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If you follow climate change news carefully, and I hope you do, you know that an important event looms. That would be the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  The report is due in September. Though denialists have branded this organization as a club of worry-wart, alarmist exaggerators, the truth is that it is a consensus-bound body, which adheres to conservative protocols.

So it is fair to say that IPCC projections tend toward the low end of the effects of our uncontrolled experiment in atmosphere transformation. That said, let’s see what is on tap, based on some early releases of findings (shared by Chris Mooney of Mother Jones). Nothing much to worry about, folks. Substantial melting of the Greenland ice sheet, sea rise of five to ten meters, runaway ocean acidification. So what? This blog post by the Guardian’s John Abraham suggests that contrarians will have no choice but join the consensus and stop fighting policy to deal with the threat.

One thing is clear. The changes predicted by IPCC based on current trends are not some far-off theoretical possibility. They are happening right now. There of course is accelerating Arctic melting – clear for all to see. And there is that persistent drought in the American Southwest, dramatically lowering the flow on the Colorado River and showing the newly famous “bathtub ring” at Hoover Dam’s Lake Mead. Thirteen years and counting; bound to end any day now, eh? And let’s not forget the western fire season, now in full swing and threatening state budgets (and even the water supply of San Francisco).  A less dramatic, though arguably more universal, phenomenon has overtaken weather patterns – “stuck weather.” Though this can mean weeks of beautiful weather, or a hellacious heat wave that just won’t quit, it all results from the same condition – a weak, meandering jet stream caused by a vastly warmer Arctic. We are currently switching gears right now in Minnesota from a warm, settled regime into a possible record heat wave (for this late summer season) – as Paul Douglas reports in his consistently excellent weather and climate blog.

So though climate change evidence becomes clearer every day, I remain skeptical about significant action in the near term, for two important reasons. The first is the fact that a well-funded, powerful, persistent campaign of pignorant (pretend-ignorant) anti-science has lulled a significant slice of the public into somnolence. Adam Frank – author of About Time – chronicles our pathetic decline into science denial in this fine column he wrote for the New York Times – summarized here and commented on by Tree Hugger’s Chris Tackett.  (See a glimmer of hope there in the planned reboot of the TV series Cosmos.) The second is the pathetic power structure that has taken hold in modern America. With the GOP in the (gerrymandered) majority in the House of Representatives right now, this is the pignorant posse that passes for leadership of the House Science(!) Committee. It is so bad that I mainly agree with these two assessments of the cause and results of our spending decades dealing with denialists’ posturing rather than accepting the science and moving ahead. The first is by Jeff Schweitzer and the second by Robert Parry. Neither pulls punches in calling out the real engineers of today’s alarmingly science-dumb state of affairs among the public. I especially identify with Frank’s description of his earlier mistake in judgment – that public awareness and understanding of scientific reality would only grow. Sorry.

Surely, this state of affairs can’t go on indefinitely. And in fact a recent media shift may point to some hope from an unlikely source – the much-maligned (in some circles) Al Jazeera. Sure, the burst of coverage on the newly realigned network far surpasses typical American coverage because of the dismally low standard.  But we need hope on waking up the public, and allies of all stripes are valuable. And of course this is a global problem, calling especially for leadership on the part of the wealthy industrialized nations. Here is a call for action on the part of the United Kingdom’s David Cameron. And despite continued intransigence on the part of the pignorant right in the United States, prominent activists see hope for action. In this interview, former Vice President Al Gore sees a tipping point in public opinion based largely on growing consensus on the connection between ever-wilder weather and our continued dumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Gore holds onto his optimism despite interviewer Ezra Klein’s tough questioning.

This is no time for giving in to complacency and inevitability. Active groups such as the Climate Reality Project and 350.org are doing no such thing. And the single most helpful step – maybe even more helpful than killing the Keystone XL pipeline – would be enacting a carbon fee system. That’s the goal of the Citizens Climate Lobby, endorsed by former NASA scientist James Hansen.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Lee Norton on Facebook

    With respect to the IPCC I refer to statements made by Michael Mann as it carries more weight than my own . . . . “Well funded sceptics intimidate individual scientists and exploit areas of scientific uncertainty to claim there is no expert consensus.”

