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Billions Face Risks From Climate Change

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the please-buckle-your-seatbelts-its-going-to-be-a-bumpy-ride dept.

Education 659

gollum123 writes with a link to a kind of grim BBC story. According to a report drawn up by 'hundreds of international environmental experts', billions of people face drought and famine, as well as an increase in natural disasters, as a result of climate change. Individuals in the poorest countries face the most danger, due to a lack of infrastructure and geographic location. "The scientific work reviewed by IPCC scientists includes more than 29,000 pieces of data on observed changes in physical and biological aspects of the natural world. Eighty-nine percent of these, it believes, are consistent with a warming world. Several delegations, including the US, Saudi Arabia, China and India, had asked for the final version to reflect less certainty than the draft."

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659 comments

And the upsides? (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 years ago | (#18637271)

Siberians are happy about global warming. Siberia is now a happening place. Some Northern European countries are also digging it.

Re:And the upsides? (5, Funny)

dzelenka (630044) | about 7 years ago | (#18637575)

Global Warming has only negative side effects. You will go to hell for making statements to the contrary.

Who modded this offtopic? (3, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 7 years ago | (#18637961)

Canada is also a happening place. And they take in almost anybody. And I believe and they have a homesteading program where you can get your own large tract of land for free or nearly free. If I weren't already an American, I'd go for it even if I had to steal, jump fences, work aboard a cargo ship, swim and take assumed names along the way.

People forget that never in the history of Man has the climate not been changing. We survivors are the ones that went from where conditions were not survivable to where they were better. The ones who stayed behind are history. (Note to people in southern Florida: if your children can't breathe seawater, now would be a good time to find some land that won't be under water when they're grown.)

I don't buy it (1, Troll)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | about 7 years ago | (#18637273)

Forgive me for not towing the line, but I find this stuff really hard to believe.

Re:I don't buy it (5, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | about 7 years ago | (#18637345)

Care to elaborate on that? The models are available for you to play with. The basic experiments (CO2 laden air traps more heat) are easy to replicate. The satellite data indicating that the atmosphere is warming is available. The fact that we're releasing carbon into the atmosphere by the millions of tons is fairly simple to calculate.

None of that is absolutely conclusive, and could well be misleading or wrong, but when it comes to making policy it would be nice to have a more constructive argument than "I just don't buy it."

Re:I don't buy it (0, Troll)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | about 7 years ago | (#18637427)

Sure, you can play with the models, but there's no guarantee that the models are accurate. The experimental data seems questionable; they're saying that that the average temperature has risen less than one degree over the past century - I don't think you could possibly gather data that precise on temperatures, especially over 50 years ago.

Re:I don't buy it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637715)

50 years ago? Easily, very accurate measures were possible at this time. This was 1957! Science was vastly beyond crude measures. Now 100, or 150 years ago, this is a different story. 100 years ago there were some accurate measures, 150 years ago only crude ones (by todays standard).

Re:I don't buy it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637999)

50 years ago ?! Computers and microwaves existed. Nuclear weapons existed. 50 years ago, parity violation was confirmed in an experiment conducted fractions of a degree above absolute zero...

50 years ago, people were building the first DEDICATED WEATHER SATELLITES ! (Launched 47 years ago...)

You don't think people could measure atmospheric temperatures accurately enough to feed into a climate model a whole 50 years ago??? Get a clue, you're just ignorant of scientific history. Accurate temperature measurement for meteorological purposes was one of the first things developed in the history of science-as-we-know-it, given its obvious utility, especially at the height of the maritime era.

Hell, during the British Empire, weather stations were dotted around the globe recording temperatures to within a fraction of a degree almost 2 CENTURIES AGO.

Just how long do you think 50 years is? My mum is over 50 years old! Maybe you meant 50 jovian years, eh?

Re:I don't buy it (3, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | about 7 years ago | (#18637495)

OK, how 'bout the effect of CO2 on the atmosphere is not linear, it's logarithmic. Adding more CO2 beyond a certain point doesn't have that great an effect on temperature. Changes in solar output does. I don't buy it either.

BTW, when did genuine skepticism turn into trolling?? I wasn't expecting some kind of eco-inquisition.

Re:I don't buy it (1)

Manchot (847225) | about 7 years ago | (#18638027)

OK, how 'bout the effect of CO2 on the atmosphere is not linear, it's logarithmic.

So what? Whether the standard model predicts that it is quadratic, linear, exponential, or logarithmic doesn't matter. In essence, what you're saying is "I don't believe the data generated by the accepted model," and then turning around and saying, "I don't believe the data because the model predicts that temperature is logarithmic with CO2 levels." I believe that's called having your cake and eating it too.

By the way, when a few degrees can make all the difference, and we're pumping a shitload of excess carbon into the atmosphere, even a logarithmic increase spells bad news.

Re:I don't buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637609)

CO2's solubility in water is also easy to replicate. Warm water holds less CO2. Think oceans and solar warming.

http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2006/10/co2 _acquittal.html [rocketscie...ournal.com]

Re:I don't buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637649)

Carbonic acid is a conservative/replubican myth.

Re:I don't buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637747)

You must be a carbonic acid denier.

Re:I don't buy it (4, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | about 7 years ago | (#18637723)

The models are available for you to play with. The basic experiments (CO2 laden air traps more heat) are easy to replicate. The satellite data indicating that the atmosphere is warming is available.
That's all well and good, but aren't models and data only as accurate as the assumptions behind them?

