Conservation Science News October 4, 2013

Highlight of the Week









NOTE: Please feel free to pass on my weekly news update that has been prepared for
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staff.  The information contained in this update was drawn from, SER The Society for Ecological Restoration,,,, The Wildlife Society NewsBrief, and other sources as indicated.  This is a compilation of articles and other information available on line, which were not verified and are not endorsed by Point Blue Conservation Science.  Please email me directly at Ellie Cohen, ecohen at if you want your name added to or dropped from this list.  You can also receive this through the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative ListServe or the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium list.   Also, we are starting to experiment with blog posting at

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Highlight of the Week



London – October 3rd 2013: An international panel of marine scientists is demanding urgent remedies to halt ocean degradation based on findings that the rate, speed and impacts of change in the global ocean are greater, faster and more imminent than previously thought.

Results from the latest International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO)/IUCN review of science on anthropogenic stressors on the ocean go beyond the conclusion reached last week by the UN climate change panel the IPCC that the ocean is absorbing much of the warming and unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide and warn that the cumulative impact of this with other ocean stressors is far graver than previous estimates.

Decreasing oxygen levels in the ocean caused by climate change and nitrogen run-off, combined with other chemical pollution and rampant overfishing are undermining the ability of the ocean to withstand these so-called ‘carbon perturbations’, meaning its role as Earth’s ‘buffer’ is seriously compromised.


Read the full press release


Researchers Find Historic Ocean Acidification Levels: ‘The Next Mass Extinction May Have Already Begun’

By Katie Valentine on October 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm

The oceans are more acidic now than they’ve been at any time in the last 300 million years, conditions that marine scientists warn could lead to a mass extinction of key species.

Scientists from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) published their State of the Oceans report Thursday, a biennial study that surveys how oceans are responding to human impacts. The researchers found the current level of acifification is “unprecedented” and that the overall health of the ocean is declining at a much faster rate than previously thought.

“We are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change, and exposing organisms to intolerable evolutionary pressure,” the report states. “The next mass extinction may have already begun.”….






Where’s My Flower? Diesel Throws Honeybees Off the Trail

By Laura Poppick, LiveScience Contributor   |   October 03, 2013 09:00am ET

Diesel pollution snuffs out floral odors, interfering with honeybees’ ability to find and pollinate flowers, new research suggests. Honeybees use both visual and olfactory cues to recognize flowers that produce nectar in return for insect pollination. Not all flowers produce nectar, and bees avoid those that don’t by learning to recognize the odors of nectar-bearing flowers. But these floral odors— which consist of reactive chemicals called volatiles — react with other substances in the atmosphere; in the presence of certain pollutants, these scents can chemically transform into undetectable forms, researchers from the University of Southampton report today (Oct. 3) in the journal Scientific Reports. …


Fear of predators drives honey bees away from good food sources
(October 2, 2013) — Honey bees live in a world filled with danger in which predators seize them from the sky and wait to ambush them on flowers. Such fear drives bees to avoid food sources closely associated with predators and, interestingly, makes colonies of bees less risk-tolerant than individual bees, according to a new study. … > full story

Wave of jellyfish shuts down Swedish nuke reactor. October 3, 2013 Associated Press It wasn’t a tsunami but it had the same effect: A huge cluster of jellyfish forced the Oskarshamn nuclear plant in southeastern Sweden, one of the world’s largest nuclear reactors, to shut down – a phenomenon that marine biologists say could become more common. .. Nuclear power plants need a constant flow of water to cool their reactor and turbine systems, which is why many such plants are built near large bodies of water. Marine biologists, meanwhile, say they would not be surprised if more jellyfish shutdowns occur in the future. “It’s true that there seems to be more and more of these extreme cases of blooming jellyfish,” said Lene Moller, a researcher at the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment. “But it’s very difficult to say if there are more jellyfish, because there is no historical data.” The species that caused the Oskarshamn shutdown is known as the common moon jellyfish. “It’s one of the species that can bloom in extreme areas that . . . are overfished or have bad conditions,” said Moller. “The moon jelly likes these types of waters. They don’t care if there are algae blooms, they don’t care if the oxygen concentration is low. The fish leave . . . and (the moon jelly) can really take over the ecosystem.”



Accurate maps of streams could aid in more sustainable development of Potomac River watershed
(October 3, 2013) — Where a stream ends is clear, but where it begins can be more difficult to discern. Researchers have now developed a new method to solve this problem, resulting in a new map of the Potomac River watershed stream network that significantly improves the information needed for assessing the impact of urbanization on aquatic ecosystems. … > full story


Improving Water Security With Blue, Green, and Gray Water

Oct. 3, 2013 — Agriculture is one of the most insatiable consumers of dwindling water resources around the world. And food production will need to increase by about 70% over the next 35 years to meet the needs of a growing population. Crops aren’t creating the only demands; agriculture will face competition for water from cities, industries, and recreation. With limited water and the increasing number of people depending on it, water security is tenuous. But integrated water management plans using “blue,” “green,” and “gray” water can increase water security. What do these colors mean and why are these waters vital? Those are the central questions behind the symposium “Blue Waves, Green Dreams, and Shades of Gray: Perspectives On Water” being held Nov. 5. The symposium is part of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America Annual Meetings, Nov. 3-6 in Tampa, Florida.

  • Blue water is found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, or aquifers. It is used for many purposes such as drinking water, water for homes and businesses, and irrigation water for agriculture. Freshwater stores are limited, and what’s left of blue water must be protected and used sparingly.
  • Green water is the water available in the soil for plants and soil microorganisms. It can be absorbed by roots, used by the plants to grow, and released back to the atmosphere. The use of green water by crops must be optimized to better utilize this often overlooked resource.
  • Gray water is water that has been previously used and may contain some impurities. It can come from cities, households, or industries, and it is waste water that is usually treated and discharged. The reuse of gray water for agriculture can decrease the amount of blue water withdrawn from stores and increase the green water available for plants to use.

These three water sources — blue, gray, and green — have to be protected and optimized if agriculture is to rise to the challenge of feeding over 9 billion people by 2050 while leaving enough water for other uses. After all, says Rattan Lal, presider of the symposium, “There is no substitute for water.”



Meadow Restoration

American Rivers

Download the Meadow Publication PDFs below:

  • Evaluating and Prioritizing Meadow Restoration in the Sierra.  American Rivers and colleagues introduce tools to assess meadow condition, prioritize
    meadows for restoration, and monitor
    the effects of restoration.  Data are presented for meadows in the Yuba and Mokelumne Watersheds.
  • Meadow Scorecard: A Rapid Assessment Tool.  Science staff from American Rivers and colleagues developed a rapid method for scoring meadow condition.  The method is both rigorous and accessible to landowners and others without specialized experience.  See also: “Evaluating and Prioritizing Meadow Restoration in the Sierra”.

Mercury increasing in birds downstream of Canada’s oil sands

Oct 04, 2013 Synopsis by Brian Bienkowski

Pete Myers

Ring-billed Gull.  Mercury is increasing in eggs of gulls and terns in waters downstream of Alberta’s oil sands region.

Mercury levels are increasing in the eggs of water birds that nest downstream of Canada’s oil sands region, according to a new study.

