Blog Archives

Why We Allow the Destruction of Our Planet

It’s not enough to point out that our political system is completely corrupted by money, including money from coal and oil and nukes and gas.  Of course it is.  And if we had direct democracy, polls suggest we would be investing in green energy.  But saying the right thing to a pollster on a phone or in a focus group is hardly the extent of what one ought sensibly to do when the fate of the world is at stake.

Nor do we get a complete explanation by recognizing that our communications system is in bed with our political system, cooperatively pushing lies about our climate and our budget (defunding wars and billionaires is not an option, so there’s just no money for new ideas, sorry).  Of course.  But when the planet’s climate is being destroyed for all future generations, most of which will therefore not exist, the only sensible course of action is to drop everything and nonviolently overthrow any system of corruption that is carrying out the destruction.

Why don’t we?

Misinformation is a surface-level explanation.  Why do people choose to accept obvious misinformation?

Here’s one reason: They’ve already chosen to accept other obvious misinformation to which they are deeply and passionately attached and which requires this additional self-deception.  The beliefs involved correlate with poor education, so government choices to fund fossil fuels and highways and prisons and Hamid Karzai rather than schools certainly contribute.  But perhaps we should confront the misinformation directly, even while pursuing the creation of an education system worthy of a civilized country.

According to a Newsweek poll, 40 percent of people in the United States believe the world will end with a battle between Jesus Christ and the Antichrist.  And overwhelmingly those who believe that, also believe that natural disaster and violence are signs of the approach of the glorious battle — so much so that 22 percent in the U.S. believe the world will end in their lifetime.  This would logically mean that concern for the world of their great great grandchildren makes no sense at all and should be dismissed from their minds.  In fact, a recent study found that belief in the “second coming” reduces support for strong governmental action on climate change by 20 percent.

Apart from the corruption of money, whenever you have 40 percent of Americans believing something stupid, the forces of gerrymandering in the House, disproportionate representation of small states in the Senate, the Senate filibuster, the winner-take-all two-party system that shuts many voices out of the media and debates and ballots while allowing Democrats to get elected purely on the qualification of not being Republicans, and a communications system that mainstreams Republican beliefs almost guarantees that the 40-percent view will control the government.

Congressman John Shimkus, a Republican from a gerrymandered monstrosity in southeastern Illinois says the planet is in fine shape and guaranteed to stay that way because God promised that to Noah.

Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma (a state whose citizens get 10 times the representation in the Senate that Californians do — if one can accuse Diane Feinstein of representing anyone), says that only God could possibly change the climate, and we should stop being so arrogant — as if taking $1.4 million in campaign “contributions” from fossil-fuel profiteers and imagining that your positions are purely determined by your access to an all-powerful being who runs the universe on behalf of the 30 percent of the world raised on the same fairy tales as you isn’t an arrogant belief.

Another senator who claims to be a theist but not of the Inhofe-Shimkus variety, publicly denounced an unnamed colleague this week for pushing the don’t-worry-God-is-on-the-job line in a recent meeting.

When a large portion of the population believes that catastrophe is a good thing, rather than a bad thing, and wars are celebrated and crises bring excitement and solidarity to our lives, the influence is toxic.  Of the 40 percent who believe Jesus is on his way, some no doubt believe it more than others, allow it to shape more of their other beliefs and actions.  Of the other 60 percent, some are no doubt influenced to varying degrees by the armageddonists.

Belief in theism itself reaches as much as 80 percent in the United States and includes strong activists for sustainable policies, including some who passionately proselytize using the argument that only theism can save us from our apathy in the face of global warming.  And there is no question that our most dedicated peace and justice activists include some strong religious believers.  But theism is essentially the belief that some more powerful being is running the show.  Perhaps the armageddonists haven’t really found a solution to the problem of evil (“If there is a God, he’ll have to beg forgiveness from me,” said a prisoner in a Nazi camp), but the non-armageddonist theists have never found a logical solution to the problem of free will, either.  Theists can go either way and all make as little sense as each other.  But they must all of necessity promote the notion that a more powerful being is in charge.

And where does that belief show up to damaging effect?  In our politics it shows up primarily as an attitude toward presidents.  While President Obama has spent five years working diligently to destroy our natural environment for all time to come, the largest block of those concerned about global warming have spent their time telling each other to trust in Him, that he works in mysterious ways, that he is up against the Evil One and must be allowed time to succeed in his battle.  You see, the problem with theism is not that some of its spin-off beliefs succeed in an undemocratic system.  The problem is that theism is anti-democratic at its core.  It moves us away from relying on ourselves.  It teaches us to rely on someone supposedly better than we.  And the same 80 percent or so also believe in something called heaven, which renders real life far less significant even for those generations that get to experience it.

This, in turn, fuels a belief in optimism.  We are all told to be optimists regardless of the facts, as if it were a personal lifestyle choice.  Combine that with a belief that everything is part of a secret master plan, and you’ve got a recipe for submissive acceptance.  I’ve had great activists tell me that everything will work out for the best, either because that keeps them going, or because they’ve learned that saying anything else earns them fewer speaking invitations.  Hardcore optimism is compatible with active engagement.  But the net effect is almost certainly a contribution to apathy.

I wish it were needless to say that I am not advocating the equally dumb position of willful pessimism.  I’m proposing the unpopular position of taking the facts as they come, acting accordingly, and acting cautiously when it comes to the fate of generations as yet unborn — even if that caution requires huge sacrifices.

There are other powerful forces weighing against action as well.  There is our love of technology, including our fantasies about inventing our way out of catastrophe, colonizing other planets, re-creating species.  Maybe our senator friend is onto something after all when he points to arrogance.  There is also greed, including our fear that living sustainably would involve living with less of the materialistic crap that currently clutters our lives and fuels our obesity.  There is also the con job continuously played on us by our government that persuades so many of us that we are powerless to effect change.  It’s not enough to believe that the world is being destroyed and that we humans are on our own with the plants and the other animals, if we’ve fallen for the biggest scam governments pull on their people, the lie that says they pay no attention to us.  History teaches the opposite.  People’s influence on their governments is much more powerful than we usually imagine.  It’s weakened primarily by people’s failure to do anything.  Impotence is a self-fulfilling loop.  Those longing for the end of the world are far from alone in imagining that we don’t have the power to make the world over ourselves.  Nonetheless, among the things we should be doing right now is explaining to our neighbors that Jesus isn’t coming back.

via OpEdNews – Article: Why We Allow the Destruction of Our Planet.

via Why We Allow the Destruction of Our Planet.

