community energy ..the energy that's making the difference

 

“The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change”

Munich Re, major global reinsurance company

"The evidence that climate change is happening is completely unequivocal"

Prof Sir John Beddington, UK Govt Chief Scientific Adviser, 25 Mar 2013

Robert Ebert: “I have watched with a kind of petrified fascination in recent years as the world creeps closer to what looks to me like disastrous climate change..this time the enemy, if we can use the word in this context, is an American lobbyist group. They seem focused on maximizing profits and shareholder benefits, at the cost of any environmental conscience. It seems possible that their policies will lead to a different kind of seasonal calendar. Instead of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, this new generation will know Blizzard, Flood, Heat and Fire. Month follows month as the seasons tear themselves apart"  Robert Ebert 2013, Film critic, Pulitzer Prizewinner

 

The worst case scenario of the IPCC (IPCC 2007 AR4) assumes that global CO2equivalent emissions will grow from the current level of about 40 billion tons CO2e per year to near 130 GtCO2e/year through the 21st century resulting in a mean global temperature rise as high as 6.5°C by 2090-2099 relative to the period 1980-1999

However, the report takes only limited account of carbon cycle feedback effects and ice/water interaction feedback effects in raising global temperatures. Methane is excluded

The threat from methane
Drilling for frozen methane will undoubtedly destabilize the methane beds, which contain enough gas worldwide to diminish most complex life on our increasingly fragile Earth.  Further, drilling creates heat, which turns the frozen methane into gas, which will undoubtedly leak uncontrollably through the sea into our atmosphere. Such disasters will make the BP oil spill look like child’s play

..May 2012 - the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is leaking an amount of methane comparable to all the methane from the rest of the world's oceans put together

 


Flood risk from sea-level rise in UK

UK's Environment Agency says that, over the next 25 years, investment will need to double for the building and upkeep of flood defences in order to maintain the current levels of flood protection and counter the effects of climate change. Flooding from rivers and the sea currently puts 65,369 properties at risk in Devon and Cornwall, 29,577 of which are at "significant risk". Current flood defence schemes protect some of these properties from flooding. Richard Cresswell, the regional director for the Environment Agency in the south west, says:

"The latest UK climate change data shows that the risk of flooding and coastal erosion will continue to increase in future due to rising sea levels and more frequent and heavy storms"

See video debate on cause of flood impacts in New York

 

 

International Energy Agency - 2011 World Energy Outlook

The WEO presents a 450 Scenario, which traces an energy path consistent with meeting the globally agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C
Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2 emissions permitted to 2035 in the 450 Scenario are already locked-in by existing capital stock, including power stations, buildings and factories
“Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions. Those who counsel waiting for breakthrough technologies are urging us on a path that is unsustainable, irreversible, potentially catastrophic, and economically indefensible"
Six degrees.."Study after study predicts that carbon emissions will keep growing by roughly 3% a year – and at that rate, we'll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years, around the time today's preschoolers will be graduating from high school. "The new data provide further evidence that the door to a two-degree trajectory is about to close," said Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist. "When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of about six degrees." That's almost 11 degrees Fahrenheit, which would create a planet straight out of science fiction "
Rolling Stone Politics July 2012


 

 



 



The canary is dead..

"In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions"  Al Gore

 

"The Arctic is genuinely collapsing. Scientists used to call these things the canary in the mine. What they say now is, ‘the canary is dead’. We are at the top of Niagara Falls  in a canoe. There is an image for your viewers. We got here by drifting, but we cannot turn around for a lazy paddle back when you finally stop pissing around. We have arrived at the point of an audible roar. Does it strike you as a good time to debate the existence of the falls?

Flight Behaviour, Barbara Kingsolver

The whole point about climate change is that, despite having been revealed by science, it is not really about science. It is about what sort of world we want to live in and what kind of future we want to create......The Guardian, Nov 2014

 

Act. Now.

Switch Off Fossil Fuels

"Climate Change..the Challenge of a generation " President Barrack Obama, 24 June 2013

 

The planet is being toasted..

398.35 399.47 400.26 401.52 404.83, 407.57, ppm/month..

..too late now to Mitigate, got to Adapt..

The last time mean global temperatures reached 2-3°C above present levels, some 3 million years ago – an event associated with CO2 levels of about 400 ppm – polar regions were heated by nearly 8°C, and sea levels had risen by 25 metres relative to the present.

