In 1970, as the first Earth Day approached, Paul Ehrlich wrote an article in The Progressive as a fictitious report to the US President, looking back from the year 2000. The ostensible report underlines how environmentalist scientists in the 1960s and 1970s had "repeatedly pointed out" that overcrowding, hunger and environmental deterioration would lead to "environmental and public health disasters." Unfortunately, people had not heeded the warnings, and Ehrlich tells us of a US that is almost unrecognizable, with a severely decimated population at 22.6 million (8 percent of current population) with a diet of 2,400 daily calories per person (less than the current African average). As an almost ironic glimmer of hope, Ehrlich does not expect that the US is faced with any immediate limits-to-growth threat of running out of resources, because of the "small population size and continued availability of salvageable materials in Los Angeles and other cities which have not been reoccupied."
The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report (PDF) on climate change with much media fan fare. The press hyped it as proving human-caused global warming and saying there are only ten years left to avoid disaster. A National Geographic News story started off with "Global warming is here, it's human-caused..." National Geographic News followed up with a story which hinted at the IPCC report may not be predicting Doomsday enough. Other events coincided with the summary release like Paris voluntarily going lights out for five minutes (after the five minutes they resumed normal polluting practices). Prince Charles celebrated his green-ness by accepting an environmentalist award (which he used a private jet that spews out 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide an hour!)
But before you built your new house on the tallest mountain or construct Arc 2.0 you may want to learn some things.
First the report does not sit well with the global warming litany, it only is being spun like so. It disagrees with the likes of Al Gore and others by not firmly coming down on human-caused global warming. Gore and crew would like you to think there is no doubt what so ever on human-caused dramatic global warming. Robert Christopherson would go so far to yell at you and make you talk to polar bears while Heidi Cullen would strip you of all scientific rights if you did not believe in 100% human-caused dramatic global warming. To be fair the report says human-caused global warming is "very likely" man made but the fact that these scientists could not pin it down and used weasel words says something. Secondly it says global warming would continue for centuries with or without human behavioral changes. Sure this is bad but did not Al Gore say at the end of his Oscar-nominated movie which qualified him for the Nobel Peace Prize that simple and moderate changes would greatly stop global warming? Division exists in the debate, always remember that.
Catholicgauze read the report and was disappointed. No where does the report address why global warming started in the 1850s at a similar rate it advances today while human-activity was much lower than. Nowhere does it try to determine why there were several cold-snaps in the warming trend. A decrease in global mean temperature from 1900 to 1910 negated all gains from 1850 to 1900. A sudden rise in the 1930s which disasters like the dust bowl can partially be blamed on was canceled out from 1940 to the 1970s (remember global cooling?). Also not considered are previous dramatic climate changes like the Little Ice Age and the fact global warming is occurring on other planets.
Climate Change has the potential to be a serious problem, as described by Harm de Blij. However, when "leading" scientists still cannot find blame enough to convict debate is open to causes. Instead of wasting time trying to find blame and using it as a political tool to enforce treaties which impose no regulations on serious offenders like China and India, let us spend resources on efforts to prepare any needed adaption. If one believes the IPCC report, this is the only reasonable option. Wineries once existed in England and Scotland but natural climate change put an end to that during the Little Ice Age. I am not saying we should not worry about climate change. One warming trend ended the last Ice Age and raised sea levels over 300 feet so there are hazards. All I am saying is we need to be realistic and not join a Robert Christopherson-style cult of global warming.
I will leave with some news which may ease a little bit of fear. As pointed out in "Planning for sea level rise and shore protection under climate uncertainty" by Gary Yohe and James Neuman in Climatic Change in Volume 37 on page 250 estimate for sea level rise have been steadily decreasing. They were once estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency to rise 2 meters (six and a half feet!). No one today comes anywhere close to that, the IPCC only estimates 7 inches to slightly under 2 feet (talk about a margin-of-error).
If the weather man has problems getting tomorrow's weather correct imagine the problems with predicting 100 years into the future.
One geologist said this of Al Gore, "What he's doing is no less than the scare tactics used by people like Karl Rove." Dang! Finally, Delaware's chief climatologist is taking a stand against the Global Warming mania. Here is a skeptical wrap-up of other global warming going ons.