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Not enough fossil fuels left to trigger another mass extinction

Not enough fossil fuels left to trigger another mass extinction

Preface. Since both conventional and unconventional oil peaked in 2018, we clearly won’t be burning fossils at exponentially increasing rates until 2400 as the IPCC expected. Quite the opposite, currently the decline rate of oil is 8% a year, which can be reduced to 4% by enhanced oil recovery techniques. The other 4% could be remedied by finding more oil, but discoveries have been at their lowest point for decades the past 7 years, and with oil prices so low, exploration and new projects are on hold.

Many books, starting with Ward’s “Under a Green Sky” warned that we would bring on another major extinction event burning fossil fuels. News reports continue to assume that this will be the eventual outcome as well. So you may not be aware of what it took to bring on the mother of all extinctions: The Permian. Although it’s commonly said that we are emitting far more CO2 faster than ever in history, this isn’t true.

Amazingly, researchers don’t blame the 300,000 to 1 million years of volcanic traps. Rather, it appears there were two pulses of lava from deep beneath the earth that rose to the surface, burning through underground deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas. That released an enormous amount of CO2 into the atmosphere; 100,000 billion tonnes (= 1 × 1014 tonnes). That is an almost incomprehensible amount of carbon injected into the atmosphere in a short (geologically speaking) period of time. This is more than 40 times the amount of all carbon available in modern fossil fuel reserves including carbon already burned since the industrial revolution.”

Researchers also don’t find methane hydrates a suspect, because it was “highly unlikely based on our data” according to Dr. Marcus Gutjahr from GEOMAR, co-author of the study (SD 2020).

Related articles:

Clarkson, M. O., et al. 2015. Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Science 348:229.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It’s Time to Acknowledge the Spectacular Success of the IPCC.

It’s Time to Acknowledge the Spectacular Success of the IPCC.

“US support was probably critical to IPCC’s establishment. And why did the US government support it? Assistant Undersecretary of State Bill Nitze wrote to me a few years later saying that our group’s activities played a significant role. Among other motivations, the US government saw the creation of the IPCC as a way to Prevent the activism stimulated by my colleagues and me from controlling the policy agenda.”
The home of climate change denial was instrumental in setting up the IPCC.

“I suspect that the Reagan Administration believed that, in contrast to our group, most scientists were not activists, and would take years to reach any conclusion on the magnitude of the threat. Even if they did, they probably would fail to express it in plain English. The US government must have been quite surprised when IPCC issued its first assessment at the end of 1990, stating clearly that human activity was likely to produce an unprecedented warming.”

Source How the IPCC Got Started; https://blogs.edf.org/climate411/2007/11/01/ipcc_beginnings/?fbclid=IwAR2zAs7si4qlWlKGbvwbsHjGS9Eh9DJlRt0isWqva97INhqOGuin5yF1vgU

The IPCC was designed to fail, part of their mandate is to not make recommendations that would constrict economic growth.

Chair of the IPCC Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Valencia Spain, Nov 17, 2007.

“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment”

Survivable IPCC projections based on science fiction.
“In the latest ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report’ (IPCC AR5), there have been published a selection of ‘Representative Concentration Pathways’ (RCP’s).
Dr Matt Watson, from the school of earth Sciences at the University of Bristol (UK), made this point strongly at a recent meeting at the Royal Society in London:…

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Leaked report of the IPCC reveals that the growth model of capitalism is unsustainable

| Satellite image showing smoke from Siberian forest fires reaching the North Pole August 3 2021 | MR OnlineSatellite image showing smoke from Siberian forest fires reaching the North Pole (August 3, 2021). Image credit: Felton DavisFlickr.

Leaked report of the IPCC reveals that the growth model of capitalism is unsustainable

The second draft of the IPCC Group III report, focused on mitigation strategies, states that we must move away from the current capitalist model to avoid surpassing planetary boundaries and climate and ecological catastrophe). It also confirms our previous reports, covered by CTXT and The Guardian, that “greenhouse gas emissions must peak in the next four years”. The new leak acknowledges that there is little or no room for further economic growth.

The undersigned scientists and journalists have analyzed a new part of the Sixth Assessment Report, which has been leaked to us by the same sources as last time—Scientist Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion Spain. In this leak the usual more timid positions can be found, but also prominent statements that would have been unthinkable not long ago.

