Additional examples of how out-of-date the 2007 IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report was at the time of release continue to be issued. The latest: a World Wildlife Fund report which acts as a summary of recent scientific papers and reports. The summary: climate change is occurring faster than was presented by the IPCC last year. Indeed, NOAA recently released an arctic report that identifies stronger effects of warming on Greenland and permafrost. The next IPCC Report will be released in 2013, meaning most of the work towards it will be done during the next President’s term. Actions taken during the next four years will have ramifications on the future state of the climate. Recognizing that the 2007 Report has already underestimated the impacts of human-forced climate change should harden the next administration’s actions.
On a related note, a slowing economy won’t help the climate. Emissions don’t just have to dip for a short while. They have to stop. Then the GHGs that we have already emitted have to be put into a emission-sink. The oceans are nearly at capacity for carbon, so large challenges remain.
Obama is set to declare CO2 a dangerous pollutant. Good. The action could stop plans to build dozones of coal plant. Obama’s energy adviser, Jason Grumet, said that if Congress didn’t act within 18 months, Obama would take action by himself. My question: why wait 18 months? We simply don’t have the time. I understand that Obama is making clear his respect for the legislature’s role, but 18 months is a ridiculous amount of time when the Bush administration has spent the past 8 years making sure we took no action. At the same, I realize how important it is to have a Presidential candidate with a serious energy adviser.
Europe toughens GHG goals, not allowing economic slowdown to delay their activities. Good for them. Plenty of CONServatives in the U.S. are already saying the recession precludes any action on GHG emission goals, or any other climate change action. Will America follow Europe’s lead?