Monday, January 08, 2007


Despite that, the article below still assumes that mankind is warming up the world today

Foreshadowing potential climate chaos to come, early global warming caused unexpectedly severe and erratic temperature swings as rising levels of greenhouse gases helped transform Earth, a team led by researchers at UC Davis said Thursday. The global transition from ice age to greenhouse 300 million years ago was marked by [Note: They carefully don't say "preceded by". Other evidence indicates that the warming came BEFORE the CO2 rise. Pesky!] repeated dips and rises in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and wild swings in temperature, with drastic effects on forests and vegetation, the researchers reported in the journal Science.

"It was a real yo-yo," said UC Davis geochemist Isabel Montanez, who led researchers from five universities and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in a project funded by the National Science Foundation. "Should we expect similar but faster climate behavior in the future? One has to question whether that is where we are headed."

The provocative insight into planetary climate change counters the traditional view that global warming could be gradual and its regional effects easily anticipated. Over several million years, carbon dioxide in the ancient atmosphere increased from about 280 parts per million to 2,000 ppm, the same increase that experts expect by the end of this century as remaining reserves of fossil fuels are burned.

No one knows the reason for so much variation in carbon dioxide levels 300 million years ago, but as modern industrial activity continues to pump greenhouse gases into the air at rapid rates, the unpredictable climate changes that took millions of years to unfold naturally could be compressed into a few centuries or less today, several experts said. Carbon dioxide levels last year reached 380 ppm, rising at almost twice the rate of a decade ago, experts said. Average global temperatures have been rising about 0.36 of a degree Fahrenheit per decade for the last 30 years.

Still, the transformation of ancient Earth documented by Montanez and her colleagues makes the current spate of extreme weather events - extended droughts, killing heat waves and powerful hurricane seasons - appear mild by comparison.

From a planet whose landscape was buried in ice miles thick, the Earth convulsed into an ice-free world covered in drifts of wind-blown dust and sparse vegetation, in spasm after spasm of temperature shifts that rose and fell 7 to 18 degrees at a time, Montanez said.

The scientists studied the late Paleozoic period, between 305 million and 265 million years ago, when Earth was far different. Land masses were gridlocked in a single super-continent largely sheathed in ice. Shallow seas regularly rose and fell. The sun was weaker. The atmosphere's chemistry was different. And, in this single epoch, life experienced its greatest expansion in diversity of forms, followed abruptly by its largest mass extinction. Just as during the modern era, however, the Earth of the late Paleozoic was shifting from an ice age to a warmer greenhouse world - the only other era in the planet's history to experience such a transition, said Yale University geochemist Robert Berner, an expert on climate and evolution who was not involved in the research.

More here


Big game trophy hunters 'help to save rare species'. Benefits outweigh the cost in animals

The slaughter of thousands of animals in Africa by big game hunters is supported by conservationists who maintain that the sport protects wildlife. Lions, leopards, elephants and crocodiles are among the trophy species being shot by hunters from Europe and the US. Even the critically endangered black rhino finds itself in the crosshairs.

However, a study concludes, the overall toll on big game is more than matched by the benefits. Hunters are prepared to pay thousands of pounds for the chance to shoot trophy species. The money they bring in to the 23 African nations that permit trophy hunting provides jobs and encourages people to preserve the landscape rather than turn it into farmland. According to a report in New Scientist, a proportion of the money reaches conservation organisations, who use it to promote wildlife and protect the natural habitat.

The study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, concludes that where game areas are well managed, the death toll from hunters is outweighed by increases in animal populations made possible by conservation initiatives.

Hunting money was directly responsible for the recovery of at least three rare species in South Africa — the bontebok, Damaliscus dorcas, black wildebeest, Connochaetes gnu, and Cape mountain zebra, Equus zebra — and assisted the recovery of southern white rhino numbers.

“Trophy hunting can also play an important role in the rehabilitation of wildlife areas by permitting income generation from wildlife without jeopardising population growth of trophy species,” the study adds.

“Financial incentives from trophy hunting effectively more than double the land area that is used for wildlife conservation.”

The money generated by trophy hunting is seen as particularly important in areas that are unable to attract tourists. Simultaneously, the presence of trophy hunters encourages local people to put in place anti-poaching measures.

The study, by a team of scientists from Orleans University, France, and the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, estimates that at least 540,000 square miles of land in Africa are protected because of hunting, more than double the area of national parks in sub-Saharan Africa. They calculate that trophy hunting is worth more than £100 million to Africa.

There are, however, a range of problems to overcome, the researchers say: in some parts of Africa the hunting is inadequately managed, while in Asia its overall effect remains detrimental to conservation.

Mark Wright, of WWF, said that while the wildlife organisation regarded hunting as “an 0option of last resort”, it could have a positive effect on wildlife. In particular, he said, in many areas where there was no eco-tourism, it provided a source of income far less damaging than the alternative of illegal and uncontrolled poaching.

