Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html en-gb 30 Sun 25 Jan 2015 10:53:18 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html CuckooToo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=97#comment35 Actually St Cyprian was the bishop of Carthage, north Africa at the beginning of the 3rd century AD, around the time that the Roman Warm Period was coming to an end (even Mann accepts the Roman Warm Period existed AFAIK), so I guess I should have said Anthropogenic Global Cooling lol Wed 18 Mar 2009 20:04:16 GMT+1 rossglory http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=94#comment34 @33 CockooTooNope, the 'G' in AGW is 'Global'. Nice try though. Wed 18 Mar 2009 14:19:13 GMT+1 TJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=91#comment33 To Cuckootoo #33. Got my day started with a bang!! Goy any more like these?Have a good one. Wed 18 Mar 2009 14:18:51 GMT+1 CuckooToo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=88#comment32 You who in this respect are ignorant of divine knowledge and are a stranger to the truth, in the first place ought to know this, that the world has grown old, does not enjoy that strength which it had formerly enjoyed, and does not flourish with the same vigor and strength with which it formerly prevailed. The world itself is now saying this, even as we are silent and offer no citations from holy Scriptures and divine prophecies, and it testifies to its decline by the proof of its failing estate. In the winter the supply of rain is not so plentiful for the nourishment of seeds; there is not the accustomed heat in the summer for ripening the harvest; neither are the corn fields so joyous in the spring nor are the autumn seasons so fecund in their leafy products. -Demetria by St CyprianAGW?\\\ Understand and Protect ///- from Blighty - Wed 18 Mar 2009 06:59:35 GMT+1 TJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=86#comment31 Another intelligent and lucid article from the BBC. “Cold reality of global warming efforts”. It contains a statement:"Put simply, weather patterns are just not following the sort of steady trend which would instill confidence in IPCC pronouncements. No amount of ‘it's even worse than we thought’ headlines will convince a skeptical public if the words don't fit with the evidence of their own eyes. 1998 remains the warmest year on record, and since then there has been no discernable upward trend". http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7929174.stm As a non-scientist this is exactly my take. I place Richards post in the same frame as these.Now compare that with the "Saving paradise. Maldives facing up to challenge of global warming": http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7946072.stmEven me as a non-scientist knows that these islands sit on a tectonic plate that is steadily being pushed down under another tectonic plate and they are literally being drag down under. It is not even conceivable that global warming can have any effect. Can it be wondered why folks like me are skeptical. To Manysummits #31: I believe the ‘greedy’ folks you mention are governments and con men who are about to levee the biggest taxes hikes on us hardworking, diligent, environmentally concerned folks in the history of this planet.Cheers…… Wed 18 Mar 2009 04:50:25 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=83#comment30 To timjenvey:As I believe you are a Cousteau admirer, I thought you might be interested in this quote:"If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed [and] if we are not willing [to change], we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect."This is what I am seeing as my researches continue. The ocean changes - that's a whole new game. Wed 18 Mar 2009 02:31:52 GMT+1 Richard Black (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=80#comment29 CEMS_JGC #28 - I'd be interested in talking to you offline about this, if you're amenable. Please drop me a line richard.black-internet (at) bbc.co.uk thanks. Wed 18 Mar 2009 01:23:28 GMT+1 TJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=77#comment28 Thought to highlight this article from the BBC as it seems pertinent to our post: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7946476.stmI found this lucid and intelligent. A far cry from the other BBC commentary on this subject. This type of reporting reminds me of the BBC from a few decades ago and gives me great encouragement that there are still organizations around that can raise themselves above politics (I mean governments and industrial lobbyists here).I'll keep you as my HOME page and I'm sure you will increase license payer satisfaction as a result.Cheers....... Tue 17 Mar 2009 03:39:20 GMT+1 CEMS_JGC http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=75#comment27 Richard Black suggests that it would take too long to calculate catch quotas for whaling using the RMP, and that such quotas could therefore not be used for a political compromise in the IWC. I am a member of the Scientific Committee of the IWC, and have been involved in the development of the RMP. The RMP is a formula for calculating safe catch quotas based on the available data, given a subdivision of the region into areas for which quoats are desired. It uses whatever data on the whales are available, mainly sightings surveys. The process of selecting area boundaries has been completed by the IWC Scientific Committee for Bryde's and minke whales in the North Pacific, and for minke and fin whales in the North Atlantic. Data from sightings surveys are available and quotas could be calculated at any time. However, there is no guarantee that whaling lobbies