Because of the lead times involved climate change has long passed its tipping point; nothing we can do will change what happens in the next fifty years and whatever we do will benefit, if anyone, our great great grandchildren.
To the deniers and paid hacks, one word is sufficient “Nome.” A ship arrived in Nome, Alaska this summer, having passed through the fabled Northwest Passage, open for the first time ever, linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Ice at the Arctic is all first year ice, i.e., laid down this season. The vast packs of ice laid down in previous centuries have disappeared. Sea level rise in the Bay of Bengal is already double the average rise world wide. The lake forming at the tip of one of the main Himalayan glaciers will destroy most of Nepal, and perhaps the mountain kingdom of Bhutan, when it bursts.
Those taking part in the current scam on the emails hacked from the university of East Anglia’s computers, typical funded scientists maneuvers (and traced, interestingly, to a central computer complex in Siberia; if the calculation is that the population of all the Russias can withstand the floods and storms and droughts of climate change better than the Americans, they’re onto a winner.) are welcome to take the hacked emails round to all the folks whose houses are slipping off cliffs; perhaps it will cheer them up.
The Copenhagen meeting is an exercise in futility. The delegation of African countries has already agreed they’ll withdraw entirely if they don’t get what they want, which they won’t. India is shaping up as the main spoiler, using all its fabled skills, and will accept no enforced limits at all; in their defense it has to be admitted that the US with five per cent of world population, consuming twenty five per cent of world resources and creating thirty percent of world pollution for many years, are mainly responsible for a situation the Indians are refusing to pay for.
Don’t be led astray by the cold winter we’re about to get; the cold Pacific currents generated by the alternating El Nino/La Nina are probably the driving force, but Arctic cores containing bubbles of the air of the time have allowed a fairly accurate picture that this is what is to be expected.
(Note as of September, 2010: Warm air holds more moisture than cold air, and warm oceans evaporate more liquid than cold ones; even a first year high school science student should be able to work out that after the warmest three months on record, precipitation in the coming winter is also likely to be a record.)
Good luck. We'll all need lots of that.