Sunday, February 3, 2008

The true visionary



James Lovelock

5 comments:

Blogger Dan said...

Adaptation To Global Climate Change Is An Essential Response To A Warming Planet

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070207171745.htm

ScienceDaily (Feb. 8, 2007) —

Temperatures are rising on Earth, which is heating up the debate over global warming and the future of our planet, but what may be needed most to combat global warming is a greater focus on adapting to our changing planet, says a team of science policy experts writing in Nature magazine.


While many consider it TABOO, adaptation to global climate change needs to be recognized as just as important as "mitigation," or cutting back, of greenhouse gases humans pump into Earth's atmosphere.

The science policy experts, writing in the Feb. 8, 2007 issue of Nature, say adapting to the changing climate by building resilient societies [PERHAPS EVEN POLAR CITIES FOR FUTURE SURVIVORS OF GLOBAL WARMING?] and fostering sustainable development would go further in securing a future for humans on a warming planet than just cutting gas emissions.

"NEW WAYS of thinking about, talking about and acting on climate change are necessary if a changing society is to ADAPT to a changing climate," the researchers state in

"Lifting the Taboo on Adaptation."

The policy experts include :

Daniel Sarewitz, director of Arizona State University's Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes;
Roger Pielke Jr., University of Colorado, Boulder;
Gwyn Prins, London School of Economics, London, England, and Columbia University, New York; and

Steve Rayner of the James Martin Institute at Oxford University, Oxford, England.

Sarewitz and his colleagues argue that the time to elevate ADAPTATION to the same level of attention and effort as the more popular MITIGATION of greenhouse gases is NOW, and that the future of the planet demands realistic actions to help the survival of humans.

[*''Including the concept of polar cities for future survivors of global warming?'' -- Danny Bloom asks.]

"The obsession with researching and reducing the human effects on climate has obscured the more important problems of how to build more resilient and sustainable societies, especially in poor regions and countries," Sarewitz said.

"Adaptation has been portrayed as a sort of selling out because it accepts that the future will be different from the present," Sarewitz added. "Our point is the future will be different from the present no matter what, so to NOT ADAPT is to consign millions to death and disruption." [SO POLAR CITIES IS AN IDEA WORTH TALKING ABOUT?]

1.
Adaptation is the process by which societies prepare for and minimize the negative effects of a variety of future environmental stresses on society, Sarewitz said.

2.
Mitigation is the effort to slow and reduce the negative impacts of climate change by slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"The key difference is that adaptation is the process by which societies make themselves better able to COPE with an uncertain future, whereas mitigation is an effort to control just one aspect of that future by controlling the behavior of the climate," Sarewitz said.

Policy discussions on climate change in the 1980s included adaptation as an important option for society. But over the past two decades, the idea of adapting to global environmental changes has BECOME PROBLEMATIC for those advocating emissions reductions and was "treated with the same DISTASTE as the religious right reserves for sex education in schools -- both constitute ethical compromises that will only encourage dangerous experimentation with undesired behavior," the policy experts state.

Over the years, mitigation was favored as the global response to climate change, and adaptation seemed relegated to local responses to the specific changes brought on by global warming. Major global efforts to cut emissions were convened in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

*****In those efforts, mitigation was talked about in the GRANDEST of levels and adaptation as only having a LIMITED impact.

*******As a result, adaptation was often looked upon in a negative sense, to be used if the grander plans failed. All the while, the effects of global warming were beginning to be felt, most notably in poorer countries and regions.

"To define adaptation as the cost of failed mitigation is to expose millions of poor people in compromised ecosystems to the very dangers that climate policy seeks to avoid," the authors state. "By contrast, defining adaptation in terms of sustainable development, would allow a focus both on reducing emissions and on the vulnerability of populations to climate variability and change, rather than tinkering at the margins of both emissions and impacts.

"By introducing sustainable development into the framework, one is forced to consider the missed opportunities of an international regime that for the past 15 years or more has focused enormous intellectual, political, diplomatic and fiscal resources on mitigation, while downplaying adaptation by presenting it in such narrow terms so as to be almost meaningless," they add. "Until adaptation is institutionalized at the level of intensity and investment at least equal to the UNFCCC and Kyoto, climate impacts will continue to mount unabated, regardless of even the most effective cuts in greenhouse gas emissions."

dan said...

Polar Cities Concept for Adaptation To Global Climate Change Is An Essential Response To A Warming Planet



Temperatures are rising on Earth, which is heating up the debate over global warming and the future of our planet, but what may be needed most to combat global warming is a greater focus on adapting to our changing planet, says Danny Bloom, a lone blogger working in Taiwan as director of the Polar Cities Research Institute.