To contextualize, let’s just remember: In 1990, the First IPCC Report stated that, “the observed increase [in temperature] could be largely due to natural variability”, and although subsequent reports put this position to rest, this Sixth Report eliminates any possibility of doubt, and leaves no room for the climate denial arguments which have been historically and amply financed by those who had the most to benefit from maintaining this narrative: the fossil fuel lobbies.

The leaked report mentions that indefinite growth must be renounced. Since radical transition is required, the key question is how can a shift away from models of perpetual growth be understood as a benefit and not merely relinquishment? …

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The IPCC Report: Key Findings and Radical Implications

The IPCC Report: Key Findings and Radical Implications

Beyond the headlines: what climate science now shows about Earth’s future. Can we act in time?

The UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released its latest comprehensive report on the state of the earth’s climate. The much-anticipated report dominated the headlines for a few days in early August, then quickly disappeared amidst the latest news from Afghanistan, the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections in the US, and all the latest political rumblings. The report is vast and comprehensive in its scope, and is worthy of more focused attention outside of specialist scientific circles than it has received thus far.

The report affirms much of what we already knew about the state of the global climate, but does so with considerably more clarity and precision than earlier reports. It removes several elements of uncertainty from the climate picture, including some that have wrongly served to reassure powerful interests and the wider public that things may not be as bad as we thought. The IPCC’s latest conclusions reinforce and significantly strengthen all the most urgent warnings that have emerged from the past 30 to 40 years of climate science. It deserves to be understood much more fully than most media outlets have let on, both for what it says, and also what it doesn’t say about the future of the climate and its prospects for the integrity of all life on earth.

Click image to download report. (PDF, 248MB)

First some background. Since 1990, the IPCC has released a series of comprehensive assessments of the state of the earth’s climate, typically every 5–6 years. The reports have hundreds of authors, run for many hundreds of pages (this one has over 3000), and represent the international scientific consensus that has emerged from the period since the prior report…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the Economy Has to Radically Transform to End Fossil Fuels in 20 Years

How the Economy Has to Radically Transform to End Fossil Fuels in 20 Years

Coming disruptions will eventually lay waste to conventional jobs in incumbent fossil fuel, combustion engine, and livestock farming industries.
GettyImages-1052523172
IMAGE: MARCEL KUSCH/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES

To avoid the worst of climate change’s disastrous effects, humanity needs to slash carbon emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere at a pace and scale often said to be eye-wateringly difficult, expensive, and even unlikely given the continued failure of political will. That’s the implication of the IPCC’s report, published this week, which concludes that a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise in global average temperatures is now inevitable in 20 years.

The IPCC’s “best-case” scenario concludes that if we act fast, we might be able to gradually reduce temperatures back down to 1.4C by 2100. Yet this would keep us in the 1.5C climate danger zone for decades, which could risk triggering tipping points that could lead to irreversible and even more dangerous shifts in the climate system. Against this background, the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill has offered a watered down set of policies that simply won’t contribute to the scale of change required.

But a new report by technology forecasting think-tank RethinkX finds that the scope for change could be far larger and faster than either the IPCC or powerful governments like the United States realise: because the most powerful fossil fuel-based industries in the world—oil, gas, and coal; livestock farming; and combustion engines—are going to become obsolete purely due to extant economic factors well within the next 20 years. According to RethinkX, they are being increasingly disrupted by a cluster of clean technologies in the energy, transport and food sectors, which are rapidly becoming cheaper, more efficient, and as a result, more ubiquitous.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Grappling with growth

Synergies and tensions between degrowth and people’s movements

We live in an age of converging crises. Only days ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a damning report on the state of the environmental crisis. At the same time, while a few countries are recuperating from the pandemic, an on-going third wave of Covid wreaks havoc across the Global South. In both crises, the economic imperative overrides other concerns and appears to render necessary changes illusory. Even among staunch proponents of our current economic system, calls for reform grow louder.1 The health and environmental crises are illustrative of broader tendencies: environmental disasters, rising global inequality, political polarization, a strengthening of right-wing extremism, anti-immigrant policies, and accompanying human misery.

In light of this, movements are mobilizing. Beyond reform, they argue that systemic changes are needed. Their struggles take a holistic view, emphasizing how the individual crises are entangled and driven by underlying structural factors. A question moving increasingly to the center of attention is growth itself as a driver of social inequality and unsustainability. Critics of growth argue that reckoning with environmental devastation and social inequality is directly tied to leaving behind the growth-paradigm. Among the frameworks and movements criticizing growth, degrowth is especially prevalent.

