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EPA Climate Change Indicators Report Shows the Evidence of Global Warming All Around Us

Dan Lashof

Posted April 27, 2010 in Solving Global Warming

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EPA released an achingly beautiful report today compiling 24 indicators of climate change. Starting with basic data on emissions and the rising concentration of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere the report covers changes in the air, water, land, and ice that define our environment and that of all other living things.

I have seen most of these data before, but it’s extremely useful to have it all in one place and presented in a visually appealing—and appalling—fashion.  Over the last two decades scientists have patiently assembled the pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle into a crystal clear picture of how our planet is changing. Professional climate science deniers will continue to focus on the handful of pieces that have been misplaced or lost under the sofa, but for everyone else there is no denying that this picture spells trouble.

Take, for example, the data on heavy rains (p.30), ocean heat content (p.36), glacier volume (p.48), and bird wintering ranges (p.66).

Precipitation Events

Ocean Heat Content

Glacier Volume

Bird Wintering Zone

One heck of a conspiracy would be needed to get all of these completely independent data sets to point in the same direction.

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Comments

Steven Earl SalmonyApr 27 2010 03:12 PM

After more than ten years of trying to raise awareness about certain overlooked research, my focus remains riveted on the skyrocketing growth of absolute global human population and scientific evidence from Hopfenberg and Pimentel that the size of the human population on Earth is a function of food availability. More food for human consumption equals more people; less food for human existence equals less people; and no food, no people. This is to say, the population dynamics of the human species is essentially common to, not different from, the population dynamics of other living things.

UN Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan noted in 1997, “The world has enough food. What it lacks is the political will to ensure that all people have access to this bounty, that all people enjoy food security.”

Please examine the probability that humans are producing too much, not too little food; that the global predicament humanity faces is the way increasing the global food supply leads to increasing absolute global human population numbers. It is the super-abundance of unsustainble agribusiness harvests that are driving population numbers of the human species to overshoot, or explode beyond, the natural limitations imposed by a relatively small, evidently finite, noticeably planet with the size, composition and ecology of Earth.

The spectacular success of the Green Revolution over the past 40 years has “produced” an unintended and completely unanticipated global challenge, I suppose: the rapidly increasing supply of food for human consumption has given birth to a human population bomb, which is exploding worldwide before our eyes. The most formidable threat to future human wellbeing and environmental health appears to be caused by the unbridled, corporate overproduction of food on the one hand and the abject failure of the leaders of the human community to insist upon more fair and equitable redistribution of the world’s food supply so that “all people enjoy food security”.

We need to share (not overconsume and hoard) as well as to build sustainable, human-scale farming practices (not corporate leviathans), I believe.

For a moment let us reflect upon words from the speech that Norman Bourlaug delivered in 1970 on the occasion of winning the Nobel Prize. He reported, ” Man also has acquired the means to reduce the rate of human reproduction effectively and humanely. He is using his powers for increasing the rate and amount of food production. But he is not yet using adequately his potential for decreasing the rate of human reproduction. The result is that the rate of population increase exceeds the rate of increase in food production in some areas.” Plainly, Norman Bourlaug states that humanity has the means to decrease the rate of human reproduction but is choosing not to adequately employ this capability to sensibly limit human population numbers. He also notes that the rate of human population growth surpasses the rate of increase in food production IN SOME AREAS {my caps}. Dr. Bourlaug is specifically not saying the growth of global human population numbers exceeds global production of food. According to recent research, population numbers of the human species could be a function of the global growth of the food supply for human consumption. This would mean that the global food supply is the independent variable and absolute global human population numbers is the dependent variable; that human population dynamics is most similar to the population dynamics of other species. Perhaps the human species is not being threatened in our time by a lack of food. To the contrary, humanity and life as we know it could be inadvertently put at risk by the determination to continue the dramatic, large-scale overproduction of food, such as we have seen occur in the past 40 years.