Eggs of Ring-billed Gulls collected from northern Alberta’s Mamawi Lake in 2012 had 139 percent more mercury than in 2009. Also, smaller increases in mercury were found in three species of gulls and terns at Egg Island. Both Mamawi Lake and Egg Island are located in the receiving waters of the Athabasca River, which drains the oils sands region of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Meanwhile, eggs of California Gulls collected at the Langdom Reservoir, which is in southern Alberta and not affected by oil sands development, had a 57 percent decline in mercury levels from 2008 to 2012. The oil sands contain an estimated 1.84 trillion barrels of crude bitumen, a thick, tar-like petroleum that can be turned into crude oil, according to the Alberta Energy Department. Oil and gas investment in the oil sands has increased from $4.2 billion in 2000 to about $26.9 billion in 2012. The petroleum industry is the largest domestic source of mercury emissions to Alberta’s air, according to a national inventory. The mercury in the birds might have come from global sources, such as coal-burning plants in Asia. However, since the levels increased in two types of birds that live in different places in northern Alberta, and since the gull eggs in southern Alberta had decreasing mercury levels, the study authors reported that it’s more likely to be a local source. The scientists from Environment Canada and Parks Canada wrote that “there is the possibility that changes in oil sands-related sources of mercury could be responsible for the egg mercury trends” but they added that more research is needed to conclusively identify the sources….


Hebert, CE, D Campbell, R Kindopp, S MacMillan, P Martin, E Neugebauer, L Patterson, J Shatford. 2013. Mercury trends in Colonial waterbird eggs downstream of the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/es402542w.



Light at Night, Melatonin and Bird Behavior

October 2, 2013 — Low light levels, similar to those found in urban areas at night, can have a significant effect on melatonin production in birds at night. This suggests that melatonin could be mediating changes in bird behaviour at night. Reporting in BioMed Central’s open access journal Frontiers in Zoology, the researchers suggest that altered melatonin production may cause birds to interpret increased light during the night as shorter nights…. > full story

Davide M Dominoni, Wolfgang Goymann, Barbara Helm, Jesko Partecke. Urban-like night illumination reduces melatonin release in European blackbirds (Turdus merula): implications of city life for biological time-keeping of songbirds. Frontiers in Zoology, 2013; 10 (1): 60 DOI: 10.1186/1742-9994-10-


Fooled by a Sharpie! Cheating birds steered to fidelity with red marker


Oct. 1, 2013 at 6:59 PM ET

Daniel Baldassarre– Not a natural red-back: A coat of non-toxic marker on an orange-backed fairy-wren (right) makes it as attractive to females as the naturally scarlet subspecies (left).

Out in the Australian scrubland, scientists are using Sharpies to trick promiscuous female fairy-wrens from mating outside their subspecies, an “extra-marital” behavior that may be stalling evolution in its tracks.  Two groups of fairy-wrens live in Northeastern Australia: You can tells the males apart easily — one group has an orange band of feathers on their backs and the others are crimson red

Females find partners within their subspecies — orange to orange and red to red — to nest and raise their brood with. But they also seek out other mates, aside from their “social” fathers-to-be, and that’s when they look for a bit of variety, Daniel Baldassarre and Michael Webster, ornithologists at Cornell University have found: They recorded how female birds from the orange group had a clear preference for red males outside their main relationships…..





60 New Species Discovered in Suriname Forest Located in South America


 – October 4, 2013‎


A team of 16 biologists went on a three week expedition in an uninhabited region of Suriname near the border with Brazil in South America and cataloged 1,378 plants, ants, fish, insects, birds, mammals and amphibians.


Bechtel gift to help transform Presidio

John King SF Chronicle Published 8:57 am, Friday, September 27, 2013

(09-27) 08:54 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — The largest cash gift in national parks history is intended to be the catalyst to create 10 acres of parkland connecting the heart of the Presidio to Crissy Field and the bay.

The $25 million from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation will fund more than half the estimated budget for what is being called Tunnel Top Parkland. A new bluff will cover the rebuilt Doyle Drive, allowing for an unbroken landscape from Crissy Field’s marsh inland to the Main Post of the former military base, which now is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Bechtel gift, announced Friday, will also be used for youth programs at the Crissy Field Center, which sits where the bluff and landscape will emerge in 2016 after the new Presidio Parkway opens.

“It’s an amazing act of generosity that makes possible the completion of one of the most amazing park transformations in the world,” said Craig Middleton, executive director of the Presidio Trust, which manages the forested historic military landscape where the Golden Gate Bridge touches down in San Francisco. The recipient of the gift is the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, a nonprofit that has helped restore land within the GGNRA since 1981. The conservancy led the fundraising and planning efforts for the 100-acre restoration of Crissy Field that premiered in 2001 and has become a cherished part of the city. In recent years, the conservancy also has raised funds for an ambitious network of trails and overlooks within the 1,491-acre Presidio…..





Caribou may be indirectly affected by sea-ice loss in the Arctic
(October 1, 2013) — Melting sea ice in the Arctic may be leading, indirectly, to lower birth and survival rates for caribou calves in Greenland, according to scientists. They have linked the melting of Arctic sea ice with changes in the timing of plant growth on land, which in turn is associated with population declines in caribou herds. … > full story


Warmer Oceans Could Raise Mercury Levels in Fish

October 3, 2013 ScienceDaily Rising ocean surface temperatures caused by climate change could make fish accumulate more mercury, increasing the health risk to people who …  > full story


Jennifer A. Dijkstra, Kate L. Buckman, Darren Ward, David W. Evans, Michele Dionne, Celia Y. Chen. Experimental and Natural Warming Elevates Mercury Concentrations in Estuarine Fish. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (3): e58401 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058401



Human influence on climate clear, IPCC report says
(September 27, 2013) — Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident in most regions of the globe, a new assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has grown, thanks to more and better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate models. … > full story



Alarming IPCC Prognosis: 9°F Warming For U.S., Faster Sea Rise, More Extreme Weather, Permafrost Collapse

By Joe Romm on September 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Humanity’s choice (via IPCC): Aggressive climate action ASAP (left figure) minimizes future warming. Continued inaction (right figure) results in catastrophic levels of warming, 9°F over much of U.S.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now says we are as certain that humans are dramatically changing the planet’s climate as we are that smoking causes cancer.
So perhaps the best way to think about the IPCC, which has issued a summary of its latest report reviewing the state of climate science, is as a super-cautious team of brilliant diagnosticians and specialists (who, like many doctors, aren’t the greatest communicators). They are the best in the world at what they do — the climate equivalent of the Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins — where you and the rest of humanity have just gone through a complete set of medical tests and are awaiting the diagnosis, prognosis, and recommended course of treatment. (It has a big waiting room — called planet Earth.)
The diagnosis is that humans are suffering from a fever (and related symptoms) caused by our own actions — primarily emissions of carbon pollution. Indeed, team IPCC is more certain than the last time we came in 6 years ago and ignored their advice. They are 95% to 100% certain we are responsible for most of the added fever since 1950. They explain: The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.


To clarify the diagnosis, the best estimate is that humans are responsible for all of the warming we have suffered since 1950. You may ask why team IPCC buried this bombshell at the end of a paragraph on page 12 of their report in very dry language. You might think that with a patient who has as serious a condition as we do but who has simply refused the obvious treatment for two decades (!), they might be a tad blunter. But like I said, communications is not their strong suit and I am afraid that is a terminal condition. After all, they made you get up at 4 in the morning on a Friday to get this diagnosis! Yes, their bedside manner isn’t that great either. So what is the prognosis? As they told us 6 years ago (and 6 years before that), if we keep ignoring their recommended course of treatment, then, on average, total warming from preindustrial levels by 2100 is headed toward 4°C (7°F).

