a current climate chaos compendium: Part I
First, from Robert Hunziker’s “State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!’, counterpunch, ‘June 15, 2018, (in which he actually does explain his use of the exclamation point in his title.)
“Stuart Scott of Climate Matters.TV recently interviewed Dr. Peter Wadhams, emeritus professor, Polar Ocean Physics, Cambridge University and author of the acclaimed highly recommended: A Farewell To Ice (Oxford University Press, 2017).
In response to the question “what’s your assessment of the state of the climate,” Dr. Wadhams replied: “Well, first of all, what I see is an acceleration of global warming because, for instance, the rate of rise of CO2 in the atmosphere is unprecedented. Not only are we not reducing emissions to the point where CO2 is stabilized, but the CO2 level is rising exponentially; it’s going faster than its ever gone before… and then there’s [sic] the extreme weather events, which certainly have hit people in Europe….”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) concern about CO2 is decisive: “Today’s rate of increase is more than 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended.” One hundred times anything is big.”
Hunziker goes on to explain that the unprecedented CO2 growth rate and the horrid implications for ecosystems, climate, and life on the planet and in the oceans is nasty, but that it all can become even more extreme unexpectedly, a fact that few want to even imagine. Mr. not-so-Panglossian explains why that is.
In the first place, and very important for the optics of climate change, the largest indicators are afoot where nobody lives, for example, the Arctic, Antarctica, Greenland, Himalayan glaciers (headwaters for major rivers), Andean glaciers (headwaters for major rivers), the oceans, Patagonia. He notes that the million dollar question is epically rapid growth is at a tipping point at which it can’t be stopped.
He then names the first five extinctions, times, and effective losses, but writes that no one can say what losses the the sixth extinction now underway will be, save for the ‘unlucky insects’ crucial to other life forms that are already disappearing, whether due to climate or chemical poisoning; there’s ample evidence for both, I believe. But let’s move on to this fascinating explanation of the ‘facts’ that climate change denialists (as opposed to ‘Warmers’) love to note as ‘evidence’ of their beliefs.
“Firstly, it’s important to distinguish the significant impact of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere as a heat-trapping GHG, as for example, the paleoclimate record of millions of years ago shows CO2 at 400 ppm (parts per million) temps 5° to 10° warmer than today and sea level 75 feet higher than today. Whereas, in stark contrast to that scenario, 20,000 years ago CO2 was at 200 ppm, and sea level was 400 feet lower. It was the last Ice Age, the late Pleistocene Epoch. (Source: NASA)
All of which begs the question of why CO2 at 410 ppm today doesn’t bring on sea level rise 75 feet higher, similar to the event in the paleoclimate record. In point of fact, it might do that, in time, but the answer as of today has everything to do with the exponential rate of CO2 growth versus a much slower rate of CO2 growth millennia ago. Today’s exponential rapid increase within only 200-years is a flash of geologic time. As such, temps need time to catch up with the rapid rate of CO2 growth. Therefore, a latency effect is at work, which implies an ominous darkness, very dark indeed, hovering over the future.”
Yes, yes: today’s temperatures are a product of past CO2, thus the future temps will be ‘haunted’ by the galloping acceleration of today’s increases at 3ppm a year compared to 1ppm in 1945. Not long after that, the post-WWII great acceleration by industrialization clearly making the human footprint hitting the biosphere ‘like lightning’.
He then lists some of the feed-back loops at the poles as the ice melts, thus uncovering formerly frozen methane hydrates which heating power is even stronger than CO2.
He lists eight more current indicators and consequences; I’ll add one more:
“(7) Depletion of ocean oxygen and the most rapid acidification in millennia, threatening the base of the marine food chain.”
After a paragraph on the gamut of climate scientists’ beliefs about the future, he writes:
“Essentially, nobody accepts, or wants to believe worst case scenarios such as an extinction event, even though early warning signs of impending extinction are wide open for all to see, assuming they look in the right places, but nobody lives where the red warning lights and bells and whistles and loud sirens blare other than an occasional expeditionary scientist, who is belittled, humiliated, and badgered by America’s current political ruling class.
