Archive for Environment

Opinion | Heat and Humidity Are a Killer Combination – By Ethan Coffel, Radley Horton and Colin Raymond – NYT

I am sorry to report that there is some very bad news for Vietnam and Southeast Asia in this science report from the NYT.

Photo, a man in India suffers heat exhaustion, NYT

I predicted in 2014, that in the next five years, the US would get serious and wake up about climate change. Unfortunately, this scientific news will help the prediction. It also explains yesterday. Connecticut had high humidity and high temperature, which explains why playing tennis in the late afternoon and then morris dancing made me feel severly exhausted.

The authors are climate scientists at Dartmouth College and Columbia University.

“After enduring another scorching summer — the fourth-hottest on record for the contiguous United States — it may be hard to imagine conditions getting much worse. But as a new report from the United Nations’ panel on climate change warns, we are locked in to additional warming and other changes like sea level rise. And we are running out of time to avert potentially catastrophic outcomes.

One critically important and underreported fact is that as temperatures rise, absolute humidity, the total amount of moisture in the air, will also increase. That may create combinations of heat and humidity so extreme that the evaporation of human sweat won’t sufficiently cool our bodies, leaving even healthy adults at risk of death from overheating.

Our research suggests that in about 50 years, these deadly conditions — almost unknown on the planet today — could occur once per decade in parts of the world. Millions of people could be exposed to these extreme conditions if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise following historical trends.”

Source: Opinion | Heat and Humidity Are a Killer Combination – The New York Times

Posted in: Climate Change

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Why the Wilder Storms? It’s a ‘Loaded Dice’ Problem – By Somini Sengupta -NYT

Filipinos fled their homes in Marikina, part of the Metropolitan Manila region, during a flash flood in August. CreditCreditFrancis R Malasig/EPA, via Shutterstock  from NYT

“Torrential rainfall lashed Japan in July. A cloudburst in August submerged entire villages in south India. In September, Hurricane Florence burst dams and lagoons, with coal ash and pig waste spilling into the waterways of North Carolina. On the other side of the planet, a typhoon walloped the Philippines and ravaged the country’s staple crop, rice.

Climate scientists can’t say where or when the next big storm will hit, but all the evidence points to this: Global warming is bringing the planet into an era of wilder, more dangerous rains with ruinous and long-lasting consequences.

“Where it rains, it’s raining heavier,” said Raghu Murtugudde, a professor of Earth systems science at the University of Maryland who edited a recent book on extreme weather in the tropics. “It’s the classic loaded-dice analogy.”

The dice, he said, are “throwing up some numbers more often” in the form of extreme weather. How? The greenhouse gases humans have already injected into the atmosphere have heated up the planet and now pack so much moisture into the air that they heighten the risk of more extreme precipitation.”

Source: Why the Wilder Storms? It’s a ‘Loaded Dice’ Problem – The New York Times

David Lindsay:   Bravo Somini Sengupta. Based on her article above,  please join environmentalists like myself in funding a Blue wave to clean the Augean Stables, which in now represented by the Republican controlled U S Congress and Presidency. The easiest way to support science based progressives is to donate to the DSCC.org, the DCCC.org, or political funding groups like Emily’s List.

Posted in: Climate Change, David Lindsay

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How to Stop Poaching and Protect Endangered Species? Forget the ‘Kingpins’ – by Rachel Nuwer – NYT

By Rachel Nuwer     Sept. 24, 2018

“In 2003, enterprising criminals in Southeast Asia realized that they could exploit a loophole in South Africa’s hunting laws to move rhino horns legally across international borders. Normally, North Americans and Europeans account for the bulk of South Africa’s rhino hunting permits. But that year, 10 Vietnamese “hunters” quietly applied as well.

Hunters are allowed to transport legally obtained trophies across borders under various international and domestic laws. The Vietnamese hunters each returned home with the mounted horn, head or even whole body of a rhino.

Word spread. Though Vietnam and other Asian countries have no history of big-game sport hunting, South Africa was soon inundated with applicants from Asia, who sometimes paid $85,000 or more to shoot a single white rhino.

That represented the beginning of an illicit industry referred to as pseudo-hunting — a first step toward the rhino poaching crisis that rages today. And the story of one of its chief practitioners shows the lengths to which criminals will go to move wildlife contraband.”

