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Monday, November 21, 2011

Brad Johnson: IPCC Report: We Are Poisoning Our Weather

IPCC Report: We Are Poisoning Our Weather

The world’s climate scientists agree that humanity is poisoning the weather with fossil fuel pollution, making extreme weather more dangerous and deadly. 

Drought in Kenya.

The cavalcade of catastrophe of recent years — epic floods, heat waves, droughts, and storms — is only a foretaste of our planet’s future, because of the unceasing buildup of carbon pollution from the burning of oil, coal, and other fossil fuels. A special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summarizes some of the latest scientific findings, which paint a dire picture of increasing disaster for a largely unprepared civilization:
We need to be worried,” said one of the study’s lead authors, Maarten van Aalst, director of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre in the Netherlands.
The report calls for mobilization in climate resilience, in particular approaches that reduce the exposure to climate disasters while also improving economic well-being and lowering pollution. Areas that need focus include systems that warn people of impending disasters; changes in land use planning; sustainable land management; ecosystem management; improvements in health surveillance, water supplies, and drainage systems; development and enforcement of building codes; and better education and awareness.
Climate disasters strike the rich and poor very differently. In short, climate disasters harm the economies of developed countries, but kill the people in developing countries. From 1970 to 2008, over 95% of natural-disaster-related deaths occurred in developing countries. For some, the only risk management from disasters like sea level rise and drought will be relocation.
Scientists recently found that day-to-day weather has grown increasingly erratic and extreme, with significant fluctuations in sunshine and rainfall affecting more than a third of the planet.
In a new, bi-weekly video report, BBC reporter Martine Croxall reviews the most recent extreme weather from around the globe. In the first episode of this Vestas-sponsored venture, she discusses the freak polar hurricaneflash floods in ItalySnowtober, and the Thailand floods:
Losses from climate disasters are already high, running at as much as $200 billion a year, said Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University, a study author. “Global warming is increasing the risk of disaster and already makes dealing with several types of disaster, like heat waves, more difficult. The risk will become greater as the future gets hotter,” he said. “Governments are not doing a good job now protecting us from disaster in the current climate.”

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