last year’s model already out of date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as the basis of the framework agreement in Bali in 2007 to hold the global warming increase to two degrees is already out of date.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

all bad news

As floods once again hit parts of the UK, experts warn the incidence of gales and floods could increase over the next 50 years, when they predict temperatures will rise by up to two degrees centigrade. Experts even warn that malaria could return to large parts of the UK.

They say the climate change could cause an extra 5,000 deaths from skin cancer every year – and 2,000 from heatwaves. The report published on Friday, by the Expert Group on Climate Change on Health, predicts more intense summer heatwaves, and an increased risk of winter floods and severe gales.

BBC News, 9 Feb 2001

let the models predict the future?

“The Weather of the Future” peers ahead at a world stricken by climate change.

Using models to predict weather patterns, climatologist Heidi Cullen, a frequent contributor to the Weather Channel, explores seven regions and their grim futures: the Sahel in Africa, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, California’s Central Valley, two sites in Greenland, Bangladesh and New York City.

Massive floods in Bangladesh may produce “climate refugees,” Cullen suggests; New York may be battered by a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds as high as 135 miles per hour; and coral reefs may be eaten away by an acidic ocean.

“These predictions and our seeming inability to heed their warning is a potential tragedy,” she writes. Cullen also predicts some geopolitical repercussions of global warming: Pirates run rampant, Osama bin Laden invokes U.S. carbon emissions to recruit terrorists, and Canada and the United States argue over naval authority in an ice-free Northwest Passage.

The book is at its best and most insightful when it explores today’s environment, such as regreening efforts in Niger. Let models be used to predict the weather, not the politics.
Washington Post, 8 Aug 2010

big bill

stack_of_poundsNick Starling, the director of general insurance for the Association of British Insurers, bleakly predicted that the worldwide cost of cleaning up major storms, triggered by global warming, could rise by two-thirds to £15 billion annually by 2080: he therefore implored governments to take stronger preventative action against climate change.
The Telegraph (UK), 3 Jul 05

Earth in deep freeze

iglooClimate change is not going to be a bad thing for every part of the world. It will help make the frozen north of Russia and Canada more liveable and more productive.

Billions of the world’s poorest people, however, will be at risk of more erratic rainfall patterns. Some arid regions will turn into deserts and rising seas will inundate fertile but low lying delta regions that are home to tens of millions of peasant farmers in countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt.

Global warming will also mean more forest fires; hurricanes hitting cities that are at present too far north of the equator to be affected by them; tropical diseases spreading beyond their present zones; the extinction of species unable to adapt to warmer temperatures; retreating glaciers and melting polar icecaps; and rising seas inundating coastal areas.

A far worse scenario cannot be ruled out: some scientists believe the melting icecaps could release huge amounts of methane that accelerate warming forming a cloud layer so dense as to block out heat from the sun and cause the planet to go into a deep freeze that extinguishes all life.
Professor Peter Singer, in the Sydney Morning Herald 28 Apr 2006 – screencopy held by this website

health problems

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.
BBC News, 11 Aug 2010

avalanches and landslides

penguin_landslideOver the last decade, rock avalanches and landslides have become more common in high mountain ranges, apparently coinciding with the increase in exceptionally warm periods. The collapses are triggered by melting glaciers and permafrost, which remove the glue that holds steep mountain slopes together. Worse may be to come.

Thinning glaciers on volcanoes could destabilise vast chunks of their summit cones, triggering mega-landslides capable of flattening cities such as Seattle and devastating local infrastructure. Meanwhile, ongoing studies by Bill McGuire of University College London and Rachel Lowe at the University of Exeter, UK, are showing that non-glaciated volcanoes could also be at greater risk of catastrophic collapse if climate change increases rainfall.

“We have found that 39 cities with populations greater than 100,000 are situated within 100 kilometres of a volcano that has collapsed in the past and which may, therefore, be capable of collapsing in the future,” says McGuire.
New Scientist, 13 Oct 2010

a hell of a climate

humorous_devilBillions will die, says Lovelock, who tells us that he is not normally a gloomy type. Human civilisation will be reduced to a “broken rabble ruled by brutal warlords”, and the plague-ridden remainder of the species will flee the cracked and broken earth to the Arctic, the last temperate spot, where a few breeding couples will survive.

It is going to be a “hell of a climate”, he says, with Europe 8C warmer than it is today; and the real killer, says Lovelock, is that there is not a damn thing we can do about it. We are already pumping out so much carbon dioxide, with no prospect of abatement from the growing economies of China and India, that our fate is sealed.
The Telegraph (UK),2 Feb 2006

hot under the collar

man_hitting_computerA new research has shown that as the earth’s average temperature rises, so does human “heat” in the form of violent tendencies, which links global warming with increased violence in human beings.

