Thongchai Thailand

CLIMATE EMERGENCY

Posted on: December 23, 2019

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[LINK TO YOUTUBE VIDEO]

 

TRANSCRIPT OF CLIMATE CHANGE VIDEO FROM COP25 IN MADRID SPAIN ON “HUMANITY’S MORTALITY MOMENT” by climate scientist Dr. William Moomaw, Professor Emeritus, International Environmental Policy, Tufts University.

Dr. William Moomaw one of the 5 co-authors of the World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency and lead author of five IPCC reports explains the nature of the emergency and what we MUST be doing about it. The reference paper is : Ripple, William J., et al. “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency.” BioScience (2019).  ABSTRACT: Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency. Exactly 40 years ago, scientists from 50 nations met at the First World Climate Conference (in Geneva 1979) and agreed that alarming trends for climate change made it urgently necessary to act. Since then, similar alarms have been made through the 1992 Rio Summit, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and the 2015 Paris Agreement, as well as scores of other global assemblies and scientists’ explicit warnings of insufficient progress (Ripple et al. 2017). Yet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still rapidly rising, with increasingly damaging effects on the Earth’s climate. An immense increase of scale in endeavors to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis (IPCC 2018). Most public discussions on climate change are based on global surface temperature only, an inadequate measure to capture the breadth of human activities and the real dangers stemming from a warming planet (Briggs et al. 2015). Policymakers and the public now urgently need access to a set of indicators that convey the effects of human activities on GHG emissions and the consequent impacts on climate, our environment, and society. Building on prior work (see supplemental file S2), we present a suite of graphical vital signs of climate change over the last 40 years for human activities that can affect GHG emissions and change the climate (figure 1), as well as actual climatic impacts (figure 2). We use only relevant data sets that are clear, understandable, systematically collected for at least the last 5 years, and updated at least annually.  [LINK TO FULL TEXT]

BELOW IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE YOUTUBE LECTURE FOLLOWED BY CRITICAL COMMENTARY AND A BIBLIOGRAPHY ON THE SUBJECT OF CLIMATE EMERGENCY

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  1. I want to talk to you about responding to the climate emergency with natural solutions. This is the front page of our article which has had an amazing response. And in it we state that scientists have a moral obligation to really let the public know what’s actually happening. And we joined together in looking at all the data and information and have decided that it is necessary to declare this a climate emergency.
  2. So here are the things we have to do. We have to of course first transform our economy to get rid of fossil fuels and other things that we are burning putting into the atmosphere biofuels and various things, AND GET RID OF THESE SUBSIDIES FIRST.  Absolutely, get rid of the subsidies first. It is unbelievable that we are paying people to put more carbon into the atmosphere country after country after country.
  3. We need to reduce the black carbon that comes from some of that combustion – diesel, coal, burning wood for electricity, and methane, nitrous oxide from agriculture, and some industrial chemicals.
  4. We need to protect the natural system that are already removing well more than half of what we put in every year of carbon dioxide and increase the capacity of natural systems to remove carbon dioxide.
  5. Our food habits for the whole world have a profound effect in terms of emissions. They emit carbon dioxide, the emit nitrous oxide from fertilizer, they emit methane from primarily animal husbandry and we need to shift our food and diet away from animals and towards plant based foods. No more, no more, no more Big Macs! Well, they now have impossible burgers in all kinds of things made from plant food that are selling really well apparently at least in the United States. We have to consume less meat products.
  6. We have an economy that could not have been better designed to emit carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere than it is. It is amazing that we have become so reliant on fossil fuels. So we need to reduce the activities that release those emissions and these heat trapping gasses and create a carbon free economy. bandicam 2019-12-22 21-09-18-557
  7. It’s the economy! It is our current mainstream growth economic system that is causing our doom. This system provides the incentive for us to consume the planet more and more quickly. It’s an insane system; but they can’t get off it because if they stop that exponential growth the Ponzi scheme falls apart (Note: A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam that generates returns for early investors by acquiring new investors). It is a bit of a Ponzi Scheme and it takes all kinds of interventions to keep it going from central banks and so forth so it is not just a market system running itself like it was promised to be way  back in the 18th century and it needs a lot of work to keep it running.
  8. And finally there is the human population! We’re adding 80 million people a year to the planet’s human population. There are economists that tell us that we need to keep having more population growth to keep the economy going. I find it absolutely bizarre that my role in society is to keep the economy going and it’s women’s role in societies to keep having babies to keep the economy going. I find that an extraordinarily bizarre notion of what is most important. Does the economy serve us or do we serve the economy?
  9. So one of the ways of the things we have to do is to do this in a way that will re-keep society intact and one of the things we can do is to provide education for women and for girls all over the world and provide information for women and girls with information for managing their own fertility.
  10. So why would 11,000 scientists agree to declare a climate emergency? Being a scientist I can tell you that we are a very contentious lot. We argue a lot about the science. To get 11,000 scientists … to get even 11 scientists to agree on anything is really remarkable. To get 11,000 scientists to agree is just extraordinary. There is an old New York joke that if you get 11 scientists together you get 13 opinions.
  11. We use the term “emergency” deliberately. We felt terms like crisis and disaster are not very helpful. They simply leave you feeling depressed because there is nothing you can do about it. There is not even a possibility suggested in those terms. But emergency means something dangerous is about to happen and you can work to prevent it or you are going to have to respond to a mess afterwards – just like you can prevent an automobile accident or you can deal with it after the crash and we want to do it before rather than after. bandicam 2019-12-23 07-39-40-131
  12. As scientists have improved their capacity and have more time to gather more information about what’s happening in the world, we have come to recognize that abrupt and irreversible changes are coming at lower and lower increases in temperature. The four bars in the chart below represent the estimates in four IPCC reports from 2001 to 2018. Back in 2001, and I was one of the coordinating lead authors in one of the chapters there – about emissions from industry and transportation – and we had thought that somewhere around 5C increase in temperature since pre-industrial we would start seeing irreversible changes. That’s how little we knew. Because back then it was not obvious that Greenland was melting. It wasn’t obvious that Antarctica was melting. We were just beginning to see the melting of the Arctic sea ice. bandicam 2019-12-23 07-50-21-707
  13. And then 5 years later, it looked like it could be somewhere between 4C and 5C, maybe somewhere below 5C and 6 years later it looked like it would be somewhere below 4C maybe somewhere 3C to 4C. And in the most recent assessment, in the report that came out just a year ago in 2018, it is between 1.5C and 2C. Everybody says “what’s the difference between 1.5C and 2C? The difference is that at 2C we get a lot more irreversible changes than we get at 1.5C.
  14. Regina Valdez: I’ve heard a lot of people who are not really cognizant of the science pooh pooh the issue of climate change by saying that scientists keep changing their mind, they don’t know what they are talking about, they’re exaggerating. How do you address that charge when it has gone from 5C to 1.5C?
  15. Moomaw: Well it’s a good question. I mean … the thing is a lot of people … a lot of people have the attitude that “my opinion is as good as yours” but the famous statement is that you can choose your opinions but you can’t choose your facts. Scientists don’t make up facts – and therefore they don’t claim things that they don’t know about. And back in that earlier time we just didn’t know. You know, the information we had, 5C looked like what it was. And I’ll have to say this, I cannot think of a single thing that has been studied in science about climate change that has come to the conclusion that it’s not going to be as bad as we thought it was yesterday. It just keeps getting worse and worse as we learn more and more. Because things ARE getting worse. This is not just a creeping problem for future generations. It is accelerating every single day from what it was before.
