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Dolphin Extinction Is Possible – Ancient Dolphin-like Ichthyosaurs Wiped Out Once Before

There has been a lot written so far in 2016 about dolphin extinction and climate change. The evidence from the past is clear. The ancient dolphin-like Ichthyosaurs were wiped out once before.

I don’t know about you, but I find dolphins to be some of the most remarkable animals, for their intelligence, and highly developed social behaviours in their family groups. But, not least is their ability to touch the hearts of so many of the people that come into contact with them.

I would find the idea that climate change might cause changes in the global marine ecosystem, which would badly affect their ability to survive and lead to dolphin extinction, as unthinkable, and yet there is cause for concern, because something very similar has happened before..

Dolphin-like Reptile Wiped Out By Previous Climate Change Events

If dolphin extinction occurred human interaction as shown in this image of a woman kissing a dolphin would become impossible.

For mankind to lose the companionship of dolphins like this is unthinkable.

Prehistoric global warming wiped out the ichthyosaur, a toothy, dolphin-like reptile that disappeared from Earth’s oceans tens of millions of years before the last dinosaurs.

Palaeontologists have long scratched their heads over the abrupt disappearance of these apex predators, sometimes called sea dragons, after an impressive 157-million-year deep-sea reign.

They were a successful family of marine reptiles – widespread and with many genetically diverse sub-species, which is generally a portender of future success.

Some scientists have thought that ichthyosaurs may have been beaten in a competition for food and living space by rival reptiles or fish, or that their prey itself had gone extinct.

Recently (during 2015), a European team of researchers said they had solved the mystery by comparing the fossil history of ichthyosaurs with geological records of climate change.

The creatures were wiped out in two phases, they said, finally disappearing at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous period, about 100 million years ago, when their physical evolution could not keep up with planetary change.

“At that time, the Earth’s poles were essentially ice-free, and sea levels were much higher than today,” said a statement by University of Oxford researchers who took part in the study.

Rising temperatures and sea levels likely affected food availability, migratory routes, competitor numbers and birthing places, said the team, “probably occurring in conjunction to drive ichthyosaurs to extinction”.

The last of the land dinosaurs disappeared about 65 million years ago, followed by the rise of the mammals.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.via Climate change wiped out dolphin-like reptile

The onset of modern climate change events are likely to be at least as rapid as in the past, and the more advanced species may take longer to physically adapt. However, it seems that before climate change can even have an affect scientists are warning that massively reduced fish stocks in one of the world’s major rivers is causing dolphins a problem already.

Mekong Dolphin Extinction, Hydropower and Climate Change

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Source : pinterest.com

The construction of Hydropower Dams on the main stream and on the main tributaries of the Mekong River will create a devastating domino effect. Dams will significantly reduce fish reproductive success, which will impact on fisheries and biodiversity. This is because dams will effectively block fish migration routes and access to spawning grounds for fish and other aquatic species. This, in turn, will impact enormously on the economy of Vietnam and Cambodia through the loss of fisheries revenue.

The Don Sahong Dam in Southern Laos, is located in the worse possible place in the Mekong River: not only will it be on a geological fault line, and thus exposed to tremors that can make it collapse with disastrous effects for downstream communities. But, it is also blocking the Hou Sahong Channel, the most important year-round fish migration channel in this area of the Mekong River.

Scientists for the Mekong offer this article to inform the public, the delegates at COP21, and decision-makers worldwide about the impacts of hydropower development on the Lower Mekong River, and the serious repercussions for 60 million people in SE Asia. This article provides an overview of the many significant environmental and social impacts of hydropower dams on the Mekong River basin. via Mekong Dolphin Extinction, Hydropower and Climate Change

Which leaves us with the following thought, which we found, posted on Reddit:

Dolphins probably wouldn’t be so friendly and cute with us if they knew we were behind the climate and other environmental changes.

via Dolphins probably wouldn’t be so friendly and cute … Showerthoughts

Hurricane Katrina: Worsened by Climate Change?