While the global warming science has recently come under fire, the main premise behind the Iowa State researchers’ research paper is irrefutable. “It is very well researched and what I call the ‘heat hypothesis’,” a spokesman said.
dna India, 20/3/10

all is lost!

A climate change report has painted an alarming picture of the effect on Australia if global temperatures increase by more than an average three degrees Celsius.

Under that scenario, heat-related deaths would triple, people would be displaced en masse from the coast and national icons like the Great Barrier Reef would almost certainly be lost, according to the analysis by the former head of the CSIRO’s Climate Impacts Group.

The frequency of bushfires would double and there would be major extinctions of animal and plant life, Dr Barrie Pittock says in the report commissioned by WWF Australia.

On an even more serious note, such a rise in temperature would almost certainly trigger an unstoppable climate tipping point – which may occur with a global warming of two to three degrees Celsius, Dr Pittock said.
The Age, 27 Sep 2007

it’s all in the timing

U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming.

Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year.

The new report comes just a month before international delegates convene in Lima, Peru, to devise a new global agreement to limit emissions, and it makes clear the urgency of their task.
New York Times, 2 Nov 2014

new planet!

new_planetOur children and grandchildren will live on a “fundamentally different planet” by the end of this century unless people all over the world convince their governments and industries to stop global warming, warned Dr Michael Mann, one of the nation’s leading experts on climate change.

How will the Earth be different in just 87 years? Mann predicted record heat waves, record crop destroying droughts, recrd wildfires – and not just in the West. Expanding deserts, storms producing more floodng, rising ocean levels, And more diseases because fewer frosts will kill disease carrying mosquitoes and ticks.
WFMZ-TV News, 1 May 2013. “Dr Mann warns global warming will create a fundamentally different planet”

pollutants

Melting glaciers and ice sheets are releasing cancer-causing pollutants into the air and oceans, scientists say. The long-lasting chemicals get into the food chain and build up in people’s bodies – triggering tumours, heart disease and infertility. The warning comes in new international study into the links between climate change and a class of man-made toxins called persistent organic pollutants.
Daily Mail (UK), 9 Dec 2010

apocalypse soon! … unless we stop sending Xmas cards

Xmas_cardsIn his most apocalyptic predictions in recent years, Dr Rowan Williams claimed that the Earth is now facing a “whole range of ‘doomsday’ prospects” from climate change to the destruction of delicate ecosystems and even attack from “bio-terror” weapons.

The Church of England has been at the forefront of efforts to encourage “green” behaviour in recent years, even suggesting recently that people should post fewer Christmas cards.

The archbishop went on: “In the doomsday scenarios we are so often invited to contemplate, the ultimate tragedy is that a material world capable of being a manifestation in human hands of divine love is left to itself, as humanity is gradually choked, drowned or starved by its own stupidity.”
The Telegraph, 16 Mar 2009

our only hope – give them more money!

Climate change could cause global conflicts as large as the two world wars but lasting for centuries unless the problem is controlled, a leading defence think tank has warned.

The Royal United Services Institute said a tenfold increase in research spending, comparable to the amount spent on the Apollo space programme, will be needed if the world is to avoid the worst effects of changing temperatures.
The Telegraph (UK) 23 Apr 2008

delete winter!

Winter has gone for ever and we should officially bring spring forward instead, one of the country’s most respected gardeners said yesterday. “Over the last 12 months there has been no winter,” said Dr Nigel Taylor, curator of Kew Gardens. “Last year was extraordinary. Spring was in January, April was summer, the summer was cool, then it was warmer and sunny in autumn.”

“There is no winter any more despite a cold snap before Christmas. It is nothing like years ago when I was younger. There is a real problem with spring because so much is flowering so early year to year.” Express, 8 Feb 2008

sinking …. sinking ….

house_underwater_2
Up to a quarter of a million homes around the country, vital power stations, ports, sewerage pipes, water supplies and transport hubs, including Sydney airport, are at serious risk of flooding as a result of sea-level rise and bigger storm tides caused by climate change, warns the Rudd Government’s first national assessment of the coastline…

The report draws on scientific experts from the CSIRO, GeoScience Australia, the University of Tasmania and the Department of Climate Change. At risk by 2100, 157,000 to 247,000 homes, 170 industrial zones, 1800 bridges, 120 ports, 360 schools colleges and universities, 102 retirement/nursing homes, 258 police, fire and ambullance stations and 75 hospitals and health centres.
Sydney Morning Herald/ Environment, 14 Nov 2009. “Flood warning: lucky they brought a paddle”

look out below!

falling_rocks
A vast chunk of Europe’s most ill-famed mountain threatens to break loose and crash down in the next few days, a geologist monitoring the situation told the Guardian on Friday.

