ARE WE DOOMED?

Too late to save Earth?

The World is facing a climate emergency due to global warming from man-derived greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. The atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration is now 400 parts per million (ppm) and increasing at 2.4 ppm per year. Until recently the atmospheric CO2 concentration was in the range of 180-300 ppm for the last 800,000 years, fluctuations in this range giving rise to successive glacial and inter-glacial periods that imposed selection pressures upon evolving humanity. The average surface temperature is now +0.8C above that in 1900 and this has already been associated with major climate, weather and biological disruptions. Indeed the species extinction rate is now 100-1,000 timers greater than normal. [1].

Both Dr James Lovelock FRS (Gaia hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson ( Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK) have recently estimated that only about 0.5 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made global warming. Noting that the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050 (UN Population Division) , these estimates translate to a Climate Genocide involving deaths of 10 billion people this century, this including roughly twice the present population of particular mainly non-European groups, specifically 6 billion under-5 year old infants, 3 billion Muslims in a terminal Muslim Holocaust, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis. [2].

Collective, national responsibility for this already commenced Climate Genocide is in direct proportion to per capita national pollution of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases (GHGs). Indeed, fundamental to any international agreement on national rights to pollute our common atmosphere and oceans should be the belief that “all men are created equal”. However reality is otherwise: “annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 25 (Australia; or 74 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included). [2].

Basically we know what the problem is (man-made GHG pollution) and how to solve it. Fundamentally, as enunciated by 300.org, we need to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration to about 300 ppm for a safe planet for all peoples and all species. [3].

To return to a safe planet for all peoples and all species we must achieve the following [4]:

1. Change of societal philosophy to one of scientific risk management and biological sustainability with complete cessation of species extinctions and zero tolerance for lying.

2. Urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm as recommended by leading climate and biological scientists.

3. Rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-afforestation and return of carbon as biochar to soils coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth.

We understand the problem and have the technological solutions – the impending catastrophe simply does not have to happen. Are we going to be able to overcome the current political stasis and act before it is too late for Humanity and the Biosphere? Is it too late? Are we all doomed?

The international consensus basis of the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014) has resulted in a report that softens the present acute seriousness of unaddressed man-made climate change. Thus the IPCC Summary argues for a limitation of temperature rise to 2oC through limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of the atmosphere to 450 ppm CO2 -equivalent but hard evidence  says that we have already reached 478 ppm CO2 -equivalent, that 2oC is dangerous and essentially  inevitable, and that the world will use up its Carbon Budget for a 75% chance of avoiding 2oC within about  4 years  (see Gideon Polya, “International consensus-based IPCC Summary For Policymakers (2014)  downplays acute seriousness of Climate Crisis”,  Countercurrents, 12 November, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya121114.htm )].

On the desperately optimistic side, according to Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering, in 15 years' time computers will be more intelligent than we are and will be able to understand what we say, learn from experience, make jokes, tell stories and even flirt (see Nadia Khomani, “2029: the year that robots will have the power to outsmart their makers”, Guardian, 23 February 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/22/computers-cleverer-than-humans-15-years). According to the Australian Climate Commission (now sacked by the climate criminal, pro-pollution, anti-science, terracidal Australian Coalition Government) the world has only 15 years left at current rates of pollution before it exceeds the terminal carbon pollution budget of 600 Gt CO2 that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise ( see Australian Climate Commission, “The critical decade 2013: a summary of climate change science, risks and responses”, 2013, p7: http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/The-Critical-Decade-2013-Summary_lowres.pdf ). The smart robots might evolve just in time to save their makers, Humanity.

For realistically pessimistic expert opinions also see the website "Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming as well as this website “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed and . However technologies - albeit expensive technologies -  do exist to decarbonize the atmosphere (biochar, Accelerated Weathering of Limestone, mineral carbonation and Carbon Capture and Storage) (see Gideon Polya, “Intergenerational Theft – For Every $1 For Coal Today Future Generations Will Pay $1-$14 To Sequester CO2”, Countercurrents, 8 April, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya080415.htm ) . Further, we must keep on trying to make the horrific  future “less bad” – indeed estimates that it is too late to avoid catastrophic plus 2 degrees Cemtigrade of warming should galvanize activists  to more effective action.

.

This alphabetically-organized website records the opinions of leading scientists and writers on this terminal question for Humanity.


[1]. Dr Gideon Polya ,“Climate change course”, 2011 via Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: http://yvcag.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html and
https://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/2011-climate-change-\
course
) and 300.org (see: http://300org.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html
and https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course .

[2]. “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

[3]. 300.org: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/ .


[4]. “Climate crisis facts and required actions”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: https://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/climate-crisis-facts-required-actions .

Some useful compendia about climate change information, requisite actions & expert opinions:

 

 “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course .

300.org: . https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org .

“300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm CO2”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm .

“Carbon Debt Carbon Credit”: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/ .

"Climate Revolution Now": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-revolution .

“Cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/cutcarbonemissions80by2020/ .

“100% renewable energy by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/100renewableenergyby2020/ .

“Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

“Gas is not clean energy”: https://sites.google.com/site/gasisnotcleanenergy/ .

 “Biofuel Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/biofuelgenocide/ .

“Divest from fossil fuels”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/divest-from-fossil-fuels .

“Climate Justice & Intergenerational Equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .

“Science & economics experts: Carbon Tax needed NOT Carbon Trading”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/sciennce-economics-experts-carbon-tax-needed-not-carbon-trading/ .

“Stop climate crime”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-climate-crime .

“Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths

“Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed .

“Nuclear weapons ban , end poverty & reverse climate change”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/nuclear-weapons-ban

"Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming .

 

Some key analyses by Dr Gideon Polya (Melbourne scientist):  

Gideon Polya, “Expert Witness Testimony To Stop Gas-Fired Power Plant Installation”, Countercurrents,  14 June, 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya140613.htm .

Gideon Polya,  " Doha climate change inaction. Only 5 years left to act", MWC News, 9 December 2012: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/23373-gideonpolya-climate-change.html .

Gideon Polya, “Australia 's Huge Coal, Gas & Iron Ore Exports Threaten Planet”, Countercurrents, 15 May 2012: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya150512.htm .

Gideon Polya, “Country By Country Analysis Of Years Left Until Science-demanded Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, Countercurrents, 11 June 2011: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya110611.htm

Gideon Polya , “2015 A-to-Z  Alphabetical List Of Actions And Advocacies For Climate Change Activists”,  Countercurrents,  14 January, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya140115.htm

Gideon Polya, “100 Ideas For Climate Change Activists Trying To Save The Biosphere And Humanity”,  Countercurrents, 10 August, 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya100813.htm .

Gideon Polya, “Biochemical  Targets Of Plant Bioactive Compounds”: moral & utilitarian reasons to stop ecocide, speciescide, omnicide & terracide”, Countercurrents, 22 February, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya220215.htm .

“Climate change articles by Dr Gideon Polya”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/climate-change-articles .

“Climate change websites created by Dr Gideon Polya”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/climate-change-websites .

“Gideon Polya”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/home .


Carbon Debt:

Carbon Debt reflects the inescapable future cost in today's dollars of fixing the remorselessly increasing climate damage. Carbon Debt  is the historical contribution of countries  to the carbon pollution of the atmosphere and can be variously expressed as Gt CO2-e (gigatonnes or billions of tonnes of CO2-equivalent) or in dollar terms by applying a Carbon Price. Thus leading climate economist Dr Chris Hope from 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge  University has estimated a damage-related Carbon Price in US dollars of $150 per tonne CO2-e (see Dr Chris Hope, “How high should climate change taxes be?”, Working Paper Series, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, 9.2011: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/research/workingpapers/wp1109.pdf  ).

The World added 350 Gt C (1285 Gt CO2) to the atmosphere in 1751-2006 (see James Hansen, “Letter to PM Kevin Rudd by Dr James Hansen”, 2008: http://www.aussmc.org.au/documents/Hansen2008LetterToKevinRudd_000.pdf ) and currently adds a further 64 Gt CO2-e annually (see Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang, “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?”, World Watch, November/December 2009: http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf ).

The World  has a 1751-2006 Carbon Debt of     350 Gt C x (3.67 Gt CO2/Gt C) x $150 per tonne CO2-e = $193 trillion plus a 2007-2015 Carbon Debt of (64 Gt CO2-e /year) x  ($150 /t CO2-e) x 8 years  = $76.8 trillion or a total 1751-2015 Carbon Debt of $270 trillion (about 3 times the annual world GDP of $85 trillion)  that is increasing by about 64 Gt CO2-e/year  x ($150 /t CO2-e)  = $9.6 trillion/year or about $10 trillion each year.

By way of a national example, Australia is a world-leading annual per capita  GHG polluter with a 1751-2006 Carbon Debt of 5.9 Gt C x (3.67 Gt CO2-e/Gt C) x ($150 /t CO2-e) = $3.2 trillion plus a 2007-2015 Carbon Debt of  2 Gt CO2-e/year  x ($150 /t CO2-e) x 8 years  = $2.4 trillion i.e. a total 1751-2015 Carbon Debt of $5.6 trillion (A$7.2 trillion) that is increasing at 2 Gt CO2-e /year x ($150 /t CO2-e) = $300 billion (A$385 billion) per year. Thus Australia (population 24 million) with 0.34% of the world's population has 2.1% of the world's Carbon Debt. The Australian Carbon Debt will have to be paid by the young and future generations and for under-30 year old Australians is increasing at about $30,000 (A$38,500) per person per year, noting that the annual Australian per capita income is about $65,000 (A$83,000) (see Gideon Polya, “2015 A-to-Z  alphabetical list of actions and advocacies for climate change activists”,  Countercurrents, 14 January, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya140115.htm ).


2009 COPENHAGEN SCIENTIFIC CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE Synthesis Report: “Inaction is inexcusable”

 

The International Scientific Conference on Climate Change took place in Copenhagen on the 10 - 12 March 2009 and involved several thousand delegates (see: http://climatecongress.ku.dk/ ) .

 

Synthesis Report of the March 2009 Copenhagen Scientific Climate Change Conference (see: http://climatecongress.ku.dk/pdf/synthesisreport ) : “Inaction is inexcusable”. [1].

 

[1]. Synthesis Report of the March 2009 Copenhagen Scientific Climate Change Conference: http://climatecongress.ku.dk/pdf/synthesisreport .



5 years left (as of December 2012) before World exceeds terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget for avoiding a 2C temperature rise

The world is badly running out of time to deal with man-made climate change and keep temperature rise to within 2 degrees Centigrade (2oC) - but how much time have we left? Answer (as of December 2012) : 5.3 years. The basis for this appalling conclusion is set out below.

 

The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, included the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Most countries subsequently signed up to the Copenhagen Accord that recognised that climate change is one of the greatest challenges to Humanity  and that actions should be taken to keep any temperature increases to below 2 °C (see “2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference”, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference ).  

 

In a 2009 report entitled "Solving the climate dilemma: a budget approach" the WBGU, that advises the German Government on climate change, estimated that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2C (2oC, 2 degree Centigrade, 2 degree Celsius) temperature rise (EU policy and majority global policy since the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference) the world can emit no more than 600 billion tonnes CO2 (carbon dioxide) (600 Gt CO2) between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050 (see WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/ ). Since CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas (GHG) we could roughly set the world’s terminal GHG pollution budget at 600 Gt CO2-e (CO2-equivalent, this term including other GHGs). Relative to commencement in 2010, how many years have we left before we exceed this terminal CO2 pollution budget of 600 Gt CO2-e?

 

The US Energy Information Administration (US EIA) provides detailed statistics on CO2 pollution  and has provided estimates of global energy-related CO2 pollution between 2005 (28.181 Gt CO2) and 2035 (43.220 Gt CO2) (see US EIA, “Energy-related  carbon dioxide emissions”, Table A10: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/emissions.cfm ). Using this expertly-determined , year-by-year estimate of global energy-related CO2 emissions one can estimate that the post-2009 total will reach 588 Gt by the end of  2026 and 628 Gt by the end of 2028 i.e. the terminalCO2 pollution budget will be exceeded in mid-2027 or in  roughly 14.5 years from now.

 

However energy-related CO2 pollution is a major part of the general greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution problem, CO2 pollution also occurs in cement manufacture and other naturally-occurring as well as synthetic greenhouse gases contribute to GHG pollution that can be expressed as CO2-equivalent (CO2-e). A GHG is methane (CH4), which is a major component of natural gas, is produced by methanogenic livestock  and anaerobic degradation of plant materials in swamps, and is increasingly being released from CH4-water clathrates from shallow Arctic Ocean sea beds and the melting of the Arctic tundra (se “Atmospheric methane”, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane ).

The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 relative to that if CO2 (1.0) is 21 on a 100 year time frame but on a 20 year time frame and taking aerosol impacts into account, it is 105. This re-assessment of the GWP of CH4 becomes of great importance in assessing how many years we have left to tackle GHG pollution  (see Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch ,   Gavin A. Schmidt ,   Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions”, Science, 30 October 2009: Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716  ).

Thus the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) provides estimates of CH4 emissions from the US alone that total about 0.67 Gt CH4 annually or 0.67 Gt CH4 x 105 Gt CO2-e/Gt CH4 = 70.35 Gt CO2-e annually. If we set the terminal GHG pollution budget to 600 Gt CO2-e then  the US alone has a mere 600 Gt CO2-e/(70.35 Gt CO2-e per year) = 8.5 years of such pollution of this single GHG  before this terminal GHG pollution budget is exceeded (see “Greenhouse gas emissions”, US EPA: http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html ) .

In 2009 World Bank analysts used an estimate of a GWP of 72 for CH4 on a 20 year time frame to re-assess the contribution of livestock to man-made GHG pollution as over 32.564 Gt CO2-e/year of which 5.047 GT CO2-e/year is due to undercounted methane. This re-assessment lifts the annual GHG pollution from 41.744 Gt CO2-e to 63.803 Gt CO2-e.  Assuming that live-stock-related GHG pollution increases  in direct proportion ion to energy-related CO2 emissions, one can estimate that the world will reach 551.738 Gt CO2-e in 2017 and 624.363 Gt CO2-e in 2018 i.e. the World has 5.8 years at present rates before it exceeds the terminal CO2-e budget.

However one can re-assess the World Bank re-assessment by consider that CH4 has a GWP relative to CO2 of 105. This re-assessment indicates that the World will reach 573.167 Gt CO2-e in 2017 and 648.547 Gt CO2-e in 2018 i.e. the World has 5.3 years at present rates before it exceeds the terminal CO2-e budget.of 600 Gt CO2-e.




AHMED, Nafeez. Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Development (IPRD)

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of “A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It” among other books.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed on the HANDY  model for Humanity (2014): “A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution…  The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics… Applying this lesson [of past collapse due to a combination of  resource depletion and wealth disparity] to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that: "While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory 'so far' in support of doing nothing." However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation. The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth: "Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."” [1].

[1]. Dr Nafeez Ahmed, “NASA-funded study: industrial civilization headed for “irreversible collapse”?”, Guardian, 15 March 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists .



ALLEY: Dr Richard Alley, glaciologist at Pennsylvania State University, USA 

Dr Richard Alley is a glaciologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA (see: http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/05/west-antarctic-ice-sheet-collapsing ).

Glaciologist Dr Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University on the reported slow-motion collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (2014): “Very crudely, we are now committed to global sea level rise equivalent to a permanent [2012] Hurricane Sandy storm surge… The possibility that we have already committed to 3 or more meters of sea level rise from West Antarctica will be disquieting to many people, even if the rise waits centuries before arriving.” [1].

[1]. Dr Richard Alley quoted in Thomas Sumner, “West Antarctic ice sheet is collapsing”, Science Now, 12 May 2014: http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/05/west-antarctic-ice-sheet-collapsing .



AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE (AAAS)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the betterment of all humanity. It is the world's largest and most prestigious general scientific society, with 126,995 individual and institutional members (2008)  and is the publisher of the prestigious  scientific journal Science (see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Association_for_the_Advancement_of_Science ).

 AAAS on the threat of man-made climate change (2014): “Based on the evidence, more than 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening. What We Know helps us understand the science behind the realities, risks and response to the climate challenge… The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems…

1.  Climate scientists agree: climate change is happening here and now. Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening. This agreement is documented not just by a single study, but by a converging stream of evidence over the past two decades from surveys of scientists, content analyses of peer-reviewed studies, and public statements issued by virtually every membership organization of experts in this field. Average global temperature has increased by about 1.4˚ F over the last 100 years. Sea level is rising, and some types of extreme events – such as heat waves and heavy precipitation events – are happening more frequently. Recent scientific findings indicate that climate change is likely responsible for the increase in the intensity of many of these events in recent years.

2.  We are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts. Earth’s climate is on a path to warm beyond the range of what has been experienced over the past millions of years. The range of uncertainty for the warming along the current emissions path is wide enough to encompass massively disruptive consequences to societies and ecosystems: as global temperatures rise, there is a real risk, however small, that one or more critical parts of the Earth’s climate system will experience abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes. Disturbingly, scientists do not know how much warming is required to trigger such changes to the climate system.

3. The sooner we act, the lower the risk and cost. And there is much we can do. Waiting to take action will inevitably increase costs, escalate risk, and foreclose options to address the risk. The CO2 we produce accumulates in Earth’s atmosphere for decades, centuries, and longer. It is not like pollution from smog or wastes in our lakes and rivers, where levels respond quickly to the effects of targeted policies. The effects of CO2 emissions cannot be reversed from one generation to the next until there is a large- scale, cost-effective way to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Moreover, as emissions continue and warming increases, the risk increases.” [1].

The top scientific  journal Science and the popular Science Now that reports the latest news from Science are run by the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which is the world’s largest general science association.

Science Now (AAAS) on the slow collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (2014):A disaster may be unfolding—in slow motion. Earlier this week, two teams of scientists reported that the Thwaites Glacier, a keystone holding the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet together, is starting to collapse. In the long run, they say, the entire ice sheet is doomed, which would release enough meltwater to raise sea levels by more than 3 meters. One team combined data on the recent retreat of the 182,000-square-kilometer Thwaites Glacier with a model of the glacier’s dynamics to forecast its future. In a paper published online today in Science, they report that in as few as 2 centuries Thwaites Glacier’s outermost edge will recede past an underwater ridge now stalling its retreat. Their modeling suggests that the glacier will then cascade into rapid collapse. The second team, writing in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), describes recent radar mapping of West Antarctica’s glaciers and confirms that the 600-meter-deep ridge is the final obstacle before the bedrock underlying the glacier dips into a deep basin. Because inland basins connect Thwaites Glacier to other major glaciers in the region, both research teams say its collapse would flood West Antarctica with seawater, prompting a near-complete loss of ice in the area... Core samples drilled into the inland basins that connect Thwaites Glacier with its neighbors have revealed algae preserved beneath the ice sheet, a hint that seawater has filled the basins within the past 750,000 years. That past flooding shows that modest climate warming can cause the entire ice sheet to collapse.” [2].

[Editor’s note: The atmospheric CO2 has been between 180 and 280 ppm for the last 800,000 years but has increased since the start of the Industrial revolution and is now about 400 ppm and increasing at a record 2.5 ppm per year and energy-linked CO2 pollution is remorselessly increasing (see “300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm”, 300.org: http://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm ; US EIA, “Energy-related  carbon dioxide emissions”, Table A10: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/emissions.cfm ; US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Mauna Loa Observatory, “Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ ].

[1]. AAAS, “The reality, risks and response to climate change", What We Know (2014): http://whatweknow.aaas.org/get-the-facts/ .

[2]. Thomas Sumner, “West Antarctic ice sheet is collapsing”, Science Now, 12 May 2014: http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/05/west-antarctic-ice-sheet-collapsing .


ANALYSIS BY COUNTRY of years left to zero emissions for 75% chance of avoiding 2C temperature rise

The 2009 Report of the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU, Wissenshaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) was entitled “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach” and crucially stated: “The budget of CO2 emissions still available worldwide could be derived from the 2 degree C guard rail. By the middle of the 21st century a maximum of approximately 750 Gt CO2 (billion metric tons) may be released into the Earth’s atmosphere if the guard rail is to be adhered to with a probability of 67%. If we raise the probability to 75%, the cumulative emissions within this period would even have to remain below 600 Gt CO2. In any case, only a small amount of CO2 may be emitted worldwide after 2050. Thus, the era of an economy driven by fossil fuels will definitely have to come to an end within the first half of this century” (see: WBGU (German Advisory Council of Climate Change), “ Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.wbgu.de/fileadmin/templates/dateien/veroeffentlichungen/sondergutachten/sn2009/wbgu_sn2009_en.pdf ).

Using country by country data for greenhouse gas emissions per capita (tonnes CO2-e per person per year) (see “List of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capita”, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhouse_gas_emissions_per_capita ) one can readily determine for each country in the world how many years left to zero pollution RELATIVE TO 2010.

The average world population in the period 2010 and 2050 will be 8.321 billion (see UN Population Division, 2010 Revision). Accordingly, the per capita share of this terminal CO2 pollution budget is less than 600 billion tonnes CO2/8.321 billion people = less than 72.1 tonnes CO2 per person.

Years to the required “fair shares” total cessation of GHG pollution at current rates of pollution = 72.1 tonnes CO2-e per person/ (tonnes CO2-e per person per year).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 5 years.

Belize (0.8 years), Qatar (1.3), Guyana (1.4), Malaysia (1.9), United Arab Emirates (2.0), Kuwait (2.4), Papua New Guinea (2.5), Brunei (2.8), Australia (2.8; 1.1 if including its huge GHG Exports), Antigua & Barbuda (2.8), Zambia (2.9), Canada (3.0), Bahrain (3.0), United States (3.1), Trinidad & Tobago (3.3), Luxembourg (3.4), Panama (3.7), New Zealand (3.7), Estonia (4.0), Botswana (4.1), Ireland (4.3), Saudi Arabia (4.4), Venezuela (4.6), Indonesia (4.8), Equatorial Guinea (5.0), Belgium (5.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 5-10 years.

Turkmenistan (5.1 years ), Singapore (5.1), Czech Republic (5.2), Liberia (5.2), Netherlands (5.3), Russia (5.3), Nicaragua (5.4), Finland (5.5), Oman (5.6), Palau (5.6), Brazil (5.6), Uruguay (5.7), Denmark (5.8). Germany (5.9), Mongolia (6.1), Israel (6.1), Nauru (6.2), Norway (6.3), South Korea (6.5), Kazakhstan (6.6), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (6.6), Libya (6.7), Greece (6.7), Japan (6.7), Myanmar (6.7), Taiwan (6.8), Cyprus (7.0), Slovenia (7.1), Cambodia (7.1), Austria (7.2), Iceland (7.2), Peru (7.3), Paraguay (7.3), Ukraine (7.4), Poland (7.5), South Africa (7.6), Argentina (7.8), Slovakia (7.8), Spain (7.8), Italy (7.8), Central African Republic (8.0), France (8.3), Suriname (8.4), Belarus (8.4), Gabon (8.6), Ecuador (8.8), Bolivia (8.9), Cameroon (9.5), Iran (9.5), Côte d’Ivoire (9.6), Sweden (9.6), Seychelles (9.7), Guatemala (9.7), Bulgaria (9.7), Serbia & Montenegro (9.7), Hungary (9.7), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (9.7), Uzbekistan (9.9), Portugal (10.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 10-20 years.

Switzerland (10.2 years), Azerbaijan (10.6), Angola (10.8), Bahamas (10.9), Benin (11.1), Zimbabwe (11.1), Laos (11.3), Mexico (11.3), Nepal (11.4), Colombia (11.4), Namibia (11.4), Chile (11.4), Malta (11.8), Congo, Republic (12.0), Madagascar (12.0), Croatia (12.2), Jamaica (12.2), Macedonia (12.4), Barbados (12.4), Latvia (12.6), Mauritania (12.9), Turkey (12.9), Romania (13.1), Lithuania (13.4), Costa Rica (13.4), Lebanon (13.6), North Korea (13.9), Thailand (14.1), Jordan (14.7), Honduras (15.3), Sudan (15.7), Bosnia & Herzegovina (16.0), Algeria (17.2), Iraq (17.2), Sierra Leone (17.2), Syria (18.0), China (18.5), Tunisia (19.5), Dominican Republic (20.6 years).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 20-30 years.

St Kitts & Nevis (21.8), Nigeria (21.8), Fiji (21.8), Guinea (22.5), Mauritius (22.5), Cuba (23.3), Togo (23.3), Vanuatu (24.0), Philippines (24.0), Malawi (24.0), Mali (24.9), Chad (24.9), Sri Lanka (25.8), Uganda (26.7), Dominica (26.7), St Lucia (26.7), Egypt (27.7), Niue (27.7), Ghana (27.7), Moldova (28.8), Grenada (28.8), El Salvador (30.0), Guinea-Bissau (30.0), Tanzania (30.0), Djibouti (30.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 30-50 years.

Pakistan (31.3 years), Samoa (31.3), Tonga (31.3), Morocco (32.8), Senegal (32.8), Albania (32.8), Georgia (32.8), Armenia (34.3), St Vincent & Grenadines (36.1), Kenya (36.1), Maldives (37.9), Kyrgyzstan (37.9), Burkina Faso (37.9), India (40.1), Cook Islands (40.1), Bhutan (42.4), Yemen (45.1), Tajikistan (45.1), Mozambique (45.1), Rwanda (45.1), Burundi (45.1), Lesotho (48.1), Swaziland (48.1).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within about 50-120 years.

Eritrea (51.5), Haiti (51.5), Solomon Islands (65.5), Vietnam (65.5), Cape Verde (65.5), Niger (65.5), Ethiopia (65.5), São Tomé and Príncipe (72.1), Afghanistan (80.1), The Gambia (80.1), Bangladesh (80.1), Comoros (103.0), Kiribati (120.2).



ANDERSON: Professor Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Professor Kevin Anderson is the Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, holds a joint chair in Energy and Climate Change at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester and School of Environmental Sciences at University of East Anglia, is an honorary lecturer in Environmental Management at the Manchester Business School, and is an adviser to the British Government on climate change (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Anderson_%28scientist%29 )

Professor Anderson, together with Dr Alice Bows wrote an extremely important paper describing 6-8% annual GHG emissions reductions needed for 450 ppm CO2-equivalent (CO2-e): “According to the analysis conducted in this paper, stabilizing at 450 ppmv [carbon dioxide equivalent = CO2-e, atmospheric concentration measured in parts per million by volume] requires, at least, global energy related emissions to peak by 2015, rapidly decline at 6-8% per year between 2020 and 2040, and for full decarbonization sometime soon after 2050 …Unless economic growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonization (in excess of 6% per year), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650 ppmv CO2-e ... Ultimately, the latest scientific understanding of climate change allied with current emissions trends and a commitment to “limiting average global temperature increases to below 4oC above pre-industrial levels”, demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda, and the economic characterization of contemporary society” (see: Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows, “Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends”, Proc. Trans. Roy. Soc, A, 2008: http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/journal_papers/fulltext.pdf ; Gideon Polya, “Good and bad climate news”, Green Blog, 2009: http://www.green-blog.org/2009/01/13/good-and-bad-climate-news/ ; and George Monbiot, “One shot left”, Monbiot.com (also published in the UK Guardian, 2008): http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/11/25/one-shot-left/ ).

Professor Kevin Anderson on how many will survive the century in a “terrifying prospect” (November 2009): “For humanity it's a matter of life or death. We will not make all human beings extinct as a few people with the right sort of resources may put themselves in the right parts of the world and survive. But I think it's extremely unlikely that we wouldn't have mass death at 4C. If you have got a population of nine billion by 2050 and you hit 4C, 5C or 6C, you might have half a billion people surviving… The worst possible result at Copenhagen is a bad deal where the world leaders have to come home and say it's a good deal when its rubbish. That's the real danger – that they will feel under pressure to sign up to anything. That could lock us into something bad for the next ten years." [1].

[1]. Professor Kevin Anderson quoted by Jenny Fyall, “Warming “will wipe out billions””, The Scotsman, 29 November 2009: http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Warming-will-39wipe-out-billions39.5867379.jp .


ARKHIPOV: Commander Vasili Arkhipov prevented Soviet submarine nuclear torpedo launch in 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis & "saved the world"



Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov (30 January 1926 – 19 August 1998) was a Soviet Navy officer. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, as Commander of the Soviet submarine flotilla near Cuba, he prevented the launch of a nuclear torpedo from a Soviet submarine being threatened by US depth charges and therefore prevented a possible nuclear war. Thomas Blanton (then director of the National Security Archive) said in 2002 that "a guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world" (see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasili_Arkhipov ).




AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE COMMISSION: 1000 Gt CO2 terminal budget; heatwave, fire threats

 

The Australian Climate Commission was an expert body established by the spin-driven Australian Labor Government (otherwise notorious for egregious climate change inaction) to provide all Australians with an independent and reliable source of information about the science of climate change, the international action being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the economics of a carbon price (see: http://climatecommission.gov.au/  ).

 

Australian Climate Commission on 2013 Australia summer heatwave and excess deaths (2013): “The length, extent and severity of the current heatwave are unprecedented in the measurement record. Although Australia has always had heatwaves, hot days and bushfires, climate change is increasing the risk of more frequent and longer heatwaves and more extreme hot days, as well as exacerbating bushfire conditions. Climate change has contributed to making the current extreme heat conditions and bushfires worse. Good community understanding of climate change risks is critical to ensure we take appropriate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to put measures in place to prepare for, and respond to, extreme weather … During the severe heatwaves in southeastern Australia in 2009, Melbourne [Editor: 2011 population 4.1 million, Australian population 22.6 million], sweltered through three consecutive days  at or above 43oC in late January. There were 980 deaths during this period – 374 more than the estimated 606 that would have occurred on average for that time of year, or an estimated increase of 62& (DHS, 2008) . Most of the increase was among people aged 75 or older.” [1].

[Editor: a recurrence of such a  3-day event on a nation-wide basis would cause an excess mortality of 374 x 22.6 million/4.1 million = 2,062  excess deaths, as compared to the annual Australian road toll (1,291 in 2011) and similar in magnitude the deaths on 9-11 (2,996)].

Australian Climate Commission on only 16 years left before we exceed the terminal budget (2013): “The budget approach shows that to have a 75% chance of staying within the 2oC limit , we can emit no more than 1,000 billion tonnes of CO2 from 2000 to mid-century. In the first 13 years of this period we have already emitted nearly 400 billion tonnes, about 40% of the total allowable budget (Figure 8). That leaves a budget of just over 500 billion tonnes of CO2 for the next 35-40 years, after which the world economy needs to be completely decarbonised. Worse yet, the rate at which we are spending the budget is still much too high, and is growing. For example, from 2011 to 2012, global CO2 emissions rose by 2.5%. Under a business-as-usual model, with emissions growing at 2.5% per annum, we are on track to have completely used up the allowable global emissions budget within the next 16 years, that is, by 2028.” [2].

[1]. Australian Climate Commission, “Off the charts: extreme Australian summer heat”, January 2013: http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/CC_Jan_2013_Heatwave4.pdf .

[2]. Australian Climate Commission, “The critical decade 2013: a summary of climate change science, risks and responses”, 2013, p7: http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/The-Critical-Decade-2013-Summary_lowres.pdf .


AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE COUNCIL (privately funded successor to Australian Coalition Government-sacked Australian Climate Commission)

The Australian Climate Council is a privately-run group of climate scientists and economists who previously formed the government-funded Climate Commission that was sacked by the functionally climate change denialist, climate criminal, new Coalition Government in 2013 (see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council ).

Australian Climate Council interim report on heat waves (defined as at least three consecutive days at a temperature in the top 10% for that time of year; SE Australia in January 2014 suffered one of its  worst ever heatwaves with temperatures over 40C for days and peaking at 46C) (2014): “As greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, more heat is trapped in the lower atmosphere,” the report states. “This increases the likelihood that hot weather will occur and that heatwaves will become longer and more intense. It is crucial that communities, emergency services, health and medical services and other authorities prepare for the increases that are already occurring in the severity and frequency of many types of extreme weather. The south-east of Australia, including many of our largest population centres, stands out as being at increased risk from many extreme weather events – including heatwaves.” [1].

[1]. Oliver Milman, “Australian heatwaves getting hotter and longer, says Climate Council”, Guardian, 16 January 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council .


AVERY: Dr John Avery (Associate Professor,  Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen

Dr  John Avery (Associate Professor,  Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen. Fellowships, Contact Person in Denmark for [Nobel Prize-awarded] Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (2015): “The island republic [of the Marshall Islands; RMI] is suing [in U.S. Federal Court.] the five `established' nuclear weapons states recognized in the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), the US, Russia (which inherited the Soviet arsenal), China, France and the UK, as well as the three countries outside the NPT who have declared nuclear arsenals ¨C India, Pakistan and North Korea, and the one undeclared nuclear weapons state, Israel.” The Republic of the Marshall Islands is not seeking monetary compensation, but instead it seeks to make the nuclear weapon states comply with their legal obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the 1996 ruling of the International Court of Justice… The RMI will appeal the U.S. attempt to reject its suit in the U.S, Federal Court, and it will continue to sue the 9 nuclear nations in the International Court of Justice. Whether or not the suits succeed in making the nuclear nations comply with international law, attention will be called to the fact the 9 countries are outlaws. In vote after vote in the United Nations General Assembly, the peoples of the world have shown how deeply they long to be free from the menace of nuclear weapons. Ultimately, the tiny group of power-hungry politicians must yield to the will of the citizens whom they are at present holding as hostages. It is a life-or-death question. We can see this most clearly when we look at far ahead. Suppose that each year there is a certain finite chance of a nuclear catastrophe, let us say 2 percent. Then in a century the chance of survival will be 13.5 percent, and in two centuries, 1.8 percent, in three centuries, 0.25 percent, in 4 centuries, there would only be a 0.034 percent chance of survival and so on. Over many centuries, the chance of survival would shrink almost to zero. Thus by looking at the long-term future, we can clearly see that if nuclear weapons are not entirely eliminated, civilization will not survive. Civil society must make its will felt. A thermonuclear war today would be not only genocidal but also omnicidal. It would kill people of all ages, babies, children, young people, mothers, fathers and grandparents, without any regard whatever for guilt or innocence. Such a war would be the ultimate ecological catastrophe, destroying not only human civilization but also much of the biosphere. Each of us has a duty to work with dedication to prevent it” (John Scales Avery, “Remember Your Humanity”, Countercurrents , 14 February, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/avery140215.htm ).


BARRY: Dr Glen Barry, US ecologist: "Earth is already in ecological overshoot and will collapse unless we pull back from the brink"


Glen Barry according to Rainforest Portal: “Dr. Glen Barry is an internationally recognized political ecologist, environmental advocate, writer, and technology expert. He is well-known within the environmental community as a leading global ecological visionary, public intellectual, and environmental policy critic. Dr. Barry's work as the President and Founder of Ecological Internet - the Earth's largest biocentric ecological advocacy web portals - was recently recognized as one of "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" by the Utne Reader. More: http://forests.org/staff/glen.asp “ (see: http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2013/02/earth_meanders_earth_is_dying.asp#more and http://forests.org/staff/glen.asp ).

Dr Glen Barry on biosphere collapse (2013):Based upon an amazing landscape metric called "percolation," I hypothesize that a loss of more than 40 percent of terrestrial ecosystems long-term – including old-growth forests – collapses the biosphere. This is the point where critical deterioration in ecosystem connectivity occurs across scale, from landscapes to bioregions and continents, and on to the biosphere. Instead of humanity existing within a context of nature, ecosystems become fragmented, disconnected, and surrounded by humanity.

We are now at 50 percent natural ecosystem loss globally. I conclude that Earth needs to maintain some two-thirds of its land area as natural and seminatural ecosystems to meet local needs and to maintain local and global ecological sustainability. Along with a number of other planetary boundaries, including climate change and biodiversity loss, Earth is already in ecological overshoot and will collapse unless we pull back from the brink. [1].

[1]. Glen Barry, “Earth meanders: Earth is dying, yet climate and forest movements lack urgency and substance”, Rainforest portal, 24 February 2013: http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2013/02/earth_meanders_earth_is_dying.asp#more .  



BIALEK: Profesor Janusz Bialek, Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Durham, UK

Professor Janusz W. Bialek is Professor of Electrical Engineering, Chair of Electrical Power and Control, University of Durham, UK (see: http://www.newstatesman.com/perspectives-on-energy/2011/10/carbon-government-professor ).

Professor Janusz Bialek in interview about tackling climate change and answering the question “Are we all doomed?” (2011):The human race has survived all kinds of crises. Necessity is the mother of invention, and people will come through with new solutions. We are an infinitely inventive race. Engineering solutions and technical solutions are easy. Getting political consensus is the big challenge.” [1].

[1]. Professor Janusz Bialek quoted in Samira Shackle, “ Q&A with Professor Jausz Bialek”, New Statesman, 17 October 2011: http://www.newstatesman.com/perspectives-on-energy/2011/10/carbon-government-professor .



BIROL: Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA)

Dr Fatih Birol (1958 Ankara, Turkey) is the Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Director, Office of The Chief Economist, with overall responsibility for the organisation's economic analysis of energy and climate change policy. He oversees the annual World Energy Outlook series which is the flagship publication of the IEA and is recognized as an authoritative source for energy analysis and projections (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatih_Birol ) .

Dr Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency commenting on the IAE Report warning that if fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change (2011): "The door is closing. I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever… The shift away from nuclear worsens the situation." [1].

[1]. Dr Fatih Birol quoted by Fiona Harvey, “World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns”, The Guardian, 9 Novemberr 2011: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/09/fossil-fuel-infrastructure-climate-change .