While writing so soon after the event it is too early for those in the US to begin to look a the wider realities of climate change, into which Katrina may be giving us a glimpse. Those of us in the UK can begin to analyse a worrying trend in hurricane intensity which it appears is emerging, while offering our deepest felt condolences to all those involved and touched by this event.

Discussion of concern that hurricane intensity increases due to global warming may have accentuated Hurricane Katrina and the damage to Saint Louis and surrounding areas, can only highlight the fact that researchers have been warning of this likelihood for some time.

The most often quoted research into hurricane activity is that carried out by Kerry Emanuel for the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA. His paper “Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years” recently published, (Letters / Nature v.436, 4aug2005).

This paper suggests that there has been a very significant increase in hurricane intensity over the past 10 to 15 years, and that this effect is corroborated by the climate change data which shows warming effects in the region.

“My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone destructive potential, and – taking into account an increasing coastal population – a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the twenty-first century.”

The main cause of increased hurricane intensity is higher sea temperatures, in this case in the Gulf of Mexico. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is dedicated to researching ocean temperature and currents and how these effect climate.

Intelligent Optimism Wins In Today’s World

Eileen McDarghEileen McDarghEileen McDargh

The reality of today’s world seems to leave little room for optimism. Almost every news story can lead because it does bleed. We hear of critical food shortages in Africa, daily gang deaths on city streets, the profiteering from child pornography, and the climatic disasters prompted by global warming. Health care costs move up faster than a hummingbird in flight and more children now spout profanities as a regular part of speech. With such negativity, no wonder a 2004 U.S. government survey found that depression afflicts one in 10 adults 14 days a month or more.

You probably get depressed just reading the opening paragraph. But wait! There is hope. Not the cock-eyed optimism that became fodder for a song from the musical South Pacific, but rather what psychologists in France are calling “intelligent optimism.” Such optimism does not deny the reality of today’s world, but rather seeks to LEARN how to fashion a life amid such difficulties. Martin Seligman, the psychologist who had made optimism and happiness his life’s work, would agree with the French: optimism can be taught.

Consider these basic steps:

(1) Focus on what you can control. Don’t get carried away by circumstances you cannot change. You might not change global warming but you can control your energy consumption. You can’t stop the downsizing in your company but you can arm yourself with marketable skills.

(2) Reframe the event so that you are not a victim. There is always another way to view a situation. The flight cancellation that caused me to miss (and forfeit) a major engagement was not “planned” to “get” me. It just was. My choice is to figure out what I can do to help the current client and what I will put in the place of the cancelled work.

(3) Think “enough”. When we concentrate on what we don’t have, we miss all the many things we do have. The truth of the matter is that if you are reading this article, you do have enough computer power. You do have enough intelligence. You do have enough time.

(4) Cultivate optimistic responses. Like a farmer tending a field, optimism will never grow unless it is watered, fed, weeded and nourished. We all have days in which negativity can take over. And, sometimes, that is a WISE response because it keeps us grounded in reality. Just make sure it is reality and not the imagination making extraordinary leaps into conjecture. Weed out that conjecture. Ask what you can DO to see a result that gives you a sense of power. If we don’t cultivate such intelligent optimism, be aware of reality and willing to find options, then we might do what Alexander Graham Bell warned. “Stare so long at the closed door we fail to see the one that is opening.”

(5) Remember the power of generations. Children of depressed parents are more prone to depression. Children of optimists are more prone to be optimists. What do you choose to pass along? Even if your parents were negative, you can break the cycle with stopping, freeze-framing a situation, listening to the negative self talk, and then literally giving yourself a different message. Yes, this takes practice but you can make it a habit if you work it over time.

Ultimately, intelligent optimists understand that change and chaos are given. They know that “this too shall pass”. In the meantime, they CHOOSE to take whatever action they can within their own sphere of influence and then settle back. It is enough.

