Monday, March 20, 2017

"Remarkable Changes... That Are Challenging the Limits of Our Understanding of the Climate"

The World Meteorological Organization admits that it's struggling to comprehend the nature and pace of climate change now upon us.

“Earth is a planet in upheaval due to human-caused changes in the atmosphere,” said Jeffrey Kargel, a glaciologist at the University of Arizona in the US. “In general, drastically changing conditions do not help civilisation, which thrives on stability.”

The WMO report was “startling”, said Prof David Reay, an emissions expert at the University of Edinburgh: “The need for concerted action on climate change has never been so stark nor the stakes so high.”

The new WMO assessment also prompted some scientists to criticise Donald Trump. “While the data show an ever increasing impact of human activities on the climate system, the Trump administration and senior Republicans in Congress continue to bury their heads in the sand,” said Prof Sir Robert Watson, a distinguished climate scientist at the UK’s University of East Anglia and a former head of the UN’s climate science panel.

Our children and grandchildren will look back on the climate deniers and ask how they could have sacrificed the planet for the sake of cheap fossil fuel energy, when the cost of inaction exceeds the cost of a transition to a low-carbon economy,” Watson said.

Ah, Justin, I think that last bit was maybe pointed at you as much as Trump.


Lorne said...

This is an indictment of all of us, Mound; our leaders may refuse to take action for shortsighted political and economic reasons, but what is the excuse for the rest of us, those who refuse to reduce consumption of beef, insist on driving to the store instead of walking five or ten minutes, idle their cars mindlessly or, like me, continue to fly once or twice a year?

We are all guilty by virtue of egocentric lives that see self-indulgence as our prime directive.

The Mound of Sound said...

Just another dire warning down the memory hole, Lorne. We've got a near perfect record at looking the other way that goes back years, decades. What's truly alarming is how little alarm this alarm and all the other alarms of the past and into the future will create.

Paul Beckwith is banging the drum for geo-engineering measures. His fave seems to be seeding the Arctic stratosphere with sulfuric dioxide. I don't find him very convincing but who knows? My difficulty with Beckwith and his kind is that they still cling to the delusion that climate change can be fixed without resolving overpopulation and over-consumption. In any case I think we may have reached too many tipping points. Hope I'm wrong.

Lorne said...

In my mind, Mound, the fact that we know so little about the complexities of climate suggests any efforts at geo-engineering will not end well at all. What could possibly go wrong? How about everything.

Toby said...

There are is a very big problem with geo-engineering; it is a one-time stopgap. If we don't fix the problem geo-engineering won't do any more than delay global warming and may have terrible side effects. Think of the catalytic converter added to car exhausts without solving the inefficiencies of the internal combustion engine or think of trying to stop diarrhea with a cheese cloth filter. (sorry for the graphics) We have to fix the problem at its source; failure to do so will be traumatic.

lungta said...

"Our children and grandchildren will look back on the climate deniers"
my money is on
nobody to look back

The Mound of Sound said...

The hook to geo-engineering that's often overlooked is that its advocates invariably link it to rapid decarbonizing of our societies and economies. They don't present it as a silver bullet merely a time-buying act of desperation. Yet, as I've mentioned earlier, they can't envision the sort of changes that would be required globally for any serious attempt to resolve climate change and our other existential threats. The magnitude is overwhelming, sort of like being caught in the trough of a rogue wave breaking overhead.