BOND: Edward Bond, UK socialist playwright: “Our society could destroy itself”

 Outstanding socialist UK playwright  Edward Bond (born 1934) wrote a contemporary version of King Lear ("Lear") and also exposed Shakespeare's actual complicity in 17th century attempts at Enclosures in his play "Bingo". Edward Bond wrote the screenplay for the iconic Australian film "Walkabout" and wrote the play "Saved" that was censored and banned in the UK - however an ABC Search of "the entire ABC" for "Edward Bond" merely brings up several reference to "Walkabout" (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bond ).

 

Edward Bond in his Introduction to his play "Bingo": "I wrote "Bingo" because I think the contradictions in Shakespeare's life are similar to the contradictions in us. He was a "corrupt seer" and we are a "barbarous civilization". Because of that our society could destroy itself" [1]. [NB very prescient back in 1973: Google "Are we doomed?": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed ].

 

[1]. Edward Bond, “Plays: Three. Bingo, The Fool, The Woman, Stone”, Methuen, London 1987.


BORN: Max Born, German physicist,  mathematician &  1954 Nobel Laureate for Physics

Max Born (German physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1954) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but 1 were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).



BOX: Dr Jason Box, Professor at the Geological Survey of Iceland and Greenland 


Dr Jason Box is  a Professor at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), a contributing author to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 4th assessment report, and former Chair of the Cryosphere Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union (see: http://darksnow.org/author/jason/ ) .

Professor Jason Box (2014): “The NASA MODIS sensor on the Terra satellite provides surface reflectivity data since early 2000 enabling us to evaluate just how dark Greenland ice is today and in comparison with the past 14 years. The data show [graphs provided on 15 years of albedo data for the uppermost region of the Greenland ice sheet] that 2014 ice sheet reflectivity (also called albedo) has been near record low much of 2014, especially at the highest elevations. The darkness of the surface at high elevations is consistent with the findings of Dumont et al. (2014) that an increasing dust concentration on the ice sheet in the pre-melt season from decreasing snow cover on land upwind of the ice sheet may be a significant darkening factor.” [].

[]. Jason Box, “2014 Greenland ice sheet  reflectivity near record low”, Dark Snow,  1 July 2014: http://darksnow.org/2014-ice-sheet-reflectivity-is-near-record-low/ .



BRIDGMAN: Percy W. Bridgman, American physicist & 1946 Nobel Laureate in Physics

Percy W. Bridgman (American physicist who won the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the physics of high pressures)  co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but 1 were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).



BROUDY: Oliver Broudy, NYC freelance writer on "Are we doomed?" : "Between the science and the policy there's this ineradicable layer of money and lobbying"

Oliver Broudy is a freelance writer living in New York (see: http://www.salon.com/2005/01/08/jared_diamond/ ).

Oliver Broudy  on Lobbyocracy-based societal failure (2005):I would think we’re doomed to failure, then, given how politics work in this country. Between the science and the policy there’s this ineradicable layer of money and lobbying.

[1]. Oliver Broudy  interviewing Professor Jared Diamond, author of “Collapse”, “Are we doomed?:, Salon, 9 January 2005: http://www.salon.com/2005/01/08/jared_diamond/ .


CAI: Wenju Cai et al: "Increasing frequency of extreme El Nino events due to greenhouse warming”


Wenju Cai and 13 other colleagues (variously from Australian, UK, US, French, Australian and Chinese research institutions) on the increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming (2014): “El Niño events are a prominent feature of climate variability with global climatic impacts. The 1997/98 episode, often referred to as ‘the climate event of the twentieth century, and the 1982/83 extreme El Niño, featured a pronounced eastward extension of the west Pacific warm pool and development of atmospheric convection, and hence a huge rainfall increase, in the usually cold and dry equatorial eastern Pacific. Such a massive reorganization of atmospheric convection, which we define as an extreme El Niño, severely disrupted global weather patterns, affecting ecosystems, agriculture, tropical cyclones, drought, bushfires, floods and other extreme weather events worldwide. Potential future changes in such extreme El Niño occurrences could have profound socio-economic consequences. Here we present climate modelling evidence for a doubling in the occurrences in the future in response to greenhouse warming. We estimate the change by aggregating results from climate models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phases 3 (CMIP3) and 5 (CMIP5) multi-model databases, and a perturbed physics ensemble. The increased frequency arises from a projected surface warming over the eastern equatorial Pacific that occurs faster than in the surrounding ocean waters, facilitating more occurrences of atmospheric convection in the eastern equatorial region.” [1].

A report on this discovery in The Guardian summarized this research paper as follows (2014): “The world's most devastating global weather phenomenon – the weather events associated with "El Niño" – will double in frequency to once a decade if global warming remains unchecked, according to what scientists believe is a major step forward in the understanding of such events. The last extreme El Niño, in 1997-98, resulted in the hottest year on record, and the accompanying floods, cyclones, droughts and wildfires killed an estimated 23,000 people and caused £21bn-£28bn in damage, particularly to food production. But until now scientists have been unable to agree how climate change will affect the frequency of extreme El Niños. A study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, concludes that in stark contrast to earlier work, the current rate of carbon emissions would mean twice as many extreme El Niños over the next 100 years, with profound socioeconomic consequences. [2]

[1]. Wenju Cai et al , “Increasing  frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming”, Nature Climate Change, January 2014: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2100.html .

[2]. Damian Carrington, “”, Guardian, “Unchecked global warming will double extreme El Niño weather events”, The Guardian, 20 January 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/19/unchecked-global-warming-double-el-nino-weather .




CANADELL: Pep Canadell, Global Carbon Project executive director at CSIRO, Australia

 

Pep Canadell (Global Carbon Project executive director at CSIRO, Australia) (2012): “The 2012 global carbon emission summary released today shows an ever-widening gap between rising emissions and the steps necessary to keep global temperatures within the generally agreed – but increasingly difficult – 2°C safe limit above pre-industrial levels. The summary, published in Nature Climate Change and generated by the Global Carbon Project, clearly illustrates the fact that the necessary reductions in carbon dioxide emissions are becoming a receding goal. Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are set to reach 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide this year, which is 58% above 1990. Growth rates of about 3% per year have been the norm since the beginning of the 2000s, except for a small drop in emissions during the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. Average annual growth rates in the decade of the 1990s were around 1%. When current trends are aligned to the emission scenarios used to project future climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is clear that limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels requires an immediate, large, and sustained global mitigation effort… Emissions trends over the past ten years are tracking consistently with the most carbon-intensive pathways of the four families of [IPCC] scenarios, leading to 4 to 6°C warming over pre-industrial times by the end of this century.” [1].

[1]. Pep Canadell,“The widening gap between present emissions and the two-degree target”, The Conversation, 3 December 2012: http://theconversation.edu.au/the-widening-gap-between-present-emissions-and-the-two-degree-target-11101 .

NB.  The research quoted in the article is based on the release of an extensive new dataset by the Global Carbon Project published simultaneously in Nature Climate Change and in the journal of Earth System Science Data Discussions on 3 December 2012.

“The mitigation challenge to stay below two degrees” by G.P. Peters, R.M. Andrew, T. Boden, J.G. Canadell, P. Ciais, C. Le Quéré, G. Marland, M.R. Raupach, C. Wilson is published online by Nature Climate Change, 3 December 2012.

“The Global Carbon Budget 1959–2011” by C. Le Quéré, R. J. Andres, T. Boden, T. Conway, R. A. Houghton, J. I. House, G. Marland, G. P. Peters, G. van der Werf, A. Ahlström, R. M. Andrew, L. Bopp, J. G. Canadell, P. Ciais, S. C. Doney, P. Friedlingstein, C. Huntingford, A. K. Jain, C. Jourdain, E. Kato, R. Keeling, S. Levis, P. Levy, M. Lomas, B. Poulter, M. Raupach, J. Schwinger, S. Sitch, B. D. Stocker, N. Viovy, S. Zaehle and N. Zeng, is online by Earth System Science Data Discussions ([ http://www.earth-system-science-data.net/  ]( http://www.earth-system-science-data.net/  "")), 3 December 2012.

GCP homepage provides all datasets, data summaries, and papers supporting the Carbon Budget 2012 release - http://www.globalcarbonproject.org  .


CHURCH: Dr John Church, Australian climate change scientist - remorselessly increasing Earth heat content, ocean thermal expansion & ice melting


 According to Wikipedia: “ Dr. John A. Church (born 1951) is an expert on sea level and its changes,  He was Co-convening Lead Author (with Jonathan M. Gregory) for the Chapter on Sea Level in the IPCC Third Assessment Report and a member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the WCRP [World Climate Research Program] . He is currently a project leader at CSIRO” (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._Church ).

 

John Church et al on global sea level rise, ice melting and remorselessly increasing global heat content (2011): “We review the sea-level and energy budgets together from 1961, using recent and updated estimates of all terms. From 1972 to 2008, the observed sea-level rise (1.8 ± 0.2 mm yr−1 from tide gauges alone and 2.1 ± 0.2 mm yr−1 from a combination of tide gauges and altimeter observations) agrees well with the sum of contributions (1.8 ± 0.4 mm yr−1) in magnitude and with both having similar increases in the rate of rise during the period. The largest contributions come from ocean thermal expansion (0.8 mm yr−1) and the melting of glaciers and ice caps (0.7 mm yr−1), with Greenland and Antarctica contributing about 0.4 mm yr−1. The cryospheric contributions increase through the period (particularly in the 1990s) but the thermosteric contribution increases less rapidly. We include an improved estimate of aquifer depletion (0.3 mm yr−1), partially offsetting the retention of water in dams and giving a total terrestrial storage contribution of −0.1 mm yr−1. Ocean warming (90% of the total of the Earth's energy increase) continues through to the end of the record, in agreement with continued greenhouse gas forcing. The aerosol forcing, inferred as a residual in the atmospheric energy balance, is estimated as −0.8 ± 0.4 W m−2 for the 1980s and early 1990s. It increases in the late 1990s, as is required for consistency with little surface warming over the last decade. This increase is likely at least partially related to substantial increases in aerosol emissions from developing nations and moderate volcanic activity.”  

 

[1]. John Chruich et al, “Revisiting the Earth’s sea-level and energy budgets from 1961 to 2008”, Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 38, Issue 18, 28 September 2011: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL048794/abstract .


COCHABAMBA: People's Agreement of Cochabamba (Bolivia, 2010)

People’s Agreement of Cochabamba

World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, April 22nd, Cochabamba, Bolivia, PEOPLE’S AGREEMENT:

“Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.

If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of species would be in danger of disappearing. Large extensions of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would expand, and the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas would worsen. Many island states would disappear, and Africa would suffer an increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the production of food would diminish in the world, causing catastrophic impact on the survival of inhabitants from vast regions in the planet, and the number of people in the world suffering from hunger would increase dramatically, a figure that already exceeds 1.02 billion people. The corporations and governments of the so-called “developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to the rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system.

We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution. The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself. Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are. Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet. Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life…” [1].

[1].  People’s Agreement of Cochabamba, 22 April 2010: http://pwccc.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/peoples-agreement/ .


COOK: John Cook, Australian climate change scientist & creator of Skeptical Science to counter climate skeptics -  over last decade Earth has warmed at the rate of 4 Hiroshima bombs per second


John Cook researches at the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland, Australia and is the Australian creator of Skeptical Science which according to Wikipedia: “ Skeptical Science (occasionally abbreviated SkS) is a climate science blog and information resource created in 2007 by Australian blogger and author John Cook. In addition to publishing articles on current events relating to climate science and climate policy, the site maintains a large database of articles analyzing the merit of arguments commonly put forth by those involved in the global warming controversy who oppose the mainstream scientific opinion on climate change” (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeptical_Science ).  .Skeptical Science has a convenient summation of the debunking of about 10 major incorrect climate skeptic assertions  about man-made climate change (see: https://www.skepticalscience.com/4-Hiroshima-bombs-worth-of-heat-per-second.html ).

John Cook, Australian climate researcher creator of  Skeptical Science, has analyzed the remorselessly increasing total heat content of the  Earth, whether (a) ocean content or (2) land, air and ice melting heat content [see graphs]:Last weekend, I gave a talk at the Climate Action Summit on the latest climate science. During the talk, I showed the following graph of the Earth's total heat content, demonstrating that even over the last decade when surface temperature warming has slowed somewhat, the planet continues to build up heat at a rate of 4 Hiroshima bomb detonations worth of heat every second. This data comes from a paper lead authored by Australian climate scientist John Church that tallies up the heat accumulating in the oceans, warming the land and atmosphere and melting the ice:.. As this figure shows, there has been no significant slowing in global heat accumulation, contrary to the mythical 'global warming pause'.  So, how do we come up with 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonation equivalents per second from this data? The slope of the global heat accumulation graph tells us how rapidly the Earth's climate is building up heat.  Over the past decade, the rate is 8 x 1021 Joules per year, or 2.5 x 1014 Joules per second.  The yield of the Hiroshima atomic bomb was 6.3 x 1013 Joules, hence the rate of global heat accumulation is equivalent to about 4 Hiroshima bomb detonations per second.  That's nearly 2 billion atomic bomb detonations worth of heat accumulating in the Earth's climate system since 1998, when we're told global warming supposedly 'paused'.  That has to be the worst pause ever. The data used in Nuccitelli et al. (2012) are now available for download so you can check it out for yourself.” [1].

[1]. John Cook, “[Global warming] 4 Hiroshima bomb’s worth of heat per second ”. Skeptical Science, 1 July 2013: https://www.skepticalscience.com/4-Hiroshima-bombs-worth-of-heat-per-second.html .



COST OF CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION: "Probabilistic cost estimates for climate chnage mitigation"

 

The summary of the paper “Probabilistic cost estimates for climate change mitigation” published by Joeri Rogelj et al in the prestigious journal Nature (January 2013): “For more than a decade, the target of keeping global warming below 2°C has been a key focus of the international climate debate1. In response, the scientific community has published a number of scenario studies that estimate the costs of achieving such a target.  Producing these estimates remains a challenge, particularly because of relatively well known, but poorly quantified, uncertainties, and owing to limited integration of scientific knowledge across disciplines6. The integrated assessment community, on the one hand, has extensively assessed the influence of technological and socio-economic uncertainties on low-carbon scenarios and associated costs.  The climate modelling community, on the other hand, has spent years improving its understanding of the geophysical response of the Earth system to emissions of greenhouse gases. This geophysical response remains a key uncertainty in the cost of mitigation scenarios but has been integrated with assessments of other uncertainties in only a rudimentary manner, that is, for equilibrium conditions. . Here we bridge this gap between the two research communities by generating distributions of the costs associated with limiting transient global temperature increase to below specific values, taking into account uncertainties in four factors: geophysical, technological, social and political. We find that political choices that delay mitigation have the largest effect on the cost–risk distribution, followed by geophysical uncertainties, social factors influencing future energy demand and, lastly, technological uncertainties surrounding the availability of greenhouse gas mitigation options. Our information on temperature risk and mitigation costs provides crucial information for policy-making, because it clarifies the relative importance of mitigation costs, energy demand and the timing of global action in reducing the risk of exceeding a global temperature increase of 2°C, or other limits such as 3°C or 1.5°C, across a wide range of scenarios.”

 

Figure 3 of the paper is entitled “Cost-risk distribution for returning global temperature increase to below 1.5oC by 2100” and provides sigmoidal plots of “Probability (P) of returning global temperature increase to below 1.5oC by 2100” versus carbon price over a range of US$0-$1,000/tonne CO2-e in various scenarios of low, intermediate and high future energy demand (i.e. with increasing political climate change inaction). Even with high political action and low future energy demand, P is only about 60% at a 2012 carbon price of US$100/tonne CO2-e  and increasing the carbon price to US41,000/tonne CO2-e has little effect on P with the sigmoidal functions obtained in which P flattens out above US$100/tonne CO2-e. [1].

 

The message is that urgent action to curb greenhouse gas pollution is required NOW if we are to have a reasonable chance of avoiding a catastrophic temperature rise. The World is rapidly running out of time for effective climate change action (see “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed and “2011 and “2011Climate Change Course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ).

 

[1]. Joeri Rogelj, David L. McCollum, Andy  Reisinger, Malte Meinshausen  & Keywan Riahi, “Probabilistic cost estimates for climate change mitigation” , Nature 493, 79–83, 3 January 2013: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7430/full/nature11787.html .



COX: Dr Brian Cox and Dr Jeff Forshaw, UK physicists on Science & "Are we doomed?"

Dr Brian Cox and Dr Jeff Forshaw are UK physicists who co-authored the book “The Quantum Universe” (see: http://www.newstatesman.com/scitech/2011/12/interview-science-cox-physics ).

Dr Brian Cox and Dr Jeff Forshaw interviewed by Helen Lewis-Hasteley for the UK New Statesman (8 December 2011):

HL-H: How much of a responsibility do you feel to be an advocate for science generally?
BC:
A lot. I think the peer-review process is the best way we have of giving our best view on how nature works. There are no absolute truths in science. Take a so-called controversy such as climate change: the correct thing to say is that we make measurements of the climate, we look at the data, we model it and here are a range of predictions. While it's easy to point out the flaws, in general it's unarguable that science works. . . because we're not in fucking caves!

HL-H: What motivates climate sceptics and the rest?
BC:
Carl Sagan pointed out that "Science challenges". And the natural human response from people who are educated, who have a title or position, is to assume their opinion is worth something. And science tells you that your opinion is worthless when confronted with the evidence. That's a difficult thing to learn. When you look back at the Greeks or Romans and think, "Why didn't they get science?", maybe it was that.
JF: As a theoretical physicist, most of my time is spent doing calculations that are wrong. It's a humbling exercise, a massive dose of humility.

HL-H: Are we all doomed?

JF: The only thing that will save us is fundamental physics, because we have to escape to a distant part of the universe.

BC: On the human timescale, the adoption of the scientific method - making rational decisions based on evidence - that's the important thing. Look at public policy, health policy, economics: there's a reluctance to be humble.” [1].

[1]. Dr Brian Cox and Dr Jeff Forshaw interviewed by Helen Lewis-Hasteley for the UK New Statesman, “Science tells you that your opinion is worthless. That’s difficult”, UK New Statesman, 8 December 2011: http://www.newstatesman.com/scitech/2011/12/interview-science-cox-physics .



CURRY: Nathan Curry, American writer

Nathan Curry is an American writer.

Nathan Curry (2013): “Recent data seems to suggest that we may have already tripped several irrevocable, nonlinear, positive feedback loops—permafrost is melting, arctic ice is falling into the sea—and an average global temperature increase of only 2°C by 2100, which has long been a target of the UN and climate scientists, seems like a fairy tale. Instead, we’re talking 4°C, 6°C, 10°C, 16°C (your guess is as good as mine) here.

The link between rapid climate change and human extinction is basically this: the planet becomes uninhabitable by humans if the average temperature goes up by 4° to 6°C. That doesn’t sound like a lot because we’re used to the temperature changing 15°C overnight, but even a 2° to 3°C average increase would give us temperatures that would regularly surpass 40°C (104°F) in North America and Europe, and soar even higher near the equator. Human bodies start to break down after six hours at a wet-bulb (100 percent humidity) temperature of 35°C (95°F). This makes the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed over 70,000 people seem like not a very big deal.

Factoring in the increase we’re already seeing in heat waves, droughts, wildfires, massive storms, food and water shortages, deforestation, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise some are seeing the writing on the wall:

We’re all gonna die!” [1].


[1]. Nathan Curry, “Humanity I getting verrrrrry close to extinction:”, VICE, August 2013: http://www.vice.com/read/near-term-extinctionists-believe-the-world-is-going-to-end-very-soon .


DARA: 100 million to die before 2030 due to unaddressed, man-made climate change & carbon burning


DARA in its own words:  Founded in 2003 by Silvia Hidalgo, DARA is an independent organisation committed to improving the quality and effectiveness of aid for vulnerable populations suffering from conflict, disasters and climate change. DARA has recognised expertise in providing support in the field of humanitarian aid as well as climate change, disaster and risk reduction. We have conducted evaluations of humanitarian operations in over 40 countries across five continents for a variety of government, United Nations and European Union agencies as well as major international organisations, including the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement. Working with partners, DARA actively promotes humanitarian principles and best practice; provides quality analysis and evaluation of humanitarian interventions and monitors the human impact of climate change around the world. By evaluating impact and providing policy guidance and solutions, DARA works to improve aid effectiveness” (see: http://daraint.org/about-us/ ).

DARA 2012 Report commissioned by 20 countries: “This report estimates that climate change causes 400,000 deaths on average each year today, mainly due to hunger and communicable diseases that affect above all children in developing countries. Our present carbon-intensive energy system and related activities cause an estimates 4.5 million deaths each year linked to air pollution , hazardous occupations and cancer. Climate changed caused economic losses estimated close to 1% of global GDP for the year 2010, or 700 billion dollars (2010, PPP).. The carbon-intensive economy cost the world another 0.7% of GDP in that year, independent of any climate change losses. Together, carbon economy- and climate change-related losses amounted to over 1.2 trillion dollars.

The world is already committed to a substantial increase in global temperatures – at least another 0.5oC (1oF) due to a combination of the inertia of the world’s oceans, the slow response of the carbon cycle to reduced CO2 emission and limitation on how fast emissions can actually be reduced. The world economy therefore faces an increase in pressures that are estimated to lead to more than a doubling in the costs of climate change by 2030 to an estimated 2.5% of global GDP. Carbon economy costs also increase over this same period so that global GDP in 2030 is estimated to be well over 3% lower than it would have been in the absence of climate change and harmful carbon-intensive energy practices. Continuing today’s patterns of carbon-intensive energy use is estimated, together with climate change, to cause 5 million deaths per year by 2030, close to 700,000 of which would be due to climate change. This implies that a combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade. A significant share of the global population would be directly affected by inaction on climate change” [1, 2].

[1]. DARA, “Climate Vulnerability Monitor. A guide to the cold calculus of a hot planet”, 2012, Executive Summary pp2-3: http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/ .

[2]. DARA report quoted by Reuters, ”100 mln to die by 2030 if world fails to act on climate”, 28 September 2012: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/26/climate-inaction-idINDEE88P05P20120926 .




DIAMOND: Professor Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography at UCLA & author of "Collapse"

Jared Diamond is an American physiologist, ecologist and ornithologist,  Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles and a best-selling  author best known for his science-society  interface books “The Third Chimpanzee”, “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, “Collapse” and “The World Until Yesterday” (see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Diamond  ). .

Jared Diamond in answer to the questionCan we hope to develop a better relationship between science and policy? (2005): “ We have to be able to do what you say. One way to think of it is to ask ourselves what science means. Science is simply accurate knowledge of the real world. It’s not laboratory experiments, not always. Like tsunamis. You don’t do laboratory experiments on tsunamis, but if you want to deal successfully in the world you have to have accurate knowledge of the real world; that’s what science is. So if you don’t have a straight pipeline from knowledge of the world to fixing the world you are doomed to failure.”

Jared Diamond on “The two traditional American values that I think — that I know — have to be discarded are, first, unbridled consumerism resulting from our sense of being in a land of unlimited resources… And the other long-held American value is the value derived from the United States’ relative isolation. We’re not isolated anymore. We have to engage with the rest of the world — not in order to be charitable to them but for our own self-interest. It’s much cheaper to put a few tens of billions of dollars into world programs for public health and environment than to throw $150 billion into Iraq and $100 billion into Afghanistan, when there are about 20 other countries waiting to become the next Iraq and Afghanistan. We can’t afford it.[1].

Jared Diamond on the need to halt consumerism (2005): “Now, as for us, what’s going to replace consumerism will be the recognition that we have to live within our means, that we’re part of the whole world, and that consumerism simply is no longer viable if we want to make a world that’s going to make sense for our children. We have to live in such a way that we pass on a worthwhile world to our children. And that’s a wonderful ideal that can replace consumerism, that will have to replace consumerism.” [1].

[1]. Professor Jared Diamond interviewed by Oliver Broudy,  “Are we doomed?:, Salon, 9 January 2005: http://www.salon.com/2005/01/08/jared_diamond/ .


DIXON: Dr Richard Dixon, Head of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland

Dr Richard Dixon, Head of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland,  has a BSc and PhD in Astrophysics, and an MSc in Energy Systems and Environment Management from Glasgow Caledonian University. Before joining WWF Scotland, he worked for Community Service Volunteers and Strathclyde Regional Council, and was Head of Research at Friends of the Earth Scotland. During his eight years at the latter, he worked on issues as diverse as climate change and fish farming. He helped to treble the number of Scottish beaches officially recognised by the government and wrote the first comprehensive report on air pollution in Scotland (see: http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/press_centre/spokespeople/head_of_wwf_scotland.cfm ).

Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, re the huge melting of Arctic sea ice and the need for action over man-made climate change (2012): “This is not unexpected but it is extremely bad news. These satellite images show what we are doing to the planet and while climate change has gone off the political agenda recently, things have got worse and governments and big business must do more to fix that… Polar ice shapes the weather systems in Scotland and the north-west of Europe, and sea ice loss is one reason why we’re getting colder summers and have had very cold winters in the last few years.”

Dr Richard Dixon quoted in Julia Horton, “Arctic sea ice will vanish within three years, says expert ”, Scotsman, 29 August 2012: http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/arctic-sea-ice-will-vanish-within-three-years-says-expert-1-2493681 .


DUMONT: Dr M.  Dumont et al, French glaciologists and climate scientists


M. Dumont et al. (French glaciologists and climate change scientists) (2014): “The surface energy balance and mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet depends on the albedo of snow, which governs the amount of solar energy that is absorbed. The observed decline of Greenland’s albedo over the past decade1, 2, 3 has been attributed to an enhanced growth of snow grains as a result of atmospheric warming1, 2. Satellite observations show that, since 2009, albedo values even in springtime at high elevations have been lower than the 2003–2008 average. Here we show, using a numerical snow model, that the decrease in albedo cannot be attributed solely to grain growth enhancement. Instead, our analysis of remote sensing data indicates that the springtime darkening since 2009 stems from a widespread increase in the amount of light-absorbing impurities in snow, as well as in the atmosphere. We suggest that the transport of dust from snow-free areas in the Arctic that are experiencing earlier melting of seasonal snow cover4 as the climate warms may be a contributing source of impurities. In our snow model simulations, a decrease in the albedo of fresh snow by 0.01 leads to a surface mass loss of 27 Gt yr−1, which could induce an acceleration of Greenland’s mass loss twice as large as over the past two decades5. Future trends in light-absorbing impurities should therefore be considered in projections of Greenland mass loss.” [1].  

[1]. M. Dumont et al., “Contribution of light-absorbing  impurities in snow to Greenland’s darkening since 2009”, Nature Geoscience, 7, 509–512 (2014): http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v7/n7/full/ngeo2180.html .



EHRLICH: Professor Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich on “Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?”



Paul Ehrlich is a Professor of Biology and President of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney. His research interests are in the ecology and evolution of natural populations of butterflies, reef fishes, birds and human beings. Anne Ehrlich is a Senior Research Scientist in Biology at Stanford and focuses her research on policy issues related to the environment. (see: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1754/20122845.full .)

Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich (2013):  “Abstract: Environmental problems have contributed to numerous collapses of civilizations in the past. Now, for the first time, a global collapse appears likely. Overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich and poor choices of technologies are major drivers; dramatic cultural change provides the main hope of averting calamity

But today, for the first time, humanity's global civilization—the worldwide, increasingly interconnected, highly technological society in which we all are to one degree or another, embedded—is threatened with collapse by an array of environmental problems. Humankind finds itself engaged in what Prince Charles described as ‘an act of suicide on a grand scale’ [4], facing what the UK's Chief Scientific Advisor John Beddington called a ‘perfect storm’ of environmental problems [5]. The most serious of these problems show signs of rapidly escalating severity, especially climate disruption. But other elements could potentially also contribute to a collapse: an accelerating extinction of animal and plant populations and species, which could lead to a loss of ecosystem services essential for human survival; land degradation and land-use change; a pole-to-pole spread of toxic compounds; ocean acidification and eutrophication (dead zones); worsening of some aspects of the epidemiological environment (factors that make human populations susceptible to infectious diseases); depletion of increasingly scarce resources [6,7], including especially groundwater, which is being overexploited in many key agricultural areas [8]; and resource wars [9]. These are not separate problems; rather they interact in two gigantic complex adaptive systems: the biosphere system and the human socio-economic system. The negative manifestations of these interactions are often referred to as ‘the human predicament’ [10], and determining how to prevent it from generating a global collapse is perhaps the foremost challenge confronting humanity. The human predicament is driven by overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources and the use of unnecessarily environmentally damaging technologies and socio-economic-political arrangements to service Homo sapiens’ aggregate consumption [1117]….

Conclusions. Do we think global society can avoid a collapse in this century? The answer is yes, because modern society has shown some capacity to deal with long-term threats, at least if they are obvious or continuously brought to attention (think of the risks of nuclear conflict). Humanity has the assets to get the job done, but the odds of avoiding collapse seem small because the risks are clearly not obvious to most people and the classic signs of impending collapse, especially diminishing returns to complexity [28], are everywhere. One central psychological barrier to taking dramatic action is the distribution of costs and benefits through time: the costs up front, the benefits accruing largely to unknown people in the future. But whether we or more optimistic observers [17,163] are correct, our own ethical values compel us to think the benefits to those future generations are worth struggling for, to increase at least slightly the chances of avoiding a dissolution of today's global civilization as we know it.” [1].

[1]. Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, “Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?”, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 7 March 2013 vol. 280 no. 1754 20122845: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1754/20122845 and http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1754/20122845.full .



ENGLAND: Professor Matthew England, climate scientist, University of NSW, Sydney, Australia


Professor Matthew England (Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) and The ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate System Science, Faculty of Science, The University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW Australia) (2012): “Net emissions in China are increasing faster than I think any other major nation. The problem is that obviously they've got so many people there that their per capita emissions are quite low. So at the negotiations they can come along and say, "Look, our per capita emissions are extremely low compared to, say, the United States or Australia. We're not gonna do anything until you guys bring your emissions down… Yeah, emissions are rising really quickly. One per cent per annum used to be considered high-end and we're now up around 2.5 to three per cent each year. So we're breaking a new world record for human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases every year. We need a sort of global-scale effort on this that is akin to preparing for a war, actually. It's akin to that scale of effort where all of the world's economies mobilise towards a problem that is facing the planet and facing the future of the planet.” [1].

[1]. Professor Matthew England in interview, “UN talks warn of hotter Earth”, ABC TV 1.30 Report, 3 December 2012: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3646515.htm .


FALK


Professor Richard Falk is the Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and  Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara;  he authored and edited numerous publications spanning a period of five decades, most recently editing the volume International Law and the Third World: Reshaping Justice (Routledge, 2008); Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has authored and edited numerous publications spanning a period of five decades, most recently editing the volume International Law and the Third World: Reshaping Justice (Routledge, 2008); he is currently serving his third year of a six year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights (see: http://mwcnews.net/component/comprofiler/userprofile/rfalk.html ) .

Professor Richard Falk on climate change inaction (2014): “The intense lobbying efforts by climate deniers, reinforced in the United States by a right wing anti-government tsunami that has paralyzed Congress, succeeded in blocking even modest market-based steps to induce energy efficiency. This bleak picture raises daunting biopolitical questions about whether the human species possesses a sufficient will to survive given its persisting inability to respond to the climate change challenge despite well-evidenced warnings about the consequences of a failure to do so. Less apocalyptically, this pattern of inaction makes us wonder whether a state-centric structure of world order can surmount the limits of national interests to undertake policies that promote the human interest in relation to global warming. International experience shows that where the interests of important states converge, especially if complemented by the interests of business and finance, collective initiatives upholding human interests can be implemented. The international regulation of ozone depletion, the public order of the oceans, the avoidance of international conflict in Antarctica, and the protection of some endangered marine species, such as whales, are illustrative of what is possible when a favorable lawmaking and compliance atmosphere exists. This record of regulation on behalf of the global common good are examples of success stories that make international law seem more worthwhile than media cynics and influential political realists acknowledge. Yet in relation to the climate change agenda, despite the strong, even stridently avowed, consensus among climate scientists (at about the 97% level), the dynamics of forging the sort of agreement that will keep global warming within prudent and manageable limits has not materialized. Such a world order failure is imposing serious costs. As has been repeatedly demonstrated, the longer the buildup of greenhouse gasses is allowed to continue, the worse will be the harmful effects on human wellbeing and the greater the costs of preventing still worse future impacts. Anticipated harm will take the form of rising sea levels, drought and floods, damaging fires, extreme weather, melting polar ice caps and glaciers, and crop failures. At some point thresholds of irreversibility will be crossed, and the fate of the human species, along with that of most of nature, becomes negatively determined beyond easy alteration.” [1].

[1]. Richard Falk , “Shifts in the Climate Change Debate:  hopes and suspicion”, MWC News, July 2014: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/42473-hope-and-suspicion.html




FEIK: Nick Feik, on-line editor of "The Monthly", Australia

Nick Feik (on-line editor of “The Monthly”,  Australia) (2012): “As a movement ushering in solutions to halt or slow climate change, it [Environmentalism] has been catastrophically ineffective. Worst of all, it appears it's now too late for environmentalists to win the fight. The problem is simple: it's hard to see how we will reduce emissions at a rate fast enough to prevent runaway climate change. Global emissions are rising (they were up 3 per cent in 2011), and will likely continue to do so. They need to be falling precipitously. India and China are growing their economies thanks mostly to fossil fuels, as are the economies of much of the rest of Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Few if any of these countries will commit to substantial total emissions cuts, and most developed nations in Europe, as well as the US, Canada and New Zealand, are now reticent about the emissions targets required. As reported by The Age on Monday, the world is on track to see an ''unrecognisable planet'' that is between 4 and 6 degrees hotter by the end of this century. And the latest forecast doesn't include the effects of thawing permafrost, a feedback loop the magnitude of which we're only just starting to understand. Trying to reduce emissions is not pointless; any reductions will help to some extent, and should be pursued. But reductions on a scale that's now required? Almost no chance… Australia's major political parties say they are planning to reduce our emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, with bigger cuts to follow. Actually, on government forecasts, our emissions will rise by 12 per cent (above 2000 levels) by 2020, even with a carbon price. We will only achieve our 5 per cent ''cut'' by purchasing emissions reductions from other countries. And, perhaps worse, our coal exports are exacerbating other countries' emissions addiction.” [1].

[1]. Nick Feik, “Green movement has been an abject failure”, The Age, On-line, National Times, 5 December 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/green-movement-has-been-an-abject-failure-20121204-2at7t.html .




FORSHAW:Dr Brian Cox and Dr Jeff Forshaw, UK physicists on Science & "Are we doomed?"


Dr Brian Cox and Dr Jeff Forshaw are UK physicists who co-authored the book “The Quantum Universe” (see: http://www.newstatesman.com/scitech/2011/12/interview-science-cox-physics ).

Dr Brian Cox and Dr Jeff Forshaw interviewed by Helen Lewis-Hasteley for the UK New Statesman (8 December 2011):

HL-H: How much of a responsibility do you feel to be an advocate for science generally?
BC:
A lot. I think the peer-review process is the best way we have of giving our best view on how nature works. There are no absolute truths in science. Take a so-called controversy such as climate change: the correct thing to say is that we make measurements of the climate, we look at the data, we model it and here are a range of predictions. While it's easy to point out the flaws, in general it's unarguable that science works. . . because we're not in fucking caves!

HL-H: What motivates climate sceptics and the rest?
BC:
Carl Sagan pointed out that "Science challenges". And the natural human response from people who are educated, who have a title or position, is to assume their opinion is worth something. And science tells you that your opinion is worthless when confronted with the evidence. That's a difficult thing to learn. When you look back at the Greeks or Romans and think, "Why didn't they get science?", maybe it was that.
JF: As a theoretical physicist, most of my time is spent doing calculations that are wrong. It's a humbling exercise, a massive dose of humility.

HL-H: Are we all doomed?

JF: The only thing that will save us is fundamental physics, because we have to escape to a distant part of the universe.

BC: On the human timescale, the adoption of the scientific method - making rational decisions based on evidence - that's the important thing. Look at public policy, health policy, economics: there's a reluctance to be humble.” [1].

[1]. Dr Brian Cox and Dr Jeff Forshaw interviewed by Helen Lewis-Hasteley for the UK New Statesman, “Science tells you that your opinion is worthless. That’s difficult”, UK New Statesman, 8 December 2011: http://www.newstatesman.com/scitech/2011/12/interview-science-cox-physics .


GHOTGE: Head, Climate and Sustainability Policy, World Institute of Sustainable Energy, Pune, India - "Climate change - too late to halt?"

Sanjeev Ghotge (formerly Professor at the Centre for Applied Systems Analysis in Development ,  Pune and later Sr. Fellow and Head, Climate and Sustainability Policy at the World Institute of Sustainable Energy, Pune, India) (2015): “The first row of the table, taken from IPCC 2007, shows that a CO2 concentration of 400 ppm will result in an equilibrium temperature between 2.0 and 2.4 deg C   i.e. higher than 2 deg C. Since the CO2 concentration reached 400 ppm  last year (2014), this means that the earth's atmosphere will eventually heat up by 2 deg C, since we have no proven and tested technologies for decarbonizing the atmosphere. The deceptive aspect arises because there is a time lag, estimated between 35-40 years, between reaching a particular concentration level and reaching the corresponding equilibrium temperature. In other words, we can expect a temperature rise of 2 deg C by around 2050. When that temperature is reached, the land component of the earth system will stop absorbing net CO2 from the atmosphere, instead becoming a net emitter … Roughly speaking, we are on course to reach 2 deg C by 2050, 4 deg C by 2100 and 6 deg C by 2150. A few years this way or that will hardly matter or disprove the basic science. Another set of statements emanating recently from IPCC sources seem to claim that there is as yet a global “carbon budget” available before the 2 deg C threshold is breached. As the above table indicates clearly, this is simply incorrect in terms of the current knowledge and position taken by IPCC itself in 2007.The above table indicates that the carbon budget is now effectively zero; all that IPCC seems to be doing is buying time for the power elites of the world , by keeping alive false hopes” (see Sanjeev Ghotge, “Climate Change – Too Late To Halt?”, Countercurrents, 4 May, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/ghotge040515.htm ).

