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Liveblogging Obama's climate change speech

Mark Mardell | 14:49 UK time, Tuesday, 22 September 2009

This is my liveblog of the Obama climate change speech. Scroll down to the bottom and read up to follow the speech as it happened. (All times are EDT).

1011: Polite, and pretty brief applause as Mr Obama concludes. I wonder if those children who called for "action, not more words" felt they got it. Many Europeans feel that the fine words are not matched by real commitment. And what about the 41% of Americans who (according to Gallup) do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity: will there be any effort to convince them?

1010: The President concludes: "But the journey is long. The journey is hard. And we don't have much time left to make it. It is a journey that will require each of us to persevere through setback, and fight for every inch of progress, even when it comes in fits and starts. So let us begin. For if we are flexible and pragmatic; if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, then we will achieve our common purpose: a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier than the one we found; and a future that is worthy of our children. Thank you. "

0957: Interestingly, the Chinese leader is one of the few world leaders in the hall: Hu Jintao, is sitting in the front row. President Obama mentions that his "cap and trade bill" is stuck in the senate - it may be (if the rumours are right that the Chinese will make a big announcement today), it will put pressure on those senators who are worried that America's competiveness will be damaged by restriction on carbon emissions. He says the US will "slash its emissions" but rapidly growing nations must do their part as well.

0956: The President says he is determined to act and will bear the responsibility. He admits there is much more progress to be made, work to be done. He says the hardest part of the journey is in the run up to the Copenhagen summit. "All of us will face doubts and difficulties in our own capitals."

0955: So now the President's answer. Bold and swift action is needed or prosperity and security are in jeopardy. Since he came to power the United States has done more to promote climate change than at any other time in history.

0952: A film from the "next generation" is more uncomfortable for politicians, urging them to risk their political future and take action... now! "When are you going to do something?" they chorus. So what is President Obama going to do for "that pale blue dot, the only home we have ever known"?

0950: The actor Djimon Hounsou opens the climate change session at the UN in New York with a big picture of space , pointing to a little smudge: "That pale blue dot exists in the vastness of the cosmos." It's us. He tells us in ringing tones, backed by operatic music, that everyone we have ever heard of, kings and peasants, has lived here. It's all rather Shakespearean and has the more cynical shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:21pm on 22 Sep 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    Thanks, for the live Blogging on the Climate Change Speech by
    President Obama.....

    Side note, Will there ongoing updates on this thread....

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 2. At 4:07pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    well it's about time a president accepted that america is on the same planet physically if not mentally .

    But then he has to fight the average american.
    Lucky they on average believe in global warming. But only just.
    41%

    well I wonder what the percentage of Non health care is.
    I suspect the same 41 %.
    probably equates with the total for creationism.

    Before A joins I would remind all that he once proffessed a claim to be trying his best to negate the efforts by some on this issue by keeping his american house (poorly insulated) as hot as possible in the winter and cold in the summer.. And then there is his love for big cars.

    How do people like that get on board.

    those too old to worry about what happens because they think they will be dead before it happens.
    But most Important. this debate being on the environment.
    WHERE IS ED ?

    You know the one called Hes.
    the one banned because he took on those who try at all time to diminish the significance or credibility of global warming.
    Something that should be treated like Holocaust denial . Science is there. a few against and a world of selfish boomers that say--" we don't care."

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  • 3. At 4:09pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    This is generational but in The US there are a lot that have so far to go to get green it is something that can only happen if they start listening to others.
    Trying the Unamerican.
    Try Walking to school.(where safe...opps that's no where )
    try

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  • 4. At 4:18pm on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM: "what about the 41% of Americans who (according to Gallup) do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity: will there be any effort to convince them? "




    I hope you have noticed, Mark, that tree huggers have ordered their cohorts (see their 'talking points') not to mention 'global warming' anymore. Since this PC nonsence only antagonized those it was supposed to mobilize againt human industrial and transportational activity.

    Now they're warning us only about 'climate change'.