And although they don’t come out and directly say so, team IPCC shows you a figure (top) that upon close examination reveals Americans face warming in the range of 5°C (9°F) [by 2100]. Again, it’s kind of big news to bury in a chart at the end of a report that you are supposed to read while you are anxiously (and groggily) awaiting your diagnosis. Note that the figure at the top is average temperature change from 1986-2005 to 2081-2100. For some reason these doctors like to tell us how much higher our fever will get rather than simply tell us what our total fever will be. You can add about 1°F to get the total fever. Like I said, they are brilliant doctors but lousy communicators.


There is other alarming news in the report: Sea level rise is speeding up and it’s going to be bigger in the future than they told us last time. This is true even though the doctors are so super-cautious they have thrown out some of the reports they were given that suggest we may suffer even higher levels of sea rise. To be even more cautious, they have included some highly contested reports that suggest our sensitivity to carbon pollution may be slightly lower than they had thought. As the NY Times explains: “The I.P.C.C. is far from alarmist — on the contrary, it is a highly conservative organization,” said Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, whose papers on sea level were among those that got discarded. “That is not a problem as long as the users of the I.P.C.C. reports are well aware of this. The conservatism is built into its consensus structure, which tends to produce a lowest common denominator on which a large number of scientists can agree.” So even though the IPCC is not alarmist, its prognosis still is. Rahmstorf explains on RealClimate: This is perhaps the biggest change over the 4th IPCC report: a much more rapid sea-level rise is now projected (28-97 cm by 2100). This is more than 50% higher than the old projections (18-59 cm) when comparing the same emission scenarios and time periods. With unabated emissions (and not only for the highest scenario), the IPCC estimates that by the year 2300 global sea levels will rise by 1-3 meters. Already, there are likely more frequent storm surges as a result of sea level rise, and for the future this becomes very likely. A great many of the glaciologists I talk to expect one meter (39 inches) of sea level rise (or more) by 2100 in the no-action case.The report also warns that dry areas are likely to get drier and wet areas wetter. More intense deluges are very likely.


Buried on page 18 is another alarming prognosis: It is virtually certain that near-surface permafrost extent at high northern latitudes will be reduced as global mean surface temperature increases. By the end of the 21st century, the area of permafrost near the surface (upper 3.5 m) is projected to decrease by between 37% (RCP2.6) to 81% (RCP8.5) for the model average (medium confidence). In the no-action case, the top 10 feet of permafrost are headed towards oblivion. Given that the permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere does today, you’d think team IPCC would warn us about this more bluntly. You’d certainly think that they would factor in some of that carbon in their prognosis. But, like I said, they are super-cautious (see “IPCC’s Planned Obsolescence: Fifth Assessment Report Will Ignore Crucial Permafrost Carbon Feedback”).

Last fall, a major study found that the carbon feedback from thawing permafrost will likely add 0.4°F to 1.5°F to total global warming by 2100. All team IPCC does is make a broad statement that “Climate change will affect carbon cycle processes in a way that will exacerbate the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (high confidence). Further uptake of carbon by the ocean will increase ocean acidification.” That is, our fever is making our body release toxins that will make our fever even worse — but the doctors are not going to factor that into their prognosis.

A study from August found “Ocean Acidification May Amplify Global Warming This Century Up To 0.9°F.” But then team IPCC takes so long to work that they have a stated policy of completely ignoring the most recent studies (don’t worry, you signed a waiver years ago agreeing to all this, assuming you read the fine print). Of course, for two decades, their patients (humanity) have completely ignored the recommended treatment even though it is quite inexpensive relative to the cost of dealing with the ever-worsening symptoms, many of which are going to be irreversible.

So we have a super-conservative team of doctors who are bad communicators and a patient who, like most addicts, is self-destructive, very bad at listening, and focused on short-term pleasure over long-term health. That is a prescription for disaster.



More Bad News For Fracking: IPCC Warns Methane Traps Much More Heat Than We Thought

By Joe Romm on October 2, 2013 at 11:56 am

Methane leaks in Boston area. Yellow indicates methane levels above 2.5 parts per million. Via NY Times.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that methane (CH4) is far more potent a greenhouse gas than we had previously realized. This matters to the fracking debate because methane leaks throughout the lifecycle of unconventional gas. Natural gas is, after all, mostly methane (CH4).  We learned last month that the best fracked wells appear to have low emissions of methane, but that study likely missed the high-emitting wells that result in the vast majority of methane leakage. Back in August, a NOAA-led study measured a stunning 6% to 12% methane leakage over one of the country’s largest gas fields — which would gut the climate benefits of switching from coal to gas. We’ve known for a long time that methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2), which is released when any hydrocarbon, like natural gas, is burned. But the IPCC’s latest report, released Monday (big PDF here), reports that methane is 34 times stronger a heat-trapping gas than CO2 over a 100-year time scale, so its global-warming potential (GWP) is 34. That is a nearly 40% increase from the IPCC’s previous estimate of 25….



‘Cows Save The Planet’: Soil’s Secrets For Saving The Earth

June 17, 2013 NPR Journalist Judith Schwartz believes that the key to addressing carbon issues and climate change lies beneath our feet. In her book Cows Save The Planet, she argues that proper management of soil could solve a long list of environmental problems.


Warming Lake Superior prompts a tribe to try a new fish. October 3, 2013 Daily Climate On the shore of Lake Superior, the Keweenaw Bay Indians are raising walleye in addition to the traditional trout at their hatchery. They need to keep pace with their changing lake. A ‘Climate at your Doorstep’ story.



Yosemite’s largest ice mass is melting fast

Lyell Glacier has shrunk 62% over the past century and hasn’t moved in years. It’s a key source of water in the park, and scientists say it will be gone in 20 years.

The photo on the left of Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park was taken by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1883; the one on the right was taken by park geologist Greg Stock in late September. (U.S. Geological Survey; Greg Stock)

By Louis Sahagun LATIMES October 1, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

Climate change is taking a visible toll on Yosemite National Park, where the largest ice mass in the park is in a death spiral, geologists say.

During an annual trek to the glacier deep in Yosemite’s backcountry last month, Greg Stock, the park’s first full-time geologist, found that Lyell Glacier had shrunk visibly since his visit last year, continuing a trend that began more than a century ago. Lyell has dropped 62% of its mass and lost 120 vertical feet of ice over the last 100 years. “We give it 20 years or so of existence — then it’ll vanish, leaving behind rocky debris,” Stock said. The Sierra Nevada Mountains have roughly 100 remaining glaciers, two of them in Yosemite. The shrinkage of glaciers across the Sierra is also occurring around the world. Great ice sheets are dwindling, prompting concerns about what happens next to surrounding ecological systems after perennial rivulets of melted ice disappear….


Maine lobstermen threatened by climate change and Canada

2 October 2013 Last updated at 00:20 BST

Plenty is not normally a problem for those who harvest the seas; decks and holds full of fish generally gladden the hearts of fishermen everywhere. But for the lobstermen of the US state of Maine, the abundance of lobsters has turned into a headache. The catch is up six-fold in just over a decade as climate change warms the waters and encourages huge hauls. Yet the price the lobstermen receive for their crustacean catch has fallen steadily. The BBC spoke to two veterans about the impact the changes are having on their livelihoods and communities.

Produced by Maria Byrne, Jonny Dymond, Dave Hopper and Bill McKenna.



