CLIMATE CHANGE #2
THE DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION
SCIENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
The pollutants we pump into our atmosphere are changing its
composition and preventing heat from escaping the earth's
surface. Todas atmosphere contains 32 per cent more carbon
dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases, than at the start of
the industrial era. The result is climate cgange: altered long-
term weather patterns. Global warming, a rise in the average
global temperature, is one measure of climate change. And it has
already begun - global average temperature has risen by 0.6
degrees Celsius since 1900, and the northern hemisphere is
substantially warmer that at any point during the past 1,000
years. Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas is largely
responsible for climate change. De-forestation and modern
intensive farming methods also contribute to the problem.
SUZUKI then gives links to:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Abrupt Climate Change
Forests and Sinks
SCIENCE: GREENHOUSE GASES
Much like the glass of a greenhouse, gases in our atmosphere
sustain life on earth by trapping the suns's heat. These gases
allow the sun's rays to pass through and warm the earth, but
prevent this warmth from escaping our atmosphere into space.
Without naturally occurring, heat-trapping gases - mainly water
vapour, carbon dioxide and methane - Earth would be too cold to
sustain life as we know it.
The danger lies in the rapid increase of carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gases that intensify this natural greenhouse effect.
For thousands of years, the global carbon supply was essentially
stable as the natural processes remove as much carbon as they
release. Modern human activity - burning fossil fuels, de-
forestation, intensive agriculture - has added huge quantities of
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Today's atmosphere contains 32 per cent more carbon dioxide that
it did at the start of the industrial era. Levels of methane and
carbon dioxide are the highest they have been in nearly HALF a
The Kyoto Protocol covers SIX greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide,
methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and
sulphur hexafluoride. Of these 6 gases, three are of primary
concern because they are closely associated to human activities.
* Carbon dioxide is the main contributor to climate change,
especially through the burning of fossil fuels.
* Methane is produced naturally when vegitation is burned,
digested or rotted without the presence of oxygen. Large amounts
of methane are released by cattle farming, waste dumps, rice
farming and the production of oil and gas.
* Nitrous oxide, released by chemical fertilizers and burning
fossil fuels, has a global warming potential 310 times that of
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the world's
most authoritative voice on the science of climate change.
Established by the United Nations, the role of the IPCC is to
assess the science, technical and sicio-economic information
relevant to climate change, as well as its potential impacts and
options for adaptation and mitigation. Over 2,500 scientific
expert reviewers, 800 contributing authors, and 450 lead authors
from over 130 countries contributed to the IPCC Fourth Assessment
Report. The IPCC's assessment reports are benchmarks in
humanity's understanding of climate change.
In February, 2007, the IPCC released a summary of the
contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report
titled "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. This
most recent research from the IPCC concludes that global warming
is "UNEQUIVOCAL" AND THAT HUMAN ACTIVITY IS THE MAIN DRIVER OF
THIS WARMING, ASSERTING WITH NEAR CERTAINTY - MORE THAN 90
PERCENT CONFIDENCE - that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping
greenhouse gases from human activities have been the main causes
of warming since 1950.
In April 2007, the IPCC released the Working Group 2 Summary for
Policymakers that evaluates "Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation
and Vulnerability." This report highlights the opportunity to
limit the risks and costs of climate change through both
emissions reductions and coping strategies to contend with the
near-term impacts of unavoidable warming.
On May 4, 2007, the Summary for Policymakers of Working Group 3
to the Fourth assessment Report was approved, detailing
strategies needed for the Mitigation of Climate Change. Many of
the solutions presented in the report focus on existing
technologies such as switching from coal-fired power to renewable
energy sources, improving energy efficiency in buildings and
introducing more effective economic incentives.
The Fifth Assessment Report's Working Group 1 report is expected
to be released in 2013.
Fourth Assessment Report:
The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report presents important advances
in the scientific understanding of climate change and its
The report consistes of three parts, each of which is explored
Working Group 1 (WG1): The Scientific Basis
Climate change is happening, we are causing it, and the outlook
is WORSE than previously thought.
Working Group 2 (WG2): Impacts, Adaption and Vulnerability
Impacts from human systems will be bad, for natural systems
worse, and there is potential for CATASTROPHE.
