Monday 27 May 2019

‘We have lost Australia for now,’ warns climate scientist in wake of election upset.

"The unexpected victory of conservatives in Australia's election is bad news for the future of global climate action."

“Australians elected someone who once brought a lump of coal into Parliament urging us to dismiss the warnings from climate scientists, and to dig up more coal instead,” Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, an Australian cognitive scientist, told ThinkProgress in an email. “There is little doubt that his government will do precisely that.”

“We have lost Australia for now,” warned Penn State climatologist Michael Mann in an email.  “A coalition of a small number of bad actors now threaten the survivability of our species,” he said."

"These include “the fossil fueled Murdoch media empire, which saturated the country with dishonest right-wing campaign propaganda” working with a few “petrostates including Saudi Arabia, Russia, Trump’s America, and now Australia.”

"Rupert Murdoch’s grip on the Australian media — and his support of climate disinformation around the world — led one Australian scientist to write in 2011, “The Murdoch media empire has cost humanity perhaps one or two decades of time in the battle against climate change.”"

Read the ThinkProgress article 


A Postmortem for Survival: on science, failure and action on climate change

Saturday 25 May 2019

Climate Change Isn’t Your Fault. It’s Capitalism’s: Medium

Capitalism is destroying our climate.
We want climate action now

You’re Not the Problem. The System Is. The Global Economy’s Broken, and Self-Blame Isn’t Going to Fix It.

"Here’s the truth.

Climate change isn’t your fault. It’s capitalism’s fault. 70% of carbon emissions come from 100 companies. Let me translate that.

The world’s giant corporations are effectively turning the skies, oceans, forests, and mountains into cold, hard cash. So much money so fast they literally don’t know what do with it, because there’s nothing left to do with it.

So much inequality has resulted that it’s destabilizing societies like America and Britain by creating classes of new poor. As result, societies don’t have the resources left to fight problems like…climate change. Capitalism is sucking in nature, turning it into insane, needless, pointless profit — and destroying democracy, the planet, and life as we know it on it along the way."


The heat is on over the climate crisis. Only radical measures will work : The Guardian

Thursday 23 May 2019

Sea levels may rise much faster than previously predicted, swamping coastal cities such as Shanghai, study finds: CNN

Sea level rise 1900-2017

Global sea levels could rise more than two meters (6.6 feet) by the end of this century if emissions continue unchecked, swamping major cities such as New York and Shanghai and displacing up to 187 million people, a new study warns.

The study, which was released Monday, says sea levels may rise much faster than previously estimated due to the accelerating melting of ice sheets in both Greenland and Antarctica.
Melting ice: CNN

The international researchers predict that in the worst case scenario under which global temperatures increase by 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, sea levels could rise by more than two meters (6.6 feet) in the same period -- double the upper limit outlined by the UN climate science panel's last major report. 
Such a situation would be "catastrophic," the authors of the study warn. 
"It really is pretty grim," lead author Jonathan Bamber, a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Bristol told CNN. "Two meters is not a good scenario."
He said the mass displacement of people in low-lying coastal areas would likely result in serious social upheaval. It would also pose an "existential threat" to small island nations in the Pacific which would be left pretty much uninhabitable. 

Wednesday 22 May 2019

The heat is on over the climate crisis. Only radical measures will work : The Guardian

Experts agree that global heating of 4C by 2100 is a real possibility. The effects of such a rise will be extreme and require a drastic shift in the way we live

Drowned cities; stagnant seas; intolerable heatwaves; entire nations uninhabitable… and more than 11 billion humans. A four-degree-warmer world is the stuff of nightmares and yet that’s where we’re heading in just decades.

While governments mull various carbon targets aimed at keeping human-induced global heating within safe levels – including new ambitions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 – it’s worth looking ahead pragmatically at what happens if we fail. After all, many scientists think it’s highly unlikely that we will stay below 2C (above pre-industrial levels) by the end of the century, let alone 1.5C. Most countries are not making anywhere near enough progress to meet these internationally agreed targets.

Read The Guardian Article 

See also:

A Postmortem for Survival: on science, failure and action on climate change

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Escaping extinction through paradigm shift: Medium

No amount of nonviolent resistance will provide our existing political institutions with the capacity to address the crisis.
Drone footage of displaced family tents in one settlement in Badghis, Afghanistan, due to ongoing drought and climate change. There are thousands of makeshift homes spread between mountain hills on the outskirt of Qala-i-naw city. (Source: NRC/Enayatullah Azad)

"‘Rebellion’ is not enough. We need to build new systems from the ground up, right now

"We have been trained to believe that voting every once in a while in parliamentary systems suffices for effective democratic action that serves our legitimate interests. We now know that this is not enough. Our democracies are not just broken, beholden to special interests belonging to an interlocking network of energy, defense, agribusiness, biotechnological, communications and other industrial conglomerates dominated by a tiny minority.

Our democracies are in a state of collapse: incapable of addressing the systemic complexity of the crisis of civilization. As they fail, they are veering toward rejecting their own democratic ethos toward increasing authoritarianism — shoring up centralized state powers to ward off dangerous ‘Others’ and unruly citizens. And so it is only natural that we feel the most immediate response must be to react against this state of abject failure. Yet this response itself is a function of the same sensation of helplessness and paralysis induced by the system itself.

The problem is that liberal democracies in their current form are in a state of collapse for a reason: they are, indeed, incapable of addressing the systemic complexity of the crisis of civilization. No amount of nonviolent resistance will provide our existing political institutions with the capacity to address the crisis. Because the problem runs much, much deeper."