    Well, guess what. Climate has been changing since times immemorial.
    There was a mini-Ice Age in Europe in Medieval Ages.

    [That's when the Dutch invented speed skating as means of transportation]

    Although I'am prepared to ban all airlines (see HYS), since global warming on Mercury is an undeniable, scientifically proven fact.

    Let's sail from Dover to Auckland, row from Hamburg to Honolulu, and cycle from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

    NOw, about that most recent 11-year Sun flare-up cycle... :-)))

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  • 5. At 4:32pm on 22 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    Where did you get the number 41% of American don't believe in climate change?Please stop calling my 80 year old grandma for polls! Is that poll from Alaska or Texas where they have oil or Coal states who don't want us to get of Coal which is where most pollution comes from not Cars(6%) like California another Oil and Coal producing state wants everyone to believe.I am sorry but your going to have to wait a few more years people are trying to get off oil because of the years of problems it's caused us,but COAL is going to be tough By the why there are States such as Michigan who have committed 15% of energy from alternate sources and are paying large amounts of money to get it done then that number will be increased gradually.It just most Americans don't want to help China ruin every ones economies more with there horrible pollution policies and Americans need to get of Coal as a form of electricity but the problem is some states are figuring out what kind of alternate energy to use.I don't want Michigan to use nuclear because the lakes are interconnected above by rivers and smaller lakes and below by a large aquifers.Unemployment and low wages make it hard to explain to Americans that you have to lay off or fire more people and put large amounts of money into energy instead of Social programs that are much needed right now.Most Americans do believe they can change the environment but not sure where the money is going to come from.

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  • 6. At 4:34pm on 22 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    Show sounds kind of Lame Sorry they can't inform people without boring them with stupid off Broadway Show.

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  • 7. At 4:55pm on 22 Sep 2009, megaciph wrote:

    If the leaders of the world governments really wanted to address the issue of global warming, climate change and harmful waste emissions they would stop listening to the major corporate thugs and legalize industrial HEMP on a global scale for ALL production. It only takes a small bit of research to discover that Hemp was criminalized by corporate interests. The same powers that are now destroying the planet are aware of the versatility of the Hemp plant. Legalizing Hemp would destroy countless industries and allow the planet to achieve utopia. If you think this is the ranting of a pothead do some research and decide for yourself.
    Legalize
    One Love
    Miles Megaciph

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  • 8. At 5:13pm on 22 Sep 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    the journey is long and hard, alright. the big O is a keen student of world affairs.

    Well, much as I dote on the man myself, the EU blog is up and lurching. I'm going to go fight for democracy in the near abroad.

    Thanks America. Your babble would drive a fair man to religion, but nobody has to listen. It has been swell.

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  • 9. At 5:18pm on 22 Sep 2009, mischievousdoug wrote:

    A speech is a speech, nothing more nothing less. His gifted oratory hasn't made health care happen. It will make less happen in climate change. The UN and world (european) opinion doesn't carry much weight with the American public in terms of raising our taxes and hurting our economy for the benefit of other countries.
    Oh yeah, Climate Change is not settled science for a large number of Americans. Cool summers like the one we just had (along with other things) speak a lot louder than anti-American enviromentalists.

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  • 10. At 5:37pm on 22 Sep 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "...what about the 41% of Americans who (according to Gallup) do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity: will there be any effort to convince them?"

    I believe this is the result of a huge tactical error made by both scientists and politicians alike: they linked global climate change to increased weather volatility. While atmospheric change must have some effect on observed weather patterns, we can't predict weather well enough to know exactly how or when, let alone prove beyond reasonable doubt that anything's changing because of warming alone. Weather is in a constant state of flux. It's impossible with the technology we have today to isolate the affect of global warming from normal fluctuations.

    What we know as weather is caused by the sun's uneven heating of the Earth (due to localized changes in its composition, e.g., water and land). Global climate change is observed as an overall increase in the temperature of the Earth's atmospheric gasses. The latter probably will cause change in the former, but we'll never be able to quantify it.

