TOO LATE TO AVOID GLOBAL WARMING CATASTROPHE

 

Humanity demands that we speak out, bear witness, and  tell the truth for a better world (see “Gideon Polya Writing”: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/ ). The website "Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe" is a documented,  alphabetically organized compendium of  the expert views of scientists and of science-informed activists who believe that there is now only a low probability for the world  avoiding a catastrophic plus 2 degree Centigrade (+2C) temperature rise, noting that there is a global government   consensus that global warming due to man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution must be kept below +2C.

 

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  ).


Professor 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)....  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 [405 ppm CO2 in 2016 and increasing at 3 ppm CO2 per year]. 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 cross 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/ ). The atmospheric CO2 has now climbed to 405 ppm CO2 in 2016 and increasing at 3 ppm CO2 per year.


The 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference failed Humanity and international commitments have locked in a catastrophic temperature rise of about plus 2.7 degrees C. All ordinary folk can do is to boycott the worst polluters. The BBC pointed out that the temperature rise by 2100 would be 4.5C (if countries do not act), 3.6C (following current policies), or 2.7C (based on Paris pledges) i.e. that the Paris Climate Agreement had failed in its key objective  of keeping a temperature rise to within 1.5C and 2C. Further, last minute changes to the Draft Agreement under US pressure crucially changed “shall” (implying legal obligation) to “should” (implying merely suggested but non-binding action), thus  enabling climate criminal countries like the US and its similarly high polluting, climate criminal First World lackeys, Canada and Australia, to evade their moral responsibilities.  The Paris Climate Agreement has been hailed as a breakthrough but in harsh reality is weak and non-binding with a lot of wriggle room for climate criminal politicians, corporations and countries (COP21 climate change summit reaches deal in Paris”, BBC, 13 December 2015: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35084374 ; Melissa Clarke, “Paris climate deal: one word that almost brought down a global agreement”, ABC News, 13 December 2015: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-13/the-word-that-almost-brought-down-the-paris-climate-accord/7024142 ;  Gideon Polya, “Paris Climate Agreement Betrays Humanity Which Must Apply Boycotts, Divestment And Sanctions (BDS) Against Climate Criminal People, Corporations & Countries”, Countercurrents,  14 December, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya141215.htm ).


The 2009 Report of the German Scientific Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU, Wissenshaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) entitled “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach” 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” (WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”, 2009:  http://www.wbgu.de/fileadmin/templates/dateien/veroeffentlichungen/sondergutachten/sn2009/wbgu_sn2009_en.pdf ).

The consequences of this declaration  - of a Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget of less than 600 Gt CO2 (600 billion tonnes CO2) in emissions for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 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 . Accordingly the per capita share of this Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget is less than 600 billion tonnes CO2/8.321 billion people = less than 72.1 tonnes CO2 per person.

World Bank analysts have revised annual greenhouse gas (GHG) pollutions  upwards by 50% to 64 billion tonnes CO2-e by properly accounting for land use for animal husbandry. A key element of their analysis was to use a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of methane (CH4) relative  to that of carbon dioxide (CO2) of 72 in a 20-year time frame rather than the 25 on a 100 year time frame used by the FAO. Indeed the World Bank analysis evidently still understates the GHG pollution because NASA scientists have re-evaluated the GWP of CH4 as 105 in a  20 year time frame with aerosol impacts considered and the same approach has been used to properly re-calculate annual per capita GHG pollution for all countries (and hence the best targets for  global Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to save the planet) (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 ; 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   ).

The World will finally use up its Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget (for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2 degree C temperature rise) in 2018.  The  world average annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution for all countries is 63.80 billion tonnes CO2-e / 7.137 billion people in 2013 = 8.9 tonnes CO2-e per person per year – however the Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget is 72.1 tonnes CO2 per person. Thus years left before the world uses up this budget =  72.1 tonnes CO2 per person/ 8.9 tonnes CO2-e per person per year = 8.1 years relative to 2010 and thus only about 1 year left relative to 2017. Australia has 72.1 tonnes CO2-e per person / 52.9 tonnes CO2-e  per person per year  = 1.4 years left relative to 2010 (noting that this analysis does not take into account historical pollution of the atmosphere nor Australia’s huge GHG exports that double its annual per capita GHG pollution). Thus Australia used up its “fair share” of the world's Terminal Carbon Pollution in 2011 and since then has been stealing the entitlement of the other countries which have not yet used up their entitlement.  The United States has 72.1 tonnes CO2-e per person / 41.0 tonnes CO2-e  per person per year  = 1.8 years left relative to 2010 and thus used up its “fair share” of the world's Terminal Carbon Pollution in 2012 (Gideon Polya, “Revised Annual Per Capita Greenhouse Gas Pollution For All Countries – What Is Your Country Doing?”, Countercurrents, 6 January, 2016: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya060116.htm ).


In 2017 UK scholar Dr Andrew Simms (co-director of the New Weather Institute,  author of “Cancel the Apocalypse” and a research fellow on rapid transition at the University of Sussex) asked a number of leading climate scientists and analysts for their views on whether we could avoid a 2C temperature rise: “In short, not a single one of the scientists polled thought the 2C target likely to be met. Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, is most emphatic. “My personal view,” he says, “is that there is not a cat in hell’s chance” (Andrew Simms, “”A cat in hell’s chance” – why we’re losing the battle to keep global warming below 2C”, Guardian, 19 January 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/cat-in-hells-chance-why-losing-battle-keep-global-warming-2c-climate-change ).

 

We are badly running out of time to deal with man-made climate change, and sensible, humane, science-informed people can (a) inform everyone they can about the corrected annual per capita GHG pollution data presented here, and (b) urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all people, politicians, parties, companies, corporations  and countries disproportionately  involved in the  greenhouse gas pollution that so acutely threatens Humanity and the Biosphere.

 

There now is a high probability  that the World has  run out of time to prevent a catastrophic  2 degree Centigrade temperature rise, but while there is life there is hope. Climate change activists must still try in every way they can to make the looming disaster “less bad” for fuutre generations (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 ).

 

To make things “less bad” we should be serious about climate change activism and  apply an Accountability, Badge and Credo (ABC) protocol for climate change action.  Many –isms from. Catholicism  to Communism  have successfully applied an ABC protocol of holding non-adherents legally or politically Accountable, displaying a Badge (e.g. a Crucifix  or Hammer and Sickle), and having a simple Credo, or simple statement of belief (e.g. like the Nicene Creed of Catholicism or the 5 Pillars of Wisdom of Islam). Adherents of climate change activism should adopt a similar protocol, urging and applying  Accountability through  Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), displaying an informative  Badge (e.g. “300 ppm CO2”) and advancing  a basic Credo  (e.g. “as argued by top scientists, for a safe planet for all peoples and all species we must urgently return the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from the present disastrous 400 parts per million  CO2 to a safe and sustainable 300 ppm CO2”).

 

In particular, Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) - successfully applied against Apartheid in South Africa – should be  comprehensively  applied against all people, politicians, parties, countries, companies, corporations and collectives disproportionately complicit in the worsening climate crisis.

 

In short, there should be zero tolerance for climate criminality. Sensible people try to achieve operational consensus (if not agreement) with others over even quite serious  matters. Indeed that is how wars can be prevented. However there are areas in which we must draw a line in the sand and we must express zero tolerance for violence, war, racism, child abuse, species extinction and terracide. We must oppose the climate criminals in peaceful ways but must also clearly express our zero tolerance for their terracidal immorality. Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity.

 

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

“1% ON 1%: one percent annual wealth tax on One Percenters”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/1-on-1 .

“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 .

“Methane Bomb Threat”: https://sites.google.com/site/methanebombthreat/ .

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

“Punish climate criminals”: https://sites.google.com/site/punishclimatecriminals/ .

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

“Stop state terrorism” : https://sites.google.com/site/stopstateterrorism/  [state and corporate complicity in worsening climate genocide and 7 million annual air pollution deaths from carbon fuel burning].

"State crime and non-state terrorism": https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/  [state and corporate complicity in worsening climate genocide and 7 million annual air pollution deaths from carbon fuel burning].

“Climate terrorism: 400,000 climate change-related deaths globally annually versus an average of 4 US deaths from political terrorism annually since 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/climate-terrorism .

“Carbon terrorism: 3 million US air pollution deaths versus 53 US political terrorism deaths since 9-11 (2001-2015)”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/carbon-terrorism .

 

 

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 .

Gideon Polya. “Polya's 3 Laws Of Economics Expose Deadly, Dishonest  And Terminal Neoliberal Capitalism”, Countercurrents, 17 October, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya171015.htm . Polya's 3 Laws of Economics mirror the 3 Laws of Thermodynamics of science and are (1) Price minus COP (Cost of Production) equals profit; (2) Deception about COP strives to a maximum; and (3) No work, price or profit on a dead planet. These fundamental laws help  expose the failure of neoliberal capitalism in relation to wealth inequality, massive tax evasion by multinational corporations, and  horrendous avoidable deaths from poverty and pollution culminating in general ecocide, speciescide, climate genocide, omnicide and terracide.

“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 .

 “Gideon Polya Writing”: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/ .

 Open Letter to Australian Federal MPs: young betrayed & climate revolution now: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/2015-9-6 .

“Free university education”: https://sites.google.com/site/freeuniversityeducation/ .

Carbon Debt quantitates responsibility for climate catastrophe:

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 ).

Dr Chris Hope of 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University has estimated an upper  damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-e  and on this basis  the World would have 1751-2015 Carbon Debt of $360 trillion (about 4 times the annual world GDP of $85 trillion)  that is increasing by about $13 trillion/year each year.

Alphabetical compendium of expert, science-informed opinion that it is too late to avoid global warming catastrophe:

 

1.5C TEMPERATURE RISE EXCEEDANCE LIKELY WITHIN DECADE (BEFORE 2026).

Report by Laurie Goering for Reuters on exceedance of 1.5C target in a decade (2016): “ The planet could pass a key target on world temperature rise in about a decade, prompting accelerating loss of glaciers, steep declines in water availability, worsening land conflicts and deepening poverty, scientists said this week. Last December, 195 nations agreed to try to hold world temperature rise to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, with an aim of 1.5 degrees Celsius. But the planet is already two-thirds of the way to that lower and safer goal, and could begin to pass it in about a decade, according to Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre. With world emissions unlikely to slow quickly enough to hit that target, it will probably be necessary to remove some carbon pollution from the atmosphere to stabilize the planet, scientists said at a University of Oxford conference on how to achieve the 1.5 degree goal. That could happen by planting forests or by capturing and then pumping underground emissions from power plants. Or countries could turn to controversial "geoengineering" techniques, such as blocking some of the sunlight arriving on the planet, to hold down temperatures, they said. "Negative emission technologies are likely to be needed, whether we like them or not," said Pete Smith, a plant and soil scientist at the University of Aberdeen” (Laurie Goering, “Climate change could cross key threshold in a decade: scientists”, Reuters Global Energy News, 22 September 2016: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-impacts-conference-idUSKCN11S1FE ).

Report on Dr Richad Betts (head of climate impacts research at the Met Office Hadley Centre, UK) on 1.5C exceedance (2016): “The planet has already heated up 1.0 C (1.8 F), and could see its first year above 1.5 C "within a decade," said Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the Met Office Hadley Centre in England” (see “Fossil fuel reserves would crush climate goals”, Phys.org, 22 September 2016 : http://phys.org/news/2016-09-fossil-fuel-reserves-climate-goals.html  ). 

Liam Wagner, Ian Ross, John Foster and Ben Hankamer on likely exceedance of plus 1.5C by 2020 (2016):  “The United Nations Conference on Climate Change (Paris 2015) reached an international agreement to keep the rise in global average temperature ‘well below 2°C’ and to ‘aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C’. These reductions will have to be made in the face of rising global energy demand. Here a thoroughly validated dynamic econometric model (Eq 1) is used to forecast global energy demand growth (International Energy Agency and BP), which is driven by an increase of the global population (UN), energy use per person and real GDP (World Bank and Maddison). Even relatively conservative assumptions put a severe upward pressure on forecast global energy demand and highlight three areas of concern. First, is the potential for an exponential increase of fossil fuel consumption, if renewable energy systems are not rapidly scaled up. Second, implementation of internationally mandated CO2 emission controls are forecast to place serious constraints on fossil fuel use from ~2030 onward, raising energy security implications. Third is the challenge of maintaining the international ‘pro-growth’ strategy being used to meet poverty alleviation targets, while reducing CO2 emissions. Our findings place global economists and environmentalists on the same side as they indicate that the scale up of CO2 neutral renewable energy systems is not only important to protect against climate change, but to enhance global energy security by reducing our dependence of fossil fuels and to provide a sustainable basis for economic development and poverty alleviation. Very hard choices will have to be made to achieve ‘sustainable development’ goals.…  

To stay within a 1.5°C global warming limit, safely extractable reserves are forecast to be consumed by 2020. (Fig 3A yellow). While it is possible that these time-points can be shifted back through rapid adoption of renewables, the degree to which this is possible is severely limited by the short time frame available to do so. Even the 3°C limit will, according to this model will be very challenging to meet by 2033 (Fig 3A dark orange) …

The results reported in this paper suggest that even stabilizing fossil fuel use will be politically challenging. Despite the >1000% increase in non-hydro renewables between 1990 and 2014 renewable energy systems deployment, the percentage of energy derived from renewables has not increased at a rate capable of keeping up with the growth in global energy demand and only makes a small contribution to primary energy supplies. To achieve significant CO2 emissions reductions without a requires:

  1. the prolonged reduction of global economic growth to levels lower than those prevailing after the recent Global Financial Crisis (which negatively impacts poverty alleviation)
  2. a reduction in population growth more rapid than generally projected for example through increased equality, education and employment of women (reduction not yet noted)
  3. a significantly increased energy efficiency (e.g. the Blue map target) beyond historical precedent and/or
  4. a rapid transition to CO2 neutral renewable energy sources.

Based on this we conclude that globally it is essential to accelerate the transition to sustainable long term, CO2-neutral energy systems if continued prosperity is to be achieved. Tapping into the huge energy resource of the sun (3020 ZJ yr-1 vs. ~0.56ZJ yr-1 total global energy demand) is one such option both to produce electricity (20% of global energy demand) and fuels (80% of energy demand) (Liam Wagner, Ian Ross, John Foster and Ben Hankamer, “Trading off global fuel supply, CO2 emissions and sustainable development”, Plos, 9 March 2016: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0149406 ). 

James Hansen et al, (2016): “The rapid rise of global temperature that began about 1975 continues at a mean rate of about 0.18 °C/decade, with the current annual temperature exceeding +1.25 °C relative to 1880–1920. Global temperature has just reached a level similar to the mean level in the prior interglacial (Eemian) period, when sea level was several meters higher than today, and, if it long remains at this level, slow amplifying feedbacks will lead to greater climate change and consequences. The growth rate of climate forcing due to human-caused greenhouse gases (GHGs) increased over 20 % in the past decade mainly due to resurging growth of atmospheric CH4, thus making it increasingly difficult to achieve targets such as limiting global warming to 1.5 °C or reducing atmospheric CO2 below 350 ppm. Such targets now require "negative emissions", i.e., extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere. If rapid phasedown of fossil fuel emissions begins soon, most of the necessary CO2 extraction can take place via improved agricultural and forestry practices, including reforestation and steps to improve soil fertility and increase its carbon content. In this case, the magnitude and duration of global temperature excursion above the natural range of the current interglacial (Holocene) could be limited and irreversible climate impacts could be minimized. In contrast, continued high fossil fuel emissions by the current generation would place a burden on young people to undertake massive technological CO2 extraction, if they are to limit climate change. Proposed methods of extraction such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) or air capture of CO2 imply minimal estimated costs of 104–570 trillion dollars this century, with large risks and uncertain feasibility. Continued high fossil fuel emissions unarguably sentences young people to either a massive, possibly implausible cleanup or growing deleterious climate impacts or both, scenarios that should provide both incentive and obligation for governments to alter energy policies without further delay” (Hansen, J., Sato, M., Kharecha, P., von Schuckmann, K., Beerling, D. J., Cao, J., Marcott, S., Masson-Delmotte, V., Prather, M. J., Rohling, E. J., Shakun, J., and Smith, P.: Young People's Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions, Earth Syst. Dynam., 2016: http://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2016-42/ ).

