last year’s model already out of date

The science used by the International Committee on Climate Change as the basis of the framework agreement in Bali in 2007 to hold the global warming increase to two degrees is already out of date.

There is now clear evidence that at less than one degree of warming we are already on the precipice of catastrophic climate change that will affect the whole world – from the lower Murray to the Great Barrier Reef, and the Himalayas to Siberia and the Arctic.

The Age (Australia), 26 Feb 2009 – screen copy held by this website

a stitch in time

Failing to fight global warming now will cost trillions of dollars by the end of the century even without counting biodiversity loss or unpredictable events like the Gulf Stream shutting down, a study said today.

But acting now will avoid some of the massive damage and cost relatively little, said the study commissioned by Friends of the Earth from the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University in the United States.

By contrast, spending just 1.6 trillion pounds (NZ$4.5 trillion) a year now to limit temperature rises to two degrees could avoid annual economic damage of around 6.4 trillion pounds, the Tufts report said.

Environmental Economics, 18 Oct 2006

apocalyptic scenario

If the North Atlantic Ocean’s circulation system is shut down — an apocalyptic global-warming scenario — the impact on the world’s food supplies would be disastrous, a study said Thursday.

The shutdown would cause global stocks of plankton, a vital early link in the food chain, to decline by a fifth while plankton stocks in the North Atlantic itself would shrink by more than half, it said.

“A massive decline of plankton stocks could have catastrophic effects on fisheries and human food supply in the affected regions,” warned the research, authored by Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State University.

Agence France-Presse, March 31, 2005

pull up the moat!

castle

Climate change will lead to a “fortress world” in which the rich lock themselves away in gated communities and the poor must fend for themselves in shattered environments, unless governments act quickly to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to the vice-president of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).

Mohan Munasinghe was giving a lecture at Cambridge University in which he presented a dystopic possible future world in which social problems are made much worse by the environmental consequences of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The scenario, which he termed “barbarisation” was already beginning to happen, he said. “Fortress world is a situation where the rich live in enclaves, protected, and the poor live outside in unsustainable conditions.”

“If you see what is going on in some of the gated communities in some countries you do find that rich people live in those kind of protected environments. If you see the restrictions on international travel you see the beginnings of the fortress world syndrome even in entering and leaving countries,” he said.

The Guardian, 15/5/08

it’s so scary, I need to see a psychologist!

4.1. Climate change is regarded as the most serious global health threat of the 21st Century (Costello et al., 2009). The major threats, both direct and indirect, come from changing patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, vulnerable shelter and human settlements, extreme climatic events such as more catastrophic bushfires, droughts, floods and cyclones, and population growth and migration.

4.2 The main categories of risks to physical health in Australia come from health impacts of extreme weather events, temperature extremes, vector-borne infectious diseases, food-borne infectious diseases, water-borne infectious diseases and risks from poor water quality, diminished food production, increased in urban air pollution, (Horton & McMichael, 2008)

4.3 The main mental health consequences of climate change will come from direct impacts of extreme weather events, disruptions to the social, economic and demographic determinants of mental health (e.g., from impaired rural livelihoods, increased costs of basic services), and emotional stresses and mental health problems in response to perceptions/fears of climate change and to family stresses.

4.4 The most severe impacts of climate change will fall on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who have played the smallest part per capita in contributing to the rise in greenhouse gases. Variations in vulnerability to climate change impacts are evident across nations and communities, and also across social class, age, and gender, with women, children, the elderly, and future generations more vulnerable.
The Australian Psychological Society position statement on Psychology and Climate Change, August 2010

therapy_session

extended world war

If we do not deal with climate change decisively, “what we’re talking about then is extended world war,” Lord Nicholas Stern, the eminent economist, said. What Lord Nicholas was telling them, was the potential for mass migrations setting off mass conflict. “Somehow we have to explain to people just how worrying that is,” the British economic thinker said.

If negotiators falter, if emissions reductions are not made soon and deep, the severe climate shifts and sea-level rises projected by scientists would be “disastrous.” It would “transform where people can live,” Stern said. “People would move on a massive scale. Hundreds of millions, probably billions of people would have to move if you talk about 4-, 5-, 6-degree increases” Homeland Security Newswire 24 Feb 2009

screened houses

Fifteen thousand Australians would die each year from heat-related illnesses within the next 100 years and dengue fever would spread as far as Brisbane and Sydney if greenhouse gas emissions are not drastically reduced, a report warns.

Dengue fever, which is spread by mosquitoes, would also spread through Brisbane and Sydney by that time and remote and Aboriginal communities, people with low incomes and the elderly would be at highest risk.

“We’d be living in screened houses and would have to be much more vigilant about what we did in the backyard in terms of not having ponds and plants sitting around with water in them,” report co-author Rosalie Woodruff said.
The Age 23 Sep 2005

heart attacks

Many more people will die of heart problems as global warming continues, experts are warning. Climate extremes of hot and cold will become more common and this will put strain on people’s hearts, doctors say. A study in the British Medical Journal found that each 1C temperature drop on a single day in the UK is linked to 200 extra heart attacks.

Ellen Mason, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Although the increased risk is small, if there is a nationwide drop in average temperature it could equate to a significant number of heart attacks each day.
BBC News, 11 Aug 2010

no-one untouched

No one will be untouched by climate change with storm surges, flooding and heatwaves among the key risks of global warming in the coming decades, claim scientists.

This was the warning made in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II report. The report said that violent conflicts, food shortages and serious infrastructure damage were also predicted to become more widespread over the coming years.

‘We live in an era of man-made climate change,’ said Vicente Barros, co-chair of the IPCC study on climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation, from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. ‘In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.’
Daily Mail, 31 Mar 2014

bugs on the increase

People who live along the coast may have more to fear from climate change than rising waters. A team of Maryland researchers has found evidence suggesting that the odds of getting sick from a salmonella infection go up, especially for coastal residents, as the shifting climate produces more extreme weather conditions.

“So, I think this is an important study that should help health departments and providers anticipate salmonellosis outbreaks during heat waves and flooding events in specific areas,” Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. said.”The number of disease systems in which risk goes up with climate change seems to be ever-increasing.”The Baltimore Sun, 14 Aug 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

animals and plants

Nearly a third of the world’s species of animals and plants will be at risk of extinction by climate change within 50 years, United Nations scientists and governments are expected to say in a report published today.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to predict the loss of thousands of species in temperature-sensitive biodiversity hotspots such as the Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia, if temperatures go on rising.The Telegraph (UK), 6 Apr 2007

edge of abyss

Mankind is at the edge of an abyss, its very survival dependent on urgent action, warns Tim Flannery. The hurricanes devastating the American coast are the wake-up call the world needs. Do nothing about climate change, and the collapse of civilisation is “inevitable”, according to Dr Tim Flannery.

Do too little, the Australian scientist says, and society will “hover on the brink for decades or centuries”. Action needs to be taken now to slow global warming, says Flannery, the director of the South Australian Museum. The delay of even a decade is far too much, he says.Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Sep 2005