Climate Change Threatens Health and Survival of Urban Trees-BBC Junk Science


By Paul Homewood

h/t Paul Kolk

Latest junk science from the BBC:

Climate change threatens the health and survival of urban trees, with more than half of species already feeling the heat, according to a new study.

City-dwelling oaks, maples, poplars, elms, pines and chestnuts are among more than 1,000 tree species flagged at risk due to climate change.

Scientists want better protection of existing trees and for drought-resistant varieties to be planted.

Trees have cooling effects and provide shade, making cities more liveable.

Many trees in urban areas are already stressed because of climate change, and as it gets warmer and drier, the number of species at potential risk will increase, said Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez of Western Sydney University in Penrith, Australia.

City and street trees can improve physical and mental health, are important in social integration and can mitigate the effects of temperature rises – something that hit home during the pandemic, he said.

“All these benefits are mainly provided by big mature trees so we need to make sure that what we are planting today will get to that stage where they can provide all those benefits for future generations,” he told BBC News.

The researchers used the Global Urban Tree Inventory – a database recording more than 4,000 different trees and shrubs planted in 164 cities in 78 countries – to assess the likely impact of global warming on the trees planted along streets and in parks.

Of the 164 cities analysed, more than half of tree species are already at risk in some cities due to rising temperatures and changes in rainfall. And by 2050, this proportion is predicted to rise to more than two-thirds.

Climate risk for species in urban areas is particularly high in cities in tropical regions, and in vulnerable countries such as India, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.

In the UK, the researchers looked at five cities: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, London and York.

They found that drier weather under climate change is expected to have a big impact on trees, particularly in York, London and Birmingham.

Maybe Ms Briggs might like to explain where this “drier weather” is!

Last time I checked, Kew Gardens was still very verdant:

And up here in Yorkshire, I would hardly say we are turning into the Sahara!

How much does Helen Briggs get paid to regurgitate this drivel?

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September 21, 2022 6:09 am

More is the new less.

Bryan A
Reply to  Scissor
September 21, 2022 6:27 am

Less than a Pence is a Pence too much

Reply to  Bryan A
September 21, 2022 11:44 am

Less than a penny?

September 21, 2022 6:10 am

She should consult Peter Wohlleben – he knows a thing or two about how trees become distressed in urban settings, why some do not, and the reasons. Despite his stated belief in CC – I think he really means weather cycles but I might be wrong – an urban tree may struggle to draw on nutrients via it’s roots…he gives several reasons for that, but then Ms Briggs appears not to know that?

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  186no
September 21, 2022 6:53 am

Maybe she just needs to go talk to the trees .
As much BS as she puts out , growth rate could DOUBLE !

September 21, 2022 6:15 am

These people need to get out… and to observe.

Climate Change Threatens Health and Survival of Urban Trees-BBC Junk Science.

I think we can agree that we had a warmish summer in the UK with a couple of very hot days followed by the obligatory thunderstorm. 

Where is Helen Briggs? On Mars?

I live in South London next to Tooting Common. The trees in the streets of the city and in the commons and parks are doing very well. The Ash tree in my garden has exploded with growth. Only Ash die back has been a real problem in recent years, and that seems to have petered out. 

“to assess the likely impact of global warming on the trees planted along streets and in parks.”

They got it spectacularly wrong. It’s been a boom year. The actual impact has been fruitful.

Reply to  fretslider
September 21, 2022 8:21 am

With it being a boom year and Ash trees exploding, how does one deal with the noise around Tooting common, not to mention the tooting?

Reply to  Scissor
September 21, 2022 9:16 am

Noise? It’s oh so quiet

“”the tooting?””

It’s Totinge – as in the Saxon

Richard Page
Reply to  fretslider
September 21, 2022 10:29 am

Totinge, (the settlement of) followers of Tot. Huge amounts of Saxon place names in the UK.

Reply to  fretslider
September 21, 2022 10:58 am

Sorry, I don’t speak English.

Ever since I was a child, “toot” has been a verb. To this day, I can hear my older brother singing about the musical fruit.

