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UN Report Downgrades Human Impact on Climate 378

GodInHell writes to mention an article in the Telegraph, stating that man's impact on the environment has been 'downgraded'. A UN report has found that our species has not had as large effect on climate change as was previously thought. The average temperature is still due to rise almost 5 degrees C in the next 100 years, bringing drastic changes in weather patterns. From the article: "The panel, however, has lowered predictions of how much sea levels will rise in comparison with its last report in 2001. Climate change skeptics are expected to seize on the revised figures as evidence that action to combat global warming is less urgent. Scientists insist that the lower estimates for sea levels and the human impact on global warming are simply a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming."
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UN Report Downgrades Human Impact on Climate

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  • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @06:48PM (#17187716)
    Do you mean CO2 or CH4?
  • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:12PM (#17187896)
    man's impact on the environment has been 'downgraded'. A UN report has found that our species has not had as large effect on climate change as was previously thought
    Last time I checked, environment was very different from climate change.

    Man has undeniably had a huge effect on the environment; making species extinct, over fishing/hunting other species to the point of extinction, using up the Earth's non-renewable fuel sources - wood, oil, coal, building over huge chunks of the planet, not to mention the various poisons, dioxins and various nuclear stuff we throw into the atmosphere, ground and oceans.

    In this case the submitter has his facts wrong. The Telegraph article linked mentions only climate change, not man's impact on the environment as a whole. Sorry to nitpick, but I see those words being substituted for each other way too much now. You can argue all you like about climate change, but man's impact on the environment as a whole is proven.
  • by fredmosby ( 545378 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:20PM (#17187962)
    a significant fraction of the world relies on the glaciers in the Himalayas for water. If those go, there will be vastly less habitable lands.

    The water doesn't have to come from glaciers, as long as there is precipitation in the mountains there will be water downstream. Global warming would only result in less arable land if it makes the world dryer overall, but most simulations show the world getting wetter if it gets hotter.
  • by shma ( 863063 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:27PM (#17188504)
    And unsurprisingly, the article ends with this:

    However, Julian Morris, executive director of the International Policy Network, urged governments to be cautious. "There needs to be better data before billions of pounds are spent on policy measures that may have little impact," he said.

    Of course, they don't bother to say who these people are, or the fringe views they hold. From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

    In November 2004, IPN released a report claiming that "climate change is 'a myth', sea levels are not rising and Britain's chief scientist is 'an embarrassment' for believing catastrophe is inevitable." It called "the science warning of an environmental disaster caused by climate change ... 'fatally flawed'" and contested predictions that the global sea level would increase by a meter over the next century, saying that "sea level rises will reach a maximum of just 20cms." Moreover, the report listed some benefits of global warming, including "increasing fish stocks in the north Atlantic and reducing the incidence of temperature-related deaths among vulnerable people." The British newspaper The Guardian claimed that IPN had received $50,000 from ExxonMobil, which "list[ed] the donation as part of its 'climate change outreach' programme."
  • by spikexyz ( 403776 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @09:12PM (#17188850)
    Aerosol means fine particulate matter in the atmosphere....not aersol cans.
  • by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @09:49PM (#17189080) Homepage
    However, Julian Morris, executive director of the International Policy Network, urged governments to be cautious. "There needs to be better data before billions of pounds are spent on policy measures that may have little impact," he said.

    Most often when a reporter puts a quote at the end of the article, that quote presents the conclusion the reporter would like the reader to take away. In this case, it wasn't even worth the reporter's time explaining who in hell the "International Policy Network" is, let alone why an opinion from them should be pertinent here. Note also that the article above that details a lowered prediction of sea level rise precisely because there is now better data. So Mr. Morris's comment is a non sequitor.
  • by SEMW ( 967629 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:08PM (#17189300)

    All of this so called global warming garbage just makes me shake my head. I guess no one ever cared to look at the output from the sun, which, has GROWN (ie:hotter) over the last several years. If you turn up your furnace, guess what? Your house gets hotter.
    If it is due to the Sun, the stratosphere would be warming as well; however, the stratosphere is cooling. Moreover, if it is purely down to the Sun, then why do temperature changes so closely match CO2 concentrations?