would be satisfied with the numbers that come out of the RMP. Japan is seeking a quota for coastal minke whaling in the North Pacific. With the boundaries agreed by the Scientific Committee, the catch quota in coastal areas under the RMP based on current data would be fairly low; after deducting catches of whales in fishing nets, there would probably be little or no quota left for commercial whaling. In order to achieve a political compromise, an IWC working group is considering by-passing the RMP, and awarding a catch quota based on ad hoc calculations of quotas that would be "sustainable" for a period of 5 years. RMP quotas are more conservative, because they are designed to be sustainable indefinitely (subject to recalculation every 5 years based on the available data). Not surprisingly, many observers of the process are disconcerted by the apparent willingness of the players to set aside a safe, tested and agreed scientific formula for reasons of political expediency. Mon 16 Mar 2009 15:48:22 GMT+1 TJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=72#comment26 Having read and briefly commented on a couple of sessions I can agree with comments that the agenda is vast and daunting to assimilate.I'd like to ask a question: Would all of these sessions and papers be presented if there was no focus on CO2 warming? Would this work carry on as part of a normal process?The work that was presented by the IOP is certainly worthy of praise but the media headlines just focused on hyped up looming catastrophes of which I got very little indication from the selection of sessions I scanned.Richard: Did you have this in mind when you wrote your headline?My thoughts changed to my local conversation committee. Much of their work seems to be based off or similar to the frameworks presented at IOP. Normally they are above politics but have recently given way to including climate change into their work (some would say detrimentally). They have included an area of their web site to Climate Change - http://www.bcdc.ca.gov/planning/climate_change/climate_change.shtml - and whole sections of their activities are starting to slip into it. The first appears to be ”Sea Level RISE”. The BCDC has always monitored “Sea level variations” as part of its job. These include tides, moon, and planetary cycles; land use, earth quake fault lines, historic trends etc. The subject is now confused with climate change on which there is a big IF on what if any effects that might have and are they even significant to the variations in the normal ebb and flow. I mention this because I saw the same theme in the handful of sessions I looked at in the IOP.It’s the headlines like those reporting the IOP (about which others have mentioned) that take the focus away from the real issues and the great work that gets done and I’m sure the work on whaling is equally first-rate. Are we just getting overwhelmed with how the messages are being delivered? I’m always reminded of those alarmist headlines about sea level rise (because of CO2) wiping out volcanic Pacific Islands. I just want to scream “Get off folks your sinking”. Cheers……. Mon 16 Mar 2009 04:15:36 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=69#comment25 The Climate Change 'debate' is in reality a fiasco.To help break the impasse - philosophy:"The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous."- Edward Gibbon"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing."- Ralph Waldo Emerson"The hero symbolizes the human personality with its powers in focus."- Lene Gammelgaard, "Climbing High"\\\ Understand and Protect ///- Manysummits, B.Sc. Mon 16 Mar 2009 00:16:56 GMT+1 WDCSCBS http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=66#comment24 Richard (@21), I agree that there is a clash of timescales, but its difficult to answer your question on the issue of quotas as the answer would be - it depends! It depends on what species we are discussing? It depends on what coastal range we are concerned with as per simon-swede's question above. My understanding is that the RMP was accepted by the IWC because, amongst many things, it was the second most conservative method of calculating quotas on offer at the time. The most conservative model on offer was politically not acceptable by the pro-whaling interests, and the two least precautionary were just that, - deemed too risky. So even the RMP was a political choice out of the options that were on the table at the time.That the RMP requires extensive survey work and then implementation trials is part of what the IWC accepted. How long such trials would take I don't know, as it depends on what species data already exists and whether the survey data is suitable for the assessment process. I am sure there are more knowledgeable heads out there on this issue but I'll try and find out more to try and give your question the answer it deserves.My concern at the fast track approach of the current discussions is that the IWC's history of short-term 'temporary solutions' appear always to turn into long-term 'solutions' – Borrowing from an older and wiser head, I suggest that people try and remember what happened with the NMP and the setting of 'block quotas', and the making of 'interim' classifications of stocks! Even more recently we have seen 'political quotas' such as Norway's 1052 minke whale quota of 2006 as 'set' by the Norwegian Government further to the demands of their whalers.I suggest that 'fixes' are not the way to solve the commercial whaling issue or the threat of climate change. Simon-swede says @23, that 'the science is controversial and hampered by considerable uncertainties and data gaps' and that it 