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Rising Temperatures, Part 1

March 23, 2015

Rising Temperatures, Part 1

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Dan Rosen Dan Rosen

In a recent post here, Rhett Butler, the founder of the popular environmental website, Mongabay.com, and the author of the book, Rainforests, expressed guarded optimism about the future of tropical forests, thanks in part to the promise of new technological tools for monitoring.

With the recent climate change headlines (namely U.S. government scientists naming 2014 the hottest year on record), we were curious how rising temperatures play into Butler’s long-term view and, as we’ll share in part two tomorrow, what role journalists and advocates should play in telling this story.

ROSEN: How much does global warming affect your optimism about the future?

BUTLER: Climate change is certainly one of the big “X” factors. While tropical forests have adapted to a changing climate before, what’s different about the present is that the climate is changing faster than in the past and the impacts are being exacerbated by deforestation and forest degradation. Scientists are indeed observing increases in drought stress and the incidence of fire. And there are concerns that forest growth may not be keeping pace with the rise of CO2 emissions.

ROSEN: Do you think the severity of the situation is widely understood?

BUTLER: I don’t think the public has a good grasp of the risks rapidly rising temperatures pose for forests in particular. Issues like sea level rise and melting glaciers are pretty easy to understand — changes in forest ecosystems are more complex and even scientists are just starting to figure out the full implications.

PART 2 – On Wild View.

Canon Mark III 5D

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