A steel wall — 4 miles long and 16 feet above sea level — proposed for Mantoloking and Brick beaches would resemble this one along Route 35. / Asbury Park Press photo/DOUG HOOD

$40 million steel curtain proposed to protect New Jersey shore highway.
Sept 27 2013 Vineland Daily Journal It would be a buried Iron Curtain: a vertical steel bulwark, four miles long, cresting 16 feet above sea level, but mostly unseen under a continuous sand dune at the back of the beach, a last line of defense to preserve a rebuilt Route 35. … At a cost of $40 million, the Federal Highway Administration is offering New Jersey protection for the $260 million reconstruction of Route 35, where Superstorm Sandy punched a new ocean inlet through Mantoloking and across the highway on Oct. 29. The cost would be split: $32 million from the feds, $8 million from the state. The wall is proposed as a final, backstop protection to the thinnest, most vulnerable stretch of the upper Barnegat barrier beach peninsula — a place where charts from the 1700s showed Herring Inlet in almost the same place as the 2012 breakthrough. The project is slated for Mantoloking and the Brick beaches in Ocean County. “You don’t want history to repeat itself,” said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. “The Federal Highway Administration stepped forward and provided the funding for this.” But there are some coastal experts who are worried that while the idea sounds good, the wall will create the danger of even more beach erosion in big storms….




Thumb-Sized Hornets Are Getting More Aggressive — And Fatal — As China Warms

By Ryan Koronowski on September 28, 2013

Attacks by giant hornets, most likely the 5-centimeter (2-inch) Vespa mandarinia, have left hundreds injured and 28 people dead.


Native Tribes’ Traditional Knowledge Can Help US Adapt to Climate Change

October 3, 2013 — New England’s Native tribes, whose sustainable ways of farming, forestry, hunting and land and water management were devastated by European colonists four centuries ago, can help modern America adapt … > full story

The whitewashing of the environmental movement

By Katie Valentine

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress

Ryan Rodrick Beiler / ShutterstockVan Jones.

The traditional environmental movement has a diversity problem.

That’s according to Van Jones, founder of Green for All and environmental and civil rights advocate. But Jones says it’s not just that the staffs of many large, mainstream environmental organizations have been historically mostly white – it’s that most of the smaller environmental justice groups are getting a fraction of the funding that the big groups receive.

Jones says for the environmental movement as a whole to succeed, that needs to change. Environmental justice groups are the ones serving populations that are often most vulnerable to climate change and affected most by pollution — Americans who are low-income, live in cities, and are often people of color.

“The mainstream donors and environmental organizations could be strengthened just by recognizing the other ‘environmentalisms’ that are already existing and flourishing outside their purview,” Jones said.

These environmental justice groups work on a smaller scale than the major mainstream groups like the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund – they’re groups like the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles and West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT) in New York City, groups that are working towards improving the environmental health of their communities. Danielle Deane, Energy and Environment Program Director at the Joint Center, said the groups don’t always get the credit they deserve for their support of environmental issues.

“For whatever reason, often the innovation, the hard work by community leaders that’s happening to help prepare their cities as they expect extreme weather events like Sandy, often those leaders don’t get the level of attention they deserve even though they’ve been working on some of these issues for decades,” she explained. “I think that’s slowly changing, but I think there’s a lot more activity by a wide range of folks that isn’t yet getting its due.”

One of the biggest reasons for that, as Jones said, is the funding gap that exists between the small-scale environmental justice groups and the large, mainstream environmental organizations. A recent report [PDF] from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy found from 2007 to 2009, just 15 percent of environmental grants went towards benefiting marginalized communities, and only 11 percent went towards advancing “social justice” strategies.





How to convince global warming skeptics

Take it from this guy. The results are in, and scientists are convinced: Global warming is real, and it’s our fault.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fifth report this morning, and it did not mince words. Global warming is “unequivocal”: Each of the past three decades has been warmer than the last, and each was hotter than any ten-year period since 1850. Scientists are more confident than ever that “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming” for over sixty years, the IPCC said. If we don’t act now, the report added, runaway climate change will cause parts of the planet to heat up by over 10 degrees Celsius. Sweltering, prolonged heat waves will become commonplace, along with severe rainstorms — ensuring widespread forest fires and flooding. The Arctic Ocean will shed almost all of its ice during the summer, causing sea levels to rise by as much as three feet by the end of the century.

Although it might seem like a new climate change report comes along every month, this is actually the first report released by the IPCC since 2007; the last one won the Nobel Peace Prize. And it’s not just the work of a bunch of faceless U.N. bureaucrats; the panel is made up of the world’s pre-eminent scientists in the field of climatology.

This particular bunch is worth listening to, says Eric Holthaus at Quartz:

What makes the IPCC so important is simple: They are required to agree. Last night, the group pulled an all-nighter to ensure that representatives from all 195 member countries agreed on every single word of the 36-page “summary for policymakers” (pdf). That instantly makes the report the world’s scientific and political authority on what is happening to the climate, what will happen in the future, and what needs to be done to avoid the worst impacts. [Quartz]

Sounds pretty conclusive, right? But just as melting icebergs crash into each other in the tepid Antarctic, the IPCC’s rigid analysis will butt up against hidebound skepticism. “Belief in global warming has taken on the trappings of traditional religion,” scoffs Michael Barone at National Review.

Alarmists like to say the science is settled — which is nonsense, since science is a series of theories that can be tested by observations. When Einstein presented his theory of relativity, he showed how it could be tested during astronomical events in the next decade. The theory passed. Saying the science is settled is like demanding what religions demand — that you have faith. [National Review]

What the skeptics say is this: The rate at which global temperatures have increased hasn’t accrlerated over the past decade and a half, despite the dire warnings of the climate change crowd. So why should we believe anything they say?

Well, climatologists counter that while surface warming has apparently slowed down, it’s because the heat is disappearing beneath the surface. “About 30 percent of the heat is going deeper into the ocean,” said Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research at
Mother Jones.

Still skeptical? That’s ok! Scientists love skepticism — it’s what makes them extra careful to ensure their results can withstand the mere whisper of a doubt. “Good science inherently involves skepticism,” Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, president of the American Meteorological Society, wrote
at CNN. But if that skepticism comes as reflexively as a knee jerk — and shrugs off the weight of scientific consensus — it’s fair to ask “is it skepticism, or bias?”

Science requires time to sort out the truth from fiction, for theories to be tested or challenged. It is not well suited for tweets and blogs, which allow “zombie theories” — ideas that have been debunked but continue to live on. [CNN]

Perhaps advocates for global warming can help by keeping things civil. Too often, the facts of the climate change debate are delivered along with paternalistic name-calling. Skeptics are no stranger to petty insults either — see the comment section beneath every article on global warming ever written — but those who believe the facts speak for themselves should let them do so. “Deep-six the term ‘denier’ and abandon ‘alarmist.’ Let’s get ‘warmist’ out of the way, too,” says Jason Samenow at The Washington Post.

I completely understand that some people use these terms to cast light on individuals they feel are close-minded, unwilling to learn, and/or completely blind to data and facts. But, in my view, it would be far more productive to simply point out those who perpetuate bad ideas, flawed arguments, and outright falsehoods through example(s), rather than call them names. [Washington Post]

— Dan Stewart






Calvin And Hobbes Would Call It: Scientific Progress Goes ‘Boink’

By Ari Phillips on October 2, 2013

The government shutdown has sent many scientists and researchers into a state of paralyzed chaos after an already tough year of sequestration cuts.


National Parks Shutting Down Costs Local Communities $76 Million Per Day

By Matt Lee-Ashley on October 2, 2013 at 10:57 am

Millions of tourists today are finding locked gates and closed roads at America’s national parks and monuments as a result of House Republicans’ demand that the federal government be shut down unless Obamacare is defunded, delayed, or repealed. Not only are these closures disrupting people’s lives by forcing them to cancel weddings and vacations, they are dealing an immediate blow to the local economies that benefit from the 300 million visitors who come to national parks each year and who, together, help support America’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy.