'is in reality fraught with complexity'. I would also have to agree that 'any quick fix solution that papers over the disagreements will not be effective'. I would also agree that climate change is an issue affecting all of us (well all of us who accept it as real) and we are all stakeholders in that debate. But I would also suggest that whales belong to all of us, if they belong to anyone at all, and as such we are also stakeholders in their utilization, even if any changes in their survival may not affect us so directly or immediately as climate change could. Some commentators suggest that losing large-scale predators from the oceans could cause dramatic affects on the biota, but that’s another debate…The contrast with the climate change debate is also pertinent especially when the pro-whaling interests have consistently argued against looking at such issues in relation to whale conservation. When pro-conservation delegates have argued that the IWC should also consider anthropogenic threats to whales, such as the impact of climate change on whales and what this might mean for any future whaling, the suggestion has been vehemently opposed by those whose sole interest is in maintaining a commercial whaling industry. The RMP has been suggested to be 'robust' to environmental threats (not everyone agrees with this); that is, it would give a quota that should not impede or accelerate any recovery or loss of a population of whales over a period that quotas would be allocated. However, the RMP was developed before our recent knowledge of climate change was anywhere near its current levels. Borrowing from a recent paper on climate change and cetaceans I would suggest that the debate on climate change would indicate that we will need to be much swifter in our actions and reactions to emerging developments and changes as they arise. We will also need to be more precautionary, reducing other pressures on populations where possible, and more responsive as new information becomes available. For example, if cetaceans change their distributions and establish new critical habitat areas conservation and management efforts will have to move with them. Given that the 'robustness' or resilience of populations will likely affect their ability to survive the impacts of climate change (potentially in combination with other factors), consideration needs to be given to maintaining such resilience. The focus of much conservation work has historically been on critically endangered species, however attention must also be given to ensuring that other species and populations remain robust and resilient to the changes that are predicted to occur throughout the marine biome. (Simmonds and Eliott, 2009)So, where would some 'ad-hoc' system of political quotas fit in this debate? It would take us back some half a century at the IWC. Would those countries advocating these 'intermediate solutions' be in for the long haul and be ready to overturn their 'political fix’ if it goes badly wrong, or would they turn their backs on the issue because of the political pressures of overturning their compromise solution.Having significantly reduced the biomass of whales over the last century, climate change may actually mean that we may have to see massive recoveries in existing populations to ensure that these or any populations stand a chance of surviving any changes we are undergoing. At the very least the IWC should be taking the additional threats to whales into consideration, rather than just ripping up the last twenty years of discussions because some countries don’t wish to play by the rules any more.And as to Richard's comment that he is 'not advocating any approach to the whaling issue', - of course I accept that is not his intention. However, as has been recently discussed on the BBC (I refer to Stephen Mitchell, Deputy Director of BBC News and Head of Multimedia Programmes, speaking on the 14th March), it is now apparent that respected journalists can be opinion formers - even if that was not the intent. Blogs are not the same as edited pieces for broadcast or print, but can be even more persuasive because they may allow for more exposition and interpretation. I would not underestimate the power of your pen (or keyboard) in helping to shape this debate. Sun 15 Mar 2009 17:30:01 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=63#comment23 To simon-swede #23:Nice post - very reasonable.The very 'reasonableness' of our political processes is now a detriment to concerted action."Crystallization of a new order of civilization into an uncreative minority of powers that be leads to deterioration and ultimate collapse, despite the efforts of creative saviors."- Arnold Toynbee, "A Study of History", (1961)\\\ Understand and Protect ///- Manysummits, B.Sc. Sun 15 Mar 2009 15:21:54 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=61#comment22 Given all the attention and comment that Richard’s blogs attract whenever they mention climate, I expected more readers to take up his invitation to highlight their views on papers from the Copenhagen conference. But perhaps I should not have been surprised, and Richard’s piece may actually point to one of the reasons – the sheer range of scales and linkages implicit and explicit in any serious debate about climate change and related policy. These pose real challenges for people to engage, requiring one to simultaneously consider the intricate details of science and policy responses. It’s a bit like presenting someone with sheaves of data on diet and a range of not fully understood impacts of certain medication on gut microfauna and asking them to immediately derive a long-term public