The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rocket up. We are in a climate emergency.
We need to do everything immediately
We can avoid irreversible, dangerous climate change, but only if we to do everything, and we do it immediately.From an eminent climate scientist: New Scientist: 4 Dec 2018.
The agreed threshold of irreversible, dangerous climate change is a 1.5 C increase in temperature over the pre-industrial temperatures. To give ourselves more than a 50% chance of staying under a 1.5 C rise, we must start decreasing global greenhouse gas emissions soon and get down to net zero emissions by about 2050.
We have the technology to do it, but we need to overcome the denial that has stalled climate action for the last 30 years. We have to change strong habits around fossil fuels, eating meat, flying, and over-consumption.
How to take on climate change and win
New Scientist: 4 Dec 2018
We need to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The above graph shows the high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We actually need to bring global emissions down to net-zero and then go beyond zero emissions, drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. We need to reduce the carbon dioxide levels from the current 410 to below 280 parts per million.
There is no “carbon budget”. It is dangerous to keep on burning.
An “Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary Report 2013” implies that there is a large amount of carbon dioxide that humans can still emit and still stay safe. This is the so-called carbon budget.
In “The Real Budgetary Emergency and the Myth of Burnable Carbon”, David Spratt identifies three difficulties with this carbon budget as:
- It assumes that keeping the temperature increase to below 2°C will keep us safe. However, a temperature increase of 2°C is the boundary between dangerous and very dangerous climate change.
- It assumes that there will be no emissions from the carbon and methane stored in the permafrost. Any estimate of a safe level for future carbon emissions must factor in these emissions as they could be enormous.
- It gives us a 66% chance of staying within the 2°C temperature increase. So there is a 34% chance of the temperature increase exceeding 2°C, that is a one in three chance of extreme global danger. Would you book your family on a plane knowing that it had a 1 in 3 chance of crashing?
Radical emergency action
We must mobilise to give ourselves a chance of avoiding the destruction of the natural world as we know it, and the collapse of civilisation.
We need a massive and rapid mobilisation like that during World War Two, so we can rapidly bring net greenhouse gas emissions to zero.
We have already heated the world to a dangerous level and we show little sign of stopping. This is evidence of widespread institutional failure. D
The emergency climate movement
EcoWatch: 26 Sep 2015: Margaret Klein Salamon
This mobilisation will be demanding and disruptive because there are no longer any non-radical, incremental paths available.