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Friday, August 1, 2014

Climate Change Debate – From Mt. Everest Nepal to Rest of the world

  • Climate Change Debate – What You Should Know

  • I think a lot of things are to blame for this. Mostly it’s down to politicians who have been warning us about climate change for years but have in reality done nothing about it. It’s all well and good trying to spread awareness of the threats of climate change that we all face, but everyone is aware of it now. Continuing to spread awareness without actually doing anything about it is just making people fed up and leading to more people choosing to falsely believe that global warming is just a natural cycle or that it has not been impacted by human emissions.
    Of course sceptical opinion its being helped by oil companies spreading propaganda and funding fake scientists to dismiss the greenhouse effect, picking small inaccurate truths and manipulating them to use as “evidence global warming is not man made”. Their argument is helped further when governments exaggerate predictions of climate change to make people take it seriously. Both of these schemes are wrong and should be ended now.
    So forget what you have been told, here are the facts behind climate change. Read them and make up your own mind.
    • The world is warming. Average global temperatures have increased by 0.74C over the past 100 years and by 0.6C in the 100 years before that.
    • There is a parallel trend of rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere with rising temperatures. CO2 levels in the atmosphere have risen from 280 parts per million (ppm) in pre industrial times to 387ppm today. Methane levels have also risen from 700 parts per billion to 1,745 parts per billion. Today’s levels of these greenhouse gases are the highest for at least 650,000 years.
    • The worlds climate can vary naturally. The Earth’s orbit, changes in the intensity of the Sun, volcanic eruptions, atmospheric pollution and natural variations such as El Nino can all impact atmospheric temperatures.
    • Evidence of the past climate shows that rising greenhouse gas levels have been followed by warming. In the past decade, scientists have also established that it is impossible to account for recent observed changes in global temperatures unless human activities have had an impact. Computer models of the Earth’s climate agree that natural variation can explain only a part of recent warming. Only if man made greenhouse gases are included do the models replicate what has actually happened.
    • The warmest year on record was 1998. This was in part due to a strong El Nino which has a heating effect. Since then temperatures have stabilised but at a very high level. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred after 1997.
    • Natural climate variations mean that there will be periods of temperature stability even when the overall temperature trend rises. The the stabilising temperatures of the last decade are not a sign that global warming has stopped.A study led by Jeff Knight and Peter Stott, of the Met Office, found that such hiatuses occur relatively often during periods of warming, and aren’t inconsistent with the upward trend.
    • Arctic sea ice is in long term decline. In 2007 a record low of 39.2% less ice than the 1979-2001 average was recorded.There is considerable natural variation in ice extent from year to year, but the overall trend is towards shrinkage. Models generally predict that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer by 2060 to 2080, though some recent estimates have suggested this could happen more quickly.
    When discussing climate change please remember that the discussion on whether man made global warming is happening or not has ended. It’s not for us the public to decide whether we believe scientific proof or not, unfortunately our opinion has no impact on the truth. What we can impact is what we do to prevent it. Now we must focus our efforts on working together to prevent dangerous warming of or climate and secure a safe sustainable future.

  • BBC News has just posted an interesting article detailing a “History Of Climate Change” which covers some more milestones in the climate change story.
    In 1824 a French physicist is the first person to discover the “greenhouse effect” that is so publicly spoken of today.
    It wasn’t until 1896 when a Swedish chemist concluded that the coal burning of the industrial age would contribute to the greenhouse effect, predicting his research would be useful for future generations. His predictions of temperature increase in-line with CO2 emissions were not far off those of today’s climate models.
    In 1938 the first direct evidence of global warming was recorded, as temperatures we found to have increased over the previous century in line with CO2 emissions. At the time it was widely dismissed that emissions caused the warming.
    In the 1950’s the US developed new world leading equipment in the field and began researching the climate. Researches not only concluded that CO2 concentrations were rising, but that a doubling of CO2 concentrations would increase temperatures by 3-4 degrees Centigrade. They also discovered that seawater would not absorb the additional CO2 in the atmosphere as many had predicted. US oceanographer Roger Revelle then claims “Human beings are now carrying out a large scale geophysical experiment…”
    Little is done until the 1970’s when the UN hosts its first Environment conference, but climate change doesn’t appear on the agenda. Finally in 1975 a US scientist thrusts the term “global warming” into the public domain, making it the title of his scientific paper. A further 13 years latter in 1988 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is formed to collate evidence and establish the threat of climate change. 2 years later the IPCC publish their first report, concluding that global warming is happening, and that it is a direct result of man made fossil fuel emissions.
    2009 and over 100 years after the discovery that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere causes our climate to warm, still we have done nothing to stop it. Still people argue whether or not it actually exists. Still politicians wont except that we have built the world on unsustainable infrastructure that will soon be over-populated, with dwindling resources and a dangerous warming climate.

