Triple Threats to Our Survival – Global Climate Change

Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in Humanity, Our Future | 0 comments

Triple Threats to Our Survival – Global Climate Change

In my previous blog, Fukushima – Out of Control and Threatening Our Future, I discussed the threat to humanity posed by the nuclear power plant disaster at the Fukushima, Japan plant. Such nuclear disasters are one category of what I call the “Triple Threats to our Survival”. The other two man-made survival threats confronting humanity today, are Nuclear War and Global Climate Change, and I will be writing occasional blogs under that heading including this one.

My analysis goes deeper then simply raising awareness of these massive threats to humanity and all life on Earth, however. I also consider the question “Why are we now faced with such urgent survival threats?”, in terms of the decisions and actions of our respective national political “leaders”, past and present, which have led to the existence and expansion of these threats. Accordingly, issues of responsibility, transparency and accountable in regard to our political “leaders” are paramount, especially in regards to appropriately addressing the three survival threats now and in the future. They must of course be addressed on a most urgent basis if humanity is to survive and thrive even into the second half of this 21st Century.

Quoting from that previous blog:  “Have our “leaders” made wise decisions and acted wisely both in the past and in the present in playing a major role in creating and then addressing the threats and challenges that effect us all and threaten our shared future? No question is more important for our future. My assumptions underlying this question is that wisdom and the highest level of integrity are both essential and inherent to “good governance” and are a fundamental criteria for all decisions and actions of our “public servants” on behalf of their respective constituents. My view is that essentially no wisdom has been applied in the past nor is being applied in the present by our political “leaders”, nor are our “public servants” operating with the highest integrity. Quite the opposite unfortunately. I believe conclusion can be applied to pretty much all our present global threats and challenges and the role of our “leaders” in generating the crises (cause and effect) and then exacerbating them through extremely unwise decisions and actions that fly in the face of both reason and compassion, and are completely devoid of either historical understanding or foresight. Accordingly, the decisions and actions of our national political “leaders” represent an ongoing fundamental breach of public trust on behalf of their citizens. Protecting their citizens is the most fundamental responsibility of our so-called “public servants”. Frankly, today’s “leader’s” appear much more focused on serving themselves and their friends while “leading” humanity off the proverbial cliff. This is what I have termed the “Global Con-Game”. It is a virtual certainty that our “leaders” will continue their version of “business as usual” unless and until there is a massive positive shift in thinking and related actions driven by the rising demands of their citizens who together are the world’s people.”

In this blog I considering the survival threat of Climate Change and present recent scientific reports about the current situation and humanity’s immediate prospects as well as the controversy such reports constantly generate from contrary politicos and media.

Firstly, the latest overall report by the UN facilitated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change entitled “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis” was issued last month. The report featured 259 scientific authors from 39 countries worldwide. Here are the major conclusions:

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950’s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.
  • Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850. In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years.
  • Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010. It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0−700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010.
  • Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent.
  • The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. CO2 concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from net land use change emissions. The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification.
  • Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th C.
  • Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It is very likely that the Arctic sea ice cover will continue to shrink and thin and that Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover will decrease during the 21st century as global mean surface temperature rises. Global glacier volume will further decrease.
  • Global mean sea level will continue to rise during the 21st century. Under all scenarios the rate of sea level rise will very likely exceed that observed during 1971–2010 due to increased ocean warming and increased loss of mass from glaciers and ice sheets.
  • Climate change will affect carbon cycle processes in a way that will exacerbate the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Further uptake of carbon by the ocean will increase ocean acidification.
  • Cumulative emissions of CO2 largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond.
  • Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped. This represents a substantial multi-century climate change commitment created by past, present and future emissions of CO2.

Then on October 9th, a new scientific study was published online in the Nature Journal, entitled, “The Projected Timing of Climate Departure from Recent Variability”. Despite the innocuous scientific language, the reports information and conclusions are most alarming. One article, from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, that discusses the report, uses the heading, “Global Warming to Scorch Past Milestone in 2047, Study Predicts”, and summarizes the report as follows:

  • Starting in about a decade, Kingston, Jamaica, will probably be off-the-charts hot — permanently. Other places will soon follow. Singapore in 2028. Mexico City in 2031. Cairo in 2036. Phoenix and Honolulu in 2043. And eventually the whole world in 2047.
  • A new study on global warming pinpoints the probable dates for when cities and ecosystems around the world will regularly experience hotter environments the likes of which they have never seen before. And for dozens of cities, mostly in the tropics, those dates are a generation or less away.
  • The world as a whole had its hottest year on record in 2005. The new study says that by the year 2047, every year that follows will probably be hotter than that  year.
  • The 2047 date for the whole world is based on continually increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gases. If the world manages to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide, etc., that date could be pushed to as late as 2069.
  • The coldest years in the future will soon be hotter than the hottest years of the past. That is expected to happen in subtropical areas, such as Bangladesh, sooner.
  • The study forecasts that the unprecedented heat starts in 2020 with Manokwa, Indonesia. Then Kingston, Jamaica. Within the next two decades, 59 cities will be living in what is essentially a new climate, including Singapore, Havana, Kuala Lumpur and Mexico City. By 2043, 147 cities — more than half of those studied — will have shifted to a hotter temperature regime that is beyond historical records.
  • The first U.S. cities to feel that would be Honolulu and Phoenix, followed by San Diego and Orlando, Florida. in 2046. New York and Washington will get new climates around 2047, with Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Austin and Dallas a bit later. The study authors calculated that the last of the 265 cities to move into their new climate will be Anchorage, Alaska — in 2071. There’s a five-year margin of error on the estimates.
  • Unlike previous research, the study highlights the tropics more than the polar regions. In the tropics, temperatures don’t vary much, so a small increase can have large effects on ecosystems, he said. A three-degree change is not much to polar regions but is dramatic in the tropics, which hold most of the Earth’s biodiversity.
  • By one measurement — ocean acidity — the Earth has already crossed the threshold into an entirely new regime. That happened in about 2008, with every year since then more acidic than the old record. Of the species studied, Coral Reefs will be the first stuck in a new climate  – around 2030 – and are most vulnerable to climate change.
  • To arrive at their projections, the researchers used weather observations, computer models and other data to calculate the point at which every year from then on will be warmer than the hottest year ever recorded over the last 150 years. Simulations from 39 different computer models and looked at hundreds of thousands of species, maps and data points to ask when places will have “an environment like we had never seen before.”

The above scientific information should, of course, be of paramount concern to each of us and our “leaders” should be taking urgent action in response as the survival of much of life on Earth is ultimately at stake, including our own. However that is not at all the case as it not the case with the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. The world print and television media made little or only minor mention of the two urgent reports while for our political “leaders” and the corporate “leaders” responsible for the emissions it is simply “business as usual.”  It is a massive failure of our “leaders” who have helped create this global warming crisis through both their actions and inactions going back decades, and of the global corporate controlled media which fails to inform the public about such critical threats.

And even worse then this,  as upon the release of the IPCC report the special-interest driven denials began immediately. This recent opinion piece by Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, published in The Guardian newspaper, sets out some of that response; The new IPCC climate change report makes deniers overheat. I quote:  “The IPCC assessment is based on contributions from thousands of experts around the world through an exhaustive review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature and a rigorous, several-years-long review process. Meanwhile, in the lead-up to publication, fossil-fuel industry front groups and their paid advocates gear up to attack and malign the report, and to mislead and confuse the public about its sobering message. So, in the weeks leading up to the release of the IPCC Fifth Assessment scientific report, professional climate change deniers and their willing abettors and enablers have done their best to distort what the report actually says about the genuine scientific evidence and the reality of the climate change threat.”

Accordingly, not only is such critical scientific information to every one of us and to humanity’s future being essentially obscured from the world public but it is also being massively distorted by intentional and well-funded campaigns driven by the perpetrators and their allies for pure self-interest based on the huge profits involved and damn the consequences! The Global Con-Game in full bloom. Shame on them!

In closing this blog I essentially repeat my conclusion from the previous one as the situation is identical overall on the issue of Global Climate Change as it is with the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster:

The bottom-line is whether the people of the world will have any real say in our collective well-being today and in future, not just an elite group of disconnected “leaders” and their special- interest controllers. And whether we will have the ability to hold our “leaders” legally accountable when they make decisions clearly contrary to the common good which result in mass damage and destruction to people and planet.

These question are most critical today as humanity faces urgent and ongoing triple threats to our survival from Nuclear War, Nuclear Power Plant Accidents and Global Warming. Yet we have no say at all in such crucial matters despite the fact that the majority of us are supposed to live in “democracies.” Humanity needs to wake-up en masse before’s too late for ourselves, our children, all future generations, and all life on Earth.

We must begin with the most immediate and urgent threat which is Fukushima. Our voices must be heard. The Global Con-Game must now end. And it can end voluntarily and mutually. All that’s needed to be changed are the minds of those who hold the reigns of power and those that hold the true power, being “we the people”. No one of us is immune. No one is safe. Hiding the truth doesn’t make it go away.

The people of the world, our “leader’s”, the forces behind them, the media and the respective industries can and must now all come together to address this and our other current threats to all Life on Earth. If so a new way will be found for unifying humanity now and in future by responding collectively to these shared threats!

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