[Editor: For similar expert opinions see the websites “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed and  "Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming . However technologies - albeit expensive technologies -  do exist to decarbonize the atmosphere (biochar, Accelerated Weathering of Limestone, mineral carbonation and Carbon Capture and Storage) (see Gideon Polya, “Intergenerational Theft – For Every $1 For Coal Today Future Generations Will Pay $1-$14 To Sequester CO2”, Countercurrents, 8 April, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya080415.htm ) . Further, we must keep on trying to make the horrific  future “less bad” – indeed estimates that it is too late to avoid catastrophic warming should galvanize activists  to more effective action].


GLIKSON: Dr Andrew Glikson, Earth scientist and palaeoclimate scientist, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

 

Dr Andrew Glikson is an Earth and paleoclimate scientist, a Visiting Fellow at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University,  an Honorary Professor at the Center for Excellence in Geothermal Research, The University of Queensland, and is affiliated with the Climate Change Institute and the Planetary Science Institute, Australian National University. He graduated at the University of Western Australia in 1968, conducted geological surveys in central and western Australia and became a Principal Research Scientist with the Australian Geological Survey Organization (now Geoscience Australia) (see: http://theconversation.edu.au/as-emissions-rise-we-may-be-heading-for-an-ice-free-planet-4893 ) .

 

Dr Andrew Glikson (2012):Studies of the evolution of the terrestrial atmosphere based on multiple proxies (carbon isotopes in phytoplankton and in fossil soils, plant leaf stomata pores, boron isotopes, boron/calcium ratios) confirm the upper stability boundary of the Antarctic ice sheet at about 500+/-50 ppm CO₂. Other estimates suggest 615 ppm CO2 or near-800 ppm CO2. The original decline in temperature from the end-Eocene (~34 million years ago) and the onset of the Antarctic ice sheet occurred when CO2 levels declined to below ~600 ppm (as shown in Figure 1). Greenhouse gases have increased by near 40% since 1750 (from ~280 to 392 ppm CO₂, at a rate increasing to ~2.6 ppm/year by 2010). At the current rate of increase, the climate could return to greenhouse Earth conditions within 50 to 200 years. With current emissions growing by 5.9% in 2010 (see Figure 2) and a corresponding rise of temperature by 6.2% during the last decade (see Figure 3), Earth may be committed to an ice-free state…

As atmospheric CO2 is reaching a level unknown for the last three million years, the disconnection between science and the human response is growing. Despite warnings over the last 30 years, we are still developing global infrastructures to extract every economically accessible ton of coal, barrel of conventional or shale/sand oil and cubic meter of natural gas and coal-seam gas. Contrarian claims by sceptics, misrepresenting direct observations in nature and ignoring the laws of physics, have been adopted by neo-conservative political parties. A corporate media maintains a “balance” between facts and fiction. The best that governments seem able to do is devise cosmetic solutions, or promise further discussions, while time is running out. Good planets are hard to come by.” [1].

[1]. Andrew Glikson, “As emissions rise, we may be heading for an ice-free planet”, The Conversation, 18 January 2012: http://theconversation.edu.au/as-emissions-rise-we-may-be-heading-for-an-ice-free-planet-4893 .


GLOBAL CARBON PROJECT: "The current trajectory is tracking [the IPCC scenario] that takes the planet to about 4C to 6.1C above pre-industrial times by 2100"

 

Global Carbon Project “Global Carbon Budget 2012)”: “CO2 emissions from fossil fuels burning and cement production increased by 3% in 2011, with a total of 9.5±0.5 PgC emitted to the atmosphere (34.7 billion tonnes of CO2). These emissions were the highest in human history and 54% higher than in 1990 (the Kyoto Protocol reference year). In 2011, coal burning was responsible for 43% of the total emissions, oil 34%, gas 18%, and cement 5%. CO2 emissions from fossil fuels burning and cement production are projected to increase by 2.6% in 2012, to a record high of 9.7±0.5 PgC (35.6 billion tonnes of CO2)… Current trajectories of fossil fuel emissions are tracking some of the most carbon intensive emission scenarios used in the Intergovermental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC). The current trajectory is tracking the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (of the latest family of IPCC scenarios) that takes the planet to about 4°C to 6.1°C above pre-industrial times by 2100.” [1].

[1]. UK Global Carbon Project “Global Carbon Budget”, Media Summary highlights  (2012): http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/12/hl-compact.htm .



GLOBAL RISK AND OPPORTUNITY INDICATOR: Exceedance probability for disastrous 2 degrees C at 450 ppm CO2-e is 58.4% (it is now 478 ppm CO2-e)

Measures of how serious the climate emergency is are given by the Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator that is based on data from the latest UN IPCC AR5 report (2013) and which  explains “You can use it to calculate and visualize the risk our planet is facing with regards to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Choose parts per million (PPM) of greenhouse gases in the menu to the left, and the average temperature rise in degrees Celsius in the menu to the right. In the third menu you can compare the probability for climate change with other events, such as fatal flight accidents, and display them both on the meter” (see Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator: http://global-risk-indicator.net/ ).

Thus, for example, the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014) offers a RCP2.6 scenario  that will “limit greenhouse gas concentrations to low levels (about 450 ppm CO2-eq, likely to limit warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels)”. However,

using  the Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator we find that the Exceedance Probability for a  2°C temperature rise with an equilibrium greenhouse gas (GHG)  concentration of 450 ppm CO2-eq is 58.4% , and that if this were the  annual probability of fatal flight accidents there would be 17,520,000  fatal flight accidents per year instead of 30 per year.

Similarly, the Exceedance Probability for a  2°C temperature rise with an equilibrium greenhouse gas (GHG)  concentration of 500 ppm CO2-eq is 72.5% , and that if this were the  annual probability of fatal flight accidents there would be 21,750,000  fatal flight accidents per year instead of 30 per year.

Unfortunately Professor Ron Prinn (Professor of Atmospheric Science at 83-Nobel-Laureate MIT) reports that 478 ppm CO2-eq was already attained by 2013 (see Ron Prinn, “400 ppm CO2? Add other GHGs and its equivalent to 478 ppm”, Oceans at MIT, 6 June 2013: http://oceans.mit.edu/featured-stories/5-questions-mits-ron-prinn-400-ppm-threshold ).

Further, Professor James Hansen (from NASA and 101-Nobel-Laureate Columbia University) reports that plus 2°C would be disastrous – at 2 °C Earth would be headed back toward equilibrium Pliocene-like conditions (sea level about 25 m higher than today) (see James E. Hansen and Makiko Sato, “Paleoclimate implications for human-made climate change”: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1105/1105.0968.pdf  ).


GOREAU: President of Global Coral Reef Alliance - we must get back to a safe level of 260 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere ASAP

Dr. T. Goreau (President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, an international NGO for restoration of coral reefs, and a member of the Jamaican delegation to UNCCC;  previously Senior Scientific Affairs Officer at the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development, in charge of Global Climate Change and Biodiversity issues, where he contributed to the original draft of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) on 260 ppm CO2 target:  

“The long-term sea level that corresponds to current CO2 concentration is about 23 meters above today’s levels, and the temperatures will be 6 degrees C or more higher. These estimates are based on real long term climate records, not models … Current “targets” for CO2 being discussed by UNCCC are way too high to prevent the extinction of coral reefs (which can take no further warming, since most corals have died in the last 20 years from heat shock) and the disappearance of all low lying islands and coastlines where billions of people live. Even a target of 350 ppm is UNACCEPTABLE if we are to avoid dangerous interference with the Earth climate system, causing inconceivable ecological, environmental, and economic disaster. Global warming must not be allowed to continue as would happen by stabilizing CO2 and temperature at present levels. Greenhouse gas buildup MUST BE REVERSED, and CO2 reduced to levels of around 260 ppm, below Pre-Industrial levels. The technologies to do so are proven, cost effective, and capable of being rapidly ramped up, but are not being used on the scale needed due to lack of serious policies and funding to reverse global warming and stabilize the climate system at safe levels. THAT IS WHAT AOSIS AND UNCCC MUST ACCOMPLISH IF WE ARE TO PRESERVE OUR PLANETʼS LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. The solutions are already in hand. Letʼs all get serious and stop stealing our childrenʼs future!” [1].

[Editor's note: atmospheric CO2 concentration  has now reached over 400 ppm CO2 and CO2-equivalent is now 478 ppm CO2-e (2013)]. 

[1].  T. Goreau, “What is the right target for CO2?: 350 ppm is a death sentence for coral reefs and low-lying islands, the safe level of CO2 for SIDS [Small Island Developing States] is 260 parts per million”, Scientific & Technical Briefing To the Association of Small Island States United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7-18 2009: http://www.globalcoral.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/aosis_briefing_2009.pdf .


GREENS: science-informed Australian pro-environment, pro-human rights party

Greens spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon is a Greens Senator in the Australian Parliament. The Greens are an important pro-environment, pro-human rights political party in Australia (see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council ).

The Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon on the worsening Australian heatwave threat (SE Australia in January 2014 suffered one of its  worst ever heatwaves with temperatures over 40C for days and peaking at 46C) (2014):  “ “The Climate Council has warned that global warming will bring more extreme weather and heatwaves and we can’t pretend it’s not going to happen. We must prepare for it and stop it getting worse by reducing greenhouse pollution. The clean energy laws are already reducing greenhouse pollution and creating jobs. It really is time for [Coalition PM] Tony Abbott to abandon his ideological rejection of the climate science and put the Australian community first.” [1].


HAMILTON: Australian climate economist & ethicist predicts dire future for Humanity

Clive Hamilton (Australian climate economist and Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) and the Vice-Chancellor's Chair in Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University) on human survival in “The Four Degrees World” (2010): “One way or another, humans will have to adapt to life in a hotter world. Many plausible scenarios suggest a sharp decline in the number of people that will survive in the long term. Some suggest a billion or a few hundred million will remain in a century or two, but one guess is as good as another. One thing is certain: the transition to a new stage of stability will be long and brutal, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable whose survival will be threatened with food shortages, extreme weather events and disease” [1].

 

[1]. Clive Hamilton, page 204, “The Four Degree World”, Chapter 7 in “Requiem for a Species. Why we resist the truth about climate change”, Allen & Unwin, 2010.


HANDY: Human And Nature DYnamical (HANDY) model for predicting the fate of civilization

The 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model is  cross-disciplinary development led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists.

A study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics, It models past “collapses” with a view to predicting the future for Humanity (2014): “"The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels… Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use… [under conditions] closely reflecting the reality of the world today... we find that collapse is difficult to avoid… .[ civilization] appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature… While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory 'so far' in support of doing nothing… Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."

[1]. Dr Nafeez Ahmed, “NASA-funded study: industrial civilization headed for “irreversible collapse”?”, Guardian, 15 March 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists .


HANSEN: Dr James Hansen, former Head, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, USA

James Hansen is a leading US climate scientist and heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He first warned the US Congress about the danger from man-made climate change over 20 years ago. He published “Storms of My Grandchildren” in 2009 (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hansen ).

Dr James Hansen on being asked before the political December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference “Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis? (2009):Absolutely. It is possible – if we give politicians a cold, hard slap in the face. The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach – "goals" for emission reductions, "offsets" that render ironclad goals almost meaningless, the ineffectual "cap-and-trade" mechanism – must be exposed. We must rebel against such politics as usual. Science reveals that climate is close to tipping points. It is a dead certainty that continued high emissions will create a chaotic dynamic situation for young people, with deteriorating climate conditions out of their control.Science also reveals what is needed to stabilise atmospheric composition and climate. Geophysical data on the carbon amounts in oil, gas and coal show that the problem is solvable, if we phase out global coal emissions within 20 years and prohibit emissions from unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands and oil shale. Such constraints on fossil fuels would cause carbon dioxide emissions to decline 60% by mid-century or even more if policies make it uneconomic to go after every last drop of oil. Improved forestry and agricultural practices could then bring atmospheric carbon dioxide back to 350 ppm (parts per million) or less, as required for a stable climate.Governments going to Copenhagen claim to have such goals for 2050, which they will achieve with the "cap-and-trade" mechanism. They are lying through their teeth.Unless they order Russia to leave its gas in the ground and Saudi Arabia to leave its oil in the ground (which nobody has proposed), they must phase out coal and prohibit unconventional fossil fuels.” [1].

Dr James Hansen on Earth heading to an ice-free state (2009): “If you doubled CO₂, which practically all governments assume we’re going to do, that would eventually get us to the ice-free state... We would be sending our climate back to a state we haven’t adjusted to as a species". [2].

Dr James Hansen et al (2013): “We assess climate impacts of global warming using ongoing observations and paleoclimate data. We use Earth’s measured energy imbalance, paleoclimate data, and simple representations of the global carbon cycle and temperature to define emission reductions needed to stabilize climate and avoid potentially disastrous impacts on today’s young people, future generations, and nature. A cumulative industrial-era limit of ~500 GtC fossil fuel emissions and 100 GtC storage in the biosphere and soil would keep climate close to the Holocene range to which humanity and other species are adapted. Cumulative emissions of ~1000 GtC, sometimes associated with 2°C global warming, would spur “slow” feedbacks and eventual warming of 3–4°C with disastrous consequences. Rapid emissions reduction is required to restore Earth’s energy balance and avoid ocean heat uptake that would practically guarantee irreversible effects. Continuation of high fossil fuel emissions, given current knowledge of the consequences, would be an act of extraordinary witting intergenerational injustice. Responsible policymaking requires a rising price on carbon emissions that would preclude emissions from most remaining coal and unconventional fossil fuels and phase down emissions from conventional fossil fuels... Thus our objective is to define what the science indicates is needed, not to assess political feasibility. Further, it is not obvious to us that there are physical or economic limitations that prohibit fossil fuel emission targets far lower than 1000 GtC, even targets closer to 500 GtC. Indeed, we suggest that rapid transition off fossil fuels would have numerous near-term and long-term social benefits, including improved human health and outstanding potential for job creation...

McKibben [255] uses results of M2009 [Meinshausen et al] to infer allowable fossil fuel emissions up to 2050 if there is to be an 80% chance that maximum warming in the 21st century will not exceed 2°C above the pre-industrial level. M2009 conclude that staying under this 2°C limit with 80% probability requires that 2000–2049 emissions must be limited to 656 GtCO2 (179 GtC) for 2007–2049. McKibben [255] used this M2009 result to determine a remaining carbon budget (at a time not specified exactly) of 565 GtCO2 (154 GtC) if warming is to stay under 2°C. Let us update this analysis to the present: fossil fuel emissions in 2007–2012 were 51 GtC [5], so, assuming no net emissions from land use in these few years, the M2009 study implies that the remaining budget at the beginning of 2013 was 128 GtC. Thus, coincidentally, the McKibben [255] approach via M2009 yields almost exactly the same remaining carbon budget (128 GtC) as our analysis (130 GtC). However, our budget [130 x 3.67 = 477 Gt CO2-e] is that required to limit warming to about 1°C (there is a temporary maximum during this century at about 1.1–1.2°C, Fig. 9), while McKibben [255] is allowing global warming to reach 2°C, which we have concluded would be a disaster scenario! This apparently vast difference arises from three major factors…

A world summit on climate change will be held at United Nations Headquarters in September 2014 as a preliminary to negotiation of a new climate treaty in Paris in late 2015. If this treaty is analogous to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol [257], based on national targets for emission reductions and cap-and-trade-with-offsets emissions trading mechanisms, climate deterioration and gross intergenerational injustice will be practically guaranteed. The palpable danger that such an approach is conceivable is suggested by examination of proposed climate policies of even the most forward-looking of nations. Norway, which along with the other Scandinavian countries has been among the most ambitious and successful of all nations in reducing its emissions, nevertheless approves expanded oil drilling in the Arctic and development of tar sands as a majority owner of Statoil [258][259]. Emissions foreseen by the Energy Perspectives of Statoil [259], if they occur, would approach or exceed 1000 GtC and cause dramatic climate change that would run out of control of future generations. If, in contrast, leading nations agree in 2015 to have internal rising fees on carbon with border duties on products from nations without a carbon fee, a foundation would be established for phaseover to carbon free energies and stable climate.”  [3].

James Hansen and Makiko Sato
(NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and 101-Nobel-Laureate Columbia University’s Earth Institute, New York) state that 2°C would be disastrous: “Global temperature in the early Pliocene [5.3-2.6 Myr ago] , when sea level was about 25 m higher than today (Dowsett et al., 1994), was only about 1°C warmer than peak Holocene temperature, thus 1-2°C warmer than recent (pre-industrial) Holocene [12,000 years ago to the present]…

 The most substantial political effort to place a limit on global warming has been the European Union's target to keep global temperature from exceeding the preindustrial level by more than 2°C (European Union, 2008). This goal was later reaffirmed (European Union, 2010) and it was endorsed by a group of Nobel Laureates in the Stockholm Memo (2011). However, based on evidence presented in this paper a target of 2°C is not safe or appropriate. Global warming of 2°C would  make Earth much warmer than in the Eemian, when sea level was 4-6 meters higher than today. Indeed, with global warming of 2 °C Earth would be headed back toward Pliocene-like conditions. Conceivably a 2°C target is based partly on a perception of what is politically realistic,  rather than a statement of pure science. In any event, our science analysis suggests that such a target is not only unwise, but likely a disaster scenario. Detailed consideration of targets is beyond the scope of this paper, but we note that our present study is consistent with the "target CO2" analysis of Hansen et al. (2008). Those authors argued that atmospheric CO2 should be rolled back from its present ~390 ppm at least to the level of approximately 350 ppm. With other climate forcings held fixed, CO2 at 350 ppm would  restore the planet's energy balance and keep human-made global warming less than 1°C” [4].

Dr James Hansen  and Dr E. Rignot and 14 other colleagues in  research to appear online in July 2015 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussion, an open-access journal published by the European Geosciences Union (2015):  “If the ocean continues to accumulate heat and increase melting of marine-terminating ice shelves of Antarctica and Greenland, a point will be reached at which it is impossible to avoid large scale ice sheet disintegration with sea level rise of at least several meters” (reported in The Washington Post that comments: “The authors conclude that 2 degrees Celsius global warming—the widely accepted international target for how much the world should limit global warming—is “highly dangerous"… In the new study, Hansen and his colleagues suggest that the “doubling time” for ice loss from West Antarctica — the time period over which the amount of loss could double — could be as short as 10 years. In other words, a non-linear process could be at work, triggering major sea level rise in a time frame of 50 to 200 years. By contrast, Hansen and colleagues note, the IPCC assumed more of a linear process, suggesting only around 1 meter of sea level rise, at most, by 2100”) [5].

[1]. James Hansen, “Copenhagen summit: Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis?” Observer/UK Guardian, , Sunday 29 November 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/29/copenhagen-summit-climate-change .

[2]. James Hansen quoted in Andrew Glikson, “As emissions rise, we may be heading for an ice-free planet”, The Conversation, 18 January 2012: http://theconversation.edu.au/as-emissions-rise-we-may-be-heading-for-an-ice-free-planet-4893 .

[3]. James Hansen, Pushker Kharecha, Makiko Sato, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Frank Ackerman, David J. Beerling, Paul J. Hearty, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Shi-Ling Hsu, Camille Parmesan, Johan Rockstrom, Eelco J. Rohling, Jeffrey Sachs, Pete Smith, Konrad Steffen, Lise Van Susteren, Karina von Schuckmann, James C. Zachos, “Assessing “dangerous climate change”: required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and Nature”, PLOS One, 8 (12), 3 December 2013: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0081648

[4]. James E. Hansen and Makiko Sato, “Paleoclimate implications for human-made climate change”: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1105/1105.0968.pdf  .

[5]. Chris Mooney, “The world’s most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario for our planet’s future”, Washington Post, 20 July 2015: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/07/20/the-worlds-most-famous-climate-scientist-just-outlined-an-alarming-scenario-for-our-planets-future .



HASINA: Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Sheik Hasina (born 28 September 1947) iscurrently Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Bangladesh Awami League since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father and first president of Bangladesh and widow of nuclear scientist, M. A. Wazed Miah (see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheikh_Hasina ).


Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (in response to the DARA 2012 report warning that  world's poorest nations are the most vulnerable as they face increased risk of drought, water shortages, crop failure, poverty and diseas, and that on average, they could see an 11 percent loss in GDP by 2030 due to climate change): "One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10 percent productivity loss in farming. For us, it means losing about 4 million metric tonnes of food grain, amounting to about $2.5 billion. That is about 2 percent of our GDP. Adding up the damages to property and other losses, we are faced with a total loss of about 3-4 percent of GDP." [1]

[1]. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina quoted by Reuters, ”100 mln to die by 2030 if world fails to act on climate”, 28 September 2012: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/26/climate-inaction-idINDEE88P05P20120926 .




HAYES: Christopher Hayes, MSNBC host, compares the $10 trillion cost of abolishing slavery in 1865 with the $10 trillion cost of keeping 88% of fossil fuel reserves in the ground


HAYES, Christopher. MSNBC host compares the $10 trillion cost of abolishing slavery in 1865 with the $10 trillion cost of keeping 88% of fossil fuel reserves in the ground.


Christopher Hayes, according to Wikipedia:  Christopher L. "Chris" Hayes (born February 28, 1979)[1] is an American political commentator. Hayes hosts All In with Chris Hayes, a weekday news and opinion television show on MSNBC. Hayes formerly hosted a weekend MSNBC show, Up with Chris Hayes(see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hayes_%28journalist%29 ).

Christopher Hayes on forcing fossil fuel companies to keep 88% their resources in the ground and comparing this $10 trillion cost with the $10 trillion worth of slaves in 1865: “The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a consortium of financial analysts and environmentalists, set out to tally the amount of carbon contained in the proven fossil fuel reserves of the world’s energy companies and major fossil fuel–producing countries. That is, the total amount of carbon we know is in the ground that we can, with present technology, extract, burn and put into the atmosphere. The number that the Carbon Tracker Initiative came up with is… 2,795 gigatons. Which means the total amount of known, proven extractable fossil fuel in the ground at this very moment is almost five times the amount we can safely burn.Proceeding from this fact, McKibben leads us inexorably to the staggering conclusion that the work of the climate movement is to find a way to force the powers that be, from the government of Saudi Arabia to the board and shareholders of ExxonMobil, to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims on in the ground. That stuff you own, that property you’re counting on and pricing into your stocks? You can’t have it. Given the fluctuations of fuel prices, it’s a bit tricky to put an exact price tag on how much money all that unexcavated carbon would be worth, but one financial analyst puts the price at somewhere in the ballpark of $20 trillion. So in order to preserve a roughly habitable planet, we somehow need to convince or coerce the world’s most profitable corporations and the nations that partner with them to walk away from $20 trillion of wealth. Since all of these numbers are fairly complex estimates, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that we’ve overestimated the total amount of carbon and attendant cost by a factor of 2. Let’s say that it’s just $10 trillion. The last time in American history that some powerful set of interests relinquished its claim on $10 trillion of wealth was in 1865—and then only after four years and more than 600,000 lives lost in the bloodiest, most horrific war we’ve ever fought… In fact, in certain climate and investment circles, people have begun to talk about “stranded assets”—that is, the risk that either national or global carbon-pricing regimes will make the extraction of some of the current reserves uneconomical. Recently, shareholders pushed ExxonMobil to start reporting on its exposure to the risk of stranded assets, which was a crucial first step, though the report itself was best summarized by McKibben as saying, basically, “We plan on overheating the planet, we don’t think any government will stop us, we dare you to try.” That is the current stance of the fossil fuel companies: “It’s our property, and we’re gonna extract, sell and burn all of it. What are you gonna do about it?” Those people you see getting arrested outside the White House protesting Keystone XL, showing up at shareholder meetings and sitting in on campuses to get their schools to divest are doing something about it. They are attacking the one weak link in the chain of doom that is our fossil fuel economy. As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” What the climate justice movement is demanding is the ultimate abolition of fossil fuels. And our fates all depend on whether they succeed.”

Christopher Hayes, “The New Abolitionism. Averting planetary disaster will mean forcing fossil fuel companies to give up at least $10 trillion in wealth”, The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/179461/new-abolitionism?page=full# .



HOEGH-GULDBERG: Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Australian coral expert on 2C threat to coral & Great Barrier Reef

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland,  leading coral expert and WWF “Lights out for the reef” co-author) (2014):  “[ current climate trends signal] “game over” [for the Great Barrier Reef]. Corals can exist in temperatures 1C higher than the current summer maximum, but beyond that you get coral bleaching and mass mortality. Beyond 2C, you don’t really have coral dominated reefs anymore and there’s evidence that 1.5C is beyond the limits too…Even under the best-case scenario of 2C, corals disappear. But with business as usual [4C], it’s game over. You look in the [experimental research] tank and the corals have died, bacteria have taken over, the sand has dissolved. It’s a very, very poor place. If you were to replicate that on the Great Barrier Reef, it would hardly be worthy of the word ‘great’. It simply won’t be a coral reef. Corals have adapted in the past to temperature change, but the problem is that we are pushing the oceans through such a rapid temperature change that the corals are getting left behind… The current administration in Australia is not taking the issue seriously and it’ll cost the people of Australia in the future. There isn’t really another option here. If we don’t want global calamity, we need to choose a pathway that decarbonises our society.” [1]

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg on the  2C temperature rise threat to Great Barrier Reef (2014): “The great barrier reef is precious to everyone. Not only is it a wellspring of marine life, it is also a favourite holiday destination , a powerful generator of jobs and one of the most prominent national icons. Its sheer size and complexity make it an essential part of the earth’s biosphere...

While the news on local threats to the reef [agricultural run-off, dredging for coal ports, coal shipping] is in itself of enormous concern, the future of the Great Barrier Reef is even bleaker when climate change and ocean acidification are considered. The scientific  consensus has concluded that further increases in CO2 and average global temperature are almost certain to destroy the coral communities of the Great Barrier Reef for hundreds if not thousands of years.  And without the coral, you don’t have the fish, and without the fish and coral you don’t have the billion dollar tourism industry It is highly unlikely that coral reefs will survive for more than a 2 degree increase in average global temperature relative to pre-industrial levels. But, if the current trajectory of carbon pollution levels continues unchecked , the world is on track for at least three degrees of warming. The prospect of losing our Great Barrier Reef surely demands more attention from us all. As we fail to take action on climate change and ocean acidification, we risk pushing the Great Barrier Reef closer to the point of no return. Each tiny upward step in average global; temperature brings us ever closer to that final point where it will be too late to save the reef...  

This Saturday 29 March, I will participate in Earth Hour to make a stand for our Reef. By taking part in Earth Hour we can all build momentum towards action on climate change to help avoid a “lights out” moment for our previous and irreplaceable Great Barrier Reef”. [2].

Coral scientists Dr Selina Ward and Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg on the imminent  2C temperature rise threat to the survival of coral worldwide and of the Great Barrier Reef (2014): “An ongoing experiment conducted by The  University of Queensland at Heron Island examining how future levels of climate change and associated ocean acidification will affect reefs has found it is likely that corals cannot survive more than a 2 degree average global temperature increase over pre-industrial levels before coral is no longer able to replace itself faster than coral bleaching will destroy it. If current levels of carbon pollution continue unchecked, the world is on track for at least three degrees of global average warming. Ocean acidification can also affect the ability of very young fish to avoid predators, to navigate effectively and recognize parent fish, ultimately affecting their ability to survive. Climate change causes warmer ocean temperatures as well as warmer air temperatures. Ninety per cent of the extra heat generated by climate change has gone into  the ocean, leading to dramatic increases in the upper 700 metres of sea water around the planet. Coral bleaching occurs when coral gets too warm, and leads to coral dying in greater numbers than would otherwise have occurred. Coral bleaching in not known to have occurred before 1979 but is now a serious threat to the viability of coral reef ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef. The action that Australia and world governments take on climate change in the next few years will determine the fate of the Great Barrier Reef. This is the critical decade to avoid climate change tipping points. Helping save the reef is [one] of the many reasons Australia has to set stronger targets to reduce carbon pollution and make the transition to from fossil fuels to renewable energy”  (see Dr Selina Ward, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg [1].

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (a leading coral expert and Director, Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, Australia) (2015):   “A paper published today in Science (on which I am one of the authors) has issued a warning that our window of opportunity to save the oceans from major changes is in danger of slamming shut, bringing with it the risk that we will encounter planetary-scale tipping points in the behaviour of the climate... Analysis of the world’s “carbon budget” …  suggest that we can emit about another 500-800 billion tonnes (gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide before we push global temperatures beyond 2C above the pre-industrial average. This gives us about 20 years before net global emissions have to fall to zero – a tall order indeed… Yet here is a sobering calculation: imagine that the rest of the world falls into line with the US and Chinese climate targets. How much of the world’s budget would we burn? The answer would be that the world had emitted 1,400 gigatonnes of CO2, or 175-280% of our remaining budget, dragging average global warming to 3C and beyond (see the orange line on the graph below). This would be disastrous for us and our children, and many of the benefits of our oceans (coral reefs, fisheries, coastal living) would be transformed beyond recognition” (see Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, “New report: the chance to rescue the world’s oceans from climate change is drifting away”, The Conversation, 3 July 2015: https://theconversation.com/new-report-the-chance-to-rescue-the-worlds-oceans-from-climate-change-is-drifting-away-43257?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+July+3+2015+-+3056&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+July+3+2015+-+3056+CID_7899e5a53f02857a4eb45113786feca3&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=writes ).  

 

 [Editor note: Yet climate criminal Australia has a dominant bipartisan Lib-Lab (Liberal -Laboral, Coalition Government-Labor Opposition) policy of a derisory 5% off 2000 greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by 2020 and unlimited coal, gas and iron ore exports that is set to exceed the world’s terminal carbon pollution budget for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2C temperature rise by a factor of three (3).

From Treasury, ABARE, and US EIA data and assuming an 11% annual growth in iron ore exports, 2.4% annual growth in coal exports and 9% annual growth in gas exports, Australia’s Domestic and Exported greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is as follows (million tonnes CO2-e or Mt CO2-e). The 2020 projections are based on fossil fuel combustion and ignore  ignore fugitive emissions due leakage of gas (mainly  methane, CH4) from coal mines and in coal-seam gas (CSG) production (see “2011 climate change coursed”, section G: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ).  

2000: 565 (Domestic) + 505 (coal exports) + 17 (LNG exports) + 105 (iron ore exports) = 1,192.

2009: 600 (Domestic) + 784 (coal exports) + 31 (LNG exports) + 97 (iron ore exports) = 1,512.

2010: 578 (Domestic) + 803 (coal exports) + 34 (LNG exports) + 293 (iron ore exports) = 1,708.

2020: 621 (Domestic) + 1,039 (black coal exports) + 80 (LNG exports) + 59 (brown coal exports) + 772 (iron ore exports) = 2,571.

Lib-Lab Business As Usual threatens the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, our children  and grandchildren, Humanity and the biosphere.

Decent pro-Humanity Australians and pro-Humanity  people worldwide will vote 1 Green and put the corporatists last.]

[1]. Oliver Milman, “Great Barrier Reef damage “irreversible” unless radical action taken” [University of Queensland researcher says unless temperature rise is kept below 2C, reef will cease to be coral ecosystem], Guardian, 6 March 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/06/great-barrier-reef-damage-irreversible-unless-radical-action-taken .

[2]. Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg  in Foreward to Dr Selina Ward, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg [preface by Anna Rose], “Lights out for the reef”, prepared for Earth Hour 2014 [Saturday 29 March], WWF:  http://earthhour.org.au/LIGHTS_OUT_FOR_THE_REEF_Earth_Hour_2014.pdf .


HOPE: Chris Hope, BA (Univ. of Oxford), MA, PhD (Univ. of Cambridge), Reader in Policy Modelling,  Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge Judge Business School, [89 Nobel Laureate] University of Cambridge

Dr Chris Hope (BA (Univ. of Oxford), MA, PhD (Univ. of Cambridge), is Reader in Policy Modelling,  Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge Judge Business School, [89 Nobel Laureate] University of Cambridge. In his own words; “Dr Hope was the specialist advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs Inquiry into aspects of the economics of climate change, and an advisor on the PAGE model to the Stern review on the Economics of Climate Change. He has published extensively in books and peer-reviewed journals. He has recently completed PAGE09, the latest version of the PAGE integrated assessment model… Dr Hope previously lectured at the Department of Fuel and Energy, University of Leeds, from 1983-1986… Dr Hope previously lectured at the Department of Fuel and Energy, University of Leeds, from 1983-1986… A lead author and review editor for the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded a half share of the Nobel Peace Prize, 2007, Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Academy of Business in Society and the Aspen Institute, 2007… Research interests numerical information in public policy; policy analysis of the greenhouse effect; the integrated assessment modelling of climate change” (see: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/research/faculty/hopec.html ).

Dr Chris Hope and colleagues on the threat of 50Gt methane from East Siberian Arctic Shelf: (2013): “Economic time bomb. As the amount of Arctic sea ice declines at an unprecedented rate, the thawing of offshore permafrost releases methane. A 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates, exists on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. It is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly. Higher methane concentrations in the atmosphere will accelerate global warming and hasten local changes in the Arctic, speeding up sea-ice retreat, reducing the reflection of solar energy and accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The ramifications will be felt far from the poles… To quantify the effects of Arctic methane release on the global economy, we used PAGE09. This integrated assessment model calculates the impacts of climate change and the costs of mitigation and adaptation measures… The methane pulse will bring forward by 15–35 years the average date at which the global mean temperature rise exceeds 2°C above pre-industrial levels — to 2035 for the business-as-usual scenario and to 2040 for the low-emissions case (see 'Arctic methane'). This will lead to an extra $60 trillion (net present value) of mean climate-change impacts for the scenario with no mitigation, or 15% of the mean total predicted cost of climate-change impacts (about $400 trillion)." [1].

[Editor’s note: The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2 [2, 3]. The German WBGU (2009) and the Australian Climate Commission (2013) have estimated that no more than 600 billion tonnes of CO2 can be emitted between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050 if the world is to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature  rise [4, 5]. The 50 Gt (billion tonnes) CH4 in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is thus equivalent to 50 billion tonnes CH4 x 105 tonnes  CO2-equivalent/tonne CH4 = 5,250 tonnes CO2-e or about NINE(9) times more than the world’s terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arcic CH4 release.]

[1]. Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams, “Vast costs of Arctic change”, Nature, 499, 25 July 2013: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/pdf/499401a.pdf  and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/full/499401a.html .

[2]. Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch ,   Gavin A. Schmidt ,   Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions”, Science, 30 October 2009:
Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716 .

[3].  Shindell et al (2009), Fig.2: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716.figures-only .

[4]. WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/ .

[5]. Australian Climate Commission, “The critical decade 2013: a summary of climate change science, risks and responses”, 2013, p7: http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/The-Critical-Decade-2013-Summary_lowres.pdf .


Dr Chris Hope (2011): "If the best current scientific and economic evidence is to be believed, and climate change could be a real and serious problem, the appropriate response is to institute today a climate change tax equal to the mean estimate of the damage caused by a tonne of CO2 emissions. The raw calculations from the default PA GE09 model suggest the tax should be  about $100 per tonne of CO2 in the EU. But correcting for the limited time horizon of the model, and bringing the calculations forward to 2102, in year 2012 dollars, brings the suggested tax up to about $150 per tonne of CO2.

There are good arguments for setting the initial tax at about $250 per tonne of CO2 in the US, while starting off at a much lower

level, maybe $15 per tonne of CO2, in the poorest regions of the world, all in the year 2012, in year 2012 dollars.

That such policy advice would not pass the laugh test [if it can be carried out without laughing about it], particularly in the US, shows that the rhetoric about getting to grips with climate change has not been seriously thought through to its logical conclusion. As a result, rather than falling, greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise (Le Quere et al, 2009). A fiscally neutral significant climate change tax is the best chance we have of bringing the climate change problem under control” (Chris Hope, “How high should climate change taxes be?”, Working Paper Series, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, 9.2011: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/media/assets/wp1109.pdf ).

[Editor's note: In February 2015 the coal price was US$66 per tonne Australian thermal coal i.e. ($66 /t coal) x 1 t coal/2.9 t CO2 = $22.8 per t CO2 (see “Coal, Australian thermal coal Monthly Price - US Dollars per Metric Ton, Index Mundi: http://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=coal-australian&months=60 ).

The damage-related Carbon Price is  $150 per t CO2-e i.e. ($150/t CO2-e) x (1 t thermal coal/2.9 t CO2) = $51.7 per t thermal coal (see Dr Chris Hope, “How high should climate change taxes be?”, Working Paper Series, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, 9.2011: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/media/assets/wp1109.pdf ).

 Thus for every $1 received by a typically foreign-owned, tax-avoiding mining company for Australian coal , Australians as the primary producer will be obligated to pay $150/$51.7 = $2.9 or about $3 for repairing the global consequences of pollution of the atmosphere  and ocean with CO2 ].


IEA: The International Energy Agency (IEA) 2011 World Energy Outlook (WEO) report

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its own words: “The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. Founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis, the IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets. While this continues to be a key aspect of its work, the IEA has evolved and expanded. It is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative and unbiased research, statistics, analysis and recommendations”. The IEA publishes an annual World Energy Outlook series (see: http://www.iea.org/about/index.asp ).

Press release by the IEA on the 2011 World Energy Outlook (WEO) report (2011): “Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system, the International Energy Agency warned as it launched the 2011 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO). The agency's flagship publication, released today in London, said there is still time to act, but the window of opportunity is closing… The WEO presents a 450 Scenario, which traces an energy path consistent with meeting the globally agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C. Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2 emissions permitted to 2035 in the 450 Scenario are already locked-in by existing capital stock, including power stations, buildings and factories. Without further action by 2017, the energy-related infrastructure then in place would generate all the CO2 emissions allowed in the 450 Scenario up to 2035. Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.” [1].