health response to global nutrition needs.The contrast between the climate policy debate and with whaling would appear marked. But is it? The issues in play in the whaling debate appear less complex – with apologies for those engaged with the complexities of whaling and the IWC process. To an outsider, by comparison to climate it is a rather discrete set of problems and issues, with a narrower range of potential policy responses, and there appears to be less at stake with a rather smaller cast of actors, and a smaller audience that feels potentially engaged or threatened by the decisions. Even so, navigating a path through the arguments and finding a reasonable solution – by which I mean one that is effective, not one that is simply a lowest common denominator - is proving difficult for those involved with the whaling issue. It turns out that the science is controversial and hampered by considerable uncertainties and data gaps. So too are the policy debates. Despite the attempts to bridge gaps in attitudes and perceptions, delegations appear to remain well apart on key issues. It has been suggested that bringing in the so-called big guns might move the process forward, but it is difficult to see how agreement will be possible even then, when the basis for action and decisions remains unresolved to the extent which currently appears to be the case. Its like a Mandelbrot set – look at it closer and the more details become apparent. So even an issue such as whaling, that might appear from the outside to be rather straight-forward, is in reality fraught with complexity. And if the negotiations around whaling are like a game of chess - to borrow Richard’s phrase – then the negotiations on climate are like multiple parallel games of 3-D chess, with different participants, being played in different arenas, over different time-scales, according to differing sets of rules and with no agreement yet on what are the prizes or the costs of losing. I have no quick solution to those challenges. However I found my thinking about them was helped considerably by some of the concepts and tools developed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, conducted between 2001 and 2005. The goals of this project were to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and to establish the basis for actions needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their contributions to human welfare. There were a host of materials produced by this project, but one of the most eye-opening for me was a publication called Bridging Scales and Knowledge Systems. This looked at concepts and applications in ecosystem assessment, in particular how to combine information from multiple scales and obtained from different knowledge systems. Doing so effectively may contribute to more complete understanding of the challenges and better translation of assessments into effective policy strategies for addressing global environmental change. It is not just about what data we collect, but how we combine it into assessments, frame the issues and take decision. For what it is worth, my opinion on teh current whaling debate is that any quick fix solution that papers over the disagreements will not be effective. There is a need first to gain agreement on the basis for action before the genuinely needed tradeoffs can be made. So any consensus on a package of policy responses is likely to be possible only over an extended time-frame, rather than by the Madeira meeting. To argue that an agreement must be achieved by Madeira is counter-productive. Hence the welcome reception to the signal by the US administration that it is seeking progress now but, if necessary, it is committed to continuing the process beyond the Madeira meeting. Sun 15 Mar 2009 13:10:43 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=58#comment21 Editorial - New Scientist; Feb 28, 2009: "... if the world warms by an average of just 4 deg C ... most of Europe, the US and Australia as well as all of Africa and China will actually be uninhabitable - too hot, dry or stormy to sustain a human population." ... Plan " B " [is geoengineering]. Response - Ken Caldeira, ("Anthropogenic carbon and ocean pH", Nature; Sep 25, 2003): "Only fools find joy in the prospect of climate engineering".\\\ Understand and Protect ///- Manysummits, B.Sc Sun 15 Mar 2009 11:53:24 GMT+1 Richard Black (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=55#comment20 Just a quick one to clear up any confusion - WDCSCBS, I'm not advocating any approach to the whaling issue, just pointing out that there appears to be clash of timescales here - the political momentum is for an early fix, whereas I'm told it could take years to develop a coastal whaling quota through the RMP, mainly because of the sighting survey work needed. If you think I'm wrong on that, please comment. Sun 15 Mar 2009 08:49:49 GMT+1 TJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=52#comment19 As a project/program manager I thought I could make a stab at:Session 42 Adaptation And Climate Risk Insurance Session 43 Integrating Climate Change into Global SustainabilityI was pleasantly surprised to see the phrase ‘climate change’ used in this context as it fits very well instead of ‘global warming’. If this was the reason for changing I would fully support the change.I was also pleasantly surprised to see the risk impacts majoring on societal changes as population and infrastructure increases.The mitigation strategies were also strong and gave some good foundational guidance on how to develop them.There were very few references to actual warming or carbon. One headline contained: "viewpoints of low-carbon, material