global warming blog

The Fungus Among Us

J. Alan Pounds and 13 co-authors recently published a piece in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal, Nature, which concluded that global warming has likely caused the extinction of nearly 70 per cent of amphibian species in a mountainous region area of Central and South America. Pounds, an eminently respected researcher, heads up a conservation biology laboratory in Costa Rica.

His team concluded that the spread of the fungus that killed the frogs was due to global warming. Their conclusion is based on their finding that patterns of fungus outbreaks and extinctions in widely dispersed patches of habitat were synchronized in a way that could not be explained by chance or by local variations in weather conditions.

The Perverse Pleasure of Breaking Records

Credit first to Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail, who in a Vancouver weather story on Jan. 10, 2006 offered this “old joke.”

A newcomer to Vancouver arrives and it's raining. He gets up the next day and it's still raining. It rains the day after that and the day after that. He goes for lunch five days later and it's still pouring. He sees a young boy walking down the street, and he says, “Does it every stop raining here?”

The Ethical Vacuum of Flat Earth Journalism

The Salem Oregon Statesman Journal ran an opinion piece today that declared, conclusively: “Global-Warming Fears Pointless.”

The article was a prescription for inaction, a recommendation that we should all throw our hands up in despair over our inability to understand or affect climate change.

It was also irresponsible journalism of the worst sort.

The Anti-Kyoto Partnership

Google Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate and you will find a host of stories lauding a new international group nominally dedicated to reducing climate change by developing new technology.

Great, you say.

But, if you read very far into the material, you will find an international industrial spin project - a blatant effort to distract the public from the Kyoto process and to justify huge increases in the production and consumption of fossil fuels, especially coal.

All Hail Elizabeth Kolbert

The New Yorker contributor Elizabeth Kolbert, whose three-part series was the smartest and scariest thing written about climate change in 2005, has started 2006 with another installment, an article entitled “Butterfly Lessons” (which, woefully, the magazine has failed to make available online).

Kolbert follows a trail of butterflies, mosquitoes and frogs to show how much our climate has changed already and how dramatic the coming change may yet be. Her writing style is brisk and informative, devoid of hysterical language but filled with anxiety inducing facts. She also allows herself the odd twist, just to keep you alert (and entertained).

Lies, Damned Lies and "Sound Science"

Let's get up a great big hand for one of the best European climate change dissemblers, the previously unremarked Scientific Alliance.

The Alliance appears to be one of those “intellectual” sweatshops that industry cobbles together in the guise of a think tank. In these vacuous vessels, said intellectuals-for-hire produce dogma on demand – questionable “scientific” material designed to excuse their industrial financiers from taking any responsibility for the environmental costs they are dumping on society.

Hot (Down) Under the Collar

The Melbourne Age reports that Australia's Bureau of Meteorology shows the average national temperature in 2005 was 22.89, 1.09 degrees hotter than the average between 1961 and 1990 – and the hottest year on record. The Bureau further reported that:

Climate Change: A Cycle Not a Trend?

Those who deny the reality of climate change like to point out that dramatic weather events have occurred in the past; they argue that we may be in the midst of a cycle we don't understand, rather than a trend caused by human activity.

New research from the U.S. National Science Foundation looks at a previous “cycle” – one that occurred 55 million years ago and that resulted in warming-induced changes in sea circulation that appear similar to what are currently occurring in the northern hemisphere.

For those who would take comfort in the cyclical argument, consider that on the earlier occasion, the “cycle” took 20,000 years to reverse itself – a little beyond our current planning horizon.

Bobby "Not-in-My-Back-Yard" Kennedy; or Clay Feet on Cape Cod

Woefully, it appears that Bobby Kennedy Jr., so fulsomely quoted a few posts on, has clay feet when it comes to his environmental convictions. That is, he's all for saving the world, as long as it doesn't interfere with his favourite sailing grounds.

Climate Change = Tough Sledding

There are days, in some states and provinces, when peddling concern about global warming is a tough sell; in North Dakota, or Manitoba, a little winter warmth sometimes sounds like a good thing. But things start to look more real when the snowmobiles have to stay on the trailer for a whole season. Check out the attached Canadian Press story on the state of prairie weather this winter.

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