Something to keep in mind…

We have to make decisions now
which will literally determine whether
organized human life can survive
in any decent form.

You can imagine what the world would be like if sea level rises
say, ten or twenty feet or even higher now
which is easily within the range of predictions
the consequences are unimaginable.

It is as if we are like the proverbial lemmings
just happily marching off the cliff
led by leaders who understand very well what they are doing
but are so dedicated to enriching themselves
and their friends in the near future
that it simply doesn’t matter what happens to the human species.

There is nothing like this in all of human history.

There have been plenty of monsters in the past. Plenty of them.

But you can’t find one who is dedicated with passion to destroying the prospects for organized human life.

Noam Chomsky

The Extinction Rebellion

In October of 2018, The Extinction Rebellion was co-founded by Dr Roger Hallam, Gail Bradbrook and Simon Bramwell as well as other activists from the campaign group Rising Up!. They advocate civil disobedience and non-violent direction action.

This UK movement is asking the government to do the following:

• Take robust and emergency action on climate breakdown,
• reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025,
• establish a People’s Assembly to reshape an economy that will protect the climate.

Dr Roger Hallam of Extinction Rebellion talks about Climate Breakdown in this video.  

Hallam is an academic who specializes in social change and protest. He predicts an increase of 1.7C temperature rise around 2024, in just six (6) years.

Dr. Hallam makes the point that he is addressing only what he sees as “actually happening now” and only wants to speak about events that have “absolutely clear science”. “I am selecting only three or four tipping points, the ones I think are dead certain. There are 69 tipping points.”

He specifically looks at existing “numbers” before adding “what humans are doing”. He begins by addressing the reduction of sea ice.

Sea ice has gone from fully covered to a 25% cover in 30 years. “So, the idea is that it is going to hit zero in the next few years. There is 25% left to go. If you follow this out it figures out to being ice free by 2024, give or take, by doing simple math.”

Not 2030 or 2050 as many people say.

There is a latent heat effect once the ice is gone. Because the water is dark it sucks up more heat, which becomes a positive feedback cycle. When all the ice melts it will lead to a .5C degree increase in the global temperatures average. So, it is likely that the temperature will go up by .5C in next 10-20 years. “Once you have triggered a feedback loop you can’t turn back.”

“Looking at the numbers we see that the CO2 that is now in the atmosphere has yet to come through. Right now we are at 1.2C.”

1.2C (current temp) +.5C (increase from ice melt) = 1.7C [potentially] by 2024.

But there will also be impact from the CO2 that is currently being put into the atmosphere. He says that this will cause another .5C increase in temperature. Which means, if we include that, that we would already be above 2 degrees C (1.2 + .5 + .5 = 2.2C)

“I just want to show you what is absolutely certain using basic physics.” He goes on to talk of other tipping points…

But we also need to consider water vapor. For every degree the temperature increases, in theory, you should add on another degree for the effect of water vapor.

Then if you look in the scientific literature, when the global temperature goes over ~3C the Amazon will burn down and that will add 1.5 degrees to the total.

This is an average increase but it is also “basic physics that the center of the continent will warm faster. The center of the continent warms twice as fast as the coast so if we go over 2C it makes a four degree increase in the center of the continent.”

Basically, then, you can’t grow grains in the center of the continent. This means a 60% reduction in corn production. According to his calculations we are looking at this happening in the next 10 to 15 years.

Hallam briefly addresses methane release but says the science is not yet clear and so does not include it in his hard numbers. He notes that if 1% of the methane releases, that it will cause a .5C increase in global temperatures and it only takes a year for that to happen.

He goes on to explain hot earth and cold earth.

The average global temperature is 12.5C when the poles are covered with ice. But when there is no ice the average global temperature is 23C. The earth ’flips’ in and out of states with and without ice. Once it ‘flips’ into a state with no ice the temperature rises to 23C and [60 to] 95% of life on earth dies.

This is consistent with what Katherine Richardson, a co-author of the Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene says. This study found that whenever the temperature reached two degrees above the pre-industrial level in the past, it did not pause, it kept pushing upwards until it got to around four to five degrees above that level.

Hallam states that there have been five major extinctions in the historical record. One was caused by an asteroid, but the rest were caused by excess co2 and methane. [This is not quite accurate. See specifics below.] He says that extinctions are caused by [a sulfidic state from increased microbial-sulfate reduction due to increased availability of organic matter]. This happens because the lack of wind causes the oceans to become stagnant and O2 production decreases. This causes most mammals to die off.

