Ten Degrees Of Warming

The third National Climate assessment is out, and makes depressing, if not outright apocalyptic, reading. The Hill’s Ben German summarizes:

The report finds that U.S. temperatures will continue rising 2 degrees F to 4  degrees F in most areas in the coming decades, and calls for effort to increase  resilience to changes that cannot be avoided.

But it’s unclear how high  temperatures will climb. The report provides a range of 3 degrees F to 5 degrees  F by century’s end if global emissions are reduced sharply after 2050, and up to  10 degrees F if they’re not.

Average U.S. temperatures have risen  roughly 1.5 degrees F since 1895, and more than 80 percent of that increase has  occurred since 1980, the report concludes.

The report was written by more than 300 government scientists and outside experts, but German reports: “Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology  Committee, said in a statement Friday that he plans to vet climate science in  the new Congress.” Smith is a devout Christian Scientist and trained as a lawyer…

Meanwhile, a White House blog post reminded us all that the Obama administration’s not exactly tripping over itself to take action either. The report is to be seen as simply “a scientific document” which “makes no policy recommendations”.

With ten degrees of possible warming and a hotter, drier, more disaster prone nation in our grandchildren’s future if we don’t take urgent and radical action, you’d think the policy recommendations would write themselves. Infrastructure investment, alternative energy, energy conservation, food and water security, massive emmissions reductions, reign in the profiligacy of the capitalist consumer economy. What we should do about climate change isn’t exactly rocket science – it’s just bad-tasting medicine that’s politically unpopular and so short-termist politicians will continue to kick the can down the road.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

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  • This is a very disturbing report, Steve. I just went to see the superb documentary, Chasing Ice, last evening, so this bites very hard to me. What sickens me even more is that a regressive twit like Lamar Smith is the ostensible chair of the House Science Committee. It’s like Papa Conehead being in charge of the Style Committee at GQ magazine. How fucking embarrassing! The rest of the world must be laughing at us, while cringing at what our stupidity is going to mean to the future of the planet.

  • New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk

    Times says demise of the nine-person team, created in 2009, won’t affect climate coverage.

    InsideClimate News, By Katherine Bagley, January 11

    The New York Times will close its environment desk in the next few weeks and assign its seven reporters and two editors to other departments. The positions of environment editor and deputy environment editor are being eliminated. No decision has been made about the fate of the Green Blog, which is edited from the environment desk.

    “It wasn’t a decision we made lightly,” said Dean Baquet, the paper’s managing editor for news operations. “To both me and Jill [Abramson, executive editor], coverage of the environment is what separates the New York Times from other papers. We devote a lot of resources to it, now more than ever. We have not lost any desire for environmental coverage. This is purely a structural matter.”

    Climate Progress: New York Times Widely Cricitized For Dismantling Its Environment Desk, Eliminating Editorial Positions

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