worse than we thought – the measures of climate change!

Climate experts are increasingly worried though. More than 2000 will meet in Copenhagen this week for an emergency summit to emphasise that the shift is happening much faster than expected.

Hosted by the University of Copenhagen, the climate congress has two main goals – to update the science since the 2007 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and to develop and promote policy solutions.

The key findings will be transformed in a new and improved report to lobby leaders in the run-up to a critical UN conference in December, when a new Kyoto-stye agreement is to be signed.

UNSW Climate Change Research Centre co-director Matthew England, one of the summit’s key backers, says it is likely to find that the raw measures of climate change – global average air temperature, global sea-level rise and amospheric carbon dioxide concentrations – are all happening at or above the worst-case IPCC scenario.

The Age (Australia), 9 Mar 2009 – screencopy held by this website

worse than we thought – global warming acceleration!

Without decisive action, global warming in the 21st century is likely to accelerate at a much faster pace and cause more environmental damage than predicted, according to a leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing countries, like China and India, saw a huge upsurge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal,” said IPCC scientist Chris Field of Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Stanford News, 18 Feb 2009

worse than we thought – ice at both poles!

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, a group of scientists has issued an update on the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their conclusions? Ice at both poles is melting faster than predicted, the claims of recent global cooling are wrong, and world leaders must act fast if steep temperature rises are to be avoided.

The report — titled “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” — finds that in several key areas observed changes are outstripping the most recent projections by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warns that “there is a very high probability of the warming exceeding 2 °C unless global emissions peak and start to decline rapidly” within the next decade.

Elizabeth Kobert, Environment360, 24 Nov 2009

bean me up, Scotty

Rich western urbanites expecting to dodge the impacts of climate change should prepare for a jolt: global warming is leading to bad, expensive coffee.

Almost 2bn cups of coffee perk up its drinkers every day, but a perfect storm of rising heat, extreme weather and ferocious pests mean the highland bean is running out of cool mountainsides on which it flourishes.

Mauricio Galindo, head of operations at the intergovernmental International Coffee Organisation, is equally worried: “Climate change is the biggest threat to the industry. If we don’t prepare ourselves we are heading for a big disaster.”
The Guardian, 29 Mar 2014

thanks to Peter

year getting shorter

Ocean bottom pressure changes lead to a decreasing length-of-day in a warming climate. We use a coupled climate model to evaluate ocean bottom pressure changes in the IPCC-A1B climate scenario.

Most prominently, the Arctic Ocean shelves experience an above-average bottom pressure increase. We find a net transfer of mass from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere, and a net movement of mass closer towards Earth’s axis of rotation.

Thus, ocean warming and the ensuing mass redistribution change the length-of-day by −0.12 ms within 200 years, demonstrating that the oceans are capable of exciting nontidal length-of-day changes on decadal and longer timescales.
Felix W. Landerer and others, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 34, Issue 6, March 2007.

In their own words

or – “I thought this was all about science.”


“It is no secret that a lot of climate-change research is subject to opinion, that climate models sometimes disagree even on the signs of the future changes (e.g. drier vs. wetter future climate). The problem is, only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’ — and readers’ — attention.”

“So, yes, climate scientists might exaggerate, but in today’s world, this is the only way to assure any political action and thus more federal financing to reduce the scientific uncertainty.”
Monika Kopacz, NOAA Program Manager 2009 – letter to The New York Times, Apr. 12 2009


“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony, there are still collateral environmental benefits to global warming policies… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christine Stewart, then Canadian Minister of the Environment, speaking before editors and reporters of the Calgary Herald, 1998


“He [Al Gore] impressed us all at Deutsche Bank Asset Management. We invited him to an internal meeting in April 2007 during which we discussed the issue of climate change extensively.”

“A few months later, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment. We then created a fund that invests in companies that position themselves as climate-neutral.”

“Within two months almost 10 billion dollars flowed into this fund. Can you imagine? 10 billion! There has never been such an overwhelming success.”
Kevin Parker, Director of Global Asset Management, Deutsche Bank, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nov 15 2010


“Say that 30 years from now, science came back and said, ‘wow, we were mistaken then now we have some new information so we think it is something else’.”

In a world with nine billion people, even 10 billion at the middle of this century, where literally billions of global citizens will still have to get out of poverty and enter the consuming middle classes, don’t you think that anyway it makes a lot of sense to get more energy and resource efficient.”

“Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.”
Europe’s climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, Daily Telegraph 16/9/13


“In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together.”

“But in designating these dangers as the enemy we fall into the trap which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
Alexander King, founder of the Club of Rome environmental think-tank, advisor to the United Nations (1991), The First Global Revolution: A Report by the Council of The Club of Rome by Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider (Pantheon, 1991), p. 115


“On one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but—which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.”

“On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination.”
“That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula.”

“Each of us has to decide what is the right balance between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” Dr. Stephen Schneider, former IPCC Coordinating Lead Author, APS Online, Aug./Sep. 1996


“Some colleagues who share some of my doubts argue that the only way to get our society to change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe, and that therefore it is all right and even necessary for scientists to exaggerate. They tell me that my belief in open and honest assessment is naïve.”

