Friday, November 30, 2012

Leave it in the ground

Leave it in the ground

What it will take to avoid hitting 2 degrees.  Leave 80% in the ground.  Cut 10% per year.

     Also  a speech by  Professor Kevin Anderson who says Climate scientists aren't being honest with people when they soft pedal the size of the task, and the likelihood of achieving it

"In fact, says Anderson, we are almost guaranteed to reach 4 degrees of warming, as early as 2050, and may soar far beyond that - beyond the point which agriculture, the ecosystem, and industrial civilization can survive."


most recently into a missive I got from Onward Oregon this morning

The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts and environmentalists published a report for their stock investors saying that the present known reserves owned by fossil fuel companies and countries is 2,795 gigatons. This report was led by James Leaton, an advisor to the accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.

To have a fighting chance of keeping the earth's climate from irreparable damage we have to keep 80% of these known reserves from ever being used. Let’s make a stand here.

how are we going to proceed? What steps and actions follow from this realization?

Here's a piece that I think cuts to the chase, lays it out more clearly than any other paper I've read.
The most important features of these two emergency pathways – both 350 ppm and 2°C – are their highly constrained cumulative emission budgets. Given budgets so constrained, there is not a lot of flexibility. For both pathways, keeping within budget means that a sustainable emissions peak has to come very soon. In the 350 ppm case, if emissions peak by 2011 (as in our representative pathway), then keeping within budget means subsequent emissions have to drop extremely rapidly, soon reaching an annual rate of decline of 10% per year and remaining at this rate for several decades.
Does this rate of decline sound unrealistic? Then consider that, if the 350 pathway is defined to have a global peak that’s a mere four years later – if emissions continue to rise until 2015 – then the subsequent decline would have to reach a nearly unimaginable rate of 20% per year. If, that is, we’re still to keep within the 2010 – 2050 budget of 420 gigatonnes CO2. And that, if the peak is further delayed beyond 2020, this entire remaining global carbon budget will be gone – and any even remotely plausible chance of returning to 350 ppm will be gone with it.  (press release)  (report)


Professor Kevin Anderson

Are the climate deniers right? Are some scientists colluding with government to hide the truth about climate change? "Yes", according to top British scientist Kevin Anderson - but not the scandal you've heard about. Top scientists and government reports won't tell you we are heading toward catastrophic climate change. Emissions are skidding out of control, leading us to a world six degrees Centigrade hotter on average, much faster than anyone thought possible. Why doesn't the public know? 

Why are world conferences still talking about staying below 2 degrees, as though that is possible? 

In a devastating speech at Bristol University Tuesday November 6th, 2012, Dr. Kevin Anderson accused too many climate scientists of keeping quiet about the unrealistic assessments put out by governments, and our awful odds of reaching global warming far above the proposed 2 degree safe point.

In fact, says Anderson, we are almost guaranteed to reach 4 degrees of warming, as early as 2050, and may soar far beyond that - beyond the point which agriculture, the ecosystem, and industrial civilization can survive.

All this comes from one of the world's top climate scientists, plugged in to the latest research and numbers. Kevin Anderson is from the UK's premier climate modeling institution, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and the University of Manchester. He delivered the speech "Real Clothes for the Emperor, Facing the Challenges of Climate Change" at the Cabot Institute of the University of Bristol in Britain.

His estimates are backed up by recent reports from the International Energy Agency, and now the global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. I also quote from Joe Romm's blog, and a comment by Lewis Cleverdon from Wales, in the Transition blog at

I'm Alex Smith for Radio Ecoshock. In this program, I'm going to play selections from Kevin Anderson's latest speech, accompanied by some explanation and references to other sources. Anderson speaks very quickly, assuming a highly informed European audience, and includes some technical data and reports unknown to most of us. So we're going to work through this together.


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