The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us | George Monbiot:
Public figures talk and act as if environmental change will be linear and gradual. But the Earth’s systems are highly complex, and complex systems do not respond to pressure in linear ways. When these systems interact (because the world’s atmosphere, oceans, land surface and lifeforms do not sit placidly within the boxes that make study more convenient), their reactions to change become highly unpredictable. Small perturbations can ramify wildly. Tipping points are likely to remain invisible until we have passed them. We could see changes of state so abrupt and profound that no continuity can be safely assumed.
David Attenborough has betrayed the living world he loves | George Monbiot:
While many people, thanks in large part to David Attenborough, are now quite well informed about wildlife, we remain astonishingly ignorant about what is happening to it.
There are three options in tackling climate change. Only one will work | Mayer Hillman:
Remarkably, public expectations about the future indicate that only minor changes in the carbon-based aspects of our lifestyles are anticipated. It is as if people can continue to believe that they have an inalienable right to travel as far and as frequently as they can afford. Indeed, there is a widespread refusal by politicians to admit to the fact the process of melting ice caps contributing to sea level rises, and permafrost thawing in tundra regions cannot now be stopped, let alone reversed. The longer we procrastinate, the greater the certainty of environmental degradation, social upheaval and economic chaos.
National leaders are unable to reconcile the expectations of their electorates for higher living standards by burning fossil fuels, with the absolute need to live within the planet’s finite environmental capacity. Nor, in democracies, can they move too far ahead of public opinion.
In this key area of international policy, the undesirable outcomes can all too often be laid at the door of scientists who inform politicians of the options now open to them. They subscribe to many fallacious assumptions about carbon dioxide emissions that are close to tenets of faith.
Could carbon-capture technology be a silver bullet to stop climate change?:
Scaling up carbon capture technology is possible but will be difficult, said Kurt Waltzer, managing director for the Clean Air Task Force.
“We are absolutely going to have to have a significant amount of carbon removal, there’s no question about it,” Waltzer said. “The level will probably depend on how quickly we can get to a zero-carbon world, but it is going to be enormous.”
Where should you move to save yourself from climate change?:
“Areas towards the north and away from the ocean and that central corridor where you get tornadoes probably look best,” said Vivek Shandas, an expert on climate change’s impact on cities at Portland State University. Shandas recommends looking to live in a “band roughly above the 42nd parallel” – a line of latitude that divides New York and Pennsylvania and forms the southern borders of Oregon and Idaho.
Places close to a reliable source of water without being flood-prone as the seas rise are attractive, such as areas near the Great Lakes and the Pacific north-west. “Seattle doesn’t break 90F that often so it’ll be nothing like Phoenix in terms of tolerability of heat,” said Shandas. “Places like Portland, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho, will be relatively safeguarded, apart from a bit of wildfire smoke.”
There will be bastions elsewhere. “Cincinnati, for example, is surprisingly good,” said Shandas. “It’s close to the Great Lakes, away from hurricanes, away from the eastern seaboard. It will get more heatwaves, but then again we all will.”
Shell and Exxon’s secret 1980s climate change warnings | Benjamin Franta:
Later that decade, in 1988, an internal report by Shell projected similar effects but also found that CO2 could double even earlier, by 2030. Privately, these companies did not dispute the links between their products, global warming, and ecological calamity. On the contrary, their research confirmed the connections.
Shell’s assessment foresaw a one-meter sea-level rise, and noted that warming could also fuel disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, resulting in a worldwide rise in sea level of “five to six meters.” That would be enough to inundate entire low-lying countries.
Shell’s analysts also warned of the “disappearance of specific ecosystems or habitat destruction,” predicted an increase in “runoff, destructive floods, and inundation of low-lying farmland,” and said that “new sources of freshwater would be required” to compensate for changes in precipitation. Global changes in air temperature would also “drastically change the way people live and work.” All told, Shell concluded, “the changes may be the greatest in recorded history.”
For its part, Exxon warned of “potentially catastrophic events that must be considered.” Like Shell’s experts, Exxon’s scientists predicted devastating sea-level rise, and warned that the American Midwest and other parts of the world could become desert-like. Looking on the bright side, the company expressed its confidence that “this problem is not as significant to mankind as a nuclear holocaust or world famine.”