Year 4, Month 10, Day 1: They All Lived Happily Ever After

The Border Mail (Australia) talks about the IPCC report in unambiguous language:

Early next week, hundreds of scientists will meet in Stockholm’s Brewery Conference Centre to put the finishing touches on the world’s most important climate change document. It is unlikely the beer will be flowing.

By Friday the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will have released the results of its labour – the first part of its fifth major assessment of climate science.

Its last report, released six years ago, delivered a stark message: the climate is warming mostly because of human activity and poses a major threat – especially if global temperatures increase by more than two degrees.

Go beyond two degrees and the planet faces dangerously rising seas, larger drought-affected areas and more frequent extreme weather events, amid other dire projections.

That report won the group the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which the panel’s chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, observed would ”be seen as a clarion call for the protection of the Earth as it faces the widespread impacts of climate change”.

Six years on, the fifth report’s core findings remain largely the same, only now there is even greater scientific certainty. But already, it is clear the fanfare that greeted the last report is unlikely to be repeated. And so far it is the areas of uncertainty in the report – inevitable when dealing with scientific predictions – that are creating headlines.

To prepare the report, scientists from throughout the world volunteer years of their lives to collate and assess data and modelling results to pull together the report’s 3000 or so pages. The report is split into three sections: the first dealing with the physical science, the second and third – due out next year – looking at impacts and ways to cut emissions.

The IPCC does no research of its own, but calls on the expertise of about 830 scientists to draw together evidence from thousands of sources – from ice-core samples drilled out of Antarctica, to ocean temperature records sampled kilometres below the surface – to form the most comprehensive picture of the Earth’s climate system.

Scientists who were lead authors on the report gave Fairfax Media a consistent message: the evidence of a warming planet caused by human activity – such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests – is stronger than six years ago.

Dire. September 23:

As the new IPCC report shows, the scientific evidence both for climate change’s human causes and the profound danger it represents is now overwhelming. As their political power ebbs and flows, climate-change deniers are finding it harder and harder to keep up the pretense of objectivity.

There are five stages of climate denial: 1 – it’s not happening; 2 – it’s happening but humans don’t cause it; 3 – humans cause it but it’s not so bad, really; 4 – it’s really bad, but it’s too expensive to fix; 5 – it’s too late to do anything, so let’s have a party instead. Wholly controlled by their petroleum paymasters and aided and abetted by a complaisant media, the titular leaders of the industrialized world have spent decades begrudgingly working their way to stage two.

Assuming the IPCC report pushes them along to stage three, expect to see cheerful talking heads on television telling us that a warmer planet will mean millions of new jobs manufacturing air conditioners. Plants will grow taller, food will be more nourishing, and economies worldwide will boom. Our children will be smarter and more beautiful, and everyone will be above average.

No, they won’t.

Such fairy tales are beneath contempt. All five stages of denial represent intellectual and moral abdications of our responsibilities to our posterity, our species, and to the planetary web of life of which we are a part.

Warren Senders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *