Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Wonder how long the Right can fight reality

with 9 comments

Take a look at this story. Think they will continue their pig-headed resistance?

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called climate change “the defining challenge of our age” today and called on the United States and China, the greatest emitters of greenhouse gases, to be play “a more constructive role” in coming negotiations for a new global climate treaty.

The world’s energy ministers meet in Indonesia in just two weeks to begin what are expected to be protracted talks over a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Neither the United States nor China is a signatory to Kyoto, which seeks to limit the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Today the world’s scientists have spoken, clearly and in one voice,” Mr. Ban said as he released the final report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “In Bali I expect the world’s policymakers to do the same.

“The breakthrough needed in Bali is for a comprehensive climate change deal that all nations can embrace.”

Far more powerfully then ever before, members of the United Nations panel said today that their review of the data had led them to conclude that reductions in greenhouse gases had to start immediately to avert a global climate disaster that could leave island states submerged and abandoned, decrease African crop yields by 50 percent and lower global economic output by 5 percent or more. [Although noted climatologist Dana Perino stated that she personally saw many benefits from global warming—for one, she said, people wouldn’t be as cold. – LG]

The panel, co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, said the world would have to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 to avert major problems. “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late, there is not time,” said Rajendra Pachauri, a scientist and economist who heads the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “What we do in the next two, three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”

He said that since the panel began its work five years ago, scientists had recorded “much stronger trends in climate change” like an unpredicted melt of polar ice in recent years. “That means you better start with intervention much earlier,” he said.

This fourth, and final, report this year culls its conclusions from thousands of pages of scientific data that accompanied the previous three reports, which had not previously been reviewed as a whole by the panel, and the synthesis created new emphasis and alarm, scientists said.

The first report covered climate trends; the second, the world’s ability to adapt to a warming planet; the third, strategies for reducing carbon emissions. With their mission now concluded, the hundreds of scientists working for the panel were more free in speaking out than previously.

Like the other three reports, the new one was subject to change and approval from the delegates of 130 nations who gathered here this week. But this time both the scientists and environmental groups said there had been no major dilution of the important messages, and several new important points were made.

For example, this summary was the first to acknowledge that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet from rising temperatures could result in huge rises in the sea level over centuries rather than millennia. “Many of my colleagues would consider that kind of melt a catastrophe” so rapid that mankind would not be able to adapt, said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University who contributed to the panel’s work.

Martin Parry, a British climate expert who was co-chairman of the delegation that wrote the second report, said many scientists now believed that warming by 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of the century was inevitable because of a lag effect, even if current rising emissions trends could be reversed immediately.

“The sense of urgency when you put these pieces together is new and striking,” Mr. Parry said. “I’ve come out of this process more pessimistic about the possibilities than I thought I would do.”

Reaction was muted from the United States, whose policies were the object of criticism in the halls here this week. A U.S. delegation approved of the final product though it had insisted on some changes.

At a news conference after the report was approved Friday night, James L. Connaughton, chairman of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, said President Bush had agreed with leaders of the other major industrialized nations that “the issue warrants urgent action and we need to bring forward in a more accelerated way the technologies that will make a lasting solution possible.”

But he declined to say how much warming the Bush administration considered acceptable, saying, “We don’t have a view on that.”

This latest report is mostly a compendium with easy-to-use charts and tables, intended to be a “pocket guide for policy makers.” For example, one chart predicts that at 2 degrees of global temperature rise, up to 30 percent of species would be at risk of extinction and people would face a higher risk of death from heat waves, floods and droughts.

If 3 degrees of warming were reached, the report says, millions more people would experience flooding each year, about 30 percent of wetlands would be lost, global health services would be burdened, and there would be massive deaths of corals. Warming is associated with rises in sea level, ocean warming and an increased frequency of extreme weather events like heat waves and storms, the report says.

