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Friday, April 06, 2007

Denial isn't a Solution

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will releases it's third draft report today and it looks like global warming isn't a problem we'll face in the future, it's a problem we're facing now.

As I write this, the report hasn't been released yet (not as far as I can find), but it's been sort of 'pre-released' to several media sources and Gristmill's used those sources to piece this together:

The good bits:

-higher agricultural output in northern regions, at least for a while

-some health benefits, such as fewer deaths from cold

The bad bits:

-lower agricultural output in most regions of the world

-more infectious-disease outbreaks

-more heat waves

-more storms

-more wildfires

-more droughts

-more hunger

-disruption of species migration, contributing to ...

-risk of extinction for 20 to 30 percent of species

-more melting of mountain glaciers, alpine snows, and ice fields, contributing to ...

-risk of water shortages for one billion people

-rising sea levels, contributing to ...

-more flooding in coastal areas

-major declines in coral

-disruption of seasonal changes

-more weeds and insect pests

-more death, disease, and injury for many of the world's people -- and not the ones who've been largely responsible for the problem

Not good news. Natonal Geographic gives us an example. A drought in the southwestern United States may not be a passing thing -- it may be permanent.

In general the computer models all predict decreasing precipitation in the subtropics in both hemispheres.

The long-term drying of southwestern North America is part of that pattern. Changes in atmospheric circulation and water-vapor transport are expected to alter the region's climate as the planet warms.

Seager said the most surprising finding is that "this drying trend in the subtropics becomes so clear very early in the current century."

In fact, long-term drying may have already begun, the authors say.

The bottom line here is that the time to consider the flatearthers' opinions on the matter is over, because the debate is over. We need to spend less time on this idiotic debate and more time on solutions. Just because some horse's ass thinks global warming is a hoax, doesn't mean they should be interviewed on CNN every time a climate story comes up. I keep using the analogy, but does anyone go looking for someone who believes the sun orbits the Earth and the moon landings were faked every time there's a NASA story? Lump the global warming deniers in with the creationists, the Roswell conspiracy theorists, and genuine flatearthers. They're just kooks and they aren't at all helpful.

Some ideas are so well discredited and so ridiculous that they don't require our attention. I mean, think about it -- are you really supposed to believe that we can pump millions of tons of pollutants into the atmosphere, changing its chemical content, and have absolutely nothing at all happen?.

We were told that 2006 would be one of the worst hurricane seasons on record. Right wingers jumped on the fact that the US wasn't hit by a major hurricane that year and said it 'proved' global warming was a bunch of crap. Here's my question, what part of 'global' don't you understand?

UN News Centre:

Citing one of the worst cyclone seasons in recent memory in Madagascar as an example, the United Nations body that seeks to mitigate the impact of natural disasters called on the international community to invest more in programme to reduce the effects of extreme weather spawned by global warming.

“We need to put in place mechanisms that can help our societies adapt to this new situation,” UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Director Sálvano Briceño said of the impact of climate change, ascribed largely to human activities such as the emission of heat trapping gasses from the use of fossil fuels.

More proof that righties think the US is the entire world. In fact, if you needed something more than supply-side economics to demonstrate that the right doesn't understand math, then the fact that the concept of averages seems to be beyond them should be proof enough.

We're not screwed yet. In fact, until it's impossible for humans to act at all, we won't be screwed. After all, we survived the ice age using rocks and sticks -- I think we can handle this. But we've got to stop listening to the idiots. The only reasons that these guys refuse to admit the realities of human caused climate change are that they work for industries that would have to change, they're being paid by lobbyists for industries that would have to change, they believe that no environmentalist could ever be right about anything and Al Gore's fat, and/or they have a massive and untreated head wound.

The time has passed to allow these people in on the discussion. They aren't moving it anywhere -- mostly because they don't want to. They want to halt it or delay it. They don't care about you and me and some poor guy in Madagascar. ExxonMobil makes tens of billions of dollars a year and pays it's execs tens of millions (in some cases, hundreds of millions) -- if water starts costing ten bucks a gallon, they can afford it. They want to ride that gravy train as long as possible.

If we're all going to get through this, then we need to listen to the honest people. And the honest people are the ones who put out the IPCC report.


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