The National Park Service put out a press release Tuesday noting that the government shutdown of national parks alone will result in total economic losses of $76 million per day to local communities. National parks provide economic benefits in a variety of ways, including tourists’ purchases of gasoline, food, lodging, and gear in “gateway communities” near national parks.

Additionally, Climate Progress analyzed the most recent National Park Service data on the economic impacts of national parks in every state, and found that the top ten states whose communities will lose the most money from the government shutdown of national parks are:

Click to see all 50 states.



Are Antarctica’s Southern Ocean Ecosystems Doomed to Death by Diplomatic Paralysis?

By Jillian Keenan | October 2, 2013 |   Scientific American

The story of Antarctic marine conservation efforts often feels like the myth of Sisyphus, the Greek king who was condemned to spend eternity struggling to roll a boulder up a hill. For more than 50 years, nations have successfully worked together under the Antarctic Treaty System to protect Antarctica as a peaceful forum for scientific research and environmental preservation. But the Southern Ocean, which encircles Antarctica and is home to some of the most pristine marine ecosystems on earth, hasn’t been so lucky.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the organization responsible for managing and protecting the Southern Ocean, has struggled to fulfill the mission of its name and establish meaningful protections of Antarctic marine ecosystems. Like Sisyphus, eternally pushing his boulder towards the summit, the Antarctic marine preservation movement seems doomed to repeat its campaign cycle forever, always in sight of the finish line but never able to cross it. Most recent concerns have focused on CCAMLR’s failed attempts to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in critical Southern Ocean regions. In 2002, The World Summit on Sustainable Development set the goal of establishing a global network of MPAs in Antarctica by 2012—a deadline that CCAMLR formally adopted in 2009. After that deadline came and went without new protected zones, however, CCAMLR convened a special meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany, in July 2013, to consider two specific proposals for new MPAs: One in the Ross Sea area, which was proposed by New Zealand and the United States, and one in East Antarctica, which was concurrently proposed by Australia, France, and the European Union. CCAMLR operates on a consensus model, which means that any one of its 25 member states can unilaterally veto a proposal—and that’s exactly what happened in Bremerhaven, when Russia and the Ukraine stunned the international community by blocking the proposals with little explanation. In anticipation of CCAMLR’s upcoming meeting in Hobart, Tasmania, from October 23 to November 1, New Zealand and the United States released a revised (and, some argue, significantly reduced) version of their Ross Sea proposal, but hopes remain low that the forthcoming meeting will result in much meaningful action. The organization’s repeated failures to live up to its own name and mandate raise blunt but inevitable questions: Has CCAMLR’s paralytic consensus model transformed the conservation body into little more than a marginally effective fisheries management organization? If so, just what will it take to successfully and effectively protect Antarctica’s marine ecosystems? “Those are serious questions that CCAMLR will have to ask itself if things remain at this stalemate, especially if we have countries that seem increasingly willing to isolate themselves,” said Andrea Kavanagh, the director of the Southern Ocean Sanctuaries Campaign at Pew Charitable Trusts. “I don’t think it was ever envisioned that the consensus model would serve as a means for someone to block progress on something that everyone had already agreed was important. To use consensus against CCAMLR itself—well, it seems like bad faith negotiations.” The ingredients required to establish meaningful, effective protection of these fragile ecosystems are a complex cocktail of science and policy, Kavanagh said. She emphasized that for protections to be effective, the MPAs must be “permanent or indefinite”—that is, they cannot have a firm expiration date. (The current revised proposal has a “soft review” clause that would go into effect after 25 years, although Kavanagh expressed concerns that New Zealand has indicated a willingness to negotiate on that aspect of the proposal.) To be effective, she added that the protected areas must also be large enough to cover a diverse range of species and ecosystems—also cause for concern, since the newly revised proposal reduced the size of the proposed MPA by 40 percent, from roughly the size of Alaska to roughly twice the size of Texas. “When it comes to MPAs, size does matter,” said Kavanagh. “In the Ross Sea area, for example, you have a lot of different ecosystems: the shelf and slope, sea mounts, and an area they suspect is a breeding and spawning ground for toothfish. It was a disappointment to us that the revised proposal lost some of the diversity of ecosystems they had protected, especially when we still don’t know where Russia and the Ukraine stand. We have no idea if they’ll be satisfied by this.”…



We need climate-change risk assessment

By Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson and Tom Steyer, Thursday, October 3, 5:42 PM  Washington Post Opinion

Michael Bloomberg, an independent, is mayor of New York. Hank Paulson, a former chairman of Goldman Sachs and Treasury secretary in the George W. Bush administration, is chairman of the Paulson Institute, which promotes sustainable economic growth. Tom Steyer is the founder of Farallon Capital Management and co-founder of Next Generation.

If the United States were run like a business, its board of directors would fire its financial advisers for failing to disclose the significant and material risks associated with unmitigated climate change.

Managing risk is necessary for individuals, investors, businesses and governments. As individuals, we buy insurance for our homes, vehicles and health because the future is unpredictable. Businesses take similar actions and save, when they can, for the next economic downturn. Investors diversify their portfolios and hedge their bets for the same reason. And for governments, managing risk can mean anything from maintaining a standing army (in case of war) to filling a strategic petroleum reserve (to protect against severe shocks in oil prices).

As businessmen and public servants, we are intimately familiar with the systems used to manage risk. They are central to informed decision-making. But today, the world faces one of the greatest humanitarian and economic challenges of our time: the threat of global climate change. And in this arena, our risk-assessment systems have broken down. This ignorance cannot be allowed to continue.

Government officials, economists, financiers and everyone else in the business community need to ask: How much economic risk do we face from unmitigated climate change? Answering this question would go a long way toward helping us all prepare for the extreme weather and related economic effects that are most likely coming our way.

That’s why the three of us have joined together to lead a new effort designed to do just that. Our Risky Business initiative ( will look across the U.S. economy and assess the potential impacts of climate change by region and by sector. Our analysis, when complete, will arm decision-makers with the information they need to determine how much climate risk they are comfortable taking on.

The reality is that we don’t yet know everything there is to know about climate change, and we don’t know its full potential impact. That’s exactly why we need to assess the risks. What will changes in temperature and precipitation mean for farmers and livestock producers? How will higher sea levels affect the value of coastal property? What might stronger and more frequent storms mean for the infrastructure that is the bedrock of our national economy?

These are not theoretical questions. We already know that extreme weather events cost a lot of money. In recent years, these costs have added up after such events as Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina; the wildfires and epic floods in Colorado; the die-off of pine trees across the Rocky Mountains; devastating, historic floods across the Midwest; deepening drought in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma; record heat waves across Alaska and the Northeast; and the slow but intractable death of the coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.

While it is difficult to attribute any single weather event to climate change, world climate scientists agree that climate change makes these types of events both more likely to occur and more catastrophic in scope. Even under the best-case climate scenarios, we are likely to experience more extreme weather, more droughts and heat waves, more destructive storms and floods.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York City created a comprehensive resilience blueprint that measures climate risk across all major vulnerable areas, from the power grid to hospitals to the coastline. Our nation needs the same blueprint. It is essential that our national exposure to climate risk be understood so all Americans can make informed decisions about the future.

We believe the Risky Business initiative will bring a critical missing piece to national conversations about climate change and help business leaders, elected officials and others make smart, well-informed, financially responsible decisions. Ignoring the potential costs could be catastrophic. That is a risk we cannot afford to take.