  16. So, let’s just take a quick look here. That there are changes to the world and many of them are becoming irreversible. And this is just a map (image below) that was put together and it shows the different things. The thawing of the permafrost. You know when the permafrost thaws – this is just like the carbon in the soils is like frozen meat in your freezer. What happens when the electricity goes off and that meat thaws? It rots. And that means that bacteria are chewing on it. And the same thing is happening. It’s not meat that’s in permafrost, it’s basically organic carbon in soils but the same thing happens. In the liquid water, the bugs wake up and they are able to start devouring it and they start exhaling methane and carbon dioxide.  bandicam 2019-12-23 09-39-16-932
  17. The melting of ice in Antarctica, the melting of ice in Greenland, the rising of sea level, all of those things are on this map. So climate tipping points are too risky to bet against. We don’t know where they are and we don’t know what all of them are but there are enough of them out there – oh by the way I might just say that if any one of these things that is on this map that oh! it’s is just a coincidence; but the fact that all of them are happening and they are all traceable to a changed climate makes it pretty certain that this is really caused by climate change. bandicam 2019-12-23 09-40-06-273
  18. And so, this is a direct quote from the paper, “the growing threat of abrupt and irreversible climate change is … must compel political and economic action on emissions”. There is no scientific action. There is no magic bullet. It is .. we have to change and respond to this in our economy and in our political system and that is supposedly what we are here in Madrid for.
  19. Question: are we running out of time? This is a remarkable graphic that was put together (chart below) and what it shows fossil fuel emissions denoted in gigatons of CO2 per year. The historic trend, that’s the black line, and the various colored wedges from darker red to lighter pink are really the following situations. The first is the current policies. We’re somewhere in that range just doing what we’re doing now – business as usual. But didn’t we have Paris? We did have Paris and this is what those commitments will get us (shown in dark pink). It’s a little bit better but it’s nowhere near enough, nowhere near enough. In Paris we said … that’s what countries did in their nationally determined (intended) contributions but they said we should not get more than 2C warming above pre-industrial. We have to be somewhere in that dark pink fat wedge going down to stay within 2C. And to stay within – to make all efforts to stay within 1.5C we have to go down in that really steeply dropping wedge colored light pink.  bandicam 2019-12-23 10-25-07-560
  20. Question from co-author seated next to Moomaw: The 1.5C and 2C goals, the guys and girls over there (pointing to COP25 meeting) keep moving the goal posts. They should be 1750. If we use the 1750 baseline then we are already at the 1.5C. But they moved it to 1850 because that’s when the …. etc …. they had reasons! That’s right. And that’s when the thermometer record starts and it would be a little difficult to estimate 1750 but that’s no reason to ignore it. It was cooler in 1750 than it was in 1850 {Related post: CET warming since 1771 [LINK]. And some countries came in and said we’re going to use a 2005 baseline. 
  21. In a bleak report that just came out a little over a week ago, by the UN, this remarkable statement in there, “We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated”, a top UN official said. bandicam 2019-12-23 11-43-43-416
  22. Global greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling by 7.6% each year beginning in 2020 a rate currently nowhere in sight to meet the most ambitious aims of the Paris Climate Accord.  bandicam 2019-12-23 11-40-16-730
  23. In 2005 I wrote a paper doing an analysis, it was called the 2% solution. If beginning in 2005 we had reduced our emissions by 2% a year, by 2050, assuming we did not destroy nature that is sucking up carbon, that we would have stabilized the climate and the temperature at sort of reasonable levels around 350ppm or something like that. So we wasted that opportunity and to add salt in the would, a term that people use, the World Meteorological Organization just announced, though no surprise, that despite all the things that we say we are doing carbon dioxide emissions reached a new high and so did a lot of other gases, methane and other heat trapping gases. bandicam 2019-12-23 11-58-39-080
  24. So, we need to catch up on the years we procrastinated. That’s the message from Inger Andersen, Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). That’s the message for the negotiators who are here in Madrid right now. That is a very untypical statement from a UN agency. That is a harsh statement in diplomatic terms, but it’s very much on target.
  25. Regina Valdez: Does that mean we need to go below net zero but actually negative? We need to draw down? Moomaw: Yes, thank you, let me just say …  here’s the 1.5C report and let me just put it into the context in the answer to your question. So, this report came out a little over a year ago and here’s what it says,  “To keep temperatures from rising above 1.5C, global net anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions must decline by about 45% from … below 2010 levels by 2030 reaching net zero in 2050. So now we are on the verge of 2020, and that means that we have just 11 years, and we go through 2000 and 2020 and up to 2030, 45%, that’s why we have to go down by 7.6% a year. ipcc1.5c
  26. The problem is that people procrastinate such that action needed to meet a 2030 target does not kick in until 2030. That’s like students sitting in lectures, not doing the assignments and then staying up all night to study for the final exam. That usually does not work out well. It doesn’t work well for students, it doesn’t work well for diplomats, and it doesn’t work well for the planet.
  27. And so here’s the point that people really need to understand. We must simultaneously reduce combustion emissions and all other sources of carbon dioxide; and from methane and from all these other heat trapping gases. And simultaneously, And simultaneously we must increase the removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide by nature based solutions. It’s not either or, it’s both and. And this number .. this business … NET emissions – what that means is the difference between what we put in and what nature takes out.
  28. A term that is commonly used is “carbon neutral”. Oh that sounds so good. But that is not a scientific term. Carbon neutral is not the same as zero carbon. Carbon neutral means that someone else at some other time and at some other place removed carbon so I can emit more. Maybe maybe because this is an accounting system that they came up with in their (COP25) to allow wealthy countries to pollute more while they supposedly plant more trees in Indonesia which are harvested 5 or 10 years down the road. That’s right, I mean it’s not just Indonesia, it is happening in the United States and it is happening in Europe.
  29. So, how do we remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Well, trees grow. Half of the weight of wood is carbon. Which tree absorbs more carbon dioxide every year? The big one does. The foresters will tell you “we have to get rid of the big one because they are about to keel over and emit carbon dioxide – the one in the picture is 160 years old. It’s in Massachusets where I live. It’s the tallest tree in the whole Northeast United States, it’s about 53 meters high, about half the height of the redwoods in California. These trees are remnants of what was once an entire forest. We just have remnants. So, there are studies now showing that we are managing our forests in such a way that if we manage them differently they could absorb twice as much carbon dioxide as they already do now.
  30. Remember, forests and wetlands and the oceans are currently removing more than half of what we put in every year. That’s amazing. It is really nice to have friends like that. We would really be beyond hot water because the seas would have risen and the temperatures would be much warmer if it weren’t for nature taking this carbon dioxide out.
  31. Regina Valdez: According to our president in the United States, President Trump allowing all these trees to grow to big and tall is causing forest fires and burning down the state of California. Moomaw: Yes, actually it’s the cutting down of trees that causes forest fires. We find that there are very few forest fires in old forests with big trees. How many of you have ever lit a campfire or lit a fire in a fireplace? Have you ever put a match to a big log? It doesn’t burn. What do you do? You get little sticks. Little sticks burn. The fires in California are almost all in areas where they have been cut over by loggers and have smaller trees coming back. And if you look at the photos of Paradise, California, it was decimated by fire, there are still tall green trees standing in the ashes, in ruins, of the buildings. So it’s not the big trees that are causing the problem.
  32. So, what should we do? If we were to allow more trees to get to be big trees, and older trees, we would not only reduce forest fires, we would store much more carbon, and the process for that is pro forestation management. When we realized what a great potential for nature was to let existing forests grow, we realized there was as word for planting trees where none grew (aforestation), a word for planting trees where forests have been cut down (reforestation), we talked about restoration to solve deforestation but there was no way to describe this in less than four paragraphs and so we invented the word proforestation to describe our version of forest management. Details in image below and in the related paper  [LINK]bandicam 2019-12-23 14-47-57-490
  33. Philosophy: Carbon in the forest and in the soil is carbon that is not in the atmosphere. So let me just give you a quick little instruction here on how this works. So this is looking at how many tons of carbon there are in an acre of white pines in a temperate forest. We will only be doing temperate forests because we are in Europe which is a temperate forest zone and I live in the United States. We keep pointing to tropical forests. They are hugely important because they have a lot of carbon stored but they are actually not growing that fast. The old forests are growing relatively slowly and a lot of deforestation is going on. Forests in the temperate zone, they have been kept young so long they have a potential to grow a lot in the coming years. So let’s just take a look here. So this is just showing the amounts of carbon that trees can store in units of tons per acre (an acre is 0.4 hectare). The data are in 50-year increments. These are actual field data and not from computer models. So, why is the term carbon neutral not a good term? Well, we talk about sustainable forestry meaning that we cut down a forest and then we are so responsible that we replant the forest or we plant a replacement forest and it grows back in 50 years. But what the chart below shows is that letting the old forest grow for 50 more years captures more carbon than cutting down and replanting the 50-year old forest. The same is true for letting the 100-year old forest grow to 150 years old because that captures more carbon than cutting and replanting the 100-year forest. Similarly, letting a forest grow to 150 years captures more carbon than cutting and replanting 50-year forests. This is the essential equation of proforestation.
  34. There are people who will tell you that we can replace coal with wood and Europe is doing this. More than half of all the renewable energy in Europe involves burning something considered climate friendly such as wood and combustible plant oils. This action is subsidized because it is not economically viable. It is leading to the deforestation of vast areas of the United States and Canada. Vast piles of wood are shipped across the Atlantic to be burned in Europe. As for subsidies, the British are paying $800 million per year to a single power plant to replace coal with wood and thus claim compliance with UNEP climate action plans. Burning wood puts out more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity than coal does. While at the same time the supply of wood fuel destroys forests that are more efficient stores of carbon.
  35. Regina Valdez: Is it the size of the tree or the age of the tree that determines the amount of carbon stored and what about fast growth trees? Answer: It’s the size of the tree that determines how much carbon is stored. The type of tree determines ho rapidly it gets there. So different trees do grow more rapidly but, but, we could get smart on this and say that only plant the fastest growing trees! But that is not the right answer. It turns out that a forest of mixed species sequesters carbon more rapidly than mono-culture forests which is what a lot of the tree plantations are. It turns out that the biodiversity of the bacteria and the soils and the fungi in the soils and pollinator birds, pollinator insects, pollinator bats, all make that forest grow much faster.
  36. So, the takeaway message is reduce emissions of heat trapping gases  immediately – anything you can do – any change in behavior. Protect more of our existing forests and let them grow. We have to set aside some of our forests and say “let them grow”. And if we do that, here is a picture of a forest in the Northeast USA, and you see those little trees? They are about to become big trees over the next 50 years. But they will be adding a lot starting tomorrow morning. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

