Climate Change: Action or Oblivion — Ban Ki Moon

United Nations Sectretary General Ban Ki Moon has stated in no uncertain terms what many have known for a long time. Scientists really are united on the main points of Climate Change. It is real. It is human caused. The danger is imminent. Inaction will be catastrophic.

Main Article: Human Race Faces “Oblivion” From Global Warming, Says UN Chief

Here is another speech he made on the topic, from the UN website.

Visiting Kyoto, Ban calls for new climate change agreement by end of 2009

If anyone is still in doubt about climate change, here are four recent articles that were aggregated within the Climate Change Coalition’s weekly news letter. Note that all four are from different reputable sources and different parts of the world. Deniers can only keep burying their heads in the snow for as long as there is snow.

Meltdown in the Arctic is speeding up

Climate Change in Action in Greenland

No room for doubt: Glaciers in the Tian Mountains in western China are melting because of global warming

Record heat forces closure of Canada Arctic park — 81 degrees F or 27 degrees C in Iqaluit on Baffin Island. Baffin is so far north most people probably have never heard of it and have no idea where it is, hence the link to a google map.

Thanks to bobbo for sending this to me.

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12 Responses to Climate Change: Action or Oblivion — Ban Ki Moon

  1. Henry Galt says:

    I think you may find the first 3 completely erronious and the last exaggerated. It will get colder than it is now for maybe 60 years. Our grandchildren will live in a cold world and laugh at those who thought CO2 was anything but good for carbon based life forms. The UN is political and the IPCC is fervently revisionist.

  2. gaj says:

    I love how the ‘deniers’ think all scientists and media (and apparently the UN) are working in some back room to come up with this climate change ‘conspiracy’. Most of the scientists I know (and, as a professional scientist, it is a lot) are way too independent and even ornery to work together on some big conspiracy. Even if our grandchildren do have the luck to be cold, they won’t have oil left to warm them up…or is the fact that oil is a limited resource a conspiracy, too?

  3. Henry Galt,

    Obviously you base this on your own vast experience as a climatologist. For the rest of us though, you might want to explain exactly where you get such hair brained ideas? Faux News perhaps?

    Personally, I have traveled to quite a few places, the arctic, Antarctica, many tropical rain forests. Everywhere I go, I see glaciers retreating, wildlife moving higher and higher up mountains, if there is anyplace left for them to go, etc. The signs of global warming are indeed all around us.

    Some climatologists have even given up the ruse of saying that no one weather event can be blamed on climate change and have instead started stating that the vast increase we see in extreme weather events and ice melt and the rest are caused by climate change, and yes, anthropogenic climate change at that.

    gaj,

    Good point. Scientists do tend to be intelligent enough to make up their own minds. I guess it’s just easier for a lot of people to believe that there is some grand conspiracy in the scientific community than to believe that they are fucking up the world in which their children and grandchildren will live … if they live. I have an advantage in that respect. I do not have children. So, I can take comfort in the fact that they will not have to live in such a world.

    Out of curiosity gaj, what field of science are you in? (I’m just a geek myself with a strong interest in science, but not a scientist at all.)

  4. R James says:

    There’s a few problems here. Firstly, science isn’t about consensus, it’s about analysis of facts. Secondly, scientists certainly aren’t united on anthropogenic climate change – last I looked it was about 30,000 to 600 against. It seems that the only scientists that support this are the ones whos incomes depend on it. Thirdly, anthropogenic climate change due to CO2 is only an hypotheses which is failing to fit in with known facts – eg no warming in the past 10 years, even though CO2 has increased by 5%. Fourthly, most would agree that the earth has warmed about 0.8 degC in the past 160 years. Of course it has – we’re still coming out of the previous cold period. The problem is that the warming stopped 10 years ago, despite all the computer models predicting large temperature increases. Earth has stubbornly refused to cooperate.

  5. R James,

    last I looked it was about 30,000 to 600 against.

    Where did you look? Were the 30,000 actually all published climatologists? Whenever I check these things, most names either do not come up at all in a Google Scholar or are not climatologists. Many are usually meteorologists on such sites, a profession that has absolutely nothing at all whatsoever to do with climatology. The few remaining names that actually are climatologists are the ones that are known Exxon/Mobil employees. Share your site. I love picking such lists of names apart.

    BTW, the number of climatologists in the IPCC alone is 2,500. I think there are a few more climatologists in the world that agree with the fundamentals of global warming.

    But, if it’s not about consensus or opinion, then where are the peer reviewed papers backing your position? I would think you’d post a link or three if you had some real data.

