[QUOTE]: A Blogger with Doubts about COP21



“…What is going on in Paris this week is not serious, nor is it hopeful, nor even meaningful. Just call it bread and circuses, without the bread.”

– Conclusion in an 11/30 blog by Tom Lewis, at DailyImpact.net

Click here to read the original blog post.

Thousands of delegates – and well over a hundred heads of state – all flew to Paris for COP21. Did they fly just to make an appearance, saying one thing but acting another? Or, did they fly with authentic intent, to get down to business and finally (after two+ decades of senseless delays!) take real action to address the looming climate change problem? Time will tell.

See also:

Addressing CO2 & Climate Change: Opening Day at the COP21 in Paris

World delegates are meeting in Paris, from November 30 through December 11, at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). [link to official website]

(click on image to watch 14-minute video of President Obama's speech)

(click on image to watch video of President Obama’s 14-minute speech)

On the first day, nearly 150 heads of state were present. U.S. President Barack Obama, who recently decided against a portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, offered his opening remarks. At 6:08 in the video, President Obama echoes the core message from his first presidential campaign, saying: “One of the enemies that we’ll be fighting at this conference is cynicism, the notion we can’t do anything about climate change. Our progress should give us hope, during these two weeks. Hope that is rooted in collective action.”

‘Hope and Change’, just like in 2008, when he won the presidential race. For our planetary environment today, ‘Hope and Change’ means moving past the delays and inaction we have watched for far too long. Our broken political system, and the elected officials who appear to benefit from that broken system, are enabling this worsening failure. So maybe, finally, after too many years of costly delay, President Obama and other leaders can help us take action to address the looming climate change disaster.

OK, so we do not know with absolute certainty to what extent we are endangering the livability of our planet: what will happen, how bad it will be, and how soon. And, the situation (steadily climbing record levels of CO2, record polar ice melt, extreme weather events, regional droughts, ocean dead-zones, etc.) empowers some to create very scary doomsday scenarios. But, what is with the head-in-the-sand reaction? Why are so many of us so inclined to agree with the paid-for denialism and obvious ‘delay-delay-delay’ strategy pushed by our elected officials, while choosing to ignore the accumulated wisdom and technical expertise of our scientists? Why are so many of us so lacking in critical-thinking skills, so easily duped by shills who are clearly being paid by Big Oil to do nothing but seed confusion?

How about this: let’s grant the majority of scientists the credit they deserve. Let’s accept that their concerns may be valid, that we are overdue for making drastic reductions in our CO2 emissions, and let’s get serious about taking real and decisive action. A good place to start would be aviation. Why?

  • because aviation depends heavily on fossil fuel consumption (and creating other carbon-based aviation fuels by converting food-growing farmlands into biofuel-growing farmlands is NOT a viable solution!).
  • because aviation is generally a discretionary (luxury?) activity, in which individuals and corporations benefit with time savings, but at a serious carbon pollution cost. Aviation is at the top of the list, as the activity with the highest rate of fossil fuel consumption.
  • because in the context of the entire planet, aviation is an activity enjoyed primarily by an elite few. I.e., the majority of the world DOES NOT use aviation. It is thus fair that the full costs of the environmental damages imposed on Earth’s atmosphere should be paid by those who reap the benefits of aviation.
  • because the people who most frequently use aviation are commonly hyper-consumers, who tend to consume not just energy but also raw materials at rates far above the world average. As such, habit-changes toward lower personal consumption rates, as acquired via aviation, may spill over, producing a positive, multiplier-effect, accelerating beneficial changes for the planetary environment.
  • because aviation is an ideal (and largely isolated) component of the larger modern economy, with a regulatory structure that facilitates rapid deployment of new standards and procedures. As such, what we learn in modifying the aviation industry can help us to quickly implement improvements in other economic sectors, too.
…to read more, please see page two of this Post…

Recent Articles about Climate Change

On November 6th, President Obama announced his decision to kill Phase IV of the Keystone XL Pipeline. In announcing his decision, President Obama said: “Ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”

In the wake of President Obama’s decision, there has been a flood of articles focusing on the key reason behind that decision: human-caused climate change.

