Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

October 2013Conservation Notes

Dangerous Climate Changes Worsen

On Sept. 27, 2013, the IPCC (international Panel on Climate Change) released its fifth assessment of global climate change. This one followed the fourth issued in 2007.


Like earlier IPCC reports, the fifth warned of extreme dangers from rising greenhouse gas emissions. Average global temperatures could rise 8 or 9 degrees F while sea level could rise three feet this century. The changes could be even worse if stored arctic methane and carbon dioxide were suddenly released by rising arctic temperatures and changing conditions there.


Most of Florida’s ecology and economy would be destroyed by an 8 or 9 degree F temperature rise and a three-foot sea level rise. Worldwide, record hot spells, severe droughts, shrinking water supplies, damaged food-crops, raging wildfires, deluges, killer floods and lethal landslides have been occurring more frequently and powerfully.


The fifth IPCC report raised the certainty to 95% that dangerous climate changes are caused mainly by human actions releasing greenhouse gases. The previous 2007 report blamed mankind with 90% certainty.


In addition to causing more violent weather extremes, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is acidifying the seas. Sour seas can destroy the shells of tiny up to large sea creatures. This jeopardizes oceanic seafood, the principal protein source for around a billion people.


Mankind has destroyed our former climate stability. That stability enabled our species, Homo sapiens to multiply and dominate the earth. Yet climate science deniers and skeptics continue their spiels. One notorious skeptic reportedly stated that we would never board an airliner if the odds were only 95% for a safe flight. Why should he accept findings that are only 95% certain?


Actually you outspoken skeptic, we are all on board a space airliner known as planet earth. With present world policies, chances of a safe flight are only 5%.


Let’s hope that world leaders wake up in time to cooperate in cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid a climate crash. Such a crash would destroy civilization and eliminate many species, including perhaps our own.


Lee Bidgood, Jr.

Gainesville, Florida