Here are some studies that address extinction events…

Eutrophication, microbial-sulfate reduction and mass extinctions
Journal of Communicative & Integrative Biology December 4, 2015

In post-Cambrian time, life on Earth experienced 5 major extinction events, likely instigated by adverse environmental conditions. Biodiversity loss among marine taxa, for at least 3 of these mass extinction events (Late Devonian, end-Permian and end-Triassic), has been connected with widespread oxygen-depleted and sulfide-bearing marine water. Furthermore, geochemical and sedimentary evidence suggest that these events correlate with rather abrupt climate warming and possibly increased terrestrial weathering.

This cascade of events is relevant for the future ocean under predicted greenhouse driven climate change. The exacerbation of anoxic “dead” zones is already progressing in modern oceanic environments, and this is likely to increase due to climate induced continental weathering and resulting eutrophication of the oceans.

One common ground for at least 3 of the “Big Five” extinctions (Late Devonian, end-Permian and end-Triassic) is the compelling evidence for synchronous (or in close temporal relation) widespread occurrence of oxygen deficient (anoxic) and hydrogen sulfide-enriched (euxinic) marine regions.

Modelling determinants of extinction across two Mesozoic hyperthermal events
Ocean Acidification Center October 26, 2018

The Late Triassic and Early Toarcian extinction events are both associated with greenhouse warming events triggered by massive volcanism. These Mesozoic hyperthermals were responsible for the mass extinction of marine organisms and resulted in significant ecological upheaval. It has, however, been suggested that these events merely involved intensification of background extinction rates rather than significant shifts in the macroevolutionary regime and extinction selectivity.

Global warming increases the risk of an extinction domino effect
Science Daily November 28, 2018

The complex network of interdependencies between plants and animals multiplies the species at risk of extinction due to environmental change, according to a new study.

[Scientists] constructed 2000 “Virtual Earths,” which they populated with thousands of plants and animals organized into a global system of inter-connected food-webs. They then subjected the virtual Earths to extreme trajectories of environmental change, consisting in either a “global warming,” i.e. a linear, monotonic increase in temperature, or a “nuclear winter,” i.e. a progressive cooling, such as that which could follow multiple nuclear detonations or an asteroid impact.

PHYS ORG July 2017

The Five Major Mass extinctions

Ordovician extinction

When: about 445 million years ago

Species lost: 60-70 percent

Likely cause: Short but intense ice age

Devonian extinction

When: about 375-360 million years ago

Species lost: up to 75 percent

Likely cause: oxygen depletion in the ocean

Permian extinction

When: about 252 million years ago

Species lost: 95 percent

Possible causes: asteroid impact, volcanic activity

Triassic extinction

When: about 200 million years ago

Species lost: 70-80 percent

Likely causes: multiple, still debated

Cretaceous extinction

When: about 66 million years ago

Species lost: 75 percent

Likely cause: asteroid strike

The 4th National Climate Assessment (NCA4)

The 4th National Climate Assessment (NCA4), volume 2, was published a week ago Thursday. It was written by the U.S. Global Change Research science panel, with representatives from 13 government agencies. The Global Change Research Act was signed into law in 1990 by George H.W. Bush. Previous reports were published in 2000, 2009, and 2013.

This volume focuses on how climate change is affecting the economic infrastructure of the United States and suggests adaption strategies. Volume 1 focused on how climate is affecting temperatures, water resources, sea-level rise, and other natural systems around the country.

Climate impacts grow, and U.S. must act, says new report
National Geographic November 23, 2018

In clear, unwavering terms, the new report states that without “substantial and sustained reductions” in greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will hurt people, economies, and resources across the U.S. But the report also highlights how its worst impacts can be avoided, by adapting to our warmer world and by working to lessen future changes in Earth’s climate. “It joins the mounting evidence about the scope and magnitude of climate-change impacts,”

Charleston, South Carolina, could experience 180 tidal floods in a year by 2045, compared to 11 per year in 2014. In the Southern Great Plains, extreme heat could cause thousands of premature deaths and billions in lost work-hours by the end of the century.

Notably, the new report also examines how climate change is affecting different sectors of the economy – agriculture, forests, and fisheries. It highlights how they are vulnerable to future change.

“[The report] is really about impacts, about how we adapt, and the choices we have to make. It’s an incredibly important dialogue to be having, and to miss out on that would be a loss,” says Hill.