CRITICAL COMMENTARY 

  1. COMMENT#1: with regard to the statement: So why would 11,000 scientists agree to declare a climate emergency? Being a scientist I can tell you that we are a very contentious lot. We argue a lot about the science. To get 11,000 scientists … to get even 11 scientists to agree on anything is really remarkable. To get 11,000 scientists to agree is just extraordinary.
  2. This statement is a reference to a website that publicized its URL on social media seeking an endorsement of a “climate emergency” declaration. Anyone with access to the internet was then able to visit that website, sign the climate emergency declaration, and leave whatever name, affiliation, and professional function and position they chose to leave. The information the visitor left on the site was then taken as truth with no effort to validate any of it.  The only exception is that when some comical identities became publicized, the website lost credibility and made an attempt to recover from its discredited status by removing these names from the list. This kind of data do not provide evidence that the 11,258 signatories were “scientists” much less that they had a sufficient qualification in climate science to make the charge that AGW is a climate emergency that must be addressed to avoid “irreversible climate change” or for that matter to even define the terms “climate emergency” and “irreversible climate change”.
  3. In this case, the data collection method alone disqualifies the data from further consideration if climate science really is science and if scientific methods are to be used in the evaluation of the data collected online without oversight and or validation.
  4. COMMENT#2: The atmosphere’s CO2 accounting presented in the video begins with a 280 ppm pre-industrial CO2 level and the accounting through time proceeds with additions from fossil fuel emissions and subtractions due to absorption in soil, forests, and oceans. The mass balance follows the IPCC procedure that contains the arbitrary assumption of convenience of a 50% “airborne fraction” meaning that half of the CO2 in fossil fuel emissions remains in the atmosphere. 
  5. These mass balance assumptions are not supported by the data. It is shown in a related post [LINK] that given large uncertainties in nature’s carbon cycle flows, it is not possible to compute a mass balance against the relatively smaller flows of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions because these smaller fossil fuel emissions cannot be detected net of the uncertainty in carbon cycle flows. Given the uncertainties in nature’s carbon cycle flows, the carbon cycle balances with and without fossil fuel emissions [LINK] . This relationship implies that no measurable impact of fossil fuel emissions on the  carbon cycle exists in the empirical evidence. 
  6. A further confirmation of this conclusion is presented in terms of correlation analysis in another related post [LINK] where it is shown that the observational data are inconsistent with the climate science assumption that atmospheric composition is responsive to fossil fuel emissions.
  7. It is suggested, therefore, that the mass balance for atmospheric CO2 concentration may be more complex in the context of large and unmeasurable carbon cycle flows and in the presence of natural geological flows of carbon [LINK] . It is possible that these complexities in carbon cycle accounting have been assumed away by climate science as a way of making its case against fossil fuels. 
  8. COMMENT#3: The steadily decreasing warming target for climate action to prevent “irreversible climate change” begins at 5C above pre-industrial in 2001 and is then lowered to 4C in 2007, to 3C in 2013, to 2C in 2015, and finally to 1.5C in 2018. These series of changes expose an unacceptable level of ignorance of climate scientists who are at the same time demanding a devastating overhaul of the energy infrastructure of the global economy on the basis of their knowledge about climate change.
  9. The explanation of these mysterious changes is offered as “Back in 2001 we had thought that somewhere around 5C increase in temperature since pre-industrial we would start seeing irreversible changes. That’s how little we knew. Because back then it was not obvious that Greenland was melting. It wasn’t obvious that Antarctica was melting. We were just beginning to see the melting of the Arctic sea ice”.
  10. Here, the presenter admits that back in 2001 climate science and the UN-IPCC &WMO were demanding an overhaul of the global economy in terms of restructuring the world’s energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels without the information they needed to make such a devastating assessment. This is a serious admission to activism by individuals who claim to be scientists. It appears that the anti fossil fuel activism needs of climate science are deemed to be more important than the scientific basis for that demand. The role of activism in climate science that corrupts the science is described in a related post [LINK]
  11. The statement that “Scientists don’t make up facts – and therefore they don’t claim things that they don’t know about. And back in that earlier time we just didn’t know. You know, the information we had, 5C looked like what it was.” is self canceling because it states that “scientists don’t make up facts” but that scientists did make up the 5C fact even though they just didn’t know” and just because “it looked like what it was”. Climate science suffers from the delusion that if a later assessment is more fearsome than a prior assessment, it does not make the prior assessment wrong but makes it even more right than previously thought.
