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UN Report Downgrades Human Impact on Climate

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the hot-air dept.

Science 378

GodInHell writes to mention an article in the Telegraph, stating that man's impact on the environment has been 'downgraded'. A UN report has found that our species has not had as large effect on climate change as was previously thought. The average temperature is still due to rise almost 5 degrees C in the next 100 years, bringing drastic changes in weather patterns. From the article: "The panel, however, has lowered predictions of how much sea levels will rise in comparison with its last report in 2001. Climate change skeptics are expected to seize on the revised figures as evidence that action to combat global warming is less urgent. Scientists insist that the lower estimates for sea levels and the human impact on global warming are simply a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming."

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378 comments

Damn (3, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187630)

And I was due to have some river front property.

 

Re:Damn (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187670)

And I was due to have some river front property.
Don't you mean beach front property??? I've never heard that the rivers were going to rise in respone to global warming. I could be wrong.

Re:Damn (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187762)

If Ocean levels rise River levels will rise in response, it won't be anywhere near as much as the Ocean's predicted to but if he lives, say, 5 ft. from the bank and builds a dam downriver he might pull it off :P

Re:Damn (2, Interesting)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188540)

I would be very concerned here in Hull, UK if sea levels rise as the River Humber is tidal and some areas of the city and nearby area are below sea level. London would have similar problems with a rising in the level of the Thames. There loads of other areas around the world which would suffer similar problems.

Funny how the UN changes its mind every 5 minutes. (-1, Flamebait)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187646)

Pointless drivel from the UN multiword titled department of redundancy.

I know this is /. (2, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187650)

But please RTFA and not just the summary/headline.

I doubt its anything new... and here's why. (-1, Offtopic)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187830)

Recently, the UN requested rights to have a standing army, and to have mandate to invade sovereign nations that refuse their interventions.

Ironically, you might've missed that the same people not trusting the UN now, didn't trust them when they were touted as a force that would NEVER have standing armies, or try to have them. Hmm, kind of reminds me of many other things socialists promised they would not do, same as many things that the federalists promised they would or would not do.

Rule of thumb, unchecked powers, will always lead to slavery.

I think someone really, really hates the UN (2, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187994)

I had assumed that you actually cared about the issue one way or the other. I didn't realize you just had an axe to grind. Carry on. [typepad.com]

Re:I know this is /. (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188102)

I'd rather read the actual report rather than some newspapers spin on an unreleased report.

Re:Funny how the UN changes its mind every 5 minut (4, Insightful)

EzraSj (993720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187676)

Yes, God forbid an international agency change its mind about something when new information sheds light on the problem!
There is nothing admirable about stubbornness in face of facts. I, for one, am glad that the UN isn't dragging it's feet on this issue. If only others were so prescient.

Re:Funny how the UN changes its mind every 5 minut (-1, Flamebait)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187792)

Strange, since the UN is the one that pulled out its peacekeepers from Rwanda, allowing the machete genocide, AFTER the UN was the one that disarmed the local population and left them helpless at the hands of the totalitarian overlords there.

Stranger still how you missed the fact that Kenya is also in the same hands because of UN "intervention". Yes, I've seen their "handiwork". How about the UN and the US/UK "radio free europe" handing the Hungarian anti communist Revolution to the Russians on a silver platter by stopping Franco from sending them guns.

Yes, guns are "bad", they reqire you to be responsible, and a good shot. I've seen the UN's "good works". I've lost family to the Russians and the Communists. I wager you've never even heard a gunshot, or seen a man executed for owning a business.

Re:Funny how the UN changes its mind every 5 minut (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17187866)

wah communists wah

Re:Funny how the UN changes its mind every 5 minut (1)

EzraSj (993720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188106)

You really think that the people who deal with climate change are the same ones who ordered the withdrawl from Rwanda?

Me saying that the UN is doing something responsible here is NOT analogous to saying it has never made a mistake.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188086)

it's amazing how few of the MS-fanboy wingnuts around here understand that this is how science is supposed to work. When new facts come in, theoretical frameworks are supposed to be revised to fit the facts.

Most of these are 'Developing Countries' (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187666)

Led by China, they don't want their "path to prosperity" cut off by the big 5 or 6, who already burned the carbon, and will maintain another era of dominance.

Re:Most of these are 'Developing Countries' (3, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187722)

Well, who knows. People today seem to be almost solely fixated on "global warming" and carbon dioxide emissions. There are many, many other pollution problems--sulfur dioxide / acid rain being one of them. China for instance today has huge sulfur dioxide emissions, roughly comparable to the US 25 years ago before we got good about it.

It's a difficult position, seeing as I saw one estimate that in terms of co2, China would overtake the US in roughly 5 years at current rates. (I'm not sure how accurate that is). It's truly got to be a global initiative, but one that doesn't do more harm than good. Plans like Kyoto makes huge exceptions for countries like China and India. This is of course good for them, not so good for everyone else.

In short, I have no idea what's going to happen :p

Re:Most of these are 'Developing Countries' (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17187892)

here are many, many other pollution problems--sulfur dioxide / acid rain being one of them. China for instance today has huge sulfur dioxide emissions, roughly comparable to the US 25 years ago before we got good about it.

Which is fortunate because sulfur dioxide combats global warming sort of the same way a nuclear winter combats global warming, but to a smaller scale. Many scientists are considering increasing sulfur dioxide emissions in certain locations if we can't do anything else to stop global warming.

Re:Most of these are 'Developing Countries' (2, Interesting)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188352)

Recent research has indicated that one of the short term effects of SO2 is to reduce climate forcings but the long term implications are less clear.

For example SO2 causes acid rain which damages vegatation releasing CO2. It's far to early to tell whether increasing SO2 emissions will help or will just cause a lot more damage. It's an interesting theory but it's still not well understood.

We've gone from trying to predict whether it will rain this afternoon to trying to predict the climate for 100 years. It's the complicated and difficult modelling challenge in human history and it's no wonder why people find it so hard to understand the issues.

Sulphur is nasty. Best to wait a few years before doing anything about it.

