March 31, 2014

IPCC Report: Impacts of Climate Change

"Risk" is the word of the day. It occurs hundreds of times in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) released today.

We now have a much clearer view of what climate change means to human life around the world. The picture is grim.

The "Summary for Policymakers" reads like a litany of human misery, and some of it has already arrived. Tallying the risks of climate change around the continents, it's all "Food shortage" - "Water stress" - "Heat waves" - "Flood damage" - "Disease spread". And, for some of us living in low-lying island states, "Loss of homeland". That's just the impact on humans. Then there's the worldwide tragedy of the unraveling ecosystems in our acidifying oceans, and the species extinction looming everywhere.

If there's a storm coming, we batten down the hatches. We need to batten down the hatches now.

We all deal with risk, all the time: That's why we pay for home insurance and car insurance. It may be a burden on the family budget. But we all pay it, because it will cover our sweet behinds in the - rare and no-to-be-hoped-for - event of some calamity like a house fire, a tree coming down on the roof, or a car accident.

Climate change mitigation IS home insurance. It may seem expensive. But if it preserves our home, our Earth, it will be amply worth it.

" Climate Change: the state of the science "

To learn more about climate change, start with the Resources at Global Warming Fact of the Day, which delivers climate change news free of denialist propaganda: I curate its Learning Center.



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1. Slash your carbon footprint
2. We Need Good News on Climate Change
3. Let's Talk with Our Children about Global Warming, with Sense and Sensitivity


March 21, 2014

My Climate Change Talk to Parents

Yesterday, I had a chance to speak at CelloPlayer's school about climate change. Not to the students, but to their parents. The title was "Climate Change and YOU".

The talk was in the morning, right after drop-off time. This is a Waldorf School, so chairs were arranged in a half-circle around the projection screen. ViolaPlayer, who is enjoying spring break this week, occupied one of those chairs (and bailed me out when my ancient laptop froze in the middle of the talk, and I nearly froze in paralysis, by getting it going again).

I started by briefly going over the greenhouse effect, the link between global warming and the carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and the various global effects, emphasizing that we are already starting to see some of these effects in our daily lives. Take, for instance, the wild weather we've been having all over the world, with extremes both in precipitation and in temperature.

March 15, 2014

Paris Gets Free Public Transport for the Weekend

The French capital has got a first-hand taste of what it's like to be Los Angeles: in the past week, Paris has emerged from a cold snap. Paris has enjoyed cool nights, and unseasonably warm days. Paris has not been visited by much wind. Paris can't breathe.

The BBC reports that a thick blanket of smog has settled over Paris, a result of pollution from automotive traffic and industry, and a combination of weather conditions much like those often seen in Los Angeles or Salt Lake City. On Friday the Parisian count of fine particles, that is so dangerous to lung health, is higher than in most Chinese cities on that same day.