While many still consider it TABOO, adaptation to global climate change -- and ideas such as polar cities for survivors of global warming in the year 2500, for example -- need to be recognized as just as important as "mitigation," or cutting back, of greenhouse gases humans pump into Earth's atmosphere.

Bloom says that adapting to the changing climate by building resilient societies [PERHAPS EVEN PLANNING AND DESIGNING AND LOCATING POLAR CITIES FOR FUTURE SURVIVORS OF GLOBAL WARMING NOW] and fostering sustainable development would go further in securing a future for humans on a warming planet than just cutting gas emissions.

"NEW WAYS of thinking about, talking about and acting on climate change are necessary if a changing society is to ADAPT to a changing climate," Bloom says
on his blog.


He also cites policy experts such as

Daniel Sarewitz, director of Arizona State University's Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes;
Roger Pielke Jr., University of Colorado, Boulder;
Gwyn Prins, London School of Economics, London, England, and Columbia University, New York; and

Steve Rayner of the James Martin Institute at Oxford University, Oxford, England

as people who also believe that it is important to address the issue of adaptation now.

Sarewitz and his colleagues have argued in the past that the time to elevate ADAPTATION to the same level of attention and effort as the more popular MITIGATION of greenhouse gases is NOW, and that the future of the planet demands realistic actions to help the survival of humans.

[*''Including the concept of polar cities for future survivors of global warming?'' -- Danny Bloom asks.] YES! Why not? Everything can be discussed.

"The obsession with researching and reducing the human effects on climate has obscured the more important problems of how to build more resilient and sustainable societies, especially in poor regions and countries," Sarewitz said in 2007.

"Adaptation has been portrayed as a sort of selling out because it accepts that the future will be different from the present," Sarewitz added. "Our point is the future will be different from the present no matter what, so to NOT ADAPT is to consign millions to death and disruption."

[SO POLAR CITIES IS also AN IDEA WORTH TALKING ABOUT, says Bloom]

1.
Adaptation is the process by which societies prepare for and minimize the negative effects of a variety of future environmental stresses on society, Sarewitz said.

2.
Mitigation is the effort to slow and reduce the negative impacts of climate change by slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"The key difference is that adaptation is the process by which societies make themselves better able to COPE with an uncertain future, whereas mitigation is an effort to control just one aspect of that future by controlling the behavior of the climate," Sarewitz said.

Policy discussions on climate change in the 1980s included adaptation as an important option for society. But over the past two decades, the idea of adapting to global environmental changes has BECOME PROBLEMATIC for those advocating emissions reductions and was "treated with the same DISTASTE as the religious right reserves for sex education in schools -- both constitute ethical compromises that will only encourage dangerous experimentation with undesired behavior," the policy experts state.

Over the years, mitigation was favored as the global response to climate change, and adaptation seemed relegated to local responses to the specific changes brought on by global warming. Major global efforts to cut emissions were convened in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

*****In those efforts, mitigation was talked about in the GRANDEST of levels and adaptation as only having a LIMITED impact.

*******As a result, adaptation was often looked upon in a negative sense, to be used if the grander plans failed. All the while, the effects of global warming were beginning to be felt, most notably in poorer countries and regions.

"To define adaptation as the cost of failed mitigation is to expose millions of poor people in compromised ecosystems to the very dangers that climate policy seeks to avoid," the authors state. "By contrast, defining adaptation in terms of sustainable development, would allow a focus both on reducing emissions and on the vulnerability of populations to climate variability and change, rather than tinkering at the margins of both emissions and impacts.

"By introducing sustainable development into the framework, one is forced to consider the missed opportunities of an international regime that for the past 15 years or more has focused enormous intellectual, political, diplomatic and fiscal resources on mitigation, while downplaying adaptation by presenting it in such narrow terms so as to be almost meaningless," they add. "Until adaptation is institutionalized at the level of intensity and investment at least equal to the UNFCCC and Kyoto, climate impacts will continue to mount unabated, regardless of even the most effective cuts in greenhouse gas emissions."

For more information about polar cities, see Bloom's blog at GOOGLE.

dan said...

Global warming 'cannot be stopped'

By Mark Henderson

Our correspondent reports from the British Association for the Advancement of Science's Festival of Science


THE world must be more realistic about the chances of preventing climate change and prepare for the inevitability of global warming, the head of one of Britain’s foremost scientific societies will urge today.
Politicians and environmentalists have failed to understand how difficult it will be to curb global warming and are overlooking the importance of adapting to the hotter world it will bring, according to Frances Cairncross, the President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.