Albert H Brand
September 21, 2022 6:18 am

Why do I get these large gaps in my iPad display? Graphs are missing and just text appears. Thanks to anybody giving me advice.

Bryan A
Reply to  Albert H Brand
September 21, 2022 6:31 am

Check your IPad settings to see if you are in Reading Mode (text only mode). My Kendal is constantly asking me if I want to open the page in “Reading View” which eliminates pictures and displays only text with large gaps and small icons where pictures/graphics should be

Reply to  Albert H Brand
September 21, 2022 6:34 am


Man, you have a harsh critic!

September 21, 2022 6:40 am

I see the researcher is from Penrith, Australia.
The difference in Latitude between Sheffield, South Riding of Yorkshire, and Penrith ( or Peerith ) in Cumberland, is about 100 miles.
Maybe the researcher should have taken a ( taxpayer funded ) trip to Cumberland and the S. Riding and looked at the trees. I doubt if he would have seen any difference.

Reply to  Oldseadog
September 21, 2022 7:05 am

South Riding does not exist and never has except as a novel by Winifred Holtby. Sheffield is in South Yorkshire. A riding is a third of a county and we used to have a North Riding, East Riding and West Riding therefore no room for a South Riding. Yorkshire has been divided up differently in recent years.

I should have also said that the BBC is obsessed with CC and mention it at every opportunity whether it’s relevant or not.

Reply to  JeffC
September 21, 2022 7:48 am

Apologies, got it wrong.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Oldseadog
September 21, 2022 7:33 am

Small World, you saying that…
From my old North Cumbrian peasantry, I could see Penrith, about 20 miles due South…..
and from my current stronghold, am 22 miles east of Sheffield.

…and about 6 miles from Robin Hood’s Tree – the Major Oak.

There are 2 humongous oaks in my garden and a philanthropic sort, a previous keeper of the farm, planted some considerable number around the farm in Cumbria

Oak Trees love both places.

The ones at the farm seemed susceptible to being hit by lightning -it ripped a (maybe) 2″ channel/groove in the bark (down to the hardwood) from the base of the tree right up into which ever branch it hit near the top.
I think that tended to let in disease of some sort, although seemingly superficial, they didn’t ‘like’ it

Otherwise and what really got them was soil compaction.
In my case with the cows taking shelter (from the sun) underneath them.

Nearly the same fate befell Robin’s Tree in Sherwood Forest – soooooo many people came to see it when the railways first kicked off in the UK, that they hammered the ground under it into something akin concrete.
So no water, no air, no nutriments and no nuffink could get into the roots.

Is that what happening to any city trees they see suffering? Ever heavier and ever increasing road traffic effectively suffocating and starving the trees.

It’s patently what’s happening to the ancient Baobab Trees where they occur.
Historically = meeting places in small villages but now engulfed by tourists, hammering the ground into concrete.
And Muppet Climate Scientists of course, come to witness the slow painful death of those trees and then pass the blame onto CO2 and thus everyone else.
While their own paddling feet (and vehicles) do the real damage

Previously of course, the urban trees would have revelled in horse poo and then later, ‘motor vehicle poo’
Early cars would have been pumping out huge amounts of NOx, also Sulphur and just good old soot. All epic fertilisers.
But also those early vehicles were releasing unburnt fuel, which would have arrested ground-level Ozone – meaning the trees didn’t need to make/release their own VOCs and could then devote more energy into growth

But all those things are now gone, in the quest for pollution-free cleanliness

so sad. such a muddled mess.
Made even more sad in that The Science propelling this thing is such complete garbage

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 21, 2022 9:04 am

IIRC, there was a tree in Australia (?) that was “loved to death” by

Our cows loved to have theirs heads scratched, especially in the
hollow behind the crowns of their heads. They also liked to have
their backs scratched by us. Their favorite “rubbing posts” were
marked with hair, like the corner of the barn & a tree in the pasture.

September 21, 2022 6:48 am

10 degrees of UHI, no problem.
0,2 degrees of global warming (maybe) and they are going to die.

