IPCC to deliver most pessimistic climate report to date

UN scientists are set to deliver their darkest report yet on the impacts of climate change, pointing to a future stalked by floods, drought, conflict and economic damage if carbon emissions go untamed.

A draft of their report, seen by the news organisation AFP, is part of a massive overview by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, likely to shape policies and climate talks for years to come…

Policies and climate talks among folks who aren’t stuck into biblical prophecy and/or fear of science.

“We have a lot clearer picture of impacts and their consequences … including the implications for security,” said Chris Field of the US’s Carnegie Institution, who headed the probe.

The work comes six months after the first volume in the long-awaited Fifth Assessment Report declared scientists were more certain than ever that humans caused global warming…

…“The assessments that we can do at the moment probably still underestimate the actual impacts of future climate change,” said Jacob Schewe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who was not involved in the IPCC drafting…

Among the perils in the draft: Rising greenhouse-gas emissions will “significantly” boost the risk of floods, with Europe and Asia particularly exposed. In the highest warming scenarios of untamed greenhouse gas emissions, three times as many people will be exposed to severe river flooding as with lower warming…

If no measures are taken, “hundreds of millions” of coastal dwellers will be displaced by 2100. Small-island states and East, Southeast and South Asia will be the biggest land-losers.

Average yields of wheat, rice and corn may fall by 2 per cent per decade, while demand for crops is likely to rise by up to 14 per cent by 2050 as population grows. The crunch will hit poor, tropical countries worst.

A “large fraction” of land and freshwater species may risk extinction, their habitat destroyed by climate change.

The quest for scarce goods – when food and food crops comprise an essential part of that quest – has been diminished in a number of ways in recent decades. We may see that reversed. Which means poorer nations in particular may resort to the most affordable means in the political mind of acquiring such scarce goods — war.

The scumbags who fund so-called climate skeptics, that is, the breed not already volunteering on their behalf out of sheer stubborn refusal to examine scientific study – will have to move their penthouse aeries further inland.

Thanks, Mike

Coppers grab cocaine being smuggled into Vatican — in condoms!


It’s just an experiment in modernizing transubstantiation

German customs officials discovered 14 cocaine-filled condoms in a package marked for delivery to the Vatican. The condoms contained 340 grams of liquid cocaine, valued at around $55,000.

The parcel was addressed to the main postal center at the Vatican and was mailed from somewhere in South America.

After German officials found out what was in the package, they attempted to set up a sting operation with the help of Vatican police to catch the intended recipient, but no one ever claimed the drug-filled piece of mail…

Authorities believe that the person may have been tipped off about the sting.

At least it’s nice to hear the Vatican is doing a little something to encourage use of condoms.

How tech can — and can’t — solve climate change, extinction

Somewhere around two hundred thousand years ago, a new primate emerges on Earth.

“The members of the species are not particularly swift or strong or fertile,” the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert writes in her new book, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.” “They are, however, singularly resourceful.”

It is, of course, us — big-brained, small-browed genetic mutants clever enough to outcompete animals ten times our size and gradually fan out across the globe.

Eventually, humankind invents axes, engines, cities and strip malls. We tear down forests and dig up fuel from the ground.

Other times we excavate out of curiosity, traveling backward in time through the records of bones, fossils and rocks that eventually give up clues to mass tragedies in the ancient past. Huge portions of the world’s creatures disappeared in a geologic blink of the eye.

In fact, five blinks — so far. The reasons aren’t always settled in science, but strong possibilities for the various mass extinctions include a dramatic release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, climatic shifts that tipped the globe into prolonged ice ages and a gigantic asteroid strike that kicked up enormous clouds of dust.

The early part of Kolbert’s new book is an exploration of this exploration of the past, telling the stories of scientists who worked to reconstruct this grim timeline of species loss. But mostly it’s scene setting for the real subject of the book, the one telegraphed in the title: The Sixth Extinction.

The salient characteristics of the latest epoch are that we appear to be living through it now — and causing it…

That’s the start. In between the start and finish there’s lots of important science stuff.

It’s not that I have a solution I’m trying to work toward and just haven’t said what it is. I don’t have a solution. It’s possible that massive thinking and massive effort will yield, not a solution, but a much better future than the one we seem to be heading toward.

Sherwood Rowland, one of the scientists who discovered ozone depleting chemicals and who recently died, had a couple of great lines, including one I quoted in the book. “The work is going well, but it looks like it might be the end of the world…”

The politics of the discussion is simple enough:

“What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”

The combination of know-nothings, The Party of No, idjits and Cowardly Lions in Congress aren’t even doing that much. RTFA for lots more about the book, what can and can’t be done – you already know who needs to be thrown out of Congress and state legislatures to achieve anything more than political babble.

Even Jimmy Carter figures the NSA spies on him

Former presidents — they’re just like us (minus the generous pension, 24-hour-a-day Secret Service protection, dedicated presidential library and a few other perks that come to mind).

If you want to keep something private, send an old-fashioned letter, advises former President Jimmy Carter. The 89-year-old former president told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell in a new interview that he thinks the U.S. intelligence community is probably monitoring his communications, too.

“When I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write a letter myself, put it in the post office, and mail it,” he told Mitchell with a chuckle. “Because I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored.”

They probably snooped on his correspondence when he was in office.