(c) 2005, McDargh Communications. Publication rights granted to all venues so long as article and by-line are reprinted intact and all links are made live.

Named by Executive Excellence Magazine as one of the top 100 thought leaders in business, Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE authored one of the first books on work/life balance. Numerous books and articles later, Eileen serves the meetings industry as a popular international keynoter and on the Board of Directors of the National Speakers Association. You can find products and services offered by Eileen at http://www.EileenMcDargh.com .

Article source: www.ArticleWorld.net Free Articles

Global Warming Issues are in your Hands

By: David Yuri, written on: 2006-08-30

There has been a lot of talk on the subject of global warming. Specialists believe that human activities in the past 50 years have given a negative boost to climate change. After a long series of tests and chart observations, it seems that the primary culprit for global warming is the emission of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide). These gases have altered the composition of the atmosphere and raised the planet’s temperature with almost 1?C since 1950.

The problem is not that these gases exist. They have always been in the atmosphere, but there is a major increase in their concentration. The planet started to heat up and the climate change appeared simultaneously with the beginning of industrial revolution. Then, at the start of a new era, the concentrations of carbon dioxide increased with nearly 30%, methane almost doubled and nitrous oxide with 15% making global warming a serious, even deadly matter.

These figures are truly concerning due to the fact that we rely on fossil fuels to drive, to heat and to power factories not thinking of the harsh reality: burned fossil fuels are the main reason for the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leading to global warming and accelerating the rate of climate change.

Still, the combustion of fuel is not the only one to blame for global warming. Researchers consider that the development of agriculture, deforestation, landfills, industrial production and mining are also to blame. Each one of them has ‘helped’ induce large, global, abrupt climate change leading to a warmer planet, making it more difficult for us to live.

The statistics in climate change are frightening. Almost 98% of the greenhouses emissions are due to pollution and it is no surprise that the most powerful and rich country (U.S) on the continent is mainly responsible for global warming. 1998 has been declared the warmest year on record and scientistists are concerned that the snow cover in northern hemisphere and floating ice in the Arctic Ocean have decreased. Do we really pay enough attention to the climate change and do we want the planet to become too warm for us to live in?

We are all threathened by this sudden climate change. Global warming is not a joke and we should start paying more attention to it. Not only wildlife, forests and coastal areas are vulnerable to the climate change that the greenhouse gas may bring, but also water resources, animals and most important our health.

What should we expect from global warming? First of all, a change that will have a major impact on the way we live will be a warmer weather. Climate change will appear in the form of increased precipations worldwide, with acid rainfalls that will damage the natural habitat, with more frequent and intense storms that will build up and result in powerful hurricanes. And this is just the top of the ‘iceberg’ called global warming. The hurricanes will be stronger than usual with greater devastating powers.

The population of the globe should be taught more about these greenhouse gases that are held responsible for climate change and more specific, global warming. Carbon dioxide is realeased into the atmosphere when wood, fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) and solid waste are burned. Methane is emitted during the production and transport of oil, gas and coal, but it also results from decomposition of solid, organic waste. Nitrous oxide is the product of: agricultural and industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste. So, do we still have to wonder why these greenhouse gases have such a strong impact on climate change?

Unfortunately, there are not many options to reduce the effects of global warming. Lately, in order to predict climate change, specialists have put up what is called an emission inventory which registers the quantity of air pollutants in the atmosphere. It also establishes the identity of the polluting agent (chemical/physical), the geographic area covered, the time period over which emissions are appreciated and the type of activities that cause the emissions. This way, the scientific community is making an effort to reduce the serious consequences of global warming.

Another solution for the problem of global warming is recycling. It started years ago in powerful and well developed states and it is a novelty for poor, undergoing tranzition states that are struggling to survive. But, slowly, people all over the world are learning about the strong effects of recycling newspapers, plastic, glass, metal. It is a healthy action that makes the world a better place. By recycling, we not only help ourselves, but also the forests, crop yields and water supplies which are severely affected by climate change. We also keep in mind the animals and the ecosystems – another sector badly damaged by climate change. We make the difference.