Here are short summaries and links to five recent articles:


20151117scp... 'Obama, keep some fossil fuels in the ground'

Climate activist Bill McKibben puts into perspective President Obama’s evolution from a fossil fuel advocate to potentially become a leader of climate action. McKibben offers a fair analysis of the politics that delay responsible climate action. He then expresses his hope that we may be accelerating toward real climate action: “Four years ago neither Obama nor Romney even mentioned climate change during their presidential battle. This year Bernie Sanders has made it one of the two centerpieces of his campaign (alongside inequality), and he’s skillfully pulled Hillary Clinton along with him.”

When we are not being bullied by climate-deniers, it becomes clear that climate change is widely accepted in the science community. Among the earliest impact manifestations of anthropogenic climate change, we are now recording rising temperatures in both the atmosphere and the oceans. In just the past few decades, scientists have come to understand the El Niño / La Niña cycles that would cause fluctuating weather patterns even without our off-the-charts atmospheric CO2. 20151117scp.. 'El Nino & Climate Change' (Ecowatch post) In a World Meteorological Organization press release, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud stated: “Our scientific understanding of El Niño has increased greatly in recent years. However, this event is playing out in uncharted territory. Our planet has altered dramatically because of climate change—the general trend towards a warmer global ocean, the loss of Arctic sea ice and of over a million square kilometers of summer snow cover in the northern hemisphere.”

Just hours after the second televised Democratic Party debate, Senator Bernie Sanders was interviewed on ‘Face the Nation’. The interviewer asked him to further clarify the connection between climate change and the social instability and forced migration that can increase terrorism. “When people migrate into cities and they don’t have jobs, there’s going to be a lot more instability, a lot more unemployment, and people will be subject to the types of propaganda that al Qaeda and ISIS are using right now.” It is important to note that this is not just a Presidential candidate and Progressive leader speaking; this belief has also been expressed by both the CIA and the U.S. Defense Department.


20151117cpy.. coal strip mine pic.pgOn November 4th, Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon) introduced S.2238, the ‘Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground Act of 2015’. Cosponsors included Bernie Sanders (Vermont), Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Ben Cardin (Maryland), Barbara Boxer (California), Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), and Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts). The legislation aims to stop endless government giveaways of oil, coal, and other resources, both offshore and under government lands, so as “… to prevent the release of 90 percent of the potential emissions from Federal fossil fuels.”

20151117scp.. 'Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground Act' w map of U.S. fossil fuel locations

(click on image to view article at EcoWatch.com)


20151117cpy.. nyemeltdownIn a 44-minute video posted online by the National Geographic Channel, Bill Nye pretends to be a typical person worried about climate change, visiting with his shrink, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The therapy session is both amusing and informative. ‘Dr. Schwarzenegger’ suggests that his troubled patient is suffering from ‘Climate Change Grief’, and needs to progress through the five classic stages of grief:

  • Stage 1: Denial (starts at video time 3:03)
  • Stage 2: Anger
  • Stage 3: Bargaining
  • Stage 4: Depression, and
  • Stage 5: Acceptance.

Unfortunately, late on the morning of November 17th, during this writer’s review of the video, National Geographic decided to block free online access (hmmm, feels like Stage 4?). Maybe Bill Nye has put together an outstanding presentation, which could help more people begin to fully understand the gravity of our changing climate situation. We may never know. But, if the whole video is as good as the first ten minutes, let’s hope National Geographic will do a good deed for the Earth, and remove the paywall, restoring free online access that can encourage more people to learn and take action. In the meantime, this link does offer a brief slideshow.

Arctic Ice Melt on a Tear in Recent Weeks

Thus far in 2015, we have set new records for low Arctic sea-ice extent, during three timeframes:

  • March 4 through March 22,
  • April 6 through April 10, and
  • May 18 through June 9.

For the past two weeks, melt rate has accelerated and we may be setting up for another record to begin in the next month. The chart below shows sea-ice extent for each of the years 2011 through 2015. The all-time record year was 2012, marked with a black-dashed line. The gray shaded area shows +/- two standard deviations from the 1981-2010 average (black line). The gold line (1980) has been added for reference, showing when we were well above the average, and also showing the ongoing downward trend in Arctic sea ice.

