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March 26 News: Climate Change May Bring Vampire Bats Northward Toward Texas

Other stories below: Can protecting old growth forest help slow warming? Michael Mann Discussing ‘Climate Wars’

Climate change brings bats to Austin (The Daily Texan)

With the emergence of warm spring weather comes the return of the Mexican Freetail bats under Congress Bridge and the remote possibility that a feared and foreign species of bat could make its way into Texas.

The increase in global climate temperatures has raised concerns about the vampire bat species travelling from Mexico and South and Central America into the southern and central regions of Texas. Carin Peterson, training and outreach coordinator of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, said even if vampire bats are not making their appearance, Austin’s surrounding caves and popular bat attraction, Congress Avenue Bridge, already have their annual bat species.

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“Biologists are paying attention to the warming climate and what potential impacts that could bring, including non-native wildlife, but this is not something that will likely happen within the next few years,” Peterson said.

Study: Protecting old-growth can stave off global warming

If global warming occurs in the coming years as many scientists predict, the stands of big mature trees on local public forestlands could help save our bacon.

That’s the upshot of a recently released peer-reviewed study of the Klamath-Siskiyou region in southwest Oregon and northwestern California by a University of Central Florida scientist and the Ashland-based Geos Institute.

“Climate change, combined with habitat loss and fragmentation, is the greatest threat we face to nature,” said Reed Noss, one of the authors of the study and a professor of conservation biology at the University of Central Florida.

“This study shows that land managers can reduce impacts of climate change by protecting older forests in a region whose biological diversity has been recognized globally as among the top 10 coniferous forests on Earth,” he added.

Support for renewable energy broad and deep

Montana voters have spoken, and they are overwhelmingly in favor of renewable energy.

Two impartial polls, one conducted in Montana and another in six Western states, illustrate the extent to which Western voters support renewable energy development and policies. Both polls were conducted by a bipartisan team that includes Republican pollster Lori Weigel with Public Opinion Strategies, and Democratic pollster Dave Metz with Fairbanks, Maslin, Maulin, Metz and Associates.

The Montana poll found that three out of four Montana voters support increasing the amount of electricity we get from clean, renewable wind, solar and geothermal resources. Over 75 percent of voters support expanding and extending the state’s renewable energy standard from a 15 percent renewable energy target by 2015 to a 25 percent renewable energy target by 2025.

Lack of geologists hampers climate change adaptation projects, says government

Scholarship grants for geosciences courses have been increased this year by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) following a decline in the number of state geologists needed in mapping hazard-prone areas.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje issued the directive to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in an effort to encourage incoming college freshmen to take up geosciences courses to beef up the country’s geologists, including mining and metallurgical engineers.

Tanzania: Giant Solar Power Project Starts Soon

The solar power project worth 7.5bn/- (about 4.7 million US dollars) is to take off in May, this year, in a move expected to benefit hundreds of homes and community facilities in Kigoma Region.

The project follows a move by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US aid agency which operates in Tanzania as the Millennium Challenge Account — Tanzania (MCA-T), to award the tender to a local energy company in Tanzania.

The local company, Rex won the Tender in partnership with Camco, an energy efficiency company. The Director for Commercial Sales and Marketing at Rex, Ms Christine Kahane, said on Sunday the project would involve installation of solar power at 45 secondary schools, 10 health centres, 120 dispensaries, municipal buildings and businesses across 25 village market centres.

Heathrow expansion an environmental disaster, warns Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayoral candidate, has warned that further expansion of Heathrow would be “an environmental disaster “ and akin to trying to “cram a quart into a pint pot”.

Johnson, the incumbent Conservative mayor who is seeking re-election in May, made clear his ongoing opposition to the idea of a third runway at Heathrow, insisting that “it will not be built as long as I am mayor.”

He issued the warning amid reports that David Cameron and George Osborne are keen to re-examine long term policy on Heathrow amid fears that it is choking off economic growth. “’Heathrow has a great future as a key UK airport. But we cannot endlessly expand it, and cram a quart into a pint pot,” Johnson said.

Michael Mann, Off Battlefield, Discussing ‘Climate Wars’

Michael E. Mann sounds remarkably upeat these days considering that he has been under assault for more than a decade by investigations, criticisms, and even death threats for his work as a climate scientist.

Perhaps he’s been buoyed by the fact that the Virginia Supreme Court recently halted State Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation into Mann’s use of state funds for climate research. That case, which was widely viewed as politically motivated, galvanized the climate science community because of the threat it posed to academic freedom and scientific inquiry.

Or perhaps Mann sounds upbeat because he finally has an opportunity step out of the fog of the “climate wars” and discuss his story on his own terms.

In his new book, “The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars,” Mann traces the arc of his career from his days as a grad student at Yale University to his present status as a battle-hardened researcher and outspoken public figure on the dangers of global climate change.