Sunday, March 30, 2014

We Are All Sitting Ducks

Michael Oppenheimer summed it up, "We are all sitting ducks"

The WGII Summary for Policy Makers is available.  It can be downloaded, and is not very long (44 pages including figures, about 30 pages of print).  If bunnies have been paying attention a fast skim can be done.  It is a sobering read, no more so than expected, perhaps less than needed.  The first sentence says it all

Human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems
Human existence depends on those natural systems and humans are straining them to the breaking point and it is in the natural systems that the largest effects have been seen, seen, but mere harbingers of that to come.
In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans. Evidence of climate-change impacts is strongest and most comprehensive for natural systems
We have been told that there is no evidence for humans affecting the climate to change precipitation and affect water resources.  Sadly that is wrong
In many regions, changing precipitation or melting snow and ice are altering hydrological systems, affecting water resources in terms of quantity and quality (medium confidence). Glaciers continue to shrink almost worldwide due to climate change (high confidence), affecting runoff and water resources downstream (medium confidence). Climate change is causing permafrost warming and thawing in high-latitude regions and in high-elevation regions (high confidence).
We have been told that climate change has not affected the oceans.  Sadly that is wrong. 
Many terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species have shifted their geographic ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, abundances, and species interactions in response to ongoing climate change (high confidence).  

We have been told that the WGII report will be able to attribute NO extinctions to climate change,  Sadly that is wrong
While only a few recent species extinctions have been attributed as yet to climate change (high confidence), natural global climate change at rates slower than current anthropogenic climate change caused significant ecosystem shifts and species extinctions during the past millions of years (high confidence). 
We have been told by those who deny the impact of climate change and those who hide from our responsiblity that food will not be a problem as increasing CO2 greens the earth.  Sadly that is wrong. Not today, and certainly not tomorrow
Based on many studies covering a wide range of regions and crops, negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts (high confidence).

The smaller number of studies showing positive impacts relate mainly to high- latitude regions, though it is not yet clear whether the balance of impacts has been negative or positive in these regions (high confidence). Climate change has negatively affected wheat and maize yields for many regions and in the global aggregate (medium confidence). Effects on rice and soybean yield have been smaller in major production regions and globally, with a median change of zero across all available data, which are fewer for soy compared to the other crops. Observed impacts relate mainly to production aspects of food security rather than access or other components of food security. See Figure SPM.2C. Since AR4, several periods of rapid food and cereal price increases following climate extremes in key producing regions indicate a sensitivity of current markets to climate extremes among other factors (medium confidence). 
The WGII writers and governments are not ancient bunnies, they hold out hope that the challenge can be met, not without disruption, cost and tribulation, but naught like that which would happen if the world does not take action.  They throw up their hands in despair if the path to a 4C world is chosen.  They cannot estimate that damage. 

It would be a good thing if the challenge were met, but sadly, like life, the house money bets against.


EliRabett said...

Some early links

New York Times

Graham Readfern in the Guardian

Dana Nuccetelli also in the Guardian

Joe Romm at think progress

The Australian

The Independent


Bernard J. said...

I'll bet with the house.

In fact I've been doing so for a few years now. It's one bet that I don't want to win, but barring peculiar stochasticities of events and/or human nature, it's one that I am confident I will win.


Susan Anderson said...

The Hollow Men is an indictment that was not comfortable to read (thanks for the "whimper"). I'm also interested to see Andrew Freedman is now at Mashable (good material).

Anonymous said...


Sorry - I guess I can't beat the scare stories.

Lionel A said...

Not quite correct anonymous of Boo for, '...nature cannot be fooled.'

Now answer me this, that quote is from whom and under what context?

Extra points for providing the title and page number of a book, by the originator, in which it can be found.