Re:I don't buy it (3, Funny)

bcharr2 (1046322) | about 7 years ago | (#18637391)

Modern scientist's have been studying how this 100 million year old planet functions for literally decades now, so I am confident that they a complete and accurate understanding upon which to base their predictions. Sure they're only 50% accurate at predicting this weekend's weather, but still...

Re:I don't buy it (1)

flitty (981864) | about 7 years ago | (#18637781)

Sure they're only 50% accurate at predicting this weekend's weather, but still...
They also can't tell you what roll of the dice you'll get each time you roll, but they'll tell you the percentages if you roll those dice over 6 millions years.

Big mirror (1, Interesting)

debrain (29228) | about 7 years ago | (#18637275)

To cut down on the solar energy we receive, and counter global warming, could we put a big mirror at the Lagrange point [wikipedia.org] between here and the sun?

Re:Big mirror (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 7 years ago | (#18637441)

L1 is really far away (which means your mirror must be all that much larger), and is "unstable." A much better use of it is to leave it as clear as possible for spacecraft using the "interplanetary superhighway."

If you must build a giant mirror, a ribbon in any orbit small enough not to be rapidly perturbed by the moon would be more than sufficient, and much smaller in total surface area than a giant L1 disk.

Re:Big mirror (1)

jdigriz (676802) | about 7 years ago | (#18637479)

Yes, we could, but if you're going to go in for such megaengineering anyway, we may as well surface the mirror with solar panels and beam power via microwave back to Earth to replace some fossil fuel power plants. CO2 isn't the only problematic thing they produce. Thousands die every year due to respiratory ailments exacerbated by particulate matter and poor air quality. Burning coal puts toxic mercury into the environment and various radioactiive isotopes which though present in trace amounts in coal get expelled in signifigant amounts due to the scale of coal usage.

Re:Big mirror (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#18637631)

Blocking solar energy is just a Really Bad Idea all around. I mean, not only does it reduce our ability to collect solar energy for electricity but it reduces the ability of plants to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Stupid stupid idea.

 

Re:Big mirror (5, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | about 7 years ago | (#18637635)

Or you could have people paint their roofs white and use lighter tar on the streets white instead of the pitch black crap (would make night driving better too I assume), etcetera, to send back some solar energy once it gets on earth. You could genetically engineer grass to be light/white instead of green, and be "viral" so that entire patches of normal grass would be taken over by the stuff. It should also be emo grass, so it can cut itself.

That is why the melting of the artic/antartic would be a big problem - that white ice/snow reflects energy back to space, when it gets smaller, it effectively increases the amount of energy we recieve (I guess the oceans get warmer) and makes the whole warming process go that much faster.

Anyway, a few trillion gallons of white paint would be easier to procure and distribute than sending mega mirrors up to space -- even if they are made of mylar or something similiar.

Re:Big mirror (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#18638037)

Hmmm, I wonder if we could create cloads of the poles. perhaps by creating contrails over the poles.

Re:Big mirror (1)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | about 7 years ago | (#18637675)

Mirrors normally only reflect visible light...they don't do much to infrared or UV unless they're specifically designed to reflect those. Reflecting IR and UV requires vastly different construction and materials than a standard visible-light reflecting mirror.

Re:Big mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637705)

How about a pair of BIG Sun Glasses for the sun?

Re:Big mirror (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | about 7 years ago | (#18637731)

The cost of manufacturing and assembling such a huge mirror would be enormous, and risky.

Instead of creating a workaround solution up there, we'd be better off taking those hundreds of billions of dollars, and creating solutions down here, at less risk.

Re:Big mirror (1, Informative)

drix (4602) | about 7 years ago | (#18637741)

I sure hope not. It's a little unnerving that (not that I'm accusing you personally of this) the very same people who play devil's advocate by pointing out how little we know about the mechanisms of climate change, are the ones foisting up such silly technological quick fixes as this. Great idea, guys: since we've got such a firm grasp on what the effects of our last 200 gradually altering the climate have been, why not go ahead and decrease insolation by, I dunno, call it x, x in (0,1], (your guess is as good as mine where), in the span of a few months. That oughta be a fun ride.

Technology is not going to come to our rescue on this one, Slashdot. The sine qua non of all engineering is first fully understanding the problem, and we're nowhere close to that point. Our only guide then, is the past. There is an incontrovertible link between our industrial activity, atmospheric CO2 levels, and global warming--do not let the partisans on this site, or anywhere else, convince you otherwise. We need to cut our emissions and general ecological profile to levels more closely resembling a long, long time ago if we are to have any hope of averting this catastrophe.

WHAT? (1)

normuser (1079315) | about 7 years ago | (#18637773)

How could anyone ever think that lessening the amount of energy we receive from the sun could be a good thing?
Last I know we were already consuming our energy sources faster than could be replenished.
if anything we need a way to increase the amount of solar energy that makes it to our planet.