[1]. IEA, “The world is locking itself into an unsustainable energy future which would have far-reaching consequences, IEA warns in its latest World Energy Outlook”, IEA Press release, 9 November 2011: http://www.iea.org/pres/pressdetail.asp?PRESS_REL_ID=426 .


INFELD: Leopold Infeld, Polish physicist and mathematician collaborated with Einstein & Born

Leopold Infeld (Polish physicist and mathematician who collaborated with Einstein on relativity and Born on quantum mechanics) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).



IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - "about 450 ppm CO2-e likely to limit warming to 2oC above pre-industrial levels" [BUT 478 ppm  CO2-e already & 2oC inevitable & disastrous with 25 meter sea level rise at equilibrium]

The IPCC is the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has released a succession of 5 key reports, the latest being the Fifth Assessment Report, AR5 (2013).

The IPCC, “Climate Change 2014 [AR5] Synthesis Report, Approved Summary for Policy Makers”, 1 November 2014: 4.4 Emissions ranges for baseline scenarios and mitigation scenarios that limit greenhouse gas concentrations to low levels (about 450 ppm CO2-eq, likely to limit warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels) are shown for different sectors and gases in Figure SPM.14. Key measures to achieve such mitigation goals include decarbonizing (i.e., reducing the carbon intensity of) electricity generation (medium evidence, high agreement) as well as efficiency enhancements and behavioral changes, in order to reduce energy demand compared to baseline scenarios without compromising development (robust evidence, high agreement). In scenarios [RP2.6] reaching 450 ppm CO2-eq concentrations by 2100, global CO2 emissions from the energy supply sector are projected to decline over the next decade and are characterized by reductions of 90% or more  below 2010 levels between 2040 and 2070. In the majority of lowconcentration stabilization scenarios (about 450 to about 500 ppm CO2-eq, at least  as likely as not to limit warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels), the share of lowcarbon electricity supply (comprising renewable energy (RE), nuclear and CCS [as yet notional carbon capture and storage] , including BECCS) increases from the current share of approximately 30% to more than 80% by 2050, and fossil fuel power generation without CCS is phased out almost entirely by 2100.” [1].

[Editor’s note: The international consensus basis of the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014) has resulted in a report that softens the present acute seriousness of unaddressed man-made climate change. Thus the IPCC Summary argues for a limitation of temperature rise to 2oC through limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of the atmosphere to 450 ppm CO2-equivalent but hard evidence  says that we have already reached 478 ppm CO2-equivalent, that 2oC is dangerous and essentially  inevitable, and that the world will use up its Carbon Budget for avoiding 2oC within about  4 years; see Gideon Polya, “International consensus-based IPCC Summary For Policymakers (2014) downplays acute seriousness of Climate Crisis”, Countercurrents,  12 November, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya121114.htm ].

[1].  The IPCC, “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report, Approved Summary for Policy Makers”, 1 November 2014: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_SPM.pdf .



JARRAUD: Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO): "We are running out of time"

Michel Jarraud (Secretary-General of the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) since 2004) (2014): “We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels. We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board. We are running out of time.Things will only get worse.Past, present and future CO2 emissions will have a cumulative impact on both global warming and ocean acidification. Tthe laws of physics are non-negotiable." [1].

Summary of World Meteorological Organisation's report [1]:

  • Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have grown at their fastest rate since 1984.
  • Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide broke fresh records in 2013.
  • Carbon dioxide levels soared to 142 per cent of pre-industrial levels.
  • Radiative forcing, or warming effect from greenhouse gases increased 34 per cent from 1990 to 2013.
  • Current ocean acidification levels unprecedented at least over the last 300 million years.

[1]. “Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere surge to new high: UN”, ABC News, 10 September 2014: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-10/greenhoues-gas-emissions-hit-new-highs3a-un/5732244 .


JOLIOT-CURIE: Frederic Joliot-Curie, French physicist, husband & joint 1935 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry with Irène Joliot-Curie, daughter of Marie Curie

Frederic Joliot-Curie (French physicist, husband of Irène Joliot-Curie, daughter of Marie Curie,  and 1935 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry with Irène Joliot-Curie for discovery  of generation of radioactive nuclides) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).



JOUGHIN: Dr Ian Joughin, US glaciologist on human commitment to West Antarctic ice sheet collapse

Dr Ian Joughin is a glaciologist at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle, Washinton, USA (see: http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/05/west-antarctic-ice-sheet-collapsing ).

Dr Ian Joughin et al. re the West Antarctica ice sheet collapse, of which the early-stage collapse is already underway (2014): “Abstract. Resting atop a deep marine basin, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has long been considered prone to instability. Using a numerical model, we investigated the sensitivity of Thwaites Glacier to ocean melt and whether its unstable retreat is already under way. Our model reproduces observed losses when forced with ocean melt comparable to estimates. Simulated losses are moderate (<0.25 mm per year at sea level) over the 21st century but generally increase thereafter. Except possibly for the lowest-melt scenario, the simulations indicate that early-stage collapse has begun. Less certain is the time scale, with the onset of rapid (>1 mm per year of sea-level rise) collapse in the different simulations within the range of 200 to 900 years.” [1]..

[1]. Ian Joughin, Benjamin E. Smith, Brooke Medley, “Marine ice sheet collapse potentially under way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin West Antarctica”, Science 16 May 2014,  Vol. 344 no. 6185 pp. 735-738: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6185/735.abstract .



KAROLY: Professor David Karoly, Australian climate scientist

 Professor David Karoly (born 1955) is an Australian climate scientist and academic,  an expert in climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and climate variations due to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2 (awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Al Gore), a member of the faculty of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne,  a  member of the board of the Australian Climate Change Authority (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Karoly ) and a co-author of the 2013 Climate Commission Report “Off the charts: extreme Australian summer heat”: http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/CC_Jan_2013_Heatwave4.pdf .

 

Professor David Karoly on Australian heat wave and climate change (2013):  "What we have been able to see is clear evidence of an increasing trend in hot extremes, reductions in cold extremes and with the increases in hot extremes more frequent extreme fire danger days. What it means for the Australian summer is an increased frequency of hot extremes, more hot days, more heatwaves and more extreme bushfire days and that's exactly what we've been seeing typically over the last decade and we will see even more frequently in the future. What climate change is doing is worsening the conditions associated with heat waves so it makes them longer, it makes the intensity of the heat wave worse and together they lead to more frequent extreme fire danger days [Audio: Heatwaves exacerbated by climate change (AM) ; Australia's average temperature has increased by 0.9 of a degree C since 1910]. We are expecting in the next 50 years for two to three degrees more warming. In other words two or three times the warming we've seen already leading to much greater increases in heatwaves and extreme fire danger days. So we're expecting future climate change to lead to much greater increases in extremes in the next 30 to 50 years.” [1].

 

[1]. Professor David Karoly quoted in Simon Lauder, “” Heatwave exacerbated by climate change: Climate Commission”, ABC News, 11 January 2013: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-12/climate-commission-predicts-more-heatwaves-bushfires/4461960 .



KIM: Dr Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group, states "A 4oC world can and must be avoided"


Dr Jim Yong Kim (President, World Bank Group), in his Forward to the World Bank “Turn Down the Heat” Report: “It is my hope that this Report shocks us into action… This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are near-unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes… The 4oC scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increased risks for food production; potentially leading to high malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

 

And most importantly, a 4oC world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs.

 

The lack of action of climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.

 

It is clear that we already know a great deal about the threat before us. The science is unequivocal that humans are the cause of global warming, and major changes are already being observed: global mean warming is 0.8oC above pre-industrial levels; oceans have warmed by 0.09oC since the 1950s and are acidifying; sea levels rose by about 20 cm since pre-industrial times and are now r9idng at 3.2 cm per decade; an exceptional number of extreme heat waves occurred in the last decade; major food crop growing areas are increasingly affected by drought.

Despite the global community’s best intentions ti keep global warming below a 2oC increase above pre-industrial climate, higher level of warming are increasingly likely. Scientists agree that countries’ current United Nations  Framework Convention on Climate Change emissions pledges and commitments would most likely result in a 3.5 to 4oC warming. And the longer those pledges remain unmet, the more likely a 4oC world becomes…

 

A 4oC world can, and must, be avoided.” [1].

 

[1]. Dr Jim Yong Kim, Forward to  “Turn down the heat. Why a 4oC warmer world must be avoided”, A Report for the World Bank, by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, November 2012: http://climatechange.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/Turn_Down_the_heat_Why_a_4_degree_centrigrade_warmer_world_must_be_avoided.pdf .



KLEIN: Naomi Klein, anti-racist Jewish Canadian author and commentator on the effective climate change denialism through ineffective action of cowardly Big Green groups


Naomi Klein  is a famous anti-racist Jewish Canadian journalist, author and activist who is very well known for her books and critiques of corporate globalization (for biography see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Klein; see also Naomi Klein website: http://www.naomiklein.org/main ).

Naomi Klein on the effective climate change denialism of Big Green groups who have “steered us in directions that have yielded very poor results” (2013): “Well, I think there is a very a deep denialism in the environmental movement among the Big Green groups. And to be very honest with you, I think it’s been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we’ve lost. Because it has steered us in directions that have yielded very poor results. I think if we look at the track record of Kyoto, of the UN Clean Development Mechanism, the European Union’s emissions trading scheme – we now have close to a decade that we can measure these schemes against, and it’s disastrous. Not only are emissions up, but you have no end of scams to point to, which gives fodder to the right. The right took on cap-and-trade by saying it’s going to bankrupt us, it’s handouts to corporations, and, by the way, it’s not going to work. And they were right on all counts. Not in the bankrupting part, but they were right that this was a massive corporate giveaway, and they were right that it wasn’t going to bring us anywhere near what scientists were saying we needed to do lower emissions. So I think it’s a really important question why the green groups have been so unwilling to follow science to its logical conclusions. I think the scientists Kevin Anderson and his colleague Alice Bows at the Tyndall Centre have been the most courageous on this because they don’t just take on the green groups, they take on their fellow scientists for the way in which neoliberal economic orthodoxy has infiltrated the scientific establishment. It’s really scary reading. Because they have been saying, for at least for a decade, that getting to the emissions reduction levels that we need to get to in the developed world is not compatible with economic growth.

What we know is that the environmental movement had a series of dazzling victories in the late 60s and in the 70s where the whole legal framework for responding to pollution and to protecting wildlife came into law. It was just victory after victory after victory. And these were what came to be called “command-and-control” pieces of legislation. It was “don’t do that.” That substance is banned or tightly regulated. It was a top-down regulatory approach. And then it came to screeching halt when Regan was elected. And he essentially waged war on the environmental movement very openly. We started to see some of the language that is common among those deniers – to equate environmentalism with Communism and so on. As the Cold War dwindled, environmentalism became the next target, the next Communism. Now, the movement at that stage could have responded in one of the two ways. It could have fought back and defended the values it stood for at that point, and tried to resist the steamroller that was neoliberalism in its early days. Or it could have adapted itself to this new reality, and changed itself to fit the rise of corporatist government. And it did the latter.” [1].

[1]. Naomi Klein in interview , “Conversation. Naomi Klein”, “Earth Island Journal”, 2013: http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/naomi_klein/ .


LE QUÉRÉ: Professor Corinne Le Quéré, University of East Anglia & Director UK Tyndall Centre

 

 

Dr Corinne Le Quéré (director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK,  professor at the University of East Anglia and co-author of the UK Global Carbon Project “Global Carbon Budget 2012” Report ) (2012);"I am worried that the risks of dangerous climate change are too high on our current emissions trajectory. We need a radical plan.” [1].

 

[1]. Dr Corinne Le Quéré quoted in Reuters, “CO2 emissions rises mean dangerous climate change now certain. Research by Global Carbon Project says emissions growth placing world on path to warm between 4 and 6C”, UK Guardian, 3 December 2012: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/03/co2-emissions-climate-change-certain .



LEVIN & LEVIN: : Dr Donald A. Levin & Dr Phillip Levin, “Rates of extinction appear now to be 100 to 1,000 times greater than background levels”

 

 

Dr Donald A. Levin is Professor of Biology, University of Texas, Austin; his son Dr Phillip Levin is a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service (see: http://www.soc.duke.edu/~pmorgan/levin&levin.2002.the_real_biodiversity_crisis.html ) .

 

Dr Phillip S. Levin,  Dr Donald A. Levin (2002): “The numbers are grim: Some 2,000 species of Pacific Island birds (about 15 percent of the world total) have gone extinct since human colonization. Roughly 20 of the 297 known mussel and clam species and 40 of about 950 fishes have perished in North America in the past century. On average, one extinction happens somewhere on earth every 20 minutes. Ecologists estimate that half of all living bird and mammal species will be gone within 200 or 300 years. Although crude and occasionally controversial, such statistics illustrate the extent of the current upheaval, which spans the globe and affects a broad array of plants and animals…The current losses are, however, exceptional. Rates of extinction appear now to be 100 to 1,000 times greater than background levels, qualifying the present as an era of “mass extinction”. The globe has experienced similar waves of destruction just five times in the past.” [1].

 

[1]. Phillip S. Levin and Donald A. Levin, “Thje real biodiversity crisis”, Macroscope, January-February 2002: http://www.soc.duke.edu/~pmorgan/levin&levin.2002.the_real_biodiversity_crisis.html .




LIVELY: Penelope Lively: “Tampering with the physical world is what we do supremely well…. Finis”

Dame Penelope Margaret Lively, DBE, FRSL (born 17 March 1933) is a major UK  author of fiction for both children and adults. Her novel “Moon Tiger” won the Booker Prize (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penelope_Lively ).

 

Penelope Lively’s heroine Claudia Hampton on the end of the World in the novel “Moon Tiger ()1987): “Tampering with the physical world is what we do supremely well. – in the end, perhaps, we shall achieve it definitively. Finis. And history will indeed come to an end”.  [1].

 

[1]. Penelope Lively, “Moon Tiger” (Penguin), Chapter 1, page 13.   




LOVELOCK: Dr James Lovelock FRS, Gaia Hypothesis & atmospheric gas analysis

Dr James Lovelock, Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) is one of the UK’s and the World’s most eminent climate scientists. He is famous for his Gaia Hypothesis (mutually interacting physical world and biological feedbacks affecting atmosphere and climate) and for his invention of the electron capture detector which ultimately assisted in discoveries about the persistence of CFCs and their role in stratospheric ozone depletion (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lovelock ).

Dr James Lovelock re very few surviving this century (June 2009) : “If we can keep civilization alive through this century perhaps there is a chance that our descendants will one day serve Gaia and assist her in the fine-tuned self-regulation of the climate and composition of our planet. We have enjoyed 12,000 years of climate peace since the last shift from a glacial age to an interglacial one. Before long, we may face planet-wide devastation worse even than unrestricted nuclear war between superpowers. The climate war could kill nearly all of us and leave the few survivors living a Stone Age existence. But in several places in the world, including the U.K., we have a chance of surviving and even of living well. For that to be possible, we have to make our lifeboats seaworthy now.” [1].

Dr James Lovelock, quoted by interviewer (November 2007): “By 2100, Lovelock believes, the Earth's population will be culled from today's 6.6 billion to as few as 500 million, with most of the survivors living in the far latitudes -- Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin.” [2].

Dr James Lovelock re fewer than 1 billion surviving this century and in answer to the New Scientist interviewer question “Do you think that we will survive”( January 2009): “I'm an optimistic pessimist. I think it's wrong to assume we'll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It's happening again. I don't think humans react fast enough or are clever enough to handle what's coming up. Kyoto was 11 years ago. Virtually nothing's been done except endless talk and meetings.” [3].

Dr James Lovelock (2008): "[Re stopping global warming] It's just too late for it. Perhaps if we'd gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don't have time. All these standard green things, like sustainable development, I think these are just words that mean nothing. I get an awful lot of people coming to me saying you can't say that, because it gives us nothing to do. I say on the contrary, it gives us an immense amount to do. Just not the kinds of things you want to do."… "There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism… [re what to do]  Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan" [4].

[1]. James Lovelock, “Climate war could kill nearly all of us, leaving survivors on the Stone Age”, Guardian, 29 June 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jun/29/climate-war-lovelock .

[2]. Jeff Goodell, “The Prophet of climate change”, Rolling Stone, 1 November 2007: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/16956300/the_prophet_of_climate_change_james_lovelock .

[3]. Gaia Vince, “One last chance to save mankind”, New Scientist, 23 January 2009: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126921.500-one-last-chance-to-save-mankind.html?full=true

[4]. James Lovelock quoted by Decca Aitkenhead, “James Lovelock: “enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global  warming will hit the fan”, Guardian, 1 March 2008: http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange .



MANN: Professor Michael Mann, Meteorologist, Pennsylvania State University - to prevent plus 2C "fossil-fuel burning would essentially have to stop immediately"

Michael E. Mann (Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University,  contributor to the International Panel on Climate Change work that received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and author of  The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines” (Columbia University Press, 2012)) (2014): .Although the earth has experienced exceptional warming over the past century, to estimate how much more will occur we need to know how temperature will respond to the ongoing human-caused rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide. Scientists call this responsiveness “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS). ECS is a common measure of the heating effect of greenhouse gases. It represents the warming at the earth's surface that is expected after the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere doubles and the climate subsequently stabilizes (reaches equilibrium).The preindustrial level of CO2 was about 280 parts per million (ppm), so double is roughly 560 ppm… When all the forms of evidence are combined, they point to a most likely value for ECS that is close to three degrees C. And as it turns out, the climate models the IPCC actually used in its Fifth Assessment Report imply an even higher value of 3.2 degrees C… for an ECS of three degrees C, our planet would cross the dangerous warming threshold of two degrees C in 2036, only 22 years from now… These findings have implications for what we all must do to prevent disaster. An ECS of three degrees C means that if we are to limit global warming to below two degrees C forever, we need to keep CO2 concentrations far below twice preindustrial levels, closer to 450 ppm. Ironically, if the world burns significantly less coal, that would lessen CO2 emissions but also reduce aerosols in the atmosphere that block the sun (such as sulfate particulates), so we would have to limit CO2 to below roughly 405 ppm. We are well on our way to surpassing these limits. In 2013 atmospheric CO2 briefly reached 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history—and perhaps for the first time in millions of years, according to geologic evidence. To avoid breaching the 405-ppm threshold, fossil-fuel burning would essentially have to cease immediately. To avoid the 450-ppm threshold, global carbon emissions could rise only for a few more years and then would have to ramp down by several percent a year” (Michael Mann, “Earth will cropss the climate danger threshold by 2036”,Scientific American, 18 March 2014: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-will-cross-the-climate-danger-threshold-by-2036/ ).


MAUNA LOA: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Mauna Loa Observatory - CO2 reached 400 ppm (2013), increasing at 2.5 ppm per year

 

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Mauna Loa Observatory publishes graphs showing recent monthly mean carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii over the last 50 years. (see “Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ ).  

The last four complete years of the Mauna Loa CO2 record plus the current year are shown, as are data from 1960 onwards. Data are reported as a dry air mole fraction defined as the number of molecules of carbon dioxide divided by the number of all molecules in air, including CO2 itself, after water vapor has been removed. The mole fraction is expressed as parts per million (ppm). Example: 0.000400 is expressed as 400 ppm.

CO2 concentration was a minimum of about 310 ppm in 1960 but reached a maximum value of 397 ppm in 2012 and is increasing at an ever-increasing rate, about 2 ppm per year in 2012 as compared to 1 ppm per year in 1960. 




MCKIBBEN: Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org (get atmospheric CO2 below 350 ppm)

William Ernest "Bill" McKibben (born 1960) is an American environmentalist, author, and journalist and the leader of 350.org that urges returning atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to below 350 parts per million (ppm) CO2 (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_McKibben  and 350.org:  http://www.350.org/ ). It should be noted that the Australian-based 300.org ,based on the latest science, urges a return of atmospheric CO2 to about 300 ppm CO2 (see 300.org: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org and https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm ).

Bill McKibben on 3 critical climate change numbers 2, 565 and 2,795  (2012) [I have inserted the appropriate UNITS that are crucial to the argument] : “2 [degrees Centigrade]  … So far, we've raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.) Given those impacts, in fact, many scientists have come to think that two degrees is far too lenient a target. "Any number much above one degree involves a gamble," writes Kerry Emanuel of MIT, a leading authority on hurricanes, "and the odds become less and less favorable as the temperature goes up." Thomas Lovejoy, once the World Bank's chief biodiversity adviser, puts it like this: "If we're seeing what we're seeing today at 0.8 degrees Celsius, two degrees is simply too much." NASA scientist James Hansen, the planet's most prominent climatologist, is even blunter: "The target that has been talked about in international negotiations for two degrees of warming is actually a prescription for long-term disaster". At the Copenhagen summit, a spokesman for small island nations warned that many would not survive a two-degree rise: "Some countries will flat-out disappear." When delegates from developing nations were warned that two degrees would represent a "suicide pact" for drought-stricken Africa, many of them started chanting, "One degree, one Africa."Despite such well-founded misgivings, political realism bested scientific data, and the world settled on the two-degree target – indeed, it's fair to say that it's the only thing about climate change the world has settled on. All told, 167 countries responsible for more than 87 percent of the world's carbon emissions have signed on to the Copenhagen Accord, endorsing the two-degree target. Only a few dozen countries have rejected it, including Kuwait, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Even the United Arab Emirates, which makes most of its money exporting oil and gas, signed on. The official position of planet Earth at the moment is that we can't raise the temperature more than two degrees Celsius – it's become the bottomest of bottom lines. Two degrees…565 [billion tonnes CO2] scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. ("Reasonable," in this case, means four chances in five, or somewhat worse odds than playing Russian roulette with a six-shooter.) This idea of a global "carbon budget" emerged about a decade ago, as scientists began to calculate how much oil, coal and gas could still safely be burned. Since we've increased the Earth's temperature by 0.8 degrees so far, we're currently less than halfway to the target… 2,795 [billion tonnes CO2] The number describes the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it's the fossil fuel we're currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number – 2,795 – is higher than 565. Five times higher.” [1].

[1]. Bill McKibben , “Global warming’s terrifying New Math. Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is”, Rolling Stone, 19 July 2012: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719 .



MEINSHAUSEN. Professor Malte Meinshausen, Potsdam Institute, Germany

Dr Malte Meinshausen (Dr. Malte Meinshausen is Senior Researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany and Senior Research Fellow at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne) and colleagues (2009): “More than 100 countries have adopted a global warming limit of 2 °C or below (relative to pre-industrial levels) as a guiding principle for mitigation efforts to reduce climate change risks, impacts and damages. However, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions corresponding to a specified maximum warming are poorly known owing to uncertainties in the carbon cycle and the climate response. Here we provide a comprehensive probabilistic analysis aimed at quantifying GHG emission budgets for the 2000–50 period that would limit warming throughout the twenty-first century to below 2 °C, based on a combination of published distributions of climate system properties and observational constraints. We show that, for the chosen class of emission scenarios, both cumulative emissions up to 2050 and emission levels in 2050 are robust indicators of the probability that twenty-first century warming will not exceed 2 °C relative to pre-industrial temperatures. Limiting cumulative CO2 emissions over 2000–50 to 1,000 Gt CO2 yields a 25% probability of warming exceeding 2 °C—and a limit of 1,440 Gt CO2 yields a 50% probability—given a representative estimate of the distribution of climate system properties. As known 2000–06 CO2 emissions3 were ~234 Gt CO2, less than half the proven economically recoverable oil, gas and coal reserves can still be emitted up to 2050 to achieve such a goal. Recent G8 Communiqués7 envisage halved global GHG emissions by 2050, for which we estimate a 12–45% probability of exceeding 2 °C—assuming 1990 as emission base year and a range of published climate sensitivity distributions. Emissions levels in 2020 are a less robust indicator, but for the scenarios considered, the probability of exceeding 2 °C rises to 53–87% if global GHG emissions are still more than 25% above 2000 levels in 2020” (Malte Meinshausen et al, “Greenhouse gas emissions targets for limiting global warming t 2oC”, Nature, 458, 1158-1162 (30 April 2009: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7242/full/nature08017.html  ).

[Editor's note: The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 relative to that of CO2 (1.0) is 21 on a 100 year time frame but on a 20 year time frame and taking aerosol impacts into account, it is 105. This re-assessment of the GWP of CH4 becomes of great importance in assessing how many years we have left to tackle GHG pollution  (see Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch ,   Gavin A. Schmidt ,   Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions”, Science, 30 October 2009: Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716  ).

Thus the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) provides estimates of CH4 emissions from the US alone that total about 0.67 Gt CH4 annually or 0.67 Gt CH4 x 105 Gt CO2-e/Gt CH4 = 70.35 Gt CO2-e annually. If we set the terminal GHG pollution budget to 600 Gt CO2-e then  the US alone has a mere 600 Gt CO2-e/(70.35 Gt CO2-e per year) = 8.5 years of such pollution of this single GHG  before this terminal GHG pollution budget is exceeded (see “Greenhouse gas emissions”, US EPA: http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html ) .

In 2009 World Bank analysts used an estimate of a GWP of 72 for CH4 on a 20 year time frame to re-assess the contribution of livestock to man-made GHG pollution as over 32.564 Gt CO2-e/year of which 5.047 GT CO2-e/year is due to undercounted methane. This re-assessment lifts the annual GHG pollution from 41.744 Gt CO2-e to 63.803 Gt CO2-e.  Assuming that live-stock-related GHG pollution increases  in direct proportion ion to energy-related CO2 emissions, one can estimate that the world will reach 551.738 Gt CO2-e in 2017 and 624.363 Gt CO2-e in 2018 i.e. the World has 5.8 years at present rates relative to 2012 before it exceeds the terminal CO2-e budget.

However one can re-assess the World Bank re-assessment by consider that CH4 has a GWP relative to CO2 of 105. This re-assessment indicates that the World will reach 573.167 Gt CO2-e in 2017 and 648.547 Gt CO2-e in 2018 i.e. the World has 5.3 years at present rates relative to 2012 before it exceeds the terminal CO2-e budget.of 600 Gt CO2-e].


MORRIGAN: Tariel Morrigan: need to go back to 300 ppm CO2 & "current trends will significantly limit the human carrying capacity of the Earth"

Tariel Mórrígan is the Principal Research Associate, Global Climate Change, Human Security and Democracy, Global & International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA: http://globalchangewatch.weebly.com/ .

Tariel Mórrígan on need to get back to 300 ppm CO2 (2010 ): “ Limiting the atmospheric CO2 concentration to no greater than 350 ppm might prevent committed global warming to no more than 2.4oC in the long term, after the temporary delay by climate and ocean thermal inertia reach their peak potenttial climate forcing (i.e. warming) , Stabilization at or below 350 ppm CO2-eq provides a 93% probability of staying below 2oC above pre-industrial values (IPCC, 2007c ; Meinshausen, 2006). Thjerefore a CO2 target as low as 300 ppm may be necessary to stabilize to prevent a dangerous warming of 2oC. Global average temperatures may stabilize within a likely range of 0.6-1.4oC above pre-industrial values at or below 350 ppm CO2-eq (300 ppm CO2) (IPCC, 2007c ; Meinshausen, 2006).” [1].

Synopsis of “Peak energy, climate change, and the collapse of global civilization. The current oil crisis” by Tariel Morrigan (2010): “This report is a synthesis of the current state of knowledge on energy resources and global climate and environmental change. The findings clearly indicate that the convergence of peak energy resources and dangerous anthropogenic climate and environmental change will likely have a disastrous impact in the near- and long-term on the quantity and quality of human life on the planet… The findings suggest:

  • Global conventional oil production likely peaked around 2005 – 2011.
  • Peak global production of coal, natural gas, and uranium resources will likely occur by 2020 – 2030, if not sooner.
  • Energy resource shortages post-peak oil will likely cause a systemic collapse of global industrialized civilization in the near-term as the abundant fossil fuel energy resources used to develop and support industrialized economies become increasingly scarce.
  • Current trends in land, soil, water, and biodiversity loss and degradation, combined with potential climate change impacts, ocean acidification, a mass extinction event, and energy scarcity will significantly limit the human carrying capacity of the Earth.” [2].

[1]. Tariel Mórrígan, “Target atmospheric greenhouse gas concetrations. Why hunaity shoulkd aim for 350 ppm CO2-e”: http://www.global.ucsb.edu/climateproject/papers/pdf/Morrigan_2010_Target%20Atmospheric%20GHG%20Concentrations.pdf .

[2]. Synopsis of Tariel Mórrígan, “Peak energy, climate change, and the collapse of global civilization. The current oil crisis”, University of California, Santa Barbara (2010): http://www.global.ucsb.edu/climateproject/papers/index.html# .




MOTESHARRI: Dr Safa Motesharri, applied mathematician at NSF-funded US National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center

Safa Motesharri is an applied mathematicians at the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.

Dr Safa Motesharri and colleagues in a study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics, It models past “collapses” with a view to predicting the future for Humanity (2014): “"The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels… Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use… [under conditions] closely reflecting the reality of the world today... we find that collapse is difficult to avoid… .[ civilization] appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature… While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory 'so far' in support of doing nothing… Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."

[1]. Dr Nafeez Ahmed, “NASA-funded study: industrial civilization headed for “irreversible collapse”?”, Guardian, 15 March 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists .


MULLER: Herman J. Muller (American geneticist, educator & 1946 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine  

Herman J. Muller (American geneticist, educator, and 1946 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine  for  the physiological and genetic effects of radiation (X-ray mutagenesis)) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).



MURPHY: Susan Murphy, author of "Minding the Earth, Mending the World" on climate change ignoring

Susan Murphy is the author of “Minding the Earth, Mending the World”.

Susan Murphy on climate change ignoring  and climate change inaction:  “[it is] ridiculous to pretend it is not happening, and almost equally ridiculous to mention it , since no one can personally hope to change its course, and no one much wants even to hear about it” [1].

[1]. Susan Murphy quoted under “The Great Taboo” in Libby Skeels, Ben Nisenbaum, Carol Ride, Sue Pratt and Bronwyn Wauchope, ”Let’s speak about climate change. Psychology for a Safe Climate”.


PAULING: Linus Pauling, American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, educator,  1954 Nobel Laureate  in Chemistry & 1962 Nobel Laureate for Peace

Linus Pauling (American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, educator,  1954 Nobel Laureate  in Chemistry for quantum chemistry and protein chemistry and 1962 Nobel Laureate for Peace) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).

 

PAULY: Professor Daniel Pauly, Professor of Fisheries, University of  British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Dr Daniel Pauly (Professor of Fisheries,  University of British Colombia,  Canada, and an editor for the  United Nations' next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2012).: “Fish have to follow the temperature. They have to follow, they have no choice and if you put that in the models of climate change, you see the fish moving at rates that very much correspond to the way that I observed, about 50 kilometres per decade... Countries that are big in longitude but not in latitude, like Indonesia, are only on the losing side. So temperate countries and much of Australia is - at least Tasmania is - will not see the problem, so not experience the problem so strongly as countries that are purely tropical… Yeah, and the newspaper, the local newspapers say [re giant squid in BC, Canada] 'What is this, a sea monster?' This- they, in Mexico they are used to it, they fish it. In BC they don't know and they think in the newspaper this is a sea monster. See that's the lack of familiarity and this is- will happen…   I think we are still dealing with this in terms of cost, in terms of 'We cannot afford this given the budget'. We are not dealing with it in terms of the danger that this represents - it's like a war. When there is a war, the industry is put on a war footing, and then within weeks it stops using- producing cars - it was so in the States - and it starts producing aeroplanes. World War II is a good example. Really the question of cost doesn't come up. You had a bunch of crazies that were threatening all of Western civilisation. Actually, I think that global warming does threaten all of Western civilisation and but we are dealing with pennies, we are dealing with pennies. And so Doha, like Copenhagen, I think there will be meetings that will still be seen in terms of money, financing, whereas they have to be seen in terms of security. And it's- for the first time it's not security of this or that country, it's the security of humanity.” [1].

 

[1]. Dr Daniel Pauly in interview, “Prepare economy for climate change “war”: expert ”, ABC Radio National, “AM”, 4 December 2012: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2012/s3646638.htm .



PERKINS: Dr Sarah Perkins, research fellow, UNSW, Sydney & co-author of 2014 Australian Climate Council Report on heat waves

Dr Sarah Perkins, co-author of the 2014 Australian Climate Council interim report on heatwaves and a research fellow at the UNSW, Sydney (see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council ).

Dr Sarah Perkins on the worsening Australian heatwave threat (SE Australia in January 2014 suffered one of its  worst ever heatwaves with temperatures over 40C for days and peaking at 46C) (2014): “Before the 2009 Black Saturday fires, there was a decade-long drought, which produced some climatic variability reasons behind it. This year, we aren’t in an El Niño, we’re in a neutral pattern, so we might expect some extreme weather but not this hot scorching weather. Last year was a neutral year too, on the back of a strong La Niña, and we still got extreme weather. I’m not discounting natural variability, but there is still the background signal of climate change. The high-pressure system probably would’ve happened anyway, but climate change is exacerbating these events. While we can’t blame climate change for any one event, we can certainly see its fingerprint. This is another link in the chain…[the trend ] just gets worse – it’s a bit scary really”. We are experiencing between one to three extra heatwave days a year, compared to the long term average, which doesn’t sound a lot but it doesn’t need many of these days to kill people or cause damage. And this is with background warming of 1C. If current trends continue and we get to 4C warming, it will be a whole lot worse than now.” [1].

[1]. Oliver Milman, “Australian heatwaves getting hotter and longer, says Climate Council”, Guardian, 16 January 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council .



PETERS: Dr Glen P. Peters, climate researcher, University of Oslo & international colleagues in key 2012 Nature paper

 

Glen P. Peters (CICERO Senter for Klimaforskning Universitetet i Oslo, Oslo, Norway) and colleagues Robbie M. Andrew, Tom Boden, Josep G. Canadell, Philippe Ciais, Corinne Le Quéré, Gregg Marland, Michael R. Rapauch & Charlie Wilson (2012): “The latest carbon dioxide emissions continue to track the high end of emission scenarios, making it even less likely global warming will stay below 2 °C. A shift to a 2 °C pathway requires immediate significant and sustained global mitigation, with a probable reliance on net negative emissions in the longer term.” [1].

[1]. Glen P. Peters, Robbie M. Andrew, Tom Boden, Josep G. Canadell, Philippe Ciais, Corinne Le Quéré, Gregg Marland, Michael R. Rapauch & Charlie Wilson, “The challenge to keep global warming below 2o Centigrade”, Nature Climate Change, published on-line 2 December 2012: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1783.html .





PETROV: On 26 September 1983, Russian Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov single-handedly prevented nuclear war

According to Wikipedia (see:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov ) “Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (born c. 1939) is a retired lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces. On September 26, 1983 he was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early warning system when the system reported a missile being launched from the United States. Petrov judged that the report was a false alarm. This decision may have prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its Western allies. Investigation later confirmed that the satellite warning system had malfunctioned”.

 

See also “On this date [26 September] 1983, Stanislav Petrov single-handedly prevented nuclear war”, (Mental Floss, 26 September 2012: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/143192 ): “On September 26, 1983, the world came very close to nuclear war. Shortly after midnight, alarms inside Serpukhov-15—a bunker in Moscow where the Soviet Union monitored its satellites over the United States—began to go off. The satellites had detected the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile from a base in the United States. Then the system reported that five missiles had been launched and were heading toward the Soviet Union from the U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov, who was on duty that night, had no way of knowing that it was a false alarm: The satellites had mistaken the reflections of sunlight off high-altitude clouds as a missile launch. He had only a few minutes to determine if this was a genuine attack. In that case, Soviet protocol was an immediate counterattack... Under immense pressure, Petrov ultimately decided that the satellites were wrong. In addition to what he called “a funny feeling in my gut,” he had other evidence to suggest reports of an attack were false. Ground-based radar hadn’t detected any incoming missiles, even a few minutes after the satellite alarm (the delay is because ground-based radar can’t see over the horizon). What’s more, Petrov had been told any attack would be a full barrage of missiles, not just five, and he knew that the system had flaws. He reported his findings to his superiors, who did not launch an attack.


PISTONE: Dr Kristina Pistone et al., Scripps Institute for Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, USA

PISTONE

Kristina Pistone, Ian Eisenman, and V. Ramanathan (Scripps Institute for Oceanography, University of California  at San Diego) (2014): “We find that the Arctic planetary albedio has decreased from 0.52 to 0.48 between 1979 and 2011, corresponding to an additional 6.4 +/- 0.9 W/m2 of solar energy input into the Arctic Oceean region. Since 1979 , Averaged over the globe, this albedo decrease corresponds to a forcing that is 25% as large as that due to the change in CO2 during this period.”  [1]

 [1]. Kristina Pistone, Ian Eisenman, and V. Ramanathan, “Obervational determination of albedo decrease caused by vanishing sea ice”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Science. USA, 2014: http://eisenman.ucsd.edu/publications/Pistone-Eisenman-Ramanathan-2014.pdf .

 


POLYA:  Dr Gideon Polya, biochemist "predicted 10 billion victims this century if man-made climate change is not urgently addressed" but "not too late"


Dr Gideon Polya is a biochemist, academic, writer, artist, and climate change activist. Associated with the Australian Climate Emergency Network and the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group,  he is the Convenor of 300.org that, informed by the latest science,  holds that we must return the world's atmospheric CO2 concentration to 300 ppm for a safe and sustainable planet for all peoples and all species (see: .http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya ).

Dr Gideon Polya re climate genocide (December 2009): “Both Dr James Lovelock FRS (Gaia hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson ( Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK) have recently estimated that fewer than 1 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made global warming – these estimates translating to a climate genocide involving deaths of 10 billion people this century, this including 6 billion under-5 year old infants, 3 billion Muslims, 2 billion Indians, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis.” [1]. 

Dr Gideon Polya on Climate Genocide in context of April 22, Earth Day (2011): “April 22 is  Earth Day. The following science-informed analysis summarizes the dire state of the Planet and what needs to be done to stop the horrendous global avoidable mortality holocaust killing 18 million people each year  and to deal with the worsening climate emergency  that threatens a climate genocide with a predicted 10 billion victims this century if man-made climate change is not urgently addressed.” [2].

Dr Gideon Polya (2012): "We are badly running out of time to deal with the climate emergency. Yet it is not too late - what is required is rapid cessation of carbon burning, deforestation and methane-generating land use; deployment of 100% renewable energy; massive renewable energy-driven biochar production to reduce atmospheric CO2 back to 300 ppm from the present nearly 400 ppm; and in Australia cessation of coal, gas and iron ore exports. 

I am a 5-decade career scientist and active environmentalist (member of the Climate Emergency Network and the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group), I give and offer  lectures and lecture courses on the climate crisis to community groups in Greater Melbourne (from Seymour to Trafalgar) as well as to university students (Google "2011 climate change course") , I have created websites to educate the public (e.g. Google  "300.org", "Gas is dirty energy" and "Are we doomed?”), publish articles around the world, endlessly write to Australian MPs and Mainstream media, letterbox for climate activist organizations and the Greens,  and "bear witness" by always wearing a big badge saying "300 ppm CO2" (the atmospheric CO2, concentration is approaching 400 ppm and must be returned to 300 ppm ASAP)..

If you care for your children, grandchildren and the Planet, vote Green." [Here are the links  quoted:  "300.org": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm , "Gas is dirty energy": https://sites.google.com/site/gasisnotcleanenergy/gas-is-dirty-energy  and "Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed ]. [3].

Dr Gideon Polya on acute seriousness of CH4 release in the Arctic (2013) “The acute seriousness of the present situation is revealed by the following dire estimations. The atmospheric consequence of 2 centuries of fossil fuel burning has been the increase in atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppm to a current 400 ppm. Top climate scientists and biologists argue that for a safe and sustainable  planet there must be a return of atmospheric CO2 concentration to about 300 ppm CO2.  The major means of doing this are through cessation of greenhouse gas pollution,  re-afforestation and conversion of agricultural and forestry cellulosic biomass waste  to biochar (charcoal, carbon) through anaerobic pyrolysis (heating at 500-700C  in the absence of oxygen). The atmosphere contains  about 700 billion tonnes of CO2 and hence reducing the CO2 from 400 ppm to 300 ppm means removing one quarter of the atmospheric  CO2 i.e. removal of 175 billion tonnes CO2.   The cost of  removal of 175 billion tonnes CO2 as biochar has been estimated at $13 trillion to $53 trillion (US dollars)  or 15-62% of the current world annual GDP of $85 trillion [8]. There is no indication (except from some warming-threatened island states and some prescient countries e.g. Denmark , Germany , Scotland , and China ) that the world is prepared to take serious action.

However it gets even worse.  Methane (CH4) has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) 105 times greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2) on a 20 year time frame and taking aerosol impacts into account. Accordingly, the 50 billion tonnes of CH4 predicted to be released from the Arctic Ocean seabed in coming decades [Professor Peter Wadhams et al,, University of Cambridge] ] is equivalent  to 50 x 105 = 5,250 billion tonnes CO2-equivalent (CO2-e ) and the cost of $13 trillion to $53 trillion for 175 billion tonnes CO2 translates conservatively to $390 trillion to $1,590 trillion for conversion of 5,250 billion tonnes of CO2-e via CO2  to biochar . This estimate represents about 5 to 20 years of  world GDP and tells even the most optimistic person that we are doomed unless radical action is taken now to stop Arctic warming immediately" [4].

Dr Gideon Polya commenting on Dr Nafeez Ahmed, “NASA-funded study: industrial civilization headed for “irreversible collapse”?”, Guardian, 15 March 2014: "Excellent article (I should declare that I am on the International Advisory Board of the UK-based Institute for Policy Research and Development of which Dr Nafeez Ahmed is the Executive Director) . Rational risk management that is crucial for societal safety (a notable example being  aviation) successively involves (a) accurate data, (b) scientific analysis (the critical testing of potentially falsifiable hypotheses) and (c) science-informed systemic change to minimize risk. Unfortunately, when it comes to consideration of the 3 key threats  facing humanity - nuclear weapons, poverty (gross inequity) and resource depletion (including climate change)  - Big Money gets in the way between science and public policy in our Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies  and Corporatocracies  and we have irrational risk management successively involving (a) censorship, lying, and intimidation, (b) anti-science spin (the selective use of asserted facts to support a partisan position)  and (c) blame and shame that cripples crucial reportage (for numerous expert opinions Google "Are we doomed?")." [5]. 


Dr Gideon Polya commenting on the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers and the 2C "target"(2014): "The international consensus basis of the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014) has resulted in a report that softens the present acute seriousness of unaddressed man-made climate change. Thus the IPCC Summary argues for a limitation of temperature rise to 2oC through limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of the atmosphere to 450 ppm CO2 -equivalent but hard evidence  says that we have already reached 478 ppm CO2 -equivalent, that 2oC is dangerous and essentially  inevitable, and that the world will use up its Carbon Budget for avoiding 2oC within about  4 years" [6].

[1]. Gideon Polya, “Climate racism, climate injustice and climate genocide – Australia, US & EU sabotage Copenhagen COP15”, Bellaciao, 14 December 2009: http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article19422 .

[2]. Gideon Polya, “April 22, Earth Day: We Must Stop Climate Catastrophe”, Countercurrentsd, 22 April 2011: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya220411.htm .

[3]. Gideon Polya, posted comments to Nick Feik, “Green movement has been an abject failure”, The Age, On-line, National Times, 5 December 2012: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/green-movement-has-been-an-abject-failure-20121204-2at7t.html .

[4]. Gideon Polya, “100 ideas for climate change activists trying to save the Biosphere And Humanity”, Countercurrents, 10 August 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya100813.htm .

[5]. Dr Gideon Polya commenting  on Dr Nafeez Ahmed, “NASA-funded study: industrial civilization headed for “irreversible collapse”?”, Guardian, 15 March 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists.

[6].   Gideon Polya, “International consensus-based IPCC Summary For Policymakers (2014)  downplays acute seriousness of Climate Crisis”,  Countercurrents, 12 November, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya121114.htm .


POPE FRANCIS in Encyclical "Laudato si" on the threat of "unprecedented destruction of ecosystems with serious consequences for all of us"

Pope Francis in his Encyclical letter “Laudato si” (“Praise be”) on the looming threat of man-made climate change (2015): [Section 20] Some forms of pollution are part of people's daily experience. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and [already] causes millions of premature deaths... If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world's population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas. Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet's capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences” (Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter “Laudato si”, 2015: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html and Pope Francis quoted in “Key excerpts from the Pope’s encyclical on the environment”, ABC News, 19 June 2015: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-19/pope-francis-warns-humanity-about-pace-of-consumption/6557822  ).


POWELL: Cecil F. Powell, British physicist & 1950 Nobel Laureate in Physics

Cecil F. Powell (British physicist,and 1950 Nobel Laureate in Physics for development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and for the resultant discovery of the pion (pi-meson)) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).


PRINN: Dr  Ron Prinn (Profesor of Atmospheric Science at MIT) - atmosphere at 478 ppm  CO2-e (2013)

Dr Ron Prinn (Professor of Atmospheric Science in 83-Nobel-Laureate MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences,  Director of MIT’s Center for Global Change Science (CGCS),  Co-Director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change (JPSPGC), and who studies the chemical evolution of atmospheres):  “What’s not appreciated is that there are a whole lot of other greenhouse gases (GHGs) that have fundamentally changed the composition of our atmosphere since pre-industrial times: methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons. The screen of your laptop is probably manufactured in Taiwan, Japan, and Eastern China by a process that releases nitrogen trifluoride—release of 1 ton of nitrogen trifluoride is equivalent to 16,800 tons of CO2. But there is a fix to that—the contaminated air in the factory could be incinerated to destroy the nitrogen trifluoride before it’s released into the environment. Many of these other gases are increasing percentage-wise faster than CO2 . In the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE), we continuously measure  over 40 of these other GHGs in real time over the globe. If you convert these other GHGs into their equivalent amounts of CO2 that will have the same effect on climate, and add them to the NOAA measurements of CO2, you find that we are actually at 478 ppm of CO2 equivalents right now. In fact, we passed the 400 ppm back in about 1985. So, 478 not 400 is the real number to watch. That’s the number people should be talking about when it comes to climate change” [1].

[1].
Ron Prinn, “400 ppm CO2? Add other GHGs and its equivalent to 478 ppm”, Oceans at MIT, 6 June 2013: http://oceans.mit.edu/featured-stories/5-questions-mits-ron-prinn-400-ppm-threshold .


[Editor’s  note: the international consensus basis of the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014) has resulted in a report that softens the present acute seriousness of unaddressed man-made climate change. Thus the IPCC Summary argues for a limitation of temperature rise to 2oC through limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of the atmosphere to 450 ppm CO2 -equivalent but hard evidence  says that we have already reached 478 ppm CO2 -equivalent, that 2oC is dangerous and essentially  inevitable, and that the world will use up its Carbon Budget for a 75% probability of avoiding 2oC within about  4 years  (see Gideon Polya, “International consensus-based IPCC Summary For Policymakers (2014)  downplays acute seriousness of Climate Crisis”,  Countercurrents, 12 November, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya121114.htm )].


PUGWASH CONFERENCES ON SCIENCE AND WORLD AFFAIRS: warning the world about nuclear threat & weapons of mass destruction

The Nobel Peace Prize 1995 was awarded to Polish physicist Joseph Rotblat and  Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Nobel Prize.org: “The Pugwash Conferences take their name from the fishing village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, site of the first meeting in 1957 which was attended by 22 eminent scientists (seven from the United States, three each from the Soviet Union and Japan, two each from the United Kingdom and Canada, and one each from Australia, Austria, China, France, and Poland). The stimulus for this first Pugwash meeting was the "Manifesto" issued in 1955 by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, and also signed by Max Born, Percy Bridgman, Leopold Infeld, Frederic Joliot-Curie, Herman Muller, Linus Pauling, Cecil Powell, Joseph Rotblat, and Hideki Yukawa, which called upon scientists of all political persuasions to assemble to discuss the threat posed to civilization by the advent of thermonuclear weapons. …lines of communication provided by Pugwash played useful background roles in helping lay the groundwork for the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963, the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 and SALT I accords, the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972, the Intermediate-range theater Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty, as well as the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. Despite subsequent trends of generally improving East-West relations and the emergence of a much wider array of unofficial channels of communication, Pugwash meetings have continued to play an important role in bringing together key scientists, analysts and policy advisers for sustained, in-depth discussions of the crucial arms-control issues of the day, particularly in the areas of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The Pugwash Workshops on Nuclear Weapons have brought together government and military figures with scientists and policy analysts to keep open lines of communication on such sensitive issues as: initiatives to limit missile defenses that led to the 1972 ABM Treaty; the Euromissile and Star Wars controversies of the 1980s; the dangers posed by the breakup of the Soviet Union regarding fissile material and the decommissioning of nuclear systems; the emergence of India and Pakistan as nuclear powers and the threat of additional proliferation; and the ramifications of US plans for national missile defense (NMD) and the implications of NMD for nuclear stability and arms control” (see “Nobel Peace Prize 1995 Joseph Rotblat, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs”, Nobel Prize.org: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1995/pugwash-history.html ).


RAHMSTORF: Professor Stefan Rahmstorf (Potsdam University, Germany) on global warming impact on the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf (Professor of Ocean Physics at Potsdam University Germany (2015): “The North Atlantic between Newfoundland and Ireland is practically the only region of the world that has defied global warming and even cooled. Last winter there even was the coldest on record – while globally it was the hottest on record. Our recent study (Rahmstorf et al. 2015) attributes this to a weakening of the Gulf Stream System, which is apparently unique in the last thousand years… If the circulation weakens too much it can even completely break down – the AMOC [Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation; deep southward flow, northward upper flow; part of the global thermohaline circulation] has a well-known “tipping point”… 16 experts interviewed saw already at moderate global warming (2-4 °C) a probability of a ‘tipping’ (major reorganisation) of the flow between 5 and 40 percent. With strong global warming (4-8 °C) this probability was even estimated as between 20 and 65 percent” Stefan Rahmstorf , “What’s Going On In The North Atlantic?”, Countercurrents, 24 March, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/rahmstorf240315.htm ).

[Editor's note: of particular relevance to Australia and South Pacific and Indian Ocean Island States   in relation to severe cyclones, is his Fig.4 Temperature anomaly map for the past december-january-february, from NOAA which shows that most of the Indian Ocean and Western South Pacific “much warmer than average” and big areas of the Western South Pacific “record warmest”].


RAMANATHAN: Dr V. Ramanathan & Dr Y. Feng (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego) - world already committed to disastrous plus 2.4 degrees C (2008)

V. Ramanathan  and Y. Feng (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego) conclude that the world is already committed to a warming of 2.4°C: “The observed increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) since the preindustrial era has most likely committed the world to a warming of 2.4°C (1.4°C to 4.3°C) above the preindustrial surface temperatures. The committed warming is inferred from the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates of the greenhouse forcing and climate sensitivity. The estimated warming of 2.4°C is the equilibrium warming above preindustrial temperatures that the world will observe even if GHG concentrations are held fixed at their 2005 concentration levels but without any other anthropogenic forcing such as the cooling effect of aerosols. The range of 1.4°C to 4.3°C in the committed warming overlaps and surpasses the currently perceived threshold range of 1°C to 3°C for dangerous anthropogenic interference with many of the climate-tipping elements such as the summer arctic sea ice, Himalayan–Tibetan glaciers, and the Greenland Ice Sheet. IPCC models suggest that ≈25% (0.6°C) of the committed warming has been realized as of now. About 90% or more of the rest of the committed warming of 1.6°C will unfold during the 21st century, determined by the rate of the unmasking of the aerosol cooling effect by air pollution abatement laws and by the rate of release of the GHGs-forcing stored in the oceans. The accompanying sea-level rise can continue for more than several centuries. Lastly, even the most aggressive CO2 mitigation steps as envisioned now can only limit further additions to the committed warming, but not reduce the already committed GHGs warming of 2.4°C” [1]. 

[1]. V. Ramanathan  and Y. Feng, “On avoiding dangerous interference with the climate system: formidable challenges ahead”, PNAS, 17 September 2008: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/16/0803838105.abstract



RANDERS: Professor Jorgen Randers, "I am a climate pessimist", "2052 - A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years" MANATHAN

RANDERS: Professor Jorgen Randers, climate pessimist, "2052 - A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years"

 Jorgen Randers is professor at the Norwegian Business School BI and co-author of The Limits to Growth in 1972, the Report to the Club of Rome, and its two sequels. His most recent book, published in May 2012, is 2052 - A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, also a report to The Club of Rome (see: http://www.climatecodered.org/2012/11/systematic-short-termism-climate.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClimateCodeRed+%28climate+code+red%29 ).

 

Professor Jorgen Randers (2012): “I am a climate pessimist. I believe (regrettably) that humanity will not meet the climate challenge with sufficient strength to save our grandchildren from living in a climate-damaged world. Humanity (regrettably) will not make what sacrifice is necessary today in order to ensure a better life for our ancestors forty years hence. The reason is that we are narrowly focused on maximum well-being in the short term. This short-termism is reflected in the systems of governance that we have chosen to dominate our lives: Both democracy and capitalism place more emphasis on costs today that on benefits forty years in the future. The global result of this human myopia is described in my book 2052 – A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, a report to the Club of Rome commemorating the forty year anniversary of The Limits to Growth. The 2052 book forecasts a world of plus 2°C in 2050, and the likelihood of run-away climate change in the second half of the 21st century. Its website www.2052.info gives the statistical detail…     In sum, I don’t believe that the free market, regulation, political leadership, or public education will solve the climate problem in time. Capitalism is unable to handle this long term challenge, and democratic society is unwilling to modify the market. In my view, we need something stronger, something that can counter the root problem: Man’s short-term nature. His tendency to disregard the long term consequences of current action.  What can be done? Can democratic society be modified to solve the climate challenge? Eco-dictatorship may be to go too far. But something is needed to temper the short-termism of the nation state, probably something at the supranational level. For example a global central bank for climate gas emissions, introduced through democratic means – like the normal central banks. This is easier said than done. But still necessary. Otherwise, I predict, it will be the Chinese who solve the global climate challenge - singlehandedly. Through a sequence of 5-year plans established with a clear long term vision, and executed without asking regular support from the Chinese. They are already well on the way, for the benefit of our grandchildren.” [1].

 

[1].  Jorgen Randers, “Systematic short-termism:  Climate, capitalism and democracy”, Climate Code red, 2012: http://www.climatecodered.org/2012/11/systematic-short-termism-climate.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClimateCodeRed+%28climate+code+red%29 .




REALCLIMATE. Climate science from climate scientists: “Hit the brakes hard”  

“RealClimate. Climate science from climate scientists” in their own words: “RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science. All posts are signed by the author(s), except ‘group’ posts which are collective efforts from the whole team. This is a moderated forum” (see: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/about/ ).  .

Real Climate on the odds of exceeding a predefined threshold of 2°C as a function of CO2 emissions (2009): “There is a climate splash in Nature this week, including a cover showing a tera-tonne weight, presumably meant to be made of carbon (could it be graphite?), dangling by a thread over the planet, and containing two new articles (Allen et al and Meinshausen et al), a “News & Views” piece written by two of us, and a couple commentaries urging us to “prepare to adapt to at least 4° C” and to think about what the worst case scenario (at 1000 ppm CO2) might look like. At the heart of it are the two papers which calculate the odds of exceeding a predefined threshold of 2°C as a function of CO2 emissions. Both find that the most directly relevant quantity is the total amount of CO2 ultimately released, rather than a target atmospheric CO2 concentration or emission rate. This is an extremely useful result, giving us a clear statement of how our policy goals should be framed. We have a total emission quota; if we keep going now, we will have to cut back more quickly later… Both papers come to the same broad conclusion, summarized in our figure, that unless humankind puts on the brakes very quickly and aggressively (i.e. global reductions of 80% by 2050), we face a high probability of driving climate beyond a 2°C threshold taken by both studies as a “danger limit”… We feel compelled to note that even a “moderate” warming of 2°C stands a strong chance of provoking drought and storm responses that could challenge civilized society, leading potentially to the conflict and suffering that go with failed states and mass migrations. Global warming of 2°C would leave the Earth warmer than it has been in millions of years, a disruption of climate conditions that have been stable for longer than the history of human agriculture. Given the drought that already afflicts Australia, the crumbling of the sea ice in the Arctic, and the increasing storm damage after only 0.8°C of warming so far, calling 2°C a danger limit seems to us pretty cavalier.” [1].

[1]. Real Climate, “Hit the brakes hard”, 29 April 2009: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/hit-the-brakes-hard/ .




REES: Professor Martin Rees FRS, astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist

Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, OM, FRS (born 23 June 1942 in York) is a British cosmologist, astronomer and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004. He was President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010 (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Rees,_Baron_Rees_of_Ludlow ).

Martin Rees on the question “Are we all doomed? (2011): “The threat of global nuclear annihilation involving tens of thousands of bombs has been in abeyance since the end of the cold war. But, in future decades, a global political realignment could lead to a stand-off between new superpowers which could be handled less well or less luckily than the Cuban crisis was. In the meantime, there is more risk than ever that smaller nuclear arsenals will be used in a regional context, or even by terrorists. But other threats loom larger. Devastation could arise insidiously rather than suddenly, through unsustainable pressure on energy supplies, food, water and other natural resources. The world's population is projected to reach nine billion by 2050. The bigger the population becomes, the greater these pressures will be - especially if the developing world narrows the gap between itself and the developed world in its per-capita consumption… Humankind's collective footprint is growing. It may irreversibly degrade our environment as our numbers grow and we each consume more. Advanced technology threatens us with other vulnerabilities… There seems to be no scientific impediment to achieving a sustainable world beyond 2050, in which the developing countries have narrowed the gap with the developed and all people benefit from further advances that could have as great and benign an impact on society as information technology. But the intractable politics and sociology - the gap between what could be and what really happens - engender pessimism." [1].

[1]. Martin Rees, “Are we all doomed?”, New Statesman, 9 June 2011: http://www.newstatesman.com/society/2011/06/world-planet-rees-future .


RHIANNON: Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon

Senator Lee Rhiannon is a Greens Senator in the Australian Parliament. The Greens are an important pro-environment, pro-human rights political party in Australia (see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council ).

The Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon on the worsening Australian heatwave threat (SE Australia in January 2014 suffered one of its  worst ever heatwaves with temperatures over 40C for days and peaking at 46C) (2014):  “ “The Climate Council has warned that global warming will bring more extreme weather and heatwaves and we can’t pretend it’s not going to happen. We must prepare for it and stop it getting worse by reducing greenhouse pollution. The clean energy laws are already reducing greenhouse pollution and creating jobs. It really is time for [Coalition PM] Tony Abbott to abandon his ideological rejection of the climate science and put the Australian community first.” [1].

[1]. Oliver Milman, “Australian heatwaves getting hotter and longer, says Climate Council”, Guardian, 16 January 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council .



RIGNOT: Dr Eric Rignot, glaciologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on human commitment through global warming to collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet

Dr Eric Rignot is a glaciologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is the lead author of a 2014 landmark scientific paper on West Antarctica revealing that the collapse of a large part of Antarctica is now unstoppable (see: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/17/climate-change-antarctica-glaciers-melting-global-warming-nasa ).

Dr Eric Rignot on the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet (2014): Last Monday, we hosted a Nasa conference on the state of the West Antarctic ice sheet…

We announced that we had collected enough observations to conclude that the retreat of ice in the Amundsen sea sector of West Antarctica was unstoppable, with major consequences – it will mean that sea levels will rise one metre worldwide. What's more, its disappearance will likely trigger the collapse of the rest of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which comes with a sea level rise of between three and five metres. Such an event will displace millions of people worldwide. Two centuries – if that is what it takes – may seem like a long time, but there is no red button to stop this process. Reversing the climate system to what it was in the 1970s seems unlikely; we can barely get a grip on emissions that have tripled since the Kyoto protocol, which was designed to hit reduction targets. Slowing down climate warming remains a good idea, however – the Antarctic system will at least take longer to get to this point…

What this means is that we may be ultimately responsible for triggering the fast retreat of West Antarctica. This part of the continent was likely to retreat anyway, but we probably pushed it there faster. It remains difficult to put a timescale on it, because the computer models are not good enough yet, but it could be within a couple of centuries, as I noted. There is also a bigger picture than West Antarctica. The Amundsen sea sector is not the only vulnerable part of the continent. East Antarctica includes marine-based sectors that hold more ice. One of them, Totten glacier, holds the equivalent of seven metres of global sea level. Controlling climate warming may ultimately make a difference not only about how fast West Antarctic ice will melt to sea, but also whether other parts of Antarctica will take their turn. Several "candidates" are lined up, and we seem to have figured a way to push them out of equilibrium even before warming of air temperature is strong enough to melt snow and ice at the surface. Unabated climate warming of several degrees over the next century is likely to speed up the collapse of West Antarctica, but it could also trigger irreversible retreat of marine-based sectors of East Antarctica. Whether we should do something about it is simply a matter of common sense. And the time to act is now; Antarctica is not waiting for us.” [1].

Eric Rignot et al (2014): “Abstract. We measure the grounding line retreat of glaciers draining the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica using Earth Remote Sensing (ERS-1/2) satellite radar interferometry from 1992 to 2011. Pine Island Glacier retreated 31 km at its center, with most retreat in 2005–2009 when the glacier un-grounded from its ice plain. Thwaites Glacier retreated 14 km along its fast-flow core and 1 to 9 km along the sides. Haynes Glacier retreated 10 km along its flanks. Smith/Kohler glaciers retreated the most, 35 km along its ice plain, and its ice shelf pinning points are vanishing. These rapid retreats proceed along regions of retrograde bed elevation mapped at a high spatial resolution using a mass conservation technique (MC) that removes residual ambiguities from prior mappings. Upstream of the 2011 grounding line positions, we find no major bed obstacle that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat and draw down the entire basin.[2].

[1]. Eric Rignot, “Global warming: it’s a point of no return in West Antarctica. What happens next?”, The Observer, 18 May 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/17/climate-change-antarctica-glaciers-melting-global-warming-nasa .

[2]. E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi and B. Scheuchl, “Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glacier, West Antarctica from 1992 to 2011”, Geophysical Research Letters, 2014: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060140/abstract .


ROBERTS: Dr Paul Craig Roberts, "Father of Reaganomics" - "The current situation in my experience is the most dangerous time of all for humanity"

Dr Paul Craig Roberts (economist, academic, former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Business Week, nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate, author of numerous books,  and served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the "Father of Reaganomics”) (2015): “I have been around for a long time and have experienced more than most. The current situation in my experience is the most dangerous time of all for humanity. Nuclear weapons are no longer restrained by the Cold War MAD doctrine. Washington has released them into pre-emptive first strike form. The targets of these pre-emptive strikes–Russia and China–know it, because Washington proudly proclaims its immorality in public documents describing its war doctrine. The result is to maximize the chance of nuclear war. If you were Russia and China, and you knew that Washington had a war doctrine that permits a surprise nuclear attack, would you sit there waiting while Washington cranks up its anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda machine, demonizing both countries as a threat to “freedom and democracy”? The fools in Washington are playing with nuclear fire. Noam Chomsky points out that in a less dangerous time than currently exists, we came very close to nuclear war. https://philosophynow.org/issues/107/Noam_Chomsky_on_Institutional_Stupidity “ (Paul Craig Roberts, “A Middle East Holocaust”, Paul Craig Roberts, 30 March 2015: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/03/30/middle-east-holocaust-paul-craig-roberts/ ).


ROGELJ: Dr  Joeri Rogelj, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland

 

Dr Joeri Rogelj is a scientist at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH; the 31-Nobel-Laureate Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich) (see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/global-temperature-goals_n_2404322.html ).

 

Dr  Joeri Rogelj (Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH; the 31-Nobel-Laureate Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich) commenting on the important scientific paper by Joeri Rogelj, David L. McCollum, Andy  Reisinger, Malte Meinshausen  & Keywan Riahi and entitled “Probabilistic cost estimates for climate change mitigation” (Nature 493, 79–83, 3 January 2013): http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7430/full/nature11787.html ): “The uncertainties about how the climate system will respond have been previously used as an argument to postpone action until we have learned more. We show that such a delay strategy is unsupported and that the most important factor for staying below 2 degrees C is the timing of when we start tackling this problem at a global scale…When delaying action by two more decades, chances to stay below 2 degrees C become very low and we find that they cannot be improved later on, no matter how much money we throw at the problem in the future… If one can continue to prosper in the future and deliver the same services with less overall energy, this will in the first place save you money, but also very significantly improve your national energy security situation. It seems to me that such benefits should be appealing to any decision-maker who cares about the long-term development and prosperity of his or her country." [1].

 

[1]. Dr Joeri Rogelj quoted in Stephanie Pappas, “Global temperature goals could become impossible with climate inaction, study finds” (Huffington Post, 5 January 2013: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/global-temperature-goals_n_2404322.html .


ROSE: Anna Rose of the Australian Youth Climate Coaltion (AYCC) on Earth Hour for the Great Barrier Reef (8.30pm, Australkian EST, Saturday 29 March 2014)

Anna Rose (Australian author, activist,  environmentalist, co-founder of  the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, AYCC, and formerly  Chair of the AYCC board.) on Earth Hour [from 8.30pm Australian EST, Saturday 29 March 2014] action to help save the Great Barrier Reef (2014): “The impacts of climate change are already visible, in every corner of our planet. We’ve already changed the acidity of the oceans and the composition of the atmosphere. But the story of how climate change is affecting our Great Barrier Reef is one of the most tangible and heartbreaking. The story of climate change can be seen and felt on the reef – in acidifying  oceans, bleaching coral, increasing sand and ocean temperature, more extreme storm damage to the reef, and rising sea levels.  Our reef is running out of time, but those of us alive today can be the ones to help[ save it. And just because a situation is urgent does not mean it is too late. Earth Hour was founded on the principle that no one can do everything, but that everyone can do something. Earth Hour [for the reef] provides a moment for you – yes you – to have a conversation you normally might not… Host an Earth Hour gathering with friend and family, or attend a community gathering. Then at 8.30pm (Australian EST; Saturday 29 March 2014] join the citizens of 152 nations and 7001 cities around the world in turning out your lights to make a stand for the reef”. [1].

 

[1]. Anna Rose, Preface to Dr Selina Ward, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg [preface by Anna Rose], “Lights out for the reef”, prepared for Earth Hour 2014 [Saturday 29 March], WWF:  http://earthhour.org.au/LIGHTS_OUT_FOR_THE_REEF_Earth_Hour_2014.pdf .



ROTBLAT: Joseph Rotblat, Polish physicist who shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize with the Pugwash Conferences

Joseph Rotblat (Polish physicist who notably left the Manhattan Project on the grounds of conscience and whose  work on nuclear fallout contributed to the ratification of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; secretary-general of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs from their founding until 1973 and  shared, with the Pugwash Conferences, the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts toward nuclear disarmament) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).


RUSBRIDGER: Alan Rusbridger (editor of the UK Guardian for 20 years) on fossil fuels: "We need to keep them in the ground"

Alan Rusbridger (editor of the UK Guardian for 20 years) on increased Guardian reportage on man-made climate change (2015):This summer I am stepping down after 20 years of editing the Guardian.So, in the time left to me as editor, I thought I would try to harness the Guardian’s best resources to describe what is happening and what – if we do nothing – is almost certain to occur, a future that one distinguished scientist has termed as “incompatible with any reasonable characterisation of an organised, equitable and civilised global community”.The coming debate is about two things: what governments can do to attempt to regulate, or otherwise stave off, the now predictably terrifying consequences of global warming beyond 2C by the end of the century. And how we can prevent the states and corporations which own the planet’s remaining reserves of coal, gas and oil from ever being allowed to dig most of it up. We need to keep them in the ground… There are three really simple numbers which explain this (and if you have even more appetite for the subject, read the excellent July 2012 Rolling Stone piece by the author and campaigner Bill McKibben, which – building on the work of the Carbon Tracker Initiative – first spelled them out).

1. 2C: There is overwhelming agreement – from governments, corporations, NGOs, banks, scientists, you name it – that a rise in temperatures of more than 2C by the end of the century would lead to disastrous consequences for any kind of recognised global order.

2. 565 gigatons: “Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by mid-century and still have some reasonable hope of staying below 2C,” is how McKibben crisply puts it. Few dispute that this idea of a global “carbon budget” is broadly right.

3. 2,795 gigatons: This is the amount of carbon contained in the proven coal, oil and gas reserves of fossil fuel companies and states – ie the fuel we are planning to extract and burn… We need to keep it in the ground.” [1].

 [1]. Alan Rusbridger, “Climate change: why the Guardian is putting the threat  to Earth front and centre”, Guardian, 6 March 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/06/climate-change-guardian-threat-to-earth-alan-rusbridger .



RUSSELL: Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist &  1950 Nobel Laureate for  Literature

Bertrand Russell (British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist ad 1950 Nobel Laureate for  Literature for his humanitarian writing) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).



RUSSELL-EINSTEIN MANIFESTO (1955):  in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind”

The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) : “In the tragic situation which confronts humanity, we feel that scientists should assemble in conference to appraise the perils that have arisen as a result of the development of weapons of mass destruction, and to discuss a resolution in the spirit of the appended draft…

Although an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons as part of a general reduction of armaments3 would not afford an ultimate solution, it would serve certain important purposes. First, any agreement between East and West is to the good in so far as it tends to diminish tension. Second, the abolition of thermo-nuclear weapons, if each side believed that the other had carried it out sincerely, would lessen the fear of a sudden attack in the style of Pearl Harbour, which at present keeps both sides in a state of nervous apprehension. We should, therefore, welcome such an agreement though only as a first step. Most of us are not neutral in feeling, but, as human beings, we have to remember that, if the issues between East and West are to be decided in any manner that can give any possible satisfaction to anybody, whether Communist or anti-Communist, whether Asian or European or American, whether White or Black, then these issues must not be decided by war. We should wish this to be understood, both in the East and in the West. There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.

Resolution: We invite this Congress, and through it the scientists of the world and the general public, to subscribe to the following resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.”

Signatories [all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates]: Max Born, Percy W. Bridgman, Albert Einstein, Leopold Infeld, Frederic Joliot-Curie, Herman J. Muller, Linus Pauling, Cecil F. Powell, Joseph Rotblat, Bertrand Russell, Hideki Yukawa” ( The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ) .


SCHALLER: Dr Morgan Schaller, Research Associate in earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutger's University, New Jersey, USA

According to Rutgers Today (the news outlet for Rutgers, the State University if New Jersey):  ” In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Morgan Schaller and James Wright contend that following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years… Wright, a professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences and Schaller, a research associate, say the finding is significant in considering modern-day climate change.“We’ve shown unequivocally what happens when CO2 increases dramatically – as it is now, and as it did 55 million years ago”Wright said. “The oceans become acidic and the world warms up dramatically. Our current carbon release has been going on for about 150 years, and because the rate is relatively slow, about half the CO2 has been absorbed by the oceans and forests, causing some popular confusion about the warming effects of CO2. But 55 million years ago, a much larger amount of carbon was all released nearly instantaneously, so the effects are much clearer” (see Ken Branson, “New finding shows that climate change can happen in a geological instant ”, Rutgers News, 6 October 2013: http://news.rutgers.edu/research-news/new-finding-shows-climate-change-can-happen-geological-instant/20131003#.Ul42lFP3S42 ).

 

A Wikipedia report on this in relation to the Paleocene-Eocene  Thermal Maximum (PETM)  states that “New research published in 2013 indicates that in only 13 years 3000 gigatons of carbon were released, followed by a much faster rise in temperatures than previously thought” but explains that the precise cause of this events and the associated max extinctions is not clear an d states that “There is a debate about whether there was a large enough amount of methane hydrate to be a major carbon source; a recent paper proposed that was the case. The present-day global methane hydrate reserve is poorly constrained, but is mostly considered to be between 2,000 ~ 10,000 Gt. However, because the global ocean bottom temperatures were ~6 degree C higher than today, which implies a much smaller volume of sediment hosting gas hydrate than today, the global amount of hydrate before the PETM has been thought to be much less than present-day estimates” (see “Paleocene-Eocene  Thermal Maximum (PETM)”, Wikilpedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum ).

 

A report on this discovery in RE New Economy  states: “Significantly, the editor of this new study is none other than the “dean of climate scientists,” Wallace Broecker who popularized the term “global warming.” Two decades ago, Broecker said, “The climate system is an angry beast, and we are poking at it with sticks.” He stood by that warning in a 2012 interview: “We’re in for big trouble,” he says matter-of-factly. “There’s been a “true disruption of the basic climate of the planet.” “My point [with the 'angry beast' metaphor] was that by adding large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere, we were poking our climate system without being sure how it would respond,” he says. At the rate we are spewing carbon pollution into the atmosphere, one might even say we are punching the climate beast in the nose. Paleoclimate studies, including this new one, suggests that is a very, very bad move.” (see Joe Romm, “Earth may have warmed 5C in 13 years when CO2 doubled”, RE New Economy, 14 October 2013: http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/petm-shocker-co2-levels-doubled-55-million-years-ago-earth-may-warmed-9f-13-years-61702 ).

 

Note: There is 700- 750 GtC in atmosphere (mostly as 750 x 3.7 = circa 2,800 Gt CO2; half due to historical fossil fuel combustion) (see “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ). Dr Chris Hope and colleagues on the threat of 50Gt methane from East Siberian Arctic Shelf: (2013): “Economic time bomb. As the amount of Arctic sea ice declines at an unprecedented rate, the thawing of offshore permafrost releases methane. A 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates, exists on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. It is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly” (see Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams, “Vast costs of Arctic change”, Nature, 499, 25 July 2013: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/pdf/499401a.pdf  and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/full/499401a.html ).

 

The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2. The German WBGU (2009) and the Australian Climate Commission (2013) have estimated that no more than 600 billion tonnes of CO2 can be emitted between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050 if the world is to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature  rise. The 50 Gt (billion tonnes) CH4 in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is thus equivalent to 50 billion tonnes CH4 x 105 tonnes  CO2-equivalent/tonne CH4 = 5,250 tonnes CO2-e or about NINE(9) times more than the world’s terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release. We are evidently facing a PETM scenario in coming decades.



SELIGMANN. Peter Seligmann, chair of Conservation International: “The problem is a lack of accountability”

Peter Seligman is a co-founder of the charity Conservation International, the mission statement of which is “Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity” (see: http://www.conservation.org/newsroom/experts/Pages/seligmann.aspx ). .

"The problem is a lack of accountability. The goals are stated, but they're Utopian; no-one holds governments to account. The job of heads of governments, of presidents and prime ministers, is to see when there's a crisis coming and to respond to that, to say 'let's address it'; but all we hear is a big silence." [1].

[1]. Peter Seligman quoted in Richard Black, “Where are the green goals?”,, BBC News, 15 September 2005: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4250854.stm .



SHEARMAN. Professor David Shearman, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Adelaide: "Climate change is accepted as a huge threat to health world-wide"



Professor David Shearman is an Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (see: http://theconversation.com/dealing-with-the-health-risks-of-unconventional-gas-10987 ) .