Please tell me this is sarcasm.

Gregory Woods
September 21, 2022 7:18 am

Woke Science – Does it get more Woker?

John Oliver
September 21, 2022 7:23 am

Oh my, we are all going to pay a high price for the MSM causing so many people to sincerely believe in things that are not true for so long a period of time. Yet they think we’re the crackpots. But it’s all coming to a head -soon.

Reply to  John Oliver
September 21, 2022 8:34 am

Many people commenting on the sites I frequent constantly describe family outbursts of ridicule and “eyes-rolling, here we go again” moments when they mention any obvious tidbit of info. These right-side up individuals are always being ostracized and shouted down by seemingly intelligent members of their own families. Personally, I like to think that I’m trying to prevent my family from being blind-sided by events that they are completely clueless to. Will we have the last laugh?? It’s hard to say but I know that the worst ones will NEVER benefit from my careful planning and prepping thanks to their never-ending holier-than-thou tirades against me when I’m just trying to impart real, actionable information. Oh well…

September 21, 2022 7:30 am

Just more, up-side-down, junk science. More trees cause more air pollution (image attached) — even President Reagan knew that.

Alexei Markevitch
Reply to  John Shewchuk
September 21, 2022 8:04 am

Trees emit hydrocarbons, but in natural environments hydrocarbons by themselves do not produce much ozone. Ozone is produced in chemical reactions involving nitrogen oxides (NOx). The primary source of NOx are emissions from ICE vehicles. Catalytic converters greatly reduce of NOx emissions from cars. Keeping catalytic converters in good shape is one, probably most practical, way to deal with this problem. Electrified transport may be a benefit in this regard, at least in places like LA.

Reply to  Alexei Markevitch
September 21, 2022 9:41 am

The problem is that when pollution controls started being added to cars, they went after the hydrocarbons first.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  John Shewchuk
September 21, 2022 12:30 pm

Not sure if it’s pollution but tree pollen and small stiff hairs from new leaves and seeds of the London Plane can be irritants or cause hay fever. The London Plane is probably the most common urban tree in temperate zones

Alexei Markevitch
Reply to  John Shewchuk
September 22, 2022 1:53 pm

LA’s main problem is atmospheric inversion trapping air mass and lack of rainout. Under these conditions things that normally would not be considered a problem may become a problem. Perhaps the city is just in the wrong place…

Similar conditions are in Mexico city where is air quality is much worse. More stringent environmental regulations in LA, particularly control of of NOx from cars, is the difference.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 21, 2022 2:20 pm

and they tend to fill up rain gutters

Reply to  John Shewchuk
September 21, 2022 2:19 pm

A good excuse for replacing trees with wind and solar installations.

Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
September 21, 2022 7:58 am

Yes, the situation is quite terrifying. 😉

Reply to  Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
September 21, 2022 2:23 pm

No kidding. See how all the leaves are drying out, yellowing/browning?
Soon they will all fall off!

Old Man Winter
September 21, 2022 8:33 am

“to assess the likely impact of global warming on the trees planted along
streets and in parks”

Models. Nature is wonderful in that plants that do well in warmer, drier
climates grow in those climes just like plants that do well in colder,
wetter climate grow in those climes. If the climate changes, so will the
plants in a particular area (Whodda thunk!). Another non-problem solved!

Reply to  Old Man Winter
September 21, 2022 9:43 am

Also it will take hundreds of years (if ever) for the climate to change enough to influence trees. Much less kill them.
Plenty of time to let the current trees live out their normal life span and replace them with ones that are better adapted.

September 21, 2022 8:40 am

How much does Helen Briggs get paid to regurgitate this drivel?

Too much, way too much

September 21, 2022 9:36 am
September 21, 2022 9:38 am

Off topic, but I thought you all would enjoy this.

Extinction Rebellion tried to block streets in Boston. They were arrested within minutes.

Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2022 11:41 am

I’m actually a little surprised given it’s Boston.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2022 12:35 pm

Farmer furious at ‘absolute mess’ left by Just Stop Oil protesters near Kingsbury Oil Terminal hide-out

September 21, 2022 9:44 am

Many trees in urban areas are already stressed because of climate change”

They only mention city trees, so that’s separating them out from trees in the surrounding rural areas. That suggests that the rural trees are NOT stressed.

But it never occurs to them that, just maybe, the city trees aren’t stressed due to “climate change” but simply because they are in the city.

Reply to  TonyG
September 21, 2022 12:57 pm

Where I live (Canadian Prairies) trees are mostly where people nurtured them, so you can’t say they are stressed in urban environments. Prior to urban planting, trees, if any, were mostly burnt by prairie fires often set by Indigenous hunters to herd buffalo…or set by lightning with no people to fight the fire, so the prairie is a vast, mostly treeless expanse or with relatively young clumps of trees..
It seems the authors are oblivious to locales other than their back yard.

Reply to  TonyG
September 21, 2022 1:11 pm

they only mention city trees…. why that’s discrimination

CD in Wisconsin
September 21, 2022 9:51 am

“They found that drier weather under climate change is expected to have a big impact on trees, particularly in York, London and Birmingham.”


I could have sworn I recalled reading somewhere that plants and trees become more drought resistant with higher CO2 levels. What kind of “big impact” are they talking about?

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
September 21, 2022 12:02 pm

You’d be surprised how many “environmentalists” don’t know about how more CO2 makes plants more drought tolerant. Most of them would refuse to believe it even if they were told.

They have indoctrinated with the belief that CO2 is evil, and evil things simply can’t have any good effects.

Tom Abbott
September 21, 2022 10:11 am

From the article: “Many trees in urban areas are already stressed because of climate change,”

Oh? How so? Today’s temperatures are not unusual.

“and as it gets warmer and drier, the number of species at potential risk will increase, said Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez of Western Sydney University in Penrith, Australia.”

What if it doesn’t get warmer and drier? Methinks you assume too much. The temperatures have cooled by 0.5C since 2016. The author is still living in 2016.

Unsubstantiated assumptions about CO2 and the Earth’s weather have led many an author astray. That’s what happened here.

Richard Page
September 21, 2022 10:25 am

Kew Gardens and Yorkshire do look very much alike, don’t they? You might almost think you were looking at the same photograph.

Reply to  Richard Page
September 22, 2022 12:51 am

I think it’s maybe a spot the difference competition. So far I’ve drawn a blank.

September 21, 2022 11:04 am

Urban trees are subject to thousands of stresses much greater than temperature swings. Insects, water, nutrient, fungus, disease, storms, rot, animals, the list goes on and on. Trees evolved long ago to survive the temperature ranges they live in. +1.5 deg is nothing to them.

Reply to  Doonman
September 21, 2022 12:04 pm

Just look how many miles north and south the range of most plants is.
Also, go out into the woods and notice how trees of the same species cover hills and mountains, often from the base to the top.
That’s a huge temperature range that they have proven that they can survive.

September 21, 2022 11:21 am

Meanwhile in Maine, California whack jobs are trying to wipe out fishermen in Maine…

Sen Angus King wrote this and he always has been an ‘environmentalist”…

Linda Perruso
September 21, 2022 11:41 am

I can tell you what threatens the health and survival of urban trees…cutting them down for fire wood to keep warm because your idiot government is shutting off fossil energy. And I don’t even have a PHD.

Ben Vorlich
September 21, 2022 12:11 pm

The London Plane is a hybrid tree a cross between oriental plane and American sycamore.

At one time it was the only tree that could survive the pollution and root compaction in London and other big cities.

I would say that these two things are still a problem for urban trees, but these days there is the additional problem of concrete and tarmaced front gardens for carparking, meaning rain goes into the drains rather than the ground.

climate believer
September 21, 2022 12:28 pm

Is this guy serious? Does he think we haven’t been planting trees in cities?

Catch up mate.

Matt G
September 21, 2022 1:59 pm

The trees are doing fine in the UK, especially Sheffield.

