March 31, 2014

Adaptation not necessarily bright spot in #IPCC latest #climatechange report

We're going to need all the work we can get on adaptation to changes in our planet due to climate change, whether they're higher tides, more acidified oceans, changing ocean currents, desertification or whatever.

But, just from that incomplete laundry list, the New York Times, with its claim that there's a bright spot in the latest report on climate change issues from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should be treated with a skeptical eye. And, I'm not even counting the non-adapting stance of the four types of climate change deniers, most common in the US, but not invisible elsewhere. Given that the BBC reports that some of the IPCC's own scientists consider some of the report to be "alarmist," the idea that short-sighted, short-terming national governments would actually take full account of what climate change will cause, and take full account of adaption and mitigation efforts and costs, is pretty laughable.

If we said, "there's a less dark spot," that might be more true. I'm no James Kunstler, building a backyard bunker that's strategically resistant to 130-degree temperatures and Bay of Fundy tides. But, "adaption" and "mitigation" ain't cheap. Although the cost of ignoring it could be.

The Times' own piece says that:
The poorest people in the world, who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming, will be high on the list of victims as climatic disruptions intensify, the report said. It cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries.

The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders. It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during an editing session of several days in Yokohama.
And, that's just "poor countries." The developed world may be more resilient, or it may not. And it certainly has a lot of pricey infrastructure in coastal areas that developing countries don't.

Related to that is the "why" of these edits:
The edit came after several rich countries, including the United States, raised questions about the language, according to several people who were in the room at the time but did not wish to be identified because the negotiations were private.
Again, NYT, your idea that there's some "bright spot" is undercut by your own reporting.

But, given the structure of the US government, especially the states' equal representation in the Senate, there's slim hope that just maybe, the likely ongoing drought in Plains states might finally wake up Senatorial eyeballs. And, today's drought will be tomorrow's normal, on agriculture in that area.

On the other hand, who am I kidding? I live in a state that, whether in reality or in snark, John Cornyn parrots everything Ted Cruz says.

1 comment:

Simon said...

In Climate Wars by Gwynne Dyer he talks about what it would take to close the southern border to keep any climate refugees out. Quite doable he says if you are prepared to shoot anyone crossing the border. Not something a country with so many relatives living in the States would likely just stand by and watch especially with all those guns. That would make the immigration debate interesting.