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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report 708

New submitter SomeoneFromBelgium (3420851) writes According to Bloomberg a leaked climate report from the IPPC speaks of "Irreversible Damage." The warnings in the report are, as such, not new but the tone of voice is more urgent and more direct than ever. It states among other things that global warming already is affecting "all continents and across the oceans," and that "risks from mitigation can be substantial, but they do not involve the same possibility of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts as risks from climate change, increasing the benefits from near-term mitigation action."
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

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  • Delayed action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @10:50AM (#47765033)

    We'll never do anything about climate change as long as businesses can dictate law, control the EPA, and guide lawmaking through lobbyists. The Supreme Court has literally ensured this.

    I can't stand the idea that multi-billion corporations can't afford to spend 1/8th of their profit, if even that much, to operate in a more environmentally friendly manner.

    Gotta hoard and accumulate money at all costs, no matter what happens.

  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @10:52AM (#47765051)

    From the article:

    The UN panel since September has published three separate reports into the physical science of global warming, its impacts, and ways to fight it. The study leaked yesterday, called the “Synthesis Report” intends to pick out the most important findings and present them in a way that lawmakers can easily understand. (Emphasis mine)

    Why do I have a feeling the report to the politicians will have to read a lot like the Simple English Wikipedia, to the point where it might not be a bad idea to get the writers for that on it.

    "Global warming is a bad thing that causes lots of problems. Burning stuff causes global warming. If you keep burning stuff, you will have a bad problem."

  • by Urkki ( 668283 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @10:59AM (#47765123)

    Climate has always changed, the concept of "Damage" is only relevant to those affected by it.

    You mean, the same way as asteroids of various sizes have impacted into the Earth throughout the history of the planet, and "Damage" is only relevant to those affected by it?

    Yes, I agree.

  • Re:What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:02AM (#47765167)

    Are you telling me that spewing into the atmosphere millions of years of accumulated sunlight and cutting down most of the natural CO2 scrubers (trees) of the world will have negative effects?

    1. Trees do nothing
    2. Human emissions are not even stable, they are continuing to increase. 60 million barrels of oil went up in smoke 10 years ago. Today, almost 50% MORE, 90 million barrels a day. Coal, increasing too. Gas usage, increasing.

    Confused people will start talking about things like "cow farts" or "trees" or similar. These have nothing to do with global warming - the climate thing - because these do not represent sequestered carbon. These are all carbon cycle stuff. Sequestered carbon being ADDED to the atmosphere is the issue - coal, oil, gas, peat.

    If your "solution" is planting trees, and it does not include harvesting said trees and burring them in mines, then all you are doing is deluding yourself.

    PS. I like trees. They clean the air. They look nice. I grow them from seeds. But just planting them does absolutely nothing to carbon sequestration.

  • by emagery ( 914122 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:07AM (#47765197)
    Do you really have so little concept as to the scale of human damage? A single average-sized car puts out 4.75 metric TONS of carbon every year (and about 2-3 years worth during its construction and a little bit more during its destruction.) At last check there were more cars in the use being operated than there are drivers... and that's just one country... whilst this amount is being dwarfed by carbon emissions tied up in industrial agriculture (local/natural agriculture trends toward carbon neutral to negative, but can only sustain modest populations the likes of which we haven't seen on earth for over a century.) The fact that YOUR individual contribution to the damage done is a drop in the bucket does nothing to deny the fact that you are not the only person on earth... it's a tiny place in the grand scheme of things and we've overrun the place and are spending carbon, water, and oxygen like there's no tomorrow... which is no longer a mathematically implausible scenario as a result. The world's WORST extinction level event was also a climate change one, and we've reach the same levels at 40000x the speed... if life couldn't cope at that snail's pace (~1000000 years of constant hawaii-style volcanic carbon farting, killing off some 95% of all life) why do you think it (or we) will fare any better doing the equivalent of flying this jet into a brick wall?
  • Re:More urgent? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:07AM (#47765207)

    I love the way it's claimed to have been "leaked", as though the IPCC would sit on this. Perhaps they think making it officially a 'leak' will make people think they were going to cover it up, to trick people into thinking that "something must be done, right now!"

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by makq ( 3730933 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:13AM (#47765267)
    As long as the tree is growing more than it is decomposing, don't they sequester carbon internally?
  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:16AM (#47765293) Journal

    I, for one, welcome our new raccoon-descended overlords.

  • Re:Impacts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:18AM (#47765315) Journal

    Good for nature, bad for man. Just like O2 Poisoning the planet when it was overrun by Plant life. Life adapts. Humans haven't always been around, and won't be around forever. Because we are aware of our own demise doesn't change these facts.