Professor David Shearman (Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Adelaide) in commenting on heath concerns relating to unconventional gas that is likely to be a major source of gas for gas-fired power stations in Queensland: “Many health concerns could be allayed by tight regulation of mining technology, pre-emptive water analysis, monitoring for both water contamination and health impacts. Indeed it would be in the interests of industry to welcome such measures and promote them instead of spending large sums reassuring the public. Finally what about regulation of the biggest potential health impact? The International Energy Agency has expressed concern about gas replacing renewable energy sources. This would delay any chance of early curtailment of greenhouse emissions. Climate change is accepted as a huge threat to health world wide. In 2012, unconventional gas mining is expanding rapidly. Billions of dollars are being invested without adequate research, regulation and public health surveillance. We are trusting that the lucky country will get away with it. And as with coal the externality costs [will] be foisted onto to the public purse".  [1].


[1]. David Shearman, “Dealing with the health risks of unconventional gas”, The Conversation, 28 November 2012: http://theconversation.com/dealing-with-the-health-risks-of-unconventional-gas-10987.



SHERWOOD. Professor Steven Sherwood, UNSW, Australia: "Global average temperatures will increase by 3C to 5C with a doubling of carbon dioxide"

Professor Steven Sherwood, lead author of a key climate change report  from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) centre of excellence for climate system science:  “Climate sceptics like to criticise climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect, but what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by those models which predict less warming, not those that predict more. Our research has shown climate models indicating a low temperature response to a doubling of carbon dioxide from pre-industrial times are not reproducing the correct processes that lead to cloud formation. When the processes are correct in the climate models the level of climate sensitivity is far higher. Previously, estimates of the sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of carbon dioxide ranged from 1.5C to 5C. .This new research takes away the lower end of climate sensitivity estimates, meaning that global average temperatures will increase by 3C to 5C with a doubling of carbon dioxide. Rises in global average temperatures of this magnitude will have profound impacts on the world and the economies of many countries if we don’t urgently start to curb our emissions.” [1].

Steven C. Sherwood, Sandrine Bony and Jean-Louis Dufresne (2014): “Equilibrium climate sensitivity refers to the ultimate change in global mean temperature in response to a change in external forcing. Despite decades of research attempting to narrow uncertainties, equilibrium climate sensitivity estimates from climate models still span roughly 1.5 to 5 degrees Celsius for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, precluding accurate projections of future climate. The spread arises largely from differences in the feedback from low clouds, for reasons not yet understood. Here we show that differences in the simulated strength of convective mixing between the lower and middle tropical troposphere explain about half of the variance in climate sensitivity estimated by 43 climate models. The apparent mechanism is that such mixing dehydrates the low-cloud layer at a rate that increases as the climate warms, and this rate of increase depends on the initial mixing strength, linking the mixing to cloud feedback. The mixing inferred from observations appears to be sufficiently strong to imply a climate sensitivity of more than 3 degrees for a doubling of carbon dioxide. This is significantly higher than the currently accepted lower bound of 1.5 degrees, thereby constraining model projections towards relatively severe future warming.”  [2].

 [1]. Professor Steven Sherwood quoted in Oliver Milman, “Climate change models underestimate likely temperature rise, report shows”, Guardian, 1 January 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jan/01/climate-change-models-underestimate-likely-temperature-rise-report-shows .

[2]. Steven C. Sherwood, Sandrine Bony and Jean-Louis Dufresne, “Spread in model climate sensitivity traced to atmospheric convective mixing”, Nature, 505, 37-42, 1 January 2014: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v505/n7481/full/nature12829.html .

[Editor note: atmospheric CO2 was 280 ppm pre-Industrial Revolution and reached 400 ppm in 2013. Dr James Hansen et al (2013) say that warming, presently +0.8C,  should be limited to 1C and that 2C would be disastrous ; see James Hansen, Pushker Kharecha, Makiko Sato, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Frank Ackerman, David J. Beerling, Paul J. Hearty, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Shi-Ling Hsu, Camille Parmesan, Johan Rockstrom, Eelco J. Rohling, Jeffrey Sachs, Pete Smith, Konrad Steffen, Lise Van Susteren, Karina von Schuckmann, James C. Zachos, “Assessing “dangerous climate change”: required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and Nature”, PLOS One, 8 (12), 3 December 2013: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0081648 . ]



SKEPTICAL SCIENCE: physicists debunking climate change skeptics -  over last decade Earth warmed equivalent to 4 Hiroshima bombs per second


According to Wikipedia: “Skeptical Science (occasionally abbreviated SkS) is a climate science blog and information resource created in 2007 by Australian blogger and author John Cook. In addition to publishing articles on current events relating to climate science and climate policy, the site maintains a large database of articles analyzing the merit of arguments commonly put forth by those involved in the global warming controversy who oppose the mainstream scientific opinion on climate change” (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeptical_Science ).  Skeptical Science has a convenient summation of the debunking of about 10 major incorrect climate skeptic assertions  about man-made climate change (see: https://www.skepticalscience.com/4-Hiroshima-bombs-worth-of-heat-per-second.html ). .

John Cook, Australian creator of  Skeptical Science, has analyzed the remorselessly increasing total heat content of the  Earth, whether (a) ocean content or (2) land, air and ice melting heat content [see graphs]: Last weekend, I gave a talk at the Climate Action Summit on the latest climate science. During the talk, I showed the following graph of the Earth's total heat content, demonstrating that even over the last decade when surface temperature warming has slowed somewhat, the planet continues to build up heat at a rate of 4 Hiroshima bomb detonations worth of heat every second. This data comes from a paper lead authored by Australian climate scientist John Church that tallies up the heat accumulating in the oceans, warming the land and atmosphere and melting the ice:.. As this figure shows, there has been no significant slowing in global heat accumulation, contrary to the mythical 'global warming pause'.  So, how do we come up with 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonation equivalents per second from this data? The slope of the global heat accumulation graph tells us how rapidly the Earth's climate is building up heat.  Over the past decade, the rate is 8 x 1021 Joules per year, or 2.5 x 1014 Joules per second.  The yield of the Hiroshima atomic bomb was 6.3 x 1013 Joules, hence the rate of global heat accumulation is equivalent to about 4 Hiroshima bomb detonations per second.  That's nearly 2 billion atomic bomb detonations worth of heat accumulating in the Earth's climate system since 1998, when we're told global warming supposedly 'paused'.  That has to be the worst pause ever. The data used in Nuccitelli et al. (2012) are now available for download so you can check it out for yourself.” [1].

[1]. John Cook, “[Global warming] 4 Hiroshima bomb’s worth of heat per second ”. Skeptical Science, 1 July 2013: https://www.skepticalscience.com/4-Hiroshima-bombs-worth-of-heat-per-second.html .


SOROS, George. Jewish Hungarian American investor and philanthropist: "absence of proper global governance... allowing global warming to proceed largely unhindered... may continue indefinitely"


Jewish Hungarian American investor and philanthropist  George Soros is Chairman of Soros Fund Management and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations. A leading player in the hedge-fund industry, he is the author of many books, including “The Alchemy of Finance”,  The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What it Means” and “The Bubble of American Supremacy” (see: http://www.project-syndicate.org/columnist/george-soros ).

 

George Soros on “the absence of global governance” (2013) “As 2013 comes to a close, efforts to revive growth in the world’s most influential economies – with the exception of the eurozone – are having a beneficial effect worldwide. All of the looming problems for the global economy are political in character... A successful transition in China will most likely entail political as well as economic reforms, while failure would undermine still-widespread trust in the country’s political leadership, resulting in repression at home and military confrontation abroad. The other great unresolved problem is the absence of proper global governance. The lack of agreement among the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members is exacerbating humanitarian catastrophes in countries like Syria – not to mention allowing global warming to proceed largely unhindered. But, in contrast to the Chinese conundrum [growth associated with increasing debt], which will come to a head in the next few years, the absence of global governance may continue indefinitely.” [1].

 

[1]. George Soros, “The World economy’s shifting challenges”, Project Syndicate, 2013: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/george-soros-maps-the-terrain-of-a-global-economy-that-is-increasingly-shaped-by-china .


SPRATT: David Spratt, co-author with Phillip Sutton of "Climate Code Red" - the atmospheric "target is not 350 ppm, it's around 300 ppm [CO2]"

David Spratt on the website called “Climate Code Red” (the title of a key book by David Spratt and Phillip Sutton) (2009): “The central point is that Arctic sea-ice is undergoing dramatic loss in summer, having lost 70-80% of its volume in the last 50 years, most since 2000. Without summer sea-ice, Greenland cannot escape a trajectory of ice-sheet loss leading to an eventual sea-level rise of 7 metres. Regional temperatures in the Arctic autumn are already up about 5C, and by mid-century an Arctic ice-free in summer, combined with more global warming, will be pushing Siberia close to the point where large-scale loss of carbon from melting permafrost would make further mitigation efforts futile. As Hansen told the US Congress in testimony last year, the “elements of a perfect storm, a global cataclysm, are assembled”. In short, if you don’t have a target that aims to cool the planet sufficiently to get the sea-ice back, the climate system may spiral out of control, past many “tipping points” to the final “point of no return”. And that target is not 350ppm, it’s around 300 ppm. Hansen says Arctic sea-ice passed its tipping point decades ago, and in his presentations has also specifically identified 300-325ppm as the target range for sea-ice". [1].

 [Editor's note: atmospheric CO2 concentration  has now reached over 400 ppm CO2 and CO2-equivalent is now 478 ppm CO2-e (2013)]. 

[1]. David Spratt, “350 is the wrong target: put the science first”, Climate Code Red website, 22 January 2009: http://www.climatecodered.org/2009_01_01_archive.html .


SUTTON: Phillip Sutton, co-author with David Spratt of "Climate Code Red" - the atmospheric "target is not 350 ppm, it's around 300 ppm [CO2]"

Phillip Sutton (co-author with David Spratt of “Climate Code Red” and Manager and Strategist of Research and Strategist for Transition Initiation (RSTI) (2015): “Scientific  knowledge is already sufficient to support the following conclusions:

• even the current warming of 0.85ºC is enough to cause highly undesirable and costly extreme weather events across the globe and to trigger very serious earth system changes. So it is clear that the current temperature is already too high;

• global warming of +2ºC will be far too hot and so will +1.5ºC warming according to the 2015 review under the UN climate convention1;

• the current greenhouse gas level is enough to produce warming of these magnitudes – once clean energy eliminates the particulate air pollution from coal burning that is currently cooling the planet by just over 1ºC2;

• the amount of greenhouse gas pollution in the air is already dangerous (in 2015);

• there is no budget of burnable carbon left 3”, (page 2, Phillip Sutton, “Striking Targets. Matching climate goals with climate reality”, Breakthrough (National Centre for Climate Restoration), Melbourne, 2015: http://media.wix.com/ugd/148cb0_2cec8c5928864748809e26a2b028d08c.pdf ).


STACEY: Professor Frank Stacey (former Professor of Physics at the University of Queensland and a Fellow of the Australian Academic of Science): "The hope that the temperature rise can be restricted to 2 degrees seems forlorn"

Professor Frank Stacey ( former Professor of Physics at the University of Queensland and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science) (2015): “Essential information about the close relationship between global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide for the last several hundred thousand years has been provided by ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland.  The carbon dioxide concentration oscillated between two approximate limits, 200 parts per million during ice age peaks and 280 parts per million during warm interglacial periods. This is what would be expected from the variation with temperature of the solubility of carbon dioxide in sea water. Cold ice age oceans dissolved more of the gas, extracting it from the atmosphere, but returned it to the atmosphere when they warmed up. The atmosphere and oceans exchanged carbon dioxide but, as nearly as can be determined, until recent times, the total has been constant for the last million years. Volcanic sources have been balanced by sequestering processes, mainly the formation of carbonate rocks. But the present rate at which carbon dioxide is produced by fossil fuel burning and cement production is more than 100 times the rate of release by volcanos. There is no way that natural processes can accommodate that increase. The excess will remain in the atmosphere-ocean system indefinitely and the consequences will last just as long. Moreover, with a warmer Earth, the oceans will hold a reduced share, enhancing the atmospheric content and consequent greenhouse warming. The anthropogenic greenhouse effect is essentially permanent, adding a temperature increment to whatever changes occur naturally. The next ice age that might have been anticipated has already been prevented and possibly also the following one. The hope that the temperature rise can be restricted to 2 degrees appears forlorn”  [1].

[1]. Frank Stacey., “We live in a greenhouse with no vents”, ABC Radio National. Ockham’s Razor, 8 March 2015: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/we-live-in-a-greenhouse-with-no-vents/6277528 .



STEFFEN: Professor Will Steffen, climate scientist, ANU, Canberra & member of Australian Climate Council

Professor Will Steffen is a climate scientist at ANU, Canberra, and a member of the Australian Climate Council,   a privately-run group of climate scientists and economists who previously formed the government-funded Climate Commission that was sacked by the functionally climate change denialist, climate criminal, new Coalition Government in 2013 (see: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council ).

Professor Will Steffen on the Australian Climate Council interim report on heat waves (defined as at least three consecutive days at a temperature in the top 10% for that time of year; SE Australia in January 2014 suffered one of its  worst ever heatwaves with temperatures over 40C for days and peaking at 46C) (2014): “Heatwaves have significant impacts on our health, our infrastructure, our agriculture and our ecosystems. It is essential that we understand the influence of climate change on heatwaves to ensure that health services, transport providers, farmers and the community are prepared for what is happening now and what will happen increasingly in the future. Australia has always had hot weather. However, climate change is loading the dice toward more extreme hot weather.” [1].

[1]. Oliver Milman, “Australian heatwaves getting hotter and longer, says Climate Council”, Guardian, 16 January 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/australian-heatwaves-hotter-longer-climate-council .



TSCHAKERT: Dr Petra Tschakert, Pennsylvania State University - many of us are already doomed at plus 0.8 degrees Centigrade

Dr  Petra Tschakert ( Pennsylvania State University and a coordinating lead author of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report) on the 2°C target (which carries an increased risk of sea level rise, shifting rainfall patters and extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and heat waves, particularly affecting  the tropics, polar regions, and high altitudes, and the tropics): "The consensus… was that a 2°C danger level seemed utterly inadequate given the already observed impacts on ecosystems, food, livelihoods, and sustainable development…  Using a figure for average global warming may indeed be the most convenient and compelling means to discuss the severity of climate change impacts, but not only does it inadequately capture the complexity of the climate system, it poorly reflects locally experienced temperature increases and the extreme and large variation across regions -- no single person or any species faces a global average… These implications emphasize what is truly at stake -- not a scientific bickering of what the most appropriate temperature target ought to be, but a commitment to protect the most vulnerable and at risk populations and ecosystems, as well as the willingness to pay for abatement and compensation. This should happen now, and not only when climate change hits the rich world… The crux of the matter is no longer about the scientific validity of one temperature target over another... It is first and foremost about overcoming deeply entrenched divisions on value judgments, responsibility, and finance... It is about acknowledging that negative impacts of climate change under a [present] 0.8°C temperature increase are already widespread, across the globe, and that danger, risk, and harm would be utterly unacceptable in a 2°C warmer world, largely for 'them' -- the mollusks, and coral reefs, and the poor and marginalized populations... even if this danger hasn't quite hit home yet for 'us'" (Dr  Petra Tschakert  quoted in “Two Degree Celsius Climate Change Target 'Utterly Inadequate”, Countercurrents, 28 March, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/cc280315A.htm ).


UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM (UNEP): "It becomes less and less likely that the emissions gap will be closed by 2020"

United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report 2013, Executive Summary:  “The emissions gap in 2020 is the difference between emissions levels in 2020 consistent with meeting climate targets, and levels expected in that year if country pledges and commitments are met, As it becomes less and less likely that the emissions gap will be closed by 2020, the world will have to rely on more difficult, costlier and riskier means after 2020 of keeping global average temperature increase below 2oC. If the emissions gap is not closed, or significantly narrowed, by 2020, the door to many options limiting the temperature increase to 1.5oC at the end of the century will be closed… Current global greenhouse gas emission levels  [50.1 Gt CO2-e in 2020] are considerably higher than the levels in 2020 that are in line with meeting the 1.5o C or 2o C targets, and are still increasing.  In 2010, in absolute levels, developing countries accounted for about 60 percent  of global greenhouse gas emissions.” [1, 2].

 

[1]. United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report 2013, Executive Summary: http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport2013/portals/50188/Executive_summary_en.pdf .

 

[2]. United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report 2013: http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport2013/ .



UNITED NATIONS PATHWAYS TO DEEP DECARBONISATION REPORT (2014): wORLD ON TRACK TO EXCEED "catastrophic" 2C temperature rise


Report by Oliver Milman, The Guardian Australia (2014): “The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways report, released by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, analysed the 15 countries that account for 70% of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, which includes Australia, the US, Britain and China. According to the report, compiled by academics from each of the countries, the 15 countries could make deep cuts to emissions while also tripling economic output. These cuts are needed, the report notes, if the world is to avoid the “catastrophic” impact of failing to keep to the internationally agreed limit of 2C global warming on pre-industrial levels. The study concedes the world is on track to overshoot this.” [1, 2].

The Executive Summary of “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization” makes a key statement “The world is not on track to stay within the 2 degree C limit” [3].

[1]. Oliver Milman, “Zero carbon and economic growth can go together, UN study says”, The Guardian Australia,10 July 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/10/zero-carbon-and-economic-growth-can-go-together-un-study-says  .

[2]. UN Pathways to Deep Decarbonization Report (2014): http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DDPP_interim_2014_report.pdf .

[3]. Executive Summary of “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization (2014)”:  http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DDPP_interim_2014_executive_summary.pdf   .



US ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION (US EIA): remorseless increase projected for OECD and non-OECD CO2 pollution for decades

US EIA: "Because anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide result primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, energy consumption is at the center of the climate change debate. In the IEO2011 Reference case, world energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increase from 30.2 billion metric tons in 2008 to 35.2 billion metric tons in 2020 and 43.2 billion metric tons in 2035. Much of the growth in emissions is attributed to developing, non-OECD nations that continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels to meet fast-paced growth in energy demand. Non-OECD emissions total 28.9 billion metric tons in 2035, or about 73 percent above the 2008 level. In comparison, OECD emissions total 14.3 billion metric tons in 2035—only about 6 percent above the level in 2008 [see graph] "  [1].

[1]. US EIA, “Energy-related  carbon dioxide emissions”, Table A10: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/emissions.cfm  .




US NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES: 2010 Open Letter: “Delay is not an option”

 

The US National Academy of Sciences is one of the most prestigious scientific organizations in the world. Members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. New members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original scientific research (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Academy_of_Sciences ).

 

2010 Open Letter by 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences, including11 Nobel Laureates: “Delay is not an option”.

 

2010 Open Letter by 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences, “Open Letter: climate change and the integrity of science”, Guardian, 6 May 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/06/climate-science-open-letter  .



US NATIONAL OCEANOGRAPHIC DATA CENTER (NODC): 0-2000 meter global heat content  increased quasi-linearly by 28 x 10>22 joules since 1966 :


 The US National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) provides data showing that the 0-700 meter global  ocean heat content has steadily increased in a quasi-linear fashion since 1966 by about 20 x 1022 joules and that the 0-2000 meter global  ocean heat content has steadily increased in a quasi-linear fashion since 1966 by 28 a x1022 joules [1].

 

[1]. US National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), “Global ocean heat and salt content”: http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ .



US NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL: huge threat from climate change inaction

 

 

The US National Research Council in its own words: “Our mission is to improve government decision making and public policy, increase public understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in matters involving science, engineering, technology, and health. The Research Council's independent, expert reports and other scientific activities inform policies and actions that have the power to improve the lives of people in the U.S. and around the world”. The National Academies Press (NAP) was created by the National Academies to publish the reports issued by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, all operating under a charter granted by the Congress of the United States. (see: http://www.nationalacademies.org/nrc/index.html and http://www.nap.edu/content/help/about.html ).

 

National Research Council (2012): “In principle the thermal impulse could be mitigated to a degree that would presumably preserve the current operating conditions of human societies, but the global effort required to do that is not being undertaken and cannot be presumed. As a practical matter, that means that significant burdens of adaptation will be imposed on all societies and that unusually severe climate perturbations will be encountered in some parts of the world over the next decade with an increasing frequency and severity thereafter. There is compelling reason to presume that specific failures of adaptation will occur with consequences more severe than any yet experienced, severe enough to compel more extensive international engagement than has yet been anticipated or organized.” [1, 2]

 

 

[1]. John D. Steinbruner, Paul C. Stern, and Jo L. Husbands, Editors ( Committee on Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Social and Political Stresses; Board on Environmental Change and Society; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council): “Climate and social stress: Implications for Security Analysis”, The National Academies Press, 2012: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=14682 .

 

[2]. Tom Zeller, “Amid climate change inaction in Washington, activist urges Americans to “do the Math””, Huffinfgton Post, 16 November 2012: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-zeller-jr/climate-change-math-politicians_b_2147001.html .




VAN DER HOEVEN: Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency

Maria Josephina Arnoldina van der Hoeven (born 13 September 1949) is a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and has been the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency since 1 September 2011 (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_van_der_Hoeven ).

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven commenting on the IEA 2011 World Energy Outlook (WEO) report (2011): "Growth, prosperity and rising population will inevitably push up energy needs over the coming decades. But we cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable uses of energy. Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low-carbon technologies. The Fukushima nuclear accident, the turmoil in parts of the Middle East and North Africa and a sharp rebound in energy demand in 2010 which pushed CO2 emissions to a record high, highlight the urgency and the scale of the challenge." [1].

[1]. Maria van der Hoeven quoted in IEA, “The world is locking itself into an unsustainable energy future which would have far-reaching consequences, IEA warns in its latest World Energy Outlook”, IEA Press release, 9 November 2011: http://www.iea.org/press/pressdetail.asp?PRESS_REL_ID=426 .



VAN VUUREN: Detlef van Vuuren et al. Climatic Change paper models environmental & economic disaster from Business As Usual (BAU) climate change inaction policies

An important Dutch-, US-,  Austria– and Japan-authored  paper  by D.P. van Vuuren and 14 colleagues entitled “The representative concentration pathways: an overview”, Climatic Change, 109: 5-31, 2011: http://nldr.library.ucar.edu/repository/assets/osgc/OSGC-000-000-010-874.pdf  estimates that (among other things) world GDP outcomes for various “representative concentration pathways” (RCPs) ranging from RCP2.6 (the most aggressive climate change action) to RCP8.5 (business as usual) are vastly better with strong climate change action. Importantly, the improved world GDP outcome for the best scenario, RCP2.6, was apparent from 2000 onwards and by 2100 is over $100 trillion (2000 dollars) better than for the worst, BAU scenario, RCP8.5.

 

Jeff Spross, “Report: the more carbon emissions we cut, the better the world economy does”, Climate Progress, 27 August 2013: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/27/2530391/carbon-cut-better-economy/  has summarized the findings of  D.P. van Vuuren: “The graph below [CO2 versus time for scenarios RCP2.6 to RCP8.5; Fig. 6 in van Vuuren et al., 2011] . shows the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere in parts per million (ppm) under four different RCP scenarios. The RCP2.6 (the green line) features the most aggressive reduction in carbon emissions by the global community, which stabilizes the carbon concentration around 450 ppm and then slowly brings it down. The RCP8.5 (the blue line) shows us blasting nearly all the way to 1,000 ppm by 2100, which is what we’re likely to do if we continue business as usual… Now look at this graph [GDP versus time for scenarios RCP2.6 to RCP8.5; Fig. 2 in van Vuuren et al., 2011] . That’s the wealth the planet will produce as modeled under the four RCPs. Needless to say, it doesn’t bode well for the claim that aggressively cutting carbon emissions will wreck the economy… By the end of the century, the global economy would be well over $100 trillion larger under the most ambitious policies to reduce carbon emissions, versus the business-as-usual scenario. There’s a reason for this. Climate change means more droughts and altered rain patterns, leading to greater food insecurity. It means constricted freshwater supplies and heat waves, putting more strain on the infrastructure of cities and communities. It means less water to help run power stations and manufacturing processes, and altered river flows that can render shipping lanes useless. It means stronger storms and extreme weather that cause more damage, and it even means new and larger climate areas diseases can travel in. Add it all up, and it means a lot of damage to the economy. The RCP2.6 is the course of action most likely to keep us under two degrees Celsius of warming — the threshold above which climate change becomes really dangerous according to most scientists. But the RCP8.5 is the scenario most likely to get us near five degrees Celsius of warming, an outcome summed up by David Roberts of Grist as “hell on earth. Worse, the IPCC reports [the Assessment Report 5, AR5,  is due out soon] are consensus documents between many players. That leads them to be conservative in their climate projections.”

 

For related information see the following useful websites: “Cut Carbon Emissions 80% by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/cutcarbonemissions80by2020/ ; “100% renewable energy by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/100renewableenergyby2020/ ; “2011 climate change course”:  https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ; and “300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm”, 300.org: http://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm  .




VERON: J.E.N. Veron et al coral experts - bleaching began at >320 ppm CO2; irreversible decline (current 400 ppm)


J.E.N. Veron, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, T.M. Lenton, J.M. Lough, D.O. Obura, P. Pearce-Kelly, C.R.C. Sheppard, M. Spalding, M.G. Stafford-Smith and A.D. Rogers (top coral scientists), “The coral reef crisis: the critical importance of <350 ppm CO2”, Marine Pollution Bulletin, October 2009: “Temperature-induced mass coral bleaching causing mortality on a wide geographic scale started when atmospheric CO2 levels exceeded 320 ppm. When CO2 levels reached 340 ppm, sporadic but highly destructive mass bleaching occurred in most reefs world-wide, often associated with El Niño events. Recovery was dependent on the vulnerability of individual reef areas and on the reef’s previous history and resilience. At today’s level of 387 ppm, allowing a lag-time of 10 years for sea temperatures to respond, most reefs world-wide are committed to an irreversible decline. Mass bleaching will in future become annual, departing from the 4 to 7 years return-time of El Niño events. Bleaching will be exacerbated by the effects of degraded water-quality and increased severe weather events. In addition, the progressive onset of ocean acidification will cause reduction of coral growth and retardation of the growth of high magnesium calcite-secreting coralline algae.[1].

[1]. J.E.N. Veron, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, T.M. Lenton, J.M. Lough, D.O. Obura, P. Pearce-Kelly, C.R.C. Sheppard, M. Spalding, M.G. Stafford-Smith and A.D. Rogers, “The coral reef crisis: the critical importance of <350 ppm CO2”, Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 58, (10), October 2009, 1428-1436: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V6N-4X9NKG7-3&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1072337698&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6858c5ff7172f9355068393496a5b35d



VIDAL: John Vidal, environment reporter with the UK Observer


John Vidal (environment journalist with the UK Observer) (2014):Dark snow: from the Arctic to the Himalayas the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting.  Industrial dust and soil, blown thousands of miles, settle on ice sheets and add to rising sea level threat… The phenomenon of "dark snow" is being recorded from the Himalayas to the Arctic as increasing amounts of dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of "black carbon" from industry and diesel engines are being whipped up and deposited sometimes thousands of miles away. The result, say scientists, is a significant dimming of the brightness of the world's snow and icefields, leading to a longer melt season, which in turn creates feedback where more solar heat is absorbed and the melting accelerates… According to Kaitlin Keegan, a researcher at Dartmouth College in the US state of New Hampshire, the record melting in 2012 of Greenland's northeastern ice-sheet was largely a result of forest fires in Siberia and the US.Any reduction in albedo is a disaster, says Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Oceans Physics Group at Cambridge University.”  [1].

[1]. .John Vidal, “Dark snow: from the Arctic to the Himalayas the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting”, The Guardian, 5 July 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/05/dark-snow-speeding-glacier-melting-rising-sea-levels .




WADHAMS: Peter Wadhams, professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, UK.

Peter Wadhams is professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, UK. He is best known for his work on sea ice and for his early warnings in 1990 about the thinning of Arctic summer sea ice. Professor Wadhams  is the president of the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Ocean Commission on Sea Ice and Co-ordinator for the International Programme for Antarctic Buoys (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Wadhams ).

Professor Peter Wadhams on the record loss of Arctic sea ice and the impending loss of all Arctic summer sea ice by 2015 (2012): “The entire ice cover is now on the point of collapse. The extra open water already created by the retreating ice allows bigger waves to be generated by storms, which are sweeping away the surviving ice. It is truly the case that it will be all gone by 2015. The consequences are enormous and represent a huge boost to global warming.” [1].

Peter Wadhams and colleagues on the threat of 50Gt methane from East Siberian Arctic Shelf: (2013): “Economic time bomb. As the amount of Arctic sea ice declines at an unprecedented rate, the thawing of offshore permafrost releases methane. A 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates, exists on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. It is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly. Higher methane concentrations in the atmosphere will accelerate global warming and hasten local changes in the Arctic, speeding up sea-ice retreat, reducing the reflection of solar energy and accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The ramifications will be felt far from the poles… To quantify the effects of Arctic methane release on the global economy, we used PAGE09. This integrated assessment model calculates the impacts of climate change and the costs of mitigation and adaptation measures… The methane pulse will bring forward by 15–35 years the average date at which the global mean temperature rise exceeds 2°C above pre-industrial levels — to 2035 for the business-as-usual scenario and to 2040 for the low-emissions case (see 'Arctic methane'). This will lead to an extra $60 trillion (net present value) of mean climate-change impacts for the scenario with no mitigation, or 15% of the mean total predicted cost of climate-change impacts (about $400 trillion)." [2].

[Editor’s note: The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2 [3, 4]. The German WBGU (2009) and the Australian Climate Commission (2013) have estimated that no more than 600 billion tonnes of CO2 can be emitted between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050 if the world is to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature  rise [5, 6]. The 50 Gt (billion tonnes) CH4 in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is thus equivalent to 50 billion tonnes CH4 x 105 tonnes  CO2-equivalent/tonne CH4 = 5,250 tonnes CO2-e or about NINE(9) times more than the world’s terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release]. 

Professor  Peter Wadhams (head of the Polar Oceans Physics Group at 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University) (2014): "Replacing an ice-covered surface, where the albedo may be 70% in summer, by an open-water surface with albedo less than 10%, causes more radiation to be absorbed by the Earth, causing an acceleration of warming. I have calculated that the albedo change from the disappearance of the last of the summer ice in 2012 was the equivalent to the effect of all the extra carbon dioxide that we have added to the atmosphere in the last 25 years."  [7].

[]. Peter Wadhams quoted in n John Vidal, “Dark snow: from the Arctic to the Himalayas the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting”, The Guardian, 5 July 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/05/dark-snow-speeding-glacier-melting-rising-sea-levels .

[1]. Professor Peter Wadhams quoted in Julia Horton, “Arctic sea ice will vanish within three years, says expert ”, Scotsman, 29 August 2012: http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/arctic-sea-ice-will-vanish-within-three-years-says-expert-1-2493681 .

[2]. Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams, “Vast costs of Arctic change”, Nature, 499, 25 July 2013: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/pdf/499401a.pdf  and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/full/499401a.html .

[3]. Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch ,   Gavin A. Schmidt ,   Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions”, Science, 30 October 2009:
Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716 .

[4].  Shindell et al (2009), Fig.2: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716.figures-only .

[5]. WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/ .

[6]. Australian Climate Commission, “The critical decade 2013: a summary of climate change science, risks and responses”, 2013, p7: http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/The-Critical-Decade-2013-Summary_lowres.pdf .

[7]. Peter Wadhams quoted in n John Vidal, “Dark snow: from the Arctic to the Himalayas the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting”, The Guardian, 5 July 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/05/dark-snow-speeding-glacier-melting-rising-sea-levels .


WARD: Dr Selina Ward, Australian coral expert, University of Queensland

Dr Selina Ward (University of Queensland coral scientist, WWF “Lights out for the reef”, co-author [1]) on 2C threat of irreversible damage to the Great Barrier Reef (2014): “If we continue as we are, we’ll get more degradation and more bleaching events.  If we want to save the Great Barrier Reef we need to act immediately and make dramatic reductions in carbon pollution. We need to move away from fossil fuels.” [2].

Coral scientists Dr Selina Ward and Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg on the imminent  2C temperature rise threat to the survival of coral worldwide and of the Great Barrier Reef (2014): “An ongoing experiment conducted by The  University of Queensland at Heron Island examining how future levels of climate change and associated ocean acidification will affect reefs has found it is likely that corals cannot survive more than a 2 degree average global temperature increase over pre-industrial levels before coral is no longer able to replace itself faster than coral bleaching will destroy it. If current levels of carbon pollution continue unchecked, the world is on track for at least three degrees of global average warming. Ocean acidification can also affect the ability of very young fish to avoid predators, to navigate effectively and recognize parent fish, ultimately affecting their ability to survive. Climate change causes warmer ocean temperatures as well as warmer air temperatures. Ninety per cent of the extra heat generated by climate change has gone into  the ocean, leading to dramatic increases in the upper 700 metres of sea water around the planet. Coral bleaching occurs when coral gets too warm, and leads to coral dying in greater numbers than would otherwise have occurred. Coral bleaching in not known to have occurred before 1979 but is now a serious threat to the viability of coral reef ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef. The action that Australia and world governments take on climate change in the next few years will determine the fate of the Great Barrier Reef. This is the critical decade to avoid climate change tipping points. Helping save the reef is [one] of the many reasons Australia has to set stronger targets to reduce carbon pollution and make the transition to from fossil fuels to renewable energy”  (see Dr Selina Ward, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg [1]. 

 [Editor note: Yet climate criminal Australia has a dominant bipartisan Lib-Lab (Liberal -Laboral, Coalition Government-Labor Opposition) policy of a derisory 5% off 2000 greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by 2020 and unlimited coal, gas and iron ore exports that is set to exceed the world’s terminal carbon pollution budget for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2C temperature rise by a factor of three (3).

From Treasury, ABARE, and US EIA data and assuming an 11% annual growth in iron ore exports, 2.4% annual growth in coal exports and 9% annual growth in gas exports, Australia’s Domestic and Exported greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is as follows (million tonnes CO2-e or Mt CO2-e). The 2020 projections are based on fossil fuel combustion and ignore  ignore fugitive emissions due leakage of gas (mainly  methane, CH4) from coal mines and in coal-seam gas (CSG) production (see “2011 climate change coursed”, section G: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ).  

2000: 565 (Domestic) + 505 (coal exports) + 17 (LNG exports) + 105 (iron ore exports) = 1,192.

2009: 600 (Domestic) + 784 (coal exports) + 31 (LNG exports) + 97 (iron ore exports) = 1,512.

2010: 578 (Domestic) + 803 (coal exports) + 34 (LNG exports) + 293 (iron ore exports) = 1,708.

2020: 621 (Domestic) + 1,039 (black coal exports) + 80 (LNG exports) + 59 (brown coal exports) + 772 (iron ore exports) = 2,571.

Lib-Lab Business As Usual threatens the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, our children  and grandchildren, Humanity and the biosphere.

Decent pro-Humanity Australians and pro-Humanity  people worldwide will vote 1 Green and put the corporatists last.]

[1]. Dr Selina Ward, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg [preface by Anna Rose], “Lights out for the reef”, prepared for Earth Hour 2014 [Saturday 29 March], WWF:  http://earthhour.org.au/LIGHTS_OUT_FOR_THE_REEF_Earth_Hour_2014.pdf .

[2]. Oliver Milman, “Great Barrier Reef damage “irreversible” unless radical action taken” [University of Queensland researcher says unless temperature rise is kept below 2C, reef will cease to be coral ecosystem], Guardian, 6 March 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/06/great-barrier-reef-damage-irreversible-unless-radical-action-taken .




WBGU (Germany): no more than 600 Gt CO2 more to avoid 2C temperature rise


The 2009 Report of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU, Wissenshaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) was entitled “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach” and crucially stated: “The budget of CO2 emissions still available worldwide could be derived from the 2 degree C guard rail. By the middle of the 21st century a maximum of approximately 750 Gt CO2 (billion metric tons) may be released into the Earth’s atmosphere if the guard rail is to be adhered to with a probability of 67%. If we raise the probability to 75%, the cumulative emissions within this period would even have to remain below 600 Gt CO2. In any case, only a small amount of CO2 may be emitted worldwide after 2050. Thus, the era of an economy driven by fossil fuels will definitely have to come to an end within the first half of this century” (see WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”).

The consequences of this declaration of less than 600 Gt CO2 in emissions for a 75% chance of avoiding 2 degree C temperature rise are profound. Thus, would you board a plane if it had a 25% chance of crashing? Further, the average world population in the period 2010 and 2050 will be 8.321 billion (see UN Population Division, 2010 Revision). Accordingly the per capita share of this terminal CO2 pollution budget is less than 600 billion tonnes CO2/8.321 people = less than 72.1 tonnes CO2 per person.

Using data for the annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) (including land use change) for every country in the world in 2000 (see “List of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capita”, Wikipedia) one can determine how many years left at current rates of GHG pollution (in units of CO2-e or CO2-equivalent i.e. taking other GHGs into account) before a given country uses up its “share”. Thus for Australia 72.1 tonnes CO2-e per person / 25.9 tonnes CO2- per person per year in 2000 = 2.8 years left, based on the 2000 data. Note that this analysis does not take into account historical pollution of the atmosphere.

In 2009 Australia’s population was 22.0 million, Australia ‘s GHG pollution was 600 Mt CO2-e (CO2 equivalent i.e. taking into account other greenhouse gases such as methane, CH4, and nitrous oxide, N2O). 600 Mt per year/ 22.0 million people = 27.3 t CO2-e per person per year and at that rate of GHG pollution Australia would use up its 2010-2050 “share” in 72.1 t CO2-e per person/ 27.3 t CO2-e per person per year = 2.6 years.

