Tuesday, August 6, 2019


Newsletter #1
June 28, 2019
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology
I have called these gatherings: reports or newsletters.  They can also be labeled contributions to a commonplace book on climate.

“An animal keeper puts suntan lotion on a lowland tapir during the hot summer weather Wednesday in an animal park in Hodenhagen, Germany.  Germany faces a heat wave with high temperatures and ultraviolet radiation.”  NADG (6-27-2019).

George Monbiot.  Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning.  2007.

Mark Lynas.  Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet.  2008.

Mark HertsGaard.  Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.  2011.

HEAT publications in roughly chronological order 2013-2019

Climate Progress, 7-17-15
Top3: Story 3

Climate Progress Top 3: We Just Lived Through The Hottest Month In Recorded History
Climate Progress  Unsubscribe
3:53 PM (4 hours ago)
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This seems like an error, yet unlikely in this reputable magazine.  What does Bill Nye mean?

"Through our enterprises, we have loaded the Earth's atmosphere with carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases that are warming our world 10x6 [to the 6th power, I don't know how to type that], one million times faster, than it has ever warmed in its four-and-a-half-billion-year history."   Skeptical Inquirer( Sept.-Oct. 2016), 35.
Thanks, Dick

Malcolm Kent Cleaveland
5:30 PM (18 hours ago)
to me, Art
What he's saying is that we're warming very, very fast due to our incredible CO2 pollution.  I don't know about 6 orders of magnitude faster than has ever occurred before, but would definitely say several orders of magnitude at least.  Most of the abrupt changes we see in the paleoclimatic record are cooling, I think, and we still don't understand what happened very well.  There is at least one episode of warming that seems related to a mass release of methane clathrates from the ocean floor due to a massive underwater landslide. 
Malcolm K. Cleaveland, Ph.D.    LTC USAR (Ret.)

Art Hobson
9:05 AM (2 hours ago)
to Malcolm, me
Dick and Malcolm - I think Nye is two orders of magnitude on the high (fast) side.  The best analog for the present 400 parts-per-million carbon dioxide concentration is the Pliocene era, 5 million years ago to 2.5 million years ago.  Major temp changes during that era happened over a time span of a million years (or maybe less).  Present carbon concentrations are probably causing sea levels to rise by significant (a few meters) amounts in 100 years.   So we are moving about 10^4 (10 to the 4th power, i.e. 10,000) times faster today than during the Pliocene.   Nye’s 10^6 is too high.   What do you think, Malcolm?   Cheers (I guess) - Art
Malcolm Kent Cleaveland
11:17 AM (26 minutes ago)
to Art, me

His estimate seems high to me also, but as you say, we don't have a very good handle on what the timeline is of happenings in the Pliocene.  Recently there was a paper on the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), about 55.5 mya, which estimated a big carbon release in < 20kyr that raised global temps 5-8 deg C.  I believe the paper said that the present atmospheric CO2 is the highest since the PETM and the rate of release is at least ~ 10^2 greater (20,000/~200).  Not sure that takes into account the J-curve in emissions in the last 40 yr.   I may have misinterpreted some of what they said, but think that's in the ballpark.  

Malcolm K. Cleaveland, Ph.D.    LTC USAR (Ret.)

Pg 8A Nov 7, 2017 NWA Dem-Gazette
2017 on track to break record for heat
GENEVA — The United Nations weather and climate
agency says 2017 is set to become the hottest year on record,
aside from those affected by the El Nino phenomenon.
The World Meteorological Organization said this year
is already on track to be one of the three hottest years ever
recorded, after 2015 and 2016, which were both affected by
a powerful El Nino, which can contribute to higher temperatures.
Last year set a record for Earth’s average global
The warning was timed for Monday’s start of the latest
U.N. climate change conference, hosted this year by Bonn,
Germany. Some 25,000 scientists, envoys, lobbyists and
environmental activists have descended on the city for two
weeks of trying to figure out how to turn the goals of the
2015 Paris climate change accord into reality.

“2017 Among three Hottest Years on Record.”  NADG (Jan. 19, 2018. 
2017 temp ranks 2nd or 3rd after 2016 (competing with 2015, a close measurement).