Dr Ed Hawkins (Climate scientist,  National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), University of Reading, UK) has generated an animated  spiral graphic of monthly HadCRUT4.4 global temperature anomaly data from January 1850 – March 2016, relative to the mean of 1850-1900. We are spiralling towards the plus 1.5C limit and hence to the plus 2C limit set by the Paris Agreement (Ed Hawkins, “Spiralling global temperatures”, Climate Lab Book, Open Climate Science, 9 May 2016: http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2016/spiralling-global-temperatures/ ; see also Andrea Thompson, “See Earth’s temperature rise spiral  toward 2C rise- graphic”, Guardian,  10 May 2016:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/see-earths-temperature-spiral-toward-2c-rise-graphic ).

Dr Jacqueline McGlade (UN Environment Program,  UNEP,  chief scientist):  “We have to see emissions peaking by 2020, otherwise reaching the 1.5 degree target becomes virtually impossible” (Jacqueline McGlade quoted in Jessica Shankleman, “Climate headed for catastrophic change despite Paris Accord”, Bloomberg, 3 November 2016: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-03/world-climate-headed-for-catastrophic-change-despite-paris-deal ).

Erik Solheim (Head of UN Environment) and Jacqueline McGlade (UN Environment Chief Scientist) (November 2016) in Forward to  the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2016: “ the Emissions Gap Report tracks our progress in restricting global warming to 1.5 - 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century. This year’s data shows that overall emissions are still rising, but more slowly, and in the case of carbon dioxide, hardly at all. The report foresees further reductions in the short term and increased ambition in the medium term. Make no mistake; the Paris Agreement will slow climate change. The recent Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will do the same. But not enough: not nearly enough and not fast enough. This report estimates we are actually on track for global warming of up to 3.4 degrees Celsius. Current commitments will reduce emissions by no more than a third of the levels required by 2030 to avert disaster. The Kigali Amendment will take off 0.5 degrees Celsius, although not until well after 2030. Action on short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon, can take off a further 0.5 degrees Celsius. This means we need to find another one degree from somewhere to meet the stronger, and safer, target of 1.5 degrees Celsius warming. So, we must take urgent action. If we don’t, we will mourn the loss of biodiversity and natural resources. We will regret the economic fallout. Most of all, we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy; the growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver” (Erik Solheim and Jacqueline McGlade, “Emissions Gap Report 2016”, Forward, November 2016: http://web.unep.org/emissionsgap/ ).

UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2016 Executive Summary: “Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion, cement production and other industrial processes are the major source of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, they account for about 68 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, and were estimated to be 36.2 GtCO2 in 2015… In summary, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow, and while the indications are encouraging that the growth rate of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use and industry is slowing, it is still too early to say whether this is likely to be permanent. The continued growth of global emissions and the underlying trends show that the world is not yet on a trajectory that allows for a transition to stringent low emissions development pathways consistent with the stated temperature goals [no more than plus 1.5-2C] … It is likely the last chance to keep the option of limiting global warming to 1.5°C in 2100 open, as all available scenarios consistent with the 1.5°C goal imply that global greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2020… In line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s definition of “likely”, this report generally uses a 66 per cent or higher probability… As in the earlier Emissions Gap Reports, it is important to highlight that most scenarios that are available in the literature, and that limit warming to below 2 or 1.5°C, assume the use of so-called negative emissions technologies in the second half of the century -- that is the active and permanent removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This can be achieved, for example, through sustainable afforestation and reforestation, enhanced soil carbon absorption, biochar, and the combination of bio-energy with carbon capture and storage… The emissions gap for 2030 is 12 to 14 GtCO2e compared with 2°C scenarios, for 1.5°C the gap is three GtCO2e larger. Even if fully implemented, the unconditional Intended Nationally Determined Contributions are only consistent with staying below an increase in temperature of 3.2°C by 2100 and 3.0°C, if conditional Intended Nationally Determined Contributions are included” (Executive Summary, UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2016: http://web.unep.org/emissionsgap/ ).

UNEP press release on UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2016, London (3 November 2016):  “The world must urgently and dramatically increase its ambition to cut roughly a further quarter off predicted 2030 global greenhouse emissions and have any chance of minimizing dangerous climate change, UN Environment said today as it released its annual Emissions Gap report. Made public the day before the Paris Agreement comes into force, the report finds that 2030 emissions are expected to reach 54 to 56 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – far above the level of 42 needed to have a chance of limiting global warming to 2oC this century. One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to the emissions generated by transport in the European Union (including aviation) over a year. Scientists agree that limiting global warming to under 2oC this century (compared to pre-industrial levels), will reduce the likelihood of more-intense storms, longer droughts, sea-level rise and other severe climate impacts. Even hitting the lower target of 1.5 oC will only reduce, rather than eliminate, impacts. The predicted 2030 emissions will, even if the Paris pledges are fully implemented, place the world on track for a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 degrees this century. Waiting to increase ambition would likely lose the chance to meet the 1.5 oC target, increase carbon-intensive technology lock-in and raise the cost of a global transition to low emissions” (UNEP press release on UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2016, London, “World must urgently up action to cut a further 25% from 2030 emissions, says UN Environmental report” 3 November 2016: http://web.unep.org/emissionsgap/ ).


2.4 DEGREE CENTIGRADE EXCEEDANCE. V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California) (2008):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… It is now recognized that DAI [Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference] must involve a range of threshold values of global and regional surface temperature change (5) depending on the elements of the climate system that are being impacted by the warming. This perception has led to the notion of climate tipping elements (6), some of which are hypothesized to be triggered by global warming in the range of 1°C to 2°C, and many others when global warming is in the range of 3°C to 5°C (see Fig. 1 ) [Arctic summer sea ice, Himalayan Tibetan glaciers, Greenland ice sheet at ca 2C; Amazon rainforest at ca 3C; ENSO, Thermohaline circulation , West Antarctic ice sheet at ca 4C],” (V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng, “On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: formidable challenges ahead”, PNAS, vol. 105,  no. 38, pp14245–14250: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/38/14245.full ).

3 LAWS OF ECONOMICS MIRRORING 3 LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS & PERTINENT TO LOOMIMG TERRACIDE. Gideon Polya (Australian scientist) (2015): “Polya's 3 Laws of Economics mirror the 3 Laws of Thermodynamics of science and are (1) Price minus COP (Cost of Production) equals profit; (2) Deception about COP strives to a maximum; and (3) No work, price or profit on a dead planet. These fundamental laws help  expose the failure of neoliberal capitalism in relation to wealth inequality, massive tax evasion by multinational corporations, and  horrendous avoidable deaths from poverty and pollution culminating in general ecocide, speciescide, climate genocide, omnicide and terracide… The  First Law of Thermodynamics states that the energy of a closed system is constant  i.e.  we can have different amounts of energy in different forms in different parts of the system (a human body, the planet, the universe), but the total energy remains a constant. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy (disorder) of the world strives to a maximum i.e. the world inexorably tends to randomness, chaos, disorder and minimum information content. We are familiar with so many examples of this e.g. (a) the  drops of ink in a glass of water disperse until the ink particles are uniformly distributed; (b) despite inbuilt cellular  biochemical repair and replication systems, we inevitably age and die; and (c) the accelerating expansion of the universe. The Third  Law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy (disorder) of a  pure crystal of a pure chemical at the absolute zero temperature of zero (0) degrees Kelvin (minus 273.15 degrees Centigrade) is zero i.e. in a universe full of motion and increasing disorder there is a boundary state of zero disorder “ (see Gideon Polya. “Polya's 3 Laws Of Economics Expose Deadly, Dishonest  And Terminal Neoliberal Capitalism”, Countercurrents, 17 October, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya171015.htm ).


5 DEGREE CELSIUS TEMPERATURE RISE. Carolyn Snyder (Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA) (2016):Reconstructions of Earth’s past climate strongly influence our understanding of the dynamics and sensitivity of the climate system. Yet global temperature has been reconstructed for only a few isolated windows of time1, 2, and continuous reconstructions across glacial cycles remain elusive. Here I present a spatially weighted proxy reconstruction of global temperature over the past 2 million years estimated from a multi-proxy database of over 20,000 sea surface temperature point reconstructions. Global temperature gradually cooled until roughly 1.2 million years ago and cooling then stalled until the present. The cooling trend probably stalled before the beginning of the mid-Pleistocene transition3, and pre-dated the increase in the maximum size of ice sheets around 0.9 million years ago4, 5, 6. Thus, global cooling may have been a pre-condition for, but probably is not the sole causal mechanism of, the shift to quasi-100,000-year glacial cycles at the mid-Pleistocene transition. Over the past 800,000 years, polar amplification (the amplification of temperature change at the poles relative to global temperature change) has been stable over time, and global temperature and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations have been closely coupled across glacial cycles. A comparison of the new temperature reconstruction with radiative forcing from greenhouse gases estimates an Earth system sensitivity of 9 degrees Celsius (range 7 to 13 degrees Celsius, 95 per cent credible interval) change in global average surface temperature per doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide over millennium timescales. This result suggests that stabilization at today’s greenhouse gas levels may already commit Earth to an eventual total warming of 5 degrees Celsius (range 3 to 7 degrees Celsius, 95 per cent credible interval) over the next few millennia as ice sheets, vegetation and atmospheric dust continue to respond to global warming” (Carolyn Snyder, “Evolution of global temperature over the last two million years”, Nature, 26 September 2016: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature19798.html ).

 

Jeff Tolleson (science journalist) on Carolyn Snyder (2016) estimate that “stabilization at today’s greenhouse gas levels may already commit Earth to an eventual total warming of 5 degrees Celsius” (2016): “Using a subset of the reconstructed temperature data, Snyder, who began the study while at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, analysed the relationship between past temperatures and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels estimated from Antarctic ice cores covering the past 800,000 years. Based on that analysis, she found that future long-term warming induced by greenhouse gases could be more severe than many previous estimates. Even if the amount of atmospheric CO2 were to stabilize at current levels, the study suggests that average temperatures may increase by roughly 5 °C over the next few millennia as a result of the effects of the greenhouse gas on glaciers, ecosystems and other factors. A doubling of the pre-industrial levels of atmospheric CO2 of roughly 280 parts per million, which could occur within decades unless people curb greenhouse-gas emissions, could eventually boost global average temperatures by around 9 °C. This is on the high end of existing estimates. Proceed with caution. And this is where the study has encountered scepticism (Jeff Tolleson, “Longest historic temperature record stretches back 2 million years. Suggests greenhouse gases may warm plant more than previously thought”, Nature, 26 September 2016: http://www.nature.com/news/longest-historic-temperature-record-stretches-back-2-million-years-1.20673 ).


24 PROMINENT AUSTRALIANS SIGN CLIMATE EMERGENCY PETITION.

24 prominent Australians have called for emergency-scale action on climate change in an open letter to the new parliament, published in "The Age" newspaper on 23 June 2016: “At the Paris climate talks, scientists and people from low-lying island states set 1.5ºC of warming as a red line that must not be crossed.
However, earlier this year, the global average temperature spiked past 1.6ºC of warming.
The bleaching of coral reefs around the world, increasing extreme weather events, the melting of large ice sheets and recent venting of methane from thawing permafrost make it abundantly clear that the earth is already too hot.
The future of human civilisation, and the survival of the precious ecosystems on which we depend, now hang in the balance.
There must be an immediate ban on new coal and gas developments and an emergency-speed transition to zero emissions.
We must begin the enormous task of safely drawing down the excess greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
We call on the new parliament to declare a climate emergency.”

 

Philip Adams, broadcaster
Kirstie Albion, CEO Austn Youth Climate Coalition
Paul Barratt, former head Defence Dept
Prof. Judy Brett, historian
Dr Stephen Byrave, CEO Beyond Zero Emissions
Geoff Cousins AM, President Austn Conservation Foundation
Mary Crooks, CEO Vic. Women’s Trust
Prof. Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate for Medicine
Ian Dunlop, former Chair Austn Coal Assoc.
Prof. Tim Flannery, palaeontologist
John Hewson, businessman and former Opposition leader
Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, marine scientist
Prof. David Karoly, atmospheric scientist
Prof. Carmen Lawrence, former WA premier
Dr Colin Long, Vic. Sec. Nat. Tertiary Education Union
Prof. Robert Manne, political scientist
Bill McKibben, author and co-founder 350.org
Christine Milne, Global Greens Ambassador
Paul Oosting, CEO GetUp
David Ritter, CEO Greenpeace Aust.
Prof. Peter Singer, moral philosopher
Prof. Fiona Stanley, epidemiologist
Dr John (Charlie) Veron, pioneer coral researcher
Mark Wakeham, CEO Environment Vic.

154 AUSTRALIAN SCIENSTS SIGN OPEN LETTER TO PM RE CLIMATE EMERGENCY. 154 Australian scientists sign Open Letter to Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull re the need for urgent climate action (The Conversation, 25 August 2016 : http://theconversation.com/an-open-letter-to-the-prime-minister-on-the-climate-crisis-from-154-scientists-64357 ).

Dear The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia,

The following is an open letter signed by 154 Australian atmospheric, marine, environmental, biological and medical scientists, including several leading climatologists, for your and your government’s attention.

There is no Planet B

In July 2016, global temperatures soared to the hottest in the 136 years of the instrumental record, 0.1 warmer than previous warm Julys in 2015, 2011 and 2009. It followed a succession of rising temperatures, moving from 0.42 above average in 2000, to 0.87 above average by 2015.

Developments in the atmosphere-ocean system reported by major climate research organisations (including NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US National Snow & Ice Data Center, the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, the Tyndall Centre, the Potsdam Institute; the science academics of dozens of nations; and in Australia the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology) include:

·         A rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to 404.39 parts per million (ppm; as of July 2016), an average rise of 3.08 ppm per year. This rate is unprecedented in the geological record of the past 55 million years, and is tracking towards the stability threshold of the Antarctic ice sheet, estimated at around 450ppm atmospheric CO.

·         The rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere and oceans is leading to an increase in extreme weather events relative to the period 1950-60, including tropical storms such as those in Fiji, Vanuatu and the Philippines, with lives lost and damage estimated in the billions of dollars. In Australia the frequency of extreme weather events has been increasing, and since 2001 the number of extreme heat records has outnumbered extreme cool records by almost three to one for daytime maximum temperatures, and around five to one for night-time minimum temperatures.

·         Impacts on a similar scale are taking place in the ocean, where the CO rise has caused an increase in acidity from pH 8.2 to 8.1 already. The pH is predicted to decrease to 7.8 by 2100, affecting coral reefs and the marine food chain.

·         Ice sheet melt rates have been increasing and the rate of sea-level rise has been accelerating, from roughly 1.7mm per year over the past century to 3.2mm per year between 1993 and 2010, and to about 3.5mm per year today. This threatens low-lying islands, deltas and lower river valleys where billions of people live – a problem that is compounded by increased variability of river flows in terms of floods and droughts.

We are concerned that global warming, amplified by feedbacks from polar ice melt, methane release from permafrost, and extensive fires, may become irreversible, including the possible collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a crucial component of the global climate system that transfers heat from the tropics to the North Atlantic.

According to James Hansen, NASA’s former chief climate scientist, “burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows“. Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s chief climate scientist, has summed up the situation by saying: “We’re simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.”

We note your broad agreement with this point, in light of your 2010 statement that:

…we are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we have got… We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic… We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us.

While the Paris Agreement remains unbinding and global warming has received minimal attention in the recent elections, governments worldwide are presiding over a large-scale demise of the planetary ecosystems, which threatens to leave large parts of Earth uninhabitable.

We call on the Australian government to tackle the root causes of an unfolding climate tragedy and do what is required to protect future generations and nature, including meaningful reductions of Australia’s peak carbon emissions and coal exports, while there is still time.

There is no Planet B.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Christine Adams-Hosking, Conservation planner, University of Queensland

Associate Professor Stephen Adelstein, Medical scientist, University of Sydney

Professor Ross Alford, Tropical ecologist, James Cook University

Dr Wallace Ambrose, Archaeological anthropologist, ANU

Dr Martin Anda, Environmental engineer, Murdoch University

Dr Marion Anderston, Geochemist, Monash University

Professor Michael Archer, Paleontologist, UNSW Australia

Dr Leanne Armand, Marine Researcher, Macquarie University

Professor Patricia Armati, Medical scientist, University of Sydney

Professor Owen Atkin, Plant respiration researcher, ANU

Professor Elaine Baker, Marine scientist, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Cathy Banwell, Medical scientist, ANU

Dr Andrew Barnes, Aquatic animal health researcher, University of Queensland

Dr Fiona Beck, Renewable energy researcher, ANU

Dr Tom Beer, Climatic and environmental change researcher, CSIRO

Professor Andrew Blakers, Photovoltaics/energy storage researcher, ANU

Professor Phillip Board, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Justin Borevitz, Plant geneticist, ANU

Dr Caryl Bosman, Environmental planning researcher, Griffith University

Professor David Bowman, Forestry researcher, University of Tasmania

Dr Timothy Broadribb, Plant Scientist, University of Tasmania

Dr Helen Brown, Environmental health researcher, Curtin University

Dr Tim Brown, Medicine and environment researcher, ANU

Professor Ralf Buckley, Conservation/ecotourism researcher, Griffith University

Dr Florian Busch, Plant scientist, ANU

Dr Jason Byrne, Urban design researcher, Curtin University

Professor Maria Byrne, Marine and developmental biologist, University of Sydney

Dr Martina Calais, Renewable energy researcher, Murdoch University

Associate Professor Craig Carter, Engineering and IT researcher, Murdoch University

Dr Phill Cassey, Ecologist, Adelaide University

Professor Carla Catterall, Ecologist, Griffith University

Dr Juleen Cavanaugh, Biomedical scientist, ANU

Professor Fred Chow, Plant biologist, ANU

Associate Professor David Cohen, Geochemist, UNSW Australia

Professor Steven Cooper, Evolutionary biologist, SA Museum

Professor Rod Connolly, Marine scientist, Griffith University

Professor Jann Conroy, Plant scientist, Western Sydney University

Dr Lucy Coupland, Medical scientist, ANU

Dr Joseph Coventry, Solar energy researcher, ANU

Dr Chris Creagh, Physicist, Murdoch University

Professor Patricia Dale, Environment/planning researcher, Griffith University

Dr Armanda Davies, Planning geographer, Curtin University

Dr Ian Davies, Forestry fire management researcher, ANU

Dr Kirsten Davies, Ethno-ecology and environmental law researcher, Macquarie University

Dr Robert Davis, Vertebrate biologist, Edith Cowan University

Professor Keith Dear, Global health researcher, ANU

Dr Fjalar de Haan, Sustainability researcher, University of Melbourne

Professor Hans Peter Dietz, Medical scientist, Penrith Hospital

Professor Bob Douglas, Medical scientist, ANU

Associate Professor Mark Douglas, Medical scientist, University of Sydney

Dr Jen Drysdale, Climate and energy researcher, University of Melbourne

Professor Angela Dulhunty, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Robyn Eckersley, Climate change governance researcher, University of Melbourne

Dr Elin Charles Edwards, Environmental geographer, University of Queensland

Professor David Eldridge, Evolutionary biologist, UNSW Australia

Professor David Elsworth, Environmental ecologist, Western Sydney University

Associate Professor Jason Evans, Climate change researcher, UNSW Australia

Dr Isabelle Ferru, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Tim Flannery, Climate Council

Professor Barry Fox, Ecologist, UNSW Australia

Dr Evan Franklin, Solar energy researcher, ANU

Dr Diego Garcia-Bellido, Paleontologist, University of Adelaide

Dr Stephen Garnett, Conservation and sustainability researcher, Charles Darwin University

Dr John Gillen, Soil scientist, ANU

Dr Andrew Glikson, Paleoclimatologist, ANU

Dr Susan Gould, Climate change researcher, Griffith UNiversity

Professor Colin Groves, Anthropologist, ANU

Dr Huade Guan, Hydro-meteorologist, Flinders University

Professor Neil Gunningham, Global governance researcher, ANU

Dr Asish Hagar, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Dr Nina Hall, Sustainable water researcher, University of Queensland

Dr Willow Hallgren, Atmospheric scientist, Griffith University

Dr Elizabeth Hanna, Environmental health researcher, ANU

Associate Professor David Harley, Epidemiologist, ANU

Professor Robert S. Hill, Paleobotanist, University of Adelaide

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Marine climatologist and Great Barrier Reef researcher, University of Queensland

Professor Geoff Hope, Archaeologist and natural history researcher, ANU

Associate Professor Michael Howes, Environmental scientist, Griffith University

Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate change and species researcher, Macquarie University

Dr Paul Humphries, Environmental scientist, Charles Sturt University

Professor Phillip Jenning, Energy researcher, Murdoch University

Professor Darryl Jones, Behavioural ecologist, Griffith University

Dr Hugh Jones, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Dr Jochen Kaempf, Physical oceanographer, Flinders University

Professor Jeffrey Keelan, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Professor Peter Kershaw, Biogeographer and botanist, Monash University

Dr Carsten Kulheim, Plant physiologist, ANU

Professor Rakkesh Kumar, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Dr Lori Lach, Rainforest conservationist, James Cook University

Professor Barry Lacopetta, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Professor Trevor Lamb, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Tony Larkum, Plant biologist, University of Technology Sydney

Dr Annie Lau, Geography and environmental management researcher, University of Quensland

Professor Bill Laurance, Tropical environment and sustainability researcher, James Cook University

Associate Professor Fred Leusch, Soil, water and energy researcher, Griffith University

Professor Andrew Lowe, Plant conservationist, University of Adelaide

Dr Fabio Luciano, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Professor Justin Marshall, Marine biologist, University of Queensland

Dr Melanie Massaro, Ecologist and ornithologist, Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor John F. McCarthy, Resource environment researcher, ANU

Dr Allison McInnes, Plant biologist, UTS

AssociateProfessor Andrew McKenzie, Landscape planning researcher, University of Canberra

Dr Kathryn McMahon, Environmental researcher, Edith Cowan University

Professor Andrew Millington, Land change scientist, Flinders University

Professor Angela Moles, Evolutionary ecologist, UNSW Australia

Professor Renee Morris, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Professor Barbara Norman, Urban planning researcher, University of Canberra

Professor Nikos Ntoumanis, Behavioural medicine researcher, Curtin University

Dr Bradley Opdyke, Climate historian, ANU

Professor Richard G. Pearson, Marine and tropical biologist, James Cook University

Dr Barrie Pittock, Climate scientist, CSIRO

Dr Jason Potas, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Susan Prescott, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Dr Lynda Prior, Climate researcher, University of Tasmania

Dr Thomas Prowse, Biologist, University of Adelaide

Professor Marie Ranson, Molecular biologist, University of Wollongong

Professor Steve Redman, Medical scientist, ANU

Associate Professor Tracy Rogers, Evolutionary ecologist, UNSW Australia

Professor Chris Ryan, Eco-innovation researcher, University of Melbourne

Dr Oz Sahnin, Climate change researcher, Griffith University

Associate Professor Peter Sainsbury, Climate and health researcher, University of Sydney

Professor David Sinclair, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Dr Tom Sobey, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Professor Will Steffen, Climate change researcher, ANU

Professor Peter Steinberg, Marine scientist, UNSW Australia

Associate Professor Christian Stricker, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Ian Suthers, Marine biologist, UNSW Australia

Associate Professor Sue Taylor, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Dr Sebastian Thomas, Sustainability researcher, University of Melbourne

Dr Andrew Thomson, Solar researcher, ANU

Associate Professor Thomas Thorsten, Marine biologist, UNSW Australia

Associate Professor Ian Tibbetts, Marine Scientist, University of Queensland

Professor David Tissue, Plant ecophysiologist, Western Sydney University

Professor Matthias Tomczak, Oceanographer, Flinders University

Mr Shane Toohey, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Dr Gail Trapp, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Professor Patrick Troy, Human ecologist, ANU

Professor Tom Trull, Antarctic, oceans and atmosphere researcher, CSIRO

Professor David Tscharke, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Chris Turney, Antarctic climatologist, UNSW Australia

Dr Tania Urmee, Renewable energy technologist, Murdoch University

Professor René Vaillancourt, Plant geneticist, University of Tasmania

Professor John Veevers, Earth scientist, Macquarie University

Professor Charlie Veron, Marine scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science

Professor Phil Waite, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Dr Elaine Walker, Physics and energy researcher, Murdoch University

Dr Hayden Washington, Environmental researcher, UNSW Australia

Professor David Watson, Water and society ecologist, Charles Sturt University

Dr Scarla J. Weeks, Biophysical oceanographer, University of Queensland

Professor Adrian Werner, Hydrologist, Flinders University

Mr Peter Weiske, Medical and environmental scientist, ANU

Dr Jonathan Whale, Energy researcher, Murdoch University

Associate Professor George Wilson, Wildlife management researcher, ANU

Dr Phillip Zylstra, Forests and fire researcher, University of Wollongong



2015 SUVA DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE BY THE PACIFIC ISLANDS DEVELOPMENT FORUM: "We, the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Development Forum following open, transparent and inclusive discussions with stakeholders undertaken during the Pacific Islands Development Forum Third Annual Summit held in Suva, Fiji between 2-4 September 2015 declare that we:

1. Are gravely distressed that climate change poses irreversible loss and damage to our people, societies, livelihoods, and natural environments creating existential threats to our very survival

and other violations of human rights to entire Pacific Small Island Developing States;

2. Express profound concern that the scientific evidence unequivocally proves that the climate system is warming and that human influence on the climate system is clear, but appropriate responses are lacking;

3. See and suffer from the adverse impacts of climate change, including but not limited to increased intensity of tropical cyclones, sea level rise, severe storm surges, more frequent and more extreme weather events, coral bleaching, saltwater intrusions, higher king tides, coastal erosion, changing precipitation patterns, submersion of islands, and ocean acidification, with scientific evidence clearly informing us these impacts will further intensify over time…

5. Are deeply disappointed that current international pledges for action as contained in submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), to stabilize global average temperature increase to well below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, remain grossly inadequate, with emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) continuing to rise;

6. Express grave concern that the continued increase in the production of fossil fuels, particularly the construction of new coal mines, undermines efforts to reduce global GHG emissions and the goal of decarbonising the global economy;

7. Highlight that irreversible loss and damage caused by climate change goes beyond adaptation and is already a reality for PSIDS  if there is inadequate mitigation action, and that climate change is already resulting in forced displacement of island populations and the loss of land and territorial integrity and further highlight that such loss and damage results in breaches of social and economic rights…

9. Welcome the conclusion of the Structured Expert Dialogue of the 2013-15 Review under the UNFCCC, that the goal to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2C above pre-industrial levels is inadequate in view of the ultimate objective of the Convention. The latest science suggests that the 2C ‘guardrail’ concept is no longer safe for the survival of our Pacific Small Island Developing States;

10. Emphasize that scientific evidence indicates that limiting warming to well below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will significantly reduce impacts, risks, adaptation needs, as well as loss and damage, and that actions to this effect will not significantly impact on economies…(see Pacific Islands Development Forum 4 September  2015 "Suva Declaration on Climate Change": http://pacificidf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/PACIFIC-ISLAND-DEVELOPMENT-FORUM-SUVA-DECLARATION-ON-CLIMATE-CHANGE.v2.pdf ).


AHMED. Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed ( bestselling author, award-winning investigative journalist, and noted international security scholar, as well as a policy expert, film maker, strategy and communications consultant, change activist, and author of  Zero Point, and A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save Itwhich inspired the award-winning documentary feature film, “The Crisis of Civilization”) (2015) : “The much-vaunted COP21 negotiations in Paris are, despite the claims of world leaders, dead on arrival. Emissions reductions targets are not up for discussion. Those pledges are already on the table, having been put forward voluntarily by each country. Government negotiators in Paris are instead looking at banal details of how and when countries should commit to improving their voluntary pledges, and ensuring "transparency" and "accountability". Catastrophe? But current emissions pledges already guarantee disaster…But the more scientists learn, the more they realise we keep underestimating the risks. Last year, an analysis in Scientific American by Professor Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University explained that new research showed the two degree danger zone could be breached at our present rate of emissions within just 20 years. This means limiting global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to around 405 parts per million (ppm). Even this, Mann explained, is based on “a conservative definition of climate sensitivity that considers only the so-called fast feedbacks in the climate system, such as changes in clouds, water vapor and melting sea ice. Some climate scientists, including James E. Hansen, former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, say we must also consider slower feedbacks such as changes in the continental ice sheets”. That implies that a safe level of atmospheric CO2 is actually less than 350 ppm (see Nafeez Ahmed, “Paris Climate Negotiations Won’t Stop The Planet Burning”, Countercurrents, 7 December, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/ahmed071215.htm ).


 AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE COMMISSION. Australian Climate Commission (now the privately-funded Australian Climate Council after being abolished by the anti-science, climate criminal Australian Coalition Government) 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” ( 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  ).

[Editor’s note: it has been determined using the latest estimates for annual GHG pollution and the Global Warming Potential of methane that the world will exceed its cumulative terminal Carbon Budget of 1000 GtC within 3 years (see 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 )].


AVERY. 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) on fossil fuel use and global climate emergency (2016): “In an amazing display of collective schizophrenia, our media treat oil production and the global climate emergency as though they were totally disconnected. But the use of all fossil fuels, including oil, must stop almost immediately if the world is to have a chance of avoiding uncontrollable and catastrophic climate change… Our high-energy lifestyles continue. Our profligate use of fossil fuels continues as though the life-threatening climate emergency did not exist. Meanwhile, early spring temperatures in 2016 have totally smashed all previous records, and this is especially pronounced in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Polar ice caps are melting in an alarmingly rapid and non-linear way. The rate of melting of the icecaps is far greater than predicted by conventional modeling which does not include feedback loops. Many island nations and coastal cities are threatened, not in the very distant future, but by the middle of our present century… In the long-term future, catastrophic anthropogenic climate change threatens to destroy human civilization and to drive the majority of plant and animal species into extinction. To prevent this from happening, we need to stop subsidising and accepting fossil fuel production. We need to vigorously support the transition to a sustainable economy based on renewable energy” (John Scales Avery, “Opec Oil And Climate Change”, Countercurrents, 18 April, 2016: http://www.countercurrents.org/avery180416.htm ).


BARRY. Dr Glenn Barry (ecologist and climate activist) (2016): Climate policies matter. We have very few chances to get it right before abrupt climate change and related environmental and social issues collapse the biosphere. Yet the solutions being put forth by the leading climate activists—including Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Klein, and Michael Brune—are woefully inadequate. In fact, their lack of ecological focus is dangerous and wrong, and virtually ensures failure in limiting global warming to an acceptable level… My own peer-reviewed ecological science research indicates that at 66% loss of natural ecosystems, the global biosphere percolates and loses critical connectivity required to sustain terrestrial ecosystems and thus the biosphere in the long-term. At least 50% has already been lost, indicating further that planetary ecological boundaries have been surpassed and we are living precariously in a state of ecological overshoot… I call upon Bill, Leo, Al, Naomi, and Mike to immediately support and begin working for a global ban on industrial scale old-growth forest logging and for widespread natural forest ecosystem restoration; and if not, to explicitly and specifically say why. Soon it will be too late. Otherwise each is a legitimate target for further protest as they continue their charlatan demagoguery hocking inadequate ecology-free climate solutions. And I implore the vast climate movement and its donors, that in crafting sufficient polices to limit abrupt climate change (and the myriad of related environmental and social crises threatening biosphere collapse), it is time for more ecologically inspired voices to be heard and supported. ” (Dr Glenn Barry, “Bill McKibben’s ecology-free declaration of war on climate is dangerous and wrong”, EcoInternet, 28 August 2016:  http://ecointernet.org/2016/08/28/bill-mckibbens-declaration-of-war-on-climate-is-dangerous-and-wrong/ ).


