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Stern admits report “badly underestimated” climate change risks

By Joe Romm

"Stern admits report “badly underestimated” climate change risks"

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From Reuters:

Climate change expert Nicholas Stern says he under-estimated the threat from global warming in a major report 18 months ago when he compared the economic risk to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Latest climate science showed global emissions of planet-heating gases were rising faster and upsetting the climate more than previously thought, Stern said in a Reuters interview on Wednesday.

I guess he has been reading this blog. Everyone should read his report (here). It found that avoiding catastrophic climate change might cost countries 1% of gross domestic product (spent largely on clean energy technologies that have many other benefits such as reductions in urban smog), but failing to act could cost up to 20% of GDP. What else is Stern now saying?

He said that the latest climate science showed that not only were emissions rising faster than thought, the ability of the earth to absorb carbon dioxide in so-called carbon sinks was deteriorating faster than expected.

“Emissions are growing much faster than we’d thought, the absorptive capacity of the planet is less than we’d thought, the risks of greenhouse gases are potentially bigger than more cautious estimates, and the speed of climate change seems to be faster,” he said.

Stern added that to minimise the risks of dangerous climate change, the original target for global emissions would have to be doubled to a 50 per cent cut by 2050. He said that such a target would require the US to cut its emissions by up to 90 per cent by then.

The time to act is, like, so yesterday.

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7 Responses to Stern admits report “badly underestimated” climate change risks

  1. William Taylor says:

    Its getting increasing hard to understand this global warming thing. The pacific Ocean for the last two years hasn’t had a El nino in the north during the summer months, The pacific ocean in the summer has actually cooled some according to NOAA. The ice cao at the North pole is back thicker than before. The last two years we have a 150% snow fall on mount Rainier, China, Viet Nam, record snow fall, Acroos our Northern states, last two years, record snow fall, so much that the lower Missippi river flooded this year. Swallows dying migrating to Europe this year, why, no food, they eat flying bugs, the hatches haven’t happened yet, to cold. So where is all this global Warming? Snowed here in Western Wshington up to seven inches in one day at sea level on the East side of the Olympic National Park, and here in Summner we had around 2 inches. Tday is April 17th and the forecast for Sat and Sun is possible snow, in April? Glbal Warming? Or cooling? I only see what I see. One group of sceintists say the sun spots have cycled through and are now over for another 12 years, so the earth will cool. Who is right? I still think we need to clean up the air either way but I wonder if Mr Gore had anything to do with the global warming report so his investments would even grow more in the companies he has already invested in. When he left the VP of this country he sure wasn’t woth a 100 million, he is now. Explain away all the snow and cold weather, I may listen to the hype some more. That goes for you to Mr. Stern.

  2. valikor says:

    As a former scientist trained in chemistry and physics, I had experience with chaotic systems. I used to think that high perturbations is a good and fast way to explosive behaviors and reactions… Non-linear systems should be treated with wariness..
    Especially when you have some inertie… which is the case we have here…

    Congratulations for your blog, book and success, keep up the good work!

    Valikor

  3. David B. Benson says:

    William Taylor — Here are the ten-year average global temperatures since 1850 CE:

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/10yave.jpg

  4. Albert says:

    William Taylor

    “The ice cao [sic] at the North pole is back thicker than before.”

    If you are just going to start making things up why should we bother reading anything you write?

    I’ll give you a reference on north polar ice, here:
    http://climateprogress.org/2008/03/19/noaanasansidc-arctic-ice-is-alarmingly-scarce-and-thin/

  5. Dano says:

    If you are just going to start making things up why should we bother reading anything you write?

    You know a commenter is onto something when they mention Algore. Pffft. They can’t keep away from the key phrases that get them going, can they?

    Best,

    D

  6. John Mashey says:

    David, Albert, dano:
    Is this the right blog to fill with refutations like this of climate basics?
    Sigh.