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Climate Futures
October 21, 2008 12:12 PM   Subscribe

New Year’s Day 2030. A new report from Forum on the Future, Climate Futures (6.7MB PDF), maps out five possible scenarios for how climate change might affect our collective future by 2030. Meanwhile, the WWF has released a report, Climate Change: Faster, Stronger, Sooner (1.65MB PDF) which claims that global warming is accelerating at a faster rate than climate change experts had previously predicted. [Via Gristmill and Disinformation]
posted by homunculus (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Frontline: Heat
posted by homunculus at 12:13 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Frontline looks pretty good, it's on tonight.
posted by stbalbach at 12:54 PM on October 21, 2008


I downloaded Climate Futures and skipped to pg 30 where the scenarios start. It's pretty neat, but I wonder how accurate their political/technological predictions might be? I can see quite a few becoming true.
posted by tybeet at 1:16 PM on October 21, 2008


A relative just sent this article claiming that global warming is not happening, can you guys help me poke holes in it? Thanks.
posted by Mr_Zero at 1:18 PM on October 21, 2008


Meanwhile, the WWF has released a report, Climate Change: Faster, Stronger, Sooner

Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker vs Daft Punk for the Tag Team Championship!
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:26 PM on October 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wow Mr_Zero, that National Post article is a pretty heavy barrage of pseudo-skeptic bullshit. While I can't summon the appropriate figures myself right now, and would love to see a thorough debunking, I know the hypothesis of cyclic variation in solar output has been thrown up for a long time in the climate debate, and I understood it to have been pretty thoroughly discredited. And as for statements such as this: His examination of warming and cooling trends over the past four centuries shows an "almost exact correlation" between climate fluctuations and solar energy received on Earth, while showing almost "no correlation at all with CO2." Whether his conclusion of forced by a deliberately tiny sample size or is just outright falsehood, it is laughable to suggest an absence of relation between CO2 and global temperature when you look over proper geologic time.
posted by kaspen at 1:39 PM on October 21, 2008


Wow Mr_Zero, that National Post article is a pretty heavy barrage of pseudo-skeptic bullshit. While I can't summon the appropriate figures myself right now, and would love to see a thorough debunking, I know the hypothesis of cyclic variation in solar output has been thrown up for a long time in the climate debate, and I understood it to have been pretty thoroughly discredited.

I do know that John Christy was being paid by Exxon to come up with some of his claims.
posted by Mr_Zero at 1:49 PM on October 21, 2008


And furthermore, the central piece of evidence is both bunkum, and illustrative of how problematic such an oversimplifying populist label "global warming" is. Climate change is the more accurate nomenclature, and I believe I saw Bill Maher recently promote the term "global weirding", because that is precisely what we are in for. In such a complex global system trends and tendencies will never operate in a simple up/down fashion, we will simply have a greater element of chaos with more extreme temperatures and unpleasant atmospheric phenomena. And this is not news; "global warming" is obsolete nomenclature and everyone knows it, it is only used by ideologues and agents of disinformation such as the National Post to muddy the waters and obfuscate what is widely evident to anyone even gazing out the window lately. For them to offer up a perfect example of undesirable climate change, record low temperatures and snow fall in Brazil, as something to give the lie to their paranoid vision of a conspiracy between liberals and those wily scientists to get in the way of my godfearing gas burning, is beyond innocuous and insulting, it is verging on sociopathy.
posted by kaspen at 1:51 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


One way or another, looks like a lot of heavy drinking in the future. (Maybe I should start now...)
posted by nax at 1:52 PM on October 21, 2008


Environmental Failure: A Case for a New Green Politics
posted by homunculus at 1:54 PM on October 21, 2008


Yeah, Mr_Z, what kaspen just said. Terence Corcoran, who edits the Financial Post section of the NP, has long been the Canadian media's most fervent and utterly immobile climate denier, and as his position has grown more and more intellectually untenable, he's surrounded himself with a magnificent gallery of halfwits and blowhards. A friend who used to work for a CanWest paper tells me there's a kind of religious zeal to his opposition to environmentalism, which he apparently honestly believes is some kind of pinko conspiracy to curtail his freedoms.

Best bet would be to take each talking point over to Real Climate, which is run by a NASA climate scientist with content primarily by other climate scientists, and just enter each buzzword ("Pacific Decadal Oscillation," "Medieval Warm Period," scientist names, etc.) into their search engine. In my experience, there's not much they won't have already thoroughly eviscerated.

Finally, as a shorthand - and for what it's worth, this is based on nearly a decade of covering this stuff as a journalist, off and on - any time you come across someone characterizing climate change as "junk science" propogated by "True Believers," it's a veritable certainty the person making those claims has never spoken to a real climate scientist in his life. Also note that Lorne Gunter made his career as a senior editor at Alberta Report, where he regularly oversaw the publication of "journalism" written by avowed creationists.
posted by gompa at 1:54 PM on October 21, 2008


Mr_Zero: "A relative just sent this article claiming that global warming is not happening, can you guys help me poke holes in it? Thanks."