BROWN. James Brown (ecologist, and a Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of New Mexico) quoted by Professor Paul Ehrlich (2013): “Can humanity avoid a starvation-driven collapse? Yes, we can – though we currently put the odds at just 10 percent. As dismal as that sounds, we believe that, for the benefit of future generations, it is worth struggling to make it 11 percent. One of our most distinguished colleagues, biogeographer and energy expert James Brown of the University of New Mexico, disagrees. He puts the odds of sustaining human civilization at 1 percent, but thinks that it’s worth trying to increase it to 1.1 percent” (Paul R. Ehrlich “Famine threatens the very survival of human civilization” , The Daily Star, Lebanon, 16 March 2013: http://mahb.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Famine-Threatens-the-Very-Survival-of-Human-Civilization.pdf ).


BUTLER. James A. Butler and Stephen A. Montzka (US National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, Earth System Research Laboratory) (2016):  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines climate forcing as “An externally imposed perturbation in the radiative energy budget of the Earth climate system, e.g. through changes in solar radiation, changes in the Earth albedo, or changes in atmospheric gases and aerosol particles.” Thus climate forcing is a “change” in the status quo. IPCC takes the pre-industrial era (chosen as the year 1750) as the baseline. The perturbation to direct climate forcing (also termed “radiative forcing”) that has the largest magnitude and the least scientific uncertainty is the forcing related to changes in long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and halogenated compounds (mainly CFCs). Atmospheric global greenhouse gas abundances are used to calculate changes in radiative forcing beginning in 1979 when NOAA's global air sampling network expanded significantly. The change in annual average total radiative forcing by all the long-lived greenhouse gases since the pre-industrial era (1750) is also used to define the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which was introduced in 2004… Table 2: CO2-equivalent (ppm) 280  (1750) , 385 (1980), 417 (1990), 485 (2015); AGGI 0.00 (1750), 0.80 (1980), 1.00 (1990), 1.37 (2015” (James A. Butler and Stephen A. Montzka,  “The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI)”,  NOAA, 2016: http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html ).


CARBON TRACKER. Carbon Tracker (that   warns “investors to re-evaluate energy business models against carbon budgets, to prevent $6trillion carbon bubble in the next decade”) on “unburnable stranded fossil fuel assets” (2013): The carbon budget deficit. Between 60-80% of coal, oil and gas reserves of publicly listed companies are ‘unburnable’ if the world is to have a chance of not exceeding global warming of 2°C. 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 [i.e. 3,048 Gt CO2]. If you apply the same proportion to the global carbon budgets to have an 80% chance of limiting global warming to 2°C [about 500 Gt CO2] , their allocation of the carbon budget is between 125GtCO2 and 225GtCO2, illustrating the scale of ‘unburnable carbon’” ( Carbon Tracker, “Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets”: http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital ).

[Editor’s note: the stock exchange listed fossil fuel  reserves of 762 Gt CO2 exceed the world’s  terminal Carbon Budget  for a  75% chance of avoiding  a 2C temperature rise,  and the total reserves of  3,048 GT CO2 exceed this Carbon Budget by a factor  of 5. But the atmospheric CO2 is remorselessly  increasing  past 400 ppm CO2 (see “Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ )].


DARA. 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 estimated 4.5 million deaths each year linked to air pollution, hazardous occupations and cancer. Climate change 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 billion 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” (see  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/ ; and  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 ).


DYNAMIC SMALL BUSINESS NETWORK (DSBN). Dynamic Small Business Network (DSBN),  Victoria, Australia: “Yes, Global Warming is real and is caused by humans. We need to get used to it .We will have more droughts, more fires and more extreme weather events. We can slow it down but we can't prevent it now. Some business sectors will be more affected than others. All our businesses need to build in planning to cope with less water, less predictable power and more extreme weather. And most importantly we need to think about what impact we have and how we can reduce this. Many office based businesses don’t believe they are having much impact BUT figures from Victoria show that 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in that State come from the office sector. Offices are typically open eight hours a day and shut for sixteen but they cheerily release greenhouse gasses for all 24 hours… This information has come from many sources but the latest is the report, Climate Change in Australia, which contains the most detailed and up-to-date climate projections produced by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology” (Dynamic Small Business Network, “Too late to avoid warming”: http://www.dsbn.com.au/Articles/too-late-avoid-warming ).


EHRLICH. Dr Paul Ehrlich (Bing Professor of Population Studies, President of the Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Stanford University, and author with his wife Anne Ehrlich [uncredited] of “The Population Bomb” in 1968) (asked “It's predicted that by 2100 the world population will plateau at 11 billion. Do you still maintain that the world population will be a major problem?”): “I don't maintain it will be. It’s already is a major problem. For example, even though there are some people who would claim that - professional deniers of climate change and the danger in climate change and their pimps in the fossil fuel industry, if you think about it for a minute, every person you add to the planet releases more CO2. When they release more CO2, it is a bigger threat not just to sea level rise. Everybody thinks sea level rise is the big thing about climate change. Actually, no. Our agricultural system is utterly dependent on the distribution, quality, timing of rainfall. All that's changing. We’re already seeing changes in the productivity of the basic grains we depend on. So each person you add needs more food, contributes more greenhouse gases, which increases the assault on agriculture, which has to be spread, the agricultural system already supplies something on the order of 30% of the greenhouse gases. So there’s just one little example where things are synergising and we are setting our kids up for even worse problems”.

Dr Paul Ehrlich) (asked “You have actually maintained, I think, there is a 90% chance that our civilisation will collapse within 50 years. How do you get to that?”): “Well, that is a gut feeling and the reason it’s a gut feeling is you can't deal with the discontinuities. In other words, you can see the general trends but many people, me included, but people who look at it more closely than I do, think the chances of a nuclear war between US and the Russians is bigger now than it was during most of the Cold War. They think there is an even bigger chance of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan and there that war itself, using maybe 215 kilotonne bombs, would destroy Australia and the US as a civilisation. Who can guess what the odds are on those. You get scared. But on the general trend, I think we will be very, very fortunate to avoid a collapse and Anne and I estimated 10%. Jim Brown, who is an energy expert and the world's greatest biogeographer said, "You’re crazy. There’s only a 1% chance of avoiding a collapse when you look at things like energy return on investment and so on.” Nobody knows. Jim is willing to work to make it a 1.1% chance. Anne and I are willing to work to make it an 11% chance, but I must say, when I watch the Republican debates, I'm converging on Jim”.

Dr Paul Ehrlich (asked “Do you think we’re overpopulated?): “ Yeah, I mean there’s no question about it. Talk to your ecologists. Talk to Corey - Corey Bradshaw and I just wrote a book called Killing The Koala and Poisoning the Prairies, which is a comparison of the US and Australia’s very successful war on the environment. You’re destroying your life support systems here. You’re working at it really hard. You are also working to become a Third World country, because your specialisation, of course, is to take your raw materials, like your coal, which are going to destroy the world of your grandchildren and great grandchildren, and ship as much of it unprocessed as you possibly can out to the rest of the world. A pile of coal that Australia shifts annually would be about the size of that thing there [lecture hall] extending that way all the way around the world and back to here, that's how much coal you dig out of the ground even though every scientist in the world knows we should stop burning it as fast as we possibly can. If you want a sustainable society, you can look to Australia. The Aborigines have the longest term sustainable society on the planet, until we came along, of course, and kind of screwed it up. But they went through 40, 50,000 years of great changes and so on, managed to survive, kept their numbers reasonable. By the way, you’re quite correct. If you want to solve the population problem, give women equal rights everywhere in the world. Give them equal opportunities. Give them access to modern contraception. Give them access to safe backup abortion and the odds are that you will start to slow population...” (Paul Ehrlich interviewed on Australian TV Q&A, “GST, Gonski, Population and Diversity”, 2 November 2015: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s4321172.htm ).

Paul R. Ehrlich (Professor of population studies in the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. His wife Anne H. Ehrlich is the associate director and policy coordinator of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University) (2013): “But our guess is that the most serious threat to global sustainability in the next few decades will be one on which there is widespread agreement: the growing difficulty of avoiding large-scale famines. As the 2013 World Economic Forum Report put it: “Global food and nutrition security is a major global concern as the world prepares to feed a growing population on a dwindling resource base, in an era of increased volatility and uncertainty.” Indeed, the report notes that more than “870 million people are now hungry, and more are at risk from climate events and price spikes.” Thus, measures to “improve food security have never been more urgently needed.”In fact, virtually all such warnings, in our view, underestimate the food problem. For example, micronutrient deficiencies may afflict as many as 2 billion additional people. And many other sources of vulnerability are underrated: the potential impact of climate disruption on farming and fisheries; how a shift away from fossil-fuel consumption will impair food production; how agriculture itself, a major emitter of greenhouse gases, accelerates climate change; and the consequences of groundwater overpumping and the progressive deterioration of soils. Indeed, agriculture is also a leading cause of biodiversity loss – and thus loss of ecosystem services supplied to farming and other human enterprises – as well as a principal source of global toxification… Can humanity avoid a starvation-driven collapse? Yes, we can – though we currently put the odds at just 10 percent. As dismal as that sounds, we believe that, for the benefit of future generations, it is worth struggling to make it 11 percent. One of our most distinguished colleagues, biogeographer and energy expert James Brown of the University of New Mexico, disagrees. He puts the odds of sustaining human civilization at 1 percent, but thinks that it’s worth trying to increase it to 1.1 percent. Developing foresight intelligence and mobilizing civil society for sustainability are central goals of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere, based at Stanford University. Those who join the MAHB join the best of global civil society in the fight to avoid the end of civilization.

” Paul R. Ehrlich “Famine threatens the very survival of human civilization” , The Daily Star, Lebanon, 16 March 2013: http://mahb.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Famine-Threatens-the-Very-Survival-of-Human-Civilization.pdf ).


EMMOTT. Stephen Emmott (author of “Ten Billion”; Microsoft's Computational Science Laboratory in Cambridge; Professor of Computational Science at the University of Oxford) (2015): ‘Demand for food is set to double by 2050 as a result of increasing population and consumption per capita – especially as more people move to an increasingly meat-based diet. So-called “rational optimists” are quick to claim that this demand will be easily met without significant further appropriation of land for agricultural use thanks to the ongoing “miracle” of the green revolution. This ignores the fact that soil degradation and erosion are increasing rapidly in many parts of the world; that many of the world’s crops are increasingly at risk from novel (primarily) fungal pathogens; and that climate and crop models showing the number of extreme weather events associated with predicted future climate change are projected to have potentially devastating effects on crops in significant parts of the world.  Indeed, there are ample reasons to be concerned that we may be heading towards unprecedented food crises over the coming decades, with consequent extremely deleterious risks to the health of hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of people. Furthermore, in many parts of the world where population is increasing rapidly, there is a rise in the number of people living in close quarters with pigs and poultry (not to mention the increasing consumption of “bush meat”). And as a consequence we are greatly increasing the risk of a novel pathogen crossing the species barrier and creating a truly terrifying global pandemic.Remarkably, collectively, we seem to want to deny all of this: that we are the drivers of the main problems facing us this century; and that, as we continue to grow, these problems are set to get worse. Climate change, extreme weather events, pollution, ecosystem degradation – the fundamental alteration of every component of the complex system we rely upon for our survival – are due to the activities of the rising human population” (Stephen Emmott, “Though climate change is a crisis, the population threat is even worse”, Guardian, 4 December 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/04/climate-change-population-crisis-paris-summit  ).


FENG. V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California) (2008):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… It is now recognized that DAI [Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference] must involve a range of threshold values of global and regional surface temperature change (5) depending on the elements of the climate system that are being impacted by the warming. This perception has led to the notion of climate tipping elements (6), some of which are hypothesized to be triggered by global warming in the range of 1°C to 2°C, and many others when global warming is in the range of 3°C to 5°C (see Fig. 1 ) [Arctic summer sea ice, Himalayan Tibetan glaciers, Greenland ice sheet at ca 2C; Amazon rainforest at ca 3C; ENSO, Thermohaline circulation , West Antarctic ice sheet at ca 4C],” (V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng, “On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: formidable challenges ahead”, PNAS, vol. 105,  no. 38, pp14245–14250: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/38/14245.full ).


FIGUERES.  Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, re the INDCs or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, the plans from 146 countries that cover nearly 90% of global emissions, and submitted before the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (2015) : “These national climate action plans represent a clear and determined down-payment on a new era of climate ambition from the global community of nations. Governments from all corners of the earth have signalled through their INDCs that they are determined to play their part according to their national circumstances and capabilities. The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7C by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs” (Fiona Harvey, “World’s climate pledges not yet enough to avoid dangerous warming – UN”, Guardian, 30 October 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/30/worlds-climate-pledges-likely-to-lead-to-less-than-3c-of-warming-un ).


FRUMHOFF. Peter Frumhoff (Union of Concerned Scientists), Todd Sanford (Union of Concerned Scientists),  Amy Luers (Skoll Global Threats Fund) and  Jay Gulledge (Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2014):    “It is time to acknowledge that global average temperatures are likely to rise above the 2 °C policy target and consider how that deeply troubling prospect should affect priorities for communicating and managing the risks of a dangerously warming climate” (see Todd Sanford, Peter C. Frumhoff, Amy Luers & Jay Gulledge, “The climate policy narrative for a dangerously warming world”, Nature Climate Change 4, 164–166 (2014): http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2148.html  (Figure 1: “Observed and projected trends in global CO2 emissions under four RCP scenarios”:  http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/fig_tab/nclimate2148_F1.html ).


GEDEN. Oliver Geden (a senior research fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), a think tank that provides analysis on foreign policy issues to the German federal government and the parliament. He is the author of the recently published SWP study "Modifying the 2°C target: climate policy objectives in the contested terrain of scientific policy advice, political preferences, and rising emissions") (2013):It is highly doubtful that the international community will be able to agree on a treaty that would commit all industrialised countries and emerging economies to binding emissions reduction targets by the end of 2015. With global emissions still rising, it is even more unlikely that such an agreement would be compatible with the overarching target of international climate policy: to limit the global mean temperature increase to 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which is considered to be the threshold to "dangerous climate change". Nobody really wants to talk about the coming failure of the 2°C target. But from a political point of view it is pretty clear that a target that is considered to be unattainable cannot fulfill either a positive symbolic function or a productive governance function. Thus, the 2°C target will have to be modified eventually. Such a process is not only risky for the EU as a global climate policy leader; it also entails troubling consequences for scientific policy advice… In the process of modifying the 2°C target, climate policy will tend to "politicize" while climate science will tend to "scientise". The EU will no longer be able to count on climate scientists to support its international climate policy preferences. At the same time, climate scientists will have to accept that their relatively privileged status will be limited to the areas of media access and research funding, whereas their political influence will be no greater than the influence of scientists in other policy areas” (see Oliver Geden, “Climate change – what next after the 2C boundary?”, Guardian, 11 June 2013: http://www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2013/jun/11/science-policy1 ).


GHOTGE. 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: Similar expert opinions are on 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 (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 affiliated with the Climate Change Institute and the Planetary Science Institute, Australian National University) (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 CO. 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 CO, 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” (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 ).

Andrew Glikson on Carolyn Snyder projections (2016):Current greenhouse gas concentrations could warm the world 3-7 (and on average 5) over coming millennia. That’s the finding of a paper published in Nature today. The research, by Carolyn Snyder, reconstructed temperatures over the past 2 million years. By investigating the link between carbon dioxide and temperature in the past, Snyder made new projections for the future. The Paris climate agreement seeks to limit warming to a “safe” level of well below 2 and aim for 1.5 by 2100. The new research shows that even if we stop emissions now, we’ll likely surpass this threshold in the long term, with major consequences for the planet.