cycle and ecosystem". Although mentioned first in the title I had to read to the very bottom to find a small reference to it. This was repeated in several papers where the headline did not rationally support the article contents (may be a little of my bias creeping in here!!). What also pleased me was to see that all of these papers could be adapted for any ‘climate change’ (cooling incl.). I was very encouraged that we have this level of thinking in place.The weak piece was predicting the probability of likely events. It seems to be based on computer models which take IPCC as their base. Anybody who reads Richards post will know my position on these so I will not go further.In conclusion I felt much more comfortable that folks are looking at "climate change" in the context I have written. We are prepared to act but the big, big question is which way to plan for. That is very weak in my opinion.Never done anything like this on a blog before so be gentle if you feel like commenting :)Cheers...... Sun 15 Mar 2009 05:43:48 GMT+1 dansat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=50#comment18 I noticed the biofuel papers. The general public thinks all biofuels are good and has little knowledge of the destruction happening in Indonesia. (Well here in the States they have little idea). The paper touting "A possible way forward" might be worthy of more attention.Dan in Alabama Sun 15 Mar 2009 05:27:42 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=47#comment17 To WDCSCBS @ #13, thanks! Sat 14 Mar 2009 22:13:29 GMT+1 rmack43 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=44#comment16 Why we need to be concerned:More scientific studies and further meetings to debate whether or not there is need to act is not what is required here.There is clearly a problem with both of these issues and the only meetings required are how to take action.It is human nature to want to avoid at all possible costs the need to deal with an issue that will mean some sacrifice of doing “business as usual”.Two of the Webster's dictionary definitions of intelligent are “clever” and “wise”.The Webster's dictionary definition of civilized is “brought or come out of a primitive or savage condition to a higher level of social organization”.Regarding the issues of climate change and killing whales, we have certainly shown that we are “clever” in the sense that we have avoided taking the appropriate actions. But I don't think we can claim to be “wise” in any sense of the word.It has been established by eminent scientist around the world beyond any doubt for most individuals that we have at least contributed to climate change and that action to stop our participation in it is long overdue.The killing of whales is no less obviously wrong and any more debate or scientific studies will not change that fact. We do not need whales as a food source! These are intelligent and social creatures and just because we don't understand their language and we are not willing to acknowledge their right to live freely on this planet does not change those facts.It is humans that need to change and change for the benefit of themselves regardless of the benefits it would have on the other life forms with which we share this planet.Contributing to climate change and killing whales for any reason are clearly wrong. But if we wish to be called intelligent in the sense of “wise” and not just “clever” and if we wish to be called civilized in the sense of “come out of primitive or savage conditions” then we must acknowledge the correct choices without further debate and take corrective action. Sat 14 Mar 2009 21:28:22 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=41#comment15 The only person in the media to report properly on the ICCC (not to be confused with the political IPCC) is Christopher Booker. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/4990704/Nobody-listens-to-the-real-climate-change-experts.html?state=error#postacomment.Hurray for some media sanity. Sat 14 Mar 2009 19:51:35 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=38#comment14 I haven't got the time to look at the reports (too busy fighting those environmental disasters known as wind farms - did you know that over 3,000 2 MW wind turbines are needed to produce the same amount of power as one modern nuclear power station? And the wind turbines would extend over 200 sq miles, assuming there weren't too many people in the way, whereas the nuclear power station would cover about 60 acres. Of course you still need to build power stations for when the wind doesn't blow), but I would like to see the evidence for the statement "key trends are happening so fast that the worst-case scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report are in danger of being realised". The rate of sea level rise isn't increasing from the rate it has been rising for hundreds of years. The ice caps are not melting (in fact the Antarctic ice is growing). Global temperatures have not irisen in over 10 years and in fact are falling. The PDO has gone into its cooling mode and is likely to stay that way for about 30 years. And the sun seems to have completely run out of sunspots. Please will somebody tell me what trends are worse than the IPCC report. It's not computer model trends is it? Sat 14 Mar 2009 19:34:33 GMT+1 CuckooToo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=36#comment13 @manysummiitsyou're are clearly intelligent, manysummits, but only reading books and articles by alarmists doesn't give a balanced view, please mansummits take a little time to read some alternative viewsstart here:http://www.heartland.org/events/NewYork09/proceedings.htmland read this http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/13/scafetta-paper-increasing-tsi-between-1980-and-2000-could-have-contributed-significantly-to-global-warming-during-the-last-three-decades/#more-6194 Sat 14 Mar 2009 17:45:00 GMT+1 WDCSCBS http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=33#comment12 simon-swede asked about the actual definitions of ‘coastal’ areas that is under discussion. This is one of the significant problems in the current discussions. What is defined as coastal?I have to admit I don't know if there is any clear definition of coastal in anyone's mind at the moment. Some commentators have already indicated that whilst the current ICRW covers all waters where whaling takes place, any attempt to dictate the creation of a definition of ‘coastal’ that infringes the concept of the EEZ at 200 miles may be highly challengeable. Even countries that want to limit whaling may find themselves having to advocate that any restriction should only be limited to 200 miles so as not to compromise their own fisheries rights. Whether countries are also willing to have international regulation (as any such proposal would require) within an area that would lie within an EEZ is also open to question. I don't know any of this for certain, but I simply raise the specter of such debate to lay this issue open.As to any potential limitation of coastal whaling being limited to ‘the coastal whaling stations and communities concerned, and whaling stocks within those areas’, this creates even more political problems. The IWC Schedule only refers to ‘land station operations and ‘small-type whaling’ as, ‘means catching operations using powered vessels with mounted harpoon guns hunting exclusively for minke, bottlenose, beaked, pilot or killer whales.‘ If we examine the what Japan calls its coastal whaling, two of the four towns claimed by Japan to have suffered because of the moratorium have no history of conducting small type whaling of minke whales in their coastal waters; the other two only began 60-70 years ago. The four towns have commercially hunted Baird’s beaked whales and pilot whales since before the Moratorium and now kill Risso’s dolphins too, sharing vessels and crew. Indeed their whaling, processing and distribution operations are run by a single commercial whaling company based in Ayukawa.There is only one coastal minke whale population in Japan on which the IWC’s Scientific Committee could potentially recommend a five-year quota; off the coast of Ayukawa, but only if the science indicates that the ‘stock’ is robust enough for the RMP to be applied. Any ad-hoc scheme may push any precautionary approach aside for political expediency.Since 2002, three of the four so-called STW towns have been hunting minke whales off Ayukawa, not their own coasts; participating in the coastal component of Japan’s Scientific Whaling programme in the North Pacific (JARPN). The JARPN hunt is not regulated by the IWC and the meat is commercially distributed across Japan, including to the other three STW towns. The same STW vessels, crews and operators could hunt, land and process minke whale meat in Ayukawa under JARPN and the IWC’s compromise proposal at the same time. It is not clear how Japan or the IWC will distinguish the two operations to ensure that the new hunt is subject to international regulation.So, to the best of my knowledge, there does not appear to be any definition of ‘coastal’ in play at the moment. The Japanese towns and cities in question cannot be used to define which stocks or whale populations should be hunted and so by default define what might be meant as ‘coastal’, and there is real concern as to what countries will actually interpret as ‘coastal’ in relation to not setting a precedent for their own non-whale fisheries.Confused, you’re not the only one! Before this carnival began, there was a process in play at the IWC; for good or bad, the RMP had been worked up by the IWC Scientific Committee and the Commission had decided it could not be used until a full and enforceable international regulation system was in place (the RMS). Norway, Iceland and Japan didn't like the process, so they ratcheted up their whaling activities (despite not having the markets for the increased hunts) and someone decided to cry, 'the IWC is collapsing', - and the answer of those who panicked was to come up with this 'compromise' approach. But this is the problem of trying to solve a major international problem such as commercial whaling through taking a random list of "problems", which are not mutually exclusive. Such a chaotic approach is practically certain to be exploited by the unscrupulous who will get much of what they want by default as the pro-conservation countries tire and are slowly battered down by those who continue to cry that the 'IWC is broken' and can only be mended by giving into a resumption of commercial whaling. Sat 14 Mar 2009 17:35:32 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=30#comment11 "I don't know exactly how the heroes will gather and how they will alter the course of the planet's future... except that it will have to do with carbon dioxide concentrations."