Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The UN Report of Climate Change is More Nuanced That One Would Have You Believe

The UN Report of Climate Change is More Nuanced That One Would Have You Believe
The UN is released a three part report on Climate Change.  Part 1 was what is expected to be the least controversial – that Global Climate Change is real. 
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But Part 2 is leaking and it is fascinating – at least as the Economist reports it.  They are saying that the new report essentially breaks the impact into 3 types of problems.
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The first are impacts directly that only a stop in climate change will fix.  This would be like flooding of low lying cities.  You cannot “fix” flooding.  You can (maybe) “fix” cities –but you can’t counter act the impact without attacking climate change.
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The second are areas where climate change is affecting humans tangentially, but there are other ways to combat the problem.  This would be like the rise of malaria outside of the tropics as the earth temperature increases.  You can counter this problem through non-climate change vectors.  You can eradicate Malaria, you can immunize people.  There are lots of ways to change this.
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Then there are the problems where climate change is affecting humans directly and is the primary driver of change; but there are ways to try to combat the changes.  This is probably the most critical – and maps a lot to what I have been saying for a while; Climate Change is here and we have to adapt. 
Extra Carbon will enhance yields in some crops and reduce others.  But ones like Rice, where climate change might help, need a lot more water.
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For example, as it gets warmer, growing seasons and appropriate field locations change. Take something like corn, with enough water you would assume growing corn would benefit from higher temperatures.  But, in reality, corn is very sensitive to spikes in temperature at the wrong time. For these types of problems the answer is to try to correct the global warming issues – particularly because we probably can’t reverse the process at this point. Irrigation projects should start where farmers now rely solely on rain.  New strains of crops should be developed that are more drought resistant – although that will reduce productivity of the individual plants.
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So the new report is "ALARMING" and in places "CATASTROPHIC", but it is refreshing (to me) in that it moves beyond the typical answer of "WE CAN ONLY STOP" into reality.

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