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Report Says Climate Change Already Evident, Emissions Gap Growing 623

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the blame-canada dept.
Dupple writes "Following on from a world bank report of 4 degree C warmer world comes this story from the BBC. 'The effects of climate change are already evident in Europe and the situation is set to get worse, the European Environment Agency has warned. "Every indicator we have in terms of giving us an early warning of climate change and increasing vulnerability is giving us a very strong signal," observed EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade.'" Here's the report in question. There also comes news we've hit record levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
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Report Says Climate Change Already Evident, Emissions Gap Growing

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  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:30AM (#42055505)

    believe it or not the last 50 some years in NYC have been very lite on hurricanes. in the last few hundred years when it was colder the NYC area has had a lot more frequent and powerful storms than Sandy

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:31AM (#42055515)
    Apparently, there will never be enough data to convince some people of that. (See also "Evolution, teaching in US schools.")
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:35AM (#42055571)

    I love that the article includes the chart showing "Atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa Observatory".

    Kinda like a thermometer hanging over a boiling pot of water to show it is warm.

  • by SandwhichMaster (1044184) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:41AM (#42055645) Homepage

    I understand that there are many arguments as to whether global climate change exists, and/or how sever it is. I also understand that trying to reduce our emissions significantly can come at some economic cost. But there are still many low hanging fruits that we could easily tackle as a compromise, at very little cost.

    To name a few:

    - Boats - No emissions controls at all currently
    - Planes - Trains should be a better option (particularly in the U.S.)
    - Coal power plants - Outdated tech
    - Lawn mowers - Electric mowers could replace most people's mowing needs
    - Excessive water consumption - Top loading washing machines are a colossal waste of fresh water

    Additionally, there have been numerous studies linking various forms of pollution to cancer and other serious health effects. So we stand to gain healthier people and lower health care costs by reducing our emissions as well.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:41AM (#42055647) Journal

    I love an alarmist, panic-in-the-streets, headless-man-found-in-topless-bar, headlines as much as the next guy, but the Keeling Curve has been hitting 'record levels' every year since the late 1950s.

    Yeah well, believe it or not one of the common arguments I face when talking about man made CO2 is that human emissions are nothing compared to natural forces of CO2 [skepticalscience.com] and a similar argument is that the Earth has a natural cycle that keeps this level of CO2 in balance and in check.

    So as we watch CO2 levels steadily rise, it gives us insight into how much of these "natural processes" are effecting greenhouse gases in our atmosphere versus what we are contributing to these levels. And I think it's important to remind people that 1) these levels are steadily rising so no, the Earth is not keeping itself in check, 2) it's not just something where turn on the "remove CO2 machines" to fix it and 3) if natural processes are the cause of these levels of CO2, where is the corresponding increase in these natural processes?

    Seriously people tell me all the time that one volcanic eruption dwarfs anything man could do in a decade. And I don't know where they get this shit. So tell me, where are all these new volcanic eruptions to explain this steady trend upward? Oh, we can't report that it's rising because you feel offended that it's "alarmist, panic-in-the-streets, headless-man-found-in-topless-bar, headlines." With all due respect, you're not helping this situation!

  • Re:Seems Fishy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:45AM (#42055693) Homepage

    Yes, the reporting sucks, as usual. If the climate were perfectly stable (never is) and human economic growth continued you would EXPECT damages from pretty much everything to increase unless people in general were rational and had enough foresight to mitigate obvious problems like putting lots of expensive things next to the ocean.

    Add a changing environment (hotter, colder - it really doesn't make much difference) and you're going to have more damage - unless you get smart about where to place things.

    But the climate is changing - and changing fairly quickly. Whether or not mankind is really forcing the change or not, it still is going to be a big problem because we are pushing the carrying capacity of the planet at present. If you look at the history of human kind it is apparent that climate change has forced numerous civilizations to move, adapt or collapse (or various combinations). Given close to 7 billion people, moving lots of them doesn't work well. Adapting will certainly happen - some more successful than others and collapse is definitely a possibility.

    Just try to ignore the media - as usual, it's not being terribly helpful.