  • Climate change has been nearly continuously in the press over the past few years, and is likely to remain in the headlines for the years to come. But it hasn’t always been that way.
    The theory behind the global warming causing climate change first started to hit the press in the 1960’s. Using Google’s news search tool, you can actually look for the stories that are published online by date yourself. Here are some highlights:

    The Virgin Island Daily News – Feb 18th 1970

    In a small section on page 7 titled “Other Views” we have a brief mention of global warming. It states that scientists are warning that pollution could alter the earth’s climate. However it claims that scientists are split, half believing it will cause a global warming effect, and half believing it will lead to a new ice age. Theories being that gasses would either reflect the suns radiation causing cooling, or trap it causing warming.
    So until the scientists come up with new ideas, we can look forward to living in a global hothouse or freezing to death. In the meantime, we had all better get busy and do something effective about pollution.

    The Blade – June 12th 1979

    This article reports that Carbon Dioxide levels are rising in the atmosphere, and that it could lead to a global warming trend. It already mentions the “green house effect” and the fear that climate change could melt the polar ice caps. It claims Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere were 335 ppm in 1978 and predicts that levels could reach 600 ppm between 2025 and 2075. That, they predicted, would cause 2.7 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit of warming (that’s 1.5 to 3 degrees C). CO2 levels are now thought to be 385 ppm
    Interestingly however, they don’t seem that worried about the polar ice caps.
    But it would take perhaps 1,000 years of unusually warm climate to cause substantial melting of the polar ice caps
    However a New York Times article from the same year reports that climatologists were warning that newborns could live to a time when the north pole will have melted due to climate change.

    New York Times – October 19th 1981

    A whole article, with the title “EVIDENCE IS FOUND OF WARMING TREND”. Research showed evidence for the first time that “carbon dioxide pollution is causing a potentially dangerous warming of the earth’s climate”. This story was covered in most newspapers.

    The Courier – July 20 1986

    “Global Warming trend could cost billions”. The title of an article which is more informative and precise than most of the crap you can read in nowadays press, showing concerns of food and water shortages and crop degradation, as well as predicting that climate change could cost “as much as $200 billion to adjust to irrigation patterns alone”.
    So it seems that we have not only known of the cause and effects of climate change for nearly 30 years, we have done nothing about it. Most of these predictions have been fairly accurate, so surely appropriate action could easily have been decided upon and taken. Apparently not. In-fact, despite 30 years of proof and research, we are still arguing about whether it exists. With statistics like that, climate change seems inevitable, unless we get smart and get smart now.

  • Heard about it? Probably not. East Africa is climate change ground zero. If it was a richer developed country it would be all over the news. This is the real human impact of climate change the western media doesn’t show you.
    Kenya has a delicate climate. Already so hot, that further increase in temperature can throw whole ecosystems out of balance. An epic drought has been cast upon countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda. This in turn has caused a further life threatening humanitarian crisis. The severe drought, that now occurs year on year, has lead to severe shortages of not only water, but food and livestock too. It is estimated that 23 Million people are threatened by the crisis.
    Kenya drought has been especially damaging. In some regions lack of rain has destroyed whole harvests. Many people depending on livestock have also struggled to keep them alive with no water to feed them. Kenya drought and the food shortage has forced the price of food beyond that of what most families can afford.
    If the drought continues we will not be able to raise any animals as there will be no pasture or water. So we will have no money to send our children to school. If we can’t get money from raising animals we don’t know what else we can do.
    Kadra Good, Harshin, Ethiopia
    UK based Charity Oxfam have launched and emergency appeal for £9.5 million indonations to help those suffering from Kenya drought and the food crisis in East Africa. Thecharity have made themselves synonymous with helping those impacted by climate change throughout this year with there “Here and Now” campaign, aimed to highlight the fact that poorer countries are already suffering at the hands of climate change and the need to act here and now.