About That New IPCC Report. . .

by Greg Pollowitz

Via Power Line, here’s what Barbara Boxer had to say about the new IPCC report titled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability​.” She can see global warming from her house:

“In California, we can just look out the window to see climate change’s impacts – from the driest year on record in 2013 to the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires. This new IPCC report identifies the serious threats to human health, vital infrastructure, and the world’s economy that will multiply as temperatures warm. It confirms that we must cut carbon pollution now to avoid lasting changes to our planet.”

Well, if she looks out the window today all she’s going to see is cold and rain.

Anyway, what she and most everyone else are missing from the report is how much the report ties poverty to those who’ll be affected if their climate models come true. For example, this:

The most effective vulnerability reduction measures for health in the near-term are programs that 
implement and improve basic public health measures such as provision of clean water and 
sanitation, secure essential health care including vaccination and child health services, increase 
capacity for disaster preparedness and response, and alleviate poverty (very high confidence). By 
2100 for the high-emission scenario RCP8.5, the combination of high temperature and humidity 
in some areas for parts of the year is projected to compromise normal human activities, including 
growing food or working outdoors (high confidence).

And this. . .

Urban areas 

Many global risks of climate change are concentrated in urban areas (medium confidence). 
Steps that build resilience and enable sustainable development can accelerate successful 
climate-change adaptation globally. Heat stress, extreme precipitation, inland and coastal 
flooding, landslides, air pollution, drought, and water scarcity pose risks in urban areas for 
people, assets, economies, and ecosystems (very high confidence). Risks are amplified for those 
lacking essential infrastructure and services or living in poor-quality housing and exposed areas. 
Reducing basic service deficits, improving housing, and building resilient infrastructure systems 
could significantly reduce vulnerability and exposure in urban areas. Urban adaptation benefits 
from effective multi-level urban risk governance, alignment of policies and incentives, 
strengthened local government and community adaptation capacity, synergies with the private 
sector, and appropriate financing and institutional development (medium confidence). Increased 
capacity, voice, and influence of low-income groups and vulnerable communities and their 
partnerships with local governments also benefit adaptation.

Rural areas

Major future rural impacts are expected in the near-term and beyond through impacts on 
water availability and supply, food security, and agricultural incomes, including shifts in 
production areas of food and non-food crops across the world (high confidence). These 
impacts are expected to disproportionately affect the welfare of the poor in rural areas, such as 
female-headed households and those with limited access to land, modern agricultural inputs, 
infrastructure, and education. Further adaptations for agriculture, water, forestry, and 
biodiversity can occur through policies taking account of rural decision-making contexts. Trade 
reform and investment can improve market access for small-scale farms (medium confidence).

The report is crystal clear and says that even in wealthy nations, it’s the poor who will be hurt the most:

Distribution of impacts: Risks are unevenly distributed and are generally greater for 
disadvantaged people and communities in countries at all levels of development. Risks are 
already moderate because of regionally differentiated climate-change impacts on crop 
production in particular (medium to high confidence). Based on projected decreases in 
regional crop yields and water availability, risks of unevenly distributed impacts are high for 
additional warming above 2°C (medium confidence).

In summary, the IPCC says that we need reduce poverty to protect people from global warming. But saying you’re in favor of reducing poverty around the globe and actually implementing policies that will reduce poverty around the globe are not the same thing. To make the actual infrastructure improvements that the IPCC writes about will need one common input: cheap energy.

Environmentalists like Bjørn Lomborg​ and James Lovelock (and us) have been saying this for years now. The world needs more CO2 emissions, not fewer, as Sen. Boxer desires. Here’s Lomborg, for example, writing about the need for cheaper electricity:

​. . .a new analysis from the Center for Global Development finds that by investing $10 billion in renewable energy, we can pull one person out of poverty for about $500. Using gas electrification instead would be more than four times as efficient. By insisting on renewables, we deliberately choose to leave 60 million people in darkness and poverty. This seems hypocritical, as the rich world gets just 0.8% of its energy from hugely expensive solar and wind technologies, which remain unreliable. Even with optimistic assumptions, the International Energy Agency estimates that by 2035, we will produce just 2.6% of our energy from wind and under 1% from solar.

And here’s a recent Guardian piece on Lovelock’s views:

Environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough attention to facts, according to James Lovelock.

The 94 year-old scientist, famous for his Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a self-regulating, single organism, also said that he had been too certain about the rate of global warming in his past book, that “it’s just as silly to be a [climate] denier as it is to be a believer” and that fracking and nuclear power should power the UK, not renewable sources such as windfarms.

Sen. Boxer, the IPCC, the UN, and the other energy-deniers just don’t get it. The way best way to mitigate the affects of their global warming is with more nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired power-plants. To say otherwise locks billions in poverty. 

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