Pope Francis said Thursday he is convinced that global warming is “mostly” man-made and that he hopes his upcoming encyclical on the environment will encourage negotiators at a climate change meeting in Paris to make “courageous” decisions to protect God’s creation. Francis has spoken out frequently about the “culture of waste” that has imperiled the environment and he elaborated en route to the Philippines. While there, Francis will meet with survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, which the government has said was an example of the extreme weather conditions that global warming has wrought. “I don’t know if it (human activity) is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face,” he said. “We have in a sense taken over nature.”
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has announced that 2014 was the hottest year in more than 120 years of record-keeping — by far. NOAA is expected to make a similar call in a couple of weeks and so is NASA.
As the JMA graph shows, there has been no “hiatus” or “pause” in warming. In fact, there has not even been a slowdown. Yes, in JMA’s ranking of hottest years, 1998 is in (a distant) second place — but 1998 was an outlier as the graph shows. In fact, 1998 was boosted above the trendline by an unusual super-El Niño. It is usually the combination of the underlying long-term warming trend and the regional El Niño warming pattern that leads to new global temperature records.
What makes setting the record for hottest year in 2014 doubly impressive is that it occurred despite the fact we’re still waiting for the start of El Niño. But this is what happens when a species keeps spewing record amounts of heat-trapping carbon pollution into the air, driving CO2 to levels in the air not seen for millions of years, when the planet was far hotter and sea levels tens of feet higher.
Biologists in England studying a co-dependency between miner bees and a particular species of orchid have found clear evidence that global warming is making it harder for flowers to pollinate.
The orchid resembles a female miner bee and exudes the same sex pheromone to seduce the male bee into “pseudocopulation” with the flower, an act which also achieves pollination. The orchids have evolved to flower at the same time as the bee emerges.
But while rising temperatures cause both the orchid and the bee to flower or fly earlier in the spring, the bees are affected much more, which leads to a mismatch.
“We have shown that plants and their pollinators show different responses to climate change and that warming will widen the timeline between bees and flowers emerging,” said Dr Karen Robbirt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the University of East Anglia (UEA). “If replicated in less specific systems, this could have severe implications for crop productivity.”
She said the research, published in Current Biology on Thursday, is “the first clear example, supported by long-term data, of the potential for climate change to disrupt critical [pollination] relationships between species.”
What A missed opportunity to thoroughly debunk a science denier, and show people just how serious the threat from climate change really is. Ari Phillips has more.
John Coleman, co-founder of the Weather Channel and climate skeptic.
CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons/Kusinews
On Sunday, the Weather Channel’s co-founder took his confounding message on the falsity of climate change to CNN, where he said he left Brian Stelter, the host of Reliable Sources, “wondering what had hit him.”
John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel in the 1980s before being forced out a year after it went to air, has splashed across headlines this past week for his climate denying antics. It started when Coleman — who does not have a meteorology degree, let alone a climatology degree — wrote an open letter to UCLA’s Hammer Museum expressing his disapproval on a climate change presentation hosted there. In the letter he states, “there is no significant man-made global warming at this time, there has been none in the past and there is no reason to fear any in the future.”
Coleman does not back up these claims, but in the ensuing week he has added significantly to them. In an email posted online, Coleman gave a synopsis of his appearance on Reliable Sources, which was filmed on Friday:
I set the record straight on the ice, the ocean, storms, heat waves, polar bears and all the rest. The host said I was clearly wrong on all those points. And I told him liberal CNN didn’t look at the facts, they clearly had drunk the Al Gore/Democrat Party lemonade.
Bad News the GOP is even more determined now to destroy education in America, particularly when it comes to science. Rep. Lamar Smith in particular is not willing to let the facts stand in the way of his extreme free market ideology. Mark Strauss has more,
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Science Committee on Science, Space and Technology has repeatedly denounced the National Science Foundation for squandering taxpayer money on frivolous research. Now he’s gone a step further, demanding personal political scrutiny of peer-reviewed research grants.
Smith has used several hearings this year as an opportunity to publicly lambast the National Science Foundation (NSF)—including a combative March 26 hearing where he lectured White House Science Advisor John Holdren on the “lack of transparency and accountability at the agency” by singling out grants such as a study of the ecological consequences of early human-set fires in New Zealand. (That research promises to yield insights into anthropogenic climate change—not a popular topic for Smith and fellow GOP representatives on the committee.)
Josie Garthwaite reports on the latest devolopment in genetic engineering that could revolutionize agraculture.
Genetically modified organisms today usually have just one engineered gene. Scientists now want to create organisms with whole new gene clusters.
Thousands of researchers will descend on Boston this fall for an event billed as the world’s largest gathering of synthetic biologists. The field is evolving so rapidly that even scientists working in it don’t agree on a definition, but at its core synthetic biology involves bringing engineering principles to biotechnology. It’s an approach meant, ultimately, to make it easier for scientists to design, test, and build living parts and systems—even entire genomes.
If genetic sequencing is about reading DNA, and genetic engineering as we know it is about copying, cutting and pasting it, synthetic biology is about writing and programming new DNA with two main goals: create genetic machines from scratch and gain new insights about how life works.
In Boston, scientists and students will showcase so called “synbio” projects developed over the summer, including systems ranging from new takes on natural wonders, like the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to a useful form (nitrogen fixation), to newly imagined functions, like an odorless E. coli cell meant to crank out a lemony, edible “wonder protein” containing essential amino acids.
I want to thank Mary at Skepchicks for alerting me to this story
David Edwards exposes more anti science stupidity from “Fox News.”
A Fox News on Wednesday brought on someone who had a “really long business card” to explain why scientists were living in a fantasy world if they thought the world was experiencing any negative impacts from climate change.
The morning after President Barack Obama likened climate change to global terrorism in a speech to the United Nations, host Steve Doocy announced that Fox News was having a “fair and balanced” debate between Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Myron Ebell of the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
Although 97 percent of climate scientists acknowledge man-made global warming, Doocy promised that including Ebell would provide for a “good debate.”
Deans began by pointing out that the science was now settled: Burning fossil fuels is causing the planet to warm.
Mark Twain would be proud.
By Alister Doyle and William Schomberg
OSLO/LONDON (Reuters) - Investments to help fight climate change can also spur economic growth, rather than slow it as widely feared, but time is running short for a trillion-dollar shift to transform cities and energy use, an international report said on Tuesday.
The study, by former heads of government, business leaders, economists and other experts, said the next 15 years were critical for a bigger shift to clean energies from fossil fuels to combat global warming and cut health bills from pollution.
“It is possible to tackle climate change and it is possible to have economic growth at the same time,” Felipe Calderon, a former Mexican president and head of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, told a news conference.
Many governments and businesses wrongly fear that measures to slow climate change will undermine jobs and growth, he said. The report is meant to guide world leaders at a Sept. 23 climate summit hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.