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INDIFFERENCE TO IPCC REPORTS April 4, 2014

Posted by wmmbb in CLIMATE CHANGE.
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fifth assessment report on Climate Change impacts Monday. The Second Working Group was concerned with impacts, adaptation and mitigation.

The video after reviewing the global situation ends with a positive outlook:

 

My take is the report is saying categorically climate change is taking place. The choice now is to do nothing and have a disastrous outcome within a foreseeable future, or act while it is still possible to reduce the impact by appropriately reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The people who are listening have heard the message already. Those ignoring this and future appeals for action, such as the Prime Minister, are in denial about the reality of climate change. The prospects of Australia taking effective action for the next two years is non-existent. There is no chance that Abbott will be turfed from his role. His colleagues do not seem to care much about the polls. He is unlikely to carry the special Half-Senate Election re-run in WA, but relative to the ALP, the LNP will likely do well enough. The fossil fuel lobby rules.

Furthermore, it is not likely that the policy sloganeering will change with respect to either the Carbon Pricing or Emissions Trading. Abbott has shown his hand by abolishing the Climate Commission, the appointment of climate deniers to evaluate the Renewable Energy Trading program, and the intention to let carbon dioxide emissions rise unchecked.

At Crikey Giles Parkingson observes:

The 29-page summary for policymakers from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report on climate change impacts gets straight to the point: “Human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems …” And these risks are significant. This report underlines the point that climate change impacts are occurring now, not in some distant future. But the most visible of these impacts — severe weather events and warmer summers — are just the tip of the (shrinking) iceberg, so to speak. Impacts are already occurring on natural and human systems on all continents, and this is likely to accelerate as warming continues. . . . Water systems and cropsare being impacted; land and ocean species are already shifting their geographic ranges; and food and water supplies, along with infrastructure and health, are becoming more vulnerable. It is not just animal species under threat, its section on health suggests; climate change is also a long-term threat to human survival. . . .

“Some risks of climate change are considerable at 1 or 2C above pre-industrial levels (pretty much what has already been built in). But global climate risks are high to very high with a global mean temperature rise of 4C or more, with failing crops, and huge risks to global and regional food security. “The precise levels of climate change sufficient to trigger tipping points (thresholds for abrupt and irreversible change) remain uncertain, but the risk associated with cross multiple tipping points in the earth system, or in interlinked human and natural systems increases with rising temperature.”

Dana observes at Skeptical Science:

While rising carbon dioxide levels have led to ‘global greening’ in past decades and improved agricultural technology has increased crop yields, research has indicated that both of these trends are already beginning to reverse. While plants like carbon dioxide, they don’t like heat waves, droughts, and floods. Likewise, economist Richard Tol has argued that farmers can adapt to climate change, but adaptation has its costs and its limits. In fact, the IPCC summary report notes that most studies project a decline in crop yields starting in 2030, even as global food demand continues to rise.

That time frame does not fall within the political calculation of this, and probably future governments. So the issues raised in this report of risk management, or weighing impacts, mitigation and adaptation are beyond the cognitive political boundaries set by a political system that expedience drives to focus on the short term. Situation almost hopeless, and set to worse qualitatively when economic incentives related to carbon pricing and emissions trading are removed. The authors on the chapter on health impacts conclude, via The Conversation:

n economic terms, the IPCC chapter judges that the health co-benefits from reducing emissions would be extremely cost-beneficial. They would, for example, be one thousand times greater than the economic co-benefits to agricultural yields from reduced exposures to short-lived, crop-damaging, airborne climate pollutants. Overall, the up-front costs of reducing emissions could be substantially offset by early and extremely large health (and other) benefits. Of course, none of this matters if human well-being, health and survival mean little to us. In that case we can emit all we like, then suffer, dwindle or even die out as a species and leave this planet to recover and thrive without us. One way or another we will then emit less. We have a closing window of time in which to do something about global climate change.

Some action may well take place outside the formal political process, be based on local actions, such as developing sustainable food supplies, and measures such as fossil fuel divestment. The latter addresses the issue of greenhouse gas reduction which is fundamental.

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