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:47AM (#42055721)

    A glib and superficial comment at best.

    If you don't believe that you need to think seriously about your own personal contributions to the problem, then you rob future generations by your sloth.

    There will be all sorts of methods, some that work, some that are insane and don't work, but I appreciate California trying to tackle the problem. With hard work, the California example will help mitigate the problem and raise understanding of how to make it work.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:50AM (#42055755) Journal

    Methinks that in a decade or two some natural process will start to decrease carbon levels

    Meagrees. Methinks it is much more likely that ledow (319597) is much more up to speed on climate modelling, geology, large scale biology and other natural processes than armies of scientists who have devoted large parts of their lives to studying this. Mealsothinks that people who have been studying it for a long time and spent their lives shooting down their collegues and being shot down (science is like that: there's no consipracy, it's generally a bunch of people desperately trying to make a name for themselves by proving everyone else wrong) are far more likely to have missed something obvious than ledow (319597).

    Mewouldalso like to point out that your arrogance and self belief is quite astounding if you think that you're more knowledgable than the world experts.

    Meisnot going to link to all the arguments about why your last paragraph is tosh because they are easily found and you would have read them by now if you actually had an open mind, rather than an ideology.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:55AM (#42055849)

    California is solving it's pollution problem by trashing it's economy and encouraging its citizens to move elsewhere.

  • Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:55AM (#42055863)

    It's hard to convince the general public not steeped in an interest in science from an early age the way a lot of the geekverse was. People need to see something happening in a big, clear way before they believe it.

    Well, except for religion.

    And politicial ideology.

    And conspiracy theories.

    And urban myths.

    And all the "I know what I know" categiries.

    And... er... hmmm...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:00PM (#42055927)

    Obviously he is not robbing anybody of anything, the 'future generations' do not actually exist and they may not exist for all we know. 'Future generations' is an abstract idea that completely worthless from our perspective, we will never meet them, we will never know if they even will exist or not and it is really not our problem what challenges they will face as time progresses. We certainly are doing our best to make our own lives better (well, not the ones that are socialists but reasonable people who understand that free market capitalism is the actual solution to the environmental challenge, since it is the free market capitalism that creates the tools necessary to solve the problem by increasing the wealth of the society in pursuit of private profits).

    The future generations are about as abstract as the past generations, and thousands and millions of years ago people faced challenges that probably were much more grave, including environmental catastrophes.

    If today we turn the clock back to technologies that are supposedly 'green' and we end up stifling the progress and innovation that allows us to use more energy and thus provides us with higher standard of living, creating more wealth that in turn allows us to attack problems that we may face, the future generations may think of us not as 'saviours' of anything but as short-sighted idiots who apparently ended up wasting the opportunity to achieve the critical mass of productivity necessary to move to the next phase of technological evolution not based on unsustainable government subsidies that come from diminishing the productive output by denying capital to the actual producers of the said capital, but by allowing the free market to operate to its full potential and solve our actual problems.

    In other words we need to think of ourselves first and at all times, because the concept of 'future generations' may not materialise at all if we degrade our economy and thus technology enough so that the inevitable war for resources destroys our current potential to achieve the necessary economic and technological momentum that would take us over this coming evolutionary hump presented in the form of environmental challenge.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:01PM (#42055937)
    I'm all for lowering emissions, but don't forget about the massive damage that's already been done. To use an analogy, we're pushing a rock down a hill. Lowering emissions means only pushing it less down the hill. We need to stop pushing entirely, get on the other side, slow it down, stop it, and push it back up. That's going to entail a lot more work than replacing lawn mowers and washing machines. We need to lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere, suck out pollution in the air, water, and soil, regrow forests and other ecosystems, and figure out how to use the remaining resources of the planet sustainably.
  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:15PM (#42056141) Journal

    With hard work, the California example will help mitigate the problem...

    Yes, we should pay the price so rich environmental scientologists can scurry off to Rio in the wintertime more often and not feel guilty about it. See, this is one of the big issues behind a lot of the 'green' movements. All the sacrifice is expected to come from our hides. I'll believe the likes of Al Gore are serious when they sell their private jets and start riding public transport.