Risky Business adds up climate change costs

David R. Baker Updated 5:21 pm, SF Chronicle Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tom Steyer’s (left) climate change project is a joint effort with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Steve Helber, Associated Press

Tom Steyer certainly knows how to keep his name in circulation. The hedge fund billionaire turned climate activist has a knack for picking projects that keep him in the public eye. Whether he’s pushing through a tax-reform ballot initiative in California or bankrolling a controversial ad against the Keystone XL pipeline, Steyer rarely drops out of sight for long. Now he has teamed with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on a typically ambitious effort – counting up the economic costs of climate change.The new project, dubbed Risky Business, will try to forecast just how much money climate change could cost the United States in years to come. It will use a combination of existing data and new research to produce its risk assessment, planned for release next summer. Steyer hosted President Obama for a fundraiser in his Pacific Heights home this spring, and he’s considered a rising force in California Democratic politics. But Risky Business will try to straddle America’s political spectrum. Henry Paulson, U.S. Treasury secretary under George W. Bush and a Republican, has signed on as co-chairman. Bloomberg, meanwhile, is an independent. Risky Business will operate as a joint initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Paulson’s office and San Francisco think tank Next Generation. Steyer sits on Next Generation’s board. Granted, Steyer, Paulson and Bloomberg could have picked a better time to announce their project. Risky Business’ launch this week caused barely a stir, as the federal government shutdown shoved most every other news story to the sidelines. We’ll see if the project’s results get more notice, when they finally arrive. Here’s betting they will.



The Next Thing We Need To Do About Carbon

New Yorker (blog)

 – ‎Oct 2, 2013‎


Lawrence Krauss

This week, in its long awaited 2013 report, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made the bold proposal that no more than a trillion tons of carbon should be burned and released into the atmosphere by humanity—with about a half trillion tons already having done so, and the remaining half trillion expected, at current rates, to be burned by 2040. Unfortunately, this bold proposal, already vilified by climate-change deniers, is not bold enough.

The current problem is two-fold: First, the carbon we burn now will stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Stopping the burning of all fossil fuels today would not remove the cumulative carbon burden that has already raised CO2 abundance in the atmosphere to a level not seen on earth in the past five hundred thousand years, a span over which we have direct data. Second, because we continue to burn carbon, every year that we delay significant reductions would require even more extreme reductions in the following year.

For example, current estimates suggest that to have a sixty-seven per cent chance of attaining the I.P.C.C.’s goal of keeping global warming to less than 3.6 degrees, it would have required 3.7 per cent reductions per year, had reductions begun in 2011….As the I.P.C.C. report underscores, the climate emergency we face in this century is real. If social, political, and economic stresses mean that the world will not likely make the reductions necessary to avoid this emergency by mid-century, we need to explore every other possible technical means to do so. Carbon capture from the atmosphere may not be practical in the end. But exploring possibilities like it with the same kind energy that we are devoting to extracting fossil fuels should be an ethical global imperative, given everything we now know about humanity’s impact on our climate…..



IPCC report: The financial markets are the only hope in the race to stop global warming . September 27 2013 The Independent The financial markets are humanity’s only hope in the battle against global warming, the world’s top climate expert declared today as he presented the most overwhelming case ever made that humans are responsible for rapidly increasing the Earth’s temperature. Rajenda Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said his organisation’s latest report provided “unequivocal” evidence that since 1950 the atmosphere and oceans had warmed, and that scientists were now “95 per cent certain” that humans were the “dominant cause”. These patterns had been replicated across the climate system, as the amount of snow and ice had diminished, the mean global sea level had risen and concentrations of greenhouse gases had increased, he added. The report says many of the observed changes are unprecedented in recent millennia and without extreme action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, global warming is likely to exceed 2C by the end of this century. This is the level at which the consequences become even more devastating and which world governments have agreed to try to avoid. But Dr Pachauri warned that unless a price could be put on carbon emissions that was high enough to force power companies and manufacturers to reduce their fossil-fuel use, there seemed to be little chance of avoiding hugely damaging temperature increases. “An extremely effective instrument would be to put a price on carbon. It is only through the market that you can get a large enough and rapid enough response,” he said, calling on policymakers around the world “to see what’s required”. Dr Pachauri said the IPCC was working on “mechanisms” through which the market could be used to reduce carbon emissions. These are likely to be announced in April next year when the IPCC releases the third part of its assessment, which deals with climate change mitigation. Today’s installment dealt with the science. The second section, released in March, will cover impact and adaptation.


Who cares about Kyoto? California and Quebec create their own transnational carbon market.
Efforts to create a national carbon market in the US to cut greenhouse gas emissions may be deader than bipartisanship in Washington. But California today took another step to globalize its cap-and-trade program by signing an agreement with the Canadian province of Quebec.

October 3, 2013 Quartz Efforts to create a national carbon market in the US to cut greenhouse gas emissions may be deader than bipartisanship in Washington. But California today took another step to globalize its cap-and-trade program by signing an agreement with the Canadian province of Quebec to integrate their two carbon markets as of January 2014.

The deal is another sign that any efforts to fight climate change are likely to be spearheaded by cities and states rather than nation-states, given the utter failure to reach a global consensus on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions. California launched its carbon trading market in November 2012 to comply with a state law that requires greenhouse gas emissions to fall to 1990 levels by 2020. The market currently covers power plants, oil refineries and other industrial polluters that must reduce their carbon emissions by a set amount each year or buy credits from those that have exceeded their reduction quotas. Every year the carbon vice tightens as the emissions limits fall and companies are forced to devise new ways to cut their greenhouse gas spew or purchase more and more credits. The idea is that eventually even those polluters that prefer to buy their way out of the cap will be forced to clean up their act to be competitive with less carbon-instensive rivals.

Quebec instituted a similar market to cut emissions 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. But with a population of just eight million it’s a rather tiny market. By joining 38 million Californians, Quebec hopes to give its industrial polluters more options to offset their emissions. For California, the transnational carbon market is just the first step in leapfrogging borders that have proven to be barriers to attacking global warming. The California legislature authorized the governor to link the state’s carbon market to others. And in a 2012 report, the agency responsible for overseeing the cap-and-trade program recommended approving a regulation allowing California to integrate its market with Quebec’s.

“Climate change is a global problem that requires action by states, provinces, and nations,” stated the report. “The proposed regulation furthers California’s effort to address climate change through coordinated sub-national efforts.” It’s a trend embraced elsewhere. But as the recent election in Australia shows, politics can derail such good intentions. Australia was set to convert its carbon tax to a cap-and-trade program in July 2014 and then link that market to the European carbon market. In September, however, a conservative government took power in Australia, vowing to scuttle the carbon tax.




Radical solutions urged to beat growing climate threat. September 27 2013 Times of London Techniques for sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as artificial trees, must be urgently developed to prevent catastrophic global warming, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser on climate change.


Climate report puts geoengineering in the spotlight

IPCC statement suggests tinkering with the atmosphere could be necessary to meet climate goals.

