Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

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This topic contains 417 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  alanjjohnstone 2 days, 2 hours ago.

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    Trump officials are minimizing warnings from scientists by arguing they are exaggerated and based on the worst-case scenario. They say the National Climate Assessment (NCA) – an expansive federal government report on the dangers of climate change in the US – considers only the highest possible levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

    “If you take the extreme case, you’re right, it’s dire,” Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, said on Fox News. “If you take the best case, it’s not much.”  Zinke, who has encouraged fossil fuel production on public lands, compared climate risks to the chance of nuclear war. “If you look at nuclear war, today we’re going to go home to a bunker and wear a hazardous suit,” he said. “That’s not the case.”

    Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Andrew Wheeler used some of the same phrasing, saying he “wouldn’t be surprised if the Obama administration told the report’s authors to take a look at the worst-case scenario for this report”. The Trump administration, he said, would need to “take a look at the modeling” for the next assessment, which is required by law.

    Pennsylvania University climate scientist Michael Mann said “there is no truth to them whatsoever”. He added: “The report looked at an extremely wide range of scenarios. At nearly every juncture, we have actually underestimated the impacts that climate change is having. Sea levels are rising faster, ice is disappearing sooner and the incidence of extreme weather events is increasing faster than our projections from just a few years ago suggested.”




    Svetlana Jevrejeva, at the National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, has studied sea-level rises that will be triggered by melting ice sheets and expanding warm seawater in a world 3-5C hotter than it was in pre-industrial times, and concludes these could reach 0.74 to 1.8 metres by 2100. This would be enough to deluge Pacific and Indian Ocean island states and displace millions from Miami, Guangzhou, Mumbai and other low-lying cities. The total cost to the planet could top £11trillion.

    Even then the seas will not stop rising, Jevrejeva added. “They will continue to climb for centuries even after greenhouse-gas levels have been stabilised. We could experience the highest-ever global sea-level rise in the history of human civilisation.”

    Vast tracts of prime real estate will be destroyed – at a time when land will be needed with unprecedented desperation. Earth’s population stands at seven billion today and is predicted to rise to nine billion by 2050 and settle at over 11 billion by 2100 – when climate change will have wrecked major ecosystems and turned farmlands to dust bowls.

    No region of the US has more to lose from climate change than southern Florida. If scientists’ worst predictions are realised, an entire metropolitan area, currently inhabited by more than six million people, is likely to be swamped by a 1.5-metre sea-level rise before the end of this century, a rise that could see the tourist mecca of Miami simply disappear. Up to a million Florida homes, worth an estimated $371bn (£290bn, are at risk of tidal flooding by 2100, one recent study calculated



    Ah, the dangers of cutting and pasting ! What you need to do is, after submitting, check what will appear and if the formatting stuff does, press edit and delete it, and submit again.



    Trump officials are minimizing warnings from scientists by arguing they are exaggerated and based on the worst-case scenario. They say the National Climate Assessment (NCA) – an expansive federal government report on the dangers of climate change in the US – considers only the highest possible levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

    “If you take the extreme case, you’re right, it’s dire,” Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, said on Fox News. “If you take the best case, it’s not much.”

    The officials are either being disingenuous or stupid or maybe responding to overenthusiastic environmentalists or sensational news headlines which have highlighted the NCA’s worst-case scenario as what will happen (as we know this sort of thing happens here in the UK).

    The NCA report clearly sets out two scenarios and explains what they are, the higher one being if nothing is done to reduce CO2 emissions and they continue at their present rate. The lower one is based on significant reductions being achieved:

    By late this century, increases of 2.3°–6.7°F (1.3° -3.7°C) are expected under a lower scenario  and 5.4°–11.0°F (3.0° -6.7°C) under a higher scenario relative to 1986–2015. (…) With significant reductions in emissions, global temperature increase could be limited to 3.6°F (2°C) or less compared to preindustrial temperatures. Without significant reductions, annual average global temperatures could increase by 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century compared to preindustrial temperatures.

    And when they set out the dire economic consequences, they explicitly state that this is the worst case scenario as it is introduced by

    Without more significant global greenhouse gas mitigation and regional adaptation efforts,….

    The point is that the worst case scenario is not likely to be achieved because something more will be done to reduce emissions. On the other hand, it is not likely too that the lower scenario will be what will happen either because not enough will be done. So, what will happen? Probably something in between, but that’s anybody’s guestimate. But whatever it is it will have negative consequences on millions of people.




    That’s just it ALB and why perhaps many are missing the point and the urgency. Emissions are not reducing at all. We won’t end up somewhere in between because at that point we will have triggered a runaway effect.

    That’s why many feel the global leaders of capitalism are complicit in our unfolding extinction….


    Dave B

    On the mangers of transnational capitalist class co-ordinating their activities to deal with problems or whatever.


    Has anyone read the below.


    I am about half way through it and it does mention climate change here and there.



    I suppose what was interesting for me was that Sweezy in his 1942 book,


    which I finished a couple of months ago, touched on the subject as a tendency or prediction.


    It is not mentioned in the Giants book even though references earlier discussions of the idea.


