Climate change pedal to the metal

Written By: - Date published: 8:53 am, July 31st, 2016 - 116 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, Conservation, disaster, Economy, energy, Environment, farming, food, Mining, sustainability - Tags:

NASA recently reported that the first 6 months of this year have been the hottest on record by far – a neat 1.3 deg C above the pre-1900 baseline, even as the atmosphere warming El Nino recedes. They also updated the chart which displays data points stretching back to 1880 which I have mucked about with below, using my own annotations.

Using the tried and true scientific method (/sarc) of ‘finding lines of best fit by eye’ I now present to you the following stunning findings:

While it took a full 106 years (1885 to 1991) approx for global temps to rise the first 0.65 deg C, it has taken only 25 years (1991 to today, 2016) for global temps to rise another 0.65 deg C, for a total global warming of 1.3 deg C to date.

Global Mean Surface Temp 2

In other words, the most recent half of global warming occurred more than 4x faster than the first half.

The big question: will the next 0.65 deg C of warming also occur 4x faster again. That would make a total of 1.95 deg C warming by 2022 (just in case you are counting).

This would confirm the existence of what Guy McPherson and others label abrupt climate change where natural positive feedback loops kick in and accelerate climate change above and beyond the GHGs our industrial civilisation is emitting, unpredictably changing the basic stability of the climate system that we have taken for granted for thousands of years.

In other words, “abrupt climate change” is where Mother Nature takes the climate change steering wheel completely out of our hands.

Personally I think that the ‘avoiding 2 deg C ship’ sailed circa 1980. (And the ‘avoiding 3 deg C ship’ sailed 10-20 years ago).

Something that most do not consider is the delay in warming caused by the massive thermal inertia of the world’s huge oceans.

Simply put, it takes many decades for the warming from a single years emissions to fully express itself, like how a cold pot of water on the stove only warms up gradually even if you crank the stove top up to max. (By the way if you read that 2005 New Scientist link, the level of global warming that they suggest would happen into the early 2100s = 0.4 deg to 0.6 deg C above 20th century levels, we have already now hit in 2016, almost a century ahead of their forecast).

The spike in temperatures we have seen this year is predominantly due to the GHG emissions we put up way back in the 1970s and 1980s. On the other side of the coin, we’ve experienced next to none of the warming that the last ten years of emissions put up by our carbon fuel dependent civilisation will cause.

Including emissions from the ~3,500 megatonnes of coal per annum (yes, that’s 3,500 million metric tonnes of coal per year) that China burnt during that timeframe. That warming will largely take place over the next 40 to 50 years.

Some who continue to take the position that 2 deg C warming is still avoidable can now be regarded as “bargaining stage climate deniers”.

While regular vanilla climate change deniers discount the very phenomenon of anthropogenic climate change, bargaining stage climate deniers take a more subtle position. While they accept that anthropogenic climate change exists, they deny that it is no longer possible to avoid catastrophic levels of climate change.

Bargaining stage climate deniers express an understandably human but ultimately mistaken hopefulness that the reality that we find ourselves in is not really as bad as it looks, and that the climate change situation can be ameliorated to a greater degree so that the worst scenarios unfolding upon our civilisation can somehow be reversed, invalidated or swapped for a much less impactful reality.

Bargaining stage climate deniers might also be appropriately considered as ‘abrupt climate change deniers.’

I finish this post with a video of James Hansen speaking in 2005, while he was head of the NASA Goddard Space Centre, saying that we have less than a decade to avoid 1 deg C warming. Because 1 deg C warming was a “point of no return” enough to cause “very bad effects.”

Well, that ship has definitely sailed.

116 comments on “Climate change pedal to the metal”

  1. Savenz 1

    Great post.

    • Paul 1.1

      +1
      Thanks cv.

    • D'Esterre 1.2

      Five or six years ago, I was discussing the climate change issue with a relative who’d been working for a university department involved in climate research.

      I remarked that, on the basis of the tone of climate scientists’ interviews and articles, it seemed to me that they believed it was by then too late to prevent catastrophic temperature rises and climate change.

      Said relative agreed: that was exactly what the scientists with whom they worked were saying behind closed doors.

  2. BM 2

    What do you think the people of NZ need to see before they start taking climate climate seriously?

    What event/events need to happen?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Mad Max.

    • Paul 2.2

      Job losses?
      Collapsing house prices?
      Riots on the street?

    • Lanthanide 2.3

      Global economic collapse.

      • BM 2.3.1

        Caused by climate change?

        • Robert Guyton 2.3.1.1

          Caused by us; you know, the ones who thought we were sitting pretty, riding the wealth wave, Masters of the Universe. Bit of a come down, this climate thing.

        • Lanthanide 2.3.1.2

          That, and peak oil, will be the ultimate causes.

