Fixing the regulatory framework to incentivize offshore wind would offset enough emissions to slow catastrophic warming - extinction, methane release, diseases, crop yields, conflict multiplier¶ THALER 12 Visiting Professor of Energy Policy, Law & Ethics, University of Maine School of Law and School of Economics [Jeff Thaler, FIDDLING AS THE WORLD BURNS: HOW CLIMATE CHANGE URGENTLY REQUIRES A PARADIGM SHIFT IN THE PERMITTING OF RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS, University of Maine School of Law September 17, 2012 Environmental Law, Volume 42, Issue 4, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2148122] ¶ This is not an Article debating whether twenty first century climate change is likely, very likely, or primarily caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases; how much global temperatures will rise by various dates; or whether to choose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. This Article also will not debate whether and how much to decrease subsidies of fossil fuel energy sources or increase those for renewable energy sources. This Article instead will start with the oft-stated goal of increasing domestic and international reliance upon carbon-emission-free renewable energy sources3 while decreasing use of fossil fuel energy sources,4 and ask the question few have addressed concretely: how can we more quickly achieve that goal to slow the devastating effects of increasing greenhouse gases, if we do not first tackle the significant barriers posed by the outdated and often self-defeating maze of regulatory requirements? The need to act is urgent if we are to make sufficient and timely progress toward reduced fossil fuel reliance.¶ To best understand the urgency, Part II begins with a look at our current fossil and renewable energy mix in the generation of electricity,5 and then reviews the current and predicted climate change impacts on our energy choices. At stake are several hundred billion dollars of climate change–related damages each year just in the United States—from farming, fishing, and forestry industries increasingly harmed by changing temperature and precipitation patterns,6 to coastlines and cities progressively more threatened by rising sea levels.7 The business and insurance sectors have been hit by a growing number of extreme weather events (most recently Hurricane Sandy),8 public health is increasingly threatened by disease and mortality from our over-reliance on fossil fuels and from their resulting emissions,9 and U.S. national security is increasingly at risk from having to protect more foreign sources of fossil fuels and from resource-related conflicts resulting in more violence and displaced persons.10¶ Unfortunately, as the economic and health costs from fossil fuel emissions have grown, so too has the byzantine labyrinth of laws and regulations to be navigated before a renewable energy project can be approved, let alone financed and developed.11 The root cause goes back to the 1970s when some of our fundamental environmental laws were enacted—before we were aware of climate change threats—so as to slow down the review of proposed projects by requiring more studies of potential project impacts before approval.12 But in our increasingly carbon-based tweny first century, we need a paradigm shift. While achieving important goals, those federal laws and regulations, and similar ones at the state and local levels, have become so unduly burdensome, slow, and expensive that they will chill investment in—and kill any significant growth of—renewable carbon-free energy sources and projects, thereby imposing huge economic, environmental, and social costs upon both our country and the world unless they are substantially changed.13 Indeed, by 2050 the U.S. must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to even stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon, and can do so by increasing generated electricity from renewable sources from the current 13% up to 80%,14 but only if there are new targeted policy efforts to accelerate—fifty times faster than since 1990— implementation of clean, renewable energy sources.15¶ Thus, Part III focuses on one promising technology to demonstrate the flaws in current licensing permitting regimes, and makes concrete recommendations for reform.16 Wind power generation from onshore installations is proven technology, generates no greenhouse gases, consumes no water,17 is increasingly cost-competitive with most fossil fuel sources,18 and can be deployed relatively quickly in many parts of the United States and the world.19 Offshore wind power is a relatively newer technology, especially deep-water floating projects, and is presently less cost-competitive than onshore wind.20 However, because wind speeds are on average about 90% stronger and more consistent over water than over land, with higher power densities and lower shear and turbulence,21 America’s offshore resources can provide more than its current electricity use.22 Moreover, since these resources are near many major population centers that drive electricity demand, their exploitation would “reduc[e] the need for new high-voltage transmission from the Midwest and Great Plains to serve coastal lands.”23 Therefore, in light of Part III’s spotlight on literally dozens of different federal (let alone state and local) statutes and their hundreds of regulations standing between an offshore wind project applicant and construction, Part IV makes concrete statutory and regulatory recommendations to more quickly enable the full potential of offshore wind energy to become a reality before it is too late.¶ II. OUR ENERGY USE AND ITS RESULTANT CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS¶ A. Overview¶ Greenhouse gases (GHGs) trap heat in the atmosphere.24 The primary GHG emitted by human activities is carbon dioxide (CO2), which in 2010 represented 84% of all human-sourced GHG emissions in the U.S.25 “The combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity is the largest single source of CO2 emissions in the nation, accounting for about 40% of total U.S. CO2 emissions and 33% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2009.”26 Beginning with the 1750 Industrial Revolution, atmospheric concentrations of GHGs have significantly increased with greater use of fossil fuels—which has in turn caused our world to warm and the climate to change.27 In fact, climate change may be the single greatest threat to human society and wildlife, as well as to the ecosystems upon which each depends for survival.28¶ In 1992, the U.S. signed and ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the stated objective of which was:¶ [To achieve] stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.29¶ In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it is “very likely”—at least 90% certain—that humans are responsible for most of the “unequivocal” increases in globally averaged temperatures of the previous fifty years.30¶ Yet in the twenty years since the UNFCCC, it also is unequivocal that GHG levels have not stabilized but continue to grow, ecosystems and food production have not been able to adapt, and our heavy reliance on fossil fuels perpetuates “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”31 Equally unequivocal is that 2011 global temperatures were “the tenth highest on record and [were] higher than any previous year with a La Nina event, which [normally] has a relative cooling influence.”32 The warmest thirteen years of average global temperatures also “have all occurred in the [fifteen] years since 1997.”33 Global emissions of carbon dioxide also jumped 5.9% in 2010—500 million extra tons of carbon was pumped into the air—“the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution [began in 1750], and the largest percentage increase since 2003.”34¶ In order to even have a fifty-fifty chance that the average global temperature will not rise more than 2°C 35 beyond the temperature of 1750,36 our cumulative emissions of CO2 after 1750 must not exceed one trillion tons. However, by mid-October 2012 we had already emitted over 561 billion tons, and at current rates, we will emit the trillionth ton in June 2043.37 The consequence is that members of “the current generation are uniquely placed in human history: the choices we make now—in the next 10–20 years—will alter the destiny of our species (let alone every other species) unalterably, and forever.”38 Unfortunately by the end of 2011, the more than 10,000 government and U.N. officials from all over the world attending the Durban climate change conference39 agreed that there is a “significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”40¶ What are some of the growing economic, public health, and environmental costs to our country proximately caused41 by our daily burning of fossil fuels? The National Research Council (NRC) recently analyzed the “hidden” costs of energy production and use not reflected in market prices of coal, oil, and other energy sources, or in the prices of electricity and gasoline produced from them.42 For the year 2005 alone, the NRC estimated $120 billion of damages to the U.S. from fossil fuel energy production and use, reflecting primarily health damages from air pollution associated with electricity generation and motor vehicle transportation.43 Of that total, $62 billion was due to coal-fired electricity generation;44 $56 billion from ground transportation (oil-petroleum);45 and over $2.1 billion from electricity generation and heating with natural gas.46 The $120 billion figure did not include damages from climate change, harm to ecosystems and infrastructure, insurance costs, effects of some air pollutants, and risks to national security, which the NRC examined but did not specifically monetize.47 The NRC did, however, suggest that under some scenarios, climate damages from energy use could equal $120 billion.48 Thus, adding infrastructure and ecosystem damages, insurance costs, air pollutant costs, and fossil-fueled national security costs to reach a total of $240 billion, it becomes clear that fossil consumption costs Americans almost $300 billion each year49—a “hidden” number likely to be larger in the future.¶ What does the future hold for a carbon-stressed world? Most scientific analyses presently predict that by 2050 the Earth will warm by 2–2.5°C due to the rising level of GHGs in the atmosphere; at the high-end of projections, the 2050 warming could exceed 4.5°C.50 But those increases are not consistent globally; rather, “n all possible [predicted] outcomes, the warming over land would be roughly twice the global average, and the warming in the Arctic greater still.”51¶ For example, the NRC expects that each degree Celsius increase will produce double to quadruple the area burned by wildfires in the western United States, a 5%–15% reduction in crop yields, more destructive power from hurricanes, greater risk of very hot summers, and more changes in precipitation frequency and amounts.52 Globally, a summary of studies predicts that at a 1°C global average temperature rise would reduce Arctic sea ice by an annual average of 15% and by 25% in the month of September;53 at 2°C Europe suffers greater heat waves, the Greenland Ice Sheet significantly melts, and many land and marine species are driven to extinction;54 at 3°C the Amazon suffers severe drought and resultant firestorms that will release significantly more carbon into the atmosphere;55 at 4°C hundreds of billions of tons of carbon in permafrost melts, releasing methane in immense quantities, while the Arctic Ocean ice cap disappears and Europe suffers greater droughts.56¶ To presently assess what a 5°C rise will mean, we must look back into geological time, 55 million years ago, when the Earth abruptly experienced dramatic global warming due to the release of methane hydrates—a substance presently found on subsea continental shelves.57 Fossils demonstrate that crocodiles were in the Canadian high Arctic along with rain forests of dawn redwood, and the Arctic Ocean saw water temperatures of 20°C within 200 km of the North Pole itself.58 And a 6°C average rise takes us even further back—to the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago—when up to 95% of species relatively abruptly became extinct.59 This may sound extreme, but the International Energy Agency warned this year that the 6°C mark is in reach by 2050 at current rates of fossil fuel usage.60 However, even given the severity of these forecasts, many still question the extent to which our climate is changing,61 and thus reject moving away from our largely fossil-fueled electricity, transportation, and heating sources. Therefore, in this next subsection I provide the latest scientific data documenting specific climate impacts to multiple parts of the U.S. and global daily lives, and the costly consequences that establish the urgency for undertaking the major regulatory reforms I recommend in Part IV of this Article.¶ B. Specific Climate Threats and Consequences¶ 1. When Weather Extremes Increase¶ A 2011 IPCC Special Report predicted that:¶ It is virtually certain [99–100% probability] that increases in the frequency of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur throughout the 21st century on a global scale. It is very likely [90–100% probability] that heat waves will increase in length, frequency, and/or intensity over most land areas. . . . It is very likely that average sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme sea levels in extreme coastal high water levels.62¶ Similarly, a House of Representatives committee report (ACESA Report) found that “[t]here is a broad scientific consensus that the United States is vulnerable to weather hazards that will be exacerbated by climate change.”63 It also found that the “cost of damages from weather disasters has increased markedly from the 1980s, rising to more than 100 billion dollars in 2007. In addition to a rise in total cost, the frequency of weather disasters costing more than one billion dollars has increased.”64 In 2011, the U.S. faced the most billion-dollar climate disasters ever, with fourteen distinct disasters alone costing at least $54 billion to our economy.65 In the first six months of 2012 in the U.S., there were more than 40,000 hot temperature records, horrendous wildfires, major droughts, oppressive heat waves, major flooding, and a powerful derecho wind storm, followed in August by Hurricane Isaac ($2 billion damages), and in October by Hurricane Sandy ($50 billion damages).66¶ The IPCC Synthesis identified impacts from growing weather hazards upon public health to include: more frequent and more intense heat waves; more people suffering death, disease, and injury from floods, storms, fires, and droughts; increased cardio-respiratory morbidity and mortality associated with ground-level ozone pollution; changes in the range of some infectious disease carriers spreading, for example, malaria and the West Nile virus; and increased malnutrition and consequent disorders.67 The NRC Hidden Costs of Energy report’s damage assessment concluded that the vast majority of the $120 billion per year were based on health damages,68 including an additional 10,000–20,000 deaths per year.69 By 2050, cumulative additional heat-related deaths from unabated climate change are predicted to be roughly 33,000 in the forty largest U.S. cities, with more than 150,000 additional deaths by 2100.70¶ Weather extremes also threaten our national security, which is premised on stability. In 2007, the CNA Corporation’s report National Security and the Threat of Climate Change described climate change as a “threat multiplier for instability” and warned that:¶ Projected climate change poses a serious threat to America’s national security. The predicted effects of climate change over the coming decades include extreme weather events, drought, flooding, sea level rise, retreating glaciers, habitat shifts, and the increased spread of life-threatening diseases. These conditions have the potential to disrupt our way of life and to force changes in the way we keep ourselves safe and secure.71¶ The following year, in the first ever U.S. government analysis of climate change security threats, the National Intelligence Council issued an assessment warning, in part, that climate change could threaten U.S. security by leading to political instability, mass movements of refugees, terrorism, and conflicts over water and other resources.72¶ 2. When Frozen Water Melts¶ In 2007, the IPCC predicted that sea levels would rise by eight to twenty-four inches above current levels by 2100;73 since then, however, numerous scientists and studies have suggested that the 2007 prediction is already out-of-date and that sea levels will likely rise up to 1.4 meters (m), or 55 inches, given upwardly trending CO2 emissions.74 The 2009 ACESA Report found that rising sea levels are:¶ [A]lready causing inundation of low-lying lands, corrosion of wetlands and beaches, exacerbation of storm surges and flooding, and increases in the salinity of coastal estuaries and aquifers. . . . Further, about one billion people live in areas within 75 feet elevation of today’s sea level, including many US cities on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico, almost all of Bangladesh, and areas occupied by more than 250 million people in China.75¶ This year NASA’s Chief Scientist testified to Congress that two-thirds of sea level rise from the last three decades is derived from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and the melting Arctic region; he then warned:¶ [T]he West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS), an area about the size of the states of Texas and Oklahoma combined . . . contains the equivalent of 3.3 m of sea level, and all that ice rests on a soft-bed that lies below sea level. In this configuration, as warm seawater melts the floating ice shelves, causing them to retreat and the glaciers that feed them to speed up, there is no mechanism to stop the retreat and associated discharge, if warming continues. Thus the WAIS exhibits great potential for substantial and relatively rapid contributions to sea level rise.¶ In Greenland, the situation is not as dramatic, since the bed that underlies most of the ice is not below sea level, and the potential for unabated retreat is limited to a few outlet glaciers. In Greenland, however, summer air temperatures are warmer and closer to ice’s melting point, and we have observed widespread accumulation of meltwater in melt ponds on the ice sheet surface.76¶ In the West Antarctic ice sheet region, glacier retreat appears to be widespread, as the air has “warmed by nearly 6°F since 1950.”77 As for Greenland’s ice sheet, it also is at greater risk than the IPCC had thought.¶ Recent studies with more complete modeling suggest that the warming threshold leading to an essentially ice-free state is not the previous estimate of an additional 3.1°C, but only 1.6°C. Thus, the 2°C target may be insufficient to prevent loss of much of the ice sheet and resultant significant sea level rise.78¶ The ACESA Report also identified the Arctic as “one of the hotspots of global warming”79 because “[o]ver the past 50 years average temperatures in the Arctic have increased as much as 7°F, five times the global average.”80 Moreover, in “2007, a record 386,000 square miles of Arctic sea ice melted away, an area larger than Texas and Arizona combined and as big a decline in one year as has occurred over the last decade.”81 “Arctic sea ice is melting faster than climate models [had] predict[ed,] and is about [thirty] years ahead” of the 2007 IPCC predictions, thus indicating that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in the late summer beginning sometime between 2020 and 2037.82¶ How is the Arctic’s plight linked to non-Arctic impacts? “The Arctic region arguably has the greatest concentration of potential tipping elements in the Earth system, including Arctic sea ice, the Greenland ice sheet, North Atlantic deep-water formation regions, boreal forests, permafrost and marine methane hydrates.”83 Additionally:¶ Warming of the Arctic region is proceeding at three times the global average . . . . Loss of Arctic sea ice has been tentatively linked to extreme cold winters in Europe . . . . Near complete loss of the summer sea ice, as forecast