Friday, April 11, 2008

Climate Code Red

There is a new book out by David Spratt and Philip Sutton called Climate Code Red. Here is part of the summary:

"The extensive melting of Arctic sea-ice in the northern summer of 2007 starkly demonstrated that serious climate-change impacts are already happening, both more rapidly and at lower global temperature increases than projected. Human activity has already pushed the planet’s climate past several critical “tipping points”, including the initiation of major ice sheet loss.

The loss in summer of all eight million square kilometres of Arctic sea-ice now seems inevitable, and may occur as early as 2010, a century ahead of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections. There is already enough carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere to initiate ice sheet disintegration in West Antarctica and Greenland and to ensure that sea levels will rise metres in coming decades.

The projected speed of change, with temperature increases greater than 0.3°C per decade and the consequent rapid shifting of climatic zones will, if maintained, likely result in most ecosystems failing to adapt, causing the extinction of many animal and plant species. The oceans will become more acidic, endangering much marine life.

The Earth’s passage into an era of dangerous climate change accelerates as each of these tipping points is passed. If this acceleration becomes too great, humanity will no longer have the power to reverse the processes we have set in motion.

We stand at a time where we still have the power to make a choice. Only by dealing with the full scale and urgency of the problem can we create a realistic path back to a safe-climate world.

Targets should be chosen and actions taken that can actually solve the problem in a timely manner. A temperature cap of 2–2.4°C, as proposed within the United Nations framework, would take the planet’s climate beyond the temperature range of the last million years and into catastrophe.

The loss of the Arctic sea-ice unambiguously represents dangerous climate change. As the tipping point for this event was around two decades ago when temperatures were about 0.3°C lower than at present, we propose a long-term precautionary warming cap of 0.5°C and equilibrium atmospheric greenhouse gas level of not more than 320 parts per million (ppm) carbon dioxide.

The USA’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen, stated recently that we should set an atmospheric carbon dioxide target that is low enough to avoid “the point of no return”. To achieve this, he says, we must not only eliminate current greenhouse gas emissions but also remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and take urgent steps to “cool the planet”.

These scientific imperatives are incompatible with the “realities” of “politics as usual” and “business as usual”. Our conventional mode of politics is short-term, adversarial and incremental, fearful of deep, quick change and simply incapable of managing the transition at the necessary speed. The climate crisis will not respond to incremental modification of the business-as-usual model.

There is an urgent need to reconceive the issue we face as a sustainability emergency, that takes us beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. The feasibility of rapid transitions is well established historically.

We now need to “think the unthinkable”, because the sustainability emergency is now not so much a radical idea as simply an indispensable course of action if we are to return to a safe-climate planet. "

Senator Christine Milne of Australia writes in Green Blog, "with Climate Code Red, David Spratt and Philip Sutton have provided a valuable and sobering contribution to the policy challenge of climate change at a pivotal moment.

Over recent months it has become ever clearer to many of us working in the field that global warming, accelerating faster than scientists had predicted, is leaving policy so far behind it is outdated as it is released."

This Friends of the Earth project says it pretty succinctly:

We are facing rapid warming impacts:
the danger is immediate, not just in the future.

We must take action now
to stop emissions and to cool the earth.

We must Plan
a large-scale transition to a post-carbon economy and society.

We must Recognise
a climate and sustainability emergency,

We must move at a pace
far beyond business and politics as usual."

We must Reconceive the Issue,
Ourselves, and our Society.

Or the issue will reconceive



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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We must not only eliminate current greenhouse gas emissions but also remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and take urgent steps to “cool the planet”. This is a quote from the summary of the book Climate Code Red.

If the world immediately ceased all such emissions and stopped all cars, trains and planes dead in their tracts ,together with all other fossil burning activities including electrical generation most of the worlds population would
die off in a relatively short period of time. Few are going to voluntarily participate in their own immediate extinction
even if it can be postponed for even a day and even if the stakes are the survival of the human species.

Has anyone thought through a plan where each individual has at least a theoretical hope of survival. The abstract idea of saving the higher forms of life on the planet will not cut it with anyone who is a candidate to be scarified on day one. There must be some hope for everyone. Is there
such a plan?



9:13 PM  

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