Any Irony Here? (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188010)

China for instance today has huge sulfur dioxide emissions, roughly comparable to the US 25 years ago before we got good about it.
Yeah, you know, you kind of skipped something important in this whole 'fairness of polluting' issue. You know, our (I'm American) economy raged when we didn't care about dumping shit in the environment. And it's still pretty evident that green products cost more (not always but usually). In fact, carbon neutrality would almost certainly raise the price of your product and a carbon tax would stagnate the economy at least a little.

So, when we chastise other nations for doing what we did 25 years ago, we may be hobbling them somewhat in the international market if we force them not to do that. I mean, look at the great infrastructure and products that we've produced while destroying the environment. You have to admit that it's given us an upper hand.

And this doesn't just apply to chemicals and gases, remember our 'save the rain forest' campaigns? Well, who was campaigning us to stop logging in North America (pictures on the right side [wikipedia.org] )? We've literally deforested much of the United States and benefited from it quite a bit. Who's to say we're not completely hobbling the economies in 3rd world countries that are attempting to tap their nation's natural resources of wood?

I guess in the end I just ask that you don't tell a nation not to do something but offer them an inexpensive or practical alternative ... or, hell, maybe even compensate them for lost wealth? I don't know, I'm not an economist and I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of negative replies for defending China or people cutting down rain forest for land. Oh well.

Re:Any Irony Here? (5, Insightful)

ebers (816511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188612)

> I guess in the end I just ask that you don't tell a nation not to do something but offer them an inexpensive or practical alternative ... or, hell, maybe even compensate them for lost wealth? I don't know, I'm not an economist and I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of negative replies for defending China or people cutting down rain forest for land. Oh well.

You are right on. This is an angle that the environmental movement has not yet come to terms with. The gorilla in the room is not the carbon production of the currently industrialized countries, it is the carbon production in the near future (20-50 years) of the currently inductrializing countries, which are far more populous. Most of the rhetoric of the global warming movement has been centered about modest lifestyle changes in developing countries: smaller cars, power conservation, and subsidizing carbon neutral energy sources. These are easy changes to make for the average westerner: They don't strongly impact our quality of life. Too bad the the carbon withheld from the atmosphere due to these changes is so small compared to the quantities that will be released a generation from now from the populous countries that are currently industrializing.
    For the global warming movement to address the gorilla in the room, they would have to ask people in China and India to forgo that first refrigerator, automobile, computer, tractor, or paved road. And that is not a morally defensable or politically feasable position. Until the global warming movement faces up to this fact their efforts in the developed world are just a sideshow.
    I think human carbon emmisions contribute to global warming, and that human carbon emmisions will explode in the next 50 years due to the industrialization of populated countries and due to increasing carbon emissions from alternative oil sources. (Coal gassification, tar sands, extra heavy oil... all of these release a ton of carbon just to produce, before they are even burned!) Greens should be lobbying the governments of devloped countries hard for r&d into affordable carbon neutral technologies that can be scaled to the meet to enourmous quantities of energy that the developing world will soon be demanding. The only tech. I know of that is carbon neutral, sufficiently scalable, reasonably affordable, and could be implemented on a massive scale just one generation from now is nuclear fission. If greens aren't advocating for this than I don't think they are serious about putting a major dent in global warming.

Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (1, Insightful)

leandrod (17766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187678)

Politics apart, if sea levels forecasts are lowered, that in itself represents a lower risk.

The logic is so simple, it is even ridiculous: part of the risk of global warming is higher sea levels.

If sea levels are not expected to be so high, to the expected risk is not so high.

Now if (these) scientists think the risk is still high enough to still warrant our worries, that is quite another thing.

I for myself still think global warming could be nice, after the initial, inevitable adaptation pains. More crops, more habitable lands.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (3, Insightful)

Decaff (42676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187730)

I for myself still think global warming could be nice, after the initial, inevitable adaptation pains. More crops, more habitable lands.

Global warming does not imply more crops, or more habitable lands. It implies less. For example, a significant fraction of the world relies on the glaciers in the Himalayas for water. If those go, there will be vastly less habitable lands.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (2, Informative)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187962)

a significant fraction of the world relies on the glaciers in the Himalayas for water. If those go, there will be vastly less habitable lands.

The water doesn't have to come from glaciers, as long as there is precipitation in the mountains there will be water downstream. Global warming would only result in less arable land if it makes the world dryer overall, but most simulations show the world getting wetter if it gets hotter.

Glaciers vs. Rain (3, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188168)

The difference is in how it's delivered. Having a steady flow of melt-water is much nicer for agriculture than occasional flash flooding, even if the later does provide more water per year on average.

--MarkusQ

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188230)

Rain is often seasonal. Part of the problem in the Western US, is that if there is not a sufficiently cold winter, snow pack in the mountains melts early and then in the dry season (summer), there isn't enough water flowing down the rivers because it already flowed away. Summer BTW coincides with the growing season. Water and ice are not really the same thing -- sure it's all water, but snow is water storage and rain is water runoff.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188324)

But water can be stored by building dams. And I believe China, which is where most of the people who would be effected live, already has a lot of dams for flood control and power generation.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188566)

Dams can only do so much. Watch how arizona, nevada and cali all bicker about the colorado river for an idea of why. Of course, it doesn't help that someone had the bright idea of building cities with parks, lawns and fountains in the desert, but that's not my point.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (0, Redundant)

leandrod (17766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188180)

Global warming does not imply more crops, or more habitable lands. It implies less.

Sorry, but I can't take your word for it. I would need references. All I have seen up to now are scare lines about the advent of warming, not complete assessments about the state of a warmer Earth. I am not even sure we know enough about these things.

For example, a significant fraction of the world relies on the glaciers in the Himalayas for water. If those go, there will be vastly less habitable lands.

