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Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst

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  • On Behalf Of Robin Chase
    On Behalf Of Robin Chase Read the below and do what ever is in your power to effect the immediate and difficult changes that need to happen in Washington to
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 13, 2008
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      On Behalf Of Robin Chase

       

      Read the below and do what ever is in your power to effect the immediate and difficult changes that need to happen in Washington to make us get with the program: $5/gas starting Jan 21 plus a cap and trade program put in place as quickly as we can.

      Robin


      <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/09/poznan-copenhagen-global-warming-targets-climate-change>

      Tue, 09 Dec 2008

      Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst

      As ministers and officials gather in Poznan one year ahead of the Copenhagen summit on global warming, the second part of a major series looks at the crucial issue of targets

      * David Adam
      * The Guardian, Tuesday December 9 2008

      At a high-level academic conference on global warming at Exeter University this summer, climate scientist Kevin Anderson stood before his expert audience and contemplated a strange feeling. He wanted to be wrong. Many of those in the room who knew what he was about to say felt the same. His conclusions had already caused a stir in scientific and political circles. Even committed green campaigners said the implications left them terrified.

      Anderson, an expert at the Tyndall Centre for <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climatechange>Climate Change Research at Manchester University, was about to send the gloomiest dispatch yet from the frontline of the war against climate change.

      Despite the political rhetoric, the scientific warnings, the media headlines and the corporate promises, he would say, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/carbonemissions>carbon emissions were soaring way out of control - far above even the bleak scenarios considered by last year's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Stern review. The battle against dangerous climate change had been lost, and the world needed to prepare for things to get very, very bad.

      "As an academic I wanted to be told that it was a very good piece of work and that the conclusions were sound," Anderson said. "But as a human being I desperately wanted someone to point out a mistake, and to tell me we had got it completely wrong."

      Nobody did. The cream of the UK climate science community sat in stunned silence as Anderson pointed out that carbon emissions since 2000 have risen much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the coal-fuelled economic boom in the developing world. So much extra pollution is being pumped out, he said, that most of the climate targets debated by politicians and campaigners are fanciful at best, and "dangerously misguided" at worst.

      In the jargon used to count the steady accumulation of carbon dioxide in the Earth's thin layer of atmosphere, he said it was "improbable" that levels could now be restricted to 650 parts per million
      (ppm).

      The CO2 level is currently over 380ppm, up from 280ppm at the time of the industrial revolution, and it rises by more than 2ppm each year. The government's official position is that the world should aim to cap this rise at 450ppm.

      The science is fuzzy, but experts say that could offer an even-money chance of limiting the eventual temperature rise above pre-industrial times to 2C, which the EU defines as dangerous. (We have had 0.7C of that already and an estimated extra 0.5C is guaranteed because of emissions to date.)

      The graphs on the large screens behind Anderson's head at Exeter told a different story. Line after line, representing the fumes that belch from chimneys, exhausts and jet engines, that should have bent in a rapid curve towards the ground, were heading for the ceiling instead.

      At 650ppm, the same fuzzy science says the world would face a catastrophic
      4C average rise. And even that bleak future, Anderson said, could only be achieved if rich countries adopted "draconian emission reductions within a decade". Only an unprecedented "planned economic recession" might be enough. The current financial woes would not come close.

      Lost cause

      Anderson is not the only expert to voice concerns that current targets are hopelessly optimistic. Many scientists, politicians and campaigners privately admit that 2C is a lost cause. Ask for projections around the dinner table after a few bottles of wine and more vote for 650ppm than
      450ppm as the more likely outcome.

      Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Environment Department and a former head of the IPCC, warned this year that the world needed to prepare for a
      4C rise, which would wipe out hundreds of species, bring extreme food and water shortages in vulnerable countries and cause floods that would displace hundreds of millions of people. Warming would be much more severe towards the poles, which could accelerate melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.

      Watson said: "We must alert everybody that at the moment we're at the very top end of the worst case [emissions] scenario. I think we should be striving for 450 [ppm] but I think we should be prepared that 550 [ppm] is a more likely outcome." Hitting the 450ppm target, he said, would be "unbelievably difficult".

      A report for the Australian government this autumn suggested that the
      450ppm goal is so ambitious that it could wreck attempts to agree a new global deal on global warming at Copenhagen next year. The report, from economist Ross Garnaut and dubbed the Australian Stern review, says nations must accept that a greater amount of warming is inevitable, or risk a failure to agree that "would haunt humanity until the end of time".

