Yes, the science says on our current emissions path we are projected to warm most of U.S. 10 – 15°F by 2100, with sea level rise of 5 feet or more, and the SW will be a permanent Dust Bowl

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"Yes, the science says on our current emissions path we are projected to warm most of U.S. 10 – 15°F by 2100, with sea level rise of 5 feet or more, and the SW will be a permanent Dust Bowl"

What is the best, most accurate soundbite for climate science advocates asked about projected climate impacts on this country by 2100 assuming we stay on business-as-usual emissions — according to the latest science?

I suggest some version of

On our current emissions path we are projected to warm most of the United States 10 – 15°F by 2100, with sea level rise of 5 feet or higher, the U.S. Southwest a permanent Dust Bowl, half or more species extinct, and much of the ocean a hot, acidic dead zone.

I say that, of course, because that is what the latest science says, as I document at length with links to the literature here:  An introduction to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water.

You can quibble with the word choice, and sometimes I don’t remember to say every word or phrase I’d like to, such as “from preindustrial levels” [or “from Kansas and Oklahoham to California”].   But this is now the median projection for business-as-usual emissions and warming.  It might not be that bad, but it could be much worse.

If you like to err on the conservative side, you can throw in “up to” — i.e. “we are projected to warm most of the U.S. up to 15°F or more by 2100, with sea level rise of up to 5 feet or more….”

Now conservatives, who err all the time, don’t like blunt progressives who know their science.  So they are trying to shout down this soundbite by misstating the science.

Someone sent me this recent American (non-)Thinker piece by Marc Sheppard about a recent version of this soundbite I used (emphasis in original):

“On our current emissions path we are going to warm the United States 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century and sea level rise will be 5 feet or higher and a third of the planet will be desert.”

Sheppard labels this “grossly exaggerating the already hyped predictions of his fellow climate hysterics” and “blatant fabrications and misrepresentations in the three predictions of his opening salvo.”

Readers here know the statement is an accurate representation of the latest science, though the part on the desert needs the kind of elaboration this blog provides.

I am going to respond to the American Thinker here not because they are a credible source worth wasting time on — they aren’t — but for two other reasons:

  1. The misunderstanding and misapplication of basic climate science by Marc Sheppard is quite typical of deniers, and I have been meaning to post on this.
  2. I haven’t blogged on the American Thinker or Marc Sheppard , and I do try to cover each denier website and denier at least once so that somebody searching this website or the Internet will find a commentary and/or response.

TEMPERATURE

Here is how Sheppard makes his “case”:

Even the overly venerated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) predicted that climate sensitivity (change in mean global temperatures resulting from a sustained doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration) would likely range between 2 and 4.5°C, and would most probably border on 3°C.

Based on his syntax, Romm implies future warming — which translates to a 90 year period.  Yet to achieve Romm’s lowest warming figure of 10°F (5.8°C) even at AR4’s highest sensitivity figure of 4.5°C, would require more than doubling the current level of 386ppm in just 9 decades, which is beyond absurd. Keep in mind that in the 50 years between 1958 and 2008, atmospheric carbon dioxide, as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, rose only 70ppm.

It has always amazed me that deniers who don’t believe the IPCC reports and therefore don’t actually read them closely enough to understand them continue to quote the IPCC on their behalf.

Marc Sheppard makes several beginner mistakes that are quite common on denier websites:

  1. He simply has no idea what the IPCC AR4 actually says or what “our current emissions path” is. Through most of this decade, we have been exceeding the most extreme emissions scenario, A1F1, and that means we are headed toward 1000 ppm [see “U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm “¦ the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” “” 1000 ppm“].  Actually, if you read the IPCC closely, then you know they project we will probably hit 1000 ppm even if our emissions trajectory is well below A1F1 — because of the amplifying carbon cycle feedbacks (see “Nature publishes my climate analysis and solution“).  For the record, the IPCC said in 2007 that for A1F1 the “best estimate” temperature change from 1990 to 2095 is 4°C.
  2. He is apparently unaware of the latest science. Most of the science inputs to the IPCC AR4 were stopped by 2006, so it is already about three years out of date.  With more recent emissions data and a better understanding of feedbacks, the UK’s Hadley Center predicts median warming from preindustrial levels of 5.5°C by 2100 (see here), and MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Climate Change predicts median warming from 1990 levels of 5.1°C by 2100 (see here) .
  3. He apparently has no clue that a basic prediction of climate science is that the vast majority of the United States is projected to warmed considerably faster than the rest of the world — see A (Hopefully) Clarifying Note on Temperature.
  4. He apparently has failed to notice that the rate of rise of carbon dioxide concentrations has accelerated — and continues to do so under all high emissions scenarios the IPCC looks at. This is another basic prediction of climate science, which is already coming true.  Global warming is not linear!

And so Sheppard labels “beyond absurd” the notion we would more than double the current level of CO2 concentrations in just 9 decades, when in fact it is a prediction of the IPCC AR4 that he cites.  Indeed, MIT said in January that its median projection for the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2095 on the business-as-usual emissions trajectory is 866 ppm.  So I guess MIT joins the “beyond absurd” club.

Thus, even with the IPCC’s most likely climate sensitivity, the median projected warming for the vast majority of the United States (including Alaska) by 2100 is indeed around 10°F to 15°F — depending on whether you use the IPCC’s A1f1 scenario or the recent MIT and Hadley projections.

SEA LEVEL RISE

Marc Sheppard the continues his uninformed assault:

And from what sci-fi flick did Romm draw his assertion of a 5 foot or higher sea level rise? Referring again to AR4, even the IPCC’s intentionally alarm-biased models only projected figures running from 0.18 to 0.59 meters by 2100.

The “sci-fi flick” is, of course, the recent scientific literature, of which Sheppard apparently knows nothing about:

  • Science 2008:  “On the basis of calculations presented here, we suggest that an improved estimate of the range of SLR to 2100 including increased ice dynamics lies between 0.8 and 2.0 m.”  The IPCC famously ignored increased ice dynamics in its projection.
  • Nature Geoscience 2007 looked at the last interglacial period (the Eemian, about 120,000 years ago) — the last time the planet was as warm as it soon will be again.  Seas rose 1.6 meters (5 feet) per century “when the global mean temperature was 2 °C higher than today,” a rather mild version of where we are headed in the second half of this century.
  • Science 2007 used empirical data from last century to project that sea levels could be up to 5 feet higher in 2100 and rising 6 inches a decade.

Again, it is so amusing that the deniers hide behind the AR4 when they don’t even believe it or basic climate science.  In any case, Sheppard’s beloved Bush administration itself explained in great detail that the IPCC’s projection, rather than being “alarm-biased,” in fact low-balled the sea level rise number — see US Geological Survey stunner: Sea-level rise in 2100 will likely “substantially exceed” IPCC projections, which concluded “based on an assessment of the published scientific literature” is:

Recent rapid changes at the edges of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets show acceleration of flow and thinning, with the velocity of some glaciers increasing more than twofold. Glacier accelerations causing this imbalance have been related to enhanced surface meltwater production penetrating to the bed to lubricate glacier motion, and to ice-shelf removal, ice-front retreat, and glacier ungrounding that reduce resistance to flow. The present generation of models does not capture these processes. It is unclear whether this imbalance is a short-term natural adjustment or a response to recent climate change, but processes causing accelerations are enabled by warming, so these adjustments will very likely become more frequent in a warmer climate. The regions likely to experience future rapid changes in ice volume are those where ice is grounded well below sea level such as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet or large glaciers in Greenland like the Jakobshavn Isbrae that flow into the sea through a deep channel reaching far inland. Inclusion of these processes in models will likely lead to sea-level projections for the end of the 21st century that substantially exceed the projections presented in the IPCC AR4 report (0.28 ± 0.10 m to 0.42 ± 0.16 m rise).

