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Most European assessments of climate change impacts have been carried out on sectors and ecosystems, providing a narrow understanding of what climate change really means for society. Furthermore, the main focus has been on technological adaptations, with less attention paid to the process of climate change adaptation. In this article, we present and analyze findings from recent studies on climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation in Norway, with the aim of identifying the wider social impacts of climate change. Three main lessons can be drawn. First, the potential thresholds and indirect effects may be more important than the direct, sectoral effects. Second, highly sensitive sectors, regions, and communities combine with differential social vulnerability to create both winners and losers. Third, high national levels of adaptive capacity mask the barriers and constraints to adaptation, particularly among those who are most vulnerable to climate change. Based on these results, we question complacency in Norway and other European countries regarding climate change impacts and adaptation. We argue that greater attention needs to be placed on the social context of climate change impacts and on the processes shaping vulnerability and adaptation.
Collecting marine organisms for the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals has been perceived variously as sustaining and threatening conservation. Our initial expectations that marine bioprospecting might pose conservation challenges were largely not confirmed. Thousands of marine species have been collected for initial assessment, but usually only in very small amounts. Very few compounds are sufficiently promising to provoke re-collections, where volumes can be much larger. This is where conservation concerns may arise, particularly if the organism is rare, has a restricted distribution, or is targeted in one narrow area. However, industry generally seeks to avoid dependency on small populations, for economic as well as ecological reasons. Alternative supply strategies to wild capture include synthesis and culture. Mandatory collection protocols and environmental impact (stock) assessments are useful routes for management to achieve sustainable use where extraction is desirable. In general, the scanty information available suggests that marine bioprospecting for pharmaceuticals may have minimal impacts on the environment, particularly compared with those created by other pressures.
The Magdalena River, a major fluvial system draining most of the Colombian Andes, is a world-class river, in the top 10 in terms of sediment load (≈150 MT/yr). In this study, we explore the major natural factors and anthropogenic influences behind the patterns in sediment yield on the Magdalena basin and reconstruct the spatial and temporal pattern of deforestation and agricultural intensification across the basin to test the relationships between land use change and trends in sediment yield. Our results show that sediment yield for the whole Magdalena catchment can be explained by natural variables, including runoff and maximum water discharge. These two estimators explain 58% of variance in sediment yield. Temporal analyses of sediment discharges and land use show that the extent of erosion within the catchment has increased over the last 10 to 20 years. Many anthropogenic influences, including a forest decrease by 40% in a 20-year period, an agriculture and pasture increase by 65%, poor soil conservation and mining practices, and increasing rates of urbanization, may have accounted for the overall increasing trends in sediment yield on a regional scale.
A massive development of offshore windmill farms has been planned along the European coastline. This raises important questions about the possible effects on the marine environment. Effects during the construction period may be minimized to a negligible impact if care is taken to avoid areas containing rare habitats or species. Disturbance caused by noise, vibrations, and electromagnetic fields during windmill operation may, with present knowledge, be considered to be of minor importance to the marine environment. The reef effect (i.e. addition of a hard substratum), is believed to cause the largest impact on the marine environment and at different scales: the micro scale, which involves material, texture, and heterogeneity of the foundation material; the meso scale, which involves the revetments and scour protection; and the macro scale, which encompasses the level of the entire windmill farm. Effects on these scales are discussed in relation to results obtained from natural habitats, artificial reefs, and other man-made constructions at sea.
The conversion of closed forest (CCF) in Carrasco Province, Bolivia, was monitored using a series of four midresolution satellite images from 1986 to 2002. The conversion of forests into nonforests from 1986 to 2002 was 1.5% annually. Inclusion of conversions into open forest doubles the annual CCF rate to 3.1%. Five predictors of CCF were tested in a spatial model: land tenure regime, distance from roads, distance from settlements, topography, and soil suitability for farming. Only three out of the five predictors tested were found to be reliable predictors of CCF: land tenure regime, distance from roads, and distance from settlements. University reserve and indigenous land show substantially less CCF than national park and untitled land. In addition the spatial model shows that the greater the distance of forest from roads or settlements, the less CCF. Topography and soil suitability for farming lack predictive power for CCF and are therefore excluded from the spatial model.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most important gases in the atmosphere, and is necessary for sustaining life on Earth. It is also considered to be a major greenhouse gas contributing to global warming and climate change. In this article, energy consumption in Bangladesh is analyzed and estimates are made of CO2 emission from combustion of fossil fuel (coal, gas, petroleum products) for the period 1977 to 1995. International Panel for Climate Change guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories were used in estimating CO2 emission. An analysis of energy data shows that the consumption of fossil fuels in Bangladesh is growing by more than 5% per year. The proportion of natural gas in total energy consumption is increasing, while that of petroleum products and coal is decreasing. The estimated total CO2 release from all primary fossil fuels used in Bangladesh amounted to 5072 Gigagram (Gg) in 1977, and 14 423 Gg in 1995. The total amounts of CO2 released from petroleum products, natural gas, and coal in the period 1977–1995 were 83 026 Gg (50% of CO2 emission), 72 541 Gg (44% of CO2 emission), and 9545 Gg (6% CO2 emission), respectively. A trend in CO2 emission with projections to 2070 is generated. In 2070, total estimated CO2 emission will be 293 260 Gg with a current growth rate of 6.34% y−1. CO2 emission from fossil fuels is increasing. Petroleum products contribute the majority of CO2 emission load, and although the use of natural gas is increasing rapidly, its contribution to CO2 emission is less than that of petroleum products. The use of coal as well as CO2 emission from coal is expected to gradually decrease.