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Tearfund (UK evangelical Christian relief agency) have got some good coverage in the Independent today over their forecast of how global warming will impact on poor people:

Mass movements of people across the world are likely to be one of the most dramatic effects of climate change in the coming century, a study suggests.

The report, from the aid agency Tearfund, raises the spectre of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees and says the main reason will be the effects of climate - from droughts and water shortages, from flooding and storm surges and from sea-level rise. . . .

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KCAQT   

On Wednesday, we issued the Great Warming Call to Action statement (see it on our website) and yesterday there was a national teleconference with Dr. Joel Hunter (pres. Christian Coalition), Dr. Gerald Durley (pastor Missionary Baptist Atlanta and one of the original civil rights leaders), Dr. Tony Campolo (evangelical lecturer) and Dr. Paul de Vries (Pres of NY Divinity School and Bd Member of NAE). We're getting an audio transcript of the conversation and will post it to our website as soon as I get it. You'll be amazed at the passion these leaders bring to the table for action on climate change.

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The Stern Report is now published with some dire predictions. This from yesterday's Independent:

Climate change has been made the world's biggest priority, with the publication of a stark report showing that the planet faces catastrophe unless urgent measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Future generations may come to regard the apocalyptic report by Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist at the World Bank, as the turning point in combating global warming, or as the missed opportunity.

As well as producing a catastrophic vision of hundreds of millions fleeing flooding and drought, Sir Nicholas suggests that the cost of inaction could be a permanent loss of 20 per cent of global output.

That equates to a figure of

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Yikes! A UN report suggests that the world's industrialised nations are going backwards on global warming measures:

International attempts to cut the pollution that causes global warming have gone into reverse just as evidence mounts that it is putting the planet in grave danger, a startling official report will reveal.

The findings by the United Nations - which will be presented to the world's governments tomorrow at the start of crucial negotiations about whether to tackle climate change seriously - show that after reducing emissions during the 1990s, the world's richest countries have in fact increased them since the start of the Millennium. . . . (from The Independent on Sunday

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This may be of interest to some:

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship.

8.10-8.50 a.m. 11th February 2007. Live from Jesus College Chapel, Oxford. Sir John Houghton will

be preaching, and giving a Christian response to Climate Change. This service will be on the Radio

4 website -
- for about a week afterwards.

Sir John Houghton is a committed evangelical Christian, former Director General of the Met Office and chairman of the Royal Commission on Climate Change.

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This is what we western Europeans have believed for a long time:

The Bush administration has been accused of routinely misleading the public over the threat of global warming and of orchestrating efforts to try to suppress scientific findings that highlight the reality of climate change.

The chairman of a Congressional committee investigating the administration's actions said yesterday that government officials had sought repeatedly "to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming". Democrat Henry Waxman also said the government was refusing to make public documents that would expose its behaviour.

From The Independent

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Chashab   

Hour + show on the great global warming swindle.

Don't know it's line; don't have time to watch the whole thing right now. Just bringing it to our attention. It's on the top of the viral video charts today.

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Hour + show on the great global warming swindle.

Don't know it's line; don't have time to watch the whole thing right now. Just bringing it to our attention. It's on the top of the viral video charts today.

Wasn't going to link to this myself, but now that you've brought it up:

Twice as strongly as I thought that An Inconvenient Truth was a couple of fascinating facts wrapped around a witless movie, I feel like this movie is a couple of worthwhile scientific propositions embedded in a cinematic sludge of misrepresentation.

Those propositions are

1) that the relationship of CO2 concentration and temperature is one where temperature leads first and CO2 follows, and

2) that sunspot fluctuations are directly and significantly causing climate change.

Anyone who can shed light on either of these points? I'd greatly appreciate it.

Swindle's apparent position that the cause of climate change must be either human causes or sunspot fluctuations is irritatingly simplistic. Why can't it be a little bit of both?

And when one of the anti-human-causes scientists complains that politically motivated scientists with Thatcher's money "ignored all of climate science up to that point" . . . did the scriptwriters not notice the irony there, when they're relying on the exact same kind of face-value acceptance of arguments that buttress the audience's prejudices? Not so much in the presentation of their facts, which is necessarily a layman's approach, but more in their choices of experts, who are all on the sunspot wagon already and are thus critically useless for me as an audience member.

