February 09, 2010

Current Politics of Climate Change - A Toothless IPCC

A Wall Street Journal article written by a Director of an Indian Think Tank This seems to be an expression of what the Indian Government is thinking about climate change

* It is in the Indian government's interest to perpetuate a weak IPCC and a toothless Mr. Pachauri at its helm
* The IPCC was created as a way to make the world, particularly the poor, fall in line and support expensive climate-change initiatives by overwhelming them with the apparent authority of the world's leading technical body on the subject, backed by a supposed scientific consensus.
* Countries like India that were always apprehensive of institutions like the IPCC now prefer to keep it twisting in the wind. The rich countries that gave birth to the idea of the IPCC cannot afford to disown it without exposing their own underlying design.
* The failure of the IPCC shows that sovereignty still lies with the people, not with the aspirants for global government.

Foreign Policy describes the climate change political situation

How global-warming deniers are running circles around the U.N.'s top climate body.

Meanwhile, some climate researchers warn of sudden tipping points in climate

Among the tipping points John Holdren listed were: the complete disappearance of Arctic sea ice in summer, leading to drastic changes in ocean circulation and climate patterns across the whole Northern Hemisphere; acceleration of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, driving rates of sea-level increase to 6 feet or more per century; and ocean acidification from carbon dioxide absorption, causing massive disruption in ocean food webs.

It seems clear that there will be no global action on climate beyond the measured steps that have been announced. Countries will shift to more nuclear and renewable power over the course of decades. They will increase energy efficiency in industry, buildings and transportation.

If this at some point in the future clearly proves to not be enough and the world hits one of the tipping points and there is clear and obvious sudden climate change, then there will be action.

So anyone who hopes for action will have to develop the technologies and plans that can be implemented at a faster pace. The plans that were being put forward have generally been ones that did not have strong policy effect for ten years or more anyway. So even if there had been passage of some more action there would not have been much happening before 2020 or 2025 anyway.

This site supports strong action against air pollution which has strong evidence of damage to peoples health (more lung and heart disease) and to property (acid rain and more). Strong action against air pollution would provide 70-80% overlap with prior climate change plans. Cleaning up black carbon from coal and bunker fuel and diesel fuel would be relatively inexpensive and could pay for itself with lower national healthcare costs.

Bottom line - stick a fork in plans for stronger global climate change action - it is done. All pro-global climate change action people should now proceed to backup plans based on NO coordinated effort until there is an unambigious event. Events like absolutely no glaciers on Greenland, no summer ice caps, actual sea levels increases of 2 inches or other clear signals. This will probably mean geoengineering will need to be enacted at that point. Plan accordingly. Find cost effective and simpler plans and get better technology. If none of the major event happen then the warnings on climate will have been proved wrong and trillions of dollars will have been saved.

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