09 June 2013

What's the Future Climate Going to Look Like? Check out Today's Wacky Weather

My husband (you know him; he's one of my favourite eco-heroes) attended probably his last climate change conference last week. Even through his jet-lagged stupor, he noted that while the conference was supposed to be about the impacts of climate change, most of the presentations were about modelling. Modelling, modelling, modelling ... while the Earth burns. Attendees seemed to be more interested in discussing their impact models than actual, potential and committed impacts. My husband was heartsick.

But on the day after the conference, some good news came his way. Climate News Network put out a story about the conference that quoted Peter's paper:
Another said the effects of climate change on food security in the Northern Hemisphere had been seriously underestimated. 
He said the further warming to which the world was already unavoidably committed meant that severe regional problems lay ahead, which would have a worldwide effect. 
He concluded: “The evidence from the science is overwhelming. Under our best ideas of mitigation, the Northern Hemisphere is committed… to large losses of all crops. We are clearly committed to a dire food security emergency situation in the Northern Hemisphere and, therefore, globally.”
The neat part about the quote is not just that it got picked up, not just that it's salient, but that it was book-ended by quotes from Dr. Martin Parry, visiting professor at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, and visiting research fellow at Imperial’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change. Parry said that if we want to know how climate change is going to affect us, we really need to see what the weather is doing.

In other words, if I understand him correctly, today's wacked-out weather is a glimpse of what's in store for us, climate-wise. 

This reminded me of one of my 2009 pre-Copenhagen posts in which I implored climate change educators to make the potential effects of climate change more graphic:  
We've done an extremely poor job of educating the public about the impending impacts on their children's future lives — not making the impacts visual / graphic enough for people, for example, or not personalizing / localizing them.... People have to be able to "see," in their mind's eye, what's going to happen to their children if we don't halt the carbon emissions.
Anyway, just wanted to share that again — the idea that it's becoming easier to point to and help people see what's going to become of us without drastic mitigation. 

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?