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Earth Australia Science Politics

IPCC's "Darkest Yet" Climate Report Warns of Food, Water Shortages 703

Posted by timothy
from the c'mon-fellas-lighten-up dept.
The Australian reports that "UN scientists are set to deliver their darkest report yet on the impacts of climate change, pointing to a future stalked by floods, drought, conflict and economic damage if carbon emissions go untamed. A draft of their report, seen by the news organisation AFP, is part of a massive overview by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, likely to shape policies and climate talks for years to come. Scientists and government representatives will meet in Yokohama, Japan, from tomorrow to hammer out a 29-page summary. It will be unveiled with the full report on March 31. 'We have a lot clearer picture of impacts and their consequences ... including the implications for security,' said Chris Field of the US’s Carnegie Institution, who headed the probe.

The work comes six months after the first volume in the long-awaited Fifth Assessment Report declared scientists were more certain than ever that humans caused global warming. It predicted global temperatures would rise 0.3C-4.8C this century, adding to roughly 0.7C since the Industrial Revolution. Seas will creep up by 26cm-82cm by 2100. The draft warns costs will spiral with each additional degree, although it is hard to forecast by how much."
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IPCC's "Darkest Yet" Climate Report Warns of Food, Water Shortages

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  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @12:44PM (#46557937) Journal

    At this point, the IPCC is looking more like bad disaster fiction.

    • by geek (5680) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @12:46PM (#46557949) Homepage

      Someone is getting their pockets lined. This is politics Al Gore style. Its pathetic, "food shortages" yeah right, because we all know food doesn't grow when the climate is warmer........ Scare tactics by intellectually challenged pseudo scientists.

      • sugar (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Plants will require a lot of additional water in warmer climates. You can actually bake the plants in too warm of a climate. A warmer climate means more evaporation of standing water, especially bad in places that don't get heavy rain fall. Not so much scare tactics, but I would take it with a grain of salt; However much easier to believe if you've actually taken the time to record your weather, I live in a place that is normally very very wet and it's been just far too dry the past 2-3 years and this year

        • Plants will require a lot of additional water in warmer climates

          Yes, a warmer client will destroy crops in Greenland... You forget that for all of the places that become too warm for the current crops (or too dry for any crops) there will be a lot more that suddenly become warm enough. And all of that melting ice frees up fresh water...

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Plants will require a lot of additional water in warmer climates

            Yes, a warmer client will destroy crops in Greenland... You forget that for all of the places that become too warm for the current crops (or too dry for any crops) there will be a lot more that suddenly become warm enough. And all of that melting ice frees up fresh water...

            Oh, good then! So you won't mind moving from your continent that turned into a desert wasteland for food production to a better continent in order to move where the food is, right? Yes, I'm sure that'll go over smoothly with people that haven't left their fucking county they were born in.

            • Re:sugar (Score:4, Informative)

              by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday March 23, 2014 @04:27PM (#46559267) Journal
              During the Holocene optimum equatorial climes were about the same as now. It was the poles that warmed. The Sahara actually turned green, with grassland, lakes and hippopotamus.
              • The Sahara was once like the congo, it dried out due to geologic changes that saw rain water drain to the east of N. Africa where it had previously drained to the west. The same gelogic movements created the Nile river ~12ky ago.
          • Re:sugar (Score:5, Informative)

            by AaronW (33736) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @05:41PM (#46559701) Homepage

            And you do realize that the farther north you go the shorter the growing season, i.e. the days get shorter faster as you go north. You can't just move all your farming north and expect similar yields.

            • Re:sugar (Score:5, Informative)

              by styrotech (136124) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @06:03PM (#46559861)

              Not only that, but contrary to the impression given by popular map projections if you move some optimal band towards the poles you will lose more area than you gain.

              And as for the southern hemisphere, there's no new land in that direction anyway. Well not until Antarctica thaws out at least.

      • by stox (131684) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @12:55PM (#46558011) Homepage

        I guess you have not been paying attention to the drought in the Central Valley of California. You will, when food prices shoot through the roof this summer.

        • by CajunArson (465943) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @01:06PM (#46558069) Journal

          The droughts in California ARE man-made, but they have nothing to do with the Global Warming boogy-man and have everything to do with 2 important facts that people seem to forget:
          1. That part of California is a freakin' desert and no, it didn't turn into a desert overnight because of Global Warming, it was a desert long before humans showed up.
          2. California's intentional man-made mismanagement of its water supply to dump water for bait-fish and for Mexico and refusal to build new reservoirs to store water from years when it has been plentiful has caught up to it now that we see California's climate doing exactly what it should be doing.

          But go ahead, blame Global Warming and burn a few witches at the stake since radical religious fanaticism with a thin veneer of "science" painted over it has now replaced rational thought.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Mashiki (184564)

          You mean the artificially created drought in the central valley? Between the politicians and the EPA, we're going to reap the stupidity of those who would rather dump fresh water into the ocean(among other things).

          • by symbolset (646467) *
            Central valley was always a desert. This is Nature defeats Man, not the other way 'round.
            • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @01:43PM (#46558331) Journal
              The Central Valley was definitely NOT a desert, it was a dense grassland biome with up to 24 inches of rain a year. Additionally it had annual flooding bringing nutrients and water from the mountains. The only reason it is not a forest is because most of the rain happens during the winter.

              The southern half of the Central Valley was home to the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, but it's dried up over the last century and a half because the water was diverted.
              • by rahvin112 (446269) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @05:51PM (#46559751)

                The lake in the central valley did dry up because water was diverted, but this was intentional. The lake was very shallow, IIRC less than 30' at the deepest location with an average less than 10'.

