July 29, 2010

Recent News from Antarctica

Filed under: Antarctic, Polar

We have featured Antarctica many times in our essay series, and despite a million claims that “the icecaps are melting,” we continue to find no end of articles in major journals building a case for the opposite. Here we examine some recent research, and find evidence for decreased melting and, at least local, mass gains.

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July 22, 2010

Not Warming-Up to War?

Filed under: Climate Politics

Literally thousands of websites pound home the idea that global warming is a threat to our national security and that violent conflicts will result from disruptions caused by climate change. Many of the websites point to a study released several years ago by the CNA Corporation which is a nonprofit institution that conducts in-depth, independent research on complex public interest challenges. Their study entitled “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change” was prepared with 11 retired generals and admirals, and it is widely quoted by those insisting global warming will increase the threat of war. The executive summary of the report states “Projected climate change poses a serious threat to America’s national security. The predicted effects of climate change over the coming decades include extreme weather events, drought, flooding, sea level rise, retreating glaciers, habitat shifts, and the increased spread of life-threatening diseases. These conditions have the potential to disrupt our way of life and to force changes in the way we keep ourselves safe and secure.”

The executive summary also states “Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Projected climate change will seriously exacerbate already marginal living standards in many Asian, African, and Middle Eastern nations, causing widespread political instability and the likelihood of failed states.” And at home they claim “Projected climate change will add to tensions even in stable regions of the world. The U.S. and Europe may experience mounting pressure to accept large numbers of immigrant and refugee populations as drought increases and food production declines in Latin America and Africa.”

Before you enlist in the military or start shining up combat boots, there is a recent article in the journal Climatic Change that might change your mind about global warming and war. The research was conducted by Richard Tol and Sebastian Wagner from The Netherlands and Germany, respectively. The last sentence of their abstract caught our attention as they conclude “it appears that global warming would not lead to an increase in violent conflict” in mid-latitude locations such as China or Europe. We don’t see this study getting a lot of press coverage, so we decided to feature it on World Climate Reportjust as we did an earlier study which contradicted the global warming=more war claims.

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July 15, 2010

Solar Control on Tibet’s Climate

We see many articles like the following two that show more evidence of a solar control on climate even at the regional scale.

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July 7, 2010

Bird News

Filed under: Adaptation, Animals

We hear over and over that climate change is now so rapid that ecosystems all over the world are in peril as they attempt to cope with changes to the environment. This view of “delicate” ecosystems is at odds with the reality of the long climate history of the Earth. The climate has warmed in the past, cooled in the past, and many of these changes were quite rapid. Delicate ecosystems would have disappeared long ago and the most robust systems would have survived.

Birds are particular well-suited to move as conditions change. Somewhere deep in their DNA is a memory of changes in the past and how to cope with those changes. Four articles have appeared recently reminding us that birds are fully capable of responding to change in climate.

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