Para a Posteridade e mais Além said...

well and the other impacts that the biota takes today (chemical, radiation from the several blowout's and chinese, hindu-pakistani bombs and spill's from nukes and nuclear energy) and the fishing predatory industry have long term impacts that this temperature and salinity shift are going to exacerbate

and the impacts in maize are dubious
we have plenty of maize cultivars and several transgenic lines that can yield high productions under stressful conditions

rice for other side are a weak culture in extreme conditions, strong wind promotes the ondulation of the water table and ravage the rice fields in minutes

heavy rain in rice terraces in china bali philipines destroy the terraces and most of the rice crops, since the 90's we have several extreme floods in rice terraces that are only occasional in the 60's or 70's or in the 80's

unseasonal flooding are now 180% higher than in the last 50 years of the XXth century in many parts of central and south asia...
if the trend persists rice war's

sorry price war's

rice war's are after the price war's

Anonymous said...

At current rates, for how long into the future will global warming continue to be a net benefit?

Mal Adapted said...

Anonymous troll @ 31/3/14 10:52 AM:

A net benefit for who?

Anonymous said...

For the GAP ( Globally Averaged Person ).

JonnieG said...

Of concern to me has been the quantitative vagueness of statements like "disastrous for mankind". What do they mean in quantitative terms? To you, to me, to the next person? Fortunately, this is being quantified with a rather remarkable model, HANDY1, still in the formative stages, that tries to quantify the equilibrium and sustainability of a civilization in terms of four coupled, time-dependent differential equations based on population types (worker, elites), Nature (resources, depletion, etc.) and Wealth (how Nature is used). This model is to be published in Ecological Economics if not already. I was bale to receive a pre-print from the authors. The pre-print is not mine to distribute, it is the authors'. You might contact the 1st author, Safa Motesharrei at the School o fPublic POlicy and Dept of Mathematics (U Maryland) and the National Socio-Economic Synthesis Center (SESYNC) to request a pre-print (or maybe now a reprint).
Bottom line to me is this: Climate change is the least of our problem as a global economy with the time scale for a "Type-N" (irreversible collapse) being likely nearer-term than the increasing irritation of climate change (in relative terms to a rather rapid Type-N collapse). This model starts to put "dipterous for mankind" in quantitative terms which makes the future testable through models. The authors indicate that this is the first (baseline) model and future models will begin to incorporate the increasingly important stochastic events, impacts and details that become the "turning points of history". Climate change will increasingly contribute to those events, impacts and "details".

The Mother of Mothra of ALL Bubbles said...

civilizational equilibrium? gee....
and the equation have a poverty index or a earthquake index, civilization's are frail things that fail for several reasons, ecological economics nice. and they reproduce well in captivity?
resources deplection etc?

is very very far fetched?
it seems like the equation in the 80's? that quantify the number of tech civilizations in this galaxy

based in population types?
quantify without error the number of priests and the servants?
and all workers work well, some don't go to the streets and go berserk or amok?
the equation deals with the sanity of the crowds?

tarantella's and burning people that are ancient ritual's to reduce prices

nice equation's give me three pounds please

Mal Adapted said...

Anonymous troll @ 31/3/14 1:47 PM asserts that global warming has been a net benefit for the "Globally Average Person". Yet a lead author for the latest IPCC Working Group II report says:

"Field told reporters that focusing on the often frightening impacts of climate change 'can be a downer.' But he acknowledged that the world has a long way to go in terms of adaptation and that the assessment found few current or projected positive impacts from climate change. (The few pluses the report mentions include 'modest reductions in cold-related mortality and morbidity in some areas.')"

Can our unnumbered anonymous troll have information that WGII missed? If we ask nicely, perhaps it will share that information with us. UAT, please cite your sources.

Or maybe by "Globally Average Person" UAT means "no actual person", so it's not claiming an actual net positive benefit at all?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous tol @ 31/3/14 1:47 PM asserts that global warming has been a net benefit for the "Globally Average Person".


Rib Smokin' Bunny

Pete Dunkelberg said...

Two more accounts:
IPCC: effects of climate change ‘worse than we had predicted’ | Al Jazeera America,

and the Guardian liveblog of the release of the report.

guthrie said...

I thought even Richard Tol thought that global warming would be a net negative once it got past 2C, so near the end of this century the average person will be worse off.

Pete Dunkelberg said...

Juan Cole quotes Robert Frost: “Some say the world will end in fire:”

Pete Dunkelberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete Dunkelberg said...

Today RC posted part 2 of their "report on the report."