Climate Change Cachets

Bees are actually omnivores and researchers say their meat is microbes and this means climate change may be one of the reasons the honey makers are in trouble.

Anything disrupting the microbial community in a bee’s food – high heat linked to climate change, fungicides or another stressor – could be causing bees to starve.

The journal Scientific American reports Prarthana Dharampal of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Shawn Steffan, who works at the university and the U.S. Agricultural Research Service, assessed 14 bee species in six of the seven bee families.

They found bees eat substantial amounts of microbes, enough to change how they fit within food webs – putting them in the omnivore spot, halfway between herbivores and carnivores.

Steffan says any stressor that throws the external rumen out of whack could be an indirect, but no less lethal way of killing bees.

“It may not be that heat is directly lethal for bee development,” Steffan says. “But it very well could be that high heat knocks out the microbial symbionts in the pollen, and then the bee suffers from the lack of microbes.”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture says changes in climate are likely to have a sporadic impact on farm productivity.

The Economic Research Service says while production has risen 170% in 70 years, inputs have changed little and growth has fluctuated adversely because of weather.

Some states had little change on average but have had more volatile fluctuations since the 1980s.

Models for between 2030 and 2040 expect climate change to impact some states in regions greater than others, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and North Dakota.


Canada may become the first country to see a federal election impacted by global warming.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set the federal election for Oct. 21 and the tiny Green Party that has labored in the environmental wilderness for decades sees this as its opportunity for a breakthrough.

Climate change in Canada is happening at twice the global rate and polls show Green Party leader Elizabeth May is not only attracting more attention but could even hold the balance of power in the closely contested election.

In polling, the Greens have 11% public support, up from 3.4% in the 2015 election when May won the party’s only parliamentary seat.

With surveys showing the environment a top priority, her party might win up to 10 seats in the House of Commons.

“People are experiencing the climate emergency not as an environmental issue, but as an immediate security threat,” May told the Reuters news agency.


As more than 130 bush fires ravage New South Wales and Queensland, the Australian government is creating a A$4-billion (US$2.74-billion) fund to help recovery from natural disasters.

Natural Disaster Minister David Littleproud says the fund will grow to A$6.6 billion (US$4.4 billion) over the next decade.

“We won’t only rebuild, we’ll build stronger communities,” he says. “This will put us on the front-foot, making sure we’re better prepared to face extreme events.

“This is a sustainable way to fund rebuilding from bush fire, flood or cyclone,” Littleproud says.


A Global Commission on Adaptation report say it is time to jump start projects to help people adapt to life under climate change.

The commission of prominent figures including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, is seeking steps ranging from abandoning cattle raising to having homeowners paint rooftops white.

Chief executive Patrick Verkooijen of the Global Center on Adaptation, which co-manages the commission, says investing in adaptation is a moral imperative.

“Investing in adaptation is not a trade off with mitigation,” he says. “We need to do both.”

The report says investing $1.7 trillion between 2020 and 2030 could generate up to $7 trillion in benefits.

This includes early warning systems for floods or heatwaves, infrastructure to withstand climate change, techniques to boost cereal yields, making water resources more resilient, and protecting mangroves to fortify coasts from storm surges.


The UN is working with developing countries to integrate climate changes risks into their development plans.

The UN Development Program goal is to ensure ministries are able to assess the medium- and long-term risks of climate change in every decision, and that ministerial budgets take the costs into account.

This can range from adaption strategies, such as research and development and drought-resilient crops, to the anticipated costs of climate-related events such as floods, or decreases in agricultural yields.

Finance is a primary concern. It is estimated 85% to 90% of the Paris Agreement goals need to be funded by the private sector.


Iceland is mourning the loss of Okjökull, its first glacier to be swallowed by climate change.

Okjokull was about 700 years old, but now is just a patch of ice atop a volcano. It was declared dead when it ceased movement.

Hundreds of scientists, journalists and members of the public trekked to the site where a plaque was mounted on a bare rock, reading “A letter to the future.”

In 1890, the glacier covered 6.2 square miles but by 2012 it was just 7.5 sq. ft.

To have the status of a glacier, the ice and snow must be thick enough to move by its own weight. For this to happen the mass must be 130 to 165 feet thick.


The American Association for the Advancement of Science says 18 U.S. communities are using science to adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This includes limiting wetlands flooding and emissions, updating transportation, water, food and waste systems, and deploying sea level sensors.

Climate change impacts can vary and the report says how communities respond depends on their needs, values and resources.


Internationally recognized climate scientist Prof. Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts Amherst is elected an international fellow in the Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Division of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada for major contributions to the  understanding of the nature and causes of climate change.


The collapse of the Soviet Union led to lower meat consumption, abandonment of cultivated land, and restructuring of food sales chains that caused a drop in GHG emissions.

Leading research associate Alexander Prischepov of the Space Ecology Lab at Russia’s Kazan Federal University says there are up to 198 million acres of abandoned fields.

“It’s good for nature when there is a controlled abandonment process,” he says. “Ecosystems are rejuvenated, soils are at rest, and carbon is deposited in them.”

Emission fell by 7.61 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from 1992 to 2001. Russia now emits 2.5 billion tons of GHGs a year.


A team of Midwestern climate scientists release a report with grim predictions about the impact of climate change on the Great Lakes region.

It foresees a growing trend of wetter winters and springs, with increases in heavy rain events leading to flooding. Rural areas will likely see more erosion, and unpredictable cycles of heat and rainfall.

University of Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Donald Wuebbles says he hopes policymakers and the public understand these changes are already beginning and will likely continue to disrupt the economic and environmental health and well-being of people in the Great Lakes region.

“It is vitally important that we take action now to protect our natural resources from further harm.”


By: Alan Harman