” ‘Wolves deceive their prey, don’t they?’ one said to me recently. Therefore, biologically, he said, we are justified in exaggerating to get society to change.”
emeritus professor Daniel Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Wall St Journal 17 Oct 2007


“Government in the future will be based upon (or incorporate, depending on the level of breakdown of civilisation) a supreme office of the biosphere. The office will comprise specially trained philosopher/ecologists.”

“These guardians will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities. These guardians will be specially trained for the task.”
Professor David Shearman, an Assessor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 3rd and 4th Assessment Reports -The Climate change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy. David Shearman & Joseph Wayne Smith (Praeger Publishing: Wesport, 2007). p134

“In short, Shearman and Smith argue that liberal democracy – considered sacrosanct in modern societies – is an impediment to finding ecologically sustainable solutions for the planet.”
[intro. p.xi]

“In chapters 8 and 9 we argue that authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity, and it may be better to choose our elites rather than have them imposed.”

“We analyze authoritarian structures and their operation ranging from the medical intensive care unit and the Roman Catholic Church to corporatism with the conclusion that the crisis is best countered by developing authoritarian government using some of the fabric of these existing structures.”

“The education and values of the new “elite warrior leadership” who will battle for the future of the earth is described.”
Intro p xvi


Doomsday – 2100

In short, human driven climate change poses a great threat, unprecedented in type and scale to well-being, health and perhaps even to human survival……

Looking ahead to 2100, for which some modelled scenarios project an average global warming of 4 degrees Celsius , the report foresees that in such conditions people won’t be able to cope, let alone work productively, in the hottest parts of the year. And that’s assuming social and economic institutions and processes are till intact. Some regions may become uninhabitable.
“Australian National University, “Climate change and health: IPCC reports emerging risks, emerging consensus.” 31 Mar 2014

Doomsday – 2012

“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late,” said Rajendra Pachauri, a scientist and economist who heads the IPCC. “What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.” He said that since the IPCC began its work five years ago, scientists have recorded “much stronger trends in climate change,” such as a recent melting of polar ice that had not been predicted. “That means you better start with intervention much earlier.”
New York Times 17 Nov 2007

Doomsday – 2200

The 14 scientists, all experts in their fields of climate research, were asked about the probability of a tipping point being reached some time before 2200 if global warming continued on the course of the worst-case scenarios predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Nine of the fourteen scientists said that the chances of a tipping point for the high scenario were greater than 90 per cent, with only one saying that the chances were less than 50:50. At current rates of CO2 emissions, the world is on course for following the higher trajectory on global warming suggested by the IPCC.

The survey, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was carried out by a team led by Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to try to assess the level of consensus among climate scientists over some of the uncertainties about future predictions.The Independent, 28 Jun 2010

don’t trust the numbers

Scientists working on the most authoritative study on climate change were urged to cover up the fact that the world’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years, it is claimed. A leaked copy of a United Nations report, compiled by hundreds of scientists, shows politicians in Belgium, Germany, Hungary and the United States raised concerns about the final draft.

Published next week, it is expected to address the fact that 1998 was the hottest year on record and world temperatures have not yet exceeded it, which scientists have so far struggled to explain. The report is the result of six years’ work by UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is seen as the world authority on the extent of climate change and what is causing it – on which governments including Britain’s base their green policies.
Daily Mail, 20 Sep 2013


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

10 feet (3 meters)

Australian scientist Dr John Church is one of the world’s leading experts on sea level rise (he’s been studying it for a couple of decades) and was a co-ordinating lead author of the relevant chapter in the latest IPCC report.

“I would not dispute the idea that you could get substantially larger rises (beyond the end of this century) particularly with parts of West Antarctica being grounded below sea level and potentially unstable.

I don’t think that three metres is out of the question. Since the IPCC report, studies have shown that this process is now happening. We have triggered something that is potentially unstoppable.”
The Guardian 5 May 2015

thanks to Badgerbod

22 feet (6.7 metres)

Dr Tim Lenton of the University of East Anglia, believes the risk are far greater than the IPCC suggests. Speaking at a meeting in Cambridge organised by the British Antarctic Survey, Dr Lenton said: “We are close to being committed to a collapse of the Greenland ice sheet. But we don’t think we have passed the tipping point yet.”

But if the climate change crisis reached the point of no return and it were to melt then global sea levels would rise by 22ft and swallow up most of the world’s coastal regions.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Aug 2007

230 feet (70 metres)

Dr Gillett said the last assessment of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found human influence could be detected on all continents except Antarctica.

In the Arctic, we have the Greenland ice sheet, in the Antarctic, the Antarctic ice sheet. If those all melted, that would contribute 70 metres to sea level. Now that’s not going to happen in the next century or even several centuries but if even some of that ice starts to melt then that could make a large contribution to sea level rise.
The Age, 31 Oct 2008


The report said global emissions must peak by 2015 for the world to have any chance of limiting the expected temperature rise to 2C, which would still leave billions of people short of water by 2050.
The warning came in a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published yesterday in Bangkok.

www.theguardian.com, 5 May 2007