Working Group 3 (WG3): Mitigation
Options exist for slowing climate change, many of which could
begin now at no net cost.
For each part, a Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and a Technical
summary (TS) is available for download from the IPCC Website.
THE SKEPTICS: CLIMATE CHANGE
The debate is over about whether or not climate change is real.
Irrefutable evidence from around the world - including extreme
weather events, record temperatures, retreating glaciers, and
rising sea levels - all point to the fact climate change is
happening now and at rates much faster than previously thought.
The overwhelming majority of scientists that study climate change
agree that human activity is responsible for changing the
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) is one of the largest bodies of international scientists
ever assembled to study a scientific issue, comprised of more
than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries. The IPCC has concluded
that most of the warming observed during the past 50 years is
attributable to human activities. Its findings have been publicly
the national academies of science of all G-8 nations as well as
those of China India, and Brazil.
Who are the climate change skeptics?
Despite the international scientific community's consensus on
climate change, a very small band of critics continues to deny
that climate change exists or that humans are causing it. Widely
known as climate change 'skeptics' or "deniers" these individuals
are generally not climate scientists and do not debate the
science with the climate scientists directly - for example: by
publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals or participating
in international conferences on climate science. Instead, they
focus their attention on the media, the general public and policy
makers with the goal of delaying action on climate change.
Not surprisingly, the skeptics have received significant funding
from coal and oil companies, including ExxonMobil. They also have
well-documented connections with public relations firms that have
set up industry-funded lobby groups to - in the words of one
leaked memo - "reposition global warming as theory (not fact)."
Over the years the skeptics have employed a wide range of
arguments against taking action on climate change - some of which
actually contradict each other. For example, they have claimed
* Climate change is not occurring.
* The global climate is actually getting colder.
* The global climate is getting warmer, but not because of human
* The global climate is getting warmer in part because of human
activities, but this will create greater benefits than costs.
* The global climate is getting warmer. in part because of human
activities, but the impacts are not sufficient to require any
After 15 years of increasingly definitive scientific studies
attesting to the reality and significance of global climate
change, there has been a noticeable shift in the skeptics'
tactics. Many skeptics no longer deny that climate change is
happening, but instead argue that the cost of taking action is
too high - or even worse, that it is too late to take action. All
of these arguments are false and are rejected by the scientific
community at large.
To gain an understanding of the level of scientific consensus on
climate change, a recent study examined every article on climate
change published in peer-reviewed scientific journals over a
10-year period. Of the 928 articles on climate change the authors
found not one of them disagreed with the consensus position that
climate change is happening or is human-induced.
These findings contrast dramatically with the popular media's
reporting on climate change. One recent study analyzed coverage
of climate change in four influential American newspapers (New
York Times; Washington Post; LA Times; and Wall Street Journal)
over a 14-year period. It found that more than half of the
articles discussing climate change gave equal weight to the
scientifically discredited views of the skeptics.
This discrepancy is largely due to the media's drive for balance
in reporting. Journalists are trained to identify one position on
any issue, and then seek out a conflicting position providing
both sides with roughly equal attention. Unfortunately. the
'balance of the different views' within the media does not always
correspond with the actual prevalence of each view within
society, and can result in unintended bias. This has been the
case with reporting on climate change and as a result many people
believe that climate change is still being debated by scientists
when in fact it is not.
While some level of debate is of course useful when looking at
major social problems, eventually society needs to move on and
actually address the issue. To do nothing about the problem of
climate change is akin to letting a fire burn down a building
because the precise temperature of the flames is unknown, or to
not address the problem of smoking because one or two doctors
still claim that it does not cause lung cancer. As the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
acknowledges, a lack of full scientific certainty about some
aspects of climate change is not a reason for delaying an
immediate response that will at a reasonable cost prevent
dangerous consequences in the climate system.
