Scott K. Johnson, an Hydrologist and freelance writer for Ars Technica attended the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10) held on June 11-12.
For a science writer, however, the event was fundamentally a tedious experience. On the first night of the conference, one of the presenters actually invaded my dreams. In the dream, I was in some sort of friendly geology group, gathering to discuss some interesting research. When this fellow announced his topic, I interrupted him. “Wait—is this more of that retired medical doctor’s weird theory about volcanoes that you talked about for two hours last time?” I asked. The presenter blinked, puzzled by my tone, and said, “Well, yeah. Of course.” The rest of the group shot me pained glances and sank down in their chairs.That’s kind of what the conference was like.
UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
"Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically." Link. [more inside]
The historically significant* "4th IPCC report on global warming" was published in full last weekend to wide publicity. Part 1 "The Science". Part 2 "The Impacts" and Part 3 "The Solutions" - each about a 1000 page 6 pound brick, but summaries make it accessible. Beyond its gloomy dire warnings and calls for immediate action, observed global measurements of CO2 levels are already worse than the worse case scenarios and some say the report is overly conservative and already outdated. However there is a surprising idea for "solving" climate change (TED) that may be inevitable.
Albert A. Gore Jr. shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted." Still not running for president.
As the global climate changes, agriculture is sure to be affected. The Stern Review explains that "developing countries - in particular the poorest - are heavily dependent on agriculture, the most climate-sensitive of all economic sectors." Working Group II of the IPCC says that: "Smallholder and subsistence farmers, pastoralists and artisanal fisherfolk will suffer complex, localised impacts of climate change (high confidence)." Meanwhile, some important staple crops are especially threatened by rising temperatures (though genetic engineering may help). You can experience a taste of it yourself, with a climate change awareness fast, taking place on Tuesday, September 4th.
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has endorsed the recent IPCC report, reversing the White House stance on the existence of global warming. Bodman claims that the Bush administration has always accepted scientific studies pointing to man-made climate change, even as Henry Waxman, House oversight committee chair, has been holding hearings on the White House's misleading the public on global warming for the last six years; hearing documents. Bodman also rejects caps on CO2 emissions, claiming that the US is "a small contributor when you look at the rest of the world," when in fact it's the largest contributor worldwide (and has an even greater share of cumulative CO2 emissions). Previously: IPCC, Waxman.
Scientific backlash for warming theorists -- High clouds over the western tropical Pacific Ocean could significantly reduce the estimates of future global warming now being put forward by IPCC's computer models of the Earth's climate. And, in a newly published interview, MIT's Dr. Richard S. Lindzen describes the Kyoto Treaty on climate change as "absurd". Backlash begun?