Posted by: Green Knight | October 5, 2011

Some Good News

I just got an e-mail from Greenpeace, saying that Mattel has followed Lego and has stopped doing business with Asia Pulp & Paper, and is going to pursue using recycled for its packaging.  That will ease off the pressure a bit on the Indonesian rainforests and the remaining 400 or so Sumatran tigers.  That should reduce APP’s motivation to shave the land somewhat, but we are going to keep working on their other clients.

Update on climate change: depending on whom you listen to, average global temperatures have gone up less than expected or not at all since 1998.  However, most climatologists agree that it’s probably a temporary fluctuation, and higher temps will be back and progress due to our continued gassy emissions.  Lower sunspot activity is likely a contributor, like the Maunder Minimum that caused periodic “Little Ice Ages” from 1690 to 1850.  Ocean currents are also a possible source of the stall in warming, but again, we’re talking averages.  The effect is patchy over the entire globe, with some areas still getting hotter, especially the Arctic.  NASA just published findings that the Arctic sea ice is the second-thinnest on record; other climate organizations say it’s the worst.  Another NASA study has shown that ozone levels over the Arctic are at an all-time low.  When the sun is less active, less ultraviolet reaches us, and less UV means less ozone formation, and that makes the stratosphere colder, which traps heat below it in the troposphere (the layer of air WE live in).  It also affects the jet stream, causing it to meander and make some areas colder and some warmer than is the norm.  So even if the average global temp has gone static, certain highly sensitive areas like the Arctic, and species like the polar bear, are still in deep trouble.

There’s a pretty good article on it in the online version of Der Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,662092,00.html.

I know, the photo in the middle is of the Antarctic, but I liked the NASA graphics of the ozone hole.  That Sumatran tiger has such an interesting stripy pattern.  And the Sun is so dynamic, a giant ball of hot gas, just like Glenn Beck but at a safe distance, 93 million miles away.

 

 

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Responses

  1. Bob:

    Thanks for the link to the Der Spiegel article. I have always been skeptical of the global warming trend as it seems to depend on models. That being said, I am no expert. I remember that just a few years ago there was a group of scientists who were predicting a coming ice age.

  2. Well, Dr. Jim, we SHOULD be heading into an ice age. Interstadial periods are inherently unstable at this stage in Earth’s history. But we’re screwing it up, and we might get ice in some areas and heat & drought in others. James Lovelock does a nice biogeochemical review of the whole mess in “Ages of Gaia,” 1988. Climatology, as I said before, is HARD, but there’s no question that CO2, CH4, N2O, and the like, trap heat, or that we’ve been conducting a planetwide atmospheric experiment for the last couple of hundred years by pumping huge quantities of those gases into the air. I’m cautious about that, which I guess makes me “conservative.”

  3. Glad to hear the work you did with Greenpeace with Mattel is bearing some good results. Good job!

    I don’t know the details of their current practices, but I guess ultimately the goal should be for Asia Pulp & Paper to decide themselves to practice renewable forestry management


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