  12. That’s how little we knew. Because back then it was not obvious that Greenland was melting. It wasn’t obvious that Antarctica was melting. We were just beginning to see the melting of the Arctic sea ice.  In this statement, year to year changes in Arctic sea ice is presented by the authors as an effect of AGW caused ultimately by fossil fuel emissions of the industrial economy and that the extent of Arctic sea ice melt serves as a measure of the intensity of warming and as a determinant of whether a climate emergency is at hand in terms of irreversible climate change without the evidence for the assumed causal relationships.
  13. There is of course a strong seasonal cycle in Arctic sea ice extent suggesting that ambient temperature drives sea ice extent and that therefore year to year changes in September minimum sea ice extent should be understood in terms of AGW. This assessment is often presented with the alarming prospect of an ice free September and its positive feedback effect. Along those lines, it is noted that there have been repeated alarming forecasts of an ice free Arctic in September particularly so in 2007 when over a period of months we were warned that “the Arctic is screaming”. Yet, though all of these claims have subsequently been proven wrong, these high profile failures have not dented the enthusiasm of climate scientists for this cataclysmic event. These alarming reports are described in related posts on this site [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] where it is shown that the data do not support the claim that year to year changes in September minimum Arctic sea ice extent is responsive to AGW.
  14. Possible reasons for the absence of evidence for AGW forcing of sea ice extent are explored in related posts [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] where the role of geological activity is explored given that the Arctic is a geologically active area. The data presented in these related posts imply that “We were just beginning to see the melting of the Arctic sea ice” is not something that can be related to AGW or to irreversible climate change or to a climate emergency. 
  15. That’s how little we knew. Because back then it was not obvious that Greenland was melting. It wasn’t obvious that Antarctica was melting. We were just beginning to see the melting of the Arctic sea ice”.  With respect to the reference to ice melt in Antarctica, it should be noted that sea ice in the Antarctic is not melting [LINK] [LINK] . With respect to continental ice sheets and glaciers in Antarctica, the melt is found almost entirely in a small corner of the continent in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. What is peculiar about this corner of the continent is its intense geological and geothermal activity that has been identified as the source of energy driving the observed ice melt. For example, the observed melt in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), initially attributed to AGW is now thought to be driven by volcanic activity under the WAIS particularly since paleo data show that the melt started thousands of years ago. Details of the geological features of Antarctica relevant to ice melt are described in a related post [LINK] . {A 1999 article in the Journal Science says that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a natural event not related to global warming contrary to claims by climate scientists. The WAIS is indeed melting quite rapidly receding at the rate of 400 feet per year but it has been doing so for thousands of years long before human activity and greenhouse gas emissions, having receded 800 miles since the last ice age}. If the process continues unchecked it will melt completely in another 7000 years.Therefore it seems unlikely that the event is linked to human activity or that the time frame of a collapse of the ice shelf could fall within 100 years.
  16. That’s how little we knew. Because back then it was not obvious that Greenland was melting. It wasn’t obvious that Antarctica was melting. We were just beginning to see the melting of the Arctic sea ice”. As in the ice free Arctic obsession of climate science so we find that for decades climate science has been presenting alarming reports glacial and ice sheet melt in Greenland in terms of sea level rise and runaway climate change from a positive feedback loop leading to irreversible climate change and a climate emergency. However, as shown in these related posts [LINK] [LINK] , melt data presented to create a sense of alarm and climate emergency do not contain that kind of interpretation when examined in light of the realities of Greenland and the Arctic. Alarming “Greenland is melting” statistics presented by climate science as for example {GREENLAND IS MELTING AWAY AT THE “MIND BLOWING” RATE OF “8500 TONS PER SECOND, EVERY SECOND”} do not contain the implied alarm or the implied alarming consequences having to do with irreversible climate change or climate emergency when analyzed rationally as in  {CLAIM: Greenland is losing 8,500 tonnes of ice per second every second of the day every day of the year. RESPONSE: Year-round ice loss