Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gwynne Dyer: Kosovo, Climate Change, US Defense budget

My Dyer Detector fired today. Sure nuff, he's added three high value essays:
  • Kosovo update: Independence pending in next few weeks
  • America's half-trillion dollar defense budget is not driven by the 'war on terror', it's in anticipation of resource and climate conflicts with China
and a favorite of his -- Climate change:
Over the past few weeks, in several countries, I have interviewed a couple of dozen senior scientists,government officials and think-tank specialists whose job is to think about climate change on a daily basis. And NOT ONE of them believes the forecasts on global warming issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
just last year. They think things are moving much faster than that.

The IPCC's predictions in the 2007 report were frightening enough. Across the six scenarios it considered, it predicted "best estimate" rises in average global temperature of between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius (3.2 and 7.2 degrees F) by the end of the 21st century, with a maximum change of 6.4 degrees Celsius (11.5 degrees F) in the "high scenario". But the thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers that the IPCC examined in order to reach those conclusions dated from no later than early 2006, and most relied on data from several years before that.

It could not be otherwise, but it means that the IPCC report took no notice of recent indications that the warming has accelerated dramatically. While it was being written, for example, we were still talking about the possibility of the Arctic Ocean being ice-free in late summer by 2042. Now it's 2013.

Nor did the IPCC report attempt to incorporate any of the "feedback" phenomena that are suspected of being responsible for speeding up the heating, like the release of methane from thawing permafrost. Worst of all, there is now a fear that the "carbon sinks" are failing, and in particular that the oceans, which normally absorb half of the carbon dioxide that is produced each year, are losing their ability to do so.
Dyer points out the five degree average increase includes cool supra-ocean air, so the inland increase is rather higher than five degrees.

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