While the U-T has failed to do any significant reporting on the substantial evidence that global warming will have results in profound changes to our earth’s environment, especially on our coastal and ocean resources, The New York Times and The Washington Post continue to cover the most important environmental story of our times (that should be of grave concern to every environmentalist in San Diego).

In today’s Times, Robert Young and Orrin Pilkey in “Castles in the Sand,” argue that the U.S., by promoting wasteful Army Corps of Engineers sand replenishment projects, “will once again miss an opportunity to respond sensibly to the threat of global warming.” This is particularly important point given the fact that in Imperial Beach, the Corps is planning to spend up to $14 million dollars on a massive sand replenishment project designed to protect private property.

Young and Pilkey:

The vulnerability of nation’s shores will only increase over the next decades as global climate change leads to rising seal levels, increased coastal erosion and stronger hurricanes of greater duration.

The bottom line – we should not be wasting taxpayer dollars on pork barrel sand replenishment or dredging projects in San Diego to protect multi-million dollar beachfront residences or to destroy marine mammal habitat when sea level rise will negate any effect these projects will have.

In yesterday’s Times, Andrew Revkin reported about research just published by Marika Hollland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Holland that argues that by 2040, increased greenhouse gases could result in an open Arctic Sea during the summers. This would most likely result in significant impacts to the polar bear population and to Arctic people who depend on solid ice for their hunting grounds.

Credit for below photo: U.S. Navy Photo by Chief Yeoman Alphonso Braggs, US-Navy.

This research by Holland was recently confirmed by The Washington Post‘s Doug Struck who reported from a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker in the Arctic.


A relentless climb of temperature-5 degrees in 30 years-is shrinking the Arctic ice and reawakening dreams of a 4,000 mile shortcut just shy of the North Pole, passing besides the Arctic’s beckoning oil and mineral riches … Satellite imagery has shown that the Arctic ice cap is thinning and already is nearly 30 percent smaller than it was 25 years ago … This past August, a crack opened in the ice pack from the Russian Arctic to the North Pole, an event never seen before.

In another Post story, “On the move to outrun climate change,” Blaine Hardin and Juliet Eilperin, report on research by University of Texas professor Camile Parmesan who examined 866 peer-reviewed studies of the effect of climate change on wild plans and animals.

Hardin and Eilperin:

Flora and fauna are migrating north or climbing to higher ground if they can, says Parmesan, whose paper appears in the December issue of the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. If they cannot move, she says, their numbers are often declining, their health is getting worse, and some are disappearing altogether.

The impacts of global climate change on San Diego’s wild species could be especially acute. Wetland species, especially migratory birds, are sensitive to changes in ocean temperatures that wipe out food resources in their winter locations such as the Sea of Cortez.

San Diego’s incredibly diverse population of insects, many of which are endemic, are especially vulnerable to climate change. And of course, prolonged drought has had a significant impact on coastal sage scrub habitat in San Diego, and increased our risk of wildfires (which isn’t helped by runaway development in wildfire-prone areas).

Of course all of this would be great news to the City of Chula Vista, with plans to build waterfront stadiums and a convention center adjacent to the only remaining coastal wetlands and National Wildlife Refuge in San Diego Bay.

But for many of us, who enjoy watching the wildlife that makes our region such a fascinating place to live, the loss of wildlife and ecosystems that make San Diego and our world unique, will be a pitter pill to swallow.


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