Thursday 16 May 2019

A Postmortem for Survival: on science, failure and action on climate change

CO2 Reading April 21, 2019
Failing to learn from past mistakes is the only truly unforgivable mistake in science. And on climate change, the scientific community (by and large) has been criminally negligent when it comes to observing — and especially learning from — its own track record. This blog post is a postmortem in 4 acts: an anatomy of failure, so that we can hopefully learn, act and change. Fast.

Act 1: Science as success

Let’s get one thing out of the way, shall we? The physical science of climate change has been a resounding, phenomenal, triumphant success. As a colleague from the University of Leeds recently put it, “We’ve been right for decades.” This makes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change first Working Group (on the physical science) assessment reports an absolute dawdle to write up: “Still right!” [That’s a joke, by the way. There are always absolute stacks of new science to report on: just the large lines of it have not budged at all.] So there is not much to learn from there in terms of failure. Well done, physical scientists, you’ve observed & modeled external reality. You aced the case.


DESMOG: Renewables Offset 35 Times More CO2 Every Year Than All Carbon Capture Projects Ever, New Analysis Finds


Climate Change perceptions


Tuesday 14 May 2019

Climate change: Where we are in seven charts and what you can do to help: BBC

Average Warming projected by 2100
"The UN has warned that the goal of limiting global warming to "well below 2C above pre-industrial levels" is in danger because major economies, including the US and the EU, are falling short of their pledges.

But scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the leading international body on global warming - argue the 2C pledge in the 2015 Paris accord didn't go far enough. The global average temperature rise actually needs to be kept below 1.5C, they say.

So how warm has the world got and what can we do about it?"

Read the article

DESMOG: Renewables Offset 35 Times More CO2 Every Year Than All Carbon Capture Projects Ever, New Analysis Finds

By Justin Mikulka (6 min. read)
A new analysis by Clean Technica found that global investment in carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) adds up to roughly $7.5 billion total. It also examined how much, for that investment, CCS has reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels compared to an equivalent investment in renewable power generation.

The analysis calculated that “wind and solar are displacing roughly 35 times as much CO2 every year as the complete global history of CCS.” Clean Technica's Mike Barnard concluded, “CCS is a rounding error in global warming mitigation.” 

Thursday 9 May 2019

Video: Kiribati - A Climate Change Reality

Boobu Tioram, a resident of the Pacific island of Kirabati, took time out from reinforcing a seawall in front of his newly built house to speak with UNDP about what climate change has meant to his way of life. 

Study: Sea level rise causes Texas coastal homeowners to lose millions in potential property value: Houston Chronicle

"Sea level rise has cost Texas homeowners $76.4 million in potential property value, with Galveston hit the hardest, a new study released Tuesday found.

First Street Foundation and Columbia University analysts examined about 3 million coastal properties in Texas. Using a combination of real estate transactions and tidal flooding exposure, they found that from 2005 to 2017, homes in Galveston lost $9.1 million in potential value, followed by Jamaica Beach (which lost $8.6. million) and the Bolivar Peninsula ($8.1 million). It’s not necessarily that these coastal homes decreased in value by these amounts, the authors say, but that they didn’t appreciate as much as similar homes not exposed to tidal flooding. Researchers factored in square footage, proximity to amenities and economic trends like the 2008 housing recession."

Sunday 5 May 2019

The Bank of England lays bare the “very real” trillion-dollar risks of climate change: QUARTZ

My message today is simple. Climate change poses significant risks to the economy and to the financial system, and while these risks may seem abstract and far away, they are in fact very real, fast approaching, and in need of action today.
That’s how Sarah Breeden began her speech titled “Avoiding the storm: Climate change and the financial system” (pdf) yesterday. Breeden is the Bank of England’s executive director of International Banks Supervision and she was speaking at the Official Monetary & Financial Institutions Forum in London.

The urgency in Breeden’s speech was also on display on London’s streets. Earlier in the day, the environmental group Extinction Rebellion blocked traffic in five iconic locations across the city in a peaceful, non-violent protest to bring attention to “inactivity” of governments on fighting climate change.

Saturday 4 May 2019

Rapid permafrost thaw unrecognized threat to landscape, global warming researcher warns: PHYSORG

A "sleeping giant" hidden in permafrost soils in Canada and other northern regions worldwide will have important consequences for global warming, says a new report led by University of Guelph scientist Merritt Turetsky. 

Scientists have long studied how gradual permafrost occurring over decades in centimetres of surface soils will influence to the atmosphere. But Turetsky and an international team of researchers are looking at something very different: rapid collapse of permafrost that can transform the landscape in mere months through subsidence, flooding and landslides.

"We are watching this sleeping giant wake up right in front of our eyes," said Turetsky, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology.

Read the PHYSORG article

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Alaska's in The Middle of a Record-Breaking Spring Melt, And It's Killing People: WP

From Science Alert
Bryan Thomas doesn't want any more "wishy-washy conversations about climate change." For four years, he has served as station chief of the Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, America's northernmost scientific outpost in its fastest-warming state.

Each morning, after digging through snow to his office's front door, Thomas checks the preliminary number on the observatory's carbon dioxide monitor. On a recent Thursday it was almost 420 parts per million - nearly twice as high as the global preindustrial average.

It's just one number, he said. But there's no question in his mind about what it means.

Alaska is in the midst of one of the warmest springs the state has ever experienced - a transformation that has disrupted livelihoods and cost lives.

22 APR 2019

Read the complete WP article