is normally not possible as Greenland loses ice in summer but gains ice in winter; but even if it were possible for Greenland to lose ice every second of the year, 8,500 tonnes per second amounts to 268 gigatonnes per year that would cause the Greenland ice sheet to be gone in 9,800 years raising sea level by 0.64 mm per year in the meantime. The data presented do not support the fear that is being sold in terms of the data}. {CLAIM: The Greenland ice sheet is now melting seven times faster than it did in 1992. RESPONSE: The year 1992 was selected for this comparison because it was a low melt year and it could therefore be used to imply dangerously rising melt rate due to fossil fuel emissions. If they had needed to show a declining melt rate, they might have selected the year 2011 for comparison when the melt rate was higher than the melt rate in 2019.  Thus the claim that “it was not obvious that Greenland was melting” implied a warming target of 5C but now that we have more Greenland melt information we had to reduce the warming target to 1.5C to avoid irreversible climate change and the climate emergency” is not supported by the data. 
  17. COMMENT#4: CLAIM: The melting of ice in Antarctica, the melting of ice in Greenland, the rising of sea level, all of those things are on this map. So climate tipping points are too risky to bet against. We don’t know where they are and we don’t know what all of them are but there are enough of them out there – oh by the way I might just say that if any one of these things that is on this map that oh! it’s is just a coincidence; but the fact that all of them are happening and they are all traceable to a changed climate makes it pretty certain that this is really caused by climate change.
  18. RESPONSEThe key word here is “traceable” and they are indeed traceable in climate models where they are traceable backwards in time after the fact but such tracing cannot be interpreted as empirical evidence of cause and effect but rather as an extreme form of confirmation bias driven by activism in search of events that will support the cause of the activist as described in this related post on confirmation bias [LINK] .  Also, the statement “So climate tipping points are too risky to bet against” in the context of an overarching admission of ignorance in “We don’t know where they are and we don’t know what all of them are but there are enough of them out there” is an admission that the precautionary principle became necessary because of the ignorance of climate scientists. That provides even more evidence of activism driven confirmation bias in climate science as described here [LINK] [LINK]
  19. COMMENT#5: CLAIM: “Well, we talk about sustainable forestry meaning that we cut down a forest and then we are so responsible that we replant the forest or we plant a replacement forest and it grows back in 50 years. But what the chart below shows is that letting the old forest grow for 50 more years captures more carbon than cutting down and replanting the 50-year old forest. The same is true for letting the 100-year old forest grow to 150 years old because that captures more carbon than cutting and replanting the 100-year forest. Similarly, letting a forest grow to 150 years captures more carbon than cutting and replanting 50-year forests. This is the essential equation of proforestation”.
  20. RESPONSE: With regard to the accounting of carbon sequestration in trees stated above, Ian Lipton writes in the comment section under the video [LINK]  as follows: “When Dr. Moomaw claims the amount of carbon sequestered over two generations of 50-year-old trees is less than half the carbon sequestered over one generation of 100 year-old trees, he assumes that the carbon in the wood harvested after 50 years is released – but that is not the case when the wood is used for durable products like houses or furniture. In such cases, the carbon that remains sequestered over the lifetimes of two generations of 50-year-old trees is much closer to the amount sequestered over the lifetime of one generation of 100 year-old trees.” Ian Lipton is President of the Carbon Accounting Company. He provides carbon sequestration accounting services.
  21. CONCLUSIONDr. Moomaw has done some impressive work in forestry and forest management and there is no doubt that his heart is in the right place in terms of being close to nature and as a defender of nature against perceived harm to it that may be caused by human activity. The arguments he has presented for climate action against a perceived case of dangerous fossil fueled climate change reflect his sincere need to defend nature against what he sincerely believes is a causal relationship between fossil fuel emissions and dangerous climate change. However, the arguments presented cannot be claimed to be objective scientific inquiry. Instead what he has presented is well meaning and passionate arguments against fossil fuels in the defense of nature without a scientific basis and without empirical evidence for the assumed causation. The confessed ignorance of climate scientists cannot be presented as reason for costly climate action. In “the less we know the scarier it gets” logic [LINK] , the null hypothesis is that the AGW Climate Emergency hypothesis is true and the alternate hypothesis is the absence of evidence of its truth. This logic is presented as science although in science it is exactly the other way around. 