(click on image to view current arctic ice data at NSIDC.org)

(click on image to view current arctic ice data at NSIDC.org)

While it can not be predicted how low this year’s sea-ice extent will fall, we do know that melt will continue for nearly two more months. The melt-season reliably ends in mid-September, when new seasonal ice begins to form.

Does Extreme Weather indicate Climate Change?

We are closing out the third month of 2015. In North America, California is in an extended drought, while Alaskans had to truck in snow and relocate the start of the Iditarod. Ice at the North Pole has thinned, while northeastern states have been slammed repeatedly with bitter cold and record snowfalls. Pacific Ocean temperatures off Washington are said to be seven degrees above normal, while Greenland ice melt has created a pool of cold water in the northwest Atlantic, and critical ocean currents appear to be dying. Chile is drying up, while Antarctica is setting new high temperature records and glacial melting is accelerating.

Now, here’s one more piece of evidence, as posted at Weather Underground.com:

20150331.. Super Typhoon Maysak, sat.view (source.. WxUnderground)

MODIS satellite image of Super Typhoon Maysak taken at 03:55 UTC March 31, 2015. At the time, Maysak was a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

20150331.. Typhoon Maysak forecast map by JTWC

JTWC forecast map estimating a 4/5/2015 landfall in the northern Philippines.

“According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) database, 2015 is now the only season since records began in 1945 to feature three typhoons during the first three months of the year (January, February, and March), and also the first season to have two major typhoons (Category 3 or stronger) during the first three months of the year.”

Maybe it is time we get our carbon diet under control. Travel less. Live smarter. Consume less fuel. Become more deliberate, and more concerned about the world we will leave behind for the next generation

Seven Months above 400ppm

We’re already back above 400 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere.

Last year, we hit this mark in early April. This year, we are two months earlier. Given the clear trends since Keeling first started measuring atmosphere CO2 in the late 1950’s, we can expect to briefly pass below 400ppm next Fall, then pass above 400ppm late in 2015, never to fall below again.

The text below was posted a year ago, and it still applies…

Geologists are confident that, going back to at least 800,000 years ago, the CO2 in our Earth atmosphere has never exceeded 300ppm … or at least not until AFTER mankind started creating CO2 by burning coal, oil and natural gas. When measurements were started in Mauno Loa, in 1958, the annual peak for CO2 was 315ppm. As shown by the graph below, for the past week, the daily average has remained above 400ppm.

20150130scp.. KeelingCurve holding at 400+
So, the pressing question is:

…when (and how) will we get control
of our addiction to fossil fuels?

See also:
  • The Scripps Institution of Oceanography updates this online graph everyday.

Oceans Will Rise more Quickly as Antarctic Ice Melt Accelerates

Increasing levels of CO2 and other atmospheric greenhouse gasses will eventually melt all the ice on Earth and raise sea levels by more than 200 feet. If we cannot change our carbon habit, this is a virtual guarantee. In the past 55 million years, there has never been a time when large ice sheets existed under atmospheric CO2 concentrations exceeding 550 parts per million.

Here is an excerpt from a new RobertScribbler blog Post, Warm Water Rising From the Depths: Much of Antarctica Now Under Threat of Melt:

“…Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth, may well seem impregnable to this warming. But like any other fortress, it has its vulnerable spots. In this case, a weak underbelly. For in study after study, we keep finding evidence that warm waters are rising up from the abyss surrounding the chill and frozen continent. And the impact and risk to Antarctica’s glacial ice mountains is significant and growing.

For a study this week confirmed that Antarctica is now seeing a yearly loss of ice equal to one half the volume of Mt Everest every single year. A rate of loss triple that seen just ten years ago. An acceleration that, should it continue, means a much more immediate threat to coastal regions from sea level rise than current IPCC projections now estimate….

See also:

Climate Change Evidence: Northern Hemisphere Temperature Anomalies for 12-1-2014

Below are two images mapping surface air temperature across the Northern Hemisphere.

