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US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe 627

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it-was-cold-yesterday dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Darryl Fears reports in the Washington Post on the U.S. government's newest national assessment of climate change. It says Americans are already feeling the effects of global warming. The assessment carves the nation into sections and examines the impacts: More sea-level rise, flooding, storm surge, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and Caribbean; more drought and wildfires in the Southwest. 'Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Insurance rates are rising in some vulnerable locations, and insurance is no longer available in others. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage. In Arctic Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and autumn storms now cause more erosion, threatening many communities with relocation.' The report concludes that over recent decades, climate science has advanced significantly and that increased scrutiny has led to increased certainty that we are now seeing impacts associated with human-induced climate change. 'What is new over the last decade is that we know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.'"
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US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe

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  • Global warming. Hehe (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:28PM (#46932455)
    Yep, global warming impact is severe, alright. Coldest winter in recent memory, that warming sure is a bitch!

    Seriously, if they don't quit tilting at the global warming gravy train. They are going to destroy our economy and simply view this as a way to gain power over the energy industry. Trust me, it always, always comes back that - money and power.

    The climate hasn't changed; the weather does. All of the blips on the graphs the tenured professors in their ivory towers point to are motherfucking WEATHER. Stop trying to frighten people.
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:14PM (#46933087) Homepage Journal

    Always a fun fact about this particularly inane talking point. "Climate change" was a heritage foundation focus group identified term to make the phenomenon seem less scary to average americans. It got into the public lexicon from right-wing shill group "skepticism", and scientists picked it up because things like changing ocean currents would actually cool some(very regional) places, and it was deemed more accurate.

  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OakDragon (885217) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:25PM (#46933247) Journal

    See, this is why I don't think global warming matters much after all. We're collectively incapable of preventing it because our minds just aren't made to care about long-term issues that can only be understood analytically.

    It is also very, very, very difficult to do anything about it. Even if we (humans everywhere) reduced emissions to zero, global warming would continue for quite some time. And .what are the chances we could drop to zero emissions overnight, even if everyone agreed we should? Yes, we need to reduce fossil fuel use where we possibly can. It has all kinds of benefits. Just keep in mind that reversing global warming is not among those benefits. Not for some time.

  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:28PM (#46933275) Homepage

    Actually, the Dust Bowl was mostly caused by human actions, but please don't let _facts_ cause you to pull your head out of the sand.

    Oh, sure, next thing you'll be trying to tell us that we're going to have a massive, multi-year drought because some East-coast scientists say that farmers are planting their crops wrong. You:

    1. Clearly know nothing about farming,
    2. are obviously a shill for the Roosevelt administration, and
    3. want us to throw out generations of farming wisdom and spend huge amounts of money on a problem that doesn't even exist.

    Only an idiot could look at the past decade of incredible crop yields and scream that everything's going wrong. Get off the telegraph, moron.

    Josiah H. Blough (Dust-Bowl-skeptic)

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chas (5144) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:36PM (#46933399) Homepage Journal

    No. It's not even that.

    The really big problem is, "Okay. It's happening. Now what do we actually DO about it?"

    Right there the knives start coming out. Because everyone has a different idea of what should happen.

    And there are very few concrete plans, based on actual, proven science.

    Most are just variations on "lets tack on a bunch of fines and taxes to make doing certain things unpopular". Which doesn't ACTUALLY address the problem.

    Then you have all the people proposing stuff like carbon sequestration through iron doping of algae and all sorts of unproven schemes based on pseudoscience.

    Not to mention the fact that we STILL don't have a computer simulation that ACCURATELY models the phenomenon. In short, we can't even properly quantify THE PROBLEM. How the hell are we supposed to come up with a "solution"?

    On top of that, everyone in the US could stop producing greenhouse gasses RIGHT NOW, and it wouldn't do a damn thing. Because everyone else is still putting the stuff out. SPECIFICALLY China. Unless we have government buy-in representing the majority of the world's population all that's happening is that we're trading one set of bad actors for another.

    And everyone's so precondition to fight over the smallest detail on this that I honestly feel that nothing will ever TRULY be done about it.

    Not through lack of care for the long term. But over-abundance of inflexible actors working at cross purposes.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @04:02PM (#46933733) Homepage

    Fascinating. While I can't comment on all of these points, I did a bit of searching regarding the second LINK [wordpress.com] about global sea ice: That graph shows the global sea ice area, not the volume. The area slightly increased while the volume has steadily gone down [skepticalscience.com] over the same period of time.

    This is what makes it impossible for the armchair scientist to understand this. Inevitably, someone will reply telling me why my link is a bunch of dumbutts and how that graph is irrelevant, we should be looking at something else.

