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Sierra Daily

Mar 28, 2012

Going to Extremes

Gwarming iStock_000011096937XSmallAmid news of irreversible climate tipping points, today the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a nearly-600-page report on managing the risks of extreme weather events. “Global warming is leading to such severe storms, droughts and heat waves that nations should prepare for an unprecedented onslaught of deadly and costly weather disasters,” summarizes AP.

According to Reuters, “the report sidestepped the politically divisive issue of tougher action on curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for stoking global warming.” That’s because governments wanted to know what could be done in the next few decades. "That's a time frame where most of the climate change that will occur is already baked into the system and where even aggressive climate policies in the short term are not going to have their full effects,” said lead editor Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution's department of global ecology.

For a helpful (albeit depressing) video summary of climate-change inaction over the past 3 decades, check out “What We Knew in ’82,” based on a 1982 talk given by climate scientist Michael McCracken, now Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs at the Climate Institute in Washington. D.C.

--Reed McManus / Photo by iStock/acilo

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