Below are two essential new analyses by Carbon Equity Australia's, David Spratt, co-author of Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action, and another by George Monbiot, author of Heat and columnist for The Guardian, among other things. Both are leading voices of reason on the perils posed by the climate crisis and both are staunch advocates of the need to confront it with EMERGENCY GLOBAL ACTION in order for humanity -- and most other life -- to survive.
Commenting on the conclusions of recent, supposed "ground-breaking" reports that attempt to calculate the total amount of carbon that can, in theory, be released without heating the atmosphere to the supposed +2 degrees Celsius tipping point (a convenient, but deceptive political target and outright betrayal of the latest science that warns TIPPING POINTS ARE IN JEOPARDY RIGHT NOW -- AT LESS THAN +1 DEGREE CELSIUS OF HEATING), Spratt and Monbiot use the most optimistic of the range of figures presented and seem to purposely take care to pull some punches.
As they call into question the entire approach of international climate negotiations (UNFCCC), they largely reserve specific critique of the core references that the negotiations have been directly and indirectly limited to -- the 2007 IPCC Report and the 2006 Stern Review -- despite each study being deemed dangerously outdated by the recent 'Emergency' Scientific Congress in Copenhagen this past March, 2009. (See: conditions are tracking at or BEYOND THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO trajectories)
This, I presume, is an effort to:
1) actually be heard by those who resist, or don't realize, the full extent of the situation and
2) rely on the fact that even the underestimations (should) make the unprecedented scale and urgency of the threat, not to mention the biocidal insanity of ongoing, international inaction, abundantly clear.
Given this caveat, please consider the posts below with the knowledge that the climate crisis and all it entails is even further along -- in fact, much further -- than these staggering conclusions reveal.
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A NEW REALITY CHECK ON THE GLOBAL EMISSIONS BUDGET -- DAVID SPRATT "Ignoring, for the moment, the fact that +2 C is a really bad target... If emissions keep growing at 3.5 % a year, then the carbon budget for +2 degrees Celsius runs out in 2021. That is, after that time, emissions would need to drop to zero immediately to have a 75% chance of not passing +2 C."
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HOW MUCH FOSSIL FUEL CAN WE BURN? -- GEORGE MONBIOT "... (at best) we can afford to burn only 61% of known fossil fuel reserves between now and eternity. Or, using Meinshausen's figure, we can burn only 33% between now and 2050. Sorry - 33% minus however much we have burnt between 2000 and today... So the question that arises is this: which fossil fuel reserves will we decide not to extract and burn? There is, as I have argued before, no point in seeking to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels unless we also seek to reduce their production. Yet, apart from the members of OPEC (who do it only to shore up the price), no government is attempting to limit the amount of fuel extracted. Far from it; they all pursue the same strategy as the United Kingdom: to "maximise economic recovery"."
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CLIMATE COUNTDOWN -- DAVID SPRATT (Details some specific impacts that would ensue at each degree Celsius of potential average global temperature increase, followed by some specific proposals for action) "Put starkly, we either keep warming under the range where carbon feedbacks become sufficiently pervasive as to make further human action futile, or we do not. We have a safe climate or we have a global catastrophe. There are no middle-of-the-road compromises. We must head back towards zero. At +1 degree Celsius the genie is out of the bottle, at +2 degrees Celsius the bottle is broken."
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- Carbon Equity (Australia), David Spratt
- Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action
- 6 Degrees, Mark Lynas
- Monbiot.com, George Monbiot
- 'Safe' Climate Means 'No to Coal', BBC News, Richard Black, April 29, 2009
- Summary of the March 2009 'Emergency' Climate Conference in Copenhagen
- ecoSanity.org's Urgent Appeal to 'Emergency' Scientific Congress, Copenhagen
- Q&A: What is the Dec. 2009, Copenhagen Climate Change Summit?
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)