This represents near-total melting of Greenland and West Antarctica Ice Sheets

 

"..climate change is being felt by people, not just by polar bears "

Miles Allen, climate scientist, Oxford University
"Unchecked emissions increase the likelihood of severe and pervasive impacts that may be irreversible or unanticipated’’
IPCC Report  31 March 2014
"World is past halfway to triggering dangerous climate change"
Global 2C warming threshold will be breached within 30 years, leading scientists report, with humans unequivocally to blame
IPCC Report, September 2013

 

Analysis:

Daily Politics show, Parliament Channel 31.03.14, min 41:42

Select Committee 25.03.14:

Foreign Secretary's Special

Representative for Climate Change, Sir David King

 

 

An old African proverb says, "if you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together." To solve the climate crisis, we have to go far ... quickly. And together.

Don't Wait Until It's Too Late..

Switch Off Fossil Fuels. Now.

 

"We're still burning the same kind of stuff that our caveman ancestors burned ..time for a change ?"

 

".. 97% of climate scientists, every major scientific body, and every major government on the planet agree that humans have caused climate change .."

 

The International Energy Agency has warned that under current policies, carbon dioxide emissions will nearly double by 2050. “This would likely boost global temperatures by at least 6 degrees Celsius, an eventuality that would confront future generations with significant economic, environmental and energy security hardships”

Richard Jones, IEA Conference, April 2012

 

"..doubling the current rate of decarbonisation would still lead to emissions consistent with six degrees of warming by the end of the century..the required improvement in global carbon intensity to meet a 2°C warming target, has risen to 5.1% a year, from 2012 to 2050
To give ourselves a more than 50% chance of avoiding two degrees will require a six-fold improvement in our rate of decarbonisation"

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, November 2012

 

" The science on climate change is getting more worrying, not less; the evidence over the last year has got stronger for anthropogenic climate change, and we really do have a limited window in which we have to move forward globally to get emissions down - If we don't do that we are going to lose any real prospect of holding temperatures to two degrees above pre-industrial levels regarded as the

danger threshold for the world "

UK Energy Minister, Chris Huhne, at the Cancun Climate Conference 2010

"An emissions pathway that yields a high (90 percent-plus) probability of holding temperatures to 2°C is almost certainly beyond our grasp at this point. Achieving even a 50/50 chance at holding to 2°C would require heroic measures - peaking global emissions before 2020 and reducing them rapidly every year thereafter"

 

 

An old African proverb says, "if you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together."

To solve the climate crisis, we have to go far ... quickly. And together.

Demand Change. Act. Now

..we're losing the fight, badly and quickly – losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in – our almost-but-not-quite-finally hopeless – position, if we Act.Now.

" Even a "moderate" warming of 2ºC stands a strong chance of provoking drought and storm responses that could challenge civilized society, leading potentially to the conflict and suffering that go with failed states and mass migrations. Global warming of 2ºC would leave the Earth warmer than it has been in millions of years "

 


The World Meteorological Organisation has reported a record increase of Earth-warming gases in the atmosphere, while the World Bank has warned of the planet-wide devastation a rise of four degrees Celsius would cause.

The United Nations Environment Programme chief, Achim Steiner,  says "The message is, yes indeed, one of great alarm and concern about where we are - swift action could still see the world get back on track, but it would mean increasing pledges and slashing emissions by 14 percent to about 44 billion tonnes in 2020 from an estimated 50.1 billion tonnes per year now.

Scientists say global temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius on average.

The planet has witnessed record-breaking temperatures in the past decade and frequent natural disasters that some blame on climate change - most recently superstorm Sandy, which ravaged Haiti and the US east coast.

United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres,says "Time is running out but the technical means and the policy tools to allow the world to stay below a maximum two degrees Celsius are still available to governments and societies".

European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard says the data showed "the world is not getting its act together fast enough".

Reports - November 2012

 

 

 

Act.Now.


To avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change, average global temperatures
must rise no more than 2°C, and that means global emissions must start falling before
2020 and then fall to at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050

UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, 2009


The majority of changes are expected to have negative impacts, not least because they are likely to occur at a rate that is too fast to allow many plant and animal species, and in some cases societies, to adapt

UK Government Office for Science


2005, EU commits itself to the 2°C goal - "The Council of the European Union NOTES that there is increasing scientific evidence that the benefits of limiting overall global annual mean surface temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels outweigh the costs of abatement policies"

Council of the European Union - Information note 7242/05"

"..it's becoming unlikely that the world can achieve the European goal of limiting global warming to just 2 degrees based on increasing pollution and greenhouse gas levels " International Energy Agency May 2012


"Delay is dangerous and would be a profound mistake

The ratchet effect and technological lock-in increase the risks of dangerous climate change: delay could make stabilisation of concentrations at acceptable levels very difficult. If we act strongly and science is wrong, then we will still have new technologies, greater efficiency and more forests. If fail to act and the science is right, then humanity is in deep trouble and it will be very difficult to extricate ourselves

In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us"

February 2012


Act.Now.


