Moisha Blechman Sierra Atlantic Volume 34, Summer 2007

Look at the sky. If you see it on a clear and sunny day, especially behind vegetation, you will notice that the blue is particularly intense. This could be considered beautiful except for one thing: that blue is a result of a fundamental change in the chemistry of the atmosphere.

We are the first human beings to have seen such a sky. There is an ominous quality about that blue. It is a signal about our future.

That signal is reflected in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group II (WG II). The emphasis of the report compares real life observations to the computer model scenarios. IPCC
scientists are confident of their predictions because of the agreement between observed facts and computer model forecasts.

In this Fourth Assessment, the topics are all the same as in the Third Assessment seven years ago. But there is one difference. The planet has changed even in that time. As a result, the report has “high confi- dence” that “many” natural systems are being affected by climate changes, particularly temperature increases.

When other scientific information tells us that 80 percent of all species are on the move because of a rise in temperatures, the word “many” in the above sentence may seem misleading. It is probably because of mitigating words like this that the WG II barely got the report out in time. It was argued throughout the night before its release.

Since all the nations had to agree on the report’s content, it is inevitable that countries such as Saudi Arabia, China and the U.S. would succeed in softening its impact. 89 percent were consistent with expectations. No wonder the IPCC’s grim predictions are widely accepted by policymakers.

American agriculture will be severely compromised. Yields are likely to be reduced by 50 percent in only 12 years.

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