Gore: Effects of global warming more than just a shorter ski season

Gore Speaking in front of climate maps in the film Inconvenient TruthWe’ve all had friends scuffaw* at the term “global warming,” thinking that they would enjoy a bit less snow and a bit more piña-colada time.

Of course, the repercussions of climate change extend far beyond the temperature we experience on a given day. At the CERES conference, we recently heard former Vice President Al Gore forcefully lay out some of these repercussions.

Gore details his arguments in the upcoming film An Inconvenient Truth. We present them here in capsule form.

Now, before we get all depressed and start the day off gloomy, recall that many of these scenarios happen only under catastrophic circumstances. And climate planners haven’t accounted for the fact that pretty soon TerraPasses will be even hipper than recycling.

Here we go:

  • Global flooding: Melting ice from Greenland and west Antarctica ice sheet could raise sea levels over 20 feet and inundate major world cities like NY, Beijing, Washington DC and substantial portions of Bangladesh.
  • Mass migration: Resultant flooding damage could displace millions of people from their homes.
  • Conveyer belt disturbance: the massive inrush of lighter fresh water may trigger a thermohaline collapse and lead to cooling in areas warmed by the gulf stream.
  • Extreme temperatures: While average temperatures move only a few degrees, there is higher likelihood of extreme temperatures, like the European heat wave of 2003.
  • Ecosystem impacts: Warming may cause migration and where not possible species impacts.
  • Global drought: Changing water patterns may alter rainfall, bring both floods and severe drought, especially in Africa.
  • Food production losses: The combination of drought and increased pests may offset any gains from CO2-based increases to plant productivity.
  • Disease spreading: As temperature increases, tropical diseases spread both to higher latitudes and higher elevations in tropical countries.
  • Hurricane intensity: With increased temperature comes increased intensity of hurricanes like Katrina.

So next time a friend shoots back with visions of tropical drinks, ask him or her about dengue in Georgia.

* Scuffaw = scoff + guffah. Not a word, but should be.

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  1. M. Simon - April 12, 2006

    It appears that there is a new inconvenient truth. Global temperatures for the last eight years show at minimum no change and possibly a small cooling.
    Helloooooo Al Gore.

  2. tom - April 12, 2006

    Hi M:

    I won’t get into the details of the opinion piece that was published in the Daily Telegraph, but of the 968 peer reviewed academic studies on global warming 0% conclude that global warming is not happening.

    Unfortunately in the press this number is 54%, which is one of the points Gore makes in his film and hopes to change.

  3. Electric Lady - April 12, 2006

    Global warming nay not be real, but its effects are and it’s past time to demand that all governments at all levels help citizens prepare for the drastic weather changes that are already upon us since they have not managed to stop these devastating changes from occurring, or even to slow them down by altering the human behavior that contributes to them even if they did perceive the threat of danger to the Earth as real.

    If I were king and truly concerned about the welfare of my people, my preparations for a worst-case scenario would include massive water reserves and assistance to those who wish to relocate to higher elevations following a voluntary evacuation order while there is still time to do so in a relatively calm, orderly way. It would be great not to need worst-case preparations, but it is quite likely that they would be barely adequate, making Rita and Katrina and African droughts look like the flailing of an infant god of destruction.

  4. Melanie - April 14, 2006

    As a previous poster suggested, we don’t actually know the truth about global warming (and won’t for a while…it’s a long-term trend that we’ve only been monitoring for a relatively short time)…so if it’s tough to convince people based on this, why not try using some other effects (measurable and proven ones) of carbon pollution as examples? In particular, ocean acidification has the potential for real, detrimental effects on human settlements.

    The oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (more now than ever), and when the CO2 dissolves in the water, it forms carbonic acid, lowering the pH of the water. The acid corrodes just about anything with a calciferous shell, and it prevents new coral (and new animal shells) from forming. This is bad news for coral and other aquatic life.

    It’s also bad news for us: coral reefs are pretty much the front line in our defense against severe flooding. If they vanish, we could see a lot more disasters like the 2004 floods in Southeast Asia.

