Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Playing It "Unsafe" With Global Warming

I am always astonished at the global warming deniers who deride the International Panel on Climate Change as being extremist. In reality, the IPCC warnings have fallen far short of the mark, time and again. There's a reason for that. IPCC reports are consensus based, meaning that critical concessions have to be made to pry support out of countries with governments like the Bush/Cheneys. What you get may not be pleasant to contemplate but you need to understand just how watered down these reports truly are. That explains why the IPCC consistently underestimates the pace of warming and the spreading effects sustained.

From CanWest News Service:

The United Nation's celebrated climate change panel has "seriously underestimated" the challenge of curbing global CO2 emissions, say Canadian and U.S. researchers.

Radical "decarbonization" of the global energy system is needed to stabilize emissions - a task that is much more daunting than the panel has led the world to believe, the researchers report in journal Nature on Wednesday.

"The size of this technology challenge has been seriously underestimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," say economist Christopher Green at McGill University in Montreal and his U.S. colleagues. The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for its work showing how human activities are warming the climate system, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Green and his colleagues say many of the panel's scenarios are unrealistic and are diverting attention away from the task of getting on with transformation of the global energy system.
China's carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to be rising at a rate of 11 to 13 per cent a year, more than twice the rate projected by the IPCC, the researchers say. They predict the economic transformation will expand across South Asia, and eventually Africa, until well beyond 2050.

"The world is on a development and energy path that will bring with it a surge in carbon-dioxide emissions - a surge that can only end with a transformation of global energy systems," says Green and his co-authors Roger Pielke Jr, of the University of Colorado, and Tom Wigley, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

They say the IPCC has not only underestimated the technological challenge, but plays a "risky game" in assuming much of the necessary innovation will occur spontaneously.

Green said in an interview that much time has already been lost - global carbon dioxide emissions have been climbing at more than three per cent a year since 2000, more that triple the rate in the 1990s, despite years of international talks about reducing emissions.

"We are going in the wrong direction rapidly," says Green, pointing to the rising emissions.


Scruffy Dan said...

anyone who seriously contends that the IPCC is extremist truly has no idea what they are talking about.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hey Dan. There was a time when we thought that knowledge was power but I think we've all seen over the past decade the awesome power of brute ignorance and fear. It is indeed something to behold.

The Mound of Sound said...
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Anonymous said...

The rhetoric on both sides hurts the message. First it was Global Warming, when we found out the earth wasnt really warming and the seas were not really rising the message changed to Climate Change. We are told that Canada must act, but, then when the truth comes out we find out that what ever we can accomplish in 10 years is counter acted by China in a month. Al Gore now has net worth of 115 million US dollars thanks to Global Warming,,ooops..Climate Change...and then after all this you still dont understand why the denier's numbers climb. Every year the climate changes, the climate can change from one day to the next, the climate has changed since the begining of the earth. I dont doubt that humans and pollution are changing our earth, how can it not, but, I like millions of others get skeptical when we are told that the only way to fix our earth is to vote for one political party rather than the other, when, if everyone was truthful we'd be told that the key to Global Warming or Climate Change is China, India, Russia and the US, and, that Canada can be a leader but, unless those 4 country's follow we are all doomed.

The Mound of Sound said...

Well Bill, I hate to burst your bubble but the earth IS warming, even if it's not terribly noticeable in your particular corner of it. Go to northern Canada. The Inuit will undisputably show you how it's warming and how that's threatening their very way of life. Go to sub-Saharan Africa and you'll see all the global warming you can stomach. Try Greece or Turkey or check out Tibet and the glaciers that are in retreat, the same ice packs that are critical to the supply of freshwater to one third of the world's inhabitants. Open your eyes Bill, this is going on everywhere.

No Bill, that silly nonsense of no global warming is over. If you don't see it, it's only because you deliberately choose not to see it. But if you're not willing to read what's actually going on and at least summaries of the research that's coming in daily, please take your "no global warming" nonsense somewhere else.

There's no question that China and India have to be dealt with. I did a post on March 28 entitled "Carbon taxes to level playing field" which might interest you. It's an idea endorsed by a CIBC economist as a way to actually reclaim manufacturing in North America and it makes sense.

You're out of line slagging Gore. All the profits he made from that movie have been invested in his latest campaign. He added his Nobel prize money and matched that out of his own pocket. He powers that house with batteries of solar panels and the rest of his electricity he buys from renewable energy sources.

No one is telling you the only way to fix the earth is to vote for but one political party. The fact remains that we have one political party that claims global warming is the greatest threat to mankind and then does everything it can to drag its heels. Let's put it this way, if you want to help fix the earth, DON'T vote for that party.

The Mound of Sound said...

Oh, and Bill, before I forget. Don't take the global warming issue in isolation. It's just one part of a much greater problem we're facing. Add to it resource depletion, species extinction (particularly fisheries), deforestation, other forms of air, water and soil contamination, desertification, freshwater exhaustion, nuclear proliferation, climate migration and overall social unrest. I'm sure there are other issues I forgot at the moment. The point is, Bill, we have to address all of these issues - each and every one of them - or all our efforts on the others will be vitually meaningless. This is one giant shitstorm for humanity, Bill, and it's time we looked up and saw the approaching clouds while we can still do something about it.

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Anonymous said...