Daniel Cressey 02 October 2013 NATURE

Advocates of geoengineering argue that as emissions keep rising their technology will come into its own. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Attempts to counter global warming by modifying Earth’s atmosphere have been thrust into the spotlight following last week’s report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Mention of ‘geoengineering’ in the report summary was brief, but it suggests that the controversial area is now firmly on the scientific agenda. Some climate models suggest that geoengineering may even be necessary to keep global temperature rises to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Most geoengineering technologies generally either reflect sunlight — through artificial ‘clouds’ of stratospheric aerosols, for example — or reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The latter approach, described as ‘negative emissions’, involves capturing carbon dioxide with strategies that range from building towers to collect it from the atmosphere to grinding up rocks to react with CO2 and take it out of circulation. Critics say that the technologies are unproven, will have unforeseen impacts and could distract from attempts to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. But advocates point to language in the summary for policy-makers produced by the IPCC working group that assessed the scientific evidence for climate change as evidence that reducing emissions will not be enough.

Related stories



‘Climate change refugee’ fights to stay in New Zealand

Immigrant from Pacific island of Kiribati hopes to convince court he is a refugee at risk from rising sea levels

Associated Press, Tuesday 1 October 2013 08.44 EDT

Kiribati has been identified by scientists as among the nations most vulnerable to climate change. Photograph: Katsumi Kasahara/AP

A man from one of the lowest-lying nations on Earth is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he is a refugee – suffering not from persecution, but from climate change.

The 37-year-old and his wife left their remote atoll in the Pacific nation of Kiribati six years ago for higher ground and better prospects in New Zealand, where their three children were born. Immigration authorities have twice rejected his argument that rising sea levels make it too dangerous for him and his family to return to Kiribati.

So on 16 October, the man’s lawyer, Michael Kidd, plans to argue the case before New Zealand’s high court. Kidd, who specialises in human rights cases, told Associated Press he will appeal the case all the way to the country’s supreme court if necessary.

Legal experts consider the man’s case a long shot, but it will nevertheless be closely watched, and might have implications for tens of millions of residents in low-lying islands around the world. Kiribati, an impoverished string of 33 coral atolls about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, is home to about 103,000 people and has been identified by scientists as among the nations most vulnerable to climate change….


The man who made sea-level rise go away. October 1, 2013 Daily Climate

Armed with a 168-slide PowerPoint and a message that resonates with North Carolina’s conservative Legislature, John Droz has notched a remarkable record fighting sea-rise science, coastal development limits and renewable energy plans. …



Governor approves 6 laws encouraging electric cars

Michael Cabanatuan
Published 6:54 pm, Saturday, September 28, 2013

One of the new laws makes it easier for drivers of electric cars to use charging stations, such as this one in Santa Monica. Photo: Monica Almeida, New York Times











The Climate Commons offers a starting point for discovery of climate change data and related resources, information about the science that produced it, and the opportunity to communicate with others about applying climate change science to conservation in California.

Tools for Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change


OREGON Climate change Research Institute


Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference

Conference Description—held September 5th-6th, 2013

Download –links to some presentation videos


California Salmon Snapshots

How Many Salmon Return to Our Coastal Watersheds? The Nature Conservancy’s California Salmon Snapshots is a collaborative information-sharing effort, critical to the on-going recovery of the state’s salmon species. For the first time ever, population data — from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and others — are compiled to show the number of salmon in our coastal California watersheds….






Managing Coastal Watersheds to Address Climate Change: Vulnerability and Adaptation in the Middle Patuxent Subwatershed

Space is limited.

Thursday, October 3, 2013 


1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT   11 AM- 12:30 PT 


The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Restoration Center to help set the stage for addressing climate change impacts in the Chesapeake Bay, focusing on how to integrate climate change in coastal restoration and conservation activities. This webinar provides an overview of how to address climate change (both vulnerability and adaptation) through a case study at a subwatershed level in the Chesapeake Bay. The focus will be on using a case study to show how to determine the vulnerability of a subwatershed to potential climate change impacts as well as providing a suite of potential adaptation options to address those vulnerabilities.
Although the case study is specific to the Chesapeake Bay the information from the project will be useful to those working within this watershed and beyond. The process and approach used for this effort is one that managers can replicate to help them conduct a vulnerability assessment and develop actionable adaptation options efficiently and effectively.






Analytical Frameworks for Wetland and Riparian Buffers in Agricultural Settings

October 4, 2013 8:30 – 5:00

Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve  Including field site training at ALBA’s Triple M Ranch, Las Lomas;  Carlie Henneman- POINT BLUE CONSERVATION SCIENCE, Dale Huss, Marc Los Huertos, and Paul Robins, Instructors

This one-day workshop trains participants in how to improve their analyses in consideration of the use of buffers for wetland and riparian areas in agricultural settings.  During an in-depth field training session , participants will also have opportunities to discuss farming operations and buffers with Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) affiliated Francisco Serrano (Serrano Organic Farm), Hector Mora (Hector’s Organic Farm), and Guilebaldo Nuñez (Nuñez Farms) as well as Kaley Grimland- ALBA’s Triple M Ranch Wetland Restoration Project Manager.  To register and for more information:




Working for Conservation ConferenceActive Engagement in Forest and Woodland Sustainability

Thursday, October 10, 2013   —  Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 916-341-401

University of California Forestry and Outreach

California’s forests and woodlands provide a tremendous array of values for society, including diverse habitats, water supply, carbon storage, energy, building products, aesthetics, outdoor recreation. With a population approaching 38 million people and 14 million international visitors, there is no area of the state not touched by humans. This conference will focus on what we can learn from innovative and novel strategies that seek to achieve desired outcome in natural systems that have been historically altered and will continue to be altered. We have scores of risk avoidance strategies that these new approaches can be compared to. We will discuss new policies and management strategies that recognize the realities of these impacts, and encourage active approaches to ensure that these values continue into the future.  This one day conference will provide a series of presentations illustrating the trajectory of our fingerprints across the state’s 40 million acres of forest and woodlands and consider novel approaches being implemented to get ahead of challenges where ‘no action’ approaches may not work. A series of case studies will be presented on how hybrids of restoration ecology , silviculture, and conservation biology are being combined in innovative conservation strategies. The response panelists will highlight the risks and opportunities of innovative approaches and will also ask questions that are submitted from participants. A wrap-up reception and poster session will be held to encourage discussion of the topics developed in the formal presentations.

Intended Audience: Resource managers, governmental, industry and NGO leaders, the interested general public. A list of useful background reading is provided at this LINK. Registration is $100, and includes breaks, lunch, and a reception. Early registration is due by October 1, 2013. Register by clicking HERE


Agenda Updates, Final Bootcamp Schedule and New Plenary Speakers
Hotel Room Reservation Deadline is Thursday, September 26

The updated program agenda is now posted at:

About the Forum

The Climate Strategies Forum provides education and training aligned with the Core Competences for Climate Change Professionals, which will serve as the foundation for the CCO CertificationTM to be launched in 2014. 

The program will feature a suite of keynote conversations in plenary format complemented by more than 15 climate bootcamps — the bootcamps are technical, deep-dive programs taking place in half-day sessions.  Attendees will bank foundational or continuing education credits for the CCO CertificationTM.

A list of current participating organizations is now available.



Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk

Tuesday Oct. 22, 2013 9am to 5pm    Sumner Auditorium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

8625 Discovery Way, San Diego, CA , 92037   Register Here

FREE! Space is limited Registration is required by October 4, 2013  Dress comfortably for afternoon walking tour   This intensive one-day training will introduce the “Roadmap” assessment approach designed to help communities characterize their exposure to current and future hazard and climate threats. This participatory assessment process is designed to:

• Engage key staff members and stakeholders in a comprehensive assessment of local vulnerabilities;

• Evaluate potential hazard and climate impacts using existing information resources;

• Collaborate across disciplines to better understand and plan for impacts; and

• Identify opportunities for improving resilience to current and future hazard risks.

