Global Warming: Impacts for Millennia to Come!!!

(Sorry, I was delayed by Great Week/Pascha-related pursuits.  This is the report that came out Friday [PDF].)

You’ve heard the MSM take on it.  Not alot new for readers of this blog, although some of the regional specificities are… as is the question: Why are governments allowed to futz with what is supposed to be a scientific document?  It smacks of Bushie “faith-based [pseudo-]science”!!!

Anyway, some highlights you might not have heard, in the order reported:

  • –Greater carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to greater acidity in the oceans, harming shellfish and species (like humans!) who depend on them directly or indirectly. 
  • –Africa will be the worst-hit because of its poverty.  Severe reductions in agricultural output – this is on top of those already being experienced on account of HIV/AIDS, poor policymaking, etc.  Increased desertification.  Warmed lakes will impact fishing and other aquaculture.  Up to a quarter-billion people there will lack sufficient water just 13 years from now.
  • –In Asia by mid-century more than a billion people will have less freshwater.  South and East Asia’s increasing urbanization and industrialization will increase all GW effects there [as well as globally!].  More infectious diarrhea and cholera.
  • –Increasing coastal development and population growth anywhere will be more New Orleanses waiting to happen.
  • –Lots more deadly European heat waves.  And southern European agriculture will be more vulnerable to drought.
  • –In Latin America, the eastern Amazon will become savanna by mid-century!  Semi-arid areas will become arid.  Much agricultural land will become desert.  Less water for drinking, farming, and hydroelectricity.  Poverty here too will make adaptation difficult.
  • –Less water in the dry western U.S.  More forest fires and pest and disease damage.  More and worse urban heat waves, rough especially on the increasing elderly population.
  • –Just to make it official, small islands anywhere in the world will be more vulnerable to sea-level rise, temperature rise, and extreme weather events.  By mid-century, especially in the Caribbean and Pacific, small islands won’t have enough drinking water during dry seasons.  [‘Water, water everywhere….’]
  • –If you scroll down to page 15 of the report (remember again, this is the “Dummies” version for policymakers; the whole, longer text won’t be available to us mortals for a couple more months I guess), every bad effect in the chart whose description starts at the left-hand side, near the zero (0) temperature-increase indicator, starts REAL SOON.  Time to wake up!!!
  • –Global sea level is rising about half a centimeter a year through 2080… that’s about 16 inches from the 2000 level.
  • –Thanks to fiddling by the Bushies, Communist Chinese, and Saudis – talk about an “Axis of Evil”!!! – this report is less gloomy than the (“conservative”!) scientists think it will be in reality!
  • –Higher sea levels will introduce sea-salt into groundwater, river estuaries, and irrigation water, meaning even less usable water!!!
  • –For the first time, scientists talk about relocation and migration of threatened/impacted populations!!!
  • –They also talk about GW impacts over “millennia” – plural!!!  (This is in connection with assessing the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.  Apparently they – or somebody – don’t want to be total doomsayers about these just yet, but if it’s like the February chapter, they haven’t been able to take into account unexpected increased melt in the last several years.  They may have a gloomier assessment of this in the next full report around 2013.)
  • –Although an Upper North Atlantic Little Ice Age isn’t expected this century, some slowing of the Gulf Stream and cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean IS now expected (p. 17): “Impacts of large-scale and persistent changes in the {Gulf Stream} are likely to include changes to marine ecosystem productivity, fisheries, ocean carbon dioxide uptake, oceanic oxygen concentrations and terrestrial vegetation.”  They focus on Europe, but it has to affect eastern North America somewhat as well.
  • –As recently illustrated by the NY Times, vulnerability to the effects of GW is increased by poverty (in the global sense).
  • –In summary (p. 20, emphasis added), “Even the most stringent mitigation efforts cannot avoid further impacts of climate change… which makes adaptation essential, particularly in addressing near-term impacts. Unmitigated climate change would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt. This suggests the value of a portfolio or mix of strategies that includes mitigation, adaptation, technological development (to enhance both adaptation and mitigation) and research (on climate science, impacts, adaptation and mitigation). Such portfolios could combine policies with incentive-based approaches, and actions at all levels from the individual citizen through to national governments and international organizations.”
  • –And just as a reminder, when the governments made them reduce some of their “confidence” assessments from “very high” to just “high,” it was a reduction from 90 percent probability to 80 percent (see p. 22, Endbox 2, paragraph 2).  A difference which makes no difference is no difference.  F*cking politicians!

My own concluding reflections:

  • –Unless the rest of the world can do something about it, between GW, Peak Oil, AIDS, and expected increased political instability, Africa is going to be a basket case.
  • –Again, unless the rest of the world can do something about it, further-urbanizing and industrializing China and India are going to face warmer temps, higher sea levels, greater river flooding, less drinking water, more coal mining, more pollution of air, soils, and water, more infectious diarrhea and cholera, more lung cancer from the pollution, more skin cancer from the planet’s reversing magnetic field, more nuclear power and certain plant accidents and/or sabotage… and alot more people, fatter and sicker.  God help them!
  • –Why people are still moving to the Southeast U.S., already intolerably hot and humid in the summer, now with intensifying hurricanes and tornadoes and imperiled coastal communities, is beyond me!  Even summers in the rest of the Eastern U.S. are just awful!  I’ve actually calculated that the best place to live in North America, GW-wise, for now, is Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo Counties, California (maybe not right on the coast!): not too hot in summer, not too cold in winter – i.e., saving on fossil fuels for cooling and heating – not too humid or snowy(!), without the long winter nights farther north requiring fossil fuels (or nuke power) for extra lighting.  Of course, as the climate warms, this Nice zone will creep up the Coast….
  • –In any case, we should discourage further coastal development, and encourage people to move away from the coastlines and flood-prone areas – worldwide.
  • –Step-up desalination of sea water for human usage worldwide.
  • –Plant more trees in heat-prone urban cores, perhaps removing unused buildings to do so.
  • –Start thinking about relocating inhabitants of the world’s small islands… voluntarily of course.  Meanwhile, of getting them usable water during dry season.
  • –All that Northern Canadian freshwater will be worth its weight in gold!
  • –Gotta love how this “theme” doesn’t display bullets in its supposed “bullet lists”!!!
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