Source: How to Stop Poaching and Protect Endangered Species? Forget the ‘Kingpins’ – The New York Times

Posted in: Species Extinction

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Asia Development Bank Report on Climate Change in Asia

 

“The historic Paris Agreement of 2015 has acknowledged that the global climate crisis is arguably the greatest challenge
human civilization faces in the 21st century. In this context, the role of the Asia and Pacific region is characterized
by a double dichotomy that entails simultaneously high risks and significant opportunities. Proper analysis guided
by adequate information can result in investment and policy choices that will continue to promote sustainable economic
development and eradicate poverty in the region.
The first dichotomy relates to the region accounting for an increasing overall share of global emissions of greenhouse
gases (GHGs) harming not only the world but the region itself. At the same time however, countries of the region have
the unprecedented opportunity to break the GHG-intensive development path by rapidly modifying the historical
model of industrial development. The rapidly decreasing costs of wind and solar power generation clearly indicates that
consumption and production of the future could be driven by renewable energy sources, though the when and where of
this great transition remain uncertain.
The second dichotomy pertains to the already observed and anticipated future impacts of anthropogenic global warming.
On the one hand, the rapid economic and human development of the region renders societies less vulnerable to the familiar
vagaries of the environment—such as heat waves, heavy precipitation or tropical cyclones. In particular, the shift away from
agriculture as the core sector guaranteeing livelihoods and the associated economic diversification of the countries of the
region help to increase resilience to weather extremes such as those experienced historically. Simultaneously however,
the same developments have opened up new avenues of exposure and vulnerability. Coastal populations and assets are
highly at risk from projected rises in sea level and the intensification of extreme weather events. Urbanized populations
are exposed to heat stress hazards. National and increasingly integrated regional economic systems are vulnerable to
disruptions in supply chain networks. Populations are migrating away from areas where climate change impacts represent
an increasing threat.
These rapidly emerging new climate vulnerabilities in the Asia and Pacific region need to be addressed with a portfolio
of strategies involving capacity building, preparedness programs, urban and rural planning, national and social security
schemes, proactive migration and numerous others. Crucial preconditions for success are whole-systems and long-term
thinking and planning, based on the best available data, analysis, and modeling.”

Posted in: Climate Change Remediation

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In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China – NYT

Just now

About this article
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David Lindsay:  Yes, thank you for this story. It makes me sick and heartbroken. I have endorsed the one comment now at the NYT:
Judith Nelson
Manhattan

The Montreal protocol, which banned chlorofluorocarbons, was a significant landmark and the efforts against climate change. Together with the Clean Air Act of 1970 and requirements for improving gas mileage for American cars, these were early proof that laws CAN be passed for the good of the environment. Unfortunately, market forces and lack of regulation are now undermining the CFC ban, and the Trump administration wants to roll back or eliminate mileage requirements and other EPA rules.
What’s needed is tough international enforcement of existing laws, and a return to sanity in the US government regarding the environment. We worked hard to clean things up, once; surely we can find the political strength and will to do it again.

Posted in: China, Climate Change Polluters

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Opinion | The Ornithologist the Internet Called a Murderer – The New York Times

In September 2015, Dr. Filardi and a team of researchers from the museum and the University of the South Pacific ascended the rugged Chupukama Ridge, on Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands, which he described in his field journal as “a sky island filled with scientific mystery.” The goal of the mission was not only to study Guadalcanal’s ecosystems, but to make the case for preserving them at a time when the Solomon Islands are under pressure to open more land up to logging and mining.

On the third morning, the sound of “kokoko-kiew” pulsed through the forest. The call was unmistakably a forest kingfisher’s. Dr. Filardi’s heart raced. For 20 years, he’d been searching for the mustached kingfisher, known as a “ghost” bird. Only three individuals, all female, had been discovered by scientists over the past century. There were no male specimens in any of the world’s museums; not even a photo of one was known to exist. He got a glimpse of the bird, just a flash of blue and gold, before it vanished.

Days later, when the team captured a male in a mist net, Dr. Filardi gasped. “One of the most poorly known birds in the world was there, in front of me, like a creature of myth come to life,” he wrote in a dispatch to the museum.

While the expedition was still underway, the museum released the first photographs of the bird, which seemed to be mugging for the camera. The mustached kingfisher became a viral celebrity, under headlines like “ridiculously gorgeous.”

It wasn’t until the public realized that Dr. Filardi had “collected” the bird — killing it for the museum’s research collection — that the adulation turned to venom.”

Source: Opinion | The Ornithologist the Internet Called a Murderer – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  Horrible story, well reported, good comments. PETA and the bullies who have hounded this great scientist into hiding should be taken to court. I don’t know how, but they are acting like a pack of hyenas. Edward O Wilson of Harvard has written in his great short book “Half Earth,” that we desperately need more naturalists to go out and catalog and map the ecosystems of myriad species that we know so little about.

Posted in: David Lindsay, Environment, Micronesia and Solomon Islands, Vietnam's Neighbors

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Deadly Tensions Rise as India’s Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low – The New York Times

By Maria Abi-Habib and Hari Kumar

“SHIMLA, India — The people of Shimla haven’t agreed on much lately. A drought in the Himalayan resort has had residents blaming farmers, the tourism industry and one another for depleting the strained water supplies.

And everyone’s been angry at the key men.

Shimla’s decrepit network of water pipes, built under British colonial rule more than 70 years ago, depends on the civil servants known as key men to open and close the valves that supply each neighborhood. The current shortage, which in May left some homes without water for 20 days, has led to such fury toward the key men — accused, in just about every neighborhood, of depriving it of its fair share — that a court ordered police protection for them.

