And with Exxon reporting record profits, what do YOU think this Administration is likely to do?

by sawamix

Cue the wingnuts squawking about how this is crap when the temperature in New York is in the teens next week:

International scientists and officials hailed a report Friday saying that global warming is ”very likely” caused by man, and that hotter temperatures and rises in sea level ”would continue for centuries” no matter how much humans control their pollution.

The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, called it a ”very impressive document that goes several steps beyond previous research.”

A top U.S. government scientist, Susan Solomon, said ”there can be no question that the increase in greenhouse gases are dominated by human activities.”

The 21-page summary of the panel’s findings released Friday represents the most authoritative science on global warming. The panel comprises hundreds of scientists and representatives of 113 governments.

The scientists said the changes are ”very likely” caused by human activity, a phrase that translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man’s burning of fossil fuels. That was the strongest conclusion to date, making it nearly impossible to say natural forces are to blame.

The report said no matter how much civilization slows or reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, global warming and sea level rise will continue on for centuries.

”This is just not something you can stop. We’re just going to have to live with it,” co-author Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., told The Associated Press in an interview. ”We’re creating a different planet. If you were to come up back in 100 years time, we’ll have a different climate.”

Sharon Hays, associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, welcomed the strong language of the report.

”It’s a significant report. It will be valuable to policy makers,” she told The Associated Press in an interview in Paris.

Hays stopped short of saying whether or how the report could bring about change in President Bush’s policy about greenhouse gas emissions.

The panel predicted temperature rises of 2-11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. That was a wider range than in the 2001 report.

However, the panel also said its best estimate was for temperature rises of 3.2-7.1 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2001, all the panel gave was a range of 2.5-10.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

On sea levels, the report projects rises of 7-23 inches by the end of the century. An additional 3.9-7.8 inches are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

Trenberth said scientists do worry that world leaders will take the message in the wrong way and throw up their hands. Instead, the scientists urged leaders to reduce emissions and also adapt to a warmer world with wilder weather.

How likely do you think that is to happen? If the tipping point has already been reched, we might as well party like it’s 2099, right?

I’m not sure how a response of “It’s a significant report. It will be valuable to policy makers” is “welcoming”, but this allows the Times to give the impression that this Administration is concerned with global warming.

The problem is that global warming creates more than “a warmer world with wilder weather.” This gives the impression that we’re looking at lower heating bills with more thunderstorms. Those pictures of cute polar bear cubs? Forget about ’em. They’ll all be gone. That nice Caribbean vacation you take every year? Forget about it. All those islands will be under water. Your beach house? Gone. Coral reefs and the fish that feed around them? Extinct. Malaria? Widespread. Category 5 hurricanes? Commonplace. Homeowner’s insurance costs? Skyrocketing. For everyone.

Perhaps it’s true that it’s too late to stop it now. But does that mean we should continue to guzzle fossil fuels at the same rate? I don’t have children, so perhaps I don’t need to care. But when you think about a world with widespread food and water shortages as a result of global warming, a world in which the struggle for food is worldwide, among nations many of which have thermonuclear weapons, I wonder what the children and grandchildren of the parents who insist on driving a half-mile to the 7-11 in a Ford Excursion are going to think of them.

But that the report indicates that there are limits to what we can do to prevent global warming’s effects, that isn’t stopping the Usual Suspects from trying mightily to debunk the report in the only way they know how — not by scientific methodologies, but through bribes:

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.
The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.

The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI’s board of trustees.

The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN’s panel as “resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work” and ask for essays that “thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs”.

Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the “overwhelming scientific evidence” on global warming. “It’s a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims,” said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

“The IPCC process is probably the most thorough and open review undertaken in any discipline. This undermines the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice,” he said.

Remember Lee Raymond?

He’s already received his $400 million parachute. But he still won’t be satisfied unless Exxon is able to post record profits in perpetuity — even if it means the extinction of thousands of species and the drowning of entire island nations of people.