Paper on glacier retreat
Malcolm Kent Cleaveland
Attachments12:22 AM (9 hours ago)
to Larry, Art, me, tespath, jdhoag

This is a seminal analysis of what we all knew to be true - global warming was causing glaciers (95+%) and ice caps everywhere to diminish or disappear altogether.  The only exceptions among the mountain glaciers are those that are experiencing positive mass balance from increased snowfall in the winter.  Since warming puts more water vapor in the atmosphere, that's the effect of warming, too, at least until further warming turns the balance negative.

Malcolm K. Cleaveland, Ph.D.    LTC USAR (Ret.)
Professor Emeritus of Geosciences
University of Arkansas - Fayetteville
Department of Geosciences, 216 Gearhart Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701              tel:  479-575-3355
mcleavel@uark.edu        fax: 479-575-3469

From: Gerard Roe <
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2016 6:21 PM
To: Malcolm Kent Cleaveland
Subject: Re: Paper on glacier retreat

Dear Malcolm-

Thanks for your interest. Attached are the files for the paper.

Best wishes,
4 Attachments 
Wow.  That’s quite a conclusive paper.  Thanks Malcolm.  I’m keeping the published paper (in Nature Geoscience) for my files.   It’s ironic—global warming has stimulated some of the most beautiful and careful science I have ever seen.  I’m awed by what scientists have been able to conclude.  Imagine.  We can figure out temperatures, CO2 concentrations, and all sorts of other stuff for millions of years in the past.   How can humans be so smart, yet so dumb?   - Art
Like ‘Report the urgency! This is a climate emergency!’ on Facebook

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.  See end for Malcolm’s reply.  --D

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists via icontactmail3.com 
9:58 AM (1 hour ago)

December 21, 2018

Dana Nuccitelli  | Analysis

A persistent climate change denialist claim of an 'imminent mini ice age’ has been resurfacing on social media. Here's what the science says.

Kelly Brunt  | Feature

A new NASA satellite measures polar ice, but it needs some support from a ground crew. This first-hand account details an unusual mission to the South Pole.

Donald Anderson.  Below Freezing: Elegy for the Melting Planet.  U of NM P, 2018.
Details    Contributor Bios   Acclaim
Climate change is here. This book moves beyond misery and misunderstanding, taking a literary approach to the debate. Below Freezing is a unique assemblage of scientific fact, newspaper reports, and excerpts from novels, short stories, nonfiction, history, creative nonfiction, and poetry—a commonplace book for our era of altering climate. This polyphony of voices functions as an oratorio, shifting from chorus to solo and back to chorus. An unconventional and brilliant book, Below Freezing is both timely and pertinent—an original gaze at this melting ball we call home.
By 2020
First:  According to the United Nations' IPCC, the planet will by 2030 exceed the Paris Agreement’s preferred global temperature limit of 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels.   https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/07/world/climate-change-new-ipcc-report-wxc/index.html   From Art
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Math Professor Helps International Team Analyze Climate Change Data   Sep. 04, 2018
John Tipton
Last week, an international team of 42 researchers, including John Tipton, assistant professor of mathematical sciences at the University of Arkansas, published an analysis of changes in vegetation after the last ice age in the journal Science. They found that rising temperatures caused dramatic changes in Earth's vegetation, which suggests that warming from climate change could have a similar effect in the future.   MORE
Camilla Shumaker, director of science and research communications
University Relations

Here's a link to a Guardian article "Domino-effect of climate events could move Earth into a 'hothouse' state":

One point they make, which I don't think I've seen before, is that a 2 
degree C rise over pre-industrial levels could be an essentially 
unstable temperature. I'll let the scientists explain:

Katherine Richardson: “We note that the Earth has never in its history 
had a quasi-stable state that is around 2C warmer than the preindustrial 
and suggest that there is substantial risk that the system, itself, will 
‘want’ to continue warming because of all of these other processes – 
even if we stop emissions. This implies not only reducing emissions but 
much more.”

Johan Rockstrom: “We could end up delivering the Paris agreement and 
keep to 2C of warming, but then face an ugly surprise if the system 
starts to slip away. We don’t say this will definitely happen. We just 
list all the disruptive events and come up with plausible occurrences … 
50 years ago, this would be dismissed as alarmist, but now scientists 
have become really worried.”

