Friday, November 18, 2011

IPCC SREX Report On Climate Change Risks & Adaptation

Nov 18: The member governments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading international body for the assessment of climate change, approved the release of The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). The event was held in Kampala, the largest city and capital of Uganda. The full report is scheduled to be available in February 2012. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, said today, "This summary for policymakers provides insights into how disaster risk management and adaptation may assist vulnerable communities to better cope with a changing climate in a world of inequalities. It also underlines the complexity and the diversity of factors that are shaping human vulnerability to extremes -- why for some communities and countries these can become disasters whereas for others they can be less severe."
    Qin Dahe, Co-chair of IPCC Working Group I, which together with Working Group II was responsible for the development and preparation of the report, said, "There is high confidence that both maximum and minimum daily temperatures have increased on a global scale due to the increase of greenhouse gases. Changes in other extremes, such as more intense and longer droughts are observed in some regions, but the assessment assigns medium confidence due to a lack of direct observations and a lack of agreement in the available scientific studies. Confidence in any long-term trend in tropical cyclone intensity, frequency or duration is assessed to be low."
    Regarding the future, the assessment concludes that it is virtually certain that on a global scale hot days become even hotter and occur more often. Thomas Stocker the other Co-chair of Working Group I said, "For the high emissions scenario, it is likely that the frequency of hot days will increase by a factor of 10 in most regions of the world. Likewise, heavy precipitation will occur more often, and the wind speed of tropical cyclones will increase while their number will likely remain constant or decrease.
    Other members of the Work Groups indicated that, "Nevertheless, there are many options for decreasing risk. Some of these have been implemented, but many have not. The best options can provide benefits across a wide range of possible levels of
climate change." They said they hoped the report can be "a scientific foundation for sound decisions on infrastructure, urban development, public health, and insurance, as well as for planning -- from community organizations to international disaster risk management."
    Back in the U.S. Representative Ed. Markey (D-MA), the Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee and former Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming issued a statement on the report saying, "The problem isn't just the extreme weather devastating communities in America and abroad, it's also the extreme ideology of Republicans leaders in Washington who continue to deny the existence of global warming. Congress needs to act on energy policies that put limits on the carbon pollution warming our planet and making these disasters worse. The human and broader economic costs of climate impacts will only grow in significance if we wait to act."
    Representative Markey indicated that the extreme weather events of 2011 have brought the costly impact of climate change into sharp focus. The latest insurance analysis finds that the United States has experienced 15 weather disasters causing at least a billion dollars in damage thus far in 2011, more billion-dollar events than any other year. He said, "This huge potential price tag should be all the reason we need, especially in this economy, for taking steps now to reduce global warming pollution. Knowing the great risk extreme weather poses to our economy and citizens -- why wouldn't we act? Rather than being distracted by debunked attacks on climate science, Congress should be debating the steps we need to take to reduce pollution, create jobs and reclaim our lead in the clean energy race."
    Earlier in the week, Representative
s Markey and Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, held a Congressional briefing entitled, "End of Climate Change Skepticism" with several prominent scientists, including Dr. Richard Muller, a scientist who was previously skeptical about many aspects of climate science, but the two-year study he led at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project has validated the fact that the world is warming [See WIMS 10/25/11].
    The IPCC report also comes one day after President Obama speaking to the Australian Parliament in Canberra said, ". . .we need growth that is sustainable. This includes the clean energy that creates green jobs and combats climate change, which cannot be denied. We see it in the stronger fires, the devastating floods, the Pacific islands confronting rising seas." [See WIMS 11/17/11]. And, just three days ago the Defense Science Board (DSB) Task Force issued a report entitled, Trends and Implications of Climate Change for National and International Security, which warned that "Changes in climate patterns and their impact on the physical environment can create profound effects on populations in parts of the world and present new challenges to global security and stability." [See WIMS 11/14/11].
    Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and a critic of the science of global warming commented on the IPCC report saying, "The discredited United Nations IPCC is back with another global warming report, only this time it faces an increasingly skeptical public," Senator Inhofe said. "The lack of attention on this latest report is a symptom of the crisis of confidence in the IPCC, which is ongoing. For years I warned that the IPCC would lose its credibility entirely and eventually be ignored if it did not make significant reforms. . .
    "Of course, in the aftermath of the Climategate scandal, when over one hundred errors in the IPCC science were revealed, I was proven right, so much so that even the mainstream media began to call for reform at the IPCC. Today, the consequences are clear: as the discredited IPCC releases its latest report, very few people have even noticed. Look for many in the liberal media to use the IPCC report to link weather events of today with global warming, as several have already done, but a closer look reveals this is not exactly the case. As for these attempts by the left, I simply say 'nice try.' This effort will fail as miserably as all their previous endeavors to promote fear and scare the public into action. . ."
    Access a release from the IPCC (click here). Access the report website for links to the Summary, a video and presentation (click here). Access the 29-page Summary for Policymakers of the SREX (click here). Access a release from Rep. Markey (click here). Access the Markey-Waxman briefing with links to testimony (click here). Access the complete 175-page DSB report (click here). Access a statement from Sen. Inhofe (click here). [#Climate]