Degrowth argues that environmental sustainability and social justice necessitate transitioning beyond growth-reliance. In order to address social and environmental issues, we have to transition towards societies that are not just smaller in size but also operate according to a different logic – a logic that is not determined by the market sphere.2

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The problem with climate change politics

The problem with climate change politics

Climate change bears all the hallmarks of a state-sponsored crisis, useful to shift attention from other political failures. But the absence of financial accountability which characterises government actions also introduces behavioural errors.

The absence of a profit motive in any state action exposes the relationship between governments and their electors to psychological factors. We all know that governments use propaganda and other tools to manage crowd psychology and influence their electorates. What is less understood is that governments themselves are misled by a crowd psychology in its own ranks which contributes to policy failure.

This article does not question the climate change debate itself. Instead, it examines the debate in the context of the psychology driving it. The release of government-sponsored propaganda on climate change in the form of a unanimous IPCC report predicting the end of the world as we know it is the latest example of a political and bureaucratic phenomenon, making the timing of this article apposite.
Introduction

Western economies have moved on from free markets to the point where they hardly exist in the true meaning of the phrase. Yet the state continually claims that it is free markets that fail, not government.

The reason governments fail in economic terms is that economic calculation is never part of their brief, and nor can it be. By economic calculation, we mean taking positive actions aimed at a profitable outcome. To survive and prosper, businesses and individuals must do this all the time — the only exception being when they can rely on the state to underwrite their failures, which is why established businesses encourage statist regulation to place hurdles in the way of upstart competitors. And why at an individual level there is a ready demand for state welfare.
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This is the most sobering report card yet on climate change and Earth’s future. Here’s what you need to know

This is the most sobering report card yet on climate change and Earth’s future. Here’s what you need to know

Earth has warmed 1.09℃ since pre-industrial times and many changes such as sea-level rise and glacier melt are now virtually irreversible, according to the most sobering report yet by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report also found escape from human-caused climate change is no longer possible. Climate change is now affecting every continent, region and ocean on Earth, and every facet of the weather.

The long-awaited report is the sixth assessment of its kind since the panel was formed in 1988. It will give world leaders the most timely, accurate information about climate change ahead of a crucial international summit in Glasgow, Scotland in November.

The IPCC is the peak climate science body of the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization. It is the global authority on the state of Earth’s climate and how human activities affect it. We are authors of the latest IPCC report and have drawn from the work of thousands of scientists from around the world to produce this new assessment.

Sadly, there is hardly any good news in the 3,900 pages of text released today. But there is still time to avert the worst damage, if humanity chooses to.

melting glacier
Escape from human-caused climate change is no longer possible. John McConnico/AP

It’s unequivocal: humans are warming the planet

For the first time, the IPCC states unequivocally — leaving absolutely no room for doubt – humans are responsible for the observed warming of the atmosphere, lands and oceans.

The IPCC finds Earth’s global surface temperature warmed 1.09℃ between 1850-1900 and the last decade. This is 0.29℃ warmer than in the previous IPCC report in 2013. (It should be noted that 0.1℃ of the increase is due to data improvements.)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What the IPCC report should have told us

What the IPCC report should have told us

The problem with the recent IPCC report is that it is still talking about ‘average’ changes over the earth, discussing what might happen decades from now as a result of increased rate of change. Even if the message is labeled “code red” or urgent, it is still understating what is already happening. We continue to flog a dead horse; the ‘dead horse’ being the fact that scientists are still trying to convince people that climate change is happening and our situation is getting worse.  People should already accept that this is true.  It isn’t the average changes that will happen over the rest of this century that are threatening us.  The earth’s climate has already destabilized to the point where abrupt, extreme weather events are already happening. It isn’t my poor diet that will kill me, it’s the heart attack.

It isn’t the average temperature changes or rainfall events that threaten us, it is the abrupt changes, the extremes in weather events that will destroy our homes and communities. The IPCC report is full of graphical evidence that humans have changed earth’s surface, oceans, and atmosphere in ways that will bring about more warming, higher average temperatures, and greater precipitation in some regions and less in others. But this means little to people who have already lost everything to a storm, flood or wildfire. Perhaps the report was meant for policy makers, those who may actually be able to do something…if only we can convince them to do so.

In the face of such dire consequences what is the US government doing to address the threat of climate change? Yesterday we heard news of the first ‘bipartisan’ piece of legislation to pass the Senate in well over a decade…

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The last climate warning: heat waves and the IPCC leak

NEARLY 50 CELSIUS DEGREES ON THE WEST COAST OF CANADA

Records everywhere, and at the same time, a leak to the press, a preview, of a part of the major report on the climate crisis. It doesn’t sound like a coincidence

In Lytton, Canada, 49.6º was recorded at the end of June, during a historic heat wave that has caused a fire in the area, wiping the population off the map. Other records were also broken during those days in a multitude of cities as diverse as Seattle, Moscow or Benni Abbes in Tunisia.

Climate change is no longer denied by anyone. Or at least no one who thinks of anything other than his or her own benefit and those who let themselves be manipulated by the first ones.

 

According to a recent Yale University study, more than 90% of people surveyed around the globe assume that climate change is a real and very serious problem.Unfortunately, there is still some doubt about two crucial issues:

The first issue is that a third of society or more do not believe that it is human activities that are primarily responsible for climate chaos in most countries.  In Indonesia, the most serious case, this percentage would be over 80%. Truly incredible for the current knowledge, which does not admit any doubt in this regard. Natural phenomena not only have nothing to do with it, they are actually helping us.

Just as there were fires before humans even existed, there are fires now, both natural and human-induced. Of course there have been many previous climate changes casued by the interaction of orbital cycles or Milankovitch cycles with the carbon cycle…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Zero by 2050 or 2030? 1.5°C or 2°C? Overshoot or not? Demystifying carbon budgets.

Zero by 2050 or 2030? 1.5°C or 2°C? Overshoot or not? Demystifying carbon budgets.


Confused about carbon budgets for the Paris climate  goals? Zero by 2050 or 2030? 1.5°C or 2°C? Overshoot or not?
There is a maze of contradictory positions,  claiming to be based on research evidence. But the assumptions behind much of that evidence obscures some startling conclusions.

The Breakthough Briefing Note on “Carbon budgets for 1.5 & 2°C”,  released today, explores some of the myths and realities about the Paris Agreement targets and the associated carbon budgets, and what it would really take to achieve them.

The main findings are:

  • IPCC carbon budgets underestimate current and future warming, omit important climate system feedback mechanisms, and make dangerous assumptions about risk-management.
  • 1.5°C of warming is likely by 2030 or earlier, a product of past emissions.
  • There is no carbon budget for the 1.5°C goal; such “budgets” rely on overshoot, with unrealistic reliance on speculative technologies.
  • The current level of greenhouse gases is enough for around 2°C of warming, or more.
  • 2°C of warming is far from safe, and may trigger the “Hothouse Earth” scenario.
  • There is no carbon budget for 2°C if a sensible risk-management approach is taken.
  • Even accepting the IPCC carbon budget for 2°C at face value, emissions need to be zero before 2030 for developed countries with higher per capita emissions.

And it’s not that this blog has been avoiding the issue of carbon budgets. Far from it! Our posts since 2009 include:

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Expert IPCC Reviewer Speaks Out

Expert IPCC Reviewer Speaks Out

Photograph Source: Alexander Savin – CC BY 2.0

Expert IPCC Reviewer Speaks Out

Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion/XR recently interviewed Peter Carter, M.D., who has the distinguished title – Expert IPCC Reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The interview was conducted to get to the bottom of what science says about the state of affairs, specifically the health of the planet.

The following is a video link to that brilliant interview, inclusive of a treasure trove of contemporary science events (time: 41:21 Nov. 11, 2020):

Additionally, a synopsis of the interview follows herein, but it does not do justice to the emphasis as expressed by the participants:

Dr. Carter is currently reviewing the 6th Assessment (AR6) of the IPCC. Additionally, he reviewed the IPCC Special 1.5°C Report of 2018 that exposed a new reality about the global climate emergency. As a result, the depth and breadth of a true emergency is gaining recognition throughout the world. The fact that 1.5°C above baseline is now the prescribed upper limit to global warming accomplished more than just turning heads.

Dr. Carter: “We are in a climate emergency, in an unprecedented Earth emergency… it’s an emergency of our climate, an emergency of our oceans… this is not one of many challenges, this is the challenge for all of humanity.”

The upcoming 26th COP (Conference of the Parties) to be held November 2021 in Glasgow is on the docket for scientists and bureaucrats, as well as big moneyed interests, to knock heads in a formal setting to discuss the state of the planet. If all goes according to plan, like past COPs, powerful economic interests will sabotage what would otherwise be a rather dim forecast of a planet in various stages of collapse, some terminal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Criminology of Global Warming

The Criminology of Global Warming

Pulp mill, Longview, Washington. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Some – like Exxon since 1957 – have been aware that the world is facing global warming that has all the signs to render earth uninhabitable. At least with United Nations’ IPPC and NASA reporting on global warming, others have realised that we also face an unprecedented threat. Potentially, all of this is an issue of criminology. Somewhat similar to biology and psychology, criminology is the science of crime and criminal behaviour. Global warming can be seen from an environmental, geological, atmospheric, capitalist, etc. perspective, but it can also be seen as an issue of criminology.

Like lawyers and judges, etc., criminologists also prefer tide and often somewhat legalistic definitions to work with. For them, global warming is simply defined as the rising of the earth’s temperature. At the same time, climate change is seen as the inter-related effects of rising temperatures on our environment and on human beings.

Criminology comes into play when global warming is caused by harmful behaviour that contributes to the problem. It also comes in when human, state or corporate actions prevent responses to global warming. At the centre of criminology is the idea that a corporation or someone can commit a wrong. In a second step, criminology stresses that these wrongs demand a response.

One might simply argue that a crime is what the law defines as a crime. The l’idée fixe of malum prohibitum is, for example, that something is not so much a crime because it is inherently wrong, but because the laws of a state prohibit it. This idea lets some off the hook – for example, those who perpetrated the Holocaust. Nazi Germany certainly did not have a law that states, if you kill communists, trade unionists, democrats, homosexuals, Gipsies, and Jews, you will be punished. Instead, the opposite was the case. Auschwitz fulfilled every single regulation down to the German building code.

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We Can’t Grow Our Way Out of Poverty

WE CAN’T GROW OUR WAY OUT OF POVERTY

For more than half a century, economists and policymakers have focused fanatically on growth as the only feasible way to end global poverty and improve people’s lives. But in an era of planet-wide ecological breakdown, that comfortable conventional wisdom is crashing to an end. Jason Hickel lays it on the line.


Illustration by Pete Reynolds

Everything is about to change in the field of international development.

In 2018, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) grabbed the world’s attention with its report stating that to avert dangerous climate breakdown we need to cut global emissions in half by 2030 and reach zero by 2050. It would be difficult to overstate how dramatic this trajectory is; the challenge is staggering in its scale.

We know it’s possible to accomplish rapid emissions reductions with co-ordinated government policy action, ratcheting down fossil fuels and rolling out renewable energy infrastructure. But there’s a problem. IPCC scientists have made it clear that it’s not feasible to transition quickly enough to stay within the carbon budget if we continue to grow the global economy at existing rates.

More growth means more energy demand, and more energy demand makes it all the more difficult to create enough renewable capacity to meet it.

Think about it this way. With business-as-usual growth, the global economy is set to roughly triple in size by the middle of the century – that’s three times more extraction, production and consumption than at present, all of which will suck up nearly three times as much energy. It will be unimaginably difficult for us to decarbonize the existing global economy; impossible to do it three times over in the short time we have left.

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Microbes a key factor in climate change

Microbes a key factor in climate change

Preface. The IPCC, like economists, assumes our economy and burning of fossil fuels will grow exponentially until 2100 and beyond, with no limits to growth. But conventional oil peaked and has stayed on a plateau since 2005, so clearly peak global oil production is in sight. As is peak soil, aquifer depletion, biodiversity destruction, and deforestation to name just a few existential threats besides climate change.

The lack of attention to microbes in the IPCC model further weakens their predictions about the trajectory of climate change. As this article notes, diatoms are our friends, they “perform 25–45% of total primary production in the oceans, owing to their prevalence in open-ocean regions when total phytoplankton biomass is maximal. Diatoms have relatively high sinking speeds compared with other phytoplankton groups, and they account for ~40% of particulate carbon export to depth”.

Diatoms didn’t appear until 40 million years ago, and sequester so much carbon that they caused the poles to form ice caps. So certainly scientists should study whether their numbers are decreasing or increasing. But also the IPCC needs to include diatoms and other microbes in their models. It’s a big deal that they haven’t, since microorganisms support the existence of all higher life forms.

* * *

University of New South Wales. 2019. Leaving microbes out of climate change conversation has major consequences, experts warn. Science Daily.

Original article: Cavicchioli, R., et al. 2019. Scientists’ warning to humanity: microorganisms and climate change. Nature Reviews Microbiology.

More than 30 microbiologists from 9 countries have issued a warning to humanity — they are calling for the world to stop ignoring an ‘unseen majority’ in Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem when addressing climate change.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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