Humans risk causing irreversible and widespread damage to the planet unless there’s faster action to limit the fossil fuel emissions blamed for climate change, according to a leaked draft United Nations report.
The panel also acknowledged there are costs associated with keeping the temperature rise since industrialization below the 2-degree target. That’s the level endorsed by the nations negotiating on a climate deal. Doing so may lead to losses in global consumption of 1.7 percent in 2030, 3.4 percent in 2050 and 4.8 percent in 2100, according to the paper.
It’s time to choose between short-term economic growth or long-term sustainability.
No one knows when the last great auk died. Or the last dodo. But the last passenger pigeon’s death can be dated more or less exactly: the afternoon of September 1 1914. There was something else extraordinary about this extinction. This was not some marginal species, retiring from trying to eke out an existence on a remote island or a lonely mountainside. When the white man arrived in North America, this was almost certainly the most common bird on the continent, quite possibly the most common in the world.
As the title of a centenary exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington has it, Once There Were Billions. And then there were none.
It was not ordinary destruction that killed Martha and her kind.
The damage was done by the innocent God-fearing farmers, hacking down what they called wilderness, which we would now call virgin forest
The raids on farms may have been an early warning of distress: the passenger pigeon’s food of choice was not an infant cornfield but “mast”: the nuts of the beech, oak and, to a lesser extent, chestnut trees that once covered the landscape. Ohio was 95 per cent forest when the white settlers moved in, 54 per cent by 1853, 10 per cent by 1900.
It was towards the end that American insouciance towards mass slaughter made its contribution.
The pigeons were meat; their oils and fat produced a kind of ersatz butter; 50 birds were said to make a feather pillow. As late as 1883 a dealer in Wisconsin sent 2m of them to market.
A nightmare tale of the American Dream.
Zambia, the southern African nation with nearly a third of its land reserved for wildlife, has lifted a ban on hunting for species other than wild cats.
With a little help from the Japanese corporation IHI, Alabama can now lay claim to the world’s first algae biofuel system that also treats municipal wastewater, resulting in a carbon-negative process. IHI’s Algae Systems LLC company has just completed a demo run on a 40,000 gallon-per-day plant that deploys floating photobioreactors in Mobile Bay at Daphne, Alabama.
Wow, this is “Carbon Negative” which is more impressive than “Carbon Neutral”; and it has scale already rather than just being a test tube experiment!
Under threat from rising sea levels and tsunamis, the authorities of a provincial capital in the Solomon Islands have decided to relocate from a small island in the first such case in the Pacific islands.
August 19 is Earth Overshoot Day 2014, marking the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We will be operating in overshoot.
Celebrations should be limited to those countries in surplus quadrants.
Glaciers have been retreating globally since the end of the “Little Ice Age” in the mid-19th century, but now humans are the primary culprits.
A new study has confirmed what many who follow the science already assumed: that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are leading glaciers to melt faster than they otherwise would. The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that between 1851 and 2010 humans were responsible for only about a quarter of global loss of glacier mass. However this ratio has soared over the last two decades, with humans now accounting for around 69 percent of the melting.
Antarctica glaciers melting because of global warming may push up sea levels faster than previously believed, potentially threatening megacities including New York and Shanghai, researchers in Germany said.
Antarctica’s ice discharge may raise sea levels as much as 37 centimeters (14.6 inches) this century if the output of greenhouse gases continues to grow, according to a study led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The increase may be as little as 1 centimeter, they said.
“This is a big range, which is exactly why we call it a risk,” Anders Levermann, the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “Science needs to be clear about the uncertainty so that decision makers at the coast and in coastal megacities can consider the implications in their planning processes.”
A group called Rhinos Without Borders plans to move 100 of the animals from South Africa to Botswana next year in an effort to save them from extinction.