Greenland ice loss
The rate continues to accelerate, according to Skeptical Science.
It looks ugly, but see comment 24 and the correction @ 27. Doubling the rate each decade will give you 3,200 gt each year by 2050. But that’s still only a bit less than 9mm pa of sea level rise, according to my calculations. Concerning, certainly, but not yet catastrophic.
Caring for our Australian Alps Catchments
The snow-capped alps could be gone by 2050.
“The report points to less precipitation, reduced snow cover, more droughts, more frequent severe fire events and more severe storms. These changes increase the challenge of managing catchments that are already under pressure.”
The implications go beyond the environment to tourism and water for the Murray Basin which sources around 30% of its flows from The Alps.
Cities exposed to coastal flooding
The OECD have done a study ranking the 136 port cities around the world that have more than one million inhabitants which are exposed to a 1 in 100 year surge-induced flood event. 38% of the cities are in Asia. Ranked by population, India, China, the US and Japan figure in the top 20, along with the usual suspects of Bangladesh, Vietnam and Thailand.
Go here for the Executive summary.
The total population in these cities exposed could grow to 150 million by 2070. The top 10 cities ranked by assets are Miami, Greater New York, New Orleans, Osaka-Kobe, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Nagoya, Tampa-St Petersburg and Virginia Beach. These cities contain 60% of the total exposure, but are from only three countries: USA, Japan and the Netherlands.
Focus on phytoplankton
The tiny phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi, invisible to the naked eye, plays an outsized role in drawing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it deep in the seas.
From Science Daily a recent study shows:
how climate-driven changes in nitrogen sources and carbon dioxide levels in seawater could work together to make Emiliania huxleyi a less effective agent of carbon storage in the deep ocean, the world’s largest carbon sink.
The particular concern was the synergistic effect of acidity and a switch from nitrates to ammonium, both expected with climate change. They are now looking to build the genetic blueprint to bolster the phytoplankton’s responses.
Two films on Earth’s choking ‘carbon sponges’
The films were shown at the Pariscience film festival.
The other, Up in Smoke looks at slash and burn agriculture.
Between 250 and 300 million people throughout the world live on slash-and-burn subsistence farming. Yet, it is estimated that they account for a staggering 18% of the world’s carbon emissions.
British scientist Mike Hands
says he has a solution that can stop the environmental catastrophe while also providing food security. Known as alley cropping, it involves planting food crops between rows of inga trees, which provide firewood, fertiliser and enough shade to keep out the weeds. His problem, however, is lack of funding.
And a lack of political interest.
Meanwhile another UN talkfest in Korea was concerned with the nearly 20 million square kilometres, twice the size on Canada, of the planet’s arable land already degraded. A mere 3% of the Earth’s surface is arable, and 24% of that has already been degraded.
They were reviewing a 10-year plan and contemplating setting up an IPCCC-type body.
I wonder whether they are thinking about the potential of organic farming. A new report released by the Center for Food Safety and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (Foundation) has a strong focus on organic rather than ‘industrial’ farming.
Go here to download the full report, The Wheel of Life: Food, Climate, Human Rights, and the Economy. We are told that organic farming, if practised throughout the world, could sequester about 40% of current carbon dioxide emissions. And we could feed the world too.
Based on 293 test cases, the study found that in organic farming produced yields 80 percent higher than industrial methods in developing countries.
The report suggests that gender issues need to be incorporated into planning for agriculture and climate change. Women do 80% of the farming, but are being displaced by industrial agriculture to become low paid and vulnerable migrant workers.
ActionAid has warned that a triple crisis of climate change, depleted natural resources and rocketing food prices, could dwarf the world’s ability to feed everyone.
The full report (here) shows which of 28 developing countries are taking action against the climate/hunger crunch, and which are burying their heads in the sand.
The 10 countries ranked most vulnerable – DRC, Burundi, South Africa, Haiti, Bangladesh, Zambia, India, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Rwanda – account for nearly a quarter of the world’s population.
Countries most ready to face the triple crisis include Brazil, Malawi, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
One of the indicators studied is gender equality and a leading recommendation is to improve women’s access and control over land and other productive resources.
Genetic engineering for climate change
Genetic engineering is often touted as a solution to assist plants to adapt to climate change. Experiments undertaken by Brown University show how difficult this is. A total of 75,000 plants had to be monitored on sites from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. And they chose the Arabidopsis thaliana because its genome is simple.
Solar that glitters ready to go
Climate Spectator reports that micro-sized solar cells could halve the cost of solar panels while nearly doubling their efficiency. ready for commercialisation, Sandia National Laboratories who developed the technology, say the technology has potential applications in buildings, houses, clothing, portable electronics, vehicles, and other contoured structures.
With existing technology solar Photovoltaic prices have tumbled 30% this year.
At the end of the post, reference is made to a story in Gizmag where power for heart pacemakers and other biological implants is sourced from the airflow of breathing.
Renewables subsidy under-done
Finally, as everywhere (is China an exception?) subsidies for the development of renewables in the US have been a fraction of that provided to other technologies in their developmental stage.