Thursday, June 27, 2019


Part 1

There's just one little problem with that net zero carbon by 2050 target that is being mentioned so often by politicians trying to look concerned about the future, it means we will sail through that 2°C target and then human civilisation as we know it will break down leading to the greatest genocide in history.

Aiming for net zero by 2050 is just a new form of climate denialism.

We should not be talking about target dates for net-zero carbon emissions, but rather about target dates for getting the CO2 in the air back well below 350 ppm.

Current action is increasing the CO2 and increasing it at an increasing rate. This year's increase, to a peak of over 415 ppm is the highest ever. Next year's increase may be higher still.

Current policy discussions are just about reducing the rate of increase.

While pretty much every honest and sane person now acknowledges the existence of man-made global heating, this talk of net zero emission targets is so far adrift from what is required it must surely be described as the neo-climate-denialism.

Also, a couple of observations:

As I write this much of Europe is slipping into the greatest heatwave since humans walked this land. There is much talk of a 1.5 or 2°C rise in global temperatures but many folk do not realise that it's the extreme events, not the average, that kills.  We've had about 1°C of global heating so far, but that's the average over the planet. It's less near the equator and more near the poles, and, importantly, less over the two thirds of the planet that is ocean and more over land. So another degree of global heating does not mean a degree of heating where we live.

Most importantly, the increase in temperature highs in extreme weather events is much higher than the increase in averages. This is a non-linear system. A further 1°C of global heating will result is far more extreme weather than the first degree produced.

If you are concerned about this week's European heatwave, you've not seen anything compared to what we are now committed to experience when we sail through that 2°C target.

And don't even think about India.

Neo-climate-denialism Part 2

Okay so we have, albeit half a century too late, seen off the climate deniers. There may still be a few who claim that the planet is not heating because humans have changed the composition of the atmosphere but these charlatans or fools can be safely ignored.

We now have a new threat, insidious and dangerous. It is the enormous number of people who say they accept the consensus view of climate scientists and yet do not act as if there is an emergency. They talk about net-zero carbon emissions by various future dates, they talk of carbon taxes, they talk of frequent flyer levies, they talk and they talk.

2019 will see the highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions in any year. 2020 will almost certainly see that increased. 2019 has recorded the highest level of CO2 in the atmosphere since Homo not-so-very-sapiens walked out of Africa. 2019 has seen about 1°C of heating since pre-industrial times, averaged across the globe, more over land, much more in the Arctic. 1.5° and 2° are for the birds. We will need to adapt to a 3° world and beyond.

These realities do not match the talk.  The urgent task is not to slow down and eventually reach zero emissions but to drive emissions negative and fast. We have to get the CO2 content of the atmosphere back down from 415 ppm to below 350 ppm. Next year it will be above 417. We actually have to stop burning pretty much all fossil carbon and sequester what we have already burnt. It means changing everything, fast. To deny this urgent need can only be regarded as the neo-climate-denialism.


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