“I was getting angry phone calls calling me everything — stupid, worthless — at one or two in the morning,” said Inder Singh, 44, who has been a key man for 24 years. “I would be mobbed by dozens as I was trying to leave my home for work,” he said, inserting his key — a meter-long metal contraption — into the ground to open a valve.

Tourism is the mainstay of the economy in this mountain city, which the British colonial authorities made their summer capital so they could escape the brutal heat of New Delhi. But the drought — accompanied by unusually high temperatures, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — has been so severe that in May, some residents took to Twitter to ask tourists to stay away and leave the water for local residents. Many in Shimla call it the worst shortage they can remember.”

Source: Deadly Tensions Rise as India’s Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low – The New York Times

Yes, thank you  Maria Abi-Habib and Hari Kumar and the NYT for excellent reporting. Here are some of the NYT comments I recommeded:

Mr. Reeee

This is ALL about overpopulation.

Here is a prime example of overpopulation creating conditions where dwindling resources are strained to the breaking point.

About the only solutions are massive desalinization projects or cutting the population.

Meanwhile, the US government has been cutting funding for programs that encourage and enable easy access to birth control across the globe.

Here’s the result. Get ready for more and more stories of similar situations involving arable land, water and food shortages and spiraling death tolls as a direct result.

Christine commented 1 hour ago

Christine
Haleiwa, HI

Drought and climate change set the teeth of displacement in motion in Syria. Mass migration to cities like Aleppo occurred which put extreme pressure on the existing infrastructure and jobs economy. This current wave of war and atrocity in places like Syria and Sudan are initiated by drought and famine. The oil wars were bad. The water wars will be so much worse.

Phyllis commented 52 minutes ago

Phyllis
Gainesville, FL

It’s about over population AND increasingly inappropriate and/or arcane institutional arrangements for using water. Sections of North America and the US will come to similar situations as global warming intensifies. How sad that we “intelligent” humans can know what is happening and project what will happen, but seem incapable of acting effectively to avoid the collapse of not only civilization but the biodiversity of our beautiful and unique planet.

Greed triumphs all.

RLG commented 1 hour ago

RLG
Norwood

Finite resource, poor climate awareness, inadequate storage, poor meteorological forecasting but the main reason is

OVERPOPULATION

They are boxed in. Expect more loss of life and livelihood, social unrest, international conflict (no transboundary river and storage management) as Kali takes her toll.

This is only the beginning. The entire region is at fault. My sympathy is running as low as their decreasing per capita water supply.

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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122 Pregnant Whales Were Killed in Japan’s Latest Hunt. Was This Illegal? – The New York Times

By Tacey Rychter      

“More than 120 pregnant female whales were among 333 killed during Japan’s recent annual summer hunt off the coast of Antarctica, according to a new report.

The report, released by the International Whaling Commission this month, said 122 of the slaughtered minke whales were pregnant and 114 were considered immature.

The last hunting season in the Antarctic for Japan ran from Dec. 8 to Feb. 28.

Conservationists said the new report was further evidence that Japan was killing whales for commercial purposes under the guise of scientific research.”

Source: 122 Pregnant Whales Were Killed in Japan’s Latest Hunt. Was This Illegal? – The New York Times

Posted in: Japan, Species Extinction

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The Uninhabitable Village – by Geeta Anand and Vikram Singh – NYT Oct 26 2017

Beautiful photography, heartbreaking story:

Each sentence below has a photo video clip:

“This is S. Periyanayaki in the rice field in southern India where her husband died.

The worst drought in more than a century killed his rice crop, and he blamed himself.

A farmer found Periyanayaki’s husband, K. Suresh, lying in the barren field. He had drunk pesticide.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have killed themselves in the past 30 years, and some climate researchers believe hotter weather has driven crop failure and made the problem worse.”

Source: The Uninhabitable Village – The New York Times

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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Feature: Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities – April 2017 Reuters.com

NAGAPATTINAM, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Vinod Kumar remembers a time, not so long ago, when the fields in his village in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were green all year round.

His family lived comfortably from its farmland of just over 2 acres (0.8 hectares), growing vegetables, coconuts and millet irrigated by the Cauvery river and the rain.

Kumar grew up believing the farm would be his life.

But today, the 30-year-old drives a car for a living in the city of Chennai, 250 km (155 miles) away. His family joined him two years ago, abandoning what had been for generations their home and their land.

On a recent journey back to the area where he grew up, he said he was far from the only migrant.

“At this time of year, these fields should be green with paddy shoots – but no one seems to be farming,” said Kumar, as he drove past arid fields overgrown with scrub and thorns one sweltering July afternoon.

“We haven’t had enough water for many years. It has become impossible to make a living from farming, and a lot of people have moved to cities to do other jobs.”

Source: Feature: Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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