Other research has shown that during the mid-Pliocene epoch (about 4.5 million years ago) atmospheric CO levels of about 365-415ppm were associated with temperatures about 3–4 °C warmer than before the Industrial Revolution. This suggests that the climate is more sensitive than we thought. This is concerning because since the 18th century CO levels have risen from around 280ppm to 402ppm in April this year. The levels are currently rising at around 3ppm each year, a rate unprecedented in 55 million years. This could lead to extreme warming over the coming millennia…

The new paper recalculates this sensitivity again – and unfortunately the results aren’t in our favour. The study suggests that stabilisation of today’s CO levels would still result in 3-7 warming, whereas doubling of CO will lead to 7-13 warming over millennia…

As yet we don’t know the details of how different parts of the Earth will respond to increasing greenhouse gases through both long-term warming and short-term regional or local reversals (stadials). Unless humanity develops methods for drawing down atmospheric CO on a scale required to cool the Earth to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperature, at the current rate of CO increase of 3ppm per year we are entering dangerous uncharted climate territory” (Andrew Glikson, “Current emissions could already warm world to  dangerous levels: study”, The Conversation, 27 September 2016: https://theconversation.com/current-emissions-could-already-warm-world-to-dangerous-levels-study-66040?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20September%2027%202016%20-%205678&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20September%2027%202016%20-%205678+CID_0cc879e29f9bc359d48fa8ad3afac684&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Andrew%20Glikson%20explains ).

 

GLOBAL CARBON PROJECT. 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” (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. The Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator (which provides measures of how serious the climate emergency that based on data from the latest UN IPCC AR5 report, 2013) describes itself thus “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”.

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 one finds 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  (see Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator: http://global-risk-indicator.net/ ).

[Editor’s note: 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 )].

 

GOREAU. 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!” (  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 ).

[Editor's note: atmospheric CO2 concentration  has now reached over 400 ppm CO2 (“Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ ) and atmospheric CO2-equivalent is now 478 ppm CO2-e (2013) ((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 )].


GULLEDGE. Jay Gulledge (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Todd Sanford (Union of Concerned Scientists),  Peter Frumhoff (Union of Concerned Scientists), Amy Luers (Skoll Global Threats Fund) (2014):  “It is time to acknowledge that global average temperatures are likely to rise above the 2 °C policy target and consider how that deeply troubling prospect should affect priorities for communicating and managing the risks of a dangerously warming climate” (see Todd Sanford, Peter C. Frumhoff, Amy Luers & Jay Gulledge, “The climate policy narrative for a dangerously warming world”, Nature Climate Change 4, 164–166 (2014): http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2148.html  (Figure 1: “Observed and projected trends in global CO2 emissions under four RCP scenarios”:  http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/fig_tab/nclimate2148_F1.html ).

 

HANSEN. Professor James Hansen ( a leading US climate scientist, former  head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, first warned the US Congress about the danger from man-made climate change over 20 years ago and  published “Storms of My Grandchildren” in 2009) (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” ( 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 ).

Dr James Hansen (2015):  2 degrees is actually a prescription for disaster. That's actually well understood by the scientific community. We know that the prior interglacial period about 120,000 years ago – its called the Eemian in Europe – was less than 2C warmer than pre-industrial conditions and sea level was a least 6 to 8 metres higher, so it's crazy to think that 2 degrees Celsius is a safe limit… make the  price of fossil fuels honest” (Dr James Hansen interviewed by ABC RN’s Fran Kelly, “Two degrees of global warming is not “safe”: Hansen”,   ABC RN Breakfast, 5 May 2015: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/two-degrees-of-global-warming-is-not-safe/6444698 ).

[Editor’s note: it has been determined using the latest estimates for annual GHG pollution and the Global Warming Potential of methane that the world will exceed its remaining 2010-2050 Terminal Carbon Budget of 600 Gt CO2-e within 3 years (see 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 .)].

Dr James Hansen, 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”; 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 ).

Dr James Hansen and colleagues (2015):  “There is evidence of ice melt, sea level rise to +5–9 m, and extreme storms in the prior interglacial period that was less than 1 °C warmer than today. Human-made climate forcing is stronger and more rapid than paleo forcings, but much can be learned by combining insights from paleoclimate, climate modeling, and on-going observations. We argue that ice sheets in contact with the ocean are vulnerable to non-linear disintegration in response to ocean warming, and we posit that ice sheet mass loss can be approximated by a doubling time up to sea level rise of at least several meters. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield sea level rise of several meters in 50, 100 or 200 years. Paleoclimate data reveal that subsurface ocean warming causes ice shelf melt and ice sheet discharge. Our climate model exposes amplifying feedbacks in the Southern Ocean that slow Antarctic bottom water formation and increase ocean temperature near ice shelf grounding lines, while cooling the surface ocean and increasing sea ice cover and water column stability. Ocean surface cooling, in the North Atlantic as well as the Southern Ocean, increases tropospheric horizontal temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, which drive more powerful storms. We focus attention on the Southern Ocean's role in affecting atmospheric CO2 amount, which in turn is a tight control knob on global climate. The millennial (500–2000 year) time scale of deep ocean ventilation affects the time scale for natural CO2 change, thus the time scale for paleo global climate, ice sheet and sea level changes. This millennial carbon cycle time scale should not be misinterpreted as the ice sheet time scale for response to a rapid human-made climate forcing. Recent ice sheet melt rates have a doubling time near the lower end of the 10–40 year range. We conclude that 2 °C global warming above the preindustrial level, which would spur more ice shelf melt, is highly dangerous. Earth's energy imbalance, which must be eliminated to stabilize climate, provides a crucial metric(Hansen, J., Sato, M., Hearty, P., Ruedy, R., Kelley, M., Masson-Delmotte, V., Russell, G., Tselioudis, G., Cao, J., Rignot, E., Velicogna, I., Kandiano, E., von Schuckmann, K., Kharecha, P., Legrande, A. N., Bauer, M., and Lo, K.-W., “Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming is highly dangerous”, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 15, 20059-20179, doi:10.5194/acpd-15-20059-2015, 2015: http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/15/20059/2015/acpd-15-20059-2015.html ).


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  (top climate scientists) (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…

It is distressing that, despite the clarity and imminence of the danger of continued high fossil fuel emissions, governments continue to allow and even encourage pursuit of ever more fossil fuels. Recognition of this reality and perceptions of what is “politically feasible” may partially account for acceptance of targets for global warming and carbon emissions that are well into the range of “dangerous human-made interference” with climate. Although there is merit in simply chronicling what is happening, there is still opportunity for humanity to exercise free will. 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. 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.”, (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, 3 December 2013: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648  and Figures: Global fossil-fuels CO2 annual emissions: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648  , [Historical] fossil fuel emissions : http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648 ,  Global surface temperature: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648 ).

James Hansen et al, (2016): “The rapid rise of global temperature that began about 1975 continues at a mean rate of about 0.18 °C/decade, with the current annual temperature exceeding +1.25 °C relative to 1880–1920. Global temperature has just reached a level similar to the mean level in the prior interglacial (Eemian) period, when sea level was several meters higher than today, and, if it long remains at this level, slow amplifying feedbacks will lead to greater climate change and consequences. The growth rate of climate forcing due to human-caused greenhouse gases (GHGs) increased over 20 % in the past decade mainly due to resurging growth of atmospheric CH4, thus making it increasingly difficult to achieve targets such as limiting global warming to 1.5 °C or reducing atmospheric CO2 below 350 ppm. Such targets now require "negative emissions", i.e., extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere. If rapid phasedown of fossil fuel emissions begins soon, most of the necessary CO2 extraction can take place via improved agricultural and forestry practices, including reforestation and steps to improve soil fertility and increase its carbon content. In this case, the magnitude and duration of global temperature excursion above the natural range of the current interglacial (Holocene) could be limited and irreversible climate impacts could be minimized. In contrast, continued high fossil fuel emissions by the current generation would place a burden on young people to undertake massive technological CO2 extraction, if they are to limit climate change. Proposed methods of extraction such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) or air capture of CO2 imply minimal estimated costs of 104–570 trillion dollars this century, with large risks and uncertain feasibility. Continued high fossil fuel emissions unarguably sentences young people to either a massive, possibly implausible cleanup or growing deleterious climate impacts or both, scenarios that should provide both incentive and obligation for governments to alter energy policies without further delay” (Hansen, J., Sato, M., Kharecha, P., von Schuckmann, K., Beerling, D. J., Cao, J., Marcott, S., Masson-Delmotte, V., Prather, M. J., Rohling, E. J., Shakun, J., and Smith, P.: Young People's Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions, Earth Syst. Dynam., 2016: http://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2016-42/ ).


Dr James Hansen, (former head, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and  adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at 100-Nobel-Laureate Columbia University) on post-climate genocide terracide and  a lifeless planet (2009): “After the ice has gone, would the Earth proceed to the Venus syndrome, a runaway greenhouse effect that would destroy all life on the planet, perhaps permanently? While that is difficult to say based on present information, I’ve come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty” (James Hansen, “Storms of My Grandchildren", Bloomsbury, 2009, page 236; quoted in (A. Johnstone, “Climate Genocide: 10 billion people set to die this century”, Socialism or Your Money Back, 20 February 2011: https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/climate-genocide-10-billion-people-set.html ).


HAWKINS. Dr Ed Hawkins (Climate scientist,  National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), University of Reading, UK) has generated an animated  spiral graphic of monthly HadCRUT4.4 global temperature anomaly data from January 1850 – March 2016, relative to the mean of 1850-1900. We are spiralling towards the plus 1.5C limit and hence to the plus 2C limit set by the Paris Agreement (Ed Hawkins, “Spiralling global temperatures”, Climate Lab Book, Open Climate Science, 9 May 2016: http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2016/spiralling-global-temperatures/ ; see also Andrea Thompson, “See Earth’s temperature rise spiral  toward 2C rise- graphic”, Guardian,  10 May 2016:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/see-earths-temperature-spiral-toward-2c-rise-graphic ).


HEINBERG. Richard Heinberg (climate change activist and author of 13 books, most recently “ Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy”, co-authored with David Fridley , 2016) on the worsening Biosphere disaster effectively largely ignored by Business As Usual (BAU) Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the  US Presidential race (2016):  “But here’s the real deal: a few generations ago we started using fossil fuels for energy; the result was an explosion of production and consumption, which (as a byproduct) enabled enormous and rapid increase in human population. Burning all that coal, oil, and natural gas made a few people very rich and enabled a lot more people to enjoy middle-class lifestyles. But it also polluted air, water, and soil, and released so much carbon dioxide that the planet’s climate is now going haywire. Due to large-scale industrial agriculture, topsoil is disappearing at a rate of 25 billion tons a year; at the same time, expanded population and land use is driving thousands, maybe millions of species of plants and animals to extinction… Could “we the people” handle a bit more of the truth? One would certainly like to think so. As it is, the US and the rest of the world appear to be sleepwalking into history’s greatest shitstorm (a somewhat more geeky and less scatological way to describe it would be as the mother of all Dragon Kings ). Regardless how we address the challenges of climate change, resource depletion, overpopulation, debt deflation, species extinctions, ocean death, and on and on, we’re in for one hell of a century. It’s simply too late for a soft landing (Richard Heinberg, “You can’t handle the truth”, Countercurrents, 2 August 2016: http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/08/02/you-cant-handle-the-truth/ ).


HOEGH-GULDBERG. 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 ). 


HOFFMAN. David R. Hoffman (Legal Editor of Pravda.Report, socialist contributor to  Bellaciao): “People who voted for or supported Trump “punched their one way tickets to hell.” While such votes or support stand on their own as an unforgivable evil, they also represent a mindset that creates one of the greatest threats to humanity. We are at a point in history where advances in chemical, biological, and nuclear weaponry can destroy the world, and where the extinction of species and ravaging of the environment is increasing at an alarming rate. All it will take is just one time, just one foolish decision, just one broken link on the food chain that is ultimately one too many, and the ascendancy of that one “leader” recklessly given power to set these apocalyptic events into motion” (David R. Hoffman, “The unforgivable evil”, Bellaciao, 25 March 2017: https://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article23595 ).


HOLMES. Dr. Robert Holmes ( earth system scientist at Woods Hole Research Center who studies rivers and their watersheds and how climate change and other disturbances are impacting the cycles of water and chemicals in the environment and the fate of the vast quantities of ancient carbon locked in permafrost in the Arctic, which may be released as permafrost thaws, exacerbating global warming) (2015):It’s essential that policymakers begin to seriously consider the possibility of a substantial permafrost carbon feedback to global warming. If they don’t, I suspect that down the road we’ll all be looking at the 2°C threshold in our rear-view mirror” (John Abraham, “Methane release from melting permafrost could trigger dangerous global warming”, Guardian, 13 October 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/oct/13/methane-release-from-melting-permafrost-could-trigger-dangerous-global-warming ).

 

HOPE. Dr Chris Hope (Reader in Policy Modelling,  Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge Judge Business School, 90-Nobel-Laureate University of Cambridge) 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)" (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 ).

[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 [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  and Shindell et al (2009), Fig.2: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716.figures-only  ). 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 (WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/  and 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 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.]

Dr Chris Hope on failure to adopt a required Carbon Price of $150 per tonne CO2-e (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 .]


HUQ. Saleemul Huq (director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh) (2017): “The consequences of failing to keep the temperature below 1.5C will be to wilfully condemn hundreds of millions of the poorest citizens of Earth to certain deaths from the severe impacts of climate change” (Andrew Simms, “”A cat in hell’s chance” – why we’re losing the battle to keep global warming below 2C”, Guardian, 19 January 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/cat-in-hells-chance-why-losing-battle-keep-global-warming-2c-climate-change ).

 

IPCC. The IPCC ( 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): 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)” (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 ).

IPCC (2007): "If warming is not kept below two degrees centigrade, which will require the strongest mitigation efforts, and currently looks very unlikely to be achieved, the substantial global impacts will occur, such as species extinctions, and millions of people at risk from drought, hunger, flooding" (IPCC 2007 report quoted in Cahal Milmo, ““Too late to avoid global warming”, say scientists”, The Independent, 19 September 2007: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming-say-scientists-402800.html ).

[Editor’s note: 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 (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 ; 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 )].


JAMES. John James (climate change activist) (2014): “For a long time scientists have been concerned that there would be a sudden eruption of methane from melting permafrost and from deep clathrate structures under the ocean. This has happened in the past in enormous eruptions. Each has been many times larger than the sum of all the pollutants we have emitted over the past couple of centuries.On at least eleven occasions in the geological past there have been sudden bursts of methane, and each time they have within a few years rocketed the Earth’s temperature by many degrees. Recent research has shown that on one occasion it took only thirteen years to raise the Earth’s temperature by 5oC.1 The trigger for the methane has been the CO2. Such a temperature rise could eliminate our species. We have to act quickly to limit fossil fuel use, or sit back and wait for armageddon to strike when it will. As you will read, this could be very soon… There are such vast quantities of methane locked in permafrost and clathrates that if just one percent was released it would have the same greenhouse impact as all the carbon dioxide released this century. As above figure 7 shows, the total methane burden in the atmosphere now is 5 Gt. Over half of that has been added since the 1750s. The most recent estimate for the amount of carbon stored in hydrates around the world is 63,400 Gigatons.11 The Siberian Arctic shelf alone holds some 1700 Gt. A whopping 50 Gt of this is ready for abrupt release at any time, as mentioned above” (John James, “Methane, the Gakkel Ridge and human survival”, Planet Extinction, 2014: http://www.planetextinction.com/documents/Methane,%20the%20Gakkel%20Ridge%20and%20human%20survival.pdf ).


JOHNSTONE. A. Johnstone (UK socialist and  activist) on system change to avert climate genocide (2011): “Yet it [terracide] needn't be. An Australian engineering team called Beyond Zero Emissions has released its 5 year study that shows how Australia can have 100% renewable energy by 2020 using renewable technologies of wind power and concentrated solar thermal with molten salts energy storage for 24/7, baseload operation. Professor Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, California, and Mark A. Delucchi of University of California Davis have produced a plan for 100% renewable energy plan for the whole world by 2020. “James Hansen in answer to the question “Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis?”, has stated: “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.” Capitalism denies - or through resolute inaction effectively denies - the acute problem of man-made climate change. Capitalism – that brought us wars and holocausts – has been unable or unwilling to address man-made climate change and now threatens a climate genocide. It must be system change, not climate change” (A. Johnstone, “Climate Genocide: 10 billion people set to die this century”, Socialism or Your Money Back, 20 February 2011: https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/climate-genocide-10-billion-people-set.html ).


