Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 25 Sep 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Looming Ecological Credit Crunch?

The world is heading for an ecological credit crunch as human demands on the world's natural capital reach nearly a third more than earth can sustain.
© Apollo 17 Crew, NASA
The world is heading for an ecological credit crunch as human demands on the world's natural capital reach nearly a third more than earth can sustain.

That is the stark warning contained in the latest edition of WWF's Living Planet Report, the leading statement of the planet's health. In addition global natural wealth and diversity continues to decline, and more and more countries are slipping into a state of permanent or seasonal water stress.

"The world is currently struggling with the consequences of over-valuing its financial assets," said WWF International Director-General James Leape, "but a more fundamental crisis looms ahead -- an ecological credit crunch caused by under-valuing the environmental assets that are the basis of all life and prosperity."

The report, produced with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network (GFN), shows more than three quarters of the world's people now living in nations that are ecological debtors, where national consumption has outstripped their country's biological capacity.


Earthworm Activity Can Alter Forests' Carbon-carrying Capabilities

Earthworms can change the chemical nature of the carbon in North American forest litter and soils, potentially affecting the amount of carbon stored in forests, according to Purdue University researchers.
© Cliff Johnston, Purdue University Department of Agronomy
Earthworms' appetites may facilitate carbon storage so the chemical isn't released into the atmosphere as CO2, which potentially could help curb climate change. Tim Filley, a Purdue University environmental chemist, checks one of the plots at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland, where he and Cliff Johnston, another Purdue environmental chemist, monitor how much and how fast the worms eat leaves and other materials on the forest floor. This is part of a National Science Foundation-funded collaborative study by Purdue, Johns Hopkins University and the Smithsonian Institution.

The Purdue scientists, along with collaborators from the Smithsonian Institution and Johns Hopkins University, study the habits of earthworms originally brought to North America from Europe. They want to determine the earthworms' effect on forest chemistry by comparing carbon composition in forests that vary in earthworm activity.


Earthquake hits Russian Tuva on border with Mongolia

According to the Russian ITAR-TASS Agency, a 5.7-point earthquake hit the southern border-lying Tere-Khol district of Tuva on border with Mongolia at 08:00 local time (0100 GMT) on Monday.

The earthquake centred 100 kilometres from Kungur-Tug. No casualties or damage have been reported in this scarcely populated area, the chief duty officer of the Emergencies Ministry's branch for Tuva, Yuri Ardabayev, told Itar-Tass.


Climate pushing lemmings to cliff

In warm years, lemmings are the most plentiful mammals
Climate change is bringing wetter winters to southern Norway, a bleak prospect for the region's lemmings.

Scientists found that numbers of the animals no longer vary over a regular cycle, as they did until a decade ago; there are no more bumper years.

The snow is not stable enough, they think, to provide winter shelter.

Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers suggest the lack of Norwegian lemmings is affecting other animals such as foxes and owls.


Earthquake strikes off Vanuatu

Sydney - A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the south Pacific island of Vanuatu on Wednesday, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

No tsunami warning was issued after the undersea temblor that the US Geological Survey said struck at 5:35 am (1825 GMT) 75 kilometres (47 miles) north of the capital city of Port Vila.

Bizarro Earth

Plea for more research cash as two billion bees die from rampant disease

© Unknown

They accused the Government of failing to invest in the research needed to stem diseases and parasites which are now thought to have destroyed one in three bee colonies over the past year.

The British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) has calculated that up to two billion bees succumbed to sickness between November 2007 and April 2008, with a similar number expected to be wiped out by the end of this winter.

It wants ministers to increase the £200,000 currently spent on the research of bee health to £8 million over the next five years.

The BBKA warns that unless the money is spent a cure will never be found - leading to the ultimate extinction of Britain's honeybees.

Comment: See the SOTT Focus piece: To Bee or not to Be

Bizarro Earth

Ozone hole the size of North America

© NZ Herald

The Antarctic ozone hole grew to the size of North America in September, the fifth largest recorded in nearly 30 years.

The information released yesterday by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the ozone hole fluctuated in response to temperature and sunlight.

It had grown to the size of North America in a one-day maximum in September, making it the fifth largest since NOAA satellite records began in 1979.

The primary cause of the ozone hole was human-produced compounds called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which released ozone-destroying chlorine and bromine into the atmosphere.

Better Earth

Dried Mushrooms Slow Climate Warming In Northern Forests

The fight against climate warming has an unexpected ally in mushrooms growing in dry spruce forests covering Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and other northern regions, a new UC Irvine study finds.

When soil in these forests is warmed, fungi that feed on dead plant material dry out and produce significantly less climate-warming carbon dioxide than fungi in cooler, wetter soil. This came as a surprise to scientists, who expected warmer soil to emit larger amounts of carbon dioxide because extreme cold is believed to slow down the process by which fungi convert soil carbon into carbon dioxide.
© University of California - Irvine
Fungi. The fight against climate warming has an unexpected ally in mushrooms growing in dry spruce forests covering Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and other northern regions, a new UC Irvine study finds

Knowing how forests cycle carbon is crucial to accurately predicting global climate warming, which in turn guides public policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This is especially important in northern forests, which contain an estimated 30 percent of the Earth's soil carbon, equivalent to the amount of atmospheric carbon.

Better Earth

Climate Change Bill makes chilling reading

Who says the Almighty has not got a sense of humour? Last Tuesday MPs spent yet another six hours discussing what is potentially the most expensive single piece of legislation ever put through Parliament.

The Climate Change Bill, which had its third reading, commits Britain (uniquely in the world) to an 80 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

As MPs droned on about the need to fight global warming, Peter Lilley drew the Speaker's attention to the fact that, outside on the streets of Westminster, snow was falling. It was London's first October snowfall for 70 years, and similarly unseasonal snow was carpeting a wide swathe of Britain.

In all that six hours of debate, only two MPs questioned the need for such a Bill, which had swept through its second reading with only five opposed.

The sole MP who tried to raise the matter of the cost of the Bill - which could run to trillions of pounds if all its measures were implemented - was Mr Lilley. He was ruled out of order by the Speaker.


Coral Reefs Found Growing In Cold, Deep Ocean

Imagine descending in a submarine to the ice-cold, ink-black depths of the ocean, 800 metres under the surface of the Atlantic. Here the tops of the hills are covered in large coral reefs. NIOZ-researcher Furu Mienis studied the formation of these unknown cold-water relatives of the better-known tropical corals.
cold-water corals
© Marc Lavalije, NIOZ
Example of the cold-water corals being studied in the Atlantic Ocean at depths of six hundred to a thousand metres.

Furu Mienis studied the development of carbonate mounds dominated by cold-water corals in the Atlantic Ocean at depths of six hundred to a thousand metres. These reefs can be found along the eastern continental slope from Morocco to Norway, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and on the western continental slope along the east coast of Canada and the United States. Mienis studied the area to the west of Ireland along the edges of the Rockall Trough.