Is Sheffield still the greenest city in Europe?

“Sheffield is estimated to contain more than 4.5 million trees, giving it more trees per person than any other city in Europe. With over 250 public parks and 52 square miles of national park, Sheffield remains one of the greenest cities in the country.”

Sheffield is the UK’s greenest city according to a new study of the UK’s 25 most populous cities from NatWest. Three of the UK’s four nations are represented in the top three, with Edinburgh second and Cardiff third.

September 21, 2022 3:08 pm

They are absolutely right! Climate change during October, November, December, January, February, March is going to wipe out trees all across Europe. Good job, stupid c*nts.

Scottish Sceptic
September 21, 2022 3:22 pm

I’m almost tempted to watch, just to see how they can possibly twist the evidence to support such an insane assertion.

September 21, 2022 3:52 pm

The trees are loving the extra CO2 and when they get it, they need less water too. Ms Briggs should have a talk to the trees.

September 21, 2022 7:58 pm

By definition wouldn’t an urban tree be one planted by a government, organization or individual? In my hometown the city planted trees in parks and along streets. Almost all Norway Maple along with some Siberian Elm(?) and others. The Elms were prone to disease and branches and large limbs would break off. Same with the Norway Maple but not nearly as bad. Now all the trees are getting old and our city foresters and university folk speak bad of them, they were the wrong trees to plant, they are prone to disease, they aren’t long lived and on and on. Of course there is no mention of how poorly the trees were attended to in the parks and others public spaces or that the trees planted along the streets were the responsibility of the homeowners. Although you’re not suppose to do anything to them without the cities approval or that some homeowners took care of their trees and some neglected them. It isn’t a tree problem or a climate problem it is a government problem. I have waited years for the urban foresters to come and trim or clean up their trees but in the end I end up doing it myself or paying an arborist to do the work I can’t. So please, spare me the trash talk about climate change and take responsibility for the piss poor job you are doing.

September 21, 2022 9:58 pm

“There is a reasonable amount of science associated with the climate debate but all things considered, never has so much rubbish been espoused by so many people on so little evidence.”- Professor Garth Paltridge.

Mike Maguire
September 21, 2022 10:55 pm

Agree on the junk science.

It’s like they abolished the law of photosynthesis because of the key positive contributor CO2.

Screenshot 2022-09-22 at 00-37-27 Crop progress from Sept 19 2022 report - MarketForum.png
Rod Evans
September 21, 2022 11:27 pm

It is not climate change that is the destroyer of urban trees.
If the UK is an example and Sheffield in particular, then look no further than the local council to see who is chopping down perfectly healthy mature urban trees.
NB If you are looking for who is destroying rural trees and entire forests then look no further than the EU declaring wood burning power stations are net zero and must continue to be used????

September 22, 2022 4:40 am

In “The Big City” to my South, the trees on the sidewalks had circular cast iron grating that allowed rain to get through to the roots. I’ve seen the same in other cities I have visited, but not always and not everywhere. The trees with adequate soil exposure seemed to do just fine.

Before my time there were boulevards that had a median strip down the middle with grass and trees. The trees did well in those strips and grew quite large. Then they cut down the trees and removed the median strips to create an extra lane or two for traffic. They planted trees along the sidewalks as replacements.

But now “The Big City” is losing trees as they are being cut down to put in new bike lanes from the extra five feet or so they get from removing the trees.

The trees in “The Big City” are not surviving, but it has nothing to do with Climate Change™ and everything to do with Climate Change™ policy of putting in bike lanes everywhere possible.

Trying to Play Nice
September 22, 2022 6:25 am

If city trees are having problems could it be because they are not indigenous to the cities? Where I live most of the city trees were planted by the city or the residents based on criteria other than natural selection.

Andy Pattullo
September 22, 2022 3:42 pm

They measured nothing that relates to their claimed predictions. They are forecasting disaster based on their own biases and preferred story line. Absolutely not science – this is pure propaganda from zealots with an agenda.

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