Category Archives: Climate Change

The Spoils of Empire

In the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, we take a look at some of the recent resistance waged by two nations rendered stateless by British cartographers.

First we visit Palestine where tensions have flared into several violent confrontations between Israeli settlers and the Palestinian intifada. Then we go to Kurdistan where neighboring Turkey has renewed it’s expansionist dreams putting Kurdish occupied areas under threat.

Finally a rather troubling weather report investigates the latest effects of climate change around the globe.

The post The Spoils of Empire first appeared on Dissident Voice.

John Kerry’s Global Fix-it Campaign

“I’m absolutely convinced we will get a low-carbon, no-carbon economy at some point in time. The challenge is will we get there in time to heed the warnings of the scientists and avoid the worst consequences of the crisis?” 1

In a soft pitch interview by Andy Serwer of Yahoo Finance on Saturday, May 28th at Davos World Economic Forum the Climate Czar expressed optimism about handling the climate change crisis, in part, based upon the fact that several of the world’s leading corporations are dead set on stopping the multitude of dangers associated with an out of whack climate system. They understand the risks.

According to Kerry, climate change is not complicated. It is basic physics: “There isn’t anybody I know today who doesn’t admit that the planet is warming and that life has changed as a result of this… this trend is pretty obvious… the climate crisis is getting worse, not better, and we have to more rapidly reduce emissions and take the necessary steps, not what politicians are saying we should do, but scientists whose lives are dedicated to determining the mathematics and the physics of this particular challenge.”

The Climate Czar presented an interesting viewpoint of how corporate CEOs are now coming together to take on the challenge. As explained by Mr. Kerry, there’s lots of money to be made, which, of course, is good enough to get the corporate juices flowing.

If Mr. Kerry’s message and climate plan is realistically on target, which is more inclusive than just CEOs and venture capitalists foaming dollar bills at the mouth, then the world may have a shot at containing the biggest threat of all time. But, there are plenty of ifs.

Kerry was quick to caution: “Assuming it can happen fast enough.” That is a key watchword for serious students of climate change/global warming.

There are serious-minded scientists who believe it’s already too late, and there are others who nod their heads in full agreement with the Doomsday Clock’s most recent reading at only 100 seconds to midnight. It is the closest to midnight of all time. Midnight represents a catastrophe. One of the principal factors taken into consideration for setting at 100 seconds to midnight was a warning by the IPCC: “This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” according to Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet.”

“Is there enough time” is a common theme amongst knowledgeable people. People whom have deep-dived the subject see serious threats. Major ecosystems, all of them, are rapidly approaching, in some cases exceeding, dangerous stages or tipping points: the Arctic, Antarctica, Greenland, Siberian permafrost, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon rainforest, mountain glaciers: the Himalayas, the Caucasus, the Alps, the Rocky Mtn, the Andes, ocean acidification, marine heat waves, Patagonia, the Atlantic Gulf Stream… as examples.

Here’s a more specific example: During the 1990s, Greenland and Antarctica combined lost 81 billion tons of ice mass per year on average during that decade. Moving ahead to the decade of the 2010s, the ice mass loss was 475 billion tons per year on average throughout the decade. That’s flat-out breathtaking, almost exponential at face value. 2

It’s an understatement to say a six-fold increase of ice mass loss within only one decade is especially troubling and nearly impossible to comprehend. After all, it’s not within centuries, which wouldn’t be quite so alarming; it’s within only one decade. Whew! So then, what’s in store for the 2020s, or how about the upcoming knotty 2030s?

81 billion tons versus 475 billion tons can only mean one thing: The impact of global warming is a helluva lot worse than what’s expected at only 1.2°C above baseline or could it be that 1.2°C is not really accurate?

Beware: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” 3

As it goes, Mr. Kerry not only has the mannerisms and cadence and stature and personal background to get the job done, he has depth of knowledge about the danger of advanced climate change/global warming that’s revealed within his choice of words and emphasis without openly proclaiming the horrific truth that “we’re screwed unless we act quickly,” but his message is just that.

The following synopsis of his interview is provided for readers to decide for themselves the likelihood of his success, or not:

As explained by Kerry, some months ago he started a movement called First Mover Coalition inclusive of thirty-five (35) major corporations that have volunteered leadership roles to create “demand for change,” e.g., Maersk Shipping, the largest container shipper in the world has agreed that the next 8 ships they build will be carbon free. Volvo promised that 10% of the steel they buy to be “green steel.” United Airlines, Delta, and Boeing and Apple agreed to buy 5% sustainable aviation fuel and eventually go to 85% reduction in emissions.

The First Mover Coalition is working in cooperation with the World Economic Forum. Kerry claims the CEOs are stepping right up to the plate and swinging away: “They understand the urgency.” They want to lead by example with “demand signals” to change behavior of industry throughout the world. Plus, a big plus, they are working on the “hard-to-do things,” like aluminum, steel, and concrete manufacturers.

When asked about the Russian Ukrainian invasion, Kerry said it has taught Europeans a lesson to be independent, and that is a motivating factor to spur ahead with renewable infrastructure development. Thus, Russia is working against its own self-interest and turning away future fossil fuel sales at a rapid clip via invading Ukraine.

According to the Climate Czar, President Biden sees a significant part of the solution of climate change to be nuclear power. He’s kept nuclear on the table. New designs for nuclear plants are being researched and worked on. France, for example, is doubling down on nuclear. According to Kerry, “we cannot get to net zero by 2050 without nuclear.” Really? Honestly?

Headline News:Electricite de France SA’s nuclear failures are sending ripples through European energy markets, threatening to undermine the continent’s plan to turn its back on Russian gas.” 4

“About half of EDF’s 56 reactors are currently halted, and EDF has estimated that output this year will be the lowest in more than 30 years. While many plants are offline for regular maintenance or refueling, a dozen are idled for checks and repairs following the discovery of stress-corrosion issues at units in late 2021.” 5

Nuclear power plants put more stress per square inch on foundational structure than any other form of energy production. It’s inherently dangerous! One small crack can make all of the difference between meltdown and no meltdown. That’s how risky it is to use nuclear to boil water. For example, the following Scientific American article discusses a real event descriptive of the inherent dangers of nuclear power plant structural pressure points:

“On Feb. 16, 2002, the nuclear power plant called Davis–Besse on the shores of Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio, shut down. On inspection, a pineapple-size section on the 6.63-inch- (16.84-centimeter-) thick carbon steel lid that holds in the pressurized, fission-heated water in the site’s sole reactor had been entirely eaten away by boric acid formed from a leak. The only thing standing between the escape of nuclear steam and a possible chain of events leading to a meltdown was an internal liner of stainless steel just three sixteenths of an inch (0.48 centimeter) thick that had slowly bent out about an eighth of an inch (0.32 centimeter) into the cavity due to the constant 2,200 pound-per–square-inch (155-kilogram-per-square-centimeter) pressure.”  6

According to Kerry, the private sector is really moving. “There’s a gigantic shift with the private sector taking the lead in many places, and it involves all kinds of private sector institutions… some fossil fuel companies are now working to become energy companies and transition to producing electricity and doing it in a clean way either through hydrogen or nuclear or in other ways.”

As explained by Kerry: “This is one of the greatest economic opportunities that we’ve ever faced, potentially much larger than the industrial revolution” by building out new energy grids and new electric vehicles. By 2035, Ford and GM will only have electric vehicles. Everything has to be part of the solution, agriculture, shipping, buildings, transportation, and manufacturing.

Kerry is meeting with his Chinese counterpart to work together to see how best to achieve the promises made in Glasgow where the US and China agreed to reduce methane (CH4) and to meet about transitioning off coal, to perhaps gas or nuclear.

Headline News: ((“China is Building More Than Half of the World’s New Coal Power Plants”, NewScientist, April 26, 2022.))  “Some 176 gigawatts of coal capacity was under construction in 2021, and more than half of that was being built in China.” Note: 176 gigawatts equal enough power for one hundred twenty-three million (123,000,000) homes.

