At 9 AM EST tomorrow morning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a research body comprised of more than 2,000 of the world's top climate scientists, will release a new report on global warming's influence on weather phenomena. Far be it from me to predict what will be in the report, but if the extreme events that have occurred over the past few years haven't convinced you that our climate is changing in dangerous ways, perhaps this report will. A few examples of the consequences of climate change's effect on weather:
- Last year, the United States set a record with 12 separate billion dollar weather disasters in one year, with an aggregate damage total of approximately $52 billion. This record year breaks the previous record of nine billion-dollar weather/climate disasters in one year, which occurred in 2008.
- The insurance giant Munich Re released a comprehensive review in 2011 that puts a number on the costs of the United States’ 2011 year of extreme weather: $35.9 billion. This is $12 billion above the 2000 to 2010 average loss of $23.8 billion.
That's real money--and really scary. But despite observed extreme weather and measurable data, some remain unconvinced.
Enter the Wall Street Journal, which attempted to preempt the IPCC release with an op-ed from William Happer of Princeton.
The professor dismisses the work of the IPCC with a wave of his hand and assures his readers that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. He concedes that concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere have indeed skyrocketed since the Industrial Revolution, but since CO2 is not a pollutant ("Life on earth flourished for hundreds of millions of years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today") there is nothing to worry about. Just go about your business and never mind that March heat wave that has you walking around in flip flops and turning up your AC.
350.org is not as easily convinced as Happer that climate change is nothing to fret over. It has "Connected the Dots" and on May 5 we are launching an "Day of Climate Impacts." We're expecting over 10,000 events of the globe and it's a day you won't want to miss. Find out more at climatedots.org.