99 One-Liners Rebutting Denier Talking Points

download (3)

Progressives should know the disinformers’ most commonly used arguments — and how to answer them crisply. Those arguments have been repeated so many times by the fossil-fuel-funded disinformation campaign that almost everyone has heard them — and that means you’ll have to deal with them in almost any setting, from a public talk to a dinner party. You should also know as much of the science behind those rebuttals as possible, and a great place to start is BUT most of the time your best response is to give the pithiest response possible, and then refer people to a specific website  that has a more detailed scientific explanation with links to the original science. That’s because usually those you are talking to are rarely in a position to adjudicate scientific arguments. Indeed, they would probably tune out. Also, unless you know the science cold, you are as likely as not to make a misstatement. Physicist John Cook has done us a great service by posting good one-line responses and then updating them as the science evolves and as people offer better ways of phrasing. Below I have reposted the top 99 with links to the science. You can find even more here. Everybody should know the first 20 or so. For instance, if somebody raises the standard talking point (#1 on the list) that the “climate’s changed before,” you can say, “Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing.” That is actually quite similar to what was my standard response, “The climate changes when it is forced to change, and now humans are forcing it to change far more rapidly than it did in the past” (see “Humans boosting CO2 14,000 times faster than nature, overwhelming slow negative feedbacks” and “New Science Study Confirms ‘Hockey Stick’: The Rate Of Warming Since 1900 Is 50 Times Greater Than The Rate Of Cooling In Previous 5000 Years“).  Working in the “humans are now the dominant forcing” part is a good idea. Cook explains the origin of these one-liners in a 2010 post, “Rebutting skeptic arguments in a single line.” I have included the longer ‘paragraph’ rebuttals, which any CP reader who plans to speak out on this subject — in public or just with friends and associates — should also be familiar with.

download (4)

Skeptic Rebuttal One Liners

Skeptic Argument One Liner Paragraph
1 “Climate’s changed before” Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing. Natural climate change in the past proves that climate is sensitive to an energy imbalance. If the planet accumulates heat, global temperatures will go up. Currently, CO2 is imposing an energy imbalance due to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Past climate change actually provides evidence for our climate’s sensitivity to CO2.
2 “It’s the sun” In the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been going in opposite directions In the last 35 years of global warming, the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. Sun and climate have been going in opposite directions.
3 “It’s not bad” Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any positives. The negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health, economy and environment far outweigh any positives.
4 “There is no consensus” 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming. That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 19 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position.
5 “It’s cooling” The last decade 2000-2009 was the hottest on record. Empirical measurements of the Earth’s heat content show the planet is still accumulating heat and global warming is still happening. Surface temperatures can show short-term cooling when heat is exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean, which has a much greater heat capacity than the air.
6 “Models are unreliable” Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean. While there are uncertainties with climate models, they successfully reproduce the past and have made predictions that have been subsequently confirmed by observations.
7 “Temp record is unreliable” The warming trend is the same in rural and urban areas, measured by thermometers and satellites. Numerous studies into the effect of urban heat island effect and microsite influences find they have negligible effect on long-term trends, particularly when averaged over large regions.
8 “Animals and plants can adapt” Global warming will cause mass extinctions of species that cannot adapt on short time scales. A large number of ancient mass extinction events have been strongly linked to global climate change. Because current climate change is so rapid, the way species typically adapt (eg – migration) is, in most cases, simply not be possible. Global change is simply too pervasive and occurring too rapidly.
9 “It hasn’t warmed since 1998″ For global records, 2010 is the hottest year on record, tied with 2005. The planet has continued to accumulate heat since 1998 – global warming is still happening. Nevertheless, surface temperatures show much internal variability due to heat exchange between the ocean and atmosphere. 1998 was an unusually hot year due to a strong El Nino.
10 “Antarctica is gaining ice” Satellites measure Antarctica losing land ice at an accelerating rate. While the interior of East Antarctica is gaining land ice, overall Antarctica is losing land ice at an accelerating rate. Antarctic sea ice is growingdespite a strongly warming Southern Ocean.
11 “Ice age predicted in the 70s” The vast majority of climate papers in the 1970s predicted warming. 1970s ice age predictions were predominantly media based. The majority of peer reviewed research at the time predicted warming due to increasing CO2.
12 “CO2 lags temperature” CO2 didn’t initiate warming from past ice ages but it did amplify the warming. When the Earth comes out of an ice age, the warming is not initiated by CO2 but by changes in the Earth’s orbit. The warming causes the oceans to give up CO2. The CO2 amplifies the warming and mixes through the atmosphere, spreading warming throughout the planet. So CO2 causes warming ANDrising temperature causes CO2 rise.
13 “Climate sensitivity is low” Net positive feedback is confirmed by many different lines of evidence. Climate sensitivity can be calculated empirically by comparing past temperature change to natural forcings at the time. Various periods of Earth’s past have been examined in this manner and find broad agreement of a climate sensitivity of around 3°C.
14 “We’re heading into an ice age” Worry about global warming impacts in the next 100 years, not an ice age in over 10,000 years. The warming effect from more CO2 greatly outstrips the influence from changes in the Earth’s orbit or solar activity, even if solar levels were to drop to Maunder Minimum levels.
15 “Ocean acidification isn’t serious” Ocean acidification threatens entire marine food chains. Past history shows that when CO2 rose sharply, this corresponded with mass extinctions of coral reefs. Currently, CO2 levels are rising faster than any other time in known history. The change in seawater pH over the 21st Century is projected to be faster than anytime over the last 800,000 years and will create conditions not seen on Earth for at least 40 million years.

16 “Hockey stick is broken” Recent studies agree that recent global temperatures are unprecedented in the last 1000 years. Since the hockey stick paper in 1998, there have been a number of proxy studies analysing a variety of different sources including corals, stalagmites, tree rings, boreholes and ice cores. They all confirm the original hockey stick conclusion: the 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years and that warming was most dramatic after 1920.
17 “Climategate CRU emails suggest conspiracy” A number of investigations have cleared scientists of any wrongdoing in the media-hyped email incident. While some of the private correspondance is not commendable, an informed examination of their ‘suggestive’ emails reveal technical discussions using techniques well known in the peer reviewed literature. Focusing on a few suggestive emails merely serves to distract from the wealth of empirical evidence for man-made global warming.
18 “Hurricanes aren’t linked to global warming” There is increasing evidence that hurricanes are getting stronger due to global warming. It is unclear whether global warming is increasing hurricane frequency but there is increasing evidence that warming increases hurricane intensity.
19 “Al Gore got it wrong” Al Gore book is quite accurate, and far more accurate than contrarian books. While there are minor errors in An Inconvenient Truth, the main truths presented – evidence to show mankind is causing global warming and its various impacts is consistent with peer reviewed science.
20 “Glaciers are growing” Most glaciers are retreating, posing a serious problem for millions who rely on glaciers for water. While there are isolated cases of growing glaciers, the overwhelming trend in glaciers worldwide is retreat. In fact, the global melt rate has been accelerating since the mid-1970s.
21 “It’s cosmic rays” Cosmic rays show no trend over the last 30 years & have had little impact on recent global warming. While the link between cosmic rays and cloud cover is yet to be confirmed, more importantly, there has been no correlation between cosmic rays and global temperatures over the last 30 years of global warming.
22 “1934 – hottest year on record” 1934 was one of the hottest years in the US, not globally. 1934 is the hottest year on record in the USA which only comprises 2% of the globe. According to NASA temperature records, the hottest year on record globally is 2005.
23 “It’s freaking cold!” A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures. Since the mid 1970s, global temperatures have been warming at around 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. However, weather imposes its own dramatic ups and downs over the long term trend. We expect to see record cold temperatures even during global warming. Nevertheless over the last decade, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows. This tendency towards hotter days is expected to increase as global warming continues into the 21st Century.
24 “Sea level rise is exaggerated” A variety of different measurements find steadily rising sea levels over the past century. Sea levels are measured by a variety of methods that show close agreement – sediment cores, tidal gauges, satellite measurements. What they find is sea level rise has been steadily accelerating over the past century.
25 “It’s Urban Heat Island effect” Urban and rural regions show the same warming trend. While urban areas are undoubtedly warmer than surrounding rural areas, this has had little to no impact on warming trends.
26 “Medieval Warm Period was warmer” Globally averaged temperature now is higher than global temperature in medieval times. While the Medieval Warm Period saw unusually warm temperatures in some regions, globally the planet was cooler than current conditions.
27 “Mars is warming” Mars is not warming globally. Martian climate is primarily driven by dust and albedo and there is little empirical evidence that Mars is showing long term warming.
28 “Arctic icemelt is a natural cycle” Thick arctic sea ice is undergoing a rapid retreat. Arctic sea ice has been retreating over the past 30 years. The rate of retreat is accelerating and in fact is exceeding most models’ forecasts.
29 “Increasing CO2 has little to no effect” The strong CO2 effect has been observed by many different measurements. An enhanced greenhouse effect from CO2 has been confirmed by multiple lines of empirical evidence. Satellite measurements of infrared spectra over the past 40 years observe less energy escaping to space at the wavelengths associated with CO2. Surface measurements find more downward infrared radiation warming the planet’s surface. This provides a direct, empirical causal link between CO2 and global warming.
30 “Oceans are cooling” The most recent ocean measurements show consistent warming. Early estimates of ocean heat from the Argo showed a cooling bias due to pressure sensor issues. Recent estimates of ocean heat that take this bias into account show continued warming of the upper ocean. This is confirmed by independent estimates of ocean heat as well as more comprehensive measurements of ocean heat down to 2000 metres deep.
31 “Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions” The natural cycle adds and removes CO2 to keep a balance; humans add extra CO2 without removing any. The CO2 that nature emits (from the ocean and vegetation) is balanced by natural absorptions (again by the ocean and vegetation). Therefore human emissions upset the natural balance, rising CO2 to levels not seen in at least 800,000 years. In fact, human emit 26 gigatonnes of CO2 per year while CO2 in the atmosphere is rising by only 15 gigatonnes per year – much of human CO2 emissions is being absorbed by natural sinks.
32 “IPCC is alarmist” Numerous papers have documented how IPCC predictions are more likely to underestimate the climate response.