It looks like the Climate Czar is gonna have his hands full.

Still, according to Kerry: China has already committed to submit an ambitious national action plan on methane to the Conference of the Parties in Sharm El-Sheikh this coming November for COP 27, UNFCCC.

He says the world has now joined the methane battle, which is front and center in discussions. Kerry says it’s where “we can achieve some of the fastest reductions in greenhouse gases… 116 nations have now signed up to achieve a 30% reduction of CH4 by 2030. It is the equivalent of every car in the world, every truck in the world, every ship in the world, every airplane in the world going to zero emissions by 2030.” (hmm, really?)

Furthermore, Kerry claims the transition needs to happen all over the world. And, they’ll be working on deforestation, which he sees as a huge challenge. Illegal deforestation is the biggest threat to rainforests.

Still, the pre-eminent question is whether John Kerry and the CEOs carry enough cache around the world to achieve what decades of broken promises have failed to do? Not only that, but is it really enough? And, is the approach correct? Switching coal to gas or nuclear?

Frankly, aside from Kerry’s hopeful climate plans, what’s really desperately needed is something more, much more all-inclusive like a Climate Marshall Plan throughout the entire planet with a goal of zero fossil fuels by 2030. This is achievable if every major nation/state fully commits the funds and resources, similar to the rebuild of Europe post WWII. But sadly, that is only a dream, especially in light of the history of broken promises, one after another.

During the most recent IPCC meetings, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveals: “A litany of broken climate promises by governments and corporations.” He accused them of stoking global warming by clinging to harmful fossil fuels. “It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track toward an unlivable world.”

Thinking out loud about Kerry’s monumental task… what’s with Kerry’s continual references to striving for net zero by 2050? Several really smart well-known climate scientists, many of whom I am sure Mr. Kerry knows, think net zero by 2050 should be taken off the table. That’s too late, and Kerry knows this. He’s the Climate Czar; he must know it. And, it’s not “net zero” that’s required; it’s “net negative,” and he likely knows this as well.

London. 26 August 2021: “The latest report published today by the Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) warns that reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is now “too little too late” and will not achieve the long-term temperature goals identified in the Paris Agreement… Drawing upon findings recently published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), it states that current global emissions targets are inadequate and that net negative – rather than net zero – strategies are required.7

Members of Climate Crisis Advisory Group are accomplished scientists at prestigious institutions around the world, widely considered at the top of the field.

Regardless of the twists and turns of what Climate Czar John Kerry experiences, at the end of the day an overused cliché, “money talks” will either save the day or ruin it for good as it can work one of two ways going forward (1) funding positive results for climate mitigation programs or (2) buying denial.  Hopefully, funding mitigation prevails over the past several decades of “buying denial” with underhanded dark money, which has been the big winner, especially in America, Kerry’s home base.

Here’s wishing the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate the best of luck. He’ll need it.

  1. John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, May 2022.
  2. “Greenland, Antarctica Melting Six Times Faster Than in the 1990s”, NASA, March 16, 2020.
  3. Albert Bartlett 1923-2013, emeritus professor, physics, University of Colorado.
  4. EDF Nuclear Failures Undermine Europe’s Push to Exit Russian Gas, Bloomberg, US Edition, May 26, 2022.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Atomic Weight: Balancing the Risks and Rewards of a Power Source, Scientific American, January 29, 2019.
  7. “Net Zero by 2050 is ‘too little too late’: World-Leading Scientists Urge Global Leaders to Focus on Net Negative Strategies”, Climate Crisis Advisory Group, August 2021.
The post John Kerry’s Global Fix-it Campaign first appeared on Dissident Voice.

War on a Burning Earth

According to the Fermi Paradox, the failure to date to achieve radio communication between Earth and extraterrestrial civilizations can be attributed to their inevitable short-term self-destruction, a consequence of uncontrolled dispersion of toxic substances, contamination of air, water and land, and construction of deadly weapons. On Earth this includes saturation of the atmosphere by greenhouse gases and production of nuclear weapons. The most extensive mass extinction event in the history of Earth, represented by the Permian-Triassic boundary 251 million years-ago, involved warming, acidification and oxygen depletion of the oceans, with consequent emanations of toxic H2S and CH4, leading to a loss of some 57% of biological families, 83% of genera and 81% of marine species.

If the history of the 21st century is ever written it would report that, while large parts of the planet were becoming uninhabitable, the extreme rate and scale of global warming and the migration of climate zones (>100 km per decade), the extent of polar ice melting, ocean warming and acidification, microplastic pollution and methane release from permafrost, threatened to develop into one of the most extensive mass extinction events in the geological history of planet Earth.

As concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases exceed 500 ppm CO2-equivalents, consistent with global temperatures to well above 4oC and threatening to rise at a higher rate than those of the great mass extinctions. Climate scientists have been either silenced or replaced by an army of economists and politicians mostly ignorant of the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, but quantifying the cost-benefit economies of mitigation like corner shop grocers. Proposed mitigation action were mostly focused on reduction of emissions, neglecting the amplifying feedbacks and tipping points projected by leading climate scientists such as James Hansen.

But climate change was not the only threat hanging over the head of humanity and nature. As nations kept proliferating atomic weapons, with time the probability of a nuclear war increased exponentially. At the root of the MAD (mutual assured destruction) policy, or omnicide, resides the deep tribalism and herd mentality of the species, hinging on race, religion, ideology, territorial claims and the concept of an “enemy” perpetrated by demagogues and warmongers, leading to an Orwellian 1984 world where “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia,” as in the current “forever wars.” Prior to World War I two social forces collided, fascism and socialism. While the former has changed appearances, the latter weakened. At the core of superpower conflict between the Anglo-Saxon world and the Slavic or Chinese worlds are claims of moral superiority, but in reality naked grabs for power.

At the centre of human conscience is its mythological nature, a mindset closely related to the mastery of fire where, for longer than one million years, Homo erectus, perched at campfire, watching the flickering flames, has grown its insights and imagination, developing a fear of death, dreaming of omniscience and omnipotence, aspiring for eternal life.

As civilization developed in the Neolithic these sentiments drove humans to construct pyramids to enshrine immortality, undertake human sacrifice, to perpetrate death to appease the gods, expressed in modern times through world wars.

For an intelligent species to be able to explore the solar system planets but fail to protect its own home planet defies explanation. For a species to magnify its entropic effect on nature by orders of magnitude, developing cerebral powers which allow it to become the intelligent eyes through which the Universe explores itself, hints at yet unknown natural laws which underlie life, consciousness and complexity.

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Climate Change Wows the Polls

Australia’s federal election May 18th turned left with a new power broker named climate change. Major networks refer to the election as: “Australia’s Climate Election,” with newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese vowing to turn Australia into a “renewable energy superpower.”

The incumbent PM Scott Morrison led the Coalition opposed by the Labor party behind the candidacy of Anthony Albanese. At the end of the day, Labor overwhelmed by capturing the two most significant burning issues: (1) climate change (2) political integrity (What a gorgeous setup for US Dems).

According to NBC News, polling in the lead-up to the election showed that 8 out of 10 Australians wanted significant climate policies from the government. Seventy percent (70%) said climate change was already impacting the country. The environment was the prevailing issue on social media; it captured more interests than the economy or corruption.  1

Analysts claim the public is increasingly demanding climate commitments from leaders in a pronounced shift of political sentiment that could hold lessons for lawmakers in other developed and developing countries. Worldwide climate system failure is too palpable to ignore any longer. It’s showing up at the ballot box.

Segueing to America’s upcoming midterm elections on Tuesday, November 8th:  What if America pivots on the same climate and integrity issues? Who wins? The better question may be: How quickly will Republicans pivot, for political expediency purposes only, to support climate mitigation efforts and thus abandon the fossil fuel gravy train of dark funding? Naw! Won’t happen. Instead of abandoning a steady flow of surreptitious green stuff labeled with lots of serial numbers they’ll lie about climate change to “confuse the public.” That’s worked like a charm for decades now. Create doubt. Will it work once again in 2022 and invalidate the great Aussie climate change political reset?