      It says developed nations including Britain, the US and Australia, would have to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 5% each year over the next decade to hit the 450ppm target. Britain's Climate Change Act 2008, the most ambitious legislation of its kind in the world, calls for reductions of about 3% each year to 2050.

      Garnaut, a professorial fellow in economics at Melbourne University, said: "Achieving the objective of 450ppm would require tighter constraints on emissions than now seem likely in the period to 2020 ... The only alternative would be to impose even tighter constraints on developing countries from 2013, and that does not appear to be realistic at this time."

      The report adds: "The awful arithmetic means that exclusively focusing on a 450ppm outcome, at this moment, could end up providing another reason for not reaching an international agreement to reduce emissions. In the meantime, the cost of excessive focus on an unlikely goal could consign to history any opportunity to lock in an agreement for stabilising at 550ppm - a more modest, but still difficult, international outcome. An effective agreement around 550ppm would be vastly superior to continuation of business as usual."

      Henry Derwent, former head of the UK's international climate negotiating team and now president of the International Emissions Trading Association, said a new climate treaty was unlikely to include a stabilisation goal - either 450ppm or 550ppm.

       

       

    • zvileve
      And this is coming from the UK, where at least some decision makers have their heads above water. In North America (and many developing countries - at least
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 14, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        And this is coming from the UK, where at least some decision makers
        have their heads "above water." In North America (and many developing
        countries - at least the ones I am familiar with), it is sad to say
        but it seems that we all have our heads deep in the sand! There is no
        sense of 'imminent danger', no feeling that a complete and utter
        rethink of our relationship with this planet is necessary.

        Unless we get over our addiction to energy consumption, in all it's
        forms (not only transportation related), I fear that Keynes' dictum
        that "in the long run we're all dead" will become a self-fulfilling
        prophesy. What to do? I have no idea. Mankind has always proved itself
        highly adept at exploiting it's local environment, and now our "local
        environment" is the entire planet. For a start, we need to find a way
        to go on a serious *global* birth-control program.

        Happy days....