And just for the record, that report, Abrupt Climate Change, has the signature of those well known “sci-fi flick”-watching radicals:

  • Carlos Gutierrez, Bush’s Sec. of Commerce
  • Samuel Bodman, Bush’s Sec. of Energy
  • John Marburger III, Director of Bush’s Office of Science and Technology Policy

So now you know why climate science advocates don’t like to debate anti-scientific deniers.  The deniers sound genuinely believable when they insist you are wrong and exaggerating because they believe the disinformation they are pushing because they have no friggin’ clue what the science says (or no interest in accurately reporting it).

DESERTIFICATION

I have come to realize that using the words “desert” and “desertification” lack clarity because people have many different definitions of desert.  The USGS believes one-third of the land is desert already (see here) whereas the University of California Museum of Paleontology says it is one fifth (see here).

I got the original quote from the UK’s prestigious Hadley Center, by way of the Guardian newspaper, which often reports on their research.  In 2006, the Environmental Editor wrote an article with this headline and sub-head:

The century of drought
One third of the planet will be desert by the year 2100, say climate experts in the most dire warning yet of the effects of global warming

Obviously the editor meant “one third of the land,” but the statement is clearly inadequate anyway as a stand-alone statement given the various definitions of the word “desert.”  So let’s go back to what the non-alarmist Hadley Center actually concluded back in 2006 (before they upped their temperature target for 2100, I might add):

Reiterating findings published last month, Dr. Pope will highlight the likely major increases in the areas affected by drought right across the globe. Extreme drought is likely to increase from under 3% of the globe today to 30% by 2100 – areas affected by severe drought could see a five-fold increase from 8% to 40%.

So the Hadley Center and the Guardian were talking about extreme drought, which it is probably best characterized as a Dust Bowl, rather than a desert.

Their is no word “Dust-Bowl-ification” to replace desertification, but I think desertification does not do justice to what global warming has started to do in parts of Australia and ultimately will do over a large fraction of the now-habited land (see “Australia today offers horrific glimpse of U.S. Southwest, much of planet, post-2040, if we don’t slash emissions soon“).  I will do another post with useful PowerPoint slides on the expansion of the subtropics and the rise of permanent Dust Bowls shortly.

But for a U.S. audience, what happens in this country is naturally more salient.  Here, the science is solid — and troublesome.  In 2007, Science (subs. req’d) published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” “” levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California.

Philip Mote, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study, added, “There is a convergence of the models that is very strong and very worrisome.”

And the Science researchers were only looking at a 720 ppm case! The Dust Bowl was a sustained decrease in soil moisture of about 15% (“which is calculated by subtracting evaporation from precipitation”). Princeton has done an analysis on “Century-scale change in water availability: CO2-quadrupling experiment,” which is to say 1100 ppm. The grim result: Most of the South and Southwest ultimately sees a 20% to 50% (!) decline in soil moisture.

Again, even the Bush Administration signed off on this conclusion in its Abrupt Climate Change report:

The serious hydrological changes and impacts known to have occurred in both historic and prehistoric times over North America reflect large-scale changes in the climate system that can develop in a matter of years and, in the case of the more severe past megadroughts, persist for decades. Such hydrological changes fit the definition of abrupt change because they occur faster than the time scales needed for human and natural systems to adapt, leading to substantial disruptions in those systems. In the Southwest, for example, the models project a permanent drying by the mid-21st century that reaches the level of aridity seen in historical droughts, and a quarter of the projections may reach this level of aridity much earlier.

The deniers try to shout down every effort to warn the public of what the science clearly says we are risking our current emissions path.  Whatever motivation they have for their self-destructive behavior, they must not be allowed to succeed.  The health and well-being of countless billions of people over the coming decades and centuries depend on it.