NOAA’s Coastal Services Center expert training staff will lead instruction, with participants spending the morning being trained in the classroom, followed by an afternoon field experience.

Who should attend? Professionals interested in: (1) increasing their understanding of, and skills in, coastal hazard mitigation, and (2) networking among other professionals. Specifically: program administrators, land use planners, public works staff members, floodplain managers, hazard mitigation planners, emergency managers, community groups, and coastal resource managers. For further information contact:  John Sandmeyer at  


Establishing Functional California Native Grasslands – Thursday, Oct. 24th

Save the date for CA Native Grassland Associatio’s popular “how-to” workshop for native grassland restoration & revegetation projects.
WHEN:  Thursday October 24th   8:00am – 4:30pm WHERE: Lake Solano Nature Center and field visit to upland restoration site west of Winters, CA
WHO: course led by CNGA expert instructors Bryan Young, J.P. Marie, Chris Rose, Emily Allen of Hedgerow Farms, assisted by Jon O’Brien and Kurt Vaughn.
QUESTIONS: Contact our Admin. Director or drop us a note via our Contact us link. Hope to see you in October!  Early bird registration extends through October 14th.



Quivira Conference 2013– Inspiring Adaptation  Wednesday, November 13 – Friday, November 15, 2013  Registration Deadlines:  November 5, 2013
“The Westerner is less a person than a continuing adaptation. The West is less a place than a process.” – Wallace Stegner 

From prehistoric times to the present, human societies have successfully adapted to the challenges of a changing West, including periods of severe drought, limitations created by scarce resources and shifting cultural and economic pressures. Now, the American West is entering an era of unprecedented change brought on by new climate realities, which will test our capacity for adaptation as well as challenge the resilience of the region’s native flora and fauna. It is therefore paramount that we find and share inspiring ideas and practical strategies that help all of the region’s inhabitants adapt to a rapidly changing world.  We will hear from scientists, ranchers, farmers, conservationists, urban planners and others who have bright ideas and important tools to share from their adaptation toolbox.


Date CHANGED! : Rangeland Coalition Summit 2014 January 21-22, 2014  Oakdale, CA  Please note that the dates have been changed for the 9th Annual California Rangeland Conservation Coalition Summit to be hosted at the Oakdale Community Center. Mark your calendar for January 21-22, 2014, more details will be coming soon! The planning committee will have a conference call on September 11 at 9:00 AM to start planning for the event. If you are interested in serving on the planning committee or being a sponsor please contact Pelayo Alvarez:



The Ecological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, and US Geological Survey are co-sponsors of the upcoming

Soil Science Society of America ecosystems services conference–abstracts are now being invited and are due by 12/1/2013.

March 6-9, 2014 Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sacramento, CA

Purpose of Conference:  Soils provide provisioning and regulating ecosystem services relevant to grand challenge areas of 1) climate change adaptation and mitigation, 2) food and energy security, 3) water protection, 4) biotechnology for human health, 5) ecological sustainability, and 6) slowing of desertification. The purposes of this conference will be to evaluate knowledge strengths and gaps, encourage cross-disciplinary synergies to accelerate new learning, and prioritize research needs.

More info is available here:



99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
Sacramento, California  August 10-15, 2014

Call for Proposals– Symposia, Organized Oral Sessions, and Organized Poster Sessions

Deadline for Submission: September 26, 2013





Deadline 2103-12-01: SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund 

Grants support projects in 4 key categories: Species Research, Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation, Habitat Protection, and Conservation Education. Application deadline is December 1 each year for grants beginning the following year.  Past programs have supported projects in the range of 5-25K for a one-year term.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program at San Francisco Bay  The program’s focus is on the San Mateo and Marin Counties’ outer Coast and is also available to projects in watersheds draining into San Francisco Bay. The mission of the Coastal Program at San Francisco Bay is to conserve coastal ecosystems by engaging external partners and other Service programs in activities that restore, enhance and protect fish and wildlife habitats and habitat forming processes. Funding Available: about $100,000 to $200,000 annually. There is no rigid application format or deadline to apply. However, our money is available on a Federal fiscal year basis (October 1 to September 30), and we encourage you to contact us as early as possible so that we can explore potential partnership opportunities for your project. We would like to hear from you starting in January each year, cooperative agreements for each year are generally finalized by June.  


NOAA Announces Solicitation for the U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network
This funding opportunity invites proposals for projects that demonstrate how an operational Marine Biodiversity Observation Network could be developed for the nation by establishing one or more prototype networks in U.S. coastal waters, the Great Lakes, and the EEZ. Applications are due on December 2, 2013.

For more information, click here







Assistant to the General Manager- Marin Municipal Water District Vacancy No. 2005

You may apply online at: or you may complete and submit an application packet. An application packet may be obtained by calling 415-945-1433, or in person at MMWD/HR, 220 Nellen Avenue, Corte Madera, CA 94925. Faxes and electronic submissions will be accepted up until 4:30 p.m. on the filing deadline however the originals of the application must be mailed and post marked by the deadline date.





US rises to no. 1 energy producer October 2 2013 Wall Street Journal US is overtaking Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, a startling shift that is reshaping markets and eroding the clout of traditional energy-rich nations. U.S. energy output has been surging in recent years, a comeback fueled by shale-rock formations of oil and natural gas that was unimaginable a decade ago. A Wall Street Journal analysis of global data shows that the U.S. is on track to pass Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas combined this year—if it hasn’t already.

The U.S. ascendance comes as Russia has struggled to maintain its energy output and has yet to embrace technologies such as hydraulic fracturing that have boosted American reserves.

“This is a remarkable turn of events,” said Adam Sieminski, head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “This is a new era of thinking about market conditions, and opportunities created by these conditions, that you wouldn’t in a million years have dreamed about.”… See countries’ average daily output of oil and gas since 1984. View Graphics



Streams below fracking wastewater treatment show elevated salts, metals, radioactivity
(October 2, 2013) — Elevated levels of radioactivity, salts and metals have been found in river water and sediments at a site where treated water from oil and gas operations is discharged into a western Pennsylvania creek. … > full story


With returns from dry land diminishing, Russian oilmen look to Arctic waters.
October 3, 2013 NY Times The Arctic push is happening because the Russian oil industry is looking offshore as its staple fields in the marshes of west Siberia peter out, just as falling output on land in Texas sent American oil companies into the Gulf of Mexico in the 1970s.


Tesla stock drops after Model S catches fire
By Mike Baker and Tom Krisher, Associated Press / October 3, 2013

Tesla stock falls 6 percent after Internet video captures Model S in flames. Tesla says a large metallic object hit a battery pack, causing a fire that firefighters struggled to put out. Tesla stock is up more than 400 percent this year.


Roadmap to reducing solar PV ‘soft costs’ by 2020
(October 1, 2013) — A new report charts a path to achieve SunShot soft-cost targets of .65/W for residential systems and .44/W for commercial systems by 2020. … > full story







Lessons From a Famous Bet

By DAVID LEONHARDT NY Times October 2, 2013

A conversation with Paul Sabin, author of a new book on a storied 1980 wager over the prospect of overpopulation — and the applications for the current debate over global warming.


Obamacare 101: Your Questions Answered

Last week we asked listeners for their questions, and you’ve sent them. Jay Hancock of Kaiser Health News joins us to give you some answers.


Red wine chemical, resveratrol, remains effective against cancer after the body converts it
(October 2, 2013) — A chemical found in red wine remains effective at fighting cancer even after the body’s metabolism has converted it into other compounds. … > full story











Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #48

NatGeo News Watch (blog)

 – ‎October 3, 2013‎







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