KERRY*. US Secretary of State John Kerry (31 March 2015): Submission of the U.S. Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation, and the United States is committed to playing a leading role in the global effort to address it. I was in Beijing with President Obama last November when he outlined the United States’ ambitious post-2020 greenhouse gas emissions target alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping. At a joint press conference, our nations each outlined bold climate change and clean energy objectives. For our part, the United States committed to cut our emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2025 – which would put us on the path to economy-wide reductions of around 80 percent by mid-century. Today the United States took an important step towards its objective by formally submitting our commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Now it’s time for other nations and come forward with their own targets to help ensure we can reach a global agreement at the UN Climate Conference in Paris later this year. President Obama has already put in place the most ambitious set of climate change actions that the United States has ever undertaken. We’ve adopted standards to double the fuel efficiency of American cars and trucks, and we also have rules in the works to cut emissions from new and existing power plants. And the target we formalized today will only accelerate these reductions in the future. We know there is no way the United States--nor any other country--could possibly address climate change alone. This is a global challenge, and an effective solution will require countries around the world to do their part to reduce emissions and bring about a global clean-energy future. That’s the only way we’ll meet this challenge, and it’s the only way we’ll honor our shared responsibility to future generations” (.John Kerry, “Kerry on U.S. Commitment to U.N. Climate Change Agreement”, US Government, IIP Digital,  31 March 2015: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2015/03/20150331314500.html?CP.rss=true#axzz3W7mxpevu ) .

* [Editor's note: In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU; Wissenshaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2 degree C temperature rise, the World must pollute less than a terminal Carbon Budget of 600 Gt CO2 between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050  (see WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”).
Unfortunately, for all the fine words of Kerry and Obama,  the US used up its “fair share” of the world’s terminal Carbon Budget in 2013, Canada ditto and an even more profligate Australia (through its disproportionately huge annual fossil fuel burning and exports) used up its  “fair share” of this terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) Carbon Budget in 2011 (for details see  “Years left for zero greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution relative to 2013”, Carbon Debt Carbon Credit: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/years-left-to-zero ).]

 

KIM. Dr Jim Yong Kim (President, World Bank Group), in his Forward to the World Bank “Turn Down the Heat” Report (2012): “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 to keep global warming below a 2oC increase above pre-industrial climate, higher levels 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.” (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 ).


KRUGMAN. Paul Krugman (N.Y. Times columnist) (2016):So what’s really at stake in this year’s election? Well, among other things, the fate of the planet. Last year was the hottest on record, by a wide margin, which should — but won’t — put an end to climate deniers’ claims that global warming has stopped. The truth is that climate change just keeps getting scarier; it is, by far, the most important policy issue facing America and the world. Still, this election wouldn’t have much bearing on the issue if there were no prospect of effective action against the looming catastrophe… Salvation from climate catastrophe is, in short, something we can realistically hope to see happen, with no political miracle necessary. But failure is also a very real possibility. Everything is hanging in the balance” (Paul Krugman, “Wind, sun and fire”, New York Times, 1 February 2016: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/01/opinion/wind-sun-and-fire.html?_r=0 ).

[Editor’s note: It is now very unlikely that the world will avoid a catastrophic plus 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise. The present plus 1 degree C temperature rise is already catastrophic for some island and megadelta communities and  the  Paris-declared goal of a 1.5 to 2 degree C temperature rise is catastrophic and also inevitable (see Gideon Polya, “Paris Climate Agreement Betrays Humanity Which Must Apply Boycotts, Divestment And Sanctions (BDS) Against Climate Criminal People, Corporations & Countries”, Countercurrents, 14 December, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya141215.htm )].


LENTON. Professor Tim Lenton (an Earth system scientist based in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK) (2009): The climate is undoubtedly changing, and it is changing faster than many scientists thought it would, especially in the Arctic. Regardless of the ineffectual Kyoto Protocol, carbon dioxide emissions from human activities increased by 3% per year during 2000-2006. Even if we can globally get our act together and reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, we are still heading for at least a 2C (3.6F) warmer world. This may be too much for elements of the climate system, including the Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheet, which could pass a tipping point on the way there. The resulting climate change may well be "dangerous"; and if so, mitigation alone cannot avoid it. But reducing CO2 emissions is not the only way. There are two "geo-engineering" approaches that could complement it: reflecting more sunlight back to space, or actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere” (Tim Lenton, “Big problems need big solutions”, BBC News, 4 Marxh 2009: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7921619.stm ).


LI. Minqi Li (a Chinese political economist, world-systems analyst, and historical social scientist, currently an associate professor of Economics at the University of Utah, and  known as an advocate of the Chinese New Left and a Marxian economist) (2008): “According to models adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if atmospheric CO2-equivalent rises to 445-90 ppm, then the global average temperature is likely to rise to 2-2.4 degrees above the pre-industrial level (IPCC, 2007c). With an increase of 2 degrees, there will be widespread crop failures, drought, desertification, and flooding throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. Of plant and animal species, 15-40 percent are likely to go extinct. But more importantly, a 2-degree warming will constitute “a dangerous anthropogenic interference” as it will initiate a series of climate feedbacks that are likely to take the earth beyond a set of “tipping points”.  Beyond these tipping points, global warming will become a self-sustaining process out of human control, leading to massive catastrophes that could wipe out most of the species on earth” (Minqi Li, “The rise of China and the demise of the capitalist world economy”, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2008; page 183).

[Editor’s note: 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 (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 ; 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 )].


LOVELOCK. Dr James Lovelock FRS (scientist who developed atmosphere gas analysis instrumentation, environmentalist, futurist and who proposed  the Gaia hypothesis) on humanity’s apparent inability to tackle climate change (2010): “[On tackling climate change] We need a more authoritative world. We've become a sort of cheeky, egalitarian world where everyone can have their say. It's all very well, but there are certain circumstances – a war is a typical example – where you can't do that. You've got to have a few people with authority who you trust who are running it. And they should be very accountable too, of course. But it can't happen in a modern democracy. This is one of the problems. What's the alternative to democracy? There isn't one. But even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while… [on what is needed to get action]  There has been a lot of speculation that a very large glacier [Pine Island glacier] in Antarctica is unstable. If there's much more melting, it may break off and slip into the ocean. It would be enough to produce an immediate sea-level rise of two metres, something huge, and tsunamis. I would say the scientists are not worried about it, but they are keeping a close watch on it. That would be the sort of event that would change public opinion. Or a return of the Dust Bowl in the mid-west. Another IPCC report won't be enough. We'll just argue over it like now… [On what we should do] I've always said that adaptation is the most serious thing we can do. Are our sea defences adequate? Can we prevent London from flooding? This is where we should be spending our billions” (James Lovelock interviewed by Leo Hickman, “James Lovelock on the value of sceptics and why Copenhagen was doomed”, Guardian, 30 March 2010: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock ).

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" (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 ).

Dr James Lovelock FRS (leading atmospheric gas expert) re Paris Climate Change Conference (2015): “What I am hearing is that the heads of state are planning to clap each other on the back and say this is a very successful conference. If that is what happens, we are screwing the next generation, because we are doing the same as before. [A rise of ] 2C is definitely dangerous. We are at the point now where temperatures are hitting the 1C mark and are on a path above 1C. Even if we reduce emissions 6% a year we will still get 1C. Instead we hear the same old thing as Kyoto [in 1997]. We are asking each country to cap emissions, or reduce emissions. In science when you do a well conducted experiment you expect to get the same result. So why are we talking about doing the same again? This is half-arsed and half-baked…  [re historical emissions] “For that the US is responsible for 25%, and the EU about 25%, China only 10%. Per capita, the UK, US and Germany are by far the most responsible. China [per capita] is by an order of magnitude smaller… “The problem is fossil fuels are cheap and as long as they remain so they will be burned. They do not include the effects of warming and air pollution on human health. Studies show that if you added $10 a tonne to the price you would reduce [fossil fuel] energy use by 20% in 10 years, and 50% in 20 years. This is the only viable international approach. You cannot ask 190 countries to individually limit their emissions. The price of fossil fuels must be honest. That just needs a few of the major players. It would rapidly move us off fossil fuels. It’s not too complicated. It’s not that the problem cannot be solved but that it is not being solved. We need an honest, simple rising carbon fee” (James Lovelock, quoted in John Vidal, :”UN on wrong track to limit warming to 2C, says top scientist”, Guardian, 3 December 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/un-wrong-track-plans-limit-global-warming-2c-top-scientist-climate-change?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=KIITG_PCC_Day5_041215&utm_term=141665&subid=10385929&CMP=ema-60 ).


LUERS. Amy Luers (Skoll Global Threats Fund), Todd Sanford (Union of Concerned Scientists),  Peter Frumhoff (Union of Concerned Scientists), and  Jay Gulledge (Oak Ridge National LaboratoryY (2014):    “It is time to acknowledge that global average temperatures are likely to rise above the 2 °C policy target and consider how that deeply troubling prospect should affect priorities for communicating and managing the risks of a dangerously warming climate” (see Todd Sanford, Peter C. Frumhoff, Amy Luers & Jay Gulledge, “The climate policy narrative for a dangerously warming world”, Nature Climate Change 4, 164–166 (2014): http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2148.html  (Figure 1: “Observed and projected trends in global CO2 emissions under four RCP scenarios”:  http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/fig_tab/nclimate2148_F1.html ).


MANN. 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 cross 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/ ).

Michael Mann (2015): "Based on my assessment of the science, my objective assessment of what the science actually tells us right now, I don't think we've passed a tipping point yet where we go beyond the adaptive capacity of human civilization or beyond the adaptive capacity of living things. I don't think we've yet crossed that line. We have certainly committed to some dangerous changes in climate already and it's possible we have already warmed the oceans enough that they're going to melt the ice shelves around Antarctica enough to destabilize enough of that antarctic ice to give us ten feet or eleven feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. That is a very real possibility" (Michael Mann in interview with Thom Hartmann, “Understanding Climate Change: A Conversation With Michael Mann”,  Countercurrents, 17 November, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/hartmann171115.htm ).


MCEWAN, Ian. In Booker Prize-winning British writer Ian Mc Ewan’s novel  “Nutshell” the story is told by the unborn child of a heavily pregnant, faithless mother who has frequent passionate sex with her brother-in-law and is plotting the murder of her husband, the unborn child’s father. “Nutshell” is loosely related to  Shakespeare’s  “Hamlet”, and is an existential  parable for the as yet unborn of Humanity as in Hamlet’s famous:  “To be or not to be, that is the question”. Ian McEwan has the unborn baby recount at length the expert view he hears via electronic media of our tottering world: “An expert in international relations, a reasonable woman with a rich deep voice, advised me that the world was not well… Uniting and levelling all humanity, the dull old facts of altered climate, vanishing forests, creatures and polar ice. Profitable and poisonous agriculture, obliterating biological beauty. Oceans turning to weak acid. Well above the horizon, approaching fast, the ruinous tsunami of the burgeoning old, cancerous and demented, demanding care. And soon, with demographic transition, the reverse, populations in catastrophic decline. Free speech no longer free, liberal democracy no longer the port of destiny, robots stealing jobs, liberty in close combat with security, socialism is disgrace, capitalism corrupt, destructive and in disgrace, no alternatives in sight. In conclusion, she said, these disasters are the work of our twin natures. Clever and infantile. We’ve built a world too complicated and dangerous for our quarrelsome natures to manage. In such hopelessness, the general vote will be for the supernatural. It’s dusk in the second Age of Reason. We were wonderful, but now we are doomed” (Ian Mc Ewan , “Nutshell”, pages 26-27; Gideon Polya, “Review: “Nutshell” by Ian McEwan – parable for the planet’s unborn”, MWC News, 11 March 2017: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/64222-nutshell-by-ian-mcewan.html ).


MCGUIRE. Professor Bill McGuire (professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London)  when asked by Dr Andrew Simms “Is it still likely that we will stay below even 2C?” (2017):  “My personal view is that there is not a cat in hell’s chance” (Andrew Simms, “”A cat in hell’s chance” – why we’re losing the battle to keep global warming below 2C”, Guardian, 19 January 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/cat-in-hells-chance-why-losing-battle-keep-global-warming-2c-climate-change ).


MCKIBBEN. William Ernest "Bill" McKibben (US 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) on 3 critical climate change numbers 2, 565 and 2,795  (2012) [Editor has  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… 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” (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 ) .


MCMULLIN. Professor Barry McMullin (Dublin City University) when asked by Dr Andrew Simms “Is it still likely that we will stay below even 2C?” (2017):  “The open question for me is not whether we will breach the 2C target but how soon” (Andrew Simms, “”A cat in hell’s chance” – why we’re losing the battle to keep global warming below 2C”, Guardian, 19 January 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/cat-in-hells-chance-why-losing-battle-keep-global-warming-2c-climate-change ).


MCPHERSON, Guy. Guy McPherson (Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona):We're so close to the sun, we're so close to the inner edge of the habitable zone for life on Earth that even a minor change in atmospheric composition could push us out of the habitable zone. Well, we haven't made minor changes in the atmospheric chemistry of the Earth; we've made major changes in the atmospheric chemistry of the Earth” (Guy McPherson quoted in Thom Hartmann, “Understanding Climate Change: A Conversation With Michael Mann”,  Countercurrents, 17 November, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/hartmann171115.htm ).

Guy Mc Pherson on three paths to near-term human extinction (2011): “About a decade ago I realized we were putting the finishing touches on our own extinction party, with the party probably over by 2030. During the intervening period I’ve seen nothing to sway this belief, and much evidence to reinforce it. Yet the protests, ridicule, and hate mail reach a fervent pitch when I speak or write about the potential for near-term extinction of Homo sapiensWe’re headed for extinction via global climate change. It’s hotter than it used to be, but not as hot as it’s going to be. The political response to this now-obvious information is to suspend the scientist bearing the bad news. Which, of course, is no surprise at all: As Australian scientist Gideon Polya points out, the United States must cease production of greenhouse gases within 3.1 years if we are to avoid catastrophic runaway greenhouse. I think Polya is optimistic, and I don’t think Obama’s on-board with the attendant collapse of the U.S. industrial economy… We’re headed for extinction via environmental collapse… We’re headed for extinction via nuclear meltdown” (Guy Mc Pherson,”Three paths to near-term human extinction”, Nature Bats Last, 20 August 2011: http://guymcpherson.com/2011/08/three-paths-to-near-term-human-extinction/ ).


MEINSHAUSEN. Meinshausen et al, (2009) as reported by Hansen et al (2013): M2009 [Meinshausen et al, (2009)] use a simplified carbon cycle and climate model to make a large ensemble of simulations in which principal uncertainties in the carbon cycle, radiative forcings, and climate response are allowed to vary, thus yielding a probability distribution for global warming as a function of time throughout the 21st century. M2009 use this distribution to infer a limit on total (fossil fuel+net land use) carbon emissions in the period 2000–2049 if global warming in the 21st century is to be kept below 2°C at some specified probability. For example, they conclude that the limit on total 2000–2049 carbon emissions is 1440 GtCO2 (393 GtC) to achieve a 50% chance that 21st century global warming will not exceed 2°C (comment on Meinshausen M, Meinshausen N, Hare W, Raper SCB, Frieler K, et al.. (2009) Greenhouse gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2°C. Nature 458, 1158–1162 in  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, 3 December 2013: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648  ).

[Editor’s note: it has been determined using the latest estimates for annual GHG pollution and the Global Warming Potential of methane that the world will exceed its remaining 2010-2050 Terminal Carbon Budget of 600 Gt CO2-e within 3 years (see 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 .)].


