Just as European leaders are faltering in their efforts to tackle climate change, a new survey of the science by WWF has found that the climate is changing much faster, stronger and sooner than even the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) forecast.
According to WWF, research on climate change and its impacts published since the latest assessment report from the IPCC is revealing that global warming is accelerating at times far beyond IPCC 2007 forecasts.
The report argues that the first ‘tipping point’ may have already been reached in the Arctic, where sea ice is disappearing up to 30 years ahead of IPCC predictions and may be gone completely within five years – something that hasn’t occurred for a million years.
Extrapolating this forward, WWF warns that ‘extreme weather events’ such as the hot summer of 2003, which caused an extra 35,000 deaths across southern Europe from heat stress and poor air quality, will happen more frequently.
It could result in rapid and abrupt climate change rather than the gradual changes forecast by the IPCC. Other findings include:
* Global sea level rise could more than double from the IPCC’s estimate of 0.59m by the end of the century.
* Natural carbon sinks, such as forests and oceans, are losing their ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere faster than expected.
* Rising temperatures have already led to a major reduction in food crops resulting in losses of 40m tonnes of grain per year.
* Marine ecosystems in the North and Baltic Sea are being exposed to the warmest temperatures measured since records began.
* The number and intensity of extreme cyclones over the UK and North Sea are projected to increase, leading to increased wind speeds and storm-related losses over Western and Central Europe.
The report has been endorsed by Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the newly elected Vice Chair of the IPCC, who said: “It is clear that climate change is already having a greater impact than most scientists had anticipated, so it’s vital that international mitigation and adaptation responses become swifter and more ambitious.”
The report is published to coincide with Environment Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today, who are to discuss new proposals aimed at tackling climate change. But it comes days after European leaders seemed to reject cuts above 20 per cent, which WWF says is “insufficient”.
Looking at the evidence it quite clearly is not enough ..
What part of “There’s been no increase in temperature in the past 10 years” don’t these people understand? (eg check Hadley Centre). How can they say it’s worse than predicted, when it’s been going in the opposite direction. Sea levels have been rising for the past 20,000 years – why do they suddenly blame human activity? The temperature increase for the 150 years prior to 2,000 was 0.7 degC – insignificant compared to previous changes.
Oooops … Arctic ice up 30% in 2008 … not to mention 50 years of cooling in Antarctica and 10 years of global cooling (Hadcrut3 data).
* Global Warming Skeptic Organizations *
Global Climate Coalition
Spin: Global Warming is real, but it is too expensive to do anything about. The Kyoto Protocol is fundamentally flawed.
Funding: Corporate members (industries, trade associations etc.)
George Marshall Institute
Spin: Blame the Sun. The Kyoto Protocol is fatally flawed.
Affiliated Individuals: Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist from Harvard; and Frederick Seitz.
Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine
Spin: There is no scientific basis for claims about global warming. IPCC is a hoax. Kyoto is flawed.
Funding: Petition was funded by private sources.
Affiliated Individuals: Arthur B. Robinson, Sallie L. Baliunas, Frederick Seitz
Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Spin: Moreover, climate change won t be bad for us anyway. Action on climate change is not warranted because of shaky science and flawed policy approaches.
Funding: Conservative foundations including Bradley, Smith Richardson, and Forbes. SEPP has also been directly tied to ultra right-wing mogul Reverend Sung Myung Moon s Unification Church, including receipt of a year s free office space from a Moon-funded group and the participation of SEPP s director in church-sponsored conferences and on the board of a Moon-funded magazine.
Affiliated Individuals:S. Fred Singer,Frederick Seitz
Greening Earth Society
Spin: CO2 emissions are good for the planet; coal is the best energy source we have.
Affiliated Individuals: Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling, David Wojick, Sallie Baliunas, Sylvan Wittwer, John Daley, Sherwood Idso
Funding: The Greening Earth Society receives its funding from the Western Fuels Association, which in turn receives its funding from its coal and utility company members.
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change
Spin: Increased levels of CO2 will help plants, and that’s good.
Funding: The Center is extremely secretive of its funding sources, stating that it is their policy not to divulge it funders. There is evidence for a strong connection to the Greening Earth Society (ergo Western Fuels Association).
Affiliated Individuals: Craig Idso, Keith Idso, Sylvan Wittwer
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