        Zvi


        --- In WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com, On Behalf Of Robin Chase wrote:
        >
        > On Behalf Of Robin Chase
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Read the below and do what ever is in your power to effect the
        immediate and
        > difficult changes that need to happen in Washington to make us get
        with the
        > program: $5/gas starting Jan 21 plus a cap and trade program put in
        place as
        > quickly as we can.
        >
        > Robin
        >
        >
        >
        <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/09/poznan-copenhagen-global-
        > warming-targets-climate-change>
        >
        > Tue, 09 Dec 2008
        >
        > Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst
        >
        > As ministers and officials gather in Poznan one year ahead of the
        Copenhagen
        > summit on global warming, the second part of a major series looks at the
        > crucial issue of targets
        >
        > * David Adam
        > * The Guardian, Tuesday December 9 2008
        >
        > At a high-level academic conference on global warming at Exeter
        University
        > this summer, climate scientist Kevin Anderson stood before his expert
        > audience and contemplated a strange feeling. He wanted to be wrong.
        Many of
        > those in the room who knew what he was about to say felt the same. His
        > conclusions had already caused a stir in scientific and political
        circles.
        > Even committed green campaigners said the implications left them
        terrified.
        >
        > Anderson, an expert at the Tyndall Centre for
        > <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climatechange>Climate Change
        Research
        > at Manchester University, was about to send the gloomiest dispatch
        yet from
        > the frontline of the war against climate change.
        >
        > Despite the political rhetoric, the scientific warnings, the media
        headlines
        > and the corporate promises, he would say,
        > <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/carbonemissions>carbon
        emissions were
        > soaring way out of control - far above even the bleak scenarios
        considered
        > by last year's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
        > (IPCC) and the Stern review. The battle against dangerous climate
        change had
        > been lost, and the world needed to prepare for things to get very,
        very bad.
        >
        > "As an academic I wanted to be told that it was a very good piece of
        work
        > and that the conclusions were sound," Anderson said. "But as a human
        being I
        > desperately wanted someone to point out a mistake, and to tell me we
        had got
        > it completely wrong."
        >
        > Nobody did. The cream of the UK climate science community sat in stunned
        > silence as Anderson pointed out that carbon emissions since 2000
        have risen
        > much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the
        coal-fuelled
        > economic boom in the developing world. So much extra pollution is being
        > pumped out, he said, that most of the climate targets debated by
        politicians
        > and campaigners are fanciful at best, and "dangerously misguided" at
        worst.
        >
        > In the jargon used to count the steady accumulation of carbon
        dioxide in the
        > Earth's thin layer of atmosphere, he said it was "improbable" that
        levels
        > could now be restricted to 650 parts per million
        > (ppm).
        >
        > The CO2 level is currently over 380ppm, up from 280ppm at the time
        of the
        > industrial revolution, and it rises by more than 2ppm each year. The
        > government's official position is that the world should aim to cap
        this rise
        > at 450ppm.
        >
        > The science is fuzzy, but experts say that could offer an even-money
        chance
        > of limiting the eventual temperature rise above pre-industrial times
        to 2C,
        > which the EU defines as dangerous. (We have had 0.7C of that already
        and an
        > estimated extra 0.5C is guaranteed because of emissions to date.)
        >
        > The graphs on the large screens behind Anderson's head at Exeter told a
        > different story. Line after line, representing the fumes that belch from
        > chimneys, exhausts and jet engines, that should have bent in a rapid
        curve
        > towards the ground, were heading for the ceiling instead.
        >
        > At 650ppm, the same fuzzy science says the world would face a
        catastrophic
        > 4C average rise. And even that bleak future, Anderson said, could
        only be
        > achieved if rich countries adopted "draconian emission reductions
        within a
        > decade". Only an unprecedented "planned economic recession" might be
        enough.
        > The current financial woes would not come close.
        >
        > Lost cause
        >
        > Anderson is not the only expert to voice concerns that current
        targets are
        > hopelessly optimistic. Many scientists, politicians and campaigners
        > privately admit that 2C is a lost cause. Ask for projections around the
        > dinner table after a few bottles of wine and more vote for 650ppm than
        > 450ppm as the more likely outcome.
        >
        > Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Environment Department and a
        former head
        > of the IPCC, warned this year that the world needed to prepare for a
        > 4C rise, which would wipe out hundreds of species, bring extreme
        food and
        > water shortages in vulnerable countries and cause floods that would
        displace
        > hundreds of millions of people. Warming would be much more severe
        towards
        > the poles, which could accelerate melting of the Greenland and West
        > Antarctic ice sheets.
        >
        > Watson said: "We must alert everybody that at the moment we're at
        the very
        > top end of the worst case [emissions] scenario. I think we should be
        > striving for 450 [ppm] but I think we should be prepared that 550
        [ppm] is a
        > more likely outcome." Hitting the 450ppm target, he said, would be
        > "unbelievably difficult".
        >
        > A report for the Australian government this autumn suggested that the
        > 450ppm goal is so ambitious that it could wreck attempts to agree a new
        > global deal on global warming at Copenhagen next year. The report, from
        > economist Ross Garnaut and dubbed the Australian Stern review, says
        nations
        > must accept that a greater amount of warming is inevitable, or risk a
        > failure to agree that "would haunt humanity until the end of time".
        >
        > It says developed nations including Britain, the US and Australia, would
        > have to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 5% each year over the next
        decade
        > to hit the 450ppm target. Britain's Climate Change Act 2008, the most
        > ambitious legislation of its kind in the world, calls for reductions of
        > about 3% each year to 2050.
        >
        > Garnaut, a professorial fellow in economics at Melbourne University,
        said:
        > "Achieving the objective of 450ppm would require tighter constraints on
        > emissions than now seem likely in the period to 2020 ... The only
        > alternative would be to impose even tighter constraints on developing
        > countries from 2013, and that does not appear to be realistic at
        this time."
        >
        > The report adds: "The awful arithmetic means that exclusively
        focusing on a
        > 450ppm outcome, at this moment, could end up providing another
        reason for
        > not reaching an international agreement to reduce emissions. In the
        > meantime, the cost of excessive focus on an unlikely goal could
        consign to
        > history any opportunity to lock in an agreement for stabilising at
        550ppm -
        > a more modest, but still difficult, international outcome. An effective
        > agreement around 550ppm would be vastly superior to continuation of
        business
        > as usual."
        >
        > Henry Derwent, former head of the UK's international climate negotiating
        > team and now president of the International Emissions Trading
        Association,
        > said a new climate treaty was unlikely to include a stabilisation goal -
        > either 450ppm or 550ppm.
        >
      • Ruben Nelson
        Zvi, et al, I share the sense in the recent posts that as a species we are in far more trouble than we know; and that even those who are our opinion leaders,
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 14, 2008
        • 0 Attachment

          Zvi, et al,

           

          I share the sense in the recent posts that as a species “we are in far more trouble than we know;” and that even those who are our opinion leaders, much less those who are led, carry on as if business as usual will work for yet another century.  They have not yet been startled by the facts that shout, “Life as you have known it is over.”