 

 

 

CLIMATE EMERGENCY BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Ripple, William J., et al. “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency.” BioScience (2019). Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency. Exactly 40 years ago, scientists from 50 nations met at the First World Climate Conference (in Geneva 1979) and agreed that alarming trends for climate change made it urgently necessary to act. Since then, similar alarms have been made through the 1992 Rio Summit, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and the 2015 Paris Agreement, as well as scores of other global assemblies and scientists’ explicit warnings of insufficient progress (Ripple et al. 2017). Yet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still rapidly rising, with increasingly damaging effects on the Earth’s climate. An immense increase of scale in endeavors to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis (IPCC 2018). Most public discussions on climate change are based on global surface temperature only, an inadequate measure to capture the breadth of human activities and the real dangers stemming from a warming planet (Briggs et al. 2015). Policymakers and the public now urgently need access to a set of indicators that convey the effects of human activities on GHG emissions and the consequent impacts on climate, our environment, and society. Building on prior work (see supplemental file S2), we present a suite of graphical vital signs of climate change over the last 40 years for human activities that can affect GHG emissions and change the climate (figure 1), as well as actual climatic impacts (figure 2). We use only relevant data sets that are clear, understandable, systematically collected for at least the last 5 years, and updated at least annually.
  2. Lenton, Timothy M., et al. “Climate tipping points—too risky to bet against.” (2019): 592-595. Politicians, economists and even some natural scientists have tended to assume that tipping points1 in the Earth system — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are of low probability and little understood. Yet evidence is mounting that these events could be more likely than was thought, have high impacts and are interconnected across different biophysical systems, potentially committing the world to long-term irreversible changes. Here we summarize evidence on the threat of exceeding tipping points, identify knowledge gaps and suggest how these should be plugged. We explore the effects of such large-scale changes, how quickly they might unfold and whether we still have any control over them. In our view, the consideration of tipping points helps to define that we are in a climate emergency and strengthens this year’s chorus of calls for urgent climate action — from schoolchildren to scientists, cities and countries. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) introduced the idea of tipping points two decades ago. At that time, these ‘large-scale discontinuities’ in the climate system were considered likely only if global warming exceeded 5 °C above pre-industrial levels. Information summarized in the two most recent IPCC Special Reports (published in 2018 and in September this year)2,3 suggests that tipping points could be exceeded even between 1 and 2 °C of warming (see ‘Too close for comfort’).
  3. Lenton, Timothy M. “Can emergency geoengineering really prevent climate tipping points?.” Geoengineering our Climate?. Routledge, 2018. 43-46.  One broad framing of geoengineering is that it could be used to try to avoid a “climate emergency”. The fundamental problems with the “emergency-use” framing of geoengineering are that the parts of the climate system which may pass a tipping point are lagging behind anthropogenic forcing, and that passing a tipping point can lead to irreversible change. As for geoengineering to “avoid reaching a climate ‘tipping point'” there is a glimmer of hope in that systems approaching bifurcations carry generic early warning signals, such as becoming more sluggish in their recovery from natural fluctuation. So, those suggesting geoengineering to avoid reaching a tipping point would do well to focus their attention on fast-responding systems which should carry the best early warning prospects, for example, monsoons or the Arctic sea-ice. In summary, “emergency-deployment” framings of geoengineering to avoid or reverse climate tipping points could be seriously flawed.
  4. Foster, John Bellamy, and Brett Clark. “The planetary emergency.” Monthly Review 64.7 (2012): 1-25. Capitalism today is caught in a seemingly endless crisis, with economic stagnation and upheaval circling the globe. But while the world has
    been fixated on the economic problem, global environmental conditions have been rapidly worsening, confronting humanity with its ultimate crisis: one of long-term survival. The common source of both of these crises resides in the process of capital accumulation. Likewise the common solution is to be sought in a “revolutionary reconstitution of society at large,” going beyond the regime of capital. It is still possible for humanity to avert what economist Robert Heilbroner once called “ecological Armageddon.” The means for the creation of a just and sustainable world currently exist, and are to be found lying hidden in the growing gap between what could be achieved with the resources already available to us, and what the prevailing social order allows us to accomplish. It is this latent potential for a
    quite different human metabolism with nature that offers the masterkey to a workable ecological exit strategy.
  5. Gillett, Nathan P., et al. “Ongoing climate change following a complete cessation of carbon dioxide emissions.” Nature Geoscience 4.2 (2011): 83.  A threat of irreversible damage should prompt action to mitigate climate change, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which serves as a basis for international climate policy. CO2-induced climate change is known to be largely irreversible on timescales of many centuries1, as simulated global mean temperature remains approximately constant for such periods following a complete cessation of carbon dioxide emissions while thermosteric sea level continues to rise1,2,3,4,5,6. Here we use simulations with the Canadian Earth System Model to show that ongoing regional changes in temperature and precipitation are significant, following a complete cessation of carbon dioxide emissions in 2100, despite almost constant global mean temperatures. Moreover, our projections show warming at intermediate depths in the Southern Ocean that is many times larger by the year 3000 than that realized in 2100. We suggest that a warming of the intermediate-depth ocean around Antarctica at the scale simulated for the year 3000 could lead to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which would be associated with a rise in sea level of several metres2,7,8.
  6. Bello, Walden. “Will capitalism survive climate change?.” Chain Reaction 104 (2008): 44.  Climate change is an issue that has to be addressed by taking steps for reduction of green house gas emissions, which would be possible with reduce in growth and energy use while raising the quality of life of the broad masses of people. The aim should be low-consumption, low-growth, high-equity development model that results in an improvement in people’s welfare, a better quality of life for all, and greater democratic control of production, which leaves less room for capitalism.

3 Responses to "CLIMATE EMERGENCY"

““Scientists don’t make up facts …”

That is itself a made up “fact”, assuming (as I do) that the speaker is not an all knowing God . . I’m just not buyin’ the silly “Each and every one of us scientists are incorruptible superhumans, unlike you low life non-scientists . . especially those of you who deny our God-like natures”, routine ; )

Good point. Great comment. Thanks.

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