The 1990 act, which passed with not a single dissent in the Senate, required a report every four years to pull together the best available research on how climate change affects the U.S. The reports were supposed to look into the future, predicting how climate would influence Americans 25 to 100 years ahead.

Energy to address the growing specter of climate change was high in the late 1980s. Climate change had been a topic of conversation in the halls of government for over a decade: in 1978, Congress had passed a proto-version of the act that called for “assessments of the effect of climate” on society. And throughout the 1980s, discussion about climate change fomented within agencies and across scattered committees.

Simultaneously, the science about how increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere would affect global temperatures progressed quickly, so that by 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen could sit in front of a Senate Committee, peering over a bouquet of microphones, and say that he was “99% certain” that global warming was underway.

A Report Not to Be Buried: Part II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment
Weather Underground November 26, 2018

For a pithy summary, it’s hard to beat the one the authors put in italics:

“[This report] concludes that the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising.

The follow-up is just as important:

“These impacts are projected to intensify—but how much they intensify will depend on actions taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the risks from climate change now and in the coming decades.”

[In this report] There are now separate analyses for the Northern and Southern Great Plains, a sensible switch from the previous lumping of states that stretch from Texas to North Dakota. I was especially impressed with a supplemental set of State Climate Summaries that provides succinct background on what to expect in each of the 50 states as well as the Western Pacific Islands and Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands. Each of these state reports is compellingly presented and easy to digest, even if the messages are often bleak.

For example, the increasing threat posed by wildfire in California is related to an increase in “hot” droughts, which research shows is consistent with human-produced climate change.


More from Noam Chomsky

One of the most amazing documents is the Trump Department of Highway Standards just issued a long report, a 100 page report urging that all regulations on automotive emissions should be ended. It had a very logical argument, they said that if we extrapolate current trends, by the end of the century the climate will have warmed several degrees centigrade meaning a huge rise in sea level which they underestimate.

So basically, we are going over the cliff anyway and automotive emissions don’t really add much to this so there is no point in cutting them back. The assumption of the department is that everyone in the world is as criminally insane as we are and isn’t going to do anything about it. And on that assumption, yeah, let’s just rob while the planet burns, putting Nero into the shade, he only fiddled while Rome burned.

I can’t think of anything like this is human history. You just can’t find words to describe it.

At the peak of the monstrosity is, in fact, the Trump administration. And we should recall that Trump, himself, as I mentioned is a firm believer in Global Warming, recently he applied to the government of Ireland for permission to build a huge wall, one of his famous walls, this one to protect a golf course of his in Ireland which as his plea indicates is threatened by sea level rise as a result of Global Warming.

Climate Change is Too Important For a Monster Like Trump—Or a Corrupt Hack Like Pallone
Down with Tyranny November 24, 2018

Friday, we saw how a corrupt Jersey political hack, Frank Pallone– who, as ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has taken $135,689 in legalized bribes from Big Oil and Gas– got into a turf war with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is trying to revitalize a great Pelosi idea that was killed off by John Boehner in 2011, the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. When Alexandria is sworn in in January, she will be the youngest woman to ever be seated in Congress. Millennials, unlike hack politicians from Jersey with their grubby paws out for a bribe, take Global Warming seriously and consider it urgent.

The National Climate Assessment was written long before the deadly fires in California this month and before Hurricanes Florence and Michael raked the East Coast and Florida. It says warming-charged extremes “have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration.” The report notes the last few years have smashed U.S. records for damaging weather, costing nearly $400 billion since 2015.

Warnings of ‘Destructive and Irreversible Impacts’ as Greenhouse Gases Hit Highest Levels in 3-5 Million Years
Common Dreams November 22, 2018

As communities most impacted by the climate crisis ramp up demands for urgent global action, atmospheric concentrations of the top three greenhouse gases driving global warming have hit record high levels, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) out Thursday.

Last year, as the latest WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (pdf) details, average concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide all rose—with CO2 hitting 405.5 parts per million (ppm), its highest level in a few million years.

The report also noted that there was a “resurgence of a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance”—called trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11—likely tied to “increased emissions associated with production of CFC-11 in eastern Asia.”

Lots of pictures…

Climate change battle at the gates of Buckingham Palace: Eco-warriors clash with police outside the Queen’s home after ‘funeral march’ ground London to halt
Daily Mail November 24, 2018

• Protesters will be led by professional activists who are opposed to fracking and a third runway at Heathrow

• Authorities have advised motorists to avoid travelling through central London as protesters take over

• Extinction Rebellion demonstrations are part of a campaign of mass civil disobedience co-ordinated online among environmental groups

‘This Is a Climate Emergency’: Extinction Rebellion Takes to Streets to Stand for the Planet Over Polluter Profits
Common Dreams November 24, 2018

“Business as usual equals extinction.”

