbon emissions, but three fishing buddies in North Wales believe they have cracked it.
They have developed a box which they say can be fixed underneath a car in place of the exhaust to trap the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming — including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide — and emit mostly water vapor.
The captured gases can be processed to create a biofuel using genetically modified algae.
So, what they’re saying is that they have designed a device that can safely sequester most of the toxic components of automobile exhaust for a little while. Then, you take this “magic box” down to your local refinery where this sequestered gas is mixed with some algae. The algae then uses this CO2 as fuel to make biodiesel.
Very cool in concept. Kinda hard to critcize without the details, No?
The Canadian Medical Association Journal is denouncing the federal government for what it expects will be Canada's continued efforts to block international controls on asbestos at UN-sponsored negotiations next week.
A strongly worded editorial, appearing in tomorrow's issue of the journal, says the government "knows what it is doing is shameful and wrong" and compared Ottawa's moral stature in continuing to promote the use of the cancer-causing material to that of arms traders.
The negotiations, known as the Rotterdam Convention, are to start Oct. 27 in Rome. The focus of the talks will be on whether to add the chrysotile variety of asbestos to the world's list of most dangerous substances. Once a substance is listed, countries must give prior informed consent that they know they are buying a highly dangerous material before being allowed to accept any imports.
Canada’s national shame, its export of a killer product not used by Canadians to developing countries where the safeguards it insists on for the ‘safe” use of this product can’t possibly be carried out or enforced. For god’s sake, it’s 700 jobs, and people who can be retrained to do something that does not kill people.
Seriously, I’ve had enough of Bush North up here in Canada, he has to go and luckily, he’s only running a minority government, so it’s not 4 more years…
Top Canadian scientists are accusing the Harper government of politicizing science funding and jeopardizing climate research by naming global warming critics to key boards that fund science.
The government’s actions are “dreadful,” said Garry Clarke, a leading international glaciologist at the University of British Columbia, and undercut public pledges to tackle climate change.
“Their mouths are doing one thing and their hands are doing something different,” Prof. Clarke said.
Already alarmed over funding cuts to basic research, scientists say two appointments in particular are worrisome. Mark Mullins, the executive director of the conservative-leaning Fraser Institute – and a former adviser to the Canadian Alliance Party – was recently appointed to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which funds university research projects that have included studies on climate change.
Desmogblog has more, including choice quotes from the economists and oil geologists that run this country’s science.
Mullins: “It strikes me that the science is not settled,” he said in a 2007
interview posted at BCbusinessonline. “‘Put caps on global emitters’ is
not the natural conclusion I would come to.”
Weissenberger: “To those who doubt the scientific basis of global warming theory, we
say: Don’t let a cabal of government-funded scientists, environmental
activists and journalists convince us they’re the mainstream.” — April
These are the people who will be deciding who gets science money in Canada.
This has probably been the most unscientific administrations in Canada’s recent history.
I think it is time to throw the bums out, it’s time for another election!
As armchair critics debate endlessly on the virtues and vices of carbon trading versus carbon taxes, they are in no danger of losing their armchairs (or their homes, or their money, or their livelihood). Africa and Asia, not so lucky.
Two-thirds of the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas that can persist in the air for centuries, has come in nearly equal proportions from the United States and Western European countries. Those and other wealthy nations are investing in windmill-powered plants that turn seawater to drinking water, in flood barriers and floatable homes, and in grains and soybeans genetically altered to flourish even in a drought. In contrast, Africa accounts for less than 3 percent of the global emissions of carbon dioxide from fuel burning since 1900, yet its 840 million people face some of the biggest risks from drought and disrupted water supplies, according to new scientific assessments. As the oceans swell with water from melting ice sheets, it is the crowded river deltas in southern Asia and Egypt, along with small island nations, that are most at risk.
I read another story about Bangladesh recently, apparently in Bangladesh, there will be both flooding and drought due to cimate change!
We are fighting climate change on the front line,” Professor Nishat
told The Independent earlier this year. “But the battle has to be
integrated across all countries.”
Bangladesh has good reason to feel aggrieved at global warming. Its
annual carbon emissions only 0.172 tons per capita, compared to 21 tons
in the US.
If the rivers dry up, it would leave Bangladesh completely at the mercy of the rains.
What is to be done? There are no simple answers, but this is a global issue that requires a global solution. There needs to be a relentless push for efficiency and conservation, with technologies being made available sans intellectual property and patent protection to help India and China control emissions. Efficiency is where the low hanging fruit are. This wikipedia article is a decent compendium of options.
Europe has started on the control path already. The U.S has to act, will it do anything this year? Or do we have to wait for this? I am very cynical about the West’s ability and willingness to act in this regard. When the prime contributors and benefiters of a harmful action are not the same as the ones who will face the worst consequences, where’s the will? As life in the third world becomes more miserable, the rich countries can always build more walls.
No fun and games here!