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20 Responses to Yes, the science says on our current emissions path we are projected to warm most of U.S. 10 – 15°F by 2100, with sea level rise of 5 feet or more, and the SW will be a permanent Dust Bowl

  1. David B. Benson says:

    “Deserts are part of a wider classification of regions that, on an average annual basis, have a moisture deficit (i.e. they can potentially lose more than is received). Deserts are located where vegetation cover is sparse to almost nonexistent.”

    “Deserts take up about one third of the Earth’s land surface.”

    from
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert

  2. ecostew says:

    As AGW intensifies those ecosystems on the margin will increasingly experience desertification. If we monitored intensifying ecosystem shifts and reported them – a much different picture would emerge for the public. Of course, some monitoring is already occurring (too little), but the media doesn’t report most of the empirical peer-reviewed science on the topic.

  3. Harrier says:

    It isn’t helping that some of the places in the United States where people live and work and grow food today are [i]already[/i] deserts, which puts a strain on our water resources.

    I’m looking at you, New Mexico and Arizona.

  4. ecostew says:

    New Mexico and Arizona have human “dominated” systems on the margin as well as elevation/precipitation ecosystems with many marginal climate-sensitive areas (one should also put the other SW states in the bucket. The sustainable water supply is an issue for all as AGW intensifies.

  5. Peter Sinclair says:

    the “sea level will only be .59 meters” crock is addressed in this week’s
    “Climate Denial Crock of the Week”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEXtrLKru-Y

  6. Neil Howes says:

    Joe,
    Your quote from the Science paper by Pfeffer et al 2008
    “On the basis of calculations presented here, we suggest that an improved estimate of the range of SLR to 2100 including increased ice dynamics lies between 0.8 and 2.0 m.” The IPCC famously ignored increased ice dynamics in its projection.

    is misleading here is part of the abstract of the paper:
    “We consider glaciological conditions required for large sea-level rise to occur by 2100 and conclude that increases in excess of 2 meters are physically untenable. We find that a total sea-level rise of about 2 meters by 2100 could occur under physically possible glaciological conditions but only if all variables are quickly accelerated to extremely high limits. More plausible but still accelerated conditions lead to total sea-level rise by 2100 of about 0.8 meter

    As I tried to point out in a previous post, note 2 meters COULD occur….but ONLY IF…. More PLAUSIBLE…..0.8 meter.

    This puts a very different “spin” on the paper. Surely, a 0.8meter rise in 90 years is scary enough without exaggerating.

    The Science 2007 paper by Rahmstorf:
    You say”used empirical data from last century to project that sea levels could be up to 5 feet higher in 2100 and rising 6 inches a decade.”

    If you read the last paragraph of the paper he states;

    “A rise of 1meter CANNOT BE RULED OUT,”
    but he gives the range 0.38 to 1.4meter with the likely value of 0.8m(figure4).

    For the Nature Geoscience paper, and your article “Sea levels may rise 5 feet by 2100″ Ron (the first commenter) gives a good argument why the Eemian warming rate of sea level rise is not applicable to this century.

    [JR: Your comment is welcome as a chance to clarify.

    What you forget is that those analyses were done BEFORE the recent upping in the projected temperature and concentration forecast. Go back and tell the authors to model 900 to 1000 ppm in 2100, with total warming from preindustrial levels 5.5°C.

    The Rahmstorf paper explicitly gives its SLR range as corresponding to the temperature range predicted from IPCC. So you get the high end of the range — 1.4 meters — when you have the high end of the warming, which is what we are now facing.

    The Eemian IS a reasonable analog since sea levels were about 5 to 7 meters higher than today. Part of Greenland almost certainly disintegrated. And again, the Eemian was only about 2°C warmer than today — which we may hit soon after midcentury on our current emissions path.