“It’s extremely clear and is very explicit that the cost of inaction will be huge compared to the cost of action,” said Jeff Sachs, head of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “We can’t afford to wait for some perfect accord to replace Kyoto, for some grand agreement. We can’t afford to spend year bickering about it. We need to start acting now.”

He said the delegates at Bali should take action immediately where they do agree. One possibility he cited would be to start demonstration projects on new technologies like carbon capture, which he called a “promising but not proved” system that pumps emissions underground instead of releasing them into the atmosphere. He said the energy ministers should immediately start a global fund to help poor countries avoid deforestation, which also causes emissions to increase because plants absorb carbon dioxide.

While acknowledging that the United States had tried to make some changes in the draft, Dr. Sharon Hays, leader of the United States delegation here, said the goal was not political but “to make sure the final report matches the science.”

But Stephanie Tunmore, a campaigner with Greenpeace International who had observer status as the countries debated the text, questioned that explanation.

She said, for example, that the United States had tried to remove a section of the report titled “Reasons for Concern” that offers a litany of consequences of climate change that it called either likely or possible. One is the melting of ice sheets.

The United States argued there was no reason to include the summary because its parts were found in various placed in the panel’s previous technical documents. But “Reasons for Concern” remained in the end.

“We think it’s the strongest document so far from the panel,” Ms. Tunmore said.

United Nations officials said disaster could be averted, but only with strong policies like increasing the energy efficiency of cars and setting up carbon markets, which effectively force companies and countries to pay in one way or another for the cost of the greenhouse gases they emit.

The European Union already has such a carbon trading system in place for many industries and is fighting to bring airlines into it.

“Stabilization of emissions can be achieved by deployment of a portfolio of technologies that exist or are already under development,” Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program, said here. But he said developed countries would have to help poorer ones in implementing such plans, which are often expensive.

He emphasized that the report sent a message to individuals as well as world leaders: “What we need is a new ethic in which every person changes life style, attitude and behavior.”

Others said politicians should focus more on how people will adapt to the changes that will almost certainly occur. “We can’t mitigate our way out to this at this point, so we’re going to have to put more emphasis on that,” Mr. Parry said. “The Bali process treats adaptation as a poor sister, and we’ve lost 10 years by doing that.”

Written by Leisureguy

17 November 2007 at 8:45 am

9 Responses

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  1. Oh Please….

    As soon as the UN and Al Gore can control the Sun we will have something to discuss.

    “Man Made Global Warming” is one of the biggest scams ever. Buy your Carbon Credits from Al Gore and leave the clear thinking folks alone.

    In 15 Years you and Al Gore, (not a scientist) can beg for a blanket.

    Like

    Train Man

    17 November 2007 at 12:53 pm

  2. Sorry, it’s not the sun. That has been thoroughly disproven. You may want to read through the responses to these objections. The science is not in doubt and the phenomena are obvious to those unblinded by ideology (or money, in the case of James Inhofe, who receives MUCH money from the oil industry).

    BTW, if you had read the post, you would have noticed that the report is from many who ARE scientists.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    17 November 2007 at 1:24 pm

  3. Try getting home insurance for coastal properties. Clear thinking folks are years ahead of you. Even the White house is admitting they were wrong albeit claiming that facts needed to be beyond obvious before they could back off of a policy of denial and misinformation. It has always been about simple pollution and its proportional impact on a system in equilibrium. While it is not rocket science it is no match for your belief because of your superhuman status and the suspension of logic, reality and common sense when you are around. Your opinion is understandable.

    Like

    Rich Rosenthal

    17 November 2007 at 1:26 pm

  4. Its certainly time for the US to try and take some action against climate change. There are some great opportunities in the current energy bill. A fuel economy standard of 35 mpg and renewable electricity sources would be a good start. Unfortuantely lobbyists are trying to have these provisions removed. There is a petition here for anyone who is interested http://www.energybill2007.us

    Like

    Pat

    17 November 2007 at 3:52 pm

  5. How predictable! Turn up the personal attacks, get emotional, and attack some more.

    “Sorry, it’s not the sun. That has been thoroughly disproven.”

