Thursday, February 19, 2009

Climate change is here, now. What will *you* do?

For some people, coming to grips with climate change, unless you live in a very sensitive area (like Australia, or in the Arctic circle), is difficult, particularly in regard of:
1. the immediacy of the problem
2. whether it's happening
3. what to do

I talk to a lot of snowboarders and skiers and young people in general, and there seems to be a lot of indifference to the problem. Why that is is beyond me, but it's something that needs addressing and is a strong focus for Heresy. After all, global warming means diminished (or no) snow seasons, and that to me is not acceptable.

In terms of what you can do, there's plenty, so I won't go into that, but rather address the first two points.

Despite some remaining scepticism, both from serial denialists and from objective scientists, a huge body of observational and measured evidence points to not just the presence of climate change, but an active effect on the Earth, now.

What does this mean? Basically we have gone from CC being a problem "in the future", to one affecting us right now.

Now many of our readers might switch off at some of the science, but we just wanted to pull a few extracts from an excellent article by the Very Excellent DO yourself a favour and read the article - it's not that long. Be informed.

This article talks about the problem that pro-GW/CC scientists face when convincing people of the merits of believing the evidence, and acting to mitigate the problem.

This is not fear-mongering, but it is frightening. Here we have emininent scientists reporting not just that GW is here, now, but it is a lot worse than originally thought.

We are now looking at temperature increases that will not just pose serious issues to low lying ski resorts (Australia, some in Europe), but start affecting more European and US resorts.

If you're not concerned about this, and/or not acting, I am asking you "why not".

Not long ago, most climate scientists stuck to the future tense when they talked about the impacts of global warming. Now, they are using the present tense — and using it more and more often. Now, they tell us the damages have arrived in the United States.

In other words, climate change isn’t just a problem for our kids anymore. It’s here and now and getting personal.

It continues:
They’ll also introduce information to update the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose findings now are considered conservative and “wishy washy” by many in the science community, in light of more recent research and its more extreme conclusions. As Michael Lemonick reports in Yale Environment 360:

Since (2007), new reports have continued to pour in from all over the world, and climate modelers have continued to feed them into their supercomputers. And while a full accounting will have to wait for the next IPCC report, which is already being assembled (but which will not go to the printer until 2014), the news is not encouraging.

The new reports, many of them documented in an October 2008 paper by the World Wildlife Fund, include estimates that sea level rise may be triple what scientists projected just two years ago; that we should start preparing for an average atmospheric temperature rise of 4o C, twice the level the European Union defines as “dangerous”; that the Arctic Circle may be ice-free 20 years ahead of the most pessimistic IPCC projections; that carbon dioxide emissions are accelerating faster than expected; and that some of these adverse impacts already are locked and irreversible for the next 1,000 years.

From the article:
John Holmes, the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, concluded:

Climate change is not some futuristic scenario, it’s happening today, and millions of people are already suffering the consequences.

Back in 2005, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies convened scores of experts in Colorado to analyze the gap between what scientists were saying and what the public was willing to do. Dan Abbasi, then associate dean, wrote the conference report and this conclusion:

The problem of climate change is almost perfectly designed to test the limits of any modern society’s capacity for response — one might even call it the “perfect problem” for its uniquely daunting confluence of forces.

One of those daunting forces is the “psychological barriers that complicate apprehension and processing of the issue, due in part to its perceived remoteness in time and place”.

Four years later, climate change and its risks are remote no more. For example, a fresh report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, currently in draft form and undergoing public review, concludes:

Climate-related changes already have been observed globally and in the United States. These include increases in air and water temperatures, reduced frost days, increased frequency and intensity of heavy downpours, a rise in sea level, and reduced snow cover, glaciers and sea ice… These changes are expected to increase and will impact human health, water supply, agriculture, coastal areas, and many other aspects of society and the natural environment.

Or consider this June 2008 report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program:

Changes in extreme weather and climate events have significant impacts and are among the most serious challenges to society in coping with a changing climate. Many extremes and their associated impacts are now changing. For example, in recent decades most of North America has been experiencing more unusually hot days and nights, fewer unusually cold days and nights, and fewer frost days. Heavy downpours have become more frequent and intense. Droughts are becoming more severe in some regions, though there are no clear trends for North America as a whole. The power and frequency of Atlantic hurricanes have increased substantially in recent decades.

Now this is frightening reading. Check climateprogress's RSS feed out. They have some frightening information, which is well worth reading so you realise the import of this issue on your future lifestyle.

1 comment:

Rogue said...

"I talk to a lot of snowboarders and skiers and young people in general, and there seems to be a lot of indifference to the problem. Why that is is beyond me..."

It's quite simple: they are stupid and couldn't give a toss.

It's not because they lack information, or they didn't realise it wasn't happening it's simply because they don't care.

People would rather fvck the planet than change their life one iota.

So sit back, relax, and watch the apocalypse - for while it may not be born of Yahweh or Allah, it is surely coming - spawned by our stupidity and selfishness.

(but hey, feel free to prove me wrong other readers - because this is one subject I'd be happy for you to rise up on)