    Global warming is not about the weather.

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  • 11. At 5:58pm on 22 Sep 2009, U13817236 wrote:

    It should have "the more cynical shifting uncomfortably in their seats." Not to mention the more idealistic. As well as just about everyone in between. And from "the actor Djimon Hounsou" to the even worse actor, Barack Obama, total b.s. from start to finish. But just wait a few more years for the grand finale:'That dark gray smudge exists in the vastness of the cosmos. It's us, going up in smoke!' Thanks in large part to the two world power prats in the hall, Hu and Obama. Between them, the U.S. and China should be enough to push "that pale blue dot" past the tipping point. "Many Europeans feel that the fine words are not matched by real commitment"...for obvious reasons, not a few Americans feel the same way. "And what about the 41% of Americans who (according to Gallup) do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity: will there be any effort to convince them?" Does anyone seriously believe that these are rational human beings that can be convinced? Another Gallup poll not long ago showed 45% of Americans believe God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years! "Obama mentions that his 'cap and trade bill' is stuck in the senate-it may... put pressure on those senators who are worried that America's competiveness (sic) will be damaged by restriction on carbon emissions." Only the 'cap and trade' scheme is a tepid market-based response in itself, that doesn't represent much real "pressure" to begin with. As usual Obama and the Senate are acting, carrying on a phony debate with both sides thoroughly committed to serving corporate interests. "He says the US will 'slash its emissions' but rapidly growing nations must do their part as well"...i.e. the poor nations must cap their growth so the rich nations can go on driving gas-guzzling SUV vehicles. "Polite, and pretty brief applause as Mr Obama concludes"...which is much better than he deserved.

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  • 12. At 6:06pm on 22 Sep 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    Right now, the reason why USA and the other countries are having a hard time combatting climate change is due to the economy. Combatting climate change will save money, but you have to spend billions of money first, in order to do it. Combatting climate change is investing in something great for the future, so it is a good cause. In several years, when the USA is doing better financially, most likely, President Obama will gladly begin combatting climate change, with the support of the majority of the American people. But as of right now, we have to take care of our citizens first, with affordable health care, ending the 2 wars, defending ourselves from the terrorists, producing more jobs, and ending the recession. The USA will be stronger than ever in several years, but it will take some time. In the meantime, it is good to hear of China saying they will try to cut their emissions, which at least shows that they are conscious of climate change and are willing to try to combat it. China and USA are the two biggest polluters, and we hope to be able to do more in the next few years. As of now, that is all we can do is speak of the future. But President Obama is telling the world that we are aware of climate change and that we will do our best when the time comes.

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  • 13. At 6:44pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    "Most Americans do believe they can change the environment but not sure where the money is going to come from."
    That is 100 % correct.
    There are solutions.

    Walking costs no more .
    I know it is not always possible. but the number of journeys and the use of Air-conditioning and heating are all things that can be done today at little or no extra cost.
    While your at it apart from cars etc there are them mowers gas driven all over the states.
    Have you guys heard of SHEEP?
    and they can provide some with entertainment.

    Gardens not lawns.

    localised distribution. would also lead to less refrigeration.
    Not returning to the dark ages as some fear. but at least getting real about the "farmer in chief idea "Pollen put out.

    but then the same people that are generally so disagreeable.. the powerkitty and it's MA will try their best to undo any positive changes .




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  • 14. At 6:49pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Green put people to work. That is the way.
    More hand weeding less roundup.
    More pest control by hand
    more hands on the land.
    We have got to the stage where despite what many here say there are people , more and more, willing to work a bit of land and 'make' food.
    They just don't have the dosh to but the land.

    too many retirees looking for somewhere "QUIET" not liking farmers. Same in the states as in the UK on that.

    city folk that don't get it that farming happens all night, now that they have electricity.
    and thats a good use of the electricity .Light. uses little and gets the crop off the field before disaster( one rain.)