Global warming affects everybody. That is why we must fight against our self destruction and life’s in general. Fight for your planet, don’t let the climate change affect the environment in an irrecoverable manner, keep in mind that Earth’s eco systems are sensitive and must be treated with care, and you will have a future!

Article Source: http://www.upublish.info

About the Author:

Knowledge about our environment, global warming and the way we influence the climate change is the key to how our world will look like in the future. You have to have the power to change things and make them better.

Bottled Water – Is It Really So Cool?

bottled water and climate change effectWritten by Steve Last

Bottled water just looks so refreshing on the supermarket shelves, and huge quantities are sold. But are we deluding ourselves to think that it is better than tap-water, and what are the health and environmental (including climate change) consequences?

I am sure that when most of us pick up a bottle of water in the supermarket we think that we are buying a purer and healthier product than we would be getting if we drank from the tap. But, is that really true, or are we all falling for the perception of superior health and purity which the bottled spring-water marketers would like us to believe?

A group of experts in the UK thinks that EU tap-water is best. They have gone on record to point out that tap-water in European Union, where the drinking water supplied by our water utility companies is all regulated under the same very high standards set by EU Directives, is better monitored and regulated than bottled water, and is likely to be better for you.

While it is true that EU Regulations do now also set quality standards for all bottled water, there are still no rigourous labelling requirements. Bottled water labelling is insufficent to enable people to judge for themselves from a standardised set of information, whether the bottle they drink is either purer or less so than tap water, or indeed how it compares with other similar products.

Also, when it comes to considering purity it should be noted that the purest water is distilled water, but nobody suggests that distilled water is the healthiest. When compiling the EU Drinking Water standards this was recognised, and as a result water sources which do not, are improved. For example, for healthier living the water we drink should contain a certain amount of calcium, so very “soft” waters are improved during the treatment stage by the addition of recognised healthy minimum quantities of calcium, from natural sources.Use your own water bottles and fill them at home.

Not only is potable water from the tap subject to stringent quality controls, anyone with internet access can very quickly and simply view information of the current quality their supply, including actual test data. They can see, for example, bacteriological and chemical content, and all this is available completely free of charge at the UK Drinking Water Inspectorate website (www.dwi.gov.uk).

Bottled water is also incredibly expensive. It is on average 500 times more expensive than drinking water. Nevertheless, we are buying it in huge amounts, and it is quite expensive to produce when you consider that the most highly promoted and most popular brands in the UK are French imports, entailing all the transport costs that this implies.

To quote the UK’s Executive Director of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWM):-

“Branding and bottling of water where there already exists a wholesome* and safe supply of mains drinking water cannot be seen as a sustainable use of natural resources, and adds to the over-all levels of waste and pollution to be managed in modern society”.

Finally, to demonstrate the cost of bottled water, we have it from a good source that in 2004 the House of Commons spent over £11,000 (GBP) or $19,000 (US Dollars), on an amount which, if tap water, would have cost just £25 (GBP) or $44 (US Dollars).

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* – Author’s Note: When outside the developed world it is, of course, safest to use bottled water. In fact, it is considered best by the Drinking Water inspector, to buy bottled water and add a disinfectant or boil the water – unless of course you are an expert and know that the local source is wholesome.

