Thursday, April 5, 2007

Why this blog focuses on action

I'm convinced that climate change is happening now and will have impacts that force us humans to take action to save our asses. Those actions must be brought into focus as they are taken so that (1) they emphasize the in-your-face reality of the impact and (2) others can learn from the vanguard - the early jumpers - how to organize, plan and collaborate effectively in their own locations.

As much as they are needed, I choose not to report much on efforts to slow climate change or convince people that it's important because I have no patience with silly arguments. In Climate Frog's world, definitive action is the only real news.

IPCC plays the poor role model

For an example of how public servants invent ways to waste time, look at the IPCC itself, on the eve of releasing its highly anticipated second report on climate change. With global motivation at stake, the IPCC has allowed itself to get hung up on language and semantics. Just swell, people. Way to go.

"There is wrangling happening," said Hans Verolme, director of the global climate change programme at WWF, an environmental group that is an observer to the meeting.

"There are some who are questioning the scientific basis ... of some of the summary statements, which is leading the authors to have to go back to the underlying document." The U.N. panel's report is the most authoritative study since 2001 on the regional impact of climate change. Verolme said the fact world leaders would read the report's summary had added pressure for consensus on the wording.

"There is discussion whether something is 'likely' or 'very likely', and my sense is that is because people are aware here that heads of state are paying attention," he said.

"If the text says this is very likely, the response (from governments) has to be very significant."
As Washington Post staff writer Juliet Eilperin explains it:
The draft report makes distinctions between changes it considered significant with "high confidence" -- at least 80 percent certainty -- and those to which it assigned "very high confidence," which means 90 percent certainty. While it says with "very high confidence" that earlier bird migrations and a shift of species toward the poles are results of warmer temperatures, it said satellite data gave it only "high confidence" that "there has been a trend in many regions towards earlier greening of vegetation in the spring and increased net primary production linked to longer growing seasons and increasing atmospheric CO2concentrations."

It's interesting to me that no one previewing the report has mentioned the impacts of dislocation - the social and economic forces that climate change will unleash, even where direct threats to health and life are not present. The secondary and tertiary impacts of disasters and catastrophic breakdowns in already vulnerable places are likely to be more a punch to humanity's gut than the relatively straightforward effects of drought and flood. But maybe that would be considered too alarmist by the least this year.

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