Biodiversity loss threatens humanity

Yet another major report documents the effects of climate change. Although there are many local and regional initiatives around the world that will slow this down a bit, a concerted world initiative is necessary to stop the sixth extinction. I do not see this as likely to happen, given that it has to start now. The result will be a great die-off, including some of humanity. Although the developing countries will be most affected, many in the developed world will be affected by mid-century–just thirty or so years away.

And to think that we did this in about 170 years (in the “blink of a geological eye”).

www.nytimes.com/2019/05/11/opinion/sunday/extinction-endangered-species-biodiversity.html

Sea-level Rise Predictions

nyti.ms/2DPxUmt

 


 

Since the 1980s computer model projections of climate change have underestimated this event. With greater advances in our understanding of the greenhouse’s effect on environmental change we have been able to make what scientists believe to be more accurate projections. However, recent radar studies of Antarctic ice mentioned in this New York Times article show there are likely more factors we are not aware of.

In this case we learn that warming ocean waters have created a huge cavity beneath one of Antartica’s ice sheets. Since most of this sheet lies above the ocean, if and when it breaks off, it could raise sea-level by as much as two feet within a short period of time–threatening coastal cities and many islands across the world.

As many environmental scientists have proposed, climate change might reach thresholds (i.e., tipping points) where unanticipated sudden catastrophic events might occur.

COP24 Katowice

The New York Times article, below, does not sound all that encouraging. For instance, the scaled back language that COP24 “appreciates” the IPCC report, instead of stating that it recognizes and accepts its scientific findings is absurd. The language is “milktoast” due to the objections of Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, and you guessed it, the United States.

The article did not provide any reference as to what the new rules are (these will undoubtedly be forthcoming) but the big question is whether the major emitting countries will comply. Remember we not only have to stop using fossil fuels, we have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere via carbon capture technologies. If CO2 emissions stopped today the atmosphere would continue to warm, just at a slower rate. That’s how bad it is.

nyti.ms/2QTOSqY

Where have all insects gone? . . .

Working the Hostas Blossoms

In an earlier post, I discussed an article in the New York Times about the coming of the bugs that would invade our food supply. However, the Times is now reporting on the results of the Krefeld Study that found that all insects have been in sharp decline over the past 27 years. What gives? The reality is that bugs that can harm us are on the rise (ticks, mosquitoes, food pests) whereas the bugs that feed the birds and reptiles (the pollinators, etc.) are headed for extinction. We seem to have the worst of both worlds.

Not convinced? Have you noticed fewer bugs on your windshield and front bumper after driving during dusk over the past two decades? Entomologists call this the windshield phenomenon. I too have noticed far fewer bugs on my

Lonely Dragonfly

car and aircraft windshields when operating during dusk.

Scientists previously thought that this loss of insects was due to loss of habitat. Although this is a cause, climate change is the major reason for their decline. While you might think fewer insects are a good thing, taking them out of the biosphere mix is affecting our food supply (i.e., lack of pollination) and other ways not yet evident. Everything connects, take one out and the impacts ripple.

Wind, Rain, and Climate Change

As I write this I am at the Norfolk Hilton in the midst of tropical storm Michael, where the Association for Applied & Clinical Sociology presentations begin tomorrow. I thought I was going to be the “grim reaper” as I was to conclude that we only have a few more decades before the human population begins to decline. However, as you might have heard in the news, I was scooped by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that released its climate update on October 8; it concludes that things will be much worse than previous models have projected when global temperatures reach 1.5 degrees centigrade above the 1880 baseline between 2030 and 2050.

I will post a summary of my presentation on my return, along with a link to my full report.


Due to connection problems, this post was not uploaded until October 16 @ 9:15 AM.

Algae Blooms

Living near the Finger Lakes I hear about these a lot in the late summer. Not only are the world’s 37aquifers running low, but our fresh, surface waters are becoming toxic. Farming and gardening practices, and overpopulation drive climate change, resulting in these blooms.

This could create a tipping point which could threaten public health on a grand scale.

www.nytimes.com/2018/08/29/science/lake-superior-algae-toxic.html