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  • 15. At 7:15pm on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #3

    the problem is most of the spokesman are hypcorites:

    Like Al gore or Giselle Buncheon who was made a special ambassador on the environment, then goes for private helicopter lessons.

    When you have people like Ed Begley who practice what they preach it can be taken seriously

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  • 16. At 7:21pm on 22 Sep 2009, Didactylid wrote:


    8. democracythreat

    How about a link to this EU blog, then? Can't find one anywhere on the Beeb!

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  • 17. At 7:33pm on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    9. At 5:18pm on 22 Sep 2009, mischievousdoug wrote:
    A speech is a speech, nothing more nothing less. His gifted oratory hasn't made health care happen. It will make less happen in climate change. The UN and world (european) opinion doesn't carry much weight with the American public in terms of raising our taxes and hurting our economy for the benefit of other countries."


    So best to ignore the issue and pretend it will go away? Or simply try to rule by decree.

    You are angry President Obama does not run away from the big issues and speaks well.

    Remember the last incubent could barely speak at all and did not know what the issues were if the VP didn't instruct him

    "Oh yeah, Climate Change is not settled science for a large number of Americans. Cool summers like the one we just had (along with other things) speak a lot louder than anti-American enviromentalists."

    And some Americans beleive in Big Foot and that the moon is made of green cheese.

    Cool summers may speak loudly - New Orleans (another Bush triumph) speaks a lot louder don't you think?

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  • 18. At 7:46pm on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    4. At 4:18pm on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:
    MM: "what about the 41% of Americans who (according to Gallup) do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity: will there be any effort to convince them? "




    I hope you have noticed, Mark, that tree huggers have ordered their cohorts (see their 'talking points') not to mention 'global warming' anymore. Since this PC nonsence only antagonized those it was supposed to mobilize againt human industrial and transportational activity."

    How is global warming a political term? Is God doing this for political reasons? How is the extinction of vast number of animals a political act? DOn't bother trying to explain.

    "Now they're warning us only about 'climate change'.

    Well, guess what. Climate has been changing since times immemorial.
    There was a mini-Ice Age in Europe in Medieval Ages."

    Wow really? Nothing gets past you. Actually the last freeze up was after the Middle Ages, but for you the Middle Ages proably lasted until 1950. :-O.

    You see here's the thing. Mass extinction has happened before too. But most sane people do not want humanity to be a part of it.

    Its like murders have happened sinc forever, but no one is keen
    to be a victim nonetheless.

    Sorry to use such basic terms but.....


    "[That's when the Dutch invented speed skating as means of transportation]"

    Is that so? What is the written evidence for that? Here was the rest of us presuming that skating (all types) has been done since neolithic times.


    "Let's sail from Dover to Auckland, row from Hamburg to Honolulu, and cycle from Lisbon to Vladivostok."#

    Or row over what formerely used to be New Orleans and much of the coastal US.

    "NOw, about that most recent 11-year Sun flare-up cycle... :-)))"
    4. At 4:18pm on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:
    MM: "what about the 41% of Americans who (according to Gallup) do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity: will there be any effort to convince them? "




    I hope you have noticed, Mark, that tree huggers have ordered their cohorts (see their 'talking points') not to mention 'global warming' anymore. Since this PC nonsence only antagonized those it was supposed to mobilize againt human industrial and transportational activity.

    Now they're warning us only about 'climate change'.

    Well, guess what. Climate has been changing since times immemorial.
    There was a mini-Ice Age in Europe in Medieval Ages.

    [That's when the Dutch invented speed skating as means of transportation]

    Although I'am prepared to ban all airlines (see HYS), since global warming on Mercury is an undeniable, scientifically proven fact.

    Let's sail from Dover to Auckland, row from Hamburg to Honolulu, and cycle from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

    NOw, about that most recent 11-year Sun flare-up cycle... :-)))


    Ah so you do beleive Global Warming is taking place - you just think we shouldn't do anything about it.

    Ah so you do beleive Global warning is taking place but you don't want anything done about it because that would be political?