          Proximate cause will be more obvious; war, plague, famine/drought/storms.

          It could also simply be something completely unrelated, that had it happened 40 years ago, also would have the potential to destroy the global economy.

          A super-volcano somewhere, for example.

          But there’s also other disasters that had they happened 40 years ago, may not have destroyed the global economy, but if they happen now, very well could. A 9.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of California, sending the US into depression and hence the rest of the world, or a similar sized quake hitting Tokyo / Japan.

          • Colonial Viper 2.3.1.2.1

            The main lesson is that we have been driving crucial resiliency out of not just our local communities, but also out of the entire ecosystem that we rely on.

            So a sudden additional shock or three (man made or natural), and we will be facing a bit of real trouble.

      • mauī 2.3.2

        Think they will only start worrying about it once economic stability is back though.

    • mickysavage 2.4

      The trouble is New Zealand will become more and more of a nirvana with its temperate climate and plentiful food and water. Real estate price increases are just the start.

      • Lanthanide 2.4.1

        It’s why Kim Dotcom moved here. I think he was anticipating a peak-oil recession / depression by 2015-16 (as was I), which evidently hasn’t played out.

        • Colonial Viper 2.4.1.1

          It’s playing out very slowly. Put another way, even though oil has fallen back down to US$40-US$50bb (and for us petrol back to around $2/L), it has not been sufficient to stimulate the economic growth that we would have previously expected, because the underlying situation is so poor.

          Lots of wealthy bolthole seeking USA’sians have moved into Queenstown and Wanaka…I hear there is another whole set of them in Wellington…

          • Lloyd 2.4.1.1.1

            For “underlying situation” read “neo-liberal dominated world economy”.
            The underlying situation is that there aren’t enough middle to lower income people in the world with spare cash to buy new products. The imbalance of incomes is probably more significant than the price of oil in stopping growth in the world economy.
            If you want growth, tax the rich.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1.2

          It’s why many of the worlds rich are looking to move here and why, IMO, the government is so determined to turn the rest of us unto debt slaves/serfs. The rich needs lots of poor people to maintain their elevated lifestyle.

          • Lloyd 2.4.1.2.1

            The rich may well think they need lots of poor people to support their life-style. In reality they would be better off with less money in their bank and more in the pockets of the majority of people around them.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1.2.1.1

              It’s only by keeping the majority of people poor that allows them to get others to work to make them richer. Poverty is a form of control.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.5

      What do you think the people of NZ need to see before they start taking climate climate seriously?

      The people of NZ already take climate change seriously. The people who don’t are the business people because they get rich fucking over the environment (although some are starting to realise that we need to act) and the politicians who are owned by the business people.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Large scale injection of CO2 into basalt bedrock takes about two years to set up. The short version is that the political will to do it has to come from somewhere.

    The abrupt changes we’re seeing may yet provide that political will. I won’t hold my breath.

  4. dukeofurl 4

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts” – Richard Feynman

    or the long version

    “”Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation…. As a matter of fact I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      And I’m pretty sure you misinterpreted that so that you could continue to believe that scientists were ignorant.

      • Poission 4.1.1

        “Fear feeds ignorance and a great niche was opened for fear when science became incomprehensible to those who were not its practitioners”

        James Lovelock in the Ages of Gaia

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          It’s even worse than that…most modern science is now incomprehensible to science practitioners unless they are in that same discipline.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1

            Which just tells us that we need better education. People should be able to comprehend the basic idea of science and the processes that it uses for research and the results that it gives.

            • dukeofurl 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Quite the reverse. The basics remain the same but the higher theories are the ones that will be changed completely as knowledge increases.

              I can see the top graph, after looking at the original NASA Gistemp one, as showing a simple error that the anomoly in the last year or so will continue to climb rather than bounce back to just around the 0.7-0.8 C level and continue a more gradual climb
              http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A2.gif

              • Colonial Viper

                You’d be right as long as long as this years ‘anomaly’ isn’t showing us that the system has permanently moved (from the perspective of a human timescale) to a steeper gradient part of the exponential curve.

                Will know in the next five years.

                • dukeofurl

                  The graphs show two previous periods of a sharp rise in the anomaly over a few years 1936-41 and 1977-82 which werent sustained

                  • b waghorn

                    Any idea as to what caused those periods ?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I understand. Sometimes, previous performance can be predicative of future performance. Sometimes, it is not. I guess we will know in the next 5 (or so) years.

                    • dukeofurl

                      Sometimes its more useful for local effects to ignore a synthesised ‘global’ figure and go for a NZ wide figure. This is because NZ overall has the same climate for the entire country and we are in the same latitudes.