    Sometimes you feel as if you have read books in the wrong order and should have read Giants first.



    At last a ‘respected figure’ has spoken out – maybe some older members of society will listen an take note…….




    I am afraid Attenborough is not the best person to have as the “peoples” spokesperson.

    He is a prominent member of the Malthusian Population Matters organisation and believes that overpopulation is a problem for the environment. Not sure if he referenced this in his speech. But the blog has highlighted his anti-human attitude once calling food aid to famine victims as “barmy”.

    Of course, those citizen observers status and UN “peoples seat”  is compensation for the bans on eco-protests in Poland.



    I would have thought that Attenborough’s speech would have raised the issue and expressed the concerns more than any demonstration or stunt. It has certainly got more ordinary, non-political people talking about it. Whether it will be any more effective is another matter, but something however timid and hesitating will be done if it’s only the lowest common denominator of the conflicting capitalist interests of the various states.

    There are obvious limits to the effectiveness of appeals to capitalist governments and calls on world  leaders to lead, due to the constraints placed on them both by the workings of the capitalist economy and by their remit to defend the interests of the national capitalist class they represent. Socialism, as a world in which the Earth’s natural and industrial resources will have become the common heritage of all humanity, is quite literally the only framework in which the problem can be rationally tackled by the necessary co-ordinated global action..



    Perhaps being the “voice of the BBC” with his dulcet tone, Attenborough  will achieve more media coverage and perhaps he will get those “ordinary non-political” talking about it.

    “The world’s people have spoken, their message is clear, time is running out, they want you, the decision-makers, to act now. They’re supporting you in making tough decisions but they’re also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives,” he added.

    Ahhh,  but are the French yellow vests listening when Macron acts?

    Will the Polish miners make the necessary sacrifices and accept the promise of future green jobs?

    But i share your doubts that Attenborough’s appeal will be effective. We shall see how COP24 pans out but i think our blog expressed the skepticism many socialists hold. We’ve been here before…23 times before

    Still early days so i wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of a more dramatic demonstration in Katowice. One thing we have learned, there are no shortage of people prepared to be political martyrs.





    I hadn’t realised that the riots in France had some connection with CO2 emissions but it’s obvious when you think about it that any demonstration against petrol or diesel prices would have some implications for this, even if not specifically against a carbon tax.

    I see that some leftwing reformists have jumped on the bandwagon and added a list of other demands:

    But the driving force is obviously lorry drivers and other drivers of diesel vehicles and that if the government can placate these then the movement will die out. They won’t need to take any account of the other demands.




    “Green Coal!?”

    Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in capitalism tackling climate change in any meaningful way when the conference was sponsored by coal boards.



    As the author of that article says:

    Look, I get it. Poland mines a lot of coal. It gets 78 percent of its power from coal. It has a vested interest in keeping coal alive from an economic and political standpoint, and this conference gives the government a chance to lay that vision out.

    Today’s Times reports the President of Poland as saying that

    his country had no plans to stop burning coal, which produces 80 per cent of its electricity. He said that coal guaranteed Poland’s energy security and sovereignty and “it would be hard not to use it”.

    This illustrates the point that the differing economic interests of the various states, in the context of the competitive world of capitalism, is going to mean that any agreement won’t, in fact can’t, go much beyond the lowest common denominator as it would be something that will either disadvantage no state or disadvantage all states equally.

    If there were a world state that could enforce something in the longer term overall capitalist interest perhaps something more could be done, but there isn’t. Certainly neither street demonstrations (or stunts) or a Green Party government in one country won’t be able to enforce this.

    After all, if you were the government of Poland would you agree to anything that put capitalist business there at a disadvantage? Would you agree to become dependent on gas from Russia just because it’s less polluting? Other coal (and oil) producing countries will be taking up the same position for the same economic and strategic reasons. In fact, no state is going to agree to anything that puts its capitalist businesses at a disadvantage compared to their competitors from other states or its energy security at risk..




    The American business lobby in action

    “…state lawmakers and corporate lobbyists last week voted for a slate of anti-environment measures. They approved resolutions supporting stripping tax benefits from electric vehicles and endorsing Donald Trump’s pro-fossil fuel energy agenda. And they voted down a proposal to limit monopoly control of the power industry, which backers said would give consumers more choice and help grow renewable electricity faster and more cheaply. They barred press… to keep the process confidential from reporters…”



    Who cares about climate change? UK businesses don’t.

    Just 10 per cent of UK companies have a strategy for reducing carbon emissions, according to findings by energy consultancy Carbon Credentials which carried out a survey of 1,000 business leaders with responsibility for sustainability or energy, as well as 1,000 company employees in different roles.

    None of the companies with a carbon reduction plan have set a science-based target – which would factor in a requirement to keep the global temperature increase below 2C compared to pre-industrial temperatures. This aim follows the advice of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    The staff surveyed said they felt that companies are failing to engage with them on the issue.

    Mr Lewis said: “Staff are engaged and willing to help organisations to be more carbon efficient, but they aren’t being given the incentives, tools and sometimes the support to do this.”

    The top action taken in the last year were: introducing office recycling bins (38 per cent of companies did this)

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