    You would not exactly be the best person to have in a crisis would you? Help the ships sinking! Man the life rafts! No no its all political, lets drown.

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  • 19. At 8:19pm on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    15. At 7:15pm on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #3

    the problem is most of the spokesman are hypcorites:

    Like Al gore or Giselle Buncheon who was made a special ambassador on the environment, then goes for private helicopter lessons.

    When you have people like Ed Begley who practice what they preach it can be taken seriously"


    The problem is Global Warming, not the alleged hypocrasy, dress sense, or political views of various spokepeople.

    Or to put it in ways you might understand, Copernicus beleived Adam and Eve were the progenitors of humanity - but he was right about the solar system nonetheless.

    Scientific facts are facts. The fact Oppenhiemer may have had halitosis does not mean his scientific ideas were wrong.

    At least to most sane people.

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  • 20. At 8:23pm on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    10. At 5:37pm on 22 Sep 2009, AndyPost wrote:
    "...what about the 41% of Americans who (according to Gallup) do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity: will there be any effort to convince them?"

    What we know as weather is caused by the sun's uneven heating of the Earth (due to localized changes in its composition, e.g., water and land). Global climate change is observed as an overall increase in the temperature of the Earth's atmospheric gasses. The latter probably will cause change in the former, but we'll never be able to quantify it.

    Global warming is not about the weather."


    Interesting. But if there is a lot more water, due to the melting ice caps (melting at a greater rate than expected) then one would expect the weather to alter.

    Global warming isn't about tryng to predict if it will rain at Christmas but sustained weather change.

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  • 21. At 9:54pm on 22 Sep 2009, Noliving wrote:

    simon21: "Cool summers may speak loudly - New Orleans (another Bush triumph) speaks a lot louder don't you think?"

    Hurricane Katrina is not seen by Americans to have been caused or affected by global warming. It's just seen as a normal category 3(when it made landfall in Louisiana) hurricane, that happened during hurricane season.

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  • 22. At 10:06pm on 22 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    You don't need filthy sheep to mow your lawn,We have a push mower.It takes nothing but man power.

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  • 23. At 10:26pm on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #19

    If you would follow the thread for once in yur posting life.

    The point is who to listen to.

    Most of the people lecturing like Al Gore don't know what they are talking about.

    Al Gore is speaking at a national Green conference in November, 90%+ of those attendees know far more about the evionment that Al (I created the internet and the sea levals are going up 6 feet) Gore

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  • 24. At 00:09am on 23 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    23. At 10:26pm on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #19

    If you would follow the thread for once in yur posting life.

    The point is who to listen to."

    Well it isn't a case of choosing someone whose politics (appearance, loyalty to wife, taste in shoes) you like first and then deciding if you will accept the facts.

    You can find the information yourself and go to the sources. The scientists themselves may have beards, be Palestinian (shudder), eat weasals, vote Maine Independence party, be moslems. None of that matters.

    What matters is what they say and whether their peers accept the evidence and agree the interpretation fits the facts as identified.

    And on climate change the findings are pretty conclusive. And no, sunspots are not generally accepted as a reason for the dramatic rise in Carbon in the atmosphere.

    "Most of the people lecturing like Al Gore don't know what they are talking about."

    Well he has a better clue then a certain US president who couldn't even seem to understand the issue and still had trouble accepting evolution - despite the fact he had access to the best Scientific opinion.

    Of course that might have involved actual work and Mr Bush was not a fan of this four letter word.

    "Al Gore is speaking at a national Green conference in November, 90%+ of those attendees know far more about the evionment that Al (I created the internet and the sea levals are going up 6 feet) Gore"

    Presumably that is why he is going. Has he said that he knows 90% better than the delegates?

    You would get on better in life if you could cultivate some objectivity. Take myself. I personally think Richard Nixon should have been tried for war crimes. However there is no denying (Vietnam aside) he displayed brilliance in Foreign Affairs and picked a good Sec of State.

    There is no doubting that Lincoln's ineptitude in military matters prolonged the civil war and his failure to restrain his wife's spending involved his admin in near unnecessary scandal.

