2015-11-26. Memo to ABC: fact sheet re pre-Paris People’s Climate Marches against War on Terra

"Memo to ABC: fact sheet re pre-Paris People’s Climate Marches against War on Terra", Gideon Polya Writing, 2015-11-26:

https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/2015-11-26 .

Perhaps  200,000 people will attend the People’s Climate March in Melbourne, Australia  (5.30pm, Friday 27 November, State Library) impelled by the worsening climate emergency due to the climate criminal War on Terra. Similar climate marches will be held around Australia and the world on 27-29 November, just before the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. Listed below are crucial, Elephant in the Room, climate change realities which are nevertheless effectively  ignored by Mainstream media and the taxpayer-funded ABC (Australia’s equivalent of the UK BBC):


1. Temperature rise target. The internationally-agreed 2 degree C temperature target is catastrophic and inevitable; international commitments to Paris imply plus 2.7C; the present circa plus 0.9C is already catastrophic for low-lying island and megadelta locations. The Paris Climate Change Conference has failed before  it has started, but while it is  too late to avoid a catastrophic plus 2C temperature rise we must all do whatever we can to make the future less bad for our children and future generations [1-5].


2. Terminal carbon pollution budget. Direst estimates (involving methanogenic livestock impacts and a methane Global Warming Potential  relative to CO2 of 105 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered)  are that the world will exceed in 3 years its Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget of 600 Gt CO2-e that must not be exceeded for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic plus 2C temperature  rise; Australia’s  huge Domestic plus Exported greenhouse  gas (GHG) pollution means it exceeded its fair share of this Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget in 2011  and its huge Domestic GHG pollution means it exceeded its fair share in 2013. Australia’s minimum offer to the  Paris Climate Change Conference of “26% off 2005 GHG pollution  by 2030” is dishonest because it actually means that Australia’s expected Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution in 2030 will be 164% of that in 2005 [4, 6-8].


3. Carbon fuel burning-related deaths. 7 million people die from air pollution each year, this including 10,000 Australian deaths from pollutants from carbon fuel burning and 75,000 people dying from the burning of Australian coal exports. Translating the latest London (UK) pollution-related mortality data to urban Australia would indicate  about 20,000 urban Australian deaths annually from air pollution involving fine carbon particulates and NO2 [9].


4. Carbon debt.  Assuming a damage-related Carbon Price in USD of $200 per tonne CO2-e,  the World has a Carbon Debt of $360 trillion that is increasing at $13 trillion per year,  and Australia has a Carbon Debt of $7.5 trillion that is increasing at $400 billion per year and at $40,000 per head per year for under-30 year old Australians – climate injustice, climate inequity, intergenerational injustice, intergenerational inequity and unconscionable subsidies  for deadly carbon fuel burning [8, 10].


5. Climate change deaths & climate genocide. About 0.5 million people die from climate change annually in a world in which 17 million people die annually from deprivation. However the direst estimates of only 0.5 billion surviving unaddressed climate change this century translates to a climate genocide of 10 billion people and an average of 100 million such deaths annually  this century.  As a world leader in annual per capita GHG pollution and climate change inaction, Australia is disproportionately  contributing  to a worsening climate genocide in island states and megadelta states [4, 11].


6. Safe atmospheric CO2 target 300 ppm CO2. Many climate scientists, biologists and science-informed  climate activists demand that for a safe planet  for all peoples and all species, we must rapidly  return  to the pre-Industrial Revolution  atmospheric  CO2 concentration of  about 300 parts per million carbon dioxide (300 ppm CO2) from the present damaging and dangerous 400 ppm CO2 that is presently increasing at about 2.0-2.5 ppm CO2 per year. The cost of doing this via the cheapest route (generation of biochar or carbon from anaerobic pyrolysis of cellulosic biomass) is similar to the global carbon debt [4, 12-15].