However in 2009 Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution (in Mt CO2-e) was 600 (Domestic) + 784 (coal exports) + 31 (LNG exports) = 1,415 Mt CO2-e, this giving Australia an annual per capita Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution in 2009 of 1,415 Mt CO2-e per year/ 22.0 million people = 64.3 tonnes CO2-e per person per year, this being 64.3/0.9 = 71.4 times greater than the annual per capita of Bangladesh (0.9 tonnes CO2-e per person per year). Based on its 2009 Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution rate, Australia will take 72.1 Mt CO2-e per person/ 64.3 t CO2-e per person per year = 1.1 years in the period 2010-2050 to use up its “fair share” of the terminal 600 Gt CO2-e carbon pollution budget i.e. Australia has ALREADY used up its “share” of the terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget.

Of course there is no way that Australia will meet its “all men are created equal” global obligations and cease polluting after having already in July 2011 achieved its “fair share” of the terminal 600 Gt CO2 global GHG pollution “budget”. Australia is fundamentally committed to coal and gas use and exports. Thus about 92% of Australia ‘s electricity derives from fossil fuel combustion, Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter and Australia is a major liquid natural gas (LNG) exporter. The only major change adumbrated by the Gillard Labor Government is a coal to gas transition for electric power generation, this ignoring the reality that this will mean a doubling of greenhouse gas generation from the electricity sector because methane (CH4) is 85% of natural gas, leaks at about 3.3% and is 105 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas on a 20 year timeframe and taking aerosol impacts into account.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) has projected that Australia’s black coal exports will increase at an average rate of 2.6% per year over the next 20 years and that liquid natural gas (LNG) exports will increase at 9% per year over the same period (see “Invest in Australia”). Further, it is estimated that Australian exports of dried brown coal will reach 20 Mt by 2020, this corresponding to about 59 Mt CO2-e after combustion.

Accordingly, by 2020 and based on Liberal-National Party Coalition Opposition and Labor Government (aka Lib-Lab) promises of “5% off Domestic GHG pollution by 2020” and ABARE projections (see ABARE, “Australian energy: national and state projections to 2029-30”), Australian Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution will be 621 Mt CO2-e (Domestic) (Australian Government, Treasury, “Strong Growth, Low Pollution. Modelling a Carbon Price”, 2011) + 1.326 x 784 =1,039 Mt CO2-e (coal exports) + 2.580 x 31 = 80 Mt CO2-e (LNG exports) + 59 Mt CO2-e (brown coal exports) = 1,799 Mt CO2-e i.e. 127% of that in 2009 (see “Analysis: Australian Labor Government Carbon Price-ETS scheme fails & entrenches climate change inaction”, Bellaciao, 16 July 2010).

Thus Australian policy flies in the face of science and “all men are created equal” which show that Australia has ALREADY used up it share of the 2010-2050 terminal GHG pollution budget. Instead Australia officially projects to INCREASE its annual pollution by 2020 by about 27% over that in 2009. How does Australia ‘s refusal to DECREASE its disproportionate GHG pollution compare with the conduct of other countries? Set out below is the time (at 2000 pollution rates) for every country in the World to use up its “fair share” of the World’s 600 Gt CO2 terminal GHG pollution budget.

Years to the required “fair shares” total cessation of GHG pollution at current rates of pollution = 72.1 tonnes CO2-e per person/ (tonnes CO2-e per person per year). The annual per capita GHG pollution for each country in 2000 with the land use contribution included (tonnes CO2-e per person per year) was used (the available data for Uruguay was the 2005 per capita data without the land use contribution included). It should be noted that fossil fuel use, livestock production and deforestation variously contribute to annual per capita GHG pollution. Of course if you can access more up-to-date data (e.g. the example of Australia) and then you can use it to determine an updated time for zero emissions. Note that this analysis does not take into account historical industrial pollution of the atmosphere (73% due to European countries; see 2008 Letter of Dr James Hansen, NASA GISS, to PM Kevin Rudd of Australia). Further, the computed "years left" are relative to 2010 - thus for years left relative to 2013 subtract 3 years.

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 5 years.

Belize (0.8 years), Qatar (1.3), Guyana (1.4), Malaysia (1.9), United Arab Emirates (2.0), Kuwait (2.4), Papua New Guinea (2.5), Brunei (2.8), Australia (2.8; 1.1 if including its huge GHG Exports), Antigua & Barbuda (2.8), Zambia (2.9), Canada (3.0), Bahrain (3.0), United States (3.1), Trinidad & Tobago (3.3), Luxembourg (3.4), Panama (3.7), New Zealand (3.7), Estonia (4.0), Botswana (4.1), Ireland (4.3), Saudi Arabia (4.4), Venezuela (4.6), Indonesia (4.8), Equatorial Guinea (5.0), Belgium (5.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 5-10 years.

Turkmenistan (5.1 years ), Singapore (5.1), Czech Republic (5.2), Liberia (5.2), Netherlands (5.3), Russia (5.3), Nicaragua (5.4), Finland (5.5), Oman (5.6), Palau (5.6), Brazil (5.6), Uruguay (5.7), Denmark (5.8). Germany (5.9), Mongolia (6.1), Israel (6.1), Nauru (6.2), Norway (6.3), South Korea (6.5), Kazakhstan (6.6), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (6.6), Libya (6.7), Greece (6.7), Japan (6.7), Myanmar (6.7), Taiwan (6.8), Cyprus (7.0), Slovenia (7.1), Cambodia (7.1), Austria (7.2), Iceland (7.2), Peru (7.3), Paraguay (7.3), Ukraine (7.4), Poland (7.5), South Africa (7.6), Argentina (7.8), Slovakia (7.8), Spain (7.8), Italy (7.8), Central African Republic (8.0), France (8.3), Suriname (8.4), Belarus (8.4), Gabon (8.6), Ecuador (8.8), Bolivia (8.9), Cameroon (9.5), Iran (9.5), Côte d’Ivoire (9.6), Sweden (9.6), Seychelles (9.7), Guatemala (9.7), Bulgaria (9.7), Serbia & Montenegro (9.7), Hungary (9.7), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (9.7), Uzbekistan (9.9), Portugal (10.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 10-20 years.

Switzerland (10.2 years), Azerbaijan (10.6), Angola (10.8), Bahamas (10.9), Benin (11.1), Zimbabwe (11.1), Laos (11.3), Mexico (11.3), Nepal (11.4), Colombia (11.4), Namibia (11.4), Chile (11.4), Malta (11.8), Congo, Republic (12.0), Madagascar (12.0), Croatia (12.2), Jamaica (12.2), Macedonia (12.4), Barbados (12.4), Latvia (12.6), Mauritania (12.9), Turkey (12.9), Romania (13.1), Lithuania (13.4), Costa Rica (13.4), Lebanon (13.6), North Korea (13.9), Thailand (14.1), Jordan (14.7), Honduras (15.3), Sudan (15.7), Bosnia & Herzegovina (16.0), Algeria (17.2), Iraq (17.2), Sierra Leone (17.2), Syria (18.0), China (18.5), Tunisia (19.5), Dominican Republic (20.6 years).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 20-30 years.

St Kitts & Nevis (21.8), Nigeria (21.8), Fiji (21.8), Guinea (22.5), Mauritius (22.5), Cuba (23.3), Togo (23.3), Vanuatu (24.0), Philippines (24.0), Malawi (24.0), Mali (24.9), Chad (24.9), Sri Lanka (25.8), Uganda (26.7), Dominica (26.7), St Lucia (26.7), Egypt (27.7), Niue (27.7), Ghana (27.7), Moldova (28.8), Grenada (28.8), El Salvador (30.0), Guinea-Bissau (30.0), Tanzania (30.0), Djibouti (30.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 30-50 years.

Pakistan (31.3 years), Samoa (31.3), Tonga (31.3), Morocco (32.8), Senegal (32.8), Albania (32.8), Georgia (32.8), Armenia (34.3), St Vincent & Grenadines (36.1), Kenya (36.1), Maldives (37.9), Kyrgyzstan (37.9), Burkina Faso (37.9), India (40.1), Cook Islands (40.1), Bhutan (42.4), Yemen (45.1), Tajikistan (45.1), Mozambique (45.1), Rwanda (45.1), Burundi (45.1), Lesotho (48.1), Swaziland (48.1).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within about 50-120 years.

Eritrea (51.5), Haiti (51.5), Solomon Islands (65.5), Vietnam (65.5), Cape Verde (65.5), Niger (65.5), Ethiopia (65.5), São Tomé and Príncipe (72.1), Afghanistan (80.1), The Gambia (80.1), Bangladesh (80.1), Comoros (103.0), Kiribati (120.2).

I must reiterate that there is no way that Australia will meet its global “fair shares” obligations because it is fundamentally committed to oil use and to coal and gas use and exports. Thus about 92% of Australia’s electricity derives from fossil fuel combustion, Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter and a major liquid natural gas (LNG) exporter. Both the major parties, the Liberal –National Party Coalition Opposition (the Libs) and the Labor Government (the Labs) (collectively known as the Lib-Labs) are committed to a derisory policy of 5% off 2000 Domestic GHG pollution by 2020 but with greed-driven growth of coal and LNG Exports (at 2.6% pa and 9% pa, respectively). Australia is committed to a greedy and inhumane course of climate exceptionalism, climate racism and climate injustice. Having ALREADY used up its share of the terminal 600 Gt CO2-e budget, climate criminal Australia is now greedily and disproportionately using up the quotas of other countries (climate racism), with serious global implications as set out below. .

Both Dr James Lovelock FRS (Gaia hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson ( Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK) have recently estimated that only about 0.5 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made global warming. Noting that the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050, these estimates translate to a Climate Genocide involving deaths of about 10 billion people this century, mostly non-Europeans, this including about 6 billion under-5 year old infants, 3 billion Muslims in a terminal Muslim Holocaust, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis. Already 18 million people die avoidably every year in Developing countries (minus China) due to deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease and man-made global warming is already clearly worsening this global avoidable mortality holocaust. However 10 billion avoidable deaths due to global warming this century will yield an average global annual avoidable death rate of 100 million per year (see “Climate Genocide”).

Where does your country come in this “years left until zero emissions” analysis? The World is badly running out of time. The World will have to take action against the more notorious climate criminal and climate racist countries such as Australia through Sanctions, Boycotts, Sporting Boycotts (as were successfully applied to Apartheid South Africa through exclusion from the Olympic Games and other events), Green Tariffs, International Court of Justice litigations and International Criminal Court prosecutions.




WEAVER: Professor Andrew Weaver, professor of climate modelling, University of Victoria, British Columbia

Professor Andrew Weaver (a climate scientist at the University of Victoria, British Columbia,   Canada, where he has the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling, a lead author of a chapter on Global Climate Projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis”, and also a lead author for Chapter 12 of the IPCC fifth assessment report))  commenting on the Global Carbon Project Global Carbon Budget 2012 Report (2012):  We are losing control of our ability to get a handle on the global warming problem.” [1].

[1]. Andrew Weaver, quoted in “Study: Carbon dioxide emissions worldwide up again, 2 degree limit to global warning unlikely”, Washington Post, 3 December 2012: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/study-carbon-dioxide-emissions-worldwide-up-again-2-degree-limit-to-global-warming-unlikely/2012/12/02/8658886e-3caa-11e2-8a5c-473797be602c_story.html .




WHITEMAN: Gail Whiteman, professor of business society management, Sustainability and Climate Change chair at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) US NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Gail Whiteman is a professor of business society management and holds the Sustainability and Climate Change chair at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) . Professor Whiteman was a 2011 Global Finalist in the Aspen Institute’s high-profile ranking of Faculty Pioneers in sustainability. Her research aims to help organisations deal more effectively with sustainability challenges, an objective she established during her former career in the private sector. Professor Whiteman combines her role at RSM with that of part time Professor in-Residence at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (see: http://www.rsm.nl/people/gail-whiteman/ ).

Professor Gail Whiteman  and colleagues on the threat of 50Gt methane from East Siberian Arctic Shelf: (2013): “Economic time bomb. As the amount of Arctic sea ice declines at an unprecedented rate, the thawing of offshore permafrost releases methane. A 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates, exists on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. It is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly. Higher methane concentrations in the atmosphere will accelerate global warming and hasten local changes in the Arctic, speeding up sea-ice retreat, reducing the reflection of solar energy and accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The ramifications will be felt far from the poles… To quantify the effects of Arctic methane release on the global economy, we used PAGE09. This integrated assessment model calculates the impacts of climate change and the costs of mitigation and adaptation measures… The methane pulse will bring forward by 15–35 years the average date at which the global mean temperature rise exceeds 2°C above pre-industrial levels — to 2035 for the business-as-usual scenario and to 2040 for the low-emissions case (see 'Arctic methane'). This will lead to an extra $60 trillion (net present value) of mean climate-change impacts for the scenario with no mitigation, or 15% of the mean total predicted cost of climate-change impacts (about $400 trillion)." [1].

[Editor’s note: The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2 [2, 3]. The German WBGU (2009) and the Australian Climate Commission (2013) have estimated that no more than 600 billion tonnes of CO2 can be emitted between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050 if the world is to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature  rise [4, 5]. The 50 Gt (billion tonnes) CH4 in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is thus equivalent to 50 billion tonnes CH4 x 105 tonnes  CO2-equivalent/tonne CH4 = 5,250 tonnes CO2-e or about NINE (9) times more than the world’s terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release.]

[1]. Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams, “Vast costs of Arctic change”, Nature, 499, 25 July 2013: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/pdf/499401a.pdf  and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/full/499401a.html .

[2]. Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch ,   Gavin A. Schmidt ,   Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions”, Science, 30 October 2009:
Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716 .

[3].  Shindell et al (2009), Fig.2: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716.figures-only .

[4]. WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/ .

[5]. Australian Climate Commission, “The critical decade 2013: a summary of climate change science, risks and responses”, 2013, p7: http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/The-Critical-Decade-2013-Summary_lowres.pdf .


 


WORLD BANK: World Bank-commissioned Report: "Turn Down the Heat. Why a 4C warmer world must be avoided"

World Bank-commissioned Report “Turn Down the Heat” states that “While the global community has committed itself to holding warming below 2°C, to prevent “dangerous “ climate change, the sum total of current policies – in place and pledged – will very likely lead to warming far in excess of this level. Indeed present emissions trends put the world plausibly on a path toward 4°C warming within this century.”

The World Bank Report concludes: “A 4°C world will pose unprecedented challenges to humanity. It is clear that large regional as well as global scale damages and risks are very likely to occur well before this level of warming. Is reached. This report has attempted to identify the scope of these challenges driven by responses of the earth system and various human and natural systems. Although no quantification of the full scale of human damage is yet possible, the picture that emerges challenges an often implicit assumption that climate change will not significantly undermine economic growth. It seems clear that climate change in a 4°C World would seriously undermine poverty alleviation in many regions. Thus is supported by past observations of the negative effects of climate change on economic growth in developing countries. While developed countries have been and are projected to be adversely affected by impacts resulting from climate change, adaptive capacity in developing regions are weaker. The burden of climate change in the future will very likely be borne differentially by those in regions already highly vulnerable to climate change and variability. Given that it remains uncertain whether adaptation and further progress towards development goals will be possible in at this level of climate change, the projected 4°C warming must simply must not be allowed to occur – the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative , international actions can make that happen.” [1].

 

{1]. World Bank-commissioned Report “Turn Down the Heat” (see “Turn down the heat. Why a 4oC warmer world must be avoided”, A Report for the World Bank, by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, November 2012: http://climatechange.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/Turn_Down_the_heat_Why_a_4_degree_centrigrade_warmer_world_must_be_avoided.pdf ).



WRIGHT: Professor James Wright,  earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutger's University, New Jersey, USA


According to Rutgers Today (the news outlet for Rutgers, the State University if New Jersey):  ” In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Morgan Schaller and James Wright contend that following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years… Wright, a professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences and Schaller, a research associate, say the finding is significant in considering modern-day climate change.“We’ve shown unequivocally what happens when CO2 increases dramatically – as it is now, and as it did 55 million years ago”Wright said. “The oceans become acidic and the world warms up dramatically. Our current carbon release has been going on for about 150 years, and because the rate is relatively slow, about half the CO2 has been absorbed by the oceans and forests, causing some popular confusion about the warming effects of CO2. But 55 million years ago, a much larger amount of carbon was all released nearly instantaneously, so the effects are much clearer” (see Ken Branson, “New finding shows that climate change can happen in a geological instant ”, Rutgers News, 6 October 2013: http://news.rutgers.edu/research-news/new-finding-shows-climate-change-can-happen-geological-instant/20131003#.Ul42lFP3S42 ).

 

A Wikipedia report on this in relation to the Paleocene-Eocene  Thermal Maximum (PETM)  states that “New research published in 2013 indicates that in only 13 years 3000 gigatons of carbon were released, followed by a much faster rise in temperatures than previously thought” but explains that the precise cause of this events and the associated max extinctions is not clear an d states that “There is a debate about whether there was a large enough amount of methane hydrate to be a major carbon source; a recent paper proposed that was the case. The present-day global methane hydrate reserve is poorly constrained, but is mostly considered to be between 2,000 ~ 10,000 Gt. However, because the global ocean bottom temperatures were ~6 degree C higher than today, which implies a much smaller volume of sediment hosting gas hydrate than today, the global amount of hydrate before the PETM has been thought to be much less than present-day estimates” (see “Paleocene-Eocene  Thermal Maximum (PETM)”, Wikilpedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum ).

 

A report on this discovery in RE New Economy  states: “Significantly, the editor of this new study is none other than the “dean of climate scientists,” Wallace Broecker who popularized the term “global warming.” Two decades ago, Broecker said, “The climate system is an angry beast, and we are poking at it with sticks.” He stood by that warning in a 2012 interview: “We’re in for big trouble,” he says matter-of-factly. “There’s been a “true disruption of the basic climate of the planet.” “My point [with the 'angry beast' metaphor] was that by adding large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere, we were poking our climate system without being sure how it would respond,” he says. At the rate we are spewing carbon pollution into the atmosphere, one might even say we are punching the climate beast in the nose. Paleoclimate studies, including this new one, suggests that is a very, very bad move.” (see Joe Romm, “Earth may have warmed 5C in 13 years when CO2 doubled”, RE New Economy, 14 October 2013: http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/petm-shocker-co2-levels-doubled-55-million-years-ago-earth-may-warmed-9f-13-years-61702 ).

 

Note: There is 700- 750 GtC in atmosphere (mostly as 750 x 3.7 = circa 2,800 Gt CO2; half due to historical fossil fuel combustion) (see “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ). Dr Chris Hope and colleagues on the threat of 50Gt methane from East Siberian Arctic Shelf: (2013): “Economic time bomb. As the amount of Arctic sea ice declines at an unprecedented rate, the thawing of offshore permafrost releases methane. A 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates, exists on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. It is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly” (see Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams, “Vast costs of Arctic change”, Nature, 499, 25 July 2013: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/pdf/499401a.pdf  and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/full/499401a.html ).

 

The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2. The German WBGU (2009) and the Australian Climate Commission (2013) have estimated that no more than 600 billion tonnes of CO2 can be emitted between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050 if the world is to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature  rise. The 50 Gt (billion tonnes) CH4 in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is thus equivalent to 50 billion tonnes CH4 x 105 tonnes  CO2-equivalent/tonne CH4 = 5,250 tonnes CO2-e or about NINE(9) times more than the world’s terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release. We are evidently facing a PETM scenario in coming decades.


YUKAWA: Hideki Yukawa, Japanese physicist and 1949 Nobel Laureate in Physics

Hideki Yukawa (Japanese physicist and 1949 Nobel Laureate in Physics for work on elementary particles) co-signed the Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955) with 10 other eminent  scientists (all but Infeld were or became Nobel Laureates)   that called for “an agreement to renounce nuclear weapons” and concluded with the resolution: “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.” (The Russel-Einstein Manifesto (1955): http://pugwash.org/1955/07/09/statement-manifesto/ ).


ZELLER: TOM Zeller, senior writer, Huffington Post on 350.org leader Bill McKibben’s Apocalyptic magic numbers 2, 565 and 2,795



Tom Zeller is a senior writer for the US Huffington Post (see:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-zeller-jr/climate-change-math-politicians_b_2147001.ht

Tom Zeller on 350.org leader Bill Mc Kibben’s key numbers (2102): “McKibben's magic numbers are 2, 565 and 2,795. The number 2 stands for 2 degrees Celsius. This is the somewhat arbitrary number that, by dint of repetition since the mid-1990s and, perhaps, humanity's dislike of ambiguity, has become the upper threshold for what is considered tolerable planetary warming. Allowing average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius (roughly 3.6 degrees, for Fahrenheit holdouts in the U.S. and Belize) could well be a tipping point beyond which the planet's natural climate system, overloaded with human-produced greenhouse gases, goes permanently out of whack… That brings us to the two remaining numbers that McKibben wants to highlight: 565 and 2,795. The former is the upper limit, in gigatons, of carbon dioxide that many scientists believe humanity can still dump into the atmosphere to avoid the 2 degree uptick described above. The latter is the estimated amount, also in gigatons, of carbon dioxide embedded in the world's proven coal, oil and gas reserves. If we pull all of that out of the earth and burn it, McKibben suggests, the math doesn't add up very well for life on planet Earth.” [1].

[1]. Tom Zeller, “Amid climate change inaction in Washington, activist urges Americans to “do the Math””, Huffington Post, 16 November 2012: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-zeller-jr/climate-change-math-politicians_b_2147001.html



APPENDIX: GLOSSARY OF KEY CLIMATE CHANGE TERMS RELATING TO ADVOCACY & ACHIEVEMENT OF A SAFE PLANET



CLIMATE CHANGE GLOSSARY APPENDIX - ALPHABETICALLY-ORGANIZED, DETAILED & DOCUMENTED EXPLANATIONS OF KEY CLIMATE CHANGE TERMS RELATING TO ADVOCACY & ACHIEVEMENT OF  A SAFE PLANET

ABC Strategy. Successful –isms and –ists have an ABC strategy involving Accountability (negative feedback for non-adherence), Badge (symbol) and Credo (brief statement of position). Environmental-ism requires (A) accountability e.g. holding people, politicians, parties, candidates, countries and corporations accountable by boycotts, divestment, sanctions, exposure and scorn, (B) wearing a badge at all times (e.g.  “300 ppm CO2”) and (C) a simple credo e.g. “For a safe planet for all peoples and all species we must urgently return the atmospheric  CO2 from the present 400 ppm CO2 to the safe and sustainable pre-industrial 300 ppm CO2”,

Accelerated Weathering of Limestone (AWL).  Proposed but not yet commercial Accelerated Weathering of Limestone (AWL) involves  waste gas from burning coal or gas being  passed through a sea water-limestone (CaCO3) scrubber with the following reaction: CO2 (gas) + CaCO3 (solid) + H2O <-> Ca2+ (aqueous) + 2 HCO3- (aqueous) . The scrubbing solution is then piped to the sea. Carbon in the oceans as bicarbonate is 10 times that in all recoverable fossil fuel reserves and about 60 times that in the CO2 in the atmosphere. The carbon in carbonate minerals is about 4,000 times greater than the carbon in oil and coal fossil fuel reserves and the AWL process would in part reverse the deleterious acidification the oceans due to the massive CO2 pollution of the atmosphere [1].

Anthropogenic Climate Change (AGW) (see Climate Change and Man-made Climate Change). Anthropogenic Climate Change refers to the change in the Earth’s climate due to Man’s pollution of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases (GHGs), principally carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), since the start of the Industrial  Revolution  in the mid-18th century [1].  CO2 is the major contributor to anthropogenic global warming (AGW), deriving from aerobic respiration involving oxidation of carbohydrate  ( (CH2O)n + O2 -> n CO2 + nH2O), lime (CaO) in cement production (CaCO3 -> CaO + CO2), and the combustion of fossil   fuels such as coal ( C + O2 -> CO2) , oil (CH3(CH2)nH + ((3n +4)/2)O2 -> (n+1)CO2 + (n+2)H2O)  and natural gas, mainly methane (CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O).  Other GHGs (Global Warming Potential, GWP,  relative to CO2 on a 20 year time frame in parentheses) include  methane (CH4; 79, or 105 with aerosol impacts included) (from natural gas and anaerobic biomass degradation),  nitrous oxide (N2O, 289) (from power plants and agriculture) and man-made GHGs e.g. chlorofluorohydrocarbon CFC-12, CCl2F2 (11,000),  hydrochlorofluorohydrocarbon HFC-22, CHClF2 (5,160), hydrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-23, CHF3 (12,000), sulphur hexafluoride SF6 (16,300), nitrogen trifluoride NF3 (12,300).

Avoidable Death (see Avoidable Mortality, Excess Death, Excess Mortality). Avoidable Mortality (Avoidable Mortality, Excess Death, Excess Mortality) is the difference between the ACTUAL mortality in a country and the mortality EXPECTED in a peaceful, decently-run country with the same demographics. By 1950 ALL the World potentially had access to the requisites for very the low avoidable mortality obtaining in European countries, namely clean water, sanitation, proper nutrition, literacy (especially female literacy), primary health care, antibiotics and major preventive medicine programs including public health education, prophylactics (such as insecticides, antiseptics, mosquito netting, soap and condoms) and major vaccinations. However such benefits took decades to arrive in many countries and are still variously lacking in African countries. Nevertheless, in most countries outside Africa the annual mortality rate (expressed as deaths per 1,000 people per year) typically declined to a minimum and in the best countries (typically European and East Asian countries) eventually began to rise, with this reflecting aging populations. Using United Nations Population Division demographic data going back to 1950 (the 2002 Revision), it was possible to make base-line estimates of expected mortality for various demographically distinct groups. For many high birth-rate Third World countries the base-line mortality estimates clustered about 4 deaths per 1,000 of population [2].

Avoidable Mortality (see Avoidable Death, Excess Death, Excess Mortality).

Biochar. Biochar is the charcoal ( i.e. carbon, C) derived from the anaerobic (minus oxygen) heating of cellulosic waste to about 400-700C:  [3]. This represents one of the major ways if reducing  the atmospheric  CO2 from the present circa 400 ppm to a safe and sustainable circa 300 ppm CO2 that had obtained until the last century for about 1 million years (as advocated by 300.org: [4, 5] as compared to the politically pragmatic but insufficient 350 ppm CO2 advocated by 350.org [6] ).

Biofuel Genocide. The legislatively mandated “food for fuel” perversion is grossly wasteful, involves a huge Carbon Debt,  and drives up grain price in a hungry  world with the potential for famine  as in the WW2 BegkaFamine in which 6-7 million poeope doed because f a 4-fold increase in the price of rice [2] ( see the :Biofuel Genocide” website)..    

Boycott. (see Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions  (BDS)). Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Decent people are obliged to (a) inform everyone they can about the worsening Climate Crisis and (b) urge and apply Boycotts as appropriate against all   people, politicians, parties, policies, companies, corporations and countries complicit in the worsening Climate Emergency .e.g. Boycott the climate change denialist Murdoch Media [7]. :    

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions  (BDS) (see Boycott).  BDS was successfully applied against Apartheid South Africa and is now widely applied against Apartheid Israel in the interests of 1-man-1-vote democracy, justice, human rights and  reconciliation in Palestine [8]. Many people, notably anti-racist Jewish humanitarians , demand BDS in support of  equal human rights and indeed any human  rights for 10 million human rights-deprived Palestinians [8] and BDS is surely required agaisn the climate criminals threatening to extinguish the very lives of 10 billion mostly Third World people this century through unaddressed climate change.  Some advocate Boycott of Murdoch media and other Mainstream media (MSM) which have variously promoted Climate Change Denialism (Climate Change Scepticism) and/or Effective Climate Change Denialism (Effective Climate Change Scepticism) [7].

Cap and Trade (see Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)). This is basically a fraudulent device to allow particular countries to set a notional cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution and then trade limited and dodgy Carbon Credits and limited and dodgy licences to pollute the one common atmosphere of all countries. This  might be a bit more plausible if the licences were sold by acutely global warming –threatened countries like mega-delta nations (e.g. Bangladesh and Myanmar) and Island States (e.g. Tuvalu and Kiribati)

Carbon Burning. Carbon burning is the burning of carbon-containing  substances e.g. wood, coal, gas and oil to yield carbon dioxide (CO2) and other substances (see Carbon Burning Pollutants) [2, 5]. Thus , for example,  the compete combustion of carbon-containing  fuels is as follows: carbohydrate (e.g. wood cellulose)  ( (CH2O)n + O2 -> n CO2 + nH2O), coal ( C + O2 -> CO2) , oil (CH3(CH2)nH + ((3n +4)/2)O2 -> (n+1)CO2 + (n+2)H2O)  and natural gas, mainly methane (CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O) [5].  

Carbon Burning-related Deaths. About 10,000  Australians die each year from the effects of pollutants from vehicles, coal burning for electricity and other carbon burning, the estimates being  2,200, 4,600 and 2,800, respectively. Given Australia's annual Domestic GHG pollution of about 552 Mt CO2-e (2011) and given a "value of a statistical life" (VOSL) of $7.6 million per person  ($73 billion pa for Australian carbon burning-related deaths) and $10 billion pa in fossil fuel subsidies, the minimum Carbon Price to cover carbon burning-derived deaths and carbon burning subsidies is  $7.6 million X 9,600 = $73 billion plus $10 billion = $83,000 million/552 Mt CO2-e =  or $150 per tonne CO2-e (A$555 per tonne C) as compared to the best political offer yet in Australia of $23 per tonne CO2-e.” [9]. It is estimated that about 5 million people die each year worldwide from climate change (0.5 million) and 4.5 million (carbon burning pollutants), it being estimated that 100 million people will have died thus by 2030 if climate change is not properly addressed [10, 11]. .

Carbon Burning Pollutants. Gas-fired power plants (GFPPs) are clean-er than coal-fired power plants (CFPPs) in the sense that per unit of electrical energy they emit lower amounts of pollutants such as  the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), and the very toxic pollutants carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen  oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), particulates (fine soot to ultrafine particles), and heavy metals such as mercury (Hg) [12]. Thus according to Naturalgas.org [13], the fossil fuel-derived pollutant emissions levels (in pounds per Btu of energy input) are as follows (noting that this is for average gas burning and not specifically for gas-turbine power stations) - for CO2: 117,000 (gas), 164,000 (oil) and 208,000 (coal); for CO: 40 (gas), 33 (oil) and 208 (coal); for NOx: 92 (gas), 448 (oil) and 457 (coal); for SO2:  1 (gas), 1,122 (oil), and 2,591 (coal); for particulates: 7 (gas), 84 (oil) and 2,744 (coal); and for Hg: 0.000 (gas), 0.007 (oil) and 0.016 (coal). In addition, radioactive material is a significant pollutant from coal burning but not from gas burning.  However, while Hg and radioactivity are negligible pollutants  for gas burning and SO2 emission is very low, CO2, NOx and particulate matter (PM) are significant pollutants from GFPPs [12, 13]. Particulate matter (PM) is generated by GFPPs and CFPPs but gas-fired power plants disproportionately  produce fine PM that is of particular concern because it can penetrate deep into the lungs [12]. Thus according to the World Health Organization (WHO) “no threshold for PM has been identified below which no damage to health is observed.” [14].

Carbon Credit (see Carbon Debt). The Historical Carbon Debt (aka Historical Climate Debt) of a country can be measured by the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) it has introduced into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial revolution in the mid-18th century. The Carbon Credit of a country can be measured by the amount of GHG it can generate as its "fair share" of the 600 billion tnnes of CO2 the World is permitted to generate between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050 if it is to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise (EU policy). Historical Carbon debt minus Carbon Credit equals Net Carbon Debt - and when a negative number can be called Net Carbon Credit (aka Net Climate Credit) [15].

Carbon Debt (see Carbon Credit). NASA’s Dr James Hansen has provided a breakdown  of global responsibility for fossil fuel-derived CO2 pollution between 1751 and 2006 as a percentage (%) of the Historical Carbon  Debt (1751-2006) of 346 Gt C [16]. A  US dollar value can be placed on that Carbon Debt from the estimate of a requisite Carbon Price for effective climate change action of $150 per tonne CO2-e [15. Thus  $150 per tonne CO2-e x 346 billion tonnes C x 3.7 tonne CO2-e per tonne C = $192 trillion or about 2.3 times the World’s GDP. Annual GHG pollution is 64 billion tonnes CO2-e and thus Carbon Debt for future generations in increasing  each year by $150 per tonne CO2-e x 0.064 trillion tonnes CO2-e = $9.6 trillion i.e. by about $10 trillion annually.

Carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide (CO2  for convenience on the web but in chemical  convention  CO2 ) is the major contributor to anthropogenic global warming (AGW), deriving from aerobic respiration involving oxidation of carbohydrate (e.g. wood cellulose)  ( (CH2O)n + O2 -> n CO2 + nH2O), lime (CaO) generation  in cement production (CaCO3 -> CaO + CO2), and the combustion of fossil   fuels such as coal ( C + O2 -> CO2) , oil (CH3(CH2)nH + ((3n +4)/2)O2 -> (n+1)CO2 + (n+2)H2O)  and natural gas, mainly methane (CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O) [1].  

Carbon Dioxide-equivalent (CO2-e).  CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) is the sum of all the GHGs (excluding water, H2O) expressed as CO2-equivalents). Water is excluded on the assumption that the hydrological cycle means that there no net effect of water [1].

Carbon Pollution. Carbon pollution refers to the increased atmospheric CO2 and CO2-e [1].  Note that carbon (C) has an atomic weight of 12 and carbon dioxide (CO2) has a molecular weight of 44 so one converts from “atmospheric C”  to “atmospheric  CO2” by multiplying  by 44/12 = 3.7 e.g. 750 Gt atmospheric C =  750 GtC x 3.7 t CO2/t C = circa 2,800 Gt atmospheric  CO2 . More specifically,  Carbon Pollution refers of extra carbon dioxide (CO2), extra methane (CH4) or extra CO2-equivalent (CO2-e, this including all GHGs excluding water (H2O) expressed as CO2-equivalents). Until the mid-20th century, CO2 in the atmosphere had been no higher than 300 ppm for about 1 million years but has now reached 400 ppm (at Mauna Loa) and increasing at 2.4 ppm CO2 each year. CO2 also dissolves in the ocean and about 90% of the extra heart from global warming is in the ocean [1].

Carbon Pollution-related Deaths (also see Carbon Burning-related Deaths). About 5 million people die each year world-wide due to Carbon Pollution-derived climate change (0.5 million) and from Carbon Burning Pollutants (4.5 million) and it it being estimated that 100 million people will have died thus by 2030 if climate change is not properly addressed [10, 11]. Toxic pollutants from the burning of carbon-containing fuels (e.g. in wood burning, vehicles, industry and in gas-fired and coal-fired power stations) variously include carbon monoxide (CO0, nitrogen oxides (NOx e.g. N2O, NO2), heavy metals (e,g, mercury), radioactivity, fine Particulate Matter (e.g. PM10, PM2.5)), Volatile Organic Compounds (some carcinogenic) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) [12-14].

Carbon Sequestration (also see Carbon Storage). Carbon Sequestration can refer to the so far non-commercially- proven scheme  for sequestering CO2 from power stations underground or at the bottom of the oceans.  Carbon sequestration can also be achieved by generating Biochar (charcoal, carbon) and burying it safe from combustion. Proposed but not yet commercial Accelerated Weathering of Limestone (AWL) involves  waste gas from burning coal or gas being  passed through a sea water-limestone (CaCO3) scrubber with the following reaction: CO2 (gas) + CaCO3 (solid) + H2O <-> Ca2+ (aqueous) + 2 HCO3- (aqueous) . The scrubbing solution is then piped to the sea. Carbon in the oceans as bicarbonate is 10 times that in all recoverable fossil fuel reserves and about 60 times that in the CO2 in the atmosphere. The carbon in carbonate minerals is about 4,000 times greater than the carbon in oil and coal fossil fuel reserves and the AWL process would in part reverse the deleterious acidification the oceans due to the massive CO2 pollution of the atmosphere [1].

Carbon Storage (also see Carbon Sequestration). There is presently:    700- 750 GtC (billion tonne carbon) in atmosphere (mostly as 750 GtC x 3.7 t CO2/t C = circa 2,800 Gt CO2 and about half due to historical fossil fuel combustion);  700 GtC in biomass (mostly wood); 1,600 GtC in soil; 36,000 GtC in ocean as bicarbonate ion (HCO3-); there is no net CO2 from vulcanism and weathering (on a time scale of less than  100,000 years) [1].

Carbon Price (see Carbon Tax). Man-made climate change is happening because GHG polluters are not held financially responsible for the health and environmental consequences i.e. governments are hugely subsidizing the killing of the planet. Thus, for example, in Australia (one of the world’s worst annual per capita GHG polluters), the Coalition Federal Government insists on a Carbon Price of $0 (zero dollars) per tonne CO2-e i.e. it allows climate criminal polluters to dangerously pollute the one common atmosphere and ocean of all countries on earth for free. In contrast, leading climate change economist Dr Chris Hope from 89-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University estimates that a Carbon Price of about $150 per tonne CO2-e is required for effective climate change action [17]. Australia’s current annual Domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution  is about 2 Gt CO2-e (2 billion CO2-e) [1] and hence the climate criminal Australian Coalition Government is subsidizing this deadly, terracidal activity to the tune of $150 per tonne CO2-e x 2 billion tonnes CO2-e per year = $300 billion per year [18].

