Plant Trees SF Events 2005 Archive: 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021


I've been trying to sound the alarm on this for 
ten years now. But forest activists haven't 
wanted to become climate activists. What's your 

I know the science and politics can be 
intimidating, but so is it to learn the forest 
ecology of native forests, or marine biology. But 
just think about, among other horrors, how many 
coastal forest ecosystems will just vanish. 
Unfortunately, too, I know, we don't have the 
equivalent of clearcuts to show people or to put 
on video.

So ten years later, there still isn't a climate 
action protest movement, and no resources have 
been offered to start it. If you want to help or 
can offer financial, office, or expertise 
support, or can get some celebrities or otherwise 
influential people involved, please drop me a 
note. I would be thrilled to hear from you.

And the threat is a 20 foot increase, not 16.

Andy Caffrey
Climate Action NOW!

I know I've posted this link/article before, but 
for those who are new to this list, please check 
out my Earth island Journal article:

February 2, 2005

Dramatic Change in West Antarctic Ice Could Produce 16ft Rise in Sea Levels
by Michael McCarthy

British scientists have discovered a new threat 
to the world which may be a result of global 
warming. Researchers from the Cambridge-based 
British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered 
that a massive Antarctic ice sheet previously 
assumed to be stable may be starting to 
disintegrate, a conference on climate change 
heard yesterday. Its collapse would raise sea 
levels around the earth by more than 16 feet.

BAS staff are carrying out urgent measurements 
of the remote points in the West Antarctic Ice 
Sheet (WAIS) where they have found ice to be 
flowing into the sea at the enormous rate of 250 
cubic kilometers a year, a discharge alone that 
is raising global sea levels by a fifth of a 
millimeter a year.

Professor Chris Rapley, the BAS director, told 
the conference at the UK Meteorological Office 
in Exeter, which was attended by scientists from 
all over the world, that their discovery had 
reactivated worries about the ice sheet's 

Only four years ago, in the last report of the 
UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
(IPCC), worries that the ice sheet was 
disintegrating were firmly dismissed.

Professor Rapley said: "The last IPCC report 
characterized Antarctica as a slumbering giant 
in terms of climate change. I would say it is 
now an awakened giant. There is real concern."

He added: "The previous view was that WAIS would 
not collapse before the year 2100. We now have 
to revise that judgment. We cannot be so 
sanguine." Collapse of the WAIS would be a 
disaster, putting enormous chunks of low-lying, 
desperately poor countries such as Bangladesh 
under water - not to mention much of southern 

The conference has been called by Tony Blair as 
part of Britain's efforts to increase the pace 
of international action on climate change, in a 
year when the UK is heading the G8 group of 
industrialized nations and the European Union.

Mr Blair has asked it to explore the question of 
how much climate change the world can take 
before the consequences are catastrophic for 
human society and ecosystems.

Yesterday, it heard several alarming new 
warnings of possible climate-related 
catastrophic events, including the failure of 
the Gulf Stream, which keeps the British Isles 
warm, and the melting of the ice sheet covering 

But it was the revelations of Professor Rapley, 
head of one of the world's most respected 
scientific bodies, which were the most dramatic, 
as they reopened a concern many scientists 
assumed had been laid to rest.

Antarctica as a whole is a land covered by very 
thick ice, but the ice sheet covering the 
eastern half of the continent is very stable as 
it sits on rocks that are well above sea level.

Worries about the ice covering the western half 
first surfaced more than 25 years ago when it 
was realized that the base rocks are actually 
well below the level of the sea.

In some circumstances, it was feared, such as a 
melting of the edge of the ice sheet from rising 
temperatures, sea water could get under it and 
eventually lead to its collapse.

Yet the 2001 IPCC report, the principal 
consensus view of the international community of 
climate scientists, thought that very unlikely, 
and said such a collapse was improbable before 
the end of the current century, or even for 
1,000 years.

What puts a very big question mark over this, 
Professor Rapley said, was the recent discovery 
of the extremely rapid discharge of ice into the 
Amundsen sea from the WAIS at three remote ice 
streams, Pine Island, Thwaites, and another 
unnamed site.

"There is a very dramatic discharge from this 
region which, five years ago when the IPCC 
report was written, we just didn't know about," 
he said. "What we have found completely opens up 
the whole debate." It had only been recently 
discovered, he said, because the area was so 
remote. But BAS scientists, with US help, had 
established a base in the area to investigate. 
Professor Rapley said there was some evidence 
that the discharge was a relatively recent 
phenomenon and it might be caused by rising 
ocean temperatures.

Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, who 
opened the conference, added another ominous 
prediction when she said that major global 
warming impacts on the world in the next 20 to 
30 years could not be avoided. Whatever we do, 
potentially disastrous world temperature rises 
will take place because they are already "built 
into the system," she said.

Her forecast that we are powerless to prevent 
major damage from climate change is accepted by 
scientists but it is rare for such a frank 
admission from a politician. It reflects the 
concern at a high level.

It was amplified by senior climate researchers, 
who said the amount of future warming to which 
the world is firmly committed, because of 
greenhouse gases that have already been put into 
the atmosphere, will be enough to threaten the 
survival of many ecosystems and wildlife species 
such as polar bears and penguins.

"I believe that most of the warming we are 
expecting over the next few decades is now 
virtually inevitable, and even in this time 
frame we may expect a significant impact," Mrs 
Beckett said.

 2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.


Tim Hermach
Native Forest Council
PO Box 2190
Eugene, OR  97402
541.461.2156 fax

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