Recall Dr. Bourlaug’s prize winning accomplishment. It gave rise to the “Green Revolution” and to the extraordinary increases in the world’s supply of food. Please consider that the sensational increases in humanity’s food supply occasioned by Dr. Bourlaug’s great work gave rise to an unintended and completely unanticipated effect: the recent skyrocketing growth of absolute global human population numbers. We have to examine what appear to be potentially disastrous effects of increasing, large-scale food production capabiliities (as opposed to small-scale farming practices) on human population numbers worldwide between now and 2050. If we keep doing the “big-business as usual” things we are doing now by maximally increasing the world’s food supply, and the human community keeps getting what we are getting now, then a colossal ecological wreckage of some unimaginable sort could be expected to occur in the future.

It may be neither necessary nor sustainable to continue increasing food production to feed a growing population. As an alternative, we could carefully review ways for limiting increases in the large-scale corporate production of food; for providing broad support of small-scale farming practices; for redistributing more equitably the present overly abundant world supply of food among the members of the human community; and for immediately, universally and safely following Dr. Bourlaug’s recommendation to “reduce the rate of human reproduction effectively and humanely.”

Meme MineApr 27 2010 06:04 PM

Anyone who still sees CO2 climate change as "pollution " and the entire pollution issue itself, is like the last dude ever to show up at the party in Disco duds. You envronMENTALists don't see this disco "what's hot and what's not" science fad from h e l l for what it is. And is it a surprise that ANY politician will do "anything " to make it look like they are doing something for you? Don’t be so naive. I promise, history won't laugh at CO2-GWRing as we are now. History will in fact curse each and every one of you fear mongers for this senseless and childish and irresponsible and needless panic and taking environmentalism down the wrong road. You know it's bunk and the sooner you Greenzis scaring my kids renounce this CO2 mistake, the less this Envo-WMD will do to progressivism as Bush's WMD's did to the neocons. Let's leave the lying, fear mongering and dogmatizing to the experts; the conservative whackos. Preserve, protect and respect nature and face the future challenges of over population and energy with courage, not fear of the unknown. No, the planet is NOT dying and put down your SAVE THE PLANET signs and pull the spears out of our children’s backs. Thank God voters have the “consensus” that counts otherwise this very well could have dragged us down to a new Dark Age of superstition and poverty disguised as conformist sustainability. The next generation won’t be the politically correct bunch of obedient pansies that this one is, bowing to a fat American politician promising to lower the seas with taxes

Brian DonovanApr 28 2010 06:52 AM

In order to more clearly understand why regional cap-and-trade programs may be the better solution, visit:

http://donovanlawgroup.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/regional-greenhouse-gas-cap-and-trade-programs-may-be-the-solution/

Paul Taylor ExaminerApr 28 2010 12:03 PM

The “Climategate” incident of climate science manipulation has shaken the foundations of both the science and politics of global warming. Politics and truth seldom occupy the same space anymore. Unfortunately, when the environmental movement found a political base, it began to leave the truths of scientific rigor behind as too slow, too cumbersome, too intricate for media chat shows. Global warming and climate change are not the first (nor, sadly, the last) eco-threats that may ultimately prove to be grand and very expensive hoaxes.

A look at how science and policy-making interact on the issue of global climate change illustrates both the limits of science, and how science can, and should, influence government regulatory action. When we demand certainty from science before setting policy or acting on problems, we ask too much of science and expect too little from policy makers. As a body of knowledge, science is limited by our ability to observe and measure the physical world. It is also limited by the sheer volume of data available to us and by the inconsistency in quality of data. Data are expensive to collect, verify, process, and store.
The highly-respected U.K. weekly, The Economist, has recently attempted to describe the state of climate science surrounding global warming with the following observations:
· Gathering climate data that tell us how Earth temperatures have changed over time is far simpler than producing a single theory that predicts how Earth temperatures will change. The best historical climate data don’t necessarily yield sound theories for predicting a century of future climate change;
· Carbon dioxide, and five other gases including water vapor as clouds, are implicated in the natural atmospheric greenhouse warming effect. Atmospheric warming is sensitive to increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
· Changes in water vapor (clouds) can amplify greenhouse gas effects in a “feedback” phenomenon. Clouds are the most prominent greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere;
· Aerosol particles suspended in the atmosphere can either heat or cool depending upon their concentration, altitude and residence time;
· The imprecise modeling of clouds and aerosols in greenhouse gas dynamics remains a source of skepticism in the climate change debate, and in any further costly government regulations to control climate.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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