‘Worst case’ emissions scenario is best match for reality

4 August 2020 — Origin: Climate & Capitalism

Greenhouse Gas

Source: PNAS. Click for larger image

The RCP 8.5 CO2 emissions pathway, long considered a “worst case scenario” by climate scientists, is the most appropriate for conducting assessments of climate change impacts by 2050, according to a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A number of recent articles have dismissed RCP 8.5 as alarmist or misleading, but it is actually the closest approximation of both historical emissions and anticipated outcomes of current global climate policies, tracking within 1% of actual emissions.

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Millions of years of low CO2 … until now By Ian Angus

4 October 2019 — Climate & Capitalism

New study

In Facing the Anthropocene, I showed that CO2 levels are higher than they have been for 800,000 years. New research extends that to 2.6 million years

Earth System scientists describe the Anthropocene as a “no-analog state,” a time when conditions on Earth have changed in unprecedented ways. A new study confirms and extends that conclusion, showing not only that humans have never before experienced carbon dioxide levels this high, but that our ancestors didn’t either.

Greenhouse gas levels haven’t been this high since at least half a million years before homo erectus walked the Earth.

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Greenhouse gases and mass extinctions: Speed kills

23 October 2018 — Climate & Capitalism
In past warming events, atmospheric CO2 rose too fast for many species to adapt. Today it is rising 10 times faster than at any time in 66 million years.

Katrin Meissner is an Associate Professor and Kaitlin Alexander is a PhD Candidate at the Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales. 

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Greenhouse gas concentrations surge to new record

30 October 2017 — Climate & Capitalism

‘The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2  was 3-5 million years ago, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now.’

World Meteorological Organization
News Release, October 30, 2017

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016 to the highest level in 800 000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years are without precedent.

Globally averaged concentrations of COreached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event. Concentrations of CO2 are now 145% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

Rapidly increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have the potential to initiate unprecedented changes in climate systems, leading to “severe ecological and economic disruptions,” said the report.

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Media Lens: ‘The Planet Can’t Keep Doing Us A Favour’ By David Cromwell

29 May 2013 — Media Lens

Sometimes we get so sick of the phrase ‘history in the making’ that the brain tends to switch off. What is it this time?, we sigh. A new high-tech piece of military technology that will boost US killing power? A big jump in a newspaper’s online advertising revenue? The world’s best footballer, Lionel Messi, joining ‘an exclusive list of adidas athletes to have their own signature product’? Sometimes the ‘history’ in question only stretches back a few years, maybe a century or two. Only very occasionally, if the claim is truly deserved, does it stretch back to the earliest era of written records.

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Media Lens: Heading For A Different Planet By David Cromwell

26 March 2013 — Media Lens

Global Warming, Propaganda-Journalism And The Definition Of Insanity

The systematic propaganda of the corporate media – its deep-rooted antipathy towards upholding proper journalistic standards in the public interest – extends to its coverage of human-induced climate change. The Independent recently delivered a masterpiece of headline obfuscation with: ‘World cools on global warming as green fatigue sets in.’

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Climate Inaction Conference By Chris Williams

3 December, 2010 — The Bullet Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 435
Socialist Worker

“If Cancún delivers nothing, or not much, then the UN process is in danger.” So said Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action, ahead of the UN-sponsored climate change summit taking place in Mexico through December 10. The negotiations are known as COP-16, short for 16th Conference of the Parties. What does the “16” stand for? If you’re a freshman in college this year, you were probably alive, but still an infant, when the first international climate talks took place 16 years ago.

In other words, the world’s governments have been negotiating for more than half a generation. And what progress has there been in those intervening years?

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Treasury face judicial review over RBS emissions By Julian Oram

2 March 2010 — Left Foot Forward

WDM’s Julian Oram explains why P&P, WDM and PLATFORM are taking the Treasury to court – again. This piece first appeared on http://www.leftfootforward.org/

Here’s a puzzler: what is the UK’s biggest contributor to climate change? Did you answer coal? Good guess, but no. Transport? It’s a biggy for sure, but not the largest. Farming? A distant fourth.

Give up? OK, Britain’s number one contributor is … the banking industry! And top of the list within the sector is the taxpayers’ very own, and much unloved, Royal Bank of Scotland.

If this sounds improbable, consider this snippet from actuary consultant Nick Silver:

“Embedded emissions from project finance attributable to RBS was 44 M tonnes of CO2 in 2006, greater than Scotland’s national emissions. However, most of these projects were in collaboration with other lenders and the total annual emissions from these projects was 825 M tonnes of CO2, significantly more than the UK’s total direct emissions and 3% of global emissions.

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Global Warming: "Fixing the Climate Data around the Policy" By Michel Chossudovsky

2 December, 2009 – Global Research

More than 15,000 people will be gathering in Copenhagen for COP 15: the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Official delegations from 192 nations will mingle with the representatives of  major multinational corporations, including Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, The representatives of environmental and civil society organizations will also be in attendance. Parties & Observers

Heads of state and heads of government are slated to be in appearance in the later part of the Summit event. (See The essentials in Copenhagen – COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009)

It is worth noting that key decisions and orientations on COP15 had already been wrapped up at the World Business Summit on Climate Change (WBSCC) held in May in Copenhagen, six months ahead of COP15.

The WBSCC brought together some of the World’s most prominent business executives and World leaders including Al Gore and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. (The World Business Summit on Climate Change, includes webcast)

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When the Climate Change Center Cannot Hold By Patrick Bond

25 October, 2009 — Socialist Project | The Bullet

On a day that 350.org and thousands of allies are valiantly trying to raise global consciousness about impending catastrophe, we can ask some tough questions about what to do after people depart and the props are packed up. No matter today’s activism, global climate governance is grid-locked and it seems clear that no meaningful deal can be sealed in Copenhagen on December 18.

The recent Bangkok negotiations of Kyoto Protocol Conference of Parties functionaries confirmed that Northern states and their corporations won’t make an honest effort to get to 350 CO2 parts per million. On the right, Barack Obama’s negotiators seem to feel that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is excessively binding to the North, and leaves out several major polluters of the South, including China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

Kyoto’s promised 5% emissions cuts (by 2012, from 1990 levels) are impossible now. Obama’s people hope the world will accept 2005 as a new starting date; a 20% reduction by 2020 then only brings the target back to around 5% below 1990 levels. Such pathetically low ambitions, surely Obama knows, guarantee a runaway climate catastrophe – he should shoot for 45%, say the small island nations.

The other reason Kyoto is ridiculed by serious environmentalists is its provision for carbon trading rackets which allow fake claims of net emissions cuts. Since the advent of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, the Chicago exchange, Clean Development Mechanism projects and offsets, vast evidence has accumulated of systemic market failure, scamming and inability to regulate carbon trading (see a website launched today www.350reasons.org).

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