As you know, today the U.N.'s long awaited report from International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was issued (in Paris). Its assessment, reflecting the research of over 2,500 scientists from 113 countries, is pretty sobering, and concludes that it's a virtual slam dunk (actually, they were a bit more circumspect) that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are the culprit. Some may still argue that point, but I wonder who's gonna listen.
How's this for hard reality?...
"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level."
Add this to tidbits like...
"...the average temperature of the global ocean has incresed to depths of at least 3000m..."
"At continental, regional, and ocean based scales, numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed."
"The last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than present for an extended period (about 125,000 years ago), reductions in polar ice volume led to 4 to 6 meters of sea level rise."
"Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized."
What have we wrought?
Next topic: Wedges.
In the wake of this report, you will probably hearing a lot of talk about wedges. Climate "stabilization wedges". These are the brainchild of two Princeton University professors who profess (that's what they do, right?) that it's still possible to avoid climate catastrophe by applying the right set of 'wedges' from our toolbox of energy technologies, thereby flattening the rate of emissions growth asap, and holding it there for the next 50 years. This is put in perspective much better than I could, in a feature on the wonderfully informative Climate Repair web site.
If you relate to this concept--and I believe most of you will--then you'll have to check out the Stabilization Wedges Game. Princeton's Environmental Institute has created a fully downloadable version to allow you to learn, and challenge yourself to take on some of the tough decisions that wedging our way to a cure would take. It looks like a great education tool.
Last topic: $10,000.
Now, if you're a scientist, or know of one, this should catch your attention. A story today in the U.K.'s Guardian Unlimited reported that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a think tank with "close links to the Bush administration" has offered scientists $10,000 each "for articles that emphasize the shortcomings of a report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." You know what report that's referring to, right? But did you know who's engaged AEI to undertake this campaign to undermine the study? I'll give you a hint...it's a very big oil company who's actions of late could well be seen as XX rated.
I'll leave you to mull that over and take a look at the game. Let me know how it goes.