The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “Summary for Policymakers” was released on March 31, 2014. Not all of the news is good.
The impact of global climate change is different throughout the world. The assessments of the impact are based on models which incorporate different assumptions. It’s good science (which can be studied more closely in the Working Group II study at http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/).
Looking only at North America, there is very high confidence among researchers that the risk of wildfire-induced losses, including property losses and deaths as a result of drought will remain “medium” through 2040.
After 2040, with a projected increase in average global temperature of two degrees centigrade, the risk rises to “high.” A more drastic scenario, which projects a four degree rise in temperature, would raise this risk to “very high.”
There is high confidence that the risk of heat-related deaths would remain “low” through 2040 and through the end of the century for the two-degree temperature scenario; for the four-degree scenario, the risk would increase to “medium.”
There is high confidence that urban flooding, in riverine and coastal areas, including property and infrastructure damage, public health impacts, and water quality impairments, which are presently “low,” would move toward “medium” by 2040, and would be “medium” and “high” under the two temperature scenarios.
What does this mean to us? For one, most peach varieties require between 500 and 1000 hours of winter temperatures of 45 degrees or below or they will not bloom. If peach trees don’t bloom, they don’t make peaches. If there are no Georgia peaches, we’re going to have to rename half the streets in Atlanta — and the city in which I live.
Looking on the global level, there are other, more serious risks. More CO2 in the atmosphere does spur plant growth, and there are estimates that this could increase some crop yields. On the other hand, it appears two-and-a-half times more likely that increased temperatures and decreased rainfall will decrease crop yields.
More severe and more frequent extreme weather events coupled with our stupidity in continuing to build in coastal areas, plus even slight rises in sea level are going to stress the ability of the insurance industry to provide affordable insurance.
One positive effect is expected to be fewer deaths due to cold. However, that’s outweighed by the risk of more deaths due to heat.
Continuing at the global level, there is medium confidence that throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts will slow down economic growth. There is very high confidence of increased risk from food- and water-borne diseases, and medium confidence of increased risk of disease from vectors such as mosquitoes.
Global climate change is a complex issue, and is intertwined with politics, the economy, and more. Many of the projected risks can be mitigated, but only if we have the will to do so, and the willingness to make this a priority.
Peachtree City, Ga.
[Editor’s note: From S. Fred Singer in “The American Thinker” posted March 27, 2014 — “The just-published NIPCC reports may lead to a paradigm shift about what or who causes current climate changes. All the evidence suggests that Nature rules the climate – not Man.
“NIPCC Conclusions in Brief
“Backed by thousands of peer-reviewed studies, are in striking contrast to the IPCC’s alarmist predictions:
“• Climate data tell us that the human impact on Earth’s climate is very small and that any warming due to GH gases will be so small as to be indiscernible from natural variability.
“• The net impacts of modestly rising temperatures and higher carbon-dioxide levels on plants, animals, wildlife, and human welfare have been positive so far and are likely to continue to be positive.
“• The costs of trying to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions vastly exceed the benefits. Annual cost per US household would run to some $3,900; would destroy millions of jobs.
“• In light of the new science and economics of climate change, thousands of laws passed at the height of the global warming scare need to be re-evaluated, modified, or repealed.”
“S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project. His specialty is atmospheric and space physics. An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere. He is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute. He co-authored the NY Times best-seller “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years.” In 2007, he founded and has since chaired the NIPCC (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change), which has released several scientific reports [See www.NIPCCreport.org]. For recent writings, see http://www.americanthinker.com/s_fred_singer/ and also Google Scholar.”]