    The fact is the Pfeffer et al gave a range, so I don’t really think it is at all misleading to cite it and say we are now at the very high end of temperature projections, so we should use the middle of their range. Also, it is increasingly clear that the Antarctic contribution on our current emissions trend is plausibly at the high end of their projections. Same for the inland glaciers. Same for thermal expansion.]

  7. Wes Rolley says:

    I am glad that someone is focusing on the desertification issue. According to the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture, “California remained the No. 1 state in cash farm receipts in 2007, with its $36.6 billion in revenue representing 12.8 percent of the U.S. total.”

    Much of that comes from the Imperial Valley, an obvious desert, and much more comes from the San Joaqiun Valley, the area most threatened with desertification.

    The number one issue here is water. Food Grows where Water Flows signs are seen all along Routes I-5 and 99. The water wars have begun and the loser is the truth… maybe even more than with the climate denier crowd. We need water to grow alfalfa. Cows need the alfalfa. Got Milk?

    Nature does not give a damn whether we are conservative or progressive, Republican, Democrat or Green, how we vote or whether we do. Andy Rooney’s grandfather had more wisdom than the Mark Shepherds of the world. “My grandfather once told me that we’re ruining the earth by using up all the good things on it and sooner or later we’re going to run out of them. He told me a lot of things I didn’t believe and it turns out he was right about most of them. ”

    Wes Rolley
    CoChair EcoAction Committee, Green Party US

  8. charlie says:

    joe, thanks for coming clean on the desert thing — it was bugging me since 1/3 of the land is already a desert. saying 30% of the planet would experience extreme drought is a bit more precise, although again what does that mean? The sahara + australia is already a huge chunk.

    Saying the “Southwest” will turn into a desert isn’t helpful either as we think of the southwest (AZ and NM) as desert already. Of course you are talking about TX, KS, OK, CO, UT and chunks of CA as well.

    The LA times piece, in contrast, was an excellent and really made you think about the future. Propaganda is more than quibbling about words but selling the big picture.

  9. “Global warming is not linear!”

    And too bad that the year 2050 is not really half way up the predictions of 2100.

    I have to echo an earlier comment that we need some serious predictions for the nearer age. Today’s young professionals are beginning to taste power should easily plan for mid century.

  10. Dear Joe,

    you might want to inform the readers about new PNAS study regarding the trees die-off during the drought periods under increased temperatures…:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/04/13/0901438106.full.pdf+html

    just another global warming positive feedback,

    best,
    Alex

  11. Gail says:

    THANK YOU ALEXANDER!! Finally scientists are starting to study this phenomena and before you know it, somebody with credentials will notice that the empirical evidence is already available.

    We have had massive dieback this winter in New Jersey.

  12. ecostew says:

    Just out:

    2009-07 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2009

    Global Warming:
    Cuts in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Would Save Arctic Ice, Reduce Sea Level
    Rise

    Contacts:

    David Hosansky, NCAR/UCAR Media Relations
    303-497-8611
    hosansky@ucar.edu

    Rachael Drummond, NCAR/UCAR Media Relations
    303-497-8604
    rachaeld@ucar.edu

    For scientific contacts, see below.

    *****
    Note to editors:
    Download high-resolution maps of future global warming at
    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2009/greenhousecuts.jsp
    *****

    BOULDER–The threat of global warming can still be greatly diminished if
    nations cut emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 70 percent
    this century, according to a new analysis. While global temperatures
    would rise, the most dangerous potential aspects of climate change,
    including massive losses of Arctic sea ice and permafrost and
    significant sea level rise, could be partially avoided.

    The study, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric
    Research (NCAR), will be published next week in Geophysical Research
    Letters. It was funded by the Department of Energy and the National
    Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor.

    “This research indicates that we can no longer avoid significant warming
    during this century,” says NCAR scientist Warren Washington, the lead
    author. “But if the world were to implement this level of emission cuts,
    we could stabilize the threat of climate change and avoid catastrophe.”