The IPCC lead authors are experts in their field, instructed to fairly represent the full range of the up-to-date, peer-reviewed literature. Consequently, the IPCC reports tend to be cautious in their conclusions. Comparisons to the most recent data consistently finds that climate change is occurring more rapidly and intensely than indicated by IPCC predictions.

33 “Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas” Rising CO2 increases atmospheric water vapor, which makes global warming much worse.

Water vapour is the most dominant greenhouse gas. Water vapour is also the dominant positive feedback in our climate system and amplifies any warming caused by changes in atmospheric CO2. This positive feedback is why climate is so sensitive to CO2 warming.

34 “Polar bear numbers are increasing” Polar bears are in danger of extinction as well as many other species. While there is some uncertainty on current polar bear population trends, one thing is certain. No sea ice means no seals which means no polar bears. With Arctic sea ice retreating at an accelerating rate, the polar bear is at grave risk of extinction
35 “CO2 limits will harm the economy” The benefits of a price on carbon outweigh the costs several times over.

Economic assessments of proposed policy to put a price on carbon emissions are in widespread agreement that the net economic impact will be minor. The costs over the next several decades center around $100 per average family, or about 75 cents per person per day, and a GDP reduction of less than 1%.

36 “It’s not happening” There are many lines of evidence indicating global warming is unequivocal.

There are many lines of independent empirical evidence for global warming, from accelerated ice loss from the Arctic to Antarctica to the poleward migration of plant and animal species across the globe.

37 “Greenland was green” Other parts of the earth got colder when Greenland got warmer. The Greenland ice sheet has existed for at least 400,000 years. There may have been regions of Greenland that were ‘greener’ than today but this was not a global phenomenon.
38 “Greenland is gaining ice” Greenland on the whole is losing ice, as confirmed by satellite measurement. While the Greenland interior is in mass balance, the coastlines are losing ice. Overall Greenland is losing ice mass at an accelerating rate. From 2002 to 2009, the rate of ice mass loss doubled.
39 “CO2 is not a pollutant” Through its impacts on the climate, CO2 presents a danger to public health and welfare, and thus qualifies as an air pollutant

While there are direct ways in which CO2 is a pollutant (acidification of the ocean), its primary impact is its greenhouse warming effect. While the greenhouse effect is a natural occurence, too much warming has severe negative impacts on agriculture, health and environment.

40 “CO2 is plant food” The effects of enhanced CO2 on terrestrial plants are variable and complex and dependent on numerous factors

The effects of enhanced CO2 on terrestrial plants are variable and complex and dependent on numerous factors

41 “Other planets are warming” Mars and Jupiter are not warming, and anyway the sun has recently been cooling slightly. There are three fundamental flaws in the ‘other planets are warming’ argument. Not all planets in the solar system are warming. The sun has shown no long term trend since 1950 and in fact has shown a slight cooling trend in recent decades. There are explanations for why other planets are warming.
42 “Arctic sea ice has recovered” Thick arctic sea ice is in rapid retreat. Arctic sea ice has been steadily thinning, even in the last few years while the surface ice (eg – sea ice extent) increased slightly. Consequently, the total amount of Arctic sea ice in 2008 and 2009 are the lowest on record.
43 “There’s no empirical evidence” There are multiple lines of direct observations that humans are causing global warming. Direct observations find that CO2 is rising sharply due to human activity. Satellite and surface measurements find less energy is escaping to space at CO2 absorption wavelengths. Ocean and surface temperature measurements find the planet continues to accumulate heat. This gives a line of empirical evidence that human CO2 emissions are causing global warming.
44 “We’re coming out of the Little Ice Age” Scientists have determined that the factors which caused the Little Ice Age cooling are not currently causing global warming

The main driver of the warming from the Little Ice Age to 1940 was the warming sun with a small contribution from volcanic activity. However, solar activity leveled off after 1940 and the net influence from sun and volcano since 1940 has been slight cooling. Greenhouse gases have been the main contributor of warming since 1970.

45 “There’s no correlation between CO2 and temperature” There is long-term correlation between CO2 and global temperature; other effects are short-term. Even during a period of long term warming, there are short periods of cooling due to climate variability. Short term cooling over the last few years is largely due to a strong La Nina phase in the Pacific Ocean and a prolonged solar minimum.
46 “It cooled mid-century” Mid-century cooling involved aerosols and is irrelevant for recent global warming. There are a number of forcings which affect climate (eg – stratospheric aerosols, solar variations). When all forcings are combined, they show good correlation to global temperature throughout the 20th century including the mid-century cooling period. However, for the last 35 years, the dominant forcing has been CO2.
47 “CO2 was higher in the past” When CO2 was higher in the past, the sun was cooler. When CO2 levels were higher in the past, solar levels were also lower. The combined effect of sun and CO2 matches well with climate.
48 “It warmed before 1940 when CO2 was low” Early 20th century warming is due to several causes, including rising CO2. Early 20th century warming was in large part due to rising solar activity and relatively quiet volcanic activity. However, both factors have played little to no part in the warming since 1975. Solar activity has been steady since the 50′s. Volcanoes have been relatively frequent and if anything, have exerted a cooling effect.
49 “Global warming stopped in 1998,19952002,20072010, ????” Global temperature is still rising and 2010 was the hottest recorded.

2007′s dramatic cooling is driven by strong La Nina conditions which historically has caused similar drops in global temperature. It is also exacerbated by unusually low solar activity.