                      Their anomaly from 1910 gives a far different outcome
                      https://www.niwa.co.nz/sites/niwa.co.nz/files/styles/large/public/nzt7_trend-to-2015_web.png?itok=mHOQBzo4

                      The black line is the linear trend over 1909 to 2015 (0.92 ± 0.26°C/100 years).
                      There is no ‘hockey stick’ in the last 5 years

                    • Colonial Viper

                      That’s because we’re a small island in the middle of a huge body of water.

                      But just look at what is happening to the West Antarctic ice sheet. Temperatures there are already up 2 or 3 deg C.

                    • dukeofurl

                      Theres swings and roundabouts
                      “A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.
                      http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

                      ““The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said.” [Oct 2015]

                      Its fairly new so it might be a year or two before they can draw firm conclusions

    • johnm 5.1

      Above video Eric Rignot explains that melt rates have gone exponential: Melting was at 50mph has now gone to 500mph. More melt has happened in the last 10 to 20 years than the previous 100 years. This is abrupt and speeding up climate change. The whole west antarctic ice sheet will eventually go. We can expect metres of sea level rise! 🙁

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        More melt has happened in the last 10 to 20 years than the previous 100 years.

        This increased rate change and timing is exactly what is being reflected in the temperature change record.

        Note that an average 1 deg C warming can mean 4 deg C (or more) warming at the poles due to the impact of “arctic amplification” where heat collected by the whole planet gets preferentially distributed to the north and south polar regions

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_amplification

  5. Chooky 6

    +100…good post as usual CV

    It is pretty obvious now to even those deniers with their heads in the sand that the climate is changing…and we are getting extremes in unusual weather

    Mother Earth, Papatuanuku, Gaia , may be going to shake us humans off the Earth like unwanted fleas

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

    The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. May 21, 2014

    Gaia Hypothesis – James Lovelock – YouTube

    • johnm 6.1

      I think Lovelock should have received a Nobel Prize for this on the face of it simple insight. Far more important than E=MCsquared.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Actually, the Gaia Hypothesis and the Theory of Relativity are about the same. Both are simple ideas that represent incredibly complex structures and processes that have significantly altered our view of the world.

      • Lloyd 6.1.2

        Lovelock’s solution of replacing coal fired power stations with nuclear power stations doesn’t seem all that permanent. His analysis of the safety of nuclear waste disposal is also very shallow as is his dismissal of renewable energy such as windpower. Also it is worth noting the continual improvement of solar cell technology which Lovelock doesn’t even consider.
        However Lovelock’s observation that there are too many people in the world makes Trump’s population solution of building a wall to keep the poor out look really dumb.
        The most effective GHG control method is probably birth control, because mass murder is unthinkable.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Mother Earth, Papatuanuku, Gaia , may be going to shake us humans off the Earth like unwanted fleas

      A fever to burn out the infection of technological industrial civilisation

      • It’s only natural. We should have taken more notice of what natural consequences are. One of humanity’s tribes chose to take the path that has lead us to this precipice. People on other branches looked in horror at what we were doing, but we were puffed up with food and feeling powerful and righteous, so here we are. How do you/we feel about being in Team Destructo? Foolish? Ripped off? Guilty? Panicked? Responsible?

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1

          We should have taken more notice of what natural consequences are.

          Yes we should but a lot of people held, and still hold, to the view that we’re just too small to be able to change the environment despite all the evidence to the contrary. When such a view is held then anything can be justified because it won’t make any difference and so we end up destroying the environment that we need to survive.

          Conservatives seem to be the people who most strongly hold to this view but, from some of the arguments that I’ve had on here about real resources and immigration there also seem to be quite a few Leftists with it as well.

          • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1.1

            We should eliminate the vast portion of NZ’s GHG emissions in the next few years.

            But this action would be from a moral and spiritual stance, not one expected to make any material difference to global warming. Because it won’t.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1.1.1.1

              If we could do it successfully that might make all the difference. Paradigm shifts tend to do that. Bloody big if but…

              I say get the drillin’-obssessed winguts hooked on carbfix projects and the rest of us can walk everywhere we can’t sail, eat vegan and plant trees.

              • Popeye

                I walk to public transport to get to work, don’t eat meat and keep a yacht seaworthy, for which I depend on “technological industrial civilization” for antifoul, ropes, sails, mast, boom, the rigging required to secure the mast, winches to move the ropes, lubricants for the winches, blocks and jammers for the ropes, rope and anchors for the ground tackle. I looked at the sailing canoe in the Auckland Museum and noticed it was less robust than the gear produced by “technological industrial civilization”. I have noticed you can navigate without electronics but. Sailing requires constant maintenance and if I had to rely on stone age technology I would be deterred. There are places I wouldn’t go.

                • Maybe be content with the places you can go. Same for every one else. The age of easy access to everywhere seems to be drawing to an end.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Sailing requires constant maintenance and if I had to rely on stone age technology I would be deterred.

                  Just remember that sailing ships ran very well on the technology of the mid 1800s.

