The full story is out today from the latest release of the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and it aint pretty.
Seems the 2,500 international scientists that have been putting this report together for the past three years, were subject during the wee hours of the morning last night to supposed intimidation from government representatives from China, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
China's is the world's other big carbon pollution producer besides the United States, and Saudi Arabia and Russia have future economies tied almost exclusively to fossil fuel production. The charge of the scientists is that these representatives from these nations tried to water down the findings.
Besides stating "with high confidence" that human-caused global climate change is having significant effects on various aquatic and terrestrial global life forms, along with impacting human settlements and individuals, the policymaker summary report offered details such as:
- "The resilience of many ecosystems this century is likely to be exceeded by an unprecedented combination of climate change (and) associated disturbances (such as wildfires, floods, insects, heat waves, etc.)"
- "Coasts are exposed to increasing risks....the most vulnerable industries, settlements and societies are generally those in coastal and river flood plains..." Take note New York, mid-Atlantic states, California, Hawaii, Florida and the Southeast.
- Warming in Western (North American) mountains is expected to cause decreased snowpack, more winter flooding and reduced summer flows, exacerbating competition for over-allocated water resources." This speaks most urgently to the Northwest, British Columbia, California, and the Southwest, much of which depend on year-round water supplies from melted snowpack.
- "Cities that currently experience heat waves are expected to be further challenged by an increased number, intensity and duration of heat waves during the course of this century with potential for adverse health impacts. The growing population of elderly is most at risk." Remember last summer's record heat wave in LA and the San Francisco area with some all time highs near 120 degrees? Or what about Chicago's 1995 epic heat wave that killed anywhere from 485 to 700 or more, many of them elderly? We must be better prepared for such future incidents through everything from building design and urban planning to energy management and crisis planning.
- "Adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting from the warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions."
It's not all gloom and doom. The summary goes into solutions:
- "Sustainable development can reduce vulnerability to climate change by enhancing adaptive capacity and increasing resilience." Green building, renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste reduction, transit-oriented development, water conservation and increased local food supplies all come to mind.
- "Many impacts can be avoided, reduced or delayed by mitigation."
- "One way of increasing adaptive capacity is introducing consideration of climate change in development planning, for example, including measures in land-use planning and infrastructure design."
Okay, try to have a great weekend now!