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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Global warming is getting "HOT"

In a year where much of the political focus has centered on environmental issues, nothing will be bigger than 2007’s last two months. Already meeting in Valencia, Spain, are the Nobel winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) members.

Speaking to the IPCC members was Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. His message was simple: “Failure to recognize the urgency of this message and to act on it would be nothing less than criminally irresponsible.”

Nothing is better than when the term “criminally irresponsible” is brought out. It makes people sit up and listen, and we can only hope that the political machines meeting next month in Bali will do just that.

They will be meeting until the 17th of November, and hope to compress more than 3,000 pages of information. That information, is the combination of three reports, written this year, that blames humans for global warming, and what we can do to fight it.

A draft circulated ahead of the conference is unflinching in its attack on humans. “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level,” it says.

One of the problems that is being exacerbated by the human caused global warming is that of predicting weather. Across the planet’s surface, plans are put on hold, canceled or given the go ahead all on the basis of what the weather will be doing. Desertification is causing havoc in Africa and Australia, ski developers need to know about snow falls, and the location of dams rely on weather data.

Sadly though, many scientists do not believe we can ever really predict the weather. To them, the climate is simply too chaotic and unpredictable.

“We need to give indications which are at the scale countries can use to make decisions,” said Michel Jarraud, head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) which oversees the U.N.’s climate panel. “We need to come to a scale which is smaller than countries like Spain or France or the UK. You really need to come to smaller scales — 100, 200 kms (60-120 miles). We are not yet there.”

Much is riding on the shoulders of the men and women in Valencia at the moment. We can only hope that their passion and expertise are taken with the highest authority, by the political men and women who will later meet in Bali.


Joshua S. Hill
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