Climate change is happening 'here, now': US government report

Of course there is climate change. There always has been. The only interesting question is whether mankind can do anything about it. Periods of warming and cooling oscillate and the last period of warming ended 10 years ago

THE harmful effects of global warming are being felt "here and now and in your backyard", a groundbreaking US government report on climate change warned today. “Climate change is happening now, it is not something that will happen decades or centuries in the future,” Jerry Melillo of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, one of the lead authors of the report, told AFP.

Climate change, which the report blames largely on human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases, “is under way in the United States and projected to grow,” said the report by the US Global Change Research Program, a grouping of a dozen government agencies and the White House.

The report is the first on climate change since President Barack Obama took office and outlines in plain, non-scientific terms [non-scientific indeed] how global warming has resulted in an increase of extreme weather such as the powerful heatwave that swept Europe in 2003, claiming tens of thousands of lives. [If global warming caused that, why have we seen no similar episodes since?]

Hurricanes have become fiercer as they gather greater strength over oceans warmed by climate change. [Widely disputed by experts]

Global warming impacts everything from water supplies to energy, farming to health. And those impacts are expected to increase [No harm in expecting. But many expectations are disappointed], according to the report titled Global Change Impacts in the United States.

Areas of the country that already had high levels of rain or snowfall have seen increases in precipitation because of climate change [Since there has been no significant change for 10 years, that's an unlikely "because"], says the report, which focuses on the US but also tackles global climate change issues.

“We focused on regions of the US because another big message we wanted to get across is that not only is climate change happening now, but it's happening in your backyard,” said Melillo. “You care a great deal more about a tornado in your own backyard than one half a world away,” said David Doniger, senior policy director at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Arid areas, such as the largely desert US Southwest, are experiencing more droughts. [So some places get more rain and some get less. How is that an indication of overall change? If there really was warming, total rain should increase]

On the US Gulf Coast, sea level rise is particularly pressing [Only on the Gulf coast? That doesn't sound very global!]; in the Northwest, how long snowpack sits on the mountains might be [and might not be] an issue, and farmers in the Midwest are concerned because winters have become milder, allowing more pests to survive the season. [Have you ever met a happy farmer?]

But climate change also operates in a global nexus and the US cannot be viewed in isolation, the 196-page report says. Climate change-related food production problems in one part of the world can affect food prices and production decisions in the US, he added. [Political decisions are the major influence, though] “There is a whole host of connections when you discuss climate change; the US cannot be viewed as an island,” Melillo said.

The chief aim of the report is to help US policymakers and the general public make decisions on how to act to halt climate change, Melillo said. The report's release comes just six months before countries from around the world meet in the Danish capital Copenhagen for a UN conference that aims to produce an ambitious, new climate pact aimed at rolling back global warming.

Experts have been thrashing out a draft of a negotiating text for the new pact meant to take effect from the end of 2012, spelling out curbs on emissions by 2020 that will be deepened by 2050.

Reports issued by the previous administration of president George W. Bush - who famously rejected the Kyoto Protocol [It was actually the U.S. Senate that rejected it], the previous UN framework on climate change - were highly technical and did not cover as many issues as the sweeping first report issued by the Obama White House, said Melillo.

The report stresses the need for immediate action against global warming, saying: “Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today.” “We have the power to determine how bad this could be and to avoid the worst impacts of global warming,” said Doniger. [Only given some rather mad and counterfactual assumptions -- about clouds, for instance]

“It's like Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol,' where the ghosts come and show Scrooge the way the future could unfold into either a happy future or a disastrous future. “This shows us that the future is in our hands, just as it was in Scrooge's hands,” said Doniger. [Hubris]

SOURCE. The original report can be found here

Some comments on the above report from Roger Pielke Jr

Imagine if an industry-funded government contractor had a hand in writing a major federal report on climate change. And imagine if that person used his position to misrepresent the science, to cite his own non-peer reviewed work, and to ignore relevant work in the peer-reviewed literature. There would be an outrage, surely . . .

The Obama Administration has re-released a report (PDF) first issued in draft form by the Bush Administration last July (still online PDF). The substance of the report is essentially the same as last year's version, with a bit more professionalism in the delivery. For instance, the photo-shopped picture of a flood appears to be removed and the embarrassing executive summary has been replaced by something more appropriate.

This post is about how the report summarizes the issue of disasters and climate change, including several references to my work, which is misrepresented. This post is long and detailed, which is necessary to support my claims. But stick with it, or skip to the end if you've seen the details before (and long-time readers will have seen them often), there is a surprise at the end.


So a person responsible for misrepresenting science in a government report has ties and presumably financial interests with companies that have an interest in climate policy outcomes? No, couldn't be. Could it?

For those wanting a more rounded picture of extremes in the United States, here is what an earlier CCSP report concluded about extreme events in the United States, but which was uncited by this new CCSP report in this paragraph:

1. Over the long-term U.S. hurricane landfalls have been declining.

2. Nationwide there have been no long-term increases in drought.

3. Despite increases in some measures of precipitation (pp. 46-50, pp. 130-131), there have not been corresponding increases in peak streamflows (high flows above 90th percentile).

4. There have been no observed changes in the occurrence of tornadoes or thunderstorms

5. There have been no long-term increases in strong East Coast winter storms (ECWS), called Nor’easters.

6. There are no long-term trends in either heat waves or cold spells, though there are trends within shorter time periods in the overall record.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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