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Worst Climate Fears Realised?


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#1 Eclipse Now

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:29 PM

Given that 2 reports came out just in the last week that indicate we are now heading for 4 degrees, what are your worst case scenarios and / or fears for climate change? How bad do you really think this is going to get?

So what does all of this mean? What can we look forward to if we shove the car over the cliff?

Are you ready for a 4 degree world?

At one point during his keynote speech, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and former climate adviser to the German Chancellor and the EU, asks rhetorically: “What is the difference between two degrees (of temperature increase) and four degrees?”

“The difference,” he said, “is human civilisation”.
http://theconversati...gree-world-2452

Or, as Think Progress continues:

Of course, planning for 4°C [7°F] in 2100 — let alone 6°C [11°F] — is tantamount to planning for the end of civilization as we know it (see this review of more than 60 recent studies — “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces“).

Such a world would likely mean:

Permanent Dust Bowl conditions over the U.S. Southwest, parts of the Great Plains and many other regions around the globe that are heavily populated and/or heavily farmed.
Sea level rise of some 1 foot by 2050, then 4 to 6 feet (or more) by 2100, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter
Massive species loss on land and sea — perhaps 50% or more of all biodiversity.
Much more extreme weather
These will all be happening simultaneously and getting worse decade after decade. A 2009 NOAA-led study found the worst impacts would be “largely irreversible for 1000 years.”
http://thinkprogress...tion/?mobile=nc

Or, as the World Bank says in the Forward to: Turn Down the Heat (Why we must avoid a 4 degrees Centigrade warmer world),

It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency. This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes. The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs. The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development. It is clear that we already know a great deal about the threat before us. The science is unequivocal that humans are the cause of global warming, and major changes are already being observed: global mean warming is 0.8°C above pre industrial levels; oceans have warmed by 0.09°C since the 1950s and are acidifying; sea levels rose by about 20 cm since pre-industrial times and are now rising at 3.2 cm per decade; an exceptional number of extreme heat waves occurred in the last decade; major food crop growing areas are increasingly affected by drought. Despite the global community’s best intentions to keep global warming below a 2°C increase above pre-industrial climate, higher levels of warming are increasingly likely. Scientists agree that countries’ current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change emission pledges and commitments would most likely result in 3.5 to 4°C warming. And the longer those pledges remain unmet, the more likely a 4°C world becomes.

And from page xiii

Even with the current mitigation commitments and pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20 percent likelihood of exceeding 4°C by 2100. If they are not met, a warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s. Such a warming level and associated sea-level rise of 0.5 to 1 meter, or more, by 2100 would not be the end point: a further warming to levels over 6°C, with several meters of sea-level rise, would likely occur over the following centuries.
http://climatechange...r-world-century

#2 Essay

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:57 AM

Given that 2 reports came out just in the last week that indicate we are now heading for 4 degrees, what are your worst case scenarios and / or fears for climate change? How bad do you really think this is going to get?

So what does all of this mean? What can we look forward to if we shove the car over the cliff?

Are you ready for a 4 degree world?

At one point during his keynote speech, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and former climate adviser to the German Chancellor and the EU, asks rhetorically: “What is the difference between two degrees (of temperature increase) and four degrees?”

“The difference,” he said, “is human civilisation”.
http://theconversati...gree-world-2452

Or, as Think Progress continues:

Of course, planning for 4°C [7°F] in 2100 — let alone 6°C [11°F] — is tantamount to planning for the end of civilization as we know it (see this review of more than 60 recent studies — “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces“).

Such a world would likely mean:

Permanent Dust Bowl conditions over the U.S. Southwest, parts of the Great Plains and many other regions around the globe that are heavily populated and/or heavily farmed.
Sea level rise of some 1 foot by 2050, then 4 to 6 feet (or more) by 2100, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter
Massive species loss on land and sea — perhaps 50% or more of all biodiversity.
Much more extreme weather
These will all be happening simultaneously and getting worse decade after decade. A 2009 NOAA-led study found the worst impacts would be “largely irreversible for 1000 years.”
http://thinkprogress...tion/?mobile=nc

Or, as the World Bank says in the Forward to: Turn Down the Heat (Why we must avoid a 4 degrees Centigrade warmer world),

It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency. This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes. The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs. The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development. It is clear that we already know a great deal about the threat before us. The science is unequivocal that humans are the cause of global warming, and major changes are already being observed: global mean warming is 0.8°C above pre industrial levels; oceans have warmed by 0.09°C since the 1950s and are acidifying; sea levels rose by about 20 cm since pre-industrial times and are now rising at 3.2 cm per decade; an exceptional number of extreme heat waves occurred in the last decade; major food crop growing areas are increasingly affected by drought. Despite the global community’s best intentions to keep global warming below a 2°C increase above pre-industrial climate, higher levels of warming are increasingly likely. Scientists agree that countries’ current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change emission pledges and commitments would most likely result in 3.5 to 4°C warming. And the longer those pledges remain unmet, the more likely a 4°C world becomes.