What a mess that article is. Yeah sure I could do more than poke holes I could sink the entire ship. But why? It's waste of time and energy. Both Republicans and Democrat leadership are solidly behind the science, the skeptics no longer have a political voice, this is not 2000 or 2004, skeptics today look like cranks and tin hats trying to justify the past 8 years of denialism. The *paid* skeptics, the ones who make a career catering to the maverick view (Americans love a maverick), well, they are laughing all the way to the bank (or the mattress). Sadly, your relative is being duped, sold a bunch of snake oil.
posted by stbalbach at 2:01 PM on October 21, 2008


And while we're at it, the classic Royal Society Guide to facts and fictions about climate change.

Another good rule of thumb for navigating climate-denier chatter: Does this seemingly reasonable commentator with his tidy list of scientists and their solid evidence seem like the sort of person who would have discovered something that had completely escaped the notice of an organization that's been at this scientific method thing since the days when it was run by Isaac Newton?
posted by gompa at 2:06 PM on October 21, 2008


Well, as someone who remembers as far back as The Population Bomb, The Club of Rome and other imminent apocalypses, I'll take this one with a pinch of salt too, thanks very much.

I would recommend this from Roy Spencer, from the University of Alabama and this from David Douglass and John Christy from the Universities of Alabama and Rochester. There's also this from Richard Lindzen at MIT, a controversial figure we might agree.

But I know some of you will just shout me down, so do go ahead.
posted by A189Nut at 2:15 PM on October 21, 2008


Well, as someone who remembers as far back as The Population Bomb, The Club of Rome and other imminent apocalypses, I'll take this one with a pinch of salt too, thanks very much.

Well, as someone whose job involves spending a pleasant fall afternoon reading through the mounting peer-reviewed scientific evidence that a slight but very significant downtick in the pH of the world's oceans, caused by their absorption of the excess CO2 we've released into the atmosphere - a process known as ocean acidification, the veracity of which process has no serious skeptics among accredited marine scientists that I'm aware of, and a process which furthermore has caused five known mass coral reef extinction events in the earth's history and has introduced the very real possibility of another extinction before the 21st century is through, by which I mean there would be essentially no living coral reefs left by 2100 - yeah, as someone busy at such a task this fine afternoon, I feel fully justified, both ethically and factually, to shout you down as vehemently as possible.
posted by gompa at 2:42 PM on October 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


One way or another, looks like a lot of heavy drinking in the future. (Maybe I should start now...)

Can't, all the ethanol just went into our SUVs.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:43 PM on October 21, 2008


Speaking ethically and factually then, I found this article in Nature on acidification illuminating.
posted by A189Nut at 3:30 PM on October 21, 2008


Who else thinks these reports are just an excuse for a scientist with a fascination for post-apocalyptic SF to spend an afternoon playing around? I mean heck, the Canadian military hired an SF writer to come up with their scenarios, so there's precedent.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:22 PM on October 21, 2008


A189Nut - what's your point? I read that article in Nature, and all it said was "ocean acidification is an important problem, and here's how we managed to get politicians to pay attention to it". Doesn't sound like much justification for your policy of "taking it with a pinch of salt".

Am I missing something?
posted by mr. strange at 5:00 PM on October 21, 2008


> "global warming" is obsolete nomenclature and everyone knows it, it is only used by
> ideologues and agents of disinformation such as the National Post to muddy the waters
> and obfuscate what is widely evident to anyone even gazing out the window lately.
> posted by kaspen at 4:51 PM on October 21 [+] [!]

The WWF apparently didn't get the memo. Their press release (dated today, and linked in the original post up top) announcing their new study (also linked in the fpp) reads

21 Oct 2008 Brussels, Belgium – Global warming is accelerating at a faster rate than climate change experts had previously predicted, according to a new compendium of scientific research released today by WWF.

In 2007, the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Fourth Assessment Report – a study of global warming that involved nearly 4,000 scientists from more than 150 countries.

However, the science of climate change has moved on in the year since this respected report was published. WWF’s new report, “Climate change: faster, stronger, sooner”, amalgamates this new scientific data and reveals that global warming is accelerating beyond the IPCC’s forecasts.


You should maybe drop them a line and let them know they must be ideologues and agents of disinformation who haven't looked out the window lately. (Or--maybe go a bit softer on the vituperation. Canadian, remember?)
posted by jfuller at 5:15 PM on October 21, 2008


jfuller, I was responding specifically to the National Post article linked, which I found untenably contemptible. But more importantly, rather than condemn those who speak of global warming, much less deny upward trend of temperatures lately, I intended only to highlight the danger of the term. It's all too easy for people to joke about climate change and how great it would be for it not to be so gosh darned cold all the time. Without taking even a rudimentary look at the numbers and the science. I would also note that while discussing the actuality of global warming, all of this post's links use 'climate change' in their titles. Honestly, I don't want to come off alarmist or shrill, or argue over semantics, I would just like to work towards a vocabulary and discourse where we can all actually discuss what looks to be effecting us ever sooner and harder.
posted by kaspen at 5:45 PM on October 21, 2008


Wow. My soon-to-be son will be 21.

Wow.

Let's hope no one f's the world up any worse.
posted by dasheekeejones at 12:14 PM on October 23, 2008


Climate Campaigners Were on Terrorist List
posted by homunculus at 4:01 PM on October 24, 2008


New Ice Age Predicted -- But Averted by Global Warming?
posted by homunculus at 3:22 PM on November 13, 2008


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