  6. gaj says:

    Science is not so much about analysis of ‘facts’ as analysis of data. That shows R James’ limited knowledge of the field right there. If all we had to do was sit back and analyze ‘facts’ it would be a pretty easy job. Instead, scientists are trying to figure out things that aren’t obvious to the casual observer. Why do weather patterns change? Why do some people develop cancer from exposure to X, while others don’t? How do honeybees communicate? For most of these things, we will never have ‘facts’, only data that through statistical analysis and interpretation can give us the best explanation based on observed data.
    I have a Ph.D. in Oceanography and an undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics, and I do research on the responses of marine ecosystems to fisheries extraction and chemical pollution. In the past I have also studied paleoclimate issues. Although I work with mathematical models almost every day, I’m the first to admit that they have their flaws. However, they have led to breakthroughs in understanding; when you build models based on first principles and they don’t work, you learn more about the system by investigating what other drivers there are to the system. One of those breakthroughs, long ago, was that not all change is linear. Changes in systems, whether those involving your brain and its response to stimulation, or the climate in response to forcing, can happen in step-wise ways (no change for a long time, then a huge change), chaotic (unpredictable) ways, etc. One of the concerns of climatologists and other scientists is that we have created such a large-scale change in terms of atmospheric CO2 that it is beyond our power to predict exactly what will happen. The IPCC and others base their models on the best information we have currently…unfortunately, to truly test the accuracy of their model, we run a good chance of cementing our path to disaster.

  7. Thanks for the excellent response gaj. I really appreciate it. I was not aware of how much can be learned even from early models that do not yet account for enough. Nor was I aware of the stepwise progressions of change.

    Since I’m sure someone will latch onto your phrase “we have created such a large-scale change in terms of atmospheric CO2 that it is beyond our power to predict exactly what will happen” as a reason for inaction based on uncertainty, I would like to make it very clear what I think you mean. Please correct me if I am misinterpreting this.

    This does NOT mean that we do not know whether or not the planet will warm. The uncertainty is in the range of effect. Being outside our ability to predict exactly what will happen will likely mean much faster and more dramatic climatic change than could be forecast. One example might be that the ice might melt far faster than anyone anticipated, as is happening according to the four links near the end of my original post.

    These and other catastrophic unforeseen occurrences are likely the types of changes that you indicate in your statement about beyond our ability to predict exactly what will happen.

    Am I correct?

    I like to be clear because deniers latch on to any phrase that sounds at all like uncertainty.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your insight from within the field of climatology. It’s a very complex field incorporating a great many disciplines. You have my deepest respect for your ability to contribute in such a field. Thanks and keep up the great work.

  8. gaj says:

    Like you say, deniers do latch on to any phrase that sounds at all like uncertainty. But the problem with science is that we can only be certain on issues like climate in hindsight. Still, the DATA indicates that the globe is warming, and the DATA shows that atmospheric CO2 is at an all-time high. In the past, CO2 has correlated closely with temperature. Unfortunately, this is not something which we can perform experiments on, since we don’t have replicate earths on which to test hypotheses. Thus all the hullabaloo among the deniers about the IPCC model…it is based on the best understanding of the physics of the moment, but we cannot TEST the model. I haven’t looked at the IPCC model in enough detail to really offer a professional opinion on it, but I will say that we see consistent evidence of animal and plant response to the warming temperatures that are unlike anything seen in the modern records. Everyone I work with professionally has seen evidence of a fairly dramatic change; evidence from people as diverse as geologists, hydrologists, plant ecologists, animal ecologists, soil scientists, agricultural specialists, medical doctors, epidemiologists, etc. is hard to deny (well, for those of us with common sense).

    Climate change has all sorts of unexpected effects, and therefore the effects are as hard to predict accurately as the drivers of climate change are to understand. But one thing is evident, without even looking at the IPCC model. If we look at the past, earth systems respond to atmospheric changes in surprisingly dramatic ways. For example, the melting of the ice sheet over North America following the last glacial age caused sea level to rise not just because water previously held in the glaciers melted and entered the ocean, but because the release of the weight of the glaciers from the middle of the continent actually caused the middle of the continent to rise and the edges to fall (kind of like if you jump on a mattress). That is what concerns me the most, and makes me move beyond concern over whether the IPCC model is ‘correct’ or not: we are clearly messing with the system by adding so much CO2 that there is bound to be a response. All indicators thus far are that the response is warming. In my personal opinion, because of all the evidence I have seen in my profession, I think that as humans we should attempt not to dramatically alter the chemistry of the atmosphere…or the oceans, or anything else. Viewing our environment as a garbage can just doesn’t ever seem to produce positive results.

  9. greenola says:

    “The man” isn’t worth waiting around for.

    Green Groove is seeking individuals and families to help save the planet. Go to http://www.greengroove.org to begin your phased withdrawal for FREE in less than one minute of your time. Thanks!

  10. Ronny says:

    I think people need to be told step by step action on what to do, at least a guide line for them. and they need to be told why doing that will benefit them personally. Because when you that it is to save humanity or the earth, the idea is so vague for us, ordinary people, to comprehend.

    If that’s the case we will say, why bother, every body is doing it…. I, for one, reckon that people is basically good, it’s just we don’t know what to do as an individual. Some one need to take a stand and told us what to do.

    well, that’s what I think.

  11. Ronny,

    Good idea. There are many such lists of things one can do in their home already. Adding another to the blogosphere can’t possibly hurt though.

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