Never heard about glaciers in Himalaya are going. They may be diminishing, but they will still be there in all probability. Shorter winters would give us more crops, as tropical lands already have higher productivity than temperate and cold ones.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (2, Insightful)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187850)

I for myself still think global warming could be nice, after the initial, inevitable adaptation pains. More crops, more habitable lands.
...more disease vectors, greater drought, more flooding, colder and longer winters, drier summers... The list goes on. The fact that the issue has been "downgraded" is irrelevant. If we're still going to suffer 5 degrees increase in climate temperature, then the point is moot. Climate change is still happening, and its still a bad thing. I can see the evidence locally: the domestic livestock are delivering their young at the same time each year, but these days it's still frosting, and a lot of young die from the amniotic fluids (from their birth) freezing.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (1, Insightful)

leandrod (17766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188240)

...more disease vectors, greater drought, more flooding, colder and longer winters, drier summers... The list goes on.

Bzzt. The list is all about local effects, and part of what I described as painful adaptation may include migration from areas adversely affected to areas favourably affect. In fact, it is ludicrous to think about colder and longer winters globally when the issue is global warming.

Anyway, Russians haven't migrated in masse from Moscow because it has cold, long winters and hot, dry summers. Human society is incredibly adaptable, and we have lots of other more important issues to care about, such as literacy, malaria, AIDS, and the cultural wars. Caring about global warming when most people are still striving to make a living (not talking about unemployment in the First World, but misery in the Third) may be after all counter-productive, as our culture could well crumble in a few generations if it continues its decadence and so many people continue without their share in its riches.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (1)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188406)

A certainly see your point, but I was merely considering the predicament of other species who have less of an ability to migrate, and less adabtability that humans have due to technology and information. I'll also point out that one of the large issues involved in global warming is that the disease malaria is carried by mosquitos. As the climate warms globally, these mosquitos will span greater distances - spreading malaria to communities that have not had to deal with malarial outbreaks, or have less resistance to malaria due to a lack of any significant anemic populations.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (2, Interesting)

leandrod (17766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188636)

I was merely considering the predicament of other species who have less of an ability to migrate, and less adabtability that humans have due to technology and information.

So what? It will be neither the first nor the last mass extinction. Nature has recovered everytime, and the Earth has been shaken quite a few times. If anything, it seems that biological diversity has been increasing except for some minor human-induced damage in the last two or three centuries.

We can't be sentimental about nature. It isn't a person, and humans are different from animals; we can care for them, and plants too, and even inanimate nature, but not to the point of romanticising anything. I am still for caring for people over nature, if a choice must be made; and in the end it may prove to be the best course, as people suffering from misery aren't likely to care for nature.

I'll also point out that one of the large issues involved in global warming is that the disease malaria is carried by mosquitos. As the climate warms globally, these mosquitos will span greater distances - spreading malaria to communities that have not had to deal with malarial outbreaks, or have less resistance to malaria due to a lack of any significant anemic populations.

Why so many environmentalists assume static environments? Malaria is fougth with success anywhere there is a sufficiently dense and resourceful human population. Brazil is an example: it has all but erradicated malaria from most of its more densely inhabitated regions, so that only a small minority of population still has to really care about it.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (1)

IHawkMike (564552) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187956)

I have always wondered exactly why sea levels would rise with global warming. Since liquid water is denser than ice, I would think that the melting of ice would lower sea levels. Granted, ice above water would melt first but wouldn't that cause the body of ice to rise displacing it with denser water? I guess I'm probably thinking in simple terms of icebergs as I really don't understand how glaciers work. Now I believe the experts, I've just never heard this point made in any discussions about it.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188020)

If Antarctica, Greenland, Siberia, etc. melt and run off into the ocean, it would add a lot of water that is not currently there.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188252)

Ice that's floating in water does not change water levels whatsoever (you can try this at home: put an ice cube in a glass of water, mark the water level, then check back when it has melted). BUT, ice that is sitting on land will contribute its entire mass to increase water levels (you can try this at home: take a glass of water, mark the water level, drop in an ice cube and let it melt, then check the water level). It wouldn't mater if liquid water were 1000 times denser than ice.

Re:Risk assessment is lowered, politics apart (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188282)

As some of the other reponses noted, global warming does not mean more land or crops. As the temperature rises, climate patterns change, usually making dry places more dry and wet places more wet. This means increased flooding for the wet places and droughts for the dry. It's hard to grow most of our current produce staples in either of those environments.

On the topic of more habitable lands, that seems pretty ridiculous to me. If the sea level rises [nationalgeographic.com] , earth's total land mass will decrease significantly, displacing millions to hundreds of millions of people. With that many "refugees", areas that were once habitable would become wastelands while trying to support them. When you say more habitable lands, I'm guessing you're talking about frozen areas becoming habitable because of increased temperatures. The problem there is again due to droughts. Most of the frozen places on earth get little rainfall. It's hard to say how increased temperatures in these areas would affect rainfall, but if they follow patterns in other places, they wouldn't be habitable. Even if they do become habitable, we now have to completely relocate or rebuild our infrastructures for manufacturing, agricultural, and basically every other aspect of modern life.

Let's finally look at what would happen if the the sea level rose and new land becomes habitable due to global warming. Assuming none of the other problems I have mentioned are major factors and that everyone who is displaced by the oceans (Florida, most of Western Europe, China along the Yellow River, most of India along the delta, islands across the world, etc) is able to safely move farther inland. They would need to continue to move inland due to the massive hurricanes/typhoons that would be destroying anything built along the coast, which would considerably decrease the amount of habitable land. Living in Africa or around the Equator would be pretty much out of the question due to the increased heat in the summer, again leaving less space for people.

Now, if you had said that you think global warming might be good because hundreds of millions of people will die, giving our global economy and political systems a chance to rebuild itself from scratch due to anarchy, revolutions, and war, then that's a different story.

Report details (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17187692)

Sea level is currently 0.000 meters above sea level, and is predicted to be 0.000 meters above sea level in 100 years.

Never thought about that! (0)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188084)

LOL........never thought about that one. Sea level is sea level :) All of this so called global warming garbage just makes me shake my head. I guess no one ever cared to look at the output from the sun, which, has GROWN (ie:hotter) over the last several years. If you turn up your furnace, guess what? Your house gets hotter. What a concept. I know that most of the hysteria surrounding global warming is just scientist who are hell bent on maintaing their current level of government funding (suckling at the trough), but, you would think at least some of the public, would get their noses out of the entertainment news, and at least use what is left of their gray matter and look at what these enviro-wackos are doing.