NOAA. James A. Butler and Stephen A. Montzka (US National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, Earth System Research Laboratory) (2016):  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines climate forcing as “An externally imposed perturbation in the radiative energy budget of the Earth climate system, e.g. through changes in solar radiation, changes in the Earth albedo, or changes in atmospheric gases and aerosol particles.” Thus climate forcing is a “change” in the status quo. IPCC takes the pre-industrial era (chosen as the year 1750) as the baseline. The perturbation to direct climate forcing (also termed “radiative forcing”) that has the largest magnitude and the least scientific uncertainty is the forcing related to changes in long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and halogenated compounds (mainly CFCs). Atmospheric global greenhouse gas abundances are used to calculate changes in radiative forcing beginning in 1979 when NOAA's global air sampling network expanded significantly. The change in annual average total radiative forcing by all the long-lived greenhouse gases since the pre-industrial era (1750) is also used to define the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which was introduced in 2004… Table 2: CO2-equivalent (ppm) 280  (1750) , 385 (1980), 417 (1990), 485 (2015); AGGI 0.00 (1750), 0.80 (1980), 1.00 (1990), 1.37 (2015” (James A. Butler and Stephen A. Montzka,  “The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI)”,  NOAA, 2016: http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html ).


PARRY. Professor Martin Parry (a  senior Met Office scientist and co-chairman of the IPCC committee which produced a 2007 report)  commenting on this 2007 IPCC report at the Royal Geographical Society (2007): “Ten years ago we were talking about these impacts affecting our children and our grandchildren. Now it is happening to us. Even if we achieve a cap at two degrees, there is a stock of major impacts out there already and that means adaptation. You cannot mitigate your way out of this problem… The choice is between a damaged world or a future with a severely damaged world” (Professor Martin Parry and IPCC 2007 report quoted in Cahal Milmo, ““Too late to avoid global warming”, say scientists”, The Independent, 19 September 2007: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming-say-scientists-402800.html ).

 

PERKINS. Dr Sarah Perkins (co-author of the 2014 Australian Climate Council interim report on heatwaves and a research fellow at the UNSW, Sydney) 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.” (Dr Sarah Perkins quoted by 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 ) .

 

POLYA. Dr Gideon Polya (Australian biological chemist and climate change activist) (2015): “Climate change inaction by world governments  now means that there is now a low probability for them achieving their common goal of avoiding a catastrophic  2 degree Celsius (2C) temperature rise. Thus the latest international consensus-based IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014)  argues for a limitation of temperature rise to 2 degrees C through limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of the atmosphere to 450 ppm (parts per million)  CO2-equivalent (CO2-e), but hard evidence  says that we have already reached 478 ppm CO2-e, that plus 2C is dangerous and essentially  inevitable (leading to a Pliocene-like sea level rise of 25 meters at equilibrium), and that the world will use up its 600 Gt CO2 Carbon Budget for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C rise within about  3 years” (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 ).

Dr Gideon Polya on 5 years left in 2012 beforeworld exceeds the terminal CO2-e budget of 600 Gt CO2-e (i.e. 2 years left in 2015) (2012): “Our warming 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: 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 recognized 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).  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”). 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?...

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” (see 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  ).

Dr Gideon Polya (2015): “Climate change and  state-sanctioned corporate terrorism, carbon terrorism and climate terrorism. In 2009 the WBGU, which advises the German Government  on climate change, estimated that for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise, the world must emit no more than 600 billion tonnes carbon dioxide (CO2) before zero emissions in 2050. Unfortunately the global greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is so high that the World will exceed this terminal budget in 3 years relative to 2015 [13]. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 (methane) on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2.  The 50 Gt (50 billion tonnes) of  CH4 predicted to be released from  the East Siberian Arctic Shelf in coming decades [14] is 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. The world faces catastrophe  unless global warming  and this Arctic CH4 release can be stopped [6, 15, 16]. Unaddressed man-made climate change is set to exacerbate an already worsening climate genocide and cause 10 billion avoidable deaths this century leaving a predicted only 0.5 billion of Humanity alive [17]. Presently  about  7  million people die annually from the effects of pollutants from  carbon fuel burning [18] and 0.4 million people die annually from the effects of climate change [19, 20]. 17 million people die avoidably each year from deprivation but if climate change is not requisitely addressed an average of 100 million people will die avoidably each year this century [17]. This is state terrorism-sanctioned corporate terrorism, carbon terrorism and climate terrorism” (see Gideon Polya, “30 December Day Of Lamentation Over State Crime And State Terrorism -  Nuclear Terrorism, Corporate Terrorism, Carbon Terrorism And Climate Terrorism”, Countercurrents, 29 December, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya291215.htm ).

 

POPE FRANCIS. 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  ).

 

PRINN. 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” (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  IPCC argues for a limitation of temperature rise to 2oC through limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of the atmosphere to 450 ppm CO2 -equivalent (see 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) but Professor  Prinn   says that we have already reached 478 ppm CO2-equivalent].


 

RAMANATHAN. V. Ramanathan  and Y. Feng (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego) concluding that the world is already committed to a warming of 2.4°C (2008): “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

… It is now recognized that DAI [Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference] must involve a range of threshold values of global and regional surface temperature change (5) depending on the elements of the climate system that are being impacted by the warming. This perception has led to the notion of climate tipping elements (6), some of which are hypothesized to be triggered by global warming in the range of 1°C to 2°C, and many others when global warming is in the range of 3°C to 5°C (see Fig. 1 ) [Arctic summer sea ice, Himalayan Tibetan glaciers, Greenland ice sheet at ca 2C; Amazon rainforest at ca 3C; ENSO, Thermohaline circulation , West Antarctic ice sheet at ca 4C],” ( 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 (a  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” ) (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” (  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. “RealClimate. Climate science from climate scientists” (a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists) 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” ( Real Climate, “Hit the brakes hard”, 29 April 2009: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/hit-the-brakes-hard/ ).


RIGNOT. E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, and B. Scheuchl (glaciologists) on unstoppable ice loss in Antarctica (2014): “We measure the grounding line retreat of glaciers draining the Amundsen Sea sector 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 ungrounded 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 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.” (see E. Rignot, , J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, and B. Scheuchl (2014), Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 35023509, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060140/abstract ).


ROBINSON. Alexander Robinson, Reinhard Coley  & Andrev Ganopolski  (glaciologists) on Greenland ice tipping point exceedance (2012): “Recent studies have focused on the short-term contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise, yet little is known about its long-term stability. The present best estimate of the threshold in global temperature rise leading to complete melting of the ice sheet is 3.1 °C (1.9–5.1 °C, 95% confidence interval) above the preindustrial climate1, determined as the temperature for which the modelled surface mass balance of the present-day ice sheet turns negative. Here, using a fully coupled model, we show that this criterion systematically overestimates the temperature threshold and that the Greenland ice sheet is more sensitive to long-term climate change than previously thought. We estimate that the warming threshold leading to a monostable, essentially ice-free state is in the range of 0.8–3.2 °C, with a best estimate of 1.6 °C. By testing the ice sheet’s ability to regrow after partial mass loss, we find that at least one intermediate equilibrium state is possible, though for sufficiently high initial temperature anomalies, total loss of the ice sheet becomes irreversible. Crossing the threshold alone does not imply rapid melting (for temperatures near the threshold, complete melting takes tens of millennia). However, the timescale of melt depends strongly on the magnitude and duration of the temperature overshoot above this critical threshold” (Alexander Robinson, Reinhard Coley  & Andrev Ganopolski, “Multistability and critical thresholds of the Greenland ice sheet”, Nature Climate Change, 2, 429–432 (2012): http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n6/full/nclimate1449.html ) .


SACHS. Professor Jeffrey Sachs (director of the Earth Institute at 85-Nobel-Laureate Columbia University) commenting on Hansen et al PLOS paper (2013):  "The main point is that the 2C target – which is almost out of reach now, or quickly becoming out of reach – is itself a dangerous target because it leads to a world that is greatly destabilised by rising sea levels and massive changes of climate patterns in different parts of the world… Right now we are completely off track globally. We are certainly not even in the same world as a 1C world. We are not even in a 2C world" (Jeff Sachs quoted in Suzanne Goldenberg, “UN’s 2C target will fail to avoid a climate disaster, scientists warn”, Guardian, 4 December 2013: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/03/un-2c-global-warming-climate-change ).


SAM CARANA. Sam Carana (very likely the moniker for collection of climate scientists and/or science-informed activists) (2015): “ Sediments underneath the Arctic Ocean hold vast amounts of methane. Just one part of the Arctic Ocean alone, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS, rectangle on map below, from the methane page), holds up to 1700 Gt of methane. A sudden release of just 3% of this amount could add over 50 Gt of methane to the atmosphere, and experts consider such an amount to be ready for release at any time “ (Sam Carana, “Strong winds and high waves hit Arctic Ocean”, Arctic News, 8 December 2015: http://arctic-news.blogspot.com.au/ ).

[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 [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  and Shindell et al (2009), Fig.2: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716.figures-only  ). 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 (WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/  and 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 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. And as for 1700 Gt CH4 ... We are utterly doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release.]


SANFORD. Todd Sanford (Union of Concerned Scientists),  Peter Frumhoff (Union of Concerned Scientists), Amy Luers (Skoll Global Threats Fund) and  Jay Gulledge (Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2014):    “It is time to acknowledge that global average temperatures are likely to rise above the 2 °C policy target and consider how that deeply troubling prospect should affect priorities for communicating and managing the risks of a dangerously warming climate” (see Todd Sanford, Peter C. Frumhoff, Amy Luers & Jay Gulledge, “The climate policy narrative for a dangerously warming world”, Nature Climate Change 4, 164–166 (2014): http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2148.html  (Figure 1: “Observed and projected trends in global CO2 emissions under four RCP scenarios”:  http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/fig_tab/nclimate2148_F1.html ).


SAUVEN. John Sauven (executive director of Greenpeace) responding to 2007 IPCC report (2007): "The EU needs to adopt a science-based cap on emissions, ditch plans for dirty new coal plants and nuclear power stations that will give tiny emission cuts at enormous and dangerous cost, end aviation expansion and ban wasteful products like incandescent lightbulbs" (John Sauven and IPCC 2007 report quoted in Cahal Milmo, ““Too late to avoid global warming”, say scientists”, The Independent, 19 September 2007: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming-say-scientists-402800.html ).


SCHEFFERS. Brett R. Scheffers et al. (2016): “Climate change impacts have now been documented across every ecosystem on Earth, despite an average warming of only ~1°C so far. Here, we describe the full range and scale of climate change effects on global biodiversity that have been observed in natural systems. To do this, we identify a set of core ecological processes (32 in terrestrial and 31 each in marine and freshwater ecosystems) that underpin ecosystem functioning and support services to people. Of the 94 processes considered, 82% show evidence of impact from climate change in the peer-reviewed literature. Examples of observed impacts from meta-analyses and case studies go beyond well-established shifts in species ranges and changes to phenology and population dynamics to include disruptions that scale from the gene to the ecosystem… Most ecological processes now show responses to anthropogenic climate change. In terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, species are changing genetically, physiologically, morphologically, and phenologically and are shifting their distributions, which affects food webs and results in new interactions. Disruptions scale from the gene to the ecosystem and have documented consequences for people, including unpredictable fisheries and crop yields, loss of genetic diversity in wild crop varieties, and increasing impacts of pests and diseases. In addition to the more easily observed changes, such as shifts in flowering phenology, we argue that many hidden dynamics, such as genetic changes, are also taking place. Understanding shifts in ecological processes can guide human adaptation strategies. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, climate action and policy must therefore focus equally on strategies that safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems” (Brett R. Scheffers et al. “The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to people”, Science,  11 Nov 2016,
Vol. 354, Issue 6313: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6313/aaf7671 ).


SCHMIDT. Dr Gavin Schmidt (current director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) when asked by Dr Andrew Simms “Is it still likely that we will stay below even 2C?” (2017):  “The inertia in the system (oceans, economies, technologies, people) is substantial and … so far the efforts are not commensurate with the goal” (Andrew Simms, “”A cat in hell’s chance” – why we’re losing the battle to keep global warming below 2C”, Guardian, 19 January 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/cat-in-hells-chance-why-losing-battle-keep-global-warming-2c-climate-change ).


SEMILETOV.  Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov et al (Russian scientists) (2015),The East Siberian Arctic Shelf: towards further assessment of permafrost-related methane fluxes and role of sea iceSustained release of methane (CH4) to the atmosphere from thawing Arctic permafrost may be a positive and significant feedback to climate warming. Atmospheric venting of CH4 from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) was recently reported to be on par with flux from the Arctic tundra; however, the future scale of these releases remains unclear. Here, based on results of our latest observations, we show that CH4 emissions from this shelf are likely to be determined by the state of subsea permafrost degradation. We observed CH4 emissions from two previously understudied areas of the ESAS: the outer shelf, where subsea permafrost is predicted to be discontinuous or mostly degraded due to long submergence by seawater, and the near shore area, where deep/open taliks presumably form due to combined heating effects of seawater, river run-off, geothermal flux and pre-existing thermokarst. CH4 emissions from these areas emerge from largely thawed sediments via strong flare-like ebullition, producing fluxes that are orders of magnitude greater than fluxes observed in background areas underlain by largely frozen sediments. We suggest that progression of subsea permafrost thawing and decrease in ice extent could result in a significant increase in CH4 emissions from the ESAS… Sea ice serves as a natural physical barrier that restricts CH4 emissions from the ESAS during the ice-covered period. Because the temperature in the Arctic has increased at twice the rate as in the rest of the globe, and the region is expected to increase an additional 8°C (14°F) in the twenty-first century [3], longer periods of open water and shorter ice-covered periods [35,36] are occurring. Increasing periods of open water implies an increasing number of storm events, when wind speed increases to 15 m s−1 or more and the boundary between sea surface and air increases many times due to deep water mixing. Such events have the potential to rapidly ventilate bubble-transported and dissolved CH4 from the water column, producing high emission rates to the atmosphere. Because more than 75% of the total ESAS area is less than 50 m in depth, the water column provides bubbles with a very short conduit to the atmosphere. Storms enable more CH4 release because they destroy shallow water stratification and increase the boundary between sea surface and air, thus increasing gas exchange across phase boundaries. As a result, bubble-mediated, storm-induced CH4 ‘pulses’ force a greater fraction of CH4 to bypass aqueous microbial filters and reach the atmosphere [10]. In addition, about 10% of the ESAS remains open water in winter due to formation of flaw polynyas. It was shown that flaw polynyas provide pathways for CH4 escape to the atmosphere during the arctic winter [37]. Areas of flaw polynyas in the ESAS increased dramatically (by up to five times) during the last decades, and now exceed the total area of the Siberian wetlands (electronic supplementary material, figure S5). This implies that the ESAS remains an active source of CH4 to the atmosphere year-round. Increasing storminess [3840] and rapid sea-ice retreat [36] causing increased CH4 fluxes from the ESAS are possible new climate-change-driven processes. Continuing warming of the AO will strengthen these processes, and the role of the ESAS as a year-round contributor to global CH4 emissions will grow over time” (see Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov et al, ““The East Siberian Arctic Shelf: towards further assessment of permafrost-related methane fluxes and role of sea ice”, Royal Society Philosophical Transactions A, 7 September 2015: http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/2052/20140451 ).