As scientists warn that the “window of opportunity for action” to prevent catastrophic and irreversible planetary harm from the climate crisis “is almost closed,” members of the Extinction Rebellion movement took to the streets of London on Saturday to demand an urgent response to the world’s ecological emergency and mourn the lives that human-caused climate change has already taken—and will take in the near future in the absence of radical change.

“Last Saturday we celebrated all the life we wanted to save. This Saturday we mourn all the life we’ve lost, are losing, and are still to lose,”

This article has great charts on global temperature scenarios for mid and late 21st centuries…

Three Charts: What Trump Doesn’t Want You to Know About the Climate Emergency
Global Research November 25, 2018

The problem? If we let them go on pushing out 41 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year throughout the world, it is going to cost the US hundreds of billion dollars a year by the end of the century. The economic contribution of entire states could be wiped out.

To Tackle Climate Crisis, Says Bernie Sanders, US Must ‘Be Bold and Aggressive in Standing Up to Greed of Fossil Fuel Industry’
Common Dreams November 25, 2018

In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” shortly after the Trump administration attempted to bury a devastating report on the climate crisis, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said it is more important than ever to unite the public around ambitious solutions to human-caused climate change as the White House actively works with the fossil fuel industry to make it worse.

The World Needs to Quit Coal. Why Is It So Hard?

NYT November 24, 2018

Central to that transformation: Getting out of coal, and fast.

And yet, three years after the Paris agreement, when world leaders promised action, coal shows no sign of disappearing. While coal use looks certain to eventually wane worldwide, according to the latest assessment by the International Energy Agency, it is not on track to happen anywhere fast enough to avert the worst effects of climate change. Last year, in fact, global production and consumption increased after two years of decline.

Cheap, plentiful and the most polluting of fossil fuels, coal remains the single largest source of energy to generate electricity worldwide. This, even as renewables like solar and wind power are rapidly becoming more affordable. Soon, coal could make no financial sense for its backers.

So, why is coal so hard to quit?

Because coal is a powerful incumbent. It’s there by the millions of tons under the ground. Powerful companies, backed by powerful governments, often in the form of subsidies, are in a rush to grow their markets before it is too late. Banks still profit from it. Big national electricity grids were designed for it. Coal plants can be a surefire way for politicians to deliver cheap electricity — and retain their own power. In some countries, it has been a glistening source of graft.

And even while renewables are spreading fast, they still have limits: Wind and solar power flow when the breeze blows and the sun shines, and that requires traditional electricity grids to be retooled.

Click on the link and look at the pictures…

U.S. Nuclear Fleet’s Dry Docks Threatened by Storms and Rising Seas
Inside Climate News November 19, 2018

Rising seas will likely engulf the shipyard by century’s end, but the reckoning for Norfolk and nearby military installations could come much sooner.

“They’re going to disappear” unless the Pentagon acts quickly to protect them, said Ray Mabus, Navy secretary under President Barack Obama.

In October, Hurricane Michael offered a glimpse of what can happen to coastal military bases in a storm’s path when it leveled much of Tyndall Air Force Base, damaging more than a dozen stealth fighters undergoing maintenance.

Today, all of the nation’s 69 submarines and 11 aircraft carriers are nuclear-powered, and they help project the military’s power across the globe. The carriers bring fighter jets to the South China Sea to defend American allies from territorial claims by China. They sail to the Middle East to counter Russia’s presence in Syria. Ballistic missile submarines carry atomic warheads as part of the country’s nuclear deterrence.

Nuclear power has a drawback, however: The ships can be repaired at only a handful of facilities that have the equipment and personnel required to handle radiological material. Of the Navy’s four shipyards—the others are in Maine, Hawaii and Washington state—only two can dry-dock aircraft carriers: Puget Sound and Norfolk.

Good rant…

Climate, Human Delusion and Our Destruction of the Biosphere: We Aren’t Even Trying!
Global Research November 27, 2018

The most casual perusal of the evidence in relation to what is happening to Earth’s biosphere – as distinct from the propaganda that is endlessly promulgated in the global elite’s corporate media – clearly indicates that the cataclysmic assault on our biosphere in a wide range of synergistic ways is now driving the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history and that, as a direct result of our relentless and rampaging destruction of habitat, it will take down humanity with it. Well within 10 years. See ‘Human Extinction by 2026? A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival’.

