Now that the Climate Action talks, COP-21, have begun in Paris the disquisitions on social media begin in earnest too. It is apparent to me that many people had hoped that all this disquieting global warming business would simply just go away, especially since they don’t understand and therefore don’t believe it could possibly occur. They listen to conservative Yell Radio, the voice of Big Energy, and are better known as “deniers”. Those ‘Grateful Nappers’, who’ve been asleep through much of the real climate discussion, believe that they can now finally go back to life as usual. Guess what? That isn’t going to happen.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report entitled “IRREVERSIBLE CRYOSPHERE CLIMATE CHANGE” “AR5” (stands for the fifth assessment.)
Here are some telling excerpts from the Report of IPCC AR5 Findings:
“it is vital that we comprehend the very great risks posed by the irreversible cryosphere thresholds outlined in this Report. Its main message: Current “intended contributions” or INDCs will not prevent our crossing into this zone of irreversibility. This means that much higher ambition levels are needed, or the window for effective action may soon close. Reacting with “too little, too late” otherwise could lock in the gradual but unavoidable transformation of our Earth, its ecosystems and human communities.
What is less understood outside the scientific community is that the very nature of the cryosphere – regions of snow and ice – carries dynamics that once started, cannot always be reversed or even halted, even if temperatures were somehow returned to lower values.” ~ Report of IPCC AR5 Findings
What is needed here is for someone to author “Anthropogenic Climate Disruption for Dummies” or a copy of “Why I’m glad my parents didn’t purchase property on Cape Cod or any other coastal area.”
Essentially the hope is that the Paris talks, and what is agreed upon there, will mitigate the worst of Global Climate Change and the rising sea levels that will certainly accompany it but, and this is the crux of the issue, it may not nearly be enough to save much of the Planet from inundation and devastation from the worst effects of climate disruption; flooding, drought, and severe weather.
Why, you ask?
The simple answer is “tipping” points. The world has already reached some and we’re really close on others. So much so, that the very survival of the most vulnerable populations are at risk.
I’m fully aware that if you do not already subscribe to this view nothing I say will alter your mind but if you can read perhaps this will at least get you thinking. This Report is a long ‘sciency’ filled read but skip it at your peril.
To summarize the Summary: There are regions of the globe, in the Arctic and Antarctic along with other areas where water is permanently frozen, these regions are referred to as the cryosphere. The cryosphere has continued to warm at a rate faster than that of other, more habitable regions of the globe. These water solid areas will continue to rise in temperature regardless of what humanity decides to do because CO2 remains in the atmosphere for years maintaining the conditions that cause the planet to warm. So even if the attendees at the Paris conference successfully agree to a two degree Celsius limit on Global temperature rise that would translate into a Four to Seven Degree rise in the cryosphere above pre-industrial temperature levels. That would result in initiating irreversible processes that will occur in five key thresholds; ice sheet loss with corresponding sea level rise, polar ocean acidification, land glacier loss, permafrost melt, and loss of Arctic summer sea ice. This process has already begun and is observable now for those who care to look. Many Cryospheric Scientists widely accept that even if the collective population of the Earth could magically put an end to Global Warming today, committed and irreversible sea-level rise from glacial, ice sheet melt and the natural expansion of warming waters of one meter, that translates to a three foot rise in sea levels by the year 2216. In addition to this new normal, many in the field agree that the West Antarctic ice sheet has been so destabilized by warming to-date that it cannot be arrested without a very rapid stabilization of temperatures, and perhaps not even then, resulting in an additional three to four meter rise for a grand total worst case scenario of (4*3) + 3 = 15 feet of sea level rise over the next two hundred or so years.
“Unfortunately, this report’s analysis of the current Paris climate commitments indicates that they will fail to prevent many, if not most of these irreversible cryosphere processes from beginning.”
Those numbers are higher in the US because we jus’ loves the beach!
I participated in the Concord Climate Action held on the Concord Green on Sunday November 29th in prelude to the start of the Paris COP-21 talks. I held a banner for the Pass Mass Amendment initiative that read “Corporations are not People; Money is not Speech”. I’m of the opinion that the only way that climate action can take precedence in the political and public mind is if Big Monied interests are first removed from influencing our political process. Americans should have a one person one vote election process not a one dollar one vote system that we currently have since the disastrous Supreme Court Decision known as ‘Citizens United‘.
As I stood listening to speeches and watching the one hundred or more people on the Green, a car full of young men drove by the spot where I was standing, many people were waving to the occupants as cars drove by, wondering what these folks were doing carrying signs and banners about that bothersome topic “Global Warming”. The car load of young men made an “L” sign with their thumb and index finger indicating their disdain and disrespect for those ‘Losers’ acting on behalf of the climate.
We have a long way to go to correct the problems we and our planet’s climate face and the first place we will have to begin is educating the general public on just what the future holds for those who do not learn about Anthropogenic Climate Disruption.