Thursday, April 05, 2007

Climate Changing Now

There is some sense, even in "An Inconvenient Truth" that Global Warming may be happening, but that the problems will be off in the future some time and maybe we have a gut feel that technology will come up with the answers before the pain begins.

Two articles published by BBC this week tell us that global warming is now, not in the future, and that the signs can already be seen by the careful observer. It starts with a long term diary of fungi collection.
Fungus enthusiast Edward Gange amassed 52,000 sightings of mushroom and toadstools during walks around Salisbury over a 50-year period.

Analysis by his son Alan, published in the journal Science, shows some fungi have started to fruit twice a year.

It is among the first studies to show a biological impact of warming in autumn.
The second was a story on the fact that EU Environmental Ministers are pointing the finger directly at the US and the Bush administration's failure to do anything substantive regarding climate change. This, at a time when the US is the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the world.
European environment leaders have said the US and Australia must alter their stance on climate change, as talks opened in Brussels on a major report.
This week, all of the major media focused on the fact that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released it's report on the Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability of Climate Change. The news is what you would expect. The peoples who will suffer the most are the poorest nations of the world. But, that does not let the rich nations off the hook. Once again, the discussions went until the early hours of this morning before the wording was finally agreed to. Once again, the politicians were interfering with science in the name of trying to appear blameless.

The key finding is that Climate Change in happening now.
Observational evidence from all continents and most oceans shows that many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases.
Our focus must shift from "is it going to happen" or "when will it affect us" to a concentration on the very fundamental question of how we are going to cope with the changes that have already begun.

In the middle of all of this, the Green Party has been a very quiet non-participant. For most Greens that I know are taking personal action against climate change but they have failed to make it the subject of political action.

Faced with the need to begin making fundamental changes in the way we shape policy, the Green Party is nearly silent. In a State where the governor get high praise for taking the wrong actions, just because he recognizes the problems and is trying to do something, the Green Party has failed to speak up and show his policies to be the fraud that they are.

The IPCC Report is very specific about what is going to affect us the most.
Recent climate changes and climate variations are beginning to have effects on many other natural and human systems. However, based on the published literature, the impacts have not yet become established trends. Examples include:
• Settlements in mountain regions are at enhanced risk to glacier lake outburst floods caused by melting glaciers. Governmental institutions in some places have begun to respond by building dams and drainage works. [1.3]
• In the Sahelian region of Africa, warmer and drier conditions have led to a reduced length of growing season with detrimental effects on crops. In southern Africa, longer dry seasons and more uncertain rainfall are prompting adaptation measures. [1.3]
• Sea-level rise and human development are together contributing to losses of coastal wetlands and mangroves and increasing damage from coastal flooding in many areas. [1.3]
We talk of sea level rise as a future problem when we can't even keep the levees we have in good repair. However, were the sea level to rise by 1 meter, large sections of the Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta would be inundated. inundated.

What is the GPCA going to do and will we continue to deserve the name "Green"? I have my doubts given the deafening silence that greets most of the comments on this subject. I have my doubts in that the GPCA Environment email list has shrunk to 5 members, and only three of them have done anything. I have my doubts in that the Green Party of California has planned absolutely nothing for Earth Day.

For everyone who watched An Inconvenient Truth, are you really convinced that this is the biggest catastrophe? If so, why is this political party so silent on this key political issue?

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