    Anyway, there are more reasons than just global warming to cut down on carbon emissions, and the mainstream media usually ignores these things completely (in favor of a highly politicized argument about something that is at best impractical to prove at this point in time). Maybe you could get more subscribers if you also talked about other effects of carbon pollution.

    I am intrigued by the idea of bringing individual emissions trading to the masses. Keep up the good work.

  5. GreenGOP - April 16, 2006

    Since losing the 2000 campaign, Gore has become an outright leftist, and I’m not sure why anyone grants him credibility anymore, on the environment or any issue. Whatever your views on the environment, this is a man who recently gave a talk in Saudi Arabia where he publicly apologized for all Americans in its foreign affairs policy. He apologized for America? Did he forget that most of the 9/11 attackers were born and bred in SA? He also falsely accused the US of indiscriminately rounding up Arabs in the US and holding them in terrible conditions, all of which is untrue. This, while he’s in a country that afforts zero human rights to its citizens. It’s the Saudis who need to apologize to us, and not the other way around. Gore just doesn’t get it and deserves no audience on any issue. After all, what did he do as VP for 8 years to lessen our reliance on oil? Nothing, but to administer a status quo of accepting the Saudi regime in exchange for a steady supply of oil.

  6. Micki - April 21, 2006

    In this month’s National Geographic, Joel Achenbach has an excellent article on the global warming debate. His comments on the difference between “political reality” and “scientific reality” are worth noting. Essentiall, he says that political reality is Yay or Nay, with no middle ground; so global warming is or it isn’t. Scientific reality is rarely quite so absolute because there are always more variables to consider. The weight of scientific opinion is, however, on the side of global warming.
    Read the article.

  7. bmary1603 - December 6, 2006

    My husband has been a pilot for almost 40 years. Has flown, small planes and those as large as bombers in the airforce. He has said that he has witnessed the increase in temps aloft over these last few decades. So to all you who think this is bunk, I hope you have your inner tube!!! You better wake up!!! You are why this is not getting taken care of!!!! Man is destroying this beautiful planet!!! Most for the big bucks$$$$$ GREED = DEATH OF US ALL. And to think it didnt have to be!!!!

  8. Anonymous - March 7, 2007

    When the effects of global warming happen, where geograpicaly is it going to be safe from disaster?

  9. tammy Langenburg - March 7, 2007

    When the effects of global warming happen, where geograpicaly is it going to be safe from disaster?

  10. Salim Mia - May 13, 2007

    Global warming will bring Noah’s deluge in Bangladesh

  11. danni - March 16, 2009

    you’re an idiot. the US has done nothing but terrorize the middle east. really goes to show how much you american’s know. so frustrating. get with it. you’re not the only nation that exists…and right now you guys are SO WRONG about many things. so yes, gore should apologize. fine there are terrorists in saudi, but that’s like a small percentage. compare the terrorism the US brought on saudi and the world and what saudi’s done. nothing compared to what the US has done.
    idiot american, i suggest you stay in your country where you are safe. the whole world is mad at you guys…but i’m sure you didn’t notice. you were too busy riding the high horse of yours.
    gore’s one of the reasons the world still has respect for america — america who uses up like 50% of the worlds resources.
    i bet you’re over weight, and eating doritos right now. why don’t you sit down and drink some of this shut the F up juice.

  12. april - March 16, 2009

    GreenGOP, I have to agree with Danni. 9/11 was horrible, but that only happened because the American’s meddled so much in the Middle East. If you American’s never meddled, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened. In a way, 9/11 is America’s fault.
    You sound like you voted for Bush.

  13. Danni - March 16, 2009

    I don’t understand why there are people who are actually against trying to make the planet better. There are actually people arguing with Gore, who’s trying to save the planet. What do they want him to do? Stop saving the planet? There are thinkers and doers. Gore is both. Why put him down?
    To all you people putting him down, try to put all that energy into doing something good for the world, and maybe, just maybe you won’t be so miserable and anti-everything.

  14. Adam Stein - March 17, 2009

    These are some pretty spicy comments for a post that’s three years old. I think maybe its time to close this comments thread and relocate the conversation to a more recent article. Thanks everyone for your thoughts.