tagged w/ 450ppm
Take note US law enforcement: no pepper spray, no raids, no beatings.
This is it. This is the crux of the global economic and environmental crises we face and this was the place to take it. It is always the 1% that is heard even at these conferences above the voices of the poor, the indigenous peoples and those in this world who are being disproportionately affected most by climate change. It is our time now. Failure here is a failure of and for humanity, our water, our land, other species and our economies. The science is indisputable. The effects to water, agriculture and social structure are now a reality and becoming more severe. It is time to put humanity first.
Occupy climate justice.Take note US law enforcement: no pepper spray, no raids, no beatings.
This is it.... more
There seems little possibility that next month's climate summit in Durban will produce an emissions reduction agreement -- meaning the world will soon lack any binding CO2 targets. Europe may soon find itself alone in the fight against global warming.
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A climate catastrophe descended on the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin early last week. Politicians and diplomats from around the world were attending a conference to discuss how global warming will affect the world. They examined scenarios depicting how millions of people living in coastal areas could escape flooding, what will happen to the fishing and mineral rights of island nations when they no longer exist and how China and Russia will benefit from an ice-free Arctic.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that it intended to "openly and creatively address" the dangers of climate change. The exercise was designed to help "find new paths of international cooperation."
But the belief that global warming can be halted through international cooperation is elusive. The Kyoto Protocol, the world's only binding climate agreement, will soon expire. The most important means to date of compelling industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions seems likely to become a mere footnote in history.
The current CO2-reduction agreements expire at the end of 2012, and there is enormous resistance to new targets. The environment ministers and negotiators from roughly 200 countries, who will travel to Durban, South Africa at the end of November for the latest global climate conference, are a long way from breathing new life into the Kyoto process.
Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is making the bold claim that there is "a strong desire from all sides to see a final political decision made" in Durban. But this decision will probably consist of doing without fixed agreements on CO2 reduction in the future. "The meeting in Durban could become an act of mourning," warns Reimund Schwarze of the Climate Service Center in Hamburg, which analyzes climate policy on behalf of the German government.
Merkel's Optimism Has Faded
When Angela Merkel, then the German Environment Minister, returned from the 1997 UN climate summit in the Japanese imperial city of Kyoto, she was exhausted after long nights of negotiations. But she was also proud. The industrialized nations had pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions for the period from 2008 to 2012 by 5 percent from the 1990 levels. The conference was a "milestone in the history of environmental protection," she said, noting that an "irreversible process" to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases had been initiated.
Although the industrialized countries will achieve the goal set in 1997, Merkel, now Germany's chancellor, has lost almost all the optimism she had at the time. In fact, she now warns that the international negotiations could turn into a "huge disappointment."
To stop global warming, a much faster and greater reduction in CO2 levels would be needed than the Kyoto Protocol has produced to date. But this is nowhere in sight. The reductions in emissions so far are primarily the result of economic crises and the collapse of industry in the former Soviet bloc. Noble rhetoric aside, oil, natural gas and coal have remained the foundation of modern prosperity. Major industrialized nations like Australia and Canada have even increased their emissions.
Little has remained of Merkel's "irreversible process" to protect the climate. In emerging economies like China, which produces consumer goods for the world market, emissions have risen to such a great extent that they now far exceed those of the United States and Europe. Despite the economic crisis, worldwide CO2 emissions resulting from energy consumption reached a new record high of 33 billion tons last year, a 45 percent increase over the 1990 level.
Clean Energy as a 'Dirty Word'
The Kyoto Protocol was never ratified in the United States, and the country remains unwilling to submit to international commitments on energy consumption out of a concern that doing so could cost jobs. "Clean energy has become a dirty word in the United States," a close advisor to US President Barack Obama said during a recent visit to Berlin.
And now other important countries, like Japan, Canada and Russia, are refusing to commit to new binding CO2 targets for the period after 2012, as long as India and China do not cooperate. The emerging powers are calling for decisive action by the industrialized nations before they are willing to do anything, creating a vicious cycle.
"Without new reduction targets, Kyoto is nothing but an empty shell," says environmental economist Schwarze.
In times of financial crisis, many politicians apparently no longer attach very much importance to a threat that will only unleash its full fury after many years. In addition, mistakes and slip-ups have harmed the credibility of climate scientists. In particular, an incorrect prediction about the melting of Himalayan glaciers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has given opponents of climate protection new ammunition.
Trying to Buy Time
The Europeans are the only ones still fighting for new binding targets within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol. Last week, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and environment ministers from the 27 EU member states agreed to campaign for more negotiations in Durban, but with a transitional period lasting until 2015, even though the CO2 reduction targets are set to expire in 2012. It is an attempt to buy time and to keep the Kyoto Protocol artificially alive, even though it's already clinically dead.
The malaise began in 2009, if not earlier. At the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, the Europeans, most notably German Chancellor Merkel, failed in their attempt to achieve a comprehensive climate treaty. The United States and three emerging powers, China, India and Brazil, aligned themselves against Europe in Copenhagen and blocked binding targets. None of them were willing to allow foreign countries to tell them how much fossil fuel they could burn in their factories, cars and buildings.
On the surface, the German government is fighting for a new agreement and regularly brings together decision-makers from around the world to save what can still be saved. But preparations to withdraw from the protocol have been underway for some time. Privately, no German negotiator still believes that the Kyoto Protocol can still be saved.