50 “Satellites show no warming in the troposphere” The most recent satellite data show that the earth as a whole is warming. Satellite measurements match model results apart from in the tropics. There is uncertainty with the tropical data due to how various teams correct for satellite drift. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program concludes the discrepancy is most likely due to data errors.
51 “It’s aerosols” Aerosols have been masking global warming, which would be worse otherwise. The global dimming trend reversed around 1990 – 15 years after the global warming trend began in the mid 1970′s.
52 “It’s El Niño” El Nino has no trend and so is not responsible for the trend of global warming. The El Nino Southern Oscillation shows close correlation to global temperatures over the short term. However, it is unable to explain the long term warming trend over the past few decades.
53 “2009-2010 winter saw record cold spells” A cold day in Chicago in winter has nothing to do with the trend of global warming. The cold snap is due to a strong phase of the Arctic Oscillation. This is causing cool temperatures at mid-latitudes (eg – Eurasia and North America) and warming in polar regions (Greenland and Arctic Ocean). The warm and cool regions roughly balance each other out with little impact on global temperature.
54 “It’s a natural cycle” No known natural forcing fits the fingerprints of observed warming except anthropogenic greenhouse gases. A natural cycle requires a forcing, and no known forcing exists that fits the fingerprints of observed warming – except anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
55 “Mt. Kilimanjaro’s ice loss is due to land use” Most glaciers are in rapid retreat worldwide, notwithstanding a few complicated cases. Mount Kilimanjaro’s shrinking glacier is complicated and not due to just global warming. However, this does not mean the Earth is not warming. There is ample evidence that Earth’s average temperature has increased in the past 100 years and the decline of mid- and high-latitude glaciers is a major piece of evidence.
56 “There’s no tropospheric hot spot” We see a clear “short-term hot spot” – there’s various evidence for a “long-term hot spot”. Satellite measurements match model results apart from in the tropics. There is uncertainty with the tropic data due to how various teams correct for satellite drift. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program conclude the discrepancy is most likely due to data errors.
57 “It’s not us” Multiple sets of independent observations find a human fingerprint on climate change. The human fingerprint in global warming is evident in multiple lines of empirical evidence – in satellite measurements of outgoing infrared radiation, in surface measurements of downward infrared radiation, in the cooling stratosphere and other metrics.
58 “It’s Pacific Decadal Oscillation” The PDO shows no trend, and therefore the PDO is not responsible for the trend of global warming. PDO as an oscillation between positive and negative values shows no long term trend, while temperature shows a long term warming trend. When the PDO last switched to a cool phase, global temperatures were about 0.4C cooler than currently. The long term warming trend indicates the total energy in the Earth’s climate system is increasing due to an energy imbalance.
59 “IPCC were wrong about Himalayan glaciers” Glaciers are in rapid retreat worldwide, despite 1 error in 1 paragraph in a 1000 page IPCC report.

The IPCC error on the 2035 prediction was unfortunate and it’s important that such mistakes are avoided in future publications through more rigorous review. But the central message of the IPCC AR4, is confirmed by the peer reviewed literature. The Himalayan glaciers are of vital importance, providing drinking water to half a billion people. Satellites and on-site measurements are observing that Himalayan glaciers are disappearing at an accelerating rate.