While measures to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming are essential, they have been emphasised over and above the equally vital need to develop ways of coping with climate change, Ms Cairncross will say.The “ineffectual” Kyoto Treaty will not stop temperatures rising, as the US and large developing nations such as China and India are not involved, and even if a global agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions is reached, a significant degree of warming is still likely.

As a result, scientists and governments need to think now about measures, such as better flood defences and wildlife corridors, that will help threatened species to migrate as habitats are lost.

“Adaptation policies have had far less attention than mitigation, and that is a mistake,” Ms Cairncross will say in her presidential address to the association’s Festival of Science in Norwich.

“We need to think about policies that prepare for a hotter, drier world, especially in poorer countries. That may involve, for instance, developing new crops, constructing flood defences, setting different building regulations, or banning building close to sea level.”

Ms Cairncross’s message will be controversial as many environmental groups have discouraged talk of adapting to global warming as an inevitability for fear that it will hand politicians an excuse for fail- ing to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Ms Cairncross, an economist who is also Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, believes, however, that there is no reason why adaptation and mitigation cannot proceed hand-in-hand. “There are some things that we can’t adapt: we can’t relocate the Amazon rainforest or replace bleached coral reefs, but we have to think about adaptation with mitigation,” she said.


State-educated pupils who get an A grade at maths A level should be rewarded with a cash bounty to share with their teachers, Ms Cairncross will say. The prize, which she suggests should be about £500, would be a valuable incentive that would encourage more bright teenagers to study maths and science, she said.


WHAT WE CAN DO NOW

Wildlife corridors Conservation areas from north to south would allow species to migrate when present habitats become too hot

Coastal defences Decisions must be taken now to strengthen sea walls or manage the inundation of vulnerable stretches of land

Flood plains Building on flood plains should be restricted or banned, to reduce the risk of catastrophic flooding amid more extreme weather and higher sea levels

Building regulations More insulation would save energy in winter, keep buildings cooler in summer. More covered public spaces would provide shade and shelter from storms

New crops Drought and heat-tolerant strains of crops will be needed for a warmer world

POLAR CITIES

Anonymous said...

''I dont know how you plucked 10cms in 10 years out of thin air - although based upon observable sea level rise it will be probably be higher than the IPCC predicted based on the dubious nature of the models they are using but not 10cms. It depends on the rate of melt of Greenland, Antartica, Ellesmere and the Baffin islands, Canada and the european and tropical glaciers, whether they will melt at a linear rate or reach a tipping point and disintegrate almost before our eyes. It depends where you take the sea level reading from as well, the equatorial regions will record a higher reading than the artic and temeperate regions due to the obliqueness of the earth due to it’s rotational speed. In fact more and more pacific islands are being swamped right at this moment.''

Anonymous said...

''As I read through DOT EARTH's diverse and often excellent posts, it seems clear that we , HUMANITY, are not yet on the verge of slowing, let alone reversing, the buildup of CO2, CH4, and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. As Jane Jacobs reminds us, “A culture is a vast and obdurate entity, difficult to divert from a mistaken course upon which it has set.”

Anyone who has read this blog for long knows that there is not agreement among writers here, let alone within the broader U.S. and global societies, about any of the following points:

1. Earth’s atmosphere is getting warmer.

2. Humans have contributed to global warming by burning fossil fuels (CO2) and increasing herds of cattle and other ruminants (CH4).

3. Global warming is a threat to future generations, especially to poor folks who live near the sea.

4. Sea level is rising.

5. Human population growth is a serious problem and must be considered one of the causes of global climate change.

6. We must act, preferably soon, to slow and reverse our greenhouse gas emissions.

It is difficult to tell whether it is simple ignorance, delusion, denial, self-interest, or some combination of these that leaves so many people defending so many different positions. However, it seems to me that Jane Jacobs is right. Once embarked upon a particular lifestyle, humans are reluctant to make changes, especially if they will produce immediate costs and only long-term benefits. Our modern economic system, and perhaps the basic thinking of most humans, seems in agreement with John Maynard Keynes’s observation that “In the long run we’re all dead.”

Are there suggestions for how we can come closer to getting agreement on some of the above statements or on similar ones? Much of what we seem to have now is not dialogue but monologue–people often talking past one another.

Andy, do you have some ideas about how better to focus attention on some specific concerns here? On how to sort at least some of the wheat from the chaff? On how to raise the level of dialogue?

Are we as a species just going to continue to muddle through from age to age without the capacity, despite our intelligence, to create a sustainable niche for humans on planet Earth? [ED NOTEL YES!]

— Posted by Gary Peters
on DOT EARTH