  • by slim (1652) <john@ha[ ]up.net ['rtn' in gap]> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:19PM (#42056225) Homepage

    There is another aspect of this. People talk all the time about there being a cult following of climate change believers and how this is nearly a religion. Religious fevor has through the ages produced some very dedicated individuals willing to go to incredible lengths in pursuit of their beliefs.

    ...

    So where are the extraordinary acts?

    I think you have things backwards. Climate change caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is the mainstream, evidence-based consensus. It's the deniers who are like a religion. Just like "creation science", they have people who cherry-pick evidence, mash figures, and come up with conclusions that are counter to the mainstream. Just like "creation science", they have cheerleaders who repeat arguments that have been refuted time and time again (e.g. "volcanoes").

    Oh, and of course, there's those with a vested interest in the fossil fuel industry, who'll back the denialist message, whether they believe it or not.

    So perhaps the absence of "extraordinary acts" like blowing up coal fired power stations, is because the people keenest on reducing CO2 emissions, are sane, level headed people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:25PM (#42056323)

    The war for resources has started already, unless you are not paying attention, the war for resources is here now across the planet.

    African nations, Middle Eastern countries, Greece and many other European nations, USA and most of Latin America, Indonesia. War for resources is happening all the time and it is intensifying with more socialist ideology being pushed into the ruling apparatus. Actually the real issue with the green movement is the fact that it is not as much 'green' as it is socialist.

    Greens today are only a cover for socialist movement, capital and exchange controls, price controls, taxation, draft, information control, migration control and population control, destruction of rights to private property and thus the rest of human rights. That is in fact what the so called 'green' ideology is really about, and if you are not sure of that you can certainly watch the third party debate [youtube.com] and all the comments [youtube.com] made by their representative (Stein).

    The war is the inevitable extension of all such philosophies, they have always pushed for war, you can see very recent history of former USSR, Germany, China, Korea and such. Their policy is self-destructive economy of central planning and collectivism, which creates poverty by preventing individuals from pursuing profits in a legitimate lawful competitive free market system.

    The war for resources is the logical outcome of collectivist policies, regardless if they are more socialist or more fascist in nature, it doesn't matter. It's the free market capitalism that promotes trade and peaceful coexistence that trade depends upon, not government, not central planning.

    So my point is that war for resources is inevitable given nationalistic socialist and fascist (more importantly collectivist and central planning) ideology that the greens are pursuing.

  • by mbkennel (97636) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:25PM (#42056325)

    Except of course that there is no local signal from intermittent volcanism, and that this issue has been examined by scientists decades ago and is confirmed by many other measuring stations. And that the extra CO2 from fossils can be distinguished by a slightly different isotopic ratio.

    There is a persistent behavior in climate "skeptics" who think they are clever. They take 15 seconds and imagine one simple consideration in response to a popularized sound bite and assume that somehow they gotcha'ed thousands of people who spend their lifetimes working on the problem.

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:28PM (#42056377)

    NYC used to get hit by a hurricane every few years. the list is on wikipedia. the last 50 to 70 years it has been once a decade or so.

    the 1938 hurricane was Cat 3 when it hit Long Island and moved at 70mph. It had 130 mph winds when it hit Long Island. Lots of other Cat 3 hurricanes hit New England in the last 300 years and did a lot more damage than Sandy.
    Sandy was barely a Cat 1 when it made landfall and moved at 15mph. the flooding was because it made landfall during a full moon and at high tide when the water is naturally a few feet higher.

    Irene when it hit a few years ago was more powerful than Sandy but made landfall at low tide and there was almost no flooding

  • by microbox (704317) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:37PM (#42056505)
    You know, people actually quantify things and then apply statistical methods, in order to see if they are deceiving themselves. You will (almost) always be able to look backwards in history to find a single worse event. The frequency and intensity of events is what matters in a statistical sense.

    Scientists have done the math and drawn scientific conclusions on increasing extreme weather events.

    But forget them.

    The US military did their own analysis an noted the trends in extreme weather events, and have characterised it as a national security problem.

    But forget them.

    Insurance companies have actuaries who spend their lives studying and calculating risk, and they work out the rates on insurance policies. And the verdict is that premiums will need to go up.

    But forget them.

    There was a big hurricane in 1938 in NYC.

    See what you did there?
  • by ukemike (956477) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:39PM (#42056533) Homepage

    Methinks that in a decade or two some natural process will start to decrease carbon levels and then those people put in charge of whatever-crackpot-carbon-saving scheme now will be able to do an I-told-you-so then. When, really, everything we did made zero difference whatsoever.

    Magical thinking at its worst. If you look at the evidence, god forbid, you'll find that there many examples of opposite happening. For instance warming is causing an accelerated release of methane from permafrost and since methane is a strong greenhouse gas... Sea warming is starting to cause release of methane hydrate deposits from the sea floor, which will also accelerate warming. Reduction of ice cover on the Arctic Ocean is reducing albedo (the amount of solar radiation (heat) reflected back into space). All of these are factors that are causing an acceleration of global warming.

  • by Stickybombs (1805046) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:50PM (#42056691)
    It will have a massive effect. You don't seriously expect auto manufacturers to design and engineer new cars, set up plants to produce all the component parts, and totally retool their assembly lines to build these new models overnight, do you?

    Unless someone comes along and repeals the CAFE requirements, which is unlikely, given the political bad-will it would cause, Obama and Congress have made a significant step towards reducing total US emissions.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:08PM (#42056985) Journal

    Our actions are constrained in all manner of ways for the greater good. You can't drive at 90mph down a freeway in the wrong direction; it does indeed make you morally inferior if you do.

    Personal liberties are not absolute proof against a society, or indeed, an entire civilization trying to save itself.

    Beyond that, do you think the universe cares about your ideological or moral views? Do you think a hurricane a drought can be prevented by Libertarian extremism? Do you think the universe will alter the laws of physics based on the makeup of the US Congress or on some strident interpretation of the Constitution?

    There has to be some point when reality takes you by the balls and yanks you out of your ideological underpinnings. The universe doesn't fucking care about you, not one fucking little bit. It will squash a Libertarian just as easily and with as little thought as a Republican, Democrat, socialist, anarchist, Presbyterian, atheist or whatever. This idea that you can counter reality with rhetorical lectures is beyond bizarre.

    Oddly enough, at least some people think the long term survival of our civilization is a tad more important than your ideological leanings. I know, that seems shocking, seeing as you believe you should be constrained by no interest but your own, but there you have it.

  • by JD-1027 (726234) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:24PM (#42057187)

    Insurance companies have actuaries who spend their lives studying and calculating risk, and they work out the rates on insurance policies. And the verdict is that premiums will need to go up.

    I would be amazed, if ever in the history of insurance companies, that a study of risk calculated that they could lower their premiums.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:33PM (#42057309)

    So your plan is sit around and Nature will save us? That's just a short hop away from Senator Inhofe's "only God can change the climate" statement.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:34PM (#42057323) Journal

    Cap and trade IS A SCAM which is what he was pointing out, the few rich (like Al Gore and Goldman Sachs) that are set to cash in already have their own little "carbon shelters" so the higher costs YOU pay won't affect THEM, after all they can offshore to China who has already said they won't play our little three card monty, or in the case of Rev Al he pays HIMSELF carbon credits from HIS OWN COMPANY, which would be like me moving money from my left to right pocket, calling it "wealth redistribution" and getting a fricking tax break for it!

    You wanna solve this problem? fine tell the NIMBYs to STFU and watch how easy it would be WITHOUT enriching the leeches like rev Al and Goldman Sachs... We build a "people's car" and a "people's truck" both of which run on diesel, so that as we ramp up bio-diesel production we can just switch everyone over without throwing away their vehicles, we make them at under $20k each and THEN have a "cash for clunkers" to get rid of all those gas hogs still on the road. We also build a combination of nuclear reactors and renewables, we build a reprocessing reactor next to the main reactor, as well as running test programs with new designs like Thorium, and we supplement that with renewables wherever we can...tada!

