Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Faster Than We Thought

The planet is warming much faster than we thought. Dahr Jamail writes:

The reality of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) continues to outstrip our ability to model worst-case scenarios, as it is happening so much faster than was ever anticipated. Sixty-three percent of all human-generated carbon emissions have been produced in the last 25 years, but science shows us that there is a 40-year time lag between global emissions (our actions) and climate impacts (the consequences). Hence, we haven't even begun to experience the worst of our emissions, and won't, until at least 2054.

The news is unremittingly bad. Our baselines no longer apply:

Approximately 55 million years ago, a 5-degree Celsius increase in global temperatures occurred in only 13 years, and a scientific report published last year revealed that in the near-term, Earth's climate will change 10 times faster than at any other moment in the last 65 million years. Science already shows that we are currently experiencing change 200 to 300 times faster than any of the previous major extinction events.

We are rapidly reaching the point where there will be no turning back:

Humans have never lived on a planet with temperatures 3.5 degrees Celsius above baseline, and many scientists believe it would be impossible to do so. An increasing number of climate change scientists now fear that our situation is already so serious, and so many self-reinforcing feedback loops are already in play, that we are in the process of causing our own extinction. Worse yet, some are convinced that it could happen far more quickly than generally believed possible - even in the course of just the next few decades.

In December 2010, the UN Environment Program predicted up to a 5 degrees Celsius increase by 2050. This is a shocking piece of information, because a 3.5 degrees Celsius increase would render the planet uninhabitable for humans due to collapsing the food chain at the level of oceanic plankton and triggering temperature extremes that would severely limit terrestrial vegetation, and hence, our ability to feed ourselves. And even higher temperature increases have been predicted.

Yet Mr, Trump still thinks it's all a hoax.

Image: Just Gotta Dive


Steve said...

I have a hard time believing most climate change deniers are being truthful with themselves.
Geopolitical heroin addicts, and useful idiots.

The only way to change things is to remove superstition as a treasured institution.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Steve, superstition rules at the highest levels.

The Mound of Sound said...

Our only way out of this, if indeed there is such a thing any longer, is something we will not entertain. Global warming is global. Canada will experience anthropogenic global warming differently than other countries. At times I think we're counting on that. Due primarily to our latitude we will probably fare better than nations in the tropical/equatorial belt.

There's a phenomenon building called "climate departure." The term signifies a point at which a regional climate flicks a switch and, forever thereafter, each year will be hotter than the previous hottest year of the pre-departure era. There will be no cool years after departure sets in only hot years, one after another. The most recent study was released in 2016. http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/mora/PublicationsCopyRighted/Mora%20038.pdf

Climate departure is predicted to set in by the middle of the next decade in a number of tropical/equatorial countries. It will constitute a new climate for which animal and plant life will have no time or opportunity to adapt. Among the first hit will be parts of Central America and the Caribbean. What will we do with the migrants, true climate change refugees? Will we build Trumpian walls? Will we treat them as boarders to be repelled? The point to remember is that, by the time that climate departure sets in, adjacent regions such as the United States will also be experiencing climate impacts that they will have difficulty dealing with including internally displaced populations.

It's a problem that demands equitable solutions only we, including the average Canadian, show no appetite for alternatives that would demand of us sacrifice so that others might have their "fair share." Do you imagine many of your neighbours would support a voluntary reduction in their standard of living of, say, 40%?

At the Paris climate summit in 2015, where Trudeau and McKenna boldly announced that "Canada is back," we moved the "never exceed" limit from 2 degrees Celsius to 1.5C. At the time, the Potsdam Institute's Schellnhuber endorsed the goal but said any hope of achieving it depended on the "induced implosion" of the fossil energy industry. That's where the grandiose words of Trudeau and McKenna proved hollow. Once they got home, they removed their laurel wreaths and got to business approving pipelines and the massive expansion of the world's highest-carbon ersatz petroleum enough, of itself, to wreck any hope of the world achieving the Paris accord goals.

What we won't do is connect our carbon energy hypocrisy with the consequences, including death, already being endured elsewhere, thousands of miles from Ottawa. The emissions coming from our bitumen, coal and, yes, natural gas might as well be a missile aimed at a distant target - for now.

Dana said...

Oh but there will still be people living in caves deep underground who can eat this sort of manna stuff that grows in the dark...

Even people who know that the rest of the biosphere will die at our hand refuse to accept that humanity, sacred as we are of course, will die off along with them.

Toby said...

Owen said, "Yet Mr, Trump still thinks it's all a hoax."

We needn't be smug. Mr Trudeau thinks it's not happening today, that we have plenty of time to develop and sell Alberta tar.

We might as well party for Canada's 150th since there may not be a 200th.

Owen Gray said...

We assume that we can protect our own backyard -- and that is all we have to do, Mound. When the flood of refugees becomes a torrent, we will all be drowning in misery.

Owen Gray said...

It's one thing to be born blind, Dana. But wilful blindness is not only foolish, it's criminal.

Owen Gray said...

I'm repeating myself, Toby. Our hypocrisy is not only foolish, it's criminal.

Steve said...

If the Goverment really believes in global warming we should be going all North Korea Between this and Adam Smiths invisible hand there is a solution. There was once, once it was called tribal living. So if you had to live sustainable or die, what would you chose? That is the question intelligent goverment should be asking.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Steve, intelligence seems to be in short supply.

Toby said...

Mound poses questions that must be answered. It's time to listen again to Gwenne Dyer's Climate Wars.


The thing is, Canadians are likely to be in charge of the lifeboat, at least in the western hemisphere. How many can fit in the lifeboat without it sinking?

What frightens me most is crazed Americans with guns storming the border. Canada is not prepared to defend itself. Period. Can't do it.

Owen Gray said...

It's never been easy living next to an elephant, Toby -- particularly one that is prone to go on rampages.