Tuesday, August 10, 2010


 So where are all those yokels who write into the newspaper on a warm winter today and make stupid jokes about global warming? They haven't been very active this summer...anywhere in the world.

What those fools fail to realize, or just won't accept, or just pretend not to know is that global warming is really global cli
mate change. It doesn't mean we just get hotter and hotter every day. It means lots of torrential rains and flood, it means lots of heat and fires, it means lots storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, it means, more blizzards and snow. In short, it means as the globe gradually heats up all weather becomes more extreme.

Gee, isn't that what we are seeing as we look around the world today, and I do mean today.

Get used to it. It isn't going away. 

A man stands with his cattle in a flooded area of Ghouspur, about 100 kilometers from Sukkur

A man stands with his cattle in a flooded area of Ghouspur, about 100 kilometers from Sukkur
Picture: AFP/GETTY

I'm so tired of even those who know what is going on always saying, "one storm, one flood, one this or that doesn't mean anything." We all know that. However, when everyday, every year, every decade, the one mores just keep adding up only a dunce wouldn't come to the conclusion that the jigs up.

As Midnight Oil once sang, it's time to pay the rent.

The following is from The Telegraph (UK).  The article below that one is from the Toronto Star.

Pakistan floods: Climate change experts say global warming could be the cause
The world weather crisis that is causing floods in Pakistan, wildfires in Russia and landslides in China is evidence that global warming predictions are correct, according to climate change experts.

Almost 14 million people have been affected by the torrential rains in Pakistan, making it a more serious humanitarian disaster than the South Asian tsunami and recent earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti combined.
The disaster was driven by a ‘supercharged jet stream’ that has also caused floods in China and a prolonged heatwave in Russia.

It comes after flash floods in France and Eastern Europe killed more than 30 people over the summer.
Experts from the United Nations (UN) and universities around the world said the recent “extreme weather events” prove global warming is already happening.
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-president of the body set up by the UN to monitor global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the ‘dramatic’ weather patterns are consistent with changes in the climate caused by mankind.
“These are events which reproduce and intensify in a climate disturbed by greenhouse gas pollution," he said.
"Extreme events are one of the ways in which climatic changes become dramatically visible."
The UN has rated the floods in Pakistan as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history, with 13.8 million people affected and 1,600 dead.
Flooding in China has killed more than 1,100 people this year and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage across 28 provinces and regions.
In Russia the morgues are overflowing in Moscow and wildfires are raging in the countryside after the worst heatwave in 130 years.
Dr Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, said it was impossible to attribute any one of these particular weather events to global warming alone.
But he said there is “clear evidence” of an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events because of climate change.
"The odds of such extreme events are rapidly shortening and could become considered the norm by the middle of this century," he warned.
Dr Stott also said global warming is likely to be make extreme events worse. For example, when there is more heat in the atmosphere it holds more water and therefore floods in places like Pakistan are heavier.
“If we have these type of extreme weather patterns then climate change has loaded the dice so there is more risk of bad things happening,” he said.
Professor Andrew Watson, a climatologist at the University of East Anglia, which was at the centre of last year's 'climategate' scandal, said the extreme events are "fairly consistent with the IPCC reports and what 99 per cent of the scientists believe to be happening".
"I'm quite sure that the increased frequency of these kind of summers over the last few decades is linked to climate change," he said.


Gwynne Dyer

It cannot be proved that the wildfires now devastating western Russia are evidence of global warming. Once-in-a-century extreme weather events happen, on average, once a century. But the Russian response is precisely what you would expect when global warming really starts to bite: Moscow has just banned all grain exports for the rest of this year.
At least 20 per cent of Russia’s wheat crop has already been destroyed by the drought, the extreme heat — around 40 degrees C (104F) for several weeks now — and the wildfires. The export ban is needed, explained Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, because “we shouldn’t allow domestic prices in Russia to rise, we need to preserve our cattle and build up supplies for next year.” If anybody starves, it won’t be Russians.
That’s a reasonable position for a Russian leader to take, but it does mean that some people will starve elsewhere. Russia is the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter, and anticipated shortages in the international grain market had already driven the price of wheat up by more than 80 per cent since early June. When Putin announced the export ban, it immediately jumped by another 8 per cent.
This means that food prices will also rise, but that is a minor nuisance for most consumers in the developed countries since they spend only about 10 per cent of their income on food. In poor countries, where people spend up to half their income on food, the higher prices will mean that the poorest of the poor cannot afford to feed their children properly.
As a result, some will die — probably a hundred or a thousand times as many as the more than 50 Russians who have been killed by the flames and the smoke. But they will die quietly, one by one, in under-reported parts of the world, so nobody will notice. Not this time. But when food exports are severely reduced or banned by several major producers at once and the international grain market freezes up, everybody will notice.
Two problems are going to converge and merge in the next 10 or 15 years with dramatic results. One is the fact that global grain production, which kept up with population growth from the 1950s to the 1990s, is no longer doing so. It may even have flat-lined in the past decade, although large annual variations make that uncertain. Whereas the world’s population is still growing.
The world grain reserve, which was 150 days of eating for everybody on the planet 10 years ago, has fallen to little more than a third of that. (The “world grain reserve” is not a mountain of grain somewhere, but the sum of all the grain from previous harvests that is still stored in various places just before the next big northern hemisphere harvest comes in.)
We now have a smaller grain reserve globally than a prudent civilization in Mesopotamia or Egypt would have aimed for 3,000 years ago. Demand is growing not just because there are more people, but because there are more people rich enough to put more meat into their diet. So things are very tight even before climate change hits hard.
The second problem is, of course, global warming. The rule of thumb is that with every one degree C rise (1.8 degrees F) in average global temperature, we lose 10 per cent of global food production. In some places, the crops will be damaged by drought; in others by much hotter temperatures. Or, as in Russia’s case today, by both.
So food production will be heading down as demand continues to increase, and something has to give. What will probably happen is that the amount of internationally traded grain will dwindle as countries ban exports and keep their supplies for themselves. That will mean that a country can no longer buy its way out of trouble when it has a local crop failure. There will not be enough exported grain for sale.
This is the vision of the future that has soldiers and security experts worried: a world where access to enough food becomes a big political and strategic issue even for developed countries that do not have big surpluses at home. It would be a very ugly world indeed, teeming with climate refugees and failed states and interstate conflicts over water (which is just food at one remove).
What is happening in Russia now, and its impacts elsewhere, gives us an early glimpse of what that world will be like. And although nobody can say for certain that the current disaster there is due to climate change, it certainly could be.
Late last year, Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Change produced a world map showing how different countries will be affected by the rise in average global temperature over the next 50 years. The European countries the Hadley map predicts will be among the hardest hit — Greece, Spain and Russia — are precisely the ones that have suffered most from extreme heat, runaway forest fires and wildfires in the past few years.
The main impact of global warming on human beings will be on the food supply, and eating is a non-negotiable activity. Today Russia, tomorrow the world.
Gwynne Dyer is a London-based political commentator. The second edition of his latest book, Climate Wars, has just been published in Canada by Random House.

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