                  • Hey, CV – do you read The Dark Mountain Project?

                    http://dark-mountain.net/blog/the-height-and-the-drop/

                    ‘There is a difference between measuring the height of a drop and the sensation of falling; between the sight of a wave and hearing it crash on to the shore’, wrote Rafael Behr in a Guardian article after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union two days ago. ‘It was meant to be unthinkable, now the thought has become action. Europe cannot be the same again.’

                    Since the Dark Mountain Project was launched in October 2009, the distance between the height and the drop, the wave and the shore, has been closing. From the global financial crisis, which destroyed so many people’s faith in the neoliberal narrative of endless, pain-free growth, to the crippling austerity measures imposed on countries around the world, from the fallout of the Arab Spring to the ongoing migrant crisis — not to mention the rise of Donald Trump on the other side of the Atlantic — many previously ‘unthinkable’ things have successfully breached the border to reality in the past seven years. The British decision to leave the EU is only the latest disruption to what we trustingly used to refer to as ‘normality’.

                    All we can be certain of, now, is that more surprises are on their way. How to navigate the unknown has been central to Dark Mountain’s mission from the start, and today, in acknowledgement of ‘interesting times’, we return to one of the poems that inspired our Manifesto. Written by Robinson Jeffers in 1935, it feels as prescient as ever, and just as instructive in guiding us through territory that becomes less certain every day.

                    The Answer

                    Then what is the answer? Not to be deluded by dreams.
                    To know that great civilisations have broken down into violence,
                    and their tyrants come, many times before.
                    When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose
                    the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.
                    To keep one’s own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted
                    and not wish for evil; and not be duped
                    By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will
                    not be fulfilled.
                    To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appear
                    the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand
                    Is an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and stars
                    and his history … for contemplation or in fact …
                    Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,
                    the greatest beauty is
                    Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty
                    of the universe. Love that, not man
                    Apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,
                    or drown in despair when his days darken.

                    Robinson Jeffers, 1935

          • Robert Guyton 6.2.1.1.2

            Because the back story we believe tells us we are right to do what we do. We’ll not change until the story is re-told and believed.

  6. Lanthanide 7

    “On the other side of the coin, we’ve experienced next to none of the warming that the last ten years of emissions put up by our carbon fuel dependent civilisation will cause.”

    Eh, I think it’s more that the increased atmospheric particulates are blotting out the rise in temperature. If we had the particulates without the CO2, then we’d be experiencing cooling. But since we have both the particulates and the CO2, the effect of the CO2 is much dampened.

    So in 30-40 years time when industrial civilisation is 10% of what it is today, we’re going to be seeing massive temperature rises very quickly.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Hi Lanth, I agree that global dimming is partially saving our necks right now by forcing some cooling. By between 1 deg C and 2 deg C. But as you have pointed out it has also boxed us into a corner where we are damned if we burn and we are damned if we don’t.

    • b waghorn 7.2

      If the shit hits the fan globally we’ll most likely have a nuclear winter to cool things for a bit.

    • Poission 7.3

      Global dimming and brightening in the south pacific is substantially different . Lauder for example has some of the lowest on the surface of the globe.Clean air sites in the NH having around twice the aerosol burden.

      In the south pacific and southern ocean the aerosols are naturally occurring and effect the cloud albedo (bright clouds) and have a summertime forcing constraint of around -10wm^2.

      http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/6/e1500157

      expectations are a recovery of phytoplankton biomass in the SOof around a third due to an increase in stratospheric ozone over the next 30 years.

  7. idbkiwi 8

    You’re now banned from this post. The guts of why, is your clearly deliberate misrepresenting a multitude of climate change events. For people who want to find out more about why this commentator is full of shit, please refer to this link: https://www.skepticalscience.com/10000-years-warmer.htm – CV

    “changing the basic stability of the climate system that we have taken for granted for thousands of years.”

    To believe that earth’s climate doesn’t change and has been stable “for thousands of years” is an offense against reason and logic.

    We know for sure that earth’s temperature is normally much closer to freezing, speaking in geological time-frames our climate is dominated by ice-ages. The rare and relatively short warm periods in-between ice ages have a special name because they are so rare; they are called inter-glacial periods and we are experiencing one now. Earlier in the current inter-glacial we had a time of much warmer temperatures, called the Holocene maximum it occurred about eight-thousand years ago, the earth was about four degrees warmer than now, no fossil-fuel burning involved, and we know that around the time of Jesus it was as warm as now and that the period 1,000-1,300 CE was as warm, or warmer than now before the earth descended into a slightly colder era called the Little Ice Age, you may not have heard of it.