What is climate change ?

Climate includes patterns of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind and seasons. "Climate change" affects more than just a change in the weather, it refers to seasonal changes over a long period of time. These climate patterns play a fundamental role in shaping natural ecosystems, and the human economies and cultures that depend on them

Because so many systems are tied to climate, a change in climate can affect many related aspects of where and how people, plants and animals live, such as food production, availability and use of water, and health risks

What is the cause of climate change ?

Growing emissions of greenhouse gases - of which carbon dioxide (CO2) is one – are driving climate change. Scientists say the world needs to reduce current global emissions to avoid dangerous impacts including more extreme weather and rising sea levels

Within scientific journals, global warming refers to surface temperature increases while climate change includes global warming and everything else that increasing greenhouse gas levels will affect

How is the increase in greenhouse gases measured ?

Parts per million (ppm) of CO2e tell us the concentration in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, of which carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main component

The safe level of 350 ppm was exceeded in 1987, and the ppm have climbed rapidly every month since then to its present level (Feb 2014) of 398.03

The level of 450 ppm is estimated will result in average global temperatures of 2° C 650 ppm would result in a temperature of 6°C

What can stop or hold back climate change ?

The way to reduce global CO2 emissions is through “a better quality of growth” where green investment and technologies, efficient use of resources and good governance help reduce climate change and overuse of the world’s resources while improving life for the poor. Green growth is defined by the United Nations and Asian Development Bank (ADB)as "economic progress that is low-carbon, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive"

Are climate change and global warming the same thing?

Not exactly, but they’re closely related, and some people use the terms interchangeably. Global warming causes climates to change. "Global warming" refers to rising global temperatures, while “climate change” includes other more specific kinds of changes, too. Warmer global temperatures in the atmosphere and oceans leads to climate changes affecting rainfall patterns, storms and droughts, growing seasons, humidity, and sea level

Also, while “global warming” is planet-wide, “climate change” can refer to changes at the global, continental, regional and local levels. Even though a warming trend is global, different areas around the world will experience different specific changes in their climates, which will have unique impacts on their local plants, animals and people. A few areas might even get cooler rather than warmer


Why is the climate changing?

What will happen if climate change continues ?

How soon will we feel the impacts ?


Warning: This report may make scary reading..it scared us..

Climate has changed in the past, over the millenia..

Sometimes it changes quite dramatically

Why? When something causes a change in global temperature, such as varying solar activity or changes in the Earth’s orbit, feedbacks amplify these changes

The atmosphere grows more humid and, as water vapour is a greenhouse gas, this traps more heat

Arctic sea ice melts, causing the exposed ocean to absorb more heat.

The feedbacks aren’t so large that they lead to runaway warming but they are enough to amplify one degree of greenhouse warming to three degrees of total warming


“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences….”Sir Winston Churchill


Swings in global temperatures

Many different periods throughout Earth’s history, from the last few millennia to millions of years ago, yield remarkably consistent results establishing this amount of climate feedback

Dramatic swings in global temperature, dragging the planet in and out of ice ages, are possible because of these feedbacks

Renowned paleoclimatologist Wally Broecker sums it up beautifully: “The paleoclimate record shouts out to us that, far from being self-stabilising, the Earth’s climate system is an ornery beast which overreacts to even small nudges”


Unfortunately, we have already given our climate a big nudge. How do we know it’s us causing the warming and not natural causes? Because we’ve directly measured it. Satellites measure reductions in heat escaping to space – direct empirical evidence that carbon emissions are trapping heat. Surface measurements measure more heat returning to Earth, confirming the increased greenhouse effect


About 55 million years ago a tremendous amount of methane was released into the atmosphere over a period of about 1 million years, and the planet heated from 5° to 8°C (about 41° to 46° Fahrenheit)

The result was an ice-free planet with sea levels 20 metres (65 feet) higher than they are today

