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The 411 on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Unless you've been living under a rock -- if so, way to live simply! -- you've probably heard a smidgen about the summary of a hefty climate report released to the public today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, you've probably heard the acronym "IPCC" bandied about with some regularity in the past few years. But what exactly is this panel, and why should you care about some report it threw together? Take a closer look. Photo: iStockphoto Glad you asked. Way back in the olden days of the 1980s, even before the dirty hippies got all …

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Now We’ve Done It

Humans "very likely" changing the climate, says long-awaited IPCC report A few weeks of leaks stole some thunder, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released the first installment of its long-awaited fourth report, and the news is -- well, not news, thanks to those meddling leakers. But let's pretend. The news is out! The world's scientists say there's a 90-plus percent chance that humans are causing global warming! They say by 2100, temperatures will likely rise 3.2 to 7.1 degrees Fahrenheit, and sea levels will rise 7 to 23 inches, plus another 4 to 8 inches if polar …

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Why do hurricanes matter?

Policy-wise, that is

As Andrew mentioned, the hurricane folks are saying that hurricanes are going to be the huge controversy when the IPCC report is released. Does climate change strengthen them? Yes? No? Kindamaybe with full takebacks? Does this consensus statement say we're 51% sure while this other one says 49%? Let me ask a simple question: what policy implications follow from this debate? What difference will a clear answer make? What policy would make sense in light of the prospect of stronger hurricanes that wouldn't make sense anyway, without that prospect? I get that there's a matter of genuine scientific curiosity here. …

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IPCC got you down? Here are 11 things you can do

You, yes you, can act to fight climate change

If the wacky weather we've been having, the suffering of endearing creatures, the possible cancellation of this year's Polar Bear Club swims, or the catastrophic melting of Arctic ice has you hot and bothered, you're not alone. Though it's easy to cower in your basement wearing your duct tape bodysuit and motorcycle helmet feel defeated, here are 10 small things, and one really big thing, you can do to change the changin' climate for the better: Sharing is caring. Sharing your bed home with others cuts back on energy use, as does living in a multi-unit dwelling, choosing a house …

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Business is already acting on the climate threat — and waiting for Washington to catch up

You don't need to look for receding glaciers or pore over the latest IPCC report to know that climate change is already happening. Just talk to Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. Captains of industry want to know what's up ahead. Photo: iStockphoto The company relies on ice bridges to move equipment and materials through the northern regions of Canada. Last winter, however, the ice never thickened enough to allow transport of its heaviest trucks, so Diavik had to pay the additional cost of shipping materials by helicopter. While a dwindling number of business associations and lobbyists still dispute the science of …

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Bob Dylan: prophet

He predicted climate change in the ’60s

With poetic license: Come gather 'round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the clime, it is a-changin'. Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide The chance won't come again And don't speak too soon For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. For the loser now Will be later …

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Hurricanes: A new and improved hockey stick

Another silly debate around the IPCC report

News stories have been reporting that the IPCC will make a statement about the relation between global warming and hurricanes: During marathon meetings in Paris, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approved language that said an increase in hurricane and tropical cyclone strength since 1970 "more likely than not" can be attributed to man-made global warming, according to Leonard Fields of Barbados and Cedric Nelom of Surinam. The blogosphere is already awash with discussion about this (see here and here), and I expect all the usual suspects to weigh in on this soon. Some commenters have been arguing that this …

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Frankly, My Dear, We Don’t Want These Dams

Federal decision may be first step toward dam removal on the Klamath River Four hydroelectric dams along the Oregon-California border must ease fish passage to earn license renewal, says the Bush administration. The decision may spur the largest dam-removal project in history, as installation of fish ladders and other devices could cost far more than just removing the dam things. The Klamath River dams have cramped salmon's style for nearly a century, and local tribes, greens, and anglers have long clamored for their destruction. Last year, the feds agreed that was the best option to improve water quality and fish …

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Paris Exposed

As world awaits climate report, French capital sends a message All eyes are on Paris this week as the world waits en retenant son souffle for tomorrow's release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. (That means "with bated breath." We love the Google!) So Paris, ever obliging, is doing a banana dance to keep the masses entertained. Tonight, the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks in the City of Lights will go dark for five minutes to draw attention to energy consumption. The symbolic gesture "is not an exercise without risk," says a worried grid operator, "but we will …

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Grandchildren, Schmandchildren

Congress holds hearings, realizes climate change is upon us It's official: Congress has red-hot climate-change ants in its pants. As climate-related hearings in the House and Senate got rolling this week, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) demanded White House documents that could show scientific interference. With a new report by two NGOs citing more than 120 scientists who report fed-meddling with their climate work, Waxman -- running his first hearing as chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee -- ain't just whistlin' "Oh Susanna." In the Senate, Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) launched an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing to …