Year 2, Month 4, Day 4: A Horse With No Name?

The Riverside, CA Press-Examiner notes an upcoming conference on the effects of climate change on desert flora and fauna, which are really going to get it in the shorts as things start hotting up:

“This year’s conference is going to examine the fate of Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park. It’s going to look at our potentially drier southwestern climate, and we’re also going to look at how migrating birds might be affected by climate change.”

The southwestern United States, including the park and Mojave National Preserve, are expected to be some of the hardest hit areas under climate change models, which predict temperatures could jump as much as 7 degrees over the next century.

Scientists already are seeing evidence of warming, including the migration to higher elevations of the iconic Joshua trees and desert tortoises, said Shteir, whose group is endorsing the Desert Protection Act of 2011.

Sent March 27:

In 2011, most Americans had never seen an automobile, and the thought of a nation of motorists driving everywhere would have been considered a fever dream. To humans, a century seems a very long time. But ours is not the only timescale. From the perspective of our planet’s five billion years, a hundred trips around the sun is just a geological eye-blink. Which is why the news about global climate change is so alarming. Climatic transformations in the Earth’s past have taken place over thousands of years, allowing ecosystems a chance to evolve and adapt to changing temperatures and weather patterns. When this happens gradually over millennia, it’s like using the brakes to bring your car to a controlled stop; the same changes over a century are more like driving full-speed into a concrete wall. It’s time for the climate-change denialists to buckle up; we’re headed for a crash.

Warren Senders

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