Meanwhile, when it comes to political trends, according to Australian Conservation Foundation’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy: “The trends across the country show a majority of Australians care deeply for bolder climate action and integrity in politics – it is a huge win for the environment, at a time when nature needs us most.” 2

CEO O’Shanassy was quick to point out: “Australians were frustrated by the Morrison government’s inert response to the urgent climate crisis, its reckless support for a ‘gas-led recovery’ and its attempts to water down already weak nature protection laws.”

Whereas, in stark contrast to the Morrison government, the new government under the leadership of PM Albanese will stress “climate action,” It’s what Albanese wants as his legacy.

According to The Sydney Post (May 23rd): “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will seek a new consensus on climate change with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday in a plan to co-operate on clean energy and build support for global climate talks to be hosted in Australia… Albanese used a phone call with Biden on Sunday, when the US president congratulated him on winning the election, to canvass ways Australia and the US could co-operate on clean energy, including gaining US support for the Labor proposal to host a future United Nations climate summit in Australia and the Pacific.”

On the heels of the Aussie federal election, in a remarkable coincidence of favorable political circumstances and fortuitous timing, Tokyo is holding the Quad Leaders’ Summit with newly elected PM Anthony Albanese and PM Narendra Modi (India), PM Fumio Kishida (Japan) and President Joe Biden.

The White House: “Quad countries share serious concern with the August Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report findings on the latest climate science… Quad countries will focus their efforts on the themes of climate ambition, including working on 2030 targets for national emissions and renewable energy, clean-energy innovation and deployment.”

It is the first time India, Japan, Australia, and the United States have joined hands in concert with the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as they agree to tackle a worldwide climate system that’s radically off-course for the first time in human history. But, will they succeed… soon enough? That is the sleepless night tossing turning crux of the matter.

One big loser in the Aussie election is Rupert Murdoch, whose powerful media outlets took a brutal whipping as Australians tossed his views aside and sought new sources of information. According to Bill Hare, CEO and senior scientist at Climate Analytics, a prominent think tank, the election demonstrated a transformation across the political spectrum: “We don’t have to believe that the Murdoch press controls public opinion.”

“The election outcome exposes a gaping disconnect between News Corp and Voters.” 3

“Anthony Albanese Defeats Rupert Murdoch to Become 31st PM of Australia.” 4

With America’s midterms right around the corner, the question arises, how will Fox News score?

According to Tom Rosenstiel, a media scholar and executive director at the American Press Institute, a non-profit focused on sustainable journalism: “Fox News is a propaganda machine for the far right and Republican Party.”5

Similar to Rupert Murdoch’s overpowering political clout in Australia, Fox News pounds the American airwaves with whatever “sells best du jour” while fulfilling the deepest suspicions of a rabid core of followers. Will Fox News’ far right extremists win in November or will Australian political sentiments sway America’s political fabric?

  1. “Australia’s ‘Climate Election’ Shows Shifting Priority For Voters”, NBC News, May 23, 2022.
  2. “Australians Have Voted For Bolder Climate Action and Integrity in Politics”, Mirage News, May 22, 2022.
  3. The Guardian, May 22nd.
  4. The Independent Australia, May 23rd.
  5. Sean Illing, “How Fox News Evolved into a Propaganda Operation”, Vox, March 2019.
The post Climate Change Wows the Polls first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“There Is No Way To Fool Physics”: Climate Breakdown And State-Corporate Madness

In the terrifying opening to his 2020 novel, The Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson depicts an intense heatwave in India. In an ‘ordinary town’ in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, people are struggling to cope with unbearable heat and humidity. It is the combination of the two, measured by the so-called ‘wet-bulb temperature’, that is potentially fatal. When it approaches the core body temperature of 36C, sweat cannot evaporate and humans can no longer cool themselves down. Dehydration rises to dangerous levels. Vital organs become seriously stressed, especially the heart. Unless the body temperature is reduced, death follows in a matter of hours.

In the novel’s opening scenes, there are shouts of:

‘Go to the lake! Get in the water!’

One man shakes his head:

‘That water is in the sun. It’s as hot as a bath. It’s worse than the air.’

Nevertheless, people jump in the lake, hoping it will help. But a catastrophe is unfolding.

‘People were dying faster than ever. There was no coolness to be had. All the children were dead, all the old people were dead. People murmured what should have been screams of grief; those who could still move shoved bodies out of the lake, or out toward the middle where they floated like logs, or sank.’

It is a nightmare vision of what may lie ahead for humanity in the very near future.

This month, an intense heatwave did indeed hit northern India with temperatures reaching a record high of 49.2C in parts of Delhi. This was the fifth heatwave in the Indian capital since March.

Last month was India’s hottest April in 122 years and Pakistan’s for 61 years. Jacobabad hit nearly 50C with night-time temperatures often staying above 30C. Exhausted and dehydrated birds fell from the sky, an apocalyptic portent if ever there was one. A UK Met Office study has concluded that global warming makes record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely.

Meanwhile, the highest daily level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere was recorded. On 11 May, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, measured 421.37 parts per million of carbon dioxide. The previous record of 418.95 ppm was set in May 2021.

‘It is very concerning, extremely worrisome,’ Peter Tans, senior climate scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Financial Times.

‘This last decade, the rate of increase [of carbon emissions] has never been higher, and we are still on the same path. We’re going in the wrong direction at maximum speed.’

Scientists are warning that the 1.5C global heating limit set by governments is about to be breached. The probability of one of the next five years surpassing the limit is now 50 per cent. This is up from 20 per cent in 2020 and zero per cent in 2015.

A new report this week from the UN World Meteorological Organization revealed that 2021 was a record year for breaking critical global indicators of the climate crisis. These include rising sea levels and the amount of heat-trapping emissions in the atmosphere.

António Guterres, the secretary general of the UN, said:

‘Today’s State of the Climate report is a dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption. Fossil fuels are a dead end – environmentally and economically.’

On top of all that, climate scientists recently reported that global warming could cause the most cataclysmic extinction of marine life in the past 250 million years.

Her Majesty’s ‘Opposition’

If the news media were not owned and run for the benefit of state-corporate elites, all this would be huge headline news – day after day, month after month. There would be vigorous debate across all the main media outlets, building pressure on governments to implement the urgent radical changes required to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis.

But instead the general population is being held captive, caught in a tight death grip by powerful forces masquerading as our benefactors and protectors. As Jonathan Cook observed:

‘Corporate media is the glue holding our corrupt world together. They promote the Ukraine arms bonanza, helping the corporate war industries profit from mass death. Then they normalise profiteering from the resulting fuel crisis as “bumper” profits for the corporate energy sector.’

Is it any wonder we are in an era of climate breakdown when Business-As-Usual – characterised by short-term corporate greed, compliant mass media and careerist government politicians – is such a dominant factor in human ‘civilisation’?

For example, Corporate Europe Observatory, a non-profit research and campaign group which monitors and exposes corporate lobbying on EU policy making, recently warned that:

‘Fossil fuel giants are shaping the EU’s response to the energy crisis.’

Six big energy companies were named: Shell, BP, Total, ENI, E.ON and Vattenfall. Pascoe Sabido of Corporate Europe Observatory said:

‘The European Commission has been in bed with these corporations for decades. If we want to end our reliance on gas, Russian or otherwise, then we need to end the relationship between the fossil fuel industry and decision-makers, cutting fossil fuel interests out of our political system. In short, we need fossil free politics.’

There is little chance of that under the Tories. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has just drafted in the former UK boss of BP to supposedly oversee the UK’s transition to ‘a low-carbon economy’. Would a former CEO of Big Tobacco be rewarded by leading a reform of the NHS? Would a former slave owner be put in charge of the abolition of slavery?