    Really? By whom? the same scientists that predicted the past Hurricane season? You cannot really believe that there is no evidence that the Sun’s luminosity varies, and that Earth’s climate does not respond with long term climate cycles. Why is there “Global Warming” on Mars? Is it not a fact that the Sun is more active now than in the previous 1,000 years? Why should these facts be ignored? How can anyone say that the Sun is not a major contributor of the Earth’s climate? If the facts get in the way of this Orwellian science, just disregard them and continue to use repetition to hammer home your agenda.

    I refuse to participate in the global warming hysteria has been created in the past few years. I in turn, feel that the abuse of natural resources should be attacked like never before in history. But there is no money to be made in reducing pollution. There is no way to use the general population as a revenue source. The proposed world taxation would not be possible. Having a Global agency pick the pockets of the working class can not occur with an onslaught against the largest contributors of CO2 and pollution.

    The Carbon Credit scam is controlled by whom?
    Why is it not clear to the evangelists of GW?

    The Earth’s natural cycles cannot be controlled. But taxation and control of the population in the name of Mother Earth can.

    Please do not continue with your personal attacks, it is not becoming to prove a Liberal stereotype. Or is it a Stereotype?

    Like

    Train Man

    17 November 2007 at 7:54 pm

  6. Sorry, I didn’t mean to make that a personal attack. It is true that the great majority (perhaps all) of those who deny global warming and anthrogenic climate change are on the Right, though. (And I doubt that you would maintain that the Right avoids personal attacks—Ann Coulter? Newt Gingrich? Tom DeLay? Sean Hannity? Bill O’Reilly?… I could go on for some time. But you’re correct: just because the Right does it doesn’t mean that the Left should.)

    At any rate, the sun’s variation has been measured, and any contribution that is making to global warming is absolutely minimal. (Measured by astronomers and astroyphysicists.) This collection of articles might be helpful. To quote the answer on the role of the sun (and at the link you can find charts and more links):

    The total amount of solar energy reaching Earth can vary due to changes in the Sun’s output, such as those associated with sunspots, or in Earth’s orbit. Orbital oscillations can also result in different parts of Earth getting more or less sunlight even when the total amount reaching the planet remains constant – similar to the way the tilt in Earth’s axis produces the hemispheric seasons. There may also be more subtle effects (see Climate myths: Cosmic rays are causing climate change), but these remain unproven.

    On timescales that vary from millions of years through to the more familiar 11-year sunspot cycles, variations in the amount of solar energy reaching Earth have a huge influence on our atmosphere and climate. But the Sun is far from being the only player.

    How do we know? According to solar physicists, the sun emitted a third less energy about 4 billion years ago and has been steadily brightening ever since. Yet for most of this time, Earth has been even warmer than today, a phenomenon sometimes called the faint sun paradox. The reason: higher levels of greenhouse gases trapping more of the sun’s heat.
    Amplified effect

    Nearer our own time, the coming and going of the ice ages that have gripped the planet in the past two million years were probably triggered by fractional changes in solar heating (caused by wobbles in the planet’s orbit, known as Milankovitch cycles).

    The cooling and warming during the ice ages and interglacial periods, however, was far greater than would be expected from the tiny changes in solar energy reaching the Earth. The temperature changes must have been somehow amplified. This most probably happened through the growth of ice sheets, which reflect more solar radiation back into space than darker land or ocean, and transfers of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the ocean.

    Analysis of ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica shows a very strong correlation between CO2 levels in the atmosphere and temperatures. But what causes what? Proponents of solar influence point out that that temperatures sometimes change first. This, they say, suggest that warming causes rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere, not vice versa. What is actually happening is a far more complicated interaction (see Ice cores show CO2 only rose after the start of warm periods).
    Sunspot trouble

    So what role, if any, have solar fluctuations had in recent temperature changes? While we can work out how Earth’s orbit has changed going back many millions of years, we have no first-hand record of the changes in solar output associated with sunspots before the 20th century.