Countries vowed to cut carbon emissions. They aren’t even close to their goals, U.N. report finds
Faster Than Expected November 27, 2018

Seven major countries, including the United States, are well behind achieving the pledges they made in Paris three years ago, the report finds, with little time left to adopt much more ambitious policy measures to curb their emissions.

That verdict is likely to weigh heavily during a U.N. climate meeting that begins in Poland next week, where countries are scheduled to discuss how well they are, or are not, living up to the goals set in the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement. The UNEP report finds that, with global emissions still increasing as of 2017, it is unlikely they will reach a peak by 2020.

Climate Adaption

Clean Disruption – Energy & Transportation [video:]

Stanford University futurist Tony Seba spent the last decades studying technological disruptions. He argues that the Electric Vehicle, battery storage, and solar power, along with autonomous vehicles, are a perfect example of a 10x exponential process which will wipe fossil fuels off the market in about a decade.

Wildlife & the Environment

Fraser islands deforestation Canada’s most urgent rivers issue
Vancouver Sun November 27, 2018

Deforestation of three islands in the heart of the Fraser River is the most pressing rivers issue in the country for the coming year, according to the Outdoor Recreation Council.

“It sustains our largest single spawning run of salmon, the millions upon millions of pink salmon that spawn right in the main stem every two years, right in and around those islands,” said Angelo, who has received the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada for his conservation work.

Good read…

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
NYT Magazine November 2018

Within days of announcing the insect-collection project, the Natural History Museum of Denmark was turning away eager volunteers by the dozens.

When entomologists began noticing and investigating insect declines, they lamented the absence of solid information from the past in which to ground their experiences of the present. “We see a hundred of something, and we think we’re fine,” Wagner says, “but what if there were 100,000 two generations ago?” Rob Dunn, an ecologist at North Carolina State University who helped design the net experiment in Denmark, recently searched for studies showing the effect of pesticide spraying on the quantity of insects living in nearby forests. He was surprised to find that no such studies existed.

Entomologists also knew that climate change and the overall degradation of global habitat are bad news for biodiversity in general, and that insects are dealing with the particular challenges posed by herbicides and pesticides, along with the effects of losing meadows, forests and even weedy patches to the relentless expansion of human spaces.

Drying Canadian wetland drives muskrat decline
Stanford Earth November 26, 2018

46 years of satellite imagery show the Peace-Athabasca Delta has been drying since the 1970s, significantly reducing muskrat habitat. Stanford University researchers published their findings in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

“The ecological impacts are not limited to muskrat – they extend far beyond that,”

Climate Studies

Is Antarctica becoming more like Greenland?
Science Daily November 20, 2018

Antarctica is high and dry and mostly bitterly cold, and it’s easy to think of its ice and snow as locked away in a freezer, protected from melt except around its low-lying coasts and floating ice shelves. But that view may be wrong.

Meltwater is now ponding on the surface of Antarctica’s inland ice and in larger and more numerous ponds on the ice shelves surrounding the continent.

Canopy mortality has doubled in Europe’s temperate forests over the last three decades
Nature Communications November 26, 2018

Mortality is a key indicator of forest health, and increasing mortality can serve as bellwether for the impacts of global change on forest ecosystems. Here we analyze trends in forest canopy mortality between 1984 and 2016 over more than 30 Mill. ha of temperate forests in Europe

Canopy mortality increased by +2.40% year–1, doubling the forest area affected by mortality since 1984. Areas experiencing low-severity mortality increased more strongly than areas affected by stand-replacing mortality events. Changes in climate and land-use are likely causes of large-scale forest mortality increase. Our findings reveal profound changes in recent forest dynamics with important implications for carbon storage and biodiversity conservation, highlighting the importance of improved monitoring of forest mortality.

Global Warnings

Paul Beckwith: “I declare a global climate change emergency to claw back up the rock face to attempt to regain system stability, or face an untenable calamity of biblical proportions.”

Kevin Hester: “There is no past analogue for the rapidity of what we are baring witness to. There has been a flood of articles … 2C is no longer attainable and that we are heading for dangerous climate change”

Guy McPherson: “The recent and near-future rises in temperature are occurring and will occur at least an order of magnitude faster than the worst of all prior Mass Extinctions. Habitat for human animals is disappearing throughout the world, and abrupt climate change has barely begun.”

Magi Amma: We need to turn on a dime at mach nine!