           

          I respond because your words touched me:  “What to do? I have no idea.” 

           

          I wish I could assure you that others do know how to answer Lenin’s question. “What is to be done?”  I cannot.  However, I have some hope that within five years we will see a project emerge that is focused on the urgent need to adapt whole civilizations to the emerging conditions of the 21st Century – a project that as with the Manhattan project in the 1940s is flooded with money and the very best researchers and practitioners on the planet.  The issue behind climate change has always been the need for the continuing adaptation of whole civilizations.  We have wasted 30 years by focusing so tightly on the symptoms without wondering about or inquiring into the underlying malady.  

           

          Ruben

           

          Ruben Nelson

          888-673-3537

           


          From: WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com [mailto:WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of zvileve
          Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 5:48 AM
          To: WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: WorldTransport Forum Re: Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst

           

          And this is coming from the UK , where at least some decision makers
          have their heads "above water." In North America (and many developing
          countries - at least the ones I am familiar with), it is sad to say
          but it seems that we all have our heads deep in the sand! There is no
          sense of 'imminent danger', no feeling that a complete and utter
          rethink of our relationship with this planet is necessary.

          Unless we get over our addiction to energy consumption, in all it's
          forms (not only transportation related), I fear that Keynes' dictum
          that "in the long run we're all dead" will become a self-fulfilling
          prophesy. What to do? I have no idea. Mankind has always proved itself
          highly adept at exploiting it's local environment, and now our "local
          environment" is the entire planet. For a start, we need to find a way
          to go on a serious *global* birth-control program.

          Happy days....

