Climate change and Global Warming

Can Environmentalists think?

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 12, 2013

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"Nature is far more imaginative than we are," Stamatios Krimigis, the eminent Johns Hopkins physicist, said  when readings from the Voyager spacecraft failed to match expectations for what it would find at the far edge of the solar system. That kind of humility in the face of data is tough for today's environmentalists, who have staked so much on their own models, predictions and certitudes.

It's a pity. The world needs a credible environmental movement. Conservation matters. So does the quality of water and air. In China and Russia today environmentalists have mounted the most effective (and often the most courageous) critique of the toxic combination of coercive states and corrupt businesses. In the developed world, urban life has been massively improved thanks to a keener environmental awareness.

Read more at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323368704578593562819939112.html

Climate change and Global Warming

SUNDERBANS: submerging islands

Posted by rohit on December 01, 2011

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PLIGHT FOR INHABITANTS 
A study by WWF named VOICES OF CHANGE interviewed many people from Sundarbans and Laddakh  regarding changes they have observed during their life time  in their surroundings and climate.
In Sundarbans, the most common and generalised problem was the erosion of the islands  foot by foot as they are pushed more in land to prevent their fields from infertility bestowed by sea water that too for many coming years .
Few older chaps from the community recalls with fear in their eyes those horrible when their homes been swept away by sea waters, instead of having embankments with good enough height.
REASON : In early days , these embankments used to be entangled with the vegetation around them(mangroves) which gave support to them , which today as a result of habitat degradation and deforestation  by the people themselves for preparing agricultural fields are completely gone and these naked embankments are as week as deck of cards and standing just for name sake.

In the recent years many new embankments have been made after repeated collapsing but because of lack of that man groove vegetative support , people are erecting them to collapse once more.

A NEW STUDY GIVING STARTLING RESULTS
Queen’s University, Belfast, and Institute of Environment Studies & Wetland Management (IESWM)  researchers are going to give a new dimension to the climate related concerns in sundarbans.
They postulate that uninhabited islands are higher in level than inhabited islands. They support this fact by the observation that in inhabited islands the embankments prevent the sea waters form coming in and hence their is no new sedimentation over the islands where as in uninhabited islands they are abundant CREEKS and no restrictive embankments so facilitating sedimentation. 
Now this study group is planing to take on radiocarbon study of sediments deep in soil to find out the rate of sedimentation and then comparing it to rate of rise in sea level to find out  that is this sedimentation really competingwith  the sea level rise and thereby have prevented the uninhabited islands from inundation and submerging .
If this goes in favor the hypothesis then the researchers would go upto advice that we can depopulate the islands to help them survive the rising sea level.

Climate change and Global Warming

Economic Policy Instruments for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Posted by Dr.Susan Sharma on September 29, 2011

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Economic Policy Instruments for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 Dr. David Harrison, Andrew Foss, Per Klevnas, and Daniel Radov

Experts from NERA's Environment Group -- Senior Vice President and Environment Group Head Dr. David Harrison, Consultant Andrew Foss, Senior Consultant Per Klevnas, and Associate Director Daniel Radov -- have authored a chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society, a new book from Oxford University Press. The chapter, "Economic Policy Instruments for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions," considers the use of economic instruments to address climate change, including lessons from previous experience as well as a list of the key design elements. The authors focus on the cap-and-trade approach and complementary credit-based programs, as these have been most prominent in existing policies and proposals. The chapter begins with an overview of the conceptual similarities and differences between cap-and-trade programs and carbon taxes. The authors then summarize experiences with emissions trading and taxes that provide lessons on how the programs work in practice. The authors also describe key policy issues that arise in designing a greenhouse gas cap-and-program, many of which apply to carbon taxes as well.
 
The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society is available for purchase on the Oxford University Press website.

Climate change and Global Warming

High altitude wetlands of western Arunachal Pradesh

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 20, 2011

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The presence of Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) from Arunachal
Pradesh is known so far but there was no information on the breeding ecology of this species from the high altitude wetlands of western Arunachal
Pradesh. So, far in India eastern Ladakh and Sikkim is the only two
known high altitude breeding site of this species in conjunction with
selected sites in Nepal and Bhutan (BirdLife International, 2011).

Arunachal Pradesh, WWF-India team has done the first photographic and
videographic documentation of a breeding pair of Ruddy shell duck along
with 7 ducklings on 29th June 2011 from Tsomgo Ama wetland situated at
an altitude of 4535 m altitude covering an area of 0.27 sq. km. within
Thembang Bapu Community Conserved Area Wetland Complex, West Kameng district.

http://www.zoosprint.org/ZooPrintMagazine/2011/August/9-10.pdf

Climate change and Global Warming

Why Rivers Flood – and How to Reduce Risk

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 24, 2011

Blog

.............very high amounts of rain, snowmelt, or both lead to floods. All the land that drains downhill into rivers—or into the streams and tributaries that eventually join the river—is called a watershed. When that watershed receives a lot of rain, the river will rise higher than its banks and spread out into the floodplain, which is the name for low lying areas along a river.

