Hong Kong biodiversity and global warming

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    Human induced climate change could have a massive impact on biodiversity worldwide – including Hong Kong, where impacts are perhaps already evident.

    But is it even happening? Following is email exchange in loosely gathered working group on Biodiv Strategy and Action Plan for Hong Kong.

    Hi all:

    This media article may be of interest:


    [covers some of changes in plants and animals in respoonse to warming temperatures worldwide]

    Tho we hear mention of "adaptation", I doubt that we humans can achieve something very useful thro this – we set things in motion, then become both actors and observers in the grand drama;

    if concerned about global warming, have to try and slow it.

    [and, yes, note irony of Exxon Mobil funding Civic Exchange's biodiversity reports; whilst also still seeking to give climate change the prominence it deserves]

    Best regards,

    Martin Williams [founder of HK Outdoors]

    Dear all

    "if concerned about global warming" …errr…yes…I suggest you listen to Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre talking about climate change last November:


    and then keep up to date daily by reading Joe Romm's ThinkProgress:


    or, for the horse's mouth, RealClimate, where the climate scientists debate:


    If environmentalists get their information from Reuters on the biggest crisis the human race has ever faced, then god help us.

    Don Latter

    Transition South Lantau

    Ladies & Gentlemen,

    The REAL authoritative source on climate change is the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which derives its conclusions about climate change based on the work of thousands of scientists over the years.  Its website is: http://www.ipcc.ch/.

    IPCC is an UN organization, not a random collection of miscellaneous people.

    RealClimate is NOT the horse's mouth.  Discrediting climate change is to ignore science.


    Chiu Ying

    ex-Director of Hong Kong Observatory

    Dear friends,

    I am not discrediting climate change. Climate always changes. It never stops changing, even before the appearence of human on Earth. Ignoring earth's history and other natural factors when evaluating the causes of climate change and global warming is ignoring science, if objectivity is still considered to be an essence of science.


    We should be more opened in listening to the views and facts of other thousands of scientists and reports which have been completely thrown into dust bin by the scandle-ridden IPCC.  Attached is one of the latest reports from Principia Scientific International.  It's worth reading.

    Best regards,

    Young [Association for Geoconservation]

    Dear Chiu Ying

    The IPCC is indeed an authoritative source, and as you say, it derives its conclusions from the work of thousands of scientists. The problem, as many scientists have pointed out, is that they have to reach a consensus on what they publish, which generally means the lowest common denominator. This is politics as much as science. Don't you find it mind-boggling that the last IPCC report failed to take into account positive feedback mechanisms? Rather a large omission, isn't it? And to dismiss Kevin Anderson, the Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre, as one of 'a random collection of miscellaneous people' is simply laughable. There are a great many people – such as the oil companies – who stand to lose a great deal of money and influence if people actually started to take climate change seriously and did what must be done – kick the fossil fuel habit. But that means we'll all have to change our way of life and live with much, much less than we do now. Nobody wants to do that, do they? So we deny, we shut our eyes, we put the lives of our children and millions of species in serious jeopardy. That's a disgrace, and one we should all be fighting against. Our survival depends on it.

    Don Latter

    Hi Young, CY, Don and all:

    RealClimate is an authoritative source: by scientists who research and publish in peer-revied journals on climate change.

    Young Ng: you and Association for Geoconservation are involved in discrediting climate change science.

    Indeed, your comment re "scandal-ridden" IPCC is akin to tabloid journalism of Fox News, and couple of right wing UK newspapers.

    Principia Scientific International?

    – looks an absurd organisation; nothing to really stand on here scientifically.

    For those of us involved in biological diversity, I think at least several are seeing changes consistent w human caused climate change.

    Only yesterday came report of 1100 curlew sandpipers at Mai Po: astonishing number for mid-March;. Would have normally expected such number in early April.

    Now, we are in new conditions, and will only see more and greater changes.

    Useless to wave arms about and say the climate always changes; much is known about various factors causing climate forcing, and now seeing substantial human influence. Tho of course, not good for fossil fuel industry at least some elements of which are striving to befuddle people.

    Best regards,


    'While O'Sullivan claimed to be with a firm named "Principia Scientific International," he provided the address of a construction company called Second Nature Construction; the phone number and fax number didn't belong to O'Sullivan or anyone connected to "Principia," either.

