Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 9-19-07

Grist links you to Bill McKibben’s book review essay taking down the latest bilge from deniers and obstructionists here. . . . While deniers and obstructionists keep flailing around trying to find one reed that doesn’t break beneath them, major corporations, you know, those well-known liberal, socialist, secular pinkos, are signing up to an agreement to measure the carbon footprints of their products as a means to determine how to reduce their impact on emissions and warming. Haven’t they heard that Jupiter is warming? . . . Or maybe they see handwriting on the wall, like this proposal in ME to have feds require companies to talk about how climate change will impact their bottom lines. . . .Greenland’s glaciers melting faster than predicted and, oh yeah, that melt wasn’t figured into the IPCC’s climate models. Why exactly did that compromised and conservative report get issued again? Of course, in India, their faster-than-usual melting glaciers just mean major water problems for that overpopulated country in the future. Another factor they can’t build into the models yet is the speed of release of methane from permafrost. You remember methane, that greenhouse gas whose sudden release from wetlands is the main suspect in one of the most extreme cases of Earth warming in the planet’s history. If it goes faster than so far modeled, and that looks like a very sure thing, the models will be even that much worse. And not in a good way. This is so much like watching a car wreck in slo mo that it gets literally sickening sometimes. . . . Water vapor building up in the atmosphere, just as predicted in global warming. Bad news—adds independent confirmation of warming along with the temp studies that have been done. Badder news—worse hurricanes in the future. Worst news—it’s a greenhouse gas itself and will just build more positive feedback into the warming cycle. . . . $9 b. for expanded water projects in CA? Let’s see if the voters buy in. . . .Climate Progress links us to this Guardian article quoting a British scientist on the speeding up of warming effects beyond what has been predicted. Sleep well tonight with these quotes in your mind:

The effects of climate change will be felt sooner than scientists realised and the world must learn to live with the effects, experts said today.

Professor Martin Parry, a climate scientist with the Met Office, said destructive changes in temperature, rainfall and agriculture were now forecast to occur several decades earlier than thought.

He said vulnerable people such as the old and poor would be the worst affected, and that world leaders had not yet accepted their countries would have to adapt to the likely consequences.
The report – which had its executive summary released earlier this year – says hundreds of millions of people in developing nations will face natural disasters, water shortages and hunger due to the effects of climate change.

Today Professor Parry, co-chair of the IPCC working group that wrote the report, said: "We are all used to talking about these impacts coming in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren. Now we know that it's us."

He said the international response to the problem had failed to grasp that serious consequences such as reduced crop yields and coastal flooding were now inevitable. "Mitigation has got all the attention but we cannot mitigate out of this problem. We now have a choice between a future with a damaged world or a severely damaged world."
The experts involved warn that the consequences of rising temperatures are already being felt on every continent, and sooner than expected. It is "probably too late" to avoid some impacts in developing countries because about 1C of warming is already in the climate system, they warn. If it is not kept below 2C – which "currently looks very unlikely to be achieved" – up to 3.2 billion people will face water shortages and up to 600 million will face hunger, they have predicted.

The trade and development minister, Gareth Thomas, told the launch of the report at the Royal Geographical Society: "Failing to tackle it [climate change] will lead to floods, droughts and natural disasters which can destroy poor people's lives as well as their livelihoods."

Add to Technorati Favorites