The Final Global Warning: science has spoken and governments have signed on the dotted line

Mon, 2007-11-19 11:51Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

The Final Global Warning: science has spoken and governments have signed on the dotted line

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its final report this weekend in Valnecia, Spain. It outlines in simple language, the state of planet now, the effects of human activity on the plant and what we can expect in the future.

This report is the culmination of years of research by thousands of scientists from all over the world. At the meeting in Spain, government's from virtually every nation negotiated the final language of the report. In the past, countries with the most to lose, like China and the United States, have been rightly accused of watering down the language of such reports.

Not so with this final report.

The findings are stark and disturbing and the governments of the world, including the United States, have signed on the dotted line, agreeing that this is the reality of global warming now and in the future.

With such an overwhelming body of scientific evidence, agreed to by the world's governments, anyone or any organization attempting to delay, deny, confuse or get in the way of large-scale action at this point would be at the least embarrassing themselves with such a grand scale of delusion and ignorance and the most would be bordering on a crime against humanity.

Here's a breakdown of some of the regional impacts listed the report (go here for a pdf of the full report) that we can expect from our continued unmitigated burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas that are causing the rapid warming of our planet:

Europe

Climate change is expected to magnify regional differences in Europe’s natural resources and assets. Negative impacts will include increased risk of inland flash floods, and more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion (due to storminess and sea-level rise).

Mountainous areas will face glacier retreat, reduced snow cover and winter tourism, and extensive species losses (in ome areas up to 60% under high emissions scenarios by 2080).

Africa

By 2020, between 75 and 250 million of people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change.

By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is projected to be severely compromised. This would further adversely affect food security and exacerbate malnutrition.

Australia and New Zealand

By 2030, water security problems are projected to intensify in southern and eastern Australia and, in New Zealand, in Northland and some eastern regions.

By 2020, significant loss of biodiversity is projected to occur in some ecologically rich sites including the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland Wet Tropics.

Asia

Endemic morbidity and mortality due to diarrhoeal disease primarily associated with floods and droughts are expected to rise in East, South and South-East Asia due to projected changes in the hydrological cycle.

By the 2050s, freshwater availability in Central, South, East and South-East Asia, particularly in large river basins, is projected to decrease.

North America

During the course of this century, cities that currently experience heatwaves are expected to be further challenged by n increased number, intensity and duration of heatwaves during the course of the century, with potential for adverse health impacts.

Warming in western mountains is projected to cause decreased snowpack, more winter flooding, and reduced summer flows, exacerbating competition for over-allocated water resources.

Latin America

There is a risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many areas of tropical Latin America.

Changes in precipitation patterns and the disappearance of glaciers are projected to significantly affect water availability for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation.

Small Islands

Sea-level rise is expected to exacerbate inundation, storm surge, erosion and other coastal hazards, thus threatening vital infrastructure, settlements and facilities that support the livelihood of island communities.

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Previous Comments

The governments have signed the dotted line. The GOVERNMENTS. Holy crap, this MUST be legit.

The governments of the world and scientists from around the world agree this is a huge problem caused by human activity and you still think its a hoax? Honestly what more would it take to convince some people? What is Rush Limbaugh and John Stossel started telling you to be worried? Would that change your mind? 

Doubt it. For some people there will always be an excuse.

tell us what you REALLY think!

Seriously, it is a sobering document. It should be required reading for everyone on the planet.

The reality of this has been really hit home with this final report – if people took the time to read it they would see quotes like:

“Atmospheric concentrations of C02 and methane in 2005 exceed by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years.” And, “average northern hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the past 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years.”

It should be required reading.
For example: I went to dinner yesterday with a group of my friends and I was surprised by their lack of knowledge about the whole climate change scenario. I mean…real basic knowledge. Our average age is roughly mid-fifties.
Of course it doesn’t help when the local paper puts the final IPCC report story on the back page of the third section! Typical coverage by a paper that used to belong to the Conrad Black empire…
I would like to see a poll done asking the Canadian public just exactly how much they know about AGW

I’ve seen research on this - both national polling and focus group work. The findings have been consistent for a while now and are similar to US findings. People are very aware of climate change, the are worried about the effects, but they are unsure what climate change actually is. Many think it has to do with the hole in the ozone, or heat from factories, cars etc. 

If you look at media coverage, reporters have been very good at getting across the realities of climate change, but little, if any reporters take the time to explain what exactly climate change is.  

Kevin said:

“… anyone or any organization attempting to delay, deny, confuse or get in the way of large-scale action at this point would be at the least embarrassing themselves with such a grand scale of delusion and ignorance and the most would be bordering on a crime against humanity.”

And the “anyone” getting in the way of strong action on AGW is we, the electorate. In spite of protestations that the Canadian public “wants” action on AGW, the truth is much different. We don’t want serious action taken, at least not yet.

Until the general public in Canada, via the democratic process, gives true assent to our officials to take action, we will continue onwards with tokenism.

Have you seen a poll in Canada over the last year Paul ? The environment and global warming has been the number one issue of national concern - ahead of health care and the economy. 

Here’s a recent poll reported in the National Post finding that in an international public opinion study, “Canadians are among the world’s leaders in being prepared to accept potential lifestyle changes and higher taxes in order to address climate change.”

Link: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=53f1d139-8c47-4f80-85c5-606737d4aeee&k=80543

And these findings are consistent with findings over the last year. 

This is one of the big reasons Harper is going nowhere in public opinion polls - he’s still tied with the Liberals, despite cutting GST and a lack of opposition. The public is speaking, and Harper will offer tokenism on climate change at his political peril.

Kevin, it is often wise to not put too much credence in a poll. Yes, we all want the government to “do something”, as long as that “something” doesn’t affect us in any serious manner.

Support for action on AGW by Canadians is widespread; more tellingly, the support is also very shallow. That is why our elected officials have offered up tokenism and we have mostly accepted it.

The UN states we will have to get on a “war footing” to fight AGW. Canadians, however, haven’t given our leaders permission to put our country on a war footing. We might in the future, but until we truly give assent, no political party in Canada will be able to place us on this “war footing” which the IPPC advocates.

I agree that you can’t put much credence in a single poll, that’s why I stated that this particular one is consistent with all the other polls we’ve been tracking in Canada - over time with multiple polls there is a very clear trend, and it is reflected well in the polling I provided above.

I would have agreed that the support was shallow a year ago, but that is simply not the case today. Again, its the number 1 issue in Canada, above health care, economy/jobs and crime for over a year now. 

I really hope you’re not advising politicians because your assumptions about Canadians just aren’t reflected in the research. 

Kevin, polls can give the illusion of demand for drastic action; that is one reason I am often wary of polls. That polls show AGW is the number 1 issue only means that there is widespread awareness about global warming. But one should not automatically assume this concern truly means Canadians as a whole are seriously willing to make the changes to combat AGW.

I still believe that any politician of any political party in Canada who attempted to pass legislation mandating Kyoto-type reductions in C02 would soon be out of power. Most Canadians may agree to strict reductions in C02 emissions in the future, just not in the present. I think this is the reality at the grassroots level.

Actually I’d have to say your reading of the report is still way too optimistic. The IPCC is still a political beast and you have to do some connecting of dots as you read their synthesis.

For eg. in the early stages North America can expect a 5-20% increase in agricultural productivity except in areas where there is high water stress.

So where is North America experiencing high water stress and over using reserves? The prairies from Texas to the tree line, California, Florida, and the SE.

Translation, we will experience increased agricultural production everywhere except where we actually carry on the overwhelming majority of our agricultural production; a not insignificant exception.

As well the report is already outdated. For eg according to the IEA release last Weds http://www.iea.org/ global temp will probably rise by 3C by 2030 (and no reason not to believe them). That is outside of the range of any of the IPCC models, and indeed only the 2 worst case (A2 & A1FI) scenarios predict that rise by 2100. So yeah, the situation is actually much grimer.

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