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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

heating up « Previous | |Next »
December 2, 2012

The British thinktank Carbon Tracker has pointed out, it's really just simple maths. Though Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 failed spectacularly it formally recognized "the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below two degrees Celsius" and agreed that deep cuts in global emissions are required... so as to hold the increase in global temperature below two degrees Celsius.

So far, we've raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.)

Hotworld.jpg Edel Rodriguez

If the world is to limit global warming to 2C, it must keep greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to under 450 parts per million. We are currently at 392, and rising fast. To have a good (80%) chance of staying within the 2C limit, that means the world can emit only another 565 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. But global fossil fuel reserves are much bigger than that, equivalent to 2,795 gigatonnes, or five times the safe amount. In other words, we can only avoid devastating climate change if we keep most of the world's fossil fuels, including almost all of its coal, in the ground.

We'd have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to ensure the 2 degrees scenario. That means creating a decarbonised energy system; something opposed by the fossil fuel industries who are in favour of a high-carbon one and higher global warming. Putting a price on carbon would reduce the profitability of the fossil-fuel industry.

Those global fossil fuel reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. If they couldn't pump out their reserves, the value of their companies would plummet. They say that populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological and technological adaptations

The goal of the Doha talks – to hold global temperature rise to 2 degrees – is probably out of reach, and we are on the way to an planet that is 4 to 6 degrees warmer by the end of this century. tThe fossil-fuel industry is systematically undermining the planet's physical systems.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:35 PM | | Comments (8)


Australia is exporting as many fossil fuels to international markets as it can.

"Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening." The conservative media has fueled this confusion by distorting scientific research, hyping faux-scandals, and giving voice to groups funded by industries that have a financial interest in blocking action on climate change...."

As America goes, so does Australia.

Tonight's [3/12/12] ABC News report on the temperature increase and its detrimental effect economically and socially, includong increase in deaths from heat stress, was extremely powerful television reporting and at last, perhaps maybe possibly hopefully the denialists, COALition and News Ltd included, will shut up.

Whilst the EU had decreased emissions by 18 per cent since 1990, the US had actually increased its by 10.8 per cent.

The International Energy Agency says that if the world wants to match its climate change rhetoric and limit average global warming to a maximum 2°C, then it will have to leave two-thirds of the world’s proven reserves of fossil fuels in the ground.

Can you imagine the mining companies in Australia --that includes the Gina Rineharts and the Clive Palmers---leaving their coal in the ground? These reserves are a core part of their wealth-- the value of the things they have not yet dug up---that they are inching to dig them up and export the coal to China and India.

Australia assumes that India will take all of Australia's coal.

Coal may be abundant but cheap coal is not. Coal prices are rising. Coal prices have been on a steady upward march for the past decade and there are no signs this trend will reverse course.

Can India afford to pay for the importing of coal from Australia?

Coal is becoming increasingly problematic in India because much of the local reserves are locked away in forests, and the imported coal is crippling the country’s balance of payments.

Solar, however, could offer solutions in large-scale deployment; in rural electrification, avoiding the need for expensive grids, and on rooftops.

India has a National Solar Mission target of 22GW of installed solar capacity by 2022. Most people think there will be little problem meeting that target, because by 2017, or even earlier, solar will match the cost of coal in India.

The Middle East faces a future of lower rainfall, higher temperatures and ongoing encroachment of the desert.

Doha, the COP18 host city, which is built at sea level, can look forward to becoming a swamp.

So says the World Bank