    The Little Ice Age was a magnificent time for western science and thought, if a little chilly, huge improvements in living conditions and quality of life happened in this period due to the advancement of science and technology, it was so transformational they reckoned it a double revolution; first the Scientific Revolution then the Industrial Revolution occurred during this time. While some scientists devoted their energies to developing the very first machine devised in this period, a pump to drain mines, coal mines, to enable greater access to this wonderful, cheap and abundant fuel which improved the lives and life-spans of countless millions of earth’s inhabitants others worked on developing instruments and standards of measurement, some began to measure temperature, others weather patterns when, lo and behold, the earth began to warm again and the gadgets they had invented proved to work, they went up! As a result of this coincidence all long-term instrumental records displaying warming begin from the anomalous “Little Ice Age” period and only a dunce could be surprised by information that scientists living in the 19th century knew very well; that earth was previously warmer, had cooled, and then began warming again.

    Some wearisome opportunists got sold a bridge in the form of a connection between the two phenomena; good cheap fuel and recorded temperatures, refusing to recognise that the world warmed for over two centuries before “emissions” from the nasty fuels reached the so-called critical threshold forwarded by these doom-preachers as capable of influencing global temperature. In our own back yard NIWA has made it clear that the most impressive period of warming witnessed in God’s Own was the double-decade 1940-1960 when the level of atmospheric co2 was a at a “safe” level of 350ppm yet the mercury rose here 0.6 degrees, a rate of 3.0 degrees per century and unparalleled anywhere on earth, yet no species disappeared, the muttonbird did not migrate further south to breed, Aucklanders did not follow the merry climate south to set up shop in Taihape, in fact nobody noticed anything at all except the weather got better. In the intervening fifty-six years we have warmed a miserly 0.2 degrees, at a rate of 0.38 degrees per century, which is hardly remarkable or worrying, except to doom-spruikers.

    To enhance their self-delusion climate-change cultists keep referring to “pre-industrial” temperatures in public utterances, as though the climate of the industrial revolution was somehow normal, or a benchmark. This is a deliberate deception, because if the cultists referred to this climate period by the correct term of “The Little Ice-Age” their own statements would sound as stupid and completely ridiculous as they actually are.

    It is about two degrees warmer on earth now than during the cold trough of the Little Ice Age. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially “scientists”.

    The climate of the earth has definitely not been stable “for thousands of years”, and everyone knows that, or do they?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

  8. barry 9

    Everyone who knows me will know that I am not a climate denier. I have been arguing with the “skeptic” believers for over 20 years. Basic physics and observations convince me that human activities are causing global warming.

    However, I am not as unrelentingly pessimistic as the OP.

    2016 will probably turn out to be another 1998; a large spike due to el nino. There will probably be another “hiatus” for a decade or 2 as the background temperature catches up. We probably have until at least 2030 before these temperatures are the norm.

    I think some of the predictions are overcooked. We are most likely going to see the 2 degree level breached around 2080 and 3 degrees not reached until well into next century (assuming no change to BAU emissions). If nett emissions did suddenly drop to zero then we have about half a degree of warming still in the system to show up. So to save breaching 2 degrees is going to require some miraculous technology or political leadership (i.e. cargo cult material).

    Sea level rise is less clear, but i still think a rise of 1 meter during the century is on the high side and will require some serious melting which we are not yet seeing.

    Fossil fuel burning will tail off before the end of the century as peak carbon kicks in. There just isn’t that amount of easily accessible carbon fuel left any more. So either there will be an increase in renewables usage, or a decrease in economic activity (or less likely a huge increase in efficiency).

    It is not that we can’t save the planet warming, it is just that we have passed up the opportunity to do so gracefully. It is going to require some huge sacrifice on the part of a large number of people. Most of the sacrifice will be borne by the people who haven’t benefited from it.

    [I let your comment stand even though you’ve not paid any attention to the information I put through on this post. This is not about “pessimism” or “optimism” any more. About your last point – white people living privileged lives in OECD countries have by far the most to lose when global economic systems fail. The poorest billion people in the world never had access to dependable clean running water, round the clock power, medicines, or a full meal every day in the first place. Within 3 or 4 decades we are going to know exactly how they feel – CV]

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      Have a look at the James Lovelock video posted a few comments up. He’s expecting an 8C rise by 2100, and only 20% of humans (or possibly much less) surviving by then.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        They key insight that Guy McPherson lent to me was that human survival as a species is very little to do with us but everything to do with the state of our habitat.

        In other words, when a species’ habitat goes, the species goes.

        As a species we have destroyed a massive amount of the habitat that we rely on, and we have tried to compensate for it by utilising more and more energy to extract out the little of whatever is left, further destroying our remaining habitat.

        Needless to say. This is a game strategy with a very finite duration.

        • Robert Guyton 9.1.1.1

          We can create habitat. Repair and replenish habitat. Adopt a new culture that ensures our habitat thrives. Can’t see any reason for not doing that, aside from, you know, the unfolding climate thing.