Edited by David Smedberg

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Bright sun, warm Earth. Coincidence?

Mars's ice caps are melting, and Jupiter is developing a second giant red spot, an enormous hurricane-like storm.

The existing Great Red Spot is 300 years old and twice the size of Earth. The new storm -- Red Spot Jr. -- is thought to be the result of a sudden warming on our solar system's largest planet. Dr. Imke de Pater of Berkeley University says some parts of Jupiter are now as much as six degrees Celsius warmer than just a few years ago.

Neptune's moon, Triton, studied in 1989 after the unmanned Voyageur probe flew past, seems to have heated up significantly since then. Parts of its frozen nitrogen surface have begun melting and turning to gas, making Triton's atmosphere denser.

Even Pluto has warmed slightly in recent years, if you can call -230C instead of -233C "warmer."

And I swear, I haven't left my SUV idling on any of those planets or moons. Honest, I haven't.

Is there something all these heavenly bodies have in common? Some one thing they all share that could be causing them to warm in unison? . . .

Habibullah Abdussamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon of the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a host of the rest of the world's leading solar scientists are all convinced that the warming of recent years is not unusual and that nearly all the warming in the past 150 years can be attributed to the sun.

Solar scientists from Iowa to Siberia have overlaid the last several warm periods on our planet with known variations in our sun's activity and found, according to Mr. Solanki, "a near-perfect match."

Mr. Abdussamatov concedes manmade gasses may have made "a small contribution to the warming in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance." . . .

Lorne Gunter, National Post, March 12

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Solar activity may prove to be a - or even the - but there is a substantial body of evidence which does implicate human activity. While we have no control over the sun, we can still act to stop exacerbating the problem.

This interesting article from the Sunday Telegraph (12 March 2007) seems to indicate a very immediate impact from our activity:

If weekend sunshine seems a rare treat - that's because it is. Clouds and rain really do tend to arrive with the weekend, to be replaced by better weather on a Monday as most of us head back to work, a study has shown.

Human activity makes weekend weather worse

Saturday is the most humid day of the week

Analysing 14 years of weather data from 12 sites, researchers found that the weather is colder, wetter and less sunny at the weekend on average.

Monday and Tuesday are the sunniest days, statistically, while Saturday is the most humid and least sunny. Scientists found this to be the case in industrially developed regions, and have blamed it on "aerosols" - tiny particles from traffic and industry suspended in the air.

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It seems that The Great Global Warming Swindle was also broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK last week. Sir John Houghton (former Director General of the UK Meteorological Office and chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Scientific Assessment working group from 1988-2002) has written a critique for the John Ray Initiative (one of the most impressive Christian environmental groups I know of):

The programme purported to debunk the science of Global Warming describing it as

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NASA Finds Sun-Climate Connection in Old Nile Records

Scientists have traditionally relied upon indirect data gathering methods to study climate in the Earth's past, such as drilling ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica. Such samples of accumulated snow and ice drilled from deep within ice sheets or glaciers contain trapped air bubbles whose composition can provide a picture of past climate conditions. Now, however, a group of NASA and university scientists has found a convincing link between long-term solar and climate variability in a unique and unexpected source: directly measured ancient water level records of the Nile, Earth's longest river.

Alexander Ruzmaikin and Joan Feynman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., together with Dr. Yuk Yung of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., have analyzed Egyptian records of annual Nile water levels collected between 622 and 1470 A.D. at Rawdah Island in Cairo. These records were then compared to another well-documented human record from the same time period: observations of the number of auroras reported per decade in the Northern Hemisphere. Auroras are bright glows in the night sky that happen when mass is rapidly ejected from the sun's corona, or following solar flares. They are an excellent means of tracking variations in the sun's activity. . . .

The researchers found some clear links between the sun's activity and climate variations. The Nile water levels and aurora records had two somewhat regularly occurring variations in common - one with a period of about 88 years and the second with a period of about 200 years.

