"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."

Welcome to Infoshop News
Thursday, September 18 2014 @ 04:38 AM CDT

James Hansen and the Climate-Change Exit Strategy

Climate Change

The world at present is fast approaching a climate cliff. Science tells us that an increase in global average temperature of 2°C (3.6° F) constitutes the planetary tipping point with respect to climate change, leading to irreversible changes beyond human control. A 2°C rise is sufficient to melt a significant portion of the world’s ice due to feedbacks that will hasten the melting. It will thus set the course to an ice-free world. Sea level will rise. Numerous islands will be threatened along with coastal regions throughout the globe.

James Hansen and the Climate-Change Exit Strategy

John Bellamy Foster
Monthly Review
2013, Volume 64, Issue 09 (February)

The Climate Cliff

The world at present is fast approaching a climate cliff. Science tells us that an increase in global average temperature of 2°C (3.6° F) constitutes the planetary tipping point with respect to climate change, leading to irreversible changes beyond human control. A 2°C rise is sufficient to melt a significant portion of the world’s ice due to feedbacks that will hasten the melting. It will thus set the course to an ice-free world. Sea level will rise. Numerous islands will be threatened along with coastal regions throughout the globe. Extreme weather events (droughts, storms, floods) will be far more common. The paleoclimatic record shows that an increase in global average temperature of several degrees means that 50 percent or more of all species—plants and animals—will be driven to extinction. Global food crops will be negatively affected. For example, a 2011 report of the National Resource Council indicates that the U.S. corn (maize) crop, which accounts for 40 percent of the world’s total, will experience a 25 percent decline in average yield with a 2°C rise in temperature.2

A 2°C increase in global average temperature is associated with the emission of about one trillion metric tons of cumulative carbon emissions since the Industrial Revolution.3 A total of 566 billion metric tons of carbon have already been added to the atmosphere due to fossil fuel combustion, cement production, and land cover change since 1750. This sets up a carbon budget—the remaining tons of carbon that can be released without reaching the trillion metric ton mark—of less than 500 billion metric tons. Based on the record of emission rates over the last two decades it is estimated by climate scientists at Oxford University (associated with the website trillionthtonne.org) that we will emit the one-trillionth metric ton in twenty-eight years (this reflects a recent recalibration of the methodology resulting in a two-year reduction in the estimated timeline). We could, it is calculated, avoid emitting the trillionth ton if we were to decrease carbon emissions from this point on by about 2.4 percent a year. A truly safe response would require a drop in carbon emissions at more than twice that rate. The longer we wait the steeper the reductions will need to be.4

Today’s climate science tells us that even aiming at keeping the rise in global temperature below 2°C is extremely risky, since approaching anywhere near 2°C is inviting irreversible change—i.e., a point of no return with the climate-change process spiraling out of human control. According to the National Resource Council, “Climate changes that occur because of carbon dioxide increases are expected to persist for thousands of years.”5 Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows, at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester, argue that 2°C no longer constitutes the threshold of “dangerous” climate change, as was originally thought by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but rather—in the face of indications of increased climate sensitivity such as a much faster melting of Arctic sea ice than predicted—now stands for the threshold of “extremely dangerous” climate change.6

In response to this planetary emergency, 140 nations have agreed, at least in principle, to a goal of staying below the 2°C threshold.7 So far, however, all attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, including the Kyoto Protocol and subsequent climate negotiations, have been a dismal failure. Carbon emissions continue to rise in every part of the world, and notably in those countries that have been most responsible historically for carbon releases: the developed countries. Current climate agreements—mere promises usually based on cap and trade or the creation of a carbon market—have proven ineffective and, would, even if lived up to, take the world well beyond the 2°C boundary. So bankrupt is this general approach, in fact, that James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world’s foremost climate scientist, has said that these climate agreements are not worth the paper that they are written on, since they will guarantee a disastrous outcome.8

Read more

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Ask
  • Kirtsy
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Twitter
  • SlashDot
  • Reddit
  • MySpace
  • Fark
  • Del.icio.us
  • Blogmarks
  • Yahoo Buzz
James Hansen and the Climate-Change Exit Strategy | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
James Hansen and the Climate-Change Exit Strategy
Authored by: Sean on Friday, March 01 2013 @ 12:44 PM CST

Whether climate change is occurring has not been a controversy in the scientific community for a long time. People still argue that our economy can't afford to make the changes necessary to avert it. This article illustrates very clearly: how can we possibly afford not to?

James Hansen and the Climate-Change Exit Strategy
Authored by: WildAnarchy on Monday, March 04 2013 @ 10:30 AM CST

 "our economy"

Speak for yourself !

This isn't my economy ! Do you have any say in how "your economy" is run ?

John Bellamy Foster and the Monthly Review talking about the environment or the natural world is hilarious. A Marxist understanding of our natural environments is how to better control it under a workers' State...another giant Leviathan system of control...as bad as Capitalism.