Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Category Archive: Of Interest

  1. Cartoons– Sept 22 2017

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    These cartoons are the opinions of the artists and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Point Blue Conservation Science or its staff.

     : California cartoons : Meyer Cartoons


  2. Cartoons- Sept. 15, 2017

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    Note: These cartoons are opinions of the artists and do not necessarily reflect the views of Point Blue Conservation Science or its staff.



    Signe Wilkinson 09/13/17



     : California cartoons : Meyer Cartoons

  3. Too much mansplaining in climate conversations? Experts at IPCC meeting call for including more women in addressing climate change

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    • Climate experts are calling for more women to take part in research and policy-making in order to respond to climate change with a gender-specific approach
  4. Why Hurricane Irma Could Hurt, a Lot: increase in coastal development leaves much in harm’s way

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    By BRAD PLUMER Read full NYTimes article here SEPT. 7, 2017

    ….Central and South Florida have grown at a breathtaking pace since 1990, adding more than 6 million people. Glittering high-rises and condominiums keep sprouting up along Miami Beach and other coastal areas. A lot more valuable property now sits in harm’s way….

    …But half of the expected rise in hurricane costs is the result of expected increases in coastal development. Today, according to the C.B.O., roughly 1.2 million Americans live in coastal areas at risk of “substantial damage” from hurricanes — defined as damage of at least 5 percent of average income. By 2075, that number is forecast to rise to 10 million.

    Population growth can also increase hurricane risks by adding newcomers who are unfamiliar with big storms or by clogging roads during evacuations, experts said.

    ….As of Wednesday, forecasters were still unsure where Irma might make landfall in Florida or how strong it will be when it does. But in almost any conceivable scenario, a hurricane today is likely to do more damage than a comparable storm in the past, if only because of increased development….

  5. Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

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    • Tests show billions of people globally are drinking water contaminated by plastic particles, with 83% of samples found to be polluted
    • Almost 300m tonnes of plastic is produced each year and, with just 20% recycled or incinerated, much of it ends up littering the air, land and sea. A report in July found 8.3bn tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s, with the researchers warning that plastic waste has become ubiquitous in the environment.

    by   Sept 5 2017 Guardian UK read full article here

    Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on the implications for health.

    Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres.

    The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates….

    ….The new analyses indicate the ubiquitous extent of microplastic contamination in the global environment. Previous work has been largely focused on plastic pollution in the oceans, which suggests people are eating microplastics via contaminated seafood….

    A magnified image of clothing microfibres from washing machine effluent.
    A magnified image of clothing microfibres from washing machine effluent. One study found that a fleece jacket can shed as many as 250,000 fibres per wash. Photograph: Courtesy of Rozalia Project

    Microplastics are also known to contain and absorb toxic chemicals and research on wild animals shows they are released in the body…His research has shown microplastics are found in a third of fish caught in the UK…

    …The scale of global microplastic contamination is only starting to become clear, with studies in Germany finding fibres and fragments in all of the 24 beer brands they tested, as well as in honey and sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits three to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year, and that it was also present in the air in people’s homes….



  6. Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like

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    • It’s time to open our eyes and prepare for the world that’s coming.
    • Harvey is the third 500-year flood to hit the Houston area in the past three years, but Harvey is in a class by itself. By the time the storm leaves the region on Wednesday, an estimated 40 to 60 inches of rain will have fallen on parts of Houston. So much rain has fallen already that the National Weather Service had to add additional colors to its maps to account for the extreme totals.
    • Harvey is a storm decades in the making.
    • Insisting on a world that doesn’t knowingly condemn entire cities to a watery, terrifying future isn’t “politicizing” a tragedy—it’s our moral duty.
    • The symbolism of the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history hitting the sprawled-out capital city of America’s oil industry is likely not lost on many. Institutionalized climate denial in our political system and climate denial by inaction by the rest of us have real consequences. They look like Houston.


    In all of U.S. history, there’s never been a storm like Hurricane Harvey. That fact is increasingly clear, even though the rains are still falling and the water levels in Houston are still rising.

    But there’s an uncomfortable point that, so far, everyone is skating around: We knew this would happen, decades ago. We knew this would happen, and we didn’t care. Now is the time to say it as loudly as possible: Harvey is what climate change looks like. More specifically, Harvey is what climate change looks like in a world that has decided, over and over, that it doesn’t want to take climate change seriously.

    Houston has been sprawling out into the swamp for decades, largely unplanned and unzoned. Now, all that pavement has transformed the bayous into surging torrents and shunted Harvey’s floodwaters toward homes and businesses. Individually, each of these subdivisions or strip malls might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but in aggregate, they’ve converted the metro area into a flood factory. Houston, as it was before Harvey, will never be the same again.

    …Climate change is making rainstorms everywhere worse, but particularly on the Gulf Coast. Since the 1950s, Houston has seen a 167 percent increase in the frequency of the most intense downpours. Climate scientist Kevin Trenberth thinks that as much as 30 percent of the rainfall from Harvey is attributable to human-caused global warming. That means Harvey is a storm decades in the making….

