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A few days back, I diaried about a new report from a task force of groups sounding the alarm about the "ticking time bomb" of climate change.  

Well, here comes Oxford University on the subject:

Global temperatures could rise by as much as eleven degrees Celsius, according to one of the largest climate prediction projects ever run.

This figure is twice the level that previous studies have suggested.

More after the flip, plus a framing suggestion from

To be specific, the report mentioned a range between two and eleven degrees Celsius. Regardless ...

"I think these results suggest that our need to do something about climate change is perhaps even more urgent," the climateprediction.net chief scientist David Stainforth told BBC News.

"However, with our current state of knowledge, we can't yet define a safe level in the atmosphere."

So, twice in the same week, two different groups have determined that he have a bona fide crisis on our hands (in the true sense of the word, not the WMD/Social Security sense).

I hope the Senate Dems start pounding on the table soon regarding this and other environmental issues. As I noted in the comments of that previous diary,

I've only done 2 environmental diaries per my recollection (the other on the AK oil spill a few months back), but I think I'll do more in the future given

  1. the glaring lack of environmental issues in the Dem Senate war plan (a great plan, but missing a few things).

  2. the growing CW that Western voters are trending to Dem candidates over the environment (see Montana)

So, given that environmental protection would fit perfectly in the "responsibility" theme that the Dems appear to be pushing and that these issues could lead to our Western resurgence and the obvious attention these issues (like climate change) are getting abroad, the Dems should fill the leadership vacuum left by the GOP (as always).

Here is a great framing suggestion from Yertle:

First, the public must understand that, manmade or not, climate change is real, and even small changes have large effects on our society.  The little Ice age - a 0.6 degree drop - made colonization of North America by Europeans impossible - even at the end of the little ice age, the winters were so long and severe that they killed entire colonies.  A 6 degree change is catastrophic - it was the difference between 30,000 years of human history being unrecorded bands following game and civilization.  

Second, it must be framed in these terms: It is catastrophic to human societies and cultures- it has huge economic and social consequences.  Not only is it incorrect to say that climate change endangers the planet, it doesn't, or life on earth, it doesn't, but most people you are trying to convince with that argument are going to blow you off as a hippie tree-hugger save the spotted owl (insert cliché here) do-gooder.   What is certainly true, and IMO, more likely to impact people, is that it will most certainly effect them - the long term costs of climate change are significantly more severe than the short term costs of preparing to deal with it.  Flooded cities, weather pattern shifts, farmland destruction, etc. all have big price tags and big death counts associated with them.  If two severe El Nino events in a row (not, btw, related to climate change) can decimate countries agriculture, fishing, and ranching industries (Australia, Chile) people can be made to see that climate change can do the same.  Potentially, it is possible that triggering the onset of the next ice age could destroy human civilization, but IMO you really don't need to go there.  Its abstract and unreal to people - its much easier and much more effective to discuss how, based on cost benefit analysis, ignoring the problem is not a good idea.

Third, while I agree with Wally Broecker, in that dumping CO2 into the atmosphere is probably a stupid thing to do when we don't really know the consequences and wont for another decade or two at least, I don't see much of a way out of it, save for a rapid switch to nuclear power for most of our energy needs (something I am most definitely in favor of).  While I do think we need to do what we can to curb CO2, I think, for the same reasons, that we need to start spending money now to prepare to deal with the coming changes which may not even be man made, and thus inevitable.  Population centers need to prepare for rising sea levels, and agriculture planning needs to be done for possible shifts in rainfall and growing seasons.  Spending money now on preparing to deal with these changes will prevent huge economic and humanitarian catastrophes in the not-so distant future.

I'll end on one more gratuitous "burning planet" picture:


Originally posted to VirginiaDem on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 07:43 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sorry... (4.00)
    to keep harping this, but if we don't, who will?
    •  PLEASE (none)

      keep 'em coming.... the thought of Glacier National Park not having any more glaciers by -- what is it -- 2050, oughta scare the hell out of anyone.

      P.S. I hope this means it's alright for me to keep flipping off Hummer drivers.

      Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

      by SusanHu on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 07:55:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I will! (none)
    There are never too many climate posts.  We should be able to compile science diaries without resorting to heroic volunteers.  Promote my idea of categorizing diaries so that we can all have the week's nerd posts at our fingertips!  

    Great diary.  

  •  No irony (none)
    intended, but it kind of makes all this torture business pale in comparison, doesn't it?  

    I mean if we really take a wee bit of time to actually appreciate the gravity of the situation.

    The problem is that even those of us who KNOW how bad it is don't FEEL how bad it is.  I mean really feel it.  

    If we did, all the other urgent issues we discuss here would become a little less so, even torture.  

    With all due respect, your diary perpetuates a pattern which I think is responsible for our near-total disregard for the environment.  

    This is an issue like no other.  We can't frame or understand the problem as having anything to do with the west and how pretty the mountains are, which we do by suggesting it should appeal more to voters in the west, expedient as that line of thinking may be.  

    But This is more urgent than that.  This is LIFE AND DEATH not just the blighting of miraculous landscape.  This is not about skiiers and outdoorsmen and women.  It's not about how awesome it is to hear coyotes in the Badlands or see moose in Wyoming.  

    If we regionalize the issue, we're dead because it just fades into obscurity, clamoring for attention amidst a cocktail of Democratic issues.

    THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE.  PERIOD.  

    NUMBER ONE.  This cannot be about politics, there's no time for that.  

    We MUST make it rise above the political din in people's imaginations or we're dead, if we're not already.  

    So, to that end, I suggest we all try to, at the very least, prioritize the issue here, among those of us predisposed to care.

    Sorry if this was too ranty, I hope it was coherent.    

  •  Time to start advertising (none)
    I've said this in about 9 previous comments, but here it is again: the only way to shift the public, and therefore the government, on this issue is to start a huge advertising/education campaign.  With all of their money, environmental groups should be able to put together some snazzy advertisements explaining the problem in 3rd-grade terms and why we have to do something now.

    And Yertle's comments above are right on the money.    The frame needs to be one of health and security.  Our climate science is getting pretty advanced now, almost to the point where we can start assigning death tolls to global warming.

    Time to light a fire under the public's ass.  Right now.

    You can be active with the activists or sleepin' with the sleepers - Billy Bragg

    by Scott in NAZ on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 08:41:01 PM PST

  •  The Point of No Return (none)
    I haven't read the Oxford report, but the report you diaried a couple days ago was one of the silliest, stupidest, most transparently vapid "report" on Global Warming I have ever come across.  There was precisely zero science in -- just "politicans and business leaders" cherry-picking a few miniscule bits of the data, and molding it into something illogical.

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