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IPCC: A final breakthrough?

By JW Dowey - 29 Sep 2013 12:10:0 GMT
IPCC: A final breakthrough?

Sitaantaagu or the Mendenhall Glacier, within the Alaskan Juneau ice field was studed by John Muir, but he never saw the new Mendenhall lake and even this erratic boulder looks as if it has warmed up and melted more of the poor old glacier beneath it! Glacier image; Credit: © Shutterstock

The Ice Ages are known to have created havoc in speciations and greater levels of evolution. For thousands of years, we haven't had climate gambling in the way we currently are changing the earth's temperature regimes. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just published again, for the 7th time.

Consensus has been achieved. On Friday, in the pleasant atmosphere of Stockholm, it has always been easy to pronounce what is needed in the world. It's restraint. How to achieve the political result with people who are less scientifically educated than the researchers is always the difficulty. People themselves will read their fave media, vote for the sexiest politician (in what they promise, not the way they look) and create their own worldwide political climate. That should, in theory, deliver what we need.

Then comes the kick in the backside. For hundreds of years beyond the life of any politician or political idea, we will not be able to change the level of greenhouse gases. All we can do is stop immediately, or as soon as certain political parties stop having the wool pulled over their eyes. We are stuck with a MINIMUM rise of 0.4 to 1.6 degrees C. As for the maximum of US fracking and Chinese fossil use before 2100, we can expect 4.8C.

In case you were not aware, the sea level rise, the increased severe heatwaves, , the drought in some areas and floods in others the complete removal of permanent ice and the chaos of El Nino and its cronies would all increase in intensity according to all predictions, with those increasing temperatures. The ocean is currently holding its breath. By that is meant a temperature rise exclusive to first the surface and then the ocean depths. When our waters release that heat and land begins warming again, any model would give inadequate results.

Sceptics, who still exist in tiny corners of unrealistic media, always use the scientists' plaything models as objects to attack. The truth is that the researchers are like toy makers. If their colleagues don't buy their idea, it dies. The new models have been improved a thousand-fold. And still relentless improvement continues with the admission that some algorithms don't produce results that match. This means that nonsense is never tolerated. It means we tend to get better at adapting to how differing pollutions work, unlike the climate. We have to reverse that global warming and this is the only tool we have. More informed politicians would be useful, but we desperately need much more. Without change, the IPCC can reach its 8th report, demanding emission changes, and still fail to influence any group of major nations to commit.

The persuasive figures of 90% certainty, emerging from the mathematical significance of comparative modelling, is frightening. We can be assured that people will sit up and demand an end to coal, fracking, and, yes, nice "clean" gas. After that, nothing at all will change in emissions, but we are saddled up and forced to deal with the consequences for 1000 years (that's> 20% of the carbon dioxide remaining.) That sucks and we really need science to design new methods of absorbing it, because I've tried it and sucking doesn't work!

In the end, the pause in land temperature rises, despite the warmest decade ever recorded, has been a small nuisance. That's similar to the people who insist that science is always wrong/biased and divided. It's not.

The final word has to be with the IPCC admitting its own error. They were 43% out in their last estimate, so if you want the truth, that means we should increase their conservative report figures by at least half. In that way we have an almost true estimate for what will really happen - to all of us - to all of those flooded in urban areas- to all the drought-stricken - just add more heat!

More information is available on our regular stories on climate. For example, check the recent paper on climate research.