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Venus, Here We Come

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Exceed ‘Worst Case’ Scenario

by Stephen Messenger


According to calculations released by the U.S. Department of Energy, global carbon output in 2010 wasn’t just a little higher than the year before — it saw the most dramatic jump ever recorded. Ever. By comparison, it makes climatologists’ ‘worst case’ scenario outlined in 2007 look optimistic.

A six percent increase between 2009 and 2010, with the USA and China accounting for half of it.

I can understand China, but I have trouble understanding the USA part, what with all of the outsourcing of manufacturing. Maybe when we say “USA” we mean “USA-Based Corporations?”

Being productive is so overrated.


Ants In Trouble?

Climate change affects ants and biodiversity

PhysOrg, today

Interesting article about the effects of mimicking climate warming on ants.

“If the temperature increases by just a half a degree Celsius, the most important seed-dispersing ants basically shut down,” said Sanders. “They do not go out and forage and do the things they normally do.”

Trees Aren’t Adapting to Climate Change as Predicted

Treehugger, 11/1


Instead of inching north towards higher altitudes and more familiar conditions, research suggests that 60 percent of plant species were experiencing contracting habitats, while only 21 percent showed some movement north.



California Birds Getting Larger

Climate Change Unexpectedly Making California Birds Grow Larger

Treehugger, 11/2

Birds around the San Francisco Bay area have been getting gradually larger over the last several decades, according to this study.

Though the finding was unexpected, however, it was not necessarily all bad news. “It gave me a little more hope,” Study Co-Author Gretchen LeBuhn explained, “that these birds are able to respond—hopefully in time—to changes in climate.”


Bonny Reservoir in Colorado To Be Emptied

Colorado empties popular lake to pay its water bill

The Telegraph, just now. h/t to Kranky_Old_Dude on reddit.

More on the drought.

Bonny Reservoir, a much-loved tourist spot in eastern Colorado, is being drained after the state exceeded its allowance under a 1942 agreement with its neighbours on sharing the Republican River.

The gates of the reservoir have been opened, allowing the water to run naturally along the Republican River to its new home states. Biologists have been scrambling to move the fish that bring thousands of anglers to Bonny each year.

To where? Some other reservoir that will be drained? Fish can’t live in rivers any more? So sad.

yes, I know there are fish and then there are fish, but that just made me laugh sadly.


The water board in Texas, which is currently experiencing its worst drought in 80 years, recently warned the state “does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, and its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises” if the dry spell continues.

I read recently that New Mexico was starting it up in court with Texas about the water contract on the Pecos again. yeah, next year could be very interesting for our region, as we become increasingly dependent on the recharge of rechargable aquifers.

Also, another link from the same redditor:

LEAVING LAS VEGAS: The Deserted Casinos And Unfinished Hotels Of Sin City

Business Insider, today. Photoessay of many abandoned casinos and related building projects in Las Vegas, Nevada. Maybe these people are a little worried about Lake Mead too, eh? Are we to believe people have given up on vice? Perish the thought!

Nah, I bet they all just do it on the Internet now. Cheaper. Times are tough. That must be it.


Global Drying

Got to chatting with Laughing Planet on DK this evening; s/he pointed out this essay LP posted back last December on DK:

Global Drying


Warming sounds nice.

Ya know, warm & fuzzy, a glass of warm milk, a warm-hearted person, etc.

But the gruesome truth of climate change is this: Our planet’s supply of fresh water is disappearing.

Weather patterns differ from region to region. But what lies beneath is the terrifying reality that more often than not, erratic weather cycles are causing weaker rainfall & hotter heatwaves that sap the moisture from the earth.

Great essay; lots of good links and graphics and quotes.


People resisting climate change shut down Royal Bank HQ

Camp for Climate Action 2010
Break the Bank!

Indymedia, Scotland

People resisting climate change closed down the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Global HQ at Gogarburn near Edinburgh and took direct action at numerous sites throughout Edinburgh today 23rd August.

The Camp for Climate Action said: “We are celebrating a successful day targeting various climate criminals – holding direct actions, demonstrations and street theatre confronting the role of financial institutions like RBS in bankrolling climate change.”

Harry Reynolds who took part in the actions said:
“No one came to work today at the RBS Gogarburn headquarters. Since we had already effectively shut that down, we decided to concentrate our energies targeting RBS and its fossil fuel affiliates in the Edinburgh city centre. We’ve done a lot to disrupt RBS dirty energy operations today, but we are committed to keeping up the pressure until we manage to cut off the flow of capital from the banks to the fossil fuel industry.”

Occupy and set up the basecamp: 19th–20th August
Four days of training and direct action: 21st–24th August
Day of action against RBS and the fossil fuel industry: 23rd August
Return basecamp to nature: 25th August

The Camp for Climate Action is a grassroots movement taking direct action against the root causes of climate change. After mobilising and helping stop the proposed third runway at Heathrow and a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth, we’re growing into a mass movement reclaiming our future from government and profit-hungry corporations.

This year we’re targeting the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Last year RBS were bailed out with £50 billion of public money. This bank is one of the world’s largest investor in oil, gas and coal. From tar sands extraction in Canada to coal infrastructure here in the UK, we’re paying to trash our future. These projects are not just causing catastrophic climate change, but destroying the lives and livelihoods of people across the globe. Meanwhile, we’re told there is no money left and we should be braced for decades of public sectors cuts.


Climate Wise Women

Climate Wise: Women’s Global Response
To Climate Change

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — Next month, at the beginning of their 30-city, 18-country tour of the Americas, four women community activists will speak at Smith College about guaranteeing a safe, just and sustainable future for everyone.

The discussion, “The Climate Wise Women: A Conversation on Global Women’s Response to Climate Change,” will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 12, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. The program is free and open to the public.

The tour is based on a program originally presented by the tcktcktck campaign in New York City in September 2009, and again during the United Nations (U.N.) climate change conference in Copenhagen.

The Climate Wise Women are Sharon Hanshaw, a beautician-turned-community-leader from Biloxi, Miss.; Ulamila Kurai Wragg, a climate journalist from Raratonga, Cook Islands; Constance Okollet, a rural farmer who runs a women’s network connecting 40 villages in Uganda; and Ursula Rakova of the tiny Carteret Islands who is moving her entire population to Papua New Guinea to escape rising sea water levels.


Drought News

I keep a Google alert going for regional drought-related news. I got a bunch of interesting stuff today, so here it is.

This from NarcoNews.com. Who knew?

Coca-Cola moves into Mezcal.

Agro-Industry Absorbs Oaxaca Land and Water for Private Profit, Stainless Steel Vats Replace Artisanship

Little Earl, who maintains a certain interest in our local drink, took a twenty-peso tour of the new mezcal distillery located on the road to Tlacolula de Matamoros, on the Cristobal Colón highway, about half an hour from Oaxaca City. Tlacolula lures tourists to its huge weekly market where you can buy live turkeys, oxen yokes, seasonal vegetables, rice drinks, enamel pots, and artisan work ranging from carved fantastic animals to embroidered blouses. Occasional musicians entertain while shoppers stroll areas dedicated to fresh produce, shoes, socks, and plastic buckets. Along the main street, small shops sell mezcal. It’s artisan mezcal: an artisan liquor cooked in clay containers, from home-grown agave.

When Little Earl entered the Casa Armando Guillermo Prieto (Casa AGP) distillery, whose security little Earl describes as “tough as any airport”, they waived their metal detecting wand over him and discovered his digital camera. “No sir,” the security guard said. “It is the policy of Coca-Cola to not allow photographs.” Coca- Cola? Who knew? His cell phone in the other pocket suffered the same temporary confiscation.

S.A. de C.V. stands for “Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable”. It describes a company whose capital partners are anonymous and of variable investment. Most foreign investments in Mexico are designated S.A. de C.V. CIMSA S.A. de C.V.-Coca Cola, a consortium of businesses “100% Mexican” produces Casa AGP mezcal. I also saw it written in inverse order, as Coca-Cola-CIMSA.

Courthouse News Service; “Group Bristles for Thistles.”


ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – WildEarth Guardians wants the government to list a rare wetlands-dependent thistle as endangered or threatened. The federal complaint for the Wright’s marsh thistle is part of “Wildflower Week” in the group’s “BioBlitz” endangered species campaign.
The white-to-pink flowered thistle has declined due to water diversion from the New Mexico wetland habitats upon which it depends. Drought exacerbates the threat to remaining areas, the group says, and climate change is likely to worsen drought conditions.
WildEarth Guardians filed a petition to list the thistle in October 2008; a settlement led to the government issuing a positive 90-day finding nearly a year later. The current lawsuit seeks to compel a 12-month finding, which the feds still haven’t done, the group says.

Fog has declined in past century along California’s redwood coast.


Analysis of hourly airport cloud cover reports leads to surprising finding

California’s coastal fog has decreased significantly over the past 100 years, potentially endangering coast redwood trees dependent on cool, humid summers, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, scientists.

It is unclear whether this is part of a natural cycle of the result of human activity, but the change could affect not only the redwoods, but the entire redwood ecosystem, the scientists say.

“Since 1901, the average number of hours of fog along the coast in summer has dropped from 56 percent to 42 percent, which is a loss of about three hours per day,” said study leader James A. Johnstone, who recently received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Department of Geography before becoming a postdoctoral scholar in the campus’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM). “A cool coast and warm interior is one of the defining characteristics of California’s coastal climate, but the temperature difference between the coast and interior has declined substantially in the last century, in step with the decline in summer fog.”

The loss of fog and increased temperature mean that “coast redwood and other ecosystems along the U.S. West Coast may be increasingly drought-stressed, with a summer climate of reduced fog frequency and greater evaporative demand,” said coauthor Todd E. Dawson, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology and of ESPM. “Fog prevents water loss from redwoods in summer, and is really important for both the tree and the forest. If the fog is gone, we might not have the redwood forests we do now.”

USA: Crews dredge Rio Grande to keep it flowing


RATTLESNAKE POINT — Without Jason Thibodaux’s help, the Rio Grande would have a hard time making it past this sediment-choked desert flood plain.

Around a bend in the muddy, shallow river, a heavy equipment operator supervised by Thibodaux scooped sand from the main channel, building a berm on the east bank.

The goal, Thibodaux explained, was to keep the river flowing downstream toward Elephant Butte Reservoir. Without the help, the river would peter out into the flatlands on either side of its narrow channel.

State and federal water agencies began the project nine years ago when drought dropped water levels at Elephant Butte, the Rio Grande’s largest water storage reservoir. Elephant Butte “became disconnected from the river,” explained Chris Stageman, who manages the work for the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission.

Who knew there was an online publication called “Dredging Today?”

Being lazy here with not embedding the links. You will survive this omission on my part.