- Alanna Mitchell; "Sea Sick - The Global Ocean in Crisis" (2009)\\\To understand and protect ///- From Calgary - Sat 14 Mar 2009 16:40:19 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=27#comment10 Hello from Calgary Sat 14 Mar 2009 13:17:05 GMT+1 Beejay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=25#comment9 "You'll probably have seen the stories on sea levels rising and ocean acidification that my colleagues David Shukman and Roger Harrabin wrote earlier in the week, and Matt McGrath's story on what you might call the main conference outcome - a call to action by the scientists organising the meeting, saying that key trends are happening so fast that the worst-case scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report are in danger of being realised." Find D.Shukman, R.Harrabin and M.McGrath something to do that does not relate to their [and the BBC in general] present obsession with inaccurate Global Alarmist Propaganda. Scientific facts and independent peer reviewed presentations would give a balance so far absent from any BBC publication. Sat 14 Mar 2009 11:28:27 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=22#comment8 A question to WDCSCBS @ #8Your note implies that coastal whaling could be taken to mean that done in a zone that extends up to a 200 mile EEZ limit. I would have thought that coastal would be restricted to some fraction of this distance?In addition, I imagine that some constraints that might be involved would include proximity to the coastal whaling stations and communities concerned, and whaling stocks within those areas.I realise that what is being discussed as a possible compromise at the IWC is, at this stage at least, more political than legal or technical, but is there some indication of what is meant by the term coastal in this context? Sat 14 Mar 2009 10:32:15 GMT+1 WDCSCBS http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=19#comment7 Richard, you say 'So how are IWC scientists going to set that quota - according to the comprehensive but laborious process (the Revised Management Procedure) developed over many years, or via some more ad-hoc but much quicker sums?To achieve anything at the Madeira meeting, it'll have to be the latter.'And this is where I believe your advocacy is off key. The Revised Management Procedure (RMP) may not suit many of us, conservationists or whalers, but to suggest that the IWC should tear up years of negotiation to help achieve a resumption of commercial whaling via some 'ad-hoc' system for giving quotas could spell disaster.The RMP may, or may not, give quotas for Japanese coastal waters (and that’s a lot of water for its industrial fleet to operate in – just look at a map of Japan and draw a 200 mile zone around it), but your suggestion may lead to political quotas being created to 'suit' the drive of governments and advocates of the 'compromise' to 'make this issue go away'. But some political quota system (similar to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) wrangling maybe?) may well lead to the degradation in populations of whales around the coast of Japan which are already compromised by environmental threats and, in the case of the J stock that mixes indistinguishably with the potential target minke whale population, are already critically endangered.Just because people say the IWC is failing because they are not getting what they, the whalers want, does not mean that one should start to dismantle it for them.So as Korea jumps on the bandwagon for a quota, and your 'ad hoc' quota system legitimizes Icelandic and Norwegian whaling (these two countries, by the way, don't seem to be included in any 'solution' for Japan, but why should they worry if commercial whaling and their years of thumbing their noses to international regulation, are endorsed) its interesting that you then go on to illustrate how dangerous climate change is wrecking havoc with our environment. So whilst the whales have to deal with the dangerous impacts of climate change, in the IWC lets just throw science and animal welfare out the window and let some of us kill them directly as well; why? - to serve some idealistic political aim. Yeah, that sounds sensible. Sat 14 Mar 2009 09:28:01 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=16#comment6 Fun suggestion Richard! Here’s my tuppence’s worth…I looked at session 14, on the differential effects of climate change on human health and well-being. I chose two abstracts, one by Colin Butler (Australia), which was focused on how climate change could impact negatively on agricultural production and nutrition (14:05) and one by Kirk Smith (USA) looking at possible synergies between climate mitigation efforts and human health promotion (14:12). It is hard to evaluate how much new ground either paper might break, given that only the abstracts are available so far. My impression is that both papers are more in the form of “reviews” of existing work rather than presenting new data. I think they are of interest, because of the way in which they synthesise different linkages between impacts (one in a negative direction; one in a positive direction) and attempt to indicate the significance to policy makers.Butler acknowledges that there are competing views concerning the magnitude and distribution of the impact of climate change upon global agricultural production, just as there is a spectrum of views concerning the degree of climatic change likely by 2100. He acknowledges that climate change is likely to play only a small role in the current deterioration to the global food system. So – those are the caveats, where is the news? Firstly, he argues that the most recent data suggest an undesirable acceleration to both the causes and consequences of global climate change and a worsening of global food security. Moreover, the phenomena of accelerating climate change and worsening food security are likely to be causally related, and this suggests a further increase in hunger, possibly substantial, is plausible, and perhaps even probable. There is thus a risk of an increase in the burden of global under-nutrition which needs to be addressed