    It is true that sunspot records go back to the 17th century, but sunspots actually block the Sun’s radiation. It is the smaller bright spots (faculae) that increase the Sun’s output and these were not recorded until more recently. The correlation between sunspots and bright faculae is not perfect, so estimates of solar activity based on sunspot records may be out by as much as 30%.

    The other method of working out past solar activity is to measure levels of carbon-14 and beryllium-10 in tree rings and ice cores. These isotopes are formed when cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, and higher sunspot activity is associated with increases in the solar wind that deflect more galactic cosmic rays away from Earth. Yet again, though, the correlation is not perfect. What is more, recent evidence suggests that the deposition of beryllium-10 can be affected by climate changes, making it even less reliable as a measure of past solar activity.
    Recent rises

    Despite these problems, most studies suggest that before the industrial age, there was a good correlation between natural “forcings” – solar fluctuations and other factors such as the dust ejected by volcanoes – and average global temperatures. Solar forcing may have been largely responsible for warming in the late 19th and early 20th century, levelling off during the mid-century cooling (see Global temperatures fell between 1940 and 1980).

    The 2007 IPCC report halved the maximum likely influence of solar forcing on warming over the past 250 years from 40% to 20%. This was based on a reanalysis of the likely changes in solar forcing since the 17th century.

    But even if solar forcing in the past was more important than this estimate suggests, as some scientists think, there is no correlation between solar activity and the strong warming during the past 40 years. Claims that this is the case have not stood up to scrutiny (pdf document).

    Direct measurements of solar output since 1978 show a steady rise and fall over the 11-year sunspot cycle, but no upwards or downward trend .

    Similarly, there is no trend in direct measurements of the Sun’s ultraviolet output and in cosmic rays. So for the period for which we have direct, reliable records, the Earth has warmed dramatically even though there has been no corresponding rise in any kind of solar activity.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    17 November 2007 at 8:06 pm

  7. LeisureGuy,

    You would agree that it is financially beneficial for a modern day “Scientist” to preach from the Global Warming bandwagon. Does more or less money pore into the grants and funding of an alarmist or a non-believer?

    I will restate that Pollution should be the issue discussed. The abuse of the earth’s natural resources is the crime and the correct place to start a fight. Yet that will never occur. There is no quick and easy Money to be made. -FACT-

    It is so easy to follow the money in this “Modern Man is responsible for Global Warming crusade. But again that includes facts, not emotions. Why was China, India not included in the Kyoto Protocol? (Trillions of dollars? ), I could present a huge list here.

    “The cornerstone of modern science is the scientific method.
    Scientists first formulate hypotheses, or predictions, about nature.
    Then they perform experiments to test their hypotheses. There are two forms of scientific method, the inductive and the deductive.”

    INDUCTIVE:

    * formulate hypothesis
    * apply for grant
    * perform experiments or gather data to test hypothesis
    * alter data to fit hypothesis
    * publish

    DEDUCTIVE:

    * formulate hypothesis
    * apply for grant
    * perform experiments or gather data to test hypothesis
    * revise hypothesis to fit data
    * backdate revised hypothesis
    * publish

    Which side are your beliefs derived from?

    FOLLOW THE MONEY, it is the best Scientific Method in modern times.

    Like

    Train Man

    17 November 2007 at 9:33 pm

  8. It’s time to kick the UN out of the United States. They are only interested in scamming the world, particularly the US, out of money. They have supported every dictator and crack pot that comes down the pike. Global Warming is just their latest scam. If the beginning of the discussion is the UN and the IPCC there cannot be a honest discussion because they are not an honest organization.

    Like

    Rick G

    4 December 2007 at 11:15 pm

  9. Nothing about the WHO finally eliminating smallpox moves to you to reconsider?

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    5 December 2007 at 8:24 am


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