The IPCC Climate Change report and H.R. 2413

by Rachel Baker on April 1, 2014

The new huge Climate Change Report is out in accepted Final Draft form, and apparently, the report is pretty dire (see the NYTimes link below). With that in mind, as early as this week, the US House of Representatives will be discussing a bill that will prioritize weather forecasting for NOAA rather than Climate Change research.

From the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) website:

The Final Draft Report, dated 28 October 2013, of the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2014:Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability was accepted but not approved in detail by the 10th Session of Working Group II and the 38th Session of the IPCC on 29 March 2014 in Yokohama, Japan. It consists of the full scientific and technical assessment undertaken by Working Group II.

Find out about the reporting agency and download the report here:
http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/

The New York Times has a really good article on what is in the report and why the panel warns that the worst is yet to come:

The report attempts to project how the effects will alter human society in coming decades. While the impact of global warming may actually be moderated by factors like economic or technological change, the report found, the disruptions are nonetheless likely to be profound. That will be especially so if emissions are allowed to continue at a runaway pace, the report said.

It cited the risk of death or injury on a wide scale, probable damage to public health, displacement of people and potential mass migrations.

“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger,” the report declared.

The report also cited the possibility of violent conflict over land, water or other resources, to which climate change might contribute indirectly “by exacerbating well-established drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks.”

The scientists emphasized that climate change is not just a problem of the distant future, but is happening now.

Read the whole article here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/science/earth/climate.html?hp&_r=0

In other climate change news, the US House of Representatives will be considering legislation, the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, H.R. 2413, as early as today. The full title states:

prioritize and redirect NOAA resources to a focused program of investment on near-term, affordable, and attainable advances in observational, computing, and modeling capabilities to deliver substantial improvement in weather forecasting and prediction of high impact weather events, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, and for other purposes.

The full text and overview of teh legislation can be found here:
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2413#overview

According to govtrack.us, the House Majority Leader, John Boehner, indicated on March 28, 2014 that this bill may be considered in the week ahead. Further, its worth noting, this legislation was introduced last year after tornadoes hit Oklahoma. Rep. Bridenstine (R-Okla) argued that too much funding is spent on climate change research, while not enough on the development of forecasting tools to predict tornadoes.

That said, it does look a bit more than coincidence that discussion has been scheduled for some time soon after this report was release.

Read the whole article here:
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/202051-gop-government-should-focus-on-storm-prediction-not

Regardless of what you think is actually happening – is climate change real or a myth? – it is truly a bad idea to decrease research on something that may even just be a natural occurrence of the planets lifecycle.

Let’s do a thought exercise here: let’s say you don’t believe in climate change and humans being responsible for any changes in the cycles of climate is completely unsubstantiated. Let’s also assume that you are aware enough to understand that the planet has gone through many different evolutionary phases where climate has in fact changed.

Now, let’s say, we have an understanding of the world around us that could in fact keep us from becoming extinct because the natural cycle of the planet will one day allow for the climate to be too cold or too hot for humans to really survive. We have technology and have made scientific discoveries that actually would give us (and probably more specifically, our descendants) a fighting chance if we studied the phenomenon with little limitations.

Questions to think about: Why wouldn’t we want research dollars being used to understand this phenomenon and how to maybe make changes that would ensure our survival as a species? And, isn’t it possible that through said research, early warning systems will be, are being, and will continue to be developed?

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