60 “Scientists can’t even predict weather” Weather and climate are different; climate predictions do not need weather detail. Weather is chaotic, making prediction difficult. However, climate takes a long term view, averaging weather out over time. This removes the chaotic element, enabling climate models to successfully predict future climate change.
61 “Greenhouse effect has been falsified” The greenhouse effect is standard physics and confirmed by observations. The atmosphere of the Earth is less able to absorb shortwave radiation from the Sun than thermal radiation coming from the surface. The effect of this disparity is that thermal radiation escaping to space comes mostly from the cold upper atmosphere, while the surface is maintained at a substantially warmer temperature. This is called the “atmospheric greenhouse effect”, and without it the Earth’s surface would be much colder.
62 “2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory” The 2nd law of thermodynamics is consistent with the greenhouse effect which is directly observed. The atmosphere of the Earth is less able to absorb shortwave radiation from the Sun than thermal radiation coming from the surface. The effect of this disparity is that thermal radiation escaping to space comes mostly from the cold upper atmosphere, while the surface is maintained at a substantially warmer temperature. This is called the “atmospheric greenhouse effect”, and without it the Earth’s surface would be much colder.
63 “The science isn’t settled” That human CO2 is causing global warming is known with high certainty & confirmed by observations. Science is never 100% settled – science is about narrowing uncertainty. Different areas of science are understood with varying degrees of certainty. For example, we have a lower understanding of the effect of aerosols while we have a high understanding of the warming effect of carbon dioxide. Poorly understood aspects of climate change do not change the fact that a great deal of climate science is well understood.
64 “Clouds provide negative feedback” Evidence is building that net cloud feedback is likely positive and unlikely to be strongly negative. Although the cloud feedback is one of the largest remaining uncertainties in climate science, evidence is building that the net cloud feedback is likely positive, and unlikely to be strongly negative.
65 “Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated” Sea level rise is now increasing faster than predicted due to unexpectedly rapid ice melting. Observed sea levels are actually tracking at the upper range of the IPCC projections. When accelerating ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica are factored into sea level projections, the estimated sea level rise by 2100 is between 75cm to 2 metres.
66 “It’s the ocean” The oceans are warming and moreover are becoming more acidic, threatening the food chain. Oceans are warming across the globe. In fact, globally oceans are accumulating energy at a rate of 4 x 1021 Joules per year – equivalent to 127,000 nuclear plants (which have an average output of 1 gigawatt) pouring their energy directly into the world’s oceans. This tells us the planet is in energy imbalance – more energy is coming in than radiating back out to space.
67 “IPCC were wrong about Amazon rainforests” The IPCC statement on Amazon rainforests was correct, and was incorrectly reported in some media. The IPCC statement on Amazon rain forests is correct. The error was incorrect citation, failing to mention the peer-reviewed papers where the data came from. The peer-reviewed science prior to the 2007 IPCC report found that up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is vulnerable to drought. Subsequent field research has confirmed this assessment.
68 “Corals are resilient to bleaching” Globally about 1% of coral is dying out each year. On a world scale coral reefs are in decline. Over the last 30-40 years 80% of coral in the Caribbean have been destroyed and 50% in Indonesia and the Pacific. Bleaching associated with the 1982 -1983 El-Nino killed over 95% of coral in the Galapagos Islands and the 1997-1998 El-Nino alone wiped out 16% of all coral on the planet. Globally about 1% of coral is dying out each year.
69 “Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans” Humans emit 100 times more CO2 than volcanoes. Volcanoes emit around 0.3 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. This is about 1% of human CO2 emissions which is around 29 billion tonnes per year.
70 “CO2 effect is saturated” Direct measurements find that rising CO2 is trapping more heat. If the CO2 effect was saturated, adding more CO2 should add no additional greenhouse effect. However, satellite and surface measurements observe an enhanced greenhouse effect at the wavelengths that CO2 absorb energy. This is empirical proof that the CO2 effect is not saturated.
71 “Greenland ice sheet won’t collapse” When Greenland was 3 to 5 degrees C warmer than today, a large portion of the Ice Sheet melted. Satellite gravity measurements show Greenland is losing ice mass at an accelerated rate, increasing its contribution to rising sea levels.
72 “It’s methane” Methane plays a minor role in global warming but could get much worse if permafrost starts to melt. While methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, there is over 200 times more CO2 in the atmosphere. Hence the amount of warming methane contributes is 28% of the warming CO2 contributes.
73 “CO2 has a short residence time” Excess CO2 from human emissions has a long residence time of over 100 years Individual carbon dioxide molecules have a short life time of around 5 years in the atmosphere. However, when they leave the atmosphere, they’re simply swapping places with carbon dioxide in the ocean. The final amount of extra CO2 that remains in the atmosphere stays there on a time scale of centuries.
74 “CO2 measurements are suspect” CO2 levels are measured by hundreds of stations across the globe, all reporting the same trend. CO2 levels are measured by hundreds of stations scattered across 66 countries which all report the same rising trend.
75 “Humidity is falling” Multiple lines of independent evidence indicate humidity is rising and provides positive feedback. To claim that humidity is decreasing requires you ignore a multitude of independent reanalyses that all show increasing humidity. It requires you accept a flawed reanalysis that even its own authors express caution about. It fails to explain how we can have short-term positive feedback and long-term negative feedback. In short, to insist that humidity is decreasing is to neglect the full body of evidence.
76 “500 scientists refute the consensus” Around 97% of climate experts agree that humans are causing global warming. Close inspection of the studies alleged to refute man-made global warming finds that many of these papers do no such thing. Of the few studies that do claim to refute man-made global warming, these repeat well debunked myths.
77 “Neptune is warming” And the sun is cooling. Neptune’s orbit is 164 years so observations (1950 to present day) span less than a third of a Neptunian year. Climate modelling of Neptune suggests its brightening is a seasonal response. Eg – Neptune’s southern hemisphere is heading into summer.
78 “Springs aren’t advancing” Hundreds of flowers across the UK are flowering earlier now than any time in 250 years. A synthesis of nearly 400,000 first flowering records covering 405 species across the UK found that British plants are flowering earlier now than at any time in the last 250 years.
79 “Jupiter is warming” Jupiter is not warming, and anyway the sun is cooling. Jupiter’s climate change is due to shifts in internal turbulence fueled from an internal heat source – the planet radiates twice as much energy as it receives from the sun.
80 “It’s land use” Land use plays a minor role in climate change, although carbon sequestration may help to mitigate. Correlations between warming and economic activity are most likely spurious. They don’t take into account local forcing agents such as tropospheric ozone or black carbon. Correlations are likely over-estimated since grid boxes in both economic and climate data are not independent. Lastly, there is significant independent evidence for warming in the oceans, snow cover and sea ice extent changes.
81 “Scientists tried to ‘hide the decline’ in global temperature” The ‘decline’ refers to a decline in northern tree-rings, not global temperature, and is openly discussed in papers and the IPCC reports. ‘Mike’s Nature trick’ refers to the technique of plotting recent instrumental data along with the reconstructed data. This places recent global warming trends in the context of temperature changes over longer time scales. “Hide the decline” refers to a decline in the reliability of tree rings to reflect temperatures after 1960. This is known as the ‘divergence problem’ where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960, discussed in the peer reviewed literature as early as 1995.
82 “CO2 is not increasing” CO2 is increasing rapidly, and is reaching levels not seen on the earth for millions of years. Currently, humans are emitting around 29 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year. Around 43% remains in the atmosphere – this is called the ‘airborne fraction’. The rest is absorbed by vegetation and the oceans. While there are questions over how much the airborne fraction is increasing, it is clear that the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing dramatically. Current CO2 levels are the highest in 15 million years.
83 “Record snowfall disproves global warming” Warming leads to increased evaporation and precipitation, which falls as increased snow in winter. To claim that record snowfall is inconsistent with a warming world betrays a lack of understanding of the link between global warming and extreme precipitation. Warming causes more moisture in the air which leads to more extreme precipitation events. This includes more heavy snowstorms in regions where snowfall conditions are favourable. Far from contradicting global warming, record snowfall is predicted by climate models and consistent with our expectation of more extreme precipitation events.
84 “They changed the name from global warming to climate change” ‘Global warming’ and ‘climate change’ mean different things and have both been used for decades. There have long been claims that some unspecificed “they” has “changed the name from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’”. In reality, the two terms mean different things, have both been used for decades, and the only individual to have specifically advocated changing the name in this fashion is a global warming ‘skeptic’.
85 “Solar Cycle Length proves its the sun” The sun has not warmed since 1970 and so cannot be driving global warming. The claim that solar cycle length proves the sun is driving global warming is based on a single study published in 1991. Subsequent research, including a paper by a co-author of the original 1991 paper, finds the opposite conclusion. Solar cycle length as a proxy for solar activity tells us the sun has had very little contribution to global warming since 1975.
86 “CO2 is coming from the ocean” The ocean is absorbing massive amounts of CO2, and is becoming more acidic as a result. Measurements of carbon isotopes and falling oxygen in the atmosphere show that rising carbon dioxide is due to the burning of fossil fuels and cannot be coming from the ocean.
87 “IPCC overestimate temperature rise” Monckton used the IPCC equation in an inappropriate manner. Lord Monckton has taken a single equation from the IPCC, used it in an inappropriate manner, and then attributed his results to the IPCC. This is as if I borrowed your car, drove into a tree, and then blamed you. He uses a method that is clearly intended to examine the long-term response of temperature to changes in carbon dioxide, and which is never used by the IPCC (nor should it be) to make predictions about current temperature trends. A slight change in Lord Monckton’s methodology as of July 2010 still does not make his method or attribution remotely appropriate.
88 “CO2 is not the only driver of climate” Theory, models and direct measurement confirm CO2 is currently the main driver of climate change. While there are many drivers of climate, CO2 is the most dominant radiative forcing and is increasing faster than any other forcing.
89 “Peer review process was corrupted” An Independent Review concluded that CRU’s actions were normal and didn’t threaten the integrity of peer review. The Independent Climate Change Email Review investigated the CRU scientists’ actions relating to peer review. In one case, it judged their strong reaction to a controversial paper was not unusual. In another, it turned out the alleged victim had actually been spreading malicious rumours about CRU. In a third, the allegation of collusion fell apart when the full email exchange was examined. The Review concluded that CRU’s actions were normal and did not threaten the integrity of peer review.
90 “Southern sea ice is increasing” Antarctic sea ice has grown in recent decades despite the Southern Ocean warming at the same time. Antarctic sea ice has growing over the last few decades but it certainly is not due to cooling – the Southern Ocean has shown warming over same period. Increasing southern sea ice is due to a combination of complex phenomena including cyclonic winds around Antarctica and changes in ocean circulation.
91 “It’s microsite influences” Microsite influences on temperature changes are minimal; good and bad sites show the same trend. Poor weather stations actually show a coolertrend compared to well sited stations. This is due to instrumentation changes. When this is taken into account, there’s negligible difference between poor and well sited stations.
92 “Phil Jones says no global warming since 1995″ Phil Jones was misquoted. When you read Phil Jones’ actual words, you see he’s saying thereisa warming trend but it’s not statistically significant. He’s not talking about whether warming is actually happening. He’s discussing our ability to detect that warming trend in a noisy signal over a short period.
93 “Humans are too insignificant to affect global climate” Humans are small but powerful, and human CO2 emissions are causing global warming. Atmospheric CO2 levels are rising by 15 gigatonnes per year. Humans are emitting 26 gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Humans are dramatically altering the composition of our climate.
94 “Lindzen and Choi find low climate sensitivity” Lindzen and Choi’s paper is viewed as unacceptably flawed by other climate scientists. Lindzen’s analysis has several flaws, such as only looking at data in the tropics. A number of independent studies using near-global satellite data find positive feedback and high climate sensitivity.
95 “Dropped stations introduce warming bias” If the dropped stations had been kept, the temperature would actually be slightly higher. Dropped weather stations actually show a slightly warmer trend compared to kept stations. So the removal of these faster warming dropped stations has actually imposed a slight cooling trend although the difference is negligible since 1970.
96 “It’s too hard” Scientific studies have determined that current technology is sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid dangerous climate change. The argument that solving the global warming problem by reducing human greenhouse gas emissions is “too hard” generally stems from the belief that (i) our technology is not sufficiently advanced to achieve significant emissions reductions, and/or (ii) that doing so would cripple the global economy. However, studies have determined that current technology is sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the necessary amount, and that we can do so without significant impact on the economy.
97 “It’s albedo” Albedo change in the Arctic, due to receding ice, is increasing global warming. The long term trend from albedo is that of cooling. In recent years, satellite measurements of albedo show little to no trend.
98 “Tree-rings diverge from temperature after 1960″ This is a detail that is complex, local, and irrelevant to the observed global warming trend. The divergence problem is a physical phenomenon – tree growth has slowed or declined in the last few decades, mostly in high northern latitudes. The divergence problem is unprecedented, unique to the last few decades, indicating its cause may be anthropogenic. The cause is likely to be a combination of local and global factors such as warming-induced drought and global dimming. Tree-ring proxy reconstructions are reliable before 1960, tracking closely with the instrumental record and other independent proxies.
99 “Hansen’s 1988 prediction was wrong” Jim Hansen had several possible scenarios; his mid-level scenario B was right.

