Pollinators: First global risk index for species declines and effects on humanity
Disappearing habitats and use of pesticides are driving the loss of pollinator species around the world, posing
a threat to "ecosystem services" that provide food and wellbeing to many millions -- particularly in the Global
South -- as well as billions of dollars in crop productivity.
This is according to an international panel of experts, led by the University of Cambridge, who used available evidence to create the first planetary risk index of the causes and effects of dramatic pollinator declines in six global regions.
Read More Here
Read the Journal Paper
Last 10 years hotter than anytime in last 125,000 years. Too Late for 1.5 degrees. New IPCC report's dire conclusions.
IPCC, August 9, 2021: Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released today. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years. However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize.
For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows. At a temperature increase of almost 3°C by 2100, scientists warn, large parts of the planet become uninhabitable, entailing mass extinctions of species.
But it is not just about temperature. Climate change is bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will all increase with further warming. These include changes to wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans.
The report also shows that human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate. The evidence is clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main driver of climate change, even as other greenhouse gases and air pollutants also affect the climate. Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions.
See the report's headlines
See report summary
See World Resources Institute's Five Key Takeaways
Politico Morning Energy, August 9, 2021: "The United Nations’ premier climate science panel is out with its sixth major report today, issuing a damning outlook directly linking global catastrophes to greenhouse gas emissions for the first time. The report comes with the backdrop of historic drought and fire in the American West, extreme rainfall in Germany and China, and heatwaves and wildfires plaguing Siberia, Greece and Turkey. The report contained no scenario where the world avoids surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming and the 2-degree warming target will be breached unless greenhouse gas emissions peak by mid-century, it said."
Bloomberg Green, August 9, 2021: "The last decade was hotter than any period in 125,000 years. Not only that but atmospheric CO₂ is now at a two million-year peak. Consuming fossil fuels has combined with agriculture to push methane and nitrous oxide—also greenhouse gases—to records for at least the last 800,000 years. All the greenhouse gases have elevated the global average temperature by about 1.1° Celsius above the late 19th century average. In fact, humans have already dumped enough greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to heat up the planet by 1.5°C—one of the goals set by the Paris Agreement—but fine-particle pollution from fossil fuels is masking it by providing a cooling effect.
Economist, August 9, 2021: "In terms of climate impacts, you ain’t seen nothing yet. That needs to be made true of action taken to constrain them, too."
The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC.
Industrial Agriculture Threatens Native Pollinators and Biodiversity, but Agroecology Holds Solutions
“[Agroecology] aims to protect pollinators not only by its effects in agroecosystems, but also by reducing poverty and improving people’s livelihoods, by both recovering local knowledges and developing local research technologies as well as implementing territorial planning and [agroecological] policies considering the needs of local communities”
From "This Month in Conservation Science", August 2021, Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL)
For years, California rice farmers have aided bird migration by flooding their fields in the off season. But
this year, they barely have enough water to grow their crops. Read Article Here.
Killdeer, one of many shorebird species that migrate through the Sacramento Valley, stop for a drink in a flooded rice field.
Photo courtesy of Jim Morris/California Rice Commission
Atmospheric measurements show that deforestation and rapid local warming have reduced or eliminated the capacity of the eastern Amazonian forest to absorb carbon dioxide — with worrying implications for future global warming.
Read more about it in these articles - Inside Climate News, Nature, CNN
Read the research - Here
Seventy-five percent of arthropod-borne human disease in the U.S. is spread by ticks, and cases doubled in the U.S. between 2004 and 2016. With such significant rates of infection, information on the ranges of ticks that spread disease is essential. Read about how citizen scientists are improving the information about tick ranges.
The introduction to a new book-length report from the US Forest Service, Invasive Species in Forests and Rangelands of the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the United States Forest Sector, starts off with this paragraph:
"Invasive species are a historical, long-term, and continually growing threat to the ecology, economy, and infrastructure of the United States. Widely recognized as one of the most serious threats to the health, sustainability, and productivity of native ecosystems, invasive species issues have commonly been viewed as problems specific to Federal, State, and private landowners. However, it is increasingly apparent that the impacts from these species are all encompassing, affecting ecosystem processes in addition to the economics of land management, public and private infrastructure, the energy sector, international trade, cultural practices, and many other sectors in the United States."
Notice on the map below, that our region of Virginia has a high rate of invasives, 38 to 80 percent!
The book is available for free as a PDF--see this web page
Percent of forested Forest Inventory and Analysis program subplots invaded by one or more monitored invasive plant species. Map: Invasive Species in Forests and Rangelands of the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the United States Forest Sector, US Forest Service, 2021, fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/61982.
Roads can be barriers to wildlife of all sorts. But much less is known about the impact of roads on pollinating insects such as bees and to what extent these structures disrupt insect pollination, which is essential to reproduction in many plant species. Read what the researchers found.
Wasps are valuable for ecosystems, economy and human health(just like bees). Read about their role here and here.