Hans-Rudolf Keusen said 2m cubic metres of the Eiger in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland – twice the volume of the Empire State Building – was rapidly working its way loose. He said the mountain appeared to have cracked open as an indirect result of global warming.
The Guardian, 8/7/06

crossroads!

crossroads

World Environment Day has been celebrated in Brisbane with a call for a massive turn to renewable energy and the large-scale subsidy of public transport to aid in the battle against global warming. Brisbane co-convenor Paul Benedek said 2007 was a watershed year for the environment.

“The world is at a crossroads; if we keep going the way we are going, we think the climate change that is occurring will be catastrophic.”

“We have rising seas, catastrophic weather events that are happening – you only have to look down at NSW – lives and species are threatened, look at what is happening at the poles, the ice melting. We think it is absolutely urgent and we are calling for a massive turn to renewable energy.”
The Age, 9 Jun 2007

bleak future

pyramids_underwater

In 600 pages, Sir Nicholas Stern spells out a bleak future gripped by violent storms, rising sea levels, crippling droughts and economic chaos unless urgent action is taken to tackle global warming. Rising sea levels will threaten countries like Bangladesh but also some of the biggest cities, including London, New York, Tokyo and Shanghai.

Ocean acidification could destroy fish stocks, crop failure will leave hundreds of millions at risk of starvation and up to 200 million people will be displaced by rising sea levels, floods and drought. It is already too late to avoid many of the problems facing people in the Third World.

The Telegraph, 31 Oct 2006

going, … going ….

canstockphoto20049549

Famous global landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, Tower of London and Sydney Opera House will be lost to rising seas caused by climate change, scientists have warned.

“It’s relatively safe to say that we will see the first impacts at these sites in the 21st century,” lead author Prof Ben Marzeoin, of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, told the Guardian. “Typically when people talk about climate change it’s about the economic or environmental consequences, how much it’s goin to cost. We wanted to look at the cultural implications.”

The Guardian 5 Mar 2014

(c) Can Stock Photo

ice free planet

The world could be tracking towards irreversible climate change as warming takes place much quicker than previously thought, an Adelaide academic has warned. Climate change expert Barry Brook, of Adelaide University, told a Canberra conference — Imagining the Real Life on a Greenhouse Earth — atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were headed towards 600 parts a million, and forecast global temperature increases of up to six degrees.

Professor Brook said a global temperature increase of three degrees might result in the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, a four-degree increase would lead to the displacement of hundreds of million of people and the extinction of up to half the world’s species, and a five-degree increase would create an ice-free planet and sea-level increases of 80 metres.
The Age, 12 Jun 2008

prepare to meet thy doom!

The Hawaii team, led by biologist and geographer Camilo Mora, took an alternate approach—they assumed, in the absence of a global mitigation agreement, greenhouse gas levels will keep rising at a steady rate, and used climate models to track how long it would take for weather events that are currently thought of as extreme to become typical.

“The results shocked us. Regardless of the scenario, changes will be coming soon,” Mora said in a press statement. “Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past.” For all locations on Earth, the average year of departure is 2047, but for some places concentrated in the tropics, that date will come much sooner, in the 2030?s, or in some extreme cases, the 2020?s.

In just a few decades, in other words, the coldest day you experience in January will be hotter than the warmest days your parents had in January—and the hottest day you get in July (in the Northern hemisphere) will simply be hotter than any day anyone has ever felt in your city to date.
Smithsonian.com 9 Oct 2013

shake-up call

New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr. Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago. The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of “global warming” is comprehensively and urgently addressed. “Consequences for inaction can only be catastrophic. There is no time for half-measures.”
CBS News, 18 Jun 2008

Earth has a fever!

The dinosaurs dominated the earth for 160 million years. We are in danger of putting our future at risk after a mere quarter of a million years. The force of the Gaia thesis has never been more apparent. When an alien infection invades the body, the body develops a fever in order to concentrate all its energies to eliminate the alien organism. In most cases it succeeds, and the body recovers. But where it does not, the body dies. The Guardian, 14/2/03

a non-viable species?

The Archbishop of Canterbury warned last night that the damage being inflicted on the planet by global warming threatened humans’ “viability as a species”. Dr Rowan Williams, in his first major speech on the environment since becoming archbishop, backed the description of climate change by Sir David King, Tony Blair’s chief scientific adviser, as “a weapon of mass destruction”.
The Telegraph (UK), 6 Jul 2004

agreement or oblivion!

Delegates at the U.N. climate conference struggled to agree Tuesday on whether they will call on rich nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by specific amounts, and the U.N. chief warned that the human race faces oblivion if it fails to confront global warming. “We are at a crossroad,” he added. “One path leads to a comprehensive climate change agreement, the other to oblivion. The choice is clear.” The Washington Post, 11 Dec 2007

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