climate change

Climate Change: Option C and Its Exploits

By Frank Landis, Chairperson Conservation Committee

On June 10, the state CNPS Chapter Council passed the following position statement:

"Climate is a significant factor effecting natural ecosystems, including California flora.

"CNPS recognizes that climate change is real and that the current rate of global warming is faster than nonhuman natural forces would produce. Based on overwhelming evidence and broad scientific consensus, we hold that human actions, including greenhouse gas emissions, are major contributors to local and global climate change. This recognition follows the work of world leading institutions and organizations, including the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United States National Academy of Sciences, and the American Geophysical Union. CNPS recognizes that climate change is a current and future stress on California's native flora, especially when added to other human activities, including habitat loss, introduction of non-native species, and blocking landscape linkages.

"CNPS supports science-based, rational policies and actions, on the local, state, national, and international levels, that lead to the reduction of greenhouse gases without endangering California's native flora. We urge all Californians and CNPS members to do their part to protect California's native plants.

Who Knew Climate Change and Policy Was So Complicated?

By Frank Landis, Chairperson Conservation Committee

We seem to be hearing that in all sorts of unexpected contexts right now (I'm writing this on May 1st), but I'm going to focus on climate change and policy again. The issue I'm struggling with is the North County Multiple Species Conservation Program (NCMSCP, because you need more acronyms). I'm on the steering committee, and the documents (hopefully) will be out this fall. We'll be dealing with it for a while, and I wanted to air the issues so that we can all start thinking about it, because it really is complicated.

Problem one is climate change. According to a recent National Geographic article, half of 4,000 species surveyed are moving towards the poles, about one mile per year on land on average (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/climate -change-species-migration-disease/ ). We'll argue endlessly about whether this is true for all land species, but the point is that the climate is changing, it will continue to change, species are responding to it, and what we're fighting right now is massive societal inertia to determine how fast and how far the climate swings from 20th Century normal. The nasty part of even extreme climate change isn't the quasi-stable end state (basically like the Miocene), it's how extreme the peak heat is between now and then (a few centuries of something possibly like the end Permian Great Dying, or more likely, the end Paleocene). That peak heat is the extinction-maker we want to avoid if at all possible. That aside, the point is that the world is already changing, it will continue to change, and we're talking about what will suffer, not how to stop the change.