    Principia certainly exists in some form. According to its website, O'Sullivan is its CEO, and Tim Ball is Chairman. Other members include climate deniers Paul Driessen, Paul Reiter and more. Principia notes that it operates as a "private association rather than a charitable foundation. This is because PSI chooses to operate with the relative freedom of any start up association that has yet to determine whether it may fulfil its long term purpose as either a business with the private profit motive or a charity." '


    "the vanity online science journal Principia Scientific International set up by Tim Ball [geologist and climate denier] and pals who have real problems with being rejected by mainstream science because the are frankly nuts. There you will find law graduates, weathermen, and some retired scientists producing papers saying climate change isn’t happening and even a paper on a perpetual motion machine."


    Dear Don,

    You have probably misunderstood me.  I am an advocate for immediate actions by all to stop hazardous climate change.  

    Even if IPCC is only 51% correct about human-induced climate change, on the balance of evidence, human beings should already be doing what they could to stop things getting worse.

    I am against people discrediting IPCC and then saying that nothing needs to be done, because IPCC has over-estimated ongoing and future climate change.

    The 5th assessment report will be published by IPCC later this year.  We shall then see how well they deal with what you say they have missed last time.


    Chiu Ying

    and on 18 April 2013:

    Hi all:

    In an earlier email, Young Ng wrote " Ignoring earth's history and other natural factors when evaluating the causes of climate change and global warming is ignoring science, if objectivity is still considered to be an essence of science."

    Not sure quite where these notions arise from; earth's history and other factors certainly considered.

    I've attached latest article by James Hansen, who has retired from NASA to focus on combating global warming. Includes:

    "Our best evaluation of climate sensitivity comes from Earth's paleoclimate history, via comparisons of periods with differing climate forcings."

    [pdf at: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2013/20130415_Exaggerations.pdf%5D

    Best regards,

    Martin Williams

    Dear Martin and all,

    This is just one of the many latest, interesting report to share:




    Best regards,


    Hi Young:

    Thanks for this.

    We're having some cool spells here in Hong Kong.

    In UK, temps reached 22C in early March, but by end of month freezing weather, and temps have not risen as high again yet.

    So maybe temps are not rising this year, as spring moves towards summer. ?!

    Basic physics remains a tough "beast" to grapple with.

    Tho maybe fun to be counter to such things; like the people around good ol' king canute as he sat n aimed to stop tide coming in.

    Oh, and see too: http://planetsave.com/2013/04/17/reuters-fail-oceans-are-absorbing-the-heat-no-global-warming-slowdown/




    In discussions on HK Biodiversity Plan, I've heard mention that we should develop strategy for adaptation.

    Personally, I doubt this will be much use; believe climate change impacts will be too great, too swift, and too unpredictable, to do much about them. Energy better spent on trying to limit global warming.

    But anyway, of some interest the US has come up with strategy on climate change. News release from NOAA has info, which includes:

    The Climate Adaptation Strategy builds upon efforts already underway by federal, state, tribal governments and other organizations to safeguard fish, wildlife and plants and the communities that depend on them, and provides specific voluntary steps that agencies and partners can take in the coming years to reduce costly damages and protect the health of our communities and economy. The strategy does not prescribe any mandatory activities for government or nongovernmental entities, nor suggest any regulatory actions.

    The Strategy identifies seven key steps to help safeguard the nation’s fish, wildlife and plants in a changing climate:

    • Conserve habitat to support healthy fish, wildlife, and plant populations and ecosystem functions;
    • Manage species and habitats to protect ecosystem functions and provide sustainable commercial, subsistence, recreational and cultural use;
    • Enhance capacity for effective management;
    • Support adaptive management through integrated observation and monitoring and use of decision support tools;
    • Increase knowledge and information on impacts and responses of fish, wildlife, and plants;
    • Increase awareness and motivate action to safeguard fish, wildlife, and plants; and
    • Reduce non-climate stressors to help fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems adapt.

    National strategy will help safeguard fish, wildlife and plants in a changing climate

    I've highlighted re "voluntary", believing this means that not a cat in hell's chance these measures will be implemented.

    – and for all the effort that's gone into the strategy, the steps seem banal, surely self-evident from the start.



    Not re Hong Kong, but relevant:

    A wide variety of plants and animals are likely to become much less common if something isn't done to avert the worst effects of a warming climate, new research suggests.

    Under a "business as usual" scenario, where greenhouse gas emissions aren't significantly reduced, about 50 percent of plants and one-third of animals are likely to vanish from half of the places they are now found by 2080, said Rachel Warren, a researcher at the University of East Anglia in England. These losses could lead to local extinctions of species.

    On the brink: climate change endangers common species

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