In the eons since, carbon dioxide levels dropped and the ice reformed - humanity's emissions  have the potential to send the globe back to those conditions


We see many signatures of greenhouse warming such as winters warming faster than summers, cooling upper atmosphere with warming lower atmosphere and nights warming faster than days. The case for anthropogenic (human-caused) warming is based on many independent lines of evidence

Feedbacks

The feedbacks that amplified past climate change are now amplifying the warming caused by our carbon emissions. We’re measuring more water vapour in the atmosphere, a strong feedback. Arctic sea ice is disappearing and satellites measure less sunlight reflected back to space – another significant feedback. The Earth’s past and modern measurements all paint a consistent picture – our climate is already overreacting to our “nudge”

 

Act. Now.


“Abrupt Planetary Catastrophic Global Warming. It’s happened before. We have the planet headed that way again”

A November 2010 statement by the Geological Society of London regarding catastrophic climate change and methane hydrates


During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) extinction event that took place 55 million years ago, the oceans were warming just as they are today.

The 2001 documentary “The Day the Oceans Boiled” examined what was new evidence in 1999

Scientists had discovered that the expected rise in global temperature in the near future could be only the start of a much greater increase. The evidence uncovered warned that our Earth’s temperature could rise by 20 degrees within the next three generations

Abrupt climate shifts

The documentary follows scientists uncovering evidence for what caused massive, abrupt climate shifts that happened 55 million years ago. This was the last time the Earth’s temperature accelerated quickly, causing many animals to shrink, with horses becoming the size of modern domestic cats. It took the planet 60,000 years to cool down again

In 1999, Santo Bains of Oxford University’s Department of Earth Sciences was looking for clues as to what happened 55 million years ago during the Paleocene-Eocene.

Bains’s scientific analysis confirmed that at the time the mammals shrank, the atmospheric carbon levels had suddenly risen abruptly – causing a rapid warming of ocean waters

Buried in the sludge along the bottom of the sea there are stories of the past. Within this sediment there are tiny sea creatures – deep-ocean microscopic foraminifera – that survived the asteroids that killed the dinosaurs. However, 55 million years ago, half of the tiny forams went extinct. Locked in their shells lies the story of why.

As their shells were made of the carbon dioxide dissolved in the sea, their detailed composition revealed both the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and the water temperature at the time of extinction. Bains dropped the tiny shells into acid, releasing the carbon dioxide that had last seen the atmosphere 55 million years ago. As he examined more samples, Bains discovered something extraordinary. There was not just one sudden rise in temperature. There were three.

Temperature acceleration

Temperatures accelerated dramatically in three succinct steps over a period of just a few hundred years for a total temperature increase of approximately 8ºC. The rise in atmospheric carbon was just as dramatic. The jumps in Bains’s graph add up to one and a half trillion tonnes of carbon

His discovery was the first time this was recognized in the geological record. Where did all of the carbon come from? Methane hydrates are believed to be the only explanation. Methane hydrates quickly decomposed, releasing vast amounts of carbon into the oceans and into the atmosphere

Bain’s research suggests that prior to the extinction, a massive release of methane caused a severe feedback, which then resulted in a second immense methane release. The second release caused an even greater amplifying effect, thereby causing a severe third release, which finally resulted in a runaway greenhouse event of mass extinction

Methane hydrates

Methane hydrates have been formed over millions of years on the floor of our oceans and seas from decaying organic matter carried there by rivers. The methane takes the form of methane hydrates – methane gas frozen into lattices of ice (called clathrate) that lie in ocean floor sediment off the continental coasts of our planet, storing massive amounts of carbon. When the frozen hydrates melt, 170 times the volume of methane gas comes bubbling out

The pressure only stays locked up if the pressure of the sea floor remains high and the temperature stays low. If this balance changes, the methane will quickly escape

The clathrate gun hypothesis is the theory that the rises in ocean temperature can trigger the sudden release of methane from the methane hydrates buried in seabeds and permafrost. Because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, these releases would lead to feedbacks – further temperature rise and further methane clathrate destabilization – in effect initiating a runaway process as irreversible, once started, as the firing of a gun

In its original form, the hypothesis proposed that the “clathrate gun” could cause abrupt runaway warming in a timescale less than a human lifetime, and might be responsible for warming events in and at the end of the last ice age

 

Act.Now.

