Gallery: Global Warming Is Real and We Must Act Now!

 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific body established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program, just released its fourth report to the world, and the message could not be clearer:

GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL, IT IS A THREAT TO HUMAN CIVILIZATION, AND WE MUST ACT NOW IF WE HAVE ANY HOPE OF STOPPING IT.

The fourth report is essentially a summary of the last three scientific reports that the panel has produced. It is based on the consensus work of hundreds of scientists and scores more of policymakers. The latter is important, as the report tends to downplay concerns and leans toward the conservative more than you’d expect. Nonetheless, the consensus language of all participants sends alarm bells ringing and recommends – and almost demands – immediate action.

The report warns of “extinction,” “massive flooding,” “destruction of wetlands,” “rise of sea levels,” “intense cyclones,” “heat waves,” and “the slashing of crop yields” because of an expected increase in temperatures of 3.9 degrees (centigrade) that will occur if we do not make drastic changes.

It also makes it clear that global warming is measurable and is occurring. It posits the blame squarely on man-made greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG), which have grown over 70% between 1970 and 2004, as it is now likely (scientific speak for “bet the house on it”) that GHG concentrations have a direct relationship with the increase in average temperature.

Finally, the report looks into the future. What will happen if we simply continue as we are now doing, with the planned sustainable development practices? In short, an expected increase in temperature will lead to catastrophic consequences such as the ones mentioned above.

The IPCC still believes that there is hope, thankfully, but not for long. Some of its recommendations include a dramatic increase in renewables, efforts in the increase of sustainable practices, a global effort to move away from GHG-producing practices, and an agreement of scope similar to that of Kyoto or better. And it tackles the issue of slowing down economic development to reduce carbon emissions, noting that if it were to be necessary, the impact is negligible (between a 1% gain to a 5.5% decrease), especially when compared to the economic cost of doing nothing.

All this effort would bring, at best, an increase of 2 degrees, which the IPCC believes would have serious consequences, but not catastrophic. To do this, the world would have to cut emissions, from year 2000 levels, by at least 50% in 2050.

+ Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change AR4 Synthesis Report

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12 Comments

  1. Macrovertigo March 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    If the subject of the influence of humans on climate change is even still up for discussion, is there really any room anymore in the conversation for people who deny climate change and it’s human causes? Leave them out of the loop once and for all, as people unable to deal in any sufficiently intelligent way with reality, and move on to take any climate change as a given and proceed to build dikes or to move upland, even while we make a last effort to effect future generation’s climate. This is serious, you can’t waste any more time trying to educate parties up to the level required just to engage in meaningful dialogue – you have to leave them behind, even if they survive only to continue pestering, saying no, or otherwise getting in the way of progress. If you wait until after the collapse, how much more difficult or impossible will it be to do anything productive in a tropical world, beyond perhaps creating a delightful oasis for the entitled few centered on that seed bank up in arctic Scandinavia?

  2. matt kugler June 1, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    you are all idiots. Sara, who\’s saying that Bush isnt an idiot and that all the rest of you cant spell, cant even spell the word spell. Bush is a total idiot, but all the responsibility doesn\’t lie on him. It is the entire planet, especially the heavially industrialized countries that refuse to aknowledge the fact that all their pollution adds to global warming.
    on top of that, not enough countries look into alternatives. It is only recently that we have begun looking into wind, solar, and hydro-electric power that wouldn\’t affect the environment. Different websites and political people have been saying our environmentally friendly energy programs have been growing by 200 or 300 percent even, but even in places like texas where there are hundreds of acres of wind-farms, the wind power only makes up a single digit percentage of their energy grid. the entire world has to get out of percentages and into solid, concrete numbers, where polititians cant make up bull that the normal people around the world believe.

  3. SaraJane November 28, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Bush is not just an idiot!!! You can not blame 1 person for everything wrong in the world. Do not blame others, it just makes matters worse. By the way you spelled “kioto” wrong its Kyoto…someone is really educated here? Learn how to speel before you decide to make stupid assumptions about people you do not even know personally or clear-cut evidence about an issue.

  4. jowgen November 27, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    that’s true we must act by our selfs first and then wait for the big guys to act properly. there is a way to make the big guys follow our lead…not support them! they mostly are big companies that don’t care about kioto-like aggreements and countries controled buy them.

    Bush is an idiot! and everybody knows it! it just has to be the same effect (destruction) for his country economy to agree or not to kioto.

  5. eric November 25, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    what does the forest fire image have to do with global warming? Sensationalism? thought so…

    Look, you can show a smoker a picture of their half rotted lung and they won’t stop, so Google-projection shore maps aren’t really going to scare people either

  6. naturalethic November 24, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    The polar ice caps on Mars are melting too. Think that’s related?

  7. Adam November 23, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    The fire picture is taken along the Bitterroot River near Sula, Montana during the summer of 2000. Over 300,000 acres were burned on the forest that summer.

  8. Aegir November 22, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    I’d say that forest fire picture is astounding. Where is it from?

  9. Kat November 21, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    that forest fire picture is frightening.

  10. simon seasons November 21, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    I’ll check out your site later rachel but just the word austerity worries me. If we do nothing to arrest climate change then there will be plenty enough of austerity. The wisdom and the technology exists to change things now. As i have written elsewhere ESdesign (passive solar, thermal mass heating etc) has been around for years and years it’s just that not enough people have recognised the need for it. Application of the growing consensus will be the problem. The solutions are already out there. The Governator of California is the pioneer of this scenario and all hail to him if compulsory LEED compliance spreads right across the USA and all over the world.
    In two days time Australia is having it’s national elections and the current primeminister is still warning everyone not to vote for the opposition because they have a platform of doing something about climate change,including signing onto the Kyoto protocol. His arguement is that doing something about climate change will destroy jobs in the coal industry and ruin the economy. No notion from him or others of his ruling party that there will be no economy if we don’t do something about climate change. all we get from them is Bush said this and Bush said that about climate change and we’re gonna stick by whats right for the economy.
    Other right wing parties are warning of of a soaring crime rate and drug crazed hippies raping your daughters if you vote for the Green party
    Oh lord when will f—wits get it? When young people vote to rid these old fools from the stage.!
    When young people refuse to learn anything in architecture schools that doesn’t take into account enviromentally sustainable design. When young people remind old people that it is pure vanity to assume that culture and religion and art and politics have reached a pinicle from which it cannot go higher. When young people remind old people that such attitudes are fundamentaly immoral because it is selfish to steal the very existance of those yet to come for the sake gratifying self assured vanity.

  11. Rachel November 21, 2007 at 9:35 am

    It is time for personal action. We can not wait for someone else to fix this problem. Riot 4 Austerity is one way people can control their carbon footprint on their own. If you are interested: http://www.riot4austerity.org/blog/

    Lets change more than light bulbs.

  12. simon seasons November 21, 2007 at 7:36 am

    People please! What are we going to do about this? Are we going to be able to stop it in time?

    Of course we could, if the people sat up, took notice, and got their wah wah out, we the people can do anything. Just about the whole world mobolized to defeat Nazism in WW2 because the threat was to our civilisation. This threat is so much bigger because it is beyond the discriminatory horrors of nazism and its modern protege of islamofascism.
    Climate change is a monster of indescribable proportions but we created it and we must solve it.
    An analogy. If you were to stand all by yourself on the dockside and pushed against the gigantic hull of the QE11 ocean liner, it would take half the day but eventually it would begin to move and then you would find that you could push it out into the Hudson river all by yourself. But just you try and stop it once you have got it moving. You could, but you would have to push it from the other direction for half a day.
    That is what global warming is like. We as a civilisation have pushed the climate into a momentum that looks and feels unstoppable, but it is not. W just have to push it as hard from the other direction.
    As designers and architects we have to practice what we preach with Enviromentally Sustainable Design ( i call it ESdesign because it looks nice on the page and sound good to my ear) and we have to design and build like there is no tomorrow. And we have to make green LEED ratings systems compulsory, right now, around the world for new AND existing structures. Then we have to get to work replanting about 50 million acres of forests and…..there is a lot of work but yes, we can do it. We just have to do it

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