We, for our part, took the occasion of COPMOP1 to experiment with a blog. It was fun, intermittently illuminating, and occasionally thereapeutic. Our big success was that, in it, we finally succeeded in a long-time effort to engage the anti emissions trading folks in a public debate. To pick up that debate from the beginning, see Cloud Cukcoo Land. To drop in at a more orderly restart, see Cutting Through the Smoke on Trading. And, hey, feel free to contribute. This is definately a work in progress.
Just in case you’re in a good mood, we offer you this exploration of a most difficult subject — What is the science actually telling us, and how should we pass it on It doesn’t directly address “the equity issue,” but it helps, we think, to lay the foundation upon which real climate equity will have to be built… Continue reading “Honesty About Dangerous Climate Change”
Excuse the didactic tone we’re taking here…
We stand, first, with the emerging scientific consensus, which tells us we have very little time to act if we honestly expect to avoid a global (as opposed to a “merely local”) climate catastrophe. Further, we insist, contrary to the pretended realism of those who seek to be “reasonable,” on a rather direct approach. We do not, for example, imagine that carbon concentrations that would quite probably yield 3C or 4C of warming can reasonably be considered “safe.” (See this 2004 essay for technical details). Instead, we prefer to stay in the reality-based world of those (the E.U., the Climate Action Network) who draw the line at 2C maximum (which is itself not by any means safe) and who admit that avoiding a global climate catastrophe is going to be difficult indeed. Continue reading “Where We Stand: Honesty about Dangerous Climate Change, and about Preventing it”
Careful new calculations indicate that global warming contributes to 150,000 deaths and five million illnesses every year, and that this rate could double by 2030. Why Because we’ll see increased infectious disease outbreaks, respiratory illnesses, flooding, and other calamities. And here’s the real news, straight from the Washington Post: “Most Victims are Poor.” Even more shocking,” “Those most vulnerable to climate change are not the ones responsible for causing it.”
The future, of course, is unwritten. It may even turn out to be both just and liveable — if we’re both smart and lucky. On the other hand, it’s getting easier to imaine worst case scenarios — not to mentin nonlinearities and “threshold events” — which is exactly what hard-eyed Mike Davis does in Has the Age of Chaos Begun And if you want another, check out The Heat Death of American Dreams.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have done what environmental activists couldn’t — they’ve put global warming on the mainstream agenda. Now the question is what can be done about it Dr. Kevin Trenberth (National Center for Atmospheric Research) lays out the problem, while EcoEquity’s Tom Athanasiou links climate change to global justice. And it’s a podcast folks — you can listen instead of read!
The first thing to say about Kyoto’s entry into force is that it is a significant victory, won particularly by the Europeans, over social and economic complacency, cash-amplified, flat-earth pseudo-science, the carbon cartel, and, of course, the Bush Administration. The second is that, if it’s not soon followed by other victories, deeper and even more challenging ones, the Earth’s climate will soon – think 2050 or even sooner – be transformed into one that is far more inhospitable, and even hostile, than even most environmentalists imagine. Continue reading “A Glass Half Full? The Kyoto Protocol, and Beyond”
The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research is Germany was already known for original thinking before it released Keep Cool: Gambling with the Climate, a board game that may, only a few decades hence, seem less comic than prescient. In the Risk-like world of Keep Cool, it’s even possible for, say, the developing countries to drive the climate over the edge, hoping all the while for the rich world to pay enough to make that destruction unnecessary. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it
Now that the tide seems to be turning, at least a wee bit, it’s a good time to recall the bad old days – like, say, two years ago – when most folks in the US “climate community” were still discretely minimizing the urgency of the situation. That, of course, was before Jim Hansen started telling us we less that ten years to bring global emissions to a peak. And before Al Gore brought the rhetoric of “planetary emergency” into common usage. And it was, less famously, before “Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change,” better known as “the Exeter Conference,” provided the occasion by which the scientific community, by whatever mysterious process that scientists use when deciding these sorts of things, finally decided to set aside its traditional reserve and start speaking frankly.
If you think there’s a whiff of panic in the air, you’re right. If you want to know the details, this is the place for you.
If you’ve spent any time at all on this site, you know that we’re partisans of the “Two Degree Limit” school, and that we argue that an average planetary warming of greater than 2C would threaten us with global, not merely local, climate catastrophe. In this new study, WWF (also members of 2C school) go onto the bad news, reviewing a number of recent modeling studies that indicate that we’ll hit 2C between 2026 and 2060, and that when we do the Arctic will warm three times as much. The consequence will be hard to exaggerate, and the lesson clear — 2C is too much.