IPCC climate change report shock!

Climate change may have already passed the point of no return despite earlier predictions to the contrary, according to scientist Dr Tim Flannery of Macquarie University in Australia.

A UN climate change report out next month (Nov 16th 2007) will show that greenhouse gases have reached dangerous levels, with emissions more likely to cause irreversible climate change, Dr Flannery warned. Greenhouse gas in the atmosphere reached 455 parts per million of carbon dioxide in 2005, the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will show. It had not been expected to reach this level for a decade.

He said: ‘What the report establishes is that the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is already above the threshold that could potentially cause dangerous climate change.’

He claims global economic expansion, particularly in China and India, was a major cause of the unexpected acceleration in emissions because of their heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

Climate change talks in Indonesia in December should focus on preserving rainforests there and in Brazil and Papua New Guinea, as reducing emissions might no longer be enough to prevent climate change.

Source.

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19 Responses to IPCC climate change report shock!

  1. earthpal says:

    T’is not good news. This report will make even more people eco-despondent.

  2. matt says:

    ‘Eco-despondent’; interesting term. Yes it will make many people feel this way.

    I get the feeling though that the IPCC are engaging in a very high stakes game of brinkmanship. This November report is released just before the next round of climate change talks in Bali in December. Of course if we really are at 455ppm already then yes, we are walking into the unknown.

    The heat will be on and it will be … all or nothing.

  3. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    Great post, mostly because of the monkey, but for other reasons as well. On one hand, I needed some good news and, since we’ve gone past the point of no return, in a Global Warming sense, it’s nice to know we can ignore this from now on. On the other hand, your mention of the number 455 is attention getting as that is the cubic inch measurement of the engine in our new car, which a friend donated to us after all of ours were either wrecked or spontaneously burst into flame. My truck, by the way, was the one that was not wrecked, and to which the sudden combustion of the engine compartment is causing me some minor doubts as to my position on Global Warming. On the gripping hand, the lack of inclusion of India and China in the Global Warming prevention arena, brings to mind the main reason the US had a good chuckle at the Kyoto Treaty.

    the Grit

  4. matt says:

    Grit,

    Reckon you’d enjoy a visit from fellow big mouth Jeremy Clarkson and the boys from Top Gear. Petrol heads who would relish ripping it up around your pond. Rumour has it Clarkson has a small penis but going by the size of that thing on his forehead I’d say that’s a little unfair.

    Matt

    PS. Try go cart racing Grit. All the thrills, spills and speed sensation just 4cms from the ground for 1/100th of the petrol and cheaper than therapy.

  5. Pete Smith says:

    Hi Grit,
    455 in³ ? That’s …. 7 litres in Euros! 🙂
    IIRC, the ’86 Lincolns never had more than a 5 litre block. Perhaps someone did a GM transplant?
    How do you find it, wallowing around the farm in a big boat like that? God knows what your fuel consumption is. There goes the planet, never mind we’ll just make another one.
    Pete

  6. matt says:

    No Pete, lets send the gas guzzlers to another planet. Mars will do nicely. A re-enactment of sorts of sending convicts out to the Australian desert.

    Earth does need an emigration policy after all. 🙂

  7. Pete Smith says:

    LOL Nice idea in theory, although part of me wonders what the Martians ever did to deserve such an intrusion.
    The only doubt I have is that most of the energy used in getting them there will be consumed here, making the problem even worse.

  8. inel says:

    Tim Flannery’s claims, around which the article you quote was written, are confused and incorrect according to Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate.

    There is still time to tackle climate change.

  9. matt says:

    Thanks for linking in that discussion Helen.

    All I can see there is a very confusing debate with differences of opinion on the whole question of where our planet is at with CO2e concentrations right now.

    What Tim Flannery has done I guess is ratchet up the level of urgency to this debate again. Not a bad thing.

    The great unknown for all, including scientists is the effect of ‘feedbacks’, such as permafrost warming. Personally I’m in the camp of… ‘the TIPPING POINT has been reached and we now need to try and understand the implications of this so that we can adapt to the effects of the regional changes in our weather, if this is at all possible.

    Tim Flannery I believe is concerned that the message is NOT getting through to the larger national economies that major changes in energy use are needed NOW. In fact the opposite is happening with many countries suddenly racing to claim parts of both poles. Their intention? Oil exploration … right where we don’t want it.

    The world is being held hostage by greed.

  10. Pete Smith says:

    “What Tim Flannery has done I guess is ratchet up the level of urgency to this debate again. Not a bad thing.”

    Or is it? The same could be said about Al Gore, and although climate believers think he deserves his Nobel, he’s become a hate figure for many others.
    Bad science is bad science, regardless of motivation. If Flannery has muddled the CO2e figures to rekindle urgency, he’s not doing anyone any favours, in fact he’s just giving more ammunition to the die-hard climate change deniers.

  11. matt says:

    Well, I believe it is difficult if not impossible to get accurate figures on CO2e. The trend isn’t in doubt and increasingly more and more people are accepting the reasons are anthropogenic.

    While the scientists and politicians argue amongst themselves over the figures, the evidence gathers apace out there in the real world. It doesn’t have to be measured any more. The effects of the warming trend are there for all to see.

    The affect on the planet of the runaway effects of feedbacks cannot be over stated.

    The danger I believe is arguing over the figures, while the ‘boat of opportunity’ to respond to their implications sails on by.