    • barry 9.2

      CV. I will state it more strongly: You are cherry picking, to make things worse than (already very bad) they are.

      e.g. “In other words, the most recent half of global warming occurred more than 4x faster than the first half.” The same could have been said in 1998 or even more so in 1940. Reading graphs effectively is hard, but I suspect some willfulness is involved with some people.

      The best reading of the graph is from being level around 1880, there is an almost linear (with fluctuation) rise from 1920 to 2015 (around 1 degree per century). The best guess would be that it will stay around linear beyond then (and that this year is a fluctuation).

      I don’t see any information in your post that contradicts that.

      Yes in 2005 the reports were optimistic (although I suspect that Hansen thought it was worse but didn’t feel confident to say so).

      Looking at graphs of CO2 levels since the 1950s, they are increasing only slightly faster than linearly.

      Looking at graphs of sea level, the rise is faster than linear, but still not more than 4mm per year yet.

      In other words, we are in deep trouble, but this post is still exaggerating.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        Hi Barry,

        People can look at the temperature chart I put up above, and decide whether or not my green “lines of best fit” are better than your suggestion or not.

        Clue: 0.65 deg C increase over the last 25 years does not equal your suggestion of only 1 deg C change in the next century.

        It suggests that the game is changing in front of our eyes, like other people have long predicted.

  9. idbkiwi quoted:

    ““changing the basic stability of the climate system that we have taken for granted for thousands of years.”

    then claimed:

    “To believe that earth’s climate doesn’t change and has been stable “for thousands of years” is an offense against reason and logic.”

    Funny as. “Basic stability” and “has been stable” are not the same thing. “Basic stability” allows for fluctuations, while “has been stable”, idbkiwi’s re-phrasing, doesn’t accommodate moderate swings around an average point, a state we have experienced in earlier times but is a phrase that’s easy to argue against, being a straw man. The rest of his comment? Even more flawed.

  10. Sirenia 11

    Meanwhile the road transport lobby is a major donor to the National Party and several large roading projects are under way, with more promised. What will it take for people to get out of their cars and actually change their ways?

  11. Jenny 12

    “….This would confirm the existence of what Guy McPherson and others label “abrupt climate change” where natural positive feedback loops kick in and accelerate climate change above and beyond the GHGs our industrial civilisation is emitting, unpredictably changing the basic stability of the climate system that we have taken for granted for thousands of years.”
    Colonial Viper

    To reach his conclusions Guy Mcpherson ret. relies very heavily on the fieldwork and research of working climate scientist Paul Beckwith, who publishes in Arctic News.

    https://paulbeckwith.net/

    Beckwith and McPherson enjoy a mutually respectful collegiate relationship.

    http://guymcpherson.com/

    However, Beckwith has yet to be convinced of McPhearson’s more pessimistic point of view, ie. “That there is nothing that can be done.” and who derides those who try as peddling “hopium”.

    In this debate I side with Beckwith.

    To me Winston Churchill best sums up my personal point of view

    “For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
    Winston Churchill

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Jenny, McPherson has been on this track for over a decade; more recently he does mention Beckwith’s comments from time to time – but he does so along with the material produced by dozens of different other researchers and scientific authors.

      EDIT

      However, Beckwith has yet to be convinced of McPhearson’s more pessimistic point of view, ie. “That there is nothing that can be done.”

      I have to say, I get pissed off by people blatantly misrepresenting McPherson like this. McPherson isn’t saying to people to lie down and die; he says to people to live life to the max in terms of taking care of each other and taking care of the environment that we do have left. He is saying however that nothing can be done to avert catastrophic climate change.

      • Poission 12.1.1

        McPherson is not a climate scientist,he is a field ecologist, Beckwith is a lecturer in geography who has spent the last 13 years trying to get his Phd.

        He has no publications in CS listed on his cv.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          Guy McPherson is a conservation biologist and field ecologist. The perspective he brings is one that most climatologists cannot.

          And that is: how climate change impacts the ecology and habitats that human civilisation relies on to function and survive.

  12. Jenny 13

    5.1
    Dr Jarrod Gilbert by way of b wag horn

    Open mike 26/07/2016

    “The term climate sceptic is now interchangeable with the term mindless fool.”

    Jenny5.1
    26 July 2016 at 7:34 am
    Indeed. In opposing taking real meaningful government actions to combat climate change, claiming climate change does not exist, does not cut it anymore.

    Those who oppose taking real meaningful action to combat climate change take a much more subtle approach these days.

    Reply
    Colonial Viper5.1.1
    26 July 2016 at 8:15 am
    how about the people who deny that 2 deg C warming is a done deal. Aren’t they lying to the public about climate change as well?

    Reply
    Jenny
    In answer to your query CV I would say;

    Miracles we can do now*

    The impossible takes a little longer.