The researchers said the findings have climate implications that extend far beyond the Nile River basin. . . .

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, March 19

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Global warming is just killing us today... We've had snow flurries through much of Texas.

Edited by TexasWill

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Heh, we got real snow that sticks today. Consistent 20's for the weekend. I thought we'd get this for Easter and said so when things got pretty warm in late March. Just a feeling.

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Poor Nations to Bear Brunt as World Warms (NY Times)

The world's richest countries, which have contributed by far the most to the atmospheric changes linked to global warming, are already spending billions of dollars to limit their own risks from its worst consequences, like drought and rising seas.

But despite longstanding treaty commitments to help poor countries deal with warming, these industrial powers are spending just tens of millions of dollars on ways to limit climate and coastal hazards in the world's most vulnerable regions

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Easterbrook says that Russia stands to gain on all points. Warm water ports for the first time in recorded history, exploitation of untold deposits underneath Siberia and the Arctic (there will be battles for the Arctic), plus Siberia would be the last untapped arrable land just as Greenland would again be exploitable as it was in the Dark Ages. The US is well positioned as well. Easterbrook is careful to point out, "If predictions are true".

The most arresting of his predictions is probable war between Brazil and Argentina. Populous Brazil, already a barely tolerable climate, will covet the Pampas which is pasture land and sparcely populated. Argentina never seems to get a grip on its own vast natural riches anyway.

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jfutral   

I usually try to avoid this discussion, primarily because I hate the emotional content and barriers that it has created. But also because my brother is an engineer, faces this daily in one form or another, and has some very strong views about the whole issue as well. So this is mostly just to pass on an article he came across.

http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/

I didn't find this anywhere in the forums, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

Joe

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I skimmed the article. Interesting. This goes to the heart of my suspicion of almost all fearmongering on this issue. I have no problem with the possibility that the earth is warming at the moment. I am not convinced that this is abnormal, or that Man is causing it to any degree, but that this happens from time to time. Some say every 1500 years, which makes more sense of the notion that Vikings first "discovered" North America, for example. Easy travel from a possibly temperate Greenland to a possibly temperate New Foundland. Neither is comfortably habitable by most folks at the moment.

Here's another article from Newsweek yet to arrive in the mail:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek

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There isn't any doubt that the climate is changing. Fern fossils in the Arctic and evidence of massive glacial activity in more southerly locations suggest nothing less than massive change over time. In the Columbia Ice Fields, about 4 hours from here (Edmonton), the retreating glaciers have been marked with signposts for about 100 years, and I keep hearing historians refer to the sheet of ice 100 feet thick that covered my property (and the rest of Alberta) about 10,000 years ago.

To me, global warming has become a distraction, a fixation of the media and activists who sense a bit of traction for their causes against globalization or other issues. The greater and more urgent ecological questions, in no particular order, are:

1. the loss of biodiversity in many ecosystems, but especially in the world's oceans

2. various water threats, but esp. flood/drought cycles (related to loss of wetlands, IMO), and diminished groundwater supplies

3. pollution from industrial processes and practices, including pesticides/fertilizers

4. artificial controls of natural environments, including such things as dams, but also including extreme fire supression in old growth forests (which has contributed to a spectacular and devastating pine beetle infestation that has wiped out massive forests in British Columbia)

5. the overuse of antibiotics, giving rise to superbugs, but also spreading through the food chain

6. the genetic modification of many species, but esp. worrisome in foods

There are many, many good reasons to conserve energy, but global warming would be down the list in my view. What's more, the shrill apocalyptic tone that I have been hearing for a year or two has done nothing but contribute to a widening gulf and a deepening mistrust of environmental science and reporting.

I think I understand the inclination to use this club, since ecological sense has not yet been beaten into our western heads. But to having lasting positive effect, the issues and the supporting arguments must have merit. I am a rather passionate defender of natural spaces and of the balance of nature; on environmental issues, I am willing to be convinced and willing to make lifestyle changes that are called for. But on the question of global warming, I can't help but sense that the alarm is a facade for reason. What's more, it draws attention away from the chemicals that are flooding air and water, from the catastrophically-efficient drainage of our deforested hills and plains, from the wholesale plundering of our oceans, from the food crisis that threatens us all if we race into a brave new world without the seeds that have fed us for millenia.