Carbon Tax (see Carbon Price). A Carbon Price can be established fraudulently via a Cap and Trade (see Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)). However it can be honestly set by a direct Carbon Tax analogous to an excise tax on alcohol. Thus leading climate scientist Dr James Hansen has suggested the following: “A price on emissions that cause harm is essential. Yes, a carbon tax. Carbon tax with 100 percent dividend is needed to wean us off fossil fuel addiction. Tax and dividend allows the marketplace, not politicians, to make investment decisions. Carbon tax on coal, oil and gas is simple, applied at the first point of sale or port of entry. The entire tax must be returned to the public, an equal amount to each adult, a half-share for children. This dividend can be deposited monthly in an individual’s  bank account. Carbon tax with 100 percent dividend is non-regressive. On the contrary, you can bet that low and middle income people will find ways to limit their carbon tax and come out ahead. Profligate energy users will have to pay for their emissions. Demand for low-carbon high-efficiency products will spur innovation, making our products more competitive on international markets. Carbon emissions will plummet as energy efficiency  and renewable energies grow rapidly.  Black soot, mercury and other fossil fuel emissions will decline. A brighter, cleaner future , with energy independence, is possible” [19].

Climate Change (see Man-made Climate Change). Climate Change refers to the change in the Earth’s climate due to Man’s pollution of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases (GHGs), principally carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), since the start of the Industrial  Revolution  in the mid-18th century [1]. The Greenhouse Effect  due to absorption of (infrared) radiation by CO2  was discovered by UK scientist John Tyndall in the mid-19th century [1].

Climate Change Action (see Climate Change Inaction). The World is rapidly running out of time to deal with man-made climate change. Thus according to the German WBGU and Australian  Climate Commission (sacked by the effective climate change denialist Coalition Federal Government and now surviving unfunded as the Australian Climate Council), relative to 2014 we have only 15 years left before we exceed the Terminal Carbon Budget  of 600 Gt CO2 that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise [20, 21]. However a more stringent analysis taking methane CO2-e  contributions  into account estimates that relative to 2014 we have only 4 years left before we exceed 600 Gt CO2-e [22, 23]. Business As Usual (BAU) and exploitation if all fossil fuel reserves  means that the world will exceed the Terminal Carbon Budget by a factor of 5 [24] and Australian exploitation of all its fossil fuel and iron ore reserves means that it will exceed the terminal Carbon Budget by a factor of 3 [25]. An estimate of “years left to zero emissions” has been determined for all countries relative to mid-2011 -  countries that must cease GHG pollution within 10 years relative to mid-2011 are  Belize (1.3 years), Qatar (2.3), Guyana (2.4), Malaysia (3.4), United Arab Emirates (3.4), Kuwait (4.1),  Papua New Guinea (4.3), Brunei (4.8), Australia (4.8),  Antigua & Barbuda (4.9), Zambia (5.1), Canada (5.1), Bahrain (5.2), United States (5.5), Trinidad & Tobago (6.4), Luxembourg (5.9), Panama (6.3), New Zealand (6.5),  Estonia (6.9),  Botswana (7.0), Ireland (7.4),  Saudi Arabia (7.6),  Venezuela (7.9),  Indonesia (8.4),  Equatorial Guinea (8.6), Belgium (8.7), Turkmenistan (8.8), Singapore (8.9),  Czech Republic (9.0), Liberia (9.0), Netherlands (9.3), Russia (9.3),  Nicaragua (9.3), Finland (9.5),  Oman (9.7), Palau (9.8), Brazil (9.8),  Uruguay (9.8), Denmark (10.0). If one considers Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution, Australia used up its “fair share” of the World’s Terminal Carbon Budget in 2011 (3 years ago) [26].

Climate Change Cost (see Climate Cost). (A). Leading climate change economist Dr Chris Hope from 89-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University estimates that a Carbon Price of about $150 per tonne CO2-e is required for effective climate change action [17]. World Bank analysts have revised upwards the annual global GHG pollution from 42 Gt CO2-e to 64 Gt CO2-e [27]. One can accordingly estimate the annual cost of climate change inaction (i.e. a Carbon Price of $0 per tonne CO2-e) at $150 per tonne CO2-e x 64 billion tonnes CO2-e per year = $9,600 billion = $9.6 trillion or about 11% of Global GDP of $85 trillion. (B). Another way is to consider the biochar-based cost of reducing the atmospheric CO2  from the present dangerous 400 ppm to a safe and sustainable 300 ppm CO2 [3-4].  The cost of conversion of cellulosic waste to biochar in the US mid-West is about $49-$74 per tonne CO2 as compared to $210-$303 per tonne CO2 in the UK. There are 700 billion tonnes  of CO2 in the atmosphere  and the cost of reversing 2 centuries of fossil fuel burning by means of biochar-based return of the  atmospheric CO2 concentration to the pre-industrial 300 ppm  from the current 400 ppm by removing 0.25 x 700 = 175 billion tonnes CO2 has been estimated at $13 trillion to $53 trillion (US dollars)  or 15-62% of the current world annual GDP of $85 trillion. (C) A further way is to consider the US EPA recently estimating the Value of a Statistical  Life (VOSL, VSL) at $7.4 million per person. All men being equal, we can apply this estimate to the 5 million people who die annually from climate change and carbon burning [10, 11] to get a Climate Change Cost  estimate of $37 trillion per year. These  numbers, while horrifying,  nevertheless show that it is still conceivable (albeit very unlikely) that we could  save the world from climate disaster [1, 28, 29].

Climate Change Denialism (see Climate Change Scepticism). Science is about the critical  testing of potentially falsifiable hypotheses and thus is inherently sceptical.  Climate Change Denialism (Climate Change Scepticism) of a tiny minority of independent or fossil fuel corporation-backed scientists is overly sceptical to the point of radical and dangerous divergence from an overwhelming consensus of circa 97% of scientists. Big Money (notably fossil fuel corporations and the Murdoch media Empire) has ensured substantial  layperson Climate Change Denialism (Climate Change Scepticism)   in the neoliberal Western Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies with this leading to  Effective Climate Change Denialism (Effective Climate Change Scepticism) and dangerous Climate Change Inaction in countries like Canada, Australia and the USA.  However US Secretary of State John Kerry has signalled a change in the US Democrat postion in a recent speech in Djakarta, Indonesia: “But because of climate change, it is no secret that today, Indonesia is also one of the most vulnerable countries on Earth… First and foremost, we should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact… The science is unequivocal. And those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand” [30].

Climate Change Inaction (see Climate Change Action, Climate Change Denialism and  Climate Change Scepticism). The  Synthesis Report from the 2,500-delegate, March 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Scientific Conference concluded “Inaction is inexcusable” [31]. A 2010 Open Letter by 255 members of the prestigious US National Academy of Sciences  (including 11 Nobel Laureates) concluded “Delay is not an option” [32]. The World is rapidly running out of time and money to deal with the worsening climate crisis - thanks to climate criminals  the Carbon Debt cost for future generations to restore a safe planet is now $192 trillion and increasing by about $10 trillion each year.

Climate Change-related Deaths. DARA has estimated 0.5 million climate change-related deaths each year [10, 11] . However  this may be a considerable under-estimate because it can be readily determined from UN Population Division data that 18 million people die avoidably each year in a Developing World that is increasingly impacted by climate change (it was estimated that total global annual avoidable deaths in 2003 totalled 16 million [1]).

Climate Change Scepticism (see  Climate Change Denial).

Climate Corruption. Worsening GHG pollution means continuing pollution of the one common atmosphere and one common ocean of all countries i.e. it is theft of common resources. This dangerous theft is compounded by the absence of a Carbon Price due to fossil fuel lobbying in the neoliberal Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies in which Big Money buys people, politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality and political power in utter perversion of public life and democracy  i.e. egregious corruption that also involves  murderous depraved indifference  toward the 5 million people who perish each year due to climate change (0.5 million) and carbon burning pollutants (4.5 million) [10, 11]. Thanks to climate criminals  the Carbon Debt cost for future generations to restore a safe planet is now $192 trillion and increasing by about $10 trillion each year.

Climate Cost (see Climate Change Cost). The annual cost of climate change can be estimated at (A) $9.6 trillion (from non-application of a Carbon Price), (B)  $13-53 trillion (the cheapest cost of biochar-based return of atmospheric CO2 to a safe 300 ppm, and (C)  $37 trillion (from a US VOSL applied to 5 million annual deaths from carbon burning and climate change).  Thanks to climate criminals  the Carbon Debt cost for future generations to restore a safe planet is now $192 trillion and increasing by about $10 trillion each year.

Climate Crimes. The current Climate Crimes involve (1) illegal, remorseless, corrupt, charge-free pollution of the one common atmosphere and ocean of all countries, (2) depraved indifference  to 5 million annual deaths from climate change and carbon burning, (3) an annual increase in Carbon Debt by about $10 trillion, (4) worsening damage and threat to vulnerable Humanity (climate racism, climate terrorism), (5) worsening damage to the Biosphere (the extinction rate is already 100-1000 times greater than normal [33] and most coral and coral reefs have only 20 years to go before the tipping point of irreversible decline [34], and (6) worsening  Climate Genocide that will see 10 billion mostly  Third World people perish this century if climate change is not properly addressed [35]. Thanks to climate criminals  the Carbon Debt cost for future generations to restore a safe planet is now $192 trillion and increasing by about $10 trillion each year.

Climate Criminal. Climate criminals are those who commit climate crimes (see Climate Crimes) and include corporate leaders and complicit politicians “persuaded” into climate change inaction and complicity in climate criminality.Thanks to climate criminals  the Carbon Debt cost for future generations to restore a safe planet is now $192 trillion and increasing by about $10 trillion each year.

Climate Crisis. With as few as 4 years left at current rates of GHG pollution before the World exceeds the Terminal Carbon Budget of 600 Gt CO2  [22] , energy-related GHG pollution at a record high [36], the World running at the worst-case scenario of the IPCC  [37, 38], the Arctic summer sea ice set to disappear in 2015 [39],  over 5,025 Gt CO2-e of methane set to be released in coming decades [40]  and atmospheric CO2 at 400 ppm and increasing at a record rate [41] we have a climate crisis and a climate emergency that are made worse by World governments not in effect recognizing  the crisis and emergency [42, 43]. Thanks to climate criminals  the Carbon Debt cost for future generations to restore a safe planet is now $192 trillion and increasing by about $10 trillion each year.

Climate Denialism (see Climate Change Denialism,  Climate Change Scepticism, and  Climate Scepticism).

Climate Emergency (see Climate Crisis).

Climate Holocaust. Holocaust simply means death of a huge number of people as exampled by the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million people killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation), the WW2 Holocaust in general (30 million Slavs, Jews and Gypsies killed), the WW2 Bengali Holocaust (6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death by the British) and the 35 million Chinese killed associated with the Japanese occupation of China in the1930s and 1940s. [2]. A predicted Climate Genocide involving the  avoidable deaths of 10 billion people this century due to unaddressed climate change certainly represents a Climate Holocaust  as well as a Climate Genocide (see Climate Genocide). .

Climate Genocide. Holocaust simply means death of a huge number of people as exampled by the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million people killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation), the WW2 Holocaust in general (30 million Slavs, Jews and Gypsies killed), the WW2 Bengali Holocaust (6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death by the British) and the 35 million Chinese killed associated with the Japanese occupation of China in the1930s and 1940s. [2]. However the International Law  definition of “genocide” is by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention: it  involves Assessment of “intent’ by those responsible, and states “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” [44]. Intent” to commit mass murder is only rarely explicitly expressed but can be readily established through the horrendous, ongoing reality. Javier Sethness-Castro comments in relation to “intent” in relation to the related phenomenon of “climate genocide” that similarly arises from racist First World greed and depraved indifference: “Dominant relations can hence be characterized as governed by what Chomsky calls “depraved indifference” to human life. Australian scientist Gideon Polya has termed the current situation “climate genocide”, while Bangladeshi climatologist Atiq Rahman similarly labels it “climatic genocide”. The phrases are accurate if the word genocide is to be understood as murder of persons belonging to particular classes and social groups, as originally formulated by Raphael Lemkin, the concept’s inventor. If the definition is extended to membership or residence in particular  geographic regions – a collective of sorts – the term fits better, even if the question of intent for such eventualities is left unresolved: Under the internationally accepted definition, acts of genocide occur only if governed by conscious intent. Against this view, Chomsky is right to suggest that those concerned with such problems focus on “predictable outcome as evidence for intent”. Not to work to undermine global capitalism is effectively to be complicit with the genocide of southern peoples. Jean-Paul Sartre put it well in a statement he issued as president of the International War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam: “The genocidal intent is implicit in the facts. It is not necessarily premeditated.” [45]. Dr Gideon Polya has made a Formal Complaint to the International Criminal Court over Australian involvement in Climate Genocide and other genocidal atrocities (2008). [46].  

Climate Injustice (see Climate Justice, Intergenerational Injustice, and Intergenerational Justice).  Unaddressed man-made climate change represents an enormous injustice to the vulnerable of the World, in particular those of the Developing World, about 10 billion of whom will die this century under Business Ass Usual. However there is also an immense intergenerational injustice as future generations in both the North and the South are bequeathed a mounting Carbon Debt of about $10 trillion each year (as outlined above, a Carbon Price of about $150 per tonne CO2-e is required for effective climate change action [17]. World Bank analysts have revised upwards the annual global GHG pollution from 42 Gt CO2-e to 64 Gt CO2-e [27]. One can accordingly estimate the annual cost of climate change inaction (i.e. a Carbon Price of $0 per tonne CO2-e) at $150 per tonne CO2-e x 64 billion tonnes CO2-e per year = $9,600 billion = $9.6 trillion or about 11% of Global GDP of $85 trillion). Dr James Hansen et al.: “We assess climate impacts of global warming using ongoing observations and paleoclimate data. We use Earth’s measured energy imbalance, paleoclimate data, and simple representations of the global carbon cycle and temperature to define emission reductions needed to stabilize climate and avoid potentially disastrous impacts on today’s young people, future generations, and nature. A cumulative industrial-era limit of ~500 GtC fossil fuel emissions and 100 GtC storage in the biosphere and soil would keep climate close to the Holocene range to which humanity and other species are adapted. Cumulative emissions of ~1000 GtC, sometimes associated with 2°C global warming, would spur “slow” feedbacks and eventual warming of 3–4°C with disastrous consequences. Rapid emissions reduction is required to restore Earth’s energy balance and avoid ocean heat uptake that would practically guarantee irreversible effects. Continuation of high fossil fuel emissions, given current knowledge of the consequences, would be an act of extraordinary witting intergenerational injustice. Responsible policymaking requires a rising price on carbon emissions that would preclude emissions from most remaining coal and unconventional fossil fuels and phase down emissions from conventional fossil fuels” [47]

Climate Justice (see Climate Justice, Intergenerational Injustice, and Intergenerational Justice).  .

Climate Racism. The worsening Climate Genocide will overwhelmingly severely impact the non-European South rather than the European  North and there is thus a climate  racism dimension to the worsening climate genocide. Between 1950 and 2005 global avoidable deaths from deprivation totaled 1.3 billion  Spaceship Earth with the First World in charge of the flight deck and 1.2 billion of these deaths were associated with the non-European World and 0.6 billion with the Muslim World [2]. Today, about 18 million people die avoidably from deprivation ever year in the  Developing World (minus China, a nation for which the annual avoidable mortality is essentially zero) [2]. Unaddressed global warming will worsen this Developing World  avoidable mortality holocaust with a worst case scenario of an annual average 100 million avoidable  deaths [35].     

Climate Scepticism (see Climate Change Denialism,  Climate Change Scepticism, and  Climate Denialism).

Climate Terrorism. Terrorism is the ruthless killing of innocents in support of an ideological or political agenda. The agenda of the capitalist Establishment is maximum profit from a Carbon economy  at the expense of the Biosphere and the bulk of Humanity as a whole that depends upon it - .knowing, remorseless  mass murder arising  from a ruthless economic agenda  i.e. climate terrorism..

Climate War. Climate war is a predictable outcome of  the worsening resource depletion and worsening Climate Genocide. Indeed the violence associated with the Arab Spring can be seen as driven by economic desperation as well as by ideology.

Coal. Coal derives from anaerobic geologic conversion of cellulosic carbohydrates to carbon ((CH2O)n + heat, pressure -> nC + n H2O). Complete burng of coal © generates CO2: C + O2 -> CO2.  

Divestment (see Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, BDS).  

Divestment From Deforestation. Deforestation in the non-European World and land use in general (including food price-elevating and Carbon Debt-incurring  food for fuel agriculture, the Biofuel Genocide  [48- 50) ] ) are now major contributors  to GHG pollution [27, 51, 52].

Divestment From Fossil Fuels. The Western democracies have become Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies in which Big Money buys people, politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality and political power. This transformation  has crippled effective action against climate change. Some key strategies that should be adopted by decent people and NGOs around the world are (a) to urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all people, politicians, parties, candidates, countries and corporations involved in man-made climate change and (b) to inform everyone they can about the worsening climate emergency and the need for urgent action. Top climate change economist Professor Lord Stern on report about risks to investment in fossil fuels:" Smart investors can see that investing in companies that rely solely or heavily on constantly replenishing reserves of fossil fuels is becoming a very risky decision. The report raises serious questions as to the ability of the financial system to act on industry-wide long term risk, since currently the only measure of risk is performance against industry benchmarks” [53]. According  to Carbon tracker: “ Between 60-80% of cooal, oil and gas reserves of publicly listed compani4s are unburnable if the world is to have a chance of not exceeding global warming of 2oC.  The total coal, oil and gas reserves listed on the world’s stock exchanges equals 762GtCO2 – approximately a quarter of the world’s total reserves [of 3,000 Gt CO2]” [53]. Note that the Terminal Carbon Budget Terminal Carbon Budget   that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise is 600 Gt CO2 [20, 21]. It gets worse – thus, the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2 [55, 56]. The 50 Gt (billion tonnes) CH4 to he released from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf in coming decades [40] is thus equivalent to 50 billion tonnes CH4 x 105 tonnes  CO2-equivalent/tonne CH4 = 5,250 tonnes CO2-e or about NINE (9) times more than the world’s terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release [28]. “Divest from fossil fuels” [54] details towns, cities, countries, colleges, universities, religious organizations, other organizations  and individuals committed to divestment from fossil fuel companies.

Divestment from Greenhouse Gas Pollution (see Divestment From Fossil Fuels, Vegan and Vegetarian). World Bank analysts have re-assessed the contribution of livestock to World annual GHG pollution. Their re-assessment is that annual World GHG pollution is 64 Gt CO2-e , 50% higher than the previous estimate of 42 Gt CO2-e and with methanogenic livestock raising and attendant land use contributing over 51% of the bigger figure [27]. There clearly needs to be Divestment not just from fossil fuel companies but from all other commercial activities generating GHGs.  

Effective Climate Change Denialism (see Effective Climate Change Scepticism). This term is well illustrated by climate criminal Australia where the major political parties, the governing Liberal Party-National Party Coalition and the opposition Labor Party (collectively  also known as  the Lib-Labs or Liberal-Laborals) variously pay lip service to climate change but have a common policy of climate change inaction involving a derisory 5% off 2000 GHG pollution by 20202 coupled with unlimited coal, gas and iron ore exports that will see Australia exceed the whole World’s Terminal Carbon Budget of 600 Gt CO2 by a factor of 3 [25].

Effective Climate Change Scepticism (see Effective Climate Change Denialism ).

Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) (see Cap and Trade). This is basically a fraudulent device to allow particular countries to set a notional cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution and then trade limited and dodgy Carbon Credits and limited and dodgy licences to pollute the one common atmosphere ands one common ocean of all countries. The ETS approach (a) is empirically unsuccessful, (b) is accordingly counterproductive and (c) is fraudulent because it involves the government of a particular country selling its corporations licences to pollute the one common atmosphere and ocean of all countries on earth, Numerous science and economics experts dismiss the ETS approach and demand an effective Carbon Price through a Carbon Tax [57]. Thus  Dr Chris Hope from 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University demands a Carbon Tax of about $150 per tonne CO2-e [17] and Dr James Hansen (former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute  for Space Studies and Adjunct Professor at 101-Nobel-Laureate Columbia University) argues cogently for an upfront, transparent an effective Carbon Tax. with the receipts going to all citizens [19, 58].   

Excess Death (see Excess Mortality, Avoidable Death, Avoidable Mortality). Excess Death (Excess Mortality, Avoidable Death, Avoidable Mortality) is the difference between the ACTUAL mortality in a country and the mortality EXPECTED in a peaceful, decently-run country with the same demographics. By 1950 ALL the World potentially had access to the requisites for very the low excess death obtaining in European countries, namely clean water, sanitation, proper nutrition, literacy (especially female literacy), primary health care, antibiotics and major preventive medicine programs including public health education, prophylactics (such as insecticides, antiseptics, mosquito netting, soap and condoms) and major vaccinations. However such benefits took decades to arrive in many countries and are still variously lacking in African countries. Nevertheless, in most countries outside Africa the annual mortality rate (expressed as deaths per 1,000 people per year) typically declined to a minimum and in the best countries (typically European and East Asian countries) eventually began to rise, with this reflecting aging populations. Using United Nations Population Division demographic data going back to 1950 (the 2002 Revision), it was possible to make base-line estimates of expected mortality for various demographically distinct groups. For many high birth-rate Third World countries the base-line mortality estimates clustered about 4 deaths per 1,000 of population [2].

Excess Mortality (see Excess Death, Avoidable Death, Avoidable Mortality).

Gas (see Natural Gas). Subterranean methane derives from anaerobic reduction of  carbohydrates  by anaerobic bacteria (reduction being addition of electrons (e-), addition of hydrogen atoms (H) or removal of oxygen (O)):   (CH2O)n + 4H (derived from catabolism and reduced coenzymes) -> nCH4 + nH2O [1]. Methane (CH4) (about 85% of natural gas and deriving from anerobic bacterial action on biomass:)  is 105 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas (GHG) on a 20 year time frame and taking aerosol impacts into account. Methane leaks (3.3% in the US based on the latest US EPA data and as high as 7.9% for methane from “fracking” or hydrologically fracturing geological  seams). Using this information one can determine that gas burning for electricity  can be much dirtier than coal burning greenhouse gas-wise (GHG-wise). While gas burning for power generates twice as much electrical energy per tonne of CO2 produced (MWh/tonne CO2) than coal burning and the health-adverse pollution from gas burning is lower than for coal burning, gas leakage in the system actually means that gas burning for powercan be  worse GHG-wise than coal burning. At 2.6% gas leakage, ther global warming effect fronm the leaked gas is that same as that from burning the remaining gas  (see the website :Gas is not clean energy”) [1].

Global Warming Potential (GWP). Relative GWP based on infra-red (IR) absorbance properties and half-life in atmosphere is directly proportional to radiative forcing and inversely proportional to half-life in the atmosphere.GWP relative to same mass of CO2 on a 20 year time frame: CO2 (1.0), CH4 (79; 105 if aerosol impacts are considered [55, 56]), N2O (289), chlorofluorohydrocarbon CFC-12, CCl2F2 (11,000),  hydrochlorofluorohydrocarbon HFC-22, CHClF2 (5,160), hydrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-23, CHF3 (12,000), sulphur hexafluoride SF6 (16,300), nitrogen trifluoride NF3 (12,300).GWP relative to same mass of CO2 (1.0) on a  100 year time frame: CO2 (1.0), CH4 (21), N2O (298), chlorofluorohydrocarbon CFC-12, CCl2F2 (10,900),  hydrochlrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-22, CHClF2 (1,810), hydrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-23, CHF3 (14,800), sulphur hexafluoride SF6 (22,800), nitrogen trifluoride NF3 (17,200) [1].

Greenhouse Gas (GHG). The greenhouse effect (discovered by UK chemist John Tyndall, 1858 ) involves thermal radiation from sun being absorbed by surface and air with  re-emitted and reflected light being absorbed and  re-radiated by air molecules, notably carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), H2O, and man-made greenhouse gases (GHGs). The greenhouse effect keeps planet warm. Note that the term CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) refers to total GHGs including CO2 and other GHGs expressed as CO2-equivalent.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution (GHG Pollution). World Bank analysts have re-assessed the contribution of livestock to World annual GHG pollution. Their re-assessment is that annual World GHG pollution is 64 Gt CO2-e , 50% higher than the previous estimate of 42 Gt CO2-e and with methanogenic livestock raising and attendant land use contributing over 51% of the bigger figure [27]. CO2 is the major contributor to anthropogenic global warming (AGW), deriving from aerobic respiration involving oxidation of carbohydrate  ( (CH2O)n + O2 -> n CO2 + nH2O), lime (CaO) in cement production (CaCO3 -> CaO + CO2), and the combustion of fossil   fuels such as coal ( C + O2 -> CO2) , oil (CH3(CH2)nH + ((3n +4)/2)O2 -> (n+1)CO2 + (n+2)H2O)  and natural gas, mainly methane (CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O) [1].

Intergenerational Equity (see Climate Injustice, Climate Justice, Intergenerational Inequity, Intergenerational Injustice, Intergenerational Justice).

Intergenerational Inequity (see Climate Injustice, Climate Justice, Intergenerational Equity, Intergenerational Injustice, Intergenerational Justice). Profiting from pollution and leaving the mess for future generations to clean up is Climate Injustice and Intergenerational Inequity. Dr James Hansen; “Cap and trade with offsets, in contrast, is astoundingly ineffective. Global emissions rose rapidly in response to Kyoto, as expected, because fossil fuels remained the cheapest energy. Cap and trade is an inefficient compromise, paying off numerous special interests. It must be replaced with an honest approach, raising the price of carbon emissions and leaving the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground. Are we going to stand up and give global politicians a hard slap in the face, to make them face the truth? It will take a lot of us – probably in the streets. Or are we going to let them continue to kid themselves and us and cheat our children and grandchildren? Intergenerational inequity is a moral issue. Just as when Abraham Lincoln faced slavery and when Winston Churchill faced Nazism, the time for compromises and half-measures is over. Can we find a leader who understands the core issue and will lead?”[58].

Intergenerational Injustice (see Climate Injustice, Climate Justice, Intergenerational Equity, Intergenerational Inequity, Intergenerational Justice). The present generations are drastically diminishing the resources of the planet – notably the forests, fisheries, atmosphere and ocean of the Earth – to the detriment of future generations. Climate change inaction means that in the absence of a carbon price (circa $150 per tonne CO2-e) we are generating a Carbon Debt of future generations of $9.6 trillion each year. Indeed the Carbon Debt inherent in the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is $192 trillion or about 2.3 times the World’s GDP [1].  It can be estimated that for every $1 received for coal by the Australian coal industry our children, grandchildren and further generations will have to spend $2 to $3 at present prices converting the consequent CO2 back to biochar to save the Planet. One can accordingly similarly determine (for Australia) that the biochar production-related debt for future generations for every $1 received by the gas-based electricity industry will be about $0.6-$1.0 at present prices (these estimates must be multiplied by 4 for the cost of biochar production in the UK) -  Intergenerational Injustice indeed. [29].

Intergenerational Justice (see Climate Injustice, Climate Justice, Intergenerational Equity, Intergenerational Inequity, Intergenerational Injustice).

Natural Gas (see Gas).

Ocean Acidification. Dissolving CO2 in the ocean results in acidification, The ocean pH has already dropped by 0.1 pH unit, this threatening all ocean organisms with calcareous exoskeletons. About one-third of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity has been absorbed by the oceans, where it partitions into the constituent ions of carbonic acid,  this leading to ocean acidification, one of the major threats to marine ecosystems and particularly to calcifying organisms such as corals (animals with photosynthetic symbionts) , foraminifera (single-celled eukaryote amoeboid protists with a calcareous external shell ), coccolithophores (photosynthetic algae that generate calcareous plates) and  lobster, crab, shrimp and krill  crustaceans with food chain implications) [1]. .

Ocean Warming. While average surface temperature has increased by +0.8C relative to 1900, 90% of the extra heat has gone into the ocean. At the current  400 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere  most coral  is facing irreversible decline from ocean warming and acidification [1].

Oil Oil derives from decarboxylation of biological fatty acids (FAs) over geological time spans. Subterranean oil derives from anaerobic decarboxylation of biologically-derived fatty acids thus:  (CH3(CH2)n-COOH + heat, pressure ->  CH3(CH2)nH + CO2  [1].

Per Capita Greenhouse Gas Pollution. Collective, national responsibility for the worsening Climate Holocaust and Climate Genocide is in direct proportion to per capita national pollution of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases (GHGs). Indeed, fundamental to any international agreement on national rights to pollute our common atmosphere and oceans should be the belief that “all men are created equal”. However neoliberal-imposed reality is otherwise: “annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 25 (Australia; or 74 in 2010 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included) [1, 35, 59]..

Preventable Deaths. Avoidable Mortality (Avoidable Mortality, Excess Death, Excess Mortality) is the difference between the ACTUAL mortality in a country and the mortality EXPECTED in a peaceful, decently-run country with the same demographics. However it is useful to use the term “Preventable Deaths” for intra-national avoidable deaths in prosperous, First World  countries such as Australia and the US that have effectively zero avoidable mortality  on the  international scale of comparison as defined above but in which annual; preventable deaths total about 60,000 [60, 61] and 1.3 million  [62, 63], respectively. Thus eminently preventable carbon burning-related deaths in Australia and the US annually total 10,000 [9, 60] and 70,000 [62], respectively. .

Radiative Forcing. Radiative forcing measures warming (positive) effects of e.g. GHGs and carbon particles and cooling (negative ) effects of e.g. sulphate aerosols and reflectivity (albedo) of ice, snow and clouds [1].

Renewable Energy. 100% Renewable Energy (including geothermal energy) is crucial for effectively dealing with the climate emergency and returning atmospheric CO2 from the current dangerous 400 ppm CO2 to a safe and sustainable  300 ppm CO2 that involves the following the following]: (1) Change of societal philosophy to one of scientific risk management and biological sustainability with complete cessation of species extinctions and zero tolerance for lying; .(2) Urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm as recommended by leading climate and biological scientists ; and (3) a  rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-afforestation and return of carbon as biochar to soils coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth [1, 28]. “The goal of “100% renewable energy by 2020” and the related goal of “Cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020” have already been embraced by various Island nations, states, cities and corporations [64, 65].

Sanctions (see Boycott,  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions  (BDS), Divestment, Divestment From Deforestation, Divestment From Fossil Fuels). Peace is the only way but inaction is complicity. Sanctions and indeed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions  (BDS) are required to stop the climate criminal destroying the planet [54].

Terminal Carbon Budget (see Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget). The World is rapidly running out of time to deal with man-made climate change. Thus according to the German WBGU and Australian  Climate Commission (sacked by the effective climate change denialist Coalition Federal Government and now surviving unfunded as the Australian Climate Council), relative to 2014 we have only 15 years left before we exceed the Terminal Carbon Budget  of 600 Gt CO2 that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise [20, 21].

Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget (see Terminal Carbon Budget).  

Tipping Points. The World is rapidly approaching crucial tipping points for irreversible damage to key ecosystems [19, 66]. Thus Professor Peter Wadhams of 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University  says that the Arctic summer sea ice may be gone by 2015 [39]; Whiteman and colleagues at 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University  say that 50 Gt  methane will be released from the East Siberian Arctic sea bed in coming decades, this trtnalsting to a catastrophic 5,250 Gt CO2-e, 9 times greatee tna the Whole World’s Terminal Carbon Budget [40]; the World may have only 4-15 years left before it exceeds the Terminal Carbon Budget  of 600 Gt CO2 that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise [20, 21, 22]; the atmospheric CO2 has reached 400 ppm and is oceans at about 2.5 ppm per year i.e. it within 20 years it will reach 450 ppm CO2 at which point most coral and coral  reefs are doomed – indeed top coral  experts of the UK Royal Society Coral Working Group  say that at about 400 ppm CO2 most coral  is facing irreversible decline from ocean warming and acidification [67]; the species extinction rate is already 100-1,000 times greater than normal [33].  

Total Economic Value of Wild Nature. The Total Economic Value (TEV) of Wild Nature may be about 50% of World GDP and Andrew  Balmford and colleagues have estimated that : “Loss and degradation of remaining natural habitats has continued largely unabated. However, evidence has been accumulating that such systems generate marked economic benefits, which the available data suggest exceed those obtained from continued habitat conversion. We estimate that the overall benefit:cost ratio of an effective global program for the conservation of remaining wild nature is at least 100:1” [68].

Unknown (see X).

Value Of a Statistical Life (VOSL, VSL). Climate change and carbon burning already kill about 5 million people annually. Assuming that “all men are created equal” we can use the US EPA’s estimate of  a Value Of a Statistical Life (VOSL, VSL) of $7.4 million to estimate a risk avoidance based cost of $37 trillion each year, nearly half the World’s annual GDP.

Vegan (see Divestment from Greenhouse Gas Pollution, Vegetarian).  World Bank analysts have re-assessed the contribution of livestock to World annual GHG pollution. Their re-assessment is that annual World GHG pollution is 64 Gt CO2-e , 50% higher than the previous estimate of 42 Gt CO2-e and with methanogenic livestock raising and attendant land use contributing over 51% of the bigger figure [27]. The conversion efficiency (kg grain to produce 1 kg gain in live weight) is:  herbivorous farmed fish (e.g. carp, tilapia, catfish; less than 2), chicken (2), pork (4), and beef (7). In 2003, 37 percent of the world grain harvest, or nearly 700 million tons, used to produce animal protein. Meat is contraindicated because of GHG pollution and inefficient diversion of scarce food resources in addition to the “food for fuel” Biofuel Genocide obscenity that drives up grain price[1, 69, 70].

Vegetarian (see Divestment from Greenhouse Gas Pollution, Vegan).

World’s Worst for GHG Pollution. “Annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 25 (Australia; or 74 in 2010 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included) [1, 35, 59]. An estimate of “years left to zero emissions” has been determined for all countries relative to mid-2011 – the worst polluting  countries that must cease GHG pollution within 10 years relative to mid-2011 are  Belize (1.3 years), Qatar (2.3), Guyana (2.4), Malaysia (3.4), United Arab Emirates (3.4), Kuwait (4.1),  Papua New Guinea (4.3), Brunei (4.8), Australia (4.8),  Antigua & Barbuda (4.9), Zambia (5.1), Canada (5.1), Bahrain (5.2), United States (5.5), Trinidad & Tobago (6.4), Luxembourg (5.9), Panama (6.3), New Zealand (6.5),  Estonia (6.9),  Botswana (7.0), Ireland (7.4),  Saudi Arabia (7.6),  Venezuela (7.9),  Indonesia (8.4),  Equatorial Guinea (8.6), Belgium (8.7), Turkmenistan (8.8), Singapore (8.9),  Czech Republic (9.0), Liberia (9.0), Netherlands (9.3), Russia (9.3),  Nicaragua (9.3), Finland (9.5),  Oman (9.7), Palau (9.8), Brazil (9.8),  Uruguay (9.8), Denmark (10.0). If one considers Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution, Australia used up its “fair share” of the World’s Terminal Carbon Budget in 2011 (3 years ago) [26].

World’s Worst for Climate Inaction. The Climate Change Performance Index – Results 2014 [71] shows that of 61 countries examined the following were the worst : Australia (57), Canada (58), Iran (59), Kazakhstan (60), and Saudi Arabia (61). Australia and Canda were the worst OECD countries.

X  (see Unknown). .X stands for an unknown. The danger of being so close to various tipping points is that some unpredictable but not unexpected disaster (e.g. a huge volcanic eruptions, catastrophic forest fires, changes in ocean currents or atmosphere jet stream patterns) might suddenly inject a lot more GHGs into the atmosphere and bring the world past particular tipping points. Thus, for example, the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2 [55, 56]. The 50 Gt (billion tonnes) CH4 to he released from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf in coming decades [40] is thus equivalent to 50 billion tonnes CH4 x 105 tonnes  CO2-equivalent/tonne CH4 = 5,250 tonnes CO2-e or about NINE (9) times more than the world’s terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release [28].

Years Left To Zero Emissions. Recent estimates of years left before the World reaches  zero emission by exceedeing the Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget  range from 4-15 years [20-23]. An estimate of “years left to zero emissions” has been determined for all countries relative to mid-2011 – the worst polluting  countries that must cease GHG pollution within 10 years relative to mid-2011 are  Belize (1.3 years), Qatar (2.3), Guyana (2.4), Malaysia (3.4), United Arab Emirates (3.4), Kuwait (4.1),  Papua New Guinea (4.3), Brunei (4.8), Australia (4.8),  Antigua & Barbuda (4.9), Zambia (5.1), Canada (5.1), Bahrain (5.2), United States (5.5), Trinidad & Tobago (6.4), Luxembourg (5.9), Panama (6.3), New Zealand (6.5),  Estonia (6.9),  Botswana (7.0), Ireland (7.4),  Saudi Arabia (7.6),  Venezuela (7.9),  Indonesia (8.4),  Equatorial Guinea (8.6), Belgium (8.7), Turkmenistan (8.8), Singapore (8.9),  Czech Republic (9.0), Liberia (9.0), Netherlands (9.3), Russia (9.3),  Nicaragua (9.3), Finland (9.5),  Oman (9.7), Palau (9.8), Brazil (9.8),  Uruguay (9.8), Denmark (10.0). If one considers Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution, Australia used up its “fair share” of the World’s Terminal Carbon Budget in 2011 (3 years ago) [26].

Zero Emissions (see Years Left To Zero Emissions). The world must finally reach zero emissions in about 2050 but many highly polluting countries will have already exceeded their “fair share” of the Worlds’ Terminal Carbon Budget or will be morally obliged to cease emissions in the next few years [26]. If one considers Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution, Australia used up its “fair share” of the World’s Terminal Carbon Budget in 2011 (3 years ago) [1] and is now stealing the entitlement of all other countries  on Earth – climate criminality and climate injustice.

References.

[1]. Gideon Polya, “2011 Climate Change Course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course .

[2]. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, that includes an avoidable mortality-related history of every country since Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal on the web: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com.au/ .

[3]. Gideon Polya, “Forest biomass-derived Biochar can profitably reduce global warming and bushfire risk”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/forest-biomass-derived-biochar-can-profitably-reduce-global-warming-and-bushfire-risk .

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