Subsequent comparison of observations with predictions find that Hansen’s Scenario B (which most closely matched the level of CO2 emissions) shows close correlation with observed temperatures.

download (5)

via 99 One-Liners Rebutting Denier Talking Points — With Links To The Full Climate Science | ThinkProgress. via 99 One-Liners Rebutting Denier Talking Points — With Links To The Full Climate Science | ThinkProgress.

Scientists Engineer Extreme Microorganisms To Make Fuel From Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Scientists Engineer Extreme Microorganisms To Make Fuel From Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

A University of Georgia team tinkered with the genes of Pyrococcus furiosus, and the new breed is hungry for the smoggy stuff.

P. furiosus Bacterium Missouri University of Science and Technology

To find a way of fending off global warming, scientists sometimes look to nature. Plants, after all, use photosynthesis to snap up carbon dioxide, the biggest source of our climate change woes. So we get inventions like artificial leaves and ambitious projects like a plan to give fish photosynthesizing powers. One of the more interesting plans: genetically alter microorganisms so they can chow down on some CO2, too.

University of Georgia researchers recently used the mighty Pyrococcus furiosus, which usually eats carbohydrates and lives in super-heated waters or volcanic marine mud (ideally, for it, at about 100 degrees Celsius). By toying with the genome-sequenced microorganism’s genetic material, they were able to make it comfortable in much cooler waters, and to eat carbon dioxide. After that, using hydrogen gas to form a chemical reaction in the microorganism, the researchers got the microorganism to produce 3-hydroxypropionic acid, a common chemical used in household products. That’s been done before, but the researchers are looking into turning the process into one that could eventually produce fuel.

If it is able to produce fuel, that wouldn’t make it the first bacteria-like organism to do so. Others have been able to make that happen in a lab. But for anyone working on it, the next move after proving it works is scaling up. Then, ideally, we’ll start getting water bottles that can power our homes.

via Scientists Engineer Extreme Microorganisms To Make Fuel From Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide | Popular Science.

via Scientists Engineer Extreme Microorganisms To Make Fuel From Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide | Popular Science.

Research Reveals Almost All Climate Science Denial Books Linked To Conservative Think Tanks

IF you haven’t seen them on the television or come across their interviews on the radio or in newspapers and magazines, then you’ve almost certainly seen their work as your eyes scan the climate change section in your local book store or library.

They are the authors of books claiming to reveal the “real truth” about global warming and climate change – that it’s either all a hoax, that it’s overblown bad science from green ideologues or an elaborate illusion and wrongheaded nonsense.

You might have been intrigued by titles like “An Appeal To Reason: A Cool Look At Global Warming“, “The Climate Caper” or the subtle sledgehammer that was “Global Warming and Other Bollocks”.

But new research into the origins and authors of more than 100 of these climate science denial books finds almost all of them – about four out of five – are largely the products of conservative-leaning think tanks.

The research finds the books avoid traditional academic peer-review and are often written by non-experts. Dr Riley Dunlap, of Oklahoma State University, and Peter Jacques, of the University of Central Florida, have published their research – Climate Change Denial Books and Conservative Think Tanks: Exploring the Connection – in the journal American Behavioural Scientist.

Sponsoring books “espousing climate change denial” has been a key tool for conservative think tanks to get the climate science denial message out to corporations, politicians and media leaders.

They are clearly a vital weapon in the conservative movement’s war on climate science, and one of the key means by which it diffuses climate change denial throughout American society and into other nations.

Getting a book published helps authors to be seen as ‘climate experts’ even if they don’t have the relevant academic expertise. They get interviewed and quoted by mainstream media and name-dropped by conservative politicians and corporate bosses. “Books confer a sense of legitimacy on their authors and provide them an effective tool for combating findings of climate scientists,” the researchers say.

The study covers the publication of 108 books between 1982 and 2010. To qualify as a denial book, the authors had to either reject the position that global warming was happening, that it was caused by humans or that the impacts on society and the environment would be negative. When the researchers looked at the qualifications of the 106 authors, co-authors or editors of the books, they found less than 40 per cent had anything close to a relevant academic degree. None of the books were published by a university-affiliated publishing house and almost all were unlikely to have gone through any kind of academic peer-review.

The general lack of peer-review allows authors or editors of denial books to make inaccurate assertions that misrepresent the current state of climate science. Like the vast range of other non-peer-reviewed material produced by the denial community, book authors can make whatever claims they wish, no matter how scientifically unfounded.

The very first climate denial book, according to the study, was Sherwood Idso’s Carbon Dioxide:Friend or Foe published in 1982, but there were no more denial books until 1989, at which point three or four were produced each year.

But in 2007, the number spiked to 13. In 2008, there were 14; 2009 got 21 and 2010 had 15. The authors put the sudden surge of denialism on the bookshelves down to Al Gore‘s 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth major report which laid the blame for global warming primarily with human causes.

Most of the books covered have US origins, but the study also shows how they have been used to promote climate science denial in other nations, in particular the UK, Canada and Australia.

While not covered in the research, many of the conservative think tanks involved have accepted cash from fossil fuel interests over the years, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, The Cato Institute, George C. Marshall Institute, and The Heartland Institute. Others, such as the Institute of Public Affairs in Australia or the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the UK, have consistently refused to reveal their donors.

Dr Dunlap told DeSmogBlog that it was hard to quantify accurately the impact the books had had on policy debates and the public perception of climate change science, but he said:

Keep in mind that they are just a small part of the wealth of material that conservative think tanks put out or help produce on climate change denial – there are reports, op-eds and TV interviews. But I do think that the better selling ones, almost always connected to a conservative think tanks, get a good deal of visibility.  They are commonplace in major bookstores, where they are viewed if not bought by a huge number of people browsing the shelves.  I think they clearly reinforce the message that climate change is not a threat, and maybe even a hoax, that is constantly put out by the conservative think tanks. Books tend to convey some degree of (false) credibility on their authors, allowing them to be viewed as “experts” despite their lack of scientific expertise.  In the case of the successful books, I think this results in at least some interviews on TV and radio, and thus their messages are greatly amplified.

