Posts Tagged ‘carbon dioxide’

Climate change’s impact on forests being measured via expanding tree trunks (Wash Post)

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Humorous but scientific take on "tree huggers" in the U.S. mid-Atlantic. Catching up on some old clippings as I roll back into DC.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

By David A. Fahrenthold. Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jess Parker hugs trees.

In the woods of Anne Arundel County, he throws his arms around tulip poplars, oaks and American beeches, and holds them so tightly that his cheek presses into their bark. This is not some hiker on a lark: anybody, hopped up on campfire coffee and exercise endorphins, might hug a tree once.

This is science. Parker has done it about 50,000 times.

Parker, a forest ecologist at the Smithsonian Institution, has spent the past 22 years on a research project so repetitive, so time-consuming, that it impresses even researchers with the patience to count tree rings. Since 1987, he and a group of volunteers have embraced thousands of trees, slipped a tape measure behind them, and wrapped it around to measure the trees’ girth.

This year, after about 250,000 hugs between them, the work paid off.

Parker’s data, which showed the trunks gradually fattening over time, indicated that many of the trees were growing two to four times faster than expected. That raised questions about climate change’s impact on the age-old rhythms of U.S. forests.

It might also raise questions about Parker and members of his team, who say they enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Geography Is For Real: Oil Costs Up (Sundry)

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Omnibus of a weeks’ newspaper coverage (reprints):

Are Oil Costs Creating a ‘Made Here’ Movement?
NY Times’ Andrew C. Revkin on August 2, 2008

Referencing:
Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization
NY Times’ Larry Rohter on August 3, 2008

Larry Rohter, who recently returned to the United States after many years covering Brazil, has a fascinating story in the Sunday paper examining how high oil prices may be blunting the globalization of manufacturing. Concerns over carbon dioxide emissions may be playing a role, as well. He starts out with an anecdote about Tesla Motors, which planned to build its batteries in Thailand, assemble most of the components of its electric sports cars in Britain, and then sell them in the United States.

But high shipping costs have changed that company’s plans, and those of many others, Larry writes. Here’s the “nut graf”:

Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. Rising concern about global warming, the reaction against lost jobs in rich countries, worries about food safety and security, and the collapse of world trade talks in Geneva last week also signal that political and environmental concerns may make the calculus of globalization far more complex.

Maybe the world is not as flat, or small, as it once seemed. The breakdown of trade talks also implies more countries are thinking local. I’m not sure this bodes well for the global thinking, and interaction, that’d have to take place if the world were to get serious about curbing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. What’s your take?

Continue reading at New York Times . . .