    —–Avoiding dangerous climate change—–

    Average global temperatures have warmed by close to 1 degree Celsius
    (almost 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the pre-industrial era. Much of
    the warming is due to human-produced emissions of greenhouse gases,
    predominantly carbon dioxide. This heat-trapping gas has increased from
    a pre-industrial level of about 284 parts per million (ppm) in the
    atmosphere to more than 380 ppm today.

    With research showing that additional warming of about 1 degree C (1.8
    degrees F) may be the threshold for dangerous climate change, the
    European Union has called for dramatic cuts in emissions of carbon
    dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The U.S. Congress is also debating
    the issue.

    To examine the impact of such cuts on the world’s climate, Washington
    and his colleagues ran a series of global supercomputer studies with the
    NCAR-based Community Climate System Model. They assumed that carbon
    dioxide levels could be held to 450 ppm at the end of this century. That
    figure comes from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, which has
    cited 450 ppm as an attainable target if the world quickly adapts
    conservation practices and new green technologies to cut emissions
    dramatically. In contrast, emissions are now on track to reach about 750
    ppm by 2100 if unchecked.

    The team’s results showed that if carbon dioxide were held to 450 ppm,
    global temperatures would increase by 0.6 degrees C (about 1 degree F)
    above current readings by the end of the century. In contrast, the study
    showed that temperatures would rise by almost four times that amount, to
    2.2 degrees C (4 degrees F) above current readings, if emissions were
    allowed to continue on their present course.

    Holding carbon dioxide levels to 450 ppm would have other impacts,
    according to the climate modeling study:

    – Sea level rise due to thermal expansion as water temperatures warmed
    would be 14 centimeters (about 5.5 inches) instead of 22 centimeters
    (8.7 inches). Significant additional sea level rise would be expected in
    either scenario from melting ice sheets and glaciers.
    – Arctic ice in the summertime would shrink by about a quarter in volume
    and stabilize by 2100, as opposed to shrinking at least three-quarters
    and continuing to melt. Some research has suggested the summertime ice
    will disappear altogether this century if emissions continue on their
    current trajectory.
    – Arctic warming would be reduced by almost half, helping preserve
    fisheries and populations of sea birds and Arctic mammals in such
    regions as the northern Bering Sea.
    – Significant regional changes in precipitation, including decreased
    precipitation in the U.S. Southwest and an increase in the U.S.
    Northeast and Canada, would be cut in half if emissions were kept to 450
    ppm.
    – The climate system would stabilize by about 2100, instead of
    continuing to warm.

    The research team used supercomputer simulations to compare a
    business-as-usual scenario to one with dramatic cuts in carbon dioxide
    emissions beginning in about a decade. The authors stressed that they
    were not studying how such cuts could be achieved nor advocating a
    particular policy.

    “Our goal is to provide policymakers with appropriate research so they
    can make informed decisions,” Washington says. “This study provides some
    hope that we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change–if society
    can cut emissions substantially over the next several decades and
    continue major cuts through the century.”

    The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National
    Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National
    Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or
    recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s)
    and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

    -The End-

    Scientific contacts:

    Warren Washington, NCAR Scientist
    303-497-1321
    wmw@ucar.edu

    Gerald Meehl, NCAR Scientist
    303-497-1331
    meehl@ucar.edu

    Reto Knutti, Scientist, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science
    (Zurich, Switzerland)
    reto.knutti@env.ethz.ch

    Note to journalists:

    To request a copy of the paper, send your name, organization, and phone
    number to David Hosansky at hosansky@ucar.edu, Rachael Drummond at
    rachaeld@ucar.edu, or Peter Weiss at pweiss@agu.org.

    Title:
    How Much Climate Change Can Be Avoided by Mitigation?

