15,000 Scientists From 184 Countries Are Warning Humankind We Are Screwed

15,000 Scientists From 184 Countries Are Warning Humankind We Are Screwed

SOURCE: 15,364 scientists (PDF) and Motherboard DATE: November 13, 2017 SNIP: More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries warn the evidence is clear: Current and future human health and wellbeing are at serious risk from climate change, deforestation, loss of access to freshwater, species extinctions, and human population growth. Eminent scientists Jane Goodall, E.O. Wilson, and James Hansen are among those who have cosigned the warning, published Monday in the journal BioScience. The article, titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” has 15,372 signatories in total, from a range of scientific disciplines. It is thought to be the largest-ever formal support by scientists for a journal article. “Climate change is here. It is dangerous. And it is about to get much worse,” said Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, an international centre for sustainability science, in a...
Swarms of Monarch Butterflies Stuck Up North

Swarms of Monarch Butterflies Stuck Up North

SOURCE: Yale Environment 360 DATE: October 27, 2017 SNIP: Tens of thousands of monarch butterflies that should be in Texas by now, en route to their wintering grounds in Mexico, are still in the northern U.S. and Canada, their migrations delayed due to above-average temperatures and strong winds this fall. The large number of stragglers is “definitely new territory for us,” University of Kansas biologist Chip Taylor, director of Monarch Watch, told the AP. After weeks of warmer-than-usual weather, temperatures from the Great Lakes to New England are beginning to fall. Monarchs’ muscles stop functioning correctly when temperatures are in the 50s, so scientists warn that unless the butterflies start their 3,000-mile journey south soon, many of them may end up stuck up north and die. Even if they do leave now, many of the plants they eat along the way will be gone by the time they reach them, making starvation a real threat, biologists said. Monarch populations have been in decline for years, plummeting from 1 billion to 33 million in just two...
Climate change a ‘key’ factor in migration

Climate change a ‘key’ factor in migration

SOURCE: New Zealand Herald DATE: October 11, 2017 SNIP: Climate change is proving a bigger factor in people’s decisions to migrate more than income and political freedom combined, Kiwi researchers say. An analysis by Otago University economics researcher Dr Dennis Wesselbaum and Victoria University Master’s student Amelia Aburn crunched figures around migration flows between 16 OECD destination and 198 origin countries, including New Zealand, across 35 years. Their results suggested it to be a more important driver than even income and political freedom put together. “In combination, the effect of climate change through higher temperatures and an increase in the incidence of disasters is more important than the effects of income and policy at origin [country] together,” they reported. “In conclusion, our results suggest that climate change is a key driver of migration.” “Given the overwhelming evidence about the expected adverse effects of climate change in the future, we can expect that it will become an even more important driver of migration in the future,” the authors...
The Real Unknown of Climate Change: Our Behavior

The Real Unknown of Climate Change: Our Behavior

SOURCE: The New York Times DATE: September 18, 2017 SNIP: In the 1970s, the experts made a best guess about how sensitive the Earth would be to greenhouse gases, and as evidence accumulates, that early estimate is holding up pretty well. Forecasts from the 1980s and 1990s about the rate of warming have proven fairly accurate, too, give or take 20 percent. In fact, to the degree our scientists have made a systematic error, it has been to understate how quickly things would unravel. The sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing in front of our eyes. Even more ominously, land ice is melting at an accelerating pace, threatening a future rise of the sea even faster than that of today. Huge forest die-offs are beginning, even as the remaining forests work overtime to suck up some of the carbon pollution that humans are pumping out. We are already seeing heat waves surpassing 120 degrees Fahrenheit, sooner than many experts thought likely. Every time some politician stands up and claims that climate science is rife with uncertainties, a more honest person would add that those uncertainties could just as easily go against us as in our favor. The truth is that the single biggest uncertainty in climate science has nothing to do with the physics of the atmosphere, or the stability of the ice, or anything like that. The great uncertainty is, and has always been, how much carbon pollution humans are going to choose to pump into the...
New Climate Risk Classification Created to Account for Potential “Existential” Threats

New Climate Risk Classification Created to Account for Potential “Existential” Threats

SOURCE: Scripps Institution of Oceanography and PNAS DATE: September 14, 2017 SNIP: Researchers identify a one-in-20 chance of temperature increase causing catastrophic damage or worse by 2050. A new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories “catastrophic” and “unknown” to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity. The risk assessment stems from the objective stated in the 2015 Paris Agreement regarding climate change that society keep average global temperatures “well below” a 2°C (3.6°F) increase from what they were before the Industrial Revolution. Even if that objective is met, a global temperature increase of 1.5°C (2.7°F) is still categorized as “dangerous,” meaning it could create substantial damage to human and natural systems. A temperature increase greater than 3°C (5.4°F) could lead to what the researchers term “catastrophic” effects, and an increase greater than 5°C (9°F) could lead to “unknown” consequences which they describe as beyond catastrophic including potentially existential...