In other words, the patient is bleeding from severed arteries, while the medical staff is conferring over a possible diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Edited by Tim Willson

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Chashab   
There isn't any doubt that the climate is changing. Fern fossils in the Arctic and evidence of massive glacial activity in more southerly locations suggest nothing less than massive change over time. In the Columbia Ice Fields, about 4 hours from here (Edmonton), the retreating glaciers have been marked with signposts for about 100 years, and I keep hearing historians refer to the sheet of ice 100 feet thick that covered my property (and the rest of Alberta) about 10,000 years ago.
There isn't any doubt that the climate is changing. Fern fossils in the Arctic and evidence of massive glacial activity in more southerly locations suggest nothing less than massive change over time. In the Columbia Ice Fields, about 4 hours from here (Edmonton), the retreating glaciers have been marked with signposts for about 100 years, and I keep hearing historians refer to the sheet of ice 100 feet thick that covered my property (and the rest of Alberta) about 10,000 years ago.

Tim,

I like what you've said but want to make one point. You say: "There isn't any doubt that the climate is changing. Fern fossils in the Arctic and evidence of massive glacial activity in more southerly locations suggest nothing less than massive change over time."

Using the word "suggest" in your second sentence, which contains evidence to support your first claim, is more or less a concession. It tells us we're assuming something here, and an assumption doesn't mix with "there isn't any doubt." This is just something I pick up on in these kinds of discussions . . .

I think I've made my stance on this issue fairly clear in the past, but I may be able to articulate better now. I believe, as Christians, our responsibility is to be the best stewards of Creation as possible. And I believe this is best done through living sustainably. I try, like Joe, at all costs to avoid emotionally and politically charged terminology

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Using the word "suggest" in your second sentence, which contains evidence to support your first claim, is more or less a concession. It tells us we're assuming something here, and an assumption doesn't mix with "there isn't any doubt." This is just something I pick up on in these kinds of discussions . . .

Ah, but the assertion that "there isn't any doubt" is about climate change, generally and historically. And the word "suggest" applies to the phrase "nothing less than massive change", which is something of a subjective description, and therefore is not stated categorically but with a qualifier.

I think I've made my stance on this issue fairly clear in the past, but I may be able to articulate better now. I believe, as Christians, our responsibility is to be the best stewards of Creation as possible. And I believe this is best done through living sustainably.

Well said. If this earth were a 5-star hotel, and we were the manager left in charge by the owner, and if we used and abused the hotel the way we have done the earth, then said manager should hardly feel surprised if an unexpected visit by the owner ended with a sharp rebuke over the poor state of things.

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"Barely tolerable" is my gloss. Most of Brazil is quite tropical, but of course there are exceptions here and there in an almost continental nation. Most of its exports are tropical in nature. For example, its own ethanol industry is chiefly sugar cane based (ineffecient fuel compared with gasoline and corn ehthanol, but more efficiently created than corn ethanol). As a Formula One fan, I know that Brazil is famous for its sweltering climate during its season ending race which takes Brazillian seasonal changes into account. Argentina is much more subtropical to temperate on the order of the central U.S. with more Andean territory as well. That small corridor between Uruguay and Paraguay would, presumably be an invasion corridor rather east of the Andes.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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Ok, but Easterbrook's point is that, whatever the varied Brazillian terrains, most all of them will be less hospitable if global warming predictions turn out to be true. And Argentina's Pampas will be much more comfortable. Given Argentina's historic underutilization of almost all its resources and Brazil's bulging population (Sao Paulo alone is one of the largest population centers in the world), it is worth some speculation. As you say, though, I am impressed with Brazil's variety even though no one, including MK friends from Brazil back in high school, has ever mentioned those cold Brazillian nights. ;)

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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That last paragraph is a real dog bites man. Ecosystems themselves wax and wane naturally over time, changing and changing back again. This was the first thing I learned in Ecology courses way back when in the days of feared global cooling.

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