    I know that most of the hysteria surrounding global warming is just scientist who are hell bent on maintaing their current level of government funding (suckling at the trough)
    Who on Earth is paying scientists to produce evidence showing that climate change exists? Certainly not the current administrations. No-one stands to benefit in the least from fabricating evidence. For your hypothesis to be correct, the entire, vast scientific community around the world, from Universities; Universities, research scientists, and all, would have to be participating in some sort of vast consipiracy. I'm sorry, that's rubbish. The evidence is there; no-one is fabricating it. If you want to argue against it, may I suggest breaking the habit of a lifetime and actually... consider the evidence and attempt to refute it, rather than tout paranoid conspiracy theories?
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:52PM (#17189738)
    The reason cancer is such a large killer in industrialized nations (and it should be noted that heart disease and stroke are larger killers) as opposed to the 3rd world is that it is in the 3rd world you die of something else first. Cancer is by and large an old person's disease. It simply doesn't affect the young very often. Well when you are dying of Malaria or the like first, cancer rarely has a chance to strike. Also, due to poor medical care, if you do die of cancer it's usually not chalked up to that since it isn't often diagnosed.

    It's simply a result of our better medical treatment. We are eliminating all the more simple things that kill people. If you live in a place without antibiotics, infections are often fatal. In a 1st world nation, it's very rarely the case.

    There is also stability to consider as well. Rampaging warfare does not do good things for life expectancy. Either way, cancer is not caused by whatever scary industrial bogeyman you hate.
  • by Robotbeat ( 461248 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:55PM (#17190274) Journal
    Okay. So, the article says that in 100 years, the sea level will rise by up to 17 inches. Now, I live in Minnesota, the Land of 10000 Lakes. My family's cabin is on a lake north of wear I live, and we have had fluctuations of, like, one or two meters over the last twenty years. Guess what? When the level goes up, we move the dock up. When it goes down, we bring the dock back down. Sometimes we have more beach, sometimes we have less. It's not really that big of a deal.

    In the ocean, you already have tides and storms and such. I think that 17 inches would have even LESS of an impact in the ocean, since those other effects already have to be accounted for when finding a good spot to put a dock or a house.

    And, if we have 100 years to deal with this, I really don't know why we don't just take a couple billion dollars or so from one of these studies and invest it in some high-growth investment market and just let compound interest give us the solution? If Kyoto would put any significant pressure (like, at least %1) on the $13 trillion American economy, we could just go without Kyoto and put that $130 billion a year for twenty years and then pay every islander in the world a $5000 stipend every year forever from the interest earned? I mean, I could survive on $5000 a year, and I live in America! That amount of money would allow one to pretty much live in luxury in a third world country. Am I the only one who thinks that Kyoto would put more pressure than just 1% on the American economy, assuming it was actually followed?

    If a sea level rise of 17 inches is really one of the biggest problems of global warming, then it sure doesn't make me that worried (especially since Minnesota is land-locked and, hey, it gets pretty cold here in the winter...).
  • Re:crumbs FTW (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:15AM (#17190868)
    Use those halogen bulbs cause you only have to change them every 3-5 years, and they use less energy... etc etc...

    Halogen bulbs use more energy. Although each halogen is usually only 40-50W you need more of them to cover the same area as an incandescent.

    You were perhaps thinking of flourescent bulbs.

  • Well, duh (Score:2, Informative)

    by yesthatmcgurk ( 1011297 ) on Monday December 11, 2006 @09:46AM (#17193476)
    "Climate change skeptics are expected to seize on the revised figures as evidence that action to combat global warming is less urgent"

    Well, that's because it is. But don't let this stop you from whipping up hysteria as per usual.
    In 100 years, oil prices will be down below 10$ per barrel (in 2006 dollars) due to the rise of alternate fuel technologies and the linked decrease in the reliance of oil in the creation of energy. Unless we replace the CO2 reduction with an increase in other greenhouse gasses (i.e., escaped hydrogen gas), looks like it isn't the end of the world as we know it.
  • I'm no Clinton fan, but accusing him of being a dove is ridiculous. Have you heard of Bosnia or Kosovo or Iraq?

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