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Safety Cannot Be Guaranteed

By Keith Antonysen 

Already when the Paris COP21 was being negotiated some scientists were stating that reaching a 1.5C increase in temperature past pre-Industrial times was not viable, Professor Kevin Anderson begins talking 31/2 minutes into the film.

Prior to becoming a climate scientist, he worked as an engineer on oil rigs. He has also done some studies in economics which he describes as being akin to astrology. Professor Anderson argues that energy use in areas other than from power stations has largely been ignored. Without mitigating against the release of greenhouse gases, temperatures of 2C or 3C increase can be expected.

Rather than being focused on temperature, Professor Anderson states we need to be concerned about the emissions budget, CO2 can take hundreds of years to be dissipated. The longer that it takes to mitigate against emissions the greater the effort will be needed to mitigate against greenhouse gases already emitted.

Professor Anderson states very clearly that while there is much discussion in relation to mitigation, there is no mechanism operating at present.

The IPCC has been meeting in South Korea to produce a Report on the current state of the global climate to be published shortlyor.

The first sentence in this article in The Washington Post states

“A much-awaited report from the U.N.’s top climate science panel will show an enormous gap between where we are and where we need to be to prevent dangerous levels of warming.”

The article agrees with the summation provided by Professor Anderson that technologies are not available to mitigate emissions being voided…

 “An early draft (leaked and published by the website Climate Home News) suggests that future scenarios of a 1.5 C warming limit would require the massive deployment of technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the air and bury it below the ground. Such technologies do not exist at anything close to the scale that would be required.”

As stated very recently by the Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres; we have till 2020 to make an extremely concerted effort to stop a runaway climate.

Scott Morrison needs to get his act together in relation to climate change, and Labor needs to improve theirs. There is no room for coal mines such as in the Carmichael Basin or extensions of coal mines or fracking generally.

Revealing the Naked Emperor: Prof Kevin Anderson (November 2017)


17 comments

  1. Jack Russell

    Agreed.

    And … given the need to immediately get serious about emissions reduction, we must also immediately commence quarantining fresh water … all fresh water, including below ground supplies … from every kind of industrial/commercial/agricultural contamination.

    Every time I see those mindless numbskulls wandering around clutching their expensive bottle of water as a fashion item I also see the need for water bottling businesses to be shut down as well. Privatising water has been one of the stupidest human endeavours ever conceived.

    So … grrrr … etc, etc … not many things get me fuming, but screwing up air and water for profit is a definite red zone.

  2. ChristopherJ

    As Kevin says so well, our governments are actively choosing to give our children 3 to 5 degrees celsius.

    That will be enough to destroy our ability to grow crops and livestock at scale.

    Forget 7billion. 99% of us won’t be here sooner than you think.

    Far, far too late to start talking about action now. Needed that 30 years ago

  3. Keith

    Christopher J .. I believe that Professor Anderson believes that mitigation can have positive effects, as long as, huge resources and efforts are promoted. It is politics and policy makers that are the greatest impediment. As climate has greater influence on economies in the future, I believe that a terrible breakdown of economies will be a result, creating a slowing down of emissions. Though, it will create a dystopian world, where the carrying capacity of humans on Earth will be decreased .. civil wars and international wars are a highly likely result.

    It is worth listening to a podcast by Phillip Adams when he interviews Dr Robert Glasser, titled : The cascading impacts of climate change.

  4. Babyjewels

    Horrifying. Right now, we should be building infrastructure to capture as much of the Northern rainfall as we possibly can. This is something that’s worth going into debt over. Forget wars, new power stations, etc. Nothing is as important as water. We should be shoring ourselves up to feed not just ourselves but others as well.

  5. Keith

    Politicians are not accurately acknowledging the amount of greenhouse gases being voided by human activity, transport being one of the hidden areas.
    Permafrost presents as an unknown, there are numerous pingos in Siberia that could explode at any time releasing methane. Also, “Cracked gas chambers in the seabed south of Svalbard could blow out and create craters that are up to 30 metres deep, say scientists.” And, “The researchers in Tromsø expect further blow-outs, as some gas chambers have not yet blown, and others are slowly building up pressure again.” From .. http://sciencenordic.com/giant-gas-craters-discovered-bottom-barents-sea

    Already there are tensions in relation to water rights between countries where glaciers are no longer providing reliable water.
    https://medium.com/@NautilusMag/when-climate-change-starts-wars-398b82052718

    Australia has stood still for 5 years since the LNP were elected in relation to climate policy, we cannot afford to see them re-elected. The ALP will need to be pushed hard to improve their policies should they get elected Federally.