    ….The symbolism of the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history hitting the sprawled-out capital city of America’s oil industry is likely not lost on many. Institutionalized climate denial in our political system and climate denial by inaction by the rest of us have real consequences. They look like Houston.

    Once Harvey’s floodwaters recede, the process will begin to imagine a New Houston, and that city will inevitably endure future mega-rainstorms as the world warms. The rebuilding process provides an opportunity to chart a new path. The choice isn’t between left and right, or denier and believer. The choice is between success and failure.

  7. Mission 2020: The Climate Turning Point- a new global initiative

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    “We have a collective responsibility to raise ambition, scale up our actions and move forward faster together to safeguard the sustainable development goals and protect the inalienable right to life of our and future generations. Let’s not be late.” – Christiana Figueres, Convenor, Mission 2020 (former UNFCCC Executive Secretary)

    see website here  #2020DontBeLate

    2020 the climate turning point


    The high cost of climate change is largely carried by some of the most vulnerable communities around the world. They suffer from enduring human loss, and a need to continuously repair damage from severe weather impacts and rising sea-levels. The repeated infrastructure costs divert investments from education, health and food security, further entrenching poverty and accelerating involuntary migration.
    The insurance industry has also warned that if the world goes beyond a 2oc increase, it is not systemically insurable due to the frequency and intensity of extreme weather impacts. Reaching the climate turning point by 2020 will expedite the least expensive transition to a safer fossil-free economy by 2050, protecting the most vulnerable and ushering in a safer economy.

    Immediate emission reductions are needed to meet temperature goals


    Meeting the 2020 turning point will bring many added benefits in health, energy, food security and employment creation. This will form a strong base for shared prosperity and financial stability.
    This in turn will help meet people’s common desire to prosper, with good jobs, safe homes and a flourishing natural world. The foundation for this stability is a living earth and a stable climate.

    Co-Benefits of Climate Action graphic M2020


    With breakthrough actions in a few key areas, including energy, transportation, land-use, infrastructure, industry and finance, we can build on the strong momentum towards a fossil-free economy and reach our 2020 turning point. The economics are shifting at scale:

    • Renewables are rapidly falling in price and are already undercutting coal in many jurisdictions.
    • Technological progress on battery storage is further enhancing the capacity of renewables as well as accelerating an astonishing growth in the market for electric vehicles.
    • Business leadership on eradicating commodities that cause deforestation from supply chains is growing quickly in response to customer demand.
    • Cities are forging ahead to create new public-private partnerships, financing resource-efficient infrastructure that will serve their communities for years to come.
    • The financial community is improving disclosure and corporations are starting to stress test their strategies against the 2-degree threshold.



  8. Hope and Optimism: We saved the whale. The same vision can save the planet (Opinion)

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    “Hope is essential – despair is just another form of denial,” Al Gore said last week, in an interview to promote the sequel to his 2006 climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth… which brings good news: the plummeting cost of renewable electricity and the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

    In 2017, denial of the facts of climate change – and myriad linked dangers including air and ocean pollution, famine and a refugee crisis the likes of which we can hardly imagine – is in retreat…

    Virtually all governments know that climate change is happening, and polls show most people do too – with those living in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa particularly worried. The question is not whether global warming is happening, but what we are going to do about it. There are, and need to be, many answers to this. Gore believes the solutions to climate change are within reach, if people can only find the political will to enact them. Even if how to whip up sufficient zeal to make this happen remains a puzzle, his essential message is one of optimism….

  9. Right kind of collaboration is key to solving environmental problems

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    • Society’s ability to solve environmental problems is tied to how different actors collaborate and the shape and form of the networks they create, says a new study

    August 18, 2017 Stockholm University read full ScienceDaily article here

    ….The coming decade may determine whether humanity will set a course toward a more socially and ecologically sustainable society. A crucial part of this goal is to develop a better understanding of how cooperation can be improved and become more effective, both within and among private stakeholders and public institutions….

    “Our research shows that the ability to solve environmental problems is in part connected to the way these networks are structured — the patterns of collaboration between actors,” says Örjan Bodin.

    The research shows that certain patterns are more suitable for solving different types of shared problems. For example, if the problem implies a high risk of actor free-riding on others’ efforts, the situation is improved by tightly linking the actors together. This could mean that two actors who cooperate with the same, third actor should also cooperate directly with each other, forming a triangle of cooperation.

    “It also makes a difference whether the environmental problem is temporary or more permanent. If it’s temporary it can be more effective to have a cooperative network with a clearly chosen coordinator or leader to hold it together,” says Örjan Bodin.

    The study also shows how the ability to solve problems even depends on how a network ‘aligns’ with the structures and processes found in the affected ecosystem. This means, for example, that if two actors deal with two different yet interconnected parts of the ecosystem they should work together….

    Örjan Bodin. Collaborative environmental governance: Achieving collective action in social-ecological systems. Science, 2017; 357 (6352): eaan1114 DOI: 10.1126/science.aan1114