Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Climate Change News – 5/19/09: Glaciers and GHG emissions

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Wow – I did not see this report until today: Bolivia’s Chacaltaya glacier is gone.  It resided at 17,388 feet above sea level for over 18,000 years.  A team of researchers studying the glacier for the past 20 or so years predicted in 1999 that the glacier would survive until 2015.  Just like so many other effects, this timeline was substantially moved up by still-increasing greenhouse forcing.  Similar effects are likely to be felt across the rest of the Andes.  Rainfall and snowfall have been decreasing for a while now.  Unfortunately, millions of people depend upon the glacial melt as their water source.

The World Resources Institute estimates total GHG emission reductions of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 73% below 2005 levels by 2050 if the measures put forth by the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 Discussion Draft, based on just pollution caps.  They further estimate that with complementary requirements, emissions would be reduced 31% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 76% below 2005 levels by 2050.  As I discussed yesterday, the Discussion Draft has been weakened already.  Once the final bill is signed into law, I look forward to seeing analyzed estimates from WRI and others.


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