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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 Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:23AM (#42055423) Homepage
    Now we've rewritten history
    The one thing we've found out
    Sweet taste of vindication
    It turns to ashes in your mouth
  • Tell about it to New York people. I've heard it is getting windier there by.
    • by alen (225700) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:30AM (#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 microbox (704317)

        in the last few hundred years when it was colder the NYC area has had a lot more frequent and powerful storms than Sandy

        How do you know that?

        • by alen (225700)

          duh?

          wikipedia?

          they have articles on hurricanes and there are records of storms going back hundreds of years. NYC used to get hit by a Cat 3 storm every half century and smaller storms every few years. Sandy was a Cat 1.

          the last Cat 3 hit NYC in 1938.

          • by microbox (704317)
            Can you quantify "a lot more frequent"?
            • by alen (225700) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:28AM (#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 @11:37AM (#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?
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by alen (225700)

                  there was a big hurricane in 1938, 1815, 1893, 1860's. all Cat 3 hurricanes in NYC occurring before global warming. there are records of regular hurricanes going back to the 1600's as well. again, much more powerful storms than Sandy

                  the 1815 storm was so bad that it cut an island into two. the southern barrier island where Robert Moses State Park is used to be one island. THe Gale of 1815 destroyed part of it and its now two separate islands. it destroyed a few other smaller islands in the area as well.

                • by JD-1027 (726234) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:24PM (#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.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by stymy (1223496)
                    You'd be wrong. I am an actuary, and I can say that insurance premiums generally correspond pretty well to the actual risk. That's because the current insurance market is very competitive (note: I am only referring to traditional insurance, such as car, house, life, and whatnot, NOT life insurance). Insurance companies are always trying to see if they can undercut the competition. For the most part, the insurance companies don't make money from your payments, but just on interest accrued from investing thos
  • 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.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:41AM (#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!

      • by dcblogs (1096431)
        Offended? Plz. Hardly. IRepeating the same headline year after year about the same trend misinforms the public about the gravity of the problem. The problem, as you point out, is that people don't get the basics, so why compound the problem with lousy reporting?
        • by ultranova (717540)

          The problem, as you point out, is that people don't get the basics, so why compound the problem with lousy reporting?

          People don't want to get the basics due to the implications, so it doesn't matter how they are reported, or if at all. Some excuse to ignore inconvenient facts can always be found, thus justifying not dealing with the problem right now and delaying the associated pain.

    • but the Keeling Curve has been hitting 'record levels' every year since the late 1950s.

      In other news, upwards trends go upwards. Not surprisingly since so much CO2 is being put into the atmosphere.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I prefer mine with some context. Like this one. [ucr.edu]

    • I prefer mine with some context. Like this one. [ucr.edu]

      That's pretty poor context. That graph is pure distortion. It's has the time from 1870 to now at one scale and the rest in thousands of years. Moreover, it clearly shows that temperatures have been rising for years before civilization was around and is now at the high point.

      Since we are all pretty well aware that we are between ice ages it doesn't say much at all and it gives absolutely no indication if the current warming trend is usual or not.

  • by grimJester (890090) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:32AM (#42055531)
    Just look at the curve [climatecentral.org] The rise is so steady every year in the last fifty has set a record and every year in the next fifty probably will too.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Hasn't it been going steadily up since the 1750s?

      I blame Mr. Watt and his steam engine for all the problems.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      The upward trend is clearly due to the declining numbers of pirates.
  • by SandwhichMaster (1044184) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:41AM (#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 oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:01AM (#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 lennier (44736) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:55PM (#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.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:55AM (#42055847)
    If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month

    .
    Nowhere on the surface of the planet have we seen any record cold temperatures over the course of the year so far. Every land surface in the world saw warmer-than-average temperatures except Alaska and the eastern tip of Russia. The continental United States has been blanketed with record warmth — and the seas just off the East Coast have been much warmer than average, for which Sandy sends her thanks.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration summarizes October 2012:

    The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63C (58.23F). This is 0.63C (1.13F) above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. The record warmest October occurred in 2003 and the record coldest October occurred in 1912. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature.

    Emphasis added. If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average. That’s beyond astonishing....

    Maps and the full article are here [grist.org].

    • by Drophet (2013758) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:44AM (#42056605) Homepage

      Oh, my sweet summer child! What do you know about fear? Fear is for the winter, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep; fear is for the Long Night, when the sun hides for years and children are born and live and die all in darkness...

      Winter is coming.

    • by jittles (1613415)
      Huh. That's funny because where I live, we have received colder than average months two winters in a row. We're talking freezing temperatures in a place that rarely gets frost on the windshields! In fact, I believe we even broke a record low from the 1930s the winter before last.
  • Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:55AM (#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...

  • Their heads will explode.

    On second thought... yes by all means, tell the Republicans!

  • Isn't that right next to a volcano? Didn't they observe a sharp rise a few years ago? The claims are interesting and all, but I think they chose to show a plot from an observation point that is exceptional.
  • by Andrio (2580551) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @12:45PM (#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 sl3xd (111641) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @07:27PM (#42061949) Journal

    Anybody ever notice the irony that conservatives keep talking about not wanting to "crush future generations with debt" when talking about the US National Debt, but are rabidly against the notion that they are actively working to crush future generations in an entirely different, but equally difficult to survive way?

    Quite simply, there are two arguments:

    • Runaway Federal spending is creating a crushing burden for future generations.
    • Runaway carbon emissions is a crushing burden for future generations.

    The difference: There is no consensus among economists about how burdensome the national debt really is - macroeconomics simply doesn't work the same way corporate or personal finances do. Nobel Prizes are still awarded to Keynesian economists, as well as monetarists and adherents of the Austrian school. Even though these schools of economic thought have radically different and conflicting viewpoints, each school continues to win Nobel prizes. There simply is no consensus as to how economies actually work.

    On the other hand, among climate scientists, the conclusion is nearly unanimous with an overall consensus of over 98%: The climate is warming, and human burning of hydrocarbons is the cause.

    The vast majority of climate deniers come from people who have no credible qualifications; a dentist shouldn't have to argue about how to pull a tooth with a businessman with a string and a door.

    Yet climate scientists have to argue with crackpots with a meat thermometer and a solo cup.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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