  • Re:Impacts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:21AM (#47765339)

    Is it sane, given foreknowledge of your own demise and the power to avert it, to charge full-steam-ahead toward that demise? If humanity were a person, we'd lock it up for its own safety.

  • Re:Impacts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by knightghost ( 861069 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:23AM (#47765361)

    All I see is "the world is ending!" without any realistic measurements provided. Show me what it's going to cost at each point, and when. The simplest, lowest cost adaptation is simply to build above future sea levels. The lowest cost food change is crop switching and genetic manipulation. The simplest - and probably only - long term solution is reducing population numbers.

  • Re:Impacts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:36AM (#47765523)

    Those are a lot of conclusions to draw when you openly admit that you have insufficient measurements and cost estimates.

  • Re:Impacts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:39AM (#47765557) Homepage Journal

    Ah, this is a lot more persuasive than your earlier attempt [slashdot.org], but still not quite good enough... Citation needed much? (No, IPCC-produced documents don't count — members of the panel are government-appointed politicians, not scientists [dailycaller.com].)

    Please, don't hate.

  • by tarius8105 ( 683929 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:48AM (#47765675)

    Thats not the problem though. They understand english and know how to look up big words. The problem is that they receive campaign donations from people who have an interest in keeping the status quo. If lawmakers were to pass bills that would attempt to counter global warming on a large scale, these same businesses would have a huge hit to their bottom line. The stupidity of the situation is if we made changes little by little when people started to raise alarms about global warming, we probably could have made the changes without impacting the bottom line too much.

  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot@nexusu[ ]rg ['k.o' in gap]> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:49AM (#47765689) Homepage

    single average-sized car puts out 4.75 metric TONS of carbon every year

    That sounds an unreasonably high figure.

    Petrol weighs about 737g / l, so 4750Kg of petrol is 6445 litres.
    Wikipedia says the carbon content of petrol is up to about 85%: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org]
    So 6445/0.85 = 7582 litres of petrol contain 4.75t of carbon.
    Wikipedia suggests average fuel economy is somewhere around 5l / 100Km: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]
    7582*100/5 = 151640Km - I'm pretty sure that the average car doesn't travel 152Mm/year!

    Lets assume you're talking about tons of CO2 rather than tons of carbon.
    Apparently we multiply litres of petrol by 2.331 to get Kg of CO2 emitted: http://www.carbontrust.com/res... [carbontrust.com]
    So 4750/2.331 = 2038 litres. At 5l / 100Km, this gives us 2038*100/5 = 40760Km - ok, a vaguely more reasonable figure.

    Apparently the average company car does around 30,000Km/year and the average private car does about 12,000Km: http://www.racfoundation.org/m... [racfoundation.org]

    So the average is going to be well under 41Mm and around an order of magnitude less than the 152Mm you claimed!

    I'm certainly not saying that climate change is nothing to worry about - I think it's a big problem and whether or not you think it's man made, dumping vast amounts of crap into the atmosphere can't possibly be a bright idea. But I really wish people wouldn't just invent bogus "facts" to back up their arguments - the arguments should stand up for themselves, if you need bogus data to prop them up then you've got something really badly wrong somewhere.

  • by jackspenn ( 682188 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @11:58AM (#47765827)
    I haven't see this much FUD since Eric S Raymond published the Microsoft Halloween Documents in 1998.

    Which, is interesting given that the temperature recordings since 1998 have been flat and every climate model projection for that period has been wrong, and "scientists" are now trying to stuff the missing heat from failed computer models into the only place they can, which is similarly flawed computer models with "heat" trapped deep in the oceans, orginally, convient because there was limited historic data, but now this flaw is turning out to be equally untrue. Plus, the whole CERN Climategate docs.
  • Re:Impacts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:20PM (#47766047)

    We don't have foreknowledge of shit. It's a pretty epic level of arrogance to think we've suddenly acquired the ability to accurately see 100 years into the future when EVERY SINGLE ATTEMPT in the past to accurately predict anything even 20 years in the future has failed MISERABLY and has been LAUGHABLY wrong.

    The only thing that I predict about what this planet is going to look like 100 years from now is that it's going to be nothing like what anyone expects today.