  6. SteveFitz

    Thanks Keith – When it comes to increased global temperatures, as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, there has been a lot of diversion and miss-information. You have come out and show it how it is. It’s not just about reducing emissions, it’s also about removing CO2 from the atmosphere. People need to listen, and governments need to listen.

    The climate change tipping point is arguably around 450ppm of CO2. We are on risky ground right now and, it’s not just about reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, it’s also about removing CO2 from the atmosphere to keep us below 450ppm – To be on the safe side.

    The key factor here is, as you say, “removing CO2 from the atmosphere”. To my way of thinking, and I’ve been pushing this to global governments for over 10 years and, it’s based on pure logic: “Do what nature does, to trap and store CO2”.

    Briefly, reducing CO2 emissions by 5% or 20% or even 60% still adds to the problem of increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. At huge economic cost, global warming and climate change are deferred but not prevented and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to rise. The negative response, taken by Government, to penalise and tax C02 emissions has met with wide ranging opposition and I refer to the failure to agree on emission reduction targets in Paris and the Australian Federal Governments deferred implementation of an Emissions Trading Scheme and subsequent abolition of that CO2 taxing scheme.

    The solution then for Government and, mechanism to gain across the board public support, would be a positive response. This aims at atmospheric CO2 management including, in particular, removing CO2 from the atmosphere, reforestation, incentive-based emission reduction guidelines, support for alternative energy and a bipartisan approach to climate change policy. Any tax should be a carbon contribution by end users, like GST, and must not impact on business, progress and job creation.

    The way forward requires a concerted effort on a global scale. Organic matter including coal, oil, natural gas, timber and, in fact, all life on Earth stores carbon/CO2. Burning or decay of organic matter releases that stored CO2 into the atmosphere. It follows then that a carbon capture program of propagating organic matter, in sufficient quantity, can reduce and stabilise atmospheric CO2.

    As 90% of life on planet earth lies within its oceans then this is where we will look to store our surplus carbon/CO2. In the short term it is proposed to increase oceanic biomass to accommodate the CO2 released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity with the long-term objective being to permanently store sufficient carbon equivalent, in naturally occurring ocean sediment, to maintain atmospheric CO2 stability.

    The object then, of my report, is to outline a way to stabilise carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to around 450ppm or better, thereby avoiding greater than 2°C global temperature increases, adopted as the critical point in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The objective is to manage atmospheric CO2.

    OVERVIEW:

    The project model works with a natural process and is based on the hypothesised first step in oil, gas and coal formation. Carbon dioxide stripped from the atmosphere is stored in oceanic biomass, the world’s largest carbon sink. Plankton, and associated biomass, becomes trapped in natural ocean sediment and/or slowly works its way up the food chain.

    In effect, as an ongoing process, the object is to recapture, and store carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. This equates to increasing oceanic biomass by an additional 18 Billion tonnes p.a. as a first step. View satellite images of naturally occurring plankton blooms on page 8 and The Carbon Cycle on page 9 of this report:

    https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/fae9bc_e8e2fd519745439ca7f28ba307c8544d.pdf

    With a concerted effort, from global governments and fossil fuel companies, there is a way forward. A way that does not stifle development and a way to manage global climate. What we will be doing is very subtly assisting nature and, the closer we get to the “tipping point”, the more chance there is of this proposal being taken up. The process is paid for by the global end user carbon tax. To save a planet, we need to think as big as a planet.

    Now, you can toss it around, you can argue about it, and you can go on all you like but, from where I stand, this is a solution to work towards and to move forward with.

    Stephen Fitzgerald

  7. ChristopherJ

    Thank you Steve, Keith, Kaye and so many others who have commented on this subject over years. One of my many failings as a public servant was to point out the country’s poor performance on being a good climate citizen. Fat lot of good telling the truth did me and many others. I was called a nut 10 years ago when I told people the truth about the great theft of 2008. But, I have a thick skin and, whether my views will transpire or not, I just feel the need to be a little bit more alarmist than most. If that’s not you, hit the space bar.

    In response to other above, I know there are plenty of solutions, just none that are politically feasible. And, moreover, we are out of time and the climate change tipping point has already happened.