    The people on the street such as ourselves must understand the implications. We are never going to understand the maths behind it.

  12. Pete Smith says:

    “The danger I believe is arguing over the figures”.

    Well yes, possibly, but then why have figures at all? How many times have we heard remarks like these?

    Margins for error are accepted but never explained
    455 parts per million = less than 0.05%, so why worry?
    If the pro-anthropogenic CC faction can’t agree among themselves, why should we agree?
    Global warming? I had to scrape ice off the car this morning.
    All that ice melting and all those hurricanes, it’s global warming innit, stands to reason.

    And so on. The only way to describe what’s happening is with figures, in consistent units (tonnes carbon or tons CO2 anyone?).

    “The people on the street such as ourselves must understand the implications. We are never going to understand the maths behind it.”

    Sorry Matt, but I think we all have a responsibility to at least try to understand the science behind the figures and the arithmetic that created them. And it’s the responsibility of the scientific community to make that stuff accessible and consistent.
    If we junk the science and numbers and just go round shouting “Tippping point! Tipping point! We’ve all got to adapt or die!” we’re no better than the Peak Oil alarmists and other Doomsday prophets you were slagging off in a recent post.

    “Well, I believe it is difficult if not impossible to get accurate figures on CO2e. The trend isn’t in doubt”

    Playing Devil’s advocaat for a second, if there’s no such thing as accurate figures how come the trend isn’t in doubt?

    “and increasingly more and more people are accepting the reasons are anthropogenic.”

    I think there’s a high degree of probability that’s the case 😎

  13. matt says:

    The media event that has had the greatest impact with communicating CC and getting people talking about it is the ‘movie’ An Inconvenient Truth. Like it or not Gore has done more to highlight the problem than the mathematicians. People go with their emotions, not numbers.

    The term ‘tipping point’ is a very serious term not to be junked btw.

  14. Pete Smith says:

    The fuss about Gore’s fuzzy figures in ‘Truth’ hasn’t done the campaign any favours.
    Yes, the concept of tipping point is important. It’s also very complex, involving non-linear math, chaos theory, good stuff like that. As you said, “We are never going to understand the maths behind it.”

  15. matt says:

    Good to see you coming around to my way of thinking Pete. 😉

  16. Pete Smith says:

    There’s a bunch of inconsistencies here which I’m struggling to get to grips with. Kind of thinking aloud really.

    We need the Science and Numbers to quantify the problem. The people who are causing the problem aren’t capable of understanding the S and N. To raise awareness and change attitudes we need to highlight key concepts such as tipping points. To understand tipping points you need S and N.

    This is going round in circles.

  17. matt says:

    > This is going round in circles.

    Yes, there in lies the problem of getting action.

    Key decision makers often drive change. Policy makers for example. The Renewables Obligation is one example. That policy wasn’t voted in by the greater public.

    Really most of us end up playing ‘follow the leader’.

  18. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    We have plenty of locals who sneak into my swamp to play at off road driving, regardless of the number of “posted” signs I put up. On the other hand, I charge $50 to drive my tractor down and extract their vehicles once they meet the swamp formed by the overflow from our lake. While environmentalists call this area a “wetland,” I call it a profit center 🙂

    As to the cart racing, I’ve done that and it is great fun. Unfortunately, the nearest track is far enough away that, what with the enormous engine in our current car, the round trip to that facility would more than eat up any environmental savings from racing the miniatures. On the other hand, since the go-carts class vehicles generally rely on two stroke engines for their power, given the excessive pollution these engines produce, the savings to the environment of preferring them to larger racing cars is questionable. Fortunately, I’m getting old enough to prefer slow and safe to fast and furious 🙂

    Hi Pete,

    Best I can tell from the ancient document which is the Owner’s Manual, the power plant for The Dude is a 455 cubic inch V8 producing, at a modest RPM, 280 horse power and far too much torque to grasp without a good deal of intense contemplation. As to the fuel consumption, my limited experience to date tends to indicate that it is not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. It would seem that, even though our massive luxury vehicle weighs a ton more than my poor burnt truck and has 100 cubic inches more engine displacement, once you get that much weight moving, the energy required to maintain that state is about the same. In other words and based on limited data, so far my weekly gas purchase is relatively constant from one vehicle to the other. Of course, even though The Dude has a marvelously massive trunk, it’s cargo capacity is, at best, modest compared to my much loved full sized GMC pickup. While I have, so far, failed to test it’s off road capabilities, my expectations are that they will not be sufficient to meet the needs of a working farm vehicle. On the other hand, once you maneuver onto the open road, The Dude provides a mighty fine ride.

    Hi Matt,

    Well, since Mars is already experiencing it’s on Global Warming, wouldn’t it be bad manors to compound the problem?

    Hi Pete,

    If you have difficulty believing the figures for CO2 levels, then do some research into the reliability of the surface temperature data.

    the Grit

  19. Pete Smith says:

    Hi Grit,

    “Believing” isn’t a problem for me, I totally accept the theory of anthropogenic global warming. However, I have trouble with the creative manipulation of data and statistics to ‘prove’ the theory. Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that a planetary atmosphere/ocean system is so huge and complex that it’s impossible to measure and model definitively.

    So I’m in the unfortunate position of ‘believing’ in man-made global warming while being unqualified to prove it for myself and incapable of reading expert ‘proof’ without constantly thinking “what about this?” or “but did you consider that?”.

    I don’t get much sleep.

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