Re:Never thought about that! (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188538)

and at least use what is left of their gray matter and look at what these enviro-wackos are doing.

You assume that there's something left. Such an assumption is silly.

So man-made CO2 doesn't matter anymore? (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187696)

man's impact on the environment has been 'downgraded'

I'll celebrate by having baked beens and onions for dinner.

what really happened (0)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187698)

what REALLY happened is one of the UN officials farted and just wanted to cover for it by saying that humans aren't contributing to it as much as people think. But seriously, I wonder what they'd say if someone asked them why this hasn't happened for tens of thousands of years and just decided to randomly happen now that we're burning like a bajillion tons of carbon fuels. Pretty big coincidence, eh?

I missed this discovery... (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187708)

"It also says that the overall human effect on global warming since the industrial revolution is less than had been thought, due to the unexpected levels of cooling caused by aerosol sprays, which reflect heat from the sun."

Wow, so uh, the aerosol sprays were helping? Damn... I'm getting rid of these awful pump-style hairspray bottles!

Mind Boggles (2, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187714)

"Scientists insist that the lower estimates for sea levels and the human impact on global warming are simply a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming."

Wait...wait...the sea won't rise as high, and yet the risk is the same...someone explain that one to me.

Personally I've always been a fan of the 'Humans aren't capable of doing much damage to the Earth' theorists who say it's due to the sun becoming hotter (which happens quite often, don't laugh) or some other kind of trend we haven't been around long enough to notice.

Of course they claim that it's because the Ocean's absorbing it and aerosols are reflecting it so I guess I'm still a crackpot eh? Anyone else notice that every Global Warming report seems the same? 'Our last estimate was too high, but it's still dire because of "insert new theory/problem"'?

Moron. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17187878)

It's because of idiots like you that the rest of us are going to suffer but you're too narrow-minded and greedy to realise it.

I'm tired of trying o explain the truth to people who hide behind bogus "objectivity"!

Humans have fucked this planet up and it may be too late to do anything about it.

The cause is not the sun, or "cycles" or any other oil industry-funded excuse du jour!

It's people and only people.

Unfortunately those of us with the awareness and of the situation are too few and scum like you too many.

The Earth is warming up and it's all due to our own activities, and only a fool would dismiss that obvious fact!

If you can't be part of the solution, quit being the problem. Recycle yourself perhaps.

Re:Moron. (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188254)

The Earth is warming up and it's all due to our own activities, and only a fool would dismiss that obvious fact!

Suppose it's not an obvious fact. Suppose there were only a 50% chance that human activity is really the cause of the global climate change we're observing.

What is the prudent course of action?

Re:Mind Boggles (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188048)

So are you just ignorant to the huge yellow and brown clouds lingering over even moderately sized cities in the US? I'd say we affect the climate more than we admit.

Re:Mind Boggles (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188222)

There is more potential dangers than just the ocean cover beach front condos. Just the fact that the atmosphere itself will be 5 degrees warmer can lend itself to changes. Just take weather patterns for example. If the average temperature is 5 degrees more, than the volume of air that is warmer is mich larger than it currently is. Air might not cool as fast, and might heat up quicker. Whole weather patterns can be changed if there is interruption, thus interrupting regular precipitation globally.

England is at a latitude where many other countries of the world are pretty cold (look at parts of Canada at the same lat. eh), and depends on the warm stream that traverses the Atlantic from the equator to bring warm water and air to it. Now lets say the 5 degree temp change increases the amount of warmth England gets. It's sea side could turn from what it is into something closer to the southern French coast. There are also plant and animal life which are fairly delicate and require a certain range of temperature to survive. If they're already at their upper boundary, then an increase could push them over that boundary.

It's all extremely complicated and very much a highly elaborate domino's game.

"the debate is over"? (2, Insightful)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187728)

perhaps we can rethink our blind devotion to global warming and man's supposed virulent impact. I have never understood why is it accepted completely that we're somehow responsible for supposed "global warming" and that we think we can do anything about it. There is still much scientific debate (unless looking for government research funding) and (yes, I RTFA) much information still coming in and I'm sure more will come in the future. The truth is probably more troublesome, in that we simply don't know. We live in a world of perfect access to information, and we expect to be able to know everything, and we assume we have complete control as well. So much for post-modern, secular humanism, eh? We are not omnipotent and omniscient.

The earth has been around 6 billion years, give or take, and it's gone through more violent and extreme changes long before a single human emerged from the primordial sludge. And now we're to believe that somehow earth's perfect harmonial environemntal equilibirum, which never ever existed in the first place, is being upset by man? When I see a Monday night football game in Seattle in November, and there's snow on the ground, I can only conclude "global warming" is causing it. Sure.

Re:"the debate is over"? (5, Insightful)

pnot (96038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187898)

The earth has been around 6 billion years, give or take, and it's gone through more violent and extreme changes long before a single human emerged from the primordial sludge.

Oh, the earth can certainly handle what we're throwing at it; even if we succeed in wiping ourselves and 99% of existing species out, evolution will just continue with the remaining 1% and produce something that can handle the new conditions. It won't be the first mass extinction.

Make no mistake: it's not about "saving the earth", it's about saving the human race, or at least civilization as we know it.

When I see a Monday night football game in Seattle in November, and there's snow on the ground, I can only conclude "global warming" is causing it. Sure.

You're missing the "global" in global warming. Just because the earth as a whole is getting warmer and the ice caps are melting, it doesn't necessarily mean your backyard is getting a tropical climate. For some regions the long-term prognosis is that it will get a whole lot colder -- for example, western Europe if the gulf stream shuts off.

One reasonable inference we can make is that weather will get more violent and less predictable, simply because we're pushing more energy into a system that exhibits chaotic behaviour. So expect more freak weather -- and on a local, short-term level, that's could just as well be snowstorms as heatwaves.

