Children’s Future Past

May 14, 2009

An understated environmental report today from the UK, calling climate change the biggest global-health threat of the 21st century.
Lead author of the report Professor Anthony Costello:

“The big message of this report is that climate change is a health issue affecting billions of people, not just an environmental issue about polar bears and deforestation.
The impacts will be felt not just in the UK, but all around the world — and not just in some distant future but in our lifetimes and those of our children.”

(Illustration found here).

The report, ‘Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change,’ was commissioned by The Lancet medical journal and the University College London (UCL) Institute for Global Health, and although it’s math is based on “medium-risk scenarios,” the future ain’t so bright if something ain’t done real quick.
Costello, a pediatrician and director of UCL Institute for Global Health, also said he “had not realised the full ramifications of climate change on health until 18 months ago.”

Read a good, detailed and knowledgeable analysis of the report at Climate Progress.

Also today, The National Science Foundation released a special report on climate change via global warming, and once again, the future ain’t pretty.
A few highpoints off the NSF report from LiveScience:

Ecologists have noted marked changes in the habitats of the species they study — changes in the places where they find a particular species, changes in the dates plants first sprout and bloom, changes in plant growth rates and even signs of evolutionary adaptation brought on by a warming climate.
In some cases, species extinctions appear linked to climate change.
Ocean scientists have recorded higher temperatures and higher ocean acidity, which alter the characteristics of the most fundamental organisms of the ocean food chain.

Polar scientists have watched vast tracts of Arctic sea ice melt away, leaving behind more open water than anyone can remember seeing during any previous Northern Hemisphere summer.

Social scientists have recorded the bewilderment of indigenous people. Their cultural knowledge, which stretches back in time through numerous generations, holds no record of the kinds of environmental conditions they are encountering today.
Paleoclimatologists have discovered — through tree ring data, ice cores and other corroborating records — that the concentration of carbon dioxide, and the Earth’s average temperature, are nearing levels that haven’t been reached for hundreds of thousands of years.

And talking about being between a rock and a hard place.
Again today another damn report.
From the New York Times:

Efforts by countries worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security are in trouble if nothing is done to check the energy gobbled by both information and communication technologies and consumer electronics.
This warning came in a report published yesterday in Paris by the International Energy Agency. The study warns that energy used by computers and consumer electronics will not only double by 2022, but increase threefold by 2030.

The study found that the number of people using personal computers will exceed 1 billion over the next seven months and notes that nearly 2 billion television sets are already in use worldwide, averaging more than 1.3 sets in each home with access to electricity. The agency also projects that the world will count more than 3.5 billion mobile phone subscribers by 2010.

“In fact, if you compare how much electricity is used by the most common electronic devices with traditional large appliances, you’ll find that actually the electronic gadgets use more — not in every house, but in many households in OECD countries,” the report states, adding: “Not only is this surprising, but it is the major reason why residential electricity consumption is increasing in most countries.”

Another climate study/report also today, on unusual movement of animal life.
From UPI:

A study conducted by three U.S. universities suggests some Michigan mammals are moving northward, apparently in response to climate change.

“What we can say is that the potential is there for serious changes to happen, and it would be really smart of us to figure it out, but that will require a lot of detailed, focused ecological research,” said the study’s lead author, University of Michigan Professor Philip Myers.

Apparently, the earth is just responding to the rough treatment the last 200 years.

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