And from page xiii

Even with the current mitigation commitments and pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20 percent likelihood of exceeding 4°C by 2100. If they are not met, a warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s. Such a warming level and associated sea-level rise of 0.5 to 1 meter, or more, by 2100 would not be the end point: a further warming to levels over 6°C, with several meters of sea-level rise, would likely occur over the following centuries.
http://climatechange...r-world-century

...yep!

http://www.democracy...ator#transcript

RONALD JUMEAU: Yeah, I just want to make a comment. The world that President Obama doesn’t want American children to live in is already here, and it’s only going to get worse. I guess the most frustrated people on earth now must be scientists. There’s all this talk about, all this waffle about, "We have to do things according to the science," and everybody seems to—while the talks may be moving at a snail’s pace—as I said, the Doha caravan is lost in a sandstorm—everybody seems to be breaking their neck to get as far from the science as possible. So, the world is already here. And whether the U.S. or any other country, including my own, fears their children living in it, they are living in it. And I would hope maybe their kids should turn around and tell their parents, "Dad, haven’t you noticed? We’re already there."

AMY GOODMAN: That was Ronald Jumeau, Seychelles ambassador for climate change, Seychelles in the Pacific off the eastern coast of Africa.

===

I am reminded how taken I was with C. P. Snow's "The Two Cultures," and so studied the Humanities--history, anthropology, sociology, economics, etc., along with literature--as I got my Sciences degree.

http://en.wikipedia....he_Two_Cultures
&

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/22/books/review/Dizikes-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

After all, Snow’s descriptions of the two cultures are not exactly subtle. Scientists, he asserts, have “the future in their bones,” while “the traditional culture responds by wishing the future did not exist.” Scientists, he adds, are morally “the soundest group of intellectuals we have,” while literary ethics are more suspect. Literary culture has “temporary periods” of moral failure, he argues....
....
Yet “The Two Cultures” actually embodies one of the deepest tensions in our ideas about progress. Snow, too, wants to believe the sheer force of science cannot be restrained, that it will change the world — for the better — without a heavy guiding hand. The Industrial Revolution, he writes, occurred “without anyone,” including intellectuals, “noticing what was happening.” But at the same time, he argues that 20th-century progress was being stymied by the indifference of poets and novelists. That’s why he wrote “The Two Cultures.” So which is it? Is science an irrepressible agent of change, or does it need top-down direction?

This question is the aspect of “The Two Cultures” that speaks most directly to us today. Your answer — and many different ones are possible — probably determines how widely and deeply you think we need to spread scientific knowledge. Do we need to produce more scientists and engineers to fight climate change? How should they be deployed? Do we need broader public understanding of the issue to support governmental action? Or do we need something else?


Yep... Seeing enough of our future (via science), and knowing enough of our past (via humanities) makes it hard not to grieve... and that knowledge becomes a good impetus to try making a difference.
===

http://www.democracy...time#transcript

AMY GOODMAN: How do you move from the anti-apartheid movement to the climate change, the anti-global-warming movement? What was your trajectory?

"Durban is where Kumi Naidoo is from, executive director of Greenpeace International."
KUMI NAIDOO: I mean, it’s very easy. I mean, the struggle for human rights and the struggle for—to end global poverty and the struggle to avert catastrophic climate change are two—are two sides of the same coin. I mean, in some ways, if you take the civil rights battle in the United States, the right of women to vote, slavery, colonialism and so on, if you add up all of these different struggles, all of them together, climate change, I would say, dwarfs them, even when you put them together, because what we are fighting for here is—by the way, is not the survival of the planet. The planet will survive, right? However we mess it up, however we destroy it, itself, it will survive. What we are fighting for here is the right of humanity to continue to exist on this planet. And in this sense, this struggle is about securing our children and their children’s future, and therefore, the failure to act, right, is a betrayal of our children’s futures. It’s a betrayal of history. It’s a betrayal of common decency.
===


Think about what our ancestors dreamed of for us, and what our ancestors would see through our eyes now.
....Dreams beyond the avarice of kings, now realized; a heaven on earth.

Think about what you will see through your grandchildren's eyes; and then think about what your children will see through their grandchildren's eyes... or the further grandchildren's visions.
....Nightmares of a hot hazy and cloudy world with strong zonal winds, stagnant sulfurous oceans, and acidic rains that burn the skin; a hellish place.
"It’s a betrayal of history."

~

#3 Eclipse Now

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:24 AM

...Nightmares of a hot hazy and cloudy world with strong zonal winds, stagnant sulfurous oceans, and acidic rains that burn the skin; a hellish place.
"It’s a betrayal of history."

A legacy of SPICE (what I call "White Skies")?
http://eclipsenow.wo...om/white-skies/

Olivine can help soak up some of that Co2 and prevent the oceans going stagnant. If we're desperate enough. But I'd prefer, of course, to prevent, rather than 'cure', climate change.
http://eclipsenow.wo...ss.com/olivine/