So what should readers do if they want to inform themselves on climate change? Dr Dunlap has some advice:

At a minimum, readers should be cautious if there is any indication that the authors or editors are affiliated with a conservative think tank and/or if the book is published by one.  More generally, I strongly recommend that people consult Google Scholar to see if an author has credibility.  If a book author is making contributions to the scholarly literature, he or she is going to have publications in peer-reviewed journals and  be cited by others.  I urge readers to be leery of anyone who is not publishing in scholarly journals and especially those who are not cited in such literature.  Google Scholar, unlike the Science Citation Index, is freely available to everyone with access to Google, and lay people can learn a great deal more by consulting it that by simply browsing the web.

via Research Reveals Almost All Climate Science Denial Books Linked To Conservative Think Tanks | DeSmogBlog.

via Research Reveals Almost All Climate Science Denial Books Linked To Conservative Think Tanks | DeSmogBlog.

Plan to Impregnate the Upper Atmosphere with Sun Block!

A radical new solution to global warming has been suggested by scientists working at the University of Sevenoaks.

The idea is to pump thousands of gallons of factor fifty sun block into the upper atmosphere thus protecting the planet from sunburn.

Various governments are considering the idea and what it might cost to implement, but in theory they think it is a very clever idea.

Critics of the plan have argued that Planet Earth may develop a golden brown tan which may lead to racial unrest among the other planets, but this is difficult to prove.

It is estimated that if waterproof sunblock is used it should last about fifty years, by which time we’ll hopefully have lots of new gadgets to sort the problem out with.

The only side effect predicted by the Sevenoaks team is that the world’s atmosphere might take on a pleasant coconut odour which may upset sufferers of nut allergies.

Green campaigners who complain about the use of smashed baby orangutan baby brains in the manufacture of sunblock have promised to disrupt any attempts to implement the issue.

via Plan to Impregnate the Upper Atmosphere with Sun Block! | The Haddock Funny news, Parody spoof news satire & satirical newspaper.

via Plan to Impregnate the Upper Atmosphere with Sun Block! | The Haddock Funny news, Parody spoof news satire & satirical newspaper.

Germany’s New Green War On Cow Farts


It’s a different kind of toxic emission, but scientists have indeed measured the environmental impact of the methane gases let out by flatulent livestock. And now the President of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Jochen Flasbarth, wants farmers to shoulder more responsibility for climate protection.

“In the medium term we could at least include the large livestock farmers in the emissions trading system,” Flasbarth told Die Welt. This would mean that farmers would have to buy the relevant number of pollution credits corresponding to the size of their farm.

“Cattle contribute greatly to high methane emissions that cause a lot of climate damage,” Flasbarth said.

If – instead of keeping the animals in stables – industrial cattle farmers raised them outdoors thus changing their diet these emissions could be lowered. “We make the mistake of raising cattle indoors and importing their feed from overseas.”

In 2011, farming accounted for 8% of climate-relevant emissions in Germany. If the energy used to make fertilizers and run tractors, and emissions from moorland used for agricultural purposes, are factored in – that figure rises to 13%.

Also with regard to climate protection, Flasbarth supports drastically reducing the amount of fertilizers used. “In the environment, nitrogen converts to nitrous oxide which causes 300 times more damage to the environment than carbon dioxide,” said Flasbarth.

Flasbarth says in Germany alone 3.2 million tons of pure nitrogen are released into the environment every year.


via Germany’s New Green War On Cow Farts – Everyday fresh news from ALL the WORLD only on |.

via Germany’s New Green War On Cow Farts – Everyday fresh news from ALL the WORLD only on |.

Steady as she goes: global climatic denial guarantees chaotic future

A giant tanker ship carrying 150,000 cubic metres of gas left Norway earlier this month for Japan. The vessel, Ob River, is taking a short cut that will trim several thousand kilometres off the trip. Its historic voyage would, just a decade ago would have been inconceivable even in high summer. The Ob River is travelling through the remnants of the once-frozen Arctic ocean – in the depths of winter.

While 17,000 politicians, NGOs and policymakers gather this week in Doha for the 18th annual talking shop of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), back in the real world, temperatures are rising, ice is melting relentlessly and the planet is quickly slipping into a new, chaotic climatic era that scientific studies have been warning about for decades.

Three separate major reports this month, from the World Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the European Environment Agency all point to the same stark conclusion: the climate crisis is rapidly turning into an planetary emergency that is fast moving beyond humanity’s ability to contain, let alone reverse, it.

“This isn’t about shock tactics, it’s simple maths”, according to Leo Johnson of PwC. “One thing is clear: businesses, governments and communities across the world need to plan for a (dangerously) warming world – not just 2C, but 4C, and, at our current rates, 6C.”

Even at 2C over pre-industrial levels, the world is likely to have stepped into the abyss of irreversible climate disruption. As that approaches 4-6C, “we are passing through the gates of hell” in the words of one senior scientist. The World Bank Report warned that India would lose half its grain crops and Africa a third of its arable land at just 2C global average temperature increase.

Drought and famines will quickly spread into what are today some of the world’s most important food-producing regions – northern China, the US mid-west, much of the Middle East, as well as India and Pakistan are all facing collapse in water supplies within 10-20 years.

PwC calculates that, to have a 50:50 chance of avoiding the 2C climate ‘red line’, annual carbon emissions reductions of 5.1 per cent will have to be achieved, year on year from now until 2050. In reality, emissions are heading in the opposite direction, currently growing at over 2.5 per cent annually. Not since World War Two have global emissions ever actually declined by this level, and even then, it was for five, not 40 years.

“The new data provides further evidence that the door to a 2C trajectory is about to close”, Fatih Birol, chief economist with the International Energy agency said recently. John Steinbruner, lead author of a study for the US Central Intelligence Agency commented: “climate extremes are going to be more frequent…we’re also saying it could get a whole lot worse”.

The US military, not renowned for environmental alarmism, is now bracing for the collapse of multiple states, as floods, famine and disease triggers involuntary mass migration across international borders, on a scale that will rapidly overwhelm any capacity to respond. Ironically, publication of this CIA study was delayed by 10 days as Hurricane Sandy shut down the US Federal government last month.

“We’re on track for a 4C warmer world marked by extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise,” according to the World Bank report entitled ‘Turn Down the Heat’. A 4C rise this century is “a doomsday scenario”, World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim acknowledged glumly.

The UN conference in Doha comes just weeks after the expiry of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which has had only marginal impact in curbing global emissions. There is nothing on the table at Doha that will have any material impact on staving off calamity. The host country, Qatar, is the perfect metaphor for the paradox of progress, as it depends for its wealth on vast reserves of climate-destroying fossil fuels. Scientists estimate that 80 per cent of all known fossil fuel reserves (worth some $20 trillion) must remain in the ground if disaster is to be averted.

We now have no choice but to forego the easy wealth that comes from burning this vast carbon store and instead switch on a massive scale to low-carbon sources, such as renewables and nuclear power, as well as drastic improvements in energy efficiency. Like it or not, this also means the effective winding down of consumption-based capitalism and big drops in living standards.

Once we finally grasp that the consequences of ‘business as usual’ are unimaginably grim, political and economic changes that today seem unthinkable may soon be inevitable. The global slave trade went, in a matter of years, from an indispensable pillar of the world economy to being morally repulsive. To have a future, humanity’s relationships with fossil energy may very soon have to undergo a similar transformation.

John Gibbons is an environmental writer and commentator.

He is on Twitter: @think_or_swim

via ThinkOrSwim (the Blog) | Climate Change, Sustainability and Global Warming.

via ThinkOrSwim (the Blog) | Climate Change, Sustainability and Global Warming.

World Bank: “4°C Warming Simply Must Not Be Allowed To Occur”

The noted tree-hugging hippies at the World Bank have a new report out warning of the dangers of 4 degrees Celsius—or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit—of global warming.