There was an article in the Oregonian about this (2, Informative)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 7 years ago | (#18637285)

Locally, it means more people moving out of the increasingly thirsty eastern Oregon counties, and to the water-flush Willamette Valley. Either that or a damn good opportunity for rain catch basins as snow pak decreases in the Cascades and annual rainfall increases only to wash away into the ocean before we can use it for our hot and thirsty summers.

those "several delegations" should *#$ themselves. (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 7 years ago | (#18637333)

Several delegations, including the US, Saudi Arabia, China and India, had asked for the final version to reflect less certainty than the draft."


and several delegations within the US want textbooks to reflect less certainty about evolution, and business interests want employment reports to reflect less certainty about offshoring..

these people should got @#$#@$ themselves because at this point there is no more contention on global warming besides those troglodites who refuse to let go of the past and want to politicise the issue.

Re:those "several delegations" should *#$ themselv (0, Troll)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | about 7 years ago | (#18637373)

and what about their reputations? (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 7 years ago | (#18637477)

and what are their reputations?

if theyre like the scientists who support ID then you have a problem.

Re:and what about their reputations? (-1, Flamebait)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | about 7 years ago | (#18637511)

There are scientists from many credible institutions up here. I can't check all of their reputations. That's irrelevant. Science is not a popularity contest. The environmental movement would like to make it one.

yes it is relevant. (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 7 years ago | (#18637657)

their reputations are based on peer review, not pupularity.. either their findings are unbiased, repeatable, and coherent with the full range of evidence or they are not..

repeated findings which show bias, lack repeatability, and/or are not coherent with the full range of evidence erodes reputation.

for example.. the ID assertions of a "great flood welling up from the ocean bottom" causing the continents to drift is a big fat steaming load which is not consistent with inch per year movement measured between alaska and eastern russia.

so no.. its not a popularity contest, it's a feasibility contest, and you have to prove their reputations if they have findings which run counter to the findings of the vast majority of the scientific community.

Re:yes it is relevant. (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | about 7 years ago | (#18637733)

well here [canada.com] is one very reputable scientist that disagrees with man made global warming.

debunk away......

Re:yes it is relevant. (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 7 years ago | (#18637835)

i never said man made.. weather it was man made is irrelevant at this point.

it's like debating weather an oncomming driver is drunk or not.. he's still gonna hit you and you should take precautions.

additionally, if implemented properly reduced emissions means more inputs are producing energy instead of being wasted out some exhaust system, we should welcome this from an economic standpoint.

Re:those "several delegations" should *#$ themselv (1)

owlnation (858981) | about 7 years ago | (#18637623)

I agree with you. There is scientific evidence to show that climate change is not driven by human activity.

But why on Earth quote wikipedia? It proves nothing, and it's just as bad for science.

When has the climate not changed? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637337)

Since we've had people on earth, we've had to face the risks of climate change.

II'd say the biggest difference now is that we subsidize people to live on shorelines and flood plains. Before we go crazy on carbon emissions, we should dump federal flood insurance and stop incentivizing people to live in stupid places.

Re:When has the climate not changed? (1, Flamebait)

wass (72082) | about 7 years ago | (#18637653)

Since we've had people on earth, we've had to face the risks of climate change.

Since we've had people live in cities on earth, they've lived primarily along coastal areas, including seas, lakes, and rivers.

II'd say the biggest difference now is that we subsidize people to live on shorelines and flood plains. Before we go crazy on carbon emissions, we should dump federal flood insurance and stop incentivizing people to live in stupid places.

I assume you're talking about the US here, as per your federal comment. But hey, what a great idea, let's not live near any shores because there's flooding and tornados. Who cares that that's where the majority of the populace of this country has been living since people first walked across the Bering land bridge.

Oh, and we can't live in the MidWest, that's Tornado Alley. Those people are just asking for tornado damage and it's federal relief funds.

Okay, that leaves the great SouthWest. Wait, but they have huge federal programs to bring in water and deal with increasing droughts and wild fires, so that area's out.

While we're at it, we must get rid of highways, some people don't drive cars and shouldn't be forced to pay for taxes that support national, state, and local highways for the priveledged car drivers. Especially things like railings for bridges, what a waste of money that good drivers are forced to pay for.

And get rid of schools, inherently intelligent geniuses like yourself shouldn't have to pay for those.

Hey, and I bet you're a relatively safe person, so you have no need for police, let's get rid of them. After all, if you're not a criminal, there's no need for cops, right?

Hmmm, back to your original proposal, how much living space is left? Let's cram in the 300 million people of the USA into those small safe pockets, that way we don't even need highways, maybe with the ensuing madness we won't need schools anyway.

Seriously, get off your fscking righteous high horse, no matter where you live in this country there are countless federal, state, and local programs that you're taking advantage of which other tax payers are subsidizing.

Wow, whodathunkit? (5, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | about 7 years ago | (#18637349)

The countries objecting are the 3 biggest oil consuming nations and one of the biggest oil exporting nations. Go figure that.

Bitch slap (4, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 7 years ago | (#18637363)

... billions of people face drought and famine, as well as an increase in natural disasters, as a result of climate change. Individuals in the poorest countries face the most danger, due to a lack of infrastructure and geographic location.
It's Nature's way of bitch-slapping us as a species. Unfortunately, she's not slapping the people either causing the change or have the power to do something about it. If Washington DC, Beijing, and a few other capital cities had several inches of standing water from increased sea level, you can bet something would be getting done.

Re:Bitch slap (1)

KillerCow (213458) | about 7 years ago | (#18637605)

If Washington DC, Beijing, and a few other capital cities had several inches of standing water from increased sea level, you can bet something would be getting done.