You see... This is the problem... (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188680)

Make no mistake: it's not about "saving the earth", it's about saving the human race, or at least civilization as we know it.
We've gone from a 5C raise in average temperature and say 20' raise in sea levels to the end of civilisation, the extinction of the human race, 99% of the life on the planet and the end of the plant itself.

It's ALL bullshit. Hyperbolic hysteria and it harms the case of the environmentalists.

Civilisation will not end.
The human race will certainly not become extinct.
99% of the existing species will also not be made extinct.
The planet will not end.

 

Re:"the debate is over"? (4, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188000)

perhaps we can rethink our blind devotion to global warming and man's supposed virulent impact. I have never understood why is it accepted completely that we're somehow responsible for supposed "global warming" and that we think we can do anything about it.

[Emphasis mine.]

Nicely trolled, sir. You've begged the question quite nicely, and you'd have effectively sand-bagged any reasoned response, except you forgot something: Your understanding doesn't matter. Your failure to comprehend scientific consensus has no effect on the accuracy of the findings, nor on the continuing refinement of the data models, which, after all, is what this story is reporting about.

The earth has been around 6 billion years, give or take, and it's gone through more violent and extreme changes long before a single human emerged from the primordial sludge.

Absolutely right, and on several of those occasions, the conditions were antithetical to human existence. See, the issue here is not saving the planet. Earth will do just fine, thank you very much. The issue, if I may, is saving the humans, who are not nearly so resilient, and to whom, heaven knows why, many of us seem to have a sentimental attachment. Perhaps it has something to do with being human ourselves.

HTH, HAND.

crumbs FTW (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188576)

If I was a mod, that'd be a +1.

With statement from parent - He's right, we're not talking about saving the world, we're talking about the life currently here. The climate will be pushed, and balance (with more or less rain, more or less CO2, whatever). Something that I've been yelling for years is:

How about not freaking out? Regardless if there's a ton of warming from our evil vehicles or not, we can at least take a bit of ownership and reduce our individual effects and do it with some intelligence.
Drive a car that gets better mileage cause it'll save you cash at the pump.
Use those halogen bulbs cause you only have to change them every 3-5 years, and they use less energy... etc etc...

The people I hang out with aren't living in constant fear of Earth striking us down for killing the planet, but I think that if I can make less of an impact... Then cool. If you can't, fine, no big deal.

I'm sure we have *some* effect on the overall climate, I'll just do what I can to cut that down. While I'm at it, I might as well see if there's a way to save some cash doing it too.

Re:"the debate is over"? (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188070)

So much for post-modern, secular humanism, eh? We are not omnipotent and omniscient.

Actually, it's religions that are into the whole "omnipotent and omniscient" bit, not secular humanists.

When I see a Monday night football game in Seattle in November, and there's snow on the ground, I can only conclude "global warming" is causing it. Sure.

On the other hand, there have been a bunch of 60 degree days in late November and early December in the Northeast. What happens when you add more energy to a stable system? It becomes more turbulent.

Re:"the debate is over"? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188212)

We live in a world of perfect access to information, and we expect to be able to know everything, and we assume we have complete control as well.

We do?

I'm not sure what world you live on, but on Earth, we don't - and I don't know very many people who believe this. I hear some anonymous strangers on the internet saying things like this, but when it comes to people I actually know and trust, I haven't ever heard anyone express this opinion.

Re:"the debate is over"? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188226)

I have never understood

I'm not sure why you think your ignorance is an interesting topic of discussion for the rest of us.

Re:"the debate is over"? (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188328)

>our blind devotion to global warming

Straw man argument do not lead to good policy decisions.

>we simply don't know

There could be no better argument for avoiding large-scale experiments, then. But we do know that CO2 levels are rising, that it's not coming from living organisms, and that the pattern of change (warmer lower atmosphere, cooler upper atmosphere, warmer nights) matches the effects physics says to expect from CO2.

>So much for post-modern, secular humanism, eh?

Straw man arguments do not lead to good policy decisions.

>The earth has been around 6 billion years, give or take

4.5 billion.

>now we're to believe that somehow earth's perfect harmonial environemntal equilibirum, which never ever existed in the first place, is being upset by man?

Straw man arguments do not lead to good policy decisions. Neither do non sequiturs: none of the big excursions in the geological record happened while we were trying to feed six billion humans with climate-sensitive crops. Or had hundreds of millions of humans living within a few meters of sea level.

>When I see a Monday night football game in Seattle in November, and there's snow on the ground

A dry day in Seattle doesn't mean the climate is dry. A rainy day in Tucson doesn't mean the climate is wet. The fact that there was a cold day in winter in one place is not climate data. Confusing weather with climate, like the media do when they yammer about a heat wave during a climate change conference, is stupid.

Re:"the debate is over"? (2, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188400)

The truth is probably more troublesome, in that we simply don't know.

And until we do know, we should be careful about greenhouse gas emissions.
Or do the "better safe than sorry" not mean much to people?

This is a logic I haven't really understood in this debate -- people go on about "we don't know if it's much about us!" like it was going to help.

That's actually an even worse scenario, where we need to be extra careful until we do know the extent of our responsibility for the detected dramatic changes in atmosphere composition as for CO2 lately (yes, it seems to be going far above the former natural cycles the past hundred of thousands of years).

There goes my plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17187742)

There goes my plan of the Beach and cute girls in their swimsuits as the new Christmas spirit. I guess Santa didn't come through this year, and wont for awhile... And I was looking forward to this Global Warming thing for this, it sounded kinda good for this.

mod 0p (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17187758)

problems that I've OS don't fe&ar the windows, SUN or the point more

Finland is getting heat waves (1)

MikkoApo (854304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187772)

It's pretty hard to say if it's due the greenhouse effect, but Finland hasn't gotten permanent snow yet (at least in the southern parts). I remember a time when I had to walk through snow banks on my birthday (7th of oct) but this year it's almost warm enough to cycle to work in shorts (+7C).