SHAKHOVA. Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov et al (Russian scientists) (2015),The East Siberian Arctic Shelf: towards further assessment of permafrost-related methane fluxes and role of sea iceSustained release of methane (CH4) to the atmosphere from thawing Arctic permafrost may be a positive and significant feedback to climate warming. Atmospheric venting of CH4 from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) was recently reported to be on par with flux from the Arctic tundra; however, the future scale of these releases remains unclear. Here, based on results of our latest observations, we show that CH4 emissions from this shelf are likely to be determined by the state of subsea permafrost degradation. We observed CH4 emissions from two previously understudied areas of the ESAS: the outer shelf, where subsea permafrost is predicted to be discontinuous or mostly degraded due to long submergence by seawater, and the near shore area, where deep/open taliks presumably form due to combined heating effects of seawater, river run-off, geothermal flux and pre-existing thermokarst. CH4 emissions from these areas emerge from largely thawed sediments via strong flare-like ebullition, producing fluxes that are orders of magnitude greater than fluxes observed in background areas underlain by largely frozen sediments. We suggest that progression of subsea permafrost thawing and decrease in ice extent could result in a significant increase in CH4 emissions from the ESAS… Sea ice serves as a natural physical barrier that restricts CH4 emissions from the ESAS during the ice-covered period. Because the temperature in the Arctic has increased at twice the rate as in the rest of the globe, and the region is expected to increase an additional 8°C (14°F) in the twenty-first century [3], longer periods of open water and shorter ice-covered periods [35,36] are occurring. Increasing periods of open water implies an increasing number of storm events, when wind speed increases to 15 m s−1 or more and the boundary between sea surface and air increases many times due to deep water mixing. Such events have the potential to rapidly ventilate bubble-transported and dissolved CH4 from the water column, producing high emission rates to the atmosphere. Because more than 75% of the total ESAS area is less than 50 m in depth, the water column provides bubbles with a very short conduit to the atmosphere. Storms enable more CH4 release because they destroy shallow water stratification and increase the boundary between sea surface and air, thus increasing gas exchange across phase boundaries. As a result, bubble-mediated, storm-induced CH4 ‘pulses’ force a greater fraction of CH4 to bypass aqueous microbial filters and reach the atmosphere [10]. In addition, about 10% of the ESAS remains open water in winter due to formation of flaw polynyas. It was shown that flaw polynyas provide pathways for CH4 escape to the atmosphere during the arctic winter [37]. Areas of flaw polynyas in the ESAS increased dramatically (by up to five times) during the last decades, and now exceed the total area of the Siberian wetlands (electronic supplementary material, figure S5). This implies that the ESAS remains an active source of CH4 to the atmosphere year-round. Increasing storminess [3840] and rapid sea-ice retreat [36] causing increased CH4 fluxes from the ESAS are possible new climate-change-driven processes. Continuing warming of the AO will strengthen these processes, and the role of the ESAS as a year-round contributor to global CH4 emissions will grow over time” (see Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov et al, ““The East Siberian Arctic Shelf: towards further assessment of permafrost-related methane fluxes and role of sea ice”, Royal Society Philosophical Transactions A, 7 September 2015: http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/2052/20140451 ).


SHIVA. Dr Vandana Shiva (Indian physicist, environmental and anti-globalization author and activists, and author of  more than 20 books) (2015): “Humanity stands at a precipice. Merely 200 years of the age of fossil fuel has driven species and biodiversity to extinction, destroyed our soils, depleted and polluted our water and destabilised our entire climate system. Five hundred years of colonialism have driven cultures, languages, peoples to extinction and left a legacy of violence as the basis of production and governance… Ecologically non-sustainable models of agriculture, dependent on fossil fuels, have been imposed through “aid” and “development” projects in the name of Green Revolution. As soil and water are destroyed, ecosystems that produced food and supported livelihoods can no longer sustain societies [e.g. Lake Chad, Syria]. As a result, there’s anger, discontent, frustration, protests and conflicts. However, land, water and agriculture-related conflicts are repeatedly and deliberately mutated into religious conflicts to protect the militarised agriculture model, which has unleashed a global war against the earth and people… Since 2009, we heard of Boko Haram while we missed the news about the disappearance of Lake Chad. Lake Chad supported 30 million people in four countries — Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger. Intensive irrigation for industrial agriculture increased four-fold from 1983 to 1994. Fifty per cent of the disappearance of Lake Chad is attributed to the building of dams and intensive irrigation for industrial agriculture. As the water disappeared, conflicts between Muslim pastoralists and settled Christian farmers over the dwindling water resources led to unrest. As Luc Gnacadja, the former secretary-general of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, states about the violence in Nigeria, “The so-called religious fight is actually about access to vital resources”. The story of Syria is similar. In 2009, a severe drought uprooted a million farmers who were forced to move into the city for livelihood. Structural adjustment measures, imposed by global financial institutions and trade rules, prevented the government from responding to the plight of Syria’s farmers. The farmers’ protests intensified. By 2011, the world’s military powers were in Syria, selling more arms and diverting the narrative from the story of the soil and farmers to religion. Today, half of Syria is in refugee camps, the war is escalating and the root causes of the violence continue to be actively disguised as religion… For me, COP21 is a pilgrimage of peace — to remember all the innocent victims of the wars against the land and people; to develop the capacity to reimagine that we are one and refuse to be divided by race and religion; to see the connections between ecological destruction, growing violence and wars that are engulfing our societies. We must remember that there will be no peace between people if we do not make peace with the Earth” (see Vandana Shiva, “Paris, Peace, And Humanity On The Precipice”, 6 December, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/shiva061215.htm ).


SIMMS. Dr Andrew Simms (co-director of the New Weather Institute,  author of “Cancel the Apocalypse” and a research fellow on rapid transition at the University of Sussex) (2017): “Is it still likely that we will stay below even 2C? In the 100 months since August 2008, I have been writing a climate-change diary for the Guardian to raise questions and monitor progress, or the lack of it, on climate action. To see how well we have fared, I asked a number of leading climate scientists and analysts for their views. The responses were as bracing as a bath in a pool of glacial meltwater…Sabine Fuss, of Germany’s Mercator Research Institute, on Global Commons and Climate Change says emissions are currently “not aligned” with the 2C target and will need to “come down more quickly”. Joanna Haigh, co-director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment, thinks there is “no chance whatsoever at current levels of carbon emissions”, and her Grantham Institute colleague, Prof Sir Brian Hoskins, is not “confident” that temperature rises can be held below 2C. Prof Andrew Watkinson of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia thinks it “unlikely” and Prof John Shepherd, a physicist at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, calls it “not very likely at all”. Stuart Haszeldine of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh says we have “very little chance”, and Prof Piers Forster, director of the Priestly International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds calls it, “on the fanciful edge of plausible”. Glen Peters, senior researcher at Norway’s leading climate change centre, Cicero, is unambiguous, saying: “We have emitted too much already.” And these sentiments are echoed by Prof Alice Larkin, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at Manchester University, and Dr Chris Vernon, a glaciologist and former scientist at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Science ... In short, not a single one of the scientists polled thought the 2C target likely to be met. Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, is most emphatic. “My personal view,” he says, “is that there is not a cat in hell’s chance” (Andrew Simms, “”A cat in hell’s chance” – why we’re losing the battle to keep global warming below 2C”, Guardian, 19 January 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/cat-in-hells-chance-why-losing-battle-keep-global-warming-2c-climate-change ).


SNYDER. Dr Carolyn Snyder (Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA) (2016):Reconstructions of Earth’s past climate strongly influence our understanding of the dynamics and sensitivity of the climate system. Yet global temperature has been reconstructed for only a few isolated windows of time1, 2, and continuous reconstructions across glacial cycles remain elusive. Here I present a spatially weighted proxy reconstruction of global temperature over the past 2 million years estimated from a multi-proxy database of over 20,000 sea surface temperature point reconstructions. Global temperature gradually cooled until roughly 1.2 million years ago and cooling then stalled until the present. The cooling trend probably stalled before the beginning of the mid-Pleistocene transition3, and pre-dated the increase in the maximum size of ice sheets around 0.9 million years ago4, 5, 6. Thus, global cooling may have been a pre-condition for, but probably is not the sole causal mechanism of, the shift to quasi-100,000-year glacial cycles at the mid-Pleistocene transition. Over the past 800,000 years, polar amplification (the amplification of temperature change at the poles relative to global temperature change) has been stable over time, and global temperature and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations have been closely coupled across glacial cycles. A comparison of the new temperature reconstruction with radiative forcing from greenhouse gases estimates an Earth system sensitivity of 9 degrees Celsius (range 7 to 13 degrees Celsius, 95 per cent credible interval) change in global average surface temperature per doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide over millennium timescales. This result suggests that stabilization at today’s greenhouse gas levels may already commit Earth to an eventual total warming of 5 degrees Celsius (range 3 to 7 degrees Celsius, 95 per cent credible interval) over the next few millennia as ice sheets, vegetation and atmospheric dust continue to respond to global warming” (Carolyn Snyder, “Evolution of global temperature over the last two million years”, Nature, 26 September 2016: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature19798.html ).

Jeff Tolleson (science journalist) on Carolyn Snyder (2016) estimate that “stabilization at today’s greenhouse gas levels may already commit Earth to an eventual total warming of 5 degrees Celsius” (2016):Using a subset of the reconstructed temperature data, Snyder, who began the study while at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, analysed the relationship between past temperatures and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels estimated from Antarctic ice cores covering the past 800,000 years. Based on that analysis, she found that future long-term warming induced by greenhouse gases could be more severe than many previous estimates. Even if the amount of atmospheric CO2 were to stabilize at current levels, the study suggests that average temperatures may increase by roughly 5 °C over the next few millennia as a result of the effects of the greenhouse gas on glaciers, ecosystems and other factors. A doubling of the pre-industrial levels of atmospheric CO2 of roughly 280 parts per million, which could occur within decades unless people curb greenhouse-gas emissions, could eventually boost global average temperatures by around 9 °C. This is on the high end of existing estimates. Proceed with caution. And this is where the study has encountered scepticism (Jeff Tolleson, “Longest historic temperature record stretches back 2 million years. Suggests greenhouse gases may warm plant more than previously thought”, Nature, 26 September 2016: http://www.nature.com/news/longest-historic-temperature-record-stretches-back-2-million-years-1.20673 ).


SPRATT. David Spratt  (co-author with Phillip Sutton of “Climate Code Red” (2015): “2oC target is not safe. We have already crossed dangerous climate tipping points at just 0.8°C warming. In the words of former senior Obama advisor John Holdren in 2008: “the world is already experiencing ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system”.21 Evidence includes:

At less than 1°C of warming, West Antarctic glaciers are in “unstoppable” meltdown for 1-4 metres of sea-level rise.22

Arctic tipping points have been crossed 23 for sea-ice-free summer conditions, with severe consequences for the future stability of permafrost and frozen methane stores, sea-levels rises, as well as accelerated global warming as ice sheets retreat and the Earth’s albedo (reflectivity) decreases.

Extreme weather events are being made worse, with record heat and drought such as in California at present, and more intense cyclones including Superstorm Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan, both of whose impacts had a climate-warming component.

The paleoclimate record also tells us that even the current level of CO2 (without accounting for 75 ppm of non-CO2 greenhouse gases we have added to the atmosphere) is enough for 3°C or more of warming at equilibrium:

During middle Miocene, 16-14 million years ago, when temperatures were ~3 to 6°C warmer and sea levels 25 to 40 metres higher than at present, the CO2 level was similar to modern levels (between 350 and 400 ppm).24

In the early-to-mid Pliocene, 5–3 million years ago, temperatures were 3°C above pre-industrial and CO2 levels were 360-400 ppm, very similar to today. The northern hemisphere was free of glaciers and ice sheets, beech trees grew in the Transantarctic  Mountains and sea levels were 25 metres higher.25 There is also a variety of evidence that 2°C is not safe target for significant planetary systems:

An estimated tipping point for Greenland Ice Sheet is 1.6°C (with an uncertainty range of 0.8 to 3.2°C).26

Preserving more than 10% of coral reefs worldwide would require limiting warming to below 1.5°C (range: 1.3–1.8°C).27

1.5°C appears to be something of a tipping point” for extensive permafrost thaw. 28

In the first few months of 2015, new lines of evidence have been published suggesting that more elements of the system may be heading towards tipping points or experiencing qualitative change,

including: the slowing of the Atlantic conveyor likely linked to climate change;29 accelerating ice mass loss from Antarctic ice shelves;30 the vulnerability of East Antarctica glaciers;31 declining carbon efficiency of the Amazon forests 32 and other sinks; 33 accelerated ice-mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet; 34 rapid thinning of Arctic sea-ice; 35 a new record low winter maximum for Arctic sea-ice extent; 36 the vulnerability of Arctic permafrost; 37 and the origins and possible proliferation of Siberian methane craters. In reality, 2°C is in fact the boundary between dangerous and very dangerous climate change, and 1°C warmer than human civilisation has ever experienced… In the lead up to the forthcoming Paris talks, policy makersthrough their willful neglect of the evidence are in effect normalising a 2.5–3°C global warming target. It’s time to “do the math” again. Effective policy making can only be based on recognising that climate change is already dangerous, and we have no carbon budget left to divide up. Big tipping-point events irreversible on human time scales and large-scale positive feedbacks are already occurring at less than 1°C of warming. It is clear that 2°C of climate warming is not a safe cap. ” (pp 6, 7, David Spratt, “Recount. It’s time to do the math again”, Breakthrough (National Centre for Climate Restoration), Melbourne, 2015: http://media.wix.com/ugd/148cb0_bb2e61584dbb403e8e33fd65b1c48e30.pdf ).

 

STACEY. 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 (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 ) .


SUTTON. 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 ).


TSCHAKERT. 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 ).

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UEXKULL. Jakob von Uexkull  (former Member of the European Parliament and a leader of the German Green Party, founded both the Right Livelihood Award- sometimes called the Alternative Nobel Prize - and also the World Future Council) (2016): “We may all be doing our best but, as Winston Churchill said: “In a crisis, it is not enough to do our best – we have to do what is necessary”. Today we are heading for unprecedented dangers and conflicts, up to and including the end of a habitable planet in the foreseeable future, depriving all future generations of their right to life and the lives of preceding generations of meaning and purpose.

This apocalyptic reality is the elephant in the room. Current policies threaten temperature increases triggering permafrost melting and the release of ocean methane hydrates which would make our earth unliveable, according to research presented by the British Government Met office at the Paris Climate Conference.

Long before that point, our prosperity, security, culture and identity will disintegrate. A Europe unable to cope with a few million war refugees will collapse under the weight of tens or even hundreds of millions of climate refugees.

While scientists are increasingly in a state of panic about the state of the environment, the media – prone to exaggerate other news – downplay catastrophic threats to the planet. When the London “Times” provided a realistic overview recently (15.04.2015), it felt obliged to include the phone number of the Samaritans for those feeling distressed after reading it. One wonders how the Samaritans dealt with those calls! (Jakob von Uexkull, “History has knocked very loudly on our door. We will answer”,  World Future Forum 2016 – Opening Speech, March 15, 2016, World Future Council: http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/2016/03/15/world-future-forum-2016-opening-speech-jakob-von-uexkull/ ).


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


WADHAMS. Peter Wadhams (professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, 90-Nobel-Layreate University of Cambridge, UK)  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)."(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 ) .

[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 [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  and Shindell et al (2009), Fig.2: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716.figures-only  ). 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 (WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/  and 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 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.]

 

WBGU. The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU, Wissenshaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) issued a key 2009 Report entitled “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach” that 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”).

[Editor’s note: it has been determined using the latest estimates for annual GHG pollution and the Global Warming Potential of methane that the world will exceed its cumulative terminal Carbon Budget of 1000 GtC within 3 years (see 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 )].


WINTERSON. UK writer Jeanette Winterson’s novel  “The Gap of Time” (Penguin, London , 2015, page 162) is a modern version of William Shakespeare’s play “The Winter’s Tale” and includes the following conversation between the lovers Zel (WS’s Florizel, son of King Polixenes of Bohemia) and Perdita (WS’s Perdita, daughter of Sicilia’s Queen Hermione and King Leontes who in mad jealousy believes  that Polixenes has fathered both his son Mamillius and the girl subsequently called Perdita). With the passage of time (16 years), the young lovers Zel and Perdita sort out the mess bequeathed them (would that this were  to be true of the worsening Climate Genocide but a catastrophic plus 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise is now unavoidable):

“Zel: “Benjamin Franklin said that if you have to choose between liberty and security, choose liberty.

Perdita: I guess they didn’t have world terrorism back then.

Zel: That’s just a way of scaring us.

Perdita: I don’t agree. People get killed.

Zel: Yes they do, but some guy with a bomb in a backpack – how often does that happen, and to how many people? But no work, no, home, no healthcare, no hope – that’s the everyday life of millions, billions of people. To me, that the threat. And climate change is the threat. And war, and drought and famine…

Perdita: OK – so we need security. A secure future.

Zel: No!. We need to be free from corporate control that runs the world for the few and ruins it for the rest of us”.



WORLD BANK. 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" (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 ).

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