In the never-ending corporate quest for profit, even as the planet’s life support systems are failing, oil and gas corporations ‘are planning scores of vast projects that threaten to shatter the 1.5C climate goal.’ If governments allow the projects to proceed, these ‘carbon bombs’ will ‘trigger catastrophic climate breakdown.’

As mentioned above, the head of the UN has called for an end to new fossil fuel projects, warning that climate change poses ‘an existential threat to us all – to the whole world.’ Speaking at a recent press conference, António Guterres said:

‘Main emitters must drastically cut emissions, starting now. This means accelerating the end of our fossil fuel addiction and speeding up the deployment of clean renewable energy.’

The UN chief’s urgent comments align with the aims of campaign groups, such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, so often labelled by ‘mainstream’ media as ‘eco-zealots’, ‘eco maniacs’, ‘eco yobs’ or a ‘mob of environmentalists’. Indeed, on Twitter, Guterres effectively gave climate campaigners his support:

‘Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.’

In this country, the madness extends to all three of the main political parties – Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservative – calling for climate protesters to be ‘cracked down on’ and for their rational demands to be rejected.

Last month, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer demonstrated yet again that he is a faithful ally of established power. Referring to Just Stop Oil protesters’ blockade of 11 fuel depots in southern England, Starmer tweeted:

‘The government must stop standing idly by and immediately impose injunctions to put an end to this disruption.’

He was later confronted publicly by Lauren MacDonald, a 21-year-old Scottish climate activist. According to one newspaper report, Starmer:

‘appear[ed] visibly flustered and fle[d] the scene without addressing the topic of the injunction.’

Fatima Ibrahim from campaign group Green New Deal Rising said:

‘We feel betrayed by Keir Starmer and the Labour Party for calling for more police powers to prevent young people worried about their future from peacefully protesting.

‘At a time when the country is desperate for a different vision of the future, the Labour Party could be calling for a massive shift towards renewables to bring down energy bills and deliver new jobs. Instead, they’ve relegated themselves to government cheerleaders.’

Starmer had shown once again how paper-thin are the differences between Her Majesty’s ‘Opposition’ and Her Majesty’s Government.

‘The Demise Of Civilisation Is Well And Truly In Sight’

Veteran climate scientist James Hansen, who warned the US Congress of the dangers of global warming as early as 1988, injected some reality missing from ‘mainstream’ reporting:

‘There is no indication that incumbent governments are even considering the fundamental actions that are needed to slow and reverse climate change.’

As we wrote at the time, last year’s UN Climate Summit in Glasgow was a greenwashing festival, full of empty rhetoric. Last month, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said it was ‘now or never’ to save humanity.

Climate scientist Simon Lewis observed of the most recent IPCC report:

‘the full 3,000-page report contains an astonishingly frank assessment of the organised efforts used to thwart climate action, noting: “opposition to climate action by carbon-connected industries is broad-based, highly organized, and matched with extensive lobbying”.’

Earth scientist Bill McGuire warned that:

‘it is now practically impossible to have any chance of staying this side of the 1.5C guardrail. The truth is that we can no longer sidestep dangerous, all-pervasive, climate breakdown.’

He added:

‘The demise of civilisation is well and truly in sight.’

These are remarkable and frightening statements from a senior scientist; in other words, the kind of sober, conservative, even ultra-cautious figure that the public has traditionally regarded as unwilling to speak out for fear of being seen to be too ‘political’.

McGuire also commented:

‘I have concluded that there will be no real pressure on governments to seriously tackle the #ClimateEmergency until we are all terrified. We are simply not sh*t scared enough – yet.’

In similar vein, Nasa climate scientist Peter Kalmus urged large-scale citizen action to pressure governments around the world. Last month, he wrote that:

‘Climate scientists are desperate: we’re crying, begging and getting arrested.’

He warned:

‘Earth breakdown is much worse than most people realize. The science indicates that as fossil fuels continue to heat our planet, everything we love is at risk.’

Kalmus continued:

‘Nothing has worked. It’s now the eleventh hour and I feel terrified for my kids, and terrified for humanity. I feel deep grief over the loss of forests and corals and diminishing biodiversity. But I’ll keep fighting as hard as I can for this Earth, no matter how bad it gets, because it can always get worse. And it will continue to get worse until we end the fossil fuel industry and the exponential quest for ever more profit at the expense of everything else. There is no way to fool physics.’

All this has motivated Kalmus to become involved in climate activism:

‘I’ve joined the ranks of those who selflessly risk their freedom and put their bodies on the line for the Earth, despite ridicule from the ignorant and punishment from a colonizing legal system designed to protect the planet-killing interests of the rich. It’s time we all join them. The feeling of solidarity is a wonderful balm.’

‘Our Morality Must Catch Up With Our Intelligence’

Noam Chomsky has also urged widespread participation in climate actions:

‘What we face is the greatest imposition of suffering and injustice in the history of civilization…I support the actions of the Just Stop Oil coalition. It’s imperative for us all to do so.’

He added:

‘Brave humans from all walks of life have chosen to not give up. We are fighting back because it’s the fight for all life. It’s now or never. It’s time for action. We need you to join us. We need everyone, everywhere. Now. Just stop oil.’

It will take truly massive, sustained public activism – perhaps on a scale never seen before in human history – to shift course away from climate catastrophe. Meanwhile, governments and corporations will claim their destructive policies, actions and threats are intended to ensure ‘security’ of energy supplies, or ‘security’ of the general population in ‘defending’ the West against Official Enemies.

In a recent interview, aptly titled ‘To Tackle Climate, Our Morality Must Catch Up With Our Intelligence’, Chomsky identified such elite statements as propaganda:

‘Whatever is driving policy, it is not security — at least, security of the population. That is at best a marginal concern. That holds for existential threats as well. We have to look elsewhere.’

Chomsky suggested that to understand why this happens, one could start with ‘the best-established principle of international relations theory’. This dates back to the 18th century and economist Adam Smith’s observation that:

‘the “Masters of Mankind” — in his day the merchants and manufacturers of England — are the “principal architects of [state] policy.” They use their power to ensure that their own interests “are most peculiarly attended to” no matter how “grievous” the effects on others, including the people of England, but most brutally the victims of the “savage injustice of the Europeans.” His [Smith’s] particular target was British savagery in India, then in its early stages, already horrifying enough.’

But in an era of climate breakdown and mass extinction of species, including perhaps our own, surely this principle no longer applies? Chomsky disagrees:

‘Nothing much changes when the crises become existential. Short-term interests prevail. The logic is clear in competitive systems, like unregulated markets. Those who do not play the game are soon out of it. Competition among the “principal architects of policy” in the state system has somewhat similar properties, but we should bear in mind that security of the population is far from a guiding principle, as the record shows all too clearly.’

The historical record also shows that improvements in society are rarely, if ever, bestowed as gifts from above. Power typically only ever makes concessions when it is forced to do so by pressure from below.

Time is running out too rapidly to fundamentally reform society and create a real democracy that people deserve. The immediate priority is to exert insurmountable pressure on existing power structures, not least our own governments, to change course away from climate catastrophe. If we cannot do that, there will be no human civilisation to reform or restructure.

The post “There Is No Way To Fool Physics”: Climate Breakdown And State-Corporate Madness first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Australia’s Pacific Neglect: Distractions from Climate Change Security

The hysteria in Canberra and Washington over the Sino-Solomon Islands security pact has shown, again, how irrelevant the individual affairs of Pacific Island states are in the chess game of geopolitics. The one thing conspicuously missing has been the issue of climate change, near and dear to those whose lands are gradually being inundated by rising sea levels.

In a desperate attempt to understand why Honiara courted Chinese interest in defiance of Australian wishes, opposition Labor figures pointed the finger at climate change.  Australia’s sniffly approach to such a vital issue was key in pushing the country into the arms of Beijing.  According to the Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek, Canberra had “left a vacuum” on the matter.  Senator Penny Wong stated the obvious in remarking that Pacific leaders had been less than impressed by the Morrison government’s indifference to climate change as the “number one economic and national issue”.

The indifference, even contempt, shown by Canberra to that most existential of concerns has made itself present on several occasions.  In September 2015, banter ensued between Immigration Minister Peter Dutton waiting alongside Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.  Abbott recalled the rather casual approach to punctuality that had taken place at a Pacific Islands Forum meeting the previous day in Papua New Guinea.  “Time doesn’t mean anything,” remarked Dutton, “when you’re about to have water lapping at your door.”

In August 2019, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama was already giving signals that a turning might well be in the offing.  After the Pacific Island nations summit held that month, Bainimarama noted how Morrison had been “very insulting, very condescending”, behaviour that had hardly been “good for the relationship” with Pacific Island states.  The Chinese, on the other hand, “don’t insult us.”  They did not “go down and tell the world that we’ve given this much money to the Pacific Islands.  They don’t do that.  They’re good people, definitely better than Morrison.”

Australia’s then Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, had also caught the attention of the Fijian PM for less than flattering observations.  In remarks published in the Guardian, Morrison’s deputy made light of the environmental threats posed to the region’s states.  They would continue to survive, he suggested, “because many of their workers come here to pick our fruit, pick our own fruit grown with hard Australian enterprise and endeavour”.  Such states would also “continue to survive on large aid assistance from Australia.”

The comments drew criticism from the former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who stated the matter in terms the most simple, coal-loving politician could understand.  “If you are a Pacific Islander and your home is going to be washed away from rising sea levels caused by global warming then this is not a political issue, it’s an existential one.”

Despite such remarks, the Morrison government remained deaf.  In 2020, it was still hostile to the idea of committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Fourteen Pacific leaders responded by penning an open letter to the Prime Minister.  Made up of former presidents, prime ministers, archbishops and church leaders, the authors took issue with Australia’s “current Paris Agreement emission reduction target” as “one of the weakest among wealthy nations.”

The letter condemned Canberra’s practice of using Kyoto Protocol carryover credits “which legally cannot, and morally should not, be used to meet Australia’s 2030 Paris Agreement target”.  As the children and grandchildren of the region faced “unprecedented risks due to climate change, now is the time to stand together and work together to secure their future safety and prosperity.”

Wilful blindness to the region on the subject of climate security has persisted, with Dutton, now Defence Minister, adamant that Canberra had “a fantastic relationship with the Solomon Islands”.  Using the ugly, infantilising language of “the Pacific family,” which presumably is made up of hectoring parents and obedient children, who the children are is never in doubt.  “As part of the Pacific family, it is obvious we want to work together and we want to resolve the issues within that family, within our region.” Some issues are just bigger than others.

While Wong and Plibersek are trying to squeeze every bit of critical comment about the Sino-Solomon Islands pact, it was only one aspect of the broader condescension that powers have shown to the smaller states in the region.  In all the fuss and angst about the Honiara-Beijing agreement and whether it would permit the stationing of Chinese military personnel, the Pacific Elders’ Voice had to reiterate “that the primary security threat to the Pacific is climate change.”

The group also recalled the content of the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security: “We affirm that climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific and our commitments to progress and the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

For the elders, the major powers “including the US, Japan and Australia, are developing strategies and policies for the ‘Indo-Pacific’ with little, if any, consultation with the Pacific Island countries.”  The Pacific region comprising states – known as the Moana – faced “a set of unique challenges.”  It was primarily those countries, not external powers, who should determine the security and future of the region.  Accordingly, all nations were called upon “to respect the sovereignty of all Pacific Island countries and the right of Pacific peoples to develop and implement their own security strategies without undue coercion from outsiders.”

The observation is well-reasoned and well-meant; but those same external powers, goggle-eyed about nuclear-powered submarines, the establishment of rival military bases and geopolitical strutting, have long ignored the sovereign wishes of those in the Pacific.  It is a nasty habit that persists, even as sea levels rise.

The post Australia’s Pacific Neglect: Distractions from Climate Change Security first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Climate Change is Killing Trees

A long time ago in the Milky Way galaxy on a planet named Earth the trees died. It only happened once in the planet’s history. It was during the Permian-Triassic 252 million years ago.

Henk Visscher, PhD, Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University makes a living studying exposed fossil beds of the transitional period of the Permian to Triassic era, aka: “The Great Dying.” Significantly, layers of fossils prior to the great extinction event contain lots of pollen, typical of a healthy conifer forest. But, in the Permo-Triassic boundary the pollen is replaced by strands of fossilized fungi, representing an exploding population of nature’s scavengers feasting on dead trees.

“Visscher and his colleagues have found elevated levels of fungal remains in Permo-Triassic rocks from all over the world. They call it a ‘fungal spike.’ The same rocks yield few tree pollen grains. Visscher’s conclusion: Nearly all the world’s trees died en masse.” 1

A dreaded repeat performance of tree deaths of 252 million years ago may be starting to re-appear. Throughout the world trees are dying en masse. It’s troubling. Scientists are studying this strange phenomenon in the context of a rugged past event of 252 million years ago.

The upshot, scientists figured out in just the past decade, is that many trees in most landscapes, from the hot, rainy Amazon to cold, dry Alberta, are operating at the limits of their hydraulic systems, even under normal conditions, with little safety margin. That means a hot drought can push them over the threshold. The 2002 drought in the Southwest did exactly that: Tree-ring records would later show it was the driest and worst year for growth in a millennium. No other year even came close.  2

From the Amazon to the Arctic, wildfires are getting bigger, hotter, and more frequent as the climate changes… In many places, forests are no longer regenerating. Some of the world’s most significant stands are instead transitioning to something new. Some will never be the same. Others may not come back at all.3

Trees throughout the world are vulnerable to excessive heat. A warmer atmosphere sucks more moisture from plants and soil. During droughts, trees close pores in leaves, called stomata, or shed leaves entirely, which limits CO2 uptake, leaving trees both hungry and parched all at once.

When soil gets dry enough, trees can no longer maintain pressure in the internal conduits that carry water up to their leaves. Air bubbles interrupt the flow, causing fatal embolisms (obstructions).

Even though the planet has 3, 000,000,000,000 (3T) trees and 10,000,000,000 (10B) acres of forests, scientists are increasingly concerned with the quickening pulse of extreme climate events that essentially prevent forest regeneration such as fire, extraordinarily powerful storms, insect infestations, and most notably, severe heat and drought, all unique to today’s climate change environment.

Climate change undercuts trees in various ways, for example, yellow cedars in Alaska are freezing to death because of early snow melt due to global warming. As the trees lose their snow-cover warming blanket, recurring cold snaps kill them by the thousands. At Africa’s Sahel (SW Morocco) heat and drought has killed 20% of the trees. And, according to the most recent IPCC report, 5-out of-8 of the most abundant tree species in America’s West have significantly declined since 2000.

Camille Stevens-Rumann, a forest ecologist at Colorado State University, examined 1,485 sites from 52 fires in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. The number of burned sites that didn’t recover jumped from 19% before 2000 to 32% thereafter. “And by ‘not recovering,’ I mean not a single tree—not one.”3

Craig Allen, a landscape ecologist, has been warning of danger to trees for the past 20 years: “All this awakened Allen to what he now sees as a grave global threat. ‘Seeing the transformation of this landscape that I’d studied my whole adult life … climate change wasn’t theoretical anymore’…  He started tracking the mass mortality events elsewhere. Over the next two decades, heat and drought would kill billions of trees directly and indirectly—in Spain, in South Korea, throughout Australia. In central Siberia, Russia lost two million acres of firs. In Texas in 2011, drought killed more than 300 million trees—one out of every 16 in the state.”3

Tree deaths skyrocketed when the worst drought in 500 years hit central Europe in 2018. Summer temperatures hit nearly 6°F above average. Additionally, from 2018 to 2020 in Germany 750,000 acres of forest died because of excessive heat.

Majestic sequoias in the Far West that have stood the test of time as far back as Julius Caesar’s reign (100-44BC) are under attack. For eons the giants withstood every type of disaster until the Castle fire in August-December 2020 tore through Sequoia National Park, igniting one crown after another. Forest ecologists had never seen anything like it. Up to 14% of large sequoias in the Sierra Nevada were killed or mortally wounded.

Why did the majestic sequoias succumb to a disaster for the first time in centuries? Climate change/global warming was clearly the protagonist. A severe dry spell in the surrounding area had previously killed millions of sugar pines, incense cedars, and white firs in densely packed forests nearby the sequoias where the Castle fire started, which erupted into an inferno like nobody had ever experienced.

A second fire hit a year later in 2021: “The 2021 fires claimed another 3 to 5 percent of large sequoias. Up to 19 percent of these magnificent trees—trees that had weathered everything for a millennium or more—had been lost in just two years.”3

Regarding land temperature impact on tree death, it should be noted, according to James Hansen’s (Earth Institute, Columbia University) “March Temperature Update” as of April 15, 2022: “Note that monthly temperature anomalies on land now commonly exceed +2°C (+3.6°F), with the Arctic anomaly often exceeding +5°C (+9°F).”

Hansen expects 2022 to be substantially warmer than 2021. March 2021 registered 1.3°C warmer than the average for March 1880-1920… “ due to surging growth rates of GHGs (greenhouse gases), etc.”

In that regard, it’s well known that surging growth rates of CO2 and Ch4 are preventable but politically foreordained.

Alert: If monthly temperature anomalies on land (1/3rd of the planet) “commonly exceed +2°C,” as explained by Dr. Hansen, isn’t that the red flashing light danger zone described in IPCC reports, meaning more deadly climate-related disasters come into play much sooner than predicted in climate models?

Yikes!

  1. “The Permian Extinction – When Life Nearly Came to an End”, National Geographic, June 6, 2019.
  2. “The Future of Forests”, National Geographic, April 14, 2022.
  3. Ibid.
The post Climate Change is Killing Trees first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Truth About IPCC Reports

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in many respects, is a Delphic institution whose reports are a function of political discretion as it provides justification for nation/state policies that are seldom fulfilled; e.g., only a handful of the 193 signatory nations to Paris 15 have met commitments. This scandalous outright failure at a dicey time for the climate system only serves to hasten loss of stability and integrity of the planet’s most important ecosystems.

That provocative depiction is examined in a recent Nick Breeze ClimateGenn podcast interview: Existential Risk Management with David Spratt, research director of the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Melbourne. Dr. Spratt is highly regarded for solid research, which is evidenced throughout his refreshingly straightforward interview.

Spratt’s interview tackles: (1) failings of the IPCC, (2) tipping points, and (3) a nearly out of control global warming challenge that’s not realistically understood, even as wobbly ecosystems start to falter.

The truth is the IPCC has been politicized to such an extent that its reports unintentionally confuse public opinion whilst misdirecting public policy issues for mitigation. At the center of the issue the IPCC does not expose the full extent of existential risk, which happens to be such an unthinkable event so hard to accept that nobody believes it will ever really truly happen. More on this later.

During the interview a tipping point is discussed in the context of reduction of Arctic summer sea ice to 3/4ths of its volume, as the Arctic’s highly reflective ice melts into a dark background of sea water that easily absorbs almost all of the incoming solar radiation, in turn, absorbing warmth that would otherwise be 80%-90% reflected back to outer space via the long-standing albedo effect of ice. In turn, a warming Arctic causes excessive warmth to hit Greenland, which, according to Dr. Jason Box (professor in glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland) is already “past the point of system stability,” meaning past a tipping point of no return. Recently Box publicly warned of abrupt climate change forthcoming. Meanwhile, Greenland’s melt releases cold water into the Atlantic, in turn, slowing down the Atlantic Gulf Stream, and, as follows, weakens Atlantic circulation that, in turn, negatively impacts precipitation in the eastern Amazon.

Like a series of dominoes falling one onto another, one initial event (a) loss of Arctic sea ice brings (b) warmer Arctic waters (c) cascading into more Greenland melt-off, causing (d) slower Atlantic circulation, triggering (e) loss of precipitation for the eastern Amazon. The net result because of one non-linear event; i.e., loss of Arctic sea ice triggers four additional major events. Ipso facto, those five events reinforce each other for who knows how long?

According to Spratt: “So, we see that a change in one system; i.e., Arctic ice volume echoes or has domino effects through other systems,” which triggers a tipping point that, in fact, is already at a seminal stage.

Regarding the IPCC’s approach to risk, first it is important to emphasize the fact that big risks must be the key to successful climate change analysis. By definition, big risks are at the top end of a range of possibilities. But, the IPCC does not see risks that way. Their view is more generalized and this has become normalized over the past 20 years; e.g., we have a 50% chance of not exceeding 2°C with our current carbon budget. According to Spratt: That is catastrophically wrong. That type of risk assessment has been normalized now for 20 years in policy-making, and “it is horribly wrong.”

When risks are existential, and they clearly are in this particular instance, everybody knows if it gets to the range of 3C to 4C pre-industrial (and 60% of scientists say we’re already headed for 3C plus) “we’ll destroy human civilization.”

Therefore, when risks are existential, you can’t look at an on-average analysis. Rather, you must look at the worst possible outcome as your primary calculation. It’s the only way to approach an existential risk.

In that regard, and interestingly enough, the foreword of the IPCC report of a few years ago actually said: “Critical instances calculating probabilities don’t matter. What matters is the high-end possibility.”

But nowadays a figure such as “50% probability” introduces a fundamental problem with the assessment process. More realistically, the proper way to look at existential risks is by stating x-amount of additional carbon has a 50% chance of reaching 2C but also has a 10% chance of 4C, or in other words, a 50% chance of staying below 2C is also a 10% chance of reaching 4C.  Would you take an elevator ride with a 10% chance of the cable breaking at the 75th floor?

When it comes to existential risks, the expectation should be: “Why should we accept risks with the climate system that we would not accept with our own lives?” They are really one in the same.

Thus, the core of existential risk management must focus on the high-end not middling ranges of probability. The focus must be, and this is an absolute: “What is the worst that can happen, and what do we have to do to prevent it?”

That assumption is not part of the latest IPCC report. When it comes to non-linear responses of cascades, the IPCC says: “There is no evidence of such non-linear responses at the global scaling climate projections for the next century. But, according to Spratt: “This is just wrong.”

After all, “everybody knows, for example, that emissions from permafrost are non-trivial at the moment. We know that warming in the last decade has been higher than in previous decades and the system is about to warm at an accelerating rate as major systems are already changing state. And the IPCC says there is no evidence of moving into non-linear climate change.  This is absurd!” (Spratt)

Ipso facto, because of a badly misjudged bias, IPCC models can’t deal with non-linear processes. As a result, they’re missing the big picture by a country mile. And, mitigation policies, for what that’s worth, are inadequate.

Yet, according to Dr. Spratt: “The paleoclimate record tells us that, in the long run, each one-degree of warming brings 10-20 meters (32- 66 feet) of sea level rise. Frankly, that would be a legitimate statement for the IPCC, but they do not deal with non-linear events.”

All of which leads to inadvertent problems for policy makers because people judge the IPCC report as pure science. “It is not. The IPCC is a political body. Diplomats of 190 governments run the IPCC. They appoint the lead authors for reports. The IPCC is the intersection of policy and politics.” (Spratt)

Meanwhile, as if misdirection by the IPCC is not enough of a problem, change is happening so much faster than forecasts. For example, early IPCC reports said Antarctica would be stable for a thousand years. But, back in 2007, Richard Alley (Penn State) said it’s already melting 100 years ahead of schedule.

Of special concern in the near future, when the Arctic goes Full Monty, a 100% ice-free summer, “it will drive changes that will be unstoppable.” This existential risk is already capriciously inconstant across the entire northern horizon.

Furthermore, it’s already apparent to many scientists that we’ll be at 1.5C a decade from now, regardless of emissions over the next 10 years. In fact, 1.5C around 2030 looks to be locked-in in part because of the aerosol dilemma. If so, we’re only a decade away from Hot House Earth becoming reality.  Thenceforth, the climate system will accelerate much faster than ever before.