    The dystopian future that people perceive is horrifying (whichever way you like to imagine it). Yet is a future which will never happen and it is going to be sudden. Ask yourself how long you and your loved ones will last when the trucks, electricity, water and law and order cease to function. I’ve got some smarts, but I don’t figure on lasting more than a few weeks.

    I love my life, my children, wife, friends – how can I not also hope that I am wrong and some good people will suddenly take charge.

  8. SteveFitz

    Christopher – The evidence on climate change is right there staring us in the face. What we need is a government that looks at the evidence and the science and, are prepared to listen to the electorate before we get action on climate change in Australia.

    As we have seen, with conservative right-wing governments, like the LNP, the main influence on them is not the electorate but, big business. That same big business is driven purely by profit and not social conscience. So, how do we get big business to participate in reducing green-house gas emissions when it’s going to reduce their profits? We need legislation.

    To do that we need a strong government, not a piss-weak government like the Liberals, to embrace every possible action available and, once again, that would include in particular: Removing CO2 from the atmosphere, reforestation, incentive-based emission reduction guidelines, support for alternative energy and a bipartisan approach to climate change policy or, a clear majority for that government.

    Step 1: We need to force a promise from the Labour Party, before the next election, to take affirmative action on climate change. Step 2: Vote Labour into power and hold them to that promise. Right now, it’s up to us to get the ball rolling and then go from there.

  9. ChristopherJ

    Thank you, Steven, for taking the time to respond. I started a response hours ago and it got bigger than I had intended. So I will retire, review my words and respond on another day, or publish it if you want.

    Great stuff as usual from some insightful and gifted writers.

  10. SteveFitz

    NEWS FLASH – In support Christopher…

    UN CLIMATE REPORT WARNS AGAINST INACTION – PRESS ASSOCIATION – 1:03PM OCTOBER 8, 2018

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/un-climate-report-warns-against-inaction/news-story/f1b2cf697efbd36dc84ed4e162d1ff90

    A new UN report warns of the unprecedented changes needed by society to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

    HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

    WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT ABOUT 1.5C OF WARMING?
    While warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels has widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which dangerous climate change will occur, vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival. Their concerns meant a pledge to pursue efforts to limit temperature rises to 1.5C was included – after tough negotiations – alongside the commitment to keep them “well below” 2C in the global Paris climate agreement in 2015.

    SO WHY THIS REPORT?
    When the target was put into the Paris Agreement, relatively little was known about the climate risks that would be avoided in a 1.5C warmer world compared with a 2C warmer world, or about the action needed to limit temperature rises to that level. So, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was tasked with providing the answers.

    WHAT DOES THE REPORT SAY?
    It warns the world is well off track to keep to the 1.5C limit. Even with the promise’s countries have made as part of the Paris Agreement to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, the world is set to breach the 1.5C threshold by around 2040. Based on those promises, we are heading for 3C by 2100 and even warmer after that. As more greenhouse gases lead to more warming, stabilising the planet’s temperature at any level will require emissions to fall to zero overall. To keep temperatures from rising to more than 1.5C in the long term, countries need to cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050, with steep cuts in other greenhouse gases such as methane. Methods to take excess carbon out of the atmosphere will also be needed.

    HOW CAN ALL THAT BE DONE?
    Well, it will require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented change across the whole of society, according to the report. Renewables would have to supply 70% to 85% of electricity in 2050, there would be a small role for gas power with technology that captured and stored its carbon, while coal would be virtually non-existent. The feasibility of solar, wind and battery storage has improved significantly in recent years, which could signal the system is transforming, the report says. But it is not just electricity: transport, buildings and industry would have to become significantly cleaner. Taking excess carbon from the atmosphere requires measures such as planting new forests or, more controversially, burning plant material for energy and capturing the carbon to store underground, which is known as “BECCS”. Millions of square kilometres would need to be turned into forest or used for growing renewable energy crops – which could undermine food production.

    WHY MAKE ALL THAT EFFORT FOR 0.5C?
    The report says a 2C rise will lead to more heatwaves and extreme rainstorms, more people facing water shortages and drought, greater economic losses and lower yields for major crops than 1.5C. Sea level rises would be 10cm lower with a 1.5C temperature rise compared to 2C by the end of the century. While coral reefs could decline 70% to 90% with 1.5C of warming, virtually all the world’s reefs would be lost at 2C, while far more creatures and plants across the world face losing a large part of their range. The Arctic is likely to be ice-free in summer around once a century at 1.5C but at least once a decade if warming climbs to 2C.

    HOW HAS THIS REPORT BEEN DRAWN UP?
    The IPCC does not do any of its own research, so the report draws on more than 6,000 research papers to reach its conclusions. The report’s authors and representatives of 195 governments which are members of the IPCC have then met to finalise the “summary for policymakers” report, which involves agreeing it line-by-line. The aim is to make the report as clear as possible while still scientifically robust – and to ensure that everybody is behind the document.

  11. Keith

    A reference much older than what I normally provide, is from my point of view still of huge significance, it comprises seminal research completed by Anton Vaks et al on permafrost. Anton Vaks and team studied the rate of build up of stalactites and stalagmites in caves in permafrost areas, areas where permafrost has been intermittent, and areas untouched by permafrost. They found that at 1.5C over preindustrialised temperature permafrost thaws.
    Anton Vaks provided a film in 2013, and comments attached to the film are ..”Dr Anton Vaks has published research which shows that continuous permafrost areas of central siberia, 60° N, began to melt historically when, in past interglacials, temperatures reached 1.5 C above preindustrial levels. We are currently .8 C above pre-industrial, and climbing.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N71YvYqJWQc

    Permafrost thawing is a recipe for methane to be released.

    The IPCC Report has just been published, and Morrison a few hours later has stated that Australia will ignore it.

  12. SteveFitz

    Keith – Far more methane to be released from vast tracks of thawing permafrost than farting cows. By multiples of millions. There is more than some degree of urgency to contain global temperature increase and, all our illustrious PM can say is “Australia will ignore it”. Well, guess what Scott, you can ignore it. Thinking Australians won’t and we have the UN on our side and an election coming up.

    Mr Morrison, pull your head out of your backside and sniff the air. It’s full of rising levels of CO2 and methane. Your typical right wing fear tactics of “If we stop using coal the lights will go out” doesn’t wash. How about this and it’s important so, clean the crap out of your ears and listen…

    ” Over the next 30 years we will phase out burning coal to be replaced with alternate clean energy. Until then, the coal we burn, as a necessity to generate electricity, will be subject to a legislated carbon capture program equivalent to the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere as a result of burning that coal”.

    Wake up Mr Morrison and wake up coal producers – This is your way forward.

    Stephen Fitzgerald

  13. Keith

    Steve you might be interested in these references:

    https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/limiting-temperature-rise/
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/we-must-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-to-net-zero-or-face-more-floods
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2018/10/08/one-chart-climate-change-ipcc/
    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/07102018/ipcc-climate-change-science-report-data-carbon-emissions-heat-waves-extreme-weather-oil-gas-agriculturehttp://climatestate.com/2018/10/06/young-scientist-can-we-change-avoid-catastrophic-consequences/
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/06/wentworth-byelection-john-hewson-says-seat-ripe-for-protest-vote?CMP=soc_567
    http://climatestate.com/2018/10/06/young-scientist-can-we-change-avoid-catastrophic-consequences/
    http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/features/f0183-leaking-pingos-can-explode-under-the-sea-in-the-arctic-as-well-as-on-land/

  14. Terence Mills

    What is quite alarming is the response from our Deputy Prime Minister before even reading the IPCC report :

    “The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said Australia should “absolutely” continue to use and exploit its coal reserves, despite the IPCC’s dire warnings the world has just 12 years to avoid climate change catastrophe.

    He said the government would not change policy “just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do”.

    What if the impacts of climate change are exaggerated and we took the suggested action and just ended up with a cleaner planet, would that be such a hardship ?

  15. DrakeN

    Indeed, Terence.

    But science is just so-o-o inconvenient for the fiscally addicted, isn’t it.

  16. Terence Mills

    DrakeN

    A friend of mine has just returned from a camping trip on Cape York Peninsula, visiting some very remote and isolated beaches. He was horrified with the amount of plastic and other debris – fishing nets, gas bottles etc – piled up at the high tide mark.

    Not debris from Australia but from PNG and more so the Indonesian archipelago : some 300 million people to our North !!!!!

    What hope do we have of maintaining our pristine environment ?

  17. MetaDataLata

    Climate action and policy needs to transcend politics. There should be a separate authority governed by scientists and enforced by government agencies that focus on emissions, land use and restoration/maintenance of forests and natural environments. Start with the military budget, reward business that mitigate CO2 and penalize those that cause further damage.

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