The weather is breaking temperature records and even in the northern parts it's not better. For example tourism is getting hit badly. Yesterday I saw some news footage where tourists were walking in something which was much closer to water then snow and they were supposed to be on a skiing holiday. And even worse, if it doesn't snow the Finnish Santa isn't going to get off the ground in two weeks.

Of course we're changing our environment (4, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187798)

And it's not pretty either. Even if you ignore global warming or global climate change for a moment, you just have to step outside in any of our urban centers, look at the sky and take a whiff. Of course we're hurting and changing the environment. That's the real shame of it. I happen to work with an environmental scientist and he says the number one bad thing that everyone is ignoring is the short-term, immediate affect on our health. We're slowly killing ourselves in our own pollution.

Whether the long-term effect of what we do is 10 degrees of warming, 5 degrees of warming, or even 5 degrees of cooling, we're still have a pretty drastic affect on the poor earth. Apparently, there is new research coming out all the time (and not from the grand right-wing conspiracy) that global warming isn't happening as fast as some think. But does it really matter that it's slower than we thought? We still have to confront the same issues. Net carbon increase, particulates, and nitrous oxides, all of which damage our health, as well as the environment.

Re:Of course we're changing our environment (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188422)

I agree, it's interesting to watch the furious hunt for a cure for cancer, when it's pretty obvious why it's so frequent in the societies of today.

What we're looking for is probably for another cure for cancer than an improved environment.

Doesn't matter what's causing it, we can slow it (4, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187832)

It really doesn't matter to what extent Global Warming is man's problem or nature's: it's still happening, and we can still help slow it down.

It's clear that it's heppening, now do we want it to happen faster, or slower?

Cow Farts = Global Warming (1, Flamebait)

Old.UNIX.Nut (306040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187862)

Want to do your part to fight "global warming", then dump that SUV for something that gets at least 25MPG and stop eating beef [independent.co.uk] .

Quit guilting SUVs (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187936)

Look at the near luxury sedans that are so popular today. Hell look at most sedans and coupes in the 25K+ range...

for cars most of them get abysmal mileage. 18 in the city? Sheesh, my crossover averages 21 and its bigger than many sedans.

A lot of cars are overpowered today. For the most part SUVs suffer because of their size and gearing. Too many are still geared to tow which many people will never do. But whats the excuse of all the new 8cylinder and overpowered 6 cylinder cars?

I already use my motorcycle as much as possible to get to and from work, the 48+ mpg is great. I still have the crossover because I have to have a vehicle capable of hauling stuff I buy (lots of landscaping for my house) and doing the runs while at work with a couple of others along for the ride.

Many families are going to have one member with a large vehicle. Its pure economics. For most every SUV in the parking lot at work the SO of that driver is usually in a smaller car that gets decent mileage. Yeah there are large numbers of dual SUV families but for many people the flexibility these vehicles offer outweigh the added expense they incur in initial price, maintenance, and gas.

But get over the "SUV" blame game. Too many cars today exist that serve even less use than the SUV

Re:Cow Farts = Global Warming (1)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187946)

Give me a break about the cows. I can fix that one anyway. Just add flare stacks to each animal and burn it off harmlessly (it is carbon-neutral). Or collect it and heat your home with it. It's actually such a small amount that neither suggestion is serious.

The truth of the matter is that our landfills are giving off more methane than cows. The first step should be to collect that gas. As for cows farting, I gather there are several orders of magnitude more people on the planet than cows, who have the same problem, so I guess we should take care of them first.

But dumping the SUV? Absolutely. Saying the human affect on the environment is less than we thought should not be an excuse to keep guzzling fossil fuels. Unfortunately, only economics is going to cure us of our oil drug dependency, or massive willpower (unlikely given human nature). And right now the economics of buying a hybrid car don't make sense yet, either in terms of dollar cost or in terms of environmental impact cost.

Ummm, hang on a sec... (2, Informative)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187896)

man's impact on the environment has been 'downgraded'. A UN report has found that our species has not had as large effect on climate change as was previously thought
Last time I checked, environment was very different from climate change.

Man has undeniably had a huge effect on the environment; making species extinct, over fishing/hunting other species to the point of extinction, using up the Earth's non-renewable fuel sources - wood, oil, coal, building over huge chunks of the planet, not to mention the various poisons, dioxins and various nuclear stuff we throw into the atmosphere, ground and oceans.

In this case the submitter has his facts wrong. The Telegraph article linked mentions only climate change, not man's impact on the environment as a whole. Sorry to nitpick, but I see those words being substituted for each other way too much now. You can argue all you like about climate change, but man's impact on the environment as a whole is proven.

Re:Ummm, hang on a sec... (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188248)

While I agree with you in essence, I suppose I'll nitpick as well.

Main Entry: environment
Pronunciation: in-'vI-r&(n)-m&nt, -'vI(-&)r(n)-
Function: noun
1 : the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded
2 a : the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival b : the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community
3 : the position or characteristic position of a linguistic element in a sequence
4 : a computer interface from which various tasks can be performed

So if our effect on the climate has been downgraded then wouldn't our effect on the environment be downgraded as well? After all, the "environment" seems to include the climate. (Reducing one part while keeping the others constant should reduce the overall total.)

Energy Crises Redux (1)

Shannon Love (705240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187904)

I remember back when I was a teenager circa 1980 and the UN and virtually everyone else confidently explained that the world was running out of oil, that oil would only grow more rare and more expensive and that anybody who claimed otherwise was just a payed shrill of the oil industry.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

It was really funny watching people try to explain in 1985, after the oil crash, exactly why they so confidently predicted permanent oil shortages only 5 years before. I can't but wonder if 10 years from now we will get a big "never mind" from climatologist as well. After all, accurately measuring oil resources is relatively simple compared to predicting climate 100 years in the future.

Re:Energy Crises Redux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188142)

some elbonians buy fur coats.
some elbonians are animal-rights activists.
your conclusion: all elbonians are hypocrites.

the best thing about the U.S. seems to be that all problems are black or white with you.

