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Once there was The People – Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People, and it made a hell of earth!
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, oh, ye slain!
Once there was The People – it shall never be again!
Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936), As Easy as A.B.C. (1917)

I own a hybrid gas/electric vehicle–a Toyota Prius.

In fairness, my initial intention when I set out to purchase a Prius a year and a half ago had nothing to do with rescuing the spotted owl, repairing the ozone, putting a stop to clear-cutting of our forests, helping the environment in general, or saving the planet as a whole. I simply wanted to save gas. I’m not a left-wing liberal or a right-wing conservative (though reading this blog regularly might lead you to believe I was the latter.) I’m a moderate who lives in Los Angeles with a lengthy daily commute to work. In the summer of 2005, at a time when the nation was seeing some of the highest gas prices this side of the 70’s (relatively speaking), I coincidentally fell into the market for a new car. The Prius seemed a sure bet. After nearly two years of ownership, I wouldn’t go back to anything else. I love my car, and more importantly, I love the money saved at the pump.

That being said, the environment and global warming can kiss my ass.

After the preliminary report released last week by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), any credence I maintained in environmentalists’ notions that “doing our part” can help change the course of global warming (which, over the past year, had been severely truncated due to personal investigative research) has been wholly and merrily tossed out of the figurative window.

Hell, if a consortium of top scientists from around the globe all agree on predictions concerning global meteorological phenomenon a century and more into the future, it must be true. Right?

Of course, I wouldn’t even begin to postulate how often my local weather forecast has been divined incorrectly, and I live in sunny Los Angeles for crying out loud. This was most recently evidenced in the prediction of clear skies a few days previous to a good day or two of drenching rain.

Additionally, a consensus of NASA meteorologists and scientists postulated boldly (well, ‘boldly’ might be too strong a word) the previous summer that this current winter season, under the diabolical latino cloak of El Nino, would be a record-breaking season of warm weather and frequent, heavy rains with fewer but far mightier hurricanes that would rival even Katrina in their ferocity. Actually, quite the opposite has taken place. It has been an unusually cold and dry winter during the 2006 and 2007 season, and any hurricane that did make landfall managed to constitute little danger with no serious catastrophe.

While I would not dare consider myself anything approximate to an expert on global warming or weather auguring, could one suppose the conclusions drawn in the 20-page summary on global warming by the IPCC as anything other than simply a weather prediction? Considering how often the experts end up predicting incorrectly, I would say yes, and I (and just about anyone) will maintain that the earth, as has been its tendency for billions of years, goes through cycles of change constantly–some minor, some major, some short, some long–most of that time without modern industrialized human society.

What is most revealing to me concerning this preliminary report is how the IPCC arrived at their percentage–a 90% certainty that global warming is due to human activity. From the LA Times article below…

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

China is the leading consumer of coal produced energy. So despite all of the time devoted to this endeavour, despite all of the money spent through years of research and resources used in order to conduct this program, and despite the idea that these scientists are supposedly the par excellence in their respective fields, politics still managed to barge in and fudge the numbers “as easy as A.B.C.”

How is a layman supposed to trust what the IPCC claims in their report when something as inane as politics can simply waltz in, beat its chest, and ultimately influence a supposedly unbiased report? How? Because it is a biased report.

Honestly though, as a result of their proclamation I have ceased caring about this particular subject. If global warming is a “runaway train” as the IPCC states, then what’s the point of doing anything to attempt regression? “Oh, but we must save the planet for our future children, and their children’s children. We must protect nature. etc. etc. blah. blah,” so preach the environmentalists.

I will say with certainty, and there’s none on this planet who will dispute this fact–human beings are a part of nature. We are the most advanced form of life the world has ever hosted, and we’re intelligent enough to manipulate our environment and work with other of nature’s creations to make our lives more comfortable, which is what we should be doing. I for one do not desire to live in a cave in the wilderness in order to protect the planet, nor do I suspect many environmentalists, especially the wealthy ones (well, perhaps Daryl Hannah, but she’s not wealthy.) Very few would wish to live a life-style reminiscent of pre-industrial era history in order to alter the effects of global warming. Those who would are probably already doing so, deranged to a greater or lesser extent anyway.

So the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown us the way. Global warming is unstoppable at this point, so here’s what I recommend. Since the temperate climates will eventually become intemperate, start looking into and purchasing land in currently remote and inhospitably cold areas of the planet. While it may not benefit the buyer at this point, future progeny will thank you for your prescience.

Alaska and the Yukon Territories of Canada are looking pretty good right now.

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U.N. says there’s no stopping global warming

Report also says climate change is ‘very likely’ the result of human activities.

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
February 2, 2007

In the strongest language it has ever used, a United Nations panel says global warming is “very likely” caused by human activities and has become a runaway train that cannot be stopped.

The warming of Earth and increases in sea levels “would continue for centuries … even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized,” according to a 20-page summary of the report that was leaked to wire services.

The summary of the fourth report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, was scheduled for release this morning in Paris. But scientists involved in the final editing process have been leaking bits and pieces from it all week, culminating in the leaking of the full report eight hours before its release.

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

The report also says scientists’ “best estimate” is that temperatures will rise 3.2 to 7.8 degrees by 2100. In contrast, the increase from 1901 to 2005 was 1.2 degrees.

The report also projects that sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century, and perhaps an additional 4 to 8 inches if the recent melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the Larsen B ice shelf in western Antarctica continues at current rates.

That is a decrease from the maximum of 35 inches predicted in the earlier study.

Nonetheless, such an increase would inundate many low-lying areas around the world, including islands such as Kiribati in the western Pacific Ocean and marsh areas near New Orleans. Such flooding would affect more than 10 million people.

The report also predicts a melting of Arctic ice during summers and a slowing of the Gulf Stream.

In addition, the report says, for the first time, that it is “more likely than not” that the strong hurricanes and cyclones observed since 1970 have been produced by global warming. The 2002 report said scientists did not yet have enough evidence to make such a link.

The summary is a purely scientific document and does not offer any recommendations on ways to control the problem. Those are expected in a chapter to be released this year.

The obvious solution would be to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, by reducing the use of fossil fuels in automobiles, factories and power plants.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was designed to reduce such emissions, but some major countries, including the United States, China and India, have no defined targets. President Bush withdrew the U.S. from the protocol in 2001, arguing that it was an “economic straitjacket” and that it failed to set standards for developing nations.

The earlier IPCC report was heavily criticized by conservative critics and a variety of online bloggers who said it exaggerated the effects of global warming. But a new study reported Thursday in the online version of the journal Science said that the IPCC report actually significantly underestimated both the extent of warming and the extent of the rise in sea levels.

An international team of climate experts said in the Science report that data showed global temperatures had increased by 0.6 degree, at the upper limit of the U.N.’s predictions, and that sea levels had risen 0.13 inch per year, compared with the U.N. report’s estimate of less than 0.08 inch per year.

The data show that “IPCC is presenting a consensus view that has been OKd by a very large number of interests, so it tends to err on the side of making cautious statements and not exaggerating,” said geochemist Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, one of the authors of the Science study.

The Science study “looks quite solid to me, indicating … that the climate is changing in a very significant way — and model projections are not overestimates, as some charge,” said atmospheric scientist Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, an independent think tank in Washington.

The unexpectedly large rise in sea levels may be at least partially due to the recently observed melting of the ice sheets, the authors of the Science study said.

The increase also may be due in part to a natural variability in sea levels superimposed onto rises produced by global warming, they said. It would be “premature,” they concluded, to assume that sea levels will continue to increase at the current rate.

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