    *[If we choose to.]

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Stop playing the fool Jenny.

      Tell me if you think that 2 deg C global warming is still avoidable. I do not. I think we are going to sail past 2 deg C by around 2030 at the latest.

  13. Could we recalibrate the thermometers so that 2 deg C becomes 1 deg C?
    That sort of swifty has been pulled before and it’ll give us more time to sort ourselves out – CV?

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Easiest way is to reset the baseline from the 1880s to the 1990s…that’ll bring climate change right back down to 0.6 deg C warming over baseline…and we can talk again about how 1 deg C warming is avoidable

  14. RedLogix 15

    You are right CV; it’s decades too late to prevent a dangerous excess of CO2 getting into the atmosphere. The ONLY constructive option left is to start taking capture and storage seriously enough to get CO2 back down below 350ppm. Preferably closer to 300 ppm.

    It will cost a great deal of money, but this will be cheap compared to doing nothing.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      You’re someone who can look at a statistical process control chart and recognise straight away when a process has moved out of control. Pretty scary when that “process” is our world climate.

      The ONLY constructive option left is to start taking capture and storage seriously enough to get CO2 back down below 350ppm. Preferably closer to 300 ppm.

      TBH I think that rehabilitating the biosphere is the only ‘carbon capture and storage’ technology which will allow us to survive this i.e. acting in ways to allow the mass of phytoplankton, fish, forests, jungles and animals to climb back up long term by hundreds of gigatonnes.

      This works in two ways – it forces us to stop the kinds of land and sea exploitation which liberates GHGs, while capturing carbon back out of the atmosphere.

      On the downside, when things start getting pretty bad, the clever idiots in positions of power are going to start suggesting setting off nuclear weapons in deserts to push dust up into the atmosphere. Mark my words.

      • RedLogix 15.1.1

        TBH I think that rehabilitating the biosphere is the only ‘carbon capture and storage’ technology which will allow us to survive

        Aboslutely. When I used the term carbon capture and storage I was certainly not limiting myself to industrial options only. While these techniques may be useful in the short-term to turn around the rise in CO2 … in the long run the only option we can afford is to work with natural processes such as occur in the soil, oceans and rocks.

        From a political perspective I think responding to excess CO2 will demand a global enforcement. On this some of the deniers were always correct; very early on they perceived that in order to prevent cheating between nations the ONLY political mechanism that could impose a successful solution had to be some form of federated global government. At some stage the nations (and empires) will be compelled to give away part of their sovereignty to a global body.

        This to me is the most interesting political problem; I think such an entity is inevitable. The real question is what form it will take, whose interests it will serve, and how do we make it democratically accountable to all the people’s of the world?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.1

          Countries didn’t have to give up their sovereignty to successfully tackle CFC emissions.

          • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.1

            Although to be honest they only needed to regulate the few corporations which produced and distributed CFCs.

            And creating safe refrigerants required only minor and well understood tweaks to the chemical molecules in question to give them more stability.

            The end result was that no one had to give up any use or benefits of refrigerants in their day to day lives.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.1.1.1

              The mechanisms applied include measures to police illegal CFC trading. This was handled at a state level according to agreed basic principles.

              The political will is harder to come by, not least for the reasons you mention. There’s no need to invent extra political barriers like our precious sovereignty.

          • RedLogix 15.1.1.1.2

            Two responses:

            1. I carefully said “part of their sovereignty”. I think this process is well underway anyhow; both the pull downwards to devolving decision-making to local and cultural groupings AND at the same time upwards to the global corporates and financial elites.

            There is no reason why the nation-state should be the final end-point of political evolution.

            2. CFC emissions had nowhere near the same economic and political implications and there were some readily available alternative technologies that made it a relatively easy problem to solve.

            By contrast carbon fuels are profoundly embedded into the fabric of modern industrial civilisation and disentangling was always going to be a massive challenge in every sense of the word.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.1.2.1

              The barriers are all political: inventing an entirely new structure doesn’t have to be one of them.

              Like most other countries, we have quite enough basalt to get the ball rolling on Carbfix sites, and that doesn’t have to be invented either.

              If it worked, what happens if/when the equatorial nations decide they’d like a more temperate climate? Future problems…right now we need to take some action.

              • RedLogix

                inventing an entirely new structure doesn’t have to be one of them.

                It was invented in the aftermath of WW2 … they called it the United Nations. Just needs a bit of knocking into shape really. Maybe HC is the girl for the job 🙂

                The point is that we’ve had thirty years to get on with this job under our current political structures and nothing useful has been achieved.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  …because the political will is missing. What affects political will?