 


Press release 28 May 2008: The National Science Foundation issued an alarming press release largely ignored by mainstream corporate media. The report cautioned that methane release could cause abrupt, far-reaching climate change parallel to a catastrophic event of 635 million years ago – the ending of the last “snowball” ice age

The researchers believe that the catastrophic event was caused by the release of methane, which was released gradually at first and then very quickly from hydrates. When the ice sheets became unstable, they collapsed, releasing pressure on the hydrates, which then began to de-gas

Earth's trapped methane released

Geologist Martin Kennedy of the University of California at Riverside (UCR), who led the research team, stated: “Our findings document an abrupt and catastrophic global warming that led from a very cold, seemingly stable climate state to a very warm, also stable, climate state – with no pause in between…. Once methane was released at low latitudes from destabilization in front of the ice sheets, warming caused other clathrates to destabilize…. Clathrates are held in a temperature-pressure balance of only a few degrees”


Kennedy further states that this trigger is a major concern, because it’s possible that very little warming could unleash our Earth’s trapped methane, which has been frozen for millions of years. Kennedy adds that uncovering the planet’s methane reservoir could potentially and rapidly warm our planet tens of degrees

”Today we’re conducting a global-scale experiment with Earth’s climate system,” Kennedy says, “and witnessing an unprecedented rate of warming, all with little or no knowledge of what instabilities lurk in the climate system and how they can influence life on Earth…. Much the same experiment was done 635 million years ago, and the outcome is preserved in the geologic record. We see that strong forcing on the climate, not unlike the current carbon dioxide forcing, results in the activation of latent controls in the climate system that, once initiated, change climate to a completely different state”


Press release March 2010: The National Science Foundation again issues the world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the Eastern Siberian shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming”

Research finds a key “lid” on “the large sub-sea permafrost carbon reservoir” near Eastern Siberia “is clearly perforated, and sedimentary CH4 [methane] is escaping to the atmosphere”


Oceans already too acid

Storing CO2 in the oceans comes at a steep cost: it changes the chemistry of seawater

(For the technically-minded: at the ocean’s surface, seawater typically has a pH   of about 8 to 8.3 pH units. For comparison, the pH of pure water is 7, and stomach acid is around 2. The pH level of a liquid is determined by how many positively charged hydrogen atoms are floating around in it. The more hydrogen ions, the lower the pH. When carbon dioxide enters the ocean, it lowers the pH by reacting with water.

The carbon dioxide we have put into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution has lowered the ocean pH level by .1. That may seem tiny, but it’s not. The pH scale is logarithmic, meaning that there are 10 times more hydrogen ions in a pH 5 liquid than one at pH 6, and 100 times more than pH 7. As a result, a drop of just .1 pH units means that the concentration of hydrogen ions in the ocean has gone up by about 30 percent in the past two centuries)

Scientists have concluded, in a study published last year (2010) in the journal Nature Geoscience, reported in The Independent,  that the current rate of ocean acidification is up to 10 times faster than 55m years ago – the last time the deep oceans became so acidic

The rate at which the oceans are becoming more acidic is greater today than at any time in tens of millions of years, according to the study because of rapidly rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

The oceans are likely to become so acidic in coming centuries that they will become uninhabitable for vast swathes of life, especially the little-studied organisms on the deep-sea floor which are a vital link in the marine food chain. The increased acidity of the water affects the amount of dissolved carbonate minerals that are available for marine organisms to use in forming their shells and hard skeletons

When the oceans became acidified in a similar way about 55m years ago, it resulted in a mass extinction of deep-sea marine organisms, especially those living in the sediments of the sea floor, which can be studied geologically through changes to rock formations.

Studies also suggest that temperatures of the surface ocean rose, and carbon-dioxide levels increased over a period of a few thousand years

The latest study compared these changes with predicted changes to ocean acidity resulting from continuing increases in concentrations of man-made carbon dioxide expected this century

 

 

How certain is the predicted extent of climate change ?

There are 3 Certainties

- certainty of causes

Uncertainty in basic causes of climate change is high : IPCC (2007) concluded human influence was “very likely” the cause of most of the warming over the past 50 years – meaning a 10% chance that it wasn’t

- certainty of trends

Uncertainty in large-scale trends is around a factor of two – meaning changes predicted for 2040 might occur in 2030 or 2050 – how much does this matter?

- certainty of impacts

Uncertainties as to the coming impacts of climate change, and the costs for nations, organisations and individuals, are still very high and the extent of the severity of the impacts is deemed immeasurable


Act. Now.

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