Climate change round up

There’s been quite the flurry of heated climate change news this week. But we’ve summarized it here for you in three handy holiday party chatting points:

  • According to the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research, 2007 has been the seventh warmest year on record since 1850.  Within this 157 year stretch, 11 of the warmest years have occurred since 1994.  In the northern hemisphere, 2007 was the second warmest year recorded.
  • Midweek the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released its long-awaited report analyzing the Bush Administration’s handling of climate change. The 16-month investigation gathered 27,000 pages of documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Commerce Department, held hearings and interviewed officials, compiling the information into at document labeled “Political Interference with Climate Change Science Under the Bush Administration.”
Now, if the title didn’t kill the surprise for you, here’s the report’s prevailing conclusion is:

“The Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.” They found that “the White House censored climate scientists” and “extensively edited climate change reports.”

  • And finally, the Bali talks. It’s been well reported that the UNFCCC climate change conference has struggled mightily this week to set terms for future negotiations to a Kyoto Protocol successor treaty.  Mind you there’s nothing binding here. The conference attendees are just talking about what to talk about at the next conference.
Nonetheless, the US, Russia, Canada and Japan staunchly refused to include language proposed by the EU suggesting a goal to reduce emissions to between 25 and 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.  When the US balked, the EU threatened to boycott Bush’s climate talks scheduled for January in Hawaii.
Thursday, Al Gore dropped by the talks and excoriated the US, saying pointedly, “My country's been responsible for obstructing the process here in Bali, we know that," and then added "Over the next two years, the United States is going to be somewhere where it is not now. You must anticipate that."
We won’t know the final outcome of the meeting until Saturday the 15th, but reports suggest that today the mood lightened some. While the news itself may induce some nail-biting, that climate change has garnered so much attention and thought this week is worth toasting.


Other than the fact that the Bali Summit will provide absolutely no change in stopping the constantly increasing global pollution and the life-threatening build up of carbon dioxide, the world’s emerging problems put together are immense. Indeed together, they are a recipe of nightmarish proportions that has never been seen before by humankind. But the greatest threat to human stability is the fact that people do not realize that the time-span for solving these huge global problems has a finite period of time also. The writing is now on the wall I would say for all to see if they will only look and where humanity has to react, but where, reaction to global problems takes decades to solve. Therefore the lead-time that we have now is the only thing that we have in our favour. Leave it for another 20-years and we shall not have the necessary lead time to do anything about the really 'big' problems. This is what we really have to get over to our politicians and multinationals, for it will affect them as much as it will affect you and me. If they do not change quickly therefore, we shall all end up with problems that are just unsolvable due to the time-served requirement to solve them and where time will literally run out.
For only by people realizing our dilemmas quickly now will be able to confront them and have enough time to solve them. It is no use therefore in pussy footing around until it is too late. This is the greatest threat to the survival of humankind and where if we do not come to our senses quickly, in fifty-years time, the world will have become very similar to most probably how we depict hell itself.

Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation
Bern. Switzerland