But what most people don’t realize is that floods are not some departure from the way a river is “supposed” to behave – witness the common description in the press of a river “bursting from its banks” during a flood, like a convict breaking out of jail. The river and floodplain are actually one single highway for moving water downstream (and not just water, but also sediment, which is why the Missouri River is nicknamed the “Big Muddy.”) It’s just that the floodplain part of this highway is dry much or most of the time...............

....on average, natural rivers will spread out onto their floodplains anywhere from once a year to once every 3 years....Floodplains themselves are part of the solution............
Strategic designation of such floodways, with policies that compensate people who live within them, can be critical to reducing the damage of massive floods. We also need to make these floodways more “flood-proof.” For example, there may be ways to develop crops that are more tolerant of floodwater. ......Read more at

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/habitats/riverslakes/why-rivers-flood-andhow-to-reduce-risk.xml

or at

http://tinyurl.com/4y6as9s
[Open in new window]

Climate change and Global Warming

National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 06, 2011

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"Most glaciers are melting, they are retreating; some glaciers, like the Siachen glacier, are advancing. But overall one can say incontrovertibly that the debris on our glaciers is very high, the snow balance is very low. We have to be very cautious because of the water security, particularly in north India, which depends on the health of the Himalayan glaciers," says Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment, India.

The new National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology is based in Dehradun, in Uttarakhand, and will monitor glacial changes and compare results with those from glaciers in Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan.

India has launched the Indian Network on Comprehensive Climate Change Assessment (INCCA)," the Minister said. It will bring together 125 research institutions throughout India, work with international bodies and operate as a "sort of Indian IPCC," he added. The body will publish its own climate assessment in November, 2011, with reports on the Himalayas, India's long coastline, the Western Ghat highlands, and the north-eastern region close to the borders with Bangladesh, Burma, China and Nepal.

Climate change and Global Warming

save trees

Posted by amit sharma on March 25, 2011

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mere doston,
  laakh koshish karne ke bad bhi hamari sarkarain aur log jungalon aur tiger ko bachane me asafal ho rahe he,,,kyonki kuch log apne matlab ke liye jungal kaatne me lage huain hain..wo log bhavushya ki us tasveer ko nahin dekh paa rahain jab charon taraf viraan aur banjar dharti ka nazara hoga jaise koi vidhwa aurat dikhti hain,,isliye har nagrik ko apna kartavya samajh kar is vishya par gambhir vichar karna chaiye...jaldi bahut jaldi kyonki abhi hamare paas samay aur sampada dono he.......save trees and tigers..

Climate change and Global Warming

Sinking Islands

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 07, 2010

Blog

Sinking Island-Majuli

Majuli in upper Assam is the largest river island on the Brahmaputra River . It is a pollution free fresh water island. Total area of the island was 1250 sq.km., now it is about 650 sq.km, having lost significantly to erosion. Only 26 percent of total land area of Majuli is suitable for cultivation.

In the 16th century a sage called Shankardev founded a new sect of Vaishnavism here, which has flourished healthily in the last five hundred years. Today, the ‘sattras’ play a major role in the religious and social lives of every inhabitant of Majuli. Every family sends one son to be a monk, usually from the age of six; the belief is that if one son becomes a monk, then the whole family will be blessed by God. With pilgrims flocking here every year in numbers matched only by the migratory birds for which the island is also a haven, Majuli is known in some circles as the ‘Vatican of Vaishnavism’.

Performed by the monks of the Bhogpur Sattra at the Birla Mandir, New Delhi on 20th February, 2010, the dance clip below, has no song or words but strangely resonates with the uncertain future of this island.

 

 

The island today is separated from the mainland of Assam by 2.5 KM.  Apart from the ferry connecting Majuli to mainland, an “e-Sethu” or e-governance project of Government of India connects the village to Assam.  A wetland, Majuli is a hotspot for flora and fauna, harbouring many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds that arrive in the winter season.  Among the birds seen here are: the Greater Adjutant Stork, Pelican and Whistling Teal. The island is almost pollution - free owing to the lack of polluting industries and factories and also the chronic rainfall.  

A UNDP study reports that the island is under threat due to the extensive soil erosion of its banks. The reason for this magnitude in erosion is the large embankments built in neighbouring towns upriver to prevent erosion there during the monsoon season when the river distends its banks. The upshot is a backlash of the tempestuous Brahmaputra’s fury on the islet, eroding most of the area. According to reports, in 1853, the total area of Majuli was 1,150 km² and about 33% of this landmass has been eroded in the latter half of 20th century.  Since 1991, over 35 villages have been washed away. Surveys show that in 15–20 years from now, Majuli may cease to exist. 

Here is another evocative clip, a dance by Sattriya Dancers of Kalabhumi- one of complete surrender to fate?

