August 13 News: Climate Change Will Make Parasites More Virulent, Say Researchers

Parasites look set to become more virulent because of climate change, according to a study showing that frogs suffer more infections from a fungus when exposed to unexpected swings in temperatures. [Reuters]

Parasites, which include tapeworms, the tiny organisms that cause malaria and funguses, may be more nimble at adapting to climatic shifts than the animals they live on since they are smaller and grow more quickly, scientists said.

“Increases in climate variability are likely to make it easier for parasites to infect their hosts,” Thomas Raffel of Oakland University in the United States told Reuters, based on findings about frogs and a sometimes deadly skin fungus.

President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney clashed last week over a federal tax credit for businesses that produce wind and other alternative energy. [Washington Post]

A summer drought that has destroyed crops, killed livestock and sent feed prices soaring is now extracting a political price from members of Congress, who failed to agree on a comprehensive agriculture bill or even limited emergency relief before leaving Washington for five weeks. [New York Times]

Two young Eugene residents are appealing a local judge’s April dismissal of their lawsuit alleging that the state of Oregon is violating the public trust by failing to take adequate steps to prevent climate change. [The Register Guard]

Armed with the latest monsoon rainfall data, weather experts finally conceded this month that India is facing a drought, confirming what millions of livestock farmers around the country had known for weeks. [Reuters]

Lemons and sweet bamboo may not be associated with frontline efforts to adapt to climate change in most parts of the world, but in Kioutaloun village in northern Laos, rice farmers hit by landslides, land erosion and severe flooding are looking to different crops. [IRIN]

With a giant swathe of the nation’s prime agricultural land affected by drought, the federal government and private forecasters have been projecting a significant drop in corn and soybean production — and a jump in food prices. [The Daily Beast]

Under the most wide-reaching drought since 1956, and torched by the hottest July on record dating from 1895, the United States has been under the kind of weather stress that climatologists say will be more common if the long-standing trend toward higher U.S. temperatures continues. [Washington Post]

Methane is making headlines because of new numbers showing more leakage than previously thought from natural gas wells and pipelines. Some critics say natural gas is a worse climate-change polluter than coal. That’s hotly disputed by energy companies. [New Jersey Star Ledger]