global warming warning…

Posted on Sunday 18 November 2007

The Nobel-winning IPCC group of climate scientists on Saturday issued their starkest warning yet on global warming, prompting a UN demand for politicians to smash the deadlock on tackling the worsening threat. In a panorama of the evidence, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared that the impact of global warming could be "abrupt or irreversible" and no country would be spared.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed to political leaders to push for "a real breakthrough" at a key conference running on the Indonesian island of Bali from December 3-14. "We cannot afford to leave Bali without such a breakthrough," he said, branding climate change as the "defining challenge of our age." Global warming bore the seeds of "catastrophe" yet there was also hope, he said. "There are real and affordable ways to deal with climate change." The new report is intended to act as a guide to policymakers for years to come. It summarises three massive assessments published this year on the evidence for global warming, its impacts and the options for tackling the emissions that cause it.

The report said notably:

  • Evidence of the planet’s warming was now "unequivocal" and the effects on the climate system could be "abrupt or irreversible."
  • Retreating glaciers and loss of alpine snow, thinning Arctic summer sea ice and thawing permafrost show that climate change is already on the march.
  • By 2100, global average surface temperatures could rise by between 1.1 C (1.98 F) and 6.4 C (11.52 F) compared to 1980-99 levels.
  • Sea levels will rise by at least 18 centimetres (7.2 inches). An earlier estimate of an upper limit of 59 centimetres (23.2 inches) does not take into account "uncertainties" about the impact of disrupted carbon cycles and melting icesheets in Greenland and the Antarctic, the new report says.
  • Heatwaves, rainstorms, tropical cyclones and surges in sea level are among the events expected to become more frequent, more widespread or more intense this century.
  • "All countries" will be affected by climate change, but those in the forefront are poor nations, especially small island states and developing economies where hundreds of millions of people live in low-lying deltas.
  • Reducing emissions can be met at moderate cost relative to global GDP, but the window of opportunity for quickly reaching a safer, stable level is closing fast.
I’m getting tired of ranting about the Bush Administration. There are plenty of more interesting things to talk about. But in this case, the World is saying we have to act quickly. The government of the United States in not only not on board, we haven’t even left the dock. Recently, when the World had a conference on global warming, Bush had an alternative conference that concluded nothing – absolutely nothing. He keeps talking about history judging him. This is where history will deservably bury him. The richest country in the world, the same country that most contributes to the global warming itself, has been asleep for seven years while ruled by a group of people who represent the offending industry [oil], not the people whom they serve – tragic, reckless, irresponsible behavior [at best], better characterized as criminal neglect

see also Ten Years and Counting and UN chief demands climate ‘breakthrough’ after key report:

During five days of negotiations, the United States repeatedly challenged passages emphasizing the level of threat posed by climate change, objecting that the wording was imprecise.

The "scientific definition" of the dangers of climate change "is lacking, and so we are operating within the construct of, again, strong agreement among world leaders that urgent action is warranted," said Jim Connaughton, chairman of White House’s Council on Environmental Quality.

The United States is the only major developed economy that has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which requires industrialised countries to make targeted commitments on curbing their greenhouse gases.
    November 18, 2007 | 3:33 PM

    Hopefully this warning is enough for congress to push through a strong energy bill. There are provisions that call for renewable electricity sources and a fuel economy standard of 35 mpg by the year 2020. Unfortunately lobbyists are trying to have these removed, but its time for the environment to be a higher priority than big business. There is a peititon here if you want to help spread the word

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