Re:Energy Crises Redux (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188246)

I remember back when I was a teenager circa 1980 and the UN and virtually everyone else confidently explained that the world was running out of oil, that oil would only grow more rare and more expensive and that anybody who claimed otherwise was just a payed shrill of the oil industry.

And that is happening right now. So, what was wrong with that sentiment?

Re:Energy Crises Redux (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188502)

The world was running out of oil, that oil would only grow more rare and more expensive

Wherease in reality more oil is being added to the planet all the time and it has never been as cheap as it is now!

Humans' Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17187952)

I don't think there are too many global warming skeptics that are denying global warming outright. Most either disagree with what they see as exaggeration of legitimate warming and/or don't think humans are significantly responsible for the warming, if at all. Keep in mind, Earth's climate can and does change drastically all on its own. So the possibility is there. What we have to find out now is if our actions are what's causing this warming or if it's just another natural warming trend. Either way it's bad for us (or is it?). But if we ARE the cause, then it's more within the realm of our ability to stop it. If not, well, we're boned. It's a complicated issue, which politics has complicated further.

-Moses

Show me the report (1)

DaoudaW (533025) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187976)

This is so lame. The report will not get published until February. We only have an unnamed source saying that while the estimated magnitude of the effects of global warming on sea level are lower than previously thought, this does not reflect a lowering of the risk posed by global warming. The reason given for this lowered estimate is unexpected reflection of solar rays by man-made aerosol sprays. How does this deserve the headline, "UN downgrades man's impact on the climate"? If anything it means that humanity has had more impact, albeit counteractive.

But I believe we should all wait for the report before either arguing for or against what it may/may not contain.

UN Report ensures proliferation of FUD (1)

davro (539320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188008)

FUD, i really do wonder how anyone comes to any conclusion about climate change, especially the United Numnuts.

Quote [www.telegraph.co.uk]
"The IPCC report, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, has been handed to the Government for review before publication. It warns that carbon dioxide emissions have risen during the past five years by three per cent, well above the 0.4 per cent a year average of the previous two decades. The authors also state that the climate is almost certain to warm by at least 1.5 C during the next 100 years. Such a rise would be enough to take average summer temperatures in Britain to those seen during the 2003 heatwave, when August temperatures reached a record-breaking 38 C. Unseasonable warmth this year has left many Alpine resorts without snow by the time the ski season started."

Come on the chinese build them new citys, remember nice big juicy coal fired power plants, let get it tropical before we die 100 years.

Doesn't really matter (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188064)

Whether humans are 10% or 90% responsible for climate change doesn't really matter. What matters is that sea levels are rising, and more chaotic weather patterns are predicted, regardless of the cause. Saying "it's not our fault" doesn't stop the sea from rising, or weather patterns affecting our lives. So, we have to adapt to that.

The climate change "skeptics" mostly come from a position of not wanting to change anything about the way we live on this planet. They never really cared about environmental effects, whether natural or man-made. I don't think this report is going to help their credibility anyway, because it's not like they ever cared about the effects of climate change, as long as we could keep on living in a wasteful (and profitable) way.

Let's try a new metaphor ... (2, Interesting)

charlie (1328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188112)

Let us imagine that one night you wake up and discover that your house is on fire.

You dial 999 (or 911, if you're American) and ask for help: the nice despatcher tells you that the police department were watching your house and they're pretty sure there was no arsonist.

Do you think, "oh, it's not an arson attack," and go back to bed?

(Or do you evacuate the burning building anyway, and wait for the fire service to get there?)

Here's the point: the house is on fire. It doesn't matter why it's on fire, in the first instance; the fire is an emergency situation and needs to be dealt with regardless of the cause.

And by analogy, it doesn't matter whether the observations of climactic change are attributable to anthropogenic warming or to some other cause, or to a mixture of causes -- if we don't take action we're going to be in deep shit.

Re:Let's try a new metaphor ... (3, Insightful)

cirby (2599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188218)

The real case:

Someone tells you that, if you don't take drastic action right now, your house will catch on fire some time in the next 100 years. A while back, the same guy was telling you the house was going to be flooded due to the same actions that will now, supposedly cause that fire.

The current "fire prediction panel" has downgraded the actual fire risk, to boot, since all of their previous predictions of fire have not come true, and it turns out that some of the evidence they were using to predict the fire was actually made up. It seems that the computer model they were using also predicts fire if you put random noise into the input hopper.

Meanwhile, the people who scream most about how the fire will destroy the house are going to bed while smoking, while insisting that you need to turn out all of your lights and sleep on the floor.

Re:Let's try a new metaphor ... (3, Insightful)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188232)

Let's try a better metaphore. Let's say you wake up one night and think that because your house is made of wood, that it might catch fire if some burning embers from a lit cigarette fall on it, after all, that's how smokey the bear says forest fires get started.

So you institute an imediate policy againsts lit cigarettes of all types within 100 yards of your house and comission some studies on house fires.

Over the years, your studies begin to reveal that while cigarettes can cause a fire, it's not the most likely cause.

Do you continue your capaign against cigarettes or do you revise your protection models.

The point is, your house isn't on fire, it's at risk, but effective safety is knowing which risks are most important to minimize.

Also the point is that analogies are shitty, why don't you just say what you mean, which is, despite the fact that the study shows human impact is lesser AND shows that newer understandings demonstrate a reduced risk, you would rather blindly continue with current policies as is, much like the few crackpots who completely deny global warming want to continue with their current policies as is.

Re:Let's try a new metaphor ... (1)

cockroach2 (117475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188408)

IMHO, *if* we are, as the story implies, not as much responsible for the changes as previously thought, our actions to prevent global warming are even more likely to fail (reducing a mostly irrelevant part of the problem doesn't solve it).

On the other hand, actions to reduce CO2 often also improve the air quality in general (eg. better cars -> less other toxic gases), so we should probably keep trying to "improve" our lifestyle. In the meantime, our politicians can relax, stop whining and go back to work. Maybe they can figure out what to do - after all, that's what they're paid for...

Read "The Skeptical Environmentalist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188140)

By Bjorn Lomborg. Your viewpoint on all the supposed upcoming environmental fiascos will be impacted. The book has 2930 references. ISBN 0-521-01068-3.