 

 

Climate change and Global Warming

Sinking Islands

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 17, 2009

Blog

Sunderbans of West Bengal in India

Sunderbans is the world’s largest delta formed by the river Ganga. Sunderbans comprises 54 tiny lands at present and a number of tributaries of the river Ganga crisscross Sunderbans.

 Ghoramara island in the Sunderbans  is shrinking due to the rising sea-level. Ghoramara has shrunk from 9 square kilometres to 4.5 square kilometres in the past 30 years as rising sea level and constant erosion of embankment has already uprooted 7,000 inhabitants leaving another 7,000 in a state of constant fear.

The biggest island, Sagar which hosted refugees from other islands all these years is witnessing massive erosion now. 70,000 people in the 9 sea-facing islands are at the edge of losing land in next 15 years. For these people climate change is real. “Mean Sea Level”, a documentary made by CSE depicts the threat of erosion the island faces in the wake of rising water levels.

 The Union ministry of environment and forests is reportedly preparing measures to protect Sunderbans, the largest mangrove block in the world. According to a report in Business Standard, short-term and long-term measures for protecting the ecology of Sunderbans would have to be taken.

 

Venice is sinking!

Venice, which rests on millions of wooden piles pounded into marshy ground, has sunk by about seven centimetres a century for the past 1,000 years.
(According to a study done in 2000 and reported by CNN)
The earth’s natural underground water supplies acted as a cushion that helped slow the city’s sinking.

Venice and its lagoon was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1987.


The Italian government is spending 4.5bn euro (£2.9bn) on a controversial project to build floodgates across the entrance to the lagoon in which the city stands in an effort to keep the sea at bay.http://travelphotolog.wildbytes.in/#5

Climate change and Global Warming

A holistic view of climate change

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 04, 2008

Blog

A holistic view on climate change

There has been much debate about climate change perhaps because we cannot see carbon dioxide when we exhale, or when we burn oil and coal to heat our homes, or use petrol to power our cars or fly planes. We do, however, have scientific instruments that can accurately measure what we humans produce and the increasing amount of carbon that we are adding to our environment.

The data is irrefutable - carbon dioxide concentrations have been steadily
increasing in our atmosphere as a result of human activity since the earliest
measurements began. We know that on the order of 4.1 billion tons of carbon are being added to and staying in our atmosphere each year. We know that burning fossil fuels and deforestation are the principal contributors to the increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere. We know that increasing CO2 concentrations has the same effect as the glass walls and roof of a greenhouse. It lets the energy from the sun easily penetrate but limits its escape, hence the term greenhouse gas.

Observational and modeling studies have confirmed the association of increasing CO2 concentrations with the change in average global temperatures over the last 120 years. Between 1906 and 2005 the average global temperature has increased 0.74 degrees C. This may not seem like very much, but it can have profound effects on the strength of storms and the survival of species including coral reefs.

Eleven of the last 12 years rank among the warmest years since 1850. While no one knows for certain the consequences of this continuing unchecked warming, some have argued it could result in catastrophic changes, such as the disruption of the Gulf Steam which keeps the UK out of the ice age or even the possibility of the Greenland ice sheet sliding into the Atlantic Ocean. Whether or not these devastating changes occur, we are conducting a dangerous experiment with our planet. One we need to stop.

The developed world including the United States, England and Europe contribute disproportionately to the environmental carbon, but the developing world is rapidly catching up. As the world population increases from 6.5 billion people to 9 billion over the next 45 years and countries like India and China continue to industrialise, some estimates indicate that we will be adding over 20 billion tons of carbon a year to the atmosphere. Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes to the global climate that could be more extreme than those observed to date. This means we can expect more climate change, more ice cap melts, rising sea levels, warmer oceans and therefore greater storms, as well as more droughts and floods, all which compromise food and fresh water production.

The increase in population coupled with climate change will tax every aspect of our lives. In a world already struggling to keep up with demand, will we be able to provide the basics of food, clean water, shelter and fuel to these new
citizens of Earth? And will governments be able to cope with new emerging
infections, storms, wildfires, and global conflicts?

So is there any way of avoiding these apocalyptic visions of the future coming
true? Many have argued that we simply need to conserve, to alter and regress our standard of living and block the industrialisation of developing countries. In
my view this is extremely naive thinking. Furthermore, even the most optimistic models on climate change show a dramatically altered planet Earth going forward even if we embrace all alternative options such as wind and solar energy, and electric cars. Our entire world economy and the ability of modern society to provide life’s basics, depend on the very industrialisation that contributes to our possible demise.

Yet, sadly, very little thinking, planning or projections about how to cope
with the carbon problem and climate change have taken into account the
capabilities of modern science to produce what we have long needed to help solve these global threats.

It is clear to me that we need more approaches and creative solutions. We need new disruptive ideas and technologies to solve these critical global issues.  This is where, I believe, biology and genomics, come in.

Source: Excerpts from  the annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture on BBC on (Tuesday 4 December 2007) by Dr J Craig Venter

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