          Zvi

          --- In WorldTransport@ yahoogroups. com,

          On Behalf Of Robin Chase wrote:
          >
          > On Behalf Of Robin Chase
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Read the below and do what ever is in your power to effect the
          immediate and
          > difficult changes that need to happen in Washington to make us get
          with the
          > program: $5/gas starting Jan 21 plus a cap and trade program put in
          place as
          > quickly as we can.
          >
          > Robin
          >
          >
          >
          <http://www.guardian .co.uk/environme nt/2008/dec/ 09/poznan- copenhagen- global-
          > warming-targets- climate-change>
          >
          > Tue, 09 Dec 2008
          >
          > Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst
          >
          > As ministers and officials gather in Poznan one year ahead of the
          Copenhagen
          > summit on global warming, the second part of a major series looks at the
          > crucial issue of targets
          >
          > * David Adam
          > * The Guardian, Tuesday December 9 2008
          >
          > At a high-level academic conference on global warming at Exeter
          University
          > this summer, climate scientist Kevin Anderson stood before his expert
          > audience and contemplated a strange feeling. He wanted to be wrong.
          Many of
          > those in the room who knew what he was about to say felt the same. His
          > conclusions had already caused a stir in scientific and political
          circles.
          > Even committed green campaigners said the implications left them
          terrified.
          >
          > Anderson, an expert at the Tyndall Centre for
          > <http://www.guardian .co.uk/environme nt/climatechange>Climate Change
          Research
          > at Manchester University , was about to send the gloomiest dispatch
          yet from
          > the frontline of the war against climate change.
          >
          > Despite the political rhetoric, the scientific warnings, the media
          headlines
          > and the corporate promises, he would say,
          > <http://www..guardian .co.uk/environme nt/carbonemissio ns>carbon
          emissions were
          > soaring way out of control - far above even the bleak scenarios
          considered
          > by last year's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
          > (IPCC) and the Stern review. The battle against dangerous climate
          change had
          > been lost, and the world needed to prepare for things to get very,
          very bad.
          >
          > "As an academic I wanted to be told that it was a very good piece of
          work
          > and that the conclusions were sound," Anderson said. "But as a human
          being I
          > desperately wanted someone to point out a mistake, and to tell me we
          had got
          > it completely wrong."
          >
          > Nobody did. The cream of the UK climate science community sat in stunned
          > silence as Anderson pointed out that carbon emissions since 2000
          have risen
          > much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the
          coal-fuelled
          > economic boom in the developing world. So much extra pollution is being
          > pumped out, he said, that most of the climate targets debated by
          politicians
          > and campaigners are fanciful at best, and "dangerously misguided" at
          worst.
          >
          > In the jargon used to count the steady accumulation of carbon
          dioxide in the
          > Earth's thin layer of atmosphere, he said it was "improbable" that
          levels
          > could now be restricted to 650 parts per million
          > (ppm).
          >
          > The CO2 level is currently over 380ppm, up from 280ppm at the time
          of the
          > industrial revolution, and it rises by more than 2ppm each year. The
          > government's official position is that the world should aim to cap
          this rise
          > at 450ppm.
          >
          > The science is fuzzy, but experts say that could offer an even-money
          chance
          > of limiting the eventual temperature rise above pre-industrial times
          to 2C,
          > which the EU defines as dangerous. (We have had 0.7C of that already
          and an
          > estimated extra 0.5C is guaranteed because of emissions to date.)
          >
          > The graphs on the large screens behind Anderson 's head at Exeter told a
          > different story. Line after line, representing the fumes that belch from
          > chimneys, exhausts and jet engines, that should have bent in a rapid
          curve
          > towards the ground, were heading for the ceiling instead.
          >
          > At 650ppm, the same fuzzy science says the world would face a
          catastrophic
          > 4C average rise. And even that bleak future, Anderson said, could
          only be
          > achieved if rich countries adopted "draconian emission reductions
          within a
          > decade". Only an unprecedented "planned economic recession" might be
          enough.
          > The current financial woes would not come close.
          >
          > Lost cause
          >
          > Anderson is not the only expert to voice concerns that current
          targets are
          > hopelessly optimistic. Many scientists, politicians and campaigners
          > privately admit that 2C is a lost cause. Ask for projections around the
          > dinner table after a few bottles of wine and more vote for 650ppm than
          > 450ppm as the more likely outcome.
          >
          > Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Environment Department and a
          former head
          > of the IPCC, warned this year that the world needed to prepare for a
          > 4C rise, which would wipe out hundreds of species, bring extreme
          food and
          > water shortages in vulnerable countries and cause floods that would
          displace
          > hundreds of millions of people. Warming would be much more severe
          towards
          > the poles, which could accelerate melting of the Greenland and West
          > Antarctic ice sheets.
          >
          > Watson said: "We must alert everybody that at the moment we're at
          the very
          > top end of the worst case [emissions] scenario. I think we should be
          > striving for 450 [ppm] but I think we should be prepared that 550
          [ppm] is a
          > more likely outcome." Hitting the 450ppm target, he said, would be
          > "unbelievably difficult".
          >
          > A report for the Australian government this autumn suggested that the
          > 450ppm goal is so ambitious that it could wreck attempts to agree a new
          > global deal on global warming at Copenhagen next year. The report, from
          > economist Ross Garnaut and dubbed the Australian Stern review, says
          nations
          > must accept that a greater amount of warming is inevitable, or risk a
          > failure to agree that "would haunt humanity until the end of time".
          >
          > It says developed nations including Britain , the US and Australia , would
          > have to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 5% each year over the next
          decade
          > to hit the 450ppm target. Britain 's Climate Change Act 2008, the most
          > ambitious legislation of its kind in the world, calls for reductions of
          > about 3% each year to 2050.
          >
          > Garnaut, a professorial fellow in economics at Melbourne University ,
          said:
          > "Achieving the objective of 450ppm would require tighter constraints on
          > emissions than now seem likely in the period to 2020 ... The only
          > alternative would be to impose even tighter constraints on developing
          > countries from 2013, and that does not appear to be realistic at
          this time."
          >
          > The report adds: "The awful arithmetic means that exclusively
          focusing on a
          > 450ppm outcome, at this moment, could end up providing another
          reason for
          > not reaching an international agreement to reduce emissions. In the
          > meantime, the cost of excessive focus on an unlikely goal could
          consign to
          > history any opportunity to lock in an agreement for stabilising at
          550ppm -
          > a more modest, but still difficult, international outcome. An effective
          > agreement around 550ppm would be vastly superior to continuation of
          business
          > as usual."
          >
          > Henry Derwent, former head of the UK 's international climate negotiating
          > team and now president of the International Emissions Trading
          Association,
          > said a new climate treaty was unlikely to include a stabilisation goal -
          > either 450ppm or 550ppm.
          >




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