The idiom “Nero fiddles as Rome burns” arises anew, with an exclamation point.”
Next: ‘Six of the G7 Commit to Climate Action. Trump Wouldn’t Even Join Conversation; Trump skipped the formal climate discussions, had the U.S. negotiators promote fossil fuels instead, and then renounced the group’s official communique’, by Staff, InsideClimate News, Jun 10, 2018
Now you’ll love this photo-op for the media, staged, one has to assume by ‘the leader of the free world’ (for his base).
“Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan the UK and the European Union reaffirm their strong commitment to implement the Paris Agreement, through ambitious climate action; in particular through reducing emissions while stimulating innovation, enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening and financing resilience and reducing vulnerability; as well as ensuring a just transition, including increasing efforts to mobilize climate finance from a wide variety of sources,” the communique states.”
Well, I’m at a loss to translate what that purdy language actually signifies, but this is far easier to grasp, added to their really and truly we promise this time (given that the unenforceable voluntary COP targets are at best…aspirational, at worst…part of a long con.
“The leaders, minus the U.S., committed to reduce air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to reach a global carbon-neutral economy during the second half of the century.
The communique says they also focused on, among other things:
- energy transitions through market-based [whatever that phrase means to them] clean energy technologies;
- “the importance of carbon pricing, technology collaboration and innovation to continue advancing economic growth and protect the environment as part of sustainable, resilient and low-carbon energy systems”;
- financing to improve adaptation to climate change; and
- concrete actions to protect the health of the world’s oceans. The six endorsed the Charlevoix Blueprint for Health Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities and (with the exception of Japan) the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter.
The ‘finance adaptation to climate change is crucial, yet…will they actually do it or finance it as below?
The Charlevoix Blueprint might be of great help if it didn’t contain so many weasel words like ‘Support’ this or that, but #2 stopped me cold:
“Support innovative financing for coastal resilience: Mobilize greater support for increasing financial resources available to build coastal resilience, particularly in developing countries, and exploring new and innovative financing with national and international public and private sector partners. To explore these innovative financing approaches and tools, we will build on existing platforms for governments, industry, philanthropists and institutional investors. We will explore broadening disaster risk insurance coverage, including through global and regional facilities, such as the InsuResilience Global Partnership, to extend high quality insurance coverage to vulnerable developing countries and beneficiaries in need and to encourage new types of insurance products for emerging risks. We welcome research, monitoring and gender analysis to increase both the range of insurance products and women’s access to financial resources for disaster risk management and recovery.”
Ah, well, color me a cynic, but it sounds like they’re openly signaling that (ahem) ‘profits will be made’.
And yeah, fuck Trump and the Fossil Fuel horse he rode into the oval, but dig it: from inside Nafeez Ahmed’s ‘Liberal Philanthropy Is Dooming The Planet To Climate Disaster, Documents Reveal’, Mintpressnews.com, June 16, 2018 (and more from his exposé in a Part II or III:
“According to the UN’s 2017 Emissions Gap Report, however, far deeper and more extensive emissions cuts are required twenty years earlier.
The report concludes that there is a vast “gap” between emission reductions pledged by governments under the Paris agreement (known as Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs), and actual emissions reductions “necessary to achieve these agreed targets at lowest cost.”
The ‘NDC’s according to the UN Environment Synthesis report are a recipe for disaster, covering “approximately only one third of the emissions reductions needed to be on a least-cost pathway for the goal of staying well below 2C. The gap between the reductions needed and the national pledges made in Paris is alarmingly high.”
[He might have said: even the..] “The UN report puts forward the following sober conclusion:
… it is clear that if the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it is extremely unlikely that the goal of holding global warming to well below 2C can still be reached.”
Even if countries fulfil their pledges under the Paris agreement, by 2030 the available scope for further carbon emissions (known as the ‘carbon budget’) to keep global average temperatures around 1.5C “will already be well depleted by 2030.”
But remember that the US never ratified the Kyoto Protocols that kicked into effect in 2005 which tried to make agreed pledges enforceable. Are COPs better or worse? Depends who’s answerin’ the Q, of course.
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)