This first image shows temperatures based on actual readings and computer-generated interpolations; it also shows the North Pole, identified with a red box. Look closely and you will see that the two green areas are the northern Pacific (upper-left) and northern Atlantic (center-right). The smaller magenta areas (intense cold) are over Siberia (top) and Greenland (just above center).
20141201.. northern Hemisphere temp at 2m (ClimateReanalyzer screencap)This second image is a model showing the average temperatures based on measured data from 1979 to 2000.20141201.. 1979-2000 baseline for Northern Hemisphere temp at 2m (ClimateReanalyzer screencap)

Comparing the two images allows us to identify anomalies, which include:

  • Air temperatures at the North Pole region are substantially elevated in 2014. In fact, on 12/1/2014, the North Pole temperature is roughly identical to that at St. Louis, MO, at 39-degrees north latitude. In contrast, according to the historical data, the average temperature at the North Pole is normally colder than all points in North America south of 70-degrees north latitude.
  • Energy flowing into the north Atlantic region via the Gulf Stream is substantially enhanced, and now pushes non-freezing temperatures all the way to the northern tip of Greenland.
  • On the south edge of the image, at lower latitudes, the temperatures are noticeably hotter (more orange and red), especially over water. See for example the Amazon basin and African nations around Ghana.
  • While the North Pole and Arctic Ocean areas are considerably warmer, the cold air that sets in during the dark of each northern winter appears to be regularly splitting into two intense cold cores, which then define weather patterns across nations to the south. One core tethers over Greenland, Baffin Bay and islands to the west; the other core tethers over central Siberia. Thus, it appears we are seeing the start of an enormous change in weather-creating architecture. The traditional single cold air core spinning over the pole (and generally maintained by strong Jetstream flows) has become two smaller cores that are each more prone to both drifting and periodic disintegration.

See also:

New Antarctic Study Looks at CO2 Changes During Post Ice-Age Deglaciation

Researchers from Scripps, Oregon State, and other schools recently published a study in the journal Nature, showing the results of an analysis of 3,405 meters of Antarctic ice core samples. The study was done at a base constructed on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide, where annual snowfall would reliably accumulate and be subjected to minimal horizontal flowing.

At the coldest time of the last ice age, sea levels are believed to have been 120 meters below today’s levels, and atmospheric CO2 measured around 180 parts per million (ppm). Since then, the level of atmospheric CO2 has tracked upward along with average air temperature and sea level.

This new study was able to track the last ice age from its peak to complete deglaciation; it showed an increase in atmospheric CO2 of about 80 parts per million, taking place over 10,000 years. But the researchers were able to study fine time increments, and they found that there were three events within this deglaciation period, where CO2 levels surged 10-15 ppm during a smaller timeframe of 100-200 years.

“The rate of change during these events is still significantly less than present-day changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The Keeling Curve record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, launched by the late Scripps geochemist Charles David Keeling, recorded levels of 315 ppm when it began in 1958. In 2014, monthly average concentrations reached 401 ppm, an increase of more than 85 parts per million in less than 60 years.”

– an excerpt from the study, published in late October 2014 in the journal Nature

The dominant expectation had been that studies would most likely reveal a fairly steady rate of CO2 increase. Thus, in the 10,000 years following the last ice age peak, an increase of 80 ppm would mean roughly 0.8 ppm per century. Instead, the study revealed an even slower average rate of increase in atmospheric CO2, with surges possibly related to other earth processes. “Either the cause of these pulses is at least part terrestrial, or there is some mechanism in the ocean system we don’t yet know about,” said Oregon State paleoclimatologist Edward Brook, a co-author on the Nature study.

The results point out the extraordinarily rapid pace we are seeing today in the increase in our atmospheric CO2 level. Notably, the fastest observed rates were 0.8 ppm per century; today, our average annual CO2 increase is 1.4 ppm per year, thus 180-times the highest rate of increase for atmospheric CO2 level as actually observed in nature. The rate of fossil fuel consumption in today’s automobile-centric communities is historically amazing; in the U.S., each person consumes 21 barrels of oil per year … and that is only our oil consumption (and does not look at our trend to export huge quantities of coal and gas to other nations). The vast majority of this consumed fuel becomes water vapor, CO2, and other pollutants. If our current rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 is connected to human consumption of fossil fuels — and nobody has yet provided credible evidence of any other non-human source — then we will soon feel great pressure to severely cut back on the use of oil, coal, and natural gas.

And, Aviation (as well as all other transportation uses of energy) will be impacted enormously.

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