Rather than take the “high moral ground”, he said, conservationists needed to be practical and accept that hunting could be the lesser of two evils.

Nethertheless, some conservation groups remain opposed to big game hunting and point to Kenya, which has banned hunting yet attracts £500 millionof eco-tourism a year. Will Travers, of the Born Free Foundation, said: “I’m totally opposed. For me an animal is a treasure alive and a carcass dead. “I think hunting and killing an animal for so-called sport, for fun, is a tragedy of the human psyche and something we should have grown out of.”



"The Guardian" says so -- so it must be right

The environment minister is right to criticise airlines, but the truth is that the government and the aviation industry are on the same side. Environment minister Ian Pearson's comments about airlines confirm aviation's position as one of the touchstones of action on climate change. The industry has been squealing about the recent increase in air passenger duty and, as Ian Pearson rightly said, a huge battle is taking shape in Europe on whether and how aviation will be part of the European emissions trading scheme (ETS).

This is as it should be. The industry likes to say that aviation is a small part of the climate change problem, but it ignores two big issues. The first is the rate of growth in aviation: if the government's target of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 is to be met and aviation carries on growing at current rates, all other sectors of the economy will have to make much bigger cuts in emissions - up to 87% according to one recent report, using British Airways' own figures (and these assume some greening of aviation technology). The second is that aviation's contribution is greater than simple carbon figures suggest, because the impacts of emissions in the skies are greater. The exact level of "radiative forcing", as the effect of emissions at high altitude is known, is uncertain but the current estimate is that it worsens the impact by 2.7 times and it could be larger.

There are a lot of doubts about whether including aviation in the ETS will have any impact on this (much depends on the caps included and the terms of admission) but it is at least an attempt to do something about this. As Ian Pearson says, much of the industry is in denial about its effects. What he didn't say was that the industry, backed by the Americans and many other governments in the rest of the world are mobilising to attack the EU and to ensure that any restrictions on aviation of any sort whatever are outlawed through the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which meets next autumn.

But at another level, the minister is engaging in shadow-boxing. The truth is that the government and the aviation industry are on the same side. The industry asserts that the economic benefits outweigh any environmental costs of aviation, and the government believes it. The pre-budget report uncritically printed extracts from an industry-sponsored report which vastly exaggerates the economic contribution of aviation.

Ian Pearson did not think to mention the government's progress report on its aviation white paper, slipped out before Christmas, which reiterated and strengthened the government's support for large-scale expansion of airports - a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow, a second runway at Stansted, expansion at Manchester and several other airports. The growth in aviation that such airport expansion will allow will outrun any moves to cut emissions through the ETS or technology improvements. Ministers have bought the argument that such expansion is essential for competitiveness; the industry has successfully sold them the line that other countries are expanding their airports so the UK has to as well. The large and growing opposition to airport expansion in other countries finds their ministers using the same arguments about the UK.

If ministers were really determined to do something about aviation's contribution to climate change, they would tackle both demand and supply. Transit traffic - a large chunk of Heathrow passengers - contributes nothing to the UK economy. Video-meeting technology can substitute for some international flights. The growth in freight-only flights, increasing food miles, could be taxed. Most importantly, the large domestic and near-Europe flights - the main users for the projected third runway at Heathrow - could be replaced by trains.

But in a week where, because of government franchising policy, train fares were increased yet again above inflation and well above European levels, you can understand a government minister not mentioning this.

So Ian Pearson is right to criticise the airlines - but his own government is culpable in taking the industry view and promoting aviation expansion, rather than alternatives. If the government is serious about climate change, action on aviation is essential.


Australia: Greenie dam-hatred imposes huge costs on householders

Melburnians are drilling bores in their backyards to pump groundwater for gardens and lawns. As stage 3 water restrictions enter the second week, desperate Melburnians are paying up to $20,000 to drill bores into aquifers to secure water. Drillers have received hundreds of phone inquiries since the restrictions came into force on January 1.

Gardens can be watered only twice a week with a dripper system or hand-held trigger-nozzle hoses at limited times, while watering lawns remains banned.

Melbourne's groundwater is managed by Southern Rural Water, which has been inundated with requests for bore licences across the state during the past year. To drill a bore for domestic use, residents must apply for a licence, which costs $510 and can take up to a month to receive because of the demand.

Thomastown bore driller Barry Scriven said people were willing to spend whatever it took to secure water. "We have had to stop answering the phone because it's too busy," he said. It costs about $200 a metre to drill for a bore. Water in some areas can be 10m deep, but others are 50 or 100m down. "If you asked people 10 years ago to spend $15,000 on water for the garden they would have thought you were crazy," Mr Scriven said. Not all areas of Melbourne would be able to access good quality water with salinity a problem in some areas of Melbourne, including some eastern suburbs.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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