    “I believe that these pressures combine with the innate tendency of scientists to be reticent about drawing strong conclusions.”

    As a result, “assessment reports like the IPCC report almost inevitably end up understating the conclusions and, in this case, the risks of human-caused climate change.“
    Michael Mann 2013

  2. My Facebook response to Lee Norton.

    I will place your comments above in the posted article as a comment. Your observations/quotes from Michaeil Mann only serve to confirm that IPCC projections are on the conservative side or understated.Thanks Lee Norton.

  3. The problem exist because scientist have not understood Earth and her functioning deduced to the fundamental level. Here some points on which we must think
    1] We all know our Earth is ENERGY AND MATTER. HEAT IS ENERGY. The amount of energy in a system is measured in Joules. Heat Creates disorder, beyond some point it can break down the system.
    2] Temperature is the measure of the average molecular motions in a system and simply has units of degrees.
    3] They are related, because when energy/heat is supplied to a system the molecular motion increases.
    4] A primary difference is that energy can be transported without the temperature of a substance changing.
    5] The very idea of transportation of heat or energy necessities existence of parallel and multiple worlds

    Now look at Earth. It has “Parallel and Multiple world Design” When one part opens its face to Sun [light/heat] and goes into disorder, simultaneously another part of Earth opens its face to darkness and it goes in to new order. When heat peaks in one part it gives way for the opposite. Simultaneously the opposite happens in the other part.

    Very Important Points
    1] We see here a mechanism for heat or energy transport so that average temperature remains constant.
    2] The system here is instantaneously communicated. This means the system has “PERCEIVER” or “CONTROLLER” that brings the change of phase
    3] This change is then communicated in time through the system such that the temperature is sustained. This happens in 12 hour cycle. There is bigger cycle with a bigger peak and fall that forms into climatic Cycle. Similarly there are bigger cycle of 12 years and so on forming Universal Time Cycle.
    4] This invariably means Earth has many layers of grid point through which the change occurs smoothly.

    Now let us observe how we are influencing the heat and therefore the Energy of the environment. This reveals a startling fact. With industrial Era we have been exponentially increasing the heat of the environment. Every technology we use is said to be only 30% efficient, rest is added as heat. Our car, mobile, computer and all gives out radiation and add immense heat into the environment. With Globalization we have intruded into the night cycle and thus reduced the time period in which she cools the environment.

    This leads to two important facts that all climatologist, Climate Activists and Organization of the World should stand up to take note-
    1] By adding immense heat we are upsetting Earth’s functioning to sustain certain balance of Energy to matter ratio. This invariably means the environment is getting highly energized and the change is getting accelerated. The grid points of Earth are dissolving to maintain the temperature. This means one may not observe any rise in average temperature. But we will witness increased destruction by violent Energy peak and falls. When one part is getting destroyed by Fire/wind [Unwinding Force of Sun and Human activity] another part simultaneously experiences flash floods/snows [winding force of Earth]. This sudden flash flood causes stress on air in Earth, leading to huge mud slides, sinkholes. It makes Earth Fragile. The winding of Earth also causes increased Earthquakes and Volcanic eruptions. This eventually can lead to virtually splitting Earth. Volcanic eruptions are known to cool Earth’s environment inducing ice-age. We have proofs of many civilizations buried beneath sea and Earth. We are seeing the signs of the world inching towards such destruction.

    2] The second more important point that the world has failed to take note is the O2 to CO2 ratio. We have been cutting forest recklessly and loosing greenery through increasing forest fire. Green plants we know absorb light/heat and use carbon dioxide to create biological mass and releases O2 that maintains the vital ratio of CO2 to O2 balance. Many Human activities is leading to accelerated loss of O2. When this is pushed to critical limits, animals and humans will end up in mass death. We also see sign of it. VERY IMPORTANTLY The world needs to attend to this ratio O2 to CO2 being upset

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