According to the Guardian, "Rockström and his co-authors are among the 
world’s leading authorities on positive feedback loops." The article was 
published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jeanne Neath

You received this message because you are subscribed to the "OMNI-CCTF" group.  The Climate Change Task Force is sponsored by the OMNI Center for
Peace, Justice and Ecology, in Fayetteville, Ark.  Visit OMNI on the web at:


Art Hobson

9:49 AM (6 minutes ago)

to omnihughearnest2002ZivaRichardCarolGeorge
Hi friends - You can view the PBS News report on climate change & California wildfires, including an interview with Michael Mann, at:   
You will have to wait through a preliminary 30 seconds before the report starts.   Your can also read the written manuscript at:
Peace – Art

PAUL ELIAS (AP).  “California Inferno Continues.”  NADG (8-8-18). 
“In becoming the biggest fire in California history the Mendocino Complex fire broke a record set just eight months ago” (in Southern CA in Dec, burned 440 square miles, and destroyed more than 1000 bldngs). “California’s firefighting costs have more than tripled from $242 million in fiscal 2013 to $773 million in fiscal 2018.”  Gov. Brown said, “’Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we havent had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse.”

As the Planet Warms, Can OSHA Protect Workers From Extreme Heat?  BY MICHAEL ARRIA.  Working In These Times (July 27, 2018).
Workers are going to die as a result of climate change. These groups are demanding the U.S. government take action. 

Researchers Find Evolutionary 'Tipping Point' Linked to Climate Change
June 06, 2018

Photo by Russell Cothren
Adam Siepielski
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Researchers studying the impact of extreme climate conditions on biodiversity found a “tipping point” at which species, under pressure from dwindling food supplies due to climate change, must either evolve to take advantage of different food supplies or face extinction.
Adam Siepielski, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences  at the University of Arkansas, and Seth Haney, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego, created a computer model to test how events like drought, flooding and heat waves affect adaptive evolution.
“There is the perception, and ample evidence, that extreme events seem to be increasing — things like heat waves, drought, heavy rain, etc.,” Siepielski said. “What are the consequences of those events for how organisms might adapt and the resulting abundances of species?”
Their study used a mathematical model and variables including density of competitors for a resource, how fast competitors consumed the resource, how quickly the resource replenished itself, and the abundance of the resource. They ran tests to determine how a theoretical species would respond to such changes.
The researchers found that moderate changes in resource abundance had little effect on the evolution of traits among competitors for a single resource. But when resource scarcity became extreme, for example during an extended drought, species were forced to develop new traits. The newly developed traits remained even when the scarcity was reversed, resulting in permanent changes.
“There is a threshold level where if you lower resources a tiny bit more, it causes the population to diverge and then evolve to use the other distinct resource,” Siepielski said.
Their results were published in May in the journal The American Naturalist
Adam Siepielski, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Allison, Public Citizen via sg.actionnetwork.org 
10:30 AM (1 hour ago)
to me

Our warming planet just reached another staggering milestone.
NOAA reported last week that April was the 400th consecutive month of warmer-than-average global temperatures.
The last time the Earth had a cooler-than-average month was December 1986 – around the same time I was wearing too many bracelets in an attempt to look like Madonna and I thought ghostbusting was a legitimate career path.
Your local paper likely did not cover this major climate event – very few news outlets did – but they should.
These latest findings by NOAA are part of the tide of evidence reinforcing that not only is climate change human-caused, but we are already experiencing it.
2016 was the warmest year on record. And 18 of the warmest 19 years have occurred since 2000.
These overwhelming (and scary) facts won’t move everyone (sadly).
But there are many Americans that are unsure about climate change and our role in it, because they simple are not hearing about evidence like what NOAA just released.
Hopefully the next time we look back 33 years (or 400 months from now), it won’t be the fads or summer blockbuster movies we remember, but the monumental actions we took to curb the climate crisis.
Thank you for taking action today!