Global Warming Facts

Global warming refers to an increase in average global temperatures, which in turn causes climate change. It is the increase in the Earth’s average temperature in the recent decades, and has occurred since the industrial revolution.
Global warming is in part the rise in global temperatures due to an increase of heat-trapping carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
Global warming, is one way to measure climate change as the rise in the average global temperature.
Global warming is caused, at least in part, by what is sometimes called the “enhanced greenhouse effect”. If global warming occurs, not every day or every place will be warmer.
The terms global warming and climate change are often used interchangeably, but the two phenomena are different.
To slow down the global warming process and eventually bring it under control, a global effort is being mounted to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gases that cause global warming come from many sources, but the main source is the burning of fossil fuels. The fact that the process of global warming results in more extremes of climate, such as floods, storms and droughts. Because of this some to refer to it as global “storming”!
Climate change is different from the term global warming in that climate change is more broad and refers in the wider sense to also include natural changes in climate.
Most people are now ready for ‘green sacrifices’ to help limit climate change, a recent global poll suggests that people say that they are prepared to make tough lifestyle changes to combat global warming. The next steps will begin to show whether these are just fine words, or a real willingness to adjust our global culture to one governed by principles of sustainability.

The following is an article which gives a personal opinion from this author.

Global Warming – Why Should I Care?

Author: Robert Utter

In June 2005 I attended the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) meeting and technical conference in Denver, Co.

One of the things I always like to do at these technical conferences is attend the session devoted to an update of the current issues impacting our industry. This time there was a session devoted explicitly to global climate change.

I got to the huge ballroom early so I could get a good seat for the presentations and, as the first speaker took the stand, frankly I was shocked to look around and count less than 50 people in attendance.

Clearly our industry is not taking the issue of global climate change very seriously.

Now, if you are my age, you remember the scientific warnings in the 60’s about the coming ice age. So I’ll admit that I have been somewhat slow to warm to the idea of global climate change (formerly called global warming, pun intended). But, as time goes by better data and more research supports the prediction of increasing global temperatures.

This global temperature increase as the result of greenhouse warming has a potentially devastating impact on global climate. Therefore, we should all take the issue very seriously and at a minimum monitor very closely the private and public policies of the US and countries around the world.

I forecast that as the science becomes clearer in “the next few years”, this issue will have a major impact on each of us personally and on each of our businesses and the products we design and manufacture.

The difficulty is defining “the next few years”.

What is the timeframe we should be concerned about?

There is one timeframe already defined by the Kyoto protocol. And that timeframe is now – we are already behind. Of course, the US has not signed up to adhere to the Kyoto agreement, so that doesn’t really concern us. Or does it? These decisions are too often politically motivated more than scientifically motivated. We all know that our commitment to the Kyoto agreement could change with the next presidential election. That is in November 2008 – a little over three years away.

President Bush has been very consistent in his position and policy relative to climate change. But, even though many people seem unaware, we do have an official US policy regarding climate change.

Basically, it calls for an 18% reduction in the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions. See the links at the end of the article for more information on US policy. The policy also calls for a re-evaluation of our progress relative to our reduction goal in 2012.

Given the interest I see in our industry and other industries, I think it highly likely that we will come nowhere near that 18% reduction in the rate of growth, let alone actually reduce emission levels like most of the rest of the world is calling for.

That being the case, it is not unreasonable to expect a new and much tougher policy on emissions on or before 2012, only seven years from now. So I think that reasonably defines “the next few years”.

If you aren’t going to retire before 2012, then you can expect a great deal of pressure on you, your products and your business to reduce emissions in the next three to seven years.

Given the life cycle of most products, three to seven years goes by in a hurry.

At the very least, be an informed business leader and informed citizen. Make up your own mind about the validity of the data and the likelihood, timeframe and severity of impact on your business. Hopefully the next time you have the opportunity to hear some of the world’s foremost experts speak on global climate change, like I had in Denver, the room won’t be empty.

About the author:

Bob Utter, Senior Consultant and owner of Innovative Thermal Solutions, (LLC), has over thirty years experience developing new mechanical and heat transfer technology including seventeen years in progressive engineering management positions with industry leading companies. He is an inventor with 29 patents on mechanical and heat transfer technology.

Support for the Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol exampleDr Mike Hulme from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research holds the opposite opinion to Lombourg, and believes that it is essential that the Kyoto Protocol be implemented. His view is that the benefit-cost analysis used by Lombourg is inappropriate. Hulme (2001) argues that our responsibilities to future generations and global justice are the largest concerns, not the possible cost climate change will have on the economy.

