Convenient Truths: New IPCC Report Downgrades (But Doesn't Dismiss) Human Climate Impact

Many climate change skeptics are hailing an article from last week's UK Telegraph, which proclaims "UN downgrades man's impact on the climate," as the "smoking gun" which supports their disbelief: Sen. James Inhofe, for instance, claims that the preview of the report (which will be published in February) proves his assertion that "Predictions of man-made catastrophic global warming are simply unsustainable." As DeSmog Blog notes, though, that reading of the article requires some cherry-picking, as it also reports that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet," and that their downgrading of human impact by 25%, as well as their lowering of sea level estimates, represents "...a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming":

One leading UK climate scientist, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity surrounding the report before it is published, said: "The bottom line is that the climate is still warming while our greenhouse gas emissions have accelerated, so we are storing up problems for ourselves in the future."
The article also notes significant rises in carbon emissions over the past five years, enough to sustain recent severe weather patterns, including the 2003 British heat wave.

While we won't celebrate the reinforcement of the climate crisis as a reality, we will be (or even are) celebrating the holidays, and believe integrating one's commitment to lessening his/her carbon footprint into the holiday festivities doesn't have to dampen the spirit of the season in the least. While many elements of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa merriment are fiercely-guarded traditions, the celebration can still go on as planned with a lighter impact on the climate. For instance,

  • Many of the favorite dishes for the holiday meal can be made with locally-grown and produced ingredients. See how many food miles (and carbon emissions) you can deduct from that traditional ham, turkey or goose.
  • Having more warm bodies in the house means you can probably turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees, and lower your carbon emissions and heating bill
  • You shouldn't have any trouble running full loads in the dishwasher (which saves energy). Avoid the drying cycle, and save even more.
  • When you're wrapping that eco-friendly gift you found on Treehugger's Green Gift Guide 2006, make sure you're using paper with as much post-consumer recycled content as possible, or other recycled materials.
Of course, have your video or cell-phone camera ready to capture those holiday moments both for posterity, and for Treehugger and Seventh Generation's Convenient Truths contest. Remember that professional-quality video isn't expected or required: anyone with access to any kind of video recording equipment can enter the contest. And while you probably don't need another reason to enter, we'll give you one to enter quickly: actress, environmental advocate and Convenient Truths judge Daryl Hannah will be chatting on the phone with the contest's first three entrants of 2007. Talk about starting the new year with a splash... get it...

Get those cameras rolling, and enter your contest video here.

Tags: Holidays