                The government made the decision to dry out the lake and turn the area into active farmland. A massive irrigation and diversion project was undertaken and within a small period of time they dried out the lake and began farming what remained. That land is some of the most fertile in the US.

          • by AaronW (33736) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @05:53PM (#46559765) Homepage

            I can tell you that it is far from artificial. This year we received almost no rain or snow. Up until February there was virtually no rain. We have since only had a few storms and unseasonably warm weather. The snowpack is almost nonexistant this year. Last year was also rather dry as well. Even if they captured 100% of the water flowing from the Sierras this year it wouldn't help a whole lot.

            Water in California is very carefully managed and the politicians can't really be faulted in this case. There just isn't any water to be had.

      • Warming may have an effect on precipitation patterns, however. As others have said, plants can also have trouble tolerating higher temperatures.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KeensMustard (655606)

        Someone is getting their pockets lined.

        Is this an obtuse reference to "Lord" Christopher Monkton, who makes money by travelling the world in luxury, sucking money from his gullible audiences like a gargantuan leech draining a docile cow at the waterhole?

        Or are you referring to Anthony Watts - self proclaimed "most read denialist" who gets stipend to preach the word from the Heartland Institute?

        "food shortages" yeah right, because we all know food doesn't grow when the climate is warmer.

        Well, yes. Yes - we DO all know that, unless we are in denial.

        Scare tactics by intellectually challenged pseudo scientists.

        Scare tractics? Try looking reflectively for a while at the guy who is alleging that AGW

    • While I disagree with the poster that climate change is a fiction, I disagree that this is flamebait. He has a right to express his opinion and we ought to respect that. "Flame" is just an excuse by some to suppress any opinion they disagree with. Come on people, grow up, we ought to be more mature about this here.

      • It happens incessantly. Slashdot has the most restrictive and narrow monoculture of "acceptable opinions" of any group I know of, and that includes fundamentalist Christians.

  • ... the temps of the Medieval Warm Period?
  • Why that wide range? It is taking into account if we take active measures to diminish it or try to not make it worse, or keep running as if nothing is happening? Or just the uncertain of predicting a so complex system with so much unknowns as is the global climate system?

    In any case, with so uncertain final impact, maybe food and water shortages will be just the tip of the iceberg. Rising the average world temperature so much (at least, for close to the worst case) should have a lot of very visible effect

  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @01:23PM (#46558209)

    Much of the global warming skepticism has been fueled lately by the decade long pause in the global warming average. It seems what I can gather from this is while many areas are hotter than they were previously, other places are somewhat cooler, so it balances out.

    Some of the skepticism does exhibit a recency bias, by simply ignoring everything prior to year 2000 or so. In a chart of temperatures during the past 100 years, the current pause does look rather insignificant and could be simply a temporary pause rather than a change in the trajectory. They have problems explaining away the previous 50 years of temperature increase.

     

  • by peter303 (12292) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @02:00PM (#46558449)
    I sort of like the way the Social Security Trustees do their 75 year projections: they do it for three scenerios- likely, optimistic and pessimistic. Any organization that veers to one side is not very competent.
    • by rrohbeck (944847) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @04:19PM (#46559229)

      Yes, they are called RCPs (Representative Concentration Pathways), what used to be the "scenarios" in older reports, and except for the dip in 2008/2009 global emissions were always above the worst case scenario. 63% of all CO2 has been emitted since scientists began to warn about AGW so there is no indication that the world will deviate from the worst case BAU path.

  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @05:21PM (#46559595)

    Is the fact that at the time of this comment, there were only three comments rated at a 5 and not even root comments but responses to other people's low-rated threads. That says a lot about people's feelings toward this particular topic. Given that people with mod points are downgrading everybody else's posts, perhaps Slashdot should consider not accepting such stories on the grounds that it's nothing more than a pissing contest.

  • by rasmusbr (2186518) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @05:21PM (#46559597)

    A study that studies the ill effects of X without considering the costs and drawbacks of combating X is always going to find that we should do something about X, so then it's no surprise that the studies about the effects of global warming find that we should do something about it, since that is the only conclusion that a study like that can reach. I'd like to see a study that compares the effects of three different government policies, assuming all of the governments on the planet do the same thing (a ridiculous assumption, but let's humor it for the sake of argument):

    Scenario 1: Governments tax the hell out of fossil fuels in order to prevent more global warming from happening.
    Scenario 2: Governments lower taxes on fossil fuels in order to help the economy grow, which will help people adapt to global warming. The warming will of course be much worse than in scenario 1.
    Scenario 3: Business as usual.

    Has this been done and what have the results been?

  • by fygment (444210) on Monday March 24, 2014 @08:01AM (#46562781)

    IPCC: doom gloom and the seas will rise by 'x' by 2100

    Counter argument: given the complexity of the system and the shallow understanding of many processes, is it not likely that some small perturbation will greatly alter the predicted outcomes of your model ... especially over the time frames you are talking about?

    IPCC: then we shall assume that if nothing changes, our outcomes will be proven valid

    Counter argument: when in all history has 'nothing changed'? Ergo your models are so brittle as to be utterly unrealistic.

    Also when the IPCC starts adding qualifiers that highlight the _accuracy_ of their models, then maybe they will have some credibility. But right now, where are the caveats and cautions clearly stating the assumptions of the models and the sensitivity of the model outcomes to those assumptions? That's right, there are none ever shown to the public.

    Bunk.

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