I sent the following to selected Wash Cnty Dems and individuals
Greg Leding ,
David Demo Whitaker ,
Michael Gray ,
Georgia Ross ,
Elizabeth Prenger ,
Gracie Ziegler ,
Lauren Marquette ,
Lisa Parks ,
Ryann Alonso ,
Sam Harris ,
Will Watson ,
Joshua Mahony ,
Sonny Carter ,
Jon Comstock
Also to Joyce H, Art, Gerry, George P, and more

Washington Post, 5-3-18, New CO2 Record April 2018
My fellow Democrats,  5-4-`8
   See the May/June no. of Sierra magazine and the article "The Case for Climate Reparations," arguing that anyone who KNOWS the linkage and covers it up, as did the fossil fuels owners and managers, is a criminal and should be prosecuted and compelled to pay the costs.  In a recent book Unprecedented Crime, the authors, Carter and Woodworth, argue that such criminals should also be considered war criminals.   Opposition to the Carbon Barons and their supporters is intensifying, and our Party should be part of it, or will later be the losers in complicity.  Dick


RL Miller  Unsubscribe
11:40 AM (45 minutes ago)
to me
A postal service worker died in her mail truck in a Los Angeles suburb Friday.
I’m honestly scared by what happened last weekend in Southern California. The heat wave smashed records throughout the region by, not one or even five degrees, but as much as sixteen degrees.
It hit 114 at the Burbank airport, when the old all time high was 103. It hit 117 at the Van Nuys airport, where the old all time record was 99.
I was scared for my elderly mother and all the older people I know, many of whom struggle to pay their summer air conditioning bills. Or, in other cases, they don’t have air conditioning at all!
Of course, what happened in southern California was part of a broader pattern that’s affected most of the northern hemisphere.
In Montreal, homes and even hospitals aren’t usually built with air conditioning — and when the temperature hit 95 degrees, 30 people died.
In Burlington, Vermont the low temperature at night was 80 degrees, the highest low they’ve ever recorded.
In the northern Siberia former permafrost, the temperature soared to over 90 degrees, more than 40 degrees above normal. The frost will not be permanent long, threatening to unleash a cycle of additional global warming from methane likely to be released from the decayed plant matter underneath the ice.
So what are climate hawks to do?
Ostriches stick their heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. Peacocks strut and preen but don’t act.
As raptors, we know we need to attack the problem head on — which means using every tool at our disposal to ratchet down emissions.
And that starts with electing a new Congress November 6th that will hold Trump accountable and use its budget power to promote renewable energy and eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.
Climate Hawks Vote will be going all out for the rest of the primary season and into the general election mobilizing pro-climate voters to ensure they (1) cast their ballot, and (2) cast it for leaders who take seriously our collective responsibility to defend a livable climate.
Your fellow climate hawk,
RL Miller
“U.S. Mail Carrier Found Dead In Woodland Hills Among Record-Breaking Heat,” Los Angeles Daily News
Melting Roads and Runny Roofs as Heat Scorches the Northern Hemisphere, NPR
“Heat Wave Sweeps Across Northern Hemisphere, Some People are Already Dying,” TechTimes