Re:Read "The Skeptical Environmentalist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188434)

Read my huge cock up your ass, worthless shill. Your colon will be impacted. My cock has 2930 references. ISBN 0-COCK-UP-YOUR-ASS.

Close to a non-story (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188194)

They're dialing back predictions of human impact by 25%. That is less than the known uncertainties in the range of possible predictions.

Then, the revised forecast includes one scenario of a 4.5 degrees C rise in average global temperature. That's still well into the severe range.

And I hung my hat on Global Cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188258)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling [wikipedia.org]

I just see Global Warming as the trendy Hollywood thing to worry about. Thirty years ago it was Global Cooling and finding ways to melt the Arctic ice caps...

From Newsweek 1975:

Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

And this is what happens. (0, Flamebait)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188296)

This is what happens when you let the wacko enviro-nuts run the publicity wing for your environmental cause. They make ridiculous doomsday scenarios sound like they're just around the corner, in order to "get people motivated."

Then, when you need to downgrade your prediction from "the world is going to end in ten years because all the oceans will rise up and DROWN US!!!!" to "we might not be having as much effect as we thought..." your entire movement loses ALL credibility.

It just goes to show that in the end, carefully reasoned debate and proportioned response is much more effective than hysterics. Sure, hysterics might get the headlines for a year or two, but when the wild predictions turn out to be false, the entire movement goes down in flames.

In the future, all you "Al Gore is the smartest man ever" and Earth First and Greenpeace people, try not to engage in the doomsday sort of predictions and you might have a chance to persuade the people who can make a difference.

Keep one thing in mind... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188368)

RTFA before commenting. :-)

I can only say it wasn't very "calming" to me:
"The bottom line is that the climate is still warming while our greenhouse gas emissions have accelerated, so we are storing up problems for ourselves in the future."

It warns that carbon dioxide emissions have risen during the past five years by three per cent, well above the 0.4 per cent a year average of the previous two decades. The authors also state that the climate is almost certain to warm by at least 1.5 C during the next 100 years.

Britain can expect more storms of similar ferocity to those that wreaked havoc across the country last week, even bringing a tornado to north-west London.

He said: "The oceans have been acting like giant storage heaters by trapping heat and carbon dioxide. They might be bit of a time-bomb as they have been masking the real effects of the carbon dioxide we have been releasing into the atmosphere.

"People are very worried about what will happen in 2030 to 2050, as we think that at that point the oceans will no longer be able to absorb the carbon dioxide being emitted. It will be a tipping point and that is why it is now critical to act to counter any acceleration that will occur when this happens."

Sorry if I'm not feeling overwhelmingly optimistic about our influences after reading this. :-)

UN downgrades fears of global warming (2, Funny)

crmartin (98227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188370)

... in other news, Al Gore's head explodes, realclimate.org accuses UN of being funded by Exxon through the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

What does this even mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188388)

The average temperature is still due to rise almost 5 degrees C in the next 100 years...

What does this statement even mean?

How do you measure the temperature?
How do you calculate the average temperature?
Why is it due to rise?
Why is it due to rise 5 degrees?
Why is it due to rise over the next 100 years?

We've only got one Earth, and the best we can do is build models based on previously recorded data. I think we should definately err on the side of caution, but I just can't trust these (or any other) predictions. We can't even accurately predict the weather day to day; why should I believe these predictions are any better? Again, err on the side of caution, but nothing should be taken at face value.

A perfect clarification of the issue (1)

gcranston (901577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188494)

FTA
Climate change skeptics are expected to seize on the revised figures as evidence that action to combat global warming is less urgent. Scientists insist that the lower estimates for sea levels and the human impact on global warming are simply a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming."
(emphasis mine)

That's right. The skeptics take this report as vindication. The scientists.... wait a minute. It's skeptics versus scientists? You mean, none of the scientists are skeptical of the global warming theory? Oh yeah, There hasn't been a single article in a reputable journal arguing against the fact that global warming is our fault. My mistake. I thought the counter-arguments were based on fact, observation, and reason.

Remember: Science. It works, bitches [xkcd.com]

Equal time for fringe views (2, Informative)

shma (863063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188504)

And unsurprisingly, the article ends with this:

However, Julian Morris, executive director of the International Policy Network, urged governments to be cautious. "There needs to be better data before billions of pounds are spent on policy measures that may have little impact," he said.

Of course, they don't bother to say who these people are, or the fringe views they hold. From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

In November 2004, IPN released a report claiming that "climate change is 'a myth', sea levels are not rising and Britain's chief scientist is 'an embarrassment' for believing catastrophe is inevitable." It called "the science warning of an environmental disaster caused by climate change ... 'fatally flawed'" and contested predictions that the global sea level would increase by a meter over the next century, saying that "sea level rises will reach a maximum of just 20cms." Moreover, the report listed some benefits of global warming, including "increasing fish stocks in the north Atlantic and reducing the incidence of temperature-related deaths among vulnerable people." The British newspaper The Guardian claimed that IPN had received $50,000 from ExxonMobil, which "list[ed] the donation as part of its 'climate change outreach' programme."

The debate continues....... (1)

woodycat (1000364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188516)

Whatever.We continue to shit in our nest and still question whether it stinks or not.

Total bullocks (1)

grishknash (118043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188614)

You want to know how I know we are truly screwed? Simply read the division and absolute total lack of understanding of natural systems within this forum. Its astounding that supposedly educated people can know so little.
We're screwed. [Human populations explicitly. The furry creatures of the planet are wringing thier hands at glee at the demise of Homo sapiens. I can't blame them.]

experts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188660)

experts... revise... ... ...

More accurate information makes it more urgent (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188664)

The information in the past has been slightly better than unfounded fearmongering.
Some of the claims being made by some environmentalists were quite simply ridiculous, fearmongering undermines their whole arguement.

I'm glad that someone is finally putting together more accurate and reasonable data. This might get more support as more people accept it.

Oh and score one for those who claimed the fearmongering was a bit of an exageration.
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