7. Methane bomb.  Natural gas is mostly methane (CH4) which leaks and has a Global Warming Potential (GWP)  relative to CO2 of 105 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered. A 2.6% gas leakage will have the same global warming effect as burning the remaining  97.6% to generate CO2. Leakage from fracking could reach circa 10%. Depending upon the degree of leakage, burning gas for power could be dirtier  GHG-wise than burning coal. A coal-to-gas transition is disastrous. A re-assessment of the  impact  of methanogenic livestock production revised annual global GHG pollution upwards to 64 Gt CO2-e per year from a previous 42 Gt CO2-e per year,  with livestock contributing over 51% of the higher figure. The 50 Gt CH4 predicted to be released from  the East Siberian Arctic Shelf in coming decades 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 of 600 Gt CO2-e. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release [16-21]. 

8. Required actions. There must be urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm CO2 via a rapid  switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as and about 4 times lower in actual true cost than obscenely-subsidized coal burning-based power) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-afforestation and return of carbon as biochar to soils coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth. Renewable energy is vastly cheaper than the true cost of fossil fuel burning-based power and rapid implementation of 100% renewable energy by 2020 and rapid cessation of carbon pollution has been adopted by a variety of  towns, cities, states, corporations and countries [15, 20, 22-25].  

9. Overall nuclear cycle is dirty GHG-wise & food for biofuel has huge carbon debt.  In a carbon economy the overall nuclear cycle -  from digging up, transporting and processing uranium ore to disposing of radioactive waste and decommissioning  power plants - generates CO2. When we necessarily have to shift to lower quality uranium ores the overall nuclear cycle CO2 production  from a  nuclear power station could be the same as from a gas-fired power station. Hugely  increased efficiency of use of limited uranium reserves can be obtained using  fast-breeder reactors but the resultant plutonium economy would be extraordinarily dangerous from plutonium chemical toxicity and nuclear weapons  perspectives,  with horrendous associated diminution of civil rights and  human rights. The use of plant-derived sugar, starch or oil for generating biofuel requires expensive purification of ethanol or biodiesel, can carry a huge carbon debt and is an obscene use of food for fuel in a world in which 2 billion already have insufficient  food  and food insecurity is increasing. Indeed meat from grain-fed livestock is an increasingly unacceptable option in a hungry world.  A temperature increase of 1C can decrease subtropical wheat yield by 10% [26-32].  

10. Carbon price and divestment from fossil fuels. As cogently stated by scientifically-trained Green Left Pope Francis in his 2015 Encyclical  “Laudatum si’”, the human and environmental cost of burning fossil fuels must be “fully borne” by the polluters.  Permitting fossil fuel exploiters to pollute the one common atmosphere and ocean of all peoples for free is climate criminal theft, and the consequent damage will have to be reversed by future generations (climate injustice, climate inequity, intergenerational injustice, intergenerational inequity). The true cost of coal burning for power taking environmental and human impacts into account can be 4 times greater  than the present highly-subsidized market price. The cap-and-trade Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) approach has been condemned by numerous experts because it is empirically ineffective, is accordingly counterproductive, will enable dishonest market manipulation  and is fraudulent in that it involves a government unilaterally selling licences to pollute the one common atmosphere and ocean of all countries. The anti-science, anti-environment, pro-coal, pro-gas, pro-fossil fuels  Australian Coalition (COALition) Government’s Direct Action policy absurdly pays polluters to pollute less and is thus precisely akin to paying  thieves to steal less. A “fully borne” Carbon Price has the corollary of divestment from exploitation of fossil fuel reserves that are now increasingly  seen as stranded assets [32-37].

11. Climate criminality and Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Australia has 0.3% of the world’s population but its annual  Domestic  plus Exported GHG pollution is 3% of the world’s total. Currently about 0.5 million people die from climate change each year and 7 million die from air pollution. At some point,  increasing climate genocide will elicit actions from affected countries, including  Green Tariffs, Green Bans, International  Court of Justice (ICJ) litigations, International Criminal Court (ICC ) prosecutions, and Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all those people, politicians, parties, companies, corporations, and  countries   disproportionately polluting the one common atmosphere and ocean of all people and thus disproportionately harming and threatening  Humanity and the Biosphere with climate genocide, speciescide, ecocide, omnicide and terracide. The first actual climate genocides will be the adumbrated disappearance  of Island States such as Kiribati and Tuvalu. Any species is unique and priceless but the species extinction rate is now 100-1,000 times  greater than normal [4, 5, 11, 38, 39].