Then why is it now called Climate Change instead of Global Warming? You guys are so full of crap its mind boggling. What has the Liberal premier of Ontario done? Zilch...why??...he'd never survive the backlash from voters. Chretien, Martin and now Harper. Impliment harsh Kyoto regulations and your committing political suicide. You hate it when I say that but I'm not sure why you cannot admit that friggin truth, and that is if you want real carbon caps and hard industry regulations vote Bloc or NDP...because they are the only two party's stupid enough impliment Kyoto regulations in a short period of time instead of a 50 year program. And dont even bother going on about 50 years may be too late, because, China pukes out more GHG's in a year then we could save in 10. billg

The Mound of Sound said...

Hey Bill, take a pill, calm down. Does it actually matter to you what it's called? As I recall it, "climate change" was the benign term of choice of the bush admin - but so what?

Sorry to say this Bill but you've taken a nihilistic attitude, even if you don't recognize that.

Look at it this way. The roots of the current problem go back as far as the 60's. We had no idea about it then. If we had, we'd have been able to take some relatively minor steps to ameliorate what followed. That was our first and best option but we didn't know enough to realize it.

Since then we've had several other "best" options slip through our fingers, each a bit worse than the one that preceded it.

We're now well down the list of options and, you're right, they could be somewhat disruptive but not nearly what we'll be facing if we leave this unresolved for another decade or two.

There are a lot of solutions, Bill, and we will wind up taking one of them - whatever remains open to us - eventually. It won't be nearly as pleasant or convenient as the solutions available to us now but we will be forced to take what we can get.

Tell me Bill, what's your answer to global warming, deforestation, desertification, air,water,and soil pollution, resource depletion, species extinction, freshwater exhaustion? The only answer I've ever heard from you is "nothing." Not good enough Bill, not at all.

So, since you're so enthusiastic about criticizing everyone else, you come up with some answers for once. C'mon, let's hear them.

Anonymous said...

How come no one will sell me their waterfront properties for 2 cents an acre it will all be under water soon.All the deniers must own the waterfront property.Funny Huh.Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

The Mound of Sound said...

There's a reason they won't sell you their waterfront properties for 2 cents an acre, Anon. They know you can't come up with that kind of money.

Anonymous said...

Clean the air, clean the water, stop dumping sewage into the Oceans, start capturing CO2. No biggie. Do it in a timely manner and a progressive time table to ensure manufacturers and business's are not handcuffed. Tax cuts for Hydrids and Bio-diesel vehicles. Take the next 50 years a cut our dependency on oil. Fuel cells, electric cars, ethonal and methonal. Take 50 years and make sure all our energy comes from Hydro or Nuclear. I dont trust the Libs because they are about symbols and pretty words and very little action. I dont trust the NDP because they are zeolots and what should take 50 years they'd try to do in 10, and, if this new Con party cant get an action plan together then I'm back to the Libs. What you dont understand or dont want to understand is that 99% of Canadians want clean air and clean oceans and clean energy, but, we also want social progams, and, most of understand that our social programs are paid for by taxes...and screwing around with our economy for the sake of o.ooo5 percent of GHG's is foolish when, if you involve industry and a workable timetable all of this can be completed. Your welcom. billg

The Mound of Sound said...

Just what is it with you, Bill? Is it Fridays or the beer or The Boss? Just curious but for some reason we seem to get close to agreement on things on Fridays.

You see, you and I aren't that far off from what you're suggesting. We're not going to get there overnight and there's an enormous international dimension to this and that's going to have to be tackled - hard.

I think where we disagree is your perception that getting to meaningful reductions in GHG emissions has to cripple Canada's economy. Bill my friend, during the Cold War we "invested" up to 4%of GDP into containing the evil Soviets and you're plenty old enough to remember just how fat and sassy we were back then. The Stern Report and other analyses show that "going green" will take a fraction of that, possibly as low as 1% while not taking effective action, now, could wind up costing us over 12% of GDP in two decades.

China and India and emerging polluters do need to be given a huge wedgie but we can even do that by enacting carbon import tariffs. Once it becomes cheaper for them to clean up they'll do it for their own good. The Chinese already are scared shitless about this. Just look at pictures of their cities. They know they're poisoning themselves and they risk social unrest and their economic future if they let this go on. They've got a mountain to climb and the know it. Their biggest hurdle is corruption in local governments that turn a blind eye to regional factories that ignore regulations. Oh well.

In any case, Bill, it's the denial industry that paints remedial action as economic Armageddon. It doesn't have to be that way at all but they know they can play the public with scare tactics.

Well William, have a good weekend.


Scruffy Dan said...

"your perception that getting to meaningful reductions in GHG emissions has to cripple Canada's economy."

This seems like good a time as any to bring up the fact that the IMF just released a report saying that reducing GHGs would only minimally slow economic growth:

I wrote about it here:

The Mound of Sound said...

Ever helpful, thank you Dan. It can all be done at minimal loss IF we all do it well and collectively. We have the template for that in our handling of CFCs but the GHG issue is of a order of magnitude greater AND it is a challenge that presents itself just as a lot of other threats and challenges are emerging amidst a realignment of global economic power. Finding a balance between remediation and adaptation isn't going to be easy and I doubt there's any universal formula to apply uniformly.

But, small steps first, as always. Once the inertia is first overcome then we can all focus on acceleration.