 Bottom of Form

What kind of climate movement do we need?   Posted Apr 20, 2019 by Camilla Royle.  Mronline.org
Originally published: Socialist Review (April 2019 Issue)   | 
Last month cyclone Idai struck land near the coastal city of Beira in Mozambique. One of the worst cyclones ever to hit the southern hemisphere, the storm has been devasting. At the time of writing the death toll stands at around 700 across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, but the full extent of the killing will only be known when the flood waters recede. Survivors were still waiting to be rescued from trees and rooftops a week later and many were left without enough food and drinking water.
The history of Beira illustrates the changes this region of Africa has gone through over the past century. Formerly a Portuguese colony, Mozambique won independence in 1975 after a revolutionary struggle and following the Carnation Revolution in Portugal. But the city of Beira was left in ruins by a civil war that only ended in 1992 and the country remains one of the poorest in the continent. Now 90 percent of Beira is destroyed. Climate change risks shattering the hopes of Africans for a better future.
The deadly cyclone gives a taste of things to come. Global temperatures are already rising and the past five years have been the hottest five years on record. In late 2015, when world leaders gathered in Paris for the annual UN climate talks, they agreed to try to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. But we have already passed the 1°C point.
Tropical cyclones
In 2018 the temperature of the oceans was also the warmest ever recorded, which can increase the size, intensity and amount of rainfall from tropical cyclones, turning catastrophes like Idai into more frequent events.
A report released by scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018 made clear the action needed to keep temperatures within that 1.5°C target. Carbon pollution would need to be cut by 45 percent by 2030 — leaving less than 12 years now.
But governments everywhere are failing to take the kind of action needed. Donald Trump and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro are sceptical about global warming. Bolsonaro has refused to host the next round of UN talks, stating that Brazil “does not owe the world anything” when it comes to the environment. He has also pressed ahead with plans to turn more of the Amazon into cattle ranches and soya plantations.
Even in the UK, committed on paper to the aims of the Paris Accord, the Tory government has supported airport expansion and new nuclear power. As communities secretary, Sajid Javid overturned a local council’s decision in order to allow fracking — a form of extreme energy involving extracting shale gas from underground rocks — at Preston New Road in Lancashire. Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget statement in the autumn did not even mention climate change.
But the ever more visible threat of climate change, combined with anger at the lack of action, has produced a cascade of resistance. One of the first protests in the U.S. after Trump’s inauguration was a huge march over climate change, supported by anti-racist organisations, indigenous people and trade unions as well as environmental organisations from the long-established Sierra Club to newer, grassroots movements.
In Britain, the Campaign against Climate Change (CaCC) has been central to organising annual demonstrations on the issue, including at the time of the Paris talks. Importantly, it has a trade union group that works to win the argument for climate jobs within the union movement. When wind turbine workers at Vestas on the Isle of Wight occupied their factory in 2009 to try to stop it from closing, the group was crucial to organising solidarity. In December last year the CaCC worked with a range of activists including those from a newer group, Extinction Rebellion (XR) to organise a march through central London.
Launched in October 2018, XR is ultimately linked to Compassionate Revolution, a not for profit company set up in 2015 by activists who had been involved in the Occupy! Movement. But it has seen its numbers swell dramatically in the past few months and now has groups in 27 countries.
XR calls on the government to tell the truth about the climate emergency and to act accordingly. In its first open letter it declared that the government, by not carrying out its duty to protect its citizens, had broken its part of the social contract. So people should not be obliged to uphold our side of the deal and should take part in civil disobedience. Members of XR are often willing to get arrested when taking part in direct actions such as blocking roads and bridges and the entrances to buildings. They organise on an open, mass basis with up to 6,000 involved in some of their actions and they are strictly non-violent. Another of their key demands is for a Citizens’ Assembly involving climate scientists.    MORE