    See how easy that was? But then those leeches like rev Al and pals couldn't drain money out of the pockets of the poor while shipping factories to China...can't have that now can we? With bio-diesel we could take those greenhouse gases and recycle them for fuel, there is even a pilot program in the UK that is getting the carbon straight from the seawater so they will actually help the oceans while they are at it. you get rid of the gas hogs, and because we can build diesel engines that get damned good gas mileage not only would we be recycling the carbon output of the factories we'd boost the national gas mileage while we are at it.

    But sadly that will NEVER happen, because the leeches have already figured out how to game the fuck out of carbon credits which is why they are pushing so hard for it. After all their factories in China won't be affected, so why should they care? They even have the one who cooked up credit default swaps [nakedcapitalism.com], the scam that let them package junk mortgages as AAA writing the carbon credit rules! What a perfect scam for the elite 3% that will make tons bleeding the poor! It won't do a fucking thing about AGW, but who cares? The rich get richer, that is the REAL point!

  • by Andrio (2580551) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:45PM (#42057457)
    ...As an individual, is to reduce/eliminate the consumption of farm animals. We breed billions of cows and pigs, and feed them unnaturual diets--which greatly increases their flatulence. So we're pumping massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere that wouldn't be there otherwise (Cows in particular are methane machines, and there would be nowhere near as many as there are now if not for humans). Methane is 20x better at trapping heat than CO2, and recycles out of the atmosphere in 7 years instead of 100. We could see immediate effects on global warming.

    But in addition to that, most deforestation is being done so that cattle has grazing land. That's where most of the Amazon is going now--not to make wood or paper, or even just room for people, but so that cattle have grazing land, and cheap beef can be exported to fast food chains. Fast food chains are shrinking the lungs of the world.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @01:47PM (#42057479) Journal

    The problem is that the scientists have no power to fix it. It is the politicians and everyone else that has to do the dirty work.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:30PM (#42058091) Homepage Journal

    actually that would be the 2nd best thing you can do.

    The #1 best thing would be to stop breeding. The world would benefit by following the example set by Slashdotters.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:43PM (#42058287)

    And lightning has been known to cause forest fires, so we don't have to do anything about our habit of tossing lit cigarette buts out the car window.

  • by bunratty (545641) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:22PM (#42060089)

    The effects of global warming [wikipedia.org] are going be more severe than the slight discomfort of feeling warm. Hundreds of millions of people will be displaced. Droughts will be more common. GDP will drop. It's economically favorable to us in the long run to work on reducing carbon dioxide emissions now. In any case, fossil fuels will nor last forever, so we will need to develop alternative energy sources at some point. I would rather develop them earlier so their cost will come down, which will help keep energy prices lower as fossil fuels run out.

    Your post smacks of "Let them eat cake!"

  • by lennier (44736) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:55PM (#42061159) Homepage

    We need to lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere, suck out pollution in the air, water, and soil, regrow forests and other ecosystems, and figure out how to use the remaining resources of the planet sustainably.

    And do all that without using combustion processes of any kind to power the planetary-scale CO2 sequestration machinery required.
    And while generating a net energy surplus to feed, house and power our civilisation.

    It's not so much that we've just been pushing that boulder downhill towards the dam that will flood our village - we've been actively attaching ropes and pulleys to it and using its accelerating slide down the mountain to draw our water, irrigate our crops, and grind our wheat. Then we've been gambling all our life savings on the rock always moving faster and faster. And to make sure it does, we've got a crew running ahead digging and smoothing its passage, because if it slows down even a tiny bit, first our banks crash, and then we all starve.

    And while a few scientists have been shouting, "hey, that rock's going to destroy your village when it hits! Get out of the way, or slow it down!", there's an active crowd throwing rotten vegetables at them and saying, "Shut up, you economy-wreckers! Push that rock down faster! Faster! OMG PUSH FASTER OR WE'RE DOOMED!!!"

    We have a problem.

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