Earlier today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its summary report for policymakers on the effects of global warming and nobody can accuse these scientists of being optimists. There were a few good news things but as whole the report spelled out mostly a future of gloom and doom. The most gloomy prospects were for the poor, particularly for those poverty-stricken people living in Africa and Southeast Asia. No continent escaped the pessimistic forecast. The report added many details on why pumping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide can be viewed as a foolish experiment on a global scale which will lead to dire consequences almost everywhere. We have pretty much known this for the last 20 years. But the level of certainty has increased.
The main good news, if you can call it that, is that it is believed that there still is time to avoid the worst. The next report from the IPCC which will be issued on May 7 will explain how to do it. Whether right wing politicians in the United States will continue to attack the science or finally concede the obvious that these scientists with all their sophisticated equipment and methods for studying nature really know what they are talking about remains perhaps the biggest question.