New climate report from IPCC will have bad news and worse news

On Friday, a comprehensive new report will map the likely effects of global warming — and it ain’t pretty. The good news is, we can expect higher food production in northern, more affluent regions. Whee! Now the bad news: globally, we can expect increased poverty and starvation, drinking-water shortages, more infectious diseases, flooding, drought, heat waves, melting glaciers, disappearing islands, vanishing species, and the continuing popularity of reality TV. The report is the second of four expected from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this year. The first, in February — perhaps you heard about it? — covered the basic science. The report this Friday is on “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.” Cheat sheet: we’re vulnerable, impacts will be nasty, and we’d better adapt. But don’t worry, says one scientist: “The worst stuff is not going to happen because we can’t be that stupid.” Ha ha! Nothing like a little humor to brighten up some cataclysmically depressing news. In a month, the IPCC will release its report on ways we can battle climate change. Finally.