    However he did show courage in sticking to his position when many counseled otherwise and freeing millions of his fellow countrymen. He also proved adept at FA.

    You have to rise above the fact that Al Gore is a democrat. He has done much to highlight climate change at a time when his own country was run by a lazy buffoon who couldn't be bothered to find out what it was.

    And compared to er Cheyney and in fact nearly every Republican ex VP he has had a distinguished record.



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  • 25. At 00:11am on 23 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    21. At 9:54pm on 22 Sep 2009, Noliving wrote:
    simon21: "Cool summers may speak loudly - New Orleans (another Bush triumph) speaks a lot louder don't you think?"

    Hurricane Katrina is not seen by Americans to have been caused or affected by global warming. It's just seen as a normal category 3(when it made landfall in Louisiana) hurricane, that happened during hurricane season."

    That does not seem to have been the opinion of manyof those in Louisiana which had been hit by hurricanes before.

    And incidently the people of Mumbai which was also indunated (the poor areas so it didn't catch the news) at about the same time.

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  • 26. At 00:19am on 23 Sep 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 20, Simon:

    "Interesting. But if there is a lot more water, due to the melting ice caps (melting at a greater rate than expected) then one would expect the weather to alter."

    Yes, you'd expect so but can you say how will it be altered? What Americans are looking for is a predictable change. Without that, many won't accept the theory. After all, to be considered a workable, a theory has to enable us to predict the future(that's why String Theory doesn't qualify, yet). I don't know about the rest of the world, but at least here in Denver, our weather predictions are shaky a day or two out and useless more than a week out. Trying to come up with seasonal forecasts (like the number and intensity of hurricanes in the season) is simply voodoo if you ask me (and not very effective voodoo).

    I'm not arguing that climate change won't affect the weather, just that there are more predictable and equally troubling indicators in other fields besides meteorology.

    I prefer biology. Life shows the effect of a changing climate much more readily than weather. For instance, we have no problem predicting that birds will return to the same area every springtime. That never changes. Except they're not returning to the same areas any more. Take the Chickadee. They used to thrive in the upper mid-western U.S., but when summer comes around these days, they're all up in Canada. Seems trivial, but if you're used to a species being around all the time, it can shake you up a little.

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  • 27. At 4:07pm on 23 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    26. At 00:19am on 23 Sep 2009, AndyPost wrote:
    Ref. 20, Simon:

    "Interesting. But if there is a lot more water, due to the melting ice caps (melting at a greater rate than expected) then one would expect the weather to alter."

    Yes, you'd expect so but can you say how will it be altered?"


    It is not a matter of expectation but of fact. Change the earth's surface and you change the weather, that is axiomatic.

    " What Americans are looking for is a predictable change."


    Well they had better stick to their bibles for predictable change is not given to us on earth.

    Predictable as in the sense of being precise.

    " Without that, many won't accept the theory."

    Then that is the fault of broken American education system. That is why the President should ignore such contrary views.

    " After all, to be considered a workable, a theory has to enable us to predict the future(that's why String Theory doesn't qualify, yet). I don't know about the rest of the world, but at least here in Denver, our weather predictions are shaky a day or two out and useless more than a week out."


    You are confused. it is easy to predict the future in general terms - we will all die sometime, some of us will contract cancer, some of us will see our marriages break up and some will will do very well at competitive sport.

    To expect precision in this area is unscientific. This is why scientists always qualify rtheir remarks - often with the phrase - if current trends continue...


    "I prefer biology. Life shows the effect of a changing climate much more readily than weather. For instance, we have no problem predicting that birds will return to the same area every springtime. That never changes. Except they're not returning to the same areas any more. Take the Chickadee. They used to thrive in the upper mid-western U.S., but when summer comes around these days, they're all up in Canada. Seems trivial, but if you're used to a species being around all the time, it can shake you up a little."


    And if you depend on that species to fertlise your crops, eat ravenous insects etc you can be a little bit more than shaken up.




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