for the middle of this century, if not before, will probably have knock-on effects for the northern mid-latitudes, shifting the jet streams and storm tracks.84 ¶ Since 1980, sea levels have been rising three to four times faster than the global average between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts.85 “[P]ast and future global warming more than doubles the estimated odds of ‘century’ or worse floods occurring within the next 18 years” for most coastal U.S. locations.86¶ Although land-based glacier melts are not major contributors to sea level rise, they do impact peoples’ food and water supplies. Virtually all of the world’s glaciers, which store 75% of the world’s freshwater, are receding in direct response to global warming, aggravating already severe water scarcity—both in the United States and abroad.87 While over 15% of the world’s population currently relies on glacial melt and snow cover for drinking water and irrigation for agriculture, the IPCC projects a 60% volume loss in glaciers in various regions and widespread reductions in snow cover throughout the twenty-first century.88 Likewise, snowpack has been decreasing, and it is expected that snow cover duration will significantly decrease in eastern and western North America and Scandinavia by 2020 and globally by 2080.89¶ Climate change thus increases food insecurity by reducing yields of grains, such as corn and wheat, through increased water scarcity and intensification of severe hot conditions, thereby causing corn price volatility to sharply increase.90 Globally, the number of people living in “severely stressed” river basins will increase “by one to two billion people in the 2050s. About two-thirds of global land area is expected to experience increased water stress.”91¶ 3. When Liquid Water Warms¶ Over the past century, oceans, which cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, have been warming. Global sea-surface temperatures have increased about 1.3°F and the heat has penetrated almost two miles into the deep ocean.92 This increased warming is contributing to the destruction of seagrass meadows, causing an annual release back into the environment of 299 million tons of carbon.93 Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations also are leading to higher absorption of CO2 into the upper ocean, making the surface waters more acidic (lower pH).94 “[O]cean chemistry currently is changing at least 100 times more rapidly than it has changed during the 650,000 years preceding our [fossil-fueled] industrial era.”95 This acidification has serious implications for the calcification rates of organisms and plants living at all levels within the global ocean. Coral reefs—habitat for over a million marine species—are collapsing, endangering more than a third of all coral species.96 Indeed, temperature thresholds for the majority of coral reefs worldwide are expected to be exceeded, causing mass bleaching and complete coral mortality.97 “[T]he productivity of plankton, krill, and marine snails, which compose the base of the ocean food-chain, [also] declines as the ocean acidifies,”98 adversely impacting populations of “everything from whales to salmon”99—species that are also are being harmed by the oceans’ warming.100¶ Extinctions from climate change also are expected to be significant and widespread. The IPCC Fourth Assessment found that “approximately 20– 30% of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5– 2.5°C”101—a range likely to be exceeded in the coming decades. “[R]ecent studies have linked global warming to declines in such  species as  blue crabs, penguins, gray whales, salmon, walruses, and ringed seals[; b]ird extinction rates are predicted to be as high as 38[%] in Europe and 72[%] in northeastern Australia, if global warming exceeds 2°C above pre-industrial levels.”102 Between now and 2050, Conservation International estimates that one species will face extinction every twenty minutes;103 the current extinction rate is one thousand times faster than the average during Earth’s history,104 in part because the climate is changing more than 100 times faster than the rate at which many species can adapt.105¶ 4. When Land Dries Out¶ The warming trends toward the Earth’s poles and higher latitudes are threatening people not just from melting ice and sea level rise, but also from the predicted thawing of 30%–50% of permafrost by 2050, and again as much or more of it by 2100.106 “The term permafrost refers to soil or rock that has been below 0°C (32°F) and frozen for at least two years.”107 Permafrost underlies about 25% of the land area in the northern hemisphere, and is “estimated to hold 30[%] or more of all carbon stored in soils worldwide”— which equates to four times more than all the carbon humans have emitted in modern times.108 Given the increasing average air temperatures in eastern Siberia, Alaska, and northwestern Canada, thawing of the Northern permafrost would release massive amounts of carbon dioxide (doubling current atmospheric levels) and methane into the atmosphere.109 Indeed, there are about 1.7 trillion tons of carbon in northern soils (roughly twice the amount in the atmosphere), about 88% of it in thawing permafrost.110 Permafrost thus may become an annual source of carbon equal to 15%–35% of today’s annual human emissions.111 But like seagrass meadows and unlike power plant emissions, we cannot trap or prevent permafrost carbon emissions at the source.