There is no way of reliably estimating how much money will be saved by the protocol. He goes on to say Lombourg’s 5 trillion dollar figure is unsubstantiated, and it is not made clear how the value is reached or what factors it includes. Predicting the cost of implementation is equally problematic, with other sources predicting a benefit to society due to increased energy efficiency, additional health benefits from less pollution, and increased revenue created by global carbon emission trading. Classic cumulus

Schellnhuber (2004- cited in Kirby, 2004) projects that the costs of stabilising climate change could be a low as 0.3% of GDP. As for the argument that the reductions are too small to have any benefit, Hulme (2001) points out that the target for a 5% reduction by 2012 is only intended as the starting point, leading way to increasingly stringent targets to be set in the future. Supporters of Kyoto believe that as the developing countries are the ones responsible for the warming, and will continue to be responsible for warming occurring in the next 20-30 years, these are the countries with the obligation to the rest of the world to take the preliminary steps towards reducing the problem by leading the way. Targets should be set in the future for developing countries to reduce their emissions, but it is only realistic to expect this after a significant result has been achieved first, by the developing countries.

Opposition to the Kyoto Protocol

Opposition was made against the Kyoto protocolThose who do not believe CO2 is the most significant greenhouse gas form part of the opposition to the Kyoto Protocol. They believe that the effect of increasing CO2 levels will have little effect on climate, and this debate has lead to questions about the effectiveness of implementing the Kyoto Protocol.

The argument of the opposition is that if CO2 is not the most influential greenhouse gas regarding climate change, will cutting emissions really have a significant and worthwhile effect? Cornfield

Another view against the protocol publicised by Bjorn Lombourg (2001) in “The Sceptical Environmentalist”, accepts that humans have dramatically increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and the increase has had an adverse influence on temperature. However, rather than agreeing with the UNFCC and the IPCC that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced or we will suffer the negative environmental consequences, Lombourg (2001) believes that climate change will not be as disruptive as popular opinion would have us believe. Furthermore, he suggests that even though it is happening it will be too expensive to try to rectify or reduce. He disagrees about the sensitivity of the global climate to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and criticises IPCC predictions claiming that the climate models are inaccurate with their representation of the effect of aerosols, water vapour and clouds will have on the system.

Lombourg (2001) claims that global warming will not decrease global food production, and probably not increase storminess or the frequency of hurricanes. He argues that the Kyoto Protocol should not be implemented, and the money saved will produce a richer world that can protect itself better. He believes it will be more expensive to cut CO2 emissions than to pay the costs of adapting to the increased temperatures and related effects. Lombourg (2001) estimates the cost of global warming at 5 trillion dollars and argues the affect of Kyoto, even if successful, will be very small in the order of 0.15 oC in 2100, or the equivalent of delaying the temperature increase by approximately 6 years. As an economist he produces calculations that suggest Kyoto represents a waste of global resources for very little benefit.

Climate Change and the Future of Agriculture

climate change in agricultireAuthor: John Pearce

Climate change will have a dramatic impact on agriculture and food production over the next few decades. Changes will be rapid and unpredictable, and will have a devastating impact on those most vulnerable, as we have seen from the droughts in Africa and people affected by increasingly powerful hurricanes. Our future is less secure than we think, and decades of increasing prosperity for much of the developed world will be reversed as economic growth falters when we reach the limits to growth. In the worst case scenario, there will be a crash in food production with tragic consequences on a huge scale. For the UK, one of the biggest threats is from the possible diversion of the Gulf Stream due to rapid melting of Arctic ice.

As reported in Eco, http://ecozine.co.uk ,the impact of climate change will have two aspects. Those imposed on us by changes to the world’s environment, i.e. reactive changes, and those that we seek to make ourselves, ie. proactive change.