Fourteen years ago Spratt published a book Climate Code Red, which codified the idea of a climate emergency by conceptually stating that the climate problem could not be solved “with business as usual.”  (It’s still business as usual, but bigger.)

A review of the book states: Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action is a 2008 book which presents scientific evidence that the global warming crisis is worse than official reports and national governments have so far indicated.

Based upon this current interview, Spratt seems to indicate that it is even worse (actually bigger) today than it was in 2008.

To avert what looks to be an inevitable existential event requires an enormous commitment of resources comparable to a wartime economy with single-minded focus on climate policy, and it also requires a major change in the way society works. Those are awfully big requests, so one has to wonder what’s truly feasible.

As things now stand current mitigation stems from the IPCC’s embedded idea that there can be “incremental non-destructive change as a solution… This will not work.” (Spratt)

The harsh truth is global emissions are continuing to go up, as all of the decarbonization efforts like wind, solar, electric cars, and energy efficiency only serve to produce “more energy for growth.” For example, if the global economy grows 2% per year and 2% of the energy system converts to renewables, then the same amount of fossil fuel energy is used every year. That is a very rough facsimile of what has been happening. Fossil fuel use as a percentage of all energy is essentially the same today as 50 years ago.

Moreover, “there is no way that a system with ‘hands-off’ government, other than a few token regulations, and ‘the free market deciding the outcome’ is going to work.” In fact, the evidence is already telling us it does not work. Not even close.

A true fixit requires overwhelmingly powerful political leadership. In that regard, according to Spratt: “What I really fear and my experience is that those in the elite, whether it’s in business or in politics, simply, I think, do not understand the problem as it really exists.”

There’s a profound ignorance because of the IPCC telling a story that incrementalism is a successful approach when it’s clearly not.

A collateral problem is a large segment of the professional climate advocacy NGO community has been “swallowed by the whale,” meaning they buy into the lame Conference of the Parties “COP” meetings and swallow the corporate-origin net zero nonsense by 2050, over and over again, umm, but it’s too little too late, horribly misdirected. Whereas, according to several scientists, 2030 is the deadly deadline, not incremental movement to 2050.

The crux of the matter is that the most prominent existential risk in human history does not conform to scientific models. It’s almost always ahead of the scientific models, sometimes by several decades. Then, why would it wait around for net zero by 2050?

The post The Truth About IPCC Reports first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Methane Acceleration Sets Record

In the year 2021 methane (CH4) concentration in the atmosphere exceeded 1,900 ppb for the first time in human history recorded by Global Monitoring Laboratory, Earth System Research Laboratories, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

That level of 1,900 ppb is triple the pre-industrial level of 700 ppb. Furthermore, it is suddenly mysteriously accelerating over just the past 13 years. In turn, this exceptional acceleration could hasten global warming considerably. Of even more concern, the acceleration appears to be regenerating on its own accord sans human influence.

“Methane levels are growing dangerously fast,” according to Euan Nisbet, Earth scientist at Royal Holloway, University of London. 1

Euan Nisbet, one of the world’s leading methane experts, was extensively interviewed on Alex Smith’s Radio Ecoshock on February 23rd, 2022, which is one of the best outlets for ecological information and the status of the planet. Nisbet’s studies lead to a conclusion that increasing methane emissions likely originate from tropical nations more so than anywhere else on the planet:

There is strong evidence to suggest increasing tropical biological sources such as ruminants and wetlands are major drivers of methane’s recent growth. Growth in tropical methane emissions is consistent with a widening of regions experiencing tropical climate, land-use intensification and rapid population rise coupled with explosive urban growth.

The upshot is CH4 has put on a stronger performance since pre-industrial than CO2, which is up roughly 50% or 1/6th the increase of methane’s 3-fold increase. Molecule-per-molecule methane is most effective over the short term (10 years) at trapping global heat. This sudden acceleration is not good news. It’s a climate change horror story that’s starting to come true.

Identifying the sources of methane is crucial for potential mitigation efforts. But unfortunately mitigation looks iffy or dubious, as shall be explained further on. Meanwhile, 600 million tonnes of methane is released into the atmosphere annually of which 2/5ths come from natural biogenic sources like rotting vegetation in swamps with the balance or 3/5ths tied to human activity. However, that ratio is changing in favor of biogenic.

Human sources include (1) agriculture, which is the largest source at 150 m tonnes (2) Urban landfills and sewage system at 70 m tonnes (3) fossil fuel industry at 100 m tonnes via leaking wells and pipelines and coal ventilation shafts in mines.

Unfortunately, the prevailing issue and big new concern is the startling fact that biogenic sources are now starting to predominate, which means that nature is outpacing the human influence. This is markedly true since 2007 and originating at the tropics, sub-tropics, and high northern latitudes. This is a classic example of positive feedback with “warming feeding more warming.” 2 Ed.:  University scholars and researchers with deep expertise author The Conversation articles.

This means that methane emissions are now accelerating “hands free” sans human impact. This is exactly what scientists have feared for decades. It’s notable that isotope signatures can determine methane sources; i.e., methane from nature (carbon-12) has a different signature than does methane from human sources (carbon-13).

Xin Lan, atmospheric scientist at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, says studies show that the rapid increase since 2007 is 85% due to microbes or natural sources. This, therefore, is evidence of nature’s positive feedback loop at work with nature now producing accelerating levels on its own accord, an endless acceleration fed by global warming feeding itself! This is not comforting knowledge for those concerned about abrupt climate change with consequential excessive global heat.

Although, climate scientist Euan Nisbet says research is still ongoing as to the primary source. So, the source of accelerating CH4 is still up in the air; however, he claims: “Is warming feeding the warming? It’s an incredibly important question. As yet, no answer, but it very much looks that way.”Additionally, of special note, and of special concern about future renegade methane emissions, NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment of a couple years ago identified methane hotspots via airborne sensors over nearly 12,000 square miles of Arctic landscape: “We detected 2 million of these hotspots over the land that we covered… mostly concentrated within about 44 yards of standing bodies of water… we found abrupt thawing of the permafrost right underneath the hotspots.” 3

Two million Arctic hotspots where methane emissions were detected should give pause to the countries mentioned below that refused the Global Methane Pledge.

“Methane hitting 1,900 ppb is a fire alarm. We cannot stop natural wetland emissions. But human-caused emissions can be reduced, quickly. At COP26 in Glasgow – the most recent UN climate change summit in November 2021 – more than 100 nations signed the Global Methane Pledge, promising to cut methane emissions 30% by 2030.” (The Conversation)

It should be noted, and broadcast worldwide on a weekly basis, that the biggest emitters, including China, India, Russia, Qatar, and Australia refused to “pledge.” Yes, they refuse to cut methane emissions. The named countries want nothing to do with any attempts to diminish global warming’s favorite point of supply.

Thus and therefore, the question arises whether the Global Methane Pledge will be one more sour failure in the world’s lame attempts to mitigate climate change/global warming. It sure looks that way. Moreover, this repeating failure of nations to take on mitigation efforts is more than frustrating. It is endangering the equilibrium of the planet to support life.

This taxing nonsensical routine of nation/states committing to mitigation plans and not following through; e.g., Paris ’15, or refusing to commit to key mitigation efforts alongside other nation/states; e.g., the Global Methane Pledge, is starting to look like the “the kiss of death on auto pilot.”

Evidently, the horrifying message that global warming is nearly out of control, RGW (runaway global warming) is not getting through to the world leaders that are able to make a difference. This frustrating fact has led some climate scientists to seriously consider “tossing in the towel,” stop research, stop writing papers, go on strike. 4

The lackadaisical attitude by world leaders reflects a world that has turned anti-intellectual, anti-science just when it is needed the most. If it were otherwise, with scientists held in highest esteem, a lot of the planet’s upcoming dark era could be eliminated.

