High levels of carbon dioxide around Yellowstone thermal vents help scientists predict effects of our future atmosphere on plants

A number of the thermal vents in Yellowstone release high levels of carbon dioxide, the very gas that is building up in our atmosphere.

Carbon dixoide is a crucial element for photosynthesis, and some have argued that the growing levels of this gas will make the world greener, better. Unfortunately they tend to work for energy companies. Now scientists are checking out the plants that grow next to the vents. Preliminary evidence is that they photosynthesize less efficiently and lose more water to the air.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Park is a crystal ball for CO2 emissions. Yellowstone researchers study plants near vents for insight into future of life on earth. By Corey Hatch.

Posted in Climate change, national parks. Comments Off on High levels of carbon dioxide around Yellowstone thermal vents help scientists predict effects of our future atmosphere on plants

Bush Administration proposes listing the polar bear as a threatened species

Most listings nowadays, and in the past, have come from conservation groups forcing the species onto the “list,” but in an unusual move the Bush Administration has proposed listing the polar bear, which is suffering the effects of warming in the Arctic. That melts the ice the bears need to hunt from. The polar bear also suffers a huge load of toxic chemicals because the polar vortex concentrates and traps pollutants from the industrialized countries to the south.

Story in the Washington Post. By Juliet Eilperin. “U.S. Wants Polar Bears Listed as Threatened.

Added on Dec. 28. Here is more (including links to the proposal) from the Carnivore Conservation blog.