With regards to reactive change, environmental changes will mean that the types of crops that can be grown in different regions will alter, due to variations in temperature, rainfall, and pest predation. Weather patterns that have been established for each region for hundreds or thousands of years will change in rapid and unpredictable ways. There will be crop failures on a massive scale, accompanied by floods, droughts and fires. There will be rises in sea levels, with low-lying areas inundated and agricultural land ruined by salination, while melting ice in other areas will make new land available for growing crops for the first time in millennia. Some areas of the world will suffer substantial loss of water for irrigation as glaciers melt completely, leading to the drying up of rivers.

Secondly, there are the pro-active changes mankind will seek to make to mitigate the impact of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increase food production. We will use science to increase yields through genetic engineering and find alternatives to the dwindling reserves of phosphate for fertiliser. The growing awareness of the environmental damage of “food miles” will lead to attempts to source food more locally, as has been tried with some success in Farmers’ Markets. There will be widespread resistance to limiting food miles due to our appetite for exotic foods, however their price will rise as carbon taxes on fuel are introduced. It is likely these pro-active changes will be too little, too late.

There is growing awareness of the damage caused to ecosystems through forest clearance for beef farming, palm oil and soya production. There will be a strong argument for reduced meat consumption as food production struggles to keep pace with the world’s growing population. At the present time fifty five billions animals are raised and killed for meat every year. The grain fed to them could feed almost 4 billions people. This is a hugely inefficient way of providing human nutrition. These animals give off vast quantities of belched methane during their lifetimes, a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

There will be an increase in the use of crops for fuel. Ethanol produced from sugar cane is already widely used as a bio-fuel in Brazil. Scientists are also developing vehicle fuels from rape seed oil, and willow is being grown to produce wood pellets for power plants.

The next few decades will be an exciting time in our planet’s history, and will challenge our ability to adapt to change, to the limit and beyond.

To read more about climate change, visit Eco at http://www.ecozine.co.uk

Author Info:

John Pearce, Eco http://www.ecozine.co.uk

Coral Reefs: A potential climate change disaster?

Coral Reefs potential climate change problemA study by Langdon et al. (2000) predicts that due to global warming, the world’s coral reefs could be reduced by as much as 40% by the year 2065. The corals secrete calcium carbonate to build the skeletons that form reefs. The reefs themselves are home to an extremely diverse ecosystem, and serve as natural breakwaters, which help to prevent beaches from eroding.

Research shows that coral growth is proportionate to carbonate concentration. As CO2 levels increase in the atmosphere, the calcium carbonate saturation state of the ocean is reduced. This saturation state is the primary environmental factor that influences the calcification of corals, and the study indicates that the corals are unable to acclimatise to the changing saturation state of the ocean. Bridge linking Somerset Village to Watford Bermuda

Anthropogenic global warming has also caused an increase in tropical sea surface temperatures, and this is thought to stimulate coral bleaching. Which is where the coral loses its symbiotic algae, causing mortality. In 1998 coral reefs around the world suffered the most extensive and severe bleaching on record, creating a high level of coral mortality (Reaser, Pomerance and Thomas, 2000). This combined with more localised anthropogenic factors could devastate the world’s coral reefs. Even protected areas, and reefs run for sustainable use are affected by global climate change, and their existence threatened. These two factors, which adversely affect coral reefs, suggest that the effect of climate change on coral reefs may be much greater than at the levels previously predicted.

Footnote on sea level rises:

July 2005: NASA (USA) have announced recent more accurate estimates of sea level rise as follows:-

“Although sea levels have been monitored since the early 20th century, it wasn’t known how many changes were related to land movement. Now satellites can provide such information.

In the last 50 years, sea level has risen at an estimated rate of .07 inches (.18 centimeters) per year, but in the last 12 years that rate appears to be .12 inches (3 centimeters) per year, said Associate Professor Steve Nerem at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research.

The most likely factor for sea level rise is changes in the Earth’s ice cover. NASA said three-fourths of the planet’s freshwater is stored in glaciers and ice sheets — or about 220 feet (67 meters) of sea level.”