Never has a generation faced a challenge of this magnitude.
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Illustration by Johanna St Clair.
Facing the heat
Posted Apr 06, 2019 by Eds.
Places: Global
Originally published: The Brooklyn Rail by Peter St. Clair (April 2019)   | 
In all the long duration of human history, from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt to the glistening towers of our coastal megalopolises, there has never been a crisis as severe, as devastating, or as cataclysmic as the one unfolding now. Unless drastic changes are made in very short order to the human social system that encompasses the planet, dire and frightening transformations that cannot be reversed will develop in the Earth’s climate, its ocean, and its biosphere. Never has a generation faced a challenge of this magnitude. The fate of all present and future humans, and of the millions of species that share the Earth with us, now hinges on the choices and actions taken immediately by the present generation alive on the planet today.
This is not hyperbole. Scanning the daily news brings only alarm and foreboding. Crocodiles and snakes swimming down the flooded streets in Queensland, Australia after four feet of rain fell in ten days. (1) Rising temperatures in the Himalayas will melt at least one-third of the glaciers by the end of the century, even if the most ambitious climate change targets are met; if they are not and greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rates, the Himalayas could lose two-thirds of its glaciers by 2100, exposing billions to droughts and forcing massive immigration from the region. (2)
Even what appears to be good news on the climate front turns out to spell disaster. A headline in the online journal CleanTechnica reports that the the pace of global warming has slowed, thanks to higher carbon prices and increased political ambition to tackle climate change, according to Schroders, a global asset manager that publishes a Climate Progress Dashboard. Reading further we find that their tracking of the progress of limiting global warming to the the 2 above pre-Industrial levels set by the Paris Agreement had us on a path to a 4 rise but that recently “with higher carbon prices being implemented and increased political ambition to tackle climate change . . . the pace of global warming has slowed, slightly, and the world is now currently on course for a long-run temperature rise of 3.9°C”!(3) This is not progress, this is the road to hell. A 4°C world is not a place anyone would care to exist in. It would result in sea levels a half meter or more above current levels. If tipping points are triggered, further destabilizing the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, sea levels would rise even higher, flooding many of the world’s most populous cities, causing hundreds of millions of people to flee inland, and sparking a massive world-wide wave of migration that would dwarf today’s migrant crises. It could lead to a sea level rise of as much as 25 meters within the next few centuries. A 4°C world would devastate the world’s agricultural production, with many of the world’s breadbaskets becoming untenable due to desertification. Ocean circulation would slow down or stop, producing wild, unpredictable weather and storms of unimaginable ferocity. Summers will be longer, hotter, and dryer, causing huge wildfires and unlivable conditions in many areas.(4) It is important to realize that not only would these changes be irreversible on any meaningful human timescale, but once the 2 level is breached, cascading tipping points would almost assuredly kick in, producing a runaway temperature escalation that would not stabilize again until it reached the 4 mark or beyond.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a revised report in January 2019 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 above pre-industrial levels. It tells us that due to human activities we are now at 1 above pre-industrial temperature. CO2 levels are higher than at any time in the past 400,000 years, that is, since well before homo sapiens evolved. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 by 2030 to 2052, if it continues to increase at the current rate, and reach 2 by 2045 to 2065 if emissions are not reduced. The IPCC report presents a graph of two possible future pathways, one limiting temperature rise to 1.5 and another to 2, both of which require the world to reach net zero carbon emissions. The faster net zero is achieved the better the chances of stabilizing the temperature rise. If we can attain zero emission by 2040, there is high confidence of limiting the warming to 1.5 by that year whereas a slower reduction, not reaching zero until 2055, will increase the probability of not leveling off before 2 is reached. Both these scenarios also involve reducing the net non-CO2 greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, aerosols and other anthropogenic agents.(5) The consequence would still be severe even if the temperature rise is halted at 1.5 and truly abominable at 2. The pain will not be spread evenly either, with the poorest and most vulnerable people being the most effected. Furthermore, the CO2 that is in the atmosphere and oceans when net zero is met will stay there. The elevated global temperature and the climate changes it produces will become the new normal for the planet. It will not be naturally reduced back to present levels for thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of years.
It becomes clear to any reasonable person absorbing these facts that the governments, institutions, and businesses of the world must strive to effect the necessary reductions in emissions and reach net zero by mid-century or earlier. It is also clear that we are nowhere near achieving this level of commitment and in fact the international energy consortiums are continuing to extract, refine, and burn fossil fuel at an expanded rate. Even as investment in renewable energy is increasing and wind, solar, and geothermal sources of energy production continue to grow, it is shrinking relative to that in fossil fuels. Global fossil fuel consumption has increased by 40% from 2000 to 2016, with most of the increase due to natural gas from fracking.(6)
We have been told over and over again that while it is technically possible to bring our emissions down, the political will to do so is lacking. The political will will never materialize, however, as long as the richest corporations continue to exert their power over the world’s governments and public institutions. Of the ten largest corporations in the world, eight are oil and gas companies, automotive companies, and the giant state-owned Chinese electrical utility, State Grid.(7) The fossil fuel corporations continue to roam the world financing new drilling and mining of carbon, carbon that must not be allowed to leave the ground if we are to avoid the worse-case scenarios. While they take advantage of new and more extreme forms of extraction such as deep water drilling, fracking, and tar sands which are more intensive producers of greenhouse gas and lay waste to the environments and communities they exploit, they engage in massive P.R. campaigns touting their commitment to renewable energy. Shell and Exxon Mobil have even invested in wind and solar energy projects in the past, although many of these projects have since been scuttled. As the Swedish environmentalist Andreas Malm has said, “For the world’s climate it doesn’t matter much if the market for renewable fuels is booming. What matters is that we stop using fossil fuels, right now.”(8)
But it is more than just the power and profit of fossil fuel companies that keeps the world careening down its reckless path to Hothouse Earth. It is the dynamics of the entire economic system itself that compels this behavior. This is what must be addressed if we are to achieve a net zero economy. The climate scientists who have done the research and raised the warning are far more familiar with natural science than they are with social science. More and more, however, their reports come with recommendations for the participation of the humanities and social sciences in helping to deal with the human piece of the Earth System. They recognize that it is human society that has brought this problem on itself, and human society that so far has been unable to curtail the behavior that is exacerbating the problem: the continued burning of massive quantities of fossil fuel. They understand that society must be changed, but understanding the dynamics of human social organization is a different matter from deducing the physical processes involved in climate change. Calls for radical changes to the way that energy is produced, changes that would surely disrupt the present business as usual, have led to political backlash against the whole project. As climate science struggles to understand the complex system that entangles human society and the Earth System, it ventures into the unfamiliar waters of political economy and ideological battle.
Scientists are not usually embroiled through their work in political and ideological struggles. This would seem to have been especially true of climate scientists until fairly recently. Environmental protection and energy conservation were accepted by both political parties in the United States up until the Reagan era, when the corporate elite began to see the environmental movement as part of a threat to their free-market policies and instituted a campaign against the social reforms that had been promoted in the ’60s and ’70s, funding right-wing think tanks, journals, and media outlets. The solar panels that Jimmy Carter had installed on the roof of the White House were ordered removed when Reagan assumed office. However, as Naomi Klein has pointed out, taking measures to control global warming and reduce CO2 emissions was still a somewhat bipartisan project as recently as 2007, but since then the Tea Party-controlled Republican Party has increasingly attacked climate science as a UN-orchestrated plot to take away individual freedoms. Klein makes a telling point, that “as soon as they [hard core conservatives] admit that climate change is real, they will lose the central ideological battle of our time—whether we need to plan and manage our societies to reflect our goals and values, or whether that task can be left to the magic of the market.”(9) The right wing’s fear that climate change will become a vehicle for overhauling the market-regulated economy that has produced global warming may be a more accurate assessment of the situation than the mainstream belief in market-based solutions such as cap-and-trade and faith in reckless and dangerous geoengineering projects.
The failure over the last 30 years of market-based solutions to slow the growth of CO2 emissions is an indication that the measures needed to put an end to fossil fuel combustion and transform the world’s energy system are beyond the ability of the market to effect. Time is fast running out and the longer the wait to reduce emissions, the more drastic the measures needed to reach net zero in time. In the absence of a market-generated remedy, government intervention on a large and drastic scale will be advocated to put a stop to all oil, gas, and coal extraction, and to build the needed renewable energy infrastructure. This is the great fear of much of corporate America and its right-wing minions and while that level of government action does not appear to be a serious issue at the present moment, the reality of the climate crisis will increasingly insert itself into politics as usual.
The Green New Deal proposes to achieve net zero emissions in time to prevent runaway global warming. After decades of inaction from the national government it is a welcome sign.
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Malcolm’s opinion of “Facing the Heat”
Malcolm Kent Cleaveland
Apr 7, 2019, 5:23 PM (15 hours ago)
to me, Art
Actually, I find that it's accurate and maybe a little understated.  For example, they cite a possible sea level rise of half a meter I think.  End-of-century sea level rise could exceed 6m very easily, given that we see ice sheet collapse possibilities in both the Arctic and Antarctic.  And that's not the worst possible consequences.  If we wind up in a world without ice, we could see sea level rise of 250'.  We have a population problem, but in a century we may be down to a billion people or less.  Too bad we won't be around to tell Republicans, "We told you so!"

Malcolm K. Cleaveland, Ph.D.    LTC USAR (Ret.)
Professor Emeritus of Geosciences
University of Arkansas - Fayetteville

“This is the biggest crisis in human history. What are we going to tell our children when they ask us: why didn’t we do anything to stop it while we still had time?”   Source   share on Twitter 


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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)