I'm not convinced of that. I think it would be easier to relocate a few miles inland than trying to change the world and it's economic structure (especially if you are sitting on top of that economic structure).

If you're a power hungry political type, would you want to be on the top of a shitty world, or risk giving that all up to be on the bottom of a nice one?

Nature isn't "bitch slapping" us... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637607)

...any more than gravity is "bitch slapping" someone who falls off a cliff.

Nature is. Nature doesn't love or hate us. Nature doesn't care about us. Nature will go on with or without us. There have been times when there was no ice anywhere on the planet. There have been times when the ice was kilometers thick. There have been times when there was no solid surface. These were all natural conditions. None of these are any more or less natural than the conditions we live in now.

Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637641)

Don't anthropomorphize nature, she hates that!

Besides, as an unthinking natural process, it's incapable of caring about, let alone getting upset over, what we do. Which means that *we* need to be the ones holding each other accountable for taking proper care of the environment.

Re:Bitch slap (1)

darjen (879890) | about 7 years ago | (#18637665)

you can bet something would be getting done.
What exactly would be getting done, and how would it be done?

Re:Bitch slap (0, Flamebait)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 7 years ago | (#18637667)

a few other capital cities had several inches of standing water from increased sea level, you can bet something would be getting done.

Yeah, they would pack up and move to higher ground just like any sensible person would do in a flood. I'm sorry, but rasiing gasoline taxes or charging "carbon credits" isn't going to make the ocean waves stop, King Canute [inspirationalstories.com]

[ Getting modded troll/flamebait in 3...2...1... ]

Re:Bitch slap (0, Redundant)

isotope23 (210590) | about 7 years ago | (#18637697)

Negative Ghostrider...

unless you think humans are to blame for warming mars as well [slashdot.org]?

I will grant you that human activity may be causing some of the warming trend. However I think the majority is due to the natural cycle of the sun. That said we as a species have done some really stupid things, i.e. locating all our major cities along the coasts, rampant overpopulation and the removal of population limiting factors (such as malaria etc) without taking into account what the results of these actions would be : less mortality -> population explosion -> mass starvation.

Whether we like to admit it or not, a large part of this problem is the carrying capacity of the earth. With no (or few) natural balancing factors to keep our species in check we will wreck the environment regardless. IMO chances are we will end up limiting ourselves (i.e. war of the thermonuclear variety) when the resource problem becomes acute.

Re:Bitch slap (1)

AaronW (33736) | about 7 years ago | (#18637929)

Interesting you should mention the warming of Mars. I recently read an article [nationalgeographic.com] that claims that Mars is warming because it has grown darker due to dust storms. This warming reinforces the dust storms, causing further warming.

-Aaron

How soon before the world blows up? (1, Insightful)

altoz (653655) | about 7 years ago | (#18637367)

I don't know about you, but seeing wilder and wilder predictions over the years on global warming have gotten me more and more cynical. It seems to me the IPCC reports are more and more intent on making it look worse and worse. I've also been told that the summaries in the past have exaggerated the findings in the actual chapters. Anyone know about this report?

Re:How soon before the world blows up? (2, Insightful)

Sciros (986030) | about 7 years ago | (#18637707)

I've done way too much reading on the topic, going so far as to look at the actual mathematics and stats behind it, and in conclusion am no longer as alarmed as I used to be. The average warming that we've experienced over the time period that the IPCC uses in its findings is rather inconsistent with the extrapolation (i.e. predictions) that they make as far as future warming is concerned. People can scream "conspiracy" or "personal agenda" all the want, but I'm not sure if it isn't just lazy science that arrives at what they're hoping to find. Let me find a link to something detailed... it may help... (sadly I find lots of bias in the *wording* of EVERY SINGLE PAPER on the topic, certainly including the IPCC reports that are in the habit of replacing probabilities with terms like "more likely than not" and "very likely" which serve to only make a statistician suspicious): ahref=http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/rel=ur l2html-24023 [slashdot.org]http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/ > (my issue with the essay I'm linking to is that even if it's an unbiased look at the topic, it certainly doesn't seem like it. Still, I have looked at the IPCC reports themselves and find them missing the sort of information that could be used to defend those reports against criticisms brought forth by the essay...)

Re:How soon before the world blows up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18638005)

The statistics haven't been replaced by english terms. The actual language that they use to base their conclusions on are directly linked to the statistical confidance of the data. In other words, 'more often than not' would be 55% confidance in the given conclusion. 'Very likely' would be something like 90%. They try very hard to be inclusive and are very careful on the language they use. Additionally, they are required to answer any questions that anyone has about the report.

I am going to pray to Saint Gore for protection (2, Funny)

The Media Mechanic (1084283) | about 7 years ago | (#18637369)

Saint Gore is the patron saint of Environmentalists. If you pray hard enough, he will make an appearance. He appears before you in a cloud of carbon dioxide, his chubby (face) cheeks glow with pride and joy, and he will bless you and praise you for doing your part to fight the evil demons of Global Warming, the coming of the Heat Inferno on Planet Earth.

Re:I am going to pray to Saint Gore for protection (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 7 years ago | (#18637785)

Just shut your carbon hole and buy your credits from Gore's company, then you can continue to pollute with impunity.

Or you can buy credits from me. I'm still working out a pricing schedule, and I won't actually do anything, but if you pay me enough money, I'll take responsibility for your carbon sinning. If everyone does that, then the world will be nearly pollution free, except for me, the most polluting person of all time, of course!

Re:I am going to pray to Saint Gore for protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637819)

And he'll come out of his mountain top home that consumes 20 times the energy of an average U.S. home [go.com] and fly around the world in jet airplanes (spewing forth untold amounts of CO2 into the upper atmosphere) to promulgate his prophecy.

The bigger the mouth, the bigger the hypocrite.

Wealth and Comfort (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637389)

How can we avert this disaster in the poorest countries? We should build them coal/oil fired power plants which will be used to supply energy to desalinate water and irrigate their crops.

Skirting the issue (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#18637397)

Search on mitigation in the summary and you'll find very little. These reports are definitely not looking at possible mitigation responses and are assuming increased carbon emission as the way things will be. Wonder who wants it that way?

Re:Skirting the issue (1)

The Media Mechanic (1084283) | about 7 years ago | (#18637529)

Good observation. It's fairly typical to make a big fuss an complain about problems in life... I mean, everybody's a critic, you know ? Whine whine whine, complain, complain, complain. Let's stop arguing about the problem, and make some changes, and get some real results and solutions. How hard can it be? We just need to elect a President who actually gives a damn about the environment instead of only paying lip service to it. Remember that next time you go to the voting booth... our democratically elected government has the power to incentivize clean energy and disincentivize dirty energy. Through tax credits, rebates, and tax cuts for clean alternative energy such as solar power, and corresponding higher taxes for fossil fuels.

Re:Skirting the issue (2, Insightful)

mutterc (828335) | about 7 years ago | (#18637547)

What's the realistic likelihood we will ever see carbon emissions mitigation?

There are too many moneyed interests who would be hurt by mitigation measures; they'll make sure we can't take any action.

There are also plenty of people convinced we'll ruin the economy by mitigating, despite the report from a former head of the World Bank (hardly a bastion of "liberal" ideology) showing the costs to the economy of global warming will be much greater than the costs of mitigation plus the costs of mitigated global warming.

Certainty (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | about 7 years ago | (#18637399)

Several delegations, including the US, Saudi Arabia, China and India, had asked for the final version to reflect less certainty than the draft.


I agree with that. We can't be certain. We've only got a few decades of really good data, and a few hundred years of approximate data prior to that. That's not enough to be certain to any degree about events that will play out over hundreds of years.

But that doesn't matter. We need to act on this whether (no pun intended) we're certain or not. The very fact we're not sure means we have no choice *in case we're right*. Not being certain works both ways. We're not certain it's a bit disaster, but neither are we certain it isn't. If we don't start taking action now then in 50 years time it may be too late. If we do take action then it might mean we all end up less wealthy, maybe even out of work if we work in a polluting industry, but is that really so bad if the cost of doing nothing is potentially the end of the human race, or even the sum of life on Earth? Sure, I'm a bit of a tree-hugging hippy liberal (lower case 'l') at heart, but I care that my children and children's children don't end up starving to death in a desert wasteland. With no trees. To hug.

bull.. we have millions of years of ice cores.. (3, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 7 years ago | (#18637561)

we have millions of years of ice core data giving us a feel for global temperature.. and because we continue to drill we get more and more data every year.

here is a sample of that data charted [daviesand.com]

One problem. (0, Troll)

Chas (5144) | about 7 years ago | (#18637439)

"This is another wake up call for governments, industry and individuals. We now have a clearer indication of the potential impact of global warming, some of which is already inevitable,"

Okay, first off, I'll pretend I fully buy into the "human-caused global warming" schtick. I don't. We may be CONTRIBUTORS, but not the root cause. But anyhoo, I'll bite in the "human-caused" thing for the sake of argument.

Even if the human race were to cease all industrial and agricultural output of greenhouse gas NOW (this very second), it wouldn't make a bit of difference in the warming trend. The material we've put in the atmosphere will continue this trend for at least the next century. So what exactly do they expect people to do?

People are going to have to do what they've always done when their environment gets hostile. Adapt.

mod parent up! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 7 years ago | (#18637749)

it's basically true, though i think its only 50 years, but it's been a while since ive read up on this, the figures could have been revised since then.

the point though is it takes a while for the pollutants to fully affect the atmosphere, so we need to make practical preparations in terms of securing greater disaster relief budgets, preparing for possible widespread destruction and rebuilding of coastal cities, and possible drastic changes to the geography and needs of many regions over the next century.

hopefully we do a good job at adapting.

Re:One problem. (1)

updog (608318) | about 7 years ago | (#18637933)

Even if the human race were to cease all industrial and agricultural output of greenhouse gas NOW (this very second), it wouldn't make a bit of difference in the warming trend.

WRONG. The warming will be more severe if we continue to emit CO2, and less severe if we stop.

So what exactly do they expect people to do?

Stop emitting CO2. e.g. build and buy cleaner cars, stricter emission controls on power plants, use less energy, etc.

Re:One problem. (3, Insightful)

wass (72082) | about 7 years ago | (#18638015)

Okay, first off, I'll pretend I fully buy into the "human-caused global warming" schtick. I don't. We may be CONTRIBUTORS, but not the root cause. But anyhoo, I'll bite in the "human-caused" thing for the sake of argument.

Please propose a scientifically reasonable solution as to what is causing global warming if it's not human based, and one that's consistent with 100,000+ years of earth temperature variations along with CO2 levels and solar activity, data of which we do have.

Even if the human race were to cease all industrial and agricultural output of greenhouse gas NOW (this very second), it wouldn't make a bit of difference in the warming trend. The material we've put in the atmosphere will continue this trend for at least the next century. So what exactly do they expect people to do?

You are correct that we cannot just limit everything, even the most conservative models that assume we all buy hybrids, cut down on driving, and stop increasing global population, still lead to runaway levels of CO2 in a century or so.

I attended a physics colloquium by a government scientist, the guy who actually got Bush to include the bit about alternative energy and 'switchgrass' in last years State of the Union address. So this guy answers to Bush, convinced Bush to mention this, and even this guy himself,who you might assume would thus be an oil-lobby crony, says we have to have an action plan ready within a century or so.

So seriously, show me a single professional scientist who says we don't need to do anything to stop global warming, or has a reasonable explanation as to why CO2 levels are HUGELY above anywhere they've been over the past severla hundred thousand years, and is fully consistent with CO2, solar, and temperature data over this time span.

Now anyway, what this government scientist proposed to do is immediately work on alternative energy programs and get ourselves off of carbon-based sources. One plan is do nothing, as you are implying we do, which could be an acceptable solution if you're statistically certain we're not the cause of warming and that nothing disastrous will happen. Are you statistically certain, other than your contrarian desire to say you don't buy the global warming theories?

What this guy did do is propose energy plans for all energies, from coal, to nuclear, to wind, to solar, and showed that NONE except solar are able to satisfy our expanding energy needs and to fully power the country renewably while reducing carbon footprint.

It makes perfect sense thermodynamically too, as ALL power (except geothermal) is solar energy anyway, so you get the highest efficieny if you go straight to the energy source itself. There are great improvements in solar heating techniques (ie, use mirrors to heat liquid in a pipe to turn turbines), and that is where he thought the future is.

Doing that in the next few years will allow us to reduce the carbon footprint and not get stuck in this level.

Another thing to consider are that the ocean has been absorbing CO2 for the past 100 years anyway, and when that saturates, CO2 levels in the atmosphere will skyrocket.

BILLIONS????? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637461)

uhh.. that is a lot of money...

Tag this story.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637483)

yetanothergwdebate

L.A will become a dust bowl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637487)

That's what I heard on KTLA this morning. A dust bowl just like in the 1930's. I see a potential for cheap California real estate... Chinatown anyone :)

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637509)

We will just counter global warming with a nuclear winter.

Source? (0, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#18637637)

"IPCC Scientists" sounded pretty official, so I googled it up.

established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the IPCC is the authoritative international body charged with studying climate change. The IPCC surveys the worldwide technical and scientific literature on climate change and publishes assessment reports.

Ok, so they dont conduct their own research. They aren't really scientists, are they?

Sounds like one could make an argument they spend their days digging up reasons for themselves to even exist. I mean, surely a task force set up to "survey global warming research" doesn't have it in their best interests to conclude anything less than doom and gloom.

Being UN funded, no doubt they are highly politically motivated, and likely corrupt from the top down. I'm sure this is all fronting up another Kyoto-like scheme to redisperse US money around the world.

But hey, maybe if we all jerk our knees hard enough at the same time, the earth will cool down a lil bit.

Also, (most) people are smart enough to move when their land floods or dries out. The entire population of a geographic area doesn't have to die, most will relocate and/or adapt, as we've always done.

Re:Source? (1)

feepness (543479) | about 7 years ago | (#18637763)

Sounds like one could make an argument they spend their days digging up reasons for themselves to even exist. I mean, surely a task force set up to "survey global warming research" doesn't have it in their best interests to conclude anything less than doom and gloom.

I won't keep clapping to keep the lions away if you don't pay my salary.

See any lions? Nope? Pay up!

Billions (5, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 7 years ago | (#18637689)

I thought the radical Environmentalist wanted 5.5 - 6.0 billion people removed from the face of the earth.

http://www.thegeorgiaguidestones.com/Message.htm [thegeorgia...stones.com]

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

Re:Billions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18637891)

Well, wouldn't the best way to achieve population reduction on this massive scale be done though disease and famine? Seems to me they've found their means...do nothing.

no surprise its them. (2, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | about 7 years ago | (#18637709)

>> US, Saudi Arabia, China and India, had asked for the final version to reflect less certainty than the draft.

Gee what a surpise that those countries are objecting, given that those are mostly the worst polluters and also the worst countries for politically spinning and socially engineering information.

Billions hate it when things change, news at 11 (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | about 7 years ago | (#18637759)

Never mind that our ancestors migrated from one place to another because they couldn't stand the {political, environmental, social, etc.} conditions where _they_ were born. That was normal. It's _our_ changes that mean the end of the world. And if you don't believe that, some say that you're not open-minded.

Does anyone grok that property values in northern climates will be _rising_ if global warming turns out to be true? That the ice caps on _Mars_ are melting, so if global warming is a fact, it may having nothing to do with SUV's? And if that SUV's are a culprit, that Gore uses _private jets_ and _air conditioned limos_ to arrive at speaking engagements?

Does anyone else see there's more going on here than environmental alarmists would have you believe?

Re:Billions hate it when things change, news at 11 (3, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | about 7 years ago | (#18637973)

You do realise that it doesn't necessarily follow that global warming == warmer climate?

One example is the gulf stream that is the only thing keeing Northern England and Scotland from being under metres of ice is already starting to change direction as a result of global warming.

>> Does anyone else see there's more going on here than environmental alarmists would have you believe?
Yes, that its largely the American population (also conicidentally per capita the worst polluters by far) who are in denial and are grapsing at any available feeble excuse to avoid having to change their behviour.

Re:Billions hate it when things change, news at 11 (2, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | about 7 years ago | (#18637975)

Never mind that our ancestors migrated from one place to another because they couldn't stand the {political, environmental, social, etc.} conditions where _they_ were born. That was normal. It's _our_ changes that mean the end of the world.

There are six and a half billion people on the Earth now in vast settled communities. We're not a few thousand nomads who can just up sticks and hike across the hills to somewhere nicer. We're an entire global civilisation existing three meals from disaster. When Bangladesh floods, where should its population migrate to? Where's free? When the Midwest turns back into a dust bowl, and when China's rice fields dry out, how quickly can we identify alternative food sources and establish industrial-scale farming there? What happens in the meantime? How many millions starve? How many die in desperate wars for food and for water?

Whether we're causing climate change or not, we are facing disaster from it. Sure, it's happened before, and sure the Earth will recover in time, but that doesn't comfort me much. I for one would like to keep as many as possible of those six and a half billion alive through this.

Meanwhile we spend vast fortunes turning the Middle East upside down to hunt a guy who killed a few thousand people once. Priorities, eh?

More Hysteria (1, Interesting)

AtomicSnarl (549626) | about 7 years ago | (#18637811)

Sorry folks, but as a 30 year weather guy, I have to call B.S.

In the 1970's, the worry was Global Cooling, because global temps were on a down swing, so we're all going to die. Now they're tending upwards, so we're all going to die. Oh, and there was an Ozone Hole, so we're all going to die. You get the idea.

The global temps were much warmer than today from the 1300's to 1500's. Greenland was actually green and you could grow grapes in Scotland. The 1600's saw a cool period -- see Maunder Minimum [wikipedia.org]. Around 14,000 years ago, when Europe, northern Asia and North America were under the ice, Egypt and North Africa were grassy plains. Therer were plenty of rivers through the Saraha, and the Qatar Depression was a lake. The ice age ended and the climate changed. Guess what -- animals and people moved along with it. The melted ice cap meant the oceans rose a few hundred feet, so the coastline changed too. Polar bears still know how to swim.

The Carbon Dioxde and temperature pattern are correlated, but from Statistics 101, day 1, Correlation is NOT causation. BTW -- warmer conditions mean more plant growth, so more C02 is a likely RESULT of a temperature rise, not a percussor. WATER VAPOR is the earth's primary "greenhouse" gas, and many times more significant than C02, because Water Vapor forms CLOUDS.

Without the atmosphere, the earth's blackbody temp would be 255K/-18C/0F. The atmosphere [lwr.kth.se] makes the effective temperature 288K/15C/59F, which is why 15C is part of the International Standard Atmosphere [usyd.edu.au].

The point is that warming and cooling are going to come and go because solar cycles come and go. The last 14,000 years or so have been (mostly) warming -- the most recent (of many) ice ages ended. No doubt things will continue to fluctuate, and so what? We'll adapt.

If you were able to watch UK Channel 4's "The Great Global Warming Swindle" [channel4.com], it's been pulled from YouTube for copyright issues. Pity. It was spot on.

Re:More Hysteria (0, Troll)

dlhm (739554) | about 7 years ago | (#18638001)

You are absolutely right. But people won't believe you, most laymen are mental-midgets, and do not have the capacity to think on scales of a global magnitude. The problem doesn't lie in what the people are doing but in what people are able to conceive.

Black body temp stupid question. (1)

Radon360 (951529) | about 7 years ago | (#18638043)

Without the atmosphere, the earth's blackbody temp would be 255K/-18C/0F.

Stupid question on my part: How do places on earth regularly get below this temperature with an atmosphere?

Solar wind chill? (I joke).

In all seriousness, if that temperature is a correct fact, and the atmosphere is our blanket to keep us warmer than -18C/0F, how do we radiate more heat to get below that background temperature?

I f real or not (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 7 years ago | (#18637873)

The US and other G8 countries are spending a bunch of money to compensate for a warmer world, including things like alternative energy, GM food, and the like. The US is also apparently funneling a bunch of money through the MCA [mca.gov]. This is all good. my question is we are spending money to hedge against the risk, then why are we not also spending some money to reduce the suspected causes of the risk. If it were a terrorist risk, we would have no problem spending $500 billion to fight even the most unlikely causes. OTOH, we can't even ask industry and individual to try not to pollute so much. It amazing me that we will fine people who throw a 1 oz tissue out a car window $500, but have not problem with the same person producing 1 kg of CO2 for every mile driven in the big truck or SUV, multiplied but the 60 commute every day. Insane.

I can't wait. (1, Insightful)

dlhm (739554) | about 7 years ago | (#18637909)

In 50-100 years people will look back and think, "what arrogant fools", what poor uneducated sheeple" to believe that they could affect climate on a global scale. Brings a whole new meaning to terraforming, when people think we are reforming our own terra.

