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Earth Science

UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming 987

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
iONiUM (530420) writes "'The impacts of global warming are likely to be "severe, pervasive and irreversible", a major report by the UN has warned.' A document was released by the IPCC outlining the current affects on climate change, and they are not good. For specific effects on humans: 'Food security is highlighted as an area of significant concern. Crop yields for maize, rice and wheat are all hit in the period up to 2050, with around a tenth of projections showing losses over 25%.'"
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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2014 @03:28PM (#46624245)

    One would think that agricultural lobbies worldwide, which are often quite politically powerful, would be screaming their heads off about climate change affecting crop yields. Have I simply failed to notice or have they been silent on the issue?

  • we're all effed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Monday March 31, 2014 @03:33PM (#46624317)

    we're all effed. even if we do an aggressive CO2 reduction in emissions, we won't get emissions down to sustainable levels by 2050. Then, it will take decades for the CO2 air concentration to reach sustainable levels. and this assumes we don't get an explosion in emissions from developing countries.

    So we have 80 years of unmitigated climate change ahead of us. pretty much everybody reading this will die before there's a possibility of things improving. sorry to be a debbie downer, but these are no longer dire warnings of what might happen unless we take action, they're explanations of what will happen due to past inaction. hide yo wife, hide yo kids, hide yo husbands, cuz things are gonna start changing.

  • Re:Geologic Ice Age (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday March 31, 2014 @03:38PM (#46624383) Journal

    You could, you know, if you felt like, stop watching television read the report, and other associated materials.

    I know, it's a lot of work, and it's just a lot easier to repeat what you've heard.

  • Climate Denial (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brit74 (831798) on Monday March 31, 2014 @03:42PM (#46624431)
    Wow, the climate deniers are out in force on Slashdot today. Out of curiousity, are you paid? Do you all get instant alerts whenever the subject of climate is posted on Slashdot, like the Digg Patriots? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org]
  • by foxalopex (522681) on Monday March 31, 2014 @03:50PM (#46624499)

    I have always found it interesting that a lot of folks would prefer that such problems didn't exist when even simple logic seems to point to the fact that it is human caused. Common sense tells you that if a billion of us start to burn things it might have some negative effects. Heck, I remember as a kid we use to dig holes in a riverbank for fun and over time with a few sticks we managed to amazingly reshape the entire riverbank. Granted maybe I shouldn't be so hard on folks who refuse to believe in it. After all if it doesn't directly affect me and I can't do anything about it, it doesn't exist right?

    The real problem is what to do about it. It probably isn't all gloom and doom. The UN is making a huge deal of it because let's face it there's a LOT of third world and poor countries out there where even a small shift in climate would kill millions. The UN represents ALL countries. For us richer nations it will probably be uncomfortable, maybe an inconvenience at worst so long as serious world war doesn't break out. Still I wonder how morally bad we would feel if we knew that say saving a little now could save millions in another country. Sadly I suspect in the end greed will win out and we'll likely take the difficult road in life. It seems to sadly be what we do best. Wait until things get bad or someone dies, then try to fix it if we can.

  • Re:Projections (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday March 31, 2014 @04:01PM (#46624655)
    Yeah! The motto of the UN and any world leaders should be "Hope for the best and prepare only for the best!" Because planning for the worst-case scenario is just ASKING for trouble. Who are these people with their negative thinking about the worlds food supply? Why, that's downright irresponsible to be pessimistic like that, according to "The Secret."

    Sarcasm aside, I do sorta agree with you. They know it's going to be a problem. They don't really seem to be pointing fingers which would be the next step. I realize the top carbon emitting nations run the show at the UN, so even a toothless resolution telling the US and China to fucking stop tinkering with the atmosphere is never going to get anywhere, but it doesn't seem like anyone is trying. Furthermore, the UN is against the next logical step of cleaning it up [nature.com]. They seem resistant to finding out if iron fertilization in the oceans could solve it.

    So they won't make moves to prevent it and they won't make moves to allow it to be reduced. They come up with suggestions, but they're all basically "deal with the problems." For instance it encourages economic diversification in response to problems with the economy. Oh, great. Cause that's not something anyone thought to do before hand. MUCH easier than causing algal blooms in the ocean to soak up the carbon.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 31, 2014 @05:41PM (#46625739)

    First of all, I didn't read the summary or anything. I don't care what evidence points to what or whether A or B claim, demand or deny something. I can't help to look at it from a risk manager's point of view and, frankly, I wonder what the goal of the discussion is. Currently it feels like a political debate between two positions claiming that they're right, but no longer because they think they have the better position but only because they don't wanna relent and WANNA be right, no matter whether that has anything to do with reality or not.

    At the same time, I can't help but not care who is right in the end. Because from the risk management point of view, it simply does not matter. As a risk manager, I would HAVE TO assume that global warming happens and that I have to prepare for it and formulate a plan to mitigate its effects. Why? Because of risk * cost / reward. In this case (and I get to that in a minute), cost and reward even take a back seat because risk itself outshines both.

    Risk is determined by effect (what happens when the incident strikes) and chance (how likely is it that it happens). The risk is in this case paramount due to the insanely high effect and a nonzero chance of incidence. In risk management terms, an incident would threaten the continuation of operation (in this case, our life), costing at the very least millions if not billions of lives, followed by famine and very likely war for the remaining resources for the rest of the planet. Now, this would not matter yet if there is a zero chance of incidence. That is nothing I could assume for certain.

    The mere fact that there is a nonzero chance of it to happen, coupled with the insanely severe effects in case of incidence, would make me recommend to prepare for the incident and at least conduct studies how it could be avoided.

    The key issue here is that the incident cannot be mitigated sensibly once it happened. We can't react to it appropriately, we can only prepare for it. To pull a drastic example, once you have lung cancer, stopping smoking won't change much anymore. And I'm pretty sure you don't give a shit then whether smoking gave you cancer or whether you got it any other way.

  • Re:Projections (Score:4, Interesting)

    by khallow (566160) on Monday March 31, 2014 @07:27PM (#46626617)

    In my view the answer is yes, but much in the same way that anti-tobacco lobbyists had propaganda machines supporting that tobacco was harmful against an onslaught of well funded research and arguments trying to questioning it.

    Except that they're the ones outspending the evil oil companies propaganda machine. For example, there are major government agencies such as US's NASA and the UK's MET supporting climate change propaganda. Vast sums of public funds are burned on climate change issues such as roughly 30 billion euros per year by the EU.

    And a number of private NGOs are on the gravy train such as the World Wildlife Fund which gets over $30 million per year just in public funds for its copious propaganda exercises. That's alone is well over any amounts alleged to be put into skepticism groups and propaganda.

    Sure, the funding battle is uneven, but it's uneven in favor of climate change advocacy. It doesn't mean that climate change is wrong or even exaggerated, but I think it's healthy to consider all conflicts of interest, not merely assume they exist only for opponents.

  • Re:Projections (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rgbatduke (1231380) <rgb@nOSpAM.phy.duke.edu> on Monday March 31, 2014 @07:30PM (#46626649) Homepage

    What we haven't been doing since 1998 is warming, especially statistically significant warming. As I said, don't fight with me, fight with the authors of Chapter 9 in AR5. Obviously they acknowledge that there hasn't been any significant warming for roughly 16 years, as the title of Box 9.2 is "Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years" -- as of a year ago (they reference the lack of warming from 1998 to 2012 in HADCRUT4, which is now a lack of warming from 1998 to 2014 and counting, and similar things hold for the other major temperature indices). Obviously the authors of AR5 are all "deniers" because they feel the need to explain the fact that the general circulation models have significantly deviated from the actual climate for a period as long as the periods of actual warming visible in the 20th century.

    If you bother to actually go out and grab AR5 to read what it actually says instead of what distortions of summaries of paraphrases might have said, you might stop by and read paragraphs 9.2.2.2 and 9.2.2.3. They are sublime. Basically they say "We have no defensible reason to think that the average of all of the climate models in CMIP5 has the slightest actual meaning, and we have excellent reasons not to just take the numerical average of their individual mean predictions with equal weight and to prune out the failing models, but we're going present the numerical average of all of the models, including the ones that are overtly failing, anyway".

    Also, did you ever think that using a word like "denier" in an objective discussion of data labels you as somebody that views this as an us versus them issue, where anybody that doesn't agree with you cannot possibly have any sort of reason on their side? That sounds so ... religious.

    Here's a test. As a glance at the data I actually provide a link to above (data which is itself not exactly above reproach, but let's take HADCRUT4 as being at least a reasonably honest attempt to evaluate a global surface temperature anomaly even though they do not attempt to correct for e.g. UHI and hence almost certainly have a monotonic warming bias) clearly shows, the warming pre and post roughly 2000 (give or take a couple of years) is entirely different and the latter strongly deviates from the meaningless mean trajectory of the equally weighted CMIP5 models, which almost all run far too hot compared to measured reality. Two questions:

    a) Obviously, if global temperatures had perfectly tracked the predictions of the models, we would have good reason to think that the models were working, or at least that any flaws in them were not yet revealed. Instead the models have deviated from the data almost from the minute they were released into the wild post the reference period where they were basically fit to a training set (a training set that just happened to embrace the only strong burst of warming seen in the second half of the 20th century, oops). In most areas of science a failure to predict the data is considered a good reason to decrease one's degree of belief that the model, or models, are correct. However sure you were that catastrophic anthropogenic warming was correct (say) ten years ago, any sort of Bayesian (or plain common sense) statistical analysis should make you less certain than you were then as the models that are really the sole basis for predictions of catastrophe fail to agree with the data.

    Is this the case? Or are you even more certain of future catastrophe in spite of the lack of warming of e.g. the RSS dataset for 17 years, and all of the rest of the sets for intervals ranging from 14 to 16 years? If you are more certain, that's a sign of both religious belief and a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. You might want to consider whether your personal biases are coloring your judgment and your conclusions.

    b) OK, so maybe you are less certain, maybe you aren't. However, certain or not, the data is flat to falling and lots of Real C

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