through public health and social policy measures which are currently being given inadequate attention in the context of climate change mitigation.Smith argues that there may be simultaneous cost-effective benefits to be gained from climate mitigation and health promotion actions. He lists a variety of general categories where he considers actions are most likely to achieve significant levels of benefits of both types – co-benefits – and argues that these provide no-regrets investment opportunities that also would help to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries by providing a means to secure near-term development benefits together with longer-term reduction in climate change risk. One might argue about the categories he identifies, but the approach of identifying possible synergies and arguing for the explicit recognition of the potential simultaneous impacts of measures in more than one area of policy over different time-frames is to be welcomed. Sat 14 Mar 2009 09:00:20 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=13#comment5 That's very interesting news from Copenhagen. It seems many think things are at IPCC 'worst case scenario' levels.- From Calgary - Sat 14 Mar 2009 01:50:08 GMT+1 londonjimi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=11#comment4 Living in a city I picked out a couple of pieces on cities. "Changing groundwater levels jeopardizing the supply, quality of groundwater and ground stability" pointed out problems where water levels may not be high enough to flood but could cause drainage and sewage systems to fail polluting the ground water in coastal cities. Rising water tables also cause problems for building foundations but the main thrust of the short piece seemed to be a call for more research rather than having any real conclusions - simply put we don't know and it isn't urgent."Effects of cities on the local climate and the relationship with climate change mitigation and adaptation" was more of a concern to me, city temperatures can average 5 C higher than the local area, with many people living in cities and cities expanding and cities having their own little green house gas greenhouse thing going on we could see some terrible heat waves which would raise air-con expense (and ironically carbon) and cost the lives of vulnerable people. I just hate heat waves, one of them broke my computer and the heat knocks me out and I can't afford (nor would I really want to expend carbon on) proper air conditioning. Sat 14 Mar 2009 01:19:45 GMT+1 britononthemitten http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=8#comment3 What a refreshing change Richard's approach is when compared to the usual alarmist nonsense we have to endure from his colleagues?It instills confidence in his writing to know to know Richard realises he can't be an expert on everything. Fri 13 Mar 2009 23:46:36 GMT+1 Maurizio Morabito http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=5#comment2 Thank you Richard for pointing out that it's not just doom-and-gloom from Copenhagen.For a far more serious report than Shukman's on what is known about rising sea levels, I recommend this article published in German on the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (hardly your average climate-skeptical newspaper):[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]For those that cannot read German...try the Google translator!! 8-) Fri 13 Mar 2009 21:25:35 GMT+1 TJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=2#comment1 Love the headline. I took a bet with myself on what the posting was going to say and I won!!I'm no expert reviewer of scietific papers but I will take a look over the weekend.Have a good one...... Fri 13 Mar 2009 19:52:14 GMT+1 mrgrump http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/03/at_the_beginning_of_the.html?page=0#comment0 Richard,The only items picked out by BBC News from the Copenhagen Conference, was a piece about sea level rise being far worse than thought, and acidification of the sea.The presentation of both was Alarmist, why was this so, or is it just the old journalistic nonsense of don't let the facts interfere with a good story.David Shukmans item on sea level rise was misleading, over the top, sensational journalisim, and gave no background or evidence on why this theoretical prediction might happen, and that it is a very small minority of scientists who think like this. I noted only one fact in the whole of his piece, that was that sea levels were rising at the rate of 2-3mm per year as they have done so for hundreds of years.The illustrative example of a Train nearly being washed away at Dawlish, Devon is a joke! Brunel built that piece of the railway in the sea below high tide mark, on a fast eroding coastline, a magnificent feat of civil engineering, but from the day it was built it has always suffered from flooding.The other example of the Coast of East Anglia puzzles me, as that part of the Coast is only dry because we made it so by draining the Marshes!In both cases it is true that the sea will eventually win and wash away our puny existence, but this will happen whether Climate Change happens or not.The acidification piece was a puzzle, and I am still trying to find an explanation, scientific or otherwise, that explains how volcanic acidfication of the sea is in any way comparable to atmospheric acidification of the sea, can you help with a reference, or did you just make it up?In short, my advice to you all at the BBC would be if you want to report on News generated at scientific conferences I suggest you learn a little about science and a little Geography might help. Fri 13 Mar 2009 19:42:44 GMT+1