12. Personal responsibility and actions. What can decent people do in the War on Terra? What can you tell your grandchildren that you did in the War on Terra? Decent people can personally and collectively minimize their personal carbon footprint but must also (a) inform everyone they can; (b) urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against  all people, politicians, parties, companies, corporations, and  countries   disproportionately polluting the one common atmosphere and ocean of all people; and (c) vote for pro-environment, Green representatives – in Australia that means that they should vote 1 Green and put the COALition last. I suggest a three-fold ABC strategy involving (A) Accountability (holding the individual, corporate or national climate criminals responsible by intra-national and international sanctions, boycotts, civil actions and criminal prosecutions); (B) a Badge (e.g. wearing a Badge such as “300 ppm CO2”, the atmospheric CO2 target advocated by 300.org); and (C) a Credo (e.g. that of 300.org: “There must be a safe and sustainable existence for all peoples and all species on our warming-threatened Planet and this requires a rapid reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to about 300 parts per million” [13, 14, 40, 41].

Dr Gideon Polya, Melbourne.

PS For a version of this memo with detailed referencing documentation  see “Memo to ABC: fact sheet re Pre-Paris People’s Climate Marches against War on Terra”, Gideon Polya Writing, 2015-11-26: .

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

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

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

[4].  “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course .

[5]. 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 .

[6]. 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 .

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

[8]. 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

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

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

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

[12]. US NOAA, “Trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide”: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ .

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

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

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

[16]. 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 .

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

[18]. 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 .

[19]. 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  .


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


[21]. Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro and Anthony Ingraffea, “Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations”, Climatic Change, 2011: http://www.sustainablefuture.cornell.edu/news/attachments/Howarth-EtAl-2011.pdf .

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

[23]. “100% renewable energy by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/100renewableenergyby2020/ .

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


[25]. Heather Keith, Brendan G. Mackey and David B. Lindenmayer, “Re-evaluation of forest biomass carbon stocks and lessons from the world's most carbon-dense forests”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci,, vol. 106, no. 28, pages   11635–11640: http://www.pnas.org/content/106/28/11635.long .


[26]. Mark Diesendorf, “Nuclear power: not green, clean or cheap”, On-line opinion, 16 June 2010: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4581 .


[27]. Gideon Polya, “Rational risk management, science and denial”: http://rationalriskmanagement.blogspot.com.au/2008/02/risk-management-science-denial.html .

[28]. Timothy Searchinger et al., “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1238 – 1240: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1151861 .

[29]. Joseph Fargione et al.,  “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1235 – 1238: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1152747 .

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

[31]. Dr Gideon Polya, “Biofuel famine, biofuel genocide and the global food price crisis”, Lecture to Agricultural Science and Agricultural Science-Economics students, La Trobe University Tuesday 29 April, 2008: http://climateemergency.blogspot.com/2008/04/biofuel-famine-biofuel-genocide-and.html .

[32]. Gideon Polya, “Western Mainstream Media Censor Green Left Pope Francis' “Laudato Si'” Message For Urgent Action On Climate Change”, Countercurrents,  20 August, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya200815.htm .

[33]. Pope Francis , Encyclical Letter “Laudato si”, 2015: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html .

[34]. Gideon Polya, “Green Left Pope Francis Demands Climate Action “Without Delay” To Prevent Climate “Catastrophe””, Countercurrents, 10 August, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya100815.htm .

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

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

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

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

[39]. Phillip Levin, Donald Levin, “The real biodiversity crisis”, American Scientist, January-February 2002: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/the-real-biodiversity-crisis .

[40]. 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 .

[41]. 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 .