    Authors:
    Warren Washington, Reto Knutti, Gerald Meehl, Haiyan Teng, Claudia
    Tebaldi, David Lawrence, Lawrence Buja, Gary Strand

    Publication:
    Geophysical Research Letters

    On the Web:

    Resources for journalists:
    http://www.ucar.edu/news/journalists

    Read this and past releases or sign up for e-mail delivery:
    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases

  13. Joe B says:

    Joe, Please spend more time highlighting the newly published research! That’s why I had been coming to your site.

  14. And there is also the effect of black carbon (soot) in the atmosphere, which is additive to the effect of CO2. So the alarming estimates based on CO2 concentration alone are understating the gravity of the climate change challenge posed by fuel combustion.

    When people hear of a 5 degree rise in temperature, they shrug it off, because daily and seasonal fluctuations of that amount are within their experience. Only when they hear of dust bowls, early bird migrations, deforestation, and ice caps melting do they begin to pay attention. And for years there has been hair-on-fire warning about imminent disaster, from climate change or terrorism or whatever, so they kind of get used to it. Alarm fatigue? Like the Millennium Bug, they hope and expect from past experience that somehow global climate change will all turn out OK.

  15. David B. Benson says:

    Wilmot McCutchen — To stave off Y2K computer disaster required spending many hundreds of millions of dollars.

    To stave off climate disaster will require much, much more.

  16. ecostew says:

    Joe B,

    Reader’s should contribute in the news of the day section, which Joe started recently. As a group we can contribute – but, individually, post only the gold nuggets – I would expect Joe is “expecting” that from readers.

  17. Star says:

    The climate changes.

    How about weighing realities?

    The climate warms and cools cyclically, and would with or without humans. Can you accurately weigh the cost-benefits of channelling valuable resources to investing in CO2 reduction and taxing consumption?

    The climate will change. Warming is better than cooling, BTW. And the last time we believed the propaganda and made sweeping changes, millions of children died from malaria.

    You and others like you are the ones pushing science beyond its limits to promote a power-driven agenda. Push, push, push.

    Well, here’s my little push back. Go outside at noon and look up. What do you see?

  18. Steve says:

    OK, I just read a rather lengthy and well reasoned rebuttal of Mr Romm from a guy named James. Posted today just minutes ago. I hit refresh to see if there was a reply to this post and, voila’ the post is gone. Disappeared. I smell a rat. Star, look for your post to mysteriously vanish if it doesn’t toe the line.
    Anyone care to address the issue of dissent being removed from this blog?

  19. Stefan says:

    New study that Arctic ice is expanding; seems like the only things diasappearing are dissenting comments on this website. After reading some of the comments here, I must say, a lot of you sound like groupies trying to gain favor with this Romm fellow.

  20. Diogenes says:

    Hmm.. so we’re all concerned about terrestrial desertification, but not a SINGLE WORD of concern about the diminishing floral phytoplankton in the oceans which represent the SAME kind of desertification of the seas?

    [JR: But I said one should say “much of the ocean a hot, acidic dead zone.” I have written about this a lot.]

    Let me ask you all a question. If phytoplankton levels diminish 30% over the course of 20 years, would that result in an increase, or decrease in atmospheric CO2 levels?

    And presuming that the phytoplankton population, the literal LUNGS of the planet, is partially dependent upon wind born dust blowing nutrients to far-flung reaches of the oceans, let me ask another question:

    Have our soil conservation methods, and those in other countries, implemented in the interest of preventing dust bowls and increasing crop yields, actually ripped out the planets “lungs”, reducing phytoplankton levels and causing CO2 levels to increase??

    It’s pretty simple folks, at least with oceanic phytoplankton. So long as they have all the elements that they require; light; nutrients; water; proper temperature.. etc.. they will GROW in the presence of increase CO2. But if you remove nutrients, they cannot utilize that excess CO2, now can they?

    Maybe CO2 increases have MORE to do with desertification of the oceans, than of the land. In fact, maybe the latter is a critical element in restoring the nutritional health of the former.

    Just something for you to think about..

    Diogenes

    “Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.” – Winston Churchill