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Earth Science

Global Warming On Pace For 4 Degrees: World Bank Worried 439

iONiUM writes "From the article: 'Over the years at the U.N. climate talks, the goal has been to keep future global warming below 2C. But as those talks have faltered, emissions have kept rising, and that 2C goal is now looking increasingly out of reach. Lately, the conversation has shifted toward how to deal with 3C of warming. Or 4C. Or potentially more." Overall it seems that poorer, less developed nations will be largely impacted negatively, while some countries (like Canada and Russia) will actually experience benefits. Where does that leave the rest of the 1st world countries?"
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Global Warming On Pace For 4 Degrees: World Bank Worried

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  • Underwater? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @04:59PM (#42031403)

    Venice was [] a first-world country. Now [] you can swim in its streets.

  • Misleading subject (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:08PM (#42031559)

    The world bank report at

    does not make the case that the global temperature is actually increasing. Mostly it simply worries that there are "temperature anomalies" and pontificates the consequences IF a 4 degree C were to occur. The actual global temperature is not on pace for this to actually occur, however.

  • Re:Quick... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:20PM (#42031719) Journal

    Unless something comes along and fucks with that cycle. Like, say, global climate change.

    People used to joke about Canada becoming the 51st state. Maybe, in fifty years, they'll joke about the United States becoming the 11th province.

  • Re:Quick... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:20PM (#42031725) Homepage Journal

    So, your post prompted me to research the history of Midwestern droughts in the United States, and I have to admit, there's a lot of history there. Suffice it to say, the data suggest that 2012 is only a little worse in terms of total dryness than 1988, and another shift of the same degree over the NEXT 25 years would only be slightly worse.

    Still, climate change is an accelerating process, and it could still be that bad. There are other factors like dwindling aquifers and increasing industrial usage of water involved too, but I think all that might not actually add up to enough to overcome Americans' lack of interest in boring, important things like water rights. I should have reviewed that information first, so I apologize for jumping on that scenario.

  • Re:Quick... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:32PM (#42031873)

    As a Canadian, let me help you out. Just go after Quebec. The rest of Canada will be glad to be rid of it, and you still get a fair stretch to the North.

    On a note related to the topic, it'd be nice to have more than the bottom few hundred kilometers to do something with. We have an absolute crapton of space that's essentially unuseable except as permafrost-filled tundra. I'm sure over time more people would be willing to move to Canada if a) our winters even right at the US/Canada border weren't horrendously cold, and b) you'd be able to set up farmland or towns or anything else further North than being within a few hours of the border.

    Because seriously, I've spoken to a lot of people either the year they moved to Canada, or within several years. Usually from somewhere that's never seen a snowflake. When asked about their experience in Canada thus far, without a doubt the first thing they'll say is that the first winter they saw, they 1) thought they were going to die from the cold, even indoors, and usually say they didn't step outdoors for several months until necessity forced them to, 2) that Canada looked absolutely filthy (if they arrived in spring, with all the dirty road slush, brown dirt/grass, sand and salt from the roads over everywhere, etc), and 3) that walking on ice is essentially 100% impossible for the first few months, until you get used to it.

    It's kinda funny, since after a few years they'll be laughing about what they thought during their first move... but all of them were at first utterly amazed that people not only go OUT when it's that cold, but continue their lives like normal! And generally, all of them describe it such that they *literally* thought their bodies would shut down and die, even at -10, never mind when it hits -40 or lower (celcius of course, although -40 is the same either way). They are inevitably amazed that the human body can keep *not dying* at that temperature, and they very quickly learn how to dress, and eventually how to walk without falling.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:41PM (#42031975)
    Why does Slashdot have 10x the stories on global warming verses the rapidly increasing US Government debt? Don't you think debt is a more pressing problem?
  • Re:Quick... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Krojack ( 575051 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:48PM (#42032083)

    we have ways to get fresh water out of the ocean if we get that desperate.

    Which we already do. Only problem is, it requires a massive amount if energy to do. It's prohibitively expensive, especially when compared to tapping regional and local sources of freshwater. Kinda like those electric cars out there. Everyone would love to have one but not when they can get an internal combustion engine for 1/2 or even 1/4 the cost.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:52PM (#42032125)

    And who is buying their exports en masse, using their cheap and dirty power imputs to stock the shelves of Walmart and every other big box retailer, driving down the cost of goods? All the while, externalizing the environmental costs on all of humanity. We are drug addicts blaming the dealer. No one is blameless.

    Saying "China bad!" while buying their industrial output hand over fist, not realizing the consequences of our own actions isn't looking at the whole problem. The fix? Get off the consumption treadmill - build durable, local, and repairable. Live in walkable communities.

    We don't have a chance in hell. I live 10 kilometres from my office, but biking is risking your life - the infrastructure is car centric, sharing the narrow congested pothole filled roads with cars doing 60km plus. I then sit a a screen all day. I could telecommute, but our culture is such that it would be a bad career move, because physical presence is still oddly preferred, even though the real estate savings and productivity gains objectively make sense to a smart company.

