31 August 2014

Climate Highs and Climate Lows Leading Up to UN Climate Summit and the People's Climate March

No, I'm not talking about the temperature today. The climate highs and lows I'm talking about are all the things people are doing or not doing (or not doing right) for the huge climate convergence coming up in New York City in three, count 'em, three weeks. That's three as in 3, as in one less than 4, as in only one more than 2. As in, before we know it. As in, holy sh!t!

You see, this mobilization can't be just about numbers of marchers at the People's Climate March. It can't be just about calling for urgent action. Time is so short (methane hydrate plumes, anyone?), it has GOT to be about very specifically demanding the very specific urgent actions that we urgently need!

So with that urgency as our backdrop this week, let's have a look at what's been happening.


People are writing -- or finding -- anthems for the climate change movement. A friend of ours is working on one:
Climate safety is a human right
We're not going to get it
Without a fight
We need to unite
Take action - right now
Here's how ....

That's a good thing. On the other hand, Avaaz, with its self-confessed gazillions of members, just sent round a message asking people to sign a petition that's, well, wrong (see if you can spot the wrong bit):

Right, the "2 degrees" bit is wrong. Two degrees is not "the safe level," it's global suicide. For years, the nations most vulnerable to climate chaos have been asking for a global temperature increase limit of no more than 1.5ºC -- some even 1ºC (recognizing what's already happening at +0.8ºC). 

Here's the problem with 2ºC. Because most of us haven't grasped that (due to the ocean heat lag doubling whatever temperature increase we end up with) 2ºC is the eventual result of only 1ºC of warming. So if we "aim" for 2ºC, we'll end up with 4ºC (which is certainly unsurvivable, given that all crops in all regions will go into decline at or before 1.5ºC of warming). Remember, this isn't temperature increase as in "tonight's low will be 70ºF and the high tomorrow will be 78ºF" -- this is temperature increase as in "98.6ºF is healthy, but you are pretty much dead at 106.6ºF."

So Avaaz has done the world a(nother) disservice by reinforcing the idea that +2ºC is safe. (Indeed, the conspiracy theorist in me figures it's just more proof that Avaaz is indeed part of the nonprofit industrial complex that supports the corporate agenda whenever that support is called upon.)


From above: "... by rapidly shifting our societies and economies to be powered by 100% clean energy." I don't like Avaaz's wording there (do I smell a shill for "clean coal"?), but this is, properly defined, the goal we all need to be aiming for. Zero-carbon, clean, perpetual energy by 2050. Due to the length of time that 20-40% of our emitted carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere radiating heat (up to a thousand years!), we've got to achieve zero carbon emissions by mid-century or sooner in order to stabilize and drop the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. The Burning Age is over ... we have to start picturing a world of no fuels (no biofuels, no biomass burning; burning = carbon emissions).


Remember I mentioned plumes of methane up top? The discovery / witnessing of these plumes in the Arctic and along the Atlantic Coast of North America should be striking sheer terror into the hearts of every thinking adult human being on the planet. These plumes are evidence that the seabed's normally frozen methane hydrate deposits are destabilizing. In other words, they're thawing, for heaven's sake! This is the methane timebomb we've been warning about for the last several years. We are freaking well running out of time.


Speaking of bombs .... 

I keep running across research and lay articles in which scientists "conclude," not that we'd better get our butts in gear to safeguard the future, but that more monitoring is necessary. From an article entitled Vast Methane Plumes Spotted Bubbling Up from the Arctic Ocean Floor:
"Does this mean that the disaster scenario is now developing? Unfortunately, at the moment, that's an unknown. The SWERUS-C3 team will be continuing to monitor the location as long as the weather holds out for their expedition. However, as the Stockholm University press release stated: "These early glimpses of what may be in store for a warming Arctic Ocean could help scientists project the future releases of the strong greenhouse gas methane from the Arctic Ocean."
What is it with scientists and other researchers constantly and continually just calling for "more research" and more understanding? Why can't we just understand the research results we have now and get concerned enough to demand some urgent action from our governments?


Well, I started with a climate high, and I'd like to end with a high. But I'm drawing a blank. We're meeting some wonderful new climate change activists, but for every new one, two or three climate "cynics" pop up. If you've got any good climate change news to share, please let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?