  1. “Scientists Raise Alarm Over “Dangerously Fast” Growth in Atmosphere Methane”, Nature, February 8, 2022.
  2. “Methane in the Atmosphere is at an All-time High- Here’s What it Means for Climate Change”, The Conversation, January 26, 2022.
  3. Clayton D. Elder, et al, “Airborne Mapping Reveals Emergent Power Law of Arctic Methane Emissions”, Geophysical Research Letters, February 10, 2020.
  4. “These Climate Scientists Are Fed Up And Ready To Go On Strike”, New York Times, March 1, 2022.
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Climate Breakdown

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — IPCC — has issued its direst warning of all-time: “Climate breakdown is accelerating rapidly.” Additionally, they readily admit to overly conservative predictions: “Many impacts will be more severe than originally predicted.” 1

The crowning blow of this heavy-hitting report is a chilling statement: “There is only a narrow chance left of avoiding its worst ravages.”

Moreover, the IPCC claims that even at current levels dangerous widespread disruptions threaten devastation of swathes of the natural world: “Many areas will become unlivable.”

Interestingly enough, the world is fully aware that climate change is on a collision course with life.  At some level people know this. This is true because of media exposure of organized climate marches and protests across the globe for decades now. It’s doubtful that you could find one person that has not heard about global warming and climate change, although almost all chose to ignore the details. Indigenous people live with it on a daily basis. The climate change/global warming story is decades old.

However, what is different now is the emphasis and tone of the IPCC. Clearly, climate scientists are running scared of what the future holds. There’s no more time to waste. The window to do something is rapidly closing.

All of which leads to the conclusion that the warning, as dreadful as it sounds, by one of the most noteworthy institutions in the world, may not be enough to change the course (curse) of climate change soon enough. For example, some things never change, the climate change/global warming issue has been a storyline for far too long, and worn thin, and not taken as seriously as the situation warrants. It is a hackneyed complexity that people easily brush off.

Oh sure, people will talk about it on the radio and comment about how horrible things are, yadda-yadda-yadda (Greta Thunberg effectively used that phrase in reference to all of the ‘hot air’ at climate conferences). And, she was right to couch it that way because greenhouse gases far outpace any kind of mitigation efforts by nation/states. In reality, greenish tokenism is all that’s been accomplished.

According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) Paris July 2021 press release: “Global electricity demand is growing faster than renewables, driving strong increase in generation from fossil fuels… notably coal, threatening to push CO2 emissions from the power sector to record levels in 2022.”

Meanwhile, surging demand has fossil fuels at $100/barrel and headed in that direction well before Russia invaded Ukraine. Spending for oil and gas exploration is on the rise as CO2 rises in tandem, knocking on the door of 420 ppm for the first time in human history, lo and behold, it’s accelerating! Does this mean that nobody is serious enough about mitigating the impact of CO2?

It sure looks that way as the most recent year over year change in CO2 emissions from February 2021 @416.51 ppm to February 2022 @ 419.63 ppm equals +3.12 ppm, or 28% above the last 10-year average.

CO2 growth, or ppm/year data for 60 years from the Keeling Curve demonstrate decadal average annual rates registered at Mauna Loa Observatory (est. 1965) elevation 11.135 feet on the north flank of Mauna Loa Volcano on the Big Island, Hawaii:

Average annual rate of CO2 (ppm) over past 60 years:

Past 12 mos+3.12 (as of February 2022)

2011-2020 + 2.43

2001-2010 + 2.04

1991-2000 + 1.55

1981-1990  + 1.56

1971-1980  + 1.35

1961-1970  + 0.91

Over the past 60 years CO2 has increased every decade, and of even more concern, acceleration has picked up steam since the turn of the 21st century. Recent CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa are at all-time new record highs. Furthermore, today’s rate is 250% above its average annual rate of +0.91 ppm from 50-60 years ago.

As of March 2022, there is no evidence that mitigation efforts have slowed down the rate of increase of CO2 even though scientists and the IPCC have been warning of excessive levels of CO2 in the atmosphere for decades. In fact, Dr. James Hansen (Columbia University, but with NASA at the time) warned the US Senate of threatening greenhouse gases way back in the 1980s, a warning that made NYT headlines.

A perspective on the growth rate of CO2 is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography: “Today’s rate of increase is more that 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended.”

Which means what? It means urgent mitigation must be employed, or buckle up.

Here’s what 100 times faster looks like, according to Dr. Katey Walter Anthony, Aquatic Ecosystem Ecologist and Professor, Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska/Fairbanks: “It was 14,000 years ago, as the climate warmed, when permafrost thermokarst lakes flared up on the landscape, bringing 4°C warming over a period of 8,000 years.” Nowadays, according to Dr. Anthony, a similar 4°C warming will likely occur over only 80 years, which is 100-times faster than 14,000 years ago. 2

When will 4C happen? Answer: Nobody knows for certain, but Dr. Anthony suggests, unless strong mitigation efforts are taken, this century. Is 4C above pre-industrial a killer, lights out? Indeed, humanity is playing with fire.

Already, the IPCC warning contains a long list of potential horror stories, especially if global temperatures are allowed to exceed 1.5C pre-industrial versus 1.2C today from (1) shortages of food and water owing to climate change, and even at current levels of temperatures, (2) to mass die-offs of species, including die-offs of trees and corals, (3) as key ecosystems, like rainforests, lose carbon sink capacity, becoming sources of carbon emissions directly into the atmosphere in concert with cars, trains, planes, and cows in a powerhouse CO2-fest. Under those circumstances Earth’s innate beauty becomes unrecognizable.

The degree of danger has become so unbearably conclusive to climate scientists that they are letting it all hang out, for example:  “Dave Reay, the director of Edinburgh Climate Change Institute at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Like taking a wrecking ball to a set of global dominoes, climate change in the 21st century threatens to destroy the foundations of food and water security, smash onwards through the fragile structures of human and ecosystem health, and ultimately shake the very pillars of human civilization,” 3

A feature story in the February 28th edition of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine by Megan Lowry is entitled: “Latest IPCC Report Says Impacts of Climate Change Are Irreversible and Widespread; Urges Efforts to Cut Emissions and Adapt”:

In a statement released today, IPCC chair Hoesung Lee said, ‘This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction. It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.

The IPCC’s report also finds that nations are not doing enough to reduce emissions and protect themselves from climate hazards and few countries escape unscathed.

Based upon several unnerving descriptions in the IPCC report, one would expect the world community to convene an emergency all-hands-on-deck meeting with checkbooks in hand to fund a rapid transition to a fossil-free world.

Otherwise, IPCC warnings of destruction of the core sources for life on this planet will materialize and maybe sooner than expected. In the chilling words of the authors of the report: “The assessment report is the sixth since the IPCC was first convened by the UN in 1988, and may be the last to be published while there is still some chance of avoiding the worst.” 4

Repeating that IPCC statement: “… while there is still some chance of avoiding the worst” is a message of foreboding that reverberates across land and sea, all of which, for the first time since humans gathered around fires, depends upon humanity to defend, protect, and husband. Will it happen, soon enough?

Here’s what the failure of countries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions has wrought. New York Times March 1st headline: “These Climate Scientists Are Fed Up and Ready to Go on Strike”. According to the article: “Evidence on global warming is piling up. Nations aren’t acting. Some researchers are asking what difference more reports will make.”

Climate scientists on strike!

Who can blame the scientists for frustration and anger when record-setting CO2 emissions follow in the footsteps of 26 COPs (Conference of the Parties) and six Assessment Reports, all starting in 1988, and decades of warnings to leaders of the world foretelling what has now become so obvious.

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group II Sixth Assessment Report, 2022.
  2. “Thawing Arctic Permafrost-Regional and Global Impacts”, National Academy of Sciences, May 11, 2020.
  3. Ibid.
  4. “IPCC Issues ‘Bleakest Warning Yet’ on Impacts of Climate Breakdown”, The Guardian, February 28, 2022.
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