  • Re:Delayed action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:24PM (#47766093) Homepage
    That would actually be illogical for an individual to do if they're mostly interested in themselves and their offspring (and people do it which shows how generous some people are, sacrificing themselves for the greater good). A single person giving up 1/8 of their income for the benefit of everyone instead of themselves is just putting themselves at an economic disadvantage. Those are resources that can't be put towards better education for their kids, buying bigger/newer (i.e. safer for themselves) vehicles, etc. This kind of stuff will only work if we agree as a society that everyone has to play along by the new rules, for the benefit of everyone as a whole. A lot of people are completely against this idea (government intrusion on freedom, etc.) but that's the only way we've ever solved problems based on the "tragedy of the commons". If there's a common resource that people have an incentive to exploit, with no limit, for essentially free (e.g. the atmosphere) then they will do it. Sure, we all breath, but there's little/no incentive to breath "more". We can, however, use more energy by burning inexpensive fuel which consumes O2 and releases CO2 into the atmosphere, and we don't, as individuals or as companies, have to pay for that "externality". Therefore we will *never* stop doing it until we all agree as a society to regulate CO2 emissions.
  • Re:Irreversible? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @12:41PM (#47766253)
    I have a slightly different take on it. Using absolutes like "irreversible" or "unavoidable" is dangerous is because it decreases public support for what you're trying to accomplish. People will think, "well if we can't do anything about it, then I guess there's nothing left to do but live it up in the time we have left."
  • Re:Impacts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @01:08PM (#47766609)

    Yes, we should prepare, but we can not adapt.
    With are current Greenhouse gas release, there isn't an endpoint survivable by humans. It will get two warm for food growth, anywhere.
    People act like, well it will happen and we will just farm 200 miles more north.

    Hogwash. Even in the IPCC A1FI scenario, the most pessimistic case presented, total global warming by 2100 is 1.4C to 6.4C. Yes, that would have significant bad effects but it's not going to mean the end of agriculture across the entire planet. Earth isn't going to turn into Venus. The average temp at the equator now is 30C while in Siberia it's only 0.5C. So, if we look at the average high temperature for Novosibirsk during the hottest month of July (25.7) and add the high end of the worst case scenario (6.4C) then we only get 32.1C, so yeah moving north will be an option. I'd expect massive droughts in the equatorial zones, the collapse of many third world governments and a huge refugee crisis but that's not the same as saying it's unsurvivable by humans as a species.

    You make the obvious mistake, of course, that "average" = "max"... sorry, but what if the average temp at the equator became 20C (dropped 10C) while the average temp in Siberia rose from 0.5C to 16.5C (16C increase), the "average" is still 6C right? While I'd agree it's unlikely the equator will cool that much, when speaking in averages it's absurd to start talking about temperatures rising by 'that amount' everywhere in the world, only by that amount across the entire planet - we're talking a biosphere with weather patterns, water currents and air currents affected by the temperatures in various regions. A "6C" rise in average global temperature may well wind up being 12C in one area and -6C in another.

    It's hard to judge how it will affect the planet because we can only guess to some degree (with some scientific computer modeling) how melting ice caps and warming ocean will affect the water flows (arctic 'conveyer belt' for example) - which will affect weather patterns as the changes increase. Of course, we can predict some things - for instance that *if* climate change is the cause of the current drought issues in CA and the midwest, and it persists or even gets worse, our ability to grow food crops in those areas may be severely depleted (or eliminated). What if hurricanes and tornadoes becomes more frequent? Forest fires in the western states becoming more frequent because of the dryness? Will we even be able to *afford* to fight them? If the ice melts at the poles (and Greenland, etc) and sea level rises - something like 80%+ of the population of the US now lives in coastal areas - if storms become more frequent and sea level is higher what happens to those cities? Imagine "Katrina" on steroids across the entire eastern seaboard...

    So, no, it might not "wipe out the human species" by any means, but if food production gets harder due to drought, fresh water is harder to find (we're already draining aquifers, Lake Meade is seriously depleted - what do you think happens to Las Vegas then?), we might well see human population go from 7.1+billion to a small fraction of that (100million say). Might not be a bad thing for the planet, but I'm betting if you're one of the 7 billion that don't make it you might not think so. ;)

  • Re:Impacts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by knightghost ( 861069 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @02:07PM (#47767181)

    The Stern report assumes that how we do things doesn't change, which is fundamentally incorrect. We constantly change. fivethirtyeight.com has had a few backwards-looking comprehensive stat reports that show we do adapt and that this type of report is bogus.

    Climate change is happening and will continue to happen. Society isn't going to abandon oil so researchers need to quit having that fantasy. What are REAL ways that society will agree to change? The simplest is to quit building below anticipated sea levels (probably by adjusting insurance rates... put a cap of CPI-U+5% yearly increase to make it politically palatable). Focus on that - it's an area of society and economics that has a decent chance of actually being changed.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351