    The fact that we can't tackle these simple changes in our communities even before getting into international treaty complexities gives me little faith.

  • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @06:15PM (#42032411)
    People are fucking encouraged to question it. They just have to have actual provable data to back up their questions.

    "It can't be real because I don't see it" isn't a valid question and is treated as such.

    Do you know how much money would fall in their laps if they actually *could* prove it isn't happening? Coal and oil money would make them rich beyond imagination. And yet they don't. Because the data isn't there to support that, whereas decades of data show warming is happening.
  • Re:Quick... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @06:57PM (#42033033) Journal
    In the absence of data about energy expenditure, you cannot make such a claim about increasing weight. Go through full boot camp training every day and 4000 calories won't be enough. You need to know the entire system, and that's one of the problems with climate change models - there are large areas where we simply don't know what happens. And as a result we end up with things like Trenberth's missing heat because the model has those holes and the results don't correlate with the hypothesis.
  • Re:Quick... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fadethepolice ( 689344 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:14PM (#42033245) Journal
    I work for a company that cleans groundwater in the marcellus play area. Fracking is not capable of "Destroying" underground water supplies, it can temporarily pollute some areas. The chemicals involved in fracking are not that bad. It is a rather simple and straightforward process to clean up groundwater. Currently, most of our really bad cleanup jobs involve gasoline spills, which are much more toxic, and of an order of magnitude more common. What your should really be worried about is in-situ partial combustion of coal seams. Now that mining coal is becoming less competitive this process may take off.
  • Re:Quick... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:48PM (#42033717) Journal

    Hell we have hard enough time predicting the weather beyond 5 days in the future.

    I think I see why you have trouble understanding the basic science, weather is NOT climate. Climate is the statistics of weather, unlike weather which is mathematically chaotic and is currently impossible to predict more than a few days ahead, climate is extremely stable over human time scales, climate forcings [] are relatively well understood and lend themselves to finite element analysis in the same way as many other complex natural phenomena are modeled for scientific and engineering purposes.

    What leads me to trust these predictions 50 years from now?

    A better question to ask is what leads you to doubt "the republic of science" has failed to lead to the best available answer on this particular question, emotion, ignorance, corporate propaganda, intellectual laziness? - There's certainly very little logic in your post and even then is based on a common (and fundamental) misunderstanding that psuedo-skeptics have been exploiting for decades.

    One thing you will never hear these scientists say is, "We predict the Earth will warm but honestly we just don't know, it could end up getting cooler."

    You hear it all the time, you are just not listening, uncertainty is expresses with something called error bars (as seen in the WP link above), you should learn how to read them because they are quite useful from a risk management POV. For example, the insurance industry has been routinely offsetting the risks identified by climate scientists for the last 10yrs by adding the expected costs to your premiums.

    As for TFA, the "4 degrees by 2100" prediction has been widely accepted by climate scientists for over 20yrs and is based on a "business as usual" scenario. The only thing about the prediction that has significantly changed is the certainty of the prediction (ie: the error bars). The scientific advise is to try and limit the increase to 2 degrees to avoid further unnecessary death and destruction.

    Replacing the planets energy infrastructure may seem like a herculean task, but my bet is it will happen right under our noses and when it's done people will forget how far we have come (as they have already done with acid rain and pea-soupers). Not a single coal fired plant currently operating on the planet existed when I was born (1959), every one of them has been built (and often rebuilt) in my life-time and they are now much cleaner, but they now also service more people than there were on the entire planet when I was born. I believe science and common sense will prevail and we will adapt our infrastructure rapidly over the next 30-40yrs (the working life of a coal fired generator). Luddite billionaires who continue to deny reality will be left sitting on a worthless coal mines bombarded by negligence lawsuits from anyone with so much as a wheeze.

  • Re:Quick... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:56PM (#42036447)

    Actually Mainstream science has been fairly unequivocal since long before the 1970s. You can subract a century off that for when Fourier first demonstrated the green-house effect in the laboratory and started warning about the possible impacts of what it might mean for the industrial revolution of the time.

    Scientists have been saying this for WELL over a century that if you increase CO2, you trap in Infra-red spectrum energies really seriously , and that means things get hot.

    For it not to work, it requires some very novel physics to be invented and it would require completely throwing out a huge amount of current physics , including almost the entirity of astronomy and the practice of using absorbsion spectra for analysis (Since apparently atmospheres have stopped following physics and dont absorb shit and it all bounces now)

    Denialism is loon science.

  • Re:I save money! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rgbatduke ( 1231380 ) <> on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @10:52AM (#42040985) Homepage

    Because starting in the middle of the Roman Warm Period, the Holocene Optimum, or the Medieval Warm Period would be too confusing. Might as well start in 16000 BCE -- that's a good time, d'you think? If we fit a straight line fit from there, it predicts what, 10 or 15C of warming over the next 10000 or so years. You tell me what the signal is, and what is the noise, using YOUR favorite cherrypicked interval, or we could look at the entire dataset back to the Ordovician-Silurian transition (Ice age that began when CO_2 was 7000 ppm, almost 1 percent CO_2) and stop worrying so much.


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