"At best, the EU can go it alone, but it represents only 15 percent of worldwide emissions," says a leading government climate strategist. The "only result would be that after Durban, 27 European parliaments would have to ratify CO2 targets that we already pursue in the EU."
Since the Copenhagen summit, the practical alternative to the binding climate treaty is to maintain an informal list. Each country voluntarily enters its national climate protection goals into this document. There likely would be some sort of mechanism to monitor compliance with these goals. But there would be no consequences whatsoever for countries that fail to meet their own targets. Given this half-hearted approach, it is likely that in the coming decades global warming will exceed the 2 degrees Celsius defined by the UN as the threshold to a dangerously overheated world.
More at the linkThere seems little possibility that next month's climate summit in Durban will... more
CARBON dioxide levels are rising at a faster rate than the worst-case scenario envisaged by United Nations experts, with the planet heading for "catastrophic" and "irreversible" climate change by 2040, a new report claims.
The rise of greenhouse gases will trigger an unprecedented rate of global warming that will result in the loss of the ice-covered polar seas by 2020, much of our coral reefs by 2040 and see a 1.4-metre rise in the sea level by 2100.
The apocalyptic vision has been outlined in a paper by Andrew Brierley of St Andrews University, which is likely to influence the views of UN experts gathering in Copenhagen this December to establish a new protocol that will attempt to halt global warming.
Brierley and his co-author, Michael Kingsford of the James Cook University in Australia, examined the effect of carbon dioxide emissions on ocean habitats and marine organisms.
The scientists compared current carbon dioxide emissions with those forecast in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), the leading body for the assessment of global warming, which was established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation.
In 2007, the IPCC predicted a "worst-case scenario" that would see rapid industrialisation cause carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to increase by two parts per million each year. Parts per million (ppm) is a unit of concentration used to measure pollutants.
Brierley said atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration had increased from pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm to 385 ppm last year and was now rising at a rate of 2.5 ppm per year.
He described the outlook as "really quite nasty doom-and-gloom situation".
He added: "People have looked at how various economic situations, various developments in India and China might impact on carbon dioxide admissions and in 2007 they made a series of forecasts and if you take the worst-case scenario, carbon dioxide would be going up by two parts per million.
"This really august body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said these are the worst-case scenarios for carbon dioxide increase and we are above that already. That's the thing that really frightens me."
In their paper, Brierley and Kingsford said that a carbon dioxide level of 450 ppm was the critical threshold beyond which catastrophic and irreversible change might occur.
Reaching that level would mean a global mean temperature rise of 2C above pre-industrial values. At present rates this threshold will be passed by 2040.
The authors added: "By 2040, some particularly sensitive marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and ice-covered polar seas could already have been lost and other unexpected consequences may arise."
Brierley said: "You can say no Arctic sea ice by 2020 – really, really soon. Certainly no summer sea ice in the Arctic by 2020."CARBON dioxide levels are rising at a faster rate than the worst-case scenario... more
To the twelfth hour.
From the article:
In the summer of 2007, a large portion of Arctic Sea ice - about 40 per cent - simply vanished. That wasn't supposed to happen. At least not yet. As recent as 2004, scientists had predicted it would take another 50 to 100 years for that much ice to melt. Yet here it was happening today.
It raised the question: Had global warming suddenly pressed the gas pedal to the floor? If so, the world was in for quite a climate ride - dramatic, jarring changes in climate much sooner than expected. Climate scientists were deeply worried.
"It really caught the scientific community by surprise," Professor James Ford, a McGill University geographer and Arctic expert recalled. "The Arctic system is close to crossing the threshold beyond which we will get dramatic changes in climate."
The sudden mass melting brought an earlier ice event into new perspective. In 2005, scientists at the Canadian Ice Service, the nation's leading ice specialists, were examining satellite images when they noticed that the Ayles Ice Shelf, which is about as big as the island of Montreal, had suddenly broken free from the top of Ellesmere Island and floated away.
Vincent Warwick, an Arctic expert at Université Laval, said at the time: "This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead."
The ice melt of 2007 seemed to confirm Warwick's fears. Reports since then claim the Arctic ice could be gone by 2013.
We have already crossed some critical climate thresholds. The world not only has to drastically cut back its greenhouse gas emissions but also begin to take steps to deal with the inevitable changes that global warming will cause. The much-feared tipping points - which would cause massive icecap and ice shield melting, and plunge the world headlong into severe weather systems, causing broad devastation and rising seas - seem increasingly probable.
This is why, scientists say, the United Nations climate talks that began this week in Bonn, Germany, and will culminate in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, are so important. They are a last chance for the world to come to its senses and negotiate an agreement to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Scientists have been warning about these tipping points for decades, but few politicians have listened. Most industrialized countries led by the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe have continued to pump increased amounts of GHGs into the atmosphere despite promises to reduce emissions below 1990 levels.
Developing countries like China and India have taken no steps to curtail their emissions. With a new coal-fired power plant coming on stream every week, China is now the world's biggest GHG producer.
The atmosphere now contains 387 parts per million of carbon dioxide. This is more than the Earth has seen in the last 650,000 years. Pre-industrial levels were about 270 ppm, which remained pretty well constant over the 100,000 years mankind has walked the Earth. Scientists say that because of a delayed reaction, we have yet to experienced the full effect of what we already have put into the atmosphere. That effect will unravel in the decades to come. Meanwhile, we're adding about 30 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere annually or about 2 ppm. Last year alone, global GHGs increased three per cent.To the twelfth hour.
From the article:
In the summer of 2007, a large portion of... more