So the real debate ought to be... (1)

caseih (160668) | about 7 years ago | (#18637931)

given that climate change is a fact, should we spend money in the hope that somehow we can reverse any human causes of climate change, or devote money to adapting to the warmer climate? If we cannot reverse the climate changing, and warming on Mars and other planetary bodies suggests there are significant non-human factors involved here, then spending significants amounts of money in "saving the environment" as it were will lead to the problems for billions of people, if the article's estimate on the impact is correct. For health reasons alone we need to spend money to fix how we treat the environment, but we need to make sure we're analyzing the full costs and benefits. To date every thing I've heard about stopping global warming involves things that could cause more environmental destruction. Corn ethanol is a prime example.

let's get all talking points out of the way (4, Insightful)

xlurker (253257) | about 7 years ago | (#18637947)

of all deniers I can only say:
  • Opinions and false beliefs, based on ignorance, sadly cannot be swayed by reason.
  • "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." - Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
and for all deniers I provide this practical list, pick your poison:

  • There is no real evidence of warming, just model predictions.
  • Global Warming is nothing but an environmentalist hoax.
  • One warmest year on record is not global warming.
  • The surface temperature record is so full of assumptions and corrections that it only says wha
  • In the 1970's they said a new ice age was coming.
  • Global temperatures over just one hundred years doesn't mean anything.
  • Glaciers have always grown and receded. A few glaciers receeding today is not proof of Global
  • Climate scientist are trying to hide the dominant role of water vapor in Global Warming.
  • H2O is the only significant greenhouse gas.
  • There is no proof that CO2 is what is causing the temperature to go up.
  • The current warming is just a part of natural variations, humans have nothing to do with it.
  • It was even warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
  • The Medieval Warm Period was just as warm as it is today.
  • All in all, a warmer climate sounds like a good thing.
  • Reducing fossil fuel usage is mass suicide.
  • Even if we fully implemented the Kyoto protocol it would have virtually no effect on the tempe
  • Why do India and China get a free pass? That's not fair, no wonder the US did not join.
  • But there is Global Warming on Mars, without any SUV's or human influence at all.
  • It was very cold in Wagga Wagga today, this proves there is no Global Warming.
  • The ice core records show clearly that CO2 rising is an effect of rising temperatures, not a c
  • There is no consensus yet on the cause or even the reality of Global Warming.
  • Ice sheets in the Antarctic are growing which proves Global Warming isn't real.
  • Volcanoes emit way more CO2 than people, so emissions controls would be useless.
  • Global Warming is an illusion caused by the Urban Heat Island Effect.
  • We can't even predict the weather next week, forget about 100 years from now!
  • Greenland used to be nice and warm and the vikings lived there happily until the Little Ice Ag
  • Climate is a chaotic system and just like the stock market, forget about predicting where it w
  • The models are unproven and therefore unreliable.
  • Satellites are more reliable and they show cooling.
  • But the temperature dropped all through the 40's and 50's while CO2 rose, there must be someth
  • The Null Hypotheis says the warming is natural.
  • Geological history is full of periods where CO2 was high and temperatures were low and vice ve
  • The climate is always changing, no reason to think it is our fault.
  • Natural emissions of carbon are 30 times bigger than human emissions, so any reductions are us
  • CO2 is measured on Mauna Loa, which is an active volcano. That is why the levels are so high
  • Global Warming began about 20,000 years ago, humans have nothing to do with it.
  • Even if the ice caps melt, the water will go into the ground underneath.
  • CO2 has risen on its own before, no reason to assume it is our fault.
  • The Hockey Stick is broken, global warming theory falls apart.
  • No one knows how confident the models really are.
  • There is no historical precedent for CO2 causing warming, it is the opposite.
  • James Hansen is being an alarmist, just like before.
  • Position statements hide legitimate scientific debate.
  • Climate Models don't even take cloud effects into consideration.
  • Global Warming stopped eight years ago!
  • Global warming is caused by the sun, of course.
  • The United States actually absorbs more CO2 than it emits.
  • Most of the glaciers are growing, just a few are shrinking.
  • If we don't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
  • Global Dimming is stronger in the north, so how come it is not warming more in the south?
  • "Probaby", "likely", "evidence suggests". Even the scientist aren't sure AGW is real!
  • Sea ice in the Antarctic is growing.
  • This alledged consensus is just because scientists are afraid to speak out.
  • Some locations are actually cooling, which shouldn't happen if there is global warming.
  • The small observed warming shows that the climate models are overestimating CO2's importance.
  • Sea level measurments in the Arctic Ocean show that it is falling, not rising!
  • Today's warming is just a natural rebound from the Little Ice Age.

Billions face risks - only...? (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 7 years ago | (#18638039)

Maybe it's just because I've only heard the soundbites on this so far, such as "Report says warming to hit poorest people hardest"...and "The poorest of the poor in the world -- and this includes poor people in prosperous societies -- are going to be the worst hit," Pachauri said. "People who are poor are least able to adapt to climate change."

Fine, but you know what...in terms of problems and people, those billions of po' folk are not just going to hang out and wait for the vultures. They are going to make life just as worrisome for the rich folk, regardless of continent. Didn't we just hear how the US Southwest is the next dust bowl?

In other words, there is no comfort to be taken by anyone once a ball like this gets rolling, so spare the demographic studies and start cleaning out that old bombshelter, cause the hard rain is gonna fall...
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