Learn More: (the below, on David Suzuki's Website are LINKS, you
can click on them; here they are not links - Keith Hunt)
WHO are the skeptics
* ExxonMobil uses Big Tobacco's tactics to manufacture
uncertainty on climate science
* DesmogBlog com's Disinformation Database
* Some Like It Hot' - Mother Jones article on climate change
* The Global Warming Denial Lobby
* 'Mr Cool & friends' - Globe and Mail article on climate change
* Responding to Global Warming Skeptics - Prominent Skeptics
* 'The Smoke Behind the Deniers' Fire' - by George Monbiot
* 'The Denial Machine'- CBC's the fifth estate program
WHO funds the skeptics
* What Exxon doesn't want you to know
* ExxonSecrets: How ExxonMobil funds the climate change skeptics
* 'Put a Tiger In Your Think Tank' - Mother Jones article on
* 'Clash of the Titans' - An excerpt from the book 'Boiling
* Exxpose Exxon
* 'Coal-fired cooperative coughs up cash to climate crank'
* Royal Sooety tells Exxon stop funding climate change denial
STATEMENTS by scientists and scientific academies on climate
* Joint science academies' statement: Global response to climate
* Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society's position
* An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Canada on Climate
* RealClimate: Real Science from Climate Scientists
* The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
* Myths vs facts on global warming
* Fact vs fiction on global warming
* Frequently Asked Questions about Global Warming
* The Science of Global Warming
* 'How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic' - Responses to the most
common skeptic arguments
* DeSmogBloq.com - Excellent blog on the skeptics
* Editorial on stolen climate change emails-Nature
* Journalistic Balance as Global Warming Bias
* 'Snowed' - Mother Jones article about the media's reporting on
* 'The Fossil Fools' by George Monbiot
* 'While Washington Slept'- Vanity Fair
* A review of the distorted science in Michael Crichton's State
* 'Hostile Climate' - On Bjorn Lomborg and climate change
* Recent news stones on skeptics
* 'It Would Seem I Was Wrong About Big Business' By George
If you have lived for 67 years as I have; if you have lived in
Canada from 1961 as I have; if you have lived in Saskatchewan
(middle State of the prairies) as I did from 1961 to 1973; you
have experienced the "normal" winter weather for Canada that was
the normal winter weather for hundreds of years, if not thousands
of years. Canada was famous for its LONG, SNOWY, AND COLD
WINTERS!! I well remember most of those 12 years of winter in
Saskatchewan from 1961 to 1973. It was norm and common to have 5
weeks STRAIGHT of -30 F. When it got back up to 0 F it felt
like Spring had sprung, then it would dip down again to -10
or -20 F and sometimes back to 2 or 3 weeks of -30 F.
TODAY (and for about 35 years now - writing this in 2010) if
Canada, ANYWHERE gets a WEEK of -30 F or more. IT IS ON THE
NATIONAL NEWS!! IT MAKES HEADLINES!!
I HAVE LIVED TO SEE CLIMATE CHANGE IN CANADA!! IT HAS
BEEN A FACT OF LIFE!! AND NOT JUST FOR A YEAR HERE
AND THERE, BUT A GENERAL NORM!! THE WINTER CLIMATE HAS
DRASTICALLY CHANGED IN CANADA!! THEN AGAIN IF YOU ARE
NOT 67 YEARS OLD LIKE ME, BUT IN YOUR 20S OR 30S OR
40S OR MAYBE FROM SOME PARTS OF THE USA, OR CUBA, OR
MEXICO, OR BRAZIL, YOU MAY THINK CLIMATE CHANGE IS A
FANTACY LIKE "ALICE IN WONDERLAND" - YOU ARE DEAD WRONG!!
AND IF WE DO NOT CHANGE OUR WAYS MOST OF THE
POPULATION OF THIS EARTH WILL BE **DEAD** BY THE END OF
THIS CENTURY JUST FROM CLIMATE CHANGE, UNLESS JESUS COMES
TO STOP THE NATIONS OF THIS EARTH FROM COMMITING
You think that is a little far out, well just take a look at what
the nations DID or DID NOT DO at the last Copenhagen world
conference of "climate change" (over 100 nations) - they came to
just about no agreement on any large united way to stop our
pollutions - their agreement was an agreement to agree to meet
again to figure out an agreement to agree to stop our man made
pollutions of this earth. You talk about a suicide mentality -
it's out there folks. No wonder God says in His word, our leaders
are MAD, and our prophets PROFANE!!