                  • RedLogix

                    Let me quote a chunk of the most recent JMG essay:

                    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/climate-change-activism-post-mortem.html

                    Facts by themselves simply state a case. Values determine what we should do about them. Consider the factual statement “unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for an ongoing increase in weather-related disasters.” If the rate of weather-related disasters doesn’t concern you, that fact doesn’t require any action from you; it’s when you factor in “weather-related disasters ought to be minimized where possible,” which is a value judgment, that you can go on to “therefore we should cut greenhouse gas emissions.” Not all value judgments are as uncontroversial as the one just named, but we can let that pass for now, because it’s the third element that’s at issue in the present case.

                    Beyond facts and values are interests: who benefits and who loses from any given public policy. If, let’s say, we decide that greenhouse gas emissions should be cut, the next step takes us squarely into the realm of interests. Whose pocketbook gets raided to pay for the cuts? Whose lifestyle choices are inconvenienced by them? Whose jobs are eliminated because of them? The climate change movement has by and large treated these as irrelevant details, but they’re nothing of the kind. Politics is always about interests. If you want your facts to be accepted and your values taken seriously, you need to be able to respond to people’s interests—to offer an arrangement whereby everybody gets something they need out of the deal, and no one side has to carry all the costs.

                    That, in turn, is exactly what the climate change movement has never gotten around to doing.

                    And to my mind this is where the competing nation states, each with their own interests at stake, could never untangle these issues.

                    I’ll go back to my first point, that the ONLY path out of this mess now involves carbon capture and storage on a massive global scale, the costs of which can only be born globally. In addition the rich developed nations will have to radically reduce their current emissions, by 90% or more within a five years or less.

                    All of this is ENTIRELY beyond the capacity of any of the large nations to achieve on it’s own.

      • b waghorn 15.1.2

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_fertilization

        This sort of thing is what we need to be seriously looking at doing,

  15. I like your plan, Colonial Viper. Only, returning to a previous time would only be worthwhile if the people there thought differently If they held the same beliefs and enacted the same culture, we’d simply repeat the same mistakes we made the first time around. We need a new culture, a new story, new myths.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Yep…in fact we could only return to “a previous time” if we first adopted a vastly different set of beliefs than those which have taken us here.

  16. Ben 17

    The graph will level out soon. This winter has been a warm one, and we have burnt approx 50% the amount of firewood we normally burn. This equates to less emissions, and less carbon-reducing trees being cut down. Multiply my experience by many millions and it clearly demonstrates that the temperature sweet-spot is approaching, and there is little to worry about.

    • Paul 17.1

      I assume you posted that so someone might bite.

      • weston 17.1.1

        Ibit because even if ben was being tongue in cheek ive heard plenty of other people say similar shit like oh it will be so good cause i can grow pinapples or coconuts an an an …..

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.2

      The wood you burned was not comprised of fossils.

      This fact will make you cling to your beliefs a little bit harder.

    • weston 17.3

      Not worried about vast increases in populations of mosquitos flies fleas tics grass grubs and generally every kind of fucking parasite known to man then in this so called “sweetspot ” ??

      • Ben 17.3.1

        No, because we will be smoothering those annoying pests with the latest generation in pesticides, which by all accounts will be more environmentally friendly. Mankind can, and will adapt to everything a warmer planet can throw at it. I have yet to see compelling evidence to the contrary. Inconvenience yes, but nothing we can’t deal with by investing in resilient infrastructure and a mobile population.

        Ban away CV – proof that you cannot handle debate, and in true leftist fashion, seek to silence those that don’t agree with your negative agenda.

  17. And in the extra warmth, Ben, the opium crop was a boomer, as I’m sure you know.

  18. upnorth 19

    love to see the data but my analysis tells me that the biggest growths were during socialist eras and if you correlate to NZ the biggest increase was under Labour.

    Happy to be proven wrong but just scanning the the timelines on the graph

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      In a carbon-based economy, increased economic activity will do that, in much the same way that the National Party is associated with increased morbidity on a steeper social gradient.

    • RedLogix 19.2

      Well you may well be right upnorth. After all it’s under socialist left-wing governments that the economy does grow the fastest.

      • Ben 19.2.1

        Yup, Venezuela is booming alright.

        POTD.

        • Colonial Viper 19.2.1.1

          You’ll get yourself banned off this post shortly if you keep being a fuckwit.

          Venezuela has been under economic attack by the regime change instruments of western imperialism (financial markets, international banking, local elite, etc.) for years now.

          As you well know.

          • Draco T Bastard 19.2.1.1.1

            +1

            Exactly. The capitalists don’t like it when a country leaves their grasp and thus can no longer be exploited by them.

  19. Published on 8 Jul 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNDd3ph-8kw
    Beyond the Tipping Point by Joe Tyndall was uploaded to highlight the overwhelming amount of scientific information pointing to human extinction by 2030.
    Governments and Universities they control are in denial.
    I wish it wasn’t so!

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