¶ Similarly, forests, which “cover about 30[%] of the Earth’s land surface and hold almost half of the world’s terrestrial carbon . . . act both as a source of carbon emissions to the atmosphere when cut, burned, or otherwise degraded and as a sink when they grow.”112 A combination of droughts, fires, and spreading pests, though, are causing economic and environmental havoc: “In 2003 . . . forest fires in Europe, the United States, Australia, and Canada accounted for more global [carbon] emissions than any other source.”113 There have been significant increases in both the number of major wildfires and the area of forests burned in the U.S. and Canada.114 Fires fed by hot, dry weather have killed enormous stretches of forest in Siberia and in the Amazon, which “recently suffered two ‘once a century’ droughts just five years apart.”115¶ Climate change also is exacerbating the geographic spread and intensity of insect infestations. For example:¶ n British Columbia . . . the mountain pine beetle extended its range north and has destroyed an area of soft-wood forest three times the size of Maryland, killing 411 million cubic feet of trees—double the annual take by all the loggers in Canada. Alaska has also lost up to three million acres of old growth forest to the pine beetle.116¶ Over the past fifteen years the spruce bark beetle extended its range into Alaska, where it has killed about 40 million trees more “than any other insect in North America’s recorded history.”117 The drying and burning forests, and other increasingly dry landscapes, also are causing “flora and fauna [to move] to higher latitudes or to higher altitudes in the mountains.”118¶ The human and environmental costs from failing to promptly reduce dependence on carbon-dioxide emitting sources for electricity, heating, and transportation are dire and indisputable. Rather than being the leader among major countries in per capita GHG emissions, our country urgently needs to lead the world in cutting 80% of our emissions by 2050 and using our renewable energy resources and technological advances to help other major emitting countries do the same. However, significantly increasing our use of carbon-free renewable sources to protect current and future generations of all species—human and non-human—requires concrete changes in how our legal system regulates and permits renewable energy sources. One source with the potential for significant energy production and comparable elimination of fossil fueled GHGs near major American and global population centers is offshore wind.
Global Warming Causes ExtinctionBushnell 10 - Chief scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center [Dennis Bushnell (MS in mechanical engineering. He won the Lawrence A. Sperry Award, AIAA Fluid and Plasma Dynamics Award, the AIAA Dryden Lectureship, and is the recipient of many NASA Medals for outstanding Scientific Achievement and Leadership.) “Conquering Climate Change,” The Futurist, May-June, 2010
¶ During the Permian extinction, a number of chain reaction events, or “positive feedbacks,” resulted in oxygen-depleted oceans, enabling overgrowth of certain bacteria, producing copious amounts of hydrogen sulfide, making the atmosphere toxic, and decimating the ozone layer, all producing species die-off. The positive feedbacks not yet fully included in the IPCC projections include the release of the massive amounts of fossil methane, some 20 times worse than CO2 as an accelerator of warming, fossil CO2 from the tundra and oceans, reduced oceanic CO2 uptake due to higher temperatures, acidification and algae changes, changes in the earth’s ability to reflect the sun’s light back into space due to loss of glacier ice, changes in land use, and extensive water evaporation (a greenhouse gas) from temperature increases. The additional effects of these feedbacks increase the projections from a 4°C–6°C temperature rise by 2100 to a 10°C–12°C rise, according to some estimates. At those temperatures, beyond 2100, essentially all the ice would melt and the ocean would rise by as much as 75 meters, flooding the homes of one-third of the global population. Between now and then, ocean methane hydrate release could cause major tidal waves, and glacier melting could affect major rivers upon which a large percentage of the population depends. We’ll see increases in flooding, storms, disease, droughts, species extinctions, ocean acidification, and a litany of other impacts, all as a consequence of man-made climate change. Arctic ice melting, CO2 increases, and ocean warming are all occurring much faster than previous IPCC forecasts, so, as dire as the forecasts sound, they’re actually conservative. Pg. 7-8 //1ac¶
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