  • Re:sigh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @04:18PM (#46933925)

    Jimmy Carter in 1977:

    "Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980s the world will be demanding more oil that it can produce⦠Each new inventory of world oil reserves has been more disturbing than the last. World oil production can probably keep going up for another six or eight years. But some time in the 1980s it can't go up much more. Demand will overtake production. We have no choice about that."

    It is now 37 years later and we are only now starting to make "profound changes to lower oil consumption" and only because it is becoming economically justifiable to do so, not because of any peak oil propaganda. I didn't notice the sky falling yet.

    Back then Carter statement was considered way too mild by the environmentalist who wanted to hugely increase taxes on gas and petroleum products and mandate all kinds of environmental regulation that would have raised prices on everything and made our economy uncompetitive.

    Exact same mindset is driving the global warming agenda. They want to put breaks on free market and institute more state control of industry and when they see a plausible excuse to do so they will jump on it but we can look at history as a reminder of who and what they are.

  • Re:sigh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chas (5144) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @05:16PM (#46934437) Homepage Journal

    False, because demand for energy isn't perfectly inelastic.

    Okay. Now impose those taxes and tariffs across a border.

    OOPS!

    Additionally, this only ENCOURAGES people to act in manners that may benefit the environment.
    It doesn't stop people, and entities, from gaming the system.

    How accurate do they need to be in order to be useful? How many nines? 4? 5? 6?

    Considering that this is the one and only survivable biosphere we have here, the more accurate the better. Right now we're not even at 99.whatever% accuracy, let alone five nines.

    Geoengineering with even MODERATELY sketchy data can cause PHENOMENAL amounts of environmental damage and kill lots of people, either directly or indirectly.

    Why can't we be leaders?

    Because the problem is orders of magnitude larger than us.
    Because there are areas of the world that don't enjoy our current standards of energy consumption, for whom cheap, dirty energy is The Answer.
    Because, to be quite frank, the US climate science community is a schizoid mess that couldn't get anyone to follow them, even if they jumped into a gravity well and then forcibly had the rest dumped in after them.

    Unless we are involving a majority of the population on the planet in a more or less unified plan, we're just setting ourselves up for ultimate failure.

  • by KeensMustard (655606) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @05:58PM (#46934839)
    Which I guess is why people such as yourself, who make predictions "Nothing will change!" with extrapolating from the past are making meaningless waffle, whereas scientists who extrapolate from past data "the climate was x sensitive in the past to CO2 levels, I predict it will again in the future" are merely extrapolating a meaningful result.

    So if you and your denialist friends want a seat at the table and want your ideas to be heard, then by all means, bring your extrapolations to the table, if indeed, you have any.

  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by citylivin (1250770) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @06:31PM (#46935051)

    "Most are just variations on "lets tack on a bunch of fines and taxes to make doing certain things unpopular". Which doesn't ACTUALLY address the problem."

    If the problem is rampent overconsumption, british columbia proves that increasing taxes does make people use less fuel.

    "A report by Sustainable Prosperity entitled BCâ(TM)s Carbon Tax Shift After Five Years:An Environmental (and Economic) Success Story suggested that the policy had been a major success. During the time the tax had been in place, fossil fuel consumption had dropped 17.4% per capita (and fallen by 18.8% relative to the rest of Canada). These reductions occurred across all the fuel types covered by the tax (not just vehicle fuel)."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

    Yes, I realize that everyone hates all taxes. I am not saying whether it is right or wrong, but the province of BC proves that it is effective at addressing the problem of too much carbon emissions being produced.

    http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/tbs/t... [gov.bc.ca]

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @07:06PM (#46935273) Journal
    The Arctic sea ice has melted much faster than anyone was predicting just a decade ago. Ice, aerosols, and cloud cover are not very well understood, when you get a bunch of experts together to agree on a statement about those things in a report like the IPCC, the statement is almost certainly going to be conservative. What has changed recently is our ability to measure the changes in the ice mass of the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps to a high level of precision using the GRACE satellite. It doesn't really help scientists make better predictions but it does provide a better test, and allow them to make more confident statements about what is happening now.

    A silver lining? - I heard what could be considered good news to everyone (except coal barons). Here in Oz we're busily industrialising the great barrier reef by building a controversial coal mine and the largest coal port in the world. The multi-nationals who were behind the project (BHP, Rio, some banks,..) have all walked away from the project. It's now been reported (on a local business show) that the mine will probably not have the customers in India it expects. Why? - Because wind and solar are now roughly at parity price with imported coal in India and prices are dropping at a rate such that in 2-3yrs time renewables in India will be 10% cheaper than imported Aussie coal. What's is sounding even better is that coal exports have dropped significantly in price since the project was announced and yet it is still neck-to-neck with the price of renewables in India.

    If those reports are not a gross exaggeration then it looks like some developing nations really will leapfrog the west and go straight to renewables.

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