In an introduction, World Bank president Dr. Jim Yong Kim writes that he hopes the report “shocks us into action.” The impacts of 4-degree warming cited in the report include:

By the end of the century, sea-levels will rise by one meter or more as the ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic.

Drought and extreme temperatures will increase in areas like Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

Ocean acidity will increase 150 percent.

Agricultural production will decrease in many areas.

Water resources will be strained.

Major ecosystems like coral reefs and the Amazon rainforest will be destroyed.

Of course an average of 4 degrees warming across the globe doesn’t look the same everywhere. Some areas are wetter. Some are drier. Some will actually be 6 degrees warmer. Some get cyclones. Some get floods. All together, the report finds that it will be very bad, particular for the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

Here’s why the World Bank cares:

It seems clear that climate change in a 4°C world could seriously undermine poverty alleviation in many regions. This 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 capacities 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 toward development goals will be possible at this level of climate change, the projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur—the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative, international actions can make that happen.

The report comes just ahead of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which begins on Nov. 26. Three years ago, leaders agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees as part of a non-binding political accord. But that plan is really just on paper; the science shows that the world is on path to churn right past 2 degrees and hit 4 degrees by 2100. Nations don’t seem likely to take the much-more aggressive measures necessary to hit that target any time soon.

via World Bank: “4°C Warming Simply Must Not Be Allowed To Occur” | Mother Jones.

via World Bank: “4°C Warming Simply Must Not Be Allowed To Occur” | Mother Jones.

World Bank Climate Change Report Says ‘Turn Down The Heat’ On Warming Planet

WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Reuters) – All nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but it is the world’s poorest countries that will be hit hardest by food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought, the World Bank said in a report on climate change.

Under new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the global development lender has launched a more aggressive stance to integrate climate change into development.

“We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change. It is one of the single biggest challenges to social justice today,” Kim told reporters on a conference call on Friday.

The report, called “Turn Down the Heat,” highlights the devastating impact of a world hotter by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, a likely scenario under current policies, according to the report.

Climate change is already having an effect: Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in September, and extreme heat waves and drought in the last decade have hit places like the United States and Russia more often than would be expected from historical records, the report said.

Such extreme weather is likely to become the “new normal” if the temperature rises by 4 degrees, according to the World Bank report. This is likely to happen if not all countries comply with pledges they have made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even assuming full compliance, the world will warm by more than 3 degrees by 2100.

In this hotter climate, the level of the sea would rise by up to 3 feet, flooding cities in places like Vietnam and Bangladesh. Water scarcity and falling crop yields would exacerbate hunger and poverty.

Extreme heat waves would devastate broad swaths of the earth’s land, from the Middle East to the United States, the report says. The warmest July in the Mediterranean could be 9 degrees hotter than it is today — akin to temperatures seen in the Libyan desert.

The combined effect of all these changes could be even worse, with unpredictable effects that people may not be able to adapt to, said John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, which along with Climate Analytics prepared the report for the World Bank.

“If you look at all these things together, like organs cooperating in a human body, you can think about acceleration of this dilemma,” said Schellnhuber, who studied chaos theory as a physicist. “The picture reads that this is not where we want the world to go.”


As the first scientist to head the World Bank, Kim has pointed to “unequivocal” scientific evidence for man-made climate change to urge countries to do more.

Kim said 97 percent of scientists agree on the reality of climate change.

“It is my hope that this report shocks us into action,” Kim, writes in the report.

Scientists are convinced that global warming in the past century is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. These findings by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were recognized by the national science academies of all major industrialized nations in a joint statement in 2010.

Kim said the World Bank plans to further meld climate change with development in its programs.

Last year, the Bank doubled its funding for countries seeking to adapt to climate change, and now operates $7.2 billion in climate investment funds in 48 countries.

The World Bank study comes as almost 200 nations will meet in Doha, Qatar, from Nov. 26 to Dec. 7 to try to extend the Kyoto Protocol, the existing plan for curbing greenhouse gas emissions by developed nations that runs to the end of the year.

They have been trying off and on since Kyoto was agreed in 1997 to widen limits on emissions but have been unable to find a formula acceptable to both rich and poor nations.

Emerging countries like China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, have said the main responsibility to cut emissions lies with developed nations, which had a headstart in sparking global warming.

Combating climate change also poses a challenge for the poverty-fighting World Bank: how to balance global warming with immediate energy needs in poor countries.

In 2010, the World Bank approved a $3.75 billion loan to develop a coal-fired power plant in South Africa despite lack of support from the United States, Netherlands and Britain due to environmental concerns.

“There really is no alternative to urgent action given the devastating consequences of climate change,” global development group Oxfam said in a statement. “Now the question for the World Bank is how it will ensure that all of its investments respond to the imperatives of the report.”

Kim said the World Bank tries to avoid investing in coal unless there are no other options.

“But at the same time, we are the group of last resort in finding needed energy in countries that are desperately in search of it,” he said.

via World Bank Climate Change Report Says ‘Turn Down The Heat’ On Warming Planet.

via World Bank Climate Change Report Says ‘Turn Down The Heat’ On Warming Planet.


The Casual Way to Discuss Movies


...because it was never black & white


Art and Practice


Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.


Saving you from one cinematic disaster at a time.

From 1 Blogger 2 Another

Sharing Great Blog Posts

Wonders in the Dark

Cinema, music, opera, books, television, theater

Just Reviews

Just another site

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...


Things I never thunk before.

News from the San Diego Becks

The life and times of Erik, Veronica and Thomas

The Silent Film Quarterly

The Only Magazine Dedicated To Silent Cinema

Leaden Circles

First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air.

My Archives

because the internet is not forever


Up to the minute, fair, balanced, informed film reviews.


A Shrine to Pop Culture Obsessiveness. With Lots of Spoilers

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” – Peter DeVries


Viewing movies in a different light

Twenty Four Frames

Notes on Film by John Greco

Suzanne's Mom's Blog

Arts, Nature, Family, Good Works, Luna & Stella Birthstone Jewelry

It Doesn't Have To Be Right...

... it just has to sound plausible

NJ Corporate Portrait Photographer Blog

The life of a corporate portrait photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.


A French girl's musings...

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)

Australian movie blog - like Margaret and David, just a little younger

Octopus Films

A place for new perspectives on films, TV, media and entertainment.

scifist 2.0

A sci-fi movie history in reviews

The Reviewer's Corner

The Sometimes Serious Corner of the Internet for Anime, Manga, and Comic Reviews

Ready Steady Cut

Your favorite pop-culture site's favorite pop-culture site

First Impressions

Notes on Films and Culture

1,001 Movies Reviewed Before You Die

Where I Review One of the 1,001 Movies You Should Watch Before you Die Every Day

Movies Galore of Milwaukee

Movie Galore takes a look at Silent films on up to current in development projects and gives their own opinion on what really does happen in film!

The Catwing Has Landed

A Writer's Blog About Life and Random Things

Anime - Movies - Wrestling

Gabriel Diego Valdez

Movies and how they change you.

The Horror Incorporated Project

Lurking among the corpses are the body snatchers....plotting their next venture into the graveyard....the blood in your veins will run cold, your spine tingle, as you look into the terror of death in tonight's feature....come along with me into the chamber of horrors, for an excursion through.... Horror Incorporated!

Relatos desde mi ventana

Sentimientos, emociones y reflexiones

Teri again

Finding Me; A site about my life before and after a divorce

unveiled rhythms

Life In Verses

Gareth Roberts

Unorthodox Marketing & Strategy

leeg schrift


100 Films in a Year

12 months. 100 films. Hopefully.

%d bloggers like this: