Activism Discussion: **Global Warming: Passing The 'tipping Point'

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I*@economicdemocracy.org
2006-02-10 23:24:30 EST
Global warming: passing the 'tipping point'

Our special investigation reveals that critical rise in world
temperatures is now unavoidable

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Published: 11 February 2006

A crucial global warming "tipping point" for the Earth, highlighted
only last week by the British Government, has already been passed, with
devastating consequences.

Research commissioned by The Independent reveals that the accumulation
of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has now crossed a threshold, set
down by scientists from around the world at a conference in Britain
last year, beyond which really dangerous climate change is likely to be
unstoppable.

The implication is that some of global warming's worst predicted
effects, from destruction of ecosystems to increased hunger and water
shortages for billions of people, cannot now be avoided, whatever we
do. It gives considerable force to the contention by the green guru
Professor James Lovelock, put forward last month in The Independent,
that climate change is now past the point of no return.

The danger point we are now firmly on course for is a rise in global
mean temperatures to 2 degrees [Celsius, or almost 4 degrees F for the
entire planet] above the level before the Industrial Revolution in the
late 18th century.

At the moment, global mean temperatures have risen to about 0.6 degrees
above the pre-industrial era - and worrying signs of climate change,
such as the rapid melting of the Arctic ice in summer, are already
increasingly evident. But a rise to 2 degrees would be far more
serious.

By that point it is likely that the Greenland ice sheet will already
have begun irreversible melting, threatening the world with a sea-level
rise of several metres [some 20 feet!]

Agricultural yields will have started to fall, not only in Africa but
also in Europe, the US and Russia, putting up to 200 million more
people at risk from hunger, and up to 2.8 billion additional people at
risk of water shortages for both drinking and irrigation. The
Government's conference on Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, held at
the UK Met Office in Exeter a year ago, highlighted a clear threshold
in the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in
the atmosphere, which should not be surpassed if the 2 degree point was
to be avoided with "relatively high certainty".

This was for the concentration of CO2 and other gases such as methane
and nitrous oxide, taken together in their global warming effect, to
stay below 400ppm (parts per million) in CO2 terms - or in the jargon,
the "equivalent concentration" of CO2 should remain below that level.

The warning was highlighted in the official report of the Exeter
conference, published last week. However, an investigation by The
Independent has established that the CO2 equivalent concentration,
largely unnoticed by the scientific and political communities, has now
risen beyond this threshold.

This number is not a familiar one even among climate researchers, and
is not readily available. For example, when we put the question to a
very senior climate scientist, he said: "I would think it's definitely
over 400 - probably about 420." So we asked one of the world's leading
experts on the effects of greenhouse gases on climate, Professor Keith
Shine, head of the meteorology department at the University of Reading,
to calculate it precisely. Using the latest available figures (for
2004), his calculations show the equivalent concentration of C02,
taking in the effects of methane and nitrous oxide at 2004 levels, is
now 425ppm. This is made up of CO2 itself, at 379ppm; the global
warming effect of the methane in the atmosphere, equivalent to another
40ppm of CO2; and the effect of nitrous oxide, equivalent to another
6ppm of CO2.

The tipping point warned about last week by the Government is already
behind us.

"The passing of this threshold is of the most enormous significance,"
said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on the green issues, now
visiting professor at Imperial College London. "It means we have
actually entered a new era - the era of dangerous climate change. We
have passed the point where we can be confident of staying below the 2
degree rise set as the threshold for danger. What this tells us is that
we have already reached the point where our children can no longer
count on a safe climate."

The scientist who chaired the Exeter conference, Dennis Tirpak, head of
the climate change unit of the OECD in Paris, was even more direct. He
said: "This means we will hit 2 degrees [as a global mean temperature
rise]."

Professor Burke added: "We have very little time to act now.
Governments must stop talking and start spending. We already have the
technology to allow us to meet our growing need for energy while
keeping a stable climate. We must deploy it now. Doing so will cost
less than the Iraq war so we know we can afford it."

The 400ppm threshold is based on a paper given at Exeter by Malte
Meinhausen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Dr Meinhausen
reviewed a dozen studies of the probability of exceeding the 2 degrees
threshold at different CO2 equivalent levels. Taken together they show
that only by remaining [under] 400 is there a very high chance of not
doing so.

Some scientists have been reluctant to talk about the overall global
warming effect of all the greenhouses gases taken together, because
there is another consideration - the fact that the "aerosol", or band
of dust in the atmosphere from industrial pollution, actually reduces
the warming.

As Professor Shine stresses, there is enormous uncertainty about the
degree to which this is happening, so making calculation of the overall
warming effect problematic. However, as James Lovelock points out - and
Professor Shine and other scientists accept - in the event of an
industrial downturn, the aerosol could fall out of the atmosphere in a
matter of weeks, and then the effect of all the greenhouse gases taken
together would suddenly be fully felt.

[And no, "inevitable" does not mean we have an excuse to do nothing;
it's now a matter of whether things get seriously bad, on the one
hand, or far worse, on the other hand. Time for damage control
to avoid "far worse" for us and our children -ED]

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article344690.ece

=============

DON'T MOURN, ACT! WEBSITES FOR ACTION:

http://www.earthshare.org/get_involved/involved.html
http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp (not working, 05 apr)
http://www.greenhousenet.org/
http://www.solarcatalyst.com/
http://www.campaignearth.org/buy_green_nativeenergy.asp

Overview and local actions you can take: http://www.PostCarbon.org
=============

= = = =
STILL FEELING LIKE THE MAINSTREAM U.S. CORPORATE MEDIA
IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
= = = =
Daily online radio show, news reporting: www.DemocracyNow.org
More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
= = = =
Sorry, we cannot read/reply to most usenet posts but welcome email
For more information: http://EconomicDemocracy.org/wtc/ (peace)
And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)

** ANTI-SPAM EMAIL NOTE: For email "info" and "map" DON'T work. Email
instead
** to m-a-i-l-m-a-i-l (without the dashes) at economicdemocracy.org


*@dan.com
2006-02-11 02:17:36 EST
Are there any researchers bold enough to attempt to offer a timeline of some
of these catastrophic effects (i.e. when will the Greenland ice sheet be
fully melted, or even half for that matter), when will we start seeing poor
crop yields in, say, the American midwest, when will water shortages
actually affect billions of people? I don't doubt all of these things will
happen, at least if we don't change course, but when?

<*o@economicdemocracy.org> wrote in message
news:1139631870.572893.186270@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> Global warming: passing the 'tipping point'
>
> Our special investigation reveals that critical rise in world
> temperatures is now unavoidable
>
> By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
>
> Published: 11 February 2006
>
> A crucial global warming "tipping point" for the Earth, highlighted
> only last week by the British Government, has already been passed, with
> devastating consequences.
>
> Research commissioned by The Independent reveals that the accumulation
> of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has now crossed a threshold, set
> down by scientists from around the world at a conference in Britain
> last year, beyond which really dangerous climate change is likely to be
> unstoppable.
>
> The implication is that some of global warming's worst predicted
> effects, from destruction of ecosystems to increased hunger and water
> shortages for billions of people, cannot now be avoided, whatever we
> do. It gives considerable force to the contention by the green guru
> Professor James Lovelock, put forward last month in The Independent,
> that climate change is now past the point of no return.
>
> The danger point we are now firmly on course for is a rise in global
> mean temperatures to 2 degrees [Celsius, or almost 4 degrees F for the
> entire planet] above the level before the Industrial Revolution in the
> late 18th century.
>
> At the moment, global mean temperatures have risen to about 0.6 degrees
> above the pre-industrial era - and worrying signs of climate change,
> such as the rapid melting of the Arctic ice in summer, are already
> increasingly evident. But a rise to 2 degrees would be far more
> serious.
>
> By that point it is likely that the Greenland ice sheet will already
> have begun irreversible melting, threatening the world with a sea-level
> rise of several metres [some 20 feet!]
>
> Agricultural yields will have started to fall, not only in Africa but
> also in Europe, the US and Russia, putting up to 200 million more
> people at risk from hunger, and up to 2.8 billion additional people at
> risk of water shortages for both drinking and irrigation. The
> Government's conference on Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, held at
> the UK Met Office in Exeter a year ago, highlighted a clear threshold
> in the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in
> the atmosphere, which should not be surpassed if the 2 degree point was
> to be avoided with "relatively high certainty".
>
> This was for the concentration of CO2 and other gases such as methane
> and nitrous oxide, taken together in their global warming effect, to
> stay below 400ppm (parts per million) in CO2 terms - or in the jargon,
> the "equivalent concentration" of CO2 should remain below that level.
>
> The warning was highlighted in the official report of the Exeter
> conference, published last week. However, an investigation by The
> Independent has established that the CO2 equivalent concentration,
> largely unnoticed by the scientific and political communities, has now
> risen beyond this threshold.
>
> This number is not a familiar one even among climate researchers, and
> is not readily available. For example, when we put the question to a
> very senior climate scientist, he said: "I would think it's definitely
> over 400 - probably about 420." So we asked one of the world's leading
> experts on the effects of greenhouse gases on climate, Professor Keith
> Shine, head of the meteorology department at the University of Reading,
> to calculate it precisely. Using the latest available figures (for
> 2004), his calculations show the equivalent concentration of C02,
> taking in the effects of methane and nitrous oxide at 2004 levels, is
> now 425ppm. This is made up of CO2 itself, at 379ppm; the global
> warming effect of the methane in the atmosphere, equivalent to another
> 40ppm of CO2; and the effect of nitrous oxide, equivalent to another
> 6ppm of CO2.
>
> The tipping point warned about last week by the Government is already
> behind us.
>
> "The passing of this threshold is of the most enormous significance,"
> said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on the green issues, now
> visiting professor at Imperial College London. "It means we have
> actually entered a new era - the era of dangerous climate change. We
> have passed the point where we can be confident of staying below the 2
> degree rise set as the threshold for danger. What this tells us is that
> we have already reached the point where our children can no longer
> count on a safe climate."
>
> The scientist who chaired the Exeter conference, Dennis Tirpak, head of
> the climate change unit of the OECD in Paris, was even more direct. He
> said: "This means we will hit 2 degrees [as a global mean temperature
> rise]."
>
> Professor Burke added: "We have very little time to act now.
> Governments must stop talking and start spending. We already have the
> technology to allow us to meet our growing need for energy while
> keeping a stable climate. We must deploy it now. Doing so will cost
> less than the Iraq war so we know we can afford it."
>
> The 400ppm threshold is based on a paper given at Exeter by Malte
> Meinhausen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Dr Meinhausen
> reviewed a dozen studies of the probability of exceeding the 2 degrees
> threshold at different CO2 equivalent levels. Taken together they show
> that only by remaining [under] 400 is there a very high chance of not
> doing so.
>
> Some scientists have been reluctant to talk about the overall global
> warming effect of all the greenhouses gases taken together, because
> there is another consideration - the fact that the "aerosol", or band
> of dust in the atmosphere from industrial pollution, actually reduces
> the warming.
>
> As Professor Shine stresses, there is enormous uncertainty about the
> degree to which this is happening, so making calculation of the overall
> warming effect problematic. However, as James Lovelock points out - and
> Professor Shine and other scientists accept - in the event of an
> industrial downturn, the aerosol could fall out of the atmosphere in a
> matter of weeks, and then the effect of all the greenhouse gases taken
> together would suddenly be fully felt.
>
> [And no, "inevitable" does not mean we have an excuse to do nothing;
> it's now a matter of whether things get seriously bad, on the one
> hand, or far worse, on the other hand. Time for damage control
> to avoid "far worse" for us and our children -ED]
>
> http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article344690.ece
>
> =============
>
> DON'T MOURN, ACT! WEBSITES FOR ACTION:
>
> http://www.earthshare.org/get_involved/involved.html
> http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp (not working, 05 apr)
> http://www.greenhousenet.org/
> http://www.solarcatalyst.com/
> http://www.campaignearth.org/buy_green_nativeenergy.asp
>
> Overview and local actions you can take: http://www.PostCarbon.org
> =============
>
> = = = =
> STILL FEELING LIKE THE MAINSTREAM U.S. CORPORATE MEDIA
> IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
> = = = =
> Daily online radio show, news reporting: www.DemocracyNow.org
> More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
> = = = =
> Sorry, we cannot read/reply to most usenet posts but welcome email
> For more information: http://EconomicDemocracy.org/wtc/ (peace)
> And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)
>
> ** ANTI-SPAM EMAIL NOTE: For email "info" and "map" DON'T work. Email
> instead
> ** to m-a-i-l-m-a-i-l (without the dashes) at economicdemocracy.org
>



Philip Hart
2006-02-11 05:41:11 EST

d*n@dan.com wrote:
> Are there any researchers bold enough to attempt to offer a timeline of some
> of these catastrophic effects

[...]

Not bold,exactly. When one sees what can happen to people who offend
the establishment these days, you'd need to be almost suicidal.

It's a big problem for the future. Right now we can all enjoy the last
days of the planet as we know it.


I*@economicdemocracy.org
2006-02-11 13:37:41 EST
d*n@dan.com wrote:
> Are there any researchers bold enough to attempt to offer a timeline of some
> of these catastrophic effects (i.e. when will the Greenland ice sheet be
> fully melted, or even half for that matter), when will we start seeing poor
> crop yields in, say, the American midwest, when will water shortages
> actually affect billions of people? I don't doubt all of these things will
> happen, at least if we don't change course, but when?


As many scientists have said we don't know *precisely* where the cliffs
are, just that we're rushing towards them. For complete melting
of Greenland icesheet the ballpark is centuries, possibly 1,000 years,
but that's for the entire melting including a full 21 foot sea rise.
That's
more than 6 meters, look what "only" 4 meters would do to florida
and don't miss louisiana, at
http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/~tk/climate_dynamics/fig5.gif

But the point not to miss about the recent studies and analyses
is the inevitability: even if the full melting would take centuries,
it would be irreversible once we crossed the tipping point
(or per this article, it already is inevitable) and though it will take
a
long time, the fate is 'sealed'.

Another point to keep in mind is the huge other effects that
will come long before that full melting including ocean acitification
that is already, measurably, under way and a danger to microorganisms
and the entire chain of life, including lower crop yields upon which
6.5
billion (and counting) people depend on, and other factors that
are changing faster than animals and plants can adapt to
since in the past it took eons to chance while we are changint the
planet radically in mere decades (blinks of an eye in geological
terms) The exceptions were a handful of historical times
when things DID change really fast: that's when you get the massive
extinctions of 70 miillion years ago (dinosaurs) the one during the
Permian etc.

A third point to keep in mind is that although things could
be a bit less dangerous than we think, they could be more dangerous
than we think, and this uncertainty itself is not reason for
'not to worry since it's not proven with 100% certainty"
but quite the opposite: if you don't know exactly where the cliff
is, that's MORE reason ont to keep walking towards it.

Lastly it could be much worse because of feedback loops
(positive feedbacks) and the non-linear nature (see Washington
Post article below) which means something even worse could happen
far sooner if we continue this Russian Roulette with the
Planet.

=============

A WARNING ON CLIMATE CHANGE

POLLUTION'S EFFECTS COULD BE SUDDEN, NAS REPORT SAYS

By Eric Pianin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 12, 2001; Page A11

[This only made page 11 (!!) of the Washington Post!]

While recent climate change studies have focused on the risks of a
gradual rise in the Earth's temperature, a new National Academy of
Sciences report has concluded that greenhouse gases and other
pollutants could trigger large, abrupt and potentially disastrous
climate changes.

Citing a wealth of paleontological evidence, historical observations
and computer modeling analyses reaching back hundreds of centuries,
researchers found evidence that, in some places, periods of gradual
changes were punctuated by sudden temperature spikes of about 10
degrees Celsius in only a decade.

Roughly half of the warming that has occurred in the northern part of
the Atlantic Ocean since the last ice age was achieved in only a
decade, the report said. That warming was accompanied by significant
climate changes across the globe, including flooding and drought, it
said. Since then, less dramatic climate changes have occurred,
affecting precipitation, hurricanes and the El Niqo events that have
disrupted temperatures in the tropical Pacific.

"Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system
was being forced to change most rapidly," the study states. "Thus,
greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may
increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or
global climatic events."

===============


Maybe these eye-openers will get people ready for the
message that our perpetual growth forever corporate calitalist
consumer economy isn't going to cut it. That's part of the
article below. But neither are state run economies like the
former Soviet ones, we need to create new economic models
that are not growth-based but steady-state and locally
controlled........very interesting any way that The Age the
well known Australian paper ran this 'radical wake up'
article just a few days ago, "Consuming the Future"

==========


Consuming the future
February 6, 2006

Our consumerist culture is unsustainable and the world must find
alternative ways, says Robert Newman.

There is no meaningful response to climate change without massive
social change. A cap on this and a quota on the other won't do it.
Tinker at the edges as we may, we cannot sustain earth's life-support
systems within the present economic system.

Capitalism is not sustainable by its very nature. It is predicated on
infinitely expanding markets, faster consumption and bigger production
in a finite planet. And yet this ideological model remains the central
organising principle of our lives, and as long as it continues to be so
it will automatically undo (with its invisible hand) every single green
initiative anybody cares to come up with.

Much discussion of energy, with never a word about power, leads to the
fallacy of a low-impact, green capitalism somehow put at the service of
environmentalism. In reality, power concentrates around wealth. Private
ownership of trade and industry means that the decisive political force
in the world is private power. The corporation will outflank every puny
law and regulation that seeks to constrain its profitability. It
therefore stands in the way of the functioning democracy needed to
tackle climate change. Only by breaking up corporate power and bringing
it under social control will we be able to overcome the global
environmental crisis.

Recently we have been called on to admire capital's ability to take
robust action while governments dither. All hail Wal-Mart for imposing
a 20 per cent reduction in its own carbon emissions. But the point is
that supermarkets are over. We cannot have such long supply lines
between us and our food. Not any more. The very model of the
supermarket is unsustainable, what with the packaging, transport
distances and destruction of national farming sectors. Small,
independent suppliers, processors and retailers or community-owned
shops selling locally produced food provide a social glue and reduce
carbon emissions.

All hail oil giants BP and Shell for having got beyond petroleum to
become non-profit eco-networks supplying green energy. But fail to
cheer the Fortune 500 corporations that will save us all and ecologists
are denounced as anti-business.

Many career environmentalists fear that an anti-capitalist position is
what is alienating the mainstream from their irresistible arguments.
But is it not more likely that people are stunned into inaction by the
bizarre discrepancy between how extreme the crisis described and how
insipid the solutions proposed? Go on a march to your parliament. Write
a letter to your MP. And what system does your MP hold with? Name one
that isn't pro-capitalist. Oh, all right then, smart-arse. But name
five.

We are caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of climate change and
peak oil. Once we pass the planetary oil production spike (when oil
begins rapidly to deplete and demand outstrips supply), there will be
less and less net energy available. Petroleum geologists reckon we will
pass the spike between 2006 and 2010. It will take, argues oil expert
Richard Heinberg, a Second World War effort if many of us are to come
through this epoch. Not least because modern agribusiness puts hundreds
of calories of fossil-fuel energy into the fields for each calorie of
food energy produced.

Catch-22, of course, is that the worst fate that could befall us is the
discovery of huge new reserves of oil, or even the burning into the sky
of all the oil that's already known about, because the climate chaos
that would be unleashed would make the mere collapse of industrial
society a sideshow bagatelle. Therefore, since we have got to make the
switch from oil anyway, why not do it now?

Solutions need to come from people themselves. But once set up, local
autonomous groups need to be supported by technology transfers from
state to community level. Otherwise it's too expensive to get solar
panels on your roof, let alone set up a local energy grid. Far from
utopian, this has a precedent: back in the 1920s the London boroughs of
Wandsworth and Battersea had their own electricity-generating grid. As
long as energy corporations exist, however, they will fight tooth and
nail to stop this.

There are many organisational projects we can learn from. The Just
Transition Alliance, for example, was set up by black and Latino groups
in the US working with unions to negotiate alliances between "frontline
workers and fenceline communities", that is to say between union
members who work in polluting industries and stand to lose their jobs
if the plant is shut down, and those who live next to the same plant
and stand to lose their health if it's not.

We have to start planning seriously not just a system of personal
carbon rationing but at what limit to set our national carbon ration.
Given a fixed national carbon allowance, what do we spend it on? What
kinds of infrastructure do we wish to build, retool or demolish? What
kinds of organisational structures will work as climate change makes
pretty much all communities more or less "fenceline" and almost all
jobs more or less "frontline"? (Most of our carbon emissions come when
we're at work.)

To get from here to there we must talk about climate chaos in terms of
what needs to be done for the survival of the species rather than where
the debate is at now or what people are likely to countenance tomorrow
morning.

If we are all still in denial about the radical changes coming - and
all of us still are - there are sound geological reasons for our
denial. We have lived in an era of cheap, abundant energy. There never
has and never will again be consumption like we have known. The
petroleum interval, this one-off historical blip, this freakish
bonanza, has led us to believe that the impossible is possible, that
people in northern industrial cities can have suntans in winter and eat
apples in summer.

[COMMENT: What the author fails to add is another "god help us if we
DO find more energy" paragraph. If by some incredible miracle we do
find cheap and easy and greenhouse gas free energy, take a look at
what our perpectual-growth-forever-and-ever economic system has done
to soil, water quality, biodiversity, uranium and certain other
minerals, coillapsing fisheries (worth another google) and
more...research it and it's clear we cannot continue growing forever
for the most basic of mathematical/physical reasons. So not only are
we very unlikely to find anything as cheap and easy as oil to replace
it, must less cheap plus easy plus climate-and-lung-safe, but even if
we DID, we'd hit some other crisis (and we're not far from crisis in
some of the aforementioned areas), so long as we insist on a
perpetual-growth-forever economic model.

The author also could reduce some red baiting by pointing out his
arguments make him and many others of us, equally against Soviet or
other simillar economic models which are basically variants of (state
coordinated) capitalism and are also growth-forever-and-ever based,
and thus also cannot be allowed. Not to mention they like (corporate)
capitalism had a huge decific in the area of democracy, but like
corporate capitalism, even if we foolishly wish to give up economic
democracy for temporary 'growth' goodies, we much now build a
replacement economic model, and fast, even if we only wish for
something much less, namely survival -ED]

But as much as the petroleum bubble has got us out of the habit of
accepting the existence of zero-sum physical realities, it's wise to
remember that they never went away. You can either have capitalism or a
habitable planet. One or the other, not both.

Robert Newman is a British novelist, musician and comedian.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/consuming-the-future/2006/02/05...

More background:
http://peakoil.com (latest news)

http://peakoil.net (ASPO geologists group, Association for the Study of
Peak Oil and gas)

See http://PostCarbon.org (Excellent site. join an outpost for
positive solutions in your area)

http://GlobalPublicMedia.com (audio and video interviews)

http://www.museletter.com/partys-over.html (Book: THE PARTY'S OVER:
Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies)
=============

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

http://www.postcarbon.org/

http://www.copad.org/

http://www.peakoil.net/

=============
d*n@dan.com wrote:
> Are there any researchers bold enough to attempt to offer a timeline of some
> of these catastrophic effects (i.e. when will the Greenland ice sheet be
> fully melted, or even half for that matter), when will we start seeing poor
> crop yields in, say, the American midwest, when will water shortages
> actually affect billions of people? I don't doubt all of these things will
> happen, at least if we don't change course, but when?
>
> <info@economicdemocracy.org> wrote in message
> news:1139631870.572893.186270@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> > Global warming: passing the 'tipping point'
> >
> > Our special investigation reveals that critical rise in world
> > temperatures is now unavoidable
> >
> > By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
> >
> > Published: 11 February 2006
> >
> > A crucial global warming "tipping point" for the Earth, highlighted
> > only last week by the British Government, has already been passed, with
> > devastating consequences.
> >
> > Research commissioned by The Independent reveals that the accumulation
> > of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has now crossed a threshold, set
> > down by scientists from around the world at a conference in Britain
> > last year, beyond which really dangerous climate change is likely to be
> > unstoppable.
> >
> > The implication is that some of global warming's worst predicted
> > effects, from destruction of ecosystems to increased hunger and water
> > shortages for billions of people, cannot now be avoided, whatever we
> > do. It gives considerable force to the contention by the green guru
> > Professor James Lovelock, put forward last month in The Independent,
> > that climate change is now past the point of no return.
> >
> > The danger point we are now firmly on course for is a rise in global
> > mean temperatures to 2 degrees [Celsius, or almost 4 degrees F for the
> > entire planet] above the level before the Industrial Revolution in the
> > late 18th century.
> >
> > At the moment, global mean temperatures have risen to about 0.6 degrees
> > above the pre-industrial era - and worrying signs of climate change,
> > such as the rapid melting of the Arctic ice in summer, are already
> > increasingly evident. But a rise to 2 degrees would be far more
> > serious.
> >
> > By that point it is likely that the Greenland ice sheet will already
> > have begun irreversible melting, threatening the world with a sea-level
> > rise of several metres [some 20 feet!]
> >
> > Agricultural yields will have started to fall, not only in Africa but
> > also in Europe, the US and Russia, putting up to 200 million more
> > people at risk from hunger, and up to 2.8 billion additional people at
> > risk of water shortages for both drinking and irrigation. The
> > Government's conference on Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, held at
> > the UK Met Office in Exeter a year ago, highlighted a clear threshold
> > in the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in
> > the atmosphere, which should not be surpassed if the 2 degree point was
> > to be avoided with "relatively high certainty".
> >
> > This was for the concentration of CO2 and other gases such as methane
> > and nitrous oxide, taken together in their global warming effect, to
> > stay below 400ppm (parts per million) in CO2 terms - or in the jargon,
> > the "equivalent concentration" of CO2 should remain below that level.
> >
> > The warning was highlighted in the official report of the Exeter
> > conference, published last week. However, an investigation by The
> > Independent has established that the CO2 equivalent concentration,
> > largely unnoticed by the scientific and political communities, has now
> > risen beyond this threshold.
> >
> > This number is not a familiar one even among climate researchers, and
> > is not readily available. For example, when we put the question to a
> > very senior climate scientist, he said: "I would think it's definitely
> > over 400 - probably about 420." So we asked one of the world's leading
> > experts on the effects of greenhouse gases on climate, Professor Keith
> > Shine, head of the meteorology department at the University of Reading,
> > to calculate it precisely. Using the latest available figures (for
> > 2004), his calculations show the equivalent concentration of C02,
> > taking in the effects of methane and nitrous oxide at 2004 levels, is
> > now 425ppm. This is made up of CO2 itself, at 379ppm; the global
> > warming effect of the methane in the atmosphere, equivalent to another
> > 40ppm of CO2; and the effect of nitrous oxide, equivalent to another
> > 6ppm of CO2.
> >
> > The tipping point warned about last week by the Government is already
> > behind us.
> >
> > "The passing of this threshold is of the most enormous significance,"
> > said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on the green issues, now
> > visiting professor at Imperial College London. "It means we have
> > actually entered a new era - the era of dangerous climate change. We
> > have passed the point where we can be confident of staying below the 2
> > degree rise set as the threshold for danger. What this tells us is that
> > we have already reached the point where our children can no longer
> > count on a safe climate."
> >
> > The scientist who chaired the Exeter conference, Dennis Tirpak, head of
> > the climate change unit of the OECD in Paris, was even more direct. He
> > said: "This means we will hit 2 degrees [as a global mean temperature
> > rise]."
> >
> > Professor Burke added: "We have very little time to act now.
> > Governments must stop talking and start spending. We already have the
> > technology to allow us to meet our growing need for energy while
> > keeping a stable climate. We must deploy it now. Doing so will cost
> > less than the Iraq war so we know we can afford it."
> >
> > The 400ppm threshold is based on a paper given at Exeter by Malte
> > Meinhausen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Dr Meinhausen
> > reviewed a dozen studies of the probability of exceeding the 2 degrees
> > threshold at different CO2 equivalent levels. Taken together they show
> > that only by remaining [under] 400 is there a very high chance of not
> > doing so.
> >
> > Some scientists have been reluctant to talk about the overall global
> > warming effect of all the greenhouses gases taken together, because
> > there is another consideration - the fact that the "aerosol", or band
> > of dust in the atmosphere from industrial pollution, actually reduces
> > the warming.
> >
> > As Professor Shine stresses, there is enormous uncertainty about the
> > degree to which this is happening, so making calculation of the overall
> > warming effect problematic. However, as James Lovelock points out - and
> > Professor Shine and other scientists accept - in the event of an
> > industrial downturn, the aerosol could fall out of the atmosphere in a
> > matter of weeks, and then the effect of all the greenhouse gases taken
> > together would suddenly be fully felt.
> >
> > [And no, "inevitable" does not mean we have an excuse to do nothing;
> > it's now a matter of whether things get seriously bad, on the one
> > hand, or far worse, on the other hand. Time for damage control
> > to avoid "far worse" for us and our children -ED]
> >
> > http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article344690.ece
> >
> > =============
> >
> > DON'T MOURN, ACT! WEBSITES FOR ACTION:
> >
> > http://www.earthshare.org/get_involved/involved.html
> > http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp (not working, 05 apr)
> > http://www.greenhousenet.org/
> > http://www.solarcatalyst.com/
> > http://www.campaignearth.org/buy_green_nativeenergy.asp
> >
> > Overview and local actions you can take: http://www.PostCarbon.org
> > =============
> >
> > = = = =
> > STILL FEELING LIKE THE MAINSTREAM U.S. CORPORATE MEDIA
> > IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
> > = = = =
> > Daily online radio show, news reporting: www.DemocracyNow.org
> > More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
> > = = = =
> > Sorry, we cannot read/reply to most usenet posts but welcome email
> > For more information: http://EconomicDemocracy.org/wtc/ (peace)
> > And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)
> >
> > ** ANTI-SPAM EMAIL NOTE: For email "info" and "map" DON'T work. Email
> > instead
> > ** to m-a-i-l-m-a-i-l (without the dashes) at economicdemocracy.org
> >


R*@gmail.com
2006-02-11 14:39:10 EST
No doubt due to the "free pass" Kyoto has given huge polluters like
China and India.


NobodyYouKnow
2006-02-11 16:47:32 EST

<*7@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1139686750.637690.97020@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> No doubt due to the "free pass" Kyoto has given huge polluters like
> China and India.


The largest polluter by a wide margin is still the U.S. And nothing is going
to change that fact. A small minority of the world ( 1/16th ) that produces
at least a quarter of the worlds emisisons, thus beating everyone by about
four times over.



Stan De SD
2006-02-12 12:52:48 EST

<*n@dan.com> wrote in message news:P5ydnRqvnf0TEnDeRVn-uQ@comcast.com...

> Are there any researchers bold enough to attempt to offer a timeline of
some
> of these catastrophic effects

No, because the vast majority of these claims are based on chicken-little
enviro-hysteria. Ed's the major propagator of most of this crap in
alt.activism.



Stan De SD
2006-02-12 12:54:44 EST

"NobodyYouKnow" <TheVoiceOfReason@nowhere.com> wrote in message
news:CXsHf.48933$1e5.987314@news20.bellglobal.com...
>
> <rander3127@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1139686750.637690.97020@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > No doubt due to the "free pass" Kyoto has given huge polluters like
> > China and India.
>
>
> The largest polluter by a wide margin is still the U.S. And nothing is
going
> to change that fact. A small minority of the world ( 1/16th ) that
produces
> at least a quarter of the worlds emisisons, thus beating everyone by about
> four times over.

China and India have far larger populations than the US, and don't have
anywhere near the same level of environmental controls in place. Once again,
tell us why Kyoto punishes the US ( a country that has made huge strides to
control emissions) but gives China and India a pass... :O|



NobodyYouKnow
2006-02-12 13:25:57 EST

"Stan de SD" <standesd_DIGA_NO_A_SPAM@covad.net> wrote in message
news:8dd92$43ef75f1$45035f0b$5131@msgid.meganewsservers.com...
>
> "NobodyYouKnow" <TheVoiceOfReason@nowhere.com> wrote in message
> news:CXsHf.48933$1e5.987314@news20.bellglobal.com...
> >
> > <rander3127@gmail.com> wrote in message
> > news:1139686750.637690.97020@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > > No doubt due to the "free pass" Kyoto has given huge polluters like
> > > China and India.
> >
> >
> > The largest polluter by a wide margin is still the U.S. And nothing is
> going
> > to change that fact. A small minority of the world ( 1/16th ) that
> produces
> > at least a quarter of the worlds emisisons, thus beating everyone by
about
> > four times over.
>
> China and India have far larger populations than the US,

Yes. Why not include the 'rest of the world' and claim that they make 3/4s
of the pollution? It would be just as true and just as irrelevant to the
discussion.

< and don't have
> anywhere near the same level of environmental controls in place.

No. Nor do they have anywhere near the level of industry or pollution
*making*. Bascially they are in the early part of the industrialisation
cycle in which the pollution is too limited to be a problem that drives a
more active regulation. Given them time and they will equal the U.S. but let
us hope that hte U.S has grown up by then and reduced it's emissions to
something that is sustainable.


> Once again,
> tell us why Kyoto punishes the US ( a country that has made huge strides
to
> control emissions) but gives China and India a pass... :O|

No pass. They are equally in the Kyoto protocol but their CO2 emission are
one fifth that of the industrialisted nations so they will be brought into
reduction after the major polluters get at least a START of reducing their
problems. I mean, reducing emisison from the U.S. to China or Indias level
would take a MAJOR increase in effort as the ration is about 1 to 5 ( output
of CO2 emissions in the developing nations vs the industrialised nations.).;




Coby Beck
2006-02-12 14:17:54 EST
"Stan de SD" <standesd_DIGA_NO_A_SPAM@covad.net> wrote in message
news:8dd92$43ef75f1$45035f0b$5131@msgid.meganewsservers.com...
>
> China and India have far larger populations than the US, and don't have
> anywhere near the same level of environmental controls in place. Once
> again,
> tell us why Kyoto punishes the US ( a country that has made huge strides
> to
> control emissions) but gives China and India a pass... :O|

China and India don't get a pass. The reason China gets different
obligations from the US is because the US produces a full 25% of all CO2
emissions, and that does not count emissions from manufacturing goods that
are ultimately consumed in the US. As it is, US per capita emissions are
many times that of per capita Cina or India and as a total are still higher.
Add to this the fact that the entire globe is now facing the consequences of
*decades* of pollution produced at similar ratios.

So what do you think is fair?

That said, yes China is going to become the worst emitter. They have huge
pollution problems now, things that would shock people living in post
60'70's N.Am industrial controls, though they are largely local problems.
But what will happen, now that the US as current biggest polluter and
historical biggest polluter refused to do anything, what will happen when
China is the biggest polluter? Will they then decide to forgive and forget
and accept making the economic sacrifices the US never agreed to? Why
should they? It will take decades of leading the world before their total
historical output matches the US, maybe that is how they will look at it.

--
Coby Beck
(remove #\Space "coby 101 @ bigpond . com")



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