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Fiddling while the planet warms. Latest news on the eve of Copenhagen.

Whether you believe that we are heating up the planet, or you believe that this is all ‘natural’, the facts are continuing to come in that we, globally and locally, are going to have to deal with the effects of global warming. Here’s the latest scorecard, and you better get out your tropical gear.  But to be clear, as ocean currents stall out due to the heating of the poles (which is one possible effect, and was seen on the east coast this summer), we are probably going to see colder winters that last a shorter period of time. So don’t assume that more snow means less global warming!  We are going to be paying for global warming whether we like it or not, because insurers are going to raise rates to deal with the increase in natural disasters. And if the U.S. can no longer grow wheat and corn, due to drought, there will be nowhere to hide.  What can you do? Get involved. Work to cut your emissions down, and demand that the politicians do more.

Here’s the story, edited for brevity. The whole story is linked at the bottom.

Warming’s impacts sped up, worsened since Kyoto

By SETH BORENSTEIN (AP) – 1 day ago WASHINGTON – Since the 1997 international accord to fight global warming, climate change has worsened and accelerated – beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back then.

As the world has talked for a dozen years about what to do next, new ship passages opened through the once frozen summer sea ice of the Arctic. In Greenland and Antarctica, ice sheets have lost trillions of tons of ice. Mountain glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa are shrinking faster than before.

And it’s not just the frozen parts of the world that have felt the heat in the dozen years leading up to next month’s climate summit in Copenhagen:

_The world’s oceans have risen by about an inch and a half.

_Droughts and wildfires have turned more severe worldwide, from the U.S. West to Australia to the Sahel desert of North Africa.

_Species now in trouble because of changing climate include, not just the lumbering polar bear which has become a symbol of global warming, but also fragile butterflies, colorful frogs and entire stands of North American pine forests.

_Temperatures over the past 12 years are 0.4 of a degree warmer than the dozen years leading up to 1997.

Even the gloomiest climate models back in the 1990s didn’t forecast results quite this bad so fast.

“The latest science is telling us we are in more trouble than we thought,” said Janos Pasztor, climate adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Officials from across the world will convene in Copenhagen next month to seek a follow-up pact, one that President Barack Obama says “has immediate operational effect … an important step forward in the effort to rally the world around a solution.”

The last effort didn’t quite get the anticipated results.The changes in the last 12 years that have the scientists most alarmed are happening in the Arctic with melting summer sea ice and around the world with the loss of key land-based ice masses.

It’s all happening far faster than predicted.  Back in 1997 “nobody in their wildest expectations,” would have forecast the dramatic sudden loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic that started about five years ago, Weaver said. From 1993 to 1997, sea ice would shrink on average in the summer to about 2.7 million square miles. The average for the last five years is less than 2 million square miles. What’s been lost is the size of Alaska.

The Colorado River reservoirs, major water suppliers for the U.S. West, were nearly full in 1999, but by 2007 half the water was gone after the region endured the worst multiyear drought in 100 years of record-keeping.

Insurance losses and blackouts have soared and experts say global warming is partly to blame.

The number of major U.S. weather-related blackouts from 2004-2008 were more than seven times higher than from 1993-1997, said Evan Mills, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

“The message on the science is that we know a lot more than we did in 1997 and it’s all negative,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “Things are much worse than the models predicted.”

On the Net:

*     U.S. government’s 2009 report on

climate change impacts:

*     Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change 2007 report on changes already


*     United Nations Framework

Convention on Climate change: Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Whole story at:

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