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Species Explosion

Smithsonian.com

I have no idea if this is good news or bad. I only find it interesting that life continues to evolve even as the world changes. If you are an optimist you will say that this means that the dire predictions by many are false. If you are a negativist you will point out that this is terrible that potentially man is causing an unnatural evolution.

I tend to be a centrist and try to find the middle for all things. So in this case, I think it is wonderful that the animal and plant kingdoms will find a way to thrive even if man is potentially killing other types of life off. According to the theory of evolution, life has always been evolving to accentuate the ability to survive – this is simply one more point on the curve. I also find it sad that some species will cease to exist due to this change but acknowledge that extinction is part of the cycle of evolution.

Climate Changes Are Making Poison Ivy More Potent

WSJ.com – June 26, 2007

This is very believable.  The scientists in this article were able to do a lab study of poison ivy plants in a very controlled environment.  They compared the reaction of poison ivy in a control atmosphere of “normal” carbon dioxide in the 1950s to today’s CO2 levels.  The result was a more aggressive ivy with greater hardiness, size and allergenic properties.

The study doesn’t mention other plants that have received this CO2 boost but it is plausible that we will see this.  Interesting conclusion is that the greater growth rates of plants may mean that the CO2 will sink out of the atmosphere more quickly.  This is purely conjecture on my part.

With Corn Prices Rising, Pigs Switch To Fatty Snacks

WSJ.com – May 21, 2007

There is a much greater demand for corn with the increased demand for ethanol. This demand has had a dramatic impact on the cost of corn and has made it too expensive for some ranchers to use corn to feed their livestock. Instead, they appear to be using over-supply of food that is traditionally used for humans.

This, of course, begs the question as to the USA’s ability to effectively produce ethanol. If we are using our food to power our cars will that significantly hurt the poorest people in our nation, not to mention our exports to foreign lands that are impoverished.

Global warming causes frog extinctions

Plenty Magazine – May 23, 2007

This is a sad article if it is true. Evidently several species of frogs have become extinct and some scientists believe that this extinction was caused by global warming. While I am well aware that certain amphibians (esp. frogs) are very susceptible to changes in their environment, I am concerned that this article does not live up to the burden of proof.

A few of my concerns:

  • Global warming should be more accurately termed “Northern Hemisphere Warming” since much of the measured increase was in the northern half of the planet. Costa Rica is very close to the equator – what was the increase in temperature for Costa Rica in the last 50 years? We really do not need to worry about average global temperatures if we are discussing the effect on a species that is very local.

A New Global Warming Strategy: How Environmentalists are Overlooking Vegetarianism as the Most Effective Tool Against Climate Change in Our Lifetimes

EarthSave International

This report has been out there for quite sometime but I am still surprised that more environmentalists do not advocate the changing of our diet in order to make a substantial impact on combating runaway greenhouse gases. While CO2 is widely thought to influence the weather of planet Earth, methane is a very large contributor as well.  In my opinion, methane is not discussed because the chances of convincing the large meat eating public to drop their reliance on meat as a protein source is far more difficult than blaming multi-nationals like GM, Ford, and Exxon.

Analysis that doesn’t matter

This is a totally different type of article and I hope you will indulge me. I typically give my editorial thoughts on an article that is fairly easily referenced on the web but in this case I wanted to explain some basic mistakes of an article that I recently read and then propose my own calculations on the article. I finish this post with some observations. While I try very hard to show arguments on both sides of this complicated issue, by reading this post you will have some idea of my personal stance.

The article in question is on the Deltoid blog and is titled Corrections to the McKitrick (2002) Global Average Temperature Series. It may be valuable for you to click through to that article and read it first before continuing here. Take your time, I will wait.

A New Global Warming Strategy: How Environmentalists are Overlooking Vegetarianism as the Most Effective Tool Against Climate Change in Our Lifetimes

EarthSave International

This report has been out there for quite sometime but I am still surprised that more environmentalists do not advocate the changing of our diet in order to make a substantial impact on combating runaway greenhouse gases. While CO2 is widely thought to influence the weather of planet Earth, methane is a very large contributor as well.  In my opinion, methane is not discussed because the chances of convincing the large meat eating public to drop their reliance on meat as a protein source is far more difficult than blaming multi-nationals like GM, Ford, and Exxon.

New law sounds full of hot air

The Sun – April 28, 2007

Well, I guess someone was going to write this kind of law eventually. Of course, most people that truly understand the effects of greenhouse gases understand that we need to control methane production if we find that we need to reverse the warming of the planet. As far as this law, I have nothing more to say than to mark this posting “Ridiculous.”

Euro MPs are demanding new laws to stop cows and sheep PARPING. Their call came after the UN said livestock emissions were a bigger threat to the planet than transport.


The official EU declaration demands changes to animals diets, to capture gas emissions and recycle manure.

Brazil’s Urban Ants May Predict Reaction To Warming Trends

Wall Street Journal – April 27, 2007

Interesting article that discusses how ants have adapted to the heat caused by our large urban cities.  The study is important because it can compare insects that live in a city (where it is warmer) than in the rural parts of the country.  Insects can be gathered from both locations and tests can proceed giving a very stable comparative reference.  The IPCC is predicting mass extinctions due to the increase of global temperatures, this study suggests that our fellow inhabitants on this planet may be more resistant than some think.

It’s getting hotter in the human hive, and in some ant colonies, but the ants are learning to live with it.

Feeling Warmth, Subtropical Plants Move North

The New York Times – May 2, 2007

So if the globe is getting warmer, it stands to reason that the most susceptible species of plants and animals would be the first to respond.  This is exactly what this article is observing. Plants that once only thrived in warmer climates are now very comfortable in the colder latitudes.  Also plants that did well in a certain area are now struggling due to too much heat. 

While this article gives little scientific evidence – primarily observation.  It is a very interesting article and worth reading.