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Climate Change Feared Twice as Bad, Seas Up 2m

Posted by feww on November 25, 2009

Why Are ‘Scientists’ Deferring Impacts of Global Catastrophes?

Sea level rise projections for 22nd Century sideline impacts of current climatic catastrophes and make them seem like someone else’s problem!

Why don’t scientists report the short term impact of the climate change? What’s happening now? What’s going to happen next year, in 2 years, 3 years and 5 years from now?

Like them or not,  you can’t live without them. Polar bears are ‘canaries in ice’; they tell you how much time you have left.
Photo Credit: Dan Crosbie

Perhaps they have the best of intentions. Perhaps they don’t! Perhaps they want to give the governments a last chance to act. But that’s not the job of scientists.

In February 2005 our colleagues at MSRB postulated that the ‘Point of No Return’ would be reached by about June 2006.

Unless global energy consumption is reduced rapidly—by mid 2006—to levels below 60EJ/year (6E+19 joules/year), the runaway positive feedback loops that are destroying Earth’s ecosystems including ozone holes, global heating, extreme climatic events, toxic pollution, resources depletion, unethical conduct, war, and disease pandemics would reach the point of no return, overwhelm our life support systems and render most of our population centers uninhabitable by as early as 2015, possibly earlier, according to our dynamic energy models.

And argued:

Failure to rein back global energy consumption to levels below 60 exajoules by June 2006 would render the concept of sustainable management redundant (it seems highly unlikely that post industrial civilization would voluntarily sacrifice its perceived privileges and values in favor of sustaining life on Earth).

Then in November 2007 colleagues at EDRO revealed that, based on their models, about 20 percent of the world  cities could collapse partially or completely by as early as 2012, citing a list of probable mechanism that would accelerate the collapse.

[About 20 percent of the] world’s cities [could] collapse completely or partially by or before 2012 in the first wave of collapse. The collapse would be caused by a combination of failing ecosystems, human-enhanced environmental catastrophes; failing infrastructure; food, water and fuel shortages; infectious disease; war, civil conflict and other dynamics. Following the first phase of collapse, massive waves of human migration from the affected areas create a domino effect that causes the collapse of the remaining population centers shortly after.

Now 26 ‘experts’ who have authored a new report [Update] called The Copenhagen Diagnosis have urged world governments to cap rising greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 or 2020 [thanks for the 5-year grace period] to avoid the deadliest impacts of climate change.  Ironically, many of these authors were on the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and they in 2007 effectively downplayed the sea level rises, limiting the upcoming disaster to between 18 cm and 59 cm (7-24 inches) by 2100 [they were completely surprised when melting of Greenland and Antarctica ice accelerated.]

Current sea-level rise underestimated: Satellites show recent global average sea-level rise (3.4 mm/yr over the past 15 years) to be ~80% above past IPCC predictions. This acceleration in sea-level rise is consistent with a doubling in contribution from melting of glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland and West-Antarctic ice-sheets. —The Copenhagen Diagnosis

In a  joint statement the group citing catastrophic factors including the Arctic sea ice retreat in summer and accelerated melting of  Greenland ice sheets and Antarctica said:

Climate change is accelerating beyond expectations.

Richard C. J. Somerville,  Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, and a Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report said:

Carbon dioxide emissions cannot be allowed to continue to rise if humanity intends to limit the risk of unacceptable climate change.

For heaven’s sake, give it to them straight: QUANTIFY!

Arguably the most prominent member of the group Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Professor of Theoretical Physics and Director of the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and a longstanding member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said:

This is a final scientific call for the climate negotiators from 192 countries who must embark on the climate protection train in Copenhagen.

The report doesn’t tell us what the members think about the short term impact of climate change. Colleagues at EDRO do! In a recent conversation

EDRO estimated that climate change could directly affect about half the population in the UK  in the next 3 to 5 years.

Related Links:

The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009: Updating the world on the Latest Climate

3 Responses to “Climate Change Feared Twice as Bad, Seas Up 2m”

  1. […] Climate Change Feared Twice as Bad, Seas Up 2m […]

  2. feww said

    The major problem seems to be one of self perception. The nexus between attitude and behavior is a nightmarish mishmash of emotions that are short-circuited by other forces.

    It’s ultimately about perceiving self UNABLE to make vital adjustments to prevent massive ecosystems collapse. Look at the colossal changes to our lifestyle that are needed to ensure the integrity of even the most fundamental necessities of life on Earth: Clean air, clean water, healthy soil.

    Imagine telling the average heroin addict that they will surely die of acute pulmonary edema in 30 days, unless they stopped injecting the drug and sought immediate medical attention!

    The facts aren’t yet palpable realities for many. The sight continues to dominate right by a huge margin. Unfortunately, it seems as though nothing short of multiple, large-scale catastrophes would help transform attitudes and bring changes. By then, however, it might be far too late.

    That said, we’ll have to keep on writing, talking, campaigning and shouting in the hope that each time a few more people could begin to see the fading picture…

    Here’s a link to another blog that may be related:

  3. witsendnj said

    I agree. Scientists should start talking about impacts now instead of just models for the distant future. I have been writing to scientists for some time, also the Dept. of Agriculture and DEP and EPA and Forestry, as well as NGO environmental groups, and it’s just about impossible to get anyone interested in vegetative decline due to fossil and biofuel emissions. This year the leaves fell of of trees here on the East Coast at least a month earlier than normal, and NJ NY and CT have all declared agricultural states of emergency due to crop losses they attribute to rainfall.

    I think the scientists and others I have written to just don’t want to admit that atmospheric toxins are killing trees and other plants because the inevitable implications are just so god-awful. But it’s the kind of back-yard, pocketbook, grocery store shelf issue that will get people to pay attention to what we are doing to the climate and the ecosystem and prepare them for some major transitions. Unless they just panic, which is more likely.

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