Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Last week saw the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hear Al Gore make his pitch for mitigating the effects of anthropogenic global warming while, irony of all ironies, a winter storm wailed on.

Senator John Kerry made reference to the last time they'd done this, on a scorching August day with the windows flung wide then commented on the winter storm with a "yes it's ironic, but we all know better" grin. He also admonished one cheeky republican upstart and assured him that opposition was "fundamentally wrong."

Gore pushed both the pending stimulus plan with it's focus on renewable energy, clean cars, unified national grid, etc, as well as the cap and trade bill on CO2. It was, by all media accounts, received warmly (except perhaps that cheeky republican upstart) by the senator's in attendance.

I'm throwing the towel in on ranting, blustering, arguing and generally disagreeing with the whole "anthropogenic global warming" assertion. Whatever the lack of scientific consensus, plausible evidence to the contrary, both the new President and a vast majority of the legislative branch have bought the consensus whole and intend to build policy in accordance too it. Whatever the reality, as an American the consensus surrounding human emission's based forcing of our global climate is as good as fact.

So global warming is, in fact, a human caused planetary emergency and as such we as a species must react accordingly. Indeed, we here in the States are seeing virtual revolution that touches on all aspects of our culture. This Green Revolution has impacted our legal system (no idling laws for example) our commerce (the increasing popularity of green products) our pop-culture (green is last decades goth black,) and of course our government. The country is, in all respects, already in full steam green mode to realizing at least a four year term (or eight) of a national effort to mitigate the warming effects of man on our global climate.

But amidst all the fervor surrounding the reduction of our collective carbon footprint something is missing. Consider this (and follow the link for a complete context)
Halting climate change would reduce cumulative mortality from various climate-sensitive threats, namely, hunger, malaria, and coastal flooding, by 4–10 percent in 2085, while increasing populations at risk from water stress and possibly worsening matters for biodiversity. But according to cost information from the UN Millennium Program and the IPCC, measures focused specifically on reducing vulnerability to these threats would reduce cumulative mortality from these risks by 50–75 percent at a fraction of the cost of reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs). Simultaneously, such measures would reduce major hurdles to the developing world's sustainable economic development, the lack of which is why it is most vulnerable to climate change.
That above quoted report pushes the idea of concentrating on adaptation. But here's the rub, it consider adaptation and the effects of that focus in light of current environmental realities vs no collective effort at adaptation and every effort focused on mitigation.

If focus on adaptation can lower environmentally caused mortality rates by 50% (the low range) in the global climate of now wouldn't it be prudent to embark upon adaptation contingencies based on the now accepted model of impending global warming?

November of 2009 will see a global meeting of nations in Copenhagen in an effort to rally the globe one more time to re-assert a global agreement on mitigating measures presented some 17 years before in a lovely Japanese city called Kyoto. I'll leave off any criticism regarding the abject failure of the Kyoto Protocol the planet over. I will, however, hope that when these countries meet again they concentrate just as hard on adaptation as they do on mitigating measures. Who knows, Al might be wrong and even after the planet meets the stringent measures offered by the Kyoto Protocol and the yet to be Copenhagen Protocol the earth might just, erm, begin actually warming.


mhorta said...

And then you have an agreement between President Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to step up cooperation between the UN and the US on climate change - both for the health of the planet and a sustainable economic recovery. More of that post here: